Ukraine favors Europe over Russia, new CNN poll finds. Moscow in no rush to respond to Donetsk People’s Republic plea for accession.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said Ukraine’s 25 May presidential vote will be “crucial” in bringing the country out of its crisis, the BBC informs.
Mr Steinmeier was on Tuesday in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, amid fresh attempts to find a diplomatic solution.
On Monday, pro-Russia activists in the east declared a separate state which wanted to join Russia after holding votes on self-rule on Sunday.
Kiev, the US and EU say the referendums in Donetsk and Luhansk were illegal.
In Kiev, Mr Steinmeier met acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya. He added he hoped steps in Ukraine would “bring back occupied territory, disarm armed groups step by step and reinstall the authority of the state”.
According to a CNN poll, Ukrainians are a lot less pro-Russian than separatists there would like the world to believe, even in regions along the border with Russia which are supposedly voting overwhelmingly to declare independence from Ukraine.
The people of Ukraine feel much more loyal to Europe than to Russia, and a clear majority back economic sanctions against Russia, according to the poll of 1,000 people across the country conducted in the past week.
Two out of three (67%) people in Ukraine approve of economic sanctions against Russia, while one out of three (29%) disapproves, the poll by ComRes for CNN found. Ukrainians tend to see Russian President Vladimir Putin as dangerous and a strong leader, while they consider U.S. President Barack Obama friendly.
More than half (56%) said they felt a stronger sense of loyalty to Europe than to Russia, while 19% said they felt more loyal to Russia and 22% said neither. Three percent said they didn’t know.
The CNN poll found that even in eastern Ukraine, a minority of people back an alliance with Russia. Just over a third (37%) of Ukrainians in three eastern regions favor an alliance with Russia, while 14% of the region backs an alliance with the European Union and about half (49%) say Ukraine would be better off if it did not ally with either, the poll found.
“Eastern Ukraine” includes the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv, which are generally seen as among the most pro-Russian areas in the country.