The number of Ukrainians who want to join NATO – as well as the European Union – is growing. NATO Secretary General Jans Stoltenberg has commented that "NATO's door is open" for Ukraine to join the alliance, and recent discussions have centered on lowering the threshold for entry. From May 2022 to May 2023 the percentage of Ukrainians wanting to join NATO increased from 73 to almost 90%. The number ‘expecting’ to join went from approximately 65 to 85 percent. Similarly, Ukrainians remain steadfast in their desire to join the European Union, with both ‘want’ and ‘expect’ numbers close to 90%. Ukraine’s increased commitment to EU-centric values, such as support for LGBTQI+ rights and fighting corruption, demonstrate the country’s dedication to becoming a full member of the union.
After more than a year of war and atrocities, Ukrainians do not believe Russia will negotiate in good faith. Five months into the war in May 2022, 59% of respondents were open to peace negotiations with Russia. By May 2023, those in favor of negotiations had dropped to 33% and those against negotiations had increased to 63%.
Ukrainians are confident in the country’s ability to root out corruption. Ukrainians trust their government, represented by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), to fight corruption. At least since the 2014 Revolution of Dignity, Ukrainians have called for corruption arrests at the highest levels. Shortly after NDI’s poll was fielded, NABU investigated and detained the President of the Ukrainian Supreme Court, Vsevolod Kniazev. He is accused of taking a bribe equivalent to $3 million USD, making it one of the highest profile and highest dollar cases ever. In NDI’s poll about 32% said they trust NABU, slightly less than those trusting muckraking journalists and civil society anti-corruption groups.
Despite the relentless nighttime bombing – especially of Kyiv over the last few months – Ukrainians morale and belief in victory remains unchanged. Ukrainians now expect the war to last longer, but their morale and belief in victory remains unchanged. In May 2023, 47% of respondents expect at least six more months of war, compared to 18% in May 2022. In the latest poll, 44% said they had lost friends and family, up from 20% in May 2022. In the past year, the number of those optimistic about the future has remained virtually unchanged. When asked to name the reason for their optimism, ‘victory’ was mentioned most.
Support for LGBTQI+ rights is rising, especially as members of the community continue to serve in the military. In the May 2023 poll, the numbers supporting equal rights for LGBTQI+ people continued to rise from an all time high documented in NDI’s last survey in January 2023. Overall support is now close to 65%. A civil partnerships bill has also advanced in parliament this year. Russia’s war against Ukraine and western values has dramatically increased the commitment of Ukrainians to democratic principles. This commitment has also slowly expanded to include equal rights for all members of Ukrainian society. As the war has progressed, LGBTQI+ members of the military have become increasingly visible.