Hillary Clinton mocks Putin over Nato expansion: ‘Too bad, Vladimir. You brought it on yourself’

Hillary Clinton mocked Vladimir Putin on Tuesday for his concerns about Nato’s expansion and said the Russian president “brought it on himself” with his invasion of Ukraine.

"Defending democracy in Ukraine, expanding Nato – just as an aside, too bad Vladimir, you brought it on yourself," the former US secretary of state said, prompting laughter and applause.

Ms Clinton was speaking at the State Department where she unveiled her official portrait and addressed current and former officials in the ornate Benjamin Franklin State Dining room.

"We always said, ‘people are not forced to join Nato. People choose and want to join Nato,’" she added.

The top leader also took shots at the policies of Republican former president Donald Trump, who defeated her in the 2016 US presidential election.

She added that there may have been questions raised on Washington’s ability to gather support for its aid for Ukraine to fend off Russian invasion due to Mr Trump’s legacy of alienating allies.

"People might have doubted that because we had burned so many bridges with our allies and our friends," she said.

"Reinstating a foreign policy... that actually brings people to us, not pushes them away, would have been thought to be extremely difficult. And indeed it was, but it was accomplished," she said and thanked her successor secretary of state Antony Blinken for "helping to restore America’s standing".

Ms Clinton said the current Biden administration pursued many of the priorities of the Obama administration, in which she was the top US diplomat.

Talking about the common Biden and Obama priorities, she described the mutual concerns of "expanding Nato, facing down Russian aggression and managing the challenges from China" as she took a dig at the Russian president who has long complained of Nato’s expansion in Europe and blamed it as a motive for his invasion of Ukraine.

The top former official joked that it had been a long time since she had seen the portrait, which depicted her gazing into the distance against the backdrop of an enlarged American flag.

"Between Covid, between not wanting to finish it during the prior administration," she said with a meaningful glance at the audience, drawing laughter, "it’s been a while. And I am going to be probably as surprised as all of you".