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13 May, 2023 21:00

Majority of Germans oppose NATO membership for Ukraine – poll

More than half of the population is also in favor of peace talks between Kiev and Moscow, a new survey shows
Majority of Germans oppose NATO membership for Ukraine – poll

More than half of Germans do not support the idea of Ukraine joining NATO, a YouGov poll commissioned by Germany’s dpa news agency shows.

As many as 54% of the respondents opposed the prospect, the news agency reported on Friday.

Only 27% of those polled said they would agree to offer Kiev the prospect of membership in the US-led military bloc.

In April, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed that most Europeans would not understand if Kiev does not get a “well-deserved invitation” to join NATO. The Ukrainian leader is now expected to take part in a NATO summit in Lithuania in July, according to dpa.

Most Germans want Kiev to start negotiations with Moscow instead, the YouGov poll shows. According to the survey, 55% of respondents called for negotiations between Russian and Ukraine on ending the conflict. Only 28% opposed this.

The poll comes as Berlin has just announced another massive weapons package for Ukraine. Worth more than €2.7 billion ($2.95 billion), the new arms delivery is expected to include four German-made ground-based IRIS-T air-defense systems – something the German Armed Forces themselves do not yet possess – as well as 30 Leopard 1 battle tanks, 20 infantry fighting vehicles, 100 armored personnel carriers, 18 wheeled self-propelled artillery systems, and 200 reconnaissance drones.

“With this valuable contribution of urgently needed military equipment, we are showing once again that Germany is serious about its support,” Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Saturday. He did not elaborate on when the arms are expected to be delivered to Ukraine.

The deputy head of the Conservative Union (CDU/CSU) parliamentary faction, Johann Wadephul, has called on Berlin to allow Ukrainians to use the German-made weapons against targets inside Russia. “Neither under international law nor politically is there any reason why Ukraine shouldn’t be allowed to attack targets in Russia,” he told Tagesspiegel daily.

Meanwhile, the German public has been wary of the massive military support provided to Kiev throughout the conflict. In February, almost two-thirds of Germans polled opposed providing Kiev with fighter jets, a survey showed. In December 2022, a YouGov poll indicated that 45% were against sending German Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine.

A number of German celebrities and public figures also sent two open letters addressed to Chancellor Olaf Scholz in which they asked Berlin to stop sending arms to Ukraine and to “do everything” instead to reach a ceasefire “as soon as possible” and find a “compromise that both sides can accept.”

Russia has repeatedly warned that pumping Ukraine with weapons will only prolong the suffering and create risks of further escalation of the hostilities, up to a direct confrontation between Moscow and NATO. It also said it was ready for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, as long as its goals are achieved and its interests are taken into account.