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tv   MTP Daily  MSNBC  March 11, 2022 10:00am-11:00am PST

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if it's friday we are standing by for an update from the pentagon this hour. u.s. officials warn that russian troops are moving into position to surround kyiv. president biden announces more sanctions. all of this as ukrainians continue to flee brutal attacks by russian forces, indiscriminate bombing campaigns on civil infrastructure, attacks on the western part of the country and the you warnings by the ambassador to the u.n. that russia is laying groundwork for possible chemical weapons attack. and we're speak to the mayor of warsaw. and we'll hear from the reporter from kyiv about the human toll of this deadly conflict.
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welcome to "meet the press daily." i'm chuck todd. we're about a half hour from the start of a pentagon briefing, which we'll bring to you live when it begins. russia is once again trying to clove in on kyiv with an expanded offensive using brutal tactics, trying to destroy supply lines from the west as the white house warns of the potential for potential question chemical weapon attacks. he said any engagement involving american troops or planes or tanks would be world war iii. that's quite the line to draw there. recent images show huge military convoys outside kyiv are dispersing, raising the prospects of an imminent ground offenses from multiple sides. the battle to take control of the capitol could take a month or even longer.
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russia also appears to be broadening the assault. several air strikes hitting targets in central and western ukraine clearly an attempt to try to close off supply lines that have been coming from the western part of the country. it comes as the united nations security council met today to discuss unproven claims by russia that it was u.s.-backed chemical weapons that caused alarm. they worry russia is looking for a pretext to launch their own chemical weapons assault. >> russia is attempting to use the security council to legitimatize disinformation and deceive people to justify president putin's war of choice against the ukrainian people. i will say this once. ukraine does not have a biological weapons program. in fact, it is russia that has long maintained a biological weapons program in violation of
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international law. we have serious concerns that russia may be planning to use chemical or biological agents against the ukrainian people. the intent behind these lies seem clear. >> the civilian toll continues to grow. ukraine's defense minister said more ukrainian civilians have been killed than ukrainian soliers. the united nations puts the death toll at 1,500. meanwhile the biden administration continues to look for new ways to tighten the screws on putin. the g-7 is moving to end all of its trade relations with russia. >> the g-7 will seek to deny russia the ability to borrow from leading multi-national institutions such as the international monetary fund and the world bank. putin is an aggressor, is the aggressor and putin must pay the
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price. he cannot pursue a war that threatens the very foundations, which is he's doing, the very foundation of international peace and stability and then ask for financial help from the international community. >> joining me now on set, washington correspondent courtney kube. ali, let me start with you in lviv. now we're seeing russian bombing in the western part of the country. what have you seen and what are ukrainian officials telling you? >> reporter: that's right, chuck. lviv has always been sort of a safe zone. many refugees have fled very badly warn-torn parts of eastern ukraine are here now but people are very jittery here. just this morning there were air raid sirens at 5 a.m. in the
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morning, more air raid sirens in the afternoon. so people are jittery. they've come from very, very heavy fighting zones here and they don't know what the future is going to hold for them. so there's always fear before the fighting and they're scared that it may reach here. this is the most western point. there's an airport in lviv that also has a military facility. that's the only airport in this country with a military facility that hasn't been hit. so people are scared that it will spill over here as russia expands its operation as we've seen them do this morning. i mean, they hit the city, the central city there of dnipro. people were shocked. they thought it was a safe place. they hit a shoe factory, a kindergarten and an apartment building. one civilian was killed there and they continue to shell mariupol very, very badly. we spoke to one man this morning who ran away from kharkiv.
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he really wanted to stay there but his building got bombed a few days ago and he took his wife and another woman with her child and drove and it took four days to get here. it should have only a day to get here but because of all the checkpoints and all the people trying to get out, it took over four days for him to get here but they are showing a lot of resilience. >> i'm curious, are you seeing more ukrainians decide to get out of lviv? there's sort of different places of exodus. some have stayed in the country but gone to western cities like lviv. are you starting to see people in lviv think about leaving? >> well, this place is shrouded in uncertainty. they don't know what they're doing from day to day. we spoke to another woman here in lviv called anna. she just came from kyiv to lviv and she had to leave her parents there. let's take a listen to what she
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had to say and i can fill you in on that more on the other side. >> i'm afraid of them, afraid of bombing but they decided to stay there. they stayed with their home. >> reporter: and i know this is all uncertain times but do you have any sort of plan for the next days, weeks, months? >> i don't have plans. i don't know how to make plans. we have only today, we don't have tomorrow now. we don't know what will happen tomorrow. >> and i think that sums up the general feeling for everybody that's been forced to come west. they don't know what tomorrow is going to hold. if they have to leave here, they don't know how they're going to network, find places to stay, feed themselves, look after their children, their pets they've escaped with. it's a very, very difficult journey. you never know what the next step is. this is a city, a country shrouded in uncertainty.
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>> ali arouzi in lviv for us. thanks very much. i want to play something that president biden said at the retreat earlier today. let's play that sound bite. >> the idea that we're going to send in offensive equipment and have planes and tanks and trains going in with american pilots and american crews, just understand, don't kid yourself, no matter what you all say, that's called world war iii, okay? let's get it straight here, guys. >> what's interesting about the comment, he's not saying it's not going to happen. it sounds like he was sending a message to congress, guys, understand what you're calling for. >> this is a president that is really facing increased pressure as people are watching pregnant women and children flee russian bombing. this is a president who is understand being that his own party is looking at him and saying how can we watch these images and call ourselves
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defenders of democracy. i had a conversation with a white house official today and i asked them how tenable is it to continue to have these images and for the president to continue to say we cannot defend these civilians. and that person said the same thing essentially that president biden is saying, which is that's still world war iii and the president has the red line and the red line is he does not want to get into a war. but it shows you that there is frustration inside the democratic party but also this is a president that is trying to be realistic about what that will mean for all americans and that's why we've also heard the president sort of once again and over and over again tell americans there is a big cost for defending freedom because obviously the domestic politics and all of the economic struggles here are part of the decision that he's making. >> well, look, i want to get both to the economic front and we have steve leaseman who can explain what's left in the sanctions arsenal here but, courtney, this is clear why the russians are bombing on the west. they're trying to shut off
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supply lines. get realistic here. we are trying to send as many weapons there. it all is coming in from the west. if they cut this off, are we just going to say, well, sorry, no way to get this stuff in? >> and they're trying to cut off the ability of the ukrainian air force to fly. these are military airfields. the only question is why didn't the russians start doing this earlier? there was an assessment early on that they would target the air force. the reality is the airspace is so contested the ukrainians aren't flying and the russians aren't flying many. >> the ukrainians have pretty good air defense and they haven't taken it out. >> yes. they are flying and targeting from the russian side of the border and hitting inside ukraine. but all that being said, the reality of the situation, yes, we've been hearing about this slow and steady progress in the southern part of the country and that continues.
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you can see if you look at a map that they've created sort of a land bridge. they will continue to work on this. right now they're down around kherson, where mariupol is getting pounded but they're going to continue moving west and ultimately go after odessa. >> do they do odessa before they do kyiv? >> i think it will be concurrent. and they'll use completely different forces so they should able to do that. kyiv is the one place we should be looking at because after it being really stalled for about ten days now, the last 48 hours we've seen some progress. you can see that they've taken a little bit more area around hostomel airport on the northwest side but the northeast side is where we should be watching, the town called brovary, they've moved along in the neighborhood of 10 to 20 kilometers in the last 48 hours. that is significant for what we've been seeing in the last ten days or so. in addition, they've opened up a third line of assault on kyiv.
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the assessment is despite they've made very little progress on the capital city for the last two weeks of this offensive, they are not backing down. on the contrary, they are doubling down. >> and can we get weapons into kyiv still? >> that's one question we don't have an answer to. the reality is there still is the ability to physically get in and out but the u.s. and most allies aren't taking them any where near there. they're transferring them closer to the polish border and the ukrainians take control from there. >> steve liesman, getting rid of most favored nation status, it means your caviar is more expensive. it isn't actually a huge hit on america but how much of a hit is it on russia and what's left in our arsenal? >> i think the totality of the sanctions are a massive hit. some of them are symbolic like us boycotting russian oil. that's real if other countries
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get involved and really shut off the ability of russia to export but the totality of the sanctions and unity of the allies here is very significant. i think it's taken putin by surprise and taken the chinese by surprise who probably care more about the idea that europe is involved in this than the u.s. because china was sort of trying to reestablish or enhance its commercial ties into europe. i think making the europeans angry by going around russian sanctions so that's a big deal. it pretty good unity across the board. inside russia it means a massive decline in critical imports, like medicine, machine tools, food stuff, all sorts of things. the russian economy is going to be knocked back a couple decades. they're going to maintain the technology that they've imported to this point but in terms of openness to the west, the inl inability to travel, they took back the airplanes they leased them.
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>> you spent a lot of time in russia. you were there when they were developing this more westernized economy. how long can the russian economy hold on with these sanctions? is this three months, six months before it's a total collapse, if you will? >> so i don't want to make a joke of this but in economics we cover the u.s. economy, it's don't underestimate the u.s. consumer's ability to spend. and i think in politics when it comes to russia is don't underestimate a russian's ability to suffer. they have suffered long under their leadership that cares not a wit about them. if this were the united states, there would be impeachment proceedings going on immediately. you're going to have 20% inflation overnight. you're going to have -- the ruble has already declined 50%. they're talking about 10, 15% declines in gdp inside of russia and i don't know that there's a whole lot that the average
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russian can do about it. >> what's next? clearly we're cautious on the weapons front. >> it's still going to be financial based on the conversations i'm having with the white house. the president has leaned in on this idea he does not want to be a president that gets into another war that could be an endless war. talking to officials today there was a sort of back and forth with the president when it came to chemical weapons saying russia would pay a severe price if chemical weapons were used -- >> what's severe? this is severe. what steve just described, they paid a severe price. chemical weapons sound like a line that means courtney's -- this is more about courtney's beat than steve's beat. >> of course you didn't want to get into a war but are we going to stand by -- the president is
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saying we will welcome into the united states, ukrainians could come here. can we have that and that will become courtney's beat. they're telling me they don't want this to be on courtney's beat. >> what's left? what would you tell treasury is left? >> well, let me talk about the existing sanctions real quick, which is that i think these sanctions are in as long as putin is in office. and i don't know that we've thought about that. russian oil may be off the market for a long time, russian commodities. we won't be trading with russia, i believe, as long as putin is in office. the first thing is the longevity of existing sanction. there's a couple other banks we could knock back that haven't been fully financially sanctioned. i think that we're close to the end here but i think the key is if putin hasn't gotten the message, you look around, chuck, you've been covering this a long
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time, who's been taken off sanctions while the existing leadership is in place? it's almost nobody. once in place, they don't go away. >> no, they rarely do. so let's bring it back to the limited support militarily we're giving ukraine. zelenskyy's calls are going to be more ominous. he's going to need more. is there any debate inside the pentagon about whether there is more we could do and the white house is the one not letting them? are we going to start to see that or are they all in concert on this? >> no, i think we're going to see -- there is a constant debate about what more they can pro described. provide. drones have actually been really effective in what they've been doing in ukraine. ukrainians have used them very
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proficiently. >> we should expect more drones to be used in ukraine. that's how much of the ground advance that the ukrainians are stopping, they're using javelins, anti-tank, anti-armor weapons and drone. >> do the russians not have the same drone technology? >> no, dhopt. -- no, they don't. ukraine has turkish-made drones they've been using. i could see a call for smaller, easy-to-use drones that might be more of the suicide drones. >> like i said, drone warfare makes war too easy if we're not careful. thank you, guys. obviously you're not going far, courtney. you're going to go across the river to get to the pentagon briefing. so we may see you on camera in
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20 minutes. they cannot begin until courtney gets there. and ukraines making nations are helping to do what they can. you're watching "meet the press daily." watching "meet the pres daily. wrap their arms around us, could we put little handles on our jackets? -denied. -can you imagine? i want a new nickname. can you guys start calling me snake? no, bryan. -denied. -how about we all get quotes to see if we can save with america's number one motorcycle insurer? approved. cool! hey, if bryan's not gonna be snake, can i be snake? -all: no. your eyes. beautiful on the outside, but if you have diabetes, there can be some not-so-pretty stuff going on inside. it's true,with diabetic retinopathy, excess sugar can damage blood vessels, causing vision loss or even blindness. so, remember this: now is the time to get your eyes checked.
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with three times the bandwidth. so your growing wifi needs will be met. supersonic wifi only from us... xfinity. welcome back. as russia widens its target, more civilians are forced to flee for their lives. 2.5 million people have successfully fled ukraine according to the latest numbers from the united nations. that number continues to grow as over 100,000 ukrainians cross the border into making countries every day. over a million refugees are in poland. volunteers continue to welcome refugees at the polish border. this morning one young woman said her one wish was for the war to simply be over.
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>> i came from kharkiv because my parents, because there was so many explosions and there was bombing every time. so much we had no choice to leave kharkiv and to travel. i have only one desire, i want everything to finish as soon as possible and to live in peace. >> poland's capital city of warsaw has taken in over 2 million refugees alone. i imagine you have a lot of people in your city doing everything they can to help welcome these folks. i'm sure given your neighboring countries, there's familiarity, maybe friends and familiar think there, things like that, but how overwhelmed are your services? how many more folks can you successfully take care of? >> hi, good morning.
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chuck, you need to think about the magnitude of the problem. when we have a problem five years ago in the mediterranean, 300,000 people were coming to europe every month and we had a million and a half coming in in two weeks, 300,000 people in warsaw alone. we're doing everything we can in order to welcome them. it is us, the local and regional government, it is the government who set up reception centers. it is the ordinary people, no governmental organizes but, yes, we're getting overwhelmed because -- >> what do you need from the eu? what do you need from the united states? obviously some support. do you need air lifts? is it time to start helping send some of these refugees to other european countries or here in the united states to help alleviate what you're dealing with? >> absolutely. we need a system. i have been advocating it for the past few days. the unions and european have a system in place. they can come as if with lego
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bricks construct a system with reception centers, with accommodations and so on and so forth. we need to do that. we cannot improvise anymore. people from warsaw are accepting people to their homes, we are adopting hotels and all the facilities of the city to welcome refugees so on and so for the. it's going to be very difficult to take double numbers more than that. we are 2 million in warsaw and 12% are ukrainians who just arrived in the last week two. 95% in the beginning had family and friend taking care of them and now 30% assistance. we need assistance from the united states and other countries. we need that. >> there was bombing overnight in western cities.
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in the western part of ukraine it had been sort of a buffer. this incoming refugee, many of these were coming from the eastern part of the country, now with the west under attack, i imagine this is only going to escalate, you know. is there a point where you're going to feel like you have to turn people away? >> no, we are never going to turn people away. we will accept them all. we need to do that. they're escaping a crazy murderer. i'm in contact with klitschko in kyiv. the situation is getting worse. the western ukraine is not safe anymore so we're going to have more and more. not a million and a half but probably 3, 4, 5 million in poland alone. that's what the experts say. we need a system, we need the united nations in here with poland setting up reception centers and we need a real relocation program in europe and in the world. this is huge logistics enterprise. we cannot improvise anymore.
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>> it seems like an obvious need, mr. mayor. is it beginning -- do you see evidence that is system is going to being implemented or do you feel like you still have to sound the alarm here like, hey guys, stop dillydallying, let's go? >> that's what we are doing. 24/7 we are on the streets. i just came back for a second to the city hall but i'm going back to talk to the ukrainians. this is heart breaking the stories that i hear every day. it just unbelievable. so of course we need to accept everyone who wants to cross the polish/ukrainian border. the solidarity is incredible but it's going to end if we do not act soon. that's why i sound all the alarm bells in all the conversation. yesterday i talked to justin trudeau, the prime minister of canada who was visiting some of the refugees with me. my plea from poland to the world is let's set up a system and
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divide the responsibility because that allows the ukrainians fight for our freedom when they can see that we take care of the women and children. >> that's right. if we're asking ukraine to stand alone with this fight, we got to do what we can to take those that flee. >> that's the least we can do. >> really appreciate your time and spending few minutes with us. in just a few moments we're expecting an update from the pentagon and we just heard president biden draw some clear red lines on u.s. military involvement. we take you to the pentagon what that begins. still to come, what the ukrainians are feeling in their own words. a reporter who had to flee from krakow joins me next. from krakow joins me next
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try boost® high protein with 20 grams of protein for muscle health. versus 16 grams in ensure high protein. boost® high protein also has key nutrients for immune support. boost® high protein. welcome back. we've been reporting as russian forces broaden their military offensive in ukraine striking cities further west of the front lines for the first time, people continue to flee in droves but some people are doing just the opposite. reporters on the ground saying trains going in both directions to and from a lviv are crowded. one woman said she was going back home to odessa knowing it was a target of putin's. and others are heading back to their home as well. >> i'm going back to lviv and then i'm going to -- to get my
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people back. >> reporter: [ inaudible ]. >> my feeling? angry. >> my town is lviv. >> reporter: you go back there? >> yes. i wish peace of ukraine. so joining me from poland is a national reporter for the kviv independent. she's gone across the border to continue her ability to report. and it's interesting to see this nationalism grow among ukrainian people, and i wonder is it the more you ukrainian folks have held back these russian forces, the more that those have fled have decided they want to join the fight, too? is that what we're seeing here? >> i think that ukrainians are really united now against russian aggression. i've seen a lot of reports of people coming back to ukraine to
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join the fight. if not mistaken for now at least 50,000 ukrainian men returned to join the territorial defense forced and armed forces of ukraine to fight russian aggression. and i think people in ukraine, they have a lot of feelings of course but one of the most important is that they are ready to defeat russian aggression and they are ready to fully commit to it. >> tell me your own feelings. you had to flee kyiv in the moment and now you're reporting from krakow. just tell me your feelings as you watch this, as you talk to folks coming over the border, as you hear stories, as you talk to folks from home, tell me what you're seeing and feeling from your contacts in kyiv. >> of course it's really hard to report on something that personally affects you. and i'm not going to lie, it's really hard to work on topics
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that are connected to russia's invasion of ukraine and i'm not working on anything else now of course and thinking about how my family is doing constantly and i'm worried about them a lot. but i think because i understand how important it is to inform people of what's going on in ukraine, that really helps me a lot. so -- >> the pencil is just as important, the pencil and the keyboard are very important, just as much as a weapon is. i don't mean to get you off. we're getting a briefing from our military officials live. we need to do that. job kirby has begun. let's listen in. >> the largest mayor time exercise in western africa will kick off its 11th year today. 32 nations are participated in the exercise hosted by senegal, designed to improve regional
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cooperation, maritime domain awareness, information sharing practices and tactical interdiction expertised to enhance the collective capabilities of all nations. that's starting today. with that we'll take questions. bob. >> reporter: thank you. a couple questions on ukraine. the air strikes in the west on i think two airfields, does that suggest a widening of the war effort by russia? and the second question has to do with the much-discussed convoy north or northwest of kyiv. >> yeah. >> reporter: do changes in the positioning of elements of that convoy portend like an eminent assault or kyiv or any significant military movement? >> well, i'd say that the people of kyiv would tell you they're under assault right now. there's russian bombardment and
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shelling going on quite violently as we speak. and we do assess that the russians are beginning to make more momentum on the ground towards kyiv, particularly from the east, not quite so much from the north. i don't want to make too much of the fact that there's satellite imagery talking about this convoy moving off into tree lines or dispersing that could just be forced protection because the ukrainians have continued to threaten that convoy and its progress. essentially, bob, we don't see any progress by it to resupply and support operations from the south. but i'd be careful making too much about this dispersal stuff. it feels like i missed one. >> reporter: the attacks on the west. >> thank you. our assessment is they struck a couple of airfields in the west. it's not like there hasn't been
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any air strikes in western ukraine since the beginning of this operation 16 days ago. it's just that we haven't seen that as a routine matter. now you got two in one day. that's notable. what it means, what it portends, where the russians are going with this we don't really know. we believe the targets were airfields. so from a military perspective, you can see a certain logical sense there to deny the ukrainians the ability to use some air strips in the west part of the country. by and large and by and large it's in the east. that's where the violence is the worst, that's where they're putting a lot of their energy and resources in. those are the population centers they're going after, kharkiv, mariupol, kviv, and they're still finding in the donbas and
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mykolaiv. >> is that a widening of their effort? >> it's too soon to know. we're talking about two strikes on two fields. it's not like we haven't seen any in the past. it's too soon to divine some sort of larger purple here or some strategy. the vast, vast majority of their combat power is being spent in the east. >> reporter: john, what kind of weapon was used to fire at those airfields? was it a missile that came in from belarus or what do you assess? >> we don't really have point of origin here or munitions. the russians admitted they use long-range precision guided weapons. we would agree with the long range aspect of this since they don't have structure in ukraine that is really concentrated in the west. all of their ground power is in the east. i don't think we'd push back on the notion that's long range but wa kind of missile, what
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munition, what the war head was, we don't have that level of detail. >> reporter: is it your assessments those were targeted because they would have been airfields the migs would have flown from? >> we don't know. >> reporter: what would the u.s. do if russia uses a chemical weapon in ukraine in. >> i don't want to get into speculating. i think you heard the president very clearly today say that there would be severe consequences for russia should that happen. and i don't think it would be helpful for me to go beyond that right now from the defense department. >> reporter: do you have any indications the attacks on the airfield in the west could have been because any foreign military equipment or anything has been throwing through there and they're trying to target? >> i'm not going to talk about targeting. we know the airfields were hit. it's difficult for us to know. >> reporter: can you update on two things. one, have there been any
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developments or changes on the nuclear front? are you seeing any indications that russia may be considering planning for the use of a tactical nuclear weapon and on the chemical and biological weapons, are there any indications they've been bringing any of those into ukraine to potentially prepare to use? >> on the nuclear stuff i want to be very careful in talking about intelligence assessments. i would just say and this is something we look at every day, that we are confident in the strategic deterrent posture that we have in place in order to defend the homeland, our allies and our partners. i can't -- i would not speak to anything specific on the russian side. i would just tell you that we've seen nothing that gives us cause
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or reason to change our deterrent posture at this time. that's really about as far as i can go. on the chem-bio thing, i don't have anything to report with respect to specific russian chem-bio capabilities inside ukraine. i would only say this is a country who has a reputation for using those kinds of weapons on people and we know they have a program. and, two, we continue to watch for the potential, and i want to stress the word potential, potential that they could be banging this drum with the intent of creating some sort of false flag event that they could use as an excuse to escalate the conflict even more. again, watching this every day, i don't have any specific
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indication now to talk about but it is something we're concerned about. you might have heard president zelenskyy in his nightly address last night say that exact thing that you got to be careful what you see the russians accuse others of because it's often times end up what they're planning to do. we don't have firm indications right now. it's just something that could happen that we want to watch out for. tara. >> reporter: the ukrainian ministry defense reported earlier today russia lauchbed two air strikes inside belarus, potentially to try and drag belarus into the war. can the spent gone confirm this? has there been any attempt -- you mentioned there have been missiles launched within belarus into ukraine already. >> we can't confirm reports. seeing the open reporting on it but we have nothing to cooperate that. and i would just it will you
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that that we haven't seen any indications that della roous forces have moved inside of ukraine. we did note that the president of belarus made the other day that he thought it was important to come to the rear of forces, the supply line if you will. that's the furst time he said anything about belarus perhaps getting involved but no indication that they have or that that's in the offing. >> reporter: in a separate topic, as these sanctions have gone into effect, you've started to see global food prices spike and there's concerns that this could raise additional risk of conflict in countries that are already facing hunger such as afghan stand and likewise. is the d.o.d. looking at this?
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is there a greater risk of global conflict because it will become that much harder to feed people that already face great food insecurity? >> the administration is obviously looking at the humanitarian crisis that this -- that this war of choice is causing. and -- excuse me, let me try that again with english. exploring lots of opportunities to work inside the international communities to alleviate that. i know of no plans in the d.o.d. to augment or to prevent or to subside the effects of food insecurity. i don't have any d.o.d. roll role here to speak to. i want to pivot off this risk of seclusion and obviously that's something we're constantly concerned about, the risk of this conflict escalating beyond
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what it is and it's already dangerous enough inside ukraine. so the questions about the things we're looking at and what we're monitoring, we're constantly concerned about the poe sense escalation. >> i guess the question is overall trim down effects. whether or not the pentagon is taking a broader view of already hot zones, and hunger becomes worse as access to food becomes worse. >> i get where the question is going. often times with when you have instability in one area, it can bleed over to others either in that region or without. and i understand that. i would tell you broadly speaking we're constantly looking at threat and challenges around the world and we're not unmindful of the fact that threats and challenges do spill over and can cause instability and therefore insecurity in
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places that aren't the origin of the conflict. so we're obviously taking a global view. we do that every day. we're certainly doing that in light of what's going on in ukraine. i don't know -- let me put it another way. we haven't seen any specific indications that there are going to be any imminent insecurity issues, challenges, threats, in other regions as a result of this that we're going to have to address. i think that's what you were trying to get at. i just think it's too soon to know that right now, too soon to tell, but obviously we're watching clearly because of the potential for escalation here. and i just want to say if i can again it's a war of choice. mr. putin can stop this war right now by agreeing to a diplomatic solution or at least just stopping the bombing and
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the death and the destruction that he is causing against a nation that provoked nobody, that presented to threat to russia. all of this is his choice and all this blood is on his hand and he could stop it right now if he wanted to. >> is the u.s. involved in discussions and will the u.s. green light should some allies move forward? >> i have talked before that sovereign nations are making decisions for themselves about how to help ukraine, and we respect those sovereign decisions. it's not about the united states giving green lights or having vetoes here. what i will tell you and i said this the other day, we are working with allies and partners to help get the kinds of capabilities that we know the ukrainians need and are using very well inside ukraine, get more of that stuff to them. some of that material we have and we are providing. some of that material we don't
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have but we know others have and we're helping coordinate that as well. and that security assistance is flowing. even in just the last 24 hours. i'm not going to talk about individual systems. you know that. i haven't done that yet and i'm not going to start today but we are working hard to canvas other allies and partners that we know could possibly help. and it's really up to those nations to make these decisions and then to speak to them, if they want to speak to them. they can do that and we have to respect that. what's important and what i don't want to you walk away not understanding is that we're having these conversations actively, we are helping coordinate the assistance as best we can and we're going to continue to talk to the ukrainians about what they need to better defend themselves. okay? >> another question, we have seen the u.s. countries along the poland border with ukraine. i know you went get into
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details. can you tell us if the rules of engagement have changed -- >> we don't talk about rules of engagement. david. >> reporter: a couple questions. can you update us on any uses of the deconfliction of the deconfliction, and has secretary austin attempted to communicate with his counterpart, the russian defense minister? you just said you were helping coordinate assistance. does that include providing airlift from donor countries to other points? >> the deconfliction line, no other actions to speak to, in other words, no content has been needed but we do test it once or twice a day and that continues.
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thus far with maybe only a couple of exceptions, the russians have picked up on the other end and they know what the ring tone is and they will pick up and answer and so we know it's functional. i have no conversations between secretary austin and the minister to speak to, and i have no expectations that that's going to change anytime soon. and then on the helping coordinate, i really don't want to get into too much detail here. i think the coordination is in two planes, one is their willingness to provide, and then on another plane it's about helping with the logistics, and it really -- it really varies from country to country and capability to capability, but we
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are trying to help with that coordination function, and the brits have been, too. in fact, they have been very vocal about their efforts to help coordinate and work through that and we're grateful for their assistance. jim? >> reporter: i have two questions, really. the russians have a lot of area in ukraine. do you know the ukrainians, if there's an assessment if they have gone into guerilla war? are they treating service members with the geneva protections? >> i don't have any information about captures soldiers on either side, i don't.
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i have not gotten into how they are being treated. obviously we're not involved in this war, but our expectation would be that both parties would abide by geneva convention requirements and to treat any soldiers that are captured humanely and in accordance with the rule of law. that would be the united states' expectation as well as so many other nations. i don't have any information about what that lacks like in terms of numbers and what that treatment actually is. on your question about guerilla tactics. jim, again, i would let the ukrainians describe for themselves the manner in which they are fighting, but they are fighting and they are -- they're fighting skillfully, bravely, quite creatively. and the fighting isn't just by their armed forces. average citizens -- you have seen it for yourself, picking up
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arms, you know, getting arms given to them by the government and learning how to use them and using them. some of the resistance has been nonviolent. you have seen it yourself, crowds of ukrainians are blocking city streets and actually stopping in their tracks some russian units. so the resistance resides on many levels and it's quite inspiring. whether you call that guerilla tactics i don't know, and i don't even know if that's worth having that debate over. they are resisting and they are defending and we are going to continue to work for ways to help them do that better going forward. barb? >> reporter: i have a north korea question. now that several parts of the administration have talked about the public announcement, and can you tell us why the pentagon decided to take the seemingly unprecedented step of making a
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public statement being sure the north koreans would see it and you were going to increase intelligence collection on their icbm program. why would you make that public statement letting the north koreans know you are going to collect -- increase your collection of classified intelligence? what is the state of your current concern about how close they are to an icbm? and is this disclosure, this candor about the potential adversary, is this put everything you know out there hoping it will be a deterrent? >> who just did whew? >> reporter: that was me. sorry. >> there's a lot there. i think i said it in my
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statement. we made these revelations public. we announced some of the additional enhanced steps we are taking because it's important to call out the behavior we have been seeing, particularly in the past few weeks, and we believe it's important for the entire international community to speak with one voice that we know they have over the dprks continued missile program. i will not get into the details of the assessments we made, and it's out there in the public and i won't go beyond my public statements, but clearly these continued tests are provocation, and they are a violation of the u.n. security council resolutions and they give us as well as so many other nations added concern about the kinds of capabilities that the north is trying to develop.
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so again, we feel it was important to make that case and to lay it out there. as for whether it's a lesson learned, i would be careful drawing a direct bright line between these revelations about this program and revelations that we made early on even before the invasion of ukraine. when we believe that information should be in the public, we're going to put it in the public. we're going to -- we're going to state it as best we can. obviously there's some stuff we know that we're not going to talk about. we believe calling them out publicly for these tests was the right thing to do. >> the deconfliction line. two things. i take it they have never called the united states, it has all been you calling them, is that right? >> to my knowledge it has been us using it to check in once or twice a day. >> reporter: with them.
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okay. you said they know your ring tone and can you tell us what was selected -- >> that was a poor attempt -- it was a poor attempt at humor. i do not think they have a ring tone for us, it's just that we know and they know how to use the system. >> reporter: what kind of things are you going to be discussing with the nato partners? we have been talking about the nato response force being activated and potentially some u.s. forces would be dedicated to it. what is the current count of how many u.s. personnel are actively participating in the nato response unit? >> again, we are still working that through with nato, what their response force would look like and what it would be composed of and where it would go. i don't have any source requirements to speak to today. you had another question?
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>> reporter: what will be the tell of the meetings he will have? what is he actively seeking? >> the second defense ministerial in light of this issue comes at a critical time here. two weeks, that would be more -- three weeks into this conflict and i don't know what things are going to look like next week, but obviously we can expect the defense ministers to talk seriously about what nato is doing to better shore up its defenses and making sure that we all have a common sight picture of the threat environment and what needs to be done again to meet our article 5 commitments. >> reporter: is there an agenda -- is there something specifically that tops the agenda with regard to ukraine? >> i would let nato and the secretary general speak to that, and it's defense ministerial,
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and the secretary is pleased to be able to go in person and be there to meet with other defense ministers, whoever is going to be there. we know that there's a lot to talk about. there's an awful lot going on inside the alliance. the alliance is more relevant than ever and more united than ever and more viable than it's ever been, and there's going to be a lot of material to go through, both in terms of what we are seeing happen in ukraine and the affect that needs to have on the alliance going forward, including the application of the response force, what that looks like, when and who and when. all that, we expect, will be discussed. in the back there. >> reporter: in the


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