Monitoring Outside Interference in Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election

Please join the Atlantic Council, the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, and the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity for an event entitled Monitoring Outside Interference in Ukraine’s 2019 Presidential Election on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 at the Hilton Kyiv Hotel. Russia has long waged a hybrid war in Ukraine, using it as a testing ground for operations ranging from disinformation campaigns to cyberattacks aimed at the power grid and other critical infrastructure, as well as its continued military presence in Ukraine’s east. The Atlantic Council, together with the Victor Pinchuk Foundation and the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity launched the Ukrainian Election Task Force to monitor and expose potential interference efforts by foreign actors throughout the Ukrainian presidential election cycle. This effort aims to help Ukrainians blunt outside influence efforts. Given that Ukraine has become a testing ground for Russian interference efforts, it is critical for Western allies to support Ukraine and learn from developments there when it comes to their own upcoming elections.


ISSUE BRIEF

The Atlantic Council, the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, and the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity have established the Ukrainian Election Task Force. Working with other Ukrainian institutions—StopFake, Razumkov Centre, and Detector Media—the three partners created a rapid-response team with the ability to monitor, evaluate, and disclose the full range of foreign subversive activities in Ukraine, and to propose suitable responses.


Western democracies are under threat from outside meddling, and Ukraine is the testing ground for this interference. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s persistent efforts to influence the domestic politics of his neighbors and countries well beyond Russia’s borders have posed enormous challenges in Europe and across the Atlantic...


Task Force in Washington, DC

On Monday, April 1, 2019, the Ukrainian Election Task Force, in partnership with the Victor Pinchuk Foundation and the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, hosted a panel discussion in Washington, DC exploring foreign, particularly Kremlin, interference in the first round of the March 31 Ukrainian presidential election. David J. Kramer opened the panel saying that “the Task Force…has been very effective in exposing efforts to interfere in Ukraine’s election coming from outside.” He went on to describe how the first round was not completely free of outside interference, and how “99.9 percent of the incidents not surprisingly have come from Russia, from the Putin regime.” The interference encompassed a variety of threat types, including cyber, disinformation, and kinetic measures. The goal of the Kremlin’s interference was to destabilize Ukraine and “create this image that Ukraine was incapable of conducting a free and fair and legitimate election.” Overall, the panelists agreed that the first round of the election proceeded with low levels of foreign interference and thus signaled a positive step for democracy in Ukraine. The Task Force will continue to closely monitor Kremlin and other foreign interference efforts in near real-time.


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