People in Need: Public support for Ukraine eroded by war fatigue and conflicts elsewhere

People in Need helping in Luhansk

A recent survey by the agency indicates that Czechs’ support for Ukraine in the war with Russia is slowly waning. According to the results, 51 percent of Czechs are no longer in favour of continued military support for the country, up from 36 percent just over a year and a half ago. To learn more about what’s behind the dwindling support , I spoke with Petr Drbohlav, director for Eastern Partnerships at the charity NGO People in Need.

“People in Need launched an appeal in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine back in 2022, and there was an enormous, unprecedented response from Czech society. We were able to fundraise more than 90 million Euros since then, and there were some points when there was increased societal interest in the conflict, around autumn and winter 2022, when the large scale attacks on Ukraine were happening.

“Another example of increased interest was when the Kakhovka dam breach happened earlier this year. But now we can see that the interest in the appeal has disappeared. It’s not all because of war fatigue, although I am sure that’s a part of it, but it’s also other events happening elsewhere – be it the Azerbaijan takeover of Nagorno-Karabakh, or the Hamas-Israel conflict.”

Petr Drbohlav | Photo: Czech Television

Helping Ukraine has been a big priority for People in Need. Can you explain why it is still important to keep supporting the country?

“What we see is that the humanitarian needs in Ukraine itself are still continuing. We see the interests of institutional donors moving closer to the front lines and supporting people on the front lines. But at the same time, we have nearly five million internally displaced people in central and western Ukraine that still need support. The Ukrainian budget is aimed at keeping the status quo in terms of access to education, social services, health, and of course trying to win the war.

“But there isn’t so much money left in the budget to actually integrate and ensure access to social security for the displaced people. There is definitely a need to help these people, and at the same time, Ukraine needs support in terms of post-war reconstruction, we see this in the areas that have been occupied in the last year, there have been massive impacts on the areas that have been shelled. In all these places, there needs to be support in order to give life back to the people.”

Humanitarian aid in Ukraine | Photo: People In Need
run audio