Campaign rally for Putin's re-election fills Moscow stadium
Russian leader greets thousands of supporters in Luzhniki stadium ahead of presidential vote
Tens of thousands of Russian President Vladimir Putin's supporters have gathered for a campaign rally at Moscow's sprawling main sports complex.
The crowd at the rally, held two weeks before Russia's presidential election, filled the Luzhniki stadium, which has the capacity for more than 81,000 people. Police estimated the overall turnout at the complex, which includes other sports facilities, to be 130,000.
Putin paid a short visit to the rally, dubbed "For a strong Russia," standing on a stage in the middle of the pitch and singing the national anthem surrounded by Russia's Olympics-winning hockey team and celebrities from TV stars to pop singers.
He told the cheering crowd: "We want to make our country bright, forward-looking into the future, because our ancestors lived here, we live here, our children live here and our children and our grandchildren will live here."
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Putin is seeking a fourth term and faces no significant opposition in the March 18 election.
The rally was held two days after Putin unveiled Russia's next generation of nuclear armaments, including a missile he claims cannot be intercepted by any modern defence system.
On Friday, Putin said he would reverse the collapse of the Soviet Union if he had a chance to alter modern Russian history, news agencies reported.
With files from CBC News and Reuters