Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday a complete victory had been achieved over Islamic State militants on both banks of the Euphrates river in Syria.
"I will put forward my candidacy for the post of president of the Russian Federation", he told an audience of workers at a auto factory in the city of Nizhny Novgorod.
He served two presidential terms in 2000-2008, then shifted into the prime minister's seat because of term limits, but continued calling the shots while his ally, Dmitry Medvedev, served as placeholder president. His critics accuse him of overseeing a corrupt authoritarian system and of illegally annexing Ukraine's Crimea, a move that has isolated Russian Federation.
A win would see Mr Putin secure a fourth six-year term as president and means he would be eligible to serve until 2024, when he will be 72.
Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament, said Putin's announcement helped end "anxiety and tensions in the society".
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Despite the Central Election Commission ruling him ineligible to stand, Navalny has organised mass protests and set up campaign headquarters across the country, hoping he can pressure the authorities into allowing him to stand. Many investors said the lack of a clear succession plan, and likely jockeying for position among Russian elites for dominance in the post-Putin era, is becoming the biggest political risk. Putin faces no serious threats in his re-election bid. "I will run for president".
Past candidates such as Communist chief Gennady Zyuganov, ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky and liberal leader Grigory Yavlinsky have all declared their intention to run.
In comments released by the Kremlin, Putin said the military operation in the area was now finished, and that the focus would switch to a political process that would eventually involve presidential and parliamentary elections.
"The United Russia party that has been founded by President Putin will support his candidacy".