An overwhelming share of Ukrainians—some 89%—say it would be unacceptable to reach a peace deal with Moscow by ceding Ukrainian territory that Russian forces have seized in their invasion this year, a new Wall Street Journal-NORC poll finds.
The survey, conducted in conjunction with a Ukrainian polling firm, also finds that 78% of Ukrainians approve of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s response to the Russian invasion, with only 7% saying he has handled the war poorly. With little sign that Russian President Vladimir Putin is facing popular revolt over the war, the new Journal-NORC survey suggests that the leader of neither nation is feeling immediate pressure from public opinion to make concessions that could lead to a settlement of the conflict.
The poll used live interviewers to survey 1,005 adults who use a mobile phone with service from one of Ukraine’s mobile providers, essentially covering areas controlled by the Kyiv government, as well as some Ukrainians who relocated abroad but retained Ukrainian mobile service. It excluded Russian-controlled Crimea and the separatist-controlled parts of Donbas, in Ukraine’s east, where Ukrainian mobile providers aren’t used.
The survey was conducted June 9-13, just as Ukrainian hopes for success in the war were bolstered by promises from the U.S. to supply advanced, guided-rocket systems intended to match Russia’s superior artillery power. It was taken before Russia’s recent missile attacks on areas of relative calm, such as the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, and before Russian forces made significant advances toward their goal of controlling the full Donbas area.
While 89% of Ukrainians said it would be unacceptable to cede territory that Russia has taken since its invasion began on Feb. 24, a similarly large share, 81%, said their leaders shouldn’t negotiate peace by granting Russia parts of Ukraine it had seized earlier. That territory includes Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Russia invaded and annexed in 2014, and parts of the Donbas, where Russia has organized and led separatist movements that have gained control of much of the region.
The rejection of any land-for-peace deal is built in large part on Ukrainian optimism about success on the battlefield. Presented with a list of possible outcomes for the war, 66% of Ukrainians in the survey said their nation’s forces would likely succeed in driving Russia out of territory it has seized this year. Only 10% said that prospect was unlikely. [Continue reading…]