A former Polish war refugee has said that Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, likened President Vladimir Putin to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler during a royal visit to Canada, British news reports said.
Prince Charles purportedly made the comment earlier this week while being shown around the Canadian immigration museum in Nova Scotia by museum volunteer Marienne Ferguson, who lost relatives during the Holocaust, The Daily Mail reported.
Ferguson, 78, said that they were discussing Nazi Germany's takeover of countries when Prince Charles said something to the effect of “it's not unlike … what Putin is doing,” the BBC reported Wednesday.
"I must say that I agree with him and am sure a lot of people do," Ferguson said, before describing the conversation as "very heartfelt and honest," The Daily Mail reported.
Prince Charles' comments can be seen as particularly unguarded, given that members of the royal family traditionally remain politically neutral. However, he has previously been criticized in domestic political circles over reports that he frequently communicates with British ministers on issues he considers to be of particular importance.
The prince is due to meet Putin for D-Day anniversary celebrations in France next month, the BBC reported.
A spokesman for Clarence House, the prince's official office, declined to comment on the conversation, which it said was private.
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov also declined to comment.
In March, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also compared Putin's attempts to justify Russia's presence in Crimea to the rhetoric employed by Hitler in the 1930s.
She later said that she had not intended to make a comparison, but said that lessons could be learned from history, Reuters reported.
Crimea was annexed in March by Russia, whose troops were dispatched to the Black Sea peninsula, ostensibly to protect the rights of Russian-speakers living in the region.