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Putin wins a fifth term as Russian president

RUSSIAN authorities announced today that Vladimir Putin has won his fifth term as president.

Russia’s Central Election Commission said Mr Putin had won with 87.28 per cent of the vote on a nationwide turnout of 74.22 per cent. 

Mr Putin told a news conference at his campaign headquarters in Moscow today: “I want to thank all of you and all citizens of the country for your support and this trust.”

None of Mr Putin’s rivals managed even 5 per cent of the vote — which if echoed in parliamentary elections would mean all would fall below the threshold needed for Duma representation for the first time in Russia’s post-Soviet history.

Communist Party of the Russian Federation candidate Nikolay Kharitonov came second with 4.31 per cent of the votes — the party’s worst ever result in a presidential election and less than half the 11.77 per cent its candidate received in 2018.

Leonid Slutsky of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia got 3.2 per cent and the pro-business New People’s Party’s Vladislav Davankov won 3.85 per cent. 

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov described the result as “completely unique.”

The result comes against the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, now in its third year.

Mr Putin said it was still his priority to achieve all Russia’s war aims as well as to strengthen the country’s armed forces.

Nations from around the world congratulated the re-elected president.

China’s President Xi Jinping sent congratulations and said: “China and Russia are each other’s largest neighbours and comprehensive strategic partners in the new era.”

President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela said: “Our elder brother has triumphed, which bodes well for the world.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who begins his own bid for re-election next month, said he looked forward to further boosting ties to develop the “special” relationship between the two nations.

And Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik said: “The Serb people welcomed with joy the victory of President Putin for they see in him a great statesman and a friend on whom we can always count.”

But Western leaders slammed the process.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the election was unfair and “based on repression and intimidation.”

The French Foreign Ministry said: “The conditions for a free, pluralist and democratic election were not met,” while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused the Russian leader of stopping “at nothing to rule forever.”

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