Changing Ukrainian opinions on security and EU revealed by wartime poll

The first report from an Oxford Fell Fund research project on Understanding Public Opinion in Ukraine Prior to and Amidst Russia’s Aggression observes that permanent Ukrainian residents surveyed in the centre and west of Ukraine feel increasingly warmer towards EU and NATO membership since the invasion of Russian troops in February 2022.

The cross-survey analysis, conducted in collaboration with Ukrainian think tank the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, provides new data on how the war changed the ways that Ukrainians think about friends, enemies, and the country’s strategic goals.

When comparing survey results from February 2021, December 2021, February 2022, and May 2022, it can be seen that the Russian invasion of Ukraine marks a shift in respondents’ feelings; towards accession to the European Union (+ 16%), and accession to NATO (+ 5%).

New questions, added or rephrased since the latest outbreak of war, found 96% of respondents thought that the leadership of Russia was primarily responsible for the beginning of the war and 54% thought citizens of Russia were also responsible – this is compared to 9% who thought NATO member states were to blame.

When it came to opinions on how to end of the war, researchers found an increasing reluctance to give any concessions to the Russian Federation in exchange for an end to military aggression. As of May 2022, 78% were against any concessions to Russia, compared to 43% in February 2022. 

Due to the widespread evacuation of Ukrainians since the Russian invasion of Russia, 1000 citizens from eleven less-effected regions in central and western Ukraine were surveyed face-to-face between 7-15 May 2022

“After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it has become impossible to conduct representative [face-to-face] public opinion polls in a number of regions. Therefore, it was decided to do polling only in regions that have undergone relatively minimal changes in terms of security and demographic structure.

"All conclusions and data of the poll do not reflect opinion of the population of the unsampled central, southern and eastern regions of Ukraine which are most affected by the war. We are, nonetheless, confident that the poll reflects general trends and changes in the Ukrainian society after 90 days of war.”
How the war changed the Ukrainians think about friends, enemies and the country’s strategic goals