There is no doubt, and for just cause, that the world community is taking steps to deal with a potential crisis at the Sochi Olympics. There has been deep and lingering concerns that Russia is not prepared to keep the games and athletes safe. Without full confidence that the host country can do the job means that the world’s leader must step in and make sure there are plans in place should a disaster occur.
The U.S. military will have up to two warships and several large transport aircraft on standby under a contingency plan to help evacuate American officials and athletes during the Sochi Olympics if ordered, a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the plan told CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.
The official said the State Department would take the lead in organizing and evacuating Americans. The official declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the information. The official emphasized the Russian government would have to give its approval for U.S. assets to enter Russia. The ships and planes are “just in case the Russians ask for help,” the official said. But the assets, he said, are clearly there “if something happens like a major terrorist attack and we need to get Americans out.”
The plan calls for the warships to enter the Black Sea in the next few days. In a crisis the ships’ helicopters could fly quickly to Sochi and begin evacuating American officials. C-17 aircraft being put on standby in Germany could be on the scene in about two hours for additional evacuations. Other aircraft contracted to the State Department would also play a role.