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People with Russian flags gathering in front of a stage with two giant screens showing Vladimir Putin.
President Vladimir Putin spoke at a celebration in Red Square in Moscow yesterday.Nanna Heitmann for The New York Times

A day after he was declared victor in Russia’s rubber-stamp presidential election, Vladimir Putin used a celebration yesterday to signal that the war against Ukraine would continue to dominate his rule — and that his fight to add territory to Russia wasn’t over.

At the celebration held in Red Square, Putin highlighted Russia’s control of Crimea. He stood in front of a banner celebrating the 10th anniversary of the peninsula’s annexation, and spoke about bringing the people of eastern Ukraine “back to their home family.”

Repeating a warning he made last summer, Putin said that Russia could seek to create a “security zone” on Ukrainian territory that Russia does not currently control.

Russians are now bracing for what might come next. For many, the big worry is of another military draft. And analysts believe that creating such a buffer zone would require capturing parts of the Kharkiv region of Ukraine — which could require a new mobilization.

Election results: The authorities said that Putin had won more than 87 percent of the vote. Here are takeaways.

Polls: The Kremlin may have felt more comfortable orchestrating such a large margin of victory because Putin’s approval rating has climbed during the war in independent polls. But a poll from late January also found that more than half of respondents supported restoring relations with Western countries and a truce with Ukraine.

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