A third of Germans fear war erupting with Russia over Ukraine, Syria: poll

BERLIN (Reuters) - One in three Germans worry that tensions between the West and Russia over Crimea, Ukraine and Syria could lead to a military confrontation, according to an opinion poll by the respected Forsa institute published on Wednesday.

The survey found that 32 percent of 2,504 Germans polled believe it is possible that war could break out between Russia and the European Union and its allies in the United States. But a majority of 64 percent said they did not share those fears.

Fears of war traditionally run high in Germany, a country sensitive to tensions that could lead to conflict after the devastation of World War Two and the partition of the nation into West Germany and East Germany during the Cold War.

The survey found supporters of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party were especially worried, 63 percent of them telling Forsa that war could break out.

Some 41 percent of all those polled said relations between Russia and the West were poor, 51 percent not good and only six percent said relations were good.

Chancellor Angela Merkel met in Berlin last week with Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Francois Hollande about Syria and Ukraine.

Merkel and Hollande pressed Putin to extend a pause in air strikes on rebels in Syria and halt the “criminal” bombardment of civilians, and said four-way talks aimed at ending violence in eastern Ukraine made some progress.

Reporting by Andreas Rinke; writing by Erik Kirschbaum; editing by Mark Heinrich