Putin tells Tucker Carlson defeat in Ukraine is 'impossible', but US contact renewed

Russian leader also says 'agreement can be reached' regarding detained Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich

Vladimir Putin tells US journalist defeating Russia is impossible

Vladimir Putin tells US journalist defeating Russia is impossible
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Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a rare interview that his country's defeat in Ukraine is “impossible”, but he seemed to confirm that back-channel talks with the US had been renewed.

“There has been the uproar and screaming about inflicting a strategic defeat to Russia on the battlefield,” he told conservative commentator Tucker Carlson in an interview released on Thursday, as the two-year anniversary of the war approaches.

“In my opinion, it is impossible, by definition. It is never going to happen.”

Mr Putin also said that “we haven't achieved our aims yet” but Russia was open to “dialogue”.

Carlson asked if Nato member Poland would ever be invaded.

“Only in one case: if Poland attacks Russia,” Mr Putin answered.

“We have no interest in Poland, Latvia or anywhere else. It is absolutely out of the question.”

He also made a claim that he had explored the possibility of Russia joining Nato during former president Bill Clinton's mandate, but he said this idea was rejected by his American counterpart.

This was Mr Putin's first interview with a western journalist since at least 2019.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier this week said that the recorded sit-down chat was permitted because the Russian government believed Carlson was not “one-sided” in his reporting.

The two-hour conversation took place on Tuesday and was published on Carlson's website, as well as the social platform X.

Mr Putin appeared to confirm that back-channel talks between Washington and Moscow on Ukraine have been renewed.

“Certain contacts are being maintained,” he said, without providing any other details.

Conservative journalist Carlson, who was fired from the Fox News network last year after a $787.5 million defamation case, has been publishing his own videos and interviews online.

The interview comes at a pivotal point in US politics, in which Republican leaders in Congress and some parts of the American public are increasingly apprehensive about sending more military aid to Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

Democratic President Joe Biden, who has requested at least $60 billion for Ukraine as Ukrainian funds and ammunition run low, argues that Kyiv's fight is one against authoritarianism and for democracy.

“I will tell you what we are saying on this matter and what we are conveying to the US leadership. If you really want to stop fighting, you need to stop supplying weapons,” Mr Putin said on the matter.

Carlson also brought up the imprisonment of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who has been held on accusations of spying – charges he and the newspaper deny.

The US government has deemed Gerschkovich to be “wrongfully detained” and Mr Putin told Carlson that an “agreement can be reached” regarding the journalist.

“There is no taboo to settle this issue,” he said. “We are willing to solve it but there are certain terms being discussed via special services channels. I believe an agreement can be reached.”

Journalist Alsu Kurmasheva at US-funded Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty, who holds dual US citizenship, is also detained in Russia.

Updated: February 09, 2024, 2:10 PM