While US public support for aid to Ukraine remains strong, Republican support for aid to Ukraine has declined since the spring. 55 percent of Republicans said they support sending military aid, compared to 68 percent in July and 80 percent in March. Half of Republicans preferred economic aid to Ukraine last month, compared with about three-quarters in March, according to the Chicago Council findings.
The United States last month announced its latest tranche of military aid to Ukraine — its 25th since August 2021. The $400 million package includes additional arms, ammunition and equipment, the Defense Department said, and brings total U.S. military aid to Ukraine at 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 significant damage from Russian missile strikes in recent weeks.
With the Russian war in Ukraine in its 10th month, and with no end in sight, Americans are divided over whether Washington should urge Ukraine to reach a peace settlement with Russia soon, the study finds. A majority – 40 percent – said the United States should continue its current level of support to Ukraine indefinitely. Fifty-three percent of Democrats support this approach. In July, however, 58 percent of American respondents said the United States should help Ukraine as long as it takes, even if that meant higher gas and food prices for American consumers. Now 47 percent say Washington should urge Kiev to come to a peace settlement soon.
However, a large number of Republicans would choose to gradually withdraw US support for Ukraine. Overall, 29 percent of respondents share this view, while about a quarter think the United States and its allies should intervene militarily to help Ukraine win the war quickly.
Ukraine launched a major counter-offensive this fall, retaking the northeastern region of Kharkiv and forcing Russia to withdraw from the southern city of Kherson. Kiev has vowed to continue its counter-offensive, with the stated goal of returning all territory captured by Russia — including eastern Ukraine and Crimea, which Russia seized in 2014 — to Ukrainian control. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused Ukraine of refusing to negotiate, but suggested Russia will not give in to its demand for international recognition of the 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 miles across southern and eastern Ukraine. Americans had different perceptions of which side has the upper hand, the Chicago Council survey found. About a third of Democrats say Ukraine has an advantage, compared to 23 percent of Republicans and 22 percent of independents. Overall, 46 percent of respondents think neither Ukraine nor Russia has the advantage.
“If people think that Ukraine has the upper hand, they are much more in favor of continuing aid to Ukraine,” says Dina Smeltz, one of the researchers.
Ukraine faces tougher struggles to extend battlefield victories
In October, the leaders of the Group of Seven formally endorsed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s terms of a peace deal, which would require Russia to withdraw from all illegally occupied Ukrainian sovereign territory.
Last week, Biden said he would be willing to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin if Putin expresses interest in ending the war. “He hasn’t done that yet,” Biden told reporters at a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Washington. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, meanwhile, has pledged to continue helping Ukraine achieve its battlefield objectives.
“We have been very clear that the United States and countries around the world will never — never, never, ever — recognize territory that Russia has illegally annexed,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said Friday at a news conference. press conference.
What Russia has won and lost in Ukraine so far, visualized
But General Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, suggested to reporters last month that the time may be approaching for Ukraine to negotiate. He suggested to reporters that it was unrealistic to think Ukraine could recapture the 20 percent of its Russian-held land.
With Republicans soon taking control of the House of Representatives, ushering in an era of divided government, proposals for additional aid to Ukraine could face more resistance. In the run-up to last month’s midterm elections, some Republican candidates campaigned to end financial aid to Ukraine. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the Republican nominee to be the next House Speaker, has said Republicans will not write a “blank check” for Ukraine.
Isabelle Khurshudyan, Paul Sonne, Liz Sly and Scott Clement contributed to this report.