By Jonathan Landay
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Solid majorities of Americans support providing weaponry to Ukraine to defend itself against Russia and believe that such aid demonstrates to China and other U.S. rivals a will to protect U.S. interests and allies, according to a Reuters/Ipsos survey.
The two-day poll that was concluded on Tuesday charted a sharp rise in backing for arming Ukraine, with 65% of the respondents approving of the shipments compared with 46% in a May poll.
Eighty-one percent of Democrats, 56% of Republicans and 57% of independents favor supplying U.S. weapons to Ukraine, according to the latest poll.
The survey was conducted just days after Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the private Wagner mercenary company, launched and then called off a mutiny over what he charged was the Russian defense ministry’s mishandling of the war in Ukraine.
The findings appeared to provide firmer backing for U.S. President Joe Biden’s policy of doing “whatever it takes” to assist Ukraine in recapturing territory that Russia seized in an initial assault in 2014 and its full-scale invasion 16 months ago.
“This definitely reinforces Biden’s decision to be all-in on this,” said William Taylor, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine now with the U.S. Institute of Peace.
“The Republican leadership of the House and Senate will also take heart from this,” Taylor said. Some right-wing Republican lawmakers have opposed continuing U.S. military support for Ukraine.
The Biden administration has approved 41 weapons packages for Ukraine totaling more than $40 billion since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched what he calls “a special military operation” in February 2022.
The online Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted nationwide, collecting responses from 1,004 adults, including 400 Democrats and 383 Republicans. It had a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of about 4 percentage points in either direction.
The poll found that 76% of Americans believe that providing aid to Ukraine demonstrates to China and other rivals that the United States has “the will and capability to protect our interests, our allies and ourselves.”
In other findings, the survey said large majorities of Americans – 67% and 73% – are more likely to support a candidate in next year’s U.S. presidential election who will continue military aid to Ukraine and one who backs the NATO alliance.
(Reporting by Jonathan Landay; Additional reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Don Durfee and Grant McCool)
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