President Vladimir Putin of Russia kept returning to one message over and over in his meandering, two-hour interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson: Russia wants to negotiate a peace deal in Ukraine — albeit on the Kremlin’s terms.

That message seemed aimed at the American right and Republicans in Congress, with an eye to undermining support for aid to Ukraine. If so, the day after the long-anticipated interview, it seemed lost in the muddle.

The Russian leader’s discursive historical diatribes, delving into everything from the Rurik dynasty to the Golden Horde, dominated commentary about the interview online and overshadowed the message he intended to deliver.