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Erin Burnett Outfront

If Russia Invades Ukraine, Human Costs Will Be "Immense"; Ukrainian President Heads To Key City Tomorrow After Saying "With Irony" He Was Told Russia Would Attack On Same Day; Jan 6 Panel Issues New Subpoenas Tied To Fake Elector Plot; Trump Ally Running For Colorado Secretary Of State Despite Investigations; Russia Skater Had 3 Heart Medications In Her System; Djokovic Willing To Skip Tournaments To Avoid COVID Vaccination. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired February 15, 2022 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Hadas Gold reporting for us, thanks very much. And to our viewers, thanks for watching.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now live from Ukraine.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, we are live in Ukraine, a country tonight with more than 150,000 Russian troops now surrounding it as President Biden warns Putin the United States is now ready no matter what happens.

Plus, meet the men ready to fight the Russians on the streets of Ukraine. We went to their shooting practice today.

And more drugs found in the drug test sample of that top Russian ice skater. The news coming as she now leads the pack after competing today. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, breaking news on the ground here in Ukraine, as the world waits to see what Russian President Vladimir Putin will do next. After a day of confusing mixed signals from Putin, it's possible that Putin, as of tonight, may have already fired the first shot in a conflict. Ukrainian government reporting an apparent cyber attack on the websites of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense and the Armed Forces of Ukraine as well as on two major banks. President Biden warning there could be more to come.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Russian Defense Minister reported today and some military units are leaving their positions near Ukraine. That would be good. But we have not yet verified that. We have not yet verified the Russian military units are returning to their home bases. Indeed, our analysts indicate that they remain very much in a threatening position. And the fact remains right now Russia has more than 150,000 troops encircling Ukraine and Belarus and along Ukraine's border. An invasion remains distinctly possible. That's why I've asked several times that all Americans in Ukraine leave now before it's too late to leave safely. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Meantime, Putin, publicly today, talking about the hope for a diplomatic solution after he was specifically asked whether he would rule out a major war in Europe.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through interpreter): Do we want it or not? Of course not.

Our intention is and we strive to negotiate with our partners.


BURNETT: Of course, there's a problem talking about negotiating as you keep adding troops as President Biden also noted Russia now has more than 150,000 encircling Ukraine. A new satellite images in it tonight show just 45 miles from the Ukrainian coast, 60 more helicopters transport an attack aircraft have landed at an airbase there and they have done so just over the past few days. They see that satellite activity.

That base had been vacant until now since at least 2003. So I'll show you the same base in November of just last year. You can see the shift. And 70 miles from the Ukraine coast, another satellite image here shows at least 10 Russian Su 34 strike bombers now in place. Plus new video released today by the Russian Ministry of Defense showing multiple rocket launchers conducting artillery drills in Crimea.

Putin is saying one thing, saying he wants diplomacy, saying that he's pulling back some troops now that they're done their military exercises, but he is purposely showing us images of something extremely different. And people here are telling me that they are preparing for the worst, making sure that they and their families are protected. I spoke today with an experienced shooter practicing at a gun range here in Lviv.

He and the group of men that you see here, they are prepared they say, to serve as a militia, as an insurgency in the streets.


BURNETT: And if there was anything, guys like these guys, they're not going to back down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, definitely no. No.

BURNETT: They'll fight.



BURNETT: They'll fight. And he also told me people now are turning up in huge numbers to buy guns and get training. And you're going to see a lot more about this later on this hour. Because the bottom line, as people here know, as Biden said today, that the toll, the human suffering and the toll of an invasion would be enormous.


BIDEN: If Russia does invade in the days and weeks ahead, the human costs for Ukraine will be immense and the strategic cost for Russia will also be immense. If Russia attacks Ukraine, it'll be met with overwhelming international condemnation. The world will not forget that Russia chose needless death and destruction.


BURNETT: And the danger tonight is not just to the citizens of Ukraine and Russia, a major warning from the top Department of Homeland Security Intelligence official this evening.



JOHN COHEN, DHS INTEL CHIEF: The situation and the escalated tensions between Russia and Ukraine have the potential to exacerbate the threat environment here at home, particularly as it relates to the use by Russia of disinformation campaigns and an act of measure techniques.


BURNETT: Matthew Chance begins our coverage tonight. He is in Kyiv about 300 miles east of where I am tonight. And, Matthew, I know that you have been speaking with officials in the Ukrainian government tonight, how are they responding to Biden's speech, which we should note was obviously late in the evening here Ukraine time.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think what officials have been telling me or they have been telling me is that even though they saw nothing particularly new in what President Biden had to say, the tone went down very well, very positively. One official telling me that it was regarded as firm and resolute. Another one official telling CNN that there was no reason as far as they were concerned for a war and they hope that message of a peaceful settlement of this crisis was heard correctly inside Moscow tonight.

And so, again, a lot of positivity when it comes to this strong message from President Biden to Moscow about what it should do and what it shouldn't do. Of course, it came shortly after these very encouraging signs, apparently, that we've had from the Russians that a de-escalation is possible. In terms of the military side word that there could be troops that are leaving the border region from Ukraine and returning to their barracks after the exercises they're engaged in have ended.

Also, the signals from the Kremlin earlier on today as well that the focus for Vladimir Putin, and I'm paraphrasing him here, was going to be on negotiations, even though the troop withdrawals have not been verified and it's not clear where the negotiations are heading to. The tension in Ukraine tonight, the concern that there may be a sort

of imminent attack, the threat is still there, but I think some of those tensions have been eased, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Matthew Chance, thank you very much. And I want to go out for now to retired Army Major General James "Spider" Marks, head of Geopolitical Strategy at Academy Securities. Also with me, Evelyn Farkas, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia in the Obama administration.

Evelyn, let me start with you tonight. What do you make of the timing of the cyber attacks that we saw here today? As they say, oh, well, some exercises are over, we're pulling troops out, even though that can't be verified and then at the same time, there are these cyber attacks on the military sites in this country as well as some of the major banks.

EVELYN FARKAS, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR RUSSIA/UKRAINE/EURASIA: Well, I think, Erin, what it tells me is that I should continue paying

attention to what the Russians are doing not what they're saying. And I'm pretty sure - I mean, who else would conduct an attack like this on the Ukrainian as you said armed forces and Ministry of Defense and their two largest banks, it would only be the Russian government at this moment in time.

And that's the kind of thing they do as kind of a warning salvo and it's usually not - I mean, sometimes they'll do it just to mess with them. In this context, again, it could be the beginning of a bigger cyber operation, which could lead into a military operation. And very quickly, what I mean by that is that they could try to disrupt the communication between various branches of the government and, of course, within the military, which could be dangerous to military trying to fight back against Russia.

BURNETT: It's also sobering.

Gen. Marks, I want to play something else that President Biden said today in his address.


BIDEN: The United States and NATO are not a threat to Russia. Ukraine is not threatening Russia, neither the U.S. nor NATO have missiles in Ukraine. We do not have plans to put them there as well. We're not targeting the people of Russia. We do not seek to destabilize Russia. To the citizens of Russia, you are not our enemy. And I do not believe you want a bloody destructive war against Ukraine.


BURNETT: So General, does this impact the people of Russia? I mean, truthfully, will they even hear it?

JAMES MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I'm skeptical they'll hear it. Look, the only target in Russia that you want to have a target for your message is the oligarchs. Putin cares what they think about. Those are really the under bosses. They give him guidance and they give him some room to maneuver.

But if they're okay, then he's okay. There's this huge social gap between those oligarchs and the rest of the population in Russia.


You have the poor and then you have the very poor, then you have the out of touch. That means informationally out of touch.

I don't think this message gets to them and is an effective message. It's the right message and you have to applaud the President for saying it so emphatically and it needs to be said, but that's information. What the President is doing is information warfare and it needs to be done, as Evelyn indicated with the Russians in their use of cyber.

Look, this is a continuum of warfare. Cyber is an element of military application of force. It shapes the battlefield. The Russians are doing it. And we're trying to do it for positive results.

BURNETT: So Evelyn, NATO received a request from Ukraine today. And it's interesting, after so much time of the United States talking about an imminent invasion and Ukraine downplaying it, today Ukraine came out and did something different. They reached out to NATO and they said we need immediate assistance, and they put out a very detailed list.

They know they're not getting lethal weapons from NATO, they didn't ask for that. They asked for cars, trucks, cranes, bulldozers. They asked, Evelyn, for machines for radiation and chemical reconnaissance. Equipment to search for explosive objects, thermal imaging equipment, and they asked for more than 50 self-sustaining field camps, each of which would accommodate up to 300 people.

The list goes on and on. It's extensive and very specific, what do you make of it?

FARKAS: Well, Erin, it's alarming. I mean, first of all, because some of the stuff you listed is basic, they should have this stuff already. So that's upsetting to me to hear. And then on the other side of it, you mentioned radiation equipment, explosive ordnance detection, these kinds of equipment that you would use if you're trying to protect yourself or detect Russians using weapons of mass destruction, which of course we know that they use in assassinations, et cetera, and so we can't put it past them on the battlefield. So it's alarming in those two respects.

BURNETT: I mean, it is and when you say that, when you look at the history of their willingness to use those sorts of substances, it's not just putting it out in the ether, there's a specific reason for the fear.

Gen. Marks, Biden said today confirming a new number, 150,000 troops now encircling Ukraine. And I showed earlier those before and aftermaths, satellite images of 45 miles from Ukraine's coast, so I'll put them up again, 60 helicopters now at what had been a vacant airbase in Russian occupied Crimea, the aircraft that we see here are a mix of both transport and attack aircraft and we'll show everyone the same base on November 5th. So this changed very quickly, there was nothing there and now, of course, it is with all of these aircrafts, 70 miles from the Ukraine coast, at least 10 Russian Su-34 strike bombers.

General, what do you make of this? These satellite images coming out just on a day when Russia says, oh, we're going to pull some troops back who are done with their military exercises.

MARKS: Yes. It's like the magician, you watch both hands, it's the hands, you don't see the (inaudible) got stuff going on. What's happening in Crimea, as an Intel guy, go to the boss and say, okay, I don't want to try to confirm this and only look at this as the course of action that we need to worry about, but I want to worry about this for a second. We need to do something about it.

He's got strike bombers, he's got the SUs in Crimea, they weren't there before. He's got helos both transport and attack, they weren't there before. And he also has naval, he has a naval task force that's right there in the vicinity of Crimea in the Black Sea.

What that tells me is, this reinforces the notion of increasing the presence in the Donbas and potentially expanding it into the direction of the Dnieper River. Those forces are there joint and combined armed forces are there in order to facilitate that operation? I mean, as an Intel guy, that's what I'm looking at right now.

BURNETT: Right. And crucial those areas, Russian been fighting with Ukraine for years, for the past eight years, those areas within Ukraine here. Thank you very much, General and Evelyn, I appreciate both of you.

And next, more on the breaking news from Ukraine because hours from now, the president here, President Zelensky will visit a key port city that could be a Russian target and any kind of an invasion. It is crucially essential to this and we'll talk about what's at stake with our Alex Marquardt who's there.

Plus, a Trump supporter who pushes the big lie is also under investigation by the FBI, but none of that is stopping her from running to be the one to oversee all voting in a state.

And tennis champion Novak Djokovic saying he is prepared to give up the game, to give up the game entirely if he's forced to get vaccinated.




BURNETT: Breaking news, just hours from now Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to visit a city right in Putin's crosshairs. It is the major port city of Mariupol, just miles away from where Russian forces are tonight. It is also where Alex Marquardt is.

And Alex, what else do you know about this visit and why the city where you're standing tonight is obviously so important in all of this?

All right. We're going to go back to him in just a moment. I've got Seth Jones here with me, the Director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who's been looking at the satellite images. So Seth, we are going to go back to Alex, but this is how it goes with these situations, just had a freeze on his shot from Mariupol.

So we'll go there in just a moment. Let me ask you, though, because I know you spent all night and today going through the latest data and the images, obviously, some of which are very near to where Alex is in Mariupol tonight. Tell me what you're saying.

SETH JONES, DIRECTOR, INTL. SECURITY PROGRAM AT CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, Erin, I think what we're seeing is that the Russians still have about 105 battalion tactical groups, the 150,000 ground forces that the President talked about today plus another 50,000 Belarusian ground forces, plus about 500 combat aircraft within striking distance, plus Another 40 combat ships in the Black Sea.


That's a pretty serious force that still surrounds Ukraine on three sides. That's what we're seeing. We're not seeing a major decrease at the moment.

BURNETT: Which is obviously very significant since Putin is saying, well, some of my military exercises are done. I'm pulling back forces and there's been no evidence of that as of yet. President Biden saying that the U.S. hasn't been able to verify, you're not seeing it. Alex is now with me from Mariupol.

Alex, let me bring you in here, tell me what you're seeing. Obviously, as I said, where you're standing is so crucial and the President of Ukraine will be there tomorrow.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. He's coming here tomorrow as part of this day of unity, Erin. We got word later tonight that he is going to be coming here to this port city. We're about as southeast as you can get in the country and he made this declaration yesterday saying that he had been told that on Wednesday, the 16th, that Russia would invade Ukraine. He said it tongue-in-cheek a bit ironically he said. And instead of that, he wanted to have a show of patriotism all across the country.

So he's coming down here as part of that. And Erin, you're absolutely right, this is a critical city for a number of reasons. To the east, about just 15 miles away is the front line where Ukrainian forces had been battling pro-Russian, Russian-backed separatists for the past eight years. A little bit past that is the actual Russian border.

The city is actually on the Sea of Azov, which is also where Crimea is. And as you've been discussing, the Russians have been building up this third front, all along this southern coast of Ukraine with exercises in the Black Sea, with troops in Crimea, with those helicopters you were talking about, with fighter jets.

And so there has been all sorts of speculation that Putin for years has wanted to join Crimea with those Russia backed enclaves and with the rest of Russia, creating this strip right here. And so in the face of that, in the face of this prospect, this potential invasion, now we have President Zelensky coming down here on a national day of unity as cities all across the country will be showing patriotic fervor, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Alex, thank you very much. Alex will be there in Mariupol.

So, Seth, let me bring you back into this. Obviously, as we say, a place like Mariupol is so crucial, because that's where you've got the southern build up of those Russian forces. As we point out, there's no evidence at this point that Putin has been pulling back any forces that are done with military drills. There may be some evidence of that to come, but certainly it's nothing large scale, if that's the case.

And by the way, he did this in December. December, he pulled back some forces. And here where we are - here's where we are in February. So the question to you, Seth, is there any indication of mass troop movements that would actually show a change in the game?

JONES: No, Erin. We haven't seen a major change other than what still looks like a major build up within very close proximity to Ukraine. The other thing that's happening, of course, is also there continue to be weapons shipments into the Ukrainian government. So they've got javelins now, anti tank missiles, they've got stingers surface to air missiles, there have been other types of assistance that have been provided to the Ukrainians.

So we've seen build up in a sense on both sides. And I will tell you this that it'll be a much more difficult fight for the Russians with Ukraine. It's had an opportunity over the last couple of weeks to get some assistance from the British, from the Americans and a few other countries. If the Russians do move in, it may be a tough fight in some areas.

BURNETT: Right. Right. And they've got those shoulder-fired grenades that came in. And as you point out and we'll show later this hour, there are people here ready to fight. They're ready and they will not hesitate and the resolve has been pretty incredible to see. There is one point, though, that you make Seth and that is the longer Putin waits to invade, the harder that it will be in part because of that weapon buildup. But why else do you feel that way?

JONES: Well, there are a couple things. One is that we have seen the Zelensky government and Ukrainians particularly in the West that do not appear to be terrified of the Russians right now and willing to fight. That means morale appears to be holding right now. It looks like the Russians hoped with all of this pressure that the

Ukrainian government could collapse. We could see protests in the streets, that really has not happened. And so I think, if you're the Russians, what you might have hoped would happen with the pressure caused on the Ukrainian government has not happened.

So I think many of us have been very impressed with the way the Ukrainian morale has continued, so I think that's kind of big. The other thing is NATO continues to reinforce its eastern flank and we see probably more unity than we've seen in 20 years within NATO.


So that has to concern Putin as well and it's all directed at his government.

BURNETT: Well, and ironically, of course, because of what he's done, you've seen the biggest buildup in NATO forces on what Putin considers to be his western flank than you've seen in a generation. Seth, thank you very much.

And next, she was stripped of election duties and is now under investigation. Now this backer of Trump's election lie wants to oversee all voting in the entire state of Colorado.

And they're doctors, they're IT professionals and you're going to meet some of the men here in Lviv who are ready to fight the Russians if they have to.



BURNETT: Tonight, the January 6 Select Committee issuing subpoenas related to the fake electors who wanted to make then-President Trump the winner in key swing states that he lost. So the subpoenas target two members of Trump's campaign and four prominent Republican officials in battleground states. And this is coming as Republican Tina Peters. The Mesa County, Colorado clerk who has embraced Trump wholeheartedly and the lie about the election, says she is now running for Secretary of State. She'd oversee Colorado's elections if she wins.


So let's just pause there for a second. Peters is running to oversee Colorado's election, and she was stripped of her duties running county elections and is under state and federal investigation for allegedly allowing someone to copy the hard drives of county voting machines, and she wanted to be in charge of the whole thing.

Well, Peters announced her candidacy on Steve Bannon's podcast.


TINA PETERS, REPUBLICAN MESA COUNTY CLERK: We need to restore the truth in elections.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER DONALD TRUMP ADVISER: Tina Peters is one of the most targeted individuals not just in this nation, in this world, as you fight this globalist apparatus.


BURNETT: OUTRONT now, David Becker, an election security expert with more than 20 years of experience, along with John Avlon, our senior political analyst.

So, David, can you believe Peters could end up in charge of an entire state's election system?

DAVID BECKER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND FOUNDER, THE CENTER FOR ELECTION INNOVATION AND RESEARCH: Well, I like to think that's very unlikely. I mean, as you mentioned, she is under investigation for giving unauthorized access to highly secure, highly sensitive voting technology. She's also under investigation for obstruction of justice, for objecting to a warrant for perhaps elicitly recording a court proceeding that she denied recording.

I mean, there's a variety of problems and she was removed for very good cause from her duties in Mesa County, Colorado. The Democratic secretary of state worked with Republicans throughout the state. They have put other Republicans with a lot of election administration experience, including the former Republican secretary of state who the current Democratic secretary of state defeated in the 2018 election. They're now overseeing elections in that county.

But this is part and parcel of what we're seeing throughout the country. States like Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, they're individuals who are running to take charge of elections on the platform of giving their preferred candidate an advantage, rather than what most election officials feel. I worked with them for almost 25 years now, they would consider that an insult.

BURNETT: And, John, this is way bigger than just Colorado.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It absolutely is. We're seeing a nationwide effort, not just at voter suppression, but almost more importantly, election subversion. This effort to make election administration more partisan, not less, by people who have bought in wholesale into the big lie. And it's really a direct threat to democracy.

Elections should nonpartisan, and these folks are running in the opposite direction while believing a cult conspiracy theory and breaking laws. This is a larger problem than this one canary in the coal mine.

BURNETT: So, David, a Republican running to be Minnesota attorney general called her own aides heroes for participating in January 6th to give another example in another state. Just listen to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I should note that I have at least two people on my staff who were participants in January 6th. I think in a lot of ways the people at the Capitol on January 6th were heroes.


BURNETT: David, have you ever seen anything like this before?

BECKER: No. This is really something new, and again, I have been doing this for a long time but the contempt for the rule of law coming from some of these candidates, many of whom have been part of the grift against sincerely disappointed supporters of the former president.

And this is about a contempt for rule of law. That is what's at the core of this. There were rules in place in the election before Election Day. Some of them were challenged. Some of them were not.

But we hear a lot of complaints after the election was lost by a fairly large margin by the former president about those rules. That's contempt for rule of law. In addition, now we're seeing people running for attorney general, people running for secretary of state, people running for governor who actually are running on these platforms where they have contempt for the rule of law for the courts, for evidence and all of this other stuff.

This is really damaging for democracy.

BURNETT: Well, and people perhaps don't realize that, you know, what made it work last time in spite of the assault was the fact that it was Democrats and Republicans in state after state after state, secretaries of state, attorney generals who stood up and said here's the count, and did the right thing. If you remove them, the risk is so great.

John, that brings me to your book, your new book out today, "Lincoln and the Fight for Peace", which talks about what Lincoln did after the United States had been ripped apart by the civil war.

What lessons do you see for us now in this frightening time?

AVLON: It's a reminder that defending democracy is a heroic cause. It's a reminder that sometimes you need to con front divisive forces directly, and they need to be defeated decisively.


I mean, the big lie is in some ways just an update of the lost caused mythology that many confederates clung to after the civil war.

What Lincoln understood is that you need to combine strength with magnanimity. These folks need to be defeated decisively, and you need to reach out to try to build back the nation, and that's the essence of winning the peace. If you're in Ukraine right now is just as critical as winning the war and that was Lincoln's great insight.

But we need to defend our democracy at all costs and that's another lesson of Lincoln's time.

BURNETT: Thank you, John. Thank you, David.

And next, we have breaking news tonight about the Russian skater, Kamila Valieva, tests showing not just one hard drug in her system but three.

And the COVID vaccine standing in the way of Novak Djokovic's epic tennis career, his quest to be the best player ever. He's ready to throw it all away. He's not going to get the shot.


BURNETT: Breaking news, CNN learning that Russian ice skater Kamila Valieva had three heart medications in her system. One is a banned substance. Despite the positive drug test, the 15-year-old competing today in the women's competition, leading the pack in first place.


Valieva skates again on Thursday.

OUTFRONT now, Bryan Fogel. He's director of the Academy Award-winning documentary, "Icarus", which exposed Russia's state-sponsored mass doping program during the 2014 Olympics.

So, Bryan, the IOC tonight says Valieva is blaming this on a mix up, she says, with her grandfather's heart medication. I should mention Travis Tygart from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency points out that the Australian swimmer, Shayna Jack, who claimed that she was exposed to a banned substance in a pool had 200 times lower the amount than Valieva, as reported, 200 times lower, and Valieva says it was a mix up with her grandfather's heart medication.

What do you make of this excuse?

BRYAN FOGEL, DIRECTOR, "ICARUS": Well, look, this is, of course, the Russian dialogue. I mean, it has been this way for decades. And as Grigory Rodchenkov brought forward, as we brought forward to "The New York Times" in 2016, you know, a massive state sponsored doping scandal, and the IOC, WADA, the Court of Arbitration of Sport has had many, many chances over the last five, six years now since this came forward to effectively ban Russia from sport, to teach them that this behavior is not tolerated.

But at every chance they've had, they have passed the buck, and here we are again now unfortunately with a 15-year-old athlete who clearly didn't know what she was taking. But whatever her coaches gave her and now she is being fed what to say to the media. It's incredibly unfortunate.

BURNETT: Right. And she is only 15. It is so crucial in this, right, that in your documentary, "Icarus", you went to Moscow, Bryan, and this is so fascinating, you went to visit the head of Russia's anti- doping lab. You toured the lab with him. And I actually want to play this one moment for viewers, which is the moment he reveals Russia's doping scheme in the stunning interview with you. Here it is.


FOGEL: Does Russia have a systematic statewide doping system in place to cheat the Olympics?


FOGEL: Were you the master mind of a statewide system that cheated the Olympics?

RODCHENKOV: Of course, yes.

FOGEL: Was Putin aware of the existence of the Russian doping system?

RODCHENKOV: Yes. Aware of my name.


BURNETT: So I want to put aside what happened to him in a moment because it's important, but first, just this crucial point. Putin knew, Putin behind it. Is anything going to stop Russia from continuing to do this?

FOGEL: Well, I think you have to look at the history, and even where we are in regards to Ukraine, where we've been in regards to the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, or Skripal, or Alexander Litvinenko back in 2006.

I mean, what the Russian ministry has learned and what Putin has learned is essentially that this behavior will be tolerated, while world leaders and even the IOC might, you know, want give a slap on the wrist. At the end of the day, there are no meaningful punishments for this sort of behavior so, you know, the ministry and Putin has learned that essentially he can get away with this.

BURNETT: And he did get away with it in the sense of the man you spoke to, Grigory Rodchenkov, spoke with you at great risk to his own life, after doing so, two of his colleagues died unexpectedly. You had to help him flee to the United States.

Here's that moment.


RODCHENKOV: I need to escape and to walk -- to walk.

FOGEL: So you want to get out?


FOGEL: I'm going to get the flight for you right now.

RODCHENKOV: Yes, right now. Please. Go.

FOGEL: Okay.

RODCHENKOV: Also, some security measures will be set.

FOGEL: How will I know -- how will I know that you made it through okay?

RODCHENKOV: I don't know. Okay?

FOGEL: Okay.


BURNETT: So Gregory went into the witness protection program in the United States, and, you know, but as I said, two of his colleagues died unexpectedly, so those seem to be the fates. Those seem to be the fates that may meet people who tell the truth in these cases.

FOGEL: I mean, look, Alexei Navalny is about to go on trial and facing ten years in prison. What is his crime? Essentially running for the presidency of Russia.

So, I mean, this is -- this is par for the course, and I think what we're seeing at the Olympics right now is very sad and the tarnishment of such a young career, obviously such an extraordinary talent, but I think the bigger issue is that there was no punishment.

And so, you know, Russia is free to cheat, and they're free to cheat again because we're learning that the IOC and the Court of Arbitration for Sport really has no interest in meaningful sanctions or punishment despite any number of violations or decades-long scandals and frauds.


You know, and --

BURNETT: Bryan, thank you very much!

FOGEL: When you look at this --

BURNETT: Sorry, I apologize I didn't mean to cut you off but I know there's a bit of delay. So I apologize for the overtalk. Brian, I thank you very much for your time.

Next, the top ranked tennis player in the world putting everything on the line tonight, willing to lose it all. Novak Djokovic not getting the COVID vaccine even if it means the end of his career.

And every day citizens taking up arms in Western Ukraine, ready to fight if Russia invades, and we're going to take you, you're going to see what happened today when they train.


[19:50:02] BURNETT: New tonight, Novak Djokovic says he will remain unvaccinated even if it costs him his career and his legacy. He's still ranked number one in the world, of course, after foregoing the Australian Open and losing there. Rafael Nadal getting the title. But Djokovic revealing he will miss the French Open and Wimbledon if he's required to get the COVID vaccine in order to play.


NOVAK DJOKOVIC, WORLD CHAMPION TENNIS PLAYER: Not being vaccinated today, you know, I'm unable to travel to most of the tournaments at the moment.

REPORTER: That's a price you're willing to pay.

DJOKOVIC: That is a price I'm willing to pay.

REPORTER: Ultimately, are you prepared to forego the chance to be the greatest player that ever picked up a racket statistically because you feel so strongly about this jab?



BURNETT: It's amazing to actually hear him say that.

And OUTFRONT now, Christopher Clarey, "New York Times" tennis correspondent who has covered more than 100 grand slam tournaments and also has covered Djokovic since he was 17 years old, so for half of his life.

So, Christopher, you know, he is sitting there, he's ready to give up his entire career, ready to give up every single thing. Why is he doing this?

CHRISTOPHER CLAREY, NEW YORK TIMES TENNIS CORRESPONDENT: You know, surprisingly unsurprised in a way because I have followed him so long, he's followed his own path for the start. He's a stubborn guy. It's worth (INAUDIBLE) on the court, and he's had a long time to think about this, and long time to sit with this whole topic and he's made this decision based on what (INAUDIBLE) in Australia as well. So, obviously, he really means it.

BURNETT: So you point out Djokovic is the only men's singles player in the top 100, the only one who is not vaccinated. What impact does his decision have on others in tennis and outside tennis?

CLAREY: That's a great question. I mean, in a lot of sports you would be celebrated 99 percent vaccination rate as a sign of the people complying with the vaccination situation and going along with it. Novak is so prominent, it makes it hard to separate tennis from that topic right now. A lot of people associate tennis with the anti-vax movement because of the situation with Novak being in the news for the last year and a half. BURNETT: Yeah, just deeply unfortunate. Djokovic goes on in that

interview to say, and I quote him, I'm trying to be in tune with my body. As you know, he's also said positive thoughts can cleanse polluted water, because, quote, scientists have proven molecules in water react to our emotions and he said he knew he had a gluten intolerance when he held a piece of bread and felt weaker in that arm.

Does he stand out for these bizarre conspiracies and his inability to get past them?

CLAREY: For him, it's mind over matter. I think he also could turn his career around, but he went to a higher level when he went gluten free. He has a strong belief for the power of his body when he got one operation on his elbow years ago when he had to fight himself for months before he did it. It's something that's been e a struggle for him for a while.

He's backed up some of the more -- I would say quackery I would say at times, but he's certainly very much out there in alternative medicine and it's a big part of his life and his culture.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Christopher, thank you very much.

I have to say it's really sad. I was hoping that he would, you know, be a champion for the right thing here, as of course, he's been such a sports champion. It's really sad and tragic to see someone willing to give something up like this. So misinformed. Thank you.

And next, Ukrainians young and old training to fight Putin.



BURNETT: New tonight, the fight Putin will face if he invades Ukraine.

Here in Lviv today, I met a group of men who are IT professionals, doctors, designers. They share a few things in common. They're highly educated and they're ready to act as a militia and fight against the Russians if Putin attacks.


BURNETT (voice-over): This group of men meets to shoot. It was just a hobby. Now it's for something bigger -- their country.

SVIAT KIVACHUK, PRACTICAL SHOOTING CLUB: They're prepared to kind of work in case of a full invasion, so their main responsibility will be to secure the streets, to secure the, like, core buildings and stuff like that, together with army and Ukrainian special forces.

BURNETT: But it is -- but these are civilians that are willing to step into that role and to do that in the streets if necessary.

KIVACHUK: Yes, exactly. So it's something similar to militia.

BURNETT: Sviat is a trained philologist. He now worked in cloud computing IT here in Lviv. Like many here, he has U.S.-based clients, so the time difference allows him to practice shooting in the mornings and go to work afterwards.

Temore (ph) is also in IT. Dmitrio (ph) is a doctor. Mikhailo is a graphic designer. Ordinary citizens in the city of more than 700,000, now practicing tactical advances in case they ever need them on the city streets.

Sviat and his friends take this motto on display at the shooting club literally. Lviv, people of action.

KIVACHUK: If you will look into Ukrainian history, throughout the 20th century, and we were fighting against USSR, so we had local guerilla forces especially here on western Ukraine, and we were willing to fight, so I guess that's kind of our heritage.

BURNETT: The president of the practical shooting club, which has groups across Ukraine, tells us he used to get five calls a week from people wanting to learn to shoot.

Now, as Putin's army sit on Ukraine's borders, he says he gets more than times that many. Lviv shooting club adding more training with 350 people coming this weekend, people of all ages ready to defend themselves if needed.

Sviat says he taught one boy who is 11 years old. Sviat's friends have multiple guns. There's no limit on the number of guns you can own in Ukraine. Sviat said his second will be an AR-15. He's hoping he'll only need it for target practice.


BURNETT: You know, their dedication and willingness to fight is so significant. It stands out.

We met another man new to shooting here. He's picked out his rifle. He's looking to begin training. Married with a 1 1/2-year-old child, and says that he would fight, too.

The truth is that no one seems to think Putin will actually invade, but that if he expects an easy, quick victory, they say that he is very, very wrong.

Thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts right now.