Vladimir Putin was interviewed by the former American Fox News presenter.
A first exercise of its kind since the start of the Russian invasion in Ukraine.
Here is the truth and the falsehood about this interview conducted from the Kremlin.
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The information scrutinized
After a carefully thought-out teaser and more than 24 hours of waiting, Tucker Carlson finally released his exclusive interview with Vladimir Putin, conducted from the Kremlin. On Tuesday, February 6, the Russian president responded for more than two hours to questions from the former Fox News presenter, a master in the art of disinformation. The opportunity for him to deliver in detail his vision of history, but also to reinvent the story around the war he has been waging since 2014 on Ukrainian soil. The Verifiers cell selected four remarks by Vladimir Putin, which it scrutinized.
Ukraine is Russian, a classic Kremlin narrative
To begin, the Russian president wanted to share (for more than 30 minutes) his vision of the history of Ukraine, which he does not consider as a state in its own right. “Where did Ukraine come from? The Russian state began to unite as a centralized state”assured Vladimir Putin, before evoking the Soviet period when “for decades the Ukrainian Soviet Republic developed as part of the USSR.” The idea that Ukraine is only a part historically attached to Russia is anchored within Russian power.
For Alexandre Riou, historian specializing in Central Europe attached to the Jean-Jaurès Foundation, this “is akin to a form of negationism of the Ukrainian state reality.” We have to go back to the Middle Ages to understand what is at stake here. “Kievan Russia – a medieval state that emerged in the 9th century and centered around present-day kyiv – is considered a common state, an ancestral homeland that laid the foundations of modern Russia and Ukraine,” explains Björn Alexander Düben, professor of international relations at Jilin University (China), in a note. However, there is no justification that this territory belongs in its entirety to modern Russia.
Tucker Carlson’s Putin interview (also available here, where Putin is not dubbed: https://t.co/r02Ho0MnSm) covers a lot of familiar ground. There are a couple of interesting nuances, and I’ll mention what they are below. Carlson’s ignorance of facts shows throughout. Ignorance… — Sergey Radchenko (@DrRadchenko) February 9, 2024
Certainly, Ukrainian history could be closely linked to Russian history, Alexandre Riou reminds TF1info. But like so many other countries: “Take the example of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria, or even Austria and Germany. At times, these stories are all interconnected, especially in the European framework. And so, at certain periods, we cannot talk about the history of a people without putting it into perspective with that of its neighbor. This is the characteristic of every society, of every civilization.”
However, certain historical facts are still considered by Russians as proof of a common history. This is the case of the signing of the Treaty of Pereyaslav in 1654, which brought the entire left bank of the Dnieper under the protectorate of Russia and which is considered “the resurrection of an ancient fraternal bond”according to Rory Finnin, Ukraine specialist at the University of Cambridge, in a video of World.
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Ukraine is Nazi because it applauded a former SS man
Ukraine is Nazi because it applauded a former SS man. Beyond the historical argument, Vladimir Putin regularly justifies the invasion of Ukraine by the concern of “denazify” the country and its population. A well-known element of Russian propaganda. But in the fall of 2023, a year and a half after the start of the war, an event came to give fodder to the Kremlin’s narrative. What the head of state did not fail to mention when confronting Tucker Carlson. “This story is well known, but it has been ignored in Western countries. The Canadian parliament presented a man who fought against the Russians in World War II. It turned out that this man served in the SS troops . And the current president of Ukraine applauded him in the Canadian parliament, giving him an ovation.”affirmed Vladimir Putin, recalling the necessary “denazification”.
On September 23, 2023, the Canadian parliament unknowingly applauded a former Nazi soldier who had found refuge on its soil, in the presence of Volodymyr Zelensky who was on an official visit. It turns out that the 98-year-old did indeed fight for Ukraine’s independence… alongside the Waffen SS. We were able to find old stories of this man having changed his life and photographs showing him in Ukraine, with the Waffen SS division of Galicia. The affair, immediately used by the pro-Russian camp, caused outrage throughout the world and pushed the president of parliament to resign. Furthermore, claiming that the affair was “passed over in silence in Western countries” is wrong. Right here, we have covered this story, just like The world, THE Guardian or THE New York Times.
Numerous Polish mercenaries in Ukraine
“I don’t understand why American soldiers should fight in Ukraine. There are American mercenaries there. The largest number of mercenaries come from Poland, with mercenaries from the United States in second place and mercenaries from Georgia in third position”, Vladimir Putin further indicated during the interview. In October 2022, the Russian news agency TASS mentioned well the presence of “5,000 Polish mercenaries on the Zaporizhia front line”. According to the Russian political official she then cited, no less than 34 different nationalities of mercenaries were present in Ukraine. Here, the choice of words used is important because it creates confusion.
The number of 5,000 Polish mercenaries in Zaporizhia was quickly denied by the head of the International Territorial Defense Legion of Ukraine, who described him as“absurdity”. As a reminder, many foreigners are in Ukraine today as part of the creation of this international brigade in February 2022. This allowed them to come and legally fight the Russian army. This has absolutely nothing to do with “mercenaries” which, according to humanitarian lawmust be directly involved in the conflict “with a view to obtaining a personal advantage” and which “the material remuneration is significantly higher” to that of the soldiers. While it is not impossible that mercenaries are in Ukraine, their presence appears to be completely unofficial since the Ukrainian law prohibits it.
According to kyiv, the number of foreign volunteers was estimated at 20,000 in March 2022. Among them, French nationals who did not hesitate to officially join the Ukrainian ranks. Recently, Moscow tried to pass off these French people engaged in the Ukrainian army as mercenaries who were all killed in a strike on a building in Kharkiv. However, we were able to speak with some of these men, still alive.
The CIA is responsible for the sabotage of Nord Stream
“Who blew up Nord Stream? You, of course”, Vladimir Putin said to his interlocutor. The Russian president obviously did not directly target Tucker Carlson with this response, but rather American power. “You may have an alibi, but the CIA doesn’t”he continued, directly implicating the secret services across the Atlantic.
Are these accusations founded? The thesis of CIA responsibility was, among others, put forward last year by the American journalist Seymour Hersh. If this octogenarian enjoys an indisputable aura – he was notably the winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1970 – we see that his articles are the subject of regular disputes and that his credibility is called into doubt. His investigation linking the CIA to the sabotage of Nord Stream has not escaped criticism. She does not provide any evidence and relies on a single testimony, coming from an anonymous source.
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At present, there is nothing to confirm who is behind this sabotage. Washington, kyiv and Moscow were in turn accused, before categorically denying it. We note that a Ukrainian lead has been mentioned several times, via a series of investigations published in international media. The involvement of a commando as well as the responsibility of an army officer were highlighted, as part of a project carried out without the approval of Volydymyr Zelensky.
Several legal investigations remain ongoing, led by Germany and Denmark. The one launched by Sweden, which has just ended, did not incriminate any actor. At most, it ensured that “nothing indicates that Sweden or Swedish citizens” in sabotage.
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