Russia’s presidential election next March will include voting in four regions of Ukraine that Russia claimed as its own territory last year, Interfax news agency quoted the central election commission as saying yesterday.
The Russian Central Elections Commission says voting in March would go ahead in Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, regions of Ukraine over which Russia still does not have full military control.
The state-run news agency TASS reports that the election will be held over a three-day period from March 15 to 17, a move that Kremlin critics have argued makes guaranteeing transparency more difficult.
President Putin is not expected to face any major challenges in his bid for a fifth term, with most of Russia’s opposition jailed or in exile.
Five parties have been allowed to put forward a candidate for the 2024 vote without collecting signatures. All support the Kremlin and the military offensive in Ukraine.
Russia has previously held elections in occupied regions of Ukraine, votes denounced by Kyiv and the West as null and void. Moscow held ballots for local officials in the four Ukrainian regions in September.