Apr 3, 11:36 AM EDT

Russia angry over German minister's Crimea comment

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MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia's Foreign Ministry said Thursday it had lodged a formal complaint about a German minister's statement comparing Russia's annexation of Crimea to Adolf Hitler's policies.

The ministry said that German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble's comparison of last month's incorporation of Crimea into Russia to Hitler's 1938 takeover of the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia represented a "rude juggling of historic events and facts."

It said in a statement that Russia considers "such pseudo-historical excursions by the German minister as a provocation," adding that the German ambassador visited the Russian Foreign Ministry where he was handed a formal note of protest.

The German Foreign Ministry disputed that Ambassador Ruediger von Fritsch had been formally summoned, saying the ambassador, who started his job last month, had been at the ministry for an introductory visit in any event.

Russia's annexation of Crimea followed a referendum called just two weeks after Russian troops had overtaken the Ukrainian region. Ukraine and the West have rejected the vote and the annexation.

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