tv CBS Evening News With Norah O Donnell CBS February 24, 2022 6:30pm-6:59pm PST
>> but you ♪ ♪ ♪ captioning sponsored by cbs >> o'donnell: tonight, vladimir putin unleashes a tidal wave of violence, as russia launches a full-scale invasion of ukraine. and president biden vows to hold him accountable. air raid sirens blare in ukraine's capital-- ( sirens ) --as russian paratroopers land on the outskirts of kyiv, and tanks roll into the country. and, after a pitched battle at a radioactive nuclear plant, russians gain control, raising fears of a potential disaster at chernobyl. the mass exodus. as the u.n. warns of a refugee crisis, roadways jammed and subway stations turned into bomb shelters. plus, we're on the front lines tonight as ukrainian troops vow to fight back against russia. taking aim. president biden issues new
sanctions, as russian stocks nosedive, wiping out $200 billion in value. >> putin is the aggressor. putin chose this war. >> o'donnell: and, our interview tonight with the secretary of state. here in the united states: with one million ukrainians in america, their fears for family and friends back home. dangerous winter weather. thousands of flights canceled as snow, ice, and rain moves across the country. guilty. three police officers convicted of violatng george floyd's civil rights by failing to intervene as officer derek chauvin killed floyd. and, we end tonight with a moment of reflection, as war returns to europe for the first time since world war ii. this is the "cbs evening news" with norah o'donnell, reporting from the nation's capital. >> o'donnell: good evening
to our viewers in the west and thank you for joining us. tonight, we are witnessing the largest war in europe since the end of world war ii. and this is the nightmare scenario that the world feared. the full-scale russian invasion of ukraine tonight is well under way. vladimir putin unleashed a tidal wave of violence across ukraine, firing 160 short-range and medium-range missiles. according to a senior defense official. and, at least 137 ukrainians have been killed, and hundreds wounded. but those numbers are expected to surge in the days ahead. fierce fighting is happening along several front lines as russian forces move into ukraine from three sides, and tonight they are advancing on the capital of kyiv. these new images show the first pictures of damage inside ukraine. military installations and airports have been targeted, but so have civilian apartment buildings and hospitals. roadways are jammed as civilians attempt to flee large cities,
while subway stations have turned into bomb shelters. president biden announcing a new round of punishing sanctions and the deployment of 7,000 additional new u.s. troops to europe. we have a team of reporters covering the story, beginning with cbs' charlie d'agata in kyiv. good evening, charlie. >> reporter: good evening to you, norah. it has been a tough day for ukrainian forces. they've been fighting russian troops on multiple fronts, and now we're getting late word tonight that those russian forces are advancing on the capital itself, on day one of this invasion. ( explosion ) air raid sirens and explosions shattered the peace today... ( explosion ) ...in a conflict that will send shockwaves far beyond the battlefields of ukraine, in the biggest attack on a european country in nearly 80 years. this is what vladimir putin's operation to demilitarize the
country looks like, after declaring war in a pre-dawn announcement. tonight, we're told a major battle is under way at the gostomel airfield, on the outskirts of the capital itself, where russian paratroopers swooped in today. the president of ukraine confirming paratroopers had landed, saying russian airborne troops are surrounded. but one battle they lost was for the former chernobyl nuclear power plant, around 60 miles from the capital, now fully in the hands of the russians. the clashes followed a campaign of aerial bombardment across the country. ( explosion ) russia says its forces hit more than 70 military targets across ukraine. but then you find something like this-- shattered glass everywhere. this destroyed billboard. apparently, not everything hit its target. nonetheless, as president putin
boasted in his declaration of war this morning, ukraine and nato allies are only too aware that russia is one of the strongest nuclear powers in the world, an ominous threat. that first bombardment triggered a mass exodus from the capital today. if it happens again tonight, those who remained in the city might be the next ones to flee. now, the ukrainian government has declared martial law, with a curfew in place here from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., and they're expecting another round of air strikes to happen here in the early hours. president zelensky has gone on television moments ago-- he said "we're fighting this war alone." he's now barring men from 18 to 60 from leaving the country. norah. >> o'donnell: calling up all the forces. charlie d'agata, thank you. well, we go now to one of the first cities targeted by the
it's located just 20 miles from the russian border, and to give you an idea of the size of the city, the eastern ukrainian village is about the size of dallas. cbs' holly williams is there where she met some of the innocent victims of the deadly attack. good evening, holly. >> reporter: good evening, norah. here in kharkiv, we've beeng, hearing what sound like either missile or air strikes tonight. this is ukraine's second-largest city, and a major strategic target for russia. ( speaking foreign language ) ( explosion ) a russian fighter jet over kharkiv, according to a ukrainian official. russia claims it isn't targeting civilians, but in the town of chuhuiv, ukrainian officials say the russians bombed this apartment building, killing at least one and injuring 15 residents. "i never thought this would happen on our land," said oleana kurilo, a local teacher.
the outskirts of kharkiv have been pummeled by shelling, ruining homes and shattering lives. and, the russians are also taking losses. we believe this soldier was killed by ukrainian forces on the edge of the city. after months of stoical calm in the face of a possible invasion, in kharkiv, there's now panic buying in supermarkets, a rush to donate blood, and a search for shelter from russian missiles and air strikes. >> it's really terrible. i got up at 5:00, and i listen, a lot of-- of bomb. >> reporter: look at this. andriy ostapenko showed us where he and hundreds of others will likely sleep tonight: the city's subway. with the trains halted, people are camped out with their children and their pets. marina omelyanenko works in i.t., and is here with her mother. they heard it was too dangerous to flee the city by road. >> it will be scary to stay at home at night.
it will be dark. >> reporter: many civilians in ukraine are trapped in the firing line with nowhere to run. the united nations says around 100,000 people have already fled their homes in ukraine since early today when russia began its assault. norah. >> o'donnell: holly williams, thank you. well, in his first remarks since russia's full-scale invasion, president biden said he has no plans to speak with vladimir putin, and that relations between the two countries are "completely ruptured." and in an alarming comment, president biden today said putin has larger ambitions than just ukraine, that he wants to reestablish the former soviet union. cbs' weijia jiang reports tonight from the white house on new crippling sanctions. >> reporter: president biden condemned what he called vladimir putin's premeditated, unprovoked attack. >> putin is the aggressor. putin chose this war.
bear the consequences. >> reporter: the president announced new sanctions aimed at crippling the russian economy, targeting four large russian banks, several more oligarchs friendly with putin, and new restrictions on key, high-tech exports to russia. for weeks, the administration has insisted sanctions would curb putin's aggression. >> the president believes that sanctions are intended to deter. >> reporter: but today, mr. biden said the opposite, as he struggled to answer how to stop putin from overtaking ukraine. >> no one expected the sanctions to prevent anything from happening. it has to-- this will take time. >> reporter: president biden refrained from sanctioning the russian energy sector, because of how it would affect already- high oil prices. the conflict sent the cost of oil over $100 a barrel today for the first time in eight years. >> i know this is hard, and that americans are already hurting.
>> reporter: with the full-scale russian invasion under way, the president said his decision tosi deploy 7,000 u.s. troops to germany was not to put them in position to fight russia. >> our forces are not going to europe to fight in ukraine, but to defend our nato allies and reassure those allies in the east. >> reporter: president biden also said today that sanctioning vladimir putin himself is an option that is on the table. but, he declined to answer why it hasn't already happened. the president plans to attend an emergency nato summit tomorrow morning. the 30-nation alliance will map out next steps to deal with this crisis. norah. >> o'donnell: weijia jiang, thank you. well, after a firefight with the ukrainians, russian forces took control of the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster. and in some breaking news, the white house now says that russian soldiers are holding the staff of chernobyl hostage. cbs' david martin reports from
the pentagon. >> reporter: russia's road to kyiv runs through nuclear wasteland of chernobyl, site of the 1986 nuclear meltdown that has been blamed for dozens of deaths. today, it became a battleground as ukrainian forces tried to hold off russian troops, raising fears high-powered weapons would puncture the dome erected over the ruined reactor, and once again release radiation. >> the fight is going right there, with ukrainian national guard protecting the chernobyl station from the attack. >> reporter: after the fighting ended with the russians in control, ukraine assured the international atomic energy agency, there had been no casualties nor destruction at chernobyl. ukraine also said all of its 15 nuclear reactors around the country were operating safely and securely. but the russian invasion is only in its opening phase, and the
danger of a war-time nuclear accident remains. russian troops are advancing on three fronts: one toward kyiv, one toward kharkiv, and one from the south out of crimea, a province of ukraine which putin seized in 2014. the last time a war like this was fought in europe, there was no such thing as nuclear power. norah. >> o'donnell: david martin at the pentagon, thank you. joining us now is secretary of state antony blinken. mr. secretary, thank you for your time. >> good to be with you, norah. thanks. >> o'donnell: well, there were a number of alarming developments today. do you believe that ukraine's capital of kyiv could soon fall to russian forces? >> well, it's certainly under threat, and it could well be under siege. this is the opening salvo of a massive invasion, and we see this continuing and threatening kyiv and threatening other major cities in ukraine. >> o'donnell: and where is ukraine's president zelensky? and how concerned are you about his safety right now?
>> to the best of my knowledge, president zelensky remains in ukraine, at his post. and of course we're concerned for the safety of all of our friends in ukraine-- government officials and others. and we're doing everything we can to stand with them, to support them. we're there for them-- not only us, countries throughout europe and countries around the world. >> o'donnell: and we learned today that russia captured chernobyl. ukraine's foreign minister raised the specter of another nuclear disaster. is that something the u.s. government is concerned about? >> well, they're going after various utilities, power facilities. chernobyl is one of them. obviously, that-- that causes heightened concern and scrutiny. it's something we're looking very carefully at. >> o'donnell: when president biden addressed the nation today, he said that putin wants a new soviet union. is there intelligence to suggest that president putin will advance beyond ukraine? >> you don't need intelligence to tell you that that's exactly what president putin wants. he's made clear that he'd like to reconstitute the soviet empire. short of that, he'd like to reassert his sphere of influence
around neighboring countries that were once part of the soviet bloc. now, when it comes to a threat beyond ukraine's borders, there's something very powerful standing in his way. that's article five of nato. "an attack on one is an attack on all." >> o'donnell: so on that point, i mean, while u.s. troops are not in ukraine, they are close by. so what's being done to lower the risk of some accidental escalation with russian forces? >> well, you always want to make sure that you don't have miscalculations, accidents. and so, one of the things we're looking to do is to be in communication with russia on a military basis to make very clear what it risks if-- if it miscalculates. >> o'donnell: i want to ask you about some of the troubling words from vladimir putin's speech. he warned of "consequences never seen in history." was he threatening a nuclear attack? >> well, i can't begin to get into his head, and to say exactly what he means by that--
by those kinds of words, that kind of bluster. but, again, we've been prepared for whatever course that he chooses to take. we were prepared to engage diplomatically, if we could, to divert him from the aggression that he's pursued. we were also equally prepared now that he committed that aggression. >> o'donnell: russia's economy is fueled by gas, and the u.s. is a consumer. so, would the u.s. consider cutting off oil and gas purchases from russia? >> well, what we're doing, norah, across the board, is making sure that we inflict maximum pain on-- on russia for what president putin has done, while minimizing any of the pain to us. we're in full coordination with other countries, both consumers and producers alike, to minimize any impact that this may have on energy prices and on gasoline. >> o'donnell: mr. secretary, thank you for your time. >> thanks, norah. good to be with you. >> o'donnell: and russia's attack on its neighbor ignited protests across the world, even in moscow. here in the u.s., there are more than a million people with ties to ukraine, and some of them
expressed their anger over the invasion. here's cbs' scott macfarlane. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> reporter: outside the white house tonight, ukrainian americans rallied for stiffer u.s. sanctions and military support... >> stand with ukraine! >> reporter: ...one of a growing number of protests across america. >> no to putin. >> reporter: plus london and berlin, and more than 900 arrested protesting the war in moscow. some of the calls for protests coming from a bunker in ukraine. >> please protest against what putin is doing. please stop this war. >> reporter: "murder" was spray-painted outside the russian embassy in washington, leading to an arrest. >> we're hopeful. we're praying that everybody is safe. >> reporter: a sleepless night for michael sawkiw, who couldn't reach close friends and family west of kyiv by phone. is it extra challenging not being able to reach somebody you know there? >> it's-- it's challenging. it's challenging, obviously, for two reasons. it's challenging because you don't know whether the network is down, or obviously you don't know if anything has happened to said person.
>> reporter: chants of "stand with ukraine," and "stop putin" from this crowd of hundreds in the rain here tonight. another larger demonstration planned here sunday afternoon. norah. >> o'donnell: scott macfarlane outside the white house. thank you. and still ahead on tonight's "cbs evening news," the breaking news: a verdict in the trial of three former minneapolis police officers accused of violating george floyd's civil rights. and, a gigantic winter storm causes wipeouts across the central u.s. where is the dangerous weather headed next? dangerous weather headed next? like the “visit a doctor anywhere our rv takes us” plan. the “zero copays means more money for rumba lessons” plan. ♪♪ and the “visit my doctor while eating pancakes” plan. unitedhealthcare is the #1 medicare plan provider, so you're sure to find the right plan for you. including the only plans with the aarp name.
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>> o'donnell: there's more breaking news tonight as a jury has found three former minneapolis police officers guilty of violating george floyd's civil rights. they were accused of depriving floyd of his right to medical care, when former officer derek chauvin kneeled on floyd's neck as he begged for air. all three still face a state trial in june. chauvin pleaded guilty to violating floyd's civil rights in december. all right, tonight, a widespread winter storm is dumping snow, ice, and rain, impacting about 120 million americans. upstate new york and much of new england is bracing for six to 12 inches of snow, with some areas getting well over a foot. boston, which hit a record high of 69 degrees on wednesday, could be buried under as much as ten inches of snow by tomorrow night. that's quite a change. all right, coming up next, we'll look at how the world changed overnight. vernight.
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march toward ukraine's capital, this is considered one of the darkest hours for europe since world war ii. ( siren ) peace on the continent has been shattered. ( explosion ) also shattered, the lives of many in ukraine. overnight, so much has changed. apartment buildings on fire, a work-space, evidence of a war zone. as ukraine's president warns of a new iron curtain falling, berlin's brandenburg gate-- a symbol of the cold war-- is lit up in blue and gold, the colors of ukraine, in solidarity with the people, including children, who should be headed to school but are headed to emergency shelters. subway stations, usually packed with commuters, are now filled with those seeking shelter from air strikes. and many are stuck waiting-- waiting for money at an a.t.m., or waiting for food; waiting to leave, and to see what exactly vladimir putin will do next. and so, our hearts and our
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captioning sponsored by cbs right now at 7:00 -- from san francisco city hall to the state capitol in sacramento, tonight california standing solidly with ukraine. >> nobody can understand even over there what is going on, you know. how the escalating conflict could impact you, from the gas pump, to silicon valley, and even in another first alert weather day on friday. i am tracking the freezing temperatures you will wake up to friday morning. the countdown is on. the bay area's last holdout is about to drop their mask mandate. it's 5:00 in the morning in kyiv, ukraine, where the country's president