Here are the takeaways from Putin’s sit-down with Carlson.
- Putin isn’t done with his war
The main message Putin sought to convey to Americans: There’s no point helping Ukraine with more money and weapons. And Carlson, who has himself previously questioned U.S. support for Ukraine as it seeks to defend its people and its land in the face of Russia’s assault, was all too happy to help deliver that message.
“If you really want to stop fighting, you need to stop supplying weapons. It will be over within a few weeks. That’s it,” Putin claimed, adding that it was up to the U.S. to tell Ukraine to come to the negotiating table.
But that’s not really the full story, as Putin himself made clear in two telling responses to Carlson’s follow-up questions.
First, asked whether Russia had achieved its war aims, Putin said: “No. We haven’t achieved our aims yet because one of them is de-nazification.” The claim that Russia is seeking to “de-nazify” Ukraine is widely seen as code for the removal of the country’s democratically elected (Jewish) president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In a strong indication of what he meant by his comment, Putin said “we have to get rid of those people” who he claimed, without basis, “support” Nazism.
Second, when Carlson asked whether Putin would “be satisfied with the territory that you have now,” the Russian autocrat refused to respond, returning to his point about de-nazification and insisting he hadn’t yet finished answering the previous question. We’ll take that as another no.
First appeared on www.politico.eu