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At This Hour

Kyiv to Start 35-Hour Curfew as Russians Advance; U.N. Calculates 3 Million Ukrainians Have Fled War-Torn Country; FOX News Confirms Camera Man Killed, Correspondent Injured in Ukraine; European Leaders Visit Kyiv amid Deadly Attacks; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Canadian Parliament. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired March 15, 2022 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And good morning, everybody, I'm Bianna Golodryga, in for Kate Bolduan. We begin with breaking news on the war in Ukraine.

Ukraine's president says at least five people are dead after Russian airstrikes hit several residential buildings across Kyiv. Rescuers are still putting out the flames.

In less than three hours, the capital city will go into a curfew through Thursday morning as Russian forces close to Kyiv intensify relentless attacks on civilians.

With Kharkiv also come under heavy shelling, officials say the city was hit by 65 attacks just yesterday. At least one civilian there was killed. All this as the leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia traveled to Kyiv to meet with Ukraine's president and express their solidarity as the country continues to be attacked by Russia.

We are just minutes away from President Zelenskyy addressing Canada's parliament. We'll bring you that live when it happens.

Breaking right now, Russia's foreign ministry retaliating against the U.S., announcing sanctions against President Joe Biden and other top U.S. officials after the White House announced sanctions on Vladimir Putin more than two weeks ago.

Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Scott McLean, live in Lviv with the breaking details on the deadly attacks in Ukraine.

What more do we know right now?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Bianna, yes, there were audible explosions heard in central Kyiv this morning because there were close by. The first one, some kind of a military strike hit a house south of the city, left a huge crater in the ground, caught the house on fire. Luckily, no one hurt there.

Not long afterwards, there was an apartment building just a stone's throw away from central Kyiv, only a mile or two away, where the bottom five floors of the 10-story building actually caught fire.

And then again, in Western Kyiv, just outside the city, a 16-story apartment building was hit. The fire racing up many of those floors; most of the floors of that building, at last, that we got images there, it was still smoldering.

From all of these attacks, four people have been killed there. According to a senior U.S. military official, the Russian forces around Kyiv have not made a whole lot of progress in recent days, even with the military convoy moving down south. They're still at the closest point in the northwest, around 10 miles away. So they seem to be stalled, at least for the moment.

There are airstrikes; there was one earlier today in the west of Kyiv in a place called Rivne, only a couple of hours' drive away, on a TV tower. Officials say 19 people were killed. So as airstrikes get more frequent in the western part of Ukraine, they're preparing in Lviv.

There's a monument here they are encasing, just to keep it safe in the event the airstrikes hit this city as well.

GOLODRYGA: And as the airstrikes become more common, right, we are hearing more and more reports of deaths and casualties there. Scott McLean, thank you so much.

One of the hardest hit cities is Mariupol. A local official tells CNN that about 350,000 people are currently trapped there. The U.N. reports more than 3 million refugees have now fled Ukraine. CNN's Ed Lavandera is live in Poland with more.

And, Ed, what are you seeing there today in Poland?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are outside of the train station here in Poland, which is just a few miles away from the border. This is the first spot where people come in by train, land here in Poland.

And we show you this vantage point because this is where they first step out into this city and these refugees now have to try to figure out where to go. And what we are sensing here, in the last few days, is that this is becoming a much more complicated problem for these refugees arriving here.

There are so few places left to go in Poland that many of the people you see behind me are trying to figure out where else in Europe they can go at this point.

In fact, we just saw, moments ago, there was a 66-year-old woman named Katyana, simply holding three small bags. That's all the possessions she had.

And we heard her asking a volunteer that she had no relatives anywhere, she had nowhere to go, trying to figure out the safest place to go and at one point asking the volunteer, "Where is a country I can go to that's loyal to Ukraine?"

[11:05:00]

LAVANDERA: You can sense the desperation of what this woman needs to figure out in the coming days. The volunteer suggested maybe she go to Prague. And the uncertainty of what this poor woman faces is just incredibly dramatic.

And the real question here, Bianna, in the coming weeks, is just how much more and what more needs to be done to be able to help the refugees that continue to come. The mayor here told us, at the peak, they were seeing about 50,000 to 55,000 a day.

And that number has settled to 25,000 but there are fewer and fewer places for these refugees to go here in the immediate Poland area.

GOLODRYGA: No doubt, a refugee and humanitarian crisis, the likes of which Europe hasn't seen in decades. Ed Lavandera, thank you so much.

Now to an extraordinary show of support for Ukraine from three European leaders. The prime ministers of Poland, Slovenia and Czech Republic traveled to Kyiv today despite the deadly Russian airstrikes in the capital. CNN's Natasha Bertrand is live in Brussels.

Why are these three European leaders taking such a risky trip right now?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Bianna, it's a really remarkable show of solidarity with the Ukrainians. And it's remarkable all the more because these are members of NATO countries.

And of course, Ukraine is not a member of NATO. They have expressed a lot of disappointment with the fact that they have not been able to join that defensive alliance. But these three prime ministers and the deputy prime minister are going there in the middle of this conflict as these -- the shelling continues, as these bombs really raining down on Kyiv.

And what we know is that they are taking the train there; they're going to meet with Zelenskyy. We don't know for how long or what the security situation for them is going to look like.

But the reason was kind of spelled out by the Polish prime minister in a statement that he wrote on Facebook this morning. I'll read you a bit of that.

"At such breakthrough times for the world, it's our duty to be where history is forged, because it's not about us but about the future of our children, who deserve to live in a world free from tyranny."

Now this comes just ahead of what may be a NATO leaders summit next week as they kind of try to figure out the next steps forward for the NATO member countries in their support for Ukraine, whether that's by humanitarian assistance or, of course, the very important weapons deliveries -- Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: It's just unimaginable to see these leaders coming to a city that, starting tonight, will be under curfew, really showing their solidarity with the president and President Zelenskyy at this time. Natasha Bertrand, thank you.

Developing this morning, a Russian journalist who staged an anti-war protest live on Russian state TV has appeared in a Moscow courtroom with her lawyer, as seen in this picture. Maria Ovsyannikova interrupted a broadcast with a sign that reads, "Stop the war. Do not believe propaganda. They are telling you lies here."

She released this prerecorded message before her protest.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIA OVSYANNIKOVA, RUSSIA CHANNEL 1 EMPLOYEE (through translator): What's happening now in Ukraine is a crime. And Russia is the aggressor country. And their sensibility to put this aggression lies in the conscience of only one person. This man is Vladimir Putin. Go to the rallies and do not be afraid. They cannot arrest us all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GOLODRYGA: So Maria Ovsyannikova, what a brave woman. Earlier this morning, we were still concerned, Brian Stelter, about her whereabouts and we now know she's in a courtroom.

What are we hearing?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: And we don't know if she's sentenced to 10 days in jail or 10 years in jail. This new Russia law is draconian. It has a possibility of up to 15 years in prison just for calling a war a war.

So we don't know exactly what she's facing but we do know she's in custody and was from almost the moment that she made this on-air protest. It was seen for only a few seconds on Russian TV.

But it's been seen over and over again around the world. So the impact of this, yes, it's significant within Russia; I think it may be more significant to others outside Russia, who are seeing there's clearly resistance to this war, even in Moscow.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, the Kremlin calling it hooliganism.

(CROSSTALK)

GOLODRYGA: -- and that is a crime in the country. See that she was still wearing that Ukrainian and Russian solidarity necklace.

We also have really upsetting, heartbreaking news, showing really the signs of war, right, and the consequences of war, how deadly it is for journalists.

STELTER: That's right. As I've been sitting here, this last 10 minutes here, FOX News has announced that the veteran cameraman, Pierre Zakrzewski has died. He was with Benjamin Hall. They were in a vehicle outside of Kyiv yesterday, when they were both struck by incoming fire.

Remember, we heard yesterday afternoon that Benjamin Hall, the correspondent, was injured and hospitalized. But we didn't know anything about his crew. Behind the scenes, several networks were working with FOX trying to find the crew members. In this case, trying to find the cameraman. Pierre is a veteran photojournalist, beloved by his colleagues at FOX but also by many at CNN.

[11:10:00]

STELTER: In fact, he is well-known among the international correspondents. He was a stalwart for FOX News and, in the words of FOX News CEO Suzanne Scott, quote, "profoundly committed to telling the story, whether that was in Ukraine or other conflict zones."

So this news just passing a couple of minutes ago. I'm looking at the memo from inside FOX, saying he was killed outside Kyiv. He was with Benjamin Hall and this also raises questions about Benjamin Hall's condition.

Hall is the correspondent who was out news gathering. We know he remains hospitalized, according to the memo from FOX. No word on any other crew members who may have been involved. But we know Pierre did die as a result of this -- what's described as incoming fire when they were in a vehicle outside Kyiv.

GOLODRYGA: Just a reminder of so many journalists, who put their lives at risk every day to bring us the truth here at home. Of course, our thoughts with him and his family and colleagues at FOX News. Brian Stelter, thank you.

CNN has learned U.S. intel suggests China has expressed some openness to providing Russia with military and economic assistance for its war with Ukraine. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan met yesterday with his Chinese counterpart for more than seven hours.

CNN's David Culver live in Shanghai.

What more can you tell us about this new intel and whether China is worried about U.S. sanctions if they do, in fact, aid Russia?

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianna, I think it's fair to say that China is worried about anything that could cause economic damage here at the home front, especially as they are still dealing with COVID outbreaks.

As we know, any sort of economic instability could lead to social instability here. So they're going to be mindful of that.

That said, they're navigating this weird space, right?

They're trying to suggest to the West that they can maintain these economic ties, particularly to their largest trading partners, the E.U. and the U.S., and at the same time they're trying to stick to their allegiance ideologically to their northern neighbors, a fellow autocracy, to Russia; the person who President Xi has described as his best friend, President Putin.

And yet that high level meeting that you mentioned that took place Monday in Rome was between two very high level individuals: Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser in the U.S., and, on China's part, it was his counterpart, a top foreign policy diplomat, Yang Jiechi. Now this is a guy who has President Xi's ear.

He's a key adviser to President Xi. And that meeting was one in which they were able to discuss where both stand and the consequences of, at least of what the U.S. say, will be in place should China move toward in offering any sort of assistance to Russia -- Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, President Putin and President Xi said there was no limits to their relationship. We'll see how this is tested right now with new threats from the West. David Culver, thank you.

And coming up, Ukraine's president is about to address Canada's parliament.

What will he tell the world leaders that he needs right now to stop Putin's forces?

We'll bring you his remarks live -- coming up next.

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GOLODRYGA: Breaking news: we are moments away from hearing Ukraine's president delivering a virtual address to Canada's parliament. We'll bring it to you as soon as it happens.

President Zelenskyy says at least five people are dead in the capital city of Kyiv after Russian airstrikes hit several residential buildings there. And in a remarkable show of support. the leaders of three European countries traveled to Kyiv to meet with Zelenskyy and show their support, despite deadly attacks by the Russians.

Joining me now is former ambassador to Ukraine, John Herbst, and CNN global affairs analyst, Kimberly Dozier.

Ambassador, what do you make of this stunning trip today by the prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia?

Clearly, they're sending a message of solidarity but at quite a price.

JOHN HERBST, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: It's a gutsy move, as you say, to demonstrate solidarity. It also poses a challenge to the Russians. Conceivably, the train

they're taking could be bombed. I would imagine the Kremlin will take care that that does not happen.

But that already suggests that Moscow's military engagement in Ukraine does not preclude Westerners getting into and out of the country, which has much broader consequences beyond this visit.

GOLODRYGA: Kim, earlier this morning, you struck us and the producers by calling these prime ministers effectively human shields at this point, going into a war zone. This comes at a time when we're hearing that President Biden himself may make a trip to Europe as soon as next week.

What kind of message is this intended to send to the Kremlin?

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: That while there might not be U.S., European or NATO troops alongside Ukrainian troops, that they don't support this wholesale slaughter of Ukrainian people and the bombing and bombardment of its cities.

But you know, I would like to see how long these leaders are going to stay. If even one of them stays for the next few weeks, that is a message to Russia. If you do a kill strike on the capital right now, you're also going to hit another European leader. And you risk pulling all of Europe into this chaos.

GOLODRYGA: It also shows to me signs that there's support at home both in the United States, domestically and from Europeans. They support their leaders, giving whatever they can in aid to Zelenskyy, even if that means physically going to the country.

And Ambassador, on that note, this is coming as we're waiting for President Zelenskyy to address the Canadian parliament. Obviously he'll be addressing U.S. Congress tomorrow. And there is more pressure from him on the U.S., to provide more weaponry, including Soviet-made systems, like the MiG fighter jets, S-300 surface-to-air missile defense systems.

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GOLODRYGA: Why doesn't he have those weapons now?

Why is there such an issue in terms of getting him what he needs?

HERBST: It's basically timidity of the White House. The Biden team has been reluctant to send Ukraine the weapons it needs. Now, because they've been facing criticism, they keep talking about all the Stingers they're sending Ukraine. And that's true.

But they only sent the first Stingers to Ukraine in late January because they kept slow rolling. We should be sending to Ukraine, right now, not just those MiGs but we should make sure they get serious anti-aircraft capacity, which can go after planes flying at 3,000 feet, 30,000 feet, not just the 5,000-10,000 feet like the Stingers. If we had sent coastal missiles to Ukraine, Russia would not have

seized all that -- excuse me -- the coastline in the south. Odessa is under threat. We should be making sure they get anti-ship (ph) missiles now.

But the Biden administration is worried about going too far and provoking Moscow not understanding that Moscow's missions go beyond Ukraine. And we need to help Ukraine stop the Kremlin right now.

GOLODRYGA: And the ambassador is hitting on something the Ukrainian foreign minister said over the weekend, that, if they, in fact, had more planes, more MiG-29s, more civilians on the ground would have been saved.

Do you agree with that?

DOZIER: Well, the Pentagon doesn't. They argue that the Ukrainian air force hasn't been very operational in this fight. A lot of their 50 some-odd planes have mostly stayed on the ground. They say the Ukrainian army has already been making great progress with the MANPADS, the other anti-aircraft --

(CROSSTALK)

GOLODRYGA: I'm going to interrupt you right now because we're going to go to President Zelenskyy addressing the Canadian parliament. Let's listen in.

(APPLAUSE)

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: Your courage and the courage of your people inspires us all. You're defending the right of Ukrainians to choose their own future and, in doing so, you're defending the values that form the pillars of all free democratic countries: freedom, human rights, justice, truth, international order (ph).

These are the values you're risking your life for as you fight for Ukraine and Ukrainians. Beyond that, you're inspiring democracies and democratic leaders around the world to be more courageous, more united and to fight harder for what we believe in.

You remind us that friends are always stronger together. With allies and partners, we're imposing crippling sanctions to make sure Putin and his enablers in Russia and Belarus are held accountable.

Today, in line with our European Union partners, I can announce that we have imposed severe sanctions on 15 new Russian officials, including government and military elites, who are complicit in this illegal war.

TRUDEAU (through translator): Canada will continue to support Ukraine with military equipment as well as financial and humanitarian assistance. And we will be there to help rebuild, once the aggressor is repelled. TRUDEAU: In Canada, we like to root for the underdog. We believe

that, when a cause is just and right, it will always prevail, no matter the size of the opponent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hear, hear.

TRUDEAU: This doesn't mean it will be easy. Ukrainians are already paying incalculable human costs. This illegal and unnecessary war is a grave mistake and Putin must stop it now.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUDEAU (through translator): Vladimir Putin's blatant disregard for human life is absolutely unacceptable.

[11:25:00]

TRUDEAU (through translator): Canada continues to demand Russia stops targeting civilians and end this unjustifiable war.

TRUDEAU: Ukrainians are standing up to authoritarianism and, as parliamentarians united in this house today and all Canadians, we stand with you and you can count on our unwavering and steadfast support.

And now, it is my great privilege to introduce to you all, the president of Ukraine, our friend, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

(APPLAUSE)

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.

ZELENSKYY (through translator): Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Speaker, Prime Minister, dear Justin, members of the government, members of the parliament, all distinguished guests, friends, before I begin, I would like you to understand my feelings and feelings of all Ukrainians, as far as it is possible, our feelings over the last 20 days.

Twenty days, our full-scale aggression of Russian Federation, after eight years of fightings in Donbas region, can you only imagine?

Imagine that on the 4:00 am, each of you, you start hearing bomb explosions, severe explosions.

Justin, can you imagine hearing you, your children, hear all these severe explosions, bombing of airport, bombing of Ottawa airport, tens of other cities of your wonderful country, can you imagine that?

Through the cruise missiles being falling down on your territory (ph) and your children asking you, what happened?

And you are seeing the first news, which infrastructure objects have been bombed and destroyed by Russian Federation. And you know how many people already died.

Can you only imagine what words, how can you explain to your children that you just -- a full-scale aggression just happened in your country?

You know, this is war to annihilate your state, your country. You know that this is the war to subjugate your people. And on second day, you receive notifications of huge columns of military equipment are entering your country, crossing the border.

They're entering small cities, they are giving siege, they are encircling cities. And they start to shell civil neighborhoods. They bomb school buildings, they destroyed kindergarten facilities, like in our city, city of Sumy (ph), like in city of Okhtyrka.

Imagine that someone is taking siege, laying siege to Vancouver.

Can you just imagine that for a second and all of these people who are left in such city?

And that is exactly the situation that our city of Mariupol is suffering right now. And they are left without heat or hydro or without means of communicating, almost without food, without water, seeking shelter there in bomb shelters.

Dear Justin, dear guests, can you imagine that, every day, you receive memorandums about the number of casualties, including among women and children?

You've heard about the bombings. Currently, we have 97 children that died during this war.

Can you imagine famous CN Tower in Toronto, if it was hit by Russian bombs?

Of course, I don't wish this on anyone. But this is our reality in which we live. We have to contemplate, we have to where the next bombing will takes place.