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Antifake

“Is this a talk show or a serious discussion?”: 20 falsehoods from Tucker Carlson's interview with Vladimir Putin

During the initial moments of his two-hour interview with Tucker Carlson, Vladimir Putin asked rhetorically, “Is this a talk show or a serious discussion?” Upon confirmation from his American interlocutor that the sit-down was indeed to involve a real conversation, the Russian leader embarked on an extended lecture purporting to explain the origins of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war by use of alternative history — much of it bordering on the ancient. In the end, Putin’s two-hour-long self-justification for Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine contained no fewer than 20 falsehoods.

Content
  • Skull-crushing criminal

  • Gershkovich, nobody's spy

  • Johnson preventing Ukraine from signing peace treaty

  • Ukrainians being borderline Russians

  • Poland coercing Hitler into World War II

  • Lenin creating Ukraine and giving it the Black Sea coast

  • German politician proposing a European security system with no NATO expansion

  • Russia was deceived by a false promise that NATO would not expand eastward

  • Bill Clinton denying Putin's entry into NATO

  • Ukraine conducting a “third round” of presidential elections

  • Who were Ukraine's trading partners under Yanukovych

  • The West derailing Yanukovych's agreement with the Maidan

  • Doors to NATO being opened for Ukraine

  • Who started the Russian-Ukrainian war and when

  • Withdrawing the troops from Kyiv in 2022

  • Zelensky applauding a Nazi in Canada

  • The US blowing up Nord Stream

  • Dollar reserves dwindling

  • Ukraine declaring Russians “non-titular ethnicity”

  • Volodymyr Zelensky's father fighting in World War Two

Skull-crushing criminal

“Allow me to share this with you: a man has been imprisoned in a country allied with the United States, who, driven by patriotic motives, took out a criminal in one of the European capitals. Now, during the Caucasus events, do you know what he [the criminal] did? I hesitate to discuss it, but I must: he placed our POWs on a road, then crushed their skulls by driving a truck over them. What sort of person does that make him, and can he truly be called human? Nonetheless, there was a patriot who dealt with him in one of the European capitals. Whether it was his own initiative or not — that's a separate question.”

Although he did not directly raise the name of the “patriot” in question, context leaves no doubt that Putin had in mind the Russian assassin Vadim Krasikov, who served in the Vympel special unit of the FSB before shooting dead Chechen refugee Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in Berlin in 2019. Contrary to the interviewee’s rhetorical uncertainty about “whether it was [Krasikov’s] own initiative or not,” there is little doubt that Putin knows who ordered the hit that Krasikov carried out.

Why? Because before being arrested in Berlin in 2019, Krasikov was already wanted in connection with the murder of the businessman Albert Nazranov — and even that one was far from his first contract killing. For example, in 2007, Krasikov and two accomplices had shot businessman Yuri Kozlov in the northern Russian tourist town of Kostomuksha. Krasikov faced life imprisonment for that crime, but instead of prison, he was sent to a training base for the FSB special forces, where the “patriot” was trained in the methods he ultimately used to kill Khangoshvili.

Putin has also raised questionable accusations about the character of Khangoshvili — Krasikov’s Berlin murder victim — on multiple occasions. For instance, in 2019, shortly after the killing, Putin asserted:

“[Khangoshvili] was a militant, an exceedingly ruthless and violent individual. In one of the operations he was involved in, 98 people lost their lives. He was one of the masterminds behind the bombings in the Moscow metro.”

While there have been terrorist attacks aimed against the Moscow metro, none resulted in such a high death toll. The most significant series of terrorist attacks took place in 2010, claiming a total of 41 lives. This discrepancy caught the media's attention, prompting Putin to amend his statement in a subsequent comment:

“Khangoshvili was an utterly ruthless killer who, in a single operation in the Caucasus, eliminated 98 people. Reflect on that number: 98 people.”

Certainly, one can reflect on this figure, yet again, there is no public record of a terrorist attack resulting in such a high casualty count.

More importantly, there is no evidence linking Khangoshvili to terrorist activities or war crimes whatsoever. Had Putin possessed any substantial evidence, he could have pursued Khangoshvili's extradition from Germany. Germany consistently honors extradition requests for genuine extremists and terrorists to Russia. For instance, in September 2017, Abdul Omarov, who fought alongside militant groups in Syria, was extradited to Russia. Similarly, in August 2018, Murat Kalmykov, a native of Kabardino-Balkaria who also fought in Syria, was extradited. In September 2019, Germany extradited a 19-year-old from a Caucasus republic, though this person's identity remains undisclosed; hestands accused of recruiting teenagers via social media into terrorist networks. Nonetheless, as reported by The Insider, Russia did not even approach Germany with any demands pertaining to Khangoshvili.

Gershkovich, nobody's spy

“I cannot ascertain who he was working for. But let me reiterate: acquiring classified information covertly is tantamount to espionage, and he operated in the interests of American intelligence agencies or perhaps other entities. It seems unlikely he was affiliated with Monaco - it's doubtful Monaco would have an interest in such intelligence. Intelligence agencies should negotiate among themselves, you see? There are certain developments in play, individuals who, in our estimation, are not tied to intelligence services.
He's not merely a journalist, I must stress. He's a journalist who obtained classified information covertly. Well, that's an entirely different story.”

Here, Putin twice inadvertently reveals key insights. Initially, he claims he couldn't ascertain “who Gershkovich worked for ” — this despite the supposed evidence that led to Gershkovich’s arrest and his continued detention for over a year already. Either the investigation already possesses this information, suggesting Putin does as well, or the journalist must be promptly released.

Putin's second slip-up occurs when he hints at a potential exchange, stating: “There are certain developments in play, individuals who, in our estimation, are not tied to intelligence services,” implicitly acknowledging Gershkovich's lack of ties to such services.

Johnson preventing Ukraine from signing peace treaty

“We were negotiating with Ukraine in Istanbul, we reached an agreement, he knew about it. Moreover, the head of the negotiating group, Mr. Arakhamia I think was his name, he still leads the faction of the ruling party, the president's party in the Rada. He still leads the president's faction in the Rada - in the country's parliament, he's still there. He even put his preliminary signature on this document I'm talking about. But then he publicly stated worldwide: 'We were ready to sign this document, but Mr. Johnson arrived, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the time, dissuaded us and said it's better to fight with Russia. They'd give us everything to regain what we'd lost during the clashes with Russia. And we agreed to this proposal.' Look, his statement was published. He said this publicly.”

Here, Putin completely mischaracterized David Arakhamia's statement, which said that Ukraine itself rejected Russian terms:

“They really hoped until the last moment that they would pressure us into signing such an agreement, so that we would opt for neutrality. This was their main goal. They were ready to end the war if we opted for neutrality, like Finland did, and pledged not to join NATO. In fact, this was the key point. Everything else was cosmetic and political 'side dishes': denazification, the Russian-speaking population, and blah-blah-blah. <...> Firstly, to agree to this point, we would have to change the Constitution. Our path to NATO is enshrined in the Constitution.
Secondly, there was and still is no trust in the Russians that they would do it. This could only be done if there were security guarantees. We couldn't just sign, step back, and take a breather; they might have come back better prepared - because they actually came unprepared for such resistance. So, it could only have worked if we had had one hundred percent certainty that this would not happen again. And there was no such certainty.”

Arakhamia says he did not initial the document, and he has openly challenged the Kremlin to publish a copy — because if Putin is telling the truth, one of the copies of the document with Arakhamia's signature ought to be available in Moscow. As for Johnson, according to Arakhamia, he did not demand anything from Ukraine; he only said that Britain did not trust Putin and would not sign anything with him. Johnson’s skepticism about the Kremlin’s trustworthiness has proven perfectly justified time and again (including by this very article laying out twenty of the falsehoods contained in a single Putin interview with Tucker Carlson).

Ukrainians being borderline Russians

Vladimir Putin: The southern territories of the Russian domain, including Kyiv, gradually started to align with another “center of gravity” - the emerging power in Europe known as the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. This entity was even dubbed the Lithuanian-Russian Duchy, given the significant presence of Russians within its borders. They spoke Old Russian and adhered to the Orthodox faith. However, a pivotal moment arrived with the union between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland. Over decades, Polish authorities embarked on a process of “Polonization” among this populace: they introduced their language and propagated the notion that these people were not entirely Russian. Because they resided on the periphery [u kraia in Russian], they were deemed Ukrainians. Originally, the term “Ukrainian” signified someone living on the fringes of the state, “u kraia,” or engaged in border service, essentially. It did not denote a distinct ethnic group.
T. Carlson: When did this occur, in what century?
V. Putin: This transpired during the 13th century.

The false notion that Ukrainians are essentially Russians from the borderlands is not novel; it was recently reiterated by Dmitry Kiselyov, one of the Kremlin's chief propagandists. Typically, this narrative refers to the western territories of Kievan Rus, adjacent to the Catholic West or the Wild Fields. However, Putin now advances a fresh interpretation: Ukrainians, it appears, are the Russian populace dwelling on the eastern fringes of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. What remains unclear is why authorities, aiming to Polonize this segment of the population, coined the Eastern Slavic term “Ukrainians,” considering that in Polish, the word “border” (in the sense of a boundary) is pronounced “kres.”

However, pondering such a question is futile, because Putin's entire thesis is purely an alternate history. The Union of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish Crown was established in 1385 when Lithuanian Prince Jagiello married the Polish Queen Jadwiga, converted to Catholicism, and was crowned as the King of Poland. In the 13th century — the one cited by Putin in his “history lesson” — no such union existed.

And then, even the Union of Krewo in 1385 did not entail the merging of Lithuania and Poland into one state; it was only as a result of the Union of Lublin in 1569 that the federative Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth emerged. Prior to this, in Lithuania, officially known as the “Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Ruthenia, Samogitia, and others,” the official written language was West Ruthenian, also known as Old Belarusian and Old Ukrainian. It was a branch of the language of ancient Rus, which became the precursor to modern Belarusian and Ukrainian languages. There was no written Lithuanian language at that time; Polish was not widespread in Lithuania, nor was Latin. The first attempts at “Polonization” of Ukrainians date back to the 16th century.

Furthermore, the ethnonym “Ukrainians” is of relatively recent origin, emerging among the Cossacks in the late 17th century. Prior to this, the ancestors of modern Ukrainians referred to themselves as Rusyns. It's worth noting that by that time, Rusyns and Russians were no longer a unified ethnic group, as their languages had noticeably diverged. The explanation for the origin of the word “Ukrainian” from the word “kraj,” in the sense of “peripheral part,” is one version, but another seems more convincing. The term oukraina first appears in chronicles of the 13th century, where it meant a principality (not a particular one, but any). Etymologically, it is connected to the Old Slavic verb kraiati (to cut, to carve up). In modern Ukrainian, the country is called kraїna.

Poland coercing Hitler into World War II

“Before the Second World War, when Poland collaborated with Germany, refused to comply with Hitler's demands, but nevertheless participated with Hitler in the division of Czechoslovakia, but, since they did not give up the Danzig Corridor, the Poles got carried away and still forced Hitler to unleash the Second World War, starting with them. Why did the war start on September 1, 1939 in Poland? They proved to be unyielding. Hitler had no choice but to start with Poland to carry out his plans.”

The idea that Hitler was coerced into a war — rather than having been its driving cause — is clearly a new concept in world history.

The Danzig Corridor is a territory on the Baltic Sea coast. It was transferred to Poland under the Treaty of Versailles in 1918, separating the main part of Germany from East Prussia, thus turning the latter into an exclave (now the Russian territory of Kaliningrad). The city of Danzig (now Gdańsk) was located within the “corridor,” where the majority of the population remained ethnic Germans. At that time, Danzig did not belong to Poland, but was considered a free city under the protection of the League of Nations. Large sections of the “corridor ” ceded to Poland, including the city of Toruń, were mainly populated by Poles, and so Germany's claims to this territory seem highly doubtful. Had Poland lost the “corridor,” it would have lost access to the sea.

Portraying Germany's invasion of Poland, the event that ignited World War II, as an act that was somehow forced upon Berlin, essentially exonerates Hitler, a stance that could be seen as a form of Nazi rehabilitation (Article 354.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). This interpretation becomes particularly concerning when considering the broad application of this law, which has led to the conviction of Russian figures including Alexei Navalny. Navalny was found guilty under the same article simply for sharing a collage on his blog depicting the “Motherland Calls” monument stained with green paint (even if he was released from liability for the “crime”).

Lenin creating Ukraine and giving it the Black Sea coast

“When creating the Soviet Union, it was in 1922, the Bolsheviks began to shape the USSR and created the Soviet Ukraine, which heretofore did not exist at all. Stalin insisted that these republics, which were being formed, become autonomous entities. However, for some reason, the founder of the Soviet state, Lenin, insisted that they possess the right to secede from the Soviet Union. Also, for unclear reasons, he endowed the emerging Soviet Ukraine with lands and people residing in these territories, even if they had never been called Ukraine before. During the formation, all of this was “merged” into the Ukrainian SSR, including the entire Black Sea coast, which was obtained during the time of Catherine II and, in fact, had never had any historical connection to Ukraine.”

This is one of Putin's favorite talking points, but it does not become more accurate with repetition. As early as 1917, the Central Rada in Kyiv proclaimed the autonomy of Ukraine (then part of Russia). After the Bolshevik revolution, in February 1918, the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic was declared as an “autonomous region of the Ukrainian Republic as part of the All-Russian Federation of Soviet Republics.” A month later, it announced the inclusion of the Donetsk-Krivoy Rog Republic into the UNR (Ukrainian People's Republic).

Within the Russian Empire, Ukraine was not recognized as an administrative unit with its own borders, so it is meaningless to speak about whether the lands annexed to the empire during Catherine II's reign had a historical connection to Ukraine. The Bolsheviks, in creating the Ukrainian SSR in the early 1920s, were clearly guided by the borders of the existing UNR, which they had seized.

German politician proposing a European security system with no NATO expansion

“There were smart people, particularly in Germany. Egon Bahr was such a prominent figure in the Social Democratic Party who, in personal conversations with the Soviet leadership before the collapse of the Soviet Union, argued that a new security system should be created in Europe. Germany should be helped to reunite, but a new system should be established, encompassing the United States, Canada, Russia, and other Central European countries. But NATO should not expand. He said: if NATO expands, everything will be the same as in the 'Cold War,' only closer to Russia's borders. That's it. He was a wise old man. But no one listened to him.”

Egon Bahr did indeed propose a “European security model suitable for states that cannot or do not want to join either NATO or the European Union,” and that idea resulted in the creation of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), of which Russia remains a member to this day. However, the claim that Bahr objected to NATO expansion was first made by Putin only in 2016, when the Russian president claimed to cite unpublished transcripts of conversations between the German politician and the Soviet leadership. Bahr had passed away by that time.

In his lifetime, Bahr did publish an article, “Between Protectorate and Self-Determination (Europe in the Force Field between America and Russia),” that was translated into Russian in 2000. It contained the passage:

“The European Security Union is a factor of order for Europe. Its participants should not be members of NATO or the EU. It should thus be equally open to Norway and Turkey as it is to Sweden, Finland, and Austria. I assume, however, that Austria's isolation will not go so far as to reject its application to participate in the Eurocorps or NATO membership.

Precisely because the European Security Union can only act as a single whole and is not intended to be used for national purposes, and its conventional armed forces do not pose a threat, it can be open to the swift accession of Baltic states and Slovakia in such a way that Russia and other neighboring countries do not perceive it as a political challenge and tensions do not arise, as they do with the accession of Eastern European states to NATO.”

However, the phrase that Russian readers tend to interpret as “participants should not be members of NATO or the EU” is better understood as “participants do not necessarily have to be” — if this were not the case, one would have to assume that Bahr would have advocated for Norway and Turkey leaving NATO, and Sweden, Finland, and Austria leaving the EU.

Russia was deceived by a false promise that NATO would not expand eastward

“Let's talk about what happened after 1991 when Russia expected to be welcomed into the “civilized nations” brotherhood, but nothing of the sort occurred because you deceived us. When I say “you,” I don't mean you personally, of course, but the United States. You promised that NATO would not expand to the east, but it happened five times — five waves of expansion.”

This is another favorite trope of Putin and his propagandists. Putin even raised the issue with Oliver Stone in 2017, attributing this supposed promise to Manfred Wörner, NATO Secretary General from 1988 to 1994. However, as noted by the BBC, Wörner never publicly stated that NATO should not expand, and he highly praised the role of his organization in the international security system. The call for NATO to guarantee non-expansion to the east was made by German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher at a press conference on January 31, 1990. But the negotiated agreement providing for German reunification did not contain any mention of the “promise,” and notably, if such an unwritten agreement did in fact exist, no one appears to have informed Russian president Boris Yeltsin about it. Despite Yeltsin’s stated opposition to the round of NATO expansion that occurred in 1999 — when Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic became members of the North Atlantic alliance — Russia’s first post-independence head-of-state made no reference to any sort of “promise” having been made to the Kremlin’s leadership in the waning days of the USSR.

Bill Clinton denying Putin's entry into NATO

“I've talked about this publicly before, but I can repeat it. During a meeting here, in the Kremlin, with outgoing President Bill Clinton - right here, in the adjacent room - I asked him, posed a question: 'Listen, Bill, what do you think, if Russia were to raise the issue of joining NATO, do you think it's possible?' Suddenly he said, 'You know, it's interesting, I think it is.' And in the evening, when we met for dinner, he said, 'You know, I talked to my team - no, it's impossible now.' You can ask him, I think he'll hear about our interview - he'll confirm it. I would never say anything like this if it hadn't happened. Well, now it's impossible.”

Putin also told this story to Oliver Stone in 2017, but since then, a new ending has been added — Clinton's stated refusal. Seven years ago, Putin finished the narrative by saying that Clinton had said he was personally not opposed, but that “the whole American delegation got nervous.” However, in 2022, Clinton wrote something completely different, saying that he had always “left the door” open to possible Russian membership in NATO, both under Yeltsin and also after Putin became president in 2000, the final year of Clinton’s term.

George Robertson, the NATO Secretary General from 1999 to 2003, recalled the following episode:

“Putin asked, ‘When are you going to invite us to join NATO?’ [I answered,] ‘We don't invite people to NATO, they apply for membership.’ And he said, ‘Well, we're not standing in line with numerous countries that have no significance.’”

Ukraine conducting a “third round” of presidential elections

“After President Kuchma, Viktor Yanukovych won the elections. However, his opponents did not recognize this victory, the USA supported the opposition, and a third round was appointed. What is this? It's a state coup. The USA supported it, and as a result of the third round, he came to power... Can you imagine someone in the USA organizing a third round, contrary to the US Constitution, because they didn't like something? Yet, they did it there [in Ukraine].”

Putin is repeating himself again: he told this story at a meeting with “war correspondents” in June 2023. Indeed, a third round of voting is not provided for by the Constitution of Ukraine. But such a “third round” never happened. In Ukrainian elections, an initial round of voting is held in which all registered presidential candidates take part; if none of them achieves a 50% vote share, then the top two finishers move on to a “second round” runoff election. In 2004, that second round of presidential elections was held on November 21, and the Kremlin’s preferred candidate,Viktor Yanukovych, was declared the winner. However, as revelations of gross misconduct and massive falsifications emerged, a weeks-long protest movement developed, now known as the Orange Revolution in honor of the chosen color of Yanukovych’s opponent, Viktor Yushchenko. The massive crowds of peaceful protesters occupied Kyiv’s Independence Square as the country’s Supreme Court continued to evaluate the severity of the election’s apparent irregularities. Ultimately, the proper constitutional body made the decision to annul the results of the “second round” of November 21 and to retry the process. The Orange opposition figure Viktor Yushchenko won that closely monitored electoral process by a 52-44 margin on December 26, 2004.

Who were Ukraine's trading partners under Yanukovych

“Yanukovych began to calculate how much Ukraine would gain and how much it would lose, and he told his counterparts in Europe: I need to think it over before signing [the Association Agreement with the EU]. As soon as he said that, the opposition launched destructive actions supported by the West, and it all led to the Maidan and the coup in Ukraine.
T. Carlson: So, he, I mean Ukraine, traded more with Russia than with the European Union?
V. Putin: Of course. It's not just about the volume of trade, although it was greater. It's about cooperative ties.”

In reality, the EU was a larger trading partner for Ukraine in the pre-revolutionary year of 2013 than Russia was.

The West derailing Yanukovych's agreement with the Maidan

“A coup took place, although the United States told us, I won't go into details, I consider it inappropriate, but they told us: you appease Yanukovych, and we'll appease the opposition; let everything proceed along the path of political settlement. We said: okay, agreed, let's do it that way. As the Americans asked, Yanukovych never used either the armed forces or the police. While the armed opposition in Kyiv carried out a coup. How can this be understood? Who do you think you are, anyway? — I wanted to ask the leadership of the United States at that time.”

On February 21, 2014, one day after snipers had killed dozens of protesters in central Kyiv, president Viktor Yanukovych and the leaders of three parliamentary opposition parties indeed signed the “Agreement on the Settlement of the Political Crisis,” according to which a state of emergency was not declared, the 2004 Constitution (without amendments made during Yanukovych's presidency) was restored, immediate work began on a constitutional reform limiting the president's powers; additionally, early presidential elections were to be held after the adoption of the new Constitution. The agreement was witnessed by the foreign ministers of Germany and Poland, as well as the head of the Department of Continental Europe at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A representative of the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Lukin, participated in the preparation of the agreement, but Moscow did not allow him to sign it; therefore, the agreement reached was more in line with the interests of the EU than with those of Russia.

However, the protesters themselves on Kyiv’s Independence Square — widely known as the Maidan — did not accept the agreement, booing the opposition leaders who had signed it off the stage. A protest leader who had not been party to the negotiation then took the microphone and demanded Yanukovych's immediate resignation, issuing the president an ultimatum. Rather than standing his ground, Yanukovych simply disappeared, turning up in Russia days later without having formally resigned his post as the President of Ukraine.

In Putin's ahistorical version, the entire episode was an American plot in which the opposition representatives — who in reality did not have the authority to dictate terms to the protesters on the ground — first “appeased” Yanukovych, then betrayed the deal they had struck with him. Putin’s version excludes the reality that, after the killing of the “Heavenly Hundred” on February 20, the crowd on Maidan was not willing to accept Yanukovych staying in power under any circumstances, and that Yanukovych himself made the decision to escape before any actual physical threat to him had time to present itself.

Doors to NATO being opened for Ukraine

“In 2008, at the summit in Bucharest, it was announced that the doors to NATO were open for Ukraine and Georgia. <…> Germany, France seemed to be against it, as well as some other European countries. But then, as it turned out later, President Bush, he was such a strong guy, a strong politician, as I was told later: he put pressure on us, and we had to agree. It's funny, like in a kindergarten. Where are the guarantees? What kind of kindergarten is this, who are these people? They, supposedly, were 'put under pressure', and they agreed. And then they say: Ukraine won't be in NATO, you know. I say: I don't know; I know that you agreed in 2008, so why wouldn't you agree in the future?”

In reality, at the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008, Ukraine and Georgia were denied a Membership Action Plan (MAP) — this despite U.S. support for such an offer. Instead, the two aspiring members were offered the limited option of a non-binding declaration:

“NATO welcomes Ukraine’s and Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO. Both nations have made valuable contributions to Alliance operations. We welcome the democratic reforms in Ukraine and Georgia and look forward to free and fair parliamentary elections in Georgia in May. MAP is the next step for Ukraine and Georgia on their direct way to membership. Today we make clear that we support these countries’ applications for MAP. Therefore we will now begin a period of intensive engagement with both at a high political level to address the questions still outstanding pertaining to their MAP applications. We have asked Foreign Ministers to make a first assessment of progress at their December 2008 meeting. Foreign Ministers have the authority to decide on the MAP applications of Ukraine and Georgia.”

Subsequent events showed that until Russia's attack on Ukraine, NATO took no steps towards accelerating Ukraine's accession. Even in July 2023, at the summit in Vilnius, a clear timeframe for accession could not be agreed upon. The statement from that summit read in part: “We will be able to extend to Ukraine an invitation to join the North Atlantic Alliance when NATO member states reach an agreement and when the conditions are met.”

Who started the Russian-Ukrainian war and when

“In 2014, a coup d'état was conducted, and those who did not recognize the coup, and it was a coup d'état, began to be persecuted; Crimea fell under threat, and we were forced to take it under our protection. The war in Donbass started in 2014, with aviation and artillery used against civilians. That's how it all began. There is video footage of planes striking Donetsk from above. They launched one large-scale military operation, then another, failed — and started preparing another one. <…>
They [the Ukrainians] started the war in 2014. Our goal is to stop this war. We didn't start it in 2022; it's an attempt to end it.”

The first airstrike on Donetsk (more precisely, on the Donetsk airport, which had been seized the day before by Russian-backed “separatist” forces) was carried out by Ukraine on May 26, 2014. By that time, Russia had already deployed its special forces to Crimea, conducted a “referendum” on Crimea's separation from Ukraine and accession to Russia, and began supporting Donetsk and Luhansk separatists with weapons and manpower. Rather than admitting the reality that Moscow’s money and manpower were the two factors most responsible for sustaining the “separatist republics” in their war with Ukraine, Russia officially presented itself as a neutral party concerned only in the establishment of peace.

Withdrawing the troops from Kyiv in 2022

“No, we have not yet achieved our goals because one of the goals is denazification. It means banning all neo-Nazi movements. This is one of the issues we discussed during the negotiating process, which concluded in Istanbul last year, but it wasn't us who ended it because Europeans, in particular, told us: it is necessary to create conditions for the final signing of documents. My colleagues in France and Germany said: 'How do you imagine they will sign the agreement: with a gun to their head? You need to withdraw the troops from Kyiv.' I said: okay. We withdrew the troops from Kyiv.”

In reality, by the end of March 2022, the Russian advance on Kyiv had faltered so significantly that it could not be sustained. Russian forces suffered heavy losses. Independent military analyst Yuriy Fedorov wrote:

“There was a plan to take Kyiv in a matter of days – a week. But Kyiv was not taken within a week, and a series of interrelated failures ensued, leading to defeat in this operation.”

Later, Russian forces had to withdraw from the Kharkiv and Kherson regions — a development that certainly could not be explained by negotiations with Ukraine or requests from Western leaders.

Zelensky applauding a Nazi in Canada

“The President of Ukraine arrived in Canada - this is well known, but it is being hushed up in the West - and they introduced a person in the Canadian Parliament who, as the Speaker of Parliament said, fought against Russians during World War II. Well, who fought against Russians during World War II? Hitler and his cronies. It turned out that this person served in the SS troops, he personally killed Russians, Poles, and Jews. SS troops, formed from Ukrainian nationalists, were doing this dirty work. The President of Ukraine stood up together with the entire Canadian Parliament and applauded this person. How can one imagine this? By the way, the President of Ukraine himself is Jewish by ethnicity.”

The incident involving the invitation of the former fighter of the SS Galicia division Yaroslav Gunka to the Canadian Parliament was undoubtedly a big mistake, for which the Speaker of Parliament not only apologized but also immediately resigned. Still, during World War II, not all of those who fought against Soviet troops in Ukraine were Nazis or collaborators.

In February 1943, the 3rd conference of the OUN(b) (the Bandera wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) was held in the village of Terebezhi in what is currently the Lviv region. There, a decision was made to conduct guerrilla warfare simultaneously against the Nazis, Poles, and Soviet forces. The goal was to launch a widespread anti-German uprising before the arrival of Soviet troops and to create a multiparty government for the future independent Ukraine. This was reported, among other things, in Abwehr intelligence. From that time forward, partisan units of Ukrainian nationalists began to act against the German occupiers. (It is notable that, at the time of the meeting, Stepan Bandera himself was already a prisoner of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.)

Another example of non-fascistic forces fighting against Soviet authority was given by Sebastian Fischer, a German Foreign Ministry official, in response to a question about the incident involving the German ambassador’s attendance at the session of the Canadian Parliament at which Gunka received the standing ovation. Fischer noted that the ambassador had not been aware of Gunka's military past, as during the war there had been many diverse armed groups — the Polish Home Army among them — that had fought against the Soviet army while eschewing collaboration with the Nazis.

In fact, Zelensky could have been unaware who the person introduced in the Canadian Parliament as a veteran of the fight for Ukrainian independence was, especially since Nazi Germany did not support the idea of an independent Ukraine (exactly the reason why Bandera ended up in Sachsenhausen).

The US blowing up Nord Stream

T. Carlson: Who blew up Nord Stream?
V. Putin: You did, of course. (Laughter.)
You know, I won't go into details, but in such cases, they always say: look for who is interested. But in this case, you need to look not only for who is interested, but also for who is able to do it. Because there may be many interested parties, but not everyone can dive to the bottom of the Baltic Sea and carry out this explosion. These two components must be combined: who is interested and who is able.
T. Carlson: But I don't quite understand. This is the largest act of industrial terrorism in history and, moreover, the largest volume of CO2 air emissions. But considering that you have evidence and your intelligence services have evidence, why don't you present such evidence and win this propaganda war?
V. Putin: It's very difficult to defeat the United States in a propaganda war because the United States controls all global media and many European ones as well. Are you unaware of this? Therefore, getting involved in this work can be, so to speak, costly. We can simply reveal our sources of information, but we won't achieve any results. The whole world already understands what happened, and even American analysts are openly talking about it. That's the truth.

When it comes to major European media outlets, it's important to note that not all of them are tied to American capital. Take, for instance, the Guardian Media Group, the parent company of The Guardian newspaper, where the largest shareholder is the British private investment firm Apax Partners. Similarly, the renowned German magazine Der Spiegel is predominantly owned by a limited partnership of the magazine's employees (50.5%), with the descendants of its founder Rudolf Augstein holding a 25% stake, and the Gruner und Jahr conglomerate, a subsidiary of Bertelsmann AG, owning 24.5%. Furthermore, over half of the shares of the French newspaper Le Monde are controlled by French entrepreneurs Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse, along with the Spanish media group Prisa. Hence, assertions about the European press being heavily reliant on American influence are greatly exaggerated.

In addition, one of the most prominent media figures involved in alleging that the U.S. had sabotaged Nord Stream is none other than Tucker Carlson himself, who had just questioned Putin about it in the interview. However, Carlson's previous assertion was based solely on a statement by Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland expressing satisfaction that the pipeline was no longer operational. While this statement alone doesn't provide enough evidence for drawing conclusions, it hasn't deterred Carlson from repeating the charge.

According to The Washington Post and Der Spiegel, the explosions were organized by the commander of one of the units of Ukraine's Special Operations Forces, Roman Chervinsky. The U.S. allegedly objected to this operation and believed that it was canceled after their objections were heard. According to the media reports, however, it was only postponed for three months. However, the articles themselves rely heavily on unnamed sources, and Chervinsky himself denies his involvement in the sabotage. Interestingly, a BBC report found that “Russian ships able to perform underwater operations were present near to where explosions later took place on the Nord Stream pipelines.”

Dollar reserves dwindling

“Consider the global landscape: Dollar reserves are dwindling, even among US allies. Observers worldwide are taking note and seeking ways to safeguard their interests.”

While it's true that dollar reserves are declining, and that the dollar's global share in global trade is nearing a 25-year low, the Wall Street Journal stressed in October 2023 that there are few indications of rapid de-dollarization. Elsa Lingos, head of global currency strategy at RBC Capital Markets, remarked that if this is de-dollarization, it's progressing at a remarkably sluggish pace.

The WSJ pointed out:

“The dollar's share has indeed been steadily declining over the past 25 years, but this occurred against the backdrop of the creation of the euro in 1999 and a prolonged rally in the dollar after the 2008 financial crisis. Reserve managers at central banks typically reduce their dollar holdings when the dollar strengthens. In recent years, global regulators have actively pursued diversification, primarily seeking higher returns in other Western currencies such as the Canadian and Australian dollars.

In the end, only countries that had no choice, such as Argentina and Russia, took decisive actions to abandon the US dollar. However, despite Brazil's stated intentions, 80% of its reserves are still in dollars.”

Since then, by the way, there has been a change of power in Argentina, and the new president, Javier Milei, even considered plans to switch the national currency from the Argentine peso to the U.S. dollar before his election, although he later abandoned this idea.

Ukraine declaring Russians “non-titular ethnicity”

“The Ukrainian government labeled Russians as a “non-titular ethnicity” and simultaneously passed laws restricting the rights of non-titular ethnicities. It's striking that Ukraine, having acquired its southeastern territories as a gift from the Russian people, now regards Russians in this region as a non-titular ethnicity. Is this rational? These actions, combined with other factors, influenced the decision to end the war initiated by neo-Nazis in Ukraine in 2014 through armed means.”

In reality, the Ukrainian legal system does not recognize the concept of a “titular ethnicity.” Instead, it acknowledges the notion of indigenous peoples. The Law “On Indigenous Peoples of Ukraine” states:

“The indigenous peoples of Ukraine are autochthonous ethnic communities formed on the territory of Ukraine. They are bearers of distinct languages and cultures, have traditional, social, cultural, or representative bodies, self-identify as indigenous peoples of Ukraine, constitute ethnic minorities within Ukraine's population, and do not have their own statehood outside Ukraine.
The indigenous peoples of Ukraine formed on the territory of the Crimean Peninsula include the Crimean Tatars, Karaites, and Crimean Jews.”

As we can see, neither Russians nor Ukrainians are recognized as indigenous peoples of Ukraine. The adoption of such a law has been advocated by Crimean Tatars since the 1990s.

Volodymyr Zelensky's father fighting in World War Two

“His father fought against the fascists, the Nazis during World War II, I talked to him about it once. I said, 'Volodymyr, what are you doing? Why are you supporting neo-Nazis in Ukraine today when your father fought against fascism? He was a front-line soldier.' I won't say what he replied, that's a separate topic, and I think it's inappropriate.”

Alexander Semenovich Zelensky was born in 1947, meaning that the dictates of time and space preclude the possibility of his having participated in hostilities that ended two years before his appearance in the world. Clearly, Putin confused Alexander Semenovich Zelensky with the current Ukrainian president's grandfather, Semen Ivanovich Zelensky, a guard lieutenant and commander of a rifle company, who was twice awarded the Order of the Red Star. Yes, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s paternal grandfather fought against fascism, and contrary to Vladimir Putin’s repetitive falsehoods, there is no basis for suggesting that Semen Ivanovich’s grandson has somehow besmirched his family legacy.

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