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Erin Burnett Outfront

U.S. Official: Russian Forces Zero In On Four Areas With Airstrikes; 300 Plus Aircraft Sorties In The Last 24 Hours; CNN Goes Into Heavily-Damaged Irpin' Amid Constant Russian Threat; Killer "Kamikaze" Drones New Battlefield Threat In Ukraine; "Terror Aspect Is A Significiant Psychological Factor;" Putin As U.K. Sanctions 12 More Russians: "These Are Sanctions To Punish Us For Our Right To Be Free"; January 6 Panel Member: Kushner "Volunteered" Info Today: Federal Investigators Widening Criminal Probe Into January 6; Producer: LAPD Officers Were Ready To Arrest Smith During Oscars. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 31, 2022 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Brian Todd reporting for us. Brian, thanks very much.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." I'll be back in a half an hour on our new streaming service CNN plus with my new show called The Newscast and you can catch me here at 9 pm Eastern later tonight as well.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the breaking news, Putin's attacks intensifying. We're going to take you to one of the most contested battlegrounds in the entire country in a report you'll see first OUTFRONT.

Plus, Ukraine using a deadly and powerful weapon, kamikaze drones. They're cheap to make, hard to detect and destructive. We have a special report.

And an Oscar's producer speaking out, revealing that the LAPD was ready to arrest Will Smith after he slapped Chris Rock. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, Putin ramping up attacks focusing his airstrikes on Kyiv. Chernihiv, Izyum and the Donbas region. This is according to a senior U.S. defense official. Ukraine's President acknowledging tonight the situation there is dire.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through interpreter): The situation in the southern direction and in the Donbas remains extremely difficult. Russian troops are accumulating the potential for strikes, powerful blows.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: He's talking about the south. And just moments ago the

Governor of Luhansk, of course, in the Donbas region, told OUTFRONT he is bracing for the worst.


SERHIY HAIDAI, GOVERNOR OF LUHANSK (through interpreter): Basically all the territory is being constantly shelled by heavy artillery. They use any possible means of heavy bombardment. They use cruise missiles, Grad rocket launchers, they attack us from the air with air bombs and warplanes.


BURNETT: That's what he's dealing with right now as we speak and the city of Chernihiv which has come under intense shelling. Kseniya Chernoskutova, an aid volunteer there told OUTFRONT that people there can't even do basic things like brush their teeth, just the basics of life because they have no running water. And as for food ...


KSENIYA CHERNOSKUTOVA, VOLUNTEER AND NATIVE OF HARD-HIT CHERNIHIV: We don't have any places to buy the meat. I think for this three weeks, people forgot what means to eat meat. All the time, what we eat, we have potato, like any kind of ways to cook potatoes, we have it.

Yesterday, my stepfather went to the store and he stood for four hours to get bread.


BURNETT: Four hours to get bread. Kseniya also telling us it's nearly impossible to get supplies into the city, because Russia has taken out the crucial infrastructure roads.


CHERNOSKUTOVA: We don't have any road. The only road that we have here is actually in very bad condition. And it's not worth to be used to gather humanitarian help or even evacuate people. There is nothing. It's just ruins and it's happening everyday with new building.

The area where my apartment is, we hardly have like an apartment with normal windows because most of the windows are - they're blasted out, broken.


BURNETT: Just imagine that. The situation is deteriorating in much of the eastern part of the country, as President Biden suggests tonight that Putin himself is now detached from reality.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He seems to be self- isolated and there's some indication that he has fired or put under house arrest some of his advisors.


BURNETT: Pretty significant because there's been a lot of talk about that, but he actually came out and said it today and his comments come on the heels of U.S. and British officials saying that Putin is being misled by his advisors on what's happening in Ukraine. And the U.S. says some soldiers, Russian soldiers, are now refusing to carry out orders, some even sabotaging their own equipment.

All right. Let's begin with Fred Pleitgen tonight OUTFRONT live in Kyiv. And Fred, what are you seeing on the ground tonight?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Erin. Well, it certainly doesn't seem to us as though the situation here is de-escalating. In fact, there were two missile strikes pretty close to the center of Kyiv. It's unclear what exactly was hit in those missile strikes or whether they were successful. Certainly we have heard a lot of air raid sirens here tonight as well and the anti- air defense is also being activated as well.

So in any case, it certainly appears and you can see some of the video right now that big plume of smoke, so clearly something was hit. It's unclear whether or not the Russians actually hit the target they want it to hit, but there are attacks on the capital city that are ongoing, so there is certainly not any sort of de-escalation.


At the same time, we were in the area to the north west of Kyiv earlier today and there, the Ukrainian forces had obviously managed to beat some of the Russian forces back. And they seem quite confident that they're going to be able to continue doing that. The big question there is whether or not Russian forces are actually pulling back or whether or not they're pulling back in any sort of significant form.

And those frontline troops, they said they're not sure of that at all. They haven't seen a major push back just yet. But one of the things that they're certainly seeing, Erin, is a lot of artillery fire coming from Russian positions. They say that's not something that has stopped to the contrary, it's actually something that has drastically increased over the past couple of days, unclear whether or not that is coming from the fact that the Russians are trying to cover some sort of withdraw or whether or not it's some sort of scorched earth policy.

And I can tell you one of the things that we did see a lot of, unfortunately, there was a scorched earth. There's an enormous amount of artillery shells landing there. There's enormous amount of damage done there as well, Erin.

BURNETT: Right. I mean, there's the words when we hear scorched earth, you're talking, literally, that that's what you're seeing. All right. Fred Pleitgen, thank you very much.

PLEITGEN: Yes. BURNETT: As Fred mentioned, he had gone to the north, to that suburb

of Irpin, incredible footage and access there never-before-seen and we have a special report on that coming up.

In the meantime, I want to go to retired Army Major General James "Spider" Marks and Jill Dougherty, former CNN Moscow Bureau Chief who was in Russia at the start of the war.

So Gen. Marks, Biden says today he's skeptical that Putin will withdraw all his forces from around Kyiv. You hear Fred talking about really an escalation, although he's very clear to say it's unclear whether that's sort of a scorched earth withdrawal or something else. It's difficult, he says, to tell. Can you show us where Russia is focusing its firepower now as you see it?

JAMES MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, I sure can, Erin. What has been reported is that there have been a number of airstrikes, certainly, in the Kharkiv, Chernihiv, and Izyum and in the Donbas, the greater Donbas area.

What Fred's describing is that as forces withdraw as a result of contact and being forced to withdraw, you want to cover that with fire. But in addition to that, there is no reason to believe why the Russians would want to withdraw their artillery and rocket capability. They've been using that very extensively, dumb weapon systems going after terror, using them as terror tactics, going after stationary targets.

That will continue even as the Russian forces on the ground are being pushed back. In fact, there's a map here that really describes where the Ukrainians have had some successes. But in the aggregate, you can see, the Russian forces still maintain an awful lot of penetration into Ukraine. They are being pushed back.

And if there is a relocation down to the Donbas area, it'll be back into Belarus or back into Russia. And this is sanctuary, nobody's firing into Russia. So the Russian forces can regroup here and then over the course of probably a week or so they can maneuver those forces down there, if in fact, that's the priority, as they've stated.

BURNETT: So Jill, you heard President Biden say, people have been talking about this, but then he actually came out and said it. So he said there's been a lot of speculation, I'm quoting him, but I'm not saying this with a certainty. He seems to be self isolating and there's - he's referring to Putin - and there's some indication that he is fired or put under house arrest some of his advisors.

A reference to what they had been talking about, but had not been confirmed, but President of the United States actually coming out and saying it is significant. What are your sources inside Russia telling you?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR & FORMER MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: It's pretty much the same thing. These stories have been out there, but nobody can actually confirm that that is the case. And it appears that the President is talking about raw intel. So whatever it is, I do think that it's significant because what is

happening right now is very obvious that Putin was told something that didn't happen, especially militarily. And so now, he has to regroup and I would have to think that he's pretty unhappy about the fact that it didn't turn out the way he expect it.

So heads are going to have to roll and I think it makes utter sense that you would have, apparently, some intel people, security people who might be held under house arrest and who knows what will happen to them because this is really bad. It's extremely embarrassing for the President of Russia and as we're seeing right now, they're going to have to regroup and re-figure out the strategy.

BURNETT: So Gen. Marks, there's evidence that that Putin is beefing up at the Donbas, the President of the United States says that.


That, of course, is what the Minister of Defense for Putin said that they were going to do and it appears that they are beefing up in Donbas.

Now, we spoke earlier with the Governor of Luhansk, obviously part of Donbas, I want to play something else that he told me.


HAIDAI (through interpreter): People are being bussed from Russia itself, pretending to be a local population and pretending also to make important decisions. And I wouldn't be surprised if there will be some kind of fake referendum.


BURNETT: Obviously, General, he's referring to the idea that there would be some kind of a referendum in the Donbas where the population would 'democratically' choose to join Russia. Obviously, that would not be in any way democratic. However, this is something, General, that you predicted on the show at the very beginning of the conflict, the referendum itself and this specific focus. So show us what's happening in Donbas since it may really be the crux of this whole thing.

MARKS: Right, absolutely. Well, as we've described, this is the Donbas region and clearly the objective being to create what has been described as a land bridge from Crimea up into Russia so that they don't have to just use the straits of Azov.

But getting down into Donbas very specifically, this is the area that we're talking about. And what has been happening specifically with Mariupol has been the destruction of a city and CNN has done a magnificent job of just covering this utter destruction and brutality. It's certainly not - this is not combat, this is the use of weapons systems to go after civilians and civilian targets and buildings, et cetera. So there is very little that's going to be reclaimed in Mariupol and

what would happen is, this would be the first pin to drop. If this was annexed as it was by declaration in advance of the use of forces, this would be the next one. That would be necessary before the Russians could then move further in this direction to create that land bridge.

But we've already seen that if that's the case, this is going - this area is going to be ripe for insurgent activity. The Russians are never going to own this terrain and be able to do with it what they want at will. It's going to be contested for the long haul.

BURNETT: Right. And, of course, perhaps they thought that it would be very different that it would be much more like Crimea.

So Jill, you're also, I know, focusing very much on that kind of connection, that connector between the Donbas and Crimea being Mariupol. How else are you seeing Russia prepare to take that? What are you seeing?

DOUGHERTY: This is so classic, Erin. Russia has done this, obviously, in that Donbas region before in 2014 and it has done it in Georgia, it has done it in Moldova and here we go again. So what they are doing, there are a couple of new data points.

One is if you look at that at the Mariupol that Spider was just talking about, the so-called head of one of those breakaway republics in the Donbas is now ordering that they have an administrative entity of some type for the city of Mariupol, which is not even under Russian control at this point, but they're already bringing in that kind of civilian hardware, let's say, for taking it over legally.

And then the other part of it, not to get too in the weeds, but the Russian parliament, the lower house of Russian parliament is now working on a bill that would declare Russian speakers globally, regardless of where they are as compatriots. And if you call them compatriots, then the Russian speakers in that region around Mariupol would 'have to be protected', in quotes, by Russia, which would give them the perfect excuse to go in there and just take it over and have all what they think is a legal justification.

BURNETT: I think those two data points are crucial to add to this. Thank you both very much.

And as I promised, I want to go back to Fred Pleitgen, because he was the first U.S. reporter to go into the war-torn suburb of Irpin and to film it with his team and his photo journalists. It became one of the hardest-hit areas since the start of the war. So Fred, what did you and your team see?

PLEITGEN: You're obviously right, Erin, when the hardest hit areas and also, of course, the area where the Russians really tried to blast their way into the capital of Kyiv, but they were confronted and held up by Ukrainian forces, nevertheless, the place still under extreme and very intense shelling. We did manage to get in there today. It was very difficult. Let's have a look.


PLEITGEN (voice over): There is no safe way to get into Irpin. The only feasible route is on the back of a police special forces pickup truck on dirt paths. But even here, the earth is scorched after Russian troops shell the trail.



PLEITGEN (on camera): Ukrainian forces are taking us into this area on back roads, because they say taking the main roads is simply much too dangerous. They want to show us the damage done when Russian forces tried to enter Kyiv.


Ukrainian authorities say this is still one of the most dangerous places in this war torn country and we immediately see why.

We are driving right towards an area engulfed in smoke from artillery shelling. This is where Russian forces tried to push into Ukraine's capital, but were stopped and beaten back by the underdog Ukrainians.

The battles here are fierce. Authority say 50 percent of the city has been destroyed, to us that number seems like an understatement.


PLEITGEN (on camera): We have to keep moving quickly, because this place can get shelled anytime.


PLEITGEN (voice over): Ukraine's National Police now patrols Irpin again, but their forces frequently come under fire, the chief tells me.

"Just yesterday, our officers who were searching for dead bodies, they were shot at with mortars," he says. "They had to lay under the bridge and wait for it to stop."

But the grim task of finding and taking out the many dead continues. More than two dozen on this day alone. Some have been laying in the streets for weeks and can only now be removed.

When Russian forces invaded Ukraine, they quickly advanced on the capital Kyiv all the way to Irpin. Here, the Ukrainians stood and fought back.

Vladimir Putin's army controlled large parts of Irpin and the battle laid waste to much of this formerly wealthy suburb. And this was the epicenter where we find burned out Russian trucks and armored vehicles. So this is the area where some of the heaviest fighting took place in the Irpin. And as you can see that there was a Russian armored vehicle which was completely annihilated. We do have to be very careful around here because there still could be

unexploded munitions laying around.

We meet Volodymir Rudenko, a local resident who says he stayed and took up arms when the Russians invaded.

"Always, there was not a single day when I left town," he says, "even during the heaviest fighting." "It must have been difficult," I asked. "Just so you understand," he says, "Once there were 348 impacts in one area in one single hour."

And the battle here is not over. Suddenly, Irpin's mayor shows up with a group of Special Forces saying they're looking for Russians possibly still hiding here.

I asked him how it's going. "We're working," he says, "there's information that there are two Russian soldiers dressed in civilian clothes, with our group, we're going to clean them up."

Ukrainian forces say, they will continue the fight and further push Russian forces away from their capital. The Deputy Interior Minister saying they need the U.S.' support to succeed.


PLEITGEN (on camera): What do you need from the United States?

YEVHEN YENIN, UKRAINE DEPUTY INTERIOR MINISTER: Everything, military support, first of all.


PLEITGEN (voice over): Weapons to help the Ukrainians expel the invading army, they hope, and finally bring this suburb out of the reach of Vladimir Putin's cannons.


BURNETT: Fred, just an incredible to see that and I'm interested, when you talk about the mayor showing up and they're looking for those two Russians to, in his words, to clean them up with the Special Forces how is the morale of the Ukrainian troops? I'm just seeing that destruction up close, killing people and still having to fight in their own destroyed towns.

PLEITGEN (on camera): Yes, having to fight in their own destroyed town and having been in that destroyed town for such a long period of time, we were really surprised to see that the morale is extremely high. And I think one of the main reasons for that is that they just feel that they had this gigantic Goliath army that was trying to basically just punch through their defenses, and they managed to push them back. And I do think that that's something that has given them a big morale boost. I think that they've realized that they know how to fight against the Russian army. They're capable of fighting against the Russian army. But the Ukrainians have also taken some pretty big casualties,

especially in that fight north of Kyiv as well and they're under no illusions that it's something that's going to go on, that fight is not over. There are still a lot of Russian forces there and that shelling is certainly something that's pretty tough to deal with. But the morale was really, really high and those soldiers certainly seemed to be in good spirits, Erin.

BURNETT: Yes. It's incredible just to see that. I mean that came across your video, but also just that feeling of not knowing, that there could be shelling even while you're there, that there could be people hiding in buildings who are going to shoot at you. I mean, that level of existence. Fred, thank you so much. Just incredible report there from Fred.

And next, kamikaze drones, they are cheap.


They weigh less than six pounds apiece and they're really important they're giving Ukrainians an advantage on the battlefield so we have a special OUTFRONT report on what they are and how they're being used next.

Plus, a was a key U.S. ally now taking on a top Russian general known as the Butcher of Mariupol.

And former President Trump's son-in-law testifying before the January 6 Committee. It is the first person in Trump's family to speak to the Committee, what have we learned?



BURNETT: Britain's Defense Secretary saying the U.K. and its allies will send Ukraine more lethal aid, including long range artillery and other weapons to defend the coastline. It comes as Ukraine is telling the U.S. its biggest priority right now is getting more attack and reconnaissance drones as both Ukrainian and Russian militaries are turning heavily to new kinds of deadly drone strikes in this war. Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Beneath the roar of missiles strikes and artillery blast, evidence of another deadly threat has appeared, so-called loitering munitions or kamikaze drones, brought by the Russians to hit hard behind Ukrainian lines.


COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: The terror aspect of these weapons is a significant psychological factor on the battlefield.


FOREMAN (voice over): Unlike massive military drones, which fly hundreds of miles an hour over vast distances, often to drop missiles and return home, loitering munition drones are small, slow and disposable.


The Switchblade 300, for example, weighs less than six pounds and can be carried in a backpack. Launch quickly and easily. It will cruise at about 60 miles an hour for 15 minutes while onboard cameras and GPS hunt for nearby enemy assets. Once a target is spotted and the command is given, the drone can sprint up to 100 miles an hour dive and explode on impact.

But as the battle has raged, military analysts say the Ukrainians who have such drones to have turned the tables on the Russians using them to much more deadly effect.


LEIGHTON: My personal guess is that probably about 20 percent to 30 percent of the kills that the Ukrainians are registering against Russian armor and against other Russian entities is probably due to their very successful employment of these drones.


FOREMAN (voice over): According to analysts, kamikaze drones fit perfectly with the small, fast moving squads favored by the Ukrainians. The weapons are hard to detect and can penetrate positions miles away, several systems of varying size, speed and capability appear to be in use. And the United States is committing to boost the Ukrainian effort with a hundred of those Switchblade systems.


BIDEN: Which demonstrates our commitment to sending our most cutting- edge systems to Ukraine for its defense.


BURNETT: It's fascinating to watch this Tom and to see kamikaze drones all the sudden you find the importance of them in this war. Yesterday, I was talking to a Ukrainian soldier. It was fascinating, he's on the front lines in an intel unit. So he was saying, well, we use drones to go out and to spot Russians and to be able to find out where they are, but they use drones to find us and then we have to try to escape because they use the drones to locate us to kill.

But this kamikaze drones that you're talking about they're deadly, but also it seems from your reporting very inexpensive and easy to operate. That combination is pretty incredible.

FOREMAN: Yes, it absolutely is. What we're watching, Erin, is no less than the real time evolution of warfare. This is a huge change as we move forward. Think about this. These things are really doing what has not been possible before, which is essentially to send the munition in and have it just wait till you're ready to drop it on an opportunistic target out there.

This is a very big deal. It is a step toward robotic warfare, which we've talked about and that doesn't even bring up the possibility which is being discussed now. What happens when you coordinate 20 or 30 or 40 of these flying in information as a swarm or a constellation, what can you do with that?

This is something to keep an eye on, not just for this battle, this conflict, but moving forward. It is a real game changer.

BURNETT: As you said the evolution of war in real time. Tom, thank you very much for that special report.

And next, over 1,000 individuals and businesses has so far been sanctioned by the U.K. since Putin's invasion. But who in Putin's inner circle has so far escaped punishment, so far scot-free?

And a new mother forced to give birth hundreds of miles from her family and her home in Ukraine.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Foreign language).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Because I left," she says.



BURNETT: Tonight, Russian President Vladimir Putin with a defiant message for the West, as the UK announced new sanctions against more than a dozen Russian media figures and entities.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): These assumptions to punish us for our right for free, independent, for our right to be Russia, for not wanting to dance to their tune and sacrifice our national interest and traditional values.


BURNETT: Matthew Chance is OUTFRONT.

And, Matthew, the UK targeting Putin's, you know, media, propaganda machine with sanctions, sanction machine, sanctions today, sorry, prominent Russian news anchor Sergey Brilev is also on that list. So, there's individuals, not just institutions.

What more can you tell me?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Sergey Brilev, for instance, he's somebody I've known quite well for many years in Russia. He's one of Russia's top news anchors. He works for the First Channel, Channel One in Russia, which is obviously a state- controlled news channel.

And the fact that Britain has sanctioned him will be, I think, quite personal both to him because he sees himself very much as an Anglophile. He's a fluent English speaker. He's got property in Britain, prides himself on having interviewed several British prime ministers.

But, of course, the British government in its action against Russia understands this is not just a war being fought in Ukraine but it's an information war as well. And the British authorities have moved decisively to crack down on the flow of false information that comes from Russia, just a couple of weeks ago, they withdrew the license, the broadcast that Russia's RT, the English language state broadcaster in this country because of its coverage of the war in Ukraine.

And of course, you know, today, this other raft of sanctions focused on, primarily, media organizations and on media individuals like Sergey Brilev came into force as well. You know, to send a powerful message that if you are involved in the flow of false narratives or disinformation --


CHANCE: -- from Russia, to the rest of the world, then you will be hit where it hurts, Erin.

BURNETT: It's interesting, you know, when you hear about the sanctions on the one hand how brutal and devastating they've been but on the other that there's still a lot of air in the room, that there's still a lot more to be done. And so, you know, these are just examples of that, the new media sanctions also in the UK I know they sanctioned a top Russian military general that they called, and I quote, the butcher of Mariupol.


What are they saying about him and his role?

CHANCE: Yeah, that's right. This colonel general which is very high ranking military figure in Russia, he's believed to have been the individual who orchestrated the siege and the attack on Mariupol in southern Ukraine, on the Sea of Azov, that battle of course still underway.

But it's a battle in which thousands of people have been killed, potentially civilians, predominantly, inside Mariupol. Awful scenes we've been seeing from that city on the Sea of Azov in southern Ukraine, of the utter devastation that's been wrought by the Russian military advance on it.

But you're right, the British, along with other countries, are sanctioning these military figures, media figures as well. Big question, of course, will these sanctions have an actual impact and get the Kremlin to step back?

BURNETT: Yeah. Thank you very much, Matthew.

And, I guess, you know, as everyone watching, it raises the question on the one hand, it's good you're doing this, on the other thinking wow, they didn't sanction the general who's in charge of Mariupol until now? It depends how you look at it.

I want to go now to Maria Pevchikh, because she knows more about who is and should be on the lists than anyone, she's the investigative department head of anticorruption foundation founded by top Putin critic Alexei Navalny.

So, Maria, when Matthew goes through some of these developments today, talking specifically about one of the people sanctioned by the UK, Sergey Brilev, the Russian television anchor, you and Alexei Navalny focused in on him extensively in one of your investigations. What else can you tell us about him?

MARIA PEVCHIKH, INVESTIGATIVE DEPARTMENT HEAD, NAVALNY'S ANTI- CORRUPTION FOUNDATION: Sergey Brilev is one of the most famous propaganda personalities in Russia. He has a weekly show that comes out on Saturdays I think and it's meant to be about just events over the week, but if you actually started closer, it's a very strange take on the events.

So, essentially, just covers how great everything in Russia is, just everything is brilliant and outstanding, really lights things up. And then the second part of his show is always how bad about things are in the West and he, kind of, you know, keeps reminding and comparing whatever he would air, whatever he thinks he works better in Russia and that's always, of course, is connected to Putin. That's always, you know, Putin's big victory.

And the funny thing about him, that investigation about him was focused on the fact that we have found that he is a British citizen, that he voted once or twice in the U.K. So, his name is up in the electoral rolls. So, it was quite easy to figure out and suggest the hypocrisy of this was quite funny actually, you know, that he would take --, you know, he would have this huge show about how great Russia is compared to the West and actually live in the West, and (INAUDIBLE) in the U.K.

BURNETT: It's incredible.

So, you know, and we talked about the butcher of Mariupol, Matthew was talking about him and I sort of said, okay, well the U.K. is doing that now, but why did it take so long? So this is where you have been through exhaustively for so long. Who should be sanctioned but has not yet been? Who needs to be on the list? PEVCHIKH: I think you're going to need to expand your show for

another couple of hours to give you the entire list because the list is long. But if you think about, I don't know, the most obvious people, well, Putin's wives haven't been sanctioned. So there is an official wife. There is also -- there are two unofficial wives.

One of them is the famous gymnast, Alina Kabaeva, reportedly the mother of his two children, and she -- she is the head of -- chairwoman, or head of board or something like that of the largest media corporation in Russia that owns the majority of TV channels and newspapers and all of that called National Media Group. So, Alina Kabaeva, Putin's girlfriend, fiancee, his girlfriend, we can call here, whatever, is the head of that.

So, not only she has personal connection to Putin through family, she also has a connection to -- very strong connection to propaganda and somehow, weirdly, she has been overlooked by pretty much every country and she is a very, very rich woman, and I'm sure she has lots of assets abroad.

BURNETT: Yeah, that's fascinating because obviously, they know who she is, and they're -- yet they're not doing it.


BURNETT: So, you know, one person sanctioned by the U.K. but not the U.S. is a name so far, widely gaining recognition around the world, Roman Abramovich, right?


Owns football teams, involved in the negotiations for peace thus far. But it appears both sides, both Russian side and Ukrainian side have sort of said hold off on Roman Abramovich. What do you think should happen to him?

PEVCHIKH: Well, I don't really understand entirely what's happening with Roman Abramovich at the moment, because he seems to have suddenly charmed the whole world, maybe, I don't know, he used something, hypnosis or something like that (INAUDIBLE) the nation, why everybody all of a sudden fell in love with him. Roman Abramovich is one of the closet and most loyal Putin's oligarch.

He has been around Putin, has been loyal to Putin for 20 years, more than that probably. He has been Putin's wallet all of this time. He holds his assets. He bought Putin's first super yacht called Olympia. He contributed to Putin's palace.

I mean, the list is endless of just bribes essentially that Abramovich has given to Putin. And all of a sudden, now, he is perceived as a negotiator and as a valid person to be in this room, whereas this whole time, his alliances have been very clear.

I think what still needs to happen to him is needs to be sanctioned in every jurisdiction and I think that people need to get real about him and look at his actions and not at his, you know, not at some sort of hypothetical scenarios of what might be going on. If Abramovich was against the war, he would have said it, and he didn't say it. He would have acted in a certain way and he didn't. So, yeah.

BURNETT: I should say, of course, we at CNN haven't confirmed your reporting on the yacht, but I know you have done so much work on him and on everyone else, exhaustively over the years.

Maria, thank you very much. I appreciate your time.

PEVCHIKH: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, we're going to take you to a hospital in Poland delivering babies from Ukrainian refugees who just made it over the border in time.

Plus, an Oscar producer reveals just how close Will Smith was to getting arrested after he slapped Chris Rock.



BURNETT: The city of Chernihiv under attack tonight, completely cut off by Russian troops. The mayor telling CNN they're seeing a massive increase in the intensity of shelling and mortar attacks.

We spoke to someone there, Kseniya Chernoskutova. She's a volunteer in Chernihiv and she tells us there's a feeling of hopelessness for those who remain and could not leave.


KSENIYA CHERNOSKUTOVA, VOLUNTEER IN CHERNIHIV: We didn't have any way out. We don't have the way out for the last week, I believe, like eight days. So, we're just stuck here.


BURNETT: For those who were able to escape before the eight days of being stuck, the journey has been such a harrowing one across the country all the way to Poland.

Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT tonight, in Warsaw.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Born just hours ago in Poland, baby Adelina is already a survivor of the war in Ukraine.

Is it hard to be happy?

It is, she says. Adelina is Khrystyna Pavluchenko's first child.

You feel guilty? Why?

Because I left, she says. Left her moment in western Ukraine.

The war had begun, the bombing neared their city. Pavluchenko escaped on bus, then escaped on foot across the border. Paramedics rushed her to the hospital. She delivered Adelina a month early, separated from her family.

My mother, sister, grandparents still in Ukraine. He's killing our people, she says, of Vladimir Putin. How could anyone be so cruel?

DR. MAGDA DUTSCH, INFLANCKA SPECIALIST HOSPITAL: I'm terrified, that something like this can happen, that you can leave your everyday life and all of a sudden, because of decisions that you have no influence upon, there is a war and you have to flee. It's unbelievable. It's terrifying.

LAH: Dr. Magda Dutsch is a psychiatrist at Inflancka Specialist Hospital in Warsaw, a hospital focused on treating women, has seen 80 Ukrainian patients this month, delivered 11 babies, and treated cancer patients like 58-year-old Tatyana Mykilev (ph).

I ran with my granddaughter in my arms, she says, missiles already broke out the windows in their building. As they fled, something exploded next to their car, her city is now occupied by Russians.

She's grateful for her doctors at the hospital and great healthcare in Poland treating her cervical cancer.

Christina (ph) is one of the doctors. We're not using her last name, because she herself is also a refugee from Ukraine, a mother of a five-year-old and the wife of a Ukrainian military man.

Your husband -- my husband has been in the military since 2014, at the moment, in Lviv.

You had to leave your husband behind? Yes, she says.

Now in Warsaw, I can't sit and do nothing, she says. I have this opportunity here to help women who fled the country.

With each breath, baby Adelina offers her mother a respite from the war.

What will you tell your daughter about her birth?

The truth, she says. We will tell her everything as it was. She should know the truth.


LAH (on camera): Now those Ukrainian patients you see in that story, their healthcare, their hospital stay is being covered by the country of Poland. Their healthcare is free because they are refugees and they're not the only ones. Ministry of Health, Erin, tells us 197 babies have been born here who came from Ukraine -- Erin.

[19:50:01] BURNETT: Unbelievable. Wow, incredible number and something to keep in mind for the U.S. and those who want to help. Those countries taking the incredible burden and thus far doing with such grace and generosity. That is where so much help is needed. Thank you, Kyung.

And OUTFRONT next, for the first time, the January 6th Select Committee speaks to a member of Trump's family. So, was he forth coming? What did he say, we know a lot.

Plus, breaking new. A producer from the Oscars reveals what the LAPD said to Chris Rock after he was slapped by Will Smith.


BURNETT: The January 6th committee talks for the first time today to a member of Donald Trump's family, his son in law Jared Kushner. He voluntarily appeared before the committee. And it comes as Justice Department is expanding investigation into January 6th.

Paula Reid is OUTFRONT tonight in Washington, and, Paula, you've been doing so much reporting on this.

So Jared Kushner, the context here you're talking about is fascinating, he wasn't in the country on January 6th so what exactly did the committee want to learn from him and did they get what they were looking for?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin, Kushner was out of the country on January 6th. But, of course, the committee is also focused on the events leading up to that day and the overall efforts to undermine the election. It's important to note, Kushner appeared voluntarily and as of now, the committee will not get into specifics about what he shared during the lengthily deposition but will say he provided some information.


Now Erin, as we know, it's rare for lawmakers to be so tight-lipped, but clearly, the committee wants to encourage voluntary participation from people in Trump's inner circle. And we know from the reporting the committee wants to also speak to Jared's wife, Ivanka, and sources tell us that she is engaging with the committee, negotiating a possible appearance.

Now while lawmakers are investigating January 6th, they don't have the power to prosecute people. That, of course, falls to the Justice Department. And so far, the Justice Department to our knowledge focused on people who actually stormed the Capitol. But CNN learned the Justice Department, Erin, expanded investigation to begin gathering information about funding and organizing for that political rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol as well as efforts that subvert the Electoral College vote.

This is a big development in this investigation as we have learned that subpoenas have been issued by a grand jury in recent weeks. And again, this is incredibly significant because it comes amid calls for the Justice Department to do more and this new reporting shows a new stage of the investigation confirms federal prosecutors are at least looking at a more well-connected political circle.

BURNETT: Paula, thank you very much.

And next, new information into CNN about what Will Smith did after he slapped Chris Rock, at the Oscars.


BURNETT: Breaking news and stunning development from one of the producers at the Oscars. He tells ABC News that the LAPD was prepared to arrest Will Smith after he slapped Chris Rock.


WILL PACKER, OSCARS PRODUCER: They were saying, you know, this is battery was the word they used in that moment. They said we will go get him. We are prepared. We're prepared to get him right now. You can press charges. We can arrest him.



And, Chloe, you know, pretty incredible to hear all this. What more are you learning?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Well, Will Packer also says in this interview, Erin, that he did not actually speak to Will Smith himself the night at the Oscars -- remember he was directing the entire show.

I just learned moments ago that earlier this week, Will Smith met with Academy leadership for 38 minutes via Zoom. He apologized once again. The first time was during his Academy Awards acceptance speech.

They listened. They heard him out but then they told him that his actions, the slap against Chris Rock, would have consequences.

We know that the Academy has given Will Smith 15 days -- on April 18th is when we expect him to have their decision, could they suspend him, expulsion perhaps from the Academy, not be allowed next year to come back.

Many people are wondering, is Will Smith going to speak out, give another statement? Is Chris Rock going to say more at his show tonight?

I'm standing right here in Boston in front of the Wilbur Theater where Chris Rock is going to take the stage once again. I went to both of his shows last night, Erin, and in second show, he said that he and Will Smith have not spoken, which is shocking to think that Will Smith has not actually apologized directly to Chris Rock -- Erin.

BURNETT: It's incredible. All right. Chloe, thank you so much for your reporting.

And thanks to all of you.

"AC360" starts now.