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US military on standby for Winter Olympics in Russia

 
 
 
 
 
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The USS Mount Whitney supports maritime security operations with the Georgian coast guard in the Black Sea.

The US military will have warships and aircraft available for evacuating American officials and athletes from the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in case of an attack.

If necessary, the evacuation of Americans from the Olympics would be coordinated by the US State Department, the Pentagon said Monday.

“Air and naval assets, to include two Navy ships in the Black Sea, will be available if requested for all manner of contingencies in support of – and in consultation with – the Russian government,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.

“The United States has offered its full support to the Russian government as it conducts security preparations for the Winter Olympics.”

C-17 transport aircraft would also be on standby in Germany and could be on the scene in about two hours.

Moscow would have to ask for such assistance before the United States would act, a US official said.

Last month, the United States offered to help Russia secure the 2014 Winter Olympics, which is set to be held in Sochi from February 6-23.

Concerns about violence at the event have run high following recent deadly bombings in the country.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged that visitors to Sochi for the Games will be kept safe.

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