The maximum stake for fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT) should be cut to £30 or less, the UK’s Gambling Commission has recommended.
It comes after consultation on FOBTs for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
The DCMS wants “to reduce the risks that consumers, especially those that are vulnerable, face from gambling”.
It says the maximum stake on “slots games”, which are like traditional fruit machine games, should be £2.
Fixed-odds terminals were introduced in casinos and betting shops from 1999, and offer computerised games including roulette and blackjack at the touch of a button. Currently, people can bet up to £100 every 20 seconds on electronic casino games.
The Gambling Commission’s report said the £30 limit for casino type games had been recommended, because any limit above this would have “a significant effect on the potential for players to lose large amounts of money in a short space of time”.
The government now has to decide whether to accept the commission’s advice on the stake limit, or decide to impose a lower figure.
The government began to look at FOBT machines in October 2016, when it made a “call for evidence” on the number and location of terminals and the measures in place to protect players.
Gambling Commission chief executive Neil McArthur said: “We’ve put consumers at the heart of our advice – advice which is based on the best available evidence and is focused on reducing the risk of gambling-related harm.
“In our judgment, a stake cut for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals alone doesn’t go far enough to protect vulnerable people.
“That is why we have recommended a stake cut plus a comprehensive package of other measures to protect consumers. We have proposed actions that will tackle both the risk of harm and provide solutions that are sustainable in the longer term.”
These include working with the gambling industry and others on steps to make limit-setting more effective – this could include ending sessions when consumers reach time and money limits.
Another recommendation is a proposed ban on machines being able to allow different categories of games to be played in a single session.
FOBT machines generated more than £1.8bn in tax revenue last year.
Police in Austin, Texas, have warned the public that a fourth explosion there may pose a new threat.
They said they were investigating reports the explosion, which injured two people, was activated by tripwire.
Three parcel bombs left on doorsteps have killed two people and injured two others since early March.
The police they say they are working under the belief that the explosions are connected. They warned people in the area to remain indoors.
The latest blast came hours after officials announced a new $100,000 (£71,000) reward for information.
The cash reward is on top of an existing $15,000 being offered by the state’s governor.
The two men killed earlier this month were African Americans and police have not ruled out racism as a possible motive.
Austin police chief Brian Manley gave an early morning press briefing to warn of the possibility of a different style of attack.
He said: “It is very possible this device was activated by someone either handling, kicking or coming into contact with a tripwire.
“That changes things in that our safety message has been about the handling of packages. We need the community to have an extra level of vigilance and pay attention to any suspicious device. Do not approach it. Call 911.”
He added: “We do believe that this was a bomb that exploded, but it was not similar to previous explosions. We are working under the belief they are connected but we have not processed the scene.”
Work at the scene will take place after dawn.
The two people hurt in the blast have been treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Mr Manley earlier said he believed the attacks were “meant to send a message”.
He said authorities could not confirm whether a specific ideology was behind the attacks, but appealed to those behind the bombings to contact authorities directly.
Hundreds of federal agents are helping local police, but there has been no arrest. Authorities say they have responded to 735 reports of suspicious items since last Monday.
The first bomb exploded on 2 March, killing Anthony Stephan House, 29, at his home. Two more bombs exploded 10 days later, and were linked to the initial blast.
Draylen William Mason, 17, was killed when he brought a package inside his home. The explosion also critically injured his mother.
Hours later a 75-year-old Hispanic woman was injured by another package. Local media reports this may have been intended for someone else.
The local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) president Nelson Linder told NBC news that the two murdered victims had links to local prominent African-American families and were connected by the same Methodist church.
Investigators say the devices were being left on doorsteps overnight, not being delivered by official methods.
With the city on high alert, a concert by hip-hop band the Roots was cancelled on Saturday after organisers received a bomb threat via e-mail.
They were due to perform at the city’s South by Southwest festival, known as SXSW.
A 26-year-old was later arrested, but police have ruled out any link to the package bombs.
Dozens of vehicles have been stranded overnight on the A30 dual carriageway in Devon amid heavy snow.
Two Met Office weather warnings for ice remain in place across much of the UK after wintry showers disrupted many parts of Britain over the weekend.
The Okehampton service station on the A30 became an overnight refuge for drivers who slept in their vehicles.
And around 80 people, including children, stayed in an emergency rest centre set up at the town’s college.
Meanwhile in Wales, more than 170 schools will be fully or partially closed on Monday.
Two Met Office weather warnings for ice covering all of England, most of Wales and parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland are in place until 10:00 GMT on Monday.
Richard White, volunteer rest centre manager at Okehampton College – where 82 people spent the night – said: “We make sure people get a good night’s sleep, we feed them in the morning and weather-permitting, we prepare them to get back in their cars and on their way.
“Police want everybody off the roads to give them the opportunity to clear the roads with the snow ploughs and the gritters in time for the morning.”
Among those stranded were two newlyweds who spend their wedding night stranded at the emergency rest centre, Mr White said.
Devon and Cornwall Police said a 64-mile stretch of the A30 from the M5 at Exeter to near Bodmin in Cornwall was closed to allow its officers and Highways England to clear the route.
The force warned drivers to only travel if necessary and “slow down”, adding on Monday morning that road accidents were beginning to be reported.
Skip Twitter post by @DC_Police
Further snow expected into the early hours of Monday. Police and partner agencies continue to work hard to keep roads open and people safe. Drivers are warned to expect snow and icy conditions on morning commute. Only travel if you have to and leave extra time for your journey. https://t.co/aXEm04kRpn
— DevonCornwall Police (@DC_Police) March 18, 2018
End of Twitter post by @DC_Police
Scores of schools in Devon will be closed on Monday.
On Sunday, two multi-vehicle crashes caused long delays on the A30 around Okehampton and Whiddon Down.
Elsewhere, ice resulted in delays and 37 cancellations at Gatwick Airport on Sunday night.
The airport apologised to affected passengers, saying the problems were “due to the prolonged cold snap and the essential de-icing requirements which have mounted during the afternoon and evening”.
Temperatures fell across many parts of the UK overnight, causing partly melted snow to refreeze.
Forecasters say more normal, spring-like conditions are likely to return to most areas by Tuesday.
Vladimir Putin’s election triumph in Russia is widely covered.
According to the headline in the the Times, Mr Putin’s landslide victory was thanks to Britain.
It says anger over the UK’s response to the nerve agent attack on the former spy, Sergei Skripal, galvanised voters behind their leader.
The Washington Post takes a similar line. It quotes a former Kremlin adviser-turned critic as saying the approach adopted by Theresa May and her government was a “pre-election present” for Mr Putin.
The paper predicts that as in-fighting over Russia’s domestic course continues at the top in Moscow, President Putin could look towards intensifying the conflict with the West.
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The website of the Russian tabloid Komosmolskaya Pravda hails what it describes as a well-deserved victory.
It tells readers it is noteworthy that no Western media reported that the election had been rigged or falsified.
It apparently had not noticed, among others, the Financial Times, which reports on isolated episodes of violence against election monitors, as well as ballot stuffing and other violations.
Its headline reads “Sunshine, smiles and headbutts as Russia makes its choice”.
But the paper quotes an elderly voter called Olga in Moscow who says: “In America they have a fool, here we have a strong president. Hurrah for Putin!”
The Daily Telegraph leads on what it claims is the “End of the Wild West Era For Tech Firms”.
As controversy intensifies over the reported misuse of data from millions of Facebook users by the company Cambridge Analytica, the paper quotes a warning from Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Matt Hancock.
He says technology firms must accept increasing regulation and taxation by national governments “for the good of the people”.
In an editorial, the Guardian says data from Facebook users helped to subvert the openness of democracy.
It says the standards around the world by which the internet is controlled need to be open and subject to the workings of independent judiciaries.
The paper concludes that the task cannot be left to the companies themselves “whose own judgements are almost wholly opaque and arbitrary”.
The Financial Times has spoken to the head of the Cambridge Analytica. Alexander Nix denies that he deliberately misled a parliamentary committee last month when he said his firm did not use Facebook data.
He told the paper that he stood by his remarks, despite a whistleblower saying over the weekend that he had evidence to the contrary.
Cannot be serious
The Daily Mail devotes the whole of its front page to what it describes as the first UK study of food contamination by airborne plastic.
The Mail says food in shops is widely tainted with potentially dangerous particles that float in the air.
According to the paper, experts have warned that ingesting the particles can damage lungs, poison kidneys and interfere with hormones.
Several papers pick up on tonight’s Panorama programme about equal pay.
Under the headline “You Cannot Be Serious!”, the Daily Mail reports Martina Navratilova’s assertion that the BBC pays her fellow Wimbledon commentator, John McEnroe, 10 times as much as her.
The Guardian quotes the former women’s tennis champion as saying she was shocked to discover that the former men’s number one was paid £150,000 for his commentary work, whereas she got £15,000.
She says the bottom line is that men’s voices are valued more than women’s.
A BBC spokesman said the two stars performed different roles, with McEnroe’s of a different scale, scope and time commitment. Gender, according to the BBC, is not a factor.
A team of international experts is due to arrive in the UK to assess the nerve agent used to poison ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury. The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons delegation will visit the military research base at Porton Down in Wiltshire, whose own experts say the agent is of a type first developed by Russia.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has accused Moscow of stockpiling the agent used. But President Vladimir Putin said Russia had destroyed all of its chemical weapons and it was “nonsense” to implicate his government in the attack on 4 March.
Mr and Ms Skripal remain critically ill in hospital. Here’s what we know so far.
Putin remains as Russian president
Vladimir Putin has won again, as widely expected. He’s been re-elected as Russian president with an increased – 76% – share of the vote and will remain in office for another six years. Asked about running again in 2024, he replied: “What you are saying is a bit funny. Do you think that I will stay here until I’m 100 years old? No!”
His win means Mr Putin will have been either Russian president or prime minister for 24 years. His nearest rival, millionaire communist Pavel Grudinin, got 12% of the vote. But main opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was barred from running.
Independent election monitoring group Golos reported hundreds of irregularities on polling day – including some papers being found in boxes before voting started and webcams at some polling stations being obstructed by balloons and other objects. But the head of Russia’s Central Electoral Commission said there had been no serious violations. Here’s a profile of Mr Putin.
TV’s Ant McPartlin in drink-driving arrest
Ant McPartlin, co-host of TV shows Britain’s Got Talent and I’m A Celebrity, has been arrested on suspicion of drink-driving following a collision involving three vehicles. Police were called to the scene in Mortlake, south-west London, on Sunday afternoon. Ambulance staff treated a number of people for minor injuries.
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Drivers stranded in heavy snow
The so-called “mini-Beast from the East” has indeed not been as powerful as its predecessor, but it’s still brought disruption. A Met Office yellow warning for ice is in place for most of England and Wales, central and southern Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland until 10:00 GMT. And dozens of vehicles have been stranded on the A30 dual carriageway in Devon. Forecasters say more normal, spring-like conditions will return by Tuesday.
What are the UK’s oldest and youngest city populations?
By Andrew Carter and Paul Swinney, Centre for Cities
Over the past two decades, the average age of a UK resident has risen by two years, to 40. Within 30 years, one in four people is expected to be aged 65 and over. But the picture in cities is more complex. At 38, the average city dweller is younger. Cities are home to 62% of people aged 18-34, but only 46% of those aged 65 and over. Despite this, the populations of most UK cities are growing older, raising big questions about what that means for their development, and for meeting the future needs of residents.
Read the full article
What the papers say
The Guardian leads on the alleged information breach involving 50 million Facebook profiles, while the Financial Times says politicians are calling for a more detailed response from the social media giant. Meanwhile, the i calls Valdimir Putin’s election win a “landslide” – and reports on the Russian president dismissing allegations that his country was behind the Salisbury poisonings as “nonsense”. And the Daily Mail warns that food on sale in supermarkets is widely tainted with airborne plastic particles.
Stem cell transplant “Game changer” for multiple sclerosis patients
Martina Navratilova BBC pays John McEnroe far more than me, says tennis star
Circus death Cirque du Soleil aerialist falls on to stage during Florida show
Australia bushfire Dozens of buildings feared lost in coastal town of Tathra
If you see one thing today
Is ageing a curable disease?
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The menopause and the workplace
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Did my parents leave me on a hillside to die?
14:30 ParalympicsGB athletes are due to land at Heathrow Airport, as they return from Pyeongchang, South Korea.
18:40 US President Donald Trump is expected to unveil a plan to combat the opioid crisis, including urging prosecutors to seek the death penalty for drug dealers in fatal overdose cases.
On this day
1976 Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon are to separate after 16 years of marriage, Buckingham Palace announces.
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Tame your inner chimp (Guardian)
Walking among the world’s tallest trees (Daily Telegraph)
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It was the victory rally he never doubted he’d join. Two hours after the last polling stations in western Russia closed, Vladimir Putin strode on stage beneath the Kremlin walls to declare his re-election.
With a broad smile, he thanked the country for what he called “a vote of confidence” and promised to work for the future of a great nation. He then led the crowd of loyal, flag waving fans braving the freezing cold in a chant of “Russia! Russia!”
This was an election with eight candidates but one clear winner from the very start.
Russia’s most popular opposition politician Alexei Navalny had been excluded and a communist candidate was vilified by state-run media.
The society-girl-turned-activist Ksenia Sobchak ran her entire campaign on the basis she would lose.
President Putin shunned the pre-election debates entirely while the other candidates made threats or burst into tears. No wonder some critics called the whole event a circus.
Dancing to Putin’s tune
Turnout was the only real variable. So the vast majority of election billboards were not for individual candidates but simply reminders that Russians were “choosing a president”.
On voting day itself there was music and entertainment to help pull in the crowds.
At one central Moscow polling station a man on a balalaika played Western rock hits in front of a stall selling cheap pies.
Life in Putin’s Russia explained in 10 charts
Google’s most popular Putin search queries answered
There was a mini-ice hockey game for children, and face-painting. Pensioners could take the chance to sign up for activities including ballroom dancing and keep fit.
It was all part of the effort to secure maximum support for another six years of Vladimir Putin.
The vote was held on the anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the moment when the president’s rating had soared to a historic high.
“I want to see change, I am so tired of his leadership,” Olga said, after casting her ballot for the only female candidate in the race. “I want to see my country develop in a different way.”
“I’m not voting for Putin,” Kirill agreed, recalling that Vladimir Putin had been in power since 2000. “He’s been president too long and should go.”
But the final result – a landslide victory – showed that the vast majority of voters disagreed.
“We have started to live much better under Putin, patriotism is spreading. It’s wonderful,” Gelena Zakharova said, one of many smartly-dressed voters emerging from a central Moscow polling station.
“Russia has become a very powerful country. We’re rising from our knees. I really like it.”
As Russia has “risen” relations with the West have sunk, most lately with furious accusations from the UK over the poisoning of a former Russian spy.
Shortly after his victory speech, Mr Putin made his first extended comments on the case calling claims of Russian involvement “utter nonsense” and insisting his country destroyed all chemical weapons “unlike our partners”.
Most people here are baffled by the whole story.
To some, like Dmitry heading into another central Moscow polling station, it’s a chance for their president to act tough on the world stage.
“He’s one of the most powerful politicians in the world; a real tough guy and that’s good.”
But squaring up to the West only has limited appeal according to political analyst Ekaterina Shulman.
“The besieged fortress mentality is very useful to mobilise the incumbent. It reinforces the idea that there’s no alternative,” she says. “But it makes the electorate anxious and tired. It wears them out.”
Ultimately she argues the focus will have to shift to people’s real concerns – their shrinking wealth, health care, housing and education.
But judging by Vladimir Putin’s first comments after victory, a sudden thaw in relations with the West looks unlikely.
A British woman volunteer with the all-female Kurdish armed unit the YPJ has been killed in Syria, her father has told the BBC.
It is understood Anna Campbell, 26, from Lewes in East Sussex, died on 15 March in Afrin, which has been under bombardment by Turkish forces.
Dirk Campbell said his daughter was “very idealistic” and “determined”.
Turkey has been fighting Kurdish groups on Syrian territory close to its border since January.
Why Turkey is targeting Kurdish enclave in Syria
Kurds ousted from heart of Syrian city
Ms Campbell, who was a qualified plumber in the UK, travelled to Syria in May 2017 to help the Kurds, who were battling the Islamic State group.
Her father said: “She wanted to create a better world and she would do everything in her power to do that.”
He added: “I told her of course that she was putting her life in danger, which she knew full well she was doing.
“I feel I should have done more to persuade her to come back, but she was completely adamant.”
British police have repeatedly warned against travelling to Syria, and have advised that becoming involved with any armed group could lead to arrest and prosecution.
The BBC understands Ms Campbell had originally been involved in the fighting with the YPJ in Deir ez-Zor, where IS have continued to hold the last of their territory.
But in January, Turkish forces began a major offensive against the Kurds along the northern Syrian border.
Many Kurdish fighters left the fight against IS to defend Afrin and some British volunteers are known to have joined them.
Mr Campbell told the BBC he understands his daughter’s Kurdish comrades tried to stop her.
“With fair hair and blue eyes they knew she would stand out, but she dyed her hair black and persuaded them to let her go,” he said.
He added: “I contacted my MP Maria Caulfield as soon as I knew she was in danger from the Turkish bombardment.
“I emailed my MP and said my daughter is in danger, you have to get on to the Foreign Office and get them to put pressure on Turkey to stop.”
Turkey sees the YPJ and associated YPG as an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a link that the Kurds deny.
YPJ commander in Syria, Nesrin Abdullah, said Ms Campbell had “insisted” on leaving for Afrin, adding: “Although we tried to keep her far from the frontlines, the attacks from the Turkish state were very heavy.”
Eighth British death
Friends of Ms Campbell in Syria told the BBC she was killed by Turkish airstrikes, describing her as a feminist with “sincerity and courage” who wanted to fight for women’s liberation in the Middle East.
She is the first British woman to have died in Syria with the YPG or YPJ, but the eighth citizen to have been killed while assisting the groups.
Mr Campbell said he was “in pieces”, having only heard about the death on Sunday.
He said his daughter had been involved in human rights activism in the UK and it was the Kurdish aim of creating a democratic society in the wake of IS that inspired her to join them.
“When she heard about the political experiment in Rojava [the Kurdish area of northern Syria] this seemed to her to be the way the world should be”
“The social organisation at all levels, the equality. She wanted to help protect that.”
International experts are due in the UK to assess the type of nerve agent used to poison ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.
A team from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will visit the military research base at Porton Down in Wiltshire.
Experts at the site say the agent is of a type first developed by the Russians.
President Putin said the idea of state involvement – before Sunday’s election and the World Cup – was “unimaginable”.
Speaking after winning a fourth term as leader, he insisted Russia had destroyed all of its chemical weapons, adding it was “nonsense” to implicate his government in the attack on 4 March.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had earlier accused Moscow of stockpiling the agent used in the attack.
What are Novichok nerve agents?
Russian spy: What we know so far
Mr Johnson is travelling to Brussels to seek further support for Britain’s stance, from both the European Union and Nato.
The delegation from the Netherlands-based OPCW, which polices the prohibition of chemical weapons, will also meet senior detectives.
They have been invited by the UK to independently verify the nerve agent used and will take at least two weeks to produce results.
Ventilation system theory
Sergei Skripal, 66 and Yulia Skripal, 33, remain critically ill in hospital. They were found slumped on a bench near a shopping centre in the centre of Salisbury, having visited a pub and a restaurant.
The Metropolitan Police are treating the attack as attempted murder.
They have renewed their appeal for sightings of Mr Skripal’s burgundy BMW 320D saloon car, registration HD09 WAO, in Salisbury on the morning of 4 March.
According to sources cited in a report on ABC News in the US, Mr Skripal and his daughter may have been exposed to the nerve agent through the vehicle’s ventilation system.
Police say they have recovered 762 exhibits and are trawling through about 4,000 hours of CCTV footage.
Officers said they were “making good progress in what is a painstaking investigation that is likely to be ongoing for weeks, if not months”.
Prime Minister Theresa May told MPs last week that the substance used in the attack had been identified as belonging to a group of military-grade nerve agents known as Novichok, developed by the Soviet Union.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Boris Johnson said: “We actually have evidence within the last 10 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 Novichok.”
On Saturday, the Russian foreign ministry said UK staff would be expelled from Moscow within a week, in response to Britain’s decision to expel 23 Russian diplomats.
It also said it would close the British Council in Russia, which promotes cultural ties between the nations, and the British Consulate in St Petersburg.
The prime minister has said the UK government would consider its next steps “in the coming days, alongside our allies and partners”.
Meanwhile, the shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti reiterated Labour’s position that the incident was either a “loss of control” by the Russian state or a “malevolent directed attack”.
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, said Labour had given a “constructive critique” in response to the incident which others “had misread”.
He told ITV’s Peston on Sunday: “We support exactly what the prime minister said and we condemn Russia for this, condemn them.”
Vladimir Putin will lead Russia for another six years, after securing an expected victory in Sunday’s presidential election.
Mr Putin, who has ruled the country as either president or prime minister since 1999, got more than 76% of the vote, official results show.
The main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race.
Addressing a rally in Moscow, Mr Putin said voters had “recognised the achievements of the last few years”.
Speaking to reporters after the results were announced, he laughed off a question about running again in another six years.
“What you are saying is a bit funny. Do you think that I will stay here until I’m 100 years old? No!” he said.
The scale of victory – which had been widely predicted – appears to be a marked increase in his share of the vote from 2012, when he won 64%.
Mr Putin’s nearest competitor, millionaire communist Pavel Grudinin, received about 12%.
The race also included Ksenia Sobchak, a former reality TV host, and veteran nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky – they got less than 2% and about 6% respectively.
Mr Putin’s campaign team said it was an “incredible victory”.
“The percentage that we have just seen speaks for itself. It’s a mandate which Putin needs for future decisions, and he has a lot of them to make,” a spokesman told Russia’s Interfax.
In some areas, free food and discounts in local shops were on offer near polling stations.
Skip Twitter post by @Kasparov63
Every free world leader who congratulates Putin on his “election” is complicit in his global war on democracy. They undermine their own status as freely elected leaders.
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) March 18, 2018
End of Twitter post by @Kasparov63
Video recordings from polling stations showed irregularities in a number of towns and cities across Russia. Several showed election officials stuffing boxes with ballot papers.
Mr Navalny was excluded from the election because of an embezzlement conviction that he said was manufactured by the Kremlin.
In his first reaction to the news, Mr Navalny indicated he had been unable to contain his anger.
“Now is the season of Lent. I took it upon myself never to get angry and not to raise my voice. Oh well, I’ll try again next year,” he tweeted.
During polling day, independent election monitoring group Golos reported hundreds of irregularities, including:
Voting papers found in some ballot boxes before polls opened
Observers were barred from entering some polling stations
Some people were bussed in amid suspicion of forced voting
Webcams at polling stations were obstructed by balloons and other obstacles
Videos taken from the election commission’s live stream of polling stations also appeared to show some instances of officials stuffing ballots into boxes.
In Dagestan, one election official said he was prevented from doing his job by a crowd of men who blocked the ballot box.
But Ella Pamfilova, head of the Central Electoral Commission, said there were no serious violations.
“We have analysed and monitored everything we could, everything that has arrived. Thank goodness, it’s all rather modest so far,” she told a commission meeting while speaking about violations.
She had earlier said that anyone involved in violations would be caught.
Sunday’s vote was also the first in Crimea since Russia seized the region from Ukraine. Mr Putin’s victory rally coincided with the anniversary of the annexation.
The annexation was bitterly contested by Kiev and ratcheted up tensions between Russia and the West. Russians living in Ukraine were unable to take part in Sunday’s vote because access to Russian diplomatic missions was blocked by the Kiev government.