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Interview with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba; Interview with Ukrainian Novelist and "Diary of an Invasion" Author Andrey Kurkov; Interview with Historian and Great-Granddaughter of Nikita Khrushcheva Nina Khrushcheva; Interview with Brookings Institution Senior Fellow and "Putin's World: Russia Against the West and with the Rest" Author Angela Stent. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired December 15, 2022 - 13:00:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome to "Amanpour." Here is what's coming up.

A special edition on 10 months of war in Ukraine and what's ahead for 2023. Will Russia regroup? Can Moscow make up ground freed by Kyiv's forces? I

ask the Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba. Also ahead, reflections on how both nations have changed with Ukrainian and Russian authors, Andrey

Kurkov and Nina Khrushcheva. Plus.


AMANPOUR: Terror against civilians continues. Playground by playground, mall by mall, park bench by park bench.


AMANPOUR: A look back at some of our reporting on how Ukrainian citizens endure this onslaught and do what they can to help those on the front

lines. And.


ANGELA STENT, SENIOR FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Opposition to the war is slowly growing. But it is not to the extent yet that it would, I think,

cause the Kremlin to change its policies.


AMANPOUR: "Putin's World" author Angela Stent tells Walter Isaacson why the war is unlikely to end anytime soon.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.

This Christmas will mark a grim 10 months since Russia invaded Ukraine. And throughout from the president to the people, to world leaders helping the

nation defend itself, we hear that this is the fight of their lives. Of all of our lives.

This week, yet more billions have been pledged by the E.U. and many other countries to help get Ukraine through this winter. And across the pond, the

Biden administration is finalizing plans to send Patriot missiles, its most advanced air defense system, to help Kyiv counter Moscow's relentless

missile attacks which have pounded Ukraine's power grid and other civilian infrastructure.

The Russian embassy in Washington says, sending the patriots would, "Lead to unpredictable consequences." Joining me now from Kyiv to assess where a

cold winter or war could lead is Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

Foreign Minister, welcome back to the program. Can I start by asking you, where you think and how soon, you think, you will get the Patriots, and how

much of a difference it will make to the war effort?

DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: It's not for me to disclose what the final decision of the Biden administration will be. But I can reiterate

that we have done a lot in cooperation with our American partners to solve this issue. And particularly, the last conversation between our presidents,

Presidents Biden and Zelenskyy, was very patriotic, so to say.

Of course, these systems, if provided to Ukraine, they will be a game- changer in the protection of Ukrainian cities and civilians and civil energy infrastructure.

AMANPOUR: You've, obviously, no doubt heard that the Russian embassy has said it could lead to unpredictable consequences. The Russian foreign

ministry spokesman has said that this would mean bringing, you know, the U.S. more closely into direct involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. Do

those words rattle you?

KULEBA: Empty words. We've heard these threatening comments so many times before that -- and they never proved to be a reality. Russia has already

crossed all red lines and they do not spare anyone. Neither animals nor nature nor civilians nor civilian infrastructure, they destroyed


So, they bear responsibility for the escalation. Of course, they want us to be weak but -- and that is why they speak against any delivery of weapons.

But this is -- the reality is different. But we'll be getting stronger.

AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you about your strength. This whole fall season, you know, over the last several months has been marked by a huge amount of

counteroffensive by your forces and regaining territory. At the same time, Russia has this huge mobilization and your president and the generals have

been talking about concerns for the future, potentially that Russia will regroup. It has a lot more people and it might be ready for another major

offensive sometime early in the new year.


KULEBA: That is why we have to be ready for our counteroffensives and our efforts to stop the potential Russian offensive. And this is why it is

important to continue supplying Ukraine with howitzers, with ammunition to them, and with other advanced weapons. This is a war. And, of course, both

sides have their own plans.

The difference between us and Russia is that we are fighting a just war defending ourselves. And therefore, we have full right, unlimited by any

law, to receive everything that we need to defeat Russia. And this is what is going to happen, eventually.

AMANPOUR: Eventually. So, how do you see the battlefield shaping up in 2023? And I also want to ask you whether you see a difference in tactic, at

least, if not strategy, since President Putin named, you know, Surovikin as the battlefield commander. I mean, we obviously see the tactics that they

used in Chechnya, in Syria, being used against your country right now. Pounding civilians. Pounding even places like Kherson which have been

liberated. I mean, just trying to break your spirit, break the spirit of the people, and turn the country into rubble.

KULEBA: Yes, the appointment of the new commander on the Russian side made the war even more ruthless. Not only with regards to Ukrainians, whom the

Russians are fighting, but also with regards to the Russian soldiers themselves. We see that Russian men thrown into the battle are used by

their generals as a cannon fodder, and they have no mercy towards them or whatsoever.

Our strategy is very simple. To prevent a Russian offensive, you have to keep them busy with countering our offensive, our liberating offensive. And

we should not allow Russia to dictate the situation on the battlefield. And to do that, we need more heavy weapons. As I said howitzers, tanks, a lot

of ammunition, multiple launch rocket systems. We should change the optics. Help Ukraine not to defend itself, help Ukraine to liberate its territories

and to win this war. The sooner it ends with Ukraine 's victory, the better it will be for all.

AMANPOUR: So, to that end, you've obviously heard and we've all reported on these, you know, the sort of, raising of the view that there might be some

kind of negotiation possible or pressured and, you know, clearly that your side has said that we are not ready to do that. But President Zelenskyy

called for Russian forces to start withdrawing, you know, by this Christmas. They have said that that is a non-starter and they are only

talking if President Zelenskyy agrees to their maximalist demands which are to accept all the, you know, this occupied territory.

Where, in your mind, does -- is there any space, at the moment, for any kind of negotiation?

KULEBA: President Zelenskyy proposed a very reasonable peace formula that consists of 10 elements. And negotiations and fixing the end of the war on

the paper is step 10, not step one. This process of ending the war should begin with the withdrawal of Russian forces. And there are many other

issues that need to be addressed in this context.

So, no one should be buying the Russian smokescreen operation, when they talk about their openness to negotiations with one hand, and push the

button sending more missiles, more Iranian drones, and more Russian troops against Ukraine with the other hand. For Russia, as I said, talks is just a

smokescreen. We do not see any single indicator that they're serious about them.

AMANPOUR: And just last and briefly, obviously we're watching the attacks on your energy system. We know people are living in freezing conditions.

UNICEF has said potentially one and a half million children could suffer depression, anxiety, and other conditions. As well as many are feared, you

know, to be at mortal risk this winter. Do you think you have the situation under control to survive the winter?

KULEBA: Well, you know, anytime there is an air raid siren in Kyiv, the first thing I do is calling my children to help them to cope with the

anxiety and fear about another Russian attack. And every time it is over, I speak with them again and we discuss it. So, I help them to cope with it.

So, I perfectly know what you're talking about.


But yes, we know that we're facing a ruthless enemy who is destroying everything, trying to break us down. But this, the mood in Ukraine is, even

at the most difficult places, is the same. He is not -- Putin is not going to break us down. Whatever it takes, doesn't matter how difficult it will

be, we will survive and we will survive this winter against all odds. This is the mood both outside of Kyiv, outside of the building, or on the

streets of Kyiv, and also on the front line.

AMANPOUR: Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba, thank you so much indeed.

And this week it was Odessa's turn to see its energy grid bombarded and the state-run energy provider reported, "A significant power deficit for that

southern region even as engineers raced to patch it up." The same is true for the liberated city of Kherson, as we said. This has been going on since

October 10th, when Moscow escalated its efforts to bomb citizens into surrender all over the country, including the capital Kyiv. Been on

assignment there in the midst of it all, we found that residents and businesses were determined to adapt to and survive in the blackouts and

nowhere close to giving up as you've just heard from the foreign minister.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): Week four of Ukraine's new struggle against the cold and dark. Rolling blackouts blanket Kyiv, nighttime is spooky, and we are

entering this high-rise apartment complex to see how the residents are coping with Russia's constant attacks on key infrastructure.

AMANPOUR (on camera): Hello.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Up to the 12th floor, no light in the stairwell but our cameras and no elevator. Iuliia Mendel meets us hobbling down on

crutches, and the foot she fractured by tripping over the steps the first night of the blackouts.


AMANPOUR (on camera): Hi.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): She's a journalist and a former press secretary to President Zelenskyy.

AMANPOUR (on camera): Hi. How are you?

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Together, we visit her neighbor, Natalia, with her 18-month-old daughter, Lina (ph), just one of a whole generation of war

traumatized Kyiv kids, especially with the constant air raid sirens.

AMANPOUR (on camera): Is she stressed?

NATALIA HORBAN, KRIV RESIDENT: She is like, oh, oh. She's pointing to the window so that she knows that something goes wrong.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): The two of them are recovering from a two-hour ordeal trapped in their tiny elevator when the power went out. Now, all

over Kyiv, residents are putting small care boxes inside with water, snacks, and anti-anxiety medicines. By the time we sat down to talk, the

power popped back on again after nine hours on this day.

AMANPOUR (on camera): Do you feel demoralized? Do you feel, like, OK. All right. Enough already. It's time to surrender and negotiate?

MENDEL: No way. Look, we have passed through the hardships of '90s. And we didn't have light, water, heating, and everything for hours and hours every


And that then was desperate because we didn't -- we knew it was about poverty. Now it's about war. And know that we must win.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Winning this phase of the war comes with weapons like these to charge phones and any other emergency equipment.

HORBAN: It's the most important thing here to have in Ukraine. It's a power bank, without it, you don't have any connection. And it's the most

important now to know that your relatives are OK.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): They tell us generators are almost all sold out and super expensive now. As well as candles, torches, and headlamps. Natalia

has improvised light from a water bottle and her iPhone.

Downtown, it's dire for businesses too. Every beauty salon operates on hair dryers for that blowout and, of course, water to wash out the shampoo and

the dye. Olena (ph) is taking her chances today.

OLENA (ph), KYIV RESIDENT (through translator): After we finish dyeing it, I might have to go home to dry it but it's fine.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Just one floor here has power and the others are dark. Before the war, Hairhouse had 150 clients a day. Now, it's more like

50. And the salon has lost 60 percent of its revenue. But as Dmitry, the commercial manager, tells me, they keep calm and carry on.

DMITRY MEDVEDEV, COMMERCIAL MANGER HAIRHOUSE: I believe that we should work even without light. Even without electricity, we should help our army, we

should help our people. And we will do our job until to the end. And we believe that sooner or later the light will come.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Like so many civilians, they say, injuring these hardships on the home front is part of their war effort, supporting their

troops on the front lines who are fighting to keep Ukraine independent, fighting for their homeland.



AMANPOUR (on camera): All those people we spoke to are still there, still surviving despite the temperatures getting lower and lower.

Next, nearly 10 months into Russia's invasion of Ukraine, how have both countries changed? I turned again to two guests who's helped us understand

and navigate these crucial perspectives. The famed Ukrainian novelist and journalist Andrey Kurkov, and Nina Khrushcheva, Russian historian and

great-granddaughter of the 1960s soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.


AMANPOUR: Andrey Kurkov and Nina Khrushcheva, welcome back to our problem. We have been so grateful for your insights over these last 10 months. I

just want to ask you both how you think both of your nations have changed, and will anything ever be the same again? Andrey Kurkov, let me ask you

first, since yours is the invaded country.

ANDREY KURKOV, UKRAINIAN NOVELIST AND AUTHOR, "DIARY OF AN INVASION": Well, I don't think, actually, the life will be back to normal, back to prewar,

back to before 2014 anymore. And, of course, the relationship between Russia and Ukraine will never be the same as it was before. I mean, the

countries at war for 10 months. And I don't know the number of killed and wounded soldiers and civilians, but I mean, the memory will keep us apart

from Russia.

AMANPOUR: And that must be a painful thing for you to say because, you know, there have been, you know, relations between your countries for a

long, long time.

KURKOV: Well, of course. I mean, there was a lot of joint projects and culture. There was a wonderful animation film festival, Russian-Ukrainian,

which was called KROK, and I participated a couple of times in this festival. There were lots of joint cultural film productions. But it is all

gone. It's all now in the history.

AMANPOUR: Nina Khrushcheva, from your vantage point in Moscow, do you feel the same way? And I don't know whether you noticed, but I did, Andrey said

it goes back to 2014 in fact. This has been going on not just since February 24th.

NINA KHRUSHCHEVA, HISTORIAN AND GREAT-GRANDDAUGHTER OF NIKITA KHRUSHCHEVA: Well, I agree, it has been going on since then, since the Crimea annexation

and the Russians saying Crimea is ours, and taking against international laws Ukrainian territory. So, absolutely.

But what happened in the last 10 months is something that is beyond tragic. I mean -- and from my vantage point, you know, Kyiv is an invaded country.

Russia is an invader. As an invader, it will have to answer for this for decades, if not centuries, to come. And that absolutely breaks my heart.

Also, because there is absolutely zero recognition on the part of many, many not Russians, but Russian officials that it needs to -- Russia needs

to answer for this.

So, in fact here in the month that I've been here, you know I've been here for some time now, it's just getting horribly ossified. It's almost a

Stalinesque way of looking at the world as that we are a besieged fortress in reality and therefore, we are going to expand our animosity towards the

world. Not to try to somehow figure it out. And so, that is also for Russia for decades to come, sensible (ph). Decades I hope, to get out of this

absolutely horrific view of the world and not just a view of Ukraine.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask you, Nina, because you talk about, you know, Russians - - officials haven't answered and they'll need to answer for this. And you know, President Putin is not doing his annual, you know, marathon speech

and so-called press conference to the nation. And there are intelligence officials here in the U.K. who are saying they believe part of that reason

is because he feels a rising anti-war sentiment in Russia, where you are, and doesn't want to have to deal with that, live or on tape, in front of

the nation. Do you think that's accurate, Nina?

KHRUSHCHEVA: I don't think it's exactly accurate. I mean, people don't want the war, for sure. I mean, now people are looking back and the saying,

well, you know, we shouldn't have done it. But the thing is, one of the things that Putin is not negotiating, is that he is not winning. And Putin

always wins. And if Putin doesn't win, he is going to continue the war until the very bitter end. We don't know what that end is.

And one of the things in order to understand, because we always judge him from some sort of rational, political point of view, not that he is

irrational but he's rational in his own way. So, he, sitting where he is, doesn't need to answer in front of the nation. He can say -- he has all

these other flunkies to answer for him. So, it could be that he doesn't want to deal with it or they always back these kinds of forums with people

that absolutely are not going to ask bad questions.


So, he doesn't have to do it. It's somebody else will deal with the -- all these other little problems that this war may have.

AMANPOUR: So, Andrey, when you look at your own president, and when we talked way back in March, one of the times we talked, you had said to me

that President Zelenskyy has a very serious exam to pass. So, what grade would you give him in these 10 months?

KURKOV: Well, he became a much tougher president. I mean, before the war he was not a president like this. I mean, he was still a representative of

show business. And now, I mean, he looks great. He looks tight. He works probably 20 hours a day. And he sends messages, lots of messages every day.

He keeps talking to leaders of the countries around the world. He managed already to talk Morocco into helping Ukraine with ammunition and weapons.

So, he -- for me, he gets the highest grade.

AMANPOUR: He gets a flying pass from you. That's really interesting. And I think you're right, the rest of the world --


AMANPOUR: -- feels the same. How do you think your -- you and your countryfolk are changed? You talked a little bit about it at the beginning.

But did you imagine, when it happened 10 months ago, that there would be such strength, such unity, such resolve amongst the people that would last

this long?

KURKOV: Well, I mean, we should of course remember that about seven to 10 million Ukrainians became refugees abroad. And those who stayed, they

became much more defined that they were before, and much more united. And actually, even in Kyiv, although I'm in Kyiv and it was attacked with the

drones last morning, but -- I mean, people are doing their jobs. They're going to work. I mean, they are doing what they wanted to do. And I'm still

having a meeting with my friends in Duba in two hours-time.

AMANPOUR: Well, that's good. As long as you can get there and raise a toast to your survival and your resilience, that is an important message to the


So, Nina, from your perspective, yes, you know, people have left Ukraine, but they're also leaving Russia. Russia is not under war, it's not under

bombardment, and yet hundreds of thousands, if not millions, have left. What is that doing to the social identity and fabric of your country?

KHRUSHCHEVA: Well, that's -- I just wanted to say that I, for example, don't go to the bars anymore. I just don't feel that it's appropriate for

me to go anywhere because it's -- the mood is horrific. The mood is the end of the world. And so, people do go out. But just imagining that you can

have a life outside of the conflict is very, very difficult.

Yes, we are not bombed but it is all about the special military operation. And people who don't want to have it this way, although you can run from

it. I mean, anybody who is in Latvia, anybody who is in Georgia, everybody -- anybody who is in New York, in America, anywhere, it's all about that

for us. Because the country is, I mean, its special military operation, but it's also the country not just at war with the brotherly nation but it's

also the country that squeezes out anybody who no longer feels that this operation may be questionable, I will put it mildly.

So, in Putin's Russia, it is only now a place for those who agree very militantly that it needs to go on. And so, that's another heartbreak that

we have.

AMANPOUR: Andrey, is there any room, any space in Ukraine for dissent? And I ask you this because, obviously, what Russia is trying to do right now is

break the peoples resolve, break the president's resolve, raise the level of pain so much, you know, freezing soldiers on the frontlines, freezing

their families and children in their homes to try to get your country to give up.

How did -- is there any space for people to even talk about the pain that is being inflicted and talk about maybe wanting to end this war?

KURKOV: Actually, I mean, people are talking about pain, of course. But not talking about giving in and giving up resistance. And actually, we have a

different kind of dissent now because, I mean, the political struggle inside the country, inside parliament, is heating up because -- I mean,

some laws were accepted by the parliament yesterday, which were -- are not to likens of many other politicians opposition. So, I mean, it's strange. I

mean -- but in the parliament, I mean, people are discussing politics but not exactly the war.

AMANPOUR: Interesting. So, that speaks to what might happen after the war. I want to ask you, Andrey, from your vantage point, what would you say to

Russia right now? What's your view of Russia, particularly people who you, as you said at the beginning, you used to have, at least in the artistic

space and elsewhere, actual contact with?


KURKOV: Well, I'm very ashamed of Russia. I'm very ashamed of many of my acquaintances with whom I worked together 20 years ago because they decided

to support Putin. And actually, I don't have many words for them. I just, sort of, ignore and save time not thinking about them. But generally, I

mean, the country joined Northern Korea. And this is something horrible for the future because I cannot imagine what kind of cultural image of Russia

will exist in 10 years time, in 20 years time. I mean, Putin killed off Russian culture, Russian history.

AMANPOUR: Oh, my goodness. Nina, you are a historian. You've just heard that. What is your view of what Andrey said? But also, your view of

Ukrainians and how they have conducted themselves throughout this war that was imposed?

KHRUSHCHEVA: Well, for me, it is not a surprise because, you know -- I mean, I'm kind of surprised that the Kremlin didn't know Ukraine well

enough or Ukrainians well enough. I knew that it will fight -- they will fight to the death. So, that is no surprise to me at all.

I actually -- I think we spoke about it. I doubted that Putin will go in because it was just beyond, not in the national interest of Russia. But I

knew that if it does happen, then Ukrainians will fight. So, that is something that I see and really think that that will continue. I mean, one

of the things, I mean, Russia is -- has a symbol of, you know, the double eagle, the coat of arms. And I believe, as a historian, I believe in

symbols. I think symbols reflect very well what the country stands for.

And so, this whole history thing that Putin is imposing on himself and the country and everybody else because all of this is framed in historical

terms. For example, the Azov Sea that he said, well, now, the Azov Sea is going to be part of Russian territory, thank God. Even Peter the Great

couldn't do it. I mean, it's an amazing thing because he always sets himself against some historical -- great historical figures and met --

tries to measure up and puts this conflict in historical terms.

But, yes, absolutely. That is an absolutely revisionist history. And Russian history, in this sense, is destroyed because it will take once

again decades for some justice and some truth and some reality to be brought into people's lives. So, that is a destruction beyond recognition

that Russia faces and will face.

AMANPOUR: I just want to give you both two last words for 2023. I mean, Nina, your great-grandfather was a soviet leader. Obviously, Putin imagines

himself maybe not restoring the USSR but being a soviet style leader and having all the nations around him, you know, in his sphere of influence,

including he wants Ukraine. What do you think is likely in 2023?

KHRUSHCHEVA: Well, first of all, oh, please. He just said that Khrushchev is really not somebody he would ever compare himself to. So, no. It's Peter

the great, and Catherine the great, and Stalin, and Koba the Dread that he is looking at. He's just sort of the grand leader who don't spare any human

life. So, that is important to understand.

But also, I actually think that because he can't -- he's not winning now and he can't lose, he is going to continue a process of war. Because now,

for him, it's an enjoyment in a sense of that kind of video game that he plays. It actually, goes back to your question as to why he's not speaking

to the nation. He doesn't have to because as far as he's concerned, his game is going fine.

AMANPOUR: And finally, to you, Andrey Kurkov, what do you see for 2023? You said from the beginning, you believe Ukraine would win. Do you still feel


KURKOV: I feel that, because everything has its energy. And I mean, this war has its with energy. And I think this energy will be, probably, over by

the end of next year. So, I hope that the Ukrainian army and Ukrainian people will have still more energy to fight back that Russian army. Because

Ukrainians have motivation. They're defending their own country. They're defending their future.

AMANPOUR: Andrey Kurkov, Nina Khrushcheva, thank you both so much for your invaluable perspectives.


AMANPOUR: Thank you.


KURKOV: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And so, for an update on liberated lands, Russia started by occupying about a fifth of Ukraine, practically from day one, February

24th. But after fierce counteroffensives, Ukraine says it has won more than half of that back. Including the second biggest city, Kharkiv, in the

northeast. A Christmas tree has been put up in the underground metro station there now. Back in late March, before Russian forces were pushed

back, I saw for myself how these metro stations became peoples' homes --


-- as Russian forces were targeting their apartments, houses and other civilian infrastructure.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): Here in Kharkiv, former Ukrainian capital, second biggest city and one of the most important cultural sites, the great 19th

century poet Taras Shevchenko is hunkering down for the rest of this war. Workers cover him in sandbags against the kind of destruction that's

pounded this city center since the start. The most spectacular strike was this one a month ago, a Russian missile slams low and hard straight into

the corner of the regional administration building.

AMANPOUR (on camera): The missile struck right here. And the idea of hitting a building like this is to deny the legitimacy of the state. But

the terror against civilians continues playground by playground, mall by mall, park bench by park bench.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Which is what we find in this residential neighborhood. People were sitting outside chatting on a Sunday afternoon.

Kids were playing. We find the telltale pattern of a mortar that landed right here. Authorities say seven people were killed in this neighborhood.

Many more were injured.

Kharkiv sits 40 miles from the Russian border. It is the last major city before Donbas, where Russia is directing its war effort to the east. Just

last week, the nearby village of Mala Rohan was liberated from the Russians. This civilian says he was captured and held.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I was taken hostage. And they took me to the officer for interrogation. The officer said: "You are a

saboteur." No, I am a civilian. See all my documents, my registration. I live here. I came just to ask, don't shoot at our houses.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): When dusk falls, children are outside playing and getting the last bit of fresh air before descending underground into one of

the capital's many subway stations. After 40 days of war, they have turned their temporary homes into a neighborhood. Some have even decorated with

fresh flowers. Xena (ph) says she's been living down here since the beginning.

XENA (ph), KHARKIV RESIDENT LIVING IN A SUBWAY STATION: Oh, this is my house, this used to be my house. Now, we cannot live here, obviously

because it has been bombed three times in a row.

AMANPOUR (on camera): But this is a safe space for you?

XENA (ph): Yes, absolutely.

AMANPOUR: And for the kids?

XENA (ph): Yes, absolutely.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Kids do what kids do, homework and handicrafts. Even this is organized. Marina (ph) works for an organization that plans ways to

keep the children busy, entertained, and their minds off the trauma.

MARINA (ph), KHARKIV RESIDENT LIVING IN A SUBWAY STATION: Here, we equipped the playing grounds, the space for kids where they can play with toys, with

trackers, made puzzles and to do their things they did in their usual life before the war.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): But the trauma is never far away, as we found in this underground station, where civil defense are teaching kids how to

protect themselves, how to recognize weapons and ordnance, and to remember never to touch. The adults are shown how to protect themselves in case of a

chemical weapons attack. Even this maternity hospital was damaged in a mortar strike. Now, the basement has been turned into a shelter and

delivery room, if necessary. Birth, life continues. We met Alina 30 minutes after she had delivered baby Yaroslava

AMANPOUR (on camera): How are you feeling?

ALINA, KHARKIV RESIDENT: Well. She is well, too. My first daughter.

AMANPOUR: Your first daughter?


AMANPOUR: Your first child?


AMANPOUR (voice-over): As we are leaving, she tells us, I love my country. I love my daughter, my family, my husband. And in the delirium of new

motherhood, she says, everything will be great for us.


AMANPOUR (on camera): Well, it may not be great, yet but she believed her city would be free and it is. But you can imagine in the intervening months

of these relentless bombardments, the trauma and the pain has obviously increased exponentially.

Now, women make up a significant portion of those who are fighting for their country in Ukraine. Last, month I visited a small business that

recognized a gaping hole in the kind of kits that women specifically need. And it's already delivered $1 million-worth probably more by now. The NGO

says, its entire effort comes from crowd funding and grants.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): At a nondescript storefront in Kyiv covered with plastic against prying eyes, a major war effort is underway. Boxes of kit

reveal a first of its kind, fatigues designed for a mother to be.

AMANPOUR (on camera): So, was there never, Andrii, anything for pregnant women before?


AMANPOUR: And how many pregnant women are fighting the Russians?

KOLESNYK: I'm not sure there's a lot, but there are.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): Andrii and Casena (ph) are married TV journalist in real-life who now do this work. A female friend turned front line sniper

told them that she was pregnant and needed a new uniform. They are also sending female soldiers smaller boots, lighter Kevlar plates for their flak


On this day, Roksalana (ph) comes in for a new uniform. She's in an intelligence unit near the front and joined up in March totally unprepared.

It's so valuable to have these people who understand that we are tired of wearing clothes that are three sizes too big, she tells me. We had no

helmets. We had old flak jackets. We wore tracksuits and sneakers. Now, we feel that we are humans.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense says there are more than 50,000 women under arms. More than 5,000 of them are on the front line. Amongst them,

Andrii's sister.

KOLESNYK: She received a men's uniform, men's underwear, everything that is designed for men.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Females also need customized sanitary, medical, and humanitarian supplies. Casena (ph) and Andrii have sent out 3,000 of these

care packages. They have produced 300 uniforms, and planned for at least another 2,000, all winterized. And then, there is this vital tool.

AMANPOUR (on camera): Oh, my god. I have never seen that. A feminine urinary director for women of all ages. Basically, they pee in that, right,

if there's no toilet?

KOLESNYK: No, not in. They pee like men.

AMANPOUR: Look at that. Oh, my God. If only I had known that in all the years I was in the field.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): And as a parting gift, they throw in this book on resilience and courage amid battle and in captivity. Which is what happened

to Alina Palina (ph) five months ago after the fall of Mariupol. She's part of a canine border guard unit and, like so many of the port cities

defenders, she had been hunkering down in the giant Azovstal Steel Plant. She was recently released as part of an all-female prisoner exchange with

Russia. We meet at this pizza bar run by veterans.

AMANPOUR (on camera): Were you prepared for life as a POW?

No, I was not, she says. And we discussed this a lot with the other women prisoners, that life hasn't trained us for such an ordeal. While in

captivity though, I said, I will continue my service, and I have no plans to stop.

Back at their private procurement center, Andrii says he wishes he could join his sister, father and brother-in-law all at the front. But a physical

disability means that he's not eligible.

KOLESNYK: For a man, it's kind of hard to understand that you can't go there and your sister is there. So, I'm trying to do my best here to help

not only my family, but the whole army.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): And the reviews from the battlefield are in. It's just amazing, says Anastasia, I'm happy as a child. The uniform is ideal,

it looks great, and the fabric is very sturdy.

Meantime, Roksalana's (ph) new boots are made for marching all the way back to the front.


AMANPOUR (on camera): And on the eastern front, it is getting more and more difficult, harder and harder as Ukrainian and Russian forces slug it out.

But this morning, Ukraine launched its biggest counterattack since Russia's first invasion of 2014 on the eastern occupied region of Donetsk, according

to the Russian installed official there.

So, where do Russia and Vladimir Putin stand 10 months into their invasion? Angela Stent is senior adviser to the center for Eurasian, Russian and East

European studies. Previously, she served as a U.S. national intelligence officer on Russia. And she speaks to Walter Isaacson about what to expect

from Putin's so-called special military operation ahead.


WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: Thank you, Christiane. And Angela Stent, welcome back to the show.


your show.

ISAACSON: You are on the show with us about 10 months ago, when Ukraine war broke out. Did you ever think it was going to last this long?

STENT: No, I think nobody thought it would last this long. I think people overestimated the Russian military's competence and prowess. They

underestimated the Ukrainians will and ability to fight back. And I think nobody would have thought that this would have gone on so long. And that

the Ukrainians would have fought back so effectively. Of course, with a lot of help from the United States and other NATO allies.

ISAACSON: We just did a prisoner swap and got the great basketball player Brittney Griner out for an arms merchant.


Do you think that the negotiations over that swap have any resonance or have any effect on what is happening with Ukraine?

STENT: I don't. I think this is something completely separate. The Russians wanted Viktor Bout back for a long time. Obviously, the Biden

administration really wanted to get Brittney Griner and, of course, Paul Whelan back as well and I think this is something that is completely

separate. I think hostage negotiations or prisoner swaps are still going on, as we understand. But that's not going to have an impact on the war,

really, or the U.N. -- the broader U.S.-Russian relationship.

ISAACSON: You mentioned that we want to get Marine Paul Whelan back as well. Tell me about that and what discussions could be had.

STENT: The problem is what is it that the Russians would be willing to accept for Paul Whelan. We know that what they wanted was for the Germans

to trade a convicted assassin, Russian assassin, who killed a Chechnyan descendant in broad daylight in Berlin. But the German government wasn't

having any of it. And of course, we can't negotiate for Germany.

So, I think the challenge with Paul Whelan is to find something, a person, that the Russians would want enough that they would be willing to swap him.

ISAACSON: Let me read something that Putin recently said, in which he kind of admitted or, you know, was talking about targeting civilian

infrastructure in Ukraine. He said, there's a lot of noise right now about our strikes against the energy infrastructure of the neighboring country.

Yes, we are doing this. But who started it?

It's clear from our perspective who started it. It's clear from the Ukrainians. What was he talking about and what does he mean with that


STENT: Well, I mean, who knows. He says a lot of contradictory things. First of all, if you watch Russian media, they're blaming the war on

Ukraine and the United States and NATO. I think what he may have been referring to is when the worst of these strikes and, you know, hitting all

the energy infrastructure took place after the Ukrainians took back much of Kherson, and also after they attacked the land bridge that --Crimea to

Russia. And that may have been one of the catalysts for this indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets, one can only guess.

By the way, they have just announced that for the first time in more than a decade, Putin has canceled his annual marathon press conference which

usually goes for three or four hours. It's always around Christmas. And he has, you know, hundreds of Russian and foreign journalists. I find that

very interesting, because he clearly does not want to be asked any awkward questions about this war.

ISAACSON: So, he has canceled his press conference that he does every year. He doesn't want the awkward questions. Might there be other reasons? Is

there any truth to the rumors about his health, for example?

STENT: It's very hard to tell because, you know, he's been appearing more and more in public recently. For a long time, you know, we don't know where

he was. He didn't appear in public. But in the last few weeks, he has.

Now, in the past week, there was one appearance where he was holding a glass of champagne and made some of these remarks. And some people

speculated, you know, was he unsteady on his feet? Had he had too much to drink? There's a lot of speculation about his health but there's very

little concrete evidence. But if you look at his face, it does seem that he probably does have some ailments. I think nobody is quite sure just what

they are.

ISAACSON: What do you think could happen to him in Russia? Do you -- who would topple him or is that out of the question?

STENT: Toppling him is very difficult. He is surrounded by his own praetorian guard, the national guard, and these are people who are loyal to

him, but they do carry guns. It's -- you know, in history, you can think of other countries where someone's -- when -- where people's bodyguards have

turned on leaders. So, the -- but it's very unlikely.

He is then surrounded by a small group of his colleagues who shared his views and it doesn't seem very likely that they would -- could get together

in this kind of situation, in the system, and thought against him. Although that has happened previously in both Russian and Soviet history. And a

popular revolution is also very unlikely because many of the people who oppose this war have fled, others are in jail, and there is a large amount

of apathy.

Now, having said all that, of course you can have some event happened that none of us can foresee. But he has created this system where he seems to be

pretty well fortified.

ISAACSON: There have been more than 100,000 Russians who have either been killed or injured in this. Is that putting any pressure, do you have any

sense of public opinion in Russia?


STENT: It is putting some pressure. So, the latest opinion polls, to the extent that we can trust them from the independent Levada Center. Even

though about 50 percent of the population still say that they strongly support the war, the same number, roughly, says that they think Russia

should enter into negotiations with Ukraine. And you have seen more local protests by, you know, the soldiers' mothers and things like that. People

questioning, you know, what are their sons and husbands and brothers signing for? Why are they coming back in body bags?

So, there is more questioning of this. And that's why Putin has repeatedly said they're not going to try to do another mobilization. But many Russians

don't believe that anymore and they fear for that. So, I think opposition to the war is slowly growing, but it -- not to the extent yet that it

would, I think, cause the Kremlin to change its policies.

ISAACSON: The United States has spent billions supporting Ukraine. More than we've spent, I think, on any other country we've supported since

Vietnam. You got speaker -- the potential speaker, Kevin McCarthy, and other Republicans coming in saying hey, maybe no more blank check. How do

you see that playing out?

STENT: So, I see that -- there will be more scrutiny next year with the House in Republican hands. Now, a number of the kind of pro-Trump, anti-

supporting Ukraine candidates who are not elected this time. You have some of them like J.D. Vance in the Senate and some in the House. But I think

there will be greater scrutiny over how much money is going to Ukraine. There will be greater oversight, I know the Republicans have been calling

for that. And I think you will have a much tougher debate next year about how much we should still be supporting Ukraine.

And there's another aspect to that which is that the U.S. is literally running out of ammunition. I mean, we have supply to Ukraine with so much

military hardware, HIMARS, we don't have too many of those left that we can give to them because we need, you know, to make sure that we have our own

arsenal to protect us. And so, some of that, kind of, there's supply problems and the shortage of supply will also come into it beginning next


ISAACSON: It's into in the U.S.'s interest to say, all right, let's start talking about a ceasefire. Let's make sure this just doesn't go on for

another three years.

STENT: It is, only if, again, there can be reasonable or good certainty that it's not going to go on for another three years. That the Russians

won't just down right now and say, let's have a ceasefire, then regroup, and then in the spring begin another offensive. And so, the problem is, how

do you get to a situation? Some people say, well, maybe this will end up like Korea. We'll have a settlement like that. But how do you then make

sure that this kind of a ceasefire holds? And --

ISAACSON: Wait, wait, wait. Let me turn that back to you. I mean, you would know the answer. There are ways to guarantee a ceasefire, to have

international forces guarantee it. How would you have a ceasefire hold?

STENT: Well, so I think what -- I mean, what the Ukrainians want to say are security guarantees from the United States and other NATO members. The

question is, are those countries willing to give Ukraine the security guarantees, which more or less look like Article 5 of the NATO Treaty. In

other words, coming to Ukraine's military assistance if it's invaded again?

And that, of course, the problem there is, the U.S. doesn't want to get into a direct conflict with Russia. Which is why we have limited the kind

of assistance we have given them. So, I think the trick is to come up with security guarantees and -- or an enough robust military assistance to the

Ukrainians that they can defend themselves, should they be invaded again.

ISAACSON: A few months ago, there was a lot of nuclear saber-rattling from Putin and a lot of worries that this could lead to a nuclear confrontation.

Especially if Russian territory that they considered theirs, such as their fleet in Sebastopol and Crimea were attacked. Now, we don't hear quite so

much about the nuclear threat. Tell me, what is your assessment?

STENT: So, I think, in response to this kind of loose talk and veiled threats by Putin and other people, first of all, the U.S., and we know

again coming back to what we are talking about these channels of communication. I think both the Jake Sullivan channels and then also the

Bill Burns channels and other channels have made it repeatedly clear to the Russians that if they were to say detonate a tactical nuclear weapon, that

would be very, very serious consequences.

But then we have also talked to the Chinese and other countries about this. And as far as we understand, China has also discussed this with the

Russians. The Chinese don't want the Russians to use a nuclear weapon. And so, I think the Chinese have also made that clear to them.


And we know that, for instance, Prime Minister Modi in India has been, you know, pretty neutral in this. Modi publicly said that there should be no

one. He's cancelled his normal annual meeting in-person with Putin because of this.

So, I think enough pressure was put on the Kremlin by different countries, not only the west, to warn them that, if they did something like that,

there would be very serious consequences. So, I think that's probably one of the main reasons that we don't hear that anymore. But on the other hand,

if you look at what Russia is doing to the civilian population and the bombing at the destruction there, all right, it's not a nuclear weapon, but

it's still pretty destructive for Ukraine.

ISAACSON: Wait, wait, wait. Let me push back on that. Isn't there just an incredible red line between conventional weapons like happening now and

going nuclear?

STENT: There is. But I'm just saying that if Russia -- you know, Russia has done still -- you know, it's --the way that it's bombing Ukraine has

wreaked terrible damage on the country. Yes, of course, that's a red line and everybody understands that. And if Russia were to use a nuclear weapon

it would be breaking a taboo, a 77-year-old taboo.

ISAACSON: Do you think there is any exit strategy for Putin?

STENT: You know, Putin can tell his country whatever he wants. He could decide that he hasn't achieved many of his aims. And he could say, well,

we've taken a little bit more territory, which they have. This is again presuming that the Ukrainians would sit down with them.

And you know, we've -- I mean, the problem comes with the annexation. Because they're insisting that the Ukrainians accept the annexation of

these four territories and Ukrainians unions don't want to do that. But he could say, you know, we gained some territory and we've, you know, we've

denazified Ukraine. I mean, he can tell the Russian population that and he could withdraw. But it's difficult for him to do it just since the Russians

have raised the stakes so much.

ISAACSON: Angela Stent, thank you so much for being with us again.

STENT: Thank you.


AMANPOUR: And so, finally, tonight, keep calm and carry on. We were struck by how cultural and social life across Ukraine continues even in these

harshest of circumstances. In places like Kyiv and other major cities, most museums are open, as are some comedy clubs, theaters and, as it turns out

the circus. So, we want to end this special edition with these signs of resilience, resistance, and hope.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): The show must go on, even in wartime. Perhaps, especially, in wartime. Patrons, young and old, stream into the national

circus of Ukraine in historic downtown Kyiv. This is their Halloween show, extended by popular demand.

Everyone tells us coming here is like a breath of fresh air. Relief during this suffocating wartime atmosphere. Amid air raid sirens and dashes to the

basement, Alex Maliy tells us, rehearsal is difficult, but each performance for this aerial acrobat, so rewarding.

ALEX MALIY, ACROBAT, NATIONAL CIRCUS OF UKRAINE: We give people energy, you know? Artists give energy for audience, audience give for us, for artists

energy also. Now, in this so hard time, people sit just at home with nothing to do, nothing -- have work, you know, like this. But here in the

circus, the happy smile. So, very awesome.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Natalia Solyanik (ph) started as an aerial acrobat 25 years ago. Now, she is the assistant director. She tells us coming here

is like therapy for even the most hardened vets.

Their psychologist came, too, she says, and told us the circus takes these men back to their childhood, and it becomes much easier to work with them.

Men came back from a war with wounded souls, says Natalia. After the show, some had tears in their eyes.

The razzle-dazzle performance for an almost full house takes everyone out of their daily drudgery and fears for at least this one hour. It keeps the

fantasy alive.

Our circus is super. Our artists are incredible, says Natalia. We are so thrilled. We even took the day off to come here with the kids.

Katerina says her daughter, Eva, becomes transported.

KATERINA, WATCHED CIRCUS PERFORMANCE IN KYIV: Oh, she love everything. When she is at circus, she loved everything.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): And to the naysayers wondering why this is even happening in the midst of war, circus spokeswoman, Bohdana Kornienko, has a

ready response.


BOHDANA-VALERIA KORNIENKO, SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER, NATIONAL CIRCUS OF UKRAINE: Usually, when you explain to them that it's really good for the

economy of the country, and that it's good for emotion of everyone, literally -- and civilians and army, because they both come here. And

they're like, OK. Well, that makes sense.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): A much-needed escape to a place that feels human again.


AMANPOUR (on camera): And Kyiv's National Circus remains open. That's it for us. Thank you for watching, and goodbye from London.