Ukrainian attitudes harden against Kremlin’s positions on Donbas

Devastation in the Donbas - a product of Putin's military aggression into peaceful Ukraine. (Image: Slavyansk Delovoy)

Devastation in the Donbas - a product of Putin's military aggression into peaceful Ukraine. (Image: Slavyansk Delovoy) 

Analysis & Opinion, Russia, Ukraine, War in the Donbas

According to new polls, 60 percent of Ukrainians favor the introduction of international peacekeepers in the Donbas; and 55 percent oppose any special status for that region, a hardening of Ukrainian attitudes about things the Kremlin doesn’t want in the first case and very much wants in the second.

These are only some of the pieces of “bad news” for the Kremlin, Yury Vishnevsky of Delovaya stolitsa says. Among the others is the fact that a majority of Ukrainians – 54.6 percent — now favor identifying the areas in Donetsk and Luhansk oblast not under Kyiv’s control as “occupied territories.” Only 22.3 percent oppose doing that.

And only 8.7 percent of Ukrainians are prepared to consider the possibility that the Donbas might become independent or part of Russia. The majority, in contrast, “prepare to wait until Donetsk and Luhansk are returned to Ukraine under Kyiv’s conditions, Vishnevsky says summarizing the latest polls, all of which show a hardening of attitudes on this subject.

Respondents of the latest poll, conducted by Kucherin Democratic Initiative Foundation and the Razumkov Center, were asked whether it was necessary to make compromises with Moscow or the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk “republics” to achieve peace.

  • Only 17.9% of Ukrainians say that they favor peace “at any price” and with “any compromise.”
  • 52% say that some compromises are needed but “not on every” issue.
  • 17.7% argue that “in fact peace in the Donbas can be established only from a position of force when one of the sides wins.”

Those surveyed were also asked “what decisions should be taken in order to establish peace in the Donbas?” They were offered 11 possible answers, and they were least supportive of what Moscow wants and most supportive of taking a hard line against Russian pretensions. Below are the 11 positions and the percentage of Ukrainians supporting each:

  • “Amnesty for all those who have taken part in military actions in the Donbas” – 3.8%
  • “Introduction of a federal system in Ukraine” – 4.6%
  • “Extend to the Russian language the status of a second state language” – 4.9%
  • “Reject the prospect of NATO membership and the inclusion in the constitution of a paragraph requiring Ukraine to remain neutral” – 6.3%
  • “The conduct on the territories controlled by the DNR and LNR of legitimate elections” – 11.7%
  • “Extending to the DNR and LNR a special status within the borders of Ukraine” – 11.8%
  • “Separation of the territories occupied by the DNR and LNR from Ukraine” – 8.8%
  • “Ending financing of the territories occupied by the DNR and LNR – 11%
  • “Establish Ukraine’s control over these territories by military force” – 13.5%
  • “Successful restoration of normal life on the territories of the Donbas controlled by Ukraine” – 28%
  • “Force Russia to stop interfering in the conflict in the Donbas by intensifying international sanctions and international pressure on the Russian Federation” – 38.1%.

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Edited by: A. N.

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