Hillary Clinton likened aspects of Russia’s involvement in Crimean Ukraine to Nazi Germany during a fundraising event, according to two people present.
Buzzfeed, citing two sources, reported that the former secretary of State said at a fundraiser on Tuesday that Russia’s move to start issuing passports in Crimean Ukraine was akin to “population transfers” that happened in Nazi Germany during World War II.
“Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the 30s,” Clinton 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. I must go and protect my people and that’s what’s gotten everybody so nervous.”
“She compared issuing Russian passports to Ukrainians with ties to Russia with early actions by Nazi Germany before Hitler began invading neighboring countries,” Harry Saltzgaver, editor of a chain of newspapers in Long Beach, said.
Saltzgaver and another attendee who asked not to be named said Clinton made the comparison between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hitler, according to Buzzfeed.
“She talked about how what Putin is doing now is similar to what Hitler did, essentially providing these ethnic Russians in the Crimea region access back to Russia,” the second attendee told Buzzfeed.
Saltzgaver stressed though that Clinton was not making a direct comparison of Putin to Hitler.
“She said, however, that while that makes people nervous, there is no indication that Putin is as irrational as the instigator of World War II,” Saltzgaver added.
Clinton made the comments at a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club hosted by the law firm Keesal, Young & Logan.
This post was updated.