Gradus Research have published a sociological investigation of Ukrainian business owners and professionals, indicating that around half of them are bullish on the prospects of Ukraine wrapping-up the active phase of the war during the winter of 2022, and are already making plans to get their businesses back to work. According to the research, 49% of businessmen predict that this winter will see the end of the current phase of war, however another 35% remained skeptical and estimated that the war may last through at least the end of 2023, if not longer.
Research conducted last month, by a different group of Ukrainian researchers, indicated that common citizens in Ukraine are becoming increasingly less certain that the war would end “in the next few weeks” and were shifting to believe that it would continue for the immediate future. Notwithstanding this change in perceived timelines, the polling also identified Ukrainian citizens as overwhelmingly certain that Ukraine would win and that Ukraine should not make any concessions to Moscow in exchange for peace.
A Wall Street Journal – NORC poll, conducted at the end of June, found that 89% believed “it would be unacceptable to reach a peace deal with Moscow by ceding Ukrainian territory that Russian forces have seized in their invasion this year.” This hardline approach is identical to the position taken by Pres. Volodymyr Zelensky, who currently has an approval rating of 78% and only 7% of citizens disappointed in his management of the war, according to the WSJ-Norc poll.
This stands in stark contrast to how other European countries foresee the war ending. The European Council on Foreign Relations’ (ECFR) June 2022 poll of ten European Union countries found that an average of 35% of Europeans were in the “peace camp,” desiring to and wished to see the war end immediately, even if that meant that Ukraine would need to give up territorial concessions to Russia. Only about a quarter, 22%, were in the “justice camp,” and voiced support for Ukraine restoring its territorial integrity to its internationally recognized borders whilst castigating Russia for the illegal invasion.
The United States, which is the largest single sponsor of Ukraine since the war broke-out, has routinely stated that what concessions, if any, that Ukraine was willing to make, was not a decision for Washington, but that of Ukraine alone. During a March 2022 press conference, during which time initial peace talks had begun, before going on to collapse, Kate Bedingfield, Communications Director of the White House, had told reporters that the US’ “role is to strengthen Ukraine on the battlefield, strengthen Ukraine at the negotiating table. I’m not going to prejudge what ultimately those diplomatic solutions may or may not look like.”
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