Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Charles 'Hitler' Attack on Putin Backed; CLEGG DEFENDS PRINCE'S RIGHT TO SPEAK ON SENSITIVE ISSUES 'Royals Don't Have to Take Vow of Silence'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Charles 'Hitler' Attack on Putin Backed; CLEGG DEFENDS PRINCE'S RIGHT TO SPEAK ON SENSITIVE ISSUES 'Royals Don't Have to Take Vow of Silence'

Article excerpt

Byline: Nicholas Cecil, Robert Jobson and Will Stewart in Moscow

PRINCE Charles today won Government backing over his right to speak on sensitive issues, despite risking a diplomatic storm by apparently comparing Vladimir Putin to Hitler. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg defended the prince over the comment, which could hit already tense Anglo-Russian relations.

The heir to the throne is said to have likened the Russian president to the Nazi leader in a private conversation during a visit to Canada. Condemning Russia's actions over Ukraine, Continued on Page 5 Continued from Page 1 Charles is reported as telling a Jewish woman who lost relatives in the Nazi Holocaust: "And now Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler."

Mr Clegg declined to comment on the specific allegation but supported the Prince of Wales giving his views on British and global controversies.

"I certainly support his right to speak freely, particularly in conversations he thinks are private," he told the BBC.

"I have never been of this view that if you are a member of the Royal Family somehow you have to enter into some Trappist vow of silence."

Asked if he agreed there were parallels to be drawn between Nazi Germany and Russia's annexation of Crimea plus intervention in eastern Ukraine, the Liberal Democrat leader said: "I'm not going to start comparing one period of European history to another.

"All I'd say is right now I think the behaviour of Putin is not only menacing to Ukraine but it is very destabilising for Europe more generally." Downing Street and the Foreign Office declined to comment, although No10 highlighted that the Prince's conversation had been private. A Clarence House spokesman said: "We would like to stress the Prince of Wales would not seek to make a public political statement during a private conversation." Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who said previously he admired Mr Putin for his handling of the Syrian crisis, disagreed with the Prince's reported comment. …

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