…Min­is­ter com­pares Putin’s moves to Hitler’s in 1938

Daily Trust - - WORLD -

Rus­sia’s moves against Ukraine were rem­i­nis­cent of Adolf Hitler’s ag­gres­sion in 1938 that led to the an­nex­a­tion of Ger­manspeak­ing 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 rightleft 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.

He was 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,” Schaeu­ble said.

Putin jus­ti­fied send­ing forces into Crimea by say­ing he wanted to pro­tect eth­nic Rus­sians in Ukraine.

Even though Ger­man lead­ers rarely made com­par­isons with the Nazi era, Schaeu­ble said that it all re­minded him of Hitler’s vows to pro­tect eth­nic Ger­mans in Cze­choslo­vakia.

Merkel, asked at a news con­fer­ence if she be­lieved the an­nex­a­tion of Crimea could be com­pared with Sude­ten­land, said: “I re­gard the case of the an­nex­a­tion of Crimea as a stand­alone case” and a vi­o­la­tion of in­ter­na­tion­al­nal law.

File pho­to­graph of Ger­many’s Fi­nance Min­is­ter Wolf­gang Schaeu­ble.

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