West Wary As Putin Wins Fourth Term With Record Vote

Vladimir Putin wins fourth presidential term gains massive mandate by clinching 77% of votes

Vladimir Putin storms to landslide election win, to lead Russia for another six years

With ballots from 80% of Russia's precincts counted by early Monday, Mr Putin had amassed 76% of the vote.

His self-assurance and relaxed demeanour reflects the stress-free campaign he has run ahead of Sunday's election that is certain to catapult him to another six-year presidential term.

His lawyer Ivan Zhdanov said the actual national turnout at 1700 GMT, when polls closed in Moscow, was 55 percent, according to data collected by monitors.

Ultra-nationalist firebrand Vladimir Zhirinovsky took around 6 percent, former reality TV presenter Ksenia Sobchak was on 1.5 percent and other candidates were on less than a single percentage point each.

The unsurprising result surpassed even the 2012 election, when he won by 64%.

Putin's victory will take his political dominance of Russian Federation to almost a quarter of a century, until 2024, making him the longest ruler since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

"Where people have obtained wealth by corruption and where we can see a link with the Kremlin, with Vladimir Putin, it may be possible to have unexplained wealth orders and other sanctions on those individuals", Johnson said.

Putin commented on the Ukrainian government's refusal to allow ordinary Russians to vote for president, calling it "nonsense".

Germany's president is urging Vladimir Putin to use the occasion of his re-election as Russian president to push for a normalization of relations with Germany and Western Europe.

A state exit poll put the turnout at over 60%.

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On Sunday he lashed out at Ms Sobchak, accusing her of accepting a huge amount of money to stand in the election, in which she had been used as an "instrument of Putin" and as "a caricature liberal candidate".

But the disputes likely worked in Putin's favour, reinforcing the official stance that the West is infected with "Russophobia" and determined to undermine both Putin and traditional Russian values.

Putin, 65, has been in power, either as president or prime minister, since 2000.

Russia lashed out at the United Kingdom on Saturday, expelling 23 diplomats from the British embassy in Moscow and ordering the closure of the British Council's Russian mission, which promotes cultural ties between the two countries.

The election was held as Russian Federation faces increasing isolation on the world stage over a spy poisoning in Britain and a fresh round of USA sanctions just as it gears up for the football World Cup in the summer.

Pamfilova denied any incidents of observers being attacked or blocked from polling stations, despite videos posted online.

Every report of violations in the Russian presidential vote will be carefully considered, and firm decisions will be made, the election commission head stressed.

Navalny's opposition movement and the non-governmental election monitor Golos reported ballot stuffing, repeat voting and Putin supporters being bussed into polling stations en masse. Several showed election officials stuffing boxes with ballot papers.

The Russian strongman ran against seven candidates, but his most vocal opponent Alexei Navalny was barred from the ballot for legal reasons, and the final outcome was never in doubt.

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