Europe: no signs of fatigue in the support for Ukraine


Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine exactly one year ago, leading to a conflict of unpredictable length and a lasting transformation of the transatlantic security status quo. Ukraine's European and global allies have not only imposed sanctions on Russia and its military supporters, but are also providing military, financial and humanitarian assistance to defend Ukraine's territorial integrity. Despite the growing economic difficulties Europe is facing and the Russian disinformation campaigns, the level of support for Ukraine within Europe has not diminished over the past year.

In this analysis, we assess the level of "Ukraine fatigue" in Europe from three perspectives, beginning by examining the main trends in military aid from European countries to Ukraine and the main paradigm shifts in the arms transfers; followed by an analysis of the results of the elections in EU Member States; and concluding with a detailed look at the changes in European public opinion concerning the level of support for Ukraine. 

The full study is available here (.pdf, 2.1MB)

Executive summary

  • The EU defence policy has taken an unprecedented turn. For the first time in its history, the EU has zauthorized the transfer of lethal weapons to a third country. So far, it has provided Ukraine with €3.6 billion for arms purchases. Moreover, in November, it launched a comprehensive training mission (EUMAM) with a two-year mandate for Ukrainian soldiers. This is the first EU mission that contributes significantly to training soldiers from a non-EU country.
  • Member states are increasingly breaking long-standing taboos on providing military aid to Ukraine; some of them are now donating lethal weapons from their existing stockpiles. Over the past year, Ukraine has received more and more modern and effective weapons from its European allies. The European countries (including the EU) allied with Ukraine have provided Ukraine with a total of nearly €15 billion in military assistance. In recent weeks, amid a potential Russian spring offensive, there has been another significant levelling up: several Member States, previously reluctant to take strong action against the Kremlin, such as Germany and France, have offered modern heavy weapons from their active stockpiles. More recently, the international dialogue on the supply of fighter jets has also been intensifying.
  • With the exception of Hungary (and Italy), no party campaigning against helping Ukraine has been able to form a government in the past year. Although such campaign messages have emerged during almost all elections in Europe, parties campaigning with pro-Russian narratives, such as the French National Rally or the Czech ANO, have been defeated by pro-Ukraine candidates.
  • Opinion polls show that after one year, the majority of Europeans still  support initiatives to help Ukraine. In most countries surveilled, there has been a slight decrease in support for measures to help Ukraine compared to the months following the war, but still, a significant proportion of Europeans remain firmly in favour of supporting Ukraine. Although support for accepting refugees and imposing strict sanctions has fallen over the past year (by 9.1 percentage points on average), it remains well above 50% in most countries. Military and financial assistance are slightly less popular. In Germany, the third biggest spender on military aid to Ukraine worldwide, the popularity of arms transfers fell from 55% in March to 48% in December 2022.

The full study is available here (.pdf, 2.1MB)