American journalist Tucker Carlson, who is currently on a visit to Moscow, has confirmed that he is interviewing Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The conservative provocateur and former Fox News anchor said he was interviewing Putin “because it’s our job. We’re in journalism. Our duty is to inform people.”
Carlson — who will be the first American to interview Putin since the start of Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine almost two years ago — has repeatedly questioned U.S. support for Kyiv’s war effort.
The TV host, who was fired by Fox last year, seemed to suggest the interview was yet to take place and did not specify when it would air, but said it would be published “unedited” and “not behind a paywall” on his personal website.
In a social media monologue, Carlson said he had been motivated to sit down with Putin because “the populations of the English-speaking countries” were ill-informed about the war in Ukraine, alleging that was “because no one has told them the truth.”
Putin has been waging all-out war on Ukraine since February 2022, in an onslaught which has killed tens of thousands of people and triggered an international arrest warrant for war crimes against the Russian leader.
Tucker Carlson says there’s more to the story, however, and that the Western media is misleading its audience.
“Their media outlets are corrupt. They lie to their readers and viewers, and they do that mostly by omission,” Carlson added.
“We are not here because we love Vladimir Putin. We are here because we love the United States, and we want it to remain prosperous and free,” he added.
News of Carlson’s visit first broke at the weekend after the Mash Telegram channel, rumored to have links to Russian law enforcement, reported he’d been spotted in Moscow at the Bolshoi Theater after having flown in several days earlier.
In a video published by the Russian outlet Izvestia a day later, Carlson said he had come to Russia to “talk to people, look around, and see how it’s doing … and it’s doing very well.”
Responding to a question as to whether he was there to interview Putin, Carlson responded: “We’ll see.”
Elon Musk, the owner of X (formerly Twitter), the platform on which the video will be published, has promised not to suppress or block the interview once it’s posted, Carlson said. He then aimed another broadside at the West.
“Western governments, by contrast, will certainly do their best to censor this video and other less principled platforms because that’s what they do,” Carlson said.
The last time Putin sat down with an American journalist was in June 2021 with NBC’s Keir Simmons. In October 2021 Putin briefly spoke to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble at the Russian Energy Week event in Moscow. Before that the Russian president also talked to U.S. TV journalist Megyn Kelly, then with NBC, before his last election win in 2018.
Russian state media and pro-Kremlin Telegram channels have followed Tucker Carlson’s every step in Moscow, making news of his leaving and entering his hotel, visiting the “Rossiya” exhibition, or being invited to visit the annexed Crimea peninsula.
The independent Telegram channel “Ostorozhno Novosti” (“Be Careful, News”) calculated that since Jan. 29, state publications in Russia have mentioned Carlson more than 2,000 times. In the last few days, the frequency with which Carlson was mentioned in Russian media has increased 14-fold.
Why I'm interviewing Vladimir Putin. pic.twitter.com/hqvXUZqvHX
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) February 6, 2024