Washington: Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the United States to “make an agreement” ceding Ukrainian territory to Russia to end the war, speaking for two hours with a former Fox News host in an interview broadcast online on Friday that was the Kremlin’s most direct appeal to American audiences since his invasion began two years ago.
“Wouldn’t it be better to negotiate with Russia? Make an agreement,” Putin told Tucker Carlson, the American conservative commentator and Trump supporter, in the Russian leader’s first interview with an American outlet since 2021. “Start respecting our country and its interests and look for certain solutions.”
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 Putin made little effort to distil for American ears. Putin 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.
But Putin was more direct than usual about how he sees his Ukraine invasion ending: not with a military victory, but through an agreement with the West. At the interview’s end, Putin told Carlson that the time had come for talks about ending the war because “those who are in power in the West have come to realise” that Russia will not be defeated on the battlefield.
“If so, if the realisation has set in, they have to think what to do next. We are ready for this dialogue,” Putin said.
Responding to Carlson’s question about whether NATO could accept Russian control over parts of Ukraine, Putin said, “Let them think how to do it with dignity. There are options if there is a will”.
The original version, in Russian, of Putin’s comments was not immediately released, leaving viewers to rely on the dubbed translation in Carlson’s broadcast.
The interview, recorded on Tuesday, was Putin’s first with a Western media outlet since the start of the war in Ukraine and his first with an American journalist since 2021. While Putin regularly gave interviews to mainstream American media in his first two decades in power, his spokesperson said the Kremlin chose Carlson this time because those traditional outlets took “an exclusively one-sided position” regarding Russia.
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