Moscow's interference in Ukraine's elections could be unprecedented – Horbulin
First Vice-President of Ukraine's National Academy of Sciences Volodymyr Horbulin has said Russian influence during presidential and parliamentary election campaigns in Ukraine during 2019 could be unprecedented.
"Moscow's interference during the course of election campaigns threatens to become unprecedented. There is too much at stake. It's not by chance that some of our Western partners are waiting until the end of the elections before forming plans for bilateral cooperation," Horbulin said in an article, titled "Play fair," published in the weekly Kyiv-based Zerkalo Nedeli newspaper.
Horbulin said among the potential candidates "on the fingers of one hand" one can count the number of people who are able to think and calculate the situation at least two steps ahead.
"The danger is that among potential presidential candidates and future parliament candidates are obvious, or latent agents, of Russian influence, for whom Russia is trying to create the necessary conditions for victory," Horbulin said.
Horbulin said many lack a clear and understandable program, a strategic vision of the future, an adequate understanding of the international situation, as well as an awareness of the degree and nature of the threat posed by Russia.
The article listed the numerous mobilization measures Russia has taken.
The expert has no doubt that Moscow will make every effort to create maximum chaos in the Ukrainian elections, threatening large-scale military intervention, carrying out maneuvers at the border and possibly staging bloody provocations.
"The current task of Russia's president is to demonstrate to the world that he is ready for any development of events and that, if necessary, he will go to the end. But incomplete internal readiness for a large-scale war does not mean giving up the escalation of tension and new attempts to destabilize the situation," Horbulin said, noting that Russia seeks to control Ukraine and Belarus, as well as increase its control over the Baltic countries. He said Russia also seeks to create instability in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, as well as foment strife Germany, France, the central and southern EU countries.
"Is the West as a whole ready for war, as a real phenomenon capable of suddenly and abruptly breaking into European reality? No, despite the constant destabilization carried out by Russia. The dividing line between states aware of the reality of the threat (Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Britain , Scandinavian countries, partly - Slovakia and the Czech Republic) and all the rest, became even deeper. Verbal declarations, half-hearted resolutions and various conferences show the imitations of their effective response," Horbulin said.