Fatal attacks in Ukraine shake Russia as vote cements Putin’s control

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By journalsofus.com

In a separate post, Gladkov announced that schools and shopping centers in the city of Belgorod and some surrounding districts would temporarily close in the coming days, for the second time this month.

Russia’s Defense Ministry previously said it had shot down rockets, missiles and drones in the Belgorod and Kursk border regions, which have seen a rise in fatal attacks in recent weeks.

Putin vows revenge

The Ministry later said that Russian forces had repulsed further infiltration attempts by “Ukrainian militant sabotage and reconnaissance groups.”

Meanwhile, Kremlin officials in the occupied Kherson region of southern Ukraine said one person was killed and four wounded in a drone strike.

The border attacks worried voters hundreds of miles away in the town of Sergiev Posad, outside Moscow, famous for its ornate Orthodox monastery with golden onion domes.

Casting her vote from home with the help of election officials who went door-to-door to collect votes from the elderly, Inessa Rozhkova, 87, said she hoped the polls would end the conflict with Ukraine.

“Can you imagine how many people died? And now our border villages are suffering. We care about them,” he said.

At a nearby polling station, set up at the vocational school, Elena Kirsanova, 68, went with her husband to vote for Putin.

“They try to scare us, but this is not a nation that can be intimidated,” Kirsanova told AFP.

The 71-year-old has been in power in Russia since the last day of 1999 and is set to extend his control over the country until 2030.

If he completes another term in the Kremlin, he will remain in power longer than any Russian leader since Catherine the Great in the 18th century.

He faces no genuine competition in the vote, having excluded two candidates who opposed the conflict in Ukraine and about a month after his main opponent, Alexei Navalny, died in an Arctic prison under unexplained circumstances.

The Kremlin has presented the election as an opportunity for Russians to show they are behind Moscow’s large-scale military campaign in Ukraine, where voting is also taking place in occupied territory.

However, the first day of voting on Friday was marred by vandalism at polling stations, with a series of arrests of Russians accused of pouring dye into ballot boxes or arson attacks.

Oil facility on fire

At least two more Russians, one in the central city of Yekaterinburg and another in the western enclave of Kaliningrad, were accused by authorities of spraying ballots with green ink.

The substance that is poured into the ballot boxes looks like zelonkaa surgical antiseptic previously used by pro-Kremlin actors to spray opposition politicians, including Navalny.

Meanwhile, the ruling United Russia party, which staunchly backs Putin, announced that it was suffering a large-scale hacking attack on its website.

The FSB security service also announced a series of arrests, as polls opened, of Russians who it said were assisting Ukrainian forces or planning to carry out sabotage at military and transport facilities.

Ukrainian attacks on Russia have also spread far beyond the border regions, and in recent weeks Kiev forces have attacked oil facilities deep in Russian territory.

The governor of the Samara region, which is about 800 kilometers (500 miles) from the front lines, said on Saturday that Ukrainian drones had attacked two oil refineries, causing a fire at one of them.

A defense source in kyiv told AFP that the attack was planned by the SBU security services as part of “a strategy to disrupt Russia’s economic potential.”

“Each such defeat reduces the flow of petrodollars that fuels Russia’s war economy,” the source said.

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