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At This Hour

Helicopter Crash Kills Ukraine's Interior Minister, 13 Others; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses World Leaders at WEF. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired January 18, 2023 - 11:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thank you so much for being here.

We're going to start in Ukraine, where 14 people are dead now -- at least 14 people, after a helicopter crash near a kindergarten outside Kyiv.

Also, any minute, we'll be hearing from President Zelenskyy himself. He'll be speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

I do want to go first to Fred Pleitgen, who is standing by in Ukraine.

Fred, what are you learning?



PLEITGEN: We're in a residential area just outside of Kyiv, in a place called Brovary. It's already pretty dark here. It's difficult to see a lot of --


PLEITGEN: -- for some sort of saw or something. That area, where you see the two trucks, that's exactly where that helicopter came down. We were able to speak to an eyewitness a couple minutes ago.

That eyewitness said the helicopter was coming in low. To that eyewitness, it didn't necessarily seem as though it was having problems but certainly it was losing altitude. It hit a nursery, a kindergarten. Tragically, one child died.

Apparently this happened around the time people were dropping their children off. There were several people injured and killed on the ground. The helicopter then hit that nursery, then fell forward and came and crashed down near the entrance to a residential building, where that chopper then apparently completely exploded.

There was a huge fire afterwards, as people are describing. All the people inside that chopper, all were killed. Of course, we have to point out, this was the leadership of the interior ministry of Ukraine.

It was the interior minister himself, who was very close to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, also someone active here in politics in Ukraine and very active in the defense of this country as well.

A lot of the units of the interior ministry, like the national police, are hugely active in the defense of Ukraine. He was definitely a rising star, almost, if you will, in Ukrainian politics. I got to spend time with him last year after the Russians came out of the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl.

He certainly seemed like someone who was really on board with the defense of this country.

The deputy interior minister also among those killed and the state secretary as well. And a large part of the rest of the leadership of this country. What we are hearing is that the chopper was apparently on its way to the northeast, to Kharkiv, when it came down. And it's still unclear why the helicopter crashed, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you for being there, Fred.

This tragedy does come as Ukraine's president is about to make another plea to world leaders for more help. He will be addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos. CNN's Richard Quest joins us.

Richard, the first lady of Ukraine addressed the forum yesterday with a very passionate speech, very strong remarks.

What is the discussion there among world leaders on Ukraine?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: I think what we're going to hear is a follow-up in a sense from what the first lady said yesterday.

Her message was, look, how bad does it have to get?

How close to a nuclear battle do you want?

How many more lives do you want to lose?

And it was a powerful message from the first lady.

Now you're going to have Zelenskyy himself. His message, I'm pretty certain, once he's dealt with the awfulness of today's events, will be this: that helicopter -- yes, helicopter crashes but that helicopter was only in the air on this mission because of the war.

Those people would be alive now if it wasn't for the war. I'm pretty certain as well he's going to make the strong argument: send tanks, send heavy armaments. This is what we need. I've already heard from the German chancellor, who says, we'll do whatever they want, we'll send what they need. But at the same time he's refusing to send the German Leopard 2 tanks.

The Polish prime minister said we will send them and we want France and Germany to send them, too. What you're looking at, Kate, is a very complex situation. This helicopter crash is a touchstone in a way that allows Zelenskyy today to say to these people here, put your money where your mouth is.

Don't just keep telling me you support me. You've sent me a lot, it's not enough.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Richard, thank you so much for putting the focus for us on it.

We'll be standing by to hear from Zelenskyy himself. In the meantime, while we're waiting for Zelenskyy to get up and going, joining me is former CNN Moscow bureau chief, Jill Dougherty.

Good to see you, Jill. Richard said it very well what is at stake from these remarks coming from Zelenskyy and the powerful, passionate message he'll be delivered.


BOLDUAN: He has been forced to make appeals like this many times in the last year since the invasion.

What does this appeal in this moment, to this particular forum, what do you think it does?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it really, Kate, encapsulates the rest of the fighting that is to come. The war has changed. We still have these attacks. We saw what happened in Dnipro.

But the fighting in many different places right now is close combat. That's why they need tanks, to really go in and get close to the enemy and be able to attack.

And attacking not just defense but actually having attack in the spring. They're going to have another offensive, Ukraine. And they need the tanks. So it's a very specific thing. In Europe it's political.

But the key would have to be Germany, both for Germany to provide the Leopard 2 tanks and for Germany to give the green light to other NATO allies to provide them as well.

BOLDUAN: What is the resistance?

Germany has been a focus of this and there's been mounting pressure to send these more modern war advanced tanks. The U.K. has announced it's sending 10, a dozen tanks over -- I have also heard from retired generals, like Wesley Clark was on yesterday, who said, 10 tanks, OK; they need 300 to 500 to make a difference. DOUGHERTY: Think about this: you're in the middle of Europe. And

this war, that began in such an unexpected way at the very beginning, that now has morphed into this giant battle, almost like a World War I battle in the middle of Europe.

So I think each country, especially Germany looking at that, is saying, boy, this is RAY: escalating to the point we now have to go back to war on the European land mass.

So I think, you know, there's part of that is really difficult.

And then it's the old debate, how much do you put in there without starting a war directly with Russia?

I think that debate is diminishing, because Putin is not showing any sign of stopping or even be willing to talk at this point. But that has been the debate, you know, the danger of escalation to the point that you actually could have a war.

But I think the first lady of Ukraine really drove it home: this war could escalate, it could spread, it may not be just Ukraine involved.

So you, Europeans, are very much on the line. You have to show that you support Ukraine, because it's in your own interest. I think that's potent.


BOLDUAN: And part of the warning from the first lady, she said Russian aggression was never intended to be restricted to Ukraine's borders.

Do you have any doubt that is true, if Russia is not decisively stopped?

DOUGHERTY: You know, that's a question of whether they would actually go into other countries in Europe, because so many members of Europe are members of NATO.

Would Russia start a war with NATO?

I tend to doubt that, because they will be defeated. I think they know that. But there are other ways that Russia can destabilize, grab certain parts of other countries that aren't necessarily members of NATO. There's a lot of damage that can come from this short of nuclear war or war with tanks in other countries.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

Jill is going to stick around. We'll bring you the remarks from President Zelenskyy at Davos. We will get back to that shortly.

We're watching new and graphics evidence laid out in court just now against the man charged with killing his missing wife. That's next.




FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: -- directly from Kyiv, live from the president of Ukraine.

BOLDUAN: All right, we're going to break in right now. Fareed Zakaria is introducing Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, addressing the World Economic Forum.

ZAKARIA: Mr. President.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Ladies and gentlemen, 10 hours ago, a tragedy happened near Kyiv. A helicopter crashed and (INAUDIBLE) internal affairs of Ukraine, his (INAUDIBLE) and helicopter went down near a kindergarten.

(INAUDIBLE) today and many more (INAUDIBLE). Losing daily because of the war. And I shall ask you to honor the memory of every person Ukraine has lost with a minute of silence, please.

Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you for this minute, only one minute but it keeps the memory of so many people.

Ukraine have lost thousands, including three minutes on January 14th, three minutes, the time it took for a Russian missile to travel hundreds of kilometers, hit a residential park in Dnipro and killed at least 45 people, 45 adults and children, 45.

My address will be short, because the time we are short of. About small minutes, about years, (INAUDIBLE). Three years ago I spoke at Davos for the first time in person. The topic was how to build a cohesive and sustainable world.

I'm talking online now and the topic is how to cooperate in a divided, fragmented world (INAUDIBLE). The world with not keep the pace with changes and challenges. The list of crises -- global security, environmental, food security, energy wants -- needs to be amended with another one, the time crisis.

The list of calls for decisive (INAUDIBLE) joint actions needs to be expanded with one more, the call for speed. The speed of decisions making, reaction of the civilized world.


ZELENSKYY: Tragedies are outpacing life (ph), the tyranny is outpacing the democracy. Russia needed less than one second to start the war. The world needed days to react with (INAUDIBLE) sanctions.

The time the free world uses to think is used by the terrorism state to kill. Ukraine and its allies have been resisting it for almost a year. This period proved all of our form (ph) actions brought positive results.

The opening of European borders, (INAUDIBLE) the grain deal, the energy unity, together they saved millions, millions of lives and not only in Ukraine. It is not only Ukraine but the whole world needs exactly this pace of decisions and actions.

The world was hesitant in 2015 when Russia, without hesitation, occupied Crimea. The world was hesitant in 2022, when Russia without hesitation made the war (INAUDIBLE). The world must not hesitate today and ever. (INAUDIBLE) the world needs result and speed.

Russia is exporting terror. Russia is spreading the stream of the war around the world. Ukraine offers the world a peaceful place (INAUDIBLE) steps and the world must make faster than Russia makes its (INAUDIBLE).

The positive of the world must outpace the next military organization of our joint enemy. The supplying of Ukraine with air defense systems must outpace Russia's next missile attacks.

The supplies of Western tanks must outpace another invasion of Russian tanks. Desperation of security and peace in Ukraine must outpace Russia's attacks on security and peace in our (INAUDIBLE). A tribunal for military crimes must prevent new ones.

The extension of NATO and the E.U. must outdo this threat of the Russian aggression. We routinely defend values, which some (INAUDIBLE) take for granted as a fact of life. For us, the fact of life is a world in need of resolute and firm steps.

Ladies and gentlemen, three years ago was my first time at the WEF. It was a time when the world was fighting COVID-19. It fought and won. Now the world is fighting against Putin. In three years, we will be discussing new challenges and threats in the world.

What will this mean?

It will mean we will definitely overcome the current threat. If history repeats itself, (INAUDIBLE) the world either fails to notice or underestimates a threat. That it unites to resist it and then the world wins every time.

The same outcome, the world overcame a schism that apartheid and (INAUDIBLE) the indifference to climate changes and (INAUDIBLE) and the Kremlin strength, the world will overcome again.

This is how much can be said in a matter of minutes. This is how much can be understood in a matter of minutes. The world will overcome again. The time is high to make it happen faster for Ukraine.


ZAKARIA: Mr. President, thank you so much for that moving address. Let me ask you a few questions. I know how pressed you are, so thank you in advance for this.


ZAKARIA: Of course, let me extend my condolences and I think everybody in this audience's condolences for the terrible tragedy that took place in Ukraine.

In November and December, the world watched with amazement as Ukrainian forces liberated one town and city after another. It seems now as though the war has moved into something that looks more like a stalemate.

Can you tell us what the war looks like to you on the front lines right now?

ZELENSKYY: (INAUDIBLE). Thank you so much at this.

ZAKARIA: The question, you know --


ZELENSKYY (through translator): You know, Fareed, thank you for your condolences, by the way. I think -- the war doesn't look good, it has not been good since the beginning. And really in wintertime it slows down for long understandable reasons.

Everyone gets tired. The nature is the people and thank God the enemy, too. How it looks, it looks as follows. Daily are those fights in the east of our country. We are standing strongly, resolutely.

I'm thankful to all of our (INAUDIBLE), the living ones, the ones that we unfortunately lost for their bravery. It's important to know that we are strong (INAUDIBLE) our country but it's really hard but we are also strong inside the nation, inside our state.

We are united, we are organized because we are motivated. It was not us who started the war but it is us who will have to end it. End it, our lands, having it deoccupied do respect for our people and our sovereignty.

As for the other parts of our nation, the south, the north parts, we don't control the situation and definitely processes have slowed down a bit for a variety of reasons. And it is not just about us keeping united inside the country.

We need to have the whole world united and our joint values. And because of that, we truly need to continue that support of Ukraine, to continue with supplies of necessary, a mission that is required to (INAUDIBLE) enemy on the battlefield.

We also need intervention support of this. I would like to thank all the nations, the European Union for the support of our budget deficit and continuing to support us this year.

I also think it is really important that, you know, given the energy challenges that we are seeing, and these are surely related to disrespect of the human kind, you know, attacks against our grid, against our energy sector, with Iranian drones, with Russian missiles (INAUDIBLE) inside the country.

Because of that, we definitely need assistance from our partners with air defense system, lots of these (INAUDIBLE) this deficit. But I would like to all, many countries worldwide for their assistance, also with alternative energy connectivity solutions.

From what it looks like now, Russia intends to get this revenge and we think that they will succeed because they're fighting with just Ukraine but a whole civilized approach toward life. Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Yesterday, in Davos, Henry Kissinger suggested that, while Ukraine must be supported -- and in fact he came out in favor of Ukraine's membership in NATO -- there must also be a dialogue with Russia, because Russia must be a part of the global order. You know Russia very well. You speak Russian fluently.


ZAKARIA: What are your thoughts on Russia's place in the world?

ZELENSKYY (through translator): I don't know the proper place for it.

I think that Russia has already earned a place among terrorists. And this no longer depends on their leadership. Now I think their leaders are no longer affecting the developments.

The Russian Federation, its culture and so on, everything depends on the strength of Ukraine, its support by the partners, the political support from abroad as well as from the Russian society.

They have to open their eyes if they want to see the future of their Russian Federation with their eyes. They have to recognize their own mistakes. They will have to recognize their statutes. They will have to really respect our territorial integrity.

I am really glad to hear that Mr. Kissinger changed his mind. Our priority today, our political task today is see the different political leaders and figures, those who are still very relevant or have been relevant until recently, for them to be able to recognize the great mistake that Putin has committed.

For them to recognize this is Russia's aggression. These moments, it is very important for them as well to politically pressure on Russia to stop this bloody aggression. As regards NATO, we clearly understand that security guarantees are among the top priorities for us.

Speaking of our formula (ph) for peace, it is a (INAUDIBLE) priorities. We understand that, at the moment, we are not (INAUDIBLE). Unfortunately, Russia does understand this as well and they do their damnedest to not make it easy for us to join (ph).

But we are on the wait list NATO because that is the best security guarantee for us, for our country, for our kids, for our country. So we have suggested security guarantees of our nation and we think that the civilized world is going to support our proposals.

ZAKARIA: Finally, Mr. President, the accident -- the helicopter crash, we think, was an accident. We hope it was an accident. But it did raise in my mind -- and, of course, must have raised in your mind -- the question of your own safety.

Do you feel that there are still ongoing, active threats that are increasing?

Do you worry about your own security every day?

ZELENSKYY (through translator): No, I'm not worried about that.

ZELENSKYY: I don't have anything to add here.


ZAKARIA: You don't need a ride, you need ammunition, right?

ZELENSKYY (through translator): No, nothing has changed. We still need ammunition. I'm not in haste to (INAUDIBLE), to anywhere.


ZELENSKYY (through translator): Just to add, with your permission, you said accident. I'd like to tell you that, because of the war experience that I have now, like our society has now, this is not an accident because it has been due to war.

And the war has many dimensions, not just on the battlefield. There are no accidents at wartime. These are all war results. Absolutely, although steps, everything happening, missiles striking our civilians, our kids being killed in kindergartens and schools, someone might (INAUDIBLE) this information that it was our school.

Yet our own civilians are in the crosshairs and they just wanted to hit some power block and that's just a mishap. And this is different. Just empty words.