Putin has given an interview with broadcaster Tucker Carlson, Good Morning Britain's Jonathon Swain looks at the key point from the two hour chat
President Vladimir Putin has claimed Boris Johnson prevented peace talks, in his first interview with a western journalist since he launched the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking to controversial rightwing US host Tucker Carlson, the Russian premier used the two-hour-long sit down to blame the West for prolonging the fighting, which started in February 2022.
Putin alleged former prime minister Johnson - who he said had a "pure heart" but "not a great mind" - intervened during talks in Istanbul in 2022 and persuaded Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy not to sign a peace deal, arguing that “it was better to fight Russia”.
Mr Johnson has previously rejected this claim as “total nonsense”.
During the interview, uploaded to Carlson's website, in which Putin was rarely challenged by host, the Russian leader focused on the conflict with Ukraine, as the war nears the two-year mark.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby tried to minimise the impact of Carlson’s interview ahead of its release: “Remember, you’re listening to Vladimir Putin. And you shouldn’t take at face value anything he has to say.”
Carlson was also widely criticised ahead of the interview airing, over concerns it would give Putin an outlet for his propaganda points.
In recent years, Carlson has offered flattering interviews to Hungarian autocrat Viktor Orbán and Argentina’s far-right president Javier Milei, giving the figures a stage to push their agenda.
The former Fox News host, who was fired from the US channel last year, also said western journalists had “not bothered” to interview Putin.
He also accused them of engaging in “fawning pep sessions” when interviewing Zelenskyy, CNN reported.
However, journalists have repeatedly been requesting interviews with Putin, but the Russian President had declined to grant access.
Over the course of the more than two-hour sit-down, Putin repeated his claim that his invasion of Ukraine was necessary to protect Russian speakers in Ukraine and prevent the country from posing a threat to Russia by joining NATO.
Rishi Sunak branded the allegations as “clearly ridiculous” during a visit to the South West.
The prime minister said: “Russia conducted an illegal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. I’m proud that the UK has stood strongly with Ukraine from the beginning.
“We can’t let this type of behaviour go unchecked... that’s why we’re working closely, not just with the US but with allies around the world, to give Ukraine the support it needs for as long as it takes to repel the Russian invasion.”
Putin went on to claim the Zelenskyy had refused to conduct talks with the Kremlin.
“We have never refused negotiations,” Putin said. “You should tell the current Ukrainian leadership to stop and come to a negotiating table.”
Putin argued that it's up to Washington to stop supplying Ukraine with weapons and convince Kyiv, which he called a US “satellite”, to sit down for negotiations.
He also warned that the West will never succeed in inflicting a “strategic defeat” in Ukraine and rejected allegations that Russia was harboring plans to attack Poland or other NATO countries.
Carlson also asked whether US Wall Street Journal journalist Evan Gershkovich would be released from Russian jail after Putin cracked down on international media in the country.
To which Putin said Moscow is open to talks but repeated that the reporter was charged with espionage, an accusation Gershkovich has denied.
“He was caught red-handed when he was secretly getting classified information,” Putin said of Gershkovich, adding that he doesn't exclude that the reporter could return home.
“There is no taboo on settling this issue. We are ready to solve it but there are certain conditions that are being discussed between special services. I believe an agreement can be reached."
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