close Russian polling stations vandalized in presidential election Video

Russian polling stations vandalized in presidential election

Videos from various polling stations across Russia show incidents in which frustrated voters took out their anger on ballot boxes with fire and disinfectant to spoil votes in protest of Vladimir Putin. (Courtesy: East2West)

Russia won’t relent in its invasion of Ukraine, with one of its forthcoming goals being to establish a buffer zone along the border to help protect against long-range Ukrainian strikes and cross-border raids, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

The Kremlin’s forces have recently made battlefield progress as Kyiv’s troops struggle with a severe shortage of artillery shells and exhausted front-line units after more than two years of war. The front line stretches over 620 miles of eastern and southern Ukraine.

But the advances have been slow and costly, while Ukraine has increasingly used its long-range firepower to hit oil refineries and depots deep inside Russia. Also, groups claiming to be Ukraine-based Russian opponents of the Kremlin have launched cross-border incursions.


“In view of the current tragic events, we will be forced at some point, when we consider it necessary, to create a certain ‘sanitary zone’ on the territories controlled by the (Ukrainian government),” Putin said late Sunday.

He spoke at a news conference following the release of election returns that showed him securing a fifth six-year term by a landslide in an election devoid of any real opposition that followed his relentless crackdown on dissent.

The announcement came on the eve of the 10th anniversary of Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, which set the stage for Russia to invade its neighbor in 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen visiting his campaign headquarters after the presidential election in Moscow, Russia, on March 18, 2024. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Putin has been vague about his goals in Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion of its neighbor in February 2022 floundered.

But he said one of Russia’s aims now is to “create a security zone that would be quite difficult to penetrate using the foreign-made strike assets at the enemy’s disposal.”

Putin again warned the West against deploying troops to Ukraine. A possible conflict between Russia and NATO would put the world “a step away” from World War III, he said.


French President Emmanuel Macron recently said that sending Western troops into Ukraine shouldn’t be ruled out, though he said the current situation doesn’t require it.

Commenting on the prospects for peace talks with Kyiv, Putin reaffirmed that Russia remains open to negotiations but won’t be lured into a truce that will allow Ukraine to rearm.

But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeared to shut the door to talks, saying Putin must be put on trial at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, which last year issued an arrest warrant for Putin for war crime charges.

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