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Half of Ukrainians aged 18–55 ready to take up arms —poll

OSLO, Norway — Nearly half of Ukrainians aged 18-55 are ready to fight to defend their country against Russia, a poll conducted by European scholars suggested on Saturday.

Around 70 percent of men and 30 percent of women said they were willing to take up arms, according to the survey carried out by the Peace Research Institute of Oslo (Prio) with the help of local pollsters Info Sapiens.

The latter questioned more than 1,000 Ukrainians considered of age to defend their country, half of them men and half women, in an attempt to create a representative sample despite the challenges posed by conducting a survey during a war.

Surveyed March 9-12, during the third week of the conflict, the respondents answered online questions about their attitudes to four types of resistance.

When presented with the statement, "If the war continues, I will help the resistance by joining direct military combat in open battles against the Russian or pro-Russian forces," 49 percent responded positively.

Around 47 percent said they would be willing to "help the resistance by joining direct military combat in fortified defense positions of the Ukrainian forces."

Meanwhile, 80 percent said they were prepared to "help the resistance by providing non-military support to the Ukrainian forces (e.g., deliver food, information, or ammunition)."

Finally, 75 percent said they would "serve as a volunteer to help the Ukrainian victims of war (e.g., care for injured civilians and soldiers)."

The survey also showed that Ukrainians' willingness to take part in the resistance rose if they or their loved ones were directly affected by Russia's attacks.

At the time of the survey, one in five said they had been directly attacked by Russian or pro-Russian forces, and they were those most willing to take part in the resistance.

"Ukrainians' motivation to resist the invaders is staggering", the research institute said in a commentary.

A month into the conflict, the strength of Ukraine's resistance has surprised many military analysts, while the Russian offensive appears to have stagnated.

"The fierceness with which Ukrainians will fight will grow proportionally with the terror directed against them," one of the authors of the study, Henrikas Bartusevicius, wrote.

According to Prio, Info Sapiens used panels it had set up before the war to contact respondents. — Agence France-Presse

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