Putin tells Tucker Carlson deal can be reached to free jailed US reporter Evan Gershkovich

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8 February 2024

Updated 11 minutes ago

Image source, Tucker Carlson Network

Image caption,

Mr Carlson interviewed the Russian president in the Kremlin

President Vladimir Putin has said he believes a deal can be reached to free Evan Gershkovich, a US reporter detained last year in Russia.

Speaking with US host Tucker Carlson, Mr Putin said talks were ongoing with the US about the journalist, who is being held on espionage charges.

In the interview, Putin held forth on Ukraine, US presidents and the CIA.

It’s the first time the Russian leader has sat down with a Western journalist since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022.

Mr Putin said he believed a deal could be struck to release Mr Gershkovich, 32, “if our partners take reciprocal steps”.

“The special services are in contact with one another. They are talking… I believe an agreement can be reached.”

Mr Gershkovich, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, was arrested in the city of Yekaterinburg, about 1,600km (1,000 miles) east of Moscow, on 29 March of last year.

In January, Russia again extended his pre-trial detention until the end of March. He faces up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

The interview, more than two hours long, was filmed in Moscow on Tuesday.

It began with a question about Mr Putin’s reason for ordering the invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

“Tell us why you believe the United States might strike Russia out of the blue,” Mr Carlson asked. “How did you conclude that?”

“It’s not that America, the United States, was going to launch a surprise strike on Russia,” Mr Putin said through a translator. “I didn’t say that. Are we having a talk show or a serious conversation?”

Mr Putin then spoke at length – more than half an hour – about the history of Eastern Europe, beginning with the establishment of the Russian state in the 9th Century.

He argued that parts of Ukraine had long belonged to Russia. He has given various justifications for the invasion, which he repeated during the interview.

Mr Putin also…

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