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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Zelenskyy Confronts U.N. With Horrors Of Russia's War; Utter Devastation In Borodianka After Russian Forces Withdraw; Survey: More Than 7.1M People Internally Displaced In Ukraine; Lviv Football Club Owner Vows To Change Jobs, "Become A Sniper"; Mayor: Mariupol On The Brink Of Humanitarian Catastrophe; Obama Returns To White House To Tout Health Care Law. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired April 05, 2022 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Yes, yes. What was it? A raccoon at the White House?
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Yeah.
BLACKWELL: Some -- Google that video. It's worth the time.
CAMEROTA: You're welcome.
BLACKWELL: All right. THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER live from Ukraine starts right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: I'm standing on a roof top looking out on Lviv on day 41 of Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine.
I'm Jake Tapper. Welcome to this special broadcast of THE LEAD live from Western Ukraine.
Today, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tried to force the United Nations security council to confront the reality that the U.N. in general and individual countries separately had not stopped Vladimir Putin and his troops who continue to bomb, to shoot, to rape, to slaughter innocent civilians.
Zelenskyy went graphic detail about the horrors being inflicted on the Ukrainian people. What he and his teams and his CNN crews on the ground separately have witnessed in places such as the recently liberated town of Bucha.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Civilians were crushed by tanks while sitting in their cars in the middle of the road just for their pleasure. They cut off limbs, slashed their throats. Women raped and killed in front of their children. Their tongues were pulled out only because the aggressor did not hear what they wanted to hear from them. This is no different from other terrorists.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: It is of course not just Bucha. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen just returned from the nearby town of Borodianka. He spoke to volunteer body collectors who were walking through the streets, picking up the corpses of civilians who had been bound and killed. CNN teams saw entire village blocks reduced to rubble, burned out military vehicles littering the streets.
In Kharkiv where Christiane Amanpour was just yesterday, local leaders say more than 50, 50 Russian rockets have hit in the last day. At least six people were killed. A number of others wounded.
Today here in Lviv, we met a number of internally displaced Ukrainians who have been forced to flee their homes in Kyiv and the eastern Donbas region to travel here to the western part of the country.
In the middle of Lviv's central square, just a if you hours ago, I met Natalia and Maria. You see them there with their daughters. They fled their homes outside Kyiv with their children. Maria's husband works for the police and he stayed behind. Every day on the phone he tells her about the awful things he is witnessing.
Maria and Natalia made these pleas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The war in Ukraine is real and it is true that people are being killed. It is very hard. It is true.
We want the world to know that the Russian soldiers are making safari out of Ukrainian children. They are raping and killing our women, and they are killing young men so that they won't be able to fight against them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We are very grateful to those who deliver the truth. Please do not stop. Do not get used to this war. Speak the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That's why we're here in Ukraine to bear witness, to bring you that truth, especially amidst the Kremlin lies. Not just from where I'm standing here in Lviv but from our CNN teams across the entire country, bringing you the story.
Let's bring in CNN's Fred Pleitgen who was in Borodianka earlier today. He is now live in Kyiv for us.
And, Fred, how does the damage you see there compare to what you've seen in other Ukrainian cities such as Bucha that have been attacked by the Russians?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know what, Jake, the damage in Borodianka I would say is even a lot worse than it is in Bucha. Of course, Bucha was the place so many people were killed in the streets. People were also apparently executed in the basement there which we witnessed as well.
But one of the things we learned today, we took a trip here, all the way to Borodianka. We had to go through several towns and villages along the way and there is literally a swath of death and destruction when you make your way from here to Borodianka and most probably also further up towards the border with Belarus. Every single village we went through had destroyed buildings. Almost everyone had destroyed Russian tanks as well and we did also in several other towns see people collect bodies there as well.
Borodianka was one of those places hit extremely hard. What you're about to see is very graphic and very disturbing.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): In the war that Russia has unleashed against Ukraine, few places have suffered more than Borodianka. Occupied by Putin's troops since late February, recently taken back by Ukraine's army, Borodianka was held by the Russians for a very long time.
And just to give you an idea about the scale of the destruction, you had houses like these completely destroyed.
But if we look over here, you can see even large residential buildings have been flattened. This entire building was flattened. It was connected with this one before but now there's absolutely nothing left of it.
And the Russians made sure to show they owned this town, painting the letter "V" on occupied buildings, even defacing Borodianka's city administration. V is the letter the Russians used to help identify their forces that invaded this part of Ukraine.
Oxana Kuchenchenko (ph) and her husband just returned here and found Russian soldiers had been staying in their house. She says they ransacked the place.
Alcohol is everywhere, she says. Empty bottles in the hallway under things. They smoked a lot, put out cigarettes on the table.
They also showed us the corps of a man they found in their backyard. His hands and feet tied. Severe bruises on his body. A shell casing still nearby.
Russia claims its forces don't target civilians, calling reports of atrocities fake and provocations.
But these body collectors are the ones who have to remove the carnage Russia's military leaves in its wake. In a span of less than an hour, they found a person gunned down while riding a bicycle, a body burned beyond recognition, and a man still stuck in his car, gunned down with bullet holes in his head and chest. He was believed to be transporting medical supplies, now strewn near this road.
The most awful thing is those are not soldiers laying there. Just people. Innocent people, Gennadi (ph) says. For no reason, I ask. Yes, for no reason. Killed and tortured for no reason, he says.
The road is lined with villages heavily damaged with Russia's occupation. Destroyed tanks and armored vehicles left behind but also indications of just how much fire power they unleashed on this area.
The Russians say this is a special operation, not a war, and that they don't harm civilians. But look how much ammunition they left behind simply in this one single firing position here. This is ammunition for heavy weapons with devastating effects on civilian areas. That devastation cuts through the towns and villages north of Kyiv where the number of dead continues to rise. Now that Vladimir Putin's armies have withdrawn, Ukraine's leaders still believe many more bodies could be buried beneath the rubble.
PLEITGEN: Of course, this is not a singular case, Jake. In fact, the Ukrainian authorities are coming through towns, being left by the Russians, as they move out of here. And they fear that a lot more of this to come, that a lot more bodies are going to be discovered.
You know, what we're seeing when we move through these areas, it seems on the part of Russian military, there seems to be a complete lack of respect for the Ukrainian state, Ukrainian civilians, and also on the part of the Russian leadership. A complete lack of respect for its own soldiers, considering they're still saying that this was an orderly withdrawal and this was always the plan.
However, if that was the plan, it shows they have no regard whatsoever for their own troops. A lot of them were incinerated in their vehicles and many bodies not even recovered, Jake.
TAPPER: CNN's Fred Pleitgen live for us in Kyiv. Thank you so much.
Joining us now in Lviv, CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward.
And, Clarissa, the images we're seeing from Bucha, not to mention Borodianka that Fred just brought us today, they're horrific. And, of course, the big fear is there is much worse out there in the parts of the country that are still controlled by the Russians.
We spoke with a man who has friends in the army. He said he's hearing from his soldier friends that Mariupol, you can't even believe how horrible the crimes are there.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And I think there is a sense of dread now. That what we're seeing in Bucha and Borodianka and these Kyiv suburbs is just the tip of the iceberg, because this is the first time we've been able to look at the sort of calculated brutality of the Russians in areas that have been under their control. And there are so many others around the country that we just haven't been able to see it yet.
You brought up Mariupol, more than 100,000 people trapped there. No water. No electricity, constant bombardment, constant shelling, no humanitarian aid, corpses littering the streets, reports of women being raped. I mean, we are only just starting to get a sense of how ugly things are in many of these areas.
And honestly, Jake, it is utterly terrifying.
TAPPER: It is. And just anybody who heard the sound coming from over there, there are regular air raid sirens. That was the all-clear that we were just being told that everything was okay. So that's what that was.
So, Clarissa, you've obviously reported the front lines, too many places to name. I'll start with a few, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq.
How does what we're seeing here compare with what you've seen elsewhere?
WARD: I think when you look at executions of civilians in any war zone, it makes your blood run cold, because it is a very different thing to kill someone with a bomb, with an air strike, with a missile, even with shelling -- yes. Because there's distance, there is a sort of, you can divorce yourself from the impact, the humanitarian toll of what it is that you're doing.
When you stand in front of someone in cold blood and look into their eyes and kill them, that speaks to a level of depravity, which is utterly petrifying even in the context of war. And it also speaks to a deep state of dehumanization and hatred which is such an ominous harbinger of things to come, because it shows this war is even uglier and even darker than I think we had dared to imagine.
TAPPER: And, of course, this comes after years and years of Kremlin propaganda about how evil the Ukrainian people are. It is that attempt to dehumanize the people of Ukraine that partly explains how these Russian soldiers are able to commit, I'm not excusing anything, please understand that. But it has been years of indoctrinating Russians to hate Ukrainian that's leads to the crimes we're seeing.
WARD: And it's also this -- what is so powerful about Russian disinformation, it is not just trying to make believe their narrative. It is simply bombarding with you so many narratives. When we look at how they're reacting.
TAPPER: False, patently false.
WARD: Patently false, but there are so many of them that most ordinary people kind of put their hands up and say, I don't know what to believe anymore.
TAPPER: Right. WARD: You stop believing in the very possibility that truth exists, that there is black and white. There is good and evil. It is a profoundly deep form of cynicism. But what it does is it makes people uniquely vulnerable to all forms of totalitarianism because they're basically surrendering and saying, I don't know what's true anymore. That's why you're seeing not just around the world but people in Russia questioning what happened in Bucha.
When you have dozens of journalists seeing these bodies for themselves, the U.N. saying, they have their hands tied behind their backs and the Russians are putting out propaganda saying they're actors staging it. It doesn't even make sense. It doesn't need to make sense. They're just bombarding the sort of airwaves with various nonsensical theories that completely overwhelm people.
TAPPER: It's exactly what George Orwell was warning about decades ago.
Clarissa Ward, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Coming up next, CNN's rare access to Ukrainian fight who bravely went toe to toe with Russian fighters. Find out how this war has changed their lives forever.
Plus, ready to defend their own. The Ukrainian soccer club owner I met today who said he's ready to change his profession from soccer club owner to sniper. See the startling moment that happened in the middle of our conversation.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Staying in our world lead, the toll of Putin's barbaric war is vast and growing. The United Nations estimates at least 1,400 Ukrainian civilians have been killed with more than 2,100 injured. Doctors and nurses are, of course, suffering as well.
CNN's Ivan Watson was granted a unique access to a Ukrainian hospital treating some of the thousands of military service members who have been wounded in Russia's brutal attack. We want to warn you, some of the images we're about to show you are quite disturbing.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shattered bodies in the intensive care unit of a Ukraine hospital. Men and women from the Ukraine military whose war wounds are so catastrophic, they need machines to breathe.
These deeply uncomfortable images, a glimpse of the physical toll this conflict is taking on both soldiers and civilians.
The general of the hospital said after the first couple days of this new war, at least 30 medical personnel resigned because of just the trauma of seeing these kinds of injuries up close.
A soldier named Yuri wants to communicate.
He can't speak because he's still on a ventilator. He has regained consciousness after 11 days in a coma.
We won't identify him because his family does not yet know of his injuries. He has one child. A daughter, he signals, 13 years old.
Writing in my notebook, Yuri tells me he's been in the military for two years. The doctors say that he has a very good chance of surviving very serious shrapnel injuries to his body.
We were given permission to film here provided we not name the hospital, nor the city that we're in. And that's because the Ukrainian authorities fear that that information could lead to the Russian military directly targeting this hospital.
In every room here, there is a patient whose bones and tissues have been ripped apart by flying metal.
Vladimir is a volunteer. He signed up on the second day of this war in 2022.
This electrician turned volunteer soldier comes from the Russian- speaking city of Kharkiv. Three days ago, a battle left him with two broken arms and wounds to his stomach.
Vladimir said his sister lives in Russia and he no longer communicates with her. I asked why. He said that she believes that the Ukrainians are enemies.
This is a family that is split apart by this war and different narratives of who started it.
Vladimir and the soldier with the fresh amputation lying next to him both insists that only force can stop Russia's war in this country.
Down the hall, I met a young civilian also horrifically wounded.
Dima is 21 years old. Where are you from?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mariupol.
WATSON: Dima is a recent university graduate photographed here with his mother, Natasha.
My mother died when this happened to me, he says. Adding, I've cried it off already. I'm calmer now.
He says on the night of March 9th, he and his mom were hiding in the bathroom of a two-story house in the center of Mariupol when they heard war planes overhead bombing the neighborhood. Mother and son were hiding in the bathroom shortly before 1:00 a.m. when the bomb hit the house. When he woke up, his legs were gone. He never saw his mother again. During my visit, a friend gives Dima a phone. This is the first time. He's seeing the building where he and his
mother were sheltering when they were hit. The red car here that is destroyed in front of the ruined building was his mother's car.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Of course, I get angry, I get sad. I get depressed at times because I can't lose my cool, because those who did this to me, they probably want me sitting here crying and weeping.
WATSON: Don't let the silence in these halls fool you. There is deep seething anger in this hospital, at the country that launched this unprovoked war on Ukraine.
WATSON: Now, Jake, there is a good reason why the authorities didn't want this hospital named or its location publicized. In fact, 85 good reasons. According to the United Nations, there have been 85 attacks on health facilities in this country since Russia invaded on February 24th. That's more than one attack a day. At least 72 people have been killed in those attacks, the United Nations says.
Meanwhile, Doctors Without Borders says in the last two days, there have been three strikes on hospitals in the southern city of Mykolaiv. And Doctors Without Borders team witnessed one of those Russian strikes which they say they believe could have been carried out by cluster bombs, and the MSF team said they saw at least one person killed in that attack -- Jake.
TAPPER: Ivan Watson, thank you so much.
Let's discuss all of this with a member of the Ukrainian parliament with -- here with us right now Yevheniya Kravchuk.
Thank you so much for being here.
YEVHENIYA KRAVCHUK, UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT: Thank you for having me.
TAPPER: Watching Ivan's report is upsetting for me as an American, not a Ukrainian. When you see these reports of devastation, of Russians targeting civilians, killing civilians, millions displaced, thousands killed, how do you cope?
KRAVCHUK: Well, the only thing I can think of is how to stop this. The only way how to stop it is to kick out Russians from our land. You've seen these videos in Bucha, what they did when they occupied the territories. Well, pretty much, we can see, we will probably see something like that in those territories they do hold and they got it since February.
So Mariupol is a mass graveyard. And we can't even get there. You showed these numbers the United Nations said they killed civilians but it is much, much more. I mean, only in Mariupol, the local said it is more than 5,000 civilians dead. And we can't even get there to find out what is going on there. So the only way is to win the battlefield. Because, you know, no phone
calls to Putin, no statements, no tweets, no Facebook posts cannot, you know, stop him. He should be stopped by force.
TAPPER: Yeah. So your husband is the head of the police department in the Kyiv region. What is -- what are he and his colleagues going through as they try to electricity that the people of the area?
KRAVCHUK: Well, right now, a lot of policemen from other districts that were not affected, they are taken to these northern parts, and they work there. They asked to have their forensic experts to put every, you know, documentation on this war crimes, because we need an international tribunal afterwards to make sure that everyone who killed people will be punished, because this evil cannot just go unpunished.
You know, unless we want our world just to go on jeopardy and every country that has -- you know, becomes a terrorist, they can do whatever in the world, go to other countries, kill everyone. So we need to punish those. That's why they put in this forensic evidence.
And he says that there are not enough places in the morgues to put all these bodies. So they need these refrigerators to put bodies in.
TAPPER: Earlier in the show, we showed a woman that we met in Lviv earlier today whose husband works in the police around Kyiv. And she said every day they talk and he tells her these horrible stories of things that they're finding. The graves, the torture, the rapes, your husband must be sharing similar stories.
KRAVCHUK: Yes. We talk every day. I haven't seen him 40 days. I hope to see him maybe next week since the whole Kyiv oblast has been liberated.
Yes, there are horrible stories. I mean, shots, children, likes 6 years old children that was shot with a bullet. When the family tried to escape, you know, basically to save their lives. And we do have a lot of evidence about mass rapings of women.
And this -- you know, these crimes will be very underreported because women are afraid to talk about it. They are afraid to be stigmatized. Some of the women will probably talk in ten years. It is horrible.
And sort of, you know, Russians try to put this as a new normality. I mean, they go on the United Nations defense council which have been completely useless because Russia would put veto on everything they do, and they sort of lie to the face of the whole world. And, you know, it is unbelievable. You have this satellite evidence from -- you know, the bodies were there since March 10th.
TAPPER: Yes. The Bucha corpses the Russians claimed only appeared after they left. When as you know, through satellite evidence, they were there ahead of time.
KRAVCHUK: Satellite. I mean, these bodies, they've been staying there two weeks or three weeks.
TAPPER: Yeah. Yevheniya Kravchuk, a member of parliament for Ukraine. Thank you for being with us. We appreciate it.
In the streets of Lviv, life sometimes appears normal. Businesses can be open. Many people are trying to go about their daily lives. But there are constantly and clear reminders that war is ongoing. We learned that today when we visited a local soccer club that takes in internally displaced families.
That's next. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our Wolf Lead, more than 11 million Ukrainians, 11 million have been forced to leave their homes since Putin's brutal assault on their country began. The United Nations says more than 4 million have fled the country and at least 7 million are internally displaced.
Many of those internally displaced individuals have ended up here in the western city of Lviv where I am right now. Today my team and I visited a minor league soccer club, where the owner has been opening his doors to his new home team, Ukrainian families that he's desperately hoping to protect.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER (voice over): Under the watchful eye of this lion, a local soccer team mascot, three year old Yana exhausted, finally sleeps. Yana has fled Donetsk with her mother and big sister, her aunt and cousins. It is no longer safe for her there.
But here in Lviv, residents like Ukrainians across the country are opening their homes and businesses to fellow citizens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER (on camera): Vulnerable families fleeing their homes, seeking refuge wherever they can find it, including for this three-year-old girl and this four-year-old girl at this soccer club in Lviv.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER (voice over): The Galician Lions are a minor league soccer club. They're fierce fighting spirits so far more successful off the field than on. Team executives say their offices emblazoned with lion logos has offered a resting place for hundreds of refugee families such as this one, stopping in on their way to the border into Poland.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER (on camera): It must be very difficult to be a mother and protect your children at a time like this when there are horrible things happening. ANASTASIA, FLED TO LVIV WITH FAMILY (through interpreter): Yes. It is
both physically and psychologically difficult.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER (voice over): Anastasia tells us she was a pharmacist assistant before the war. Her sister-in-law, Katia, an accountant. Their husbands remain back east as their journeys likely continue soon out of the country. Now they say they are open to any job and any safe way of life for their family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATIA, FLED TO LVIV WITH FAMILY (through interpreter): I was also a bookkeeper, worked at a company. I'm also ready to take any job. We just we left because of our children. We left our town because we were afraid of their psychological state. We have a war there and we were very scared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER (voice over): Their oldest children, 11 year old, Yegor, and nine-year-old, Valeria (ph), seems sad and confused.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER (on camera): How was the journey?
YEGOR, 11 YEARS OLD, FLED WITH FAMILY TO LVIV (through interpreter): It was very long but I'm very happy now that we are in a safe place.
TAPPER: What do you miss the most?
YEGOR, 11 YEARS OLD, FLED WITH FAMILY TO LVIV (through interpreter): I miss my grandmother and I would like to be back in my town, because here everything is looks very unfamiliar to me, unknown.
TAPPER (voice over): It must be tough being a kid and having to go through all this.
VALERIA, NINE YEARS OLD, FLED WITH FAMILY TO LVIV (through interpreter): A bit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER (voice over): They are, after all, only 11 and nine, but they find themselves having to comfort their much younger siblings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER (voice over): Yegor, what do you tell your little sister in the other room when she gets worried?
YEGOR, 11 YEARS OLD, FLED WITH FAMILY TO LVIV (through interpreter): I tell her everything is going to be fine and that it will end soon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER (voice over): Relatively these children are lucky, thousands of Ukrainians, including the nation's youngest, have been killed in Putin's brutal war. Innocent civilians murdered in their hometowns, in their homes, many more in danger of being next and that is what motivates soccer club owner, Oleg Smaliychuk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OLEG SMALIYCHUK, SOCCER CLUB OWNER (through interpreter): I want to change my profession. I bought a rifle. I want to become a sniper.
I believe after what we have seen, what happened in Bucha, the number has increased tenfolds of people like me who want to join.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER (voice over): He wants to join the Ukrainian military he says and go to the frontlines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SMALIYCHUK (through interpreter): I definitely want to go where I can avenge our children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER (voice over): Upstairs, he began to show me the sniper rifle and ammunition he purchased. And as if we needed any more evidence of the threat the people of Ukraine find themselves under, constantly the air raid siren went off while we were speaking. Oleg did not stop and instead continued loading the bullets, ready to go to war for the children under the Ukrainian flag and under the watchful eye of the Galician Lions.
TAPPER: The club owner also told me it's not just Putin's fault, he also blames former German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He thinks Germany's reluctance to completely shut off Russian gas imports is at least partly to blame for the ongoing war. Those would be the sanctions, of course, that Putin probably fears the most, he says.
Can Western powers do more to save lives here in Ukraine? My next guest says yes and has a list of actions he thinks NATO can take right now and he'll be joining me coming up, stay with us.
TAPPER: Continuing with our World Lead in Ukraine in addition to the Russian atrocities being witnessed near Kyiv, there is much more destruction all over the country, of course. Take a look at this drone footage from over the weekend in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol. It's now a gray wasteland of broken shattered burned out buildings and yet Mariupol's mayor said Monday that more than a hundred thousand Ukrainians remain trapped in that city with no lights, no water, no food, no medicine, trapped that way for more than a month.
Joining us from Kyiv now to talk about the bigger picture of what's happening in Ukraine is Daniel Bilak, the former Chief Investment Advisor for the Prime Minister. And Daniel, thanks so much for joining us.
You were born in Canada, but worked in and have family in Ukraine. And now you volunteered as a member of Ukraine's territorial defense forces. Tell us what you're seeing.
DANIEL BILAK, FORMER CHIEF INVESTMENT ADVISER TO UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER: Well, Jake, I mean, I think that - thanks for having me on your show - I mean, we're all been seeing these just absolutely ghastly, horrific images coming out of Bucha, incomprehensible barbarism that had been conducted by the butchers of Bucha who were basically the spawn of the Satan in the Kremlin.
I mean, I don't know how else you can just describe it, but it's not just that. I mean, this is the way the Russian army has always fought wars. This isn't anything new. If you talk to Syrians, Afghanis, anybody who was behind Russian lines in World War II, this is just true to form.
The Russian army doesn't know how to fight. The Russian army doesn't want to fight. And frankly, the Ukrainian army has been winning the war on the ground. We've been taking it to them. We drove them out of Kyiv and the bigger issue is that we now have to deal with something that's going to be happening big time in the Donbas. We are going to see a battle for the country, for Europe, for freedom, for democracy, everything that the Europe and NATO believes in coming up in eastern Ukraine.
You can just go - your viewers can go on to CNN and see Gen. Clark talk about the force on force battle that is looming, something he said we haven't seen since World War II.
I have a real big question like what does NATO want as the outcome of this war, because I listened to the President, I listened to the Foreign Minister, the Defense Minister and we're not seeming to get all the things that we need. And I'm really hoping NATO isn't playing quid pro quo with Ukraine on this.
TAPPER: What do you need that you're not getting that has already been promised, because obviously NATO countries, the United States have talked about billions of dollars in military aid, economic aid, humanitarian aid. Is it just that it's not getting there quickly enough?
BILAK: Well, look, I don't have all the details, but I've seen the statistics. I mean the United States spent $4 billion a year equipping the Iraqi army and we were - we've been given, I think, 800 million for this year. And when you look at the scale of the job ahead of us, we're going through Javelins in five days that were being given for a month.
So we're being given something that is being prepared by Pentagon procurement agents that doesn't seem to correspond to what the Ukrainians are asking for. But it's not just that, I mean, as a Canadian and somebody who's raised in a NATO country, if I'm sitting here wondering about the courage of the convictions of NATO countries, I can only imagine what President Putin things, sitting in his lair and his bunker in Moscow. He sees weakness, he sees fecklessness, he sees dithering and all of that does is enable him.
I mean, and NATO is essentially could be operating as a Putin enabler. And instead of avoiding World War III, you may be just speeding it up. And I cannot for the life of me understand why NATO troops got the 82nd Airborne Division, one of the finest fighting forces in the world sitting in Poland, can't come to Ukraine and create a humanitarian corridor that would send a message.
Why aren't NATO warships in the Black Sea? You have mines sown by the Russians floating onto the shores of NATO countries: Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, why aren't NATO warships in the Black Sea, international territorial waters, sending a message. The only thing Putin understands is force. You cannot negotiate any type of compromise or he sees this as a form of weakness and he'll just double down and do more.
I mean, I'm not just making this up you he telegraphs everything perfectly. And Gen. Clark and the President of Lithuania said yesterday that, look, the only way to avoid World War III, the only way is to stop Putin in Ukraine. So NATO needs to do this for its own sake.
And look, we've given the world a lesson on freedom and freedom is not free. And if you don't look to - if you don't try to stand and die on your feet and live on your knees, then you don't have a lot to live for. And look, we have all this (inaudible) ...
TAPPER: Daniel Bilak ...
BILAK: ... ingredients we need to win. Sorry.
TAPPER: And you just need the aid - you just need more, we hear you loud and clear. (Inaudible) ...
BILAK: Well, we have a profession army. We have - right.
TAPPER: I'm sorry, we're running out of time. Daniel Bilak, thank you so much for your time and for your views. We'll have you back on the show soon. We're going to have more from Lviv here coming up.
Plus in Washington, D.C. today, former President Barack Obama's first trip back to the White House since he left office, stay with us.
TAPPER: We have much more ahead from here in Ukraine, but let's take a quick break for our politics lead. Former President Barack Obama return to the White House this afternoon to celebrate his administration's signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. It looked and sounded like old times.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, Vice President Biden - Vice President - that was a joke.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: CNN's Phil Mattingly was there. Phil, what else did the former president have to say?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Not totally sure that was a joke or at least not an intentional one. Look, the President was making clear through the focus on Obamacare that there are very real things that take time struggles even, but it's worth it, take a listen.
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OBAMA: Progress feels way too slow, but what the Affordable Care Act shows is if you are driven by the core idea, that together we can improve the lives of this generation and the next. And if you're persistent, if you stay with it and are willing to work through the obstacles and the criticism and continually improve where you fall short. You can make America better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Jake, it seem like a not so subtle flick and I think what a lot of Democrats currently are frustrated with some of the President's key agenda items are still stalled and there's a lot of concern about those midterm elections. President Obama was asked about the midterm elections what the message should be and he responded, we've got a story to tell, Jake. We've just got to tell it. Jake?
TAPPER: Phil Mattingly at the White House for us. Thanks so much.
Coming up, captured but not killed. CNN's exclusive access to Ukrainians who had been Russian prisoners of war, but are now back on the right side, in Ukraine, the physical and mental abuse they say the Russians inflicted upon them, that's next.
TAPPER: Welcome back to this special broadcast of THE LEAD live from western Ukraine. I'm Jake Tapper. I'm standing on a rooftop looking out on Lviv on day 41 of Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine. We begin this hour with more gruesome images of alleged war crimes and a passionate yet angry message from Ukraine's leader.
Today, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy went into graphic detail to the United Nations Security Council. He demanded accountability.
He tried to force world leaders to confront the reality that they have not stopped Putin nor his troops from slaughtering innocent Ukrainian civilians.