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What has former Fox News host Tucker Carlson said on Putin, the war and Ukraine? | World News

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Controversial right-wing US journalist Tucker Carlson will shortly release an interview he conducted with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It stands as the first time Mr Putin has been interviewed by Western media since the invasion of Ukraine began.

In a video shared on the X social media platform, Mr Carlson – who was fired from Fox News in April last year and has been a vocal supporter of Mr Putin – said he is doing the interview to “inform” Americans.

Here we take a look at what Mr Carlson has previously said about the Russian president, Ukraine and the war.

Vladimir Putin and Russia

Russia and Mr Putin have often been used by Mr Carlson in his arguments against the American left – claiming the Democrats used Moscow as a scapegoat for domestic issues caused by their poor governance.

Back in 2017, the then host of Fox News said Vladimir Putin posed no danger to the US, accusing “the left” of seeing the Russian leader “behind every problem” that befell the country.

The following year he warned the American public not to fall for “propaganda” that aimed to get them to “hate Russia”.

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His rhetoric ramped up in the months leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, stating that liberals in the US “hate” America more than Mr Putin, and stating that “Russia is not our enemy”.

He also called on Americans to question why they “hate” Mr Putin.

“It may be worth asking yourself, since it is getting pretty serious, what is this really about? Why do I hate Putin so much?” he said.

Narrowing the question to his own personal experience, he said: “Has Putin ever called me a racist?

“Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him? These are fair questions, and the answer to all of them is: ‘No. Vladimir Putin didn’t do any of that’.”

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the interview with Mr Putin was granted because Mr Carlson’s approach differs from the “one-sided” reporting of traditional Western news media.

Mr Peskov added that the former Fox News host’s position is “different from the others”.

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Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with his confidants for the 2024 election at Gostiny Dvor in Moscow,
Pic: Reuters
Image:
Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Moscow last week about the 2024 Russian presidential election. Pic: Reuters

Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Ukraine

Mr Carlson has often portrayed Ukraine as a victim in a war between the US and Russia, but accused its leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy of profiting from the conflict to establish a “dictatorship”.

In 2019, Mr Carlson said the US “should probably take the side of Russia if we have to choose between Russia and Ukraine”.

He also described Ukraine as a “pure client state of the US State Department” and the then looming war as a “border issue”.

He consistently suggested Ukraine was caught in between the US (and by extension NATO) and Russia.

“We don’t arm Ukraine so we can help the Ukrainians – they are merely unfortunate pawns in all of this,” he said.

“We arm Ukraine so that we can punish Russia… for stealing Hillary Clinton’s coronation.”

He later commented on President Zelenskyy himself.

“Whatever you think of the war in Ukraine, it is pretty clear Zelenskyy has no interest in freedom and democracy,” he said after the invasion.

“He is a dictator, he is a dangerous authoritarian who has used $100bn in US tax dollars to erect a one-party police state in Ukraine.”

Mr Carlson also said the Ukrainian president was closer to former Soviet Union leader Vladimir Lenin than US founding father George Washington.

Last night, he accused the West of playing into Ukrainian propagandists’ hands in wartime interviews, and said he had also offered Mr Zelenskyy the chance to speak with him.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy listens during a meeting with President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House. Pic: AP
Image:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Pic: AP

The war

Mr Carlson said he was “totally opposed” to Western sanctions and was “on Russia’s side” on multiple occasions – sometimes claiming to be joking but later doubling down.

A few months into the war, he claimed “by any actual reality-based measure, Vladimir Putin is not losing the war in Ukraine”.

“He is winning the war in Ukraine and Joe Biden looks at that and says we won’t stop until you proffer an unconditional surrender.”

In a video released last night, he said the war in Ukraine is a “human disaster” that has altered longstanding political and trade realities throughout the world.

“And yet the populations of the English-speaking countries seem mostly unaware, they think that nothing has really changed and they think that because nobody has told them the truth,” he said.

“Their media outlets are corrupt. They lie to their readers and viewers and they do that mostly by omission.”

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