Tucker Carlson told The New York Times he's not a Russian agent amid controversy over his pro-Kremlin stance
- Fox News'
Tucker Carlsondenied being a Russian agent in an interview with The New York Times.
- Carlson has stirred controversy by questioning why the US is backing
Fox News host Tucker Carlson has denied being a Kremlin agent amid controversy over his support for Russia as it menaces Ukraine with a military build-up on its border.
The host in recent weeks has questioned the US policy of supporting Ukraine, suggesting it would be just as reasonable to back Russia.
"Why is it disloyal to side with Russia but loyal to side with Ukraine?" Carlson asked Monday. "They're both foreign countries that don't care anything about the United States. Kind of strange."
His contribution ignored the common arguments that Ukraine is a weaker state and a fledgling democracy, opposed by the more powerful and authoritarian Russia which, per US intelligence assessments, is considering starting a war of aggression.
On Wednesday, Carlson defended his views in an interview with The New York Times.
"Everything I've said about Russia and Ukraine strikes me as commonplace, as obvious," Carlson said. "I don't think my opinions are considered radical."
He shrugged off questions on his support for Russia and its allies, his views on Ukraine, and about praise he has lavished on Hungary's strongman president, Victor Orban.
"I don't care, if that's the question," he said. "I've never been to Russia, I don't speak Russian. Of course I'm not an agent of Russia."
He went on to say that his position was based on his disgust at US politicians who promoted futile military interventions abroad, and regret at his own support for the Iraq war.
Carlson has in the past expressed support for Russian propaganda that sought to portray its military build-up on Ukraine's border as a defensive response to NATO aggression.
Carlson's views on Russia have exposed a rift that within Republican Party.
On one side, establishment figures such as Sen. Mitch McConnell have supported President Joe Biden's stance on Ukraine or urged him to get tougher.
Opposed to them are "America First" populists like Carlson want the US to withdraw from foreign military entanglements and don't see Putin as a foe.
Some US conservatives have long harbored an admiration for Putin's Russia, which they regard as a bastion of white Christian civilization against the forces of liberalism.
Carlson earlier in the year accused the NSA of hacking his phone as he sought to reach out to people in Putin's circle to organise an interview.
The Biden administration in recent weeks engaged in urgent diplomacy as it seeks to head off a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, while also sending arms to Ukraine.
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