Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended the massive
investment into the Sochi Olympics again with just over five months left until
the opening ceremony on February 7, 2014.
Official figures say that almost 50 billion dollars have been spent on the first Winter Games in the country but Putin told the Kremlin website in an interview published Wednesday that the Olympics were just one part of a much bigger infrastructure scheme for the region.
"We did it to make the south of Russia more attractive and comfortable, not only for the Winter Games but for decades," Putin said. "Our citizens should not go on holiday in Turkey, Europe, Italy, but spend their money here."
Putin also said that the February 7-23 Games will be safe despite being near the unstable northern Caucasus Mountains region and amid threats from radical Islamists. He said Russia is working closely together with the United States and Europe on security.
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