Obama Says Sochi Games Safe, But Be Careful

'There are always some risks in these large international gatherings'

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Yuri Kozyrev / NOOR for TIME

A child plays near an Olympics logo in Sochi, Russia, Jan. 16, 2014.

President Barack Obama said in a new interview that he believes the coming Winter Olympics in Russia will be safe, but that Americans should still be careful if attending the games in Sochi.

“The Russian authorities understand the stakes here,” Obama told CNN in the interview that aired Friday. “They understand that there are potential threats that are out there, and we are coordinating with them.”

Obama and the rest of the First Family are not attending.

Recent terror attacks in Russia and other threats have heightened security concerns for athletes and visitors during the game, which are set to being Feb. 7. American athletes have been cautioned against wearing their uniforms and gear outside Olympic venues. Russian security has also established a 1,500-mile “ring of steel” security perimeter around Sochi, and some 40,000 troops have been deployed.

Obama said that while the U.S. has a “good sense” of the security in place around Sochi, travelers should still take precautions.

“But as we’ve seen here in the United States, at the Boston Marathon, there were some risks if you have lone wolves or small cells of folks who are trying to do some damage,” Obama said. He urged Americans to register with the State Department and read its safety information if traveling to Sochi.

Asked what Obama would tell a friend traveling to the games, Obama told CNN: “I’d tell them that I believe Sochi is safe and that there are always some risks in these large international gatherings.”