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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

President Zelenskyy Says He's Grateful To Russians "Not Afraid To Protest"; Sources: China Has Expressed Openness To Russian Requests For Military And Financial Assistance; NY Times: U.S. Officials Say Superyacht Could Be Putin's. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired March 14, 2022 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: On a day that saw attacks, on cities, here, continue, and continuing tragedy, we also saw continued acts of bravery.

We saw a Russian woman, who is said to work, in a major Russian state TV channel, jump onto the evening news, with a sign, protesting the war, in Ukraine, which is a short time - short time later, Ukraine's President thanked her.

In a new message, to the country, he said, quote, "I am grateful to those Russians who do not stop trying to convey the truth." And he added this.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): To those, who are not afraid, to protest, as long as your country has not completely closed itself off, from the whole world, turning into a very large North Korea, you must fight. You must not lose your chance.


COOPER: Well that said, acts, such as that woman, at the TV station, are riskier than ever now.

Earlier, in the program, I spoke with an American, who joined the protesters, in Moscow, last month. His name is Yakov Kronrod (ph). He initially traveled there, to help care, for his sick grandmother, who he is now trying to get out of the country.

As our conversation revealed though, he's already bringing out another precious item, rare insight, into what every day Russians, really think of the war.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was just talking to my grandmother's nanny. She's an older Russian woman. She wears a Babushka scarf, you know, 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."


COOPER: Insight, into Russia, is hard to come by. Sadly, it's the opposite here. Reality is all too apparent, and there was more of it today.

CNN's Sam Kiley is in Kyiv, for us, tonight.

Sam, are you still hearing small arms fire, and detonations, in Kyiv, tonight?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Over the last hour or so, Anderson, it's been much quieter.


We did, as you rightly point out, hear, some small arms fire. It's not that uncommon. And these heavy detonations are probably of outgoing surface-to-air missiles, either tracking missiles coming in, or indeed aircraft, Russian aircraft overhead.

Because, earlier on, in the day, there was a strike, against an apartment block, here, which killed two people, and injured at least seven. And a missile was shot down, and actually landed, not far from where we were working. In both cases, those were in the west of the city.

And fighting has also continued, in the north, northwest, and northeast, and a little bit in the east too. So, pressure continues, on Kyiv. Although in the last few days, the thing - the view has been that the Russians are consolidating, and reorganizing themselves, Anderson.

COOPER: Sam, we know that in, according to Ukrainian officials, in Mariupol, more than, or as many as, or more than 2,500 people have so far been killed. I understand some civilians that were able to flee today?

KILEY: Yes, this was a kind of very remarkable event, somewhat against the advice of the administration, of Mariupol that had been trying to negotiate humanitarian corridors, into government territory, for the 200,000, 300,000, 400,000 people, still wanting to get out of that besieged city.

A 160 private cars set off for Zaporizhzhia, heading northeast - sorry, northwest, towards Zaporizhzhia, without the agreement, necessarily, of the Russians, and made it through. This was somewhat against, as I say, the local authorities' advise. But they just said, "Well, look, if you want to try your hand, go for it." And it seems that the Russians, perhaps just by a unilateral decision, on the ground, did not engage this convoy.

Very different result was for the humanitarian convoy going in the opposite direction, bringing much needed medical supplies, food, water, and so on, that was held up, again, for about the sixth day in a row, about 50 miles north of Mariupol.

So, there was a glimmer of hope that at least in some success that some people could get out. But that city has been very heavily hammered. It continues to be attacked. It's been on fire. And, as we reported, the other day, was the scene of a very ugly strike, against maternity hospital, which killed several people, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Those drone footage that we were just showing, a few seconds ago, in Mariupol, are just stunning. You could really get a sense of just the sheer number of fires that are raging, of smoke coming out, of different targets, or buildings that have been hit, just smoke filling the sky, on the horizon.

Sam Kiley, appreciate it, from Kyiv, tonight.

Want to get perspective now, from two CNN Military Analysts. Retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. Also, retired Army General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, General Wesley Clark.

General Clark, how does the reporting, of increased fighting, around Kyiv, or increased shelling, continued fighting, and obviously the strike in the west, how does it square with the U.S. defense official, saying that the main Russian advance toward the capital remains stalled?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I think, it is stalled. But what they're doing is, they're continuing to use firepower, to keep the pressure, on Kyiv.

It's still an anti-human attack. They don't have the manpower yet, they don't have the encirclement yet, to really lay siege to the city. So, they're striking, and they're terrorizing people. And again, it's all part of the psychological pressure, on President Zelenskyy.

And if they hit military targets, well, that's fine. But this is really about keeping up the drumbeat of fear, among the officials, in Kyiv, in an effort, to squeeze them into diplomacy, and giving away the country.

COOPER: General Hertling, there was that cruise missile strike, we're told, from Russian bombers, just a few miles, from the Polish border, about 26 miles, from here.

It had been a base, wherein the past, before the invasion, U.S. forces, and others, had helped train Ukrainian forces. It's said to be - continued to have been a training center, for Ukrainian forces, now, not by US. Military, any longer.

Have you seen - I mean, what do you think the impact of an attack like that is? 35 people were killed. More than 100 were said to be wounded. It's probably the largest number of fatalities, in one single strike.

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), U.S. ARMY, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes. It was a surprise to me, Anderson. Truthfully, I've been at that base, Yavoriv, several times, for training events, where U.S., Ukrainian, Canadian, British, Germans, various NATO and non-NATO partners, have come together.


Because, it's not just that base camp where the missiles hit. There is a huge training area, where Ukrainian forces maneuver in that area. It is not a big base. It doesn't have that many people or that many buildings.

Surrounding the main base complex, which has relatively few buildings, are a lot of apartment complexes, where Ukrainian families that are married to soldiers, live. So, it surprised me. I think, it was sending a message, first of all, "Don't get comfortable anywhere in Ukraine."

As General Clark said, it's a continuation of the terrorist activity. But it's also an attempt to potentially interfere with the refugee flow, and perhaps some resupply actions into Ukraine, from NATO countries.

Because, it does straddle the Polish border. It's only about 20, as your reporters have said, less than 20 kilometers, from the Polish border. So, those were all the factors, involved in this.

But it also showed me something. Hitting that base with cruise missiles, with their caliber missiles, which are precision weapons, and hitting the building, with precision weapons, against a military target, versus the area fire weapons that they're using, against cities, like Mariupol, and Kharkiv, and Kyiv, tells me that, as General Clark said, the terror approach, to the citizenry, is very different, than the precision approach, to the Ukrainian military.

COOPER: And, General Clark, I mean, we have seen just that continued, just shelling of residential buildings. I mean, it becomes sort of - one becomes sort of numb to it, just looking at these pictures. And you hear kind of the daily Butcher Bill of two people died in this residential building.

But it's important to remember, these are - I mean, what we're seeing is a residential structure. We saw that old man, walking through a park, and a rocket, or some sort of artillery, hit a building, right nearby him.

It's important to just keep your eyes looking at this, each time, with kind of fresh eyes, to remind ourselves, "These are civilians' structures." CLARK: It is terrifying, what they're doing. If you were a civilian living in that town? You're hiding out in the basement. You're scavenging for food and water. Your children are frightened to death. And you don't have any control over it. So, it's a terrible situation, for these people.

But something else that General Hertling was pointing out, they do have precision weapons. If they could really target, the defenses, around Mariupol, and knock out the defenses there, they probably would.

They don't have the Intelligence. They don't have the targeting system, to go in after those things. And so, what you have is the old Soviet model. You bring the tank up, next to the apartment building, and you blast it.

They did this, in Budapest, in 1956. It's how they finished the Hungarian rebellion, there, in 1956. They brought in the tanks. They blew up buildings. They frightened and killed a lot of people. And that is the sort of Russian way of war.

Grafting on top of that are these precision weapons. But you got to have a targeting system, for that. You've got to have an Intelligence system that works, on a real-time basis. And the only thing we've seen, is this one strike, really that's effective against this base, which had a bunch of people in it.

I guess, they were - the people, have come across the border, trying to help the Ukrainians. And I'm told that somebody posted a Facebook post, or some kind of social media post, and explained, "Hey, I'm in this wonderful base. And look at all these people. They're all coming in to help us."

And the Facebook post had the time, and it had the location. And, shortly thereafter, I guess, the Russians intercepted it, and put a missile, missile strike, in there, with all these missiles.

But, for the most part, they don't have the targeting information. And Putin knows that the best way to finish is, for Zelenskyy, to lose heart, and concede. And that's what's not going to happen.

COOPER: General Hertling, what--

HERTLING: You know, Anderson, if I might add to what General Clark said?

COOPER: Go ahead.

HERTLING: You just ask Ambassador Yovanovitch, about the training mission that occurred, between the United States, Canada, and Germany, with Ukraine. All of that took place, at that base. It was called the Joint Multinational Training Group-Ukraine, JMTGU.

So, I believe that that missile strike, at Yavoriv, was sending a signal. "Do not partner with any NATO forces. Do not partner with the United States." That is, I think, just as important, as what General Clark, said, in terms of hitting the civilians that are there.

But it was, again, to reinforce the - a lack of Intelligence, the buildings, at that base, are on a map. They're on satellite feed. There was no military target hit, other than the buildings. So, this is something that's relatively easy, for the Russians, to get. They can hit buildings that are stationary.


The problem is, they can't hit military forces. They are having a hell of a time, attacking against a very active defense, by Ukrainian forces. And it's going to cause, I think, some significant problems, in the next few days.

It might even contribute, to a culmination, meaning an end, of the Russian offensive operations, and really them going into a defensive position. If that happens, they are really going to be in bad shape, from a logistics and resupply capability.

COOPER: General Hertling, one dynamic, we heard, about today, was the Ukrainians' abilities, to change their air defenses, almost, on a daily basis. What is the significance of that?

HERTLING: Well, right now, Anderson--

CLARK: I think, what they're able to do is--

HERTLING: I'm sorry. Go ahead, General Clark.

COOPER: Sorry. General Hertling? General Clark? Either one.


COOPER: General Clark?

HERTLING: What they are doing is--

COOPER: What do you think is--

HERTLING: --as we talked about early - earlier, in using, Stinger missiles, those are man-portable missiles. The individuals, who are carrying, those missiles, can move around. They are hard to target. They have no radar signature, like most air defense systems have, like the Russian air defense systems have.

So, you can shut down a larger system that has radars and rockets that are aiming at the higher levels. You can't shut down an individual soldier, with a Stinger MANPAD, man-portable device, over his shoulder.

And, I think, as you're moving, those forces around, they are getting Intelligence feeds, from some of the territorial - Ukrainian territorial forces that are seeing flight paths, of helicopters and aircraft.

And so, they quickly reposition the individuals, with the Stinger missiles, to intercept those aircraft, on flight paths, that are repeatedly used, which also show just how ineffective, the Russians are being, in terms of understanding, they've got to change their flight paths, not go down the same sorts of routes, on more than one occasion.

They're not doing that. So, they're setting themselves up, for air defense ambushes.

COOPER: Yes. General Hertling, General Clark, appreciate it.

CLARK: I will tell you, also, Anderson?

COOPER: Go ahead, General Clark.

CLARK: I was going to say, also, they're capturing - they're capturing some Russian equipment. And they've been very, very effective, at conserving their own remaining air defense assets.

So, when you hear those missiles, going out of Kyiv, those aren't - those aren't Stingers. Those are things like Buks. These are the main missiles. And they've got them. And they've captured some other ones.

And, they're - the Russians are the, really, the best source of equipment, for the Ukrainian army, in many cases. They're abandoning equipment. It's being taken over. And, of course, the Ukrainians know how to use it.

COOPER: Yes. Generals Clark--

CLARK: So, it's, they've done a remarkable job, of hanging together, their defense.

COOPER: Yes. General Clark, General Hertling, appreciate it. I'm sorry, for the delay, and stepping over you. Thank you both.

Sadly tonight, in a country full of--

HERTLING: No problem.

COOPER: --sadlys, there is more news, from the city of Mariupol. It concerns a woman, whose name we still don't know, but whose image, at a bombed-out maternity, has now been seen around the world.

The pictures are tough to take. Of course, the story is, as well. CNN's Phil Black has that, as well as another, of hope. Here's his report.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We don't know this woman's name. But we can see the desperate effort, to rescue her, from the devastation, of Mariupol's maternity hospital.

She's hurt. There are terrible injuries, down her right side. She appears dazed, by the enormous blast that hit here, only moments before. But she's conscious, and clearly concerned for her baby. At another medical facility, doctors, work, to save them, as their condition deteriorated.


BLACK (voice-over): Surgeon Timur Marin says they tried to resuscitate the woman, while also performing a cesarean delivery. They couldn't revive her, or her child. They both died.

Russian officials claimed the hospital was being used, by Ukrainian troops. And all civilians had left, before the attack.



BLACK (voice-over): The evidence shows that's not true.


BLACK (voice-over): Children, patients, staff, all experienced the terrifying blast that created this crater.

We do know this woman's name, Mariana Vishegirskaya. Hurt, and bleeding, she walked through the chaos, after the explosion. The next day, she gave birth, in another hospital. She and her husband have named their daughter, Veronica.

The strike on Mariupol's maternity hospital has become a defining moment, in a war, already notorious, for its brutality, and great suffering, inflicted on the innocent.

Phil Black, CNN, London.


COOPER: It is just horrific!


Coming up, next, there's breaking news, on what would be an extraordinary high-level summit, next week, in Brussels. I have the latest on that. And a very busy day, of high stakes diplomacy, today, in Ukraine. We've got a live report from the State Department.

We'll be joined as well by Fareed Zakaria.

Later, also, a report, from Romania, where refugees, in their own words, about what they have left behind, and what the future may hold.


COOPER: More breaking news, tonight. CNN has learned that the leaders of NATO could meet in person, in Brussels, as soon as next week. That's according to a diplomatic source, familiar with the planning. Multiple U.S. officials confirm that President Biden is preparing to possibly travel to Europe, next week, though his trip has not been finalized, nor has the NATO leader's summit.

That news caps a day that saw other high stakes diplomacy, between the U.S. and China, which as you know, has reportedly been asked, by Russia, for military assistance.

CNN's Kylie Atwood is at the State Department, for us.

So, we know National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, met today, with a top Chinese diplomat. Do we know much about China's possible involvement?


KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, what we've been reporting, over the last few days, Anderson, is that Russia has asked China, for military and economic support, as part of this invasion, into Ukraine.

We don't know exactly what prompted that. But it's significant that this came, after they began their invasion, into Ukraine.

And notably, just today, the Pentagon spokesperson, said, the United States believes that Russia isn't as far along, in this invasion, as they thought they would be, at this point. The State Department spokesperson saying that Russia, gravely has miscalculated this. So, it appears that they're going to China, when they have faced hurdles, unexpected hurdles, as part of their invasion.

Now, National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, met with his Chinese counterpart, today. And he very explicitly voiced U.S. concerns, about China's support for Russia.

And we are told that he was very clear, in saying that there would be implications, not just for the U.S.-China relationship, but also for China's relationship, with countries, around the world, if they went forth, with this support, for Russia's invasion.

Now, the State Department isn't confirming that China has actually provided this support. But they say that they're watching, this space, incredibly closely, as the United States has watched Russia and China, grow closer and closer, not just over the last few days, or weeks, but really, over the last few years, and they're watching to see what that close relationship will look like, in the face, of this crisis.

COOPER: There's the possibility of a trip, by President Biden, next week, to European nations. I assume part of that must be concern among NATO countries, about the security, of their own borders.

ATWOOD: Yes, that's right. We're reporting tonight that President Biden may perhaps travel, next week, to Brussels, to meet with other NATO leaders. That would be an extraordinary meeting, an in-person meeting.

And, of course, it's coming, as NATO Allies, grow increasingly concerned, about the possibility that there could be Russia-NATO confrontation, as these Russian strikes, are coming up, right along the Ukraine border, with Poland, just over the last few days, coming within miles of that border. Anderson.

COOPER: Kylie Atwood, thanks very much.

Joining us now, is Fareed Zakaria, host of "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS."

Fareed, what do you think of China? Would they go through, with providing military or financial aid, to Russia?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: It would be a big step, Anderson.

So far, the Chinese have really been trying to play a game, where they are supportive of Russia, in general. They have talked about a relationship, or a partnership, with no limits. But, at the same time, they are caught in a trap.

The principle criticism, of the Beijing regime, of the United States, for the last 20 years, has been that the U.S. violates the sovereignty of nations, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya.

While here, you have a blatant violation of state sovereignty, the invasion of a country, with a view toward annexation of some of its provinces. And the Chinese are silent.

They also have an awkwardness that I hope Washington is playing up more. In 2013, China actually gave Ukraine, a security guarantee. It's a complicated story. And it's not entirely clear, why they did it. But they did.

So, they have a very difficult situation, where they have to, at the same time, support Russia, while deal with some of these issues, where China has really been, on the other side.

So, they, so far, have not really done anything that would be materially assisting Russia. To do so, strikes me that that would cross the Rubicon. It changes the nature of the relationship. And then, it raises the stakes, with, for the United States and the West, you are now up against, really, what was the great alliance of the Cold War, Communist China and Communist Soviet Union, all over again.

COOPER: There's got to be concern, in China, about the growing unity, of NATO, in all of this. I mean, a resurgent NATO, is not something China, I guess, would necessarily want to see.

ZAKARIA: Not at all. And, in fact, you're absolutely right.

The Chinese think about international relations, very abstractly, and theoretically. Before, asking themselves about a particular issue, they ask, "What is going on in the world?" And they'd always argued that basically, the West was declining, the East was rising. That was their - the mantra. Xi Jinping says it many times.

Well, right now, what's happening is, the West is reunifying, getting resurgent, getting revitalized. It may turn out to be - this is going to be a long, complicated, difficult issue. But that sense of purposelessness, that one, you could have criticized, the West, for a month ago, no longer exists.


And so, the Chinese are surely asking themselves, in a world, in which they still have most of their economic ties, to the West? I mean, I think, roughly speaking, trade with Europe, and the United States, put together, is probably five times, six times, seven times higher, than trade with Russia. In a world like that, do they really want to have a permanent antagonism, between the West and the East?

COOPER: Kylie was talking about the possibility, of the President, going to Europe, sometime relatively soon. How important could a trip like that be, especially, as Russians are striking further west, closer to Poland's border?

ZAKARIA: I think this is very important. Everything, right now, it's all about holding the Western alliance together, and ratcheting up the pressure, and ratcheting up the support for Ukraine.

And, in order to do that, you know, there are weak links, in the alliances. There are countries that are thinking to themselves, "We could benefit a little bit, if we could trade more, if the sanctions were relaxed." And so, everything that can be done, to force that unity, to encourage that unity, and to really make clear, what the stakes here are.

If the West is to have a future, as the upholder, of certain set of values, rules of the road, for the international system? It's going to have to prevail, in this case. Because this is the most blatant violation of that system that we've really had in decades. And it comes, from a leader, who seems determined, really, to tear all that up.

So, if the West cannot prevail, in Ukraine, it becomes very difficult, to see how the West will be able to continue, to say, "Look, we are upholding values, norms, institutions, that we want the rest of the world to adhere to."

COOPER: Yes. Fareed Zakaria, thank you. It's good to talk to you. Thank you.

To the refugee crisis, next, and the ongoing struggles, of those, who've managed, to escape the war zone, we'll take you to Romania, where more than 400,000 Ukrainians, have arrived, since the invasion began.



COOPER: The number of refugees, escaping Ukraine, has grown to almost 3 million, according to the United Nations. Most have crossed over to Poland. But more than 400,000 have fled to neighboring Romania.

Each one, of course, has a story. And CNN's Miguel Marquez has been speaking to, many of them, about their uncertain futures. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They arrive by the hundreds. Normal Ukrainian citizens, one day. Refugees, the next.

VALERIA PAVLIN, REFUGEE FROM KHARKIV, UKRAINE: This is stressful, yes, and because, we have no idea, what to do, where to go, and when we will be able to return to our homes.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Pavlin is from Kharkiv, Ukraine's second biggest city, which has been devastated, by Russian artillery and rockets.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): "When I was packing my clothes," she says, "I thought it would all be over, in three days."

For many, just arriving on Romanian soil, emotional. One woman cries, as a volunteer hands her, a bottle of water.

DENIS STAMATESCU, RESTAURANT OWNER AND VOLUNTEER: All the Romanian people, are mobilized, and are helping these people.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Romanians stepping up, trying to make the Ukrainians feel a little bit at home.

Denis Stamatescu, closed his restaurants, in Costanza. He now serves meals, free, to refugees.

STAMATESCU: We closed the restaurant. And we are coming here, to help these people.

Chicken, pork? Chicken, pork?

MARQUEZ (voice-over): And, for all those getting out, a few going back in. Alexander Pahumenka (ph) is returning to Mykolaiv.

Russians have hammered this city.

MARQUEZ (on camera): And you are willing to die for Ukraine?


MARQUEZ (voice-over): "We all die," he says. Then adds, "I'm afraid to die. But I'm not a coward."

Tatyana Bukietava (ph), from Odessa, along with her daughter, Mitoslava (ph), their dog, and two cats, she says, they left, because of what they heard, was happening, in places, already controlled, by the Russians.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): "I've heard about the violence," she says, "and killings of peaceful people, without any reason." She added, "I had to leave. I was too stressed about it happening to me, and my daughter." UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).


COOPER: And Miguel joins us now.

Is the number of refugees, in Romania, or getting to Romania, is that increasing?

MARQUEZ: It is increasing, but at a much slower rate. So, for instance, a week ago, it was about 30,000 a day. It's about half that, right now.

But the concern that officials here in Romania have is that they believe those internally displaced, in Ukraine, are moving toward the borders. And as the Russians move west, they are afraid there'll be another tidal wave, of refugees, if the fighting gets closer, to them, on those border areas.


COOPER: Yes. Miguel Marquez, appreciate it. Thank you.

Just ahead, we'll be joined by one of the reporters, of a fascinating "New York Times" story, about the U.S. investigation that's trying to determine the owner of this superyacht, now docked, in Italy, and what connection, if any, it may have to Vladimir Putin.



COOPER: New reports from the "New York Times" details the American investigation into this superyacht. It's currently docked in Italian coastal town.

According to multiple sources, who spoke with the "Times," it's not just another asset, of a Russian oligarch. Although there are indications it could be associated with Russia's President, Vladimir Putin.

I'm joined now, by one of the "New York Times" reporters, who broke the story, Michael Forsythe.

So Michael, this is really fascinating. What was it that raised suspicions, this yacht might belong to Putin?

MICHAEL FORSYTHE, NEW YORK TIMES INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Believe it or not, Anderson, it was a tip we got over, at the "New York Times" tip line, a couple of weeks ago.

A crew member, a former crew member, of the yacht, or said, he was a crew member, told me that the yacht was Putin's, that the captain had told him that it was Putin's. It was widely known throughout the - of throughout the entire crew that it was Putin's. And that when Putin would go on the boat, "Boss on (ph)," he called it, all the foreign crew members, would be off the boat, and it would be manned by Russian crew members. And so, he told me this.

COOPER: Right.

FORSYTHE: I checked it out. Seemed to have some credibility. The captain of the ship, I talked to him, and he completely denied it. So, it was somewhat of a mystery. But we're starting to unravel it a little bit now.

COOPER: So, who is investigating, whether the yacht belongs to Putin? And what happens, if authorities determined, it's his?

FORSYTHE: Right. So, we're probably never going to find a document that says "This boat belongs to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin." That's just not going to happen.

It's going to be owned by probably another oligarch, or somebody, within the state apparatus. And indeed, the Italian press, and we have not confirmed this, but there are some Italian news outlets that are saying indeed, it is owned by this former CEO of Russneft, an underling of - one of Putin's underlings, a former pig breeder.

So, if the government though, if the U.S. government, and they are saying that they are - the U.S. government now is saying there are links to Putin, this yacht does have links to Putin. If it is determined that? Then, the U.S. is going to have to talk to the Italians. And the Italians are going to have to make up their mind, whether they should confiscate this boat.


COOPER: And from what's known, about Vladimir Putin's travels, and where this yacht has been, do that - do they intersect?

FORSYTHE: There could be an intersection. We don't have Putin's complete travel schedule. But this boat's only about 2.5-years-old. And both summers that it's been in operation, 2020 and 2021, it's gone to the Russian port of Sochi, on the Black Sea. And we know Putin likes to go, spends a lot of time there, in Sochi.

So, we haven't seen any photographic evidence or any evidence that he was on the boat, ourselves. But that's where American Intelligence would step in, and they would have a much better picture, than we would, about Putin's movements, and whether they intersect, with the boat's schedule.

COOPER: And what does a yacht like that cost?

FORSYTHE: $700 million is one estimate that we've seen. So, not cheap.



COOPER: Yikes! Michael Forsythe, appreciate it. Thanks. It's really fascinating. Hope you find out what the deal is.

Ahead, a spotlight, on some of the youngest victims, of this war, who remain stranded, in Ukraine, the newborns, given birth to, by surrogates, who are waiting for their parents, now, to pick them up. As bombs drop around them, the question is, can their parents get in, to pick them up and take them out? That's next.



COOPER: The Ukrainian capital of Kyiv was rocked by heavy explosions, again, today. Among those being shuffled, to safety, are many newborns, given the gift of life, by surrogates. They're trapped, by the violence, and waiting for their parents, to come get them. But as this war intensifies, their fates are more and more uncertain.

CNN's Sam Kiley, has more.


KILEY (voice-over): This is precious cargo. Not cash in transit. But week-old Baby Lawrence (ph), in transit, to a new life.

Born to a surrogate mother, under bombardment, in Kyiv, he's raced through the Ukrainian capital, to a nursery, in the southwest of the city.


KILEY (voice-over): It's perilously close, to Russian troops, and easily within range, of their artillery. This is a gauntlet, his new parents will have to run, when, or if, they come here, to collect him.

For now, he'll be among 20 other surrogate babies, destined, it's hoped, for new lives, in Argentina, China, Spain, Italy, Canada, Austria, and the U.S. Parting from the child, she carried, as a surrogate, Victoria is inevitably tearful, her pain intensified, by uncertainty.

VICTORIA, SURROGATE MOTHER (through translator): It is even harder that he is in a place, where they're shelling. And when will his parents get to take him away, because of it? It's really hard.

KILEY (voice-over): This missile struck about 500 yards, from the nursery, while we were there.

KILEY (on camera): There are constant explosions, we can even hear, in the basement. And the Russian military is reportedly consolidating, and planning to push in, further, into the city, from the east. So, the future of these children is even more in doubt.

How long will it be before it's impossible, completely impossible, for their new parents, to come and rescue them?

KILEY (voice-over): The nannies here, cannot join the exodus of civilians, from Kyiv. These babies may be tiny, but they're the heaviest of responsibilities.

Antonina's husband and daughter have already traveled to safety, 130 miles south.

ANTONINA YEFIMOVIC, NANNY (through translator): These babies can't be abandoned. They're defenseless. They also need care. And we really hope that the parents will come, and pick them up soon.

KILEY (voice-over): An Argentine couple collected their child, the day before. But a combination of the pandemic and, now, war, has meant that some have been stuck here, for months.

DR. IHOR PECHENOGA, PEDIATRICIAN, BIOTEXCOM (through translator): It all depends on the strength of the parents' desire. I met with parents, who came to Kyiv, to pick up their baby. They had tears in their eyes. They had waited 20 years, for their baby. And there are such couples, who are afraid, because there is a war going on, here.

KILEY (voice-over): These infants are oblivious to the doubts over their future and the dangers that they've already survived. There's abundant hope that it stays that way.

Sam Kiley, CNN, Kyiv.


COOPER: Yes. It's just awful to think about this. Hopefully, somebody might be able to figure out a way, to maybe move those infants, at least to Poland, where they could be safe, and the parents could come and pick them up.

For those wondering, how you can help, with the humanitarian crisis, overall, here, in Ukraine, you can log on to CNN's Impact Your World page. Our team has put together a list of ways to assist. You can go to

We'll be right back.



COOPER: There's a QR code, in the bottom of your screen. It's a - it'll take you to a podcast that I've been doing, while here. You can just take out your camera, point it to the QR code, and it'll take you there.

The podcast is called "Tug of War." Last week, I talked to Clarissa Ward, about what it's like behind-the-scenes reporting, on the situation, here, in Ukraine, in Kyiv, where she has been, for these last weeks.

In the episode, the most recently posted, I have a really in-depth conversation with CNN's International Security Editor, Nick Paton Walsh, who's been reporting, from the southern part of Ukraine, for weeks. We talk about the challenges, covering a war, when one side is deliberately lying. And his approach, overall, to talking to people, while they're experiencing, the trauma of war.

It's a fascinating conversation. It's really not stuff you see on the show, every day. I hope you listen to it. You can go, scan your camera, over the QR code, as we mentioned, or you can find it in your favorite podcast app.

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


DON LEMON, CNN HOST, DON LEMON TONIGHT: Yes, always continues, it seems, especially with this going on. We know that Zelenskyy has been speaking to his people tonight. He has a message.

But my question, Anderson, is Russia has been stepping up their shelling, of both military and civilian targets. How is this destruction impacting the resolve of Ukrainian people, and their ability, to really defend their own country?

COOPER: I mean, it's certainly driving - look, we've seen more than 2 million people - 2.5 million, or 2.6 million, people leaving already. So, I mean, it's certainly driving a lot of people out, and a lot of women and young children. And they're trying to open up humanitarian corridors, as you know.

But, I think, it's also really stiffing the resolve. I think, the level of hatred, now, here, for what Russia has done, what Vladimir Putin has done? You feel it everywhere you go. And you see it, in the people, who are volunteering, to not only to fight. But if they're not picking up a weapon, they're volunteering to fight, in other ways.

LEMON: Yes. Anderson, great coverage. I enjoyed watching. Be safe. We'll see you tomorrow. Thank you very much.

This is "DON LEMON TONIGHT." And here is our breaking news. Of course, explosions heard, in Kyiv, tonight, as Russia expands its assault.