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Putin wins Russian presidency, exit polls show

Andrew Lubimov / AP

A Russian navy sailor casts his ballot as others queue to cast their ballots at a polling station at the Russian Fleet base during the Russian Presidential election, in Sevastopol, Ukraine, March. 4. Vladimir Putin appears all but certain to return to the Kremlin in Sunday's Russian presidential election, but he'll find himself in charge of a country far more willing to challenge him.

Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

Russian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin, left, and his wife Lyudmila leave a polling station in Moscow, Russia, March 4.

Vladimir Putin won a resounding victory in Russia's presidential election on Sunday, exit polls showed, securing a new six-year term in the Kremlin and a mandate to deal with opposition protests after a vote that opponents said was marred by fraud. 

Two television exit polls forecast the prime minister would win 59.3 and 58.3 percent of the votes, easily enough to make a runoff against the second-placed candidate unnecessary.

-- Reported by Reuters