U.S. Navy warships enter Black Sea ahead of Sochi Games

BY Sarah Sheffer  February 5, 2014 at 5:21 PM EDT

Sochi OlympicsTwo U.S Navy ships have entered the Black Sea in the event that American athletes need to be evacuated from the Sochi games.

Two U.S. Navy ships entered the Black Sea Wednesday as part of a Pentagon security plan ahead of the Sochi Olympics. The ships will be on standby to assist in the evacuation of American athletes and spectators in the event that threats are made to the 2014 Games.

The U.S.S. Mount Whitney arrived Wednesday morning with a crew of 300, and the U.S.S. Taylor is slated to arrive later in the day with another 200 sailors.

Navy officials said the ship will “perform routine operations” while on standby.

Islamist separatist militants from Russia’s North Caucasus region have vowed to attack the Games. Russia suffered two deadly suicide bombings in the southern city of Volgograd last December.

Pentagon officials have expressed willingness to help Russia if necessary, but Moscow has made no request for military backup so far and has promised that the Sochi events will be safe.