Renowned right-wing US talk show host Tucker Carlson has revealed that his highly anticipated interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to air on Thursday.
Carlson, known for his vocal support of 2024 election candidate Donald Trump and his opposition to US military aid for Ukraine, made the announcement via his Instagram account. The pre-recorded sit-down will be broadcast at 6 pm Eastern (2300 GMT) on Carlson’s website, marking Putin’s first interview with a Western journalist since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Carlson’s unprecedented access to Putin stands in stark contrast to the constraints faced by other foreign journalists in Russia, where two US citizens—Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and Radio Free Europe’s Alsu Kurmasheva—are currently imprisoned. The former Fox News host, known for portraying America as a nation under siege by Democrats, Black Lives Matter activists, and ‘woke’ protesters, has transitioned to broadcasting on X (formerly Twitter) since departing from Fox in April.
The timing of Carlson’s exclusive interview coincides with a significant lull in US aid to Ukraine, attributed to Republican opposition in Washington. As Ukrainian forces find themselves in dire need of ammunition, Democrats in the US Senate are poised to make a renewed effort to restore military funding to Ukraine on Thursday, following a failed initial vote on a multibillion-dollar aid package amid Republican discord. However, the fate of the package remains uncertain in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
The White House has voiced reservations about granting Putin a platform to justify his actions in Ukraine, with National Security Council spokesman John Kirby cautioning against providing an uncritical outlet for the Russian president’s rhetoric. Carlson’s interview also unfolds against the backdrop of the Kremlin’s sustained crackdown on press freedom in Russia over the past two decades.
Responding to Carlson’s assertion that he was the sole Western journalist to seek access to Putin since the invasion of Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov countered that the Russian president receives numerous interview requests. Peskov noted a divergence between Carlson’s comparatively pro-Russian stance and what he described as “the traditional Anglo-Saxon media.” Putin has long enjoyed admiration from segments of the US hard-right, including Trump, who has previously lauded the Kremlin leader as a “genius” and deemed him more credible than US intelligence agencies.