Germany’s navy chief, vice-admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach , said on Friday that Crimea “will never come back”, and that what Putin “really wants is respect…and it is easy to give him the respect he really demands – and probably deserves.”
The navy chief slammed China, saying that China is “not that nice country we probably thought” and added that that “Russia is an old country, Russia is an important country. Even we India, Germany, need Russia. We need Russia against China…” This, he said, is “easy” and “keeps Russia away from China” because China needs resources of Russia and they [Russia] are willing to give them because the sanctions sometimes do go the “wrong way”.
Just one day later, on Saturday evening as pressure grew, Schonbach resigned from his post.
“I have asked Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht to relieve me from my duties with immediate effect,” Schoenbach said in a statement.
“The minister has accepted my request,” he added.
Speaking at an event organized by the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses on Friday, the vice-admiral shocked audience when he dismissed as “nonsense” the notion that Russia was “interested in having a small and tiny strip of Ukraine soil and integrating it into their country.”
“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.”
Schönbach went on to claim that what President Putin really wanted was the West to “respect” Russia, adding “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.“
The local German media of course went crazy demanding the Chief step down.
The now former Navy Chief took to Twitter writing, “My defense policy remarks during a talk session at a think tank in India reflected my personal opinion in that moment. They in no way reflect the official position of the defense ministry.”
Speaking the truth can get you in a lot of hot water these days.