MOSCOW, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Russia started a countdown of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games Thursday with festivities in major cities across the country.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who visited on Wednesday some venues of the Games to inspect the construction process, took part in the countdown timer's launch in Sochi, Kremlin website said.
Earlier this week, Putin ordered to hold G8 summit-2014 in Sochi following the Olympic games.
The countdown timers have been started at 11:00 local time in Moscow and seven other cities, namely St-Petersburg, Nizhni Novgorod, Rostov, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Pyatigorsk, Khabarovsk.
Also Thursday, the tickets sales for the Olympics events have been opened and the representatives of the national Olympic committees from Greece, Canada, Brazil, South Korea and Russia were presented the official invitations for the Sochi 2014.
The first Winter Olympic Games held in Russia are to take place from Feb. 7 to 23, 2014 in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.