New Poll: Ukrainians Favor Europe over Russia

Written by | Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

People all over Ukraine – even including those regions along the Russian border have been allegedly voting overwhelmingly to declare independence from Ukraine – feel much more loyal to Europe than to Russia. As a new poll conducted for CNN suggests, Ukrainians tend to be much less pro-Russian than separatists in the country’s southern and eastern provinces would like the world to believe. According to the poll of 1,000 people across the country conducted by ComRes in the past week, two out of three (67%) people in Ukraine approve of economic sanctions against Russia, while one out of three (29%) disapproves. While 56% said they felt a stronger sense of loyalty to Europe than to Russia, a mere 19% said they felt more loyal to Russia and 22% said neither. Moreover, people in Ukraine are inclined to view Russian President Vladimir Putin as dangerous and a strong leader, while considering US President Barack Obama friendly.
These results come only a day after a controversial vote was held in the east of the country, organized by pro-Russian separatists, in which people there had allegedly embraced independence from Ukraine. This referendum was denounced by the United States and its European allies while Russia has not yet announced its reaction. These results can be interpreted as that even in the so-called “Eastern Ukraine” (which includes the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv), where the country’s armed forces are currently fighting the pro-Russian separatists, only a minority of people backs an alliance with Russia. Just over a third (37%) of Ukrainians in these three eastern regions expressed their preference for an alliance with Russia, while 14% of them backs an alliance with the European Union and about half of them believe that Ukraine would be better off if it did not ally with either. Finally, despite the ongoing crisis still unfolding in this second-largest country in Europe, Ukrainians are optimistic about the political future of the country (65%) and the same proportion (67%) said they were optimistic about its economic future.

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