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Ukrainians’ Support for Joining NATO Hits Record High – Poll

NATO / flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Ukrainians’ support for NATO membership has reached an all-time high, according to new polling conducted amid a standoff between Russia and the West over Moscow's demand to permanently block Kyiv from the U.S.-led military alliance.

After dropping to 55% in December, support for Ukraine’s NATO membership climbed back up in January and reached 62% in February, according to the survey by Ukraine’s polling organization Rating Group published Friday.

“This is the highest indicator of positive perception of Ukraine's integration into NATO in the history of observations since 2014,” it said.

Another 30% of Ukrainian respondents opposed the ex-Soviet country’s bid to join the Western military alliance, a drop from 35% two months ago.

Ukraine’s bid to join the European Union also saw the highest backing in the history of the Rating Group’s observations.

Accession to the European Union is supported by 68% and opposed by 24% of Ukrainian respondents.  

Demographically, respondents from western and central Ukraine tend to voice the biggest enthusiasm for NATO and EU membership, followed by the residents of southern regions.

More eastern Ukrainians oppose NATO membership than support it, while there are equal levels of support for and opposition to EU membership, the Rating Group said.

Rating Group conducted its survey among 1,722 respondents between Feb. 16-17.

It did not include residents of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, or the breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk republics, which have been under separatist control since that year.

The pollster published its results after the United States said Thursday that Russia is on the verge of unleashing a massive military attack against Ukraine, dismissing Moscow's claims that it is pulling forces back.

Russia denies any invasion plans but warned of "military-technical measures" if its far-reaching demands for a U.S. and NATO pullback from eastern Europe aren't satisfied.

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