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This is BBC World News Today.
I'm Lucy Hockings live in Moscow.
Vladimir Putin will lead Russia
for another six years.
I can see trust and hope, hope
of our people that we will continue
working in the same way
with the same great results.
The exit polls show that with more
than half of ballots counted,
President Putin has almost
three-quarters of the vote.
He has also been speaking about the
poisoning of a Russian spy that has
led to a stand-off with the British
about it from the media, and the
first thing that came into my mind
is that if it was a military
operation, people would have died
I'm Karin Giannone in London.
Our other top stories.
After two months of fighting
and many deaths, Turkey drives
a Kurdish militia from the northern
Syrian city of Afrin.
Senior Republicans urge
President Trump not to close down
the Special Counsel investigation
into suspected Russian
collusion with his campaign.
Hello and welcome to Moscow, where
President Putin has indeed won a
fourth term in office. There were
eight candidates running in this
presidential election but there was
really no doubt that President Putin
was indeed going to win, when he has
done so convincingly. They have
already been seems of jubilation at
a pro-Putin rally. You can see the
Kremlin and Red Square behind me,
beyond that a big concert tape and
placed an ad with people
celebrating. The date of the
election was moved to today to
celebrate the fourth anniversary of
the annexation of Crimea. Let's take
you through some of the results. We
know there was an boating lake
allowances reported in some parts of
Russia but these are the official
figures we are starting to get now.
The exit polls showing 73.9% for the
Russian president Vladimir Putin,
absolutely eclipsing all of those
other candidates. And I think the
thing people will be talking about
around the world who are looking at
this election over the next few days
will be the turnout. Vladimir Putin
had wanted 70% in order to give the
result some legitimacy, and he
hasn't achieved that. What we are
hearing is that there has been a
turnout of 60% in this presidential
election, and that is down from the
last time Russians voted here in a
presidential election from 48% in
2016, in the Parliamentary
elections, which are often less, and
then in the presidential election in
2012, 60 5%, so Vladimir Putin may
indeed be disappointed with that,
and that is also with some stuff in
the ballots we have seen we will be
talking about in a moment. But first
I had mentioned the celebrations
that had been taking place here in
Moscow. Vladimir Putin arrived just
a short time ago to address his
supporters. Let's have a listen.
I am a member of your team
and everyone who voted
today is one big team.
In this I can see the recognition
of what's being done
over the last few years.
I can see trust and hope, hope
of our people that we will continue
working in the same way
with the same great results.
Thank you for this wonderful
multi-million member team.
Success is waiting for us!
Vladimir Putin there and his
Counting is under way in the Russian
A huge effort, you can imagine in a
Candreva size of this, 11 different
time zones, 97,000 polling stations
were open today across Russia. We
saw some scenes of cosmonauts
boating in space, even down in
Antarctica, polling stations were
open there. It has been an
incredibly busy day, quite festive
at some of the polling stations, I
was at one earlier, there were
people singing, a man with an
accordion, people playing sports as
well. There was all very festive,
but with a wrap-up of what has been
happening around the country for us,
here's our Moscow correspondent,
It looked more like
a show than an election.
Russian polling stations
providing free entertainment
to boost the turnout.
Inside, you could cast a ballot,
and cast an eye at the art.
Pride of place here reserved
for a legendary Russian ruler,
who had battled the West.
The current leader is
pressure after Salisbury.
Still, Vladimir Putin
was relaxed as he voted.
I believe in the programme I am
offering my country,
the president said.
And his supporters agreed.
He is a genius, he says.
Putin wants Russia to
prosper and for Russians
to live in happiness.
It is thanks to Putin, she says,
that Russia still exists.
But, critics of the Kremlin said
the election was fixed,
that only those candidates who stood
no chance of unseating
Vladimir Putin were allowed to run.
The problem with Russia
is that there is no such thing
as Russian politics.
Politics has been eliminated
in Russia altogether.
There is only one political
institution in Russia
and that is the physical body
of Vladimir Putin.
Which is why the result of this
vote was never in doubt.
This election is less
about choosing a new president,
and more about reappointing
the old one.
The political system
Vladimir Putin has built ensures
he doesn't face any challenge.
He's set for a fourth
term in the Kremlin.
But these images will
embarrass the Kremlin.
Caught on CCTV, a woman stuffs
the ballot box at a polling box
at a polling station in Moscow.
Suddenly there are
two of them at it.
And something suspicious in Siberia,
during the vote count,
someone moves a tricolore
so they cover over the camera.
Election officials say they will
investigate alleged violations.
But that won't change
who will be running Russia
for the next six years.
Steve Rosenberg, BBC News, Moscow.
So, as Steve was mentioning there,
Russia's key opposition leader
Alexei Navalny was banned from
running in this election, and he
said to his supporters that he
wanted them to boycott the election,
and what is interesting is that he
is very active on social media, and
many young people of course are
thought to have possibly not shown
up to vote because of record for
that boycott, but there are also
some young people passionate about
Putin and I spoke to one earlier,
Darius Sher over from United Russia
You know what I will say that
you can come for example to south
arabia and say you guys have to be
democratic here - well you have
to come to Russia to be for example
international observers to see how
it works in Russia.
You as the international
not humiliate our rights to vote
for the Putin that we
support as president.
Even if you don't like his policy -
we like his policy.
You have to respect our right
to choose our president
and you have to work with him -
because his citizens choose him.
So about 60% of the votes have been
counted, though there is some talk
of voting irregularity. Let's speak
to the co-chairman of the electoral
observers in Russia. Tell us about
what your observers saw today.
ordinary elections in Russia, maybe
you can give me more exact
What is an ordinary
election in Russia because that
would be very different to how we
I know, but the main
problem is we don't have any
so-called alternative candidates and
elections are not interesting and
the same man has been running for 20
years, it is a boring procedure, so
they went to any expense to
entertain people, to invite them
with cheap goods, foodstuff,
entertainment, singing, dancing, all
that stuff, it is not elections, it
is just a sham.
What did your
electro observers see in terms of
the staffing of ballot boxes across
Actually ballot box
staffing was found by video
broadcast, not found by people on
the ground live because usually
fraudsters are afraid of any present
witnesses and so on. In the first
video you can see the policeman in
the corner, the policeman was
present. We have a report where a
policeman himself was stuffing. So
all sorts of people can participate
in the ballot box staffing in this
fraud, but not observers, observers
are a deterrent, and yes, over there
in the corner you will see behind
your titles a policeman with
shoulder straps, so yes, they are
doing, but not observers, observers
scare them away, real observers. Not
If your observers see
things like this happening, what do
In 2008 I found ballot box
staffing in 2008 in a Moscow school.
They pretended it was, they said,
let's look into that into the
evening, but before the evening they
said that the school was mind,
somebody planted a bomb inside the
school so it had to be evacuated,
and later they destroyed all
evidence, but I still have photo and
video of that. So their main idea is
to destroy evidence, but since we
have a lot of mobile phones now, and
boxes are transported, so it is very
hard to hide for them, and nobody is
punished. Since 2012, I can show you
hundreds of official videos, and
nobody is punished since.
very much for joining us. We have
been hearing from President Putin,
and he has also given a press
conference. In the last hour or so,
he has been talking about this
diplomatic row between Russia and
the United Kingdom, he has said he
has only had about the poisoning for
the first time of Sergei Skripal and
his daughter, and the very first
time he heard about it was actually
in the media. TRANSLATION:
In relation to the tragedy
you mentioned, I learnt about it
from the media and the first thing
that came into my mind was that
if it was a military
operation, people would have
died straight away.
This is number one.
This is number one.
Secondly, Russia does
not have those weapons,
Russia has demolished
all its chemical weapons
supervision, unlike some
of our partners who haven't done it
Vladimir Putin addressing what has
happened. Further developments to
bring you, international experts
from the chemical weapons body will
be arriving in the UK on Monday.
They will be testing samples in the
UK. We have been hearing from the
Russian ambassador to the EU and
also from Britain's Foreign
Secretary, Boris Johnson, with a
wrap-up of today's events on the
diplomatic fallout and everything
that has happened with Sergei
Skripal and the poisoning of him and
his daughter Yulia. Here's Daniel
Today, despite the bad weather,
troops and police officers continued
the delicate and dangerous work
of decontamination and preserving
the scenes in Salisbury.
It is clear now that the focus
of this investigation
is Sergei Skripal's burgundy BMW
car, with detectives
still seeking more information
on its movements on the day
of the nerve agent attack.
This morning, the Russian ambassador
to the EU chose to hint that Britain
might have been responsible
for the whole thing.
Porton Down, as we now all know,
is the largest military facility
in the United Kingdom that has been
dealing with chemical
And it's actually only eight
miles from Salisbury.
You are not suggesting that
Porton Down is responsible
for this nerve agent attack?
I don't know, I don't know.
on the same programme, this
was the Foreign Secretary's riposte.
This is not the response
of a country that rarely believes
itself to be innocent.
Their response has been a sort
of mixture of smug sarcasm
and denial, obfuscation and delay.
And with 23 diplomats due to leave
the Russian Embassy this week
And with 23 diplomats due to leave
the Russian Embassy this week,
after being expelled as spies,
the Foreign Secretary made his most
direct accusation yet that Russia
has been doing recent
nerve agent research.
We actually had evidence
within the last ten years that
Russia has not only been
investigating the delivery of nerve
agents for the purposes
of assassination, but has also been
creating and stockpiling Novichoks.
However, the Foreign Secretary then
had to concede that a wife
of a former minister under
Vladimir Putin had paid £160,000
in a Conservative Party auction
to play tennis with him.
Did the tennis game actually happen?
But the Labour leadership's position
on the Salisbury attack now seems
much closer to the government's
than it was in the
middle of last week.
Putin has questions to answer,
because this is highly likely this
could have been a state execution.
But what we don't do in this country
is that we don't leap
to conclusions without the evidence.
Tomorrow, international specialists
from the Organisation
for the Prohibition
of Chemical Weapons will arrive
at Porton Down to start their own
independent analysis of what left
Yulia and Sergei Skripal
fighting for their lives.
Daniel Sandford, BBC News.
So as we continue to see Russia
isolated on the international stage,
it is quite a different message here
in Moscow with Vladimir Putin
addressing his supporters as he wins
his fourth term in office, and he is
talking about rising to the
challenges that lie ahead, how
working together as a team is the
way forward here in Russia. 60% of
the votes counted will continue to
keep across all the development is
here in Moscow. For now, back to you
in the studio. Stay with us on BBC
World News Today. Still to come,
British MPs want to know more about
how a data firm that supported
Donald Trump's campaign used the
personal information of millions of
Today we have closed the book on
More than 3000 subway
passengers were affected, nausea,
bleeding, headaches and a dimming of
vision, all caused by an apparently
The trip itself was on the pedestal
in the middle of the Cabinet here.
This was an international trophy and
we understand now that the search
for it has become an international
Above all, this was a triumph of the
Christian Democrats of the West,
offering reunification as quickly as
possible, and that is what the
You are watching BBC World News
Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad
has visited soldiers
in Eastern Ghouta -
an area his forces have been trying
to retake from the rebels.
These images - published on a Syrian
Presidency Facebook page -
show him surrounded by troops.
A monitoring group has confirmed
that government forces
and their allies now control some
80% of Eastern Ghouta.
Thousands more civilians
fled on Sunday.
But a pro-rebel website says
there's been relative calm
for the first time in a month.
The Turkish president says
the northern Syrian city of Afrin
is now under Turkish control
after its troops backed by Syrian
allies, entered the city centre.
Turkey has been engaged
in a two-month battle with Kurdish
fighters over the city,
in Northern Syria.
The Kurdish administration of Afrin
says its forces will now strike
Turkish and allied militia positions
at "every opportunity".
Mark Lowen reports from Istanbul.
The sound, not of battle,
but of celebration, Syrian rebel
fighters backed by Turkey,
taking the town of Afrin
after a lightning advance.
Their flags marked
the new order here.
The YPG, Kurdish militia,
had promised to fight
to the death in Afrin,
but in the end, their resistance
looked to melt away.
Afrin fell within hours,
the vestiges of the YPG ripped away.
In the name of God the merciful,
we are now inside Afrin
liberated from terrorism,
says this fighter, the city has
returned to the Syrian revolution
and we call on all residents
to come back.
The scars of this two month-long
offensive are everywhere,
a town in circles and besieged,
the Turkish advance.
Over 150,000 people are said to have
escaped in recent days.
A triumphant President Erdogan
announced the success.
Turks from all sides have rallied
behind an offensive,
targeting a group they say
are linked to Kurdish
militants within Turkey.
Crushing age-old foes is a rare
uniting force in this
otherwise polarised country.
Most of the terrorists
have already fled with their tails
between their legs.
Our special forces and members
of the Free Syrian Army are clearing
the remaining pockets of resistance.
In the centre of Afrin, symbols
of trust and stability are waving,
instead of the rags of terrorists.
As a Kurdish statue in central Afrin
was torn down, a bad omen
for the much needed reconciliation.
Many residents who will return
are Kurds, hostile to Turkey
and Syrian Arab fighters.
But in some areas of Afrin, the
rebels were welcomed as liberators,
the question now is whether Turkey
will push on to other YPG-held
territory, that will be
discouraged by the West,
which sees the Kurds
as vital allies.
But for now, victory
is being savoured, and eight
years into Syria's war,
each side continues to carve it up.
Mark Lowen, BBC News, Istanbul.
Well, this is clearly a military
victory for Turkey on a highly
celebrated anniversary for Turks,
the Gallipoli victory a century ago.
That was partly due to the YPG 's
strategic calculation, and they ever
accurate of the city, they enabled
the civilians more than 150,000
civilians evacuated from the city,
not calling them for a mass
resistance. They now vowed to expel
Turkish forces. There will be
implications that next to Afrin,
where US shoots Dunn troops.
believe we will see Turkey fission
to Syria against the YPG even
For the East in your
freebies -- you freelys, it is
dubious. That is why that
calculation from Turkey, it is
simply because the United States
probably make a deal over the
region. But when Washington would
make such a deal, the eastern new
3-Ds would be the red -- the eastern
Yafridis would be the red line.
There is division in Washington,
close sources towards
micro-Washington and pesetas wrote
critical for the Raqqa security.
Others close to the State
Department, with the idea of the
negotiation with Turkey so that they
could secure the East new 3-D is,
and perhaps they would convince YPG
forces -- Eastern Yafridis, so they
could secure their games in the
eastern Yafridis where the SDF
forces are very much powerful and
The head of Cambridge Analytica,
the data firm used by Donald Trump's
election campaign, has been called
back before a committee of MPs.
They believe Alexander Nix has
fresh questions to answer
about the way his company used
the personal details of up
to 50 million Facebook users.
The social media giant,
which will also be asked to appear,
says it is conducting
a 'comprehensive review'
into the allegations.
The BBC's business correspondent
Joe Lynam has this report.
The idea that all women should
receive the same message...
Meet Alexander Nix.
He's the Eton-educated
boss of the data mining
company Cambridge Analytica, which
specialises in something called
That is an understanding
of your personality
because it's personality that drives
behaviour and behaviour obviously
influences how you vote.
But now a committee
of MPs thinks he may have
given Parliament false
statements about what his
company did with millions
of Facebook profiles.
He's been recalled
for more questions.
The Facebook boss
Mark Zuckerberg will
also be called.
It looks like Facebook
were trying to avoid
difficult questions about this
and people will rightly be
concerned, are there other data
don't know about, how effective
are Facebook at stopping people
from taking data from their platform
using it in a way that suits them
and that Facebook can't control?
At the heart of this
was an app designed here in
Britain in 2014.
It was supposed to tell
you a lot more about your own
But if you logged in
using your Facebook profile it
allowed the app and its users access
to some very personal
data held on Facebook.
Most astonishingly, though, it
allowed the app access to all your
friends' personal data,
without their explicit consent.
And we're going to make
America great again...
It has been claimed
that Donald Trump's
campaign used personal data acquired
from Cambridge Analytica to try and
influence the election, something
flatly denied by the company.
And it was also at the top table
when the Leave.EU campaign
was launched in 2015 but now denies
that it did any
work at all on the
But it does raise the issue though
of what happens when we
click "OK" online.
We see these quizzes
pop up on our Facebook
timelines, we think it will be fun,
which famous star am I...
But what you are really doing
is handing every bit of your profile
data onto a data collection service.
Much of this has come
to light because this
former Cambridge Analytica employee
Chris Wiley has now claimed Facebook
knew what data the company held
and how it could used.
Facebook strongly denies his
claims and has suspended
his own Facebook account.
The social media giant
said that it was doing
so because Mr Wylie had exploited
Facebook to harvest millions of
Joe Lynam, BBC News.
Let's remind you of our main story.
President Putin has been
addressing his supporters in central
Moscow after being re-elected
for another six years in office.
With almost half of the ballots
counted, he's heading
for a landslide victory
with three-quarters of the vote.
But the was turnout lower than the
70% he had hoped for. From me Caryn
Giannone E, goodbye.