ISD Surveys: What do Germans think about Ukraine and Defence Policy? 

12 June 2024

This Dispatch analysis the findings of two ISD surveys which explored Germans views on the war against Ukraine, (European) defence, and threat perceptions of Russia. The results of the surveys can be found here


In March [1] and April[2] 2024, ISD conducted two surveys[3] which explored Germans views on the war against Ukraine, (European) defence, and threat perceptions of Russia. ISD also tested whether different message prompts containing information and arguments impacted the responses of the Germans who were surveyed. The findings of these surveys were then shared with relevant stakeholders as part of ISD’s charitable objective of advancement of education of the public in relation to extremism, hate and disinformation. 

Segmenting Germans by their level of support for Ukraine 

ISD drew on a segmentation analysis[4] based on a previous survey conducted in August 2023 which divided the German population based on how supportive they are towards Ukraine[5] (see image below).  

  • Segment 1 – Germany First Nationalists: Segment 1 is unsupportive of Ukraine and holds a considerably more dogmatic/authoritarian worldview than all other segments. This group contains many of those sceptical of established media reporting and is over-represented in Saxony and Thuringia but under-represented in Bremen and Hamburg. 
  • Segment 2 – Open-minded but unsupportive: Like Segment 1, this group is unsupportive of Ukraine but holds significantly less dogmatic/authoritarian worldviews than other segments. This is the only segment found to be predominately female and had the highest rate of non-voting in 2021. 
  • Segment 3 – Middle-of-the-roaders: This segment is younger on average than other segment and contains many people sceptical of established media outlets. Their views on Ukraine are neither overly supportive nor critical.  
  • Segment 4 – Self-interested supporters of Ukraine: This group exhibits fairly strong support for government measures to support Ukraine, but not if it hurts them financially. They are demographically very similar to the general population but are more likely to have voted for SPD and less likely to have voted AfD in 2021 than the general population. 
  • Segment 5 – Highly educated liberal supporters of Ukraine: Nearly half of this segment voted for either the SPD or Greens in 2021. They were much less likely to have voted for AfD and had the lowest rate of non-voting in 2021. 

Current Picture – Key Insights[6] 

Insight 1: A majority of Germans view the actions of the Russian government as a threat to German interests. 66% strongly or partially agree that the Russian regime is a threat to Germany’s economic interests and security (below on the left) and 54% strongly or partially agree it is in Germany’s own national interest to support Ukraine (below on the right). 

Insight 2: A majority of Germans support increased military spending as well as greater European  security efforts. 66% strongly support or tend to support strengthening security and defence cooperation with European partners in order to deter Russia from further military action (below on the left), while 58% strongly support or tend to support increasing German defence expenditure (below on the right).  

Insight 3: There is no majority for increasing German military support for Ukraine or delivering Taurus. Despite the perception that the Russian regime is a threat to German interests, only 44% of Germans strongly or partially agree that Germany should increase its military support for Ukraine (compared to 47% who strongly or partially disagree, see below). Similarly, only 36% of Germans are strongly or partially supportive of delivering Taurus missiles. Surprisingly, 45% of Germans believe Ukraine should be able to use Western weapons to hit targets inside of Russia (one of the major concerns relating to Taurus deliveries).  

Insight 4: Support for Ukraine among Germans is slowly decreasing. Our surveys draw on a segmentation analysis through which we divided the German population based on how supportive they are of military, economic and humanitarian aid towards Ukraine (outlined above). There have been small changes in the relative size of a couple segments since the original poll which was conducted in October 2023. Segment 4 is smaller, while Segments 2 and 1 are slightly larger. 

Insight 5: Germans are split around inviting Ukraine to join NATO. Slightly more Germans are strongly or partially supportive of inviting Ukraine to join NATO at the defence alliance’s July summit in Washington D.C. (43%) than those who are strongly or partially opposed to it (40%). 

Message-testing  

ISD also tested whether message prompts containing a range of information and arguments impact German’s responses to questions about the war against Ukraine, (European) defence and threat perception of Russia. We devised statements of support for specific positions relating to this survey which are written in the form of a message delivered by a person arguing a particular viewpoint; these are known as ‘treatments’[7]. Through this survey experiment, ISD attempted to test if and through which messages and pieces of information respondents views on Ukraine could be affected. We found that different messages/ treatments increase support for Ukraine or hawkish policies vis-a-vis Russia across each segment. This even applied to those segments less supportive of Ukraine.  

Messages that increased German support for Ukraine and hawkish policies vis-a-vis Russia: 

Message 1: Military build-up is needed in an insecure world. Germany First Nationalists (segment 1) are unlikely to fundamentally change their mind and support Ukraine. However, our message-testing showed that they became more supportive of increasing German military spending if they were presented with the idea that strengthening military deterrence in a complex and insecure world is not only important from a national security perspective but would also bring economic benefits.  

Figure 1: Impact by segment of the following treatment: “In an increasingly complex and insecure world, Germany cannot rely on other countries to guarantee our security. Only strengthening our military deterrence will give us the strength to negotiate with aggressive states. At the same time, Germany's defence capabilities are severely compromised due to decades of underinvestment in our military. Increased defence spending therefore not only makes us safer, but also brings major economic benefits in the form of new jobs and investment in science and technology.” 

Figure 1: Impact by segment of the following treatment: “In an increasingly complex and insecure world, Germany cannot rely on other countries to guarantee our security. Only strengthening our military deterrence will give us the strength to negotiate with aggressive states. At the same time, Germany’s defence capabilities are severely compromised due to decades of underinvestment in our military. Increased defence spending therefore not only makes us safer, but also brings major economic benefits in the form of new jobs and investment in science and technology.”

Similarly, Germany First Nationalists (as well as the open-minded but unsupportive Segment 2) were receptive to messages that emphasised the need to build up common European capabilities to deter Russia to account for a scenario in which President Trump were to be elected again and the US would no longer guarantee European security.  

Figure 2: Impact by segment of the following treatment: “Russia is becoming increasingly aggressive, and if Donald Trump is re-elected, the United States will probably no longer guarantee Europe's security. It is therefore important to build common European defence capabilities to deter Russia from further aggression.” 

Figure 2: Impact by segment of the following treatment: “Russia is becoming increasingly aggressive, and if Donald Trump is re-elected, the United States will probably no longer guarantee Europe’s security. It is therefore important to build common European defence capabilities to deter Russia from further aggression.”

Message 2: The current costs of supporting Ukraine may be high, but inaction now will lead to greater costs later on. Messages that argue that costs will be much higher for Germany if Russia defeats Ukraine increased German’s approval for greater military support for Ukraine. This effect can be seen for the open-minded but unsupportive segment 2, the middle-of-the-roaders (segment 3), and self-interested supporters of Ukraine (segment 4). For the latter two segments, messages highlighting the impact Germany or European allies could have on the war alongside the costs of a Russian victory had a significant effect. For the open-minded but unsupportive segment (who are less supportive of Ukraine) centring economic argument exerted strong influence.  

Figure 3: Impact by segment of treatment A (“Russia invaded Ukraine two years ago. Since then, Ukraine has managed to destroy almost half of Russia's military equipment. Russia has since switched to a war economy, but if Germany and the European allies increase their support, Ukraine can go on the offensive again and significantly weaken the Russian military. This would prove that a war against Europe is futile. Without German support, Ukraine could be defeated. We would then experience a protracted and costly war.”) and treatment B (“Two years ago, Russia invaded Ukraine. This war of aggression displaced millions of Ukrainians, many of whom found refuge in Germany. Russia continues to attack civilian infrastructure, displacing more and more people and forcing them to flee to Europe. To encourage Ukrainians to return, we must ensure lasting peace. Russia must no longer pose a threat to the existence of Ukraine.”) 

Figure 3: Impact by segment of treatment A (“Russia invaded Ukraine two years ago. Since then, Ukraine has managed to destroy almost half of Russia’s military equipment. Russia has since switched to a war economy, but if Germany and the European allies increase their support, Ukraine can go on the offensive again and significantly weaken the Russian military. This would prove that a war against Europe is futile. Without German support, Ukraine could be defeated. We would then experience a protracted and costly war.”) and treatment B (“Two years ago, Russia invaded Ukraine. This war of aggression displaced millions of Ukrainians, many of whom found refuge in Germany. Russia continues to attack civilian infrastructure, displacing more and more people and forcing them to flee to Europe. To encourage Ukrainians to return, we must ensure lasting peace. Russia must no longer pose a threat to the existence of Ukraine.”)

Message 3: A Russian victory is a threat to peace in Europe. Messages that emphasise the threat to peace in the event of a Russian victory in Ukraine increased the degree to which the open-minded but unsupportive (segment 2) believes it is in Germany’s self-interest to support Ukraine.   

Figure 4: Impact by segment of the following treatment: “Germany's security depends on a strong alliance of democratic countries within NATO and the European Union. If Ukraine loses the war, Russia will next threaten the NATO and EU countries in Eastern Europe. This would jeopardize peace and economic prosperity in Europe. It is therefore crucial for Germany that Ukraine wins the war.” 

Figure 4: Impact by segment of the following treatment: “Germany’s security depends on a strong alliance of democratic countries within NATO and the European Union. If Ukraine loses the war, Russia will next threaten the NATO and EU countries in Eastern Europe. This would jeopardize peace and economic prosperity in Europe. It is therefore crucial for Germany that Ukraine wins the war.”

Furthermore, messages that emphasise the risk of a major war involving the West made the open-minded but unsupportive segment more in favour of delivering Taurus missiles. Messages warning about the devastating consequences for security in Europe likewise increased support for delivering Taurus missiles among middle-of-the-roaders (segment 3) and self-interested supporters of Ukraine (segment 4).  

Figure 5: Impact by segment of treatment A (“Ukraine has been resisting the Russian invasion for more than two years. But the tide is turning and Russia is making territorial gains. There is a real danger that Ukraine could lose the war if Germany and other European states do not increase their military support. A Ukrainian defeat would have devastating consequences for security in Europe.”) and treatment B (“If Russia gains the upper hand in Ukraine, it will continue its imperial ambitions and attack other countries such as the Republic of Moldova. This would significantly increase the risk of a major war between Russia and the West. By thwarting Russia's ambitions in Ukraine, we prevent the outbreak of a third world war.”)  

Figure 5: Impact by segment of treatment A (“Ukraine has been resisting the Russian invasion for more than two years. But the tide is turning and Russia is making territorial gains. There is a real danger that Ukraine could lose the war if Germany and other European states do not increase their military support. A Ukrainian defeat would have devastating consequences for security in Europe.”) and treatment B (“If Russia gains the upper hand in Ukraine, it will continue its imperial ambitions and attack other countries such as the Republic of Moldova. This would significantly increase the risk of a major war between Russia and the West. By thwarting Russia’s ambitions in Ukraine, we prevent the outbreak of a third world war.”)

Message 4: This is a struggle between democracies and authoritarianism. Messages framing the Ukrainian struggle against the Russian invasion as part of a confrontation between democracies and authoritarians increased the extent to which highly educated liberal supporters of Ukraine (segment 5) view the war as a war against the West, rather than just against Ukraine. However, the segments less supportive of Ukraine did not seem receptive to this message.  

Figure 6: Impact by segment of Treatment A (“Russia's war against Ukraine is part of a larger, existential struggle between democracies and authoritarian states around the world. This is demonstrated by the fact that Russia relies on the support of Iran, North Korea and China. A Russian victory would have devastating consequences for democracies worldwide, but especially in Europe. Ukraine should be brought closer to the West by being allowed to join NATO, an alliance of democracies.”) 

Figure 6: Impact by segment of Treatment A (“Russia’s war against Ukraine is part of a larger, existential struggle between democracies and authoritarian states around the world. This is demonstrated by the fact that Russia relies on the support of Iran, North Korea and China. A Russian victory would have devastating consequences for democracies worldwide, but especially in Europe. Ukraine should be brought closer to the West by being allowed to join NATO, an alliance of democracies.”)

Messages that did not increase German support for Ukraine or hawkish views towards Russia 

Several messages tested did not increase support for Ukraine or hawkish policies towards Russia, or even had the opposite effect than the one which we had anticipated.  

  • Messages highlighting Russian support for the AfD and extremist parties in Europe did not increase support for the view that the actions of the Russian government threaten German economic interests and security.  
  • Message emphasising that whether or not the West believes it is at war with Russia, the Russian regime believes that it is at war with the West, did not increase belief that the war is primarily directed against the West.  
  • Messages emphasising that inviting Ukraine to join NATO would be a strong boost to Ukraine but carried little legal risk or political cost, or could even be a catalyst towards ending the conflict, either had no effect or caused respondents to become more opposed to NATO inviting Ukraine to join the military alliance.  

Conclusion 

Our survey results indicate that the majority of Germans already hold extremely critical views of the Russian government, which they see as a threat to German interests. However, while most Germans support greater national defence spending and European security efforts, they are split on whether their government should ramp up military support for Ukraine. Additionally, even though support for Ukraine remains widespread among Germans, this support is slowly decreasing.  

At the same time, these views are not set in stone. ISD’s message-testing research demonstrates that all segments of the population, independent of their views on German government policies towards Ukraine, trend towards supporting more hawkish policies vis-à-vis the Russian government or more substantial military aid to Ukraine. Messages emphasising the current geopolitical insecurity and the future costs of inaction in the present moment in particular were persuasive even with Germans who do not already support Ukraine for moral or humanitarian reasons.  

End notes

[1] Questions March Survey: 

Question 1: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement? “Germany should increase its military support for Ukraine”. [Strongly agree, Partially agree, Partially disagree, Strongly disagree, I don’t know])  

(German: Inwiefern stimmen Sie der folgenden Aussage zu oder lehnen sie ab? „Deutschland sollte seine militärische Unterstützung für die Ukraine erhöhen“. [Starke Zustimmung, Teilweise Zustimmung, Teilweise Ablehnung, Starke Ablehnung, Ich weiß nicht])  

Question 2: Would you support or oppose strengthening security and defence cooperation with European partners to deter Russia from further military aggression? [Fully support, Partially support, Partially oppose, Fully oppose, I don’t know]  

(German: Würden Sie es unterstützen oder ablehnen, wenn die Sicherheits- und Verteidigungszusammenarbeit mit europäischen Partnern gestärkt werden würde, um Russland von weiteren militärischen Aggressionen abzuhalten? [Vollständige Unterstützung, Teilweise Unterstützung, Teilweise Ablehnung, Vollständige Ablehnung, Ich weiß es nicht]) 

Question 3: Would you support or oppose the German government significantly increasing its defence spending? [Fully support, Partially support, Partially oppose, Fully oppose, I don’t know]  

(German: Würden Sie es unterstützen oder ablehnen, wenn die deutsche Regierung ihre Verteidigungsausgaben erheblich erhöht? [Vollständige Unterstützung, Teilweise Unterstützung, Teilweise Ablehnung, Vollständige Ablehnung, Ich weiß es nicht]) 

Question 4: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement?  “It is in Germany’s own national interest to support Ukraine in the war against Russia”. [Strongly agree, Partially agree, Partially disagree, Strongly disagree, I don’t know] 

(German: Inwiefern stimmen Sie der folgenden Aussage zu oder lehnen sie ab? „Es liegt im nationalen Eigeninteresse Deutschlands, die Ukraine im Krieg gegen Russland zu unterstützen“. [Starke Zustimmung, Teilweise Zustimmung, Teilweise Ablehnung, Starke Ablehnung, Ich weiß nicht]) 

Question 5: To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement? “The actions of the Russian government threaten Germany’s economic interests and security”. [Strongly agree, Partially agree, Partially disagree, Strongly disagree, I don’t know]  

(German: Inwiefern stimmen Sie der folgenden Aussage zu oder lehnen sie ab?? „Das Vorgehen der russischen Regierung bedroht die wirtschaftlichen Interessen und die Sicherheit Deutschlands“. [Starke Zustimmung, Teilweise Zustimmung, Teilweise Ablehnung, Starke Ablehnung, Ich weiß nicht]) 

The following message-testing prompts were used for the March survey: 

Question 1 prompts:  

Russia invaded Ukraine two years ago. Since then, Ukraine has managed to destroy almost half of Russia’s military equipment. Russia has since switched to a war economy, but if Germany and the European allies increase their support, Ukraine can go on the offensive again and significantly weaken the Russian military. This would prove that a war against Europe is futile. Without German support, Ukraine could be defeated. We would then experience a protracted and costly war.  

(German: Vor zwei Jahren überfiel Russland die Ukraine. Seitdem ist es der Ukraine gelungen, fast die Hälfte des russischen Militärgeräts zu zerstören. Russland hat seitdem auf Kriegswirtschaft umgestellt, aber wenn Deutschland und die europäischen Verbündeten ihre Unterstützung erhöhen, kann die Ukraine wieder in die Offensive gehen und das russische Militär erheblich schwächen. Dies würde beweisen, dass ein Krieg gegen Europa aussichtslos ist. Ohne deutsche Unterstützung könnte die Ukraine besiegt werden. Dann würden wir einen langwierigen und kostspieligen Krieg erleben.) 

Two years ago, Russia invaded Ukraine. This war of aggression displaced millions of Ukrainians, many of whom found refuge in Germany. Russia continues to attack civilian infrastructure, displacing more and more people and forcing them to flee to Europe. To encourage Ukrainians to return, we must ensure lasting peace. Russia must no longer pose a threat to the existence of Ukraine.  

(German: Vor zwei Jahren überfiel Russland die Ukraine. Durch diesen Angriffskrieg wurden Millionen von Ukrainern vertrieben, von denen viele in Deutschland Zuflucht fanden. Russland greift weiterhin zivile Infrastruktur an, wodurch immer mehr Menschen vertrieben und zur Flucht nach Europa gezwungen werden. Um die Ukrainer zur Rückkehr zu ermutigen, müssen wir für einen dauerhaften Frieden sorgen. Russland darf keine Bedrohung mehr für die Existenz der Ukraine darstellen.) 

Question 2 prompt:  

Russia is becoming increasingly aggressive, and if Donald Trump is re-elected, the United States will probably no longer guarantee Europe’s security. It is therefore important to build common European defence capabilities to deter Russia from further aggression.  

(German: Russland wird immer aggressiver, und wenn Donald Trump wiedergewählt wird, werden die Vereinigten Staaten wahrscheinlich nicht länger die Sicherheit Europas garantieren. Daher ist es wichtig, gemeinsame europäische Verteidigungskapazitäten aufzubauen, um Russland von weiteren Aggressionen abzuschrecken.) 

Question 3 prompt:  

In an increasingly complex and insecure world, Germany cannot rely on other countries to guarantee our security. Only strengthening our military deterrence will give us the strength to negotiate with aggressive states. At the same time, Germany’s defence capabilities are severely compromised due to decades of underinvestment in our military. Increased defence spending therefore not only makes us safer, but also brings major economic benefits in the form of new jobs and investment in science and technology.  

(German: In einer zunehmend komplexen und unsicheren Welt kann sich Deutschland nicht darauf verlassen, dass andere Länder für unsere Sicherheit garantieren. Nur die Stärkung unserer militärischen Abschreckung wird uns die Kraft geben, mit aggressiven Staaten zu verhandeln. Gleichzeitig sind die deutschen Verteidigungsfähigkeiten aufgrund jahrzehntelanger Unterinvestitionen in unser Militär erheblich beeinträchtigt. Höhere Verteidigungsausgaben machen uns daher nicht nur sicherer, sondern bringen auch große wirtschaftliche Vorteile in Form von neuen Arbeitsplätzen und Investitionen in Wissenschaft und Technologie.) 

Question 4 prompt:  

Germany’s security depends on a strong alliance of democratic countries within NATO and the European Union. If Ukraine loses the war, Russia will next threaten the NATO and EU countries in Eastern Europe. This would jeopardize peace and economic prosperity in Europe. It is therefore crucial for Germany that Ukraine wins the war.  

(German: Die Sicherheit Deutschlands hängt von einem starken Bündnis demokratischer Länder im Rahmen der NATO und der Europäischen Union ab. Wenn die Ukraine den Krieg verliert, wird Russland als nächstes die NATO- und EU-Länder in Osteuropa bedrohen. Dies würde den Frieden und den wirtschaftlichen Wohlstand in Europa gefährden. Deshalb ist es für Deutschland von entscheidender Bedeutung, dass die Ukraine den Krieg gewinnt.) 

Question 5 prompt:  

The Russian government has provided financial and logistical support to populist and extremist parties in Europe, including the AfD in Germany. Members of the AfD and other extremist parties are paid by Russia to act on its behalf. Russian state propaganda spreads false and misleading information to polarise public discourse abroad. Russia has also carried out cyberattacks on European infrastructure.  

(German: Die russische Regierung hat populistische und extremistische Parteien in Europa, darunter die AfD in Deutschland, finanziell und logistisch unterstützt. Mitglieder der AfD und anderer extremistischer Parteien werden von Russland dafür bezahlt, in seinem Namen zu handeln. Die russische Staatspropaganda verbreitet falsche und irreführende Informationen, um den öffentlichen Diskurs im Ausland zu polarisieren. Zudem hat Russland auch Cyberangriffe auf die europäische Infrastruktur durchgeführt.) 

[2] Questions April Survey: 

Question 1: It is currently being discussed whether Germany should supply Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine. These are missiles that can be used against targets at a greater distance and could also hit targets in Russia. Are you for or against Germany supplying such cruise missiles to Ukraine? [Definitely for, Rather for, Rather against, Definitely against, I don’t know]  

(German: Es wird aktuell diskutiert, ob Deutschland Taurus-Marschflugkörper an die Ukraine liefern sollte. Dies sind Raketen, die gegen Ziele auch in größerer Entfernung eingesetzt werden können und auch Ziele in Russland treffen könnten. Sind sie dafür oder dagegen, dass Deutschland solche Marschflugkörper an die Ukraine liefert oder nicht? [Eindeutig dafür, Eher dafür, Eher dagegen, Eindeutig dagegen, Ich weiß nicht]) 

Question 2: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Ukraine should be allowed to use the Western weapons it has been given to attack military targets in Russia. [Strongly agree, Partially agree, Partially disagree, Strongly disagree, I don’t know]  

(German: Stimmen Sie der folgenden Aussage zu oder lehnen Sie diese ab? Die Ukraine sollte die westlichen Waffen, die ihr zur Verfügung gestellt wurden, auch einsetzen dürfen, um militärische Ziele in Russland anzugreifen. [Starke Zustimmung, Teilweise Zustimmung, Teilweise Ablehnung, Starke Ablehnung, Ich weiß nicht]) 

Question 3: Should Ukraine receive an invitation to join NATO at the NATO summit in Washington, D.C. in July? [Fully support, Partially support, Partially oppose, Fully oppose, I don’t know]  

(German: Sollte die Ukraine auf dem NATO-Gipfel im Juli in Washington, D.C. eine Einladung zum NATO-Beitritt erhalten? [Vollständige Unterstützung, Teilweise Unterstützung, Teilweise Ablehnung, Vollständige Ablehnung, Ich weiß nicht])  

Question 4: In your opinion, is the war in Ukraine primarily a war by Russia against Ukraine or a war by Russia against the West? [Definitely a war against Ukraine, Rather a war against Ukraine, Rather a war against the West, Definitely a war against the West, I don’t know]  

(German: Ist der Krieg in der Ukraine Ihrer Ansicht nach primär ein Krieg Russlands gegen die Ukraine oder ein Krieg Russlands gegen den Westen? [Eindeutig ein Krieg gegen die Ukraine, Eher ein Krieg gegen die Ukraine, Eher ein Krieg gegen den Westen, Eindeutig ein Krieg gegen den Westen, Ich weiß nicht]) 

The following message-testing prompts were used for the March survey: 

Question 1 prompts:  

Ukraine has been resisting the Russian invasion for more than two years. But the tide is turning and Russia is making territorial gains. There is a real danger that Ukraine could lose the war if Germany and other European states do not increase their military support. A Ukrainian defeat would have devastating consequences for security in Europe.  

(German: Seit mehr als zwei Jahren leistet die Ukraine Widerstand gegen die russische Invasion. Doch das Blatt wendet sich, und Russland macht territoriale Gewinne. Es besteht die reale Gefahr, dass die Ukraine den Krieg verlieren könnte, wenn Deutschland und andere europäische Staaten ihre militärische Unterstützung nicht verstärken. Eine ukrainische Niederlage hätte verheerende Folgen für die Sicherheit in Europa.) 

If Russia gains the upper hand in Ukraine, it will continue its imperial ambitions and attack other countries such as the Republic of Moldova. This would significantly increase the risk of a major war between Russia and the West. By thwarting Russia’s ambitions in Ukraine, we prevent the outbreak of a third world war.  

(German: Wenn Russland in der Ukraine die Oberhand gewinnt, wird es seine imperialen Ambitionen fortsetzen und weitere Länder wie die Republik Moldau angreifen. Dadurch würde sich das Risiko eines großen Krieges zwischen Russland und dem Westen erheblich erhöhen. Indem wir Russlands Ambitionen in der Ukraine vereiteln, verhindern wir den Ausbruch eines Dritten Weltkriegs.) 

Question 2 prompt:  

As long as Ukraine is prevented from using Western weapons to attack military targets inside Russia, it will always be at a strategic disadvantage vis-à-vis Russia. Allowing such attacks would help divert Russian resources away from Ukraine and put Russia on the defensive. Moreover, Ukraine is already conducting attacks inside Russia with its own weapons and assets.  

(German: Solange die Ukraine daran gehindert wird, westliche Waffen für Angriffe auf militärische Ziele innerhalb Russlands einzusetzen, wird sie sich immer in einem strategischen Nachteil gegenüber Russland befinden. Die Erlaubnis solcher Angriffe würde dazu beitragen, russische Ressourcen von der Ukraine wegzulenken und Russland in die Defensive zu drängen. Darüber hinaus führt die Ukraine bereits Angriffe innerhalb Russlands mit ihren eigenen Waffen und Mitteln durch.) 

Question 3 prompts:  

An invitation to join NATO would not entail any legally binding security guarantees for Ukraine. An invitation would come at little political cost to the Alliance. But it would give Ukraine a strong boost by showing it a credible path to membership. At the same time, it would also send a clear signal to Putin.  

(German: Eine Einladung zum NATO-Beitritt würde keine rechtsverbindlichen Sicherheitsgarantien für die Ukraine mit sich bringen. Eine Einladung wäre für das Bündnis mit geringen politischen Kosten verbunden. Aber sie würde der Ukraine einen starken Impuls geben, indem sie ihr einen glaubwürdigen Weg zur Mitgliedschaft aufzeigt. Gleichzeitig würde damit auch ein deutliches Signal an Putin gesendet.) 

An invitation to join NATO would be a catalyst for ending the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as it would show Putin that he cannot veto Ukraine’s NATO membership. As long as he believes this, he will continue the war. An invitation would also strengthen Ukraine’s position in future negotiations.  

(German: Eine Einladung zum NATO-Beitritt   wäre ein Katalysator für die Beendigung des Konflikts zwischen Russland und der Ukraine, da sie Putin zeigen würde, dass er kein Veto gegen eine NATO-Mitgliedschaft der Ukraine einlegen kann. Solange er dies glaubt, wird er den Krieg fortsetzen. Eine Einladung würde auch die Position der Ukraine bei künftigen Verhandlungen stärken.) 

Question 4 prompts:  

Russia’s war against Ukraine is part of a larger, existential struggle between democracies and authoritarian states around the world. This is demonstrated by the fact that Russia relies on the support of Iran, North Korea and China. A Russian victory would have devastating consequences for democracies worldwide, but especially in Europe. Ukraine should be brought closer to the West by being allowed to join NATO, an alliance of democracies.  

(German: Russlands Krieg gegen die Ukraine ist Teil eines größeren, existenziellen Kampfes zwischen Demokratien und autoritären Staaten auf der ganzen Welt. Dies zeigt sich daran, dass Russland auf die Unterstützung des Iran, Nordkoreas und Chinas angewiesen ist. Ein russischer Sieg hätte verheerende Folgen für Demokratien weltweit, vor allem aber in Europa. Die Ukraine sollte dem Westen nähergebracht werden, indem sie der NATO, einem Bündnis von Demokratien, beitreten darf.) 

The Russian regime believes that Russia is at war with the West. This war between Russia and the West also takes the form of propaganda and disinformation, influence operations, sabotage and interference in elections. One of Putin’s main goals is to undermine democracies by questioning the legitimacy of elections. Even if we do not believe that we are at war with Russia, the Russian regime believes that it is at war with us.  

(German: Das russische Regime glaubt, dass sich Russland im Krieg mit dem Westen befindet. Dieser Krieg zwischen Russland und dem Westen findet auch in Form von Propaganda und Desinformation, Beeinflussungsaktionen, Sabotage und Einmischung in Wahlen statt. Ein Hauptziel Putins ist es, die Demokratien zu untergraben, indem er die Legitimität von Wahlen in Frage stellt. Auch wenn wir nicht glauben, dass wir uns im Krieg mit Russland befinden, glaubt das russische Regime, dass es sich im Krieg mit uns befindet.) 

[3] All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2.219 adults in March and 2.275 adults in April. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th and 19th March 2024 and between 19th and 23rd April 2024.  The surveys were carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults in Germany (aged 18+). 

[4] The segmentation was created using cluster analysis, a statistical process which classifies a set of points or individuals with similar characteristics and groups them together in clusters. There are many different methods and algorithms commonly used for cluster analysis, depending on the parameters and specific nature of a project. In this case, we employed a method called k-means, which creates distinct nonoverlapping clusters based on a set of variables. 

[5] The segmentation was created using cluster analysis, a statistical process which classifies a set of points or individuals with similar characteristics and groups them together in clusters. There are many different methods and algorithms commonly used for cluster analysis, depending on the parameters and specific nature of a project. In this case, we employed a method called k-means, which creates distinct nonoverlapping clusters based on a set of variables. 

[6] Full results are attached to this Dispatch. 

[7] This methodology is a survey experiment, in which some respondents were randomly provided additional context in form of the treatment. See: Hughes, Adam, and Bradley Jones. “‘Good jobs’ vs.‘jobs’: Survey experiments can measure the effects of question wording–and more.” (2019). https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2019/01/29/good-jobs-vs-jobs-survey-experiments-can-measure-the-effects-of-question-wording-and-more/  

False and unverified claims proliferate online following Trump assassination attempt

Unverified claims about the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump proliferated across social media in the 24 hours following the incident and continue to spread in the absence of more detailed factual information about the shooter. ISD identified the main false claims being promoted and how they mutated and spread across platforms.