WASHINGTON : The US State Department has warned Americans of the potential for terrorism at the Sochi Olympics but said it was not aware of any specific threat to US citizens.
In a “travel warning,” the department urged Americans to be vigilant about personal security at the Feb 7 to March 14 Olympic Games, and flagged the possibility of petty crime, inadequate medical care and hotel shortages. “Large-scale public events such as the Olympics present an attractive target for terrorists,” the State Department wrote in the travel warning, saying that Russian authorities have said they are taking appropriate security measures.
However, the department noted what it described as “acts of terrorism” in Russia during the final three months of last year, including three suicide bombings that targeted public transportation in city of Volgograd, 600 miles from Sochi.
“There is no indication of a specific threat to US institutions or citizens, but US citizens should be aware of their personal surroundings and follow good security practices,” it said.
The warning also highlighted the danger of petty crime and the possibility that political demonstrations - which the Olympic charter bars at the site of the Games, but which Russian authorities say may take place seven miles from Sochi in the village of Khost - could unexpectedly turn violent.