More than 50% of citizens of six European Union countries believe that the Russian Federation may invade Ukraine this year. Most respondents also say that NATO and the EU should protect Ukraine in the event of full-scale aggression.
This is evidenced by a poll conducted by the European Council on Foreign Relations in late January in seven countries – Romania, Poland, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Italy, and France – countries that together account for almost two-thirds of the European Union’s population.
According to the results, the majority of respondents in six of the seven countries said that Russia could invade Ukraine in 2022. Residents of countries bordering Ukraine are more inclined to believe in the offensive.
For example, 73% of respondents in Poland, 64% of respondents in Romania, and 44% of respondents in Finland believe that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is likely.
More than 60% of respondents in seven countries call NATO the main defender of Ukraine‘s sovereignty. At the same time, respondents believe that the European Union also should defend Ukraine in case of aggression. In addition, more than 60% of respondents in Poland consider that their country should help Ukraine defend against Russia.
The poll showed that Europeans are ready to accept “potentially long-term threats” as a result of defending Ukraine, including the possible large flows of refugees, higher energy prices, cyber attacks, and the threat of Russian military action.
Respondents in Poland, Romania, and Sweden tend to say that the aid to Ukraine was “worth the risk.” The citizens of France and Germany are the least prepared for threats for the sake of defending Ukraine.
The poll authors believe that the results of the study show that Europeans do not consider “war unthinkable” and do not “take peace for granted.” The poll also shows that Europeans perceive a possible Russian invasion as an attack not only on the neighbouring state but on European security in general.