Russia to spend $1.6 billion in transport security

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MOSCOW, RUSSIA: Russia on Tuesday informed that it will spend $1.6 billion (46.7 billion rubles) on a program to strengthen transport security by 2014, RIA Novosti reported.

Russian Transport Minister Igor Levitin said that the program was discussed in a meeting led by President Dmitry Medvedev. Levitin added that the transport security program will be coordinated with all the ministries.

"A substantial sum, about 12 billion rubles ($410 million), will be invested in the metro security. We think that the metro is the weakest link in security efforts, as the Moscow metro alone has about 300 entrances," Levitin added.

The head of Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin, told Medvedev at the meeting that the main Moscow railway stations, along with stations in St. Petersburg, Vyborg and Tver, have been equipped with a total of 106 metal detectors.

In addition, Levitin said that tests have begun on a passenger screening system which was previously shown to Medvedev at the Okhotny Ryad station of the Moscow metro. Law enforcement agencies are also helping in the development of the metro security model, added the Minister.

On January 25, Medvedev directed the government to implement thorough security system including extensive checks of passengers at major transportation facilities like the ones in the United States. The order came after the deadly terror attack at Moscow's Domodedovo airport.

One day later, the Russian leader relieved transport security chief Gen. Andrei Alekseyev from his duties at the Interior Ministry transport security directorate. So far, two more senior Russian anti-terrorism officials have been sacked.

On January 24, a blast occurred at Domodedovo International Airport in the international arrivals hall at about 4.32 p.m. local time. The explosion took place in a general area where persons who are not passengers have free access.

A total of 35 people were killed while 202 others were injured. On Tuesday, Chechen Islamist rebel leader Dokka Umarov claimed responsibility for ordering a suicide bombing attack.

(BNO NEWS )

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