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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid