tv CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell CNN March 28, 2022 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
ukraine to fight russian aggression. and the world will be watching for what president biden said about those improvised comments on vladimir putin. nine words causing a diplomatic headache for the white house. >> for god's sake, this man cannot remain in power. >> now the white house said that president biden was not calling for regime change and that he meant to convey that putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over neighboring nations. putin continues to wage war in ukraine. cnn's teams in the capital say they've heard powerful explosions around the suburbs and a women in kyiv that we spoke to last hour was interrupted by explosions nearby. russian forces are attempting to establish a corridor to block supply routes around kyiv. but we're also hearing about gains by ukrainian forces. the mayor of irpin said that his
city has been reclaimed. cnn cannot independently verify that claim. russia is also continuing air assault on towns already destroyed by bombs. this is new video of a school in kharkiv. tomorrow officials from russia and ukraine are scheduled to meet in turkey for peace talks. don lemon is live in lviv, ukraine and it is great to have you there as we know past negotiations have not yielded much progress. but ukrainian president zelenskyy now said that he is open to basically staying neutral, he's making a concession before tomorrow. so what does that mean? >> reporter: we have to see what it means. because we don't know. russia, i don't even believe they're going to bring people to the table. but zelenskyy said he's ready to accept a neutral non-nuclear status under certain conditions. and that any deal would have to be agreed upon by the ukrainian
people in a referendum for example. so there is a lot to discuss. we'll start with correspondent fred pleitgen joining us from kyiv. tell us about the fighting around kyiv and russia's attempt to block supply routes because we were just speaking to a member of parliament there just moments ago and ina and she was interrupted, she heard some explosions. what do you know? >> well we've been hearing expositions the entire day here in kyiv. and of course, you know that this is a city that is very much on the front line, very active front line and of course for a very long time the russians even said this is one of the main places that they wanted to take. now they claim that it is not one of the main objectives any more but certainly the fighting here is as intense as ever. and would you say compared to the last couple of days, even more intense. we've been hearing explosions throughout the day, some of them extremely heavy and loud.
we heard one quite recently that looks like a lot of smaller explosions which may have been some sort of smaller bombs that were exploding in quick succession. so it is an extremely active day to the northwest of the city. you have basically two major front lines, one toward the east and toward the northwest and that area in the northwest where it seems fighting is going on, we've seep plumes of smoke throughout the entire day. and then we got the news that you were just talking about, that the mayor of irpin said this the district had been taken by the ukrainian military and that is a big deal because that is ve close to the actual gates of kyiv, to the city limits of kyiv and it is been a place that had a been heavily contested over the past couple of days. i would say over the past week and a half. and the mayor said they have about 80% and now they've gotten all tv back but there is still fighting and there is still heavy shelling as well. the ukrainians are saying around
kyiv, around the ukrainian capital, they believe that they now at least have a momentum on their side. they believe that russians are on the back foot. but certainly what we've seen today, the air raid sirens, the booms that we've been hearing sh the explosions that we've been seeing, it certainly seems to us as though the russians are still putting up a massive fight. and might still be trying to also advance. there was a deputy defense minister and she came out and believes that the russians are trying to create corridors around the city which once again could be part of the fact of what you were just saying that they are trying to cut off some of the supply routes that the ukrainians are using to resupply this city and of course their military fighting in it. don. >> and despite what you said about the ukrainians taking back some of the city but there is still explosions going on. the mayor of kyiv eased the curfew and they're trying to begin remote schooling. what does that feel like in the city? >> well, you're absolutely right. in the past couple of days, what
we've seen is it seems as though the mood here has eased a little bit among the citizens here. we've been out and about the entire weekend. and even at some of the checkpoints. you could see more traffic there. more people going sarn there. but of course you do constantly get reminded this is a city that is very much on war footing. you have a lot of check points everywhere. you have a lot of fortifications everywhere and then days like today where you do have fighting that is still going on. but your krcorrect that the may eased the occurfy by two hours and now it ends hour earlier and that they want to start home schooling again. so there is certain signs of life that seem to be coming back. but the people here are definitely under no illusion that this is still a tough battle ahead and those incremental gains that they've made are fragile and they could be reversed at any point in time because the russian military is extremely strong. has some extremely powerful weapons and those are at the
gates of kyiv. ukrainians say they have the upper hand and seem to be pressing an offensive, it is not something that couldn't still be reverse the judging by the fact that the russians have an extremely powerful military, don. >> we've been watching correspondents like alan watson covering mariupol, driving with police and defense personnel. weeks of attacks have devastated mariupol, fred. mayor there saying that the city is quote, in the hands of the occupiers. what could you tell us about that? what is latest? >> yeah, that is a devastating situation of course, awful for the people that are still stuck inside of that city. it is not 100% clear whether he meant that all of the city has been taken by russian forces or whether or not fighting is still going on there. whether or not the defenders of that city are still holding pockets of it. he does say that not everything is under their control and said that the civilians still inside of the city need to be evacuated
as fast as possible. with some of the reports that we've been getting from that place, the fact that there is shelling all of the time pretty much constantly and large parts of the city have been destroyed and a lot of civilians have already been killed. i think one of the figures that i saw was around 5,000 civilians have been killed in that city alone. and then you have the fact of the people on the the ground there have no water, have no food. have no electricity and most of the time he said it is absolutely necessary for people to to be evacuated as fast as possible with the city under complete siege by russian forces and then them shelling that city from the positions that they hold from outside. so a devastating situation. unclear whether all of that city has fallen yet, don. >> mariupol and so many cities to the east, fred, thank you very much. that is fred reporting the latest from kyiv and also around the region. another round of face-to-face talks between
ukraine and russia set to get underway in turkey tomorrow. arwa damon joins me now. how are you? the president zelenskyy is now ready to accept a neutral non-nuclear status for ukraine as part of the peace deal with russia. please explain what that means. >> well, as he himself said, this is pretty much what the russians want to hear. at least it is justification that he was using to launch this war, its concerns about ukraine becoming a nate ore member, nato encroaching on its territory. and so if we look at what that actually means, a neutral state, that means that ukraine could not be able to be a third party to any sort of conflict which effectively, if we toss the semantics aside, don, means that ukraine would not be able to become a member of nato. not in the foreseeable future.
and so what zelenskyy is saying that we're willing to give russia this and this is one of the key points that russia wants us to see, give space on. is this going to be enough though for some sort of realistic cease-fire to come to fruition, for this to lead to peace talks. that, at this stage, we don't know. and then you have what you heard fred there talking about as well and what your very well aware of it being on the ground is the need for the humanitarian corridors. the ukrainians and many others want to see more humanitarian corridors and they also want to see more guarantees that those humanitarian corridors are actually going to be safe and secure. but if this conflict has taught us anything up until this point, it is very hard to predict which direction anything is really going to go. >> arwa damon in istanbul.
we'll check back with you. that is latest from the region. back to you in new york. >> we'll check back with you soon. again rear minutes away from president biden unveiling his new budget plan. we understand that he'll ask congress for more defense spending including nearly $7 billion for items related to the war in ukraine. m.j. lee is sat the white house. give us the details. >> a reminder that a white house budget is just a request to congress so this is not a binding document by any means. but it does give us some insight into what an administration's top priorities are and it is clear looking at the budget that national security is one of those priorities. there are hundreds of billions of dollars set aside for national security spending including if you look here, $6.9 billion to counter russian aggression and to support ukraine. other billions of dollars going toward military spending. of course there are also other
domestic and economic agenda items, including a tax on billionaires and funding for police departments across the country. and what is very clear is that national security aside, inflation remains a top, top priority and concern for this white house and white house officials talking about the fact that because of the russia invasion in ukraine, they do expect that prices will continue to go up for families across the country. and they're being pretty frank and saying this is a concern that is going to take some time to come down and that the white house can't do a ton to fix overnight. now we do expect that the president is going to be talking about this just any moment now at the white house. so we'll see what his economic outlook is. but we're also waiting to see if he getsed by reporters about the comments that he made in warsaw that were unplanned, off the cuff when he said about vladimir putin, this man cannot remain in power. of course, as we have covered the last 24 hours or so, those
comments really making waves here in the country and across the world. so we'll see if we see that opportunity for the president himself to directly sort of clarify what exactly he meant, the administration making clear that he was not referring to regime change in those comments, alisyn. >> i can't imagine he won't be asked about those comments. so m.j. lee, thank you very much. so as you've heard, president zelenskyy is ready to accept neutral, non-nuclear status for ukraine which would end his country's bid to join nato. but the head of the ukraine military intelligence described a potentially different ending to this war. he said vladimir putin may be looking to split ukraine in two. similar to north and south korea. former defense secretary leon panetta weighs in.
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russia's failure to capture kyiv may be leading to a new plan. according to the head of ukraine's military intelligence. the ukrainian general said putin could try to divide ukraine. quote, there is reason to believe that he is considering a korean scenario for ukraine, that is russian forces try to impose a dividing line between the unoccupied and occupied regions of our country and it is an attempt to create north and south korea in ukraine. joining us now is former defense secretary and former cia director leon panetta. thank you for being here. is that a possible outcome? as you see it? this bifurcated ukraine? >> there is no question that even from -- even before the invasion that there was talk about the russians wanting to take control of some of the
other areas. and i think it is only been emphasized through this last period of 30 days in which, you know, the russians clearly have been stalled in terms of their major invasion goals. but at the same time, have sought now to try to reinforce their position in some of the separatist areas. i think, though, that in the end, i can't see president zelenskyy agreeing that they should get the benefit resulting from their invasion in terms of territory. in the very least what those areas ought to be able to do is conduct a referendum as to whether or not they want to be russian or ukrainian. >> here is what president zelenskyy seems to be willing to concede but i don't know if this is a significant shift but let me play what he said today about
neutrality. >> translator: security guarantees and on neutrality, the non-nuclear status of our state. we are ready to pursue this. this is the most important point. this was the first point of principle for the russian federation as i recall. and as far as i remember, they started the war because of this. >> okay, so he's ready to pursue neutrality for ukraine, he said. is this an inflection point in the negotiations that will be happening tomorrow? >> well, i think it is a major point that clearly was involved in why the russians went into ukraine or at least that is why putin said he was going in, was because he feared that ukraine would become a nato part of that alliance. and so zelenskyy saying that ukraine will remain neutral and have neutrality and a nuclear free area really does concede a major point to the russians.
i mean, i would think that putin would say he is clearly achieved the most important point he was after, which was to make sure that ukraine would not be part of nato. but, you know, it is hard to tell how this plays out. but i would hope that this could be the beginning of maybe some serious negotiations that might result in a negotiated settlement of that terrible war in ukraine. >> we'll see tomorrow if it is a possible off-ramp. it sounds like, as you say, something that, i don't know, could end this hideous war that is happening. about president biden and what he said on saturday, these nine words where he said for god's sake, this man can not remain if power. how big of a problem is that? >> well i think the administration has pretty much cleared up what he said. look, it is understandable, the president was there for three days looking at the horrors that
have been unleashed on ukrainian people as a result of putin. so i can understand his emotional feel about putin not staying in office. i think a lot of people would probably agree with that. but at this point in the game, you really have to keep your messages very simple and very direct and i think this created some confusion that wasn't helpful. >> yes, i mean president macron has said as much. this is created more than confusion in terms of tension that it has for people trying to negotiate with putin and so why do you think that president biden made that mistake? >> i happen to think that joe biden, you know, he's irish really has a great deal of compassion when he sees that people are suffering. and i think it overwhelmed him in the sense of seeing all of
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okay, this just in. at least a dozen members of the academy of motion pictures of arts an sciences met virtually to discuss how they will respond to this moment from last night's show. actor will smith hitting comedian chris rock after rock made a joke about jada pinkett-smith, in case you missed it, here it is. >> go ahead. >> oh, wow. wow! will smith just smacked the -- out of me. >> -- my wife's name out your --
mouth. >> wow, dude. it was a ji jane joke. >> keep my wife's name out of your -- mouth. >> i'm going to, okay. okay. that was greatest night in the history of television. >> okay, so 45 minutes after smith slapped rock, he was back on stage accepting the oscar for best actor for his role in "king richard" where he plays the father of venus and serena williams. and joining me now the host of run tell this, a weekly podcast presenting news and analysis and pop culture from an african american perspective. ladies, great to have you to help digest everything that happened. you have new reporting. >> so you mentioned the fact that about a dozen academy members, now there are over 9,000 of them, but celebrities and actors, directors, getting
together to just process this. and that they were very divided in this heating zoom meeting this morning. because they felt like some people were upset that the academy just released one statement, just a sentence saying that they don't condone violence and that wasn't enough. wild others felt like, say, this is going to blow over. let's let it lie. but, i can tell you though that a source close to the situation tells cnn just moments ago that last night the academy, that they considered removing will smith from the broadcast. that is huge news to know that. >> what does that even mean? >> they thought about approaching will smith and having him leave the premises. because the academy has bylaws against violence. and if you are an academy member, which we don't know if will smith is, you sign and you agree to the bylaws and they are very strict and those bylaws went into effect once the me-too
movement and they said that the leadership of the academy, they were seated in different spots in the massive dolby theater and to get everybody together, this is an unprecedented moment and for them to get together and discuss and all agree about what to do. you might say they have 45 minutes but it is not as easy as it looks. a lot of questions about security. even though this is will smith and he's an a-list actor, should there be security there. those are questions that you're seeing. so, it will be interesting to see if the quad responds further. >> samara, your position, i think, is that you tweeted out that the person most hurt by will smith's slap is will smith. how so? >> yeah. you know, will smith overshadowed what should have been a real highlight of his career, that has been decaded in the making. the headlines this morning should have been about his amazing journey from teen rapper
from philadelphia to an academy award winner and one of the few african american ever presented with this honor and instead it is about him slapping chris rock and chris rock coming out looking good in this whole s scenario. even though he made that tasteless, cruel joke about jada pinkett-smith. >> was it cruel. to my ears ji jane is bad ass and i think he said i love you jada. he was trying to couch it and now we know that she doesn't have hair because of alopecia, a medical condition. but to your ears, was that cruel. >> there is context here that is important. absent the context, it sounds as far as chris rock is concerned, a very benign joke. but the context is two-fold. for one, they have history. chris rock has mommed the smiths at the oscars before in 2016. they were not present at the time. so there has been some bad blood since then. and the other piece of context is that jada pinket has been very public about her battle
with alopecia that caused this hair loss and as women we could understand how painful it would be to suffer extreme hair loss in that way. so that is the context. and that is the key to what will smith was reacting to. a lot of the debate that we're hearing today is about people saying, well, it was understandable. now it was unacceptable. no question about that. but there are a lot of people who are saying he was coming to her defense in a very painful moment. >> khloe, chris rock deserves an award to be unflappable and show must go on. >> and such a good line after that on his feet. so say this is a great live television. >> it was great live television. whatever it was -- it was a live moment and i can't imagine anybody responding better. has he responded to this? >> no. we haven't heard anything and you saw diddy saying we are going to resolve this like family and i'm going to get you two together. unclear if they've spoken to each other or settled any bad
blood. and how much deeper does it run. is it more than just the quips at the oscars in 2021 or is there more behind the scenes is will smith or chris rock going to give us more context of this. but we're trying to reach chris rock's representatives for comment. we've had radio silence. but again everybody is coming to will smith to see if he's okay. you saw denzel washington andler perry. >> my face still hurts from imagining what that slap was like. thank you for the breaking news. mara, thank you very much for the context. great to talk to both of you. this just in, the controversial bill restricting lgbtq topics in florida classrooms will take effect in july. florida governor ron desantis just signed this into law a short time ago. it bans public schoolteachers from encouraging classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. supporters say it gives parents
more control over what their kids learn. critics have dubbed it the don't say gay bill and worried it will lead to more isolation and self-harm for day and trans students. >> russian forces striking kyiv. cnn teams have been reporting on the constant bombardment of the capital as ukrainians say russia is trying to block supply routes into the city. so up next, we'll speak to a mom who has been sheltering with her three children while keeping a video dire of this situation. motrin works fast to stop pain where it starts. like those nagging headaches. uncomfortable peod pains. and diuptive muscle aches. you can count on fast, effective relief with motrin. new projects means new project managers. you need to hire. i need indeed.
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i'm don lemon live here in ukraine. in lviv. and we continue to follow the breaking news on the war. we're hearing air raid sirens going off. as of a week ago, it would not have been a big concern. but since there was that bombardment that happened this weekend in the city, folks here get a lot more tense now when they hear the air raid sirens so we'll see what is going on and then we'll update you on it. in the meantime we'll continue on with our news, there were large explosions rocking the capital of kyiv. ukrainian officials say russia is trying to block supply routes into the city. and amid all of this, local official as announced that schooling would resume in an online format today.
olia joins us now, she's sheltering with her children in a basement in kyiv. she posted a video diary of her and her family's life on her youtube channel, what is ukraine and let's take a look before we talk to her. here is one of her recent videos. >> so it happened at night. at night we heard very loud explosions, it is very close, really close to us. and later, hours later it was in the news that a building, a apartment block, very similar to which we live, it was hit by a missile on the snnext street. very close to us. >> so that is one of your most recent posts. thank you so much for joining us. what have you been hearing from the shelter today? have you heard or felt the explosions in the area? >> we hear some explosions.
we are in the -- today, all these days we hear explosions coming from irpin, from butcha, that is very close where the russians are standing next to kyiv. we are in the north of kyiv. our neighborhood. and like almost every day, every night we hear some explosions here. >> one of your children returned to online schooling today. what was that like? in the middle of a war zone? >> well, it was very good because they need some noise to get -- this is online school and today she's been just, there were two lessons. one 30 minutes each. so it is not very long and it just was important for children to listen to the other children, yes, to know that life goes on. because many of their classmates, they gist left kyiv and some of them are abroad and it was just important for them
to see the other children's faces and their teachers just to know that normal life is still possible. because most of the time it is spent here in the basement without even seeing the light. so for kids, it is very good that some of these lessons resumed. >> yeah. i'm just wondering, how distracting it is for them hearing the explosion and i'm sure the air raid sirens because we have some sirens going off right now and it could be pretty disconcerting to hear. it is not always explosions here in lviv, but usually when the sirens go off in kyiv, if there are any warning sirens, it is something that is real. >> likely now the neighborhood, they are not that loud because we do not have them on the street. so we do not hear the -- we hear only explosions that go after. and we know that the alerts only
from our mobile phones. the messenger. and then telling kids all of the time that we have this air sirens. but they know that they are often happening. yes, and this is something really bad that is happening to our children, really. >> yeah. so your husband is also a journalist who joined the fight to protect the country. how is he doing and what is he telling you about what these battles are like? >> well, he's pretty tired already. even though he was not directly involved in the fighting. he is inside of kyiv in the defense units kyiv. and we still hope that those guys, they will not be fighting inside of kyiv. that kyiv is protected enough, we hope that it will not happen, that people in kyiv will not be dying like they are dying right now in mariupol, in kharkiv, in
cherniv, and we have to prevent another tragedy. again and again repeating the history that have took many people that were killed sayo express deep concerns, oh, we express condolences, oh, how could this happen. i mean, pooututin is a criminal he's a terrorist and everybody is afraid of him. recently biden said the truth, that putin is a killer and everybody was like, oh, what about peace negotiations. i mean, putin is lying to everybody's faces and he's laughing at biden and all of the other world leaders because he can do whatever he wants. he promised not to attack. he attacked. he promised not to kill civilians. he's cilling civilians. now we are hoping for some peace negotiations. so what if he promises again, not to kill people, does it mean i will be safe here in kyiv? in ten seconds he's launch another missile from the black sea, thousands of kilometers away into kyiv and just kill us.
and where are the guarantees that he will not be doing this? who will guarantee? if everybody is afraid of this terrorist of putin. sorry. >> yeah. well, i could understand your passion and you have beautiful children. and you are such a great mom and we're really happy that you're okay thus far. so please be safe and thank you. did you want to say something? >> yes, i wanted to say that i'm just a typical average really ukraine woman. there are so many of us, we're all human beings and we're all people. where all of our children are beautiful, not only mine and this terrible war should be stopped, prevented. we have to prevent more deaths. it is not good what is happening. it is not -- it is nonsense. it should not be happening. >> yeah. right you are. olena, thank you so much. we appreciate it.
alisyn, i'm going back to you in new york. is there something we need to know before we go back to new york? we're live. >> there is not. >> we're good here. some come fmotion going on and heard the sirens. so there you go, alisyn. >> that is incredible to hear from olena. she's so composed and what the average ukrainian woman has to endure right now with her newborn there and her little daughter. that was just incredible. and zdon, we'll check back with you if there is anything happening from your location. meanwhile, according to the u.n., 3.8 million ukrainians have fled their country since the end of february. most refugees heading to neighboring poland. we'll show you what that looks like, next. hellllo, kevin hart! earnrn big time with chase freem unlimited with no annual fee.. how do you cashback? chase. make more of what's yours.
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>> reporter: all of these are cots and everything people can carry. there are these little pods of blankets. children laying on some of these cot cots. there are cribs here. 95% of the people in this place in warsaw are women, children and the elderly. they have left safely out of ukraine. emphasis here is that this is a hub. if you look at other parts of this expo center, there are places for you to get paper sorts and get a bus ticket to travel to other parts of europe, to stop, to have place to eat. to eat consistent meals. to get health care. it is something that this expo center which is privately and jointly run by the city but privately owned says it will do as long as it can. >> how long? i don't know. we should call putin. i don't know. we will be helping them as long
as possible. that's why we must replace them very fast. this is temporary place. it's not good for the children and for those women. >> reporter: the city of warsaw has taken in some 300,000 refugees . there's only so much the city can do. >> that's incredible. seeing the effort there of the people behind that expo center
and every one in poland. tell us more about what you see and why you're there. >> reporter: i think the thing that's most remarkable is what we're not seeing. the 300,000 into this city of 1.8 million people. we're not seeing people sleeping on the streets in tecnt. we're not seeing services being over run. what we are seeing is that well oil machined that people are giving paper about how to gept the equivalent of a social security number. how to get free health care. how to enroll in school. there's train on the system. imagine if your neighborhood school had an increase in 30% of its students in a month. that's what happened here. that's what they are talking about when they say there has to be help elsewhere. they can't just sustain it. >> also seeing the generosity of
spirit that the refugees are being met with. thank you for your reporting. we are following breaking news. son-in-law and former senior adviser to then president donald trump is set to appear this week before the january 6th committee. we have all the new detail, ahead. i have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. now, there's skyrizi. with skyrizi 3 out of 4 people achieved 90% clearer skin at 4 mths, after just 2 doses. skyrizi may increase your risk of infections and lower your ability to fighthem. before treatment, your doctor should check you for infections and tuberculosis.
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we have some breaking news. let's go right to the white house where president biden is unveiling his new budget, which includes funding for ukraine. >> let me begin by saying thank you director. you heard me say this before over the years. my dad had an expression, he said don't tell me what you value, show me your budget. i'll tell you what you value. the budget i'm releasing today sends a clear message to the american people what we value. first, fiscal responsibility. second, safety and security and
thirdly, investments needed to build a better merng. the previous administration ran up record budget deficits. the deficit went up every year under my predecessor. my administration is turning that around. this yooer cut the deficit by more than 1 trillion. this would be the largest one year reduction deficit in u.s. history. here is how we're achieving this record deficit reduction. first, we're going the economy. we have been generating gdp growth of 5.7%. the best we have seen in this country in ove