KYIV (Reuters) – An overwhelming majority of Ukrainians believes the country should keep up its armed resistance to Russia’s invasion, according to a survey published on Monday after two weeks of heavy shelling of cities including the capital Kyiv.
The survey, conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) on Oct. 21-23, showed 86% of those polled said it was necessary to continue fighting the invaders even if missile and drone attacks on Ukrainian cities persist.
The proportion of people backing continued armed resistance remained high, at 69%, even in the eastern regions of Kharkiv and Donetsk, which have seen far more fighting and are home to larger numbers of Russian speakers.
In an autumn counter-offensive, Ukrainian forces have retaken territory in both regions, which border Russia.
Two thirds of all respondents who answered the question in Russian rather than Ukrainian were in favour of continuing the fight against the Russian invaders, the survey found, while that number stood at 89% among those who replied in Ukrainian.
The deputy director of KIIS, Anton Hrushetskyi, said the results of the survey showed Russia’s shelling of Ukrainian cities had achieved the opposite of its intended aim “to sow panic, despair and force Ukrainians to surrender”.
“Yes, the terror continues, people die or are injured, Ukrainian families are forced to spend their evenings in the dark. However, the national pain from losses and destruction does not frighten people,” he said.
“The Ukrainian people maintain strong unity and stability and are ready to continue the struggle to victory.”
A KIIS poll conducted last month found 87% of Ukrainians opposed any territorial concessions to Russia.
Russia has pounded key Ukrainian infrastructure including power stations this month, though it denies deliberately targeting civilians.
Moscow calls its actions in Ukraine, which on Monday entered their ninth month, a “special military operation” designed to disarm the country and protect Russian speakers it says are endangered by dangerous Ukrainian nationalists. Kyiv and its Western allies say this is a pretext for an imperial land grab.
(Writing by Gareth Jones; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)