11 Aug 2009

Kremlin prepares law on military missions abroad

8:14 am on 11 August 2009

President Dmitry Medvedev has proposed legislation giving him the legal basis to send troops abroad to defend Russia's interests.

Mr Medvedev sent troops into Georgian territory last August in a brief war over the disputed province of South Ossetia, but Russian media questioned whether proper legal procedures had been followed.

The Kremlin said on Monday the new law would allow foreign deployments to defend another country against aggression, to protect Russian citizens and military personnel and to fight naval piracy.

In a statement on Monday, Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said the law will allow the commander-in-chief to use armed forces formations abroad to defend the interests of Russia and its citizens."

The Kremlin says the draft means the president would be able to order troops abroad "on the basis of a decree of the Federation Council." The council is the upper house of parliament.

Mr Medvedev said the new law was motivated by last year's war in Georgia.

Approval for Russian troops to operate in South Ossetia was given by the Federation Council after the war.