Wave of Ukrainian drones target Russia on final day of voting

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A wave of Ukrainian drones has targeted Russia on the third and final day of voting in Russia’s presidential election.

Ukraine launched a total of 36 drones overnight over Russia, aimed at various parts of the country, including the capital Moscow, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said on Sunday.

Russian air defense forces “intercepted and destroyed” four drones over Moscow and Yaroslavl respectively, three each over Belgorod and Kursk, two over Kaluga, single drones over Rostov, Oryol and Bryansk, and 17 in Krasnodar Krai, according to a statements posted on Telegram by the Ministry of Defense and regional officials on Sunday.

In Krasnodar Krai, a fire at an oil refinery in Slavyansk district resulted in the death of one person, according to the district’s Dispatch Service. The cause of death was a heart attack.

In Belgorod, which borders Ukraine, a 16-year-old girl was killed due to shelling, the governor of Belgorod, Vyacheslav Gladkov, posted on Telegram. Her father was injured, suffering from a head injury, burns and carbon monoxide poisoning after the home they were in caught on fire.

Ukraine has been stepping up its attacks on Belgorod, forcing the authorities to close schools and malls.

A polling station in the Russian-controlled part of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region was also attacked by two Ukrainian drones on Sunday, according to Vladimir Rogov, member of the Russian-installed Zaporizhzhia administration. No casualties were reported.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces shot down 14 drones over the Odesa region on Sunday after they were launched by Russia overnight, according to the Ukrainian Air Force. At least 20 people were killed on Friday in a double Russian missile strike on the city of Odesa.

Vladimir Putin - who is near-certain to win a fifth term in power - has said that Ukrainian border attacks “will not remain unpunished.”

Voting started on Friday and will continue until Sunday across the country’s 11 time zones – from the far eastern regions near Alaska to the western exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Coast – and its 88 federal subjects, including parts of occupied Ukraine illegally annexed by Russia after it launched its full-scale invasion more than two years ago.

With most opposition candidates either dead, jailed, exiled, barred from running or simply token figures, a victory for Putin, who has in effect been Russia’s head of state since before the turn of the century, is all but guaranteed.

Putin’s reelection would extend his rule until at least 2030. Following constitutional changes in 2020, he would then be able to run again and potentially stay in power until 2036, which would see him secure his place as Russia’s longest-serving ruler since Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.

CNN’s Christian Edwards contributed reporting.

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