German Navy Chief resigns over his Ukraine comment in India

Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach had stated that Russian President Putin was not up for a strip of land in Ukraine but wanted respect. Crimea would never go back to Ukraine, he had added.

Published: 24th January 2022 12:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th January 2022 12:03 AM   |  A+A-

Germany Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach, Chief of German Navy (Left) with Lieutenant General CP Mohanty (Right).

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The head of the German Naval forces on Saturday tendered resignation after his comments on Russia raised a major international controversy.

While speaking at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MPIDSA) on Friday, Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach had stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin was not up for a strip of land in Ukraine but wanted respect. Crimea would never go back to Ukraine, he had added. Crimea from Ukraine was occupied by Russia in 2014.

Schönbach said “the Crimean Peninsula is gone. It’s never coming back. This is a fact.”

“Is Russia really interested in a small tiny strip of Ukraine soil to integrate into their country? No, this is nonsense. Putin is probably putting pressure because can do it and he knows, he split us, he splits the European Union. What he really wants is respect,” he said.

His comments came amidst the Russian move of amassing more than 100,000 troops along the border. Also, while the UK and the US have been sending weapons to Ukraine, Germany has refused to do it.

Raising objection to Schönbach’s comments Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted on Saturday, “Recent statements by Germany about the impossibility of transferring defence weapons to Ukraine, in particular due to permission to third parties, the futility of returning Crimea, hesitations to disconnect Russia from SWIFT, do not correspond to the level of our relations and the current security situation.”

Kuleba added further that such comments would encourage Russia. In two more tweets he added that “the unity of the West with Russia is more important than ever” today to and to “achieve it and deter the Russian Federation, we are all working together. German partners must stop such words and actions to undermine unity and encourage Vladimir Putin to a new attack on Ukraine.”

Ukraine’s government summoned German Ambassador Anka Feldhusen on Saturday and conveyed that Schönbach’s comments were not acceptable.

While Germany distanced itself from Navy Chiefs comments Schönbach admitted his  comments were “rash” and  tendered resignation on Saturday which was later accepted by the German Defence Ministry in Berlin.


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