Carlson accuses many Western media reports of being biased against RussiaCarlson accuses many Western media reports of being biased against Russia

For the first time since the start of the war, the Russian leader gives an interview to the Western press. To Tucker Carlson, Putin blamed Ukraine for the conflict and ruled out sending troops to Poland or Latvia.

(DW) In a rare interview lasting more than two hours with former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was “impossible” to defeat Russia. Speaking in Russian and dubbed into English, the Kremlin leader also suggested that the end of the war in Ukraine is in the hands of Kiev, which he again blamed for the conflict.

“Until now, there has been fuss and shouting about inflicting a strategic defeat on Russia on the battlefield,” the Russian president told the conservative political commentator and analyst. “But now, apparently, they are beginning to realize that this is difficult to achieve, if it is possible at all. In my opinion, it is impossible by definition.”

The Russian leader also insisted that the two countries were close to reaching an agreement to end hostilities in April 2022, during negotiations in Istanbul, but that Ukraine would then have backed down when Russian troops withdrew from the vicinity of Kiev. “Sooner or later, there will be an agreement,” he added.

Putin also accused Ukraine of starting the conflict in 2014, when then-president Viktor Yanukovich was ousted. He said that Russia wants to end this war and stressed that Moscow “has not yet achieved its goals” in Ukraine. “One of these goals is denazification. I mean the banning of any neo-Nazi movement,” stressed the Kremlin chief, repeating the argument used by Moscow to justify its invasion of the neighboring country.

Risk of the war spreading to neighboring countries

Putin also suggested that Russia had no intention of sending troops to NATO member countries Poland or Latvia. “Only in one case,” he noted. “If Poland attacks Russia. Why? Because we have no interest in Poland, Latvia or anywhere else. Why would we do that? We simply have no interest.”

Putin took the opportunity to address American decision-makers: “I’ll tell you what we’re talking about on this issue and what we’re conveying to the US leadership. If you really want to stop fighting, you need to stop supplying weapons.”

American parliamentarians continue to debate sending aid to Ukraine. However, it is uncertain whether the Republican-dominated House of Representatives will approve funds for Kiev, as close allies of former President Donald Trump have voted against such support in the past.

“Wouldn’t it be better to negotiate with Russia?” asked Putin. “Make a deal. Already understanding that the situation is unfolding, realizing that Russia will fight for its interests to the end.”

The White House has insisted that it is up to Kiev to decide when to start negotiations with Russian officials.

Vladimir Putin spoke all the time in Russian, with his answers dubbed into English

Exceptional interview

This was the first time the Russian leader had given an interview to the Western press since 2019, well before his decision to invade Ukraine in February 2022. The two-hour conversation was recorded in Moscow last Tuesday (06/02) and published on Carlson’s website on Thursday.

According to the Kremlin, Putin only agreed to the interview because Carlson’s approach would be different from the “one-sided” reporting of the conflict in Ukraine by many Western media outlets. Known for spreading conspiracy theories, Carlson was fired from Fox News last year without any explanation from the American broadcaster.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby downplayed the impact of the interview before it even aired, warning potential viewers: “Remember, this is Vladimir Putin. Don’t take anything he has to say at face value.”

Progress on Gershkovich’s release

Putin also indicated that it would be possible to reach an agreement on the release of Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich, who has been imprisoned in Russia for almost a year on espionage charges. “There have been many successful examples of such negotiations,” said Putin. “This will probably also be successful, but we have to reach an agreement.”

In a statement, the American newspaper said that Gershkovich “is a journalist and journalism is not a crime” and that “any representation to the contrary is pure fiction”.

*** Translated by DEFCONPress FYI Team ***

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