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German military official who said it’s ‘easy’ to give Putin the respect he probably ‘deserves’ resigns

Associated Press/Eugene Hoshiko

Germany’s navy chief resigned on Saturday after saying Crimea would “never come back” to Ukraine and suggesting Russian President Vladimir Putin deserves more respect. 

Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach said his remarks reflected his personal opinion “at that moment” and that “they correspond in no way with the official position of the ministry of defense,” according to CNN.

He added that the comments, which reflect a stance counter to the positions of the German government, the European Union and NATO, were “increasingly weighing on my office,” which prompted his resignation. 

On Saturday, Schönbach asked German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht to relieve him of his duties “effective immediately,” CNN reported 

Schönbach had also been the subject of controversy for his remarks about Putin.

“Is Russia really interested in … a small, tiny strip of Ukraine’s soil? No, this is nonsense,” Schönbach said at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, according to CNN.

“What he really wants is respect. And my God, giving someone respect is low cost, even no cost … so if I was asked, it is easy to even give him the respect he really demands, and probably also deserves,” he added of Putin.

“Russia is an old country. Russia is an important country. Even we, India, Germany, we need Russia, because we need Russia against China,” he also said.

His comments came as tensions have escalated between Ukraine and Russia, which has amassed more than 100,000 troops along the Ukrainian border. While Moscow denies any plans of invasion, the U.S. and its allies have for weeks warned of a possible military attack and threatened stiff sanctions if troops cross the border. 

Tags Germany Russia Ukraine Vladimir Putin

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