German Navy chief: “Putin deserves respect” – Domestic politics

Russia’s ruler Vladimir Putin (69) is threatening Ukraine and deploying troops everywhere on the border. NATO boss Jens Stoltenberg sees a “real danger” of war, security expert Wolfgang Ischinger (75) speaks of a real threat.

And the German Navy chief? Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach (56) plays down the Russian saber-rattling at an event in Delhi (India) – Putin just wants respect!

Because he spoke up for the Russian ruler, there were harsh consequences: Schönbach had to report to Germany’s top soldier: the Inspector General of the German Armed Forces, Eberhard Zorn (61).

► A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense on Saturday to BILD: “The statements in terms of content and choice of words in no way correspond to the position of the Federal Ministry of Defense.”

Shock statements in Delhi

“Crimea is gone and will never come back,” the navy inspector said in a two-minute video that surfaced on Twitter. A shock statement – because: Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014, in violation of international law. Politicians worldwide do not recognize the peninsula as Russian – but as Ukrainian.

It is dramatic that the German Navy chief is undermining this attitude. It almost sounds like a carte blanche for Putin – and classic appeasement (appeasement policy).

But the statements go even further: that Russia wants to incorporate parts of Ukraine is “nonsense”. “Probably” the Kremlin regime wants to exert some pressure because Putin knows he can do it. This could split the EU. According to Schönbach, what Putin really wants is “respect at eye level”.

The Navy chief continued: “And – my God – paying respect to someone costs almost nothing, costs nothing”. If you asked him, “but I’m not asked,” his answer was: “It’s easy for him (Putin) to give the respect he wants – yes, and probably even deserves.”

And then the chief of the navy delivered Putin a means of pressure on a silver platter: “We – India and Germany – need Russia against China,” he said. That’s why his calculation is: pay respect to Putin, gain security. Because: “This is easy and simple work. And it probably keeps Russia away from China.”

And then the Navy chief positioned himself even further against the current stance of the federal government: The current sanctions against Russia went “in the wrong direction”, one had to cooperate with Russia because it was a Christian country.

US sends military aid to Ukraine

Amid severe tensions, the US has sent fresh military aid to Ukraine. On the night of Saturday, a US cargo plane landed at an airport in the capital Kiev, as the US embassy there announced in the short message service Twitter. There were 90 tons of cargo on board, including ammunition “for front-line defense”. This support was ordered by US President Joe Biden (79).

The embassy released images showing the plane being unloaded. It was the first of several deliveries, it said. This “demonstrates the strong commitment of the United States to Ukraine’s sovereign right to self-defense.”

Foto: Twitter/USEmbassyKyiv

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The first US shipment of military aid reached Ukraine on Saturday nightFoto: Twitter/USEmbassyKyiv

Russia has repeatedly called for Ukraine not to continue to build up arms because this would fuel military tensions and could encourage the country to attack the Donbass in the east of the former Soviet republic in order to take back the breakaway parts of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his US colleague Antony Blinken only met on Friday for crisis talks in Geneva.

Die Krim am 18. Januar: Russische Panzer rollen über eine AutobahnPhoto: AZ / AP

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Crimea, January 18: Russian tanks roll down a highwayPhoto: AZ / AP

Most recently, the Kremlin sharply criticized the delivery of light anti-tank weapons from Great Britain to Ukraine. The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania now also want to send US-made anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (56, SPD) is sticking to the German “No”. There is a “consensus in the federal government” that arms deliveries are “currently not helpful” given the escalating situation, she told the “Welt am Sonntag”. The federal government must do everything to de-escalate the crisis. At the same time, Lambrecht announced the delivery of a complete field hospital to the Ukraine.

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