Tension Remains Following Sochi Security Scare

Vladmir Putin the President of Russia got just the moment he had hoped for on Friday. The Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremonies went off in spectacular fashion, with just a minor technical glitch here and there.

However, outside the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, the Winter Games start was marred by a big security scare and a crackdown against dissidents.

Just after the start of the opening ceremonies, a passenger on a Turkish airline attempted to hijack a flight from the city of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine.

The man claimed he had a bomb and was photographed wearing a jersey of the NHL Montreal Canadians, with No. 11 on the back, which is worn by Saku Koivu. He demanded that the flight on Pegasus Airlines be flown to Sochi.

The pilots were able to fool the hijacker and the 110 other passengers on board by saying the plane was in Sochi when the plane had landed at the Sabiha Gokcen airport in Istanbul.

When the plane was on the ground, the hijacker agreed to release the children, elderly and women passengers. The remaining passengers joined in on the evacuation and special forces from Turkey seized the plane.

Apprehended by law enforcement was a Ukrainian national who is 45 years of age. He had a suitcase filled with different electronic equipment, but authorities found no explosives.

Two F-16 fighters from the Turkish military had been scrambled during the hijacking to escort the aircraft to Istanbul.

Officials in Ukraine said Saturday that a terrorism investigation had been opened regarding the incident. The man, who was described as being very drunk, was motivated by his dislike of Viktor Yanukovych, the President of Ukraine and by President Putin who supports Yanukovych.

Yanukovych attended the opening ceremonies on Friday and met privately with Putin prior to returning on Saturday to Kiev.

Many athletes as well as spectators were jittery about attending the Sochi Olympics. Islamist militants that are based in nearby North Causasus and in the republics of Dagestan and Chechnya have threatened the Games with attacks.

The opening ceremony coincided with 60 or more people around Russia being arrested, including 19 who had gathered in Moscow’s Red Square to protest the rollback by the Kremlin of gay rights.

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