JERUSALEM-- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has congratulated newly re-elected Russian President Vladimir Putin despite suspicions of election fraud.

Netanyahu extended his blessing Thursday to the premier and invited him to visit Israel.
Russian election authorities announced Monday that Putin won 64 percent of the vote. This victory grants Putin a third six-year term.

Putin's opponents discounted the election, citing a lack of credible rivals and widespread voting violations. In recent months, protests against Putin have drawn up to 100,000 people.

Israel's foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, an immigrant from the former Soviet republic of Moldova, said last week that he trusted the Russian presidential elections because of local and foreign election observers.

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