tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN March 12, 2022 10:00am-11:00am PST
hello, everyone. thanks for joining us with a special cnn breaking news coverage. i'm bianna golodryga in new york with my colleague, anderson cooper, in lviv, ukraine. russian forces are closing in on kyiv but there's intense fighting in other parts of the country. new video shows russian air strikes hitting a civilian area in the southern part of ukraine. in kyiv, air strikes destroying infrastructure to the north and to the south of the city, including a massive fire at a warehouse. satellite images show russian
artillery on the outskirts of kyiv. british defense officials saying that the bulk of russia's forces are now just 15 miles from the city center. this morning, ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskiy saying that negotiations between ukraine and russia must begin with a cease-fire. he says all of ukraine is a front line and that some small towns now don't even exist anymore. the leaders of germany and france also calling for an immediate cease-fire during a phone call this morning with russian president vladimir putin. all of this as at least 13 humanitarian corridors open for supplies and civilian evacuations and buses filled with food, water, necessities arriving in mariupol as the city is under siege. we go now to cnn's anderson cooper covering -- anchoring our coverage in lviv in western ukraine, where nightfall has fallen upon the millions of ukrainians still fearful for their lives this evening.
>> that city of mariupol, so many people are watching that as a warning sign of what could happen to cities throughout ukraine as russian forces try to encircle these cities, and as we have seen in mariupol, there has been extensive shelling. we saw the attack on the maternity ward several days ago and humanitarian conditions getting very, very difficult inside mariupol. salma abdelaziz is here with me in lviv. let's talk about nightfall. and this is really one of the most worrying times. >> this is when you really feel the terror of this russian offensive set in for families. this is the time when air raid sirens start to go off in kyiv and families have to shelter in basements. this is the time we know that russian troopses be ginn to move. we know there is a huge convoy, a 40-mile convoy outside kyiv, just a couple days ago on the outskirts of the city.
that's dispersed. they using the cover of darkness to encircle the stay. of course that would take great deal of time, but i'm trying to paint a picture that at nighttime families are trying to find safety. they're three weeks into this conflict now. sleepless families scared, tired, afraid, and also at the time when the military begins to move. and we're going to wake up to find out has this expanded, what new cities have been targeted and hit, what other civilians impact. >> president zelenskyy struck a slight note of -- i don't know if optimism is the right word but essentially saying that at least in any negotiations, at least they have gotten beyond kind of giving ultimatums each side one to another. >> that's what president zelenskyy seemed to indicate is along with his russian counterparts, they've stopped trading ultimatums. they're now open and speaking. but this is a war that has sclatds do quickly, the fastest
growing refugee crisis in decades, more than 2.5 million pushed out of the country already. every day counts. everyone day means more civilian lives lost. every day means more people homeless. that's why the european leaders are saying the cease-fire needs to happen right now. >> salma, thank you very much. salma abdelaziz. moments ago, president biden ordered the release of an additional $200 million in security assistance to ukraine. joining me with the latest, cnn white house correspondent arlette saenz. where is the money coming from and what will it be used for? obviously, time is of the essence to try to get supplies into kyiv and other places in ukraine. >> reporter: yeah, and the administration is trying to show they are trying to get more assistance into ukraine as quick kui as possible, today the president authorizing $200 million in defense spending, articles and services to be drawn down and sent to ukraine. this is all done via the foreign
assistance act, which gives the president the authority to authorize such a drawdown without having to go through a budgetary or legislative process. this normally is given to foreign countries in times of emergency. the white house has yet to detail what exactly will be included in this drawdown aside from military education and training services. but it all comes as president biden has insisted he will ensure that ukraine has the defense mechanisms to defend themselves against this aggression from russia. but one thing that president biden has been very adamant about is the fact that american and nato troops will not be going in on the ground into ukraine or flying in the skies above ukraine. yesterday, president biden warning that such an action, such a move by the u.s. and nato, would enter the world into world war iii. now, also right now, there have been growing concerns about the possibility that russia could
use chemical weapons in ukraine or possibly manufacture a false flag operation using them. kwhishls white house officials have been warning about that for days. i asked the president what evidence he might have seen and also whether the u.s. would have a military response. the president said he would not go caulk through the intelligence, but he did say that russia would pay a severe price if they do launch a chemical weapons attack. now, the president declined to further elaborate, whether that would be a military response or whether that might be more sanctions, but he has been very adamant over the course of this entire process that american troops will not be going into ukraine and that for the moment it does not seem like that's changing the calculus if putin were to launch a chemical weapons attack. >> arlette saenz in washington. arlette, thanks so much. i want to bring in re mavis,
former ambassador to saudi arabia. secretary, appreciate you joining us. is the u.s. giving ukraine the right aid now, enough of it? and how long do you think it will continue to flow? obviously events on the ground will determine that. >> i think that we are making every effort to get ukraine the right stuff as quickly as possible. you're right, it may become more difficult but not impossible with the ukrainians fighting the way they are. in this new day of things like javelins and stinger, hand-held weapons are proving to be really effective against things like tanks and aircraft. the advantage of having those heavy weapons just seems to be canceled out to a pretty large extent. >> it is interesting seeing the
effect, the power of those hand-held weapons, as you say, the javelins, the stingers, the effect of it on the ground, not just against tanks, artillery that we have seen but also in making russia not use their airpower to the extent that they probably could have used it. obviously, the idea that there are stingers on the ground makes pilots and helicopters and planes much more cautious flying at higher altitude when they do fly. >> i think that's absolutely right. they're going to be incredibly cautious because of that. but it also may be that the russian air force, like the russian army, didn't quite expect that, that they don't have the ability to evade these sorts of things. besides the stingers and things like that, i do think the u.s. should get every weapon that
they can, anti-aircraft weapon, into the country. the hand-held ones are by far the most effective because you don't have to have much training, you don't have to have any infrastructure, and they're fire and forget. so you can take a shot, sort of in the general vicinity, and then the person shooting can escape before the return fire comes in. >> when you see the way russian forces have thus far acted, we see the encirclement of mariupol, the shelling in that city, is that do you think play book that alejandro mayorkas use in kyiv given the officials in kyiv, the military, the defense forces in kyiv have now had two weeks or plus to bolster defenses within the city. it's obviously heavily fortified on just about every block. is it likely, do you think, that
russia may just, again, try to encircle it as best they can and just shell it, attempt to shell it into submission? >> well, they've had no success in traditional military operation. they've been an abject failure doing that. so putin has turned to terror, to doing exactly wa yohat you s shelling with artillery, rockets, aircraft mainly into civilian areas and just trying to break cities, trying to break the ukrainian will. i think it certainly seems to be the playbook, not just for kyiv but all over ukraine. i mean, one of the targets that seems to be coming into play now is odesa. russia has always wanted a bulwark down there, and they are grinding toward it, using those same sorts of terrorist attacks, killing civilians, not being
worried about just the mass slaughter and the war crimes that they're committing. >> you wrote an op-ed that said our addiction to fossil fuels has empowered vladimir putin. others say it's the equivalent of handing him a gun to use. how does the u.s. take that ow power away from him? >> for us to become excellently oil and energy independent, no matter how much oil and gas we have, we have to get off fossil fuels. one of the reasons i think it's pretty clear that vladimir putin really underest may noted, grossly underestimated the response by the europeans is they are so dependent on russian oil and gas. now, they've been moving away. most countries in europe now get between a quarter and a third of their energy from alternatives. but they've got to speed that
up. and if they're not buying any russian oil and gas and they're not using any oil and gas, then that power is taken away. and i really don't think that the world, the u.s., europe, anywhere in the world needs to leave our citizens, our econo economies, our pocketbooks under the power of these dictators all over the world. putin in russia, but you look around at the big producing countries -- saudi arabia, venezuela, places like that -- we should not give that power to them, and the price of oil is not set by how much we drill, by how much we produce. it is set worldwide and it is set based on fear and greed, and the thing that makes oil prices and gas prices spike and causes so many problems for american
families and american businesses and around the world is chaos and uncertainty of the kind we're seeing right now. so the u.s. ought to speed up getting off. i took the navy marine corps mainly off fossil fuels as a were fighting measure. it is a national security issue. >> secretary, i appreciate your time. thank you so much. >> thanks, anderson. still to come, as russia's assault on ukraine continues, a new censorship law is cracking down on independent journalism. you'll hear from some of the russian journalists kwhofd to leave their country after the break. and this is bad? i'm doing it my way. meet plenity. an fda -cleaeared clinically proven weight mananagement aid for adults with a bmi of 25-40 when combined with diet and exercise. plenity is not a drug - it's made from naturally derived building blocks and helps you feel fuller and eat less. it is a prescription only treatment and is not for
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extremist organization. this week meta suspended its hate speech policy allowing users to publish posts calling for violence against russian invaders, this as a harsh new law is cracking down on independent journalism in russia, threatening prison terms up to 15 years for spreading what officials deem as fake news about the military. the u.n. says the move now is to a total information blackout. ♪ as the war began, one of the last remaining independent news sources in russia, deutsch tavp, suspended operations, filling the air waves with "swan lake" as the staff signed off. a nod to the 1991 coup attempt of mikhail gorbachev. joining me is host for deutsch tv and her husband and editor in chief for the station. both of you, welcome to the program.
you are friends, so this is a personal conversation for me. we should note and tell our viewers you are no longer in russia. you escaped and fled the country shortly after your network signed off. >> yeah. >> they are in neighboring georgia. if you can just start there and talk about that decision to leave the country. >> well, this decision was taken because of the situation. both of us and some of our other journalists, we started to receive threats, and all this atmosphere where we existed, our tv station received a letter from the regulator of the media in russia. then on tuesday march 1st, our website was blocked alongside with the website of a rid owe station and other media outlets.
then we received information that police was going to start raiding our office. it never happened, but still with all this information and with plans of russian members of parliament to adopt a new law, which would accuse those two spread so-called fake news information about russian military, they would go to jail for up to 15 years, we decided that it was not safe anymore for us to be there in russia. and we thought we would be more useful for our viewers when we are safe and when we are free than when we are in jail. so this decision was taken because of all these reasons. >> katia, listen, i was really sort of greedy in wanting to have both of you together on with me, but i know you have a young child, so if one of you
needs to do your most important job of parenting, it's fine. i understand that. >> he's coming. i'm so sorry about that. >> no, no, of course. this is your most important priority right now is taking care of your kids. i can only imagine how difficult that must have been fleeing the country there with your children. there's misha, adorable little baby boy. katia, for our viewers to really understand what tv rain was, you were my eyes and ears and this of millions, hundreds of thousands of russians inside the country to get real information on what's playing out in the world in general but in russia, too, and obviously in ukraine. i mean, a week before the war began, you were interviewing in munich the u.s. secretary of state anthony blinken, and within that week's time you're covering a war, which you were getting more and more, you know,
pressure from the authorities there to not lab em it a war, right. there are certain things you can say, certain material you can use, obviously all of it trying to choke off any coverage that you were bringing to viewers. give us a sense of what it's like now for russians who don't have access to that type of information anymore. >> well, first of all, thank you so much, bianna. for us it's very important to be here with you. and, you know -- >> oh, no. >> -- are being blocked and there are still telegrams, there are still some chats that people can use, but obviously, we are witnessing right now the situation where russia is getting to become an isolated, totally isolated country.
people are now getting ready to total internet, like, blockage, right, like people are getting ready when they, you know, wake up one day in the morning and there's no connection to the real world, no connection to the global world, there is nothing left. and this why so many people are trying to get out of the country. that's why there are so many independent journalists, not only journalists, just people who want to live in the civil itzed world. they are leaving russia right now. i can see and understand that there are so many people left there who are texting me personally and my colleagues saying that they are -- they are dreaming about tv rain and a whole host of others to get back on air. they're asking us, you know, me personally, i'm just -- it's also crazy.
it's really important. and we understand that people are in need of information. they're texting us, and they're posting and commenting, asking -- i'm sorry -- misha wants to talk to you bianna, as well. >> a future general there. >> yeah. so i can see, you know, being serious. i can see that there's a desperate need of information for people who are left there. and they are feared and scared to death that they will lose even, you know, some connections, even bloggers, even some people who can just cover something, you know, give them a free word. i don't know how we can handle this really. >> can you explain to our viewers who are trying to understand when they hear whatever polls they can get access to, because it's very difficult to get any sort of independent polling inside of russia today, but when they hear the headline that the majority of russians still support this war, when they hear stories
about loved ones in russia not believing what they're hearing from family and loved ones in ukraine about families splitting a part over this war, tell our viewers why there is this disconnect, and a lot of it coming from the lack of real information about what's happening. >> well, first of all, russia is an authoritarian state. and authoritarian states, sociology does not exist. that's just how it is. soelsology does not exist. so are the polls are not trusted. even the poll s of independent organizations. people are frightened and then when they are encountered by someone in the street who is asking whether they like or not the government, of course they would say that they like government because it's safer to say that they like government.
but then people look at the recent poll, which is saying that 62 i guess percent of russians are supporting the war and 29% do not support the war. it means that even if state polls, it is said that every third russian does not support the war. now, understanding that sociology in russia does not exist and sociology in russia is just fake, we understand that when the state poll says that 29% does not support the war, it means that it's not 29%, it's 60%. >> much, much more. >> or 65%. of course a lot of people in russia unfortunately are brainwashed by the propaganda. i think even us, i mean, the journalists, we don't understand the scale of the problem. we don't understand how
seriously the brains of people are destroyed by the propaganda which have been operating over the last 20 years. i heard a story about a person who was i think in kharkiv, and he was under shellings and under bombings, and he was calling his relatives in russia and saying we are being bombed. and the answer from russia was, no, thkis could not be true. you are being influenced by the ukrainian -- >> by nazism. by zelenskyy. >> so it is a huge problem. a lot of people, they just don't understand what is going on there. they just don't understand what is what has happened there. but still i don't believe in the idea that the majority of russians support this war because this war has no justification. even in 2014, crimea was
annexed, a lot of people supported annexation because it was about the sea, it was about -- >> a lot of people really wanted to go back to russia in crimea, really. >> and it was bloodless, right? yeah. >> yes. but now when we hear from president putin something about denazify case, demilitarization, the next day we hear something about nigato which wants to attk russia. the next day we hear something about chemical weapon and some birds which could spread chemical weapon to all slavik people, not to mention ukrainians, that they are also slavik people. so u.s. v this just something really weird. >> these false flag operations that they continue to want to stage and obvious lip they've used in the past as well. listen, it's fair to say that
vladimir putin is destroying two countries here, right, by going after people like ourselves and by the sanctions that are now put upon his citizens. he's destroying russia. and obviously we're seeing the carnage take place every single day in ukraine. we'll have to leave it there. i really hope that one day you can return to a free and happy russia and continue to do your incredible journalism. >> no doubt. >> and that misha can go with you and be a future journal itself there as well. thank you so much. we appreciate it. >> thank you. millions of ukrainians have fled russia's brew tamutal assa many with what they could just carry on their backs. more organizations are helping with food and supplies.
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germany's interior ministry says at least 120,000 refugees fled to germany since putin's invasion 17 days ago. national correspondent miguel marquez joins me from romania, which borders ukraine. miguel, what are you hearing from all those families that left ukraine? >> reporter: look, it is stunning the speed at which this has happened and the rate at which normal people who had jobs and lives in a european country have been transformed into refugees. we are in one place south of bucharest that are housing 31, a family housing about 31, maybe
34 refugees from ukraine over the last two weeks housing about 60 refugees, a little over. but, look, even romanians are very, very concerned about what is happening on their borders. >> about putin and what's happening right now, i am trying to keep myself busy so i don't get scared because if i think that the next bomb might drop a little lower and in romania, i don't think how i'm going to handle that. but for the moment, we are doing our best to help the ukrainian ref refugee. >> reporter: the interesting dynamic that's happening, as the russian forces push farther west, as they bomb and shell indiscriminately neighborhoods and civilian areas, it means the refugees have less and need more. they have no papers, have less clothing and food.
that is all happening as this goes on. it is expected to get worse. here in romania, they are preparing for as many reflugees as they can take. >> these countries have been so generous, but as you said, supplies are starting to dwindle, and these refugees are coming with very few things that they can grab as they flee their homes. miguel marquez, thank you for your incredible reporting. up ahead, how a grassroots group of americans from former soviet republics are stepping up to help frontline workers in ukraine. i've always focused on my career.
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in the midst of violence and chaos, a grassroots group of americans from former soviet republics are stepping up to help, connecting frontline workers in ukraine and u.s.-based donors through a curated amazon list. critical supplies like kevlar pants, thermal blankets, clips, duct tape, the list goes on and on, all l for immediate district. with me now are direct help for ukraine organizer jean and a volunteer leo. gene, tell me about yourself and how your group came together. >> so it's interesting. you know, as we learned about the war in the first moments, the sadness and depression kind of set in on the russian side and ukrainian side.
we wanted to help with a refugee problem. i ended up posting some things on my wall and i a lot of people turned back to me and asked for more help so i posted more links. people started asking can we support with the humanitarian need, donating stuff? i quickly started looking for a local community group that's doing the right thing, and i found these wonderful ladies who are, you know, starting their operation, you know, starting to get donations, danielle, the daughter, had this idea of using an amazon wish list. i thought it was a great idea. i said ladies, we'll try to help you and get the community behind it. we have been a social presence because of -- >> yeah. >> -- and then it literally -- we saw boxes delivered with people trying to help them all over the country. we start from the volunteers
there and became a sorting and packaging operation that gets sent directly to ukraine. there's a plen leaving every day with freight from our group and other groups like this. >> we see these boxes, these images written with glory to ukraine on them. leo, if you can talk about, you know, some of these supplies that you've added to the list. they seem to be out of the tip cam supplies that you would imagine refugees looking for and needing. one would imagine socks and supplies for children, watch you. duct tape, crabber in clips, thermal blankets, what does that tell you about wh these refugees are going through? >> so, very important, what we are doing is demand driven. we're collecting demand from folks who are not refugees but staying behind in these besieged cities. that's one big difference.
but they're telling us what they need and what they need right now, what the most urgent need is. that is the difference. a lot of phenomenal charities are doing great work and will keep doing great work, but it might not be as timely in arriving to the people who need it. they're telling us what they need this week and next week, and we are not only getting it for them, but we are packaging in such a way as to avoid the logistics bottlenecks that are pretty severe as you can imagine on the ukrainian side right now, trying to get these things in. so that's really the crux of why the women are so unique. >> gene, so you talk about, you know, supplying those that have stayed behind for a multitude of reasons, whether it's because they're ill or old or what have you and can't find a way out, and some that i know i've spoken to are there intentionally because they want to help those that need them. how are these supplies getting to them, especially when you see scenes, you know, in mariupol and oerp cities that they're
just besieged with russian troops? >> right. and the truth of the matter is we don't know which of our aid is going to mariupol versus kyiv. once it gets to lviv on the western side of ukraine, fighting going on there, an army koor coordinator decides what is needed the most right now. so there is troops, you know, freezing in kyiv or, you know, people bedridden in kharkiv and need medical supplies. then the troops will get the thermals in kyiv while the folks in bed in a hospital in kharkiv, they'll get them medical supplies. it's being coordinated and decided by the defense ministry of ukraine together with the army because they need them to distribute this stuff. >> gene and leo, thank you so much for all of the important work that you're doing. we're focusing so much, and
rightly so, on the refugees that are leaving ukraine and to neighboring countries. but it's also important to help those that have stayed behind. thank you. if you'd like to help, please visit directhelpforukraine.info. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (johnny cash) ♪ i've traveled every road in this here land! ♪ ♪ i've been everywhere, man. ♪ i've been everywhere, man. ♪ ♪ crossed the desers bare, man. ♪ ♪ i've breathed the mounta air, man. ♪
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rates in the united states. ed lavandera talked to small business owners about how this crisis is affecting their bottom line. >> reporter: for a cold hard lesson on inflation, look at where karina stores the food supplies for her pop-up business in phoenix, arizona. >> the boneless would be $1.84 a pound, and the cheese is now $1.56 where it was 86 cents. >> reporter: have there been event where is you have lost money? >> yes, this is from today. >> reporter: as we are looking over the week's receipts, she is explaining the impacts of inflation on the business owner is how unpredictable her world is. the demand for the business is there, but everything else is a
nightmare. >> reporter: it is difficult for you the run a business. >> it is unbelievable for us to predict a pricing. i can't say that i am going to charge you a certain price right now, because in three days, it is bound to change. you know, it is never for the better. >> reporter: phoenix, arizona, has one of the highest inflation rates in the country, and three percentage points higher, and that is making it hardest for people living on a fixed income. as she works on her paintings, she is living on $1,700 a month social security, and pays $600 a month for rent, and then pays for kidney medication, and the rest for car and fuel, and it is depressing. >> it is hard. i feel so sorry for my friends who don't have this kind to
money, and as much as i do, because they are much worse off than i am. >> my commute is a block and a half. and so that is great. >> it is a cheap gas bill. >> i love it. >> reporter: the short walk home to the ceramic shop where katia works is great, but the search for a place to live is filled with dread. her apartment is going to jump from $670 a month to over $1,000, and her paycheck won't cover it. >> i would consider living in my car, yes, i would. though my sister would not allow it. >> reporter: the phoenix housing costs are so so high, that the pain of gassing up the car is too much. >> reporter: i would think that battling this at this stage of
your life is -- >> it is really hard. really hard. it is -- it make me feel useless. like i am not doing enough. >> reporter: she says that she is at stage one panic levels and the thought of what is going to happen next makes her quiver. ed lavandera, phoenix p arizona. >> thank you, ed, for that report. we want to end the show for an incredible story of survival. it is a pregnant woman who survived a bombing, and seen here right after the blast, and blooded and injured after the destruction. and she is one of a dozen people injured in the attack. three people died in the attack. on thursday, she welcomed a
healthy baby girl into the world in the dark of night. you can see the picture here. her aunt tells us that marianna is doing well though they do not have electricity, and the parents have named the baby veronika. here is wishing veronika is a life of wealth and health and happiness in a peaceful ukraine soon. on how you can help efforts in ukraine go to cnn.com/impact. newsroom continues with jim acosta after the break. until, e energizer ultimate lithium. who wants a cupcake? the number one longest-lasting aa battery. yay! case closed. i'm greg, i'm 68 years old. i do motivational speaking in addition to the substitute teaching. i honestly feel that that's mcalling-- to give back to younger people. i think most adults will start realizing that they don't recall thing as quickly as they used to
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>> you are live in the cnn newsroom, and i'm jim acosta in washington, and we begin with an intense night in ukraine as we learn that the bulk of vladimir putin's forces are a mile from kyiv. that is from the british intelligence sources. what you are looking at are the strikes that are near the center of kyiv, and other cities are under stress, too. this is a residential area here, that forces a man to run and duck for cover.