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Connect the World

Humanitarian Corridors Around Six Areas Open; Oil Soars as Energy becomes Economic Weapon Against Russia; Big-Name Businesses pull out of Russia in Droves; U.S., Germany Won't Help Poland Send Fighter Jets to Ukraine; Civilians Fleeing Combat Zones in Ukraine; Blinken: U.S. is in Constant Contact with Allies about Ukraine. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired March 09, 2022 - 11:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Well, I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome back to the show! As we begin the second hour of "Connect the

World". There are just a few hours left in a 12 hour ceasefire in getting civilians out of and aid into the besieged Ukrainian cities with reports of

both progress and problems.

Ukraine and Russia agreeing to cease hostilities in six areas around Ukraine heavy weapons fire appears to be disrupting some of the routes and

officials say Russian forces have blocked departures from a suburb of Kyiv, leaving residents there stranded.

Still, some are getting out of harm's way these images showing evacuations in the city near the nuclear power plant that Russian forces seized last

week. Many of these people have been in hiding in desperate need of food, water and medicine. Ukraine's President again pleading for help from the

west take a listen.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: 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



ANDERSON: Well, not long ago officials in the Southern Ukrainian City of Mariupol announced Russian bombs destroyed a maternity hospital. This video

is said to be at the attack posted on social media. The city council calling the destruction enormous and saying it's gathering information on


Well, as the Russian onslaught continues the Kremlin is calling Thursday's plan 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 though, for that meeting.

Well, a day after the U.S. banned Russian energy imports the Kremlin is accusing Washington of waging an economic war. On the ground in Ukraine

International assistance has bolstered a fierce resistance and helps prevent a quick Russian victory. Jim Sciutto has that.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Nearly two weeks into the invasion, the war in Ukraine has become a slow grinding conflict, not the

Blitzkrieg advanced the Russian military had planned and hoped for.

AVRIL HAINES, U.S. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Russia's failure to rapidly seize Kyiv and overwhelm Ukrainian forces has deprived Moscow of

the quick military victory that probably had originally expected.

SCIUTTO (voice over): U.S. and NATO military assistance to Ukrainian forces has flowed in quickly and in enormous quantities. Today at the U.S. and

partners who provided some 17,000 anti-tank missiles including the javelin and 84 shoulder fired systems.

And according to a senior U.S. official, some 3700 anti-aircraft missiles, including the stinger shoulder fired missile, the vast majority since the

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

attack helicopter.

BRIG. GEN. STEVE ANDERSON, U.S. ARMY (RET.): It's a race between our ability and NATO's ability to push forward supplies, such as the 17,000

missiles that have been recently approved to get those into the hands of the Ukrainian warfighters 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 two and 4000 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 though they continue efforts to surround cities such as

Kharkiv. A senior U.S. official tells me the U.S. believes Russia is still several days from being able to surround the capital key. And after that

faces a protracted battle to occupy the city itself.

HAINES: Our analysts assess that 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: As Russia's advanced has stalled its forces have increasingly targeted the civilian population with aerial bombardment and shelling

following a time worn Russian strategy it pursued ruthlessly in Chechnya in the 1990s and more recently in Syria. At least 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 "Considerably higher". Jim Sciutto, CNN Lviv.


ANDERSON: Well, this just into CNN, the UAE Ambassador to Washington Youssef Allah Tabor says they are in favor of an oil production increase

and we'll be encouraging OPEC to consider higher output.


ANDERSON: as they are in favor of an oil production increase, and we'll be encouraging OPEC to consider higher output. Earlier Goldman Sachs, saying

the world may be facing one of the largest energy supply shocks ever.

Well, let's take a look where oil stands at present? 121 on Brent Crude 117 on the WTI these numbers are down from $139 on the barrel yesterday, that

number of course, the highest since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. These swings set in motion after President Biden announced a ban on all Russian

energy imports now, turning to other oil producing powerhouses to pad global supply.

Well, Amena Bakr is the Chief OPEC Correspondent and the Deputy Dubai Bureau Chief at Energy Intelligence. She joins me now from the CNN Dubai

Bureau. And we just got that line from the UAE Ambassador to Washington. And this will very much feed into the debate about whether America's Gulf

allies are prepared to let's call it help out at this point with these prices as high as they were your thoughts?

AMENA BAKR, CHIEF OPEC CORRESPONDENT, ENERGY INTELLIGENCE: Well, Becky, so far, we haven't been hearing anything official from the UAE Energy Ministry

or the Saudi Energy Ministry on that matter. In fact, for the time being, they are sticking to the current OPEC plus policy, which is keeping the

400,000 barrel increments.

Now, of course, by the end of the month, OPEC plus is supposed to meet again, they're probably going to reassess the market fundamentals. And

clearly, I mean, just over the past couple of weeks, we are seeing a lot of drops happening in Russia's exports, about two thirds of Russia's exports

are impacted perhaps by self-sanctioning, or by the direct sanctions that have been imposed.

So that's something that's going to be reviewed by the group but for the time being, I can say that there isn't a move to call for an extraordinary

OPEC meeting.

ANDERSON: Let's just explore exactly what's going on here? You just they're talking about, you know, a disruption in the fundamentals. And we are

beginning to see a disruption to the supply of Russian oil. Let's just explain why that is important. How things have changed, for example, since

the last OPEC meeting, and how that could change things going forward?

BAKR: Sure, I mean, first of all, you've just mentioned that the U.S., we've seen that the U.S. already pressed sanctions on oil, it doesn't

impact the U.S. that much because the U.S. only imported around 200,000 barrels of Russian crude in 2021. So its impact on the U.S. is limited.

However, we're seeing companies in Europe refineries start the self- sanctioning process, which is impacting Russian exports. And that, of course, is creating a deficit in the market. Now, overall, I can tell you

that if Europe presses the same kind of sanctions that the U.S. has, that'll create a gap of about 4.3 million barrels.

And that's something that OPEC plus can't fill. I've mentioned before that OPEC plus currently have a spare capacity of up to 2.5 million barrels. So

there's a gap there. And with no gap - with no extra supply to fill that gap, we might see oil prices rising, perhaps to $200.

ANDERSON: That extra capacity, of course, is from the Saudis, who take a lead with the Russians in this OPEC plus grouping and, of course, the UAE.

You've been talking about fundamentals, and we're considering there may be a change to those, and therefore, that would provide an argument for

raising output.

There's also a second argument isn't that? There is the fact that the UAE and the Saudis would consider themselves and have done for many years now

as allies of the West. And so there must be a consideration at present about what they might do, whether that is inside the OPEC plus group, which

of course, includes Russia, or whether they may just provide some support for this market unilaterally at this point is that an option?

BAKR: You're talking about unilateral action, Becky. And yes, of course, that was something that was asked very early on to these two producers that

hold the spare capacity. Why don't they take unilateral action?


BAKR: And the reasoning behind that is that they want to keep unity within this group, and they don't want Russia to step out or leave the OPEC plus

group would be - this would be a big loss--

ANDERSON: Why, just explain why?

BAKR: --they would be losing. I can I can tell you that. I mean, OPEC Plus is a very effective market managing tool. And without the weight of Russia

in the group, it would be less effective. We saw in April 2020, Saudi Arabia announced a free for all production. And that was just to get Russia

to sit back on to the negotiating table.

Today, we're seeing the opposite. We're seeing no action to keep Russia inside the OPEC plus group. So that's a factor that's being considered too,

unity within the group.

ANDERSON: What would happen if OPEC plus fell apart at this point?

BAKR: Well, you're going to get to volatility that we're seeing in other commodities, like the gas markets, like in the metal markets. Oil rose -

the rise in oil prices was limited compared to all these other commodities because of market management.

And this is something that the group's members always mentioned that perhaps the gas market needs another market managing tool to contain these

sharp movements in prices. So if we don't have an OPEC plus, I suspect that we're going to have a lot more volatility in this commodity.

ANDERSON: For market management, of course, some will read collusion, correct?

BAKR: Yes, that's another way to look at it.

ANDERSON: Going forward, we've seen the U.S. take a position, which is no more Russian oil, gas or coal, immediately with immediate effect. The

Europeans not so fast, particularly the Germans and we know there has been disconnect among what is otherwise a relatively unified bloc of Europe. But

when it comes to energy, this is a real issue, isn't it? Let's just remind our viewers why?

BAKR: This war has a huge component related to energy security. 45 percent of gas that Europe needs comes from Russia. So having these European states

being hesitant about cutting off supplies from Russia, I mean, they have every right to be hesitant, because they understand the impact that it's

going to have on their people and their economies, et cetera.

So, but however, we did see a plan, and at this point, it's just a plan the EU said that they do plan to phase out their dependence on Russian gas, by

the end of this year are a large portion of it. But details of what that entails. They mentioned more renewables, other sources, efficiency, et

cetera. But that that really remains to be seen. And we need to see how that plays out.

But for the time being Becky, I don't think the Europeans are going to jump into sanctioning energy like the U.S. did, because they're a lot more

dependent on Russian energy supplies.

ANDERSON: With that we're gonna leave it there. We thank you very much indeed, for joining us. An extremely important conversation with Amena

Bakr, whose analysis and insight is just terrifically important for us at this point. Thank you.

Well, let's get you back on the ground in Ukraine. Let's get to CNN's Scott McLean, who's connecting us from Lviv in Western Ukraine home now to

hundreds of thousands of displaced Ukrainians. What is going on, on the ground where you are? And what's happening elsewhere at this point? Where

do you want to start?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey Becky. Yes, the biggest news right now on the ground in Ukraine is that the Ukrainians and again, we're still

getting information on this. So all the information I'm about to tell you is according to the Ukrainian authorities, but Ukraine is saying that the

Russians have dropped bombs on a hospital on maternity wards specifically in the City of Mariupol.

So the city council in that city has released video showing that maternity ward destroyed they say that an area where children were being treated was

completely destroyed. All in all, the head of the regional government says that it was a maternity ward, a children's ward and also the Department of

Internal Medicine that were hit or they were destroyed.

Now, the President, President Zelensky has condemned the Russian saying that there were children under the wreckage and again he called on NATO to

close the skies. He said how much longer will be an accomplice ignoring terror.


MCLEAN: Now again Becky we are still trying to get more information on casualties. But looking at new video that's been released of that site it

is difficult to imagine that that bomb could possibly go off and there wouldn't be people killed and certainly a large number of people injured as


ANDERSON: Shocking stuff. Meanwhile, where you are the swell of people leaving, or certainly trying to leave by the West through Poland continues,

just how challenging are things?

MCLEAN: Well, there's two parts to this, Becky. So there are there are the people in parts of Ukraine that can get out more easily. Sure they'll have

to endure checkpoints they'll have to endure trying to get a train amid the packed crowds and then trying to get out of the Lviv and actually across

the border. That is a challenge.

But it is an even bigger challenge for the people who are stuck in some of these besieged cities in the North, East in the south of Ukraine, where the

Russians and the Ukrainians have agreed on humanitarian corridors. It's one thing to agree in principle, though it is a totally different thing to

actually make it work in practice.

And we are seeing mixed results in terms of how well these corridors are working? So for instance - that is the place where the Russians have taken

control of a nuclear power plant. People are getting out of that that area, same with Irpin the suburb of Kyiv where that has taken intense shelling in

recent days.

Assuming the local authorities say some 5000 people were able to escape yesterday. I can tell you, we were just at the train station in Lviv. A

good chunk of those people who are able to get out were foreign students. They took the humanitarian corridor by bus to a place called Poltava and

then a train here to the Lviv.

The entire thing took more than 24 hours but those students are now some of them are on a train to Poland which surely has arrived already. Others are

on route by bus to Hungary. They are just happy to be alive. They are happy to have survived this ordeal in one piece, and many of them are looking

forward to coming back to Ukraine Becky.

ANDERSON: It seems to be some disconnect between watching military advances in the East and the South compared to the bogged down offensive in Kyiv.

The Capital's Mayor telling CNN if Russia were to encircle the capital resources would last maybe a week or two. What's your assessment being on

the ground as you are?

MCLEAN: Yes, so obviously food, water humanitarian assistance is a challenge in many places. Right now Becky, specifically with the Kyiv Mayor

is saying is all the more worrying considering how many people are still in that city.

In fact, the suburbs around Kyiv, that is where they're trying to evacuate people to, to Kyiv so that they can take the train or bus or try to get out

of the city however they can. One of the suburbs that the Kyiv Mayor mentioned specifically Boucher, the local authorities there says that the

Russian military is blocking the convoy of evacuees from actually leaving the city.

And the Mayor of Kyiv says that it is his understanding that there were some 1000 people who have spent the last week in a bunker with limited

access to food and to water so an extremely dire situation there. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made clear yesterday to the British

Parliament that there was a child who died in Mariupol of dehydration because there was not enough food there was not enough water.

And so the humanitarian issues are becoming a big, big issue. Not just the military issues, not just the danger from bombs, not just the danger from

airstrikes or from shelling on the ground. But also the danger of running out of food running out of water is a real worry for a lot of Ukrainians

and many of them as we know, are headed to the exits.

ANDERSON: Scott, thank you. Well, ahead on the show every day Russians feel the impact of Moscow's decision to invade Ukraine. We'll tell you about the

dozens of big name businesses that are pulling out of Russia. Plus, as the damage mounts in Ukraine I'll speak to a top Estonian Defense Official

about efforts to defend NATO allies in Eastern Europe that's after this.



ANDERSON: Well, at the end of the Cold War, just over three decades ago, this scene was supposed to be the dawn of a new era, one of America's most

well-known brands McDonald's opening up in Russia.

Well now the iconic fast food chain is closing its doors there for now at least one of dozens of big name businesses pulling out over Russia's

invasion of Ukraine. Our Anna Stewart joins me now live from London for more details.

Just another you know, it's not just another brand. This is really an iconic brand and its entry into the Russian market, of course, as I've

explained was so big back in the day, what's the impact for Russia here economically? It's certainly going to look like a country that isn't as

well branded as it were going forward.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Certainly, I think just going down Russian high streets will very soon feel different. You will see shops, restaurants

cafes shut up and for how long? Nobody really knows. It depends on the situation on the ground in Ukraine.

You know, supermarket shelves are likely to suddenly be missing all sorts of Western branded items. And I'd love to tell you what it is like on the

ground. But of course, news outlets like CNN cannot report there since independent journalism was essentially criminalized.

Now, McDonald's is an incredibly iconic brand, the ultimate American capitalist brand, really think about it. And it opened in 1990, right after

the Cold War and had queues of Russians queuing for hours in the cold outside.

So that is why that one, as you say, is just so symbolic. But also just thinking about the situation for ordinary Russians, not only our products,

you know, going to be disappearing from shelves, not only that we closed up shops and restaurants and cafes, the ruble has lost over 80 percent of its

value since the beginning of the year.

Where can you fly to nowhere in Europe, you know, increasingly they are feeling isolated. International credit cards won't work in Russia. You are

now as of last night banned from taking out a certain amount. I think it's beyond 10,000 U.S. dollars if you have international savings within the

country, this is the situation.

And in terms of the impact on the economy, Becky, well, at the end of last week, JP Morgan Goldman Sachs said that the Russian economy could contract

by around 7 percent this year. But the situation since the end of last week has really escalated whether you're looking at the sanctions on oil,

corporates pulling out, you know, this escalation really of the economic battle changes day by day.

ANDERSON: The companies that are backing out have made the point that the decision won't be easy on their employees. They've made a distinction

between the government and those who work for them. Have they spoken about how their employees will be cared for going forward?

STEWART: Plenty of them have and just looking at their list is extraordinary thing how many employees are likely impacted here. For

instance, McDonald's, say they employ 62,000 people, now they say they are going to pay employee salaries even though they won't be working.

But they haven't said for how long and how long they can keep that going. Heineken another brand late to the game, but potentially because they were

looking at this issue for their employees had this statement to say, we see a clear distinction between the actions of the government and our employees

in Russia.

For more than 20 years our local employees have been valued members of the Heineken business. Supporting them and their families is a key principle as

we define the path forward. IKEA closed up; they employ 15,000 people in Russia. All the big consultancy firms I tallied it up together it's over

18,000 workers impacted.


STEWART: So not only are we seeing a huge impact for just absolutely everyone in Russia, in addition to oligarchs, it's not just the consumer

side, it's also people's jobs. And again, that will have an impact on the economy, the looming unemployment that could be to come.

ANDERSON: Anna, thank you. Anna Stewart is on the story for you. And of course, worst outcome of war is, of course, the people who are forced to

flee their homes. The U.N. says 2 million, 2 million Ukrainians have now are certainly people who were living in Ukraine have fled the country in

the two weeks since the war started. That is an almost unbelievable number, were it not true?

Well, two out of every three of those have entered Poland and other 300,000 have crossed into Moldova. We've got reports now from both of those

countries, starting with Sara Sidner at the Polish Ukrainian border.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As you know, at the border, we're seeing mostly women and children. This is the border between Poland

and Ukraine called the medical border. And we have to also talk to some of the children we hear a lot from the adults.

When we talk to some of the children and one child in particular, had a terrifying story about how he got here. Little Bolden is 11 years old; he

had school and was living his life along with his parents who were working. And then suddenly, he was in the middle of war in Kyiv.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was hearing explosions all the time; I was scared because I knew that the rocket can hit my house, or the home of my

relatives. That's what scared me. The soldiers from Russia don't want to stop. They don't know where to stop. They're dropping bombs all the time.

SIDNER: He says it's so matter of factly. And what we are also hearing from kids. It's really what we're not hearing, we're not hearing crying. And

usually that means that they're in shock. Bowden just described things as if it was a regular day.

But clearly, the things that he was saying were terrifying. His grandmother was standing there and she was crying. So this has been an incredibly

difficult time for the adults. But for the children, imagine, you know, not really understanding what's going on and suddenly you're fleeing for your


And we are seeing that by the hundreds of thousands of mothers and children who are coming over the border on a daily basis Sara Sidner, CNN Medyka,


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The small former Soviet Republic of Moldova has opened its doors to hundreds of

thousands of refugees coming from neighboring Ukraine. And it is an enormous burden for this country of just 2.5 million people. I'm in a rural

village called Hirtop. It's got a population of just over 1000 people and there are at least 50 Ukrainian staying here. Some of them are relatives,

but others are complete strangers.

The Moldovan governments and aid organizations and private donors are trying to do everything they can to support these Ukrainian refugees.

People who've had to pick up everything and come running with very few resources of their own to bring but the government is warning it needs help

because the people of Moldova need help.

The U.S. government has pledged assistance the European Union and other groups like the United Nations as well, but Moldovan officials predict this

problem will get much, much worse. They're anticipating up to a million Ukrainians could be headed towards this small country in the weeks and

months to come Ivan Watson, CNN, Hirtop, Moldova.


ANDERSON: Well, Estonia standing in the line of defense as Russia's war destroys Ukrainian cities. Coming up next, I'm going to speak to the

Estonian defense ministries, Permanent Secretary about what is going on in Ukraine?



ANDERSON: Welcome back to "Connect the World". Let's check the day's major headlines coming out of the war in Ukraine. And the U.S. and Germany have

rejected a request by Poland to help send 28 MIG fighter jets to Ukraine. Poland has the planes but not a means to transport them.

The NATO allies are concerned about being drawn into the conflict if they take too much of an active role in the fight against Russia in the skies.

Well, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday that efforts are underway to evacuate civilians from Kyiv.

He said the operation is dangerous because Russia keeps firing on the agreed upon humanitarian corridors designed to allow evacuations, one of

the reasons why he continues to call for a no fly zone above his country.

Well, Estonia is a key hub in helping to protect NATO allies in Eastern Europe. Kusti Salm is the Permanent Secretary for the Estonian Ministry of

Defense and he joins us now live from the Estonian capital of Tallinn via Skype.

It's very good to have you, Sir. I want to start with Washington. Dismissing as untenable, Warsaw's plan to hand the U.S. fighter jets to

boost Ukraine's fight against Russia. What do you make of that offer by the polls and the decision by the U.S. not to take them?

KUSTI SALM, PERMANENT SECRETARY, ESTONIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY: Well, the handing Ukraine the lethal hate defensive aid is one of the - parts of the

strategy towards helping Ukraine. For example, here in Estonia, we have in total supported Ukraine with 220 million Euros worth of lethal and

defensive aid of weapons and ammunition.

And clearly when it comes to airplanes, can they qualify as defensive weapons. And we see that there is no intent of going and bombing the

Belarusian or Russian cities, it's meant for defending the Ukraine.

But when it comes to the decision, then it's clearly up to polish and the U.S. government to get to the conclusion on this. I think for the

international community, it is important that we wouldn't get stuck into this. There are plenty of other weapons and ammunition that can be given

over and just keeping the narrative open. The unity of the west is the most important thing here.

ANDERSON: But people will be asking, so what is the diplomatic difference then between providing sort of anti-tank missiles and providing fighter

jets. And it's the fighter jets; of course that the Ukrainian president says his country needs to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.

Another word he is used is genocide. And he is now saying that it is the responsibility of western nations to help to which you say what?

SALM: Well, I'm not in position to speak on behalf of Polish government or the U.S. government. But what I can assume is that there are some -

ANDERSON: But you're a NATO member, of course.

SALM: Yes, we are a NATO member. And NATO is doing - and NATO first of all, is a defensive alliance for providing the collective defense of its

members. But NATO and all its member states are doing a lot for supporting Ukraine.

But one of the key elements here in trying to contain this crisis and not only contains but putting forward a strategy that will end with pushing

Russia back and off from the territorial Ukraine. And the key part of this is to avoid escalation making something twice as worse is never a good

strategy resolution.


ANDERSON: Antony Blinken was in Estonia yesterday speaking to your president, we are just waiting. I'm just going to bring some images up for

our viewers. We are waiting to hear from Antony Blinken, who is - should be very shortly entertaining. Liz Truss, who is the British Foreign Secretary

in Washington, and we will listen to them when they start speaking. So forgive me if we jump in. What did he achieve in Estonia?

SALM: I guess for the Secretary Blinken, the most important message was that the NATO is - stands united the pledge for collective defense is

ironclad. And we work intensively to make sure that the territorial defense of NATO is assured.

But what was also discussed was how to further help Ukraine, help set the strategy to make sure that we will put an end to this war and make sure

that Ukraine will be restored on its democratic basis.

ANDERSON: How concerned are you that this war could spill over at this point? If I'd asked you that two weeks ago, I assume that you would have

given me a different answer to that which you are about to give me.

SALM: Well, to be honest, you are incorrect. Our answer has been pretty much the same since 2008. We have never had allusions on Russian attempt--.

And they're sort of progressive modus operandi. This is as just been unveiled now in this recent weeks. But clearly we are concerned.

And we are concerned especially if you look at Ukrainian map that is very often on CNN screens. It is usually zoomed in as one, you know, country.

But Ukraine is a huge country. Ukraine border is actually longer than European Union's eastern border up from Arctic to Black Sea.

And if you count the France how Russia has advanced than this, northeastern corner that is painted red also in your maps is actually in the size of

Belgium, Netherlands, and also Estonia.

This is something that they have achieved in a week, although we are all admired by the bravery of Ukrainians. And if you look at the front that has

been put forward in Donbas from Mariupol to Kharkiv, this is more than 500 kilometers.

This is a distance that you can draw from Warsaw to Berlin, we can travel from Brussels to Paris and back in this and also in the east, or in the

south, it's 400 kilometers apart. So if you would distribute it out for European map, then this is equal for how the second and in the First World

War started.

ANDERSON: Understood. Is there any evidence that the military support, you and other NATO allies are providing Ukraine is actually helping it fight

off Russian advances? It has to be asked at this point.

SALM: I think it does. The Russian economy is back in 80s, after a week after 10 days, eight days when the president was in the office in Soviet

Union, this is almost fourth year decline in their economy.

And the weapons aid that have been given over for all the allies is something that is, you know, immense amount that is helping them in order

from the unity that all the western countries not only sort of geographical western, but also Japan and the countries from these are really forming a

united front that gets the price tag very high for Russia.

This has been the sort of strategic attempt from the beginning to get the price for the war as high as possible. And I think - maximum has been


ANDERSON: Sir, thank you, it's good to have you on, appreciate your time. I know you're busy. Thank you.

SALM: Thanks.

ANDERSON: Coming up, civilians racing in droves to escape rushes on slough in Ukraine. For the elderly and the vulnerable, believe me it is not that

simple. We have a close up look at what people are dealing with in Kyiv.



ANDERSON: Millions of Ukrainians have fled the country since Russian forces first invaded the country nearly two weeks ago. And many for various

reasons remain in Ukraine but have been displaced from their homes, this war up ending lives and tearing families apart every single day. CNN's

Clarissa Ward now reports.


CLARRISA WAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Incredibly, they emerge, some still standing. Some two weeks to walk after more than a week under heavy

bombardment in the key of suburb of European volunteers help them carry their bags, the final few feet to relative safety.

There are tearful reunions, as relatives feared 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 and Andre 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 could be their son's voice on the line.

This time, that is not. Excuse me, I can't talk, Andre says, I am 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. Valentina 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only words you can tell to the phone like Mom, I'm alive. Mom, I'm alive and that's it.

WARD (voice over): 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, a monastery in Odessa has become a haven for the sick and elderly who can't make the journey out of Ukraine. The nuns of the women's

Archangel Mikhail Monastery say it's happening daily.

People are leaving their most vulnerable family members in their care, as they desperately try to flee the country. And unsay, it's a struggle, but

they will open their doors to as many people as they can, though they have had to turn some people away if they were actually in good health.


SERAFIM, KEEPER OF THE WOMEN'S ARCHANGEL MIKHAIL MONASTERY: It's not just the nuns here; we also have 150 elderly people and about 100 students, as

well as evacuees. And we need to feed them all.


ANDERSON: Well, pets also being dropped off. And although there is a sense of calm as the evacuees share a meal in the dining room, the close

proximity of Russian troops, a frightening prospect and an unsaved Vladimir Putin will have to answer for that.


SERAFIM: I think it's a scary, unforgettable sin which Putin has committed and those who are acting alongside him.


ANDERSON: When we come back, the beauty and heritage of Ukraine conversation with a government minister charged with protecting it in the

face of Russian aggression. That is after this.


ANDERSON: Well, let's get you to Washington where the U.S. Secretary of State is hosting a meeting with his UK counterpart. Let's listen in.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: --on continuing what has been extraordinarily close coordination cooperation in response to Moscow's

unprovoked, unjustified and increasingly brutal war in Ukraine.

We and our teams are in almost constant contact, as we calibrate the united response not just between our two nations, which has a long history of

working hand in hand through the special relationship, but with allies and partners across Europe, and indeed, beyond.

At least in my experience of doing this for nearly 30 years, I cannot remember a time where we've seen such unity in the transatlantic

relationship, both in policy, and in principle. We are united in strengthening our security systems to Ukraine for its heroic defenders.

We united and increasing our assistance to people of Ukraine, who are suffering grievously due to the growing humanitarian catastrophe inflicted

upon them by Moscow's invasion. And we're united in our efforts to raise the cost on the Kremlin for waging this ongoing war of choice, which has

already displaced more than 2 million Ukrainians.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Johnson announced an additional 175 million pounds in aid to Ukraine, bringing the UK's total support during

the crisis, I believe, to approximately 400 million pounds.

This includes direct assistance for the Ukrainian government to pay the salaries of Ukraine's public sector employees who are keeping critical

services running where they haven't been bombed by the Russians.

The Ukraine was one of the - UK was one of the first European countries to send defensive, lethal security assistance to Ukraine. And the government

has imposed severe financial sanctions on President Putin, his inner circle Russian oligarchs and others who enable and fuel this aggression.

Just days ago, the House of Commons passed a new economic crime bill aimed at making it easier to sanction groups of corrupt individuals and harder

for those trying to hide their money in the UK.


BLINKEN: Yesterday in the latest of the many steps that we've taken together to hold the Kremlin accountable, President Biden banned all

imports of Russian oil liquefied natural gas and coal. Prime Minister Johnson committed to ban all imports of Russian oil by the end of 2022.

We're also united and calling on the Kremlin to immediately allows Ukrainian civilians to safely depart the cities and towns of Ukraine that

are besieged by Russian forces. Every country has a responsibility to join us in pressing Moscow to do this.

This is not the time to equivocate by calling on both sides to allow civilians in Ukraine cities to leave safely. Doing so - says the basic

facts around why these corridors are necessary and who is blocking.

Russia invaded Ukraine without justification. Russian forces now encircle multiple Ukrainian cities after having destroyed much of their critical

infrastructure, leaving people without water without electricity, without access to food and medicine.

And Russia's relentless bombardment, including of civilians trying to flee prevents people from safely escaping the hellish conditions that they've

created. The Kremlin's proposals to create humanitarian corridors leading into Russia and Belarus are absurd.

It's offensive to suggest the Ukrainian people should seek refuge from the very government that has demonstrated such disregard for their lives. The

civilians who were able to escape yesterday through one of those corridors from Sumy to Poltava, another city in Ukraine shows that this is possible,

but it must be allowed to happen on a much broader scale.

It's not only in Europe or the United States, the UK are working together to address threats to international peace and security. We also share a

great concern about Iran's nuclear advances.

Together, we discussed our work to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the so called Iran nuclear

agreement. Either way, we are committed to ensuring that Iran can never acquire a nuclear weapon.

In Northern Ireland, President Biden has been steadfast in his support for the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, which he views as a historic achievement

that must be protected to ensure the peace, stability and prosperity of people in Northern Ireland.

The United States continues to support both sides' efforts to engage in productive dialogue to resolve differences over the Northern Ireland

protocol. Before handing it over to Liz, let me just make one final point.

It's not just the British government that stepping up to help Ukraine, we're also seeing incredible solidarity and compassion from the British

people. People like --, who is leading a local campaign to buy secondhand ambulances and drive them packed with supplies to humanitarian responders

at Ukraine's border.

People like Yorkshire resident Magdalena Timmins who, on the second night of Russia's invasion, sent a message to a Facebook group called Polish mums

of Leeds, appealing for donations to help people in Ukraine.

Within days, she'd received enough to fill 318 wheelers. I believe one reason we're seeing such an outpouring of support from the British people

is because they've been through something similar.

The harrowing blitz during World War II inflicted colossal suffering on the country's people killing more than 60,000 British civilians, wounding

86,000 more. It's impossible to see the images of people seeking refuge in keys Metro in 2022, and not thinking of those who sheltered in the London

Underground in 1942.

The grip, the compassion, the determination that Britain's exhibited eight decades ago, that inspired the world is exactly what we see in the people

of Ukraine today. And it's why we need to stand with them, with that, Liz, over you.

LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: Well, thank you very much, Tony. And it's great to be here with my friend and ally Secretary Blinken. And we've

certainly see lots of each other round the capitals of Europe over the last week working very closely with our allies.

Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine is causing immense pain and suffering. Yet he is not making the progress he planned. Since the buildup on the

border, the United Kingdom and the United States have led work in the g7 and through NATO to challenge Putin's aggression.

Before the invasion, the United States in the UK called out his playbook of false flags, attempts to install the puppet regime in Kyiv, of fake

provocations. We worked with our g7 allies to warn that he would face severe costs and to determine Ukrainian people.

We have surprised Putin with our unity and the toughness of our sanctions hitting the banks, the ships, the planes, the oligarchs, and the oil and

gas revenues. And the brave Ukrainian people have surprised him with their determination and their leadership. Now is not the time to let up, Putin

must fail.


TRUSS: We know from history, that aggressors only understand one thing, and that is strength. We know that if we don't do enough now, other aggressors

around the world will be emboldened.

And we know that if Putin is not stopped in Ukraine, there will be terrible implications for European and global security. We will be sending a message

that sovereign nations can simply be trampled on, so we must go further and faster in our response.

We must double down on our sanctions. That includes a full swift ban, and the g7, ending its use of Russian oil and gas. The United States, the

United Kingdom this week, announced our plans to stop importing Russian oil.

And the EU has announced their plans to reduce their dependency too. We want to encourage a wider group of countries to get on board with our

sanctions effort. 141 countries voted against Russia aggression at UNGA. And we must continue to supply defensive weapons to Ukraine.

I'm proud that the United Kingdom was the first European country to do that. And I welcome the decision of Germany and Japan and many others to

send military aid. Since the end of the Cold War, we took our eye off the ball.

But we are now stepping up together. And we must never let down our guard again. We're determined to keep strengthening NATO and urge all allies to

increase their investment. We must accelerate NATO's modernization and deepen our cooperation on tech and cyber.

We will end strategic dependence on authoritarian regimes for our energy and for other vital resources. And we will step up our work to build

economic and security alliances around the world, including with India, and the Gulf nations to further isolate Russia.

We'll keep working to bring more countries into the orbit of those who believe in the sovereignty of nation and by playing by the rules. The war

in Ukraine is a struggle for the future of freedom and self-determination.

We must not rest until Putin fails in Ukraine and the country's sovereignty is restored. Thank you. We'll now - of questions, taking two questions per

side, alternating. We'll start with Kylie Atwood of CNN.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon or morning. Thank you for doing this Secretary Blinken, yes or no? Do you believe it's possible to

get the Ukrainians MiG-29 fighter jets if so, when and how?

BLINKEN: First, as we've said, the decision about whether to transfer any equipment to our friends in Ukraine is ultimately one that each government

will decide for itself and has to make.

We're in very close consultation with allies and partners about the ongoing security assistance to Ukraine. Because in fact, I think what we're seeing

is that Poland's proposal shows that there are some complexities that the issue presents, when it comes to providing security systems, we have to

make sure that we're doing it in the right way.

You heard from the department of defense, just yesterday about the particular proposal, the prospect of fighter jets at the disposal of the

United States government. Departing from a U.S. NATO base in Germany to fly into airspace contested with Russia, over Ukraine raises some serious

concerns for the entire NATO alliance.

So we have to work through the specifics of these things going forward. And it's not simply clear to us that there's a substantive rationale for doing

it in the way that was put forward yesterday.

So what we're doing right now is continuing to consult very closely with, with Poland with other NATO allies on this, and the logistical challenges

that it presents, together with Poland, as well as with the UK and many of our other partners.

As we've noticed, we have provided extraordinary support to Ukraine and to those defending it from the Russian aggression, support that has been used

extremely effectively by Ukrainian defenders support that will continue in the days, weeks and months ahead.

Just yesterday, with the supplemental legislation being put forward, we have an additional $6.5 billion in security assistance, that's now on tap

just from the United States for Ukraine. And that will of course include the very kinds of things that they need to effectively defend Ukraine

against Russian aggression.