According to a recent survey conducted by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology, the majority of Ukrainians believe that NATO membership is currently more important than joining the European Union (EU). The survey, which took place between September 29 and October 9, asked 1,010 respondents about which bloc Ukraine should join first. 54% of the respondents stated that membership in the US-led military bloc was a higher priority, while only 24% preferred EU membership first. 12% of the respondents expressed that they did not like either option, and 10% were unable to decide.
Interestingly, the number of Ukrainians who believe their country should eventually join both blocs has continued to grow. 92% of the respondents expressed their support for Ukraine becoming part of the EU, while 89% said they supported NATO membership. The respondents cited long-term security and economic prospects as the main reasons for supporting EU accession and joining NATO.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has stated that Kiev expects to begin negotiations on EU membership before the end of the year. However, he has also admitted that it is unlikely for Ukraine to join NATO as long as it remains engaged in a conflict with Russia.
The EU has consistently pledged its support to Ukraine and its people. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recently reiterated the bloc’s commitment to assist Kiev for “as long as it takes.” However, she emphasized that EU membership is based on a “merit-based” accession process, with clear rules and milestones that need to be achieved.
Former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker expressed doubts about Ukraine’s ability to join the EU in the near future due to pervasive corruption at all levels of Ukrainian society. These concerns were echoed by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who believes that Ukrainian membership in either bloc would not promote peace and would be perceived as a provocation by Russia.
It is worth noting that Russia has been vocally opposed to NATO’s eastward expansion. President Vladimir Putin cited NATO’s involvement in Ukraine as one of the key reasons behind Russia’s military operation against Kiev last year.
In conclusion, the survey reveals that a majority of Ukrainians currently prioritize NATO membership over joining the EU. However, there is still strong support for eventually joining both blocs, with the main reasons being long-term security and economic prospects. Despite these aspirations, Ukraine faces significant challenges, including corruption and ongoing conflicts with Russia, which may hinder its path to membership in either bloc.