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At This Hour

Russia Accused of Targeting Health Care Facilities; NATO Foreign Ministers Gather to Discuss Response; U.S. Imposes New Round of Sweeping Sanctions on Russian Banks, Putin Family; Russian Forces Have Turned Mariupol into "Death Camp"; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Calls for Russia to be Removed from U.N. Security Council. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired April 06, 2022 - 11:00   ET




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

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, I'm Kate Bolduan live in New York.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Brianna Keilar, live in Lviv, Ukraine. We're beginning with breaking news on the war.

Ukrainian officials say heavy fighting is underway right now in the eastern part of the country, where civilians are desperately trying to evacuate. Overnight, Ukraine's military shot down two cruise missiles in Western Ukraine near Lviv, not far from where I am and only about 50 miles from NATO territory in Poland.

Ukraine say the missiles were launched from Russian jets using Belarusian airspace.

We also have some new video of a Russian strike on a children's hospital in the southern city of Mykolaiv. A Ukrainian official says one child was killed and dozens of others were hurt.

NATO leaders are convening in Brussels as the U.S. just announced new sanctions against Russian banking institutions as well as Vladimir Putin's daughters.


KEILAR (voice-over): And there is this touching moment, Pope Francis kissing the Ukrainian flag and condemning the massacre against civilians in Bucha.


KEILAR: I want to begin with CNN's Phil Black, live with me here in Lviv, with heavy fighting underway.

Phil, what can you tell us?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're talking about three key places in the east, Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv. These are the places Russia is expected to bring new offensive operations.

It's already intense there and it's going to get much worse, as Russia resupplies and repositions forces that were most recently near the capital, Kyiv. In Luhansk, officials are saying and telling the local civilian population to get out now while you still can.

Meanwhile, in the southern city of Mykolaiv, they have released video that shows shelling of a children's hospital. The video appears to show munitions exploding among some parked ambulances outside.

A Doctors without Borders team was in another hospital right nearby. They said they also experienced several explosions in the course of 10 minutes, killing at least one person.

As you touched on here, where we are in the Lviv region, Ukrainian officials say their air defense systems knocked out of the sky two cruise missiles, fired from jets operating over Belarus; some explosions and debris, but not serious.

That said, Russia said its cruise missiles hit five separate supply and storage targets all across the country last night. We know at least one of those strikes was successful, because, once again, there is a fuel depot burning in Ukraine. That was in the central region of Dnipropetrovsk.

KEILAR: Yes, they're going after the infrastructure. They want to make it difficult for them to operate. Phil Black, thank you so much.

At this hour, the U.S. and NATO officials are arriving in Brussels to discuss their next punitive actions against Russia. This as the European Union and the White House announced new sanctions against Putin and his inner circle. Nic Robertson is live for us in Brussels.

Nic, what do you think is going to come from these meetings today?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: These NATO meetings of the foreign ministers are going to look at how they can continue to support Ukraine's forces going forward, recognizing the shape of the battle may shift, as Russia moves its forces around.

But the early gains against Russia were partly because Russians overextended. The next phase of the war could be different. So supply lines, logistics, perhaps heavier equipment, tanks, armored vehicles to support not only the surface to air missiles but the Javelins and anti-tank weapons as well. Expect more of that sort of discussion from the NATO foreign

ministers. But at the European Union level, sanctions being prepared, targeting coal, four major Russian banks. Russia's second largest bank will be targeted for sanctions there.

Targeting Russian vessels, Russian-operated vessels, and denying them access to E.U. ports and also targeting high-value exports to Russia, $10.9 billion worth of exports, talking about quantum computers, sophisticated semiconductors.

Also throttling back $6 billion of imports and other controls. Despite all of that, Ukraine's foreign minister, who will be here at NATO -- one of many invited foreign ministers, not members of NATO, partners to them -- he has said, look, we need more. We need bigger, bolder sanctions. Essentially targeting coal alone is not enough.


ROBERTSON: It's a tiny fraction of the billions upon billions spent to Russia on energy by the E.U. since the war began. Coal a tiny fraction of that.

KEILAR: Nic Robertson, live for us in Brussels, thank you so much.

The Justice Department and the FBI have announced new action against Russia. Attorney general Merrick Garland and the FBI director, Christopher Wray, just wrapped up a news conference on these efforts of theirs to target criminal Russian activity.

CNN's Evan Perez is live for us at the Justice Department with the breaking details.

What's in this, Evan?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SR. JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, this was a press conference to talk about some actions that the Justice Department is taking against the Russian government, against some Russian oligarchs.

But one of the big headlines was the announcement from the attorney general, that the Justice Department is helping to collect evidence of potential war crimes in Ukraine. Of course, he was referring to some of those horrific images we've seen from Bucha and from other locations in Ukraine.

The U.S. criminal prosecutors are in France and working with the Europeans to try to collect some of this evidence for potential war crime prosecutions. It's a big, big move by the Justice Department.

Today's press conference, though, was about actions against an oligarch named Konstantin Malofeyev, who has been sanctioned related to his actions in Crimea, going back to 2014. According to the Justice Department, he has been trying to evade sanctions.

So they seized some of his assets today. Here's the attorney general, talking about their efforts on this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Our message to those who continue to enable the Russian regime through their criminal conduct is this: it does not matter how far you sail your yacht.

It does not matter how well you conceal your assets. It does not matter how cleverly you write your malware or hide your online activity. The Justice Department will use every available tool to find you, disrupt your plots and hold you accountable.


PEREZ: Brianna, the efforts they've been making, including seizing a yacht earlier from another Russian oligarch, tells you this effort will continue for years to come, probably.

KEILAR: Years to come. Evan Perez, thank you very much for that reporting.

Let's talk about this with CNN global affairs analyst Susan Glasser. She is a staff writer at "The New Yorker" and retired Army Brig. Gen. Peter Zwack, who served as a senior U.S. Defense attache to the Russian Federation.

Susan, I'm curious what you think about these sanctions, going farther than they ever have before.

But going after Vladimir Putin's two daughters, how is that going to be received by him?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it's not expected to change the direction of war rather than sending a very direct message to Vladimir Putin, saying, we're going to shut you down. And we're going to target your family the way you have targeted the families of your opponents.

It's certainly striking. It shows that sort of the gloves are off and, you know, that they're treating Putin essentially as increasingly a pariah on the world.

Look, the Alfa Bank, the Sberbank sanctions are more significant in terms of their reach. Sberbank is the biggest state-owned bank in Russia, Alfa Bank is the biggest non-state bank. Those are more significant in terms of impact. But this one is really symbolic.

KEILAR: And, General, I'll tell you, you talk to officials here in Ukraine today. And they're angry. And they know that, if you really want to hurt Russia, it really comes down to an oil embargo, which seems like it's just not going to happen in Europe.

Are these really going to work, these sanctions?

BRIG. GEN. PETER ZWACK, U.S. ARMY (RET.): It's time that everybody straps themselves in and do everything they can to get not just the Russian regime's attention but the Russian people's attention and shut down the flow of money that feeds, if you will, Putin's war machine, that comes through petro products. Has to happen now.

There's no way you can justify overt aggression. Now we have atrocities. It's time that everything that can possibly be used to get Russia's attention, regime and people now, and then the arc in it will be to focus it, so that the population ultimately realizes we're not compliant.


ZWACK: Understand that this regime has taken them down a very, very dark path.

KEILAR: Susan, what do you think about that?

The rhetoric we've heard since Bucha, officials here saying when Europeans are turning on their heat and using gas that they pay Russia for, they need to know that money is going to kill Ukrainian women and children. That is the line, that is the anger.

Does it make a difference?

GLASSER: I wish I could say that I thought it did. But it seems the Western world is united against Russia except when it comes to their own pocketbook. Unfortunately, one dynamic here is that Europe had a long time to think about ways to wean itself off Russian energy and it did not do so.

So it's very vulnerable at this point in time to exactly this. Putin was betting on, frankly, Western populations not being willing to pay the price to cut him off. So far, as horrific as that is, you see that happening in Europe, number one.

The other point to make, Brianna, is this is a global commodity and even if you cut off Russian energy, you have India, you have China, you have other countries around the world that have refused to join in on Europe and the United States' efforts to isolate and cut off Russia.

And as long as there are customers for Russian energy in India and China and elsewhere, it is impossible to completely tank the Russian economy.

KEILAR: General, I wonder -- switching topics here -- if you think the Russian forces are done with Kyiv, now that they've moved away from them, at least for this moment.

ZWACK: I think, in this phase, they are done. I think there is still a longer-term aspect of it. A lot is now going to be determined on what happens in Eastern Ukraine and Donbas and the southern, if you will, coast, along the Black Sea.

I think the Russians will keep a force in being in Belarus along there to try to pin down Ukrainian forces. But it looks like -- and it was mentioned earlier in the broadcast. I don't want to overstate it.

But I've sat in the 9 May victory day parade. And it is both an expression of, if you will, a celebration to the defeat of the Nazis in World War II. But it's also a full-blown, muscular chest-beating, thumping of Russian military might.

That's happening in less than six weeks. Yet Putin has nothing to show that. And that is symbolic. So I worry about -- we've talked about Belgorod being hit by the Ukrainians recently. All of that on the rail heads and highways and also the bivouacs and bases for Russian (INAUDIBLE) interior lines close to the Ukrainian border.

So I worry about a massive push in the next few weeks of reconstituted forces and more forces coming in from other places and a lot of artillery, a lot of rockets, a lot of firepower, almost World War I/World War II-like, to try to bludgeon and bloody Ukrainians (INAUDIBLE) in the next four to five weeks.


ZWACK: I think we have to really worry about that.

KEILAR: And I think, General, we're hearing that people, just regular citizens, in those areas, they are very worried about that.

General Zwack, Susan Glasser, thank you both very much.

Kate, back to you in New York.

BOLDUAN: Brianna, thank you. We'll get back to you in a moment.

Coming up, America's top military general says he expected the war in Ukraine to last year.

How is the U.S. preparing for that?

A State Department spokesman joins me next.





BOLDUAN: Russia's unprovoked war on Ukraine is now six weeks long. The mayor of the besieged city of Mariupol putting it this way.

"The world has not seen the scale of a tragedy like in Mariupol since the Nazi concentration camps. The ruscists," Russian fascists, as he calls them, "turned our whole city into a death camp."

U.S. and NATO leaders are is in Brussels now to continue figuring out how to move against Russia in the face of atrocities against the civilians of Ukraine. Joining me now from Brussels is the State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

Ned, thank you for coming in. What is the goal in Brussels this time?

NED PRICE, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: Kate, we are in Brussels. I have spent more time in this city with Secretary Blinken than in any other city on Earth, with the exception of Washington, D.C., because we have been working with our NATO allies hand in glove every day on three elements of our strategy.

One is to provide Ukraine the security assistance, humanitarian assistance, financial and economic assistance. Even within the past 12 hours, you've seen more of that.

Two is to continue increasing the pressure on the Russian Federation.

Within the past our, you have seen additional steps we have taken in coordination with our European partners to do just that, going after Russia's largest public bank, after its largest private bank, after President Putin's family members, family members of other senior Russian officials, and other steps.


PRICE: And then three, what we've been doing the past several months is reassuring NATO, reinforcing NATO, ensuring that our allies, especially our allies on the eastern flank of NATO, are reassured in the face of Russian aggression.

We've made very clear, in public and in private, that any effort to aggress against a NATO country would be met with the full force of this alliance, which has never been more united, more purposeful, more determined, since the end of the Cold War.

BOLDUAN: Ned, on the sanctions against Vladimir Putin's adult children, that are announced today, what do you hope that actually accomplishes?

PRICE: Well, those sanctions were enacted not only against Vladimir Putin's adult children but the children of Sergey Lavrov and other senior Russian officials. It's not just because of blood relations. It's because these are individuals who have profited from the ill- begotten scenes of the Russian people.

They are enabling and empowering senior Russian officials. Not only is it the family members that we have gone after but it's the cronies, it's the oligarchs, it is everyone who is a part of and who is directly surrounding the war machine that President Putin is using to wage this brutal aggression against the Ukrainian people.

BOLDUAN: Ned, is it also just to make Vladimir Putin mad?

PRICE: Well, certainly everything we have done has sought to turn up the pressure on Vladimir Putin and the key decision makers around him.

This is not about emotion; this is about what's in our national interests. It's about what's in the interests of the Ukrainian people and making it very clear to Vladimir Putin that he has a choice to make.

He can continue to wage this war in Ukraine or he can relent. But if not, he is going to continue to devastate his economy, to lead to a Russia that is more enfeebled on the world stage and a Russia that is facing already a strategic defeat.

There is no question that, regardless of whenever and however this conflict ends, Russia will be weaker, Russia will be poorer, Russia will not be in a position to undertake this kind of aggression again.

BOLDUAN: One area I want to ask you about is the U.N. Security Council. President Zelenskyy yesterday calling out the Security Council, saying that the U.N. Security Council exists. And yet there is no security in the world for anyone. What he's doing is he's questioning the very purpose and mandate of that body.

How is he wrong?

PRICE: Well, he's not wrong to question what the Russians are doing and the Security Council.


BOLDUAN: But what I'm saying is questioning the power of the entire body, including what they can do, because what he's saying is they're supposed to be looking over the security of the world.

And one of the members sitting on that body, yes, with veto power, is the one committing these atrocities.

What security are they providing?

PRICE: Well, again, on that front he's not wrong. The Security Council is there to address threats to peace and security. It's been that way since the end of World War II.

Russia is subverting that, just as it is subverting every other principle that has undergirded the peace, prosperity and security of the World War II post era.

But you take a look at the broader U.N. system and you see that 140 countries in various votes have stood up to condemn Russian aggression, to make clear they are standing on the side of Ukraine, that they are standing against what Vladimir Putin is doing.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely, Ned.

But when it comes down to effective and actual, tangible action, is there really nothing the other members of the Security Council can do to Russia?

PRICE: You have seen members of the Security Council, whether under their own authorities, as part of a multilateral institution like NATO, or as part of other groupings or alliances, have stepped up to provide the assistance that the Ukrainian people need -- security assistance, humanitarian assistance, financial assistance, economic assistance.

What we are doing now at the U.N. and what you're going to see this week is an effort that the U.S. is driving, to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council.

We are going to do everything we can to see to it that the Russian Federation is not able to abuse its place in the international system, that it cannot use the purchase that it has, including in the U.N. system, to spread propaganda, to spread disinformation and to spread lies that it has used to explain, to substantiate what it is doing in Ukraine.

BOLDUAN: I understand that. A Ukrainian MP, though, told me this week that symbolic gestures like kicking them off of the Human Rights Council are fine but they need more than symbols at this point when you see what's coming out of there.


BOLDUAN: Ned, thank you. We'll see what comes out of the Brussels meetings.

Coming up, a new view of Bucha, as Russian forces shoot and kill a Ukrainian walking with his bicycle.