Poll: Ukrainians Are Extremely Stressed, Want More Aid, Desire to Return, but Mixed on Being Part of NATO

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New Cygnal/Gradus survey of Ukraine shows a no-fly zone no longer a priority

WASHINGTON D.C. – A new nationwide poll of Ukraine released today shows Ukrainians are experiencing extraordinary stress amid the Russian invasion and would like protective and offensive weapons, as well as financial and humanitarian aid—the majority, however, no longer see a no-fly zone as a top priority. The joint Cygnal and Gradus poll surveyed 1,000 Ukrainians and included those currently in Ukraine and those who have left the country.  

According to the Perceived Stress Scale – a 10-item questionnaire widely used to assess subjective stress levels – Ukrainians are experiencing monumental levels of stress. The main emotions they’re feeling are tension, wrath, fear, and powerlessness. A great deal also feel sorrow, concern, expectation, indignation, and wariness. In fact, more than half (55%) expressed zero positive emotions.   

“These incredibly strong emotions stem from the fear that the war could go on indefinitely and that their loved ones could die, but they’re also related to some key aspects of the war that Westerners may not be thinking about,” said Cygnal President Brent Buchanan. “Namely, loss of normalcy, such as an altered financial situation, job loss, and the threat of long-term displacement.”

Among the 24% of respondents who were forced to leave their homes for safety reasons, most relocated within the country (22% within their home region, 50% to another region), while 22% moved abroad. The majority of those who moved abroad intend to come back to Ukraine as soon as possible (76%). About a quarter (27%) of those who relocated are planning to apply for refugee status and/or register as an internally displaced person. Among those still in their homes, 71% do not intend to leave, while 20% will do so if the situation in their area worsens.

“Most of Ukrainians, namely 65%, want protective weapons, and nearly that many also want offensive weapons, financial aid, and humanitarian aid in the form of food and supplies,” said Evgeniya Bliznyuk, CEO and Founder of Gradus. “Additionally, they desperately want to join the European Union, but they’re less enthusiastic about joining NATO. In fact, 27% of Ukrainians would accept a non-aligned state status, given security guarantees from the guarantor countries.”

Nearly 80% of respondents want Ukraine to join the European Union (78% agree, 7% disagree), but only 49% want to join NATO (24% disagree).  

“Interestingly, establishment of a no-fly zone is no longer a high priority, whether that’s because they don’t think it will be effective, they don’t think it’s necessary, or they just believe the other items are more important at this time,” added Buchanan.  

By far the most inspiring thing Ukrainians see in their future is the end of the war (75%). 

The deck with key insights and analysis can be viewed and downloaded below.