A video that emerged on Twitter shows the marine inspector at an event in India. There Schönbach said: “The Crimean peninsula is gone, it will not come back.” That Russia wanted to incorporate parts of Ukraine was “nonsense”. According to Schönbach, what Putin really wants is “respect at eye level”. It is easy to “pay him” this, which “he yes and probably even deserves”.
A change of course followed later. He wrote meekly: “Inadvertently, misjudged in the situation, I shouldn’t have done it like that. There’s nothing to interpret, that was a clear mistake.” Too late. The diplomatic crisis was already in place. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry had summoned the German Ambassador to Ukraine, Anka Feldhusen (55). Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba (40) criticized the Vice Admiral’s statements. The Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, has meanwhile described the resignation of the German Navy chief Kay-Achim Schönbach because of controversial statements about the Ukraine conflict as insufficient. “We welcome the fact that Mr. Schönbach has offered his resignation,” Melnyk told the “Welt” on Saturday evening. However, the scandal left “a shambles” and “massively questioned” Germany’s international credibility and reliability, reports “Bild”.
Schönbach’s statements had “put the entire Ukrainian public in deep shock”. Melnyk did not shy away from a comparison with the Nazi era: “With this condescending attitude, the Ukrainians unconsciously felt reminded of the horrors of the Nazi occupation, when the Ukrainians were treated as subhuman,” he said.