Pro-Kremlin candidates win all 14 Russian governorships

MOSCOW (AP) — Pro-Kremlin candidates won all of the 14 regional governorships that were chosen in the first elections in Russia since it sent troops into Ukraine, according to preliminary results Monday.

Most of the winners ran as members of United Russia, the country’s dominant political party that is closely tied to President Vladimir Putin. Two ran as self-nominated but support United Russia.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, asked by reporters Monday, if the results constitute a show of support for Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, said “Absolutely.”

“This shows a high level of support for both the current head and the decisions he makes,” Peskov said.

United Russia candidates also dominated the elections for six regional parliaments in the voting that was held Friday through Sunday. However, in the Sakhalin region, United Russia totaled only 47% of the vote.

Many opposition politicians were barred from running in the three-day vote.

United Russia’s candidates won about 75% of the municipal council seats in Moscow, according to state news agency Tass. Municipal councils, the lowest level of local governance with little real power, have become battlegrounds for opposition politicians cut off from competing in national races.