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Sumy Evacuation Corridor Open after City Attacked; E.U. Plans to Slash Russian Gas Imports; Ukraine Accuses Russia of Holding Civilians Hostage in Mariupol; Number of Refugees from Ukraine Reaches 2 Million; Irpin Mayor Rejected Russian Plan to Surrender; Ukrainian Hotline Aims to Update Families of Russian Troops; Russia Warns Oil Price Will Hit $300 if West Bans Imports; Thousands of NATO Troops Reinforcing Eastern Flank. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired March 08, 2022 - 10:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Hello, I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome.

An evacuation corridor for one besieged Ukrainian city is open but not before a Russian airstrike killed more than 20 people there, including



ANDERSON (voice-over): This is video of the aftermath of an attack Monday night in Sumy. You can see the sheer force of bombing; houses reduced to

rubble. Sumy among the cities in northeastern Ukraine that have come under heavy Russian assault.


ANDERSON: The evacuation corridor opened there after an agreement by the Ukrainian and Russian governments. Russia claims a second convoy leaving

Sumy was delayed by nearby fire that did not come from its forces.

Among those leaving, some 700 Indian students, we should note. India abstained from voting in the United Nations resolution condemning the

Russian invasion.

Also word that a humanitarian convoy heading to Mariupol in Southern Ukraine appears to have come under fire. That's after Russia offered to

hold fire there and in four other cities.

The United Nations Refugee Agency saying the number of refugees fleeing Ukraine or trying to flee has now reached 2 million, a number that top U.N.

official for refugees calls terrifying. Here is a look at where they have been going.

And later this hour, U.S. President Joe Biden expected to announce a ban on Russian energy imports, a move made without America's European allies. The

consequences of that and a lot more on that later this hour.

I want to start in Kyiv, where residents are desperately trying to find a way out. A bit earlier on CNN, chief international correspondent Clarissa

Ward described the scene at a refugee gathering area not far from the capital.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here at this kind of staging ground. You can see there, soldiers waiting around for people who

are arriving. There has been still a steady stream of them coming in all day long.

In fact, you can see just over here a group of people who have just arrived. A lot of these people are happy and relieved to be alive. They're

reuniting with relatives. There are also, many of them, confused, clearly in a state of shock some of them, distressed.

They have been living now for more than a week under just complete hell, John. Constant bombardment. They described horrifying scenes, not being

able to talk to people, their loved ones, cut off, no cell phones, pinned down in basements, no electricity, no food.

And just emotion that you're seeing as these people, in a matter of 15 minutes, have crossed over from an absolute hellscape into the relative

security of this staging ground.


ANDERSON: Well, many Ukrainians are trying to get out, as Clarissa was reporting there, in just one small refugee gathering, Ukrainian president

Volodymyr Zelenskyy is staying put in Kyiv, to defend his country.

In a Facebook post, Mr. Zelenskyy accused world leaders of not putting in full effort to help Ukraine, suggesting their inaction amounts to, quote,

"genocide." Once again he called on NATO countries to intervene by implementing a no-fly zone over Ukraine.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The fault is with the occupants but the responsibility is with those who, for the last

13 days, somewhere out there on the West, somewhere in their offices, can't approve an obviously necessary decision.

Those who still haven't secured Ukrainian skies from the Russian killers, who haven't protected our cities from air bombings and rockets when they

actually can.


ANDERSON: In nearly two weeks of fighting, there have been close to 500 civilians killed, more than 800 more wounded. Those numbers are according

to U.N. human rights officials and they are very, very hard to verify.

The U.N. says the actual numbers are probably much higher. CNN's senior international correspondent Matthew Chance shows us how one family did

manage to survive an attack on their home. This is their story.



MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Clearing up the broken debris of a shattered home.

This as the devastation caused by a Russian attack on a residential neighborhood in a small Ukrainian 50 miles south of the Ukrainian capital

is nowhere near the front lines but it has felt the rage and the pain of this war.

CHANCE: We've come inside one of the houses who were affected by what was apparently random artillery or rocket fire into this residential

neighborhood. You can see just shattered the lives of the family here at work?

The windows have all been blown out obviously all their belongings have been left behind this sort of got into hiding picture up there seems to be

some of the people who lived in here. It was a was a family with children apparently and they've survived this which is good.

But, of course, when you look at the situation and the way that Russians have been shelling residential areas across the country, so many people

haven't survived and this is interesting come over look. It's a two bedroom you see over here look, the bunk beds, the roof that's fallen down onto the

top of that when that shell hit.

And, of course, in the - evacuation the kids have left all their toys up here. And it just shows you that now where you are in this country, with

Russia attacking towns and cities across it, like to be shattered.

He is a close friend of the family who are nearly killed in their beds here. Godfather to the three children escaped with their lives. Now he has

one request he tells me for the United States.

"Please close the skies over Ukraine," he begs.

"If we can just contact NATO and ask them this, everything will be fine. Otherwise," he warns, "Putin will cross Ukraine and threaten the whole of


In a bunker under the town, its terrified children singing Ukraine's national anthem. That keeps them calm.

As Russia invades, a whole generation of Ukrainians is being united by this war, together, as they shelter from the horrors above -- Matthew Chance,

CNN, Ukraine.


ANDERSON: Scott McLean connecting us from Lviv now. That's a city to the west, of course. It is struggling to cope with a mass influx of displaced

Ukrainians as people make their way out of areas that are being shelled by the Russians.

The fault is with Russia but the responsibility is with the West, says the president, who wants NATO to help in trying to clear the skies, to avoid

the sort of airstrikes that killed 21, including kids, in Sumy, in the northeast.

He isn't getting that support, though, from NATO at this point.

And meanwhile the death and destruction continues, correct?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. If there is a little bit of good news, though, it is that Russia and Ukraine have at least managed to

agree on the need for humanitarian corridor out of Sumy.

And it seems like they have agreed on the fine details of that corridor as well because the first convoy of buses has left that area, allowing more

than 700 foreigners to get out. A second convoy, we understand, was delayed by some fighting on the outskirts of the city.

It is not clear, though, at this stage whether they were able to proceed at that point. Many other convoys have been delayed or put off altogether

because of heavy shelling. The Ukrainians are blaming the Russians for that.

The Russians say the Ukrainians are not letting their own people out of the city. Now Russia has proposed several escape routes, several humanitarian

corridors, in a handful of cities across the country.

But the trouble for Ukraine is that many of those routes go through Russia, which the president of Ukraine says would merely serve as a propaganda tool

for Russia if Ukrainians were showing up on Russian territory.

It is not clear at this hour, Becky, what has been agreed for specifically for the city of Mariupol, where the president says one child has died of

dehydration, the conditions are so dire there.


MCLEAN: But we know, according to the Ukrainians, a convoy of aid and buses that were headed to Mariupol to pick people up, there was shelling in

that direction, so now it is not clear where things stand and whether or not people will actually be able to get out.

ANDERSON: That's what's going on in Sumy, as you suggest, a potential ray of light for some. We'll have to see whether those evacuation corridors

hold up at this point. You are in Lviv, as I suggested. That's a city whose mayor is warning it is struggling to feed and house 200,000 displaced


And, Scott, he's calling for international help.

MCLEAN: And you can understand why, Becky. Look, this is a city of 700,000-750,000; all of a sudden they have 200 mostly women and children

showing up here. Some are staying long-term, others are staying not by choice but because they have to, because they don't know another way out of

the country right now.

It is difficult to get out; the lines of the train stations are lasting at least several hours just to board a train to Poland. It is extremely

difficult to go that way. If you want to go by car, you may be 24 hours- plus waiting along the checkpoints along the border to Poland in some places.

There are also buses leaving the Lviv train station, dropping people off on foot as well, going toward the border. But even then the lines, especially

as of late, with all of the shelling and bombing, they have been quite long.

So people who can are getting out of the country however they can. We were at the border yesterday, where we saw these extremely long lines of people

on foot. We also saw the extremely long lines of cars. And we spoke to one woman, who had been waiting 27 hours and she was not even close to the

front of the line. Listen.


DEKHTIARENKO VALENTINA, KYIV RESIDENT (through translator): I'm afraid I won't have a place to come back to. I don't want to be somewhere out there.

I'm comfortable here in my motherland. My worst fear is that there won't be an opportunity to come back here.


MCLEAN: That woman, by the way, Becky, was speaking Russian. And when she said motherland, of course she means Ukraine. She was traveling in a small

car with her sister, her mother, her son, her niece and also two dogs.

You can imagine what that is like for more than 24 hours. But these people are desperate. They don't know where they're going to go when they get to

Poland. They say it is a little bit overwhelming to think of going to a place where they don't know hardly anyone, they don't know the language,

they don't know the culture.

They just want to get out of Ukraine right now.

ANDERSON: Scott McLean is in Lviv for you.

Well, some big news expected this hour from the White House. Sources say President Joe Biden plans to ban Russian energy imports to the U.S. today,

including oil, natural gas and coal.

Do keep in mind the U.S. imports from Russia, the imports that it makes from Russia, make up a small slice of its energy, roughly 8 percent in

2021, of which about 3 percent was crude oil. That's a very, very small number.

Europe plans to slash Russian gas imports by two-thirds this year. The E.U. trying to eliminate its dependence on Russian energy.

Clearly the impact of this devastating more in Ukraine has huge consequences outside of Ukraine, consumers and investors trying to figure

out what is ahead. Anna Stewart and Nina dos Santos working through this.

As we understand it, momentum building on the Hill to ban Russian imports of oil and gas. We are -- we think now likely to see a shift in favor of

that by the White House, which until now had been not in favor of an energy ban.

And let's just explain how Europe is in a very different space as it were to the U.S. and why there is this disconnect at present.

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is a disconnect. But we are looking at a press conference from the E.U. right now, discussing what they plan to

do to wean themselves off Russian oil and gas. And their plan is very different to the U.S. They're not suggesting any kind of import ban at this


But they are saying they plan to slash Russian gas imports by two-thirds this year and completely phase out dependence on Russian oil and gas, any

fossil fuel, before 2030, which is pretty huge.

Measures involved include upping gas storage for this coming winter, also installing LNG, pipeline imports, more hydro energy, more clean energy.

They're looking at diversifying, things they should have done some years ago. A very different view to the U.S.

But it's unsurprising, the U.S., in terms of gas imports, I think Russia accounts for around 2 percent, 3 percent. For the E.U., it is over 40

percent. And for oil, they rely on Russia for over a quarter of all their oil import. That's why they're in different places.


STEWART: You can expect more threats from Russia and more retaliation. We had that overnight, a suggestion from the deputy prime minister, that oil

could reach $130 -- sorry; $300 a barrel and they could, of course, also squeeze gas supplies to Europe.


Nina, let's get the perspective from Russia on this, because as we're looking at this, I know Anna suggested $130; that's where we are presently

on oil. At $300, the Russians say, would be extremely damaging, is their point to the rest of the world.

What is the perspective there?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR: Well, that's their perspective and they already made these types of pronouncements on things like gas as

well. You remember a few weeks ago when Nord Stream 2 was frozen by the German government at the 11th hour.

Dmitry Medvedev, the former prime minister of Russia, saying welcome to the era of sky high gas prices. So we have seen the threats before. And

pricing-wise, yes, the commodities have drifted up but they haven't got to that level yet.

Having said that, though, when it comes to the punishing nature of these sanctions and how that's blasting holes in the Russian economy, that's what

people will be looking at, to see whether the previous sanctions that have been announced on hundreds of individuals and companies, if you look at the

sanctions from the United States, the E.U. and the U.K., Japan and Australia, Switzerland, on board as well now, other countries in Asia, what

that does is leave Russian money no room to hide.

It also makes it very, very obvious on the ground, in Russia, to your average consumer, that things are changing in this country and it is

becoming more and more economically isolated.

Russia's economy is a commodity-based economy. It is de facto pegged to the U.S. dollar as a result because it sells dollar priced commodities. Now

that this is a country whose central bank is seeing its assets frozen, shut out of the dollar market, those oligarchs who are sanctioned also shut out

of the dollar market, wherever they find themselves in the world, this is all about tightening the pursestrings for Russia and making sure, whatever

it sells and whatever it buys, it has a really, really hard time paying for, Becky.

ANDERSON: Anna, if do we see a ban from the U.S. on Russian imports -- and we are looking at this European initiative -- and let's be quite clear, the

Europeans we know are -- have been certainly, to date, pretty divided about what they do with regard to energy.

What are the options for the U.S. and the Europeans, in plugging this energy gap?

STEWART: It is going to be incredibly difficult. And yesterday, there were some suggestions that the U.S. administration could look at lifting

sanctions on Venezuela, for example, which actually has the biggest proven oil reserves in the whole world, it's bigger in terms of reserves than

Saudi Arabia.

However, it is under investment over many years; it probably couldn't pump more than and extra 2 billion barrels per day. Iran, if you lifted

sanctions in Iran, that could maybe add another 1 million barrels a day on to the market.

It is not going to meet the shortfall of Russia, because that produces 9 million barrels a day. However, there are lots of measures to consider,

whether you're diversifying energy supplies, whether you can reduce your energy use from different countries, there are measures here.

But there is no quick fix. You can't just switch off the oil and gas from Russia and expect the world to keep on running as it does and it will

impact not just households, it impacts all sorts of sectors, manufacturers, factories, who are already seeing the pinch at these very high oil and gas


ANDERSON: It was Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte yesterday, suggesting the West needs to be careful about a ban on energy imports from Russia, saying,

quote, "They must not make a mistake and create an unmanageable risk on energy supplies."

Clearly an awful lot of negotiation going on behind the scenes when it comes to the Europeans getting united on this point. More to come, as we

say. We are expecting to hear from Joe Biden within the next hour on exactly what his position is with regard to Russian energy.

Much more from Ukraine as well, of course, ahead, including a lifeline in uncertain times. How the families of Russian soldiers are trying to keep

track of their loved ones. More on that after this.





ANDERSON: Well, right now there are growing fears for hundreds of thousands of people trapped in part of Ukraine's south. We have been

talking to you about what's going on in Lviv and Kyiv and the northeast but this is the south.

Ukraine's foreign minister is accusing Russia of holding 300,000 civilians hostage in Mariupol, where people are without heat, water, sanitary systems

or phones. There are similar fears for people in another city, just north of there.

Sam, what is the situation like where you are and in the south, where civilians, it seems, are now being described as having been taken hostage

at this point?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the foreign minister of Ukraine there, Mr. Kuleba, was referring to Mariupol, a city of

about half a million people, at least 300,000 of whom, according to the Ukrainians, 200,000 according to the International Committee of the Red

Cross, were wanting to be evacuated.

Now that is something that has been on offer, if you like, for several days now. There were two attempts by the Ukrainians in connection with the

international community to try to bring people out, in this direction; first to Zaporizhzhia, about an hour's drive south of where I am now and

then to safety elsewhere in the country.

Those two plans fell apart. A third fell apart. Now the Russians have come up with a suggestion they could go into Russian-held territory. That is

unconscionable as far as most Ukrainians are concerned. That would be walking into the arms of the enemy, walking into the arms of the people

bombarding them in civilian areas.

And we have seen the same proposal come out of Kharkiv, in the northeast of the country, due north of Mariupol, where 1.5 million people have been

trapped, very much victims of this switch in Russian tactics to wholesale use of multiple rocket launching systems and other artillery on civilian


Again, there were attempts to get a humanitarian corridor south into Ukrainian government territory; it fell apart. And all of these fell apart

because, in the words of the Ukrainians, those routes were attacked by Russia.

The Russians have countered with enough to try to get people north into their own territory, only a 25-mile run. But that would take them through

the front lines, between the Ukrainians and the Russians, and arguably give the Russians a bit of a breather there.

The Ukrainians have by all accounts done a very good job of holding the Russian advance up north of Kharkiv. So in all of these areas, we're seeing

a stalemate, effectively, and then on top of that this -- attacks on civilians. There is a slight amount of movement potentially in Mykolaiv,

the port city not far from Odessa.

Again, the Ukrainians holding the line there, holding the Russians back and, again, we have seen civilian attacks on civilian areas there, too,


ANDERSON: You say there is a sort of perceived switch in Russian tactics or clear switch in Russian tactics.


ANDERSON: Which does beg the question, is Russian strategy becoming any clearer at this point?

KILEY: Well, if you look for Russian -- lessons of Russian strategy in the past go back to Grozny, the mass destruction of the Chechen capital there.

In the end, it resulted in the Russians prevailing in the installation of a puppet government there.

If you look at what they have done in support of the Assad regime in Syria, the deliberate targeting by Russian aircraft of numerous, dozens of

hospitals and other medical centers in the rebel-held areas of Syria; if we look at operations in Georgia, to a slightly lesser extent, in all of these

locations, what you see is Russian tactics smashing into vulnerable civilian areas, in order to break the back of the opposition.

Now that is old-fashioned warfare, very 21st (sic) century.

The issue now here is, if they're switching to that, what does it tell us about Russian capabilities?

In the analysis that Jim Sciutto has been reporting out of the Pentagon -- and I've heard the similar things out of other Western intelligence sources

-- there is a strong sense that the Russians have overreached, perhaps run into the mud, effectively, here.

They have got, according to the Americans 100 percent of their land forces that were on standby now committed to this fight. In other words, they

don't have any reinforcements. There's even suggestions they may be bringing in Syrians to reinforce their lines.

Syrians notorious for their own human rights abuses and mass murder of civilians. So these all look like rather desperate moves.

And the analysis has to be, if the Ukrainians can hang on, get more supplies, get more particularly of these armor and tank killing equipment

like the Javelin and the Stinger missiles that bring down particularly low flying aircraft like helicopters, perhaps they could turn the tide.

Now that is also a moment of extreme danger at the point at which the tide has turned back on the Russians.

How dangerous do they become?

Let's remember, this is a nuclear power that everybody is dealing with, Becky.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. Sam Kiley is on the ground, Sam, thank you, your analysis and insight extremely important.

Running from war but faced with new fears of being exploited.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Women and girls are at risk of gender-based violence in this type of environment.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Next hour, the head of the United Nations Population Fund talks about the risks women and girls fleeing Ukraine now







ANDERSON: Welcome back. You are watching CNN's continuing coverage of the invasion of Ukraine.

A reminder of our top story: 21 civilians, including two kids, have been killed in a Russian airstrike on the city of Sumy, in northeast Ukraine. An

evacuation route is now tentatively in place there.

Ukraine has accused Russia of attacking another humanitarian corridor by shelling an aid convoy headed to Mariupol.

Around Kyiv, the mayor of one suburb says he has rejected a demand by Russia to surrender. Irpin's mayor referred to Russian forces as, quote,

"monsters." Moscow declared a cease-fire in the area earlier.

In global developments, this spills over, China's president says he's willing to play an active role in mediating the Ukraine crisis after

speaking by phone with the leaders of Germany and France.

And we are expecting to hear from U.S. President Joe Biden this hour about a U.S. ban on Russian energy imports. Let's get you to the team on the

ground and let's speak to Alex Marquardt, who is near Kyiv.

Just explain what is happening in and around the capital today.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, the Russians said there would be with a cease-fire around five Ukrainian

cities in order to allow for evacuations.

In Kyiv, we have seen the Russians pushing in from the north and from the west; that's where we have seen some of the worst violence and most

indiscriminate shelling of residential areas.

We have seen Ukrainian, Kyiv residents coming out of those areas to try to get to safety and try to evacuate to the west. The mayor of one of the

hardest hit areas, Irpin, where some eight people were killed and Russian attacks on Sunday, has said he's rejecting a Russian demand that they


And he has said instead Russian troops should go home to their families. Elsewhere, we are seeing some measure of success, minor success, when it

comes to these humanitarian corridors, particularly out of a northeastern city called Sumy.

That is the one corridor where Russian and Ukrainian authorities have come to an agreement that would allow residents of that city to head south to

another Ukrainian city.

All of the other humanitarian corridors would have residents heading into Belarus and Russia, which is certainly not where they want to go,

considering that is exactly where the Russian forces are invading from.

But this corridor that is open until 9:00 pm tonight, another 3.5 hours, has seen hundreds of people evacuating from Sumy, including around 600

Indian students. And there are other non-Ukrainians in there as well, Chinese, Tunisians and Jordanians.

So there is some success in that humanitarian corridor, less so when you look at the city of Mariupol in the south, which has been besieged by

Russian forces. The foreign minister of Ukraine saying 300,000 residents of that city are being held captive, held hostage.

And an aid convoy heading to that city has been attacked by Russia. So there is this ostensible cease-fire by the Russians. But we're seeing it

falter in places while we're seeing some success of in terms of evacuations from the northeastern city of Sumy -- Becky.

ANDERSON: It is increasingly difficult to get any information from the Russian side on this, apart from the lines being fed directly from the

Kremlin, of course. But you, I know, did get a look at how some Russian mothers are trying to find information out about their sons. Explain.

MARQUARDT: Yes. It is really quite interesting. We have spoken to a number of relatives of Russian forces, as well as heard phone calls from Russian

family members, that all indicate that, right before the Russian invasion started, they lost contact with the Russian soldiers, young family members,

who then went into Ukraine.

Now keep in mind, the Russians are saying this is a special operation; they won't even call it a war. And a lot of people in Russia are denying that

there is a war going on.

But there are a lot of family members who simply don't believe that and are very worried about their relatives, who are now fighting in Ukraine. So

they reached out to someone -- or to Ukraine, in a way you might not expect. Take a listen.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): Hello, is this where one can find out if someone is alive?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): Hello, do you have any information about my husband?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): Sorry to bother you, I'm calling regarding my brother.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): These are the voices of Russians -- parents, wives, siblings, desperately searching for answers, calling to find

information, anything, on Russian soldiers they lost contact with who are fighting in Ukraine, who may be wounded, captured or even killed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): When was the last time he contacted you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): On the 23rd of February, when he crossed the border into Ukraine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): Did he tell you where he was going?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): He said toward Kyiv.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): This Russian wife, like many others, has turned to an unlikely source for help, the Ukrainians. In a Ukrainian government

building, Kristina, which is her alias, is in charge of a hotline called Come Back from Ukraine Alive, which Ukraine's interior ministry says has

gotten over 6,000 calls. Kristina asked that we don't show her face.

MARQUARDT: Your country is being invaded but you also feel the need to help these Russian families.


KRISTINA, HOTLINE OPERATOR (from captions): We will help find their relatives who were deceived and who without knowing where and why they are

going -- find themselves in our country.

And, secondly, we will help to stop the war in general. In Russia they don't know what's actually going on in Ukraine. So the second goal of this

hotline is to deliver the truth.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): The Russian relatives who have called this hotline say they haven't heard from their soldiers since the invasion. The hotline,

which Russian families have found on social media or through word of mouth, gave CNN exclusive recordings of a number of the calls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): This is not our fault. Please, understand that they were forced.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): Yes, I understand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): I also want this to end. I want everyone to live in peace.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): Yes.

MARQUARDT: What are some of the calls that stick out to you that you remember the most?

KRISTINA (from captions): A father called.


KRISTINA (from captions): He said, our children are being used as cannon fodder. Politicians and VIPs are playing their games, solving their issues

while our children have to die.

MARQUARDT: These are the notes from one of the calls. And, in fact, this call came from the United States, the relative of a young Russian soldier

trying to find him.

She told the Ukrainians that his parents are no longer alive, that the grandmother in Russia is quite sick. We have his birthday; he's just 23

years old. And he was last known to be in Crimea right before the invasion.

Now the Ukrainians don't have any information on him but, if they do find him or get some information, they can then call his aunt back in the United


MARQUARDT (voice-over): Data from the hotline shows thousands of calls, not just from all across Russia but also from Europe and the United States.

MARQUARDT: Hello, is this Marat?


MARQUARDT (voice-over): We got through to three relatives in the United States of Russian soldiers believed to be in Ukraine, who called the

hotline, including a relative in Virginia of one, who also found the soldier's ID and photos on a channel of the social media app, Telegram,

also dedicated to finding the whereabouts of Russian soldiers.

MARAT: We do realize that all the signs are pointing to that it's most likely he was killed in action but still trying to locate information,

where is the body that can be potentially found. Or maybe, hopefully, he's alive.

MARQUARDT: Is the Russian ministry of defense telling anything to the family?

MARAT: The family is trying to not get contacted by anybody just because everybody's so scared in Russia. Everyone is scared to talk. Everyone's

afraid of the law enforcement agencies tracking them.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Marina told us her cousin's parents have had no contact with him, no information on whereabouts or on his condition.

MARQUARDT: Are they being told anything?

MARINA, FAMILY MEMBER OF RUSSIAN SOLDIER: No, no they called. They tried to find him but like no one is answer.

MARQUARDT: Is that why you called this Ukrainian hotline?

MARINA: Yes, that's why I tried to call. Yes.

MARQUARDT: Did you get any information?

MARINA: Nyet. Nothing. I was, you know, hoping that he is like maybe like in prison or something like that, you know, that he's still alive.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): The vast majority of the calls do not result in immediate information for the families. Back in Kyiv, Kristina makes clear

that the call center isn't just designed to offer answers but to galvanize Russians against the war.


KRISTINA (from captions): The more people we can share the truth about what's happening in Ukraine with the more people will go out protesting and

demanding to stop this bloodshed.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Sympathy for families but also one more way to try to undermine the Russian war effort as Ukraine fights for its very

existence -- Alex Marquardt, CNN, Kyiv.


ANDERSON: Well, as the military fallout continues in Ukraine, NATO says it is, quote, "a responsibility to ensure that conflict does not spread beyond


The secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg warns, quote, "the situation could spiral out of control." CNN White House reporter Natasha Bertrand joins me


Natasha, what NATO will not do -- and Stoltenberg has been categoric about this -- is have NATO patrol the skies above Ukraine, a no-fly zone the

Ukrainian president continues to demand of the West, going so far as to call it a responsibility and failure to protect Ukrainians will result in

nothing short of genocide.

Is there any indication that NATO will reconsider that plea for a no-fly zone at this point?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the short answer is no. They have made very clear that they do not want NATO airplanes to be

over Ukrainian airspace because, as you said, they feel this will inevitably lead to some kind of direct confrontation with the Russians.

And they have given no signs they're willing to reconsider that position. The United States stood firm on this; secretary of state Antony Blinken,

over the last several days, was in Eastern Europe, meeting with those allies.

And he was asked about this repeatedly and his answer was always the same. Now they are shoring up the allies on the eastern flank in different ways.

What they're doing now is they're considering sending air defense systems to some of the eastern flank allies that could kind of intercept missiles,

if they went astray, out of Ukrainian airspace, into that NATO territory in order to give these NATO allies more confidence that they won't get dragged

into this war.

They are also moving roughly 500 additional troops from the United States to some of those eastern flank allies, again, in order to reinforce the

troop presence there.

But when it comes to Ukraine and NATO and forces on the ground in Ukraine, that doesn't seem like it is going to happen at this point. The alliance

does not want to get involved in this war.

And they say that it is their responsibility to make sure that it does not spill out into the rest of Europe, particularly because, in their words,

Russia is a nuclear power and that could be catastrophic for the entire world.

ANDERSON: Natasha Bertrand is there in Brussels, reporting for us.

As we wait for a press conference from the NATO secretary-general with the prime ministers of Latvia and Canada and the president and of the

government of Spain, that is coming up.

As I say, we are also waiting to hear from Joe Biden at some point in the next hour or so.

Taking a very short break. Back after this.





ANDERSON: We are waiting to hear major news at any moment from the Biden administration. Sources say that President Joe Biden plans to ban Russian

energy imports to the U.S. starting today, including oil, natural gas and coal.

Do keep in mind that Russian imports actually make up a very small slice of U.S. energy, roughly 8 percent in 2021, of which only about 3 percent was

crude oil.

Europe has its own plans. And talk is that it is looking to slash Russian gas imports by two-thirds this year; not immediately but this year. The

E.U. trying to eliminate its dependence on Russian energy, something that many people have said it should have gotten on with earlier.

Tom Wilson is acting senior energy correspondent at the "Financial Times" and he joins me now.

It is important to have you on tonight. I want to take a look at this from both the U.S. perspective and the European perspective, starting off with

Joe Biden, who is expected to announce a ban on imports.

What has prompted this action, if indeed that is what happens in the next hour?

What has prompted this U.S. action now?

And if this is about squeezing the Russians further, is a ban frankly going to have anything, a very limited impact at this point?

TOM WILSON, ACTING SENIOR ENERGY CORRESPONDENT, "FINANCIAL TIMES": I think if it is only a U.S. ban on imports, that it would -- (INAUDIBLE) as you

said in the introduction, it's a relatively small percentage.

It's about 8 percent of Russian oil exports end up in the U.S. The reason Biden is doing this now probably due to domestic political pressures. He's

come under a lot of heat in Congress to push through a measure like this.

The big question will be whether, with Biden having done this, we will see European governments do that. too. And already we're now hearing that U.K.

prime minister Boris Johnson is going to make a statement later today. And potentially he's also going to ban the imports of Russian oil into the U.K.

ANDERSON: Yes, and you make a very good point about the domestic pressure that Joe Biden is under. This is a group of bipartisan lawmakers, many of

whom are from key energy states.

So the European position on Russian energy, as far as you can tell, is that we are looking at some sort of announcement from Boris Johnson. What we do

understand is that there has not been a unified position on an energy ban or certainly a drawdown in energy from Russia.


WILSON: Yes, that's exactly right. It is a much more difficult decision in Europe because of Europe's proximity to Russia and its dependence on

Russian energy imports. That's both gas and crude oil.

If we take European Union, it is dependent on Russia, about 40 percent of its gas, which gets delivered into Western Europe along three major

pipelines. That's really at the heart of the European energy system and it's very, very difficult for Europe to wean itself off the gas, because

there isn't an alternative.

Same time for crude oil, the E.U. imports abut 20 percent of its crude oil, about 10 percent of its petroleum products from Russia.

We already have a really, really tight oil market so European leaders have been quite worried that any kind of -- any kind of limits on imports of

Russian energy into Europe would drive the prices up even higher, push energy costs up even higher for European citizens.

But I think, as this crisis has evolved over the past 10 days, as European leaders have seen the increased brutality of the Ukrainian invasion, they

have been left to think, OK, what can we do?

And furthermore, every day that Europe continues to pay for Russian oil and gas, continues to pay an incredibly high price, that puts more money into

the Kremlin's coffers and more money on that war.

So ultimately that's the position where we come to today, where European leaders feel like they're open the cusp of taking some really quite drastic


ANDERSON: An energy squeeze hits every country's consumers where it hurts and every government therefore has a responsibility to act in their

people's best interests.

What's happened to, you know, the options in plugging these holes, with regard to Russia?

We hear talk of the U.S. leaning into Venezuela, talk if they could get some Iranian oil back on tap with the JCPOA agreement, that might help.

How about OPEC+ in all of this?

WILSON: The (INAUDIBLE) position is really an important one.


WILSON: (INAUDIBLE) the head of the International Energy Agency, today and he was quite openly critical of the OPEC+ decision last week not to

accelerate production.

So since the middle of last year, the OPEC+ have been gradually replacing barrels of oil they started to cut at the start of the pandemic and they

have been doing that at the rate of 400,000 barrels a month.

Last week when they met, there was hope that potentially, given the fact that we now got $100 oil and heading even higher, that Saudi Arabia and the

UAE are the two countries with the most spare capacity, might say, let's break with convention and increase faster.

But they resisted that throughout. They stuck steadfastly to the replacement plan they have in place.

Why are they doing that?

It is hard to say. People speculate Russia was also a member of the OPEC+ alliance. You can potentially conclude that Saudi Arabia sees its alliance

with Russia at this point more important than its ability to -- than its desire to please the U.S. and European consumer nations.

But the other important factor in this is that OPEC's spare capacity, the amount of extra production that OPEC companies can bring online, is already

very, very low. Normally you want global spare capacity to be about 5 percent of total daily oil consumption.

At the moment it is -- it is anywhere between 2 percent and 3 percent, given who you ask. Given that that is so constrained, there is a large part

of the oil market that thinks, even if Saudi Arabia decided to pump more barrels of oil next month, the oil price wouldn't go down.

Pumping more would simply reduce the amount of spare capacity that it has left. And, therefore, in the eyes of the market, the (INAUDIBLE) tighter.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. All right. I'll leave it there because Jens Stoltenberg, the head of NATO is speaking. We need to listen in. But Tom,

thank you.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: -- Justin, dear Pedro, it is great to be together with all of you here today. This demonstrates really

NATO solidarity, that we stand together, facing a critical moment for our security caused by the brutal invasion of Russia on a peaceful country in

Europe, Ukraine.

President Putin's war on Ukraine has shattered peace in Europe. It has shaken the international order. And it continues to take a devastating toll

on the Ukrainian people. But Putin seriously underestimated Ukraine. And he seriously underestimated the strength and unity of NATO and of our

friends and partners around the world.

We have imposed unprecedented costs on Russia. We have stepped up our support for Ukraine, helping to uphold its right to self-defense. And we

have implemented historic reinforcements of NATO's collective defense with thousands more troops reinforcing the eastern part of our alliance,

including here in Latvia.

I strongly welcome that allies, including Canada, Spain and the United States, are deploying hundreds more troops to our multinational presence

here at the Adazi base in Latvia.

Justin, Pedro, thank you for your personal leadership and your commitment to our collective security. Canada has led NATO's battle group in Latvia

for years, with skill and dedication, a powerful demonstration of your commitment to transatlantic security.

Spain is leading by example by deploying additional troops, ships and jets to strengthen our defensive posture in Europe.

It was really an honor to meet your forces here today from both sides of the Atlantic. They represent the spirit of all our allies: all for one and

one for all. NATO is a defensive alliance. We do not seek conflict with Russia.

Our ultimate responsibility is to keep our 1 billion citizens safe. This means we must do everything possible to prevent the conflict from spreading

beyond Ukraine. And our presence here in Latvia sends an unmistakable message of unity and resolve.


STOLTENBERG: Our commitment to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty is absolute. And we will do whatever it takes to protect and defend all


Krisjanis, Justin and Pedro, at this dangerous moment for our security, we stand united for our people and our values, Europe and North America,

together in NATO. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).


JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: Good afternoon, everyone. Very happy to join you for this press conference today. As well we continue to

strengthen the relationship between Canada and Latvia.

Prime minister Sanchez, Pedro, it's good to see you. I know how important the contribution of Spain is to the success of the mission here. NATO

Secretary General Stoltenberg, Jens, thank you for being with us today, it is extremely important.

NATO truly is multinational. It was absolutely amazing to see the culminating (ph) military exercise of our troops from different nations,

including those of Canada, Latvia and Spain, training together.

It was great to be here and I'm also very happy to be joined today by Minister Anand, our minister of national defense, and the chief of defense

of staff, General Ehr (ph).

We had a very productive day today. On top of my different bilateral meetings with Krisjanis, Prime Minister Kern (ph), Prime Minister Sanchez

and NATO secretary-general Stoltenberg, I also met with President Levits of Latvia to discuss Ukraine and a broad range of topics.

In addition, this morning, Krisjanis was able to organize that we were joined virtually by the prime minister of Estonia, Kaja Kallas, and the

prime minister of Lithuania, Ingrida Simonyte. We agreed to deepen the partnership between Canada and the Baltic countries, especially at this

time of uncertainty.

(Speaking French).


TRUDEAU (through translator): -- several Canadian military officers.


TRUDEAU: -- deployment of an additional (INAUDIBLE) to NATO's (INAUDIBLE) reassurance. This announcement includes more troops here in Latvia as well

as the deployment of an additional frigate and maritime patrol aircraft.

A total of 540 CAS personnel are now deployed here in Latvia and approximately 130 more will join in the coming weeks.

Today, I can further announce an early, multiyear renewal of Operation Reassurance to support NATO in Central and Eastern Europe. This mission was

set to expire next year and, in light of the situation in Europe, we decided to renew it ahead of schedule.

Operation Reassurance is the CAS support to NATO's assurance and deterrence measures. The troops here are not only defending Latvia or Eastern Europe;

they're defending all NATO allies, including Canada.

They're defending our freedom and our security. That's why this work is so important, especially in the face of continued Russian aggression.

(Speaking French).

TRUDEAU (through translator): -- renew the operation to then reinforce the eastern flank of NATO (INAUDIBLE). I'll travel to Berlin where I'll meet

with Chancellor Scholz and I would like to thank our troops, who made us welcome today.

TRUDEAU: -- who serve in the Canadian armed forces for their outstanding work and all the women who serve in armed forces around the world. Canada

will continue to be an ally and partner to help defend our shared values and we will continue to be there for Ukraine.

And now I will turn the mic over to Canada's national minister of defense, Anita Anand.


ANDERSON: Well, NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg has been meeting with the leaders of Latvia, Canada and Spain at a military base in Latvia

outside the capital, where Canada leads NATO's battle group and has done for years he said.

And the NATO head applauding Canada, Spain and the U.S. for deploying more troops to Latvia. With troops standing behind him, Stoltenberg once again

said that Putin seriously underestimated Ukraine and he said seriously underestimates NATO.

He said the leaders' presence today shows their solidarity. European peace, he said, has been shattered by Russia. We do not seek conflict with Russia.

Our responsibility, he says, is to keep our 1 billion people safe. And Stoltenberg said we will do whatever it takes to protect all of the allies.

We're going to take a very short break. Back after this.