Germans don't support economic sanctions against Russia - poll

BERLIN Fri Mar 7, 2014 8:49am GMT

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BERLIN (Reuters) - The German public has little appetite for imposing economic sanctions on Russia for its incursion into Ukraine but supports the new government in Kiev and has very little confidence in Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a new poll.

In the survey by Infratest Dimap for broadcaster ARD and the newspaper Die Welt, only 38 percent of those polled said they favoured economic sanctions against Russia, while 72 percent supported financial aid for the Ukrainian government.

Only 15 percent of those polled thought Moscow a reliable partner and three quarters were of the view that Putin himself was not trustworthy; 81 percent saw him as a leader who would use any means at his disposal to promote Russian interests.

The survey suggests public support for Chancellor Angela Merkel's stance. She has been cautious about imposing anything but symbolic sanctions on Russia as she tries to convince Putin to agree to a "contact group" that would reopen communications between Moscow and Kiev.

The poll showed Merkel's approval rating rising two points to 71 percent but she has been overtaken by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, her Social Democrat (SPD) foreign minister, whose approval rating rose 4 points to 74 percent. He has been at the forefront of the shuttle diplomacy between Kiev and Moscow, while Merkel has worked the phones with Putin.

(Reporting by Stephen Brown; Editing by Noah Barkin)

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