Poll: Europeans reluctant to uphold Article 5 (1)

(Andrii Vytvytskyi/Estonian Defense Forces)
6/10/2015 12:33 PM
Category: Defense

According to a poll conducted by an American pollster, public in key NATO member states see Russia as a military threat to its neighbors, but say that their countries should refrain from using military force to defend others from Russia.

A median of 48 percent polled by Pew Research Center in Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Poland, the US, Canada and the UK, said that their country should use force in case of a military conflict between Russia and a NATO member state, and 42 percent said it should not.

While Americans and Canadians are more likely to support their country giving military aid, the Europeans are rather less so inclined - 58 percent of the Germans, for example, say that Germany should not use military force to defend an ally. All polled countries are more likely to think that the US, not them, will offer military aid, the center found.

Opinions also differ on whether Russia is responsible for the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. If in Poland 57 percent see Russia as the main culprit, in Italy and Germany it is only 29 percent. A median of 18 percent see the pro-Russian separatists as the ones to blame for the violence in eastern Ukraine instead.

Nevertheless, the poll results reveal an increasing animosity between Russia and the West, many holding Russia in very low esteem. "Less than a third in any country give it a positive review, including just 15 percent in Poland and 18 percent in the UK," Pew reports, adding that the feelings are mutual, with half of Russians blaming Western countries for the Ukraine conflict. Every second Russian respondent also believes NATO to be a major military threat to the country and every third says it's a minor threat.

M. Oll

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