MOSCOW — Incumbent Russian President Vladimir Putin has won re-election in a landslide victory, extending his rule over the world’s largest country for another six years at a time when his ties with the West are on a hostile trajectory.
In a widely expected result, the Central Election Commission said Mr Putin had won 75.9 per cent of votes with more than 70 per cent counted.
An exit poll by VCIOM showed Mr Putin, who has dominated the political landscape for the last 18 years, had won 73.9 per cent of the vote.
After winning, Putin thanked voters for their support at a victory rally and said Russia had a great future ahead of it provided its people stayed united.
Speaking from a stage just off Moscow’s Red Square in front of a cheering audience, the President said the election result was a recognition of what had been achieved in the past few years, despite difficult conditions.
“I see in this trust and hope, the hope of our people that we will work with the same intensity, with the same sense of responsibility and with even greater results,” Mr Putin said.
First-time Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin is running second with close to 12 percent of the vote, while veteran nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who first ran against Boris Yeltsin in 1991, rounds out the top three with about six percent.
None of the other five candidates is on track to receive more than two percent of the vote.Follow @gorkhapost
Russian rocket fails in the mid air, crew lands safely
COSMODROME—Booster rocket carrying a Soyuz spacecraft with a Russian and US astronaut on board headed for the International Space Station failed in mid-air on Thursday, forcing the crew to make an emergency landing.
U.S. astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin landed safely without any harm.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, quoted by Interfax, said the problem occurred when the first and second stages of the booster rocket were in the process of separating.
The rocket was launched from the Soviet-era cosmodrome in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. A Reuters reporter who observed the launch from around 1 km away said that it had gone smoothly in its initial stage.
“Search and rescue teams are in the air and heading towards the expected touchdown location for the Soyuz spacecraft returning to Earth carrying two crew members,” NASA said in a statement.
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