Vladimir Putin announcedFriday during a ceremony at the Kremlin, Russia's presidential house that he will run for president again in Russia's elections in March 2024, extending his reign until at least 2030.
The upcoming presidential elections will also be the first time that inhabitants of the seized Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson, which were annexed by Russia during the conflict, will vote.
Local elections in these districts, organised by Russian-backed authorities, were earlier blasted as a fraud by the international community.
The Kremlin has yet to issue an official declaration regarding Putin's candidature.
Putin was appointed interim Prime Minister of Russia in August 1999 before being abruptly appointed President on New Year's Eve of that year by then-President Boris Yeltsin.
He spent two four-year terms as president until stepping down in 2008 since he was not constitutionally allowed to compete for another term. He backed Dmitry Medvedev, who took over as president, and Putin became prime minister for the second time.
However, he reclaimed the president in 2012 and has not relinquished power since. After being re-elected in 2018, Putin signed legislation in 2021 that allows him to seek two more six-year terms.
Because of the amendments in the law, Putin, 71, may be able to prolong his rule until 2036, by which time he will be in his mid-80s and his rule will be well into its third decade.
Russia fired a swarm of Iranian-designed attack drones, destroying port infrastructure and killing one civilian in Ukraine's southern Odesa area. According to the Ukrainian Air Force, 15 of the 18 Shahed drones were destroyed. The strike on the Danube ports was the first since November 21.
Ukraine encouraged inhabitants to conserve energy after Russia bombarded a thermal power plant near the front lines, causing significant damage as temperatures dropped below freezing. The energy ministry, which could not identify the plant, stated that two of its power units failed, causing a "temporary shortage of electricity" in the system.