Survey: Most Ukrainians believe that cessation of armed conflict depends on Russia

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Most Ukrainians believe that the cessation of the armed conflict will primarily depend on Russia and its stance. Almost one-third of respondents point out that the conflict must be resolved by Ukraine. About 15% of people rely on the efforts to be made by the European countries and the United States.

This became known on September 23 during the presentation of results of the nationwide sociological survey “Attitudes of Ukrainians to issues related to overcoming negative consequences of the armed conflict in Ukraine“, conducted by Kharkiv Institute for Social Research in cooperation with ZMINA Human Rights Centre on behalf of the Mission of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and with the support of UNDP in Ukraine.

More than half of the respondents (54%) believe that Ukraine should not make any compromises to end the armed conflict in the territory of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (CADLR). Seventy percent of respondents view the restoration of Ukraine’s control over CADLR as a real possibility, while 24% are skeptical about that. Fifty-eight percent of Ukrainians believe that Ukraine will be able to restore its sovereignty over Crimea, while 37% of respondents consider that Ukraine has lost Crimea.

According to the survey results, Ukrainians consider the need to draft a national strategy for ending armed conflict and restoring peace (38%) and better informing people in Crimea and CADLR about events in Ukraine (26%) to be the most important actions for the restoration of peace in Ukraine. Some respondents (23%) indicate that it is necessary to create opportunities for dialogue with ordinary people from Crimea and CADLR.

According to the vast majority of respondents (74%), the President of Ukraine must initiate the state action plan for the transition from armed conflict to peace.

Forty-six percent of respondents are receptive to Russian citizenship acquired by CADLR residents because it “helps people survive in these territories” (47% of respondents have the same opinion of Russian citizenship acquired by Crimean residents). Meanwhile, 26% of respondents do not consider it citizenship at all.

According to the survey results, 81% of Ukrainians believe that the armed conflict with Russia is ongoing in Ukraine. Moreover, 85% of respondents are convinced that the occupation of Crimea and the conflict in CADLR are part of one and the same armed conflict with Russia.

It is important for us that Ukrainians in all regions are clearly aware that we have the one and the same international armed conflict in Crimea and Donbas caused by the Russian armed aggression. We see that a significant share of Ukrainians is optimistic about regaining control over the temporarily occupied territories. This gives us the impetus to continue working and be enthusiastic about new platforms and new initiatives being launched by Ukraine, in particular the Crimea Platform initiative,” said Anton Korynevych, the President’s Permanent Representative to the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

At the same time, almost half of the surveyed citizens (47%) see the residents of Crimea and CADLR as victims of the conflict who need comprehensive support from Ukraine. “That is, the thesis that Ukraine regards people who remained in the occupied territories as traitors or collaborators is not true,” said Denys Kobzin, Head of the Kharkiv Institute for Social Research.

Photo credit: Office of the President of Ukraine

According to Aliona Luniova, Advocacy Manager at the ZMINA Human Rights Centre, awareness-raising activities should be held concerning some issues related to the armed conflict. For example, 35% of respondents consider it necessary to introduce criminal liability for military service in CADLR and occupied Crimea, although Ukraine qualifies conscription as a war crime committed by the occupation administrations.

Svitlana Kolyshko, UNDP Ukraine Project Manager of the “Human Rights for Ukraine” project, noted that the research revealed Ukrainians’ awareness, interest, and personal involvement in the indicated issues, and the survey results are important for the development of a systemic policy.

The issues are not treated as insignificant or ill-timed. Ukrainians show great demand for further steps to be taken on this path,” she said.

The survey was conducted from March to April 2021 by Kharkiv Institute for Social Research in cooperation with ZMINA Human Rights Centre on behalf of the Mission of the President of Ukraine in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and with the support of UNDP. The survey results were announced during a briefing at the Office of the President of Ukraine in Kyiv on September 23.

During the survey, 10,000 respondents were interviewed face-to-face with 400 respondents interviewed in each region and Kyiv city. The sample represents the adult population of Ukraine aged 18 and over. The statistical error does not exceed 1% for Ukraine as a whole and 5% for each region of Ukraine and the capital.

Read more about the survey results here.