US Evacuation Plans Not Looking Good in Sochi

Doing anything without Russian help will be hard
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2014 9:35 AM CST
US Evacuation Plans Not Looking Good in Sochi
Rep. Michael McCaul of the House Homeland Security Committee stands on a balcony of his hotel, which overlooks Olympic Park in Sochi.   (AP Photo/Nataliya Vasilyeva)

The US has sent two warships to the Black Sea and put planes on standby in Europe as it prepares to evacuate its Olympians from Sochi in the event of an attack. But officials fear their preparations might not be enough, reports NBC News, which describes the effort as "logistically mind-boggling and diplomatically delicate." The big issue: The US can't do much without Russian permission, and it doesn't expect to get that. "Something that looks like the US cavalry riding to rescue Russia … well, it's just hard to imagine that happening," one Russian expert said.

The US skiing and snowboarding teams have signed up their own private security company, Global Rescue, which claims it has six aircraft ready for an evacuation if necessary. But having planes isn't the only issue; it's having runways. Sochi's airport is fairly small, so deciding which of the 85 countries competing to use it would be a nightmare. Other teams are also taking special security precautions, the Moscow Times reports. Britain, for example, is sending extra security personnel with its delegation. A German spokesman, meanwhile, said the country trusted Russia, but would "look closely" at the situation. "We will have no aircraft, that is all that I can say." (Read more 2014 Sochi Olympics stories.)

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