Russian President Vladimir Putin Interview with Carlson
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) in an interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson at the Kremlin Palace in Moscow, 8 February 2024. EFE/Gavriil Grigorov/Sputnik/Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin Interview with Carlson


International Desk, Feb 9 (EFE).- By Javier Otazu

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his first interview on Thursday to a Western journalist after almost two years of the war in Ukraine, in which he expressed willingness on the conflict in Ukraine, but refused to enter into discussions on US politics.

The American ultra-right journalist Tucker Carlson – fired from the conservative Fox News channel for his radical ideas – interviewed Putin for some two hours, in a cordial atmosphere and without any particularly uncomfortable questions.

Carlson twice asked him if he believed another administration after US President Joe Biden could restore communication between the two countries.

However, Putin did not wish to continue along that line, but underlined that in his career he has had good relations with some presidents, such as George W. Bush (2001-2009) and Donald Trump (2017-2021).

“It is not a question of who is the leader, and the relations between the two countries are not linked to a specific person,” Putin reflected.

The interview was disappointing in the sense that not only did he not want to comment on the political future in the US – as many expected – but also did not make concrete proposals to end the war in Ukraine, beyond showing a generic will to negotiate.

However, Putin claimed that western powers were opposed to this negotiation, which led Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to refrain from talks with Russia.

He said there were “American mercenaries” fighting in Ukraine, being the largest group after the Poles, and warned against any idea of sending regular US soldiers, as it would bring humanity to the “brink of a very serious global conflict.”

“Don’t you have anything better to do? You have issues on the border. Issues with migration, issues with the national debt. More than $33 trillion (…) Wouldn’t it be better to negotiate with Russia? Make an agreement,” Putin said, according to a transcript by the state-owned TASS agency.

The Russian leader, who appeared very relaxed during the interview and dwelt on some of his favorite topics – history, Russian living space, religion – went on to criticize the US’ supposed use of the dollar as a weapon in foreign policy, which he described as a major strategic mistake.

According to him, this political use of the dollar applies to the logic of sanctions.

“It was the decision of the United States to restrict our transactions in US dollars. I think it is complete foolishness from the point of view of the interests of the United States itself and its taxpayers, as it damages the US economy,” Putin said.

As an example, he said that 80 percent of transactions in Russia before the start of the Ukraine war in Ukraine were in dollars and euros, but that the percentage has fallen in favor of the ruble and the yuan, which together now add up to 68 percent.

According to Putin, the US thought that sanctions “would lead to full collapse” of the Russian economy, but “nothing collapsed,” and instead now other countries are thinking about accelerating their oil payments in the Chinese yuan.

The consequences, he said, were not clear yet, but he indicated that the future of world trade would be dominated by the BRICS countries, which he claimed already weighed more than all the G7 countries. EFE


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