Volgograd Russia CCTV railway station
CCTV camera captured the moment of the explosion that killed 16 in a railway station in Volgograd, Russia, on Monday. (News 360/YouTube)

Bombings Hit Russia as Olympics Near

Putin promises 'safe and secure' Games

Volgograd Russia CCTV railway station

Two suspected suicide bombings in the southern Russian city of Volgograd since Sunday highlight the terrorist threat to the Winter Games. Despite the daunting security challenge facing Russian authorities, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s promises a “safe and secure Games in Sochi.”

Yesterday, a blast at the city’s main train station killed 17 people and wounded at least 35, and an explosion on a trolleybus near a busy market this morning killed at least 10 people.

With the Sochi Olympics about a month away, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach condemned the December bombings as a “despicable attack on innocent people.” He said in a statement: “I am certain that everything will be done to ensure the security of the athletes and all the participants of the Olympic Games.”

These attacks aren’t the first in Volgograd this year. In October, a bomber blew up a passenger bus in Volgograd, killing six people and wounding more than 30. Russian media reported that a female Islamist suicide bomber from the Russian region of Dagestan was responsible for the attack. Volgograd is about 400 miles north of Sochi.

The recent attacks remain unclaimed. However, Russian authorities reportedly believe Caucasus Emirate, which the U.S. State Department considers a foreign terrorist group, is responsible. The widely known Chechen rebel leader, Doku Umarov, released a video statement in July urging his followers to “do their utmost to derail” the Sochi Olympics, which he described as “satanic dances on the bones of our ancestors.”

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
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Lead Photo: News 360/YouTube