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27 Nov, 2022 22:18

Over half of Germans oppose boosting military aid for Ukraine – WaPo poll

Respondents believe Berlin should adhere to anti-militarism and has given enough aid to Kiev
Over half of Germans oppose boosting military aid for Ukraine – WaPo poll

Soaring energy prices driven by sanctions on Russian oil and gas are not even the primary factor behind German reluctance to help Ukraine in the ongoing conflict, according to a recent poll conducted by the Washington Post.

Instead, the outlet found that a general aversion to military intervention – which took hold after the country’s defeat in World War II is behind the mood.

While the vast majority – 91% – of German respondents expressed sympathy for Ukraine, more than half (54%) said their country was doing either enough (37%) or too much (17%) in terms of military and humanitarian aid, according to the poll. 

The news outlet queried Germans on four specific policies, hoping to gauge public support for “increasing sanctions on Russia and Putin, even if these sanctions might lead to a further increase in food and gas prices,” sending more missiles and other military aid, welcoming more refugees “even if it placed additional burdens on the economy,” and admitting Ukraine to NATO even if this would require defending the country militarily.

While about a third of those polled opposed each policy, those who expressed support were not particularly enthusiastic, and there was a stark divide in sentiment between the formerly-socialist East and the West of the country. More than half (52%) of East Germans said they opposed increased military aid to Ukraine, compared to just 27% of West Germans.

Attempting to explain Germans’ reluctance to bolster Ukraine's military effort, the Post cited a general anti-militaristic attitude following WWII as one possible reason for this. The newspaper pointed out that even NATO-approved interventions to which Berlin has contributed troops and resources have proven deeply unpopular among German citizens after a brief period of public support.

However, Berlin has been one of Kiev’s strongest backers during its conflict with Moscow, supplying the first unit of its state-of-the-art IRIS-T air defense systems to Ukrainian forces last month. Three more units, made up of a command vehicle, a radar vehicle, and a truck-mounted launcher, are expected to arrive in the country next year. 

Meanwhile, Germany’s own military has yet to receive the ground-based IRIS-T system, leading some politicians to raise concerns that the country is arming Ukraine at the expense of its own defense capabilities.