End of the war? Putin asks the US to ‘intercede’ with Ukraine to achieve a negotiation

Russian President Vladimir Putin took advantage of a interview with Tucker Carlson, former host of Fox Newsto urge Washington to recognize Moscow’s interests and persuade Ukraine to come to the negotiating table.

Putin also noted that Russia is willing to negotiate a possible prisoner exchange in which the reporter from the Wall Street Journal Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested last March on espionage charges that he denies.

He also hinted that Moscow wants one of its agents arrested in Germany be released.

Most of the interview revolved around Ukraine, where the war is about to turn two years old.

Putin said it is up to Washington not to give weapons to Ukraine

Putin repeated his claims that his invasion of that country — which kyiv and its allies consider an unprovoked act of aggression — was necessary to protect the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine and prevent that nation from becoming a threat to Russia by joining NATO.

Putin referred to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s refusal to negotiate with the Kremlin. He argued that it is up to Washington to stop supplying weapons to Ukraine and convince kyiv — which he called a “satellite” of the United States — to come to the negotiating table.

“We have never refused to negotiate”Putin declared. “They should tell the current Ukrainian government to stop and come to the negotiating table.”

Putin warned that the West will never succeed in inflicting a “strategic setback” on Russia in Ukraine, and rejected accusations that Moscow is plotting plans to attack Poland and other NATO nations.

It was the first interview that Putin gave to a figure of the western press since the beginning of its large-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby tried to downplay the impact of Carlson’s interview before it aired: “Remember, you’re listening to Vladimir Putin. And anything he has to say should be taken with a grain of salt.”

Putin has greatly limited its contact with the international media since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Russian authorities have restricted the independent press, forcing some Russian media outlets to cease operations, blocking others and ordering foreign reporters to leave the country.

Two journalists from American news organizations —Gershkovich of The Wall Street Journal and Alsou Kurmasheva from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty— are imprisoned.

When Carlson asked whether Russia would release Gershkovich, Putin said Moscow is open to negotiations, but reiterated that the reporter is accused of espionage, a charge Gershkovich has denied.

“He was arrested in flagrante delicto when he was secretly obtaining confidential information,” Putin said about Gershkovich, and added that he does not rule out that the reporter could return to his country.

“There is no taboo to resolve the matter,” he said. “We are ready to resolve it, but there are certain conditions that are currently being discussed between the special services. “I think an agreement can be reached.”

He mentioned a man who is imprisoned in a “country allied to the United States” for “liquidating a bandit” who killed Russian soldiers during the fighting in the Caucasus: “He put our soldiers who had been taken as prisoners on a road and then drove a vehicle over their heads. There was a patriot who killed him in one of the European capitals.”

Putin did not mention names, but appeared to be referring to Vadim Krasikov, a Russian serving a life sentence in Germany after being convicted of murdering Zelimkhan “Tornike” Khangoshvili, a Georgian citizen of Chechen ethnicity, in broad daylight in 2019.

The German judges who sentenced Krasikov They said he had acted on orders from Russian federal authorities, who gave him a false identity and passport and the resources to carry out the attack.

He Wall Street Journal reiterated in a statement that Gershkovich “is a journalist, and journalism is not a crime,” adding that “any characterization to the contrary is absolute fiction.”

“We are excited to see Russia’s desire to make a deal that brings Evan home, and we hope it will lead to his quick release and return to his family and to our newsroom,” the newspaper said.