German defense minister likens Putin to Hitler in rhetoric and ambitions

The Russian president has ridiculed claims that he plans a Nazi-style conquest of Europe

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius has claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin, like Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, “will not stop once the war against Ukraine is over.” Meanwhile, Germany continues to arm neo-Nazi units in Ukraine.

“Putin will not stop once the war against Ukraine is over,” Pistorius said in Berlin on Wednesday, at the launch of a book on Britain’s wartime prime minister, Winston Churchill.

Putin “has made that clear,” Pistorius continued. “Just as clearly as Hitler, who also always said that he would not stop.”

Pistorius is not the first Western official to assert that Putin plans to launch an attack on NATO territory. Polish President Andrzej Duda, British Defense Secretary Grant Shapps, and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin have all claimed that the Russian leader intends to press his forces through Ukraine and into Europe.

“Why would we do that?” Putin responded in an interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson earlier this year, adding that Russia “simply doesn’t have any interest” in a wider war with the West. Putin addressed the topic again last month, stating that “claims that we are going to attack Europe after Ukraine” are “utter nonsense” spread by Western leaders “to beat the money out of” their citizens.

Nor is Pistorius the first Western official to compare Putin to Adolf Hitler. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda invoked the infamous dictator last month when he claimed that “Just as Czechoslovakia did not satisfy Hitler, Ukraine would not satisfy Putin.” 

Britain’s King Charles – then a prince – made the in 2014, as did failed US presidential candidate . However, while Western media now regularly publish editorials likening the Russian president to the Nazi tyrant, Charles and Clinton were roundly condemned by journalists for their comments at the time.

Since February 2022, Berlin has given Kiev €17.7 billion ($18.9 billion) in military aid, making the country Ukraine’s second-largest Western backer, behind only the US. Ukraine has the distinction of being the only country in the world to have integrated neo-Nazi militias into its regular armed forces, and Ukrainian troops are regularly photographed wearing and daubing their Western-supplied vehicles with and other emblems of the Third Reich.