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Connect the World

Ukraine: Survivors Emerging from Bombed Mariupol Theater; Israel Welcomes Descendants of "Righteous Among the Nations"; Irish PM says he will "Reflect" on Ireland's Neutrality; Putin on "Necessary and Natural Self-Claiming of our Society"; Diy Armor being made for Ukrainian Military; Irish PM on Death of Photojournalist Pierre Zakrzewski. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired March 17, 2022 - 11:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: This hour following scenes of civilian horror in Ukraine. Joe Biden calls President Putin a war criminal.

I'm Becky Anderson Hello and welcome back to "Connect the World".

As the Russian war on Ukraine enters its fourth week we are following a dramatic rescue in the southern City of Mariupol. Official say this theater

where some 1200 women and children had sought shelter was hit by a high powered Russian bomb. We are now getting word that people are coming out of

the rubble alive.

We don't know yet exactly how many survived and how many did not. Mariupol has been under siege as you will be well aware for weeks although Ukraine

now says a corridor has been agreed for today from Mariupol and eight other cities. Ukraine's Defense Minister says the theater was clearly marked and

the pilot couldn't have missed the fact that children were inside.


OLEKSII REZNIKOV, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: You can see from the maps from the drones that are around this there's a big letters of children were

written so the pilot of the plane which was throwing the bombs could see and still in spite of that, this monster has bombed the theater.


ANDERSON: My colleague Nick Paton Walsh tells us that the theater bombing is just the latest brutal bow to a city that has endured the brunt of

Russia's brutality in what is Vladimir Putin's unprovoked war.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: The flicker of flame here where Russia's barbarism peaked and an airstrike hit a bomb shelter

hiding hundreds beneath a theater said local officials the damage so complete, the entrance was reduced to rubble.

This satellite image from two days earlier, showing the building standing with children written large outside in case you're still thinking nobody

knew who was here. Videos had been circulating for days of the hell inside out over a week of siege and shelling. But for those still living into a

space so tight and dark, it must have felt like a tomb.

Here he says it's where we give out food to children, women and elderly first. This is the converted cloakroom the theater. If this looks like how

you imagined the end of the world, for these children packed in, that may have been the case when the bombs struck.

Russia claimed Ukrainian radicals' calls to blast. In this room 15 people the narrator says little comfort any parent can give by the life this will

be over soon. And below this store, there are yet more an entire city forced underground. Little aid allowed in and few allowed out.

People hear us here are children he says his appeal is for food help. Perhaps unaware it may have led Russian bombs straight to them. The

swimming pool was also hit a place where this narrator says a pregnant woman was trapped under the rubble and we're only expectant mothers and

those with under threes hit.

The Kremlin wants to break or flatten this port but its defenders still exact a cost. Still keep them out. This drone video shows the moment

Ukrainian fighters here to Russian tank. The shots come again and again removing one of the tanks tracks.

The crew related scene hit as they try to flee no room for mercy in a city that has little space left for life itself.


ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh joining us now from Ukraine where the country's Human Rights Chief calls the attack a crime against humanity. CNN's Kylie

Atwood is in Washington. Nick, what do we know about the people and children who were inside that theater when he got bombed?

WALSH: Yes, well, you can see from the video there that was posted six days before the strike. These are ordinary women and children lacking in foods

crammed into this enormous basement in the hope that it's sort of worn like infrastructure, that kind of catacombs you see there would keep them safe.

Now what's extraordinary today is I think partially the lack of information so far, but also these two reports now that survivors are emerging the

issue here Becky was that the airstrike appears to demolish the entrance in to that bomb shelter essentially making it incredibly hard for people to

get out.


WALSH: And intense shelling during the night or certainly immediately after the bombing, limited rescuer's ability to get to the mat appears to have

improved and changed. And now there's positive news from two separate sources that people are emerging is probably the best people could have

hoped for at this stage.

But still, none of this detracts from the large numbers who were in the basement initially 1200 you see in the video, crammed in very young age all

the children, women, old people too. And how clearly despite those enormous signs saying deity children in Russian on both sides of the theater visible

from space, there was still a decision by the Russian military to drop a bomb on that particular place.

And so despite the possibility at this stage that we are not dealing with a catastrophic, unbelievable death toll we are still dealing with a ghastly,

inhumane decision to drop the bomb in the first place, Becky.

ANDERSON: I want to bring in Kylie Atwood. Thank you, Nick. President Zelenskyy beamed into Congress on Wednesday, where he read off a list of

things that America can do to stand up for his country and for democracy. Aside from a no fly zone Zelenskyy specifically mentioned needing Soviet

made S-300 air defense missile systems as well as aircraft and fighter jets. What is he getting from the States?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, it looks like NATO countries, and behind the scenes, the United States are working right now

to get Ukraine those S-300 defense systems, as you said, those are air defense systems.

And we just heard from the Secretary of Defense, actually speaking at a press conference in Slovakia, that those air defense systems have actually

been really effective for the Ukrainians, because they have prevented Russia from getting any sense of superiority in this air skies in the

skies, above Ukraine.

And so he said that the United States and other countries are working to get Ukraine essentially, weapons that they think could be effective,

effectively putting the SD-100 into that bucket. Now, as you said, these are Soviet made weapons, these aren't weapons that would come from the

United States, United States doesn't even have any of them.

So what we have learned is that Slovakia is one country that has these and has preliminarily agreed to provide some of them to Ukraine. Now, this

hasn't been done yet. It's not a done deal. And the complication here is that Slovakia is going to need those systems backfield in their own

country. So they can defend themselves.

And Germany and the Netherlands are in the process of actually providing patriot air defense systems to Slovakia right now. So it seems like they're

getting prepared to share those systems with Ukraine. It is complicated here, Becky, though, because none of these countries want to be viewed as

the country that provides the most provocative weaponry to Ukraine, for fear, of course, coming under Russia's aggression.

And so they have been very cognizant of not saying things too loudly in the public space about this. But they are privately working to get Ukraine more

of the weapons that it needs.

ANDERSON: They may have been cognizant of not being too noisy in the past about what might be provided Joe Biden now has made some comments about

President Putin calling him a war criminal. Is this the position of his administration?

ATWOOD: No, it's not. I mean, he, his press secretary said that he was speaking from the heart when he made those comments very clearly

delineating what he said from the position of the U.S. government.

So clearly saying that he was speaking about what everyone has been seeing play out in Ukraine, these horrific images of people dying across the

country of pregnant mothers dying of these attacks on Ukraine, that very clearly demonstrate a bloody picture that to viewers appears to be war

crimes, of course, but the Biden Administration is still investigating this.

They are working with other international players such as the ICC, who are going to put together the case for war crimes, the possibility that Russia

that President Putin himself have carried out war crimes in Ukraine, and that takes a bit of work because there are logistics and there are

legalities associated with that.

But we have heard from the top ICC prosecutor who talked to Anderson Cooper about this and said that process is very much underway right now.


ANDERSON: Kylie thank you! Kylie Atwood is at the State Department for you. Well, as we just discussed, President Zelenskyy making a request for a no

fly zone to Congress. This is a repeated request for that and more fighter jets. He most recently made those requests in his address earlier to German


NATO allies are concerned either action would risk a wider war with a nuclear armed Russia. But as Fred Pleitgen now reports, Ukraine has been

able to hold Russia back through other means.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is how Ukraine's army is halting Russia's advance using anti-aircraft

weapons like the U.S. made Stinger against low flying helicopters.

Now answering Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's plea, the U.S. says longer range anti-aircraft missiles are arriving in Ukraine including the

powerful S-300.

ZELENSKYY: You know what kind of defense systems we need S-300 and other similar systems. You know how much depends on the battlefield on Russia's

ability to use aircraft.

PLEITGEN (voice over): After Zelenskyy's impassioned speech to Congress, President Biden announced a massive new security assistance package worth

$800 million including drones, anti-tank weapons and 20 million rounds of ammunition.

BIDEN: It includes 800 anti-aircraft systems. To make sure the Ukrainian military can just continue to stop the planes and helicopters that have

been attacking their people and an offender Ukrainian airspace.

PLEITGEN (voice over): Despite being drastically outgunned, Ukraine's forces have been putting up a tough fight. The country's ground troops led

by Colonel General Alexandre Cyrski a veteran of Ukraine's Defense of the Donbas region. Meanwhile, the Chief Commander of the Armed Forces General -

who's widely credited with reforming Ukraine's military vows to fight the Russians to the last drop of blood.

I don't have any illusions and don't wait for a gift from God he says. I fought and have been preparing my armed forces. The weapons supplied by the

U.S. and its allies are giving them a fighting chance. Ukrainian units blowing up Russian tanks with shoulder fired missiles like the Javelin

supplied by the U.S. or in laws a similar anti-tank weapon made in Britain.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: We're at a crucial point in the battle here where Ukraine is tipping the balance against Russia, Russia

is clearly in trouble.

PLEITGEN (voice over): Ukrainian troops have fought tooth and nail with Russian tanks on the ground, despite being massively outgunned by Vladimir

Putin's army. While the U.S. and NATO still reject the idea of a no fly zone the Biden Administration has made clear it will continue to arm Kyiv's

forces to help as they bog down the Russian military and inflict massive casualties Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Lviv, Ukraine.


ANDERSON: Well, one of the consequences of the war in Ukraine is concerns European countries have about their future security. Case in point Ireland,

which has been prompted to reassess its long held position of neutrality. Ahead my conversation with the Irish Prime Minister about that, and the

thousands of refugees Ireland is taking in.

Plus Israel welcomes a Ukrainian family in their time of need; decades after their ancestors risked their lives to help save the life of a young

Jewish man during the Holocaust.



ANDERSON: Israel is keeping its promise to protect non-Jews who risked their lives decades ago helping Jewish families during the Holocaust. Some

of those brave souls' descendants are now the ones who need shelter from the horrors of the war in Ukraine. Let's get you to Hadas Gold who is live

for you in Jerusalem and what have you got?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky This is an incredibly touching story not only of refugees fleeing the horrors of war in Ukraine, but also goes

to show how past actions can have ripple effects across generations?


GOLD (voice over): For hours, Katya - waited anxiously for two Ukrainian refugees to emerge from Tel Aviv's Airport. Finally, she spots them Alla

Misiuk and her daughter Liza. It's a warm embrace, but before today, they had never met.

Katya is a researcher at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum. Allah is the great granddaughter of a couple deemed "Righteous

Among the Nations" by - for helping save the life of a Jew during the Holocaust.

That act of Salvation now paid forward. Katya is hosting Alla and Liza after their terrifying journey out of Ukraine. They grow emotional

recalling the last three weeks including nearly 24 hours on a train that came under fire near Kyiv.

ALLA MISIUK, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE: We were told to turn off the lights. We understood that something - but even small children --they understood that

something terrible was going on and even they were silent. They were afraid. We lay like that for an hour and half each on top of each other.

GOLD (voice over): Their family ripped apart by war. Liza and her mom forced to leave dad Arthur behind.

GOLD (on camera): Liza, you're only 12 years old. Do you feel like you've grown up very quickly in the last few weeks?

LIZA MISIUK, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE: Yes. I - scene in the eye sights but my character has changed because I'm ready for war at all times. The siren

starts to blow and - is in danger. You realize that you may never see your family again that's what changed me.

GOLD (voice over): Inside - home is a chance to look over why Alla and Liza ended up in Israel. More than 80 years ago in 1941 Alla's great

grandparents Yvonne and Tatiana Paramount to save the life of a young Jewish man and Soviet soldier named Victor Rudnick.

Documents detail how they sheltered Rudnick after he escaped from a prisoner of war camp. At one point, risking their own lives by pretending

Rudnick was their own son, even while they were forced to host German soldiers in the same house. A letter in the file written by Yvonne

Paramount, describes how their town near Kharkiv was bombed in 1943 the similarities down to the dates haunting.

The - down Germans bombed us from March 2nd to March 19th every day from morning to evening. For three days we were hiding in our cellar on March

5th, a bomb hits our barn.

GOLD (voice over): Alla grow emotional over the parallels to what the Russian army is doing now.

A. MISIUK: They just destroyed them destroyed them deliberately destroy them ruthlessly. Because well, because it's genocide. It's just genocide of

the Ukrainian people.

GOLD (voice over): Katya and Alla's Bran started when Alla reached out to the museum a year ago via email, simply seeking more information about her

family. Then the war started and Alla wrote again asking for help.


GOLD (voice over): And after days traveling by train, car and on foot they made it to Poland and soon onto the plane to Tel Aviv. For now Alla and

Liza say they feel safe taken in by Katya's family like Alla's did for Victor so many years ago.

KATYA GUSAROV, RESEARCHER, YAD VASHEM WORLD HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE CENTER: This bonding this bond of helping people, it's just normal it shouldn't be

because if you do a good thing it will be back to you in one way or another.


GOLD: Becky so those who were deemed "Righteous amongst the Nations" were given honorary Israeli citizenship and their families get special residency

and work visas in Israel. But that doesn't extend to great grandchildren like Alla that's something that Katya the researcher says she's hoping will

change especially as they're getting more and more requests from Ukrainian descendants of "Righteous amongst the Nations".

The Israeli Prime Minister's Office telling me earlier today, the consultations are currently underway on the matter, Becky.

ANDERSON: Hadas thank you! Well, the refugee crisis at the center of a UN Security Council meeting today, members convening to address Ukraine's ever

growing humanitarian crisis. The Prime Minister of Ireland, which was one of the countries that requested this meeting says more than 7000 Ukrainians

have arrived in his country since the Russian invasion began. He says Ukrainians will get access to health services to education and the right to


Well, I spoke with Prime Minister Micheal Martin Wednesday ahead of his annual bilateral meeting with Joe Biden. The - has since tested positive

for COVID 19 and that meeting will now be virtual. I asked - about how islands intake of Ukrainian refugees has gone so far have a listen.


MICHEAL MARTIN, IRISH PRIME MINISTER: Well, so far, it's been very emotional and very traumatic for all concerned, and particularly our public

servants who were at the reception desks in our airports, who see very traumatized women and children coming into our country, but also relief and

joy when they meet up with family members who already were in Ireland.

And for those who are not, that we you know, they've fully entitlement and access to our education, health systems, accommodation, and indeed, social

protection in terms of incomes, basic income, and supports, over 7000 have already come into Ireland now.

It will be very, very challenging operationally, because we already had a housing crisis in advance of this war. But the response of the people has

been very, very significant in terms of the pledges that have been made to the Irish Red Cross, in respect of a willingness to take Ukrainian refugees

into their homes, and indeed, offering up facilities and so forth.

And so it will be very, very challenging. We are under no illusions in terms of what is happening, but it is the largest displacement of people

since World War II, and it does demand and will provoke a response that's outside of the norm.

And I think that will be the challenge for all of us, as we come to grapple with this appalling humanitarian crisis.

ANDERSON: Yes, it is an astounding number of people you plan to take in and that is commendable. We have seen many of the Russian tactics being used in

Ukrainian wars before most recently, Syria, that devastating conflict, led to the migrant crisis of 2015; Ireland has only taken about 3000 Syrian

refugees. Why is it that Ukrainians are being welcomed more warmly across the board sir?

MARTIN: You are correct. It's on the scale because of that visa waiver approach within the European Union is on a scale that we haven't undertaken

before. But we have in various other programs taken or, you know our proper fair share of the burden in terms of other refugees coming into the country

and have managed to integrate refugees well, into our society.

ANDERSON: Ireland has been a neutral country for the best part of 90 years. But you've said that you will have to, and I quote, you here reflect on

that position in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, why is that and is joining NATO on the cards for Ireland at this point?

MARTIN: Well, first of all, we are not politically neutral. And we're not morally neutral. And we've been largely no long standing members of the

United Nations, particularly probably the contrary; we are one of the most unbroken records of peacekeeping, internationally.

We're pact of partners for peace with the partnership of peace with NATO members of PESCO. Were part of the security and defense discussions that

evolved within the European Union, but we are military neutral which means we're not members of NATO.


MARTIN: And what I've said is that we need to assess the situation in the context of not just the war in Ukraine but new threats in terms of hybrid

threats in terms of cybersecurity, and so forth. So I think we do need to have a national conversation through a mechanism that we've deployed before

a citizen's assembly, to look at this in greater detail in an informed way.

And to make sure that we can assess and reflect on that there's no harm in doing that. And particularly in the light of the new modern threats to

democracy, because Ireland participates in the European Union, we uphold the universal values of democracy, freedom of speech, human rights, free

trade, the capacity to conduct business, all of those are under threat by authoritarian regimes, which use various strategies and tactics.

And not just conventional warfare, but other forms of warfare to undermine what we hold precious and I think we need to open our eyes to all of that,

and to inform ourselves in terms of the realities of the modern world.

ANDERSON: So you do not consider yourselves neutral and you do not rule out further European defense involvement. That's what you're saying at this


MARTIN: Yes, yes. That's the position and then again in the next coming months to be for the revolutions of the European Security and Defense



ANDERSON: Speaking to me, just before he got COVID. He will be speaking to Joe Biden, virtually today in Washington. Well, war crimes

being committed in Ukraine ahead on connect the world the top prosecutor for the International Criminal Court gives us his assessment.

And following Boris Johnson's visit to Saudi Arabia and to the UAE I'll take a closer look at how this region is navigating the tensions between

Russia and the West?


ANDERSON: Out of the rubble hope appears to be emerging. Ukrainian officials say people have come out alive from this building. It's a bombed

theater in the besieged city of Mariupol, and they say up to 1200 civilians were sheltering there when it was hit by devastating Russian attacks on


And it was clearly marked as a civilian shelter there's no word yet on how many people were killed there? Well, the Mariupol theater bombing is just

the latest act of brutality in the war that Russia is waging on Ukraine.


ANDERSON: Perhaps the cruelest blow, Ukraine's president says more than 100 children have been killed. CNN's Anderson Cooper spoke with the top

prosecutor for the International Criminal Court about whether war crimes are being committed. I want you to listen to some of what was this

exclusive interview.


KARIM KHAN, ICC CHIEF PROSECUTOR: We have reasonable grounds to believe crimes within the jurisdiction of the court have been committed.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You have reasonable grounds to believe that alleged war crimes alleged crimes against humanity have been


KHAN: Absolutely. And, you know, when one sees, one thing is clear, and the law is clear on this. It is a crime to intentionally target civilians, it

is a crime to intentionally target civilian objects.

Now, of course, there has to be further investigation, whether civilian objects being used to launch attacks that made them legitimate targets. But

even then it's no license to use cluster bombs or use disproportionate attacks. You know, in concentrated civilian areas, there's a duty of



ANDERSON: While the International Criminal Court investigates alleged Russian war crimes U.S. president is using words to describe his Russian

counterpart that he hasn't used before. Have a listen.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Did you ask me what would I call him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Putin a war criminal, sir?

BIDEN: Oh, I think he is a war criminal.


ANDERSON: Well, his answer appeared off the cuff as it were, but it did get the attention of the Kremlin its spokesperson today, calling President

Biden's remarks unacceptable and inexcusable. Well, our Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour has extensive experience covering war crimes,

the war in Kosovo being one such example.

And she joins me now from London, so delight to have you on Thank you. Let's just remind ourselves, if we will, what constitutes a war crime,


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, look, Becky, it is a very, very large and broad term. And there are several definitions

within that. There's war crime, which stands on its own, and it refers to basic violations of the Geneva Convention, and what's known as the laws and

customs of war.

There are rules whereby both parties to any war have to abide by and deliberately shooting civilians or not taking enough care to attack

civilians comes under that rubric. And then, of course, there's, you know, the violations of international humanitarian law, there are crimes against


There's the highest crime of all under international law, which is that of genocide. And so all of these come under you know what, something like the

International Criminal Court would be investigating, and also then prosecuting if they were able to do that.

And that is what Kareem Han is doing. He is going now to Ukraine, and he will be looking at all sides. He's not just looking at one side; he'll be

looking at all sides.

But clearly, the evidence, the pictures, what we've seen over the last three weeks in this war point very clearly to an indiscriminate, our long

range artillery, bombardments of civilian areas, and indeed, aircraft bombardments as well. And we know that this is what Putin is resorting to

because the ground operation is pretty much stalled and not going according to plan.

So the other very difficult thing in terms of proving is, is the whole command, you know, responsibility, the chain of command who gave the orders

or was it just, you know, people on the ground doing it willy nilly.

We know that in Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, the leaders of those nations, both political and indeed, a military, who, who were responsible for the

genocide of so many people were convicted at the special tribunal for those two countries.

ANDERSON: The U.S. president certainly pointing a finger of blame here at President Putin himself, the Kremlin of course, denying any war crimes.

President Putin, also condemning Russians, with the western mindset, as he suggested by calling them national traitors, have a listen to this.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT: But any people the Russian people especially are able to distinguish true patriots from bastards and

traitors, and will spit them out like a gnat that accidentally flew into their mouths.

I am certain that this necessary and natural self-cleaning of our society will only strengthen our country, our solidarity, togetherness and our

readiness to answer any calls to action.


ANDERSON: What did you make of what you heard from Russia's president there in what was a long rangy speech?

AMANPOUR: Well, you know, self-cleaning has very, very chilling and historic connotations and it's very unpleasant to listen to that

terminology. And we don't really know what he means by it.


AMANPOUR: But we do know that he is angry that some 14,000, at least Russians, according to the CIA estimates have been arrested for protesting,

and probably a lot more since William Burns put that figure before Congress. We know that journalists are of fleeing certainly independent

ones; their places of work have been shut down.

And we know that President Putin and the Kremlin have issued, you know, criminal conditions, criminal charges around anyone who doesn't toe the

Kremlin party line, and who calls the war a war or calls it an invasion, or who even mentions that civilians are being killed.

And, and, and that is, you know, potentially punishable by 15 years, and, and a high fine. So I spoke to one of the editors, producer, Marina of

state television Channel One, who, as we all know, took a very courageous personal step to protest the war, and to protest the propaganda, as we saw

with that card that she had made and was waving behind the anchor on the set.

And, you know, she had to get past as she told me a security guard, she had to decide how close or far to stand away from the camera. At first, she

wanted to stand further in the background, but then she realized that nobody would see it.

So she courageously came up to the front of set, so to speak. And she used the word war, which is a banned term in Russia right now. And it was six

seconds that reverberated around the world. So when I spoke to her, I, of course, asked her about the cost of taking that kind of stance in Russia



AMANPOUR (on camera): I just want to know, on a human level, how do you feel? Are you feeling scared right now?

MARINA OVSYANNIKOVA, RUSSIAN JOURNALIST: No, you know, I don't feel scared. But at the moment, of course, I feel a huge burden of responsibility. And I

realize that my life has changed irrevocably. I don't think I'm there's some sort of sad fate in store for me for the demolished on air. But I'm

hoping that I won't face criminal charges.


AMANPOUR: Yes, so she's hoping that she doesn't get hold before a court again. Marina Ovsyannikova was fined some 30,000 Russian rubles amounts to

nearly $300 for what the Kremlin called an unauthorized public event.

Question is does it have you know, a spiral effect on other journalists or other Russians. She thinks, you know, there are many people who are

dissatisfied with what she calls the state propaganda machines - so many Russians.

And she says Russians, a peaceful people they don't believe in war, and particularly not one against you know what Putin is always calling a

fraternal nation.

ANDERSON: Christiane, always a pleasure, thank you Christiane Amanpour on "Connect the World" for you. Just ahead homemade body armor how individual

Ukrainians are pitching in to help their countries troops that is after this.



ANDERSON: 21 people have been killed in shelling near Ukraine second largest city of Kharkiv. That's according to the prosecutor's office which

says that the attack destroyed a school and Arts Club overnight.

Official say 25 people have been injured 10 seriously. Well, in central Ukraine some committed individuals are determined to do what they can to

keep Ukrainian troops save. CNN's Ivan Watson met them and he joins me now live from there. Ivan, what did you learn?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think we've learned that on the one hand, you've got this incredible mobilization of the

population. It's not unusual to run into men who say they're waiting for a call to be taken into the military right now.

But on the other hand, we're hearing that there isn't enough equipment for some of these people who are being sent into combat. And we've learned of

one group of Ukrainians in the ingenious lengths that they've gone to try to compensate for that shortage.


WATSON (voice over): A melody in a time of deep uncertainty, a family hard at work turning their living room into a makeshift workshop producing

locally made armor for the Ukrainian military.

WATSON (on camera): This is heavy. This is a flak jacket.

WATSON (voice over): These flak jackets are the work of this grandmother and former seamstress. Russia's invasion of Ukraine pulled 68 year old -

out of retirement to work as volunteer sewing flak jackets for Ukrainian soldiers.

WATSON (on camera): Idina says she sews these flak jackets with love. And it's without love that she hopes it'll help protect defenders help save

their life.

WATSON (voice over): In the kitchen, Idina's son a lawyer crafts the blue and yellow armbands that security forces were on their arms to identify


WATSON (on camera): How many do you make in one day?


WATSON (on camera): 200?


WATSON (voice over): This family workshop part of a larger improvised production chain that sprouted up in the central Ukrainian city of

Vinnytsia. It's the brainchild of Vitaly --. It takes orders from soldiers and members of the Territorial Defense requesting armor before they head to

the front lines.

Before the war Vitaly was a lawyer and an amateur re-enactor of scenes from the First World War when Ukrainian nationalists fought against Russian

Bolsheviks. Several days into this modern war, Vitaly says he asked his mother in law Idina to help so armor when his son's godfather couldn't find

a flak jacket before heading off to combat. This operation relies on donations and improvisation.

WATSON (on camera): This is some padding for the flak jackets to go around the armor plates. And they're made from the material that used for floor

mats for cars.

WATSON (voice over): The armor plates come from scrap metal scavenged from old cars, welded and reworked by volunteer mechanics and field tested.

WATSON (on camera): So --is taken out plates to a firing range, because he's this and this is six millimeters in width. And they tried different

kinds of firearms and rounds, and it was able to block some rifles but a sniper's rifle punched right through, as did a machine gun. They're not

using this width for their flak jackets.

WATSON (voice over): The team settled on a width of eight millimeters. Vitaly says this newest model will go to a new fighter within the hour. My

normal work is to defend people in a court of law. But now we have to defend people's lives from the enemy from the killers who for some reason,

want to kill me, my little daughter, my grandmother, and so on. This is just one example of the collective war effort that has sprung up here.

Ordinary Ukrainians are doing their part to protect their homeland.


WATSON: Becky on the one hand, I've seen several examples of this just incredible Do It Yourself approach to defense that ordinary Ukrainians are

participating in.


WATSON: On the flip side, we are hearing about some of the support from Western countries reaching frontline units. I was just speaking at length

with a major in Ukraine's Territorial Army, he'd been a reservist called up on the day of the invasion, as were some 400, most of the 400 men in his


And he says just in the last three weeks, his men have received some of these weapons, for example, the shoulder fired rockets that have proven so

deadly to Russian armored vehicles and tanks.

But he also went on to say we could always use more and he said, we would like to have infrared scopes to be able to spot enemy positions, more

drones, more of these shoulder launched weapons.

And he singled out the bite archetype that is the name for the Turkish armed drone that for the Ukrainians has become kind of a hero of this

conflict, and a deadly enemy for the Russian armed forces, Becky.

ANDERSON: Ivan Watson is on the ground for you. Ivan really appreciate it, fantastic reporting. Well as the west ramps up sanctions against Russia and

tries to wean itself off its oil and gas. The war in Ukraine has thrown a spotlight on key countries in this region, namely Saudi Arabia and the UAE

and that focus is revealing some inconvenient truths for the west. Don't take these relationships for granted. Let's take a closer look.

It's no secret that U.S. and Europe are looking to Gulf producers to plug any potential supply gaps left by the squeezing out of Russian oil. That

was a driving force behind the British Prime Minister's visit to Abu Dhabi and Riyadh Wednesday.

He likely also conveyed Washington's plead for support in enforcing international sanctions on Russia. But Boris Johnson left empty handed with

no public messages on ramping up production from either of the key OPEC plus members and no word on sanctions. Of course, the absence of public

statements doesn't mean there weren't private assurances of support. That's diplomacy, right. But what is clear is that times have changed.

And the fact is that both countries have a more nuanced attitude towards Vladimir Putin's Russia and aren't simply following the Western lead. Case

in point, these images from earlier today, the UAE's Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed in Moscow, alongside Sergei Lavrov, his Russian

counterpart, they spoke about improving global energy security and interesting signal, perhaps less than 24 hours from Mr. Johnson's visit


And let's be clear, relations with the west, especially with Washington are under stress. Why? Well, back in 2015, Gulf rulers felt sidelined by the

Iran nuclear deal. They felt that agreement did not address Iran's behavior in the region or their concerns.

Fast forward to 2020 and as a presidential candidate, Joe Biden promised to make Saudi Arabia a pariah over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. And since

coming to office, Mr. Biden has distanced himself from the kingdom's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. And crucially, the Biden

Administration ended U.S. support for the Saudi led war in Yemen and reversed a Trump decision to list the Houthi rebels as a terrorist


Infuriating both Saudi and the UAE who have suffered multiple terror attacks at the hands of the Iran backed militia, a threat to their national

security. Add to all of this U.S. conditions on ARM sales, and there is a real sense of mistrust by America's partners in this region.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, one of your allies, United Arab Emirates is asking your administration to put back the Houthi rebels or militias back

on the terror list. Are you going to do that? And how are you going to end the war in Yemen, Sir?

BIDEN: The answer is it's under consideration. And any new war in Yemen takes the two parties to be involved to do it. And it's going to be very



ANDERSON: Meanwhile, Russia has spent years building up its ties and influence in the Middle East using its military and diplomatic might to

prop up series Bashar Al Assad. And as a key economic partner for sanctions hit Iran helping to build its nuclear power plant in --.


ANDERSON: Moscow has also established increasingly robust economic ties with Saudi Arabia and the UAE to. Abu Dhabi through opened the doors to

Vladimir Putin in 2019, sealing multiple trade deals and cementing a so called special relationship by hedge along with against its erstwhile

reliance on the west.

And with sanctions effectively cutting off access to Europe, many Russians will likely see Dubai's financial safe haven, a global financial crime

watchdog added the UAE to its grey list earlier this month.

Citing concerns the emirate - isn't sufficiently stemming illegal financial activities. Bottom line here, there is no picking sides. And that is

evidence it was evidence to at the United Nations Security Council when the UAE which holds a rotating seat and the presidency this month, abstain from

condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine.


MINA AL-ORAIBI, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE NATIONAL: The UAE's position was Russia is going to veto this U.N. Security Council resolution in all cases.

If they abstain, they keep the channels of communication with all sides, which they've maintained and they're speaking to all sides.


ANDERSON: Except when President Biden tried to call the UAE de facto Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and got a busy signal according to The Wall

Street Journal, a report the White House is pushed back on.

There is no doubt the Biden Administration has been lobbying hard to get its "Friends in Abu Dhabi and in Riyadh to increase oil supply". Last week,

we brought the news from the UAE Ambassador to Washington, Yousuf Al Otaiba; they would like to see an increase in oil output.

That's an oil plummeting 13 percent. Prices jump back a bit when the UAE's Energy Minister contradicted him seemingly and said they would stick to the

OPEC output agreement.


AMENA BAKR, CHIEF OPEC CORRESPONDENT, ENERGY INTELLIGENCE: Why don't they take unilateral action 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 to this Gulf

producers, but they will be losing.

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



ANDERSON: When I say a bit plus meeting is scheduled for March, the 31st, all eyes will be on whether OPEC members will move fast yet their

intentions are frankly not clear. What is clear is that the balance of these relationships will be felt wherever you are watching, wherever all of

us are in our pockets in the month to come. We're taking a very short break back after this.


ANDERSON: Well, earlier in this show, you heard my interview with the Prime Minister of Ireland. Well, I asked him about the tragic death of Fox News

Journalist Pierre Zakrzewski, an Irish citizen who was killed in Ukraine this week. Here's what the Irish Prime Minister had to say.



MARTIN: My message is one of deep sadness and we express our deepest sympathies to his wife and to his family. And he grew up in Dublin. He went

to secondary school in Dublin into - University.

And to me, he personifies the bravery of the world of journalism, the cameramen, the journalists, to producers, and his producer was killed along

with him. He personifies that courage and that bravery that shines a light on the evil and the evil of despotic regimes and the evil that they wreak

on civilians.

And without the bravery of Pierre and his colleagues, we would not know what's going on in Ukraine, or indeed in other war zones where he served in

the past. It is, but it's an extraordinarily high price to pay.

And shame on Vladimir Putin and his forces for killing an innocent man who was simply bringing the truth to the people of the world, in terms of their

- and the injustice of what is going on within Ukraine right now.


ANDERSON: That 24 year old Ukrainian journalist who was working as a consultant for Fox also died in that same attack. Her name is Oleksandra

Kuvshynova, they're named sadly.

Among several journalists who have now died bringing us critical information about this war, including Brent Renaud and Yevhenii Sakun, they

will be honored and remembered by all who knew them and their work.