Russian President Vladimir Putin has been interviewed by Carlson, the Kremlin confirmed Wednesday. It is Putin’s first interview to a Western journalist since the 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, less than 24 hours later, the Kremlin confirmed the sit-down took place.
Former Belgian Prime Minister and current member of the European Union Parliament Guy Verhofstadt told Newsweek as the Russian president is considered a ‘war criminal’ it’s ‘logical’ that an investigation be held into Carlson.
Verhofstadt has also called for a ‘travel ban’ against Carlson and described the host as a ‘mouthpiece’ for Donald Trump, who has long been criticized for his pro-Kremlin views.
Any investigation into Trump would be conducted by the EU’s European External Action Service, or EEAS, which is essentially the 27-nation bloc’s foreign ministry.
Former Belgian Prime Minister and current member of the European Union Parliament Guy Verhofstadt told Newsweek as the Russian president is considered a ‘war criminal’ it’s ‘logical’ that an investigation be held into Carlson
Putin has heavily limited his contact with international media since he launched the war in Ukraine in February 2022
Verhofstadt also tweeted: ‘The real journalists in Russia are in jail or had to flee! Carlson is Putin’s mouthpiece and an enemy of everything the US stands for – no more, no less.’
Following the publication of the interview, Carlson’s friends in the American far right chimed in.
‘The same EU globalist scum are trying to bully Elon Musk in to censorship with criminal prosecution threats. Now they are moving in on Tucker! We must stand together for free speech,’ wrote Sandy Hook school shooting denier Alex Jones.
‘The EU is considering sanctions against Tucker Carlson for interviewing Putin. This is little more than an admission that they have been lying about everything regarding Ukraine,’ wrote commentator Candace Owens.
‘This narrative is about to fully collapse and they are terrified,’ she added.
‘Was there ever any doubt they would come for Tucker Carlson to daring to interview Putin? Rest assured there are those in power in the US who want to do the same as the EU,’ columnist and attorney Phil Holloway tweeted.
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 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.