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First Move with Julia Chatterley
CNN Follows Marines Fighting to Take Back Kherson from Russia; Ukraine Rejects Russia's Demands to Surrender Mariupol; NATO Gears up for Extraordinary Summit Thursday; Zelenskyy: Failure of Talks May Lead to Third World War; Experts: Russian Cyber-Attack Fears have not Materialized; Ukrainian Girl Who Sang "Let it Go" in Bomb Shelter Sings at Charity Concert in Poland. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired March 21, 2022 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNNI HOST: You're watching CNN. I'm Eleni Giokos. And we begin with the latest on Russia's war on Ukraine. At least eight people
killed in the Capital Kyiv after missile fire hits a shopping mall. The city's mayor says the building has been destroyed by fire.
It's one of those damaging strikes to hit the center of Kyiv since the war began. The mayor has announced a new curfew from 8 pm today local time
until 7 am on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government has rejected Russia's demand to surrender the besieged Southern City of Mariupol.
Ukrainian Defense Minister praising the defenders of the city saying "Today Mariupol is saving Kyiv, Dnipro and Odessa everyone must understand this".
This is after the Russian military bombed and art school in the city where about 400 people had been sheltering. And that's according to city
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, telling CNN, he is open to negotiations with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: I'm ready for negotiations. I was ready over the last two years. And I think that but I think that was our
negotiations, we cannot and support. But if these attempts fail, that would mean that this is a third world war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: Today, U.S. President Joe Biden will hold a call with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and the UK. And he's scheduled to attend a NATO
Summit in Belgium on Thursday, and traveled to Poland on Friday to meet with the country's president. Fred Pleitgen has more on the attack on the
shopping center in Kyiv.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This area of key was hit overnight into Monday. And certainly the munitions'
that was used here seems to be absolutely massive. We go forward, we can see over there is a mall and the parking lot of the mall where you can
clearly see a gigantic impact crater right in the middle of that parking lot.
Also, there are buildings around it that tall building absolutely destroyed in that entire mall complex. And the buildings around here a lot of them
were badly damaged as well. What we're hearing from the city council here in Kyiv is they say that so far, they know of eight people who have been
killed in this explosion and several buildings of course damage including a school and a kindergarten as well.
What's not clear is what exactly the military objective of all of this may have been. There certainly doesn't seem to be any military infrastructure
close to here, or at least we haven't seen any. And also, this appears to be very much a civilian area.
One of the things that we found very remarkable here is we are currently on the 11th floor of a building that is pretty far away from the explosion.
But we found this piece of shrapnel, this piece of shrapnel we did not find that here on the front of the building. This went through this entire
apartment and was then found in the hallway when through the front door.
And of course, this would have been extremely deadly for anybody who was in its path. The people who live here told us they bought this place about
three months ago. It's a new building. Luckily, they weren't here when the explosion took place.
But if we pan down we can see the destruction that was brought by all of this, obviously, a lot of glass that was broken whole windows blown out and
of course anybody who would have been laying in this bed in the bedroom would have been in severe danger of massive injuries and possibly death,
especially with so much shrapnel flying around.
This is very much part of the current ongoing battle for Kyiv. The U.S. and its allies say the Russians are not making much progress in that battle and
certainly increasingly using heavy weaponry that every once in a while certainly does land in civilian areas, Fred Pleitgen, CNN Kyiv Ukraine.
GIOKOS: In the Southern City of Mykolayiv air raid sirens have sounded. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh says the heart of the city has been targeted, and
that Russia has been lashing out with exceptional violence.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL EDITOR (voice over): This is what the slow route of Russia in Southern Ukraine looks like. Kyiv's forces
pushing close to Kherson, the first city the Kremlin took.
Here, so many people being evacuated day by day, and the air required in contrast to these impacts we see all around in the fields, just constant
barrage over the past days. The bus is the last way out of here, going from door to what is left of every day.
WALSH (voice over): The village of - has been Ukraine's last position for days and so this is what Russia left of it. The noise is the village gas
main, leaking furiously. Putin's war of annihilation was sure not to overlook this school its front torn off by a missile.
It is hard to imagine life returning here even when the shelling stops, which just now because not we run down for cover. The Marines here are
mobile, pushing forwards where they can Kherson's nearby airport their prize.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now we have a little --
WALSH (on camera): You were on your way to the airport?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To kill --
WALSH (voice over): He is a Former Lebanese Soldier working in TV married to a Ukrainian.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two weeks ago this place had life now nothing.
WALSH (voice over): The bus has filled with anyone left who wants to leave anyone who can move themselves. We are asked to take those who cannot. And
who remember the last time war came to Europe. As we leave shelling hits the village, it has become a deathbed riddled with cluster munitions' minds
this man said.
Over days the road out there has been fought over its pockmarked concrete lined with these tiny peaceful worlds ripped open. This woman was in Poland
when Russians took her hometown Kherson where her children are. He can't really hear the blast at his age but sent his wife to live with his
daughter in the city. He has stayed to protect whatever they have left.
Shelling hits the road out again. And we drive past the earth Putin shells have happily scorched as his army slowly loses. Whatever ground here it
gained Ukraine's guns pushing them back. But Moscow imposes a cost these barracks torn into reduced to rubble by missile strikes that killed dozens
of Ukrainian soldiers some as they slept Friday morning in one of the worst known losses of the war.
This trauma unit struggles with some of the 40 injured. One soldier asking for his friends by name not all injuries involved blood. This soldier was
in bed on the third floor when the blast hit and he found himself on the second with both legs smashed losing consciousness.
That night, the Kremlin's blunt force hits another target around Mykolayiv. Moscow maybe losing ground here, but does all it can to crush and stifle
what it cannot have.
GIOKOS: Important reporting there from Nick Paton Walsh not showing not only the devastation and the destruction of infrastructure, but also the
heartbreak, the trauma and the sacrifices but also importantly the resolve by the Ukrainian military.
GIOKOS: We'll be bringing you more live coverage from Ukraine a little later. But first I want to turn our attention to what the markets are doing
and we've had a cautious start of the trading week, as global investors monitor the latest headlines from Ukraine.
U.S. Futures are mostly lower and European shares mixed after last week's gains. News that Ukraine and Russia negotiators are so far apart on a
ceasefire agreement is of course weighing on sentiment you can see a mixed picture right now on the DOW Futures and in terms of what Europe is doing.
But oil is the big one and is on the rebound after a sharp pullback last week. European leaders are set to discuss new sanctions on Russia that
could intensify the global energy crunch. You can see there Brent Crude sitting at $112. We've got Anna Stewart joining me now.
Anna it's just been such an incredible roller coaster ride when it comes to the Brent Crude price. And one needs to wonder how much of this is
speculation how much of this is really fundamentals? And then if we start to talk about EU sanctions that could definitely mean a bigger portion of
Russian oil out of the market.
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: And I think that is why we're possibly seeing such a big reaction on oil price today as EU Foreign Ministers have
gathered in Brussels to meet and this is very much on the table for discussion.
Now already the EU has said that they're going to cut their reliance on Russian gas by two thirds this year. They want to cut their dependence on
Russian oil, gas and coal completely over the next five years, a much bigger timeframe, of course than the UK or the U.S. but given their
reliance on Russian energy that was already quite an impressive sort of target.
But we could now see them go further still. Here you can hear from the EU Foreign Minister of Lithuania, who on arrival said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GABRIELIUS LANDSBERGIS, LITHUANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: I think it is unavoidable to start talking about the energy sector. And we definitely can
talk about oil, because it is the biggest revenue to Russian budget. And also it's quite easily replaceable because of our infrastructure and
multiple suppliers' existence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART: Now, that is brave toolkit, I'm not sure how easily replaceable it would be. I mean, just to give you an idea, were Lithuania, in 2019, they
got 63 percent of all of their oil imports from Russia, and oil accounts for over 50 percent of their overall energy consumption mix.
It is not easy, but in a way, Eleni, we're already kind of seeing some sort of embargo on Russian oil. If you look at how much is not being sold on the
market and a huge discount. Actually, the Russian oil is now trading at today; it's about $30 a barrel cheaper than Brent.
The IEA warned last week that Russia may actually be forced to cut back oil production as a result of this by around 30 percent next month.
GIOKOS: Anna Stewart great to see you thank you so much for that analysis. And we're now going back to Ukraine. And of course, we've been seeing some
devastating new photographs and pictures of some of the new attacks in Kyiv in particular. We've got Phil Black joining us now he's in Lviv.
Phil, it's you know, the seeing, you know, from the start of this wall, we saw hospitals targeted. We saw kindergartens targeted theaters, malls. What
more do we know about the latest attacks and what this means in terms of Putin's military strategy?
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Eleni so this was a strike on a shopping mall in Kyiv, here late last night a significant blast and one where the
impact had - it also was felt in surrounding buildings and homes pretty devastating really with at least eight people killed.
Now CNN team on the ground this morning says there is no evidence there that this is a military side whether it's been used for military purposes
in any way. So we don't know whether this was deliberately targeted. And of course, the fact that it's not, or may not have been used for military
purpose does not mean that it wasn't deliberately targeted.
Because as you touch on there, we have seen many times in this conflict so far, Russian forces hitting clearly civilian targets. The purpose here is
unclear. But the general analysis still suggests that Kyiv remains Russia's primary military goal. It wanted to take the city quickly it failed to do
so. And so now its forces are preparing for what appears to be a much longer assault on their city Eleni.
GIOKOS: Phil I mean, looking at some of the images from Mariupol hearing what people have gone through in that city. Three weeks ago, we were
talking about a really strong port city. And now Putin is saying you've got to leave and we don't know what the next move will be by the Russian
military. What is the potential of more devastation if civilians don't heed that call?
BLACK: Well, it would appear to be grace because for the moment the siege continues, the blockade continues the bombardment continues and from what
we hear on the ground there it is constant it is around the clock.
So the suffering is great because there are hundreds of thousands of people sheltering cowering wherever they can often in basements but many are still
in their home sometimes together in bigger buildings.
BLACK: And they have very little food very little water, no real source of warmth in very cold conditions. And of course, as I say, the bombardment
from the air landed even the Russian Navy continues, without any real sense of a break.
Overnight, we've had this offer, you could say an ultimatum from Russia, that the Ukrainians, defenders inside that city to put down their arms to
stop fighting, and they would supposedly be allowed to leave if they hand over the city, but that has been rejected.
So that does mean the siege continues. But it appears that the government here believes that this suffering, that people are enduring, there is not
for nothing. The Ministry of Defense, the Minister of Defense, I should say has said today that he believes that the people in Mariupol the people
defending it, the people that are enduring this bombardment, they are also saving lives in other parts of Ukraine tens of thousands of lives.
They are still defending other big cities, notably Odessa, Dnipro, even Kyiv because obviously, if Russian forces were freed up in Mariupol, they
would then be able to turn their attention, their firepower to those other cities.
So for the moment, as I say, the siege continues without any obvious end in sight. Russia, having had its offer, or its ultimatum turned down, now has
two clear options. It can try and take the city in an urban street battle, but that would be costly and difficult.
So I think the expectation is that it will continue to bombard the city in the hope that it will break the will of the people break the defense that
is taking place there. And they will be able to take that city relatively easy in terms of effort from their own forces.
GIOKOS: All right. Phil, thank you very much. I mean hearing about some of the resolve by the Ukrainian military and civilians; it is incredible to
just see just how steadfast they are in terms of holding ground. So thank you very much for your reporting live from Lviv.
I'd like to now take a look at the stories making headlines around the world. A Boeing 737 carrying 132 people made a rapid descend before
crashing in Southeastern China earlier today. This is important to note the aviation officials say it was not the widely criticized 737 Max that was
involved. Will Ripley in Taipei has the latest developments for us. Will, great to see you! What more do we know about this crash?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes Eleni, it is very important to note. This is a 737, 800 these are some of the most widely
used, you know, narrow body aircraft in the world. And Boeing, just like China, Eastern Airlines has now turned its website black and white as the
investigation into this crash continues.
You talked about that rapid descent, to go from 25,000 feet down to less than 3000 feet in less - under two minutes, with a slight break around
10,000 feet where it seemed as if the plane started to level off, but then it just plunged back down.
That certainly, it's still too soon to say what that would indicate we have to leave that to the flight investigators but undoubtedly terrifying,
terrifying moments for a plane to descend that quickly for the 132 people on board 123 pastors, nine crew members.
And then if you look at the videos that people have shared on social media that have been reported in Chinese state media, you see, the - region,
which is very heavily forested and mountainous in the area where this plane went down, makes it very difficult for rescue teams to reach the site.
But there were huge plumes of smoke on some of the videos, you could hear explosions. And you could see flames and the Chinese President Xi Jinping
in an unusually swift response and public statement.
You know, responding to this basically saying that this is President Xi of China saying he's shocked, calling for a full investigation, deploying
rescue teams to this area. So when you have now the central government in Beijing, essentially calling the shots from President Xi down, that shows
just how seriously China is taking this crash.
And they have good reason to do that Eleni because China has not had a fatal air disaster since 2010. The last time that somebody died in a plane
crash in China was more than a decade ago and 44 people were killed when a plane went off the runway kind of overshot the runway.
This situation if you look at the early signs, if you look at that rapid, rapid descent, terrifying descent towards these mountains, and then you
look at the aftermath and reports even if pieces of wreckage on the ground. It certainly paints a really, really sad picture of a devastating picture
for the families of those 132 people right now who are waiting for answers wondering what happened.
Did anyone survive all of those questions, including what caused this still too soon to know Eleni?
GIOKOS: Absolutely. Yes. Terrifying, absolutely Will Ripley, thank you so much for bringing us up to speed on that story? Morad Tahbaz, a 66 year old
British Iranian has been sent back to jail in Tehran that's despite a deal that was struck between the UK and Tehran that so Nazanin Zaghari-
GIOKOS: And another British Iranian released from jail last week. Tahbaz who is also a U.S. citizen spent 48 hours under house arrest before being
taken back to prison. Nada Bashir joins me now. Nada, this is the first time we actually heard from Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in that press
conference and it was really fascinating to hear about some of her experience.
She was actually saying she didn't want to talk about what happened to her specifically. But she importantly, had said that, you know, the meaning of
freedom really has no meaning unless everyone is released. And importantly, she also said that it is vital to ensure that lives are put at risk because
of political reasons.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Yes, absolutely Eleni. It was interesting, actually, that she and her husband Richard, were speaking alongside
Roxanne, the eldest daughter of Morad Tahbaz. He invited her to join them at this press conference.
The first time she's spoken since she was released from detention after six years to really highlight that issue that there are still many others. She
said that while her name is now widely known, there are so many others that can't be forgotten, left in detention in Iran.
Morad's daughter gave that really emotional statement to the process. And she wasn't, she was surprised she was taken aback that he was returned to
prison after briefly being put on furlough in Iran. So that of course, a key message being sent there by Nazanin.
But as you mentioned that it is the first time we've heard from her since her six year detention speaking alongside her husband, Richard and the UK
lawmaker Tulip Siddiq who has campaigned for her release for the past six years, her daughter Gabriela in the front row.
And she did give thanks to the numerous people who have campaigned for her family, the legal professionals, the medical staff in Tehran, who looked
after her while she was in detention. But as she also flagged that, as you said, there are so many others still remaining there.
And she actually questioned whether or not the British government had done enough to secure her relief over the past six years, take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAZANIN ZAGHARI-RATCLIFFE, FREED AFTER YEARS OF IMPRISONMENT IN IRAN: I was told many, many times that, oh, we're going to get you home. That never
happened. So there was a time that I felt like do you know what I might not? I'm not able to trust you. Because I've been told many, many times
that I'm going to be taken home.
But that never happened. I mean, how many former secretaries - take for someone to go by. It should have been one of them eventually. So now, here
we are. What's happened now should have happened six years ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASHIR: And that really is the sentiment that we've heard continuously from those campaigning for Nazanin's release. Her husband Richard actually did
give thanks to the government during that press conference. And Nazanin made the point of actually saying actually, no, there should have been more
done to secure her release.
And she did highlight the issue of a decade's old multi-million dollar debt owed to Iran by the UK now according to Foreign Secretary Liz Truss that
debt has now been settled. And when she was asked by a journalist, whether she felt that those two issues were linked, whether or not her freedom was
dependent on that debt being paid by the British government?
She said yes, yes, indeed it is. And that is exactly what her husband has been saying for the last six years describing Nazanin as a pawn being used
by the Iranian regime to pressure on the British government. Now we know that a foreign affairs committee hearing has is going to be called by Tulip
Siddiq to really get to the bottom of why it took so long to secure Nazanin's freedom Eleni.
GIOKOS: Nada Bashir, thank you very much great to have you on the show. We're going to a short break and I'll have more news right after this. Stay
GIOKOS: Welcome back! I'm Eleni Giokos. Now the leaders of NATO member nations France, Italy, Germany, the Germany the U.S. and the UK, are set to
speak by telephone today on the crisis in Ukraine. All of this ahead of high stakes NATO and European Council Summits later this week.
NATO Head Jens Stoltenberg says Thursday's meeting of the organization's 13 member nations will be an extraordinary Summit, and that's to discuss the
ongoing response to the war. Stoltenberg said in a tweet that the meeting will address quotes further strengthening NATO's deterrence and defense.
He says at this critical time North America and Europe must continue to stand together. Iva Daalder joins me now he is a Former U.S. Ambassador to
NATO. Iva great to have you with us! Firstly, what are you expecting from this telephone call between some of the most powerful NATO members today?
IVA DAALDER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: Well, I think other than reaffirming that everyone does, in fact, stand together. I think there are
a number of issues that will be addressed in this column and later on at both NATO and EU and G7 Summits.
One is what more sanctions can we look at in order to increase the pressure on Vladimir Putin? Secondly, what more can be done to help the Ukrainians
to defend themselves? The U.S. has sent a large package of weaponry, but the war is going on and more weapons are necessary for the Ukrainians to
And then third, I think, at the beginning of a discussion is starting on what NATO might want to think about doing should Vladimir Putin escalate
further? He's already escalated by bombing cities, he may well go further, by considering the possibility of using chemical agents or biological
agents or going after industrial facilities or even as he has threatened in the past, using nuclear weapons.
NATO needs to be prepared for this. It needs to figure out what it will do in response. And it needs to communicate that to Vladimir Putin to tell him
that if he does escalate, there are consequences.
GIOKOS: I can't believe that in our lifetime, we're talking about the possibility of use of nuclear weapons. What kind of probabilities are you
factoring in right now? And I guess we've heard this from Zelenskyy. We've heard this from Biden that this could you know, eventually escalate to
World War III? Is that your prognosis as well? What would happen if nuclear comes into play?
DAALDER: Well, it's certainly not my prognosis. We want to do everything possible to prevent it. But we are dealing with a nuclear power that is
stuck militarily, in a stalemate that it never thought it was going to go in.
It can try to sue for peace. That's not Vladimir Putin's normal way of operating. He's a person who, when in a corner is likely to lash out rather
than sit down. The U.S. Intelligence Community has said that he's likely to double down. So we have to think about the unthinkable.
Its part of the world, unfortunately, that we are living in and to now, it's highly unlikely that it will happen, but we need to be prepared for
it. And we actually need to tell Vladimir Putin it's very, very important that he not consider this option. That's do a response.
I think if we're going down this road, then making sure that Vladimir Putin gets defeated in Ukraine by directly engaging NATO forces on behalf of the
Ukrainian forces will be necessary. You can't live in a world in which chemical or biological agents are used or nuclear weapons are used, and
countries get away with it. That's not the world we want to live in. That's the word.
GIOKOS: NATO should get involved at this moment in time? Do you think NATO should get involved right now?
DAALDER: Not yet. Not yet. I think where President Biden has been and others to make this about defending helping Ukraine to defend itself is
right. But we also need to send a clear message that the calculation of whether or not we intervene, should these kinds of weapons be used is going
to be changed?
GIOKOS: I want to - we're running out of time. But I want to ask you this. You said February 24, the moment the world changed in a pretty fundamental
way. Tell me how? How is this going to impact everyone?
DAALDER: Well, we moved away from a world in which we would engage and cooperate with a country like Russia to one where we confronted contains a
country like Russia, it's a fundamental difference. And it really sets the world up between the advanced democracies on the one hand, which if used,
as we have seen sanctions and significant military capabilities against those who are, who are trying to undermine democracy, whether that's Russia
or China and other countries?
We see a more divided world less cooperative, and in the effort to defend democracy and freedom that is now being attacked in Ukraine directly and in
other parts of the world indirectly.
GIOKOS: Ambassador, thank you very much for your insights. Great to have you on the show that was Iva Daalder Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO. We're
going to short break and I'll have more news right after this stay with us.
GIOKOS: Welcome back! Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he's ready for negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. During an
interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria Zelenskyy warned if talks fail, it would mean a third world war nearly four weeks after Russian has invaded
the Former CIA Director David Petraeus told CNN the war is at a stalemate.
GIOKOS: Ukraine says at least eight people were killed after missile destroyed a shopping mall in Kyiv. It was one of the most damaging attacks
on the city since the war began. CNN Military Analyst and Retired U.S. Army Major General James Spider Marks join me now. Really good to have you on
sir! I'm sure you're watching very closely with regards to all the attacks that we're seeing the indiscriminate attacks that you're seeing.
Does this give you any sense of the moves that Vladimir Putin and his military might be taking? We've got to keep in mind that there are talks
happening on the sidelines, not many people are taking those seriously. But I mean, in terms of the military prognosis, what are you looking at?
MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, great question. What we've seen from the outset is a Russian military that's been
exposed as incompetent, not capable of doing what I would call a combined arms firing maneuver.
I mean, it's absolutely egregious. If you're evaluating the military, these guys get a C- to a D, they're not doing anything they should, and they're
violating the principles of war. They're not maneuvering; they haven't identified the enemy the Ukrainians.
In other words, the Russian military right now is completely stumbling. And they have culminated, what that means is they've put all their chips that
were around Ukraine, they put all those chips in the middle of the table there pushing toward Kyiv, Kharkiv and down around the Black Sea.
And the only success is a brutal assault against Mariupol, where they've achieved no military objectives other than to level what had been a
beautiful port city just three weeks ago. And now they're trying to create this land bridge, from the Donbas area, all the way down to Odessa.
This is a military that right now is desperate. And so you see the digging in, excuse me, they're going on the defensive. They are using their
artillery and rockets simply to create tear and havoc and great amounts of destruction, and rubble throughout the country.
I mean, really, it is a military that's in very, very bad shape, which is great news for the Ukrainians. And they are now the Ukrainians are now
taking advantage of that hesitation on the part of the Russians.
GIOKOS: Absolutely. And so many interesting points there. I want to ask you about the fact that they've relied on cruise missiles to this point, and
then it seems like they - are they moving to hypersonic missiles? And is this because they're showing their might and what they have with us because
they're running out of cruise missiles? I mean, what are you reading into this?
MARKS: Yes, that's a good excuse me? That's a great question. Truly, we don't know how many hypersonic they have in their inventory. The fact that
they're using them is a very strong signal, which is the Russians have them else there has them? Or do they have used them before.
So this is show and tell from the Russian perspective, and it's a very strong message to the United States, which is we've got to you don't. So
stand back. The challenge with the hypersonic and what you're seeing with dumb munitions, like artillery and rockets, is that they don't have to
confront the enemy they're trying to reduce.
And in fact, they're not going after military units. They're going after civilian populations. That's the brutality of this thing. It's illogical,
in terms of military objectives.
GIOKOS: The one thing that sort of sticks out for me and when we're having these conversations is we knows Putin is this man who doesn't want to
accept defeat. And this is what I find fascinating is at what point is he going to think about withdrawing?
And when he's incurring failures, like we've seen, and you've got a military with low morale. Are you worried about his next move? He's
mentioned nuclear before? Is this something that's on your radar as a possibility?
MARKS: Yes very much so that's the big concern. That's the wildcard that's over here because we can't get into the head of Putin. I mean, nobody
effectively can get between his ears and figure out what motivates him.
Again, this seems like an illogical military operation. If he were to win Ukraine, what does winning look like? He's got a damaged, beautiful
country, its agricultural capability is going to be reduced significantly, the economy is going to be in the crapper, you're going to have a city a
population of 40 plus million that hate you, and you're going to try to establish some degree of governance, it makes no sense at all.
So the level of desperation is the big concern. So he's mentioned nukes. Clearly, he has said, you know, my nukes are on high alert, frankly,
everybody who has nukes, have them on high alert. So that's no big news.
But the fact that he mentioned them, and the fact that he has used chemical weapons before, we've seen that in Syria, and we've seen that against
individuals, you know, he did that a couple years ago in London. I mean, there's no hesitation on his part to go down that path.
MARKS: So what are the precursors or indications and warnings of his use? We've got to be our intelligence capacity and intelligence sharing with the
Ukrainians, and certainly our NATO partners has really got to be focused in on that potentiality.
It is very, very concerning when a dog is in the corner and that dog feel like - feels like its being abused. It's going to lash out. That's where we
may be with Putin right now.
GIOKOS: Absolutely. Sir Major General, you know, one important thing is that he is trying to chip away at average Ukrainians at the most vulnerable
pregnant woman and newborn babies, but we've seen an incredible resilience coming through and this is why he's incurring losses.
Are you feeling confident about the capabilities of the Ukrainian military right now? And Zelenskyy, last week said, we need more advanced weaponry.
And of course, the big question in terms of one of the advantages that Putin has right now is he is able to attack via the air.
MARKS: Right. When you - when you have a gap between the will to resist, which is what the Ukrainians are demonstrating, and their capacity, which
is not equal to their will, you've got it, you got a gap, which is really a concern.
The Ukrainians have done masterfully with what they have Russia, let's be frank just has more resources than the Ukrainians. And oh, by the way, the
Russians have not demonstrated any desire, either in their past, past history, and as soviets and what they've been doing in Ukraine to adhere to
any type of discrimination and their fire or rules of engagement.
That's the big time concern. The Ukrainians are doing a wonderful job and really need to take advantage of this tactical inflection point, which is
Russians going on the defensive, trying to get their act together. And Ukrainians feel bolstered by what they see, with the capacity that they
have not only being provided by NATO, but their great intrinsic will and desire to take it to the Russians.
They need to act now so that they can turn the tide and really start pushing some of these Russia, take the offensive, start pushing a number of
these Russian forces back, which great window of opportunity, they realize it and they're going to exploit it.
GIOKOS: Major General I can't thank you enough for your analysis. Thank you very much for sharing your insights with us great to have you on the show.
MARKS: You bet.
GIOKOS: And still to come, lots of talk of cyber-attacks by Russia before the invasion but have they actually taken place a cybersecurity expert will
give us a sense of the situation and U.S. vulnerabilities.
GIOKOS: Russia's invasion has raised fears of large scale cyber-attacks on Ukraine and its allies, including the United States. So far, experts say
those fears have not materialized. And they say that while Russia has the capability to conduct an impactful cyber-attack in the U.S., the prospects
for that are low.
Still, the U.S. has been expanding its cybersecurity, particularly in the energy sector as vulnerabilities remained significant. Joining us now is
George Kurtz, the CEO and Co-Founder of CrowdStrike, the U.S. Cybersecurity Firm. George, really great to have you with us!
Here's the reality, Russia has been sort of testing the vulnerabilities in the United States and in Europe, and they're successfully been able to
break through firewalls in the energy sector quite a few times over the past few years, particularly in the U.S. Is there a sense that it could be
at some point, a big risk, I know that it's not imminent, but is everyone on high alert?
GEORGE KURTZ, CEO & CO-FOUNDER, CROWDSTRIKE: It's always going to be a risk. And what viewers have to understand is that Russia and other nation
states are continually testing and probing and gaining access to infrastructure around the globe, it doesn't mean that they're activating it
at this point, but they're always looking to maintain access.
And at the appropriate time, they could activate it either to steal information, or to implement a devastating attack that could impact
critical infrastructure, energy, financial services, et cetera.
GIOKOS: OK. So we know that Russia was sort of, you know, doing some micro cyber-attacks prior to the war, which was quite interesting, you know, when
these attacks happened, at micro level, is it? Is it a - I guess, a way to test the capabilities so that they, when they do decide they want to
escalate the war, to a different level, they're ready to go?
KURTZ: Well, there are two types of attacks, one, one is known and one is unknown. And when you see a denial of service attack, obviously, that's
pretty easy to understand that you're under attack. And that sends a message and there are various norms and mores if you will that happen in
cyberspace, as well as in the kinetic world.
And from that standpoint, someone wanted to send a message. What's more troubling is the level of access that happens behind the scenes that people
don't know about, right? And they just lay in wait, we saw that with some of the attacks in 2020, 2021, with supply chain attacks, and those can be
very devastating. Because once they're activated, they're broad scale attacks.
And they can really leave a lot of organizations scrambling. So again, the folks that are in the tanks are not the cyber teams that are continually
probing and intruding into these organizations. And that's just an ongoing effort. And at the right time, they will look to activate those particular
units, either to gather information or to implement a destructive attack.
GIOKOS: OK. So in terms of vulnerabilities, are you concerned?
KURTZ: I'm always concerned because there's a level of vulnerability that's out there, whether it's commercial software that you buy off the shelf, or
in open source software, which is used extensively across the internet.
In fact, what we've seen over the last week is something called "protestware", and that is some damaging and non-damaging code put into
open source projects, specifically focused on organizations in Russia and Belarus.
Now, they are making a statement, and that falls under what we call "hacktivism". But the reality is, there's so much open source software that
is used to drive the internet, that any number of malicious pieces of code can be put into these and be very hard to find, and then can be activated
at some point in the future. So yes, we're absolutely concerned about these vulnerabilities.
GIOKOS: Interesting. So I mean, I wanted to ask you about anonymous, the "hacktivism" that are trying to send information in Russia that, of course,
has been completely blocked by Vladimir Putin. What do you make of sort of the efforts to try and break through the firewalls there?
KURTZ: Well, it's interesting, because just to step back for a moment, we categorize the hacking groups into nation state, e-crime and hacktivism and
hacktivism sort of bumps along depending on the geopolitical landscape in terms of its activity. Obviously, it's ramped up, given what's happening in
this in this devastating war, and a sad war.
And at the end of the day, it's going to take folks individuals, whether they are part of a group or not to be able to get this information in and
out of Russia, to allow them to understand really what's happening in this world, given the fact that social media shut down, that the press is
totally controlled at this point.
And a big part of the cyber war is not just getting into a computer it's also controlling the message is controlling what happens on social media?
KURTZ: It's amplifying the troll farms. It's creating deep fake videos and messages, which we've seen over the last week. And that's all part of the
cyber war landscape, if you will, and its being put, you know, to full effect at the moment.
GIOKOS: George Kurtz, thank you very much for joining us great to have you on the show. Much appreciate it. We're going to go to a short break and
when we return, we'll take a look at how some African leaders have responded to the war in Ukraine stay with us.
GIOKOS: Welcome back! And one positive development about half of the staff that has been working at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plants, basically since the
war began has been able to rotate out and return home.
The International Atomic Energy Agency says those employees had been working nonstop at the radioactive waste facilities for more than three
weeks when Russian forces seized the site. Those workers have now been relieved by Ukrainian staffers. The IAEA is hopeful that the rest of the
staff can rotate out soon.
Now Ukraine's neighbors are doing their best to help the flood of refugees crossing the borders. In Romania emergency workers are welcoming them with
hot meals and toys for the children. Most Ukrainians are fleeing to Poland, Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Slovakia. The UN says about 10 million
Ukrainians have been forced to leave their homes, and that includes more than 3.3 million who have fled Ukraine.
And finally remember Amelia the little girl who sang the Ukrainian version of "Let it go" from the movie Frozen in Kyiv in a bomb shelter a few weeks
ago. Well, thankfully, she is now safe in Poland on Sunday she opened a charity concert called "Together for Ukraine" organized to find aid for
Ukraine. She sang the Ukrainian National Anthem.
How brave imagine a full stadium full of people and singing from a small bunker to full stadium seven year old Amelia offering grace and hope and I
think it's a star in the making. Well, that's it for the show. I'm Eleni Giokos. "Connect the World with" Becky Anderson is up next.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNNI HOST: I'm Becky Anderson live from CNN's Programming Hub in the Middle East. The time here is 6 pm. You are watching "Connect
the World". No surrender; Ukraine's message to Moscow about the besieged city of Mariupol. As President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appeals for ceasefire
talks with the Russian Leader. But the U.S. and NATO say Vladimir Putin has not backed off his original demands.