What Ukrainians Think About the War With Russia

The Wall Street Journal

Dr. Daniel Twining

May 6, 2022

“When Vladimir Putin launched his devastating invasion of Ukraine, nearly every international observer expected a Russian victory within days or, at most, a few weeks. The Ukrainians surprised us all. Anyone interested in foreign affairs has an opinion about the war, but how do Ukrainians feel? Thanks to an unprecedented effort from the International Republican Institute to conduct a nationwide poll of Ukraine during a time of war, we now know what its people think about the conflict, their leadership and the future of their country. 

“Several results stand out. First, President Volodymyr Zelensky commands a 94% approval rating…

“Second, Ukrainians want no part of a new Russian empire and overwhelmingly aspire to join the West. When asked which economic union they would join if they could enter only one, 80% chose the European Union and only 2% supported the Eurasian Customs Union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan…

“This strong belief has important implications for how the war ends. Pressure is growing among Western politicians for a quick end to the conflict in the face of high inflation, rising energy costs and global food shortages. But Ukrainians don’t want a Potemkin peace that cedes their country’s territory. Western leaders should not advocate for a settlement that rewards Mr. Putin’s aggression…

“Too often, tyrants believe in the myth of the strongman. But the centralization of power can produce catastrophic mistakes. Instead of becoming stewards of law and order, dictators become agents of anarchy who proliferate war, genocide, poverty and pandemics. As these global sicknesses spread, these rulers sow the seeds of their own demise. History remembers dictators not for their conquests, but for bringing disaster upon their people. 

“The results of our survey are part of a story being written by a people who share a vision of victory and a belief that their future will bring glory to Ukraine. We must continue to stand with them.”

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