The Federation Council, Russia's upper house of parliament, on Thursday set the country's next presidential election for 17 March 2024.
In a meeting broadcast live on public television, senators unanimously set the date, "a decision that practically launches the presidential campaign" in Russia, in the words of the institution's president, Valentina Matvienko.
The elections will be "a kind of culmination of the reunification" with Russia of the Ukrainian regions of Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporiyia, whose annexation Moscow claims, she added.
The elections will take place shortly after the second anniversary of the start of Russia's offensive in Ukraine, which was launched in February 2022 and has led to an unprecedented series of sanctions against Russia.
"Despite difficult external circumstances and the enemy's attempts to weaken Russia, we stand by our core constitutional values and guarantee all rights and freedoms of citizens," Matvienko stressed.
In her opinion, "our citizens are more united than ever" around the government of President Vladimir Putin, "and the task of the state is to prove itself worthy of this trust, to prevent the slightest provocation".
Putin is not yet officially a candidate for another term in office, but the 2020 constitutional revision allows him to run for power until 2036.