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More Than Half of Ukrainians Want to Join EU, Poll Shows

More than half of Ukrainians want their country to accede to the European Union, while one-third favor joining a Moscow-led alliance, a recent poll has shown.

If a referendum on the subject were held today, more than 80 percent of Ukrainians would cast ballots, a survey conducted by Ukraine's SOCIS pollster over the past week and released Wednesday indicated.

Slightly more than 50 percent of those polled would vote for joining the EU, while about 31 percent would prefer the Moscow-led Custom Union of former Soviet states, the poll showed.

Among those who said they would vote in a referendum, the distribution amounted to 62 percent choosing the EU and another 38 percent favoring the Moscow-led alliance.

Ukrainians were less certain about whom they might want to elect president in the balloting scheduled for May: Nearly 30 percent of all respondents said they would not vote in the presidential elections or were uncertain about which candidate to support.

Among the presidential candidates, businessman Petro Poroshenko emerged top, with slightly more than 21 percent of all voters planning to cast ballots for him, followed by Vitali Klitschko, with about 15 percent. Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko would receive nearly 10 percent of the vote.

It was the issue of Ukraine's choice between affiliation with the EU or with Russia that set off a chain of events leading to the ouster of former President Viktor Yanukovych in February.

Protesters initially took to the streets when Yanukovych, under Moscow's pressure, abandoned a planned association deal with the EU last fall in favor of closer ties with Russia.

The poll conducted on Feb. 25 through March 4 throughout Ukraine gave a margin of error of 2.2 percent.

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