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Most Russians consider Ukraine Russia's partner, polls show

      RBC, 02.08.2006, Moscow 18:55:16.The majority of Russians believe that Ukraine remains Russia's leading trade and economic partner (26 percent) and a friendly state (25 percent), a poll carried out by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center shows. Another 12 percent regard Ukraine as Russia's strategic partner. Some 13 percent of respondents think Ukraine is Russia's economic and political competitor and another 13 percent believe it to be Russia's opponent. The attitude towards Ukraine has not changed over the past 6 months.

      The majority of respondents (51 percent) dislike the prospect of introducing visa restrictions between Russia and Ukraine, while 23 percent support imposing visa restrictions. Ukraine's entry into NATO is viewed negatively by 56 percent of Russians and would be supported by only 8 percent. However, Ukraine's entry into the European Union arouses less negative emotion - 36 percent of Russians are not interested in whether Ukraine will join the EU or not, 22 percent are prepared to support Ukraine's entry and 22 percent are against it. Some 60 percent of respondents would welcome Ukraine joining the Common Economic Sphere with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

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