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Russia begins implementing biggest security operation in Olympic history with month until Sochi 2014

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Russia has today begun one of the biggest security operations in Olympic history to coincide with the one month to go mark until the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games.  More than 30,000 police and interior ministry troops have been deployed, while measures to restrict vehicle access, the sale of firearms, explosives and ammunition, and protests, which are not connected with the Games, have also come into operation, it has been confirmed.

"Starting January 7, all divisions responsible for ensuring the guests' security at the Games are being put on combat alert," said Russia's Minister of Emergency Situations Vladimir Puchkov. "Every facility will be put under protection and a space-based monitoring system will be launched," he added, before confirming that all vehicles will be banned from the area from today except for those registered in Sochi or with special Olympics passes.

This comes after a period in which security concerns have been particularly high following the two suicide bombings in December in the nearby city of Volgograd and due to the fear of greater attacks in the Sochi area over the coming weeks. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is among the organisations who have condemned the attacks and insisted that Russian will be up to the task of maintaining security.

The IOC's influence can also be felt in the introduction of protest zones for sporting matters, which were confirmed by Putin last week after being suggested during last month's IOC Executive Board Meeting in Lausanne.

This represents a deviation from the original plan of a blanket ban on all forms of protest during Sochi 2014, and has also come into operation today.