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tv   Inside Politics With John King  CNN  March 21, 2022 9:00am-10:00am PDT

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that are coming in to ukraine and so they're using these longer range missiles and cruise missiles to take it out. but i think we have got to talk about, for a moment, the capabilities of the russians. yes, they're doing a lousy job, but there's no indication at this point that they're going to stop. >> that's for sure. general, thank you. ambassador, great to see you. really appreciate it. cnn's breaking news coverage continues with "inside politics" right now. hello, and welcome to "inside politics." i'm abby phillip in washington. john king is off today. right now, in washington, president joe biden's supreme court nominee, judge ketanji brown jackson, is in front of the senate judiciary committee for day one of her confirmation hearings. we'll have more on that in just
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a few minutes, but we begin this hour in ukraine. cctv capturing a moment that the russian rocket struck a shopping center in kyiv killing at least eight people. and the attack demolished everything in sight. in mykolaiv, you can see firefighters sprinting to a blast site rocked by russian strikes. in mariupol as well, ukraine's president says 400 people may be trapped after a russian bomb hit an art school. russia had been demanding that the besieged city lay down its weapons and surrender, but ukrainian forces have refused. and so we start our coverage in dnipro where ivan watson is there. and ivan, it's a life or death situation today and for the last several days in mariupol. what is going on there and where you are in dnipro? >> right. in mariupol, there's been a russian siege where the city has been encircled.
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it's a port on the sea of asov and the russian forces, according to eyewitnesses that we've interviewed, have been pummeling that city, which had a population of more than 400,000, with artillery and air strikes and increasingly, we're hearing reports of shelling coming from war ships in the sea. the situation is incredibly dire. the civilians that i've talked to, who have escaped, they described over the course of march first losing internet and cell phone signal, then losing electricity and heat and then running water. all while taking shelter in their basements under the ongoing russian bombardment until finally some people, they just couldn't take it anymore and heard that there was a disorganizeded convoy of civilian vehicles that was fleeing and some people did make -- manage to make it out.
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thousands of them in their own private cars to relative safety. but many of these people describe leaving parents or grandparents behind in the ongoing russian bombardment. last night, the russian defense ministry issued an ultimatum. it said to the defenders of mariupol, lay down your arms. we'll guarantee you safe passage out of the city. and the ukrainian government, the mariupol city government basically said, really said in a facebook post, screw you. and we've since heard from some of mariupol's ukrainian defenders in a text message that they claim to have within the last 24 hours destroyed two russian tanks, sunk a russian boat in the sea, but there are also no signs of rescue coming to those beleaguered defenders. so the situation there just hard to believe how dire it must be, abby. >> truly unbelievable for the people still in mariupol as that city has been besieged.
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ivan watson, thank you. coming up, just two hours from now, another 35-hour curfew will go into effect in kyiv. and cnn is getting new and up-close pictures of that shopping mall that we just told you that that was demolished by a russian air strike. fred pleitgen was there. >> this area of kyiv was hit overnight and into monday. the munition used here seems to be massive. if we go forward, we can see over there is a mall and the parking lot of the mall where you can clearly see a gigantic impact crater right in the middle of that parking lot. also there's buildings around it. that tall building absolutely destroyed in that entire mall complex. and the buildings around here, a lot of them were badly damaged as well. what we're hearing from the city council here in kyiv is they say that so far, they know of eight people who have been killed in this explosion. and several buildings, of course, damaged, including a school and kindergarten as well.
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what's not clear is what exactly the military objective of all of this may have been. there certainly doesn't seem to be any military infrastructure close to here, at least we haven't seen any. and also, this appears to be very much a civilian area. one of the things that we found very remarkable here is we are currently on the 11th floor of a building that is, you know, pretty far away prom the explosion. we found this piece of shrapnel. this piece of shrapnel, this went through this entire apartment and was then found in the hallway. it went through the front door and, of course, this would have been extremely deadly for anybody who was in its path. the people who live here told us they bought this place about three months ago. it's a new building. luckily they weren't here when the explosion took place. if we pan down, we can see the destruction that was brought by all of this. obviously, a lot of glass that was broken. whole windows blown out and, of course, anybody who would have been laying in this bed in the bedroom would have been in
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severe danger of massive injuries and possibly death, especially with so much shrapnel flying around. this is very much part of the current ongoing battle for kyiv. the u.s. and its allies say the russians are not making much progress in that battle and certainly increasingly using heavy weaponry that every once in a while does land in civilian areas. fred pleitgen, cnn, kyiv, ukraine. joining me now is beth sammer, the former deputy national -- deputy director of national intelligence and a cnn national security analyst. so beth, you just heard the report from fred, but also earlier the report on mariupol where the russians have been bombarding that city for weeks. they are now asking for a surrender, demanding a surrender. why is that so significant to you? >> well, mariupol has a lot of significant, strategic positioning. it is exactly where the russians need to take land.
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it's the -- part of the land bridge between crimea and russia proper. it's also the gateway that would take land forces toward odesa. but it also has this other kind of emotional aspect to it for putin. mariupol was the largest city in the donbas. it's occurconsidered in the don but it was the place that actually repelled russian efforts to take over the donbas, and it was successful in that in 2014. and so there's kind of, i think, some revenge as well as being of utmost strategic importance. >> horrifying revenge that's really catching a lot of civilians in the crossfire. and at the same time this is happening, ukraine's president volodymyr zelenskyy says he wants to negotiate with putin. but do you think that putin is interested in a real negotiation and zelenskyy warned that this could lead to world war iii.
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some say he's being dramatic, but is he potentially telling the truth? >> well, putin's spokesman peskov said today that negotiations were going nowhere and they blamed -- he blamed the ukrainians for putting, you know, too many demands, new demands on -- this has been the refrain of the last few days. so they are absolutely not serious at this stage. he also said that he ruled out any meeting between putin and zelenskyy until basically the ukrainians came to their senses and agreed to what the russians want. so, you know, i think that right now this is a distraction and it's probably designed for domestic audiences, as well as to try to get the west to think that maybe we shouldn't keep pouring aid into ukraine. i don't know. regarding world war iii, never say never. i don't want to say that it's not at all possible, but i still
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believe as the intelligence community has reported in recent weeks that putin still does not want to go there. he does not want to directly attack nato because usually it's assured destruction that would take place. but, you know what i worry about is an escalation based on desperation. and we are starting to see the russian troops use much more indiscriminate fire. we're going to see a lot more casualties. a lot more refugees. >> and this indiscriminate fire, is this an attempt by putin to create leverage in negotiations by going after civilians? >> absolutely. absolutely. it is to wear them down and try to get them to capitulate. and i think the refugee flow, as well and just seeing the destruction is also expecting the west and these negotiators, turkey and israel in particular
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to try to pressure the ukrainians into coming down off of some of their red lines and agreeing in order to stop the war. so this fear of escalation, you know, hopefully from putin's perspective, he'll see more pressure from all of us on zelenskyy to capitulate. >> beth saner, thanks for sharing your expertise with us. coming up next for us, the confirmation hearings under way for president biden's supreme court nominee, judge ketanji brown jackson. we are live on capitol hill next. i may have moderate to vere rheumatoid arthritis.
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happening right now in the senate confirmation hearing for president biden's nominee ketanji brown jackson, that is under way. the senators are giving their opening statements. we will hear from the nominee herself soon, later this afternoon. but first, cnn's manu raju joins me from capitol hill. manu, what is the tone right now in that hearing room? >> well, it's coming down along party lines. 22 members of the committee split evenly among both sides. democrats are praising her background, making very clear that all 11 of them are certain to vote for her. republicans raising questions about her record, raising questions about her past as a district judge, as a public defender. and making clear they have serious questions to ask, including one of the senators, lindsey graham, who is probably the only republican vote who is a swing vote in play. also criticizing some of the
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liberal groups defending judge jackson but democrats say these criticisms are out of line. >> there may be some who claim, without a shred of evidence, that you'll be a rubber stamp for this president. for these would-be critics, i have four words -- look at the record. >> the bottom line here is, when it is about velocity when it's somebody of color on our side, it's about we're all racist if we ask hard questions. it's not going to fly with us. we're used to it by now. at least i am. so it's not going to matter a bit to any of us. we're going to ask you what we think. senator hawley, you need to ask her about her record as a district court judge. you should. i hope you do. and we'll see what she says. very fair game. >> so that last comment, a reference to what josh hawley, the republican senator from missouri plans to raise, which is raising questions about how
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she approached sex offenders during her time as a federal district court judge. now democrats and the white house say that's distorted her record. she will be asked about that, starting tomorrow. so abby, expect some fireworks at the hearing. both sides still expect her to be confirmed, unless something different happens over the next couple of days here and we'll see if any republicans, including senator lindsey graham, decides to break ranks. >> manu, we know you'll be watching. we'll be right back with you as things develop. here with me in studio is nia-malika henderson, kaitlan collins, jackie kucinich of the daily beast and elliott williams, a cnn legal analyst and former federal prosecutor. i want to start with lindsey graham because he's always a main character in these affairs. but in particular he seemed very upset in his statement about the -- about president biden's choice, signaling that biden maybe went in the wrong direction. but also signaling that he could be a no, even though he voted
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for her a year ago. >> which is not a surprise in so many ways. lindsey graham is a political performer. he's also a bit of a flip flopper. that's become his reputation over the last few years. as you said, he voted for ketanji brown jackson. he was one of the three republicans who did so. and now he is saying that she is essentially captive of the radical left. dont know if she was a captive of the radical left when he voted for her before, but that's his argument now. and also this idea that he really backed judge michelle childs who is a judge in south carolina. and he seems to be -- we talked about this a bit before. maybe he would have voted for michelle childs but he won't possibly vote for ketanji brown jackson. i'll say this, though. he actually might vote for her. we're going to see a lot of fireworks here because that's what these hearings have become about over these last years. very partisan affairs. that's what lindsey graham is very good at. >> this is a very different graham than the graham that showed up to her confirmation hearing last year.
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and a lot of this -- yes, absolutely right. a lot of this is performative for some of the other senators on the panel. they are performing for a different job. perhaps a presidential run in 2024. so we'll see a lot of people take to the stage and use this hearing, maybe not even talk to judge jackson at all. maybe just use her as a pawn to get at joe biden. we'll see that as well. >> and as a vehicle to get at some 2022 arguments. take a listen to what we're expecting later today from the senator. >> you need to explore why the furthest left activists in the country desperately wanted judge jackson, in particular, for this vacancy. her supporters look at her resume and deduce a special empathy for criminals. >> there are some concerns people have about her being perceived as soft on crime. >> as a pattern of treating sex offenders leniently. those who have gone after children. and i think we have a basic question. are we going to get a judge here who will protect children or who is going to protect child predators? >> so two items for your bingo
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cards. soft on crime and also dark money groups. those are going to be the two main arguments that they're going to pursue against her. and the white house is presumptively prepared for all of this. >> you've already seen them push back on a lot of the arguments that hawley started making on twitter. he's said in his opening statement today, this will be the focus of his questioning. it's not surprising the white house does know what's coming their way. and their pushback has been that he's taking her out of context. when talking about the sentencing guidelines and the minimums that -- whether or not she fell within those ranges and talking about what other judges have done and what those ranges look like if judges come close to them. one other thing we'll see is she is answering these questions and is prepared to push back on this. they're saying it's being taken out of context that she was asking questions, quoting some of the defends in these cases when talking to them but also talking about the sentencing commission she was on. a lot of the decisions they made, if not all the decisions, were unanimous decisions. it's a bipartisan group.
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it's someone who is on that eventually went on to be a trump appointee as a judge. so i think that is all part of the bigger picture that the white house is trying to bring into this. >> on what hawley has been trying to do over the last few days, this was mentioned earlier in the hearings by the chairman, dick durbin that even -- even the national review, conservative publication writes this. senator hawley's disingenuous attack against judge jackson's record on child pornography, elliott, this is baseless on a number of fronts. >> look, forget what judge hawley says. the fraternal order of police, the largest policing organization in the world, supports ketanji brown jackson. the international association of chiefs of police, 60 former doj attorneys, 60 former -- no, police chiefs all over. what are they seeing that this senator is not? now i have a hard time believing that the fraternal order of police is going to let someone who is soft on sex offenders. so put aside all the politics and nonsense and just get back down to the qualifications of
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this nominee. number one, graduating from harvard twice with honors. two, nine years as a federal judge. three, private sector practice, public service, all of it is there. and yes as you were saying, this is a proxy battle about the 2024 election. but at the end of the day, this is a nominee that no one can really keep a straight face and say is soft on sex offenders. >> curious what you think about this idea of -- as mcconnell indicated that she will be attacked for perhaps having a special preference for criminals or even a special preference for her former alma mater, harvard university. what do you make of that? >> four of the nine justices went to harvard university. so let's talk about special preferences and who has got biases there. when it comes to preferences for criminals, she's overturned by higher courts 2% of the time. they are letting her decisions stand 98% of the time. and that tracks and is even better than most district judges in her position when she was a
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trial judge. she's just -- this is all silly season. and i think it's important and fair for every nominee to get a fair vetting and honest questioning. she should answer and republicans should hold her accountable. and president biden accountable, too. but at the end of the day it's a nominee that ought to be confirmed. >> the white house earlier today, ron klain, the chief of staff, put up a graphic that literally had her checking boxes. and comparing her to the other justices who are currently on the court just to make that very point that they believe it should be very bipartisan vote. but coming up next for us, the supreme court justice clarence thomas is hospitalized. and we'll have some new details on his condition, next. oo” more. [impressed] broooooo. broooo!!!! broooo!!!!!! broooo!!!! [in ununison] brooooooooo!!!! [splash] [disappointed] broooooo... good thing you saved on the tririp! priceline. evevery trip is a big deal.
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welcome back. supreme court justice clarence thomas was admitted to the hospital on friday with flu-like symptoms. the justice is being treated with antibiotics for an infection and it's not covid, according to the court's spokesperson. but he'll miss arguments that are happening at the court today. meanwhile, right now, we continue to follow the first day of confirmation hearings for ketanji brown jackson and we're expecting to hear from her soon. if confirmed, she will be the first black woman to serve on the high court. and joining me now to discuss all of this is angela, dean of
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the boston university school of law. so angela, your perspective is incredibly important, and you have said that her perspective as a black woman, as a mother, is also incredibly important. you've talked a little bit in an op-ed about justices not just, you know, ketanji brown jackson but others in history using their personal experience, used an example of clarence thomas, using his experience as a black man as someone who lived and grew up in the jim crow south on the court. tell us about why this matters. >> yeah. it's incredibly important because they have a full understanding of the experience of all americans on our streets in our courtrooms and in our society in general. when they are writing legal doctrine, deciding these cases and writing an opinion that attracts all americans they won't encompass those realities. i don't know whether judge
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jackson would rule or vote in this way, but my hope is that she would bring her perspective as a black woman, as a black mother to cases involving the fourth amendment, in particular, cases concerning what you call consensual encounters. encounters where police can simply stop anybody without any suspicion at all and ask them questions. ask to see your i.d. ask to examine your identification. ask to search your car as long as the person, a reasonable person would feel free to stop the encounter or to walk away. and to me that's never made sense that anybody felt free to walk away. >> so this is exactly the kind of thing that we are already expecting republican senators to criticize her for. they have said that she is soft on crime. they intend to question her about her past as a public defender. what do you make of those
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arguments, especially considering that that background is just not that common when it comes to the supreme court. >> yeah, i would say absolutely, it's not that she's soft on crime. i believe she's going to bring an important perspective as somebody who really, really helped uphold the very principles and values that we hold dear in law. we're based on an adversary system that we footbbelieve if have two sides making an argument. and arguing that opposite side of prosecutors in criminal area than make sure that we're getting to truth. you are holding the government accountable in those cases. she's bringing a difference lens, a difference perspective. she has a broader lens as well. a lens as someone related to police officers. she has a very, very strong connection to law enforcement. so in many ways, she has this really, really complex, complicated, important lens that
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nobody else on that bench would be bringing. and i think that to have those insights on the court would be incredibly important. she understands how dangerous it is for police officers. but she also understands that african americans are disproportionately stopped for no reason. and so i think that having both of those lenses is really important. and i think not acting, right, so i think one of the assumptions is that if somebody isn't a public defender, that somehow they are objective and neutral and fair on these cases and how about -- have you asked questions, well, how can you decide these cases without understanding the reality of people who are stopped and frisked without reason, right? how can you understand these cases if you have every had any interaction with a criminal defendant? you don't ask those questions of people who don't have that experience. and it's an assumption that because she brings that experience she'll be biased. >> yeah, that's a very good point. the lack of that experience is
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also something that is worth questioning. thank you so much for being with us here today. bombs are falling every ten minutes, russian forces increase their offensive in mariupol. ukrainian fighters are saying that they will not surrender the city. is getting even more personal. keep on shopping, ignore us. i've losost like 28 pounds. you look great! i love that my clothes fit better, but i just love ice cream a little bit more than that. the new ww personal points program is particular to you. so what kind of foods do you like? avocado. ice cream. sandwiches. no food is off limits. when can i start?! get started for just $5 a month at hurry! offer ends march 21st.
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new reporting just in to cnn. multiple sources now say the united states hasn't determined if russia has tapped a military commander to lead the country's war on ukraine. cnn's katie bo lillis is here. what are you learning? >> multiple sources tell us that the united states hasn't been able to determine whether or not russia has designated a single military commander that would be responsible for the overall theater of its war in ukraine. the kind of top military official the united states would expect russia or any professional military to put in place to run a war in a coherent fashion. the russian ministry of defense has declined to respond to a request for comment from cnn but our sources tell us that absent a top commander, different units from different military districts across russia that are pushing forward in offensives across ukraine appear to be operating independently of one another. they appear to be competing for resources instead of coordinating in the way that the united states would anticipate
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under a single commander with a single coherent vision for the campaign, for the war. this is also happening at the same time that sources tell us that russia is having an incredibly difficult time with secure communications. its service members and commanders in the field are at times relying on commercial cell phones and other channels that the ukrainians have been able to intercept and at times use to target their own counterstrikes against russia. abby? >> fascinating reporting. katie bo, thanks for bringing it to us. let's bring in cnn's military analyst, retired major general spider marks. spider, you heard what katie bo just reported and as we've been discussing the last several days. russia is engaged in fighting in a lot of parts of ukraine right now. in mariupol, around kyiv, also they are in kharkiv but having trouble with the civilian population there. what does all of this tell you? >> well, it tells me that the russian forces tried to bite off
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more than they could chew. they are trying to win in multiple locations which means they've violated one of the most incredible and most important principles of war. what is your center of gravity? what are you trying to achieve, and put the maximum power against that objective. they are trying to get mariupol, trying to get land bridge from the donbas all the way to odesa. they're trying to get kharkiv for logistics reasons. trying to get kyiv because it's the capital city. and they are failing in each one of those locations. other than in mariupol, which is where they've been able to simply conduct this brutal long-range fire assault against fixed facilities. it's not warfare. it's simply thug tactics that increase the terror level of the citizens within ukraine. so the russian forces are really out of stride. they don't have any momentum and they're trying to find their next moves. >> and in mariupol, the russians have been bombing that city for weeks and yet they have not been
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able to control it. now they are demanding the surrender. why is mariupol so significant from a military perspective? >> well, in order for the russians to secure those newly independent, the donbas region, remember they did that three weeks ago. in order to do that, they have to secure the western flank of that, which is mariupol. and then from mariupol, they then need to move down through kherson into mykolaiv and then onward into odesa. and each one of those is a step that's required, abby, in order to accomplish the next step because it protects that flank, if you will. military term for get yourself squared away. focus on your target so you don't have to worry about that stuff on your side. that's what we see happening there on the black sea. >> as you were just describing, down there in this area, what russia is really trying to do is create a connection in this
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entire part of the region in order to have control over this incredibly strategically important area. and yet at the same time, they are still struggling up in the north around kyiv. we are hearing that they are still trying to encircle kyiv from the north and really struggling with that. do you think that that is still a military priority for russia, and will they be able to actually achieve it? >> abby, it is a military priority, yes. it's the capital city. if putin cannot control kyiv, he's not going to be able to control ukraine. frankly, if he controls kyiv, i still doubt he's going to be able to control ukraine because he's pissed off 45 million citizens and residents of that country and they're going to do everything to make it difficult for him to do anything there. but kyiv remains a priority, but it's of a lesser priority right
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n now. in the military you don't want to reinforce failure. the russians have experienced failure. three weeks, can't get their arms around kyiv. what i think they would do if they're following any of these principles of war, they'd probably move in the direction of where they are achieving success, which is down along the black sea, as you just described. but kyiv still remains a priority. i just think it's lower on the priority list. >> thank you so much, general spider marks for all of that background. coming up ahead for us, president biden is -- has a critical phone call with world leaders this morning ahead of his emergency meeting in europe later this week.
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right now, president joe biden is talking to european leaders about the ongoing war in ukraine. the u.s., france, italy and the united kingdom and germany all connecting this morning just after 11:00 a.m. for a call ahead of their emergency nato summit in belgium. and our panel is back with me to discuss. this is a really critical week for the world, but particularly for president biden. as the leader of the free world, the -- these leaders who were on the call today, they are racing to figure out, what can we deliver by the end of this week? >> that's been a big question behind the scenes. this trip has been so abruptly scheduled. you don't often see an instance like this where all of these
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world leaders are coming together as they are about to do, the leaders of nato, in brussels on thursday. this quickly. so this is put together within a few days, about a week or so. and it's easily going to be the biggest trip of president biden's time in office so far. and i think one big question will be, what will the deliverables be coming out of this meeting? what are they going to say, here's what we accomplished, what we achieved. we'll expect a joint statement or something. but also this trip is for president biden to go and rally the support behind ukraine to talk about what they've done so far, talk about what they are planning on doing going forward. it's going to be a really critical trip for him. he's got a very busy thursday. he's meeting with the leaders of nato, going to the european council meeting and then he's going to poland. he'll meet the president there. they've taken in about 2 million refugees since this started. they haven't all stayed there but it's a big moment for his presidency. you've heard this push from some ukrainian officials that say president biden should go to ukraine while he's overseas, while in europe.
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we're hearing from white house officials that basically say that's not going to happen at this time. >> if you listen to president zelenskyy, who is talking to foreign leaders and countries all across the world, he wants more. he wants more sanctions, more weapons. he wants a no-fly zone. nato has said a no-go on that. and so we'll see what they are able to actually deliver as you said. there's this raging refugee crisis. how do you put a handle on that? it seems to be continuing more and more. something like 3.5 million at this point. this is a real challenge. is it just going to be a symbolic show of force or are you actually going to be able to do something to stop this? >> all the world leaders trying to do that and keep themselves from becoming involved in the conflict which would bring all of nato into the conflict. >> at the same time, this idea of a peacekeeping mission, nato peacekeeping mission going to ukraine keeps coming up in part because of poland, that's what they have been offering.
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but this is the u.n. ambassador linda thomas-greenfield saying, not going to happen. >> the president has been very clear that we will not put american troops on the ground in ukraine. we don't want to escalate this into a war with the united states. but we will support our nato allies. >> so it's as clear as you can be, in part because a peacekeeping mission is about peacekeeping but it requires boots on the ground. >> often you don't see them happen until conflict is ending. we're still right in the middle of it. you see it's basically the stalemate now in ukraine of what's been happening as the bombing has gotten more indiscriminate. you are not going to see american troops in ukraine. part of this proposal would be sending nato forces, including u.s. forces, into ukraine as part of this peacekeeping mission. it's not fully clear how that would work but it does seem to
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be that poland is going to propose this thursday on this meeting but the white house has said no u.s. troops are going in. nato has said nato forces are not going in. whether or not that changes, we don't know where we'll be on thursday but it's something the white house has rejected so far. >> the american people have rejected putting boots on the ground. at least they do not support that. they support ukraine and everything going on. >> and they want more but they don't want that. >> it's a big question. how do you stop russia without provoking russia? that is the thin line that nato and the west are trying to figure out at this point. you see president zelenskyy calling on countries like israel to do more. put up sanctions against russia. you see europe, for instance, not willing to completely wean themselves off of russian oil. essentially bank rolling this effort by the russians. they spent something like a billion dollars a day on russian energy. so listen, you've had this -- president zelenskyy make heartfelt pleas but so far,
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there's a stalemate in ukraine. i think they are lucky that the russian forces aren't as powerful as people thought they were. so we'll see what comes out of these nato meetings. >> a big priority this week is going to be a show of unity to show putin that nato is still here. thanks to our panel. thank you all for coming in today. ♪ >> remember amelia. she's the little ukrainian girl you saw and was seen all around the world singing "frozen" from a kyiv bomb shelter. and over the weekend, she performed the ukrainian national anthem at a charity concert in poland. we'll be right back. ♪ >> tech: does your windshield have a crack? trust safelite. >> tech vo: this customer had auto glass damage,
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we go to ukraine now where more than 3 million people have now fled since the russian invasion began less than a month ago. and unicef estimates half of those are children. cnn's melissa bell is live at the poland/ukraine border. melissa, what are you seeing there? >> well, abby, this is the place where refugees continue to come across the border. women and children making their way on foot. it is the land crossing where they can walk through. it's also where the cars and trucks make their way into ukraine. now these land routes have become even more important, abby, because as ukraine has become isolated, cut off to the
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north and the south, it is these roads, these arteries from european countries like poland that allow all that humanitarian aid that the country is now so dependent on to survive. so it isn't just refugees coming out that have impacted poland. with 2.5 million now that have crossed the border, it is also the importance of these routes to getting that much-needed aid in as well. it is also these land routes that see the weapons shipments coming from europe and the united states getting into ukraine. you were mentioning a moment ago the difficulty of stopping russia without provoking it. one of the dangers as well at this border where essentially nato meets ukraine is what would happen if some of those humanitarian convoys going in started to be bombed on the other side of the border. we had chilling words from the russian foreign minister just a few days ago warning that russia now believe that it could consider as a legitimate target any cargo entering the country that it believed was carrying weapons. so this is an extremely important border, both in terms
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of what's coming out, the people and what's going in, the humanitarian aid. the weaponry and what moscow might make of the relationship between the two, abby. >> thank you so much, melissa bell, for all of your great reporting. and this is all tragic and sad, but there is something that you can do to help. go to for more information on how you can contribute to relief efforts and thank you for joining "inside politics." don't forget you can listen to our podcast. download "inside politics" wherever you get your podcasts. ana cabrera and don lemon from ukraine pick up our coverage right now. this is cnn breaking news. >> hello. i'm ana cabrera in new york and don lemon is with us in lviv, ukraine. we begin with the war rapidly approaching a dangerous stalemate. that warning from a senior nato official as russia faces


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