BERLIN, Germany: Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schoenbach, head of the German Navy, resigned due to comments he made on Ukraine and Russia.
Speaking at an event in India, Kay-Achim Schoenbach said Ukraine would not regain the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014, and it was important to have Russia on the same side against China, while suggesting Russian President Vladimir Putin deserved "respect."
Captured on video, his comments caused anger in Ukraine, which summoned the German ambassador to complain, and caused a swift rebuke in Berlin.
Due to the uproar, Schoenbach offered his resignation, stating he wanted to prevent further damage to Germany and its military from his "ill-considered statements."
The German Navy said Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht had accepted Schoenbach's resignation and appointed his deputy as interim naval chief.
The German government stressed that it stands united with its NATO allies on Russia's military threat to its neighbor, warning that Moscow will pay a high price if it takes military action against Ukraine.
However, Berlin said it will not supply weapons to Ukraine, and insisted it does not want to further inflame tensions.