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Don Lemon Tonight

U.S. And NATO Delivered Weapons To Ukraine; President Biden Pressured To Ban Russian Oil; Families BracingFor Their Fate In Ukraine; Romania Welcomed Refugees From Ukraine; President Zelenskyy Sticks With His People; Ukrainians Defy To Be Under Russia's Rule; Safety In Ukraine Is Uncertain; U.S. Looking For Other Oil Supplier. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 07, 2022 - 22:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Stay with CNN for the latest from Ukraine. The news continues. I want to turn things over to DON LEMON TONIGHT. Don?

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: As horrific of the bombings are and they are, it is horrific, we have to remember keep in mind the really massive humanitarian effort that this is and it will be. I mean, as a matter of fact, we were during this program, Anderson, we think that we're going to see you know all these refugees getting off of the train. Our Miguel Marquez is in Romania, it is just unbelievable what is happening.

COOPER: Yes. Yes. I mean, the sheer numbers of people here, you know, the mayor in Lviv says the city is maxed out or getting near to be maxed out, they said they need more tents, they need medical supplies, they need a lot more volunteers, it's going to go on and on.

LEMON: Yes. Anderson, thank you. Be safe. We'll see you tomorrow.

This is Don Lemon Tonight. And this is our breaking news. It continues, it goes on, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy defiant tonight, seen in his office for the first time since the beginning of Russia's invasion of his country. Watch this.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): Yes, I'm staying here on Bankova, I'm not hiding and I'm not afraid of anyone.


LEMON: The Pentagon believes Vladimir Putin is trying to recruit fighters from Syria to fight in Ukraine. A senior U.S. defense official says Russia is, quote, "increasing bombardments of Ukrainian cities." And we've seen the result for ourselves. Take a look at this, a church on fire, parishioners reporting it was hit by Russian military strikes. Look at that church.

Russian tanks in the streets of a town on the outskirts of Kyiv. Imagine looking at your window and seeing enemy tanks just right outside. And I really have to warn you that his next video is hard to watch, in fact it is horrific. The moment a Russian military strike that killed a family trying to flee on a known evacuation route, here it is.



UNKNOWN: Stay there.

UNKNOWN: All right.

UNKNOWN: Come out, medic. Medic!


LEMON: It seems so far away right but you never know. Imagine that happening here. And I warn you, this image of the aftermath is disturbing. It is of a mother and her two children dead. Attacked as they were trying to flee in safety. And yes, it is horrible to see pictures like these. But this is really, this is the reality of the war. It's a reality, desperate people, people with no other choice still fleeing.

Poland says 100 refugees a minute are crossing their borders. Like this boy. Poor guy. Exhausted in tears leaving his home with no idea whether he will ever return.

CNN's people are on the ground across the region. In Washington, we have Sam -- in Washington and across that region. Sam Kiley is in Nipro, Ukraine, Phil Mattingly is at the White House, Oren Liebermann is at the Pentagon. Miguel Marquez is in Bucharest, Romania. That's where that train full of refugees due to arrive at any minute. We will go to him as soon as it arrives.

Good evening to all of you.


Sam, man, it's tough to watch and even just to report what we just witnessed, what we just saw. Russia's assault on civilians has widen tonight, President Zelenskyy is defiant. He was in his office in Kyiv for the first time since the invasion began. What's he saying?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very interesting, he's managing to speak pretty much every day. He had been broadcasting from an unknown -- an unknown and secret location because you'll remember at the beginning of this, he said that he was target number one and his family were target number two for assassination squads who said that Russian attend into the capitol to kill him.

Now he has managed to get back to his own office. And continues to issue statements of defiance and sometimes sort of lampooning some of the language that the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin have been using. This is latest statement from his office.


ZELENSKYY (through translator): Every Ukrainian who yesterday, today and tomorrow have been and will be resisting against the occupants are heroes. We are together with you in this course, we are not afraid together with you when the occupiers are starting to fire trying to disperse all of us. We are not backing down and we are not backing down. And those who kept saying we are the one people surely did not count for such a strong retort.


KILEY: Now what he means by those who say, talked of the one people, this references Putin's remarks that Russia and Ukraine were one people, and in his remarks suggesting that Ukraine was a real country and that he was sending Russian troops across the border to rescue the Ukraine from the grip of neo-Nazis as he called it. Of course, President Zelenskyy being a Jewish. An odd position for a Jew to be running a neo-Nazi organization.

But nonetheless, Vladimir -- Volodymyr Zelenskyy is now at least able to broadcast from his office, he's also saying there about maintaining national unity because the Russians have two days in a row now talked about a evacuation route for civilians that would take them through frontlines and into Russian territory, effectively handing themselves over to the Russian state the very state that is causing the need for evacuation.

And indeed, would give the Russians time to regroup and re-order themselves if they have to, if they have a ceasefire operation that goes straight through the front lines where in many cases, they are being held back or even pushed back further by Ukraine forces, Don.

LEMON: Yes, walking right into enemy hands, it would seem. Oren, you have reporting on an undisclosed airfield in Eastern Europe, it's being used to get weapons into Ukraine, what do you know and will Russia start targeting these shipments once they're in Ukraine?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: There is a massive effort not only by the U.S., by some 13 or 14 other countries to get weapons into the hands of the Ukrainians. The military, the militias and everyone fighting this Russian invasion. We got a sense of part of that. A small undisclosed airfield fairly close to Ukraine, one that didn't have all the many flights. That suddenly seeing near its maximum nearly every day as weapons and equipment are flown in and then taken over via convoy into Ukraine, where the Pentagon says it's getting into the hands of those who need it.

A senior U.S. official says the U.S. and NATO have delivered some 17,000 anti-tank missiles and some 2,000 anti-aircraft missiles. This is key here. As of right now the Pentagon assesses, again, it's getting to those who need it. A key question is, does Russia try to target those convoys and those shipments at some point. So far, they have not.

But that's something people here are watching very closely. They realize if Russia moves in that direction or closes in on the convoys, the window to get these crucial weapons in closes. It is a critical question and one of the key questions to the ability of the Ukrainians to keep up this very effective resistance against a massive Russian force that's still there and still trying to make progress.

LEMON: Oren, can I ask you about Syria. What is Pen -- what is the Pentagon saying about this report that Putin is recruiting fighters from Syria? What's that all about?

LIEBERMANN: Of course, this is some new reporting that we heard essentially today from the Pentagon and a senior defense official as well as a bit from Pentagon press secretary John Kirby where he says the Russians are trying to bring in foreign fighters in particular from Syria.

Now there aren't too many details here, we don't have a sense of how many Syrian fighters they're trying to bring it or how or where they'd employed them. But it's not the first time we've heard of the Russians trying to bring in others to sort of supplement or to bolster their troops.


Keep in mind and we've talked about this before, Don. The Russian troops are having problems. Moral, fuel shortages, logistics problems, the Ukrainian resistance. So, it says something about those forces that the Kremlin is trying to bring in more forces to bolster that. Now last week we reported they're trying to bring in 1,000 mercenaries. We know they've also tried to bring in Wagner Group to fight in Ukraine.

So, it's this continuing effort to sort of build up what is already a massive force with more outside forces. How much success though have doing that, we'll certainly keep an eye on that as this continues.

LEMON: Let's go to Phil at the White House. Phil, the White House is under a lot of pressure to turn up the heat on Russia by banning oil imports. What are you hearing from your sources?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, White House officials say the president has not signed off on anything yet. However, officials tell me it is very likely that in the coming days President Biden will sign off on a ban on Russian oil imports.

Now this is coming as you noted from extreme pressure on Capitol Hill not just from Republicans but also Democrats as well including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senator Richard Durbin, the second rank Democrat in the U.S. Senate. All calling for this ban on imports.

And when the U.S. acts if they act as it appears like President Biden will in the days ahead, it will likely have to be on a unilateral basis. And here's why. This decision if President Biden moves forward with it given the pressure that he's facing on Capitol Hill, really cuts against with the administration has intended to do when it comes to sanctions over the course of the last 10 days.

What resulted and probably the most widespread and unified sanctions package that we've ever seen against the country of Russia's size and economic scale. The reason why is because while they wanted to impose maximum pain on President Putin, they want to limit this spill over on the U.S. and its allies.

The European allies in particular have significant exposure on the oil and gas side of things to Russia. That is why it is unlikely the E.U. would be willing to join President Biden in any effort to cut Russian oil imports. Now keep in mind, the U.S. imports from Russia in 2021 about 8 percent in total, only 3 percent in crude so it wouldn't have a significant effect here at home.

And the White House economic team has been working intensively over the course of the last several days to try and figure out ways to fill the gap. But the issue is this. Over the course of last 24 hours, we've seen a significant increase spike in or oil prices just on the news that President Biden may consider this.

That goes against what the White House is trying to do, however the political winds very clearly willing in one direction the president likely to follow suit as well. One thing to keep an eye on, this administration, Don, over the course the last several months has been working intensively behind the scenes to find different ways to try and fill in gaps and supply both on liquefied natural gas and on oil. That's included conversations with Saudi Arabia, included conversations recently with Venezuela, obviously the heavily sanctioned country.

No firm idea yet what that may provide but even that has also raised its concerns on Capitol Hill. It's a very difficult spot for the administration to be in as it tries to quell some of the pain felt by the U.S. and its allies with the sanctions, Don.

LEMON: Especially if we want to deal with Venezuela at this point from one, you know, authoritarian to another. Thank you. I appreciate it. Sam, Phil, and Oren, I appreciate it.

I want to bring in now, I talk to a woman who escaped Kyiv with her family. Her name is Lisa. She asked us not to use her last name because she is concerned for her safety, for the safety of her and her family. Lisa, thank you for joining us. I appreciate it.

LISA, UKRAINIAN FORCED TO OVACUATE KYIV: Hi. Thank you for inviting me.

LEMON: There is devastation all over Ukraine tonight. We're showing a couple of selfies, we're going to put up that you took with your children before and after the war started. How are you doing? Do you have food, do you have access to money, what's going on?

LISA: My family, we have food and access to money. Those who left behind, they often don't. My brother-in-law he is captured under Kharkiv and occupied in with his wife and his son and their village is occupied by Russian troops. They placed their missile rock launchers there in the village. And they continue to shoot target for 10 days.

The village is cut off from internet, from electricity. He only manages to switch on his phone for two times a day he calls us. He tells us he's alive. But each time we speak with him we hear every several seconds another rocket is launched from the village to Kharkiv. And it happens mostly at night. In the day too, but the most massive shelling is going on nights.


LEMON: Massive shelling you say going on at night. This is, I want to continue on here but, this is impacted the lives of just about everyone else close to you, everyone close to you. You sent pictures of your neighbor's family. This is in Kyiv.

LISA: Yes.

LEMON: Where they were hiding out before they escaped. You also provided video from a friend who escaped from Kharkiv. How have you've been able to process --

LISA: Yes.

LEMON: -- just the amount of destruction that you and your neighbors and your family and everyone in Ukraine is now living with.

LISA: It is too much. We haven't slept. For the first four days we slept only two hours a day. And we are praying every day just -- it's -- my -- many of my friends' homes are already destroyed and a rocket hit my neighbor 500 meters from my house. It just really so painful. I cannot leave Ukraine because I cannot believe people who -- who should stay here and can't leave from here. So, I stay here with my children still.

LEMON: Repeat that again, you said you can't leave Ukraine?

LISA: I can't leave, I can't leave Ukraine because I will believe people who I love and who don't -- who can't. So, we'll stay together. And waiting for the situation to settles so that we can return to our home.

LEMON: You know, Lisa, I get asked that question a lot just from people, random people here in the United States, on the street, they'll say, why, why are so many people staying? Why aren't they leaving? And I think you answered partly, but can you answer that question just for people who are asking me, and I'm sure, or other journalists? Why aren't people leaving? Why are they choosing to stay?

LISA: Well, not everyone can leave because, first of all, many people are not physically able to leave. For example, from Kyiv and from Kharkiv the roads are jammed and the way that took one hour before the war, it takes, it may take a day now. This is the first reason. And the railway stations are jammed, the trains are over jammed.

So, first of all, some people can't leave for just logistic reasons. And also, all mean, Ukrainian men from 18 to 60 they are not allowed to leave. So, their families, some of them got to Europe with children. But others stay here just not to part because if I leave, I may never see my husband again. And my best friend she stays with me for the same reason. She cannot leave and she would rather join the army herself and die but not to part with beloved ones.

LEMON: Your parents, this is an unbelievable part that is shocking to many, especially, you know, living in a country, we live in a country with a free press. Your parents live in Russia, and my understand is that they think that Ukraine is at fault for this war. They believe Putin's propaganda.

LISA: Yes.

LEMON: It's got to hurt you that they don't believe what they're going through.

LISA: This is exactly. They can't believe that Russians have ruined civilian's home. They can't believe that Russians are hitting civilian buildings. They can't believe that, even when I tell that my brother- in- law, he, himself, watches this and he's told that he will be shot if he takes any pictures. He will be killed.

And even when I tell this, even when I show the photo of my own neighborhood, which is rocket launched they still -- they -- I just don't understand how it happens. They -- really believe what they see on TV more.


Of course, they are afraid for my own safety, and for their grandchildren. But like I've heard from them that even thinks like Ukrainian army is shooting its own civilians, who serves in the Ukrainian army. Those who have their homes and their families here.

LEMON: It's amazing that they think that Vladimir Putin is not capable of this. I know that you speak Russian, you have family there. Did you ever think Russia would actually attack or, you know?

LISA: I haven't -- Putin have believe that one week ago or one week before the invasion, I talked to my mother, and she told me that Russians are -- I told her that many of my acquaintances are already leaving Ukraine, are living abroad because they are afraid of invasion. And she told me that Russians are laughing off that panic. They say -- they believe that Ukrainians are just crazy. That Russia will never attack.

So, it was just one week before the invasion, and on the first day of invasion when I told that I heard explosions from my home, and was forced to leave very quickly. And then I was told that after invasion, and with the same sovereign country but without Nazis. Nazis. Nazi.

So, after all, I was so shocked, I even told them that they are fascist themselves. I block them, but then, but I was -- I received therapy from a psychologist with experience in dealing with refugees, and he helped me like my heart was broken. I was crying all day, but after the therapy, I was -- I managed to talk to my parents -- LEMON: Yes.

LISA: -- to talk about safety, safety issues for the children, first of all, in the first place.

LEMON: Well, we -- we wish you the very best. I know that it's tough, and those words seem hollow but everyone, really, is thinking about you here. And I'm very sorry yo uhave to deal with that. It sounds like dealing with brainwashing from propaganda with your family. You take care. You be safe and we wish you well. OK, Lisa?

LISA: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you.

Ukraine's president and his people showing incredible bravery. But what do they need from the west to get through the next days, the next weeks, and even months?


LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR AFRICAN AFFAIRS: It's clear, Mr. Putin has a plan to destroy and terrorize Ukraine. If the last two weeks have shown us anything, it's that the Ukrainian people are not going to give up.




LEMON: So, we told you at the beginning of the show that our Miguel Marquez was in Bucharest, Romania tonight where there is a train full of refugees arriving. I want to get straight to Miguel. Miguel, you've been at the station all day, the train just came in. Tell us what's happening.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We saw the same train coming last night. This is the train from near the Moldovan border, Iasi is the name of the town where this is coming from. Hundreds of people are able to get off this train, it's not clear how many are refugees and how many are just regular people who would be taking this train but it is a very full train, it's about 5.30 in the morning right now.

It is very cold out and I can tell you there are -- there's a big group over on this side, David, if you look down this way, there's a big group of people who have gone to tent that they have set up so that people can register at that location in the event that they need help with onward travel.

And then if you come around this way, Dave, there are, for instance, this -- this spring time fresh food, it was a fast-food restaurant just a few days ago it looks like, and that's been turned into a makeshift refugee center. All the people with the reflective vests that you see on here in the train station here they are volunteers and there's a lot of them and they are here 24 hours a day. We were here 24 hours ago when this train came. They were there then. They are here now and they are trying to help these people get settled from wherever they're going.

What they are seeing right now is more and more refugees coming from Moldova which is a sort of long -- a small country along the eastern flank of Romania rather than the border crossings that are directly with Ukraine. They think that is happening because as the Russians move towards Odessa, the third largest city over million people live there in southern Ukraine, people are starting to move towards Moldova.

Moldova is the closest country to Odessa, they're going into Moldova and then coming into Romania from there and then trying to move on to other parts of Europe, but it is a mess. The other thing that they are seeing with refugees which is interesting is, you know, at first it was people with cars, with money, with means, with papers, with documents, with all the ability to sort of come to places like this get a hotel and hang out.

Now they are seeing people who aren't as financially stable whose homes may have been destroyed who basically just have the clothes on their back. Maybe the family pet and a couple of bags and the kids and that's about it. As this goes, they expect that that desperation and that need is only going to get greater.


And on nights like tonight, it is 24 degrees right now, it is snowing. The people who are in this train station are the lucky ones. Don?

LEMON: Yes. Miguel Marquez, following the story for us in Bucharest, Romania. Miguel, we'll check back. Thank you very much. The biggest diplomatic meeting between Russia and Ukraine coming up this week. I'm going to speak with a former Ukrainian ambassador, that's next.



LEMON: Ukraine cities hammered by explosions as Russian troops continue their brutal invasion. Horrifying images showing civilians killed by strikes even as they try to escape the fighting. Ukraine's ambassador to the United Nations slamming Russia's actions tonight.


SERGIY KYSLYTSYA, UKRAINE AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Russia continues to cynically disregard the norms of international humanitarian law during hostilities. Russian troops blocked numerous attempts of the Ukrainian authorities to evacuate civilians through humanitarian corridors.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: So, joining me now to discuss Olexander Scherba. He is a former ambassador-at-large for Ukraine's foreign ministry. Good to see you, Ambassador. Again, thank you for appearing on the program.


LEMON: I want to ask you how you and your family and friends are doing, is it getting more tense where you are. You're in Lviv.

SCHERBA: My family isn't safe between one of the capitals (Inaudible). I am -- I relocated yesterday from Kyiv to here because my company, the company for whom I work relocated. I am or less safe but the air in Ukraine is very, very dense of course.

LEMON: You know, the Ukraine foreign minister will meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Turkey this Thursday. It is the highest-level meeting between the two countries since this war broke out. What do you hope to see from this meeting?

SCHERBA: Well, quite frankly, whatever Russians have been speaking about right now until now is nothing but insult. They basically expect us to lay down the weapons, to for Zelenskyy to give up his power or de facto or the (Inaudible) it's just, it's not going to happen. Declare the brutality and to drop the idea of joining in with the European Union and with the NATO.

So, so far, I don't expect too much quite frankly, but the very fact that they would be meeting is a little bit encouraging.

LEMON: Well, that's -- OK. But there have been three rounds of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine in Belarus without any resolution. Yet, Ambassador, Russia has called for another ceasefire but almost all the evacuation routes that they are proposing they lead to Belarus or Russia itself. How can there be any trust at the negotiating table?

SCHERBA: There is no trust. I mean, they are just playing games. So, the people who they are sending to these so-called negotiations are they are nobody. They are clowns. You know? They kill our civilians, the civilians in Russian speaking regions, regions that used to be Russia sympathetic. Right now, everybody is just hating Putin and his regime.

And they are opening humanitarian corridors towards Russia. Nobody wants to go in that direction. I spoke yesterday with a friend of mine whose family is in Mariupol. Just two weeks ago he was one of, you know, pro-Russian voices in Ukraine, right now, he says it's just an insult to offer, to bombard to destroy the lives and livelihoods of these people and then offer to move towards Russia. It's just unbelievable how cynical how fascist this regime in Moscow is right now.

LEMON: You said that you moved for safety to Lviv, I'm sure the Ukrainian president has been moving around as well. President Zelenskyy posting a video today from his office mocking Putin and promising that he's not going anywhere. How important has that example become to Ukrainian citizens? What do you think of it?

SCHERBA: It's crucial, it's absolutely crucial, it's a sign that president stands and stays and stands his ground, army stands its ground, civilians are fighting. Men and women, it was unbelievable. I was driving through to the country, there are men, there are women, there are elderly just -- and there is this, you know, determination in the eyes of people.

And with every day where civilians, civilian residential areas get hit by Russian rockets where children and women die, the determination only grows. They are not breaking our spirits.

LEMON: As you're moving around, what are you seeing?


SCHERBA: It's heartbreaking of course because there is so much destruction throughout this wonderful, you know, suburbs of Ukraine's bigger cities which are on fire. There are reports of civilians who are trying to flee, some of them are waiting to the last moment because they have elderly parents who cannot move or have difficulty to move or refused to move.

But in the last moment they on the run and there are reports of Russian troops just killing them. There are reports of mass killings just Russian troops runs into civilians and civilian see where the Russian troops are, they just kill them for not to reveal the true location of the troops. Just to remove the witnesses. That's how low and how horrific these so-called army from Russia has fallen.

LEMON: Ambassador, you be safe. Thank you very much for appearing again.

SCHERBA: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you.

So how far will Russia go? We're going to look into the bigger picture of all this. Putin versus the west, that's next.



LEMON: U.S. officials saying Russian forces are increasing bombardments of major Ukraine cities. That as U.S. lawmakers and European leaders considers what to do Russia's invasion including targeting Russian oil.

Joining me now is Ian Bremmer, he is the author of "The Power of Crisis: How Three Threats and Our Response Will Change the World."

Ian, good to have you. I appreciate you joining us.

Let's get into this.


LEMON: You say that there is a major power conflicts going on here and there is a broader confrontation between brewing between the west and Russia. Broader, how is that, what do you mean?

BREMMER: Well, I mean it's the end of the peace dividend. Do you remember we talked about that when the wall came down, and for 30 plus years now the world has been able to spend less on defense, has been able to focus more on the economy in Europe, focus more of the social contract? That's gone now.

And you know, silver lining is that NATO has a purpose and is much more aligned but the reality is we are fighting right now against Russia. Massive military adversary. It's a proxy war but the Russians consider it to be, you know, sort of acts directly taken against them and they are going to retaliate. It's immensely dangerous issue for all of us out there.

LEMON: It is immensely dangerous and quite complicated. I don't, I mean, I don't see a good end to this for anybody involved and that is Russia, that's Ukraine, that's the west, that's E.U., that's everyone.

BREMMER: Certainly, not in the near term. I mean, the thing that worries me the most about this is that I can't see any circumstance in which Russian President Putin doesn't end up in materially or circumstance politically, economically, and geopolitically in terms of his position in Europe's security environment which is ostensibly why he launch the attack to begin with.

He is losing in a big way and he doesn't -- he's not going to handle that very well. It makes it so much harder to get any useful outcome from negotiations. It makes so much harder to gain a climb down. At least before Kyiv is captured and Presence Zelenskyy is forced out. It's very clear that is Putin's overwhelming intent irrespective of what they happen to say about negotiations on the Belarus border.

LEMON: Does is, I'm wondering if it matters to him that this is sort of galvanized NATO and the west and U.S. and its allies. A lot of people against -- against Vladimir Putin and Russia. I mean, what is -- what is the U.S. and NATO and the E.U. want as a resolution here, is it just for Russia stop invading Ukraine or is it for regime change in Moscow. What is it?

BREMMER: Look, I think it does matter to Putin. I think he badly miscalculated. He thought that after taking a piece of Georgia in 2008, two pieces of Ukraine in 2014 and intervening in U.S. election in 2016 and not much was done to him. He thought well, I can go all in on Ukraine in 2022, no problem. Especially because he thought Biden was kind of week after Afghanistan, focus more on China, Merkel is gone, Macron is focusing on French autonomy.

He did not expect this. But this is what he has. And you know, especially with the west now providing top flight military capabilities to the Ukrainians. Realtime intelligence disposition on what the Russian forces are doing on the ground in Ukraine and devastating the Russian economy. Putin sees all of those acts as acts of war. And he is going to retaliate against NATO countries as a consequence of that, that's what Putin sees right now.

LEMON: What is -- my question was, what is the outcome here. I mean, is here -- look, I doubt he will ever build back Ukraine. He wants to take it. He may build it back obviously for his own interest. I don't know if Ukrainian people will ever relent. But what is it, what is the best outcome for the E.U., for the west, for NATO and so forth?

BREMMER: I think that the best reasonable, the best reasonably likely outcome, is that Putin takes Kyiv but he has a fight on his hands for years and that Zelenskyy leaves, isn't killed, and establishes a government in exile in the west of Ukraine which the United States and NATO continues to support.


And Ukraine is still partially independent and still fighting for its nation, for its right to exist which is the only reason it's been attacked by the Russians to begin with. I mean, that's not a great outcome at all. I mean, the outcome you want is we go back, the Russians pull out their troops, the Russians give up on their recognition of independence farcical as it is for the Donbas, and we have a negotiated settlement. That's what everyone in NATO wants, that's what the Ukrainian wants. I think there's virtually no likelihood at this point of that happening.

LEMON: There is -- there is a growing pressure on the White House to stop the U.S. from importing Russian oil. And President Biden is weighing easing sanctions in places like Venezuela to fill the gap. You don't like the sound of that, how come?

BREMMER: I don't mind the sound of cutting off on oil purchases from Russia. Canada has already done it with tiny amount, the Americans could do it. But before I would cut off the Venezuelans I would be introducing more in the United States.

Look, it took us a long time to build a coalition of every single Latin American partner to say that Maduro in Venezuela is a complete illegitimate thug. And we don't recognize him. And it's unclear to me that we need to allow that government to make money off of the hardship we're experiencing before we look at every other opportunity. I don't like the idea of responding to our Russia problem by empowering a ghastly --

LEMON: Like Venezuela.

BREMMER: -- you know, thug. Criminal.

LEMON: Yes. Yes. But we're the most energy independent that we've been, we produce a lot of oil and you -- you say more?

BREMMER: Well, I mean, if the choice right now is we're going to allow the Venezuelans to produce more and use it to repress their people, I absolutely say more of that. Of course, I do.

LEMON: All right. Thank you, Ian. I appreciate it.

BREMMER: My pleasure, man.

LEMON: A literal sign of support combined with epic trolling. We're going to tell you what's hanging right outside the Russian embassy after this.



LEMON: A literal sign of support for Ukraine's besiege President Volodymyr Zelenskyy right outside the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C. Protesters erecting a street sign, in essence renaming Wisconsin Avenue President Zelenskyy way.

One activist telling The Hill, the sign is a small symbolic statement in support of Ukraine. A peaceful nonviolent and silent form of protest against Vladimir Putin's brutal invasion of Ukraine.

And up next, we're live on the ground in Ukraine, millions evacuate the country as Russia continues to shell civilian infrastructure. Ukraine's president though not backing down. Stay with us.