Tucker Carlson heaped praise on Moscow during an off-the cuff chat with a Russian journalist while he’s in the city for his controversial interview with the country’s President Vladimir Putin.
On Wednesday morning, Russian state news agency TASS confirmed with the Kremlin that the interview has already taken place – it will be the first with an American journalist since 2021.
Russian leader’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that it will be released as soon as it’s ‘prepared’, while TASS said it will likely be aired tomorrow.
‘I wouldn’t like to get ahead of myself: after all, this is his interview, so when he’s ready to publish it, he’ll probably talk about all the details himself first,’ Peskov added.
In the brief clip of Carlson and his entourage filmed in a parking lot, the former Fox News host espouses his admiration for Moscow specifically citing the 19th century architecture as one of the reasons he admires the Russian capital.
‘I really do like [Moscow], I’m not just saying that. Why do I feel like I’m betraying my country when I’m saying that? I’m not, I love America,’ he says as he exits the interview.
The clip comes as numerous journalists and media organizations have hit back at Carlson over his comments surrounding the Putin interview.
In a later clip seemingly recorded in the same parking lot, Carlson stresses his need for coffee while saying that the interview with Putin has not taken place yet.
Tucker Carlson shown here in a Moscow parking lot in which he expresses his admiration for the Russian capital
In a later video, seemingly from the same parking lot, Carlson says that the interview with Putin has not taken place yet
Carlson said in an earlier clip released on X hyping his interview that ‘not a single Western journalist has bothered to interview Vladimir Putin,’ prompting outrage from other media figures.
Peskov reacted to Carlson’s comments alleging disinterest from the Western media in interviewing Putin.
‘Mr. Carlson is wrong. But he couldn’t have known. When it comes to the countries of the collective West, we are talking about large online media, traditional television channels, large newspapers, which cannot boast of attempts to at least look impartial in terms of coverage,’ Peskov said.
‘These are all media that take an exclusively one-sided position,’ he added.
Peskov went on to say Carlson is special in the Kremlin’s eyes because he takes a position that is not pro-Russian or pro-Ukrainian, just pro-American while also saying he’s different from others in the ‘Angol-Saxon media.’
As millions wait for the interview to go live, former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt told Newsweek that Carlson could face sanctions as a result of his actions.
‘As Putin is a war criminal and the EU sanctions all who assist him in that effort, it seems logical that the External Action Service examine his case as well,’ he said.
In his earlier video video, Carlson accused the western media of engaging in ‘fawning pep sessions’ regarding Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the wake of Russia’s invasion of their neighbor.
For years, Carlson was widely criticized to amplifying Kremlin talking points on his highly rated cable network show.
‘Does Tucker really think we journalists haven’t been trying to interview President Putin every day since his full scale invasion of Ukraine? It’s absurd — we’ll continue to ask for an interview, just as we have for years now,’ CNN’s Christine Amanpour said in response to Carlson.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has confirmed that the interview has taken place
Russian-American journalist for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty ) Alsu Kurmasheva, who is in custody after she was accused of violating Russia’s law on foreign agents
Carlson (center), 54, was spotted in the Russian capital at a Spartacus performance in Bolshoi Theatre, according to media in Russia
A picture of Carlson appears to show him at a Spartacus performance at the Bolshoi Theatre
Alexei Venediktov, former editor of Ekho Moskvy radio station, has said: ‘As I understand, Tucker Carlson got what he wanted’
During his brief interview, Carlson cited his love of 19th century architecture as one of the reasons he loves Moscow
‘If Tucker dares to broadcast this interview in the United States, first and foremost, this will blow up their informational blockade from within,’ said political scientist Sergey Mikheyev, according to an analysis of Russian media by The Daily Beast.
Mikheyev, the site said, predicted Putin’s interview would be more interesting than anything said by American politicians.
He added both the Democratic and the Republican elites are ‘uninteresting and stupid,’ and said Carlson’s interview would have some ‘interesting’ consequences when revealed to an ignorant American public.
The host of the show, The Evening With Vladimir Solovyov, added: ‘It will blow them up into pieces!’
Mikheyev hopefully said: ‘God willing, there will be a civil war!’
Alexei Venediktov, former editor of Ekho Moskvy radio station, tweeted: ‘As I understand, Tucker Carlson got what he wanted.’
One talk show host, Evgeny Popov, said Carlson ‘charged his smartphone via a USB port and connected to a fast and free WiFi internet.’
He added: ‘American citizens can’t even dream about such wonders of civilization.’
Putin is seen speaking to Megyn Kelly in June 2017
Putin is pictured in 2018 speaking to Fox News host Chris Wallace
Putin spoke to Keir Simmons of NBC in 2021: his most recent interview with Western media
And while Putin is known for avoiding interviews with Western outlets, interviews do occasionally happen.
In 2017, Putin spoke to Megyn Kelly for NBC News, and again the following year; Chris Wallace won Fox News its first Emmy nomination for his 2018 Putin interview. In June 2021, Putin spoke to NBC’s Keir Simmons.
He has not given any interviews with Western media since invading Ukraine in February 2022.
Carlson has made no secret of his desire to interview Putin, who he has regularly praised as a strong leader.
In July 2021, Carlson said that he was trying to arrange an interview with Putin when he ‘was spied on by the NSA’.
The then-Fox News host said that his communications were intercepted by the National Security Agency, and his identity – which should by law have been kept a secret – was ‘unmasked’ by senior intelligence officials. Carlson claimed that the content of his emails and texts was then disseminated, in a bid to discredit him.
‘Late this spring I contacted a couple of people I thought could help get an interview with the Russian President Vladimir Putin,’ Carlson told his viewers.
‘I told nobody I was doing this other than my executive producer, Justin Wells,’ Carlson said.
‘But the Biden administration found out anyway by reading my emails.’
The NSA took the highly unusual step of denying his allegation, but Carlson has insisted that his emails were intercepted.
On Tuesday night, Carlson promised that his interview with Putin would be revelatory.
He said he was doing it because ‘Americans are not informed’ about the war in Ukraine.
‘Two years into a war that’s reshaping the entire world, most Americans are not informed,’ the conservative commentator said of the conflict in Ukraine.
‘They have no real idea what’s happening in this region. But they should know, they’re paying for much of it in ways they might not fully perceive.’