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Russia launches Sochi clampdown a month before Games

Update: January, 07/2014 - 11:15

SOCHI, Russia – Russia launches the largest security operation in Olympic history on Tuesday with one month to go before 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 Putin's 14-year reign.

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.

And Russia's answer to the threat of terror will be unveiled on Tuesday when the feared Federal Security Service (FSB) takes charge of a security clampdown even fiercer than that seen at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.

"Starting on January 7, all divisions responsible for ensuring the guests' security at the Games are being put on combat alert," Emergencies Situation Minister Vladimir Puchkov said.

"Every facility will be put under protection and a space-based monitoring system will be launched."

Additional measures deployed down the line will let the FSB monitor mobile phone and e-mail traffic while obliging all foreign visitors to register online. AFP

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