October 27, 2022

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The Ukraine War in data: A growing divide in public opinion pits the US and NATO against Russia and China

The Ukraine War in data: A growing divide in public opinion pits the US and NATO against Russia and China

We have often used this space to look at global knock-on effects of the war in Ukraine — from global energy supplies to food prices and more. This week, a look at how the war has sharpened a global divide in public opinion.

University of Cambridge researchers have reviewed data from surveys conducted in 137 countries and issued a report that details the divide — in particular how populations have shifted in their attitudes toward the U.S., NATO, Russia and China. The report found that the war has driven people in more democratic societies to stand more firmly with the U.S. and NATO — a phenomenon seen not only in Western Europe but in Latin America and Eastern Europe as well. On the other side of the divide, the report found a swath of less liberal and more undemocratic societies — stretching from East Asia through the Middle East and West Africa — where populations have more positive attitudes toward China, Russia or both.

Overall, the report found that among the 1.2 billion people who live in the world’s liberal democracies, 87 percent now hold a negative view of Russia and three-quarters (75 percent) a negative view of China; among the 6.3 billion who live in the world’s remaining countries, the opposite is true — with 70 percent of people feeling positively toward China and 66 percent toward Russia.

“The world has divided into liberal and illiberal spheres,” said report co-author Dr. Xavier Romero-Vidal, from Cambridge’s Bennett Institute for Public Policy. The authors also noted that the report included public opinion data from emerging economies and the Global South, and that the divide “is not just economic or strategic but based in personal and political ideology.”

We offer a more comprehensive set of data points on the war in Ukraine below. Grid originally published this document on March 24. We update it every Thursday to provide a fuller picture of the conflict.

Civilians killed: at least 6,300 (probably thousands more)

On June 7, a Ukrainian official said at least 40,000 Ukrainian civilians had been killed or wounded since the war began. The official offered no breakdown of dead versus wounded civilians. The United Nations’ latest estimate of civilians killed is over 6,300, but it consistently notes the figure is an underestimate, as is its estimate of total casualties — a combination of deaths and injuries — given as over 16,000. (Updated Oct. 26; source, source.)

Ukrainian soldiers killed: 5,500 to 11,000

Top advisers to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy estimated in June that 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed since the war began. Meanwhile, on Aug. 22, Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s commander-in-chief, said the country had lost about 9,000 troops. In mid-April, U.S. intelligence officials put the number at 5,500 to 11,000 Ukrainian soldiers killed since the invasion. On June 10, an adviser to Zelenskyy said Ukraine was losing as many as 200 soldiers each day. (Updated Aug. 24; source, source, source.)

Russian soldiers killed: 5,937 to over 68,000

From the early days of the war, casualty counts for Russian soldiers have varied widely — depending on the source. Ukraine raised its estimate of Russian soldiers killed in the conflict to more than 68,000 on Oct. 19. These numbers have been updated frequently through the Facebook page for the country’s General Staff of the Armed Forces. In its first update on casualties since March, Russia claimed in late September that there had been 5,937 Russian military deaths. Kremlin spokesman Dimitry Peskov said in April that there had been “significant losses of troops, and it’s a huge tragedy for us.”

Russia has also suffered a high rate of casualties among senior officers. Thirteen Russian generals have been killed, according to Ukrainian authorities; the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency puts the figure at between eight and 10. Grid’s Tom Nagorski and Joshua Keating previously reported on the possible explanations for this “inconceivable” toll: poor communications and command-and-control structures within the Russian military. (Updated Oct. 26; source.)

Total displaced Ukrainians: approximately 14 million

There are more than 7.7 million Ukrainian refugees currently reported in other European countries. United Nations data indicates more than 14 million Ukrainians have crossed the border since the start of the war, but millions have returned home, largely from Poland, as Nikhil Kumar and Kseniia Lisnycha reported. In early October, the International Organization for Migration’s latest survey of internally displaced Ukrainians found more Ukrainians returning home from within Ukraine, but more than 6 million remained displaced within their own country. (Updated Oct. 26; source; source.)

Internally displaced Ukrainians: more than 6.2 million

An overview of the violence

Global food markets: Wheat prices down 11 percent after an initial spike

Recent Grid coverage

Learn more: Grid’s 360s on the Ukraine War

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