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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Human Impact Of Ukraine War; Ukraine Forms International Legion; Russia & Iran Nuclear Deal. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired March 07, 2022 - 17:00   ET



CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN HOST: Hello, and welcome. I'm Christina Macfarlane, in for Bianca Nobilo. This is THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

Europe is being warned to prepare for up to 5 million Ukrainian refugees as more video circulate of civilians being targeted.

Then, Ukraine forms an international legion with 20,000 foreign volunteers, as Russia also looked to supplement its forces with foreign fighters.

And a debrief on Russia's role in the Iran nuclear deal. Why its new demands could delay an agreement.

Now, the European Union warns there could be as many as 5 million Ukrainian refugees who will need help if Russia presses ahead with its military

offensive. But right now, the most urgent concern is ensuring civilian who want to flee the country make it out alive.

Ukraine's foreign ministry is accusing Russia of sabotaging evacuation routes for civilians in several regions. It also says continued

bombardments and missile attacks are jeopardizing safe passage for people across the country. Ukraine is rejecting Moscow's offer to create

evacuation routes that would take them to Russia or Belarus.

French President Emmanuel Macron is also condemning the offer, calling it moral and political cynicism. He said there must be a complete cease-fire

to get civilians out of the conflict zone.

And our CNN's Sam Kiley has been covering the desperate attempts of Ukrainians to flee the country by train. He joins us now from Dnipro.

Sam, good to have you with us.

The humanitarian toll, as we have been saying, is mounting here by the hour. And at the same time, that Russia are targeting civilians, they're

also forcing refugees into these Russian and Belarusian humanitarian corridors as we've been saying. Could people be forced into taking these

limited options at this point out of sheer desperation?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christina, I think that the truth of the matter is that at the moment, those routes that

have been offered, at least in the last offer yesterday by Russia, in many cases actually involved walking through the conflict, involved people

moving through north and northwest Kyiv. They involved people moving through the front line -- literally the front line north of Kharkiv, and

they would have involved people moving through contested areas outside Mariupol, and that's just a handful. I think there are a couple of others

al suggesting they move in those directions.

Now, if you examine Russian performance in history in the past, there would be no reason to assume that this latest offer would be any better. It's not

an offer. If it were to materialize, and there's almost zero chance of that, it would be an opportunity for the Russians to hold a ceasefire in

areas where they're under the most military pressure. Arguably, this is in the words as Macron indicated Russians using civilians to slow the pace of

counterattacks to maybe even give them time, the Russians that is, time for a bit of a breather during which they may be able to reorganize and launch

more attacks going forward.

So, the answer is, I think, it's very unlikely any civilians would take it. Clearly, if they're being forced into a route that takes them into the land

of their enemy, then that would be a coercive act. There's no question about that, Christina.

MACFARLANE: Absolutely. Despite what you say, Sam, it hasn't stopped Russia from proposing a new cease-fire again, a new humanitarian corridor

on the same terms. Just in the past hour, actually, they've mentioned plans for a new cease-fire on Tuesday morning.

At this stage, Sam, what are the chances of any corridor actually opening up and happening given, as you say, that Ukraine have rejected Russia on

their terms before? And how desperate are the people coming? I know you have been around them there, watching women and children flee. How frantic

is it becoming on the ground?

KILEY: Well, on the ground in towns like Zaporizhzhia, where the Russians are 30 miles away, very close to a nuclear power station that the Russians

attacked, occupied, and with which the International Atomic Energy Authority no longer has any proper communication, and therefore no

monitoring capacity, and a town which has fighting just 30 miles away from it elsewhere, Zaporizhzhia is a pretty good example of that, because it

hasn't yet been attacked as such.


Its civilian numbers haven't been attacked and yet, large numbers indeed are leaving on every train they possibly can heading west. Special trains

have been put on there. And I think it's a very good example of the energy and fear that drives people who need to get out. Much, much worse scenes a

merge in the Kyiv and Kharkiv, which you said is the next two biggest cities -- rather the two biggest cities in the country that have had their

civilian areas hammered by the Russians.

The numbers of people flooding out of the country reached $1.7 million. That's up 700,000 in the last few days, Christina. It is urgent for them.

But the chances of them going into the hands of the Russians are close nil.

MCAFARLANE: All right. Sam Kiley, thank you for your reporting there from Dnipro.

Well, officials in one strategic Ukrainian port city say they're successfully keeping Russian tanks at bay. Intense fighting broke out in

Mykolaiv. The city's mayor says they've been bombarded with dozens of rockets.

The CNN team is on the ground have seen evidence that cluster immune munitions landed near civilian areas.

Our Nick Paton Walsh is there speaking to people who are simply trying to survive a gruesome, unprovoked war.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): Ruslan has worked here 13 days straight, and is from Crimea, where Russian state

propaganda still calls this a special operation against Nazis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): I am from Crime and my friends who live there think it's just like that. And I have to say that my former friends

you betray me, you are supporting Putin who is a fascist, a real one. My family is hiding in the basement now because of you monsters. I'm telling

you it's really scary to watch it. My friends who are in Kyiv and Kharkiv and Sumy, they are sitting in the basements. And hiding because they are

being bombed by Russian missiles. When will it stop?


MCFARLANE: Well, the pain, anger and despair of Ukrainian civilians on full display there, and it really is heartbreaking to watch. You can find

Nick Paton Walsh's full report here on

By its actions, Russia has given up any pretense to its claim it's not killing civilians. This video clearly shows Russian tanks and soldiers in a

residential neighborhood in the city of Irpin, near Kyiv. An apartment resident apparently filmed it. Russian shelling killed a family of four

Sunday at an evacuation checkpoint there.

And this video from Kharkiv shows a neighborhood devastated by Russian strikes. The U.N. says more than 400 civilians have been killed across

Ukraine since the war started, and says it's likely the actual number is considerably higher.

CNN military analyst, General Wesley Clark, is a former NATO supreme allied commander for Europe and a senior fellow at the Burkle Center at UCLA. He

joins me now from Little Rock, Arkansas.

General, great to have you with us. Thank you for your time this evening.

This is clearly a deliberate attempt to target civilians now, and it amounts to war crimes by Russia. They are no longer trying to hide what

they're doing, seemingly. But the shelling has been so devastating, so fierce that it has left us questioning if perhaps there is another

objective here, and that is to destroy Ukraine, to create a failed state, perhaps. I just wonder what your reading of this is.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Right now, I think we're in the second phase of Mr. Putin's attack. In the first phase, he thought he could

quickly seize Kyiv. He thought he could force President Zelenskyy to give up and he could put in a Russian stooge in charge of Ukraine. That hasn't


He's moving to the second stage, which is to increase the humanitarian outrage, the crisis inhumane, but he's doing it at a measured, temperate

way. It could be worse. He could be killing more, deliberately killing more, and instead they're just doing it in a slow, painful squeeze.

He still hopes to persuade Zelenskyy to give up. He'll take as much of Ukraine as is left undamaged, and then he'll turn his police loose to round

up the people who support democracy and he'll finish those people off in accordance with those lists. So, President Zelenskyy standing firm.


The only solution is to defeat Russia on the ground. Picture those tanks in Irpin did, the Ukrainians need to hunt those tanks down tonight and take

them out. That's what's going to turn this war around. Ukrainian courage, Ukrainian skills, Ukrainian soldiering on the ground. Can do it.

This is not a loss yet. The Ukrainians certainly have to skills. They have the courage to do this. We just have to make sure they're supplied with the

ammunition that's required to sustain their fight for freedom.

MACFARLANE: In an indication, as you say, that Russia have not made the gains that they've hoped, we have seen reports that Russia are now trying

to supplement their army with foreign fighters, recruiting Syrians to join the fight, even.

Militarily, what does that signal to you?

CLARK: Well, he's having trouble with the morale and motivation of his own troops. Now, he does have substantial reserve forces. He could bring those

in, but all the demonstrations in Moscow and other indications from Russia indicate that the Russian people have a lot of doubt about this policy.

When they come in contact with Ukraine, they remember Ukraine is a brother country. They can speak the same language. They have the same cultural

heroes in many cases. And so, they certainly have the same history during the 20th century, so it doesn't work.

So, he needs the Chechens, the Syrians, he needs mercenaries like the Wagner Group to come in and do the dirty working the killing. He does

believe once he achieves success in Ukraine, and he believes he will, the Russian people will be more supportive and less worried. So, that's his

game plan.

MACFARLANE: And just briefly, General, also, we've seen Ukraine recruiting foreign fighters, some 20,000 apparently to form this special unit. How

effective could a unit like that be on the ground to supplement Ukraine's forces?

CLARK: Well, the men who are going in there to supplement Ukraine's forces won't be deployed in a 20,000-man unit. They'll go out in small teams,

hunter/killer teams. They'll carry the javelins.

They'll strike terror into the hearts of the Russian soldiers at night. They'll run those tanks right out of there. They'll move from one building

to the other. They'll use snipers.

They will form the leading edge of the resistance that the Ukrainian people will fall in behind. You know, normal people, they're not used to fighting

for their homes. They don't want to put a rifle out of the apartment window and shoot somebody, but eventually that's what has to happen if Ukraine is

going to retain its freedom.

Right now, you're seeing in the minds and hearts of Ukrainians shock and pain, but it will turn more and more to anger, and they will have to repel

the Russian invaders.

MACFARLANE: General Wesley Clark, it's great to have you perspective on THE BRIEF. Thank you for your time.

CLARK: Thank you.

MACFARLANE: Let's take a quick look at the other key headlines today. Ukraine's president is calling for tougher sanctions against Russia,

including a boycott on Russian oil. It's not clear if that's something the E.U. is ready to do, but the European Commission president did say Brussels

is considering new sanctions over the treatment of civilians by Russian forces.

European Union ambassadors have now agreed to examine bids by Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova to join the E.U. They start the process that could take

years to complete. The countries, which have some parts of their territory occupied by Russia, would first have to obtain candidate status because

they can be considered for membership.

Ukraine's case against Russia is now underway at the International Court of Justice. Vladimir Putin has claimed Ukrainian forces committed genocide in

breakaway regions to justify the invasion, but Ukraine is rejecting that claim. Moscow did not send a delegation to the hearing.

More than 700 Indian students are strand in the Ukraine just 30 miles from Russia's border. India's prime minster Narendra Modi spoke with both the

Russian and Ukrainian leaders and expressed concern about the safety of these students as the Indian government tries to bring about an evacuation,

the students shared with CNN video diaries of their experience on the ground.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shelters, shelters, shelters. Go. Go, shelters.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trapped, scared, and nowhere to go. As of Monday, over 700 Indian students remain stranded in the

Ukraine's northeastern city of Sumy, about 30 miles from the Russian boarder.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yesterday, a bomb blast happened near our hostel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we don't have electricity, as well as water, so we are taking the snow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cooking using our flashlight on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An alarm was just sounded. We are hearing sirens. We are all going to the bunkers.


SUD: Almost every day, sirens force them to hunker down in makeshift bunkers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please evacuate us. We are afraid. Air strikes are going now through the sky, and we are not sure whether we will be alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our lives have become horrible, we go and come back from the bunker, we can hear gun sounds, blasts, it's complete chaos.

Everyone is worried, everyone is crying.

SUD: Students say there have been constant bomb blasts, air strike warnings and street fighting near the hostels. Their biggest fear, that

Russian troops may be closing in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We yesterday called the Indian embassy many hundred, more than 100 times, and they are not even picking up one call. Please

evacuate us soon. Before our life ends here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need our government right now!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the 10th day of war. We are afraid. We have waited a lot, and we cannot wait anymore.

SUD: Ten days into the war, students made what they call their final request for safe removal.

After this appeal, the Indian government said it had spoken to Russian and Ukrainian governments to request safe passage for its citizens.


MACFARLANE: Now, Russia is hitting back at international sanctions with an official list of, quote, unfriendly countries. The Kremlin approved the

list on Monday. It includes all those who have slapped Russia with sanctions since this invasion of Ukraine began.

While they may sound fanciful, the list will have a financial impact. It means anyone in the countries who Russian governments or companies owe

money such as bond holders can now be repaid in rubles. The Russian currency dropped to an all time law Monday and now stand to about 150

rubles to the dollar.

As a new agreement on Iran's nuclear program, seems within reach, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and sanctions that came with it could not delay

the deal.


MACFARLANE: For weeks, officials at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna have been confident about reaching a new deal on Iran's nuclear

program, an effort to revive the comprehensive plan of action. But the war in Ukraine is bringing new demands to the negotiating table, and they could

potentially delay reaching an agreement.

Russia has asked for written guarantees that the sanctions imposed on its economy from the U.S. and its European allies would not hurt its trade and

military relations with Iran, which is a strategic ally of the Kremlin. Meanwhile, Iran has said that it would not allow any of the sanctions to

impact its national interests, including its, quote, peaceful nuclear cooperation with Russia and China.

Let's bring in Jason Rezaian. He is an American-Iranian journalist and an opinion writer at "The Washington Post", where he previously served as

Tehran bureau chief, and in 2014, Jason was arrested, wrongfully accused of espionage and spent 544 days in prison.


He joins me now.

Jason, thank you for your time this evening.

The timing of all this is very acute right now, because a new deal could see barrels of Iran's oil back on the market after being sanctioned by

former U.S. President Donald Trump. So is this a Russian strategy at play hear here to keep oil prices high?

JASON REZAIAN, THE WASHINGTON POST OPINION WRITER: I think yes, that's part of the strategy here. But also I think Iran is probably very nervous

at this point about these new Russian demands. I mean, I think that they felt as though they were coasting towards the finish line on this. I think

we will look back over the weeks to come, and whether there is or isn't a deal, it seems that it's a precariously close to falling apart right now.

MACFARLANE: I want to talk about the timing. How much do the U.S. and Europe need a nuclear deal with Iran at the moment in the event of a

potential switch to nuclear power? And do you think it is likely to happen any time soon? I mean, there's talks about it in the next days, in the next

week. How likely is that?

REZAIAN: I think it's very likely ten days ago, but now as the invasion of Ukraine by Russia complicates that enormously, and I think that ultimately

Iran was playing a long game here. They dragged negotiations out to a point where the IAEA believes that Iran is only a few weeks away from having the

material needed to produce a nuclear weapon.

Ultimately, this might blow up in their face. I think the reality is that Iran needs this deal much more than the United States or Europe does. And I

think in the scheme of things, as important strategically as Iran is for the entire world, and specifically the Middle East, the war in Russia and

Ukraine and the fact that Russia has thousands of nuclear weapons already, it isn't a much bigger priority right now.

MACFARLANE: Another tangent to this to this is the U.S. and Iran could grow swap prisoners as part of the deal, significant for you personally

having spent a year and a half in prison in Tehran. How likely is that to happen? And what could these prisoner face once freed?

REZAIAN: Well, I have been staying on top of that aspect of this for a very long time, since before these negotiations started, going all the way

back to, really, when I was released, because some of the people being held right now were being held at that time. I think that the likely had of

those people coming home is still quite high. I know that there are negotiations going on for their freedom, Americans, Brits and other


But I think that this moment is quite tenuous for them and their families, and I do hope this those deals come to fruition, those people come home,

that the U.S. and our allies are able to put in deterrents against Iran's hostage taking in the future. And I can tell you, six years after my own

release, it's an uphill battle once you come home. It takes a long time to adjust to newfound freedom. It's not easy, but it's definitely worth the

time and energy to try and reclaim your life.

MACFARLANE: Yeah. I would very much hope that will come to fruition. Just to go back to this status around Iran releasing oil as part of this deal,

how quickly could that actually happen? We know Iran are in a position to do that, but with how things are plague out with U.S. and Western allies,

debating at the moment about cutting off the flow from Russia, how quickly could Iran respond to the demand that will be left in the wake of that?

REZAIAN: It would take, you know, weeks to months to ramp up their production to get it back up to pre-sanctioned levels. But they are itching

to do that and ready to do it whenever they have the opportunity to do so.

The United States has said that all options are on the table in terms of replacing Russian oil in our markets. I don't know if ultimately that will

extend to Iranian oil, but it seems that's possible, and I think what we've seen in the last 24 hours about the possibility of lifting sanctions off

Venezuela to allow Venezuelan oil back into the market would indicate that there is going to be a need, and we may be looking to unsavory partners to

fill that demand.

MACFARLANE: All right. Jason, it's great to have you perspective. Thank you for joining us.

REZAIAN: Thanks for having me.



We'll be back after this quick break.


MACFARLAE: The fashion world is throwing a spotlight on the world in Ukraine. Giorgio Armani paid tribute to Ukraine with a, quote, silent show.

Designers switched off the music at this Milan fashion show which had models walking the cat walk in an eerie silence.

Stella McCartney addressed the crisis during her Paris fashion show, choosing to close out to show with the song, "Give People (ph) a Chance",

by John Lennon.


STELLA MCCARTNEY, DESIGNER: I think that, you know, I think that fashion has a voice, and it has to be used in a positive way in these times of



MCFARLANE: Several Italian fashion houses are also showing support by donating aid to Ukraine and Prada suspend op weighs in Russia over concern

for the families affected by the violence.

Well, that was THE GLOBAL BRIEF. I'm Christina Macfarlane in London. I'll leave you with a touching moment from a young girl amidst the war in