A new poll suggests almost two-thirds of Canadians believe the Russian invasion of Ukraine has the potential to develop into a world war.
Just over half of those surveyed backed the idea of Canada providing military support for Ukraine against Russia as part of a joint North Atlantic Treaty Organization force.
The online survey of 1,519 Canadians and 1,004 Americans was conducted by Leger from Feb. 25 to 27, just after Moscow’s attack began.
The survey cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered truly random samples.
Perhaps not surprisingly, 89 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they were somewhat or very concerned about Russia invading Ukraine.
Asked which side they supported in the conflict, 83 per cent of Canadians said Ukraine, compared with 71 per cent of Americans who backed the target of Moscow’s assault.
Almost three-quarters of Canadians said Russian President Vladimir Putin was lying when he tried to justify the invasion by saying, “I have decided to conduct a special military operation … to protect people who have been subjected to bullying and genocide … for the last eight years.”
Just over two-thirds of Americans polled said Putin’s statement was a lie.
Sixty-six per cent of Canadians surveyed said they felt Russia’s invasion could escalate into a global conflict, a figure that surprised Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque.
The figure indicates people see the war as more than just someone else’s conflict in a faraway place, he said.
“I would imagine that this sort of concern is probably growing in the population.”
In terms of first steps to address the conflict, 45 per cent of Canadians surveyed advocated stronger economic sanctions against Russia, the primary course of action Canada and its allies have pursued to date.
Just over one-fifth backed the idea of starting negotiations to find a peaceful compromise, while 14 per cent supported military action to help defend Ukraine. Just two per cent advocated military action against Russia.
Twelve per cent of Canadians polled said they backed waiting and seeing what happens, while seven per cent supported doing nothing.
Possible action by the Canadian military was supported by nine per cent of Canadians, while 52 per cent backed the idea if Canada were part of a joint NATO force.
Thirteen per cent said Canada should only send military supplies and money, and 11 per cent felt no military support should be provided.