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Vladimir Putin has thanked soldiers “fighting for our motherland” in Ukraine – as he was sworn in as Russian president for a fifth time.

At a ceremony in the gilded Grand Kremlin Palace, Mr Putin placed his hand on the Russian constitution and vowed to defend it as a crowd of hand-picked dignitaries looked on.

An artillery salute marked the end of the official presidential inauguration, and as he left the palace to the sound of the Russian national anthem, a round of applause erupted from those in the audience.

Ukraine-Russia war latest: Putin claims he could work with West

Pic: Kremlin.ru/Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin places his hand on the Constitution as he takes the oath during an inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia May 7, 2024, in this still image taken from live broadcast video. Kremlin.ru/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT.
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Mr Putin places his hand on the constitution. Pic: Kremlin.ru/Reuters

Tuesday’s inauguration marks the start of another six years at the top for Mr Putin, 71.

He is already the Kremlin’s longest-serving leader since Joseph Stalin, having been in power for nearly two-and-a-half decades – 20 years as president, four as prime minister.

By the end of this term, only Catherine the Great will be ahead of him – she ruled Russia way back in the 18th century.

His new term does not expire until 2030, when he will be constitutionally eligible to run again.

When he succeeded Boris Yeltsin in 1999, Russia was emerging from economic collapse.

Under his leadership, most notably since the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the country has become a pariah state that threatens global security, reliant on regimes like China, Iran and North Korea for support.

Russia’s enormous advantage in resources has gradually turned the tide in Ukraine in Moscow’s favour, but both sides have been suffering heavy casualties.

Following his widely-anticipated re-election in March, Mr Putin suggested a confrontation between NATO and Russia was possible, and he declared he wanted to carve out a buffer zone in Ukraine to protect his country from cross-border attacks.

Vladimir Putin
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The ceremony took place at the gilded Grand Kremlin Palace

With major changes at home and abroad over the past two years, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the circumstances do not make it more important to give the public the right to speak out.

“It needs tougher measures to ensure the victory, to ensure that we reach our goals,” he told Sky News, when asked if Russians should not have more say during a war.

He insisted that is a democratic stance in “the same circumstances Western media exists in Europe and the US” and denied Mr Putin has made the country a dictatorship.

“This is not the case absolutely, absolutely, it’s just propaganda, it’s rough propaganda, nothing else,” he added.

“So, we are living in our country, in our own environment and it’s purely democratic. We choose our power. We elect our power. We elect our president.”

Pic: Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin walks before an inauguration ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia May 7, 2024. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/Pool
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Pic: Reuters

As the country’s economy remains on a war footing, analysts say that, with another term in office secured, the Kremlin could take the unpopular steps of raising taxes to fund the war and pressure more men to join the military.

The repression that has characterised Mr Putin’s time in office continued when his greatest political foe, opposition leader Alexei Navalny, died in an Arctic penal colony in February.

Mr Peskov told Sky News opposition remains in the country, but added “of course the conditions are much more tough around here because we are in war conditions”.

Other prominent critics have either been imprisoned or have fled the country, and even some of his opponents abroad fear for their security.

Defiant and determined – Russia’s leader is in it for the long haul

The speech was vintage Vladimir – talking up Russia’s greatness, blaming the West for Moscow’s isolation and doubling down on his current path.

If there was any hope of him mellowing in this next term of office, President Putin dispelled that right at the beginning, referring to the security of the Russian people as a matter “above all”.

Translation – we’re in the confrontation with the West for the long haul.

But whose fault is it? Not ours, he said. All part of the Kremlin’s narrative to portray Russia as the victim.

What might concern western officials, is the tone of the speech, especially the last line: “We will realise everything we have planned, together we will win.”

With things going his way at home and on the battlefield, the Russian president appears increasingly confident, and increasingly defiant.

Laws have been promising long prison terms for anyone who discredits the military.

The Kremlin also targets independent media, rights groups, LGBTQ+ activists and others who do not adhere to what Mr Putin has emphasised as Russia’s “traditional family values”.

Read more:
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Sky News’ international affairs editor Dominic Waghorn said Mr Putin “has taken a country that was emerging from communism and economic collapse towards reform and reintegration into the international community, and he’s turned it in a pariah state threatening global security while he and his kleptocracy have stolen billions”.

He added: “In his inauguration speech, Putin said Russia stands united [but] an estimated 900,000 Russians have voted with their feet and left the country since his invasion of Ukraine.”

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Four girls stabbed at cinema in Massachusetts

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Four girls stabbed at cinema in Massachusetts

Four girls aged between nine and 17 were stabbed in an “unprovoked” attack at a cinema in Massachusetts, US police have said.

A 21-year-old woman and a 29-year-old man were also found stabbed in a McDonald’s restaurant in an incident that may be connected, according to officers.

A man, whose identity has not been released, was taken into custody following a vehicle chase that ended in a crash in Sandwich, Cape Cod.

Police said a man came into the AMC Braintree 10 complex, south of Boston, at about 6pm local time on Saturday and entered one of the movie theatres without paying.

“Without saying anything and without any warning, he suddenly attacked the four young females,” the Braintree police department said in a statement.

“The attack appeared to be unprovoked. After the attack, the man ran out and left in a vehicle.”

The girls sustained non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to hospitals in Boston for treatment.

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The suspect’s vehicle – what appeared to be a black SUV – and number plate was seen on camera, police said.

A vehicle matching the description of the suspect’s vehicle was later seen in Plymouth, about 27 miles south of Braintree.

Police said it had left a McDonald’s restaurant, where a 21-year-old woman and a 29-year-old man were found stabbed and both were taken to hospitals with injuries.

Police found the vehicle another 20 miles south, in Sandwich, and attempted to pull it over, but it didn’t stop and later crashed.

The driver was taken into custody shortly afterward and was being treated at a hospital.

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Passengers and crew injured after turbulence on Qatar Airways flight to Dublin

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Passengers and crew injured after turbulence on Qatar Airways flight to Dublin

Eight people have been taken to hospital due to turbulence on a flight to Dublin.

Dublin Airport said six passengers and six crew members on a Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Dublin were hurt after experiencing turbulence over Turkey.

In a later statement, the airport said all passengers were assessed for injury before getting off the plane and eight were taken to hospital.

Graeme McQueen, a spokesman for DAA, the operator of Dublin Airport, told Sky News the aircraft was met by emergency services upon landing shortly before 1pm on Sunday.

The scene at Dublin Airport

Qatar Airways described the injuries sustained by passengers and crew as “minor”.

It said: “[They] are now receiving medical attention… The safety and security of our passengers and crew are our top priority.”

An internal investigation into what happened has now been launched.

Read more:
Is flight turbulence getting worse – and what types are there?

Climate change causing more turbulence – scientists

Earlier this week, in a separate incident, a British man died on a Singapore Airlines flight after extreme turbulence on a Heathrow-Singapore journey.

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Singapore Airlines passenger Josh Silverstone describes ordeal

Turbulence is defined as a sudden change in airflow and wind speed.

It can often be associated with storm clouds, which are usually well forecast and monitored, allowing planes to fly around them, Sky News weather producer Jo Robinson said.

Clear-air turbulence (CAT) is much more dangerous as there are no visual signs, such as clouds.

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This invisible vertical air movement usually occurs at and above 15,000ft and is mostly linked to the jet stream.

It is unclear what type of turbulence the Qatar Airways flight went through.

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Papua New Guinea: More than 2,000 people buried alive in landslide – as ‘major destruction’ hampers rescue efforts

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Papua New Guinea: More than 2,000 people buried alive in landslide - as 'major destruction' hampers rescue efforts

More than 2,000 people have been buried by a massive landslide in northern Papua New Guinea, the country’s disaster agency has said.

The landslide levelled the mountainous Kaokalam village in Enga Province – about 370 miles (600km) northwest of the capital Port Moresby.

It hit the Pacific nation at around 3am local time on Friday (6pm on Thursday UK time), and the United Nations had earlier said it estimated 670 people had been killed. Local officials had initially put the number of dead at 100 or more.

People search through a landslide in Yambali village. Pic: Kafuri Yaro/UNDP Papua New Guinea via AP
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People search through a landslide in Yambali village. Pic: Kafuri Yaro/UNDP Papua New Guinea via AP

The Papua New Guinea national disaster centre said the landslide had buried more than 2,000 people.

“The landslide buried more than 2,000 people alive and caused major destruction to buildings, food gardens and caused major impact on the economic lifeline of the country,” an official from the national disaster centre said in a letter to the United Nations.

Earlier, Serhan Aktoprak, head of the United Nations’ International Organisation for Migration mission on the island nation, said the figure of 670 deaths was based on calculations by local officials that more than 150 homes had been buried. The previous estimate was 60 homes.

“They are estimating that more than 670 people [are] under the soil at the moment,” he said.

More than 4,000 people were likely impacted by the disaster, humanitarian group CARE Australia said earlier.

It said the area was “a place of refuge for those displaced by [nearby] conflicts”.

Pic: New Porgera Limited/Reuters
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Pic: New Porgera Limited/Reuters

Pic: New Porgera Limited/Reuters
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Pic: New Porgera Limited/Reuters

About six villages were affected by the landslide in the province’s Mulitaka region, according to Australia‘s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Three bodies were pulled from an area where 50 to 60 homes were destroyed. Six people, including a child, were pulled from the rubble alive, the UN’s Papua New Guinea office said.

But hopes of finding more survivors were diminishing.

Pic: AP
Villagers use heavy machinery to search through a landslide in Yambali in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, Sunday, May 26, 2024. The International Organization for Migration feared Sunday the death toll from a massive landslide is much worse than what authorities initially estimated. (Mohamud Omer/International Organization for Migration via AP)
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Villagers use heavy machinery to search through the landslide. Pic: AP

Yambali was among the villages affected. Pic: Mohamud Omer/International Organisation for Migration via AP
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Yambali was among the villages affected. Pic: Mohamud Omer/International Organisation for Migration via AP

The landslide left debris up to eight metres deep across 200 sq km (77 sq miles), cutting off road access, which was making relief efforts difficult. Helicopters were the only way to reach the area.

Survivors searched through tonnes of earth and rubble by hand looking for missing relatives while a first emergency convoy delivered food, water and other provisions on Saturday.

However, Mr Aktoprak added: “Hopes to take the people out alive from the rubble have diminished now.”

In February, at least 26 men were killed in Enga Province in an ambush amid tribal violence that prompted Prime Minister James Marape to give arrest powers to the country’s military.

Mr Marape has said disaster officials, the defence force and the department of works and highways were assisting with relief and recovery efforts.

View of the damage after a landslide in Maip Mulitaka, Enga province, Papua New Guinea May 24, 2024 in this obtained image. Emmanuel Eralia via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.?
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A damaged house after the landslide. Pic: Reuters

People carry bags in the aftermath of a landslide in Enga Province, Papua New Guinea, May 24, 2024, in this still image obtained from a video. Andrew Ruing/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT
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Locals carry their belongings away from the scene of the landslide. Pic: Reuters

Papua New Guinea, with a population of around 10 million, is a diverse, developing nation of mostly subsistence farmers with 800 languages. There are few roads outside the larger cities.

It is located on the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where much of the world’s earthquake and volcanic activity occurs.

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In March, the country was hit by a 6.9-magnitude earthquake.

The US and Australia are building closer defence ties with the strategically important nation, while China is also seeking closer security and economic ties.

US President Joe Biden and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said their governments stood ready to help respond to the landslide.

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