Vladimir Putin “was in a talkative mood,” said AP Senior Managing Editor for International News John Daniszewski, who interviewed the Russian president Tuesday evening at the leader’s country home outside Moscow. “The interview stretched longer than promised. He was congenial and ready to address tough questions, including follow-ups.”
Daniszewski added: “He seemed at pains to correct what he felt were misinterpretations of Russia’s positions, on Syria particularly, but also on the Snowden affair and his relationship with President Obama.”
Daniszewski further described the exchange in a conversation on the BBC World Service’s “Newsday” early Wednesday. He told the BBC that Putin said he was not defending Syria per se in the current crisis, but was defending international law, as nations weigh a response to reports that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in the ongoing civil war.
BBC audio playback starts at the 7:00 mark.
Coming on the eve of this week’s Group of 20 summit of nations, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Putin’s rare interview with an international news agency generated wide interest and pickup among AP’s member news organizations, broadcasters and other customers around the world.
AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll said the interview “was the result of great persistence on the part of AP’s news team in Moscow.”