US military has escape plan for athletes at Sochi Olympics

The USS Mount Whitney supports maritime security operations with the Georgian coast guard in the Black Sea, which is within the U.S. 6th Fleet’s area of responsibility, Nov. 13, 2013.


By DAVID WHARTON | Los Angeles Times (MCT) | Published: January 20, 2014

The U.S. military will have warships and transport aircraft at the ready in case American athletes and officials need to make an emergency escape from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

A contingency plan has been established in case “something happens like a major terrorist attack and we need to get Americans out,” an unnamed U.S. official told CNN.

Concerns about violence at the Games have run high since recent suicide bombings in nearby Volgograd killed 34 people. Sochi is located relatively near the North Caucasus region, where Islamist militants have waged a long, bloody insurgency.

Russian officials have insisted they can hold a safe Olympic Games, flooding Sochi with thousands upon thousands of police, troops and security personnel.

At the same time, CNN reported that authorities have handed out fliers in the Black Sea resort, warning hotels to keep an eye out for a potential female terrorist who may be in the area.

According to a release from Rear Admiral John F. Kirby, the U.S. Navy and other military commanders have offered their full support to the Russian government for security preparations.

"Air and naval assets, to include two Navy ships in the Black Sea, will be available if requested for all manner of contingencies in support of -- and in consultation with -- the Russian government," said Kirby in the release.

Stars and Stripes contributed to this report

The bodies of six slain men were found in four cars in the Stavropol region of southern Russia, triggering an anti-terrorism alert and raising fresh security concerns in the run-up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The Sochi Winter Olympics in February will include many events in the Laura biathlon and ski complex, which stands upslope from the green-roofed Grand Hotel Polyana.


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