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Russia launches Sochi clampdown a month before Games

Published on Jan 7, 2014 10:00 AM
 
A view of Olympic rings near the resort of Krasnaya Polyana, near Sochi on Jan 4, 2014. Russia launches the largest security operation in Olympic history on Tuesday with one month to go before President Vladimir Putin kicks off the Winter Games in Sochi amid renewed fears of suicide bombings. -- FILE PHOTO: REUTERS

MORDASOV SOCHI, Russia (AFP) - Russia launches the largest security operation in Olympic history on Tuesday with one month to go before President Vladimir Putin kicks off the Winter Games in Sochi amid renewed fears of suicide bombings.

Army soldiers manning armoured vehicles and navy officers patrolling the Black Sea will join a 37,000-strong contingent overseeing the February 7-23 sports extravaganza that will spotlight Mr Putin's 14-year reign.

The prestige project - often referred to as the "Putin Games" and costing some US$50 billion (S$63 million) - has already been blighted by snubs from Western leaders upset with what they see as Kremlin-backed discrimination against gays and the infringement of many other rights.

Railway station and trolleybus blasts that killed 34 in Volgograd last month meanwhile revived fears that Islamists from the nearby Caucasus will seek to wreak havoc on the globally watched event.

 
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