Return to Transcripts main page
The Lead with Jake Tapper
Death And Mass Graves In The Wake Of Russian Military Retreat From Bucha; President Zelenskyy Accuses Russia Of Genocide; Port City Of Odessa Rocked By Russian Airstrikes; Ukrainian Refugees More Than 4.2 Million; Biden Urges Putin War Crimes Trial As Bucha Images Surface; 27-Year-Old American Volunteer: "I Just Want To Come And Help"; Polish Schools Welcome Thousands Of Ukrainian Students; U.N. Chief Calls Climate Report "Litany Of Broken Promises"; Senate To Push Ketanji Brown Jackson's Nomination Forward. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired April 04, 2022 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An adviser to Ukraine's interior minister not even trying to conceal his anger.
After the liberation of Bucha, five corpses of civilians were found here, he says, with their hands tied behind their backs. They were shot in the head and in the chest. They were tortured before.
Even the body collectors find it hard to keep their composure. Vladislav Minchenko is usually a painter. Now, he collects the dead left behind after Russian forces retreated from Bucha. This is not what we learned in school, he says. Do you see my hands? Hundreds, hundreds of dead, hundreds. Not dozens. The Kremlin has denied Russia was behind any atrocities in Bucha.
(On camera): Now the Russians say the notion of their troops having killed civilians is all fake news and propaganda, but it does seem clear that they were here. That looks like a sort of foxhole position. And over there, they seem to have dug in a tank.
(Voice-over): On the outer wall, the letter V, a symbol that Russian forces painted on their vehicles before invading this part of Ukraine. Now, a lot of Russian military hardware lies destroyed in the streets of Bucha and other towns around Kyiv as the Ukrainians made a stand and prevented Vladimir Putin's army from entering the capital city.
Images published shortly after Russian forces left Bucha show many corpses lying in the streets. Some bodies had their hands tied behind their backs. President Biden calls what happened here a war crime. While visiting Bucha, Ukraine's president vowed to bring those behind the violence against civilians to justice.
These are war crimes, he says. And they will be recognized by the world as genocide. You are here and you can see what happened. We know that thousands of people were killed and tortured, teared limbs, rape women, and kill children. And still the dead keep piling up. Many lay in this mass grave behind the main church in Bucha.
Local authorities tell us around 150 people are buried here but no one knows the exact number. And here, too, the scenes are tragic. Vladimir (ph) has been searching for his younger brother Dmitry (ph). Now he's convinced Dmitry (ph) lies here, even though he can't be 100 percent sure.
The neighbor accompanying him has strong words for the Russians. Why do you hate Ukraine so much, she says? Since the 1930s, you've been abusing Ukraine. You just wanted to destroy us. You wanted us gone, but we will be. Everything will be okay. I believe it.
But more corpses are already on the way. At the end of the day, we meet Vladislav and the body collectors again. Another nine bodies found in this tour alone. And it is unlikely they'll be the last.
PLEITGEN (on camera): So there you can see, Jake, it's absolutely devastating work that these folks do. They are, by the way, all volunteers, the guys who were picking up those corpses in the streets, in buildings. And the way it works is that they get called to the scene by the authorities or by local people. They go there. They collect the bodies and then they bring them for processing.
Because of course in many cases, people don't know the identities of those who have died and they still need to be checked and need to be seen or their next of kin notified as well.
Obviously, the mood there in Bucha is one of deep sadness, deep anger as well. However, from the people that we spoke to, they also vow that the civilians are going to return and that city will be rebuilt and they say it will be better than ever before, Jake?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And Fred, I know that Bucha was under Russia control until the weekend. And the fear is that there are lots of other places, lots of other towns in a similar situation where all these atrocities have taken place and we just don't know about it yet.
PLEITGEN: Yes, I think -- and that's something that could very well be realistic. There are Ukrainian officials who said that this could just be the tip of the iceberg because of course, there were so many other towns that were under Russian occupation as well. And this weekend, I actually managed to go to some of those places. We went to several villages.
We went to another town called Borodyanka that was also completely destroyed. Down the main street, there was utter devastation. And in that town, for instance, there was one family that told that us that they had just returned and found that Russians had been in their house and then said they had discovered a dead body in their backyard, also with his hands tied behind his back and a bullet hole in the head. We found a shell casing still on the floor there.
That was just one example of one town. But if you go around this area, if you travel around this area, there are so many places that are completely destroyed. And also by the way, a lot of destroyed Russian armor, Russian tanks.
So I think there's two things that are becoming increasingly clear, is that many more civilians have been killed and harmed in all of this than anybody would have thought. But also, the Russians were defeated a lot worse than they're letting on and a lot worse than they'll ever admit judging by the amount of destroyed armor that they left behind, Jake.
TAPPER: Fred Pleitgen bearing witness in Kyiv. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Wartime leadership is of course not without cost and the evidence is apparent in these two photographs of President Zelenskyy. The picture on the left was taken just 49 days ago during a joint news conference with the German chancellor in then peaceful Ukraine. The threat of a Russian invasion was just that, just a threat.
On the right, a photograph from today after Zelenskyy surveyed a mass grave where Ukrainian civilians have been left murdered in this unprovoked war.
Let's discuss with the former prime minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. He served from 2014 to 2016. Mr. Prime Minister, thanks for joining us. So Ukrainian officials say that more than 400 murdered Ukrainian civilians have been removed from the Kyiv region. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy says thousands more have been tortured. Women have been raped, children killed. What is your reaction to what we're hearing and seeing now?
ARSENIY YATSENYUK, FORMER UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER: This is the biggest drama after the Second World War that unfolded in Europe. This is not just a disaster. Everything that Putin and his cronies and his soldiers so-called did to Ukrainian people, this is war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The biggest question, Jake, I have today is how to bring to justice personally Putin and every single commander in the chain and every soldier who committed these atrocities against the Ukrainian people. So this is -- this has to be not a lip service. That we will bring to justice Putin.
I believe this is the high time to establish as quick as possible, a special legal panel similar that was established to go after Nazi crimes. So a kind of Nuremberg special legal panel which is to be established by G-7 member states and Ukraine in order to go after --
TAPPER: We lost his feed. We'll try to bring him back. And when we do, we'll bring that to you live. The former prime minister of Ukraine. Thank you so much.
Coming up next, the heart-breaking way one woman learned she lost her home in this invasion. And sadly, her story is like so many others here in Ukraine right now. Plus, despite swift action around the world to abandon resources from Russia, why the U.S. of all countries may be slow to respond. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm live in western Ukraine in Lviv. We of course had a technical issue just a second ago. Of course, satellites can be forgiven for going out in a war time situation. Let's continue our conversation with the former prime minister of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
Before the break, you were talking about how you think there needs to be a Nuremberg-type trial where Putin and his military commanders are tried for crimes against humanity and war crimes. I mean, it's a powerful idea, Mr. Prime Minister, but I guess the big difference is that the Germans lost that war and that's why they were able to be tried and put on trial. Whereas Vladimir Putin is off in the Kremlin or wherever he is right now. He hasn't lost anything.
YATSENYUK: Yes. I still believe that Putin will lose this war. He is to lose this war because this is the war against the free world. This is the war against actually every human being. This is the war against the freedom. So he is to lose this war, but we need to prepare, to prepare right now.
And we -- I believe that we need to urgently launch a kind of joint investigative group in order to be prepared to bring to justice Putin, and to see Putin sitting behind the bars because this is the righteous war.
This is the war how to defend the human lives. And look, what happened in Ukraine could be similar as what happened in Srebrenica. And Christiane Amanpour, she was actually a journalist at that time in Srebrenica and she can tell you what was happening.
So, I believe that what we need to do right now is we need not just to send a strong signal. We need (inaudible) to establish a legal body which will go after Putin and his criminals.
TAPPER: Today Ukrainian President Zelenskyy said, "It's very difficult to negotiate with the Russians when you see what they have done here," referring to the brutality in Bucha. Is there any chance for diplomacy at this point when you see what the Russians apparently did at Bucha?
YATSENYUK: Jake, I am very skeptical about any kind of diplomacy. We had very big chance to settle all this so-called diplomatic issues before the war. But Putin didn't have any kind of intention to go through the diplomatic way. You know, today on the state-sponsored Russian media, which is RIA Novosti, they published an article.
And if you translate this article for your audience, you would be just astonished. So the article is how to exterminate -- TAPPER: He froze up. All right, well -- wait, are you there? Are you
there? Arseniy, are you there? All right. We've lost him again. Our thanks to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, former prime minister of Ukraine. Thank you for bearing with us, also. Obviously, there are a lot of satellite issues sometimes in a war-torn situation.
Well, much of the world's attention today is on what's happening around Kyiv, such as the suburb of Bucha, Russian forces are now refocusing their assault on southern Ukraine. The port city of Odessa on edge after new Russian air strikes overnight. CNN's Ed Lavandera is live for us in Odessa. Ed, tell us what you're seeing there in southern Ukraine.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Jake. Well we've had two rounds of air strikes on Sunday here that attacked an oil refinery and a fuel storage facility. Those two strikes, one in the early morning, one late at night, did extensive damage there. One person was injured. And we've also seen renewed air strikes on the city of Mykolaiv, which is about a two-hour drive east of where I am. And that has killed almost a dozen people, injured many more as well.
And it really kind of gets to the heart of what this region of Ukraine is starting to grasp and deal with. And the chaotic nature of the attacks in Mykolaiv, which seemed to be in the words of Ukrainian officials, designed to harass and cause panic among the population there is different from what the attacks here in the Odessa region have been like, which appear much more pinpointed and targeted to a specific target.
But the variety of that and because of the random nature for many civilians here, it really raises, you know, questions about what exactly it's going to look like in the coming weeks when Russian forces redeploy their forces and begin focusing their attacks on the eastern part of the country.
And by all accounts, there is, you know, serious questions at the full intention here, is to reach as far south of Odessa to get this land bridge along the northern edge of the black sea. And that is what is raising a lot of alarm bells down here in this region.
TAPPER: Ed, what do we know that Ukraine and how Ukraine's forces are responding?
LAVANDERA: Well, you know, every indication we're getting now is that, you know, and U.S. officials and Ukrainian officials are saying this. That the Russian forces are moving quickly to redeploy into the eastern parts of this country, and Ukrainian forces are going to have to do the same. And the risk here and the concern is that these Russians forces, as they move in east, will be able to encircle the Ukrainian forces that are in the eastern part of the country, making it much more difficult to defend.
And in the meantime, you know, attacks that are launched here in the more southern cities like Odessa forces Ukrainian forces to have to confront that and deal with that down here, keeping them from joining the fight in the east there. So, these are the different types of things that Ukrainian forces are
having to deal with right now and having to prepare for as this redeployment moves into the east and perhaps as either days or weeks away from picking up steam. And we'll have to see how that continues to play out.
TAPPER: Ed Lavandera in Odessa, Ukraine, thank you so much. Appreciate that reporting. About, 4.25 million people -- 4.25 million have fled Ukraine since Russia's invasion 40 days ago. That number comes from the United Nations. And the Polish border guard said nearly 2.5 million of those refugees have crossed into Poland.
One of those refugees is Nadia Hnatiuk. She joins us from Krakow, Poland now where she fled with her two daughters. Nadia, thank you so much for joining us. You and your family used to live in the Kyiv suburb of Irpin and when the war started, you tried to stay. Tell us about that. You shared photographs of your family and others including (inaudible) huddled together in a basement.
NADIA HNATIUK, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE: Hello. First of all, just thank you for inviting me on your channel. And I am little worried and actually it's not about worried because of channel. It's actually, our statement, every people, every mother, every child. So, it was hard to reach Poland and it was hard to reach not only physically because I just did it by my car by my hand, with my children and my pets.
It was -- my heart so -- I leave my house, I leave my country and my friends still live in Ukraine on the west, Ukraine, it's Lutsk. My brother also there. It's also a dangerous place because it's really near to border of Belorussia. And sometimes there's bombing also. So, for me it is hard. My soul and my -- every piece of my body and my soul with my people, and it's very hard time for all of us.
TAPPER: Over the weekend, you found out that the roof of your home and the top floor of your home had been destroyed. A friend sent a video of what it looks like now. How did you react after you saw this?
HNATIUK: Yes. It's actually, I would like to notice that it was the birthday of my younger daughter. It was before yesterday. It was morning and I just tried to find all my feelings to celebrate the birthday of my daughter. And then one friend of mine just sent me the picture with my house.
So, it was really painful but in few minutes, I just said god, thank you because it's not only celebration of birthday of my daughter, it's also celebration of my life and my two daughters' life because, like, God remind me, I just -- you survived and you in safe place.
It's still painful because for a woman, you know, it's not only like house. It's my soul, my home, my (inaudible), its picture of my daughters, it's all my life. And for now, it's not possible to reach the house because it is still dangerous because it can be mined. And somebody lives -- live there before it was bombed. I can see that some strangers, maybe soldiers, I don't know, somebody
lived there. And it's not possible to live in my house anymore because it's like, no roof, no second floor, and it's dangerous. But for me, it doesn't matter. I still live here and all my focus to support my people. To send some humanitarian aid because if god save me and my life is gift for me and my children, I should support and help my people who still in my country.
TAPPER: Nadia, as you noted, it was your daughter's birthday over the weekend. She turned 9. How is she? How are the kids? How are they doing?
HNATIUK: You know, the kids are feeling like mother feeling. I just try to keep myself strong. No tears. Just -- we leave our tears for future. And my daughters like look at me and just, if mom without tears and keep strong, they just celebrate their life. And just like I try to be example for my kids. Yes, they are very upset and I just explained to her its special birthday. It's like a second birthday and like a gift from God for you.
TAPPER: It's not fair that they have to go through this. Nadia Hnatiuk, thank you so much. God bless you and your family.
HNATIUK: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
TAPPER: Here in Ukraine, President Zelenskyy is calling Russia's actions flat-out genocide. President Biden would not quite go there. Instead, he accused Putin of being a war criminal. Is there a difference? What is that difference? We will discuss, next.
TAPPER: In our "World Lead," the horrific atrocities committed in the town of Bucha just to the west of Kyiv are sparking global outrage. There are calls for the International Criminal Court to investigate. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy calls these Russian attacks genocide. Today, President Biden said Vladimir Putin should be put on trial for war crimes. Take a listen to what Biden had to say this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We have to gather all the details so this could be, actual, have a war crime trial. This guy is brutal. And what's happening in Bucha is outrageous and everyone has seen it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Let's discuss this with the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor. Also with us, University College London law professor Philippe Sands. He's the author of "East West Street" on the origins of genocide and crimes against humanity. A fascinating book that talks about how the origins of the legal concepts of genocide and crimes against humanity actually have their roots in the town I'm sitting in right now, Lviv.
Philippe, to most people looking at these horrific images from Bucha, it's clearly a war crime.
We just heard President Biden join President Zelenskyy in calling it that. But Biden stopped short of calling it genocide. You're an expert on the development of these legal concepts. Is this a genocide? What do you think it is?
PHILIPPE SANDS, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: Well, just a little primer until 1939, there was only one international crime, and that was called war crimes. And that was included things like targeting civilians, which apparently is going on, the images are absolutely appalling. That in 1945, at the Nuremberg Tribunal, three new crimes were invented, crimes against humanity, systematic killing, and this may be a crime against humanity, because it seems to be happening. And so horrific scale.
Genocide, which is the destruction of groups and the fourth international crime, the crime of aggression, which I believe this also to be. And what we are seeing in your images that you're broadcasting and in our newspapers, is the targeting of civilians. And that looks like war crimes on a scale that crosses the threshold. To prove whether it's a genocide, in legal terms is tougher.
You've got to prove an intention to destroy the group, Ukrainian group, in whole or in part. And I think what President Zelenskyy refers to what is happening as a genocide, he is using it in a political sense rather than a legal sense.
TAPPER: Ambassador Taylor, how much more pressure do these horrific images out of Bucha put on the U.S. to do more to help the people of Ukraine? Or not just the people of the U.S., the people of of NATO as well. What more can should the U.S. do?
WILLIAM TAYLOR, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Jake, the United States should -- and the Europeans should do everything they can, everything they can, heavy weapons, the kinds of weapons that the Ukrainians have been asking for, the President Zelenskyy has been asking for. We should provide all of that as soon as possible.
They are under great stress. They need these weapons now. They also need the continued pressure on the Russians in terms of the sanctions. That needs to happen. And it sounds like this as jolted the European. It's jolted the United States. I mean, we are now so focused.
But even more important that, Jake, is the effect on the Ukrainians. Ukrainians are outraged. They are furious, and they will fight harder than ever in order to win. They will win in the end.
TAPPER: Philippe, President Biden is calling for Putin to be put on trial. I don't believe Russia is a partner to the International Criminal Court neither is the United States for that matter. What are some of the difficulties from a legal standpoint that such a prosecution might face?
SANDS: Well, again, just to be clear, the International Criminal Court which is in the Hague, does have jurisdiction over crimes committed on the territory of Ukraine. It has jurisdiction over crimes against humanity and war crimes, and it is investigating those right now. It also has jurisdiction over genocide, if that is happening (INAUDIBLE) as far as what I can tell now, that's not so clear.
One of the things that's crucial also, if a Russian national commits a war crime on the territory of Ukraine, the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction. There's one crime missing, and I just listened to the Ambassador, and this is what I'm calling for. And I'm supported now by over 100 former world leaders, prime ministers, presidents and President Zelenskyy is calling for this. He is calling for the creation of a special tribunal, Nuremberg style to investigate and prosecute the crime of aggression, waging illegal war.
And up to this point, the United States has not been joining that call. And my hope is that this will jolt the United States, the Biden administration and the Europeans to going forward. Why the crime of aggression? Because it's the only one in which you can, with certainty, go to the top table. You can reach President Putin, you can reach Mr. Lavrov, you can reach the defense minister, you can reach the finances.
The problem with proving war crimes, and perhaps also crimes against humanity is it's a big call to lead a prosecution that goes all the way to the top. The images we've been seeing are dreadful, and someone is responsible for committing war crimes. The question is who? And proving that that goes right up to Mr. Putin is tough.
And I wonder whether it was perhaps wise, President Biden, to describe him as a war criminal. It may be that he is, but we don't yet have the proof to show it. What he certainly is, is guilty of the crime of aggression, in my view, waging a manifestly illegal war, a crime that the Nuremberg judges back in '46 called the supreme crime.
TAPPER: Ambassador Taylor, you're an expert on Vladimir Putin, how do you think he's likely to respond to President Biden calling for him to be literally placed on trial for war crimes?
TAYLOR: So Jake, it's not clear that President Putin listen to anyone. He'll probably hear the reports of President Biden's comments. But let me go back to Dr. Sands, I think he's exactly right. We can figure out, we could probably determine, our intelligence services probably know who the commander of that motorized rifle regiment in Bucha. They probably know the Russian commander of that and they should track him down. Because he, like the commander of the artillery brigade down in Mariupol, they are clearly war criminals and we can identify those and we can go after those very specific people. And then the Russian commanders, who are in a similar position will think very hard.
TAPPER: Ambassador Bill Taylor, Philippe Sands, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it very much. Born in Ukraine, raised in the U.S. Coming up next, the man we met here in Lviv today, and why he says he feels a sense of duty to be in his native country right now. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our world lead, the people of Ukraine have shown extraordinary resilience in the face of Russia's brutal invasion, not only resisting this attack, but also helping those who have been displaced. I want to take a quick moment to share with you the story of a 27-year-old man who was born in the Ukraine, and raised in the U.S. after an American family adopted him. He felt compelled to come back here to help.
ERIC, VOLUNTEER AT LVIV HUMANITARIAN CENTER: I just wanted to come and help.
TAPPER (voice-over): Compelled to come.
ERIC: This is where I'm from, you know, like Ukraine is in my blood.
TAPPER (voice-over): One American traveling thousands and thousands of miles to give back to the country he once called home.
ERIC: I'm adopted from here. 2001 my American family adopted me and my three other siblings from a small town. I just want to provide back to where I came from. Just hope the country I came from was born from.
TAPPER (voice-over): Originally from a small town near Donetsk, Eric grew up and still lives in New Mexico. And now the 27-year-old is among the roughly 300 volunteers working around the clock at one of the biggest humanitarian centers in Ukraine, where he helps with packing and unpacking humanitarian aid.
ERIC: Even though we're not on the frontlines, this work that we're doing here plays a key role.
TAPPER (voice-over): The Lviv Humanitarian Center helps up to 700 displaced people directly every day, and sends donations directly to the most hard-hit areas of the country. Today, shipment is going to post them out in Bucha where the city is reeling over the discovery of this mass grave site.
ERIC: I feel like, as a society, like we do forget to realize that it still is going on.
TAPPER (voice-over): But it's not something Eric can forget about, seeing a chance to serve a country where his roots run deep.
ERIC: I want Ukraine to be more of me. And I like to serve. So given back to those who are less fortunate because, I mean, I was adopted, and then I had everything. And now coming here, I see that there's people a lot less fortunate than me.
TAPPER: And our thanks and best wishes to Eric. His parents in New Mexico must be pretty proud.
Roughly half of the 4 million plus refugees who have fled Ukraine, roughly half of them are children. As we all know too well, children need to be in school. CNN's Kyung Lah visited a school in Warsaw, Poland, that is welcomed every new refugee and everyone is coping the best they can.
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To learn the full scope of war, take a seat in Ms. Magnus (ph) classroom. She's a Polish teacher using Google Translate to communicate in Ukrainian with her new foreign students.
Her class has grown by 40 percent this month with new children who've just fled the only home they've ever known.
(on-camera): You're translating on the internet as you teach.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I know only Polish language.
LAH (on-camera): How important is it for you as a teacher to help these kids?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) bardzo wazne. Very important. Bardzo wazne.
LAH (voice-over): Primary School 157 with bilingual classes has welcomed every new refugee. Classes are more cramped. But these public school students don't complain because they feel they already know the strangers sitting next to them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of kids have come to our school. And some of them have told us those stories about what's happened. They've left people that they love behind.
LAH (voice-over): Edward Chefski (ph) is 13 years old, a Polish student, seeing the influx of war survivors come through his school doors.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The more we take in, the better we're doing.
LAH (on-camera): The better?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
LAH (on-camera): So you don't mind that the --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
LAH (on-camera): -- rooms are crowded? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. It's very good cause.
LAH (on-camera): So these are all Polish kids?
(voice-over): Eva Rexgernatt (ph) is the Vice Director.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's hard.
LAH (voice-over): She feels for every child in the building and only wishes she could do more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Especially when I see people helping (ph). And I don't know. We can help in only a small part.
LAH (voice-over): Warsaw's Mayor tells us the strain on his city schools is enormous. The 100,000 additional refugee children in Poland's capital need an education. It's an increase of 30 percent just this last month.
Lizar Samodenko (ph) is 13. He's from Kyiv.
(on-camera): Your mom is here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
LAH (on-camera): Your father?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. He stay in Ukraine.
LAH (voice-over): The Lizar's (ph) father is a minister, helping fight in the war. It took a week for Lizar (ph) to escape Ukraine with his mother. School offers the structure of a life he's lost.
(on-camera): Your favorite subject is?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Math.
LAH (on-camera): Math. You like math?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
LAH (on-camera): Is it easier being around other Ukrainian kids?
(voice-over): Yes, he says. We can talk. They understand.
Of the 4 million refugees fleeing Ukraine, half are children, paying the price of adult sins.
(on-camera): How hard is it for kids your age to live through this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's practically impossible to go through this. It's just mind-boggling how this could happen to someone that young.
LAH: The school told us they're not experts in dealing with war trauma that there have not been child psychologists added to the school. Despite all of this, despite the strain on the teachers and the space, they are not turning a single student away. In fact, the community has even stepped up. There have been donations of backpacks being delivered to the school.
And they're being added so rapidly, Jake, that something we did notice at the school is that the new student names aren't being added by computer, they're actually being written in by hand in pencil. Jake?
TAPPER: OK, Kyung Lah, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
The accelerated plans to cut economic ties with Russia and one of the biggest firms in the world and why the U.S. might lag behind. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our Earth matters series, a file of shame. That's what the U.N. Secretary General called the latest climate report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And now as CNN's Rene Marsh reports, Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine has fast tracked several European countries clean energy plans and left the U.S. trailing.
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Russia invaded Ukraine, it triggered what climate change warnings did not. It expedited Europe's plans for transitioning to renewable energy.
Since the invasion, Germany announced it's speeding up wind and solar energy projects, France ended its gas heater subsidies, Italy is moving to build six new wind farms and the Netherlands is also ramping up offshore wind all in an effort to end reliance on Russian oil and gas. The war giving an urgent push to Europe's clean energy transition.
NIKOS TSAFOS, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: When there is a national security imperative, but it's far easier to get consensus, to spend money, to push forward, more dramatic changes.
MARSH (voice-over): The Russian invasion, high gas prices, advancements in the renewable energy sector and a climate crisis have all converged to create a moment for the green energy movement like never before. Yet scientists and energy experts say the United States is in danger of missing this moment.
TSAFOS: Right now, Europe is leading and it's moving faster than others. But obviously, this is a global problem. And we all need to be on the same page.
RACHEL CLEETUS, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS: The United States is one of the leading contributors to heat trapping emissions and its actions are critical to meet global climate goals.
MARSH (voice-over): The E.U. has adopted a climate loss setting 2050 is the target date for zero emissions. No such legislation has passed in the U.S. Biden's climate push in Build Back Better remain stymied by politics.
JENNIFER GRANHOLM, ENERGY SECRETARY: We are playing catch up. There's no doubt about it. All of the investments that have -- we're in the bipartisan infrastructure law that are in hopefully the next version of what Congress will pass, these tax credits for clean energy, renewable energy that has to be part of our strategy.
MARSH (voice-over): And urgent new U.N.-backed climate change report released Monday calls for an immediate transition to renewable energy to avoid climate catastrophe.
TSAFOS: I'm really worried that in the United States, we're going to miss this moment because there's no real political consensus. And because there is no political consensus, we can have a big piece of legislation which is what you really need if you're going to supercharge the transition.
MARSH (voice-over): On Capitol Hill last week, lawmakers raised concerns the U.S. also lags in producing the critical minerals that power things like batteries for electric vehicles, a space China dominates.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV), ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES CHAIRMAN: What we've seen Russia do by weaponizing energy guarantee China would do the same thing, weaponizing critical minerals.
MARSH (voice-over): Russia's aggression has set off the race for renewables in Europe. But the question remains, will the U.S. catch up?
MARSH: And President Biden has done or taken what actions he can without Congress last week. He invoked the Defense Production Act, which was intended to jumpstart the production of minerals needed to power those renewables right here in the United States. But that move alone, Jake, won't spur this sort of aggressive transition that today's report is so urgently calling for right now. What it comes down to is putting the political divides aside to pass that strong climate legislation or simply face the reality of climate disaster.
TAPPER: Rene Marsh, thank you so much.
Coming up next, the significant vote about to happen this hour on Capitol Hill. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Brief moment for politics now, in a moment, the U.S. Senate will vote to move Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination from the Senate Judiciary Committee on to the full Senate. It's a key step in the all but certain confirmation of President Biden's historic pick.
Republicans on the Judiciary Committee praised Judge Jackson's qualifications yet they remained stuck with the party line vote. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said this afternoon the Senate will vote to confirm Jackson by the end of the week.
If you ever miss an episode of THE LEAD, you can listen to THE LEAD wherever you get your podcasts. I'll be back tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern for CNN Tonight with more from Lviv and from our reporters on the frontlines of this bloody invasion.
Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer who is in "THE SITUATION ROOM." I'll see you in a few hours.