Half of Ukrainians want restored ties with non-government controlled areas

August 10, 2020

Poll shows Ukrainians see people in eastern conflict zone as victims, needing government support

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Kyiv, 10 August 2020 – Half of Ukrainians (53 percent) believe all connections with people living in non-government controlled areas in the east of the country, including transport connections, should be restored, a new poll shows.

According to the poll, conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology at the request of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Ukraine and ZMINA Human Rights Information Centre, about 23 percent of Ukrainians think that the state should support people living in the non-government controlled territories, but that economic and transport sanctions should remain in place.  

Eight percent of Ukrainians 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.

“Tolerance and respect for human rights have always to be the bedrock upon which our decisions are founded, especially in these difficult times,” said UNDP in Ukraine Resident Representative Dafina Gercheva, commenting on the results of the polling.

“The 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.” 

Half of Ukrainians (55 percent) think that people living in the non-government controlled territories are victims of the conflict and require full support from Ukraine. About 19 percent 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 percent think Ukraine should not support people living in the non-government controlled territories, as it was their decision to stay.

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Commenting on the survey, Aliona Luniova, Advocacy Manager of the ZMINA Human Rights Centre, stressed that the results of the survey again demonstrated that Ukrainians empathise with conflict-affected people and are for the renewal of connections with Ukrainians living in the non-government controlled territories.

“These are very important indicators in terms of the state’s declared policy of reintegration, and also important are the introduction of some positive actions, such as the simplified procedure for the entry of children from non-controlled territories to educational establishments,” Luniova said.

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”) / “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”). Half of the respondents, 53 percent, think that only those found guilty by the court following a criminal investigation should be held responsible. About 22 percent said everybody in senior positions in the so-called “LPR”/ “DPR” should face justice, while only 7 percent think that all citizens in the non-government-controlled territories who worked with so-called “LPR”/ “DPR” should be held responsible. About 3 percent think that no one should be held responsible.

Nearly 59 percent of Ukrainians support Ukraine’s membership in the International Criminal Court in the Hague. About 24 percent of Ukrainians said they didn’t know what the International Criminal Court was. Nine percent of Ukrainians do not support membership, and about the same number of people haven’t decided yet. 


The survey was using CATI methodology (computer-assisted telephone interviews) based on a random sampling of mobile phone numbers. The sampling is representative of the population of Ukraine aged 18+.

The survey was conducted in all oblasts of Ukraine, apart from the non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, and in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Polling was conducted at the request of UNDP in Ukraine with financial support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

Media inquiries: Yuliia Samus, UNDP Communications Specialist, yuliia.samus@undp.org, +38 097 139 14 75