- Putin gave interview to Carlson on Tuesday
- First Putin interview with U.S. media since 2021
- Kremlin says Western media has not been impartial
- Carlson says Americans have a right to know
MOSCOW, Feb 7 (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin granted an interview to U.S. television host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday, the Kremlin said, his first to an American journalist since before Russia's invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin had agreed to the Carlson interview because the approach of the former Fox News host differed from the "one-sided" reporting of the Ukraine conflict by many Western news outlets.
"When it comes to the countries of the collective West, the large network media, TV channels, (and) large newspapers can in no way boast of even trying to at least look impartial in terms of coverage," Peskov told a regular news briefing on Wednesday.
"These are all media outlets that take an exceptionally one-sided position. Of course, there is no desire to communicate with such media, and it hardly makes sense, and it is unlikely that it will be useful."
Asked directly why Carlson had landed an interview with Putin, Peskov said the American journalist's approach was "in no way pro-Russian, it is not pro-Ukrainian - it is pro-American".
The interview is likely to be aired on Thursday, Russia's TASS news agency said, citing reports by the Wall Street Journal. Putin, who ordered the invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, was last formally interviewed by a U.S. media outlet in October 2021, when CNBC's Hadley Gamble spoke to him, though he has since spoken to Russian, Chinese and Kazakh media.
Many Western media organizations have left Moscow or shuttered their operations due to onerous media laws passed shortly after the war. Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, an American citizen, was detained on spying charges in March 2023.
Carlson said in a post on X on Tuesday that the interview would enable Americans to understand Russia's view of the war.
"We are not here because we love Vladimir Putin....We are not encouraging you to agree with what Putin may say in this interview, but we are urging you to watch it. You should know as much as you can," he said.
Putin says he sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine to sa***uard Russia's national security against what he casts as a hostile West. Kyiv and its Western allies say it is an unprovoked war of aggression and imperial-style land grab.
Carlson, who has said much Western media coverage of the war is biased in Kyiv's favor, said he had also asked Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for an interview.
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