Sochi organizers say three hotels not ready for media
With less than a week remaining before the opening ceremony of the Winter
Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Russian Olympic officials have admitted that only six
of the nine media hotels in the area are fully operational.
With thousands of journalists expected to pour into the Black Sea resort in the
days leading up to the opening of the games Friday, the International Olympic
Committee is urging organizers to move quickly to resolve the issue. Some media
have already arrived in Sochi and found themselves with no place to stay.
"There are still some issues to be solved as always just before the games," IOC
President Thomas Bach said. "We are in contact with the organizing committee and
we hope that the situation will be solved in the next couple of days."
The matter was being examined Sunday at a meeting of the International Olympic
Committee executive board.
The Russian government has spent $51 billion on the Olympics in the hopes of
turning the Black Sea summer resort into a year-round tourism destination.
While pre-games attention has focused on cost overruns, threats of terrorist
attacks and the Russian law banning gay "propaganda" among minors, the hotel
situation could become an embarrassment for local organizers.
Organizers estimate that up to 6,000 media will be arriving in Sochi on Monday.
About 11,000 media overall are expected to be covering Russia's first Winter
IOC vice president John Coates of Australia said he was expecting an update on
the situation from Sochi organizers at Sunday's meeting.
"It's obviously very important," he said.
IOC press commission chairman Kevan Gosper took the issue to the executive board
and was working with Gilbert Felli, the executive director of the Olympic Games,
in discussions with Sochi organizers.
"We've alerted them that a lot of people are coming in and particularly of the
difficulty still in the mountains," Gosper said. "They are aware it's a serious
Gosper said servicing of the hotels was now the major problem.
"The accommodation is there, but serving the accommodation is the challenge," he
Organizers said in a statement Saturday that media who arrive to find an
incomplete room will be given new accommodation, some with an upgrade.
"Within the three remaining hotels, the rooms are currently going through the
final testing process and check of their services," the organizing committee
said. "At the end of the testing process guests will then be accommodated in the
hotels they initially booked."
Bach, meanwhile, praised Sochi's overall readiness for the games, which open on
"Things are going very well," he said. "I had a good opportunity yesterday to
visit the Olympic Village and to speak with a lot of athletes and they were all
very happy and excited about the conditions in the Olympic village.
"The sports facilities are ready. The stage is set for the best winter athletes
of the world, and we are very confident that we will have excellent games."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Sochi Forces Search For 3 Potential Olympic Suicide Bombers
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Russian security officials are hunting down three potential
female suicide bombers, one of whom is believed to be in Sochi, where the Winter
Olympics will begin next month.
Police leaflets seen by an Associated Press reporter at a central Sochi hotel on
Tuesday contain warnings about three potential suicide bombers. A police letter
said that one of them, Ruzanna Ibragimova, a 22-year-old widow of an Islamic
militant, was at large in Sochi.
Russian authorities have blamed the so-called "black widows" of slain insurgents
for previous suicide attacks in the country.
Security officials in Sochi were not available for comment on Tuesday. The Black
Sea resort town will host the games in February amid concerns about security and
potential terrorist attacks.
The southern city of Volgograd was rocked by two suicide bombings in late
December, which killed 34 and injures scores more. An Islamic militant group in
Dagestan on Monday posted a video claiming responsibility for the bombings and
threatened to strike the games in Sochi, about 500 kilometers (300 miles) west
Police material distributed to the hotel staff also included pictures of two
other women in veils: 26-year-old Zaira Aliyeva and 34-year-old Dzhannet
Tsakhayeva. It said they had been trained "to perpetrate acts of terrorism."
It warned that the two women "are probably among us," but, unlike Ibragimova's
case, did not say if they are in Sochi.
The Olympics are to be held Feb. 7-23. Russia has mounted an intense security
operation in the city, but concern persists that "soft targets" outside the
Olympic venues, such as buses and tourist facilities, are vulnerable to attack.
Russian security forces battle militants before Olympics
Jan 15th 2014 6:29AM
Olympic rings for the 2014 Winter Olympics are installed in
the Black Sea resort of Sochi, southern Russia, late
Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. With the Winter Olympics a year
away, IOC President Jacques Rogge praised Sochi organizers
on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 and defended the $51 billion
price tag. (AP Photo/Ignat Kozlov))
(Reuters) - Three Russian servicemen and four gunmen were killed in a
shootout in southernRussiaon
Wednesday during a sweep for militants before the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Russia's National Anti-terrorism Committee (NAC) said the dead gunmen
included a man accused of carrying out a car bomb attack in the city of
Pyatigorsk late last year which killed three people.
Russia in on high alert following two suicide bombings in southern Russia
last month that fuelled security concerns before theOlympics,
which Islamist militants waging an insurgency in the North Caucasus have
threatened to attack.
President Vladimir Putin has staked a lot of personal and political prestige
on the success of the Games, which open on February 7, and has put security
forces on combat alert in Sochi.
The NAC said in a statement that a group of militants had been trapped in a
house in the village of Karlanyurt in the Dagestan region of the North
Caucasus. Five officers were also wounded in what a spokesman called a
Dagestan's capital, Makhachkala, is about 620 km (385 miles) east of Sochi.
The mostly Muslim region is plagued by bombings and shootings that mainly
target police and state officials as part of the militants' fight to create
an Islamist state.
At least 34 people were killed last month in the suicide bombings in the
southern city of Volgograd. Putin ordered safety measures to be beefed up
nationwide after the attacks.
About 37,000 personnel are now in place to provide security in Sochi, which
is on the Black Sea and on the western edge of the Caucasus mountains, and
the International Olympic Committee has expressed confidence the Games will
But, underlining the danger of attacks, security forces said on Saturday
they had arrested five members of a banned militant group in southern Russia
and defused a homemade bomb packed with shrapnel.
The main spokesman for Russia's Investigative Committee, whose
responsibilities include looking into bombings and other attacks, appealed
to civilians on Tuesday to be more vigilant and help avert the threat of