The Kremlin on Wednesday issued a fact-check to comments made by journalist Tucker Carlson ahead of the release of his interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Carlson the day prior published a video to X confirming the interview after the former Fox News host was spotted in Russia earlier this week.
In his remarks, Carlson outlined his reasoning for meeting Putin before questioning why he was the only Western journalist to attempt such an interview amid the country’s conflict with Ukraine.
“Not a single Western journalist has bothered to interview the president of the other country involved in this conflict, Vladimir Putin,” Carlson said. Most Americans have no idea why Putin invaded Ukraine, or what his goals are now. They’ve never heard his voice. That’s wrong.”
Yet shortly after releasing the video, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Russian media outlets that Carlson’s allegations were incorrect.
“Mr. Carlson is not correct. In fact, there’s no way he could know this,” Peskov said. “We receive numerous requests for interviews with the president, but mostly, as far as countries in the collective West are concerned, these are from major network media: traditional TV channels and large newspapers that don’t even attempt to appear impartial in their coverage.”
Peskov added that Putin has “no desire to communicate with this kind of media” but agreed to Carlson’s request given that he “stands in clear contrast to the position of the traditional Anglo-Saxon media.”
Carlson’s interview, which has not yet been released, has stirred pushback from critics who fear the journalist will not only fail to push back on Putin but will instead amplify Kremlin propaganda.
And the Kremlin isn’t the only one to issue a fact-check on Carlson’s claims. Numerous journalists also noted on X that they had repeatedly attempted to interview Putin to no avail.
“Interesting to hear @TuckerCarlson claim that ‘no western journalist has bothered to interview’ Putin since the invasion of Ukraine,” BBC journalist Steve Rosenberg wrote. “We’ve lodged several requests with the Kremlin in the last 18 months. Always a ‘no’ for us.”
Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s Chief International Anchor, likewise noted that Putin had been declining interview requests for several years.
“Does Tucker really think we journalists haven’t been trying to interview President Putin every day since his full scale invasion of Ukraine? It’s absurd — we’ll continue to ask for an interview, just as we have for years now.
Russian journalist Yevgenia Albats, an expert on the KGB, described Carlson’s statement as “unbelievable.”
“Unbelievable! I am like hundreds of Russian journalists who have had to go into exile to keep reporting about the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine,” Albats wrote. “The alternative was to go to jail. And now this SoB is teaching us about good journalism, shooting from the $1000 Ritz suite in Moscow.”
Carlson has repeatedly praised Putin in the past, even going so far as to suggest that the U.S. should side with Russia over Ukraine.
“It may be worth asking yourself, since it is getting pretty serious, what is this really about? Why do I hate Putin so much? Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him?” Carlson said in 2022. “These are fair questions, and the answer to all of them is: ‘No.’ Vladimir Putin didn’t do any of that.”
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Carlson’s interview may go live on his website and X on Thursday.