Putin  alongside the new head of the National Guard, Viktor Zolotov
Putin announced the formation of the National Guard alongside its nnew head, Viktor Zolotov Getty

Russia's new elite National Guard should be allowed to fire into crowds, members of the Russian Duma's Defence Committee have stated.

The lawmakers argue that during terrorist incidents, hostage situations or attacks on key state facilities the laws restricting members of the unit firing into crowds, and holding them liable for damages, ought to be scrapped, Russia's RBC news reported.

"We believe that in these cases the risk of harm to a random person would be justified," MPs wrote in the conclusion of their recommendation.

Vladimir Putin announced the formation of the National Guard earlier in April, which he said would focus on fighting terrorism and organised crime. It will be formed of interior ministry troops under the command of Putin's former bodyguard, Viktor Zolotov. Zolotov will answer directly to Putin.

Putin 's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the force could also be used to maintain public order, and critics claim that it could be used to suppress dissent in the run-up to September's presidential elections.

The Defence Committee's recommendation will go before the Russian Duma on May 18.