Tucker Carlson says anyone who thinks Putin will relinquish Crimea is a ‘lunatic’

Tucker Carlson called anyone who thinks President Vladimir Putin should give up Crimea as a condition of achieving peace with Ukraine a "lunatic" following his interview with the Russian leader.

Carlson spoke with Mr Putin in a widely-criticised interview on his X/Twitter show.

Following the interview, Carlson noted that Crimea was in Russian possession prior to the current war in Ukraine — Russia annexed Crime in 2014 — and said the prospect of Mr Putin returning the region was out of the question.

He said "if you really think that a condition of peace is that Putin's gonna give up Crimea, then you're like a lunatic," in a post-interview video contemplating the interview.

Carlson said Mr Putin would engage in "nuclear war" to keep the territory he has already taken.

Russia and 17 other UN member states recognise Crimea as Russian. Ukraine and the majority of UN General Assembly do not share that view.

During Carlson's interview, Mr Putin frequently suggested that a peace deal — on the Kremlin's terms — was possible between Russia and Ukraine.

Mr Putin insisted that Western powers were aware he would not suffer a "strategic defeat" in Ukraine, and suggested they should negotiate peace on his terms.

“It is never going to happen,” Mr Putin said of Russia's possible defeat. “It seems to me that now those who are in power in the West have come to realize this as well. If so, if the realization has set in, they have to think what to do next. We are ready for this dialogue.”

Ukrainian government officials waived away Carlson's interview as delusional.

“Carlson’s interview with Putin is a two-hour marathon of delusions and fakes,” the Centre for Strategic Communications, a Ukrainian government organisation, said in a statement.

Chris Wallace, a former Fox News host who joined CNN in 2022, called Carlson an "eager puppy" who conducted a "softball" interview with the Russian leader.

"But more telling than what Tucker asked, is what he didn't ask. Nothing about why Putin invaded a sovereign country. Nothing about targeting civilians. Nothing about Russian war crimes," Wallace said. "A reporter can ask Putin a tough question if he wants a real interview."

To hammer home his point, CNN then cut to a clip of Wallace's own interview with Mr Putin in 2018, where he directly asked the Russian leader why so many of his critics end up dead.

"During the Cold War, gullible Westerners who spread Soviet propaganda were dismissed as useful idiots. But calling Tucker that is unfair, to useful idiots," Wallace said. "No, he's made a cynical decision to chase MAGA's affection for dictators and what better way to cash in than Putin's Kremlin."