German Naval Chief Resigns After Backlash Over Remarks on Putin, Crimean Peninsula

German Flag - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.01.2022
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Kay-Achim Schönbach, a Vice-Admiral in the German Navy, has resigned after backlash over comments he made on Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Crimea Peninsula.
The comments that led to Schönbach's resignation came on a trip to India. Speaking at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, Schönbach spoke about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He believes that "What he really wants is respect," and added, "My God, giving someone respect is low cost, even no cost. ... It is easy to give him the respect he really demands — and probably also deserves."

Schönbach's next comments, pertaining to Ukrainian-Russian relations, created a diplomatic incident.
"The Crimea Peninsula is gone: It will never come back — this is a fact," said Schönbach.
The statement is in sharp contrast to the stance taken by the European Union and the United States and their allies. Their official stance is Russia's 2014 annexation of the Crimea Peninsula was unacceptable and must be reversed.
The comments prompted Ukraine's Foreign Ministry to summon Anka Feldhusen, Germany's ambassador to Ukraine, to stress "the categorical unacceptability" of his comments.
On Saturday, the Defense Ministry in Berlin also distanced itself from Schönbach's remarks.
Schönbach took to Twitter to apologize for his statements. He said that he had been asked the question without prior warning and that his comments were his personal opinion and not the official position of the German military.
The comments came at a poor time. Tensions between Ukraine and Russia have become intense as Ukraine and its allies allege that Russia has amassed 100,000 troops along the Russian-Ukrainian border.
Germany and Ukraine have also seen their relationship become strained as Germany has refused to provide weapons to Ukraine.
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