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Don Lemon Tonight
U.S. And NATO Will Respond If Provoked By Chemical Attack; President Zelenskyy Asking For More Weapons; U.S. To Accept 100,000 Refugees; Ukrainian Navy Hit Russian Ships; Ukrainian Forces Fought Heavily In Kyiv's Outskirts; U.S. And NATO Slap Russian Oligarchs With Tough Sanctions; American Family Can't Cross Ukrainian Border; Chef Jose Andres Fed Thousands Of Refugees; Online Friends Met With Good Purpose. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired March 24, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: And you know, even though I look in their eyes and I talk to them, it's really uncertainty. They don't know where they're going. Many of them just keep moving west. Trying to move away from the bombs in the east and they don't know where they're going to end up. But, man, the resolve of the folks here. They're just -- they don't want what Putin is offering and they're going to fight tooth and nail --
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes.
LEMON: -- to make sure he does not take over, not take over this place.
COOPER: And you hear from women who have gone across the border to bring their families over the border and then actually come back because they want to be in Ukraine.
COOPER: They don't want to be refugees. They want to stay even though it's at war, they want to stay and fight in whatever way they can fight.
LEMON: Yes. It's an interesting perspective being on the ground here. I think it's, you know, I said something similar the other night about -- about the Russian president. But this is a lesson I think for all of us if you want to look to an example of how to fix or, you know, the salve or the balm or the remedy for a democracy in peril. You only need to turn on your television and open the newspaper. Because it's Ukraine.
COOPER: Certainly, the unity that -- that, I mean, that this invasion has brought in the country is extraordinary to witness. And you see it even in, you know, even in places like Lviv, which has not been, you know, they've hit the airport, they're hit some sites around it but it's not been really directly attacked directly, civilians haven't been attacked at this stage, thankfully. But there is a that, you know, determination to fight this when and if the war comes. LEMON: Yes. Well, I like how you've been ending your show at night
with what's happening with the arts because it's very important here. It's a beautiful part of Ukraine, a special part of Lviv as well. It's a beautiful, this city is beautiful arts town and certainly Ukraine as well. So, I've been watching especially the end as it's coming -- as it's coming up to my show. So, thanks for that and I'll see you tomorrow night, Anderson.
COOPER: All right.
LEMON: I appreciate it.
COOPER: Be safe.
LEMON: This is DON LEMON TONIGHT here in western Ukraine in Lviv and our breaking news. Intense battles in several directions just outside of Kyiv as Ukraine fights to push back Vladimir Putin's forces.
I want you to take a look at this. This is stunning drone video, it's just 12 miles west of the capital in the Irpin area. Smoke, flames, blown up buildings. Irpin's mayor is saying that 80 percent of the city is now controlled by the Ukrainian army but the Russians are firing rockets against the town.
That as CNN's teams -- team in the capital is hearing air raid sirens, booms, and fire fights all day long. While in the east, what looked to be Ukrainian soldiers surround a Russian tank.
And on a day of major news all across the region the president of the United States, Joe Biden, meets with European allies in an emergency summit. And vows the U.S. and NATO will respond if Vladimir Putin uses chemical weapons.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: Would the U.S. or NATO respond with military action if he did use chemical weapons?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We would respond. We would respond if he uses it. The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And as more NATO troops are moving into border areas the U.S. announces new sanctions on hundreds of members of the Russian Duma. Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressing the summit virtually pleading for fighter jets and tanks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): Ukraine has asked for planes so that we don't lose so many people. And you have thousands of war planes but we haven't been given any. You have at least 20,000 tanks. Ukraine asks for 1 percent, 1 percent of all your tanks. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: President Biden says he hopes to meet with Ukrainian refugees when he visits Poland tomorrow. That after announcing the United States will accept 100,000 refugees fleeing Russia's war and provide more than $1 billion in humanitarian aid.
And we are getting a close look at battle fields all across this country as we watch this war unfold almost in real time. In the Russian occupied port of Berdyansk in southeastern Ukraine, a large Russian ship it appears to be an amphibious landing ship, destroyed. The Ukrainian navy claims that they also damaged two other Russian ships.
And this makes it pretty embarrassing for Russia. The ship that was blown up was featured in a lengthy news report on the pro-Putin international TV network RT just yesterday. New video from the besieged city of Mariupol, nearly every single building severely damaged, while in the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson still occupied by Russia, the mayor posting photos of a huge Ukrainian flag draped down the wall of city hall. Telling citizens, quote, "have a nice day, my hero city."
CNN is on the ground all across this region. Frederik Pleitgen is in Kyiv. Phil Mattingly is with the president in Belgium, and Ivan Watson is in Zaporizhzhia.
So, hello to one and all.
Fred, I'm going to start with you. I know you have been hearing air raid sirens go off tonight in Kyiv, and this comes as heavy fighting has been reported around Ukraine's capital. What is the latest?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, Don, it was a very active day here in the Ukrainian capital. And you're absolutely right. We did have those air raid sirens that went off not just tonight but really throughout the entire course of the day.
The other thing that we've heard is some gun battles, some machine gun battles not necessarily something that we would hear in that intensity on other days. Of course, there are no regular days here in the Ukrainian capital but this was certainly something we felt things were even more intense.
And of course, then we did get the news that there have been pretty heavy battles going on in the outskirts of Kyiv. And I think one of the things that's important for our viewers to understand is that the front lines here around Kyiv, they're pretty complex. You have some towards the northwest of the capital where you just showed that drone footage that is so horrifying and yet so remarkable from the Irpin district where we once again, were in touch with the mayor today and he did tell us yes, they are still in control there. The Ukrainians about 80 percent of Irpin but they are getting shelled
at the same time. He was saying that one of his associates was actually killed today. But he also said that right now, yes, the Ukrainian national police is back in there but they're not really able to patrol the streets simply because the area is under fire in such a heavy way.
We can see some of the video on our screens right now of that massive destruction and really fires still raging because of the -- of the incoming that that area is still taking from those Russian forces. And then toward the east there was another push by the Ukrainians as well into a small town that's about -- that's about 35 to 40 miles away from the Ukrainian capital toward the east, very important there, also.
The Ukrainians trying of course to start that push. It's another one of those access from where the Russians are trying to get towards the Ukrainian capital and it really seems the Ukrainians have now launched a counteroffensive and are trying to push the Russians back as best they can, and the Ukrainians do believe that they are making some headway.
But again, some very, very heavy fighting still going on around the Ukrainian capital, Don.
LEMON: It's just stunning to look at that video. I was looking at the monitor following along with you, Frederik, and it is just unbelievable the amount of rubble and destruction.
Phil, I want to get to you in Brussels now, though, traveling with the president. Everyone wanted to know what the U.S. and allies would come up with in the face of this naked aggression. Phil, talk to us about what happened today.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, take those searing images that Fred just showed and put them as the back drop and kind of underscoring the urgency of this moment, urgency that was described by one senior U.S. official as providing a mood in the room that was both sober and resolute.
Leaders from the 30 NATO countries, the E.U. countries all very cognizant of the historical moment in which they find themselves in, however a very unified front at this point in time. That unity is critical here. It has been kind of the corner stone of the sweeping and unprecedented sanctions package we have seen over the course of the last several weeks that expanded today.
As you noted, the U.S. slapping sanctions on more than 400 individuals and entities today. Also expanding humanitarian assistance. It is continuing a unified response that we've seen. And President Biden making clear that for every individual policy move or every new disbursement of money or legal aid that overarching approach is the most important and the one that brings the most threat to President Putin. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIDEN: Putin was banking on NATO being split. My early conversations
with him in December and early January, it was clear to me he didn't think we could sustain this cohesion. NATO has never, never been more united than it is today. Putin is getting exactly the opposite of what he intended to have as a consequence of going into Ukraine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: And Don, one of the things that we've heard from U.S. officials is kind of alluding to what the president said there, the ability to sustain this. There is a recognition inside the White House, inside the administration, that this is a long road ahead even as the Ukrainians launch offensives, even as they've performed better militarily than I think anybody expected on the U.S. side.
There is no end game here that anybody has mapped out even as sanctions and punishments increase even as they increase humanitarian aid. This is going to be a long path and that unity is so critical not just now but going forward to be able to keep that pressure on President Putin, Don.
LEMON: Right on. Fred, can you tell us about -- I mentioned that Russian war ship Ukraine says that they destroyed. Talk to us about that. How is Russia responding to this?
PLEITGEN: So, so far, the Russians haven't really said anything about -- about that war ship that was hit. Or that was apparently that the Ukrainians claim was hit. But I mean, it is certainly a big blow to the Russians. Quite interesting. Because it obviously happened in the port of Berdyansk.
I was actually there in November of last year. And that port, you know, it's very important for the Russians now trying to get stuff into there and that ship is obviously one that's very big, can take a lot of tanks. It's not the kind of war ship that would shoot towards land. It doesn't have big cannons. It can only really defend itself but it is a really important logistical cog for the Russians.
And that port from what we saw, it's a very narrow port, it's a very small, and now having that ship burning there stuck there is seriously something that could very much hamper the Russian effort.
And one of the things that you said I thought was really interesting was that there were actually two Russian TV networks that did a feature story about that ship, you know, almost bragging about the fact that the Russians had now been able to bring stuff into that port with that ship, and basically showing it everywhere.
You know, the question obviously is whether the Ukrainians that used that to geolocate the ship and hit. So, whether Russian state TV inadvertently helped the Ukrainians to a pretty big victory in this war, Don.
LEMON: Yes, yes. Fred, Phil, thank you very much. I appreciate it. We'll see you soon.
I want to bring in now Ambassador Alexander Vershbow to join us now, the former U.S. ambassador to Russia and the former NATO deputy security general. Ambassador, good to see you. Thanks for joining us here on CNN this evening.
You are the perfect person to talk with, your Russia and NATO experience. The U.S. announcing new sanctions, a billion dollars for humanitarian aid, a lot of military equipment flowing in. But are they giving Ukraine what they need and will any of it help stop this war?
ALEXANDER VERSHBOW, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Well, the summit was, I think not only a display of unity but I think they did take some concrete decisions which hopefully will mean that the Ukrainians will be getting more of the support they need and faster. Because a lot of the stuff has been promised and sometimes it takes weeks to get there and every day counts.
But one thing which has been very slow has been air defense. I mean, they've been getting the Stingers in the last couple weeks which deal with helicopters and low-flying planes. But since we're not ready to do a no-fly zone what they need are these high-altitude air defense systems. I think some of the ones including the old Soviet legacy systems, the S-300s, are finally beginning to move. And that will hopefully make a difference in helping the Ukrainian air force continue to do its surprisingly dominant activities in the skies.
Another thing that has been slow in coming has been antiship cruise missiles. We see this ship burning in the harbor of Berdyansk. If they had more coastal defense missiles several weeks ago, they might have already taken out some other Russian ships.
We need to make up for lost time on those things, and hopefully the summit will give impetus while showing Putin that we do have staying power and we're not going to back down, we're going to continue to help the Ukrainians defend themselves and we'll continue to pile on the pressure with the sanctions as well.
LEMON: Let's talk about other things. I'll talk about other things, chemical weapons and so on, but I have to get, you know, I should get your reaction to the video that's coming in. I'd be remiss if I didn't. Because I think it's -- it's -- it really affects people watching this. And I wonder what effect it has on the United States, the public at large and NATO.
But, yes, but, I mean, I'm sure you've seen the video all day. It's just -- it's just rubble from different cities all over Ukraine. Kids playing in, you know, near bombed out buildings and playgrounds. Roofs destroyed, fires. You have the ship burnings. How does that play, as an ambassador, how does that play into, if at all, into this, the decisions that NATO and allies make as it comes to this region?
VERSHBOW: Well, I think inevitably, political leaders and the public are deeply moved by these horrific sights of the destruction and how people's normal lives just a month ago have been completely upended. And I think it does contribute to this, the resolve, the firmness that leaders did display at the various summit meetings in Brussels today.
And I think that's among the many things that Putin underestimated when he decided to launch this unnecessary war. He really thought we were weak, that we were easily distracted. That we wouldn't have the kind of staying power to keep the Ukrainians in the fight and continue to impose high costs on Russian forces.
He made plenty of miscalculations about his own military. I think he is involved in a witch hunt now to track down the scapegoats. But I think the main thing is we are genuinely moved by seeing people who just want to live by themselves, have a democratic society, ready to co-exist with Russia but just don't want to be dominated and told what to do by their big brother up in Moscow.
LEMON: Yes. Thank you for responding to that. You know, let's talk about Biden, the President, saying that there would be a response if Putin uses chemical weapons. Will that get Putin's attention? Does he care about that? Is he listening?
VERSHBOW: I'm sure he is listening. And he may well be contemplating the use of chemical weapons. It wouldn't be a new thing for him. He's used biological agents to go after his political enemies. He's either used them or encouraged Assad to use chemical weapons in Syria.
So as this battlefield situation begins to go again him -- against him, he may be thinking about it. So, I think the warning today was important to make clear that any use of chemical weapons or nuclear weapons for that matter will bring about a response.
Now, Biden was a little vague as to what that response would be. I hope that there is a private message going to the Russians with a more explicit warning as to the kind of costs we're prepared to impose if they go ahead and use these weapons of mass destruction.
LEMON: Before I let you go, I want to ask you about your visit here. You were in Mariupol six weeks ago before the war started. How do you feel now seeing the new images of the city destroyed by Russian bombs?
VERSHBOW: Well, it's heartbreaking and it's just hard to believe that this thriving city, which fought off the separatists back in 2014 and has become a hub of economic activity and culture and the arts, how it's been literally leveled, unlivable. And it just kind of gives you a determination that we can't let this stand. We can't let the Russians get away with this.
LEMON: Ambassador, I appreciate your time in getting your -- how you feel about this and your expertise. Thanks so much.
VERSHBOW: You're welcome.
LEMON: Ukraine is fighting harder than Vladimir Putin must have expected and the U.S. and European leaders are standing strong against him. What will he do as he is backed into a corner and how will President Biden and NATO respond? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: NATO has never, never been more united than it is today. Putin is getting exactly the opposite of what he intended to have as a consequence of going into Ukraine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: President Biden meeting with world leaders in Brussels today, saying there will a response from the U.S. if Putin uses chemical weapons in Ukraine. And NATO leaders say they have response plans in place, too.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claiming today Russia has already used phosphorous bombs. The U.S. has not been able to corroborate that.
Let's bring in our CNN military analyst, Lieutenant Mark Hertling. We appreciate it, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. General, thank you so much. We appreciate having you on. We always learn so much from you.
So, we know the president has assembled what is called a tiger team of national security officials to come up with ways to respond to Putin if he decides to use these kinds of weapons. The president and the secretary of defense, when I spoke with them, refused to get into any kind of specifics about that. What do you think a response from the U.S. would look like?
MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Don, to be honest with you, I have no idea. I've sat on tiger teams before. This is something that's absolutely normal, it occurs all the time. And what it - what it is, is an isolation of a cell of people who really kind of work through the dynamics of the situation and determine from an expert standpoint what should you do in response to x, y, z or p, d, q?
I mean, there may be a hundred things that they have looked at saying, if he does this, we will do that. And this has been working for a couple of months. You know, you can't take just the individual thoughts. If anyone comes on your show and says, here's what I think will be happening, they're wrong.
Because what you're talking about is a bunch of people who really have expertise in what might happen should Mr. Putin do a chemical strike, a tactical nuclear strike, a big tactical nuclear strike, something like that. And it's just a determination of how to react or prevent an action by the enemy. That's what a tiger team does.
LEMON: Yes. So, they're -- they are a whole host of possibilities that they are -- they are going through that they go through a whole host of different scenarios?
HERTLING: Yes. They almost have an itemized list where it's a reaction to specific things. So, they have said if Mr. Putin does this particular thing here are the options for reacting. And the president already has probably blessed many of those things but they can adjust at the last minute.
And this is to prevent last minute scurry, doing things where you wait until something happens and then you gather a bunch of people together and say what do we do now. No, no, they already have a plan for what they will do for each of the kind of actions that Mr. Putin might have.
And in fact, I would almost say, you know, when President Biden said he told Mr. Putin a few -- a few months ago, if you do any of these things, we will do this kind of stuff. It's probably been already signaled in a very nuanced way to the president of Russia.
LEMON: Two quick things I want to get to and make sure that we get to. One is, I know that you had a very strong response to some folks who are saying, you know, we need to go ahead and close off the skies or give planes or what have you, that maybe they're blustering about the nuclear, you know, the threat of nuclear, using nuclear weapons.
You had a very strong response to that. I'm not sure if it was online or if you said it on television which was, if you can explain it.
HERTLING: Yes. I basically said, you know, when you're talking about putting people at risk, putting not only soldiers at risk but entire populations in this -- in this case. When a military commander goes into an operation, he or she weighs risk and potential mitigation efforts.
So, as you send someone to attack a hill, for example, you say, well, if I go to the north or to the south there is more risk in one way if I put more forces in, if I lead off with artillery, I'm mitigating my risk.
When you are talking about the potential of the use of nuclear weapons even if it is a 1 percent potential, you still have to -- you've now processed or proceeded from risk to gamble. It's a binary win or lose. So, a lot of people say, well I don't think Mr. Putin will use nuclear weapons. Yes, but do you know for sure? Are you 100 percent certain, or just 99 percent?
HERTLING: Because that 1 percent could cause death and the destruction of tens of thousands of people. By the way, at the end, you're not the one responsible because if he does fire a nuclear weapon the only person responsible for doing something at that point is the President of the United States.
LEMON: Before I let you go, I have zero -- I have negative time here, but before I get to the break, this video of the port of Berdyansk with this -- with the ship that was destroyed, what do you -- what do you think about that? What kind of message does this send to Russia, if one at all?
HERTLING: It's a very good, tactical action. You know, I've heard people saying it's strategic in nature. It's not. It is the destruction of a resupply ship which is critically important for both Russia and Ukraine because Russia needs the equipment and the supplies and the ammo that is on that landing ship transport.
Ukraine needs to prevent that from going forward because it will allow whatever is on that ship, the ammo, the fuel, will allow the Russians to continue their attack to the east, toward the east beyond Mariupol. So, they are looking at this base at Berdyansk as a supply -- as a resupply base.
If the Russians can't get resupplies into there, and most importantly, if they now know the Ukrainians can attack at will any of these places, they're going to be much more concerned. As I think it was Fred Pleitgen told you a little while ago, this was a relatively small naval base, it only has a few ports in it and it looks like not only the one ship was damaged that's on fire and blowing up but it appears like two ships on each side were also damaged to this.
So, they've basically locked out the capability of that port to receive new ships for resupply. So, it's a pretty big tactical deal. And it's going to certainly help the Ukrainians. And plus, there is the element of the Russians saying how the hell did they do that? How did they get in here and blow up a ship in a port that we're allegedly defending? It's a big deal.
LEMON: General, thank you very much. We appreciate it. I'll see you soon. Thanks.
HERTLING: You got it, Don. Thank you.
LEMON: So, they can see the border -- they can see the border from their window but they can't cross over. I'm going to speak with an American father stuck in Ukraine with his daughter and grandson right after this.
LEMON: So more than three and a half million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded one month ago. And tonight, the Biden administration is saying that the United States is ready to welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians and other refugees fleeing the country.
But members of one American family are stuck in Ukraine trying to get out. Aislinn Hubbard was living in Ukraine when she gave birth to her son. But because the baby was born at home, he doesn't have a birth certificate, and Ukrainian authorities won't let him leave the country without one.
Her father William Hubbard traveled to Ukraine to help his daughter and grandson try to leave but nearly one month later they are still stuck at the western border. And William joins me now. William, thank you so much. We appreciate it. We know that Aislinn was
supposed to join you. How is she doing?
WILLIAM HUBBARD, AMERICAN STUCK IN UKRAINE: Yes, she is sick. She picked up a pretty severe G.I. bug when she was at the military camp that the Ukrainians forced us into.
LEMON: But otherwise, baby, everyone OK and will be fine and healthy, right?
HUBBARD: Yes. We're hoping the baby also had the same bug and I've been able to treat him with supportive care. We're doing the same thing with Aislinn but she is just lagging a little bit behind.
LEMON: Well, we hope, we wish you, wish all of you the very best and we hope that they get better soon. You are hearing air raid sirens and military helicopters multiple times a day, I understand, and you are so close to the border but you can't cross it. What is it like to be with your daughter and grandson stuck in this position?
HUBBARD: It is a horrible situation. And it seems that the State Department would be much more helpful to us than they are. They've been aware of this situation since December. They know that it takes a long time to get a birth certificate when a baby is born at home. And this was a concern of mine that was voiced to them months ago that this could happen and my worst fears became true.
LEMON: Listen, I'm sure people are wondering why your daughter was living in Ukraine in the first place. Can you talk to us about that?
HUBBARD: Yes. Aislinn had traveled to the Ukraine when she was 16 years five months. She was invited to attend the Kyiv choreograph college for education, continuing her education in ballet. She had been in dance since she was 4 years old and she was continuing on in that direction. And she had --
LEMON: Why --
LEMON: Go on. I'm sorry. We have a delay. Go on, please.
HUBBARD: And dancing became very difficult for her so, but she had fallen in love with Ukraine and wanted to stay and we were supportive of that.
LEMON: Can you -- why -- why didn't she ever receive a birth certificate for her son? And talk to us how that has affected your efforts to get them out of the country.
HUBBARD: Yes. What happens is when a baby is born at home it's in a gray area of the Ukraine. And medical personnel don't like to report these births because they could get into trouble but because of COVID many women in the Ukraine made the decision to have births at home. In most circumstances it wouldn't be a big deal because if you have to wait six months or whatever the time frame is to get a birth certificate it is not a big deal.
But in the time like we have now with the war going on, it becomes a much bigger concern if you want to leave the country and find safety and it's become very difficult for us.
LEMON: It was even tough, but especially in a time of war one might think just the opposite because so many people are leaving, you know, people trying to get out of the country that there may have been more lenient about people just trying to flee the violence and really the prospect of being hurt. One would think that the war might actually help your effort in a way.
HUBBARD: Yes, well, that's what the State Department had said to us, but unfortunately, that didn't turn out to be true because we showed up at the border with the DNA tests with the birth photos and my daughter obviously being the mother and the first thing they did was, they assumed because we were foreigners that we must be baby smugglers.
HUBBARD: And they basically had the police come. They took us into custody. They separated the baby from my daughter for a short period of time. Then they put her in a maternity hospital overnight and they stuck me in a military camp overnight. And then the next morning my daughter came to the camp and we were told that she or the baby was not allowed to leave the camp at all, period.
So, we were detained against our will by the Ukrainian government, military authorities for absolutely no reason. We had ample proof that the baby was my daughter's child. And the State Department hasn't been of any real help to us. Our politicians haven't been of any real help to us.
They have, you know, everybody is pointing the finger at each other but nobody is really helping us. We feel like we've been abandoned. They are expecting the Ukrainians to doing -- to do something to resolve this problem but the Ukrainians have so many other things going on. This is a little issue for them.
And so, we're stuck in the middle. And it just seems really strange that we're helping hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees, the United States, both by allowing them to come to the states, as well as providing economic help for their care, but they can't help three of their own citizens get to safety.
And it would seem to me that the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. would be more concerned about our safety than filling every little items out on a, on some State Department form. We have plenty of time to fill out all of those things on their forms but it seems to me that our safety is the number one concern that should be in their minds but it isn't.
HUBBARD: Because every time --
LEMON: Well, I understand that. But we have been speaking to people here as well who -- we've been talking to people here as well who have been trying to adopt and been in the process of that and it's been a very difficult process because pretty much everything is stopped.
So, we can certainly understand your frustrations and we hope that it works out and we hope that some folks are listening and if we can continue to help and draw attention to it, we will. We'll check back with you, and please let us know about your progress. Our best to you, the baby, and your daughter. Thanks so much.
HUBBARD: Yes. Thank you very much for your time.
LEMON: We'll be right back. Thank you.
LEMON: Here in Lviv there are now at least 200,000 refugees who have fled other parts of war-torn Ukraine. Chef and humanitarian Jose Andres and his organization have come to this city and spots along Ukraine's border to deliver meals to those in need. It is a mighty task. And today, I had a chance to see Chef Andres' work, operation at work.
JOSE ANDRES, CHEF & FOUNDER, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN: The best of humanity unfortunately shows up --
ANDRES: -- in the worst moments of humanity.
LEMON: Chef Jose Andres is the founder of World Central Kitchen is in Lviv where his nonprofit is serving hot meals to refugees from all across Ukraine.
ANDRES: We are already in the 250,000 kind of meals per day delivered to shelters like this, to train stations, to buses, in every single border crossing in the Ukrainian side and in the countries welcoming them.
LEMON: Within hours of initial invasion World Central Kitchen says it began handing out meals at one border crossing and is now up to eight border crossings with Poland handing out meals across the region including Hungary, Moldova, and Romania.
ANDRES: That expression of empathy began growing all across every single country those who are welcoming Ukrainian refugees.
UNKNOWN: Today's menu is Ukrainian recipe, borsch, made with beef, cabbage, horseradish, pickles, potatoes. It's a very traditional soup and we hope they enjoy it.
ANDRES: The urgency now in this situation as you know when it --
ANDRES: -- now.
LEMON: Right now. Right now.
ANDRES: What we are showing is that, like them that they never knew that their lives was going to be changed dramatically.
LEMON: Chef Andres says there is only one person to blame for the drastic actions that led to the war.
ANDRES: I don't have problems with the Russians, I have a problem with a man called Putin that should not be in charge of a country doing what he is doing right now.
LEMON: He also shared his disappointment at the speed of the United Nations initial response.
ANDRES: Boots on ground in a moment something like this happened.
LEMON: In the moment. Yes.
ANDRES: The urgency of now is yesterday.
LEMON: Andres' organization is also working with local restaurants, caterers, and food trucks to provide meals at shelters like the one being run by these two women, who a few weeks ago, didn't even know one another.
NIKA HAK, SHELTER CO-FOUNDER IN LVIV: We met on Instagram.
HAK: On the second day after the war started. So, I was posting a lot of things on my Instagram account and Ola was following me --
HAK: -- on Instagram and she wrote me I have a building. Let's do a shelter. This is what we did. We met. We checked the building. And the next morning we set everything up. We asked for a humanitarian aid from our friends and follow -- followers and the people we knew and they started bringing things, mattresses, beddings, food, medication, whatever you need. And then we set it up and we started receiving people. At first it was
just a basement and around 50 people and right now we are accommodating around 200 people.
LEMON: Two hundred Ukrainian refugees who are now taking shelter in a building that used to be a school for kindergarteners, now it's a home for those displaced by war.
HAK: So, at first, we just wanted to use the basement because it is very safe and we started receiving a lot of requests from people to stay here so we had to open other floors. We recently received a woman from Mariupol who lived in a basement for two weeks, I think. She said she would only get two spoons of porridge a day. This is what -- this was all she ate. And when we opened a box of their -- with their lunch she actually cried.
UNKNOWN: Just --
HAK: Yes. And we cried together.
HAK: Why? Because we are devastated as well. That this is happening to our people. That they have no food and the kids have no food.
LEMON: What's the greatest need, just shelter, food, all of it? What's -- what do people need?
HAK: Here people need food. People need clothes. People need medication. If you talk about the shelter in general, we need equipment, furniture, we need gas for our volunteers who are picking up people from the train station, and picking up supplies for us. Also, we need to pay the utilities. The prices are very high. We are a private building so it's very, it's a very big bill for us.
LEMON: Perhaps even bigger, the outpouring of generosity.
HAK: So, whenever we need something, we just post it on Instagram with things that we need for our shelter and our refugees and people start bringing them. I think everybody is heartbroken and we are doing our best to help whatever way we can.
LEMON: Those little, cute, tiny faces there. These two young ladies, you're amazing. Didn't even know each other. Met through Instagram and then connected and did all this stuff. And Jose Andres, you are awesome, sir. Awesome. Keep doing what you're doing. He doesn't care about the money. He just keeps going, he keeps feeding people.
Look up his organization if you want to give some money. I mean, he is doing some really, really, really good things not only here but around the world. So, thank you, sir. Thank you.
More than three and a half million refugee have fled Ukraine. Now, President Biden is pledging to welcome some of them to the U.S.
LEMON: Tonight, the Biden administration saying the United States is really to welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians and other refugees fleeing the country. One official saying the U.S. is considering a full-range of legal pathways to help refugees who want to come to America. And this should help takes pressure off European countries absorbing the flood of people fleeing Ukraine. The U.N. saying more than 3.6 million people have fled the country since Russia invaded just one month ago.
We've got much more on our coverage from here in Kyiv straight ahead. President Biden meeting with NATO leaders as Ukraine continues their counteroffensive trying to claw back territory from Russia. Stay with us.