Amid Ukraine war, Russian Parliament to hold extraordinary session

The gathering comes days after Russian President Valdimir Putin addressed parliamentary leaders on the conflict in Ukraine. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (REUTERS) - The Lower House of the Russian Parliament will gather on July 15 for an extraordinary session, its council decided on Monday (July 11), just days after President Vladimir Putin warned that he had not even started to get serious in the war in Ukraine.

Mr Putin used a meeting with parliamentary leaders last Thursday to dare the United States and its allies to try to defeat Russia in Ukraine, which Russia invaded on Feb 24. Parliamentary leaders all thanked Mr Putin for his decisions.

The Russian Parliament, dominated by a party which always supports Mr Putin, listed some amendments on competition and information policy that would be discussed at the extraordinary session.

Mr Vladimir Vasilyev, the head of the United Russia party, which has 325 seats in the 450-seat Parliament, said that lawmakers would discuss more than 60 issues at the session.

"It is necessary that the processes going on now receive a legal response," Mr Vasilyev said on the pro-Putin party's Telegram channel.

"So the council discussed the agenda for the 15th: we plan to consider a little than 60 issues," Mr Vasilyev said. He did not disclose what the issues were.

The Communist Party said more than 80 draft laws would be discussed.

At the meeting with Mr Putin on Thursday, Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin told Mr Putin that the Russian Parliament would help two Russian-backed self-declared breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine to develop their legal system.

Mr Putin says the "special military operation" in Ukraine is necessary because Moscow had to defend Russian-speaking people against persecution which he says the West has ignored.

Ukraine and its Western backers say that Mr Putin has no justification for what they say is an imperial-style land grab against a country whose borders Moscow recognised as the Soviet Union collapsed.

Mr Putin has increasingly cast the war as a battle between Russia and the United States, which he says humiliated Russia since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union by enlarging Nato eastwards and was using Ukraine to threaten Russia.

The United States has repeatedly said it does not want to fight Russia. President Joe Biden said in March that Mr Putin could not remain in power, remarks the White House later said did not mean Washington was seeking regime change in Moscow.

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