ua en ru

Security guarantees or joining NATO: Ukrainians' opinion

Security guarantees or joining NATO: Ukrainians' opinion Photo: Ukrainians believe only in full membership in NATO (Getty Images)

The majority of Ukrainians see their country as a member of NATO and insist on joining rather than settling for "security guarantees," according to KIIS (Kyiv International Institute of Sociology).

Support for NATO membership in 2023

Currently, 89% of Ukrainians want to see Ukraine as part of NATO, with an overwhelming majority in all regions supporting this step, ranging from 79% in the East to 93% in the West.

"So, society has finally consolidated on this issue and demonstrates a unified view," note the sociologists.
Security guarantees or joining NATO: Ukrainians' opinion

Willingness to "sacrifice" NATO membership

At the same time, only 18% find it acceptable to refuse NATO membership to establish peace, while 76% consider such a price unacceptable. Regionally, there is a consensus as well, with 67% in the East to 81% in the West deeming such a compromise inappropriate for ensuring peace.
Security guarantees or joining NATO: Ukrainians' opinion

"Security guarantees" or NATO membership

In May 2022, opinions were almost evenly divided, with 39% insisting on NATO membership alone and 42% considering "security guarantees" as an acceptable alternative. By May 2023, public opinion has significantly shifted, with the share of those advocating NATO membership increasing to 58%. Meanwhile, the percentage accepting "security guarantees" decreased to 29%.
Security guarantees or joining NATO: Ukrainians' opinion

KIIS commentary

According to Anton Hrushetskyi, Deputy Director of KIIS, the rhetoric of Ukraine's Western partners regarding "security guarantees" as an alternative to NATO membership (including the idea of postponing membership for the future) is viewed skeptically by Ukrainians due to historical experience (such as the Budapest Memorandum) and the actual extent and speed of Western support provided to Ukraine after the large-scale invasion.

While most Ukrainians consider the war against aggressive Russia as a joint effort with Western allies and are grateful for the substantial assistance rendered, they do not perceive the volume of this aid as sufficient for a complete expulsion of the enemy and for ensuring Ukraine's security.

"Perhaps providing convincing and transparent guarantees with concrete implementation mechanisms by the West will increase trust in 'security guarantees.' However, for now, Ukrainians believe only in full membership," he added.

The Kyiv International Institute of Sociology conducted its survey from May 26 to June 5, 2023, among 1,029 respondents. The survey did not cover the territory occupied by Russia in Crimea and Donbas, nor citizens who left the country after February 24, 2022.

The Summit in Vilnius

U.S. President Joe Biden stated that the United States is ready to provide Ukraine with security guarantees similar to those given to Israel after the war. He believes that NATO lacks unity regarding Ukraine's membership in the alliance and that the accession process will take time after the war ends.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that Ukraine expects reliable and explicit security guarantees from NATO member countries at the NATO Summit in Vilnius scheduled for July 11-12 until the country becomes a member of the bloc.