Russia Ramps Up Security for the Winter Olympics

The country is deploying 50,000 soldiers and police for the Games.

Russian officials ramped up security in Sochi this week as athletes began moving into the Olympic Villages.

The country is deploying more than 50,000 soldiers and police for the Games. Organizing committee chief Dmitry Chernyshenko told press members yesterday that Sochi, is "fully ready," adding that the city is the "most secure venue at the moment on the planet."

Sochi is nestled in a historically a conflict-prone region. And fears were heightened last month after a pair of terrorist attacks in Volograd (420 miles north of Sochi) killed at least 34 people. More recently, Russian officials announced that multiple "black widow" suicide bombers may already be in the city.

Many athletes are suggesting that friends and family members should not make the trip for their own safety. Ticket sales have been an issue. The San Francisco Chronicle reported last week that this year's Winter Games may see an especially low American turnout due to fears of terrorism, hard-to-obtain visas, and expensive flights. Chernyshenko, however, says that over 70 percent of tickets for the Games have been sold, with another 20 percent reserved for walk-up sales.

National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olsen assured the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday that Olympic venues will be well secured. "There is extensive security at those locations," he said, adding "the greater threat is to softer targets in the greater Sochi area, in the outskirts beyond Sochi, where there is a substantial potential for a terrorist attack."

Russian police officer walks by the Olympic rings in front the Iceberg Skating Palace at the Olympic Park in the Adler district of Sochi, January 26, 2014. (REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk) 
A Russian police officer checks a driver's documents at the Olympic Park in the Adler district of Sochi, January 23, 2014. (REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk)
Emergency officers patrol in front of Fisht Olympic Stadium at the Olympic Park in the Adler district of Sochi, January 26, 2014. (REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk) 
Russian police patrol at the Olympic Park in the Adler district of Sochi, January 23, 2014. (REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk) 
Members of the Russian military check the sewers for explosives at the Olympic Park in the Adler district of Sochi, January 26, 2014. (REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk)
Police look on at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort in Krasnaya Polyana near Sochi January 24, 2014. (REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk)
Police officers patrol on a train at a train station in the Adler district of Sochi January 17, 2014. (REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk)
Military police officers stand guard at a train station in the Adler district of Sochi January 17, 2014. (REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk)
Russian policeman Vladislav and Lora, a german shepherd sniffer dog, stand guard in front Sochi's airport in Adler, January 15, 2014. (REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk)
A member of the Russian military walks past a rocket launcher near residential houses next to the Olympic Park in the Adler district of Sochi January 29, 2014. (REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk)
A mugshot of a woman, suspected of planning a suicide bombing, is on display at the entrance of a grocery store in the Adler district of Sochi January 22, 2014. (REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk)
Russian Cossacks stand guard near the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort in Krasnaya Polyana near Sochi, January 26, 2014. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch)
Russian cossacks stand next to a banner with the Olympic rings at the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort in Krasnaya Polyana near Sochi, January 28, 2014. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)
A Russian traffic police officer patrols a road near venues at the Olympic Park near Sochi January 7, 2014. (REUTERS/Kazbek Basayev)
Members of Russia's security forces rest inside the train station of Krasnaya Polyana near Sochi, January 29, 2014. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

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