Russian parliament members have been suddenly called back from their summer vacation to attend an “extraordinary meeting” in a potentially ominous sign of Vladimir Putin’s next move.
The move, by Russia’s state Duma chairman Vyacheslav Volodin, raised alarm that the president might be preparing to escalate the war in Ukraine.
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Mr Volodin said on Telegram: "The need for an extraordinary plenary meeting is due to the fact that issues have accumulated that require urgent solutions. Government initiatives will also be considered.”
The head of the United Russia party, Vladimir Vasilyev, added: “It is necessary that the processes going on now receive a legal response."
The emergency meeting comes just days after Mr Putin noted that he had not even got serious about the war yet, according to the Reuters news agency.
Russian forces seized Luhansk, a key region in the eastern Donbas area, last week, in large part due to a sudden shift in the Russian strategy.
It is feared the latest move could mark a more co-ordinated phase of the war for Moscow, nearly four months into the conflict.
It was reported that the Duma had passed two bills last week that would force Russian companies to support the war with goods and services and that would allow companies to force their employees to work overtime.
Deputy prime minister Yuri Borisov said: "The load on the defence industry has increased significantly.
"In order to guarantee the supply of weapons and ammunition, it is necessary to optimise the work of the military-industrial complex and enterprises that are part of co-operation chains."
Mr Volodin said attendees would discuss the economy and supporting military personnel. Lawmakers will discuss more than 60 issues in all, but Mr Vasilyev did not go into detail.
He also reportedly met with Mr Putin last week and suggested that the Russian parliament would help develop legal systems for the Donbas.
Mr Volodin recently issued several threats, warning that Russia could go after Alaska next to try taking it back from the United States, which purchased it from Russia in 1867.
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