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Hillary Clinton joins chorus of 'Putin behaving like Hitler' (+video)

Hillary Clinton compared Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions in Crimea to Adolf Hitler's moves in the 1930s. Sen. John McCain and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a similar comparison.

Potential Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Wednesday tried to clarify comments that left the impression she had compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to German dictator Adolf Hitler. Clinton, as President Barack Obama's secretary of state in his first term, was a key player in a U.S. effort to reset relations with Russia, a policy that critics say now appears to be a glaring failure. On Tuesday, Clinton had said Putin's incursion into the Crimea region of southern Ukraine was akin to moves Hitler made in the years before World War Two.

 Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton likened Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions on the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine to those of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.

Clinton made the comments Tuesday during a fundraising luncheon for local Boys and Girls Clubs, the Press-Telegram of Long Beach reported.

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Putin contends ethnic Russians in Ukraine need to be protected. Clinton said that's what Hitler did when he maintained ethnic Germans outside Germany in places such as Czechoslovakia and Romania were not being treated right and needed to be protected.

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"Now if this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the 30s," Clinton said, according to the newspaper. "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."

The newspaper quoted Clinton as saying Putin is a man "who believes his mission is to restore Russian greatness."

"When he looks at Ukraine, he sees a place that he believes is by its very nature part of Mother Russia," she said at the private event.

Clinton isn't alone in making the Putin-Hilter comparison. On Tuesday, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, "What we've seen is the decision of a major power to effectively invade and occupy a neighbouring country based on some kind of extra-territorial claim of jurisdiction over ethnic minorities. We haven't seen this kind of behaviour since the Second World War."

And as the Washington Post noted, several US politicians have made the same comparison, including  Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona and Sen. Marco Rubio (R) of Florida.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) endorsed her comments, saying that he's made a similar point in recent days. "If Putin is allowed to go into a sovereign nation on behalf of Russian-speaking people, this is the same thing that Hitler did prior to World War II. He went into the Sudetenland on behalf of German-speaking people. Went into Czechoslovakia on behalf of German-speaking people. So I’m pleased that Hillary Clinton has commented on it," he said.

Clinton continues her California tour Wednesday with an address at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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