Half of Ukrainians (53%) want relations with the Donbas restored and see the local population as victims, not the perpetrator of efforts to break away from the rest of the country pursued by separatist rebels, according to a poll conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS).
Respondents said they believe all connections with people living in non-government controlled areas in the east of the country, including transport connections, should be restored. A quarter of the respondents (23%) think that the state should support people living in the non-government controlled territories, but that economic and transport sanctions should remain in place. 8% think that the state should introduce a full blockade of the non-government controlled territories.
The poll, conducted in May and June 2020, surveyed people’s perceptions of the human rights challenges triggered by the conflict in the east of Ukraine.
“The [coronavirus] COVID-19 pandemic forces us to proactively reach out to our fellow citizens in care and solidarity, leaving no one behind. The results of this poll show that half of Ukrainians want to do so,” said Dafina Gercheva, resident representative of the UNDP in Ukraine, which commissioned the poll.
Half of Ukrainians (55%) think that people living in the non-government controlled territories are victims of the conflict and require full support from Ukraine. About 19% of those polled said that people living in the non-government controlled territories are also citizens of Ukraine, and do not require any more support than Ukrainian citizens living in other parts of the county. Another 11% think Ukraine should not support people living in the non-government controlled territories, as it was their decision to stay.
During the polling, Ukrainians were asked to say who in their opinion should be held criminally responsible for working with the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” (LPR) and “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DPR). Half (53%) of the respondents think that only those found guilty by a court following a criminal investigation should be held responsible. About 22% said everybody in senior positions in the LPR and DPR should face justice, while only 7% think that all citizens in the non-government controlled territories who worked with the LPR and DPR should be held responsible. About 3% think that no one should be held responsible.