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New Day Saturday

Residential Block In Kyiv Struck By Missile Or Rocket; Thousands Of Ukrainian Flee As Russian Military Advances; Biden To Meet With National Security Team Later This Morning; U.S. Allies Directly Sanctioning Putin And Russian Foreign Minister; Ukrainians Flee Their Homes, Cross Into Neighboring Countries; Inflation, Gas Prices Expected To Rise Due To Ukraine Conflict; Ukraine Invasion Threatens U.S.-Russia Partnership In Space. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired February 26, 2022 - 07:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Buenos dias. Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. We're thrilled that you're with us this Saturday, February 26th, I'm Boris Sanchez.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christi Paul. And listen at the air raid sirens that are piercing Kyiv again. This is the third day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Missile strikes have been lighting up the skies over the Ukrainian capital for hours overnight.

What you just watched there is a security camera that caught the moment a missile hit an apartment building. CNN's Clarissa Ward is there and just filed this report with us.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi Boris, Hi Christi. So, we're here in a residential neighborhood quite near to one of you -- of Kyiv's airports, Zhuliany Airport, and you can see behind me, I'm just going to step out of the way so that my cameraman, Scott, when he can show you here, the damage that has been done.

Some kind of a projectile hit this apartment building at about 8:15 this morning. We're hearing -- you could still see smoke coming from it. There was a big fire. Still smoking. There are ambulance workers on the scene. And what they're doing now is trying to take some scaffolding up there to try to prevent the 22nd and 23rd floors from collapsing.

But miraculously, no one was actually killed in this strike. We're hearing from Ukrainian authorities that six people were wounded. Frankly, it's hard to imagine how anyone survived that. But six people were wounded. They're being treated in various hospitals. And there's a little bit of a he-said-she-said going on about how this happened.

Ukrainian authorities saying that this was the work of a Russian missile. And the Russians are saying that they believe, excuse me, sorry, it's very windy here and there's a lot of debris flying around. The Russians are saying that they believe that this was actually a Ukrainian missile defense system that somehow went awry and ended up hitting this apartment building. Now, whoever was responsible, and however this happened, the reality

is this is the sort of thing that does happen. When you have a war playing out in a major metropolis like Kyiv. This is a city of nearly 2.9 million people. And, and we're in a pretty central area here. This isn't sort of, you know, on the far outskirts of town. You can just imagine how terrifying it was for the people who were sleeping or just waking up having their breakfast with their families on a Saturday morning already terrified about the situation, only to find their building hit in this attack, Boris and Christi.

PAUL: Clarissa, we thank you so much. You and the crew stay safe there. Now, according to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, active fighting is taking place on the streets. In fact, minutes ago, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky released an update saying, "We have withstood and successfully repelled enemy attacks." The Ukraine embassy in Britain reports that he told the U.S., "The fight is here I need ammunition, not a ride." That was in response to the U.S. offering to evacuate him.

SANCHEZ: He has decided to stay and he also filmed this rallying cry posting it on social media.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translation): Good morning, Ukrainians, currently there are a lot of games appearing on the Internet, like that I'm asking our army to put down arms and evacuate. So, I'm here. We are not putting down arms. We will be defending our country, because our weapon is truth. And our truth is that this is our land, our country, our children, and we will defend all of this. That is it. That is all I wanted to tell you. Glory to Ukraine.


SANCHEZ: That is in response to disinformation that President Zelensky has left the country and in fact the Russians are continuing to deny much of what you see happening in Ukraine. The Ministry of Defense says that Russia is not targeting civilian infrastructure, its media watchdog is threatening Russian news outlets banning them from using words like attack, invasion or declaration of war.


And yet again, you see the opposite with your own eyes. Russia has also not reported one combat casualty so far. All of this despite a stream of social media images and satellite pictures that show shelled buildings and rockets in residential areas. And British defense officials saying that some 450 Russian personnel have been killed in clashes thus far.

Ukraine's military says that those blasts were part of an operation that destroyed Russian tanks. And sources say, the Ukrainian resistance has been tougher than the Russians expected.

PAUL: We have correspondents across the continents covering this war. CNN International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson, in Moscow; CNN White House Correspondent Arlette Saenz in Wilmington, Delaware with President Biden.

SANCHEZ: Yes, let's start with Nic Robertson. And, Nic, we've seen Russian vehicles moving towards the border. What are you learning of Vladimir Putin's plans if Kyiv falls, and what is he saying about his special military operation? Is it going as he planned?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, there's a huge paucity of information here. There, as you say, has been no accounting by the Russian government of Russian casualties so far. Yet, we certainly see images of that some of that, some of their casualties and destroyed Russian military hardware inside Ukraine, no mention of that here.

In fact, the reverse and the opposite this effort, as you were saying, by the government to cover up what's going on -- 10 independent media outlets have received letters saying that they need to stop spreading false information or access to their sites will be restricted.

That sort of false information includes invasion declaration of war, and also includes references to civilian casualties in Ukraine. So, there's a huge effort by the government here to control the narrative. But there isn't essentially a narrative other than demilitarize Ukraine and de-notify it, and in these terms, President Putin holds his strongest language and criticism for President Zelensky. So, I think the, the understanding that Zelensky has that he's number one on a hit list, a Russian hitlist.

That's not something the Russian officials will, will, you know, say is, is correct. However, this does seem to be the direction that the Russian authorities are going and they are headed towards if they can get there to the center of Kyiv. They are willing to target civilian neighborhoods.

We heard last night President Putin saying that the Ukrainian army under the direction he said of U.S. advisors were hiding their military hardware and civilian neighborhoods, which was a clear indication, having seen the Russian playbook in the past. The clear indication that civilian neighborhoods would now be on the Russian target list.

And that's potentially what we've been witnessing overnight. So, trying to understand exactly where President Putin wants to stop this, what, what is the leading at -- what's, what's going to be the final point of his military advance, what, what's his point going to be, you know, in terms of removing this leadership, does he have another one to install?

All of that remains unclear. But this government here hugely sensitive about how the war is being portrayed. They don't want Russians to feel that Ukrainians are being killed or that their own soldiers are dying.

PAUL: Nic Robertson, such great information to get from you this morning. Thank you. Thank you, Sir. Let's, let's go to the CNN White House Correspondent Arlette Saenz.

She's with the President in Wilmington, Delaware. So, President Biden are let we know speaking with his national security team this morning. What do we know about those conversations?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, President Biden will wake up here at home in Wilmington, Delaware, as the White House remains concerned about the state of Ukraine as Russia's military advances are now stretching into that third day. Now the President and Vice President Kamala Harris will join members of their national security team on a call a little bit later this morning, while the President is here.

He has all of those capabilities to be able to hold those secure calls with his top officials as they continue to evaluate the evolving situation on the ground there in the, in Ukraine as well as the assistance that can be offered in the interim. Now, yesterday, President Biden spent about 40 minutes on the phone with Ukrainian President Zelensky. The White House saying that the President of commended the Ukrainian people for their willingness to stand up and fight against Russia.


And then, the Zelensky side said that one thing that was discussed on that call was concrete defense assistance. And late last night, the White House announced that President Biden had authorized the State Department to release $350 million of security assistance to Ukraine, an administration official saying that this would bring the total offer to Ukraine over the course of the past year to over $1 billion. The U.S. has insisted they will continue to offer this kind of support to Ukraine as they continue to face this aggression from aggression from Russia.

PAUL: So, we've heard the response from President Zelensky that he needs, he says, ammunition, not a ride to the offer from the U.S. to evacuate the president from Ukraine. Do we have any more information about exactly what that conversation was and what the offer was specifically?

SAENZ: So far, the White House has not commented on this announcement from the Ukrainian side that Zelensky had refused an offer to evacuate Kyiv by the United States. But of course, Zelensky's security remains a top concern for the Biden administration.

Now, yesterday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked specifically, if President Biden spoke was Zelensky about leaving Kyiv. The White House said that they would not comment on that, or those types of discussions at the time, but that they do remain in contact with him throughout this endeavor.

Now, earlier, earlier in the week, CNN reported that U.S. officials had spoken to Zelensky about possibly moving to leave Lviv in the western part of Ukraine. But so far, no further word yet on what those discussions carried out, like over the course of the week. SANCHEZ: Arlette Saenz traveling with the President in Wilmington, Delaware. Thank you so much, Arlette. Let's get some expertise and perspective now from CNN Military Analyst, Retired Colonel Cedric Leighton, also with us is David Sanger, he's a CNN Political and National Security Analyst and also a National Security Correspondent for The New York Times.

Colonel Leighton, I want to start with you and pick up where Arlette just left off your response to President Zelensky of Ukraine deciding to stay and to show the Russians that he's not leaving Ukraine and also the news that perhaps the Russians were caught off guard by the fierce response that they've received as they attempt to invade.

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes. Good morning, Boris. Well, the fact that President Zelensky has decided to stay speaks volumes. You know, you compare that to what happened in Afghanistan with President Ghani, former President Ghani, and the fact that he had to be at the last second, preferably out of a couple of nobody to do that. Zelensky is a stand and fight kind of guy, and that's something that could serve as a rallying point for the Ukrainians, as long as he is able to stay away from the clutches of Russian power.

As far as the Russians being surprised by the Ukrainian resistance and the level of that resistance, that is a, you know, certainly a welcome development from the Ukrainian perspective. And it shows how tenacious the Ukrainians actually are in defending their democracy. Now, they've got very tough odds, you know, when you compare the two militaries to each other, but it's very clear that the Ukrainians want to keep what they've had, what they've won through very hard-fought battles through their own revolutions, and a time for them to basically stand and fight this juncture.

SANCHEZ: And, David, I want to mention something from former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, he's calling new sanctions by the United States and European allies a sign of political impotence, a myth, a threat, a figure of speech. sanctions, to this point have not deterred Vladimir Putin, whether in Crimea or Syria or elsewhere, do you think these new sanctions on the Russian leader will have any practical impact?

DAVID SANGER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: You know, I think over time, they may well have some practical impact, Boris, but I think, it will take time and that's the difficulty in using sanctions in a moment like this where you have urgent needs and what you're trying to do is get the Russian government to stop this brutal invasion. I think the chances that it would get them to halt this are near zero. The, the hope there had all been prior to the invasion that, that the, the calculus about long-term damage would be made by Putin before he ordered the troops in.

We're now past that stage where the sanctions are useful as a deterrent to action. Now, they're largely punishment and a signal to others. I wanted to just pick up for just a very brief moment, Boris on, on what you've heard from the Colonel on the question of the President of Ukraine staying, Zelensky staying in, in Kyiv, it's remarkable to think that about this time last week, last Saturday, we were watching in -- I was in Munich, give a speech to the Munich Security Conference.


And, you know, this was all spilled somewhat in the theoretical, and now he's battling for his country's life. But if he picks up or is picked up and leaves, at least they have the possibility of keeping a government in exile going. If he does get into the clutches of the, of the Russians and is imprisoned or killed, then the Russians can maintain that there is no operating legitimate government of Ukraine, and they're ready to install their own.

SANCHEZ: That is a fascinating perspective. And it leads me to my next question, Colonel, President Zelensky has made clear that he believes that his family is among the top targets for Russian forces. There have been indications that the Russians will not stop at targeting civilians and the family members of Ukrainian leaders and their military.

I was listening to an interview with former White House Chief of Staff and Former General John Kelly the other day, and he made reference to Western militaries doing things to avoid civilian casualties, and that not being the tradition of the Russian military. Can you speak to that?

LEIGHTON: I sure can, Boris, yes, the -- it's a very different philosophy of war. You know, if an American military person were to even contemplate going in and deliberately killing civilians, they would be stopped unless they, you know, they unless they actually acted on it, and then they would be prosecuted in trying. That is something that is totally anathema to our way of doing, doing business. We don't do it that way.

On the other hand, the Russians do not shy away at all, as General Kelly said, from the targeting civilians, from basically using deliberate tactics to force the civilian population, that the to bend to their will. And that's the kind of mafia style tactics that we can see them try in Ukraine. But of course, what I think it will do is it will stiffen the resistance -- Russian occupation,

SANCHEZ: And even as they deny it, we're seeing scenes like we saw a moment ago with Clarissa Ward, standing underneath an apartment complex, a residential apartment complex, that was apparently targeted.

David, that leads me to this following point, which is the amount of disinformation coming from the Kremlin, and seemingly seeping its way into Putin apologists here in the United States, because I've repeatedly heard the claim that the West provoke this war by going back on promises made to Russians back in the 90s, about NATO expansion.

And we've also heard Putin claim that Nazis, neo-Nazis are running Ukraine. Drug addicted neo-Nazis, is, does any of that seem like actual things Vladimir Putin believes or are these just pretexts for war? SANGER: Well, I don't know what he believes. He's made three immediate cases for the pre-text for war. One is that the country is run by neo- Nazis. I think that is on its face, ridiculous. A second that Ukraine was trying to develop its own nuclear weapons it, he made that case for about a third of his, his speech earlier this week. There's no evidence of that, and they don't have the infrastructure.

The third was the United States is trying to put nuclear weapons and other weapons on Ukrainian territory. There's no evidence of that. On the NATO promises that, you know, it's been well reconstructed by many historians, there was a very lengthy conversation with James Baker than the Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush, about whether or not NATO should expand one-inch beyond its original boundaries, and they had a lot of hypothetical conversations about it.

The American view is there were no promises made. And in fact, they ended up signing an agreement in which NATO was allowed to, or NATO was allowed to bring other countries to make their own decision. And of course, Ukraine ultimately made its own decision to enter NATO. So, he's going back in history because he wants to rewrite history. He wants to roll the clock back to before that moment when NATO expanded, and that makes you wonder whether or not Ukraine is the end of this or whether if He gets control of Ukraine, he's going to keep going.

SANCHEZ: That is the fear and that leads to the question of what exactly the West should do now to stop further aggression down the road. Colonel Cedric Leighton, David Sanger, appreciate your insight. Thank you both very much, gentlemen.


LEIGHTON: You bet.

PAUL: So, the report this morning is that more than 100,000 people are believed to have left Ukraine to find safety from what's happening in that country, the refugee scenario and what is awaiting them. We'll talk about that in a moment.


SANCHEZ: Some key Republicans are calling for stronger sanctions against Russia. But they've been extremely careful in their criticism of President Biden too. GOP lawmakers are aiming to put forth a united front and show solidarity with Ukraine.

PAUL: And they want to avoid giving any more ammunition to President Putin. CNN National Politics Reporter Eva McKend is live on Capitol Hill for us. Eva, good to see you talk to us about what we know regarding this tactic.


EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Well, many Republicans essentially don't want to give Vladimir Putin an opening. There is a time and a place for partisan battles for partisanship. But right now, in this international crisis, many don't view that as the best path forward. They say that, when it comes to this, they want to stick to pointed criticisms of President Biden on policy and veer away from the personal attacks. We did, of course, see a distasteful tweet from House Republicans are earlier this week that showed the President's back turned in, you know, describing him as weak.

But the adults in the room, the more establishment Republicans who have been here a while, their position is that is, that is not the strategy. They want President Biden to know that if he does move forward with more a more aggressive sanctions and more punitive measures against Russia, that they will in fact, have Republican support. And this is what is everyone is really watching for next week, when Republicans and Democrats return to Capitol Hill, they have indicated that they want to move forward on a robust sanctions package, as well as tackle a spending bill that will provide more aid to Ukraine.

SANCHEZ: But Eva, not all Republicans are being quite as measured, right?

MCKEND: That's right. Elise Stefanik, she is the third highest ranking Republican in the conference, GOP conference chair. She said that she described President Biden as, as feckless and as weak. And many are questioning if that is the right rhetoric at this moment, especially when the entire international community really is focused on one goal: and that is de-escalation and peace. Boris.

PAUL: Good point. Eva McKend, good a few this morning. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, Eva. Ukrainians are fleeing the country by the thousands as Russian troops advance. We're going to take you live to a train station in Poland. As the beginnings of a refugee crisis emerge. We'll be right back.



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Breaking this morning, as air raid sirens blare over Ukraine, hundreds of people are now fleeing their homes. They're going to neighboring countries like Romania and Poland.

And in many cases, they're disembarking here in Lviv, Ukraine's westernmost corner, near the Polish border. A chilling reminder that, at this point, there's almost no place left in Ukraine that's safe from Moscow's assault.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): CNN's Scott McLean is with us from a train station on the Polish side there.

Scott, good to see you this morning. Talk to us about what you are witnessing right now.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christi. Yes. So, the crowd of people behind me is actually waiting for a train that has just arrived here from Lviv in Ukraine. Now, it's only about 60 miles away, give or take. But this train has been delayed by six hours because it is taking so, so long right now for the Ukrainians to actually process everyone's passports, give everybody at one an extra stamp. And then, now, they have to go through the Polish authorities as well.

Obviously, Ukraine is not allowing men between the ages of 18 and 60 to leave the country. I just want to take you over here to talk to someone else because it's important to keep in mind that while the Polish authorities say that 100,000 Ukrainians have fled the country since all of this began, not everyone is leaving. Some people are actually going back.

And I met this woman, Christina (PH) in the line earlier. And you're actually going back to Lviv. Why?

CHRISTINA, GOING BACK TO LVIV: Yes, because my little son is there. He is 9. And he's staying now with my parents. And I have two grandparents also, very old and sick. And they cannot move, so, we have no option but just to stay there.

MCLEAN: So, you're working in the U.K. and when you heard the news of what was going on, you made arrangements to go back as soon as you could.

CHRISTINA: Actually, I was planning to go back two or three weeks from now, but I had to change my planes tickets over the night and just to fly to Poland, and then, to cross the border, I didn't know how it's going to be.

But yes, it was very stressful. I had like -- almost like a nervous breakdown, and yes, that's --

MCLEAN: What are you worried about most?

CHRISTINA: I'm worried about mostly something could happen while I'm not there. But since I get there, I will be more relaxed, I think.

MCLEAN: All right --

CHRISTINA: I should be worried, but not as much as I worry now.

MCLEAN: Are you worried about your own safety just getting there?

CHRISTINA: No, no, no, I'm worried that because in Lviv, we live close to the airport. So, one side is the airport, the other side is a big, huge tank plant. Some worried about that, not worried about my own safety as much.

But there's something going to happened to them while I'm not there.

MCLEAN: What have you been telling your son about what's happening inside your country?

CHRISTINA: Not much because he is 9, and I don't want him to stress too much. Because he is hearing sirens from time to time now in Lviv, and when we have like air emergency, and he is really getting scared, but I don't want him to, you know, to know what war is yet.

So, I -- we haven't been talking much about it, to be honest.

MCLEAN: Do you have any plans to leave the country with your son and with your parents?

CHRISTINA: No. As this had cons I have also two grandparents that are sick. Grandmothers -- great grandmothers to my son, and we can't. And I'm actually quite scared that so many people are fleeting the country, leaving and having left their elderly, you know, at home.


CHRISTINA: And well, who will take care of them and how it's going to be? So, we can't all leave the country.

MCLEAN: You just don't think there's any way realistically to be able to get your elderly grandparents or parents out of the country safely?

CHRISTINA: Also, we have a house there, we have a life there. So, where do we go? Where do we go? I mean, you can -- if one person is, can I possibly flee the country and have some temporary shelter and some other life? But there's so many of us, and I don't think it's any realistic?

And no, I don't want to go, I don't want to go, I don't want to leave my city.

MCLEAN: Are you optimistic that you'll be able -- that your son will be able to grow up in Ukraine in the future in a safe country?

CHRISTINA: I am. Actually, I really hope for that. I really pray for that. But we don't know how it's going to be. And, you know, Putin is a crazy man. He is a -- he is a -- he is a psychopath, and he is narcissist. And while I really hope somebody could just eliminate him because he is a -- he is one of the greatest terrorists that are there in the world, and terrorists should be eliminated.

And I think I hope -- I hope Europe, America, they will join the forces and just do that.

MCLEAN: Well, best of luck getting back to Lviv and all the best for the safety of your family, of course.

And Boris and Christi, look, you know, this is just one story of one person. But of course, you know, 100,000 people fleeing the country, there is many, many more.

And one of the things to keep in mind is that these folks here coming here by train, they're in some ways, the lucky ones. Even though they're having to wait for hours and hours on the border, the border -- the Polish border authorities said that the wait for the Ukrainian side to get out of the country is in some cases, 24 hours.

So, if you can imagine waiting outdoors at a pedestrian crossing, maybe with kids, maybe with a baby, just trying to get out of the country. That's a pretty stressful situation. And that is exactly what's happening to tens of 1000s of Ukrainians right now.

PAUL: And Scott, she really explained to people why they stay or why they go back because it comes down to family and parents.

Scott McLean, we appreciate it so much. Thank you. We'll be right back.



PAUL: Democrats in Congress calling on President Biden to release emergency oil reserves in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

PAUL (voice-over): Yesterday, the national average price for regular gas, you probably noticed it climbed to $3.57. That's according to AAA. It's up about three cents in just a day, and 23 cents in a month.

PAUL (on camera): Now, this conflict in Ukraine's pushing already record-high inflation even higher. How much of that will be passed on to you, the consumer?

Julia Friedlander is director of The Atlantic Council's Economic Statecraft Initiative. And we appreciate you taking time to be with us here, ma'am. So, let's talk about what the analysts are saying. $4 a gallon of gas likely to be widespread across the country within a matter of weeks. Do you expect us to actually see that sooner? And how else will Americans feel this?

JULIA FRIEDLANDER, SENIOR FELLOW AND DIRECTOR, ECONOMIC STATECRAFT INITIATIVE, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: Thank you so much for having me. And thank you to CNN for such an excellent coverage of this conflict. The oil price is volatile. Actually, looking at it yesterday, the price rose over $100 a barrel and then sunk again.

So, this is a question of the markets reading the situation on the ground in Ukraine. And whether the government is going to take action against Russian oil and gas equities, whether Europe is going to do that as well.

I am confident that the Biden administration is doing everything it can to message that it's going to keep prices down as much as possible. Although Biden has said, prepare, this is the one aspect of this crisis in Ukraine that might touch U.S. consumers.

PAUL: So, from we know, countries around the world are imposing these fresh sanctions against Russia? The question is the timeline of all of this. We know that to feel those sanctions, it takes time. It's not expeditious.

With that said, what is your expectation about when the effects of sanctions reach President Putin and Russia? Will it do so before he may reach his military goal in Ukraine?

FRIEDLANDER: We're not really sure his military goal in Ukraine is. But what I'll say is, unfortunately, you cannot stop tanks with banks. What we see on the ground, physical movements of Russian material are out of the reach of the financial system.

What we can do is increase the price of war. War is expensive, that blocking on banks, on access to sovereign debt, on his state-owned enterprises, will slowly degrade the central bank's ability to prop up the economy and the financial sector.

So, over the course of the next weeks and months, we should see the Russian economy start to really suffer from the impact of these measures, especially since we anticipate that they will be escalated over the coming days.

So, again, it's not immediate. Russia entered this crisis with a good, good financial position, excuse me. But I think that the West is very -- is united and well-prepared to hold Russia to account for these actions as much as it can through financial means.

PAUL: So, let me ask you about this because conservatives are upset that President Biden's sanctions failed to target Russia's energy sector, unlikely due to its impacting European allies and global markets.

In your view, though, is there a missed opportunity there?

FRIEDLANDER: This is the one Achilles' heel of our sanctions program against Russia, and that's because they are a petrostate. This is their major exports. They are the second-largest exporter globally currently.

So, this is not something we can take lightly. It's, of course, it's more hits our European allies the most, but it also hits us close to home.


FRIEDLANDER: Again, as I mentioned earlier, oil and gas are global traded commodities. So, the price at the pump is determined by what happens in Eastern Europe.

So, again, this is something to be taken seriously, I anticipate that the Russians may consider gas and oil equities is a way to countervail our measures. So, we have to hang tight here.

Their criticism of Biden is legitimate, and this is something to be considered on the line. But again, as we escalate through the banking sector measures, we will see the Russians hit from this too.

PAUL: There was a lot of news in the last 24 hours about the sanctions that had been brought that directly point and target President Putin. But with that said, it's also been noted, they're primarily just symbolic. What is the potency of a symbolic sanction like that?

FRIEDLANDER: Well, for someone like Putin, it does hit hope close to home. He is a bit of an egotist. And so, the symbolism sanctioning a leader in traditional sanctions parlance, so to speak, is actually the signal of regime change. And so, this may not be the case in the U.S. government right now, but it's showing a strong sign of disapproval. He's now joining the club of Lukashenko of Belarus and Assad of Syria.

The other thing that we can do, and this, of course, does happen over time is use that sanction to try to track and freeze up his massive assets that are held overseas, including in the United States.

PAUL: Julia Friedlander, we appreciate your expertise. Thank you for taking time to talk with us this morning.

FRIEDLANDER: Thanks for having me.

PAUL: Of course.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Coming up, the International Space Station may be millions of miles away from the fighting in Ukraine, but the Russian invasion would have a real impact for those living on the ISS. We'll be right back.



PAUL: Well, President Biden has made history in one nomination.

PAUL: (voice-over): Judge Ketanji. Brown Jackson, as his supreme court pick. If confirmed, Judge Jackson will be the first black woman to sit on the highest court.

SANCHEZ: She currently sits on D.C.'s federal appellate court, and she's been considered the front runner for the vacancy since Justice Stephen Breyer announced he would be retiring. Judge Jackson says that she's hoping to inspire others.


JUDGE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: If I'm fortunate enough to be confirmed as the next associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, I can only hope that my life and career, my love of this country and the Constitution, and my commitment to upholding the rule of law, and the sacred principles upon which this great nation was founded, will inspire future generations of Americans.


PAUL (on camera): Now, despite some GOP pushback, Democrats say they do hope to have a vote confirming Jackson to the court by mid-April.

And Russia's invasion of Ukraine is threatening to end the partnership between U.S. and Russia in a place you might not have thought about this, in space.

SANCHEZ (on camera): Yes, the head of Russia's space agency warns that new sanctions from the United States have the potential to "destroy" our cooperation on the International Space Station.

CNN's space and defense correspondent Kristin Fisher walks us through the possible impact this invasion has on that relationship in outer space.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Good morning, Boris and Christi.

Right now, there are four U.S. astronauts, two Russian cosmonauts, and one German astronaut, all living and working aboard the International Space Station. But now, the head of Russia's space agency is saying that these new U.S. sanctions have the potential to destroy that cooperation in space.

And this is a partnership between the U.S. and Russia that has been going on uninterrupted for more than 20 years.

Now, up at the International Space Station, it's divided into two sections. The Russian section and the U.S. section. And they are closely intertwined. The U.S. section provides electricity and the Russian state -- section provides propulsion. It is the engines for the entire space station. And this is critical to make sure that it stays in the right orbit, in the right location in space.

And so, on Thursday, after President Biden came out and announced these new sanctions on Russia space sector, Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, Russia's space agency, essentially, kind of threatened to allow the propulsion element on the Russian section.

FISHER (voice-over): Those engines allow them to kind of just turn off, not work. And what that would do, is potentially allow the space station to fall back to Earth. Now, this is a worst-case scenario.

But just listen to the words that Dmitry Rogozin used. He said, "If you block cooperation with us, who will save the International Space Station from an uncontrolled deorbit and fall into the United States or Europe? There is also the possibility of a 500-ton structure falling on India and China. Do you want to threaten them with such a prospect? The ISS does not fly over Russia. Therefore, all the risks are yours. Are you ready for them?"

Now, Dmitry Rogozin is known for making statements like this. They usually come with a lot of bluster. He did this back in 2014, when Russia invaded Crimea, issued a similar sort of statement to U.S. sanctions. Nothing happened back then to this partnership. And NASA certainly hoping that this continues to be the case.


FISHER: Now, they put out a statement shortly after Dmitry Rogozin made those remarks by saying, "NASA continues working with all of our international partners, including Roscosmos, for the ongoing safe operations of the International Space Station. The new export control measures will continue to allow U.S.-Russia's civil space cooperation." FISHER (on camera): So, certainly, NASA hoping for the best. But without a doubt, this partnership between the U.S. and Russia in space, it is being tested perhaps now, more than it ever has before. Boris and Christi?

SANCHEZ: Kristin, thank you so much.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky is vowing to stay and fight the Russian troops invading his country. Our coverage continues after a quick break.