Public opinion crumbles over German war support to Ukraine

However, Scholz's speech on Sunday at a rally of the German Trade Union Confederation was met with fierce resistance by attendees, who chanted “warmonger” while Scholz was speaking and were holding banners reading “de-escalate instead of provoke.” [SASCHA STEINBACH/EPA]

Multiple open letters urging the German government to pressure Ukraine into a compromise with Vladimir Putin are gathering support in the country, with high-ranking politicians backing the call. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian civil society has called the move “disturbing.”

The letter, originally published by the magazine EMMA on Friday (29 April), calls on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to put an end to the delivery of heavy weapons and to “do everything possible to achieve a ceasefire as soon as possible; a compromise that both sides can accept.”

It was signed by 28 of Germany’s leading intellectuals and artists and has since gathered substantial support.

“The open letter to the Chancellor does not represent the majority of published opinion, but it certainly represents the majority opinion of society – which includes mine,” the Prime Minister of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, Michael Kretschmer, said on Monday, according to Bild.

Ukrainian civil society organisations were baffled by the open letter and replied directly to the signatories.

“The call for a “compromise” is tantamount to denying Ukraine’s right to exist as an independent, self-determined country. They reduce Ukraine to a locality, to a battlefield,” said the reply letter by the Alliance of Ukrainian Organisations.

“The destruction of culture, language, sovereignty does not worry you, your whole concern is escalation,” the letter, published on Tuesday (3 May), added.

Chancellor Scholz also replied to the open letter indirectly during his speech celebrating Labour Day, where he stated that radical pacifism was no longer appropriate and that it has fallen “out of time”.

However, Scholz’s speech on Sunday at a rally of the German Trade Union Confederation was met with fierce resistance by attendees, who chanted “warmonger!” while he was speaking and waved banners reading “de-escalate instead of provoking”.

“I respect all pacifism, I respect all attitudes, but it must seem cynical to a citizen of Ukraine to be told to defend himself against Putin’s aggression without weapons,” Scholz shouted to make himself be heard against the chanting.

Trade Union chief Reiner Hoffmann also indirectly criticised his Social Democrat chancellor. “We say no to massive rearmament,” he stated, adding that military peacekeeping must not be at the expense of social peace.

The open letter is the second letter calling on the government to end its support to Ukraine. Already in mid-April, an open letter signed by German intellectuals called on the German government to convince Ukraine to halt its resistance and enter peace talks with Russia.

Support for the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine is also plummeting within the German population. According to a poll by Deutschlandtrend from Thursday (28 April), only 45% of Germans support the delivery of heavy armaments to Ukraine, 10 percentage points less than in early April.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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