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Don Lemon Tonight
Fate "Unknown" Of Hundreds Sheltering In Bombed Theater In Mariupol; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addressed Congress; Putin Calls Russians With Western Mentality 'National Traitors'; Junior Golfer Flees Violence Of Ukraine For Safety Of U.S. Aired 11p- 12a ET
Aired March 16, 2022 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: This is DON LEMON TONIGHT. I'm Jim Sciutto sitting in for Don, who is on assignment to Eastern Europe to cover this ongoing war. Our breaking news this evening, a brutal day, a ruthless day of Russian attacks on civilians in Ukraine, including a theater in the besieged city of Mariupol. Local officials say it had been used as a bomb shelter by hundreds of city residents, many of whom may still be trapped in the rubble. Their fate unknown at this hour.
Tonight, President Zelensky says at least 103 children in Ukraine have been killed since the start of Russian's invasion three weeks ago. Zelenskyy addressed U.S. Congress calling for a no-fly zone over Ukraine. President Biden continuing to deny that request, but announcing an $800 million new package of new military aid and calling Vladimir Putin a war criminal for the first time. I will speak with the former undercover KGB agent ahead.
And through all the devastation, we should note some hope, a 15-year- old Ukrainian and accomplished junior golfer fleeing the violence in his country now arriving safely here in the U.S. to pursue his dream. I'll speak with him later this hour.
I do want to go now to CNN's Fred Pleitgen. He is live for us in Lviv, Ukraine tonight. What struck me about these last 24 hours are continued relentless and, frankly, increasing expanding attacks on civilians. And this new satellite image that shows this, and that is of this theater there in Mariupol, which was clearly marked intentionally, that it had children inside and yet it was attacked with deadly consequences.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're actually right, Jim, and clearly marked with the word children on both sides of that theater. So, it must have been absolutely clear to anyone, you know, who was inside, there were civilians inside and, of course, also children inside as well.
The Ukrainian theater is still assessing the victims of the strike in the theater in Mariupol. But you're absolutely right, Jim, this has been a day of severe civilian casualties in many parts of this country.
And you have, for instance, an aid convoy that was close to the town of Zaporizhzhia. It was a humanitarian convoy with people who are fleeing, about a 70-car convey, that came under fire pretty close to Zaporizhzhia, and what we're hearing from Ukrainians is that five people were wounded in that, including a child and, of course, some of those severely wounded as well.
As you know, travel here is very difficult and especially in those humanitarian convoys. They are slow. They are easy targets, especially if you're talking about indirect fire.
And then you had a really horrific incident that happened in the town of Chernihiv which, of course, is, you know, people say north of Kyiv but really also very close to the Belarusian border as well.
Of course, we have seen some fire coming out of Belarus from Russian forces. And there, people were in a bread line. And, you know, of course, that is really the softest of all targets. People out there trying to get aid, out in the open with no shelter, whatsoever. Ten people were killed waiting for those breads.
A really horrific images coming out of that as well.
And just one other quick update. We just heard air raid sirens also here in Lviv. And, you know, you went through this when you were here on the ground reporting from here. It doesn't necessarily mean that there is going to be strikes here, but certainly, obviously, a very common occurrence for the folks here like in so many parts of the country, Jim.
SCIUTTO (on camera): No question. There have been increasing attacks in the western part of the country where you are. It seems Russian attempts to go after supply lines for these western weapons, you know, as NATO weapons coming in.
Fred, good to have you there. Please keep your head down because sometimes those sirens sadly are real.
Well, horror tonight in the city of Mariupol. Russian strikes hit the most vulnerable civilians already struggling without power and water and food running out.
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has the latest on what is happening inside that besieged city.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): The flicker of flame here where Russia's barbarism peaked and an airstrike hit a bomb shelter hiding hundreds beneath a theater, said local officials.
The damage so complete. The entrance was reduced to rubble. This satellite image from two days earlier showing the building standing with children writ large outside.
In case you're still thinking nobody knew who was here, videos had been circulating for days of the hell inside, how over a week of siege and shelling had forced those still living into a space so tight and dark it must have felt like a tomb.
Here, he says, is where we give out food. Children, women and elderly first. This is the converted cloakroom of the theater. If this looks like how you imagine the end of the world for these children packed in, that may have been the case when the bomb struck. Russia claimed Ukrainian radicals caused the blast.
In this room, 15 people (INAUDIBLE). Little comfort any parent can give (INAUDIBLE) this would be over soon. And below this store, there are yet more. An entire city forced underground. Little aid allowed in and few allowed out. People, hear us. Here were children, he says. His appeal is for food, help, perhaps unaware it may have led Russian bombs straight to them.
The swimming pool was also hit, a place where this narrator says a pregnant woman was trapped under the rubble and where only expectant mothers and those with under three is hit.
The Kremlin wants to break or flatten this port, but its defenders still (INAUDIBLE) still keep them out. This drone video shows the moment Ukrainian fighters hit a Russian tank. The shots come again and again, removing one of the tank's tracks. The crew hit as they try to flee. No room for mercy in a city that has little space left for life itself.
Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Odessa, Ukraine.
SCIUTTO (on camera): Civilians caught in the crossfire. President Zelenskyy made an emotional plea for the U.S. to provide further aid to his country today. President Biden responded by announcing a big security assistance package. It will include more javelin and stinger missiles as well as drones and thousands of other anti-armor systems.
CNN is learning that Slovakia has agreed preliminary to give Ukraine key air defense systems called the S-300. That one is a high-altitude area defense, missile defense.
Let's speak now to CNN military analyst and retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton. First, good to have you on. First, let us talk about the new assistance that President Biden promised today in response to the speech from Zelenskyy. Can you tell us what is in that package and what the effect will be?
CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST, RETIRED AIR FORCE COLONEL: Yeah, Jim, sure, absolutely. The -- one of the things that you just mentioned is the S-300. So, this is a picture of the S-300 on parade, which the Russians always like to do. The basic principle here is the tube that contains the rockets right in through this area and -- it's a launcher. So, this is what is called the transporter erector launcher or TEL, and that is designed specifically for the S-300.
So, the specifics of the particular variety of S-300 that the Ukrainians will probably be getting from Slovakia is this. It's called the S-300PS and it has a missile called the 5V55R.
What is important here is it's a really big warhead, 293 pounds. It has a range of 46 miles and can hit an altitude of 82,000 feet. That's important because that gets after the high-flying aircraft. So, that is one of the weapon systems, Jim, that we'd be getting at here.
The other one is a much more tactical weapon system and this is called the AT-4. It's actually made in Sweden and it is designed to provide -- very similar to the javelin but it is designed to provide the kind of tactical help that the Ukrainians need as they go into these confined areas, within urban areas, within cities.
They can use this to great effect against armored vehicles, as long as they're not the most modern armored vehicles, then you need a javelin to really finish the job, but this -- this is definitely a start in the right direction.
SCIUTTO: I mean, that is a different category of weapons systems. We are used to seeing shoulder-fired anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles. That one is certainly more significant.
But I do want to ask because you're aware of this debate about whether the U.S. and NATO should enforce a no-fly zone, which has great dangers of further conflict. But I was told by Representative McCaul (ph) this morning that in his view, a combination of these air defense systems that we're seeing going in could achieve in effect the same goal, that Ukraine could in effect impose its own no-fly zone with that combination of systems. I wonder if you agree that's possible.
LEIGHTON: I actually do. It's -- you know, it's certainly kind of like the idea of a no-fly zone but by any other name, right? And what you're talking about here, Jim, is covering the entire air space of Ukraine. Now, the danger for this or at least the weakness of this -- probably I should call it more a weakness -- is that this would only cover air space if it's done in normal ways.
But there are a lot of things that happen using standoff weapons. For example, when the Russians attacked the facility, the training facility near Lviv right on the Polish border, they were using aircraft that were actually flying out of an area from the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov right here.
Those areas are outside of normal Ukrainian air space, and if the no- fly zone or whatever we're calling it does not cover that, then it won't impact those kinds of events. And the Russians have been doing this quite a bit. They've been using standoff weapons and flying aircraft up to the limits of Ukrainian air space and then firing in from there. They do the same thing with their ground-based artillery, and that's another aspect that they would have to cover.
SCIUTTO: It's a good point. Even if the U.S. and NATO were to take the step up of a no-fly zone, there would still be that weakness because you have weapons fired from Russian territory or beyond that they wouldn't have the ability to stop without entering Russian territory.
I do want to ask because the U.S. does say that the Russian advance has effectively been stalled, including particularly progress towards the capital, Kyiv.
General Mark Hertling, who I know you know well, on this broadcast has said repeatedly that he believes Russian forces are reaching or will soon reach their peak effectiveness in Ukraine. I wonder if you agree that we're reaching something of a turning point.
LEIGHTON: Well, it's possible, Jim, but, you know, what I've noticed is that the Russians are bringing in new and fresh troops. The other thing that they're doing from a more tactical perspective is you're seeing more reports of scouts in and around Kyiv in different areas near where the Russian lines are. And the other thing is that they are also in areas reportedly more to the west. So, a little bit further than what the maps actually show us right now.
One of the things you learn about modern warfare is that often, the actual presence of troops is a bit different than what the maps tell you. And sometimes, they are going to have scouting units out a little bit further and the Ukrainians are encountering scouts that are a bit further out from these areas.
So, what I'm thinking will happen is that the Russians are going to try to move in as many troops as they possibly can, although there is a limit to what they can do, and they may try to do something with those troops there, at least probing the Ukrainian defenses. And depending on what they find, that will determine then what happens next.
SCIUTTO: Does Russia have the ability with the force to control Ukraine in effect that doesn't have the forces to, you know, not just cause trouble, right, but achieve control of the country?
LEIGHTON: Jim, I don't think so. As far as we know, the numbers are about 190,000 Russian troops. There will probably be a few more that will come in from places as far away as the far eastern military district near (INAUDIBLE), which is in the extreme Soviet far east.
They will bring troops in from everywhere that they can, but I don't think they'll be able to muster the strength they need to truly occupy Ukraine. And no matter what happens with Kyiv, they're going to find that they're going to need a lot more troops and the population is definitely not going to cooperate with them.
SCIUTTO: And U.S. estimates conservatively that Russia has lost perhaps 10 percent of its total force today, just in three weeks.
Cedric Leighton, always good to have you on.
LEIGHTON: Thanks, Jim.
SCIUTTO (on camera): Coming up next, a member of Ukraine's parliament who had to send her own children abroad for safety. What she thinks of President Zelenskyy's message today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: To President Biden, you are the leader of the nation, of your great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the U.S. Congress today, making a direct, impassioned plea to President Biden for further military assistance. Biden responded with an additional $800 million in security aid for Ukraine.
Joining me now, a member of Ukraine's parliament, Halyna Yanchenko. Halyna, thanks so much for joining us this morning.
HALYNA YANCHENKO, MEMBER OF UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT: Hello.
SCIUTTO: I want to ask you first about your own personal situation right now. You're in Western Ukraine. You had to send your own children abroad for their safety, which I saw many families during my time in Ukraine have to do the same thing. Are they safe now? And how difficult was that decision for you?
YANCHENKO: This is the worst decision in my life. This is the kind of experience that I will not wish any parent go through. Indeed, my children were in Western Ukraine, but then I had to send them for their safety. And many other families have sent their wives and children abroad.
Nowadays, there are about three million Ukrainians who became refugees and who left Ukraine to European countries. We know that majority of these people will come back. Most of them will come back after we win this war and rebuild the country.
However, I should let you know that it's still a lot of work we have to do to finish this war, to win this war, and to rebuild the country, because Russians are attacking our cities with missiles, with their military airplanes, and other kind of weapon of big caliber.
You're talking a lot about Mariupol and the situation in Mariupol is really hard. According to the deputy mayor, about 80% of residential buildings are not available for the citizens anymore. This is why a number of people are trying to hide in bomb shelters or basements or in other places like the theater.
About thousand of people were hiding in the theater not because they wanted to spend time in theater but because their buildings are bombed and ruined. There are no homes. These people don't have homes anymore. That's why they were forced to hide in the theater.
But Russian occupants have hit even the theater. They hit everything: hospitals, schools, kindergartens, maternity houses, theaters, churches, any places where civilians are trying to hide from missiles.
Also, coming back to Mariupol, according to deputy head, the number of victims in Mariupol, meaning people who were killed by these missiles and heavy attacks of Russians, also those who died from hunger and dehydration, only in Mariupol, in one city, the number of victims up to date is 20,000. Listen to this number, 20,000 of civilians in only city of Mariupol.
And the situation like that happens in actually dozens of Ukrainian cities in north, south, and east of Ukraine.
Also, according to deputy head of Mariupol, if the (INAUDIBLE) of the city does not stop in the upcoming days and the city is actually like captured by Russian troops from all the roads, all the entries from the cities are captured by Russian troops, they don't let people in, they don't let food -- they don't let people in or out of the city, they don't let food and water in and out of city, they don't let medication in and out of city, according to deputy head mayor of Mariupol, the number of victims in the upcoming days in Mariupol might grow to -- listen to this number, 350,000 civilians. Everyone who did not escape on time.
And this is the nightmare that we are coming through. This is the situation that we bear.
SCIUTTO: Do you believe that the U.S. and the West is doing enough to help Ukraine?
YANCHENKO: We're thankful for the assistance provided by U.S. and by our European colleagues and friends. But now, it's vital to have all this assistance on time. We've been fighting for three weeks already. You can imagine the number of victims even among civilians. You see all the cities that are bombed and ruined.
YANCHENKO: And the war is going for three weeks already. So, you can assess yourself whether the assistance is enough or not. However, I think that what the Senate and President Biden president have decided yesterday is a great achievement. And now, it is vital that all this assistance, all the air defense and weapon and military support comes to Ukraine in days, not in weeks like it was before.
SCIUTTO: Halyna Yanchenko, I know that this is a national cause for you, you're a member of parliament, but also personal one, the danger you are facing. We wish you safety and the best of luck.
YANCHENKO: Thank you.
SCIUTTO: So many stories like that in Ukraine today. People facing it with bravery but also understandable fear. We'll continue to bring you those stories.
Ukrainian President Zelensky, as we said, urged U.S. lawmakers to help close the skies over Ukraine. This as Russia is increasing its attacks particularly on civilians. Is the U.S. providing enough assistance to do that? I'm going to ask a top U.S. senator, next.
SCIUTTO: The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, called for a no-fly zone over Ukraine in a virtual address to Congress, the first by a foreign leader. This as Russian forces inch closer to Kyiv and intensify devastating strikes on civilians. President Biden announced an additional $800 million dollars in security aid for Ukraine, including new weapons.
Joining me now, Sen. Chris Van Hollen from Maryland. Senator, thank you for taking the time tonight.
SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): Jim, it is good to be with you.
SCIUTTO: Senator, you were in the room for what was truly a remarkable address earlier this morning. To watch a standing ovation, a bipartisan standing ovation, I think it communicated the unity in the room. I wonder, though, will there be unity of action after this? Did his speech inspire more than that ovation?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, Jim, it was a powerful moment, and I do think that Republicans and Democrats stand together in solidarity with President Zelensky and the people of Ukraine.
And the fact that we just appropriated $14 billion in additional aid two days ago and that President Biden is providing additional military aid that he announced today is a continuing sign that we will be supporting Ukraine with military equipment. At the same time, we continue to fly punishing sanctions on Putin and his crony.
SCIUTTO: As you know, though, President Zelensky has asked for a formal no-fly zone. The U.S. and NATO has so far refused to do so, saying -- perhaps understandably that that could lead to direct military conflict between the U.S. and Russia.
What it is sending in and we reported this earlier today are additional air defense systems, including the S-300, which is a Soviet air system, high altitude. Does that compensate, in your view, does that protect the skies over Ukraine sufficiently?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, I think President Biden is making the right call when he says that we're not going to put American boots on the ground or American pilots in the air. But I was very pleased to see the stepping up of support on the air defense side.
The S-300 system is exactly what needs to be sent in right now because, you know, Ukrainians are familiar with that system. It's a former Soviet air system, but it is a sophisticated system and it will help them shoot down Russian jets and missiles that the stingers don't have the range to hit.
SCIUTTO: Yeah. Senator, President Biden warned this could be a long and difficult battle for Ukraine. You know Putin's history is, when backed into a corner, when his military meets obstacles, his response has been -- in Chechnya, we have seen it in Syria -- to be more, not less ruthless. We're seeing evidence of that, including additional attacks in the last 24 hours, specifically targeting civilians.
Are you concerned that as he reaches further obstacles, that he becomes more brutal, and we see more of these kinds of attacks?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, Jim, I am. And what we've seen is vicious attacks against civilians. President Biden was right to call him a war criminal. What it means is we have to continue our resolve. We need to be in this for the long haul with the people of Ukraine.
And what I know and what we can see from listening to President Zelensky or ordinary Ukrainians in the streets is there is no way Putin will be able to permanently oppress 44 million Ukrainians.
He may win victories in the short term. He might not. What I know is in the long term, this is a huge strategic mistake for Vladimir Putin and the people in Ukraine are going to make sure that with our help.
SCIUTTO: Is there a red line that Putin may cross and as President Biden said earlier this evening, he's already crossed a number of red lines that we've seen. You know, deliberate targeting of women and children, civilians. But is there a further red line that in your view would necessitate a U.S.-NATO response directly against Russia to stop it?
Because while these weapons have helped Ukraine defend itself, they have not been able to prevent these kinds of attacks. Is there a point at which you say, you know what, we got to stand up to Russia directly?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, Jim, there are lots of things that Putin could do that could conceivably change that calculous. I think the White House has warned about the use of chemical and biological weapons, weapons of mass destruction. So, I think that they sent the right message to Vladimir Putin that there are some forms of escalation that could draw a different response. But for now, I think it is important that we just continue to step up our assistance, and you mentioned some of the more sophisticated air defense systems that we're going to be providing.
SCIUTTO: We'll watch what effect they have on the ground. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, thanks so much for joining us tonight.
VAN HOLLEN: Good to be with you, Jim. Thanks.
SCIUTTO: Vladimir Putin has called some of his fellow Russians national traitors. But with protests on the streets and on the airwaves, is dissent getting too close for Putin's comfort?
SCIUTTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin is now attacking his own people. Listen to what he said today about Russians who dare to sympathize with Ukraine or the West.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): They will try to bet on the so-called fifth column, on traitors, on those who earn their money here but live over there. Live not in the geographical sense, but in the way they think with the mindset of a slave. These people cannot live without oysters and gender freedom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO (on camera): Joining us now, former undercover of KGB, Agent Jack Barsky. Jack, it is good to have you. The words from Putin today, I found some of them frankly terrifying. He discussed the necessity of a natural self-cleansing of society. He described people who dare to oppose him as flies to be spit out. Tell us what that means in your view. Echoes of --
JACK BARSKY, FORMER UNDERCOVER KGB AGENT: You know who he was attacking, though? He wasn't attacking ordinary people. He was attacking some of the oligarchs.
BARSKY: The ones that live mostly in London. And, you know, he's ticked off at them because they used to be, you know, in his camp and all of a sudden, because of their lifestyle being threatened, they are, you know, sort of leaving him. One of the oligarchs even put a premium on his -- on Vladimir's head. That really got him ticked off.
Remember, in the past, when he first got to power, there were some oligarchs that didn't play with him, he put them in jail.
SCIUTTO: Yeah. Yup. (INAUDIBLE) comes to mind. Are you worried that Putin, as his invasion force slows, meets obstacles, loses personnel by the thousands, that he becomes more, not less ruthless?
BARSKY: That is indeed his history. I just want to make one comment. We should not willy-nilly draw red lines because it has happened in American history not too long, that we drew a red line in Syria, and when the Syrian troops crossed this red line, we did nothing. You lose credibility. So, we got to be really, really careful because in escalation of this conflict, there is something that I think about with abhorrence.
SCIUTTO: Well, you're right to cite the dangers there. As you know, Putin has some enemies at home. Do you believe that there could be any serious internal opposition? Mikhail Gorbachev faced an unsuccessful coup in 1991 when he took the country too far towards the West. Does Putin face such a risk at home today?
BARSKY: Yes, but not from his inner circle. He has his old buddies that are from the KGB.
You know, I don't know how many, but maybe 40, 50. Their destiny is attached to his. So, they're not going to move. However, there are other power players, particularly the army, the military and perhaps somebody in the intelligence services who are not as beholden to Vladimir.
And, you know, one would think that there are some generals who are just like just, you know, raw military people who eventually will not do what he wants them to do in terms of committing more atrocities. That's a danger to Vladimir Putin, for sure.
SCIUTTO: Particularly as the generals in Ukraine are seeing them lose many of their own men. Jack Barsky, good to have you on tonight.
BARSKY: Indeed, indeed, indeed. Thank you.
SCIUTTO: Thanks so much.
A 15-year-old Ukrainian golfer desperately fled Kyiv amid Russian bombardment. He says the day the war started was the worst of his life. We're going to have his story next.
SCIUTTO: Tonight, a story of hope and the future, and a family left behind amid the devastation of Russia's bloody assault on Ukraine. A 15-year-old junior golfer from Kyiv was able to flee the violence in his city. He is now safely in the United States in Florida to continue to pursue his dreams.
I am joined now by Mykhailo Golod. His nickname is Misha. Misha, thank you for joining us tonight.
MYKHAILO GOLOD, UKRAINIAN JUNIOR GOLFER WHO FLED WAR: Thank you for having me.
SCIUTTO: First of all, you escaped Kyiv after the bombardment, the invasion started. You called that the worst morning of your life. Tell us how you got out.
GOLOD: Well, I spent -- I spent one and a half weeks in the bombardment because we thought it was safe staying there while the explosions were not quite close to our house. But the moment we knew that it wasn't, the moment we knew that the bombardment was in our town, we knew we had to leave and get me out and -- and then, my parents would come back to get their parents out.
SCIUTTO: You had to leave a lot of your family behind. I -- I know that's got to be just brutal for you. Tell us -- tell us how that's going and how they are, how they are there right now.
GOLOD: It's very devastating. But thankfully, they -- they all have wi-fi and a source of internet, food, water, and I can still talk to them and make sure they're safe. And I know that once everything is over, I'll definitely bring them here to be -- to be with me.
SCIUTTO: Are you relieved to be -- to be in the states now and safe from the Russian invasion?
GOLOD: I am very thankful for everyone that contributed to -- to me being here. And it's -- it's great that I can -- I can continue to pursue my goals academically and athletically. But at the same time, it's -- again, it's very, very nerve-racking having my whole family back in Ukraine.
SCIUTTO: Of course, I know it must be. I feel for you, man. Who is taking care of -- who is taking care of you there while you're in Florida?
GOLOD: I'm -- well, it's a guardian. We call her guardian. She's the assistant of David Leadbetter. He (INAUDIBLE) after my injury with Golf Digest and really helped me a lot with -- with everything here: accommodation, finance, everything I would need.
SCIUTTO: So, tell us what your dreams are now that you're in the U.S.
GOLOD: Uh, I will -- I will go to college. I will finish school here in the U.S. I will go to college. And after college, will have to make a decision on what to do. But as for now, my primary goal is to go to college.
SCIUTTO: Now, do you believe that the rest of your family is going to be able to get out of -- out of Kyiv, out of Ukraine soon?
GOLOD: Yes, I do believe that my mother and my grandparents will be able to leave. My dad will only be allowed to leave Ukraine once the martial law ends. And otherwise, he will have to stay in there and we will hope for the best. SCIUTTO: Yeah, that's one thing folks at home may not know here in the U.S., but men of military age need to stay behind, and I saw a lot of families while I was there, women and children would leave, but the men had to be left behind. While you're here on CNN, I wonder what do you want people to know about what's happening to your home right now, to your country?
GOLOD: Something that's happening in Ukraine right now should not be happening in the middle of Europe in the 21st century. Kids are losing their homes, they are dying, they are losing the lives. And it's -- it's devastating. And people should know the truth because there is a lot of fake news going around.
But in reality, what's happening is we're -- the whole country is being destroyed. It's not demilitarization or denationalization. It's actually being destroyed right now by Putin and it has to be stopped, because if he is not stopped, he will go on to Europe and then -- and then America. We don't know where he is going to stop. So, we need every source of help we can get from Western Europe or America to stop him.
SCIUTTO: President Zelenskyy, as you know, addressed the U.S. Congress today. What does his leadership mean to you, as a Ukrainian?
GOLOD: He's a hero. He's a national hero right now with everything that he does. And after he didn't take the offer to leave the country and he is still in Kyiv fighting the war, he had become a real hero for every Ukrainian. We are proud to be Ukrainians.
SCIUTTO: Misha Golod, you are handling what you are going through so well. I'm sure folks watching right now agree with me when I say that. I wish you the best of luck and I really do wish your family safety.
GOLOD: Thank you.
SCIUTTO: One more Ukrainian life affected by this war. Millions of them. Thanks so much for watching tonight. Our live coverage continues.