Baltic intelligence agency finds Russia likely to meddle in 2020 US election

Baltic intelligence agency finds Russia likely to meddle in 2020 US election
© Getty Images

The Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service determined Russia interfered in elections in the West in 2019 and intends to do the same in 2020, NBC News reported based on an exclusive preview of the agency’s annual report.

"Russia's cyber operations have been successful and, to date, have not been sanctioned enough by the West to force Russia to abandon them," the report states. In addition to plans to target U.S. elections in November, the report warns Russia will seek to interfere in neighboring Georgia’s October parliamentary elections.

"The main goal is to ensure a more beneficial election result for Russia by favoring Russian-friendly candidates or those who have the most divisive influence in the West,” the report states.

ADVERTISEMENT

The agency said Russia will also seek to draw criticism away from the integrity of Russian elections by making those in the West seem similarly dubious.

It also assessed Russian influence in the Middle East, saying it had “essentially reached a ceiling” since it became involved in the Syrian civil war five years ago and that its influence is unlikely to grow without a significant increase in its military investment in the region, which is “unlikely in the short term.”

However, it also says Russia is continuing to firm up the military power it has built up against European powers and NATO, saying the nation established three army commands, five new division headquarters and 15 new mechanized regiments in its Western Military District as well as Finland and Ukraine in 2019.