Russia criticized Britain’s Prince Charles on Thursday over reports that he likened President Vladimir Putin to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler for annexing part of Ukraine.
“If these words were truly spoken, then without doubt, they do not reflect well on the future British monarch,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman told a news conference.
“We view the use of the Western press by members of the British royal family to spread the propaganda campaign against Russia on a pressing issue - that is, the situation in Ukraine - as unacceptable, outrageous and low.”
During a tour of Canada, the 65-year-old prince told a Jewish woman who fled from Poland during World War Two that “Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler”, according to a report in the Daily Mail newspaper.
Charles’s remarks, described by a royal source as “well-intentioned” and not meant to be public, stunned political leaders and diplomats in Britain because the royal family does not traditionally voice political views in public.
Queen Elizabeth, Charles’s mother, has never aired any such emotive sentiments in public. A spokeswoman for Charles’s office said they did not comment on his private conversations.
The Soviet Union lost more than 20 million people in World War Two and the victory over Nazi Germany is celebrated across Russia as a national triumph.
A senior Russian diplomat from its London embassy is expected to meet a senior officer from Britain’s foreign office on Thursday, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, gave no further details about the meeting or whether Russia had yet complained about the reported remarks.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who has scolded the Kremlin for annexing Crimea and supporting pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, declined to comment on Charles’s reported remarks.
The Russian embassy in London could not be reached for immediate comment.