Five key moments from Tucker Carlson's interview with Putin

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Vladimir Putin began his much-anticipated interview on Thursday night by offering a more than 30-minute, counterfactual history lesson to a bemused Tucker Carlson.

The former Fox New host’s interjections (how is this relevant, Mr President?) were swiftly shot down by the Russian leader: “Are we going to have a serious talk or a show?”

Putin’s show, it seemed. Earlier, he seemed to suggest Adolf Hitler was forced to invade Poland, blaming the latter not so much implicitly but explicitly for the start of World War Two.

He began by claiming Poland, which was invaded by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939, “collaborated with Hitler”.

Putin asserted that by refusing to give over an area of Poland called the Danzig Corridor to Hitler, Poland “went too far, pushing Hitler to start World War Two by attacking them”.

The foray into the Russian president’s own annals of European history was all offered by way of explanation for his invasion of Ukraine.

In Putin’s telling, it was not Nato - as Carlson had posited, when he asked whether “a physical threat from the West” in the form of the military alliance was his “justification” for starting the war.

In fact, it was “that Ukraine is an artificial state that was shaped at [Joseph] Stalin’s will”. Much like Hitler with this line of argument, Putin had been forced into action.

The interview was Putin's first with a Western media figure since Russia invaded Ukraine
The interview was Putin's first with a Western media figure since Russia invaded Ukraine - EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Putin could release Evan Gershkovich in prisoner swap

Elsewhere in the more than two-hour interview, Putin signalled his openness to releasing an imprisoned Wall Street Journal reporter for a Russian prisoner in Germany dubbed the “bicycle assassin”.

Carlson made a case for releasing Evan Gershkovich, an American reporter languishing in a Russian prison for almost a year.

Putin, in response, made oblique reference to Vadim Krasikov, currently serving a life sentence for the murder of a Chechen dissident in Berlin in 2019.

His description of a man who “eliminated a bandit in one of the European capitals” out of “patriotic sentiments” seemed to mean Krasikov, who carried out an assassination-by-bicycle on Zelimkhan Khangoshvili.

Putin signalled backchannel conversations were ongoing, as he said: “special services are in contact with one another”.

“They are talking about the matter in question, he said, adding: “I believe an agreement can be reached”.

Putin threatens World War Three if US puts troops in Ukraine

Putin accused the US of “cheap provocation” over its continued military aid to Kyiv, and warned Washington against extending that support to deploying troops to Ukraine.

“If somebody has the desire to send regular troops, that would certainly bring humanity to the brink of a very serious global conflict,” he told Carlson.

He continued that America should focus on its domestic issues. He said: “Don’t you have anything better to do? You have issues on the border. Issues with migration, issues with the national debt. More than $33 trillion.

“Wouldn’t it be better to negotiate with Russia? Make an agreement. Already understanding the situation that is developing today, realising that Russia will fight for its interests to the end.”

Elon Musk ‘unstoppable’ , says Putin

After a romp through history covering everything from Genghis Khan to the Roman Empire, Putin moved on to offering his thoughts on the future of mankind.

It is clear the Russian leader feels one man is making leaps and bounds towards the creation of a “superhuman”.

Carlson asked: “So when does the AI empire start do you think?”

Putin conceded he was no expert. But suggested Elon Musk might have some thoughts.

He said: “Mankind is currently facing many threats due to the genetic researchers, it is now possible to create this superhuman. A specialised human being. A genetically engineered athlete, scientist, military man. There are reports that Elon Musk has already had the chip implanted in the human brain in the USA.”

Putin went on to say: “I think there’s no stopping Elon Musk. He will do as he sees fit.”

He added that “an international agreement on how to regulate these things” was needed to address the threat “from unbridled and uncontrolled development of AI or genetics or any other field”.

Carlson mocked for CIA application, which Putin blamed for ‘blowing up’ Nord Stream

Putin also claimed that the CIA was behind the sabotage of Nord Stream, the undersea gas pipelines between Germany, Finland and Russia.

The attacks on the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 pipelines took place in international waters, with large amounts of gas rising up from the ocean floor.

Russia was initially suspected of sabotage, after Moscow previously threatened repercussions for Finland’s decision to join Nato.

Intelligence reviewed by US officials later suggested a pro-Ukrainian group was behind the attacks.

Asked by Carlson who “blew up Nord Stream”, Putin replied: “You for sure.”

The former Fox News host joked he had been “busy that day”. Putin said: “The CIA has no such alibi.”

Asked whether he had evidence to support his claims, the Russian president said he “won’t get into details” but you should “look for someone who is interested” and who “has capabilities”.

He went on to mock Carlson for his reported failed attempt to join the US intelligence agency as a young man.

“The organisation you wanted to join back in the day, as I understand,” Putin told him, a wry smile playing on his lips. “We should thank God they didn’t let you in.”

A stony-faced Carlson, for once, had no rebuttal.

‘Arrogant’ Boris Johnson is why Ukraine is still fighting, says Putin

Putin repeated claims that Boris Johnson sabotaged a peace deal with Ukraine that was being brokered with the assistance of Turkey in the spring of 2022.

Carlson asked Putin about reports that Ukraine was “prevented from negotiating a peace settlement by the former British Prime Minister acting on behalf of the Biden administration”.

The former prime minister has previously vehemently denied the claims as “total nonsense” and said he merely “expressed concerns” about the nature of the potential agreement during a conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

When Carlson raised the issue, Putin said: “Prime Minister Johnson came to talk us out of it and we missed that chance. Well, you missed it.”

He added: “The fact that they obey the demand or persuasion of Mr Johnson, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, seems ridiculous.

“Where is Mr Johnson now? And the war continues.”

Carlson replied: “That’s a good question. Where do you think he is, and why did he do that?”

Putin said he “did not understand it”. “Because of arrogance, because of a pure heart, but not because of a great mind,” he said.

Mr Johnson later denounced Putin’s suggestion as “ludicrous”. “Nothing and no one could have stopped those lion-hearted Ukrainians from fighting for their country - and nothing will,” Mr Johnson wrote in the Daily Mail.

He went on to attack Carlson as a “stooge” who served as a medium “for the untreated slurry of Putin’s message”, comparing the interview to one Hitler gave to a sympathetic German-American journalist in June 1940.

Joe Biden called it a “ridiculous interview” in which Putin told “a lot of lies about the history of this war” in Ukraine, calling the Russian President’s behaviour “imperialism”.

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