Meet the Press   |  February 09, 2014

Engel Updates David with Dispatch from Sochi

NBC Correspondent Richard Engel reports on preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics and Russia's preparations for security concerns.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> the security threats and this political tension that we've been talking about between the united states and russia . i'm joined now by chief foreign correspondent richard engel on the ground in sochi . good morning.

>> reporter: good morning, david. as we all know, it was a very difficult rollout, but now that the games have actually begun, the mood here is improving. there's more focus on the competition, more focus on the athletes, but as all of you were just saying, for russia these olympics are about a lot more than just sports. russia has deployed 70,000 security forces . positioned anti-aircraft rockets around olympic venues. and troops are binoculars to scan for threats in the mountains. moscow spent over $50 billion for a fairy tale opening ceremony and to build two olympic cities. but why?

>> putin wants the world to celebrate russia , russia 's modernization, russia 's wealth. russia 's achievements. these games are hardly political because the kremlin made them highly political.

>> the last time moscow hosted in 19 0, the soviet union dominated nearly all of our asia and eastern europe . a decade later, the berlin wall was down. and the soviet union collapsed.

>> for russia , sochi is a symbol of its return, a world power once more. led by vladimir putin .

>> but there's a problem with russia 's story of revival. it's next door in the ukraine. the ukrainian government is a russian ally but protesters backed by washington want closer ties with europe. this tug of war exploded last week with a leaked "f" bomb.

>> youl russia claims the games have so far been successful and aside from that threat with the plane that was potentially going to be diverted here to sochi , which turned out to be nothing, there have been no major security concerns.

>> richard engel , thanks so much. with the full orchestra playing