Russia steps up security for Sochi Olympics
The Winter Olympics are less than a month away in Sochi, Russia. Efforts are underway to ensure the safety of the athletes and fans from around the world.
With less than a month to go to the opening ceremony in Sochi, attention once again is focused on the North Caucasus. We are in Grozny, in the Russian republic of Chechnya, and in the 1990s Grozny became synonymous with destruction. This place saw two ferocious wars against Chechen separatists and the Russian government, and this city was completely destroyed. It has now been rebuilt and is something of a showcase city.
Still, there are many insurgents operating not only in Chechnya, but also in nearby Dagestan.
The concern that US officials and Russian officials have is that Al-Qaeda linked militants, either from Chechnya or Dagestan, will try to carry out some sort of attack during the Olympics period.
Sochi itself will be well-protected, according to Russian officials, but a terrorist strike anywhere in the country would embarrass the Russian government and potentially disrupt the games.
To secure Sochi, the Russian government has brought in 40,000 police and soldiers operating a ring of steel around all of the Olympic venues. Visitors will need special badges to get anywhere near the skating rinks and ski slopes and other Olympic facilities.
Also, drones will be in use. People's cell phones and communications data will be monitored.
Russia is making this a national priority. Still, they know they can't cover the entire country, so right now Russian officials are creating a dragnet through the troublesome North Caucasus republics to make arrests prior to the Olympic Games.
Watch the games starting February 6th on WTHR Channel 13.1. Anne Marie Tiernon and Dave Calabro will be live from Sochi with extensive Olympic coverage.