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

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.