MOSCOW, December 11 (RIA Novosti) – Most Russians think that Ukraine would be better off if the two countries formed closer ties, according to a new poll published Tuesday.
Just 6 percent believe that Ukraine will gain from forming closer links with the West, while 36 percent are convinced that Russia will suffer harm if its neighbor makes such a move, the poll showed.
The survey, by the Public Opinion Foundation, found that 59 percent of respondents agreed that Russia and Ukraine share “one blood” and that it would be positive for them to have warmer relations.
An increasing number see strains in the relationship between the neighboring former Soviet states. Some 39 percent of Russians believe that the country’s bond with Ukraine is poor, compared with 30 percent six months ago.
Just over half (55 percent) said they felt positively toward Ukraine, while 36 percent agreed that they were indifferent. The poll of 1,500 people in 43 regions of Russia was conducted on December 1, with a statistical margin of error of 3.6 percent.
Relations between Russia and Ukraine have been under the microscope as massive street protests continue in the Ukrainian capital Kiev over President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to reject a planned association agreement with the European Union in favor of strengthening ties with Moscow.