Putin’s Shocking Election Triumph: World War III on the Horizon?

Vladimir Putin cautioned that a direct clash between and NATO could escalate into a full-blown World III, in a speech delivered following his contested reelection on Monday.

“I doubt anyone wishes for such a scenario,” Putin remarked.

President Vladimir Putin
President Vladimir Putin (Image source: Twitter)

The recently concluded three-day election, in which Putin faced negligible opposition, has been widely criticized by Western nations and election monitoring groups as a fraudulent competition.

Putin's remarks come after French President Emmanuel hinted at the possibility of deploying French troops in Ukraine should Russia's aggression persist.

Putin also floated the idea of claiming Ukraine's Kharkiv region as a buffer zone for Russia, amidst reports of increased Ukrainian shelling along the Russian border during the election period.

With no genuine alternative candidates allowed to participate in the election, Putin purportedly secured 87% of the vote, according to exit polls released by state-run Russian agencies. This marks an increase from his 2018 victory, where he claimed 76.7% of the vote with a turnout of 67.5%. His latest win secures his rule for another term extending until 2030.

The White House denounced the election as “clearly neither free nor fair,” while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Putin of being “drunk on power.”

During his speech, Putin also made his first public acknowledgment of Alexei Navalny since the opposition leader's death in a Russian prison on February 16th. Putin stated that Navalny had “passed away” and disclosed that he had agreed to a prisoner exchange with the U.S., which would entail Navalny's release on the condition that he never returns to Russia. U.S. has squarely blamed Putin for Navalny's demise, asserting, “Putin is responsible, make no mistake.”

Navalny's death ignited widespread protests last month, and his widow, , had urged supporters to demonstrate at polling stations under the slogan “Noon Against Putin,” a plan endorsed by her late husband.

On Sunday, Navalnaya revealed that she had inscribed “Navalny” on her election ballot. “You give me hope that our efforts are not in vain, that we will continue to fight,” she expressed to her supporters.

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