Russian President Vladimir Putin has stressed that he has no interest in expanding the conflict in Ukraine to NATO territory. He made the comment in an interview with Tucker Carlson, a former star anchor with the conservative US TV broadcaster Fox News.
A video of the interview was released on Thursday. Putin said, "We have no interest in Poland, Latvia or anywhere else." He also said the notion that Russia would invade countries outside Ukraine is "just threat mongering."
Putin signaled that the military operation in Ukraine will continue, in order to proceed with what he called the "denazification" of the country.
He said it was an "illusion" that Russia would be defeated on the battlefield, and that the fighting "will be over within a few weeks" if the United States stopped supplying weapons to Ukraine.
Putin also referenced his "personal relationship" with former US President Donald Trump.
Trump is the frontrunner in the Republican presidential nomination contest. He has criticized the current Joe Biden administration's support for Ukraine. Trump has also boasted that if he returns to the White House, he would end the war in Ukraine within 24 hours.
Carlson is known to be close to the former president. Observers say that Putin may have accepted Carlson's interview to appeal to US conservatives who support Trump and his ideology, as well as to possibly influence US public opinion ahead of the November presidential election.