President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia will “soon” sit for an interview with Tucker Carlson, the former Fox News host said on Tuesday, a sign that the Russian leader is seeking to make a direct appeal to American conservatives as American aid to Ukraine hangs in the balance.
“We’re here to interview the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin,” Mr. Carlson said in a video apparently shot from a high-rise in central Moscow and posted to the social network X. “We’ll be doing that soon.”
The Kremlin did not immediately confirm that the interview will take place, and has declined to comment on the possibility when asked by journalists in recent days. Mr. Carlson has been in Moscow for several days, according to Russian state media, which has delivered a blow-by-blow account of his visit, raising anticipation of a potential interview by Mr. Carlson of Mr. Putin.
Mr. Carlson did not specify the timing of any upcoming interview. It would be Mr. Putin’s first formal interview with a Western media figure since the start of his full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and his first with an American outlet since he spoke with CNBC in 2021.
Mr. Putin’s government has drastically reduced the ability of Western journalists to cover Russia, and imprisoned a Wall Street Journal correspondent, Evan Gershkovich, on espionage charges that he, his employer and the United States government vehemently deny. The Kremlin has referred to Western countries as having been “stupefied” by anti-Russian propaganda.
The interview would come at a critical time for the war in Ukraine, with American aid to Kyiv stalled in Congress. A vote in the Senate on an aid package on Wednesday is almost certain to fail after an increasing number of Republicans said they would not support it.
An interview at the Kremlin could be mutually beneficial for Mr. Carlson and Mr. Putin. Mr. Carlson lost the most prominent platform in conservative media when he was pushed from Fox’s lineup last year, while Mr. Putin lost the most prominent promoter of his anti-Ukraine talking points in the United States.
In speaking with Mr. Carlson, Mr. Putin would likely be seeking to reinforce that point and seize an opportunity: a chance to reach a potentially sympathetic audience in the United States.
Mr. Carlson, like the Republican presidential front-runner, Donald J. Trump, is skeptical of further American support for Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion, and has embraced Mr. Putin’s efforts to position himself as a global standard-bearer for “traditional values,” like opposing L.G.B.T. rights.
Mr. Putin’s calculus, in good part, appears tied to the war in Ukraine. The interview could inflame political divisions over Ukraine inside the United States, especially if Mr. Putin signals that he is open to a negotiated end to the war. Mr. Carlson’s arrival in Moscow, and speculation that he was there to interview Mr. Putin, drew a mix of condemnation and praise from prominent X users.
“He is a traitor,” former Representative Adam Kinzinger, a Republican of Illinois, wrote in a message, referring to Mr. Carlson. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Trump-aligned congresswoman of Georgia, lauded the news, saying: “Democrats and their propagandists are spasming at the prospect of Tucker Carlson interviewing Putin.”