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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

U.S. Believes Putin Being Misinformed By Advisers About War; Satellite Images Show Entire City Blocks In Mariupol Destroyed; Classified Briefings On Capitol Hill On Ukraine War; Death Toll Rises To 15 In Russian Strike On Govt. Office In Mykolaiv; Satellite Image: Red Cross Warehouse Bombed In Mariupol; Ukrainian Family Finds Sanctuary At Home Of Miami Resident. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired March 30, 2022 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Here is what it is. They say: "Mr. Rock, we apologize to you for what you experienced on our stage and thank you for your resilience in that moment."

As for Will Smith, the Academy has begun disciplinary proceedings.

Thanks so much for joining us. AC 360 starts now.



Tonight, Ukraine's skepticism about a claimed Russian military drawdown has turned to defiance and doubts about the peace process have been replaced by outright scorn.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Yes, we have negotiations process, but they are only words without anything concrete. There are other words about alleged pullback of Russian troops from Kyiv and Chernihiv and reduction of activities of the occupiers in these territories.

This is not a retreat. This is the result of the work of our defenders who push them back.


COOPER: Only words, he says. As for the claim of cutback in military operations around Kyiv and Chernihiv in the north, strikes continued today on the outskirts in Kyiv. Also, in Chernihiv whose mayor says the city is under quote, "colossal attack" whatever drawdown was supposed to happen, it seems is yet to materialize.

What's more, according to Pentagon, Russia is merely repositioning troops, not bringing them home, and on top of that, officials today agreed with reports that their Commander-in-Chief, Vladimir Putin is not being kept fully in the loop.


reports of Putin up not being well advised, you know, I'm going to be careful here not to get him not to getting into intelligence, but we would concur with the conclusion that Mr. Putin has not been fully informed by his Ministry of Defense at every turn over the last month.


COOPER: Whatever Vladimir Putin is or is not being told, he is certainly well aware of Russian tactics, which include targeting residential areas. The video you're about to see is a kindergarten. It was taken by a woman who lives in Kharkiv. She describes destruction from a Russian rocket attack.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the sleeping room where children were sleeping and it was on fire because the Russian rocket hit this exact room right here on this wall. The nearby residential houses are also heavily destroyed.


COOPER: We do not have any more information, we should point out on the results of that reported strike.

The Ukrainian prosecutor's office today said that 145 children had been killed since the invasion began. And according to UNICEF, two million Ukrainian children had been forced to find safety outside the country, with another 2.5 million now internally displaced.

In addition, attacks continue on humanitarian facilities. There's a new satellite photo of a damaged Red Cross warehouse in Mariupol. The building as you can see is clearly marked from the sky, it was hit by at least two separate strikes.

Just ahead on the program tonight, I'm going to talk with Cindy McCain, Ambassador to the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture agencies in Rome.

We begin though tonight with CNN chief international anchor, Christiane Amanpour in Kyiv.

Christiane, what is the latest there tonight?

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, look, there is no sense that Kyiv itself is under any assault as we know, but it has been a lot of fighting outside on the outskirts, including the little town of Bovary, which has been hit twice in the last week and I was there just earlier today.


AMANPOUR (voice over): Missiles have struck the town of Brovary, a suburb of eastern Kyiv twice in the last week alone. This tangled, jagged, massive metal and cladding is what is left of a massive warehouse that stored food, paper and the beer and alcohol that's no longer allowed to be consumed under Martial Law.

(on camera): This happened at almost exactly the same time that the Russians were announcing their de-escalation around Kyiv. This missile struck right here.

Imagine the good fortune of the truck driver who was loading up to take crates and packages and boxes of food and supplies to the supermarkets in this town and also to Kyiv. He managed to survive.

(voice over): We are told three workers were killed, but Brovary has never fallen to Russian forces. Directly west of here, Russian and Ukrainian troops have been fiercely fighting over the town of Irpin. And now, it does appear that the Russians are retreating from here, a clear indication that this war around Kyiv has simply not gone the way Russia planned.

Whatever the reason, Moscow says it is retrenching, their intercepted radio conversations verified by "The New York Times" show their soldiers in distress from the very start.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: I urgently need refueling, water, [food] supplies. This is Sirena. Over.

AMANPOUR (voice over): This was west of the capital in Makariv, in the very first days of the war, already signaling the focus on civilians once their own so-called properties were out of harm's way.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: There was a decision made to remove first property from the residential area and to cover the residential area with artillery. Over.

AMANPOUR (voice over): This security video shows a Russian armored vehicle just blowing up a car, instantly killing the elderly couple inside.

Ukraine has lost its fighters, too. Here in the Brovary cemetery, Boris, the caretaker shows us freshly dug graves.

(on camera): This guy, this soldier died on the very first day of the war.

BORIS, CARETAKER: Dah, dah, dah.

AMANPOUR: It's raining, it's drizzling here today. It's almost as if this city is crying as it mourns its war dead, because all of these graves are for the fighters of this place, who have fallen in combat since this war began.

This grave has been dug, but the family can't yet bury their son, a soldier who was fighting in a village 15 kilometers away, but it is held by the Russians. They haven't yet been able to get his body released. (BORIS speaking in foreign language.)

AMANPOUR: And even Boris' heart breaks when he tells me about a father who's just lost his son, his only child, and who asked: What do I have to live for now?


COOPER: Christiane, that audio that "The New York Times" analyzed, it is so fascinating to listen to the full audio stream that they report on. It signals Russian troops have been struggling from the start and also that they're using open radio frequencies, which are able to be picked up by anybody who has the right technology.

AMANPOUR: Well, exactly, and that is part of their whole sort of basic distress in the field, which has led to them not achieving their goals on the ground. And that is one of the reasons why all of this muddle came out from Moscow yesterday to have them sort of, you know, retrench and regroup.

So we don't really know exactly how that is going to play out, but certainly, the head of British Intelligence has just delivered a speech in Australia, in which he says that clearly, Putin has been completely misinformed about the capacity of his own troops.

But not only that, that they have -- you know, they know the troops of deserted, that have left their vehicles, they refuse to follow orders, and in one case, at least, have brought down their own aircraft, they fired and brought down a Russian aircraft.

And then the other thing on that audio is that from the start, they talked about laying down artillery fire against residential areas, I mean, from the start.

COOPER: And yes, and you can actually hear them -- the tank operator saying, specifically residential areas.

In a call today, President Biden told President Zelenskyy, he would provide more budgetary aid to Ukraine. What's Zelenskyy asking other leaders for?

AMANPOUR: Well, look, he desperately needs help. Clearly, as the U.S. says and NATO say, one of the reasons it's not just the heart, the spirit, and the resistance of the Ukrainian fighters, which is key, but it is also the training and all the help -- material, weaponry, all of that they've been getting to fight this fight, but they need more.

And Zelenskyy spoke -- you know, he's done a tour of world Parliaments by Zoom remotely, and today it was to Norway, and he called for a lot more weapons, the kind of weapons you need to take out tanks, aircraft, and even he wanted, you know, weapons to take out ships.

He is very, very concerned about all that, and particularly Mariupol, which we all know is just suffering the brunt of all of this. It is just terrible. COOPER: Yes. Christiane Amanpour, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Now my conversation with a Member of Ukrainian Parliament, Lesia Vasylenko, quoting from her two recent tweets, and one she writes: "Russia is saying it will remove forces and Russia actually removing forces are two very different things. Kyiv is still loud and the west of Ukraine still goes to sleep with the sounds of sirens."

She also wrote on peace talks, she tweeted: "The key point from Ukraine, all negotiations possible only after total de-occupation of Ukraine, so Russian soldiers go home and then we talk."

I spoke to her just before airtime.


COOPER: Miss Vasylenko, I appreciate you joining us. As you know, heavy fighting continues on the outskirts of Kyiv despite the announced drawdown of Russian forces. Is there any reason to believe that Russia is negotiating in good faith?

LESIA VASYLENKO, UKRAINE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: For us Ukrainians, there is no reason to believe that because we have had time and time again evidence when Putin has said one thing and then did the complete opposite.

We have learned to apply the reverse psychology principle to Putin's words, when he says one thing, he usually means something absolutely different.


So what we are witnessing is when he said he's going to go into Phase Two and now concentrate on just the eastern parts of Ukraine, on that same day, he sent out missile after missile into western Ukraine. That's thousands of kilometers, which separate the two areas out.

Today, I woke up today -- yesterday, I was sleeping here, I'm now actually just arrived in Paris for another bout of diplomatic talks with partners in France. But it took me 36 hours to actually get here. And as I was crossing the whole of the country, at night, especially the whole sky lights up in every single region, several times per night, and during the day as well.

This is what Putin's peace talks and ceasefire is all about.

COOPER: You also -- when one gets messages from Russians involved in negotiations say that there has been signs of some sort of progress, and then from Moscow, directly from Vladimir Putin's spokesperson, you hear essentially the opposite, saying there are no signs of any progress.

VASYLENKO: Well, negotiations have been going on since day one, literally, of this escalation of the war of Russian aggression against Ukraine. There are negotiations on many topics -- humanitarian corridors, evacuation, food deliveries, all sorts of things -- troops movements across the country and along the borders, but at the end of the day, what the world is really interested in and what everyone is asking about is, when will there be a full ceasefire? When will this stop? When will there be peace in Europe and the world?

And essentially, there are no answers for that because Russia and Putin are simply not interested in having peace, and they are not interested in having peace in a diplomatic way. The only thing that can stop Putin's aggression is a united international effort that will be bigger than Russia's force, and that will actually kick Putin out of Ukraine and restrain him inside the territory of Russia.

COOPER: I'm wondering what do you make of this new reporting that U.S. Intelligence officials believe that Vladimir Putin has been misinformed by his advisers about his own military's performance in Ukraine?

VASYLENKO: You know, I agree with that completely. When Putin started his escalation on the 24th of February, 2022, he believed that his army wouldn't be met with embraces and flowers, and all kinds of congratulations, and this is the information that Putin was receiving back in 2012-2013 when a whole different Ukraine was there, and a lot of Ukrainians were actually thinking that Russia was a friendly nation, that Ukrainians and Russians were brothers and sisters.

And all of that change in 2014 with the bloody war, which Russia has started in February 2014, eight years ago. And since then, for eight years, Ukrainians got clear on the fact that there can be no friendship with Russia, and that Russian and Ukrainians cannot best live as neighbors, but it's the worst case scenario right now and we are -- we have an enemy, we have a greedy neighbor who is attacking us day in and day out and has been doing so for eight years, and who has no intent of stopping unless stopped.

COOPER: And we saw Red Cross warehouses, you know, in central Mariupol was hit by at least two strikes according to new satellite images. None of this surprises you, I'm sure.

VASYLENKO: No, it doesn't, and we have information of Russia targeting particularly petrol refineries and petrol storage units. That tells us that Putin is going in for the long run and is looking at a long term war. These is strategic -- these are strategic targets that are being hit by Russia, and it means that they want to destroy Ukraine's supply of fuel, and they want to destroy it not for one day or two days, but they want to destroy it for months on end.

And this means that Putin has no intention of going back, and you have to just to see that he is targeting more and more civilian targets. None of the things that Russian missiles hit are actually military targets, and that is not saying that he is actually going in for the killer. He is going in to destroy Ukraine and erase Ukrainians off the face of the Earth.

COOPER: Lesia Vasylenko, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

VASYLENKO: Thank you.



COOPER: There is much more ahead tonight including a look at the parallels between the war that we are seeing now and the wars that we have seen Vladimir Putin wage and all their brutality over the years. Former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper joins us for that.

Later, Senator Angus King on what more he'd like to see this country do to help Ukrainians defend their country.


COOPER: Whatever criticism the Pentagon or Kremlin watchers may give the notion that Vladimir Putin's generals aren't telling him everything, it is hard to argue they aren't fighting the kind of war he wants the way he wants it. The evidence of it is plain to see on the ground today in Ukraine and in the pages of history, his history.

CNN's Matthew Chance explains.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Russian troops fresh from battle cruising through the devastated streets of a deserted city, virtually leveled by rockets and artillery fire. You can see the apartment blocks in the background reduced to rubble.

It could easily be Ukraine in the past few weeks, but this is footage from 22 years ago in Chechnya, a breakaway Russian region brutally suppressed by the Kremlin, an early glimpse of how uncompromising Vladimir Putin would be.


(on camera): The almost unanimous opinion of these soldiers is that if he is elected on Sunday, Vladimir Putin will make a strong President to lead this country and its Armed Forces.

(voice over): At the time, he vowed to chase terrorists to the toilet, and wipe them out in the outhouse.

He later expressed regret for those words, but not the actions.

Europe's first war of the 21st Century was also Putin's war. The tiny Georgian enclave of South Ossetia was a backwater of the former Soviet Union. But it was here that Putin got a taste for violating international boundaries, intervening to support the breakaway region, pounding Georgian forces and rolling his tanks across the border.

(on camera): Well, there has been a lot of speculation about where the Russian troops are, well, here they are, well, inside Georgian territory, and outside the main conflict zone of South Ossetia.

The big question is, how far will they go?

(voice over): Then, as now, the invasion provoked international scorn. But just after the short Georgia war, Putin seemed confident, relations with the West would endure.

(on camera): Do you think that this is a turning point in relations between Russia and the West? Do you think that period of postwar calm has come to an end?


CHANCE (voice over): He was right. The Western backlash against the resurgent Russia never came -- until this.

In 2014, protesters toppled the pro-Russian President in neighboring Ukraine and Putin moved quickly to secure Russian interests.

(on camera): Well, astonishing developments in Crimea because without a shot being fired, Russia has moved into the Ukrainian territory, and despite international condemnation effectively brought it under its control.

(voice over): Sanctions followed, but so too, did an unstoppable wave of nationalism.

President Putin, the victor of Crimea, had for many Russians restored a sense of pride.

PUTIN (through translator): We understand that it is not about the territory, which we have enough of, it is about historical roots of our spirituality and statehood. It is about what makes us a nation and a united unified nation.

CHANCE (voice over): Soon, Putin unleashed his growing military swagger even further afield. The shock and awe of Russian airstrikes in Syria propped up the regime of Bashar al-Assad, each missile to helping to change the course of the Syrian conflict and sending a potent message of Russian resurgence.

(on camera): This really does feel like the center have a massive Russian military operation, the air is filled with the smell of jet fuel, and the ground shudders with the roar of those war planes returning from their bombing missions.

(voice over): Now, the missiles and the roars are being heard once again. And Putin's destruction in Chechnya, then Georgia, then Syria is now being visited on Ukraine.

Of course, he has ridden out tough sanctions and international condemnation before, but this time, it is unclear how much support Putin has at home.

(on camera): This is one of those Russian Soviet era vehicles which is completely burned out --

(voice over): And given painful Russian losses on the battlefield. It is unclear, too, whether he will now double down as he has in the past or back down like never before.

Mathew Chance, CNN.


COOPER: Perspective now from CNN national security analyst, James Clapper, retired Air Force Lieutenant General and former Director of National Intelligence. So Director Clapper, I want to start with the news that U.S. officials tell CNN they believe Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about the reality of the war in Ukraine, the performance of his troops, even the impact of sanctions on the economy, that essentially his advisers are too afraid to tell him the truth.

Do you, A, think that's likely? I know Tony Blinken was asked about it earlier and he said he thinks it is essential, and what does it say about how one moves forward then if he's not being informed?

JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think it's quite true. At least in my mind, he is not being well-informed and this is against the backdrop of his being essentially isolated for 22 years that he has ruled and then physically isolated in the last two years because of the pandemic.

And, you know, recall the scenes of meeting people at the end of long tables, and this sort of thing.


And it's kind of typical of autocratic forms of government that news -- that the information doesn't flow very well, neither up nor down the command chain, and I think the situation here is made worse by how badly things are going for the Russians in Ukraine, and as well and probably at home.

So yes, I doubt he is being informed about much now. He apparently knew enough to purge some people, but generally speaking, I don't think he is informed. This is not good. This is dangerous, when he is apparently still in a decision making mode is going to decide the way the way forward in Ukraine.

And the thing is always on the back of my mind that, you know, he has got his button on the nuclear button there with the largest nuclear arsenal anywhere on the globe.

So the fact that information is not flowing is not good from several dimensions.

COOPER: We've mentioned the head of Britain's Intelligence agency, GCHQ said today that they've seen evidence that quote: "Russian soldier short of weapons and morale refusing to carry out orders, sabotaging their own equipment, even accidentally shooting down their own aircraft," which is stunning, you also -- I don't know if you've heard, but those -- the tapes, the radio communications that "The New York Times" has analyzed and which are available at "The New York Times" website are really fascinating, because you hear these Russian artillery and tank operators, desperately calling out for air support, desperately, you know, lacking food, lacking, you know, coordinates, and they're operating on open frequencies that are being monitored by any Ukrainian citizen who is able to.

CLAPPER: As a lifelong Intelligence guy, this is kind of amazing. You know, armchair analysts at home can do their own signal intelligence. And, you know, again incredible that this level of communication security or lack thereof seems to be prevailing.

And of course, that plays right into the Ukrainians hands because it makes it a lot easier for them to locate targets. If the Russians are using cell phones and the like or unencrypted communications to communicate with one another.

So, this is kind of amazing. And, you know, I've read reports of Russian soldiers attacking their own commanders, sabotaging vehicles, emptying the vehicles with from -- you know, get rid of the gas.

So this speaks to the really dismal state of affairs of the Russian military.

COOPER: Yes. Director James Clapper, I appreciate it. Thank you.

Up next, lawmakers on Capitol Hill got a closed door briefing this afternoon on the state of play in Ukraine.

We'll talk to Senator Angus King who was there.



COOPER: On Capitol Hill this afternoon, Senators received a classified briefing on Russia's war in Ukraine. Independent Senator Angus King of Maine took part in it. He's just back from the region a trip to Poland. Senator King serves on both the Senate Intelligence and Armed Services Committee. I spoke to him earlier.


COOPER (on-camera): Senator, appreciate you joining us. I know you can't reveal classified intelligence, obviously. But what are you able to say about the briefing you got today about the war and how it squares generally with the public perception of where things are headed?

SEN. ANGUS KING (I-ME): Well, I think it's it was generally responsive to exactly what we're seeing what you're reporting Anderson with a little more detail. But this is a crucial period that we're moving into now. The Russians do seem to be refocusing toward the east. And the danger is that they encircle the -- where Ukrainian troops and squeeze them pretty substantially. And of course, the other danger is that Putin returns to his normal modus operandi of just hammering civilians and cities like he did in Aleppo with Assad and Graziani and Chechnya. And so, the next two weeks are really going to be crucial to see if the Ukrainian forces can keep up the extraordinary level of fight that they have over the last several weeks, but we're getting the arms to them. That was a lot of the subject to the briefing. Today, we're getting humanitarian aid, refugees are now over 4 million have left the country, 6 million displaced inside the country, 90% of those refugees are -- I don't think 90% but a very high percentage are children. So the situation right now is dangerous.

Here's the irony and here's the danger. Anderson, as the Ukrainians succeed and bring more pressure to bear, the danger is that Putin is more desperate and takes more desperate measures, either through more bombardment of the cities through a cyber attack, or, Lord help us the use of nuclear weapons.

COOPER (on-camera): I'm wondering, what do you make of the reporting that use intelligence believes that Vladimir Putin may not have been or is not getting full information about the details of the war by his military advisors? If that is the case, what does that suggest to you?

KING: Well, it's really dangerous, and I think it's clearly the case, either he got bad intelligence and has been getting bad intelligence all the way along or he got good intelligence and didn't listen to it. I suspect it's a little -- it's a combination of both.

COOPER (on-camera): Do you put much stock in this claim of de- escalation in Russia's Ministry of Defense things moving to drastically reduce forces around Kyiv? There's a lot Ukrainians who believe this may be just an attempt to re-outfit, re-supply whatever troops they have there.


KING: Well, I think it's a little of both. I think what they're -- made, they made a fundamental mistake at the beginning of this war, when they thought it was going to be a cakewalk. They divided their forces, any general will tell you, you never divide your army, they divided their army essentially into three pieces. And now what they're doing is re-consolidating, they've decided they're not going to be able to take Kyiv, at least not now. And they're consolidating in the south and the west. One of Putin strategic goals is a land bridge, from Russia along the Black Sea to Crimea. And that's what's going on right now is trying to ensure that. The other thing that we have to be concerned about that the Ukrainians have to be concerned about is that he traps them, he moves the he gets the Ukrainian forces down in that southeast corner, and then in circles them and can just pound them with artillery and missile strikes.

So, the Ukrainians have to be very careful to not get trapped obviously. But they do want to confront him and try to have the same kind of success they had up near Kyiv.

COOPER (on-camera): Yes. Senator Angus King, appreciate your time. Thank you.

KING: Thank you, Anderson. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: There's evidence on the ground in Ukraine that the country's military could use more tools for this war. Those requests were being discussed today Senator King just mentioned you'll see the needs in several cities including in Mykolaiv in the south where Russian strike proved deadly today.

More than that now from CNN's Ben Wedeman.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Somewhere in this jumble of concrete bricks and twisted metal are more bodies trapped in the ruins of the office of Mykolaiv's Regional Governor.

Tuesday morning or Russian missiles struck the building, killing more than a dozen people, wounding many more.

OLEKSANDR SYENKEVYCH, MYKOLAIV'S MAYOR: They bombard our city and only civilians are dying here.

WEDEMAN: Mykolaiv Mayor Oleksandr Syenkevych doesn't normally come to City Hall like this. But he saw war coming long ago and prepared himself.

SYENKEVYCH: Starting from 2014 I thought that the war will be like this. So everything you see on me this (INAUDIBLE) vest, boots, anything. I bought it a couple years ago. So I started to learn how to shoot. I was in a special school for that.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): On the outskirts of his city, recently down Russian attack helicopters suggest the Ukrainian military also saw this war coming. They've managed to stop Russian forces in their tracks, regaining territory lost at the start of the war.

Five-year-old Misha (ph) is recovering from shrapnel wounds to his head in the basement turned bombshell direct Mykolaiv's Regional Children's Hospital. His grandfather Vladimir shows me phone video of the bullet riddled car Misha's (ph) father was driving with his family to escape the Russian advance.

Russian soldiers Vladimir calls them bastards opened fire on the car killing Misha's (ph) grandmother and mother. As we speak the air raid siren goes on. Taking shelter is an oft practice drill. Stay calm and carry on.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Mykolaiv.


COOPER: Well coming up, we're going to talk about the plight of now more than 4 million refugees who fled Ukraine with Ambassador Cindy McCain.



COOPER: Want to spend a few moments discussing the plight of Ukrainian refugees, particularly after that attack on a Red Cross facility in Mariupol that we mentioned earlier. Again, these newly released satellite images from Maxar Technologies and they show what Maxar says is at least two separate military strikes occurring during the last 11 days, no Red Cross staff were present on ultra nationalist militia now part of the Ukrainian military claims these were Russian military strikes. Just one more example of how difficult it is to help the most vulnerable during the war.

Joining me now someone who recently met with Ukrainian refugees, while in Poland, Cindy McCain, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome.

Ambassador McCain, thank you so much for joining us. I want to get to what you're seeing firsthand in Eastern Europe. But first, I just wanted to get your reaction to the news that the Red Cross warehouse in Mariupol was hit by at least two strikes. I know you're not involved in military matters, but given what you and others are trying to do, how concerned are you about humanitarian facilities not being said?

CINDY MCCAIN, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UN FOOD AND AGRICULTURE AGENCIES IN ROME: I'm very concerned about it. I mean, this has been the issue with having a corridor that's safe to be able to move humanitarian goods and of course people through is something that we've seen repeatedly coming out of out of Putin, and just these kinds of things, bombing it -- bombing buildings that are full of civilians, bombing areas like, like the IRC building that just occurred. It is tragic. I mean, the only way that we can stop this, that and then it can be stopped is for Putin to stop bombing and get out.

COOPER: Yes. You visited one of the refugee centers in Poland, what stood out to you? What did you see in here?

MCCAIN: Well, number one, I was astounded. And my heart was lifted when I saw what the Polish people are doing for the Ukrainians.


MCCAIN: It's an amazing operation, as you know, and it's something that they have withstood a huge influx of people, and they're doing it with great grace and dignity and giving these people dignity, safety and of course, they're feeding them and making sure that they move forward with their plans as best they can.

COOPER: All those, you know, refugees, internally displaced people as well, but need, you know, not just food, medical supplies. Is there -- do you think enough of a distribution system in place to make sure the relief is getting to where it's needed?

MCCAIN: Well, I think we're almost there. I mean, it's very difficult, especially when it's dangerous to move supplies into Ukraine. I think those who are coming out are coming out through Poland and some of the other countries, I think are certainly getting adequate care as best they can. I know the Poles are taking very good care of the refugees that are coming in.


But there's a lot more to do we have a crisis here that is now going to affect food systems around the world. Ukraine, as you know, is the largest breadbasket in Europe. And it's going to affect other countries and other vulnerable people in their -- in our ability to be able to feed them. So this has long lasting and worldwide implications.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, the ripple effects of this is something I think we, you know, people have talked about a little bit, but it remains to be seen just how dire that might get with, you know, shortages of grain in the Middle East because of --

MCCAIN: Right.

COOPER: -- fields not being planted in Ukraine right now.

MCCAIN: Right. Well, I just returned prior to this. It was a pre planned trip from both Kenya and Madagascar. And we've already put them on 50% rations. Yemen's on 50%, rations, Ethiopia, maybe less than 50% at this point. And I mean, we -- these are people, we're going to take food away from hungry children to give to starving children. What options is, or is that I mean, it's just an impossible event we're up against.

COOPER: Yes, it's a choiceless choice as the expression goes. The other sort of unknown, of course, in all this is how long this goes on. And that must make planning really difficult.

MCCAIN: Well, it is difficult. I mean, we have the amazing UN organizations like World Food Program, FAO is in here, other organizations, they're working very hard to be able to feed people and to be able to move what grain and substance out of Ukraine that we can. Again, the ports are close, we're having to hopefully put them on trains a bit, get it in trucks, get it out and harvested as well.

So I mean, this is a huge situation. This crisis is as we just said, is worldwide. It has ripple effects, and it's going to affect us for a long time to come.

COOPER: Yes. Ambassador McCain, I'm so glad you had the time to speak with us. Thank you.

MCCAIN: Thank you. Thank you.

COOPER: I want to tell you a really incredible story next it's about a family forced to flee their home in Kyiv then separated from their father but who found safety in the home of a stranger in the U.S. We have details on that when we come back.


COOPER: Before the break, I was discussing the ripple effects of this war with Ambassador Cindy McCain. In that case, it was about food security, but another of those ripple effects certainly a more encouraging one is how Ukrainian refugees have been welcomed into the homes of strangers who want to do something to help.

Randi Kaye met one such family who found sanctuary at a home here in the United States.


IRYNA TIMOSHENKO, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE: I realized that something happened because when at 5:30 maybe am the neighbors, they called me and asked (INAUDIBLE) heard something, what --

RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iryna Timoshenko was on a business trip last month in tLviv, Ukraine near the Polish border when Russia started bombing her country. Her husband and their three children were hundreds of miles away at the family's home outside Kyiv.

TIMOSHENKO: I just asked my husband to bring the kids to me.

KAYE (voice-over): Iryna and her husband Oleksandr devised a plan, he would drive them through the night about seven hours one way to meet her in Lviv.

(on-camera): So as your husband drove toward Lviv, you were able to track him on your phone?

TIMOSHENKO: In WhatsApp, it's the one option share your location. And I can online check where he is. Because, you know, it was like a hardest hours when you realize that all your family, your husband and your kids driving, and it can bomb the, and it can be anything.

KAYE (voice-over): When the family reunited, Iryna thought her husband wasn't able to cross the border since men of a certain age were being told to stay and help defend Ukraine. So Iryna and her kids ages three, seven and nine, boarded a train to Poland. Meanwhile, around the same time, half a world away this man Philip Bradford was watching the Russian siege on TV at his Florida home. Philip's mother was Croatian and his wife stepmother was from Ukraine. So he felt the urge to help.

PHILIP BRADFORD, OPENED HOME TO TIMOSHENKO FAMILY: I heard my wife and my mother and my stepmother-in-law, my mother-in-law telling me get off of my dupa which is rear end and go do something.

KAYE (voice-over): Just a few minutes away from Philip's home in Cooper city is St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

BRADFORD: I went to the church. And I gave them a couple of $100 thinking I've done my good deed like a boy scout might. And I said if I can help more, let me know and everything -- KAYE (voice-over): Turns out there was more, a lot more. Iryna had

made her way to Miami with her kids. She'd visited that same Ukrainian church last year. So when she went back and shared her struggle, a church volunteer called on Philip to help.

BRADFORD: I was told about this mother with three children from Ukraine.

TIMOSHENKO: And so yes, I want to help. I have the big house. I want to give you the place to stay for your kids. You have the separate room for all of them.

KAYE (voice-over): Philip's wife has been in a nursing home for the last four years. So he's been living alone. Not anymore, Iryna and her kids moved right in.

BRADFORD: I'm almost 80, so it's like having grandkids running around again.

KAYE (on-camera): How do you feel about a stranger opening up his home to your family?

TIMOSHENKO: You know, I was shocked. And now we are like, one family all together.

KAYE (voice-over): Philip even insisted Iryna take the kids to Disney World. His treat.

(on-camera): You sent them to Disney?

BRADFORD: Oh, she told you about that.

KAYE (on-camera): We know all your secrets.


BRADFORD: That's what grandfather's do I guess.

KAYE (voice-over): Meanwhile, soon after Iryna left Ukraine, she found out men who had three or more children were allowed to leave the country. So a few days ago, this happened.


KAYE (voice-over): Upon his arrival is a gesture of thanks Iryna's husband who will also live with Philip brought him this bracelet in the same colors as the Ukrainian flag.

(on-camera): What does that bracelet mean to you?

BRADFORD: Well, it kind of makes me one of them in a sense. Yes.

KAYE (on-camera): Funded (ph).

BRADFORD: Yes. Right.

KAYE (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Cooper City, Florida.


COOPER: Yes. The kindness of strangers. We'll be right back.



COOPER: Quick reminder, I've got two new shows on our new streaming service CNN+ that we launched this week "Full Circle," which lets me interview a wide variety of interesting people and cover stories you might not see in the day's headlines, and a new show called "Parental Guidance," which is all about parenting highs and lows. It's full of useful advice. You can watch them and other shows on CNN+ using your web browser to CNN mobile app or the CNN app on Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV streaming devices.

That's it for us. You'll also find by the way, the newscast with Wolf Blitzer which is live weeknights at 7:30p.m. Eastern. And Wolf is keeping busy. Time to hand it off to him right in house for "CNN TONIGHT." Wolf.