OTTAWA — Canada is stepping up its consular presence in Russia ahead of the Winter Games following a pair of deadly terrorist attacks that have exposed the vulnerability of those travelling to the Sochi Olympics.
QMI Agency has learned that a team of consular experts will be deployed to Sochi for the duration of the Games to provide assistance to Canadians in distress.
Foreign Affairs will also staff a consular office in the Black Sea resort town and will provide support from Ottawa at the Emergency Watch and Response Centre and at the Canadian Embassy in Moscow.
The government will also continue to conduct contingency exercises with federal departments involved in the Olympics to better react to emergencies.
"These exercises are meant to prepare government officials and our stakeholders to respond to a crisis should one occur," said a government official.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said the bombings in Volgograd were cowardly acts of terrorism and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
"While the threat of terrorism remains a persistent global reality, our resolve to fight it will not be diminished or weakened," he said Monday.
The back-to-back suicide explosions — one at a train station Sunday and the other on a bus Monday — killed at least 31 people and have raised concerns about the safety of athletes, coaches, media and others heading to the Games.