In just a few months, the proportion of Swedes who want to send weapons to Ukraine has dropped from 93 to 77 percent, according to a survey by the EU’s Eurobarometer. The same trend can be seen in our neighboring countries – but a large majority still wants to continue supporting Ukraine militarily, according to the survey.
– I am not very surprised that the numbers have gone down both in Sweden and in Europe, and it has to do with the time horizon, says political scientist Calle Håkansson in an interview with the tax-funded SVT.
– The longer the war goes on, the more awareness and general interest in the war decreases, and at the same time we see that there are other issues that influence public opinion – the economic situation and the like, he continues.
Another factor that may have influenced the decline in public support is that the Ukrainian counteroffensive has been worse than expected, and many have begun to doubt Ukraine’s ability to defeat Russia.
However, according to the survey, three out of four Swedes still support continued arms deliveries to Ukraine – something Håkansson attributes to Sweden’s “proximity to Russia and the security situation” in the entire region.
– We see supporting Ukraine as supporting ourselves in a way. I think that influences public opinion, he argues.
Denmark and Finland
In Denmark and Finland, public support for continued arms deliveries to Ukraine also remains very high – but there has also been a decline. Danish support has dropped from 89 to 76 percent, and Finnish support from 89 to 83 percent.
The survey was conducted before the war in Gaza broke out, and according to Håkansson, it is likely that this “new” conflict has contributed to a further drop in Swedish support for Ukraine.
– When more issues become current, it takes the public’s interest and naturally affects how they view continued military support for Ukraine.
However, the Swedish mass media’s one-sided coverage of the war or the many statements by Swedish politicians that Russia threatens Sweden in various ways are not highlighted as a possible explanatory model for why a majority of Swedes want to continue sending weapons to Ukraine.