Return to Transcripts main page

At This Hour

Russia Attacking Kyiv and Chernihiv Despite Claims of Deescalation; U.S. President Joe Biden to Speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy; Five Killed in Israel Shooting Attack; GOP Senator Susan Collins Will Vote to Confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired March 30, 2022 - 11:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Kate Bolduan. Russian forces continue to attack areas around Kyiv and Chernihiv hours after Moscow pledged to scale back operations in those very locations. Ukrainian officials tell CNN there were no areas without sirens overnight.

Clearly what Russia does versus what it says has proven to be very different things. The worst of it seen in these aerial views over Mariupol, entire city blocks completely destroyed by Russian attacks.

This morning Ukraine's president is again pleading for more weapons, for help. He is also asking to block Russian ships to punish them for the war. Phil Black is live in Lviv.

These attacks continue, despite what Russia promised.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kate. Ukrainian military seeing some equipment and units pulling away, being sent into Belarus. But the end of violence and attacks around the capital city, Kyiv, and Chernihiv, is not being felt. Ukrainian officials say there were still more strikes and shelling around Kyiv and Chernihiv.

There's an increasingly desperate humanitarian situation there and John Berman spoke to the Chernihiv mayor, who said last night things were actually worse.


MAYOR VLADYSLAV ATROSHENKO, CHERNIHIV (through translator): They're saying about reducing intensity, they actually have increased the intensity of strikes. Yes, today, we've had a colossal mortar attack on the center of Chernihiv; 25 people have been wounded and are now in hospital. They're all civilians.

So whenever Russia says something, this needs to be checked carefully.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLACK: So the mayor says they've got a week, maybe 10 days, of food and medicine left. It's pretty desperate there.

Meanwhile, President Zelenskyy has addressed politicians in Norway. He put his message to this long coastal country and said he believes Russian ships should be banned from all ports around the world.

And he believes Ukraine's fight is keeping Russian munitions away from Norway. He repeated his call for weapons that will even the fight, stressing again anti-aircraft, anti-tank weapons, that he hopes can wipe out Russia's hardware advantage.

BOLDUAN: CNN also just learned that the U.S. now believes Vladimir Putin, quote, is being "misinformed," about how his military is performing in Ukraine. And word just in that President Biden is speaking to Ukraine's leader today. CNN's Jeremy Diamond is at the White House.

Let me get over there.

Jeremy, what do you hear about this call?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Nothing yet. It was set to start at 10:45 am. And it comes just a day after President Biden spoke to several key NATO allies, including France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy. So another crucial call by the president to his Ukrainian counterpart.

Separately I am learning from a U.S. official that the U.S. intelligence assessment is that President Putin is being, quote, "misinformed" by his advisers about how badly the Russian military is performing in Ukraine.

And he's also being misinformed by other advisers about how badly the U.S. and international sanctions on the Russian economy have been impacting that economy.


DIAMOND: This official tells me this is based on recently declassified new intelligence findings by the U.S. intelligence community and that it also believes -- that the U.S. also believes that Putin has become aware of some of this misinformation by his advisers, that he, quote, "felt misled" by the Russian military, according to this official.

And that has led to tension between the Russian president and his ministry of defense. The U.S. releasing this information is part of a pattern from the White House of declassifying intelligence findings try to get ahead of Russian military movements or to try to influence what's happening in Russia.

So we should look at this, of course, through that lens. But certainly interesting that the U.S. intelligence information is that Vladimir Putin being misled by his military advisers, leading to tensions there in Russia -- Kate? BOLDUAN: Stick close in case you get anything more out of this. Jeremy, thank you.

The destruction by President Putin's forces is nothing short of catastrophic in Mariupol.


BOLDUAN (voice-over): These are new satellite images and they show entire city blocks, homes, buildings just wiped out. CNN's Ivan Watson is live in Ukraine with more on this.

Ivan, it's hard to find the right words to describe these images.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, this is what you get, when you have a modern-day siege for about a month -- and I've now talked to dozens of evacuees, who have escaped from Mariupol. And they all described day after day after day of bombardment coming out of artillery and airstrikes.

And they said in recent weeks, warships in the Sea of Azov began opening fire. There are Ukrainian defenders in Mariupol, fighting back. But the end result has been the decimation of a modern day city.

I would say more than half of the evacuees, civilians who I interviewed, who escaped and came to this city of Zaporizhzhya, have described to me their own apartments being destroyed.

Then you get these aerial images and this is what it looks like when you just throw huge amounts of firepower against a city. The battlefields of this war that we are seeing in Ukraine, they're not in open fields and in forests. They're taking place in the cities and towns of this country. And this is the end result.

And what we do not know, because of the kind of ongoing battle here, is just how many civilians may have been victims of this deadly bombardment. But I can tell you there are several cases that stick out: the bombing of a maternity hospital, the bombing of a theater that hundreds of civilians had been taking shelter in, where the ceiling collapsed of the main auditorium on the civilians who had been taking shelter there.

If and when the guns stop, there will be a lot of digging to do to find out just how many innocent civilians are victims of this just horrifying bombardment -- back to you.

BOLDUAN: And you can't lose sight of that. Hearing from the evacuees as you have, Ivan, has been really important tracking this on a daily basis. Thank you, Ivan.

Coming up, Russia attacking the very cities it vowed to reduce and scale back on striking. I'll speak with Ukraine's former president -- ahead.





BOLDUAN: As Russia continues striking Ukraine, there's a growing concern that talks between Ukraine and Russia may be a stall tactic. Let me bring in CNN global affairs analyst Susan Glasser and retired Gen. Wesley Clark.

General, Russia saying it's reducing activity and aggression and then not doing that.

What is that about?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Of course you can't trust Russia's word. But this is the way they're covering their withdrawal north of Kyiv. Other forces are being sent to reinforce the Donbas.

Meanwhile, diplomacy is a cover for this, a way of getting information, dividing the West. But the basic thing is what Russia says is just the strategy of winning the war against Ukraine.

BOLDUAN: It's creating confusion that can be part of the strategy.

CLARK: That's exactly right. They like to sow confusion. But they're not giving up their positions, just to be clear, Kate. They're holding their position with reinforcements and artillery. And they'll come back in there at the appropriate time if the Ukrainians can't destroy it. And then they'll advance.

It may take two weeks, it may take a month. The diplomacy is unlikely to yield anything that is acceptable to both sides. So it's just a way of continuing the struggle on another battlefield.


BOLDUAN: And, Susan, add to this that the U.S. believes Putin is being misinformed about his military's performance. According to the U.S., they're too afraid to tell Putin the truth.

What do you think about it?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think what the general said, sadly, is the situation we're in right now, which is to be very distrustful of the Russians. And remember that Vladimir Putin is a very isolated leader, who has launched this war, not because of some popular outcry in Russia but because he himself, the dictator, wanted (INAUDIBLE).

There's a bias on his part. But it's also borne of experience, Vladimir Putin doesn't calculate casualties in war as perhaps Western republics who are seeing this do. For him, this may be a price even that the disastrous high casualties are a price he's willing to pay for, as he sees it, reconquering Ukraine and adding it back into the Russian empire. So he's done this in Chechnya, we've seen it in Syria and, from his

point of view, he saw success. So that's, I think, a very alarming scenario we have to take into account here.


And General, if it's the case that his advisers are essentially lying to President Putin about how badly it's going, what does that mean for military strategy?

CLARK: The Russians are taught in their schooling that information is critical and secrecy in information is important. They're taught to lie to each other. They know they don't get the truth from their subordinates at any level of the chain of command. Putin knows this, he knows he's being lied to.

Really, he doesn't care. He knows about the lies. He wants what he wants, so he puts the pressure and the torque downward regardless of the lies.

So for us, we're very -- we put a high premium on being candid. We teach our soldiers in maneuvers, learn from your mistakes, admit your mistakes. What Russians are told is to do as you are told. Then they lie to cover failures and the superiors expect they are lied to. So they discount what gets reported.

It's the Russian way. It worked in World War II. It's not working very well on this battlefield so far.

BOLDUAN: Susan, what can't be lost is the humanitarian crisis created by all this. The U.N. says 4 million have fled Ukraine. It's a huge and immediate problem we're seeing unfolding.

But what does this look like more long-term?

GLASSER: Kate, this is a situation where your neighbor's house is on fire and the neighborhood has stepped up, Poland and other countries, to welcome literally millions of people in a short amount of time.

But if the fire continues for a long time, then you have to make different arrangements. Unfortunately, we're looking at a situation, where this is not going to be a lightning fast war; this is a permanent disruption in some way for months, if not for years, for many people.

By the way, as the attacks continue, you're likely to see more refugees, not to mention the millions of internally displaced people inside Ukraine. It's not just the 4 million who have left the country.

So I think we're talking about a very long-term crisis that Europe is only at the beginning of reckoning with. Again, this is part of Vladimir Putin's strategy, just like lying in negotiations.

Disrupting millions of people's lives is actually part of the Russian war aim, to keep Ukraine weak. And that, I think, unfortunately, is a part of what he succeeded in doing, even if he hasn't succeeded militarily yet.

BOLDUAN: Susan Glasser, Wesley Clark, thank you for being here.

At this hour, Israeli forces have arrested several people in a shooting rampage that killed five people near Tel Aviv yesterday. Police say one of the victims, who was killed, he was killed while holding a baby. This is the third deadly attack in Israel since last week. Hadas Gold is covering Tel Aviv right now.

What more are you learning?

HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, I'm in the orthodox neighborhood just east of Tel Aviv, where this attack took place. Behind me there is a small memorial set up in honor of the five victims killed in the attack.

It started on this street, when an assailant came down the street with an M-16 rifle, first killing two Ukrainian civilians hanging out outside of the convenience store behind me. And afterward, he turned on that father holding his young baby, who, thankfully, was unhurt.


GOLD: Then two police officers engaged with the attacker, killing him. One police officer was shot, dying from his wounds.

As you noted, Kate, this is the third deadly mass attack in Israel in just the past week. It's bringing the death toll this week to 11 people killed.

On Sunday, north of Tel Aviv, two people were killed and six people were wounded. In Be'er Sheva, four people were killed in a stabbing and ramming attack. There is a lot of concern that this is a new wave of terror, especially that, in a unique twist of the calendar, Kate, Ramadan, Passover and Easter are overlapping.

And security officials are worried that will only further inflame and increase the violence.

BOLDUAN: Hadas, thank you very much.

Coming up, it's been three days since that shocking moment at the Oscars. The Academy is now considering taking action against Will Smith. That's next.





BOLDUAN: Just in to CNN, Republican senator Susan Collins announcing she will vote yes to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. She is the first Republican to say she will support the Biden nominee. And now her confirmation will have some bipartisan support. Collins explained her position this morning.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): I came to the conclusion that she clearly had the credentials, the experience, the qualifications and the integrity that I look for in a Supreme Court justice.

I'm sure that I won't agree with every decision that she casts on the court. I haven't agreed with every decision that any of the justices, for whom I've voted, have cast on the court.


BOLDUAN: If confirmed, Jackson will become the first Black woman on the Supreme Court and only the sixth woman in the court's history.

Also developing today, the Board of Governors for the Academy Awards will be meeting tonight to address the growing fallout from Will Smith's shocking onstage slap of Chris Rock during the Oscars. CNN's Stephanie Elam is live from Los Angeles following this.

Stephanie, what is the Academy saying and doing now?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Definitely people have been waiting, Kate, for the Academy to do something about this, figuring out how this would be responded to and how to keep this from happening in the future. Now we have more of an idea.

We have this letter that went from the president and also the CEO of the organization to its membership. Let me read to you in part what it says.

It says, "We are upset and outraged that those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior on stage by a nominee. To be clear, we condemn Mr. Smith's actions that transpired Sunday night.

"As outlined in our bylaws, the Academy's Board of Governors will now make a determination on appropriate action for Mr. Smith. This must follow an official process that will take a few weeks."

What happened in a stunning moment there in the Dolby Theater on Sunday night is going to be a main priority.

If you're wondering if the Academy Board of Governors feels like this is something they really need to address and it wasn't OK, keep in mind, Whoopi Goldberg is one of the Board of Governors members of the Academy and she has spoken about this on "The View." Take a listen to what she said.


WHOOPI GOLDBERG, TV SHOW HOST: There are big consequences.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There has to be. GOLDBERG: Yes, because nobody, nobody is OK with what happened.

Nobody, nobody, nobody. What's happening are people are now starting to calm down and say, wait a minute, what could have triggered that?

And the reason they didn't go and take him out is because that would have been another 15-20 minute explanation of why we're taking the Black man out five seconds before they're about to decide whether he's won on Oscar or not.


ELAM: I can tell you, Kate, as I was in the theater while the Oscars were happening, there was a lot of kerfuffle down in that front area, trying to decide what to do but it was a live broadcast. And I know a lot of people are thinking, this is what they should have done.

But it's easier to decide that when you're removed the situation than in the moment and during a live broadcast.

BOLDUAN: Good to see you, Stephanie, thank you very much.

Joining me now for more on this is Eric Deggans, a TV critic for NPR.

Thank you for coming in. The Academy is saying it's going to take appropriate action but also saying it could take weeks.

I saw that and I wondered, why do you think that is?

Why weeks?



DEGGANS: You know, as Howard Stern said, you know, we've seen the tape.


DEGGANS: What more do they have to do?

I can imagine you might have a meeting with the producers and the creative team to understand what everyone saw happen. But they have it on videotape. I think what they need and want is time for this to cool down. We're still in the heat of the moment.

A lot of people are still talking about it and I think they want to make their decision out of the glare and the heat of this --