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Poll: 70% of Ukrainians have friends or relatives with front-line experience

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 13, 2024 10:59 PM 2 min read
A Ukrainian soldier holds his child at the railroad station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine on Nov. 3, 2023 (Yan Dobronosov/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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As many as 70% of Ukrainians have friends or family who have fought or are currently fighting at the front line since February 2022, according to a poll by the Sociological Group Rating and the Veterans Affairs Ministry published on March 13.

In July 2022, 54% of Ukrainians said they had friends or family who had gained front-line experience since February 2022. This is similar to the number of respondents, at 55%, who said they had a friend or relative who fought for Ukraine between 2014 and 2021.

In August 2023, then-Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that around a million Ukrainians have become combat veterans since the Russian invasion of Donbas in 2014.

The respondents also voiced extremely high trust in the military, with 94% trusting military personnel and veterans, while 41% believed that they will become veterans in the future.

Men were far more likely to answer that they believe they will become a veteran in the future, with 63% of men agreeing with this statement, compared to 23% of women.

In terms of challenges faced by veterans who return from war, respondents indicated they believed psychological instability, problems with physical health and accessing medical care, and a lack of inclusivity for people with disabilities to be the most likely risks.

Most respondents, or 64%, said that the state is not fulfilling its obligations to veterans, a sharp drop from August 2022, when just 19% of respondents said the state is not fulfilling its obligations to veterans.

‘Abandon all hope:’ Ukraine’s wounded warriors compare military medical system to the Inferno
Editor’s Note: This story is based on dozens of interviews with Ukrainian active servicemen, veterans, and experts with knowledge of Ukraine’s military medical system. Some of the soldiers and veterans in the story are identified by their first name or callsign only because they fear retribution as…

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