The two countries share a number of objectives, including fighting back against Russia’s annexation of Ukraine, halting the flow of technology to both North Korea and Iran that could enhance their capabilities, preserving international peace and stability in the Middle East, and managing competition in cyberspace. But the accumulated grievances on both sides, profound differences in values, interests and conceptions of global order, and domestic factors in each country are such that a sustainable partnership or a significant improvement in relations is unlikely.
As a result, US-Russian ties are now at their most hostile level in decades. With Putin’s military build-up, Russia’s escalating aggression in Ukraine and Syria, and his unabashed attempts to influence elections around the world, Americans have little reason to hope for a U-turn.
At the same time, most Americans continue to view Ukraine as a critical national security interest and support the work of the United States, NATO, and their Ukrainian allies to bolster the country’s armed forces. A clear majority also has a favorable opinion of Ukraine’s leader, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and high confidence in his ability to do the right thing regarding world affairs. Moreover, deep partisan divides remain over how to respond to the current crisis. In particular, Republicans and Democrats continue to hold very unfavorable views of Russia – though those views have declined somewhat this year. Overall, the Pew Research Center finds that fewer Americans than in 2020 say they believe Russia poses a major threat to their nation’s interests, and that those with very negative views of the country have dropped significantly over the past year.