Clinton defends comments comparing Putin to Hitler prior to second World War

Potentially incendiary comparison in stark contrast to Obama’s careful response

Potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton: clarified her remarks

Potential presidential candidate Hillary Clinton: clarified her remarks


Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has defended comments comparing the moves of Russian president Vladimir Putin to actions taken by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis prior to the second World War.

Mrs Clinton told a private fundraising dinner on Tuesday that Mr Putin’s move to grant Russian passports to people with Russian connections living in Ukraine was similar to Hitler’s protection of ancestral Germans in Czechoslovakia, Romania and other parts of Europe in the lead up to the war.

The potentially incendiary comparison made at the dinner in Long Beach, California are in stark contrast to the Obama administration’s careful response to the Ukrainian crisis.

Mrs Clinton clarified her remarks in an address at a Los Angeles university on Wednesday saying she was not putting Mr Putin in the same category as Hitler but noting that the claims made by Mr Putin and other Russian leaders were “reminiscent” of claims made by the Nazis in 1930s Germany. “So I just want everybody to have a little bit more perspective,” Mrs Clinton said. “I’m not making a comparison certainly but I am recommending that we can perhaps learn from this tactic that has been used before.”

Republicans interpreted the remarks by the potential 2016 presidential candidate, as her adopting a get-tough stance on Russia to aid her political ambitions.

Mrs Clinton, who fronted the administration’s efforts to “reset” relations with Russia in 2009, backed Mr Obama’s use of diplomacy to resolve Ukraine’s crisis during her remarks at the UCLA.

“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,” she said.

“All parties should avoid steps that could be misinterpreted or lead to miscalculation at this delicate time.”