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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson has interviewed Vladimir Putin, says Kremlin

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Russian president Vladimir Putin has been interviewed by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, the Kremlin confirmed.

It is Mr Putin’s first interview with a Western journalist since the beginning of his full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

Carlson on Tuesday released a video from Moscow in which he said he would be interviewing the Russian president.

He claimed that Western journalists had interviewed Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy multiple times but could not be “bothered” to interview Mr Putin.

Mr Putin has heavily limited his contact with international media since he launched the war in Ukraine in February 2022.

Russian authorities have cracked down on media since the invasion, forcing independent Russian outlets to close and ordering a number of foreign reporters to leave the country.

Two journalists working for US news organisations – The Wall Street Journal’s Evan Gershkovich and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Alsu Kurmasheva – are in jail on charges they reject.

Mr Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Carlson had been chosen for the interview because “he has a position which differs” from other English-language media.

putin; russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin

Mr Peskov also rejected Carlson’s suggestion that no Western journalists had submitted requests to interview Mr Putin, saying the Kremlin has received many requests from large Western television channels and newspapers which, he asserted, “take a one-sided position”.

Carlson’s position, Mr Peskov said, “is in no way pro-Russian, nor pro-Ukrainian, but rather pro-American”.

The interview, Carlson said in his video, will be distributed for free on his website and on X, formerly Twitter.

Carlson, who was sacked by Fox News in April, announced he was starting his own streaming service in December.

Russian state media on Wednesday extensively covered Carlson’s visit.

Vladimir Solovyev, one of Russia’s most famous television hosts, said the interview would “break through the blockade and the narrative that exists” in Western media which, he said, focuses on “Putin’s unprovoked, brutal invasion of Ukraine”.

Solovyev, whose show is often critical of Western media, said Carlson is “feared” because he does not align with that narrative.

Carlson worked at Fox News for more than a decade and hosted a show where he discussed conspiracy theories about Russia and the January 6th insurrection.

Fox offered no explanation for his sacking.

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