MOSCOW, November 21. /TASS/. The Russian National Guard has purchased vans with blinding capabilities and acoustic blasters that will be used in counter-terrorism operations, spokesman for the National Guard Valery Gribakin said on Wednesday.
"Indeed, such an order has been placed on the state procurement website and is available for public viewing. Everyone can find out about these conditions. Contrary to numerous rumors, the equipment being purchased is not a weapon but is designated to create acoustic and other interference in counter-terrorism operations," the spokesman specified.
Some media outlets reported earlier on Wednesday that the National Guard had purchased laser weapons capable of deafening and blinding people and even dispersing a rally. In particular, this type of a laser irradiator on vans would be able to create acoustic pressure.
The Kremlin has not commented on reports about the Russian National Guard having bought vehicles that are equipped with acoustic laser devices, its Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, answering a question about whether this means a tougher approach to unsanctioned street rallies.
"Let’s wait for what Rosgvardia (Russia’s National Guard) will say first," he urged. "This matter concerns the authority directly."
There were previous reports that the Russian National Guard had concluded a contract in May on the supplies of two non-lethal service vehicles. Particularly, a laser installed on those vehicles can exert acoustic pressure and temporarily blind people.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the creation of the National Guard in reorganization of the Interior Ministry troops at a meeting held on April 5, 2016 with Interior Troops Commander Viktor Zolotov, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Director of the Federal Drug Control Service Viktor Ivanov and First Deputy Head of the Federal Migration Service Yekaterina Yegorova.
The National Guard has been assigned the tasks to carry out joint operations with police to protect public order, ensure public security and an emergency regime, take part in the fight against terrorism and in the provision of the legal regime of a counter-terror operation, and also participate in the struggle against extremism and in Russia’s territorial defense.
The Russian National Guard also has the tasks to protect important state facilities and special cargoes, provide assistance to the border control bodies of the Federal Security Service in protecting the state border.
The National Guard is subordinate to the Russian president. Former Interior Ministry Troops Commander Viktor Zolotov has been appointed as the National Guard commander.