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Ex-FSB chief: Russian National Guard creation important amid NATO’s eastward expansion

May 17, 2016, 14:27 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Lawmaker and former director of the Federal Security Service Nikolay Kovalyov says

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© Donat Sorokin/TASS

MOSCOW, May 17. /TASS/. The creation of the National Guard in Russia is especially important amid NATO’s expansion closer to Russian borders, lawmaker and former director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Nikolay Kovalyov said on Tuesday.

"The fact that Russia will get a reliable and well-organized reserve of the armed forces in the form of the National Guard primarily for the purposes of territorial defense and not only for that deserves special attention and the highest praise," the lawmaker said at a plenary session of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament. The parliamentarian spoke at the beginning of the plenary session on behalf of the ruling United Russia party.

"This becomes especially topical amid the continued expansion of the North Atlantic alliance towards our borders and its heads openly state the intention to contain Russia. We register such calls ever more frequently," Kovalyov said.

The United Russia party believes that "the creation of a new federal institution will help raise the solution of a range of tasks for ensuring the state’s internal security to a more qualitative level, ensure the concentration of available forces and resources in the most dangerous directions of the struggle against the threats to Russia’s national security, first of all, such as terrorism, extremism and separatism, drug trafficking and, of course, organized crime, which, as the events at the Khovanskoye cemetery have showed, is again on the rise," the lawmaker said.

A mass brawl with the use of firearms occurred at the Khovanskoye cemetery in southwest Moscow on Saturday among natives from ex-Soviet Central Asia and Russia’s North Caucasus for the cemetery’s lucrative burial business. The fighting involved more than 200 people and left three persons dead and over 30 were hospitalized.

As Russia’s Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said, the investigation considers the financial conflict as the main cause for the mass brawl. According to the spokesman, information on the ethnic grounds of the crime has not found any confirmation.

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