Countries With Greater Economic Ties to Russia Are More Likely to Want Diplomatic Resolution to Ukraine Crisis

Stronger links to Russia give adults in some NATO countries more incentive to pursue talks, and more faith that diplomacy can deter an invasion of Ukraine

From left, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.S. President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet during the June 2021 U.S.-Russia summit in Geneva. (Peter Klaunzer - Pool/Keystone via Getty Images)

As U.S. and Russian officials meet in Europe this week for high-stakes talks, Morning Consult polling shows adults who reside in countries that would be impacted the most by proposed economic sanctions against Moscow are the most likely to support a diplomatic approach to resolve the Ukraine crisis, and more likely to think negotiations can deter Russia from invading Ukraine.

Adults in Major NATO Countries and Russia Prefer Diplomatic Talks to Resolve the Ukraine Crisis

Adults were asked which course of action they would prefer to see the United States take to resolve the Ukraine crisis

Polls conducted Dec. 7-22, 2021, among a representative sample of 2,200 U.S. adults and 1,000 adults in each other country, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2-3 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

What the numbers say

  • 51 percent of Germans and 49 percent of French adults said they supported American efforts to negotiate a resolution to the Ukraine crisis, compared to 42 percent of British adults and 34 percent of U.S. adults. 
  • 64 percent of Russians said they backed talks with the U.S. and NATO, and were the most likely to think negotiations could find a peaceful resolution. 
  • Americans were both the least likely to support a diplomatic approach and most likely to support direct military aid to Ukraine. 
Adults in Countries Likely to Be Impacted by Sanctions on Russia Think Diplomacy Is More Likely to Deter an Invasion of Ukraine

Adults in the following countries were asked which actions taken by the United States would reduce the likelihood of Russia invading Ukraine

Polls conducted Dec. 7-22, 2021, among a representative sample of 2,200 U.S. adults and 1,000 adults in each other country, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2-3 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

The context

Using negotiations to resolve the Ukraine crisis beat out sanctions and direct military aid among adults in Russia and every NATO country surveyed by Morning Consult, but there were differing levels of support across each country. 

As always in politics, where you stand has a lot to do with where you sleep. Adults in the countries with greater economic and geographical ties to Russia expressed more faith in diplomacy and greater aversion to sanctions or military aid. 

Many have questioned whether Germany would allow the blocking of the recently completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline in any sanctions package imposed on Russia. After all, Russia supplied 48 percent of Europe’s natural gas in 2020, according to the Congressional Research Service. Germany and France also exported $25 billion and $8.5 billion worth of goods and services back to Russia in 2019, the latest year for which data is available. 

French and German adults were accordingly more likely to back negotiations and to say talks would deter a Russian invasion of Ukraine than adults in Great Britain and Canada, where exports to Russia amounted to just $4 billion and $937 million, respectively, in 2019. Canadians and Britons were also more likely to say they backed sanctions and direct military aid to Ukraine.

Russian adults, meanwhile, were the most supportive of negotiations, with nearly 2 in 3 backing talks, and 46 percent saying that they could help avoid an invasion of Ukraine. 

Thousands of miles away from any potential hot zone, Americans were the most bellicose. Only 34 percent backed talks, the lowest proportion among nations surveyed, while 17 percent  supported direct military aid to Kyiv, the most among any of the countries.

Morning Consult