Russia’s moves against Ukraine were reminiscent of Adolf Hitler’s aggression in 1938 that led to the annexation of German-speaking regions of Czechoslovakia, Germany’s conservative Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Monday.
But Chancellor Angela Merkel quickly distanced herself from the comments from Schaeuble, a respected elder statesman in her right-left coalition with 16 years of cabinet experience.
Schaeuble’s spokesman later denied that he had compared Russia to Hitler’s Germany, or Third Reich.
“We know all about that from history,” Schaeuble told a group of 50 students, referring to the arguments that Russian president Vladimir Putin has used to annex Crimea.
“Those are the methods that Hitler used to take over the Sudetenland,” he said.
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