The German naval chief resigned in response to Putin’s comments

German Navy Vice Admiral K-Achim Schonbach speaks during a lecture on January 21, 2022 at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis (MB-IDSA) in New Delhi. Through Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis / Handout REUTERS

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BERLIN, Jan 22 (Reuters) – Germany’s naval chief resigned on Saturday after criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin for being “deserving of honors” and saying Kiev would never conquer Crimea annexed from Moscow.

Vice Admiral K-Achim Shonbach said in a statement: “I urge the Secretary of Defense, Christine Lambrecht, to release me immediately.

Shonbach commented on a think tank discussion in India on Friday and the video was posted on social media. Comments came At an important time Russia has amassed tens of thousands of troops On the border with Ukraine.

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Diplomatic efforts focus on preventing expansion. Russia has denied plans to invade Ukraine.

In New Delhi, speaking in English, Schoenbach said the West was trying to treat Putin equally.

“What he (Putin) really wants is respect,” Shonbach said.

“God, it’s low cost, not expensive. It’s easy to give him the respect he really wants – and deserves it,” Shonbach said, calling Russia an old and important country.

Schoenbach acknowledged that Russia’s activities in Ukraine should be taken into account. But he added, “The Crimean peninsula is gone, it will not come back, it is a fact,” he said, adding that Moscow’s annexation of the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 was unacceptable and contrary to the collective Western position that it should be transformed.

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Prior to Schoenbach’s resignation, the Defense Ministry had publicly criticized his comments, saying they did not reflect Germany’s position on content or words.

Shonbaugh apologized for his comment.

“My passionate comments in India … put a lot of pressure on my office,” he said. “I think this move (resignation) is necessary to prevent further damage to the German navy, German forces and, in particular, the Federal Republic of Germany.”

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has called on Germany to publicly reject the naval commander’s comments. Ukraine said in a statement that Schoenbach’s comments could affect Western efforts to defuse the situation.

“Ukraine has already thanked Germany for its support since 2014 and for its diplomatic efforts to resolve the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict.

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Report by Sabine Siebold; Editing by Catherine Evans and Cynthia Asterman

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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