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IPFS News Link • General Opinion

German Navy Chief Resigns After Saying Putin 'Deserves Respect'

• by Dave DeCamp

The head of Germany's navy resigned after his comments on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine caused backlash.

At an event in India on Friday, Vice-admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach argued that Putin was not interested in taking any territory from Ukraine. "Is Russia really interested in having a tiny strip of Ukrainian soil, to integrate into their country?" he said.

Schönbach suggested that Putin is really looking for respect. "On eye level, he wants respect. And my God, giving him respect is low cost, even no cost. It is easy to give him the respect he demands, and probably deserves," he said.

Schönbach said Crimea is "gone" and said the territory would "never come back" to Ukraine. He also argued that if the West had closer ties with Moscow, it would keep Russia away from China.

Amid heightened tensions with Russia, Ukrainian officials have been extra sensitive. Schönbach's comments upset Andriy Melnyk, the Ukrainian ambassador in Germany. Melnyk said Schoenback "massively called into question Germany's trustworthiness and reliability, not just from a Ukrainian point of view."