German naval chief, Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schonbach has resigned over comments on Ukraine and Russia he made during his visit to India.
His resignation on late Saturday night was accepted by Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht.
Lambrecht has appointed his deputy as interim naval chief.
During his interaction on January 21 at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, a military think tank in Delhi, Schonbach had said the idea that Moscow wanted to invade Kiev was “nonsense”, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin deserved respect.
“Does Russia really want a small and 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 splits EU opinion. What he really wants is respect.”
Speaking about Putin, the German naval chief had also said: “He wants high-level respect and my God giving some respect is low cost, even no cost. If I was asked, it is easy to give him the respect he really demands and probably also deserves. Russia is an old country, Russia is an important country. Even we India, Germany, need Russia. We need Russia against Chinaa”
Talking about Ukraine’s possible admission into NATO, Schonbach had said: “Ukraine of course cannot meet the requirements because it’s occupied in the Donbas region by the Russian Army or by what they call as militias.”
He also said that the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, was gone and would not come back to Ukraine.
His comments, captured on video, caused outrage in Ukraine and a ripple effect in Berlin after which he was asked to step down.