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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‘Russia must not win this war,’ says Germany’s Scholz

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged once again to stand with Ukraine against Russia - but said Ukraine's bid to join the EU cannot be sped up.

'Russia must not win this war,' says Germany's Scholz

Scholz said the war in Ukraine was the greatest crisis facing the EU in its history, but that solidarity was strong. 

“We are all united by one goal: Russia must not win this war, Ukraine must prevail,” Scholz said in the speech to the Bundestag on Thursday.

Putin thinks he can use bombs to dictate the terms for peace, the SPD politician said. 

“He’s wrong. He was wrong in judging the unity of Ukrainians, and the determination of our alliances. Russia will not dictate peace because the Ukrainians won’t accept it and we won’t accept it.”

Scholz said it was only when Putin understands that he cannot break Ukraine’s defence capability that he would “be prepared to seriously negotiate peace”.

For this, he said, it is important to strengthen Ukraine’s defences. 

Scholz also pledged to help cut Europe free from its reliance on Russian energy. 

The Chancellor welcomed the accession of Finland and Sweden to Nato. “With you at our side, Nato, Europe will become stronger and safer,” he said.

However, Scholz dampened expectations for Ukraine’s quick accession to the EU.

“There are no shortcuts on the way to the EU,” Scholz said, adding that an exception for Ukraine would be unfair to the Western Balkan countries also seeking membership.

“The accession process is not a matter of a few months or years,” he said.

Scholz had in April called for Western Balkan countries’ efforts to join the EU to be accelerated amid a “new era” in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Last October, EU leaders at a summit in Slovenia only reiterated their “commitment to the enlargement process” in a statement that disappointed the six candidates for EU membership — Albania, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Kosovo – who had hoped for a concrete timetable.

“For years, they have been undertaking intensive reforms and preparing for accession,” Scholz said on Thursday.

“It is not only a question of our credibility that we keep our promises to them. Today more than ever, their integration is also in our strategic interest,” he said.

The chancellor said he would be attending the EU summit at the end of May “with the clear message that the Western Balkans belong in the European Union”.

Scholz also called for other ways to help Ukraine in the short term, saying the priority was to “concentrate on supporting Ukraine quickly and pragmatically”.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has also said it will take “decades” for a candidate like Ukraine to join the EU, and suggested building a broader political club beyond the bloc that could also include Britain.