Sixty-seven percent of Russians view NATO as a threat, a new survey from Gallup shows. It’s the highest number recorded since 2008.
In contrast, back in 2012, only 38 percent of Russians perceived the Western military bloc as a threat.
Fifty-four percent of Belarusians also view NATO, the security alliance of 28 countries from North America and Europe, as a threat, a 19-point jump from four years ago, the latest Gallup poll has found.
Along with the Russians and Belarusians, “more people in Ukraine (35 percent), Kazakhstan (31 percent), Kyrgyzstan (30 percent), Moldova (27 percent), Armenia (20 percent) and Tajikistan (34 percent) view NATO as a threat rather than a protection,” the international survey says.
The number of Ukrainians who view NATO as a threat has increased in recent years, according to Gallup. In 2014, when the military conflict broke out in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainians were “more likely” to see NATO as a protection (36 percent) than a threat (20 percent), researchers says.
Last year, however, the percentage viewing it as a threat shot back up to 35 percent, as the Ukrainian population has grown tired of the ongoing conflict. “Without a clear end in sight to the conflict, Ukrainians may be losing confidence in NATO’s ability to help them in this crisis,” the latest survey says.
Eastern European countries that see NATO as a source of protection are mostly members of the alliance.