The majority of Americans support diplomacy, not war, with Russia as tensions continue to escalate over Ukraine, a new poll has found.
According to the Data for Progress survey of 1,214 likely US voters, 71 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of Republicans said they want the United States to pursue a diplomatic solution with Russia and avoid the path toward military conflict.
Overall, 58 percent of all respondents "somewhat" or "strongly" support the Biden administration "striking a deal with Russia to avoid war over Ukraine."
They said the United States should be prepared to make concessions in the effort to de-escalate tensions and avoid war.
Anti-war activists rallied outside the White House on Thursday, urging Washington to tone down its belligerent war rhetoric with Russia and give peace and diplomacy a chance. The protesters called on the Biden administration to stop antagonizing Moscow, which they warned could trigger a devastating war with global ramifications.
The White House, however, has declared its intent to impose sweeping sanctions on Russia and has authorized shipments of US-made weapons to Ukraine.
The Data for Progress poll is the latest in a string of surveys showing Americans are skeptical of the constant stream of news that depicts Ukraine as a vital national interest. The results echo similar findings by Morning Consult and YouGov.
The survey comes as senior administration officials have warned that Russia is positioned to invade neighboring Ukraine. President Joe Biden announced on Friday that he planned to move troops to Eastern Europe “in the near term.” The Pentagon has already placed around 8,500 troops on heightened alert.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, told reporters at the Pentagon on Friday that the deployment is meant to “increase our readiness in the event we have to reinforce or assist our NATO allies.”
However, he said that war at this point “was not inevitable.”
Tensions further escalated this week as the United States rejected Russia’s main security demands, including assurances Ukraine never be allowed to join the US-led NATO military alliance.
Subsequently, the Kremlin sounded a grim note, saying it saw “little ground for optimism” in resolving the crisis.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday it was up to the United States whether it chose to de-escalate the conflict. "If it depends on Russia, then there will be no war," he stated. "We don't want wars. But we also won't allow our interests to be rudely trampled, to be ignored."
The US, its NATO allies, and Ukraine have accused Moscow of planning an invasion of Ukraine by amassing troops near the border of that country. Russia denies this and says it is free to move troops around within its own borders in response to NATO’s eastward expansion.