Poll: More Ukrainians support end of Donbas ceasefire, joining NATO
A growing number of Ukrainian citizens support the resumption of military action by Ukraine to regain control of the Donbas, according to a survey conducted in November by Ukrainian pollsters Rating.
Rating said 36% of those it polled wanted Ukraine to go on the offensive, which was 12% more than in October, Russian newspaper Vedomosti reported on Wednesday.
The supporters of parties in the proposed new Ukrainian governing coalition are especially in favour of the resumption of offensive actions: support for a resumption of the war is at 41% among the relatively moderate Batkivshyna Party, and at up to 47% among supporters of the Popular Front party, led by current Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk, and supporters of the pro-presidential Bloc of Petro Poroshenko.
Rating divided the country into six regions: the West (54%), North (46%), Center (40%), East (31%), South (30%), and the Donbas. Only 8% of the citizens in Donbas were in favour of Ukraine going on the offensive.
In studies conducted since 2007, Rating has always polled the Donbas as a separate region, said the director of the group, Aleksei Antipovich. At the same time, the idea of independence for the region was supported only by 16% of the population (significantly less than insurgent leaders claim).
Many are in favor of granting the status of a separate federal region, but as a part of Ukraine (32%), as well as delegation of broader economic and humanitarian powers (23%). According to Antipovich, the survey covers not only people living in the territory controlled by Kyiv in the Donbas, but also citizens in Donetsk and other large cities that have been siezed by Russian-backed militants.
Since October, the number of Ukrainians believing in the possibility of maintaining a ceasefire with the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples’ Republics has decreased from 53% to 43%, while the number of citizens who do not agree that the ceasefire can be maintained has increased from 33% to 44%.
Regarding foreign policy, an increasing number of Ukrainians would like to see their country establishing closer ties with the West and the United States, with 64% of citizens supporting accession to the European Union, against 55% in April and 61% in July.
"The trend is that an absolute majority supports joining the EU," Antipovich said. Over the same period, the proportion of Ukrainians who support joining the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, has fallen from 24% to 17%.
In November the proportion of Ukrainians supporting accession to NATO was at 51%, against 40% in April and 44% in July-August.