In an exclusive interview on Thursday, Tucker Carlson met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the two-hour interview, they discussed several topics, ranging from NATO to his war with Ukraine. For his last question, Carlson attempted to try and free an American journalist that has been imprisoned in Russia for almost a year.
“I’m just gonna ask you one last question and that’s about someone who’s very famous in the United States probably not here,” Carlson started. “Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter, he’s 32, and he’s been in prison for almost a year.”
Carlson asked the Russian president if “as a sign of decency” he would be willing to allow Gershkovich to return home to the U.S.
“We have done so many gestures of goodwill out of decency that I think we have run out of them,” Putin replied. “We have never seen anyone reciprocate to us in a similar manner.”
In December 2022, Russia released WNBA player Britney Griner after being detained for several months. She was released in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
Carlson questioned Putin about the journalist’s imprisonment, stating that he was “a kid” and not a “super spy.”
Putin, however, did not buy Carlson’s impression of Gershkovich, saying that what makes a spy is up to interpretation. Putin accused the WSJ reporter of handling classified information and that he was caught “red-handed.”
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While he swore of Gershkovich’s guilt, Putin expressed his willingness to release him in a deal with the U.S., telling Carlson that the Russian government was “ready to talk.”
“We want the US special services to think about how they can contribute to achieving the goals our special services are pursuing.”
WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich was arrested while reporting in Yekaterinburg last March on espionage charges. He was accused of collecting classified information on an enterprise of the military-industrial complex, according to the Associated Press.
Both Gershkovich and the WSJ denied the allegations. He could serve up to 20 years in Russian prison if convicted.
Carlson is the first Western journalist to interview Putin since his invasion of Ukraine in 2022.