A poll of global attitudes toward Russia’s Ukraine war suggests the West has regained its “unity and sense of purpose" following the invasion, according to the European Council on Foreign Relations.
The survey, conducted in nine EU countries, Britain, China, India, Turkey, Russia, and the United States in December and January, portrays markedly different attitudes in non-Western nations.
“We asked the question whether they agree strongly with the idea that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine needs to stop as soon as possible, even if that means giving Russia control of some areas of Ukraine,” Susi Dennison, an analyst at the council, which commissioned the poll, told VOA earlier this week.
“What we found was that within the EU, but also in Great Britain and the United States — so what you might refer to as the West — there is a general agreement with the idea that Ukraine needs to regain all of its territory. And that has grown in the European countries that we looked at since we asked a similar question last summer,” Dennison said.
The report says Americans and Europeans are united in believing that Russia is an adversary or a rival. Seventy-one percent of U.S. respondents, 77% in Great Britain, and 65% in the EU countries “regard the future of relations with Russia as one of confrontation,” according to the report.
Non-Westerners gave very different answers.
In China, 42% of those asked are said to agree that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine must stop as soon as possible, even if it means Ukraine giving control of parts of its territory to Russia. The desire to quickly end the war is stronger in Turkey, with 48% and India, with 54%, the report said.
“It is worth noting, however, that almost a third of people in both these countries would prefer Ukraine to regain all of its territory, even if it means a longer war or more Ukrainians being killed and displaced,” the report added.
The authors say three factors have driven Western unity: Ukrainian battlefield success, the way the war has united the political left and right, and the perceived return of a strong West led by the United States.
Europeans also feel they have survived a difficult winter, despite high energy prices caused by Russia’s invasion, Dennison said.
“There is a certain sense among Europeans that we weathered that particular storm, we can sustain economically the position that we’re taking against Russia and that we need to do so because of the nature of the war that Russia is fighting — that it threatens the fundamental rules on which the international order is based.”
As Russia tries to take more territory in a spring offensive, the report authors say Western leaders should exploit the public support for arming Ukraine.
“Military aid and support in dealing with that is needed now, because if it starts to look like actually this is not something that the Ukrainians could push back against, then we could see the support among Europeans begin to dissipate,” Dennison added.
The survey also asked citizens about their expectations of the likely global geopolitical order, a decade from now.
Most respondents in Europe and America expect a bipolar world, dominated by the U.S. and China. Most of those outside the West, though, expect a fragmented global order, with several competing powers making up a multipolar world.
“You have strong majorities that say Russia is either an ally or a necessary partner. They see a world of multipolarity in which they are going to have to form pragmatic, relatively interest-based alliances. And so to a certain extent, most global players are seen as necessary partners within that picture. What was quite striking is that Russia is no exception,” Dennison told VOA.
The report concludes that Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has “confirmed the renewed centrality of American power to Europe — with billions of dollars spent maintaining the war effort, which has sustained unity across the Atlantic on sanctions and diplomatic positions towards Russia and given a new lease on life for Western-led institutions such as NATO and the G-7. This reality has not gone unnoticed by global publics.”