Return to Transcripts main page

Fareed Zakaria GPS

Day 11 Of Putin's Invasion Of Ukraine: The Attacks On Ukraine's People And Its Cities Are Escalating; Interview With Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba; Interview With Russian Journalist Whose Station Had To Stop Broadcasting This Week. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired March 06, 2022 - 13:00   ET


FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: This is "GPS," the "Global Public Square." Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria coming to you live from Washington, DC.

On the program today, it is day 11 of Putin's invasion of Ukraine. The attacks on that country's people and its cities are escalating. I will ask Ukraine's foreign minister about his nation's urgent request for a no-fly zone and NATO's denial of that plea.

Also, Putin and his cronies have quashed almost all that was left of the free press in Russia. I will talk to a journalist whose station was forced to shut down this week.

And are sanctions working? I will ask the former secretary of the Treasury, Larry Summers.

But first, here is my take. The battle has been joined, now all that remains to be seen is who will win. Vladimir Putin's naked aggression against Ukraine has triggered almost universal condemnation. Last week's vote in the UN General Assembly to denounce the invasion was 141 to 5 with 35 countries abstaining.

President Biden has rallied not just the West, but much of the world. He has announced sanctions that are more far reaching than any ever inflicted on a major economy. The results are already evident. Russia's stock market and the ruble are in tatters, but despite all this, economic sanctions have rarely forced a country to reverse path, let alone cause regime change. In the few cases where they do appear to have had some effect, South Africa with apartheid, Iran with its nuclear enrichment, sanctions were usually widely enforced and comprehensive. Because key countries like China, India, the Gulf States are unlikely to boycott Russia, they will lack that long-term bite.

There is one path to changing Putin's calculus, sanctioning Russia's oil and gas industry. This is Vladimir Putin's golden goose, the source of the state's wealth and the reason he might believe that he can weather any storm. So far not only have these been left untouched, but the financial sanctions have been carefully designed to allow Russia room to continue to sell energy to the world.

The conventional wisdom is that the Western world cannot sanction Russian energy because it will trigger an energy crisis along the lines of the 1970s which would cause deep discontent at home, but the situation is not analogous to the 1970s at all. Today the United States is the largest producer of oil and gas in the world, it can ramp up production and exports and help turn on spigots in other countries. Joe Biden is worried that he's going to look like Jimmy Carter when his power position is actually more like that of the King of Saudi Arabia.

President Biden should announce that he is going to respond to this massive challenge to the international order by expediting as much production and export of American petroleum as possible to replace Russian energy. With natural gas he should urge his regulators to facilitate production and he should help more with the financing of liquefied natural gas so that it can be sent to Europe quickly.

He should also encourage countries like Japan and South Korea to divert more of their LNG to Europe, they have alternative energy sources. Some of this will take time to happen, but markets will react to the signals and to new supplies and prices will fall. But this will not be enough.

President Biden should also help to unlock two large sources of oil that are currently not getting to the market fast enough or in sufficient quantities. He should suspend Donald Trump's sanctions on Venezuela and Iran. If possible, Washington should work with Iran to close the few remaining gaps and reenter the nuclear deal which would bring all of Iran's oil back on the market. And Biden should personally reach out to Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and Mohammed bin Zayed of the UAE, both of whom feel unloved by Washington these days, patch up relations with them and ask them to ramp up production, which the Gulf States can best do in the short term.

I can hear all the objections from right and left. Let me address a few. Much of this oil and gas will simply substitute for banned Russian energy, so it's unlikely to cause net higher emissions. There is even an environmental benefit. U.S. gas leaks less methane than Russian gas and U.S. oil production is also less environmentally harmful than Russian production.

In many places the increase in natural gas would mean countries like Germany could use less coal or dirtier fuel in nearly every way. In fact, the best way to cut carbon emissions in the short term with current technologies and at scale is to replace coal with natural gas.

All of these measures have down sides, some symbolic, some real, but to govern is to choose and to govern in a crisis is to make hard, painful choices. The country that has best understood this is Germany, it has suspended its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, announced plans to build two new terminals to convert LNG into gas and acknowledged that it might have to use more coal and to extend the life of its nuclear plants that were scheduled to be shuttered.

These policies are coming from a coalition government whose second most important partner is the Green Party, which historically has been tenacious in its environmental goals. The Biden administration has said that the stakes could not be higher, and that's right. If Putin's aggression succeeds, we will live in a different world, so let us make sure that he does not.

When Adolf Hitler attacked the Soviet Union, Winston Churchill, a lifelong rabid (ph) anticommunist explained that if Hitler invaded hell, he, Churchill, would have found something nice to say about the devil. All we must do is take some steps to support all non-Russian energy and that policy shift will become a deadly weapon that strikes at Vladimir Putin's real Achilles' heel.

Go to for a link to my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.

ZAKARIA (voiceover): As Russian forces continue to assault many of Ukraine's cities, a flood of Ukrainians are leaving the country for their own safety. The UN says that more than 1.5 million refugees from Ukraine have already fled to neighboring countries. The Polish Border Patrol says about 1 million of those have gone to their country alone.

ZAKARIA (on camera): CNN's Scott McLean is in Lviv, Ukraine, near the Polish border. Scott, welcome and thank you for your reporting.

Tell us what these convoys of people fleeing look like. Who are they? What are you sensing? You've been with them.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Fareed. Yes, it is almost entirely women and children, and I can't say that the ones here in Lviv are much of an organized convoy rather than people who have just gotten here any possible way that they can -- buses, taxis, cars, and in the case of Lviv, many of them show up on the train from all across the country, and from here, I've asked many of them why they don't just want to stay in Lviv since this city, for the time being at least, is still relatively safe, nothing has been bombed within the city limits. And they say they simply do not trust that Vladimir Putin won't come here as well.

And it is difficult to blame them. Many of them figured that there would be a little bit of fighting around the peripheries, but they did not expect anything quite like they're seeing. And many people -- you don't necessarily have to have bombing down the street, you don't necessarily have to have your own home hit. People here are family, friends, the city next door, whatever it may be, and they get scared, and they run. And it seems like every bombing campaign, every round of shelling brings a new wave of people here in Lviv.


ZAKARIA: Scott, you were also reporting on the negotiations that have been taking place between Ukraine and Russia, and I want to ask you one part, which is they had agreed to some humanitarian corridors, but none of that seems to have held. Why is that?

MCLEAN: Yes, so yesterday was the first attempt to have these humanitarian corridors that have two cities in particular, Mariupol' and Volnovakha, the Ukrainians say between those two cities there are well over 200,000 people who would like to be evacuated. But things lasted for maximum two hours, two-and-a-half hours yesterday before it all fell apart. The Ukrainians blamed Russian shelling. The Russians say that the

Ukrainians are pinning their own people down and not allowing them to escape. And so there is a serious lack of trust here. They tried it again today, but again it didn't really last either -- at least, in Mariupol', it didn't. Things were underway, people were assembled in buses ready to get out of town according to local officials. When that shelling resumed, according to the Ukrainians, then it just wasn't safe to do that. And so the whole operation was called off.

And so the Red Cross today -- the International Red Cross, which is serving as sort of an administrator or intermediary on the ground for these talks, gave both sides a bit of a scolding, saying, look, it is not good enough just to agree in principle on the need for humanitarian corridors, you actually have to sit down and work out the exact details, the granular details.

Who is allowed to evacuate? Exactly where? Exactly when? Exactly what the route is? Can people leave and can aid come in? All of those questions need to be worked out in fine detail.

So the Red Cross is saying, look, we are here to facilitate these talks ongoing, but we cannot be the policemen of the cease fire. We cannot enforce a cease fire. We have buses and blankets and food. That is -- they are in no position to take on two large armies with guns pointed at each other, and so they say, look, if there is to be a cease fire in a corridor, it is up to the two parties to facilitate it and to get it done.

ZAKARIA: Scott, brilliant reporting. Thank you so much.

When we come back, I'm going to talk to Ukraine's foreign minister and ask him what does he need for his country to survive.



ZAKARIA: President Zelenskyy has been blunt in asking for what he wants, a no-fly zone over Ukraine enforced by the United States and its allies. On Friday after NATO rejected that request he called out the alliance leaders saying all the people who will die from this day will also die because of you, because of your weakness.

I'm joined now by Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba who met yet with Secretary of State Blinken at the border with Poland. Blinken said he was in awe of Kuleba.

Foreign Minister, welcome. Let me ask you whether you feel that you understand NATO's point of view, which is that to have the United States and Russia in active military combat against each other with American planes shooting down Russian planes is too dangerous and could result in an escalation that nobody would want.

DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, as we speak, Russian planes continue to bomb Ukrainian citizens, kill Ukrainian civilians including women and children. It's a disaster here and we need to protect the skies. So we ask our partners two things. First, close the air, close the air space, and second, provide us with planes which we can fly and fight in the air ourselves.

Unfortunately, we haven't received positive response to either of these questions, which effectively means that our pilots will continue to fight, but they will also be shut down, Russia will dominate the sky and that will help Russia to advance further, raising the costs of this war.

ZAKARIA: On that second request, do you have any expectation that you will receive planes, or was that also -- was that request also denied?

KULEBA: Well, I have expectations on both requests. It's just a matter of time. When it comes to planes, we are being assured that talks are underway and the solution is close. The problem is that we have no time for talks and solutions. We need them now. As I said, thousands of children have been killed as a result of strikes from the air. Russia ruthlessly uses its air force to bombard cities, critical infrastructure, destroys the supply of electricity and water to cities.

Ukrainians are courageous people. We are fighting on the ground, we have pilots, aces who have been fighting in the air, but we need -- our weakest kind of point is the air space, so we need support there.

ZAKARIA: What about arms in general? Are there -- do you have enough Javelins? Do you have enough Stingers? What would you like to get more of?

KULEBA: Well, supplies of weapons like you mentioned are under way. The question is how to ensure the sustainability of these supplies. I have seen assurances not only from the United States but also from other countries that these supplies will continue. As I said before, we courageously fight on the ground.

We destroy a lot of -- a lot of Russian tank and armored vehicles. They have more so they throw more and more on Ukraine and I think it's not the military act, but simply humanitarian act to support Ukraine's willingness and ability to fight by supplying us with all necessary weapons and imposing all necessary sanctions on Russia.


ZAKARIA: Let me ask you, you mentioned negotiations. The Russians -- what is the state of any kind of negotiation with the Russians? I'm puzzled whether they are at all serious because President Putin keeps talking about what is essentially regime change in Ukraine.

He keeps referring to President Zelenskyy and his government, including people like you, as Nazis and drug dealers. It does not seem to me that that is a -- that is a partner with whom he is negotiating seriously. Are the negotiations a complete ploy or can something real come from them?

KULEBA: Indeed it is absurd to call Ukrainians Nazis. Our president is of Jewish origin and our far-right, far-right political forces do not even make it to the parliament. They are marginalized in Ukraine. So this is a completely false narrative by President Putin. We are very cautious about negotiations with Russia, but there is no alternative to trying to find common ground and solve this war by the means of diplomacy.

The recent experience, though, is that even when talks continue, even when talks are being held, Russia continues its attempts to advance in Ukraine, it continuously shelling our cities. So we do not see a connection between holding the talks and putting Russian attacks on hold. I think you can make your own conclusions from this fact.

ZAKARIA: And in the talks are the Russian demands what we hear publicly, which is, you know, essentially a recognized Crimea, recognize all of Donbas, demilitarized, stay neutral, pledge to never be part of NATO, Russia's maximalist demands.

KULEBA: Yes. Yes. That's what they repeat in the talks, but, again, we have to continue, we have to continue talking while we also continue fighting, fighting for our land.

ZAKARIA: Stay with us, we will be back with Ukraine's foreign minister. I'm going to ask the foreign minister what you can do if you want to help Ukraine, when we come back.



ZAKARIA: And we are back with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

Foreign Minister, you must have seen your counterpart at the European Union. The European Union's foreign policy chief suggested that China mediate between Russia and Ukraine. What do you think of that proposal?

KULEBA: Well, we welcome any attempt to mediate and help us stop this mad war launched by President Putin. I spoke myself with the Chinese foreign minister, he assured me that China is not interested in this war and is ready to make a contribution to putting an end to it through diplomacy. So we will welcome this effort. However, again, it was President Putin who launched this war and it's he who has to stop. Ukraine is not making any compromises on the issues of its territorial integrity.

ZAKARIA: Is it your sense that the Chinese might pressure the Russians to acknowledge the territorial integrity of Ukraine?

KULEBA: It's hard to say. Chinese diplomacy works according to its own mechanics and I'm not aware of any follow-up conducts between China and Moscow after I spoke with the Chinese foreign minister and the Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with him, but, again, we can only -- we can only count this (INAUDIBLE) will do take place in China is making these efforts to stop the war.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about, you know, getting to what people can do if they want to help. You have received a large number of foreign fighters, people volunteering. How large is that number and is it growing?

KULEBA: Yes, this number is around 20,000 now. They come from many European countries mostly. You know, many people in the world hated Russia and what it was doing in recent years, but no one dared to openly oppose and fight them. So when people saw that Ukrainians are fighting, that Ukrainians are not giving up, many felt motivated to join the fight and to bring Russia to an account for many, many things that it has done in recent years in different countries.

So the wish to fight is something that we can understand, but most importantly we need sustainable, political, economic and military support coming from as many countries as possible and will come from the U.S. leadership in this exercise, with special focus on air defense. This is really the key to the price that we are paying for the -- for this war.


I have no doubt that we will prevail because we fight for the right cause, on the right side of history, on our land.

But it's a question of costs. If the West today, if the United States and others do not help us to solve the air defense problem, the costs will be much, much more higher. And we will have our country destructed, destroyed by air raids; we have much -- many more civilians killed.

And you know something, every year we -- we repeat these words, "Never again," in Ukraine, in Europe, in -- in North America. We commemorate the Great War. This is exactly the time when everyone, every politician, has to prove that he or she is able to make, to take (inaudible) difficult but responsible decisions in order to stop the war and not to say, after the war, "Never again."

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you about another piece of news. Shell, the -- the oil company, announced that it was buying Russian oil, but that it would -- for its refineries -- but that it would -- it would donate the profits from this oil to some kind of Ukrainian cause. They didn't specify what. Is that appropriate, in your view?

What would be your message to Shell?

KULEBA: Stop buying Russian oil. And this goes not only to Shell but also to other companies. Some tough measures were imposed in Russia, but we all know that their best -- their biggest revenues come from trade in oil and gas. And today Russian oil and gas smells with Ukrainian -- smells of Ukrainian blood.

So instead of donating money to us, just stop buying it. This -- this is the best thing you can do. And all Western companies must withdraw from -- from Russia, once again, not on commercial or political, but on humanitarian grounds.

We were upset to hear that companies like Coca-Cola and McDonald's remain in Russia and continue providing -- providing their products. It's -- it's simply against the basic principles of morale (sic) to continue working in Russia and making money there. This money is soaked with Ukrainian blood.

ZAKARIA: Foreign Minister, it's a pleasure to have you on. I think we -- we got from you what you would want ordinary people to do, petition their governments on air defenses, on weapons; petition companies not to buy Russian oil. You're a brave man and it's an honor to have you on, sir.

ZAKARIA: Thank you, sir.

ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," Vladimir Putin and his lawmakers have all but quashed Russia's free press. I will talk to a brave Russian journalist whose station had to stop broadcasting this week. We will be back in a moment.



ZAKARIA: "No to war." Those were the final words of the final broadcast of Russia's TV Rain. On Thursday the news outlet shut down due to the government's attack on free press in the country. Those include the threat of 15 years in jail for telling the truth about Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

Joining me now is TV Rain's News Director, Ekaterina Kotrikadze.

Ekaterina, pleasure to have you on. Thank you so much.

What we are trying to understand, all of us, is what -- what do the Russian people know about what is going on in this war?

What -- what is your sense -- if one were trying to characterize it, what does -- what does this look like to average Russians?

EKATERINA KOTRIKADZE, NEWS DIRECTOR & ANCHOR, TV RAIN: There are so different Russians -- and, first of all, thank you so much, Fareed. I'm glad to be here with you.

There are so many different views. And I think that the society in Russia is divided terribly. One part of Russian society believes the propaganda machine which tells them every day, 24/7, shouting from the screens of televisions, that Russia is under the threat of NATO, that NATO is right behind the corner and NATO rockets are going to, you know, to be on, I don't know, (inaudible) and someone is coming for Vladimir Putin, who helps people to be free and proud and so on and so forth.

But another part of Russian society, these -- the people are the viewers of TV Rain; these viewers are readers of the few independent media outlets which were shut down just recently, during those days.

And I want to tell you that, after the war has started on 24th of February, we have had the absolutely amazing viewer -- I mean, views, like 24, 25 million views per day, only on YouTube. It means that there are many people, a lot of people, millions of Russians, who understand that something terrible is going on and who understand that they need these alternative sources of information because they feel that this is a disaster, this is a catastrophe that has come to their homes. And the whole world is broken for them, for us, for me personally as well.

ZAKARIA: How do Russians -- I mean, again, I know I'm asking you to do big generalizations, but how do they feel about Ukraine and Ukrainians?

KOTRIKADZE: Well, historically, Ukraine has been the closest friend and closest -- I would say even brother or sister of Russia. And, you know, languages are -- are not the same.


But they sound similar. And, you know, the friendship was real, like the friendship with Georgians, for example, with Belorussians and so on.

But a lot of Russians -- again, this is a very divided society, Fareed. You need to understand, you cannot say that -- and you cannot say it in percentage, for example, because there is no sociology in Russia. Dictatorship cannot give you an opportunity to understand how many people do believe the propaganda and how many do believe that Ukrainians have to be inside of Russia, and how many think that Ukrainians have their own opportunity and right to decide for themselves.

There are a lot of people in Russia who understood, after these terrible things have started, that -- that they need to support Ukrainians, that they have this right to decide that this European way of development is their future. And a lot of Russians want this future for themselves as well.

I'm getting messages, e-mails, you know, calls from different viewers of TV Rain, different viewers of, you know, my colleagues, of my program, my show and other programs on TV Rain, saying "Thank you for doing this" and hoping that, you know, we will try to -- to cover this -- this terrible war from anywhere. I don't know from where.

ZAKARIA: Is -- is Vladimir Putin secure? Are there people within his circle; does the military have any power?

Could you imagine some situation where people pressure him to change his policies?

KOTRIKADZE: It's hard to say, because we cannot be sure about how many people is under strict control of President Putin. All we know is that there is a liberal branch, so-called liberal branch, in the administration of the president, in the government as a whole, people who understand that this is a catastrophe that has come because of one person and his ambitions to, you know -- to grow back, to build back this empire and to, you know, get the whole Russian territories back under his power.

And we don't understand what these people are planning, actually, this liberal branch. What can they do? And is there any opportunity for them to change the situation?

We understand that these people are not happy about being isolated from the global world because these people were actually very much used to traveling, to communicating with their American and European partners. These people were used to big money, you know?

It's not only ministers or officials; it's also Russian oligarchs, businessmen, people from inner circles, friends of Vladimir Putin. They are under sanctions right now and they are not happy with this. They need to say goodbye to the whole lifestyle that they had.

But now Vladimir Putin has this full disclosure, you know, there's no -- there's no, you know, trying to show himself to the world as a person who may be interested in democracy, as a person who still has some kind of freedoms in Russia, as a person who can still be flexible in some ways. There is no flexibility at all.

This is -- this is the end of Russia that we have known before. This is the end of everything that we were used to. This person, Vladimir Putin, has decided to kill everything, to destroy everything that was free and independent in Russian Federation.

It was not -- it was not a democracy before. You know that, of course, Fareed. But now it's like -- I mean, this is not Russia anymore. We have never seen anything like that during the history. And I'm sure that someone will fight this, but I don't know whether these people or this person or, I don't know, how many people, would they be successful? It's hard to say.

ZAKARIA: Very quickly, do you believe that this could be the end for Putin in some way?

KOTRIKADZE: Well, you know, I will give you an honest answer. I really don't know. I don't understand what's going on inside of Kremlin's corridors and offices. The only thing I know is I am not alone here out of the country. I have a lot of brave, interesting, young people around me, my colleagues, my friends, journalists, people who think, people who are ready to fight for the freedom in Russia. I'm sorry for this pathos, but this is the truth. And we will -- we will do everything we can. And we are strong, actually.

ZAKARIA: Ekaterina, what a pleasure to talk to you. It's a -- it's a wonderful reminder that Russia itself is a -- is a complex and fascinating country, and we should learn more about it.

KOTRIKADZE: Thank you. Thank you very much.

ZAKARIA: Thank you.

KOTRIKADZE: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Next on "GPS," are the sanctions working? Larry Summers will tell us.



ZAKARIA: The United States, Europe and many other countries have blanketed Russia with sanctions. Targets include Putin, Foreign Minister Lavrov, other top officials and many of the oligarchs who have been enriched by Putin and his policies.

Many Russian banks have been taken out of SWIFT and thus can no longer complete international transactions.


The West has taken a big chunk of Putin's rainy day fund at the Russian Central Bank, making it inaccessible.

The list goes on. But is it enough?

Larry Summers joins me now. He was the Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration.

Larry, looking at the situation, and if you think of it in terms of a kind of economic war, how are we doing and what should we do?

LARRY SUMMERS, FORMER TREASURY SECRETARY: We're winning. We're doing very well. We have inflicted more damage, more quickly, with more unity on our side, on the Russian economy than almost anyone, I think, would have expected.

There's more we can do. There's more that can be done to cut off Russian financial institutions. And of course, critically, there's more that can be done to cut off Russian energy production. And I think we very much need to keep those threats in reserve so as to be able to exercise maximum leverage.

Now, the challenge for us is to bring these early successes to some kind of a conclusion. And that's a very dangerous and complex thing. But I think one has to give the Biden administration enormous credit for what's been done so far.

I think the concept of escalating sanctions over time, never firing your last and most brutal bullet so as to maintain leverage, is a very good one.

I worry...


SUMMERS: I worry slightly, Fareed, when I hear us protest a bit too vigorously that this isn't going to interfere with gasoline prices too much because I think, ultimately, if the price of combating tyranny is a period of much higher gas prices, that's a price we need to be prepared to pay as a country. But I think we'll get there if we need to.

ZAKARIA: Economic power, economic sanctions rarely have the effect of completely transforming a country's policy or triggering regime change. How should we think about this issue of economic warfare?

Can it really make Putin stop what he seems determined to do, which is to take control of all of Ukraine?

SUMMERS: I don't know the answer to that. I don't think anybody knows. It's doing much more damage, much more quickly, than we would have expected. And, you know, Fareed, the other side of what makes this case exceptional is important.

Russia is a much more deeply integrated economy into the world than Cuba ever was or that Iran at the time of the hostages was. And that means that sanctions can do much more to disrupt what was otherwise going on than happened.

We've never thought about doing sanctions to a country that had hundreds of billions of dollars in reserves before. And the ability to basically freeze a central bank with hundreds of billions of dollars of reserves is a kind of leverage that we have never thought about having before.

So I'm optimistic that this can have very important effects. We may find it necessary or desirable to cut off their ability to export oil and natural gas, but I think the approach that Biden has followed, which is start with the things that do a lot of damage to them and very little damage to us, and over time escalate. I think that has been the right kind of approach.

ZAKARIA: What about the costs to the global economy and the American economy?

President Biden said in his State of the Union that his number one priority was now combating inflation. You've been perhaps more prescient about that inflation than -- than anyone. What -- what is it going to look like if -- if things continue as they are?

Will there be more inflation?


And is the Biden administration adopting the right strategy to deal with that inflation?

SUMMERS: Inflation's a serious problem. This will make it worse. But preserving world order is much more fundamental and much more important than an extra percentage point or an extra three percentage points on the CPI over some interval. So let's have our priorities straight.

Historians 50 years from now might remember the events of this week in Ukraine. They will not remember the inflation statistics over the next six months. I'm an economist, but I'm a political economist and I recognize what's most fundamentally important. ZAKARIA: Larry Summers, good to have you on.

SUMMERS: Thank you.

ZAKARIA: I want to thank you for being part of my program this week and I will see you next week.