Return to Transcripts main page
Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Air Raid Sirens Sound In Kyiv Despite Russian Pullback Claim; Russian Bombardment In Southwestern Mykolaiv Region; Woodward & Bernstein On New Trump WH Phone Log Revelations; British Government Detains Superyacht Belonging To Unnamed Russian Businessman With Ties To Putin; UN Official: 10+ Million Ukrainians Have Fled Homes Since The Start Of The War; No Mercy. No Malice With Scott Galloway On CNN+. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired March 29, 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: The colors of the Ukrainian flag, one of them merely said, quote, "We actually had a lot of yellow materials, so we had to use it." They couldn't be open about what they were doing, but yet that picture, as we say, said it all. Incredibly powerful.
Thanks so much for joining us. AC 360 starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
Air raid sirens have been going off tonight in Kyiv. They stand in contrast to Russia's announcement of course after peace talks earlier today that it would quote, "drastically reduce military activity around the city and in Chernihiv as well."
Instead tonight, there are the sirens followed by the sounds of heavy artillery and rocket fire. Here's how Ukraine's President framed the situation in his late night message to Ukrainians.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The signals that we hear from the negotiating platform can be called positive, but these signals don't drown out the explosions of Russian bombs.
The enemy is still in our territory. They carry on shelling in our cities. Mariupol is besieged. Rocket and air attacks are not stopping.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: At the Pentagon, a similar assessment coupled with a warning that even a pullback from Kyiv doesn't mean those troops won't soon be fighting elsewhere, or even that this was Russia's final visit to the city.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY (RET.) PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Has there been some movement by some Russian units away from Kyiv in the last day or so? Yes, we think so, small numbers. But we believe that this is a repositioning, not a real withdrawal, and that we all should be prepared to watch for a major offensive against other areas of Ukraine.
It does not mean that the threat to Kyiv is over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: With this move or perhaps just the announcement of some move follows a day of peace talks that appear to yield some measure of progress. It also comes as Ukrainian forces have been taking back Russian held territory northwest and east of the capital and elsewhere in the country.
Now in a moment, we'll have a report from CNN's Ben Wedeman who visited one of those areas, also CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the White House. We begin though with CNN chief international anchor, Christiane Amanpour who is live in Kyiv.
Christiane, it is great to see you. Air raid sirens, artillery rocket fire do not signal drastically reduce military activity as Russia is claiming. What is happening in Kyiv today?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, exactly, and all night, we've been hearing air raid sirens as you describe. The thing is, the Russians today made all these statements, but they also said that what we're doing does not amount to a ceasefire, and clearly that has been proven to be the case on the ground.
On the other hand, we've been seeing and we've been reporting for the last several days, and the Pentagon has been confirming that there has been a complete stall by Russian forces who are attempting to take this city, or at least encircle it, as we were saying, for the last 33 odd days of this war.
So they are not doing well at all in their ground force and in their ground of operations, and so it seems that that is what they are trying to say in Russia, that from certain areas they will, whatever you want to call it, and redirect to eastern Ukraine, which they have talked about. That's what they say they want, which obviously, is where they already occupy, at least parts of it, and presumably they want it connected with the south, which is why they're bombing the heck out of Mariupol, 160,000 people still there, so many people under so much stress and without any kind of humanitarian aid.
So we wait to see. There have been some positive signals. There is no doubt that what happened in Istanbul is potentially the most positive, at least by both sides' account since these talks began.
COOPER: You know, for weeks we have been hearing occasional positive statements from President Zelenskyy about, you know, there may be some movement in talks. How realistic do you think these talks are between Russia and Ukraine? Because there are certainly major challenges still to work out. AMANPOUR: There are huge challenges, Anderson. I mean, the Russians
have stepped back from their maximalist goals, at least those that they stated at the beginning. And, frankly, those that they stated up until about the last several days. The facts on the ground speak for themselves.
And in a way, the Russian -- you know, the Kremlin and the politicians are saying certain things like, you know, they don't talk about denazification anymore, or even demilitarization, by the way because that's not going their way here. They do say that they want, you know, territory in the east and obviously, Crimea.
On the other hand, President Zelenskyy has said that we agree to be neutral, we agree to be nonnuclear, but we want international guarantees if we're going to do that, and that, of course, is going to be very difficult because it means a kind of, you know, kind of Article V situation, even if it's not NATO per se guaranteeing their security, it could be any number of those kinds of countries and others.
But what it would mean is that those countries would have to defend Ukraine in a way that they are not doing now should they be faced with a similar kind of invasion or war and that is going to be tough to work out.
COOPER: Christiane Amanpour, appreciate it. Thank you.
Much more now on this moment, what it's like in parts of Ukraine that are no longer in Russian hands and why neither the liberated nor the liberators are resting any easier right now.
CNN's Ben Wedeman has more.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The blasted burnt out hulks of Russia's might lie on a road outside Mykolaiv, more rumbles in the distance.
Lieutenant Colonel Yaroslav Chepurny doubts peace or even a pause is at hand.
(LIEUTENANT COLONEL YAROSLAV CHEPURNY, UKRAINIAN ARMY speaking in foreign language.)
WEDEMAN (voice over): "Russia," he says, "Put such a huge effort into invading Ukrainian territory. It's hard to imagine it will leave so easily."
WEDEMAN (on camera): As fighting raged on the road just a few minutes' drive from here were civilians, many of them huddling in their cellars for protection, scared of the fighting, but terrified of the danger if they tried to flee.
WEDEMAN (voice over): This house in the nearby village of Shevchenko took a direct hit.. Bombardment is less frequent now.
It's just calm enough for 72-year-old Natalia to pack up and go.
(NATALIA IVANOVNA, SHEVCHENKO RESIDENT speaking in foreign language.)
WEDEMAN (voice over): "It's impossible to tolerate this anymore," she says. "I'm already an old woman."
A neighbor will drive her to nearby Mykolaiv. Shrapnel riddled his car and shattered the back window.
(NATALIA IVANOVNA speaking in foreign language.)
WEDEMAN (voice over): "I'm not afraid to die," says Natalia. "But I'm just not ready. I haven't gone to confession yet."
In an adjacent town, Lubya shows me the potato cellar she hid in for days.
(LUBYA, LOTSKYNE RESIDENT speaking in foreign language.)
WEDEMAN (voice over): "It's cold here," she says. "There was no electricity for two weeks." As fate would have it, she did well to stay down there. One day a rocket landed in her backyard.
(LUBYA speaking in foreign language.)
WEDEMAN (voice over): Tongue in cheek, she told us, "The Russians left a gift for her, a gift that keeps on ticking."
(on camera): All right, we have to leave this spot because this rocket has not exploded.
(voice over): Many of the villages near the front have been largely abandoned, only the most stubborn stay behind.
COOPER: Ben joins us now along with Kaitlan Collins.
Ben, what did you see when you were in those neighborhoods outside of Mykolaiv today? I mean, are there any signs of de-escalation?
WEDEMAN: No, actually, what we saw, Anderson, was a lot of outgoing fire from Ukrainian positions, and very little in the way of return fire from the Russians.
I mean, what is blaringly clear is that the Ukrainian forces have been able to make a significant push toward the town of Kherson, which is actually occupied. It is the only major city occupied by the Russians in Ukraine. So, it is clear the Ukrainians are making progress, but having said that, this evening, we heard some massive bombardments on the outside of the city.
So the preferred tool of the Russians, it appears is rather than engaging with ground forces, where they have not performed well under the small -- against the smaller Ukrainian Army, but it is with things like long range missiles and artillery that they continue to use with deadly effect.
COOPER: Yes. Kaitlan, do President Biden and the administration share the same skepticism as President Zelenskyy when it comes to what Moscow is claiming in terms of troop movements?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. They're not even just really tiptoeing around it saying: Well, maybe they are doing this. Let's wait and see. They are being very blunt, Anderson, in their skepticism of what Russia is actually doing here. And they say: Yes, maybe they're moving around a few small forces, which is what the Pentagon acknowledged today. But they think really, that just amounts to a repositioning not a real withdrawal on their part.
And instead, Anderson, they are actually warning that Russia could be preparing to conduct another major offensive, so they are telling people to be prepared for that. And saying that just because Putin couldn't take Kyiv when he wanted to doesn't mean that there is no threat to Kyiv any longer and they're offering that warning pretty bluntly tonight.
COOPER: Ben, there was also a strike today on an Administrative Building in Mykolaiv that killed at least 12 people. Obviously, if Moscow is planning on occupying a town like Mykolaiv, striking in the Administrative Building is going to make any kind of actual administration if they are actually planning on administrating services in a city much more difficult.
WEDEMAN: I don't think, Anderson, their concern is administering or governing these cities. What we've seen in these cities they've taken over is that they have imposed what seems like an almost Stalinist regime of rounding up journalists and any others who might pose any problems.
And therefore, yes, this strike on the Administrative Building was a shock, because I haven't seen anything like that since shock and awe in Baghdad back in 2003, a massive hole in this building. The strike took place at 8:45 this morning, local time. As you said, 12 people dead, 33 people wounded.
The governor himself was supposed to be in the office, but he slept late, and so he wasn't there. But what we did see, and it's important to keep in mind where this building is located. It is the middle of the city, it's about a little over a mile from where we are right here, and many of the buildings around the Administrative Headquarters for the province were shattered.
And so this is a city that people were beginning to think with the gradual pushing back of Russian forces that life was going to somehow settle down. The strike today showed them that may not be the case -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. It really shows the true nature of the Russian agenda.
Kaitlan, is there anyone inside of the administration that thinks the President's comments over the weekend that Putin couldn't remain in power, is behind some of these new claims by the Kremlin?
COLLINS: Not really. They've kind of just tried to move past that after the President came out yesterday and clarified what he meant saying that he wasn't stating any kind of new policy, saying instead, he was just speaking his own personal feelings about what he thinks should be the case in Russia, and he was appealing to the Russian people.
They don't think this has really affected Putin's calculus at all. And it's been interesting, because they have at times talked about this notion of in this challenge, really, of confronting Putin without provoking him. And that was something that a lot of Russia experts raised about that question.
But today, you know, they were really focused on what Russia is actually doing when it comes to these forces on the ground. And so the President spoke to the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom about this. President Biden told us that he reached this consensus really with them where they just want to wait and see what it is that Russia does.
But in the meantime, they are keeping the sanctions in place, they are going to continue sending that military assistance to Ukraine, and that's a notable statement given of course, right after President Biden spoke with those leaders, the French President was getting on the phone with President Putin.
And so that's kind of been this wheel of how they are dealing with him. How are they are talking to him, and waiting to see what it is he actually does, but they don't seem to be prepared to change any of the posture when it comes to sanctions or sending equipment to Ukraine until something changes.
COOPER: Kaitlan Collins, Ben Wedeman, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
Coming up next, with today's mixed messages about Kyiv, mean to a mom sheltering with three kids while her husband is fighting in that city.
We will check in with Olena Gnes, who we have been talking to throughout this invasion.
Later, it makes Richard Nixon's infamous 18-minute gap in the Watergate tapes look like a blip, what a reported seven-hour-and-37- minute gap in the White House phone logs on the day of the insurrection could possibly mean especially when we know the former President was taking calls.
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein join us tonight.
COOPER: We've been checking regularly since early in the invasion with a mom in Kyiv and her three young children. Olena Gnes is her name. Her oldest child is seven years old, her youngest just turned five months old. Their father volunteered to help defend Kyiv and they've been sheltering in a basement since the invasion began.
We talked to Olena just before airtime.
COOPER: Olena, how are you and your kids doing?
OLENA GNES, SHELTERING IN A BASEMENT IN KYIV: Hello, we are kind of fine. That means we are alive. But it's not fine that it is fine where we are right now, because it's still -- we still are under threat and under danger and it's not fine. It can never be fine.
COOPER: Have you heard anything outside from the streets today?
GNES: More explosions. We hear the noise of this like every day, every night. Hard to say where is it coming from. The last few days, it looks like these were more on the ground. We are very close to the border of Kyiv, and it looks like we hear the fighting in Irpin, which was liberated presently by Ukrainian forces.
So we heard this fighting between Ukrainians and Russians.
COOPER: I know that Dureena (ph) turned just five months old and that you had a celebration. You had a cake. How was that?
GNES: That was nice. Yes, we were happy. Yes, Dureena turned five months recently and we even bought a cake. That was funny how we were buying the cake. Like we went outside. We went to a small shop where we knew we could find the cake. Then we heard very loud explosions and we ran back to the shelter very fast.
So the cake and bread that was everything that we bought that day.
COOPER: You also mentioned in one of your videos that your husband came to visit in the basement. How was that?
GNES: Yes, my husband visited us again, about one hour he spent with us in the shelter. All this time, the children were playing with him. He looked very tired. He had very red eyes. And Dureena did not recognize him. She started crying.
You know that was heartbreaking because he always participated in the life of our children. All three times, like he was given birth together with me, all three times, and he was always very much you know, an engaged father.
He was even staying on paternity leave basically. When I've been working as tour guide in Chernobyl that was him who stayed with the children for two years, approximately. And now this time, the thing that his child did not recognize him that was -- that was heartbreaking, really.
COOPER: That's going to be so hard for him, too, to realize that.
GNES: Of course, of course. He asked me to show her a photograph from time to time, be sure not to forget, "I have a father."
COOPER: How does he tell you how -- I mean, how he really is doing? Or does he try to keep things upbeat?
GNES: Well, you know, he is such a character when he said -- he always said that he is okay. So this time, he says, I'm fine. I'm okay. I don't need anything. And he keeps joking about some things.
Well, he is -- I know that he will be fine. I mean, and even if he's not fine, he will say that he's fine. Yes.
COOPER: I saw in a video you were wearing traditional Ukrainian embroidered clothing. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
GNES: Yes, so this happened basically after I saw a huge event in London when so many thousands of people were on the street with Ukrainian flags. I could not find my Ukrainian flag. This is a shame. It is somewhere at home.
But I found our national costumes, and decided to put them on to show like in this way, our solidarity with the other Ukrainians, actually, it is something very special. This is like traditional embroidery.
COOPER: Yes, it is beautiful.
GNES: And it has such -- I just think of home.
COOPER: I love the headband that Katya was wearing.
GNES: Yes, this is another traditional thing and basically Taras (ph) was very -- he was crying because he wanted to have the same, even though he is a boy.
COOPER: Yes, well, if one child wants something, the other one automatically wants that. I've just learned -- I've been learning that.
Well, you know, again, I know you follow events a lot. I'm wondering when you hear about, you know, ongoing talks between Russia and Ukraine and Turkey. Russia claims, you know, scaling back military activity in parts of Ukraine, and yet we see showing continuing what do you think?
GNES: I was asking -- I was waiting for this question. And, well, peace agreements with Russia, you know, me, I feel with many others here, we do not expect much from this peace agreement, because all the time when we had it before, these agreements meant for us more of attacks, more of shelling, more of trying to kill Ukrainians.' Now, this happened even eight years ago. And now each time when we
have any kind of negotiations with Russia, we are like, okay, so today, we will have more bombardments, more attacks from the air. Okay, we'll see what negotiations bring us.
We do not really expect any sudden peace from, you know, Russia, because this regime cannot be trusted.
Now, they lied so many times, they lied before. They keep lying right now. If you watch Russian TV, what they are telling today people -- what they are telling you about the West, about Ukraine, you know, they do not take Ukraine seriously as a nation and they just -- it's not nice.
But I mean, whatever decisions will be taken during these negotiations, even if these decisions and agreements would be like, nice, like they promised not to attack anymore. It doesn't really mean they will not attack anymore.
So for me, what I see is it's more like the political discussions, more like political agreements, not between Ukraine and Russia, but between Ukraine and the other countries in the West. It's like a part of a chess game.
And for sure, it's not the end. It's just we're in the process of war.
You know, while the Russian troops are still on the territory of Ukraine, we are still at war and any peace negotiations like are not possible, because we cannot discuss peace with someone who is killing you right now.
You know, he is just putting guns to my head and negotiate with me about peace agreements. This is not right.
COOPER: Olena Gnes, I appreciate talking to you as always, thank you.
GNES: Thank you.
COOPER: Just ahead, details on the latest yacht linked to Russia's elite seized under international sanctions, we will cover that and break down Russia's claims that it wants to, in their words, drastically reduce its assault in the north of Ukraine with "New York Times" columnist, Tom Friedman.
COOPER: We will have more in the war in Ukraine in a moment, but right now, we want to spend time on another major story that broke today. "The Washington Post" and CBS News reporting that White House phone logs from the day of the January 6 riot which were only recently turned over to the House Select Committee show a gap of seven hours and 37 minutes. Now previous reporting, including by CNN indicated that there were
gaps, but until this reporting, we did not know just how large a gap it was.
According to reporting, it is equals 457 minutes, from 11:17 AM to 6:54 PM and that includes the period when the U.S. Capitol was being violently assaulted and when we know the former President spoke by phone with top Republicans.
We're joined now by two men familiar with the tarnished presidency and missing White House evidence. Carl Bernstein, a CNN analyst and author of a memoir, "Chasing History: A Kid in the Newsroom," and Bob Woodward, who co-authored this remarkable piece for "The Washington Post." He is also the co-author of "Peril" about the transition from the former President to President Biden.
So Bob, this is really startling. I mean, this is not just a gap. This is a gaping hole in communications. What stood out to you?
BOB WOODWARD, "THE WASHINGTON TIMES" JOURNALIST: Well, first of all, it's illegal to subvert a legitimate function of government and the legitimate function here is the certification and the winner of the presidency and the law specifies it will be on January 6th.
And so, here we find on that day, in many ways, the most important day in Trump's presidency, that is we know who is I know, person is a chronic, addictive PHONER. And there's this seven hour and 37 minute gap it, it strings, any credibility, and what happened, we have these 11 pages of White House records, which clearly establish and show what Trump was doing that day. As one of the lawmakers, Robert Costa and I talked to said this as a cover up. This is having all of the elements of an organized concealment.
COOPER: Bob, the other thing that I mean, again, what's so remarkable about what you reported that the President gave the Washington Post a statement saying, never heard of it doesn't know what a burner phone is. And the statement says in part, and I just want to read it, it says, I have no idea what a burner phone is, to the best of my knowledge. I have never even heard the term. John Bolton, in your article said that he talked about burner phones often, or a number of times. Didn't he?
WOODWARD: Yes, and it's a it's a classic way of concealing a conversation and in this important way, in the law requires that the records of the presidential movements and phone calls be recorded. And the National Archives doesn't have this seven hour and 37 minute gap. It's astonishing. And it is Carl and I worked 50 years ago on Watergate, tangled, hidden, and this goes longer and based on the -- and deeper.
And based on the information I have I think the people who concocted this scheme of the alleged stolen election that there's no evidence on our next year going to win an Academy Award for the fabrication. COOPER: Carl, how does this happen? I mean, how does a phone log in the White House just have this gap in it? And because as you know, as has been extensively reported, we know for House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, his phone call to the President, though these should be in the records, but they aren't.
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, the way it happens is that people who are determined that we not know the truth about what happened leading up to this insurrection and insurrection led by a seditious President of the United States. It's not in his interest for us to know and the people around him presumably tried to make sure we don't know we need to look at what happened on January 6. This committee has already told us that a criminal act was committed by the President of the United States on January 6. A judge has just said a federal judge, that there is reason to believe that the President of the United States broke the law.
What was this about? It was about a President of the United States for the first time in our history, who would not allow his duly elected successor to take office. And in the process of that, what is sedition? It involves insurrection, promoting insurrection, such as occurred on January 6, so we have something unique in the history of the presidency, way beyond the crimes of Richard Nixon. This is an unprecedented event to undermine the constitution, to undermine democracy itself by a criminal president.
COOPER: Bob, I mean, who wouldn't be involved in -- is it just editing a log? I mean, do you know what would it be involved in this kind of, I don't even know what to call it this kind of creating this kind of a gap.
WOODWARD: Well, whoever turned it over officially and in fairness, Trump says he just assumed all the proper records went to the archives, but whoever did this had no sense that they were handing in, if you will, homework that no one would believe. I just know personally, in dealing with Trump on 2020 on the phone, he would call in the morning in the afternoon he once called me in the afternoon and said, oh, or no, I'm sorry. I called him I had some questions. And he said I can't talk I've got 20 generals waiting for me and then we talked for 25 minutes, he could not stop talking.
And so, the someone has done something that has underscored and put sparkles around a obvious deception, who did it, how it was done. And to the credit of the January 6 committee, they're being expansive. They're talking to people. They're asking the old reporter's question when you talk to somebody who else should I talk to? And then they go talk to them and ask that, and they have got hundreds of witnesses. Let's hope they can put this together in a way so people will see what happened.
COOPER: Carl, I mean, several members of the January 6 Committee expressed open frustration on Twitter and statements that the Department Justice hasn't taken more action as a result of the committee's work thus far. Do you think the DOJ would will ever prosecuted Mark Meadows for contempt of Congress or seek to question the former president in some sort of criminal investigation?
BERNSTEIN: Or perhaps prosecute the former President of the United States. Usually, or very often prosecutors wait until they have a full record of investigations before they indict before sometimes they impanel a grand jury. What we know is that the committee's information as far the Justice Department is aware of it. The committee's information is voluminous. It shows exactly up to what is known now, how the President of the United States undermined his office, undermined the Constitution, and presumably the Justice Department is looking at every aspect of it, including how to go about indicting those involved in this conspiracy.
Let's be clear, this is a conspiracy to defraud the United States and its people. It is a conspiracy, the top of which is undoubtedly unquestionably the former President of the United States. So it's understandable that the Justice Department might be taking its time in such a sensitive case to go forward. We don't know --
BERNSTEIN: -- but the Attorney General is certainly looking with his prosecutors at this.
COOPER: Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward appreciate I think.
WOODWARD: I think he --
COOPER: Go ahead Bob.
WOODWARD: -- actually has a responsibility --
BERNSTEIN: That's right.
WOODWARD: -- to look at this. You just can't pretend this didn't happen.
COOPER: Fascinating, Bob, as always, thank you so much. Carl, as well.
Coming up more on the war in Ukraine. New York Times columnist Tom Friedman joins us to talk about that. The West latest capture his pursuit of Russian oligarch wealth. Also what to believe Russia's claim about wanting to in their worst drastically reduce its attacks on two cities.
COOPER: In all the other news out of Ukraine tonight, there was this out of Britain international sanctions against Russia as a lead appear to have been added yet another super yacht. According to the British government which detained the ship it belongs to an unnamed Russian businessman with ties to Vladimir Putin. As for luxury apparently not only has a freshwater swimming pool, but what the builders call it a quote, infinite wine cellar. Can actually be infinite, but, you know.
Again, this news comes as our reporters tonight have heard sounds of major artillery and rocket fire and Kyiv, President Biden and Pentagon, President Zelenskyy all kind of serious doubt about Russia's claims of troop repositioning and its motives. Today, Russia's defense minister said the move is about quote, achieving the main goal deliberation of Donbass, as the region, the East that's partially occupied by Russian backed forces.
I'm joined now by New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman, author of a number of best selling books, including The Lexus and the Olive Tree.
Tom, what do you what do you make -- I mean, he's Russia now just trying to figure out a way to reframe this that that all they cared about Donbass all along and get a land bridge to Crimea and get out.
TOM FRIEDMAN, FOREIGN AFFAIRS COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: You know, it's interesting, Anderson. I don't think we can rule out the fact that there may be confusion and differences of opinion now between the military and Putin. Given this, given the losses they've suffered. I still believe that Putin's choices once he got everything wrong from beginning were, lose early on do small, lose late and lose big. There clearly is some effort there to lose early and big and leave early and small. And the way to do that is to claim that they were just going for, you know, the link between Crimea and Russia and the eastern regions.
But I think we shouldn't underestimate how confused they might be themselves and what kind of divisions might be going on there. I still think though Anderson, Putin's overall fallback position, is to try to create as absolute many, as many refugees as he can from Ukraine, into the surrounding EU and NATO countries, and put them under tremendous stress so they will come to Zelenskyy and get him or force him eventually, to cut whatever deal Putin wants. I still think that's his point (ph).
COOPER: Do you think that can work? I mean, look, there's what the population -- pre war population in Ukraine was I think, 44 million or so. I mean, that potentially, there's a lot of refugees potentially.
FRIEDMAN: Yes, we've already got, I believe, about 6 million plus internal refugees, and three to 4 million already now spilling out of the surrounding states. And that's a huge burden on those countries. So, I don't rule that out. I think it's, -- he's cynical enough to do that and desperate enough.
COOPER: You know, one of the things that's interesting, and I heard you comment on this, and we see yachts being seized here and there, are house -- houses, you know, huge mansions in London. We don't really see what is happening inside Russia. And I mean, do you feel like you have a sense of what the economic pain they are feeling is yet?
FRIEDMAN: You know, we're really covering this war almost like with one eye, because we're covering as reporters and so well, but covering what we can cover, which is the war on the ground. We can't actually cover what's going on inside Russia. And remember, we dropped the equivalent of an economic nuclear bomb on Russia.
And so what we don't see is (INAUDIBLE) going to his ATM machine and either not getting any money or getting money that adds up to half of what it bought before. We don't see the other Russian man or woman going to their factory. And being told by the boss, sorry, the factory is closed. We don't have any microchips. We don't see the young couple going to the travel agency to see about their vacation to Istanbul or to Spain. And being told, sorry, we, we don't have any airplanes flying. So we don't see any of that.
And so, there's a real asymmetry in the coverage received. I'm glad we do. Lord knows the pain that's being inflicted on Ukraine. But there is an enormous pain being inflicted on the Russian economy right now and on Putin, and that has to be filtering up. And it's just beginning. And so, I think a lot of what you're seeing coming out of Russia, Putin, how much comes directly from him? How much is authorized? How much is the military now speaking up? We don't know. But has to reflect that pain? Not to mention the pain of the military.
COOPER: Does -- you know you wrote a couple weeks ago, it really interesting article, a column about the sort of globalization it shows how interconnected we all are this conflict and a lot of different ways. Does this say something about the future of getting off gas or getting off dependence on oil coming out of Russia? I mean, do you think it accelerates that process in the United States in Europe?
FRIEDMAN: Lord knows, Anderson, I would hope so. So, I mean, how many years are we going to go, funding both sides in these wars? We fund our own NATO forces and our help to Ukraine's military with our tax dollars. And we fund Putin's army with our oil and gas purchases. His oil and gas supplies provide 40% of his state budget, that means 40% of his military budget, how long are we going to go on funding both sides in these oil wars, whether it's in the Middle East, or Russia or anywhere else. That is flat out stupid, and it's time we finally had a plan, a strategic plan to get off oil, we cannot do it overnight. But we can do it a lot faster than we've been doing it.
And remember Anderson, what brought down the Soviet Union. It was the collapse of oil prices between 1998 and 2002 brought on strategically actually by Saudi over pumping. Well, we now have it in our power to bring down those oil prices by massively rapidly moving to renewables. Why aren't we doing that? Why are we going on begging? Think about it, Anderson, two years ago, Trump was begging Russia and China to cut their production because oil prices have fallen to by $15, which is killing American oil companies. And now Biden and Blinken are begging Saudi Arabia to cut its production, to assume (ph) raise its production to ease the pain on us now.
But what both of those have in common is we're always begging. We they're begging them to cut their production or raise their production because they are the swing producers. Let's stop begging. And let's have a strategic plan to end our addiction to their oil. That is the one thing that would truly, truly undermine Putin and Putinism.
COOPER: Yes. Tom Friedman, always good to talk to you. Thanks, Tom.
FRIEDMAN: Thanks Anderson.
COOPER: Up next to Tom Friedman's point, a moment ago the impact is wars having it all there's millions of refugees who have fled their homes and face the challenge of starting over in the new country. Will be right back.
COOPER: A UN official said today that more than 10 million Ukrainians have fled their homes since Russia invaded the country last month. That's more than the population of New York City or London. Its largest mass exodus in Europe since World War II, and most of them about 6.5 million have moved to safer parts of Ukraine, so they're internally displaced. Nearly 4 million though 4 million have become refugees. They've gone into neighboring countries such as Poland.
As CNN's Kyung Lah reports, the flood of refugees there has created huge challenges.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They fled from Russian missiles now wait for their Polish papers, but all they want is to be in Ukraine.
We've been waiting for four hours yells this woman out of frustration. I have a special needs child. But every refugee here almost all of them women and mothers has needs. The more than 2 million Ukrainian refugees and Poland will have to show documents if they want a Polish national identification number for official services.
YULIA ISAYEVA, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE: You can work.
LAH (on-camera): You want to work.
LAH: Yulia Isayeva and her two children waited since three in the morning. Six hours later, they got that national number so she can work.
(voice-over): I wish I could continue my old life says Isayeva, there she had a job, family. Her husband now fights in the war.
It was taken away she says of her life. I have to live here by force. While she's grateful to build a safe life and Poland for her children, I want to go to Ukraine, she says. You hear the story repeated again and again from the women pulled from their lives stuck in a purgatory of passing time while a war rages at home.
IRINIA YASINOVSKA, VOLUNTEER, WARSAW REFUGEE CENTER: And oil (ph) too.
LAH (on-camera): This is where you lived?
YASINOVSKA: Yes, yes.
LAH (voice-over): This cut is Irinia Yasinovska's life now.
YASINOVSKA: I work in Ukraine. I'm police, police. I'm -- yes.
LAH (voice-over): Your police officer?
LAH (voice-over): She was. She now grabs a neon vest instead. She's a volunteer at a Warsaw refugee center where she herself arrived in early March fleeing bombing in Kyiv. Most refugees leave here in days for temporary housing or for other countries. But it's been a month and she refuses to, unless is to go home to her life in Kyiv where her brothers are on the front lines.
(on-camera): Do you think you'll see them again?
LAH (voice-over): Yes, she says. They talk twice a week at most. I think everything will be fine, she says. At least I hope for it. Not just my brothers but everyone.
But life outside the war doesn't stop. Even though Yulia Isayeva wishes, it would.
If I have to, she says, I'll do it. We'll start.
LAH: The thing that is really extraordinary. And when you talk to all of these refugees is that they believe that this life here in Poland is temporary. They're seeing the same news, they're seeing the same images are having to explain all this to their children. But they still somehow believe that they're going to be able to return to Ukraine, and pick up life where it stopped. Anderson.
COOPER: Kyung Lah, appreciate it. Thank you.
Up next, new details on the launch of CNN+.
COOPER: CNN's new streaming platform CNN+ launch today. I've got two programs on it one's called "Full Circle" which we've been streaming for the past few years and have a great time with which can now be found on CNN+. And a new program called "Parental Guidance" that I'm doing, where we look at issues and questions around parenting including a lot of the questions that I have. Both pre premiere episodes are on the site right now. There's a ton of new programming on CNN+, including our friend Scott Galloway he's been on this program a bunch. He has a new show called "No Mercy, No Malice." He's always fascinating. Here's a look at part of his show, part of the conversation he had with former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT GALLOWAY, NO MERCY, NO MALICE HOST: Will you run for office again?
ANDREW YANG (D) FMR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm going to do whatever I can for this country of ours oh (INAUDIBLE) --
GALLOWAY: Oh Jesus Christ. Jesus come on dude. Your owe for two. Are you -- are you stabbing -- that sounds like yes.
YANG: Well, I guess what I'm describing is --
GALLOWAY: That sounds like yes.
YANG: -- that I have a completely open mind about what my future holds. But I'm, you know, I'm 47 years old which apparently in political terms makes me --
GALLOWAY: That's an instance (ph).
YANG: -- very, very. Yes.
GALLOWAY: But if you're going to run again, what would you want to run for? Would you run for president?
YANG: Yes, yes, like I have a mission to do what I can like I frankly like a big --
GALLOWAY: Come on man. You're smart. I know. I know you're like doing the maths. Where do you see an opening potentially for Andrew Yang?
YANG: Right now I'm concerned with '22 and '24. So I'm just going to do what I can -- it's going to be elevating other candidates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's from "No Mercy, No Malice," Scott Galloway. You can watch it in CNN+ using your web browser to CNN mobile app or CNN app on Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV streaming devices.
Stay with CNN for the latest from Ukraine. The news continues. Want to hand over to Wolf Blitzer in "CNN TONIGHT." Wolf.