Presidential elections are entering their third and final day, and the opposition is facing a “midday test against Putin.”

Russian voters went to the polls on Sunday, the third and final day of a presidential election expected to keep Putin at the helm of the country for a new term. The elections were marked by protests overshadowed by developments in the war in Ukraine. The last day of the vote will be a test of strength for the opposition, which chose to vote under the slogan “noon against Putin” on Sunday.

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I entered Russian presidential election Sunday is the final phase as the three-day deadline for voting is reached. More than half of Russian voters have already gone to the polls in the first two days of the three-day election, officials said.

The elections saw sporadic protests, but developments in the war with Ukraine have largely overshadowed the turnout so far.

“Noon Against Putin”

The final day will test the strength of the country's opposition, which has called on all supporters to vote simultaneously at noon in a move dubbed “noon against Putin.”

Supporters of the late Alexei Navalny, Putin's most prominent adversary, who died suddenly in prison in the Arctic last February, called on voters across Russia to vote simultaneously in 11 regions on Sunday afternoon.

The “Noon Against Putin” movement, championed by Navalny's widow, Yulia Navalnaya, has come as a way to express opposition without risking arrest as they line up to vote legally. The Kremlin warned against participating in gatherings without permission.

“Void Election”

Kiev considers the elections held in parts of its territory controlled by Russia to be illegal and invalid. Military analysts believe Kiev's daily bombardment, mainly targeting energy facilities and other critical infrastructure, is an attempt to destabilize the Russians and undermine Moscow's war effort.

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None of the other three candidates on the ballot pose a credible challenge to Putin (age 71), who dominates Russia's political scene.

On Friday, Putin accused Kiev of trying to block the election by launching massive drone and missile strikes on Moscow-controlled territory in Russia and Ukraine. He vowed to punish Ukraine.

Russian officials said early Sunday morning that Ukrainian forces were continuing to attack Russian positions along the Ukrainian border.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did not mention the aforementioned attacks in his video evening speech on Saturday, but he thanked his military forces and intelligence for “new long-range Ukrainian capabilities”.

France 24/Reuters

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