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IN BRIEF: Special op, preferable US president and 'our man' Blinken — Putin’s interview

Russian President also shared his impressions from the recent interview to US journalist Tucker Carlson
Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives an interview to journalist Pavel Zarubin Alexandr Kazakov/TASS
Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives an interview to journalist Pavel Zarubin
© Alexandr Kazakov/TASS

MOSCOW, February 15. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin told journalist Pavel Zarubin in an interview Western politicians were distorting his words about reasons behind the special military operation, which was triggered by Kiev’s refusal to implement the Minsk agreements.

He said that Russia should have started active actions in Ukraine earlier, described US President Joe Biden as a preferable candidate for Russia and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken - as "our man." Putin also shared his impressions from the recent interview to US journalist Tucker Carlson.

TASS summed up the main points of the president’s interview.

Reasons behind special operation

Putin accused Western leaders of twisting and distorting his remarks about reasons behind Russia’s special operation: "I have never said that the beginning of our special operation in Ukraine was due to the threat of NATO’s attack on Russia."

The president said he was referring to NATO’s constant expansion and Kiev’s plans to join it: "Of course, we were concerned and we are still concerned by the possibility of Ukraine being dragged into NATO, because it would be a threat to our security."

"The complete refusal of today's Ukrainian authorities to implement the Minsk agreements was an actual trigger."

"The only thing we can regret is that we did not start our active actions earlier, believing that we were dealing with decent people."

Interview to Tucker Carlson

It is a good fact that Western leaders have watched his interview to the US journalist: "It’s good that they watch and listen to what I say. If we cannot be engaged in a direct dialogue now for some reasons associated with them, we should be grateful to Mr. Carlson for being able to do so through him as a mediator."

Putin admitted that he was not fully satisfied by this interview, because he was getting ready to anwer to "pointed questions," but Carlson has chosen a different tactic.

Putin believes that the arrest of US journalist Tucker Carlson in the United States is theoretically possible: "From the point of view of Carlson himself it would be sad, I don't envy him, but it's his choice, he knew what he was going for. But from the point of view of making people around the world realize what a modern liberal-democratic dictatorship is, which is vividly represented in today's US ruling class, it would probably be a good thing. They would then show their true face."

Preferable US president

Russia is ready to work with any president of the United States, elected by the American people, but would rather prefer Joe Biden: "He is more experienced and more predictable. He is an ‘old school’ politician. But we will work with any US leader, elected by the people of America."

During his personal meeting with Biden, Putin noticed no signs suggesting at the possibility of his incapacity: Yes, he was peeking at his notes from time to time, but, frankly speaking, I was peeking at mine as well. <…> Reports of him banging his head on the helicopter while leaving it, but who didn't?"

Close public attention to incumbent US President Joe Biden’s health is a result of a heated election campaign in the country, but it would be incorrect for Russia to intervene into it. It’s not the candidates’ health that matters for Moscow, but their political approaches: "I think that the incumbent administration’s approach is most harmful and erroneous."

"Our man" Blinken

In his earlier remarks, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken de-facto admitted that "Kiev and the adjacent territories" were traditionally Russian, Putin said. "From the look of it, Blinken is our man. But he should not make public statements of this kind. It may lead to [his] failure."

Baerbock and responsibility of Germans

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is hostile not only to Russia, but to her own country as well: "It is hard to imagine a state official of her level neglecting economic interests of her own country and her own people to such an extent."

In his opinion, the Greens party, of which Baerbock is a member, is exploiting popular fears, while conducting policies that are drastically different from campaign promises.

Commenting on German media reports saying that Baerbock’s grandfather was a Naz, Putin said: "You cannot shift responsibility for what Hitler and his henchmen did - and not only in Germany, but in other parts of the world, Europe and so on - onto today's generation. I think that would be unfair."