Declining support for indefinite US aid to Ukraine, poll finds

Declining support for indefinite US aid to Ukraine, poll finds


A strong majority of Americans continue to support sending arms and economic aid to Ukraine, according to a poll released Monday. But as the conflict drags into the winter, Americans are divided on whether Washington should push Ukraine to reach a negotiated peace as soon as possible.

More than two-thirds of respondents support supplying Ukraine with arms and economic aid, and about three-quarters support accepting Ukrainian refugees and sanctioning Russia, Chicago Council survey finds on Global Affairs last month.

While U.S. public support for Ukraine aid remains strong, Republican support for Ukraine aid has declined since the spring, with 55% of Republicans saying they support sending military aid, versus 68% in July and 80% in March. Half of Republicans favored economic aid to Ukraine last month, up from about three-quarters in March, according to findings from the Chicago Council.

The United States announced its latest tranche of military aid to Ukraine last month — the 25th since August 2021. The $400 million package includes additional weapons, ammunition and equipment, the ministry said. Defense, and brings total U.S. military assistance to Ukraine to nearly $20 billion. since President Biden took office.

The United States is also sending $53 million to help repair Ukraine’s electrical systems, which have suffered extensive damage from Russian missile strikes in recent weeks.

As Russia’s war in Ukraine enters its 10th month and no end in sight, Americans are divided on whether Washington should urge Ukraine to reach a peace settlement with Russia imminently, according to the survey. A majority – 40% – said the United States should maintain its current levels of support for Ukraine indefinitely. Fifty-three percent of Democrats favor this approach. In July, however, 58% of American respondents said the United States should help Ukraine for as long as it takes, even if it meant higher gas and food prices for American consumers. . Now 47% say Washington should push Kyiv to reach a peace deal soon.

A plurality of Republicans, however, would choose to phase out US support for Ukraine. Overall, 29% of respondents felt this way, while about a quarter said the US and its allies should intervene militarily to help Ukraine win the war quickly.

Ukraine launched a major counteroffensive this fall, retaking the northeastern Kharkiv region and forcing Russia to withdraw from the southern city of Kherson. Kyiv has pledged to continue its counter-offensive, with the stated aim of returning all territories captured by Russia – including eastern Ukraine and Crimea, which Russia seized in 2014 – under Ukrainian control. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused Ukraine of refusing to negotiate but hinted that Russia would not give in to its demand for international recognition of Ukrainian territories it claims to have annexed.

But obstacles threaten to slow the Ukrainian advance and Russian positions are entrenched along a front line stretching hundreds of kilometers across southern and eastern Ukraine. According to the Chicago Council survey, Americans have different perceptions of who has the upper hand. About a third of Democrats say Ukraine has the advantage, compared to 23% of Republicans and 22% of independents. Overall, 46% of respondents believe that neither Ukraine nor Russia have the advantage.

“If people think Ukraine has the upper hand, they’re much more supportive of continuing to help Ukraine,” said Dina Smeltz, one of the researchers.

Ukraine faces tougher fight to extend battlefield victories

In October, Group of Seven leaders formally endorsed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s conditions for a peace deal, which would require Russia to withdraw from all illegally occupied sovereign Ukrainian territory.

Last week, Biden said he was ready to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin if Putin indicated he wanted to end the war. “He hasn’t done it yet,” Biden told reporters during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Washington. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, meanwhile, vowed to continue to help Ukraine achieve its battlefield goals.

“We have been very clear that the United States and countries around the world will never – never, ever, ever – recognize the territories that Russia has illegally annexed,” the Department of Defense spokesman said Friday. ‘State Ned Price at a press conference.

What Russia has won and lost so far in Ukraine, visualized

But Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, suggested to reporters last month that the time might be approaching for Ukraine to negotiate. He suggested to reporters that it was unrealistic to think that Ukraine could regain the 20% of its territory occupied by Russia.

As Republicans soon take control of the House of Representatives, ushering in an era of divided government, proposals for additional aid to Ukraine may meet more resistance. Ahead of last month’s midterm elections, some Republican candidates campaigned to end financial support for Ukraine. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the Republican nominee to be the next House Speaker, said Republicans won’t write a “blank check” for Ukraine.

Isabelle Khurshudyan, Paul Sonne, Liz Sly and Scott Clement contributed to this report.

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