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CNN Live Event/Special
Putin Says Invasion Going As Planned Amid Rising Death Toll; Russia Cuts Key Ukrainian City Off From The World; U.S. Is Imposing New Sanctions On Russian Oligarchs; U.S. Military Establishes Communications Line With Russia; Kyiv Residents Brace For Arrival Of Huge Russian Convoy; Refugees Flee To Hungary As Russia Intensifies Attacks; Russian Stocks Plunge. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired March 03, 2022 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everybody. We continue our coverage. Live from CNN London, I'm Hala Gorani. Welcome to our second hour of our special coverage out of Ukraine.
The country is making a desperate new appeal for help as Russia presses ahead with those blistering attacks, insisting the invasion is going to plan, that's the view from Russia.
Cities across Ukraine are coming under fire. Officials say at least 33 people were killed in airstrikes in one northern city today, but some of the heaviest fighting is happening in the South as Russia battles for control of key ports, including Mariupol. The city is surrounded essentially, it is cut off from power, from heat. It's leading the mayor to warn of a humanitarian catastrophe.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky is again, urging NATO to impose a no-fly zone. He says Ukraine is the defense between Russia and civilization.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): If we cease to exist, God forbid, Latvia will be next. Remember this meeting -- Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Moldova, Georgia, Poland all the way to the Berlin Wall.
Believe me, the world must show its strength.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: CNN's Alex Marquardt is live in the Kyiv region tonight.
Alex, let me ask you about the latest in the Russian advances in the south in particular, but also those strikes on apartment blocks, civilian apartment blocks not too far from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes,
that's in an area called Borodyanka. It's about 30 miles or 50 kilometers northwest of the capital, Kyiv. And it really just goes to show you, Hala, how much civilians are being impacted by this.
The Kremlin has, of course, said time and time again, that civilians are not being targeted, that civilian areas are not being attacked. That is clearly not the case.
In this area, which again, is on the outskirts of Kyiv, you can see these huge residential buildings that have just been destroyed. A lot of them have just been turned into debris, the rest just blackened by those strikes. There is a hole that's just been punched through at least one of those complexes.
The Foreign Minister of Ukraine said that over the course of two days, many people died. So that just goes to show you that Russia does -- is hitting the civilian areas quite hard. And there are reports like that, from all across the country.
Going to the south, what is happening there is extremely important because you have the city of Kherson, which is the first city to a fallen to the Russians. The mayor there saying that the administrative building has been taken over, that citizens should listen to the Russian troops, that the Ukrainian forces are no longer in town.
They have warned of Russian looting and a humanitarian catastrophe. And that city, Kherson is on the way to Odessa, which of course is a major port town on the Black Sea.
And then if you just go to the east of there, you have Mariupol, which you mentioned, another key important port city at that time on the Sea of Azov, and there has long been speculation that President Putin wants to seize more Ukrainian land and connect Crimea, which he took in 2014 with the rest of western Russia by creating this land bridge, that would go straight through Mariupol.
So officials in Mariupol, saying they are surrounded that power and water and other things have been cut off, that they are suffering from nonstop shelling and again, that there is a humanitarian disaster there underway.
So some very disturbing news coming from the south, but also from the north where towns and cities continue to get pummeled by the Russians -- Hala.
GORANI: And if we look at the south, what are -- how can the Ukrainian forces present there defend these cities when they're encircled like Mariupol and others? Do they have the type of defensive weaponry that they need to push the Russians away? Because it seems as though the Russians are really closing in on some of these key towns and cities?
MARQUARDT: Well, if there's anywhere in Ukraine that is used to fighting, it is in the East.
I mean, that is where most of the fight -- all of the fighting has taken place over the course of the past eight years. I remember back in 2014, we had those two enclaves that broke away, Luhansk and Donetsk, those were just recognized as independent by Vladimir Putin. He has been supporting fighters in those areas.
MARQUARDT: He has been sending his own forces into those areas, but they have been -- they have faced off against Ukrainian forces who are in trenches for the past eight years, and we have seen the support of those forces from the Americans, from the rest of NATO who have been sending them weaponry both, say anti-tank missiles for ground vehicles, as well as stingers for Russian planes and helicopters, of course, that has picked up in recent days since this invasion started.
So you have seen this influx of weaponry. You have seen a lot of training, it should be said. A lot of those forces have been trained by NATO forces. Ukraine has a good level of Special Forces as well.
But at the same time, they are fighting this fight by themselves. They are the only forces on the ground. NATO has said clearly that they do not plan to join in this fight. And that is, Hala, why you've heard President Zelensky say, yes, we have formidable Armed Forces, but at the same time, we need to have this generalization. Every man between 18 and 60 needs to stay in Ukraine. Every man and woman who wants to pick up a weapon can and they're asking foreigners, non-Ukrainians to come here and fight. They've actually created a formal International Legion.
So they have done quite well against the Russian forces in the past week. They have kept them at bay in a lot of different cities. But they know that Russia is just an overwhelming military force and Ukraine needs all the help it can get.
GORANI: Alex Marquardt, thanks very much live in the Kyiv region.
Now, civilian casualties are rising in Ukraine. You saw some of these images of devastated apartment blocks not too far from Kyiv. The country's Emergency Service said Wednesday that more than 2,000 civilians have been killed since Russian forces invaded last week.
The U.N. has recorded 752 deaths as of Tuesday night, though it notes the real number is most likely much higher. The U.N. admits it is struggling to confirm reports and keep up with ongoing battles. That's how quickly things are unfolding.
And as attacks intensify, the U.N. now says one million refugees have fled to neighboring countries. The U.N. spokesperson says that number could grow to 10 million if the fighting continues.
Life has become brutal in Mariupol in the Southeast of Ukraine. The city is under siege as we've been discussing with Alex and our other reporters, facing increasingly heavy bombardment from Russian forces. Four hundred thousand residents are battling freezing temperatures and basic necessities. Heat, electricity, water are cut off.
Mariupol's Deputy Mayor Sergei Orlov spoke with CNN. He said his people have faced 26 hours of continuous shelling and he described what it's been like there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGEI ORLOV, DEPUTY MAYOR, MARIUPOL: The Russian Army, so their style of war is to make humanitarian crisis. For example, we do not have electricity in whole city, we do not have water supply, we do not have sanitary system, and we do not have heat.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Deputy Mayor, how many civilians have been killed?
ORLOV: Totally, the true information that we do not know how many because we cannot collect all the bodies and we cannot count. We know that it goes to 200 victims of this war. We'll see dozens because shelling goes to houses to kindergartens to hospitals to schools.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: They can't give you an accurate number because they can't retrieve all the bodies. Oleksander Danylyuk served as Ukraine's National Security Chief and Finance Minister. He joins me now live from Kyiv. Thanks for being with us.
I see you're wearing military fatigues. Are you part of the territorial fighting forces of Ukraine? Are you -- have you picked up a weapon now?
OLEKSANDR DANYLYUK, FORMER UKRAINE NATIONAL SECURITY CHIEF AND FINANCE MINISTER: Yes. Yes, yes. So firstly, yes. As there are thousands and thousands of Ukrainians dead.
GORANI: Yes. What's it like now the situation for you and others who have decided to fight in Kyiv?
DANYLYUK: Well, we understand that it is not the only about Kyiv, but we understand all around the country, that this is -- it is only up to us to stop the Russian aggression. And if we resist, we can also rely on the support of the West and the fact that we resisted Russia so strongly for the eight days already that I think impressed everyone and you know, respect towards Ukrainians now around the globe.
DANYLYUK: And we receiving serious support now, first of all military support, financial support, but you know, unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that it's still up to us, you know everyone person matters who have weapons and who defend their country at the moment, whether in Kyiv, Kharkiv or Mykolaiv, Odessa, it doesn't matter. We are all one team.
GORANI: How do you defend yourselves against the type of assault we're seeing in the South? Mariupol is surrounded. We have another city that's fallen. A village not too far from Kharkiv completely decimated, one of our affiliate reporters said that eight bombs fell on it from the air from Russian fighter jets. How do you defend against this? DANYLYUK: Well, you know, I think what the lesson is for our western
friends, you know, who were adoring Russian culture, ballet, you know, this paintings, and Russia was presenting themselves as the cutting edge of the culture. And now, they are real barbarians, they show their real face.
They come, they have killed civilians, they have killed -- destroy the cities -- historical cities, just leveled them down. This is their real face.
And you know, when they go through the cities like Kherson, for example, and in the dark, what they do is basically destroy everything on their way, just leave then hundreds of soldiers and then move away. They don't care about the civilians, how are they going to live? How are they going to survive?
It's a behavior. It's like the Tatar Mongols or Huns we're doing, were destroying -- superior to the civilizations to them. So it is really difficult to fight this war, really difficult.
And at the end of the day, what would help us is the continuous supply of weapons. We have enough soldiers, we have enough that territorial defense fighters who, provided they have good weapons, they could stop Russia.
They can, you know, inflict very serious -- we can inflict very serious damages.
GORANI: Are you getting those weapons? Are they arriving?
DANYLYUK: Shooting down tanks, shooting down planes.
GORANI: I understand. I imagine that you would need -- you would need probably anti-tank missiles, surface-to-air weaponry, that type of thing. Are they arriving at the speed that you would like?
DANYLYUK: Yes, they are arriving they're not quickly distributed across the whole country where they need it. For example, I went through the training of using these three types of anti-tank already so I'm ready to perform my duty, but you know, the new weapons are coming and many more Ukrainians needs to be trained to use them.
For example, in some areas of Ukraine, we still don't get this anti- tank. But I think the key point now is air supremacy. We still have you know -- our aviation really makes a difference, and Russia is determined to get the supremacy.
The only way to not be allowed to do it is to actually provide Ukraine was the aircrafts. Military aircrafts and helicopters, that's what we need now, in order to have chance to stop this Russian Army.
GORANI: What do you make of those reports, and we see a lot of video as well shared on social media of Russian soldiers who are complaining that they haven't been fed in days, some of them breaking down, crying and calling their parents in Russia; others claiming that they were never told what the mission was, that they thought they were going to training exercise and then they suddenly ended up inside of Ukraine.
Do you think that morale on the Russian Army is low?
DANYLYUK: Well, first of all, don't forget what you are mentioning now is, it is not that they like on their own initiative, crying on social media. No, they've been captured. They are in captivity, and they basically were offered to say to their relatives that actually they were captured and they are trying to portray that they are totally innocent.
What is absolutely clear to me is, with so many people being captured, with so many Russians to be killed by now, it clearly will affect their morale one way or another. Whether they know or knew they were coming or they didn't know. It doesn't matter, right?
At the moment their morale is being affected, and so I think it will be more difficult for Russia to kind of mobilize more forces, although they are doing it now, as you know, they enforce the -- tomorrow, the martial law across Russia.
DANYLYUK: So basically they show -- they are mobilize more troops, but I can tell you that people, for example, we had a conversation, my mom had a conversation with one of our relatives in Russia, and actually, they were scared you know, that their children will be mobilized and sent to Ukraine because they already learned that they will be killed here. There is a higher risk of them being killed.
And this is spreading across Russia, and this is good. This is good that despite the Russian propaganda, getting the truth, and the truth is not very bright to them.
GORANI: And just one last quick question. What do you -- you mentioned relatives in Russia that your mother had, what do you think would stop Putin now? Could anything stop Putin short of a military response? Could these sanctions, you know, closing off the economy, not allowing the Central Bank to raise funds? You know kicking some banks out of SWIFT. Is that is that going to do it or not?
DANYLYUK: Those are very important sanctions, but they will not stop aggression. But it doesn't mean that those sanctions should not be applied. No, SWIFT cutting -- all banks need to be cut, but not you know as of end of March but immediately. Though such like very strong economic sanctions needs to be imposed, but we need to be absolutely you know, honest with ourselves that it will not stop the aggression.
What could stop the aggression is, oh my goodness, I don't know how to say it, but I think it's only Ukrainian can stop the aggression now. We will have to pay the heavy price of our lives to stop him now until this actually start to work.
What also could stop the aggression is the heavy -- is the weapons that we could receive from the West -- airplanes, helicopters, we need pilots. We need actually the West.
Finally, not just you know, trying to kind of sympathize, but support us like they are us. Right? That's what we need, because we are all confronting the very large and barbarian army that is ready to destroy everything on their way.
So we need to be fully alarmed to do this. So sorry, armed to do this function, to do the job.
GORANI: And you're ready to fight Oleksandr Danylyuk. You're ready to fight yourself.
DANYLYUK: Of course I am, and like many others, and that's actually, you know, I'm very proud to be Ukrainian. I'm very proud to see friends around me and people who I have never met before who are equally determined to basically fight until death for the victory and being in victory. We really care about that.
GORANI: Oleksandr Danylyuk, thank you very much for joining us, live in Kyiv. We appreciate you coming on.
DANYLYUK: Thank you. More for Ukraine.
GORANI: Thank you so much. Just such a tragic situation for that country. And civilians -- civilians dying. We're seeing civilian apartment blocks getting hit, so it is happening in Ukraine.
Still to come tonight, the White House has announced new sanctions targeting Russian oligarchs and their families.
Details about President Biden's Cabinet meeting coming up stay with us.
GORANI: The U.S. is imposing new sanctions on Russian oligarchs, their family members, and what it describes as disinformation outlets directed by Russian Intelligence.
Moments ago, President Joe Biden says he will -- he said he will ban more than 50 oligarchs, their families, and their close associates from traveling to the U.S. He said the sanctions were working so far.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The severe economic sanctions on Putin, and all those folks around him, choking off access to technology as well as cutting off access to the global financial system. It has had a profound impact already.
And the goal was to maximize the impact on Putin and Russia and minimize the harm on us and our allies and friends around the world.
Our interest is to maintain the strongest unified economic impact campaign on Putin in all of history, and I think we're well underway to doing that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Well, Phil Mattingly joins us now from the White House with more. So these are increased sanctions. The White House believes that this will be effective in forcing Putin to reverse course, what's the ultimate objective of this? And because this is a long timeline, presumably?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, I think a great way to look at this is through what they actually want as the outcome here. When you talk to White House officials, they're very candid, they don't believe that this is going to dramatically shift President Putin's behavior. And to some degree, that isn't the intent in terms of how they've been laid out in the wake of the invasion.
Remember, no sanctions were deployed before the invasion, they were always viewed as a potential to turn, but more importantly, something that could impose significant costs over time.
Obviously, time is not something Ukrainians have at this point in time, but this is the way at least from a unified coalition perspective that the U.S., the E.U., the U.K., and others feel like they can have the most dramatic effect without deploying U.S. military assets, which obviously the President has taken off the table.
Now, the round that was announced today is targeting specific individuals, eight of the wealthiest individuals in Russia, government officials, as well, but perhaps most importantly, their family members.
This is a shift in terms of strategy, when it comes to sanctioning individuals that the U.S. has deployed specifically for this campaign, because they believe they've seen in the past when oligarchs or Russian officials are sanctioned that they will transfer their assets to family members.
Now, those family members are also targets. And I think when you look at this through the broad lens of things, it is not that these individual sanctions, even if some of President Putin's closest allies, President Putin himself last week are going to change the dynamics.
But what they are going to do is increase pressure, pressure that I think is more acutely felt on the economy at this point. You saw the Central Bank sanctions that were put in place, not just by the U.S., by the E.U., and the U.K., and others. Also, the individual financial institutions, the export controls that will severely limit technology that's desperately needed through their defense, their aerospace industries as well.
So I think you look at it as a multi layered approach that is clearly having a near-term dramatic effect on the Russian economy, but also long term will choke off kind of for a low productivity country, really key elements of how Russia exists and operates on a day-to-day basis.
But to your broader question, Hala, is this going to change Putin's calculations? I don't think anybody in the White House right now thinks that's going to be the case. But they do believe particularly since it's not just the U.S. on a unilateral basis, it is all of these countries imposing these sanctions on individuals and entities combined, that it will have a dramatic effect, both in the near term and over time on the Russian economy and how Putin is able to operate.
GORANI: All right, Phil Mattingly, thanks very much.
Russia's super rich are feeling the bite of western sanctions today. France says this mega yacht is owned by the CEO of the state-owned Russian oil company, Rosneft. It was seized by customs this morning.
GORANI: Natasha Bertrand joins me from Brussels with more on these pretty significant moves to go after oligarch assets -- Natasha.
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right. It's been a significant priority for the U.S. and Europe in recent days and weeks to go after their stuff, right, to basically take away their assets so that the U.S. and Europe send this very strong message that they cannot get away with being sanctioned and also continuing to reap these kind of ill-begotten gains for their own kind of, you know, joy -- joy rides, for example, on these yachts and in their mansions.
So what they're trying to do now is they're actually taking steps to seize those assets. We saw that earlier today, France announced that it was seizing a yacht owned by Igor Sechin, who is the CEO of Rosneft, a very, very close ally of Vladimir Putin and has been in his side for decades.
Germany also seized a yacht belonging to another Putin-linked billionaire, and that is worth -- that yacht alone is worth about $600 million. So the E.U. and the U.S. taking steps here to hold these oligarchs accountable, hoping that it will affect Vladimir Putin's decision making, because those oligarchs obviously have a lot of influence over the Kremlin.
The U.S. has also taken steps to do this, earlier this week announcing an initiative by the Justice Department called KleptoCapture and promising via that Task Force to kind of hunt down the assets that these oligarchs hold, and then seizing them. Again, all in an attempt to kind of hold them accountable.
So this is a shift that we have seen. We have not seen this in the past. They have sanctioned oligarchs, of course, previously. Some of the sanctioned oligarchs by the U.S. that have been sanctioned by the U.S. today have been sanctioned previously, including Yevgeny Prigozhin who ran that infamous troll farm in 2016 that interfered in the U.S. elections, but kind of going after their family members, going after their assets, actually taking away their things, their play things here. That, they believe is going to have a significant impact on their
lifestyle, and that in turn, hopefully will have -- will put a dent in the Russian economy and also show Putin that the U.S. and the West are really not messing around here.
GORANI: All right, Natasha Bertrand in Brussels. Thanks very much.
It has been a game changing week for Russia's richest. They have built billion dollar fortunes on close ties to the Kremlin. Now, those ties have turned toxic.
Chelsea FC's billionaire owner, Roman Abramovich is selling off the football team. As British sanctions loom, he says this is quote: "In the best interests of the club."
Joining me as Glenn Hubbard, he is the former Chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisers. Thanks for joining us.
What impact did you think these sanctions, the seizure for instance of mega yachts, and the freezing of assets and bank accounts of Russian billionaires abroad will have on this -- on Vladimir Putin's war effort? How much of a bite, how much of a sting, do you think?
GLENN HUBBARD, FORMER CHAIR OF THE PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: Well, I think they have a very significant sting. They basically disable the domestic banking system from payments, from providing credit to smaller businesses.
President Putin would still be able to use energy cash to recycle in his domestic economy. Those are not covered, another topic, maybe for sanctions. But these are absolutely devastating for the Russian economy.
The real question, of course, is political. At what point do Russian people harmed by sanctions take action internally and that no one knows.
GORANI: Is it possible that Putin sort of has internalized, has already counted on some of these sanctions, and therefore is willing to endure a bit of economic pain to continue this expansionist aggression against his neighbor, Ukraine?
HUBBARD: I think that's possible, but I think he may have miscalculated. I think there have been an impression that all of the Central Bank reserves would be available to President Putin. That, of course, has not been the case with sanctions. I think he thought he had a perhaps warmer financial reception from China than he presently has.
So I think there's probably a miscalculation there. But the issue isn't President Putin in pain, I'm not sure he personally will feel much pain. The issue is whether popular pain for small business people, for average people whose economic aspirations or trust are trumped. At what point do they say no?
GORANI: So if, you know, let's imagine just this dream scenario where Vladimir Putin decides to turn away, to withdraw his troops from Ukraine and some of these sanctions are dropped, I mean, the kind of damage that is being done to the economy, how long lasting can it be?
HUBBARD: Actually quite long lasting and your question raises an important point, at what point would sanctions be withdrawn? We don't really know a definition either from the Russian side or from the West.
Even if sanctions were to be withdrawn, there's now a probability of such sanctions coming back. And that's going to be built into risk premia for Russian assets. So Russia may have financial markets that are pretty close to noninvestable by the West.
GORANI: Glenn Hubbard, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate your time.
Still to come, Vladimir Putin gives his assessment of Russia's war against Ukraine. We'll go live to Moscow to discuss why his views of reality seem so different from so many others and from what's happening on the ground in some cases. We'll be right back.
GORANI: Even as U.S. officials are saying that Russian forces appear to have stalled in their advance toward Kyiv, the Russian president Vladimir Putin is insisting that his invasion of Ukraine is, in fact, going just fine.
Mr. Putin convened his security council on Thursday to discuss the war, all remote, as you can see there. No need for the super long table. And he claimed Russia's forces are, in fact, meeting their military goals.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Dear comrades, I would like to say the special military operation in Ukraine is going according to plan in strict accordance with the schedule. All tasks are being successfully carried out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: While news just into CNN, the U.S. and Russia have established a communications channel to avoid conflict near Ukraine. The line will allow the two sides to notify each other of potential operations. Let's turn to CNN's Nic Robertson in Moscow.
How does that work?
Because obviously the U.S. is not involved in Ukraine militarily. What does this deconfliction channel hope to avoid?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, there's a deconfliction channel the U.S. and Russia use in Syria, because they're both using the airspace there and it's been necessary to, you know, prevent misunderstandings of whose aircraft is going where and what its intentions are.
And this would appear to be a similar sort of thing, although one would expect NATO to be, you know, involved in this, because the United States would be operating within the sovereign territory of a partner NATO nations.
But this is very likely something that has been pushed for, because the reality is that, as the conflict continues to grow and unfold in Ukraine, the possibility of an action by either side -- and I think it's important to remember in this just how much the rhetoric has gone up here in Russia, from the leadership over the past few days in particular, just how strong it is.
They're comparing the United States, what United States is doing with Ukraine, to both Hitler and Napoleon in trying to, you know, in trying to invade Russia, really. So that rhetoric from the Russian leadership is really strong.
Now maybe the Russian leadership actually thinks about it in slightly more rational terms than that. But that's what's going to be in the minds of fighter pilots, flying close to the border.
So there's a real need to make sure accidents don't happen, that events don't get misinterpreted. And the way to do that is have a phone that you can pick up, that you know somebody will be at the other end of and say X, Y and Z is happening.
And they can redirect their aircraft or whatever it is. That's the principle of how these things are supposed to work.
GORANI: All right, thank you very much, Nic Robertson.
In the face of relentless shelling, U.N. estimating over 10 million people may end up fleeing their homes across Ukraine -- 10 million, including around 4 million, who may escape to neighboring countries.
The E.U. says it will give temporary protection to all refugees fleeing the conflict in what the bloc is calling a historic decision.
We'll have a lot more after a quick break. Kyiv is preparing for a major Russian attack. I'll speak with the youngest member of Ukraine's parliament, who has taken up arms as well. Stay with us.
GORANI: A huge convoy of Russian tanks and armored vehicles appeared to have stalled --
GORANI: -- about 30 kilometers outside of Kyiv.
Meanwhile, Ukrainians are getting ready to defend their capital. The U.K.'s defense ministry said the convoy, believed to be readying for an assault on the city, has made little discernible progress. But that doesn't mean the assault is over; obviously, far from it.
France, in fact, says the worst is yet to come for Ukraine. Macron spoke with Vladimir Putin today.
Russian forces are now just waging campaigns near Kyiv but in the south and southeast also as we mentioned earlier. If Russian forces capture the port city of Odessa, Moscow could make a land bridge all they way across southern Ukraine even to Moldova.
Sviatoslav Yurash represents the Servant of the People party in Ukraine's parliament and he joins me now live. He's the youngest parliament member in Kyiv.
You've taken up arms to defend your city, your life, in Kyiv right now. Talk to us about your state of mind right, now as you have this long column of Russian armored vehicles just outside the capital.
SVIATOSLAV YURASH, UKRAINIAN MP: Well, we are preparing everything we have for the defense of Kyiv, basically. It's a city of millions and it will take far more than a long column to destroy everybody here that armed themselves and brought themselves to the readiness level to try and face the Russian columns of whatever sort.
This column can be 40 kilometers long. But we are a nation of 40 million people. So it will take more than that to subdue us.
As far as Kyiv itself, the battles were happening in the outskirts in the recent days, to not allow Russians to block us flat out in the west and south. And we are basically make quite good progress there. We've taken back some of the towns they captured before and we basically willing to the whole supply route to the west.
GORANI: How worried are you that what the Russians are doing in Kharkiv, the other cities in the south, they will replicate on the capital?
That has to be in your mind, the airstrikes and the artillery, shelling in the center, not just the outskirts.
YURASH: Russians have done plenty around the world and when we look at city, for example, they have done there --
GORANI: Sadly -- oh, you're back. Go ahead.
YURASH: When I look at what they have done in city, what they have done there, what city is there, I see plenty that Russians can do to our cities. But I hope the world will wake up to a cold war, the clear skies over Ukraine, and essentially disallowing Russians to use airpower as they wish in terms of destroying cities, killing our children, killing our people and showing the world their true face.
Unfortunately, before the world gets that sacrifice, seems need to be -- changes need to be made, because no matter how many times we repeat that this is a humanitarian measure that would stop the instrument (ph) of killing, the world still doesn't want to apply a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
GORANI: Of course, the West is saying they won't apply a no-fly zone because it would mean potentially having to shoot down Russian planes. And that that would, you know, with a nuclear power, potentially cause a much bigger conflagration and conflict, that would engulf many more countries.
That is their argument for not wanting to impose a no-fly zone. But I've got to ask you, on a personal level, how -- you weren't expecting this just two weeks ago, yes, thinking, what, you're a politician, grabbing an AK-47 or an assault rifle or whatever.
How does it feel to have to do this to defend your homeland right now?
GORANI: How is it on an emotional level, I wonder?
YURASH: Well, when I look at Ukraine's history, I see a very difficult street path, my nation and my country. My great-grandfather went through Stalingrad and to -- went on to liberate Europe from Nazis.
My great-grandmother had lived through genocide and hunger (INAUDIBLE). (INAUDIBLE) much worse. And if our nation survived through Stalin it can survive through this.
The point is, it is our generation's task right now to safeguard what they conquer. So we are going to throw it away, to allow Putin's whims to the day. Again, it is our job, it is our task, with everything we have.
And believe me, I'm no soldier, my fighting skills here are rudimentary and they're getting better, sure. But they're far from a level which I can truly compete with any of the trained soldiers around me. But the point is to try and put, everything, everything we have on the table, because we need our nation.
YURASH: We need it to be independent, to be sovereign, to be truly able to define its own destiny. GORANI: Yes. And I imagine, I mean, like everyone else, you have
family, you worry about their safety. They worry about your safety as well.
How do you navigate this?
YURASH: The reality of it is that my family -- you've covered today that city with the nuclear power stations. That, in that city, a part of my family lives. And I was going to them today to ask the situation. They were there yesterday, when the cities, citizens, denizens of the city went out just with Ukrainian flags and no arms, to try and push the Russian forces away.
And today they are fighting it (INAUDIBLE) Russian shelling, (INAUDIBLE) quarters, shelling a town which has nuclear power stations, can threaten Europe with a nuclear accident that is waiting to be made.
The fact of the matter is Russians are not even looking at the reality of the situation. And it is essentially bringing us down to the point where the whole of Europe is threatened by the action to war here.
GORANI: I've got to ask one last question that I ask really anyone who is in your position, wanting to defend Ukraine against invaders.
What more do you want?
What's your message to those Western countries, that say they're coming to your aid with weapons, they're sanctioning regime officials and oligarchs?
What more do you need?
YURASH: First, Russia has broken every single rule there is in the international community in general. Every international law has been broken here in Ukraine. So this is not the first time. Russia has done it time and time again all over the world.
The point here is Russia does not deserve a place in any international conferences, institutions that exist. And Russia should be thrown out of all of them. And I very much welcome steps being made in that direction.
Second, is everything I think as a support for us is needed, is welcome and should be built up on. The reality is that, basically, for Ukraine, nothing is enough. We're fighting the world's second biggest army. And we very much appreciate everything you say, do, send. That is what we need right, now when our cities are being sieged, our people are getting killed and (INAUDIBLE) fight a war in defense of the world caring enough about our plight.
GORANI: All right, Sviatoslav Yurash, thank you very much for joining us. We wish you the best.
YURASH: Thank you very much.
GORANI: Still to come tonight, we will have a lot more. Of course, this is all having an impact on the economy, not just the Russian economy, economies around the world, we'll tell you the latest on what stock markets have been doing the last day or so. We'll be right back.
GORANI: So many of the million-plus refugees that fled Ukraine went to Hungary, where they said they have no idea when they'll be able to return home or if their home will be there when they get back. Ivan Watson is joining us from the Hungary-Ukraine border today -- Ivan.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, more than a million people fled across the borders within just a week. About 10 to 12 percent have fled the border here to Hungary.
And I think what's striking is they're almost all women and children and the elderly, because, of course, men have to stay behind, they're being ordered to stay behind to assist in the defense.
I want to introduce you to a Ukrainian family or part of one. This is Juliya Ruda from the city of Dnipro, and her 7-year-old daughter, Sasha.
What was your journey like?
What were the conditions like when you came to Hungary?
JULIYA RUDA, UKRAINIAN LAWYER: At the first day of the war, because of the explosion, we take a car. I take my mother and my husband, who joined us in Lviv. It was a terrible journey, more than 60 hours.
WATSON: In the car?
RUDA: In the car, yes. And we heard explosion. We stopped --
WATSON: Explosions, yes?
RUDA: Explosions, yes. We stopped somewhere for a little time. And then, two days ago, we cross point in (INAUDIBLE), yes.
WATSON: What is your family's plan now?
RUDA: My husband stay in Ukraine. I wanted to save, in the safe place, save my mother and daughter. And I will be back in Ukraine to my husband.
WATSON: You're going back to Ukraine?
WATSON: What is your plan then?
RUDA: I'm really -- I really think that Ukraine win all of this. And that's why we will back in Ukraine. But we -- I will help my husband to meet women and childrens that come from there, (INAUDIBLE), from Kharkiv and help them, help them to get into safe place.
WATSON: And what do you think your family needs, what does your country need right now?
RUDA: So most important it is the help of the European, American and all people society. We sign a petition to close sky. It is the most necessary thing nowaday. And we hope that people, we feel their help, in Hungary and other countries, we all need to understand. And the most important nowadays to close is the sky.
WATSON: OK, Juliya Ruda, who has fled with her family but she plans to go back into Ukraine on her own to rejoin her husband, calling for a no-fly zone.
Again, this is just one example, Hala, of a stream of humanity moving across borders here in Hungary on two border crossings that I've been to, Hungarian officials and aid workers welcoming the Ukrainians coming across the border as well as third-party nationals, students from places like Nigeria and India and Sudan.
And we've even heard from the prime minister today, saying that those students will be welcome at Hungarian universities going into the future. But again, this isn't the first person I've spoken with, saying they're going back in to help with their country in this time of great peril.
GORANI: All right, Ivan Watson, thanks so much, at the Hungary-Ukraine border.
It's just so sad, that little girl holding up that sign, saying "Stop the war, save Ukraine." This is, this is going to be a core memory for her, having to flee her own house to escape bombs and shelling. What an absolute tragedy.
The London stock exchange has suspended the trading of some Russian- based companies, citing events in Ukraine and market conditions. Lukoil and some other big Russian firms are down over 90 percent this year in London.
GORANI: The Russian stock market, meanwhile, is closed for a fourth day. If it opened, it would be in absolute collapse. More companies are stopping all activity inside of Russia.
IKEA and H&M are the latest retailers to close shop there. We saw people rushing to IKEA to make some purchases while they still could. The Dow has been up and down today in choppy trading. It's still up more than 400 points. It's in fact, down -- sorry, let me just read that correctly for you.
It's down 145 now but still up more than 40 -- 400 points over the last week. Matt Egan joins me now for more.
So we mentioned IKEA, H&M, et cetera, et cetera, pulling out of Russia.
What other companies are doing this?
And is this just goodwill or is it because they just -- it's just impossible to operate around these sanctions?
MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS SENIOR WRITER: Yes, Hala, I think it's a little bit of both. I think that a lot of companies realize that there's political pressure, there's pressure from their customers to at least distance themselves from Russia.
But there's also operational security, supply chain issues. And so for both of those reasons, we've seen so many different companies, really from across the board, almost every sector you can imagine. You mentioned H&M, it had about 168 stores in Russia, it's temporarily shutting them down.
IKEA, the world's largest furniture company, not only are they stopping manufacturing in Russia but, as you mentioned, halting operations and retail operations as well.
Alcoa, one of the biggest aluminum and metals companies in the world, are stopping buying raw materials from Russia but will also stop selling products to the businesses that use the products.
We're also hearing that RT America is shutting down production in the United States. And energy companies even, ExxonMobil is ending its quarter-century of a presence in Russia. They're quitting their final project in Russia because of this invasion.
So we've just seen all of these different shock waves set off by this conflict and that will only pile further pressure on the Russian economy. And it's going to make it really obvious to the Russian people how isolated the country is on the world stage right now.
GORANI: Yes, the one thing that's not sanctioned is Russian oil. Not yet. Matt Egan, thanks very much for joining us.
We'll have more on the breaking news from Ukraine after this. Do stay with us.
GORANI: A reminder of our top story tonight: Ukraine making a desperate plea for help, as Russia continues to pound cities with blistering attacks. Some of the heaviest fighting is in the south of the country.
Russia is trying to take control of key ports like Mariupol. They've cut off the city's 400,000 residents from basic necessities like heat and electricity and left them to endure the brutal cold. Emmanuel Macron, the French president, spoke with Vladimir Putin for
90 minutes today and he brought back some pretty awful news. The French president says his impression is that the worst is likely yet to come.
I'll leave you with that. I'm Hala Gorani. Do stay with CNN. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" is next.