tv Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown CNN February 27, 2022 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
this is cnn breaking news. >> and welcome to our viewers. joining us from all around the world coming to you live from ukraine, i'm michael holmes. and now breaking news continues this hour. ukrainian and russian delegations will meet for talks in the coming hours, even as bitter fighting continues in parts of this country. the delegations will meet near ukraine's border with belarus, which of course is a key russian ally. ukraine's president, though, appearing to have little hope the conflict will be resolved then. >> translator: alexandr lukashenko asked for the
ukrainian-russian delegations to meet on the river and i emphasize this without any conditions. i will say this frankly. as always, i don't really believe in the result of this meeting, but let them try so then later on no citizen of ukraine would have any doubt that i, the president, did not try to stop the war when i had a chance, small as it was. >> now so far ukrainian forces have managed to defend the capital, kyiv, despite being outgunned and outmanned. i've got some video to show you showing a drone attack on russian forces outside kyiv. but russians forces continue to press forward. there is new satellite images that show a russian military convoy stretching more than four kilometers on a roadway that leads to kyiv. to the south, russian forces have now taken control of a town on ukraine's coast that is home
to a small naval base. that's according to the town's mayor. meanwhile, the russian president vladimir putin only seems to be escalating the crisis. on sunday, putting russia's deterrence forces, that includes nuclear arms, on high alert. >> translator: top officials in leading nato countries have allowed themselves to make aggressive comments about our country. therefore i hereby order the minister of defense and the chief general staff to place the russian army deterrence force on combat alert. >> but he is facing pushback from the russian people. nearly 6,000 people have been detained so far in russia as anti-war protests continue across the country. moscow -- the west and its
allies. and the eu and others are ramping up support for ukraine, pledging more weapons and military gear. meanwhile, the u.s. says more than 4,000 u.s. army troops deployed to europe have had their tours of duty extended. however, the biden administration has made it very clear that the u.s. will not put boots on the ground in ukraine. we have seen intense fighting on the streets of ukraine's second largest city kharkiv. but video also shows how ukrainian forces were able to repel a russian advance. cnn's alex marquardt with details. >> reporter: a russian unit moves cautiously throughout the outskirts of kharkiv. their goal to seize a nearby military airfield and factory. their slow progress makes them an inviting target for ukrainian defenders hiding nearby. suddenly an ambush. the russians fall back. their soldiers trying to shelter
behind their humvee-type vehicles. their chaotic retreat, seen here from another angle one more example the stiff resistance the russians are encountering from mobile ukrainian units who know the lay of the land. but the russians can't escape. they run into further trouble, apparently surrounded. at least one of their trucks is disabled. a resident telling a reuters journalist one of the russians was killed in the firefight. >> translator: after we've killed this one, the others run away. they were some 12 to 15 people. that's it. we will win. they won't take kharkiv. they have come back to where they came from. >> reporter: ukrainian soldiers surround the abandoned vehicles, celebrating a small victory in a conflict where they should have no chance of holding off the enemy. off camera, one of them says -- "and that's how we meet the [ bleep ] russian army."
but this ukrainian platoon's day is not over. the enmip is still in the area. they dash forward to fire off rpgs. a ragtag army that for now is holding off a far superior force. but for civilians here, the russian offensive is terrifying. this apartment block in kharkiv hit by artillery fire on friday night. thankfully, most of the residents were sheltering in the basement. officials say one woman was killed. alexander dotsenko says all the apartments are damaged. it's very bad. even as ukraine resists, its people are still suffering. alex marqumarquardt, cnn, kyiv. >> the international community meanwhile stepping up its response to the russian invasion. ursula von der leyen believes ukraine belongs in the european union, saying, quote, they're
one of us. meanwhile, in a significant reversal of defense policy, germany's chancellor announcing a hike in defense spending to more than 2% of germany's economic output. berlin will also spend $112 billion to requip its -- reequip its armed forces. and the you know security council voting to send ukraine issue to the general assembly for a special emergency session that will be coming up a little later. meanwhile, the u.s. says vladimir putin is using, quote, dangerous rhetoric by putting russia's nuclear deterrent on high alert. with more on the u.s. response, cnn white house reporter jasmine wright joins me now from washington. what are you hearing, jasmine? >> reporter: well, michael, in a lot of ways, the white house is trying to de-escalate. instead of matching putin's heightened rhetoric here, they're taking a step back and saying look, this matches president putin's history of a wide pattern of using unprovoked escalation and manufactured
threats. white house press secretary jen psaki summed up the administration's position pretty well here in an interview sunday morning. take a listen. >> this is really a pattern that we've seen from president putin through the course of this conflict, which is manufacturing threats that don't exist in order to justify further aggression. and the global community and the american people should look at it through that prism. >> now psaki added in that quote that the u.s. has the ability to defend itself, but it also should focus on calling out what they view as president putin's playbook. this comes as putin really has a seen a unified west in both its condemnation of russia because of their continued aggression, but also intensifying waves of sanctions that u.s. officials say had been put in place as proportional to russia's continued aggression. and while u.s. officials are still trying to figure out, michael, the credible -- the tangible effect really of what
this new order from putin has, taking it very seriously, i might add, they decline to update the u.s.'s current nuclear alert level. instead saying that the u.s. is ready to defend itself, protect the country, and also protect its allies. but one thing i do want to flag is a senior defense official said today that any miscalculation here could make things much, much worse. so michael, no doubt this will be a topic of discussion tomorrow when president biden calls allies and partners from the white house in this situation room when he returns from his weekend in delaware. michael? >> all right, jasmine. appreciate the update. jasmine wright there in washington for us. now max seton is the financial bureau chief for the financial times. he joins us from moscow. good to see you again. let's start with this. it's quite something for putin to put nuclear deterrent forces on alert why do that? and what does it suggest about
his state of mind to do it? does it smack of desperation? >> i think it's less desperation than this is what he has up his sleeve to respond to the escalatory spiral and it's his response to the western response to his war on ukraine. you remember russia has the world's largest nuclear arsenal. it's an obvious card to play. we've been here before. he threatened to use them against western countries who meddled against russia's war in ukraine. and in 2015, he was talking about the annexation of crimea the year before. and he said that he gave a similar order the russian nuclear forces in case everything went wrong and the west in his mind somehow tried to stop russia from seizing crimea from ukraine. this is very much in pattern with his style of making threats and with russia's nuclear doctrine. >> right. so a lot at stake of course with these talks today. president zelenskyy doesn't
sound too confident. if it does achieve anything, i suppose it boils down to who is prepared to give what. what's your read on these talks? >> i think it's more that they are the russians prepared to give anything? because ukraine has been consistent in they don't think russia is taking this anything. russia's demands amount to the total capitulation of ukraine and the surrender of its sovereignty. they sent negotiations to belarus for talks before ukraine had even accepted negotiations. the delegation is led by the former culture minister vladimir medinsky, one of the major nationalists and historical revisionists in russian government circles which includes this aggressive line on ukraine that russia has taken in recent years. so i think it really is on russia at this point to show
ukraine prepared to negotiate in good faith. because putin said the other day we are open for dialogue, but our core interests are not negotiable. and what that seems to mean is we're ready for talks but only if you do everything we want, and we don't make any concessions. and that's not going to work. >> yeah, which is not a great sign. a lot is being done by russian authorities to stop criticism at home, even banning media outlets from using the word invasion and so on. and i read where you tweeted about wartime repression. what links are being taken to keep the lid on criticism? and what does the tough action on that suggest on the home front? >> i think honestly, we are only in the beginning of seeing what the russian government could do. i think it could get much worse. someone i know was detained the other day for refusing to take down a ukrainian flag and no war sign that he put up in his window. but the russian prosecutors have made some very menacing and very
vague statements saying that support for foreign governments and organizations that threatens russia's security will be considered treason. and that means 20 years in prison. we've already seen thousands of people arrested at these small i think pretty significant anti-war protests. we've seen a few members of parliament who voted to recognize the separatists in eastern ukraine, which is what everyone was told was going to happen rather than this full war, saying that they were tricked. we saw a russian climate delegate even apologize yesterday for russia's conduct in the war in ukraine. and i don't think that's going to get russia to back down, though. certainly domestically they see this increasingly as a threat to the survival of the regime, which they think is the same as the survival as russia as a country. and they're going to act accordingly to protect that. so i think we are only seeing the beginning of what russia is prepared to do to keep everyone in line.
>> yeah, i'm curious. how isolated do you think -- well, russia, but also putin is now? even his close friend president xi of china hasn't criticized the invasion, but he hasn't offered support either. is putin feeling isolated do you think? what do you take on that? >> i think forget about countries that putin is isolated from. we've seen putin is isolated from his own officials. we're talking about the order for the nuclear alert. when he gave this order yesterday in the kremlin, he was sitting with his two top military officials, the defense minister and the chief of the general staff. and they weren't allowed to get within 15 feet of them. they were sat at the other end of one of these comically huge tables that putin makes people sit at in the kremlin which seem to be some sort of covid social distancing precaution. and i think some foreign leaders
who met putin in recent months such as macron of france and schulz in germany, their aides have told people since those meetings that they've just been really stunned by how isolated he seems to be. and when you are as powerful as he is and as isolated as he is, the people you do see, the last thing they're going to do is tell you no. the way he summons these officials sitting at these huge distances from him around these ludicrous tables, a lot of them look visibly uncomfortable, like he is some sort of james bond villain, and if they say the wrong thing, he is going to feed them to the shashlgs. he is very much increasingly in a world of his own creation at this point. >> yeah. that's fascinating analysis. and to that point, we saw what happened in grozny. we saw what happened in syria. some are saying that putin is in some ways showing restraint at the moment militarily. but do you think there is a sense that this is not going to
plan, that the resistance is way mother than anticipated, and of course the fear is that he could up the ante in terms of how aggressive the campaign is. >> i think absolutely. the state news wire published an article on saturday that looked like it had been written in advance and published by the state because it was written as if russia had already won the war in ukraine in just a few days. and it said that putin had decided to solve the ukrainian question once and for all. and ukraine would be reorganized and divided into some sort of new arrangement. and they took this article down, but it's up on the internet archive. you still find the copies of it. and that gives the impression that they thought this was going to be some walk in the park. but that means that what happens now is very dangerous, because putin is not someone who has a history of backing down. and it's very hard to see where the off-ramps are given these unprecedented tough sanctions that the west has introduced.
and so it's possible that the talks that we mentioned, if they fail, russia can always use those to say that ukraine isn't taking the talks seriously. so it will have to intensify its assault. you had the leader of chechnya, one of putin's most revered henchman saying they should intensify their assault. that means what they did in chechnya during the separatist war there's where they essentially reduced them to rubble. and speaking of rubble, you have the ruble is already down 30% before trading has even begun in russia, and the central bank has been pushing back trading today because of these unprecedented new central bank sanctions. it doesn't look like putin is going to be the kind of guy toe cry uncle to suddenly give in and give the troops an order to get back. it's very hard to step back from where he has situated himself. he is making these incredibly aggressive statements about
militarization and the naziification of ukraine. and the obvious path for him to declare victory to be mediated in any meaningful way. i think we're in very dangerous territory here. >> great analysis as always, max seddon, and great to speak with you in moscow. thanks very much. all right. now the humanitarian crisis becoming more dire as ukrainians try to escape the fighting here. just ahead, what eu leaders are saying about possibly taking in millions of refugees. we'll be right back.
now, two top derm-recommended ingredients in one. roc max hydration cream. our number one retinol now supercharged with plumping hyaluronic acid. 97% saw smoother skin and reduced lines in one week. it's clinically proven. welcome back. according to the united nations, at least 368,000 people have fled ukraine to neighboring countries now, and there are predictions it could get way worse, millions more could flee the country in the coming days. leaders in the european union already considering what to do with refugees likely headed to eu states. >> i'm really impressed of the strong solidarity that eu citizens are showing towards the ukrainians coming. >> do you have any estimations
on how many refugees there might be in the future? >> no. but i think we need to prepare for millions. >> now people fleeing the violence in ukraine are threatened by more than just bombs and bullets. the journey can be arduous. the freezing temperatures brutal. it is sub-zero here celsius at the moment. arwa damon is at a border crossing in poland as thousands pour across in hopes of reaching safety. >> you know, it's extraordinary because every single person who you talk to, and i think this is important to remember, has their own unique to a certain degree experience of what it was like for them to have to say goodbye to those who they love as they left them behind. but it's not just that. we're right now at a reception center. and by the time the vast majority of these families actually get here, and you have some new arrivals over here in
this direction, the vast majority of them would have gone through days on the road. i'm talking about 36 to 48 hours walking and waiting out in the cold. the stories we're hearing about these overnights in these freezing temperatures with no food, no water, no bathroom, with little children, and then as they get closer to the actual border crossing from the sheer panic and the emotional agony of it all, it ends up largely being a free-for-all with people just trying to push through just to cross over to the other side. now once they actually get here, they're met at these various different makeshift reception areas that have cropped up either by family members or friends. but then you also have this army of volunteers that right now is behind a police line. because there are so many of them. and as these buses pull up,
they'll hold up signs advertising locations that people who are arriving can get free rides to, locations where they can stay for free. so you do have this big sense of community once you actually hit this side. but none of that makes their experience any less agonizing. we have met sisters, two sisters who left their father behind. we have met wives who are now trying to cope with all of the children who left their husbands behind. some of whom have told their children don't worry. daddy is going to be coming, not knowing if they were lying to their kids or maybe they hope telling the truth. you see these parents trying to be so strong, still trying to be heroes for their children, doing all that they can to mask their own fears and everything that they're going through. and earlier today, i just want to tell the story of one family
who we met. because they were actually from afghanistan. they had fled afghanistan in may, ended up getting asylum in ukraine, and now they had to flee again. and their trauma, their agony, their fear, they know what this is. we've met families from ukraine who have already been displaced more than once. a mother who was from the donbass region that is that area that was under separatist control, she had fled in 2014, only to find herself having to flee again. what a lot of those coming across the border are telling us, though, is what's happening on the other side, the difficulty of just getting to safety, that is something that has to be addressed. there has to be more organization there, because the temperatures are dropping. we're expecting rain, snow, and waiting outside the way they've been having to wait up until now is just going to become
incredibly dangerous as well. >> indeed. that was cnn's arwa damon at the polish-ukrainian border. the feels-like temperature here at the moment is 17 degrees fahrenheit, well below zero in celsius. it snowed overnight. imagine the conditions at those border areas. well, the u.s. and european officials meanwhile are saying some of russia's military equipment is now unusable. we'll have a report from russia's staging ground near the front lines, coming up.
welcome back. i'm michael holmes in lviv in western ukraine where we are tracking the latest developments on russia's assault on this country. in the hours ahead, representatives from hours ahead representatives from russia and ukrainian are expected to hold talks. president volodymyr zelenskyy will not be part of the delegation. the diplomatic effort coming as the fighting on the ground in ukraine rages on, and the european commission president spoke with mr. zelenskyy about strengthening ukraine's defense capabilities and announced that for the first time ever, the eu would fund the purchase of arms for a country under attack.
now a cnn team witnessed russian vehicles that are broken down or inoperable. this is near belgorod, one of the staging areas where russia launches its invasion from. just across the border, ukraine's second largest city kharkiv the scene of intense fighting the last three days. a few hours ago officials heard fresh blasts in the city. fret blight polite again with the latest on the fighting. he reports from belgorod. >> reporter: the russian military has said it has breach adeline of defense in the city of kharkiv in ukraine, that its forces have now entered that city. and certainly some of the images that are coming out of there indicate there is some very heavy fighting going on in the streets of kharkiv. what we've heard so far from the ukrainian military and the ukrainian government is they've inflicted heavy casualties on the russian military not just in kharkiv, but in other places as well. what we saw when we were near the front line and near belgorod, or south of belgorod
in russia is there was a lot of artillery rocket fire going out from russian forces, and also a lot of russian military vehicles also moving in to the area where that front line in and around kharkiv would be. now the russians so far have not acknowledged taking any casualties in this conflict. but today for the first time, major general who is a spokesman for the russian ministry of defense, he came out and he did acknowledge that russians had died and have been wounded. here is what he had to say. >> translator: russian servicemen are displaying courage and heroism in fulfilling combat tasks in the special military operation. unfortunately, there have been deaths and injuries among our comrades. but our losses are considerably lower than the number of nationalists we destroyed. lower than the losses among the ukrainian armed forces. >> major general from the russian military there claiming the russian losses were far
fewer than the losses on the ukrainian side. another thing we also saw on the front line is there seemed to be quite a few russian military vehicles on the russian side that were actually broken down and needed to be towed. it's really unclear whether or not that's sort of the common attrition you would have in an operation this size with obviously tracked vehicles, for instance driving on asphalt roads and some of the trucks that we saw broken down were older as well. it certainly is something that did stand out. a lot of russian forces still going in and out of that battle zone. and some of the trucks that we saw coming out of the kharkiv, the battlefield area, the drivers of those trucks hung their flak vests into the windows so the bulletproof vests they normally wear on their bodies, that could be an indication they were taking sniper fire or were afraid of sniper fire. but of course from our vantage point, it was impossible to say that with certainty. fred polite ken, cnn, belgorod, russia.
>> if russia prevails in this war and does take over, there is a lot of speculation that ukraine is not going to lay down and take that. the ukrainians will rise up there. will be a guerrilla war. there will be an insurgency. well, douglas london is a retired senior operations officer with the cia. he is also the author of the recruiter, spying and the lost art of american intelligence. he joins me now from mclaean, virginia. you managed counter insurgency operations. if putin overthrows the ukrainian government militarily, how likely do you think there would be an insurgency, and how effective might it be? >> an insurgency is very likely to occur based on the preparations that have been ongoing since at least 2015 after the russians last annexed crimea. it's clear that the u.s. military has openly been providing support as well as other nations.
but i'm pretty confident that the cia has been providing support to its counterparts. so they've had a lot of time to prepare for what they're going to do. >> yeah. and you pointed this out in a fascinating piece in foreign affairs. as you say, since the invasion of crimea, the u.s. may well have helped ukraine plan an insurgency. but on the flip side, i guess mr. putin expects such a thing and has his own counterplan. how messy would it be were to it happen? >> insurgencies are very messy by design, and they're supposed to inflict casualties. they're supposed to seize the narrative. they're supposed to undermine political support at home. dictator or not, putin still responds to what's going on domestically. one of his greatest concerns is a grassroots opposition at home. i think the idea would be to send video and carnage and such like that that russians were so connected internationally despite what he might do to the internet are going to see.
and the ukrainians have the advantage of fairly long border with nato, with several nato countries where they can get reply. it's still debatable how far the russians would push. and if they collapsed kyiv and kharkiv, would they go to the west and secure that territory? it would be a stretch for them. insurgencies take time to build momentum. so i think they wouldn't necessarily be revealed at the outset how effective. but over time i think it would certainly sap the will and the might of the military, and also start changing opinions back home that he might have to respond to. >> you mentioned the borders, and that's interesting. if they were in an insurgency, what are the chances that it bleeds across borders, including putin's own perhaps? >> there is certainly the means and the opportunity to do so. i'm certain it's on the shelf as a plan. i think belarus might be the first victim of this, because they're right on the border with
poland and lithuania and latvia, and they've been a direct ally and accomplice in exacting the military attack on ukraine. so they might make themselves vulnerable and it might start there. clearly, there is a lot of ukrainians in russia there is a lot of american allies across eastern european nato members who have people there. and there are also other allies who have folks who can travel there and perhaps resident there with russian nationality and credentials. i think there is certainly a possibility that he could face an increased acceleration of challenges that could include in his own homeland. >> do you think vladimir putin miscalculated? i mean miscalculated the world's response, but the performance of the ukrainian military as well. and in thinking he could invade putin, his own guy in a few days and it will all be over. do you think he miscalculated? >> i think it's evident he
miscalculated. i still can only hope that the ukrainians will be able to maintain their resistance, but i'm pretty confident that putin didn't expect to have so much trouble. not that he may have expected to be greeted as liberators, but i think he may have planned on a bit more support from russian-speaking ukrainians, those he tried to appeal though in the east particularly. but the ukrainians have really had eight years of focus on their contempt and hatred for russia, for the invasion in the east, for the annexation. and he created a lot of this on his own by his moves eight years ago, which i think have sowed over time the seeds that are maturing in a way he didn't calculate for, and he didn't necessarily expect it would be this hard of a battle. and i also would expect he thought he could preempt the early stages of it. we've seen press reporting on these list of people, individuals, officials, security personalities who he wanted to assassinate or arrest who he
thought might participate and lead an insurgency. but it looks like that's going to be much harder to apply than he would have imagined. so perhaps he got bad information. perhaps his isolation over the past two years of the pandemic have impacted his thinking. but i just can't imagine he wouldn't have gone into this with an end game. but it seems his end game isn't working. >> your comments there about his perhaps mentality is interesting. and i wanted to ask you about that any way. a lot of people have said that he has become more isolated during covid, that he's perhaps lost touch with reality, become paranoid perhaps. your ocean of how he's addressed his people, there is anger in a lot of what he says. do you think all of this might have clouded his judgment in a kremlin where no one dares to say no to him? >> when a leader insulates himself such that his closest advisers self-censor the
information they're going to give him because of fear of his reaction, he is obviously not getting the most detailed information from which to plan. so i can't judge from here whether it's paranoia and that he is having such a mental disposition simply an inaccessibility to good intelligence, to good information and accurate advice. if he is basing his calculation against what his advisers are going to tell him, and they're going to tell him what he wants to hear, then he is not getting the best information with which to make these decisions. >> yeah, it was interesting watching his security council meeting a week or so ago, and they were clearly terrified of him. interesting optics. douglas london, a fascinating aspect of this and how it could potentially unfold. great to speak with you. thank you so much. >> thanks for having me on the program. still to come here on cnn, why thousands of protesters in russia are facing detention for speaking out against their
country's invasion into ukraine. we'll be right back. schwab starter kit™. new investors can open an account and get $50 to split across the top five stockcks in the s&p 500®. you can also unlock short videos, step-by-step guides,s, and other easy-to-use tools designed for people just getting started. plus, investment professionals are on standby 24/7 if you ever have a question. it's the smarter way to start investing. ♪
that's the wording there. now this, quote, in addition to allowing russians to use their territory as well as letting them cross the border into ukraine. that comes from this official in the ukrainian government. the intelligence comes as talks, of course, are set, ironically, for monday between russia and ukraine near the belarusian border. extraordinary development if true. we're keeping an eye on that. it's only just coming out. we'll update you as we get more information on that aspect of the story. russian authorities meanwhile have detained nearly 6,000 people for participating in anti-war protests across the country since the invasion of ukraine began. cnn's nic robertson with more on these demonstrations from moscow. >> reporter: the fourth day now of anti-war protests across russia. more than 5,000 people arrested so far. this protest not just about the war in ukraine, but about this
man here, boris nemtsov, a leading opposition figure, shot and killed seven years ago. anniversary of his death. traditionally people come and leave flowers, and he was shot dead right here, right outside the kremlin. there were arrests, but his family felt that the people really responsible were never prosecuted. but the flowers coming here today. these are about stopping the war. stop the war. stop the war. no to war. no to war. everywhere you see "no to war." and these ribbons here, yellow and blue. that's the colors of the flag of ukraine. and here is the ukrainian flag here, right here on this picture of boris nemtsov right here. so people here have been telling us that they're coming here because they don't want the war. they're opposed to the war. they're opposed to what the government here is doing. and this is their way of protesting now. typically, what happens when flowers get laid here, the
following day municipal workers will come and pick them all up and take them. look, another "no war" sign here. another picture of boris nemtsov here as well. he was a leading opposition politician, a problem for the kremlin when he was shot and killed. and for the first time so far since the invasion of ukraine began, the ministry of defense here in russia admitting that some of their soldiers have been killed and some of them wounded. but these end to the war protests, they're continuing. they're going on. so many people here opposed to the war. not everyone. a lot of people still support president putin. but many, many are coming out to say they don't. nic robertson, cnn, moscow. >> i'm michael holmes live in lviv, ukraine. i will be back at the top of the hour. anna coren, though, picks up on the roast telephone day's news after this quick break. i'll see you in a bit.
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moscow actions. and is even relaxed some import restrictions lessening the blow of western sanctions. cnn joining me from beijing. with more. china seems to be repeating its tight rope walk it did in 2014. when russia invaded crimea. it's calling for restraint but refusing to criticize russia. how is it going to do this delicate balance this time around? >> someone said it's an impossible balance to strike. they are obviously trying to maintain or strengthen the alliance with russia. with their partnership now having no limits. that's how xi jinping put it and putin. after a recent summit. as you mention they have last time around in 2014 helped russia minimize the impact western sanctions. they may do this again. on the other hand publicly they're trying to stick to the long held principle of national
sovereignty and territorial integrity. something of course they have themselves often used in defending their position and claims international disputes. remember ukraine is a country that china still officially recognizes as a sovereign nation. recently as january, xi and zelenskyy exchanged messages for congratulations on the 30th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties. now that pledge of course sounds hollow. given what's going on. of course given china's trading relationship economic ties with the west. the u.s. so much bigger than that with russia. also trying to minimize their exposure to the western sanctions. this is just quite impossible to juggle. that's why people say they cannot avoid making a hard choice and according to to many they have indeed decided to side with russia. even though they're unwilling to acknowledge that. publicly they're saying they willing to play the role of
peace m peacemaker. they are judge matter on its own merit. dive deeper into the government statements between foreign minister and german counter part last saturday, there are adopting the russian talking points blaming nato east ward expansion. saying russia security concerns have to be addressed. and calling on nato to stop the so called cold war mentality. and again voicing their opposition to all forms of sanctions. that is really their position here. and the one of the foreign ministers going as far as blaming the u.s. as the culprit of the war. in ukraine. and one very telling sign. they still obviously use the russian term special military operation. to describe the war. refusing to call this an invasion. largely providing one sided reporting on what's going on. in ukraine with the state television net work for example time and again citing russian sources reporting unverified or
untrue information. for example saying zelenskyy has left kyiv and all the videos were prerecorded. this is having an impact on the public perception to the war on china. decidedly the monitor and the social media platform. if you read through the comments they are largely pro-russia and putin. a lot of cheers and applause. many rooting for russia to win. disparaging terms thrown at ukraine and leaders. it's a very -- >> only because i want to ask you this next question. very quickly. china apparently was caught off guard by putin's military action. and china hasn't told citizens living in ukraine to leave. no evacuation plans in place. chinese citizens even taken away pleading for help to get out of ukraine. what's being the reaction to
this from people within the mainland? >> that's interesting. there are five to 6,000 chinese nationals in ukraine. because the chinese government has been brushing aside the u.s. warning about a war there. and of course they're trapped and because of their comments here in china some of them having translated in ukraine. reporting growing hostility towards chinese nationals still in ukraine. they're actually posting messages begging back home to stop and antagonizing ukraine during the delicate time. now the chinese government promised to get them out as soon as they can. the air space is closed. that's going to be difficult to evacuate them now. that's really one of those real life consequences of this country's policy. and how the social media platforms have been reacting to this war in ukraine. >> certainly interesting. the european countries calling for its citizens to leave ukraine week ago.
china, silent. joining us from beijing, many thanks. thank you for your company. michael holmes returns in a moment. live from ukraine. our breaking news coverage the russian invasion of ukraine continues. . we discover exciting new technologies. redefine who we are and how we want to lead our lives. basically, choose what we want our future to look like. so what's yours going to be?