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New Day Sunday

U.S. Secretary Of State Antony Blinken Meets With President Of Moldova; Ukraine-Russia Talks To Resume Monday; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Urges Ukrainians To Keep Up Resistance; U.S. Working With Poland On Logistics To Send Jets To Ukraine; Western Intelligence Expects Russia To Increase Pace, Strength Of Strikes On Key Population Centers; Ukraine Accuses Russia Of Shelling Evacuation Routes In Mariupol And Volnovakha, Breaching Temporary Ceasefire; Mayor Says Russian Troops Are Everywhere In Kherson; New Video Shows Jets Attacking City Of Irpin Near Kyiv; Humanitarian Crisis Erupts In Ukraine As 1.5+ Million Refugees Flee Fighting; U.S. Sees Biggest Gas Price Jump Since Hurricane Katrina. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired March 06, 2022 - 05:00   ET




ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We will invest $18 million over the next years to help strengthen and diversify Moldova's energy sector. Greater energy security is vital for your sovereignty.

We support the OSCE-led 5.2 negotiations to find a comprehensive settlement to the Transnistrian conflict that upholds Moldova's sovereignty and territorial integrity with a special status for Transnistria.

And we'll seek every opportunity to deepen the ties between our countries -- economic ties, educational ties, people-to-people ties -- because we want our friendship with the people of Moldova to grow even stronger.

In the face of the global challenges that we face today, we're all going to be much more successful when we work closely together as partners, especially among democratic partners.

We know that countries that respect human rights, uphold the rule of law, support inclusive and accountable governance for all their citizens, produce the best solutions to even the most difficult problems.

So we will support Moldova as you pursue your priorities: fighting corruption, driving democratic reform including increasing integrity and accountability in the public sector and the judiciary and developing an independent media sector that can deliver reliable information and help fight disinformation.

As people around the world stand up to defend democratic values, Moldova is a powerful example of a democracy rising to the moment with vision and with determination. This partnership between us is built on shared interests, it's built on shared values. We're grateful to Moldova for 30 years of friendship. We look forward to the next 30. And on behalf of the American people, thank you again for your generosity toward the Ukrainian refugees at this urgent moment for democracy and for peace. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Now we're going to take questions from the representatives of the Moldovan press and the United States media. So we start off with the Moldovan media.

QUESTION (through translator): I have a question for both Ms. Maia Sandu and Antony Blinken.

Figures prove that, in the first 10 days of the war, Moldova received the biggest amount of refugees from Ukraine. It's again by comparison with the population of the Republic of Moldova. It's a huge effort for our country.

What can the international community do in order to directly help out those people and in order to cease the war in Ukraine?

SANDU (through translator): We will continue helping out all the people that have to flee from the war.

This is indeed a challenge and this is exactly the reason why we have requested the international assistance in the shape of financial assistance that's all to compensate all the expenditures that we suffer in order to be able to help out those people.

But secondly, we need some clear mechanisms to refer -- to re-channel those refugees that would like to continue their journey to reach another country. So those are two concrete requests that we have put forward and obviously we also expect the expertise of the specialists that had been involved in managing this sort of situations earlier.

I mean, people that know how to deal with the refugees -- so far, the Republic of Moldova had never faced such situations.

So those are the most important elements of assistance which we are expecting from the international community as well as from our partners.

BLINKEN: Let me agree with what the president said. There is a major effort underway involving countries around the world to support refugees arriving from the Ukraine. But first and foremost, the burden has been on neighboring countries like the Republic of Moldova, like Poland and others that are the immediate responders.

And what we're seeing now is the international community join in to support these countries and to support the refugees. And so you have the major international organizations, including the United Nations in particular, that's bringing its expertise and resources to bear.

As I mentioned a moment ago, President Biden asked our Congress for emergency support to include very significant humanitarian support to help Ukraine deal with the humanitarian consequences of this war of aggression against Ukraine, both within Ukraine itself but also in the surrounding countries that are receiving refugees.


BLINKEN: So we're bringing our own technical expertise to bear, including here in the Republic of Moldova. We'll also be bringing resources to bear to help alleviate some of the burden that Moldova and other countries are carrying.

QUESTION: A question to the Secretary of State.

Which way do you assess the submittal by the Republic of Moldova of the application to join European Union and which way the United States of America can help us out in this process?

For example, could we expect maybe some support in order to strengthen our energy independence, which is vital, I think, in order to have independence -- true independence in our country?

BLINKEN: Thank you. I, of course, can't speak for the European Union but I can say that we very much support Moldova's European aspirations and welcome the work that's being done in that direction.

This is the will of the Moldovan people and we welcome the pursuit of closer ties and greater integration. But ultimately, of course, that process is up to Moldova and the European Union and its member countries.

When it comes to energy independence, I think that's absolutely vital. That independence and energy security is actually critical to maintaining one's sovereignty and independence and that's exactly why we are working to support Moldova in its efforts to build greater energy security and energy diversification.

We're doing that with financial support to develop alternatives. We're doing it with expert support.

As it happens, our new ambassador, Ambassador Logsdon, is an expert in these very issues and so we'll be working very, very closely with Moldova as we have been already to help produce greater diversification, greater energy security in the coming years.

I think this is something vital to pursue for all countries and we know also what can happen when any country is -- and it's the case for many -- overly reliant on others that prove in one way or another not to be reliable suppliers.

So this is very much a focus of what we're doing together and it's something we'll be pursuing very actively right now and in the months and years ahead.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: You've been listening to secretary of state Antony Blinken, speaking alongside Moldovan president Maia Sandu. We're going to continue to listen to this press conference and bring you any updates as we get them. Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Kaitlan Collins in for Christi Paul this morning. Thank you for waking up on what is turning out to be a very busy Sunday so far, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes, and we start, Kaitlan, with the Eastern Europe, the Russian onslaught in Ukraine.

This morning we learned leaders in Ukraine and Russia are set to hold a third round of talks tomorrow. That's according to a Facebook post from a Ukrainian negotiator.

Allegations are that the Kremlin is targeting civilians and committing war crimes. You're looking at it a video from Ukrainian national police, showing the aftermath of an airstrike just about 50 miles from the capital of Kyiv.

COLLINS: In the city of Kherson outside of Kyiv, fighter jets were seen overhead, followed by a massive explosion and plumes of smoke. President Zelenskyy has asked again for the United States to issue a no-fly zone.

But West rejected that no-fly zone because it could lead to a broader war. We're told the United States is working with Poland on the possibility of helping Zelenskyy secure fighter jets.

As this war is raging on, President Zelenskyy is urging Ukrainians to continue the resistance.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Ukrainians, in all our cities, where the enemy invaded, go on the offensive. Go out on the streets. We need to fight every time we have an opportunity.


SANCHEZ: Ukrainian and Russian officials say humanitarian corridors in the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha are scheduled to reopen this hour. Russian forces began shelling the area, violating the cease- fire. The mayor of Mariupol said people are trapped right now without power and water.


SANCHEZ: And they're unable to recover their dead.

COLLINS: And just moments ago, we learned of a shelling at an evacuation crossing point for civilians, who were trying to escape the urban district near Kyiv.

Right now the U.N. says 1.3 million people have fled Ukraine to escape the fighting. CNN's Arwa Damon joins us.

Arwa, we know you've been following this so closely.

What are you seeing this morning?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, of those numbers, some 800-plus thousand of them have ended up here in the Poland.

Since this all broke out, you have people coming across the border and getting greeted by an army of volunteers. And what's quite interesting about all of this but also sadly part of this routine of war is just how quickly things that are abnormal become normal.

People, volunteers here, who would not have been involved in these sorts of activities before have all felt the need to mobilize, to come and help. And conversations that, say, 10, 12 days ago, "Hi, how are you," have shifted into things like, "My relative has decided to go into Ukraine and fight," or things like, "My friend is stuck, my friend can't get out."

When it comes to those who are in -- able to actually cross over into this side of the border, there's obviously that understandability that massive sense of relief. There's also overwhelming guilt. Nobody wants to leave their country, their home behind. Even those that are able to flee carry with them an extraordinary level of pain.

One of the more difficult aspects in all of this and the numbers that keep growing has been the organization of it. Yes, as I was saying, this army of volunteers that is here, you have people who are offering food, medicine, free SIM cards, transportation, you name it but there is not a huge amount of coordination.

And so, while, yes, there is a lot of manpower, what this refugee crisis is going to need moving forward is going to be the comprehensive organization undertaken by larger NGOs. So many people are saying we are still very much still at the beginning of this conflict and crisis.

SANCHEZ: That's right. A country of 44 million people, in just days, 1.3 million people evacuating. You expect those numbers to continue to climb. Arwa Damon, thank you so much.

Let's go to CNN's Alex Marquardt now. He's outside the capital of Kyiv.

Just moments ago, there were reports of shelling. You're in a village that has been decimated from what we see. Walk us through that and what we're seeing.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: In the past moments, Boris, we've heard shelling coming from the same distance you've been talking about. It's some of the most intense shelling I have heard so far.

It really goes to show in this village how every part of this country is being affected, not just the cities, not just the towns. This is a tiny village. I want to show you some of the destruction it has seen in the past few days.

This is Markhalivka. It was hit by a Russian airstrike on Friday. Six people were killed here. This is the crater from one of the strikes. This is the home of a 54-year-old man, named Igor (ph), who we have just met. Look at the size of that impact crater.

Now Igor (ph) lost five of his family members, including his wife, his 12-year-old daughter, who was in a wheelchair, and his mother-in-law. He has spent the past two days digging through this rubble to try to find, among other things, his documents.

Just moments ago, he found his passport, which is what he was looking for. He found his cat, which she had been missing for the past two days. We spoke with Igor (ph). He obviously says that he's feeling empty right now.

He's feeling horror, disoriented. He doesn't know what he's going to do. He is literally picking through the wreckage of his life right now.

More and more people are leaving this small village.


MARQUARDT: You understand when you come here, why people are so desperate to flee, why more than 1 million Ukrainians have left this country. Russia insists they're only going after military targets. There's nothing here that has anything to do with the Ukrainian military.

We're miles away from that. So either Russia is really bad at targeting or they are -- and we believe -- just firing indiscriminately at Ukrainian cities, towns and villages.

COLLINS: That's why they're trying to determine whether these are war crimes, given what Putin is targeting. And as you say, no Ukrainian military to be seen in that area. Alex Marquardt, please stay safe and we'll continue to check in with you.

Meanwhile President Zelenskyy met with U.S. lawmakers on Zoom, stressing the need for more assistance. President Biden also spoke with President Zelenskyy last night, the fifth time they've spoken. Our CNN White House reporter Kevin Liptak is traveling with the president.

Kevin, we learned the U.S. is working on the possibility of Poland maybe providing fighter jets to Ukraine.

What more do we know about how this is going?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and this is important because these are Soviet made airplanes that the Ukrainian pilots actually know how to fly. So it's critical for Zelenskyy to get those into his country so his pilots can start going in the air and flying them. This all comes after President Biden spoke to Zelenskyy yesterday

about 30 minutes by phone. As you've said, they've been speaking regularly. It's the third time just in the last five days they've gotten on the phone with each other.

The U.S. has actually given Zelenskyy a secure satellite line so he can get in touch with the White House pretty much anytime he wants. Biden reiterated the support the U.S. has been providing to Ukraine.

And he hailed the decision by major credit card companies to suspend operations in Russia. Now that had been one of the main things Zelenskyy brought to the virtual call with the senators, was one of the things he was pressing them to do.

This was really an extraordinary call. Zelenskyy making this impassioned plea, really, for the United States to do more. Among the things he asked for was a ban of Russian oil imports to the United States. That's now under active consideration at the White House.

He also made this plea for the U.S. to help facilitate the transfer of aircraft from the Eastern European nations that have the Soviet era aircraft sitting in their countries and bringing them to Ukraine.

We heard from one of the lawmakers, Mike Turner, Republican, on the Armed Services Committee. Listen to what he had to say in describing it.


REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH): He's calling for a no-fly zone, certainly which would protect Ukraine but at the same time, this would be placing American planes against Russian planes, which would be an escalation.

Now President Zelenskyy has called for weapons that would give him an ability to attack, take aircraft out. There is a movement to try to provide him those aircraft. I think that would be a step in the right direction, allow Ukraine to defend themselves, give them what they need and allow them to fight Russia.


LIPTAK: Now in the hours after that concluded, we did learn the U.S. was going to work with Poland to help facilitate transfer of these aircraft. It's not necessarily clear that the United States needed to tell Poland they could do that. But it was an understanding.

Zelenskyy clearly getting results from this call. One of the things he told the lawmakers was this may be the last time they see him alive. So certainly an effective communication to the United States yesterday.

SANCHEZ: Impactful, no doubt. Kevin Liptak, thank you so much.

Let's go to Natasha Bertrand.

We started the hour with Secretary of State Antony Blinken alongside the Moldovan president.

Unity is going to be critical in confronting Russia, right?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's the major theme he sought to express in recent days. The main thing he wants to project along with European leaders is the West is completely united against Russia and its invasion of Ukraine.

And they're going to continue to provide humanitarian assistance, not only to Ukraine but to the European countries that have faced a massive influx of refugees in that bloody kind of invasion Russia has brought over the last week now.


BERTRAND: The main message he's been trying to send is that the U.S. is willing to do everything it can to support Ukraine, short of actually putting U.S. and NATO forces on the ground there and, importantly, in the airspace.

This is something that from the very beginning NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has said could spark a war, especially given the fact that if you were to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine, that would involve shooting down Russian aircraft.

This is the message that Blinken has sought to project. He's been asked repeatedly about what more the United States can do to support Ukraine. This conflict is only going to get increasingly bloody, increasingly brutal, as the Russians face very stiff resistance, more than they had originally planned for from Ukrainians.

That means they're going to be targeting more indiscriminately than we've seen here. Blinken showing support for these countries and also reiterating the U.S. is doing everything it can to support Ukraine but is trying to contain the conflict and prevent it from spilling over into the rest of Europe -- Boris.

COLLINS: And of course, war is literally on Moldova's doorstep this morning. Natasha, thank you so much.

Let's bring in Kim Dozier, a CNN global affairs analyst and contributor for "Time" magazine and retired Air Force Colonel and CNN military analyst Cedric Leighton.

Thank you both so much for joining us on this Sunday morning.

Kim, we've seen these attempts to open a humanitarian door so civilians can escape, evacuate safely. But we've already seen these attempts to do so. Now we're hearing reporting of shelling this morning.

How are these civilians who are trying to evacuate trust the Russians that they will not continue these shellings while they're in the middle of that?

KIM DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: There are allegations on both sides that somebody started shooting. And these cease-fires in any war zone are very fragile.

But we could also be seeing the fact that Russians, some of them -- some of the units don't even know where they are in the country. And there's a lack of good communications, good command and control.

We've seen some evidence of that in their lack of progress, taking more territory. So it could be just what happens in a war zone; the combatants don't trust each other, especially when you have so many on the Ukrainian side.

Or it could be the Russians are saying one thing to look reasonable, while they're just proceeding, trying to terrorize as many civilians on the ground, flushing them out of the country.

COLLINS: Not making themselves look too reasonable if that is their goal.

Colonel, yesterday there was a call where President Zelenskyy was on the phone with U.S. senators and I was told by a lawmaker later on, he was basically begging for help, securing more aircraft, saying, if you're not going to help with the no-fly zone, at least help me get more aircraft on the ground.

How likely is that, how critical is that to them being able to continue to hold off this Russian incoming?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: So Kaitlan, it's, I think, getting more and more likely that they're going to be delivering some of the former Soviet fighters; in other words, fighters built under the Soviet Union, which are still parts of the Polish and Romanian air forces.

There are about 70 aircraft total in that category as far as I know, 27 of which are in Poland. It would be a critical step for Ukrainians to get these aircraft. They're familiar with how to fly them. They understand the avionics associated with those aircraft. And they could be effectively used against many of the Russian aircraft.

The one big caveat, though, Kaitlan, these are older Soviet-era aircraft. The Russians have more modern aircraft they've built since then. That may be a challenge for the Ukrainian air force here.

COLLINS: The problem is also just getting them to them. That's been the problem, getting aid there. That's another difficulty.

How do they go about getting planes into Ukraine?

LEIGHTON: That's right. They would have to fly them to Ukraine and that is a very vulnerable point in the transfer process. And it would be an area where the Russians could potentially interdict them and prevent them from actually being part of the Ukrainian air force.


LEIGHTON: And that is something they would certainly have to guard against. COLLINS: And, Kim, we saw something fascinating yesterday, where this

decoupling of the Russian economy from the rest of the world, now MasterCard and Visa suspending network operations in Russia, basically severing cardholders from transactions outside the country.

Russia is basically being cut off from the global economy right now.

DOZIER: A cut-off in a way that it's never been before. You could say cynically the U.S., NATO, the European nations decided to stand back and allow this invasion to take place because it has united the world as never before against a revanchist Russia that's been doing these kinds of actions but not to this scale in other parts of the globe.

But Putin yesterday said he considered sanctions an act of war.

So when is he going to take that new definition he's issued forward in terms of action?

Does that mean that Russian jets that regularly harass NATO aircraft, are they going to get more dangerous?

Are they going to lock on targets on U.S. or NATO aircraft?

Putin is moving the goalposts as this pressure increases on him so we could get to the point where it doesn't matter that NATO didn't establish a no-fly zone. Putin is going to seek some sort of armed confrontation.

COLLINS: I think that raises the big question of how he would respond if these planes are supplied to Ukraine. One other question when it comes to the economy there, the Russian stock market has not opened this week.

Is that something that's sustainable for Putin?

DOZIER: Likely not. But you know, he's in a situation right now, where he's passed new laws that means, if anyone protests, they face 15 years or more in prison. So he's already taken steps to lock down his society.

I think the Russian economy is going to go into a deep freeze. The ordinary people are going to suffer first. The oligarchs, people like Putin, they have a certain amount OS insulation.

But remember how it hit our economy?

As weeks of this march on, it's going to get harder and harder to stamp down the unrest of people who can't get enough food, can't keep the lights on as this drags on.

COLLINS: Yes, that's not just an issue the Russians are having but Ukrainians as well.

Colonel Leighton, one last question for you. You saw the Israeli prime minister Bennett traveling in a surprise trip to Moscow yesterday for a meeting with Putin, that we were told lasted for about 3 hours. But not a ton of details.

Zelenskyy said Bennett called him after the meeting happened and he basically said they continue the dialogue.

I wonder what you think is the benefit of these conversations, given Putin flat out denies the invasion is happening, even though the world is watching it happen.

LEIGHTON: I think the big thing here is at least they're trying to give Putin an off-ramp if he chooses it. But it's all in Putin's court. He's not only moving the goalposts, he's changing the definition of the terms we're familiar with.

So it's going to be his decision whether to stop the invasion. If he does stop, it would be thanks to the efforts of the Israeli prime minister and others.

COLLINS: President Biden right now says they have no plans for him to speak to President Putin. Kim, Colonel Leighton, thanks for getting up with us this morning and for your very important analysis of everything that's happening.

LEIGHTON: You bet.

SANCHEZ: Facing a third week of Russian airstrikes, thousands of Ukrainians are being forced to leave their country.

But what happens if you can't get out and you decide to stay?

Coming up, we'll speak to a mom in that situation, hunkered down amid war. Stay with us.





SANCHEZ: We're just about 33 minutes past the hour. And this morning we learn Ukrainian and Russian negotiators are set to resume talks tomorrow, as concerns grow that Russian forces are carrying out war crimes.

Russian officials say evacuation corridors out of Mariupol are set to reopen today. But the mayor says the city has no power or water. He said people are drinking out of puddles in the streets. They also, he says, have no way to collect and account for the dead.

COLLINS: Ukrainian officials say Russian soldiers took over a psychiatric hospital north of Kyiv yesterday to attack Ukrainian forces nearby. Hundreds of patients were still inside the building at the time. And they later left the hospital. CNN's Scott McLean joins us now from a train station in Lviv.

Scott, what are you seeing on the ground this morning?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kaitlan. Yes. We've already had well over a million people flee the country and it seems like the pace of the evacuations is only starting to pick up.

This is the central train station in Lviv. This is a lineup to get in the door. All of these people are in the line for a train to Poland. I'll walk you along the line.

The line looks a little different today than it has in other days.


MCLEAN: First of all, there was never a line to get in before. There weren't that many people. Now it seems the volume has really increased over the last couple of days.

The other thing you'll notice is there are hardly any men. Ukrainian men aren't even trying. Many of the foreigners have left. You're left with almost entirely women and children.

The stories that you hear are certainly not unique. They're being repeated hundreds of thousands of times, with all these people fleeing. We met one woman who fled from Lugansk in 2014 and now she's left Kyiv.

The list goes on and on. People here want to get out. Even in Lviv, which is relatively safe at this point, people simply do not feel safe enough. They don't trust that Putin won't come here as well eventually. So they're not taking any chances.

One thing I'll show you really quickly, that's across the street. You see the tents set up, all of this is humanitarian aid. Food, hot drinks, clothing. There are also line for the buses. Not everyone trying to get out by train. A lot trying to get on buses, any way they possibly can. Kaitlan.

COLLINS: It's so stunning to see, they're truly carrying everything they own. Scott McLean, thank you so much for being on the ground for us.

SANCHEZ: This morning we've seen what it's like for those fleeing Ukraine. Now we want to look at those who are staying behind.

The mayor of the city of Kherson tells CNN that Russian troops are everywhere after taking over the city. The occupation has forced a lot of residents to go into hiding.

COLLINS: Including Oleksandra Zhovtyuk. She's a mother of three, who's been hunkered down with her family in her grandmother's home.

Thank you so much for joining us this morning, given everything you've been through. You have three children. You've been in this apartment.

Can you tell us what it's been like for the last several days? OLEKSANDRA ZHOVTYUK, UKRAINIAN CITIZEN: Hello. It's been like a nightmare, I think. Every day I wake up and I think, no, it can't be happening right now, you know. It's like a terrible dream. But it is. It's our reality for now. So we're just like trying to, you know, take ourselves and be brave, patient and praying all the time. (INAUDIBLE).

SANCHEZ: Oleksandra, I can see you with your little ones.

What have they asked you?

ZHOVTYUK: Do they know what you're enduring right now?

My oldest child is 7 years old. So, yes, she understands everything. She's like, you know, worried all the time. She wakes up at night. The first couple of days, we stayed at my grandma's house. And they were bombed everywhere.

This area was a very, very volatile situation over there. So we heard everything. So she was terrified.

But my middle child, she's 4 years old. She doesn't understand. She thinks it's a game. I'm talking to her, like she needs to listen to me and all this stuff. And she's running around and it's OK. Because I don't want her to be in stress all the time.

And my youngest son, he's 1 years old. He's sleeping, by the way, right now. He doesn't understand anything. But I think he feels something's going on because he's not sleeping very well. But I'm hoping my kids will forget about this like a nightmare, I'm hoping so much.

COLLINS: You're there with a 7-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 1-year- old.

Can you tell us, what are you doing when it comes to basic supplies like food?

Have you been able to leave to get more food or what are you guys doing about that?

ZHOVTYUK: The most horrible thing right now is we are occupied and we're isolated from the whole country. So they don't let Ukrainian people to bring food to our city. So there's not much left in the stores.

I managed to buy -- when all this started, I'm like, oh, my God, there might be no water, so I need to buy something that cooks very fast for kids, like cans, you know, kids' porridge or whatever. So I bought as much as I could. But I was one person, me, in the store. I couldn't carry a lot of things.


ZHOVTYUK: So now we have food but I don't know for how long this will last. Maybe like for a week or so. There are seven people here. We all have to eat. We're just hoping and praying something will come up and they will at least let Ukrainians bring us food to Kherson at least and medical supplies.

People don't have medicines they need because everything is sold out.

SANCHEZ: Oleksandra, have you had any contact with the Russian troops in the area?

Have you had interactions with them and, if so, what have they been like?

ZHOVTYUK: I didn't actually, because we don't go far away from here, from the district. We're not allowed to go far, only to the store.

My best friend's mom, she passed away and she couldn't even come to say goodbye to her in another district, no, because they don't let cars drive through the town right now.

But I know people are trying to help others, like volunteers if I say it correctly. They're trying to drive. They stop them. Over time, they check the cars. I only heard them when they were bombing the bridge. It's like downtown Kherson, when we stayed at my mom's house (INAUDIBLE).

COLLINS: Oleksandra, just to see what you're juggling with these three small children with you, so many of your family members, it's just -- it's unbelievable to see. And your strength is amazing.

We really do appreciate you coming on to tell our audience what it's like and what so many of you are living through right now. So thank you for joining us this morning.

ZHOVTYUK: Thank you, too.

COLLINS: Many of you want to know how you can help those who are impacted by this Russian invasion. For more information about humanitarian efforts, you can go to Those are organizations vetted by CNN.

You know you can donate them and they can help people like Oleksandra and other people who are in need, of course, as this is going on. We'll be right back.





SANCHEZ: We're continuing to follow the breaking news out of Eastern Europe. A third round of talks between Ukraine and Russia set to take place tomorrow. It comes as we're seeing new video from the city of Irpin, just on the outskirts of Kyiv.

You see jets and then hear an explosion and then see plumes of black smoke, heavy damage all around the capital city. We're seeing disturbing photos of the human toll this is taking. We

want to warn you this may be difficult to watch.

An 18-month-old boy being carried to the hospital in Ukraine, badly hurt by shelling as the Russians pounded the city of Mariupol. Sadly, we learned the small boy passed away.

Scenes like this playing out all over Ukraine. Joining us now is Nataliya Gumenyuk, an independent journalist. She's also the author of "Lost Island: Tales from the Occupied Crimea."

Thank you for sharing part of your day with us. I learn that you just left Kyiv a couple of days ago to help and evacuate people. You've been documenting a lot of what's been happening there. I want to know how you're doing and what you're seeing as you've left Kyiv.

NATALIYA GUMENYUK, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: Hi, so I had to leave. There were people who couldn't go without me. I'm trying to be back as soon as possible. I'm a journalist. So I'm in better shape than a lot of us, a lot of Ukrainians.

But I'm in touch with most of the journalists. You talk about the European -- my closest colleague was filming from there and can reconfirm and she sends me this video that people were trying to leave and be evacuated from those small towns.

But there was shelling. So the biggest moment now is -- and the biggest task, that's what Ukrainians try to do, is create these green corridors. Another friend confirmed another person has been killed, driving in a civilian car, very similar to the neighboring town you just showed.

So that's now the new moment, when the civilians are really, really targeted, especially in the situation where there is fighting. I'm speaking about being targeted by the Russian troops.

SANCHEZ: Nataliya, we've heard similar reports. Earlier this hour, we were speaking to one of our reporters, who was walking through an area that was decimated. And he said there was no military target there, just homes.

What's your reaction to the accusations that the Kremlin is not targeting, that they're not discriminating between the military and targets?

GUMENYUK: I talked to my very close colleague, who I can trust, based in Kharkiv, a sociologist, a very calm, well-informed person, who really explained to me in details, the civilian areas indeed were targeted, houses, sport complex, zoo.

But first of all he described a story where there was a queue, the line of people who got out of their basement and got in a line to go to the pharmacy. That has been shelled.

And the center -- the downtown of Kharkiv is partially destroyed. And it's clear there are civilians, targets. And the task is really to terrorize the people, to make the Ukrainian government and (INAUDIBLE) to succumb because it's really the strategy to cover the towns with airstrikes. So their call is to close the skies.


GUMENYUK: But my colleague provides the most factual information I can say.

SANCHEZ: Nataliya, I can tell, as a journalist, you're trained to be objective and emotional about what you're documenting. But I find that very difficult at a time where you're watching your homeland turn to rubble.

And I'm wondering how that affects you personally, to watch the places you grew up in, the places that you're emotionally attached to, get decimated.

GUMENYUK: Look, it's indeed very hard because, at this stage, having this 10 days of the war, I myself know people who died. I know the houses where I've been and they've been destroyed. I know so many people already who have been targeted.

Every journalist has a family or needed somebody to move. The situation is difficult. You know, I'd rather reach my home in Kyiv because it's situated in the area in which it's hard to get into. So it's really very -- it's still very hard.

It's hard listening to the voices of a colleague. Another colleague was in that small town with his girlfriend in the bunker. And we were trying to understand whether he's alive or not.

That's really kind of this new reality to everybody of us, because I think a lot of foreign reporters were in Kyiv like 10 days ago. And they couldn't understand. It was a perfectly peaceful town.

And we're speaking now also about the whole country, you know. So many towns where it's really important to reach them out, which are in a more vulnerable position. The bigger problem is reaching the pharmacies. In some of them, there won't be electricity, water. And it's something we expect that might happen to the capital, Kyiv, in some time.

SANCHEZ: Nataliya Gumenyuk, you're so courageous. We appreciate your work and what you're doing, reporting and bearing witness. Thank you so much for the time.

GUMENYUK: Thank you.

COLLINS: The war in Ukraine is also having very real impacts here in the United States. Gas prices are spiking across all 50 states and it's likely to get worse as the crisis deepens. That story is just ahead as "NEW DAY" continues.




COLLINS: The impact of the Russian invasion is having ripple effects around the world with oil prices climbing as the crisis deepens.

SANCHEZ: Here in the U.S., the recent spike marks the biggest jump since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. CNN's Camila Bernal has more.

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris, Kaitlan, these prices continue to go up. At this gas station here behind me, people are paying $6.95 for regular gas and $7.55 for that premium gas.

The reaction you get from people is just shock. You do have to keep in mind that California prices are higher than any other state in the nation. We have already surpassed that $5 average.

But we do expect for the U.S. to see that $4 average very soon. We're just cents away from that number. And, in part, it is because Russia is a major oil producer and Ukraine, a key energy transit hub.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, we've seen prices go up by 37 cents. In just the past two days, prices going up by 19 cents. And that makes a huge difference for Americans and those who rely on gas for their jobs, like rideshare drivers, for example.

I talked to Benjamin Valdez (ph). He drives at least three days a week. Here's what he told me about those prices.


BENJAMIN VALDEZ (PH), RIDESHARE DRIVER: I was putting in probably around $60 for a full tank. Now it's climbed up to about $90. If I drive 200 miles, I'm spending $50 in gas. And if I make $150-200 in that night, I'm paying at least a third in gas.


BERNAL: He says this makes a huge difference for his budget and life in general. It's not just rideshare drivers, but anyone who gets into a car is feeing the difference. The worrisome part is it could get worse.

COLLINS: It could get worse as lawmakers are pushing for sanctions on Russian energy.

Coming up in the next hour of "NEW DAY," we'll discuss that and go live to the Polish-Ukrainian border, where thousands of refugees are arriving every single day. This as we're hearing from the Israeli prime minister Bennett, fresh from his three-hour meeting with Russian President Putin and he's not sounding optimistic about the path ahead.