8 years.

That’s for how long Ukraine was in a state of hybrid war with the Russian Federation. First, our neighbors annexed Crimea in 2014, and then invaded Donbas and occupied part of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. However, the aggressor did not stop there and on February 24, 2022, without declaring war, launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

For 8 years we defended our independence not only militarily but also diplomatically, creating international alliances to defeat the invaders. Ukraine has been actively building up good relations with NATO — since 2019, Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations were added to the Constitution of the country.

Pre-war opinion polls have clearly shown that, in the face of potential Russian aggression, support for NATO membership in February 2022 was the largest since independence. Why would that be so? However, after February 24, this issue became rhetorical.

It is now quite clear that if Ukraine were a member of NATO, Russia would hardly dare to invade our territory.

Everything is quite clear with the position of the citizens, but did the people’s deputies show solidarity with their voters? Did they support the course of rapprochement with NATO and did they vote in favor of strengthening national security and defense?

On the Eve of the War

Let’s start with NATO.

The Rating Group recently conducted a poll and found that 62% of Ukrainians support Ukraine’s accession to NATO. OPORA, in turn, investigated how deputies voted for Ukraine’s integration into the Alliance. We found 17 votings in the Verkhovna Rada of the current convocation and combined them into a separate policy “In support of Ukraine’s course to join NATO.”

The most consistent supporters of the Euro-Atlantic course were deputies from the “Servant of the People” and “European Solidarity” (ES). The former voted “yes” in 87% of cases, the latter — in 81%. In third place — deputies from the “Dovira” group (77% of support). Holos and Batkivshchyna supported such initiatives in more than half of the votes, and the For the Future group in slightly less than 50% of cases. The main opponent of Euro-Atlantic integration is the Opposition Platform — For Life (OPFL). Its representatives voted “yes” in only 3.5% of cases.

By the way, such voting statistics completely correlate with the programs of these political forces. The ESHolos, and Batkivshchyna have promised to join NATO in their election programs. Candidates from the “Servant of the People” spoke about strengthening cooperation with the Alliance, and “OPFL” about neutrality in the military-political sphere and non-participation in any military-political alliances.

Now let’s discuss national security and defense.

On February 15, 2022, against the background of information about the probable invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine, the Verkhovna Rada adopted an appeal to international organizations, governments, and parliaments of foreign states. 326 deputies voted for its adoption, and only two were against it. These are Serhiy Dunayev and Oleksandr Koltunovych, who are members of the OPFL faction. Do you know what else unites these deputies? They often voted against the adoption of bills aimed at strengthening Ukraine’s national security and defense. Yes, Alexander Dunaev did it 18 times, and Alexander Koltunovich — 17.

We should also add that on February 22, the Verkhovna Rada voted in favor of the draft resolution condemning Russia’s recognition of the LDPR’s independence without a single vote against. Only three deputies abstained: Oleksandr Koltunovych and Mykola Skoryk from OPFL and non-partisan Serhiy Magera.

Deputies from the Servant of the People (94%), Holos (84%) and the European Solidarity (82%) vote most consistently “for National Security and Defense”. Then — deputies from “Dovira” (80%), “For the Future” (72%) and “Batkivshchyna” (72%). OPFL demonstrates the least support for this this course — only in 44% of cases.

During the War

The situation has changed dramatically. In response to Russian aggression, all parliamentary political forces were consolidated.

Even those political forces that were considered pro-Russian have changed their rhetoric. For example, the OPFL party, while not directly condemning Russian aggression, issued a statement on March 7 expressing its full solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, stressing that the war should be stopped through negotiations. Earlier, on March 3, Ilya Kivu, who justified Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Russian TV channels, was expelled from the party and the OPFL faction. By the way, on March 6, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine informed the scandalous deputy of the suspicion of treason.

Consolidation of parliamentary parties on the situation in the country first appeared on February 24, when the parliament passed the Law on Approval of the Decree of the President of Ukraine “On the imposition of martial law in Ukraine.” This decision was supported by 299 deputies from all political forces. No one voted against it. On the same day, during a joint briefing of the parliamentary leadership and representatives of all factions and groups, Parliament Speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk noted that the Verkhovna Rada had demonstrated unity at this difficult time. “Today, we, the representatives of all factions and groups in parliament, are not divided by political views. On the contrary, we are united by one thing — the desire to serve the state of Ukraine and the people of Ukraine. We are on our land, the truth is with us, God is with us. And we will win! Glory to Ukraine”, Ruslan Stefanchuk summed up.

Unity was manifested once again on March 3. It was then, under martial law, that people’s deputies convened a plenary session and passed 14 laws and resolutions aimed at strengthening the country’s defense capabilities in the face of military aggression. All political forces voted in favor of these decisions. The meeting took place online and lasted approximately 17 minutes. The Council also passed laws on mobilization, on the introduction of criminal liability for collaboration and looting, on the seizure of Russian property in favor of the state and more.

Unfortunately, the results of the roll-call votes were not published on the parliament’s website. Only the total number of votes is known. Thus, each legislative initiative received from 279 to 288 votes in favor. Only during the vote for the establishment of criminal liability for collaborationism did one deputy vote “against”. So far, the name of this deputy and his motives remain unknown.


Analyzing the work of the parliament over the past 2.5 years, we can conclude that before the war most Ukrainian political parties supported Ukraine’s course towards rapprochement with NATO and initiatives aimed at strengthening our country’s defense capabilities. These initiatives were the least supported in the “OPFL”.

However, after the beginning of the war, the situation changed somewhat. Parliamentary political forces, despite ideological differences, consolidated to counter the aggressor. This shows that strong institutions of political parties have been formed in Ukraine, which put state interests above party interests.

It seems that Russia was counting on a different scenario.