Russian President Vladimir Putin has been interviewed by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, the Kremlin confirmed Wednesday. It is Putin's first interview to a Western journalist since his full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago.
Carlson released a video from Moscow on Tuesday in which he said he would be interviewing Putin. Carlson claimed that Western journalists had interviewed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy multiple times but could not be “bothered” to interview the Russian president.
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, forcing some independent Russian outlets to close, blocking others and ordering a number of foreign reporters to leave the country. Two journalists working for U.S. news organizations — The Wall Street Journal’s Evan Gershkovich and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Alsu Kurmasheva — are in jail on charges they reject.
Western journalists were invited to Putin’s annual press conference in December — the first since the war began — but only two were given the chance to ask a question.
Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that Carlson was chosen for the interview because “he has a position which differs” from other English-language media.
Peskov also rejected Carlson's suggestion that no Western journalists had submitted requests to interview Putin. He said the Kremlin has received many requests from large Western television channels and newspapers which, he asserted, “take a one-sided position."
Carlson’s position, Peskov said, “is in no way pro-Russian, nor pro-Ukrainian, but rather pro-American.”
The Associated Press is among the outlets that has requested an interview with Putin.
The interview with Putin, Carlson said in his video, will be distributed for free on his website and on X, formerly known as Twitter. Carlson who was fired 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 Jan. 6 insurrection.
Fox offered no explanation for his firing.