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23 July 2018

The idea of introducing peacekeepers to the Donbas: Do people in the controlled territories want it?

17% of Ukrainians believe that the authorities of Ukraine should officially recognize the territories as occupied.

 Support for the idea of ​​the introduction of an international peacekeeping contingent in the Donbas remains unchanged at 60%, the same as last year. At the same time, only one in every five citizens continues to oppose such an initiative, according to  data from the Democratic Initiatives Foundation (DIF) and the Razumkov Center.

Meanwhile, Ukrainians believe that in order to establish peace in the region, it is necessary to improve living conditions in Ukraine, as well as to enlist the support of international partners, according to Professor of Political Science of NaUKMAand research director of the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, Olexiy Haran. He added that the population agrees with the continuation of international pressure on Russia and supports the reconstruction of the Donbas.

Ukraine has offered to place a peacekeeping contingent under the UN mandate throughout the Donbas, including in the uncontrolled areas on the border with Russia. Kyiv believes that peacekeepers will  become a solid guarantor of conflict resolution.

What and to what extent do Ukrainians support this idea?

The most positive attitudes towards the idea of launching  UN peacekeepers were observed in the western region of Ukraine. There, this idea is supported by almost 80% of the population. In the central part of Ukraine - 70%, in the South - 56%, and in the East - 33%. Concerning the establishment of peace in the Donbas through the use of force, 17% of citizens are in favor. The largest number of supporters of the forcible option of peacemaking is in the West (24%).

The forcible option of peacemaking is barely supported by every tenth Ukrainian in the South and East. In the uncontrolled areas the population has no single opinion on the policy.

Respondents from uncontrolled areas are generally restrained in communication, avoiding political themes.

17% believe that the Ukrainian authorities should officially recognize these territories as occupied and stop any and all contact, while 20% believe that it is necessary to keep an economic blockade in these territories.

22% believe that Ukraine should supply food to these territories, and Donbass should supply anthracite in return. The proposal to maximize the development of trading ties with the uncontrolled areas, as well as humanitarian ties is supported by every fifth Ukrainian. Only 20% of the respondents agree on achieving peace at any price.

Experts have researched the public opinion of those who live in the controlled territory of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. The poll showed that the population in the Donbass has little confidence in the Ukrainian media, while at the same time, interpersonal relations continue to be maintained on both sides of the line of separation, as stated by political analyst of the Democratic Initiatives Foundation (DIF), Ruslan Kermach.

"Our respondents from the controlled territories say that a certain degree of restraint in avoiding political topics and assessments of the situation, instead they talk mainly about some household topics or family issues. Whatever is not related to politics,"Kermach said.

The poll was conducted from May 19 to May 25, 2018, in all regions of Ukraine, except for in the occupied territories. 2,019 respondents aged 18 and over were polled. The theoretical sample error does not exceed 2%.