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Ukrainian PM: Russia Holding 300,000 "Hostage" in Mariupol; Soon: Biden to Announce U.S. Ban on Russian Energy Market; Ukrainian Women Volunteer Their Time as Loved Ones Fight; Biden: Ukraine Crisis is Reminder to Become Energy Independent; Biden: Sanctions Causing Significant Damage to Russian Economy; World Mark's International Women's Day. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired March 08, 2022 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: We do not see conflict with Russia. Our responsibility he said is to keep our one 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.
ANDERSON: Any moment now is set to announce the U.S. ban on Russian energy imports. This unilateral action happening without similar moves from
Europe's or America's European allies, which have a much heavier reliance of course on Russian oil and gas.
Also this hour, a single humanitarian convoy is now moving in Ukraine. Hundreds of people, most of them students from India safely evacuating
Sumi, a city in northeastern Ukraine that is faced intense Russian fire.
This is a look at what they left behind, the aftermath of an overnight attack on a residential neighborhood. Officials there say 21 people died in
that bombing, which reduced homes as you can see to rubble.
Well, that corridor that evacuation corridor, leaving that city one of five that have been proposed by Russia but the only one that Ukraine has
actually agreed to and that's because Ukrainian say the other routes lead into Russian or Belarusian territory.
Well, in southern Ukraine officials say an aid convoy heading to Mariupol came under Russian artillery fire. Ukraine's Foreign Minister accusing
Russia of holding 300,000 civilians hostage in Mariupol.
And Ukraine's President appearing in his office for the first time since the invasion and today, blaming the West for not doing enough to support
what is this relentless Russian onslaught, have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: 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 and obviously necessary decision.
Those who still haven't secured Ukrainian skies from the Russian killers; we haven't protected our cities from air bombings and rockets when they
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh with us this hour for Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine. That's not far from Mariupol, what do we know at this point about
the civilians caught there?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Certainly, Becky, the situation is dire for civilians in Mariupol. And I think it always comes
down to quite how much dead anyone can put in Russia's claims in a ceasefire to permit humanitarian aid. They've been without basic anything,
frankly, for a number of days.
I should just tell you, Becky about what we're seeing here, though, in Mykolaiv. In just the last hour the Regional Governor, this is obviously a
key port city along the Black Sea coast. In this last hour, the Regional Governor has said that he believes the enemy is going to try and take this
city at all costs.
And he's asked locals who don't want to be involved in what he calls the higher risk elements of defending the city to instead go to all the
crossroads in town. You can see behind me there and lay tires out in the streets.
WALSH: Now this is a startling development frankly because it essentially suggests that the Regional Governor here Vitali Kim, he's been something of
a kind of a figure in social media here galvanizing locals, through his telegram channel, even appearing at a meme sat at one of Vladimir Putin's
long tables, earlier on today with his feet up characteristically in colorful socks.
He is essentially expecting possibly Russian troops inside the city and preparing the city to envelop them, essentially with the kind of thick
black smoke that a tire fire can create. He's telling people not to set fire to the tires at this stage. But it is startling to hear a warning of
that nature from the Regional Governor here. They were feeling quite bullish. I think yesterday they said they pushed the Russians back out of
the International Airport.
They had taken a lot of Russian weaponry, away from captured or fled Russian soldiers. But today something different has changed. When we drove
into the city, we could see the impacts of artillery, possibly Ukrainian artillery targeting Russian positions to the north of the town.
It has been certainly on edge today, a lot of sirens, we're in a hospital here to see injured being brought in. Not a lot, but enough at a regular
drip. And it is as dusk falls here, I think quite chilling to see the local population just frankly, random people turning up at any crossroads and
dumping spare tires on those crossroads. There's a sign I think what might be ahead here, Becky.
ANDERSON: Amazing, Nick, thank you. Well, more on the desperate humanitarian crisis that is happening in Ukraine. Let's go to the city of
the Lviv and CNNs Scott McLean, Scott.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Becky, yes, looks a lot of people in dire situations in this country. We have humanitarian corridors, one
humanitarian corridor at least that appears to be functioning going out of Sumi.
Right now a group of more than 700 foreigners were able to get out of the city. A second corridor, though, according to Ukrainians was held up
delayed because of violence on the outskirts of the city. It is not clear whether or not they were able to proceed.
It is also not clear what has been agreed to precisely in Mariupol, Mariupol in the southern part of Ukraine, obviously as Nick Paton Walsh
there was describing it is in very dire circumstances right now, a convoy of more than 30 buses and eight aid trucks.
There were shelling in their direction. That's according to the Ukrainians. And so it's not clear when or if people will be able to get out of the
city. The Ukrainians and the Russians had really struggled to agree on the precise details of where and when and who.
And they've also struggled to maintain the ceasefire agreements that have been in place each side blaming the other Ukrainians blaming the Russians
for heavy shelling. Meanwhile, there are plenty of people in this country that are flooding for the exits.
If they actually can get out we know that some 2 million people have already managed to get out of the country. 1.2 million Of those have
managed to go to Poland, which obviously has close ties with Ukraine, many people prefer to go there.
Yesterday we were at the border and we saw extremely long lineups of people being dropped off by bus from here in Lviv and then attempting to cross on
foot those lineups were taking several hours. We also saw lineups of cars that were much, much worse.
We're talking about some people who said that they were there for more than 24 hours. And remember a lot of these people as well Becky, had driven for
several days just to get to Lviv, just to get to the border.
And so once they get there, their journey is still not over. It takes so long to get off the across the country. We spoke to one man for instance
from Kharkiv, took him four days to get across the country.
And the reason why is because there are just so many checkpoints so many things to have to go around or detour. And as I said, when people finally
do get to the border, their journey is not over, watch.
MCLEAN (voice over): For more than a million Ukrainians the road to safety in Poland is filled with checkpoints, bumper to bumper traffic and
seemingly endless anticipation. Valentina Dekhtiarenko and her family have been waiting to cross the border for more than 24 hours. They're still
nowhere near the front of the line.
VALENTINA DEKHTIARENKO, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE: I don't know what's waiting for me and my family. We're going into the unknown and it scares us.
MCLEAN (voice over): Everyone in their cars is willing to wait, closer to the border, even hobble. Buses drop people off by the dozens to cross on
foot joining lines that stretch for blocks and for hours.
Max Amelin is taping and zips tying leftover insulation from his heating business to his daughter's feet to make sure she's warm while she waits for
hours in the frigid cold. You just wanted to make sure that your family got here safe.
NATALIA AMELIN, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE: Yes, he saves us and that's all.
MCLEAN (voice over): When they get to the front of the line, Max will have to stay behind as a man of fighting age. His in laws aren't leaving either.
AMELIN: It's very difficult. It's so hard. My heart is ripped into pieces. My parents stayed back in Kyiv - region. I don't know even what is going
with them now. It's so scary.
MCLEAN (voice over): Ilona Gutnichenko, her young daughter and God's Son in tow, fled the heavy shelling of your pin just outside Kyiv.
ILONA GUTNICHENKO, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE: It was terrible. And we left only two days ago, set on the last train. We didn't believe that in 21st century, it
can be the real war.
MCLEAN (voice over): Valentina also fled Kyiv. She's never been forced from her home. But she is no stranger to tragedy.
DEKHTIARENKO: My husband died at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Do you understand? And that's what they are doing now. They are destroying the
whole world. It is outrageous. People around the world shall not be silent.
MCLEAN (voice over): This elderly couple fled Kharkiv, but only after spending eight days sheltering in a metro station. On the eighth day an
explosion shook their underground hideout.
VLADIMIR CHUMAKOV, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE: The women were hysterical. I understood this is not going to pass. This horror cannot be endured. I
cannot express it, the fear, the crying children. When I saw a pregnant woman entering the metro, I understood this cannot be forgiven.
MCLEAN (voice over): From here, many have no idea where they'll go when they get to Poland, or when they might be able to come back.
ANDERSON: Scott McLean, reporting, Scott, thank you for that. We are waiting at President for a major announcement from the White House.
President Joe Biden plans to ban Russian energy imports to the U.S. including oil, natural gas, and coal.
This is upping the ante on the - and what the U.S. is already doing in putting a squeeze on Russia to try and stop this military conflict. Keep in
mind, however, imports from Russia make up a very small slice of the U.S. energy universe.
Roughly 8 percent in 2021, of which only about 3 percent was crude oil. Europe playing a different tune, it does now have plans as we understand it
to reduce Russian gas imports by as much as two thirds.
But that's this year, not today at the EU trying to eliminate its dependence on Russian energy. Clearly the impact of what is this
devastating war has huge consequences both inside Ukraine and outside of Ukraine.
CNN's Anna Stewart is in London; Kevin Liptak is in Washington DC for us today. I want to start with you, Kevin. We are waiting for Joe Biden to
speak momentum has they've been building on the Hill to ban Russian imports of oil and gas for some days.
And now we do expect to see a shift by the White House which until now had not been in favor of a ban. Is this all about domestic pressure without -
with very little downside at this point for the president?
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, it certainly has a lot to do with it. And when you talk to officials at the White House, gas prices are
their top concern right now. It's a major political pressure point for the president. His chief of staff is highly concerned about it.
President Biden is highly concerned about it. In fact, we're told he brings it up at nearly every meeting he is at. And so he is announcing this ban,
there was quite significant pressure from both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill to go forward with this step.
The thing that I think was holding officials back at the White House was the effect it could have on both the global oil price but also gas prices
at home. And then you mentioned in the intro, the U.S. doesn't actually import all that much oil from Russia, about 100,000 barrels a day had been
But just in the last weeks or so it actually dropped to zero and this chart I have from the energy agency in the United States. That's the last week of
February; there had been actually zero imports of crude oil from Russia as companies pulled out of the country.
They sort of self-sanctioned as they anticipated these formal sanctions coming into effect. Now, the effort at the White House are underway right
now is to sort of locate where then the rest of the world they can come up with these oil imports to sort of backfill what they're losing from Russia.
And that's where you see some of these surprising places that they're looking. One of them is Venezuela. Officials from the White House in the
State Department traveled over there over the weekend to try and talk about potentially lifting sanctions that would allow Venezuela to put its oil
back on the international market.
It's not clear exactly how far those discussions have progressed. It would take a lot to get Venezuela's oil infrastructure back up and running to a
place where it could fill, backfill a lot of what Russia is producing.
LIPTAK: You're also seeing the White House talk to Saudi Arabia, officials from the National Security Council traveled there last month as part of
this effort to get the Saudis to ramp up their production. That hasn't happened yet.
But we do send some optimism actually on that front. It's not necessarily clear when or how that might happen. But what U.S. officials do say that
they feel relatively good about how those conversations went, it hasn't happened yet.
And then you also see sort of, as talks kind of reached their end stages in the Iran nuclear deal. Of course, if they come to an agreement that would
lift a lot of the sanctions on Iran that would allow some of that oil to hit the international market, as well. So all these conversations ongoing,
but we are still waiting for the president to hear some of the specifics of what he's announcing.
ANDERSON: Yes and the standards set for him, we've got a shot from inside the White House. So as soon as he moves in front of that, then we will get
to it. Meantime, Anna let me bring you into this because Europe, of course, has been putting in a different direction.
There hasn't been a sort of, you know, a united front. And you know, when it comes to, you know, whether or not and to put a real squeeze on these
Russian imports. It has as now as we understand it, pledged to cut gas from Russia. This is a big step. Just how big?
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Yes and this announcement comes just as Joe Biden, U.S. President is expected to make his announcement as well. So
they're still kind of working in lockstep. But you're right; they're working in different speeds, certainly.
So the announcement today from the EU commission is to slash the import of gas by two thirds this year. That is really significant, because Europe
relies on Russia for over 40 percent of all their gas needs, gas prices are high, it is already squeezed.
Part of the way it's going to do that is it's really going to fill up its gas storage now up until October, it hopes will be around 90 percent full
by then, a buffer for the winter. And then Becky they're saying they will try and phase out Russian oil and gas entirely by 2030.
Again, a number of options here as to how they're going to do that part of it, of course storage part of it actually diversifying away, of course, not
just Russian gas looking elsewhere.
But liquefied gas building more LNG terminals, so they can receive inputs from the Middle East, for example, also is diversifying the energy itself,
so looking at more bio methane more renewable hydrogen, making it importing it, creating a better energy mix, really accelerating plans that they were
working towards any way, really as a result of COP 26 and various - discussions.
Meanwhile, they are also facing Russian retaliation big, not even thinly veiled threats from Russia in the last 24 hours, suggestions that oil could
hit $300 a barrel. Also Russia suggesting that they could just switch the taps off to one of the biggest gas pipelines to Europe, again, forcing
Europe really to wean itself off Russian gas and energy.
But you know what; at a big price to Russia as well is their biggest revenue driver. Europe is their biggest market.
ANDERSON: Yes, and let's be quite clear, I mean, I've been doing this job for long enough to remember Russia making these threats. You know, a number
of times in the past, I can go way back 15 years, to a very cold winter and Russia making these same threats.
But this is a very different place and a very different time. And the Europeans taking this extremely seriously looking to wean themselves off
and many people have said should have wean themselves off that Russian gas dependency some years ago.
To both of you, thank you very much indeed. We will wait to hear what the U.S. president says. We are though expecting as I've said for him to
announce the total ban on Russian energy imports starting today. Well, while Ukrainian men on the frontlines women's lives back home are also at
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATALIA KANEM, EXCUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNFPA: 80,000 Women of Ukraine will deliver in the next two to three months. This is harrowing, and life should
not give away during a crisis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Hear what the Director of United Nations Population Fund is saying about health care challenges for women in Ukraine. And as Russia
anomic creeps closer and closer to Kyiv, I sit down with Ukraine's Minister of Culture and Information to talk about how his country can protect its
valuable cultural heritage.
ANDERSON: I just want to pause for a moment and show you this tweet it says "Men cause futile and cruel wars to prove they are strong. But it is on the
real strength of women that societies must count to remain resilient and to build peace".
And the image attached couldn't be a more fitting reminder for today. Right now the number of refugees from Ukraine has reached 2 million, 2 million.
That's according to the head of the U.N. Refugee Agency Filippo Grandi.
The same man who posted this powerful tweet - what is another big event that's happening today? That is International Women's Day. Nearly all of
Ukraine's refugees and women are women and children.
Well, the women staying behind in Ukraine are playing a major role supporting their husbands and sons, those brothers who have gone to the
Their fear and sadness is evident so often in so much of the reporting that we've seen here on CNN, but their strength is unwavering. Anderson Cooper
spoke with several of them in Lviv, take a look.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In a volunteer center in Lviv, moms whose husbands and children have taken up arms to gather
supplies for those fighting further east.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We understand we need to hold strong like a fist like this. And we have very strong faith. We believe that we will win and this
will hold us together.
COOPER (voice over): Irina works for a group called Angel on Your Shoulder. She has recruited more than 100 women to pack boxes around the clock.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Non-stop, non-stop.
COOPER (voice over): Everything is donated medicine, toiletries, all kinds of prepackaged food.
COOPER (on camera): They're looking for things which are easy to prepare which you can just add water to for troops of the font or families.
COOPER (voice over): Nothing stays here for long. The work is hard. The war is harder. Angela's husband left for the front yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My husband - yesterday.
COOPER (voice over): He's a doctor, a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan.
COOPER (on camera): Does it help to work here to stay busy?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are doing what we can, we keep on praying, people ask how you're not crying but you know crying doesn't help. Each person
does what they can.
COOPER (voice over): Angela is in the reserves as well. But for now she's taking care of her family and volunteering.
COOPER (on camera): Thank you for your strength you give you give me and everybody strength.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much.
COOPER (voice over): In another building more mothers more volunteers making camouflage netting to high tanks and artillery.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let me teach you, do you see just like this.
COOPER (voice over): Alina's son is already in the fight.
COOPER (on camera): What made you want to come here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to protect our country. It is difficult to speak. My son is in the army since 2015. I didn't want to let him go and he
said who will go if not me.
ANDERSON: And just break out of this because Joe Biden, the U.S. President is speaking at the White House.
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: We're banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy that means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable to U.S.
ports and American people will deal another powerful blow to Putin's war machine. This is a move that has strong bipartisan support the Congress and
I believe in the country.
Americans have rallied support have rallied to support the Ukrainian people and made it clear we will not be part of subsidizing Putin for. This made,
we made this decision in close consultation with our allies and our partners around the world, particularly in Europe.
Because a united response to Putin's aggression has been my overriding focuses to keep all NATO and all of EU and our allies totally united. We're
moving forward this band understanding that many of our European allies and partners may not be in a position to join us.
The United States produces far more oil domestically than all of Europe, all the European countries combined. In fact, we're a net exporter of
energy. So we can take this step when others cannot.
But we're working closely with Europe and our partners to develop a long term strategy to reduce their dependence on Russian energy as well. Our
teams are actively discussing how to make this happen.
And today, we remain united. We remain united and our purpose to keep pressure mounting on Putin and his war machine. This is a step that we're
taking to inflict further pain on Putin. But there will be cost as well here in the United States.
I said I would level with the American people from the beginning. And when I first spoke to this, I said defending freedom is going to cost, it's
going to cost us as well, in the United States.
Republicans and Democrats understand unlike understand that, Republicans and Democrats alike have been clear that we must do this. Over the last
week I spoke with President Zelenskyy several times, to hear from him about the situation on the ground and to consult, and continue to consult with
our European allies and about U.S. support for Ukraine and Ukrainian people.
Thus far, we provided more than $1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine. Shipments of defensive weapons are arriving Ukraine every day from
the United States and we the United States, the ones coordinating the delivery of our allies and partners of similar weapons from Germany to
Finland to the Netherlands, where we're working that out.
We're also providing humanitarian support for Ukrainian people. Both of those still in Ukraine and those who have fled safely to neighboring
countries, or working with humanitarian organizations to surge tens of thousands of tons of food, water and medical supplies into Ukraine.
And with more on the way over the weekend, I sent Secretary Blinken to visit our border between the border between Poland and Ukraine and to
Moldova to see what the situation was firsthand and report back.
General Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff our defense department is also what was also in Europe meeting with his counterparts
and allies on NATO eastern flank.
To reassure them those countries bordering Russia, NATO countries that we will keep our NATO commitment, sacred commitment article of Article Five.
The Vice President Harris is going to be traveling to meet with our allies in Poland and Romania later this week as well.
I've made it clear that the United States will share the responsibility of caring for the refugees. So the costs do not fall entirely on the European
countries border in Ukraine.
And yesterday, I spoke with my counterparts in France, Germany and the United Kingdom, of Russia's escalating violence against Ukraine, and the
steps that we're going to take together with our allies and partners around the world to respond to this aggression.
We are enforcing the most significant package of economic sanctions in history, and it's causing significant damage to Russia's economy. It has
caused Russian economy to fight frankly crater, the Russian ruble is now down to 50 percent.
By 50 percent and Putin has announced his war, one ruble is now worth less than one American Penny. One ruble less than one American penny and
preventing Russia central bank from propping up the ruble and to keep its value up, they're not going to be able to do that now.
We cut Russia's largest banks from the international financial system and it's crippled our ability to do business with the rest of the world. In
addition, we're choking off Russia's access to technology like semiconductors that are and sap its economic strength and weakened its
military for years to come.
BIDEN: Major companies are pulling out of Russia entirely. Without even being asked not by us over the weekend, Visa, MasterCard, American Express,
they all suspended their services in Russia, all of them.
Joining a growing list of American and global companies from Ford to Nike to Apple, they've suspended their operations in Russia. The U.S. stock
exchange has halted trading and many Russian securities in the private sector are united against Russia's vicious war of choice.
The U.S. Department of Justice has assembled a dedicated task force to go after Russian crew the crimes of Russian oligarchs. And we're joining with
our European allies to find and seize their yachts, their luxury apartments, their private jets and all their herbal gotten gains to make
sure that they share in the pain of Putin's war.
These, by the way, are giant yachts; you put some in your press. I mean, some of them are, I think I'd read one was over 400 feet long. I mean,
it's, this is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The decision today is not without cost here at home, Putin's war is already hurting American families at the gas pump. Since Putin began his military
buildup in Ukrainian borders, just since then, the price of the gas of the pump in America went up 75 cents. And with this action is going to go up
further. I'm going to do everything I can to minimize Putin's price hike here at home.
In coordination with our partners, we've already announced that we're releasing 16 million barrels of oil from our joint oil reserves, half of
that 30 billion, million excuse me, is coming from the United States. And we're taking steps to ensure the reliable supply of global energy are also
going to keep working with every tool at our disposal to protect American families and businesses.
Now, let me let me say this, to the oil and gas companies and to the finance firms that pack them. We understand Putin's war against the people
of Ukraine is causing prices to rise; we get that that's self-evident. But, but, but, but it's no excuse to exercise, excessive price increases, or
padding profits or any kind of effort to exploit the situation, or American consumers exploit them.
Russia's aggression is costing us all and is no time for profiteering or price gouging. I want to be clear about what we will not tolerate. But I
also want to acknowledge those firms and oil and gas industries that are pulling out of Russia and joining other businesses that are leading by
This is a time when we have to do our part to make sure we're not taking we're not taking advantage. Look, let me be clear about two other points.
First, it's simply not true that my administration or policies are holding back domestic energy production. That's simply not true.
Even amid the pandemic, companies in the United States pump more oil during my first year in office than they did during my predecessor first year.
We're approaching record levels of oil and gas production in United States, and we're on track to set a record for oil production next year.
In the United States, 90 percent percent of onshore oil production takes place on land that isn't owned by the federal government. And of the
remaining 10 percent that occurs on federal land, the oil and gas industry has millions of acres leased.
They have 9000 permits to drill now that could be drilling right now, yesterday, last week last year; they have 9000 to drill onshore that are
already approved. So let me be clear, let me be clear, they are not using them for production now.
That's their decision. These are the facts. We should be honest about the facts. Second, this crisis is a stark reminder, to protect our economy over
the long term we need to become energy independent.
I've had numerous conversations over the last three months with our European friends about how they have to wean themselves off of Russian oil.
It's just not, it's just not tenable. It should motivate us to accelerate the transition to clean energy.
This is a perspective exempted our European allies share and the future where together we can achieve greater independence. Loosening environmental
regulations or pulling back clean energy investment won't, let me - - won't will not lower energy prices for families.
But transforming our economy to run on electric vehicles powered by clean energy with tax credits to help American families winterize their homes and
use less energy that will, that will help.
And if we can, if we do we can, it will mean that no one has to worry about price of gas pump in the future. That'll mean tyrants like Putin won't be
able to use fossil fuels as weapons against other nations. And it will make America a world leader manufacturing and exporting clean energy
technologies of the future to countries all around the world.
BIDEN: This is the goal we should be racing toward. Over the last two weeks, Ukrainian people have inspired the world. And I mean that in the
literal sense, they've inspired the world with their bravery, their patriotism, or defiant determination to live free.
Putin's war, Putin's war, has caused enormous suffering and needless loss of life on women, children, everyone in Ukraine. Both Ukraine and I might
add Russians, Ukrainian leaders, as well as leaders around the world have repeatedly called for a ceasefire for humanitarian relief for real
But Putin seems determined to continue on his murderous path, no matter the cost. Putin is now targeting cities and has been targeting the cities and
civilian schools, hospitals, apartment buildings.
Last week, he attacked the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, with an apparent disregard for the potential of triggering a nuclear meltdown. He
has already turned 2 million Ukrainians into refugees.
Russia may continue to grind out its advanced at a horrible price. But this much is already clear. Ukraine will never be a victory for Putin. Putin may
be able to take a city, but he'll never be able to hold the country.
And if we do not respond to Putin's assault on global peace and stability today, the cost of freedom and to the American people will be even greater
tomorrow. So we're going to continue to support the brave Ukrainian people as they fight for their country.
And I call on Congress to pass the $12 billion Ukraine assistance package that I have asked them for, of Lviv. Ukrainian people are demonstrating by
the physical courage that they are not about to just let Putin take what he wants, that's clear.
They'll defend their freedom, their democracy, their lives. And we're going to keep providing security assistance, economic assistance and humanitarian
assistance. We're going to support them against tyranny, oppression, violent acts of subjugation, people everywhere.
And I think it's maybe even surprised some of you all people everywhere are speaking up for freedom. When the history of this war is written, Putin's
war on Ukraine will have left Russia weaker, and the rest of the world stronger.
And God bless all those - in Ukraine. And now I'm off to Texas. Thank you very, very much. I know there's a lot of question - I know, I know, there's
a lot of questions. But there's a lot more that has to be made clear. And I'm going to hold on that till we get more information. Thank you.
ANDERSON: Right, well, a very big announcement from the U.S. President there. What did he say? Well, he said that the U.S. will ban all Russian
imports. Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at U.S. ports, he said, Americans will not subsidize Putin's war.
And he said he is doing this despite European allies potentially being unable to join the U.S. Now, he had previously said he wouldn't do this
because it will inflict too much of a cost on the American consumer today.
He said there will be a cost to the American people. He said oil and gas at the pumps is already up 75 cents as the war began. He said it will rise
again. But he made this point he said Republicans and Democrats understand what is going on. And understand that it is clear that we must do this.
Let's bring in Kevin Liptak, Nina dos Santos and Anna Stewart to talk about all of this. And Kevin, let's get to you first, you're stateside.
We were expecting this is certainly a pivot from the position that Biden held just some weeks ago. And he was speaking very specifically to this
being a bipartisan move on the hill. This works domestically for him, despite the fact that as he says, it's going to raise the cost of gas for
the short term.
LIPTAK: Yes, I think he's clearly trying to get ahead of the inevitable criticism from Republicans when gas prices go up because of this by saying,
look, Republicans and Democrats were pressuring me to apply this ban on Russian oil imports.
I want you to know that right up front. And he also made clear in a phrase that I think you're going to hear him repeat again and again, He called
these gas prices, Putin's price hike. He wants to make evident to the American people that what he's doing, he's doing because it's the right
thing to do because Putin needs to be punished for what he's doing in Ukraine.
And he says defending freedoms going to cost and that had been what had been holding back any kind of sanctions on energy. And if you've talked to
White House officials even as recently as maybe the beginning of last week anytime any type of sanction on the oil industry or the gas industry was
really considered very much off the table.
LIPTAK: And it had only been in the last seven days or so that this pressure campaign started ramping up starting on the hill, that to ban
these oil imports. And it came, as Biden said, not just from Republicans, but also from Democrats.
The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she was in favor of it. Now a number of other Democrats that they were in favor too, they crafted this
legislation. And finally, today, Biden sort of was backed into a corner and needed to do something ahead of these lawmakers.
And so that's why you see him what he's announcing today. But it was playing; he is warning the American people that gas prices will go up.
American presidents always view gas prices as sort of an issue that they - there is really not a lot that the American president can do about gas
prices. But it's an issue that the American people blame them for. Even in the United States, almost every gas pump you go to now have a little sign
on it says.
LIPTAK: That's put on by activists that says this is Joe Biden's fault. It's clearly an issue that they're worried about midterm elections are in
November, and this is going to be something that you hear him repeating over and over is Putin's price hike.
ANDERSON: Yes. OK. And you make a very good point that he also said that he is doing this, despite European allies potentially being unable to join the
U.S. So, Anna, what do we know at this point about what are NATO allies, effectively, Europeans, the UK, for example, what their intentions are with
regard Russian energy?
STEWART: Well, just in the last few minutes, while President Biden was speaking, the UK had their own announcement to make the energy minister
saying the UK won't be banning imports, but they will be phasing out imports of Russian oil this year.
Now, that's really interesting, because the timeframe is much faster than the EU, as we were discussing earlier on, it is much lower than the U.S. of
course, he was doing that directly. Why was the reliance on Russian energy, you know, the UK is much more reliant on Russian energy than the U.S. it is
much less reliant than Europe. It's about 8 percent of oil imports here.
Also the UK saying that they're looking to end imports of Russian gas as well which is a smaller percentage actually of our energy mix. Now, it was
really interesting, the UK Energy Minister pointed out that you know what the market has already begun to ostracize Russian oil.
He said nearly 70 percent of Russian oil is currently unable to find a buyer. And this is what we are seeing there is a huge discount for Russian
oil. It's trading at around 24, $25 less a barrel than Brent.
We have seen western energy companies, including, of course, most recently shell pulling out of the country, they do not want to be associated with
Russian oil. So not only do we have these big announcements from the U.S., the EU, UK all within two hours of each other. We also have corporates
working alongside in a way.
ANDERSON: Nina, what's the perspective in Russia, then we clearly won't have a response to what we've just heard from Joe Biden as of yet. But
certainly Sergei Lavrov has been speaking earlier on this, we knew was an intention of the U.S. this has been a pivot, of course, by the by Joe Biden
and the White House. What are we heard from the Russians to date on this?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, obviously, they're warning that prices are going to head towards $300 a barrel from you know, that's above
double the amount that we're seeing right now. That is quite a familiar refrain from Russia, when Nord Stream 2 was blocked at the last minute by
We also saw members of the former Russian government and National Security Council, like Dmitry Medvedev, the former Prime Minister of Russia, warning
that the world and in particular, the EU needed to get used to a doubling in natural gas prices.
Now, I mentioned natural gas in particular, Becky, obviously, because what we're talking about here is oil. Obviously, what some of these western
powers have deliberately left on the table as a last resort is really the big one, which is natural gas from Russia.
But obviously, that is something that the EU, which is so reliant upon a 40 percent of its energy needs come from Russia, in terms of natural gas, that
for the moment is a no go area, at least for this part of the world. How all of these sanctions affecting the Russian economy?
Well, obviously now they've got the big one, which is energy. But previously, we've had this constant sort of ratcheting up of sanctions
sanctioning up to 400 to 600 individuals and then entities in various locations.
The EU, the UK, Switzerland, Australia and Japan just yesterday, that means that there's no room for Russian money to hide. And it's a very complicated
system for the financial sector to try and get to grips with.
Remember a lot of these Russian oligarchs and banks and so on and so far from a legacy of the post-soviet era are used to stacking their money in
various if you like Russian Nesting Dolls systems.
So many international banks will be looking in terribly complex ways to try and navigate the sanctions environment because it is very, very punishing.
SANTOS: If they get done for trading with an individual who it turns out owns a series of companies that is on a sanctions list. Russia, of course,
here, what its feeling is the pincer grip.
On the one hand, it is having its banking system, and its rich individuals being locked out of the foremost reserve currency of the world, which is
the U.S. dollar. And now obviously, the goose that lays the golden egg economically speaking for Russia, oil and gas, which is a proxy for the
U.S. dollar as well.
Remember, it's priced in U.S. dollars, that is also being locked out of the system gradually, as well, Becky, that's the important thing.
ANDERSON: And this is so important. And Anna, you and I have been discussing the potential energy squeeze through just a reduction in exports
from Russia. Should the Kremlin decide that that's what they want to do? We've been having this discussion for weeks. And we've been talking about
the options that Europe has and the UK to plug these gaps. So what are they at this point?
STEWART: Yes, this has been the big scramble in recent weeks is where else could you essentially get oil and gas from. Some really interesting
announcements from the EU, they say, of course, they want to cut their gas from Russia by two thirds this year.
They also want to completely end their reliance on all Russian fossil fuels by 2030, which is really ambitious. If you consider right now, they rely on
Russia for over 40 percent of the gas and over a quarter of that oil imports, looking at where they're going to do it, how they're going to do
Well, this year, it is really getting gas into storage facilities. They want to see those at 90 percent full capacity by October to try and have a
buffer for the next winter so that we did not have going into this winter. And then looking to diversify not just where they're getting that gas and
oil from, but also diversifying the energy itself, so working on bio methane, renewable hydrogen, and so on.
Building LNG terminals, so they can accept liquefied gas that is critical that isn't like Germany in particular came under a lot of fire from
actually since 2014 and the illegal annexation of Crimea, people wondered why they have not cut the reliance on Russia since then.
Why have they actually added more reliance on Russia? So a lot of these measures have been a long time coming, I suppose. There was also the
suggestion from the U.S. from President Biden perhaps that they could look to Venezuela, maybe even Iran lifting sanctions from some of the big oil
That would not be a great sort of fill, I suppose for Russian oil, not directly at least, you could add two or three maybe million barrels per day
onto the market. They have not had great investments in recent years, for obvious reasons. So it's going to be hard to ramp up the capacity.
Right now Russia produces around 9 million barrels per day. So it's a lot of oil to fill, essentially. But there are plans in place, they will take
time. And so I can see why, particularly for Europe, it's a much longer timeframe.
ANDERSON: Yes, it's fascinating, isn't it? That this story isn't going away. We'll have you all back. Thank you very much indeed for joining us.
The headline this hour, of course, is that U.S. President Joe Biden has announced that he will ban Russian oil and gas imports. The ships will no
longer be welcome at U.S. ports, taking a very short break, back after this.
ANDERSON: Well, before we close out this out, a reminder that today is International Women's Day. As we've noted, most of the 2 million refugees
fleeing the war in Ukraine are women and children and whether they leave the country or remain in Ukraine, women are facing new healthcare concerns
and possible abuse. I spoke to the Head of the United Nations Population Fund about that. Have a listen.
KANEM: What we're seeing in Ukraine and the way that it affects a woman, a woman who is pregnant, who may be fleeing, or she may be in place, is the
reason for the utmost paramount concern that everyone understand that the pregnancy doesn't wait, childbirth doesn't wait.
The primacy of privileging women and girls as the displacement and as bombs fall as women's shelter and have to deliver in circumstances that are the
opposite of human dignity.
This is what concerns you in FPA when you know that at any given moment, 80,000 women of Ukraine will deliver in the next two to three months. This
is harrowing, and life should not give way during a crisis.
ANDERSON: Just describe how difficult it is and maybe come to reach. What are these vulnerable populations?
KANEM: When you have conflict that comes to the doorstep? And a woman for example, in labor needs the help of a midwife. How will she be able to
leave home to safely navigate that terrain, delivering in a metro station underground without skilled hams, the life of the newborn and the mother
are at risk. And we have to understand that part of any type of orderly movement has to assure women and girls safety and their dignity. This is
part of what we are clamoring for.
ANDERSON: I know your organization is in Ukraine delivering lifesaving medicines, supplies and services to support women and girls. What type of
long term impact will this war have on them?
KANEM: Our laser sharp focus is to save lives. But you know, saving your life doesn't mean repairing your circumstance. And as we think about the
consequences of conflict, the trauma that is going to be long term, I have to state very clearly that women and girls are at risk of gender based
violence in this type of environment.
Human trafficking goes up in this type of environment. So the personnel of UNFPA are very, very sensitive to listening to women and responding to what
they're asking for. Women and girls should not fall to the bottom of the list.
So we need to listen to what women are saying they need many of them are traveling on accompanied. And we need to absolutely ensure that they are
respected on the routes that they are taking as much as for women who are staying behind terrified that they cannot reach out for help because of
this conflict situation.
ANDERSON: Women and children have and continue to bear the brunt of this conflict in Ukraine. What is your biggest fear at this point?
KANEM: The fears are many. But again, I think ultimately, the road to peace and through dialogue is the biggest solution. So the fear would be that it
comes too slowly. The fear would be that too much damage is done.
And then at that point, you're in an irreparable moment. For women and girls the health situation is not just a question of structural physical
health. It's also the mental health consequences, Becky that can be lifelong. We know it as a type of trauma that can literally haunt a person
for the rest of her life. This is where the premium is on making sure that women's dignity is protected.
ANDERSON: What's your message today on what is International Women's Day?
KANEM: You know I hold out hope on International Women's Day. I say that women are the key to peace that women negotiators, women and families, the
school teacher whoever she is, let us involve her in finding durable solutions to certain problems that may be years old, but we have to look to
So on Women's Day, I want every girl who is hearing us Becky to understand that she has the key to a bright future. She should use her voice and her
influence to become educated and to be able to take her place and express her opinion, so that we may be able to have world of peace at last.
KANEM: That is really what we need, not just in Ukraine of the moment. I mean, I still worry about what's going on in a place like Yemen and Syria.
You know, Afghanistan, we've been talking about that there are places in Africa and Latin America and Asia, where peace is the only answer. And
women are a big part of that solution.
ANDERSON: Well, on International Women's Day, we celebrate the women of Ukraine and those of Afghanistan, of Syria, of Yemen and we wish the best
to women wherever you are around the world. Thank you for joining us. As the evacuation corridor in Sumy in Ukraine is about to close, stay with CNN
where the news continues.