Almost two-thirds of the citizens of Ukraine, or 63%, consider the Russian Federation to be an aggressor country vis-à-vis Ukraine, according to a nationwide poll conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, the Oleksandr Razumkov Ukrainian Centre for Economic and Political Studies and the Rating sociological group and presented at a press conference at UNIAN on Tuesday.
"We asked the question: 'Is Russia seen as an aggressor country vis-à-vis Ukraine?' The overwhelming majority, or 63%, almost two-thirds of respondents think so, 22% do not share the view, and 15% could not answer," Head of the Razumkov Center sociological service Andriy Bychenko said.
According to him, the overwhelming majority of respondents in the west and in the center of Ukraine consider Russia to be an aggressor country. "[Those who consider and those who do not were split] almost equally in the east, while over half of respondents in the south do not consider Russia to be an aggressor," he said.
"In my opinion, it is interesting to look at the answers to this question by those who advocate NATO membership and who oppose it. Of course, 88%, i.e. the overwhelming majority of those who are in favor of joining NATO consider Russia an aggressor. At the same time, 40% of those who oppose joining NATO consider Russia an aggressor, i.e. we see that many Ukrainians did not notice the advantage of NATO [membership] in our confrontation with Russia," Bychenko said.
According to him, this is due to the fact that Ukraine has failed to get enough support from the West, at least as the one it expected.
He also spoke about the level of Ukrainians' support of Ukraine's accession to the European Union and NATO.
"If a referendum on Ukraine's accession to the EU were held today, half, or 50%, would vote for accession, and 30% against it," he said.
At the same time, NATO membership has slightly more supporters (40%) than opponents (36%). The pro-Western vector enjoys a high level of support among residents of the central and western regions, younger and wealthier respondents. Over the past two years, the level of support for Ukraine's accession to both the EU and NATO has slightly decreased.
In addition, sociologists note the level of support for peaceful solutions to the crisis in Donbas has somewhat increased over the past month. In particular, 31% of respondents are in favor of the cessation of hostilities in Donbas and the recognition of these territories as temporarily occupied, while 27% advocate federal status for these territories as part of Ukraine. A mere 8% support the separation of that part of Donbas from Ukraine, and every sixth (17%) has not decided on this issue. On the other hand, 17% believe it is necessary that hostilities continue until the Ukrainian government fully retakes the occupied areas, while the share of those who support the alternative has decreased from 21% to 17%.
The poll was conducted across Ukraine excluding Russian-annexed Crimea and the Russian-occupied areas in Donetsk and Luhansk regions from October 19 to November 2, 2018. A total of 10,000 respondents were interviewed. The margin of error does not exceed 1%.