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German navy chief resigns after controversial Russia comments

Germany’s navy chief resigned Saturday after making controversial comments about Russia that sparked a diplomatic row between Berlin and Kyiv.

The Defense Ministry informed parliament’s defense committee that Vice Admiral Kai-Achim Schoenbach’s resignation was accepted, German news agency DPA reported.

The navy chief came under fire for remarks made during a think-tank meeting in India where he said Russia has no intention of invading Ukraine, and President Vladimir Putin deserves respect.

Ukraine summoned the German ambassador and asked Berlin to publicly refute the comments.

During his address at the IDSA think-tank, Schoenbach played down the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine and advocated building good ties with Moscow.

“Is Russia really interested in having a small, tiny strip of Ukraine soil? To integrate into the country? No, this is nonsense,” Schoenbach said, adding that Putin’s aim has been to create divisions among European countries, and he wants Western nations to treat Russia with respect.

"What he really wants is respect. He wants respect on a high level. And my God, giving some respect is low cost, even no cost. So if I was asked, it is easy to give him the respect he really demands and probably also deserves,” he said.


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