We can assume that Kremlin's policy in regard to Ukraine during Putin's next term in office will entail: a) traditional categorical refusal to review the topic of annexed Crimea in any form; b) keeping the situation in Donbas in the frozen state "neither war, nor peace" and imitating peace initiatives while asserting clearly unacceptable demands; c) preparing and creating conditions for a large-scale hybrid attack on the D-Day – the period of election campaign in Ukraine (and later, parliamentary).
There are reasons to believe that in late 2018 – early 2019, Russia will launch a campaign of integrated, targeted and large-scale measures for interfering with Ukraine's elections. As opposed to the US or France, Kremlin has a much larger and more efficient set of influence instruments in regard to Ukraine.
Obviously, the key directions of Russia's pre-election expansion will be:
- Erosion and destabilisation of domestic political situation through persistent information sabotage and provocations. Instigating separatist sentiment in regions. Massive cyber-attacks (which already happened on numerous occasions) against key infrastructure objects, – administrative, energy, banking, transport.
- Political, informational, financial support of pro-Russian political forces, media, civic organisations, religious structures, and individual activists. Facilitating the expansion of their presence in the information field.
- Launching an information campaign in the Ukrainian media space, social networks aimed at discrediting Ukrainian government, country's pro-European and Euroatlantic course, domestic reforms. Implanting the "Russian World" values and meanings into social consciousness.