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    Ukrainian Petro Poroshenko attends a panel discussion on the first day of the 53rd Munich Security Conference (MSC) at the Bayerischer Hof hotel in Munich, Germany, February 17, 2017

    'Bad News': What if US 'Digs Into' Ukraine's Alleged Meddling in 2016 Election?

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    Future FBI Director Cristopher Wray said that he would be interested to look into Kiev’s alleged meddling in the electoral process in the United States. According to political analyst Alexei Zudin, this is another alarming signal from Washington to the Ukrainian government.

    In January, Politico published an article claiming that high-ranking officials of the Ukrainian government meddled in the US election, in particular by seeking to implicate Donald Trump’s aide in a corruption scheme.

    According to the report, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a $50,000-a-month contract with a Republican lobbying firm to assist in setting up meetings with government officials in an effort to "strengthen the US-Ukrainian relations."

    Senator Lindsey Graham was questioning Wray about the report. Wray said that he had not heard about the allegations but would be "happy to dig into it."

    "I have no idea if they are true, but would you agree with me that if they are true, that is wrong for Ukraine to be involved with our elections," Graham inquired.

    "Yes," Wray replied.

    Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said earlier that there was "real collusion" between the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Ukraine during the campaign.

    In an interview with Radio Sputnik, expert at the Institute for Social-Economic and Political Studies Alexei Zudin said that Wray’s statement is a wake-up call for Ukrainian leadership.

    "Upon closer inspection, there  is bad news for Kiev. Their actions and their statements openly indicated that the Ukrainian government supported Hillary Clinton during the US electoral campaign. This is an accomplished fact, not some speculations. Taking this fact into account, this is really bad news for Kiev," Zudin said.

    Apparently, the Ukrainian government does not want the White House to remember that story. However, according to the expert, Washington  will not forget it in his future relations with Kiev.

    "Probably, the Trump administration could use this fact as leverage over the Ukrainian government in the near future or in the mid-run," Zudin suggested.

    On Sunday, US State Secretary Rex Tillerson arrived in Kiev. Earlier, Tillerson appointed former US Permanent Representative to NATO Kurt Volker as special representative for Ukraine negotiations.

    In an op-ed for RIA Novosti, Rostislav Ishchenko, head of the Center for Systemic Analysis and Prognosis, noted that the policy of the current US presidential administration towards Ukraine is significantly different than that of the Obama administration.

    "Previous visits by US officials, especially by Victoria Nuland, to Ukraine indicated Washington’s high interest in settling Kiev’s issues. But the current administration would be glad if it didn’t have to deal with the Ukrainian crisis and Ukrainian officials. [During the visit to Kiev] Tillerson gave a signal to Poroshenko that the White House is not happy with the Ukrainian government," Ishchenko wrote.

    Normandy Format Meeting
    © REUTERS/ Mykola Lazarenko/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service
    According to the expert, the Trump administration has been reducing its assistance programs for Ukraine and tries to avoid discussions with Ukrainian policymakers.

    Tillerson’s visit to Ukraine came right after the G20 Summit during which US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had their first personal meeting. According to Russian Minister Sergei Lavrov, Ukraine was among the issues discussed by the two leaders. In particular, according to Lavrov, Putin and Trump agreed to establish a bilateral communications channel between Moscow and Washington to discuss the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis.

    Related:

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    Ukraine Hopes to Receive US Support in Settlement of Donbass Conflict
    Tags:
    election meddling, visit, Ukrainian crisis, talks, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Christopher Wray, Rex Tillerson, Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko, Donald Trump, United States, Ukraine, Russia
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