In the last few months, the international community has banded together in support of Ukraine during its standoff with Russia.
Ukraine, however, is a little wary about all that Western influence.
Nearly four in 10 Ukrainians, about 38 percent, give the United States positive reviews for its role in their country — the same as the percentage of people who give the U.S. bad reviews, according to a new Pew Research survey.
Ukraine’s outlook on the U.S. has improved in recent years, though. In 2009, just 24 percent of Ukrainians gave a positive evaluation of the United States.
Western Ukrainians are much more positive toward the U.S. (68 percent) than Eastern Ukrainians (17 percent). In Crimea, a whopping 88 percent of people surveyed say the U.S. is having a negative influence on the crisis. This isn’t surprising, though, given that closer proximity to Russia — and stronger cultural and language ties to that country — tend to correspond with an increased distrust of Americans.
The Ukrainian view of the European Union is a little rosier. Forty-five percent say the E.U. is having a positive influence on Ukraine, 5 percent higher than in 2009. But the percentage of people who don’t approve of the organization’s impact has risen from 15 percent in 2009 to 33 percent today. The West-East divide holds for the E.U. as well, with 74 percent in the West giving positive reviews of its influence and 24 percent in the East giving negative ones.
The results come from a survey of 1,659 adults, 18 years of age or older, in Ukraine, conducted between April 5 and April 23, after Russia’s annexation in Crimea and before the recent violence in Odessa. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
The U.S. has been the leading skeptic of Russian motives during the Ukraine crisis, and it was the first to announce sanctions against Russia. While European countries have quickly followed in Washington’s steps, they have done so with considerably less fanfare, careful to not anger Russia, on whom they depend heavily for energy exports.