Majority of Germans now back sanctions, asset freezes against Russia

William JordanUS Elections Editor
July 23, 2014, 7:56 AM GMT+0

New data from YouGov Germany reveals that support in Germany for imposing trade sanctions and freezing Russian assets in the West has grown by about 10 points from late March

An initial push for additional sanctions against Russia, spearheaded by the British and American governments, has reportedly stalled due to resistance from the Germans and the French. U.S. officials have argued that Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by pro-Russian separatists using weaponry from Russia. Sanctions stand to pose particular risks for the German and French economies because of existing trade and business ties with Moscow, and as a result both countries have consistently pushed back against tougher sanctions.

A new YouGov poll conducted after the crash finds that the majority (53%) of the German public now support imposing trade sanctions against Russia as well as freezing Russian assets in Western banks. In March only 43% supported sanctions and only 42% supported freezing Russian assets.

The 10-point shift in opinion mirrors the growing support for action against Russia YouGov has found in Britain following the MH17 crash. However, at least in the case of sanctions, the Germans remain less supportive than the British.

Support for a number of other actions has also increased, including expelling Russia from the G8 (+7%), giving financial aid to the new Ukrainian government (+10%) and breaking off diplomatic relations with Russia (5%). Public backing for military aid is low, as it had been before the crash.

By 43-36% of Germans also tend to support suspending passenger and commercial airline flights to Russia, something that was not included in previous surveys.

More generally, 42% of Germans also want their government to take a tougher stance against Moscow now than in the past, compared to only 18% who want a softer touch and 20% who think Germany has gotten it right. The preference for a harder line is slightly stronger (46% 'tougher' to 21% 'less aggressive') when it comes to the approach of EU countries acting as a group.

Whatever the nature of the fresh response, 74% of Germans now say the situation between Russia and Ukraine is something that should concern their country and the West, even higher than the 63% who say the same in Britain.

Image: Getty

See the full Germany results

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