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Poll: Nearly three quarters of Americans agree Putin's invasion of Ukraine was unjustified

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Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images

If there is one issue that the vast majority of Americans can agree on, it's opposition to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Nearly three quarters of Americans said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine was unjustified, and 76% of those surveyed gave an unfavorable opinion of the warmonger-in-chief, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll.

This survey of 1.523 U.S. adults was conducted online between Feb. 24 and 27 and shows a large swing in public opinion against Russia and in favor of Ukraine.

Three weeks ago, before the invasion began, 49% of Americans said the U.S. should remain neutral while 46% said America should side with Ukraine in a potential conflict with Russia, Yahoo News reports. Now, after millions of Ukrainians have been displaced by the conflict and pictures and videos from the war have circulated on social media, U.S. adults are more than twice as likely to advocate for siding with Ukraine (57%) than remaining neutral (25%).

Strong majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and self-identified independents say that the invasion of Ukraine was unjustified. Overall, 74% of U.S. adults said Putin's decision to send troops to Ukraine was not justified, 20% were not sure, and 6% said the invasion was justified. Nearly half of survey respondents (47%) agree that it is in America's best interests to stop Russia and help Ukraine. Just 26% overall said "the conflict is none of America's business," though more Republicans (30%) and independents (33%) said so than Democrats (17%).

Americans also appear to be in broad agreement with how the U.S. should respond to the war, with 56% of survey respondents saying they favor the sanctions imposed on Russia by President Joe Biden. Even 53% of Republicans said they favor Biden's sanctions, which cut off Russia's government from accessing Western banks and financial markets. And most Americans are opposed to military intervention, with 56% agreeing with Biden's vow "not to send troops to Ukraine"; only 15% disagree.

However, a plurality of those polled, 39%, said Biden was "not tough enough" on Russia, while 28% said Biden's response has been "about right." Just 4% said Biden has been "too tough." Only a third of Americans approve of how Biden has handled "the situation with Russia and Ukraine." Almost half of those polled (48%) said they disapprove, while 17% are unsure.

Slightly more respondents (40%) said that former President Donald Trump would have handled the situation in Ukraine better than Biden (38%).

Most Americans (62%) would like to see the U.S. take further action against Russia, either through "more economic sanctions" (33%), "military force" (3%), or both (26%).

The American public is paying attention to the war in Ukraine, with more than two-thirds (70%) saying they're following news updates about Ukraine at least "somewhat closely." The Russian-Ukraine war is now tied with inflation for what Americans think should be Biden's top priority as president. The president's response to war in Europe will be one of the defining moments of his legacy.

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