17 Jan 2019 10:43

Poroshenko vows to minimize Russian influence on Ukraine's elections

KYIV. Jan 17 (Interfax) - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he intends to minimize Russia's influence on the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in the country.

"I, as president, will do everything I can to minimize Russian influence on our elections," Poroshenko said at a meeting with the heads of foreign diplomatic missions and international organizations accredited in Ukraine in Kyiv on Wednesday.

Russia's operation to influence the Ukrainian elections is already under way, Poroshenko said, adding that Moscow's plans are not a secret.

"Actually, the leadership of Russia is not making any great secret of its plans to use the presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine to install authorities [in Ukraine] that will be controlled by [Russia]," he said.

"The goal is also quite clear - to stop Ukraine's democratic development, stop its movement towards European and Euro-Atlantic integration, and bring it back to the so-called 'Russian sphere of influence'," Poroshenko said.

The president promised to create all necessary conditions for hold free and honest elections in line with the highest international standards in Ukraine.

"For this end, we have invited observers from authoritative international organizations and individual states to monitor our presidential elections," he said.

Ukraine is due to hold its presidential election on March 31, 2019. The 90-day-long election campaign was launched in the country on December 31, 2018.