Majority of Germans oppose sending tanks to Ukraine – poll
Nearly half of Germans do not want to see the country’s Leopard 2 battle tanks handed over to Ukraine, a recent YouGov opinion poll has indicated. Kiev has been imploring Berlin for the hardware for several months now, to no avail.
Media outlet Das Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND), citing a YouGov survey, reported on Sunday that 45% of respondents opposed shipping Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev, while another 33% were in favor, with the remaining 22% undecided.
The poll, commissioned by Die Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), also revealed that it is only among German Green Party supporters of the that the number of those backing sending tanks exceeds the number of skeptics, at 50% to 25%, respectively.
The figures look different among the other members of the traffic-light government coalition, 41% of supporters of the Social Democratic Party, to which Chancellor Olaf Scholz belongs, would not want German tanks delivered to Ukraine, while 40% would approve. Among the Free Democratic Party’s ranks, 42% are against and 33% are for.
The opposition Christian Democrats surveyed also returned similar numbers.
The strongest opposition to sending tanks to Kiev was registered among voters of the right-wing Alternative for Germany Party (76% against, 13% for) and of the Left Party (52% against, 32% for).
Chancellor Scholz has been reluctant to supply battle tanks to Kiev, arguing that since no other nation has supplied Kiev yet with equivalent weaponry, Germany should not blaze a trail.
However, there has been growing pressure from the other coalition members, the Greens and Free Democrats, for him to do so. The conservatives in opposition have also urged Scholz to change his mind.
Earlier this month, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba expressed regret over Berlin’s unwillingness to accommodate Kiev’s requests for the tanks. The diplomat noted that Ukraine did not understand what the reasons were for Berlin’s hesitancy.
Since the start of Russia’s military campaign against Ukraine in late February, Germany, along with most other Western nations, has been supplying Ukraine with weapons. While limiting these shipments mainly to firearms and anti-tank missiles at first, Berlin has since delivered heavier weapons, including self-propelled air-defense systems, and howitzers.
Moscow has consistently argued that Western weapons deliveries to Ukraine only serve to prolong the conflict. It has also warned that NATO member states are getting increasingly involved in the hostilities, which could potentially lead to an all-out military confrontation between the bloc and Russia.