Vladimir Putin decisively re-elected as Russian president - preliminary results

Zykov Kyrill  Moskva News Agency

Zykov Kyrill Moskva News Agency

Incumbent President Vladimir Putin is projected to beat the seven other candidates in the race to secure a fourth six-year term in the Kremlin.

Vladimir Putin is set to extend his power in Russian Federation for another six years after winning Sunday's presidential election with a projected 76.6% of the vote, a state-run exit poll shows.

Director of the Lenin State Farm Pavel Grudinin, nominated by the Communist Party of Russia, is second with 11.82% of the vote, while leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) Vladimir Zhirinovsky is third with 5.68%. Observers and individual voters reported widespread violations including ballot-box stuffing and forced voting, but the claims are unlikely to dilute the power of Russia's longest-serving leader since Josef Stalin.

Mr Navalny said in a video posted on YouTube that "on election day, one should usually want to say 'I voted, ' but in fact I'm here to say that I didn't go to vote".

Independent election observers and activists have alleged numerous incidents of ballot stuffing and other irregularities in Sunday's vote.

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.

With 31 percent of the votes counted, mostly in eastern part of the country, Vladimir Putin leads with 73 percent of the vote, well above the simple majority needed to avoid a run-off.

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"Another six years of slavery", said a piece of paper made up to look like a ballot which was spotted on a Moscow street - in an apparent reference to Putin's next term.

Given the lack of real competition in the presidential race, authorities struggled against voter apathy, in the process putting many of Russia's almost 111 million voters under intense pressure to cast ballots.

Exit polls are not final, and official results will be released in coming hours.

The Kremlin and election officials say any fraud will be stamped out. Putin's defiance of the West has played well in the campaign with an electorate nostalgic for Russia's superpower status. Putin unveiled plans for new nuclear arsenal just before the election.

Putin's previous Kremlin term was marked by a crackdown on the opposition after huge protests, the Ukraine conflict, military intervention in Syria and the introduction of Western sanctions that contributed to a fall in living standards. A government reshuffle is likely to take place after Putin's inauguration in May. Also this week, Washington hit Russian Federation with sanctions for trying to influence the 2016 U.S. election. Putin also served as the Prime Minister of Russian Federation from 2008 to 2012.

"We actually had evidence within the last 10 years that Russian Federation has not only been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purposes of assassination but also has been creating and stockpiling Novichok", said Johnson, interviewed Sunday on BBC's "The Andrew Marr Show".

In an op-ed Sunday for The Sun, Johnson said the Salisbury poisoning was the "latest brazen defiance of global rules" citing the Crimea annexation, cyberattacks in Ukraine, and Russia's interference in European elections.

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