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First Move with Julia Chatterley

U.S. Says Russia Repositioning, Not Withstanding, in Ukraine; Shanghai Reports nearly 6,000 new COVID Cases; World Bank Approves Financial Package; Chernihiv Mayor: Russians are Intensifying Attacks; Russia: No Breakthroughs after Ukraine Talks Tuesday; NASA Astronaut Returns to Earth in Russian Spacecraft. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired March 30, 2022 - 09:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN HOST, FIRST MOVE: You're watching CNN. I'm Julia Chatterley in New York and we begin with the latest from Ukraine. Don't be

fooled by Russia's claim that it's scaling back. That's the message from the Pentagon and from Ukraine.

Air raid sirens rang out overnight and both Kyiv and Chernihiv as the sound of artillery rocket fire continued. The Mayor of Chernihiv confirming to

CNN that Russia is intensifying rather than reducing its assault. He talked of a colossal attack on the city center with 25 residents now in hospital.

We have graphic images of civilian casualties from the Kyiv suburb of Irpin we portray an apocalyptic style landscape where some of those lost remain

and buried lying where they fell in the streets. And it's more of the same for Mariupol.

This is the first time we're actually getting a true sense of the scale of the devastation there after communication lines were destroyed and

Ukraine's President Zelenskyy again, appealing directly to the west speaking today to the Norwegian people.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: The war continues Russia is moving new forces to our lands to continue terminating us Ukrainians. We

must do more to stop the war, the first and foremost is weapon. Freedom must be armed, no less than tyranny.


CHATTERLEY: And all of this means the refugee crisis continues to escalate. An estimated 4 million Ukrainians have now left more than half of them

headed to Poland. Among those fleeing yesterday were 80 children with disabilities who did make it safely across the border.

And in the Southern City of Mykolaiv at least 14 people died when a Russian missile hit a government building. You can take a look at this video it

shows the moment the missiles struck yesterday. The city's mayor believes there are still people trapped beneath the rubble that was created. For

many in the region the violence has simply become too much to bear as Ben Wedeman reports.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The blasted burnt out hoax of Russia's might lie on a road outside Mykolaiv where

rumbles in the distance. Lieutenant Colonel Yaroslav Chepurny doubts peace or even a pause in hand. Russia he says but such a huge effort into

invading Ukrainian territory. It's hard to imagine it will leave so easily.

WEDEMAN (on camera): As fighting raged on the road just a few minutes' drive from here, where civilians many of them huddling in their cellars for

protection. Scared of the fighting but terrified of the danger if they tried to flee.

WEDEMAN (voice over): This house in the nearby village of Shevchenko took a direct hit bombardment is less frequent now. It's just common enough for 72

year old Natalia to pack up and go. It's impossible to tolerate this anymore she says. I'm already an old woman.

A neighbor will drive her to nearby Mykolaiv shrapnel riddled his car and shattered the back window. I'm not afraid to die says Natalia. But I'm just

not ready. I haven't gone to confession yet.

In an adjacent town Yuba shows me the potato cellar she hidden for days now. It's cold here she says there was no electricity for two weeks. As

fate would have it she did well to stay down there. One day a rocket landed in her backyard. Tongue and cheek she told us the Russians left a gift for

her a gift that keeps on ticking.

WEDEMAN (on camera): All right, we have to leave this spot because this rocket has not exploded.

WEDEMAN (voice over): Many of the villages near the front have been largely abandoned only the most stubborn stay behind. Ben Wedeman, CNN outside



CHATTERLEY: Russia claimed it would reduce military operations in Kyiv and Chernihiv that U.S. officials say Russia's troop movement near the capital

is a repositioning not to withdraw. And that of course ties is what the Russian Defense Minister said yesterday that it would focus on the

liberation of the Donbas region in the east.

So take a look at this drone footage from Donetsk in the east of the country shows a heavily damaged residential building. Workers are trying to

salvage what they can no word on whether anyone was injured.


CHATTERLEY: Nic Robertson joins us now Nic, good to have you with us. You're incredibly cautious about the outcome of the talks yesterday and we

discussed it, you were saying we have to put everything and think of the framing of how Putin can sell what's taking place as a win. Right now,

whether or not troops are repositioning or moving from Kyiv and Chernihiv. What we're seeing is that the aerial bombardment there and it seems in the

east continues.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: There are two schools of thought on what's happening with the increased shelling and bombardment

around Kyiv at the moment. One is that Russia is using that as cover protective cover as it pulls the troops out have been battered in the

frontlines, and puts in fresh reinforcements with new equipment.

Or alternatively, it is using artillery another type of bomb support to pull out the troops that it's had in the frontlines, and perhaps just leave

us a skeleton force around Kyiv and reposition those forces, perhaps in the Donbas region and perhaps, to the south as well.

What Russia is up against, is up against a number crunching, it doesn't have the troops to do what it wants. And potentially, it's taking some of

those numbers away from around Kyiv, and it will use them potentially around cities like Mariupol in the south where it's trying to squeeze

harder on that city to force the inhabitants and the Ukrainian forces there to essentially to give up.

In fact, the message from the Kremlin yesterday was very clear. And President Putin spoke with President Macron yesterday, he told Macron the

way to get humanitarian relief for the people there was to get the defenders of the city to essentially surrender put down their weapons, or

all of these contradictory positions between what Ukraine wants, and what Russia wants.

And we haven't seen the details of that worked out despite the possibilities that we saw being laid out in Istanbul yesterday.

CHATTERLEY: Yes, your point about the supposed humanitarian corridors and the idea that you can artificially create that if you surrender is a

classic. What the Russians are also saying here is that there's no way a ceasefire taking place here, though they did welcome the written demands

from the Ukrainians yesterday.

And the problem is again Nic, that you said it yesterday as well that the conditions that are attached to any compromise here make a solution look

very, very difficult, not impossible at this stage. If you evaluate what Dmitry Peskov President Putin's Spokesman said today about the Ukrainian

position yesterday at the talks in Istanbul.

He said it was good that they've begun to formulate concrete proposals to the Ukrainians, it would be easy to imagine that this sounds somewhat

cynical position, because the Ukrainian position and that of the United States and the European Union and so many nations that support Ukraine, the

Ukrainian position has been hugely clear since before the invasion began, which was don't invade.

And then when the invasion began, it was now pull back; now get your troops out of Ukraine and stop and stop this illegal invasion. So when Russia's

top spokesman says this, you know, it sort of plays into the criticism and what the Kremlin was saying a month ago, when they first began the first

negotiations with Ukrainian officials and they blame them then for not having a clear plan of what they wanted to do.

Well, it was a country under bombardment under assault by a much bigger army. But now clearly, the Ukrainians have actually withstood the test of

the Russian army and withstood it better than the Russian army expected.

And now the Kremlin is saying, well, well done to Ukrainians for formulating a plan, but Ukrainians have actually been able to do that,

despite all the assaults and deaths of their civilians and all the destruction in their cities. But I don't think the comments from Dmitry

Peskov take us any closer to a resolution. It's merely positioning by the Kremlin.

CHATTERLEY: Yes. And two months ago, they were saying they had no intention of invading so how does anyone trust anyone else? Nic Robertson, thank you.

Let's talk about the victims to a survivor of the Mariupol theater attack is speaking to CNN about her family's terrifying experience.

Ukrainian officials say around 300 people were killed when Russia bombed the theater earlier this month up to 1300 civilians were using it as a

shelter from the battle. Ivan Watson has one woman's heartbreaking story of survival.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This was the Mariupol drama theater before Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. A cultural

and architectural symbol of the city and when the Russian military laid its deadly siege of Mariupol the theater became a safe haven.


MARIA KUTNYAKOVA, FAMILY SURVIVED MARIUPOL THEATER BOMBING: Six people like with the cat regard on the street and Russian - started to shoot us. And we

ran in with craziness and then we go to the theater. And you know what in the theater a lot of people there were like was, be OK we have a food, they

give us tea. And they said, like, you should find a place where you could like a bed.

WATSON (voice over): This woman and her family recently escaped from Mariupol.

KUTNYAKOVA: My name is Maria Kutnyakova, I'm from Mariupol. I'm Maria from Mariupol.

WATSON (voice over): On the morning of March 16th, Maria, her mother, sister and cat joined hundreds of other civilians sheltering in the

theater. Footage from March 10th shows families huddled there in the dark; feeling protected perhaps by the signs - children in Russian that

volunteers posted outside the building. Shortly after arriving, Maria went to check whether an uncle who lived nearby was still alive.

KUTNYAKOVA: Now I hear that noise of the plane like bombs plan. We know how it's this noise because it is bombed every day.

WATSON (voice over): She returned to the theater to find it destroyed.

KUTNYAKOVA: So I understand that my family in theater and everyone screaming the names, you know, like mama, papa - and I'm started calling

like mom.

WATSON (voice over): Footage of the immediate aftermath shows dazed civilians covered in dust, while the roof over the main auditorium had

completely collapsed.

KUTNYAKOVA: When the theater was bombed my sister was standing with a window and the window was like blow up, and she's fallen down. And my mom

was in another part of the theater and wall fallen to her.

WATSON (voice over): Maria's mother and sister were wounded but survived.

WATSON (on camera): Your sisters she doing all right?


WATSON (on camera): Really?

KUTNYAKOVA: She's like, come through there.

WATSON (on camera): She's got a concussion?


WATSON (voice over): Shortly after the initial strike on the theater Maria says what was left of the building came under a fresh artillery attack.

KUTNYAKOVA: Everyone starts screaming that theater is on fire. So we should run and we run in - Russians bonded so we ran from the surgery and bombs

was like --

WATSON (voice over): It eventually took nine days for Maria and her family to get through Russian checkpoints and reach relative safety in Ukrainian

controlled territory.

WATSON (on camera): You seem very positive and upbeat right now?

KUTNYAKOVA: I'm understands and I'm very lucky. I'm very - understand like, thousands and hundreds people still in Mariupol and they bombed. They have

no food, no water. They have no medicine, nothing. And I'm going to say I'm very lucky. Like I have my arms I have my legs. What I need any more


WATSON (on camera): And your family.

KUTNYAKOVA: Yes, my family. My kid is safe.

WATSON (on camera): This is little - she's a two year old cat. And she survived the bombing of the Mariupol Theater with her family. And they're

now headed to Western Ukraine in this bus.

WATSON (voice over): But no one knows how many people may have died under the rubble. Russia has denied that its forces bombed the theater and

Russian state TV recently showed what was left of it after Russian troops moved into this part of the city.

Judging by the damage, the Russian reporter claims it was bombed from the inside. He alleges there is information that Ukrainian nationalists

organized a terrorist attack here a claim that people inside the theater strongly reject.

WATSON (on camera): Are you angry right now?

KUTNYAKOVA: No, I want that Russian just go away. This is Ukrainian territory. I don't understand why they come in and tell me that it's not my

land. They're not fighting with the army. They are fighting with every citizen. You know, they bombed hospitals, they bombed kindergarten. They

bombed their houses of peaceful people. They are not fighting with armies.

WATSON (voice over): Maria and her family rushed to a waiting van. The driver will take them for free to Western Ukraine, where Maria hopes her

sister can safely recover from her injuries. Ivan Watson, CNN Zaporizhzhia Ukraine.


CHATTERLEY: OK, let me bring you up to speed with some of the other stories making headlines around the world. The City of Shanghai reported nearly

6000 new COVID cases on Tuesday roughly 70 percent of China's total for the day. The city is in the third day of a two phase lockdown. Around 9 million

people have been tested for COVID-19 So far, with plans for further testing later this week as Kristie Lu Stout reports.



KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): its day three of the massive lockdown in Shanghai the Chinese financial capital and mega city of

almost 25 million. On Tuesday Shanghai posted around 6000 new cases of the virus, or the number is small compared to many Western countries.

China is fighting its biggest outbreak since Wuhan in early 2020. And Shanghai is the epicenter. Now this two stage lockdown was launched for

millions of residents to undergo mass testing. At least 9 million have been tested so far.

On Monday, half of the city enters lockdown for four days on Friday, the other half will start the process and during this testing period, 6 million

residents of waiting testing are not allowed to leave their homes. Public transport suspended in lockdown areas and work at some firms and factories

is suspended.

The lockdown is testing the patience of residents and testing China's zero COVID strategy. To China the policy has been a success it's curbed previous

outbreaks of save lives. Zero COVID has come at a steep cost especially to China's economy.

On Tuesday, the Shanghai government issued a statement saying that the city will support the import of COVID treatment and vaccines suggesting it may

pursue the approval of foreign vaccines to help fight the virus. Kristie Lu Stout CNN, Hong Kong.


CHATTERLEY: OK coming up, we'll speak to the President of the World Bank on support for Ukraine, the world food crisis and what needs to be done stay

with us that are next.


CHATTERLEY: Welcome back! And far more cautious tone to global markets today as Russia launches new attacks on key Ukrainian cities and says it

sees no breakthrough yet in ceasefire talks. U.S. Futures clearly softer as you can see there.

Europe also pulling back after we saw solid gains on Tuesday fueled by hopes that the two sides might seem closer to a cease fire agreement as you

can see those hopes are vanquished. Early on in the session today Europe seeing the biggest losses after 3 percent gains for German and French

stocks yesterday.

Oil markets also higher after two days of heavy selling pressure due to that optimism and fear I think too, over slower Chinese growth commodities

also in the green wheat turning higher today but it has recently pulled back from 14 year highs. You can see on that chart there it's currently

trading near its lowest levels in a month but still exceedingly high.

And the World Food Program is saying almost half of all Ukrainians are concerned simply about having enough food to eat. And the U.S. Deputy

Secretary of State told the UN Security Council that hunger is set to increase around the world as a result of the Russian invasion.



WENDY SHERMAN, U.S. DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: War is driving up the cost of providing food assistance. And the Food and Agricultural Organization

FAO estimates that as many as 13 million more people worldwide may be pushed into food insecurity as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.


CHATTERLEY: The war and exacerbating the global supply issues created by the pandemic climate change and currency volatility to name just a few

measures over the last two years, the World Bank has provided around $17 billion annually to help poor nations feed themselves.

And since the war in Ukraine began, the World Bank has announced more than $925 million of financial support to Ukraine as part of a $3 billion

package, the group is preparing for the country over the coming months, over half a billion dollars has already been dispersed.

David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group joins us now to discuss, David always great to have you on the show. We'll talk about Ukraine first,

pledges are one thing, but actually getting cash into the hands of those that need it is the real test. And whether it's the World Bank, or

donations to the trust, or officials in Ukraine, you've managed to do this incredibly quickly and I think that emphasizes the need too.

DAVID MALPASS, PRESIDENT, WORLD BANK GROUP: Hi Julia it certainly does. The needs are massive of the people of Ukraine, for example, the recent money

that we put out was able to help pay hospital workers and the pensions for the elderly.

So that's some of the uses that are needed. We were able to do it very quickly, which I was happy with, in part because we've had an ongoing

relationship with Ukraine. And we were able to add on it was a supplemental, that's not always available around the world.

But it was available in this case, and it could be enlarged and other donors made that possible as well. So I'm happy with that as a starting

point. But the needs are massive.

CHATTERLEY: Yes, I know you were there in 2019. So in many ways, you had a sort of long running, or at least some time into this to understand the

situation and the requirements. Do you have any sense of timing on more, more cash to them?

MALPASS: We're doing two things on that. One is an assessment of the Ukraine's needs, but also the regional needs. And that's, that's useful,

because it - there needs to be a process where donors understand what they're putting money into.

Some of it will be structural reconstruction of infrastructure, for example. And then, in the near term, meaning over the next 1, 2, 3, 4

weeks, we can continue the current process, as donors, this would be often Western Europeans, the U.S., Japan and advanced economies put money into

the trust fund, it's able to disperse relatively quickly directly to the Government of Ukraine.

So that's - so we envision both a near term process that helps with the cash. And then, as the months go by, we hope to get into a reconstruction

process. And we're beginning the preparation for that.

CHATTERLEY: We spoke to the Finance Minister of Ukraine this week, and they are incredibly grateful for all the financial support and aid that they're

getting. But they're also having to issue war bonds, very short term debt, very high interest rate debt in order to meet things like pensions, in

addition to the money that they're being given.

It just seems incredibly unfair at this moment, in addition to as you said, the sort of rebuilding costs that they have to face and the displacement

costs of people too. It's a lot.

MALPASS: Yes, and in addition, they've been making some payments on their debt. Markets have been somewhat surprised by that, you know, that the

price of the debt has fallen a lot on the view that there would be interruptions but so far, those payments are made along with the very heavy

social, social burden payments.

And so Ukraine's looking for ways to raise funds in some are more expensive than others. We've, we've been happy a chunk of ours, it can is grants, and

the trust funds are particularly valuable. From that standpoint, they can put grant aid in which is the most useful time.

CHATTERLEY: Yes, so important to understand. There are significant spillover effects, David to cereals, agriculture in particularly given the

importance of this region not just Ukraine of course but Russia too.


CHATTERLEY: And we've been hearing that there's challenges for Ukrainian farmers the fears that even if they can harvest the crops and actually get

the harvest that they anticipate and we've seen in the past, they've been prevented from doing so backed by Russian troops have you heard similar?

MALPASS: Yes, logistics is a big problem. It's always - it's always been a problem for Ukraine, because of the money season and the insufficiency of

the infrastructure. World Bank has worked with them on that in terms of roads and railroads but of course, now, those - many of those are

impassable. So that will reduce their access to markets.

Another factor is the Black Sea itself, the shipping has been greatly reduced both Russian shipping and Ukrainian shipping. So that's one of the

factors in the reduction in the output of wheat and the grains that you mentioned.

One thing I'll note, Julia is markets adjust and the global economy adjusts. If we look at Ukraine and Russia combined, they're roughly 2

percent of world GDP. And they let's say there's a 20 percent reduction of from them that's 0.4 percent of world GDP.

World GDP goes up and down year by year based on rainfall in other parts of the world. I'm just back from West Africa, and there's been a severe

drought, one thing that would help them a lot is rainfall, because then they would be able to produce the normal wheat amounts that they do and

other grains, rice, and a variety of crops.

So all I'm saying is, markets look ahead, and economies adjust. And they're pretty good at adjusting. One of the things that we can do - that the world

I think should do and I call for them to do is to reduce the trade barriers that are blocking trade, and allow more market access.

This is particularly important for the advanced economies to allow more market access for the agricultural products from the poor economies. I was

in Senegal; they produce a lot of peanuts, though the U.S. has major obstacles to peanuts that are to peanut imports. And that drives up the

price in the U.S. And it doesn't allow the crop in.

And that's true around the world. Another one I'll mention is Nigeria, it's blacking rice from beneath it black cement from Ghana. And these are really

costly barriers that hurt the people of both countries, we know that trade is beneficial to two sides.

And one of the things I hope the world can do now is find a balance between the desire for independence in terms of markets, for example, the U.S.

wants independent peanut markets, but also the balance of the benefits that come from trade and from diversified trade.

CHATTERLEY: It's such an important point. And I think it's a lesson that I hope we've learned following the 2007, 2008 crisis in particular, you can

exacerbate a problem dramatically by export restrictions. And by hoarding wherever you are in the world you're concerned about food security for your

people, but you can make the situation far worse with those actions.

So we pray out countries don't follow that route to your bigger point. I want to ask you about Afghanistan. David, before I let you go, because I

know you're pressed for time, too. You've put four projects in Afghanistan worth $600 million, I believe on hold over the decision by the Taliban, to

ban girls from returning to public high schools.

To me, its two tragedies, the monies required children, women in particular, clearly need educating the same way that that men do. Can I

just get your comment and your views on this David?

MALPASS: Yes. Well, it's a tragedy and backtrack by Taliban and very harmful. We worked through the Afghanistan reconstruction trust fund part

of which is a group of donors that are operating in Afghanistan through UN agencies.

And so as I understand it, they're - the donors are reviewing and have stopped the education or recognized the grave setback that occurred, I

guess, last week. And so there's a management by the donors of the art of that trust fund to try to figure out what's most useful to try to find most

useful for the people of Afghanistan?


MALPASS: And you can zero in and say, what would be good for girls in Afghanistan in a situation where Taliban told them not to come to school.

And I know the U.N. is focused on that. And the donors are focused on that.

And we're, we're trying to facilitate their decisions and outcomes on that. We've been, we have been putting - we hump with the finances of that trust

fund or with the money. The donors put in the money; the World Bank helps facilitate their process on this in Afghanistan. It's a big setback.

CHATTERLEY: Yes, and it's important message to send, I will say the Taliban leaders said that all girls will be allowed to attend to the classrooms

later this month, and I'm here we are. So we pray for action on that, I think too, David, always great to talk to you. Thank you. Thank you for the

work you are doing.

MALPASS: Thank you, Julia.

CHATTERLEY: Thank you. David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group there. OK, coming up after the break Russia's false promises punishing

attacks instead of pull backs with Kyiv and the city of Chernihiv who's suffering through a night of heavy shelling. We'll speak to a former

Ukrainian Defense Minister about what he sees, coming next. Stay with us.


CHATTERLEY: Welcome back. Russia today saying there has been no breakthrough yet in talks with Ukraine and that much work lies ahead before

any ceasefire deal is reached. This comes as the U.S. sees it sees no evidence that Russia is reducing its military activity around Kyiv and the

city of Chernihiv as Moscow has promised.

Washington says Russia is merely repositioning and not withdrawing forces, Kyiv coming under heavy rocket and artillery attack overnight. With intense

fighting reported in the northern suburbs, the Mayor of Chernihiv says his city is reeling after a "colossal attack".



VLADYSLAV ATROSHENKO, CHERNIHIV MAYOR: They are saying about reducing intensity. They actually have increased the intensity of strikes. Yes.

Today we've had a colossal mortar attack on the center of Chernihiv. 25 people have been wounded and are now in hospital. They're all civilians. So

whenever Russia says something this needs to be checked carefully.


CHATTERLEY: At least 25 people were taken to hospital there. Officials say the city currently has no electricity, water, heat or gas. Andriy

Zagorodnyuk joins us now; he served as Ukraine's Minister of Defense during the first year of President Zelenskyy's term, Andriy, good to have you on

the show.

Given everything that you've seen in the past month, and the past 24 hours, do you believe Russia's serious about peace?

ANDRIY ZAGORODNYUK, FORMER UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: No, unfortunately not. And this is absolutely clear. Actually, they didn't promise this time.

What they promised is that they will be withdrawing forces from Chernihiv, which is a northeast of country and Kyiv, which is capitalism in north.

That operates as we call operational directive, so that area of the fighting for them was quite unsuccessful. And they couldn't take Kyiv that

was a prime goal for them from the day one of the invasion. And they couldn't take even Chernihiv, which is my smallest city. But it was on the

way to Kyiv.

So they were considering taking it as a sort of entered into a kind of a base. And they couldn't do neither of those nor for them, it's a problem,

of course. So now they're trying to explain it somehow.

And they're saying that they're redirecting everything to the east. Indeed, East is now the most important area for them, like, because it's they need

to, they're trying to achieve something and they have substantial amount of forces on the east of the country.

But all the forces which they are withdrawing from the north are mainly for the what we call the recovery, which means the doctors had losses, they

need to refill with supplies with people change, some personnel change, some command, personnel and so on. But we don't believe that they change

their strategic objective. Not for a second, to be honest.

CHATTERLEY: So you're saying what we're seeing is a tactical retreat due to failure in Chernihiv and Kyiv.

ZAGORODNYUK: Yes, exactly, and absolutely.

CHATTERELY: Could we say at this moment, then perhaps and I say it very cautiously, that the greatest danger to Kyiv perhaps is past.

ZAGORODNYUK: We will see because indeed, at the moment, Kyiv in a much safer situation than it has been in the beginning of the war because Kyiv

has substantially reinforced its defense. Kyiv is firmly controlling two thirds of like borders, and Kyiv up slowly trying to return to normal life.

So people are already going out somewhere. And there's some people go into the offices and so on and so on. But we do understand that Russia will

never consider the task as completed unless they either fail or attempt to take Kyiv again.

So obviously for them would be a big failure to admit that they're not haven't been able to do that. So perhaps they're still considering these

plans. But as we discussed last time, that would be extremely difficult for them and we strongly not advise them to approach Kyiv again.

CHATTERLEY: To your point and the Russian defense minister said this yesterday that their main priority now is the liberation of the Donbas

region. And obviously we saw violence there overnight.

You have a sense and it's complicated because there are separatist's parts of the Donbas region and have been since the invasion of Crimea back in

2014. How easy in your mind, is it for Russia to achieve in the defense minister's words, the liberation of Donbas?

ZAGORODNYUK: Yes, first of all, liberation, liberation is something where people are given freedom. In these cases, it's actually the other way

around; because we are the Ukraine was known in around the world as a country where democracy wasn't established, you know, established fact, but

not in the case of Russia.

And they're trying to - occupation, and that's what they're trying to do. And we haven't seen any desire of the people of the territories in East of

Ukraine, which were controlled by Ukrainian government for all this time to switch to Russian occupation or switch to Russian government.

There was nobody wanted that and as you could see was Mariupol, which is also part of Donbas region. People are ready to go through terrible

experiences, but they still oppress the occupation because nobody wants to live under Russia. So what they're trying to do they of course they have

some forces there.


ZAGORODNYUK: They have proxy forces, which call themselves separatist and unknown in the world of separatists. But they are supported by Russian

government. They're funded by Russian government; they are run by Russian officers.

And they are part of the Russian command and control, so in military language that we call proxy forces. So it means that they are like,

independent, but not independent at all, in reality, so yes, they have, they have quite a bit of them there.

And they reinforced that those forces with the Russian regular ones. So yes, it's a very serious challenge for Ukraine in Donbas right now. But the

contract line was 415 kilometers. So that's a very long area to circle.

So actually, yes, they will, they're having troubles there doing this as well. But the reason they approached that region is because they announced

from the very beginning, that deliberation, again as of Donbas, is their brand goal.

For some reason, they started to attack all other different other regions and throw rockets all around Ukraine. But since they couldn't achieve any

objectives, they're returning to that those they're referring.

CHATTERLEY: Yes, no, I understand. I, I think for most of us, we're trying to understand a couple of things, many things, but in the short term, at

least, how President Zelenskyy and you can give us your wisdom from having been part of this government as the defense minister.

How do you trust anything President Putin says how you trust anything that the negotiators say? And does the first thing that has to be achieved here

ceasefire humanitarian corridors, and can you negotiate while troops are still on Ukrainian territory?

ZAGORODNYUK: The word trust is not something which we apply in dealing with Russians and neither our allies, U.S. included, and UK included. Because

they say one thing, they do something completely different.

As you just say, you just seen before, there have been heavy showings in suburbs of Kyiv, in Chernihiv right after they said about dramatic

decreasing of the military presence there. And that happens over and over again.

This has been for years. So like when they had war in Chechnya, the most terrible bombings of Grozny was right after President of Russia announced

that they are stopping it. That was just before the New Year of - 1996.

And so there have been cases like this over and over again. We signed Minsk agreements with them, where the ceasefire was the main objective like

objective number one, and this is why I never stopped. And that was like 2015.

The first one was in 2014. Second one was 2016. In 1994, Ukraine signed a so called Budapest Memorandum where Russia guaranteed that it's not going

to invade Ukraine and compromise the territorial integrity.

And you see what happens. So no, you can address through what the Russians are saying. And also they're saying a lot of things for their own

propaganda, calling us noises or something like that, which is, total garbage.

CHATTERLEY: I know, Andriy. I know history is littered with broken promises. I have one minute left. And I want to ask you, I think an

important question based on what you said about a lack of trust in western leaders to which I think is important.

Do you see the only way this ending and I won't say winning, because I don't think anybody wins in this situation with so much devastation, but is

for Ukraine to hold out and to continue to rebuff Russia's advances and forces and aggression?

ZAGORODNYUK: We can do that we have our people are having a very strong opinion and very strong will to, to remain as an independent as a sovereign

nation. There's absolutely no desire from anyone to be under Russian control at all.

We value our freedom. So yes, people are absolutely determined to regardless of what's happening, to keep on fighting. The question is

whether we're going to have resources for that. And here we do talking to our allies.

And we know that that we have support from the United States, there's been very strong statements from Biden Administration, particularly last week

when Biden was in Poland. There's a lot of support coming from U.S. from UK. So if we assume that that helps us to get Russia to the point that when

they understand that their attempts are completely unsuccessful. Yes, we can do that, absolutely.

CHATTERLEY: Andriy, great to chat to you. Once again, thank you for your time. Stay safe, please. The Former Defense Minister of Ukraine there, stay

with CNN, more to come.



CHATTERLEY: Welcome back. The German government has issued an early warning on energy supplies, saying there could be shortages of natural gas if a

standoff with Moscow leads to Russia closing the taps, where she says it wants to be paid for gas in rubles instead of dollars or Euros and could

cut off supplies if that doesn't happen.

Clare Sebastian joins me now to discuss, Claire, great to have you with us on this. The German economy of course, when he heard that rubles asked said

it was blackmail. How would this work in terms of German reprioritization and perhaps rationing of supplies?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so Julia, in terms of rationing, we're not there yet. The sort of crisis system that Germany has enacted

today, we're in the first stage of that it's called an early warning after that would come an alarm if they start to get more concerned about gas


And after that an emergency and under the emergency situation, that is when they could start to trigger rationing, but they are trying not to get to

that stage. The German economy ministry has today asked consumers and businesses with immediate effect to reduce their energy consumption.

This is the big picture here. There is no immediate alternative supplier to Russia, they simply cannot find a solution if Russia turns off the tap. So

the only way to cope with that, in the short term is to reduce demand. And that is really what Europe is grappling with today and Germany in

particular, as Russia's biggest energy customer.

CHATTERLEY: Yes, and that's the key. Their vulnerability here is huge. And I think there should be campaigns all over the world, quite frankly, to use

less energy for many reasons, including what we're seeing today.

And the German Council of Economic Advisers, the wise men have warned that if there was a cut to gas supplies, it raises substantial recessionary risk

and double digit inflation. The consequences Claire for their vulnerability are huge.

SEBASTIAN: I mean there are two, there really is Germany's Achilles heel, Russia accounts for more than half of their gas supply. And the German

Council of Economic Advisers has today cut their growth forecast for this year for Germany by more than half from 4.6 percent to 1.8 percent.

They're warning that inflation could average around 8 percent per month this year or even hitting double digits through the summer. We actually got

the first reading on March inflation for Germany from official statistics today that was in at 7.3 percent which according to ING is the highest in

48 years.

So this is an extremely tricky moment for Germany. And by extension for the European Union, Germany is the largest economy in the European Union. They

are all vulnerable if Russia does use this leverage and reduce gas supplies.


CHATTERLEY: Yes, more global consequences, Clare Sebastian, great to have you back. Thank you for that. OK after the break back on earth, an American

astronauts and his cosmonaut colleagues land in a Russian capsule, more on the international efforts after this.


CHATTERLEY: Touchdown early today NASA Astronaut Mark Vande Hei safely returned to earth after a record 355 days in space. Getting used to gravity

again, he was lifted out of this Soyuz capsule with two cosmonauts and a rare show of American Russian cooperation and with the broader global

tensions back on earth.

Rachel Crane watched the landing and joins us now Rachel, great to have you with us. Did the Russians produce a spoof video where they left him behind

or was waving goodbye? Good news that didn't happen and he made it back.

RACHEL CRANE, CNN BUSINESS INNOVATION AND SPACE CORRESPONDENT: That's correct Julia that's one of the reasons that you know folks around the

world and particularly at NASA they're all breathing a sigh of relief that this landing went off flawlessly without a hitch.

Despite you know that highly edited video that was tweeted out by Dmitry Rogozin actually, the Head of Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency

suggesting that they could possibly abandon Vande Hei on the International Space Station.

But as we saw today, that is not what happened all things were nominal everything went off without a hitch. We saw Vande Hei being helped out of

that Soyuz capsule giving a thumbs up smiling. There was a big celebration.

So following that moment where the Astronauts Vande Hei and his fellow cosmonauts were taken out of the capsule, you know, they went through the

traditional paces of going through the health and safety checks before Vande Hei made his way back to Houston, Texas.

So that's the journey that he's making right now following this four hour epic journey back from the International Space Station. And as you pointed

out, and as you, you know, are highlighting.

There's a stark contrast between the cooperation that is happening in space versus the, you know, the geopolitical tensions that are happening here on

Earth. Space remains one of the last remaining diplomatic links between the U.S. and Russia.

And a very, you know, poignant moment happened on Tuesday, where Cosmonaut Shkaplerov handed over the command of the International Space Station to

NASA astronaut, Thomas Marshburn.

And he said and he highlighted that well there are problems here on Earth in orbit. They are one crew even calling his fellow crewmates who, of

course, included American citizens, NASA astronauts, his brothers and sisters. So Julia, of course if only we were all brothers and sisters here

on earth, Julia?


CHATTERLEY: Yes, if only we could mirror that on Earth and very quickly because we have around 30 seconds left. The three that came home were

replaced by three cosmonauts that all arrived in the yellow suits with the blue strips. And a lot was made in the media that this was a sign, a symbol

of perhaps support for Ukraine. The Russians dismissed it. Rachel, what do we think?

CRANE: You know, the official line here one of the - the cosmonauts was asked about this. And he said there was just yellow, extra yellow fabric in

the factory pretty cryptic response. So hopefully, they'll be spilling the tea on that in the near future. And we'll get a more official response or

maybe a more fruitful response, Julia, because we're all wondering.

CHATTERLEY: Sometimes yellow is yellow, and sometimes otherwise, we make of it what we will Rachel Crane, thank you. That's it for the show, stay with

CNN. "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson is up next.