French reveal their priorities on Ukraine crisis – poll
French people overwhelmingly favor arming Ukraine while promoting a negotiated peace solution, as opposed to simply giving Kiev weapons until it can defeat Russia, an opinion poll released on Sunday has shown.
Seven out of ten respondents in France told the pollster Ifop that they wanted their government and the EU as a whole to pursue peace talks while keeping up military aid to Ukraine. Details of the December survey were published by Le Journal du Dimanche.
Only two options were offered for the survey question. The 'talks plus arms' outcome was favored by the majority across the political spectrum, from 57% among supporters of the Socialist Party to 88% among those who voted for conservative political commentator and presidential candidate Eric Zemmour, the report said. Support for peace talks was at 60% among those who backed President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance Party.
Divided into social groups, women (73%), people aged 25 to 34 (75%), public sector employees (73%) and residents of rural areas of France (72%) were the most likely to prefer a diplomatic solution to unconditional military support for Kiev.
The French perceive the future of the conflict with Russia with great uncertainty, the poll indicated. Just 21% said they expected the Ukrainian crisis to be over before 2024, while almost half (46%) declined to predict a deadline.
The share of the population worried about the conflict has dropped from 92% in early March to 83% this month, Ifop found.
Macron has stirred anger in Kiev and among Ukraine’s most vocal supporters in the EU by repeatedly calling for a negotiated end to the conflict. He stated that Russia will need to receive long-term security guarantees from the US and its allies as part of any solution.
Russia has cited NATO’s creeping expansion into Ukraine as one of the key reasons for deploying troops against its neighbor. Moscow perceives the US-led military bloc as an existential threat. An Ifop poll conducted in March said almost a third (30%) of French people agreed with the Russian argument.