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Ukraine’s ambassador to Berlin compared the comments of a disgraced German admiral dismissing the threat of a Russian invasion to the attitudes of the Nazi era on Saturday.

Andrij Melnyk, the Ukrainian ambassador to Berlin, accused Germany of “arrogance and megalomania”.

“With this condescending attitude, the Ukrainians felt unconsciously reminded of the horrors of the Nazi occupation, when the Ukrainians were treated as subhuman,” he said.

Vice-Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach resigned as head of the German navy on Saturday after footage emerged of comments in which he described fears of a Russian invasion as “nonsense” and called for Vladimir Putin to be given “respect”.

But Mr Melnyk said Adm Schönbach’s resignation was “not enough” and called on Germany to change its position on the conflict.

The admiral’s comments had “sent the entire Ukrainian public into deep shock,” he told Welt am Sonntag newspaper. 

“This called into question Germany’s international credibility and reliability – and not only from the Ukrainian point of view.”

Adm Schönbach told a meeting at an Indian think-tank in Delhi that Crimea was “lost to Ukraine” and dismissed fears of a new invasion.

German Navy Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schoenbach makes comments on Ukraine-Russia during a talk on Vice-Adm Shcoenbach addressing the think tank in Delhi Credit: Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses /via REUTERS

He said Mr Putin should be given “the respect he demands — and probably deserves” and called for a Western alliance with Russia against China.

The German defence ministry swiftly condemned the comments and ordered Adm Schönbach to report to the chief of staff of the armed forces and explain himself.

But it was not enough to quell Ukrainian fury at what Mr Melnyk described as the “German arrogance and megalomania, with which one of the highest-ranking heads of the Bundeswehr dreams of a holy alliance with the war criminal Putin and a German-Russian modern crusade against China”.

The row comes amid anger in Kyiv at Germany’s refusal to allow weapons to be exported to Ukraine.

“Ukraine suffered immense losses and destruction in the Second World War. Now that we are suffering and threatened again, the only appropriate policy is to allow us to defend ourselves,” Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, said in a separate interview on Saturday.

“Germany has made mistakes towards Ukraine in the past. It is its responsibility to make the right decisions today.”

Berlin is refusing to allow weapons exports under a long-standing policy of not sending arms to conflict zones.

It is also currently blocking Estonia from supplying Ukraine with howitzers under  a veto that was a condition of their original export from Germany.

“We would be even more disappointed if Germany not only refused to supply us with defensive arms but also prevented others from doing so,” said Mr Kuleba. 

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