Putin: Vote results show Russians' trust in his leadership

Russian President Vladmir Putin speaks after polling stations in the presidential election closed, in Moscow, Russia, March 18, 2024. (Photo/Reuters)

Vladimir Putin said his imminent victory in the Russian presidential elections -- after a vote in which he faced no serious competition -- showed Russians trusted his leadership.

"I want to thank all of you and all citizens of the country for your support and this trust," Putin said early Monday morning in a press conference at his campaign headquarters in Moscow.

Putin thanked Russians for voting and backing him in an election he was set to win in a landslide.

"I want to thank the citizens of Russia... who came to the polling stations and voted," Putin said after exit polls and early results showed him on track to secure 87 percent.

As the offensive in Ukraine entered its third year, he expressed "special words of gratitude to our soldiers... who fulfil the most important task of protecting our people".

Not be intimidated, suppressed

"No matter who or how much they want to intimidate us, no matter who or how much they want to suppress us, our will, our consciousness -- no one has ever succeeded in anything like this in history. It has not worked now and will not work in the future. Never," Putin said in an address on state television.

Navalny death 'sad event'

Putin also mentioned that the death of late opposition leader Alexei Navalny was a "sad event", and that he had been ready to release him in a prisoner exchange.

He said, "As for Mr. Navalny. Yes, he passed away. This is a sad event." adding, "A few days before Mr. Navalny passed away, some colleagues told me... there was an idea to exchange Mr. Navalny for some people who are in prison in Western countries... I said 'I agree'."

Russians who spoiled ballots will be 'dealt with'

Russian president added that law enforcement would take action against people who spoiled their ballots in the presidential election.

"People who spoiled their ballot papers... These kinds of people have to be dealt with," Putin said in a late-night address after claiming victory in the elections.

The opposition had called for Russians to turn up at polling stations at midday Sunday in protest, an action Putin said had had "no effect".

Advantage on Ukraine front line

On Ukraine war, Putin said his troops had the upper hand after they captured a string of towns and villages in the east of the country.

"The initiative belongs entirely to the Russian armed forces, and in some areas our guys are just tearing them -- the enemy -- apart right now," Putin said in the televised remarks.


Source: TRT