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Ukraine Accuses Russia Of Bombing Hospital In Mariupol; UN: 2.15 Million People Flee Ukraine Since Russian Invasion Began; Russian Stock Market Closed For Ninth Day As Sanctions Increased. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired March 09, 2022 - 11:30   ET



ANDRII OSADCHUK, MEMBER, UKRAINE PARLIAMENT: The same they did in Chechnya, the same they did in Georgia, the same day did in Donbas, in Ukraine in 2014 and 2015. As soon as they start losing the war on the ground, they start using civilians as a tool of war. They start attacking civilians to blackmail officials of the country they attack.

So now, for me, no surprise the Russians are doing like Russians, they never respect human rights, they never respect human beings and now we have repeated cases of war crimes against civilians. And today's attack on the hospital on Mariupol, it's not the first case during last let's say, seven or nine days and unfortunately, I think it's not the last case. I'm afraid that they will continue to do so again to use these as an argument in negotiations with Ukrainian officials and with the West.

Unfortunately, Ukraine was warning the West during many years that these cruel people, they can do things like that. No one was listening to us but now, everyone sees that. In the center of Europe in the 21st century, an army may kill kids and babies and to use this as an argument to make a political pressure on their opponents. That's a reality of Russian external policy.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Andrii, can you tell me what is -- what you've known about this hospital? We know that Mariupol has been under siege and taking on attacks for days now. Do you know, how -- at all how many -- how many patients, how many people were in the hospital, where they were -- I -- when -- I know that I spoke to a doctor in near Kyiv -- in Kyiv previously, and they had tried to move most of their pediatric patients to the basement for safety?

OSADCHUK: What I know for sure is that it is a nightmare, what is happening in Mariupol during last six or seven days. First of all, everyone shall understand that Mariupol is quite big it's a huge city, almost 400,000 people now locked inside of the city. We did already two or three attempts to evacuate people from Mariupol but most all of the time were stabbed by Russians. So CDA has a dramatic shortage of food, of water, there is no heating.

Now, it's quite cold in Ukraine even in the south of Ukraine. So the winter -- the nights are very cold, so all this huge amount of people exist in absolutely inhuman conditions. So it's not only about this hospital. As for the hospital, I know that majority of patients and staff was evacuated. But I know for sure that there were people inside of the building at the moment of the attack. I know that Ukrainian rescue teams are currently working and trying to search for survivals, I think in a couple of hours, we will receive more details from Mariupol.

BOLDUAN: It's also striking if -- you need to put these pieces together, which is Mariupol is one of the cities where there has just been a -- and I'll say, you know "agreed-upon evacuation routes to other cities." And then you see this happen. What do you think of these agreements for these evacuation routes? It's very clear, it might be hard to impossible to trust that any of these can hold.

OSADCHUK: I'm sure, unfortunately, that within the next couple of days, any agreements with Russia will cost nothing. They conduct these negotiations to demonstrate to the world that they're not so cruel and wild barbarians because we all know that their plan collapsed. They were planning to take Ukraine within three, four days maximum.

Now, they're in the long work with huge losses from both sides. They try to keep face but they still don't have Plan D. They still want to surround the big cities. They want to create a humanitarian crisis in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Mariupol, in particular, and they want to use this as a tool to force Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian parliament for surrender.

So, that's why any chance to immigrate, people, any hope is on Ukrainian military and on Ukrainian local fighting forces, which are making corridors a couple of hours to go, one more or less successful operations has been completed near Kyiv. I think you've heard the names of Bucha and Pereschepyne, it's two small satellite cities, in fact, it's the part of Kyiv which were almost destroyed and a couple of -- dozens of thousands of people were there but my sources confirmed that few columns of refugees were taken out just a couple of hours ago.


OSADCHUK: But still there are a lot of people inside. And again, all of you should understand the tactics of Russians. They want to keep all people inside of the cities because as more people inside of the cities as more resources they consume, I mean food, medicine, fuel, and so on, so forth.

And by consumption of all the resources, civilians today making the army weaker so they -- by doing these, they reduce the ability of the Ukrainian military to resist. So that's why for us it's absolutely critical to take out people from big cities, as from the point of safety to security, as from the point of increasing efficiency for the Ukrainian army.

BOLDUAN: And I know that one of your very, very central focus right now. Andrii, thank you very much for jumping on and speaking with me, I really appreciate it. Be well.

OSADCHUK: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Let's turn -- let's talk more about was we were talking about those evacuation routes more is because it speaks directly to the humanitarian crisis of refugees fleeing Putin's war right now. A 12- hour ceasefire to allow civilians safe passage out of Ukraine's war zone is coming to an end in about two hours.

United Nations is now reporting that more than 2.1 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the invasion two weeks ago. CNN's Miguel Marquez is live and at an evacuation center in Romania with the perspective from there. Miguel, the number of refugees will come -- is growing will continue to grow. You're getting a look at how officials are preparing. Tell us more.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You hear what is happening in places like Mariupol and you realize that only more as the Russian advance continues and as their -- as their fire becomes more indiscriminate, you're going to see more and more refugees in places like this in Bucharest.

This is the convention center in Bucharest. I want to give you a bit of show around. They have several refugee centers across the city but they are running out of room. They are going to open this center, possibly as soon as tomorrow. They let us come in here to see what they were preparing here. All of these things you're looking at on the ground here. These are all cots that still need to be set up. They have a bunch of volunteers that are starting to help out here.

All the people back there, that's all food and clothing and water. They're bringing trucks in when they get them and they're able. There's a big kitchen back there that they are preparing for. 320,000 Ukrainian refugees have come into Romania so far but 234,000 have left on to other areas, Poland, Germany, other areas of Europe.

But the need is growing. They're going into Moldova. They're coming across the border everywhere. And as the Russians move toward Odesa in the south, a third largest city in Ukraine, the situation here is expected to only get worse. This may be the home for the lucky ones, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Miguel, thank you so much. OK, so for more information on how you can help the people of Ukraine, go to, a lot of resources there. We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: For the second day in a row, U.S. gas prices are hitting a new record high now averaging $4.25 a gallon. That's 70 -- that's a 71 cent increase in the Russian invasion of Ukraine that started two weeks ago. President Biden announces we will know the U.S. is banning all Russian energy imports, which will likely drive prices even higher. Some drivers telling CNN it's a price they are willing to pay for now.


LEROY WELCH, 68-YEAR-OLD RETIREE: That's a challenge. But you know, you have challenges in life all the time. We're better off than the people in Ukraine. So you know, just do what you have to do and try not to complain about it.


BOLDUAN: Two American citizens have been released by Venezuela on the heels of a rare visit by a U.S. delegation. One of the men is a member of the so-called Citgo 6, a group of gas company executives who have been detained in Venezuela since 2000 -- since 2017. CNN Stefano Pozzebon is live in Caracas. Stefano, what are you learning about this?

STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we're learning here in real- time, I think, Kate is how widespread the consequences of Putin's decision to invade Ukraine are all over the world. There is a war in Eastern Europe between Ukraine -- Russia invaded Ukraine, as a consequence, two U.S. citizens got released from prison here in Venezuela. They are now on the way to their families. We weren't able to speak with them personally, Kate, but we spoke with a few of the relatives and of course, since of choice is of trepidation, one of them, Gustavo Cardenas, as you said has been detained for more than four years in the jails here in Caracas.

Why is this happening, Kate, is because the U.S. administration is exploring for now just exploring the possibility of lifting some of the sanctions that he placed on oil exports from Venezuela into the United States to replace the Russian exports that have just been banned and try to lower the prices of gasoline, which you have seen have been so rising in the last two weeks or so.

We know that the deal has not been finalized yet but that has been the highest level visit from U.S. officials to Caracas in a year since at least 2019. And there's a consequence already. Two American families are happier today because their loved ones are at home. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Stefano, thank you for that. So the Russian stock market remains closed for the ninth day in a row now as the Russian ruble continues to tumble. Let me go to -- go over to CNN's John Harwood live at the White House with more on this. And Russia's now accusing the United States of waging an economic war against Putin, John, what are you hearing about this?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, that's a reflection of the reality that that motorist in the clip you just played was reflecting.

[11:45:00] HARWOOD: Yes, the United States is having some pain with inflation and rising gas prices, but it's really hurting Russia and Russian corporations and Russian individuals right now. You've got interest rates doubled to 20 percent as a result of the sanctions. Capital controls, people can't take dollars that they've been storing in Russian banks out. You've got the -- a hometown domestic Russian automaker shutting down production because it can't get replacement parts in to keep its factory line going, tremendous hardship for Russians.

And the departure of some of these iconic American companies suspending operations, McDonald's, for example. That simply is a high- profile demonstration to ordinary Russians of how things have changed. And that's a pretty critical element of this because you've got Russian controls on media reporting about the conflict in Ukraine. The fact that McDonald's shuts down is a demonstration to ordinary people beyond what they've already gotten that this is a very difficult hit -- a very difficult blow that the West, the United States, the European Union have leveled on Russians.

It's a very tough time in the Russian economy and it's going to get tougher. We're expecting defaults of Russian corporations on their debts to the West. The pain is only starting economically for the Russians. And the question is going to be how do they respond? You know, Dmitry Peskov says the United States has declared economic war. The United States doesn't want an escalatory ladder with nuclear power for them, responding as if it's a military war. So there's some caution here, but Russia is definitely feeling the pain.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. It's great to see you, John. Thank you. Coming up still for us, these images -- these images are haunting, Ukraine, accusing Russia now of bombing a hospital, a maternity ward, and a Children's Hospital according to the MP we just spoke with. President Zelenskyy says there are children in the rubble. The MP we just spoke with says there were people there the moment the airstrikes occurred. The breaking details from Mariupol next.



BOLDUAN: We're following breaking news, Ukraine saying that Russia has bombed a maternity and Children's Hospital in the southern port city of Mariupol, you're seeing these images that we've been getting in first here this hour from outside, this may be even a courtyard in the -- in the maternity ward complex. And all of this happening during an agreed-upon ceasefire apparently.

President Zelenskyy, saying there are children under the rubble. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson just tweeting out this, "there are few things more deprived than targeting the vulnerable and defenseless." Johnson, adding that the UK is exploring more support for Ukraine to defend against airstrikes, and we will hold Putin to account for his terrible crimes. How to do that, though, remains a big, big question. Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley. He serves on the Intelligence Committee, also was co-chair of the congressional Ukraine caucus. Congressman, thank you for being here. These images that have been coming in throughout the hour of what Ukrainian says is the bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol just utter devastation. Looking at this, what do you say?

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY, (D-IL): Can we stop talking about Ukraine as not being a member of NATO? Can we stop practicing everything we say about our reaction to this, as they're not a member of NATO? Don't these images speak the same voices that spoke in Europe during the Second World War when fascists and autocrats leveled a continent, and the innocents were lost? We can't quibble about this anymore. Putin has declared war on NATO regardless, and it's certainly declared war on decency and democratic ideals.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, then where are you on a no-fly zone?

QUIGLEY: Look, I think we come off as quibbling when we're worried about where the jets take off to stop this, evacuation routes are blocked, maternity hospitals are flattened, babies are dead under the rubble. At some point in time, what did former NATO commander Breedlove say the other day? What line does Russia have to cross? Clearly, this goes beyond all those reasons.

The Ukrainian fight and Ukrainian spirit are the very reasons embodied in why we formed NATO in the first place. We have to protect them. We have to protect the skies. I know what that means. And we don't do things like this rationally. But if we're balancing things, what needs to be on the other side of the scale for us to act?

And if it's only NATO concerned about its own self-preservation, hell a week ago, we had a nuclear power plant that President Zelenskyy talked about very close to a been a catastrophe that leveled, you know, most of eastern Europe, if not Central Europe. So look, open the skies, give them the planes, these issues Trump anything else we're concerned about?

BOLDUAN: Congressman, you're angry. I can sense that in a way that I haven't really heard you before.

QUIGLEY: I can't -- I can't stomach quibbling and drawing lines when Putin has already said that the sanctions are our war, right? We're delivering lethal aid. Do we honestly think Putin is going to draw a distinction between the javelins and stingers that are coming across killing Russians very effectively from jets protecting the skies above? If the evacuation --


BOLDUAN: That is actually been one of my questions today. What is the difference between these things?

QUIGLEY: Look, we can draw these distinctions. We can quibble over whether it really matters if someone takes off from Poland or Germany. But at some point in time, we got to ask ourselves, who are we as a country? Why did we form NATO? And are we going to allow this to happen, if anyone imagines that this is going to get better anytime soon, this is going to be protracted Hell on Earth? Images, we saw as kids watching the Blitzkrieg in black and white. Well, these are real, they're happening now, and hell, we could do something about it.

BOLDUAN: The response? I know, you know it is if the United States gets more involved it -- to help -- establishes a no-fly zone, let's just use as an example, it puts the United States in direct conflict with Russia, it puts us directly on a path to World War III. And you're saying now, that risk is worth it.

QUIGLEY: Well, everyone is saying including the president of the United States that we would do that, defending every inch of NATO, right? So we're already on the record saying that we would take that risk for NATO. My argument is if you take that risk for NATO, why wouldn't you take that risk for the souls of those who have already lost and those that extraordinary risk? You know if the evacuation routes are blocked, more innocent people are going to die.

So, all I'm saying is, if NATO territory is so precious, I would argue that Ukrainian territory is more important because they're on the frontlines. They've been battling Putin for over eight years. And right now, Ukrainians are dying, not other people in NATO.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, thank you for coming in today.

QUIGLEY: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you very much. Mike Quigley everyone. CNN's breaking news coverage of the war in Ukraine continues with INSIDE POLITICS with John King after this break.