In support of Ukraine, 18 European Union member states have called on the bloc to be “ready to act” in case Russia tries to undermine the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections later this year. This is according to a document seen by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
In a discussion paper titled Keeping Ukraine On Its European Path, the 18 countries also say that the bloc should “avoid EU fatigue in Ukraine or Ukraine fatigue in the EU.”
The document, which EU officials were not authorised to release publicly, was endorsed by representatives of Austria, Belgium, Britain, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden.
According to RFE/RL, the discussion paper says that the upcoming elections will be “a test case for Ukraine: its democracy, its reforms, its resilience, and its orientation. It remains a key interest of the EU to keep Ukraine on a European path of reforms and to continue its support.”
It states that “the campaign environment is challenging, and Ukrainian resilience will be key in case of Russian interference,” noting that Moscow is expected to “seek to influence the elections through support to its preferred candidates, cyberattacks, and disinformation campaigns.”
The 18 EU countries call for measures to counter the “false Russian narrative of Ukraine as a ‘failed state.’”
According to the document, Brussels should also “provide additional assistance, including humanitarian assistance,” to eastern Ukraine where fighting between Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed separatists has killed more than 10,300 people since April 2014.