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CNN Live Event/Special

Ukraine's Zelenskyy Delivers Historic Speech To Congress; Zelenskyy To Congress: "Ukraine Is Alive And Kicking"; Lights Out In Solidarity With Ukraine At Landmarks Around The World. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired December 21, 2022 - 20:00   ET



VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Standing here today, I recall the wars of the President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, which has, I think so good for this moment. The American people, in their might, will win through to absolute victory. The Ukrainian people will win, too, absolutely.


I know that everything depends on us, on Ukrainian Armed Forces yet so much depends on the world. So much in the world depends on you.

When I was in Bakhmut yesterday, our heroes gave me the flag, the battle flag, the flag of those who defend Ukraine, Europe, and the world at the cost of their lives.

They asked me to bring this flag to you, to the US Congress, to members of the House of Representatives and Senators whose decisions can save millions of people. So, let these decisions be taken. Let this flag stay with you, ladies and gentlemen.

This flag is a symbol of our victory in this war. We stand, we fight, and we will win because we are united, Ukraine, America and the entire free world.


Just one thing, if I can, the last thing, thank you so much. May God protect our brave troops and citizens and may God forever bless the United States of America.

Merry Christmas and Happy Victorious New Year.

Slava Ukrayini.

Thank you so much.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): ... today for you.

ZELENSKYY: For me? PELOSI: Someone will carry it.

ZELENSKYY: I can hold.

PELOSI: Turn around.



PELOSI: This flag was flown over the Capitol today in honor of the President's visit.

ZELENSKYY: Thank you so much.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: A rousing and inspiring speech from the President of Ukraine, a very rare moment for a world leader to speak to a joint meeting of Congress. You see members of the House, members of the Senate -- hold on, we're going to listen to Speaker Pelosi here.

(CROWD speaking in foreign language.)


PELOSI: The purpose of the joint -- the purpose of the joint --

(CROWD speaking in foreign language.)

PELOSI: Okay, now the purpose of the joint meeting having been completed, the Chair declares the joint meeting of the two Houses now dissolved. The House will continue in recess, subject to the call of the Chair.

TAPPER: All right, the gavel has come down and the joint meeting is over, a rousing and inspiring speech from Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. He invoked history, he talked about -- he compared you Ukrainian soldiers in the winter in the Donbas region fighting Russians to American soldiers in 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge, fighting the Nazis, and he Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the President during much of World War Two, he even invoked the turning point of the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Saratoga.

And then what was the last thing -- we have with us a former US Ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, what was the last thing he said in Ukrainian.

WILLIAM TAYLOR, FORMER US AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: He said, Slava Ukrayini, which means Glory to Ukraine, and the response for all Ukrainians come back with Glory to the Heroes.

TAPPER: Glory to the heroes.

TAYLOR: Heroyam Slava. TAPPER: And that was something, a message he delivered, throughout his speech giving credit to the heroes on the frontlines, and I have to say one of the things, Jim Sciutto that I was thinking while watching this was, man, this is Vladimir Putin's worst nightmare.

He thought that this war was going to be over in 24 hours. He thought Zelenskyy, by now would have been abandoned and killed. And instead, Volodymyr Zelenskyy is being -- is "Time" Magazine's Person of the Year, being greeted as a hero by a bipartisan group of the House and Senate.

I mean, I don't have much sympathy for Vladimir Putin any day, but he's not having a good night.

JIM SCIUTTO CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No. And he is watching. Certainly, he is watching not just the speech, but he is watching this joining of the minds and of the nations in this war between Ukraine, and a fellow superpower, and the US, and that's quite a moment with many consequences beyond it.

Passionate, full of shared purpose. This is not just our war, it is a war with the US for the free world, and deliberately addressing the American people. The first people he talked to were the people at home, saying that I hope that this resonates in each American heart, and that is deliberate, I believe, to bring everybody in and say that this is our battle.

It's not some distant war. It's a battle you can relate to.

And then all those historical comparisons to our War of Independence, not accidental, just as you said, going in that he does this deliberately, right, to bring the audience on his side.

TAPPER: Although I have to say the Battle of Saratoga might be a little a bridge too far for people, for many viewers.

SCIUTTO: People are Googling it right now I am sure, at home.

The one thing I would say too, because you talk about Putin thought this would be over early. US Intelligence thought this would be over early. You remember the early assessments? Everyone thought Kyiv would fall in 72 hours and not -- that was not a crazy assumption or assessment given Russia's advantages, and perhaps with a dose of pride, the Ukrainian President said, despite the gloom and doom, Ukraine didn't fall.

TAPPER: But keep in mind that the significance of the Battle of Saratoga, not to beat two History majors.


TAPPER: But is was the turning point of the American War for Independence. It was a time when American soldiers who were outgunned and outmanned, by a superior force, the British, were able to turn the tide, improve morale, and get more foreign support to enable the United States -- the American people to defeat the British. BORGER: And obviously, that's why he used it because this is a moment -- this is the winter in Ukraine. This is why they need the Patriot, right?

This is the hardest time: The electricity is out. Families are cold. He talked about celebrating Christmas. I mean, he knows that his people are suffering. And I think he wanted to turn that to American families.

I mean, this was an extraordinary moment here in his greens, and you know, coming to address what looked to me, like a State of the Union speech. You had everyone there except the Supreme Court, and it was -- and he was greeted and hailed as a hero by most people in that chamber. There were notably some conservatives who sat on their hands, but he was greeted as a hero.

And he made the point -- and you know, this resonates with Americans, because we're the product of a revolution, right? Ukraine holds its lines and will never surrender.


BORGER: Now I know, he also talked about a 10-point peace proposal, which he didn't really --

TAPPER: He didn't go -- he didn't present even one point of that, but yes.

BORGER: Right.

TAPPER: But he has gone public with the steps that he thinks needs to be taken.

BORGER: Right. But he said let the world see us, let the world see what we're going through and you, as Americans, thank you so much, but you know what we're going through.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And this had to have been helpful for a lot of the members here who are in the audience, who are the ones who are to approve the aid, they're the ones who have not gotten the private audience would look at President Zelenskyy. Nancy Pelosi has, these rank and file members who have votes have not, and him explaining what the objective is, the objective is total victory here, and talking about how your money is not charity, something that he says that, you know, they are not taking this money for granted.

He said, is this enough money? No, probably not enough. He is suggesting they're going to have to come back for more, preparing them to do just that.

I do want to point out some key reaction, though, coming off the House floor from Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader. Our colleague, Annie Grayer caught up with them. He said he supports Ukraine, but doesn't support a blank cheque. That's what he said. And that is similar to what you're saying.

TAPPER: This is kind of a strawman. There is no -- nobody is asking, nobody is suggesting a blank cheque.

BORGER: He does.

RAJU: Exactly. So what does that mean going forward? And that is going to be the big question for Ukraine, for the future, and the Republican Party.

TAPPER: Nobody has actually suggested that there be a blank cheque for Ukraine.

Ambassador Taylor, one of the things, first of all, let me just also say we heard people yelling something from the gallery, overseeing the House and we didn't know what it was.

And we now have some reporting from inside the chamber. It was -- it was shouting in Ukrainian from the Ukrainian delegation, yelling " Slava Ukrayini."

TAYLOR: Slava Ukrayini.

TAPPER: Slava Ukrayini, and also God bless America, overlooking the chamber and Members of the of the House and Senate, looking up Democrats and Republicans and applauding the Ukrainian delegation.

I couldn't help but notice that President Zelenskyy also referred to the Russian people, as victims of the Kremlin. It wasn't just the Ukrainian people. He was also talking about the Russian people being under siege by Putin.

TAYLOR: He did, and that is controversial actually in Ukraine. Ukraine sees Russia as now just clearly the enemy, overwhelmingly, the Ukrainians. No matter what language these people speak, no matter where they're from, they see Russia as the enemy. So that reach out to Russian people, this possibility of some conversation with Russian people was unusual.

SCIUTTO: Yes, and particularly because earlier in the day, he described Russian leaders, those responsible for this invasion as inhuman. He used the term "inhuman." And by the way, when we speak about the 10-point peace plan without any specifics. Listen to the other language here.

He calls them inhuman. He says of the Russians, they destroy everything they see. As you noted, they say -- he said Ukraine will never surrender. When you listen to that, at this moment, that does not sound like a leader willing to negotiate.

TAPPER: Well, it sounds like a leader whose civilian population has been bombarded by Ukrainian missiles, bombs, and human rights violations for the last five or six months or eight months, rather, I should say.

You're watching a Special Edition of AC 360. Let's go to Anderson Cooper right now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER: 360": Yes, Jake, thanks very much. You're watching, 360. We are talking more about President Zelenskyy's speech with the team here in New York.

I first want to go to Clarissa Ward, who is standing by in Paris who has of course been covering the war in Ukraine from before it began.

Clarissa, I'm wondering what you made of President Zelenskyy's address? One of the things he talks about, he talked about not only Russia, but also Iran. He talked about the alliance between the two and telling the Members of Congress, it's a matter of time before they strike at other of your allies.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think you understand that Volodymyr Zelenskyy understood that he had to meet the moment, and I think he certainly was successful in achieving that objective. This was a strong, rousing speech in which he really pushed for broad bipartisan support, and he knew which buttons to press for which different representatives obviously, talking about Iran, calling Iran a terrorist state, talking without actually saying the word Israel, but warning of the danger of one of America's allies potentially being attacked by Iran. So he knew what he was going for there.

He also used lots of historical analogies as we've heard, appealing to America's fundamental sort of sense of identity as a country that was borne out of a revolution fought for freedom.

But what I thought was interesting beyond that, Anderson, just as I was watching President Zelenskyy speak was how he has really sort of modeled himself as the anti-Putin in almost every way. He is informal, he is approachable. He wears, you know, military fatigues or very simple sweatshirt and pants.

He is casual, he is personable, he speaks intimately, directly to Americans in their homes, directly to Ukrainians, through the use of selfies or whatever video he might be making.

And so in a sense, I think he really has captured Americans' imaginations as this kind of seminal anti-Putin man of the moment and he was very, very savvy about really pressing the right buttons in order to elicit an emotional response, and also to shore up that support ahead of you know, what will promise to be a very difficult year for Ukraine.


He urged that time is of the essence, I think he said, this battle cannot be frozen or postponed. Ukraine has done so well. But what they feel now, officials, is that they cannot afford to slow down. They need to keep their foot on the gas. They need that support and they need those weapons.

COOPER: It's also an extraordinary milestone in the war to have President Zelenskyy leaving the country really for the first time to come here. I mean, Clarissa when you were there, you know, in the east of the country, I think it was when the war began, and then quickly in in Kyiv as it was being bombarded.

Did you ever imagine that Ukraine would be where it is now still standing, still independent, and the President, a household name in the United States and visiting the United States.

WARD: I don't think anyone ever could have predicted the extraordinary trajectory of this war and the extraordinary success of Ukraine's counteroffensives, but also the extraordinary success of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who has, as I've said, really captured people's imaginations, not just in Ukraine, not just in the US, but all around the world.

And the idea that he would actually leave the country during this war with the risks that that entails that he would go within a space of two days, Anderson from being on the frontlines in one of the most dangerous places in the country in the City of Bakhmut to being at the White House, to then speaking to Congress and to the American people. Honestly, that is the kind of bold and risky move that we have come to associate with Zelenskyy getting to know him over time.

But I don't think anyone could have predicted at the beginning of this invasion, that we would see that kind of grit, that kind of determination, and also that kind of savvy, which has really served him well. He has an extraordinary group of advisers who are surrounding him as well, who are helping them to find just the right tone to strike with everyone who he talks to and whose support he needs in order to ensure that Ukraine can keep up the momentum -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, Clarissa Ward, good to talk to you.

Kaitlan Collins, one of the things that President Zelenskyy talked about, probably to those Members of Congress who may be skeptical or frankly unwilling for the US to continue to pour support and to the American people who may be frustrated with the amount of money that's being spent, he said, your money is not charity, it is an investment in democracy and global security.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: That line, I think, is one of the key lines for the entire speech, but can I say just quickly, I covered Trump, it is so stunning to me to see President Zelenskyy in the House of Representatives speaking in the same place that impeached Trump in 2019 over a conversation again with Zelenskyy and the circumstances he is being welcomed back into tonight.

But on that note about what the support means. He also was very candid today in two moments where he said there, you know, we have artillery, yes. Is it enough? No.

And earlier saying, you know, we're getting this one Patriot missile, but yes, I'm going to ask for more. And he is very candid about what he wants and what he thinks he needs and helping accelerate what he wants to be this Ukrainian victory by giving them what they so desperately need.

And to the moment of this being an investment, he also said, we're not asking for US troops, we can operate your tanks, we can operate your planes which they have not gotten. He said, we can do that ourselves, but we just need the actual materials.

AUDIE CORNISH, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: He does seem to be like repositioning the story of Ukraine in the minds of Americans, instead of being this faraway country that's batted around in partisan politics, where it's tied to some of the conspiracy theories that President Trump pushed when he initially you know, tried to extract something out of Zelenskyy in that phone call, and reposition it as a Soviet Republic, and an independent story and trying to tie that to the American independence story.

Everything was extremely purposeful in how it was laid out. I think he said that as was a very kind of tight speech, and there was nothing on there that wasn't aimed at someone. It is like you would hear lines that you felt like were directed at the Russian people, and Putin himself said and on American people.

COOPER: He said, on independence, he said, we will also go through our War of Independence with dignity and success, not wanting handouts, they want dignity and success.

CORNISH: Even mentioning World War Two and Nazis, a chief propaganda point coming out of Russia and repeated by the sort of metabolized right-wing fringe is that Ukraine is full of Neo Nazis and their thugs and this is why the US should not be helping them.

You will see this online, you will hear this coming from lawmakers, and I think he again, plants this little nuggets in the speech to reposition these concepts because he knows what is floating around. This is a very savvy person in that way.


COOPER: I want to bring in presidential historian, Doris Kearns Goodwin, the author of "Leadership in Turbulent Times."

Doris, it's great to have you on, again. I'm wondering where you place the historical significance of this visit and what you made of President Zelenskyy's speech?

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, the extraordinary thing about this speech, I think, is that, as everybody has been saying, he just targeted the different parts of American history that he wanted to bring up. When he talked about Roosevelt's line, that was not the line everybody remembers about the Pearl Harbor speech. They remember, you know, the only thing we have to -- the only thing we remember, "This will be a day that lives in infamy," not the righteous mind awoken and we are going to continue on forever. And that was a line that FDR wrote himself at the bottom of the second part of the draft. He thought that was important.

And I think what Zelenskyy did by coming at Christmas, . I don't know that they knew that, but it rings back the thought of when Churchill was here giving his speech to the joint session of Congress, and it brings back World War Two, it brings back the importance of that alliance between America and Britain and now America and Ukraine.

And he talked as if the Alliance were already there, you know, together, we will do this; together, we will do that. So he has already established in the American people's mind that we're in this thing together, but then pointing out that the soldiers are not going to -- they are going to do the fighting for us, just give us the tools and we will finish the job. That's what Churchill said.

I just keep thinking back to when Churchill came to the White House, it was at Christmas time, 81 years ago now. He was very nervous before that speech. I wonder how Zelenskyy felt tonight? Churchill said that he was new, it was a turning point for history. He was afraid that Japan had attacked us and we would then go to Japan instead of caring about Germany and Europe.

And finally, he asked for tumblers of sherry in the morning. He asked for scotch and soda at lunch, he asked for his French champagne and nine-year-old brandy at night.

COOPER: He stayed at the White House.

GOODWIN: But then when he got up before that audience.

COOPER: He was camped out at the White House.

GOODWIN: All of that nervousness disappeared.

He stayed at the White House, he stayed right there on the row of suites. I actually stayed in that room and I went to a sleepover with Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton when they invited me to see what it was like when Churchill and Roosevelt were there together. That was the room he was in. I was in the same room where he took the tub that morning when he practiced the speech. So, it's a pretty exciting place.

COOPER: Well, I also know -- I know a detail.

GOODWIN: But the incredible thing is that he set the whole --

COOPER: I know the detail because I've read it. You wrote it that according to the butler in the White House, walked into an argument between Eleanor Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt hadn't been told by Franklin, that Churchill was actually coming.

GOODWIN: It was a big surprise to her and she wanted to be prepared for him, but he wanted it to be a secret so that it would be a surprise when he came and Eleanor was pissed off at that.

But they had an extraordinary time. In fact, they would stay up until 2:00 AM, Churchill and Roosevelt drinking and smoking, and Eleanor would come and find him and say, isn't it time for you two little boys to go to bed? Because then the next day, Churchill could take a nap and Roosevelt had to run the country. So he was exhausted after Roosevelt and Churchill were together during that time, but it cemented their alliance.

That speech to the joint session, they said, when Churchill came out there, at first, he talked about the connection between the two countries, but then he talks about what kind of people did the Germans think we are? Do they think we're not going to persevere to the end? And then they actually said, he roared like a British lion.

There was huge applause, just like for Zelenskyy tonight, and I think he has cemented that relationship between us and between Ukrainian people tonight. That's what he wanted to do. It'll be very hard, if the public sentiment of the country goes for Ukraine, then that might be able to override the America Firsters and the isolationist MAGAs that might not want to give them what they need to have.

COOPER: It's so interesting, Doris, how throughout history, you know, and especially now in this age of Zoom calls, and, you know, mass communications, that coming to a place, meeting people in person, showing yourself, making a speech in front of, you know, in front of Members of Congress, it makes a difference and it can affect things in a way that a Zoom speech cannot.

GOODWIN: Oh, it's absolutely huge. I remember when Churchill and Roosevelt first met, and Churchill says it's fun to be in the same decade with you.

Now, you can't feel that through a Zoom. You can't feel that too far away. You feel it through the chemistry. And when you listen to that press conference today, you felt a certain connection between President Biden and President Zelenskyy.

You know, they teased each other, they talked about things in a relaxed way. And there's nothing like a personal connection that does that. That's one of the reasons Churchill not only came that Christmas time, he would come for weeks at a time throughout the entire war to make sure that that personal connection stayed strong, and I think we're seeing the result of that.

And how he was able to put that speech together tonight and not feel the nervousness, maybe he did, that Churchill felt and come out and do exactly what he needed to do. He has got to feel really good. He did what you need a Speaker to do.

He spoke in that -- the very first line, he said, the applause is not for me, it is for the Ukrainian people. Always the Ukrainian people, the foundation of what he was saying, and that's what you need, that humility of a leader. This isn't me, this is my country, this is my people. I thought it was terrific.


This is a night I feel like we're living in history and we've got to remember how important this democracy is for us, and when we think about all the minor things we worry about in our country right now, preserving democracy here at home and preserving it abroad, is what we should all be thinking, and maybe this will raise us to that height and we will look at the January 6 hearings and we'll think of where do we go to preserve this democracy and connect it all together? I feel like I'm living in history tonight.

For me as an historian, it's a great feeling.

COOPER: Well, especially, you have a leader who comes here, who probably still has the dust of the frontlines on the boots that he is wearing, that, you know where he was just some two days ago.

Gosh, I love talking to you, Doris Kearns Goodwin, thank you so much. It's such a pleasure.

GOODWIN: Yes, I'm so glad to be with you.

COOPER: Take care. We'll talk again soon.

David Sanger, what did you make of tonight?

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, just picking up on where Doris left off here. He talked as if we were allies. In fact, Ukraine is not a member of NATO. They're not a treaty ally of the United States. And he never made the case here that that Ukraine should get into NATO.

What he basically -- the case he made was, you should treat me as if I am already in NATO, which I thought was pretty fascinating. But if you listened carefully between the lines, you also heard his fears here.

Obviously, the coming winter; obviously, the fact that the mere mass of the Russian force is beginning to show up. One American military officials, a very senior official noted to me that if those 300,000 conscripts actually get trained and show up and the spring comes, Zelenskyy will be facing a bigger Russian force than he has ever faced before here. So, that's a significant line.

And I think the final thing was his invocation of Iran, which was meant to go bridge those Republicans who were still has reservations.

COOPER: Colonel Leighton.

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: To David's point, I think you're absolutely right. The key thing that he really asked for was more weapons. He asked for F-16s. In essence, he didn't say the term F-16, but that's what he meant when it came to the airplanes, when it came to the tanks. He wanted Abrams tanks, and he wanted those things, because he knows those things actually work in terms of their technical capabilities and their ability to actually prosecute the war effort and that is a really big thing, a big ask --

COOPER Three hundred thousand conscripts, even if poorly trained, even if low morale it's still 300,000 bodies that are thrown out there in the frontline?

LEIGHTON: Exactly, and what that does Anderson is it goes back to Russian history, because the Russians always use the mass of people into these kinds of conflicts. They bring as many people as they possibly can to the fight and that's where, you know, either you have the people or you have the technology. If you can combine both, then that's a really good thing, but most countries can't do that, and Ukraine is banking on the technology part.

COOPER: Yes. Let's go back to Jake in DC -- Jake.

TAPPER: Right now, where we have our own reporter, Will Ripley, and Will, this is obviously a huge moment for the Ukrainian people. But the key question, because the Russians have been attacking all of the infrastructure in Ukraine, how many of them are -- we don't know the exact number, but were any of them able to actually watch President Zelenskyy address this joint meeting of Congress?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very few, partly because it is the middle of the night here, but also because millions of people in Ukraine right now are in the dark, and in the cold, they don't have electricity. They don't have heat.

And yes, this is a hugely triumphant moment and people here will undoubtedly be proud of their President for being on the frontlines in Bakhmut, where he was speaking with troops, and you could hear the explosions from artillery near his location.

And then 24 hours later, he is in the United States Capitol and he delivers this powerful speech, has a very productive meeting, bringing back big help for the men and women who are fighting on the frontlines. The families who are struggling here to just live when they do not have electricity or heat, sometimes for days on end, or maybe for 40 minutes a day.

There are people here in the capital, Kyiv, who are telling us that they have electricity for less than an hour a day, so they can't really watch and frankly, people don't have a whole lot of time to celebrate because they have to fight this war. They are fighting this war with their own blood.

They are getting weapons. They're getting money from around the world, but it is Ukrainians who are dying every single day fighting this war. And so that's what they have to focus on is how are they going to survive tomorrow? How are they going to hold the lines to the East and the South?

How are they going to fortify their defenses to the north with a Russian troop buildup in Belarus and the potential for hundreds of thousands of troops to once again try to make an invasion heading straight towards the capital city, Kyiv, and how do they do that when their power grid is so crippled that they have essentially in some places run out of Soviet-era replacement parts to fix the power grid. They are even appealing to other former Soviet nations for parts because they just don't make them anymore.

So the reality of the situation here is as triumphant as this is, the Ukrainians know more than anyone else in the world, this war is far from over.


TAPPER: Triumphant here in Washington, dire in Ukraine. Will Ripley, thanks so much. Joining me now, the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. She's also the author of the book Lessons from the Edge. Ambassador Yovanovitch, thanks for joining us.

So, give us your reaction to President Zelenskyy's speech tonight, both the content of it and just the fact of it at all.

MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FMR U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Yes, well, I completely agree with one of your previous speakers, Doris Kearns Goodwin, that this is an historic moment. We are going to look back on this moment, this speech, the way we look back at FDR speeches and some of the others who have been invoked tonight. I think that President Zelenskyy, coming from Bakhmut traveling thousands of miles west to Washington D.C. to thank the American people, to thank the Congress and the President of the United States, but to also say, you know, we can win this war, but we need additional assistance in order to win it. And this is not a charity. This is an investment in the international global order. This is an investment in U.S. security. I thought it was really masterful.

And he also combined not only the strategic thinking, but also appealed to our emotions. You know, talking about Christmas in a couple of days and how Ukrainians are going to celebrate probably mostly by candlelight, not because it's romantic, but because they don't have electricity.

I think every American can relate to that. And, you know, obviously, we want to help to stop these attacks by the Russians and to not only provide the defensive systems that are necessary, but also the humanitarian assistance and the energy assistance that is necessary in Ukraine right now.

TAPPER: It's interesting also when he invoked Christmas, he talked about the faith that we have in ourselves, the faith that the Ukrainian people have in their ability to fight and to win this war. You've previously referred to President Zelenskyy as one of the great communicators of our age, like one of our great communicators, Ronald Reagan. He is a former actor. Do you think that is one of the reasons why he is so effective at getting his message across? What do you think sets him apart from the other world leaders with whom you've dealt?

YOVANOVITCH: Well, I do think there are personal qualities that maybe we didn't see in the very beginning when he was elected president, but we have certainly seen over the last ten months. I mean, there is the personal courage of staying in Kyiv when he knew he was being hunted down by assassination team, when, you know, the strategic guidance he's provided his country and the communication skills that you referred to are also extraordinary. And I think absolutely he's tapping into his past experience as a performer, as an actor, as somebody who knows how to reach out to different audiences and move them. But he's got that other skill that is often rare in leaders. He's a good listener. He listens to the Ukrainian people. He is not only leading them, but he is reflecting in his leadership where they are and where they want to go. And that resolve that we see in Ukraine, it's coming from him. But it's also coming from the people themselves, as he referred to in his speech.

TAPPER: Let me bring in Jim Sciutto right now to ask a question.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Ambassador Yovanovitch, I certainly don't have to remind you I might have to remind some people watching that you were central figure in the first impeachment because you were a target of the former president, because you didn't go along with a very different approach to Ukraine. A dismissive approach one might say. I wonder if you could describe the shift between then and now in terms of U.S. support. And could Ukraine be putting up the fight that it is today without that change, without that shift, without U.S. support?

YOVANOVITCH: Yes. I think U.S. support is absolutely critical to the fight in Ukraine right now. And every Ukrainian, starting with President Zelenskyy throughout the population, recognizes that and is very grateful and, you know, tells, I think, every American that they meet how grateful they really are. Our support is crucial. It is the Ukrainians who are fighting and dying. It is Ukrainians who are winning battles, whether it's a battle of Kyiv, whether it's a battle of Kherson. But they are doing it with our assistance, with our essential assistance. Whether it is equipment, whether it is training, whether, you know, it is other forms of assistance. And I think everybody knows that.


And that is why the president of Ukraine took this very risky and bold move to fly to Washington, D.C. to say thank you. And the fight is not over. It will continue. It is important to Ukraine, but it is also important to the United States. We are in this together. This is our joint battle.


YOVANOVITCH: And I think he made a very compelling case.

TAPPER: Every time he's outside or even when he's inside, he's at risk of being killed by the Russian military. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Masha Marie Yovanovitch, thank you so much for being with us.

Coming up, none other than former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. CNN's coverage of President Zelenskyy's address to Congress continues after this quick break. We'll be right back.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We are back with "360." It's been a historic evening in Washington. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tonight, 300 some days into the war, a new military aid package in hand, including patriot anti-aircraft missiles. Addressing a joint meeting of Congress.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: We'll celebrate Christmas. Celebrate Christmas and even if there is no electricity, delight of our faith in ourselves will not be put out. If Russian -- if Russian missiles attack us, we'll do our best to protect ourselves. If they attack us with Iranian drones, and our people will have to go to bomb shelters on Christmas Eve, Ukrainians will still sit down at the holiday table and cheer up each other. And we don't have to know everyone's wish as we know that all of us, millions of Ukrainians, wish the same victory, only victory.



COOPER: We're joined now by former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator in 2016, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Madam Secretary, good to have you on tonight.

What are your thoughts about what President Zelenskyy said tonight?

HILLARY CLINTON, FMR SECRETARY OF STATE: I thought it was extraordinary, Anderson it was, as others have said, rousing and inspiring. It also touched all the cords. It connected the struggle of Ukrainian people to our own revolution, to our own feelings that we want to be warm in our homes, to celebrate Christmas and to get us to think about all the families in Ukraine that will be huddled in the cold and to know that they are on the front lines of freedom right now. They're fighting. Their cause is our cause.

And I was thrilled to see the very positive response from the Congress. I also thought that the meeting between President Zelenskyy and President Biden was substantive and very positive, along with their press conference. It could not have been a better day for him, but more importantly, as he pointed out, a better day for the people of Ukraine and for the cause of democracy and freedom.

COOPER: Do you think sending a Patriot battery to Ukraine was the right move?

CLINTON: Absolutely. I hope that they will send more than one. I know that there's been some reluctance in the past by not just the United States, but our NATO allies, to provide a lot of the advanced equipment, particularly in this case defensive equipment, which is what the patriot battery is. I think we've seen with our own eyes how effective Ukrainian military is. I think they will be quickly trained to use the patriot system, and they should be getting as much help as we can give them to end this war as quickly as possible in victory.

COOPER: There's obviously opposition among some, particularly Republicans in Congress. Kevin McCarthy, you said something towards the effect of -- he's not sure American family is going to be willing to continue writing a blank check or having a blank check in a recession to Ukraine. Do you think that Zelenskyy's visit will have changed any minds and those who were skeptical?

CLINTON: I think it will certainly have strengthened both Democrats and Republicans who understand what's at stake in this fight against Putin and Russian aggression, and now with their ally Iran as well. I also think no one is asking for a blank check. I believe that the Ukrainians have proven that they are a really good investment for the United States. They are not asking us to be there to fight their war. They're fighting it themselves. They're asking us and our allies for the means to not only defend themselves, but to actually win.

So, I think this had a positive effect. I agree with some of the people you've already talked with on the program. This was historic. Some people have compared it to when Churchill came 81 years ago and basically asked that the United States continue to stand with them after we'd been attacked. And we did. So, there were a lot of points that Zelenskyy made that were quite resonant with any of us who know how hard our own struggle for freedom and the cost that we've paid to defend it over all these years actually has been.

COOPER: You've obviously met Vladimir Putin on a number of occasions. I'm wondering what you make of the position that he now finds himself in and what you think he may do.

CLINTON: Well, it's always probably impossible to actually predict, but I think around now what he is considering is how to throw more bodies, and that's what they will be bodies of Russian conscripts into the fight in Ukraine. It's been proven, I think, conclusively, that he's willing to sacrifice as many Russian men as he can round up throughout the vast reach of the Russian territory. I think he's trying desperately to convince Lukashenko and Belarus to try to get him to be involved. I think so far, Lukashenko has played his hand adroitly. He doesn't want to get drawn into that. He doesn't want to see his own military decimated. Where that ends up, I don't think we know yet.


So, there has to be a moment of reckoning. And it can only come if the cost, both in military losses and in economic pain because of sanctions, continues to increase on Putin. And I thought it was quite smart of Zelenskyy to make it clear that he's willing to reach out to the Russian people. He, in effect, invited the Russian people to free their minds from the rule of Putin. And by doing so, he is sending a signal that if the Russian people, whether it is people around Putin or more generally people out in the country, understand that this is a war, that is Putin's war, not Russia's war, that could also change the internal dynamics that will be confronting Putin. So there's a lot of moving pieces, but the most important thing is to keep supplying them with what they need to keep defeating Russia every chance they get.

COOPER: Do you think that is a possible scenario of dissent in Russia, whether it's nationwide or among powerful forces around Vladimir Putin, that could actually topple him?

CLINTON: I don't know about topple, but it could certainly influence the calculations he makes. There is some reporting that I have seen coming out of Russia that there is increasing distress and anger among mothers of sons and people who are related to those Russian men who have been rounded up as they come back, having been poorly or not at all trained, having been killed in the front line of Putin's war. That can have an impact. I think information continues, not enough, but still to seep into Russia so that the defeats and the resolve of the Ukrainian people become clearer and clearer. I think there will be jockeying around Putin. One never knows if there is the appetite to do anything directly against him or try to maneuver him so that he's looking for an exit.

All of this is happening simultaneous. This is an incredibly complex set of circumstances, Anderson. But right now, I think it's fair to say Ukraine has the upper hand. Ukraine is winning its war, thanks to the enormous support we and others have provided, and we need to keep the pressure on Putin.

COOPER: Hillary Clinton, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

CLINTON: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next, conversation with someone we've gotten to know well since Russia invaded Ukraine, Olena Gnes now temporarily relocated in the United States from Kyiv with her family. We talked to her throughout the war she was sheltering in a basement in Kyiv with her three children while her husband was fighting. What she thought of her president's visit and what he had to say tonight.



COOPER: Around the world tonight, landmarks which are normally lit upright or instead shrouded in darkness. Take a look, these are just four, the Opera House at Sydney, the European Parliament in Brussels, London's Royal Albert Hall, a Christmas tree in Vatican City, where they turned off the lights in solidarity with millions in Ukraine who've lost power. This power has been taken away from them by the attacks by Russia. The display tonight at the end of the shortest, darkest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Part of the #LightUpUkraine campaign. A Ukrainian government fundraising drive to acquire generators for hospitals across the country.

Joining us now is Olena Gnes, throughout the war, we've been visiting with her from her home in Kyiv and from the basement where she was sheltering through much of the war. Recently, she and her family have temporarily relocated to this country. We're glad she could be here on this important night.

It is great to see you and it is great to see the kids with you. And what did you make of the president's speech?

OLENA GNES, UKRAINIAN SHELTERING IN U.S.: We've been listening all of our family to the president, and were very proud of him, but it was a very bitter, sweet feeling, Anderson, because it's a shame that our president had to fly all the way from Ukraine to here to America, you know, still to persuade, to beg for weapons after 300 days of the war, he still needs to convince someone that the war is real, is huge, and that America has to react, and the whole free world has to react. Because the fact that you don't want the third world war to happen, it doesn't mean that Putin didn't start it yet. He started. He attacked the whole free world, and this is now only Ukraine who is covering the free world as a shield. And this shield is mainly the bodies of our people, not only our defenders, our soldiers, but also women and children who stay over there right now in these freezing temperatures.

COOPER: It is one of the points he made tonight, and I want to get the quote right. He said, he spoke of Russia and Iran, the alliance that they have made. He said, it's a matter of time before they strike at other of your allies. He talked about this not being charity. It's an investment in democracy and global security. That was something he was trying to get across.

GNES: And I agree with him. The longer this war goes on, the stronger is a terrorist, because he feels that he's unpunished. And they are the dictatorships in this world. They see, hey, look, Putin is doing, you know, destroying another country, killing thousands of people, and no one can stop him. So, he is strong. He is stronger than America. So, let's make friends with him. Let's cooperate. We already see him cooperating with Iran.

Me and my children, we heard these Iranian drones above our home in Kyiv, in Ukraine.


GNES: We don't want any Chinese drones over there. You know, we don't want to make this war global. We don't want to bring this war, to your house in America, here. We want it to stop. And to stop it, there must be some decisive decisions, you know, decisive weapons, because one patrol (ph) battery is cool, but it's still not enough to stop the enemy and to push back the terrorists. It's still not enough. Billions of money. It's a lot. Thank you for these guys, but it's still not enough because Russia gets more money from oil and gas. And we still have people in business who want to do business as usual.

COOPER: It was -- I want -- just on a personal level, to watch your president speaking in Washington while you're in the U.S. temporarily. What was that like?


GNES: It was, like you called it historical speech. Because I'm like, will it really change something? I mean, it's cool. It looks like a great TV show and it's cool for America to be proud and all that you put of these Ukrainian flags everywhere. But for people in Ukraine, it's like all so TV show because for them it's not on TV, for them it's now the reality. And they need weapon like yesterday.

COOPER: It was obviously risky, I mean for the president to make this trip both his own personal safety, what could happen in Ukraine while he's out of the country? Do you think it was worth the risk?

GNES: Come on, what kind of risk? He recently visited Bakhmut, the hottest place of the front line. I was impressed by this visit. You know? This visit to America doesn't seem to us in Ukraine as something dangerous. You know, children could stay tonight in Kyiv and closer to the front line. They face more danger than Zelenkyy flying here to Washington. COOPER: How -- just finally, how are you and your family doing so right now in the U.S.?

GNES: We want to come back home. We want our home to stay intact, not ruined. We want our friends to stay alive and come back from the front lines. We want all the Ukrainians just to come back and to start our peaceful life from the very beginning. But it's real. I mean, Christmas is coming and we want to have the Christmas mood. But unlike you Americans, we here being in America as Ukrainians, we feel that the war is already here. It's not somewhere far away. It's already here and it's happening. And to know when you have Christmas dinner and you enjoy this time, the roof is on fire. And this is the most important right now to stop this fire because it's already happening. It's huge. It just happened that it's happening in my country, in Ukraine, but it involves the whole world.

And right now, somewhere in Ukraine, in my country, it will be decided in which kinds of the world your children will be living.

COOPER: Those are the stakes.

GNES: Sorry?

COOPER: Those are the stakes. That it's not just -- this is not -- you're saying this is not just a battle for Ukraine. This is a battle for democracy and freedom.

GNES: This is the battle of the world. And there is also the battle will define in which kinds of the world our children will be living. Will it be the free and democratic world where life matters, where there is dignity and respect and equality? Or Russia pulls us back to tyranny and --


GNES: -- to, into darkness.


COOPER: Olena, I appreciate talking to you and I appreciate talking to you on this night. Thank you.

GNES: Thank you, Anderson. It was a pleasure.

COOPER: Olena Gnes, thank you.

We'll be right back.