Sixty-nine percent of Ukrainians would vote for Ukraine to join NATO if such a referendum was held in June 2017. Eighty-six percent of those who expressed their support believe that NATO would guarantee Ukraine’s security. In the Southern and Eastern regions, public support is lower – 25 and 32 percent respectively. Only six percent of all respondents supported a military alliance with Russia and other CIS countries. Such results of the All-Ukrainian poll were reported by Oleksii Sydorchuk, an analyst at Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation, during a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
Oleksii Haran, professor of politology at the National University “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”, research director at Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation, said that although regional differences remain, their essence has changed. “Now the option of the military alliance with Russia has completely collapsed. In the East and South, the fall was the most dramatic,” said Mr. Haran. At the moment preference in these regions is given to the non-aligned status of Ukraine. Joining NATO entry takes the second place. “In fact, the increase in NATO support is very strong in these regions. If earlier only 1% expressed their support in Donbas, now it is 24%,” Oleksii Haran emphasized.
Oleksii Sydorchuk noted that for 44% of Ukrainians, the main argument against Ukraine’s entry to NATO is the fear that it will cause Ukraine’s engagement in military operations of the Alliance. “It is important that provided effective information campaign in this respect, this fear would decrease significantly,” said Mr. Sydorchuk. Only 21% of Ukrainians know how decisions are made in NATO, 12% believe they are well-informed on the subject of what NATO is. About 37% of Ukrainians would like to know what benefits Ukraine would get in case of NATO admission.
“Changes in the public consciousness and public support of Ukraine’s entry to NATO is rather an emotional response of the Ukrainian society, which seeks to protect itself against Russian invasion. It is not, unfortunately, conscious, […] knowledge-based choice of Ukrainian society,” said Borys Tarasiuk, MP (“Batkivschyna” faction), deputy head of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs – head of the Sub-Committee on Legislation and Control of Diplomatic Service.
Vladyslav Yasniuk, Advisor to Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, said that the funds that state authorities allocate for the information campaign are rather insufficient. “We are working on ensuring that there is a separate paragraph in the next year’s budget that foresees funds on the informational campaign,” added Mr. Yasniuk.