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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

At Least Eight Civilians Killed Since Sunday During Russia Shelling Directed At Residential Areas; Russia Proposes Ceasefire In Five Ukrainian Cities; Photojournalist Captured Deadly Russian Attack On Video; CNN: U.S. & NATO Supply Ukraine With Nearly 20,000 Missiles; Heavy Fighting Intensifies Around The Ukrainian Capital; Women Volunteering In Ukrainian As Loved Ones Head Into Combat. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired March 07, 2022 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Even the Mayor of Kyiv was there in a bulletproof vest. First time they'd seen each other in a month thanks to training. It is so wonderful that there could still be a moment for love and joy, humanity amidst all of this.

Thanks so much for joining us. AC 360 starts now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening from Ukraine.

Russia's Ambassador told the U.N. today, the Security Council laid today that safety for civilians here is not a problem because and these are his actual words, quote, "We are not bombarding them," end quote.

At the same time, his boss, Vladimir Putin proposed a new ceasefire starting tomorrow so that civilians can flee the cities that his U.N. Ambassador says Russia is not bombarding cities like Kharkiv. Take a look. This is Kharkiv today. It is neither the first burning apartment complex there nor will it be the last, a residential apartment complex.

Russian forces had been shelling the city for days the same in Mykolaiv. This is Mykolaiv, and this too, isn't the first residential area there to be hit either.

Now, images like these of burning apartments, leveled neighborhoods are not the terrible exception as they are in some wars, they are the rule here, as are attacks on evacuation routes, which are barbaric.

And as we've been saying, as brutal as they are, we think you should see them, that you should see what people -- innocent people, men and women and children, the elderly -- are suffering nearly across this country.

We have new footage tonight of the moments leading up to the shelling in the street in Irpin', which took the lives of a mother and her two children. By now, you've likely seen the explosion itself. We now have more from the same photo journalist who took the video of what it looked like before the shell landed, and he is going to join us shortly to talk about it.

As you'll see, the new video shows the urgency of the moment as a Ukrainian soldier tries to hurry evacuees through an exposed stretch of road leading out of the area.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in foreign language.)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in foreign language.)


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in foreign language.)


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in foreign language.)


COOPER: Again, a mother and her children were killed. That's who those people are calling for medics for, three of them were dead. There was another person who had been helping them who was wounded. They were fleeing the attacks on people just like them.

They were fleeing attacks on their neighborhood, a residential neighborhood and the evacuation route itself was targeted. It is the defining reality for millions of Ukrainians. That's what's so important about that video.

Yes, it's the loss of those people's lives, but it shows the sickness of this combat, the sickness of a residential area being bombarded for days and then finally civilians slowly trickling out, coming out thinking that they can seek safety, and then they're hit again by a rocket as they are fleeing.

Late today. Ukraine's President Zelenskyy back in his office for the first time since the war broke out spoke to the reality.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Monday evening, you know, we used to say, Monday -- Monday is a hard day.

It's war in our country, so every day is a Monday. And we are used by now that every day is like that and every day and evening, it is like that, and today is the 12th night of fight, of defense, and we are all in our places. We are all working.

Everybody where they should be, I'm in Kyiv. My team is with me and Territorial Defense is in their places, the Army is in their ranks, and doctors, diplomats, politicians, journalists -- we are all fighting. We are all contributing to our victory, which will surely happen.

Now, I'm going to say here I am. I'm staying here on Bankava. I'm not hiding and I'm not afraid of anyone.



COOPER: He also praised the people who are still standing up confronting Russian forces and not backing down even when the shooting starts. This is from an occupied area near Kherson as the crowds are shouting in Russian and Ukrainian "Go home."


CROWD: (Speaking in foreign language.)


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in foreign language.)


COOPER: From what can be -- it doesn't appear on that video that anyone was hurt. It's remarkable that even with automatic fire rattling around them, no one seems to have panicked and none of the civilians seem to have backed down or run away, which is certainly a sign of courage.

There is also a quieter kind of courage. It consists of living as close to a normal life as you can in a world unlike any you might have imagined just a few weeks before in Kyiv today.

In Kyiv today, Olena Gnes and her children left their shelter briefly to pick up supplies to take care of their cats. And just to take a walk, which took them past her son's kindergarten.


BOY: (Speaking in foreign language.)

OLENA GNES (Ukrainian citizen): Yes, Katya (ph) is asking so, is it true that Putin wants to destroy such a beautiful kindergarten? He has no brains. That's what he says.

BOY: (Speaking in foreign language.)

GNES: Katya says that Putin has no brain because if he destroys everything here, what is he going to conquer? To take? Nothing, she says.

GIRL: (Speaking in foreign language.)

GNES: Ceres (ph) says if Putin keeps bombarding Ukraine, what is he going to take? Not a beautiful Ukraine, but destroyed Ukraine. It's ruined.

And the kids are right. It won't be possible for him to control Ukraine. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Looking at that video, it all looks normal, doesn't it? It's a mom taking her three children, one of them in the stroller out for a walk in a neighborhood that is so far relatively untouched.

And yet of course, the reality is that she has been living in a basement, not even a bomb shelter, in a basement that has a window, it's not something that would necessarily protect her if there was a direct blast, living there with her children, separated from her husband who is now no longer doing the job he regularly did, but is now out trying to fight.

He has a rifle, doesn't have a helmet, doesn't have a uniform. He's just out there with a rifle. They're just doing the best they can to get by.

More of my conversation with Olena a little bit later in the program tonight. But first, our correspondents across the region. CNN chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward is in Kyiv, CNN Sam Kiley is in Dnipro, and CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto here in Lviv who filed this report.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR AND NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Russia is closing in on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. Russian tanks on the streets of Irpin' just west of the capital, with heavy fighting all around the city.

This video captures the moment a Russian air strike hits Kyiv.

When the smoke clears, the devastation becomes clear. The airstrike killed an entire family, two adults and two children. "The New York Times" showed the horrible aftermath on their front page for the world to see.

In the south, Russia is assaulting the port city of Mykolaiv. NATO says Russia is using cluster bombs, a weapon widely banned due to risk of civilian casualties when used in populated areas. This rocket landed unexploded in the zoo.

In the town of Mariupol, which Russian forces have now surrounded, citizens lined up for water. Their homes cut off from utilities for more than a week.

DEPUTY MAYOR SERGEI ORLOV, MARIUPOL, UKRAINE: We are absolutely sure that the aim of Putin and the Russian Army to kill as much citizen as possible.


SCIUTTO (voice over): Today, the U.N. has confirmed more than 406 civilians killed in Ukraine since the start of the invasion, while emphasizing that the real figures are considerably higher.

Still, the U.S. Military is pointing to problems Russia is having with its advance.

REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY (RET.) PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: the Russians continue to get frustrated and slowed down, and they really haven't made any noteworthy progress in the last few days with the exception of down south.

SCIUTTO (voice over): Ukrainian leaders are trying to inspire and strengthen their people.

The Mayor of Kyiv posted this video of his visit to a maternity ward.

MAYOR VITALI KLITSCHKO, KYIV, UKRAINE: Life goes on. Eighty two kids were born just in this hospital since the beginning of the war.

SCIUTTO (voice over): Russia says the third round of talks with Ukraine did not meet its expectations.

As Ukraine's President, in a new interview with ABC News, invited the Russian President Putin himself to come to the table.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): What needs to be done is for President Putin to stop talking, start the dialogue, instead of living in the informational bubble without oxygen.

SCIUTTO: (voice over): The U.S. and NATO allies have accelerated the flow of weapons into Ukraine. A senior U.S. official tells me they have sent 17,000 antitank missiles, 2,000 anti-aircraft missiles.

The U.S. and Poland are now considering sending fighter jets from Poland to Ukraine according to a White House spokesperson. Though the office of Poland's Prime Minister tweeted quote: "Poland won't send fighter jets to Ukraine." Polish officials say publicly they are worried such a transfer could make their country a target for Russia.


SCIUTTO (on camera): Tonight, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy addressed these humanitarian corridors or what are supposed to be humanitarian corridors saying that instead of the safe passages working, Russian tanks worked, instead saying that Russian forces are deliberately targeting civilians.

We've heard this from other leaders around the country. I spoke to the Deputy Mayor of Mariupol today and on the weekend who said the same that's the concern here is that civilians want to use these safe passages out, but instead they become targets -- Anderson.

COOPER: Jim Sciutto, appreciate the reporting.

Clarissa Ward in Kiev. There has obviously been continued bombardment of civilian areas in recent hours. What's the situation that you're seeing now?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it's been yet another grim day here in Kyiv. Some 2,000 people did manage to get out of Irpin'. Irpin' is that suburb that we visited over the weekend where you showed that harrowing footage that "The New York Times" was able to capture as a mortar fell killing an entire family.

But today, it was a little quieter in that area and some people were able to evacuate., It was a very different story in a village to the west of Kyiv called Makariv, a shell hit a bakery there, and according to our estimates, more than a dozen people were killed in that attack.

And so the question really becomes as the bombardment continues, and as the civilian toll continues to climb, the U.N. now saying more than 400 civilians have been killed in this conflict in just 11 days, Anderson, how can an efficient and truly secure safe passage be facilitated to get people out?

Now, other Russians had proposed a ceasefire beginning tomorrow morning starting at 10:00 AM Moscow time, that's 9:00 AM Kyiv time, but the humanitarian corridors that they are proposing in conjunction with that ceasefire, many of them actually lead out of the country, through Belarus, into Russia.

So as you can understand, for most Ukrainians, that's a nonstarter after being bombed by the Russians for more than a week now. They are not very well going to try their luck walking into Russian territory.

So, I don't think many people here sadly have a lot of confidence that this ceasefire will be effectively implemented and that people will actually be able to be evacuated through these corridors.

We've seen this before in Mariupol, a city of half a million in the southeast of the country, 200,000 people were ready to be evacuated, Anderson, the shelling started again, and the evacuation had to be canceled.

COOPER: You know, Clarissa, I just want to follow up with you because it's confusing for people watching at home, you know, where locations are.

Correct me if I'm wrong, the attack we saw in Irpin' yesterday that we just showed again tonight of that rocket or mortar hitting where civilians were evacuating, that is the same area and again, correct me if I'm wrong, that you were in the day before in Irpin' for a long time helping people evacuate, helping a lady carry her bag, helping an elderly man up in an embankment and talking about people leaving a civilian area, correct?


WARD: That's exactly right, Anderson. We were there for some hours. There was heavy shelling throughout, it was a little bit in the distance. There were hundreds of people pouring out.

This is a suburb of some 60,000 people, most of whom have been hunkered down, pinned down, really, with constant bombardment, no food, no power, no heat for days on end, some of them told us they had been in their basement for seven days.

And just as they were really starting to stream out of that area, you saw the following day, mortars falling closer and closer, until they eventually actually hit those civilians who were trying to leave.

So let's be clear about this. There was no ambiguity about what was going on at Irpin'. This was clearly an evacuation of civilians from a heavily hit area that then was attacked.

COOPER: Yes, that's why I brought that up, because I mean, for all Russia's talk of not targeting civilians, I mean, this it just -- this video show blatantly shows that to be a lie. They know they are targeting a residential area, and not only are they targeting residential area, once they have bombed that to smithereens, they then target the residents as they directly, as they are leaving through the one area that they're able to leave through.

I mean, it is clear as day in your video from the day before, and then in the resulting video the next day.

Sam, there has been a lot of fighting to the south of where you are. Talk about what you have been seeing and what we know is going on in the South.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the south has been seen potentially by the Russians as slightly more successful if they have been bogged down so much in Kyiv and around Kharkiv that they've turned their attention and their guns against civilians; in the south, the Russians enjoyed a little bit more success.

They captured Kherson. They've surrounded Mariupol that Clarissa was talking about there. They are desperate -- the civilian population there, extremely desperate. And now the National Security Council is warning that the city where I am, Dnipro, may come under attack in an effort to either cut it off from the rest of the country. It's very important, strategically here effectively controlling the north, south, east, west routes, Anderson.

But here is the rub from the Russian perspective, they are not yet advancing in any significant way beyond their initial captures. They haven't yet launched an attack against Odessa, they are not able to capture the neighboring ports. They've been pushed back repeatedly by Ukrainian forces there, much to many people's surprise.

But all of this is also having an effect on the civilian population because of course, ordinary people are not going to gamble with the military outcomes of fighting that in a town like Zaporizhzhia, which is only 30 miles away when we were there a few days ago, a large numbers of civilians were leaving Zaporizhzhia on those evacuation trains that Clarissa has also reported from Kyiv similar, not quite as packed, not quite as many people, but many thousands of people trying to get out for two reasons.

First is, they are worried that they're going to get shelled. And secondly, they're very close to a nuclear power station that was physically attacked, was shelled by the Russian forces, is now in the hands of Russian forces, and the International Atomic Energy Authority is saying that they are very deeply concerned that they have lost all but the most rudimentary communications with the biggest nuclear power station in Europe.

And therefore, the monitoring aspect of it are being undermined in their view. There is the only little bit of good news there is though that Ukrainian workers are being able to change out shifts in that nuclear power station we understand, which means that at least you've not got one exhausted group effectively of engineering hostages running a nuclear power station -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, some silver lining, I guess. Sam Kiley, thank you. Clarissa Ward as well.

More now in what appears to be a Russian military incapable of gaining much ground especially in the north, but terribly effective laying waste to cities they surround or villages around.

Joining us now retired Army four-star General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, General Wesley Clark. General Clark, I appreciate you being with us.

Russia has proposed this so-called ceasefire with so-called humanitarian corridors leading into Russia or Belarus. Does that in any definition of what a humanitarian corridor is supposed to be like make any sense?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Certainly not any corridor that the Ukrainians would want to take, but think of this strategically.


So the United States and our allies are ratcheting up sanctions, so Putin's response to this is: Hey, let's put out some humanitarian corridors. Let's confuse the West. Let's say we're really good people. And by the way, all this discussion gives us more chance to reorganize our logistics to get the offensive moving, and so forth.

And so there is a lot of sleight of hand going on in this diplomacy. But, of course, Putin does want Ukraine to surrender and so, he will keep the diplomacy going. He won't just fight, he will continue to beseech Zelenskyy, you should surrender, you should let me appoint a Prime Minister for you. You should let your people leave. He is going to continue to squeeze as he prepares deeper attack.

His problem around Kyiv, Anderson, as I look at this is, the suburbs are quite extensive. It's very difficult to get your heavy artillery close enough to really do much to Kyiv, and those suburbs just choke up forces. And the logistics that the Russians have are limited. They don't have unlimited supplies of ammunition. They can't even get them off that road convoy.

So they are, on the one hand, trying to harass, interject and move forward. On the other hand, they're conserving ammunition. And though they're having trouble getting closure with Ukrainian forces. Ukrainian forces are coming forward that night. They're attacking with

RPGs and javelins against them, and they're slowing down the Russian encirclement.

So it's not the campaign that Vladimir Putin thought he had going.

COOPER: The Pentagon has announced 500 additional U.S. troops be deployed to NATO countries, Germany and Greece. They were described as Defensive Forces also as quote, "enablers." What does that actually mean? I mean, is that more just for kind of for show of giving some confidence to those countries?

CLARK: It is confidence building, it's also a deterrent. But these countries are looking at what Russia is doing. They know Russia has an appetite to go further than Ukraine, and so they're asking for reinforcement, for a show of support. Will the United States really take the risk?

They're looking at what NATO is doing in Ukraine, okay. Everybody said they weren't a NATO member, we don't have to help them. We don't have to defend them. We're going to help them, but we're not going to defend them. So these countries in Eastern Europe say: Okay, there's -- you know, the Russians have given us a threat, that's a nuclear threat, and they did mobilize or raise their alert posture, their nuclear forces.

So we haven't thought much about that in the United States, but I can tell you, it's casting a heavy shadow in Europe. These countries, on the one hand are concerned that they're going to be the next target. On the other hand, they want to fulfill their obligations. They're looking for the United States leadership that's demonstrated by putting forces in those countries that will be at risk that if those forces are engaged, the United States will be at war in their support.

COOPER: General Clark, appreciate it tonight. Thank you, as always.

Next, the journalist who captured the explosion in Irpin', his account of the evacuation that was underway as the shell landed. What was it like in Kyiv is like the moment for him and others.

Later, we'll talk to Olena Gnes, we saw her at the top of the program talking about trying to hold on to a sliver of normality, her kids, her cats, trying to get diapers all the things that would normally take up a day in a city under fire.



COOPER: Again, tonight, there is a Russian ceasefire offer on the table ostensibly so people can leave areas now under siege. The last one as you know, came apart when Russian forces shelled evacuation routes. This one that's now allegedly on the table basically is going to send people to go to Russia or Belarus.

Our next guest brought the horrors of it home for millions of viewers around the world. His name is Andriy Dubchak, we played some of his video before the break. Here is a portion of it again and it's incredibly important video to watch because it really demonstrates the depravity of the strategy on the part of the Russian forces.

Again some of this graphic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in foreign language.)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in foreign language.)



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in foreign language.)


COOPER: Now, Andriy joins us now. Andriy, first of all, thank you for sharing that video with the world. It is so important because, you know this is an area where civilians were evacuating from an area that had already been bombarded by the Russians.

Can you just talk about -- walk us through what you saw, what was happening right before then and what you saw?

ANDRIY DUBCHAK, FOUNDER, DONBAS FRONTLINER: We arrived to this place approximately like maybe 20 minutes before and it was started artillery shelling by mortar and explosion was far from us. But then closer, closer, closer, closer, and this last one explosion is the explosion near the people who tried to escape this bridge, yes.

And I'm like confident, artillery observer, 100 percent saw the explosion like and saw the people in the bridge who tried to escape this region, this location.

And there was a lot of children, woman, man, retired people. And you can see my photo, there was a lot of people who are trying to escape and 100 percent, it is war crime.


COOPER: Yes, I mean, our corresponding Clarissa Ward had been at that same site the day before. And there were Ukrainian forces there. But all the Ukrainian forces in her video had their guns slung over their shoulder and we're helping elderly people up and embankment, helping people carry suitcases that it seems like even though the soldier in your video who was limping along before the attack, he had been trying to just hurry people along and keep civilians moving. It's I mean, anybody who made that attack clearly knew who the people were that were operating in that area, that it was civilians.

DUBCHAK: That artillery observer, probably, as (INAUDIBLE), the other sides of the river as a high building. Yes, 100% probably see the civilian people trying to escape. And of course, Russia I know a lot of civilian trying to escape this region. The man at the video trying to help people escape this region and carry like bags, cats, dogs, children's and it was just local fighters, volunteer fighters from the local town, Irpin from this town, and he trying to help people.

After this explosion, he was seriously injured and I don't know alive he now or not. From other side of the road, family died. It was like for mother Tatiana (ph) 43-year, Makita (ph) 18 years, boy, and Elisa (ph), nine years. Resembles Natale (ph), 28 years, man from Luhansk. All family it was IDP from Donetsk since 2014. And they're leaving in Irpin and for now, father of this family trying to go to Kyiv to do funeral, because he go to the Donetsk the day before war started because his mother has -- had COVID and he tried to escape Donetsk, but it's not allowed and he go to the border is Russia and said, I need to go they stopped him. And just he just said, you can shoot, you can kill me but I want to go to my dad's family.

COOPER: Yes. Let me ask you, just quickly, you've been covering this for fyears now. What do you think is what is the end -- what happens here? What -- how does this end? I mean, even if Russia occupies this land, it's not going to end people are not going to give up.

DUBCHAK: Of course people will not give up because of freedom of speech, freedom of movement. Freedom and democracy is for now in blood of Ukrainian and to get all Ukrainian to kill like how for Ukrainian probably. And this is not possible to control this territory even after military operation in Ukraine will be successful for Putin. Now one can beat this world, Russia can't win this one more.

COOPER: They can't win. Ukraine will win.

DUBCHAK: In any way. Yes. That the question just cost avoid how much --


DUBCHAK: -- people will die. Yes. The question is just costs.

COOPER: Yes. Andriy Dubchak, I really appreciate the work you do and your generosity and sharing that video with the world thank you.

DUBCHAK: Thank you. Keep strong.

COOPER: Just ahead, Clarissa Ward in Kyiv returns with the story of residence at the capital central train station desperate to escape the missile attacks hitting civilian areas. You have to see her report. Coming up.



COOPER: Well, it is clear the Russian military is bombarding civilians contrary to the claims the Russian ambassador to the UN that we noted the top the broadcast. A senior U.S0 defense official says the bombardments the major cities here in Ukraine are actually increasing and that they're indeed hitting civilian targets.

Now fighting was particularly heavy today outside of the capital of Kyiv as Clarissa Ward reported earlier she was at the city central train station today and spoke with those civilians really desperately trying to get out alive head further west and get out of the country.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the Kyiv central train station today, crush of people trying to escape this Russian forces hit closer to the capital. Many here have just been evacuated from the hardest hit areas. Few know where they are going next.

Alah (ph) and her family made it out of the Kyiv of suburb of Bucha early this morning, leaving behind her 81-year-old grandfather.

He did this because he didn't want to come with us. He decided to stay, she says. He's old and can't run very fast and we had to leave so quickly. I don't know what's happening there now. It's so scary.

This is what remains of the place she calls home. Burnt out husks of Russian armored vehicles, entire apartment blocks destroyed.

I don't understand how you can shell peaceful people. We never wished harm on anyone. We were friends with Russia. We have relatives in Russia, she says. They just want to erase Ukraine from the face of the earth. It's that fear that is fueling a sense of desperation here.

(on-camera): So the minute they announced the next train going with could see everybody just scrambles to try to get on it.

(voice-over): Down below the platform is packed but people remain calm. They rush in to help an exhausted elderly woman who has fallen on the track. Close to departure time confusion sets in. Another train arrives and people run across the cracks hoping to catch it.


Finally the train to Lviv arrives, there's pushing and shoving (INAUDIBLE) jostle for space. Let the woman and children go first, one man shouts. Another weeps as he hugs his wife goodbye. Sonia (ph), I love you, he calls out. He waits for the train to leave, eyes locked on the window for what may be his last look.


COOPER: And Clarissa Ward joins us now. I mean, those scenes Clarissa, what are people in the transition tell you? I mean, did they -- where are they coming from?

WARD: I mean, everyone has a sort of harrowing story to tell, so many of those people are just shell shocked. They literally have just managed to flee from some of the hardest hit areas, they're put on these yellow buses, they're taken to the train station, they don't know where they're going. And that woman who we talked to Alah (ph) was from a Kyiv suburb called Bucha, it's a suburb of about 30,000 people or so. And she was describing just harrowing scenes of constant bombardment. She said, one of her best friends in the town had Russian tanks pull up in front of their sort of row of houses on this street and refuse to allow them out. And that they were then using that as a firing position to try to prevent the Ukrainians from returning fire, because there were so many civilians trapped in these buildings.

And that's not the first time we've heard reports like this Ukrainian authorities. And again, we can't independently confirm this, because we can't really get into these areas ourselves, Anderson, but we're hearing now multiple reports of this nature of Russian forces essentially forcing civilians to stay in their homes while using those areas as firing positions, putting their lives in even more jeopardy and preventing the Ukrainians from defending themselves and firing back. Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, Clarissa Ward, great reporting today. I really appreciate it. Thank you.

There also families choosing to stay in Kyiv. Many families with children. I've spoken several times with one mom in a shelter with her three kids as her husband volunteers to fight in the war. I spoke to her again today. Coming up next, that report what she told me.



COOPER: As heavy fighting in the areas surrounding the Ukrainian capital intensify today, the Mayor of Kyiv says Russian forces are deliberately killing civilians. It is really terrifying for those trying to leave who just saw in Clarissa's report, but also for those choosing to stay, including Olena Gnes, a mother of three who has been hiding in a shelter in Kyiv for nearly two weeks after her husband volunteered to fight to defend the country.

Now, Ukrainian officials warned that Russian forces appeared have gone on the offensive in several areas to push toward the capital. Now, if you're watching the program this past week, I've spoken to Olena multiple times from the shelter which is really just a basement. Last week, I spoke to her again just before airtime today.


COOPER (on-camera): Olena, first of all how are you doing? How are your kids?

OLENA GNES, UKRAINIAN SHELTERING IN KYIV: We're fine. Thank you, we're still alive. It's already 12 days of resistance. And now they were given us two days, I think for Kyiv to fall but we still stand, though. Yes, well, right. But there are many other people who are not OK here in Ukraine.

COOPER (on-camera): I think your baby looks bigger than the first time we've spoke. Is it possible she's grown already?

GNES: She is, she's growing yes very fast.

COOPER (on-camera): I saw that you went outside with your kids past your son's school. What was that like for them?

GNES: That was a little bit painful to see your life, like you know, to face your normal life. Remember how it was before. And it gives hope, you know, and desire to come back to normal life and it makes being here is more painful.

COOPER (on-camera): To the kids in your area, I don't know if there is signs of the war destruction. But I mean, have your kids asked about what -- have they seen things that that look different than they were when before the war? Have they asked about what's going on?

GNES: Well, they know what is going on. But it's true that in our neighborhoods, there are no distractions like here yet. But they are afraid. I mean, when we go outside, they look at each (INAUDIBLE) and ask, is it the bomb? Is it OK to step on this thing or no? They always like hold my hand they are afraid to go a little bit away. And if they see a hole in the ground, just we have many holes in the ground in Ukraine. They asked, is it because of the bomb explosion or no?

And today we've heard again, like noise explosion and we even saw like smoke in the sky because very close to us. We have position and the Russian troops so they hear what's going on. And they know what's going on.

COOPER (on-camera): I knew you were able to go home today to take showers when we talked a couple of times before -- where we talked last week, I know you had been home and your kids you'd thought your kids would want to stay at home and play but they wanted to leave because they were scared to be there or not be in the basement. How were they this time going home?

GNES: The same, the same. So we just did not do everything very fast. Just throw clothes into the washing machine take a shower. I wash one by one all three children. They give -- today I was able to buy food to our cat because they have a cat at home. Well it means that's a lot. And yes very fast, just I don't know less than one hour at home like 40 minutes at home. And then we go back to the basement and in the basement, it feels safer.


COOPER (on-camera): How were -- how were you able to, to live? I mean to pay for groceries, things like that your husband is fighting? How do you day to day just what -- how different is your life?

GNES: Is completely different. My husband, for example, he, he was not able to take a shower all these days. So it's 12 days without the shower for him. And he's sleeping on the floor. And he even though he joins like this defense unit, he is given like a big gun. But he is not given a helmet or this protection suit, nothing. He's just in his jeans, and his sneakers and his civilian jacket, that's all and with a big gun. So you know, it sounds cool. But the reality is not romantic, like at all. For me, yes, it's not romantic to like each more equal try, you know, we brush our teeth, we just wake up on the floor. Yes, but we have to brush our teeth, we have to wash the floor, we have to go outside for a little bit to breeze, you know, just daily routine. But it's in the basement. And we are getting tired of this. But I mean, it's something that you can live with this nothing, nothing terrible. At least we have electricity running water and everything. But morally, spiritually, people are preparing, you know, this is the situation can become worse. Because each day we have less and less of products available in the supermarket. And the queues are long. And in the pharmacies, many medications are gone even diapers. I think today I bought the last package of diapers in the pharmacy for the Darena (ph). But like, I have like a little bit in advance for one month.

I mean, situation is like, OK, right now, but it's getting worse.

COOPER (on-camera): Have you been able to talk? Have you been able to talk to your husband at all since last time when you came in basement?

GNES: Yes, we sent messages, because as far as I understand, they are told not to talk by phone. So they cannot talk because otherwise, they are like bombs will be detected on their position that they can message but they cannot call. So yes, we write messages to each other.

COOPER (on-camera): There's talk -- there has been talk now for days about trying to create a humanitarian corridor to help people get out and to help supplies come in. Do you -- if there was such a thing one of the reasons we talked about you not leaving was because of the difficulty of traveling. And of course, there's many other reasons, the unknown of living somewhere else and also wanting to stay in your home and show the world that not everybody has left. But if there was a humanitarian corridor, is that something you would consider?

GNES: I would consider for sure, but I don't know what I would choose. Because I know that in Mykolaiv for example, the humanitarian corridor was organized, but later Russians were just shooting get this corridor, you know,

Moreover, right now we have the cities and neighborhoods in Ukraine that are in very bad condition and are without water, without anything, just go into houses. And I think that these people need humanitarian corridors and delegation, first of all. And like, where I am right now, the situation is not that bad yet. So, I don't really see the reason to leave this neighborhood. The only like Kyiv zone the reason might be is fear. Yes, like if you're very much afraid to stay in the city, then yes, obviously you can leave somewhere abroad.

But I mean, you see what's going on in the cities that are already occupied by Russian troops, how people go on the streets with the Ukrainian flags, being even unarmed at all, they just say that Russians who are not welcome here, go back home. It's our land, though somebody needs to go out to see Ukrainians (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER (on-camera): Yes, Olena Gnes, I appreciate talking to you. Thank you.

GNES: You're welcome.



COOPER: The strength of moms here in Ukraine is extraordinary. Olena in Kyiv is one. We spent the day talking to moms whose sons, daughters husbands are out fighting and to see what they are doing and how they are fighting, how the moms are fighting. And there's a lot of different ways a lot of different frontlines in this country. We went to a volunteer center where moms are packing supplies. That's when mom showing me her husband who went off to war. We'll take you there and show you the determination mom's here have.


COOPER: In the last week, we have seen the strength of women and moms all over Ukraine, moms who have held on to their children as they try to force their way onto overcrowded trains to bring their children to safety.