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Hillary Rodham Clinton reportedly compared Russian President Vladimir Putin’s incursion into Ukraine to the behavior of Adolf Hitler.
Clinton, the former secretary of state and a potential presidential candidate in 2016, made the remarks at a private fundraiser Tuesday night in Long Beach, Calif., according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram newspaper.
“Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the ’30s,” she said at an event for the Boys & Girls Clubs, according to the newspaper.
“The ethnic Germans, the Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, Hitler kept saying they’re not being treated right, I must go and protect my people. And that’s what’s gotten everybody so nervous.”
Putin has justified the Russian incursion into the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea by saying that ethnic Russians there need to be protected from attacks. Secretary of State John Kerry and other Western leaders have said that claim is false.
An attendee at the fundraiser, Harry Saltzgaver, a newspaper executive, told Buzzfeed that Clinton clarified that “while that makes people nervous, there is no indication that Putin is as irrational as the instigator of World War II.”
Clinton said that Putin has been giving Russian passports to anyone with Russian connections, the Press-Telegram reported.
Putin “believes his mission is to restore Russian greatness,” Clinton said, according to the report. “When he looks at Ukraine, he sees a place that he believes is by its very nature part of Mother Russia.”