(Reuters) – Russia’s Duma has indefinitely stopped broadcasting live plenary sessions to protect information from “our enemy”, a leading lawmaker said on Tuesday as parliament’s lower house debated topics related to the war in Ukraine.
“Those questions that require sensitive discussion in a narrow professional circle should not be the property of our enemy,” Vladimir Vasilyev, head of the dominant United Russia faction, told the military news channel Zvezda TV.
Russia uses the term “special military operation” to describe what Ukraine and its Western allies say is a war of imperial conquest. Moscow says the West is engaged in a proxy war against it by hitting its economy with sanctions and providing Ukraine with cash, weapons and intelligence.
The move meant there was no live broadcast on the Duma website or social media of Tuesday’s session, where deputies were due to consider a report from Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin on the process of moving civilians to Russia from the Russian-occupied Kherson region of Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces are waging a counter-offensive.
They were also due to consider a draft law that would allow the Defence Ministry to mobilise people who have committed grave crimes into the armed forces – repealing an existing ban on calling up criminals.
Another deputy, Andrei Svintsov, said the broadcast restriction was imposed because most issues under discussion at the moment related to the “special military operation”. He said live public broadcasts would resume once it was over.
“Deputies ask questions and get quite frank answers. We understand that there may be some sensitive information from government representatives, from deputies,” Svintsov said.
(Reported by Filipp Lebedev; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)