Swiss fear Ukraine war could escalate

Ukrainian soldiers carry anti-tank mines to install them in the Donetsk region on June 14, 2022. Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

Four months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Swiss residents continue to fear an escalation in the ongoing fighting, according to a new survey.

This content was published on June 23, 2022 - 12:24

Most of the 2,422 people who participated in a Link survey publishedExternal link on Thursday expressed ongoing concerns about an escalation of the war in Ukraine. The pollsters asked similar questions in March and June to see if there had been any change in Swiss attitudes.

The vast majority (81%) of people questioned in June believe Russia may resort to the use of chemical weapons (compared with 85% in March), while 73% say Russia could even use nuclear weapons (79% in March).

Some 63% said in June that they feared the fighting could lead to a Third World War (72% in March), while 48% said the conflict may spread and affect Switzerland (56% in March).

Neutrality and sanctions

Neutral Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, but it decided to join the 27-nation bloc in imposing six packages of sanctions on Russia since the end of February, following pressure from other countries and prompting criticism from Russia.

Most respondents back Switzerland’s decision to mirror EU sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. A majority would be in favour of further sanctions, the survey revealed, however any involvement of the Swiss army is out of the question.

Two-thirds (64%) believe Switzerland should side with Ukraine and apply EU sanctions against Russia. Neutrality and economic sanctions are not contradictory, the poll showed.

In all, 59% said Switzerland should remain neutral vis-à-vis Russia and Ukraine, and 78% want Switzerland to play a mediating role between the two sides.

Only 23% of respondents were in favour of Switzerland joining NATO but 55% would like to see closer cooperation. 

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