US support for Ukraine sputtering as conflict drags on, poll shows

Only 48 per cent of Americans believe US should support Ukraine for ‘as long as it takes’

Protesters rally to condemn Russian strikes on Ukraine during an event organised by Russian emigrants and activists, in Tbilisi, south-east Georgia, on November 26, 2022. AFP
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As the war in Ukraine drags on, Americans are divided over how long the US should continue supporting the besieged country.

A new poll by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs reveals that less than half of Americans are currently in favour of supporting Ukraine “for as long as it takes” in its fight against the Russian invasion — a significant drop from 58 per cent in July 2022.

The decline comes amid a months-long counter-offensive in which Ukrainian forces have recaptured huge sections of territory, including the crucial eastern city of Kherson.

But Ukraine's battlefield victories have been tempered by vicious Russian aerial attacks on the country’s energy infrastructure, at times plunging millions into darkness.

Since the Russian invasion on February 24, the US has sent nearly $32 billion in aid to Ukraine, including $400 million in additional military assistance in November and $53 million in aid for badly needed energy equipment.

A majority of Americans as a whole support the country’s continued military and economic assistance to Ukraine, but support among Republicans appears to be dwindling.

Only 55 per cent of Republicans now support US military aid to Ukraine, down from 68 per cent in July and 80 per cent in March.

Republican leaders in Washington reflect that drop in support. Representative Kevin McCarthy, the Republican nominee to be the next Speaker of the House has said that his party will not write a “blank cheque” to Kyiv.

Democratic support for Ukraine has remained relatively unchanged since the start of the conflict, the survey showed.

Despite recent battlefield gains, Americans' perception of who is winning the conflict appears to be split, with 46 per cent of people believing the conflict is at a stalemate.

Twenty-six per cent believe Russia has the advantage, while another 26 per cent believe Ukraine has the upper hand.

The US has long maintained that it is up to Ukraine to decide if and when it is ready for peace talks, but President Joe Biden said last week he would be willing to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin if the Russian leader was “ready to look for a way to end the war”.

“He hasn't done that yet,” Mr Biden said.

Updated: December 06, 2022, 6:03 PM