President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Zolotov, we have introduced a scope of restrictions. And a lot of work to ensure that these restrictions are observed is being shouldered by the National Guard Troops. How is the work of the National Guard Troops organised today?
Director of the Federal Service of National Guard Troops of the Russian Federation and Commander of the National Guard Troops Viktor Zolotov: Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief,
The troops are performing the tasks with due consideration to the coronavirus infection. We have set up a response centre, which coordinates the troops’ operation during this period. Based on the recommendation from the Ministry of Labour, we have ordered women with children under the age of 14 and people over 60 to self-isolate, and we have taken measures to protect the military personnel and employees; we are giving out medicine, individual protective gear, and antiviral drugs, taking the temperature of the personnel, disinfecting buildings, premises, units, and the grounds of military units. We are also reorganising three military hospitals to additionally allocate 287 beds for patients with the coronavirus. The total number of hospital beds today is 1,127.
We are discussing with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Healthcare the purchase of 280 ambulance cars and equipment for them. The Ministry of Finance has allocated us 1.3 billion rubles for the procurement, including medicine for the treatment of the coronavirus infection.
Over 20,000 military personnel daily participate in the enforcement of the lockdown restrictions, protecting citizens, and guarding healthcare facilities – those where patients with coronavirus are hospitalised.
We also control the circulation of weapons and perform private security and detective activities. I have issued an order to extend the validity of people’s weapon permits; this way, they will not have to renew them until September 1, 2020 and will not be fined.
Furthermore, we also provide extradepartmental security services and protect people’s homes and property. We have over a million such facilities under our protection. We also continue to guard important state facilities – we have 72 such contracts, including facilities that are located in the Arctic and in the ports along the Northern Sea Route. In 2019, we were contracted to guard a floating nuclear power plant in Pevek.
From 2016 to 2020, the Government increased the funding of the National Guard by 40 billion; we used the financing to pay social benefits and consolidate resources, in particular, procure enough food, fuel and lubricants, and to pay material guarantees.
We have also purchased marine equipment for the protection of the facilities in the Kerch Strait and overhauled our helicopters. With the additional funding, we have purchased 680 armoured vehicles and special equipment to replace the obsolete BTR-70s with BTR-80s and 82M vehicles.
Our troops maintain their service without any disruption. We carry out joint tasks with the Combined Forces in the North Caucasus and the limited contingent in the Syrian Arab Republic. The 115th separate special-purpose brigade is performing the service tasks that are assigned to it, protecting, as I already mentioned, facilities and transport in the Kerch Strait. They complete their tasks without failure.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Zolotov, you know that I have instructed the Government, including for the purpose of supporting the automotive industry, to organise additional purchases of special vehicles for law enforcement agencies. Do you need any more of these?
Viktor Zolotov: Yes. We need more cars for extradepartmental security service.
Vladimir Putin: You can procure other vehicles, not just cars. Any vehicles, military equipment, special vehicles – whatever.
Viktor Zolotov: We have just purchased special equipment, 680 vehicles, but we could still do with some more.
Vladimir Putin: Please draw up an application for both cars and special vehicles and submit it to the Government as soon as possible.
Viktor Zolotov: Will do.