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U.S. and Russia talk about bomb tech in Olympic prep

Jan. 23, 2014 - 06:58PM   |  
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WASHINGTON — The top U.S. and Russian military leaders have discussed security at the Sochi Olympics, including the possibility of sharing technologies used by American forces to counter roadside bombs, the Pentagon said Thursday.

Russia has made no formal requests for the technology, and the U.S. has not offered it, Pentagon press secretary Adm. John Kirby said. But the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, had an informal discussion this week with his Russian counterpart about the possibilities for its use during the Sochi Games.

“Security for the Games rests with the Russian government. It’s their responsibility,” said Kirby. “The United States has made clear very early on that we’re willing to assist in any way that we can, but there’s been no request for such assistance.”

The U.S. has used sophisticated technologies in Iraq and Afghanistan to detect and defeat roadside bombs.

Kirby also noted that two American warships will be in the Black Sea during the Games as part of normal military planning, in case they are needed. He said the ships would be capable of many missions, including evacuations, medical support and communications, but that it is far too early to suggest any specific missions.

The warships would likely travel from the Mediterranean Sea, but they have not moved into the Black Sea yet.

Some U.S. lawmakers worry that Russia isn’t doing enough to assure that athletes will be protected at the Games. And the U.S. State Department has advised Americans at the Olympics to keep vigilant about security because of potential terrorist threats, crime and uncertain medical care.

Back-to-back suicide bombings killed 34 people last month in Volgograd, about 400 miles from Sochi. An Islamic militant group in Russia’s North Caucasus claimed responsibility for the bombings and posted a video threatening to strike the Sochi Games.

Earlier this week some Olympic committees from other nations reported receiving threatening emails, but many shrugged it off as a hoax.

Asked if Americans would be safe if they traveled to the Winter Games, Kirby said, “I believe the Russian government is taking this very, very seriously, and I believe they are applying as much energy as possible to providing security for the Games.”

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