Ukrainians remain convinced their country will become part of the two Western blocs within 10 years.
Regardless of a number of complex issues and slow progress, Ukrainians expected to join NATO and the EU in the next decade, according to a new poll.
In an article published on Wednesday, Gallup released survey data showing that 69% of Ukrainians believed their country would be allowed to join NATO within 10 years.
It also found Ukrainians were similarly optimistic about entering the EU, with nearly three in four people thinking they would become part of the bloc over the same period.
The US analytics firm claimed Ukraine’s ‘turn to the West’ was “cemented”.
Moscow’s “invasion of Ukraine in 2022 essentially destroyed the last shred of the once-strong support that Russia enjoyed in Ukraine,” it wrote, while the image of the US among Ukrainians had slipped from a record high.
Interviews for the survey were taken between July and August, just after NATO declared Ukraine could be admitted into the US-led military alliance – but didn’t specify how or when.
64% of Ukrainians expected the same in the early months of the war, according to Gallup.
Last year, experts told Euronews that there were five key reasons why Ukraine won’t join NATO any time soon – despite the fact that a number of existing members are backing their bid.
The Gallup poll found the number of Ukrainians believing their country would enter the EU remained flat between 2022 and 2023 at 73%, though the number saying it would ‘never’ join inched up from 6 % to 7%.
Their research also revealed how perceptions towards Western countries were changing inside Ukraine.
“After the invasion, Ukrainians denounced the Kremlin and pivoted to the US,” Gallup wrote on its website. “Approval of US leadership shot to a record-high 66% in the early months of the war – higher than any rating Russia had ever received when it was on friendlier terms with Ukraine.”
Attitudes towards Washington have since soured, amid rising political opposition to Ukraine aid from hard-line US Republicans and American hesitance at letting Kyiv join NATO, though 53% of those surveyed still view the country favourably.
These two factors “may have created some uncertainty in Ukraine that has hurt the US,” wrote Gallup.
Views towards Germany’s leaders have increased, at the same time – and are now on par with that of the US, it added.
Four days after it was invaded on 24 February 2022, Ukraine applied for EU membership. It announced a surprise bid to join NATO after Russia annexed four Ukrainian regions last September.
Ukraine’s NATO aspirations have not progressed any further since the NATO communiqué in July.
Existing members Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro and North Macedonia back their bid – but NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said ahead of a NATO summit in July, Kyiv must first win the war against Russia.
Negotiations on Ukraine’s future accession could begin as soon as December, however.
Still, plagued by deep-seated structural issues, notably corruption, the country remains unlikely to enter the fold any time soon.
“Even if the how and when are still murky, the message from NATO and the EU to Ukraine is clear: Both believe Ukraine’s future lies with them,” wrote Gallup. “Nearly all Ukrainians firmly share this belief – no more than one in 10 think it will never happen.”
“After 18 months of war with Russia, Ukraine’s pivot to the West seems complete, while the deep cultural, economic and political ties that existed between Ukraine and Russia are increasingly becoming part of Ukraine’s past”, they added.
Russia and China, meanwhile, have been left with few admirers in Ukraine.
Less than half of 1% of Ukrainians surveyed by Gallup approve of Russia’s leadership as its war with Ukraine grinds on.
Approval of China’s leadership has dropped to a new low of 8%, “likely reflecting Ukrainians’ displeasure with the country’s refusal to stop buying energy from Russia,” said the US analytics firm.__Courtesy EuroNews