Only 10 percent of Europeans believe in a victory for Ukraine | Abroad

Although support for Ukraine remains high two years after the Russian invasion, only 10 percent of Europeans believe the country can still defeat Russia. This is evident from one research in twelve EU countries, including the Netherlands, which was published on Wednesday.

Ukraine’s stalled counter-offensive, growing fears of a US policy change and the prospect of a possible second US presidential term for Donald Trump are fueling pessimism about the outcome of the war. The prevailing feeling in all twelve Member States surveyed is that the battle will end in a ‘compromise settlement’.

According to the researchers, their findings cannot remain without political consequences. “EU leaders will have to tell a different story about the war if they want to continue calling for continued European support for Ukraine,” said Mark Leonard of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), which commissioned the polls.

After all, if most Europeans no longer believe that Ukraine can win, leaders would do better to tell them that continued aid could lead to a negotiated peace that does justice to the Ukrainians, says Leonard. “And that is something different than a victory for Putin.” He means that President Zelensky’s government can get more done at the negotiating table if Ukraine is in a better position on the battlefield.

The survey was conducted before Ukraine’s weekend withdrawal from the eastern city of Avdiivka, and before the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

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‘Russian victory is not peace’

Support for Ukraine is broad in Europe, but varies per country. In three countries (Sweden, Portugal and Poland), respondents want their country to support Ukraine in reconquering the occupied territories. In Hungary, Greece, Italy, Romania and Austria, the preference is to encourage Kyiv to accept a compromise. In other countries, including the Netherlands, there is no clear preference for one of these two options: opinions are divided.

“The great danger is that Trump – and Putin, who has hinted that he is open to negotiations – will try to portray Ukraine and the countries that support Kyiv as the party that wants to continue the war indefinitely while they themselves assume the mantle of peace,” says a second author of the report, the well-known Bulgarian political scientist Ivan Krastev. “But a Russian victory is not peace. If ending the war means turning Ukraine into a no man’s land, this will be a defeat not only for Kyiv, but also for Europe and its security. From my point of view, tampering with Ukraine’s democratic and pro-Western choice is unacceptable.”