Russia – Ukraine: Majority of Italians Share Pope’s Position

61% of Italians said they agree with the pope's recent statements on possible political solutions to the armed conflict in Ukraine

The Pope’s recent statements on the conflict in Ukraine in an interview with Italian-language Swiss Radio and Television (RSI) have sparked a lot of controversy in the world. The Holy Father said: “Strong is the one who thinks of the people and has the courage to raise the white flag. When you see that you are failing, that things are not going well, you need to have the courage to negotiate. It is shameful, but otherwise how many deaths would there be?”

According to the popular online newspaper Italia Oggi, the pope reflected in his words (they were immediately understood to be just that) “a feeling of war fatigue, a feeling that is widespread among the population of our country and representatives of other Western countries.”

There is confirmation of this, the publication notes. According to a population poll by the Eumetra Institute for the March 14, 2024 Piazza Pulita TV program, “most Italians agree with the Pope’s recent statements.” 61% support it, 15.7% disagree, and almost a quarter of respondents (23.3%) have no information or do not want to express an opinion.

As for sending weapons to Ukraine, only a third (33.3%) of respondents agreed with the continuation of these actions in support of Ukraine. The rest are against it: 28.4% said they had recently changed their opinion on the issue (“I was in agreement, but then I changed my mind”), while 30.3% said they had always disagreed with sending arms.

Such sentiments fit into the more general desire for agreements (or sometimes “lack of interest in distant wars”) that marked the mood of Italian society. It also affects attitudes towards the other ongoing conflict with Israel: more than 60% of respondents hope for an unconditional ceasefire there.