World

Putin, in rare US interview, says Russia has no interest in wider war

2024.02.08 21:05

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© Reuters. Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks throughout an interview with U.S. tv host Tucker Carlson in Moscow, Russia, February 6, 2024, in this nonetheless picture taken from video launched February 8, 2024. Courtesy of Tucker Carlson Network/Handout by way of REUTER

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By David Ljunggren, Ronald Popeski and David Brunnstrom

(Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned in an interview that aired on Thursday that Russia will battle for its pursuits “to the end” however has no interest in increasing its war in Ukraine to different international locations reminiscent of Poland and Latvia.

In his first interview with an American journalist since earlier than Russia’s invasion of Ukraine practically two years in the past, Putin mentioned Western leaders had come to comprehend it was unattainable inflict a strategic defeat on Russia and had been questioning what to do subsequent.

“We are ready for this dialogue,” he mentioned.

Putin additionally mentioned he believed it was potential to achieve an settlement to free U.S. journalist Evan Gershkovich of the Wall Street Journal, who has been detained in Russia for practically a yr and is awaiting trial on spying expenses.

Putin made the feedback in a greater than two-hour interview with conservative talk-show host Tucker Carlson that was carried out in Moscow on Tuesday and aired on tuckercarlson.com.

Asked if he might think about a situation in which he would ship Russian troops to Poland, a NATO member, Putin replied:

“Only in one case, if Poland attacks Russia. Why? Because we have no interest in Poland, Latvia or anywhere else. Why would we do that? We simply don’t have any interest.”

Putin spoke in Russian and his remarks had been dubbed into English. He started with prolonged remarks about Russia’s relations with Ukraine, Poland and different international locations.

Putin devoted a considerable a part of the interview to complaining that Ukraine had been on the verge of agreeing a deal to finish hostilities at talks in Istanbul in April 2022, however backed away, he mentioned, as soon as Russian troops withdrew from close to Kyiv.

“Well now let them think how to reverse the situation,” he mentioned. “We’re not against it. It would be funny if it were not so sad that. This endless mobilization in Ukraine, the hysteria, the domestic problems, sooner or later it will result in an agreement.”

The Russian chief mentioned the U.S. had urgent home points to fret about. “Wouldn’t it be better to negotiate with Russia? Make an agreement. Already understanding the situation that is developing today, realizing that Russia will fight for its interests to the end,” Putin mentioned.

Washington, which has despatched Ukraine greater than $110 billion in help since Russia invaded in February 2022, has made clear it has no interest in speaking on Putin’s phrases

Putin was final formally interviewed by a U.S. media outlet in October 2021, when CNBC’s Hadley Gamble spoke to him.

The Carlson interview got here as U.S. lawmakers debate whether or not to offer more cash for Ukraine’s war effort. It additionally aired the identical day as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy changed the favored military chief along with his floor forces commander.

A procedural vote in the U.S. Senate helped advance a invoice that features $61 billion in new funds for Ukraine, nevertheless it faces uncertainty in the Republican-dominated House of Representatives the place dozens of members, significantly these carefully allied with former President Donald Trump, have voted towards Ukraine help.

PROGRESS IN JOURNALIST’S CASE

Putin mentioned Russian and American particular providers had been discussing the Gershkovich case and had made some progress.

Putin steered that in return, Moscow wished Germany to free Vadim Krasikov, who was convicted of the 2019 homicide of a Chechen dissident in Berlin, though he didn’t point out Krasikov by title.

“There have been many successful examples of these talks crowned with success,” Putin mentioned. “Probably this is going to be crowned with success as well but we have to come to an agreement.”

Russia and the United States have agreed high-profile prisoner swaps in the previous – most just lately in December 2022 when Moscow traded Brittney Griner, a U.S. basketball star convicted of a medication offence in Russia – for Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout.

The Kremlin mentioned Putin agreed to the Carlson interview as a result of the method of the previous Fox News host differed from the “one-sided” reporting of the Ukraine battle by many Western information retailers.

Carlson is taken into account to have shut connections to Trump, who is predicted to be the Republican Party candidate in the November U.S. presidential election.

Complaining in regards to the billions of {dollars} in help despatched to Kyiv to date, Trump has referred to as for de-escalation of the war in Ukraine, in which the Biden administration has strongly backed the Zelenskiy authorities.

For his half, Carlson has mentioned a lot Western media protection of the war is biased in Kyiv’s favor.

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