Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Britain's Prince Charles yesterday of unacceptable and unroyal behaviour by comparing him with Adolf Hitler over Russia's stance in Ukraine.
Putin said he had not heard the comment, made by the prince to a Jewish woman who fled Poland during the second world war, but asked reporters to pass on a message to the heir to the British throne and to the prime minister, David Cameron.
"This is not royal behaviour," Putin told journalists at the Konstantinovsky Palace, built in the 18th and 19th centuries on the coast of the Gulf of Finland outside St Petersburg, Russia's former imperial capital.
"If you are angry, this means you are wrong. I have not heard this remark. If (it was said), then it is unacceptable," Putin said.
According to a British newspaper, the prince, 65, made the comment last week during a tour of Canada.
Prince Charles told the woman, who lost relatives during the Holocaust and was recounting how she had fled Poland, that "Putin is doing just about the same as Hitler".
Putin's response came after Russia's foreign ministry had criticised Prince Charles for his remarks, saying they did not reflect well on a future British monarch and were an "unacceptable" attempt to spread propaganda against Russia over its handling of the crisis in Ukraine.
The Soviet Union lost more than 20 million people in the war, and the victory over Nazi Germany is celebrated across Russia as a national triumph.