LONDON – Russia criticized Prince Charles’ reported comparison of President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler and protested the matter Thursday in a face-to-face meeting with British officials.
Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, reportedly compared Hitler’s 1939 invasion of Poland with Russia’s annexation of Crimea in a private conversation during his trip to Canada earlier this week.
In Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Russia wanted an explanation from Britain about whether Charles expressed that view and whether the wider British government shares it.
“We consider the use of a member of the British royal family by the Western press for waging a propaganda campaign against Russia over ... the situation in Ukraine as unacceptable, outrageous and base,” Lukashevich said.
Russian Embassy officials in London met British Foreign Office counterparts Thursday. The embassy said in a statement it sought “official clarifications” of the prince’s “outrageous remarks.”
Afterward, the Foreign Office said diplomat Sian MacLeod had told Russian Deputy Ambassador Alexander Kramarenko that the British government “could not be expected to comment upon reports of private conversations.”
The Foreign Office said British officials also urged Russia not to provoke instability in Ukraine ahead of the presidential election there this weekend.
The controversy started after the Daily Mail newspaper reported Wednesday that Charles had made the comments Monday during a visit to the Museum of Immigration in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Mail said he was talking with museum volunteer Marienne Ferguson, who was a young girl when her family fled Poland before its 1939 invasion by Nazi Germany. Ferguson later confirmed the content of the prince’s comments to the BBC.
Charles is scheduled to join leaders of the World War II Allies, including Putin, at June 6 events in France marking the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
Associated Press reporter Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.