Zelensky's Office Denies Tucker Carlson Interview and Suggests His 'FSB Sources' Gave Him Bad Information

Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

The press secretary of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has definitively denied that Zelensky will ever sit for former Fox News personality Tucker Carlson. Wednesday, Carlson caused a bit of a media ripple when he announced on "X" that he had scored an interview with Zelensky (see Tucker Carlson Confirms He Will Interview Ukrainian President Zelenskyy: ‘Coming Soon We Hope’).


Looks like we’ve got the Zelenskyy interview. We’ve been trying for two years, and with particular intensity after interviewing Putin in February. The point is to bring Americans much-needed information about the conflict that’s completely reshaping their country’s position in the world. Coming soon we hope.

Zelensky's press secretary, Serhii Nykyforov, responded to the X post on Facebook:

Mr. Tucker Carlson should more carefully check his sources in the FSB. The President of Ukraine has a completely different schedule, and Tucker Carlson is not there.

This interview seemed unlikely at the time for several reasons. Carlson isn't merely a critic of US support for Ukraine's independence; he's a rather vocal critic of any action taken by Ukraine to defend itself, and he isn't terribly restrained by facts in his criticism. His critique of the Ukraine war makes the Facebook comments of Obama Birth Truthers look like Pulitzer Prize-quality work. This clip is a good example.

In it, he calls Zelensky a dictator for suspending elections, ignoring that the Ukrainian Constitution forbids national elections during a state of emergency.


These regularly scheduled elections were disrupted by the state of martial law declared in 2022, at the start of the full-scale Russian invasion. This can be expected from a country fighting for its very existence, where significant portions of its territory are occupied. Martial law is established as a concept in the Ukrainian Constitution and last updated by the national legislature in 2015, before Zelensky entered politics.

Article 83 of the Ukrainian Constitution states that if the term of the Verkhovna Rada expires under martial law, it shall automatically be extended until a new Rada is seated following the end of martial law. Article 19 of Ukraine’s martial law legislation specifically forbids conducting national elections. Thus, for Ukraine to conduct elections while under martial law would be a violation of legal norms that predate Zelensky and the full-scale Russian invasion.

He finds fault with Zelensky for ordering the closure of the Moscow-based and FSB-owned and operated Ukrainian Orthodox Church after it began sermonizing against Ukraine's defensive effort and serving in the Ukraine Armed Forces.

The Ukrainian parliament gave initial approval on Thursday to a law that would ban the minority Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) after Kyiv accused it of collaborating with Russia following last year's invasion.

The UOC has historic links with Moscow but says it is no longer aligned with the Russian Orthodox Church. It denies Kyiv's accusations and says the draft law would be unconstitutional.

Most Ukrainian Christians are members of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), formed from two churches independent of Moscow in 2018.


This is not an issue of freedom of religion. For instance, Evangelicals are free to worship in Ukraine while they are persecuted in Russia and Russian-occupied Ukraine. Orthodox Ukrainians can still attend Orthodox services, just without the treasonous clergy.

Here is a clip from December in which he claims that the US is sending "tens of billions to sleazy oligarchs in Ukraine." The billions the US is spending go to "sleazy oligarchs" at General Dynamics, Raytheon, and other major Defense contractors, not to Ukraine.

While it was easy to see Carlson could hope to get redemption from the pantsing Vladimir Putin gave him, it was more than a little unclear what Zelensky and Ukraine would get. 

Whatever his good qualities, Carlson is a bad-faith actor when it comes to Ukraine. Zelensky's office is right to assume that has not changed. Zelensky has ready access to major media worldwide, and he can count on coverage ranging from cautiously skeptical to outright fawning. Why would he talk to someone who is not going to give him a fair shake? Beyond that, a non-trivial part of Carlson's audience actively supports Russia's invasion, while a much larger number don't believe Ukraine merits US support. Who, exactly, would this interview appeal to is anyone's guess, but politically, it is 100% downside and 0% upside.


The interview would undoubtedly make Carlson a lot of money, but there is no chance that it would result in more support for Zelensky or Ukraine or even a better understanding of the issues. So, Carlson was either making up a story to get attention or getting bad information from someone. I don't know if they were in the FSB, but maybe Carlson should do some due diligence and find out.


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