German Navy chief Kay-Achim Schönbach is resigning after comments about Putin and a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.

This was reported by the magazine "Der Spiegel".

Business Insider had previously written that Schönbach had publicly apologized and resigned his position.

The scandal surrounding the statements ensured on Saturday that the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry summoned the German Ambassador to Ukraine, Anka Feldhusen.

It is about the "unacceptability of the statements made by the Commander-in-Chief of the German Navy, Kay-Achim Schönbach," it said in a letter from the ministry on Saturday.

"Crimea is gone"

During a visit to India, Schönbach said about the conflict between Russia and Ukraine: "The Crimean peninsula is gone, it will not come back." In 2014, Russia annexed the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea. Since then, rebels supported by Moscow have been fighting the pro-Western government in Kiev in the east of the country. With a massive Russian troop deployment near Ukraine, there are fears in the West that the Kremlin may be planning an invasion of the neighboring country. Schönbach said that Russia wants to appropriate Ukrainian territory is "nonsense".

He sees the greater threat in China.

"Even we, India, Germany, need Russia because we need Russia against China," said Schönbach.

He is a devout Catholic and Russia is a Christian country - "although Putin is an atheist, it doesn't matter.

Having this big country on our side as a bilateral partner, even if it is not a democracy, (...) may keep Russia away from China.”

Department of Defense distanced itself

During an appearance in India, Vice Admiral and Chief of the German Navy Schönbach expressed his understanding for Russian President Vladimir Putin. “What he really wants is respect on an equal footing. And - my God - showing respect to someone costs next to nothing, costs nothing. So you would ask me: It's easy to give him the respect he demands – and probably deserves.”

The Ministry of Defense in Berlin distanced itself from Schönbach's statements on Saturday. "In terms of content and choice of words, the statements in no way correspond to the position of the Federal Ministry of Defense," said a spokesman at the request of the dpa. The vice admiral gets the opportunity to make a statement to the inspector general. Schönbach himself reported on Saturday via his official Twitter account: He described his statement as a "clear mistake" and as "imprudent, misjudged the situation".

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is currently tense, which is also having a negative impact on Kiev's relationship with Berlin.

Ukraine again complained that Germany did not want to supply defense weapons to the country: "We express our deep disappointment at the position of the German government about not granting defense weapons to Ukraine."

In the course of efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine conflict, the so-called Normandy format is apparently being revived.

According to an insider, political advisers from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany want to hold talks about eastern Ukraine in Paris at the end of January.

As reported by Russian government circles on Saturday, the consultations are to take place on January 25th.

An advisor to the Ukrainian chief negotiator Andriy Yermak confirmed that a meeting in Paris was planned.

However, a provisional date is planned for January 26th.

The Normandy format includes Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine.

Mediated by the governments in Berlin and Paris, Russia and Ukraine agreed on the Minsk Agreement in 2015, which is intended to bring peace to eastern Ukraine.

There the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists face each other.

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