Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, the world’s wealthiest man, has repeatedly called for a negotiated peace to stop the fighting in Ukraine and said that Kyiv may have to accept some territorial losses. Failure to allow Russia to keep Crimea could be catastrophic, Musk warned on social media.
In response to a question asked on Twitter whether the world faces a nuclear war, Musk tweeted, “If Russia is faced with the choice of losing Crimea or using battlefield nukes, they will choose the latter. We’ve already sanctioned/cutoff Russia in every possible way, so what more do they have left to lose? If we nuke Russia back, they will nuke us and then we have WW3.”
However, the majority of the Ukrainian people support their nation’s war effort, and according to a new Gallup survey released on Tuesday, they’re not willing to give up Crimea or any other territory. Seven out of 10 Ukrainians surveyed last month said their country should continue fighting until they completely drive out the Russian invader, while about one quarter said they’d support a negotiation to end the fighting as soon as possible.
The strong support for continued fighting is present across multiple demographics, however, the sentiment is more popular among men compared to women, at 76% to 64%; and among college-educated individuals compared to those who are not, at 80% to 68%. In addition, support for the war effort was highest in places such as the country’s capital of Kyiv (83%); the West (82%), Central (78%), and North (75%) regions of the country. There were much smaller majorities in the country’s East (56%) and South (58%), yet, that is where the bulk of the fighting is now taking place.
Fight On for Crimea?
Among survey respondents who want their forces to continue fighting the Russians, there has remained an overwhelming consensus about what a Ukrainian victory would look like, with 91% saying it should involve the liberation of all territory captured by Russia since 2014 including the Crimean peninsula – which is also the same stance increasingly taken by several Ukrainian government officials.
Other findings from the survey found that 94% have confidence in Ukraine’s military, 85% approve of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s job performance, 66% approve of U.S. leadership, and 54% approve of NATO leadership’s job performance, while less than 0.5% approve of Russia’s leadership.
The Gallup poll was taken before Russia was forced to change up its tactics in its “special military operation.” As the Kremlin’s forces have faced numerous setbacks, Moscow has resorted to attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure – and since October 10, some 30% of Ukraine’s power stations have been destroyed, causing massive blackouts across the country. Russia has employed missiles and loitering munitions/drones in recent attacks.
On Monday, October 10, the Russian military launched nearly 200 ballistic and cruise missiles against over 20 Ukrainian cities, including the capital, Kyiv, the second-largest city, Kharkiv, and the third-largest city and biggest port, Odesa. Russian salvos have included Kh-101, Kh-555, Kalibr, Iskander, S-300, and Tornado cruise and ballistic missiles that were launched from air, ground, and maritime platforms, including nuclear submarines and strategic bombers.
The United States and other Western nations have called the actions “war crimes,” and have strongly condemned the missile strikes.
Russia’s strategy may be to force the Ukrainians to accept a peace deal, but as the Kremlin’s forces continue to face setbacks on the battlefield, it would seem all it has left is terror.
A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.