Washington (AFP) – U.S. authorities announced a temporary ban Thursday on liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-ons aboard Russia-bound flights, as President Barack Obama said Moscow has an “enormous stake” in thwarting terror at the Winter Olympics.
The Transportation Security Administration directive came a day after Washington warned American and foreign airlines that extremists could hide explosives in toothpaste or cosmetic tubes in an attempt to disrupt the Games, set to start Friday in Sochi.
“I think the Russians have an enormous stake, obviously, in preventing any kind of terrorist act or violence at these venues. They have put a lot of resources into it,” Obama told U.S. broadcaster NBC.
“We are consistently working with them to make sure that not only our athletes are safe, but everyone who’s attending these Games are safe.”
Top U.S. diplomat John Kerry urged citizens headed to the Olympics to be vigilant and attentive.
But, he added, “if an American wants to go, including my daughter, I’d say go.”
Russia last month banned domestic travelers from having any liquids and gels, including toothpaste, in their carry-ons.
Stringent rules on liquids and toothpaste in hand luggage have been standard practice on U.S. carriers after a string of thwarted bomb plots in the years following the September 11, 2001, attacks.
But, until now, limited amounts were allowed on board.
The banned items, however, can be put in checked baggage, and prescription drugs are allowed.
“As always, our security posture, which at all times includes a number of measures both seen and unseen, will continue to respond and appropriately adapt to protect the American people from an ever evolving threat picture,” a Department of Homeland Security official said.