WASHINGTON, December 30 (RIA Novosti) – The United States on Monday condemned the back-to-back terrorist attacks in Volgograd that killed dozens and offered to assist Moscow with security preparations for the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
“The United States stands in solidarity with the Russian people against terrorism,” White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement. “The US government has offered our full support to the Russian government in security preparations for the Sochi Olympic Games.”
A bomb explosion tore through a trolleybus in Volgograd on Monday morning, killing at least 14 people and injuring 28 in the southern Russian city’s second terrorist attack in less than 24 hours.
Authorities believe both Monday’s attack and an explosion at the Volgograd-1 railway station Sunday that killed 17 and injured more than 40 were carried out by suicide bombers.
“The United States condemns the terrorist attacks that struck the Russian city of Volgograd and sends deepest condolences to the families of the victims with hopes for the rapid healing of those wounded,” Hayden said in the statement.
Monday’s blast was the third such attack in Volgograd in just over two months and came just weeks before the Sochi Games are set to kick off on February 7. Previously known as Stalingrad, Volgograd is located about 430 miles (700 kilometers) from Sochi.
Russian authorities have made efforts to boost security at the Black Sea resort that is due to host the Winter Games, and Hayden said Monday that Washington would “welcome the opportunity for closer cooperation for the safety of the athletes, spectators and other participants” in Sochi.
Relations between the United States and Russia have floundered over the past 18 months, particularly over Russia’s human rights record and what Moscow sees as US meddling in its internal affairs. But both sides have publicly spoken of constructive collaboration in counterterrorism efforts.
A joint US-Russian report issued by a presidential commission last week lauded bilateral counterterrorism cooperation since the Boston Marathon bombing in April, which US authorities say was carried out by two brothers with ties to Russia’s mainly Muslim North Caucasus region.
“In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, our nations have redoubled our counterterrorism and law enforcement efforts,” the report states.