Ukrainians interviewed by Kyiv Post have reacted with outrage over the revelation that Tucker Carlson, former Fox News anchor, has interviewed Russian president Vladimir Putin.
“Does Tucker Carlson understand that the message of the devil… legitimizes hell on earth?” Maksym, a 28-year-old driver from Kryvyi Rih said.
“And does he understand that he himself will burn in hell? Or does he think he’s doing good? And if so, then why?”
In a post on his Instagram account on Wednesday, the right-wing US talk show host announced that the sit-down – which has already been recorded – would be broadcast at 6 pm Eastern (2300 GMT) on his website.
Carlson, a key ally of 2024 election candidate Donald Trump and a vocal opponent of continuing US military aid for Ukraine, travelled to Moscow to conduct Putin's first interview with a Western journalist since the launch of Russia's February 2022 full-scale invasion.
It’s the biggest thing by far that he has done since his show on Fox came to an end last April. He was ousted days after the right-wing cable network paid a settlement approaching $800 million to end a defamation case over false allegations that the ballot-counting company, Dominion Voting Systems, had helped steal the 2020 presidential election from Trump.
Olha, a 34-year-old photographer from Kharkiv, told Kyiv Post: “Is he a real journalist? Let him ask Putin questions that all the people want to hear, not just make publicity for himself.
“If he asks real questions, okay. But if not, then it’s meaningless.”
In a social media post justifying the upcoming interview, Carlson falsely claimed he was the only Western journalist who had “bothered” to request access to Putin since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
But this was almost immediately contradicted by the Kremlin itself, with spokesperson Dmitry Peskov telling reporters: “We receive many requests for interviews with the president.”
CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour and the BBC’s Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg also refuted Carlson’s claim on social media, saying they’d been repeatedly denied an interview with Putin.
Peskov explained that Carlson had been granted the interview because his pro-Russian position contrasts with what he described as “the traditional Anglo-Saxon media.”
The timing of the interview, as a vital aid bill for Ukraine being held up by Trump and the upcoming US presidential elections, is not lost on those in Ukraine.
Sofiia, a 32-year-old IT worker, said: “It is very convenient to interview Putin before the presidential elections.
“The slogan – let's completely misinform people so that there will be a civil war in the United States – is very close to being realized.”
Carlson's access to Putin is a huge contrast with the restraints placed on 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, AFP reports.
Olha suggested if Carlson was to really do the job of a journalist properly, his next visit would be to Ukraine to witness “the best places of Putin's glory.”
“[He could] stay overnight in a house destroyed by a Russian missile for a complete and multifaceted experience,” she said.
“And let him conduct online streaming. It will be a total success in his journalistic career, no one has done this.”
Others were far more direct. Alex, a 34-year-old IT worker, said: “I will use the words of Raymond Smith, a character in one of my favorite movies The Gentlemen, and say that Tucker Carlson is just a ‘deluded s**t-eating c**t.’”
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