Monitoring Outside Interference in Ukraine's 2019 Presidential Election

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 and its annexation of Crimea. 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 aimed 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.

At this event, the Task Force discussed its findings. Our first panel discussed how foreign actors attempted to use disinformation to disrupt the presidential election, and how we can monitor and combat such interference efforts in future democratic elections. The second panel featured key experts who analyzed the kinetic movements and hybrid warfare tactics used to interfere in Ukraine’s presidential election. Our final panel looked at cyber interference efforts during the election cycle and what was done to prevent or mitigate such efforts.