Presentation "How Ukrainians see goals and exit from war and why it is important for Ukraine's partners"

Prepared by Petro Burokvskyi, Executive Director of the Foundation for Democratic Initiatives, for the Kyiv Security Forum

How Ukrainian people see the victory, what they are doing to achieve it, do they understand the limits of the possible in war, how do they see Ukraine’s dependence on partners and allies.

  1. Nation is united than ever before to complete the mission of survival.

Here is a picture that shows that Ukrainians are strongly confident they can win the war. Please, pay attention this poll was conducted in early August, before Kharkiv offensive, liberation of Lyman and Kherson. In the time when many doubted in the West Ukrainians can advance, for many it was a real eye opener.

Moreover, missile strikes only harden this confidence.

This claim is supported by our survey in the city of Mykolaiv, which was shelled every day since 1 March till 12 November.

Nonetheless, when we poll residents in August and September, we found out that people believed in liberation of Kherson very soon.

But do people know what it takes to win the war from the personal perspective?

  1. Here is an evidence that they know. That Ukrainians are ready to pay the price.

Before invasion, In February 46% Ukrainians have been ready to fight just ten days before the invasion.

Now, 59% of Ukrainians who stay in the country tell us they either join army and volunteer defence forces to fight the enemy or support the army with all their non-lethal efforts.

I looked for comparison in Europe and I must tell you we are not different from NATO and EU nations who also face imminent Russian threat. For instance, April poll in Latvia showed that 45% of the Latvians would go to war or otherwise support the Latvian armed force if Russian attacks. 66 percent of Estonians will possibly or definitely prepared to participate in defense activities.

  1. Then, we come to the questions of the goals Ukrainians wants to achieve.

Some respected people, in US, including Gen. David Petraeus, a months ago briefly deciphered Ukrainian position as if president Zelenskyy cannot negotiate “because of the conviction of the Ukrainian people."

The truth is that we were not ready to do it before the war.

We were not ready to refuse joining NATO, we were not ready to grant special status to Russian occupied Donbas

Putin understood that very well. We wish our partners had.

Now, after nine months of war, Ukrainians became even more determined in their opposition toward any compromises with Russia.

The majority of Ukrainian citizens see the victory as liberation of all Ukraine and another 20% consider victory if Russia collapses and do not present threat at all.

Have missile strike changed that?

No, they haven’t because they couldn’t.

In summer, we saw that Ukrainians under constant missile in Mykolaiv attacks only turned more defiant. In October, our assumption was supported by nationwide poll.

If the war continues in this genocidal manner then I can only warn you that more people would like to see collapse of Russia and contribute everything they have to this end.

Two final points

  1. Ukrainians do understand that the victory depends on assistance of allies, 63% said it is impossible without economic aid and 74% agree that it’s hard to make without provision of western weapons.

Russia would present it as a lever over Ukraine. That’s not true as you saw.

In reality, it is clear indication that Ukrainians have understood the essence of collective defence. when you can win only if you pursue common goal with common effort.

This is the same attitude which is shared by other Central European nation. GLOBSEC poll conducted in March 2022 showed that when asked whether “country’s membership in NATO makes it less likely that a foreign nation will attack us” 88% of Poles, 79% Latvians and Czechs, 75% Hungarians and Lithuanians, 70% Estonians 62% Romanians said yes they think so.

Please, keep in mind this similarity when discussing whether Ukraine can be given Patriot system or F-16 because this is also a question of your reliability in the entire Central and Eastern Europe. Keep it in mind when you as ambassadors and experts advise your parliaments on voting for Ukraine’s accession to NATO.

Finally, this war has brought the uneasy question of justice. Again since Nurnberg and Tokio trials.

This is a test to your pledges “Never again”.

  1. 87% of Ukrainians expect American and European statements and reaction to war crimes, crimes against humanity, aggression and crime of genocide which Russia started on 10 October.

This is the point that makes it impossible for you in public or even behind the closed doors to raise the question of negotiations before the last war criminal leaves Ukrainian territory dead or alive.

You can watch the presentation from 4:39:50  to  4:50:30.