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Interview with Former Head of Israeli Defense Intelligence and ELNET Forum of Strategic Dialogue Head Amos Yadlin; Interview with Former U.S. State Department Official Ray Takeyh; Interview with Head of the Center of Liberties and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Oleksandra Matviichuk. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired April 19, 2024 - 13:00   ET



BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We're committed to Israel's security. We're also committed to deescalating.


GOLODRYGA: Israel strikes back at Iran. What's ahead for a region already on edge? I asked retired Israeli General Amos Yadlin and Iran expert Ray


Then --



conventions, we are documenting human pain.


GOLODRYGA: -- standing up to Putin, Ukrainian Nobel laureate Oleksandra Matviichuk talks to Hari Sreenivasan about tracking war crimes and holding

the Kremlin to account.

Plus --


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: It's sort of a double-edged coin. You got to hold sort of fear and hope in your hand at the same time.


GOLODRYGA: -- anxiety into action. Corresponded Bill Weir on the power of the people tackling climate change.

Hello. Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.

Well, it has been a busy 24 hours. Just before sunrise in Iran, Israel struck back, targeting a military air base in Isfahan, a follow through on

its vow to retaliate against Tehran for attacking Israel over the weekend.

Iran, you may recall, fired missiles and drones at Israeli soil after an Israeli strike in Syria killed several Iranian commanders. This is a tit

for tat that is the region on edge. But as the United States and Europe push to deescalate, there are signs that both countries are trying to not

let this fight spiral out of control.

Let's now get to Tel Aviv to our first guest, retired Israeli General Amos Yadlin, the former head of the Israeli Defense Intelligence. General,

welcome to the program. It is good to see you.

So, for days leading up to this counterstrike from the Israelis, world leaders had been urging Israel to show restraint, to be smart, to quote a

foreign minister of the U.K., David Cameron, in their response and to be measured. Given everything that we know about what took place overnight, is

that what Israel did in your view?


a decisive retaliation, very much like what the Iranians have done, tens or hundreds of projectiles, or not to do anything as the world asks Israel,

and to restrain in the goal not to reach escalation.

The Israelis, like Israelis, found an innovative course of action. What the Iranians have done with 300 projectiles, missiles and cruise missiles and

drones, it seems that according to the report, Israel has done it with single, maybe two, maybe three missiles that basically hit Isfahan Air

Force Air Base. And the air defense in the base, which is a unique capability and then -- and damage the Iranian air defense more than the

Iranian were able to hit Nevatim Air Force Airbase in Israel.

So, retaliation, yes. Escalation, no. And I hope now the two sides will climb down from the tree and will scale down the tension in the Middle


GOLODRYGA: So, proportionality in terms of the number of projectiles launched, Israel launched just a fraction, as you said, of the

unprecedented 300 plus missiles and drones that Iran launched last week that were successfully shot down both by Israel and its allies in the


But what do you make of the specific -- what appears to be the target of this air base? Because as you mentioned, there was minor damage to the

Nevatim Air Base in Israel, home to some of its fighter planes, and that had seemed to be interpreted by some as a direct proportional response,

sort of a tit for tat from Israel. Is that how you're viewing it?


YADLIN: No, I view it as a warning to Iran. You are vulnerable. Look what one or two missiles have done. If you continue to fire at Israel, a very

important asset of yours, and Isfahan is also near a nuclear site of Iran, are in danger. Think twice before you attacking again Israel.

Israel trying to bring back the rules of the game. And if you pay attention, Iranian militia in Syria were attacked tonight as well. Saying

Israel will keep the freedom of attacking Iranians that support all the terror organization around it and try to have Hezbollah 2.0 in Syria. This

is going to continue in spite of Iran devastating intention to hit Israel and we should not judge them by the results that are really not impressive.

But the intention was to destroy two air force bases and some other intelligence site. And this time -- this sort of attack will be met with

retaliation next time that was demonstrated to the Iranians tonight.

GOLODRYGA: There are two schools of thought following Iran's initial attack. Given its size and scope, there are those who say that that Iran's

ultimate intention was to injure, was to kill Israeli civilians. There are others, perhaps more of a minority that say that this had been well

telegraphed. And while visually, this may have looked like a significant large attack, that in reality, given the scale and given the time span that

it takes the drones to leave Iran to Israel that this was more of a symbolic move. Which camp are you in?

YADLIN: Yes, I'm not in the latter. The latter is fake news. It's an Iranian excuse to their failure. Even if you forget about the drones, 120

ballistic missiles is an attack that was never seen in history in one hour.

So, this is a serious attack that every other country, but Israel, that possess a very good air defense would have been devastated by such an

attack. And this, in a way, show you why Iran should not get a nuclear weapon, because their behavior, very much like Putin in Ukraine, is an

aggressive behavior that danger the stability of the Middle East and the war.

We seeing in the Middle East today the global fight between the Russia and China and Iran, which are in the axis of evil and the U.S., Europe, Israel,

Saudi Arabia, UAE, who are on the other side. And one of the reasons Israel retaliation was basically mild because the coalition is important.


YADLIN: The coalition help Israel to stop this attack and Israel want to keep and listen very carefully to what the coalition asked it to do.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, and not put countries like Jordan or even Saudi Arabia and even more of an uncomfortable position than they were already in following

that unprecedented show of unity and defense last weekend.

Let me ask you though, in general, going back to -- because the shadow war between these two countries has been going on for decades, but what really

is the game changer here is that you saw Iran from its own soil launch an attack onto Israel. And from all reports, that seemed to have been based on

a miscalculation on Israel's part following its targeted strike, which they haven't taken credit, but it's largely believed to be Israel on April 1st,

going after the IRGC members and leaders in Syria.

Given that miscalculation -- and obviously we know that there are many lessons to be learned in investigations to be launched following the

tragedy of October 7th and how that was missed. I'd like for you to hear what the former IDF intelligence chief, Tamir Haman, had to say to

Christiane earlier on both points.


TAMIR HAMAN, FORMER ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES MAJOR GENERAL: Now, I think the intelligent -- the IDF intelligence was wrong in the 7th of October for not

detecting the Hamas intention, and it was wrong of assuming what will be the Iranian response. Those are two mistakes. No doubt about it.


GOLODRYGA: Do you agree with his analysis there? And given that, do you think that any further responses, measures that Israel takes against

Iranian facilities, against Iranian proxies, against Iranian officials, they will be thinking over not once, not twice, but three times given what

we saw last weekend?


YADLIN: I think it's two different issues. What you ask about the intelligence assessment is one issue and whether Iran able to deter Israel

is another issue. And what I say is the former chief of intelligence, you are not a prophet that can see the future 100 percent. You should bring

very carefully and very modestly an assessment on the intentions of the enemy.

Unlike the capabilities of the enemies that if you have good sources, you are 100 percent -- can be 100 percent right. On the intentions, you have to

be very careful because intentions may be changed in the future. So, can you really know what the intention of the supreme leader of Iran? Not


Because of the fake news that Israel attacked a diplomatic embassy he -- the supreme leader has wrong information. And he knew the general that was

assassinated there. And this led him, I think, to the decision to attack Israel. This not always can be seen in the intelligence.

What is important, and what the difference between the 7th of October and the 14th of April, that even in the first one, Israel was not ready

operationally. In the second one, even if there was a misanalysis of the future, Israel was ready, ready with the best air defense in the world with

a coalition to achieve an unprecedented achievement of stopping most of the projectiles to a level that Iran haven't caused any significant damage, any

damage at all to airplanes or to airplanes, even though they fire so many ballistic missiles.

GOLODRYGA: So, things may have been cooled for the foreseeable future, but obviously, you'd agree this is no time to relax. On Israel's standpoint,

they've still got a hot war going on in Gaza. They still have over a hundred hostages that remain there. Their mission and goals to defeat

Hamas, to bring the hostages home, to defeat the leadership of Hamas has not yet been accomplished. And this all comes with the perspective of what

happens in Rafah.

Will Israel ultimately go into Rafah? There continues to be pressure from the West as to what that may look like to limit civilian casualties. Give

us your take on how -- what's transpired the last two weeks, impacts, if at all, Israel's strategy going forward in Gaza.

YADLIN: Yes, it's a very, very good question because Israel is facing not only one front, but seven fronts. Not all of them in high intensity war.

Most of them in low intensity war. And some launching from Iraq, from Syria, from Yemen. But Iran took the main attention of Israel, and this is

exactly the dream of Sinwar.

Sinwar, when he launched the murderous attack, the barbaric attack on the 7th of October, he want all these seven fronts to erupt together in the

same time. And he failed. And so, he failed during the Ramadan.

I think one of the reasons that Israel decided not to retaliate in a huge attack is to go back to the priorities that Israel described, which is to

dismantle Hamas and bring back the hostages. Sinwar, however, as Secretary Blinken said, is now the obstacle to a ceasefire in Gaza. It's obstacle to

hostages deal.

And since his position is so humiliating to the Americans, they put forward a proposal for a deal, parameters for a deal, that Sinwar for the third

time reject. So, now, I think their objection to Israel going to Rafah will move from a red light to a yellow light. And if Israel will stand to the

American expectation, how to remove the uninvolved population, the innocent people to another place. The chances that Rafah will happen went up, I

think, after the weekend, because it seems like Israel and America improve the communication.


And because Israel was so cautious and considering with Iran, maybe it will get -- and they already got a veto in the Security Council against

Palestinian State and maybe a yellow light for us. And campaign again, which is important and political sanctions, maybe a snapback, which are

more important than bombs and missiles to stop the evil regime in Iran.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. No downplaying though the huge challenge that Israel would face going into Rafah, and we haven't even touched on the Hezbollah threat

that continues to loom and the fact that you have nearly 250,000 or so Israelis that have been displaced both in the north and the south. So, a

lot of challenges remain. General Amos Yadlin, thank you so much for your time.

YADLIN: Thank you for listening.

GOLODRYGA: Well, let's turn now to Ray Takeyh, a former U.S. State Department official who is now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign

Relations. Ray, thank you so much for joining us.

So, earlier this week, before Israel's attack last night, you wrote in "The New York Times" that, "The best way for Washington to limit the expansion

of this conflict is to signal clearly its intention to support an Israeli counter attack. It's the recurring military paradox to contain a war. A

belligerent sometimes needs to threaten its expansion. Iran's internal situation, its memory about past U.S. military action, and a conspiratorial

worldview all support this strategy."

Thus far, we haven't seen the U.S. take this strategy. We haven't heard from President Biden. Not sure we will on this specific issue. We did hear

from Secretary of State Blinken. And here's what he said today at the G7 in Italy about the overnight attack.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States has not been involved in any offensive operations. What we're focused on, what the G7 is

focused on, and again, it's reflected in our statement and in our conversation, is our work to deescalate tensions. To deescalate from any

potential conflict.


GOLODRYGA: So, in your view, was that the wrong response?

RAY TAKEYH, FORMER U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, since the beginning of the crisis, or shortly into it, during the Gaza war, the Biden

administration began to separate itself from Israel. It began to support ceasefire resolutions. It began calling for restraint. And, essentially,

you began to see the differences between the two states magnify. As I think we said in "The New York Times," that is a wrong approach in terms of

impressing your adversaries.

Since October the 6th, two of America's adversaries in the region, two of Israel's adversaries in the region, Iran and Hamas, have behaved in an

unprecedented way. And too often we're explaining their behavior as opposed to trying to predict it. So, we have to reconceptualize some of our

assumptions regarding how reckless some of the Israeli and American adversaries are, and the perception of difference between the two powers

only instigates further boldness on their part and recklessness as we had just seen.

GOLODRYGA: So, then, what role, if any, because Iran's retaliation, we should note, the unprecedented retaliation last week, the first time Iran

actually launched missiles from its own soil came after the April 1st strike that Israel conducted against IRGC members in Syria.

I mean, one has to assume that had that not taken place, would we have seen Iran step in the way they did? They didn't mention they were doing that,

specifically for the Palestinian cause.

TAKEYH: Well, that might have been a triggering mechanism, but it doesn't explain the boldness of the Iranian response. In the past, Israelis have

essentially targeted Iranian military officials and even scientific officials within Iran itself. And the Iranians have responded in a manner

that they had before, trying to rely on proxies and even trying to perhaps target Israeli diplomatic compounds outside Israel, obviously.

So, to do what they did, which, as you suggest, they hadn't done in 45 years. That's just more than General Zahedi getting killed, that's

essentially trying to signal a number of things. First of all, signal to Israel and the United States that there's a possibility of a regional war

unless there's some kind of a ceasefire or somehow the Israeli military operations cease in Gaza. Second of all, they were obviously trying to send

signal to their proxies. Namely that they're willing to support them in a brazen manner, irrespective of the cost.

So, there was some measure of trying to establish their credibility with both Hamas and Hezbollah, particularly Hamas that has been trying to

instigate a greater degree of Iranian involvement in this war with Israel.

GOLODRYGA: As you heard for the general just prior to our conversation, in terms of whatever miscalculation Israel may have made going into the April

1st attack, perhaps not assuming that this would have been the degree to the response that we would have seen from Iran. On the one hand, you say

that the U.S., since October 7th, could have stood up at a more unified capacity with Israel, but on the other hand, you even noted in a podcast

that I listened to this week that there's a new general of elite coming to power in Iran.


So, perhaps the predictability measure and the equation has changed, no? And does that not raise the stakes for the U.S. to be more bold and take

some of the tactics you've suggested?

TAKEYH: Well, there certainly seems to be a generational change in Iran. We don't know the full scope of it because this new elite that's beginning

to assume positions of power tend to come from the security services, from religious conservative centers. We don't know that much about them. This is

not to suggest that the old elite was predictable.

All the more reasons why it's important to impress the new elite, who are apparently more reckless than their predecessors, about the reality of

American power. The American power is something that the Iranians respect. Latent American power. By the way, irrespective of the incumbent

administration. And that is something that should have been enforced more resolutely, particularly given the fact that you've seen some sort of a

generational shift to Iran.

There's a new generation of Iranian leaders coming to power, and they have essentially reached the age of maturity at the time of the post 9/11 wars

where the United States became entangled in the Middle East, where you have almost a bipartisan desire to dispense with the Middle East heritage --

inheritance, and essentially talk about forever wars.

So, they have come to power with the perception, not that American power has waned, but the American will to enforce its interests in the Middle

East have attenuated with the experiences that it has -- had in Iraq and Afghanistan.

GOLODRYGA: What was your reaction to Israel's response last night? Was it the right approach? Was it measured? Was it proportionate? I'm not talking

about in projectiles, because that, in fact, it wasn't. But in the sense that it was showing to Iran that we could penetrate your air defense system

any time we want, and maybe we won't go after your nuclear facilities this time, but, you know, your air force base there looked pretty easy to target

for us.

TAKEYH: Well, I think this argument can be exaggerated. The nuclear installations are deeply buried underground, particularly in Fordow and

even in the town's enrichment facility, so they're not above surface installations that can be so easily targeted. They require specialized

munitions. And also, the Iranian nuclear infrastructure is vast and dispersed. So, it's not going to be disabled with a single strike.

What the Israelis demonstrated, though, that they can effectively penetrate into Iranian airspace. They may have scored a symbolic victory in that

sense. But Israeli response reflected the fact that, it seems to me, there's always been two schools of thought in Israel. One has been that

Israeli security can best be achieved by being close with the United States and essentially accepting American mandates, even when they question those


And the second school of thought that suggests that Israelis can best ensure their security, by a time violating and disagreeing with those

mandates. It seems to me the former school has prevailed in this case and the Israelis abided by the American injunction to deescalate the crisis.

GOLODRYGA: Obviously, you can't compare going after Iran's nuclear facilities the way you saw Israel do in the early '80s in Iraq with Osiraq.

Obviously, this would be a much larger and more complicated mission for Israel to proceed forward on.

But, as far as the other factors that Israel has at play now, one of the other reasons last week's thwarting of Iran's attack was so successful was

not only because of Israel's missile defense and technology, but also that of its allies, including Middle East neighbors like Jordan and even the

role that we're hearing Saudi Arabia played in all of this. Given that Israel also did not want to jeopardize that potential alliance going

forward. Do you think this was the smart play?

TAKEYH: Well, there's no question that Israelis took the regional opinion into consideration, took the American opinion into consideration, and also

took their own predispositions into consideration, namely they're too preoccupied with the Gaza War and perhaps the northern frontier in order to

expand the conflict, potentially. There's no question those are the calculations they made.

But you have to ask yourself, are the Jordanians and Saudis more or less impressed with the Israeli retaliation against Iran in terms of their own

latent hostility toward the Iranians? I would say actually today, probably less.

The core logic of the Iranian security policy has been that by inflaming Israel's frontiers, what they call the rings of fire, and by censuring

Israel in international bodies, such as the United Nations and International Court of Justice, mobilizing international opinion against

Israel, you can actually get Israelis to lessen their desire to retaliate against their enemies. That core logic today has to be considered valid.


Now, I do understand that had the Iranian military attack on Israel, which was designed to have a high casualty event, succeeded, we might have been

in a very different place. I understand that. But as it stands today, and today is Ali Khamenei's birthday, he's 85 years old.

GOLODRYGA: 85, yes.

TAKEYH: As it stands today, the core argument that the security organizations in Iran have made that relying on proxies is an effective way

of immunizing our territory from our most egregious behavior, that's not entirely invalid today. And that -- the fact that it's not invalid has to

have some kind of an impression on the Saudi monarchy and the Jordanian one.

GOLODRYGA: So, in your view --

TAKEYH: I think.

GOLODRYGA: In your view, deterrence then hasn't been reestablished?

TAKEYH: It's hard for me to see how this has reconstituted Israeli deterrence posture. And one way you can say that is because they keep

talking about symbolic moves. That this was a symbolic victory. We penetrated the Iranian airspace. When you talk about symbolic victories,

it's because you don't have tangible ones.

GOLODRYGA: Ray Takeyh, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, thank you so much for your time and joining us.

TAKEYH: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

GOLODRYGA: Well, now, with all eyes focused on tensions in the Middle East, the situation on the ground in Ukraine is dire. Overnight, a Russian

attack in the Dnipropetrovsk region killed eight people, including two children. President Zelenskyy called his allies lifesavers for supplying

resources to avoid more damage and urges the world not to forget their war.

This as Congress's long delayed assistance for Kyiv suddenly accelerates to the finish line, finally. Despite threats from hardline Republican

lawmakers to oust him, House Speaker Mike Johnson is putting his multibillion-dollar aid package to a vote this Saturday.


MIKE JOHNSON, U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: I can make a selfish decision and do something that that's different, but I'm doing here what I believe to be

the right thing. I think providing lethal aid to Ukraine right now is critically important.


GOLODRYGA: Our next guest is Ukrainian human rights lawyer Oleksandra Matviichuk and was awarded a Nobel prize for her work as head of the Center

for Civil Liberties. She joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the importance of standing up to Russia.


HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianna, thanks. Oleksandra Matviichuk, thank you so much for joining us.

Since the war in Ukraine began, your organization has documented more than 68,000 instances of crimes you say have been committed by the Russians.

These are human rights violations. Tell me, what are the types of things that you have documented?

OLEKSANDRA MATVIICHUK, HEAD OF THE CENTER OF LIBERTIES: Russian troops are deliberately shelling residential buildings, schools, churches, museums,

and hospitals. They are attacking evacuation corridors. They are torturing people in filtration camps. They are forcibly deporting Ukrainian children

to Russia. They are abducting, robbing, raping, and killing civilians in the occupied territories. So, such things we are documenting.

SREENIVASAN: And how do you verify this? Do you interview the survivors?

MATVIICHUK: We build national network of documentators and cover the whole country, which include occupied territories. We use different source of

verification and gathering of information. We collect testimonies from the victims and the witness. We sent mobile groups to work on the occupied

territories. We research and open data and visit the other verification.

If something happened, for example, Russian rocket hit residential buildings, our local documentators are able to come to the place and to

make their own photos and videos and speak with people.

SREENIVASAN: There's a story that you talk about a young woman, 14-year- old named Sophia (ph) from Mariupol. What happened to her?

MATVIICHUK: This young girl together with her mother and her younger sister found themselves in the center of Russian shelling, and the air

bombs was flown to the residential buildings, and, like, everything was destroyed. And she told to my colleagues that she tried to dig up her

mother from the rubbish of presidential buildings in order to provide her breath.

And she described very emotionally how it was, like the plane was in the sky and she was afraid that another bomb will appear, but she tried to help

her mom. And the problem is, and the tragedy is that, unfortunately, her mom died. And she couldn't manage to save her.

SREENIVASAN: And what happened next to Sophia (ph)?


MATVIICHUK: She was legally deported by Russian soldiers to the occupied territories and supposed then to be sent to Russia. But her elder sister

came and took her. And this is, unfortunately, just exception. We have identified -- I mean Ukrainian government, more than 19,000 Ukrainian

children who were illegally deported to Russia, and only 400 from them were returned home.

SREENIVASAN: So, what happens to these 19,000 children?

MATVIICHUK: They were put in re-education camps, where Ukrainian children were told that they are not Ukrainian children, but Russian children. Some

of them start to be quickly preparing for a forcible adoption, in the Russian adoptive families, and this is important to mention that according

to Russian legislation, adoptive family can change not just the name, but place and date of birth.

And why I emphasize on this because among these children are children with parents, with parents who were arrested by Russia, and they also are

preparing for forcible adoption. And this is a very cynical situation because I can't understand what in the hearts and minds of these people,

because how it can be that your child is -- have to be forced -- forcible adopt.

SREENIVASAN: What purpose does this or would this serve a country like Russia to do this? What kind of an effect does it have to the Ukrainian war

effort, to the people, to the culture?

MATVIICHUK: It's a part of genocidal policy which Russia implicated against Ukraine. Just recently, Vladimir Putin provided an interview and he

once again repeated genocidal claims that there are no Ukrainian nation, there is no Ukrainian culture, there is no Ukrainian language. And we, for

10 years, documented how these words implicated in horrible practice when Russian troops deliberately exterminate active local people, how Russian

troops deliberately destroyed Ukrainian cultural heritage.

And now, when they took our children and send them to Russia, it's also this part of this genocidal policy because they want to bring these

children up as Russians and eliminate their identity.

SREENIVASAN: And so, when you hear the stories of Sophia (ph) or you talk to and interview some of the survivors of these tragedies and atrocities

and your team documents this day in and day out and you see the work that they're doing, how do you process that?

MATVIICHUK: Frankly speaking, it's not an easy question to answer because I wasn't prepared for such scale of atrocities. Even me, a lawyer, with all

my background, professional knowledge and field experience, it's impossible. Because first and foremost, we are all human beings. And now,

we are faced with unbelievable scale of war crimes.

And Russia uses war crimes. The methods of fear. Russia attempts to break people resistance and occupy the country by the two -- which I call the

immense pain of civilian population. So, to be clear, we document not just violations of Geneva and (INAUDIBLE) conventions. We are documenting human


SREENIVASAN: What is the forum where a country could be brought to justice?

MATVIICHUK: It's a good question, because I started to ask to myself, for whom do we document all these crimes for? Because as a human rights lawyer,

I found myself in a situation when the law doesn't work. I will remind you that in 2022, the U.N. Court of Justice issued their decision and obliged

Russia to withdraw Russian troops from Ukraine. And Russia ignored even the decision of U.N. Court of Justice. So, the whole U.N. system of peace and

security can't stop these atrocities.

But as a human rights lawyer, I do believe that it's temporary, and that's why we are documenting these crimes so that sooner or later, all Russians

who committed these crimes by their own hands, as well as Putin and top political leadership and high military command of the Russian State will be

brought to justice. But before this time, we have to survive because -- and that's why I will be very honest, we need weapons to defend our country, to

defend our people, and to defend our freedom.


And now, we in situation when we lack of weapons because the military support in the United States Congress is blocked. So, I hope it will be

solved in nearest days.

SREENIVASAN: Someone's going to watch this conversation and say, this is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. This is somebody who works towards peace and

here she is, she's advocating for weaponry. She's advocating for war in order to do what?

MATVIICHUK: Look, Ukrainians want peace much more than anyone else. But peace doesn't come when country which was invaded stop fighting. That's not

peace. That's occupation. And Russians killed unarmed. Occupation, it's just another forms of the war, which become more invisible for

international society.

I know what I'm talking about because I documented war crimes for 10 years. Occupation means torture, sexual violence, forced disappearance, denial of

your identity, forcible adoption of your own children, filtration camps, and mass graves. We are fighting for peace because there is no answer in

the whole world how to stop Putin from this bloody war.

SREENIVASAN: You know, you said in part of your Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech that justice should not depend on the reliance of

authoritarian regimes. Explain that. I mean, how do we develop a legal infrastructure that you like?

MATVIICHUK: Oh, yes. It's a problem that we still look through the -- to the world, through the lens of the Nuremberg Trials. Nuremberg Trials, it

was a victorious trials, when Nazi criminals were tried only after Nazi regime had collapsed. And now, when I'm meeting with presidents, with

representatives of governments and parliaments, I often hear when you win, you will have a justice.

But we live in new century. Justice cannot wait. Justice must be independent of the fact when and how the war will end. We have to punish

the leaders of the oppressive for regardless of the results of the war. This is our task in 21st century as a humankind. So, we have no filter. And

this is my main message.

SREENIVASAN: So, we are in the middle of a conversation that's happening in the United States right now. Congress is trying to figure out, for its

own domestic reasons, it has taken quite some time to figure out whether it wants to give money to Ukraine. And you recently said about this, that the

U.S. and its allies must give Ukraine everything it needs to repel Russian aggression. If we hesitate for too long, Russia will take more steps

forward and developed democracies may be forced to pay the price with the lives of their own citizens. Explain.

MATVIICHUK: Russia is empire. Empire has a center but has no border. It means that if we do not be able to stop Putin in Ukraine, he will go

further and will attack a next country. Now, they discussed on Russian TV publicly what the next country will be, Estonia or Poland? Which means that

if it happened, if Putin succeed in Ukraine, United States of America will have to send their people to defend freedom in the Europe. And this means

that the United States of America will pay the highest price, which you can just imagine.

SREENIVASAN: The organization that you work with, The Center for Civil Liberties, just this week the Russian ministry has declared that

organization what they call undesirable, your group and two other human rights organizations. So, what does this mean? Does this mean that you are

functionally unable to work in Russia?

MATVIICHUK: We work in Russia with the hands of our brief Russian human rights colleagues. And now, we have discussion how to make our work even

more secretly, not to put our Russian colleague in additional danger, but they are in danger even regardless of this, because human rights

organization --