Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC is a businessman, philanthropist, author and pollster. For information on Lord Ashcroft’s work, visit www.lordashcroft.com
We have all seen the extraordinary bravery and spirit with which the people of Ukraine have responded to Putin’s brutal invasion. The results of a survey which, somewhat to my astonishment, a research firm in Kyiv was able to conduct for Lord Ashcroft Polls in the past few days, only add to my admiration.
You may think an opinion survey is a rather trivial distraction given the magnitude of events that are unfolding. If so, let me say that our partners in Kyiv were pleased to have the work and – most importantly – the chance to show the world something of what Ukrainians are thinking and feeling as they defend their country. These are the main findings:
Ukrainians want to stay and fight
Only 11 per cent of Ukrainians agreed “if I could leave Ukraine safely tomorrow for another country I would.” Nearly seven in 10 (69 per cent) strongly disagreed. Only one in 20 (five per cent) of those aged 65 or over said they would leave if they could.
Indeed, 67 per cent said they would be willing to take up arms to defend the country against Russian troops, with a further seven per cent saying they were already doing so. 85 per cent of men and 63 per cent of women said they had already taken up arms or were willing to do so.
This is despite 40 per cent saying they felt unsafe during the day – rising to 56 per cent in the east of the country – and 57 per cent at night, rising to 70 per cent in the east.
Ninety-three per cent said they were willing to help Ukrainian troops in other ways, such as providing shelter, food or clothing, or were already doing so.
Ninety-two per cent said they had a favourable view of President Zelensky, including 66 per cent whose view was very favourable.
Most Ukrainians think sanctions will be effective – but they want more help.
Just over two thirds (68 per cent) said they thought the package of economic sanctions imposed against Russia would be effective in bringing an end to the war.
However, less than a quarter (23 per cent) said they thought NATO was doing enough to help Ukraine, 44 per cent thought the US was doing enough, and 46 per cent thought the EU was doing enough. However, a majority (53 per cent) said they thought the UK was doing enough to help. By sharp contrast, only eight per cent said the same of China.
Sixty per cent said they would feel safer if they knew Ukraine had nuclear weapons.
Ukrainians do not expect a long war
More than half (56 per cent) of Ukrainians said they expected the conflict to be over by the end of March, with a further 14 per cent expecting it to last up to three months. Fewer than one in ten (nine per cent) said they thought it would last longer than six months. Women and younger people were more optimistic about an early end to military action.
Ukrainians want to join NATO – but Crimea is a bigger red line
Nearly nine in 10 Ukrainians (86 per cent) said they wanted to see Ukraine join NATO, including two thirds (65 per cent) who felt strongly that this should happen.
Nearly seven in 10 (69 per cent) said they would be unwilling to accept a ban on Ukrainian membership of NATO in return for a guaranteed immediate end to the war. Almost as many (61 per cent) said NATO scaling back their troops and weapons in countries bordering Russia would also be an unacceptable condition for ending the conflict.
However, even more – nearly eight in 10 (78 per cent) – said they would be unwilling to accept official recognition of Crimea as part of Russia as the price for ending the war.
No part of Ukraine is part of Russia – but Ukrainians don’t see Russians as the enemy.
98 per cent of Ukrainians – including 82 per cent of those of Russian ethnicity – said they did not believe that any part of Ukraine was rightfully part of Russia.
While 97 per cent had an unfavourable view of Vladimir Putin and 94 per cent had an unfavourable view of the Russian military (including only 82 per cent saying “very unfavourable”; 12 per cent generously said their view of Russian forces was only “somewhat unfavourable”), Ukrainians see Russians themselves in a slightly different light.
Only 62 per cent said they had a very unfavourable view of the Russian people, with a further 19 per cent saying it was somewhat unfavourable. Fourteen per cent had a somewhat or very favourable view of the Russian people.
Nearly two thirds (65 per cent) agreed that “despite our differences there is more that unites ethnic Russians living in Ukraine and Ukrainians than divides us.” Eighty-eight per cent of respondents of Russian ethnicity agreed.
Ukrainians consider their future to be closer to Europe
Nearly 19 in 20 Ukrainians (93 per cent) said they considered their country’s future to be closer to Europe than to Russia. This included 78 per cent of respondents of Russian ethnicity, and 84 per cent of those in the east of the country closest to the Russian border.
1,040 adults in Ukraine were interviewed by telephone between 1 and 3 March 2022. Results have been weighted to be representative of all adults in Ukraine. More details at LordAshcroftPolls.com