By Denver Nicks
March 5, 2014

Speaking at an event at UCLA on Wednesday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denied she drew a parallel between Russia’s recent actions in Ukraine and Nazi Germany at a fundraiser on Tuesday.

“I’m not making a comparison, certainly,” Clinton said. “But I am recommending that we perhaps can learn from this tactic that has been used before.” She also called Putin “a tough guy with a thin skin.”

Clinton’s comments on Tuesday raised eyebrows after a Long Beach Press-Telegram reporter at the $1,500-a-plate fundraiser in California wrote that Clinton had spoken of similarities between the Nazi policy of offering protection to ethnic Germans outside Germany in the run-up to World War II and Vladimir Putin’s policy of offering passports to ethnic Russians in Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Crimea region.

“Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the ’30s,” she said on Tuesday. “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.”

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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