Tucker Carlson interviews Vladimir Putin in Moscow

Interview is the first granted to an American journalist since Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine

Tucker Carlson at a conservative event in Phoenix, Arizona, on December 18. Reuters
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The Kremlin on Wednesday confirmed that former Fox News host Tucker Carlson had interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

It is the first interview Mr Putin has granted to a US journalist since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.

Russian news agency Tass reported that the interview is expected to air on Thursday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the interview was granted because the former Fox News anchor did not have what Russia considered to be "one-sided" reporting by western media outlets on the war in Ukraine.

Mr Peskov said Carlson was "in no way pro-Russian, it is not pro-Ukrainian – it is pro-American".

The interview comes as the US far-right is taking a more sceptical stance with Ukraine and leaning more towards Mr Putin.

They see see blocking more military funding for Kyiv as a useful political tool to undermine the Biden administration.

Fox News fired Carlson in April after a defamation case by Dominion Voting Systems over claims that it lied about the validity of the US presidential election results in 2020. The case cost Fox $787.5 million in damages.

“We're here in Moscow tonight. We're here to interview the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin,” Carlson said of the self-funded trip in a video. We're in journalism. Our duty is to inform people," Carlson said in a video on X on Tuesday.

"Two years into a war [with Ukraine] that is reshaping the entire world, most Americans are not informed."

This month will be the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The US has been the largest backer of Ukraine as it continues to fight against Russia, but more US aid has been blocked, with Republicans and parts of the American public increasingly uninterested in sending more assistance.

US President Joe Biden has requested more aid for Kyiv as part of a national security package, saying Ukraine's fight against Russia is a fight for democracy.

The conservative commentator criticised western journalism in his video, claiming that few reporters or news organisations are sharing the Russian view of the war.

He said journalists are overwhelmingly focused on Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian population, and not on Mr Putin or Russians.

Mr Putin rarely gives interviews – especially to American or western outlets – and Carlson claimed that "not a single western journalist has bothered" to interview the Russian leader.

It was a misleading statement because Mr Putin turns down most such requests.

“Does Tucker really think we journalists haven't been trying to interview President Putin every day since his full-scale invasion of Ukraine? It's absurd,” CNN chief international presenter Christiane Amanpour said in a post on X.

“We'll continue to ask for an interview, just as we have for years now.”

Reporting from Russia is dangerous. Reporters Without Borders ranks Russia 164th out of 180 countries on its annual press freedom index.

The Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and editor Alsu Kurmasheva at US-funded Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty are detained in Russia.

“We are not here because we love Vladimir Putin … we are not encouraging you to agree with what Putin may say in this interview, but we are urging you to watch it,” Carlson said.

He said he had also requested an interview with Mr Zelenskyy.

“You should know as much as you can.”

Carlson, after being removed from Fox News last year, has been broadcasting interviews on X.

Updated: February 07, 2024, 2:17 PM