As expected, Russian President Vladimir Putin wins a fifth term by a landslide of 87%, according to a Russian exit poll. At least 80 protesters have been arrested in Russian cities on the final day of a vote set to confirm Vladimir Putin in office. Long queues formed outside polling stations heeding a call to gather in protest issued by the widow of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. With the re-election of the 71-year-old Russian president seen as inevitable, the first two days of the vote saw dozens of incidents of vandalism at polling stations. Voting has also been taking place in the Russian-occupied parts Ukraine: Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea - BBC

Vladimir Putin said Russia would not be "intimidated" as he hailed an election victory that paves the way for the former spy to become the longest-serving Russian leader in more than 200 years. “I want to thank all of you and all citizens of the country for your support and this trust," Putin told a news conference at his campaign headquarters in Moscow early Monday, hours after polls closed. "No matter who or how much they want to intimidate us, no matter who or how much they want to suppress us, our will, our consciousness -- no one has ever succeeded in anything like this in history. It has not worked now and will not work in the future. Never," he said - France 24


Former President Donald Trump told an entirely fictional story on Saturday about how he had supposedly outwitted his Democratic opponents by releasing “the tape” of the 2019 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that was a key factor in Trump’s first impeachment. Speaking at a Saturday campaign rally in Ohio, Trump claimed he let Democrats make “wilder and wilder” claims about what he said to Zelensky, “and then we released the tape.” Trump proceeded to claim that when Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, who was then the speaker of the House, “heard” this tape, she was angry that she had been deceived by her allies’ previous “false” descriptions of the call; he claimed that Pelosi said to “her people”: “What the hell did you get me into? You hear this call? He didn’t do any of this stuff!” Trump claimed that Pelosi was told, “Let’s just pretend he did and keep going forward.” He continued, “After they made up the story and then after that they heard the tape, they died. They didn’t know that phone call was taped. That was one good case of a phone call being taped. And they were taped and they got caught.” - CNN


Also in Ohio, Trump said that November's presidential election will be the "most important date" in US history, painting his campaign for the White House as a turning point for the country. Days after securing his position as the presumptive Republican nominee, the former president also warned of a "bloodbath" if he is not elected – though it was not clear what he was referring to, with the remark coming in the middle of comments about threats to the US auto industry. "The date – remember this, November 5 – I believe it's going to be the most important date in the history of our country," the 77-year-old told rally-goers in Vandalia, Ohio, repeating well-worn criticisms that his rival, President Joe Biden, is the "worst" president - France 24


The number of people injured in a deadly Russian missile attack on Mykolaiv on Sunday has risen to nine, the Mykolaiv Regional State Administration reported. One person was killed and two children are among the injured. Two Iskander missiles were reportedly used. Residential apartment buildings and infrastructure suffered significant damage - NV

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reaffirmed his determination to launch an offensive in Rafah, defying international criticism. The city is crammed with some 1.5 million Palestinians from other parts of Gaza seeking refuge. His comments come as the German chancellor, on a Middle East trip, restated his opposition to the plan. But Mr Netanyahu said "no international pressure will stop Israel" from achieving all of its war aims. "If we stop the war now before achieving all of its goals, the meaning is that Israel had lost the war and we will not allow this," Mr Netanyahu told a meeting of his cabinet. He said Israel must be able to continue its war, with the aims of eliminating Hamas, releasing all hostages and ensuring Gaza "no longer poses a threat". "To do this, we will also operate in Rafah." Mr Netanyahu said the offensive in city at the southern tip of the Gaza Strip "will happen" and will take "several weeks". He also lashed out at his critics, saying to them: "Is your memory so short? "So quickly you forgot about [7 October], the worst massacre committed against Jews since the Holocaust." - BBC


Thousands gathered in central Bratislava over the weekend to protest the overhaul of the nation's public broadcaster RTVS. Protesters fear that the reform will put the channel under governmental control. The reform plan is to rename RTVS into STaR ("Slovak Television and Radio") and to dismiss most of its top management, including the head of the channel. A new boss is to be appointed by a council, elected partially by the Ministry of Culture and partially by the parliament, where the ruling coalition has the majority - Euronews

Sudan could be just weeks away from a catastrophic hunger crisis, aid workers have warned, as community volunteers struggle to feed the hungry amid security restrictions and armed violence. War between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and its former security partners the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) erupted in Sudan's capital Khartoum during the final days of Ramadan in April 2023. It has since spread to large parts of the country, with a violently paranoid security response crippling efforts to deliver aid and exposing local volunteers to arrest and harassment by warring parties. This year, Ramadan has exposed the severity of the situation, with many people searching for a single meal and clean water to break their fast in the evening. Anthony Neal, the coordinator for International Non-Governmental Organisations in Sudan, told Sky News: "We are potentially weeks away from a catastrophic hunger crisis in the Darfurs, Kordofans and Khartoum. "In many ways, we are in the situation where we are confronted with the possibility of famine because of the level of bureaucratic restrictions we have faced over the last 11 months." - Sky News

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