While Russia threatens American journalists with prison and House Pro-Russian Republicans deny aid to Ukraine, former Fox News TV personality Tucker Carlson is cozying up to Putin during his current trip to Moscow.

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson recently completed his speaking tour of Canada. Apparently, he wants to “liberate” us from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Carlson is now visiting Moscow to convene with the paragon of freedom and democracy himself: Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The last few weeks have somehow gone from terrible to worse for Russia’s dictator. A Mediazona investigation confirmed the identities of more than 43, 460 Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine. The wives of mobilized troops have begun protesting against Putin. CIA director Bill Burns also stated that the full-scale invasion has crippled the Russian economy, left Russia beholden to China, and helped the US recruit spies deep behind enemy lines.

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It only gets worse.

On Jan. 25, Turkey finally ratified Sweden’s NATO membership after nearly 2 years of delays. In an interview with CNN Turk, US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland stated that Ankara could be welcomed back into the F-35 family if it transfers its Russian-made S-400 air defense systems to Kyiv.

She also insinuated that the US and Turkey are working together to provide Turkish-built 155mm artillery shells to Ukraine.

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Kathimerini reports that the White House is using the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s Excess Defense Articles mechanism to transfer military assistance to Ukraine through Greece. In sum, Washington will provide Athens with new equipment and Greece will transfer its old hardware to Kyiv.

Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, widely regarded as Russia’s Trojan horse in NATO, dropped his veto and voted in favor of the European Union’s €50 billion ($54 billion) Ukraine Facility to fund Kyiv through 2027.

Germany also passed its annual budget which includes more than $8 billion in military assistance to Ukraine for 2024.

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Bulgaria began transferring the 100 armored personnel carriers it pledged to Kyiv last November. The Netherlands will send an additional six F-16s to Ukraine, raising the total number it will transfer to 24.

Even Ecuador announced it would provide Russian-made military equipment to Ukraine as part of an agreement with Washington, provoking a dispute with Moscow in the process.

Armenia, a CSTO member state and one of a handful of countries that supported Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 became the 124th party to the International Criminal Court. Given the ICC’s arrest warrant against Putin, and both Yerevan’s criticism of Moscow as well as its pivot to France and India, the Russian dictator is unlikely to visit Moscow’s longtime ally any time soon.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that a sizable amount of Russia’s oil refining capacity is likely to be offline following a Ukrainian drone strike at a Lukoil facility in Volgograd. Even worse, the Financial Times announced that the West is considering using Moscow’s estimated $300 billion in frozen assets as collateral to guarantee loans to Kyiv.

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Ukraine, a country without a navy, has sunk ~20 percent [or about one-third, if you agree with Ukraine’s General Staff] of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Last week, it destroyed the Ivanovets missile corvette with naval drones. Kyiv’s success in the Black Sea region has forced Russia to relocate its ships from Crimea to Novorossiysk.

It also enabled exports from the port of Odesa, formerly subject to a Russian blockade and dependent on a Turkish-backed grain deal, to reach pre-war levels in January 2024.

The list of bad news for Putin goes on and on.

Instead of building on the momentum, aligning with the White House, the Senate, and America’s allies, and helping Ukraine win the war, pro-Russia Republicans repeatedly throw the Kremlin lifelines.

On Feb. 3, Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson announced that Congress would vote on assistance to Israel in a bill separate from the US-Mexico border deal and military aid to Ukraine.

Carlson’s pro-Russia Republican associates advance Putin’s interests in Congress. The self-proclaimed “free-speech absolutist” himself normalizes the Russian dictator who spent a quarter century invading his neighbors, jailing his critics, and exterminating his opponents. Business as usual.

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From denying Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons attacks against civilians to suggesting that the US blew up the Nord Stream pipeline, Carlson has parroted the Kremlin’s talking points, disinformation, and propaganda for years. He also whitewashed, justified and supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine under the pretext of countering “NATO expansion” since the beginning of the war. Carlson even dared to blame America for it.

Putin’s propagandists themselves, the same regime mouthpieces who call for genocide in Ukraine, nuking London, Warsaw, and Berlin, and destroying America, have championed Carlson for standing firmly with Russia against the West.

Anyone who watches Russian television is aware of how they adore Carlson, refer to Trump as “our president,” and celebrate every time the Republican party sabotages military aid to Kyiv.

Despite supporting Russia’s war against Ukraine, America, and the West and visiting Moscow in the year 2024, Carlson still portrays himself as an American “patriot.”

Meanwhile, international journalists and Russian expats who criticize Putin, oppose the war, or campaign for a democratic Russia are spied on by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) and banned from entering the country for life. Some are even murdered abroad.

Today, two American journalists are imprisoned in Russia without due process for simply practicing journalism. Radio Free Europe’s Alsu Kurmasheva is liable for imprisonment of up to five years for “failing to register as a foreign agent” and spreading “false information” about the Russian military. The Wall Street Journal’s Evan Gershkovich, who spent nearly a year in pre-trial detention, faces up to 20 years in prison on bogus charges.

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Traveling to Moscow to interview a dictator like Putin in the year 2024 is like visiting Berlin in 1940 to speak with Hitler. America wasn’t officially at war with Nazi Germany, but it was possible – some might even say inevitable – given Washington’s diplomatic and military support for Great Britain. To pro-Russia Republicans, that’s just “journalism” because it’s important to hear both sides of the story.

America’s most infamous news anchor is no stranger to controversy. He stirred it for years. This increased viewership and drove ratings at Fox News. Carlson’s lies eventually cost his employer $787 million in a settlement deal with Dominion Voting Systems. Naturally, he also lost his job.

Whatever his reasons for visiting Moscow, this episode will likely cost America, Ukraine, and the West a lot more than that.

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The views expressed are the author’s and not necessarily of Kyiv Post.

George Monastiriakos is an adjunct professor of law at the University of Ottawa. Read his works at www.Monastiriakos.com. Follow him on X @Monastiriakos.

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