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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Zelenskyy: Morale Of The Enemy Is Constantly Deteriorating; NY Times Photojournalist Captures War's Impact On Ukraine Civilians; State Department: Ukraine Actively Receiving U.S. & NATO Weaponry. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 02, 2022 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening, again. It's day eight, of Russia's war, in Ukraine, begins. New explosions have just rocked the capital.

Also, late tonight, a defiant new message, from Ukraine's President, Zelenskyy.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Our military, our border guards, our territorial defense, even ordinary farmers capture the Russian military, every day. And all the captives say only one thing: they do not know why they are here.

Despite the fact that there are dozens of times more of them, the morale of the enemy is constantly deteriorating.


COOPER: And that said, the first big city here has apparently fallen. Kherson, in the south. And Russian forces, while bogged down elsewhere, have turned to the kind of warfare that shows little regard, for civilian lives.

CNN's Matthew Chance joins us now live, from Kyiv.

Matthew, I'm wondering what you have seen, and heard there, this evening?


Well, there's been a huge explosion, within the past hour or so, on the outskirts of Kyiv. Don't know what was hit, at this point. But clearly, there are still an upsurge, in strikes, underway, by Russian forces, on the outskirts of the city.

And, earlier tonight, a railway station, in the city, was also hit. Apparently, Ukrainian officials, telling us that that was their success, in the sense they shot out a cruise missile, from the sky, the debris landed on a railway station. Otherwise, it's been, sort of relatively quiet.

Although, there are still those concerns, in the city, tonight, that the Russian invasion forces, building, on the outskirts of the city, and those troops are preparing a new tactic, of really pounding, the Ukrainian capital, in a bid to take it over. A real step-up from the kind of level of pressure, the Ukrainian capital, has seen, so far, Anderson.

COOPER: There're two bits of potentially positive news.

One, the U.S. confirmed today that weaponry is still getting through, to Kyiv, where it is most needed. There's also now going to be a second round of talks, in Belarus. Are Ukrainian diplomats any more hopeful, this time? I mean, you talked about this, with President Zelenskyy, the other day.

CHANCE: Yes, I did. Look, I mean, they're not - I mean, the fact that there's a second round of talks is, I suppose, in itself hopeful.


But, I think, Ukrainian officials are sort of holding back, from celebrating too soon, saying that look, you know, that they want to see actual concrete steps, being taken, on the ground, an actual ceasefire being implemented, an end to the fighting, at the very least, or a pause, in the fighting, before they believe that the other side, the Russians, are really serious, about finding a diplomatic solution, to this.

In the meantime, yes, you're right. There are - there are more weapons, getting through, to the Ukrainian side, hundreds of Stinger surface-to-air missiles, from the United States, already being delivered.

And, of course, obviously, we're seeing that's having a real impact, on the battlefield, particularly, the Javelin anti-tank missiles that have been used the full effect, on various convoys, armored columns, attempting to enter the Ukrainian capital.

The danger of that battlefield success, those who have been pointing out, is that if Vladimir Putin's forces, continue to fail, in the way that they're failing, they could be redoubled, and the military force supply, to Ukraine, significantly stepped up. And that's bad news, for the country

COOPER: Yes. Matthew Chance, continue - thank you, for the great reporting. Stay safe.

Coming up next, Washington, a day after President Biden made the war, a centerpiece, of his State of the Union address, there is new reporting tonight, on the flow of this badly-needed anti-aircraft missiles, to Ukraine, and new word of what Russia told China, about its war plans, before the fact.

Busy night, for CNN's Kaitlan Collins, who joins us now, from the White House.

So, Kaitlan, what more are you learning tonight, about that the U.S. - the weapons, we were just talking about, that they're sending to Ukraine?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is big, because we have confirmed that the United States has sent hundreds of these Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, to Ukraine, in recent days.

And remember, Anderson that comes after last Friday. President Biden had signed this order, sending about $350 million more, in aid and security assistance, to Ukraine. And this is notable, given about 200 of these, we were told, were delivered on Monday alone.

And it's noteworthy for two reasons. One, that this assistance can still get into Ukraine, because obviously, it's become a lot more challenging, since the invasion started last week, to get that aid there. And they're not sure how long that's going to happen, or if the Russians will try to disrupt that, of course. So, there's not this lethal aid getting to Ukrainians.

And two, because of these Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, which obviously are anti-aircraft missiles, they can take down aircraft. And if someone's watching this name, and looks them up? I encourage them to do so.

Because they're these pretty impressive tools that people can use. They're often manned by one person. They fire them from their shoulder. They can take down an aircraft. They're these heat-seeking missiles. And the Ukrainians have described them as pretty critical, to what they've been doing, so far, in this fierce Ukrainian resistance that we've seen.

And so, that is notable that the White House was able to send those. Of course, one big question is how many more they'll be able to send, as we've seen other governments trying to do similar.

COOPER: Yes. Sweden has pledged weaponry. And Germany has reversed a long-standing policy, also pledging--


COOPER: --German weapons.

I understand there's new Intelligence, reporting about the communication China and Russia had, actually before the invasion?

COLLINS: So, this is something that everyone had been watching. When the Olympics were going on, obviously, hosted by China, whether or not Putin would wait, until after the Olympics had ended, to start this invasion, which of course, Western officials were predicting, he had already decided, and was likely to do.

We have now learned that there is a Western Intelligence report that was circulating that in early February, senior Chinese officials, told senior Russian officials, to wait, until after the Olympics had ended, before they started this invasion, if they were going to do so.

And we don't know from this report, Anderson, whether or not that was a conversation that happened, directly, at the leader level. But it does say, they were senior officials, and this was viewed as a credible report.

And, of course, it does give an indication that China knew what Russia had been planning, as the Olympics were happening. Of course, Putin did ultimately wait, until after the Olympics had happened. And it just gives them insight, into what they had known.

And it had seemed pretty hard, to believe that Russia would - maybe, it would be a coincidence that they would wait, even if they were ready to go, ready to start this invasion, if they hadn't had some kind of conversations, with Chinese officials, about this.

COOPER: President Biden has said it's clear Russia is targeting civilians. He was asked about this today. But he's stopping short of actually accusing Russia of committing war crimes, thus far.

COLLINS: This is actually pretty interesting. He basically said they weren't ready to make that assessment yet that, yes, Putin has committed a war crime, by going after civilian infrastructure, which has nothing to do, with Ukrainian defense or Ukrainian military.

And, I think, this is noteworthy, because other officials, here in the U.S., have not gone as far as to say that. Though, you've heard Secretary Blinken say that they are documenting, and they are watching closely, what Putin is doing. And this is certainly in his kind of chest of tools that he uses, to try to scare citizens, in somewhere, like Ukraine, like what he's doing right now.

But we've seen other world leaders say that they do believe he's already committed war crimes, including the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who said in his view today, yes, this constitutes a war crime. And Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has said so as well.


And so, of course, as this has gone on, as people do fear Putin could get more brutal, and the tactics, more brutal than what he's already done so far, I think, this is going to be a big conversations, for world leaders, not just, here, in the United States, but everywhere.

COOPER: Kaitlan Collins, I appreciate it. Thank you.

Perspective now, from CNN Military Analyst, retired Army Lieutenant General, Mark Hertling. Also, retired Army Brigadier General Peter Zwack. He's a former Defense Attache to Russia, and currently, a Global Fellow, at the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute.

General Hertling, let's start you. We've been watching this convoy, north of Kyiv, for several days now. Still not making a lot of progress. American Intelligence says it has stalled.

How significance is this convoy, in the grand scheme, of Russian troop movements?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), U.S. ARMY, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It's important, because it is a resupply convoy, Anderson. But, I think, the important part is it stalled. It stopped. We don't know why it stopped. It could be maintenance. It could be part of the plan.

But we're talking, you know, we've been using these maps, for the last couple of weeks. And I personally don't like them all that much. Because this big blob of red, it takes up a whole lot of terrain.

This is 200 miles from, excuse me, 200 miles, from the border, down to Kyiv, a city of 3 million people. You've got an airport, about 20 miles, outside of it. We think that's where Mr. Putin is putting his Russian indirect fire weapon systems, artillery pieces, rockets, to have standoff capability, to attack into the city.

What Kaitlan was just talking about before, Mr. Putin is not attacking infrastructure. He is attacking Ukrainian citizens, civilians, schools, hospitals, apartment buildings. This is his terror campaign. It is no kidding, a scorched earth policy. And he's standing off to do it.

He's 20 miles away from that city. The fighters are defending that city. They're ready to protect the citizens. But frankly, he's away from there, and can't be touched yet.

And what you don't see, in this red blob, is the curves of the roads, the terrain that they have to go through that those resupply trucks with ammunition, and air defense pieces, are all going on. So, it's a lot more complicated than these PowerPoint maps show.

COOPER: General Zwack, what's also a lot more complicated, is urban combat.

In the last hour, we were talking to General David Petraeus, about the ratio of attackers to defenders that if you're an attacker, you want to have five to one, on the people, who are defending a city.

The Russians don't have anywhere near that kind of force, to go into a city, like Kyiv. So, what do they do?

BRIG. GEN. PETER ZWACK (RET), FORMER U.S. DEFENSE ATTACHE TO RUSSIA, U.S. ARMY, GLOBAL FELLOW, KENNAN INSTITUTE AT THE WILSON CENTER: Anderson, it's a great point. Just, I want to just backtrack, for a sec, about the convoy.


ZWACK: Try to imagine a column of 30 miles to 40 miles, several hundred vehicles, bumper to bumper, which is not tactical, lined up in there. You have drivers, co-drivers, you have several thousand Russian troops, many of them conscripts, draftees, who are freezing their tails off, out there.

And they're - look at the ground around. This is ideal terrain for Ukrainian, not just military, but citizens, armed with small arms, and RPG type of light anti-tank. So, this is a real - this is a world- class mess-up, for the Russians, and they're trying to unravel, and it has affected their push, on Kyiv.

Now, Kyiv, very simply, they have two choices, in my mind. I believe they need to get this thing done, because of the weight of this thing, all around, both locally and domestically and internationally.

Ideally, you push into a city, on a broad front. They've lost their opportunity to drive a spearhead, with tanks. They'll get massacred, as we've seen in the past. So, they need to set it up. They need to be methodical. Should be a lots of artillery.

And, of course, this is a city still with 2 million-plus people in it. And to do it, and to storm it, will be a bloodbath. And I'm not convinced that the Russian soldiers all have their heart in it, from what we've been hearing, anecdotally.

So, I think, the Russians are in - are trying to make up, for their troop number deficiency, with firepower. And that is potentially horrific. The determination of the Ukrainian defense has shocked them, from the President, down to the smallest villager.

COOPER: General Hertling, how much is a - of a learning enemy, are Russian forces? I mean, how much do they - are they able to see what's going wrong, and pivot?


HERTLING: You can't learn, in the position they're in, right now, Anderson.

This is a lack of training, a lack of preparation, and exercises, a lack of discipline, in the army. Remember, the majority of Russian soldiers are conscripts. They're in for less than two years, in some cases, a year.

Some of those vehicles, we've seen, on the road, indicators are they have extremely poor maintenance. They've been sitting, for a very long time. That's what a trained soldier ensures, doesn't happen, that their vehicles work, when they need them to.

So, a combination of a lack of preparation, it doesn't contribute well, to adapting on the battlefield. And the army that adapts fastest and first usually wins the fight. I see no adaptation at all, in the Russian army.

What I do see is a plan. They wanted to put forces, on the ground. The forces are failing. So, Russia has reverted to what they've done in the past. Massive destruction, using artillery, rocket fire, and if they can, Air Force.

You're standing in snow, right now. Cloud cover's low. That's probably going to affect the capability of Russian aircraft, to fly. But it does not affect rocket and artillery fire. And they are going to use that, to terrorize, the citizens, of all the towns that they're attacking against. One of the things I'd mentioned too. Artillery fire is a compounding effect. It's not only the landing of the shell, and the explosion, in places, where you think you're safe. Sometimes, it's the cluster munitions. Sometimes, it's the precision weapon that's gone into a certain building.

But, all the time, it's the constant coming from afar, and you don't know where it's going to land. So, it's not only the concussive effects, continuously, it's the fear of what might happen.

Artillery is a deadly weapon, both physically and psychologically. And the Russians have done this before, in Grozny, in Idlib, and in several other places. This is their weapon of choice.


HERTLING: And it's horrific. It is not the way, soldiers fight on the battlefield. It's the way you just intimidate civilian populations.

COOPER: Terrifying!

General Hertling, appreciate it. General Zwack, as well.

Coming up next, my conversation, with war photographer, Lynsey Addario, about the remarkable people that she has met, in Kyiv, and how two decades of covering conflict informs her view, of what she's bearing witness to now.

Also, a story of parenthood, with the most dramatic beginning imaginable, a family, who came to Kyiv, for the birth of their daughter, to a surrogate, and their harrowing journey, home.



COOPER: As Russian strikes, begin again, on Kyiv, something retired General David Petraeus said, in our last hour, bears repeating. General Petraeus spoke to the fact that whatever happens, in Kyiv, it will be seen by Ukrainians, and around the world, and that will make a difference.

The same couldn't be said, for what happened, in Aleppo or Grozny. More specifically, this will. Images that can show the world not just the pain, on a person's face, but the steel, in their soul, and their determination, sometimes, just to carry on, sometimes, to carry the day.

These remarkable photos, the work of "New York Times" photojournalist, Lynsey Addario, Author of the book, "It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War."

Lynsey, thanks so much, for joining us. Your photographs are so evocative, are such a document, for history, but also for now, of what is going on? And some of them are so emotional.

I'm wondering what has stood out to you, just in the time that you've been here?

LYNSEY ADDARIO, PHOTOJOURNALIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I guess, what stood out is, how it's just gotten increasingly, more tense, how people are becoming more desperate. I mean, I think, the real fear has to do with what will come in the future, really, actually.

I think people are terrified by the fact that we know what Putin is capable of. We've seen what he has done, to civilians, in the past. And I think that's the real fear. Because you have people, women and children, women and sick children, living in the basements of hospitals. We have people living, in subway stations, for a week now.

And it's not like the bombing is happening constantly. It's not like the attacks are happening all the time. But it's enough to instill fear, in the population.

COOPER: Yes. I spoke to a woman, in Kyiv, today, who has been in a bomb shelter, mostly since Thursday, of last week. She went home briefly, today, with her kids.


COOPER: But her kids didn't - she thought her kids were going to want to stay home. But they said, they didn't want to stay there. They wanted to leave very quickly, because they were afraid, of bombing, and they were afraid of what might happen.

It seems like it's that, I mean, that not knowing, and kind of the eeriness, of not exactly knowing, where the Russian forces are, and when the worst might come.

ADDARIO: Yes. And that's the same for us, who are covering this conflict. I think, we have been sort of lulled into this "Well, it's kind of quiet. It's not so bad." And I woke up, and there was a huge explosion, about five minutes ago, in Kyiv.

And so, it's - there's space between them. But when they happen, one has no idea, where they will happen. And, I'm sure, it will get worse, as the days come.

COOPER: Just in terms of the bonds, between people, here? And, I mean, resilience is such an overused word, now. But the determination that so many people, here, have, not just in, for the immediate, but seemingly determination that may last them, a very long time, because this could be a very long conflict.


ADDARIO: Yes. No. I haven't seen anything, like this, where the population is absolutely determined, to not lose. And I've seen people come out, every single day, there, more resolute.

It's very hard to get access to things, and especially, the camps, where volunteers are being trained, where they're gathering, obviously, for security reasons. But once you get inside, I - the other day, I met a coffee roaster. I've met a teacher, a woman, who was doing marketing - people, one woman, who was engaged to be married, two weeks ago, and her husband left to join the fight. And so, she decided she had to join as well, because there simply was no time to get married. So, I think, the range of people, who are joining, is just extraordinary.

COOPER: I so admire photojournalists, and the, you know, it is such a difficult job, what you all do.

And how - I mean, it seems like just by the like skin of your teeth, times you're like, and force of will, you're getting yourself, into places, and figuring things out, and looking at angles, and yet, not allowing all the logistical things, to stop you, from actually capturing those moments, of things that are really happening.

Can you just talk a little bit - you talked about how it's not easy to get around? Can you just talk a little bit about what it is like, trying to cover this?

ADDARIO: Yes, I think the thing that a lot of people don't realize is that photojournalists are also reporters. And we do a huge amount of research, and try to figure out what the story is.

Every single morning, I sort of wake up, and think, "OK, today's the day I have to cover civilian casualties, because that is something I have not been able to cover yet." Every day, I feel like I have to tell a different angle of the story, or try to get access to something different.

And then, there's the whole process of working with security. Is it safe? Where can we go? How far out of the center is it? Do we have to cross a bridge? Will that bridge get hit, when we're on the other side?

And then, once you get there, there could be other photographers there. You don't - you know, yesterday, we went to a maternity hospital. And there were like 40 other journalists there.

And it is, these are people. We are walking into people, in their most vulnerable moments. And we have to ensure we don't make them feel bad. We are there to tell a story. But we also have to respect them, and we have to have integrity, with how we deal with people.

COOPER: Yes. Lynsey Addario, I appreciate all the work you're doing, for "The New York Times," in Kyiv, and for all of us. Thank you very much.

ADDARIO: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: Coming up next, more on the Biden administration's efforts, to keep the pressure, on Vladimir Putin, whether in the form of military aid, to Ukraine, or pressure, from the rest of the world. My conversation with the State Department spokesperson, Ned Price.



COOPER: You heard the late reporting, from CNN's Kaitlan Collins, on the continuing shipments, of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, into Ukraine, also Javelins.

Shortly, before airtime, I talked about how the resupply effort, is going, as well as other tools, for changing the course of the war, with State Department spokesman, Ned Price.


COOPER: Mr. Price, Secretary Blinken said today that he authorized expedited transfer of defensive equipment, from allies, to Ukraine, including anti-tank, anti-aircraft weaponry, which is obviously critical for Ukrainian forces.

Can you confirm that weaponry, from the U.S. and European partners, is still getting to Ukrainian forces, where it's needed in Kyiv or wherever?


As you know, the Secretary, over the weekend, authorized an additional $350 million worth of defensive military equipment, for our Ukrainian partners. That brings the total to more than a billion dollars of defensive military support that the United States has provided, in the past year alone. These deliveries have continued, and they will continue, just as we promised.

COOPER: Republican senator Ben Sasse raised the issue, to our Jake Tapper, saying the Ukrainian military may not be having all the actionable real-time Intelligence that it needs to fight back, blaming essentially red tape, in the administration. Is that true?

PRICE: Anderson, we are providing our Ukrainian partners, with precisely what they need, to fight, and to engage in self-defense. They've been doing so, with courage, with bravery, and with dignity, and will continue to do that.

I already spoke to the defensive weaponry that we provided. But yes, we are robustly sharing information, with our Ukrainian partners.

COOPER: I want to ask you about comments that President Biden made today, where he said that he believes Russia is intentionally targeting civilians, in Ukraine, in an answer to a question he was asked.

But earlier, he had declined to say whether he believes war crimes are being committed, essentially saying it's too soon to say that. What is the line, the definition of war crimes, for this administration?

PRICE: Well, war crimes are spelled out very clearly, any number of fora, including the Geneva Conventions. But what is - what we are doing, what is important to us, and what we will continue to do, are a couple things. One, to provide our Ukrainian partners precisely what they need, to defend their country, which they are doing valiantly, in a way that President Putin has not expected. And, I think, we can see that in the resistance that his forces are facing.

But two, in some ways, just as importantly, we are watching, very closely. We are documenting thoroughly. Together, with our partners, around the world, we have made clear, if they engage in activity that constitutes war crimes, and human rights abuses, and atrocities, we will hold them accountable.

COOPER: International Criminal Court, they define war crimes as willfully causing - willful killing - willfully causing great suffering, and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity, and carried out unlawfully and wantonly. That sounds similar to what we are seeing happening in Ukraine.

And I know, you said, you are watching carefully, and taking record, of these things. At a point, if you see war crimes, is that something you would publicly announce?

PRICE: Anderson, I think, you've seen, over the past four months that we have not hesitated to make public information that is available to us, including in Intelligence channels.

It has now been more than four months, since we started sounding the alarm, about what President Putin had in mind. And that Intelligence, of course, has been borne out.


If, in fact, Russian forces do intentionally target civilians, there will be massive profound consequences, for war crimes, for atrocities, for human rights abuses.

COOPER: Yes. Ned Price, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

PRICE: Thank you so much.


COOPER: Coming up, I'll be joined live, by an American couple, who were caught, in Kyiv, with their newborn daughter, when the war began. But the greatest danger they faced may not have come, until they actually reached the border.

They take us through their amazing escape, as strangers became heroes. That's next.


COOPER: While, the nightmare of this war has impacted so many people, all around the world, including Americans, there's proof of that again, tonight. Jessie and Jacob Boeckmann, of Orange County, California, they traveled to Kyiv, for the birth of their daughter, late last month, through a Ukrainian surrogate. The pictures show how things were, and should have stayed. Loving parents comforting, and welcoming their little girl, Vivian, at a Kyiv hospital.


Then, only two days, after Vivian's birth, Jessie woke up, to the sounds of shelling. The war had begun. Ukraine rallied to save itself. The couple began its dangerous rally, to get Vivian, out of the hospital, and out of a country, suddenly, under attack.

Take a look at their view, as a driver, who only spoke Russian, tried to get them out of the city, destined for the temporary U.S. embassy, here in Lviv. But massive gridlock turned into a six-hour ride, into 27 hours.

And only when they were on the road did they learn that the embassy in Lviv was actually closed. So, they headed for Poland. On their baby's first car ride, massive combat vehicles roll up, past them, powerful symbols of military might, sharing the road, with the tiny newborn infant.

When their family got within about eight miles, of the Polish border, they still had no idea how much longer, and tougher, and riskier, the final leg would suddenly become.

Jacob and Jessie Boeckmann join me tonight, from California, along with Vivian.

It is so great to meet both of you. First of all, congratulations. How are both of you and your newborn daughter doing?





COOPER: Oh my Gosh! So beautiful! Are you all sleeping?

JACOB BOECKMANN: Thank you, yes, thank you.


COOPER: Are you getting any sleep?

JESSIE BOECKMANN: Oh, a little. We're still jet-lagged. So, we're trying though.

JACOB BOECKMANN: Yes. Last night was probably the first night we've gotten really any substantial sleep, in the past week, for newborn reasons, and trying to escape the country.


JACOB BOECKMANN: But yes, yes, you know?

COOPER: So Jacob, can you just take us through how you ended up getting to the Polish border? Because, I mean, what happened when you realized - you had to get to the border. I understand. But, at some point, the cars were so backed up. I mean, the line of cars, to the Polish border is, goes on for miles and miles and miles, you had to get out and walk?

JACOB BOECKMANN: Yes, yes. We were - we were constantly kind of keeping up with our progress that after sleeping in the car overnight, we were within, we felt like about 20 kilometers out the border.

After three hours or four hours, in the car, we found out that we were went (ph) we were just very little. And so, at that point, we decided that it was going to be the warmest part of the day. And the only opportunity to make it to the border before nightfall would be to get out, and walk.

Our biggest concerns, with our daughter, being 4-days-old, was hypothermia. It was really cold. And - but we felt like if we didn't act then, then we wouldn't know how much longer it would be, until we make it across.

COOPER: And then, I mean, Jessie, this is something we've seen--


COOPER: --a lot of moms having to do, just making that walk. It's been terrible for a lot of people. But with a, I mean, a newborn, just 4- days-old, it's really extraordinary. What was it like, to have her, with you, walking through 30-degree weather?

JESSIE BOECKMANN: Well, when we first got out of the car, I was worried that Jacob and I had made the wrong decision. It was pretty windy outside. And I'm sure the windshield was even colder than 30 degrees. But we constantly stopped, to make sure the baby was warm enough, and that she was breathing.

As the walk went on, I realized that we had made the right decision. We just walked through miles and miles of cars that weren't moving at all. And so, I knew at that point that our walk to the border was the best decision we made.

The crazy thing is we walked eight miles with a newborn, which I think is far. But what's even worse is what people are doing now. They're walking so much farther than that, in order to get to the border.



COOPER: Yes. I mean, some families, we've talked to, they have spent days, has spent days, out there, trying to, you know, sleeping in school houses, along the side of the road.

Once you make - Jacob, we've got a video, you took, what it looked like, when you finally made it to the border. What happened then?

JACOB BOECKMANN: Yes. Once we got to the border, we were optimistic that things were going to get better that we would hopefully find some organized way to exit the country. And we found just the opposite. What we found was just thousands and thousands of people, all kind of packed on top of one another, trying to exit the country.

We were fortunate that we had a 4-day-old infant, and that women and children were kind of given a preferential spot in line. So, that enabled us to bypass thousands of people. But we still, after three hours, of waiting, had still made very little progress.


That's when the crowd kind of took it upon themselves, to - they asked Jessie how old our baby was. And then, kind of pushed her, kind of to the front of the line, enabling them to get across. It was--

COOPER: Jessie, I mean--

JACOB BOECKMANN: --unfortunately, for me - yes.

COOPER: I'm sorry, go--

JACOB BOECKMANN: I was going to say, for me--

COOPER: --sorry, go ahead.

JACOB BOECKMANN: I was going to say, I tried to cross with them. But, because I was a male, the crowd wouldn't allow me to cross. And so, we ended up crossing, crossed separately, me, several hours later, but - and only with the help of the State Department, once I actually went across, because of the limitations of allowing men, from leaving the country, at the time.

COOPER: So, what is it like? I mean, what - I mean, the birth of a child is such an extraordinary experience, that to have a story, like this, that you will tell, for the rest of your lives, to your daughter, about her amazing journey.

I mentioned, Jessie that you were in Ukraine. Your daughter was born with the help of a surrogate. Have you been able to contact the surrogate? Do you know how she's doing?

JESSIE BOECKMANN: Well, we - our eldest daughter was born via surrogate, in 2019. So, we've actually been in contact with both our surrogate mothers. I've reached out to both of them. And they're both experiencing some heavy fighting, in their areas. They live in different parts of Ukraine.

I reached out to our surrogate today. And I, kind of worried about her, because I haven't heard back from her, and then we've been corresponding the entire time, up until today. COOPER: Yes.

JESSIE BOECKMANN: So, but, as of yesterday, she was back in her hometown, with her daughters.

COOPER: Well, I mean, surrogates are an extraordinary - it takes an extraordinary person, to be a surrogate. I've been blessed, to be able to have kids, with surrogates, as well. And it's an extraordinary, extraordinary blessing. And they're really remarkable people. I hope they are well. It's certainly a difficult time here.

Jessie and Jacob Boeckmann, I really appreciate your time tonight. I'm so glad you're home, with your beautiful Vivian. And I wish you the best.

JACOB BOECKMANN: Thank you, Anderson.


COOPER: Take care.

Just ahead, I'm going to discuss what more the U.S. government may be trying to do, or could do, to protect civilians, in Ukraine, with a member of the House Armed Services Committee.



COOPER: With explosions, in Kyiv, and a major city falling, in the south, we want to spend some time discussing, if there's anything more the U.S. might be doing.

I'm joined by Democratic congressman Seth Moulton, a veteran and member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Congressman, I appreciate you joining us. I should point out, you were in Ukraine, in December. You've been receiving, I know, briefings, on the situation, in Ukraine. And obviously, you can't reveal classified information.

Can you just shed light on what U.S. Intelligence, or what you think, about where this war may go next?

REP. SETH MOULTON (D-MA): Well, that's the big question. That's the question we all have to be asking. And there's - it's obvious that it's going much more, in our favor, and the Ukrainians' favor than we anticipated.

The Russians are held up. They have concentrated an extraordinary amount, of their combat power, in Ukraine, in their southern neighbor, to conduct this invasion, in the first place. And now, they've had to further concentrate it, around the capital, Kyiv, just to try to lay siege of the city. And yet, they're not moving forward. They're stalled, right now. So, we've never really considered the prospects of a Ukrainian victory. They're facing possible odds. And yet, their courage has been so extraordinary, that they are not only holding back the Russian army, they're beginning to degrade it.

The question we all have to ask is, if Putin really gets backed, into a corner, here, we can't just talk about the tactical implications on the ground, although they're grim. We also have to ask, what are the strategic implications, for what he might do next?

COOPER: By that, you mean nuclear weapons?

MOULTON: I didn't say that, Anderson. But it would be irresponsible, for our strategists, our planners, to take that off the table.

I mean, we're dealing with someone, who is, by some accounts, a madman, someone who is not making pragmatic decisions, has not even been acting the way he has acted in the past.

And he is a vicious man, who doesn't understand combat. I mean, this is one of the things that a lot of people forget about Putin. He's a KGB agent. He thinks that you can do everything with cloak and daggers. He understands assassinations.

He doesn't understand how brutal urban combat is. As someone, who's experienced that myself, I can tell you that he's bitten off more than he might be willing to chew, or that he might be able to chew, or perhaps that his forces are willing to chew.

We've started to hear reports, of degrading morale, among Russian troops. When they're actually told, to assault Kyiv, and they start get hitting by - hit by snipers, by Molotov cocktails, thrown, from apartment windows, it's much harder to attack a city than it is to defend it. We have to question just how far those troops are willing to go.

COOPER: The problem is, we've seen how far Vladimir Putin is willing to go, in cities, when he doesn't care about the civilian population. I mean, in Aleppo, we've seen barrel bombs being, thrown from the sky, and a city destroyed in Grozny. We've seen the city leveled, in order to take it.

It's maybe different, some people have pointed out. There's a lot of reporters on the ground. The world is actually watching, and has eyes on what's happening, not necessarily the same situation, in Aleppo, or Grozny, certainly. But that does not speak well, to one of the options, he has, in his arsenal.

MOULTON: There's no question that Putin is willing to be vicious. He doesn't understand, in a personal way, how brutal combat is, on his own troops, let alone on the enemy and civilians.


And so, you have to ask, what might he do to the city? And a lot of people are asking that question, right now, and facing the grim reality, of just a brutal toll, on Ukrainian civilians, not to mention these brave volunteers, in the army.

But you also have to ask, if that doesn't even go well, if his troops continue to get stalled? Remember, they're stalled outside the city, right now. What happens when they try to go in? Then, might he resort to something else?


MOULTON: We have to talk about that, strategically. We have to talk about whether we need an off-ramp here. Because, I'll tell you, I'm thrilled with how well the Ukrainian resistance is holding up. I'm more concerned now, about what Putin might do.

COOPER: Yes. Congressman Moulton, I appreciate your time tonight, and your experience. Thank you so much.

MOULTON: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: We'll be right back.


COOPER: Stay with CNN, for the latest, from Ukraine. The news continues. Want to turn things over now, to Don, and "DON LEMON TONIGHT."