Most Americans oppose sending troops to Ukraine

Americans favor sanctions on Russia, providing weapons to Ukraine, and accepting Ukrainian refugees. There is little support for deploying U.S. troops to Ukraine to fight Russian forces.

April 21, 2022

As the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues, there is widespread support for imposing economic sanctions on Russia and providing weapons to Ukraine.  Seventy nine percent favor giving humanitarian aid to refugees from Ukraine, and 65% support allowing refugees from Ukraine into the United States.  Most Americans say Russian President Vladimir Putin has directed his troops to commit war crimes.  

While there is widespread support for sanctions imposed by the United States on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, most Americans think President Biden’s response has not been tough enough. Fifty-four percent say Biden has not been tough enough on Russia in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine. Only 8% think his reaction to the war has been too tough, and 36% say his response has been about right. Assessments of how Biden is dealing with the situation in Ukraine are split along party lines:  52% of Democrats say his response has been about right while most Republicans (66%) and independents (53%) do not think it has been tough enough.

Thirty-two percent say the United States should take on a major role in the situation between Russia and Ukraine, but few Americans favor deploying U.S. troops to Ukraine to fight Russian forces. There is support for sending U.S. troops to help allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Eastern Europe or to defend an ally if invaded by Russia. 

The number of Americans who think the United States should have a major role in the Ukraine war is down from last month’s AP-NORC poll.  However, it is an increase from the survey conducted in February, before Russia had invaded Ukraine.  Democrats are more likely than Republicans to think the United States should have a major role in the conflict.

NATO is a military alliance between 28 European countries, the United States, and Canada.  Members of NATO agree to defend one another in the event of an attack.  Sixty-five percent of Americans think NATO membership is good for the United States, but Democrats are more positive about the alliance than Republicans.  Ukraine is not a member of NATO.

In February, in response to the buildup of Russian forces near Ukraine’s borders, Biden ordered additional U.S. troops to Poland, Germany, and Romania. Most Americans (53%) favor the troop deployment to Eastern Europe to support NATO allies in response to Russia’s invasion. 

Republicans and Democrats are about equally in favor of providing humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees. While a majority of both Republicans and Democrats support accepting Ukrainian refugees into the United States, Democrats are more positive.  In March, Biden announced that the United States would accept up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine.

Majorities of Republicans and Democrats favor imposing sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, banning the importation of Russian oil, and providing weapons to Ukraine.

Overall, 51% of Americans say sanctioning Russia should take priority over limiting damage to the U.S. economy, and 45% think it is more important to limit damage to the economy.  Most Democrats think sanctions should be given priority over protecting the U.S. economy (66% to 31%), while Republicans are more closely divided (44% to 52%).

In the event of a Russian attack on a NATO ally, 60% would support sending American troops.  However, regardless of party identification, few Americans would favor sending troops to fight Russian forces in Ukraine. 

Fifty-seven percent, including 55% of Republicans and 70% of Democrats, think Putin has directed Russian troops to commit war crimes.  

The nationwide poll was conducted April 14-18, 2022 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,085 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.9 percentage points.

  • Suggested Citation: AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research (April 2022). “Most Americans oppose sending troops to Ukraine” []

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