Russia and Ukraine downed enemy drones and rockets overnight as polling stations opened across Russia on the first day of voting in the presidential election.

Kyiv has launched some of its largest air attacks on Russia this week ahead of the vote, which is set to hand President Vladimir Putin another six-year term in the Kremlin.

Ukraine's air force said Russia fired 27 Iranian-style drones and eight missiles at its territory overnight.

In a statement on social media, it said: "27 out of 27 Shaheds were destroyed."

Russia's defence ministry said it intercepted five Ukrainian drones and two rockets over the Belgorod border region and the Kaluga region, southwest of Moscow.

Polling stations were opening across Russia's 11 time zones on Friday, as Putin acknowledged a day earlier that the country was facing a "difficult period."

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"We have already shown that we can be together, defending the freedom, sovereignty and security of Russia ... Today it is critically important not to stray from this path," Putin said Thursday in a video message broadcast on state TV.

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