Russia votes as Putin eyes 4th presidential term

Police Cordon and snow covered tent over the park bench in the Maltings on Sunday 18th March

Voting concludes at 8pm (6am NZ time) in Kaliningrad, the Baltic exclave that is Russia's westernmost region and initial results are expected shortly afterward.

Russia's parliament, which is controlled by Putin's United Russia party, moved the vote date back to March 18 to coincide with the fourth anniversary of Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

"I see in this (result) the confidence and hope of our people", Mr Putin said in an address to crowds of supporters on a square next to the Kremlin after exit polls put him on track for a resounding victory.

"They are using everything: schools, kindergartens, hospitals - the battle for the turnout is unprecedented", said Roizman, one of the rare opposition politicians to hold a significant elected office. "And this is the only way I can be honest to myself", she told the Press Association.

Russian government hackers since at least March 2016 "have also targeted US government entities and multiple USA critical infrastructure sectors, including the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors", a Treasury Department statement said.

"We are profoundly disappointed at this development", the British Council said in a statement.

"I am sure of the correctness of the course that I propose for the country", he said.

"I think that most people our age really don't care and will not vote", says Krupenkov.

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Again, Haas did participate to some small extent in practice Saturday morning, though apparently not in any sort of team context. They're balanced and have beaten the No. 1 Villanova Wildcats. "So people see you out there and they jump to that conclusion".

"What's the point? We already know the outcome". The educator warned students that she would "drag you here by the scruff of the neck" if necessary, although she added that they could vote for the candidate of their choice.

Putin is certain to win in Sunday's election, so voter apathy is widespread.

Putin urged Russians on Friday to "use their right to choose the future for the great Russia that we all love".

He faces seven challengers but no real threats from any of the contenders. The government wants to ensure that this election is clean after ballot stuffing and fraud marred the last Russian presidential election in 2012.

The result would extend the leader's total time in office to almost a quarter of a century, by which time he will be 71.

Ukraine security forces blocked the Russian Embassy in Kiev and consulates elsewhere after the Ukrainian government refused to let ordinary Russians vote, drawing angry protests from Russian officials.

The English-language Moscow Times newspaper marked the election with a series of stories on young people it dubbed "Generation P", highlighting some of the 1.3 million people born the year Putin first became president.

Turnout-boosting efforts have been the most visible feature of the campaign - and all come from taxpayers' pockets.

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In Moscow, first-time voters were being given free tickets for pop concerts and health authorities were offering free cancer screenings at some polling stations. They suspended the chief of a polling station near Moscow where a ballot stuffing incident was reported and sealed the ballot box.

Election monitoring group Golos and online groups set up to record violations reported scores of problems Sunday.

Asked about the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Britain, he said Russian Federation did not now have chemical weapons and it would be "nonsense" to think Russian Federation would launch such an attack in the lead up to an election. Many took photographs of themselves voting, saying they were needed as proof.

Putin has traveled across Russian Federation pledging to raise wages, pour more funds into the country's crumbling health care and education and modernize dilapidated infrastructure.

Ukraine is protesting voting in Crimea, annexed by Russian Federation from Ukraine four years ago. Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the national security adviser, whom Mr. Trump reportedly may fire, condemned Russian Federation in a speech on Thursday for being "complicit in Assad's atrocities" in Syria and conducting more than 100 bombing missions in Eastern Ghouta, as well as being "responsible" for the Skripal poisoning.

Putin on Sunday won fourth Kremlin term with 73.9 percent of the vote.

Putin's most vocal opponent, the anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, has been barred from standing for legal reasons and has called on followers to boycott the election he says is a sham.

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Russian court officials at the time said he'd received at least $100,000 for his work for MI6, the British intelligence service. May says the March 4 attack on Sergei Skripal is a "flagrant breach of worldwide law and the chemical weapons convention".

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