MOSCOW (AP) — Russia began implementing stringent security measures Tuesday in its southern resort of Sochi, one month before the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics there.
Tens of thousands of Russian police, security agents, rescue workers and army troops are being deployed for the games, which run Feb. 7-23. Vladimir Puchkov, who heads the Emergency Situations Ministry, said all of his security units for Sochi were on duty as of Tuesday
In addition, all vehicles were banned from the area beginning Tuesday except for those registered in Sochi or with special Olympics passes.
Security concerns are high because of a violent Islamist insurgency simmering in the nearby North Caucasus region. Fears were heightened following two suicide bombings last week in the city of Volgograd, about 600 kilometers (400 miles) away, which killed 34 people and wounded scores.
Although there has been no claim of responsibility for the bombings, the leader of the Islamist insurgency last year called for attacks aimed at undermining the Sochi Olympics.
Tuesday was to be the start of a ban on all demonstrations in Sochi not connected with the games. President Vladimir Putin last weekend rescinded the blanket ban, but any demonstrations or marches still need to be approved by the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the country's police force.
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