Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: how do young Europeans see the conflict?

, by Věra Dvořáková

Russia's invasion of Ukraine: how do young Europeans see the conflict?

When Russia invaded Ukraine on the 24th February this year, it prompted European countries to come together and make several unprecedented decisions. But how do the people in these countries view the invasion? The New Federalist asked 6 young people to share the perceptions of the conflict in their home countries.

Mihail Petrov

Occupation: Journalist/Student

Country: Bulgaria

The news about the war in Ukraine came as a shock to most of us here in Bulgaria. In the humanitarian aspect, many campaigns were organized to help Ukrainian refugees such as volunteering and donations. In the online aspect, there have been Russian troll attacks and disinformation regarding the conflict in Ukraine. In the political aspect, the Bulgarian government has taken a few steps in regards to supporting Ukrainian refugees and speaking out against the Russian invasion.

Kati Systä

Occupation: Advocacy coordinator

Country: Finland

Many Finns feel for Ukrainians and have great respect for them fighting against a large aggressor. Some draw parallels with the war Finland fought against the Soviet Union. Many want to give what they can to support Ukrainians, some because they see similarities. There has also been a quick shift in public opinion to support a Finnish NATO membership. While support for sanctions is strong, there is also a worry about the long-term impact on regular Russians will be, especially young people.

Miriam Tepes-Handaric

Occupation: Journalist

Country: Romania

We are shocked. Buildings that look like our Soviet buildings are destroyed. The fear of Russia is real. The fear of the Iron Curtain is present, and we worry for the future of Moldova. Amidst this, the identity of Eastern Europe has strengthened. We see Ukrainians as our brothers and unjust victims. Numerous civilians went to help at the borders, before the government took action. The great majority stands with Ukraine. But the Russian propaganda is still active, and a small minority believes it.

Álvaro Mella López

Occupation: Student

Country: Spain

Since Putin ordered the aggression and military invasion of Ukraine, there has been enormous concern in Spanish society, and I have seen numerous demonstrations in support of the Ukrainian people. Several collections of food, clothing and medicine have been prepared, and many NGOs and associations are fully involved in humanitarian aid. We are aware that this attack on Ukraine is an attack against all Europeans and our liberal democracies, so we must show solidarity.

Amalie Klitgaard

Occupation: Video Journalist and SoMe-editor at Tingenes Verden, journalist and photographer

Country: Denmark

The Danish reaction to the war was swift and uniform: We stand with the Ukrainian people and Putin must be held responsible for his horrendous actions. But then the Danes’ perception of the question of guilt changed. Would we react similarly if Russia had expanded westward? Are we to blame for pushing Putin into a corner? The discussions continued to oscillate between culpability, Putin’s sanity, racist systems and… then a children’s hospital was bombed, underlining that Putin is to blame.

Théo Boucart

Occupation: Project Officer in the European Academic Cooperation

Country: France

​​The war in Ukraine is smuggled into the ongoing presidential campaign. Thanks to his posture of mediator, President Macron has a comfortable lead in the poll over his main contendants, mainly the pro-Poutine far-right politicians Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour. Concomitantly, polls conducted in early March showed that more than 85% of them are worried about Putin’s war over Ukraine, 80% are in favor of hosting Ukrainian refugees, whereas the same number despises President Putin.

All images used with permission from contributors.

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