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Interview With Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko; Interview With Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired March 17, 2022 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Bombing Mariupol theaters sheltering civilians is just the latest outrage. And as NATO nations gathered in Brussels to
discuss the rising Russian threat, Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand joins us.
VIKTOR YUSHCHENKO, FORMER PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): We will never surrender, not to Putin, not to Russia.
AMANPOUR: Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko tells me, Putin is the whole world's problem, not just Ukraine's.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): We're not going to use us or NATO troops over or in Ukraine.
AMANPOUR: Senator Tim Kaine tells Michel Martin about the U.S. response to the crisis there, and he talks about his own struggle with long COVID.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
Survivors are emerging from the rubble of Mariupol's theater which was bombed by Russian planes last night, despite clear signs visible even from
space that it was sheltering children. As many as 1,200 people are believed to have been inside.
Correspondent Nick Paton Walsh has details of the relentless attacks on civilians in this besieged city.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): The flicker of flame here, where Russia's barbarism peaked, and an
airstrike hit a bomb shelter hiding hundreds beneath a theater, said local officials, the damage so complete, the entrance was reduced to rubble.
This satellite image from two days earlier showing the building standing with "Children" written large outside. In case you're still thinking,
nobody knew who was here, videos had been circulating for days of the hell inside, how over a week of siege and shelling had forced those still living
into a space so tight and dark, it must have felt like a tomb.
"Here" he says, "is where we give out food to children and women and elderly first."
This is the converted cloakroom of the theater. If this looks like how you imagined the end of the world, for these children packed in, that may have
been the case when the bombs struck. Russia claimed Ukrainian radicals caused the blast.
"In this room, 15 people," the narrator says. Little comfort any parent can give by the lie this will be over soon.
And below this store, there are yet more, an entire city forced underground, little aid allowed in and few allowed out.
"People, hear us. Here are our children," he says. His appeal is for food, help, perhaps unaware it may have led Russian bombs straight to them.
The swimming pool was also hit, a place where this narrator says a pregnant woman was trapped under the rubble and where only expectant mothers and
those with under-3s hid.
The Kremlin wants to break or flatten this port, but its defenders still exact a cost, still keep them out. This drone video shows the moment
Ukrainian fighters hit a Russian tank. The shots come again and again, removing one of the tanks' tracks. The crew were later seen hit as they try
No room for mercy in a city that has little space left for life itself.
AMANPOUR: Nick Paton Walsh reporting there.
And across Ukraine, Russia rains down its wrath on civilian targets. President Zelenskyy visits some of the wounded in a Kyiv hospital today,
while, in Brussels, NATO defense ministers meet to seek a way of ending the war and the rising Russian aggression.
My first guest is Canada's defense minister, Anita Anand. And she has just met with her us counterpart, Lloyd Austin. They're preparing for next
week's extraordinary NATO summit, which President Biden will attend, along with the rest of the alliance leaders.
Minister Anand, welcome to the program.
I have to ask you first about this appalling atrocity in Mariupol, which we have all been hearing about for the last couple of weeks, more and more
strangulation, until now this attack on a theater sheltering children?
What can you tell us about that? What should be the world's reaction to that?
ANITA ANAND, CANADIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: Anybody who has regard for human life is horrified and devastated by the attack on Mariupol, as well as the
Russian attacks throughout the country.
And, in fact, I am in complete agreement with the representative from the International Criminal Court, who says that there does appear to be a
reasonable attempt to target civilians, and, therefore, this may indeed amount to a war crime.
AMANPOUR: You know President Biden cold actual President Putin a war criminal last night. That has drawn a furious response from the Kremlin,
calling it unacceptable, and -- basically unacceptable and unjustified.
What do you feel? Has your government called President Putin that? Do you feel that there's a political groundswell to make that accusation, in order
ANAND: Well, I met a trained lawyer, and I will just say that I revert to the law in this particular case.
And the law is whether there is an intent to target civilians. And, in my view, when you examine the facts on the ground, it does appear to be a
horrifying intention to attack civilians, whether it's in Mariupol or in any of the other districts where bombs are dropping randomly on civilian
AMANPOUR: Can I read you what the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, has said?
"The blame for everything that happened in Mariupol, including the bombing of the drama theater, naturally, the Kyiv regime tried to lay on the
Russian military, who allegedly dropped an air bomb on the theater building. Well, of course, it's a lie," she says. "The Russian armed forces
do not bomb cities. This is well-known to everyone, no matter how many videos are edited in NATO structures, no matter how many clips and fake
photos are thrown in. The truth will still break through. We will do our best to ensure that these crimes against humanity are not left unpunished."
So that's the response from the Russian foreign minister. You are a trained lawyer. When she says, that the truth will out and these crimes will not go
unpunished, I mean, presumably, that means Russians are open to being investigated and held accountable as well.
ANAND: Well, there is that point.
And then there's a further point that we do need, as democratic countries, to address the issue of severe and sustained disinformation and
misinformation that is emanating from the Russian regime over and over again.
So, I believe that there are multifactorial issues that we need to address, not only the legal issues relating to war crimes, but also the issue of
cyber misinformation and disinformation, that are really at the heart of convincing the Russian public, for example, that Russian aggression is
justified, which we know, as a matter of fact, is not, and that Russia is the aggressor here, and that the West's assistance to Ukraine in support of
its sovereignty and stability is completely necessary and justifiable.
AMANPOUR: Minister Anand, I just want to ask you one further question this topic.
First of all, you have personally been countersanctioned by the Russians, and you are banned from visiting Russia, I guess as part of NATO and their
countersanctions. But I just want to ask you about accusing the president of Russia of war crimes at a time when presumably you also want to see
whether there is a possibility of any kind of diplomatic solution.
I have heard experts say that this is the kind of thing that might make it less possible to get Putin to agree to an end, if he thinks he's just going
to be chased down and put in The Hague afterwards.
ANAND: It is really important for us to focus on the facts at the end of the day.
And the facts are that Russia has further invaded Ukraine. Russia is targeting not only infrastructure, but infrastructure housing, civilians
and families and children. And we are seeing reports of those targeted murders emanating from Ukraine every day.
As a result, it is extremely important for us to remember that at stake are the lives of Ukrainian families. And we, as a NATO alliance, need to do
everything possible to ensure Ukraine's continued sovereignty and safety.
And, indeed, the defense ministers meeting here in Brussels this week, we're all like-minded on the need to stand united in support of Ukraine's
stability and sovereignty, and the rules-based international order as well, in which we all have benefited since the end of the Second World War.
AMANPOUR: And which is in peril right now on the battlefield that is Ukraine.
I mean, as Zelenskyy himself, the president, keeps saying, this is about more than just Ukraine. And you just said safety, but they're not safe. And
President Zelenskyy has addressed your Parliament, addressed the British Parliament, the U.S. Congress, and on and on, the German Parliament as
And he has asked for help closing the skies to that kind of aerial bombardment. This is what he said this week to your congresspeople, your
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Can you imagine when you call your friends, your friendly nation and you ask,
please close the sky, close the airspace, please stop the bombing? How many more missiles have to fall in our cities until you make this happen?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: You know, I know that you guys say no to this, but there is a groundswell of anger and empathy from around the world, watching these
civilians be just murdered day after day after day.
And I just wonder whether you think you're doing enough and fast enough, even if you don't want to put up a no-fly zone, to get the correct weaponry
defense -- for them to be able to defend themselves. I have heard you say you have sort of exhausted your lethal weaponry that you're sending to
ANAND: Well, we have sent anti-tank missiles, rocket launchers, grenades, ammunition and rifles.
And we are now moving to speak with suppliers who can assist us with additional useful procurements, such as cameras for drones, which we are
supplying directly to Ukraine. So we are continuing to pursue every option possible to assist Ukraine. And I am in constant contact with my friend and
colleague Minister Reznikov on this issue.
And we will continue to do whatever we can in the area of supplies. I will say, in terms of the no-fly zone itself, it's important to remember that
declaring a no-fly zone is one thing, but enforcing it is another. And the severe escalation that would arise in the enforcement of a no-fly zone, in
the shooting down of planes above the Ukrainian skies would be extremely severe, and would escalate these tensions to a completely new level that
NATO countries are not prepared to take at this time.
But we are doing whatever we can to support Ukraine in this fight, including through the NATO alliance, through protecting the Eastern
Seaboard, through providing additional weapons and nonlethal aid, as well as humanitarian aid and economic aid, all of which our country and other
countries have provided.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, because you all talk about not wanting to escalate this crisis, which is -- has reached horrific human proportions
But even as worrying appears to be -- and I wonder if you can help me understand if you know any information about this -- Croatia has reported,
according to various sources, that a drone carrying a bomb landed in Croatia last week. Another drone recently entered airspace of Romania. It's
Ukraine says it shot down a Russian drone that entered its airspace from Poland. And CNN is reporting that the U.S. has tested a deconfliction line
with Russia, to no avail, and as has NATO tried to connect with Russia on that hot line.
Do you know anything about this? And, surely, I mean, if that's happening and NATO airspace is being breached, that raises your threshold to a whole
'nother level. What do you know about this?
ANAND: I am awaiting confirmation and intelligence on the items that you just mentioned.
And I will say that NATO's Article 5, which I'm sure you're aware says that an attack on one is an attack on all, relates primarily to geographical
locations of NATO countries. And so I do look forward to examining that information.
At the same time, I will say that NATO has established an air policing mission and exercises. Our Royal Canadian Air Force takes part in the air
force missions in Romania, for example. And that was set up after the invasion of Crimea in 2014 in order to police NATO skies, in order to
ensure that we are well aware of items that are entering NATO airspace.
This has been effective and will continue to be effective in terms of protection of NATO countries and NATO airspace.
AMANPOUR: And I'm sure you in Canada must feel some pressure from your Ukrainian Canadians. I mean, I think you have got 1.4 million people of
Ukrainian heritage who are citizens of your country.
And they're clearly very anxious to make sure as much help as possible gets to their country. But in that is also how much money all these countries
like yourselves have got to spend on NATO. And we have seen that some, incredibly, Germany has immediately done a 180 and has decided to ramp up
its spending to the 2 percent.
But you are still at less than 1.5 percent. And wondering whether this crisis is going to cause Canada to actually quickly meet its obligations
under this payment.
ANAND: So, we are very focused on the evolving threat environment and our response to it immediately in terms of Ukraine, but also in terms of our
overall obligations to NATO.
In that vein, I will say that we have in place a 70 percent increase in our defense spending over a nine-year period beginning in 2017. We are also
bringing forward a package to modernize NATO, which will be a contributor towards the 2 percent.
And we are also putting ships in the water and procuring other items as well, including an Arctic offshore patrol vessel, for example, that
recently circumnavigated North America. And we are in the process of procuring 88 fighter jets.
All in all, we are responding to the overall threat environment. And we will continue to work with our NATO allies to make sure that we are doing
AMANPOUR: And, Minister, finally, you just mentioned the Arctic.
You are taking part in these in these exercises with the U.S. up there. We have got all sorts of good pictures of that. But Canada and Russia are
competitors out there. And global warming is making it very hotly contested for shipping, for natural resources, et cetera.
A long time ago, in 1987, President Gorbachev called it a zone of peace. Do you think that's still the case? Or is this going to be hotly contested?
ANAND: One of the issues I discussed with Secretary Austin this morning, in fact, was the importance of Arctic sovereignty and the importance of
modernizing NORAD, which is something that we are both committed to.
And, in particular, putting forward an over-the-horizon surveillance system is one of the important aspects that we both committed to, our countries,
that is, in August 2021.
So, again, the threat environment, especially after the further invasion of Ukraine, is evolving. Our responsibility and mine as defense minister is to
ensure that we are bringing forward the proposals that will lead to further protection of various threat environments.
And, as you mentioned, the Arctic region, with climate change, is one that we will continue to be focused on as a northern country. I have spoken with
my counterparts as well in Denmark, in Sweden, in Finland, and Norway to convene a group of defense ministers to ensure that we are doing our part
to examine collectively the security of the Arctic region.
Again, the threat environment is evolving, and we are putting ships in the water and convening meetings with our counterparts to ensure that we are
full-fledged ensuring that the threat is addressed.
AMANPOUR: Minister Anand, thank you so much indeed for joining us.
As we said, President Zelenskyy has made repeated requests for a no-fly zone and more fighter jets, most recently in his address to German
But, as Fred Pleitgen reports, Ukraine has been able to hold Moscow back through other means.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is how Ukraine's army is halting Russia's advance, using anti-aircraft weapons, like the
U.S.-made Stinger, against low-flying helicopters.
Now answering Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's plea, the U.S. says longer-range anti-aircraft missiles are arriving in Ukraine, including the
ZELENSKYY (through translator): You know what kind of defense systems we need, S-300s and other similar systems. You know how much depends on the
battlefield on Russia's ability to use aircraft.
PLEITGEN: After Zelenskyy's impassioned speech to Congress, President Biden announced a massive new security assistance package worth $800
million, including drones, anti-tank weapons and 20 million rounds of ammunition.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It includes 800 anti-aircraft systems to make sure the Ukrainian military can continue to stop the planes
and helicopters that have been attacking their people and to defend the Ukrainian airspace.
PLEITGEN: Despite being drastically outgunned, Ukraine's forces have been putting up a tough fight, the country's ground troops led by Colonel
General Oleksandr Syrskyi, a veteran of Ukraine's defense of the Donbass region.
Meanwhile, the chief commander of the armed forces, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, who's widely credited with reforming Ukraine's military, vows to
fight the Russians to the last drop of blood.
"I don't have any illusions and don't wait for a gift from God," he says. "I fought and have been preparing my armed forces."
The weapons supplied by the U.S. and its allies are giving them a fighting chance, Ukrainian units blowing up Russian tanks with shoulder-fired
missiles like the Javelin supplied by the U.S. or NLAWs, a similar anti- tank weapon made in Britain.
WESLEY CLARK, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: We're at a crucial point in the battle here, where Ukraine is tipping the balance against Russia. Russia is
clearly in trouble.
PLEITGEN: Ukrainian troops have fought tooth and nail with Russian tanks on the ground, despite being massively outgunned by Vladimir Putin's army.
While the U.S. and NATO still reject the idea of a no-fly zone, the Biden administration has made clear it will continue to arm Kyiv's forces to help
as they bog down the Russian military and inflict massive casualties.
AMANPOUR: It is that resistance that is galvanized so much of the world and so much support for Ukraine.
Fred Pleitgen reporting there.
And, as president of Ukraine, my next guest started turning the nation towards the West, responding to the people's demands for closer ties with
Viktor Yushchenko was elected in the Orange Revolution of 2004, but it did nearly cost him his life, as he had beaten Vladimir Putin's handpicked
candidate. When I first interviewed Yushchenko shortly after his inauguration, he was struggling to recover from a terrible poisoning,
dioxin, that also scarred his face.
AMANPOUR: Mr. President, do you know who did this to you specifically?
YUSHCHENKO (through translator): I have no doubt this was done by my opponents in the government. That's who would benefit the most from my
AMANPOUR (voice-over): But President Putin's role during the election remains controversial. He openly backed the handpicked successor of the
previous regime, coming to Kyiv twice to lend his support.
(on camera): One of your most important world neighbors is obviously Russia. President Putin supported your opponent during the election. How do
you reconcile with him?
YUSHCHENKO (through translator): I will give him my hand and say, Vladimir, Vladimir, let's forget the past and think of the future.
AMANPOUR: Last week, he did just that, greeting President Putin on his first trip abroad since his inauguration.
YUSHCHENKO (through translator): Everyone now understands only Ukrainians have the right to choose Ukraine's president. Our president is not elected
in Moscow or anywhere else.
AMANPOUR: It is actually amazing to look back in history and see how the Ukrainians were open to good and better relations with Putin's Russia.
Now, Mr. Yushchenko believes even now that NATO should have welcomed Ukraine when he asked for it back in 2008. It would have stopped Putin's
aggression, he told me, when we spoke again earlier this week.
AMANPOUR: President Viktor Yushchenko, welcome to the program.
YUSHCHENKO (through translator): Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Now, we met a very long time ago, shortly after your election in what was called the Orange Revolution.
Around that time, you said to the Ukrainian people: "We are free. The old era is over. We are a new country now."
With Russian tanks in Ukraine, with shelling of Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, is that old era over, or are we back right in the middle of it?
YUSHCHENKO (through translator): When we met in 2005, that was a moment when the Ukrainian nation chose the Ukrainian path -- the European path.
This was our great occasion. And this was a time that many Ukrainian generations strove for. And that was our great victory. Today, we are at a
point where I must -- the Russian president is trying to correct us. He's saying we're going the wrong way, we're building the wrong life, wrong
society, and wrong nation.
But I think these are hollow words. We have our own life. We have a clear choice. And we will never surrender, not to Putin, not to Russia.
AMANPOUR: Mr. President, it must be very painful to see what's happening to your country. You say you will never surrender. President Zelenskyy says
the nation will never surrender. And we hear so many people saying that they will never surrender and they will fight until the death.
But we also know that negotiations are going on. President Zelenskyy has said again no to NATO. It is clear that Ukraine will not be joining NATO
Do you agree with what he's saying? And how do you think a negotiated settlement could end this? What could Ukraine accept?
YUSHCHENKO (through translator): To answer briefly, I think none of the six conditions that are put forward by President Putin, I am sure, will be
acceptable to Ukraine.
So I think we're facing a difficult path, first of winning, and then the difficult negotiation process.
AMANPOUR: So you are saying that the war will continue for a long time?
YUSHCHENKO (through translator): Well, I will be more precise then; 25 years ago, Ukraine voluntarily gave up its entire nuclear potential.
And, this way, it gave up its nuclear immunity. And we were counting on a certain security zone, where the nuclear club of the world is our partner.
And above them, it's just God, and that's the way it is now.
And in 2008, we applied to join a membership action plan, a NATO action plan. Then, through Germany and France, we heard we will not admit you to
the program today. Three months later, we saw the war in Georgia, and Putin invaded Georgia. Five years later, Putin invaded Ukraine.
So, of course, this is a rhetorical question, but how did it happen that a country that made the greatest contribution to the end of Cold War, and I
mean Ukraine, and yet it did not receive the security support it was due?
And what is happening in Ukraine now -- I refer to the Russian aggression - - it's a challenge not just for Ukraine. It's a challenge for the world. In 30 years, a country appeared in Europe that is professing fascism, neo-
Nazism, that is moving borders in Europe.
I don't think we need to ask who the bell is tolling for. It's tolling for all of us. And when we talk about a settlement to this Moscow war, we
obviously will demand a return of all our sovereign lands, a full political sovereignty over these lands. We will demand a security model that would
not risk the loss of land and political sovereignty.
AMANPOUR: Viktor Yushchenko, you know Putin well, because he did not support you when you were running for president of Ukraine. He supported
your opponent. He came to Kyiv several times to campaign for your opponent.
Did you ever expect him to go this far? He did not like the Orange Revolution. He did not like the result, which brought you to power. Did you
ever expect him to go this far?
YUSHCHENKO (through translator): You know, in 2005, Putin was not on the list of my friends, but I understand that Ukraine's geographical interest
was in the west, and that was our strategy. Of course, some of it is in the east, some of it is in the north and some of it is in the south. So,
Ukraine's interests demanded that I maintain some contact with the Russian president.
I organized it, and I would say that the, President Putin I used to know, he's not there anymore. He's gone. And when I look at this man, in Russia,
who is the furor in the Russian Reich, who is occupying and is waging war number seven in the Eastern Europe, starting with Karabakh, South Ossetia,
Abkhazia, Crimea, Transnistria, Donbas, all of that, Russia was all -- behind all of that. All the wars in Eastern Europe in the last 30 years
were organized by Putin. That is the world's problem.
So, this image of evil, that's not just something Ukraine invented.
AMANPOUR: That is a very strong memory and it's a very strong perspective. And obviously, you suffered yourself. You were poisoned back around 2004,
2005. I talked to you about it at the time, and it really affected your health and your face. Do you now believe that that was orchestrated by
Russia? Even by Putin?
YUSHCHENKO (through translator): What you've just said, you are absolutely right. And this is understood by anyone who is close to this issue. At the
same time, it is a complex criminal case, because everyone involved in it is currently in Russia.
And obviously, it is very difficult to pursue an investigation when most of persons of interest cannot be questioned or summoned, and their witness
statements cannot be appended to the case. So, we have to wait until Russia becomes democratic, and only then we can put a full stop in this case.
AMANPOUR: How do you envision Russia becoming democratic?
YUSHCHENKO (through translator): That's a difficult question to answer. I am one of those politicians who are aware that Putin is a big problem for
Russia. It is a fatal problem for Russia. This president -- will -- must be part of it -- Russia's past. He must become Russia's past, and we must
return to a Russia that we are more used to. And I am fully confident that this will happen.
But an even bigger problem is how Russia is thinking and feeling and the illness that Russia has, and this is the same illness that Putin has.
That's 140 million people in Russia have this illness. There are far too few (INAUDIBLE) in Russia, far too free Leah Ahajakovas (ph), Oleg
Basilashvili or Andrei Sakharovs. I know exist, they are there and I'm always remember them with pleasure. But it is a big problem in Russia in
terms of democratic development.
AMANPOUR: And finally, you were the one who started for Ukraine the sort of process to join NATO. Do you regret that?
YUSHCHENKO (through translator): I regret that in the spring of 2008, we lost the Bucharest Summit. When I saw that Angela Merkel refused, when I
saw the refusal of Nikola Sarkozi, I had the impression that the decision on the Ukrainian issue -- decisions on the Ukraine issue were made -- were
not made at the summit. They were made somewhere in Moscow.
YUSHCHENKO (through translator): Maybe this isn't the very appropriate note to end on, but I thought that the world of NATO can be weak. It lacks
unity. It -- that reason takes as step back, and the political corruption that Putin spreads all over Europe, I think we can see it still, to this
So, whether to be or not to be, if you allow me, I will make a semi joke on joining NATO. So, this joke says, a country politically divided into the
east and the west, is it worthy of NATO membership? A country with a weak democracy, is it worthy of NATO membership? A country where the justice
system is not fully effective yet, does it deserve to be member of NATO? Or a country where denazification has to be completed, is it worthy of NATO
membership? Well, do you think we're talking about Ukraine? We're talking about Germany, of 1955, in October, when the question of its NATO
membership was discussed.
So, I'm always surprised at the Security Summit of 2008, that Ukraine lost. I think that was the best time to protect Georgia and to protect Ukraine
from an actual war, a hot war as we call it, because Putin had not waged a real war before that. And the best way to avoid it at the time was a united
position from NATO. But I was mistaken.
AMANPOUR: Viktor Yushchenko, thank you so much for joining us. What important perspective there.
YUSHCHENKO (through translator): I'm also very pleased to talk to you again.
AMANPOUR: Amazing memories there. And then, of course, this crisis has actually brought NATO to a kind of unified stance, the likes of which
Yushchenko lamenting were absent so many years.
And as we've been saying, the United States is ramping up its response to Russia's aggression. Senator Tim Kaine is a member of the Senate Foreign
Relations and Armed Services Committees. And he talked with Michel Martin about what Congress plans to do if Russia escalates.
MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Senator Tim Kaine, thank you so much for speaking with us today.
SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): Glad to you with you, Michel. Thanks.
MARTIN: I just wanted to start by asking about the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy's speech to the United States Congress the other day.
First, he asked for what he called a humanitarian no-fly zone.
MARTIN: And he was making the distinction, I assume, from a sort of a blanket no-fly zone. And then, he also asked the U.S. to provide fighter
aircraft that the Ukrainians could use to defend themselves. Now, White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters that the White House
doesn't support instituting a no-fly zone over Ukraine or supplying Ukrainian aircraft with the pilots with new fighter aircraft. What's your
take on this?
KAINE: Michel, President Zelenskyy asked for these as sort of alternatives. If, could you do one? And if not, could you do the other? So,
let's talk about the no-fly zone. The no-fly zone, it sounds like a military concept but it is for humanitarian purpose, to allow people to
seek safe haven or to exit the country if they choose to.
And what the Biden administration has said is, we are not going to use U.S. or NATO troops to do that. And this is a tough call, but I think -- I do
think it is the right call to not use U.S. or NATO troops in or over Ukraine, to wage battle against Russia. Because if that happens, this war
will escalate to an all-Europe war. There's just no doubt about it.
So, the first thing is, we're not going to use U.S. or NATO troops over or in Ukraine. But the second ask, was the ask for aircraft. And in this one,
I'm a little different than some of the categorical statements of the White House on this. Vladimir Putin knows we are flowing military aid into
Ukraine. We just passed a bill last week, $6.5 billion of military aid to Ukraine. It's ammunition, it's anti-tank weapons. It's surface-to-air
missiles to knock aircraft out of the sky. They've been using them successfully.
It's not like Vladimir Putin is going to say, oh, that's OK. But now, you've given us a plane that, you know -- that's just unacceptable. I think
what we need to do is give the Ukrainians the ability to defend themselves with the weapons that will be most lethal and most successful.
Now, here's a challenge with aircraft. The Ukrainians aren't trained to fly the aircraft the United States would have. So, we could give them aircraft,
they wouldn't be helpful. It would be better to give drones or other weapon systems they can use. Other nations might transfer aircraft. But again,
it's not like you take a Polish MiG and give it to Ukrainian defense forces and they can immediately fly it. Even if they trained on MiGs in the past,
they would have to alter these aircrafts to enable them to fly.
What we want to do and our military and Ukraine defense forces have a very good communication is take this $6.5 million that we just voted for and
make sure it's military equipment that can go to Ukraine that they can use right now to defend themselves.
They're being so heroic and brave. Let's give them tools they can use right now.
MARTIN: But, you know, we talked with retired lieutenant colonel, Alexander Vindman, on the program last week, whom you know.
KAINE: Yes. I have high regard for him.
MARTIN: He says that the administration is overthinking this. That events on the ground are moving quickly, or also, the, you know, former
ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, who you also know has been speaking out lately and she says that the events on the ground are moving so quickly,
that if the people who oppose this invasion don't do more, that it's going to be all for naught. It doesn't matter how much sort of, you know,
humanitarian aid or how much money is approved if events on the ground don't change quickly. What do you say to that?
KAINE: Well, I have high regard for both of them. And, you know, I'm not going to say that they're wrong, but I will say that there's a lot of folks
up here. Look, I have senators who are aviators, who've been military aviators, and they question whether, look, you can give Ukrainians planes
that they can't use. But it's not just plug and play. It's not like, we'll just give them this and they can immediately use them.
So, I think relying upon the defense forces of Ukraine and their good dialogue with the American military, the sizable aid we've already sent and
the more that we're sending, that to me seems reasonable and it also seems reasonable to want to avoid an escalation into an all-Europe war.
MARTIN: And, of course, on Tuesday President Biden signed into law this package that includes -- what is it -- $13.6 billion in military and
humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
MARTIN: Something that you have been advocating. Is this (INAUDIBLE) money allocated to the right things, in your opinion?
KAINE: Yes. So, the $6.5 billion in humanitarian aid is really important because we need to assist Ukrainians in nations like -- we need to assist
Poland, which has as many Ukrainian refugees now as the entire population of the Warsaw metro area. So, we need to use these humanitarian dollars to
assists Ukrainian refugees.
President Biden has granted Ukrainian a TPS, temporary protected status, in the U.S. so they come here. That's good. We're already working on that. On
the military side, just to give you orders of magnitude. So, $6.5 billion, how big is that? From 2014 to end of 2021, we did $3 billion of military
aid to Ukraine. $1 billion just in 2021. So, this doubles what we had done for the previous seven years by a factor of six, more than what we did last
You'll remember, you mentioned Colonel Vindman, what he blew the whistle on was not just President Trump threatening President Zelenskyy but
withholding military aid to Ukraine that Congress had appropriated. President Trump violated the law to withhold military aid to Ukraine. We
are flowing the aid to Ukraine now.
Is the $6.5 million of military aid -- it's actually slightly more than that, is it spent on exactly the right things? This is where I really rely
on the Pentagon, and they do have great dialogue with the leadership of Ukrainian Defense Forces, we're trying to make sure that what we get them
they can use.
And, look, the evidence from the first three weeks suggests that they are using what the West is supplying them in an extremely effective way. It's
not just the United States, it's nations like Germany and Sweden and Finland that traditionally do not supply weapons into a conflict, but
they're doing it because they understand the treachery of Vladimir Putin.
MARTIN: I guess the question is, however impressive numbers sound and however impressive the speed, which -- with which the American government
has responded in terms of the numbers, is it enough to change the dynamics right now?
KAINE: Michel, I think it is, but I don't think we're going to be happy with the speed of it. I think the dynamics are changing dramatically.
Vladimir Putin underestimated Ukrainian resistance. He underestimated western unity and he deeply underestimated how painful these sanctions
could be on the Russian economy.
He spent years building up reserves against the prospect of sanctions, and then the sanctions we put on froze all of those reserves so that Russia
can't use them. He never expected that would happen. Why would he underestimate all of these things? It's because he's extremely out of
touch, surrounded by yes men who only tell him what he wants to hear. He's losing his worth. That's driving had him to desperation. But it's also
showing this coordinated and combined western pressure is working. So, we just need to keep amping it up.
And I can't tell you that $6.8 billion of military aid is going to be the thing that changes the trajectory, but I believe that U.S. and western
support combined with Ukraine resolve is going to be victorious here.
MARTIN: And look, to the question of refugees. You said that Ukraine has - - Ukrainian refugees have been granted temporary protected status. I understand that that protects people who are already here.
KAINE: That's correct.
MARTIN: Does it open the door to more Ukrainians with American ties coming to the United States?
KAINE: I believe there will be. The temporary protected status is just one way of assisting people in tough times. There are refugee and other
admissions, and I am urging the administration to take steps to open the aperture. The administration, just yesterday, granted TPS status to Afghans
who are in the United States, which I had been urged them to do. And I believe we will find the path for more Ukrainians to come to the United
But for right now, I think the urgent need with the humanitarian dollars that we allocated is to support border nations, especially our ally Poland
who are really dealing in a most generous and heroic way with this real avalanche of Ukraine immigrants.
MARTIN: And, of course, you know this has raised a lot of, I don't know how else to put this, you know, feelings among people who remember how very
recently Polish authorities treated refugees from Africa, North Africa and Middle Easter trying to cross.
MARTIN: The brutality, the inhumanity, the disrespect, which (INAUDIBLE). And I am just interested to know whether the administration has had any
conversations with Polish authorities about that? The contrast is very hard to ignore. And I want -- there have been conversations about that with this
KAINE: Yes. Michel, you're absolutely right. And look, we could go back to the entire conversation we had. We're not providing military assistance or
humanitarian assistance at this level to try to ease suffering in Ethiopia. We're not -- nor are we paying attention to it. We're not having addresses
and congressional meetings, bicameral meetings to talk about what to do about the vast humanitarian crisis in Yemen. We're not doing this to talk
about the persecution of Rohingyas in Myanmar.
And -- so, I have -- I do have a sense of sadness about this that I'm glad we're doing everything we can do for Ukrainians and want to do more, but I
often think our attention gets paid to, you know, European folks who look like, you know, me, and not people from other parts of the world that they
don't get the attention. They don't get the humanitarian aid, they don't get the military support, they don't get the press time.
And you're right. Poland's recent history -- hey, our recent history. I mean, know, we got a lot of folks at the border who want to have an orderly
process for determining whether they should get a refugee or asylum status here and their cases are backed up forever and we're moving quickly to do
things positively for Ukraine.
Now, I will say about this administration. They've granted TPS status to Afghans. They've extended TPS status to Hondurans and Salvadorans that the
previous administration wanted to terminate those programs. So, these are big, tough, challenging Ing issues. I think the administration here is
trying to be even handed, but I don't think we as humans are as even handed in our attention to these crises as we should be.
MARTIN: What do you make of reports that Russia asked China for military aid? I mean, China denies this. And there are conflicting recent reports. I
mean, one report says that China's attempted neutrality, an interest in peace talks. There are just conflicting reports about this. But what is
your assessment of this and what will the administration and Congress do if China does get involved?
KAINE: I'm not revealing any classified information. And my answer to your question, I am sure Russia asked China for military aid. That was, you
know, one of the purposes of this Potemkin village, 5,000-word pledge of friendship that Putin and Xi Jinping did before the Beijing Winter
Olympics. It was mostly Putin going to China to try to find a friend that he could rely on, and I am sure Russia has asked for military assistance.
So, China denies it. But I'm sure there has been an ask. I imagine what China is trying to do is having hugged Vladimir Putin close, and now,
seeing him branded as a war criminal for actions on the ground that justify that label, China is really wondering whether their close relationship with
Russia is inflicting deep reputational damage to China.
What's in it for China to be connected to this bloodthirsty set of atrocities? I don't see anything in it for them. And so, I'm sure they are
kind of trying to calculate and the Biden administration has warned them, you should not be flowing arms to Russia and getting involved in this. It
doesn't involve you. And I'm sure China is rethinking the wisdom of their "partnership" with Vladimir Putin.
MARTIN: So, before we let you go, Senator, hope you don't mind this kind of a big pivot here. I want to ask how you're doing? I mean, you are
experiencing long COVID symptoms. You've talked publicly about this. How are you? How are you doing?
KAINE: Michel, I'm doing fine. I mean, the way I describe it, I got COVID in March of 2020, and non-standard symptoms. It was like a bunch of
allergic reactions at once. But one of my symptoms was every nerve ending in my body just started to tingle, like it had five cups of coffee, and it
just hadn't gone away.
So, I was then symptom-free. Every other symptom went away by mid-April 2020. But it's been two years now and I'm been vaccinated and boosted but
still have every nerve ending just sort of talking to me nonstop.
I started to talk about it in hearings. I'm on the Health Committee, Health Education Committee, and I started to talk about it when we have hearings
with doctors Fauci and Walensky. And I'll tell you why. I was running into a lot of people who had long COVID symptoms but they were being told by
their doctors, oh, it's probably nothing. Oh, you know, what, it's probably anxiety or depression. Why don't I prescribe you, you know, an anti-
And the person will say, well, wait a minute. I've lost my sense of taste or smell. I'm a happy person. I'm not depressed. But I'm just tell you,
this is what's going on? So, so many people disbelieved that I thought, well, if I share my experience and say, hey, I believe you. I'm fortunate
that my symptoms are weird, not debilitating, but I believe you. And then, now, doctors Fauci and Walensky know that I'm always going to ask them,
what's going on with research? What are you finding out? If you don't know causes or you at least finding cures?
I'm really glad that we're trying to put attention on this issue, because it's going to be a long consequence. When COVID's in the rearview mirror
and it's not in the review mirror yet, but one day it will be, but this long COVID that could affect between 15 percent and 20 percent, not all
serious, some like me, minor symptoms but others very serious, this is going to be a huge issue for our health care system, for work places, for
just general quality of life of our friends and family and neighbors.
MARTIN: But you also have a -- from a policy standpoint, going back to your job, is that you introduced legislation that would increase funding
into research for long COVID. On the other hand, this week, the White House says, U.S. will run out of money to fight the pandemic if Congress doesn't
pass the COVID funding bill. So, what is the thinking there about that?
KAINE: I think we're going to find a COVID package. I've talked to Republicans there was a little bit of a babble how should it be paid for?
We can solve that. But I've talked to a lot of Republicans who want to do this. They want the administration to answer a few more questions before
they just sign the $3 billion check, or whatever it is.
And so, questions are, what is the stockpile we have of vaccines? What is the stockpile we have of tests, PPE? Tell us our baseline is and then,
we'll talk to you about what the numbers should be. But I have colleagues who I think are ready to do this, and we'll put a vote on the floor about
MARTIN: And the long COVID research, do you think that that's going to be part of this package?
KAINE: Yes. We put a lot of money in the American Rescue Plan a year ago for COVID research. And I believe the omni that we just passed last week
has additional money for COVID research. And that research (INAUDIBLE) is very bipartisan. We always have a relatively -- I say, relatively easy time
finding bipartisan support for research dollars. And so, there is significant research going forward.
And what I tell long COVID sufferers is, you know, don't despair. Hang in and share your symptoms because if we can figure how to deal with long
COVID symptoms, we'll probably understand a lot more about how to treat the after-effects of Lyme disease.
There's a lot of illnesses and viruses that have these with consequences that follow them, or chronic, or fibromyalgia, or chronic pain system, we
might be able to figure out ways to reduce a lot of conditions that people have.
So, I encourage folks dealing with long COVID to share your symptoms with physicians. Part of my bill is to try to gather data about patient
experiences because the research we're going to do is not just going to help long COVID sufferers, I think it's going to help a lot of other
MARTIN: Senator Tim Kaine, thank you so much for talking with us today.
KAINE: You bet, Michel. Glad to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: That's it for now. Thank you for watching and good-bye from London.