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Erin Burnett Outfront

U.S.: "We Won't Stand By" If Beijing Helps Putin; Pentagon Warns Russia Is "Broadening" Targets After Hitting A Military Base Near Poland, A NATO Country; Pregnant Woman And Baby Die After Maternity Hospital Bombing; Russian State TV Employee Interrupts Broadcast: "Stop The War, Do Not Believe Propaganda;" U.S. Warns Beijing Against Helping Putin In Ukraine. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 14, 2022 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: All right. Vanessa Yurkevich in New York for us. Thank you very much.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, the U.S. warning China not to help the Russians as more senators pushed Biden to give fighter jets to Ukraine. How much longer can the world stay out of Putin's war?

Plus, the U.N. calling one port city the center of hell, mass graves, a maternity hospital bombed, people with no food, no power, no water, no heat.

And a shocking display of dissent, a woman interrupting a live broadcast on Russian state TV to protest Putin's invasion. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. The U.S. putting China on notice, warning Beijing will pay a price if it supports Russia's war in Ukraine.


NED PRICE, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We have communicated very clearly to Beijing that we won't stand by if - we will not allow any country to compensate Russia for its losses.


BURNETT: That comes as the U.S. warns Russia is broadening its targets.


JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: This is now the third significant strike in western Ukraine. It certainly appears as if the Russians are broadening their target set.


BURNETT: That strike killed more than 35 Ukrainians and was the most significant bombing so close to a NATO border, raising serious concerns that Russia's invasion could break out into a larger conflict. This as Russia continues to bombard the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

We've got new images tonight to show you the moment of impact for one of the Russian strikes, an apartment complex - look at that - it's an apartment complex going up in flames. We understand but at least one person was killed and six injured. Of course, in all these situations, these numbers are - we don't know what we don't know.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy remains in the capitol and is now expected to address the U.S. Congress in less than 48 hours. Zelenskyy expected to, again, press lawmakers to send fighter jets to Kyiv.

And while that move is supported by a growing number of bipartisan lawmakers, Biden has so far refused to budge. He has insisted categorically that it would be World War III.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The idea that we're going to send in offensive equipment and have planes, and tanks and trains going in with American pilots and American crews, just understand, don't kid yourself no matter what you all say, that's called World War III.


BURNETT: That'd be World War III and very different than any other world war because it would be possibly a nuclear war. And nuclear fears have already been sparked here. Putin, of course, has put his nuclear arsenal on high alert, but also there are nuclear fears sparked by his actions with nuclear power plants in Ukraine already.

Right now, as I'm talking, there are 211 Ukrainians working at gunpoint right now at 2 am in Ukraine or 1 am, sorry, time change, working at Chernobyl. The International Atomic Energy Agency says these workers have stopped safety repairs and maintenance and they have done so because of physical and psychological fatigue.

They have not left Chernobyl since the attack, since the first invasion that night. And the CEO who oversees all of Ukraine's nuclear facilities, Petro Kotin, told me that these employees, these 211 employees and others at nuclear plants like Zaporizhzhia are heroes.


PETRO KOTIN, INTERIM PRESIDENT OF ENERGOATOM: All of them are patriots, patriots of Ukraine. They believe in victory of Ukraine.


BURNETT: And Kotin tell me that the situation is now even more concerning to him at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. It's the largest in Europe and it is the plant that you may remember was attacked by Russian forces. The facility was on fire for hours and under constant shelling.

Kotin told me that one shell alone could cause a disaster of epic proportions there and he explained why. He said, because unlike Chernobyl where the nuclear waste, those 20,000 fuel rods are surrounded by multiple layers of concrete and they're being cooled but multiple layers of thick concrete.

At Zaporizhzhia, the nuclear waste is stored totally differently in dry containers. There are no thick walls. Kotin told me that in his view, it is literally down to luck alone that the Russians did not cause a massive nuclear crisis when they shelled Zaporizhzhia that night. Of course, there are now 500 Russian soldiers, he says, at Zaporizhzhia. Those workers also working around the clock.

Kotin went on to attack the IAEA for claiming that Russia understands what is at stake when it comes to waging war at nuclear power plants. Something Kotin clearly does not agree with.



KOTIN: No, I do not think they understand what they are doing. You know, they made an act of terrorism when they came to the vicinity to Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which actually is the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe, and it has six nuclear reactors. And they came there and they started shelling. It all depends on what is in their heads. And up to now, they show that there is nothing in their heads.


BURNETT: "Nothing in their heads," he tells me when it comes to shelling nuclear power plants. And tonight, few if anyone actually knows what is Vladimir Putin's said as Russia's offensive intensifies. Today's crucial meeting between Ukraine and Russia failing to achieve a ceasefire, but now there's a fourth round of talks between the two countries, it has been paused until tomorrow.

We have reporters across Ukraine. I want to start though with Nick Paton Walsh who is OUTFRONT in Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine, where Russia has made more gains. Nick, what is the latest on the ground where you are?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We've seen during the night behind me, the sky occasionally light up from the continued rocket fires that go back and forth between the two sides here as Russia, it seems, is trying to move to the north of this strategic port, and essentially encircle it like we've seen in Mariupol further to the east. That will be deeply chilling for the third largest city in Ukraine,

Odessa, which will be their next target. But for the people living here behind me, it results in a daily barrage of rockets that seemed to randomly hit anywhere, frankly. Yesterday, Sunday, our time, it was when we saw the bodies of nine individuals outside a supermarket who'd been hit by, perhaps, a stray rocket or perhaps deliberate targeting of civilian areas so hard to tell when we see so regularly rockets slam into residential areas.

Their bodies lying outside a supermarket, the glass shattered there and I spoke to the recently made widow of one of the men who died there who as injured she was herself described seeing her husband - his head so heavily damaged and describing how they've been there buying supplies for the wake of their daughter who'd also recently died as well.

That's the kind of compound trauma that we're seeing amongst civilians here in Mykolaiv, Erin. We saw today the volume of ambulances whizzing around here. It is quite extraordinary to see a population trembling, frankly, with the kind of heavy shelling that we're seeing at this stage.

The question really is how is the balance of power between the two militaries around it, there seem to be claims, again, from the Ukrainians that they've managed to clear some roads. But there's also fears of potentially the Russians moving back in at some point. This is so vital for Russia's project for the south here for control of the Black Sea coast, that's important for their broader, perhaps, far- fetched goal of a longer term occupation of Ukraine and Mykolaiv really all of that hinges upon here and there are deep concerns about what may lie in the days ahead, Erin.

BURNETT: Nick, thank you very much. Nick reporting there from the ground.

And, of course, just to state the obvious when you see what Russia has been capable of doing, when they want to hit radio battalion or a military base, they do so with incredible precision. And so there's absolutely nothing that when you're able to do that, that can justify hitting people outside of grocery store and killing them unless you're aiming for civilian areas.

Seth Jones is the Director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, retired Army Lieutenant General Ben Hodges is also with me, former Commander of the U.S. Army forces in all of Europe. I appreciate both of you.

Seth, I want to start with the latest satellite images from the battlefield. Obviously, also, in light of the reporting Nick is giving from the south, you've been looking at these satellite images talking to your sources. What stands out to you right now about Putin strategy tonight?

SETH JONES, DIRECTOR, INTL. SECURITY PROGRAM AT CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, I think Erin, one thing that stands out about Putin strategy is that, particularly in the south, where the Russians have managed to move into a few cities, that the images do show the widespread destruction that they have caused in cities. The second issue is they have started to replace local leaders with pro- Russian collaborators.

I mean, this really goes to this goal in areas that they can control of replacing local Ukrainian governance and replacing them with pro- Russian collaborators. This gives us a sense if they're to make progress in Kyiv, what they're going to try to do to the Ukrainian government writ large.

BURNETT: So Gen. Hodges, to this point, there, looking at the explosion on an apartment complex in Kyiv, playing that again, right across the park, you see that. I heard one of the strikes on a military installation in western Ukraine on the first morning of the strikes. You could hear it. They were, at that time, targeted. Now he has done it again with an airstrike near the Polish border on a military base.


But we know a drone crashed in Croatia a couple days ago in Zagreb, big hole left in the ground. It was a miracle nobody was hurt, nobody was killed. Croatia is also a NATO country. General, how concerned are you that this will spill over into NATO countries purposefully or inadvertently?

LT. GEN. BEN HODGES, FMR. COMMANDER OF U.S. ARMY FORCES IN EUROPE (RET.): Erin, actually, I don't think it is going to spill over. I think that the Russians know there's no benefit for them for to spill over. I think there's people around Putin who understand the significance of what's going on.

So I think what we're going to see is a continuation of the murder of Ukrainian citizens, innocent people like you've been showing and your very courageous journalists and the team that are out there.

But let me tell you this, I actually think that the Russians are in trouble and they know they're in trouble. They have a serious manpower issue that's manifested by the fact that they're recruiting Syrians to come fight. There are plenty of reports of problems with morale, desertion, even mutiny and those are just the ones that we know about that we're seeing now.

I think also, that there is a factor of time that we're starting to hear reports about infighting in the Kremlin where already they're blaming the FSB for failure. The logistics, the way they have arrayed themselves is not sustainable for a long period of time. And so actually, I would say that we are in the next 10 days in this decisive part of the campaign, where if we, the West, can get into Ukraine, the things that they need to destroy the long range rockets and artillery and some more air defense, that actually, the Russians are going to come late, they're going to reach the point where they can no longer continue the attack. But that's in the next 10 days.

BURNETT: Seth, what do you think? JONES: Well, I mean, I think there are - just to add that - there are

two really serious problems that the Russians have right now. I spoke to U.S. officials just before I got on this call, Erin, and one of them said to me, they're estimating about 6,000 to 8,000 Russian ground force fatalities right now, including some general officers.

So just to give people a perspective, that there have been more Russian combat fatalities in just about two weeks of war in Ukraine, than the U.S. had in both Iraq and Afghanistan in 20 years, so this is unsustainable. The other is that the Russian force to population ratio is about four Russian soldiers for a thousand inhabitants. That is a tiny presence. It's going to make it virtually impossible to hold any territory that they're now trying to control.

BURNETT: So General, in the context of your point of view on how this is going to the Russians, a Western official tells CNN that the U.S. has information suggesting China expressed some openness to providing Russia with requested military and financial assistance.

Now, no doubt there'll be a lot of back and forth on this, certainly depending what the United States does with the Ukrainian side. What would it mean though, General, if China does help Russia militarily? And financially, of course, it's much easier for it to do, but what would the significance of any sort of military assistance be?

HODGES: Well, I think the administration has correctly identified this and I love the fact that this is another example to the administration exposing intelligence that they have to put the Chinese and the Russians on the backfoot where both of them are denying or expressing surprise.

I actually think that it's unlikely that China is going to give any kind of meaningful support. You're right that probably they could sort of do some things that would enable Russia to bypass some financial sanctions, but we'll know that. And I think what Jake Sullivan said earlier that there will be serious consequences for China, I think he means it and I think there will be.

And, frankly, the Chinese - I think they're probably starting to develop some buyer's remorse. I mean, there are very, very few good aspects of this relationship that they have. Obviously, they need energy for their economy and they would welcome access through Arctic, but I don't I don't see them seriously considering getting too closely involved any further.

BURNETT: All right. Both, thank you so very much, I appreciate it, Gen. Hodges and Seth Jones.

And next, newborns born to surrogate mothers now trapped in the middle of a war zone. Their future totally uncertain as their parents are struggling how to get them out safely.

Plus, one of Russia's richest men facing crippling sanctions now on the move tonight spotted at an airport. Who is he? Where's he going? And the people of Taiwan asking are they the next Ukraine.




BURNETT: "Mariupol is the center of the hell that we see in Ukraine right now," and that is a direct quote from the U.N.'s Humanitarian Chief who describe the city without food and water where dead bodies lay in the streets. It comes as a pregnant woman and her child have died. They were at that variable maternity ward that was bombed and that woman on the stretcher, she was injured in the abdomen, hip was dislocated, she was holding her stomach where her baby was, that baby did not survive. The medics who treated her told the AP that she told them to quote kill me now when she realized she was losing her baby and she did not survive that birth either.

It is an incredibly tragic, tragic thing to even think about. Now after photos were released of her and others at that maternity ward who were so visibly injured by the bombing, the Russian government claimed that the photos were staged. They said that the women were actors.

One of the women has since given birth and she has survived. She has a baby girl named Veronika debunking the lies of the Russian government.

And now for now is Alex Wade. He is the Emergency Coordinator in Ukraine for Doctors Without Borders. And Alex, thanks so much for your - taking the time here amidst all of the work that you're doing. We knew that three people had died and that attack on the maternity ward at the hospital in Mariupol and now we're learning of more deaths. One of the women and her child as a result of the attack was dead when they delivered the baby.


What has your organization learned about the extent of this attack at this point?

ALEX WADE, EMERGENCY COORDINATOR, DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS IN UKRAINE: So unfortunately, we know a lot less than we would like because we lost contact with the hospital over a week ago when comms started going down in Mariupol.

BURNETT: I know that the death toll in Mariupol is frankly unknown and we have heard people talking about walking down the street and there are people who have died and they're on the street. They're not, obviously, able to move them. They're not able to identify some of them. We are hearing, obviously, about mass grave situations that the trenches literally being built, where people are wrapping bodies in anything they can, whether it'd be a bag or a carpet, anything to, to try to wrap those bodies. Have you heard anything more about this?

WADE: Yes, we have staff, MSF colleagues of ours who are still there. One of our colleagues informed us he's seen his neighbors burying the dead bodies of their neighbors. So they're in a situation where their choice is the only thing worse than burying my dead neighbor's body is not burying my dead neighbor's body and leaving it on the street.

People don't have access to water and food, which has run out for over a week now. We also know that people have already started dying, who were part of vulnerable populations that had pre-existing conditions, chronic diseases, conditions in which they needed continual access to medical care. That care was cut off and members of this group have started dying already.

And now what we'll start to see very soon is people in large numbers dying of dehydration and hunger if some help is not provided, both allowing safe passage to leave, and also safe passage in to bring medical supplies food and water to the population that will remain in Mariupol.

BURNETT: So, I mean, it is it is truly impossible to comprehend this, the scale of this suffering, this needless suffering. Alex, when you say the vulnerable populations, I spoke to someone the other day whose grandparents were there and part of the reason that they had stayed was in part because of what you mentioned, the speed which this accelerated, but also because they had underlying medical conditions, diabetes, in this case, needed regular care.

So the last time they had spoken to them was a week and a half ago before these communications went down. And already the medicine had run out. So I would presume you're talking about populations like that where people had, whether it'd be diabetes or dialysis needs or whatever it might have been, that's where you're now starting to see more death.

WADE: Exactly, 100 percent. People - you have beyond the direct causes of conflict, so the people who have been injured and died from shelling within the city, you have all of the emergency needs that every population on the earth has. You have people who need access to insulin, people who need access to haemodialysis, you have pregnant women who need access to safe deliveries and who have complicated pregnancies, need access to surgical services.

You have people with serious mental health conditions that need access to mental health services and these are all conditions where if access is interrupted, the condition can deteriorate very, very quickly leading to serious complications or death and we are now starting to hear from our colleagues who are still there, that people have died from lack of access to their treatments.

We know even outside of Mariupol there's a huge demand for insulin, because it's not only Mariupol, supply chains throughout the country have been disrupted. So there's hospitals all over the country that are worried about their supply and this is at a time where their needs are increasing because they're receiving more patients than they usually would.

And so we can be certain that supplies for things like - for certain conditions in Mariupol have run out and the population is now paying the price for that.

BURNETT: So when President Zelenskyy's advisors put the death toll in Mariupol at more than 2,500 people, it sounds like from what you're saying that that actually is tragically going to be a fraction of what the real number is.

WADE: I don't want to speculate on that yet, but you don't have to be a doctor to figure out that if you have a population of somewhere between 300,000 to 400,000 people who don't have access to water or food for over a week now, the results will be pretty disastrous.

BURNETT: All right. Alex, thank you so much. I appreciate your time.

WADE: Thank you.

BURNETT: And the war in Ukraine is also upending surrogacy which is a thriving business in Ukraine. Sam Kiley is OUTFRONT in Kyiv.



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.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language).


KILEY (voice over): It's perilously close to Russian troops and easily within range of their artillery. This is a gauntlet these new 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 (through interpreter): It is even harder that he is in a place where they're 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 (on camera): 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 the 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 YEFIMOVICH, NANNY (through interpreter): 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.


DR. IHOR PECHENOGA, PEDIATRICIAN, BIOTEXCOM (through interpreter): 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 is a war going on there.


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.


KILEY (on camera): Erin, earlier on today not only was there that strike quite close to that nursery in the southwest of the city, but also in the west of the city two people were killed when their apartment block was struck by some kind of missile. This evening, we've heard I think outgoing anti-aircraft or anti-missile batteries firing which means that the air space is still being contested. There's still threats coming in.

And as this capital city of Ukraine continues to almost hold its breath ahead of what is anticipated to be a much bigger Russian assault, particularly in the east and ultimately perhaps aimed at cutting off that southern route, so crucial to supply the city. Erin?

BURNETT: Supply those city and, of course, an exit for those. Just incredibly brave though when you were talking about that woman there. Her are husband and child had left and she stayed to take care of those babies. It's incredible to see the largeness of her heart. Thank you.

And next, a Fox News correspondent hospitalized after being injured near Kyiv. Another American journalist killed in Irpin. Are they being targeted?

Plus, a mother and daughter flee Ukraine to Romania, afraid that they could suffer the same fate as those in some of the hardest hit cities.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through interpreter): "I've heard about the violence," she says and killings of peaceful people without any reason.




BURNETT: Breaking news, a news editor for Russian state television interrupting a live news broadcast to protest Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Marina Ovsyannikova holding a sign that says, "No war. Stop the war. Do not believe the propaganda they tell you. Lies here."

And shouting similar remarks before the program cut away.

Here, she is explaining her actions before storming the set. And she also -- you can see her here. She's -- I'm going to let it play for a second. But what she's saying is what's happening now in Ukraine is a crime and Russia is the aggressor country and the responsibility for this aggression relies in the conscious of one person, this man is Vladimir Putin. Extremely clear.

She continues to say, go to the rallies and do not be afraid. They cannot arrest us all.

Now, Russian media now reporting she was taken to a police station and could face prosecution. Her lawyer tells CNN he is now unable to locate her.

OUTFONT now, Stanislav Kucher. He's a veteran Russian television host and journalist.

And, Stanislav, I mean, I just have to say, you know, when you take a moment, you think this is happening on live television in a country where protests are banned, people are being imprisoned for protesting, they could go to prison for 15 teams years, people are disappearing for protesting and she went on a set and did that. I mean, it is an incredibly bold and brave thing to do.

STANISLAV KUCHER, RUSSIAN JOURNALIST; VETERAN RUSSIAN TV HOST: Well, that's the first thing I was going to say. I was going to say the words of support for the Ukrainian people and for those Russians who have the courage to speak openly.

And, of course, what happened today will definitely go down to history. It's already in history books, which will be written and Marina Ovsyannikova is definitely a hero, but not a hero of the day only, probably, you know, a hero for many years now, because this has nothing of the sort has happened on Russian state television in years -- in at least 11 years since the protests in the streets of Moscow of 2011.

And I try to get in touch with Pavel Chikov (ph), who is a famous lawyer and human rights activist in Russia.


And according to his information, he was held by the police of the TV center for several hours, but now no one's able to locate where she is. Her lawyer tried to get in touch with her literally half an hour ago and there was no way to find her.

So they don't know where she is. But the thing is there is actually -- even by the rules of the new -- the rules of the amendments to the new criminal code, there is actually nothing they can do to her at the moment. It's considered an attempt to discredit the armed forces fulfilling their duty, et cetera, et cetera, and again officially, this is subject so fine, not to jail.

But everything depends on how exactly they got to apply those new amendments.

BURNETT: And -- But, I mean, it is -- it is incredible when you think about it. Obviously, that, you know, it's like the tank in Tiananmen Square, right? She walks out there on Russian state television, does that while the -- you know, it is an incredibly powerful image, right? The image is so powerful.

But -- and it shows the bravery of one person. What more does it show do you think? When we try to figure out what are people really feeling? Is this really sort of the tiny spark that represents something bigger?

KUCHER: Absolutely. Look, when I posted on my Facebook page and Telegram channel the picture of her with Ekaterina Andreeva, Putin's favorite propagandist news anchor on Channel One, and then, you know, everything was stopped really fast. So I got so many comments. Some of them saying, well, she could have done this just out of pure emotion. She must have spent time preparing for that and so on and so on.

And we know she has because she recorded her message. But no matter whether she had spent, you know, days preparing for that or hours, it definitely shows a change in the mood of those working on Russian state TV, working on propaganda channels.

BURNETT: Right, and an awareness. An awareness, for sure.

KUCHER: Well, of course. I mean, now, a lot more people than previously will know that --

BURNETT: They'll know something.

KUCHER: -- not everything is fine in the kingdom, you know? BURNETT: Right, right. So, I want to ask about the oligarchs and you

know so much about this. "Reuters" reported that a jet linked to Roman Abramovich, of course, you know, well-known oligarch who owns Chelsea football club, arrived in Istanbul today after leaving Israel and that is Abramovich there, actually, at the Ben-Gurion Airport in Israel over the weekend. That's Abramovich taking off his coat.

His $600 million yacht was heading to Montenegro where it had been docked. Its status was change and destination was removed. So, Europe has been seizing assets to the sanctioned oligarchs, Abramovich is now on the list.

So how impactful is this at this point in terms of the oligarchs and their power or people's perception of them?

KUCHER: Well, first and foremost, there are different oligarchs, okay? They have been oligarchs who have already tried to distance themselves from the Kremlin.


KUCHER: And those who have tried to be silent, waiting, you know, for where the tide turns.


KUCHER: As for Abramovich, so far I don't think he has been very successful. He tried to sell Chelsea.

BURNETT: And donate the money or something, right, right.

KUCHER: And something happened to the yacht. But, definitely, it's a sign to many Russians. But some Russians, you know, like patriotically caused Russians to regard this as rats are fleeing from the sinking ship.

And to others, to, let's say, the upper/middle class, higher class of Russians, it's a sign of what to do because they know Abramovich has a very intuition, very good sense. He knows where the wind blows.

So they think if Abramovich is trying to do that, you know, to distance himself from the Kremlin, that's probably where we should go, too. So all of those -- I mean, all the events we're discussing, Abramovich, all signs of the house of cards very near falling apart.

BURNETT: Yeah. All right. Stanislav, thank you so much for your perspective here.

KUCHER: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: Interpretation and all that.

And next, breaking news. New satellite images just coming in from Mariupol and the suburbs of Kyiv and what they show. Nearly every single home damaged.

Plus, Russia's invasion of Ukraine tonight putting Taiwan on formal alert.



BURNETT: New satellite images taken show the damage from Russian shelling of Ukrainian cities. One village 24 miles northwest of Kyiv showing extensive damages to homes with fires still burning. Others show the scale of destruction in Mariupol, including an intensive care hospital with a hole in the side of a building.

It comes as nearly 3 million refugees have fled Ukraine in the 19 days since the invasion began. These are the latest numbers from the U.N. More than 400,000 of them have passed through Romania and the locals there are going to incredible lengths to help the Ukrainians.

Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT near the Romanian-Ukrainian border.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They arrive by the hundreds -- normal Ukrainian citizens one day, refugees the next.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is stressful, yes because we have no idea what to do, where to go and when we will able to return to our homes.

MARQUEZ: Karlin (ph) is from Kharkiv, Ukraine's second biggest city, which has been devastated by Russian artillery and rockets.

When I was packing my clothes, she says, I thought it would be over in three days.


For many, just arriving on Romanian soil, emotional. One woman crying, as a volunteer hands her a bottle of water.

DENIS STAMATESCU, RESTAURANT OWNER AND VOLUNTEER: All the Romanian people are mobilized and are help these people.

MARQUEZ: Romanians stepping up, trying to make the Ukrainians feel a little bit at home.

Denis Stamatescu closed his restaurant in Costanza. He now serves meals free to refugees.

STAMATESCU: We closed the restaurant. We are coming here to help these people. Chicken, pork. Chicken, pork.

MARQUEZ: And for all those getting out, a few going back in.

Alexander Pahomenka (ph) is returning to Mykolaiv. Russians have hammered the city.

And you are willing to die for Ukraine? We all die, he says. Then adds, I'm afraid to die, but I'm not a coward. Tatyana Boketava (ph) from Odessa, along with her daughter, Miroslava,

their dog and two cats, she says they left because of what they heard was happening in places already controlled by the Russians.

I've heard about the violence, she says, and killings of peaceful people without any reason. She added, I had to leave. I was too stressed about it happening to me and my daughter.


MARQUEZ: Look, Romanian officials say that the number of Ukrainians coming across the border has moderated in recent days, but they are very concerned about those internally displaced inside Ukraine. They say there are tens of thousands along the border and if the Russians continue to push west they will either be another tidal wave of refugees in the days or weeks ahead -- Erin.

BURNETT: That's for sure. So many in western Ukraine hoping they don't have to leave.

All right. Miguel, thank you very much.

And next, Russia's invasion of Ukraine triggering new fears in the people of Taiwan.

Plus, two teenage dancers who fled Ukraine tonight given the chance to keep doing what they love far, far away from their homes.



BURNETT: Breaking news. National security adviser Jake Sullivan warning his Chinese counterpart of potential implications and consequences of China helps Russia's invasion of Ukraine. That message delivered during what they said was an intense 7-hour meeting. It was today in Rome.

And it comes at the United States has information suggesting China is open to giving Russia military and financial assistance. This is all leading to growing anxiety in Taiwan that Putin's invasion could be a blueprint for China.

Will Ripley is OUTFRONT in Taipei.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kyiv and Taipei, two capitals half a world apart. One under siege, the other on edge.

I worry this may happen to Taiwan, he says. These two work at a small vegetable stand. If war breaks out, it's bad for both sides, she says. It will be a tragedy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin Putin's unprovoked attack on Ukraine raising questions about the future of Taiwan, a self-governing democracy claimed but never controlled by Beijing's communist rulers.

Taiwan's leaders say Ukraine could be a blueprint for Beijing to, quote, reunify by force if necessary.

JOSEPH WU, FOREIGN MINISTER OF TAIWAN: And the danger will be that the Chinese leaders think that the Western reaction to the Russian aggression is weak.

RIPLEY: Taiwan's military is on high alert. The island's reserve forces are doubling down on combat training just in case China decides to make good on its threats.

Chinese President Xi Jinping's first face-to-face meeting with a foreign leader since COVID? President Putin in Beijing bolstering their authoritarian partnership.

China still refuses to call the crisis in Ukraine an invasion.

J. MICHAEL COLE, SENIOR FELLOW, GLOBAL INSTITUTE TAIWAN: There is a possibility that other regimes could decide for their own reasons to use force against a democratic country.

RIPLEY: China does not consider Taiwan a country. They call it an inalienable part of Chinese territory.

On Monday, China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, shot down comparisons of Taiwan and Ukraine, calling Taiwan independence a dead end, a scheme to contain China by external forces like the U.S.

Two high-profile American visits to Taiwan just this month. A delegation led by former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullin, and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said the U.S. should offer diplomatic recognition to Taiwan, a move China considers a red line that could lead to a military conflict -- fueling fears Taiwan could become the next Ukraine.


RIPLEY (on camera): There are important differences between Ukraine and Taiwan. First of all, Taiwan is an island, so it's harder to invade. They have the backing potentially of regional allies like Japan and even though the U.S. has a policy of strategic ambiguity not letting China know what they would do if they invaded, Taiwan is a of critical strategic importance because it's in the middle of an island chain and it's a leader of semiconductors that we need to power everything in our lives.

Of course, that also makes Taiwan very valuable to China, Erin, and we really need to watch and see what they do in the coming days and weeks with this cooperation with Russia.

BURNETT: All right. Will, thank you very much.

And next, one organization giving young dancers from Ukraine the opportunity to keep pursuing their dreams amidst the loss.



BURNETT: And finally tonight, 60 young Ukrainians given the opportunity to continue dancing despite Russia's deadly invasion. Two of them, Sofia Latysheva and Maria Baltakina (ph), were studying ballet in Kyiv when Putin attacked. They were forced to flee.

But their love of dance may have saved their lives. The organization Youth America Grand Prix was able to get in touch with a dance school in Switzerland and that school now allowing the two 16-year-olds to study ballet in Switzerland.


SOFIA LATYSHEVA, UKRAINIAN DANCER: It was something I thought was impossible. I was in shock, actually, and I couldn't believe it. The thing which was probably in my mind is that I'm very grateful that I can continue my education and my dream because at some point when I was in Ukraine, I thought that my dream of dancing was stolen from me.


BURNETT: Stolen, but not anymore. The girls tell us they're still able to talk to their families in Ukraine, still able to talk to them, no communications lost. So far their families are okay, although they are separated.

Youth America Grand Prix has now placed 60 Ukrainian dancers at dance schools around the world.

Thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.