Russia’s State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin announced an emergency session Monday, calling back Russian lawmakers for an “extraordinary” meeting just as representatives went out for summer vacation, raising alarm that Russia’s parliament might be preparing to escalate the war in Ukraine.
“The need for an extraordinary plenary meeting is due to the fact that issues have accumulated that require urgent solutions,” Volodin said on Telegram. “Government initiatives will also be considered.”
The head of the United Russia party, Vladimir Vasilyev, chimed in as well.
“It is necessary that the processes going on now receive a legal response,” Vasilyev said on Telegram.
It was not immediately clear what goals the emergency session will achieve specifically, but Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warnings in recent days have colored the haziness about the emergency callback with an ominous tinge. The emergency meeting comes just days after Putin noted that he hasn’t even gotten serious about the war yet, according to Reuters.
The news comes just as Russian forces seem to be trying to better coordinate their attacks in Ukraine. Russian forces seized Luhansk, a key region in the Donbas, last week, in large part due to a sudden shift in the Russian strategy, according to a British intelligence assessment. The shift could mark a new, more coordinated phase of the war for Moscow, nearly four months in with several blunders in the rearview mirror.
The Russian parliament has taken a series of repressive steps in recent days that could put Russia in a position to prop up its war efforts better, which could bolster any moves towards further mobilization. The Duma 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.
"The load on the defense industry has increased significantly," Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said at the time. "In order to guarantee the supply of weapons and ammunition, it is necessary to optimize the work of the military-industrial complex and enterprises that are part of cooperation chains."
Some of the agenda for the extraordinary session includes information policy and competition, according to Reuters. Volodin said they would discuss the economy and supporting military personnel.
Lawmakers will discuss more than 60 issues in all, but Vasilyev did not go into detail.
Volodin met with Putin last week and suggested that the Russian parliament would help develop legal systems for the Donbas, or eastern portions of Ukraine that Russia recognized as independent early in the year just as Russian forces moved in on Ukraine.
Volodin has, himself, in recent days issued several threats that have so far appeared to have more bluster than bite—just last week he warned that Russia could go after Alaska next to try taking it back from the United States, which purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867.