Russian President Vladimir Putin may use the Biden administration’s support for Ukraine as a pretext to order a new campaign to interfere in American politics, U.S. intelligence officials have assessed.

Intelligence agencies have so far not found any evidence that Putin has authorized measures like the ones Russia is believed to have undertaken in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections in support of former President Donald Trump, according to several people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive findings.

But given Putin’s antipathy toward the West and his repeated denunciations of Ukraine, officials believe he may see the U.S. backing of Ukraine’s resistance as a direct affront to him, giving him further incentive to target another U.S. election, the people said. It is not yet clear which candidates Russia might try to promote or what methods it might use.

The assessment comes with the U.S. electoral system already under pressure. The American public remains sharply divided over the last presidential election and the insurrection that followed at the U.S. Capitol, when supporters of Trump tried to stop the certification of his loss to President Joe Biden. Trump has repeatedly assailed intelligence officials and claimed investigations of Russian influence on his campaigns to be political vendettas.

Tensions between Washington and Moscow have reached levels not seen since the end of the Cold War. The White House has increased military support for Ukraine, which has mounted a robust resistance against Russian forces accused of committing war crimes, and helped impose global sanctions that have crippled Russia’s economy.

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