Britain’s Prince Charles has likened Russian President Vladimir Putin’s behavior in eastern Europe to Nazi Germany’s Adolf Hitler during World War II,
According to the Daily Mail, at a recent event in Canada for the war’s veterans and their families, Charles told a woman who lost relatives in the Holocaust that “now Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler.”
Charles made the comment during a visit with his wife Camilla to a volunteer at the Canadian Museum of Immigration in Halifax, Nova Scotia who told him her story of escape to Canada with her family when she was just 13 from the Polish city of Gdansk.
The woman’s parents, sisters and grandmother had managed to obtain permits to leave but other close family did not and perished in the war.
Russia’s provocative annexation of the Crimea this year was the first such act on the continent since the end of World War II. Some have likened the aggressive act to Hitler’s takeovers of Czechoslovakia and Poland during the war.
In March, former US secretary of state and likely 2016 presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton made a similar comparison of Putin to Hitler.
At a private fundraiser in California, Clinton said that Moscow’s rush to provide passports to ethnic Russians in Crimea “sound[ed] familiar, t’s what Hitler did back in the ’30s.”
“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. I must go and protect my people, and that’s what’s gotten everybody so nervous,” Clinton said at the time.
Moscow’s continued conflict with the Ukraine and the fear that it’s next move would involve an invasion of eastern Ukraine has placed it at odds with the West and led to an increase in tensions as well as the imposition of sanctions on some Russian figures and banks.
On Tuesday, after Russia announced that began withdrawing forces from the Ukraine border area in an effort to de-escalate an already tense situation, the US said it has seen no such evidence.
“President Putin said he’s ordered them back to their home bases, which to us means a wholesale withdrawal of all the forces that are arrayed on the Ukrainian border. We’ve not seen that yet,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.
“They are still in the tens of thousands,” Kirby said. “We have not seen any withdrawal activity.” NATO officials have estimated that 40,000 Russian troops are arrayed along the border with Ukraine.
Kirby said small numbers of Russian troops have gone back and forth to forward operating bases near the border.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has said army units were dismantling camps in the border region and preparing to leave. Putin ordered the retreat Monday in a move that appeared to be aimed at easing tensions with the West.
Such withdrawal activity, if confirmed, would ease fears that the Kremlin was positioned to invade eastern Ukraine.
Kirby also announced that the USS Vella Gulf, a cruiser, would enter the Black Sea later this week as part of a series of US military moves designed to reassure European allies of an American commitment to their security amid tensions over Ukraine.