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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Biden Banks Russian Oil, Natural Gas, Coal Imports To U.S.; Two Million-Plus Refugees Leave Ukraine Amid Worsening Humanitarian Crisis; Photojournalist Captures Image Of Deadly Russian Attack; Military Administration Humanitarian Situation Around Kyiv Remains Difficult; How Russia's Failure For A Quick Victory Led To Targeting Civilians; Mom Sheltering Her Family From Invasion Shares A Moment Of Joy. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired March 08, 2022 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Well, Hassan took a train to Slovakia, and in a message posted on Facebook by Slovakia's Interior Minister, Hassan's mother said she is a widow and she had to stay behind because she is still caring for her mother.
So Hassan travel hundreds of miles across the border alone and was finally greeted in Slovakia.
Thanks so much for joining us. AC 360 starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening from Lviv, Ukraine.
There are significant developments to tell you about tonight on and off the battlefield here in Ukraine, as well as elsewhere, most notably the Biden administration banning Russian oil and gas imports into the United States, cutting Moscow off from billions of dollars a year in hard currency squeezing Russia's economy even harder.
We begin though with Vladimir Putin's principal export to this country, which is human suffering, and the exodus that has followed. Today, according to the U.N., the number of people who've been forced to flee Ukraine exceeded two million just over the past 12 days. That, of course is only part of the story. Others who've been driven from their homes are now in transit within the country, internally displaced many more -- many come here to Lviv, either to stay or as a jumping off point on the way further west.
I spent part of the day at the train station here which has already seen tens of thousands of displaced people arriving and departing. I met a family, Sergei (ph), Katya (ph), and their three-year-old, daughter, Vlada (ph), they fled the bombing and shelling in Kharkiv.
Sergei's wife and daughter are now leaving Ukraine. He is staying. It's important to hear their story because at the end of the day, there is more than almost anything else is what wars do. And what this war has done to a degree not seen on this continent since the Second World War.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGEI: (Speaking in foreign language.).
TRANSLATION: We first fled to our relatives to a village in Poltava region, but I am reading news and I see what is happening, it is so scary. I understand that the enemy will reach there too, and it will get attacked and ruined.
Do you understand? They are destroying our lives, women, and kids. I couldn't stay in Poltava. Region because I feel they will not stop. They will not be able to reach an agreement.
Russia is pushing in. That is why my wife and kid are fleeing Ukraine and I stay here to help and do something.
COOPER: You're here with your wife and your child?
SERGEI: (Speaking in foreign language.).
TRANSLATION: I will stay here. This is my wife and my kid. Everything we could take with us are two little backpacks and a bag. We just had to run fast, so we ran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Two little bags, that's all they could take. It is hard for any of us living safe, secure, and predictable lives to imagine what Sergei and his family have gone through and may yet go through in the days and weeks ahead. It is safe to say that even a few weeks ago, it was hard for most Ukrainians to imagine it either.
So there is a lot to get to in the two hours ahead. CNN chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward is in Kyiv; CNN chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto is here in Lviv; and CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is in Mykolaiv.
First, an overview of all the day's major developments from CNN Pentagon correspondent, Oren Liebermann.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In northeast Ukraine, not far from the Russian border, the city of Sumy was supposed to be safe, if only for a few hours.
Ukraine and Russia agreed on a single evacuation quarter open for half of Tuesday, but the agreement has not protected the city. The announcement came after Ukrainian officials say a Russian airstrike killed 21 civilians including two children overnight.
Russian strikes have destroyed homes in the city, flattening neighborhoods. Western leaders have already accused Russia of targeting pre-approved safe routes in Ukraine.
The city of Mariupol in the south has been isolated by Russian forces according to a senior U.S. defense official cutting off hundreds of thousands from water and electricity for days, but that officials says the Russian forces have not entered the city.
AVRIL HAINES, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: We assess Putin feels aggrieved the West does not give him proper deference and perceives this as a war he cannot afford to lose.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): U.S. Intelligence estimates with low confidence that Russia has lost between 2,000 and 4,000 troops in combat, but they still retain an overwhelming majority of their combat power, the U.S. Defense official says with new advances east of Kyiv.
Russian forces still have not been able to encircle Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, with their assault stalled from the north, the official says.
Ukraine says the Russian invasion has killed more than 400 civilians to date, including 38 children, calling it genocide, and accusing Russia of war crimes, which Russia denies.
Russia's invasion has now created more than two million refugees according to the United Nations, while millions flee others stay to fight.
In Irpin' on the outskirts of Kyiv, a Ukrainian police officer says goodbye to his son. For how long, no one knows.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressing the British Parliament.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We will not give up and we will not lose. We will fight until the end at sea, in the air. We will continue fighting for our land whatever the cost.
LIEBERMANN (voice over): He showed once again his mixture of composure and defiance.
Zelenskyy urged Western nations to ban Russian energy imports, a move President Joe Biden announced today.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at U.S. ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin's war machine.
LIEBERMANN (voice over): The European Union says it'll cut Russian gas imports by two-thirds this year and phase out Russian oil completely before the end of the decade, a daunting goal since Europe relies much more heavily on energy imports from Russia.
Meanwhile, in Moscow, the Russian stock market remains closed for the eighth consecutive business day with the ruble in freefall.
Oren Liebermann, CNN at the Pentagon.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, so far, the tightening sanctions have yet to change Vladimir Putin's determination, of course, to alter his course here. I want to go to our correspondents now on the ground starting with Clarissa ward in Kyiv.
Clarissa, what have you been seeing in Kyiv overnight?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I have to say it is a little quieter than it has been most nights. We've heard the air raid sirens a couple of times, but we haven't heard the sort of consistent bombardment that is typical of most evenings here.
Now, we were earlier on at that suburb of Irpin' where some 60,000 people have been hunkered down trying to get out, bombarded day in and day out. There is no food. There is no power. There is no heat, really a desperate situation, and the attempt had been to try to evacuate as many people as possible. That was really stalled on Sunday after a mortar -- a Russian mortar -- hit and killed a family of four people.
Today, we did see that traffic if you like, that pedestrian traffic, people crossing that bridge on foot starting to move again. But still, you could hear some artillery in the distance.
There are a lot of people who are still trapped and that is a picture that we're seeing across the country, Anderson. The one convoy that was able to move out today was in the northern city of Sumy, where again, there has been just horrendous bombardment.
But other parts of the country, those humanitarian corridors were not able to be opened up in the same way and people are continuing to wait in the dark, in the cold under fire, to try to get out to safety.
COOPER: Jim, here with me in Louisville, I mean, Ukrainian forces have obviously been putting up a very determined fight. The advances continue by Russia. There are continued calls here for no-fly zone. That's obvious, no sign that's going to happen.
But Poland today said that they would transfer all of their MiG fighter jets, ultimately to Ukraine, but they would give them to the United States, fly them to Germany and the U.S. could then get them somehow here. The U.S. has now said that's a nonstarter, that's just not going to work.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR AND NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it seems like this is one of those things that came public before there was agreement among the allies involved here. I mean, it is an understandable sensitivity for all parties involved because every NATO ally wants to help the Ukrainians, they do not want to start a war between NATO and Russia.
Poland wants to give these jets to the Ukrainians, but does not want to become a target of the Russians as a direct participant in the war against them.
The U.S. supports the idea and it sounds like Poland was saying, okay, fine, we'll send it to you guys. Right? And then then you pass them on.
COOPER: Which was a surprise to the U.S.
SCIUTTO: It was. Now with a lot of these things, what we have seen is remarkable progress in a short period of time. Things that were nonstarters have become starters. I mean, you think of Germany's, you know, supplying of lethal military systems. They opposed it, then they did it. You know, the oil embargo, other steps.
So it may be that they reach an agreement. I will tell you that end of last week, I was told the U.S. position was, this ain't going to happen. Right? But now, there is some possibility but it hasn't been worked out yet.
What is clear is that the U.S. and its allies want to send as much lethal military assistance to the Ukrainians, so they can survive this and they're getting a remarkable amount here.
COOPER: Yes, they're still able to get stuff in. Nick Paton Walsh in the south, what have you been seeing and hearing in the recent hours?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Yes, Anderson, I have to say it has been chillingly quiet over the past few hours. There is horizontal snow now blanketing a city where I think around about dusk or so, we saw outgoing fire illuminating the sky and that was sort of emphasized in terms of its impact by statements by the regional governor, Vitaliy Kim who seemed so ebullient yesterday, he was essentially saying, look we've kicked them back after days of them trying to get into this key port city.
We feel victorious. He put out this morning saying: Listen, if you want to help out for the defense of the city, please bring tires to its intersections and you may have seen video of what that looks like.
But just down here, they were sort of -- we were seeing random locals turning up in their cars and just taking out of the trunk, tires and dumping them in piles and that has happened across here at Mykolaiv.
Mykolaiv is important because it is a Black Sea port city, normally very sleepy, utterly desolately black right now. I'm going to actually step out of the way, frankly, because I am tired of seeing my face, but you could see this, it's just snow and black. And this would normally be a vibrant port city.
And so, we have this incredible position where the mayor turned around or the regional government turned round to the population here and said: Would you please put tires out on the streets? And then he put out a message on Telegram in a matter of hours later, where he said: Listen, you've been amazing. Thank you. You've filled every street corner with tires. Please don't set fire to them until I give you the order, which is a sign, of course, I think of a sort of cohesive collective resistance we are beginning to see here of people who have stayed. And we saw on the way into this town that a lot of people are trying to leave, that kind of cohesive sense of resistance. But it also tells you that possibly here after days of suggesting that they are very able to hold back the Russian advance that they may be concerned about some sort of internal presence of the Russian military.
And that is troubling, of course, this is a hugely built up city that street-street fighting would be catastrophic for the population that remains here and they have over the last days, managed to hold the Russians back.
And so when you begin to wonder what the Russian strategy is along the Black Sea coast as they move from Kherson, which they took sort of finding civil disobedience there to here, Mykolaiv where they are clearly pressuring the population here constantly, and there have been suggestions that they have tried, the Russian military, to move to the north of this town across.
It's complicated to understand, look, we've sort of sat on the river here, and there have been suggestions when we certainly moved in ourselves here today that there was shelling by Ukrainians towards northern positions, which may suggest that the Russians were trying to move around to the north, which would be complicating because it would sort of essentially make it harder for a freedom movement in this town in a northerly direction, almost encircling parts of it.
But we are going to look at a difficult situation here in Mykolaiv in the days ahead. But tonight, it's extraordinary to see how definitely quiet. There is a sort of blanket of snow everywhere.
The regional head Vitaliy Kim, he has essentially said that it's probably quiet tonight. It will be dawn he believes when the Russians may make their move, but it's just frankly very strange after seeing a bustling city to see it just black and covered in snow -- Anderson.
COOPER: Clarissa, what is your sense of supplies in Kyiv, for the population for hospitals that are operating, medical supplies, food supplies, and the like?
WARD: So Anderson, it is definitely becoming more of a problem, and we actually saw President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's wife, the First Lady, take to Facebook today and she wrote a public letter, basically lambasting the Russian invasion and the effect that it's had on civilians.
And she talks specifically about the issue now confronting a lot of hospitals. She talked about a lack of medicine, even simple things, inhalers for people who have asthma, insulin for people who have diabetes, trying to get the right amount, and this right -- the correct medication into these hospitals in the hardest hit areas.
We visited a hospital earlier as well in Kyiv, and we were talking to the sort of administrator for the Kyiv area and she was basically explaining to us that they have no way now to transport anything into these hospitals outside of Kyiv. I'm talking about places like Irpin', like Bucha, Borodyanka, they have no way of getting supplies to these hospitals.
So not only are these hospitals dealing with people who have traumatic injuries, they're also dealing with just the everyday life health issues of people, babies being born, people who have chronic illnesses.
And so it is a real concern that unless we see a legitimate humanitarian corridor opened, which of course would require a complete ceasefire, that that's not going to improve, and in Mariupol, the southeastern port town of 500,000 people that was supposed to happen today. It is the second time, Anderson, it was supposed to happen, hundreds of thousands of people are still pinned down under there, a humanitarian corridor was opened, a convoy started to move in with desperately needed humanitarian aid, including the kind of medicines that you're referring to, shelling began again, and it had to be closed.
Now the Russians are proposing once again tomorrow, they say, 10:00 AM Moscow time, 9:00 AM Kyiv time, there will be another ceasefire and these corridors will be opened, but the response of the Ukrainian military so far was: We find it difficult to trust the occupiers -- Anderson.
COOPER: Clarissa Ward, thank you. Jim Sciutto, Nick Paton Walsh as well.
Coming up next, my conversation with Lynsey Addario, one of the preeminent war photographers working today, a journalist. Her thoughts on what she is seeing here. What's affected her the most? She also took that now famous photo of the family that was killed just the other day in Irpin'.
We will talk to her about the moments before and after that photo was taken.
Also Clarissa Ward's report on some of the most vulnerable, people who often cannot flee, in this case seniors in Irpin'.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: Welcome back to our live coverage from Lviv, Ukraine tonight.
One of the most famous photographs so far of this war period on the front page of "The New York Times" on Monday morning. I want to show you that front page. The photo was taken by "New York Times" photographer and photojournalist, Lynsey Addario, it shows a family -- a mother, her two children, and a friend who was trying to help them trying to get out of Irpin' and as they were crossing a bridge that had been destroyed with the help of some -- that had been opened up a Ukrainian forces, hundreds if not thousands of civilians had been fleeing Irpin' Saturday. Our Clarissa Ward was there. Sunday, Lynsey Addario was there. She witnessed the attack, a mortar attack, that killed that family and she took that now world known -- that photo now known all around the world.
There is also a video of the moment of the actual mortar attack that killed this family. I want to show it to you right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in foreign language.).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in foreign language.).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: [Bleep]. (Speaking in foreign language.)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: [Bleep].
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: They call for a medic and Lynsey Addario then who you saw in that video, cursing and taking pictures. She ran across there risking her life to take the photos that you then saw of that family dead.
I talked to Lynsey a short time ago.
COOPER: Lynsey, I want to talk to you about the photo that you took of the family that got killed as they were trying to evacuate from or Irpin. It has obviously become incredibly emblematic of this war and the attack on the killing of civilians here.
Talk about your -- what was happening that day. Clarissa Ward had been in that location the day before talking about the hundreds if not thousands of people who were fleeing the fighting.
You went the next day. Did you know that there was shelling? Was there showing nearby already when you were there?
LYNSEY ADDARIO, PHOTOJOURNALIST: So no. I went that morning, we actually went early that morning and I thought I was going to a civilian sort of exodus evacuation from Irpin'. I had seen all the photographs. I'd seen Clarissa's reporting. We are quite good friends, and so I had asked her about the situation on the ground and she said there was artillery there, but it was not being fired at the bridge, it was a bit in the distance.
So I sort of went there early thinking that I was just going to cover civilians, and we parked our car a few hundred meters off in the distance and started walking toward the bridge. Shortly after, a mortar round landed about 200 meters from us.
And so I thought, okay, they're targeting a Ukrainian mortar position or a position off in the distance and that's fair enough. But I never -- I just assumed they wouldn't bring those mortars closer to us because it was very clear that there were civilians coming.
So, I stayed behind the wall and I kept photographing, and then another mortar round came closer. And so, I was photographing and I saw the people sort of dragging their children and dragging the elderly as the rounds got closer and closer.
And I was looking through my lens thinking, it's not possible that the rounds are coming closer because they know there are civilians here. And I kept shooting and then, I put my camera down every time a round would come in, you know the whistle of a mortar, I would sort of dive behind this wall and then pop up again and assume, okay, it's not going to come closer than that.
And of course, lo and behold, a mortar landed about maybe 30 feet from where we were standing. You've seen the video and I was --
COOPER: Yes, in fact, we are showing that -- we're showing that video shot by Andriy Dubchak who I guess, he was right behind you perhaps, and we can see you and your helmet, you're taking pictures. I think you're saying, you know, you're in caught up in the moment. You're saying some curse words, I think.
What happened then? Because I think it was a security contract who ran to help the Ukrainian soldier who was knocked down by the mortar, and then ran over to check on that family. When did you decide to run over there to them?
ADDARIO: So we were working, there were three of us, Andriy, me, and Steve, who is "New York Times" security. So he told Steve specifically told us not to move while he sort of checked. He ran to check on the family.
So, we were standing there. Of course, I was happy not to move because I was sort of still in shock and trying to figure out if I had shrapnel wounds to my neck, because there was a spray of gravel.
And you could hear me saying, "Am I bleeding?" And the minute that -- but I wanted to shoot because the guy, the security guy, sorry, the Civil Defense guy who you saw on the frame sort of disappeared. So we were trying to figure out, is he alive? Is he dead?
So I was shooting whatever I could, until Steve gave us the go ahead to run across the street. Meanwhile, mortar rounds -- we ran across the street and another round came in shortly after.
As we ran across the street, I saw the four sort of figures of what I thought was an entire family, lifeless, and I was sort of shocked because I hadn't realized it was a family. It was too dusty to see fully across the street. COOPER: There's something -- you know, I mean, the image is just sickening, of course. What goes through your mind in a moment like that? I mean, there is a horror of it -- but then -- there's the horror of what you're seeing, but then there's also you need to get a shot that tells the horror of that to other people.
So another part of your brain, I assume, has to think: What angle do I want to shoot? Where should I be? How should I frame this?
ADDARIO: Yes, that's exactly right. I mean, first of all, I'm a mother. So the first thing going on in my head was sort of, oh my God, that's a child because there was a nine-year-old or an eight-year-old, and I have a 10-year-old and so I was sort of looking and I started shooting, and I was from an angle where you couldn't see their faces.
So I thought, okay, this is a respectful angle, I'll shoot this. And then I went around the side and took a shot from that side, where only the mother was visible and then I went around the back and took another shot because I'm thinking, as horrific as this is, I have to document this because I just watched a mother and her two children get hit intentionally because, I knew it was intentional. We watched it happen.
COOPER: I don't know why I fixate on this, but there was something about the luggage that seemed untouched in all of this that I just found so disturbing. And again, it's a stupid detail, a meaningless detail, but I don't know, it's something that just struck me.
ADDARIO: Yes, I mean, in that moment, I remember kind of surveying the scene, and you know, in those moments, it's hard for me to connect the dots. I'm seeing things, I'm registering some things, I'm trying to look through my camera to stay focused, it's a way for me to kind of take away the emotion, to just stay very focused on the work.
And so I was looking through the camera and I do remember, because it was the way the luggage fell and the way their bodies fell. It was almost -- it almost sort of pronounced how innocent they were, and that to me was so sort of vile.
And so yes, I'm thinking all those things as I'm shooting.
COOPER: Does a moment like this stay with you? Because, you know, you're still in the middle of it. You still go out the next day or later that same day, or, you know, and there will be more pictures and more scenes and -- how do you think about this?
ADDARIO: Yes, I mean, we were pretty rattled, Sunday afternoon. We did go back out because the story continues and you know, we have a responsibility to the readers of "The New York Times" and people for -- you know, to keep covering what's happening.
So we went back out but we were too scared. There was no way we would go back out to the bridge Sunday afternoon. So we went to a sort of staging area where families were being brought kind of few kilometers back. And then yesterday, there were a lot of people going to the bridge and crossing and we were working in a hospital yesterday and at one point, I said to Andriy, should we go to the bridge? And he was like, no way.
And we just kind of knew that it was -- we weren't ready yet, you know, and I think the important thing of covering conflict is just understanding your instincts and being in touch with sort of: are you comfortable yet? Because the worst thing either of us could do or the worst thing any photojournalist could do is to go to a situation already nervous and to try to work and then come under fire because you won't make good calculated decisions about how to react and how to sort of extricate yourself.
COOPER: It must help to know that a picture you take has an impact, that people see it and people care. And, and that it impacts people.
ADDARIO: Yes, I mean, that's what we all strive for. We all do this work, in order to have an impact, in order to affect policy, in order to educate people to show the reality on the ground. It's very seldom that I know that one of my photos actually has a direct impact. You know, I think I've been doing this 20 years and, and people always ask me, like, have your photos changed the world? And I never have an answer to that because I don't really know I shoot, I file, they're published I move on. I'm usually just, I just keep working.
In this case, yes, the response has been overwhelming. And, you know, a sadly at the expense of that mother and her two children, but I think, you know, it was such an important moment to witness the lead up and the actual moment.
COOPER: Yes, Lynsey Addario. Thank you so much. Please be careful.
ADDARIO: Thank you Anderson. Thank you.
COOPER: Now we've since learned the names of that fallen family Lynsey Addario's photo. The mom's name was Tatiana (ph), her two children were Elisa (ph) who was nine years old, and Nikita (ph) who was 18. The man they were traveling with who was trying to help them cross was named Anatoly (ph). Our thoughts are with them, their loved ones and all those who are suffering.
Up next, disoriented and frightened seniors some of the war's most vulnerable victims. CNN's Clarissa Ward went to a suburb of Kyiv to hear their stories. Her report coming up.
COOPER: According to the Kyiv regional military administration, the humanitarian situation remains difficult in the area surrounding the capital. We talked to Clarissa Ward a little bit about that earlier. Some residents have been forced to stay in bomb shelters for days without food or water as Russian forces continue to shell residential areas and it's a terrifying situation even for those attempting to flee from the violence. Take a look this photos photo capture in Irpin just outside of Kyiv showing civilians dodging mortars trying to protect a toddler as they attempt to escape Russian advances inching closer to Kyiv.
As the situation escalates, is having a particular devastating impact on some of the world's most vulnerable people, the elderly, CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward has some of their stories tonight.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Incredibly, they emerge, some still standing. Some too weak to walk after more than a week under heavy bombardment, in the Kyiv suburb of Irpin.
Volunteers help them carry their bags, the final few feet to relative safety. There are tearful reunions as relatives fear dead finally appear after days of no contact with the outside world. Many are still looking for their loved ones. Soldiers help where they can.
For Larissa (ph) and Andriy, it is an agonizing wait. Their son has been pinned down in the hotel he owns. We wait, we hope, we pray they tell me. This the grief of all mothers of all people Larissa (ph) says, this is a tragedy. Every time the phone rings, there's a scramble, anticipation that it could be their son's voice on the line. This time, that is not. Excuse me, I can't talk, (INAUDIBLE) says. I'm waiting for my son.
They are not the only ones waiting. These residents of a nursing home were among the last to be evacuated from Irpin. They have been sitting here now for hours. Confused and disorientated many don't know where they are going. Volunteer gently guides these women back to wait for the next bus.
Valentina tells us she is frightened and freezing, after days of endless shelling and no heat. I want to lie down, she says. Please help me.
But for now, there is no place to lie down. The women are shepherded onto a bus, their arduous journey, not yet. For Larissa (ph) and Andriy, the wait is finally over, their son is alive.
ANDRIY KOLESNIK, IRPIN RESIDENT: The only words you can tell to the phone like, mom, I'm alive, mom. I'm alive. And that's it.
WARD (voice-over): I'm the happiest mother in the world right now, she says. My son is with me. But not every mother here is so lucky. And for many, the wait continues.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: It's just unbelievable. Do -- I mean those the women from the nursing home I mean, disoriented. You know the woman saying I want to lie down please help me, do they know where they're going? Or does anyone know where they're going to go?
WARD: There was definitely a lot of confusion Anderson about where they were going. Most of the people who get loaded onto those yellow buses and evacuated are taken directly to the Kyiv central railway station. But for those elderly that was not the plan. They were waiting for some other transport that would have been perhaps more suitable for them, that transport didn't materialize. So eventually they did put them on those buses and you saw some of them had to actually lie down on the floor. And they were supposed to be taken from there to another kind of care home or nursing home type of facility. But there was certainly some confusion about where that was and how many beds are available.
And the thing that was so striking Anderson talking to some of these women, and particularly Valentina, who kept saying over and over again, please, I just want to lie down. I'm so confused, please, can you help me, it is just that they, you know, are really desperately confused. They're not following or at least Valentina was not following everything that was going on around her. She was very frightened, she was freezing cold, she kept complaining about the cold talking about the fact that while this shelling was going on, and while she was trapped in this nursing home for days on end, that there was no heating. And she kept referring to her legs, specifically saying that she couldn't get them warm.
And so it does, you know, as any person would feel just heartbroken to hear those stories and also a deep sense of concern for what happens to people like Valentina and the residents of that nursing home. Where they do go next and how long they can stay there as well Anderson, because even if they do find some temporary shelter for them in Kyiv, which I'm sure they have, the question becomes how long is that a sustainable and viable option for them? At what point does the city potentially come under heavy bombardment or become totally encircled? And it's no longer possible to give them the level of care that they need, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, and just access to medications that they need. You know, we when doesn't think about this kind of stuff and war because it seems a little war takes over everything. But people still need daily medication, sometimes multiple medications today, especially that age. I mean, Clarissa Ward thank you so much for telling your story. Appreciate it.
Just ahead, the war already ugly may get uglier still that is the assessment of top U.S. intelligence officials today. Coming up next, we'll examine the setbacks that have surprised many experts who might have expected and easier advanced the Russians in Ukraine discuss that, and what effect that could have on civilians in a war that according to those officials, Vladimir Putin cannot afford to lose, ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: I want to show some pictures that just came -- came to us today, these come from the Ukrainian military. They show destroyed Russian military assets in the east of Ukraine. And then an example of what we reported earlier in the broadcast about the slow bloody mars that Russia has endured in this work. Top U.S0 intelligence officials testified today that they expect Vladimir Putin to double down on this effort. They say it'll be quoting ugly next few weeks. And we've already seen some of that ugliness and Vladimir Putin's repeated attacks on civilians.
But the question is, what do we know currently about the state of the Russian military. Jim Sciutto has that.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nearly two weeks into the invasion, the war in Ukraine has become a slow grinding conflict, not the Blitzkrieg advanced the Russian military had planned and hoped for.
AVRIL HAINES, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Russia's failure to rapidly seize Kyiv and overwhelm Ukrainian forces has deprived Moscow of the quick military victory that probably had originally expected.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): U.S. and NATO military assistance to Ukrainian forces has flowed in quickly and in enormous quantities. Today, the U.S. and partners have provided some 17,000 anti-tank missiles, including the javelin and 84 shoulder fired systems. And according to a senior U.S. official, some 3,700 anti aircraft missiles, including the stinger shoulder fired missile, the vast majority since the start of the invasion. These missiles have had an immediate impact on the battlefield. This is a shoulder fired missiles shooting down a Russian attack helicopter.
BRIG. GEN. STEVE ANDERSON, U.S. ARMY (RET): It's a race between our ability and NATO's ability to push forward supplies, such as the 17,000 missiles that have been recently approved to get those into the hands of the Ukrainian warfighters before the Russians can regroup and get their logistics lines of communication and capabilities up to snuff.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): Military losses are harder to gauge. According to two senior U.S. officials briefed on the intelligence the U.S. estimates Russia has lost somewhere between two and 4, 000 soldiers. Though this assessment comes with low confidence. The U.S. does not have reliable information on losses of Ukrainian military personnel.
On the battlefield, Russian forces have advanced more quickly in the south from Russian controlled territory in Crimea more slowly in the East and the North. They continue efforts to surround cities such as Kharkiv. A senior U.S. official tells me the U.S. believes Russia is still several days from being able to surround the capital Kyiv. And after that faces a protracted battle to occupy the city itself.
HAINES: It's our analysts assess that Putin is unlikely to be deterred by such setbacks and instead may escalate. We assess Putin feels aggrieved the West does not give him proper deference and perceives this as a war he cannot afford to lose.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): As Russia's advance has stalled its forces have increasingly targeted the civilian population with aerial bombardment and shelling following a time worn Russian strategy it pursued ruthlessly in Chechnya in the 1990s, and more recently in Syria. At least 474 civilians, including 29 children have been killed since the invasion began this according to the UN Human Rights Office, and a further 861 injured. Though the UN believes the true figure is likely to be quote, considerably higher.
Jim Sciutto, CNN Lviv.
COOPER: Prospective now for someone has been on the broadcast since the war began with detailed explanations for why Russia's military is operating the way it has. CNN military analyst, retired Army Three Star General Mark Hertling joins us.
General Hertling, so while that convoy north of Kyiv still appears to be stalled, the Russians are making a push from the north east of the city. Do you think the Russians will be able to surround Kyiv?
GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: They may be able to surround it Anderson, but they're not going to be able to do much more than that. This force is stalled. They are slow on the offensive. They haven't mastered their forces, their maneuvers extremely clumsy. They don't have unity of command, they're coming in from three different directions and most importantly they don't have a large enough force to accomplish the many missions they're wanting to do, not just in the north, but throughout Ukraine. This is what I've been saying from the very beginning.
This would be a tough operation for a savvy, rehearsed, practical force that had done this before. But this force is not that one. They have problems at the operational level. Their generals are high bound, they're corrupt, they're ill trained. These are all things I've been saying. They're not trained in the operational art. And they don't practice large scale maneuvers like we're seeing right now. We've seen before the war, remember all the films we were seeing with tanks going across, large plane areas and all that. Those weren't training events, those were not exercises, those were demonstrations.
I've seen those multiple times in Moscow, and in Europe when working with Russian troops, but more importantly, their troop, their soldiers, their troops are poorly led. They don't have an NCO Corps to discipline them. They don't get enough training repetition in their one or two year conscription period. And they don't adjust to mission type orders. So they get on a road, as I've said so many times before, knows to but in their vehicles, and they just keep rolling.
You add to that, let's add one more thing to all that, these troops have been under harsh conditions in Ukraine for two weeks now in combat, with an enemy going after him. And oh, by the way, they started several months ago in Belarus in horrible field conditions with bad food, a bad resupply, and that indiscipline from the commander. So, I mean, I could go on and on about what I've observed in the Russian force, both at the general officer level and in the soldier level. But I've been saying from the beginning, this is going to be a slog for the Russians.
COOPER: So the -- I mean, the Ukrainian Air Forces are still reportedly able to fly I'm not sure how many, you know, jets, they still have. U.S. Intelligence said today that nearly the entire airspace of Ukraine north and south is under some umbrella of Russian missile capacity. So given what you're saying about, you know, the status of Russian forces, is that what it's just going to now be missile attacks, air attacks?
HERTLING: Well, what I think the CIA director was talking about today was an air defense zone, they had multiple layers of air defense, that's the stuff from the ground up that allows their planes to fly and enemy planes not to fly. But we've seen Ukrainian planes flying pretty well, they've had some pretty good contacts. What we've also seen the same thing I can say about the Russian ground troops, the troops that are maneuvering on the ground, we can say for the Russian Air Force, they do not get the same number of flight hours that the U.S. Air Force gets, they don't have the same kind of precision munitions. One of the things that CIA directors confirmed today was that they are dropping dumb bombs, very few precision weapons.
That's why you know, they're not hitting the targets there. They may be aiming at civilian facilities, but they're hitting things with 500 pound dumb bombs that have no precisions. So they may have an excuse for why they're not violating work, you know, violating war crimes. It's because they don't have the precision to hit the targets they're aiming at. But there's no military targets in the area. So the same thing I would say about the Russian ground forces, you could say about the Russian air forces.
COOPER: Wow. It's really fascinating. General Hertling, I really appreciate it. Thank you.
HERTLING: My pleasure.
COOPER: Coming up, a moment of beauty worth cherishing the ugliness of the nearly last two weeks. That is next.
COOPER: If you've been watching the program since the war began, then you know, you've come to know as we have a Ukrainian mom named Olena Gnes. She's joins us several nights that she keeps her young kids as safe as she can in a Kyiv basement. All the bombs fall outside in the city and our husband has volunteered to fight. It would certainly be understandable for the people of Ukraine to forget or not have time to think about the fact that this today is International Women's Day, yet even in Kyiv even as the war nears its third week, the significance of this day shined with a simple gesture. Olena held her four month old daughter as she live streamed her joy.
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OLENAA GNES, UKRAINIAN SHELTERING IN KYIV: As you can see we have some flowers here. Where are the flowers? Here are the flowers. Tulips, the flowers of the spring. So the local authorities of my neighborhood decided to congratulate all the women who stay in Kyiv with the eighth of March. This is celebrated here as the Women's Day. So it was very nice. Some men in the uniform brought us flowers to congratulate the girls with this holiday.
People keep asking why me, myself, I keep asking why but just this is the way how we feel we should do. We cannot just give up easily, give up our cities. Otherwise what the sense in fighting? We could have gave up on the first day, there would be no casualties, no destruction. I mean, so many people already died because of us, for the sake of us. So, how can we just -- how can we just give up and leave? Well, the flowers that's very nice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Very nice indeed. In recent days, we've seen that strength of mothers and that spirit of love waiting for Ukrainians who escaped to Poland. Take a look, empty strollers, these were left at the train station near the border reportedly by Polish mothers and volunteer groups. They are there for refugees to use for their babies after they left home and nearly everything else behind.