German Navy Chief Resigns: The German Navy Chief vice admiral Kay-Achim Schoenbach Saturday after his comments on Ukraine and Russia during India visit sparked controversy back in German as Ukraine strongly protested his comments that Ukraine was perhaps never going to get back Crimea peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014 and Russian President Vladimir Putin was seeking and deserved respect. He said both Germany and India needed Russia against China.
Speaking in India on Friday, German Navy Chief had said that it was important to have Russia on the same side against China as the communist country funds killers and criminals and violates rules based international order. He also suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin deserved respect.
His comments at a seminar organized by India’s Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) in New Delhi caused anger in Ukraine, which summoned the German ambassador to complain.
The comments made by the German Navy Chief also attracted strong response back home as German government distanced itself saying that the choice of words did not reflect the official position of the government.
By late Saturday, Schoenbach had asked for his dismissal, saying he wanted to prevent further damage resulting to German Navy, ministry of the defence and the Federal Republic of Germany from his ill-considered statements.
“I have asked Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht to relieve me from my duties with immediate effect,” Vice Adm Schoenbach said in a statement according to news agency Reuters. “The minister has accepted my request,” he added.
Vice Adm Schoenbach also apologized for his comments, the news agency said.
“My rash remarks in India… are increasingly putting a strain on my office… I consider this step (the resignation) necessary to avert further damage to the German navy, the German forces, and, in particular, the Federal Republic of Germany,” he was quoted as saying by the news agency.
In a statement, the German navy said Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht had accepted Schoenbach’s resignation and appointed his deputy as interim naval chief.
The German government has insisted that it stands united with its NATO allies on the issue of Russia’s military threat to Ukraine, warning that Moscow will pay a high price if it makes any military moves against its neighbour.
But unlike many other NATO countries, Berlin says it won’t supply Ukraine with lethal weapons, arguing that it doesn’t want to inflame tensions further.