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World German navy chief resigns over Ukraine comments

08:26  23 january  2022
08:26  23 january  2022 Source:   bbc.com

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PRODUCTION - 22 July 2021, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Rostock: Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach, Inspector of the German Navy, at Naval Command. Schönbach took over the post from Vice Admiral Krause in March 2021. (to dpa: New naval inspector: © dpa-Zentralbild PRODUCTION - 22 July 2021, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Rostock: Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach, Inspector of the German Navy, at Naval Command. Schönbach took over the post from Vice Admiral Krause in March 2021. (to dpa: New naval inspector: "We have to get out of the comfort zone") Photo: Bernd Wüstneck/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa (Photo by Bernd Wüstneck/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The head of the German navy has resigned over controversial comments he made over Ukraine.

Kay-Achim Schönbach said the idea that Russia wanted to invade Ukraine was nonsense. He added that all President Putin wanted was respect.

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A number of countries have supplied weapons to Ukraine, including the US and UK. But Germany has refused Ukraine's request for ammunition.

Russia has denied claims that it is intending to invade Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia January 20, 2022. Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Pool via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. © Thomson Reuters Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia January 20, 2022. Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Pool via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

But President Vladimir Putin has issued demands to the West which he says concern Russia's security, including that Ukraine be stopped from joining the military defence alliance Nato.

He also wants Nato to abandon military exercises and stop sending weapons to eastern Europe, seeing this as a direct threat to Russia's security.

EXPLAINER: What are US military options to help Ukraine?

  EXPLAINER: What are US military options to help Ukraine? WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is not planning to answer a further Russian invasion of Ukraine by sending combat troops. But he could pursue a range of less dramatic yet still risky military options, including supporting a post-invasion Ukrainian resistance. The rationale for not directly joining a Russia-Ukraine war is simple. The United States has no treaty obligation to Ukraine, and war with Russia would be an enormous gamble, given its potential for expanding in Europe, destabilizing the region, and escalating to the frightening point of risking a nuclear exchange. Doing too little has its risks, too.

Meanwhile the UK has accused Mr Putin of plotting to install a pro-Moscow figure to lead Ukraine's government.

Tensions over Ukraine

  • EXPLAINED: Is Russia preparing to invade Ukraine?
  • FROM KYIV: Ukrainians wait as Russia faces off with the West
  • FROM BRUSSELS: EU 'closest to war' in decades over Russia-Ukraine crisis
  • UK SUPPORT: UK says it is sending weapons to defend Ukraine

Mr Schönbach said on Saturday that he had resigned from his role "with immediate effect" in order to "avert further damage".

He made the comments while speaking at a think-tank discussion in India on Friday and the video was later published to social media.

In the video, Mr Schönbach said Putin needed to be treated as an equal by the west.

"It is easy to give him the respect he really demands - and also probably deserves," he said.

He added that the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014, "is gone and will never come back".

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Ukraine's foreign ministry had described Mr Schönbach's comments as "categorically unacceptable".

  • Long journey home to my rebel-run city Donetsk
  • Is Russia preparing to invade Ukraine?

The head of Nato has warned there is a real risk of a fresh conflict in Europe after an estimated 100,000 Russian troops amassed on the border.

Some 90 tonnes of US "lethal aid" has arrived in Ukraine, amid tensions over Russia's troop build-up on the border. The UK announced earlier this week that it was sending defence weapons and extra troops for training. Several other Nato members are sending military material or deploying forces.

Germany has refused to send weapons instead offering to send Ukraine a field hospital. It has reportedly blocked attempts by Estonia to send Ukraine German-origin weapons, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht told Welt am Sonntag newspaper that Berlin had already delivered respirators to Ukraine and severely injured Ukrainian soldiers are being treated in German military hospitals.

Ukraine has denounced Germany's response, accusing Berlin of undermining Western unity by refusing to transfer weapons to Ukraine or allowing some of its allies to do so.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a series of posts on Twitter that Germany's stance encouraged Mr Putin to launch an attack.

Biden warns of rare personal sanctions on Putin .
By Jeff Mason, Humeyra Pamuk and Dmitry AntonovWASHINGTON/MOSCOW, Jan 25 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he would consider personal sanctions on President Vladimir Putin if Russia invades Ukraine, as Western leaders stepped up military preparations and made plans to shield Europe from a potential energy supply shock.Following multiple rounds of U.S.-Russia talks over Ukraine that failed to reach a breakthrough, Biden, who has long warned Moscow of economic consequences, upped the ante on Tuesday by saying Putin could personally face sanctions. Direct U.S.

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