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‘I Believe Sochi Is Safe’ – Obama

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US President Barack Obama said Friday that he believes the Winter Olympics in Russia’s southern resort town of Sochi will be safe but that security risks are inherent in any major international event.

WASHINGTON, January 31 (RIA Novosti) – US President Barack Obama said Friday that he believes the Winter Olympics in Russia’s southern resort town of Sochi will be safe but that security risks are inherent in any major international event.

“I believe Sochi is safe and that there are always some risks in these large international gatherings,” Obama told the US cable network CNN in an interview.

Following twin bombings on a train station and a trolleybus in Volgograd that killed 34 and injured many others, Russia has introduced unprecedented security measures as the country readies itself to host the Sochi Games, due to open on February 7.

Obama told CNN that Russian authorities “understand the stakes here” and that the United States is “coordinating with them.”

“We’ve looked at their plans. I think we have a good sense of the security that they are putting in place to protect not only the athletes themselves, but also visitors there,” he said in the interview.

Obama will not be traveling to Sochi for the Games, though the move is not unusual. He did not attend 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, or the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

He told CNN that despite massive security measures undertaken by Russia, there is always the threat of single terrorists or small groups carrying out attacks on large sporting event, citing the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and wounded hundreds more.

US authorities allege that Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, brothers with family roots in Russia’s restive North Caucasus region, planted homemade explosives near the finish line of the marathon. Tamerlan Tsaranev was killed in a police shootout in the days following the attack, while Dzhokhar could face the death penalty if convicted on terrorism-related charges.

“As we’ve seen here in the United States, at the Boston Marathon, there were some risks if you have lone wolves or small cells of folks who are trying to do some damage,” Obama told CNN.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that everything possible is being done to keep the Olympics safe and that showing any weakness would be playing into the hands of terrorists.

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