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Putin addresses Red Square crowds after claiming landslide election win – BBC News

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Russian elections have been tightly controlled for a long time, increasingly so each year. This time, there were no genuine opposition candidates on the ballot at all.

The Kremlin has spent years creating the impression that there is no other choice: that Putin is Russia.

But for Ukraine, Putin is Mariupol, Bucha and Bakhmut.

He’s the reason for the rows of fresh graves at every town cemetery; for the displacement of millions from their homes and the nights in bomb shelters and basements for those who’ve stayed.

It was Vladimir Putin who launched the war that badly injured a young girl I met in Chernihiv, after a missile attack, then killed her brother at the front line, where he had gone to fight as a volunteer.

Copyright: SERGEY DOLZHENKO/EPA-EFE

Image caption: Ukrainians in Kyiv on Sunday remembered Russia’s deadly attack on Mariupol two years ago where residents were killed sheltering in the theatre

That same war sent another Ukrainian soldier back to the front today. Before he left, he told me he’s the only one of his original group of some 30 men “still walking”.

Of course, Putin hasn’t done all this alone.

That’s why it’s hard to find Ukrainians these days who speak well of any Russians.

Relations between two neighbours have been ruined for decades, perhaps longer.

Read the full story here.

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