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Russia criticizes Prince Charles over reported Hitler comment

By Michael Pearson, CNN
updated 7:05 AM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Russia criticizes British royal family over Prince Charles controversy
  • Charles reportedly compared Vladimir Putin to Hitler
  • A Russian official says the comments reflect poorly on future monarch

(CNN) -- Russia hit back at Prince Charles after reports emerged that the heir to the British throne compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler.

According to the Daily Mail newspaper, a woman claims Charles made the offhand comment during a tour Monday of the Canadian Museum of Immigration in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

"I would like to say that if these words were truly spoken, then without a doubt, they do not reflect well on the future British monarch," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Thursday.

The spokesman accused the royal family in general of using the media to smear Russia's involvement in the Ukraine crisis.

"That's why 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," he said.

Charles was talking with a 78-year Polish woman who escaped the Nazi Holocaust by sailing to Canada in 1939 -- just before Germany seized the city of Gdansk, the Daily Mail said.

"I had finished showing him the exhibit and talked with him about my own family background and how I came to Canada," the newspaper quoted Marienne Ferguson as saying.

"The prince then said, 'And now Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler,' " the newspaper quoted her as saying, referring to Russia's disputed annexation of Crimea.

Ferguson said she agreed with Charles.

CNN could not independently confirm the conversation.

Representatives for Charles declined to comment.

Also, Russia's deputy ambassador to the United Kingdom is meeting a senior UK Foreign Office official Thursday in London amid the controversy over the reported comments.

The Russian Embassy requested the meeting Wednesday.

CNN's Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.

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