The eyebrow-raising remarks were offered at a private fundraiser in Long Beach on Tuesday.
"Now if this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the '30s," Clinton said, according to the Long Beach Press Telegram. "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."
In an address at UCLA on Wednesday, Clinton reiterated that she was not putting Putin in the category of Hitler, just noting that claims by Putin and other Russian leaders that they needed to go into
"So I just want everybody to have a little bit more perspective," Clinton said. "I'm not making a comparison certainly, but I am recommending that we can perhaps learn from this tactic that has been used before."
The former secretary of State and potential 2016 presidential candidate praised the
"I support the administration's call for Russia to respect its obligations and to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine," Clinton said during the Luskin Lecture for Thought at Royce Hall. "All parties should avoid steps that could be misinterpreted or lead to miscalculation at this delicate time."
Clinton said the former Ukrainian leader
Putin wants to "re-Sovietize" nations on Russia's periphery, she said, and "in the process, he is squandering the potential of such a great nation – the nation of Russia – and threatening the instability and even the peace of Europe."
Clinton’s remarks Wednesday came at a time when Republicans have questioned her toughness with Russian leaders during her tenure at the
During her presidential run in 2008, Clinton took a hard line on Putin, joking during a campaign event that as a former KGB agent, "by definition, he doesn't have a soul."
Explaining her approach to Putin and Russian leader
Among the U.S. goals at that time, she noted, was an arms control agreement, the creation of a pathway through Russia to resupply U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and an effort to get Russia into the World Trade Organization.
"I was very clear-eyed about what I thought we could get done," Clinton said. Noting the good relationship between Medvedev and Obama at that time, Clinton said the U.S. "even got them to support sanctions against Iran in the Security Council — something people predicted we couldn't get done."