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First Move with Julia Chatterley
Blinken: U.S. is Committed to the Defense of NATO Territory; Oil Prices Soar on Talk of Embargo on Russian Oil; U.N.: 1.5M People have Fled Ukraine Since Invasion; 230,000 Plus People Cross Moldovan Border from Ukraine; Girl Sings "Let It Go" Inside Kyiv Bomb Shelter. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired March 07, 2022 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY J. BLINKEN: -- will continue to stand with Ukraine. We're surging our security assistance to strengthen Ukraine's
capacity to defend itself. We're increasing humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian people, both those still inside Ukraine and those who have had to
flee. We're raising costs on the Kremlin, and all who aid and enable it, for continuing this war.
We're also bolstering our shared defense. We and our NATO Allies are prepared to meet any threat. President Biden spoke to the American people
just a few days ago in his State of the Union address, and he made clear again something he's affirmed repeatedly: We will defend every inch of NATO
territory against aggression coming from anywhere at any time. Our commitment to Article 5 -- an attack on one is an attack on all -- is
ironclad. The President has called it sacrosanct. And no one -- no one -- should have any doubt about that.
NATO activated our defense plans for the eastern flank for the first time in history, giving the Supreme Allied Commander Europe authority to deploy
the NATO response force as needed. Many Allies have increased their troop presence and contributed additional equipment and capabilities to this
effort. President Biden ordered the deployment of an additional 7,000 U.S. troops to Europe, and moved forces already in Europe to NATO's eastern
flank, including to Latvia.
We now have more than a thousand U.S. soldiers here in Latvia. We'll continue to rotate our forces to Latvia and the Baltic region to train
alongside the NATO-enhanced forward presence battle group led by Canada in partnership with Latvia's armed forces. And we deployed F-35 strike fighter
jets to the region to augment NATO's enhanced air policing mission.
We're also working with Latvia and multi-partners on security in other realms: cybersecurity to protect critical infrastructure against malicious
actors, and energy security so that Latvia's energy supply is not dependent upon Russia.
Latvia hosts the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, a critical resource in this time of information warfare, something Edgars and
I talked about, and we're working together to support independent media to push back against disinformation, including by helping young people to be
able to identify it. Our collaboration in these areas is, quite simply, more important than ever, and I look forward to continuing that.
This is my second stop in a visit to all three Baltic countries. Over the past 30 years, the Baltics have formed a democratic wall that is now
standing against the tide of autocracy that Moscow is seeking to push further into Europe. And my message on behalf of the United States to the
people of Latvia, to all of the Baltics, is that the United States is more committed than ever to standing with you as our democracies rise to the
challenge of this moment.
It's very moving to see the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag in this city, in Lithuania where I just came from, on public monuments, homes,
schools, businesses. The incredibly brave and resilient Ukrainian people will fight for as long as it takes for their country. I know and they know
that they can count on the support of Latvia, the United States, and many countries in Europe and around the world. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. You will be needing your interpreting --
(Via interpreter) Now we move to questions and answers and Latvian Television, Ina Strazdina.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Thank you for this opportunity. Ina Strazdina, Latvian Television. I would like to ask Mr. Rinkevics, first of all: You
already mentioned this -- the possibility of having troops in Latvia, standing. Have you discussed it with Mr. Blinken, the possibility to
increase the troops here in Latvia, and have permanently deployed American soldiers here in Latvia? And what was the answer given to you?
And the question to Mr. Blinken, closing the skies. This is what Ukraine is demanding very intensively. NATO has provided its explanation that it would
complicate the situation even more, turning this into large-scale war. But you have also said that the countries have been given green light to give
planes to the states. And Poland was mentioned, that you had offered substitute fleet to Poland if it offered its planes to Ukraine, but the
answer is not clear. What would be the practical solution to this, practical assistance to Ukraine in defending its sky?
RINKEVICS: (Via interpreter) I have to say, thank you for the question. Indeed, we discussed the matter of how to reinforce the presence of NATO
forces and also of the United States as part of NATO here in the region. And I underscored that I would like to have permanent solutions to this
thing. This situation is developing.
And of course, my colleague -- because it wouldn't be right to re-tell the opinion of the United States' Secretary of State, he will state his
(inaudible) himself (inaudible) the ministry of foreign affairs and defense are preparing for NATO summit in Madrid, preparing the new strategic
concept, responding to the changing in the situation. We are going to work on what Antony said to have effective protection of all NATO states, what
with the measures that would be needed, and the presence should be as long as it is necessary while, of course, as constant Putin's regime is, as
constant this presence is going to be, and even beyond it, perhaps.
BLINKEN: Thank you, and I very much agree with what Edgars has said. Just a couple of things in response to questions.
First, as I noted, we have and NATO has already significantly reinforced the eastern flank, including right here in Latvia with the addition of
forces, with the addition of equipment, with the addition of the F-35 strike fighter planes. We're doing this in close partnership with NATO
Allies. Canada, of course, is playing a lead role here in Latvia.
We also are on a regular basis reviewing our global posture, and that will continue. And of course, as we do that, we have to factor in the latest
developments, including this aggression from Russia. So all of that will factor into our thinking, into our decisions about what we do going
forward. And of course, we're working all of these issues within the NATO Alliance. That's vital as well.
Second, it's very important to note everything that has been done, and continues to be done, to help the Ukrainians defend themselves. Over the
last year, the United States has provided more than a billion dollars in security assistance to Ukraine. Just within the last couple of weeks,
President Biden created the authority to provide an additional $350 million in defense support to Ukraine. And within a week, most of that -- about 70
percent -- is already in the hands of Ukrainians, being used very effectively against Russian aggression.
A few days ago, the President made a request of our Congress for emergency aid of $10 billion. And that $10 billion, which I believe Congress will
provide very quickly, will go to additional security assistance for Ukraine. It will go to humanitarian assistance for Ukraine, both inside
Ukraine and outside. And it will go to further efforts to reinforce NATO's eastern flank.
So all of that is ongoing. And as Edgars said, what we are focused on is what can we do to continue to help the Ukrainians be as effective as
possible in what they're doing, which is defending their country against this Russian aggression. That's what we're focused on and our military
experts are focused on.
I've talked about and the secretary general of NATO has talked about the question of the no-fly zone before. And just to be clear and to repeat
where we are: our efforts are all in the direction of ending this war as quickly as possible, ending the suffering as quickly as possible. And what
we don't want to do is to widen it, and to widen it to our own countries, to our own territory. The no-fly zone, to be very clear about what that
involves, is -- that means that if a Russian plane violate the zone as declared, we shoot them down. And that runs the considerable risk of
creating a direct conflict between our countries and Russia, and thus a wider war, which is in no one's interest, including in the interest of the
But -- and I want to repeat this very clearly -- when it comes to any aggression of any kind against NATO territory by Russia or anyone else for
that matter, we are absolutely committed to the defense of that territory - - every square inch. President Biden has made that repeatedly clear that as well.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. Wall Street Journal, William Mauldin.
QUESTION: Thank you very much for doing this. For Minister Rinkevics, you mentioned effective protection is needed for Latvia and the Baltic
countries. What constitutes effective protection? Did you ask for any to -- any new types of military hardware or other support? And did that include
anti-aircraft systems? And did the U.S. seem willing to provide it?
I also wanted to ask Secretary Blinken: You have upcoming meetings with Foreign Minister Lapid of Israel, with President Macron of France. What
role does Israel play, especially in any possible mediation or engagement with Russia, during this conflict? And do you have any message to send to
Russia other than the general need to de-escalate or stop fighting in Ukraine?
And then just to clarify one thing you said earlier in Vilnius, you mentioned more permanent basing of troops here. Does that mean there is a
decision or there isn't a decision to base troops permanently here in the Baltics countries, specifically? And -- because there was a little bit of
ambiguity with that, and so I'm just very curious. Thank you.
RINKEVICS: Thank you very much. I'll answer in English. Well, yes, indeed, we discussed the further steps when it comes to providing additional
protection. And we see the need and we are also learning from what is happening in Ukraine. We are seeing what Russians are doing and we
understand that we need to bolster our air defense. That's absolutely clear. We also feel that we need to bolster our coastal defense, cyber
defense. And we are discussing and talking not only with the Secretary of State, but also with the Secretary of Defense. We see the willingness to
work with us, and to look into the needs. And of course, that requires some process, but I'm pretty confident that there is understanding about the
need to work together and to address some of those issues.
But let me also mention another thing that is equally important than defense, and that's energy. I think that what we all understand that we
need to work, and it is not only Latvia or Lithuania or Estonia -- that's entire European Union, Europe as a whole. We need to work to reduce
dependency on Russian gas and oil. We discussed at some length and detail also what could be done. And I say that here, the United States can play a
critical role, and we are willing to continue. And this region is connecting from Russia, the Russian electricity grid, and connecting to
European electricity grid. Some work is being done. And also that means, of course, reducing dependency of gas. But here we need a bit wider effort
through LNG, through renewable energy issues.
So I would put now military defense and energy defense on an equal footing, and also the cyber defense, so three areas.
QUESTION: Did you ask for anti-aircraft assistance from NATO?
RINKEVICS: We do work on those issues, yes, we do work. But I think that we will not go into details before there are more substantial efforts. And we
are working through NATO and with our partners on some additional needs that we see we need. And I'm very glad that both NATO and our partners are
addressing those challenges seriously.
BLINKEN: Will, first, on the last part of your question, just to be clear - - and I'm sorry if I wasn't before, earlier today -- as I said and as I just mentioned again now, we're on a regular basis reviewing the global
posture of our forces, to include of course here in Europe. And we have to factor in any developments, any changes in the threat -- and we will do
that. And when it comes to questions such as permanent basing, these questions come up and we'll certainly look to answer them in the context of
doing the review of our of our posture. But just to be very clear, no, there's no decision of that kind. I was just saying that this is a question
that's come up, and we'll, in the context of doing reviews of our posture in Europe and elsewhere, be looking at that.
Second, with regard to the meetings, I'll -- I'm not going to get ahead of them. I'll let them more or less speak for themselves, once I've had the
chance to actually compare notes with my friend Yair Lapid later this evening here, and then with President Macron tomorrow in France. But I
think there is -- there's certainly no change in our message to Moscow, our message to Russia, to President Putin: End the war. End it now.
MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary of State, Your Excellency Minister, dear media representatives.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The war end it now -- the words of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaking with the Foreign
Minister of Latvia, there in that press conference. They've discussed ways to limit Russian aggression, what more can be done in terms of sanctions,
the questions that they were asking back to the obvious things, no-fly zones, potentially sending planes to Ukraine, potentially increasing troops
in Latvia as well, .
U.S. Secretary of State Blinken said look, we are reviewing our global posture we have significantly NATO has reinforced its eastern flank when he
was specifically speaking some of the lines that came out of that he said, look, one and a half million people more have left Ukraine many more would
like to and can't.
He accused and said the Russians there's been reports of Russian attacks on the evacuation corridors or humanitarian corridors, as he called them. He
said that the Russians are starving out cities like Mariupol, he described it as shameful. He said, all the efforts that are being made here are to
end the war, when he wants again, push back on a prospect of a no-fly zone.
And I want to bring John Howard in from the White House to talk about that specifically, once again, a firm stance from Secretary Blinken despite the
request the ongoing requests from the President of Ukraine to see it as no fly zone enacted. He said, look, we don't want to widen this wall, we want
to end it that was the message.
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's certainly the posture of the United States and its NATO allies. President Biden, by the
way, it's going to be having a secure video conference with the leaders of the United Kingdom, France and Germany this morning to talk about their
That's going to be in a little more than an hour from now. But the United States and NATO do not want a direct confrontation with Russia. But what
we've seen over the last 12 days, is a continuous widening Julia of the window of possibility for what the alliance is willing to do. That is they
started narrow on sanctions, as the Russian butchery is laid out for people around the world.
The willingness to tolerate greater and impose greater levels of sanctions and economic pain on Russia has increased the same is true of the effort to
bolster Ukrainian defenses. Drawing the line at the no-fly zone doesn't want direct confrontation with Russia.
But you do have arrangements in the works now to provide Soviet era fighter jets to Ukraine via Poland with the United States, us then supplementing
the supply in Poland. That is indirect ways of helping the Ukrainians do what the United States and NATO are not willing to cross a line to do in
terms of confronting Russia directly.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, no sanctions on Swift. Then they happened, the prospect of energy sanctions now being discussed. So as you said, the lines keep
shifting. We'll see. John Howard, thank you for that update there.
Now, let's bring you up to speed on what's happening inside Ukraine as U.S. Secretary of State Blinken suggested in his press conference, Russia
appears to target Ukrainians fleeing from combat zones, as it renews its attack on key cities.
Eight civilians, including two children were reportedly killed by Russian forces in a suburb of Kyiv as they tried to escape. Tense talks too Russian
and Ukrainian negotiators meet for a third time as Ukraine brands Moscow's offered to evacuate civilians to Russia, immoral.
Russian tanks positioned themselves between apartment blocks in densely populated Western Kyiv, and Putin will not stop at Ukraine. That's a
warning from Lithuania as the U.S. Secretary of State visits NATO allies in Eastern Europe, as you were just hearing there.
Scott McLean, is on the Ukrainian Polish border and joins us now, Scott that was the message I think from Secretary Blinken to this apparent
concern that Russians are targeting these evacuation corridors. And of course, as we know, the violence seems to be escalating.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you're absolutely right, which is why so many people.
CHATTERLEY: And I think we may have lost Scott there. We will go back to him if we can re-establish connection for now. I'll move on the big market
news this weekend was confirmation. Oh, no, I apologize. We're gonna take a short break we'll be back after this stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: OK welcome back to CNN! The big market news this weekend was confirmation from Secretary Antony Blinken that all sanctions are being
discussed and coordinated ones at that this. Of course, Russia's biggest export, it's the number two oil producer in the world.
Relatively easy, relatively easy for the U.S. to do they represent less than 2 percent of the oil that they use comes from Russia much harder for
Europe, which relies on Russia for more than a quarter of its supplies. You can see on European oil markets, Brent neared $140 a barrel overnight to
near 13 year highs.
As you can see we are way off those levels now around $120 a barrel that was the initial knee jerk reaction. European stock markets though bouncing
from steep losses as oil stabilizes a little bit to futures are off at their lowest level too. So it's a mixed bag, but it looked a lot worse
around an hour ago. Anna Stewart joins me now.
Interesting, Anna, even just the mention of the prospect of this took the markets to what 13 year highs of the weekend a real fear factor that
sanctions are coming at some point along the line.
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And what that really means for global oil supplies, incredible moves we saw this morning. But interesting that
according to JP Morgan and we spoke a little bit about this sort of last week is the sort of self-sanctioning we've seen actually on Russian oil
So JP Morgan says that more than 4 million barrels per day of Russian oil is effectively already sidelined and that's a result of refiners, traders,
shippers, bankers, or just staying well clear, really, of Russian oil for a number of reasons the potential for sanctions to come.
There's also the reputational damage and very interesting I think we saw Shell last week having to defend its decision to buy Russian oil at a
discount and safety fears for ships operating in the Black Seas. You can add all that together. Now when we talk about what sort of sanctions we
could see oil there is really a big spectrum here.
STEWART: As you said if you were just looking at banning Russian oil imports into the U.S. well that has a very limited impact for Russia. And
for the U.S., it represents just 2 percent of all oil imports into the U.S. For Europe, much big impact on both sides Europe is Russia's biggest
customer by far and then at the very end of the spectrum, full sanctions on Russian oil and gas taking off 7 percent of the world's oil supply that
would have huge ramifications.
I think when we look at the oil price, it's very hard to get any kind of estimate on where the ceiling would really be?
CHATTERLEY: Yes, and that's part of the problem here, just one of the challenges that they're facing with this decision. The other thing that
we're seeing, of course, is this continued exodus of companies out of Russia and some pretty stern words from the Ukrainian government for the
ones that at least for now are remaining. Let me just let our viewers hear this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We were upset to hear that companies like Coca Cola and McDonald's remain in Russia and continue
providing, providing their products. It's simply against basic principles of morale to continue working in Russia and making money there is money has
soaked with Ukrainian blood.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Anna so MasterCard Coca Cola remaining, some of the big credit card companies now restricting business.
STEWART: Yes, it in terms of the pressure on those companies. It's not even just from Ukraine or even from people who want to see more solidarity with
Ukraine is also actually from investors. Interesting of the weekend, The New York Pension Fund Chief were writing to several companies, including
some of the ones mentioned there, McDonald's, Pepsi, Estee Lauder saying they should consider pausing their operations.
And I think we'll see #boycottinsertcompany trending for some days to come. Well, the other companies, as you mentioned, credit card companies that
already suspended some operations that canceling all operations. This is Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
Now for Russian issued cards. Operating in Russia, they will still work right up to the credit card expiry. But you can imagine Russian banks will
now scramble to set up new credit card facilities, lots of reports they could use a Chinese credit card, and that's to prevent people using cash.
And speaking of cash, the Russian Ruble hit a fresh low today, taking its value down to some it's down some 80 percent on the year, which is
absolutely extraordinary if you think about it.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. And just to clarify, McDonald's and Coca Cola are remaining, at least for now, in terms of operations in Russia, Anna, great
to have you with us. Thank you.
Now the United Nations estimates that at least one and a half million people have fled Ukraine since Russia began its invasion. It calls it the
fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War, getting out of the country is becoming increasingly difficult too.
Global Guardian is an international security firm that's evacuated over 3500 people so far, it expects to help thousands more over the next month.
And joining us now is the CEO of Dale Buckner. Dale, great to have you with us just explain some of the challenges that you're facing and who you are,
of course, who you have on the ground there that are helping people.
DALE BUCKNER, CEO, GLOBAL GUARDIAN: So Julia, that the challenges are, of course, the environment, the logistics of evacuating, we're up over 5000
people as of this morning, so we've continued very steadily. But the challenges are the roadblocks, the high density city areas that are being
bombed, of course, bridges being out.
And of course, you know, brushing up against Russian forces north of Kyiv, and to the East near the Donbas area in the South Crimea. So the challenges
continue to ebb and flow and change, and we're changing with it. And then the teams on the ground, we have about 175 agents and bus drivers, and
Sprinter van drivers that are executing these missions daily.
We're on a 24 hour cycle. And it's a persistent rotation of missions to get those 5000 plus people. And we think we're going to move another two to
3000 over the next week or so.
CHATTERLEY: Just to explain who your clients are as well, because I'm assuming they directly pay not only to have you covered them and warn them
about potential risk, because I follow your reports and over 30 days ago, you were saying, look, this looks pretty bad, and perhaps people should
But I just want to make a comparison between what you're doing there. And obviously what we're talking about with these evacuation corridors. It
feels like they're very different things in terms of how they're handled.
BUCKNER: So Julia it's true, we're supporting the Fortune 1000 here in the U.S. in a multiple of European headquarters, everything from tech
manufacturing finance firms in that space. And yes, they are clients, we are there what they call the duty of care provider, meaning anything their
clients or their employees need.
If they're sick, they're injured, they need medical evict, they need security. All of those things are in our sphere. And then of course, when
you have events like the Ukraine or Afghanistan the Myanmar coup, the Turkey coup the Paris attacks that's when we're most active when we're in a
crisis like this.
BUCKNER: Events like the Ukraine or Afghanistan, the Myanmar to the Turkey cue the Paris attacks. That's what we're most active when we're in a crisis
CHATTERLEY: And what about those people, perhaps that have family or relations? Or don't necessarily want to leave completely? Are you moving
them to the west side to love even places like that? Or are you literally saying to them, look, you need to leave Ukraine?
BUCKNER: No, it's both. So we have moved in almost every think about this. If you're a corporation, your duty of care is to your employee, of course,
or your executive. But that extends to your family, especially under these kinds of conditions.
And I would say, some firms have evolved in the initial phase, the first few days, they were focused on their employees and their executives. And
then of course, as it deteriorated, it's gotten worse, I'd say within three days of the assault by Russia, we've now we're supporting family members on
every single movement.
And lastly, to your point, yes, there are personnel that don't want to leave the country, but they also want to get out of the city center of
Kyiv. And we do move them to the western side in places near live or, you know, slightly outside of live.
CHATTERLEY: Have you had situations where people come and I know it's very precise in terms of the numbers that you're taking, you mentioned bossing
people out where they say, please, can you take someone else? He is my friend who's desperate to leave to have you been presented with that
situation? And how do you handle that?
BUCKNER: We do so and true transparency here. If we have a 50 personnel packs bus, a bus with that is capable of filling 50 seats, and we fill 42,
we have eight available seats. And we have non-clients, we put non-clients on the bus.
We also in and around the live area, when we have buses that are that are stagnant, they're stable, and they don't have a mission for that day, we
run a free bus, basically a son a shuttle service, where we go and pick people up from the city center in the suburbs, if you will, and then take
them to the border of their choosing.
So we're mixing every we're trying to maximize that capacity of everything we can do for our clients. And then when we have open capacity, we offer
that to your average citizen family member.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, I mean, that's the for me, the heartbreaking part of this is you want to help everybody. You operate all over the world in hotspots.
What about Russia?
BUCKNER: You're incredibly active.
BUCKNER: Yes, ma'am. We're incredibly active in Russia. I'd say about a week ago, we flew multiple charters for clients to get them out of the way
early, predicting that things would tighten up in Russia for expats and certain companies. That being said, we're now assisting people in what is
left for commercial options.
And we're moving people around borders and things like that. So Russia is now very active, we can we think it'll continue. And ultimately, we're
trying to get ahead just like any crisis, we're trying to get ahead before we get to the point where people might be stranded.
CHATTERLEY: What's your overall assessment down? Because as I mentioned at the beginning of this interview, I read your daily reports, and they're
pretty precise, you're looking at an analyzing all the Intel that you've gotten of the situation, and a lot of you have significant military
experience. What's your assessment of, of what happens here? The end game in Ukraine?
BUCKNER: Yes, I think the most likely, and I use that term very deliberate, most likely course of action watching what's happening. I think we're now
seeing Russia's true intent. They are going to take the east and Donbas expands. They eventually will take Kyiv, whether you know and I know
there's a conversation about how wonderful the Ukrainians have fought and created resistance.
We agree with that assessment. We think that they've stalled the Russians. And I think the Russians are going to expand in Crimea up to the north,
east and west. That being said, I think this is where the stalemate comes. If this remains a conventional fight, I think ultimately, Russia will take
those pockets, I do not think they can take and hold the entire country.
I think we end up with a stagnant status quo with an insurgency. Russia will be able to claim victory as they have taken ground and held it. I
think they clearly are willing to bomb, you know, relentlessly without being precise, and they will gain ground.
At that point, I would say they will not be able to hold the entire western side. I think they'll have an insurgency and insurgencies are expensive,
and they're costly from a manpower and equipment side.
So I think that's most likely worst case is this goes terribly wrong. Russia feels pressured and there is mass bombing or even the consideration
of a tactical nuke. That's worst case, I don't believe that certain. I don't think that's very probable. But I say that because it needs to be in
the conversation of worst case scenario if this went sideways for Russia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes particularly when you're dealing with the fallout of a humanitarian crisis at the same time. Dale thank you for bringing your
wisdom and thank you for the work that you and your team are doing. Dale Buckner the CEO of Global Guardian more after this stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back and here's an update on the latest from Ukraine. There's been heavy fighting underway near the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. This
video geo located by CNN shows Russian tanks taking up positions in a densely populated are just west of Kyiv.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused the Kremlin of quote deliberate murder and is demanding new sanctions including a boycott of oil
exports from Russia. This is a third round of talks between Ukraine and Russia is expected today. Now CNN's Clarissa Ward is at Kyiv central train
station where Ukrainians are trying to flee.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is a train that is going to be taking people to the relative safety of the
Western City of Lviv and it has just been a chaotic scene here. For the last few minutes people have been waiting some hours for this train.
There's been a lot of arguing about who's able to get on it. You can see people are just packed in there. People were originally calling for
instance, with just women and children, a man tried to get on the train. People started screaming at that man. You can see over here, a number of
people still just trying to pack onto this train.
They've got their pets. They've got their family members. These are scenes that we've seen playing out across the country, John, but we were at the
train station about a week ago. And it was nothing like this scene. There is definitely an intensification an urgency as people are trying to get out
of the country out of the city as we're seeing this push on the northwest and western parts of Kyiv.
These trains are now packed full of people who are desperately trying to get out of the city as the sense and the fear grows, that Russia is sort of
tightening its noose moving down across the south and towards the Southern Western part of the city which would then mean that this city is totally
WARD (on camera): The fear is that they will lay siege to it. These people, some of them are waiting here for hours. They've been pushing, shoving,
desperately trying to get out. And it's just awful to see the fear in people's eyes, they're just frantically trying to get their loved ones out.
We've seen a lot of families saying goodbye to each other. There's a very real sense for a lot of these families that they might never see them
again. And, and that is what feels different. And of course, it's happening at the same time, as you're seeing this real intensification of the fight.
CHATTERLEY: That was Clarissa Ward speaking to my colleague, John Berman, earlier. Neighboring Moldova has already taken in more than 230,000
Ukrainian refugees. Ivan Watson is there the Moldova Ukrainian border force.
Ivan, good to speak to you you're seeing the other side of this the train to uncertainty. Moldova is by no means a wealthy nation. It's challenged of
its own, how well prepared are they? How are they handling this influx of people?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, it's actually a beautiful sight to see the volunteerism the fact that the
Moldovan government has opened its doors to more than 230,000 Ukrainians in just a week and a half - you know, I was just talking to this young man
Bogdan from - he is 20 years old, and he just came across the border.
And I thought it might be good to kind of hear his opinion. We can try it a little bit in English a little bit in Russian. Bogdan you said you were
going to go to Belgium now, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
WATSON: Are you angry that you have to run away from your country?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, very angry because I love my city. I want to live in my city because I have good job, good work. I have family in this city
WATSON: Well, he says he has to flee from his own city because he doesn't know if he can live to the next day. And he says he came in with his
mother. And she's going to go back into Ukraine to be with his grandmother. Who do you blame for this?
So he says, it is Putin who's responsible for this and the oligarchy, the elite in Russia, who he blames for this and he was actually even telling me
that he has relatives in St. Petersburg in Russia, who don't believe what is happening in Ukraine right now.
I just want to show you some more of what's going on here, Julia so that you can see what the Moldovans are doing. We're about five minute away
drive from the Ukrainian border, which is close to the Port City of Odessa. It hasn't seen ground combat yet. But everybody there has heard explosions
and blasts. And they know they fear war is coming.
They come and the Moldovans bring them on vans from the border on a freezing day, it's been snowing, flurries all day. And they bring them here
for a hot cup of tea, perhaps some warm food, some snacks, which, you know, frankly, people are hungry and tired and uncomfortable.
They're dragging their own belongings in a single suitcase. They've got kids in tow pets that they're bringing along as well. And trying to figure
out where to go next, Julia and that's one of the biggest questions here. What do you - what would you do if in a week's time, suddenly you had to
flee your homeland?
Where would you go next, perhaps to a relative in another country who could put you up but what do you do longer term or if you're studying if you have
a job if you have a business? These are all the questions that people are wrestling with, with the additional anxiety and fear of having loved ones,
like perhaps a sick grandparent, or a father or a husband or a brother, or several of them who stayed behind to defend their country.
One final note, I met a group of workers from the Philippines from a company they came across the border today, a group of them when Vladimir
Putin in past months was swearing and laying that Russia would not invade Ukraine. There was no warning to many other countries around the world and
their governments who have tens of thousands of citizens inside Ukraine.
There was no warning that this would come. So we're also seeing third country now nationals trying to be evacuated from countries like India,
WATSON: I met Chinese people crossing the border today they were not warned that this was happened and their citizens have been trapped in the war zone
also trying to get out, along with these Ukrainian families, and frankly, Ukrainian children.
I can't count the number of strollers I've seen with little babies coming across this border today. And it's just one day 1.5 million plus Ukrainians
have fled across that country's borders since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th that's 12 days Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, Ivan it's unimaginable. I was just trying to count actually the push chairs and the strollers behind you trying to take care
of children in this kind of environment. Thank you for that report Ivan Watson there.
OK, imagine trying to run a company and protect your employees while they're stuck in the middle of a war torn country. That's the reality the
CEO and Co-Founder of Musemio, a company that brings history to kids by transforming museums into virtual reality experiences.
Her employees are based in Kyiv, Nipro and Kharkiv places that have faced some of the worst violence since the war began. Her family also remains in
Ukraine. Olga Kravchenko joins us now from London.
Olga, I can only imagine what it feels like to be in London to be watching what's happening trying to take care of your family, your workers, how easy
is it to communicate with any of them at this moment? And what are they telling you today?
OLGA KRAVCHENKO, CO-FOUNDER & CEO, MESEMO: There is still connection that you can still talk to people I am constantly in touch with my family to
have stable connection unless I go into the shelters for the night or in the underground places where they can hide.
It was my team via communicating thing was a horrific chat. I'm checking on them today in places various fields cannot believe that this is a reality
that we are now living glares. And we are hoping for the quick resolution. We are hoping that the talks that are happening right now, now--
CHATTERLEY: We're struggling with your connection.
KRAVCHENKO: Can you hear me?
CHATTERLEY: Yes, we're struggling a little bit with your connection. I'm going to try. I'm going to try and ask you one more. And we'll keep - we'll
keep persevering. Talk to me about your workers because I believe that all men so they can't leave because they're in that age bracket that that has
to remain. What are they doing now? Are they prepared to fight?
KRAVCHENKO: Yes. So they are encouraging in Kharkiv, in Nipro, in Kyiv they are ready to defend their families, they are ready to defend their houses.
In Nipro, the situation is more or less stable. There haven't been any explosions had like on like, that's what my employees telling me from
KRAVCHENKO: Kyiv is really scary to me now. And we know that. Yes, the situation in the North is really disturbing. They are ready to defend
themselves. They are ready to defend their families, they are ready to be there if the country needs them.
I think for now, I'm asking them to be careful. I'm asking them to let me know if there is anything I can do from here, for example, for their
families, but for now, they are not planning from what I understand.
CHATTERLEY: OK. And Olga, what about your family? Because I know they were in central Kyiv, and you've managed to get them outside of the central
location? Are you going to try and get them out of Ukraine perhaps getting across the border somehow? What are your plans there? What do you think of
KRAVCHENKO: Yes, that's the plan. I do want to get them - out of where they are is the best. Especially like I'm talking about my mom, I'm talking
about my grandma. I want them to be in safe city and I want to be there for them, I will be able to meet them at the Polish border as soon as they can
start making their way through the west.
Right now we don't understand how safe it is to drive or how crazy it is to even get on the train. And there is this - there is this impossible choice
for them whether they stay very car is a relative safety because they can seize explosions because the houses are not being ruined around them or try
to flee and not actually now if they're going to have enough petrol, if they're going to have if they're going to have a safe route out or vice
This is the biggest questions that we are trying to resolve every day and we still don't know what the best way forward is?
KRAVCHENKO: There is a huge amount of fear about trying to keep us around and do women driving on their own is just an impossible choice to make.
Because what happens if the car breaks down is the middle of nowhere for example, now?
CHATTERLEY: I know and these are the challenges and the problems and the fears that so many families that are facing at this moment. Olga there is
perhaps, are shocked, still not quite believing what's happened in the past three weeks. What do you want people to understand about Ukraine at this
moment? And for those that perhaps in other places that could help and can provide support? Why should they?
KRAVCHENKO: I think what became very clear in the last few weeks, that Ukrainian nation is very strong, and they are ready to defend our country.
But we're also not just defending Ukraine, we are defending the entire democratic world against the Kremlin aggression against the unprovoked
People who are trying to help, there are a number of humanitarian efforts and everyone can donate some of their time, some of their resources to
support at least the humanitarian crisis, we're talking about 1.5 million people, mostly women and children who now had to leave their houses, their
lives, and they're now struggling to at least get some sense of what's the next couple of weeks of bringing?
So I urge everyone to look for the donation forms that are organized by the Ukrainian community, and donate what you can buy a bag of nappies bring it
to the centers. There are a number of newborns that are being born during the war. And this people need some support now.
There are already logistics in place and I think everyone needs to take an action as small action but every single one of those is making a huge
difference to Ukrainians right now.
CHATTERLEY: Olga, thank you. Our hearts are with you, the Ukrainian people your family and your workers too Olga Kravchenko, Co-Founder and CEO of
Musemio. We'll be back after this stay with CNN.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back! Russian attacks on Ukraine's Capital Kyiv are expected to sharply intensify in the coming days. Heavy shelling is
reported on the outskirts of the city sending people scrambling for cover in the face of this terror, a moment of bravery and a song from a little
girl inside a Kyiv bomb shelter. Just listen to this.
CHATTERLEY: Recording stopped video of Amelia singing "Let it go from Frozen" has already been viewed on Facebook more than 3 million times.
That's it for the show. Our coverage continues stay safe. "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson is up next.