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Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach, head of Germany's navy, has stepped down from his post after making controversial statements regarding the delicate security situation on the border between Russia and Ukraine.

Among other things, Schönbach commented that Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, "deserved respect" and that the Ukraine would never recover the annexed Crimea.

Schönbach said, "I have asked Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht to relieve me from my duties with immediate effect. The minister has accepted my request."