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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Anti-War Protester Interrupts Russian State TV News Broadcast; Heavy Explosions Heard In Kyiv As Russia Expands Assault; China Expresses Openness To Russian Requests For Military And Financial Assistance; LA Times Photojournalist: "Things Are A Lot More Tense" In Kyiv; Officials: Upcoming NATO Meeting Expected To Focus On Defense Of Eastern Europe; UN: More Than 2.8 Million Refugees Flee Russia's War On Ukraine. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired March 14, 2022 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: The girls tell us they are still able to talk to their families in Ukraine, still able to talk to them, no communications lost. So far their families are okay, although they are separated.

Youth America Grand Prix has now placed more than 60 Ukrainian dancers at dance schools around the world.

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Good evening from Lviv, Ukraine.

Defiance in the face of great loss. That describes the moment here tonight and for one brief instant in Moscow, there was also defiance seen by millions on Russian state TVs Evening News.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking in foreign language.).


COOPER: You can see, they cut away from the protester in the studio. Her sign read: "No war. Stop the war. Do not believe propaganda. They tell you lies here."

The woman who reportedly works for that channel was detained by police and purportedly left a video explaining her motives.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking in foreign language.).

TRANSLATION: Unfortunately, for the past few years, I have been working on Channel One and doing Kremlin propaganda, and now I am very ashamed of it.

It is a shame that I allowed to speak lies from the TV screens, ashamed that I assisted in the zombification of the Russian people.

I am ashamed that we kept silent in 2014, when all this was just beginning. We didn't go to rallies when the Kremlin poisoned Navalny.

We just silently watched the anti-human regime and now, the world has turned its back on us forever, and another 10 generations of our descendants will not be able to wash away from the shame of this fraternal war.

We are Russian people, thinking and smart, and it is only in our power to stop all this madness.

Go to the rallies and do not be afraid. They can't arrest us all.


COOPER: "They can't arrest us all," she said.

Well, that said Russian authorities have reportedly arrested thousands since the war began and for all that, ordinary Russians are risking by protesting the war, ordinary Ukrainians are risking their lives here every single day, every moment of every day when they go for a walk like this person that you're about to see who nearly walked right into an attack, or they stay in an apartment building like the one that was hit today in Kyiv, the moment captured on security camera video.

Now, increasingly common moments with Russian forces now stepping up their shelling of residential buildings in Kyiv and elsewhere. The U.N. now puts the civilian death toll at upwards of 600, but also added as it often does that the true figures are likely considerably higher.

We know in Mariupol alone, the officials there say as many as 2,500 people are already dead. That number now includes the pregnant woman heard in last week's bombing of the maternity hospital in Mariupol. The image was shown around the world and captured in very human terms that brutality of the Russian tactics here. Her name was never released.

From the photo, there was hope that she would make it out. She had made it out of the bombing that, that she and her baby would live.

This is new video obtained today of her being brought down a flight of stairs and out into that open courtyard area where that still image was taken. Well, we learned today that that mom, that mother succumb to her injuries. The surgeons who performed emergency cesarean section cannot save the life of her child either.

According to a senior Ukrainian official, the Russian bombardment in Mariupol, as I said, has now taken the lives of more than 2,500 people. In his address to the country marking the Volunteer Day holiday today, Ukraine's President said that Russian forces consider everything a target because he said, they don't see the country the way Ukrainians do.


us, Ukraine has millions of happy moments, native symbols, memorable places. We feel this land. For us, Ukraine is our life and that is why millions of people have come to the defense of our state today. That is why today we are all volunteers, all those who defend Ukraine, our children, those who defend our future.


COOPER: A show of defiance, not only making that statement, but also just making an appearance outside as he has now repeatedly. It has become the norm from Mr. Zelenskyy showing that defiance.

There was also this, a new postage stamp honoring the defenders of Snake Island with their words engraved on the face. It says "Russian warship," it reads "Go eff yourself."

Reporting for us tonight, CNN's Sam Kiley in Kyiv, Kaitlan Collins at the White House and Ed Lavandera across the border in eastern Poland.

First an overview though of another difficult day from CNN's Oren Liebermann.



OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Russia is broadening its attack hitting targets both military and civilian.

In the capital city of Kyiv, flames pour out of the remnants of an apartment building. Firefighters evacuating the wounded.

Russian forces have not yet encircled the capital city a senior U.S. defense official says, but they are trying.

OLEKSIY GONCHARENKO, UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER: In Kyiv itself, everything is okay. There are some shortages but no desperate situation but in towns, certainly, a few some of them are occupied by Russian forces and in some of them, there are fighting and there, the situation is absolutely awful.

LIEBERMANN (voice over): Ukraine's resistance has stalled much of the Russian advance on the ground, the Defense official says and the skies over the war-torn country remain contested.

Instead, the Russians have turned to long range strikes.

Russian bombardment pounding the city of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine where they have advanced the most.

To the west, Russian forces hit a military base used for training over the weekend just 11 miles from the Polish border. The strike killed at least 35 people the local military says and wounded more than a hundred others. JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: What it shows is that

Vladimir Putin is frustrated by the fact that his forces are not making the kind of progress that he thought that they would make against major cities, including Kyiv that he is expanding the number of targets.

LIEBERMANN (voice over): It is the closest Russian strike to a NATO country, but it will not stop the flow of security systems to Ukraine. Another $200 million in aid approved over the weekend, even as Russia threatens the shipments.

Nearly three weeks into this invasion, Russia has now turned to China for help asking China for economic and military support according to sources. China denies receiving such requests and Russia denies making one, but the U.S. has information suggesting Beijing expressed some openness to providing Russia with financial or military assistance, according to a Western official and a U.S. diplomat, though it's not exactly clear what type of aid.

SULLIVAN: We have communicated to Beijing that we will not stand by and allow any country to compensate Russia for its losses from the economic sanctions.

LIEBERMANN (voice over): White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan held what's being described as an intense seven-hour meeting today with a top Chinese diplomat in Rome, as the Biden administration faces pressure from Volodymyr Zelenskyy To impose even more sanctions on Russia.

The Ukrainian President is scheduled to address Congress virtually on Wednesday, which would be on the eve of the start of the war's fourth week.

As the fighting drags on, the U.N. Secretary General raising a chilling possibility.

ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: The prospect of nuclear conflict once unthinkable is now back within the realm of possibility.

LIEBERMANN (voice over): Oren Liebermann, CNN, Pentagon.


COOPER: On that ominous note, we have our correspondents in the field, Sam Kiley in Kyiv, what have you been seeing and hearing today?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the day began with some kind of missile strike against an apartment building, Anderson, in the west of the city and indeed an attack on the Antonov Aircraft factory. Also in the west of the city, the strike against the apartment building killed two people, injured seven according to local authorities.

And then later on in the day, there was at least one other missile strike, in fact quite close to where we were working that we believe was a result of a very large missile being brought down by the anti- missile batteries around the city.

Tonight, there has been the sound of some small arms fire, some loud detonations, which I think, are outgoing missiles to try to take out aircraft or other flying objects that the Russians are using against the city or part of a pattern that is continuing to maintain the pressure against the capital, while the Russians do what they're expected to do next, which is to consolidate and increase their attacks in the East and the northeast of the city -- Anderson.

COOPER: Kaitlan, President Biden has worked very -- for quite some time on trying to rebuild alliances within NATO and make sure that NATO is speaking one voice on what is happening here in Ukraine. Is that what is behind his possible trip to Europe?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and I think it has really been behind the entire way that they have responded to this from sharing intelligence, from disclosing intelligence, from the penalties that they've taken against Russia since it conducted this invasion, they've made sure to try to do it in complete coordination with European allies because President Biden does say he thinks that's one way to kind of cause Putin to shrink here.

Obviously, it's not changing his tactics, but he does believe it will be helpful in the end to have a united NATO, which is obviously what Putin does not want to see.

And so, we are hearing that next week, there could be a trip by President Biden to Europe, maybe to Poland, maybe to Brussels, potentially. It is not finalized yet, we should be clear, we have not gotten any kind of confirmation from the White House yet, but it does seem that they are having discussions about maybe having a meeting potentially one with the other leaders of NATO countries. Of course, that has been a really big part of this discussion here because when it comes to whether or not the United States is going to get involved in Ukraine, the President has said, no, there will be no American forces or American planes or pilots in Ukraine.


COLLINS: But of course, if Russia goes after a NATO country that would require the United States to respond, which the President has warned will lead to World War Three.

So speaking in very blunt terms here at the White House, and so we could potentially see President Biden travel next week, though, we are still waiting for confirmation from the White House. And of course, there are so many developments everyday on the ground and I think that plays a role in this, all of this as well -- Anderson.

COOPER: Sam, do you have a sense of how many people are actually still left in the capital? Obviously, it's hard to get an accurate number, and also just -- and I ask the question, because I'm curious about resources there for people, the ability to get food, the ability to have electricity and the like. KILEY: Yes, so we don't know exactly how many people are in the city.

They were estimated to be about four million before the war, and I spoke to the planners who were planning for an evacuation in the event of war, their mission, they said would be to get at least two million people out of the city, if it did come to an invasion by Russia. That is conceivable that people have moved out in that kind of number.

Not all of them, of course, leaving the country altogether, but dispersing elsewhere, particularly to regions such as the one you're in at the moment, to the west, where things are a bit quieter.

And the numbers of refugees, of course, are now astronomical, I think it's 2.8 million, if I'm not mistaken who have left the country altogether. Of course, they haven't all left from Kyiv.

So I think that a very substantial number of people have left, but not whole families. Part families have left, of course, men fighting age, which is in this country considered 18 to 60 can't leave the country, and maybe is subjected to call up and there have been huge numbers of people volunteering, so a lot of women and children have left the city.

And in terms of resources, it is kind of surprising how well they've done in maintaining food supplies, electricity, and water within the city. Of course, the city still has open access, particularly in the south -- to the south. So it does have a resupply route in from there to the rest of the world.

But at the same time, they've got quite strict rules in place about not stockpiling, not hoarding. And just today, President Zelenskyy also said that they're going to have to start adjusting the tax regime for the country so that people who are going to be able to work or being able to -- they are actually trying to encourage people to start working, trying to keep the wheels turning because I think this far into the conflict, there is a deep concern that paralysis could set in and everything would sort of stop working.

So President Zelenskyy said today in a speech that he wanted people who could get back to work, who could start generating a little bit of business to try to do so whilst essentially saying they're going to reform the tax structures so that they're not having to spend a big chunk of that on the central government -- Anderson.

COOPER: Kaitlan, the U.S. has raised concerns, obviously, that China may be open to providing economic and perhaps military assistance to Russia, which, according to officials who have talked to CNN, that Russia has asked for. What are you hearing from the White House on that?

COLLINS: They are being very quiet about this, Anderson, and I think notably so. They are not confirming this, they're not denying it. And this comes is Jake Sullivan, the National Security Adviser here at the White House had a seven-hour meeting with a top diplomat from China in Rome today, talking about Ukraine for a good part of that meeting, according to officials that we spoke with later on. They said it was a very intense discussion. Obviously, it was very

long given it was nearly seven hours and this comes as we have heard these reports, not just from CNN, but from other outlets as well that Russia has reached out to China to try to get assistance when it comes to military equipment and economic assistance in the face of these crippling sanctions that have been imposed, not just by the United States, but also countries throughout Europe.

And Anderson, part of this request was even for MREs, those non- perishable meals, ready to eat for, of course, Russian forces that are on the ground. And it really does underscore the reports that we have heard from our reporters on the ground about the troubles that Russia has had, the logistical challenges that their forces have faced that they were not expecting as part of this Russian invasion.

And so the big question is whether or not China has followed through on those requests or if they plan to follow through because the U.S. has said they will face harsh penalties if they do, do that, if they try to help them evade sanctions, if they try to help provide them with military support whether or not they would see the MREs as part of that, that remains to be seen.

And I did ask an official today if they have seen that China has provided assistance to Russia since this invasion has started, but Anderson, they notably did not answer that question.


COOPER: Sam, we're going to talk with you in a little bit about some reporting you've been doing about the most vulnerable, who are stuck in the war zone. I talked to you about this on my digital show earlier today at "Full Circle." But just talk a little bit about what you saw.

These are babies who were born to surrogates for parents all around the world, and they are just waiting in Kyiv being cared for by very dedicated nannies waiting for parents to come and pick them up.

KILEY: Yes, I mean, there is an interesting situation here, which is that Ukraine does have a very kind of successful system here for surrogate mothering, and an international system to put babies with parents who want them. And I mean, a lot of these, and a lot of the children that we saw today fall into that category, obviously.

There were 21, though, being kept in a basement, in basically two rooms in a basement because they'd had to move from the normal nursery because of the threat of missiles and artillery strikes against them.

While we were in that basement, we could hear some substantial explosions. In fact, I think you played one of them, at the top of your show where there is a gentleman walking towards -- walking in the park, and then there's a big explosion. We believe that that was about 500 meters from that location, just indicating just how dangerous this is for everyday people trying to go about their businesses.

Now, these children are stuck here effectively because it's in the opinion of many of the new parents too dangerous for them to come and pick them up. Now, the clinic is making efforts to try to get the babies over to where you are in Lviv or elsewhere in the country where they could be met by their new parents in relative safety.

I did also hear of an Argentine couple that came all the way into Kyiv who ran the gauntlet to pick their child up, but some have been there stuck for months -- Anderson.

COOPER: Sam Kiley, Kaitlan Collins, appreciate it.

We talked to you at the top of the broadcast about defiance inside Russia. It is a rare commodity there and so dangerous to anyone practicing it.

Coming up next, my conversation with someone who is at great risk to himself as an American in Moscow.

And later, the former American Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch joins us to talk more about her warning that a moment like this might come.



COOPER: I want to show you that video again with the woman who is said to work at a major Russian state TV station who interrupted an evening newscast with a protest of the war and when you watch it remember that the act of reporting anything about this war contrary to the accepted government line is no punishable by up to 15 years in prison.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking in foreign language.)


COOPER: You can see, they cut away from her there. Her sign read "No war. Stop the war. Do not believe propaganda. They tell you lies here."

The last line is in English and it says "Russians against war."

Obviously, a very tense and dangerous time in Russia.

Earlier, I spoke with someone who knows that all too well. Yakov Kronrod is an American who traveled to Moscow last month to help care for sick grandmother is now trying to get her out, but has also become an activist during his stay, he has actually been an activist. In many ways, his family has for years.

We spoke just before air time.


COOPER: Yakov, I want to ask you about the protester that we just saw in the moment. But first, I know you went to Russia to care for your grandmother, you landed just as the war broke out in Ukraine, as the invasion broke out.

Can you just explain what it was like in Moscow initially, and how things have changed since the law was passed criminalizing truthful accounting of the war?

YAKOV KRONROD, AMERICAN IN MOSCOW: Yes, absolutely. I landed in Moscow on February 24th. The war broke out while I was in the air.

I think the strangest thing was how normal everything seemed at first. You wouldn't know from looking around what was going on, and I think part of that was for a lot of people, they really didn't know what was going on.

Over the last two weeks, we've seen what I would call the criminalization of Moscow streets. The appearance of riot police everywhere. And of course, fact that the sanctions, businesses starting to close and this has definitely changed the atmosphere, though. If you go to the outskirts of Moscow, you wouldn't really notice it sometimes.

COOPER: You personally took part in some of the protests early on, what was it like?

KRONROD: I think there was a feeling that if enough people would come out and show up that, something can change quickly. There were massive people. I think people weren't as afraid. People would actually go out and chant. "No to war," people would chant things that right now are punishable by 15 years in jail and that those quickly changed.

We saw one more large protest this last Sunday, but it was nothing like the first ones, and now you see much smaller gatherings and even the people doing the organizing the protests, they specifically tell people to go to different places, disperse, meetup in small groups because most people now at a protest get arrested before they can even exit the metro station.

COOPER: Are you concerned about your safety, the safety of your family right now?

KRONROD: I'm not concerned for our physical safety right now, but given the repressive measures that are being put in place. My family is multi-generationally working on human rights.


KRONROD: My sister is a poet, my brother in law is a documentary filmmaker. They have been very vocal about their opinion of what the regime has been doing for many years. And, as we see this escalate, this is why I am working on getting my grandmother to safety out of the country, because we do believe that things could escalate any moment to where my family is under threat.

COOPER: I've been reading about the history of your family standing up for causes for human rights causes, and it is really extraordinary, the courage that multiple generations of people in your family have shown.

At this point, I mean, is it clear how most Russians get their information now and when you see something like that employee of the television station today standing up during a live news program? Does something like that make an impact?

KRONROD: Yes, it sends shockwaves through all of Russian society. Yandex News actually had a story about it, and they rarely have anything that is against the main narrative.

Her Facebook page was getting thousands of people commenting, every minute. Literally, it exploded. Everyone was texting each other, calling each other saying: Did you see? Did you see what happened? And many of the human rights activists that I'm talking to, they feel this may very well be the start of the wave.

To see someone like that, Channel one has 250 million viewers. It's the number one watched station by most common Russians. For a lot of Russians, this was the first time they saw any dissenting voices.

COOPER: When you talk about -- you talk about the wave, you talk about resistance, not everyone has the will certainly or the means to do what that person did at the television station. Are you seeing smaller kind of everyday acts of quiet resistance?

KRONROD: Yes. There are many acts of quiet resistance, and then there is a lot of people who just don't have the strength to go out and do much, but they wish they could. We are seeing a lot of small acts, a lot of people doing solo pickets. A lot of people doing graffiti, using stickers, anti-war stickers on bus stops and public places, letter writing campaigns, a lot of conversations are happening in kitchens at the water cooler, as we would say in America, and just spreading information, helping each other install VPNs to get access to information.

But I was just talking to my grandmother's nanny. She's an older Russian woman, she wears a Baabushka scarf that everyone I think in America can imagine and I asked her: What do you want the world to know about how you feel about this? And she said, I don't have the strength to protest. But if you were to tell me that you could shoot me dead, and the war would end today, I would hand you the gun.

And then she added, every mother in Russia feels the same way, and I believe that reflects the opinion of a lot of people. And so we do see a lot of quiet protests and there are a lot of people who just wish they knew that they could make a difference.

COOPER: Do you think you'll be able to get your grandmother out?

KRONROD: I hope so. It's been very difficult with the U.S. to arrange for any kind of visa, whether family reunification or humanitarian parole or years backlogged. The Russian consulate has not been able to work on visitor visas for years due to political reasons.

The Warsaw consulate is obviously overwhelmed with urgent humanitarian need with Ukrainian refugees. I'm literally working with lawyers trying to call every consulate in Europe, just finding someone who would be willing to at least hear her case.

We're not having much luck yet, but we have some backup plans. We are Russian-Jewish descent. Israel is a backup plan. We may -- if worst comes to worst, we can try Armenia or Georgia as many conscientious objectors in Russia have done.

I'm optimistic

COOPER: Yakov Kronrod, I wish you the best. Be careful.

KRONROD: Thank you very much, Anderson.


COOPER: Well, coming up next. My conversation with photographer and foreign correspondent, Marcus Yam, what he has been seeing in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv.



COOPER: We've made the choice in our reporting not to try to sanitize the war, just show you plainly and simply what life is like here now and what dying is like to. Which is why we're showing you images like the ones you're about to see and a warning and certainly not sanitized. Image shows the body of a man in Irpin dragged from a car that crashed into the trees in a park in an area where Ukrainian and Russian forces are battling. His body left on the side of the road. It's unclear why that car crash was taken by a photographer Marcus Yam, the acclaimed foreign correspondent and photographer for the Los Angeles Times.

Marcus, thanks so much for joining us. What did things been like in Kyiv this evening and this day?

MARCUS YAM, LA TIMES FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: It's been really calm overall in Kyiv, other than, you know, the incoming samples from the Russian bombardment, hitting, you know, several locations all across Kyiv. I mean, the shelling has, you know, reach farther into Kyiv. I mean, it's today, this morning, it's hit the Obolon district hitting a residential building, killing two and wounding nine more. And as we traveled around Kyiv today and on the outskirts of Kyiv, things are a lot more tense at, you know, and speaking to service members, you can tell they're there a lot more on edge.

I mean, at one checkpoint, they've even told us like, you know, you know, not to take pictures even as we just passing through and, you know, they would just, you know, threaten to, you know, use their arms if we -- they ever caught us taking pictures and all that stuff and, and you can tell on their voices that they were really, really tense that the fight was coming much, much more closer to the city.

COOPER: The pictures you've been taking, I mean, there are -- there's really some extraordinary images. Can you just talk a little bit about the difficulties the dangers of -- or just the difficulties of what how you go about, you know, getting around and what you've been seeing through your lens.


YAM: In the last couple of days, we've been spending a lot of time in the besieged town of Irpin in the outskirts of Kyiv. And we've been following my colleague, Nabih Bulos and I have been following volunteers, you know, ferrying people who don't have transportation to get out of town, and they've been just, you know, using cars and whatever cars and any modes of transportation they can find even like, you know, cargo trucks to ferry people out of there and on, you know, towards a broken bridge, and all that while, you know, bombard, you know, shelling is coming down. And we could see, you know, dead civilians laying around the entire, you know, town of Irpin.

And there are some holdouts left in the city. And it's a difficult situation all around. I mean, there were some parts of the city, parts of the town that were controlled by the Russians. And it was unclear, it wasn't, sometimes we were able to walk down those roads. You know, at one point, you know, we were walking down -- we were standing on a street on the west side of town, and, you know, we could hear Russian -- we can hear footsteps, you know, we look behind, there were Russian soldiers just patrolling casually, and we quickly, you know, ducked into a house, and, and hid in there for a while until we figured out what to do next.

COOPER: The L.A. Times the piece I think you were shooting for, that I read was about those volunteers driving around Irpin looking for bodies of people they knew or bodies of loved ones and to bring back. I mean, it's just extraordinary what so many people here Ukrainians are willing to do for their fellow countrymen and women.

YAM: This war has been interesting to cover in a sense, because you see bakers, you see bankers, you see, businessmen, publishers, everyday people with everyday jobs, just basically drop everything they're doing now and they kind of, you know, be the best versions of themselves. And, you know, and they are so courageous. They, you know, they don't have to pick up arms necessarily to fight they just have to do something for their fellow Ukrainians.

COOPER: Yes. Marcus Yam covering this for the Los Angeles Times. Thank you so much.

YAM: Thank you for having me on.

COOPER: Let's get some more perspective from retired Admiral James Stavridis, he's former NATO Supreme Allied Commander. In a recent Time Magazine op-ed, he writes, it is Putin who started this entirely unnecessary war and we must not be afraid to take reasonable steps to oppose him. The West has plenty of options to confront him and we should consider the full range especially in limiting Russian control of Ukrainian airspace, and continuing to arm the Ukrainians for the hard ground battles ahead.

Admiral Stravridis is also the author of 2034, a novel The Next World War. He joins us now.

Admiral, is it a no-fly zone that you support this stage?

ADM. JAMES STRAVRIDIS, RET FMR NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: Not quite. Not a NATO no-fly zone, Anderson, but I'll tell you what I do support. I support a Ukrainian no-fly zone. What I mean by that is, we should be giving them not just Stinger missiles, which reach up to about 10,000 feet, not bad. But we need to give them the weapons surface to air missiles that reach way up into that air stack.

And Anderson I think we should seriously consider the idea which was floated about a week ago of providing MiG 29. These are Polish jets fighters with grounded tech capability. Give them to the Ukrainians to fly. We did this in World War II, it's a lend lease. There's a lot of complications got it. We need to figure that out. It would be a huge morale boost for the Ukrainians. It would change the facts on the ground by changing what's happening in the air.

COOPER: I want to ask you we've heard now from the leader in Poland, also U.S. officials Jake Sullivan, among others talking about if a -- of a miss -- if a missile landed in Poland, let's say or in any native territory, even accidentally, the NATO alliance would respond. As the former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, what does a response in a case like that look like? What does it take to -- I mean how does NATO operate can who makes the decision to respond? Does it have to be all the countries in NATO who -- how would a response be actually set about?


STRAVRIDIS: First and foremost immediate combat situation, the Supreme Allied Commander, my successor now, Air Force, U.S. Air Force, General Todd Walters has the ability to respond to immediate attacks against the Alliance. If it appeared to be a more measured attack, he would go to NATO, convene the NATO North Atlantic Council, and ensure that we took a measured response.

But here's the point, Anderson, we are at a point where miscalculation between the U.S. and NATO on one side and Russia on the other is increasingly dangerous. On the other hand, we have to balance that with the need to provide support to the brave Ukrainians that you've been interviewing all night. I think we can find our way down that narrow passage, but it's going to require nerve sensitivities to the situation and an ability to apply combat power where necessary.

COOPER: Admiral Jim -- James Stravridis, I really appreciate it. Thank you.

Just ahead coming up, is the U.S. doing enough to support Ukraine? The former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch joins me to discuss whether the U.S. is pushing back hard enough on Russia.



COOPER: An unsettle question weeks into the Russian invasion is how far the U.S. and ally should go to arm Ukraine. There have been bipartisan calls in Washington for President Biden and NATO to do more, specifically when it comes to sending Ukraine more jets. One person who knows the stakes and train better than most the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. During the first impeachment of the former president, she testified that if Russia ever prevailed over Ukraine, we would see quote, other attempts by Russia to expand its territory and influence. She's also the author of a new memoir released today, Lessons From The Edge.

Ambassador Yovanovitch, thank you so much for being with us. You wrote in your book, you said the U.S. prefers to reach out with an open hand. That is the American way, we need to remember that Putin's Russia respects a closed fist. Do you think the U.S. is doing enough here in Ukraine?

MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FMR U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: I think the U.S. is doing a lot as our allies and partners. But I think we need to do more because this is, as President Biden has said, a struggle between freedom and tyranny. And so, the stakes are pretty high. Your previous guest outlined some of the ways that we could think about providing more assistance to Ukraine on the military side. Obviously, we also need to continue to provide assistance on the humanitarian side, because we are seeing the beginnings of a humanitarian catastrophe that is going to be absolutely epic.

COOPER:It's been very clear the bravery of Ukrainian response and the determination shown by all aspects of Ukrainian society to resist this. Can you talk a little bit about what the U.S. has been doing in Ukraine, really, since 2014, to improve the Ukrainian military? Because I mean, it seems like they've really have really evolved their military to build an NCO Corps to really improve it in a lot of ways. And we're really seeing the results of that.

YOVANOVITCH: I think that's right. So the base that was hit over the weekend, (INAUDIBLE), the base close to the Polish border. That's where we had a training program along with the Canadians and the British. And I think it was really quite effective in helping the Ukrainian military become a more effective fighting force as we are seeing on the ground.

Today, we also had a pretty large equip program. And, you know, now in retrospect, I just wish it had been even larger because the Ukrainians are using everything that we sent, and they can use a lot more as well.

COOPER: The U.S. has warned that there'd be severe consequences of Russia uses a chemical or biological weapons or if a NATO nation would be fired on even accidentally. Do you expect Vladimir Putin to test?

YOVANOVITCH: Well, I hope he doesn't, because I think that that would be a seriousness calculation. But we've also seen that he has miscalculated when it comes to how effective his own military would be, how effective the Ukrainian military would be, the spirit of the Ukrainian people, which he has never understood that they are a distinct people. And it is a country that deserves to exist. And I think he underestimated the resolve of the West and our willingness to stand united with Ukraine. COOPER: You met President Zelenskyy as he was campaigning for president, I wonder what you make of how he's met this moment?

YOVANOVITCH: I think it's phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal. He's gone from being a comedian, to being a president to being a war hero, a world leader like I have not seen, you know, perhaps since World War II. And he has not only inspired his own countrymen really reflecting their spirit and strengthening them, but he has inspired the world.

COOPER: We learned today, the pregnant woman on the stretcher after the bombing the maternity ward in Mariupol has died along with her baby. Does Vladimir Putin's brutalities surprise you at all at this stage? I mean, obviously, you're an experienced diplomat, you have been on the ground here, you know how Russia wages war. But are you are you surprised at all by what is happening?

YOVANOVITCH: So, we know the history. You know, we've seen what Putin was responsible for, in the war in Chechnya. We see what he's done in Syria. We've seen him take like chunks of Georgia in 2008, chunks of Ukraine in 2014, and of course, now the reinvasion of Ukraine. That's kind of history is all important, but, you know, to see that woman on the stretcher I mean that brings home the cost and the pain of war. And I think it is just a tragedy.


And so, yes, I would say that it still does surprise me because it's, it's the human cost of war that we can just never get used to. And that is why from a policy level, it's really important that we support Ukraine as much as we can.

COOPER: Yes. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, I really appreciate your time tonight. Again, the new memoir, congratulations on its Lessons From The Edge. It is coming out tomorrow.

Coming up, Ukraine's train system has been vital to getting desperate refugees out. We're about to take you to a station where they're arriving by the thousands each day and neighboring Poland. Take a look at where they go after the trains pull in. We'll be right back.


COOPER: The number of Ukrainians fleeing the country to escape the war is nearing 3 million according to the latest UN estimate. Polish train station close the borders become the first stop for many of those struggling refugees from their most don't know what their future holds.


Our Ed Lavandera is live at that crossing where they're being welcomed.

Ed, so I mean according to UN High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 1.7 million people have fled from Ukraine and to Poland in particular, does the government there at this point have enough facilities for all these people?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think Anderson, that's the question going forward, that is really going to be important in the weeks ahead. Just look at this scene here tonight. It is nearly 2 o'clock in the morning. We're at the train station in Przemysl, just a few miles away from the border with Ukraine. This is filled with people here tonight, who are essentially waiting to board trains further into Poland and into the rest of Europe.

So far, government, non-government organizations, the goodwill of Polish people have really carried the brunt of the weight of helping all of these refugees from Ukraine. So the real question will become to what extent will the Polish government have to get involved after all of these aid organizations and the goodwill of people have been strained for weeks? How much more will the Polish government have to do to continue to sustain all this?

COOPER: You spoke with a family who've come from Kharkiv, but obviously that is a very long journey. Kharkiv is all the way in the east of Ukraine. That must have been, I mean, how long did it take them?

LAVANDERA: Oh, it excruciating journey. We were hearing the train station earlier today when we heard the announcement that this train would be arriving, one of the platforms here at this train station. This is a city that has been devastated by the Russian army over the last few weeks. It is east of Kyiv. So you can imagine the horror that these families had have witnessed over the last few weeks. Out on the platform, we met one family and extended family of five people, two adults, a teenager and two young children. And they described us in the most gut wrenching, emotional way you can imagine what it was like to finally be here underneath a sign that said that had been put up by a Polish officials that says, here you are safe, you can listen to a little bit of our conversation with them. That happened just a few hours ago.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): The most frightening thing was to wake your child up to go to school and say, wake up, war has started. The first bombing started 500 meters from our home. So it was frightening because children don't understand what's happening. But they get traumatized. They get scared. And you try to keep calm. Try not to base it on.

It is a shame and it is very painful that all of this has come from our brothers, from our kin. We could never think that this trouble will come from them. Never did we think so. We used to visit them, we would sit at the same table. We would meet with them on vacations. Never did we expect this from them.


LAVANDERA: And Anderson, the hardest part of that interview, which I'm not sure you could quite see is that as that woman was telling us all of that, that her nine-year-old child was gripping onto her leg in tears listening to her mom recount all of that. I also want to make sure that you understand there in the last part of that sound bite you heard the woman talk about Russian liberators. She was saying that in the most sarcastic of ways, obviously, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Ed Lavandera, appreciate you being there. Again, it's almost 3:00 a.m. here and in Ukraine. And you can see just that train station so crowded.

Ahead, Putin has continued his ruthless assault in civilian areas in Ukraine's capital and other apartment building hit today by shelling resulting more casualties. Take you live to Kyiv as Russian forces continue their assault.