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Putin Sworn in for New Six-Year Term as Russia’s President, Amid Growing Conflict With the West

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President Vladimir Putin has been sworn for a record-breaking fifth term as Russia’s leader.

In a lavish Tuesday ceremony at Andreyevsky Hall in the Grand Kremlin Palace, Putin swore an oath of allegiance by placing his right hand on Russia’s constitution. The ceremony—widely boycotted by Western diplomats following what election watchdogs called a sham vote in March—marked the start of a new six-year presidential term.

“We are a united and great people and together we will overcome all obstacles, we will bring to life everything we have planned. Together we will be victorious,” Putin, 71, said in his inaugural speech.

The ceremony comes a day after Russia ordered a tactical nuclear weapons drills, citing “provocative” statements by Western countries supporting Ukraine. Allied nations have provided extensive military support to Ukraine since Russia’s full scale invasion over two years ago.

“Ukraine sees no legal grounds for recognizing him as the democratically elected and legitimate president of the Russian Federation,” Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The three-day vote saw Putin claim 87% of the vote after facing no credible opposition candidates. 

Putin's most prominent opponent, Alexei Navalny, was found dead in an Arctic penal colony in February. His wife, exiled opposition leader Yulia Navalnaya, called Putin “a liar, a thief, and a murderer” in a video shared on the day of his swearing in.

Read More: Yulia Navalnaya’s First Interview Since Her Husband’s Death in Prison

“We believe that the isolation of Russia, and especially of its criminal leader, must be continued,” Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said, according to Reuters. The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were among the nations boycotting the ceremony.

“Participation in Putin’s inauguration is not acceptable for Lithuania. Our priority remains support for Ukraine and its people fighting against Russian aggression,” Landsbergis added.

The event included some controversial characters, including American actor Steven Seagal, who became a Russian citizen in 2016 and has backed the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.

The ceremony took place on the same day a Russian court announced that it would hold U.S. Sergeant Gordon Black in custody for at least two months on charges of theft. 

The 34-year-old soldier was due to travel home to Texas from his station in South Korea, but instead detoured to Russia. He was arrested on May 2 in Vladivostok, close to Russia’s border with North Korea.

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Write to Armani Syed at armani.syed@time.com