Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Russia’s plan to issue passports in Ukraine’s Crimean region is like the “population transfers” carried out by Adolf Hitler in the late 1930s, Ruby Cramer of Buzzfeed reports.
Last week, the lower house of the Kremlin’s legislature passed a bill that would allow “Russian-speaking citizens of the former USSR, irrespective of nationality, who are in danger of a real threat of ethno-cultural, political, or professional discrimination” to acquire Russian citizenship.
“Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the 30s,” Clinton is quoted as saying at a fund-raiser in Los Angeles yesterday, according to a report by Karen Robes Meeks of The Long Beach Press Telegram. “All the Germans that were … the ethnic Germans, the Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, Hitler kept saying they’re not being treated right. I must go and protect my people and that’s what’s gotten everybody so nervous.”
The strategic Black Sea peninsula of Crimea comprises about 60% ethnic Russians. Russian soldiers have been commandeering control of its airports, its highways, its ports, its television stations, and its regional government.
Several Ukrainian army bases are surrounded by Russian troops and local mercenaries for days.
“When [Putin] looks at Ukraine, he sees a place that he believes is by its very nature part of Mother Russia,” Clinton reportedly said.
On Tuesday, Putin told reporters that Russia is not going to try to annex Crimea, but he may not have to. The region’s new pro-Kremlin premier recently moved up a referendum for greater autonomy for the region to March 30.
Putin, who denied that there are Russian forces in Crimea, described any Kremlin actions is part of a “humanitarian mission” to protect ethnic Russians.
On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed that the troops controlling the peninsula are “self-defence forces created by the inhabitants of Crimea, we have no authority over them.”
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