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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Deadly Missile Strike On Kyiv Residential Building; U.N. Says More Than 3.1 Million Refugees Have Fled War-Torn Ukraine; Russia Leaving Kharkiv In Ruins; Deadly Missile Strike On Kyiv Residential Building; Ukrainian Officials Say Eight Of Nine Humanitarian Corridors Open Today; Number Of Ukrainian Refugees In Poland Outnumbers The Population Of Warsaw; U.S. Citizen Killed In Russian Artillery Attack In Chernihiv. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired March 17, 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: Right? So this now continues for months on end.
Thanks so much for joining us. AC 360 starts now
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: It is hard to say good evening from Ukraine, even on the best of nights, and harder still given what we have seen in cities and towns across Ukraine today.
We're going to get in the two hours ahead to all the latest developments in Kyiv and Kharkiv and Mariupol. We are going to talk with our reporters and our analysts and those living through this horror.
But before all that, I want to begin with one person's pain, one man's grief.
Now we don't know his name, or the name of his mother whom he is kneeling over on the street, outside an apartment building in Kyiv that has just been hit reportedly by a downed missile.
It's some video that we saw earlier today and feel that you should see as well. We're showing it not to shock or tug at heartstrings, only so that you can see un-sanitized, un-euphemized what this war, more than any European conflict since the Second World War is about, namely that invaders unable to achieve their objectives have turned instead to the destruction of cities, mass murder, which in human terms is really the murder of one person multiplied by the dozens, the hundreds, and now the thousands/
One child buried in rubble, one missing father, one family killed while trying to flee. Today, a fallen mother and a weeping son.
[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS]
COOPER: That is what happened today in Kyiv, to that man and to his mother, and it happened in other cities across Ukraine as well, to women and children, grandparents, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters.
The United Nations is out with a new estimate of civilian casualties, 726 killed, that, of course, is probably extremely low. As always, the U.N. official giving that estimate says the actual numbers likely much higher. She also said that hundreds of residential buildings across the country have now been damaged or destroyed. Also schools, she said such as this kindergarten in Kharkiv.
In total, the U.N. estimates that at least 52 children have died since the war began. But again, that number is also almost certainly sickeningly low.
As for hospitals and other healthcare facilities, a new assessment by the World Health Organization shows that upwards of 43 had been hit, 43, and as many as 35,000 psychiatric patients are facing severe shortages of medicines, food, heating, everything needed for basic survival according to the World Health Organization.
There is so much that we simply cannot see, do not have access to, or will only learn about long and long after this terrible fact. For now, one video of one grieving son we think carries more of the burden speaking for the larger tragedy than it really should -- another casualty of war.
We can only hope tonight that the son can find at least a little solace now and in the days ahead.
For more on what those days might hold, CNN's Sam Kiley reports for us from Kyiv, CNN's Kaitlan Collins is at the White House, which has some tough diplomacy coming up and CNN's Ed Lavandera is in eastern Poland where close to two million refugees have now been able to arrive safely.
First, a look at the major headlines of the day from CNN's Kristin Fisher.
KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The Ukrainian resistance is not letting up, but neither is the Russian offensive as Russian bombardments cause even more havoc in Ukrainian cities. This residential building in the capital, Kyiv was hit by the debris of a downed missile.
Ukraine's Emergency Service says at least one person was killed, but incredibly in the besieged city of Mariupol, signs of survivors. Just one day earlier, an airstrike hit a theater where civilians were sheltering despite the Russian word for "children" written on the ground outside the building.
Today, the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights says survivors have begun to emerge from the wreckage. There had been more than a thousand people sheltering believed to be inside. This video from last week shows the cramped conditions inside as the city has been cut off from water, power, and heat.
OLEKSII REZNIKOV, UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER: Still, in spite of that, this monster has bombed the theater.
FISHER (voice over): Russia denies attacking the theater accusing Ukrainian militants of killing their own people.
In the southern city of Mykolaiv, the dead have been piling up in morgues like this one.
Human Rights Watch is now accusing Russia of using cluster munitions there to kill civilians, a weapon banned under international law because of the high risk of civilian casualties and widespread damage in populated areas.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is now accusing Russia of war crimes.
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime. After all, the destruction of the past three weeks, I find it difficult to conclude that the Russians are doing otherwise.
FISHER (voice over): Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russia has crossed all the red lines by shelling civilians and made this impassioned plea to German lawmakers to do more to help Ukraine.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Every year, politicians say "never again." Now, I see that these words are worthless. In Europe, a people is being destroyed.
FISHER (voice over): But the Biden administration remains firmly against implementing a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
LLOYD JAMES AUSTIN III, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: There is no such thing as a no-fly zone light. A no-fly zone means that you're in a conflict with Russia.
FISHER (voice over): The U.S. has been working to get additional lethal assistance to Ukraine. Sources tell CNN, U.S. we'll be providing switchblade drones, which detonate on impact with a target.
Ukraine has also requested additional S-300 air defense systems NATO ally, Slovakia is willing to provide their S-300 system to Ukraine if they get replacement capabilities from the U.S.
JAROSLAV NAD, SLOVAKIAN MINISTER OF DEFENSE: We're willing to do so immediately when we have a proper placement.
FISHER (voice over): Russia is also considering reinforcing their military from outside the Ukrainian theater. According to a senior U.S. defense official, these images show Russian warships passing through the waters near Russia and Japan, possibly bound for Ukraine to prolong what has already been a catastrophic conflict.
Kristin Fisher, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Just ahead tonight, retired four-star General Wesley Clark on what he sees for the days and weeks ahead.
Let's check first with our correspondent, Sam Kiley in Kyiv. Just from the images alone, we are seeing Russian forces hitting an increasing number of sites, civilian sites in multiple cities across the country. How damaging are these attacks? What are local forces doing in retaliation?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first, the retaliation, I think, very significantly. It's not official, but I think the explanation for the recent 36-hour nonstop curfew that we've just emerged from this morning was a significant push back, a counter offensive here in Kyiv in the west of the city against the Russian advance.
There appears to have been -- it is now being confirmed by the Ukrainians as substantial use of artillery against Russian positions hampered of course by the presence of civilians, because these civilian deaths at the moment that are trying to prevent them is the main focus of the Ukrainians and something -- causing them has been the focus of the Russian campaign.
So in Chernihiv where Mr. Hill was killed, the U.S. citizen was killed. He was killed alongside 52 other people in the last 24 hours according to the local officials there, Anderson, that's a city just about a hundred miles north of here close to the Belarusian border, south of Kharkiv, where the market in the city of Kharkiv, the market was struck, burned for many hours southwest of that location, over 20 people were killed in a village, and so it goes on.
This almost nonstop increase in the numbers of civilian casualties -- Anderson.
COOPER: Kaitlan, Secretary Blinken said that the U.S. is concerned that China may consider supplying military equipment to the Russians. The President is supposed to speak with the Chinese President tomorrow.
Any readout from the White House on what they are hoping to get out of that conversation.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think they want to get a real sense, Anderson, of where the Chinese President stands on this and what he is likely to do next because this is someone that President Biden hasn't spoken with since November.
And so in those four months, of course, this invasion has started just in the last three weeks. They have not spoken since then. Jake Sullivan, Biden's National Security Adviser did spend seven hours in a room in Rome talking to a top Chinese diplomat and that is what really set up this conversation that's going to happen tomorrow.
I think the White House wants to get a sense of what they think President Xi is going to do here because you're hearing from Secretary Blinken today saying that they are very concerned that China is moving in the direction of granting that request by Russia for more military equipment, which we know also included things like request for MREs, these ready to meals for Russian forces who have struggled with a lack of gas or lack of food, obviously, lack of supplies as they've tried to conduct this invasion of Ukraine.
But we've also heard from the C.I.A. Director, Bill Burns, who told lawmakers in recent weeks that he believed the Chinese presence was unsettled by this invasion even though senior Chinese officials knew it was coming, he was unsettled by it because of the nature of it and that it wasn't this quick invasion like Putin had predicted, according to U.S. assessments.
And so I think, tomorrow, the purpose of this conversation between President Biden and President Xi Jinping is to get a real sense of where China stands on this and what they're likely to do, and if they're going to be able to or if they're willing to help Russia with its request.
COOPER: Sam, what is the latest on humanitarian corridors, including the one leading people out of the besieged city of Mariupol?
KILEY: Anderson, eight out of nine that were bilaterally negotiated, did actually go into effect. We understand that about 2,000 people, mostly in private cars, were able today to get out of Mariupol bringing the total according to local authorities, to about 30,000.
A lot of them are heading to the city of Zaporizhzhia, others from Enerhodar, the location of nuclear power station yesterday were attacked as they went out in a humanitarian corridor. There have been others also in the vicinity of here, the capital Kyiv, and indeed from Kharkiv. But the numbers coming out have been really relatively small because the level of fighting has meant that it has just simply been impossible to get people out.
This all happening as the British Intelligence have just put out a public statement, saying that they believe the logistics chain for the Russians has been so badly affected, so badly attacked by Ukrainian forces, that they are really struggling with resupply, that presents the Ukrainians with an opportunity, but no doubt will also provoke an equal and opposite response from the Ukrainians in terms of yet more civilian casualties.
COOPER: Now, Kaitlan, Secretary Blinken also said that the U.S. believes they have a strong sense of what Russia could do next. What does the administration expect?
COLLINS: Yes, one of those, of course is something that they've been warning about, which is Russia could try to conduct a chemical weapons attack, blame it on the Ukrainians, and then use that to have an even greater use of force than what we've seen already, bombing these theaters where we know civilians were sheltering and that is one of their concerns. Another concern is Russia is going to send in mercenaries to the
country to help fight on their behalf as they've struggled with their military plan. Of course, as we've seen that play out.
Another concern is kidnapping local officials, like we've seen already happen and try to replace them with puppet officials and put them in their place. He also warned that Russia might be trying to send in local government officials from Russia to certain areas in Ukraine and try to fulfill this government role and also use economic assistance to try to prop up the economy in those communities where they would be, to try to make the Ukrainians more dependent on the Kremlin.
Plots like that is what Secretary Blinken was warning about today, and we have seen some of that happen like these kidnappings of local officials. As we know, we've seen that play out. But Secretary Blinken, we should note, often when he predicts what's going to happen. We've seen it sometimes play out almost to a tee like what he said before the invasion of how they were going to stage all these false flag attacks to try to justify an invasion happening as a pretext for an invasion. He is now warning about well, it could happen that we are now going into the fourth week of this invasion.
COOPER: Sam, there was a report about another mayor from a town in the northeast part of the country who was kidnapped by Russian forces?
KILEY: Yes, a town just on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Anderson. A pattern, as Kaitlan is rightly pointing out there of Russian attempts not only to capture territory, but replace the political administration.
Yesterday, the mayor of Melitopol was released, initially, it was reported, he was released as a result of some Special Forces operation, now seems to have been some kind of prisoner release, not exactly sure what's going on there.
But we've seen a lot of civil resistance to the attempts of Russians to run towns that they have taken on notably in Kherson. That is the biggest city that they have captured. In that location, there has been daily protests against the presence -- almost daily protests against the presence of Russian troops. They're trying to -- and those local protesters, they are not fighting any longer, but they are trying to undermine these efforts being made by the Russians to set up some parallel political administration -- Anderson.
COOPER: Sam Kiley, appreciate the reporting. Kaitlan Collins as well. It has been incredibly hard to get reporting directly out of Kharkiv because of the punishing attacks tax it is under.
Coming up next, we'll be joined by a correspondent who has just returned, spending five days there during some of the worst shelling and bombing of the war.
Later, a top American official who has sadly seen far too much of this, Samantha Power, former war correspondent and currently head of the Agency for International Development joins us.
COOPER: Russian shells hit Kharkiv Central Market today, one of the largest in the world and hardly the first. Few cities have been targeted the way Kharkiv has and for the last five days, my next guest has been in the middle of.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HIND HASSAN, VICE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: That disruption just from a few days ago and then if you come over here, it is actually a children's playground that's just behind us as well.
That's an explosion that just happened just a couple of hours ago. We heard it. It was very, very loud and this is the reality of how dangerous the city is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Hind Hassan is a correspondent for "Vice News." She joins us now.
Hind, what was the shelling, the destruction like in Kharkiv while you were there?
HASSAN: It was unbelievable. I mean, this is Ukraine's second largest city. It is very close to the Russian border. There are a lot of Russian speakers who were there, has close cultural ties to Russia, and if you are a journalist who has covered the fighting in Ukraine with separatists over the past eight years, that is very likely you would have visited this city and it is usually busy, there are lots of people there. There are great restaurants.
And in just, you know, a matter of days, it's changed into something completely different. I went back for the first time after this war and it was unbelievable. The level of destruction that we saw in so many streets in Central Kharkiv was really difficult to absorb.
And there were huge buildings everywhere you went that had been hit, and there was one street that we went to today, in fact, that had been hit three different times, on different days. And if you can see in some of the footage, it's just really, really incredible damage that has been made for the city.
COOPER: We saw some emergency workers in that piece we showed in the introduction, I mean, they must be working constantly. I know you spoke to some of them.
HASSAN: That's right. So on one of the early days when we first arrived in a Kharkiv, we turned up to a building that had been completely destroyed. It was a residential building and we came across some emergency workers who told us that they believe there was a woman, the body of a woman, perhaps on the fourth floor, and we met some of those people who were trying to pull the body out and they were just working all day in order to try and do that.
And then there were different sites that we ended up at, different buildings that had been damaged or hit and we just kept seeing the same emergency workers over and over again. And they told us that this was just what they were doing all day that there were so many people, so many bodies that were trapped in these buildings, and they were not going to stop until they could do as much as they could do.
COOPER: Are they -- I mean, are they able to collect bodies? I mean, you're talking about emergency workers trying to get one person out for many hours. I know you went to the city morgue as well, or at least one of them.
HASSAN: Yes, so unfortunately, one of the buildings that we were at, the one that I just mentioned, they did manage to remove all the rubble and get to the 73-year-old grandmother who lived in that building and the destruction and what happened to her home was really immense and what was really sad is just next door, there were people that had lived just next door and they managed to get out, but she had been trapped and the missile had just hit just above where she was living.
They pulled her body out, and then they called her son up to tell him that they had found her. They then took her to a morgue that was very close by and then they let us in to the morgue and there were just bodies absolutely everywhere.
They were all over the floor outside. They told us that the basement was full, that the morgue itself was full. There were makeshift tents and there wasn't enough room in the makeshift tents and they were outside of them.
Yes, there were more morgues that we went as well. That wasn't the only one. We met the son of this 73-year-old grandmother in the end and we spoke to him. We went with him to the funeral, as well. And she had a very, very simple funeral with only a few people around her. In January, we did go to the funeral of a soldier and we saw what a traditional Ukrainian funeral is like with the village turning out and the church involved, and here we were, at the funeral of this woman and it was just a few people stood around a freshly dug grave, saying goodbye to her. It was incredibly sad.
COOPER: I mean, it's one of the many indignities of this war that somebody who has lived their entire life and gotten to an old age when they die, that they can't be -- their friends, their families, their loved ones, their lifetime of neighbors and friends and community can't be there to bury them in those final hours and moments.
The city before the war, I think it had something like one million to 1.5 million people living there. Do you have any sense of how many people have actually left? I mean, obviously, we don't keep a count of this, but a lot of people must have gotten out or if they could.
HASSAN: Well, the streets do seem incredibly empty now, and most people, it seems to either fled because they've been able to, or are desperately trying to flee and those who haven't have moved underground into metro stations, which are being used as bomb shelters. There are also old people, or people who just have nowhere else to go, and who have spent their lives building their homes, and they don't have the option of being able to leave the city and go somewhere else.
So they feel that they just have to stay put. And there's, there's nothing else to do. And we went into the metro stations and the bomb shelters. And we spoke to some of the people who were there and some had lost their homes.
There was one woman who took us through her house, where she lived just around the corner from the metro station, from the bomb shelter that she was now staying in and it was completely destroyed. She had no option but to live in this train station with bags of her clothes and that is just what we saw over and over again, people who were living inside the train on the platform, their entire lives reduced to these bags of clothes that they had and relying on the aid that was being handed out to them.
There were really sad scenes of old people just sat by themselves and you knew that their entire day pretty much just consisted of them waiting and seeing what the next step is and staying safe.
And that is the reality for a lot of people who were left behind and actually talking about the mall. What was really striking for some of the people who are facing this or who have been killed in this war is that they don't even escape the war in their death. Because when we were inside the morgue, we had an absolutely huge strike and it had been relatively quiet inside the center of the city in the days beforehand.
But whilst we were there, there was a massive strike, everybody just got down to the floor and then tried to hide and get to the basement that was in the morgue. And then when we got out, we started to investigate what that was then we went around the corner and not too far away, a few streets away, we found a huge building in the middle of the city that had been hit.
And the same emergency workers that I mentioned earlier were there and they were working with firefighters and firefighters were trying to put the flames out, and so that's just the reality of it.
And the people who are in the metro stations are constantly hearing the sound of outgoing and incoming fire as well and when we are talking to people, you can see it, you can see the fear that they are experiencing. Some of them have lost their homes, some of them were nearby their home when strike happened or they had family members that were actually in the buildings when missiles struck, so it's just living in constant fear and not knowing what tomorrow brings.
COOPER: Hind Hassan, it is remarkable you were able to get there and document that. I appreciate you talking to us about it. Thank you.
HASSAN: Thank you. COOPER: Be careful.
Reaction to the situation in Kharkiv and elsewhere now and perspective, three full weeks into the war with Russian forces apparently stalled in many parts of the country, but obviously continuing to devastate many parts of the country.
Joining us, CNN national security analyst, James Clapper, retired Air Force Lieutenant General and former Director of National Intelligence.
Director Clapper, you heard our last guest. You've seen the images from Kharkiv. Does anything surprise you about these Russian tactics? I mean, obviously we've seen them in other cities which we've talked about, in Grozny in Chechnya, supporting Syrian forces and Aleppo, leveling civilian areas.
Is anything from what is happening now surprising you?
JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: No, unfortunately, it isn't a surprise. This is the standard Russian -- Soviet Russian way of war. Surround a city if they can and they are having trouble doing that, put it under siege, strangle it, prevent supplies, medicines, food, water, et cetera and then bombard the city for two purposes. One to destroy infrastructure and terrorize the population and their behavior in Ukraine seems to be unfortunately fitting that template.
COOPER: A British military intelligence has said that the Russian invasion is, quote "largely stalled" on all fronts and that their forces were sustaining heavy losses. You know there have been reports and not confirmed at this point about perhaps that there was some sort of offensive in around Kyiv by Ukrainian forces.
But hearing that that they've stalled on the ground, that doesn't mean that shelling doesn't continue, it just means that they may not be advancing to the degree that they would like.
CLAPPER: Well, that's right, Anderson, they did not assemble and do not have enough combat power in any one of the more or less four avenues of approach to use a military term as they attempt to do a attack into Ukraine, they and they, and compounding that is the fact that the Ukrainians have been very successful in treating with combat power, as limited as it was that the Russians were able to assemble. So they killed a lot of Russian soldiers, and they've destroyed or damaged or captured a lot of Russian equipment. So that is further compromised, or marginalize the combat power of these military formations.
So what they'll -- what they're doing, apparently, is to resort to a fair a favorite tactic of the Russians, which is bombardments, as I said, the purpose of which is to both terrorize the citizens, kill them if they can, and without regard to who they are children, women doesn't matter. And of course, in the process, destroy infrastructure. And that seems to be the pattern. But their, their conventional assault is just not working. COOPER: Secretary State Blinken said in the press conference today that quote, we have a strong sense of what Russia could do next, which is opinion occluded, the use of chemical weapons. You've said before in this program that you think it's very possible, if not probable that Putin would use chemical weapons. I'm wondering if you if you still believe that and does that fit into what you just said, which is they're stalled on the ground? And so, in order to continue to, to destroy and terrorize that would be a in the calculus of Vladimir Putin a logical step?
CLAPPER: Yes, it would be. And I think, I'll use the example of what is still the major Russian prize, which is Kyiv. And so they, they're having difficulty surrounding it. But assuming they did, and then they try to strangle the lines of communication bombard the city, and then let the troops try to march in. And then they ran into resistance on it's my belief they would employ a chemical weapons because they have a history, but history for it.
So again, that that would fit the template.
COOPER: Lt. Gen. James Clapper, and appreciate your time, as always, Director Clapper.
Just ahead, more on the intense shelling by the Russians and the humanitarian crisis it has created. Joining me will be the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development Samantha Power.
COOPER: Want to spend some time now on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine as Sam Kiley reported earlier those humanitarian corridors being used to transport aid in and civilians out. Some of them were open today. Ukrainian officials said eight of nine worked as planned. On Wednesday, President Zelenskyy said they did not work as a Russian shelling European official today said access for humanitarian relief has been, quote sporadic and best.
Joining us now someone well versed in trying to relieve suffering and war torn areas, Samantha Power, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development. She's also a former writer and ambassador as well.
Ambassador Power, just how difficult is it to get aid into Ukraine and people out of Ukraine?
SAMANTHA POWER, DIRECTOR, USAID: Well, for those who started living toward the west, those people were able to move quickly as you saw people flooding across the Ukrainian border into Europe, and that's still happening, 70,000 kids per day are part of that population flow. But if you live in one of the besieged areas, it's excruciating. You're running low on food, on water, on medicine. We've had even reports of dehydration deaths if you can believe it in Europe. And it's not a coincidence. It's not an accident. It's a tactic of Russia's war, of Putin's war. The idea is close the vise on civilians than those civilians who are so connected, of course, with the fighters and with the political leadership in any particular town.
The logic is the logic of sieges, then those civilians will press, the political leaders to surrender. And that is an old school tactic. And it is not allowed under international humanitarian law, to say the least but it but the reason that the evacuations are hard to organize, is not because of logistics. It is because of the will of the invader to try to actually use civilian harm, I think to press for political concessions.
COOPER: What is USAID doing now?
POWER: Well, for starters, we along with the rest of U.S. government are working to try to ensure that President Putin is hearing pressure on humanitarian corridors from all quarters. Obviously, with the United States and Europe engaged in this pressure campaign with all of these economic sanctions that have been so debilitating to Russia's economy. Countries like India, China, Turkey, Israel, those that are in constant contact with Putin caring, ensuring that they carry that message that they are pressing, for something so basic as letting civilians out and food and medicine in, so that's part of it. We're part of a U.S. government wide effort.
But the other part of it is getting food into Ukraine so that when moments of opportunity arise, as they have sporadically that the UN and other non governmental partners are in a position to send food in, to send medicine in, so that's working with the World Health Organization, the World Food Program, UNICEF and others. And of course, we're working to support the refugees who managed to come across the border as well as those who are internally displaced to (INAUDIBLE) in Lviv, a city that is now totally overflowing with not refugees because they haven't crossed the border but displaced people who are -- have suffered every bit the hardship of those who've actually made it further into Europe.
COOPER: I've had a lot of viewers ask why there's not a UN presence that's very visible on the ground, why there aren't, you know, the UN trying to on the ground set up. You know, we saw UN peacekeepers in Sarajevo during the war in Bosnia and throughout Bosnia and not other conflicts. Why is this different?
POWER: Well, to distinguish two parts of the UN. So for starters, the food and medicine and humanitarian supply part, the UN is still ramping up and we are pressing for that to happen much more quickly than it has up to this point. I met today with David Beasley the head of the World Food Program, who's just back from Ukraine, where he sat down with the Ukrainian government. This is unusual from a lot of the places that you've reported on a lot of the places the UN works in, in the sense that there's a very well established government infrastructure with Ministries of Health Ministries of infrastructure, and so forth. There are real partners on the ground, who can work with the UN to get food to the right places, to use their own distribution networks.
So the UN is ramping up but they didn't have a big presence before the war started. And it has taken time, particularly in order to reach the east. Peacekeepers are a different matter. That is something that if the Ukrainians if that was something that Ukrainians wanted, that would get adjudicated at the UN Security Council in New York, where of course, Russia has a veto.
So, I think there right now, the Ukrainians are intent on providing resistance, winning the war, militarily pushing the Russians back, inflicting enough costs, where Russia has reason itself to deescalate. But the Peacekeeper presidents is something that again, would have to go through the UN Security Council and you'd have to find troops from all around the world who are willing to deploy into a war zone.
COOPER: You've obviously written about spent a lot of time looking into thinking about war crimes, international justice, I spoke with the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court yesterday here in Lviv about his investigations, which are just beginning he's going to be looking for resources. He has to ramp up a staff but he's been on the ground and is gathering intelligence. How critical is that work? Do you think?
POWER: It is absolutely critical. And there are groups within Ukraine that, for example, USAID has supported for a long time who've been documenting atrocities, alleged war crimes in the East and in Crimea. And so, we actually have partners on the ground who have been trained in how to systematize this documentation, how to gather the evidence in a way that would be courtroom ready, ultimately.
And so, now a lot of those groups are passing those skills, along those trainings along to other organizations or to colleagues who might have worked in other human rights, lines of work, who now are turning their attention and their labor toward building this documentary record. You not only have the International Criminal Court that has announced it intends to open an investigation, but also by an overwhelming margin in Geneva, a week or two ago, the Human Rights Council agreed to create a commission of inquiry, a commission of investigation and so all of those groups that are working on the ground, have actually an ultimate destination, potentially to provide that evidence to.
And so, I think that this pipeline is getting established now in real time and of course, it has to be because every day you see the intentional targeting of civilians just as we've seen today, like everyday that's come before it in this war.
COOPER: Yes. Ambassador Power, really appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
POWER: Thanks again for being there, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Up next, more on the needs of the citizens here and as they cross over the border refugee -- and become refugees, just across the border Poland navigating a major crisis with the number of refugees in the country exceeding the population of their own capital for those escaping the violence in Ukraine. They face a new challenge once they arrive and a lot of challenges. We'll talk about that ahead.
COOPER: The refugee crisis stemming from the war in Ukraine has reached unprecedented levels. The Biden administration is now looking into ways to help Ukrainian refugees joint family members in the U.S. including try to creating a fast track path for those fleeing the invasion and especial admission process into the U.S. based on humanitarian grounds. Most Ukrainians fleeing the violence are going to neighboring countries as you know like Poland, which has nearly now 2 million Ukrainian refugees, outnumbering the population of their capital of Warsaw.
And despite reaching the safety there, the challenges are endless but there is also helps.
CNN's Ed Lavandera now has more.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Ukrainian refugees step off the train in Przemysl Poland, there's a sense of relief. They've escaped the war zone. But now these families must navigate a whole new world. Some are lucky they have family or friends waiting for them. But for most others, this tunnel leads them to the main train station hall where they start making sense of the overwhelming confusion on their own. They have no plan. It's improvised from here.
(on-camera): When the refugees finally make their way off the platform and into the station, one of the first things that greets them is this sign in Ukrainian and Polish that says here you are safe.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Families emerge from the train with endless questions.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): About 20,000 refugees a day are endlessly moving through this one small Polish city on the border with Ukraine, filling the halls of this train station built in the 19th century. While parents figure out train rides to destinations across Europe exhausted children find baskets of treats and toys.
This is what it's like to figure out your next steps when your world has been unraveled by war. Confusion fills the air.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): These refugees have made it out of the first maze onto a bus that will take them to Warsaw. And there, the questions will start all over again. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: I mean, it's really incredible to see, you know, all the help that's there for them. On top the confusion, though, I mean, we've seen you know, international organizations are warning about refugees vulnerability in the, you know, the possibility of human trafficking going into, you know, people's houses that they don't know. What have you seen this being done to try to keep people safe?
LAVANDERA: Well, Anderson, you know, in the first three weeks of this crisis, the priority has been to get Ukrainian refugees moved out of their home country, into safer places, here in Poland and across Europe. But you know, the goodwill of many people who have come out to offer private rides, you know, raises that concern about human trafficking women and children being sexually assaulted or taken advantage of.
We have seen attempts to try to at least educate refugees as they're arriving here, flyers like this, giving tips to women of what they should do if they're to get in the car with a ride with someone to a neighborhood somewhere in Europe, take their pictures of the person driving, license plate, driver's license and all that information and share it with loved ones. But it is not a foolproof method at one point at one station. They're asking drivers to register so that they can keep track of who's offering to drive refugees to places. You know, but there's no criminal background checks, anybody can show up there and register.
So at this point, really what we're seeing is attempt to kind of spread the word in crowds like this, that they should be aware of these kinds of dangers. But, you know, that's the best they can do because the priority has been moving people as quickly as possible.
COOPER: Yes. Ed Lavandera, appreciate it in Poland tonight.
Coming up breaking news, the American citizen killed here in Ukraine, what we are learning about what he was doing and details of what happened.
COOPER: Some more information on the death of an American here in Ukraine, a Minnesota native killed by Russian artillery fire in Chernihiv. His name is James Windy Hill wasn't a soldier in this war. It wasn't on the front lines. He was said to be just another innocent person trying to live their life. He was here caring for an ailing loved one. His family in the U.S. spoke with CNN a short time ago.
Our Camila Bernal has the story.
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bombing has intensified no way out. That was the last post from American James Hill before confirmation of his death. His Facebook detailing a chilling account of his last days in Ukraine, intense bombing still alive, limited food room very cold.
KATYA HILL, JAMES HILL'S SISTER: At one point a missile went by him in and landed at a distance.
BERNAL (voice-over): According to his family, Hill was waiting in a breadline with several other people when they were gunned down by Russian military snipers. His body was found in the street by the local police.
Hill was ensure near him with his partner Ira (ph) who's Ukrainian and battling MS.
HILL: It was not going to leave Ira (ph) side in her condition.
BERNAL (voice-over): We're hanging in there he wrote on Monday. Very cold inside, food portions are reduced bombing and explosions most of the night, hard to sleep, people getting depressed. In his post, he describes feeling helpless, hungry and cold while narrating a war.
Intense bombing last night for two hours. It was close to hospital. Machine gunfire could be heard. It stopped just after midnight. Hill even encouraging political action, posting this on March 7th, for my American friends and relatives. Please pressure your local representatives to expedite American visas for Ukrainians, especially for families with children and skilled workers.
HILL: My brother was the helper that people find in a crisis.
BERNAL (voice-over): But while he wanted to help others and find a way out, it was too late.
HILL: We don't know where my brother's body is. So, that kind of closure the family won't have right now.
BERNAL (voice-over): Camila Bernal, CNN, Los Angeles
COOPER: Yes, condolences to the family.
Both take a closer look at the attacks in Chernihiv as the carnage grows across Ukraine that's ahead.
Plus, Ron Schwarzenegger sending an emotional message directly to Russians pleading for peace. We'll be right back.