Russian hackers are redoubling their efforts in the run-up to presidential elections in Ukraine, according to the head of Ukraine’s cyber-police. Serhii Demediuk said in an interview with The Associated Press that Russian-controlled digital saboteurs are stepping up attacks on the Central Elections Commission and its employees, trying to penetrate electronic systems in order to manipulate information about the March 31 election. “On the eve of the election and during the counting of votes there will be cyberattacks on certain objects of critical infrastructure. This applies to the work of the polling stations themselves, districts, and the CEC,” he said. “From what we are seeing, it will be manipulation aimed at distorting information about the results of elections, and calling the elections null or void,” Demediuk said.
The presidential election will be a test of Ukraine’s capacity for order. Russia has consistently portrayed Ukraine under President Petro Poroshenko as corrupt and poorly run, and undermining the election’s credibility could serve Russia’s propaganda interests.
Ukraine aspires to join the European Union and NATO, and an orderly and credible election could show that it is approaching the democratic standards that those organizations consider key.