New Polling Shows Significant Ukrainian Support for Diplomacy to End the War

A peace summit held on the weekend of June 14 in Switzerland reaffirmed Kyiv’s commitment, against the backdrop of mounting skepticism among key international players, to a maximalist set of war aims as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine grinds into its third year.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly said that his country must keep fighting—no matter the costs—until its 1991 borders are restored. The presumption that the vast majority of Ukrainians share this goal underpins the West’s tacit support for the Zelensky administration’s war aims. 

But new polling showing significant Ukrainian support for diplomacy to end the war—paired with a closer look at other indications that Ukrainians are rejecting risking everything for victory—challenges this understanding.

The narrative of totally unified Ukrainian opinion is premised on polls from the earliest days of the war showing nearly unanimous Ukrainian support for the government and its handling of the war effort. This seeming consensus has steadily eroded since the peak of Ukraine’s battlefield successes in 2022, when 70 percent of survey respondents affirmed that Ukraine “should continue fighting until it wins the war.” That number dropped to 60 percent in the summer of 2023, according to Gallup. Polling since the failure of Ukraine’s 2023 offensive shows that 44 percent of Ukrainians favor entering into talks with Russia and only 48 percent—still a plurality but, notably, no longer a majority—believe Ukraine should fight on. Other recent polling shows that even in Kyiv, where Ukraine’s elite and bureaucracy is concentrated and political investment in the war effort is at its highest, complete confidence in Ukrainian victory is weakening.