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19 Aug, 2023 15:12

Most Germans oppose giving cruise missiles to Kiev – poll

Over 50% of respondents do not want Berlin to supply Ukraine with the long-range Taurus KEPD 350
Most Germans oppose giving cruise missiles to Kiev – poll

Most Germans are opposed to the idea of providing Kiev with long-range cruise missiles, which could potentially be used to strike deep into Russia, a poll by state pollster ARD-DeutschlandTrend released on Friday suggests.

Some 52% of respondents firmly opposed such deliveries, while only 36% backed them, and a further 12% did not have an opinion on the matter, the survey indicates.

Swedish-German Taurus KEPD 350 cruise missiles boast a range of about 500km and carry a massive 500kg warhead, which would make them a powerful long-range addition to Ukraine’s arsenal if they were to be delivered. 

Germany appears to remain deeply split in its stance on the Ukraine conflict, both geographically and politically, the poll suggests. Some 70% of those from eastern Germany firmly oppose providing Ukraine with Taurus missiles, while only 47% in western Germany are against doing so. 

In terms of party allegiance, some 68% of Green Party supporters were in favor of delivering the missiles, while 56% of Free Democratic Party voters would support such a move. Those aligned with the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, on the other hand, overwhelmingly rejected the idea, with 76% registering their opposition.

However, the new poll showed a significantly lower level of opposition to delivering Taurus missiles than a survey conducted earlier this month by the Forsa research institute on behalf of two German channels, RTL and n-tv. In that survey, a clear majority of 66% rejected the idea of sending long-range munitions to Ukraine.

Thus far, top German officials have appeared reluctant to send Taurus missiles, despite repeated requests from Ukraine. Last month, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that he agreed with US President Joe Biden that Western-supplied weapons should not be used to attack Russian territory. Early in August, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said such deliveries were “not our top priority right now,” stating that concerns over supplying such “special range” weaponry were “obvious” and pointing out that Washington itself was also holding off on providing Kiev with longer-range munitions.

Unlike Germany and the US, however, the UK, also a leading supporter of Ukraine, has already provided Kiev with Storm Shadow cruise missiles, which have a range of over 250km. Last month, France also pledged to supply long-range SCALP missiles, which are effectively a localized version of the Storm Shadow, from its domestic stockpiles.

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