President Vladimir Putin's former bodyguard, who recently has been named regional governor, says he once confronted a bear outside Putin's residence.

Alexei Dyumin, 43, told the daily Kommersant in an interview published Tuesday that he was on duty while Putin was asleep at a presidential residence when he saw a bear standing at its glass doors. Dyumin said he looked the bear in the eyes, opened the door and shot his service pistol near the bear's legs. He said the animal retreated, and Putin later praised Dyumin for sparing the bear.

After serving for many years as Putin's bodyguard, Dyumin was named the chief of the military's Special Operations Forces that perform sensitive tasks abroad. Putin named Dyumin the governor of the Tula region southwest of Moscow last week.