In an interview released on Thursday, Tucker Carlson urged President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to release an American reporter for The Wall Street Journal who has been held in a notorious Moscow prison for nearly a year.
Mr. Carlson’s appeal on behalf of the reporter, Evan Gershkovich, was only the second time that Mr. Putin directly addressed a case that has galvanized press freedom groups and strained diplomatic relations with the United States.
Large portions of the two-hour interview were taken up by Mr. Putin’s recounting hundreds of years of Russian history. But in the final minutes, Mr. Carlson asked, “as a sign of your decency,” if he “would be willing to release him to us and we’ll bring him back to the United States.” Mr. Carlson added: “This 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 superspy, and everybody knows that.”
Mr. Putin was noncommittal in his response. “We have done so many gestures of good will out of decency that I think we have run out of them,” he said, according to a translation of his remarks by Mr. Carlson’s team.
Pressed about the case by Mr. Carlson, Mr. Putin later added: “I also want him to return to his homeland at last. I’m absolutely sincere. But let me say once again, the dialogue continues.”
The Russian leader suggested that he wanted additional concessions from American officials before he would consider releasing Mr. Gershkovich. Mr. Putin suggested that he might be willing to trade the reporter for Vadim Krasikov, a Russian citizen sentenced to life in prison in Germany for the 2019 murder of a Chechen former separatist fighter in Berlin.
Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.
Thank you for your patience while we verify access.
Already a subscriber? Log in.
Want all of The Times? Subscribe.