The Kremlin has confirmed that Russian President Vladimir Putin has given an interview to the controversial US media personality Tucker Carlson.
The two met on Tuesday and the interview is set to air on Thursday, according to reports.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the interview was granted because Mr Carlson’s approach differs from the “one-sided” reporting of traditional Western news media.
“When it comes to the countries of the collective West, the large network media, TV channels, (and) large newspapers can in no way boast of even trying to at least look impartial in terms of coverage,” Mr Peskov said.
“These are all media outlets that take an exceptionally one-sided position. Of course, there is no desire to communicate with such media, and it hardly makes sense, and it is unlikely that it will be useful.”
Mr Peskov added that the president granted the interview with the former Fox News host because “his position is different from the others”.
“It is in no way pro-Russian, it is not pro-Ukrainian – it is pro-American, but at least it contrasts with the position of the traditional Anglo-Saxon media.”
In a video shared on social media site X on Tuesday, Mr Carlson said he was interviewing Mr Putin to “inform” Americans.
“Not a single Western journalist has bothered to interview the president of the other country involved in this conflict, Vladimir Putin,” he said, a claim that has been rejected by journalists covering Russia.
Mr Carlson said there have been “scores” of interviews with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which he described as “fawning pep sessions” to amplify his demand for greater US involvement.
“Americans have a right to know about the war they are implicated in,” he added.
He said the war in Ukraine is a “human disaster” that altered longstanding political and trade realities throughout the world.
“And yet the populations of the English-speaking countries seem mostly unaware, they think that nothing has really changed and they think that because nobody has told them the truth,” he said.
Mr Carlson, who has been a vocal supporter of Mr Putin, was sacked from Fox News in April last year.
The company did not give a reason for his firing at the time, but it came just days after the settlement between Fox and Dominion Voting Systems.
Some of Mr Carlson’s messages were published in the legal tussle and hinted that his private views were very different from the rhetoric on his shows.