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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Zelenskyy's Message to the World; Russia Oil Ban; Women Impacted by War. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired March 08, 2022 - 17:00   ET



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

Quote: We will fight until the end. The Ukrainian president delivers a powerful message to the British parliament.

The U.S. and U.K. make big moves to wean their reliance on Russian oil. We look at the international ramifications.

And, courage and bravery from the women of Ukraine. We speak to MP Kira Rudik who took up arms to protect her country.

And he's become the face of freedom in the West, praised for his courage as his country battle to fight off a Russian invasion. But Ukrainian President

Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he needs more than encouragement from the sidelines, suggesting the world's unwillingness to protect Ukrainian skies

amounts to genocide.

Mr. Zelenskyy took a speech to the British parliament Tuesday, receiving a standing ovation. He spoke via video link, urging Britain to help Ukraine

win the war.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We will not give up and we will not lose. We will fight to the end at sea, in the air.

We will continue fighting for our land, whatever the cost. We will fight in the forests, in the fields, on the shores, in the streets.


MACFARLANE: The U.K. prime minister spoke shortly afterwards, pledging Britain will press ahead with sanctions on Russia and weapons supplies to

Ukraine. Take a listen.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Never before in all our century of our parliamentary democracy has the House listened to such an address. In a

great European capital now within range of Russian guns, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is standing firm for democracy and for freedom. In his

righteous defense, I believe he has moved the hearts of everybody in this House.


MACFARLANE: Well, each day that goes by, more and more Ukrainians lose their lives. Officials in Sumy say 21 people were killed in Russian air

strike before a cease-fire allowed some 5,000 people to evacuate the city. The U.N. says at least 474 civilians, including 29 children, have been

killed in the war so far. It says it's working to verify reports of other casualties, adding the real number is probably much higher.

NATO's secretary general calls the suffering horrific. He says the world has an obligation to make sure the war does not spread beyond Ukraine.

Sam Kiley is joining me live from Dnipro, Ukraine.

And, Sam, we saw President Zelenskyy calling again today for a no-fly zone. While Western allies are seemingly unwilling to budge on this, Poland said

they're ready to deploy fighter jets to Germany so that the U.S. in turn could then provide them on to Ukraine.

Where does this sit on the fine line of what constitutes an intervention?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that's something Vladimir Putin will definitely wish to take up. You're absolutely

right -- when does support from NATO and other allies become an act of war as far as Russia is concerned?

Now, there is this active consideration to -- for Poland to supply Ukraine with old MiGs and other Russian jets that used to be part of the Polish Air

Force, no now longer needed since it's part of NATO and has more modern, more NATO-friendly weaponry. So, that is something that could be done. It's

under active consideration. The issue for Poland has been what will they be back filled with?

But from the Russian perspective, does the supply of fighter jets into this war constitute a tipping over into an active participation by Poland, a

NATO member, in a conflict? There already is, of course, a series of convoys almost 24/7 moving weaponry into the Ukrainians, and important

weaponry, too, particularly Stinger surface to air missiles, Javelin and anti-tank weapons that have been put to quite ferocious use by the

Ukrainians and causing certainly a stalling of a lot of the Russian operations that we've seen pressing in on Kyiv, on Kharkiv, and indeed down

in the south, too.

So it's going to be more and more fraught, this idea of sending more and more significant weapons into the Ukrainian battle space.

MACFARLANE: Sam, we have been reporting in recent days that we've seen Russia proposing these unrealistic terms for humanitarian corridors, and

civilians have obviously been targeted, even as they have been trying to flee.


What do we know about how many people have been able to get out under these circumstances?

KILEY: There's only been one successful humanitarian corridor so far as part of any kind of multilateral effort and, that's in the town of Sumy in

the north, where according to the Russians, about 700-something refugees managed to emerge from that process, most of them foreign students who were

trapped in the Sumy. Elsewhere, though, in cities like Kharkiv, a battle in Mariupol, where there are 300,000 people reported trying to get out, it's

been impossible.

But it's been impossible because the Russians won't allow the Ukrainians to choose the route that they take. People in these cities want to flee into

Ukrainian government territory, and they're being told the only direction they can take is into Russian territory. In Kharkiv, due to north in places

like Mariupol, due east into the hands of the very people, the very military that have been bombarding them, causing them to need to seek help

and safety.

MACFARLANE: Yeah, it's an extremely fraught situation for anyone trying to flee.

Sam Kiley, we appreciate your reporting. Thank you.

And 2 million people have now fled Ukraine, marking it as the fastest growing refugee crisis since World War II. The majority of people are

arriving in the European Union, and nearly all are women, children, and elderly people, almost -- as most Ukrainian men are required to stay in the

country. The E.U. is deciding how to distribute the refugees among its member states.


YLVA JOHANSSON, EU COMMISSIONER FOR HOME AFFAIRS: This will not be over soon. Putin is fighting his war without restraint, or remorse or mercy.

More is to come. Worse is to come. Millions more will flee, and we must welcome them.


MACFARLANE: Since Russia began bombarding Ukrainian cities, people fled to place where they may have connections like Poland, Moldova and neighboring

countries. The U.N.'s refugee agency warns these two million refugees are just the beginning. It estimates that number could double before the crisis

is over.


ANASTASIA KHARINA, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE: Our people are fighting there. My mother is there and I am here. But we decided to leave for the sake of the

children. I told my husband that we had to take them away so they wouldn't see this nightmare.


MACFARLANE: Well, CNN's Ivan Watson joins me now live from Chisinau, Moldova, with more on this refugee crisis.

Ivan, as we have been saying, this has been called the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II, but the situation is changing

rapidly on the ground. How can governments or how are governments in places like Moldova where you are, handling the growing amount of refugees day by


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're trying to improvise as quickly as they can. It's a combination of government effort

in this country of about 2.5 million people, that's accepted more than 200,000 refugees, and also grassroots and private efforts to try to help

these people. For example, today, I was at an indoor series of squash courts and pickle ball courts that are being used to house hundreds of

people, people who are arriving from Ukraine, still very much in shock.

Recall that this war is not even two weeks old, but also then a certain degree of anger and defiance.

Listen to what one Ukrainian woman told me.


MARINA AVDEEVA, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE: We are Ukrainians. It's my land. My son was born in independent Ukraine. It's our land, independent. Nobody can

enter our land.

And if you -- if someone is entering, we have to answer, because it's our mother land. We have no other choice. We are very peaceful people. We are

not Nazi. We're just on other land with hands up. Please, we want the live. We want to be happy. Stop shooting, please.


WATSON: When Marina says she's not a Nazi, it's because Vladimir Putin's justification for invading Ukraine is allegedly de-Nazification, removing

neo-Nazis from Ukraine.

But this woman is headed to Israel. She is a Jew from Odesa. Those squash courts were being assisted by the World Jewish Congress, the Jewish

community of Moldova, helping thousand of Jews get into Europe and to Israel to safety, and that's where this twisted logic coming from Kremlin

propaganda just does not really function.

The Ukrainians you talk to, many of them are ethnic-speaking Russians. And they say that they are not Ukrainian nationalists. They are not neo-Nazis

as the Russian government has argued.

In addition to organizations housing people, ordinary Moldovans are doing that, opening their homes to perfect strangers. And this little country,

the poorest in Europe, is asking for international assistance to deal with this huge flow of really shell-shocked neighbors from across the border --


MACFARLANE: Yeah. Ivan Watson there from Moldova, thanks very much, Ivan, for your reporting.

Well, the U.K. government is being criticized for its newly announced Ukraine family scheme, which is meant to help refugees join their U.K.-

based family members, but the visa is being criticized as lengthy and complex, with some calling it, quote, a complete mess. The Calais mayor

says the scheme is a deterrent meant to turn people away. The U.K.'s home secretary Priti Patel denies that.

But critics note the refugees who have been made it to Calais are being told to traveler further to Brussels or Paris for appointments. Out of

almost 9,000 applicants, just 300 visas have been issued under the scheme.

Well, one of the big talkers today is the U.S., of course, taking action to hit Russia where it really might do some damage, and that is in its energy

exports. President Biden is banning all imports of Russian oil, petroleum, natural gas and coal. Russia was the world's second largest producer of

crude last year, what President Biden calls the main artery of Russia's economy. The U.K. says it will also phase out Russian oil imports by the

end of this year, and the E.U. says it will cut Russian imports by two- thirds by the end of this year.

I want to bring in CNN global business analyst Rana Foroohar from New York. She's a columnist and associate editor at "The Financial Times".

Good to see you. A bold move from the U.S. today of course, but the reality is that Europe are not in the same position as the U.S. They are far more

reliant on Russian energy. Forty percent of their energy needs come from Russia.

So what do European nations stand to lose if they are to follow in the footsteps of the U.S.?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL BUSINESS ANALYST: Well, I think it would be impossible at this juncture for Europe to take that kind of move. There are

some pieces being moved around the oil chess board right now. Certain allies in Asia have released some strategic reserves to help Europe.

They're bringing back coal. We're seeing discussion of a resurgence of nuclear. Certainly, the U.S. is having a big discussion about ramping up

shale production.

But you're right, Christine, the bottom line is that the U.S. imports about 8 percent of its energy needs from Russia, and Europe gets 40 percent. It's

a totally different ball of wax. I think there are also some concerns that, what is this going to do for the price of oil overall?

Probably not going to throw the U.S. into the recession yet, but Europe is in a really tough position. One thing I'm going to be watching closely is

whether or not the Chinese pick up any oil that the U.S. is no longer buying, because, of course, this alliance between Russia and China is

something we're watching carefully.

Are we headed towards a bipolar world with U.S. and maybe Europe on one side, China, Russia, Iran and some other nations on the other?

MACFARLANE: We've also seen threats by Russia as well to cut off Nord Stream 1, something that would actually be quite crippling for Russia

themselves to do.


MACFARLANE: So at this point is that sort of threat brinksmanship on their part? How seriously should countries be taking that?

FOROOHAR: Well, you know, it's really hard to know when you're dealing with Vladimir Putin who what's to take seriously and what not to. I think

anything is on the table. It would be absolutely crippling for European gas to be turned off. I mean, that would be money that Russia wasn't taking in.

On the other hand, it's been building up gold reserves over the last few years, and gold is now at a record high. I could imagine, you know, if they

really wanted to take a bold move, that they could maybe turn off oil and try to sell gold reserves. I wouldn't count anything out at the moment.

MACFARLANE: Yeah. As you say we just don't know what Russia have been doing to prepare for this moment at all.

Great to have you perspective on International Women's Day. Thank you very much, Rana.

FOROOHAR: Thank you.

MACFARLANE: Well, on International Women's Day, we look at the courage of those impacted by the war in Ukraine. From women who stayed in the Ukraine

to fight to those in Russia who are protesting against the invasion.




VICTORIA, REFUGEE FROM DNIPRO, UKRAINE (translated): My wish? First of all to all the women of Ukraine, what we really need now is strength, faith in

our army. And that we will return, all women, children, to our home country, because we love it very much.


MACFARLANE: International Women's Day is a day that celebrates the fight to reach gender equality. This year's celebration happens in a time of war.

In Ukraine, men of fighting age must remain in the country right now, but according to the Ukrainian ministry of foreign affairs, 15 percent of

soldiers fighting in the war against Russia are women. Those who are not official members of the armed forces have taken crash courses in fighting

to protect their homes. Some women are also protecting strangers' women like Natalia Ableeva (ph), who crossed the border and Hungary with the

children of mane who could not leave Ukraine. She safely delivered them to their mother.

In the western city of Lviv, some women have chosen to stay, support their loved ones who are fighting in the war and help those who are fleeing.

Let's bring in a Ukrainian politician who's taken up arms to defend the capital city of Kyiv from the Russian invasion. She is Kira Rudik, leader

of the Golos Party, and today, also a fighter in the war. She joins me now.

Kira, thank you for being with us.

We have seen women across Ukraine being placed in impossible situations because of this war. You know, be it fleeing with children on perilous

journeys, leaving their husbands at the border, or staying to fight as you have.

You decided to stay. You decided to learn how to use a gun. Why did you make that decision?

KIRA RUDIK, UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER: You know, on the first day of war, we all gathered together with my party members, and we decided that we

will be doing -- that our choice of what we should be doing will be related to how we can be the most useful the our country, the most useful to our


And I am the most useful here where I can bear arms and motivate others to do the same. I can make sure that Putin has much more people to fight than

he originally thought that he would have, because along with Ukrainian men, there are women who are standing up bearing arms and adding to these

numbers. Because we are enormously strong and we are enormously brave.

MACFARLANE: Yes, and as we have been mentioning, 15 percent of Ukraine's army are women. We have seen so many images on social media of women on the

front lines in military clothing, wearing the colors of Ukraine, taking the fight to Russia. How has -- what impact has that actually had back home in

igniting solidarity and support for those women?

RUDIK: Well, first of all, we are privileged that we do have this choice, that we are not just told, go with your children or go and fight.


And we are fighting right now by our own choice.

Second, this is very motivational, because for our men, it's honorable that they have their mates -- they have women as their mates. And it's 15

percent of Ukrainian army, but there's so much more women in resistance groups, such as my own group and where we have three women joined us and

who will be able to fight Russians as well as the men do.

So I think the numbers are actually higher in terms of women fighting right now in the army and fighting Russians everywhere they can.

MACFARLANE: And, Kira, we know that war is a threat to all, but we also know it affects women and men differently. What are your concerns, your

particular concerns for women at this time in terms of how vulnerable they are, in particular to things like gender-based violence?

RUDIK: Well, war is never summer camp, right? And it's always a threat to violence, to gender based inequality, to different unpleasant things that

you start crying when you think about it, right? And the only thing we can do is to make sure that the bigger threat is the Russian soldiers are not

coming to our home.

And this is why we are standing up to fight, because as we know, the gender-based inequality is the army is nothing compared to gender-based

inequality in between the Russian troop that is coming to your home when you are the only woman standing. So this is what we are fighting against.

This is what was my thinking when I decided to bear arms. I thought about everything that Russian troops have done to my country for the last eight

years when the war in the east started, and I was thinking about all the women who will suffer gender-based crimes during this war, and I decided

that this would be one of the reasons why I will be fighting. So there will be protection, so there will be hope. And this is why we are all protecting

right now our country, our motherland.

MACFARLANE: Kira, what is your message to president Putin, as you bear arms for your country?

RUDIK: We will not fail. We will win, because the truth is on our side and because we are doing the noble thing, we are protecting our motherland.

MACFARLANE: It is incredibly impressive what you are doing. I wonder, as well, Kira, how surrounded you are, personally, by other women and how much

strength you draw from them, not just the women fighting on the front line, but those who are involved in the other aspects as well of the resistance,

in terms of, you know, packing supplies or building camouflage. What is that collective effort like?

RUDIK: You know, it's a sisterhood. When you know for sure how strong they are and you know that you can push them as hard as possible, because they

are much stronger than men. I have my fellow women on the border with Poland where they are helping the refugees to cross. I have my fellow women

in Lviv in the west of the country who are helping out the supply tracks to go in and out as fast as possible.

I have my fellow women who are helping me to get out of the burning city of Irpin, the refugees today and yesterday. They were acting as strong as men

and wanted no lower standards. I said the standards are higher for you because you are much stronger than you are looking.

And -- this is what makes us -- this is what makes us united. We know the same cause that we are fighting for. We have seen all the suffering that

our children are going through, and we want it to stop immediately, and we want it to stop so that the trauma that the children are affected right now

with will not be severe and will hopefully go away.

I was thinking about the next generation that we were trying to raise who wouldn't know hunger, war, poverty, and now I feel that we are losing this

generation being so not traumatized. This is why we want to try to win this war as fast as possible, because then our children could go back to normal.

This is I think the main thing that guides us, to make sure the next generation doesn't suffer the things that we do.


MACFARLANE: Yeah. Well, Kira, you are an inspiration. Thanks so much for talking to us on International Women's Day, and we wish you the very best.

Thank you.

We'll be back after this short break. Stay with us.


MACFARLANE: On this International Women's Day, we want to highlight a Syrian coach challenging the stereotypes women are held to. Azza Attoura is

fulfilling her life long dream coaching women in self-defense, but she says she hasn't always been so confident.


AZZA ATTOURA, SELF-DEFENSE TRAINER (through translator): Look at her -- is she a woman or a man? Who says that? Both women and men say that. There are

some things I would like to say. This is considered bullying, but our society does not see it as such. They think sit their right to ask because

sit looking at something that is out of the norm.

Do you think it is right or bullying? It is ignorance.


MACFARLANE: That ignorance led her to start kickboxing. She became an international champion in the sport, winning multiple awards. She now

trains to help them with meant and physical health. She says this is her own way to challenge stereotypes and empower women. Pretty kickass.

All right. That was THE GLOBAL BRIEF. Thank you so much for watching.