European Faith in Ukrainian Victory Dips to 10% According to New Survey

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.21 - 2024 2:58 PM CET

Photo: Oleksandr Osipov / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Oleksandr Osipov / Shutterstock.com
European Faith in Ukrainian Victory Dips to 10%

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A survey conducted in January by sociologists YouGov and Datapraxis reveals that only one in ten Europeans believes in a complete victory for Ukraine in the war. According to the study results published by The Guardian, twice as many EU residents—about 20%—believe in Russia's victory. Meanwhile, 37% of respondents expect the conflict to lead to some form of compromise settlement.

The survey was carried out across 12 European Union countries, including Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and Sweden. Respondents indicated that the Ukrainian counteroffensive has reached a stalemate, and some fear a shift in US policy following upcoming elections.

A year ago, the survey outcomes were different: more than a quarter of respondents stated that Ukraine should reclaim all its lost territories. "To justify the ongoing European support for Ukraine, EU leaders need to change how they talk about the war," said Mark Leonard from the European Council on Foreign Relations, one of the survey's co-authors.

Leonard suggests that most Europeans have "despaired of preventing a Russian victory" but believe the best solution is to continue supporting Kyiv. This support could lead to a sustainable peace through negotiations, potentially on terms favorable to Ukraine. In Sweden, Portugal, and Poland, respondents more frequently said Europe should help Ukraine, whereas people in Hungary, Greece, Italy, and Austria preferred pushing Kyiv to start negotiations. In Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Spain, opinions were evenly divided.

The survey also showed that many Europeans increasingly view Russia's war against Ukraine as a direct threat, with 33% expressing this view. They believe the conflict has a greater impact on Europe than conflicts in the Middle East.

Over 50% of respondents stated that a victory for Donald Trump in the US presidential elections would be bad news, with Hungary being the only exception. There, 27% would welcome Trump's return to office, while 31% of Hungarians would be disappointed.

Furthermore, more than 40% of Europeans believe that if the US ceases military support for Ukraine, the EU should maintain or even increase its support. Conversely, 33% think Europe should follow the US's lead if such a scenario unfolds.

Another co-author of the report, Bulgarian analyst Ivan Krastev, highlighted the risk that if negotiations proceed on Moscow's terms, Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin could try to portray Ukraine and its supporters as perpetually warlike, while they claim the "mantle of peace."

"If Ukraine ends up as a neutral zone after the war, it would be a defeat not only for Kyiv but also for Europe and its security," Krastev noted.

A survey by Russian Field sociologists in early February showed that 37% of Russians would "reverse the decision" to start the invasion if possible. The proportion of those believing the war should not have been started reached a record high since the conflict began: 28% in March 2022, dropping to 26% by May 2022, then steadily increasing by 11 percentage points.

Those not willing to reverse the start of the "special military operation" are almost one and a half times more numerous—53%, according to Russian Field. Their proportion has risen by 4 percentage points since autumn 2023, when it became clear that Ukraine's widely announced counteroffensive had not yielded results.

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