News / USA

US Prepares Contingency Plans For Sochi Olympics

US Prepares Contingency Plans For Sochi Olympicsi
X
January 24, 2014 2:09 AM
Russia has yet to accept the U.S. military's offer of help in providing security during the winter Olympic Games in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. However, the U.S. says it is going ahead with plans to send two Navy ships to the Black Sea. VOA Pentagon correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Luis Ramirez
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the United States is prepared to evacuate American citizens in the event of a terrorist attack at the upcoming winter Olympic games in Sochi. Russia has yet to accept the U.S. offers of security assistance, and the U.S. Navy is moving ahead with plans to send two warships to the Black Sea in the coming days.

The recent string of bombings in Russia is - for U.S. officials - a sign that the threat of an attack at the olympics is real.  

The Pentagon has offered to send two U.S. Navy ships to the Black Sea, and  U.S. and Russian officials have been in talks that have included the possible sharing of U.S. technology on improvised explosive devices.

The Russians have yet to accept any offers.

Meanwhile, U.S. commanders are making contingency plans to evacuate thousands of Americans in case there's an attack.  Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby:   

“The ships that we're going to be putting in the Black Sea are ships that have by design multiple capabilities, as most of our ships do.  And most of our ships are capable of helicopter lift. Most of our ships have some sort of medical facility onboard," said Kirby.

The recent attacks and reports that a suspected female terrorist has been spotted in Sochi have fueled discussion in Washington about security.

Juan Zarate is a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“These aren’t just imaginings or sort of, you know, one-off threat threads that have to be chased down, as often the U.S. has to do. But this is a real terrorist threat that exposes athletes, sponsors, U.S. citizens that are going to attend the event.," said Zarate.

The Russians have offered assurances that they can handle security threats on their own, and the U.S. government is being careful not to embarrass Moscow.  But analysts say U.S. officials are concerned they aren't getting the kind of close cooperation they have had with Olympic hosts in the past.

“The Russians have grown more and more concerned over the threat and are concerned over the perception of insecurity and therefore have not wanted to allow the United States and other security services in on the ground to assist," said Zarate.

U.S. officials have begun to speak openly about their concerns and have begun planning for a possible worst-case scenario.

That scenario would include pre-positioning ships as well as aircraft off the coast to move out wounded athletes and other U.S. citizens - if the worst occurs.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs