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Interview With U.S. NSC Former Senior Director For European And Russian Affairs Fiona Hill; Interview With German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock; Interview With U.S. Special Representative For Ukraine's Economic Recovery Penny Pritzker. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired February 23, 2024 - 13:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR from Ukraine. Here's what's coming up.

We're in Dnipro with a special report from the emergency hospital saving the lives of Ukraine's wounded soldiers.

Then --


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: You can't walk away now. And that's what Putin is betting on. He's betting on we're going to walk away.


AMANPOUR: -- the U.S. and the E.U. announce hundreds more sanctions targeting Moscow. But will President Putin feel it? I asked one of the

world's best known Russia experts, Fiona Hill.

And German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. As Kyiv pleads for more ammunition, she's confronted Russia's foreign minister over this war face-


Also, ahead --


PENNY PRITZKER, U.S. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR UKRAINE'S ECONOMIC RECOVERY: We are helping Putin right now by not arming and not supporting



AMANPOUR: -- the U.S. special rep. for Ukraine's economic recovery tells Michel Martin what the failure of Congress to send aid means for Ukraine's


Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in Dnipro, which is southeast of Kyiv.

Early this morning, an apartment building here was struck by Russia's Shahed drones. Two people were killed. Kharkiv and Odessa were also hit.

You can see on this map how much closer to the front lines this place is than Kyiv. And that makes Dnipro's hospital a lifesaving stop for the

wounded Ukrainian soldiers. from the front.

Even though Ukraine does not officially release casualty figures, today, we got a rare look inside as the war enters its third brutal year.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): The parking lot at Dnipro's Mechnikov Hospital is jammed with ambulances. These patients are the lucky ones. Fully stabilized

here after their wounds have been treated, they are being evacuated to hospitals in 10 other Ukrainian cities. It's a bloody carousel because

they're making room for the next wave of casualties.

In the resuscitation ward, director Serhly Ryzhenko tells us in the two years of Russia's full-scale invasion, 28,000 frontline soldiers have been

brought to this hospital alone.

SERHLY RYZHENKO, DIRECTOR, MECHNIKOV HOSPITAL: From 50 to 100 patients, very, very serious. Very, very serious.

AMANPOUR: Every day, every night, 50 to 100 patients from the Avdiivka Donetsk region?


AMANPOUR (voice-over): And the injuries are grave, shrapnel from artillery, mines, and other direct fire. Avdiivka is the town that recently

fell, and that's where these soldiers have come from.

But in the next ward, alone in his room, Army Sergeant Vasily Hulyak (ph) was injured on Sunday, operated on Monday, and had three limbs amputated.

He says, the Russians are basically just throwing meat at us. Mobilized men who run at us in an open field.

AMANPOUR: Do you have enough troops and enough ammunition?


AMANPOUR: How do you fight them?

AMANPOUR (voice-over): We are on our own lands, says Vasily (ph), we fight to the last and do not give up. If they get past us, our families will be

next. We have no right to lose.

Waiting in the corridor outside, his worried parents.

You know, he didn't ask us to go, said Mykola (ph). We didn't tell him not to. He said he had to. And his mother, Halina, tells us, he said, I'll do

everything I can and everything that's in my power.

Like so many Ukrainians, they've given their son to the defense of this land ever since Putin started robbing them of it 10 years ago. The director

tells us nonstop surgery every day, all day in all the operating rooms contributes to the 95 percent survival rate of which is higher now after 10

years of improved combat surgery and techniques.

Every operation, every patched-up patient is a matter of patriotic duty. Even giving blood is marked with a celebration.


Here we run into American hedge funder and philanthropist, Whitney Tilson, who's raised money for ambulances, generators, battery packs, but beyond

the humanitarian, he sees the big picture.

WHITNEY TILSON, INVESTOR AND PHILANTHROPIST: I think the stability of the entire world depends on the West helping Ukraine stand up to this

aggression. Because if we let Putin win, I think this is just the beginning.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): And somehow, incredibly, like the other wounded warriors we've spoken to, Vasily (ph) says he wants to get back to his

comrades on the eastern front.

AMANPOUR: Are you and your soldiers still highly motivated? You've been fighting for 10 years.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): I have no choice, he replies. Do you understand? Of course, I'm motivated.

As for the lost limbs, he says he can be a trainer. He can still be useful in this fight. Which from here, looks like it'll last a lot longer than

anyone thought.


AMANPOUR (on camera): It really is remarkable motivation there. And President Zelenskyy marks the two-year anniversary of this war, saying that

Ukraine will prepare a new counteroffensive. But, with momentum shifting slightly towards Russia right now, the U.S. has just slapped another 500

sanctions on Moscow. President Biden once again urged the House of Representatives to send aid.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Failure to support Ukraine in this critical moment will never be forgotten in history. It will be measured, and it will

have impact for decades to come.


AMANPOUR: But will the sanctions make a dent in the Kremlin's war machine, which, if anything, seems to be ramping up? Putin announced today that

Russia is producing new hypersonic missiles and developing A.I. assisted warfare.

Joining me now is Russia expert Fiona Hill, who once served on the U.S. National Security Council, and she's met President Putin on several

occasions. Fiona Hill, welcome to the program.

We've got a bit of a delay here. So, let me ask you what you make of the sanctions. Just, do you think they're going to make a difference?

FIONA HILL, FORMER SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR EUROPEAN AND RUSSIAN AFFAIRS, U.S. NSC: Well, the thing with sanctions, Christiane, is they always make

something of a difference over a longer period of time in terms of constraining the options for countries like Russia, you know, to acquire

various technology and to, you know, keep on renewing their economy.

In the short to medium term, it's sometimes harder to see the impact of what we did have actually a pretty immediate impact on Russia's ability to

conduct the war early on. But, you know, we also have the problem that Russia was able to adapt and learn. They actually are still able to acquire

technology from other countries or via other countries, even including from the United States. We've had a lot of reports about this.

So, in addition to actually announcing sanctions, we have to really try to find new ways of enforcing them and to stop other countries from actually

providing Russia with equipment. You mentioned at the very beginning of your opening segment about a building being hit by a Russian Shahed drone,

you said.

The Shahed drones have been provided by Iran, and this is also an example of some of the problems that we're facing, that countries like Iran and

North Korea are actually providing Russia with ammunition and with other equipment, and we're going to have to find a way of addressing that as


AMANPOUR: Yes. I said it because I said Russia's Shaheds, because you're right, they are getting all their -- or a lot of their main ammunition now

from elsewhere and their main weapons systems. And they've also ramped up their own domestic weapons production system.

When you look at the battlefield right now and you see the loss of Avdiivka over the weekend, you see more pressure towards -- basically towards

Kharkiv, what are you thinking as you look at the map?

HILL: Well, what I'm thinking is that as the president just said, and in fact, as Whitney Tilson, who also interviewed just said, this is a really

critical moment. I mean, one of the reasons that Avdiivka has fallen is because of a lack of ammunition. And the Ukrainians have had to ration that

in many respects, and that's frankly on us.

I mean, while we're dithering around trying to make a decision as to whether we step up at this historic moment, as we see all of these brave

young Ukrainians are getting injured or actually dying on the front. This is a very similar situation to actually World War II, when the United

States was trying to support Britain and the United Kingdom in the period from 1939 up until 1941, and there was all the debate in the U.S., you

know, backwards and forwards then about whether we should continue the support to the United Kingdom. We had no desire to put boots on the ground.

And we're in that kind of historic moment where we really will be judged by history moving forward from this as to whether we give Ukraine enough

support to keep fending the Russians off.

It's not about doing an offensive at this time, it's about keeping the Ukrainian lines where they are and fending the Russians off from making any

more gains, incremental as they may be.


AMANPOUR: But you do see that they are making gains and that, you know, the Russian modus operandum, if you like, is the sort of, in my word,

Groznyfi, most of the towns and cities that they have, you know, been involved in attacking and levelling, whether it was in Grozny, whether it

was in Syria, whether it's Mariupol, or you saw the pictures of Avdiivka, I mean, incredible to see the overhead pictures.

They -- and you heard that young man say that they're just still just throwing meat at us, in his words, just rushing across the fields at us.

There doesn't seem to be any restraint or limit on what the Russians are willing to do and how many they're willing to lose.

HILL: Well, I mean, eventually there will be a limit, but that's eventually right. I mean, we know, you know, up till now that the Russians

have, on their side, got about 315,000 casualties. That includes severely maimed, like the young man that we just saw in hospital, as well as killed

and taken out of action.

There have been Russian military bloggers. One has just recently committed suicide because they've actually revealed that thousands of Russian

servicemen have died just in the assault of Avdiivka over the last several months. Putin is banking on the fact, however, that he can keep on throwing

more men and ammunition at this battlefield over this next year to basically instill a sense of defeat in us.

So again, the critical point is we know, as you've pointed out very eloquently here, Christiane, that, you know, Russia's modus operandi is

literally to destroy everything and to sacrifice as many people as possible on their own side. Putin is very well willing to fight to the last

Ukrainian and presumes that he'll get to that before the last Russian. But if we show some resolve here and show that we're actually willing to help

support Ukraine as it digs in and keeps funding the Russian off -- the Russians off, that might make some -- I'd say, create some prospect for a

turning point in the year ahead.

This is a critical year in 2024 and I think the main point is that we mustn't basically blink, that we shouldn't step back here, but that's

exactly what Putin's trying to do, get us to blink, including with all of these announcements about hypersonic missiles, satellite missiles and

space, you name it, he's trying to get us intimidated and to step back.

AMANPOUR: Well, so, there's so many questions about Putin there that I want to ask you. But first, given that you just said, you know, it's clear

that he's trying to say things on this anniversary that are very, you know, confrontational. What do you think, if anything, he managed to get through

with that conversation with Tucker Carlson?

HILL: Well, there are a number of different messages there. I mean, one is that he sees this as a kind of almost an eternal battle. I think much to

Tucker Carlson's surprise, he kept taking everything back to the 9th century. He's basically trying to convey that Ukraine doesn't exist as a

country. It's an eternal part of Russia and that not just right is on his side and might on his side but even, you know, perhaps the -- a whole

history of the kind of the European space here.

He also made it very clear that he had no intention of dropping his maximalist aims, and that's something that, you know, we have to contend

with. There's so much of a debate going on, you know, in Europe right now about is it possible for Ukraine or on a broader scale, for Europeans in

the United States to negotiate with Putin and Russia. And there was no sign in that interview with Tucker Carlson that Putin's ready to do that.

I mean, again, he sees himself as prevailing here and he also sees himself as something of a czar, of a Russian king, of a tyrant in a historic sense.

So, there was no sign there of any movement on Putin's part at all and none of his recent statements suggest that.

And of course, he has his own election to go through in this next month in March and he's looking to have himself anointed and, you know, cemented in

place so that he can keep on pursuing the track that he's on already.

AMANPOUR: Just because you mentioned the election and pretty much unopposed, what effect do you think the death of Alexei Navalny will have

at all on internal Russia politics or the way people outside look at Russia? Is it just -- you know, just something that's happened that won't,

in the end, make a huge amount of difference?

HILL: Well, Putin is deeply cynical, and he wants to make sure that it doesn't make any difference at all. And I think, you know, what we're

seeing at this moment, in this dreadful standoff between the Russian state and the prison system and Navalny's mother over Alexei Navalny's body being

released is just indicative of this.


Behind that, there is actually a concern on the part of Putin and the Kremlin that Alexei Navalny might in fact become a flashpoint for dissent

and opposition inside of Russia ahead of the election. Navalny has famously called out for people who support him to appear at the Russian polls for

the election on March 17th. At the very end, at 12:00 noon, as a kind of show of defiance.

There is a fear on the part of Putin, the Kremlin that the funeral, at any kind of funeral, any kind of public manifestation of grief and mourning for

Alexei Navalny might turn into something as well. And they are, of course, worried that opposition figures, including now most prominently Yulia

Navalnaya and Dasha Navalnaya, the wife and daughter of Alexei Navalny, might start to rally people around them.

So, we're trying to see here, or we're seeing here, Putin tried to intimidate everybody to step back. Plus, assassinations of people who have

actually stood up to the Kremlin different ways, or have actually, you know, tried to thwart them. There's this recent assassination of a Russian

serviceman who Putin sees as a traitor, obviously, by leaving Russia and going to Ukraine, who's been killed in Spain.

There's all the poisonings, you know, that we've seen for a very long time, including Alexei Navalny. The killing of Yevgeny Prigozhin after his

insurgency. Putin wants to show everyone that he means business and there's a very high threshold for action here.

AMANPOUR: Fiona, do you worry at all about Alexei's mother who is in the country really being very public about how she's having these arguments and

basically insisting that she be able to have her son's body, be able to bury him as she, the family, has a right to with their own traditions where

there's apparently, she's saying she's being blackmailed and threatened to have it a quiet one or they'll put it -- you know, put him in the ground in

the penal colony? I mean, she is really, you know, going at them from within the belly of the beast.

HILL: Well, she's doing exactly what her son did. This is obviously an incredibly brave family, and they do pose something of a danger to Putin

and his whole narrative about everything, and to his cynicism. And you're also seeing even Russian Orthodox priests coming out and saying, look, this

isn't a Christian thing to do. You know, how are we really then a Christian Orthodox nation if we're denying the mother the right, the legal rights,

and the religious rights to bury her son in an appropriate fashion?

You can see some momentum emerging around this. And, you know, the longer the Russian government keeps this standoff with her, you know, actually,

the more risky it may become for them. I think that Alexei Navalny's mother is an incredibly brave person, and for that reason, I do actually worry

about her, because the Kremlin has shown that it really wants to clamp down.

And in previous iterations of wars in Afghanistan, for example, and also Chechnya, you've mentioned Grozny, the capital of Chechnya multiple times,

it was soldiers' mothers, the mothers of the victims, the casualties of these wars, that actually did push back against the Russian State. And

here, you have the mother of someone, Alexei Navalny, who has frankly become a martyr in a political sense, pushing back and trying, you know, to

hold the Kremlin to account. And I think we should watch this very carefully. And again, she is an extraordinarily brave person.

AMANPOUR: And finally, Fiona Hill, I want to ask you, you were in Munich at the Security Conference. We met there. There was just so much anxiety,

it seemed to me, I could really sort of take that in, about whether America would stand firm as a fully -- you know, fully committed member of NATO,

what happens if Donald Trump wins again, can Europe, you know, continue to count on NATO, just a lot of anxiety. What did you take away from there?

HILL: Well, I also heard and saw, in terms of interactions and watching the people reacting behind that anxiety, an increasing readiness to

actually stand up. And here, the United States is very sadly the weak link. Frankly, I think it's rather shameful on our part at this historic moment

that we're so consumed with our own, you know, domestic rancor and infighting that we can't see, you know, where we are right now.

You know, if we look back on this moment, it will be the moment where the United States relinquished, you know, basically its international role out

of weakness, not out of strength, which is something that we've always, you know, stood for over this last 100 years of really trying to support our

European allies in the defense of their security.

But I'm starting to see, you know, in particular countries in the Baltic states, Scandinavia, and Nordic countries, for example, a real willingness

to stand up and say, OK, this is a historic moment. This is about European security. It's not just about Ukraine at this juncture. It was in the

immediate days of the invasion by Russia, but now we see that Russia is a threat, is an increasing threat through the military buildup, the kinds of

activities that Russia is perpetrating.

I mean, this assassination of a Russian serviceman was in Spain for God's sake. And there's been multiple poisonings and assassinations and other

European countries as well. The threat is now apparent, and Europeans are getting ready, I think, to confront that.


Now, of course, it'll be quite difficult. And certainly, without the United States, harder than people would hope. But I do actually see preparation, a

readiness, and a preparedness to do something.

AMANPOUR: And finally, finally, I wanted to ask you what and how you assess. Essentially, you remember the West has been saying Putin want less

NATO. He's got more NATO. He thought we would be disunited. In fact, we're more united than ever. He thought we wouldn't, you know, stay the course.

In fact, we did.

Now, you know, many people have said Putin is just waiting the West out. And I wonder what your analysis. What do you think he's thinking of the

West staying power now?

HILL: Well, he's questioning it.

AMANPOUR: For here, for Ukraine.

HILL: Yes, well, he's questioning it just as we're questioning it as well. And I think, you know, the antidote to that is to show that, you know, we

have got that capacity, that resistance, that will to resist and resilience and preparedness to push back. And again, it's not about pushing back

offensively, you know, against Russia, it's about helping Ukraine hold the line and defend itself.

AMANPOUR: Fiona Hill, thank you so much indeed for joining us.

And my next guest has been facing up to Russian aggression in person. Germany's foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, imploring her Russian

counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, to stop the violence when they met at the G20 Summit in Brazil. And that comes as the Bundestag has now approved further

military aid to Ukraine, and the E.U. delivers its 13th package of sanctions. This time also targeting Indian and Chinese companies that are

feeding Russia's war machine.

Foreign Minister Baerbock joins me now from New York. Welcome back to the program, Foreign Minister. Can I ask you first, what was the response when

you -- what did you say to Sergey Lavrov as he was sitting down close to you at the table?

ANNALENA BAERBOCK, GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Hi, Christiane. Thanks for having me again at your program. Well, I was telling the foreign minister

from Russia very clearly, because he asked a cynical question, why is the whole world so occupied with Ukraine? And I said, well, because you brought

the war over Ukraine, and we wouldn't be occupied if you stop the war now. It's all in the hands of the Russian president. This war would be over

tomorrow. The world would have peace again if Putin would withdraw his army.

And I was telling them that straight in his face, because I think it's important at the table with G20 members to always also counter his lies

he's been spreading now for two years.

AMANPOUR: And what was his response, the foreign minister?

BAERBOCK: Well, we have seen that also for two years now that the Russian foreign minister, but also others, they come, they give their speeches with

many, many lies and fake news and obviously, do not really react to what others are saying. At the second day, he was only there for his own

statement. But others at the table are obviously hearing.

And I think this is important that we have to realize, things have really changed. Two years ago, when we were meeting as foreign ministers at G20,

just a couple of weeks after this horrible war from Russia has started, I mean, there were many other countries from Africa, from Asia, blaming us,

NATO, to have started this war, because they were following the false propaganda from Putin.

This has changed dramatically. No one, none of the other nine teams at the table had supported Putin there. And this is why we have to be so crystal

clear to also put pressure on others like China to take a stand.

AMANPOUR: That is interesting. If that shift remains and holds, that is interesting because the Global South, the G20 were very much, at least

publicly, buying into the Russian narrative.

So, look, the E.U. has put sanctions again, announced more sanctions onto Russia and some countries that are providing Russia with goods and

services. The U.S. has announced, President Biden and other, you know, 500 sanctions and targets. That do you really think -- or what do you really

think this is going to do to change Putin's behavior?

BAERBOCK: Well, the sanctions were never meant, in the first place, to change Putin's behavior, because if it would have been so easy, then

obviously this war over. But to stop the support for this brutal war, to cut off all the supporting lines. Because what we see, unfortunately, also

was in these two years that, obviously, they have been drones from Iran, that there's a support from North Korea.


We had the question if there would be also support from China. And Putin has some benefits if still military material is coming in. And this is why

these sanctions are also so important to cut off these lines, making also clear to all the companies around the world that they have to think twice,

to check three times whether goods, dual used goods, could end up in the hands of an atrociter.

AMANPOUR: Foreign Minister, your Ukrainian counterpart, Dmitro Kuleba, told me this week that had the weapons pipeline not been blocked by the

MAGA Republicans in the United States, the town of Avdiivka would not have fallen. This is a pretty big indictment of support or nonsupport from the


A, do you believe that? Are you also very concerned about the blockage of military aid? And what can Germany or Europe do to fill this gap?

BAERBOCK: We have seen what this military support has done over the last two years. I think this is always important to remember because the debates

we are seeing here now at the Capitol Hill, we have had also in Germany, also in Europe. People saying, so what does it all bring? The war is not

over. Well, unfortunately, this is true because this is Putin's decision.

Yet, the brave men and women from Ukraine have liberated 50 percent of what Putin had conquered in the first place. Putin wanted to take over the whole

country. Wanted to expel 40 million people or even kill them. Without our military support, he would have won that war in a couple of weeks. But he


And this is why it's so crucial for us that we continue our support, that we continue the people's support, that they can liberate their towns.

That's what they've done also in the Black Sea. They have fought back. Now, we have grain coming out of Odessa again. We have the Ukraine on the

pathway to the European Union.

The best thing we could do for Putin would be to give in and do not support Ukraine anymore. This is not an option for us in Europe. This is why we not

only increased our military support, we have done things we would have never thought of before. We passed 50 billion package from E.U., 30 billion

from Germany for military support because we know and we have learned, unfortunately, over the last two years, this is not only a war against

Ukraine, it's a war against the European peace order, it's a war against the charter of the United Nations.

So, Ukrainians are fighting this war for us, to stand up for the worldwide freedom. So, it's in our common security interest. And yes, this is why

it's so highly needed that we also have the continued support from the U.S. I was speaking to many senators and governors at the Munich Security

Conference from both parties, and many of them agreed with me. I mean, that this is also a war where other autocrats, dictators watch closely from the

world, and I think, therefore, also it's in our all-security interests.

AMANPOUR: Your defense minister says that, we all, the West, Germany and the others, have to get real and understand that they could be in for

decades of confrontation with Russia. I believe it was the Danish prime minister who said that, that within three to five years, Putin could

reconstitute if he wins here and start, you know, thinking about attacking or probing, testing another NATO country. Do you share that assessment?

BAERBOCK: Yes, we cannot be naive. We have been naive for way too long. In the last year, when -- in 2014, there had been the invasion of Crimea.

Everybody said, well, hoping helps us to secure our peace and security. Unfortunately, not. And the Ukrainians had to pay that with a very high


And therefore, for me, it's crystal clear, we have to stand with Ukraine as long as it takes. Also, the discussions, maybe there could be some

freezing. I mean, if now, at this kind of situation, Ukrainians would stop to defend their self, I mean, who would imagine that those civilians,

children in Eastern Ukraine, who are being slaughtered on and on and on and again, would be free again?

No, Putin would just regroup. The heavy losses he has also with his own military, he would have as a chance to reorganize there. And then we would

see his aggression later on. So therefore, what we have to do now is to continue what we have started.


Also as European, to enhance the European pillar within NATO. We know that we have to take a bigger responsibility as Europeans within NATO. This is

why we are all increasing our military spending over 2 percent. But above that, we need more military production within Europe. We are having to

build a common European and defense union in Europe and then integrate it in NATO as we have done already so. Because we can only win this fight


AMANPOUR: And on another issue, if I may Israel, and Palestine, the war in Gaza. What is your reaction to Prime Minister Netanyahu's paper suggestion,

blueprint, whatever they want to call it, for the day after, that envisions big security barriers, in their words, inside Gaza, cutting off or closing

Rafah and Gaza to Egypt, and essentially having permanent or foreseeable security presence and control of from the river to the sea? In other words,

from the West Bank, obviously, all the way through Israel, through to Gaza.

The U.S. has said, you know, settlements are against international law. They have criticized that. And what is your position on this day after


BAERBOCK: Well, the last four months have shown clearly Israelis, future generations in Israel can only live in peace and security if Palestinians

are living in peace and security, and the same goes to the other side. Palestinians can only live in peace and security if Israelis live forever

in peace and security.

And this is why we need this path to a two-state solution. We need the security that the 7th of October will never happen again. We need the

security from the Arab world. And on the other hand, we need the security that also Palestinians can live in dignity and peace as we are all living.

And for that, it needs a humanitarian pause now.

Now is the moment where we need a humanitarian pause to free all the hostages from Hamas and to bring in the humanitarian aid which is so

heavily needed by thousands of Palestinians. I mean, 17,000 children without fathers and mothers. This cannot go on like that. And on that

pathway, coming then from a humanitarian pause after the hostages have been released, after humanitarian aid is in, to a sustainable ceasefire, and

then really, not only this war, but ending the conflict for future generations.

This is a pathway we want to go with many partners, like the Americans, the Brits. We are working with Arab partners on this pathway all together,

because only a two-state solution brings peace for everybody in the region.

On the settlers in the West Bank you were mentioning, I was also very clear when I was in Israel, in the region, the last five times since the 7th of

October. International law is clear that the settlements are illegal and this is why the extremist settlers pushing out Palestinians from their own

homes. I've visited some of these farmers and there was a drone over my own head because we crossed a line which radical settlers have set, but which

is totally illegal. That this is being sanctioned. So, this is very important, because we are standing all together for international law.

It is very hard. I mean, we are working on that day by day, but we cannot give up. We have to bring peace to the Middle East. How much effort is

needed for that, we have to contribute, all of us.

AMANPOUR: And one last question again about Ukraine. You talked about the E.U. and how it would join. But you know, the E.U. president has pushed any

accession talks for several months. Why? Putting it on the back burner.

BAERBOCK: Sorry, can you repeat it? Which president? You said about E.U. accession?

AMANPOUR: The EU. EU. Yes, yes, yes. She's pushed it back on the back burner for a few months.

BAERBOCK: No. I mean, we made crystal clear in December as a European Union that Ukraine belongs to our European Union because we are a union of

values. We have a clear process on that. You have to fulfill all chapters of European law with anti-corruption, with rule of law, with freedom of

media. And Ukraine is working on that, on a speed which is impressive, because they're obviously in the midst of a war.

So, as they are doing their reforms so quickly, I'm very, very sure that the entering of Ukraine to the European Union, we will see sooner than



AMANPOUR: Yes. Annalena Baerbock, foreign minister of Germany, thank you so much for joining us.

And now, fresh off the success of pushing the foreign aid bill through the Senate, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has been in Ukraine. He says, without

the aid, the Ukrainians are facing losses for the first time in a long time, and warns what could happen if this continues, not just to Ukraine,

but also to the West. It is a warning echoed by our next guest, Penny Pritzker, the former commerce secretary who last year took on the role of

U.S. special representative for Ukraine's economic recovery. And she joins Michel Martin now to discuss what continued U.S. support means for the

future of this country and how to rebuild this nation's economy in the middle of war.


MICHEL MARTIN, CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Penny Pritzker, thank you so much for talking with us today.


MARTIN: I just wanted to start by asking, you know, you have a special relationship with Ukraine. Do you mind sharing that?

PRITZKER: Well, thank you for asking. My great grandfather was the immigrant in our family who came to the United States 140 years ago from

just outside of Kyiv. His family had a grain store there that was ransacked by the Russians and their lives were in danger and they were forced to

leave and come to the United States. And there he was able to educate himself and to build a business and grow a family. And I'm a, you know,

descendant of his.

And so, Ukraine has always held a very special place in my heart. And particularly seeing what the Russians are again doing to Ukraine, it

strikes a chord with me.

MARTIN: You have been serving as U.S. special representative for Ukraine's Economic Recovery. You began serving in September of 2023. I'm not sure

that everybody knows that this position exists. So, for those who are just becoming aware of this, what are your responsibilities? What have you been

tasked with doing?

PRITZKER: So, President Biden asked me to work across the U.S. government to work with our allies, to work with the Ukrainians, to work with the

private sector to try and help them, the Ukrainians, plot a path forward for economic recovery. And there's a fundamental belief behind all this,

which is that you have to pursue recovery at the same time as you're pursuing the war. You can't let the economy just fall apart.

And what's been extraordinary about the Ukrainians is their economy is alive, it's active, it's resilient. Their GDP grew 5 percent last year,

investment grew 17 percent, tax revenues in January were up 25 percent, and inflation's down. And so, it's a vibrant place. 60 percent of the country

is not been touched by war. And so, it's important to keep that functioning at the same time as the country is prosecuting a fight against Putin.

MARTIN: So, after Russia invaded Ukraine in February of 2022, as I understand it, Ukraine's GDP shrank by 29 percent. And -- but as you've

just told us, in 2023, its GDP, gross domestic product, grew almost 5 percent. I mean, outperforming, actually, initial forecast that actually

some economies that are not at war. How do you explain that?

PRITZKER: Well, it's a couple of things, and some of it is very much a result of the partnership with the United States as well as with Europe.

First of all, opening up the Black Sea corridor again, really, really critical.

And if you remember last fall, Russia walked away from the Black Sea Initiative, which was allowed grain to get out to the rest of the world.

Much needed grain out to the rest of the world. We had to get that corridor -- we developed a new corridor. It had to be demined. It had to get up and

operating again. That's a big -- that's essential to tax revenue coming into the Ukrainian government.

The other thing is the tech sector. The tech sector has grown over 7 percent over the last 18 months or so. And the Ukrainian talent, and I hear

it from all kinds of manufacturers and tech companies, in fact, I was with the CEO of BMW last week, was telling me the harnesses that run -- are

essential to running a BMW car are made in Western Ukraine. He said, I cannot find that skilled labor anywhere else in the world.


And so, there is a talent base there and a resilience that is in the people that is really extraordinary. You see it on the battlefield and you

certainly see it in manufacturing or in agriculture and in other parts of the economy.

MARTIN: Would you just say a bit more about Ukraine's role in the world economy? I mean, people are used to thinking of it as sort of the

breadbasket of, you know, that part of the world. But could you just say more about what that actually means?

PRITZKER: Sure, first of all, Ukraine -- much of Ukraine's grain goes to the Global South. It's important to feeding Africa and other parts in the

Southern Hemisphere. And if you think about one of the causes of migration around the world is lack of food, there's a direct correlation between

their ability to produce grain, get it out to the rest of the marketplace and other issues that are facing the world around migration and refugees

and things like that.

The other thing is steel. Ukraine has an enormous reservoir of recyclable steel that can be turned into new products. And in fact, one thinks of

recyclable steel and modern steelmaking as a raw material, and they have the largest inventory in the world. It's important they get their steel out

to the rest of the world as well.

So, Ukraine -- and that's -- and another factor is Ukraine is also integrated its energy system with Europe. So, it has the capacity to

contribute to European energy, which is really critical, you know, as Europe has weaned itself off of Russian gas.

MARTIN: You've also said that this isn't just a war of military aggression, it's also an economic war. But why do you say that? I guess a

lot of people are sort of wondering what the motivation has really been. Is it this kind of massive ego project of the Russian president? Is it sort

of, you know, kind of feeds his sort of his kind of quest to restore the glory of the Russian empire, or is it to sort of bring Ukraine to its knees

because they have succeeded in all these ways in which -- you know, in which Russia has not? I mean, I'm just like -- like what do you think it's


PRITZKER: I think it's about everything you just listed. I think that this is an ego project of Putin's. I think it is about recreating the Russian

empire. I think this is about taunting the West. This is about Vladimir Putin's creation of what is his place in history. And it's horrific, just


And I want to focus on something that I think is really important. Right now, as we speak, the situation in Ukraine is desperate. We are foot

dragging on our military and economic aid. We are helping Putin right now by not arming and not supporting Ukraine.

The Europeans have passed economic support, but they don't have the military equipment to send or the munitions to send to Ukraine. We do. And

the fact that we're not doing, it makes no sense to me. One can argue on the -- you know, this is about our own security. That makes no sense. We

should be defending Ukraine because we don't want to end up with NATO in a war with Putin, which will bring, you know, Article 5 into play.

But what also doesn't make sense to me is the money that is spent on military equipment being sent to Ukraine is actually being spent in the

United States. We send our older versions of equipment and munitions to the Ukrainians. They upgrade them. And we produce new equipment. New HIMARS,

new Bradley's, new howitzers made in Minnesota, made in Alabama, made in New Jersey. Though that production gets -- that inventory gets replenished

and that production occurs here in the United States. So, I do not understand why we're dragging our feet. It makes no sense to me at all.

MARTIN: Have you had a chance to discuss this with some of the lawmakers who are dragging their feet? One of their arguments is, is that Ukraine is

not showing sufficient success on the battlefield that they feel that the investment is going to pay off.

PRITZKER: I think it's a misperception, actually, that the Ukrainians have not been successful. They've taken 50 percent of their territory. They've

liberated it back from the Russians. 315,000 Russians have been killed or captured during this war. That is 87 percent of the size of the Russian

prewar army.


Two-thirds of the Russian military equipment has been damaged or destroyed. And Ukraine, they've gone from having nine drone companies to over 200.

Producing drones on their own. We're also learning about what it is to prosecute a war -- a drone war. That is the war of the future.

So, I think there -- I think it's a mistake to think that Ukraine is failing. And it's a mistake to think that our efforts and our dollars and

our equipment is being wasted.

MARTIN: This week, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told my colleague, Christiane Amanpour, that his country's expanding Ukraine's

capacity to build its own weapons and to make it less dependent on outside funding. Is this something that the U.S. should be supporting?

PRITZKER: Absolutely. And in fact, that's one of the things that my effort is supporting and very active in. We're working closely with our defense

industry here in the United States, as well as the Defense Department to expedite some of that production capability.

It's extremely important. And it makes perfect sense, because it's an -- Ukraine used to be a defense exporter to Europe prior to the war. It will

be so again as Europe will -- is rearming itself. But now, it needs the production for its own defense. And frankly, they're defending us. They're

defending Europe.

MARTIN: So, tell me what else you're working on. What are some of the other avenues that you're pursuing as part of this project as a U.S.

special representative into aid and Ukraine's recovery? What are you spending your day on?

PRITZKER: So, the sectors of the economy that we've been focused on are around agriculture, how to increase production and get the product out to

the world market, which needs it. It -- defense industry, which I've talked about, there's various projects that we're working on. Minerals and mining

and steel, helping them get that production back up and operating tech. As I've talked about, there's enormous demand for tech and the individuals and

that capability. And then, of course, there's logistics and transportation.

The other part of our work is really focused on what I call foundational issues. There are things that need to be true besides security in order for

recovery to occur and also to minimize the time from when there's the end of the war and the economy is hitting its full velocity, if you will. And

those are things like insurance. Those are things like you know, the ability.

What is the world going to do about seized Russian sovereign assets? What are we doing about reforms within country and corruption? There's an

enormous effort that we have going with -- throughout the State Department and with our ambassador and post on making sure that Ukraine is adopting

the reforms necessary, not just to trade with the United States, but to become part of the European Union.

MARTIN: And one of the arguments there and one of the impediments there, you know, it's been said, you know, over and over again is corruption. That

is one of the reasons why the E.U. has not rushed to allow Ukraine to join. And the fact is that reconstruction efforts in other parts of the world

have not been as successful as a lot of people would like, as certainly the citizens of these countries would have liked, because of corruption.

I mean, I'm thinking -- obviously, I'm thinking of Afghanistan, I'm thinking about Iraq, I'm thinking about Haiti. And they're still enormous

suffering in these places. What can you do to assure that this doesn't --

PRITZKER: There's a lot to do --

MARTIN: You know what I mean, that history doesn't repeat itself here?

PRITZKER: There's a lot to do. So, for example, on my last trip to Ukraine, I brought three American CEOs, one from an AG company, one from a

financial services company, and one from an insurance company. And we sat with all the leadership of the Rada. Every single party in the Rada, which

is their parliament, was represented. And we -- they heard from the CEOs what the cost is and what the impediments are to further investment.

The Rada is very motivated. They told us there and they anticipate passing something like 250 different pieces of legislation this year. President

Zelenskyy and his leadership team, Prime Minister Shmyhal, they're very focused on addressing then -- not just having the laws, but then

implementing the laws. It is a cultural change.


The thing that gives me hope is -- and why can this be different, is that when you -- the polling of Ukrainians, which is extensive, I think it's

something like 80 plus percent want to be part of Europe. They see themselves as Europeans, they see ourselves as being able to participate in

the kind of economic growth that is possible if they're part of the EU. They understand what's at stake.

The government also recognizes in Ukraine that if don't clean up their act, there isn't going to be more funding, there is going to be support from

either Europe, Japan, United States, or anyone else. So, everyone has woken up to the fact that this is a must-do undertaking and is really putting

their shoulder to this.

MARTIN: Going back to the experience that you've had as a member of a prior, sort of, Democratic administration, what's it like now? Are people

interested in what you have to say?

PRITZKER: Yes, they are. And I'll just say that vote that occurred in the Senate, 70 to 29, I think that's a reflection of the kind of the bipartisan

support that exists in the American people that also exists in the House.

And if, you know, the speaker can get this bill to the floor, he can, there's no reason, it could happen today, it could happen tomorrow, you

know, there's enormous progress that can be made. And when I talk to members of the House and the Senate about not only the potential and the

war, but also the potentially economically, they actually get quite excited, because for very little dollars we can really help jump start

their economy and help them become more self -sufficient.

And it's -- to me, I have found that there is receptivity. It's not 100 percent. We all know that. But there's a bipartisan majority sufficient to

pass this legislation, and it needs to get done. And I don't understand the idea of waiting such that Ukraine is forced to withdraw from Avdiivka. I

mean, that makes no sense. They were rationing ammunitions. Why are they doing that? They're doing because we're not supporting them. That is


MARTIN: Obviously, there's been a lot of focus on the military aid that the Ukrainians desperately want and need, which the administration -- the

Biden administration desperately wants them to have, but which as we've been discussing, some members, particularly in the House, seem sort of

reluctant to give. What if that doesn't happen? And I'm focusing specifically on your role in trying to promote and assist the economic

recovery. What if that doesn't happen. Is there a plan B?

PRITZKER: This has got to happen, there can't be a plan B. There's more at stake than just Ukraine's sovereignty. What's at stake is stability in the

world. And we -- people need to embrace that. Our Congress -- our members of our House understand -- they understand it. I think they're being driven

by, you know, politics.

And at some point, you have to stand up and be counted and recognize that doing the right thing is important, not just for Ukraine, not for Europe,

this is about U.S. leadership in the world. Our credibility is on the line. We have told the Ukrainians, we have the told world that we will stand with

Ukraine. And now, we're waffling. It makes no sense to me.

MARTIN: Madam Secretary Penny Pritzker, thank you so much for talking with us today.

PRITZKER: Thank you very much.


AMANPOUR: And you can imagine, it makes no sense to people here either. As they say, and as many analysts say, Ukraine could win if it was the

political wing -- the political will of its allies.

Finally, life here in Ukraine has changed dramatically in the two years since Russia invaded. For many, it had moved entirely to new cities and

countries forced to leave behind a home under attack. Fifteen-year-old Andrii Nonka fled Kharkiv with his mother in the early days, whilst his

father stayed to fight.

Now, in Gdansk, Poland, he says it's hard to tell where home is. But he's made new friends at a boxing club and learnt more Polish.


ANDRII NONKA, 15-YEAR-OLD REFUGEE FROM KHARKIV (through translator): Sometimes I feel how much I want to go to Ukraine and see everyone, but

here, I somehow got used to the fact that there is a war in Ukraine, that I have more opportunities for my future here.


AMANPOUR: Also in Poland is 16-year-old Marharyta Chykalova from Kherson. She left in April 2022 with her mother. After sleeping in a basement for

weeks, her new home, she says, is on stage at a local theater club.



MARHARYTA CHYKALOVA, 16-YEAR-OLD REFUGEE FROM KHERSON (through translator): It's a safe place, which I like, where I feel like home. Some people say

that home is not a place where you live, but home is a place where you feel good. And I feel good on the stage with people close to me. This is my



AMANPOUR: Just two of the millions of Ukrainians who've been forced to make new dreams far away from home.

That is it for now. If you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. And remember, you can always

catch us online, on our website, and all-over social media.

Thank you for watching, and goodbye from Dnipro and Ukraine.