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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Video Shows Fleeing Civilians Killed In Russian Military Strike In Irpin; Zelenskyy: Russia Is Preparing To Bomb Odessa; Interview With Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL); Ukrainian Military Purportedly Knocks Out Russian Artillery Position Near Mykolaiv; Video Shows Police Brutally Beat, Detain Anti-War Protesters In Russia. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired March 06, 2022 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. There are any number of developments to report tonight all to do with the war and we'll bring them to you over the next two hours. We begin though, with all this war entails for millions of proud and brave and yet scared Ukrainian civilians.
Today according to the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin said that Russian forces are doing everything possible to protect lives and secure the safety of them. The video you're about to see of mortar fire targeting an evacuation route west of Kyiv says otherwise. We want to warn you it shows precisely what this war truly is and that's why we think it's important that you see it because what is happening in Ukraine right now should not be sanitized, it should be seen by the world in all its horror, you will hear obscenities on the video and you will see them as well.
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(Speaking of Foreign Language)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, OK.
(Speaking of Foreign Language)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Now you saw a Ukrainian soldier at the start of that that man was helping civilians evacuate, there are a handful of soldiers who had been at that spot for the last more than 24 hours helping hundreds if not thousands of civilians try to cross a bridge that the Ukrainians themselves have destroyed in order to slow the Russian advance, the shell landed on an exposed section of street that evacuees had to cross in order to find cover just a short distance away. You may not have noticed that there were civilians in the background of that opening image right before the rocket landed or the mortar landed.
The woman you saw on the videos photojournalist Lynsey Addario, who we spoke to last week from "The New York Times." She captured the image that we're about to show you of the ones who did not make it, the people who were across the street that the others went running to, to try to help. And again, a warning this picture, it is hard to take. The victims in this case were a mother, her teenage son and young daughter along with a family friend, that is them lying dead on the ground, Ukrainian medics trying to aid them.
The mother and children were killed by the blast, the friend was badly wounded, and that's the person they're in the foreground on the ground that they're trying to aid. Lynsey Addario will be joining us later on in the week as she did last week. It's hard to comprehend all that she has seen already or is yet to see because what you saw is no exception. It is the daily reality.
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(Speaking of Foreign Language)
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COOPER: Those are some of the daily sights and sounds. Now that's in Irpin. That is where the people, the area that was attacked today, that bridge where that mortar landed. People were trying to escape from Irpin. They have been pinned down there now for days. You can see the destruction there in that community.
Our Clarissa Ward had been there just yesterday, as you may recall, even helping an elderly lady get a bag up in an embankment. Today that was the scene of the attack. So they're attacking people in the community, the residential community where they live, and then now they are attacking them as they try to flee on the one spot that they were able to flee and get across a bridge to get away to some semblance of safety. That is what is happening here.
The U.N. says it's already accounted for more than 360 civilians killed so far while acknowledging that the real number is likely quote considerably higher in their words. More than 1.5 million Ukrainians have now fled the country those who stayed have seen neighborhoods in some cases reduced to rubble.
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IGOR MOSJAJEV, SURVIVED MARKHALIVKA ATTACKS (through translator): They dug me up over there somewhere. Two of my grandchildren are alive, though my wife and daughter were killed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): My boyfriend died here, my aunt, my cousin, my grandmother, my sister's husband, and a friend that stayed with us here while everything was happening. We've been living together since the start of the war. We had plans to leave but couldn't decide, should we stay? Should we go? A miracle we survived. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A miracle she survived. There have been wars in which a tragedy like theirs is the unfortunate exception. Here as in Aleppo in Syria or Grozny in Chechnya, it appears to be the rule, perhaps the goal. Thankfully, though, there are still places where at least for a moment, there is room for grace to light the darkness.
We came across this video on social media from a shelter in Kyiv. It was there that Marta (ph) who posted, it came across a little girl named, Amelia (ph). Amelia (ph) told Marta (ph) she dreamed of being a singer on a grand stage to which Marta (ph) says she replied, well, why not start now? You may recognize the song.
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COOPER: A little girl in a shelter singing "Let It Go" from "Frozen" in Ukrainian. It's hard to say anything after that except thank you, Amelia (ph). Thank you for that grace.
Reporting for us tonight CNN's Arlette Saenz at the White House, CNN's Alex Marquardt just outside Kyiv and in the strategic Black Sea Port City of Odessa CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, Arlette Saenz starts us off.
ARLETTE SAENZ, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight Russia is closing in on many major cities in Ukraine, as their bombardments from afar are creating a dire situation for Ukrainian citizens.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): It seems it is not enough for the Russian troops, not enough ruins destinies, crippled lives. They want to kill more.
SAENZ (voice-over): Russian forces shelling areas to the west and northwest of Kyiv over the weekend, including out a checkpoint for evacuating civilians in the suburb of Irpin where the mayor says a family, two parents, and two children were killed. Four other people died and other strikes across the districts , the mayor said. Just over 50 miles from Kyiv in the town of Bila Tserkva nearly 20 residential buildings rocked by Russian fire, it's not clear how many were killed or hurt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Russian planes continue to bomb Ukrainian cities, kill Ukrainian civilians including women and children. It's a disaster here.
SAENZ (voice-over): In the village of Markhalivka just south of the Capitol. Russian airstrikes killed a number of civilians including a disabled 12-year-old girl, her father said. MOSJAJEV: (Speaking of Foreign Language)
SAENZ (voice-over): In southern Ukraine, civilians are desperately trying to flee the city of Mariupol cut off from water, power, and now heat in freezing temperatures. But a second attempt for safe evacuation corridors breaking down, the Red Cross tweeting its attempt to start evacuating an estimated 200,000 people has failed, Ukraine accusing Russia of using a humanitarian ceasefire as a trick to kill more civilians.
DEPUTY MAYOR SERGEI ORLOV, MARIUPOL, UKRAINE: Ceasefire took place only for 30 minutes. After that, Russian troops army start continuous shelling of Mariupol. We face in war crimes hour by hour, second by second.
SAENZ (voice-over): And Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is now warning that Russia plans to bomb the key port city of Odessa with Zelenskyy's life increasingly under threat. Western officials tell CNN talks are underway about how to support a Ukrainian government in exile. But the Zelenskyy has rejected any thought of leaving Kyiv instead of focusing on boosting their resistance against Russia.
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The Ukrainians have plans in place that I'm not going to talk about or get into any details on to make sure that there is what we would call continuity of government one way or another.
SAENZ (voice-over): Ukraine is still pleading for NATO to impose a no fly zone over the country, which the alliance has dismissed, fearing it could lead to an escalation.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA: Any movements in this direction will be regarded by us as participation in the military conflict.
SAENZ (voice-over): But the U.S. and Poland are in talks about possibly providing Soviet era fighter jets from the Eastern European country to neighboring Ukraine.
BLINKEN: We also want to see if we can be helpful, as I said in making sure that whatever they provide to Ukrainians, something goes to them to make up for any gap in the security for Poland.
SAENZ (voice-over): Russia and Ukraine are set to begin a third round of talks on Monday. But with the Russian war machine already been accused of violating a ceasefire, the prospects for a peaceful solution seem bleak.
COOPER: Want to bring in our team tonight? Nick, let's start with you. President Zelenskyy is saying that Russia is preparing to bomb Odessa. What is the situation there tonight?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I have to tell you, Anderson, throughout the night so far, and it's 4:00 a.m. here now absolutely startling silence not quite clear where President Zelenskyy got this information from that he felt he needed to warn Odessa of an eminent bombing. But it was also partly I think, a cultural message aimed at the Russian speaking population here and of course, Russians as well.
He reminded them this is a popular holiday destination for people saying how this is a place where Russians would only new warmth and generosity and what now artillery and bonds against Odessa. This will be a war crime. This will be a historic crime.
And he then actually switched to speaking from Ukrainian into Russian and telling Russians had a choice between life and slavery. This city though Anderson has been bracing itself for possibly an amphibious assault. We've heard the occasional explosion in the skies around here over the past days.
But the fear now is that this has to essentially at some point be in the Kremlin's crosshairs. It is the third largest city, the vital maritime hub to the outside world, which most of Ukraine's trade comes through. We've seen ourselves sandbags filled up from the holiday vacation beaches here, whisked into the city center, surrounding an opera house here.
There hasn't seen fortifications like that since 1941 when the Soviet then held city fought off the Nazis, quite extraordinary how this city feels something awful, maybe coming over the horizon or I should say to you, as it stands now, the most startling thing is how utterly silent this place is in the blackout in the curfew imposed on, Anderson.
COOPER: I want to be to Alex Marquardt. Alex you were in that area outside of Kyiv earlier today and was hit by a strike. Talk about what you saw.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this is one of those examples of a civilian target that cannot be mistaken for anything but a civilian target. This is the small village of Markhalivka. It's about 15 miles south of Kyiv. It's a village where people generally commute into the city. There is no major military presence nearby that would justify any kind of Russian strike against it if the Russians continue to claim that they're not going after civilians.
We walked along a small country road and on both sides there were large piles of rubble after a Russian airstrike on Friday. And on the left hand side of the road where one of the bombs had been dropped was a large crater and there we met a man named, Igor Mosjajev. And he was being helped by friends and neighbors to go through the rubble to try to salvage anything they could from his home. Anderson, this man had just lost five of his family members in that strike.
His daughter, who was just 12 years old, who was in a wheelchair at the time, his wife, his mother-in-law, two sons-in-law, and a family friend of theirs who had been staying with them. We believe who had left Kyiv to escape the fighting that was encroaching on the city. The -- Igor was there looking for his documents. He found his passport and wallet while we're there. He also on a slightly happy note, he found two of his cats in the rubble who had been missing for the past few days.
I asked him what was going through his head and he said, I have no thoughts, how can I have any thoughts right now. He just wants this to end he says. The burials for his family members will take place on Monday. And then after that, he said he doesn't know what he is going to do.
And all of this just speaks, of course, to the increasing number of examples of extraordinarily indiscriminate bombing, shelling, and fighting by the Russian forces that has now resolved and according to the U.N. more than 360 civilian deaths although they themselves say that number is likely to be much, much higher, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, how long will it be before we start to see burials being attacked, as we saw in Sarajevo, frankly, when they were burying people at the soccer stadium? Arlette, what's the latest on the current debate over banning Russian oil imports? Obviously for, you know, there's the U.S. possibility of doing that. And then obviously, for Europe, it's a whole other even more complex issue, because they're so far more -- so much more dependent on Russian oil.
SAENZ: Yes, Anderson. Initially, it was thought that banning Russian oil and gas would be off the table given that larger ripple effect it could have on the global energy supply. But White House officials have indicated in recent days that it is an option that is in play. President Biden over the weekend convened a call with Cabinet members and his advisors to talk about the options that he could pursue, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken said today that the U.S. is actively discussing a ban on Russian oil and gas with allies.
Now, officials have said it is unlikely the U.S. would take any action without coordination or consultation with those Eastern or with European allies, given the fact that that area is much more reliant on Russian energy than the United States. And then here at home, the White House is also reviewing what such how such a ban would impact gas prices for Americans. But there's certainly been this growing bipartisan chorus from lawmakers up on Capitol Hill pushing the White House to go ahead and enact such a ban as the U.S. is looking for further ways to make Putin pay for his attacks in Ukraine.
COOPER: Nick, what else have you've been able to see on the ground in recent hours, reports you've been getting for other from other places in terms of Russian military positions in southern Ukraine?
WALSH: Yes, we've just come back from one of two days we spent in Mykolaiv, which is the adjacent port city along the Black Sea coast here. Essentially, if Russia wants to get to a desk or kind of the prize in the south here, it has to either go round or controlled Mykolaiv. But that has proven incredibly difficult. And some video emerged today showed some startling losses that Russia appear to have sustained just the last 24 hours. This is an artillery position, paratroop units on the outskirts of that town of Mykolaiv.
And it appears some of the vehicles have been abandoned, some have been utterly devastated by an attack here. And so we've seen around Mykolaiv of this persistent attempt by Russian forces to try and get in, you'll see on our report at the bottom of the hour, the bids it seemed for certain armored vehicles to get into the town, they've been destroyed, devastated. We've seen an abandoned tank ourselves by the Russians.
And so what question you really have to ask ourselves, particularly in the fight down here along the south, is what exactly is the Russian strategy. We've seen that for a week, two weekends in a row, how they've tried to bond their way into Mykolaiv, they failed, they've lost it seems quite a lot of armor on their attempts to do that. And the sign today from these abandoned vehicles that we saw does suggest a lack of Russian morale, a desire to get out frankly of the fighting at some point.
And so a town like Mykolaiv, I think has become a bit of an example of exactly how tough it's being for the Russian military to get into cities in a meaningful fashion. I asked the Regional Governor Vitaliy Kim yesterday what he needed, he said he needed weapons. But it does seem that once they're getting at the moment, are actually those abandoned by Russian troops, Anderson.
COOPER: So Nick just so I'm clear, the video we're seeing now from Mykolaiv, those are, I see disease written on the tank, so that means that those are Russian tanks, Russian artillery pieces?
WALSH: That's correct. Yes, that's correct. The damage there is done to Russian positions. And so we've seen quite a bit of that are around Mykolaiv certainly. And it appears to be consistent with this attrition war they seem to be trying to persist with of just getting in as far as they can to the city and then being pushed out. It's remarkable to see these constant thrusts and how essentially, at this point, they've come to nothing, Anderson?
COOPER: Nick Paton Walsh, Alex Marquardt, be careful, Arlette Saenz thank you so much.
Coming up next, congressman and Air Force veteran, Adam Kinzinger, on the calls from Ukraine, and by him to establish a no fly zone over Ukraine, he's been calling from that for a while and the arguments against it, namely that it risks an all-out war with Russia. Later, more breaking news, police in Russia brutally beating and detaining antiwar protesters, we'll talk with the CIA's former director of Russia operations and what may be driving Putin now, whether he's driven beyond the last off ramp out of this war.
COOPER: According to Pentagon official, Russia has fired at least 600 missiles into Ukraine. These are some of them.
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(Speaking of Foreign Language)
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COOPER: Cruise Missiles hitting a town in central Ukraine, unlike warplanes and helicopters, they're harder to shoot down, can be fired from long distances away. This far as the war in Russia still doesn't have full air superiority over the battlefield according to Western officials.
Our next guest wants to take steps to make sure they never do and the like, Republican Congressman and Air Force veteran Adam Kinzinger joins us now. Congressman, thanks so much for being with us. You have been calling for backing the idea of a no fly zone, which is something obviously that the Ukrainian President and Ukrainian officials are really pushing for.
I talked to the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Steven Pfeiffer. And he was saying the one major drawback of a no fly zone besides the obvious, it provokes potentially direct conflict, you know, of a rush -- of an American plane shooting down a Russian plane, the ambassador was pointing out that in order to protect U.S. and Allied planes, they would have to bomb antiaircraft weapons and Belarus and maybe even Russia itself in addition to Russian antiaircraft assets already in Ukraine. Talk to me about your support for the no fly zone and those arguments against it.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Look, Anderson, there's risk and I'm not going to deny that and we should obviously look at that with wide eyes -- with eyes wide open. But, you know, I think there's risk in inaction to at the moment. What I fear in the long term is that if Russia ultimately does take control of Kyiv or all of Ukraine or most of Ukraine, and we wake up every morning and continue to see thousands upon thousands of civilians killed and all these tragic stories, there will be a moment where we decide we have to. And by that time, I think you're significantly in a much more risky spot because much more Russian equipment will be moved in.
And want to be clear, and I think there's options, there's a no fly zone over all of Ukraine, there's Western Ukraine and a humanitarian no fly zone. I think we've done a lot as the U.S. and our allies. And so this isn't an attack on the response so far, I just fear that we're going to get to the moment where we're going to be compelled to, and we should not fear Russia in that context.
COOPER: You've raised two interesting ideas, which a lot of people haven't talked about. So I want to actually ask you now about them a little further. One of them, which you just mentioned, is basically kind of an air corridor, humanitarian air corridor that I guess would be, you know, protected by U.S. planes, or NATO planes or allied country planes or countries who are willing to if it wasn't NATO, per se. And that would what allow the flight of supplies in? KINZINGER: Yes, so if you think of it similar to maybe like a Berlin airlift, if you can protect a corridor, you can allow planes to fly in drop supplies, even drop armaments, whatever that takes, if it's a agreed upon one, you know, the Russians have violated, frankly, every attempt to have humanitarian corridors so far, you would limit it to just supplies and medical. But I think we have to look at those different variations of what we can do on a no fly zone. But I think the important thing is this.
The old Soviet Union used to threaten the use of nuclear weapons all the time. If Ukraine ends up defeating Russia, which we all pray for, if you think Vladimir Putin is crazy enough to use nukes against NATO in the West for defending the skies of a sovereign country that invited them to do it, I think we have to be realistic that he may very well just use them on Ukraine if he loses. He's a crazy man. We've done a great job, I think of standing up to him so far, there's a few more things I do. But we need to be prepared. This is a moment where he's not going to go quietly.
COOPER: You've also talked about the idea of what you just, you had mentioned previously about kind of a no fly zone in the west of Ukraine. I'm in Lviv, which is it's much closer to the Polish border. It's the transit point for hundreds of thousands of people who are fleeing, they come to Lviv train station, they try to get further west over to Poland or some of the other countries Moldova, Romania, and the like. There's even has been talk of if Kyiv fell, that there perhaps be Ukrainian government in charge in Lviv, and that would be the site -- the seat of power. What would a no fly zone in western Ukraine accomplish?
KINZINGER: Yes, it wouldn't be basically that. It would be protecting an area for if civilians need to flee, to flee, that they can be protected, it alleviates some of the pressure obviously on Europe who's going to be taking, you know, we've had what a million refugees, there's 40 some million people that live in Ukraine, and allows a place if, you know, God forbid, Kyiv does fall to be able to have that government in exile that you mentioned, and continue to train, equip, and support the Ukrainian army as they try to take back the rest of Ukraine.
But keep in mind, I think if we get to a point and this is where we have to remember as we're making decisions today, where we see Kyiv fall or we see, you know, a significant part of Ukraine fall or god forbid a defeat of the Ukrainian army taking back Ukraine is going to be far bloodier than anything we've seen today.
COOPER: You sit on the Committee for Energy and Commerce, we've heard, you know, a number of people talking about on both sides of the aisle pushing for a ban on Russian oil and gas to the U.S. Do you agree with that idea of a ban? And do you think it's something that actually might happen?
KINZINGER: I think it's certainly gaining steam, I think it should happen, absolutely. The American people have to be ready for even higher energy prices. I think, you know, there's an understanding of that this is an essence a small price to pay per ticket if you look at what's going on in Ukraine and you put yourself in their shoes, that's a cost of defending freedom.
And we have over maybe as of today, you know, 700 million some barrels in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That's what this is for, for these moments. I think we have to do it. This is the one thing that Russia actually makes money on as their energy. And so it may be painful, but I think we absolutely have to ban those imports.
COOPER: Congressman Adam Kinzinger I appreciate your time. Thank you.
KINZINGER: Yes, be safe.
COOPER: Our Nick Paton Walsh documents the David versus Goliath struggle he mentioned earlier of Ukrainians in the south of the country and the mental and physical toll this war is taking on Ukrainians thus far.
COOPER: You heard our Nick Paton Walsh a moment ago report from a desk on a tough battle for control of the southern part of the country, a battle where Ukrainians were able to exact a tremendous cost on the Russians. Nick has the details of that battle now. We warn you, some what you're seeing, we're about to see is going to be graphic, but as we mentioned before, I really think it's necessary to be frank about what's happening here and to witness the reality of what life is like in Ukraine right now.
WALSH (voice-over): Putin needs it. But he's having real trouble getting it. Drive to the last Ukrainian position outside the port city of Mykoliav and you can see the mess made of the Kremlin's plans. Even the Z Russian propaganda says it's from the denazification they ridiculously claimed to be an acting is charred, its occupants captured or dead.
Their missiles on display along with their names. It says the army of Russia. Further down this road are the rest of the Russian tanks. But one was left behind. And now farmers, pensioners, and bemused locals are picking it over. The model may be newer, but the Empire it seeks to restore is long gone.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking of Foreign Language)
WALSH (on camera): He's just saying it goes forward but doesn't turn around.
(voice-over): The same can't be said for its crew who fled. The Ukrainians here a little gleeful this keeps happening.
(on camera): Did they left the tank or?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They needed to do that.
WALSH: Right. OK. They didn't have much of a choice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. They didn't have much of a choice it seems.
WALSH (voice-over): Then a warning.
(on camera): There's a helicopter coming.
(voice-over): A helicopter is spotted and we have to leave.
(on camera): They bringing up a stinger.
(voice-over): Rushing in the weapons this David has hit the Russian Goliath with again and again. But the Kremlin is sure to impose a cost on anyone it can.
(Speaking of Foreign Language)
WALSH (voice-over): Grant rockets have slammed into homes regularly. This woman thinks she has broken her back.
(Speaking of Foreign Language)
WALSH (voice-over): The house collapsed on me she says and then they pulled me out. There are no other patients in this hospital. All the injured treated here died in their beds were told, including one 53- year-old man brought in on Sunday morning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just here.
WALSH (voice-over): Across town, the rockets apparent cluster munitions that seem to fall just anywhere.
(on camera): It's another rocket landed up the street here.
(voice-over): From cars to vegetable gardens.
(Speaking of Foreign Language)
WALSH (voice-over): At the morgue the toll is growing. At least 50 bodies they told us, 20 of them incinerated in a Russian missile strike on the naval port of Kharkiv they said, the bodies so often of the elderly who would have survived being a Soviet citizen but not this. Ruslan has worked here 13 days straight and is from Crimea where Russian state propaganda still calls this a special operation against Nazis.
RUSLAN, MEDICAL WORKER: (Speaking of Foreign Language)
WALSH (voice-over): They show us the corpse of a Russian soldier and ask us to fill him up close, which we don't do, loathing here, set in deep and lasting with each body in the ground.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: And Nick joins us now. I can see that medical worker break down? Are you finding more and more just people having those, I mean obviously you're seeing people having those moments all the time, it's ridiculous question. I mean this is, to see a medical worker who normally, you know, have seen bodies and has, you know, worked in the morgue, to see them break down like that is it's stunning.
WALSH: What I think hit Ruslan and this is a guy who's been awake for 13 days in a row bringing in bodies and anything that's obviously it's a Morgue technician something that got to him. What got to him was that his old friends we're living in this parallel nonsense universe that Russian state television pumps out that this is some sort of limited special operation designed to assist fellow Russian speakers in denazify Ukraine.
And to have people who he knew who were his friends literally suggests that his family aren't hiding in a basement evading Russian shelling now. I think that's what really broke him. And he -- we heard him speaking to us for 10, 15 minutes in that kind of state.
We see a fair bit of that round here. I say it's outweighed by the kind of resilience that we see pretty much everywhere we go and, you know, the conversations we have with people who, you know, might be a local MP you saw there showing us around well the rockets had landed. It will be dealing with traffic problems, a matter of weeks ago.
These are people I think you've spent two weeks just getting up every day and getting on with the urgent task of defending the lives that they've had for years but there's also too I think a slight sense of how did this even happen.
This has been for so much of Ukraine, a devastatingly peaceful country for so many decades, eight years of war in the east, but it is just startling, particularly in a place like a desert and the quiet commercial port cities we've been going through to have ordinary regional governors hiding in a bunker and suddenly discovering themselves as a wartime leader. It's been startling to see that quick adaptation of people here too, but also the toll it's clearly taking.
The people in that hospital and you saw, Anderson, all had head injuries, no other part of their body damaged at all. And you just have to wonder what on earth Russia thinks it's doing firing off these volumes of bodies of rockets into a clearly utterly nothing but civilian areas, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, Nick, it also shows just the connectedness of people here. I mean, he's from Crimea. He has friends who are, you know, on the Russian side who don't believe him, Kharkiv is being bombarded by their sister city by artillery pieces near their sister city, just over the border in Russia. I mean the interconnectedness of this is, you know, we've seen families ripped apart but this is also, you know, country men and, you know, people who are the same who speak the same language ripped apart. Nick Paton Walsh, I appreciate the reporting as always. Just a head, we have breaking news, new video of police in Russia beating and detaining antiwar protesters, talk about the difficulties now facing Vladimir Putin on what he may do next to survive.
COOPER: This video of a protest today outside a cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia. Police appear to be trying to detain a woman on the ground and other protester tried to engage in the situation. He is shoved to the ground and punched by police. The video taken later -- from later on further down the road to show that the protests continued and the protesters repeatedly shouted no to war.
At least 4,640 people have been detained in connection with antiwar rallies across the country, according to an independent human rights monitoring group tracking detentions. And that number could be far higher. We have no way to know of course, because the Kremlin now is criminalizing journalism, about Russia's invasion of Ukraine. So just seeing this video is and of itself pretty extraordinary.
And it's also important, because what's happening inside Russia could help give some clue, some clue of what Putin's next moves might be. Because right now the world is just left to wonder, someone whose job it was to try and anticipate his moves is Steve Hall, former chief of Rush operations for the CIA, he joins us now. So Steven I mean, Vladimir Putin's long suppressed public dissent in Russia, how critical is that is maintaining control, not only the Ukrainian narrative but also power?
STEVE HALL, FORMER CIA CHIEF OF RUSSIA OPERATIONS: Anderson to a certain extent, it's important. You know, we have seen over the years, Vladimir Putin has absolutely no hesitation just as he has no hesitation, frankly in indiscriminate violence in Ukraine. He has no hesitation in using indiscriminate violence against his own citizens. We see these protests pop up, you know, fairly frequently in Moscow, and in St. Petersburg, and maybe Vladivostok, some of the major areas. But he will not hesitate to repress.
The people on the streets unless it turns into the tens of thousands over long periods of time, don't represent much of a threat to Putin simply because again, he has no hesitation whatsoever about brutally repressing them, which we've seen many times in the past.
COOPER: Putin declared this weekend that sanctions are, quote, the equivalent of a declaration of war. I mean, do you think he wants to conflict with the West?
HALL: You know, that's a really interesting question, Anderson, because some days I think that he does. There have been times in the past where there has been speculation about, is he thinking perhaps that maybe he'll actually go after NATO at some point and see if we're really serious about, you know, an attack against one is attack against all if he attacks say, I don't know Albania, which is part of the NATO alliance. But, you know, would Americans go to war in Albania is that what he's thinking?
That said, you know, we have been the NATO alliance and in the United States has been very clear that we don't, you know, want to get into a NATO on Russia, war over Ukraine. And when we say that, then Putin automatically knows that he can say, OK, well, then this is what I consider to be action actions that will turn you guys into direct aggressors, and we're going to go after you too. You know, it's really hard to tell, but he's really good at reading the alliance and then adjusting his own red lines, as appropriate.
COOPER: The Wall Street Journal is reporting now that Russia is recruiting Syrians for urban combat in Ukraine, and some are already in Russia preparing to join the invasion. You know, Ukrainian officials have said that there are Chechens here.
They often blame Chechen for, you know, they're there said they were Chechens at the airport, in some cases, some of the Ukrainian officials are saying they were Chechens involved the attack on the Russia's nuclear facility. What does it tell you about Russia's current capabilities or Putin strategy?
HALL: Yes, the Chechens are always interesting, because they're always either saddled with something terrible, or they're brought in as sort of these superhuman killers, which is how they've sort of tried to beat then portrayed in the Ukraine crisis. You recall, every time somebody is the subject of a political assassination inside of Russia, which happens quite frequently, like in the case of Boris Nemtsov, it was supposedly Chechens that did it.
The Syrian thing is really strange to me, because, you know, it just doesn't make a lot of sense, what does it say about Russian forces if what you have to do is go to someplace like Syria and say, hey, we need you guys to help out on this urban warfare so that's kind of a strange thing, and certainly if true, would not reflect very, very well at all on the Russian, the Russian military.
And, you know, I just got to say interesting after looking at the pictures that you've seen, that you're putting up with this indiscriminate shelling. These are war crimes. And this is why it's a mistake to call Russians, Europeans. They don't share our values. I've had Russian intelligence officers tell me directly. We are not like you and what we're seeing right now on the ground where you are, proves that point.
COOPER: Certainly does. Steve Hall, I appreciate it. Thank you.
Up next, our Randi Kaye gives a look at how one U.S. based nonprofit has traveled thousands of miles now refugees fleeing the violence in Ukraine.
COOPER: The refugee crisis stemming from Russia's invasion of Ukraine is reaching a new level. Moldova's Prime Minister says every eighth child in the country is now a refugee. And the U.N. says more than 360 civilians have been killed in Ukraine.
As we reported earlier, it comes as new video shows people running after Russian missile, excuse me, Russian military strike kill civilians on the western outskirts of Kyiv. But for those who make it across the border, many organizations are going the extra mile to help refugees including Miami based organization called Global Empowerment Mission which is in Poland providing aid. Randi Kaye tonight has that story.
MICHAEL CAPPONI, FOUNDER, GLOBAL EMPOWERMENT MISSION: If you look behind me right now, you could see all the people just coming in, right, it just doesn't stop flowing. It's nighttime here. It'll keep like this all night long.
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On Ukraine's border with Poland, Michael Capponi is watching the steady flow of refugees. The founder of the Miami based Global Empowerment Mission or GEM has been in Modica, Poland for more than a week now providing aid to refugees.
CAPPONI: This is Cecilia (ph) and Syed (ph), they're here with us. And they basically walked over. It took them three days to get here.
KAYE (voice-over): The Global Empowerment team says they are the first friendly faces these Ukrainian refugees see once they cross over. On site, GEM provides warm tea, snacks, medical supplies and other essentials.
CAPPONI: Lots of hygiene kits, probably 20,000 sleeping bags. We fill the truck yesterday with undergarments for people because it's freezing, all kinds of warm things.
KAYE (on camera): Helping the refugees takes a massive effort. And it all starts here at this warehouse in Doral, Florida. Hundreds of volunteers working around the clock packing up supplies bound for Ukraine in the region sending everything from socks to hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, food, electrolyte powder, you name it, anything that helps.
(voice-over): GEM has committed to $15 million in aid, a big part of their mission is also keeping refugees safe, and if possible, reunite them with family members outside Ukraine.
CAPPONI: So this is Nadia (ph), right? She's basically in our car. We're basically getting her out of here. She just walked all this way from Kyiv. And this is her cat that she had with her. You're beautiful.
KAYE (voice-over): Michael says Nadia (ph) walked for four days carrying her cat. His team got her hotel and we're hoping to reunite her with family elsewhere.
(on camera): Are they pleading for help or what is the message from these people that you're seeing there?
CAPPONI: They are in absolute shock. I don't think they knew what to expect when they got to the border. And it's, you know, people are in absolute tears as soon as they open up to you. Everyone is crying.
KAYE (voice-over): GEM is in partnership with TV personality, Bethenny Frankel. But GEM also has helped from people on the inside. The organization says Ukrainian church pastors are helping GEM identify people who need passports and travel agency partners are helping to quickly process airplane and train tickets.
CAPPONI: I've seen mothers literally pushing to strollers with a suitcase on their back and with absolutely no plan.
KAYE (voice-over): Mothers like this woman Christina (ph), who Global Empowerment helped first to get a hotel.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My daughter is asking 100 times a day when we need to come back home. But we can't do this because there is war.
KAYE (voice-over): Then safely evacuate to her husband's relatives in Spain.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now my daughter isn't safe as me and whole my family.
KAYE (voice-over): Michael says they are processing about 1,000 families per day, but are in a race against time as the conflict worsens and more Ukrainians march across the border desperate for help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We walk eight hours from one of the city in Ukraine to the border. And there's no bus, there's no cars.
COOPER: Randi joins us now. What if the refugees, what happens to the families if they don't have, you know, families in other countries or somewhere else to go? I know some families have been a lot of families in Poland and even Germany have been offering up apartments or rooms in their homes.
KAYE: Yes, exactly, Anderson, GEM and its partners have been working to find some of these refugees who don't have family elsewhere, trying to get them safe houses. They're even working with Airbnb. They're working with some of the locals across the border to local families who might have an apartment or even a room for some of these families.
They don't really want them to end up in these tent cities because as you know, Anderson, it's very cold there and they're quite concerned about mothers and these young children being in these tent camps. They right now are hoping to relocate 10,000 families but of course Anderson that number could increase as more and more people pour across that border. And on the supply front, Anderson, they're quite worried about people in Ukraine running out of food, running out of medical supplies. So they're working with some of the local mayors, including in Lviv,
where you are trying to get food and medical supplies into Ukraine as well. And of course, this is a massive effort, as I said, and anyone can help. And if you'd like to do so you can go to globalempowermentmission.org and try and do your part, Anderson.
COOPER: Randi, appreciate it thanks so much. There's much more ahead as our live coverage from Ukraine continues. More villages left in ruins, more civilians killed as Russia shows no signs of ending its attacks, latest ahead.