U.S. offers Russia security help for Olympics

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According to a report today in The Guardian, the US military said on Monday that air and naval assets, including two ships in the Black Sea, would be made available to help Russia combat any possible terrorist attacks on the Sochi Winter Olympics.

The Pentagon said US military commanders were “conducting prudent planning and preparations” should American support be required during the Winter Olympics, which has been the target of threats by militant Islamist group.

“The United States has offered its full support to the Russian government as it conducts security preparations for the Winter Olympics,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.

“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.”

The Pentagon statement came the same day that two men said by Islamist militants to have carried out suicide attacks in south Russia appeared in a video donning explosive belts and warning Russian President Vladimir Putin to expect a “present” at the Sochi Winter Olympics from fighters following after them.

Reuters reported on Sunday that US military and intelligence officials have been studying contingency plans for evacuating Americans from the games in case of a crisis.

But US officials have concluded there would be major obstacles to mounting a large-scale effort by the military or other US government resources to evacuate Americans from Sochi, said a source familiar with Obama administration debates. MORE…

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