Putin describes defeat against Ukraine as "impossible" and rules out attack on Poland

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described his country’s defeat in the Ukraine war as “impossible” and ruled out a Russian attack on Poland or Latvia. In an interview with controversial right-wing US presenter Tucker Carlson published on Thursday evening (local time), Putin said there was a “cry” about inflicting “a strategic defeat on the battlefield” on Russia. “In my opinion, this is impossible by definition,” the president said. “It will never happen.”

When former Fox News host Carlson asked the Russian leader whether there could be a scenario in which “they send Russian soldiers to Poland,” Putin replied: “Only in one case: if Poland attacks Russia.”

“We have no interest in Poland, Latvia or anywhere else,” Putin added in his first interview with a Western journalist since Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine began nearly two years ago. “Why would we do that? We simply have no interest in it.” A Russian attack on the countries is “absolutely impossible.”

Carlson interviewed Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow on Tuesday. The interview was then broadcast on Thursday evening on the website of the journalist known for his sharply right-wing positions, the spread of conspiracy theories and his closeness to former US President Donald Trump.

With regard to the Ukraine war, Carlson has in the past shown himself to be Russia-friendly and very critical of Kiev. He has repeatedly criticized US aid to Ukraine. In his interview with Putin, he hardly asked any hard questions and listened for long stretches to the president’s remarks and his justification for the attack on Ukraine.

In the interview, Putin also discussed US aid to Ukraine – at a time when Trump’s Republicans in Congress are blocking the release of billions more for Kiev. “I will tell you what we say on this issue and what we convey to the US leadership,” the Russian president said. “If you really want an end to the fighting, you have to stop supplying weapons.”

Putin also raised the prospect of a possible agreement for the release of US journalist Evan Gershkovich, who is imprisoned in Russia. “Certain conditions” will be discussed through special channels.

Tucker Carlson caused a stir by announcing his interview with Putin – and at the same time raised fears that he could offer the Russian president a platform for propaganda.

For years, the presenter was one of the most famous faces on the conservative news channel Fox News and secured a large following among right-wing television viewers. He was fired last April after Fox News had to reach an expensive settlement with a voting machine company in the dispute over false voter fraud allegations following the 2020 presidential election.

Carlson has since published interviews on the online platform X, formerly Twitter, which have been viewed millions of times. Trump was also among his interview guests.