Europe

Russia's National Guard will be tasked to put down riots

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Commander-in-Chief of the Interior Ministry troops Viktor Zolotov attend a meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Commander-in-Chief of the Interior Ministry troops Viktor Zolotov attend a meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE In this Saturday, June 9, 2007 file photo Russian President Vladimir Putin, with then head of his bodyguard service Viktor Zolotov in the back, watches the presentation of Sochi's bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics at the Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the creation of a new law enforcement agency, the National Guards, which will be led by their commander, Putin's former chief bodyguard, Viktor Zolotov. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)

    FILE In this Saturday, June 9, 2007 file photo Russian President Vladimir Putin, with then head of his bodyguard service Viktor Zolotov in the back, watches the presentation of Sochi's bid for the 2014 Winter Olympics at the Economic Forum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the creation of a new law enforcement agency, the National Guards, which will be led by their commander, Putin's former chief bodyguard, Viktor Zolotov. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE In this Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 file photo Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with then Interior Troops Commander Viktor Zolotov at a meeting with senior officers in the Kremlin  in Moscow, Russia. Putin has ordered the creation of a new law enforcement agency, the National Guards, which will be led by their commander, Putin's former chief bodyguard, Viktor Zolotov. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, file)

    FILE In this Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 file photo Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with then Interior Troops Commander Viktor Zolotov at a meeting with senior officers in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. Putin has ordered the creation of a new law enforcement agency, the National Guards, which will be led by their commander, Putin's former chief bodyguard, Viktor Zolotov. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, file)  (The Associated Press)

The National Guard being formed in Russia will be given broad powers to put down mass riots among other tasks.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the National Guard will focus on the fight against terrorism and organized crime. A presidential bill released Wednesday says the new law enforcement agency will also deal with mass disturbances, and will be allowed to use a non-lethal weapons such as stun grenades to put them down.

The National Guard will be formed on the basis of Interior Ministry troops and also draw other elements from the Interior Ministry, such as riot police. Russian media reports said the National Guard will be 400,000-strong.

Putin has put his former chief bodyguard, Viktor Zolotov, in charge of the new force.