Putin Discusses Ukraine Invasion with Tucker Carlson

The NATO's Apprehension Towards China

In a two-hour interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the reasons behind the invasion of Ukraine, marking the first time he engaged with a Western journalist since the 2022 conflict began.

During the interview, Putin expressed the possibility of a resolution regarding the case of Evan Gershkovich, an American Wall Street Journal journalist detained in Russia on charges of espionage. Putin suggested a potential release through a mutual agreement, hinting at a prisoner exchange. He highlighted ongoing communication between intelligence services, expressing optimism about reaching a deal.

Gershkovich, currently facing up to 20 years in prison if convicted, was arrested in Yekaterinburg last year. Putin contended that Gershkovich had been forewarned, emphasizing Russia’s interest in a reciprocal release.

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The interview, conducted in Moscow, delved into Putin’s perspective on the invasion’s motivations. He spoke at length about the history of Eastern Europe, starting from the 9th century establishment of the Russian state, touching upon Ukraine’s history, the Soviet Union’s dissolution, and NATO’s expansion. Putin reiterated his claim that the invasion was in response to threats to Russia’s national security, citing the presence of “neo-Nazis” in Ukraine.

When questioned about the decisive moment leading to the invasion, Putin pointed to the 2014 coup in Ukraine, attributing it to CIA involvement. He emphasized Ukraine’s attacks in Donbas during NATO’s promises to open its doors, stating that Russia couldn’t remain indifferent to the situation.

Putin categorically denied any interest in invading other NATO countries, specifically mentioning Poland and Latvia, asserting such scenarios as “absolutely out of the question.”

The Russian leader also touched upon his relationships with American presidents, asserting positive connections with George W. Bush and Donald Trump. He dismissed portrayals of Bush as uninformed and highlighted the influence of the elites on U.S. policies. Putin acknowledged warm relations with Trump and expressed concern about the prevailing mentality in American society, emphasizing the need for change.

Regarding his relationship with President Joe Biden, Putin mentioned not recalling their last conversation.

The West’s Apprehension Towards China

According to the Russian president, Western nations harbor greater concerns about a powerful China than they do about a robust Russia. He explained, “The West is more afraid of a strong China than it is of a strong Russia because Russia has 150 million people, and China boasts a population of 1.5 billion, with its economy growing at a rate of 5% per year.”

CIA Involvement in Nord Stream Pipeline Sabotage

When questioned about the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, the Russian leader responded with a laugh and a confident “Sure.” Tucker Carlson, in a jesting manner, mentioned his busy schedule on the alleged day of the incident. Putin continued, “You personally may have an alibi, but the CIA doesn’t.”

Putin refrained from delving into specifics but suggested the importance of considering both motive and capability. He remarked, “People always say in such cases, look who has an interest. But in this case, we should not only look for someone who has an interest but also someone who has the potential because there may be many interested parties, but not everyone at the bottom of the Baltic Sea is capable of carrying out such an explosion.”

Media Coverage and Interview Requests

Prior to the interview, Tucker Carlson claimed that no Western journalist had interviewed Putin since 2022. However, this assertion was contradicted by multiple interview requests from Western reporters, including BBC’s Russia editor Steve Rosenberg, which went unanswered by the Kremlin. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov acknowledged the interview requests, stating, “Mr. Carlson is not right and could not have known this. We receive many requests for interviews with the president.”

The Russian state media extensively covered Carlson’s visit, highlighting his status as a former Fox News star and one of the most controversial journalists in the United States.

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