Should UK special forces be sent to fight in Ukraine?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
April 18, 2023, 11:28 AM GMT+0

Britons support special forces assisting in a non-combat capacity, but don’t support getting involved in direct combat with Russian forces

The recent leaks of confidential US military documents revealed that small numbers of UK special forces are operating in Ukraine.

It is not clear from the leaks what activities the special forces are undertaking, but a new YouGov survey shows that Britons would generally be fine if the special forces are assisting in a non-combat capacity, with 52% saying they would support this compared to 27% opposed.

However, Britons would be far less pleased if it turned out that they were taking part in combat with Russian forces. Just 32% say they would support covertly sending special forces to Ukraine to fight the Russians, compared to 45% who are opposed.

This is a figure only slightly higher than the number who want to send regular troops into Ukraine (27%), and is similar to the number who would back air strikes against Russian targets in Ukraine (34%).

There is, however, still strong support for other forms of assisting Ukraine or opposing Russia.

Three quarters of Britons (77%) support maintaining current sanctions against Russia, with a similar number (73%) backing further economic sanctions against Russian interests in the UK.

More than two thirds (68%) support sending additional weaponry and supplies to the beleaguered nation – Ukraine has been pressing the West to send more ammunition as its supplies run low.

Six in ten (59%) back sending additional troops to support NATO members in Eastern Europe.

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