Two sources in Kiev told Izvestia that the pursuit by country’s authorities to distance Ukraine from Russia has not yet yielded their desired outcome. “The majority of our people understand that it is necessary to establish friendly relations with Russia, the way they have always been. Ukrainians know that there they have nothing to fear. I have many friends who have recently visited Russia. According to them, they had no problem during these trips and were treated kindly. I believe this helps normalize relations between our countries. In addition, about every fifth family in the country has ties with Russia. Many residents of Ukraine went to the World Cup,” Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament) MP Tatiana Bakhteeva told the newspaper.
According to the border control agency of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), in Q1 2018, 5,300 tourists from Ukraine came to Russia, one year ago – in the first three months of 2017, around 3,000 Ukrainians visited Russia, in the same period in 2016 around 2,300 people.
“Ukrainian citizens come to Russia not only as tourists but more often for work. They can really see that life in Russia and public sentiment sharply differ from the Ukrainian media reports… According to statistics, half of Ukrainians are well-disposed towards Russia,” leading researcher at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies Oleg Nemensky told Izvestia.