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New Day Sunday

Zelensky Accuses Russia Of Targeting Civilians, Including Children; Zelensky Agrees To Talk With Russia, Rejects Russian Proposal Of Belarus As The Meeting Place; U.S. And Key G7 Allies Expelling Some Russian Banks From SWIFT; Ukraine Under Russian Attack For Fourth Day; Russians Encircling Kyiv As Ukrainians Vow To Fight; Battles Against Russian Invasion Rage Across Ukraine; Street Fighting Breaks Out In Kharkiv, Ukraine; Zelensky Appeals For Foreign Volunteers To Help Fight Russians; Ukrainians Fight Multipronged Russian Attack On Day Four; Ukrainian General: We Captured 200 Russian Soldiers; Global Protests Condemn Russian Invasion Of Ukraine; Former Ukrainian President Poroshenko Says "Don't Trust Putin"; UNHCR: More Than 150,000 People Have Fled Ukraine; DHS, D.C. Officials Discuss Security Ahead Of State Of The Union Address, Potential Truck Convoy Protests; Russia False Accusations On Nazism, Genocide In Ukraine; English Soccer Club Owner Pressured To Sell Team For Ties To Putin. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired February 27, 2022 - 06:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Buenos dias. Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It's Sunday, February 27th. I'm Boris Sanchez.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Boris. I'm Christi Paul.

SANCHEZ: We begin this morning with an appeal to the world. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is calling for people around the world to join the fight against Russia. Ukrainian forces are fighting the Russian military on multiple fronts. Russian troops have now moved into Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city. The people there are being told to stay inside their homes because it's now urban warfare. The fighting has spilled into the streets.

PAUL: Russia has claimed as you know that its attacks are aimed only at military targets, but what you're seeing is very different. Damage to neighborhoods, to schools. Ukrainian President Zelensky is accusing the Russian army of killing civilians and praising Ukrainians, of course, for having the courage to defend themselves. In fact, this morning the president is rejecting calls to hold peace talks with Russia, specifically in Belarus. He says he is ready to meet with Russians, but only on neutral ground.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and its European allies are working on additional measures to slow Russian aggression, agreeing to cut off select Russian banks from SWIFT, that's the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, now severely limits their access to the international banking system. SANCHEZ: CNN has reporters fanned out across the globe covering the breaking developments. Natasha Bertrand is live in Brussels following the response from NATO. Fred Pleitgen is following the movement of Russian troops near the border of Kharkiv. And Alex Marquardt is live for us from Kyiv.

Let's start with Alex in the capital of Ukraine. Alex, fighting has intensified across the country, but last night not far from where you were the skies were lighting up and there were indications that Russian paratroopers were landing not far from where you are now.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris, we are still in the middle of a curfew that will extend until tomorrow morning. That is not just because Kyiv officials want their citizens to stay inside, stay protected, and because it's so dangerous, but also because there are concerns about Russian sabotage teams that are operating in the city.

We have continued to hear sporadic blasts throughout the morning and into the early afternoon, about three or four of them over the course of the past few hours. And just in the past few minutes actually we heard another one in the distance to the northeast of the city. It's often very hard to tell where these blasts are happening, where rockets might be landing.

But as you noted, Boris, this is coming after a very tense night. We had been warned of possible wide scale aerial assault by Russia. That did not really materialize, but there were two significant explosions just after midnight to the southwest of the city near Kyiv's second biggest airport. And you can hear there another blast in the distance, again, to the northeast.

But that first blast overnight, the huge explosion, resulted in this massive fire that we could see glowing for hours. And then, as you noted, there is significant fighting to the east of here in Ukraine's second biggest city of Kharkiv which is very close to the Russian border. The Ukrainians are confronting Russian troops in the streets. People are being told to stay inside.

But it is clear that where we are right now is not where Russia wanted to be on day four of this invasion. They are -- they are struggling. It has become clear they do not have air supremacy in the skies over Ukraine. They're still contending with Ukraine's air force and anti- aircraft systems. Their personnel are being killed. Their armor, their tanks, their vehicles are being destroyed. Their supply lines are being stretched. They're having a hard time getting things like fuel.

So this, again, is not where they wanted to be, and they are running into significant Ukrainian forces. The Ukrainians are doing a very good job at pushing these Russian troops back, surprisingly so, but at the same time, President Zelensky very clear on how difficult the struggle is, calling on not just all -- not just on Ukrainians of all ages to take up arms, civilians to take up arms against Russian troops, but now also asking for international support, saying that anybody who wants to come to Ukraine and fight the Russians, they, too, can do that now -- Christi. [06:05:24]

PAUL: Alex Marquardt, do take care of yourself and your crew there. Thank you so much, Alex. We appreciate it.

I want to go to Fred Pleitgen now. Fred, you're in a unique position because you're on the Russian side of the border near the Kharkiv front line. I heard an analyst yesterday say everything we've seen the last few days is much a precursor to what they believe to be a coming surge of Russians across the border. What are you seeing to lend evidence to that?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that certainly could be the case, Christi. And certainly what we've seen over the past, I would say, 24 hours, but especially this morning, is that there are more Russian forces that are sort of on the move here.

Especially one of the things that we've seen is more Russian rocket artillery fire going towards Ukraine. We saw some outgoing as we got here, several salvos that were fired on various occasions and so it's certainly seems to us as though more of that artillery rocket fire is heading towards Ukraine. And, of course, if it's heading from here, then most probably it will be going down somewhere, raining down somewhere on the Kharkiv region.

Now, of course, what we've heard there from the Russian forces is that they've now penetrated that ring of defense that Ukrainians had in the city. Those Russian forces inside the city, there seem to be fierce street battles as well. Whether or not though the Russians are taking more casualties than they thought is really something very difficult to tell from our vantage point.

The only thing that I can tell you is that we had the last checkpoint over there right behind me. That's the last checkpoint before you go into that sort of area around the border that then leads to Kharkiv. We're not very far from there at all. And there's four ambulances that are standing there right now. That's a lot more than we've seen over the past couple of days.

And we have also seen ambulances race out of that area in the past couple of hours, and there was just -- and you can actually see one ambulance going into that area with flashing lights actually right now. So that's something that certainly has become more common over the past couple of few hours.

Also a lot more Russian military trucks going out. And one thing that I noticed about those military trucks is that a lot of the trucks that were coming out actually had their sort of flak vest, the bullet proof vest that soldiers usually wear on their bodies hanging in the doors. And whether or not that means that the Russian soldiers are fearful that maybe they might take sniper fire as they go into Kharkiv, if that's where they're going, really unclear here.

But there are certain little signs that we're seeing that could possibly indicate that there is obviously a very fierce battle going on and it certainly isn't easy going for the Russian soldiers as they are in here. Again, all of that very circumstantial. All that very impossible to verify, but certainly we do see a lot of that movement that you've been talking about, we see a lot of Russian heavy armor also that has been moving into that area over the past 24 hours, Christi.

SANCHEZ: Fred Pleitgen with insightful analysis from the border with Kharkiv. Thank you so much, Fred.

Let's go to CNN's Natasha Bertrand. She's live in Brussels, Belgium. And, Natasha, NATO nations have been looking at new ways to try to help the overwhelmed Ukrainian forces and over the last 24 hours some European nations have changed their disposition on giving specific weapons to the Ukrainians.

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right. So it seems like they are really upping their defense support to the Ukrainians now, the Germans, for example, saying that they are now going to allow certain weapons to be sent to Ukraine in direct conflict and opposition to what they had been saying for the last several months, which is that they did not want to get involved in that way, they did not want to send weapons to Ukraine.

But we are also seeing an unprecedented level of coordination when it comes to sanctions. Right here in the E.U. it was decided just yesterday that they are going to come together and they are going to impose, along with the United States, sanctions on Russia that have to do with their withdraw and expulsion from the SWIFT international payment system. That is a major deal and it's going to affect about, we're told, 70 percent of Russian banks.

It is unclear which banks are going to be impacted by that ban on this payment system, but it is significant because it will essentially cut Russia out of this financial payment system that they need to conduct transactions with countries around the world. And it is significant as well because we saw this change within a span of literally two or three days.

President Joe Biden was asked about this the other day, about expelling Russia from the SWIFT payment system and he said that it is something that the United States was looking at, but that right now there was just no coordination and no willingness by the European Union to actually get on board with that because they have been so dependent on Russian gas, on oil, on imports, and that would greatly affect them as well. But because of the situation escalating on the ground there in Ukraine, the Europeans really came together here and said this calls for an unprecedented measure, no matter how it may impact our own economies.


Germany, Italy, two countries that have been very wary of taking this measure, in the last two days just came on board with it. So according to analysts, this is going to have a major impact on Russia. It might, in fact, have an impact on their war chest and what they hope is that it's going to essentially prevent Russia from maintaining this massive military operation in Ukraine for a very long time. They are hoping that this will cut off significant revenue to Russia and that it will ultimately have an impact on how long they can sustain this operation, Christi.

PAUL: Natasha Bertrand, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

CNN military analyst retired Colonel Cedric Leighton with us now and Brett Bruen, president of the Global Situation Room. He's also the former director of Global Engagement at the White House. Gentlemen, we are so grateful to have both of you here with us.

Brett, I want to start with you because, as I understand it, you were in the situation room I believe back in 2014 when they invaded -- when Russia invaded Crimea. Can you please give us some insight, what did you learn then that would be applicable to understanding what's happening now?

BRETT BRUEN, PRESIDENT, GLOBAL SITUATION ROOM: Yes, I think several things. One is that we have to be prepared for Russia to use a lot of what we call asymmetric options. And that is not just that they're going to engage in that frontal assault, but as has been reported over the last several days, efforts at both disinformation, sabotage. And, quite frankly, I think we've got to use our imagination to understand where the Russians may try, both in Ukraine, but let's also zoom this out and realize that Russia's overall objective is -- President Putin has already articulated it's much broader. We've got to be prepared -- NATO has got to be prepared for what else is potentially on the table.

PAUL: So, Colonel Leighton, you had mentioned that -- when we talk about what we're seeing with the worldwide protests against Russia, which I think are far more expansive than anybody thought that they would be, based on what we've seen thus far, but you said that popular pressure is what determines what political leaders will do. So as you watch the support for Ukraine amplify, how do you believe that will shape the decisions world leaders will take about what to do from this point forward?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, Christi, I think it's already had an impact. For example, you know, we've reported that Germany has decided to close its airspace to Russian aircraft starting at 3:00 p.m. local time. That's a significant piece and then plus, of course, more significantly from a tactical standpoint and again with Germany, the Germans have allowed their weapons -- their anti-tank weapons and their Stinger missiles to be sent onward to Ukraine through a third country. So that makes a really big difference in terms of the tactical aspect of it.

And strategically popular opinion can make a huge difference because what it is telling the politicians is, if you, you know, stand for democracy, then you must act. And in this particular case people are seeing this. They're realizing the impact of this Russian invasion on Ukraine and what it will actually do, potentially not just to Ukraine, but also to members of NATO's eastern flank. So popular opinion can very well change attitudes, not only about what they do at the negotiating table, but it can also change how the military forces of the NATO countries are employed. PAUL: And you wonder what influence it might have had on some of these other countries, particularly Germany, Brett. That may be one of the more surprising elements here because Germany is so dependent on Russia for its energy resources, and yet they came out and they -- they have a lot to lose but they joined these other countries. And, in fact, this morning Chancellor Olaf Scholz said very soon the Russian leadership will feel what a high price they'll have to pay.

Are you surprised that Germany has joined the fight against Russia in that regard and what do you think it means? What position is Germany putting itself in?

BRUEN: Well, you talk about, Christi, lessons learned from 2014. One of them was that we needed stronger European support. I mean, it was at times trying to pull teeth just to get some small sanctions on the table. And so yesterday's decision by Germany to set aside its long- standing policy of not providing weapons to other countries in conflict is a major one.


And I think it could be decisive. Decisive both because of what it represents from an operational standpoint, but also that is going to send a powerful message to other NATO allies that they have to do more, that they have to set aside some of the reservations, some of the past reluctance to come to the aid of a country in need. And I do have to say, you know, it is remarkable, after so many years with democracy on the decline to see this example of Ukrainians' bravery, courage, and the defense of democracy. This truly is an inspiration.

PAUL: It is extraordinary. Colonel Leighton, so NATO is reporting that the Russian advance is slowing, that troops there are lacking fuel and morale, although we're hearing something different from Fred Pleitgen right now, as we just heard a couple of minutes ago. But the Ukrainian major general says, according to reports we're getting in, that they have captured around 200 Russian soldiers and here's his description of them.

Some are 19 years old. They're not trained at all. They're badly equipped. They're treating them according to the Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law. In fact, the soldiers are allowed to call their parents. They're being given food and water.

What is your assessment, Colonel, of the devotion and the allegiance these soldiers have to Putin? I mean, is there a gauge of how many of them are in this fight because they believe in what he's doing or because they have been forced to fight?

LEIGHTON: Well, it sounds a lot like the latter, Christi, in at least part of this. You're going to get -- any time when these types of wars occur, there's going to be a difference in, you know, members of some forces and their allegiance to their particular leader. As far as Putin is concerned, certainly the officer corps at the very top ranks is probably more aligned with Putin than the average conscript, but the reports the Ukrainians are giving us of conscripts who are not very happy about being there or who don't really understand why they're there or don't believe in the fight, that is very significant. And I think you're going to see more and more of that.

I think what Fred is seeing is, you know, the other end of that spectrum. There will be trained -- in some cases highly trained troops that will engage, and especially on the special operations side. Those forces are very much in line with the regime, usually, and they're also willing to die for that regime, no matter what it stands for. That's not necessarily true of conscripts who basically reflect the society where Putin's popularity has actually declined considerably over the last few years.

PAUL: Brett, I want to ask you one last question about President Zelensky. Agreeing to talk with Russia, but not agreeing to do so in Minsk, he's making it clear that that part of this is not an option, but he says, we want peace, we want to meet, we want to end this war. Would a conversation with Russia end this war or would it put it on pause?

BRUEN: Well, Christi, as a recovering diplomat, I always believe that diplomacy remains an option, but I do have to say that President Zelensky's pushing back on Russia's unreasonable request to hold these negotiations in a country which is currently being used to stage attacks on Ukraine is an important one, and it does send a message to the Kremlin that he isn't going to accept peace at any cost.

PAUL: Colonel Cedric Leighton, Brett Bruen, we appreciate you both so much. We really value your insight and your perspectives. Thanks for taking time for us this morning.

BRUEN: You bet.

LEIGHTON: You bet, Christi. Thanks for having us.

PAUL: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: The humanitarian crisis is looming in eastern Europe as thousands of Ukrainian refugees look to escape the violence and uncertainty of Russia's invasion. We'll bring you some of their incredible stories just ahead this hour.

Plus, we'll show you how protesters around the world are gathering to express outrage over the invasion into Ukraine and show support for the Ukrainian people. We'll be right back.



PAUL: Well, cities across the world are holding rallies in support of Ukraine this weekend. In Brussels, for instance, protesters chanted their demands for peace. This is outside the Russian embassy.

SANCHEZ: And in Spain, hundreds gathered with signs reading stop Putin and peace and freedom in Ukraine. Let's take you to Madrid now and Al Goodman. Al, what are you seeing there?

AL GOODMAN, JOURNALIST: Hi, Boris. I am in the largest demonstration, it appears to date, in Madrid, and there have been several since the fighting started last Thursday. Initially outside the Russian embassy, Ukrainians, dozens, gathered, including the Spanish actor Javier Bardem, the Academy Award winning actor. Then the pictures you just showed was from Friday night in a different square of Madrid.

Here we are at -- with hundreds of Ukrainians who live in Madrid who have turned out today. They are in a different central square and there will soon be a march down the main boulevard. It is safe to say, according to many people that I've talked to, that every one of them has family or friends or both back in Ukraine.

There is disbelief that President Putin actually did this invasion. There is deep concern that this could spread over here -- over western Europe. They already chanted, "Today Ukraine, tomorrow the rest of Europe."

We just talked to a woman -- a Ukrainian woman who has lived in Spain for about 20 years, who is a librarian, very concerned about what is going on. Here's what she had to say.


VARBARA BEGUN, UKRAINIAN LIVING IN MADRID: I talk to them every morning just to see if they are still alive and if my street, my house, my building, is still there.

GOODMAN: Are they alive and is your building there?

BEGUN: Yes, thanks God.


GOODMAN: Well, that is good for her at this point with the situation going on. There have been protests in Barcelona, and that's not to mention all these other places around the world, Boris and Christi, expressing concern, trying to push back with their voice on the military might of Russia that is pushing down on Ukraine. Back to you, Boris and Christi.

PAUL: Al Goodman, we appreciate it. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: A prominent voice in Ukrainian politics is speaking out. Former President Petro Poroshenko is telling the world, do not trust Vladimir Putin and do not fear him. Poroshenko has chosen to stay in Kyiv and fight against the Russian troops invading his country. Yesterday he spoke with my colleague, Fredricka Whitfield, from the streets of the Ukrainian capital.


Here's what he said.


PETRO POROSHENKO, FORMER PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: I want to ask all the CNN viewers, all the people of the world, with one very simple request, please don't trust Putin. Don't believe Putin. And, two, don't be afraid of Putin.

Putin is lying -- just open us. We would be more than happy to have as many international correspondents as possible. They should be at the front line. They should be in Kyiv. They should see with their own eyes the Russian planes, Russian missiles and the victims among the Ukrainian civil population and among Ukrainian soldiers. And you, dear journalists, dear CNN, which play a very important role, is playing good things against Russian information war. We are for peace.


SANCHEZ: Poroshenko also says this is a decisive moment for Ukraine and he warns that every single person needs to make a decision for themselves, because there's a very high risk of being killed while fighting Russian aggression.

PAUL: And because of that, thousands of Ukrainians have been running from their homes. According to the United Nations, listen to the latest number here, more than 150,000 people have fled across international borders, heading to neighboring countries, including Poland, Moldova, Romania, Hungary. Roads and train stations -- I mean, you've seen them. They have been swamp with people who are desperately just seeking a safe place to go.

SANCHEZ: And our cameras have captured painful moments like this one, the devastating moment when a Ukrainian mom hugs and cries as she's forced to hand over her child at the border, while her and her husband make the very difficult decision to stay in Ukraine. We spoke to several people about what they're going through as Russian troops and tanks continue to roll in.


JULIANA, REFUGEE FROM WESTERN UKRAINE: So we are afraid. My husband is still there. We'll fight, even if Europe doesn't help us.

VIKTORIYA HIERMAN, FLEEING UKRAINE (through translator): It can be dangerous and our husbands are telling us, "Maybe we shouldn't travel." They suggested we stay here for a bit until everything calms down, but we're mothers and our hearts are telling us to go home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most people they just didn't have the tickets, so they just stormed the train. I mean, it was almost like a stampede. People were, like, trying to get inside, no matter what. Nobody was actually checking tickets because, I mean, obviously most people didn't have any tickets.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was chaos. It was chaos. It was a lot of people like pushing around and -- but, I mean, people run to escape, run for their lives, so I don't blame them.

ARTEM ZONENKO, FAMILY IS FLEEING UKRAINE (through translator): My wife is already here. We're going to get some rest now because we haven't slept in almost two days. We are tired. My daughter is tired. Now we will rest and think about what to do next.

Now it is necessary for my family to leave Ukraine. I will stay here, but the main thing is for my family to leave Ukraine and not feel the threat of attack.

TAMARA KULMAN, UKRAINIAN FROM ZHYTOMYR: We are staying here for a long time. Maybe six or seven hours already, but it's crazy. It's crazy, traffic. I don't want to leave my native country. Actually, I don't want to leave my native country. But because of the invaders I must leave it as fast as possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I will go and fight and I'm ready to die for my land, for the future of my family -- my kids. I will fight for democratic and freedom country, for the law. And it's my duty.


SANCHEZ: If you would like to help those in Ukraine who may be in need of shelter, food and water, you can go to There you'll find several resources and different ways that you can help. Stay with us. We'll be right back.




SANCHEZ (on camera): We're going to continue monitoring the very latest on the situation in Ukraine. But we do want to update you on security preparations in the nation's capital.

As President Biden prepares for the State of the Union address on Tuesday, Federal and local leaders are coordinating efforts to keep the city safe, notably as rumors that trucker convoys and protesters may hold demonstrations.

CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Jonathan Wackrow joins us now to share his insight. He's a former Secret Service agent and now a corporate security analyst. Jonathan, always great to have you. I appreciate you getting up early for us.

You know that there are several ongoing crises that security officials are dealing with right now, obviously, abroad and here at home, help us understand how all of that factors into decisions about how to keep the Capitol safe this week during the State of the Union.

JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, good morning, Boris. I appreciate you joining the show. I like to paint a picture of the backdrop of President Biden's State of the Union address. And that does include multiple overlapping global international and domestic crises, as mentioned, that all have a significant impact to the security planning of the State of the Union.

And those, you know, issues that law enforcement is dealing with today, really, you know, tie into, you know, the two-year-old global pandemic, the conflict in Ukraine, and the persistent threat of domestic extremism here. That is, you know, we have seen the impact of that stepping back from the January 6 riots. All of that, you know, is the backdrop for the security planning that's going into place right now.

And law enforcement, you know, is taking all of these things into consideration to develop a very comprehensive security structure so that there are no issues that arise during the State of the Union address.

SANCHEZ: And Jonathan, some of the most significant threats come from lone-wolf actors. In fact, as we look back on one of the last major security events at the Capitol, the January 6 insurrection, remember that the person who dropped off those bombs at the DNC and the RNC is still out there. How can officials try to plan for that kind of threat?


WACKROW: Well, listen, I mean, that is a critical element that you just brought up there. We have an unmitigated threat that is still out there. You know, the individual or individuals that placed those bombs at the RNC and DNC still have not been captured.

And to that point, DHS stated earlier this month that the primary terrorism-related threat to the United States does stem from lone offenders, lone attackers, or small cells working in coordination, you know, who are motivated by a whole range of different ideologies that all represent a threat for a Tuesday evening.

What DHS has to do, along with Secret Service and other law enforcement partners, is actually, you know, work in coordination with each other to gather intelligence around what are the threats -- what are the threats that are out there, identified or anticipated, and understand the vulnerabilities to put into play -- practice the control measures and mitigation from a security standpoint.

SANCHEZ: Security officials are looking at the potential for trucker convoys similar to what we saw at the Canadian Capitol over the last month or so. They fear that that may unfold in Washington D.C. and they're looking at a variety of options. So, I'm wondering, looking away from more lone wolf kind of incidents or small cells, how do you manage a big protest of that scope? What would trigger law enforcement to take more drastic action?

WACKROW: Well, I want to put a little bit of context around this. The way that law enforcement is viewing this situation, well, they're seeing it as a potential concern. Remember, protest is protected activity. It's free speech. And law enforcement has to first and foremost, protect that free speech.

The concern, though, is that, you know, free speech protests may transcend into nonviolent direct action, you know, acts of civil disobedience. We've seen that before with this trucker convoy about blocking roadways. So, law enforcement has to come up with multiple contingency plans if this protest, you know, a peaceful protest, does transcend into, you know, acts of violence or civil disobedience that would interrupt the State of the Union or would interfere with the security planning and contingency planning that is going into place.

SANCHEZ: And one quick last question, Jonathan. Obviously, it's been just over a year since the insurrection. How do you think security preparations at the Capitol have changed since then to prevent not only something like January 6 from happening again, but just to strengthen the day-to-day operations, when something like the State of the Union happens?

WACKROW: So, the State of the Union is very unique. It has been designated by DHS as a national special security event, an NSSC. And the security structure is coordinated by the U.S. Secret Service, along with other law enforcement partners, both federal, local, and state.

So, this is a big complex program that actually brings the -- brings to bear the entire resources of the federal government put forth to build out a very comprehensive security program that addresses a multitude of threats and vulnerabilities from what we saw earlier -- you know, lone wolf factors, small groups. But also every other eventuality has to come into play, such as, you know, chemical and biological hazards and natural disasters.

So, all of that comes together in a very complex, you know, planning process. And I just want to note that a lot of conversations have been -- or reporting has been about DHS just meeting with the mayor and local officials in D.C. Planning for the State of the Union has been ongoing for months. It's a very complex structure, a very well- coordinated structure that's applied every year to the State of the Union.

So, what we're seeing now is the preparation for Tuesday is drastically different from the security posture that we saw over a year ago on January 6.

SANCHEZ: As you noted, Jonathan, a multitude of threats out there. We appreciate the work of law enforcement to keep us safe. And we appreciate you sharing your expertise with us this morning. Thanks so much.

WACKROW: Thanks, Boris.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Listen, we're following breaking news this morning. Russian troops have entered Ukraine's second- largest city, Kharkiv. We have a live report from that city after the break. Stay close.



PAUL: The false accusations of Nazism and genocide from Russia's President Vladimir Putin and his aides against Ukraine's government are drawing outrage. We're talking on a global scale. SANCHEZ: Yes. Putin continues to justify attacking Ukraine as a de- Nazification of the country. But as CNN's Brian Todd explains, that notion is simply absurd.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): It's a repeated refrain from Vladimir Putin and his acolytes in describing Ukraine's democratically elected president Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Zelenskyy's cabinet.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT, RUSSIA (through translator): This gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis that has settled in Kyiv and taken hostage the entire Ukrainian people.


TODD: Putin invoked it when he announced to his nation earlier this week that the invasion of Ukraine had begun.

PUTIN (through translator): Dear comrades, your fathers, your grandfather's fought against the Nazis,not so that Nazis could now take over power in Ukraine.

TODD: Putin has said he wants to "De-Nazify Ukraine. And he and his foreign minister have used another reference to the Holocaust to try to justify their aggression.

SERGEY LAVROV, FOREIGN MINISTER, RUSSIA (through translator): We're talking about preventing neo-Nazis and those promoting genocide from ruling this country.

TODD: The false accusations of Nazism and genocide from Putin and his aides against this Zelenskyy government have drawn outrage. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum issuing a statement condemning that language as well as the invasion itself.

STUART EIZENSTAT, CHAIR, U.S. HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL COUNCIL: It's particularly perverse and denigrates and misappropriates the whole notion of the Holocaust to talk about the current democratically elected government somehow committing a genocide against Russian speakers.

TODD: Why has Putin invoked Nazism? Some observers say Putin is well aware that their fight against the Nazis and fascism in World War II strikes an emotional chord with Russians.

EIZENSTAT: To evoke the very memory that the Russian people have of the horrors through which they went in World War II, they lost 20 million civilians.

TODD: But it's Putin, analysts say, who's fighting this war the way Hitler did when he invaded his neighbors, justifying it in part by implying that his neighbor's borders were irrelevant.

PUTIN (through translator): Ukraine has never had a consistent tradition of being a true nation. TIMOTHY SNYDER, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, YALE UNIVERSITY: That is straight out of Hitler's playbook in 1938-1939 to claim that a democratic neighboring state is some kind of artificial creation that doesn't deserve to exist.

TODD: Another factor Putin seems to be conveniently ignoring, that Zelenskyy is Jewish and he says his grandfather fought against the Nazis for the Soviets. One analyst believes Putin has another motive for his accusations of genocide against Ukraine's leaders.

SNYDER: I think it's very likely that he intends to use the genocide and de-Nazification language to set up some kind of kangaroo court which would serve the purpose of condemning these people to death or condemning them to prison or incarceration.

TODD (on camera): Stuart Eizenstat of the Holocaust Memorial Museum says the Ukrainian people certainly won't buy Putin's claims of Nazism and genocide, and he doesn't think the Russian people will buy it either. He believes many Russians will see that a fellow Slavic country that they share so many cultural and family ties with is being invaded and brutalized. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


SANCHEZ: Thanks, Brian for that report. As Ukraine see support from countries around the world, some of the strongest messages are coming from inside the sports world. Next, the moment that caused this professional soccer player to break down in tears.



SANCHEZ: Several major sporting events have been moved, postponed, or outright canceled because of Russia's war with Ukraine, as athletes from around the world have called for peace.

PAUL: Now, the Russian owner of an English soccer team is under pressure to sell the team because of his ties to Vladimir Putin. Carolyn Manno is with us to explain this now. Morning Carolyn, what are you learning?

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, good morning. As players for Chelsea F.C. are preparing to play Liverpool in the English League Cup final today, the team's Russian billionaire owner is really wrestling to hold on to the club that he's run for the last 20 years.

After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Roman Abramovich announced yesterday that he will give stewardship of the team to its charitable foundation. Now, what that statement is lacking is the certain clarity on what that actually means for the running of the club.

Abramovich says he has the club's best interest at heart. A source close to the club tell CNN, there is no intention to actually sell. Some U.K. lawmakers have called for the 55-year-old Russian oligarch to be barred from owning the team because of his ties to Putin. Abramovich has not been sanctioned by the United Kingdom yet. Whether he will be as part of the government's measures against Russia is still unclear. At this point, he maintains that he is not an official Russian political figure despite that closeness to Vladimir Putin.

Elsewhere, English clubs are joining the chorus of teams and athletes who are showing support for Ukraine. Manchester City's Oleksandr Zinchenko moved to tears by the display for his home country. He was seen embracing fellow Ukrainian Everton's Vitaliy Mykolenko before the game. It was really touching and quite frankly sad.

And Russian tennis star Andrey Rublev made headlines by writing "No war please" on a TV camera after a match in Dubai on Friday. We brought you that story yesterday. He finished off the weekend with a really inspired performance on the court. The 24-year-old winning the tournament after saying earlier in the week that he wanted to use his platform to shine a light on the more important and terrible situation caused by leaders in his home country.

Boris and Christi, he is Russian. This is Russia's second straight title and the 10th of his career as it relates to Rublev, but from what we've seen from those who are protesting this who are Russian, these are very big statements from some of the top Russian athletes in the world.

SANCHEZ: As we know, Vladimir Putin does not like dissenting voices, especially on a world stage like that. Carolyn Manno, thank you so much.

When NEW DAY continues, we're going to bring you the very latest on fighting across Ukraine. We'll take you to the front lines and update you on new international sanctions aimed at crippling Russia's economy. We're back in a couple of minutes. Stay with us.