Russia demands ‘official explanation’ for Prince Charles’s remarks

Russia has asked for an “official explanation” from Britain after Prince Charles reportedly compared the recent actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine to those of Adolf Hitler.

Prince Charles’s comparison of Russian President Vladimir Putin with Adolf Hitler triggered a diplomatic row on Thursday when Moscow scolded the heir to the British throne for what it said was an outrageous attempt to sully Russia’s reputation over Ukraine.

British media reports said several witnesses heard the prince make the comment in Canada on May 19 to a woman who fled the Nazis and lost family members in the Holocaust. Media reported that Charles, heir to the British throne, told the woman that “Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler.”

Charles’s remarks, described by a royal source as “well-intentioned” and not meant to be made public, caused a stir in Britain because the royal family is not expected to voice political views in public.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who has scolded the Kremlin for annexing Crimea and supporting pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, declined to comment on Charles’s reported remarks.

When asked whether it was appropriate to compare Putin with Hitler given that one of Putin’s brothers had died in Leningrad, Cameron said: “I am not going to comment someone’s private conversation, least of all Prince Charles.”

A spokeswoman for Charles’s office said they did not comment on his private conversations.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said that if Charles was accurately quoted, his remarks were “unacceptable, outrageous, and low.”

Charles is due to meet with Putin during D-Day commemorations in France on June 6.