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Poll: Most Americans Feel US Should ‘Not Get Too Involved’ In Conflict Between Ukraine, Russia

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In this handout image provided by Host Photo Agency, Russian President Vladimir Putin greets President Barack Obama. (credit: Guneev Sergey/Host Photo Agency via Getty Images)

In this handout image provided by Host Photo Agency, Russian President Vladimir Putin greets President Barack Obama. (credit: Guneev Sergey/Host Photo Agency via Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) – A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that the majority of Americans feel the United States government should not get “too involved” in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

A reported 56 percent of people said that America should avoid becoming too immersed in the situation, while 29 percent felt the United States should “take a firm stand against Russian actions.” The result is a nearly two-to-one margin between those who feel the country should stand back and those who feel American action is required.

Researchers additionally learned that more people view Obama’s handling of the situation negatively – 44 percent disapprove while 30 percent voiced support for his actions to date.

“Opinions about the administration’s handling of the situation are divided along partisan lines,” a release on the poll noted. “But partisans generally agree that the U.S. shouldn’t get too involved in the situation.”

Underlying the talk about taking harsh punitive measures against Russia for its military incursion into Ukraine are economic complications and worries that sanctions levied against Moscow could, in the words of the Kremlin, “boomerang” back on the U.S. and Europe.

Heavier U.S. and European Union sanctions could sting Russia’s already slow-growing economy and hurt its financial sector. But Moscow could retaliate and seize American and other foreign assets or cut exports of natural gas to Europe, which is heavily dependent on Russia for energy.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday warned Secretary of State John Kerry that U.S. sanctions could “backfire,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement. During a telephone call, Lavrov urged the U.S. not to take “hasty, poorly thought-out steps that could harm Russian-U.S. relations, especially concerning sanctions, which would unavoidably boomerang on the U.S. itself,” the statement said.

In a separate statement on Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry also warned the European Union that any sanctions it imposed would not go unanswered and would harm “the interests of the EU itself and its member nations.”

Kerry underscored to Lavrov the importance of finding a constructive way to resolve the situation diplomatically, which would address the interests of the people of Ukraine, Russia, and the international community. Kerry and Lavrov agreed to continue to consult in the days ahead, according to the State Department.

Declaring his determination not to let the Kremlin carve up Ukraine, Obama on Thursday slapped new visa restrictions on Russian and other opponents of Ukraine’s government in Kiev and authorized wider financial penalties against those involved in the military intervention or in stealing state assets.

Obama emphasized his resolve in an hourlong telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, affirming his contention that Russia’s actions violate Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Russian troops continue to occupy the Crimea region of Ukraine. Additionally, the Parliament of Crimea is preparing for a secession vote.

The poll was conducted from March 6 to March 9. According to the release, 1,003 adults were selected at random to take part.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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