U.S. finalizing Sochi evacuation contingency plans
January 31st, 2014
05:20 PM ET

U.S. finalizing Sochi evacuation contingency plans

By Barbara Starr

The U.S. military is putting the final touches on a series of orders that will put transport aircraft on standby status to assist in the evacuation of Americans, should that become necessary, at the Olympic Games in Sochi, CNN has learned.

Two U.S. military officials confirmed to CNN the orders are expected to be issued next week and will go into effect with the opening of the Winter Games on February 7.

Both officials strongly emphasized Friday that Russia remains responsible for security and any request for U.S. military assets would have to come through the State Department, which is coordinating government security arrangements for Americans.

The military orders will ensure that in the event of a crisis, C-17 transport aircraft and medical evacuation crews will be ready to move from their base at Ramstein, Germany, to Sochi within roughly six hours of being notified.

One of the officials said the Russians have made it clear that Americans may be evacuated, if they become ill or are injured, after they are stabilized at Russian hospitals.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel hinted at the Pentagon plans, saying in a January 24 press conference, "If we need to extract our citizens, we will have appropriate arrangements with the Russians to do that."

Hagel has spoken to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu twice in recent days about Olympic security and to offer assistance.

"The two leaders agreed to maintain through subordinate military commands some sort of regular open dialogue as the Olympics draw near and as they progress," said Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby.

The United States is moving two warships into the Black Sea, Hagel said previously.

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  7. Grackle999

    Just figured out what all the Russia bashing is about. The "impending terrorist attacks", the criticisms of their policies on gay rights, the Olympic village that isn't complete. All the negative press is because of Snowden. Can't believe I forgot about that guy hiding in Moscow lol.

    February 5, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Reply
  8. Grackle999

    This is borderline propaganda. Why is the media running what amounts to a mudslinging campaign against Russia? It's like the State Department is hoping for an attack. Anyone remember Eric Rudolph? No mention of him on CNN recently. So lets not start casting stones at our "ally"... at least not yet.

    February 3, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Reply
    • JustCuz

      The State Department is responsible for assisting American citizens traveling abroad. As soon as an American stubs his or her toe, there is an expectation that some from the US Government will be there to rescue. It's a fact of life. Not to be prepared and hope nothing happens is NOT the way our government operates.

      February 4, 2014 at 12:50 am | Reply
      • Grakle999

        LOL. Hello?! I'm an American, and I need help!!!!

        February 4, 2014 at 10:45 pm |
  9. George patton

    Russia should show no mercy.

    January 31, 2014 at 5:38 pm | Reply
  10. mk

    And what message does this send to terrorists? Today its russia tomorrow its another country. While its ok to prepare for an emergency must you paste it across the media?

    January 31, 2014 at 7:28 pm | Reply

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