Russian election: Putin wins another six years with a landslide victory

Putin's spokesman rejects 'unfounded accusations' and ultimatums over UK poisoning

Vladimir Putin will lead Russian Federation for another six years after securing an expected victory in the presidential election.

Polling at around 70 percent, the 65-year-old former KGB officer is certain to extend his term to 2024 despite a lacklustre campaign and his refusal to participate in televised debates.

Putin opponents alleged employers with close ties to the state were ordering staff to go and vote, and send back evidence.

Despite those problems, the win gives Putin a strong mandate to pursue his conservative nationalist policies at home and overseas.

Russian cities have been plastered with billboards touting Sunday's election - "Your country, our president, our choice!"

Vladimir Zhirinovsky received 5.72% of the votes.

"I am sure of the correctness of the course that I propose for the country", he said, as per a state news agency RIA-Novosti.

Russian citizens living in the country's easternmost regions of Kamchatka and Chukotka, began casting ballots to vote for the next president on Sunday.

Voting underway in the city of Ulyanovsk, east of Moscow.

"Our elections have proved once again. that it's not possible to manipulate our people", she said.

In the previous presidential election in 2012 Putin polled 63.6 percent of the vote.

In Moscow, first-time voters were given free tickets for pop concerts and health authorities were offering free cancer screenings at some polling stations.

Britain and Russian Federation are also locked in a diplomatic dispute over the spy poisoning incident, and Washington is eyeing new sanctions on Moscow over allegations it interfered in the 2016 United States presidential election, something Russian Federation flatly denies.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday congratulated Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on his re-election, saying Beijing was willing to work with Moscow to bring ties to a "higher level". They also pressured them to ensure that family members also cast their ballots. Voting will run until polls close at the westernmost point of Russian Federation, the Kaliningrad region on the Baltic Sea, at 1800 GMT Sunday.

Yevgeny, a 43-year-old mechanic voting in central Moscow, said he briefly wondered whether it was worth voting.

But online groups set up to record voting violations reported hundreds of problems Sunday that cast a shadow over the official turnout figures.

Election observer Golos reported 2,000 incidents election rigging by Sunday evening.

Other examples from observers and social media included ballot boxes being stuffed with extra ballots in multiple regions; an election official assaulting an observer; CCTV cameras obscured by flags or nets from watching ballot boxes; discrepancies in ballot numbers; last-minute voter registration changes likely created to boost turnout; and a huge pro-Putin sign in one polling station.

The voting procedure will be monitored by about 1,500 worldwide observers from 109 countries.

Navalny has called for a boycott of the election, reports CNN.

Russian Federation will remain a "difficult partner" after President Vladimir Putin's re-election but will be needed to help resolve worldwide tensions, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday, questioning the vote's fairness.

Ukraine security forces blocked the Russian Embassy in Kiev and consulates elsewhere after the Ukrainian government refused to let ordinary Russians vote, drawing angry protests from Russian officials.

The updates of their medical conditions come as the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said it was "overwhelmingly likely" that Vladamir Putin directed the use of the nerve agent on Britain's streets.

There was widespread relief among his supporters following confirmation of the victory, with many previously fearing that the under-funded campaign might be outgunned by presidential rivals who enjoy the backing of Russia's elite. Polls show that most Russians continue to see the takeover of Crimea as a major achievement despite the subsequent Western sanctions that contributed to a two-year recession.

Putin's age also makes this scenario problematic.

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