Ukrainians are a lot less pro-Russian than the separatists in the East of the country would like the outside world to believe.
Ukrainians are a lot less pro-Russian than the separatists in the East of the country would like the outside world to believe, according to a new poll, which found that more than half of Ukrainians felt a stronger sense of loyalty to Europe than to Russia.
56 per cent of respondents said they felt a stronger sense of loyalty to Europe than to Russia, while just 19 per cent said they felt more loyal to Russia. 22 per cent said they felt loyal neither to Russia or Europe.
Most Ukrainians were also strongly in favour of economic sanctions against Russia, with 67 per cent approving sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s government compared to 29 per cent who disapproved. And Ukrainians tended to view Russian President Vladimir Putin as more dangerous than his American counterpart Barack Obama, with two thirds (67 per cent) describing Putin as ‘dangerous’ compared to just 15 per cent who saw Obama that way.
According to the poll, over half of Ukrainians questioned (54 per cent) said it would be good for Ukraine to join the EU, while a massive 82 per cent said it would be bad for the country to have Russian troops in Ukraine.
Even in eastern Ukraine a minority of people supported an alliance with Russia, with more than a third (37 per cent) of Ukrainians in three eastern regions answering that an alliance with Russia was best for Ukraine, compared to 14 per cent who backed an alliance with the European Union and 49 per cent who wanted neither.
This, despite the fact that Donetsk and Luhansk recently held referendums on independence, with election officials in Donetsk claiming that the region had voted 90 per cent in favour.
Meanwhile despite chaos in the east of the country, two out of three Ukrainians (65 per cent) said they were optimistic about the political future of their country and the same proportion (67 per cent) said they were optimistic about its economic future.
The research was conducted by ComRes for CNN, and used a telephone poll of 1,000 Ukrainians conducted in Russian and Ukrainian between May 7-11Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.