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Putin claims victory in Russian election

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Prime Minister Vladimir Putin claimed victory in Russia's presidential election on Sunday, with tears rolling down his cheeks at a victory rally attended by tens of thousands of supporters in central Moscow.

"I promised you we would win. We have won. Glory to Russia," Putin told the rally close to the walls of the Kremlin. "We won in an open and fair struggle."

Putin said the Russian people had clearly rejected the attempts of unidentified enemies to "destroy Russia's statehood and usurp power."

"The Russian people have shown today that such scenarios will not succeed in our land," said Putin, flanked by outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev. "They shall not pass!"

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, Editing by Douglas Busvine)

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