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Hillary Clinton Calls Putin 'A Tough Guy With Thin Skin'

Image: Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the University of Miami at Bank United Center on February 26, 2014 in Miami, FloridaLarry Marano / Getty Images file

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday called Russian President Vladimir Putin a "tough guy with a thin skin" and said he is "squandering the potential" of Russia with his aggressive posture in Ukraine.

"I know we are dealing with a tough guy with a thin skin," she said during a speech at UCLA, citing her experiences with Putin during her time at the State Department.

"I know that his political vision is of a greater Russia," she added. "I said when I was still secretary that his goal is to re-Sovietize Russia’s periphery, but in the process he is squandering the potential of such a great nation, the nation of Russia, and threatening instability and even the peace of Europe."

On Tuesday, Clinton reportedly described similarities between Putin’s actions in Ukraine to Adolf Hitler’s decisions in the run up to World War II.

"Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the 30s," she said, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram. "All the Germans that were ... 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."

On Wednesday, Clinton said she isn't "making a comparison" between Putin and Hitler but that she believes the United States should keep the "historic perspective" in mind.

"What I said yesterday was that the claims by President Putin and other Russians that they had to go into Crimea and maybe further into eastern Ukraine because they had to protect the Russian minorities -- that is reminiscent of claims that were made in the 1930s when Germany under the Nazis kept talking about how they had to protect German minorities in Poland and Czechoslovakia and elsewhere throughout Europe."

"I just want everybody to have a little historic perspective," she said. "I am not making a comparison, certainly, but I am recommending that we perhaps can learn from this tactic that has been used before."

During her remarks, Clinton showed support for the White House's statements on the Ukraine issue.

"As President Obama has said, the Russian intervention in Crimea violates international law and it is therefore of deep concern to the United States and our allies,"

"I support the administration’s call for Russia to respect its obligations and to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine."

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