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Putin holds rally on Red Square following elections, promises to continue the war

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 18, 2024 8:04 PM 2 min read
Russian President Vladimir Putin talks during the concert at Red Square, marking 10th anneversary of Russian military annexation of Crimea, on March 18, 2024 in Moscow, Russia. (Contributor/Getty Images)
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Russian President Vladimir Putin, after declaring victory in a sham presidential election, held a rally on the Red Square marking his victory and the illegal ten-year occupation of Crimea.

Putin took the stage in the company of his "rivals," Kremlin-friendly lawmakers, Vladislav Davankov, Nikolai Kharitonov and Leonid Slutsky, who ran against Putin in the election.

All three, praised Putin and offered their support.

The three-day Russian presidential election that concluded on March 17 resulted in Russia's Central Election Commission giving Putin 87,28% of the vote. It was widely viewed as neither free nor fair.

In his speech, Putin called occupied Crimea "Russia's tradition and pride," while the three so-called competitors praised Putin for occupying the Ukrainian peninsula.

How has Crimea changed after 10 years of Russian occupation?
Editor’s Note: The names of Crimea’s former and current residents cited in this article were changed to protect their identity amid security concerns. When Ukrainians talk about Crimea, they often talk about memories. For many, this peninsula surrounded by the Black Sea was a place where they spent

Putin also claimed the "restoration" of a railroad from Russian port city Rostov-on-Don to occupied Berdiansk, which is located on the Black Sea coast in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, around 65 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of Mariupol.

"Glory to Russia," Putin said before the Russian national anthem played.

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians were forced to take part in "elections" at gunpoint — in Crimea, as well as regions annexed in 2022, including parts of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts.

After the end of Russia's presidential election, Putin reiterated his goals for the full-scale war in Ukraine and again threatened the West.

Only a small group of autocratic leaders congratulated Putin.

Putin ‘wins’ rigged Russian election; Ukrainians in occupied territories vote at gunpoint
Russian authorities on March 15-17 held a presidential election in two countries – Russia and the regions of Ukraine brutally occupied by the Kremlin. The voting was neither free nor fair, with the result known in advance. In the occupied areas, voting was held illegally at gunpoint. In Russia, th…
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