MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia will deploy 37,000 forces to its southern resort city Sochi next year to secure the 2014 Winter Olympics, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said Friday.
"There will be about 37,000 people in the group of our employees that will be ensuring order and security of the guests and participants of the Olympic Games," Kolokoltsev said in an interview with Rossiya-24 channel.
The interior ministry in Russia commands both the police and the interior troops, paramilitary units that are used in mass rallies and to guard strategic facilities.
He said that the "multi-tiered" security system complied with International Olympic Committee requirements.
"We are ready to host any sort of sports event," said Kolokoltsev.
The interview was aired after Islamist militant leader Doku Umarov made a video appeal calling on Russian jihadists to strike against the Sochi Games and "exert maximum efforts" to disrupt them.
Experts have said that Sochi's location close to the restive Caucasus region and Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia means securing the venues without scaring tourists away could prove difficult.
Russia has pulled out all the stops to host the Olympic Games, its first major international sports event, but the $50 billion project has been mired in scandals of corruption, overspending, and rights violations.