On the side-lines of the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 24, the Ukraine and the country’s Western supporters expressed fears over Russian interference elections this year.
“For Russia, this election is a final chance to get its revenge,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told AFP following the “Ukrainian Breakfast” event.
“There is a big risk that Russia will use the experience it has gathered by interfering in foreign elections the world over to attempt to undermine the vote and destabilise the situation,” he told journalists.
As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), the election comes with relations between Kiev and Moscow in tatters.
Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014 and supported an uprising by Russian-speaking separatists in the east of the ex-Soviet country.
The conflict there has since claimed more than 10,000 lives.
Former US secretary of state John Kerry, also at the Davos event, said “this election in many ways is much bigger than just Ukraine”.
“I hope everybody will do their fair share to contribute to the ability of the people of Ukraine to be able to make their choice,” he added.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Ukraine had been used as a “laboratory” to test methods for interference then used elsewhere.
“By working with Ukraine on helping Ukraine to have free and fair election, we’re helping ourselves,” she said.
Former Swedish prime minister Carl Bildt said that populist policies such as slashing gas prices, as proposed by Tymoshenko and other candidates, were “irresponsible”.
“I am afraid that there will be populist policies that will derail the progress that Ukraine has done,” he told AFP.