Russia's presidential vote starts final day with accusations of Kyiv sabotage

March 17, 2024 12:48 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Russia started its final day of presidential voting on Sunday with Moscow accusing Ukraine of using air attacks to try to sabotage the election that is expected to keep President Vladimir Putin in power for another six years.

More than half of Russian voters have already gone to the polls in the first two days of the three-day-election, according to officials. The final day will test the strength of the country’s opposition, which called for all its supporters to vote at the same time at noon, in an action dubbed “Noon Against Putin.”

Sporadic protests have already marked the election but the latest developments in the war with Ukraine have cast a greater shadow on the vote so far. On Friday, Putin accused Kyiv of trying to disrupt the election with its intensified drone and missile attacks inside Russia and on Moscow-held territory in Ukraine. He also vowed to punish Ukraine.

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Local Russian officials said early Sunday that Kyiv’s forces continued their strikes on Russian regions bordering Ukraine.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy did not address the reported attacks in his nightly video address on Saturday, but he thanked his military forces and intelligence “for the new Ukrainian long-range capabilities.”

Kyiv regards the election taking place in parts of its territory controlled by Russia as illegal and void. Military analysts see the daily pounding by Kyiv that chiefly targets energy and other key infrastructure as an attempt to shake Russians’ feeling of stability and undermine Moscow’s war effort.