Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Putin warns against possible terrorist attacks at World Cup

Russian president Vladimir Putin spoke to security forces this week, saying they must work hard to prevent terrorist attacks on the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2018 World Cup.

Putin warned of Islamist militants in Russia's North Caucasus region who threatened to attack the Olympics. The militants have demanded that the region be turned into an Islamic state, reports.

"In the coming years, a whole series of very large political and sport events are going to be held in Russia, and it should be a matter of honor for law enforcement officials and special forces to do everything so that these events take place in a normal, businesslike, festive atmosphere," Putin said, World Football Insider reports. "We have lots of tension and conflict hot spots here, but we also have enough strength, skills and means to deter possible threats."

Russia foiled an Islamist insurgent plan to attack the Sochi Olympics in May, confiscating weapons and explosives including surface-to-air missiles.

A terrorist attack on a senior Muslim religious leader occurred earlier this year in Kazan, one of the 11 host cities for the 2018 World Cup. The city will also host the 2013 Universiade.

World Cup organizers announced the host cities two weeks ago. The cities are divided into four geographical clusters with the central cluster including Moscow, which has two stadiums hosting, and the Northern cluster including St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad. The Volga cluster is home to Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Samara, Saransk and Volgograd. Rostov-on-Don and Sochi are in the Southern cluster with Yekaterinburg, World Football Insider reports.

Announcers also said that the 2018 World Cup budget, estimated at $19 billion, would be nearly twice the proposed figure given to FIFA in the Russian bid book.