Canada to monitor potential Russian disinformation in the Ukrainian Presidential Election

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Canada’s election observation mission got its head

On March 13, 2019, Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced that a former Foreign Affairs Minister, Lloyd Axworthy, was appointed as the Head of Mission Canada 2019, CANADEM Election Observation Mission to Ukraine.

According to Freeland’s statement, Mr. Axworthy is well-known as a promoter and protector of “human rights and democracy around the world.” Having served as the head of the OAS elections observation mission to Peru in 2006, he obtained necessary experience in international election observation. Thus, the Minister of Foreign Affairs concludes that “his nomination is a further reflection of Canada’s deep and abiding commitment to strengthening democracy in Ukraine.”

“Canada is also providing funds for initiatives that counter the negative impact of disinformation in the Ukrainian elections, to support electoral reform in Ukraine and to improve women’s participation in elections.”

The appointment of Mr. Axworthy was welcomed by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC). The same day, Alexandra Chyczij, UCC National President, stated on their official website that the organization recognizes and commends “the Government of Canada for its continued commitment to the democratic development of Ukraine, especially in the face of Russian military aggression and Russia’s amplified disinformation efforts.”

Mission Canada 2019 to observe the Presidential election in Ukraine, scheduled for March 31, 2019, was officially launched on February 15. A Core Team of 13 experts is based in Kiev. Fifty long-term observers have been already deployed to 24 regions of Ukraine that are participating in the vote. CANADEM also requested 110 short-term observers to join the mission for the election day.

The mission mandate is to assess Ukraine’s presidential electoral process for its compliance with the country’s OSCE commitments and other international obligations and standards for democratic elections, as well as with national legislation. Mission Canada will report twice on its findings and conclusions – with a preliminary statement the day after election day and with a final report a few months later.

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