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Ukraine's Humanitarian Crisis; Interview With Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder; Interview with Ukraine Head of U.N. Human Rights Monitoring Mission Matilda Bogner; Interview with Ukrainian Member of Parliament Lesia Vasylenko; Interview with World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired March 29, 2022 - 13:00:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.

Here's what's coming up.


JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: We have seen over the last few days that the Russians stopped advancing on Kyiv.

AMANPOUR: A major turning point in Russia's assault on Ukraine. Is this the beginning of the end?

And Ukrainians still standing strong. I check back in with lawmaker Lesia Vasylenko. At the start of the war, she told me she had an AK-47, ready to

defend her country.

And I also speak to the head of the U.N. human rights monitoring mission here, Matilda Bogner.


DAVID BEASLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: If this war has to get resolved quickly, you are going to have catastrophe on top of


AMANPOUR: The executive director of the U.N. World Food Program talks to Hari Sreenivasan about the impact on rising global hunger, as Ukraine is

known as the breadbasket of Europe.


AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in Kyiv.

A potentially huge day here in Ukraine's capital, as Russia says that it has drastically pulled back its assault on Kyiv and also on the city of

Chernihiv just north of here.

U.S. officials tell CNN they see a major strategy shift on the ground, as Moscow appears to be pulling its forces away. Russia's defense minister

this morning said the main tasks of Russia's operation are completed. And now his country can focus its efforts on its primary goal, trying to wrest

control of Donbass in Eastern Ukraine.

Turkey's foreign minister hailed today's negotiations in Istanbul between Ukrainian and Russian delegations as -- quote -- "the most meaningful

progress yet."

The Ukrainian side says there were some productive discussions on the status of Crimea, but there is still a lot to work out, most importantly

for Ukraine security guarantees for the future.

And now for the very latest on the diplomatic and military France, let's bring in Ivo Daalder. He's the former U.S. ambassador to NATO. And Andrey

Kortunov, he is director general of the Russian International Affairs Council, joining us from Moscow.

Gentlemen, welcome to the program.

Andrey Kortunov, let me start with you and ask for you to analyze the seriousness of what's just come out of Moscow today and what the Turkish

officials are saying around the talks in Istanbul. Is there a redirection of Russian forces?

ANDREY KORTUNOV, DIRECTOR GENERAL, RUSSIAN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS COUNCIL: Let me say that, today, I feel slightly more optimistic than yesterday.

But, of course, it is still very fragile. It's not a cease-fire. We see the fighting goes on, especially in places like Mariupol. And I think that it

will take time before we can get to a real settlement.

AMANPOUR: Before I turn to Ivo, Andrey, what do you think motivated the Russians to even start talking like this? The U.S. obviously thinks and

certainly on the ground they believe that it's because they're not doing well and that they have met way too strong resistance.

KORTUNOV: We can only guess.

I think that Ukrainians definitely demonstrated a lot of resilience. But, at the same time, we can argue that maybe, indeed, some of the initial

goals of the operation have been met. The Russian army captured a lot of territory. And if the goal was to secure the breakaway regions of Donbass,

there is still a lot of work to be done on the ground.

So I can imagine that it might make some military sense to redirect efforts from Kyiv and Chernihiv to Donbass to get full control over the old

administrative border of Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine.

AMANPOUR: Let me turn to you, Ivo Daalder.

From the U.S. perspective, certainly, we have heard the U.S. describe what seems to be happening as not just an adjustment or a regroup, but -- quote

-- "a major shift" that appears to be Moscow coming to grips with failure so far.

I know Andrey says they have captured a lot of territory, but it's certainly not as much as they intended to. And they only really have one

major city under occupation.



And I think the initial objective clearly pointed to a belief that they could take Kyiv, install a new government, and very quickly occupy all of

the southern part of Ukraine, including the critical port city of Odessa, and have all of that in control, because, after all, as President Putin

said when he launched this war, Ukraine didn't exist as a country, and it needed to be incorporated into Russia.

That was the original goal. The Ukrainians have offered extraordinary resistance. The U.S. and other allies have provided it with capabilities to

offer the resistance. And I think what we're seeing now is -- what is being described as a regrouping is really Russian soldiers turning tail in those

areas where they are overextended.

And now the real concentration is going to be in the Donbass. Importantly, five weeks, nearly, into this war, they still -- Russian forces still

haven't even occupied the administrative boundaries of Luhansk and Donetsk, the two areas that were seen as the final objective.

So there's, as Andrey said, a lot of fighting to be -- left to be done, and not clear that the Russians will even be able to achieve this objective.

And then, finally, of course, we do hope that the bombing stops, which has continued in Kyiv, which is where you are, and in so many other places,

including, of course, in Mariupol.

So lots of things need to be changing still, as we look at what's going on.


And, here, we have heard those noises and sounds of war all day. In Lviv, the mayor is saying: I don't buy it.

We're also hearing bombings there.

But I do want to ask you, Andrey, just to give me your analysis of why you think the Russian soldiers, many of them young people who claim they didn't

know they were coming in here to go to war, simply, we're told on the ground, some of them are just refusing to follow orders. Some of them are


And there just seems to be a very low morale, as well as everything else, poor resupply, poor command-and-control, poor communications, from the

Russian side. Why do you think that that has been the case here so far?

KORTUNOV: Well, first of all, I think we should keep in mind that this is a very large military operation. Nothing like that was implemented by the

Russian Federation, or even by the Soviet Union, since the end of the Second World War.

So, basically, the Russian army has entered uncharted waters. Militarily, it is very complex, and it's very difficult to plan such an operation. And,

second, I think that, for many Russians, it is still even now, after five years in the conflict, it is still inconceivable to imagine that they have

to kill Ukrainians, and that you Ukrainians can kill them, because, whatever they say about the divergent political trajectories of the two

countries, there is still this feeling that we have the same roots.

And I think that, psychologically, it's not easy. Maybe the expectation was that Ukrainians would surrender, that they wouldn't fight. But, probably,

the resilience of the Ukrainian resistance turns out to be a surprise.

So I'm not really particularly surprised that many Russians feel uncomfortable about participating in this operation. And that might explain

this relatively slow progress on the ground that we see right now.


But, I mean, you say you're not surprised, but, I mean, it's really staggering. I never met a modern army, in all the wars that I have covered,

where soldiers are refusing to follow orders and are just bolting from the field, at least a percentage. And we have seen a huge number of deaths and

injuries amongst the Russians, according to Russia itself, and higher numbers are given by the U.S. and Ukraine.

But there's significant, significant losses. When you say they didn't expect to face what they found on the ground here, what -- I mean, what was

Putin doing? Was he throwing the dice? Was he gambling? Was he not told the truth? He's known to be fairly rational, and wouldn't go in somewhere if he

thought he was going to get routed.

KORTUNOV: Well, you should ask someone in the Kremlin about the logic and the expectations.


KORTUNOV: According to the Russian official reports, everything goes according to schedule.

We don't know what the schedule was. We don't know what the initial plan was. And, of course, there are these reports about heavy casualties. But if

you follow the official Russian statistics, the casualties are not heavy -- well, in relative terms. Of course, every life matters.


But they are clearly not as high as what is reported by the Ukrainian side and in the West. I think that there is a lot of disinformation coming from

all the sides in the conflict. And it's very hard to get the real picture on the ground.

AMANPOUR: Let me turn to you, Ivo.

And I want to play a sound bite from Secretary of State Antony Blinken today, who's in North Africa. And he responded to what the Russians and

Ukrainians were saying after the talks in Istanbul about redirecting forces to the east and the south. Take a listen.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I have not seen anything that suggests that this is moving forward in an effective way, because Russia is

-- we have not seen signs of real seriousness.

But if Ukraine concludes that there is, that's good, and we support that.


AMANPOUR: So, Ivo Daalder, how do you react that? Clearly, there's a lot of skepticism about anything that comes out of Moscow right now. And that's

what the secretary of state gave voice to.

How do you think the negotiations and the parameters of some kind of peace deal, cease-fire, armistice look right now?

DAALDER: Well, I think Secretary Blinken is right to be skeptical.

For now, I think we are hearing what the Ukrainian side is putting on the table. We're not hearing much about what the Russians are putting on the

table. And it's not even clear that any of the objectives that they have had all along, including the denazification -- and I put that in quotation

marks -- and the demilitarization of Ukraine, which was regime change, when it comes to denazification, and having no military capability to defend

itself, those remain demands.

I think Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov repeated that just yesterday. And then, secondly, a lot are being made about Ukrainian willingness to accept

neutrality and not being a member of NATO, being a non-nuclear country and have no weapons of mass destruction. Well, first of all, of course, the

Ukrainians are a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

They are states parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. So they have already committed not

to acquire these weapons. And the idea that the war was necessary for that purpose is, frankly, ridiculous.

Secondly, on the neutrality peace, the Ukrainians are making very clear that they need security guarantees. Security guarantees is what you get

from an alliance. Now, it may not be a formal alliance, like joining NATO, but it is a commitment that, if a country is attacked, other countries will

come to their aid and defend themselves, the very kind of security guarantees that Moscow was railing against when Ukraine decided that it

wanted to join NATO.

And who is the country? Which country is going to provide these security guarantees? Is the United States going to be willing to sign a treaty with

Ukraine to defend Ukraine without having forces and capabilities in Ukraine? Is the U.S. Senate going to ratify a treaty to that effect or the

French Parliament or the German Parliament -- Bundestag, or what have you?

Those are really tough issues. So I think Secretary Blinken is reflecting the reality that a day of talks that seem to be going pretty well in Turkey

are not going to solve this crisis just that quickly.

AMANPOUR: Those are indeed very, very tough issues, particularly, as you say, the security guarantees.

So, Ivo Daalder -- sorry -- Andrey Kortunov, let me ask you, where do you see, having listened to everything that's come out of the Kremlin over the

last certainly 34 days of war, but recently, do you see them coming to any sort of consensus over what might be the parameters of an end to this?

Because we have actually heard from the spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, that there was no effort or, rather, no intention of regime change. We have

heard words spoken about demilitarization and denazification, and they seem to brush that away right now.

Where do you think a Russian parameter, negotiating parameter, would be right now?

KORTUNOV: Well, I think that the most important thing is for the Russian leadership to recognize that Ukraine has the right to exist as an

independent country, that it has the right to choose its own political trajectory, its own domestic directions of development.

So, in my view, Ukraine should become something like a larger Moldova, a country which can and is willing to get closer to the European Union, maybe

to enter the European Union at some point, a country which can have its own political system, but is not trying to provoke the Kremlin by articulating

its intention to join an adversarial military alliance.


Of course, the issue of security guarantees is a very difficult question, because Ukraine needs something more than just a memorandum of

understanding, more than the Budapest document of 1994. It wants to have legally binding commitments of major powers to protect its security. And

that wouldn't be easy. I agree that there are certain procedures.

And, right now, we have negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv, but we still have to get some reaction from the countries which are supposed to join

this pool of nations providing for the Ukrainian security. And on top of that, on top of this ambiguity of denazification and the demilitarization,

we have pending territorial issues.

Of course, Ukraine find it very difficult to recognize legally that it lost Crimea forever, that Donbass should become independent. So, I'm not --

again, I understand why Ukrainian leadership is trying to preserve some ambiguity on these issues.

But the Russian side, and I think President Putin in particular, would like to somehow finish this unfinished business. And this is the way how he can

declare victory.

AMANPOUR: So, last question to you then, Ivo. We have got about 30 seconds.

Territorial is as thorny as security, I guess. That's existential, the territorial issues for Ukraine. How do you see that being resolved,

probably not immediately, but in the future?

DAALDER: Well, I think the Ukrainians have said that they're willing to have a 15-year negotiation about the status of Crimea, I think the Donbass,

Eastern Ukrainian region is different. If the model is supposed to be Moldova, Moldova, which is a country that has had Russian troops on its

territory for the last 20-plus years, that is not a model that I think the Ukrainians are going to be willing to accept.

So, clearly, Russian forces will have to withdraw. It's not just to be able to decide their own political future. Ukraine will want to be not only

independent but also have its territory and sovereignty completely restored.

AMANPOUR: Well, we obviously keep monitoring this.

Thank you so much, Ivo Daalder and Andrey Kortunov.

Now, in an address today to the Danish Parliament, President Zelenskyy has warned that almost all of the city of Mariupol has been destroyed. The

mayor of that Ukrainian port town, which is under siege from Russian forces, says he estimates that 160,000 people are still inside. Buses are

unable to make it in to take residents out.

But correspondent Ivan Watson is in Zaporizhzhia, where he has met survivors of the Russian airstrike on that Mariupol theater, which the city

council says killed 300 people. And here's his report.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was the Mariupol Drama Theater before Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, a

cultural and architectural symbol of the city. And when the Russian military laid its deadly siege of Mariupol, the theater became a safe


MARIA KUTNYAKOVA, MARIUPOL THEATER BOMBING SURVIVOR: Six people, like with a cat. We go out on the street, and Russian tanks started to shooting us.

And we're winning. It was the craziness.

And then we go to the theater. And you know what? In the theater was a lot of people. They was like, it will be OK. We have food. They give us a tea.

And they said, like, you should find a place where you could, like, -- a bed.

WATSON: This woman and her family recently escaped from Mariupol.

KUTNYAKOVA: My name is Maria Kutnyakova. I'm from Mariupol. I'm Maria from Mariupol.

WATSON: On the morning of March 16, Maria, her mother, sister and cat joined hundreds of other civilians sheltering in the theater. Footage from

March 10 shows families huddled there in the dark, feeling protected perhaps by the signs "Deti," "Children" in Russian, that volunteers posted

outside the building.

Shortly after arriving, Maria went to check whether an uncle who lived nearby was still alive.

KUTNYAKOVA: Now I'm hearing the noise of the plane, like bombs, plane. We know how it's not -- how it's this noise, because it is bombed every day.

WATSON: She returned to the theater to find it destroyed.

KUTNYAKOVA: So, I understand that my family in the theater, and everyone screaming the names, like mama, papa, Losha, Sasha.

And I start calling like, mom, Gala.


WATSON: Footage of the immediate aftermath shows dazed civilians covered in dust, while the roof over the main auditorium had completely collapsed.

KUTNYAKOVA: When the theater was bombed, my sister was standing with a window. And the window was like blow up, and she's fallen down. And my mom

was in another part of the theater. And wall fall on to her.

WATSON: Maria's mother and sister were wounded, but survived.

(on camera): Your sister, is she doing all right?


WATSON: Really?


WATSON: She's got a concussion?

KUTNYAKOVA: She has -- yes, yes, yes.

WATSON (voice-over): Shortly after the initial strike on the theater, Maria says what was left of the building came under a fresh artillery


KUTNYAKOVA: Everyone starts screaming that theater is on fire. So, we should run. And we run and -- but Russians bombed it. So we're running from

the theater. And bombs was like this, this, this.

WATSON: It eventually took nine days for Maria and her family to get through Russian checkpoints and reach relative safety in Ukrainian-

controlled territory.

(on camera): You seem very positive and upbeat right now.

KUTNYAKOVA: I'm understanding I'm very lucky. I'm very -- you understand? Like, thousands and hundreds of people still in Morocco and they bombed.

They have no food, no water. They have no medicine, nothing. And I'm going to say I'm very lucky. Like, I have my arms. I have my legs.

What I need any more? Nothing.

WATSON: And your family.

KUTNYAKOVA: Yes, and my family. My cat is safe. So...

WATSON: This is little Mischka. She's a 2-year-old cat. And she survived the bombing of the Mariupol theater with her family. And they're now headed

to Western Ukraine in this bus.

(voice-over): But no one knows how many people may have died under the rubble. Russia has denied that its forces bombed the theater, and Russian

state TV recently showed what was left of it after Russian troops moved into this part of the city.

Judging by the damage, the Russian reporter claims, it was bombed from the inside. He alleges there is information that Ukrainian nationalists

organized a terrorist attack here, a claim that people inside the theater strongly reject.

(on camera): Are you angry right now?

KUTNYAKOVA: No. I want that Russians just go away. This is Ukrainian territory. I don't understand why they come in and tell me that it's not my

land. They're not fighting with the army. They fighting with every citizen.

They bombed hospitals. They bombed kindergartens. They bombed the houses of peaceful people. They are not fighting with the armies.

WATSON (voice-over): Maria and her family rush to a waiting van. The driver will take them for free to Western Ukraine, where Maria hopes her

sister can safely recover from her injuries.


AMANPOUR: That report by Ivan Watson.

Now, the attack on the Mariupol theater and the maternity ward are two incidents that the U.S. specifically cited in its declaration that Russian

forces, some of them, have committed war crimes in Ukraine.

So let's take a closer look at this issue with Matilda Bogner. She is head of the U.N. human rights monitoring mission here in Ukraine. And she is

joining us from Uzhhorod in the west.

Thank you very much for joining us, Ms. Bogner.

You just heard that report. You heard what Maria from Mariupol told correspondent Ivan Watson. And you can see that they have been really left

with nothing, no humanitarian supplies, no corridors, no relief, and there are apparently 160,000 people still there, according to the mayor.

Is there anything that the U.N. today feels it can do to try to implement some kind of humanitarian relief?

MATILDA BOGNER, HEAD OF U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS MONITORING MISSION, UKRAINE: The U.N. has been trying to deliver relief, deliver humanitarian assistance to


Unfortunately, it can't get the security guarantees from both sides in order to get in. We have been trying to document the human rights concerns

and international humanitarian law concerns in Mariupol. It is -- as you said, it's an awful situation, with people dying, both civilian casualties,

but ordinary people also who are not civilian casualties, but just need medical care and are not able to get it because of lack of medicines, lack

of electricity, water in hospitals, lack of doctors.

Obviously, the ordinary people in Mariupol are suffering.

AMANPOUR: I'm going to read out some statistics from the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, basically saying almost 3,000 civilian

casualties here in Ukraine since the war started. Of those, more than 1,000 were killed. Nearly 2,000 have been injured. And that brings a total of up

to nearly 3,000.


They also don't have access to a lot of the places. So do you think that number is the final number? Do you -- I mean, how do you assess that figure

that the U.N. is putting out right now?

BOGNER: Well, that's our office that's collecting those statistics.


BOGNER: We are working every day to verify.

And, according to our methodology, we need to verify each individual casualty. We can't accept to other people's estimates. We have to verify

each casualty. And it does take a lot of work. It also requires us to have information. And in places like Mariupol, where there is no electricity,

where communications are cut, it's very difficult to get the information that is needed.

So we assess that our statistics are quite accurate, although they are below the full numbers, but they're relatively accurate for most of the

country, but not for those areas such as Mariupol, Volnovakha, these places that have been in very severe hostilities.

We're trying to do an estimate of the casualties in some of those places through broader information, not through counting each individual casualty,

but trying to gather other information.

So far, we estimate that there are probably thousands of deaths in just Mariupol.

AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you.

I don't know whether you can hear, but an air raid siren has gone off. So, hopefully, you can hear my question.

What accounts, do you think, for this heavy civilian toll? The Russians, as you heard in our report, deny that they attacked that clearly marked

theater-cum-shelter in Mariupol. In fact, they say came from inside, and they blame Ukrainians.

In your view, from your estimates and your ability to assess, what do you think accounts for the high toll in civilian death?

BOGNER: Well, there's clearly been a lot of shelling going on in Mariupol.

We have been looking at the numbers of houses and apartments that have been shelled. And it's thousands of apartments have been shelled in Mariupol.

Then there are these big cases, such as the theater, but also the hospital number three, which we assess was it by Russian airstrike.

And these have all led to a lot of casualties. So it's just the high intensity of the shelling. It's also the fact that the city is besieged.

It's not easy for individuals to leave the city. Some have done so. Some have done so under dangerous conditions, and others are not able to.

So those who are left there are the most vulnerable, are old people. They are people with disabilities, people who have not been able to find their

ways out of the city. And then they are particularly vulnerable. They're not able sometimes to go down into the shelters. They stay in their

apartments. And that makes them more vulnerable when shelling comes in.

AMANPOUR: I want to play this part of a sound bite -- or, rather, part of an address by President Zelenskyy today to the Danish Parliament regarding

these atrocities that are being committed against his civilians.

Here's what he said.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): What can we say about human rights of freedom on the European continent? There is no

crime against humanity that the occupiers would not commit.

They're deporting our people into Russia by force, raping women and underage girls, looting. They have taken more than 2,000 children and we

don't know where they are.


AMANPOUR: What can you tell us about those allegations? We have heard the president and other officials here talk about that for days now. Do you

have any evidence of that?

BOGNER: You're talking about the allegations of forced deportation or forced evacuation?




BOGNER: We have been looking -- we have been looking into those allegations. We have been interviewing people.

So far, we have not got the evidence of forced evacuation. Of course, people who are on the eastern side of Mariupol, which is from where they

are being evacuated into the armed group-controlled territory and from there into the Russian Federation, they can't go easily in the other


It's easier for them to go in the direction, it's safer for them to go in the direction of the armed group-controlled territories. But so far, we

haven't been able to get sufficient information to fully verify those allegations.

AMANPOUR: And on another issue, there's some video that's emerged allegedly of Ukrainian soldiers shooting Russian prisoners of war in the

knees and the Ukrainian officials have said that will be fully investigated. What can you tell us about that and is that on your list of

investigations as well?

BOGNER: Certainly. We are very concerned to see videos search as that one. And unfortunately, that's not the only video. We've seen videos of

prisoners of war on both sides, those that have been taken by the Russians, those that have been taken by the Ukrainians, where there's concerns about

ill treatment of prisoners of war

And firstly, this should not be happening. There should not be public videos put out of prisoners of war. International humanitarian law is clear

about that. But in terms of the actual allegations of ill treatment or possibly torture, as you say, there needs to be a full investigation into

that and whoever is found to be responsible must be held to account. It raises serious questions about the treatment of prisoners of war.

AMANPOUR: Matilda Bogner, thank you so much. And let us hope this war maybe in the end phase. We really do not know. But as we've all seen,

Ukraine is still holding strong thanks to the staggering resistance from its people, whether military or civilians.

Now, back when the war started, I spoke from London to Lesia Vasylenko. She's a parliamentarian who came out with all guns blazing, promising that

she and Ukraine would stay, stand and fight.


AMANPOUR: I can ask you, Lesia Vasylenko, how you plan to protect yourself? We have heard your president call on civilians to use Molotov

cocktails if they come across, you know, Russian units. And we've heard members of the parliament say they have armed themselves with Kalashnikovs

for their protection. What do you have and how do you hope to stay safe along request your family?

LESIA VASYLENKO, UKRAINIAN MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: I have an AK-47. I have a P.M. And I have, in my home with my family, a number of other weapons which

we intend to use for self-protection, for defense of our home, of our land and of our children.


AMANPOUR: That was a month ago. And now, I'm in Kyiv. And today, I met with Lesia to see where things stand now more than a month later.


AMANPOUR: Day 34 of war, and the sounds are all around.

VASYLENKO: Yes. That sort of disturbs your day all the time, but you learn to live with it.

AMANPOUR: Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko says that after a month of this, she, like her president and countryfolk believe the Russians will never

take this city. Though fighting does continue in the suburbs. She was wanted to meet here at Maidan Square where Ukrainians stood up for their

rights in 2014 and brought down Putin's wrath and his revenge.

Given his battlefield setbacks though, I asked whether his shifting demands make a diplomatic compromise easier for Ukraine to accept. Now, there's

word we don't know whether it's going to be bear fruit. But that that they might allow Ukraine to join E.U. as long as you renounce NATO. Is that a

compromise that Ukraine would accept?

VASYLENKO: All of this started 34 days ago because one country cannot declare itself more sovereign than another country, and Russia tried to do

just that. We cannot go for that compromise because that compromise to Putin would also mean a compromise of the general framework of defense and

security of the world. Giving into dictators means incentivizing them.

AMANPOUR: Ukraine's dramatic resistance surprised the whole world including Vladimir Putin.

VASYLENKO: Three days they gave us, right? Putin thought he would be here for a matter of hours. We are doing this for our very survival. And when

survival instinct kicks in, people can do amazing things. People become superheroes. And this is what you are witnessing in Ukraine.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Lesia is armed with her guns, the AK-47 is at home today, but she shows me her pistol held close to her heart.

AMANPOUR (on camera): Lesia, when we spoke in the first week of the war before I got here, you said, I've got my machine gun, and you've tweeted,

that I've also got my manicures.


AMANPOUR: Your resistance takes many, many forms and you are actually carrying your pistol right now.

VASYLENKO: I am. I am. I do have my P.M. with me, and I carry it actually with me all the time.

AMANPOUR: And did you ever imagine in your life that as an M.P. in 2022 in Ukraine you'd be forced to carry a gun around?


VASYLENKO: No. Never, never. I'm actually very much anti-gun. And this gun posed a lot of guns for me because in order to recharge it, you have to

sort of like do this thing. And with the nails, I had very nice, beautiful long nails, it was impossible to do so. They had to all come off.

AMANPOUR: And just so people are clear, the idea of beauty, self- maintenance is also resistance.

VASYLENKO: Yes. All joke aside, it is an important element for all women who are fighting alongside the men folk here. The women still want to be

beautiful. They still want to have dignity as women.

AMANPOUR: And to be human?

VASYLENKO: And to be human.

AMANPOUR: He basically, Putin, that Ukraine doesn't exist as a nation. You don't exist as a people.

VASYLENKO: And we say to him, life goes on. We carry on living. Your war - - you are fighting against us is in the background now and we'll go on fighting it for as long as we have to, but we will go on living at the same


AMANPOUR (voice-over): She is still and MP, parliament is still passing laws. And since an army marches on its stomach, this, too is their fight,

their war effort. And so, the ordinary becomes extraordinary, peeling carrots as if they were stacking up bullets. This trendy brunch and bar has

turned into a wartime canteen, chopping onions in a frenzy of efficiency and purpose.

AMANPOUR (on camera): Do you feel you're going to win?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course. We must destroy the Russian army.

AMANPOUR: You said you must destroy the Russian army?


AMANPOUR (voice-over): So, they help turn out 600 meals a day and counting for the army and territorial defense for hospitals and shelters.

Outside, Lesia shows me the pictures of her three young children, whose she's had to send away for their safety.

VASYLENKO: This is my baby from this morning. She's my youngest.

AMANPOUR (on camera): Wow. And then, she's how old?

VASYLENKO: She's going to be 10 months in just a couple of days.

AMANPOUR: Wow. That must be painful to be without here?

VASYLENKO: It is. And she's sort of looking at you, like, really, mommy? Really, you're going to be away from me?

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Staying on the front lines with this struggle comes at a huge personal cost, but Lesia has no doubts.

VASYLENKO: I am where I have to be. I mean, things happen for a reason and I am a firm believer in that. There was a reason why I was elected in 2019.

We have a task. We have a duty and we will complete it and then we will see where life takes us.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Christiane Amanpour, CNN, Kyiv.


AMANPOUR (on camera): And tomorrow, Lesia travels to France to sell the urgency of Ukraine's fate to the world.

Now, according to the UNCHR, the refugee high commissioner, almost 4 million Ukrainians have now fled the country. Yet, the repercussions of war

may lead to mass migration beyond its borders. Once known as the bread basket of Europe, Ukraine and Russia supply the world's 30 percent of wheat

and barley. Now, not only is its own food supply chain fractured, but global food security is also under threat.

David Beasley is the executive director of the World Food Programme and he shares his concerns with Hari Sreenivasan about this issue and why

countries must act now.


HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. David Beasley, thanks so much for joining us.

First, I want to start with Ukraine and what you witnessed there and in Poland and just give us a sense of the hunger on the ground and then, we'll

kind of have a larger conversation from there.

DAVID BEASLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: You know, everybody's been so focused, in many ways this is good, on the refugees

that have left the country. And quite frankly, they're the lucky ones, they're out of harm's way, they're being received in loving arms by

strangers and family and friends, whether it's in Poland, Romania, Moldova, wherever it may be and they're getting food and shelter and relocation for,

hopefully, a short-term, temporary basis.

But you take that 3.5 million people out of the equation, then you still have 40 million people inside Ukraine that are struggling to get food

because of the supply chain system, the commercial systems are broken down, as you can imagine. Certain cities are besieged. There are pockets of

starvation now.

And so, what we're trying to do is reach the people hardest to reach throughout the country. In fact, we just reached a million people this

week. We plan to scale that up over the next 30 days to 2.5 million people. By -- in May, we hope to reach 4 million people. In June, we hope to reach

6 million people. But imagine an entire country, this is not a small place, this is a massive, large country in trying to reach the people at a time

like this when all of the -- most of the people on the front lines battling is a very, very complicated dynamic that we're facing.


SREENIVASAN: You know, I don't think that most people understand how just logistically this works too. I mean, in the middle of conflicts or when

there are active conflicts going on, you as an agency have still tried to figure out ways to get food into people. So, in the middle of a war, when

we see pictures of Mariupol, we see pictures of the bombings, how does the World Food Programme get aid in?

BEASLEY: Well, sadly, 80 percent of our operations in our world are in war zones, in areas of the conflict. That being said, we've got the experience

and expertise to threat that needle, find those openings, to reach the people in need.

And so, in a place like Ukraine where the battlefront is changing, it's a very fluid situation, we're moving supplies around as we speak. And you can

imagine, we're putting distribution points, warehousing all over the country, not all our eggs in one basket. And so, sometimes, for example,

you might be in a war where you can do airdrops or airlifts. Well, you can't do airdrops and airlifts in Ukraine right now because the airspace is

completely shut down.

Now, I have made requests to be able to do that so we can deconflict. But one of the important elements that we do, Hari, is that we do deconfliction

between warring factions. And most of the time, that works fairly well. Take for example in the Syrian war, we would deconflict between, you know,

the Syrian forces, Russian forces and other forces on the other side. And we would say, all right, on Thursday between, you know, 10:00 a.m. and 2:00

p.m., we got convoys coming through. Everybody, stand down. And we usually make that happen.

This war is in its initial stages and we're not where we want to be at this stage. We're not able to reach the people we want to reach. We're reaching

a lot of people. But you know, try telling that to that person whose whole entire family hadn't gotten food in three weeks.

Now, fortunately, in Ukraine, people had a lot of food in their pantries. They had a lot of food already in their stores. And so, they've had two or

three weeks where they could survive. But now, they're running out of that coping capacity and we've got to reach them however we can.

SREENIVASAN: Let's talk a little bit about not just getting food in, but getting what Ukraine represents in terms of global agriculture out. Because

there's a war on, what is the ripple effect of the type of food Ukraine produces and the rest of Europe and the world?

BEASLEY: You know, before the Ukraine war broke out, we were already facing a perfect storm. And I had already been communicating to world

leaders that fuel prices were going up before the Ukraine war. Food prices were going up. Shipping costs were going up. We were billions of dollars

short. We feed about 125 million people on any given day, week or month in places that if we are not there you will have starvation, or you will have

destabilization, more conflict and mass migration.

So, I had already been, the sky is falling and the sky is falling before the Ukraine crisis. And then, all of a sudden, you go back and you had

Ethiopia, then you had Afghanistan and now, you've got Ukraine. And so, it's more complicated now. And the question is why? Because the bread

basket of the world is Ukraine. We buy 50 percent of all of our grain from Ukraine.

Russia and Ukraine together produce 30 percent of all the world supply of wheat. 20 percent of all the world supply of maze, corn. 75 to 80 percent

of world supply of sunflower oil for cooking purposes. And you compound that with the fact that Belarus and Russia produce, I think, more than any

other country on earth the base products for fertilizers.

So, now, Ukraine produces enough food to feed 400 million people per year. Now, start adding all this up with fuel pricing and costing just on the

World Food Programme, our operational costs is going up over $70 million per month. So, almost a billion dollars. That means, if I don't get an

extra billion, who am I going to take food from? Am I going to take food from a child in Chad or Ethiopia to feed a child in Ukraine or take a food

from a child in Syria to feed a child in Afghanistan?


And now, we're taking food from the hungry to give to the starving because we don't have enough money around the world. We are already -- and this is

horrific figures. Chad, Niger (ph), and I could keep going. 50 percent rations (ph) now. Yemen, where we feed about 13 million people on any given

day, we have now cut rations for 8 million over about a month ago down to 50 percent. Next week, unless we receive funds that we need, we will be

cutting that down to zero. We don't have the monies that we need.

So, all of this compounding is affecting our operation. But, Hari, here's the fear, in addition to this catastrophe on top of the catastrophe is

this, food supplies have not been a problem. There's been a pricing problem. But now, in the fall, you could have a pricing problem and a

supply problem. Why? Because Ukraine and Russia, if their wheat is not available -- and guess what? The farmers who need to be planting corn over

the next 30 days, guess where they are? They're on the front lines. They need to be harvesting their grain, their wheat in June, July. Well, guess

where they are? The truck, the tenders to the farms, guess where they are?

And so, if this war doesn't get resolve quickly, you're going to have catastrophe on top of catastrophe.

SREENIVASAN: So, I wonder, you know, I'm in a position of privilege here where around the corner there's a grocery store, their shelves are still

full. So, an American, I might not feel the type of pain that you're describing. But basic economic says, if there is a limited supply of

something, the price of it goes up. And by this fall, if there's going to be less wheat in the system, the costs of what's at my grocery store

increases. But I also imagine that everyone who is making that is essentially competing with the likes of you for that same grain.

BEASLEY: People of wealth, people who have decent jobs, they'll be fine. But the people who are living on the edge, whether it's in America or

anywhere else in the world, it will be literally horrific for them. And the countries that I primarily operate in, which are the poorest countries on

earth, they live on edge already. They live from hand to mouth every day.

And so, when you begin to look like Egypt who gets 85 percent of this grain from the Ukraine area. Lebanon, 80 percent of its wheat for bread came from

-- in 2020, from Ukraine. So, you can imagine what's go to happen. And surveys and studies and history have proven when food prices starts

spiking, going up, people get restless and you have destabilization.

So, this is what the world has got to look at, particularly for the European community and the American community. Everybody is focus on the

refugees coming from Ukraine, but if you ignore the people down in (INAUDIBLE) and Ethiopia and Sudan, South Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon,

Jordan, you could have dozens of millions coming to Europe from the south and the southeast.

The United States, we are already looking at horrendous problems on pricing, flash flooding and droughts down in Central America, Guatemala,

Honduras, El Salvador. We are doing surveys now that show that people, many, many more people are talking about migrating because they don't have

stability, they don't have food security, and what else are they going to do?

SREENIVASAN: One of those statistics that startled me when I was looking at some of this was that the number of t hose facing acute food insecurity

has more than doubled since 2019 from 135 million to 276 million people. It also says that 44 million people in 38 countries are on the edge of famine.

If you can't feed your family, you're going to do anything you can to change that.

BEASLEY: People don't want to leave home. I can tell you that as we feed over 125 million people in over a hundred countries, people won't -- and

they don't want to leave home. But if they don't have food for their children, they'll do what they have to do. All of us would as moms and dads

and parents.

And so, when I took over World Food Programme back in 2017, there were 80 million people marching towards starvation. Not chronic hunger. That's a

whole different ball game. I'm talking about people who don't know where their next meal is coming from. They're in acute food insecurity. 80

million, that number jumped right before COVID from 80 to 135. And the question would be, why?

Well, the simple answer was manmade conflict, number one. And number two, climate shocks, climate change. Well, COVID comes along. It just economic

ripple devastation, especially to the poorest countries on earth. That number then jumped from 135 million to 276 million people marching towards



And, Hari, as you mentioned, out of that 45 million of those people in 38 countries are on famine's door as we speak. So, you break down those 38

countries, we can tell you which countries very well, not who have just famine, they'll have destabilization and mass migration. And it's a

thousand times more expensive to address the problem after the fact than it is to come in before the fact. The numbers are astounding.

For example, in the Syrian crisis. We can feed a Syrian in Syria for about 50 cents a day, and that's a war zone. If that same Syrian is forced to

leave, and they don't want to leave, and let's say they end up in Berlin. The humanitarian support package per day in Berlin is $70 a day.

SREENIVASAN: It may be a philosophical question here, but is this a case that we don't have enough food on this planet to feed people or that we are

prioritizing different things over feeding everyone?

BEASLEY: There's enough food on the planet to feed anyone. In fact, there's more than enough. It is strictly a money issue. We have to choose

which children eat or which children don't eat or which children die, which children die. How would you like that job? And it's not fair to us to --

particularly when there's $430 trillion worth of wealth on the earth today. And at the height of COVID, the world's billionaires -- and I'm for people

making money. Please don't misunderstand me here. But they have a moral obligation to share that wealth in times like this.

And at the height of COVID, the world's billionaires, on average, net worth increase, net worth increase per day was over $5.2 billion. All we need is

a couple of days' worth of your net worth increase to bring peace and stability to millions of people around the planet.

In fact, we're going to be doing a press conference today in South Carolina. We're bringing together some Democrat, Republican governors and

appealing to high-net-worth individuals at a time like this when the world is at a perfect crisis, governments are tactile because they've been

responding with, you know, economic stimulus packages of COVID and all the different dynamics, it's time for the wealthiest of the wealthy to step up

and say, we care about the people on earth. And I don't think that's too much to ask.

SREENIVASAN: What happens if this fund-raising doesn't work? If you remain short?

BEASLEY: It's not complicated at all. Children will die. People will die. Clearly. Simply put. And we are already cutting rations, families and

children around the world because we are shorter billions of dollars now because of this perfect storm.

And people think, well, that's over there. No. Number one, if you're not going to do it out of the goodness of your heart, hell, you better do it

out of your national security interest. Because I can tell you, what we've seen from experience, you will have destabilization of nations and there

will be military conflict, which is a thousand upon thousands of times more expensive. And you'll have mass migration. And that is at least a hundred

to a thousand times more expensive.

There's no free lunch here. You're going to pay for it one way or the other. If you go out and address root causes and get ahead of it, it's a

lot cheaper than waiting after the fact. And if you're not going to do it morally, do it out ever your national security interest.

So, don't hesitate to reach out to your congressman, Republican and Democrat, and express your hopes and your concerns that we've got to do

something here. Number two, as an individual, whether it's online at or, give a dollar, $5, $100 or your organization

you might be involved with, a church or a mosque or whatever it might be, please be engaged and be involved.

And also, the private sector in the corporate world from, yes, we want your engagement, yes, we need your money right now, but we need you to be

involved with us and countries around the world.

SREENIVASAN: Governor David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Programme, thanks so much for joining us.

BEASLEY: Thank you very much.



AMANPOUR: So much need. Coming up tomorrow, I will speak to the French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, to get his perspective on the Russia-

Ukraine talks and whether the war is actually entering a new phase.

That's it for now. Thanks for watching and goodnight from Kyiv.