The US should continue to support Ukraine - the Americans want it

TThe Ukrainian liberation of the West Kherson region on November 11 was a great victory. However, this did not end the terrible pressure that Ukrainians are under. Russian President Vladimir Putin unleashed a new wave of missile attacks almost immediately after the Ukrainian president Vladimir Zelensky outlined the conditions under which Kyiv would be willing to negotiate. These Russian attacks highlighted their willingness and effectiveness in inflicting significant damage on civilian infrastructure in an attempt to achieve their political goals. The outcome of this war will depend in part on the willingness of the West to continue supporting Ukraine, but also on the fortitude of the Ukrainians themselves. On the latter, there is reason for much optimism.

Ukrainians have shown remarkable resilience in the face of increasingly sophisticated Russian attacks targeting access to essential services and critical civilian infrastructure. Over the past few weeks, Russian airstrikes and kamikaze drone attacks have destroyed 40 percent of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and left 80 percent of Kyiv’s houses without water. In Kherson, retreating Russian forces damaged power plants, heating systems, and a television tower. Ipsos’ analysis of night light shows the city plunged into complete darkness on November 9. However, the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians who had to leave their homes near the front lines or in areas recently liberated from Russian occupation want to return home and rebuild their country, recently An Ipsos poll shows. Continued Russian attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure are likely to continue to deprive increasing numbers of Ukrainians of heat, hot water, and clean water in the winter, and Ukraine will need Western assistance in addition to military aid to survive these attacks and recover. Providing this aid is in America’s interest, and according to a recent Ipsos poll, Americans agree.

Ann Ipsos survey conducted from October 7 to 20 in the front-line cities of Nikolaev, Dnipro, Zaporizhia and Kharkiv and in the newly liberated cities of Balaklia, Izyum, Kupyansk and Liman in Kharkiv and Donetsk regions found that four out of five respondents who left after the invasion intended to return home despite the difficult conditions they are likely to find. This is because, unlike many recent refugee crises, the majority of Ukrainian refugees are women, elderly and children who have been separated from their conscript husbands, fathers and brothers. This factor, as well as a close sense of belonging to a place and pre-established kinship ties in the community and business networks, probably lead to this desire to return home.

These statistics are both surprising and unsurprising. Presumably, most people would prefer to return to their homes when displaced by war, but many wars generate large-scale, long-term refugee and migrant populations that burden host countries. The unique demographic profile of Ukrainian refugees and the dogged determination of Ukrainians to return to their loved ones, despite often heavily damaged homes and cities, gives cause for optimism that this war can be different. The a recent Ipsos survey in Poland, for example, showed that 80 percent of Ukrainian refugees plan to return in the next two years.

Read more: As winter approaches, Europe cools down on Ukrainian refugees

Helping Ukrainians to secure a stable peace and rebuild their country is in everyone’s interest. The US and Europe would prefer to avoid another migrant population, but this can only be achieved if a strong and recovering Ukraine stands as a bulwark against future renewed Russian aggression. The more the West helps Ukraine regain and restore the territory it needs to be economically and militarily stable now, the less help Ukraine and Ukrainians will need from the West in the future. Helping Ukraine today is an investment and an insurance policy, not a gift.

Ukraine urgently needs a lot of help. It requires continued military assistance to defend itself against continued Russian attacks and to reclaim vital parts of its country. It also needs priority financial and economic assistance to repair the damage that Russian forces continue to inflict. The Ipsos survey of the newly liberated areas also shows some of the challenges they will face. Only 29% of respondents from Nikolaev and 66% from the newly liberated cities reported having access to safe drinking water. Only 37% of respondents from Mykolaiv and the newly liberated regions and 52% in Zaporozhye state that they have access to hot water (which is generated centrally and distributed in post-Soviet countries).

Less than 57% in Kharkiv, Nikolaev and the newly liberated cities have heat. Unemployment is also severe in these areas, with only 22% reporting being employed in the newly liberated areas, 39% in Mykolaiv, 43% in Kharkiv and 51% in Zaporizhia. These are dire situations for the people already there and present daunting challenges for refugees who want to return to their homes.

Ukrainians continue to look to their government to rebuild their country, not the international community. Majorities in all areas surveyed said they believed either local or national government was responsible for reconstruction. Only a quarter to a third think international financial institutions should be held accountable, and less than 16% across all areas surveyed look to foreign governments. These findings are also encouraging because they show that Ukrainians continue to desire a functioning independent future state that is not subservient to the international community—an outcome that the US and Europe should also strongly desire.


Americans, fortunately, seem to agree that the US should continue to support Ukraine militarily and financially despite implied Russian nuclear threats. A Reuters-Ipsos poll conducted Oct. 4-5 found that a majority of Americans fear the US is heading for nuclear war with Russia, but 73% think the US should continue to support Ukraine despite Russian threats. Support for financial aid to Ukraine was also high at 59 percent, despite growing skepticism about such aid expressed by some Republican members of Congress. The survey even found that 34 percent of respondents supported sending troops to Ukraine to help defend it against Russia — a remarkably high number given that President Biden has repeatedly ruled out such a use of the U.S. military and no major or a military leader did not support him.


America’s national interests are in supporting Ukraine in liberating its people and rebuilding its economy and society. American values ​​demand nothing less. The Ukrainians have defended themselves brilliantly, bravely and honorably, and seek nothing more than the restoration of their land and people and the restoration of their peaceful lives. Americans can see beyond Russia’s boasting and threats to the heart of the matter—Ukraine needs our help, and we need to help Ukraine.

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