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Don Lemon Tonight

U.S. Warns Anyone Who Wish To Help Russia; President Biden Planning To Travel To Europe; Russian State TV Employee Protested; Fox News Employee Hit During Coverage; Young Couple Fight For Their Country; Owner Saved By Prayers; Pregnant Woman Succumb To Her Injuries. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 14, 2022 - 22:00   ET



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Anderson, great coverage. I enjoyed watching. Be safe. We'll see you tomorrow. Thank you very much.


And here is our breaking news, of course explosions heard in Kyiv tonight as Russia expands its assault. And meanwhile, will this moment breakthrough in Russia that has been really under the iron grip of Putin's propaganda. A woman, an employee of Russia's state TV channel bravely interrupting a live news broadcast holding up a sign reading "no war, stop the war. Do not believe propaganda. They tell you lies here."

We're going to get more in this, in depth on this coming up tonight. You don't want to miss that.

Also, this is happening as the Pentagon believes Moscow is broadening targets in western Ukraine after failing to make much progress over the weekend. The U.S. warning China not to help Vladimir Putin with military or financial assistance. National security adviser Jake Sullivan holding what is being called an intense seven-hour meeting with his Chinese counterpart in Rome today.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expected to address Congress virtually on Wednesday, and there are discussions at the White House tonight about President Joe Biden traveling to Europe and doing that soon.

There's a lot to get to. Russia has fired more than 900 missiles into Ukraine since Vladimir Putin's invasion began less than three weeks ago.

I want you to take a look at this. This is the capital city of Kyiv. Shelled relentlessly, it's unbelievable. An apartment building hit today, a home to so many people reduced to flames and rubble. One person killed, six more injured.

Also, on your screen now, an elderly man blood on his face led away by emergency services. And firefighters bringing victims out on stretchers, and this next video is really, really shocking because this shows you how a brutal attack can come without any warning.

I want you to imagine this, that you're walking in a park, right? Out of nowhere there's a fiery explosion. That is what life is like in Kyiv. And we are learning tonight that Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall has been hospitalized after being injured while reporting near Kyiv. The State Department is saying that they are ready to assist in any way that they can.

And that comes just one day after Brent Renaud, an award-winning American journalist was killed in the Ukrainian city of Irpin. And in Mariupol, it is hard to wrap your head around what is happening. The U.N.'s humanitarian chief is telling CNN that Mariupol is, quote, "the center of hell in Ukraine tonight."

Ukrainian authorities say that more than 2,500 people are dead in the relentless bombing of a city with no food, no water, no heat. You can hardly see the sky for all of the smoke.

As I said, there's a lot to report tonight. I want to get now live to Kyiv and Yaryna Arieva -- excuse me, and Sviatoslav Fursin, they were married on the first day of the Russian invasion. They have since taken up arms to defend their country, and Yaryna also serves on the Kyiv's city council. We're so happy to see you guys here and safe. Thank you so much for joining. How are you guys doing?

YARYNA ARIEVA, MARRIED ON FIRST DAY OF RUSSIAN INVASION: Thank you. We are OK right now. My husband had to stay on the post for three hours, so he got little called and just came back a few minutes ago. Though I was trying to take some sleep just because it's the only time, you know, you don't sleep here when you want to. You sleep here when you have an ability to because there is a lot of work to do.

The situation in Kyiv is mostly OK right now, but still we hear some explosions, and yesterday there was one explosion in Obolon district in Kyiv very, very close to my grandmother's house, like in her house the windows were even broken because of the explosions, because of the strength of it.

And it was really sad because I have spent my youth, my childhood in there in that yard, and right now it is destroyed. The explosion was one of the flats and it was absolutely on fire and completely destroyed like everything in it.

It is really sad, and it's really strange to see how our city changes, like a lot of fortification all around Kyiv, a lot of blocks, a lot of the things standing like the roads blocking the way for the tanks or if they will try to get to the center of Kyiv to the governmental streets.


It is really strange also, but it's really kind of weird when it's like night, and there is no cars. There is no people. It's like a complete silence. You can hear your own heartbeat. Because in all the flats it is also like absolutely no sounds, like everything is asleep or has moved away, and it is really like strong. What about Kyiv city council, yes, we had a planned recession the day

before yesterday because we needed to make some decisions to help to protect the city, and we have moved one and three -- 1.3 billion Hryvnias from city budget to the protecting the city like to making those block post and to buying some (Inaudible) for the territorial defense and so on.

And also, we made like male to our city's brothers and also one exact male for our city brother Minsk because Minsk a city brother of Kyiv asking them not to join the fight against Ukrainians and telling them that if they will, we won't be brothers anymore.

LEMON: You're talking about your brother city in Russia not to join the fight against -- in Belarus -- in Belarus, in Belarus not to join the fight, and then your city council you said is the set-up defense funds to try to help you.

Listen, it's amazing to hear, you know, to see you guys there, but also to hear you speak with such clarity about what you're doing, and you have a list there because you want to get that out, and I think that is very commendable. I have to ask -- I'm not asking you where you are, but I just want to know if the bombs have come to near where you guys are.

ARIEVA: Right now, we are at the Churchill defense force base --

LEMON: No, no, not -- don't tell me where you are, I don't want to know. But I just want to know if the bombs are near --

ARIEVA: Don't worry. It's like --



ARIEVA: I won't tell you the address. Yes. There is a lot of bases of Churchill defense in Kyiv, and right now we are in the center of Kyiv really close to the governmental streets, and it is almost silent in here, but when you go out like the streets, you can hear some explosions, but a little bit far away.


ARIEVA: And that is not kind of --


FURSIN: Yes, I can hear some explosions on both (Inaudible) today.

LEMON: What did you say, Sviatoslav? What did you say?

FURSIN: Yes, I can hear some explosions on both post (Ph)today. It's really -- it's not very silence up to maybe 2 a.m., my assumption, I guess. After that it was complete -- after that it was complete silent. LEMON: But you know the last time I spoke with you, Yaryna, you were

out on a mission with the defense force.

FURSIN: Yes, I was --

LEMON: Can you tell us what those missions have been like?

FURSIN: Yes, I was just -- it was the next mission. I was -- it was second mission, right?

ARIEVA: Second, yes.

FURSIN: It was second mission. I was on the next position on the Kyiv borders just to -- I was teaching our civilians how to do Molotov cocktails, just out of my hands with that work. And actually, we do some positions. We, again, we wait Russian took (Inaudible) that could try to break through our regular army -- just fighting with some -- some --

ARIEVA: Sabotage groups.

FURSIN: -- sabotage groups.

LEMON: So, were you in direct contact with Russian soldiers?

FURSIN: Yes. We have. We have some contact.

LEMON: You did?

FURSIN: Yes, I did.

LEMON: Talk to me about it.

FURSIN: Well, it was a sabotage group in the forest near our positions. We just have a secret position which from -- which we just look in the forest, I've been looking at the forest, yes, and just some sabotage groups are trying to find our artillery and position. We have artillery and fire on our position just from our armies -- from our enemies, just something like --



ARIEVA: It was like flying about their heads.

FURSIN: Yes. Flying, yes, that's flying above our heads. It's really a noisy place. It's not like in Kyiv. It's (Inaudible), it's where -- it's really a noisy place.

LEMON: What are the, Sviatoslav, what are the conditions like out there? I think Yaryna said that you came -- you were out in the cold? You have a cold.

FURSIN: Yes, a little bit. It's not about my cold, it's just about my hands and my feet -- ARIEVA: And nose.

FURSIN: And nose, yes, of course, and nose, but --

LEMON: What are the conditions like out there? Talk to us about what it's like being out there? Because you said you were with the sabotage group and you were looking. Some of that, the convoy, that 40-mile- long convoy have made its way we're told into the towns and into woods, what have you. Have you been in contact with anything like that and some of the tanks that have been -- or is this just sort of hand to hand?

FURSIN: I think happily we haven't got some contact like that because it just really, really many artillery and fire from our side. It's like our mission was just to protect our artillery and machines and just hold our positions and catch the sabotage groups that want to -- want to correct -- correct the enemy fire just from our positions, position of our comrades, and actually destroy our artillery and -- artillery and machines.

LEMON: Yaryna, when I first spoke to you, to both of you, you said that you have no doubt that Ukraine will win the war. Do you still feel that way tonight?

ARIEVA: Of course, I do. People don't lose their strength. Their kind of love and trust, but still there are fury. And also, it grows with every day.


ARIEVA: With every killed child, woman with every destroyed house, hospital, maternity, people are becoming more and more angry. Like I usually come to smoke somewhere and I hear our guys still talking to each other, and they are like, usually I'm a pacifist. I hate blood, I hate violence, but right now I want to kill and I want to kill as much as I can.

And that really is weird, like people in here are kind. People in here are thinking first about their families, about their homes. We are really kind of archaic nation in which the most available new things for us is our families, our homes, our children. And also like, we treat each other as brothers and sisters.

So, that is I think the main difference between us and Russians. Like they are one for them, and they try to leave like alone, alone for himself. But we feel pain for every child, like we'll feel pain for a child killed in Mariupol, as for our brother's or sister's child because we feel like each other as one nation, as one big family, and it's really good. And that really helps us.

That helped us during Maidan in 2013, and right now the whole world is Maidan, and really it helps us now.

LEMON: Well.

ARIEVA: It's helped us to continue protecting our land, to continue fighting for it.

LEMON: Well, you guys are amazing. We are so glad that you're safe. We think about you since the first day that we interviewed you here, the first night, and we talk about you all the time, and we think about you. We'll continue to have you back as this progresses, and hopefully it will be over, right, and we won't have to have you back, but your strength, your courage, I mean, amazing. So, thank you both. Be safe, and stay warm. OK, Sviatoslav?


ARIEVA: Thank you.

FURSIN: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. There you go. That's their normal life right now. Can you imagine?

A lot to report tonight. Ukraine fighting back, their military releasing this new video of an artillery strike on a Russian military position on the outskirts of Kyiv.

I want to go now to CNN military analyst and retired air force colonel Cedric Leighton. Colonel, thank you very much. I have to ask you about all the positions and everything and shows, what do you think, though, of that? That's, I mean, wow.

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes. Don, Sviatoslav and Yaryna are amazing people, there's no question about it. It kind of reminds me of what you hear about the American Revolution, you know, when the patriots get together and just started to form their groups, their minutemen, they're other militias to defend their home.


And this is kind of what we're seeing in Ukraine, but I think the spirit in Ukraine is something that is -- something that we can all learn from, and they are amazing people, and I think they reflect a lot of what you see within the fighting forces of Ukraine. And that, Don, makes a huge difference --

LEMON: It's huge.

LEIGHTON: -- when it comes to all of this.

LEMON: It's certainly. Yes, I was going to -- look, it makes a huge difference. Because those -- they're just not allowing it to happen. They're like, this is -- you are not going to occupy us. We are not going to allow it. It's amazing to see.


LEMON: The U.S. says that Russia's military has failed to make progress, Colonel, on the ground over the weekend and that the air space above Kyiv remains contested even as explosions rock the city. Where do the battle lines stand tonight? LEIGHTON: Well, let's take a look at that, Don. Let's go first to the

area around Kyiv. And right here, you know, we see everything. It's almost the same as it was before the weekend. You see lines right here. Where it very close approaches by the Russian forces right where I drew the green lines.

Now, there are some things that have gone on here. For example, the Russians tried to do a pontoon bridge right here that apparently was intercepted by the Ukrainians and that was taken out. So, you have that, you have a few extra movement movements around here.

And Sviatoslav was mentioning something very interesting. Basically, he was talking about reconnaissance troops from the Russians coming in and basically staking out positions in and around the city of Kyiv and trying to find out where the Ukrainian positions were.

That's very normal for military operations to be that kind of stealthy in their nature and have reconnaissance troops come in like that, sometimes with snipers, but what's happening now as we see these relatively stationary lines is there is probing action going on.

The Russians are trying to find out where the Ukrainians are. The Ukrainians, of course, are trying to find out where the Russians are, and to see, you know, whether these lines have changed at all. It's a bit more fluid than what the maps indicate. But that's in essence what's happening around Kyiv.

Now, if you go down to the south and take a look at what's happening around here, this is the area that was earlier described as pure hell, Mariupol in essence bombed out in so many different ways. This is going to be a very difficult place for the Ukrainians to hold, but that doesn't mean that resistance has stopped. What it does mean is that it's going to be a very messy, very difficult conflict area.

You have the town of Mykolaiv, the city of Mykolaiv right here, a lot of fighting still going on in this area. You also have the issue with the mayor being deposed there and a Russian-sponsored mayor being put in that town. A lot of political changes like that are going to happen. It's very reminiscent of what the communists did in the late 1940s after World War II in Eastern Europe.

That kind of stuff you're going to see as often as the Russians try to take over towns. This maybe one of the next big things that happen in the south, Odessa, the big port area. That is probably where the Russians are going to go next. Although they could also ignore Odessa temporarily and go to the north this way and try to link up in other areas that way. So that, that in essence is what it looks like right now from a tactical military standpoint.

LEMON: Colonel, the Pentagon is warning that Russia is broadening their attacks in western Ukraine, just miles from the Polish border. Are you concerned that this could spill over? I mean, it's really close, and you know Poland is part of NATO.

LEIGHTON: Absolutely. And, Don, one of the key areas here is this town right here, the town of Yavoriv where you're seeing some of the pictures right now. That town is about 11 miles from the Polish border. Poland, of course, as you mentioned a NATO country.

If something happens where the Russians either have a stray attack into Polish territory or into any of the other NATO countries, that could precipitate NATO action against the Russians or against Belarus depending on where the attack comes from.

You have other strikes at Lutsk and the Ivano-Frankivsk that happened over the weekend or just before the weekend. And those are kind of symptomatic of Russian efforts to move into the western part of the country.

Now they're not moving into the western part like they are in these areas right here, but that is something that could happen and basically, what the Russians are saying is none of this is safe. You are not safe anywhere in Ukraine is the message they want to convey. The Ukrainians on the other hand are of course are resisting wherever they can.

LEMON: Colonel, thank you very much. Again, we learned a lot.

LEIGHTON: You bet, Don.

LEMON: What will it take to get Vladimir Putin to the negotiating table and how do you negotiate with someone who's already put nuclear forces on high alert?



NED PRICE, SPOKESMAN, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: There is a clear off- ramp for this conflict. President Putin must stop the violence, deescalate and choose the path of diplomacy.



LEMON: So here is a question. Will anything get Vladimir Putin to negotiate? His unprovoked assault on the sovereign nation, the deaths of thousands of civilians, carnage on display for all the world to see and all of it intentional. And let's not forget, he's got nukes.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: Raising the alert of Russian nuclear forces is a bone chilling development. The prospect of nuclear conflict once unthinkable is now back within the realm of possibility.


LEMON: Really great guest to talk about this is the former State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley. It's so good to see you. Thank you so much for doing this, P.J. Russia -- good evening to you, by the way. Russia's assault on Ukraine

is intensifying with explosions in Kyiv, fierce fighting across the country, and talks between Ukraine and Russia are paused until tomorrow. You say we're not yet in a window to achieve a ceasefire. Why do you say that?


P.J. CROWLEY, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Well, because Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. The war is started. Once that happens, military force is kind of a gravitational, you know, force, and that will only change -- that dynamic changes either, you know, when the military achieves its objective or encounters an insurmountable obstacle that forces the leadership to increase its calculations. We aren't at that point yet.

LEMON: OK. With that said, you said until Vladimir Putin changes his calculation or adjusts his expectations. He's not going to negotiations. So, what needs to happen to get him to change his expectations? Is that even realistic?

CROWLEY: I mean, it is realistic in the sense that we now have a battlefield, what happens on the battlefield matters. You know, the good news here as we've been talking about is the Ukrainians are putting up a hell of a fight. The bad news at this point is that Putin probably still calculates everybody though he's meeting significant resistance, his military is underperforming, but he can still achieve his objective, which is the destruction of the Zelenskyy government through military means. As long as he believes that's achievable, I think he's going to continue on the current course.

LEMON: Do sanctions as they stand now go far enough? I mean, will any sanctions ever be powerful enough to compete with the raw force Putin is willing to use?

CROWLEY: I think we have to think in terms of two calculations, going in one direction is the ability to sustain meaningful resistance that does, in fact, communicate to Putin he's not going to be able to swallow Ukraine as he suspected he would.

On the other hand, it's just the brute force of what the Russian military is trying to inflict on Ukraine and the third element is the ability of the international community, United States and its allies to impose real costs on Vladimir Putin. How those things intercept will tell you at what point a diplomatic window, you know, might open.

LEMON: OK. Let's dig into that a little bit more because the U.S. and NATO are trying to freeze Russia out right now, but the U.S. has information that China has expressed openness to providing military and financial help to Russia. So, talk to me about the relation, that relationship. What happens to the global dynamic if Russia and China leak up -- link up on this?

CROWLEY: Well, Russia and China are linked. That is a productive relationship for each, a common thread in that relationship is anti- Americanism. Now, it's a different relationship say from back in the Cold War where the Soviet Union was the senior partner, China was the junior partner. Now that calculation is flipped.

You know, China is the senior partner. Russia is the junior partner, and I'm sure what Jake Sullivan was communicating, you know, to Yang Jiechi today, you know, was this could cost you. You know, and China's position is conflicted. They preach state sovereignty and its importance, but they do believe in spheres of influence, so they understand what Putin is trying to accomplish.

I think what was significant about this meeting today was how quiet it was in terms of, you know, the communication afterwards. Seven hours, very intense, very candid, but neither side have said very much. That actually creates a productive room, you know, for China to respond to the U.S. concerns without having to -- you know, to save public face, for example.

LEMON: Do you think it's a good sign?

CROWLEY: I think it can be. It's a constructive sign, but, you know, will China freeze out Russia from the international system? It won't. Russia provides materials, oil, gas, you know, to China. It's valuable to its economy. That trumps everything.

You know, one of the wild cards here is, you know, the fact that the United States has frozen, you know, technological assets to Russia, you know, will China circumvent those sanctions. I think that's at least one red line that the national security adviser Sullivan, you know, drew today.

LEMON: Thank you, P.J. Crowley. We'd love to have you back. I appreciate you coming on.

CROWLEY: Anytime. Thanks, Don.

LEMON: So, he thought his city outside Ukraine's capital was safe, and then he was shot at, detained and robbed by Russian soldiers. That's my next guest's story, and he's going to tell you himself. That's right after this.



LEMON: Musicians in the southern Ukrainian port city of Odessa joining together to play and sing Ukraine's national anthem in front of the city's beloved opera house. And as their fellow Ukrainians are showing the world, residents of Odessa say that they are ready to defend themselves from invading Russian forces.


My next guest is the owner of Stockholm Studios, a guesthouse in the city of Irpin near Kyiv. He says Russian soldiers surrounded and invaded his property and even fired shots at him.

I want to bring in now Andrii Kolesnyk who has now fled Irpin. Andrii, thank you. We're glad that you're safe. We certainly appreciate that you are joining us this evening here on CNN.

You have an amazing story to tell. I'm so happy that you are alive. So, let's go back to March 5th. You say that that is when it got really bad in Irpin. Tell me about the strikes that day and the damage to your guesthouse.

ANDRII KOLESNYK, FLED IRPIN AFTER BEING DETAINED BY RUSSIAN SOLDIERS: Hello, Don. Yes, sure, so until the 5th of March, it was more or less calm in Irpin, so we had everything. We had water supplies. We had communications like cell phones working, internet is working so nothing predicted to the worse.

But in the midday of March 5th, we had a power outage, so I believe those Russian forces, they demolished some power station or power transformation station in Irpin, so we had by the midday, no internet, no power, no water, and no anything. No cell working.

OK, it was quite expected by me because I had -- I had saved a lot of fuel, had a generator so our guesthouse was also well-prepared for the occupation, but I thought so. Then by the end of the day by like 5 p.m., the water supply station, which is placed near by my house, it's around 250 meters was hit by cannon shells, which was also well- expected by me because this is the object of vital infrastructure, and the -- I was praying so that they will hit it not by missile because if missile hits, so many houses around like one kilometer they are getting burned and hit.

So, OK, water supply station was hit, but the next -- the next shot was done to our guesthouse, so the next cannon shell came into our guesthouse, damaging two facades, cutting windows of, not even breaking the glasses but cutting windows off from the building and blocking the entrance door.

And it was like a really scary because I was -- me and one of our guests, we were together in our guesthouse. We have no basement so one cannon shell hit. No basement. Really scary fact. So, the first land I checked whether we're on fire or not. We were not on fire, which was good, but we could not open the entrance door because it was blocked because of a blast.

So, we decided to wait until the next morning and just not make extra noise because we really suspected that Russian troops are like 500 meters from us.

LEMON: Well, let me get -- let me get to that because the next day five Russian light tanks took position surrounding your guesthouse, and there were about 15 to 20 soldiers, we understand, that kicked down the door and entered your property. They immediately asked if you were armed, which you were. They also found two passports, you said it made them suspicious. What did they ask you, Andrii?

KOLESNYK: So, first they asked for the arms. I told, yes, I have a shotgun. So, they took the shotgun and the bullets, which is quite normal, but then they started searching the process and they found -- actually, I was not hiding them because they were in my backpack prepared like to get out, like an emergency backpack. First, they found two passports, which made them suspicious because in

the like Soviet films, they see the spies they have five passports, so it's ridiculous. OK. So, they asked me why do I have two passports, and the Ukrainians are allowed to have two foreign passports because sometimes to visit foreign countries you need visas, so when your one passport is at the embassy, you travel with another one to another country for a business trip. So, two passports made them suspicious first.

Second, they found that in one of my passports I have American visa. I have Canadian visa, and then the second passport I have traveled all over the Europe. And when you travel all over the Europe with the Ukrainian passport the border officials, they put stamps. And when they saw stamps Frankfurt, they became mad.

So, I'm telling them guys, I was flying to Malta through Frankfurt. But I don't know what is in their head. So, then they took both my phones, and in one of my phones they found a video of helicopters with like the letters O on the belly flying all over the guesthouse.


And they saw the picture of my ex-worker who is enrolled to the Ukrainian army, so they picture him in the military uniform. And then they communicated between each other and they said that I should be executed.

I thought this is kind of a joke. Come on, guys, this is quite normal. We travel all over the world, and yes, it's normal to have visa stamps, et cetera, et cetera, so they decided to execute me. They put me to the kitchen. They sat me on a stool in the kitchen and made -- closed the door and made it as if they're ready to communicate between themselves but then I heard shots.

It was like a rapid series of shots through the door to my direction. They were quite precise, so if it's not the door, all the bullets will hit me in the center of my body, and it was so quick, so I was able to hear only the noise. And as a result of those shots, one leg of the stool was shot, everything behind me was shot and I was only wounded, so I escaped from the kitchen from another door shouting at the man, don't shoot, please don't shoot.

The guy who was shooting me actually he was really surprised and he ask me, are you alive. I told me him, yes, yes, I'm alive, don't shoot, please promise me you will not shoot me again. And by that time --


LEMON: Where were you shot? Andrii, where did they shoot you?

KOLESNYK: It was in the foot. In the foot and it was not like a hole in the foot, but it was like a scratch, a big long scratch on the foot.

LEMON: You said that this is the first time in your life that you prayed?

KOLESNYK: Yes, of course. This is because the colleague who stayed in the hotel, initially he was a priest like years ago, and when they said that wait here in a stool, he told me pray. So actually, it is the first time I addressed my soul and myself to the God really. So, it's not -- it's not a joke. OK. So --


LEMON: Were you surprised though? I mean, because you said they shot through the door. The bullets went all around you. Some of them hit you. Were you surprised that you didn't get killed?

KOLESNYK: You know, it happened so quick. It happened so immediate, so you cannot realize that you have been shot at. So, you have no time to realize it, but the instincts of safety says to you that you need to escape from that place. And anyway, I was shouting to the guy don't shoot, don't shoot, please promise you will not shoot me again and in front of his military colleagues he told me, OK, maybe this is your luck, and I will not shoot you again.

But by the moment you're getting shot at, you don't realize it. It happens so quick, so you could be dead so quick, so you don't realize what is happening.

LEMON: You, at one point after contacting your parents, you finally contacted your parents, to meet you, you walked through Irpin and then our Clarissa Ward actually spoke with your parents. They were so worried for your safety, but then you were reunited with them. I want you to listen to this, and then we'll discuss after we listen to it. Here it is.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the grief of all mothers, of all people Larissa says. This is a tragedy. Every time the phone rings there's a scramble, anticipation that it could be their son's voice on the line. This time it is not. For Larissa and Andrii, the wait is finally over. Their son is alive.

KOLESNYK: The only words you can tell to the phone, like mom, I'm alive. Mom, I'm alive, and that's it.

WARD: "I'm the happiest mother in the world right now," she says. "My son is with me."


LEMON: Wow, Andrii, how did that moment feel?

KOLESNYK: That felt ridiculous, you know. Still like maybe this is specifics of my like internal organization, but first three days I was like on adrenaline. So, my body and my mind told me that, guy, you're OK. You're OK. So, I had no time even to reconsider that because it was adrenaline and everything inside of me was telling me, guy, you're OK. Guy, you're OK, and even now I didn't have any moment. Just sit down and wait and analyze what happened and to make some decisions inside. So, I have --


LEMON: How does it feel to see your mom there? How did it feel to talk to your parents and see your mom --


LEMON: -- and be interviewed and her emotion?


KOLESNYK: Don, I understand you, so after being executed, I understood that if my mom understands that I'm dead in my house like sitting on that stool with like those red bloody, she will not survive. She will not survive. She could not bear it. So that was the first emotion.

And the second emotion is that my grandson right now is on his preparation period to enter the university in Europe, and I thought about his emotional state if he understands that his father was shot in the house, his father built himself. Those were like the two first shots. Two first thoughts, and I didn't think about myself, about my emotions.

LEMON: Well, Andrii, we're glad that you're safe and that your family is OK, and we appreciate you joining us. Please continue to stay safe. Thank you so much, OK?

KOLESNYK: Yes, Don. Thanks a lot. Thanks for inviting me to your program.

LEMON: We'll be right back.



LEMON: We have some sad news tonight to report in the aftermath of Russia's brutal bombardment on a maternity hospital in Mariupol. Doctors tried desperately to save one of the pregnant women who delivered her baby just after the attack, but the young mom and her newborn, both died.

CNN's Phil Black has the story. And I have a warning for you. Some of the images are really disturbing.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We don't know this woman's name. But we can see the desperate effort to rescue her from the devastation of Mariupol's maternity hospital. She's hurt. There are terrible injuries down her right side. She appears dazed by the enormous blast that hit her only moments before but she's conscious and clearly concerned for her baby.

At another medical facility, doctors work to save them as their condition deteriorated. Surgeon Timur Marin said they tried to resuscitate the woman while also performing a cesarean delivery. They couldn't revive her or her child. They both died.

Russian officials claim the hospital was being used by Ukrainian troops, and all civilians had left before the attack. The evidence shows that's not true. Children, patients, staff, all experienced the terrifying blast that created this crater.

We do know this woman's name. Mariana Vishegirskaya, hurt and bleeding, she walked through the chaos after the explosion. The next day she gave birth in another hospital. She and her husband had named their daughter Veronica.

The strike on Mariupol's maternity hospital has become a defining moment in a war already notorious for its brutality and great suffering inflicted on the innocent.

Phil Black, CNN, London.

LEMON: Phil Black, thank you very much.

Russia trying to keep stories like this quiet inside their borders but that's hard to do when someone protests on live primetime TV.



LEMON: Vladimir Putin's Russia brutally cracking down on anti-war protesters, which makes this moment on Russian TV, state TV tonight all the more stunning. I want you to watch. An employee of Russian state TV storming the set with a sign that declares, no war, stop the war, do not believe the propaganda they tell you lies here.

And shouting the same message before the broadcast cut away. Her name is Marina Ovsyannikova. Russian media is reporting that she was taken to a Moscow police station following her protest and could face prosecution. Her lawyer is telling CNN that he is unable to find his client. We'll continue to update.

Next, sources telling CNN that China is open to helping Russia in their war against Ukraine. Former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper weighs in, and we're live on the ground in Ukraine right after this.