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1 Jul, 2022 14:30

Ukrainians blame own govt alongside Russia for conflict – poll

Almost 50% believe that Zelensky’s government bears “a great deal of responsibility” for the ongoing fighting, according to the study
Ukrainians blame own govt alongside Russia for conflict – poll

Ukrainians tend to believe that not only Russia, but their own government, the US, and NATO should all share the blame for the conflict in their country, a recent poll has found.

The survey, done by phone among 1,005 Ukrainians between June 9 and 13, was carried out by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago and paid for by the Wall Street Journal.

The participants were united on Russia’s role in the conflict, with 82% saying that the country bears “a great deal of responsibility” after sending its troops into Ukraine on February 24. Only 9% believed Moscow had nothing to be blamed for.

However, the poll made it quite clear that most Ukrainians don’t seem to agree with the narrative of President Volodymyr Zelensky and his Western backers that Moscow’s military operation in their country was an unprovoked aggression.

A whopping 70% of those surveyed said that the actions of the Ukrainian government also contributed to the outbreak of the conflict, with 47% assigning “a great deal of responsibility” to Kiev for it.

The US, which has been providing Zelensky’s government with billions of dollars in military and economic aid during Russia’s military operation, has been labeled the culprit by 58%. According to 26% of respondents, Americans bear “a great deal of responsibility” for the current state of affairs.

Ukrainians evaluated the role of the US-led NATO bloc similarly to the one of Washington, with a difference of just a couple of percent points. NATO’s eastward expansion and plans to make Ukraine a member of the alliance have been labeled a national security threat by Moscow and singled out as one of the main reasons for its offensive. 

Another reason cited by the Russian authorities was the need to “denazify” Ukraine, but only 35% of respondents said they thought that the country’s “ultra-right nationalists” had any role to play in provoking the conflict.

Despite Russia’s steady advances in Donbass, Ukrainians appeared to be optimistic about the overall outcome of the fighting.

Only 6% said that it was “extremely” or “very likely” that Moscow would be able to retain all of the areas it now controls in Donbass and southern Ukraine if a ceasefire occurs. 

According to 66% of those surveyed, Kiev is going to win back all of its lost land eventually, and things will go back to normal. 

Russia sent troops into Ukraine four months ago, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.” 

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc.