Ukrainian flag flying at the observation deck at Lviv High Castle 071221 CREDIT ZUMA PRESS INC, ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
Germany

Germany navy chief resigns after Ukraine-Russia comments

Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schoenbach said Ukraine would not regain the Crimean Peninsula and Vladimir Putin deserved "respect".

Ukrainian flag flying at the observation deck at Lviv High Castle 071221 CREDIT ZUMA PRESS INC, ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

The head of the German navy has resigned after coming under fire at home and abroad for comments he made on about Ukraine and Russia.

Speaking at an event in India on Friday, Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schoenbach said Ukraine would not regain the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.

He also said it was important to have Russia on the same side against China, and suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin deserved "respect".

His comments, captured on video, caused anger in Ukraine, which summoned the German ambassador to complain.

They also sparked consternation and a swift rebuke back in Berlin.

By late Saturday, Mr Schoenbach had asked for his dismissal quit, saying he wanted to prevent further damage resulting to Germany and its military, from his "ill-considered" comments.

Watch: Which UK anti-tank missile is Ukraine getting as Russia tension rises?

In a statement, the German navy said Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht had accepted Mr 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 said it will not supply Ukraine with lethal weapons, arguing that it does not want to inflame tensions further.

On 17 January, the UK sent a number of light anti-armour defensive weapons to Ukraine.

The UK have has also accused President Vladimir Putin of plotting to install a pro-Moscow leader as head of the government in Ukraine, but the Kremlin is calling on the UK's Foreign Office to "stop spreading nonsense".

There are growing concerns Russia could attack Kyiv at any point after it sent about 100,000 troops to the border.