8 Jan 2014

Sochi security operation now in full swing

5:41 am on 8 January 2014

Russia has launched the largest security operation in Olympic history with a month to go before Vladimir Putin kicks off the Winter Games in Sochi amid renewed fears of suicide bombings.

A presidential decree came into effect today enforcing a so-called "forbidden zone" that blocks highways into the city and prevents even local residents from using roads leading to Olympic venues without special permits.

Army soldiers manning armoured vehicles and navy officers patrolling the Black Sea will join a 37 thousand-strong contingent overseeing next month's sports extravaganza that will spotlight Putin's 14-year reign.

Rail station and trolleybus blasts that killed 34 in Volgograd last month revived fears that Islamists from the nearby North Caucasus will seek to wreak havoc on the globally watched event.

The feared Federal Security Service (FSB) is in charge of the security clampdown even fiercer than that seen at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing.