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Putin Sworn In for Fifth Term as President

Vladimir Putin has been sworn in for a record-breaking fifth term as the President of Russia.

The 71-year-old leader has ruled the country since the turn of the century and secured a fresh six-year mandate in March after winning a presidential election that was widely criticized as lacking genuine opposition.

Putin took the oath of office at a lavish ceremony in the Kremlin, where he told Russia’s political elite that he was not shutting down dialogue with the Western nations, but that they would have to engage with Russia on equal terms. He also expressed confidence that Russia would overcome all obstacles and achieve its goals, saying “Together, we will be victorious.”

The election that led to Putin’s latest term was tightly controlled, with two anti-war candidates barred on technical grounds. Putin’s most prominent opponent, Alexei Navalny, died suddenly in an Arctic penal colony a month before the vote. Other leading critics of the Kremlin are either in jail or have been forced to flee the country.

The United States and most European Union nations boycotted the inauguration ceremony, stating that they did not consider Putin’s re-election to be free and fair. However, France did send its ambassador to the event.

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