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New Satellite Images Disproves Russia's Claim Video Of Dead Civilians In Bucha Is "Fake"; U.S. Plans To Announce New Sanctions On Russia This Week; Next Hour: Obama And Biden To Speak On Health Care. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired April 05, 2022 - 12:30   ET



OLEKSIY ARESTOVYCH, ADVISER TO PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY'S CHIEF OF STAFF: A lot of dozens and hundreds our children died. They raped by Russians. They killed whole families. And it's terrible things. The world have to help Ukraine with heavy weapons. Heavy weapons mean a lot of safe Ukrainian children.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: NATO foreign ministers start a meeting tomorrow to discuss next steps, as you know, the NATO allies, including the United States say they're doing what they can, but they have refused to have a NATO no-fly zone. They have refused to do the poll -- the transfer of the Polish MiG-29s. So when you talk about you need more weapons and heavy weapons, it's a different kind of weapon to defend to what the challenge could be right now in the eastern part of the country, which is retaking land. Ukrainian forces trying to retake land where the Russians are, what specific weapon systems are you asking for at this moment?

ARESTOVYCH: To provide offensive, we need to have range, long range artillery system, tanks, and armored vehicles because it's the main weapons we need. We need any nations to can -- could be provided the offensive operation. Russians don't go from our land from the east and south because it's more suitable conviction for them to try to catch this lens. If we want to throw them out, we need heavy weapons.

KING: President Zelenskyy has consistently said through this war that as distasteful as it is, he saw the only way out is to sit down and negotiate with Vladimir Putin. Yesterday, after seeing the atrocities in Bucha, he said it would be very difficult to negotiate. Do you now see any path for negotiated into this conflict? Or is the only solution now a given what you're seeing happening on the ground that Ukraine must fight and must push Russia out?

ARESTOVYCH: We have to fight. But we have integration to even despite all of this horrible so they -- we can see on all of them. Because every war, even 100 war finished by peace agreement. So we can to try to achieve a peace agreement. Maybe in theory, but the situation was decided, we will decide it on the ground on the battlefield.

KING: Oleksiy Arestovych, advisor to President Zelenskyy, sir, grateful for your time at this very important moment. I know you're quite busy. We appreciate your time and perspective.

ARESTOVYCH: Thank you so much.

KING: Thank you, sir.

ARESTOVYCH: Thank you for the opportunity.

KING: Thank you.

And more ahead on the war just ahead for us, the Russian Defense Ministry again says images out of Bucha they say fake, they say staged. We'll show you some new satellite images that prove otherwise.



KING: Two satellite images help us expose Kremlin lies about the atrocities in Bucha. Russia claims Ukrainians have staged video showing bodies in the streets. But take a look. These images are very real and very disturbing. On the left of your screen, that's social media video from Friday and verified by CNN. It shows bodies in the streets. Now look to the right. These are satellite images show the same bodies and objects on the same street. And the satellite images we're taking back on March 18th. That's on Bucha, it was clearly under firm Russian control.

With us to share her insights and expertise, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a former senior intelligence officer who served as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Russia. Andrea, grateful for your time today. The Russian denial, saying that this is all a hoax, the Ukrainians are staging. It goes all the way up to the top including public statements from the Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying, this is fake. This is the Ukrainians trying to shame Russia. From your expertise, take us inside why this quick, swift, strong propaganda from the Russians?

ANDREA KENDALL-TAYLOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, we know this is definitely part of the Russian playbook. And we saw it in Ukraine in 2014, after the shoot down of the plane over Ukrainian airspace. So this is part of the Kremlin playbook. And I don't want to dwell on what Russia is saying, because it's so clearly a bunch of lies.

But for me, what this puts a spotlight on I think is a troubling trend inside Russia, where we can see an increasingly hawkish and vocal nationalist narrative taking root. We saw some evidence of this last week after the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in Turkey. After those negotiations, the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov came out and very vocally criticized the negotiators for being too soft in the negotiations.

So we can see this hawkish viewpoint taking hold. And there is a growing nationalist element to it. Such that, you know, it's clear now that inside Russia, many people are buying into the Kremlin's narrative about denazification. It's getting so extreme that some Russian analysts have even argued that this Nazi element has permeated Ukrainian society such that the killing or the targeting of Ukrainian citizens is justified.

So it's really scary stuff. And for Putin, this is going to create, I think, significant problems for him because you now have raised expectations inside Russia for what the Kremlin should be able to deliver. I think this makes it increasingly hard for Putin to climb down to sell some sort of shambolic victory to his domestic Russian public. So again troubling there and suggest that, you know, again, this is likely to be a prolonged conflict because Putin is now faced with the pressure to produce results in Ukraine that the Russian military might not be able to produce.


KING: And so, Putin may not have any flexibility, even if he wanted it to negotiate, as you noted. President Zelenskyy says he has much less maneuverability now because of these atrocities. So you have prolonged conflict. And you have the prolonged horrors that we see. Is there anything, does the United States, the NATO allies have anything in the intelligence basket to break through Putin's control over what the Russian people are being told is happening in Ukraine?

KENDALL-TAYLOR: Well, I think that's one of the key challenges now, and there's more effort being put in that direction. Not only has Putin brought down the iron curtain in the information space, through new laws and legislation, for example, we know that, you know, Russian citizens can face up to 15 years in prison for speaking out against the war.

But also part of this information bubble is the propaganda that the Kremlin is pushing that bubble, this language about denazification of the Ukrainian society, this narrative that it is Russia, who is at risk that this is an existential threat to Russians. That kind of propaganda also is extremely difficult to permeate.

So now, I think the imperative is on the United States and its European allies to find creative ways to try to penetrate that information environment, whether it's using, you know, the vast number of Russians who have left Russia, there's over 200,000 Russians that have left, they all have their own personal networks that they can try to use to get information back to their friends and family, other creative ways using mobile internet, satellite internet, even some efforts to use shortwave radio to try to break that. But I do think that that is one of the areas where we need more effort and more innovative ideas to try to get through to Russians.

KING: Andrea Kendall-Taylor, grateful for your insights, we'll continue the conversation, NATO foreign ministers meeting, we will see if there are new efforts not just on the battlefield, but in the information battlefield as well. Thank you so much for your time today.

And ahead for us, the United States now pushing for Russia to be suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council, after of course, those atrocities in Ukraine.


KING: New today, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations calling for Russia to be dropped from the United Nations Human Rights Council, that of course as the world reacts to the images of Russian atrocities in Bucha.


LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UNITED NATIONS: Russia should not have a position of authority in a body whose purpose, whose very purpose is to promote respect for human rights. Not only is this the height of hypocrisy, it is dangerous.


KING: With us to share their reporting and their insights, CNN's Nia- Malika Henderson, CNN's Jeff Zeleny, and Karoun Demirjian of The Washington Post. Strong words from Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield there. And the United States might be able to muster in the full general assembly, the votes to kick them off the Human Rights Council. But Russia has a veto in the Security Council. That's the council that the body that is supposed to do something at times of global threat, so asking, if asking for action for the United Nations is wasted breath, right?

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, look, this is the thing. You've had human rights abusers on the Human Rights Council before. This isn't exactly new uncharted territory versus veto on the Security Council is the problem here. That's the position of authority that they hold, that they can use to hold the entire rest of the processes hostage. And that's why you've heard a steady drumbeat since the beginning of Ukraine and other supporters saying is there any way to get them off? Is there any way to rebuke them there because that's where they really wield the power that can cripple things at the U.N. as it has?

KING: And so we're waiting for another round of U.S. sanctions, some new sanctions from the European Union today. Also some individual nations throwing in additional sanctions kicking out diplomats for like, but you do see a number of nations banning Russian oil, including the United States, Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Norway, but there are a number of nations who are not banning Russian oil or natural gas. There's two different set. But let's just look at the oil perspective, if India, China, Japan, Italy, Germany, among the big economies keep buying Russian oil and natural gas. Not a lot of teeth in the sanctions not, not a lot of economic pain.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. That's right. I mean, essentially, they're funding the war even as some of these nations are condemning it. Listen, these nations are in a strictly intertwined with Russia, their economies are. And so it's understandable, but at the same time, if the international community is trying to put economic pressure on Russia to the point that it cripples them, that they stopped doing what they're doing, which is inflicting mass casualties in Ukraine, continuing to fund them, billions and billions of dollars flowing into their economy because of these exports, you know, it's not going to happen. You're not going to be able to really stand up to Russia and stop their actions.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Which is why a growing number of lawmakers really for both sides are calling on the President and the administration to send more weapons and do more on that front because the reality is the sanctions, you know, they've been running for the end of February all of March the beginning of April, yes, they're having an effect on the Russian economy but to that graphic there says it all.


Of course, China is not going to stop using. I mean the only potential is Italy and Germany, but not really. We're still in the winter season there, and they need that fuel. But that is why there's a bipartisan support and urging for the administration to do more on the weapons front. We'll see what more sanctions come this week. The President is planning them tomorrow, President Biden, tomorrow or Thursday, we're told, we'll see if that does any effect.

KING: And the NATO foreign ministers gather tomorrow, is there any indication that they're willing to do more whether it's the Polish MiGs, whether it's accelerating S-300, whether it's a no-fly zone or humanitarian corridor?

DEMIRJIAN: I mean, I think there is a willingness there to keep doing more in the same categories in which they have been doing more, but there is still the skittishness, right, about what it would be to escalatory to Russia. You were just had the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs on the Hill today being asked what could have deterred Putin? And their answer is basically short of U.S. troops on the ground. I don't think you're -- NATO troops on the ground, I don't think there's anything that actually could have deterred him.

You're never going to get to that point. You may get an agreement to get a few more systems in, you know, a little more firepower. But that's not necessarily going to be what changes the tide at this point. We're maybe in it for the long haul.

KING: Well, I think that's the key point for the long haul.

Be back in just a moment together again. At the White House, some domestic politics, former President Obama returns today to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to see his former Vice President and to celebrate a landmark achievement.



KING: Next hour, an Obama-Biden reunion at the White House. It's a celebration of the Affordable Care Act. And it is the first time the former president is back at the White House since he left office in January 2017. This 12-year anniversary event reminds us politics can be a strange business. The ACA or Obamacare is quite popular now. But that was not the case. Back in 2010, Obama's first midterm election when Republicans won 63 House seats and took control of the House.

Great reporters are back with us. Jeff Zeleny, to that point, this is a strange day in the sense they're bringing Obama in. They want to focus on the ACA. They hope it's a reminder to voters that Democrats do things meaningful to your life. And yet, when he's sitting with Joe Biden, he could give him sort of, you know, living through the first terrible midterm year.

ZELENY: He absolutely can. And virtually almost every sitting president would be able to say your first midterm year is going to be a rough one. But they are having lunch right now in the smaller off the Oval, the same place where they had lunch virtually every Tuesday of their administration. And boy, do they have a lot to talk about.

One thing it's striking the fact that the former President is making his first trip back inside part of it, as I'm told talking to advisors to both men that Obama wanted to give President Biden some space here. This is his administration, no question. And there have been some divergence on foreign policy. But now is the time to bring him back. And how ironic they're focusing on health care, the thing absolutely led to the demise of the Democratic House Majority back in 2010, the Senate as well, but now healthcare courses popular, and they hope that this is the beginning of many times we're going to see of the former President and former First Lady Michelle Obama out campaigning for Democrats, they're the hottest surrogates they have right now. But there's some real business to discuss. Yes, they talk occasionally. But I'm told not that often.

KING: And it is interesting in the sense that if you look at public opinion polling, Obamacare is quite popular right now. If you look at the numbers, the Biden administration has actually done a very good job if you support the law of expanding access, more than 3 million new consumers signed up during the recent ACA enrollment, 11.5 million returning customers. The Biden administration put an emphasis especially during the pandemic of extending deadlines to try to get more people signed up and they succeeded.

HENDERSON: Yes. That's right. And they're even going to do more around this fixing what's called the family glitch. So about 5 million more people are going for it. I think starting in January of next year, we'll start to be able to sign up. You know, Obama back on the scene, I think a lot of Democrats will tune in and want to watch this on their televisions.

I think the problem with kind of bringing Obama in and seeing him as sort of a savior going down on the stump and campaigning for Democrats is it didn't work in 2010. It didn't work in 2014 either. So we'll see if he's able to gin up support among those voters, particularly young voters who typically drop off in terms of voting in midterms. So we'll see.

But you're right. Obamacare is more popular than ever. I think it's something like 55 percent approval rating. I think 30 million people have signed up and you have seen Biden do some stuff around the edges to try to shore it up.

KING: And just a reminder, you know, President Obama used the word shellacking. Let's just listen, let's go back on time.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not recommending for every future President that they take a shellacking like they -- like I did last night. You know, I'm sure there are easier ways to learn these lessons.


KING: Politicians do learn when they lose and when they get defeated. The question is, you know, can Obama share that experience in a way that's helpful to the Biden and to other Democrats?

ZELENY: Sure. And I mean, obviously, President Biden has lived through many Democratic disasters midterm election years, but there are limited things there could be. One thing that they hope that the former President can do is, as Nia said, shine a light on it. But also, you know, excite Democrats that everything is not as gloom and doom. There are some good elements like healthcare who would have thought that the ACA would be celebrated like this at the White House 12 years ago.

KING: As I said, politics is a funny strange business sometimes. Just today, a very important up on Capitol Hill, Ivanka Trump will meet with the House Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection. Sources tell CNN Ivanka Trump who remember, we all know served as a senior advisor to her father is appearing voluntarily and that that conversation week conducted virtually. Her husband, Jared Kushner, met with the Committee for six hours last week.


Hope to see you back here this time tomorrow. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.