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article imageBolton says US to help Ukraine counter Russian vote 'meddling'

By AFP     Aug 24, 2018 in World

The United States is ready to help Ukraine counter any "interference" by Russia in its 2019 presidential election, US National Security Advisor John Bolton said on Friday during his visit to Kiev.

"(Ukrainian) President (Petro) Poroshenko and I agreed that we would look at steps that the US and Ukraine could take to look at election meddling here," Bolton said after a meeting with Ukraine's leader.

"We could do that through normal law enforcement channels, through other mechanisms," he added. "We are prepared to work with the government of Ukraine to prevent such meddling here."

Poroshenko, who has been in office since 2014, is reportedly going to run for a second term next year.

But currently the former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was imprisoned under ex-president Viktor Yanukovych, is the favourite, according to the latest opinion polls.

On Thursday, Bolton said he warned his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev that Washington would not tolerate interference in US mid-term elections in November, after fresh evidence emerged of Russian meddling.

Earlier this week, Facebook and Twitter separately announced that they had uncovered hundreds of pages and accounts tied to Russia and Iran aimed at manipulating debate ahead of the US vote.

Microsoft said this week that it seized websites linked to Russian intelligence that sought to interfere in US political debate.

Russia has repeatedly denied any effort to influence US elections, including via social media.

Russia and Ukraine are at loggerheads since the pro-Western popular uprising ousted Kremlin-backed Yanukovych in 2014.

Ukrainian servicemen march in Kiev in a military parade to celebrate Independence Day  27 years afte...
Ukrainian servicemen march in Kiev in a military parade to celebrate Independence Day, 27 years after Ukraine broke away from the Soviet Union.
Genya SAVILOV, AFP

It was followed by Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula and the war between government forces and Russian-backed separatists in the country's east which has claimed more than 10,000 lives.

As a sign of US support, Bolton on Friday attended the biggest ever military parade in central Kiev on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of Ukraine's independence.

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