Hillary Clinton claims Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has an “almost messianic belief in himself.”
Clinton made her comments Thursday during an address at the Hay Festival of Literature & Arts in England. Her remarks were reported by The Guardian newspaper.
The former secretary of state noted she had some "positive developments” when she worked with Putin between 2009 and 2013 while he was prime minister of Russia. But their relationship hit the skids when she pointed out the “blatantly crooked” elections that returned him to the presidency in 2012, according to the newspaper.
“Putin does not like critics, especially women critics,” Clinton said. “Putin then became very adversarial toward me with few exceptions.”
She said she saw firsthand “his almost messianic belief in himself and what he was destined to be” as well of his “goal of restoring imperial Russia."
“When he invaded Ukraine I was sadly not surprised,” Clinton said. “I was very pleasantly surprised at how effective the government of [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy and Ukraine defended themselves.”
In April, Clinton said Russia remained a threat to “Europe, democracy and global stability” and should be kept out of international organizations like the G-20.
Clinton, a 2016 Democratic Party presidential nominee, also suggested imposing even “greater costs” on Putin as punishment for invading Ukraine.
"The only way that we're going to end the bloodshed and the terror that we're seeing unleashed in Ukraine, and protect Europe and democracy, is to do everything we can to impose even greater costs on Putin,” she said.
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