Right-wing US presenter Tucker Carlson will interview Vladimir Putin

The controversial right-wing US presenter Tucker Carlson says he will interview Russian President Vladimir Putin – the first Western journalist to do so since the start of the Russian military offensive in Ukraine. “We are here to interview Russian President Vladimir Putin,” said the former star presenter of the conservative US news channel Fox News on Tuesday in a video from Moscow published on X. The Kremlin confirmed the interview plans and said it had previously received inquiries from other Western media.

Carlson said that since Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine began, no Western journalist had “bothered” to speak to the Kremlin chief. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov contradicted this: “We receive many requests for interviews with the president,” Peskov told journalists on Wednesday.

However, the requests from Western countries are from “large online media that cannot boast of being (…) objective,” the Kremlin spokesman continued. However, Carlson’s position is in “a contrast” to the position of the traditional Anglo-Saxon media, he added, confirming that the interview was approved.

Several Western journalists said after Tucker’s statement that they had already tried to talk to Putin. “Does Tucker really believe that we journalists haven’t tried to interview Putin every day since his invasion of Ukraine began?” asked Christiane Amanpour from the US television channel CNN. That is “absurd”. “We will continue to request an interview as we have done for years,” she added.

BBC correspondent Steve Rosenberg also said he had sent “several requests,” but Putin always refused. The Russian president has not given an interview to any Western media since he began his attack on Ukraine in February 2022.

Carlson, who is known for criticizing Ukraine and his closeness to former President Donald Trump, said in his video: “There are of course risks in conducting such an interview. That’s why we thought about it carefully for months.” But it is his job as a journalist to inform the public. Most US citizens don’t know what’s going on in Russia and Ukraine.

The interview will be available to view for free on his website, Carlson said, without giving a release date. X owner Elon Musk also promised not to block the interview if it was published on the short message service formerly known as Twitter.

Carlson was one of Fox News’ most recognizable faces for years. With sharply right-wing positions and proximity to then-President Trump, he secured a large following among right-wing television viewers.

But he was fired from Fox News last April. The separation came less than a week after a settlement between Fox News and the voting machine company Dominion in the dispute over false election fraud allegations following the 2020 presidential election. The news channel agreed to pay Dominion $787.5 million (around €733 million). to avert civil litigation.

Known for spreading conspiracy theories, Carlson began publishing interviews on X after his split from Fox News. The videos are viewed millions of times.