Voting for the Russian presidential election, which is likely to see Vladimir Putin re-elected, will be held in four Ukrainian regions the Kremlin claimed to have annexed last year, Moscow said on Monday.

The Central Elections Commission said voting in March would go ahead in Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson -- regions of Ukraine over which Russia still does not have full military control.

"The decision was adopted unanimously," commission vice-president Nikolay Bulayev said, according to the state-run news agency TASS.

The election will be held over a three-day period from March 15 to 17, a move that Kremlin critics have argued makes guaranteeing transparency more difficult.

Putin is not expected to face any major challenges in his bid for a fifth term, with most of Russia's opposition jailed or in exile.

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