MOSCOW, January 27 (RIA Novosti) – British officials have warned of the high risk of terrorist attacks in Russia between now and the end of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the BBC reported Monday.
A threat assessment seen by the broadcaster warns that attacks were “very likely to occur” in the run-up to or during the Games, it said. The Games run from February 7-23.
But the report also notes that Sochi would be far harder to attack than Volgograd, scene of two suicide bombings in December, because of the high levels of security in the Olympic host city.
The document identified the main threat as coming from the Imarat Kavkaz group, whose leader Doku Umarov has repeatedly called on followers to attack the Olympics.
The insurgent group has been fighting government forces in its campaign to establish an Islamist state across Russia’s North Caucasus.
The BBC report also noted that the authorities have been searching for a suspected suicide bomber, named as Ruzana Ibragimova, a widow of a militant, who is feared to be in Sochi already.
Fears over security at the Games grew after the attacks in Volgograd which killed 34 people and injured dozens more in bombings at the city’s main train station and on a trolleybus. The city is 400 miles (630km) from Sochi.
Last week, the United States offered Russia “air and naval assets,” including two US Navy ships in the Black Sea, to help bolster security in the area.
Earlier in November, Russian security services said that they were working with their British counterparts in the run-up to the games