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Putin promises to achieve military advances in Ukraine during his meeting with his campaign team.
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Putin promises to achieve military advances in Ukraine during his meeting with his campaign team.

On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin pledged to retaliate against Ukrainian forces in order to decrease the risk of assaults on Russian land. He also met with activists who are managing his campaign for the upcoming March election, in which he is expected to win.

When questioned about the strategy for the military operation in Ukraine, Putin stated that the front line needs to be moved further away from our land to ensure protection from the long-range artillery provided by Western countries, which the Ukrainian government has been using to attack civilian areas.

He stated that the Russian military has been successfully pushing back the enemy from important populated areas.

“Our soldiers are risking their lives to protect our country and our citizens. This is their main motivation,” he stated.

In recent events, Ukraine has launched an attack within Russian borders, specifically targeting the city of Belgorod on December 30. This attack resulted in the death of 25 individuals and over 100 injuries.

According to Putin, Russian officials have determined that Ukraine utilized Patriot air defense systems provided by the U.S. to bring down a Russian military transport aircraft in the Belgorod area on January 24. The Russian government stated that the incident resulted in the deaths of all 74 individuals on board, including 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war who were being transported for a prisoner exchange.

The downing of the plane was not denied by Ukrainian officials, however they did not accept responsibility and urged for an international investigation to take place.

Putin expressed that Russia not only supports, but also strongly demands an international investigation into what he deemed as a “criminal” act committed by Ukraine.

Putin, who is 71 years old, is currently running as an independent candidate. He has maintained a strong grip on Russia’s political system for the past 24 years.

With key opponents either imprisoned or residing overseas and the majority of unbiased media restricted, his victory in the upcoming March 15-17 presidential election is highly likely.

During a meeting with his campaign team, Putin stated that Russia has been compelled to protect its interests, even resorting to military action. He also mentioned that while the meeting was taking place, Russian soldiers were able to make progress near the town of Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine.

“The current state of our country is facing significant challenges as we strive to strengthen our independence and sovereignty in all aspects,” he remarked. “The constant presence of immoral individuals is slowly being eradicated.”

Thanks to a constitutional reform that he orchestrated, Putin can now run for two additional terms of six years each, giving him the possibility of staying in office until 2036. He currently holds the record for being the Kremlin’s longest-serving leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, who passed away in 1953.

In addition, there are three other contenders who have been selected by political parties with representation in the parliament: Nikolai Kharitonov from the Communist Party, Leonid Slutsky from the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, and Vladislav Davankov from the New People Party.

Each of the three parties has shown considerable support for the policies of the Kremlin. In 2004, Kharitonov competed against Putin and placed a far second.

A 60-year-old town official, Boris Nadezhdin, near Moscow, is also vying for a position. He has publicly advocated for an end to the dispute in Ukraine and initiating communication with Western countries.

Thousands of Russians across the country signed petitions in support of Nadezhdin’s candidacy, an unusual show of opposition sympathies in the rigidly controlled political landscape that raises a challenge for the Kremlin. On Wednesday, Nadezhdin submitted 105,000 signatures to the Central Election Commission, which is expected to review them over the next few days.