On Wednesday, the White House expressed its disapproval of providing Vladimir Putin with another platform to defend his actions in Ukraine, following an interview conducted by right-wing American talk show host Tucker Carlson with the Russian president. Carlson, a former Fox News host and a prominent supporter of Donald Trump’s 2024 election campaign, has been a vocal critic of US military assistance to Kyiv. He traveled to Moscow to conduct Putin’s first interview with a Western journalist since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
“It should be very obvious to everybody what Mr Putin has done in Ukraine, and the completely bogus and ridiculous reasons for which he tried to justify it,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters aboard Air Force One.
“I don’t think we need another interview with Vladimir Putin to understand his brutality.”
Carlson has not specified the broadcast date for the interview, but he did mention that it will be available for free viewing. Following his departure from Fox News last year, he launched a show on X, the social media platform owned by Elon Musk, formerly known as Twitter. Russian state media has extensively covered Carlson’s visit to Moscow, focusing on his anti-Ukraine stance, which he has been known for.
In contrast to the restrictions imposed on other foreign journalists in Russia, Carlson has been granted access to Putin. Currently, two US citizens, Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and Radio Free Europe’s Alsu Kurmasheva, are imprisoned in Russia.
This special treatment for Carlson highlights the Kremlin’s ongoing suppression of the free press over the past two decades. Many prominent Russian journalists have been murdered, and others have been forced to live abroad under Putin’s regime.
However, the Kremlin contradicted Carlson’s claim that he was the only Western journalist to have requested access to Putin since the invasion.
“We receive many requests for interviews with the president,” stated Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, in response to inquiries about whether Carlson was the sole individual seeking a sit-down with Putin.
Peskov further highlighted that Carlson’s stance leans more towards being pro-Russian, which stands in contrast to what he referred to as “the traditional Anglo-Saxon media.” Both CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour and the BBC’s Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg contradicted Carlson’s assertion of being the only one seeking a Putin interview.
Carlson’s unexpected revelation coincides with the reduction of US aid to Ukraine due to opposition from Republicans in Washington, resulting in Ukrainian forces struggling to acquire ammunition.
As fresh Russian attacks claimed the lives of five more individuals in Kyiv and other regions, the White House’s Kirby acknowledged that Ukrainian battlefield commanders were being compelled to make difficult decisions regarding ammunition conservation.
“The Russians know this. And that’s why they keep flying drones and missiles to to force the Ukrainians to use air defense capabilities that they know are not being replaced right now,” Kirby said.