OTTAWA — The first waves of Canadian election monitors have arrived in Ukraine, as fears rise over Russian meddling in the March 31 presidential ballot.
The Canadian Press has learned the last of 58 long-term monitors arrived in the east European country on Tuesday.
The group is made up of 50 people who are part of a Canadian-led bilateral mission that will eventually include an additional 100 more short-term observers.
A further eight observers arrived recently as part of Canada’s contribution to the multi-nation mission led by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. Canada will send another 14 short-term observers to that mission in the coming weeks.
The observer missions are crucial to preserving Ukraine’s ability to conduct a democratically-sound election in the face of Russian disinformation efforts designed to portray the country as poorly run and corrupt.
The head of Ukraine’s cyber police tells the Associated Press today that Russian cyberhackers have stepped up their efforts to penetrate its central election commission computer systems in order to manipulate information.