Over 44% of those who have served in the military believe the state does not do enough for them, a new survey has shown
A growing number of Ukrainian combat veterans are feeling neglected by both the nation’s officials and society in general, an online survey conducted by the Ukrainian Veterans’ Fund and published on Monday has shown. The number of respondents who said they felt a lack of respect has also doubled since the last poll.
A total of 44.6% of Ukrainian veterans polled believe that those in charge “do not fulfill their obligations” to them. More than one in five (21.4%) said that the state does nothing at all for them, up from 8.3% in the February 2023 survey. Only 18.8% of the survey participants assessed Kiev’s policy towards veterans positively.
Veterans who have already left active service and returned to civilian life pointed to a lack of support for them among ordinary Ukrainians as well, according to the agency created by the Ukrainian Ministry for Veterans Affairs.
In the October survey, almost 10% of veterans said society “does not respect” them at all. In February, only 4% of them believed the same. Meanwhile, 44% said they felt a lack of respect in some sense, up from around 25% in February.
Well over half of veterans also reported physical health problems and difficulties in obtaining medical care, while over 40% said there was a lack of work for veterans and issues gaining access to social benefits.
The fund’s CEO, Ruslana Velychko-Trifonyuk, said that the results of the regular surveys her agency conducts “speak of the stigmatization of the image of a veteran.”
The Veteran Affairs Ministry said in July that it expected the number of veterans in Ukraine to grow eightfold, to four million people, by the end of the conflict with Russia. Some Ukrainian media outlets warned at that time that the nation could face an “economic collapse” if the existing veteran assistance system was kept and the number of veterans so much as doubled.
The survey comes as Russian Foreign Intelligence Service reported that Ukraine’s Western backers have encouraged Kiev to expand draft efforts and enlist the elderly, teenagers and women into the army. The new draft is supposedly needed to replace the heavy losses Kiev’s troops suffered in the largely unsuccessful summer counteroffensive.
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