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Kyiv to Start 35-Hour Curfew as Russians Advance; Caretakers Trying to Keep Surrogate Babies Safe in Kyiv; Interview with Salome Zourabichvili, President of Georgia, on Russian Invasion of Ukraine; Russian State Presenter "No Longer Works" for Pro-Kremlin Channel NTV; China and Russia Want a More Closed World. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired March 15, 2022 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): You're watching CNN. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. The time here is 6:00 pm. You're watching CONNECT
This hour, Russian forces advancing closer to Kyiv. Residents of the shell- shocked city now facing a 35-hour curfew, which starts four hours from now. The mayor of Ukraine's capital saying no one can leave their homes without
special permits. The only exception, going to bomb shelters.
Ahead of that new curfew, more indiscriminate shelling in the capital. At least four people killed there today when this apartment high-rise was hit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): And take a look at this, a huge explosion near a man who is walking through a park, captured on closed-circuit video.
Reuters reporting a bus and several other vehicles damaged in that blast.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, the big picture, Russian forces now encircle four major cities, including Ukraine's second largest city of Kharkiv. The mayor there
reporting 600 residential buildings now destroyed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): To the south, the growing humanitarian disaster in Mariupol. This drone video showing the immense damage; a local official
saying 350,000 people remain trapped. That's a third of a million people, most without food, water and heat. The official there saying people are
having to melt snow to get drinking water.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Ukraine's president meanwhile, again, appealing for help; this time with a message to the British-led joint expeditionary force. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We all are the targets of Russia and everything will go against Europe if Ukraine
won't stand. So we would like to ask you to help yourself by helping us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, Volodymyr Zelenskyy set to receive a visit from three European leaders; The prime ministers of the Czech Republic, of Poland and
of Slovenia are heading to Kyiv by train today. In a statement, saying they will offer unequivocal support for Ukraine, from the entire European Union.
Well, the human toll of Vladimir Putin's war cannot be overstated. Some of the most heartrending stories involve kids. Sam Kiley reports on a very
precarious situation facing babies, born to surrogate mothers, now waiting for their parents' arrival.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is precious cargo: not cash in transit but week-old baby Lawrence, in transit
to a new life.
Born to a surrogate mother under bombardment in Kyiv, he is raced through the Ukrainian capital to a nursery in the southwest of the city. It's
perilously close to Russian troops and easily within range of their artillery. This is a gantlet his new German parents will have to run when
or if they come here to collect him.
For now, he'll be among 20 other surrogate babies destined, it's hoped, for new lives in Argentina, China, Spain, Italy, Canada, Austria and the U.S.
Parting from the child she carried as a surrogate, Victoria is inevitably tearful, her pain intensified by uncertainty.
VICTORIA, SURROGATE MOTHER (through translator): It is even harder that he is in a place where there is shelling.
And when will his parents get to take him away because of it?
It's really hard.
KILEY (voice-over): This missile struck about 500 yards from the nursery while we were there.
KILEY: There are constant explosions we can even hear in the basement and the Russian military is reportedly consolidating and planning to push in
further into the city from the east. So the future of these children is even more in doubt.
How long will it be before it's impossible, completely impossible for their new parents to come and rescue them?
KILEY (voice-over): The nannies here cannot join the exodus of civilians from Kyiv. These babies may be tiny but they're the heaviest of
responsibilities. Antonina's husband and daughter have already traveled to safety 130 miles south.
ANTONINA YEFIMOVIC, NANNY (through translator): These babies can't be abandoned. They're defenseless. They also need care and we really hope that
the parents will come and pick them up soon.
KILEY (voice-over): An Argentine couple collected their child the day before but a combination of the pandemic and now war has meant that some
have been stuck here for months.
IHOR PECHENOGA, PEDIATRICIAN, BIOTEXCOM (through translator): It all depends on the strength of the parents' desire. I met with parents who came
to Kyiv to pick up their baby. They had tears in their eyes. They had waited 20 years for their baby and there are such couples who are afraid
because there's a war going on here.
KILEY (voice-over): These infants are oblivious to the doubts over their future and the dangers that they've already survived. There's abundant hope
that it stays that way -- Sam Kiley, CNN, Kyiv.
ANDERSON: Lest we forget the human impact of all of this.
Look, the entire country is gripped by this sense of uncertainty. While many cities and towns across Ukraine report being under heavy bombardment,
others are bracing for Russian troops to arrive. About 250 kilometers southwest of Kyiv is Vinnytsia.
Our Ivan Watson looks at how people there are preparing for the invasion that does now seem inevitable.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As one local official put it, you know, every day that this city gets to prepare is like gold for
them. The weeks that other Ukrainian cities are buying for Vinnytsia in the center of Ukraine, which has not seen active combat operations, ground
There have been rocket strikes in areas around here but has so far been spared the brutal violence that we have seen in other parts of Ukraine.
As you pointed out, yes, I'm at a checkpoint; this is a village outside of the city of Vinnytsia. And we're getting a sense during our visit here of
how the local population has been mobilized by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
So all of this has been erected in the last two weeks and it is all homemade, just kind of concrete blocks, spare tires, sandbags, you know,
just kind of metal rebar that has been kind of welded together, netting here that locals have sewed here.
We'll spin around and you can get a sense of what the guys, who are volunteering here -- they have their Molotov cocktails at the ready -- and
this is entirely a voluntary effort. I've been speaking with some of the guards here.
One is a fireman, one is a retired police officer, another one is an electrician, all an example of how the local population has mobilized here.
A local official I talked to, he estimates that about 20 percent of a population of more than 12,000 people in these villages have gone into the
Ukrainian army, have gone into the Ukrainian territorial defense. He estimates maybe 10 percent have fled and the rest, he says, are very active
in the volunteer effort, in the war effort.
That means people who help out with humanitarian assistance that is being brought in from Europe and that is collected here and that is then loaded
into other trucks and shipped back out to front line cities, where people are in such tremendous need right now.
ANDERSON: Ivan Watson speaking to John Berman, my colleague, earlier.
Scott McLean is connecting us from Lviv in the west.
We have spent the last nearly 10 minutes, Scott, going around the country and describing what is going on. New satellite images show damaged homes
near the capital; smoldering homes in besieged Mariupol, where more than 2,000 civilians have died.
And elsewhere, areas that have not yet seen a Russian assault are making preparations for what appears to be an inevitable one.
What is going on where you are?
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so we have, in recent days, seen some of these airstrikes, some of these airstrikes move further and further
west. Even just this morning, there was an attack on a TV tower in Rivne, not too far from here; sorry, just outside of Rivne. The local authorities
say 19 people were killed, nine people were injured.
This is something that we have seen before. A TV tower in Kyiv was taken out, TV towers in other cities have been taken out by the Russians to try
to cut off communications, presumably to then try to install more pro Russian versions of the media.
In this case, the local authorities there say there is still a signal for people to be able to get their satellite and cable systems on Ukrainian
television. But this is just one example.
Here in Lviv, many times a day -- not many; two or three times a day, lately -- the air raid sirens have gone off here and, even earlier today,
they went off and people have become pretty desensitized to them. Not a lot of people running for the bunkers, not running for the shelters.
MCLEAN: Those sirens advise people to go home, turn off your gas, turn off your electric and seek shelter in a safe space. It doesn't seem like there
is a lot of people racing to do that. But given the fact that we have seen some strikes further even west of Lviv, that may start to change as we see
an increasing frequency -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Scott McLean on the ground for you. Scott, thank you.
This conflict then in Ukraine raising fears in several former Soviet republics, one of which is all too familiar with Russian aggression.
Back in August of 2008, long simmering tensions between Georgia and Russian-backed separatists in the breakaway region of South Ossetia boiled
over into a five-day war. My colleague Matthew Chance was on the ground. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russia's military advance came without warning, a column of armor heading
toward Georgia's capital in an unprecedented show of force.
There has been a lot of speculation about where the Russian troops are. Well, here they are, well inside Georgian territory and outside the main
conflict zone of South Ossetia. They're now on the road to Tbilisi.
The question is, how far will they go?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: A cease-fire agreement was signed, just days after Matthew filed that report. And soon after, Russia recognizing the independence of
Georgia's two breakaway regions and drew international condemnation.
The president of Georgia is now voicing support for Ukraine, tweeting, "We Georgians understand and share the most what the Ukrainian nation is going
through. Georgia facing an influx of Russians, who have left their home country after Russia's invasion of Ukraine."
And I'm pleased to be joined now by President Salome Zourabichvili from Tbilisi.
Thank you for joining us; 2.5 weeks into this war, I want to start briefly by asking you whether you see any evidence that this will end anytime soon.
SALOME ZOURABICHVILI, PRESIDENT OF GEORGIA: Well, I think from where we are looking at this situation, we are exactly in the same position as you
are or our European partners, which is that nobody can really make any speculation about what is going to happen.
What we can say is that we are all surprised and admiring the type of resistance that the Ukrainian people are putting in front of this all-out
aggression by Russia.
And in fact, all possible plans that the leader of Russia could have had beforehand have been called wrong by the resistance of the Ukrainian, by
the unity of the European nations, by the unity between Europe and the United States.
All of that including, one additional, not for him, known in advancing (ph) was the Russian population's reaction, which is, if not massive (ph) really
knew in fact. So I think that, in this war, everything is going in the way that we cannot predict. And so it is very difficult to say when and how it
ANDERSON: Your government has walked a fine line in light of this conflict, opting not to join the West in placing sanctions on Russia. On
the other hand, Georgia has formally applied for E.U. membership two years earlier than planned.
What is your strategy at this point?
ZOURABICHVILI: Well, that's not exactly true to say not joined the sanctions because, in fact, we are part of many of the international
sanctions -- the financial, the bank sanctions. And Georgia has its own sanctions, which is that we do not have diplomatic relations with Russia.
We do not have alliance with Russia.
And we have two occupied territories, 20 percent of our territory, with our main sanctions (ph). So we are in a different situation than most European
countries. We have no protection from NATO Article 5. We are really on the front line.
But we are very in solidarity with our European partners in all, for instance, in all international organizations, where resolutions are taken.
We are co-sponsoring. So I think that Georgia is where it should be.
And it is very important to us to be there, where we should be, with our partners and also to continue with our associated trio, that is Ukraine and
Moldova, our paths toward European integration.
ZOURABICHVILI: And I think there is a new situation today in Europe, not only this new unity on sanctions but also a new perception that something
should be done toward these countries that are somewhere in between.
They're no longer in that union and will never be but they're not yet in the European Union and the long past (ph), maybe the feeling is that it has
been too long and too bureaucratic.
So there are some new ideas. It is not yet a new decision and that doesn't mean that we will not have to go through the whole reform path (ph). But
maybe there will be a new political attitude and opening toward us all.
Well, that remains to be seen, doesn't it?
But certainly there seems to be the opportunity for that at the moment. Your country, of course, has a long history with Russia, which culminated
in the conflict in 2008. I want to just play some sound from journalist Natalia Antonova, who has covered both Georgia and Ukraine extensively.
This is for the benefit of our viewers. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATALIA ANTONOVA, JOURNALIST: There needs to be more effort put into thinking how the West is going to protect its non-NATO allies in the
region, countries like Moldova and Georgia.
They need to become much more part of that narrative of Ukraine, because they are the low-hanging fruit. And if it comes to Putin, getting any sort
of military victory in Ukraine, taking either Kyiv or other cities, then it is very likely that it will not be NATO countries, the Baltics, that he
will go for next.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: How worried are you that Vladimir Putin has his sights on Georgia?
And what support do you need from NATO in the West?
ZOURABICHVILI: Well, first of all, I think that we are all worried in one way of what Putin might do next. And he's using quite a lot of these
threats -- some psychological, some military -- on all countries, including talking about nuclear arms.
And Georgia, as Moldova, has to be worried more, because we have had the experience that we have our occupied territories. So, yes, we need more.
That's why we are reiterating our calls toward the European Union and we're continuing our path toward NATO.
One thing is sure, is that if the 2008 war against Georgia was aimed at preventing us of continuing our path toward Euro-Atlantic integration, it
has not succeeded. I think it won't succeed with Ukraine.
And we will -- might see also we can be -- we can hear but we can also have hope that tomorrow's Russia will be a weaker one, one that will be less
self-confident that you can do everything by force and maybe understand it has to do more by diplomacy.
ANDERSON: And there will be many Russians who likely agree with where you are at. Many of those have fled to Georgia, considering it's one of the
only countries they can get into. I just want to get a sense from you of numbers, if you will.
And we have seen reports of Russians facing discrimination and anti-Russian sentiment, as many fear the Kremlin will use them as leverage.
Are Russians welcome where you are?
ZOURABICHVILI: Well, first of all, the Russians that are coming here are not the pro-Putin Russians, I would say. There are those that are trying to
get out of the country to wait and see what and how it will happen.
On the other side, I will rise against the idea of ethnic discrimination, first of all, because it has never been the attitude of Georgia, including
during the wars that we have had. And it is an argument that is basically used by the Russians, usually when they want to move in a country, to say,
well, their population and their nationals are not defending (ph).
So it is a dangerous argument that I would not use. I think that they are - -
ANDERSON: Let me just stop you, with respect. The reason I bring it up is that there are many reports of this sort of discrimination, sadly, in the
country at present.
ANDERSON: So I guess the question really is, just how welcome are Russians in Georgia, at present?
And do you have a sense of numbers at this point?
ZOURABICHVILI: I will say, well, there are about, I think, 20,000 that have come to the country since the conflict. I would not agree with the
many reports, because I think that it is very factual incidents (ph) and they might be through some fake news floating around.
There are many demonstrations in Georgia, in the different restaurants of the Ukrainian flags, support of Ukraine and the fact that people that come,
including Russians, have to respect it. The attitude of the Georgian population toward the Ukraine war, that that does not translate necessarily
And we're very careful about that. I think the authorities are very responsible and will do everything to make sure --
ZOURABICHVILI: -- so it doesn't happen.
ANDERSON: Very briefly, Georgia is set to host NATO exercises at the end of the month.
Are you not concerned that will be seen as a provocation by Moscow?
ZOURABICHVILI: Well, I think that, if one thing has to change, after everything that has happened, is this fear that the whole -- that we will
have had and the West has, the Europeans have had to consider every step they move as being something that can be taken as a provocation by Moscow.
The provocations come from Moscow, the aggression comes from Moscow. We're small countries. We have never had any form of aggression in all our
history against Russia, centuries of history. The only thing we have known is four invasions from Russia. So I that think we have to stop this
ANDERSON: With that, we thank you for joining us. It is good to have you on. It is very good to get your perspective, some important issues that we
discussed there. And we will have you back. Meantime, stay safe. Thank you.
ZOURABICHVILI: Thank you.
ANDERSON: Still to come, new questions about China. It seems Beijing may have conveyed some willingness to respond to Russia's request for help.
More on that after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): In Russia, a TV station employee faces an uncertain future after a quite frankly stunning show of defiance on live television.
During this newscast, she walked into the studio with a sign reading, "No war, stop the war, do not believe propaganda. They tell lies here."
That's what that sign says. Well, the top Russian law enforcement agency is investigating. We have just learned that she has appeared in court, with
one of her lawyers, after another lawyer previously said she could not be located.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And separately we learned that a Russian presenter for a pro- Kremlin TV channel has resigned and apparently left the country. She had reportedly worked at NTV since 2006.
ANDERSON: CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is recently back from Moscow, joining us tonight from London.
What the Kremlin saying about this on-air incident, Nic?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: They're saying there is a special responsibility of state broadcasters, live broadcast
institutions, not to have these sort of events to be perpetrated. They are clearly not happy with it. The very latest that we're learning is that she
is in court at the moment.
The investigative committee, the body that oversees journalists, had earlier said she was being investigated for spreading false information
about Russia's military. Now the potential under that law, which is one of the new laws that came into effect over recent weeks since the war began,
is she could face a maximum sentence of three years and potentially 10 years.
So at the moment, we're really just beginning to get the first chance to find out what she will actually be charged with, now that she's in court,
now that there is a lawyer in attendance with her. More details may be forthcoming.
Of course the Russian state itself, because this is a huge embarrassment, because it went down on its prime station, because the "no "war message is
a message that the Kremlin is trying to absolutely stifle at every avenue, they may choose to, if you will, sort of find lesser charges and not make a
martyr out of her, to keep this out of headlines because this is obviously -- to talk about it would be to promote the case and draw attention to the
So perhaps in the Kremlin's best longer-term interest to try to diminish this in the courts and essentially make it go away quickly.
ANDERSON: Nic Robertson is in London for you. Nic, thank you.
Well, China's ties to Russia are in focus as the U.S. tells allies it has information that Beijing has expressed a willingness to help Putin's war in
Ukraine. More on that after this.
ANDERSON: Half past 6:00 in Abu Dhabi. This is CONNECT THE WORLD from our Middle East programming hub here.
We are following Russia's intense fighting attacks as its invasion of Ukraine stretches into what is now the 20th day. As Russian forces pummel
major cities, they are directly going after people's homes in Kyiv.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): Here is a look at the capital today. At least four residential areas were hit in just one hour, leaving four people dead.
Residents are now ordered to stay at home from Tuesday night.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: That's a few hours from now, until Thursday morning. They can only leave to go to bomb shelters.
Despite the dangers, the prime ministers of Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic are heading there now as a show of support for President Volodymyr
Meantime, talks between Russia and Ukraine are back underway. Sources tell CNN the U.S. has information suggesting China has expressed some openness
to providing Russia with the military and financial help requested for its war in Ukraine.
The U.S. State Department spokesman says the U.S. is carefully watching just how close China and Russia have gotten over the years and how their
cooperation would materialize over the war in Ukraine. Let's get you to Kylie Atwood, live in Washington.
Let's caveat this by saying Beijing and China refute this, they refute this request for assistance.
What is it that the U.S. has at this point?
What is the U.S. intel on this matter?
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, our understanding is that the U.S. intel is that Russia has asked China for both economic and
military support as part of their invasion into Ukraine and that this request came after the invasion had already begun.
And, of course, we have reported on the logistical problems, the fuel shortages and the likes, these hurdles that the Russians have come up
against, that were, frankly, unexpected on the battlefield.
And so it appears that they're going to China, when they have faced those problems and need some sort of backup. Now one thing specifically that we
know that they have asked, according to our reporting, that the Russians have asked China for, are drones.
Another thing that they have asked, according to my colleagues, are for these MREs. These are meals ready to go, that troops eat while they're out
in the battlefield. They're not perishable.
It demonstrates just how ill prepared Russia appears to have been for the basic necessities that troops would need to carry out these military
strikes, this long lasting now military invasion into Ukraine.
We are also hearing that they're having discussions with China about providing economic support. We need to caveat all of this in saying that
U.S. officials have not yet said that China is actually providing any of that support, even though they do believe there is a willingness on China's
And the national security adviser Jake Sullivan met with Chinese officials yesterday and very clearly indicated that there would be implications for
China, not just for the U.S.-China relationship but also for China's relationship with countries around the globe, if they provided that
ANDERSON: Yes. Some seven hours, that meeting between Jake Sullivan and his Chinese counterpart.
Look, as we speak, Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO chief, is addressing the press. And he was just asked about this potential Chinese-Russian
ratcheting-up of the relationship. And this is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: China has an obligation, as a member of the U.N. Security Council, to actually support and uphold
international law. And the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a blatant violation of international law.
So we call on Russia (sic) to clearly condemn the invasion and, of course, not support Russia. And we are closely monitoring any signs of support from
China to Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: That's Jens Stoltenberg.
The State Department has described Russia and China as two autocracies joining together with a desire to see a world that is more closed.
Within the spirit of that statement, what are the main concerns at this point?
ATWOOD: Well, listen, I think that what you see U.S. officials concerned about is that China could band with Russia and the try and collect support
from other countries and essentially, you know, divide the world into two really here, almost like a modern Cold War, that the Biden administration
has really tried to steer clear of comparing their competition to China with at any point over the last year.
And they are concerned about what that could mean for the international world order. Of course, for democracies around the globe and the like. But
the United States isn't going so far as to saying that China has altogether made this decision to go full blown with support for Russia, because there
are complications for China here, right?
They don't necessarily want a Russia that is incredibly strong.
ATWOOD: There are also financial implications that could come from China, they could face secondary sanctions from the United States and the like. So
they're watching this space incredibly closely and, of course, incredibly concerned about what it could mean for the crisis in Ukraine -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Absolutely. Kylie, thank you, Kylie Atwood is at the State Department.
Syria, another nation that has been on the receiving end of Russia's brutal war machine, we talked to the Georgian president just before the break,
well, many say Vladimir Putin was emboldened to invade Ukraine. The world ignored war crimes committed when he was backing the Assad regime in Syria.
CNN's Jomana Karadsheh spoke with victims of Syria's war who said they know what Ukrainians are going through and they want to help.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russia's vicious war in Ukraine has shocked the world. But no one should be surprised.
For years, Russia's ruthlessness played out so openly for all to see in Syria, where countless civilians paid the price for Putin propping up his
ally, Bashar al-Assad. Syria is where Russia boasted about testing more than 300 types of weapons.
It is also where it tested the world's limits. And there seemed to be none. Its war has no rules; no one is spared and no place is safe. Russia has
bombed hospitals, markets and schools. The U.N. called them war crimes but no one has faced justice.
Russia denies it has committed these crimes but its cruel attacks know no bounds. Even those rushing to rescue the injured have been targeted by its
infamous double tap strikes.
ISMAIL ABDALLAH, WHITE HELMETS: I lost two of my team, my colleagues, in one second. We were trying to respond to save others.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): Ismail Abdallah of the White Helmets survived one of Russia's most brutal campaigns in Syria, as it helped the Assad regime
besiege, starve and bombard Eastern Aleppo into submission.
ABDALLAH: We are forced to leave it.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): His beloved Aleppo was reduced to rubble.
ABDALLAH: Aleppo was like doomsday. I saw buildings collapse on the heads of their -- on the heads of their families, member of the families,
children by using the bunker buster bombs. This kind of weapon is used for the basement, military basement. That weapon was used on civilians to
target the children for the civilians.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): In the little bits left of rebel-held Syria, the White Helmets are on alert. There is a fragile cease-fire here. They also
want to help Ukraine. They know Russia's playbook all too well.
ABDALLAH: They will bomb everything. And their media will say that we targeted, we targeted a place for soldiers, we targeted Ukrainian army.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): So many here feel the pain Ukrainians are going through, pain inflicted by the same aggressor, who shattered too many
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my little (INAUDIBLE).
KARADSHEH (voice-over): English teacher Abdel Kafi Hamdo, with his baby girl by his side, appealed to the world time and time again to save Aleppo
in 2016. But the world looked the other way.
ABDEL KAFI HAMDO, DISPLACED SYRIAN TEACHER: I mean, I don't know why the world is not learning. I mean, not stopping Russia in Syria has affected
Ukraine. And not stopping Putin in Ukraine will do the same in other countries.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): It has been more than five years since al-Hamdo was forced out of his home. Life is not the same, he says. But life does go
on. Right now, he says he just can't stop thinking of Ukraine.
AL-HAMDO: No one can understand Ukrainians, none of the world but Syrians. None can understand them more than Syrians. We will understand. We
understand them more.
And this is why I cannot, nowadays, I cannot teach well, I cannot do anything because I'm just following what's going on in Ukraine. In fact,
what's affecting me a lot, that all the world is repeating the same mistake.
KARADSHEH (voice-over): The mistake of letting Putin get away with it all, the impunity in Syria that may have emboldened him to invade Ukraine. Many
here feel their fate is now tied to Ukraine; if Putin's not stopped, they fear Russia will unleash hell here again, to help Assad reclaim what is
left of this devastated land.
ANDERSON: That was CNN's Jomana Karadsheh reporting for you.
Well, still to come, Poland and Scotland stand with Ukraine and they are proving it on the football pitch. More in "WORLD SPORT" up next.