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2 Apr, 2024 11:13

Just 8% of Ukrainians ready to take up arms against Russia – pollster

The lack of military volunteers is a “sensitive issue” ahead of mobilization reform, a leading Ukrainian sociologist has claimed
Just 8% of Ukrainians ready to take up arms against Russia – pollster

Most Ukrainians expect their country to win in the armed conflict with Russia, but just 8% are willing to fight to further their cause, the head of a leading Kiev-based polling agency has claimed, in an interview published on Tuesday.

The Ukrainian leadership has said that it is seeking to boost the military’s ranks by up to 500,000. Additional troops are required to relieve forces on the frontline, some of which have not been properly rotated in years, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry has claimed.

Vladimir Paniotto of the International Institute of Sociology discussed how the Ukrainian people's worldview is reflected in research conducted by his organization with local news outlet Ukrainskaya Pravda.

They tend to “wish for conflicting things,” he mused, such as capitalist liberalization alongside robust social support by the state, or democracy as well as the “strong arm” of the government. The conundrum is present in what Ukrainians are willing to do to defeat Russia – an outcome that they overwhelmingly believe will end the ongoing hostilities.

”Certainly, many people are willing to act, to send donations or work as volunteers,” Paniotto said. “But facing a direct risk to life and taking part in military action – that is much harder… We estimate that the share of those willing to take arms is roughly 8% across all categories.”

The figure may be overestimated, since the pollster takes the responses at face value without conducting follow-up studies to confirm the respondents’ true intentions. The Institute “has been trying to avoid surveys directly related to the military action” because mobilization is a “sensitive issue” of state policy, he explained.

The Ukrainian parliament is considering a major reform of the military system, which would facilitate the draft, including by imposing serious penalties for evasion. Fighting-age Ukrainian men residing in foreign nations, for example, would not be able to replace their expired passports without the consent of a conscription officer after the bill goes into force, MP Fyodor Venislavsky told the media last week. The lawmaker is a member of the parliamentary Committee for National Security, Defense and Intelligence.

The Russian military said on Tuesday that Ukrainian frontline losses since January have surpassed 80,000.

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