Tucker Carlson uncovered Putin’s true battle motive: for Russia to personal Ukraine | EUROtoday

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KYIV — Tucker Carlson, the previous Fox News host, thought Vladimir Putin went to battle in Ukraine as a result of he feared an imminent assault by the United States or NATO. Instead, after a two-hour interview of the Russian president in Moscow, Carlson mentioned he was “shocked” to study that Putin invaded for a special motive: “Vladimir Putin believes that Russia has a historic claim to parts of … Ukraine,” he mentioned.

“What you are about to see seemed to us sincere,” Carlson advised his web viewers earlier than the interview was broadcast on Thursday night: “A sincere expression of what he thinks.”

For Carlson, and the American viewers that the Kremlin was aiming to achieve by agreeing to the interview, that will have been a shock. But for Ukrainians, who’ve been residing for greater than twenty years with Putin denying Ukraine’s proper to exist as a rustic separate from Russia, the interview sparked solely fury.

For them, maybe the one shock was that conservative American voters would possibly fall for Putin’s litany of lies, half-truths and distortions, together with a declare that he needs to barter with Washington to finish the battle, which might imply forcing Ukraine to give up its territory. Ukrainians accused Carlson of being a Kremlin pawn, giving a platform to a warmongering dictator with strategic designs on influencing this 12 months’s U.S. presidential election.

“The only thing that genuinely triggers certain reactions is that Putin, a war criminal with an arrest warrant from The Hague Tribunal, is being interviewed instead of being interrogated as he should by an investigator ” mentioned Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council. “That is the only thing he should be doing in the remaining days of his life, no matter how many he has left.”

Ukrainians, nonetheless weren’t the Kremlin’s supposed viewers. Putin’s message, together with a 30-minute falsehood studded historical past lecture, was aimed toward Carlson’s demographic: Republican supporters of former president Donald Trump, a lot of whom have expressed admiration for the Russian chief and questioned U.S. assist of Ukraine.

Putin appeared desperate to persuade them that Ukraine rightly belongs to Russia, and that President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are those prolonging the battle. Whether he succeeded stays to be seen. But what’s already clear is that Putin dominated the interview from begin to end.

Carlson made no point out of the battle crimes allegations towards Putin, and at occasions the host appeared out of his depth, struggling to maintain up with Putin’s historical past lecture, with its listing of dates and unfamiliar names, such because the Varangian Prince Rurik of Scandinavia — stretching again to the tenth century.

Putin, a skilled KGB agent, simply sidestepped Carlson’s rare makes an attempt to elicit a direct reply.

“Are we going to have a serious talk or a show?” Putin snapped at one level, after Carlson tried to prod Putin to say that he invaded Ukraine as a result of he felt NATO would possibly launch a shock assault. (Carlson famous that these had been Putin’s precise phrases to justify his invasion in 2022 — one of many few occasions he tried to carry the Russian chief’s ft to the fireplace.)

Putin additionally proved himself higher ready than Carlson, mentioning, to the ex-Fox News presenter’s obvious shock, the truth that Carlson majored in historical past in college and had tried — and failed — to hitch the CIA.

“We should thank God they didn’t let you in, although it is a serious organization, I understand,” Putin mentioned, in what seemed to be a dig at Carlson. Putin’s remarks had been translated into English and a transcript was revealed on Carlson’s web site.

Subtle taunts apart, nonetheless, Putin used every query to hammer residence his predominant arguments: that Russia was the aggrieved social gathering, a sufferer of repeated false guarantees by the West. Despite this, Putin insisted, Moscow was prepared to barter an to finish the battle — however with the United States, underscoring his insistence that the Ukrainian authorities is an illegitimate puppet of the West. President Biden has repeatedly mentioned Ukraine should determine when, or if, to make peace.

Putin, in rambling interview, barely lets Tucker Carlson get a phrase in

“Don’t you have anything better to do?” Putin requested in response to a query about the potential of U.S. troops being despatched to Ukraine — a prospect that, opposite to Carlson’s question, has by no means been on the desk in Washington.

“Wouldn’t it be better to negotiate with Russia — make an agreement,” Putin mentioned, including: “Russia will fight for its interests to the end.”

“We are ready for this dialogue,” Putin advised Carlson.

The supposed willingness to barter, nonetheless, contrasts sharply with Russia’s lengthy insistence that solely Ukraine’s whole capitulation, together with a broad give up of occupied territory, will finish the battle.

But it was additionally simply one among Putin’s many misrepresentations in the course of the interview. He additionally urged, for instance, that Russia troops pulled again from making an attempt to beat Kyiv as a part of a peace deal, which was later violated by Ukraine. In reality, Russia’s forces had been defeated and retreated after struggling heavy losses.

Still, a few of Putin’s supporters mentioned they believed his message can be heard in America, serving to Trump to win in November and inspiring congressional Republicans to proceed blocking any new assist to Ukraine.

“The result of Putin’s interview with Carlson could be that a few million Americans will say, ‘yeah, so Putin is for peace. And Trump is for peace. Only Biden and Zelensky are for war,’” pro-Kremlin political analyst Sergei Markov mentioned. “So we should vote for Trump and against Biden and then there will be peace and no threat of nuclear war.”

Putin interview with Tucker Carlson exhibits Kremlin outreach to Trump’s GOP

Markov added that on account of the interview, “Trump will convincingly win the election and become president of the United States, Trump and Putin will quickly agree on peace in Ukraine, and the war will be over.”

Putin additionally advised Carlson {that a} predominant motive for the invasion, and one among Moscow’s persevering with chief objectives, is the “denazification” of Ukraine — a part of Putin’s persevering with false allegation that Kyiv is managed by Nazis. Ukraine is a democracy, and Zelensky, who was overwhelmingly elected president in 2014, is of Jewish descent, as are different high officers. Putin’s actual aim, many analysts say, is to oust Zelensky in favor of a Russian puppet regime.

The remainder of the interview contained an array of Kremlin falsehoods or half-truths together with Putin’s insistence that “NATO and U.S. military bases started to appear on the territory, Ukraine creating threats to us.” In reality, NATO earlier than the invasion had rebuffed Ukraine’s efforts to hitch the alliance largely out of concern about antagonizing Russia.

“Mixing truth with complete falsehoods has been the Kremlin’s propaganda strategy for decades,” the Russian opposition determine Mikhail Khodorkovsky tweeted. “It’s what made the invasion of Ukraine possible.”

The coronary heart of the interview was Putin’s prolonged lecture masking greater than 1,000 years of historical past, from the creation of Kyivan Rus — a state that supplied the inspiration for contemporary Ukraine, Russia and Belarus — to the current.

Although initially promising to talk simply 30 seconds on the topic, the reply lasted almost a half-hour — all to make Putin’s case that Ukrainians are literally Russians residing “on the edge” of the Russian empire.

However, Putin’s model of the historical past of Ukraine — in addition to that of Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, and Hungary — was riddled with inaccuracies, specialists mentioned. This included his false assertion that Poland “pushed” Nazi Germany to assault it and begin World War II.

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“Putin just took a couple of hours to say: ‘I must destroy Ukraine because I have no idea what Russia is,’” Timothy Snyder, a Yale historian who has written extensively on Ukraine and Eastern Europe, posted on X.

The level of his ramblings could not have been accuracy however moderately to overwhelm viewers with a tsunami of details and dates, and impress them with Putin’s seeming erudition with references to Kyivan Rus or the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Ukrainians mentioned that Carlson was irresponsible and ineffective as an interviewer.

“The propagandist Carlson” unfold “a stream of idiotism, lies and heresy,” former Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk wrote on Facebook, including: “Freedom of speech and freedom to lie should not be confused, Comrade Carlson.”

Ebel reported from London and Ilyushina from Riga, Latvia. Robyn Dixon and Natalia Abbakumova in Riga contributed to this report.