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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Zelenskyy: More Than 16,000 Russian Military Casualties; President Biden Discusses Humanitarian Efforts, Refugee Crisis, With Polish President Duda; Putin: Russian Culture Being "Canceled" Like J.K. Rowling. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired March 25, 2022 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Some breaking news now, about an American, named Tyler Jacob, who was taken by Russian forces, while trying to leave Ukraine. According to Minnesota senator, Amy Klobuchar, Jacob, who is from Minnesota, has been freed, after 10 days in captivity.
It's a welcome kowtow (ph) to what could be a pivotal day, in the war, which was marked by a Russian general, today, appearing to redefine or limit his country's war aims, in Ukraine, as well as the assessment by a senior American defense official, the Russian forces are now stalled on the ground.
For all the destruction that Russian forces have brought on Ukraine, they've also paid a terrible price for it. In tonight's address, Ukrainians' President Zelenskyy had this, to say about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINE (through translator): The number of Russian casualties, in this war, has already exceeded 16,000 killed. Among them are senior commanders.
There have not been reports about killed Russian colonels, general or admirals yet. But the commander of one of the occupying armies and deputy commander of the Black Sea Fleet are already there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: CNN cannot independently confirm that 16,000 figure. But, as of yesterday, NATO officials put the number to anywhere, from 7,000 to 15,000.
Now, many of them, infighting just outside of Kyiv, where CNN's Sam Kiley, joins us now.
So, what's the latest, from Kyiv, tonight? Has there been any reaction to this claim, by the Russian - top Russian general that they're entering now phase two, and are going to be focusing more on the south, southeast? SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's the small hours of the morning and - but don't expect too much of a reaction, Anderson, to the latest line of propaganda, coming out of Moscow.
Those sorts of statements go back to the original intent, as outlined by Vladimir Putin that this was a program of denazification, and an effort to demilitarize Ukraine, and return it to its neutral status. All of these justification, so-called, for the war, or outlining of the war aims are taken with a bucket of salt, here, in Ukraine.
I think, from the Ukrainian perspective, what's most important to them, is that they are now, certainly, when it comes to the battle, around Kyiv, getting on the front foot, and they believe that they have held off successfully, the Russians, to the west, northwest and, recently, to the east, where we were earlier on, yesterday, to try to force back, this Russian attempt, to decapitate the administration, to overrun the capital.
And that now looks like it's been held off, until at least the Russians can get more reinforcements, or more weapons. And that they're seeing, here, in Kyiv, as something of a success, Anderson.
COOPER: How much are people able, at this point, to move around? I mean, there have been reporting that, from you and others that, Ukrainian forces, it seems, have pushed Russian forces back, past their artillery range. So, are things quieter, in Kyiv?
KILEY: Things are quieter, in Kyiv, although we can hear the ferocious battles that have been going on, over the last few days, if you like, sort of on the outer ring, of the capital.
But in terms of attacks, on the capital, they are down. The attacks now are very much the long-range cruise missile type weapons that are still absolutely devastating, whether they're ones that get shot down, but the warhead survives, and lands, or whether they have been deliberately targeted.
So, most recently, in the north of the city, especially, a shopping center was targeted, which the Russians said was being used as a location, for storing multiple rocket launching systems, and other weapons. That's been attacked at least twice, on the first instance, certainly, with long-range ballistic missiles.
But it is a pretty good battlefield indicator that the artillery that they would have been using, and have been using, against cities, like Kharkiv, and Mariupol, have not been raining down, in the volume that was feared, a couple of weeks ago.
COOPER: Yes. Sam Kiley, appreciate it. Thank you.
Now, we want to get closer look, at a Russian Military group that's believed to be operating, inside Ukraine, one with an especially dark history and, allegedly, this time, a singular mission. CNN's David McKenzie has more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A Russian mercenary takes a selfie video, in Syria. It's a recruitment- styled pitch.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): Allegedly, for the notorious Wagner Group, a brutal force, believed to be linked, to the Kremlin.
In the shadows of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a senior Ukrainian defense official tells us that Wagner contractors were in the country, and had a very specific mission.
MCKENZIE (on camera): What is the objective, do you think, in Ukraine, right now?
MARKIYAN LUBKIVSKY, ADVISER TO THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE OF UKRAINE: They wanted to assassinate the leadership of Ukraine, our President and Prime Minister. So, that was the goal. And a couple of groups, couple of people, were sent to Ukraine, without any success.
ZELENSKYY (through translator): I am here. We are not putting down arms.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): The primary target, he says, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Ukraine's Military says documentary evidence, gathered by Intelligence officials, and Special Forces, outlines their alleged mission. He says, several Wagner operatives have been eliminated, identified by their unique dog tags. CNN couldn't independently corroborate the account.
LUBKIVSKY: We need to find all these people, and they need to go to the court. They're absolutely illegal.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): Wagner contractors surfaced, in Eastern Ukraine, in 2014, exposed by research groups, and CNN investigations. Their operations span the Middle East and Africa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
MCKENZIE (voice-over): U.S. officials accuse Wagner, of multiple human rights abuses, in multiple countries.
In this disturbing 2017 video, investigated by CNN, Wagner mercenaries appear to be torturing, and murdering, a Syria man, as they make jokes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE). MCKENZIE (voice-over): The Kremlin said, the incident had nothing to do with the Russian Military operations, in Syria. And they've repeatedly denied, any links, to Wagner.
U.S. officials say that Wagner was started by this man, Dmitry Utkin, a veteran of the Chechen conflict, and allegedly bankrolled by businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, an oligarch, so close to Russia's leader, he's nicknamed Putin's Chef. Under multiple U.S. sanctions, Prigozhin denies any involvement in Wagner.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want blood. They want to fight.
MCKENZIE (voice-over): But this senior researcher, at the Dossier Center, says Wagner is Putin's private army. We agreed to hide their identity, for their safety. They've spent years, investigating Wagner's links, to the Kremlin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They operate without any law, without any rules. They can do whatever, in a way, whatever they want. Then, when there is a call, to MOD, or there is a call, to Mr. Putin, "What your guys are doing, in this particular country?" the response will be, "These are individuals. They have no link to the Kremlin."
ZELENSKYY: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
MCKENZIE (voice-over): Despite the invasion, and new allegations, of an assassination plot, Ukraine's President says he isn't going anywhere.
David McKenzie, CNN, London.
COOPER: And as you saw, at the top of the program, he hasn't.
Perspective now, on that, the apparent shift in messaging, at least from the Russian side, and the rest of the bigger picture. For that, we're joined by CNN National Security Analyst, James Clapper, retired Air Force three-star general, and former Director of National Intelligence.
Director Clapper, what does it signal, about Putin's strategy, in Ukraine that the Wagner Group is so involved in this war?
LT. GEN. JAMES CLAPPER (RET.), FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, what it tells me, is this has devolved into an ad hoc - ad hocing, at this point, this bizarre news conference, from Ministry of Defense, which trying to sort of rationalize, and explain, the Russian Military predicament, really, in Ukraine.
So, the Wagner Group represents, throwing some more cannon fodder into the fray, in addition to reportedly Syrians, Chechens, reinforcements from Georgia, reinforcements from them, far east, which all, at least to me, point to Putin's, and the Russians, in kind of in serious straits.
And, I think, they had a plan, initially, which was, roll into Ukraine, and expect the Ukrainians to roll over. And when they didn't, they're winging it now.
COOPER: I mean, it's extraordinary, when you think that the leader of a country would have a group of mercenaries, sort of off the books that he can use, through various channels, to assassinate people, to get involved in countries that he might not be able to send his military into?
CLAPPER: Well, I think, it speaks to Putin's character, and his KGB background, having essentially lawless, mercenary group, a private army, responsible only to him. It's, to me, it's consistent with his character and his behavior.
COOPER: I don't think it's fair to say, even really a shift in Russian strategy, the fact that they're framing this, as you said, as sort of trying to explain, what's been going on, as saying, "Oh, well, now we're entering phase two. And it's really about the cities in the southeast. And that's where the focus is going to be."
Fact is, they're bringing in troops from Georgia, for, to replenish the cannon meat. It doesn't seem like they're really, really shifting, in any way, that in any coherent way.
CLAPPER: Well, again, Anderson, I wouldn't read too much into this Orwellian press conference, in that the Russians are still active in other parts of Ukraine, and they're still around Kyiv. So, again, I think, earlier, a reporter said that, you need to take what was said, with a bucket of salt, which I think is, is good advice.
I don't know what it reflects. It's hard to know what the Russian strategy is. At this point, I'm not sure they have one. It just seems to me that they're, as I said before, they're kind of winging it.
COOPER: Putin drew a strange parallel, between how Western elites, quote, "Canceled" the author, J.K. Rowling, and are now trying to cancel Russia.
Did you ever imagine, you would hear a leader of Russia, comparing himself to J.K. Rowling, and using the term "Cancel culture?" I mean, it's really just bizarre.
CLAPPER: Well, this, to me just is another bizarre vignette of Putin's behavior, of late, which is very much, at least, in my mind, out of character, and inconsistent with the way he's been, before.
I mean, he's always been very tight-lipped, buttoned-down, almost machine-like, very terse. And now, he's, I don't want to use the word, unhinged, but it just, it seemed bizarre, to me.
CLAPPER: And that's, it has its humorous aspect. But it's also kind of serious. Because, remember, this guy's got his finger, on the largest nuclear arsenal, in the world.
COOPER: Yes. Well, the sort of the pathetic sense of victimization is, it's just very telling, and obviously worrying. As you say, he's got a lot of power, at his fingertips.
Director Clapper, as - I'm sorry. Were you going to say something?
CLAPPER: I didn't. Yes, I didn't hear you, Anderson.
COOPER: No? OK.
CLAPPER: But I--
COOPER: Oh, that's OK. Yes, no, I was just saying that it is. It's very worrying, considering the power he has, at his fingertips.
Director Clapper, appreciate it, as always. Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up next, we'll talk to a retired Marine, who's back from training, what once might have been called ordinary Ukrainians, training them to do the extraordinary fight, to defend their country.
Later, we'll talk more, about President Biden's mission to Europe, with Biden biographer, Evan Osnos.
COOPER: In this, in our last hour, one common thread, among our military analysts, has been to underscore the poor performance, of Russian troops, in Ukraine.
Our next guest, a retired Marine, is all about raising the competence level, on the Ukrainian side. From late February, through early this month, Zachary Burgart was in Ukraine, training citizen soldiers. He joins me now.
Zachary, thanks so much for being with us. What was it, first of all, that inspired you, to go to Ukraine?
ZACHARY BURGART, TRAVELED TO UKRAINE TO TRAIN SOLDIERS, U.S. MARINE CORPS (RET.): Hey, Anderson, thanks for having me. I really appreciate it.
It's not that - it's not a singular thing. We're watching the war break out. We're watching these atrocities, and this just, unbelievable action, committed by Russia. I was approached by the owner of the Jujutsu gym I go to, who said that "Do you want to go to Ukraine?" I said, "Yes."
There's a man, from the gym, Yuri (ph), who's Ukrainian, grew up in Ukraine, came to America, as a naturalized citizen, now, and hasn't been home since. And so, we decided we're not going to let him go alone.
COOPER: And you came to how - you were - you were training, giving advice, to what, a Defense Force?
BURGART: Yes, that's right. So, we linked up with the Territorial Defense Force. At the time, we're just calling them militias. We didn't know what the term for them were - was.
But we just got on the ground. And we decided, we need to help somehow. Went to local military units, and spoke to who was in charge, asked how we can help. And they want to know how to better harden, defend their structures.
And after we gave them a walkthrough, on what we would do, where we would do it, how we can place sandbags, what would be a fallback position, things like that, we gained their trust, and they asked if we could help train their militias. So, the next morning, we started.
COOPER: I'm wondering what the - who it was, you were helping train. I spent some time with three veterans, one Marine, two Army vets, who were working with an auxiliary, to a territorial defense, in Lviv. And it was people of all ages. It was men. It was women. It was 18-year- olds, 19-year-olds, and--
COOPER: --folks in their 60s.
BURGART: Right, yes, it was the same story. It was - it was young kids, early 20s, potentially younger, I don't know. We didn't ask exact ages. But definitely, some young kids, all the way up to men, who were over 60.
And, if you know, men are not able to leave Ukraine, right now, between the ages of 16 to 60. And so, to have men, who were volunteering, to be on the Defense Force, who were over 60, who could flee, if they wanted to, that was very striking.
What else was very impactful for me was, we had a lot of people, we were training, who actually moved back to Ukraine, from other parts of Europe, parts of Europe, and got to Ukraine, a couple weeks before the war, because they want to help their country, where they grew up, their family, Ukraine.
COOPER: Most of the weapons that have gone are obviously going to the front, going to where they're needed most. So, for a lot of the - it seems like at least, where I was in Lviv, for the Territorial Defense Forces, and then the kind of the volunteers, on top of that, who are - want to be in the reserves, to be called up for the territorial defense, they don't - they have to come up with their own weapons.
And even for training, the ones I was with, some of the - like a local gun collector had given them a bunch of old weapons, to just train with. They were using a - one of them had a Tommy gun, from the 1930s. What were the kind of supplies that your folks had?
BURGART: No. So, we were more southwest. And all these weapons appear to be issued. They were all newer condition, all the same AK-47s or AK-74s.
BURGART: Around the case (ph). In that same vein, on what you said, they want to practice with something. Some, I'll be honest, some didn't have weapons. They had their hands up, and bang-bang.
But one particular member brought a Airsoft gun. And we told him, "Hey, this is not a game. Don't bring a toy. We're training for real. There's Russians in your country, right now."
COOPER: It's always fascinating when and, I think, important, when people see something, and they want to get involved, and they actually get up, and do it.
Zachary Burgart, it's really - I appreciate talking to you. And a remarkable thing that you've done. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
BURGART: Hey, Anderson, I really appreciate you having me on.
If you want to help donate to the cause that we're doing, buying medical gear, tourniquets, and uniforms, they can go to overwatchfoundationusa.org. And if they're interested in helping us, and volunteering, it's slava.in (ph).
COOPER: All right, Zachary, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Coming up, President Biden's message, to U.S. troops, serving in the war shadow, and the message he's sending to the world, with the announcements coming out of his European visit. That's next.
COOPER: In just hours, President Biden will meet with Ukrainian refugees, in Warsaw. Later, he'll deliver what the White House is calling, a major speech, one taking aim at Russia.
But today, the President had pizza, with troops, from the 82nd Airborne, who're serving in Poland. The Commander-in-Chief offered them encouragement, and he shared a story, about his late son, Beau, who served in the Iraq War.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Folks, I just came by to say thanks. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And what you're always doing, you know. 1 percent of you represent the entire of the Americans (ph), 99 percent of the rest of the country, including me (ph), thank you very, very much, for all you do.
Last time I was in, not the last time, there were a couple of times, in message (ph), in Baghdad, and walking, and I was looking for my son. And I'm going around one-way, to help my son, because he was from here (ph). And I'm looking for him. And I finally see him. But, you know, his name's different.
I said, "Beau, what the hell's going on (ph)?" His name is Beau Biden, a lieutenant colonel, one of the majors (ph). And I said, "What happened?" And he said, "Dad," he said, "Look, the name, Biden, and everybody thinks something's going on. And so, I'm Hunter." He just took his mother's maiden name.
So, how many of you had to change your names? Let me know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Be on the photo-ops, though, President must continue to navigate his policy, in concert with NATO, as the war begins its second month.
CNN Contributor, Evan Osnos, is the Author of "Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now." He joins us.
So Evan, when President Biden met with the service members of the 82nd Airborne, he framed their mission as a message to the world, about who was going to prevail, in the 21st Century, democracies versus autocracies, freedom versus tyranny.
Is that something he's talked about a lot in before?
EVAN OSNOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, AUTHOR, "JOE BIDEN: THE LIFE, THE RUN, AND WHAT MATTERS NOW": Yes, this is emerging, Anderson, as a real theme, of his presidency.
It actually begins all the way with his Inaugural address, when he says we've been reminded that democracy is fragile, democracy is precious. He was talking, at the time, of course, about January 6.
But, in the last four weeks, this has really come into the global stage. He now sees, this war, in Ukraine, as an attack, not only on the people of Ukraine, but on the concept of democracy, as a governing philosophy.
He now talks about this as an inflection point, in history that only comes around every three or four generations, by which he means a moment that the United States that, and he said it very explicitly, now that the United States has to defend the Free World. This is the frame, in which he has come to understand, much of his presidency, and I think we're going to hear more from that.
COOPER: The President gave a joint statement, with the President of the European Commission, establishing a Task Force, to try to help Europe, cut its reliance, on Russian oil and gas, which is a pretty tall order.
Do you think that the President will get criticism for this, essentially, that facilitating the sale of oil and natural gas, to Europe, from the Left, and his party contradicting climate goals?
OSNOS: Well, it's his intention with his climate goals, you heard them, trying today, straining a bit, to say, "Well, we're going to also figure out ways to try to make this a green policy, in the long run."
But this is a potentially big deal. I mean, from a strategic standpoint, the United States has been really concerned about the fact that continued oil and gas sales, to Europe, has been replenishing the coffers, that the Russians have lost, as a result of sanctions, particularly on the Central Bank.
I think one of the surprises has been that Germany has said that with this joint deal, they might be - they actually might be able to reduce their dependency, on Russian oil, to nothing, by the end of the year. And on Russian gas, they might be down to nothing by 2024.
This is a big deal, partly because it redraws the energy map, changes not only how they face, they face West now, instead of facing East, if this can be accomplished. But it really does change the financing picture, potentially, for Russia.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, we're talking about hundreds of millions of dollars every day that flow to Russia, from countries, in Europe, for oil and natural gas.
President Biden also spoke with President Duda, about the humanitarian crisis, out of Ukraine. United States said they've agreed now to take in 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. That's been a very slow process, so far. Do you expect that number to go up?
OSNOS: Well, I think in the meantime, it may well go up, partly because Poland is, and you can't overstate it, Anderson, Poland is really bearing a tremendous brunt of this, right now.
And they are at the center of this, in multiple ways. A lot of the weapons transfers that are going into Ukraine are coming through Poland. And obviously, now, they're absorbing these refugee flows.
So, Poland and the United States have this long and, sort of, in many ways, kind of rich history, a lot of Americans don't even pay that much attention to.
But, right now, Poland is going to be in the center of this for time to come. And I think there will be pressure on the United States, to continue to try to relieve some of that pressure, partly by funding, and giving aid, but also, potentially, by taking in more refugees, ourselves.
COOPER: It does seem, and one of the things that the President Biden will, for legitimate reasons, be proud of, is the unity that NATO has shown. OSNOS: Unity is the word that, I think, you can't overstate how important that is. It's a strategic concept. We sometimes talk about it as "Well, maybe that just means that we're kind of lashed together, for historical reasons."
No, this is part of the reason, why Americans have - why we've sort of come to understand that Putin may have taken this step, because he thought that we were not unified. He could exploit those differences.
And, by holding together, and it's really not just about holding together, now, but holding together, in two months, three months, six months, that's ultimately going to be the kind of bulwark that can change Russian calculations. And that's what they're counting on, and why you hear President Biden returning to that question, of unity, over and over again.
COOPER: Yes. Evan Osnos, appreciate it. Thanks.
As James Clapper, and I, discussed earlier, Vladimir Putin takes a page, from Western politics, with his complaint about cancel culture.
Just ahead, we'll discuss, where his head is, and what his next move may be, with Russian pro-democracy leader, and former world chess champion, Garry Kasparov.
COOPER: Two developments today that suggest the pressure Russian forces and Vladimir Putin are under, more than one month, into this war.
As we mentioned earlier, a top Russian general has talked about a phase two, of the Russian strategy, claiming that now they're going to be focusing more on the southeast, and that's really the region they care about.
Also, Vladimir Putin comparing Russia to Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling. As we mentioned, he said the West is trying to cancel his country, the way he says some of the West have tried to cancel Rowling, over comments she has made.
I'm joined now, by Garry Kasparov, Russian pro-democracy leader, and former world chess champion. He's also the Author of "Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped."
Garry, I mean, when you listen to Vladimir Putin speak, has he always spoken, in these kind of rambling, long messages, I mean, talking about cancel culture?
GARRY KASPAROV, RUSSIAN PRO-DEMOCRACY LEADER, CHAIRMAN, THE HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION, AUTHOR, "WINTER IS COMING," FORMER WORLD CHESS CHAMPION: No, not at all. I have to say that Putin spoke much more in the last couple of months than probably for his entire career, as Russian dictator. And his message has been changing.
And, I guess, the latest speech, came from a very different quarters. I think somebody was watching Fox News, and added these elements, of the culture wars, in the West. I don't think they were appropriate.
But, again, Putin has been desperately trying, to find the right message, to split Western unity. You talked about, it's unity that bothered him so much. And that was his - one of his miscalculations.
And definitely, the war is not going the way he wanted. So, he's looking for the way out, ideologically. And instead of mumbling about Mother Russia, and restoring Russia's greatness, and the roots of Orthodox Church, and he's now trying to change the language. But it doesn't sound convincing.
COOPER: It's interesting, I hadn't really thought too much about it. But that makes total sense that he's trying to kind of use, I guess, conservative touchstones, like railing against cancel culture, to divide people, in the United States, and people, who might think, "Oh, yes, well, he's right about J.K. Rowling, or he's right about cancel culture."
KASPAROV: Yes. But it's also, if you look at the countries that still, not behind Putin? Because, again, let's disregard countries, like Eritrea, or Venezuela, or Iran.
But the countries with, let's say, illiberal democracies, like Hungary, for instance, or countries that are sitting on the fence, like Brazil and India, the leaders in these countries, they are very open, for this kind of language.
And, I think, Putin is desperately trying to boost some kind of support, because Russia has to find ways, to go around sanctions. And, as I said, some of the - some of the countries, big countries, they might be sympathetic, to Russian cause, if it's somehow connected to the topics that are relevant for them, domestically.
COOPER: A NATO official, yesterday, estimated 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, in Ukraine. President Zelenskyy, today, I think, he gave a 16,000 figure.
Whatever the actual number, it is, likely much higher than the 1,000 or so that Russia has said have died, if it is like 15,000, that's the number total number of Soviet Russian troops, who died, in Afghanistan, during the entire course of the war, there.
I mean, 15,000 would be an extraordinary blow to Russia. Does that, I mean, if those numbers continue, does that shake Putin? I mean, does that - does that matter to him?
KASPAROV: Oh, no, he doesn't care about human lives. But he cares about his popularity, and a dwindling support for him.
Because if it's 15,000, even if it's less, 12,000, 13,000, 14,000, you have to multiply this number by four or five. Any Military will tell you, to add wounded. And many, probably many of them, can die, in hospitals, in Crimea, or in Belarus.
So, the losses of the Russian army are absolutely staggering. And that's why, all of a sudden, we have a general, a deputy, who talked about the change of the strategic goals. It was not Putin, not Shoigu, who disappeared, for last couple of weeks, the Minister of Defense, not Gerasimov, the Head of the Joint Chiefs, but a general - colonel general, who talked about Russia's goals, to be limited, to the southeast.
I think it's a practical recognition of the fact that Russia can no longer aim at conquering Ukraine, taking Kyiv. And they're trying to consolidate the gains, and somehow, to force Ukraine, not into submission, but into negotiations, on favorite terms. Probably it's a sign that there is the dramatic split, within Putin's inner circle, the war council, and more reasonable voices are now taking over.
But again, it's all a suggestion, because, I think, at the end of the day, Putin will never, will never, cease to be adhered to the idea of destroying Ukraine, as a sovereign state.
COOPER: What do you think, the U.S. and NATO, should be doing now, to continue?
KASPAROV: Look, I think, it's important to show political will and resolve. And that's why, I think, the NATO meeting was very important.
Of course, I would wish President Biden, meeting Ukraine refugees, in Lviv, across the border, not in Warsaw. But that's, I understand, is it's a matter of national security. And I have little to say about it.
But it's important to make sure Ukraine will receive all the weapons, it needs, to win the war. I think, defeating Russian armies, in Ukraine, should be the goal, not only for Ukraine, but for NATO, for the United States, because that's the way, to deliver the deadly blow, to Putin's dictatorship.
Because, as long as Putin stays in Kremlin, there will be no peace. Even if he now gets some sort of a ceasefire, for Putin, it means reload. And that's why, I think, making sure that his war machine, will be destroyed, once and for all, it's paramount, for world peace.
And that's why keeping sanctions, isolating Russia, and making sure that no countries will have an appetite, to help Putin, to get out of this trap, it's absolutely crucial, now. And hopefully, NATO, and European Union, with American - newly-regained American leadership could move in this direction.
COOPER: Yes. Garry Kasparov, I always appreciate it. Thank you.
KASPAROV: Thank you.
COOPER: Up next, the latest, in the refugee crisis, in Poland, where more than 2 million Ukrainians, are now living, displaced.
COOPER: As we mentioned earlier, according to the White House, in just hours, President Biden is set to meet with Ukrainian refugees, in Poland. The U.N. says more than 3.7 million people have fled Ukraine, with the majority of them, more than 2.2 million, escaping to Poland.
Ed Lavandera joins us, now, from the - near the Ukraine-Poland border.
So it's been a month now, since the invasion, Ed. Are you still seeing high numbers, of refugees, crossing into Poland, or have they declined?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Yes. If you're at the train station, here where we are, and this is kind of indicative, of what we've seen, for several weeks, now, as the trains pushing further into Europe, tend to take off, this time of night, here, in Poland. So, we're still seeing that.
But if you're at the border checkpoints, in the incoming trains, the flow of refugees, has slowed down, a little bit. But it is still steady.
And, Anderson, one of the things that's really stuck out, to us, in the last few days is, about a week ago, people would tell us, it took them about two days, to reach this point.
But now, we're hearing it is taking some families, four or five days, especially from Eastern Ukraine, where they're navigating dangerous conditions, on the roadways, bridges that have been blown out, Russian forces, essentially picking civilians, off of the road, checkpoints and curfews that they've had to deal with. And because of that, it's taking a lot of these refugees, much longer, to get here, to Poland.
COOPER: President Biden is going to be meeting with refugees, tomorrow. Have you heard much about that?
LAVANDERA: There hasn't been much released. But the President is, tomorrow afternoon, is expected to meet with refugees, at the National Stadium there, in Warsaw. And many of the people, you see here, will end up in Warsaw. And that is a place that has taken in thousands and thousands of refugees.
He's expected to meet with the refugee families there, as well as meeting with the Mayor of Warsaw, and also meeting with aid organizations that have been so instrumental, in trying to ease the burden, on these refugees, providing food and shelter, and coordinating travel, and that sort of thing.
So, that is expected to take place, tomorrow afternoon, in Warsaw, which will be early Saturday morning, back in the United States.
COOPER: Yes. Ed Lavandera, appreciate you being there. Thank you so much.
Ukrainians are not letting up, in the fight, to reclaim their country. And, according to reports, as we've been saying, it's taken a toll, on troops, on both sides of the battle.
Here's CNN Senior International Correspondent, Sam Kiley.
KILEY (voice-over): Russia armor smashed in a Ukrainian assault, east of the capital.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KILEY (voice-over): Ukraine now claims to have blocked Russia's offensive, against Kyiv.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KILEY (voice-over): He said "We've been engaged, in a counterattack, to recapture Druzhkivka (ph). The operation has been a complete success. We decisively repelled the enemy."
At times, it's been a ferocious infantry fight, and it's taken several weeks. Ukraine has also relied heavily, on modern drones, here, ambushing Russians, from the air. Tank crews are sent running for cover.
Ukraine has claimed that badly-led Russian forces do have more manpower, but that they are reeling under unexpected attacks, and lack of supplies.
ZINA KHILKO, WIFE OF VICTIM: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KILEY (voice-over): What they say may be true, according to Zina Khilko, who's tending to her wounded husband, in the nearby Brovary hospital. Her village was overrun by Russians. And she describe, dealing with Russian soldiers, who were hungry, cold, and out of control.
KHILKO: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KILEY (voice-over): She said, "They wore my women's hat, my coat, my boots. They wore our clothes. They took out bedding. I don't know what they've done with it. They slept. They ate. They wandered about. They stole our money."
KHILKO: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KILEY (voice-over): A Russian soldier whom, she said, was drunk, blasted her husband's leg off, with a stolen shotgun.
KHILKO: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KILEY (voice-over): "So then, we were two days in the basement," she said. "We started stopping the blood flow, and giving first aid. We've got two medics. I'm a midwife. And there was a nurse with us."
KHILKO: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KILEY (voice-over): She said that two Russian officers later admitted that they didn't support Putin's invasion. And others helped her evacuate her husband, Vasil (ph), to Ukrainian lines.
Maxim, a professional Ukrainian soldier, was shot in the shin, during a firefight, a few miles, from the hospital. He shares Zina's contempt, for Russian forces.
MAXIM, UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KILEY (voice-over): "Their commanders are sending their soldiers to the slaughter," he said. "These bastards, they're just sent to their deaths. The officers don't pity them. They don't even count their losses."
Civilians here, do. Andriy Mulyar, arrived at the hospital, when we were there. He'd been helping his brother, Demetrio (ph), a beekeeper, attend his hives, when Russian shells fell among them, three hours earlier.
Mortally wounded Demetrio (ph) was dead on arrival. He leaves a wife and three kids.
ANDRIY MULYAR, BROTHER OF VICTIM: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KILEY (voice-over): He said, "These aren't people. They aren't even animals. I don't know what to call them."
Sam Kiley, CNN, Brovary.
COOPER: For more on how you can help the humanitarian efforts, in Ukraine, you can go to CNN.com/Impact.
Coming up next, a musician, who refuses to be silenced, as the war grows closer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(PIANIST DROWNS OUT AIR RAID SIRENS WITH SONG IN LVIV)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: One more look, and listen, tonight. This is one of those moments that gives everybody courage, in Ukraine. A pianist, from Lviv, responding to air raid sirens, with song, as police asked everyone to move inside a train station.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(PIANIST DROWNS OUT AIR RAID SIRENS WITH SONG IN LVIV)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The music is from the movie "Inception." "Variety" reports, the original composer, Hans Zimmer, was so moved that he played the video, you just saw, at his London concert, this week.
Stay with CNN, for the latest from Ukraine. The news continues. Want to turn things now, over to "DON LEMON TONIGHT."
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Anderson, I've been glued, to your program, especially watching, your conversations, on Vladimir Putin, in this absurd attempt, to try to connect what is - what he is doing, to Ukraine, or what - how the world has galvanized against him, to cancel culture.