Putin Calls on U.S. to ‘Negotiate’ on Ukraine in Tucker Carlson Interview

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In a two-hour interview, President Vladimir Putin of Russia was more direct than usual about how he sees his Ukraine invasion ending: not with a military victory, but a deal with the West.

Tucker Carlson sits across from President Vladimir Putin.
President Vladimir Putin of Russia speaking with Tucker Carlson at the Kremlin in Moscow on Tuesday, in a photo released by Russian state media.Credit…Gavriil Grigorov/Sputnik

Anton Troianovski

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has worked for decades to win allies in the West, using his spy agencies to interfere in elections and deploying diplomats to build links with Kremlin-friendly politicians.

On Thursday, the world witnessed a new, verbose chapter in those efforts: Mr. Putin’s two-hour interview, taped in a gilded hall at the Kremlin, with one of America’s most prominent and most divisive conservative commentators.

Speaking to Tucker Carlson, the former Fox News host, Mr. Putin called on the United States to “make an agreement” to cede Ukrainian territory to Russia in order to end the war. He sought to appeal directly to American conservatives just as Republican lawmakers are holding up aid to Ukraine on Capitol Hill, echoing the talking points of politicians like former President Donald J. Trump who say that the United States has more pressing priorities than a war thousands of miles away.

“Don’t you have anything better to do?” Mr. Putin said in response to Mr. Carlson’s question about the possibility of American soldiers fighting in Ukraine. “You have issues on the border, issues with migration, issues with the national debt.”

He went on: “Wouldn’t it be better to negotiate with Russia?”

Image

Ukrainian soldiers outside the city of Bakhmut last month.Credit…Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Much of the interview constituted a familiar Kremlin history lesson about Russia’s historical claim to Eastern European lands, beginning in the ninth century, that Mr. Putin made little effort to distill for American ears. He opined on artificial intelligence, Genghis Khan and the Roman Empire. He also laid out his well-worn and spurious justifications for invading Ukraine, asserting that Russia’s goal was to “stop this war” that he claims the West is waging against Russia.


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