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German navy chief resigns after controversial comments on Ukraine

German navy chief resigns after controversial comments on Ukraine

A spokesman for the German Ministry of Defense announced on Saturday evening that the commander of the German Navy, Kay Achim Schönbach, has resigned from his post after controversial statements about the crisis in Ukraine.

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The spokesman explained to AFP that the vice admiral, who described, among other things, the idea that Russia wanted to invade Ukraine, would leave his post “with immediate effect”.

What Vladimir Putin wants, is to be “respected,” this soldier declared according to a video circulated online, filmed during a think tank meeting held Friday in New Delhi.

“It’s easy to give him the respect he wants and maybe he deserves too,” he added. The idea that Russia wants to invade part of Ukraine would be, he said, “nonsense.”

He also felt that Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, “is gone and will not return” to Ukraine.

This senior officer had pleaded guilty in the afternoon, describing his statements as “reckless”. “No harassment: it was clearly a mistake,” he wrote in a tweet.

But he made it clear in a press statement issued this evening that he submitted his resignation in order to “avoid further harm to the German Navy, especially the Federal Republic of Germany.”

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry summoned German Ambassador Anka Feldusen in the afternoon after these statements, which Kiev considered “totally unacceptable”.

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The Vice Admiral’s comments came in the midst of a Russian-Western crisis over Ukraine.

Intense diplomatic efforts are being made on both sides to prevent the situation from deteriorating, while tens of thousands of Russian soldiers are still massed on the Ukrainian border.