Following days of bloody conflict in Ukraine, new research shows broad support for the opposition protesters among people following the story from Britain
On Tuesday, months of conflict between opposition protestors and the Ukrainian government escalated dramatically – resulting in the deaths of dozens of people. On Ukraine’s bloodiest day, Thursday, hundreds were injured and many were killed in Independence Square as police deployed snipers and used live ammunition. By Saturday, Ukrainian MPs had voted to remove President Yanukovych, possibly ending the bloodshed and pushing the conflict towards a resolution. But the struggle marks a wider strategic standoff between the West and Russia, whose alignment with Ukraine underpins the conflict.
A YouGov survey finds that those in Britain following the conflict are decidedly on the side of the opposition, with 66% sympathising with the opposition protesters and only 4% siding with the Ukrainian government. 10% sympathise with both equally, 12% with neither, and 8% are unsure.
Among the population at large, there are plenty more who either don't know (33%) or back neither (18%), but the opposition protesters are still preferred to the Ukrainian government by 39%-2%.
The protests begun after President Yanukovych’s government rejected a far-reaching accord with the European Union in November 2013, instead opting for closer ties with Russia. Late this week the President and opposition leaders signed a deal calling for an early presidential poll before the end of the year, as part of a wider agreement to provide for a national unity government, electoral reform and constitutional changes reducing the president's power. However, along with the decision to remove Yanukovych, the Ukrainian MPs voted to hold the presidential elections even earlier, on 25 May.