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Putin Does Not 'Rule Out' Re-election Bid

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting in the town of Valdai, Novgorod region, Russia, September 19, 2013.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thurday he may run for a fourth term as head of state in the country's next presidential election, scheduled for 2018.

His comments came during an annual meeting with journalists and Russia experts, held in the town of Valdai in the country’s Novgorod region.

Asked whether he might run for president again when his current six-year term expires, Putin responded: "I do not rule it out."

Putin was Russia's prime minister from 1999 to 2000, after which he served two four-year terms as president, from 2000 to 2008. He again served as prime minister from 2008 to 2012, when he was elected to a new, six-year presidential term.

Russia's constitution states that a president may not serve more than two terms consecutively.

On the issue of Syria, Putin told the meeting in Valdai that he could not be "100 percent sure" that a plan to destroy the country's chemical weapons will be carried out completely, but said recent steps by Damascus "inspire confidence" that it will be.

He cited, among other things, the Syrian government's announcement that it will join the international chemical weapons convention.

Putin also said he had every reason to believe the August 21 chemical weapons attack outside Damascus, which the U.S. says killed 1,400 people, was a "provocation" staged by foes of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian government has blamed the attack on rebel forces.