Many Europeans have come to believe that an invasion of Ukraine is imminent
The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) has released a new survey which indicates that the majority of people in countries such as Germany, Poland and Sweden say that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is “likely” before the end of the year. When asked if they wanted their country to be involved in “defending” Ukraine, however, it was probably only the Polish respondents who agreed.
A majority of those surveyed in Poland, Romania, Sweden, Germany, Italy and France believe that an invasion of Ukraine is “very” or “quite” likely this year, with Polish and Romanian citizens fearing an invasion the most. Over 70% of respondents from Poland believe that an invasion can happen, while over 60% of respondents in Romania have the same belief.
“In Poland, for historical and geographical reasons, respondents see the prospect of a Russian invasion as an existential crisis,” the authors of the survey concluded.
In the event of such an “invasion” actually taking place – something Moscow has denied is planned, despite insistence from the US government and others – European defenders want NATO, the European Union (EU) or the US to come to Ukraine’s aid.
Over 60% said that NATO “should defend” Ukraine, while 60% and 54% want its defense to come from the EU and the US respectively.
While a majority sees the situation in Ukraine as a security threat to the region as a whole, most would not want to see their own countries become involved in an invasion scenario. Of the countries surveyed, only Poland, which had a majority (65%), believes that their country should join Ukraine’s defense if an invasion occurs. More than 40% of those surveyed from Sweden, France and Italy believe that their countries should join Ukraine’s defense. A majority of respondents from Finland believe that they “should not defend” Ukraine, while only 21% want their government to defend the nation.
However, most Polish respondents see NATO or the EU as Ukraine’s “main defender”. Poland is also the only country where a majority of respondents said that the negative effects of coming to the “defense” of Ukraine are worth it, they can be an economic downturn, refugees and higher energy costs.
The ECFR survey was conducted at the end of last month among 5,529 respondents from Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania and Sweden.