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War in Ukraine hasn't reduced Russia's desire to interfere in U.S. elections

War in Ukraine hasn't reduced Russia's desire to interfere in U.S. elections War in Ukraine hasn't reduced Russia's desire to interfere in U.S. elections (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

Russia's war against Ukraine has not diminished the Kremlin's desire to interfere in the 2024 United States presidential elections, as reported by CNN.

The Director of the United States National Security Agency, Paul Nakasone, said that despite the exhaustive war against Ukraine, Russia still has the capability to meddle in the U.S. presidential elections.

"This is an important year for them. They are looking at this [US election] and I would anticipate, with the challenge that they have in Ukraine, this is obviously where they want make an impact," he said.

FBI Director Chris Ray echoed Nakasone's statement, noting that Russia's attention on Ukraine has increased its desire to shape the perception of the United States. He emphasized the deep significance of U.S. policy for their entirely unprovoked and offensive invasion of Ukraine.

Sean Newell, a high-ranking representative of the U.S. Department of Justice for cybersecurity, added that Russian intelligence agencies' focus on Ukraine has benefited the United States.

"All the [Russian] intelligence services that we investigate on a daily basis for activity targeting the United States are now devoting time and attention to Ukraine for obvious reasons," Newell said.

However, he added that Russian intelligence continues to look for ways to influence the U.S. support for Ukraine. Both Nakasone and Wray expressed confidence in the ability to secure the election thanks to “exponentially more sophisticated” cooperation between the national security and cyber agencies, as well as the private sector, but acknowledged the foreign adversaries are also improving their capabilities.

The U.S. intelligence officials identified Russia, China, and Iran as primary actors seeking to interfere in the U.S. elections. The FBI Director highlighted that China's hacker army is larger than the combined armies of all major countries and is 50 times larger than what is at his disposal. Nakasone agreed that the U.S. may not match China in hacker numbers but possesses a qualitative advantage.

American presidential elections

The upcoming U.S. presidential elections are scheduled for November 5, 2024.

Predictions suggest that the Democratic candidate will be the incumbent U.S. leader, Joe Biden, and the Republican candidate will be former U.S. President Donald Trump. However, on December 28, 2023, the head of the Maine State Electoral Commission, Shenna Bilouz, excluded Trump from the election ballot for 2024, citing the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which prohibits participation in elections by organizers and participants in an insurrection, recognizing the Capitol riot by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021.

On December 20, the Colorado Supreme Court also barred Trump from participating in primaries in the state through the 14th Amendment. Trump's team appealed this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

It was later revealed that 34 states in the U.S. initiated the procedure to exclude Trump from the presidential election ballots.