Amid Ukraine war, Russian parliament to hold extraordinary session


LONDON (Reuters) – The lower house of the Russian parliament will gather on July 15 for an extraordinary session, its council decided on Monday, just days after President Vladimir Putin warned that he had not had not even started to get serious in the war in Ukraine.

Putin used a meeting with parliamentary leaders on 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 Putin for his decisions.

The Russian parliament, dominated by a party which always supports Putin, did not disclose what would be discussed at the extraordinary session.

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,” 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,” Vasiliev 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 Putin on Thursday, Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin told Putin that the Russian parliament would help two Russian-backed self-declared breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine to develop their legal system.

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 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.

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 Putin could not remain in power, remarks the White House later said did not mean Washington was seeking regime change in Moscow.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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