Putin coy about extending his rule in Russia beyond 2024

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has skirted a question about a possibility that he could stay at the helm beyond 2024.

Speaking in an interview with the Austrian ORF television broadcast late Monday, Putin said he wouldn't comment on speculations that a referendum could keep him in power after his current term ends.

The 65-year-old Putin was inaugurated last month for another six-year term. He already is Russia's longest-serving leader since Josef Stalin.

Putin served two four-year presidential terms in 2000-2008 before shifting into the prime minister's seat to observe a limit of two consecutive presidential terms while his longtime ally Dmitry Medvedev was elected president. Putin reclaimed the presidency in 2012 after the presidential term was extended to six years under Medvedev's tenure.