Moscow seeks no arms race, wants to resolve disputes - Putin

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Macron also expressed his concerns about the situation in the northern Syrian town of Afrin and in the region of Ghouta, near the capital, Damascus.

Russian President Vladimir Putin received another six-year mandate after a resounding election win.

Although Mr. Putin has six years to consider a possible successor, uncertainty about his future is a potential source of instability in a fractious ruling elite that only he can keep in check.

"We have plans to decrease our defence spending both this year and next".

Earlier this month, Putin unveiled an array of new nuclear weapons that he said are impossible to intercept.

Mr Putin addressed thousands of people who rallied outside the Kremlin last night to thank them for their support and promised new achievements.

The newly re-elected leader on Monday said Russian Federation would cut its military spending.

The challengers participated in televised debates that Putin sat out.

He said Russian claims, that Novichok, the Russian nerve toxin used in the attack, could also have come from the Czech Republic, Sweden, the United Kingdom itself, or the U.S. were "absurd".

The electoral commission said official turnout was 67 per cent, but there have been broad accounts of workers being coerced to vote and other irregularities.

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"We know there has been pressure on people to vote, but proving this is very hard", said Grigory Melkonyants, co-chairman of Golos. He said that Russian Federation would even lower its defense spending this year and in 2019.

But European observers said that while the poll was conducted efficiently there was a lack of genuine choice.

Putin could take a page out of Chinese President Xi Jinping's book and abolish his own term limits, but so far he's been publicly reluctant to consider that.

European papers quoted by the BBC agreed that Putin was probably helped in the election by the confrontation over Skripal, benefiting from the new Cold War climate he has created in Russian Federation. "Mistrust, rearmament and a climate of insecurity contribute to instability". He said, "We are a great big team together and I am a member of your team".

New President-elect Vladimir Putin will go on to lead Russian Federation for yet another six years, a new term secured with a landslide victory after the elections on Sunday, March 18.

Former U.S. intelligence contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden, who was given asylum in Russian Federation, also weighed in.

Confrontation ultimately could work against Putin because it'll deprive Russian Federation of investment and know-how needed to lift the economy out of the doldrums, said Oksana Antonenko, visiting senior fellow at the London School of Economic and Political Science.

The BBC describes Western reactions to Putin's re-election as "muted", in part because of the Skripal poisoning and Russia's actions in Ukraine. Third was ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky with 5.7%.

Among those unabashedly singing Putin's praises was the chief editor of one of Russia's most prominent news organizations: RT. Four other candidates also ran in Sunday's vote. His most vocal opponent, anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, was barred from running.

Bolivian President Evo Morales said on Twitter that Putin's win "guarantees geopolitical equilibrium and world peace before the onslaught of imperialism". In previous races, he won 53 per cent of the vote in the 2000 presidential election, 71 per cent in 2004 and 64 per cent in 2012.

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Iranian president Hasan Rouhani also congratulated Putin on his "decisive victory" and vowed to further boost ties between Tehran and Moscow.

"But we, from our side, will do everything to ensure that all disputes will be regulated through political-diplomatic means".

"I expect that we will reconfirm our full support both political and financial to the country", she added.

The regional election commission said the results from the voting station in Lyubertsy would be invalidated. "And we established a mechanism to do that, and that mechanism holds secure", Netanyahu said prior to his snap meeting with Putin in Russian Federation at the end of January.

Observers reported widespread ballot stuffing and unprecedented pressure on Russians to vote, but that is unlikely to seriously damage Putin given his popularity and his tight control over Russian politics.

Several observers in North Ossetia were either detained by police or pressured to leave polling stations accused of using "fake accreditation".

She insisted that there were "at least two times fewer" violations than in the last presidential vote in 2012, which was marred by problems.

He garnered 76.66% of the vote in the March 18 election with 99.84% of the ballots counted, reports TASS news agency.

His closest rival, communist Pavel Grudinin, had less than 12 percent.

Barring any changes to the constitution, Russia's long-time leader will be forced to step down in 2024.

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