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Tucker Carlson interviews Russia's Putin - Kremlin

Tucker Carlson
Tucker Carlson was hugely influential as the anchor of a late night political talk show on Fox News

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson has interviewed Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, the Kremlin says.

Carlson said earlier on X he wanted to do the interview because "Americans have a right to know all they can about a war they are implicated in".

It's Mr Putin's first one-on-one interview with a Western journalist since the full-scale war in Ukraine.

The interview will be broadcast at 18:00 EST (23:00 GMT) on Thursday, Carlson announced.

He said it would air on his website, tuckercarlson.com. He had initially promised to upload the interview live and unedited to his X account. Elon Musk, who owns the platform, had "promised not to suppress or block the interview".

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the meeting had been recorded on Tuesday.

Ukraine's deputy defence minister Hanna Maliar said: "The only interview that is safe in this situation is the interrogation in The Hague."

Her remark referred to an arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC), accusing Vladimir Putin of war crimes and the unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia.

Tucker Carlson's visit to Moscow has been reported on voraciously in Russian state media, with near-constant coverage of his every move.

"There are risks to doing an interview like this, obviously, so we've thought about it over many months," Carlson said on his announcement video.

Carlson added that he had paid for the trip to Russia himself, and wanted to do the interview because "most Americans are not informed" on the conflict which is "reshaping the world" - blaming the mainstream media.

Since the war in Ukraine began, he said, Western journalists had interviewed Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky - whom he has previously called a "dictator" - many times.

But they were "fawning pep sessions" aimed at amplifying Mr Zelensky's demand to get the US more and more involved in the war, Carlson insisted. "That is not journalism - it is government propaganda."

Meanwhile, "not a single Western journalist has bothered to interview" Vladimir Putin, Carlson said.

Steve Rosenberg, the BBC's Russia Editor, posted that the BBC has "lodged several requests with the Kremlin in the last 18 months. Always a 'no' for us".

The FT's Moscow bureau chief, Max Seddon, said it was quite something to complain that not enough American journalists were reporting on the Russian side of the invasion, when two American journalists were "in jail right now for doing just that". The Wall Street Journal's Evan Gershkovich and Alsu Kurmasheva of Radio Free Europe have both been held in pre-trial detention since last year.

Russian journalist Yevgenia Albats pointed out that she and hundreds of her colleagues had had to go into exile to keep reporting on the war, while Carlson was "shooting from the $1,000 Ritz suite in Moscow".

Russian journalists are under extreme reporting restrictions - local media are banned from calling it a "war": it is meant to be called a "special military operation".

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine has devastated the country and its people.

The United Nations has said that Russian forces are responsible for rapes, "widespread" torture and killings in Ukraine.

Russia has also annexed four more regions of Ukraine, after its illegal takeover of Crimea in 2014.

Tucker Carlson has been an outspoken defender of Mr Putin since the war began. Just before Russia's invasion, he claimed that "hating Putin has become the central purpose of America's foreign policy", but urged his viewers to ask themselves why.

"Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him?" Carlson said as Russian troops started to mass on Ukraine's border. "These are fair questions, and the answer to all of them is: No. Vladimir Putin didn't do any of that."

After Russia had invaded, he changed his tone slightly during a different show, saying "Vladimir Putin started this war... He is to blame for what we're seeing tonight in Ukraine".

Tucker Carlson was one of America's top-rated cable TV hosts - but he abruptly left Fox News last year.

While at the US network, his shows frequently set the agenda for conservatives and, by extension, the Republican party.

He was hugely influential as the anchor of a primetime political talk show between 2016 and 2023 and has since launched a show on X.