BREAKING: Vladimir Putin tells Tucker Carlson a deal could be reached to secure the release US journalist Evan Gershkovich

The question about Gershkovich was the last question Carlson asked.


In a lengthy interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Tucker Carlson asked about the wrongful imprisonment of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich. Gershkovich has been detained in Russia since March 2023 when he was arrested while reporting in the city of Yekaterinburg, east of Moscow. American Paul Whelan is also imprisoned in Russia.

The question about Gershkovich was the last question Carlson asked.

"I'm just gonna ask you one last question and that's about someone who's very famous the United States probably not here," Carlson said. "Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter, he's 32, and he's been in prison for almost a year. This is a huge story United States and I just want to ask you directly, without getting into details over to your version of what happened if as a sign of your decency, you'd will be willing to release into us and we'll bring him back to the United States."

"We have done so many gestures of goodwill out of decency that I think we have run out of them. We have never seen anyone reciprocate to us in a similar manner," Putin said. The United States released a Russian arms dealer who was held in the US prison in exchange for the release of US WNBA player Britney Griner, who got busted for weed in Russia while playing on a basketball team there.

"However," Putin continued, "in theory, we can say that we do not rule out that we can do that if our partners take reciprocal steps. When I talk about the partners, I first of all refer to special services. Special services are in contact with one another. They are talking about the matter in question. There is no taboo to settle this issue. We are willing to solve it but there are certain terms being discussed via special services channels. I believe an agreement can be reached."

"So typically," Carlson replied. "I mean this stuff has happened for obviously centuries. One country catches another spy within its borders. It trades it for one of its own intel guys in another country. I think what makes and it's not my business, but what makes this different is the guy's obviously not a spy. He's a kid, and maybe he was breaking your law in some way, but he's not a super spy and everybody knows that. And he's being held hostage in exchange, which is true with respect. It's true. And everyone knows it's true. So maybe he's in a different category. Maybe it's not fair to ask for, you know, somebody else in exchange for letting him out. Maybe it degrades Russia to do that."

Putin contended that the journalist is a spy, which is what he's been charged with.

"You know," Putin said, "you can give a different interpretations to what constitutes a spy. But there are certain things provided by law. If a person gets secret information and does that in conspiratorial manner, then this is qualified as espionage. And that is exactly what he was doing. He was receiving classified, confidential information, and he did it covertly. Maybe he did that out of carelessness or his own initiative. Considering the sheer fact that this is qualify this espionage. The fact has been proven as he was caught red handed when he was receiving this information. If it had been some farfetched excuse, some fabrication, something not proven, it would have been a different story then. But he was caught red handed when he was secretly getting confidential information. What is it then?"

"But are you suggesting he was working for the U.S. government or NATO, or he was just a reporter who was given material he wasn't supposed to have? Those seem like very different, very different things," Carslon said.

"I don't know who he was working for," Putin contended. "But I would like to reiterate that getting classified information in secret is called espionage. And he was working for the US special services, some other agencies. I don't think he was working for Monaco as Monaco is hardly interested in getting that information. It is up to the special services to come to an agreement. Some groundwork has been laid. There are people who, in our view, are not connected with special services. Let me tell you a story about a person serving a sentence in an allied country of the U.S. That person, due to patriotic sentiments, eliminated a bandit in one of the European capitals. During the events in the Caucasus, do you know what he was doing? I don't want to say that, but I will do it anyway. He was laying our soldiers taken prisoner on the road and then drove his car over their heads. What kind of person is that? Can he even be called human? But there was a patriot who eliminated him in one of the European capitals. Whether he did it of his own volition or not. That is a different question."

Carlson did not buy it, saying "I mean, that's a completely different. He's a 32 year old newspaper reporter."

"He committed something different," Putin said. "He's not just a journalist. I reiterate. He's a journalist who is secretly getting confidential information. Yes, it is different, but still, I'm talking about other people who are essentially controlled by the US authorities, wherever they are serving a sentence. There is an ongoing dialog between the special services, Putin continued. "This has to be resolved in a calm, responsible and professional manner. They're keeping in touch, so let them do their work."

"I do not rule out that the person you refer to, Mr. Gershkovich, may return to his motherland. But at the end of the day, it does not make any sense to keep him in prison in Russia," Putin went on. "We want the U.S. Special Services to think about how they can contribute to achieving the goals our special services are pursuing. We are ready to talk. Moreover, the talks are underway and there have been many successful examples of these talks crowned with success. Probably this is going to be crowned with success as well. But we have to come to an agreement."

"I hope you let him out," Carlson said.

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