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German navy chief resigns over Putin comments -Breaking

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© Reuters. Christine Lambrecht (Defense Minister) visits Warnemuende Navy Base, Germany, on December 17, 2021. Bernd Wuestneck/Pool via REUTERS

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BERLIN, (Reuters) – Germany’s navy chief resigned Saturday following criticism for saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin deserved respect. Kyiv will never annexe Crimea back from Moscow and Kyiv should not be criticized.

In a statement, Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schoenbach stated that she had asked Christine Lambrecht, Defence Minister of Christine Lambrecht, to release me immediately. “The minister accepted my request.”

Schoenbach spoke at a India think-tank meeting on Friday. Video was also posted on social media. This comment came as Russia was putting thousands of troops at the borders of Ukraine.

All diplomatic efforts have been directed at avoiding an escalation. Russia has denied that it plans to invade Ukraine.

Schoenbach spoke in English and said that Putin wanted to be treated the same way as everyone else in New Delhi.

Schoenbach stated that Putin really needs respect.

And my God, it is easy to show someone respect, sometimes even at no cost. Schoenbach described Russia as an older and more important country and said that it was easy to give Russia the respect it deserves.

Schoenbach acknowledged that Russia’s actions against Ukraine must be dealt with. Schoenbach said that the Crimea peninsula was gone and will not come back. This contradicts the Western consensus that Moscow’s 2014 annexation must be reversed.

Before Schoenbach’s resignation, Schoenbach was publicly criticized by the defense ministry, saying his comments did not reflect Germany’s position in content or form.

Schoenbach has since apologized.

He said that his rash comments in India “are increasingly putting a strain upon my office.” This resignation is required to avoid further damage to Germany’s navy and forces.

According to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Germany should publicly deny Schoenbach’s remarks. The comments of Schoenbach could hamper Western efforts to deescalate the crisis, Ukraine stated in a statement.

“Ukraine thanks Germany for its support since 2014 and for diplomatic efforts in resolving the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. However, Germany’s present statements are disappointing” Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister said in a separate tweet.

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