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Banned carry-on items get through Russian security

SOCHI, Russia (AP) -- Despite a temporary Russian ban on liquids in carry-on luggage, some air travelers heading to the Sochi Olympics through Moscow have brought toothpaste and other toiletries past security checkpoints without any problems.

Security concerns ahead of the Sochi Games were renewed after the U.S. Homeland Security Department warned airlines flying to Russia that terrorists may try to smuggle explosives into the country in toothpaste tubes.

Yet six Associated Press employees arriving in Moscow from across the world or beginning their journey there passed through security without having to remove toothpaste, hand lotion or water bottles from their carry-on luggage.

Another AP journalist, arriving in Moscow from Singapore, said a security official checked his deodorant and then returned it, but didn't notice or make mention of a very small tube of toothpaste.

Other air travelers heading to Sochi also said their experience of Russian airport security was surprisingly hassle-free.

"It was pretty chill. I had an empty 1-1/2 liter water bottle because I was hoping to fill it up on the plane but no one checked it," said Matt Segal, an Australian tourist who traveled from Moscow to Sochi on Thursday. "No one has pulled it out and asked about it."

The no-liquids rule applies to anyone departing from a Russian airport, including transit passengers, said Russian Transport Ministry spokeswoman Nataliya Nesterova. She said it was up to airports to make sure it is enforced.

The seemingly sporadic enforcement underscores the difficulty that governments face in ensuring that airport personnel in many places, screening thousands of impatient people in a compressed period of time, maintain consistent practices as they try to prevent attacks that could be both human and public-relations disasters.

And even if practices are consistent inside a single country, the many points of transit that travelers pass through en route to Sochi fall under the jurisdiction of multiple governments.

Moscow airport officials didn't immediately return calls Thursday seeking comment about enforcement of the ban, which runs from January to April, well after the Olympics and Paralympics end. Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Kozak had no comment Thursday on the toothpaste warning from the U.S. Homeland Security Department in the U.S.

"I don't have any reaction at this point. We're checking this information," Kozak told reporters Thursday at a news conference in Olympic Park.

He said Russia can guarantee the safety of people attending the Sochi Games as efficiently as any other government hosting a major event.

"I believe that warnings about Sochi, about Russia were superfluous, and the threat levels in Sochi are just like they are in Boston or London," he said. "I would like to reiterate that security in Sochi will be no worse than in New York, London, Washington or Boston."

Some AP employees traveling directly to Sochi from Frankfurt, Germany, passed through security there carrying travel-sized liquids, including toothpaste.

A photographer who brought a Ziploc bag with a half a dozen liquid items said he was asked to take it out in Boston, where he began his trip, but security officials in Frankfurt left it in the bag, while inspecting his camera equipment.

No-liquid rules appear to be enforced more strictly at train stations in the Sochi area. One AP journalist was stopped Feb. 2 at a security checkpoint in the train station in Krasnaya Polyana, the mountain hub for the games, because his hand luggage contained a tube of leather conditioner. He was asked to open it, stick a finger in it and rub it onto his shoe.

Another AP journalist who carried a water bottle at a train station in Sochi had to hand it over to security officials who examined it with a scanning device to make sure its contents were not flammable.

In late December, bombings of a train station and an electric trolleybus killed 34 people in the southern city of Volgograd, heightening security fears ahead of the Sochi Olympics.

The leader of the Caucasus Emirate, an umbrella group for militants seeking to establish an independent Islamic state in the North Caucasus, has urged his followers to strike the Winter Olympics.

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ddlivesay February 07 2014 at 4:38 AM

As I read the "comments" from those of you who are focused on the Sochi Olympic games, I am left with the impression that most, if not all, of the respondents need to take a basic English course, with an emphasis on proper spelling and punctuation. Your comments are viewed worldwide, and any educated person has to conclude that something is missing in America's education system.

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idodeco2 February 07 2014 at 4:13 AM

Are all these journalists scared to be over there in Russia or what? Why all the negativity? You'll find what you look for, so why not tell us what's good about it instead. We're heard nothing but negativity about the country since the cold war. Describe the landscapes, the artchitecture, something besides negativity.

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rb7583 February 06 2014 at 8:43 PM

What are you so called journalist attempting to do, create issues. I listened to the opening and the people bringing up politics are "you journalist". If the Russian people feel or have not morally decayed to the point of us Americans, why poke it with a stick. I am sick of the media driving gay issues down my throat as if I am a degenerate if I do not desire to fellate the guy next to me. Three cheers for Putin for at least having the guts to voice or express his opinion without hunkering down to the politically correct idiots like we have here in good ol' US of A.

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2 replies to rb7583's comment
thompsonc3 February 07 2014 at 12:30 AM

You may want to move to Moscow so you can cheer Putin for hating people who are Gay. Give me a politically correct President any day. One love should be taught to all humans. There is one race the human race, respect all.

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quisp13 February 07 2014 at 5:29 AM

Interesting to hear that you are proud to share the samefeelings as the soviet leader, makes sense. "Politically correct" for people to be treated equally? No that is just common sense but that is something many people, like yourself, lack and because of that it becomes something that must be fought for.
It is good people, like yourself, that fought against civil rights and womens equality and luckily ignorant people, like yourself, were not the ones who decided those events.
And dont worry, I dont think the guynext to you want you to fellate him and I am pretty sure he doesnt want to fellate you. That's not how gays work, running around fellating people at random. That shows just how out of touch you really are and quite possibly you would fit right in with putin, just dont fellate him

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Bird of Paradise February 06 2014 at 7:38 PM

Quit killing those dogs near the Olympic stadium, you Russian animal killers! I hate you for what you are doing. Find a home or sanctuary for those dogs. Don't cull them. Don't poison them. This reflects very poorly on your country and on your ethics. You are MURDERERS!!!

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1 reply to Bird of Paradise's comment
elnpet February 07 2014 at 7:17 AM

I was once chased by a pack of dogs that were wild. It was any thing but pretty. These dogs were out for blood. Once a stray dog gets hungry any thing is food. I started running for my life down the street. I saw a woman on her front porch and ran up there to ask her to let me in. All she did was slam the door in my face. Luckily for me this man driving his car saw me and stopped. He managed to scare the dogs away and put me in his car and took me home. . I have never been mugged or robbed but it could not be worse than what I just experienced. These hungry wild dogs would have killed me for food. I admire president Putin for taking care of the problem of wild dogs like he did. These are not house dogs. That does not mean I want to move too Russia. I love my country. But the dogs he is killing would attack the people who went to the Olympics. Those dogs might have rapids. Once wild they are just that. Wild. Give the man credit for keeping the atheletes and civilians safe from wild dogs running in Russia. We here in America put down stray dogs all of the time. Sometimes that is how it has to be. Putin is doing all that he can to keep the atheletes and civilians safe. I thank him. These are not house pet dogs but wild ones who will attack. I speak from my own experience with wild dogs. Let us continue to try to be friends. Unless we try it will never happen. The cold war is over. Let us move forward to a better future respecting each other and have peace. It seems to me a lot of you people are looking for some thing to start trouble. Is that right ? amen.

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laserjox February 06 2014 at 7:03 PM

Air security is largely psychological (and always will be) myth busting and behind the scenes errors stories are not helpful journalism, in this case, precisely becuase they destry the belief tha the safety is good and that opens a doors for bad guys and discourage good people from participating reasonable journalist and publications should refrainfrom publishing this information. It does not provide a benefit to the public, it only scares them needlessly, and it does not improve security since it destroys the illusion, whcih is the most important factor. If crimnals and terrorist think security is impossible to breach they will do something else. If they think security is easy to fool, they will go right on in. THus this story has the opposite effect it tears dwon securty by revealing its flaws

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wiredfld February 06 2014 at 6:45 PM

amazing, people complaining about not being delayed, every other day in the US the same people complain about the strict security. I read an article making fun of Russian bathrooms, because they wern't exactly the same as ours, get A grip its another country with different culture, Canada has A different slant on bathrooms as well. A story the other day slamed them for rounding up stray dogs before being invaded with thousands of guests, what would have been the story if people were bitten?

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1 reply to wiredfld's comment
MaryLou February 06 2014 at 7:44 PM

the story about the dogs was that they were going to kill them- that is different that rounding them up

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dfoster February 06 2014 at 6:35 PM

The Russian security scanners are set to aggressively detect anything critical of Uncle Vladimir, but ignore everything else.

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hmhuff February 06 2014 at 6:32 PM

going to the games in russian is like any other overses trip ,just beyour self and the people no reason to stand out ,you will be fine.

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Robert & Lisa February 06 2014 at 6:05 PM

Socialism at it's best. Is that what we want? Vote true conservatives.

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alydartwo February 06 2014 at 6:01 PM

No way would i ever go to these games. I spent a yr in a war and dont need any of this.

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