WASHINGTON—President Obama has offered a measure of confidence over the Russian's ability to keep the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics safe from terrorism.
In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper aired Friday, Obama said that he believes Sochi is "safe" while underscoring there is always some risk with such high profile international events.
"I would say is that if you want to go to the Olympics, you should go to the Olympics," Obama said. "And you know, we're not discouraging, in any way, Americans from participating in what is just always an amazing, wonderful event."
The specter of terrorism has cast a shadow over the Games because of the host city's proximity to a hotbed of Islamic extremist activity in the North Caucasus region. Concerns have intensified in the past month after suicide bombing attacks in the city of Volgograd left more than 30 people dead, nearly 500 miles from Sochi.
Chechen separatist leader Doku Umarov has also called on followers to disrupt the Olympic Games.
Late last week, the U.S. Olympic Committee sent a memo to the contingent of 230 American athletes advising them not to display identifying clothing or colors outside of secure, accredited areas.
U.S. authorities had previously expressed frustration after learning only through media reports of the Russian government's recent dragnet in the Sochi area for possible terrorism suspects, including a suspected female suicide bomber.
But in the CNN interview, Obama sounded satisfied satisfied with the Russian's efforts on security.
"The Russian authorities understand the stakes here," Obama said. "They understand that there are potential threats that are out there. And we are coordinating with them. We've looked at their plans. I think we have a good sense of the security that they're putting in place to protect not only the athletes themselves, but also visitors there."
Earlier this week, National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen said that he's concerned that terrorists may try to strike soft targets on the outskirts of the Olympics than attack the Games directly.
"The greater threat is to softer targets in the greater Sochi area, in the outskirts beyond Sochi, where there is a substantial potential for a terrorist attack," Olsen said told Senate Intelligence Committee.