Europeans, Ukrainians increasingly at odds over prospect of victory over Russia – polls

Europeans, Ukrainians increasingly at odds over prospect of victory over Russia – polls
Only one in ten Europeans think that Ukraine can win the war against Russia, according to a recent survey. / bne IntelliNews
By bne IntelliNews February 21, 2024

Only one in ten of respondents in the EU believe that Ukraine can win the war against Russia, according to a new survey commissioned by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).

The EU-wide survey has revealed a stark shift in European sentiment towards the Ukraine-Russia conflict, with barely 10% of respondents now believing Ukraine can emerge victorious over Russia.

Conducted across 12 EU member states, including France, Germany, and Poland, the majority of Europeans no longer hold faith in Ukraine's military capabilities, marking a significant departure from attitudes just a year ago, according to the survey.

The poll found that a mere twice as many respondents (20%) now anticipate a Russian victory. The report's authors concluded there is a need for a more realistic approach to defining what constitutes an acceptable peace settlement.

Mark Leonard, co-author of the ECFR report, highlighted the importance of reframing the narrative surrounding the conflict to maintain European support for Ukraine. While most Europeans are eager to prevent a Russian victory, they doubt Ukraine's ability to achieve military success.

The growing pessimism is based on the stalled counteroffensive and fears that US aid to Ukraine will not resume. The findings were released prior to Ukraine's recent retreat from the eastern town of Avdiivka, which handed Russia a significant military victory.

Just over a third of respondents (37%) believe the war would end in a compromise settlement, with some member states showing a preference for aiding Ukraine's fightback, while others leaned towards pushing Kyiv to accept a settlement.

In contrast to European sentiment, a separate survey conducted by the Razumkov Center found that 85% of Ukrainians remain optimistic about their country's victory in the war with Russia.

"Compared to previous surveys, the expected timing of victory is becoming more distant. Thus, according to the latest survey, among those who believe in victory, 20% believe that it will take place before the end of this year, while in February-March 2023, 50% believed that that victory will come by the end of 2023," said the report. The survey was conducted between January 19 and 25 and funded by USAID.

Most Ukrainian citizens support diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict, reflecting a willingness to pursue negotiations. A separate survey carried out via phone on February 5-10 by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology found over 70% of respondents were open to resolving the conflict with Russia diplomatically.

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