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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Six Weeks Into Russia's Invasion Of Ukraine; Exclusive Interview With Poland's President; U.S. Imposes New Sanctions On Russian Banks, Putin Daughters; Mayor Compares Mariupol To Concentration Camp: "New Auschwitz"; Ukrainian Regfugees Seeking Asylum At The U.S.-Mexico Border; House Votes To Refer Two Former Trump Advisers To DOJ For Contempt Of Congress Charges. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 06, 2022 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Four million people on that space. Wow. It's amazing.
Yes, I think just over the past few years have different images in our heads. Thanks very much, Bill. Amazing report. Thanks.
And thanks to all of you for watching. AC 360 starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
Six weeks into Russia's invasion of Ukraine, we begin tonight with the words premeditated, planned, and very, very deliberate. Those words come from a senior American Defense official and they describe the administration's assessment of the atrocities in Bucha.
In addition, in an official familiar with the latest information says that identifying the responsible Russian units is now within reach, and quote, "an extremely high priority" for the Intelligence community, cold comfort, but comfort nonetheless, is that the assessment of the Russian forces have completely withdrawn from areas around Kyiv and Chernihiv and have not yet materialized in the Donbas where Vladimir Putin's new war focus is believed to be.
In the meantime, evidence of brutality against civilians continues to accumulate from the areas Russian forces once controlled. CNN's Fred Pleitgen obtained extraordinary drone video today. It was taken March 7th above a highway west of the Ukrainian capital, a car apparently taking fire from a nearby Russian tank position stops. You see the driver getting out, raised his hands above his head and then was shot dead. The man's wife was also killed inside the vehicle.
New drone video as well tonight of the extensive network of trenches that Russian troops dug to the north of Kyiv, specifically and horrifyingly in the highly radioactive soil near their Chernobyl power plant, cite of the world's worst nuclear disaster. The plant is now back in Ukrainian hands. Six weeks into the war, Russian forces still do not control Mariupol in the southeast, the mayor today said that the world has not seen tragedy in such a scale, and these are his words, quote, "Since the Nazi concentration camps." And with that and the Bucha atrocities in mind, President Biden today amped up the economic pressure on Moscow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First, the United States will impose full blocking sanctions on Sberbank, by far the largest financial institution in Russia and Alpha Bank, his largest private bank. We're locking down any accounts, any funds that those banks hold in the United States.
They'll not be able to touch any of their money. They'll not be able to do any business here; and second, I'm going to sign an executive order that is going to ban any new U.S. investment in Russia, more than 600 private sector companies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The President also said that more Kremlin family members would face sanctions with the new list including Vladimir Putin's two adult daughters, as well as the wife and daughter of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
As always, there is a lot to cover tonight with CNN's chief international anchor, Christiane Amanpour in Kyiv, CNN's Matt Rivers is in Budapest, Hungary, and at the White House, CNN's Phil Mattingly; also Dana Bash has an exclusive interview with Poland's President.
We begin with Christiane Amanpour's from liberated, but devastated Borodyanka just outside Kyiv.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (voice over): Welcome to Sasha's Restaurant, it says only Sasha's is no more, nor any of the apartments in this block above. A dining table and chairs, a jacket blowing in the wind still intact, the only visible reminders of the families who lived here.
The crow's caw above this City of Borodyanka, perhaps they sense the death here. It is clear that the heavy destruction is mostly along the main streets. It appears the Russian armored columns simply opened up with heavy machine guns and artillery as they rumbled through town.
Brick by brick, today the digging starts, trying to find civilians or their bodies buried beneath the rubble when even their basement shelters were turned into graveyards.
On this corner, they're looking for at least four missing from this block alone says Viktoria Ruban (ph) who is with the rescue team.
(VIKTORIA RUBAN speaking in foreign language.) (voice over): "We have never seen anything like this. It is very difficult for us," she says. "And not only for us, but for the residents of Borodyanka, it is a great tragedy," because of an ill- disciplined force with a license to kill.
(on camera): So this is Vladimir Putin's idea of liberating a fraternal brotherly nation. So either, he is doing all this because he loves Ukrainians, or as many believe because he is motivated by a rising hatred and anger.
They're westward loving democracy, at their resistance and their refusal to come under Russian control. And as an afterthought, a bullet to the head of Ukraine's cultural hero, the great poet, Taras Shevchenko, not even statues are immune.
Amid all this destruction, the summary executions, the Ukrainian flag flies proudly in the central square.
(voice over): For good measure these Ukrainian soldiers are pulling out a captured Russian tank that was dug in. They say they'll use this and anything else the invaders have left behind to fight them in the villages, in the towns, in the fields, and all the way back to the Russian border.
COOPER: And Christiane Amanpour joins us now along with Matt Rivers and Phil Mattingly.
Christiane, the Mariupol City Council is claiming that Russian forces have started using mobile crematoriums to dispose of bodies in Mariupol possibly as, if that is true is where to hide some of the brutality that we've been seeing in other places like Bucha and Borodyanka where you were.
I know you're talking to war crimes officials, what have they been telling you?
AMANPOUR: Well, not about these crematoriums, I have to say we did hear about those early on, some were suggesting that they were to actually dispose of Russian bodies so that they wouldn't go back into Russia and create, you know, the kind of signal that the Russians wouldn't want, that the parents, you know, to prevent them for being seen and from shifting the tide of opinion there.
This is now fresh information from Mariupol about this, and we have asked and we haven't yet gotten confirmation about that. Although, we do know and I have spoken to the Prosecutor General today that they are collecting what they call evidence, trying to build a picture of what they hope will be a big war crimes trial, whenever they can towards the end of this, whether it's Bucha or Borodyanka or Mariupol.
I mean, said Mariupol is the center of the war crimes, really. COOPER: Phil, I'm wondering what you're learning about how the images from Bucha, have they in any way shifted the dynamics on sanctions, obviously more sanctions were announced today, but has it been a significant shift?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, images from Bucha, the horrors from Bucha were the driving force behind the latest set of U.S. sanctions. But one U.S. official I was speaking to earlier today, pointed me to the European Union, where there is now a very real deliberation over ramping up sanctions on Russian energy in particular.
It has been something that has been considered off limits. The E.U. is so reliant on Russian energy, particularly oil and gas, that they haven't wanted to touch that. However, the E.U. is moving towards a ban on coal imports and they are also, I'm told in very real discussions about trying to find some way to cut off oil imports. That would be a very significant move.
Anderson, it was something that wasn't even on the table four weeks ago, three weeks ago, two weeks ago, but one European diplomat I spoke with earlier tonight said: Look, we understand something needs to change. We have to do more. That's what is under discussion right now.
A U.S. official said they're not there yet, but it is very clear, this atrocity has moved them closer than they have ever been to the most damaging sanctions they have even considered -- Anderson.
COOPER: I mean, Russia is making about a billion dollars a day from oil and gas. So obviously, that's a huge source of revenue to continue the war. Matt, you're in Hungary, you've spent time with refugees still in Ukraine. Why was it important to them to stay there despite having to flee their homes?
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson, we drove about three and a half hours from here in Budapest to the Hungarian- Ukrainian border. We crossed over, we went a few kilometers into the country, and we went to a number of different shelters there. And basically you have Ukrainians fleeing from all kinds of different parts of the country, going as far west in the country as you can get getting safe, getting out of the fighting, Western Ukraine, not nearly as affected as other parts, and yet not taking the step to cross over into Hungary.
Earlier in the war, we definitely saw that quite a bit, you know, people coming from other parts and then immediately crossing into Poland or Hungary or Romania or other countries.
Now, we've spoken to organizers there who say the number of people choosing to stay is outnumbering the people choosing to leave and the reasons vary on an individual basis.
You know, we spoke to some people who were way more optimistic that the Ukrainian Army given recent successes could actually prevail here. Others simply don't want to become refugees in other countries, that in some cases they've never even visited before. But you know, for some, it is just more emotional. We spoke to one woman who fled Kyiv with her two young children, her husband back in Kyiv, still fighting the Russians and she said, even though geographically it doesn't make a lot of sense, the idea of just going a few miles into Ukraine or into Hungary and leaving Ukraine, it would make her feel less connected to her husband back in Kyiv, and she said even though you know, we're safe right now, I want to stay in Ukraine because it just makes me feel that much closer to him, even though coming into Hungary would only be just a few miles further.
COOPER: Christiane, even as the U.S. official said that the Russian forces have completely withdrawn from around Kyiv, NATO Secretary General is warning that Vladimir Putin may not be giving up on trying to capture Kyiv, strategically how do you think the Ukrainians and the West will use the time while Russia shifts its focus to the east.
I assume they have to keep troops there in case Russia decides to continue to attack or attack from Belarus.
AMANPOUR: Well, it appears that Russian troops are regrouping and the Secretary General said, you know, getting things like ammunition even and food and all the other supplies. I mean, we coming out of Borodyanka, we saw so much Russian ordnance just strewn around as they clearly left in a hurry.
Some unexploded -- I mean, literally crates and crates of it in open fields alongside these enormous trenches that they had built, an encampment, but they are apparently moving to the east, and that is what the -- you know, the Ukrainians and others are noticing.
Now it is important, according to Western military analysts to use what they call this window of opportunity, while Russia is slightly on the back foot trying to regroup, trying to you know, aim for another target in the east and to beef up all the supplies that the Ukrainians need to hold them off in the East there, because that is where everyone's attention, or at least the Ukrainians and the Russian attention is going to be and actually already is -- Anderson.
COOPER: Phil, the Pentagon Press Secretary, John Kirby said that -- he said today, quote, "Of course," those are his words, "Ukraine can win this war." What is the latest on U.S. supplies being sent to the Ukrainian military, and does -- to Christiane's point, this time now where Russian forces seems to be regrouping and redirecting, is there any talk of increasing the sophistication of weapons being sent to Ukrainian forces, even if required some training of Ukrainian forces?
MATTINGLY: Yes, Christiane's point is such a critical one based on U.S. officials that I've spoken to who have made clear, this is not a static operation. This is fluid and it is changing by the day.
Just last night, the U.S. approved an additional $100 million to specifically respond to requests from Ukrainians for new Javelin anti- tank missiles. We do know that the hundred switchblade drones, those kamikaze drones that can be used to kill tanks, those have already been shipped, should be arriving either today or tomorrow.
Overall, the U.S. has delivered more than $2 billion in lethal aid, but I think the critical piece here is something you've heard U.S. officials gingerly talk about over the course of the last several days, Anderson, and that's the types of weapons systems that perhaps the U.S. can't deliver on its own because of the very issue you're mentioning, the training and capability of Ukrainian forces.
But that they can secure and then backfill from allies in the region, whether it's related to tanks, whether it's related to S-300 anti- aircraft missiles. Those are negotiations and discussions I am told that are still very much underway. They believe that they will be able to get them across the finish line soon.
But to your point and to Christiane's point, there is no time to waste here. So, these discussions are very ongoing and very fluid at the moment -- Anderson.
COOPER: And Matt, the Hungarian President who is an ally of Vladimir Putin was re-elected this past weekend. How could that potentially impact peace talks and/or other dynamics in the region?
RIVERS: Well, today we heard him try and insert Hungary essentially into a potential peace process. At a press conference today, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that he actually spoke to President Putin and he proposed an immediate ceasefire.
He said that he knows that a peace agreement will take lots of time and negotiation, but he actually invited President Putin, President Zelenskyy, the German Chancellor and also the President of France to come here to Budapest and begin those negotiations.
But he said a ceasefire needs to happen right away. He said he proposed that to President Putin. He said the answer that Putin gave was, quote, "positive," but said the Russian President says he has terms, he has to agree on terms with President Zelenskyy before he would come here.
So whether this is actually a substantive step forward in the peace process, whether Hungary can actually play a role given the fact that Orban is a Putin ally, but also is the leader of an E.U. country. He kind of sits on both sides of that fence. He's had a very fractious relationship with the rest of the E.U. recently, but he is clearly trying to position himself as someone who can kind of play both sides here, whether that can actually happen, whether he actually has Putin's ear and can influence the Russian leader to move forward a peace process, I think a lot of people would be skeptical of that. But clearly, this is a position that Hungary's leader is trying to take.
COOPER: Matt Rivers, Christiane Amanpour and Phil Mattingly, I appreciate it. Thank you.
Coming up next, Dana Bash's exclusive interview with Poland's President. He talks about his country's leading role in welcoming Ukrainian refugees and what more he thinks that the NATO allies can be doing to support Ukraine. Later in my conversation with the Pastor from Mariupol, what he has seen as he tries to evacuate people to safety.
COOPER: Poland's President says it is hard to deny, his words, that Russian forces are committing genocide in Ukraine. The goal of the invasion, he says is and again these are his words, quote, "simply to extinguish the Ukrainian nation."
Now he said that much more in an exclusive interview with CNN's Dana Bash who joins us now from Warsaw.
So what did the President do to tell you about getting weapons to Ukraine?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Anderson that President Zelenskyy uses every opportunity he has whether he speaks to a legislative body in any given country, or does his nightly address to say I need more weapons. Well, here in Poland, its neighboring country, they have weapons. But the question has been whether or not this country, Poland is going to give the Ukrainians those weapons, for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that there is fear here about their security since there has been thousand- year animosity between these two countries.
So that is why you'll hear in this interview, Anderson, President Duda here in Poland was reluctant to telegraph exactly what they're doing.
BASH: You tweeted that Ukrainians quote, "need three things above all," weapons, weapons, and more weapons.
You have Soviet era tanks here in Poland. Do you have Soviet era airplanes, MiG-29s? Why haven't you been able to work with NATO to get those to Ukraine?
ANDRZEJ DUDA, PRESIDENT OF POLAND (through translator): I'm smiling because weapons, weapons, and more weapons. This is what your radians need.
We have to be clear. The free world, the North Atlantic Alliance also asked that Pols do not explain that Ukrainians, our neighbor's would be so decisive and so courageous, exceptionally courageous, and that they will defend their country in this way.
More than one million Ukrainians before the outbreak of the war were in Poland. They had been living here, they have been working here. Of course, they visited their families in Ukraine, but they came back. Here is where they made money in Poland.
The vast majority of those men went to Ukraine to fight.
BASH: Can NATO do more to help you help them?
DUDA (through translator): I cannot say everything, Madam, here in this open interview. Because, well, there are also secrets, NATO secrets. There are also secrets between Poland and the U.S. However, please believe me, I talked to President Joe Biden about this.
We consulted the U.S. administration, the White House, and we are in a close contact with the U.S. administration all the time. So there is this help for Ukraine that is being provided. It comes from the United States, it is also coming from other places. And this help is also provided from allies. We're trying to support Ukraine as good as we can.
BASH: And of course, Poland is absorbing more of the Ukrainian refugees by far than any other country since the war began, over two and a half million refugees, as you know, how much longer can your countries sustain the volume of refugees at this magnitude?
DUDA (through translator): Right before Russia's attack on Ukraine, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called me, of Canada, and we know that he has got a very influential and big Ukrainian minority in his country, and he asked me what we would do if a Russian attack on Ukraine happened.
Whether Polish border would stay open or closed. I told him, Mr. Prime Minister, Justin, I don't have any doubts whatsoever, that the border will be open. Of course, it will be out.
If our Ukrainian neighbors are attacked, if they flee from death, from war, from Russian bombs, of course, we're going to take everyone who needs it, and that is what we did.
We opened our border. We accepted everyone, and we're still taking people -- all those who need it. There was a huge wave of refugees. Within the first two weeks of the war, we had almost 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees, but they were people and they are people from 170 different countries all over the world, one seven zero, not only Ukrainian students, also from India, from other countries, from African states.
A lot of them, we had a full spectrum of people, all of them were fleeing because they were afraid. Many of them had lived in Kharkiv where bombs were dropped on living quarters, on apartment blocks.
So we are taking everyone, hosting everyone, and trying to help everyone. Of course, this is something that Poland has never seen in its history. We've got more than 1,050 years of history.
But this situation is unprecedented when we received 2.5 million people within 14 days. This is unprecedented in our history. So we are coping with it.
I'm really proud with my compatriots, because as a matter of fact, all of these people, we did not have any refugee camp in Poland. So far, we did not have to build any refugee camp in Poland, as it is typically the case in some parts of the world. All the people were taken to private homes, student homes, in hotels, in spa resorts, in motels, different places made available by local governments. So we are trying to help as good as we can, but we need international support badly.
BASH: And I want to ask about that, specifically because obviously, what the Polish people are doing is nothing short of remarkable. But the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs said that this conflict could take years.
So are you starting to put a plan together? Because as you said, a lot of the Ukrainians are living in people's homes. Are you starting to put a plan together to absorb them officially into Polish society?
DUDA (through translator): Many of them have remained in Poland and they're staying in Poland. First and foremost, these are women and children, we have to remember about this. Men are fighting.
By the way Ukrainian Border guards stopped men man on the border. They told them to come back. They just allowed women and children to cross the border to Poland. This was the decision of the Ukrainian side.
So men stayed behind, women and children came to Poland. We try to find schools for children. We have set up a special legal regulation, we adopted a special action in Poland, a special law was adopted, which gives the same rights to the Ukrainians as the Pols have.
Rights to health system, to education, to insurance, the right to work. So far, it is binding for 18 months, all those rights. Very many of them are staying. Right now we've got almost two million refugees in Poland, many of them do not want to go anywhere else. They are saying we are waiting until the end of the war, because we want to come back to our homes.
So these people want to come back. Women want to come back to their husbands, children want to come back to their schools and their environment. We want to give them the best possible conditions of stay here in Poland and we hope that they will be able to come back when the war is over.
COOPER: Dana, obviously, I mean, things are fluid, did it sound to you like President Duda had an answer about any long term plans for the refugees in this country?
BASH: In a word, no. There really doesn't seem to be a long term plan. This happened so quickly, so organically. And by the way, that's the same answer that I got from the Mayor of Warsaw, the capital city, talking about a longer term plan.
And Anderson, just to give a little context to what 2.5 million people means here in Poland, that is one Ukrainian for every 15 Pols. That is an enormous, enormous number that this country is absorbing. They're all in private homes. They are very -- they're not in -- they are in refugee centers, but not for very long.
And so it is still an open question, given the fact that everybody admits that the war is likely to go on for some time, how these mostly women and children are going to get their own places, get all of them -- get properly the kids into school, and to really become members of society here if that is what is going -- what it is going to take which it looks like it might.
COOPER: Yes, Dana Bash, appreciate it. Thank you, from Warsaw.
Just ahead, sanctions on Vladimir Putin's adult daughters, but to what end? We'll talk with the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, next.
COOPER: In a speech, President Biden said today's sanctions were part of an effort to quote, ratchet up the pain for Putin. The new targets include major banks, and even the Russian leaders own adult daughters, but they come after previous sanctions appeared have had no effect on Putin's course of action on the war. Most analysts believe that only sanctions on the oil and gas industries could have a significant impact at this point. When asked if that were possible, and the top national security aide to the President told CNN today that the White House believes it can get Europe even Germany to help degrade Russia's energy sector. Quote, this is going to take time he said.
I'm joined now by Steven Pifer, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
Mr. Ambassador, appreciate you joining us again. What in your view is the thinking behind sanction Vladimir Putin's daughters? Is this sort of largely symbolic?
STEVEN PIFER, FMR U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: My guess is it's largely symbolic. I mean, to the extent that they have been sanctioned, any financial assets they have in the West could be frozen. But my guess is that you're not going to find a lot of accounts in western banks or financial institutions under their names.
COOPER: The sanctions so far, they've obviously impacted the Russian economy. There's, you know, rising inflation in Russia, but it's not necessarily impacting the day to day operations of the war. Russia is making about, I think, more than a billion dollars a day from oil and gas sales. So, how do you actually have sanctions that do impact his ability to wage war?
PIFER: Yes, I mean, that's the problem, the sanctions are going to take a toll both in terms of higher inflation. And there's some estimates that the Russian economy will contract 15% this year, that's sort of the level of the Great Depression in the U.S. back in the '20s. But they still have this flow of revenues coming in from the sale of oil and gas. And that's difficult. I mean, the United States several weeks ago ban the importer of Russian oil, but we only get about 3% of our oil from Russia at the time. For some European countries, it's 30, 40, and 50%. So they face major economic consequences.
So perhaps the way to get at this is as they gradually reduce their dependency on Russia for oil and gas, are there other ways that they could restrict the flow of money that goes back to Russia? For example, imposing tariffs, that would cause the Russians to lower their price to stay competitive, or perhaps working at an escrow arrangement, where the Russian, where the revenues would go into an escrow account that the Russians could get not get their hands on immediately. And I think and I hope that these are some of the things that the European Union now is thinking about, because they could reduce the flow of revenues to Russia.
COOPER: Also, if this becomes a long term, you know, war of attrition, a long term conflict, there is the risk that the alliances we have seen the kind of unified front we've seen from NATO countries, would start to weaken somewhat over time.
PIFER: No, there is that risk. But my impression is that, in fact, there's a pretty solid view here between the United States and Europe on this. And that view is, I think, even been intensified by the horrific story coming out of Bucha and also by the destruction that we've seen the Russian army, pour down on Mariupol.
And so, I think there is a fairly strong sense on both sides of the Atlantic that we need to hold firm on the thing sanctions, because they can be a factor in changing the Kremlin's calculation. And hopefully these can be sustained even if we're talking about a sanctions campaign that lasts months. But bear in mind is the longer the sanctions lasts, the more of impact they're going to have on the Russian economy, and the more individual Russians will begin to feel some economic.
COOPER: Also, we don't know what the impact will be longer term, as Russian bodies start to be brought back as families start to realize the scale of Russian losses and their own personal losses.
PIFER: I think that's a big factor. You know, the Russian Ministry of Defense last week said that about 1,300 Russian service personnel been killed in action in Ukraine, I believe the U.S. estimate is over 10,000. And that would mean that Russia has lost two-thirds as many soldiers in six weeks in Ukraine as the Soviet Union lost in almost 10 years in Afghanistan. And so, as this flow of economic pain, and as more and more families learned that their loved ones had been killed or maimed in Ukraine, does that begin to unsettle the Russian population?
Right now, the Russian population polls show or are fairly supportive of Putin of the war, but cannot be sustained when the economics begin to work against them. And when the bad news about casualties comes on.
COOPER: It is one of the odd ideas that that Russia's economy shrinks, that the sanctions could actually in some way backfire pulling average Russians closer to Vladimir Putin, who blame the West for their economic troubles who see kind of a, you know, a victim mentality of, you know, the Russia is the victim of these the decadent west.
PIFER: Yes, and I think you've seen that in immediately there is this sort of rally around the flag, rally around Putin, and polls show fairly significant levels of support for both Putin and the Russian military operation, the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But again, I'm not sure if that sustained, are sustainable as bad news begins to come home.
PIFER: And then one thing I believe in hope that both the United States and Europe are working on is are there ways to penetrate the Russian information space, to try to get through the Russian social media, to begin to get to the word the Russians just how bad things are going in Ukraine.
COOPER: Yes. Ambassador --
PIFER: And that may begin to undermine some support there.
COOPER: Yes. Ambassador Steven Pifer, I really appreciate your time. Thank you.
PIFER: Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up, I'll discuss the destruction in Mariupol with a minister who is providing aid to people who have been displaced and trying to get into the city to see his congregation and adopted children.
COOPER: As we mentioned earlier, the mayor one of the hardest hit cities of this war Mariupol in the south compared the destruction of the city to and I'm quoting him, quote, a new Auschwitz. The Russians he said had turned the city into a death camp. The Red Cross today said the situation is quote, growing worse and worse, there's no water or electricity impossible to get aid in because the Russians won't allow it, impossible to get civilians in large scale out as well.
Earlier I spoke with the minister from Mariupol about just that. Gennadiy Mokhnenko says he's been delivering aid and is rescued hundreds from towns outside of Mariupol. But he can't get inside the city. He has no idea the status of his church or congregation where people are sheltering, he says. I spoke to him just before airtime.
COOPER (on-camera): Pastor Mokhnenko, thank thanks for joining us. I understand you've been evacuated people on buses today in eastern Ukraine from villages around Mariupol. You're not able to actually go into Mariupol. Can you just talk about what you have seen, what you've been able to do? GENNADIY MOKHNENKO, PASTOR FROM MARIUPOL: We see the hell. We call it Russian hell, my country in Ukraine because some years ago, we have amazing beautiful city Mariupol nearly see. So beautiful streets we prepare for spring. So many amazing homes and many people who smile. But right now my city completely destroyed through Russian intervention. Russia have a huge battle inside my city. They block it my city around completely 100%.
Just five minutes ago, somebody -- someone told me a friend of mine told me and nearly my church right now we have tanks and battle. Thousand, thousand, thousand people was killed. Nobody knows how many people. Maybe 10,000, (INAUDIBLE) well, people maybe 20, maybe 30, maybe 40, nobody knows because Russia look at all information from my city.
COOPER: You've said about 300 people were sheltering in the basement of your church in Mariupol, have you had any contact with them in recent days?
MOKHNENKO: Last five days we don't have nothing, not information, not one call. And we try go inside Mariupol with my car's convoy but Russian soldier stop everybody and don't give them chance. Go inside the city. We don't have one information from Mariupol last five days. But we know people who sit on the basement don't have food, don't have water, don't have don't have heating system, they don't have nothing, medicine nothing. No light, no electricity, nothing. They just sit on the basement 44 days in crazy situation.
COOPER: How many people have you been able to get out from neighboring towns outside around or near Mariupol?
MOKHNENKO: Nearly 500 people we evacuate from Mariupol. But right now it's not possible. I have many friends of mine inside city right now inside Mariupol and I don't know who is alive. Who is who was killed? I don't have information from some of my adopted son.
COOPER: You --
MOKHNENKO: But also have sought some crazy information about my friends.
COOPER: You had dozens of adopted children. I think I -- is it -- how many adopted children have you had over the years? And I understand you lost one of them. A young woman of 27 was killed in Mariupol?
MOKHNENKO: Yes, I had 35 adopted children just two weeks ago. But while my adopted daughter she was the day Russian soldier killed her two weeks ago. She was 27, she was amazing, amazing girl, young mother, and three years boy, her son. I adopt her when she was 10 years old and she grow in my family. She was with me in the United States of America in California and Oregon State.
Just three days ago I saw some pictures. And the Russian tanks shooting directly to her apartment and it was government, Ukrainian government give this apartment for her one year ago and she was so happy, she has personal room for her and her son. She were remodeling little bit this and we've bought by some furniture. She was real, real happy but Russia now became.
COOPER: Pastor Mokhnenko, I'm so sorry for the loss of your daughter and so many others and your friends and so many of your fellow countrymen and women.
Thank you for what you doing, thank you for talking to us.
COOPER: Well coming up, Ukrainians fleeing the war and traveling thousands of miles all the way to the U.S.-Mexico border hoping to gain entry when they're facing on the border, next.
COOPER: According to the United Nations, more than 4.2 million Ukrainians have fled the war torn country most to escape or neighboring countries like Poland, Romania. Then there are hundreds of Ukrainians who traveled more than 6,000 miles to Tijuana, Mexico and now are just a few feet from the U.S. border, living in tents hoping to gain entry.
CNN's Randi Kaye visited one camp.
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This woman and two and a half year old son are living in a tent in Tijuana Mexico, along with her husband they escaped the war in Ukraine and are hoping to enter the United States.
(on-camera): So this is your son?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes, yes.
KAYE (on-camera): One child?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One.
KAYE (voice-over): She shows me on the map where she says she once lived in western Ukraine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).
KAYE (voice-over): Before the Russian bombs started to fall.
(on-camera): How long did it take you to get to Mexico? Your travel to Mexico.
KAYE (voice-over): She tells me she traveled through four countries to get here. Mexico is allowing Ukrainians in with a simple travel visa. They just ran she says taking only a small suitcase and a blanket for her son. She worries about him with the cold temperatures at night. They are just one of hundreds of Ukrainian families camped out here at the U.S. border with Mexico. The tents are set up at the San Ysidro border crossing just south of San Diego.
At the time of our visit, about 2,400 people were waiting to enter the U.S. which is promised to allow 100,000 Ukrainians in on humanitarian grounds. They can stay for one year.
(on-camera): How quickly are these refugees able to get into the U.S.?
INNA LEVIEN, VOLUNTEER: Oh my gosh, not quickly enough. We can get across maybe 300 people a day on a good day, some days or 200, and some days or 150. So it's -- it all depends.
KAYE (voice-over): Inna Levien is from Orange County, California and helping coordinate the volunteer effort here. Every family here has a number and when it gets called it's their turn to cross.
(on-camera): Do you have a number?
(voice-over): This woman and her three children have number 1594. They are sleeping here she says until it's their turn.
(on-camera): Toys. Can I see?
(voice-over): Another woman Irina Daskel (ph) tells me she's been sleeping in this tent with her five children.
(on-camera): Do you know when you might be called to go to the U.S.?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think soon.
KAYE (voice-over): There is food and games for the children. We found this boy playing with blue and gold playdough the same colors as the Ukrainian flag.
Eugene Saluk and his family escaped Mariupol for Mexico.
EUGENE SALUK, UKRAINIAN TRYING TO CROSS INTO U.S.: Our houses is destroyed. We lose everything. You know, we don't know anything about our friends. And moreover, we don't know nothing about the parents of my wife.
KAYE (voice-over): If he and his family make it to the U.S., they will stay with family California until it's safe to return to Ukraine.
SALUK: I had a cousin. Yes.
KAYE (on-camera): Where?
SALUK: Sacramento. KAYE (voice-over): As the day wore on Oksana Dovgan refuse to give up hope she and her mother would make it to the U.S.
(on-camera): What is it like waiting here for your number to be called?
OKSANA DOVGAN, HELPING UKRAINIAN MOTHER CROSS INTO U.S.: I don't know. I mean, we came hoping that there's going to be fast, maybe another hour, but they're saying two, three hours at least till the number will be cold. And then from there, I have no idea how long it will take us, you know, it's across the boarder.
KAYE (voice-over): Oksana lives in Colorado, and flew to Warsaw hoping to bring her mom to the U.S. Before coming here, her 66-year-old mother had been sheltering in a basement in Ukraine for 10 days.
(on-camera): So will she come live with you in Colorado?
DOVGAN: Yes, I have a good place to accommodate her. My kids can wait to see her the grandma and spend time with her and we want to -- we want her, you know, happy and safe and relaxed in the family circle.
COOPER: Randi, I understand late today that camp was closed just hours after you were there and many of the people were moved to a sports complex for whether it's their safety reasons. What happened?
KAYE: Well many of those who were moved to that area, some also were moved to a church also to a gym nearby, but we have some good news about that woman Oksana who you saw at the end of our story, she and her mom did make it across the border. They got the last flight out from San Diego to Denver. So her mom was able to sleep in a warm bed last night. We were in that camp yesterday. She got a warm bed last night and woke up to her granddaughters this morning in Colorado.
But of course, Anderson she is one of the lucky ones. There are hundreds of thousands of people from areas of the world and countries that they say are dangerous too and that's why they've been seeking asylum here in the United States. But as you know, there's something called Title 42. And that was put in place by the Trump administration upheld by the Biden administration. It's supposed to expire next month, but that is prevented. According to the ACLU, 1.7 million migrants from seeking asylum here in the United States from places like Mexico, Central America, Haiti, areas of the world that they say are dangerous.
Of course, there's good news for these Ukrainians that the United States is letting in 100,000 and all apparently, but a lot of frustration and a lot of anger on the part of the people from these other countries who are watching these Ukrainians just marched across the border while they have been waiting for quite some time, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. Randi Kaye, appreciate it. Thank you. Coming up next, an update from Capitol Hill where the house had just taken action against two more non-cooperating January 6 witnesses.
COOPER: One piece of latest news before we go. The House voting refer two former Trump advisors to the Justice Department for criminal contempt of Congress charges, Dan Scavino and Peter Navarro both been refusing to cooperate with the committee or appear for scheduled depositions.
That's it for us. The news continues. I want to hand over Jake Tapper in "CNN TONIGHT." Jake.