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The Wall Street Journal: Putin easily wins re-election in Russia

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin won re-election by a wide margin Sunday, according to preliminary results, strengthening his hand amid an escalating confrontation with the West.

After 18 years in power, Putin will start a new six-year term at a time of sharply deteriorating relations with Western adversaries, who accuse him of military adventurism in Ukraine and Syria and hostile attacks ranging from election meddling to attempted assassinations.

Putin’s foreign policy, coupled with efforts to rebuild the Russian military, have been part of an effort by the 65-year-old former KGB officer to boost his country’s standing on the world stage — a campaign that has helped make him extremely popular with his people.

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