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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Russians Fire Missiles At Lviv, Miles From NATO Territory; Melitopol Mayor On His Abduction By Russian Troops; Dozens Of Ukrainian Troops Reportedly Killed In Russian Strike On Military Base In Mykolav; Ukraine's Resistance Against Russia Takes Deadly Toll; Satellite Images: Russian Forces Digging In To Protect Military Positions Northwest Of Kyiv; South Florida Doctor's Team Rescuing & Treating Ukrainians. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired March 18, 2022 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: That's incredible, and tonight he says there is simply no more supply to be had.
Thanks for joining us, AC 360 starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening from Lviv, Ukraine.
We've got new video just in from the aftermath of what could turn out to have been an especially deadly Russian airstrike on a military base in Mykolaiv. The bombs hit several barracks at the base, rescuers used shovels and their bare hands to try to free survivors from the rubble. This soldier made it out alive. Many others apparently have not.
Another survivor who was sleeping in the barracks opposite the buildings that were hit, said and these are his words, I quote: "Of the approximately 200 who were there, I would guess about 90 percent did not survive." Again, we cannot independently confirm that.
Meantime here in Lviv today, there was a quiet reminder of the kind of war that Russia is fighting here against civilians. In Lviv, 109 empty strollers symbolizing the children who we know have lost their lives in the bombing and shelling of civilians on a scale Nazis here in Europe since the Second World War, a warfare that reminds people daily here that they are the target, whether accidentally or incidentally as CNN Sam Kiley found out in a neighborhood in Kyiv are apparently damaged, but still a deadly Russian missile fell.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Beyond this truck here, beyond the JCB working, a kindergarten, mercifully, no children in it because, because of the level of bombardment of Kyiv, the kindergartens are closed, but its right opposite, another school for older children. But look at the ferocity of the blast. That is what remains of a vehicle. If we walk over this way, you can see just how devastating the size of
these weapons, it is quite extraordinary. This is the result of one single blast, a blast that has ripped through this community, peppering cars with shrapnel holes, every one of those would have torn through dozens of people, every one of those bits of flying hot metal designed to rip into human flesh like a razor, white hot and burning.
COOPER: Now, according to the U.N. today, at least 816 civilians have now been killed. Today's number came with a more specific than usual warning that the actual figures would be considerably higher because so many reported casualties are still awaiting corroboration.
This is new drone video from Mariupol. Take a look at that. I mean that -- that is stunning. That looks like Grozny in Chechnya. Just block after block destroyed.
There are two other pieces of video which speak to the moment and the war, we think. One shows what the war means to Vladimir Putin, a grandiose rally today marking the anniversary of Russia annexing Crimea, but really a pep rally for this ongoing invasion.
His first public appearance since the war began and a rare large scale event for him. Some who went said they were pressured to go, bussed in. The other video stands in humble contrast to this stadium's spectacle and shows what war means and what war is to Ukrainians.
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COOPER: This was posted on the Ukrainian government Twitter feed, the country's National Anthem played by a citizen soldier. As we've seen so many people here from all walks of life have joined in the war effort bringing pieces of those lives and sometimes the music of it with them.
Reporting for us tonight, CNN's Sam Kiley, who you saw a moment ago in Kyiv. In Mykolaiv, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, and in the White House, CNN's Kaitlan Collins.
Before we get to any of them, I just want to give you an overview, a kind of broader look at the day from CNN's Kristin Fisher.
KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Russia is broadening its targets with new airstrikes hitting the western city of Lviv, which previously had been largely spared. The mayor confirming missiles hit near the airport.
The city is just over 40 miles from the border with Poland, a NATO country and Lviv has been a haven for refugees fleeing the conflict are a stop on the way to Europe.
And Russia is not letting up on the capital, Kyiv, with new strikes on the northern residential district, Ukrainian Emergency Services say one person died after remains of a downed missile set fire to a residential building.
(voice over): In the northeast, fires broke out in this massive market in the city of Kharkiv after it was shelled by Russian forces. City officials say one rescue worker died.
In the southern city of Mariupol, 130 people have been rescued from that makeshift shelter bombed by Russian forces, a theater with the Russian word for "children" written beside the building. Russia denies the attack.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Hundreds of Mariupol residents are still under the debris despite the shelling, despite all the difficulties, we will continue rescue work.
FISHER (voice over): The seemingly intentional targeting of civilians has led many in the Biden administration, including the President and Secretary of State to accuse Russia of war crimes, as the State Department works to gather evidence against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
WENDY SHERMAN, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: In terms of international law, you have to have evidence, you have to have a body of proof that in fact, there was intentionality.
FISHER (voice over): And as civilians die in Ukraine, Putin held a concert marking the anniversary of the Russian annexation of Crimea. The concert featured patriotic songs like this one "Called made in the USSR."
Putin claims Russia has never been more united as his country suffers a collapsing economy caused by Western sanctions.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The best proof is the way our boys are fighting in this operation, shoulder to shoulder, supporting each other, and if need be, protecting each other like brothers.
FISHER (voice over): That's not how a top U.S. General sees it.
GEN. KENNETH MCKENZIE, JR., COMMANDER, CENTRAL COMMAND: They don't appear, from where I sit at least, to be particularly motivated or particularly engaged in the campaign that they're undertaking.
FISHER (voice over): Kristin Fisher, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: So with that, let's go to Sam Kiley in Kyiv. We just played some of what you saw earlier today, the after effects of the remains of a missile that fell. What else have you been seeing and hearing. What's been going on in Kyiv today?
KILEY: Well, there has -- this afternoon, there was a very heavy bombardment indeed to the far west of the city, very much I think beyond the city limits as we would understand and certainly beyond the ring road. And at the same time, there have also been some serious blasts in the east of the city.
Now, not all of these blasts, Anderson, are necessarily incoming, in other words, not all fired by the Russians because the Ukrainians are getting very much more onto the front foot. That may explain why we are seeing more of these long range missile strikes. Today, a strike where I was on the ground was very similar to a similar strike yesterday that also caused a number of casualties, also was a cruise type missile, a long range missile that was downed by the anti-missile batteries here in the city, the S-300, predominantly, something that they need a lot more of, according to the government.
But the scale of the destruction at that site was absolutely extraordinary. From one piece of ordnance. I mean, I've seen a lot of this over the years, but this was extraordinary. It had wiped out, literally collapsed, four storeys, four different apartments, over four storeys were simply folded down onto the ground, leaving the rest of the building behind.
Every single building within a range of about 150 to 200 yards was very severely damaged. The roofs, the windows, the window frames. I spoke to a woman who had been on the far side of the blocks, they are protected by the block of that building, but she felt that she would have been killed had she not been protected by a wardrobe.
And sometimes survival in those circumstances can depend on that kind of luck. If you've got a big wardrobe, you may get prevented from being lacerated by flying glass. If you haven't, you may be torn to pieces.
Really extraordinary though that one person was killed there when there were so many potentially in danger. I think the reason so many people survived that was because they were already in bunkers.
But the scale of these missile attacks, as you've seen yourself in Lviv with these recent attacks on the airfield there, very pinpoint accurate and very, very dangerous even when they are shot out of the sky as this one was.
COOPER: Nick, in Mykolaiv, which has been the frontlines for weeks, what more do we know about this attack that happened today?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Yes, I mean, scant details to be honest. We saw ourselves at a hospital, a number of military injured. I can't give you a precise number and we have not got from officials a precise number of dead or injured.
It is fair to say, a significant number of soldiers appear to have been killed and injured when rockets or a missile that is still unclear, slammed into a military base very near where I'm standing here in Mykolaiv. Again, a reflection of the frustration possibly of Russian forces around here, they are not doing well strategically on the ground. We've seen ourselves how on the road from here, Mykolaiv, down to Kherson, the next city eastwards along the Black Sea coast, the first one to be taken by Russia, occupied by Russia on the road from here to there.
We are seeing Ukrainian forces pushing down, successfully taking villages back, taking back ground. It is a bitter fighting clearly and shelling by Russian forces back as they lose that ground, but in losing it, they are doing.
And so we have seen today, two, certainly missile strikes. One, you mentioned here at the military base in Mykolaiv. The death toll of which unclear at this stage; and the second, in Voznesens'k, another town where Russia tried to make its presence felt a number of weeks ago and failed, a missile slammed into a warehouse storing ammunition there causing significant destruction to that facility itself.
Again, they lose the fight on the ground and respond with this extraordinary level of blunt force, often through long-range missiles. I think that's concerning, Anderson going forward. And if we are going to see Russia essentially losing the fight for towns here, it chooses a sort of scorched earth policy of slamming those towns, military facilities, civilian facilities.
You can see there too, in Sam's reports with extraordinary firepower.
COOPER: Kaitlan, what did President Biden say about his call with President Xi?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He said it went well. I ran into him in the halls of the West Wing after he had spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping for about two hours today. That is the first time that they've talked since Russia started conducting this invasion. It's the first time they've talked really in four months.
And so obviously, there was a lot to discuss. But really, what officials said they wanted to get to the heart of was President Biden wanted to find out if President Xi plans to follow through and grant this request that Russia has made for more military equipment.
They've not asked not only for economic assistance as they are facing these crippling sanctions, but they also want help militarily and not even just for the equipment, Anderson, they even need MRE's. That is something that's been made public, whether that's to put China in a bad spot or to embarrass Putin and show that his forces are hurting so bad that they need these ready to eat meals because they don't have enough food supplies while they're conducting this invasion remains to be seen.
But the White House said that Biden outlined and got specific about what the consequences would be if China does move to help this, because the concern here at the White House is that China could move to help backfill when it comes to these sanctions or help when it comes to military equipment and they believe that could really change potentially the trajectory of this, to have Xi aligning himself with Putin even further than he already has given we know that he got a heads up on the invasion coming or at least senior Chinese officials did, and so that's really been the concern here at the White House. But the thing tonight is still that they are concerned to understand
that China might follow through and grant that request to Russia, and they say basically, they just have to wait and see what China does over the next several weeks.
COOPER: Sam, what are the capabilities? I mean, you talked about the anti-ballistic missile launchers that the Ukrainians have, but one obviously more of. Can you just talk about that a little bit more, you know, because obviously those long range Nick was talking about these long range ballistic missiles and you were being in increasing concern as they don't make progress on the battlefield.
What are the capabilities for them to knock rockets coming out of the sky?
KILEY: Well, they have their main anti-aircraft capability, certainly for the long range is the S-300. They've got stingers, but you never hit a missile with a stinger, but you can hit a helicopter or a low- flying aircraft. They are also being supplied with a number of other -- of the shorter range anti-aircraft batteries.
What they have been asking for in the past is stuff similar to Israel's Iron Dome. Israel has resisted sending Iron Dome here in the past. I'm not sure where they stand at the moment. But this is clearly -- it is helping to keep the center of Kyiv safe at the same time and it is very interesting what Nick has been reporting there about the battle for Mykolaiv and down to Kherson because the Ukrainian Armed Forces here in the capital are saying that they are having similar successes in terms of a counter offensive against the Russian invaders in the southwest of the city, the west, and particularly in the east, claiming that they have pushed them in the east back 70 kilometers.
That puts, at least where I'm standing here out of range of all of Russia's normal traditional artillery, but in range obviously of the longer range missile systems such as the Skander and others and those deliver these very, very big warheads.
Some of them are smart, but some of them are very, very dangerous in that they have simply fired in a general direction and I think we are likely to see more of that as Nick was also saying where he is down in the south.
COOPER: And Nick, if you could just talk a little bit about the theater that was struck. How many people have so far been pulled out? And what do we know about -- I mean, what are the capabilities for them to actually keep digging through the wreckage?
PATON WALSH: I wish I could tell you more to be honest about it. In Mariupol, to the other side of the Crimea peninsula, further east of where I'm standing here in Mykolaiv. You're referring to that air strike to hit the drama theater, an established well known bomb shelter/
The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying, look, at this stage, 130 people have been pulled or held out of the rubble there as survivors. The problem is that there were thought to have been over a thousand there when the bomb struck, and that's backed up by video shots posted six days before that rather barbaric attack showing women and children crammed into very dense and dark conditions there, sharing what food they could have.
And so we are still now two days later, because of the difficulties that rescuers have, frankly, in the number of rescues available to the task and the fact that task is impeded by intense shelling around there. We are still unclear as to how many people were in that bomb shelter, how many survived? How many have been brought out since 130 that we know of, but hopefully that figure has grown in recent hours.
And so still, that utterly chilling attack is lacking basic information because the circumstances in which it occurred, Anderson, obviously, the priority of rescue is getting people out and not tallying who unfortunately remains in these circumstances.
But satellite images showing the damage done to Mariupol and a lengthy queue of cars trying to get out as these humanitarian corridors struggle to do anything positive for those stuck in there in such fraught circumstances -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, Nick Paton Walsh, Sam Kiley, Kaitlan Collins, appreciate it all. Thank you.
Coming up next to CNN, an exclusive. We saw Russian forces grab him, the kidnap caught on security cameras. We reported on his release in a prisoner swap.
Tonight, my conversation with the mayor of Melitopol.
Later our military analysts, two top Generals on the Mykolaiv strike, but also the growing assessment that Russia is losing momentum and transitioning into a long grinding and deadly to civilians' war of attrition.
COOPER: There is late word tonight that the mayor of a Kharkiv area town has been released. We got word of his adduction allegedly by Russian forces just yesterday.
Now several days earlier, you may remember Russians grabbed Melitopol's Mayor, Ivan Fedorov. That is them you see at the top of your screen hustling him away. He was freed just yesterday in a prisoner swap according to officials and gave his first English language interview to us today.
I spoke to him earlier and you'll see the video connection was at times hit and miss, but we think it's important for you to hear what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Mayor Fedorov, what happened when you were abducted? Where
were you and what did they do?
IVAN FEDOROV, MAYOR OF MELITOPOL: They hold me on Melitopol Police in a small room in room for bad boys and they hold me until six days and told me that they have the greatest power. They have greatest army, many soldiers with guns and they asked me stop meetings in Melitopol civilian regions who wants to leave, from peoples who want to live in Ukraine, but not in Russia Federation.
They want me to stop meetings. They want me that I support him and to make Russian Federation in Melitopol, but I said no, I can't do.
COOPER: What was it Russian soldiers who took you?
FEDOROV: Yes, many soldiers talk with me. Not only soldiers, but Special Secret Services agent.
COOPER: How did they treat you? Did they -- were they -- did they hurt you? Did they yell at you? How did they treat you?
FEDOROV: No, no, no, no. They leave me without any connections, they live me without any speaking in next rooms on police as they beat some. And you know, it's emotion very dangerous situation.
COOPER: After you arrested, citizens in your town protested in the streets calling for your return. Did you know that was happening? Did you know that people were protesting?
FEDOROV: No, no, I didn't know anything because I was without cell phone, without internet, without any information. I don't know it.
COOPER: A prosecutor in the Luhansk region backed by Russia said that you were going to be tried for terrorism charges. Were you told that?
FEDOROV: No, I don't know. No, of course. Of course not. Because I don't know any terrorism organization in Ukraine. And of course I didn't give any finance for him. It's a joke. It's nothing.
COOPER: President Zelenskyy said your kidnapping was a crime against democracy. There are other Ukrainian officials in other cities who have reportedly been kidnapped as well. Is this what is going to happen? Is this Russia's plan in cities they control?
FEDOROV: Of course, it's a Russian plan because many of my colleagues are now in the same situation, and now we try to help them. But of course, it's Russian plan because I and my colleagues say it's elected mayors and elected by our citizens. That's why they want to push us, they want to make us in a dangerous situation and they want to show us -- so for us their power. Of course, it's their plan. Yes.
COOPER: Were you worried? Were you scared when you were taken?
FEDOROV: Of course I'm -- of course it was scary. But I need to do it because my citizens elected me and I must show them that we must help our citizens and they elected me as a mayor from democracy Ukraine civilian country. That is why we must help them.
COOPER: You were released, Ukrainian officials say for nine Russian captured soldiers. There was an exchange in prisoners.
FEDOROV: Yes. Yes.
COOPER: Did you know that was taking place? Did they just let you go?
FEDOROV: Yes. I was told these nine soldiers, its very young soldiers. But I think that agents don't take any information because the soldiers come to our country to kill our children, to kill our women, to kill our civilian peoples in Ukraine and that's why as these soldiers come to Ukraine to kill, and it's the soldiers, it's not young peoples.
COOPER: A replacement mayor was appointed by Russian forces. They've taken down the Ukrainian flag. They've tried to disband the City Council. What happens to you now?
FEDOROV: Yes, it was principal position for our team because Melitopol was Ukrainian flag because Melitopol is Ukrainian city. But when they hold me on second day is they put down the Ukrainian flag on Central Square for Melitopol and they show their power for all civilian people in Melitopol.
Now Melitopol is in dangerous situation because we have many humanitarian problems. There are less food in Melitopol, less food, less pharmacy, and too many medical problems. Our team now don't walk in Melitopol because Russian Federation, Russian soldiers fully control this situation.
But as I spoke with President Zelenskyy, he promised in a few time, Melitopol again will be Ukrainian city, as all sieges in Ukraine once exit by Russian Federation.
COOPER: So what will you do now? Where do you go?
FEDOROV: President give me tasks. Now, I will work in Zaporizhzhia and make all tasks that give me President.
COOPER: What is your message to the Ukrainian citizens in Melitopol?
FEDOROV: You know I have a message not for Ukrainian people in Melitopol, I have message for all world, all world, European U.S. world must understand that it is not part from Ukraine and Russia Federation. It's war from Russia Federation and along with the world, and all over the world must understand if Ukraine can't win on this war, Russia Federation starts war with Europe, with many countries of Europe and all over the world.
That's why we must to be together with -- we must be together on this war and we must together win Russia Federation.
COOPER: Finally, what is your message to Russian troops, your message to Vladimir Putin?
FEDOROV: They must understand that we don't want anything from Russia Federation. We have our country, Ukraine, our democracy country of Ukraine and we don't want something from Russia Federation and we think that Russia Federation must not want anything from Ukraine. That's why I think that they must leave for their home and solve their problems, but not our problems.
COOPER: Mayor Fedorov, thank you for your time. I am glad you're free.
FEDOROV: Thank you, too. Thank you. Thank you. Bye.
COOPER: Just ahead, a look at the weapons and the courage it's taking for Ukrainians in one city to try to overcome Russian troops and the cost of that resistance in human lives.
COOPER: You heard Nick Paton Walsh earlier report on one area in the southern part of the country that so far has been able to reclaim villages after successful counter attacks against the Russians. But as he also reported there was an attack on a military base in that same area today. We insert new pictures of the tech that have just come in to view a sense of the damage. Claimed what Nick called a significant number of killed and injured Ukrainian soldiers. Details are still difficult to come by accurate numbers still difficult to come by. Still it's a reflection he said, Nick said that when Russia loses the fight, they respond with extraordinary blunt force.
Our Ivan Watson is near the central part of Ukraine where he spoke with Ukrainian troops, who were exacting a heavy toll on Russian troops. The resistance therapy to be working too, but it also comes with great sacrifice.
MAJ. SERHII TAMARIN, UKRAINIAN TERRITORIAL DEFENSE: It's not so scary to die. It's much more scary to lose.
When we met the second army in (INAUDIBLE) by statistic, we expected more professionals, we expected more aggressive and more strong fighting.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Your battalion filmed this.
TAMARIN: It's hitting in Russian tanks.
WATSON (on-camera): And that's hit by Ukrainian artillery.
TAMARIN: Artillery. Yes. WATSON (voice-over): Drone footage that CNN cannot independently verify from battlefields northwest of Kyiv, filmed by a battalion of Ukraine's territorial defense force, commanded by Major Serhii Tamarin.
(on-camera): Has your battalion had casualties?
TAMARIN: Yes, yes.
WATSON (on-camera): People killed, people wounded.
TAMARIN: Yes, I prefer not to tell the number of people but we have I already lost my friends and people who suffer with me. We have people who wounded.
WATSON (on-camera): What is the weapon that is hurting your men?
TAMARIN: The most dangerous it's artillery.
WATSON (voice-over): Tamarin is a veteran of the long war against Russian backed separatists in Ukraine southeastern Donbas region, he re-enlisted along with most of his battalion of nearly 400 after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th.
He calls his strategy, aggressive resistance.
TAMARIN: Just separating for small troops. Not more than 10 people with a few grenade launchers and some kind of clean up group with rifles and machine guns. I can say is that Russian army -- regular army infantry groups fight well. They even have food bags, which is expired few years ago, so they don't have normal food. They don't have even water.
WATSON (on-camera): Your battalion, how many armored vehicles tanks do you think you've destroyed?
TAMARIN: Right now? More than 20 it's not only tanks, it's like tanks and other vehicle.
WATSON (on-camera): Does your battalion have an estimate for how many Russians they killed?
TAMARIN: For now we destroy almost 200 Russians, captured alive closer to six or eight soldiers.
WATSON (voice-over): Tamarin is recovering from injuries sustained during a combat operation.
TAMARIN: Our car is fall down from the bridge which was blown up. Half of my ribs broken.
WATSON (voice-over): He says his men have started to receive some foreign weapons shoulder fired missiles and he's confident Ukraine will have victory but at a terrible price.
TAMARIN: Is the price which pay Ukraine right now is I think impossible. It's some kind of whole nightmare, sacrifice of all nation.
WATSON (voice-over): Ivan Watson, CNN, Vinnytsia Ukraine.
COOPER: It's extraordinary level of detail that we really haven't heard before. Thanks, Ivan Watson for that.
Up next, is Ukrainians defend their country from Russian attacks? I'll speak to retired General Peter Zwack and more currently on what may come next from the Russian forces.
COOPER: Russian forces continue their assaults on Ukraine. New satellite images show the Russian military digging in constructing earthen berms to protect its military equipment just northwest of Kyiv. This comes as U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tell CNN that the U.S. has seen Russia make many missteps in their invasion of Ukraine, we'll have more in that report later.
But now I want to bring in a retired Army Brigadier General Peter Zwack who served as the former U.S. Defense Attache to Russia and is now Global Fellow at the Wilson Center Kennan Institute, also CNN military analyst and former Army Commanding General of Europe and Seventh Army Retired Lieutenant, General Mark Hertling.
General Hertling, it was interesting in this report that Ivan Watson had with a battalion commander who have a territorial defense force who talked about, you know, the heavy price they are inflicting on Russians, but also that it is taking a very heavy toll on Ukrainian forces as well. And that's something I think that often gets overlooked. And in the, you know, the understandably, you know, the coverage of the advances that Ukrainians are making, it is coming at a price.
How long can an army like Ukraine, pay that price?
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, we're, we're in a different a very difficult part of the campaign. The war between these two states Anderson. What I'm going to suggest is, Russia has been attempting to fight what the military calls a battle of annihilation. That's when you attempt to use maneuver to surround an enemy and cause them to surrender, take their capital, the Ukrainian military has been fighting a war of attrition. That's a strategy in which both sides are trying to cause as much damage to the enemy as they possibly can.
What we've seen right now, is that the Russian military, some people have used the term culminating. They are they are culminating from the offense, they are going on to the defense because they had sustained unbelievably many and unexpected casualties. And so, they have to transition to the defense. Those are the pictures you just saw, with the artillery pieces digging in. That's not good, because the Russian military now becomes static, and they can be attacked. Ukraine, on the other hand, they've been attempting to execute an attrition war since the very beginning. They have the advantage of the home turf, they have supported the population and they can pick and choose the place where they use their active defense to attack the Russians.
Now, Ukraine's prepared for this, Russia has not. So what we see now is Russia going into a defense continuing to be a treated by the Ukrainian forces. And the way Russia is facing that is by attempting to trip Ukrainian civilians. So this becomes a battle of how many what's the will of the two sides and how much damage can they sustain before they give up? Ukraine's attacking Russian soldiers unfortunately Russian soldiers are attacking the civilian population which is causing just incredible and horrific damages.
COOPER: Generals Zwack I want you to comment on that idea. Part of the -- also the problem that calculus is the leader of Russia doesn't necessarily care about the lives of his own soldiers. Whereas obviously in Ukraine, Zelenskyy does and knows the importance of keeping the population united and motivate.
BRG. GEN. PETER ZWACK, RET FMR U.S. DEFENSE ATTACHE TO RUSSIA: The Russian president I -- if I were to hazard a guess, is all in, he's been all in from the beginning. And he's drawn deep, there is no negotiation right now that looks acceptable. Its weakness. His forces are bogged down. Like a riverboat gambler, I think that he may again to try to double down even more. Formations come -- even more formations coming in, more redoubled artillery, more rockets, though the -- a lot of the precision munitions are gone.
So this is grim. And this is awful for the Ukrainians. But there's almost as if there's a mutual stranglehold going on right now. And Ukrainians have got the Russians held as tightly as the Russians are trying to hold them. And the Russians are breaking and the morale is there and they're going to try the firepower. And yes, they're talking about Russian reinforcements. We have a term called reinforcing failure in the military. And the word Anderson is getting out back into the Russian ranks up back into Russia formations, maybe getting prepared, where all the wounded going, which is a home, your -- you know, they're usually double or triple the wounded to those that have died in combat.
So there's a lot going on right now. Ukrainians to have the Russians in a stranglehold as ugly as it is, and half -- and they're going to hang on, because the General Hertling mentioned, they've got the will, they've got the motivation, and the morale and the Russians have none of that.
COOPER: General Hertling do we know much about -- I mean, you talk about the wounded. It's not something we focus much on either side of the conflict. You know, in the U.S. military, there's this focus on the golden hour on getting somebody who's wounded off the battlefield and it medical care within that hour. And that's essential, though, I mean, Russia, they don't have those capabilities do that. HERTLING: They do not. And they as we've talked about so many times, Anderson, the logistics train is absolutely horrid in the Russian assault, they have not planned for the kind of activity this so-called battle of annihilation with six different axes of advance, you have to support each one of those. You know, you've got to do it with food and fuel and ammo. The one thing we haven't talked about is medical evacuation. They can't bring wounded soldiers back to combat support hospitals, either by trucks, because the trucks are stuck in those 40 mile convoys that are now being picked off. They also can't use aircraft like medevac helicopters to transport them back because Ukraine has been so successful in knocking down helicopters with Stinger missiles.
So what you're probably going to see is the wounded that do get back are in really bad shape, and somehow were prioritized. But what I'm going to suggest Anderson is I hate to bring it down to these gory details. But medical professionals in the military actually calculate the number of wounded soldiers versus killed soldiers on a conventional tank battlefield like this. If you can get a wounded soldier back to the aid stations, you -- they have a 20% chance of dying and an 80% chance of living. The Russians are not getting soldiers back.
So the wounds to dead ratio in the Russian force is going to skyrocket. It's probably going to be one to two, even minor injuries on the battlefield, minor wounds on the battlefield are going to cause death on those Russian soldiers. There are not going to be a lot of hospitals in my view filled with Russian soldiers at the end of this because most of them will have been wounded and then died on the battlefield are outright killed. It's just horrific the kinds of casualties both forces are suffering, but I would suggest the Russian forces are suffering much more because they are more visible and prone to these attacks by Ukrainian hasty offense -- excuse me hasty defense.
COOPER: In this way, it's like war from another century. General Hertling --
HERTLING: It is.
COOPER: -- General Zwack, appreciate it. Thank you very much.
Coming up, new video of two former U.S. presidents their extraordinary gesture of support for Ukraine. And we'll speak with an American doctor whose team is risking their lives to treat Ukrainians not just on the border when they flee, but also inside the country.
COOPER: Take a look, former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush went to a Ukrainian Church in Chicago. They were blue and yellow ribbons and they each brought bouquets and bright yellow sunflowers, leaving them at the church and a show of solidarity with Ukrainian people and with their fight. [20:55:08]
Chicago you may know as a sister city to Kyiv, and tonight here in Eastern Europe, South Florida doctors leading a medical team racing to save Ukrainians. You know, by caring for them once they crossed the border into Moldova are risking their own safety by going into Ukraine to try to help them. They even bought an ambulance to help. Dr. Zev Neuwirth leads the United Hatzalah Medical team. He joins me tonight.
Dr. Neuwirth, can you tell us a little bit about your decision to come to Moldova and do whatever you can to help?
ZEV NEUWIRTH, HEAD, UNITED HATZALAH MEDIAL TEAM AT UKRAINIAN BORDER: Well, I wouldn't exactly call it decision, it was more like a call to action when you're sitting back home and comfort of your home in your environment, and you see people anywhere, literally crying out in pain and you see the pain, the suffering. I went well, I wouldn't be able to just sit and do nothing.
COOPER: You've set up a long the border in Moldova, but you're actually going in and have teams going into Ukraine in order to get people who are unable to get over the border themselves and who may have medical needs? What -- how did you decide to do that?
NEUWIRTH: There was a large segment that we're starting to learn of individuals that weren't able to make it to the borders, the people that weren't able to make it to the buses to train stations or had or who had any type of modality of being able to exit. And these were individuals that we understood were the elderly, the frail, the sick, and the injured. And at that time, it was a made conscious decision that we actually have to go in and help these individuals.
So with that put together a small team, so myself a couple paramedics. And we went in there, basically from word of mouth saying we have some individuals in this in this location, they're sick, or they've been injured. And we'd go in and initially assess stabilized treat and do an exhale and extricate them back to the borders were not solid would pick up and continue ongoing care and provide any additional resources available to them.
COOPER: Have you ever worked in a situation like this?
NEUWIRTH: I have been exposed to similar situations in the past. And each one is unique in its own right. This is in particular is not just dealing with the mass of people that are exiting and the wounded, of course, the destruction that you see. But these people have literally left their homes with just the shirts on their back. So, aside from injuries, you're talking about people with chronic medical conditions, for example, whether it's high blood pressure, diabetes, dealing with some type of infectious process, and they're leaving with no meds, no money. And of course, we know that if these situations aren't properly controlled and regulated, they'll turn into an acute medical emergency relatively quickly. And now given the situation of what's going on inside Ukraine with limited amount of resources, and especially medications, these stable conditions are no longer stable.
So we need to get to them and help them as soon as possible. That kind of foot makes this situation a bit more unique than others.
COOPER: I hope it's OK, if I ask you a personal question, and you don't have to answer it if you don't want to. But I read that you used to be a businessman, and that you suffered a very tragic loss of your wife through brain cancer and at a relatively late age in your 40s decided to pursue the dream you'd always had, you'd been I think, a paramedic while on your spare time, but you went to medical school and became a doctor. It's such an extraordinary thing to have done. Do you ever have any regrets?
NEUWIRTH: None whatsoever. I mean, when we experience unfortunately, loss of that magnitude, sometimes you take a step back and you start reflecting upon your own life. And it was important for me to wake up every morning and absolutely love what I was doing. Had a long time childhood dream of I always want to be a doctor when I grew up and life had its own course and that was grateful to have a beautiful marriage with my late wife, raised four beautiful children and had a successful business but I felt my true calling was other than that. And I made that conscious decision that I don't want to be God forbid on my deathbed but only wish I followed my dreams of becoming a physician.
And when she passed, I picked up my four kids and got accepted to medical school and continued on that path. Growing up as well, there was another passion and of course a lot of little kids, you know, they grew up they want to be policemen, firemen. I wanted to be a soldier. And after completing medical school, I was grateful for everything that I had. And one of my ways of being able to get back with a serve my country, and it was an honor and doing so. And I got commissioned as a U.S. naval officer and proudly served with pray, honored to have been able to do that.