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Tucker Carlson allowed to interview Putin as his approach differs from 'one-sided' media: Kremlin

This would be Putin's first formal interview with a Western media figure since the start of his full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, as Russia has dramatically reduced the capability of US journalists to cover Russia. This also comes as the US struggles to financially assist Ukraine.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Moscow Updated on: February 07, 2024 18:48 IST
US, Tucker Carlson, Vladimir Putin interview
Image Source : REUTERS/X American TV host Tucker Carlson with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Moscow: American television host and media personality Tucker Carlson was permitted an interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin because his approach differs from that of 'one-sided media', the Kremlin said on Wednesday. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed about the interview and will be released as soon as it is ready.

Peskov said the mainstream Western media no longer tried to appear impartial in their reporting of Russia and Moscow had no appetite to communicate directly with such media organisations anymore. "When it comes to the countries of the collective West, the large network media, TV channels, (and) large newspapers can in no way boast of even trying to at least look impartial in terms of coverage," he said.

However, the Kremlin spokesperson said Carlson's reporting contrasted with much of the Western media's position on Russia. "His position is different from the others. It is in no way pro-Russian, it is not pro-Ukrainian - it is pro-American, but at least it contrasts with the position of the traditional Anglo-Saxon media," he added.

The interview was likely to be aired on Thursday, Russia's TASS news agency said. It is a sign that the Kremlin leader is seeking to make a direct appeal to American conservatives as US aid to Ukraine hangs in the balance, according to the New York Times.

Putin says he sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine to safeguard Russia's national security against what he casts as a hostile West. Kyiv and its Western allies say it is an unprovoked war of aggression and imperial-style land grab.

Why the interview is important?

Carlson has been in Moscow for several days, according to Russian state media, which has delivered a blow-by-blow account of his visit, raising anticipation of a potential interview with Putin, which he confirmed on Tuesday. “We’re here to interview the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin,” Carlson said in a video apparently shot from a high-rise building in central Moscow and posted to the social media platform X.

It would be Putin's first formal interview with a Western media figure since the start of his full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and his first with an American media outlet since his interview with CNBC back in 2021. This came after Putin's government dramatically reduced the ability of Western journalists to cover Russia, and has imprisoned a Wall Street Journal correspondent, Evan Gershkovich, for more than 10 months on espionage charges.

The interview also comes at a critical time as the US failed to build consensus on a deal to provide Ukraine with further support after Senate Republicans withdrew support despite President Joe Biden urging Congress to “show some spine” and stand up to Donald Trump. 

“It looks to me and to most of our members that we have no real chance here to make a law,” the Kentucky Republican told reporters. The split-screen moments in Washington represented a rapid turn of events that showed McConnell's slipping control of his GOP conference, Trump's growing influence, and Biden's ability only to look on as a cornerstone of his foreign policy — halting Russian President Vladimir Putin's advance into Europe — crumbled in Congress.

Carlson, like the Republican presidential front-runner and former US President, Donald Trump, is skeptical of further American support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion, and has embraced Putin’s efforts to position himself as a global standard-bearer for “traditional values” like opposing LGBT rights.

US fails to provide support to Ukraine

Out of funds, the Pentagon is sending no more arms shipments to Kyiv just as the war — entering its third year — reaches a critical juncture. Ukraine is struggling with ammunition and personnel shortages while Russia is on the offensive, mounting relentless attacks.

Biden had engaged for months with Senate leaders on a carefully negotiated plan to pair policies intended to curb illegal crossings at the US-Mexico border with $60 billion in wartime aid for Ukraine. The bill was intended to exhibit American strength around the world and would have also sent tens of billions of dollars more for Israel, other US allies in Asia, the US immigration system and humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza and Ukraine. However, after Republicans rejected the compromise, the president and Senate leaders are now stranded with no clear way to advance aid for Ukraine through Congress.

The US President laid blame for the bill's demise squarely on Trump — his likely Republican opponent in the November presidential election. “For the last 24 hours he's done nothing, I'm told, but reach out to Republicans in the House and the Senate and threaten them and try to intimidate them to vote against this proposal,” Biden said.

(with inputs from agencies)


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