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6 Oct, 2023 02:56

Americans souring on military aid to Ukraine – poll

Support for continued arms shipments has dropped among both Republicans and Democrats
Americans souring on military aid to Ukraine – poll

A growing number of Americans are opposed to supplying additional military aid to Ukraine, according to a new Reuters-Ipsos survey, with Democratic support taking a nosedive since the start of Kiev’s counteroffensive in June.

Published on Thursday, the poll shows just 41% of respondents agreed that the US government “should provide weapons to Ukraine,” while 35% said they disagreed, and the rest stating they were “unsure.”

The figures mark a sharp decline compared to a prior Reuters poll conducted in June, which showed 65% support for further arming Ukraine.

While Democrats have been more vocal in backing arms shipments to Kiev, support appears to be waning within the party. A slim majority of 52% said they still supported military aid in the latest poll – a steep drop from the 81% recorded in June, around the time Ukrainian forces began a major counteroffensive.

Some 35% of Republican respondents said they backed weapons transfers in the new survey, down from 56% in June.

Continued aid to Kiev has become a political flashpoint in the US Congress, as lawmakers battle over a long-term spending package to avert a government shutdown before November 17. Though a stopgap measure was originally slated to include billions in aid for Ukraine, Republicans successfully pushed to remove that funding from the legislation.

Despite assurances from the Pentagon that a federal budget crisis would not impact US aid to Ukraine, senior administration officials have indicated otherwise, sounding alarms over a potential “lapse in support” in the event of a shutdown.

“As the Congress works through its various mechanisms and procedures, we cannot under any circumstances allow America’s support for Ukraine to be interrupted,” US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters on Wednesday, adding that even a brief delay could “make all the difference in the battlefield.”

President Joe Biden has suggested that officials are looking for “workaround methods” to keep the aid flowing should lawmakers fail to reach a deal by their November deadline. On Wednesday, he said he would address Congress on the importance of continued support for Kiev, insisting that it is “overwhelmingly in the interests of the United States of America that Ukraine succeed.”

Washington has supplied more than $45 billion in direct military aid to Ukraine since the conflict with Russia escalated in February 2022, including tanks, artillery, air defense systems, drones, and munitions.

Moscow has repeatedly condemned foreign arms transfers, arguing they would do little to deter its military objectives and only prolong the fighting. Commenting on the budget impasse in the US, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the dispute was merely a “temporary phenomenon,” suggesting Washington would remain deeply involved in the conflict going forward.