One year in, global public opinion about the war in Ukraine has remained remarkably stable
As the war in Ukraine nears the one-year mark, nearly two-thirds (64%) of adults across 28 countries still report closely following news about it. A new Ipsos survey finds that global public opinion about the conflict has not changed much since the weeks following the country’s invasion and that citizens of most western nations remain steadfast in their support of Ukraine.
Summary of findings
The survey was conducted among 19,003 adults under the age of 75 between November 25 to December 9, 2022, on Ipsos’s Global Advisor online survey platform. Its findings will be presented at a conference in Washington on January 24 where they will be commented on by Oksana Markarova, Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States.
Large majorities of citizens in every nation agree that their country must support other sovereign countries when they are attacked (70% on average globally, down 1 point on average in countries surveyed in March-April 2022), but also that it should avoid getting involved militarily in the conflict in Ukraine (71%, down 1 point).
More than half still say paying more for fuel and gas because of sanctions against Russia is worthwhile to defend another sovereign country (53%, down 2 points). Even though Ipsos research finds inflation to be the #1 worry across the world, more people think that economic sanctions on Russia are necessary to support Ukraine despite their impact on energy and food prices than feel the sanctions on Russia aren't worth the economic impact they are having in their country – by a difference of 15 percentage points on average across the 28 countries surveyed (40% vs. 25%).
However, the survey points to some risks of fatigue. At the global level, fewer now agree that their country should take in Ukrainian refugees (66%, down 7 points since March-April 2022) and that “doing nothing in Ukraine will encourage Russia to take further military action elsewhere in Europe and Asia” (63%, down 5 points). Also, slightly more now agree that “the problems of Ukraine are none of our business and we should not interfere” (42%, up 3 points).
Nevertheless, across the 13 countries surveyed that are part of the European Union and/or NATO plus Australia (i.e., “the West”), two-thirds agree that restrictions on Russian oil and gas imports are important to maintain, even if it means they must limit our heating this winter. This view is held by a majority in all 13 countries except Hungary.
Both in the U.S. and on average across the same 13 countries, 57% favor continuing to support Ukraine until all Russian forces have withdrawn from territory claimed by Ukraine. Here too, support varies greatly, ranging from 69% in Sweden to just 37% in Hungary.
Among NATO countries surveyed, full majorities in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Poland support their country’s providing weapons and/or air-defense systems to the Ukrainian military.
The world is (still) watching
Nearly a year into the war, an average of 64% of adults across all 28 countries surveyed say they closely follow news about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. For comparison, 82% say they closely follow news about inflation and increasing prices, and 70% those about climate change and severe weather.
Across the 25 countries already surveyed in March-April 2022, the proportion of adults keeping tabs on the conflict in Ukraine has dropped by only an average of five percentage points. It has not declined by more than five points in the United States or any of the next eight largest NATO countries. Latin America is the only region where attention paid to the war has receded significantly.
A varying appetite for sanctions
The prevailing view in most countries is that the invasion of Ukraine warrants a response:
- 66% globally agree that Russia must continue to be excluded from major international sports competitions, including a majority in all but three countries.
- 63% agree that doing nothing in Ukraine will encourage Russia to take further military action elsewhere in Europe and Asia, including a majority in all but two countries.
However, while 58% on average disagree that “the problems of Ukraine are none of our business, and we should not interfere”, majorities in many emerging countries across Asia and Latin America agree with that view – and it has become notably more prevalent since March-April 2022 in Turkey (up 13 points) and Germany (up 11 points).
Global opinion is even more divided when it comes to economic sanctions against Russia.
On average, 45% support the idea their country should apply the most stringent economic sanctions against Russia while 25% are opposed to it. Majorities agree in the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Britain, and every EU country except Hungary and Italy, but nowhere else. In Turkey and Hungary, opponents of severe sanctions against Russia outnumber supporters by double-digit margins.
On average, 53% agree that paying more for fuel and gas because of sanctions against Russia is worthwhile to defend another sovereign country, but again, agreement is very disparate, ranging from 34% in Chile to 72% in South Korea.
Concerns about the cost of supporting Ukraine
Nearly two-thirds (64%) on average globally agree that “given the current economic crisis”, their country “cannot afford to lend financial support to Ukraine” – including a majority in every nation surveyed except Sweden, the Netherlands, and Canada. Since March-April 2022, agreement with this opinion has grown significantly in many western countries, especially in France, Germany, Poland, and Japan.
However, when asked which of the two statements is closest to their opinion – that “economic sanctions on Russia are necessary to support Ukraine and encourage Russia to end the war, even if it means energy and food price will remain higher for a while” or that “the sanctions on Russia aren't worth the economic impact they are having in [my country] on energy and food prices” – 40% globally select the former vs. 25% the latter. The pro-sanctions view leads by more than 30 points in Sweden, Poland, Britain, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Canada. Anti-sanctions sentiment dominates significantly only in Hungary, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Willingness to take in Ukrainian refugees drops
Two-thirds (66%) on average agree that their country should take in Ukrainian refugees. Willingness to welcome Ukrainians fleeing the war is highest in Britain (81%), the Netherlands (80%), and Sweden (79%). However, since March-April 2022, support for taking in Ukrainian refugees has dropped by at least six points in every one of the 10 EU countries surveyed – most of all in Germany and Belgium (by 14 points) – as well as in the U.S.
Support for lending military support to Ukraine prevails in most NATO countries
Majorities in every country surveyed continue to agree that their country should avoid getting involved militarily (71% on average). Furthermore, there is no country where a majority support sending troops to Ukraine.
Yet only 40% on average globally support their country maintaining diplomatic ties with Russia – a proportion that has barely changed since March-April 2022 (up just 2 points). Support for maintaining diplomatic ties with Russia is expressed by a solid majority only in Indonesia (73%), India (66%), and Turkey (62%). It is lowest in Poland (21%) and below average in the U.S. (33%).
Furthermore, public opinion in most western countries is more supportive of lending military aid to Ukraine than not.
On average, across the 12 NATO countries surveyed:
- 44% would support their country sending troops to NATO countries neighboring Ukraine while only 31% would oppose it. Only four countries show more opposition than support for it: Hungary, Italy, Turkey, and Germany. Support is widest in Canada (59%) and expressed by 48% in the U.S.
- 48% would support their country providing weapons and/or air-defense systems to the Ukrainian military, while only 29% would oppose it. Only in Hungary and Italy do more oppose it than support it. Support is highest in Britain (63%) and at 54% in the U.S.
About the study
These are the findings of a 28-country Ipsos survey conducted November 25 – December 9, 2022, among 19,003 adults aged 18-74 in the United States, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey, 20-74 in Thailand, 21-74 in Indonesia and Singapore, and 16-74 in 19 other countries, via Ipsos’s Global Advisor online survey platform.