Russia addresses Olympic security threats, including toothpaste tubes

U.S. officials are warning airports and some airlines that toothpaste tubes could be used to...

U.S. officials are warning airports and some airlines that toothpaste tubes could be used to smuggle bomb-making materials onto a Russia-bound plane. (REUTERS)

TED WYMAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:51 PM ET

SOCHI - American Homeland Security warned airlines this week that terrorists may be trying smuggle explosives into Russia in toothpaste tubes, but the deputy prime minister of the Russian Federation once again guaranteed the safety of Olympic Winter Games Thursday.

“I do not have any reaction,” Dmitry Kozak said when asked about the toothpaste threat. “If this information is confirmed it means that our special services will work on the information about this threat. We can guarantee safety and security in Sochi. We can guarantee the safety of people as well as any other government hosting any mass event.”

Kozak went on to suggest that the threat of terrorism is no greater in Sochi than it is in any big American city.

“The terrorist fear is always of a global nature and in any place and sport on our planet it has the same nature,” he said. “I think that the level of fear in Sochi should be lower. I am sure that the security level in Sochi is no worse than in New York, Washington or Boston. All countries have a database about terrorists and, based on the information we have received, Sochi is under no more threat than any other city on the planet.”

Kozak, who was part of a Sochi 2014 media briefing Thursday, touched on a wide range of other topics, including the country’s stance on homosexuality, corruption, the exorbitant cost of the Games and what will happen to the region after the Olympics are over.

“We do not differentiate between people depending on their religion, sexual relations or nationality,” Kozak said. “We are all grownups and every adult has their own right to understand their sexual activity. Please do not touch the kids, that is the only thing. That is prohibited by law in all countries no matter whether you are straight or gay. During the Games, I hope that nothing will happen and we will see no problem. According to the Olympic charter, political propaganda is prohibited during events.”

Kozak said allegations of widespread corruption adding to the massive cost of these Olympics ($51 billion) are unproven.

“There is the presumption of innocence as we are all representatives of democratic countries,” he said. “If there is corruption, this should be proved legally. We did our best to organize fully-fledged control. I cannot say anything about corruption because there is no proof legally.”

Kozak also confirmed that Sochi will be home to Russian Disneyland after the Games, with the hope the city will become an international tourist destination.

“We have already agreed with international sporting organizations that we will hold big world championships in different sports here,” he said. “One of the venues being built is the track for Formula One. There will be a Russian Disneyland, which will be the biggest theme park we have here. Then we will have other events in the Sochi theme park and events and conferences. The speed skating centre will be used as an international exhibition centre."

“At the end of last year, we did not have this infrastructure, but three million tourists came to Sochi. We are expecting this number to double. During the preparation period, we built new sea ports in Sochi and have 169 agreements with different companies and cruise liners to come to the port of Sochi.”

ted.wyman@sunmedia.ca

Twitter.com/Ted_Wyman

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