It was almost impossible for anyone to have imagined it could happen, but it did and shocked the whole world. On February 24, 2022, Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, ordered an attack against Ukraine.
It has been several months since then, and the war continues, with Russian troops still destroying most Ukrainian cities and villages. These events lead to massive losses on both sides, both human and material.
In our previous study, "About The War In Ukraine", we examined Romanian perceptions of the conflict. To get a more thorough picture of the situation, we decided to examine a similar sample in some eastern European countries, as well as the neighboring country, Ukraine. Thus, we chose to interview citizens of Romania, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia (all member states of NATO and of the European Union), of Serbia (a non-member state of NATO and of the EU, close to Russia), and last but not least of Moldova (its urbanization rate is below 50%, so we could not reach a similar urban sample from the other states).
Different countries' interests or histories affect the opinions of citizens in the urban environment. There is an obvious proximity between some states and the states participating in this war.
In Poland, the population has a largely negative outlook on the Russians. Nevertheless, the Poles believe that the war will have a profound effect on Europe's future, and they are confident that Ukraine will win this battle. There is no doubt that the Poles host the majority of Ukrainian refugees and their proximity to the neighboring country, as well as their distance from Russia, are decisive factors here.
Romanians share similar opinions with Poles, as well as the Slovaks, but to a lesser extent. Slovak citizens are also reluctant to integrate Ukraine into international organizations.
Many Hungarian citizens believe there is little chance of Ukraine resisting the Russian attacks, do not believe war has an important role in the future of Europe, and oppose Ukraine's membership in NATO and the EU.
Additionally, some Serbs are favorable to Russia, and they are not admirers of Zelenskyy or Western leaders. Furthermore, they oppose sanctions against Russia and agree with military assistance to Ukraine. It is of course a given that the Serbs oppose Ukraine being admitted as a matter of urgency by the EU and NATO - not only because they are Russophiles, but also because Serbia itself is not yet part of either organization.
Generally speaking, Moldovan youth follow a similar path to those of Romanians and Poles, but there are some differences. As a whole, they are much more optimistic about diplomacy and successful peace negotiations than they are about sanctioning Russia.
Despite the geographical proximity to the conflict zone, as well as opinions about the war and warring parties, there seem to be some commonalities: Few people are against hosting refugees in their own country, so hope in humanity is not completely lost. From an economic, political or social point of view, virtually everyone feels that the war will impact their country as well.
There is no doubt that the war in Ukraine has an emotional impact on the majority of people. The proportion of people who believe the war could spread to other countries is quite high in all investigated countries - even in Serbia, although small, the numbers are not negligible.
It would be best if these fears were unfounded, for our own good.
If you'd like to discover more about this study, make sure to read the complete analysis here: https://bit.ly/WarInUkraineStudy.