Vladimir Putin says Hillary Clinton is ‘weak’ but it’s ‘better not to argue with women’ in sexist rant live on French TV

Russian President hits back after former US Secretary of State compared him to Hitler in March

The Russian President Vladimir Putin has hit back in his ongoing row with the former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying that it is “better not to argue with women” and that “maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman” in a series of sexist comments live on French TV.

Mr Putin’s interviewer was forced to intervene and say that “women must be respected, of course” after the President was asked about the prospect of seeing Ms Clinton at the D-Day commemorations in France.

The pair last clashed in March when she described Russia’s actions in Ukraine with those of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.

When the comments were brought up in the interview last night, Mr Putin said: “It’s better not to argue with women. But Ms. Clinton has never been too graceful in her statements.

He added: “Still, we always met afterwards and had cordial conversations at various international events. I think even in this case we could reach an agreement. 

“When people push boundaries too far, it’s not because they are strong but because they are weak. But maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman.”

Read more: Prince Charles 'compares Putin to Hitler'

Asked at a California fundraiser earlier this year about Mr Putin’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula and the apparent pressure applied by Russian troops on the eastern Ukrainian border, Ms Clinton reportedly said: “Now if this sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the 1930s.

“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.”

After telling Mr Putin that “women must be respected, of course, and I’m sure you respect them”, the interviewer asked if he was “angry” about Ms Clinton’s remarks.

He said: “Someday I will indulge myself and we will laugh together at some good joke. But when I hear such extreme statements, to me it only means that they don’t have any valid arguments.”

Mr Putin’s sexist attack coincidentally came on the same day that Ms Clinton, speaking in an interview with People magazine, spoke about her ambition to “break down that highest, hardest glass ceiling in American politics” and become the US’s first female President.

She said that for now she wanted to enjoy the moment of becoming a grandmother and take time to consider “what I think is right for me”.

But the former First Lady added that she feels many Americans think the nation has “unfinished business” in sending the first woman to the White House.

The interview appears just a couple of days before the release of Ms Clinton's book detailing her four years as Secretary of State under President Barack Obama. She told People that she remains “concerned about what I see happening in the country and the world”.

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