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Humanitarian Corridors Open around Six Areas in Ukraine; Up to 10 Percent of Russian Invasion Assets Destroyed or Inoperable; U.S. Rejects Poland Sending Fighter Jets; Biden Bans U.S. Imports of Russian Oil and Gas; Interview with U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart on Search for New Ways to Pressure Putin; Of 2 Million Ukrainian Refugees, Romania Receives 280,000, Germany 800,000; IAEA States "No Critical Impact" to Safety at Chernobyl after Russians Cut Power; Andy Murray Pledges Prize Money to Ukrainian Children; Families of Americans Detained in Russia Ask Biden for Help; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy: We Will Fight to the End. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired March 09, 2022 - 10:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): You're watching CNN. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. This is our special coverage of the war in Ukraine,

as Russian troops continue to attack much of the country. Here's what we know this hour.

Humanitarian corridors in and out of six Ukrainian areas are open with limited movement.


ANDERSON (voice-over): This video showing people in Irpin, boarding buses to get out. But heavy weapons fire is appearing to disrupt some of these


Local officials in another suburb of Kyiv say Russian forces are blocking the departure of 50 buses. Now cities around these new corridors have been

bearing the brunt of Russian attacks, with residents forced into hiding. It's been days now they had little or no food, water and vitally needed




ANDERSON (voice-over): Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy warning earlier today that the threats against Ukraine is, in his words, "at

maximum level." And, again, pleading with the West to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Ukraine has been saying this to its partners from the first day of the war. If you

don't close the skies, you will also be responsible for this catastrophe, a massive humanitarian catastrophe.

Russia is using rockets, aviation, helicopters against us, against the civilians, against our cities, against our infrastructure. It is a

humanitarian responsibility of the world to react. But still we have no decision.


ANDERSON: Mr. Zelenskyy earlier thanked U.S. President Joe Biden for banning the import of Russian oil, gas and coal. On their part, the Kremlin

today saying that the U.S. ban amounts to economic war, also calling Thursday's planned meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign

ministers in Turkey an important continuation of negotiations.

Ukraine's foreign minister saying he does not have high expectations for that meeting.

President Zelenskyy also welcoming an offer from Poland to transfer MiG-29 fighter jets to the U.S. and Germany for delivery to Ukraine, an offer the

Pentagon is rejecting as untenable.

The U.S. and its NATO allies have sent other forms of firepower into Ukraine. As Jim Sciutto tells us those weapons are part of a fierce

Ukrainian resistance, Western analysts say it's dragging out the war in a way that Russia's president never anticipated.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Nearly two weeks into the invasion, the war in Ukraine has become a slow, grinding conflict, not the blitzkrieg advance the Russian military

had planned and hoped for.

AVRIL HAINES, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Russia's failure has deprived Moscow of the quick military victory that it probably had

originally expected.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): U.S. And NATO military assistance for Ukrainian forces flowed in quickly and in enormous quantities. To date, the U.S. and

partners have provided some 17,000 anti-tank missiles, including the Javelin and AT-4 shoulder fired systems.

And according to a senior U.S. official, some 3,700 antiaircraft missiles. Including the Stinger shoulder-fired missile, the vast majority since the

start of the invasion. These missiles had an immediate impact on the battlefield. This is a shoulder-fired missile shutting down a Russian

attack helicopter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a race between our ability and NATO's ability to push forward supplies, such as 17,000 missiles that have been recently

approved, to get those into the hands of the Ukrainian war fighters before the Russians can regroup and get their logistics lines of communication and

capabilities up to snuff.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): Military losses are harder to gauge. According to two senior U.S. officials briefed on the intelligence, the U.S. estimates

Russia has lost somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 soldiers, though this assessment comes with low confidence.

The U.S. does not have reliable information on losses of Ukrainian military personnel. On the battlefield, Russian forces have advanced more quickly in

the south, from Russian-controlled territory in Crimea; more slowly in the east and the north.

But they continue efforts to surround cities like Kharkiv. A senior U.S. official tells me the U.S. believes Russia is still several days from being

able to surround the capital, Kyiv, and after that, faces a protracted battle to occupy the city itself.

HAINES: Our analysts assess Putin is unlikely to be deterred by such setbacks and instead may escalate. We assess Putin feels aggrieved the West

does not give him proper deference and perceives this as a war he cannot afford to lose.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): As Russia's advance has stalled, its forces have increasingly targeted the civilian population with aerial bombardment and

shelling, following a timeworn Russian strategy it pursued ruthlessly in Chechnya in the 1990s and more recently in Syria.

A total of 474 civilians, including 29 children, have been killed since the invasion began -- this according to the U.N. Human Rights Office -- and a

further 861 injured, though the U.N. believes the true figure is likely to be, quote, "considerably higher" -- Jim Sciutto, CNN, Lviv.


ANDERSON: Well, just a few hours ago, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris set out from Washington for Poland, where Ukraine, of course, will be front

and center on her agenda. She will be addressing that thorny issue of Poland sending Soviet-era jets to Ukraine by way of the U.S., an idea

immediately rejected by the Pentagon.

Also happening this hour, Antony Blinken will be hosting his British counterpart, foreign secretary Liz Truss, in Washington. These meetings all

part of the global diplomatic efforts to continue to try and halt Russia's attacks on Ukraine.

Well, joining us from Washington is U.S. security correspondent Kylie Atwood.

Let's start with that trip by Kamala Harris, complicated by this Polish offer to send MiG fighter jets to the U.S. base in Ramstein, Germany. The

U.S. described that offer as untenable. Explain why.

What is the issue here?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Basically the issue here is that none of these countries want to be the one who provides these

fighter jets to Ukraine.

It is like a hot potato, right?

They want to give it to another country, so they can give them to Ukraine. The complication here is that these countries believe that if they are the

ones to share fighter jets with Ukraine, they could become party to this crisis and open themselves up to aggression from Russia.

So the Poles are suggesting that they transfer their old fighter jets to a U.S. military base in Germany and then the United States could then

transfer them in some way to Ukraine.

But the United States is saying, this doesn't make any sense. Transferring them to Germany, first of all, is pushing them further away from Ukraine.

And secondly, if they were to transfer those fighter jets into Ukraine from there, according to the Pentagon spokesperson, who spoke to this last

night, that would create complications for the entire NATO alliance, not just the United States, because, although that is a U.S. military base,

there is also NATO presence at that military base.

So the argument, they're saying, this is untenable, because you should be the one who decides if you want to share these with Ukraine. You can't pull

the U.S. and NATO into all this. So it is really not clear where this goes from here, Becky.

ANDERSON: What's the difference?

A diplomatic difference if you will, between providing anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and fighter jets?

ATWOOD: I think it is a really fair question. And it is threading this needle right now -- we are watching the United States and NATO countries do

this -- they don't know exactly what would cross over Russia's theoretical red line of becoming a party to this conflict.

And I think fighter jets are clearly a step up from what the United States has already provided militarily to the Ukrainians. And so there are

concerns about providing these fighter jets.

Also what fighter jets can do is take down some of these Russian military aircraft that would be in the region. And the United States and NATO have

repeatedly said that they don't want to escalate this war, they want to de- escalate this war.


ATWOOD: And so there are some concerns of escalating it by being the ones to provide these fighter jets.

ANDERSON: Fascinating, all right. Stay on the story for us. Thank you.

On the ground, thousands of Ukrainians are fleeing to the western city of Lviv, close to the border with Poland, of course. This is an effort to

escape Russia's bombardment. But now the city has maxed out its resources and is in desperate need of help to feed and house the influx of displaced

people. Michael Holmes with this report.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In one of the best-known theaters in Ukraine's cultural capital Lviv, no audience to be

entertained, rather, families seeking shelter from war. We never imagined we would end up living in a theater again, he tells us, we never imagined

leaving our home and fleeing our city.

Tamila says she fled Kyiv two days ago to get her kids out of danger, leaving her mother and husband behind. Now she contemplates what's to come.

TAMILA KHELADZE, DISPLACED MOTHER: We lived happy and we have plans for future, for locations for our babies, for studying for our babies and it

was a happy future.

HOLMES: Throughout the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Lviv has been nervous but otherwise an oasis of relative quiet.

And that made this city a destination for those running from where the shells are falling. Most of them are moving on to the border but more than

200,000 have decided to stay here. Lviv welcoming them, looking after them. But now, the city's mayor says Lviv is full and we need help.

ANDRIY SADOVYI, LVIV MAYOR: This has put a lot of pressure on us and the infrastructure of Lviv. I would like to address international organizations

asking for support. We need you now and we need you here.

HOLMES: Andriy Sadovyi is pleading for tents, food medical supplies. He says more than 400 cultural and educational facilities are being used to

house the displaced.

Here a school, a place of learning in normal times, now a place of refuge for families not knowing their next move, other than it won't be going


VICTORIA HARBATIY, DISPLACED GRANDMOTHER (through translator): It is difficult to imagine how this craziness began. For the sake of what?

For what reason are they killing people?

What have we done to deserve this?

HOLMES: Lviv a historic city in need of help, the impact of this war being felt well away from the front lines -- Michael Holmes, CNN, Lviv, Ukraine.


ANDERSON: CNN correspondent Scott McLean is there in Lviv and joins us now.

This is a city, Scott, that says it is at full capacity.

What sort of challenges is it now facing?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, this is the western train hub of Ukraine. And so it seems like everyone leaving the eastern part of

Ukraine ends up here, whether it is by road, whether it is by train, bus or however else people are traveling.

It seems like a lot of people end up in Lviv as a stopover. Some people are staying here temporarily; others more long-term. Many of the people that we

met who are crossing the border say that they have family or friends in Poland or abroad they're planning to stay with.

But many of those who stayed behind say they don't have the same connections outside the country. So they're not as comfortable leaving,

going to a country where they don't necessarily know the culture or the language. So they end up staying here in Lviv.

And the United States -- the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says specifically that, you know, 2 million refugees is already a

terrifying number.

What he's worried about is that the next 2 million, the next wave of refugees, won't have near the same connections or the resources and,

therefore, will be a heck of a lot more vulnerable. And Lviv is going to have to likely pick up some of the slack.

ANDERSON: It's a stopping point, of course, before many refugees head to the Polish border with Ukraine.

What's the story there right now?

The wave of people, the tsunami of people who crossed that border, is quite remarkable. And had it not been for real, we would be calling it

unbelievable at this point.

MCLEAN: Yes, you're absolutely right. It seems to ebb and flow every day. The most number of people that crossed into Poland in a single day was, you

know, about a week ago, I think. The second highest was just two days ago.

So it really ebbs and flows. When we were there, a couple of days ago, the lineups were enormous to get across the border.


MCLEAN: Cars where people were waiting 24-plus hours to get to the checkpoints to get across the border, whether going on foot, waiting in

lines for several hours.

But we were just at the Lviv train station and it was quite quiet, no longer the lines that were stretching outside of the building. It seemed

like it was much easier to get on a train.

One of the trains actually, Becky, that came into the city while we were there, was the first wave of evacuees from Sumy, that city in northeastern

Ukraine, where an evacuation corridor was successfully opened up yesterday.

They went to another city called Poltava, about 100 miles inland. From there they were loaded on to trains and ended up here in Lviv. The entire

journey took well over 24 hours.

And many of the people on there were actually foreign students, who were prioritized in the first convoy out of the city. The majority of the

students were from India, who immediately boarded a train bound for Poland.

I spoke to many of the Nigerian students who were there, who are getting on buses, to go to -- to go to Hungary, excuse me. And they described

absolutely terrifying scenes in Sumy, sleeping in a basement for the last several nights, amidst the bombing.

They said some of the bombs were so loud, they actually thought their own building had been struck. Obviously they were hoping and praying for this

corridor. And they didn't seem to mind the fact that their journey was extremely uncomfortable and extremely long. They're just happy to be here

and in one piece.

ANDERSON: Scott, thank you.

You're watching CNN. Back after this.




ANDERSON: Right. I want to dig a bit deeper now into what Western nations are doing. to put pressure on Russia. E.U. leaders are preparing for a

summit on Thursday in France. But ahead of that meeting they have already agreed to a wave of new sanctions.

The measures target more wealthy Russians close to Vladimir Putin, Russia's maritime industry and three banks in Belarus, allies of this Russian


On Tuesday, the U.S. said it would stop buying Russian oil and gas. The E.U. has been slower to act in that arena, because, frankly, it is far more

reliant on Russian energy than the U.S. or the U.K. are. A senior Biden administration official laid out how the U.S. sees this crisis ending.


VICTORIA NULAND, ASST. SECRETARY OF STATE: The way this conflict will end is when Putin realizes that this adventure has put his own leadership

standing at risk and he will have to change course or the Russian people take matters into their own hands.

But from the U.S. perspective, the end game is the strategic defeat of President Putin in this adventure.



ANDERSON: OK. Well, my next guest thinks that the U.S. reliance on foreign oil from Russia, also from other countries, is a major problem.

Congressman Chris Stewart recently tweeted, "Why is the president asking dictators in Venezuela and Iran to produce more energy for us?"

And the Republican from Utah, Chris Stewart, joins us now.

Let's talk about this ban in the first instance.

What will a ban on Russian oil by the U.S. actually accomplish?

REP. CHRIS STEWART (R-UT): Well, a couple of things. I agree with the president on half of his decision and that is we shouldn't be spending

sending $70 million a day to Russia. The American people should be able to buy that oil from other sources from our own domestic production.

I don't think we should look to other unreliable dictators like Venezuela or Iran. Neither is a trusted partner. We shouldn't be funding these

leaderships and tyrannical governments, either.

ANDERSON: At present there is, it seems, no effort on the part of the Saudis, who are part of OPEC+, which includes Russia, to pump anything


Is that a disappointment?

STEWART: Well, it is. I mean, I would much rather go to the Saudis, who are invaluable partners for us and trusted allies in many ways. But the

solution for America is American domestic oil production. My heavens, we were completely oil independent a little more than a year ago. We know we

have these resources domestically.

Why aren't we paying them to American producers?

Why aren't we paying those taxes to American producers, rather than paying them to an overseas government?

ANDERSON: But that's not going to happen in the short term. What this will do is likely push gasoline prices sky high, like it or not. The U.S. cannot

plug that energy gap in the short term.

Are your constituents ready for that?

STEWART: Yes, you bring up a good point; that is you're right. It takes months to increase that production. Interestingly, the United States can do

it about twice as fast as another nation can. We really are ready to go. We could do it quite quickly.

But you're right, in the short term, we're going to pay higher gas prices for that. I think the American people support that. We have to recognize

this is a real challenge for a lot of people. I grew up on a farm, on a ranch. I talked to a farmer yesterday. He was nearly in tears trying to

figure out how to run his farm. This has real human costs.

ANDERSON: The U.S. and its European allies, with respect, sir, this will have very little impact on Russia. Let's be quite clear. The Europeans not

effecting that ban immediately.

So this decision is more about politics in the United States, isn't it, than an effort to stop the war in Ukraine?

STEWART: Well, I would argue it will have impacts on Russia. I think it is not just a political argument, it is a moral argument, I think there is a

moral victory for us to say we're not going to help you fund your invasion into Ukraine.

We're not going to do that with U.S. dollars. I wouldn't support doing business and trade with Nazi Germany or with Russia during the height of

the Cold War. There is a moral element to this as well. And I understand that it's a global oil market, I understand this is a delicate and

complicated economic issue.

But I would argue that it would hurt Ukraine -- I'm sorry, Russia as I just said -- and it is -- I think it is the right thing, the right thing to do

morally as well as politically to make this stand.

And, look, one final point if I could. I think Vladimir Putin underestimated two vital things. Number one, the will of the Ukrainian

people to fight for their own independence.

And the second, as you were talking earlier, was the world coming together, a global response to this. And I think that's overwhelmed him. I'm so proud

and happy the world has united in this. But part of that has to be addressing Russian oil.

ANDERSON: You're a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

What are you hearing from U.S. intelligence sources about what Russian citizens, soldiers and, indeed, what the higher echelons think about the

success or not of this invasion?

STEWART: Yes, gosh, that's a great question. It is very far reaching abroad. There is a couple of elements to it.


STEWART: One of the things we ask is, will Ukrainian people continue to resist?

Do they have that moral will to continue to fight?

And the answer -- and we have been arguing this for a couple of months, is that Vladimir Putin -- you don't know what you're walking into. The

Ukrainian people do not want to live under your thumb.

The second question is, what about the Russian people?

You've mentioned that a time or two in the previous segment.

How long will the Russian people sustain the economic hardship?

How many of them look at their cousins to the east, Ukrainian cousins, and think why are we in fighting them?

As you said, he has controlled the flow of information to the Russian people. But they still are seeing some of it and I think the truth will

eventually spread.

And finally, the last question I think we're focusing on, among many, is, what is Vladimir Putin's off ramp?

How does he extract himself from this situation?

Or what does victory actually mean and look like to him?

And honestly, we don't know the answers to those questions yet.

ANDERSON: How do you rate Joe Biden's efforts to date?

First in his diplomacy ahead of the invasion and since the Russians' attack, did the White House do enough to try to de-escalate this ahead of

February 24th?

STEWART: Yes, you know, again, I don't want to necessarily criticize our president for his efforts here. I think he's done much of what we hoped he

would do. I'm disappointed in two primary things.

Number one, the president said definitively, as early as last winter, even late fall, we have intelligence that indicates Vladimir Putin is going to

invade Ukraine. And, again, he was definitive on that, as were some of us others.

And if that was the case, then we were arguing at that time you should begin to arm them. You should begin to give them defensive weapons systems,

Javelin missile systems and others. I think that might have been a deterrent to Vladimir Putin, if he would have seen that happen before.

But he withheld the sanctions until after the fact -- and I think it had, unfortunately, the opposite effect of what we were hoping for, if the goal

was deterrence. And I think as well we should have clearly been driving the price of oil down, not the price of oil up.

If you want to help Vladimir Putin, increase the global cost of energy. That's what we have done over the last year, the last 15 months. And that

is my primary disagreement with the president, is his own domestic energy policies that have driven the price of oil up in such a significant way.

ANDERSON: Do you want to see President Biden pick up the phone, too, and have a conversation with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia at this point?

There are reports that call actually isn't one that the crown prince is prepared to take at this point.

What is your view?

STEWART: Yes, that's interesting, isn't it, because apparently that's happened a time or two. I would encourage the president to have

conversations with any of our allies, any of those people we hope we can bring along in this effort. His primary focus with the crown prince is

going to get them to increase their production and their supply of oil.

But again, I wish instead of calling the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who is calling domestic oil producers, the small ones, the middle ones, the

midsized, they can move very quickly into this space. As I said, they can move twice as fast as any other nation as far as filling this gap.

So I'm glad he's talking to Saudis. But the preferred answer is let's focus on U.S. domestic energy production.

ANDERSON: With that, we're going to leave it there. We do very much appreciate your time, insight and analysis is extremely important. Thank


STEWART: Thank you.

Coming up, hundreds of thousands of civilians are racing to escape Ukraine's borders. But for the elderly and vulnerable, the struggle to

leave and survive is proving especially burdensome. That is coming up.





ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson in Dubai -- in Dubai -- in Abu Dhabi, following the breaking news of Russia's intensifying attacks as its

invasion of Ukraine stretches into what is now the 14th day.

And in Ukraine, it's said to be limited movement during a tense and fleeting cease-fire, allowing civilians to escape through humanitarian

corridors. Heavy weapons fire appears to have disrupted routes in several areas.

There has been better progress in the city of Enerhodar. Romanian border police say more than 280,000 people, that's a quarter of a million people,

have crossed into that country. Most of them have already moved on to other locations.

Meanwhile, 800,000, just short of a million refugees, have been registered in Germany. It comes as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy repeats his calls for

a no-fly zone over the skies of Ukraine. Earlier he warned, if they remain open, Ukraine's partners will be responsible for a massive humanitarian


While millions have evacuated Ukraine's borders, the U.N. says hundreds of thousands are still trying to flee combat zones inside the country. That

desperate struggle to escape is especially hard on the elderly and other vulnerable people, as you can imagine. CNN's Clarissa Ward has this report.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Incredibly, they emerge, some still standing. Some too weak to walk after

more than a week under heavy bombardment in the Kyiv suburb of European.

Volunteers help them carry their bags, the final few feet to relative safety. There are tearful reunions as relatives fear dead finally appear

after days of no contact with the outside world.

Many are still looking for their loved ones. Soldiers help where they can. For Larissa (PH) and Andre (PH), it is an agonizing wait. Their son has

been pinned down in the hotel he owns.

We wait, we hope, we pray, they tell me. This is the grief of all mothers, of all people, Larissa says. This is a tragedy.

Every time the phone rings, there's a scramble, anticipation that it could be their son's voice on the line. This time, it is not.

Excuse me, I can't talk, Andre says. I'm waiting for my son. They are not the only ones waiting. These residents of a nursing home were among the

last to be evacuated from Irpin. They have been sitting here now for hours. Confused and disorientated, many don't know where they are going. Volunteer

gently guides these women back to wait for the next bus.


WARD (voice-over): Valentina (ph) tells us she is frightened and freezing after days of endless shelling and no heat. I want to lie down, she says,

please help me.

But for now, there is no place to lie down. The women are shepherded onto a bus, their arduous journey, not over yet.

For Larissa and Andre, the wait is finally over. Their son is alive.

ANDRIY KOLESNIK, IRPIN RESIDENT: The only words you can tell to the phone, like mom, I'm alive. Mom, I'm alive. And that's it.

WARD: I'm the happiest mother in the world right now, she says. My son is with me. But not every mother here is so lucky. And for many, the weight

continues -- Clarissa Ward, CNN, Kyiv.


ANDERSON: Well, as it looks for more ways to aid Ukraine, the U.S. is also preparing for the worst in case Russia doesn't stop there. Washington

moving to shore up NATO allies, sending two Patriot missile batteries to Poland in a defensive deployment to counter any potential threat from


Barbara Starr joining us live from the Pentagon.

As the U.S. does that, so Poland talks about an offer of MiG fighter jets to the U.S. base in Ramstein for potential deployment into Ukraine. There

is an awful lot going on at present. What I just suggested has been called untenable by the Pentagon.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The Pentagon doesn't want to take -- the U.S. does not want to take possession of MiG-29s that would go

into Ukraine and be part of the war, because Putin made it very clear that any country that engages in that type of weapons supply, he would see as

being prosecuting the war against Russia.

Now let me jump ahead and say very public knowledge that the U.S. and many of its allies are providing anti-air, anti-tank weapons; not entirely clear

how fighter jets are different. But that's why we are right now.

This all, of course, under the -- within the atmosphere that has been created by president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who continues to press his

friends and allies, as he calls them, for a no-fly zone, of course.

Complicated for Kamala Harris, who is on her way to Poland as we speak. Washington is, though, also talking about moving additional assets to

protect other NATO allies.

What do we know at this point?

STARR: Well, it is that eastern flank, Poland, Romania, the Baltic nations, where their borders, their airspace, their national space really

bumps up against Russia and Ukraine. They're very nervous with good reason. So the U.S. really working on deterrence now.

As you just pointed out, Becky, sending two Patriot missile batteries into Poland, repositioning them into Poland for air defense against any

possibility of Russian missiles straying into Polish airspace, either accidentally or deliberately, a deterrence against any possible Russian


You can see other air defenses potentially in the coming days, perhaps being put in as well. The U.S. hasn't shut the door to any of that. We saw

another 500 U.S. troops earmarked to deploy to Europe. They would provide command and control for air forces if it came to that.

There is already a similar Army headquarters that recently has been earmarked to go to Germany for the very same reason, command and control of

ground forces, if it comes to that.

So you can begin to see the beginning of a structure being put into place for potential -- we want to stress that -- potential military operations if

NATO is attacked. Certainly everyone hopes it doesn't come to that.

ANDERSON: Barbara, thank you.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, there has been -- says there has been no critical impact to safety at Chernobyl. Now the reason for that

statement is it follows Ukraine's foreign minister and its security and intelligence service --


ANDERSON: -- warning of a potential radiation leak after the plant was disconnected from the state's power grid.

Joining me now, senior research editor at MIT Security Studies program, Jim Walsh, in Washington, here to help us understand how connecting this

nuclear power plant from the state power grid might cause a nuclear discharge. Explain if you will.

JIM WALSH, SENIOR RESEARCH EDITOR, MIT SECURITY STUDIES PROGRAM: Sure. So let's first start with the general principle, which is nuclear power

plants, operating nuclear power plants, and nearby facilities that hold the nuclear waste, the hot waste, that has just come out of a working nuclear

power plant, they need to maintain a cool temperature.

The power plant itself does and, more importantly, because it is more vulnerable, the spent fuel ponds with the hot radioactive waste have to be

cooled down. If you lose cooling for either of those, you are running the risk of different types of radiation leakage.

Now let's talk about Chernobyl. Chernobyl, it has been 30 plus years since that plant had an accident and was shut down. So a lot of that fuel has had

30 plus years to cool down, unlike the fuel that was at that Ukrainian reactor that the Russians attacked early in the invasion, in which there

was a fire nearby.

So the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, has come out this morning and said, even if Chernobyl, this 30 plus year old plant, were to

lose its main power supply, it has a short-term backup power supply for 48 hours or so.

But more fundamentally that the risk of a leak or problems is lower because it has had 30 years to cool down.

So the big difference here is Chernobyl's old and all the other power plants in Ukraine are not that old, as far as having been shut down decades

ago. So that danger, less for Chernobyl but certainly a potential danger if currently operating nuclear, other currently operating nuclear power plants

in Ukraine were to suffer similar problems.

ANDERSON: Fascinating. OK. You've testified before the U.S. Senate and House on issues of nuclear terrorism, following your talks with officials

in both Iran and in North Korea.

How seriously are you taking Vladimir Putin's "threats and illusions" to a potential nuclear war?

WALSH: I think you have to take them seriously. Anytime a country goes on nuclear alert, it is a serious matter. Now over the seven-plus decades of

the nuclear age, countries have gone on alert, have not fought a second nuclear war.

So it is not a guarantee. If you go on alert, it is not automatic it is going to be a nuclear exchange. But yes, I think this is a real danger. It

should remind us what we all forgot about after the Cold War.

When the Cold War ended, we all sighed a sigh of relief, we weren't going to die in a global thermonuclear war and then we moved on to other things.

But while we were moving on to other things, there were another 15,000 nuclear weapons still in the world. Russia owns 45 percent of those nuclear

weapons and they have not gone away. And so that remains a danger.

"The Washington Post" had a headline the other day that I think said it well, which is Russia reminds us why we need to finish the unfinished

business of nuclear arms control. It just takes one bad leader, one bad miscalculation and you can end up in a very, very horrific place, far

beyond what we're seeing on the ground right now.

ANDERSON: Jim, we'll have you back, sir. Thank you, Jim Walsh.

WALSH: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Up next, how a basketball superstar has gotten caught up in what is an international game of diplomacy. Stay with us.





ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. The sports world continues to be heavily impacted by the war in Ukraine, with tennis star Andy Murray now

pitching in noncharitable donations. Alex Thomas is here with the details.

ALEX THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Andy Murray saying he will donate his entire prize money for the rest of the year to help children disrupted by

the war in Ukraine. The former world number one, double Olympic champion and three-time grand slam winner is on the comeback trail and is competing

at the Masters tournament in Indian Wells, California.

He made half a million in prize money last year but his most successful season was 2016, when he won more than $13 million. Murray tweeting

earlier, "Over 7.5 million children are at risk with the escalating conflict in Ukraine. So I'm working with UNICEF to help provide urgent

medical supplies and early childhood development kits.

"It is vital education continues. Children in Ukraine need peace now."

Despite the horrors back home, Ukraine's Paralympians are doing their country proud at Beijing 2022. Third in the overall medals table with one

medalist underlining how tough it must be to focus on the competition.

Having finished third and claiming bronze in one of the biathlon events, cross country skiing and shooting, he revealed his home back in Ukraine has

been bombed and destroyed while he's been away at the Olympics -- the Paralympics. However he says he is still happy at being part of a clean

sweep of the podium by Ukrainian athletes.

Elsewhere, there's growing concern for basketball star Brittney Griner. Her whereabouts are unknown after she was detained last month on arrival in

Moscow to play for a Russian team.

And Griner isn't the only American being held in that country at what is a politically sensitive time, of course. CNN's Lucy Kafanov has more.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is the first image Americans are seeing of WNBA star Brittney Griner since her arrest in


More CCTV footage showing Griner at Moscow's airport after arriving on a flight from New York sometime in February. It depicts a service dog

alerting customs officials, triggering a search of her luggage. They examine a plastic bag, which has what looks to be electronic vape


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): An expert determined that the liquid is a narcotic drug, cannabis oil. A criminal case has been opened

against an American citizen for smuggling a significant amount of drugs.

KAFANOV (voice-over): The Russian segment also mockingly referenced Griner's sexual orientation in a country known for harsh anti-LGBTQ laws.

Griner's wife among those pleading for her release.

Like many female athletes, Griner has spent her winters playing basketball in Russia, where the pay is better, seen here being greeted by fans in

2021. But the warm welcome is now a harsh reality.

If convicted, the seven-time WNBA all-star and two-time Olympic gold medalist could face up to 10 years in a Russian prison.

Griner is not the only American languishing in Russian custody. Two other Americans, Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan, have been convicted and imprisoned

in Russia in recent years. Both are former Marines.

In 2020, Reed convicted of endangering the life and health of police and says he was drunk and doesn't remember the night he was arrested. He was

sentenced to nine years in prison.


KAFANOV (voice-over): His family in Texas spoke on the phone today with President Biden when he visited the state. They had repeatedly asked for a

meeting. The White House says they are still working on the timing for a formal meeting.

JOEY REED, TREVOR'S FATHER: We want to talk to the president and say you're the only man in the world that can bring him home and you can do it

today. And we need him to do it.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Paul Whelan was arrested in Moscow in 2018, charged with espionage, convicted and sentenced to 16 years, including time in a

forced labor camp.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We have been seeking the release of Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed for some time, both of whom are unjustly

detained. We have an embassy team that's working on the cases of other Americans who are detained in Russia.

KAFANOV (voice-over): But as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues and the diplomatic rift between the U.S. and Russia grows wider, the

possibility of release for Americans held in Russia could become more difficult with each passing day -- Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Phoenix, Arizona.


THOMAS: Unsettling to be an American detained in Russia at any time, particularly now.

ANDERSON: Absolutely. Thank you, sir.

Despite a full-on Russian invasion, the people of Ukraine still have hope they can win this war. After the break, a look back at the last two weeks

of the war in Ukraine.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I left my heart there in Ukraine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

WARD: She said I'm afraid.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're hoping the international community will help us.





ANDERSON: Well, we are now coming up to two weeks since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Hundreds of Ukrainian lives have been lost,

more than 2 million people have fled the country. And Russian assaults have laid ruin to many cities.

The heartbreak is palpable. But the resolve of the Ukrainian people is unwavering. Here is a look at the war so far, set to music.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My family was divided by war (INAUDIBLE). I left my heart there in Ukraine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

WARD: She said I'm afraid.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're hoping that the international community will help us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to live in peace and in freedom.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Difficult times but we are optimistic. We are fighting strong. And we will win.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I told her it is something will explode or whatever, she needs to hold her sister and don't run to me. They need to stay there

and be there for her.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): We're living in real hell. I could never imagine that something like that can happen in 21st century.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): We're a country, we're strong people, strong nation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (from captions): I brought here a child and I want to go back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ukraine is today the most brave -- the bravest nation in the world. And I'm proud of that.



ANDERSON: As days turn into weeks for those holed up in bomb shelters, some Ukrainians are still finding ways to do the things they love.



ANDERSON (voice-over): A hauntingly moving performance there by Ukrainian violinist who is in a shelter in Kharkiv. She posted this video on

Instagram, saying it's a song her late grandmother used to sing at family gatherings. She says her grandma survived the occupation of Kharkiv in the

1940s. The violinist has no plans to leave the city.


ANDERSON: Back for the second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD after this.