Russian President Vladimir Putin told former Fox News host Tucker Carlson that if the US stopped sending weapons to Ukraine, the war would be over “in weeks”.
Asked why he doesn’t call President Joe Biden and work out a solution in Ukraine, Putin asked: “What’s there to work out?”
“Stop supplying weapons and it will be over within weeks,” Mr Putin added.
Asked about a possible nuclear conflict, Mr Putin said: “That’s what they’re talking about and they’re trying to intimidate their own people with these threats …. smart people understand that this is a fake, they’re trying to fuel the ‘Russian threat’.”
Mr Putin has used the prospect of nuclear in repeated attempts to intimidate Ukraine and the West.
When Carlson asked if Mr Putin would attack Poland, he said: “Only in one case, if Poland attacks Russia – we have no interest in Poland, Latvia or anywhere”.
“It is absolutely out of the question … it goes against common sense to be involved in a global war … and a global war will bring humanity to the brink of destruction,” he added.
Putin calls Ukraine an ‘artificial state shaped at Stalin’s will’
Mr Putin appeared to give Carlson an unlimited amount of time for the interview as after two hours, the former cable news host was the one who chose to end it.
The Russian president claimed in the interview with Carlson that peace talks “reached a very high stage of coordination of positions in a complex process. But still, they were almost finalized”.
“But after we withdrew our troops from Kyiv … the other side threw away all these agreements and obeyed the instructions of Western countries, European countries and the United States to fight Russia to the bitter end,” he added.
The Russian leader revealed that he hasn’t spoken to President Joe Biden since before the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
“We haven’t spoken,” he said, but he added that “certain contacts are being maintained”.
Mr Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, eight years after seizing the Ukrainian regions of Crimea, Luhansk and Donetsk. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian service personnel and civilians – and a similar number of Russian troops – have been killed over the past two years. Several million Ukrainians have been forced to flee the country, while cities like Mariupol have been virtually destroyed by the invaders.
The US – along with the European Union and Britain – has spent billions supporting Ukraine since the invasion began, both in military hardware and in financial aid to help stop its economy collapsing while it’s under attack.
However, Republicans in Washington DC have blocked the latest round of funding, despite claims that doing so means Ukraine’s defence will collapse, emboldening Mr Putin and giving him the green light for future attacks in the region – something the Russian president has said he is not planning.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, an exiled Russian businessman, oligarch, and opposition leader, wrote in a thread on X that “everything Putin does has one goal – to keep him in power for as long as possible. That’s why he assassinates journalists, that’s why he invaded Ukraine – and it’s also why he let Tucker Carlson interview him”.
Putin says it would be ‘understandable’ if Hungary annexed parts of Ukraine
Mr Putin is accused of jailing Mr Khodorkovsky in 2003 on trumped-up charges before confiscating his oil company.
“As much as Putin and his propagandists might paint the West as public enemy number one in Russia, the truth is, he craves Western attention and approval. Why? Because it gives him legitimacy at home,” Mr Khodorkovsky wrote on X on Thursday night. “Russians might be taught to despise the West, but at the same time, a lot of them still view Europe and the US as cultural role models. They watch Western films, they buy Western goods, they follow Western sports teams.”
“So, when a prominent Westerner says something complimentary about Putin, this holds a lot of weight among the Russian public, and it contributes to Putin’s approval ratings. And Putin knows it,” he added.