One in ten Europeans hold the belief that Ukraine has the capability to defeat Russia

In London, the support for Ukraine remains robust throughout the European Union, but researchers suggest that politicians should concentrate on defining an acceptable peace.

According to a survey conducted across 12 EU countries, including France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and Sweden, only one out of every ten Europeans believes that Ukraine can emerge victorious against Russia. Pessimism regarding the outcome of the conflict has been fueled by various factors such as Ukraine’s unsuccessful counteroffensive, potential shifts in US policy, and the prospect of Donald Trump returning to the White House.

Titled ‘Wars and Elections: How European leaders can maintain public support for Ukraine,’ the report revealed that 20% of respondents predicted a victory for Russia. These findings coincide with the approaching second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

While support for Kyiv among Europeans remains high, there is a prevailing belief among those surveyed that some form of compromise settlement is the most probable resolution to the conflict. This marks a notable change in sentiment from a year ago when a majority of Europeans insisted on Ukraine reclaiming all lost territory.

The authors of the report argue that EU politicians should adopt a more pragmatic approach, focusing on establishing pathways to peace based on the survey’s findings. Mark Leonard, co-author from the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), emphasized the need for EU leaders to reframe discussions about the war, stressing the urgency of preventing a Russian victory while acknowledging doubts about Ukraine’s military capabilities.

With Ukrainians predominantly opposing any settlement that involves ceding territory to Russia, debates persist among experts about the potential consequences of such compromises. While some fear that conceding Ukrainian soil could embolden the Kremlin and lead to further conflict, others prioritize the immediate cessation of bloodshed.

The poll, conducted in January, predates a strategic and symbolic victory for Moscow in the eastern Donetsk region, further underscoring the complexities surrounding peace negotiations. Preferences for pushing Kyiv towards accepting a settlement varied across EU countries, with Hungary, Greece, and Italy showing the highest inclination, while Sweden, Portugal, and Poland leaned towards supporting Ukraine’s territorial aspirations. Opinions in Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, and France were more evenly divided.

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