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tv   Yasmin Vossoughian Reports  MSNBC  February 26, 2022 1:00pm-2:00pm PST

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for the mornings when everything's wrong. for the manicure that makes everything right, for right now. show up, however you can, for the foster kids who need it most— at when it comes to cybersecurity, the biggest threats wh don't alwayst— strike the biggest targets. so help safeguard your small business with comcast business securityedge™. it's advanced security that continuously scans for threats and helps protect every connected device. on the largest, fastest, reliable network with speeds up to 10 gigs to the most small businesses. so you can be ready for what's next. get started with internet and voice for just $64.99 a month. and ask how to add securityedge™. or, ask how to get up to a $650 prepaid card. good to be with you, i'm cay katy tur. it is 4:00 p.m. in new york, midnight in moscow. here is what we know right now. in kyiv, ukrainian armed forces
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are preparing for another push from russian forces inching toward the capital. they are organizing their defense amid debris from dozens and dozens of russian rocket attacks. ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskyy gave another address to his nation earlier today, praising their defensive efforts and resolve in the face of invasion. a senior defense official tells nbc news the u.s. believes russians are increasingly frustrated with their lack of progress around kyiv. that official tells us that ukrainian resistance is greater than russia predicted before launched their invasion. as russia's progress slows, organized opposition to the invasion is growing around the globe. u.s. secretary of state antony blinken announced $350 million in additional military aid for ukraine, including anti-tank and air defense capabilities. german chancellor olaf scholz says his country will also supply lethal aid to ukraine, breaking the german government -- that's breaking.
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the german government also announced it would support targeted restrictions on the s.w.i.f.t. bank messaging system for russian financial transactions. the pushback is also emanating from russia itself. you're looking at an anti-war protest from earlier today in st. petersburg. as those are risking arrest protesting the putin regime's decision to invade their neighbor, ukraine. joining me now from a parking garage in kharkiv, ukraine, is "rolling stone" correspondent and msnbc contributor jack crosby. so, jack, why are you in a parking lot? >> well, we've spent a little bit more time down here today than we had hoped to, i think. the hotel that i'm staying in right now has a pretty extensive underground parking garage beneath it. we're also adjacent to a metro complex, which i think is even deeper if shelling gets closer, but we've seen in kharkiv today
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a pretty consistent rocket and artillery fire. i don't believe that it's really reached the city center where i am yet, but it certainly has impacted closer today than it has in previous days, and it's been more frequent. so, the hotel that i'm in, whose staff have been absolutely wonderful and accommodating, have just kind of out of an abundance of caution been sending us down into this parking garage periodically throughout the day, and here we are. >> what have you been able to see when you have -- i don't know, have you been able to go outside and take a look at the city today or have you been able to, at the very least, look out a window? >> yeah, absolutely. so, earlier this morning, we had actually some pretty extensive reporting around the city today, visited a frontline physician on sort of the ring road to the north of kharkiv and saw the remnants of some of the pitched battles that have been happening there over the past few days. it seems like the military situation to the north of the
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city was in a bit of a lull over the past day or so as you were saying before, as russian forces sort of had stalled against ukrainian opposition that they did not intend to face and were kind of regrouping. what i believe that we're seeing tonight is the beginnings of another major offensive now that they have reinforced and resupplied and are pushing to attempt to take the city again. >> the government has also said to individuals, make molotov cocktails, arm yourself if you can. they've given them instructions on how to slow down the russian military, take down -- there's an effort to take down street signs and highway signs to confuse them. are you seeing any of that? >> so, at the moment, it appears that most of the fighting in kharkiv has been done by the ukrainian army regulars. everyone stationed at the frontline position i was at today was a regular army soldier, not a civilian defense volunteer. i think the russians'
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penetration of the city limits has been far greater in kyiv than it has in kharkiv at the moment. although i know that there are armed civilians and there are stations that are passing out weapons to civilians in this city, and in fact, the soldiers in this city have warned of russian troops and russian special forces using similar tactics that they have in kyiv in driving in civilian vehicles, wearing civilian clothing, and spreading sort of saboteurs and other kinds of special forces throughout the city. so, i can't confirm that. i haven't seen those with my own eyes, which i'm personally pretty grateful for, but i think that is definitely a tactic they may be using. >> i wonder, the people who have not been able to leave, the ones that you have encountered that are in bomb shelters or parking lots where you are, or using the city's metro station as a shelter, how are they doing? what are they telling you? >> so, i think across ukraine,
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in this city particularly, but everywhere in this country, every person whose home this is, is facing a choice. and it's a very simple one. it's basically fight or flight, and i think for a lot of people, you know, there's no good answer to that choice. both choices are completely legitimate. i visited the central train station in kharkiv today, which was extremely busy with a lot of foreign students. kharkiv is a massive university city. there are 38 different higher education institutions here, and an enormous amount of foreign students. i met groups from nigeria, from uzbekistan, that had been living and studying in the city and were now trying to get out. for those who are based here permanently, you know, they really have to choose between abandoning the only home that they have or taking up arms to defend it. and i have spoken to people today where families had been split on what they were doing, where sons wanted to fight and fathers wanted them to stay home.
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and you know, i think these conversations are going on in basically every home in the country of ukraine right now. >> there are difficult -- simple decision but it's a difficult decision. it's a, you know, fight or flight. it's -- i just can't imagine this happening to new york city and then suddenly being given the choice between running or trying to hold down this city. i don't even know how i would react to that. what about communications and social media? have people been able to call their loved ones overseas? or talk to each other from across the town? >> so, luckily, we have not seen, in kharkiv, and i believe throughout most of the country, any major disruption of civilian communication networks. i'm speaking to you now on a local sim card with a data connection. there have been, as you were speaking about cyberattacks earlier, and just digital security in general, we have been taking some efforts to at least minimize the footprint
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that we're spreading. the hotel has turned off the wi-fi where we are, and we have been asked to take off the location services on our phones and some other things, but most everyone here still has data connection, still has a working phone, and i think that's been really a blessing of this stage of the conflict is that people are still able to keep in touch with their loved ones. they're able to reach out, outside of the country, into the country. i have been texting sources and friends all across the country throughout this, seeing, you know, checking up on them in different cities, seeing what the situation is, and it's been helpful for logistics planning too, finding out which roads are open, which roads are closed, whether trains are running on time, so i think that's been a major benefit to people here and one that they, you know, really sorely hope that they can continue to have. >> jack crosby, thank you so much for joining us and please do stay safe. as safe as you possibly can. >> thanks for having me, katy.
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and with me now is hannah, a former member of ukraine's parliament and a leader of the protests in 2013. she said she was told that she is on a russian kill list. hannah, good to see you. i know you don't want to tell us where you are for security reasons, and i think that's wise. but how are you doing right now? >> actually, i'm praying now. i'm asking god to protect ukraine and especially kyiv, capital of ukraine. because now probably one of the most toughest night was in all these days, this russian aggression, why? because putin lost his battle for ukraine. actually, he failed to occupy kyiv within two days, and now, he will use everything that russian army has, including --
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it's like a thermobaric rocket system and now in kyiv, all my friends, which are in kyiv now, they are praying and they are sitting in bomb shelters, and because, look, i'm really very worried because i think we expected to see no fly zone over ukraine within this day. we managed to have s.w.i.f.t. sanctions but this is not enough to protect today and next day's ukrainians because it seems like putin understands that if he fails to return ukraine back, he will lose everything, his power, actually, even some oligarchs around him will start to play different games to dismiss him. so this is why, for him, this is like the last chance, and he will use all heavy weapons he has against us. >> so you're saying he's not going to stop, he can't afford
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to stop. when you're talking about heavy weapons, i guess what are you scared of? >> i scared because it's not just about destroyed buildings. it's about killed children. so, today, i'm belonging also as a volunteer of national children hospital, which is in the center of kyiv. it was also under attack, and kids were killed. so, of course, during this night, many ukrainians could be killed, but i just told the world the story of newborn ukrainian girl, mia, her mom gave birth in very challenging conditions, and her first day of her life was in shelter. so, this is, on the one hand, ukraine just demonstrating that we are giving birth in -- during
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bombing kyiv and other cities of ukraine, and other minister of health published the stories. on the other, we are fighting with killer, because putin is a killer, and we demand international treatment now. he deserves it already for war crimes, for killing civilians, and actually, i'm urging the world leaders, finally, to stop him, actually, why, i don't understand, we don't see this no fly zone over kyiv. so, we need anti-missile systems. so, we in ukraine now, we are defending democracy. second time in our lives. our citizens were killed. so this is why i'm -- besides international treaty now, more sanctions and actually, i want to see how children of russian oligarchs, putin children, will be -- like, deported from european capitals. >> getting the families of these oligarchs out of their
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comfortable positions. their comfortable homes and their comfortable lives. a lot of people have been saying that's what -- one of the steps that needs to happen. it seems like there is building support in the european union for kicking russia out of s.w.i.f.t. it seems like that's something that might change. you talk about how a woman gave birth in the metro and at the same time it shows her bravery but it also is awful. it is frankly just terrible that that's what she had to do. we saw images of a makeshift nicu, a neonatal icu moved from a hospital down to a bomb shelter, babies with nurses pumping manual ventilators so that they could survive. these are horrifying images. mothers and children crossing borders without fathers and husbands because they have to stay and fight, not knowing if they'll ever see their loved ones again.
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are you in touch with anybody in russia? are russians getting the message? are russians seeing what's happening there? >> so, we made an appeal to russian mothers to protest against putin war in ukraine. we also urged indigenous peoples living in places, asking them not to be silenced and to protest against putin. because putin will isolate russian citizens, russian economy will be suffering. and china, which is now partially present in siberia, will benefit from this. so this is how authoritarian regimes trying to expand their power. and we are trying to explain russian citizens, mothers, who
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are already lost their sons because they wanted to be occupying forces and ukrainian ukraine with more than 1,000 years of history, now is defending not just ukraine but also defending their democracy, western civilization, rule of law, so this is why -- you mention kids, newborn kids. this is symbols of new civilization, which is now, it's, like, giving birth in ukraine because we are really -- ukraine is a true democracy in action. our army, one of the strongest army in the world. we already deserve to be nato member, member of the eu, european family.
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>> at the very least, the united nations was established to avoid something like this. and you saw the limits of the united nations the past few days where in the security council, there was a resolution to condemn russia, and it was vetoed by russia. hannah, you're a mother. >> russia should be withdrawn from u.n. security council, actually, because they already destroyed the world order, the global security architecture. they are against the principle of u.n., so actually, all international organizations, now they're being tested by putin. so, either they demonstrate strength of power and respect to international law and punish putin. we demand to name russia, putin's russia, as a sponsor, a state sponsor of terrorism. so, actually, putin has to be one day sitting in prison and
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actually international tribunal. this is what he deserves. >> hannah, i don't want to keep you for too long, but i do want to ask you one more question. you are a mother. i believe you have an 11-year-old daughter. is she safe right now? >> look, my daughter is really very worried about the situation because she is reading news, watching the situation. she's also now praying. she's not sleeping. she is praying because she knows that i'm, like, i'm just in the situation, and you have to be strong, but you want to cry. because you know that the price we pay for our independence, our right to be sovereign nation, so this is life. lives of our loved ones, and this is why my daughter, even if she is saved, but she cannot sleep without thinking about all these war crimes, which already happened in ukraine. and it's happened -- last -- she
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will be -- turn 11 this march. so almost all her life was in this -- these last eight years of russian aggression. she was living in this, seeing my struggle, my fight, to guarantee the victory of ukraine and the victory will come, and i'm asking the whole civilized world to join our fight because the victory will be coming. >> hannah hopko, our thoughts are with you and your loved ones and your daughter. we wish you all the luck there is. >> thank you so much. and good bless ukraine. help us and actually, because this is about the victory for all of us. people living in u.s., mothers, because we have to stop this aggressor.
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>> hannah hopko, thank you so much. coming up next, nato has activated its response force for the first time ever. what does that mean exactly? and what more can nato do? talking about this with hannah, what more can nato do? and the u.s. do to slow russia's aggression? and one thing the u.s. has already done is sanctions, but what impact will these financial punishments really have? later, a warning from ukraine's nuclear regulators who say the russian activity around chernobyl is kicking up radioactive dust. ng up ng up radioactive dust in many more cities so you can do more. mindy! with up to 10x faster speeds, she can download a movie in minutes or a song in seconds. (mindy) yep! (vo) okay now l work offsite. public wi-fi? no thanks. 5g ultra wideband is faster and safer. and so powerful that it's not just for phones.
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save lives. save lives. save lives, frozen skies. >> pro-ukrainian protesters gathered outside the white house this morning, calling on the
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administration to do more to help ukraine. the president, who is meeting today with his national security team, authorized a $350 million defense aid package for ukraine late on friday. nbc news capitol hill correspondent ali joins me. >> we heard from the ukrainian ambassador to the u.s., talking about that military support and saying the country needs it faster. listen to what she said. >> thank you very much for all the support, and of course, we are working -- we are grateful for the support, and we are working very closely with all of them in order to receive more support, and we need all the support we can get from all of our friends and allies so we can sustain this defense action. >> reporter: and katy, as you said, the u.s. authorizing
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$350 million more in military fortification to ukraine. that brings the total military aid that we have given to ukraine over the last year to about $1 billion. it comes, of course, against the backdrop of nato also fortifying its eastern flank, and you mentioned those protests outside the white house. they started this morning, but you can actually still hear them behind me, just in the last few minutes, i heard chants from the folks down below, saying that biden needs to do more here in favor of ukraine. protesting against russia's actions there. >> you're also hearing that from some members of congress. i know you cover the capitol as well. what can you tell us about how lawmakers are reacting to what they're seeing? >> reporter: look, this is going to be the next phase of it. congress has been out of town, but of course, closely watching what's been happening in ukraine over the last week. we have seen them say that they, of course, want to see more on the sanctions front, though we did just see president biden move forward with more restrictive sanctions that targeted putin himself as well as foreign minister lavrov, but
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of course, when congress comes back to town next week, our sources are telling us that they're probably going to be moving forward on a $6 billion supplemental spending package, about half of that would be military aid to ukraine. the other half of that would be likely humanitarian aid. the conversation on the hill hinging not just on ways to punish russia for its aggression, but also ways that they can start to support the growing refugee crisis that you're seeing in countries like poland as they try to escape ukraine as it increasingly moves into this war posture. and what we're seeing from senators, really, is the need for biden to remain engaged, but of course, as we move forward and see them come back next week, think about what it's going to look like on the hill. you have senators and lawmakers coming back, wanting to put their own stamp on this. some lawmakers reminding that if the u.s. itself were to get embroiled, they want biden to come to them for approval before moving troops in. of course, we're not there yet, but we're going to see that conversation still continue on the hill and of course the
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question about this supplemental package, whether or not it's going to be stand-alone and of course bipartisan in nature or whether or not it's going to be rolled into a larger spending package, but the newest from our sources up on the hill is that it's going to be about $6 billion that the administration is asking congress for. >> ali vitali, thank you so much, and joining me now is msnbc military analyst and medal of honor recipient colonel jack jacobs. colonel, thanks for being here. i want to talk to you about a conversation i just had with hannah hopko, a former member of parliament in ukraine who's -- we don't know where she is because she has reason to fear for her life. but she is in ukraine, we believe. somewhere. she's wondering why there is not a no fly zone over ukraine. >> yeah, it's a fairly good question. i think one of the principal reasons is the united states does not want to get militarily involved, that's the first reason. so, that's why we don't have our
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anti-aircraft operations already in place. second, we came late to the realization that putin was actually going to do this. it's interesting to recall that four administrations, american administrations in a row, watched putin get ready to do exactly this and we did nothing whatsoever. putin's been in business a long time, since 1999. it came as no surprise that any of this took place, and yet, we shied away from getting involved at the outset and now, of course, it's difficult or impossible to play catch-up. second, it's too late now to send those kinds of assets to the ukrainians, among other things, there's a battle going on, on the ground, it's going to be difficult if not impossible to get them there, and our forces would be involved with the russians, which we've already decided we're not going to do.
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so, late is the answer, and that's why we're not doing it. >> you know, it is so difficult, if you are watching, to see these images of ukrainian cities getting bombed. you know, it's 2022, and i think there are a lot of people that just didn't expect there to be war like this on the european continent ever again. we see people flooding out of the country. we talk to mothers who are desperate for help. we see kids in subway stations, hanging on to stuffed animals, and i think all of us are wondering, how do we -- how do we help, and how can we do more? what can nato do without triggering world war iii? >> well, nothing is the short answer there. you know, it breaks your heart to see what's happening to ukraine and to the ukrainian people. you talked about refugees. there are some estimates that there will be at least four
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million refugees, ultimately, streaming across the border with poland and romania. keep this in mind too. the russians' battle plan is to isolate ukrainian forces. they've got a blocking force in the russian. >> speaking areas in the east and forces are moving from the north and the south to bifurcate or even trifurcate the country, sealing off and surrounding ukrainian forces that are there. and then destroy and capture them piecemeal. to that end, they're working their way to and into kyiv. it's going to be a very tough battle. i fought myself inside cities and can tell you it's extremely difficult for both sides. but the overwhelming russian force is likely to encircle the ukrainian forces and eliminate them. it's -- it's extremely -- it's extremely painful to watch. and now, we have to contend with the possibility of russia moving
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on the baltic states. they're not happy with what's going on. and it's taken us a great deal of effort to get germany to do anything, who was so inextricably intertwined with the russian economy that they opposed our imposing strictures on russia in the first place to say nothing of taking russia off the s.w.i.f.t. system, which we still haven't done. it's a very sad state of affairs, katy. >> it's just awful to watch. colonel jack jacobs, thank you so much for joining us. and coming up next, the real impact of sanctions on vladimir putin and russia's elites, including how hard it is to actually track the money of oligarchs. o actually track the money of oligarchs.
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earlier this week, president joe biden announced a new round of sanctions targeting russia.
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the new sanctions target president putin as well as sergey lavrov, along with other members of russia's security council, but vladimir putin laughed at sanctions imposed by the west when he overtook the crimean peninsula in 2014, so why should we expect anything different this time around? joining me now is executive editor at forbes magazine. good to have you. you have been trying to track a lot of this money, but tell me about when you're trying to put sanctions on vladimir putin, on the people around vladimir putin, why is it so difficult for them to actually have an effect? >> well, there are so many reasons why it's difficult and why this is just not going to be anything that's going to stop putin. one of the main issues is that it's very hard to track his money or the oligarchs' but especially his. i mean, there are reports that he could be worth $100 billion or $200 billion, but nobody, and believe me, this is one of those puzzles that forbes has looked
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at for close to two decades, and you can't track his money. there are some reports that he controls 50% of all the oligarchs' money but it's just, whether it's offshore, whether it's hidden through other people's -- good luck to the u.s. government. i just -- it is not going to be effective. >> there are people out there who are saying, hey, listen, if we're going to make life harder for those around him, let's get their properties in london. let's get their properties in other western states. let's seize their yachts. how hard is it to do that? >> again, it's really hard. boris johnson announced today that he was going to institute basically this registry where you would have to say who owns these offshore entities. that's going to take a long time, and right now, that's basically saying, they don't know who exactly owns some of this stuff. so, again, it would be great to shut down and to seize all these houses in london.
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i mean, they have such a presence there. but it's going to be much more difficult than anybody can imagine. >> what is the appetite, though, to do it in a place like london? there's so much russian money in the economy there. i know there's a lot of politicians who say they want to do it, but getting the russian money out of that economy, wouldn't that negatively affect -- >> i mean, again, i think that london could handle it. i mean, it is one of the top property markets in the entire world. there are a lot of very wealthy people who have gotten wealthier and wealthier over the past few years that would gladly buy up some of these properties, i imagine. but it's just going to be very hard to get, you know, any of these people out. i mean, i think roman abramovich today transferred ownership of chelsea to a nonprofit. i mean, that is just -- it's just shenanigans. that is -- it is not changing anything. they're just, you know, very
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smart about the ways that they can kind of move money around. so, it's a huge challenge. >> let's talk about that. abramovich is the owner of the football club, soccer, if you're in the united states, club chelsea, which is extremely popular. and he's transferred it to a trust. >> yes. >> what does that mean? >> it basically means that he knew that there was pressure and that people wanted him to be forced to sell, so this is kind of like a preemptive move. how are they now going to take it away from him? he says he's not going to be in control, but of course he's going to be in control and this is his way to hold on to ownership at a time when he knows it's very unpopular by shifting it to this trust. >> there are those out there who have said you can't get to the inner circle or to vladimir putin himself. you're going to have to make the middle class in russia feel it because maybe there will be enough popular anger over it that it might change things in russia. >> that is what i believe. and my sources in russia, first of all, have said that these
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sanctions are just going to make him angrier, and what they've said is that you need the middle class. you need the people on the streets in russia, and you're seeing today in, you know, over the past few days, more people protesting. you need these people to stand up and try and, you know, overthrow him. if not, it's going to be very, very difficult to stop putin. >> thank you so much for joining us. and for helping us understand why sanctions are so difficult when it comes to vladimir putin and his people. appreciate your time >> thank you, katy. and coming up next, those warnings about chernobyl and how russian troops and military equipment could be kicking up radioactive dust. and military equipment could be kicking up radioactive dust start here. walgreens makes it easy to stay protected wherever you go. schedule your free covid-19 booster today.
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the chernobyl nuclear power plant in northern ukraine is under russian control right now. ukrainian scientists are already reporting higher levels of radio activity due to soil disturbance. they say there is no reason to believe that anyone is in immediate danger. but many world leaders are wondering why russia would choose to seize an area soaked through with some of the most dangerous elements on earth. joining me right now is the codirector of the nuclear policy program at the carnegie endowment for international peace, james acton and gregory
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yatzko. let's talk about what -- what is the risk here by taking by force chernobyl? >> well, the risk would be to disturb the radioactive material that's present at the site. all of the reactors at the site have been shut down. nonetheless, there's still spent fuel on the site both from the reactors at chernobyl, the material that was released during the accident in 1986, and also spent fuel and radioactive waste from ukraine's other power plants. which is stored in that area. so, you know, there would be risk resulting from munitions explosions, which don't appear to have occurred, i would say, to releasing that material. overall, i want to stress, i think the risk to ukraine's operating nuclear power plants is significantly larger than the
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risk at chernobyl. >> when you seize a place like chernobyl where there's clean-up and obviously it's a very sensitive area, i wonder if you don't keep the people who are currently working there to keep it stable, keep it clean, what do you do? i mean, do you force them -- gregory, when you look at the situation, what are you -- what freaks you out about it? i mean, it freaks me out, asking the question. i'm just wondering what freaks you as a scientist out about it? >> yeah, it's really that. how are you going to operate these sites in the middle of a war? we know nuclear infrastructure is always -- has potential for catastrophic releases of radiation, and now you're coupling all of those problems that you normally reactors with the challenges, the uncertainty, the difficulty of operating in a war zone. and as you said, there are ongoing activities, for instance, at chernobyl to maintain the integrity of the facilities that contain the radiation today. and it's unclear who is operating those facilities, and under what conditions they're
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operating those facilities today. but i think as james said, that concern stretches really in many ways more to the operating reactors that are scattered throughout the country. right now, they've shut down, i believe, six of their reactors because, quite frankly, they don't need the electricity, but those reactors are critical infrastructure in ukraine, both because they supply more than half of the electricity or about half of the electricity in the country and because if those reactors were damaged through accident or through sabotage or intentional action by russians, they could release significant radiation throughout the country. so, i think it is a very precarious situation, and it's unprecedented that we've seen a country with this much commercial nuclear infrastructure in the middle of a war. >> it certainly would harm ukraine, but it would also harm russia, which borders ukraine. it would harm, presumably, belarus, which borders unique. i believe chernobyl -- correct
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me if i'm wrong, it's in the northern eastern part of the country. why, if you are a soldier, i mean, it seems -- yeah, northern -- northern part of the country. if you're a soldier, what is the risk to soldiers? i mean, if you're a russian soldier, why would you want to go anywhere near that? greg. >> yeah, i think that certainly around chernobyl, as you said, it is very close to the belarusian border and likely, you know, contamination from there would most likely impact belarus or russia or parts of northern ukraine. the radiation levels by themselves are not terribly large, so you know, it's really the effect of getting, you know, you were there for an entire year, you'd get the radiation dose that you might get from a ct scan. so that material is not disturbed, if it's largely left alone, the radiation hazards are not immediately significant. but you know, as i said, i think the bigger concerns, i scratch my head to wonder why there
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would even be military action around the site because this is a -- it's a radiation waste zone, so that certainly raised, in my mind, the concerns, if there were to be any type of efforts to try and take over the actual operating reactors, and those reactors certainly pose much more of a significant potential for radiation releases, which given that some of those are more centrally located in ukraine, could impact ukraine more than they would immediately the neighboring countries. >> okay. i understand. james, i guess what should the international community do when faced with this? >> well, there's only a limited amount that the international community can do. the international atomic energy agency has been in contact with ukrainian authorities, relaying some information out. we've learned, for example, that the ukrainian workers at chernobyl have basically been on shift for 48 hours and appear to be actually kept captive there
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to operate. i think the most important thing the international community can do, though, is to emphasize that if there is damage to any of ukraine's nuclear power infrastructure, deliberately or, in my mind, much more like e, inadvertently or accidentally, russia is responsible for that. they have launched an illegal war of aggression against ukraine. they are now responsible for all the consequences. the international community should emphasize that and should be prepared to hold rash accountable for all its crimes in this war but including the potential for any damage to nuclear power plants. >> james acton, gregory yatzko, thank you very much for helping us understand what is such a -- again, i'll say it again, a freaky scenario, that you'd want to go and disturb a place like chernobyl, including the storage of other waste in that area. p thank you, gentlemen. >> thank you for having us. >> and up next, from gas to food. the potential impact of the russian invasion of ukraine here at home. russian invasion of ukraine here
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the crisis in ukraine has shaken global markets and it could mean bad news for consumers. inflation had already hit a 40-year high in the u.s. earlier this year. and now experts warn the conflict could push already high energy and food prices even higher. nbc's scott cohn has more. >> reporter: president biden has warned more than once that the u.s. strategy will also involve some pain here at home. this is the most visible example of it. high gas prices. $5 a gallon gas is commonplace here in california. and prices are high across the country. now running roughly a dollar a gallon above where they were just a year ago according to the aaa. and this is before there's been any real disruption in oil supplies. crude oil prices rising as well. some analysts say that there could be more gas price increases to come. >> i expect that over the next
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couple of weeks gasoline prices across the country are going to rise another 10 to 15 cents a gallon to catch up with the significant increase we've seen in crude oil prices over the last several weeks. >> reporter: and the pain goes beyond the pain at the pump. we're already seeing increases in food prices, both russia and ukraine are key suppliers of wheat, for example. we're already no strangers to inflation, of course. but some economists say that this could be something different. >> we are in a situation that's ripe for also the oil price increases to show up in spillover costs. transportation costs, getting stuff to your local grocery store. so it shows up there as a markup in an already inflationary environment. we haven't seen anything like this. >> reporter: the worry, according to economist diane swonk, is this new round of inflation starts to drag the overall economy down including losses in jobs, leading to the 1970s phenomenon known as stagflation, where both prices
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and unemployment are high, something many americans have never experience before. >> scott cohn, thank you very much. and i'll be back next hour, when i'll be joined by a ukrainian journalist in kyiv, plus how this war risks destabilizing the rest of of europe. rest of of europe. mindy! with up to 10x faster speeds, she can download a movie in minutes or a song in seconds. (mindy) yep! (vo) verizon is going ultra so you can do more.
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