Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba on Saturday denounced Germany for refusing to supply arms to Kiev, amid fears of a Russian invasion from Berlin to “undermine unity” and stop “encouraging Vladimir Putin”. requested.
In a separate development, Germany’s naval chief, K-Achim Schönbach, announced his resignation late on Saturday after Ukraine summoned the German ambassador to Ukraine, protesting the remarks made by the vice-admiral on the crisis.
Kiev’s foreign ministry emphasized the “clear unacceptability” of comments by Schönbach, who said the idea that Russia wanted to invade Ukraine was “nonsense”, and that Putin probably deserved respect.
With tens of thousands of Russian troops gathering at Ukraine’s border, fears are growing that a major conflict could break out in Europe.
Ukraine’s call on Western allies to step up its defense capabilities has seen the United States, Britain and the Baltic states agree to send Kyiv weapons, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles.
Kuleba said on Twitter that Germany’s statements “about the impossibility of supplying defense weapons to Ukraine” do not correspond to the “current security situation”.
The Minister of Ukraine stressed that “today the unity of the West in relation to Russia is more important than ever.
“German partners should stop undermining unity with such words and actions and encourage (Russian President) Vladimir Putin to launch a new attack on Ukraine,” Kuleba said.
He said Ukraine is “grateful” to Germany for the support it has already provided, but its “current statements are disappointing”.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry said in a statement that it wanted to express its “deep disappointment” at the German government’s “failure to provide Ukraine with defense weapons”.
Earlier on Saturday, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said Berlin would send Ukraine to a field hospital, while once again rejected Kiev’s call for arms.
Berlin has already delivered respirators to Ukraine and seriously injured Ukrainian soldiers are being treated in Bundeswehr hospitals, he told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
“Weapons distribution is not going to be helpful at the moment – that is the general consensus within the government,” Lambrecht said.
Moscow insists it has no plans to invade Ukraine, but has set out a series of security demands – including a ban on Ukraine joining NATO – in return for de-escalation.
Germany’s Navy Chief Schönbach meanwhile said that he had submitted his resignation “to avoid any harm to the German Navy and above all to the German Federal Republic”.
He had already made it clear in a tweet earlier on Saturday that his remarks – made at a think-tank meeting in New Delhi on Friday – did not represent the government’s view and were misguided.
A German Defense Ministry official told AFP Schönbach he would step down “with immediate effect”. Earlier, a statement from the ministry made it clear that the Vice-Admiral’s remarks did not reflect Germany’s position.
In a video posted online, Schönbach said Putin “should be respected”.
“It’s easy to give them the respect they deserve, and probably deserve,” he said in the video.
Russian troops are crowded along the Ukrainian border with an arsenal of tanks, combat vehicles, artillery and missiles.
Although Moscow has denied plans to invade, the White House has said it believes an attack could come “any time” now.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)