Russian President Vladimir Putin has been sworn into office for the fifth term.

Putin took his oath of office at a lavish Kremlin ceremony.

In March, Putin won a landslide victory in a tightly controlled election from which two anti-war candidates were barred on technical grounds.

Putin’s best known opponent, Alexei Navalny, died suddenly in an Arctic penal colony a month earlier, and other leading critics are in jail or have been forced to flee abroad.

The 71-year-old has ruled Russia since the turn of the century, securing a fresh six-year mandate in March after winning presidential elections devoid of all opposition.

Putin dominated the domestic political landscape, while on the international stage, he has a face-off with western nations over the war in Ukraine.

Putin told Russia’s political elite after being sworn in that he was not shutting down dialogue with the West but that it would have to make its own choice about how to engage with his country.

He said talks on strategic nuclear stability with the West were also possible, but only on equal terms.

“We are a united and great people and together we will overcome all obstacles, we will bring to life everything we have planned. Together, we will be victorious,” Putin said.

The United States, which said it did not consider his re-election free and fair, stayed away from Tuesday’s inauguration ceremony.

Britain, Canada and most European Union nations also decided to boycott the swearing-in, but France said it would send its ambassador.

Vladimir Putin sworn in for record fifth term as Russian president

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