Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has ruled the country since the turn of the century, has said he will run for the post in the 2024 elections. State media showed Vladimir Putin saying he would run for a new six-year presidential term in 2024.

Putin was responding to a question by Artyom Zoga, a military officer, on the subject. “I will not hide that at different times I had different views but now the time has come to make a decision,” Putin told Zoga and other honored soldiers, Reuters reported.

Television footage showed Putin in the gilded Georgievsky Hall, part of the Grand Kremlin Palace, saying, “I will run for president.”

The 71-year-old has led Russia since the turn of the century, won four presidential ballots and briefly served as prime minister in a system where the opposition has become almost non-existent.

The announcement was made at a Kremlin event for military personnel, including some who fought in the offensive into Ukraine that Putin ordered in February last year.

“I will run for president of the Russian Federation.”

Vladimir Putin was speaking to Lieutenant Colonel Artem Zoga, a Russian military officer who had moments earlier urged him to flee.

“Thanks to your actions, your decisions, we have gained independence,” Zoga said. He added, “We need you, Russia needs you.”

Analysts say Vladimir Putin will face no major challenges for a sixth term and will seek as large a mandate as possible to hide domestic discord over the Ukraine conflict.

Following a controversial constitutional reform in 2020, Vladimir Putin could remain in power until at least 2036.

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