Ukrainians Divided on Defining Victory in War Against Russia

Written by Camilla Jessen

Feb.21 - 2024 3:10 PM CET

Photo: Grand Warszawski /
Photo: Grand Warszawski /
A recent Razumkov Centre survey reveals that 85% of Ukrainians are optimistic about winning the war against Russia, though they have varied visions of victory.

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A recent poll by the Razumkov Centre has revealed that 85% of Ukrainians feel optimistic about winning the war.

However, opinions on the exact definition of "victory" over Russia vary widely.

Varied Perceptions of Victory

The survey, carried out from January 19 to 25, 38% of those confident in a win define victory as the removal of Russian forces from Ukraine's entire territory. This would return the nation's borders to their pre-January 2014 status.

Another 27% see victory as destroying the Russian military and causing internal chaos or collapse in Russia. 13% of participants would see a return to the pre-February 23, 2022, status quo as a triumph. A victory for 7% is seen as the removal of Russian troops from all Ukrainian territory, excluding Crimea, which remains occupied. Meanwhile, 4% would be content if the war ended, even with Russia controlling territories seized after February 24, 2022.

The belief in Ukraine's eventual victory is strong across the country, with 85% of participants expressing confidence, ranging from 78% in the eastern regions to 88.5% in the western parts.

Skepticism about a Ukrainian victory exists among 8.5% of respondents, with disbelief more prevalent in the east (13%) than in the west (5.5%).

When Will the War Be Over?

Regarding the expected timeline for victory, 20% of the optimists anticipate it happening by the end of this year. This is a notable shift from February-March 2023, when 50% expected victory by the end of 2023.

Now, 40% foresee victory within the next 1-2 years, up from 26% earlier in the year.

A smaller group, 14% (up from 7% in early 2023), believes victory could take 3 to 5 years, and a very few, 3% now versus 1% previously, think it may take over 5 years. Only 1% currently, compared to 0.4% earlier, feel victory might not occur within their lifetimes.

Uncertainty about the timing of victory has increased, with 22% unsure of when to expect it, compared to 15% previously.

The survey interviewed 2,000 people aged 18 and over. It was face-to-face in 22 oblasts and Kyiv, excluding combat zones or areas outside Ukrainian control. The error margin is estimated at 2.3%.

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