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Don Lemon Tonight
Russians Claims To Leave Kyiv And Chernihiv; Russian Troops Targeted Government Office In Mykolaiv; Russians Trying To Fool Ukrainians; American Teacher Now Back To His Family; Museum Staff Salvage Artworks; Ukrainians Did Not Fold To Russians In The Black Sea. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired March 29, 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 I think that is with some merit.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: You know, the -- everybody is watching what's going on because the Russians are saying one thing but what they're doing is clearly not -- is clearly opposite.
LEMON: Yes, it is the opposite, Wolf. And we're going to get to it right now. Thank you, Wolf. We'll see you in The Situation Room, we'll see you right back here tomorrow night on CNN tonight. This is DON LEMON TONIGHT.
Meantime, this is DON LEMON TONIGHT. I'm here in western Ukraine in Lviv.
Our breaking news. CNN's team in Kyiv hearing increased shelling throughout the night and there is new video tonight of the devastation in the western Kyiv suburb of Irpin after Ukrainian forces pushed Russian troops out. It was taken by a Ukrainian nongovernmental organization and provided to CNN.
The video shows the heavily wooded suburb is destroyed with bodies just lying in the streets. And I warn you this is difficult to watch. Here it is.
And this goes to the conversation I was just having with Wolf. That is happening despite Russia saying today it will drastically reduce military activity on two fronts, Kyiv and Chernihiv, following in- person talks between Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying this tonight about the talks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): The signals that we hear from the negotiating platform can be called positive but these signals don't drown out the explosions of Russian bombs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The word from the White House and the Pentagon is that we'll believe it when we see it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We'll see. I don't read anything into it until I see what their actions are.
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: There is what Russia says and there is what Russia does. We are focused on the latter.
JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: We ought not be fooling and nobody should be fooling ourselves by the Kremlin's now recent claim that it will suddenly just reduce military attacks near Kyiv or any reports that it's going to withdraw all its forces.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The Pentagon calling Russia's troop movement near Kyiv, quote, "a repositioning not a withdrawal," and warning, the threat to Kyiv is not over. In spite of Russia's claims there has been no let-up in the fighting in the suburbs of Ukraine's capital. And as Russia may be pulling back in some areas air strikes continue to rain down death and destruction at any moment.
Russia attacking the office of a governor of the southwestern Mykolaiv region today. The strike blowing a hole straight through the building, killing at least 12 people and wounding 33 more. The governor says he overslept. Otherwise, he would have been there and could have been one of the victims.
In the besieged city of Mariupol, Ukraine says 90 percent of residential buildings have been damaged or destroyed. That means almost every single home in what was once a city of more than 400,000 people is gone now. The mayor is saying more than 150,000 civilians are trapped in the city. Their homes are reduced to rubble. No water, no power, the city surrounded by Russian troops.
CNN's teams are live on the ground tonight for you. Our Frederik Pleitgen is in Kyiv and Ben Wedeman is in Mykolaiv.
Good evening to both of you. Fred, I'm going to start with you first. Russia says they are scaling back near Kyiv. The U.S. is saying don't be fooled by Russia's claims. But tonight, we are hearing air -- air raid sirens and artillery and rocket fire. Give us the situation, please.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We've had a full-on artillery battle going on here for the better part of the evening, Don. You know, we've heard multiple rocket launchers going on, we heard thuds pretty much the entire evening as well. And that's something that really has happened during the day also. This went on pretty much for I would say since we got up early this morning.
So, it certainly seems as though there is a violent battle going on. One of the things that we did, Don, is when we heard the Russians announce that they were going to scale back some forces around the Kyiv area. We actually went to the area close to the front line where a lot of those battles were going on.
And first of all, the civilians that we talked there said they didn't believe a word of what the Russians were saying. They said that they believe that if the Russians do withdraw that it would be only be because the Russians simply can't manage to get in here because their forces aren't strong enough and because also of course the Ukrainians are fighting back as well.
But I think the most interesting thing that we did hear here is that the defense forces that were on the ground they told us that they have seen and heard and felt a decided uptick in the amount of shelling coming from Russian positions.
And they say they either believe that there is some sort of scorched earth policy going on by the Russians or that they could be trying to cover a withdrawal that perhaps they might indeed be withdrawing some forces and trying to hit out barrages of artillery to try and cover their movements.
Very difficult to tell at this moment, but of course we are keeping a close eye on that situation, Don.
LEMON: Fred, I want to talk you about -- talk to you about the disturbing new images that we are getting, the total devastation left behind in Irpin which is a Kyiv suburb recently retaken by Ukraine. What do we see here? Explain to us what we're looking at.
PLEITGEN: Yes, it's -- it's absolutely awful video. I mean, you can see there a lot of the houses destroyed. Really a very suburban setting. And I was in some of these suburbs over the past couple of days and there's unfortunately some that look very similar to this.
You can see there a destroyed what seems to be a Russian armored vehicle and then just bodies on the ground there which obviously have been there for a considerable amount of time. Because, you know, this district is one that was really heavily fought over. This is very much a front-line district.
For the past couple of days, the Ukrainians have been saying that they hold about 80 percent of it. And now for the past two days they said they hold all of it but it was simply too dangerous to get into this -- into this area. So, this is certainly some of the first video that we're seeing from there and you can just see, you know, the utter destruction caused by weeks of fighting because this is really the area where the Russian offensive stalled. And this is where the stand- off was happening for a very long period of time. And obviously, where so many people were harmed in the process, Don.
LEMON: To Ben Wedeman now, Ben, at least a dozen people are dead after a strike on the government building in Mykolaiv. You were in that area. What did you see and what are you hearing from the people in that city?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that strike, Don, took place at 8.45 in the morning on the regional headquarters -- the governor, the regional headquarter of the government. That is a building that is in the heart of the city. We went there. Almost all of the buildings around it had shattered windows in the area.
And this was at a time when people were beginning to start to breathe again, feel that perhaps the threat posed by Russian forces, which not long ago were on the outskirts of the city, was beginning to recede. Now the Russians have been pushed back. We were out in some of the villages that were recently freed from Russian occupation, but the fear of the Russians is still very much present in those villages.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WEDEMAN (voice over): The blasted, burnt-out hulks of Russia's might lie on a road outside Mykolaiv or rumbles in the distance. Lieutenant Colonel Yaruslav Chapuniy (Ph) doubts peace or even a pause is at hand.
"Russia, he says put such a huge effort into invading Ukrainian territory, it's hard to imagine it will leave so easily."
As fighting raged on the road just a few minutes' drive from here were civilians, many of them huddling in their cellars for protection, scared of the fighting but terrified of the danger if they tried to flee.
This house in the nearby village of Shevchenko took a direct hit, bombardment is less frequent now. It's just calm enough for 72-year- old Natalia to pack up and go.
"It is impossible to tolerate this anymore," she says. "I'm already an old woman." A neighbor will drive her to nearby Mykolaiv. Shrapnel riddled his car and shattered the back window.
"I'm not afraid to die," says Natalia, "but I'm just not ready. I haven't gone to confession yet."
In an adjacent town, Lubya shows me the potato cellar she hid in for days. "It's cold here," she says. "There was no electricity for two weeks." As fate would have it, she did well to stay down there. One day a rocket landed in her backyard. Tongue and cheek she told us the Russians left a gift for her, a gift that keeps on ticking.
All right. We have to leave this spot because this rocket has not exploded. Many of the villages near the front have been largely abandoned. Only the most stubborn stay behind.
WEDEMAN: And just on the outskirts of this city we heard this evening intense bombardment underscoring the fact that regardless of the -- what the Russians are saying, we need to keep an eye on what they're doing, Don.
LEMON: Thank you, Ben. Ben and Fred, I have to say I've been watching since this war has been going on, 34, 35 days I've been watching you guys every single night and all day on the networks, you are doing really incredible work. You're working your butts off, and I think it's really making a difference. So, thank you for your work and we'll see you guys later. Thank you so much.
Now I want to bring in Ambassador William Taylor, the former ambassador to Ukraine. Ambassador, I appreciate you joining us.
President Biden, the Pentagon, they're all cautioning against believing Russia's claims that they are scaling back military operations near Kyiv. Do you share the skepticism?
WILLIAM TAYLOR, FORMER UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: I do, Don. I also share their respect for what caused that pullback. And what caused that pullback was the -- was the fierce fighting of the Ukrainian military. The Ukrainian military stopped that Russian advance. It stopped it in all those places you've been showing.
And that is what really has caused this stop. And if they redeploy, if they pull back to try to reconstitute their forces, maybe to go back into Russia, maybe to go into other parts of Ukraine, that's because they met such fierce resistance.
LEMON: And Russia thought that it could topple Ukraine's government quickly. That did not happen. Putin thought his forces would be welcomed with open arms. That didn't happen either.
So, what is the end game now for Putin? Has it changed? Does it keep changing? Will it keep changing in the future until he just, you know, blows the place, that just leaves everything in complete rubble?
TAYLOR: Don, it's the right question. It's the right question and you're asking it about the right person. That is, it's up to President Putin when he calls this off. And you're also right, he got himself into this. This is all of his doing, it's a strategic blunder. He believed his own propaganda. He thought that Ukraine would not fight. He thought he'd be welcomed as you say with open arms.
Well, it didn't happen. He thought that the Ukrainian military would not fight. That didn't happen. They fought fiercely. So, he has gotten himself into this and when he realizes that, at that point, he, I think he will be looking for some way to get himself out, to get himself out of this box he is put in.
And so, that may be the time when these negotiations will begin to pay off. Right now, they are just laying the groundwork. They're going through ideas. But at some point, President Putin is going to figure that the only way he can get anything out of this is to go to the negotiating table and that's what we'll see.
LEMON: Talks continued, Ambassador, between Ukraine and Russia in Turkey. And according to Ukrainians the talks were successful enough for a possible meeting between Putin and Zelenskyy. How much more leverage does Ukraine have now given how they really overperformed in protecting their country?
TAYLOR: You're absolutely right. They overperformed and the Russian military underperformed and that has given them confidence. That's given the Ukrainians the confidence to sit down at the table and make demands of the Russians.
Now, you mentioned this possible summit. President Zelenskyy has been asking for this summit for years and President Putin has resisted. And there is no real indication yet, Don, that he has agreed to this, that his people have said something about maybe they've checked with him but maybe not.
The point is there are some ideas that the Ukrainians have come up with. These are Ukrainian ideas for a peace agreement for an agreement that will stop this war, and they are operating out of a position of strength. Exactly as you said. Because their military has done so well.
LEMON: Ukraine's former prime minister was on CNN a bit earlier. He is doubtful that Russia is actually more open to negotiating. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARSENIY YATSENYUK, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF UKRAINE: Here is the thing, Allison. They will be open for real negotiations, you know, in what, in when? Because we need to pave the way to this peace. And the best three pillars, the first pillar is we need to fast track delivery and shipment of lethal weapon to Ukraine. The second pillar is I ask our western friends ramp up sanctions. The third pillar is the strong Ukrainian military and unity within the European Union and NATO. The stronger we are, the better chances we have to cut the deal with Russians but not as of now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: It sounds like he is telegraphing to the west, don't let up. Real negotiation won't come from diplomacy alone. I mean, they need more weapons and more sanctions against Russia. Is he right?
TAYLOR: Absolutely he's right. Yatsenyuk is exactly right. They need more weapons and they need them right now, Don. They need them right now. They are fighting fiercely and fighting fiercely means spending a lot of ammunition. And they need replenishments of that.
So, they need the supply lines to come in that carry these Javelin missiles, the Javelins, bring these Stingers in, bring in artillery ammunition. They need that now and they need it sustained. So that's important.
Yatsenyuk is also right about the sanctions. They need to be continued to be squeezed. The Russians need to continue to be squeezed more and more each week and that seems to be happening. But there are still some big issues, big sanctions that can be put in place. So that's an important thing.
And then there is the strength of the political backing for Ukraine. So, all three things are important. And that will give Ukraine leverage when they sit down at the table when Putin realizes that he is failing on the battlefield.
LEMON: Do you think Putin is really just looking for some sanctions relief, ambassador?
TAYLOR: I don't. I don't. I think what he is really after is what he's been after the whole time. I think he is after Ukraine. And so, if he fails this time, Don, if he -- if he is not able to achieve his goal of controlling, containing, absorbing, dominating Ukraine, if he fails at this at this time and he has to go to the negotiating table to cut some kind of deal, he'll be back. He won't give up. This is not about sanctions. It's about stopping Putin right now.
LEMON: Ambassador Taylor, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
TAYLOR: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: Lots of skepticism about Russia's claims it is rolling back attacks in Kyiv and Chernihiv. So, what is Vladimir Putin really up to?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENSKYY (through translator): We don't relax. Don't lower our defenses in the north as well as anywhere else in Ukraine where the Russian troops temporarily entered. The defense of Ukraine is our number one task at the moment. And all the rest just derives from it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: We have some breaking news right now. New satellite images from Maxar Technology show the devastation in Mariupol. Entire city blocks with nearly every single building on them destroyed.
Meanwhile, the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department throwing cold water on Russia's claims that they are drastically reducing military activity on two fronts, Kyiv and Chernihiv. With Russia now claiming to be focused on, quote, "liberating eastern Ukraine," are they scaling back their goals or ramping up for a new assault?
So, joining me now to discuss, CNN military analyst and retired air force Colonel, Cedric Leighton. Colonel, we appreciate you joining us once again. Good evening to you.
You say there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of Russia here. Troops leaving Kyiv that doesn't mean they are leaving Ukraine. So, what do you think Russia is doing? CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, Don, good evening to
you. This is, I think really our big question right now. So, if they move their troops, they'll have the same kind of logistical problems that they had getting into Ukraine, maybe even worse. What they'll have to do if they -- if they did is, they would have to turn around and move back into Belarus potentially and back into Russia.
Well, the roads are not as good as they would be here in the states or in western Europe. They have to really orchestrate a lot of the movements here if they're going to do that. But we don't see that happening right now. And because of that, I believe that they are going to reposition their forces within Ukraine more than anything else.
And with that said, I believe that they are going to perhaps move these forces in some other areas, perhaps in other areas to the northeast and in the east, but as far as Kyiv goes, it remains to be seen whether or not they actually let them go or whether they keep them there. I'm betting that at least some of them are going to stay in place.
LEMON: So, saying what you just said, you talk about repositioning, even if they do leave, it wouldn't be a generous act. It would be a retreat. Could they have really taken and held Kyiv at this point, Colonel?
LEIGHTON: No. They really couldn't have. They, you know, when you look at, you know, moving in closer to Kyiv right here, they would have had some real difficulty doing this because Kyiv is a large city, about three million people before the war, and the way it's laid out, it would have been an ideal place to mount urban combat, urban defenses against an occupying army.
The Russians brought their parade uniforms with them apparently, thinking that they could march into Kyiv and they'd be welcomed with open arms. Obviously, not the case. And they totally misjudged the way this would play out. So, as far as them coming in and holding this, almost impossible.
LEMON: Now, they are using those probably as layers because it has been cold in this region. Colonel, Ukrainian officials have said that not only are they having success around Kyiv, they are also claiming some momentum in the south of Ukraine. Do they have the resources to press Russia on these multiple fronts?
LEIGHTON: Well, that's going to be difficult for the Ukrainians, because they are going to also be spread a bit thin. You know, we talked about the Russians being spread thin in all these different areas and we see the manifestation of that.
The Russians are obviously poised to get Mariupol right here because that's a destroyed city. They're having difficulty holding Kherson. Mykolaiv, we saw the report from Ben Wedeman. That, there's still a lot of shelling going on there, but the Ukrainian presence is definitely being felt. But when you turn it around and you look at the kinds of things that
the Ukrainians have to do, they're going to have significant mopping up operations that they'll have to take care of before they can even reclaim a lot of the territory that the Russians have already occupied, this part in red right here.
So, they've got a lot of work to do. It is going to be very difficult for them to do this because they have to move their forces in. Now they do have an advantage. It is their territory and they could potentially do this but they'll need a lot of help, a lot of weapons, and a lot of other work we can provide them.
LEMON: A top U.S. general in Europe saying that there could be an intelligence gap that led to the U.S. to -- led the U.S. to overestimate the Russian military. Do you think the U.S. and our allies might have provided more aid and done so sooner if we thought the Ukrainians had this kind of a fighting chance?
LEIGHTON: I think that is a distinct possibility, Don, because a lot of people were looking at this and thinking kind of the old economics lesson don't throw good money after bad because that money will turn bad. It's kind of that way with military aid as well.
And so, if the NATO folks and the U.S. government had thought that the Ukrainians would put up this much resistance and that the Russians would in essence collapse like they have, at least up to this point, that would have definitely given them, I think a better chance of getting a green light for some major weapons deliveries, such as, potentially the MiG-29s out of Poland and some other more offensive weapons as opposed to the defensive weapons that we've already provided them.
LEMON: Where was the breakdown then? Where do you think the breakdown is for overestimating the Russian military, underestimating the Ukrainian military?
LEIGHTON: So, there are two big things in intelligence. One is the collection side and the other one is the analysis side. I think on the collection side we did pretty well on the intelligence, in the intelligence community, but on the analytical side we didn't really understand how weak the Russians were and how strong the Ukrainians were and what their willingness to fight was.
That is a, one of those intangibles that a lot of people have a difficult time comprehending especially if you're sitting in an office, you know, several thousand miles away trying to look at this stuff. So, the big issue here is how do we beef up our analysis and how do we sift through a lot of the chaff that you get even from the people that you're collecting on? That becomes a huge problem. And the analytical part is always a huge challenge for the intelligence world.
LEMON: I got to get to this before I let you go. But sources are telling CNN that the U.S. soldiers in Poland are training Ukrainians on how to use the weapons that the U.S. and our allies are sending them including anti-tank weapons. How many ways can the U.S. support Ukraine without sending in our own troops?
LEIGHTON: So, they can do the type of training that you suggested, you know, with weapons like the Javelin like you see here. What they can actually do is not only provide them with the training and the weapons themselves but they can also provide the intelligence in real- time to the Ukrainian forces.
A lot of things have to be set up, you know, some of them administrative, some of them legal. But the intelligence part is critical to these weapons and others like them hitting their targets and allowing the Ukrainians to fight the battle that they need to fight in order to protect their country.
LEMON: One of our most informative segments every single night, Colonel Cedric Leighton, thank you very much. We appreciate it.
LEIGHTON: You bet, Don. Any time.
LEMON: An American teacher in Ukraine trying to evacuate the country to flee the war taken by Russian soldiers, held for 10 days. His family unable to find him. We have been bringing you his story. I've gotten to know his mom here. He is out. He is back. He is reunited with his family and he is here next.
LEMON: A young American whose name is Tyler Jacob now free from Russian forces after being detained at a border checkpoint in Crimea for 10 days. At the time he didn't know why he was being detained but soon learned that he was imprisoned because they thought he might be a spy.
After his release, Tyler traveled home from Turkey to Minnesota, a two-day journey. His mom didn't even know that he was coming home today. Here is their surprise reunion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TINA HAUSER, TYLER JACOB'S MOTHER: What the (muted). Terry!
HAUSER: Come here!
HAUSER: Come here!
UNKNOWN: Dude! What are you doing here?
TYLER JACOB, DETAINED BY RUSSIA WHILE ESCAPING UKRAINE: Got sent home.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: My gosh. Haven't even started the interview yet. Tyler Jacob and his mom Tina Hauser joins me now. Look at you, Tina. Tyler, we were worried sick about you. Tina and I have been on television talking about you and worrying about you and we are so happy you're home. How you doing?
JACOB: Exhausted. Like it's been a journey. But, I mean, I guess I'm still here, so I have a positive attitude. I'm grateful for everybody that helped me. So.
LEMON: What did you think, Tina, when you opened the door? You said what the beep?
HAUSER: I was totally shocked. I was not expecting this at all. Between him, his wife, and Beth, your person there, and his dad are all going to get a good word from me. They all were in on it.
LEMON: Tina, you were worried sick, though. Honestly, how do you feel?
HAUSER: I am so relieved to have my son sitting next to me. This is the best day ever. It's like him being born all over and being home in my arms again. It's perfect.
LEMON: I mean, had you thought the worst? I hate to ask you that but I know moms are like that.
HAUSER: I did think the worst. I was so fearful that he was going to be tortured and killed. And to get the news that he was safe and was going to be released was the biggest joy in my life. And now to have him sitting next to me and in my home with me is the biggest Christmas present I could ever ask for.
LEMON: He's a grown man, he's a big boy, but he's always your baby, right?
HAUSER: That's true. Always will be my baby.
LEMON: Tyler, I mean, this is some serious stuff. Look, let's talk about your journey. I mean, it is harrowing. You were detained by Russian forces at a checkpoint and then held for 10 days. I mean, seriously, we were looking at the video that they capture, like you in a transfer van or something. And then after that you just kind of disappeared. Like, we didn't know what happened to you. What did they tell you, did you have any idea what was happening?
JACOB: To begin with, no. So, I was sitting at the Armiansk's checkpoint for, I think it was like seven hours. Seven or eight hours before they finally told me that, hey, we have this protocol that you have to sign. They were trying to force me without telling me anything about it.
And by 6 o'clock in the morning on Sunday, they finally we can take you here to sleep, so they locked me in a prison cell there in Armiansk, and then later in the afternoon they came and picked me up and took me to court and charged me with not giving my passport and then detained me for a total of 10 days.
LEMON: How did they treat you in custody?
JACOB: So, the first two days weren't so great. But like, once I got to the jail in Simferopol, they were absolutely perfect to me. Like, as much as I'd like to say Russians are bad people for invading a sovereign country that these people were some of the nicest people I've met.
I mean, two -- there was three captains that rotated in the jail and two of them would speak English with me and one of them would wink at me when I'd get pulled to go get questioned and he would like make sure that he knew that or that I knew things were going well.
LEMON: Were there other people held captive or detained?
JACOB: I'm sorry?
LEMON: Were there other people detained with you?
JACOB: No. I was the only one detained on the bus. And there were six buses --
LEMON: They thought that you might be a --
JACOB: -- and a total of like --
LEMON: There were six buses --
JACOB: There were six buses and like a total of, I think 115 people. I was the only one detained.
LEMON: They thought that you might be a spy. I mean, did you have to prove to them that you weren't a spy?
JACOB: Yes. They went through, they took my laptop, my phone, and my tablet. Copied all the hard drives and then sifted through everything that I had. And so, the Russians believe in this like, myth that 007, like the legend, his like, cover story is being an English teacher, so they thought I was like the legend.
LEMON: I hear that laugh, Tina. Wow. But, I mean, you can laugh now. But listen, I got to ask, because your mom said, your mom said she thought the worst. She thought that you -- they might torture you or did you -- were you in fear of anything like that of being held for a long time and what the possible consequences were?
JACOB: So, the beginning part of it, yes. I was a bit concerned. And then by Wednesday, he was still questioning me very heavily about like, being a spy. And like, how do you know this person because I had a resume for somebody who had government background on my computer because I was starting a new school and they wanted me to use it as like an example.
And I didn't know who the person was at all. But he was just constantly telling me, hey. Like, you know this person. His number is in your contacts in your phone. And I kept telling him like, it wasn't. And he, finally, on Thursday, he comes back and says I went through all of your contacts. That number isn't in there. And you're just an English teacher that's in a bad situation.
LEMON: Yes. I just want to play this for you. Your parents were on the show when this first happened. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAUSER: I just want to make sure I want to see a video of my son to make sure he is safe and healthy and that he knows that mom is doing her best to bring him home. And I miss him and I love him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: My gosh. So, did you know, because you weren't able to communicate with them. Did you know that they were fighting for your release?
JACOB: I didn't know anything until Saturday when he took me, like he had to take me out for two hours, took me to lunch, gave me a latte and then showed me on his phone the article that was processed with you guys that you were all fighting and had Amy Klobuchar and stuff involved.
LEMON: Why wouldn't they let you -- they wouldn't let you reach out to your family? Or call anybody?
JACOB: No. So, they wouldn't let me use my phone because they had it in detention so I couldn't contact anybody. So, I just used my resources and talked to the person in my cell with me and had them get in contact with my wife through Instagram. So, I had one message in per day and one message out per day.
LEMON: Listen, you seem like a very calm and levelheaded young man. I think you said that it was your six years in the military that prepared you to be in prison but the worst part was being separated from your wife and your daughter. So, tell us please about being reunited with them as well.
JACOB: It was the best day ever on Saturday when I got to be back with them. Me and my wife came out of the cafe that we were meeting and almost came running to me and we hugged probably three to four minutes straight. And then when we walked back in the daughter got up and ran over to me and I picked her up and carried her back to the table that we're sitting at and we spent all day at the mall there and the daughter jumped on the trampolines. It was, we did good family stuff to like, to bring joy back to each other. We definitely missed each other a lot. LEMON: We spent a lot of time talking about you, Tyler. I mean, we
had a number of interviews with your mom, with your parents, with the help of the State Department, Senator Klobuchar who was also on the show with your parents and finally able to secure your release. How did you learn you were going to be free?
JACOB: So, I guess, like I knew from the beginning that I was going to be freed on the 22nd at 8 o'clock because that's what my, like, stipulations were. But I'm assuming that with all, everybody, like the work they were doing in contacting the Moscow embassy that the kind of press on the people that were questioning me, they're like, basically hey, he is just an American in a bad spot trying to flee the country. And I know it helped a lot.
LEMON: Yes. Well, your mom is sitting right next to you. He is sitting right next to you, mom. What did you -- what did you want to say to him? What do you want to say to each other?
HAUSER: I'm just glad he's home. I'm just so glad. That hug was the best thing I could have ever gotten in a long time.
JACOB: Yes. Definitely.
LEMON: Tyler, you worried your mom. She was worried sick. What do you want to say to her?
JACOB: It definitely feels good to be back home but it doesn't feel like home yet because the wife and daughter aren't here.
LEMON: Yes. Well, we can't wait for you to be reunited with them. Thank you so much. We're glad you're OK. Tina, get some sleep. Tyler, get some sleep. You said you've been up for 25 hours now.
LEMON: Good luck. We'll let you go and enjoy. Tyler, have a great life.
JACOB: Thank you.
LEMON: And be well. And hug the ones you love. Thank you so much, guys. We are so happy for you.
HAUSER: Thank you.
JACOB: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you. We'll be right back.
LEMON: Here in Lviv, a city that has been dubbed Ukraine's cultural capital, officials are working hard to protect its rich collection of historic art in case Russian forces step up their attacks.
I visited the national museum to see exactly what is being done. Here it is.
LEMON: Just over a month ago Lviv's National Museum would have been full of visitors admiring its priceless collection of Ukrainian art and religious relics.
IHOR KOZHAN, MUSEUM DIRECTOR (through translator): Many people and young children would be inside.
LEMON: Now the museum is empty of both visitors and art. The works quickly removed once the war began, one piece leaving nothing but the outline of where it once hung.
KOZHAN (through translator): We had 12 people working from early morning to late night. It was a very hard 10 days.
LEMON: Highly skilled museum staff moving the treasures to safety.
KOZHAN (through translator): There are different secure places, shelters around our city. Unlike Switzerland we don't have art shelters so we had to hide them various places. It's a very hard task to manage climate in these shelters but these exhibits are under the constant control of our preservation specialist.
LEMON: Just to give you an idea of how enormous and undertaking this is. This is a depiction of an icon wall from the 1800s, it's about 40 feet high, it's displayed in this room in about three different sections. It had to be meticulously disassembled and then removed gently through small doors like this.
And keep in mind, this is only one of about 1,500 pieces of art work that had to be removed to safe spaces. Museum director Ihor Kazhan says it's hard on his soul. It's got to be heartbreaking.
KOZHAN (through translator): It is really hard to see the empty walls, empty showcases, and nobody here.
LEMON: How does it make you feel? Because normally you walk in here and there is beautiful art. And now, nothing.
KOZHAN (through translator): I feel tired and emptiness.
LEMON: Preservation is happening outside as well. Local officials and volunteers have protected hundreds of statues and stained-glass windows, many in the city center, a UNESCO world heritage site.
LILIYA ONYSCHENKO, HEAD OF LVIV HERITAGE PROTECTION OFFICE (through translator): We have no hope that the Russian army will be knowledgeable enough to understand something as valuable in heritage. They are barbarians and ruin everything in their wake. And that's why we're trying to save.
LEMON: They started working the day after the war began and say they will continue for as long as they can, all to preserve the culture of their country.
What would happen if this was, the art was lost?
KOZHAN (through translator): It's very important for every nation to remember their culture. It reminds you of who you are. It tells the story of these people. The culture is built into you genetically and you become a part of it. Arts and culture tell us who we were, he who we are today and where we're going tomorrow.
LEMON: It is a beautiful city. And what a shame all that art has to be hidden away. Let's hope they get it back on display as soon as possible when this is all over.
The man who rallied a nation by telling a Russian warship to f off now being honored. Stay with us.
LEMON: He rallied the entire country by standing up to a Russian warship, and now he is being honored. The border guard from Snake Island in the Black Sea could have been the first sign that Ukraine wasn't going to fold without a fight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN (on screen text): I am Russian military ship propose to out down arms or you will be hit. Acknowledge.
UNKNOWN (on screen text): F (muted) it was well.
UNKNOWN (on screen text): Just in case.
UNKNOWN (on screen text): Russian warship, go (muted) yourself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The guard who told the Russians to go f themselves getting a medal. There it is right now. He and his fellow guards were taken prisoner by the Russians. Whether they lived or died following the run-in with the ship was unknown for a while.
It turns out they were taken prisoner and released just last week. They deserve those medals. Congratulations to them.
Next, the Pentagon says don't be fooled. We're going to look into what Russia's saying about the war in Ukraine versus what they're doing tonight. More from here in Lviv, Ukraine right after this.