UK's Prince Charles likens Russia's Putin to Hitler: paper

Wed May 21, 2014 4:45am EDT
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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, has likened Russian President Vladimir Putin to German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler over his stance on Ukraine, according to a British newspaper.

During a royal tour of Canada, the 65-year-old prince told a Jewish woman who fled from Poland during World War Two that "Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler", the Daily Mail said on Wednesday.

Charles's remarks, described by a royal source as "well-intentioned" and not meant to be public, were leading news reports in Britain where the government has been a strong critic of Moscow over its public support for pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Several high-profile figures have made a link between Russian moves against Ukraine, including annexation of Crimea, and German aggression leading to World War Two.

In March, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had to clarify remarks suggesting Putin's justification for his incursion into Crimea to protect ethnic Russians was reminiscent of claims made by Hitler over foreign territories.

"Now if this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the '30s," she said, later explaining she had not meant to make a comparison but said lessons could be learned from history.

Germany's conservative finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble also denied making similar remarks a few weeks later.

Russia dismisses such comparisons and says Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine are under threat from a Kiev government in the sway of militant Ukrainian nationalists.   Continued...

Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, arrive at the airport in Winnipeg, Manitoba, May 20, 2014.  REUTERS/Mark Blinch