When Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) announced a "turning point" on February 27, three days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he took the lead politically like no other head of government before him. The traffic light government not only launched new sanctions with its European allies. It was also about robust arms shipments to a war zone a day's journey from Germany. Although the Federal Republic was not a party to the war, Germany was partisan.
The image of Russia in this country had already changed rapidly in 2014, after the occupation of Crimea. However, the majority of German arms deliveries were skeptical for a long time. After February 24, that all changed. There was a great willingness to help Ukrainian refugees, who fled west in the tens of thousands. But in Berlin, many politicians were already wondering how long this empathy would last.
In fact, about ten months after the Russian attack, the solidarity of the German population with the invaded country is still enormous. However, a not inconsiderable minority wants a peace initiative in the near future. This is the result of a representative survey by the opinion research institute YouGov exclusively for WELT AM SONNTAG.
On the one hand, 50 percent of Germans are still convinced that the government in Kyiv alone should decide when ceasefire negotiations with Moscow should begin. On the other hand, 31 percent are in favor of the West taking the initiative and persuading Kyiv to start corresponding talks.
After a possible peace agreement, a relative majority of Germans see Ukraine as a partner in NATO or the EU. 31 percent consider membership in both the transatlantic alliance and the European community of states to be desirable. Ten percent advocate admission only through NATO, 13 percent believe that only EU membership is the right thing to do. 26 percent of respondents are fundamentally opposed to Ukraine's admission to one of these institutions.
East Germans are much more skeptical here and 37 percent fundamentally reject Ukraine's membership of NATO or the EU. On the other hand, there is no significant difference between East and West when it comes to the question of a peace initiative. Between December 16 and 21, 2075 people were interviewed, 19 percent of them did not want to commit themselves to either question.
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