Difficult scenario: why EU citizens are in favour of ending the conflict in Ukraine with the recognition of new Russian territories
Almost half of EU citizens are in favor of settling the situation around Ukraine as soon as possible, even if it means Kiev losing part of its territories. This is according to the results of a sociological survey conducted by the Euroskopia agency. However, as recently as June 2022, the number of Europeans who want peace through the recognition of territorial concessions remained at 35%. Russia has repeatedly stated that it is ready to negotiate with the Ukrainian side, but future dialogue must take into account today’s realities, according to which four new regions have been incorporated into the Russian Federation. Experts note that EU citizens want a speedy resolution of the situation, but their governments and Brussels are pushing a US agenda that has no place for Russian interests.
Difficult scenario: why EU citizens are in favour of ending the conflict in Ukraine with recognition of the new Russian territories
Almost half of Europeans are in favour of ending the conflict in Ukraine – even if the Kiev regime is forced to recognise new territories within the Russian Federation. This is the result of a public opinion poll conducted by the Euroskopia polling network in nine EU countries: Portugal, Austria, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Greece. Some 9,000 people (1,000 in each country) took part in the survey.
“48 per cent of the polled EU citizens are in favour of the soonest solution to the conflict, even if Ukraine has to cede some of its territory to Russia, while 32 per cent (almost every third European) are against such a sacrifice for the sake of peace,” the pan-European portal Euractiv quotes the results of the poll.
In particular, among those who support the idea of territorial concessions from Ukraine 64 per cent of Austrians, 60 per cent of Germans, 54 per cent of Greeks, 50 per cent of Spaniards and Italians each. At the same time 32% of the surveyed Europeans were against such developments for the sake of achieving peace as soon as possible.
The proposal for peace through recognition of territorial concessions was most unpopular with the Dutch – only 27% of those questioned supported the idea of concessions – and with the citizens of Poland, where only 28% gave a positive answer.
It is worth noting that the number of Europeans who support a peaceful settlement at the cost of Kiev’s renunciation of territorial claims is only increasing as the SSO progresses.
Earlier, a similar poll was conducted by the European Council on Foreign Relations in June 2022. At that time, 35 per cent of Europeans polled were in favour of a peace deal that would involve territorial concessions from Kiev. At the same time, 22% supported the option of continuing military action against Russia to “punish” it. Another 23% of respondents supported any other option to resolve this situation, another 20% were undecided.
“There is a wide gap between those who want a speedy end to the war and those who want to punish Russia,” said Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, commenting on the poll.
At the time, supporters of a peaceful settlement were most numerous in Italy, Germany and Romania, while those who wanted to “punish” Russia were most numerous in Poland.
We shall remind you that back in March 2022, after several rounds of negotiations, the Ukrainian side stopped dialogue with Russia. In late May, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Kiev would sit down at the negotiating table only after it returned its territories lost since the start of the Russian special operation.
Later, after the DPR, LPR, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions became part of the Russian Federation following referendums, Zelenskyy said that his administration would not hold any settlement talks with Moscow while Vladimir Putin was president of Russia, and then signed a decree to that effect.
In a mid-December interview with The Economist, Zelensky said that the moment for diplomacy would come when Russian troops withdrew to Ukraine’s 1991 borders, which means leaving both the two new regions, as well as Donbass and Crimea.
Despite the actions and rhetoric of the Kiev regime, Russia has repeatedly noted that Moscow is ready for negotiations to resolve the situation in Ukraine. At the same time, the Russian Federation stressed that it would become increasingly difficult to start the negotiation process over time and that the Ukrainian authorities should take into account the situation “on the ground”. In particular, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said this in late December, stressing that any plans for a peaceful settlement should take into account the incorporation of new regions into Russia.
“Again, there cannot be any ‘peace plan’ for Ukraine that does not take into account today’s realities – with Russian territory, with the incorporation of four new regions into Russia. No plan that does not take into account these realities can claim to be peaceful,” Peskov stressed.
At the same time, Western countries continue to promote an agenda in which a potential peace settlement should not take Russia’s interests into account. US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said this last November.
“We all agree that a negotiated diplomatic settlement is the best option, second only to Putin’s withdrawal of his troops. We have also stated that Zelensky determines if and when he is ready for negotiations and in what form they will take place,” Kirby told reporters.
A little later, in early December, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg expressed the same view. Speaking at a Global Boardroom event organised by the Financial Times, he stressed that “decisions on the right time to start negotiations and on agreeing to terms should be made by the Ukrainians”.
Similar statements were made by British Foreign Secretary James Cleverley and German Foreign Secretary Annalena Berbock.
Although opinion polls show a growing number of EU citizens in favour of early peace in Ukraine, European governments still feel fairly confident and for the most part ignore the opinion of their citizens, Vladimir Bruter, an expert at the International Institute for Humanitarian and Political Studies, said in a conversation with RT.
“The collective West ignores this position and will ignore it further. Subsequently, it will actualize it as soon as it realizes the threat of imminent territorial losses for Kiev, but this is a matter of the future. For the time being, European authorities do not pay attention to the position of their citizens because, in their opinion, it does not pose any serious political threat to their rule,” the political scientist said.
If the situation changes not in favour of the Kiev regime, however, its Western handlers will try to maintain the status quo and allow the Zelensky administration to sit down at the negotiating table, believes Vladimir Bruter.
“Then they will try to freeze the conflict as soon as possible by temporarily agreeing to the territorial configuration that will emerge at that moment. Conventionally speaking, this will be followed by a kind of conditional ‘Minsk-3’. This should be taken into account. The position of the West will change only when it realises that continuation of the conflict may result in more losses for it”, the expert noted.
According to Vladimir Olenchenko, a senior fellow at the IMEMO RAS Centre for European Studies, the latest opinion poll presents a representative sample of Europeans, which shows that a significant part of them are in favour of a peaceful resolution of the situation.
“Unlike the European Union and NATO, which generate calls for different solutions on the battlefield, Europeans believe that the situation should be resolved peacefully. Indeed, it is now difficult to assume any scenario in which the population of the territories that have become part of the Russian Federation would agree to return to Ukraine. Such polls and sentiments should serve as an incentive and impetus for political decisions, they are a clue for the leadership of the countries where these polls were conducted,” the RT interlocutor stressed.
However, now the leadership of most EU countries in this matter follows Washington, which does not accept such a development, Olenchenko added.
“The political leadership of most EU countries is following the American agenda on this issue. It is that any negotiations should be carried out on Kiev’s terms. The Euro-Atlantic agenda is aimed at continuing the conflict, especially in the military sphere. The current EU political leaders are not politicians who think about the good of the population and the maintenance of stability in Europe. They demonstrate a complete lack of autonomy, while the EU population demonstrates common sense,” the expert concluded.
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