What do Britons think the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine will be on the UK?

Sarah Prescott-SmithSenior Research Executive
Beth MannJunior Research Executive
March 11, 2022, 1:31 PM GMT+0

The public think that a spike in energy costs is most likely

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has far-reaching consequences on daily life far beyond the eastern end of Europe. Whether it be supply chain disruptions, shortages resulting from western sanctions, or Russian retaliation for those same sanctions, the lives and wallets of everyday citizens in the West are likely to be affected in some way.

But to what extent are Britons aware of this? A new YouGov survey reveals what the public are expecting to happen here at home.

Of the potential impacts we asked about, the public think the most likely is an increase in energy prices. Almost nine in ten Britons (88%) believe such an increase is likely, including 56% who consider it “very likely”. The findings follow the US and UK both announcing that they are banning imports of Russian oil, and the EU stating its intent to end reliance on Russian gas.

With food suppliers warning that food made from wheat could surge in price – Russia and Ukraine account for a third of the global wheat supply – 78% of Britons think there’ll also be a rise in food prices specifically because of the war. Additionally, 70% believe there’ll be an increase in taxes, whilst 68% think a drop in the stock market is likely.

One in five think a nuclear attack in the UK is likely

Shortly after the invasion, Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s nuclear forces to be placed on high alert. Our findings show that one in five (21%) think that a nuclear attack on the UK itself is likely. Women are more likely to think this is possible, with a quarter of women (26%) thinking it is likely, compared to 15% of men. Similarly, recent YouGov research showed that 33% of Britons think it is likely Russia will launch a nuclear attack on the West, and 76% are concerned about such an event.

Speaking in the i newspaper, senior security sources warned that they are “braced” for Russian cyber attacks against the UK, and indeed are surprised they have not taken place already. More than seven in ten Britons (73%) think that it’s likely the UK will see an increase in cyber attacks as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Men are more likely to think this than women, with 78% of men thinking it’s likely compared to 67% of women.

See full results here

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