KANATA, Ontario — Over the past two days, two separate suicide bombing attacks in the southern Russian city of Volgograd have killed at least 32 people, raising concerns about the country’s ability to safeguard the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has staked his prestige on hosting a successful Games in Sochi,and demonstrating, in the process, the safety of the resorts at the western end of the Caucasus mountain range. On Monday, he met with the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service and directed him to prepare plans for tightening security.
Sochi is under heavy protection, but that effort appears to have drawn resources away from security operations in other parts of this huge country.
On Monday, the same day an attack on a trolley bus killed 14 people, Capitals star right winger Alex Ovechkin expressed his sadness and sympathy to those affected by the bombings.
“It’s awful. I don’t know why people doing that kind of stuff. I feel sorry about the families and the people who died in this is tragedy,” Ovechkin said. “When you hear this kind of situation happens to your home you just feel bad. I don’t know how to say it, people just live your life. Why you have to carry a bomb on you, push a button and destroy you and destroy everybody?”
Ovechkin, in addition to being a lock to make Russia’s Olympic team, is an ambassador of the 2014 Sochi Olympics and was the first Russian citizen to carry the Olympic torch after it was lit in Greece back in September. Despite these tragedies, Ovechkin downplayed concern about Russia’s ability to safeguard the Olympics.
“It’s kind of situation when somebody wants to make [others] afraid of people, do some bad things out there,” Ovechkin said. “I don’t think it’s going to happen in Olympics because there’s going to be lots of security out there. I’m sure Russian government is going to do everything that’s possible to protect the people and athletes there.”