Claims and warnings: 6 key takeaways from Tucker Carlson’s controversial Putin interview

Claims and warnings: 6 key takeaways from Tucker Carlson’s controversial Putin interview
Vladimir Putin's interview with Tucker Carlson marks the first time the Russian leader agreed to talk to a Western journalist since the Russia-Ukraine war began (Getty Images)

Inside Vladimir Putin's mind: Key takeaways from the Tucker Carlson interview

BELFAST, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 17:  Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives at Belfast Internationa
Russian President Vladimir Putin shared his perspectives on various issues during the interview (Peter Muhly - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

In an unusual but rather significant departure from his diplomatic circles, Vladimir Putin engaged in a candid interview with former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson in Moscow. Carlson released the full video of the interview on Friday, February 9, marking Putin's first engagement with a Western journalist since the onset of the Russia-Ukraine conflict approximately two years ago. The rare encounter offered insights into Putin's perspectives on various global issues. Following are six eyebrow-raising moments and key discussions from the extensive two-hour conversation.

1. Vladimir Putin's perspective on Elon Musk

GRUENHEIDE, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 03: Tesla head Elon Musk talks to the press as he arrives to to have
Vladimir Putin said in the interview that there is 'no stopping Elon Musk' (Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

During the interview, Vladimir Putin delved into discussions about the future of mankind, drawing parallels to historical figures and events. After traversing through history, Putin contemplated the emergence of a "superhuman" in modern times. When questioned by Tucker Carlson about the onset of the "AI empire", Putin deferred, suggesting Elon Musk might offer insights. He remarked, "I think there’s no stopping Elon Musk. He will do as he sees fit." However, the Russian leader also stressed the necessity for international agreements to address the threat “from unbridled and uncontrolled development of AI or genetics or any other field".

2. Warning against US troop deployment in Ukraine

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - JUNE 05:  Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives for a joint press statement wit
Vladimir Putin accused the US of 'cheap provocation' ( Thomas Kronsteiner/Getty Images)

Putin's warning against the deployment of US troops to Ukraine reverberated with implications of global conflict. Accusing the US of "cheap provocation", Putin cautioned against actions that could escalate tensions. “If somebody has the desire to send regular troops, that would certainly bring humanity to the brink of a very serious global conflict,” he told Carlson. Putin urged the US to address domestic issues and engage in diplomatic negotiations with Russia instead. “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. Already understanding the situation that is developing today, realizing that Russia will fight for its interests to the end," he said.

3. Allegations of CIA involvement in Nord Stream attacks

The release of gas emanating from a leak on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea on September 27, 2022. (Swedish Coast Guard via Getty Images)
The release of gas emanating from a leak on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea on September 27, 2022 (Swedish Coast Guard via Getty Images)

Putin made a striking claim regarding the sabotage of the Nord Stream gas pipelines linking Germany, Finland, and Russia. The attacks, which occurred in international waters, prompted speculation, with Russia initially suspected of involvement. However, Putin pointed the finger at the CIA, alleging their role in the sabotage. When Carlson asked who was responsible for the attack, Putin humorously retorted, “You for sure." Carlson responded by joking he was “busy that day". However, refusing to delve into specifics, Putin cryptically suggested looking "for someone who is interested” and who “has capabilities".

4. Boris Johnson's role in Ukraine-Russia conflict

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 9:  Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a virtual press conference at D
Vladimir Putin alleged Boris Johnson interfered in a Russia-Ukraine peace deal in 2022 (Stefan Rousseau- WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Putin reiterated his allegations that Boris Johnson interfered with a peace deal between Ukraine and Russia brokered with Turkey's assistance in the spring of 2022. "Prime Minister Johnson came to talk us out of it and we missed that chance. Well, you missed it," Putin said. The Russian strongman questioned the rationale behind yielding to Johnson's demands or persuasion, considering it absurd. “The fact that they obey the demand or persuasion of Mr Johnson, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, seems ridiculous. Where is Mr Johnson now? And the war continues.” Carlson pondered, "That’s a good question. Where do you think he is, and why did he do that?" Putin said he “did not understand it," adding, “Because of arrogance, because of a pure heart, but not because of a great mind."

5. Russia's disinterest in expanding conflict

SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 14:  Russian President Vladimir Putin visits USA House in the Olympic Villa
Vladimir Putin said Russia was not interested in showing aggression towards other nations (Marianna Massey/Getty Images for USOC)

Putin's assertion of Russia's disinterest in expanding the conflict to neighboring countries conveyed a strategic stance. He highlighted Russia's focus on self-defense and national interests, rather than aggression towards other nations. "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," he insisted.

6. Potential prisoner swap involving Evan Gershkovich

Evan Gershowicz (YouTube/National Press Club Live)
Vladimir Putin even hinted at the possibility of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich's release from Russian prison (YouTube/National Press Club Live)

During the extensive two-hour interview, Putin hinted at the possibility of releasing Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter detained in a Russian prison for nearly a year on unverified espionage charges. Putin indicated ongoing back-channel discussions with Washington regarding Gershkovich's potential release, stating, "Special services are in contact with one another. They are talking about the matter in question." He expressed optimism about reaching an agreement, affirming, "I believe an agreement can be reached."

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