The situation in Ukraine is fraught with unrest and early elections, and there are fears that this could change the country's pro-Western orientation, National Intelligence Agency Director Daniel Coats said.
"Ukraine still has a risk of internal unrest that Russia can use to undermine the pro-Western orientation of Kiev. The factors threaten the emerging recovery of Ukraine's economy and potentially lead to changes in its foreign policy that can further inflate tensions between Russia and the West," it is said in Coats' written testimony to the US Congress at a meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee on the issue of global threats.
He believes that early elections can provoke a decline in people's living standards and discontent with the pace of reforms.
"Opposition leaders will try to use popular discontent to weaken President Pyotr Poroshenko and the ruling coalition before the 2019 elections," the testimony reads.
Coats also believes that the conflict in eastern Ukraine will be "stagnant, with a changing level of violence," and a major offensive by either side is unlikely. At the same time, the Director of US National Intelligence again accused Russia of interfering in the affairs of Ukraine, while Moscow states that it has nothing to do with the internal Ukrainian conflict and is interested in its settlement.
Presidential elections in Ukraine are scheduled for March 31, 2019, elections to the Verkhovna Rada will be held in October of the same year.
DONi News Agency