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The Biggest Olympic Security Risk May Not Be at Sochi

Police officers guard the Volgograd main railway station on Dec. 30
Police officers guard the Volgograd main railway station on Dec. 30Photograph by Denis Tyrin/AP Photo

Russia is promising extraordinary measures to ensure the safety of athletes and spectators at the Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. But as two deadly bombings in southern Russia have made clear, protecting people as they travel to the games could pose a much tougher challenge.

Suicide bombers on Dec. 29 and Dec. 30 killed more than 30 people at a train station and on a trolley in the southern Russian city of Volgograd. “The attack demonstrates the militants’ capability to strike at soft targets such as transport infrastructure,” says Matthew Clements, a security expert at IHS in London. Although Russian authorities may be able to protect Sochi itself, “there is a greater risk to transport targets around cities in southern Russia, and even Moscow itself.”