Although most Ukrainian refugees express a desire to return to Ukraine, only about a third of them will actually do so, Oleksiy Antypovych, director of the Rating Sociological Group, said in an interview with BBC Ukraine on Dec. 31.
“A person who does not live on Ukrainian territory during the war feels significantly safer,” Antypovych said.
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“They may face some limitations in means and everyday comfort, but these are compensated by other factors, primarily security.”
“Individuals living abroad replace the discomfort of relocation with certain positives. Their children attend good schools, learn foreign languages, live abroad, have a promising future, and social assistance is sufficient for basic needs. Plus, they can travel around Europe.”
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The sociologist also noted that male refugees compensate for their discomfort by realizing that they will not be mobilized.
“These people feel quite comfortable there,” he said.
“The vast majority express a desire to return. However, there’s a significant difference between wanting to return and actually returning. It’s a big distinction. So, when asked if they want to return to Ukraine, many say yes. If to ask for an assessment of the likelihood of returning, there is a notable decrease – I would estimate about a third.”
This is a complex question that requires a separate study, Antypovych said.
Most Ukrainian refugees would return to the country if its largest cities had comprehensive air defense systems, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview with the UK tabloid newspaper the Sun on Nov. 20.
According to a sociological survey by the Rating Group, 49% of Ukrainians who relocated to European countries after the start of the full-scale Russian invasion did not wish to permanently stay abroad. The survey revealed that almost one in five Ukrainiansis uncertain about whether to return or stay, and the remainder is contemplating permanent residency abroad.
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