Majority of Germans ‘in favour’ of delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine

55 percent of respondents in a poll by ARD’s morning news programme said they were in favour of Germany supplying weapons such as tanks and fighter jets.

A Leopard 2 A7V main battle tank from the German Army's Lehrbataillon 93 drives during a combat reconnaissance exercise at the training area.
A Leopard 2 A7V main battle tank from the German Army's Lehrbataillon 93 drives during a combat reconnaissance exercise at the training area. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Philipp Schulze

According to the latest DeutschlandTrend survey, 55 percent of German citizens support the supply of heavy weapons to Ukraine, while 37 percent are against it. 

The poll – a monthly survey of political sentiment for ARD and die Welt – also shows that supporters of the Greens, SPD, FDP and CDU/CSU are overwhelmingly in favour of the arms deliveries, while the majority of AfD voters are against them.

READ ALSO: Zeitenwende: How war in Ukraine has sparked a historic shift in Germany

The question of whether to supply Ukraine with heavier weapons – primarily battle tanks – is currently a thorny issue for politicians. 

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has spoken out in favour of increased military support, while Chancellor Scholz has so far publicly insisted that Germany is still weighing up whether to deliver such weapons to Ukraine.

He is, however, coming under increasing pressure to change course on this issue. A visit by three leading cross-party parliamentarians to Lviv in Ukraine earlier in the week revealed that Ukrainians are holding out hope for heavier weapons from Germany to help defend their country from escalating Russian attacks.

READ ALSO: Pressure grows on Scholz as German delegation visits Ukraine

Which weapons have Germany already supplied?

According to information provided by German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht, by the end of March weapons and other military material worth more than 80 million euros had been delivered to Ukraine since the start of the war. 

Among them are light tank and anti-aircraft weapons, machine guns, ammunition, vehicles and material for medical care. 

Ukraine has also purchased weapons directly from the German arms industry at its own expense. 

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Scholz urges Putin to withdraw troops for ‘diplomatic’ end to war

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday pressed Russia's President Vladimir Putin to seek a diplomatic solution to end his war in Ukraine, including troop withdrawals, Berlin said following a call between the two.

Scholz urges Putin to withdraw troops for 'diplomatic' end to war

“The chancellor urged the Russian president to come as quickly as possible to a diplomatic solution including the withdrawal of Russian troops,” according to the German leader’s spokesman Steffen Hebestreit.

During the one-hour call, Scholz “condemned in particular the Russian airstrikes against civilian infrastructure in Ukraine and stressed Germany’s determination to support Ukraine in ensuring the defence capability against Russian aggression”.

On Russia’s end, Vladimir Putin told Scholz that Moscow’s attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure were “inevitable” and accused the West of pursuing “destructive” policies. 

“It was noted that the Russian Armed Forces had long refrained from precision missile strikes against certain targets on the territory of Ukraine,” the Kremlin said in a statement following the discussion. 

The leaders also discussed the issue of global food security, which is under pressure because of the war.

They also agreed to “remain in contact”, said Hebestreit.

Scholz and Putin have been in regular phone contact through the war.

The previous call between them took place in September and lasted 90 minutes, with Scholz then also urging Putin to “come to a diplomatic solution as possible, based on a ceasefire”.

‘Return to the pre-war peace order’

Despite his firm line on the war in Ukraine, the Chancellor drew sideways glances this week after telling the Berlin Security Conference there was a “willingness” to solve common security issues with Russia. 

“We can come back to a peace order that worked and make it safe again if there is a willingness in Russia to go back to this peace order,” Scholz said, according to reports by Times correspondent Oliver Moody. 

Scholz had prefaced his comments with a reference to Russia’s “imperialist” tendencies, which he said reflected the approach of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, “where a stronger country just thinks it can take the territory of a neighbour, understanding neighbours as just hinterland, and some place they can give rules to be followed.”

“That can never be accepted,” he added. 

He also blamed Russia for destroying the European peace order that countries had worked on “for decades”. 

Nevertheless, commentators accused the SPD politician of stubbornly sticking to Germany’s historical appeasement of Russia rather than recognising the realities of the present day. 

On Wednesday, German MPs also passed a motion to recognise the starvation of millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s under Russian dictator Joseph Stalin as ‘genocide’. 

Parliamentarians described the move as a “warning” to Russia as Ukraine faces a potential hunger crisis this winter due to Moscow’s invasion.

READ ALSO: Germany recognises Stalin famine in Ukraine as ‘genocide’