Return to Transcripts main page

State of the Union

Interview With Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY); Interview With Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; Interview With Former CIA Director David Petraeus; Interview With European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen; Interview With U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan; Interview With Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired April 10, 2022 - 09:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Barbaric attacks. Horror at Russia's indiscriminate attacks on Ukraine, as demands for justice grow.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to keep raising the economic costs and ratchet up the pain for Putin.

TAPPER: As Russia changes its top commander for Ukraine and its strategy, can Putin be stopped? I will speak to White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney, and former CIA Director David Petraeus next.

And refugee crisis. As millions flee the violence in Ukraine, the world comes together to help, an ambitious new pledge for Ukraine's refugees, in an exclusive joint interview with European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Global Citizen CEO Hugh Evans.

Plus: why they fight. Across Ukraine, reminders of old Russian repression are fueling today's fight.

MYROSLAV MARYNOVYCH, VICE-RECTOR, UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY: We understand the danger that may happen with us if Putin wins.

TAPPER: What Ukrainians remember and how it's driving their fight. My special report from Ukraine ahead.


TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Lviv, Ukraine. Welcome to STATE OF THE UNION.

Ukrainians on the ground are bracing for a brutal new phase in the war. If past is prologue, it will bring even more attacks on civilians, because, after his army faced defeat in the battle of Kyiv, Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed a new commander to fight his war in Ukraine, General Aleksandr Dvornikov.

Dvornikov is known for leading ruthless attacks on civilian neighborhoods in Syria in 2016. This move is part of a change in strategy, as Russians refocus their attention on Eastern Ukraine. You can see here images of an eight-mile-long military convoy positioned to the east of Kharkiv.

It's difficult to process the prospect of even more brutality after the massacre in Bucha and the attack Friday on the Kramatorsk train station, which killed at least 50 people trying to leave the region, including children.

Yesterday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who made a surprise visit to Kyiv. Zelenskyy is continuing to call on the West to do more to help drive back Putin, especially given the scale of the anticipated battle in the east.

Prime Minister Johnson pledged more military equipment for Ukraine, including 800 next-generation light anti-tank weapons and Javelin anti-tank missiles, Starstreak anti-aircraft missiles, and other aids, such as armor -- or body armor, helmets and night-vision goggles.

Joining us now to discuss, President Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan.

Jake, thank you so much for joining us.

So, at least 52 civilians, including children, were killed Friday after that Russian missile strike on the Kramatorsk railway station packed with evacuees in Eastern Ukraine trying to flee, trying to get here to where I am in Lviv.

Ukrainian officials say Russia used banned cluster munitions in that strike. Does that attack and do the continued, seemingly deliberate targeting of civilians by Russia, does all of that constitute war crimes?

JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: It absolutely constitutes war crimes.

In fact, President Biden was well out in front of most of the world in declaring that what Russia was doing and what Vladimir Putin was authorizing here were war crimes.

And we have seen that in Kramatorsk. We have seen that in Bucha. We have seen that in other parts of Ukraine, the systematic targeting of civilians, the grisly murder of innocent people, the brutality, the depravity. And that is why we are working so hard not just on long-term

accountability, but, in the short term, rushing weapons supplies to Ukraine, so that they can defend themselves against Russian attacks and liberate towns like Bucha from the grip of Russian brutality.

TAPPER: In addition to the images of slaughter and depravity from Bucha, we're also seeing entire civilian neighborhoods wiped off the face of the earth.

Now, the United Nations defines genocide as -- quote -- "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnical, racial or religious group," including -- quote -- "killing members of the group" and -- quote -- "causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group."

I understand that this is up to authorities, and there's a process in place, but, in your opinion, how is this not genocide?

SULLIVAN: Look, in my opinion, the label is less important than the fact that these acts are cruel and criminal and wrong and evil and need to be responded to decisively.


And that is what we are doing. And we're doing that not just by supporting international investigations and gathering evidence to hold the perpetrators all the way to the highest levels accountable. We're doing it by providing sophisticated weapons to the Ukrainians that are making a major difference on the battlefield.

You mentioned in your opening comments that Ukraine won the battle of Kyiv, Russia lost the battle of Kyiv. Russia retreated. And they did so because they faced a brave and stiff Ukrainian resistance. But that resistance was armed with American weapons and Western weapons that the United States of America delivered. And we are proud of that. We will continue to do that.

And we will continue to take every step we possibly can to help the Ukrainians succeed on the battlefield and to improve their position at the negotiating table and to make the Russians pay also through increasing costs of sanctions for what they are doing to the people of Ukraine.

TAPPER: Let me ask you a more theoretical question here, Jake, because I'm not advocating for any specific action one way or another.

But I do have to wonder how the international community, including the U.S., decides what kind of wholesale killing necessitates direct military intervention and what kind doesn't, because, every year on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I read these statements from world leaders that say never again.

What exactly are they saying never again to?

SULLIVAN: Well, the United States and the international community are not going to stand by while Russia does what it does. And we haven't stood by.

In fact, before this war even began, we indicated that Russia was planning to engage in acts of brutality against civilians. We declassified intelligence that this is not just the random acts of soldiers or units. This is an orchestrated plot from the Kremlin.

And even before the war began, we flowed hundreds of millions of dollars of military equipment just last year to the Ukrainians to be able to defend themselves and to beat the Russians back. And we're continuing to do that.

The speed, scale, scope of the effort to arm and equip the Ukrainians is unprecedented in recent memory, and it is something that the United States has led the effort to do. And the size and impact of the sanctions on a major economy like Russia is likewise unprecedented.

So, this is not a story of anyone standing by. We are taking aggressive action in an effort to both help the Ukrainians succeed on the battlefield and help the Ukrainians have the best possible position at the negotiating table.

We will continue to do that. We will continue to rally the world in that regard. And the United States will play the key role it has played thus far in the days and weeks ahead.

TAPPER: CNN has learned that Putin has appointed a new military commander to oversee this Russian attack and invasion on Ukraine, General Aleksandr Dvornikov. Dvornikov is known for his brutality when he led Russia's intervention in Syria.

What does this appointment tell you about Putin's strategy moving forward?

SULLIVAN: Well, first, no appointment of any general can erase the fact that Russia has already faced a strategic failure in Ukraine. They thought that they were going to be able to conquer the capital city and take other major cities with little resistance, that they'd, in fact, be welcomed with open arms.

And what we have learned in the first several weeks of this war is that Ukraine will never be subjugated to Russia. It doesn't matter which general President Putin tries to appoint.

But, as you noted, this particular general has a resume that includes a brutality against civilians in other theaters, in Syria. And we can expect more of the same in this theater. But it's not something that we need to anticipate looking forward. As you have noted, we have already seen it, and we can expect more of it.

This general will just be another author of crimes and brutality against Ukrainian civilians. And the United States, as I said before, is determined to do all that we can to support the Ukrainians as they resist him and they resist the forces that he commands.

TAPPER: So, this week, the European Union announced a ban on all Russian coal imports. Some countries, some allies, such as Poland just a few miles away and

Lithuania, they're pushing to go further and ban not just coal, but also Russian oil and Russian natural gas. Germany, of course, says it's going to take time to phase out their reliance on Russian energy.

Can the sanctions campaign against Russia ever truly be effective, ever truly deter Putin as long as Putin is making hundreds of billions of dollars from its energy sector?


SULLIVAN: Well, first, Jake, as you know, President Biden issued an executive order banning all Russian oil, gas and coal from the United States. The United States will not contribute $1 from those three imports to the Russian war machine.

When he did so, he also noted that we are in a privileged position. We are a net energy exporter. We can absorb the cost of that. It is a different fact for the Europeans, who are far more reliant on Russian energy than the United States is.

And so we're working overtime to wean Europe off of Russian energy. We are surging exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas to Europe, so that they can reduce their reliance on Russian gas. And we're taking steps to work with them to reduce reliance on Russian oil as well.

President Biden has been in direct contact with European leaders on this issue. We're looking to continue to make progress on it. But, in the meantime, we should not underestimate the impact of the sanctions that have already been imposed, to include a double-digit hit to Russian GDP this year, and to include a Russia falling out of the ranks of the world's major economies by the end of this year.

So the pain is real. The impact is real. But, yes, there's always more that we can do. And, as we announced this past week, we are continuing to try to ratchet up the pressure on the Russian economy.

TAPPER: Jake, a lot of us covering this war are keeping an eye on the Black Sea.

A week ago, the British minister of defense sounded the alarm about Russian mines that are drifting in the Black Sea, ones that NATO countries Romania and Turkey had to detonate or neutralize to make sure that those Russian mines didn't kill Romanians or Turks.

What would NATO do if one of those Russian mines kills innocent people from NATO countries?

SULLIVAN: Well, President Biden has been absolutely clear from before this conflict began that the United States is prepared to work with our allies to defend every inch of NATO territory. That means every inch, including if mines showed up in a Romanian harbor or a Turkish harbor and caused damage or loss of life.

We would be prepared to respond forcefully, alongside our allies and partners, and to take action to ensure that Russia was held accountable for it.

In addition, I might point out that we have been working with our partners to try to provide the Ukrainians with coastal defense systems that they can use to neutralize the threat from the Russians in the Black Sea. And you have just heard from the British, who have a particular version of a coastal defense system, that they intend to supply that to the Ukrainians.

That's something that we, the United States, work closely with the British on, and it will help the Ukrainians in their fight.

TAPPER: Jake Sullivan, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

Coming up: Could the U.S. be doing anything differently to end the war in Ukraine? We're going to talk to Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney, a member of the House Armed Services Committee about that, plus also the latest from the January 6 Committee, on which she serves. That's next.

Plus: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be here on Russia's brutality and dealing with the humanitarian crisis.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper. I'm in Lviv, Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials are still counting the bodies in Northern Ukraine, as we learn horrifying new claims about Russian torture of civilians.

But what can be done to stop Vladimir Putin's forces?

Joining us now, Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming. She's a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Congresswoman, thanks so much for joining us.

You just heard my conversation with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. Were you satisfied with what you heard? What might you be doing differently right now?

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Well, thanks for having me, Jake.

No, I wasn't satisfied with what I heard. I think that it's crucially important that the United States be clear that we are absolutely committed to Zelenskyy's victory. We should not be talking about, as Jake Sullivan did just now, improving Zelenskyy's position at the negotiating table.

This is about defeating Russian forces in Ukraine. It's about much more than Ukraine. We ought to be moving much faster, much more quickly recognizing that the Ukrainians now, given what they have been able to do and how long they have been able to fight and what they have been able to inflict upon the Russian forces, they need advanced weaponry.

We need to be thinking about providing them with tanks, with artillery, with armored vehicles. We need to be doing much more, more quickly. And there should be no question that this is about getting to a negotiation or pressuring Zelenskyy to negotiate. This is about defeating Russian forces in Ukraine.

TAPPER: So, you would like to see more offensive weapons, tanks and planes, as opposed to missile defense systems, anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles, which is what the U.K. and U.S. have focused a lot of attention on?

CHENEY: Look, I think we need to do both.

I think we need to do everything that Zelenskyy says he needs at this point, given the just unbelievable battle that they have put up, the extent to which the Ukrainians have demonstrated that they are not going to be in a position where they allow the Russian forces to make the kinds of gains Putin thought he would be making.

I think it's really important for us to be very clear, with respect both to the kinds of advanced weaponry, the kinds of offensive weaponry we need to be providing them, also in terms of what's happening in the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov. The United States has a right to be there. It's international waters.


We ought to be doing much more to help keep the shipping lanes open to ensure that the Ukrainians are not continuing to suffer from the kind of economic blockade that the Russians are attempting to impose now.

So, I think that there are a whole range of additional things we could be doing and should be doing immediately.

TAPPER: Let's turn to that horrific missile strike on the Ukrainian train station, more than 50 people, including five children, killed. They were just trying to flee.

CHENEY: Right.

TAPPER: They were trying to flee the war and come here to Lviv, where I am. They were trying to escape, and they were targeted and killed.

What was your reaction when you saw the new images? Are they war crimes? Do you consider this all genocide?

CHENEY: I think this clearly is genocide. I think that you asked exactly the right questions.

I think that Europe needs to understand and grapple with the fact that you have got a genocidal campaign, the first -- the first kind of horrific genocidal campaign that we have seen certainly in recent decades. I think that, also, the Europeans need to understand that they're funding that genocidal campaign.

I understand the economic consequences to countries in Western Europe, if they were to impose the kind of oil and gas embargo that the U.S. has imposed against Russian oil and gas, but they need to do it. And we need to do everything we can to increase our own domestic production, to help make sure that we can supply them with as much as possible.

But they need to understand that every single time, every single day that they are continuing to import Russian oil and gas, they're funding Putin's genocide in Ukraine.

TAPPER: Do you think that there is a point at which the United States and NATO countries, seeing what's happened here, need to consider direct military intervention?

CHENEY: I think that the Ukrainians have demonstrated an incredible ability and courage and bravery, and that what we need to be doing right now is doing much more, much faster to provide them with the equipment that they need.

I think, though, we also have to understand and recognize this isn't just about Ukraine. Putin has made clear his desire to go farther. He's made clear that he's got ambitions with respect to the Baltics, with respect to countries like Moldova. And I think the West and NATO has got to understand that Putin's defeat in Ukraine is a fundamental national security interest for us.

That does not mean -- in the near term, it does not mean calling for U.S. forces on the ground in Ukraine. But what it does mean is ensuring that we're providing Ukrainians every single thing they need, everything they ask for. We shouldn't be in a position, for example, where we're saying we don't believe -- as our Pentagon has said, they don't believe that the Ukrainians need the MiGs.

If Ukrainians are asking us for weaponry, we need to make sure that we're doing everything possible to get it to them.

TAPPER: President Zelenskyy has posed some baffling and challenging existential questions about the existence of the United Nations, the United Nations Security Council, even NATO, these organizations established, many in the wake of World War II, to make sure that what happened in World War II doesn't happen again.

And he's been questioning whether or not they actually are effective in any way. What have been your thoughts on that?

CHENEY: Well, I think you have to make a very clear distinction between NATO, which I think is the most effective and successful military alliance in the history -- in history, period, and the United Nations, which I think has caused real questions about whether or not it can accomplish or is accomplishing any of the objectives for which it was created.

When you have Russia sitting on the Security Council, when you have nations on the Human Rights Council -- and I know Russia has been recently removed, but I think the United Nations, I think that it has demonstrated that it is not the kind of effective entity people hoped it would be when it was created.

I think NATO is very different. NATO has now been unified. NATO has now worked to make sure that we are coming to the defense of our NATO allies and that we're doing everything that we can do.

We need to do more, as I said, to help to support Ukraine and help to support the Ukrainian people.

TAPPER: There are many ways that one can fight to protect democracy.

Let's turn from the military way it's being fought here to the efforts to protect democracy in the United States. You're the vice chair of the January 6 Committee.

"The New York Times" reporting this morning that your committee has concluded that you have enough evidence to make a criminal referral for President Trump to the Justice Department for obstructing an official proceeding and for conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Is that true? Do you have enough evidence to refer Trump for criminal charges?


CHENEY: Well, we have not made a decision about referrals on the committee.

I think that it is absolutely the case, it's absolutely clear that what President Trump was doing, what a number of people around him were doing, that they knew it was unlawful. They did it anyway. I think you certainly saw that in the decision that was issued by Judge Carter a few weeks ago, where he concluded that it was more likely than not that the president of the United States was engaged in criminal activity.

I think what we have seen is a massive and well-organized and well- planned effort that used multiple tools to try to overturn an election. You have seen just in the last few days a plea agreement from one of the leaders of the Proud Boys, which lays out in really chilling detail the extent to which violence was planned, the extent to which the message that went out on December 19 about the planning -- about the rally in Washington -- and, don't forget, Donald Trump tweeted out that message: Be there. Be wild.

That, the day after that message, the organization and the planning started, and that they understood, that they knew that they were going to attempt to use violence to try to stop the transfer of power. That is the definition of an insurrection. And it is absolutely chilling.

TAPPER: And, just to be clear, you have seen this evidence, and you believe President Trump committed these two crimes?

CHENEY: I -- what I have just quoted to you is a public document. It is the plea agreement in the Donohoe case. Everybody can look at it. And I would highly recommend everybody does look at it. It's the statement of offense in that plea agreement.

The committee has obviously been focused very much, has got a tremendous amount of testimony and documents that I think very, very clearly demonstrate the extent of the planning and the organization and the objective. And the objective was absolutely to try to stop the count of electoral votes, to try to interfere with that official proceeding.

And it's absolutely clear that they knew what they were doing was wrong, they knew that it was unlawful, and they did it anyway.

TAPPER: There is a dispute on your committee, as I don't need to tell you.

Some people feel like a referral, which actually has no legal weight, would only taint the process under which Attorney General Merrick Garland might act. Some feel that that's the wrong argument, that right is right, and the committee has the evidence it has.

But where do you come down?

CHENEY: There's not really a dispute on the committee.

The committee is working in a really collaborative way to discuss these issues, as we are with all of the issues we're addressing. And we will continue to work together to do so. So, I wouldn't characterize there as being a dispute on the committee.

I think that it is the single most collaborative committee on which I have ever served. I'm very proud of the bipartisan way in which we're operating. And I'm confident that we will -- we will work to come to agreement on all of the issues that we're facing.

So, I wouldn't say that it's accurate right now to say that there's a dispute on this issue.

TAPPER: Former President Trump's daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump testified in front of your committee for eight hours this week.

Was her testimony helpful? Did she shed any new light on those crucial hours while the attack was under way?

CHENEY: Certainly, her testimony was helpful, as has been the testimony of many hundreds of others who have appeared in front of the committee.

And I would just note that it really tells you why the fact that Dan Scavino and Peter Navarro have completely refused to cooperate the committee -- to cooperate with the committee, why that was -- is so clearly contemptuous, why we were right to move contempt charges against both of them.

It is -- there's absolutely no privilege in this country that is an absolute blanket immunity from having to come and testify, having to come and talk to a congressional committee, particularly under these circumstances. And so the committee is going to continue to work to get evidence and

testimony. And, again, we're incredibly grateful, I have been incredibly grateful and, frankly, moved by the many, many people who have come before us because they know it's their patriotic responsibility and duty to tell us about what happened and to make sure that it never happens again.

TAPPER: House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy is in the region. I think he's in Poland. He just issued a statement in support of democracy and the individuals fighting for a free and democratic Ukraine.

And I'm just wondering if you feel that there's any disconnect there, given the fact that he has not exactly been supportive of your efforts to get to the bottom of the attempt to overturn the election in the United States.


CHENEY: Well, what I would say is that what's happening today in Ukraine is a reminder that democracy is fragile, that democracy must be defended, and that each one of us in a position to do so has an obligation to do so.

Clearly, I think Leader McCarthy failed to do that, failed to put his oath to the Constitution ahead of his own personal political gains. And I think that, at the end of the day, each one of us is responsible for our own actions and activity.

But, if we don't stand for our Constitution, if we don't stand for democracy, if we don't stand for freedom, if we -- if we forget that our oath to our Constitution is an oath to a document, it's not an oath to an individual, we have got to always remember that, or our democracy is in peril.

TAPPER: All right, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, always good to have you on the show. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

CHENEY: Thanks, Jake. Good to be with you. Thank you.

TAPPER: Millions of refugees have escaped Ukraine this week, and a new effort to help meet the needs that they have both outside Ukraine and inside.

The head of the E.U. and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will join us next.



TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper live in Lviv, Ukraine.

This weekend, world leaders, celebrities and artists came together to try to help millions of refugees from Ukraine and in Ukraine through Global Citizen's Stand Up For Ukraine summit.

Earlier, I spoke with leaders of the summit.


TAPPER: Joining me now, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and Global Citizen co-founder Hugh Evans.

Thanks, one and all, for being here.

Hugh, let me start with you.

You organized this global campaign to help the millions of Ukrainians who have been forced to flee their homes because of this horrific war. How much money did this event raise? And how is it going to be used?

HUGH EVANS, CEO, GLOBAL CITIZEN; Well, thank you, Jake, so much for having us.

And I -- we should start by saying this was truly a team effort. We had phenomenal people from around the world, including leaders in the music industry, that came together to really rally the world, to call on world leaders to commit billions of dollars for refugee relief.

And I'm so proud today to say that the pledging event secured over 10.1 billion U.S. dollars in commitments, including $4.6 billion in cash grants that will support the people of Ukraine, as well as those who've had to flee and become refugees in the surrounding areas.

This is going to provide access to food security, clean drinking water, housing, education, and ultimately those provisions that those who've had to flee this devastating conflict need most.

TAPPER: Well, I have met some of these displaced people, and they certainly -- they certainly can use that assistance.

Prime Minister Trudeau, Canada, as I don't need to tell you, has the third largest Ukrainian population in the world, behind only Ukraine and Russia.

Do you think Canada feels a special responsibility to resettle as many refugees as it can because of that? And how many have you taken in so far? How many do you expect total?

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: Canada has always been a country to welcome in refugees.

I'm standing, Jake, in front of a -- I'm in a museum, but it's a Ukrainian church that was built in the Canadian Prairies over 100 years ago. So, we have deep connections to Ukraine. And that's why we have created rapid pathways for people to come from Europe or directly from Ukraine to Canada, either permanently or for just a few years, with work visas, with student visas that are going to allow them to get their feet back under them to contribute to the rebuilding of Ukraine once this war is over and won. And that is our focus as well, making sure that Putin loses this war that is completely irresponsible, completely mistaken, and having an impact not just on Ukraine, but around the world.

TAPPER: And how many -- how many refugees do you think you can take in from Ukraine?

TRUDEAU: We have already taken in over 14,000. And we're continuing to do many, many more, the number of Canadians, of Ukrainian Canadians, Canadians of all backgrounds who are opening their homes, their communities to welcome in people fleeing the violence.

When I was in Warsaw a few weeks ago, I heard from people who don't want to go too far from their husbands, their families back in Ukraine, but are also looking at, if this does go on as long as it might, they need solace and a secure place to go. And Canada will always be there for as many as choose to come to Canada.

TAPPER: President von der Leyen, Europe, as you know, has already taken in more than four million Ukrainian refugees.

And this crisis, we know, could potentially drag on for years. Does the European Union have a plan in place to house and care for all these people for however long might be necessary?


It is amazing to see the open hearts and the open doors of the European people, mainly in the front-line countries like Poland, Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, just to name a few.

And they are very much willing to take these refugees in, more than four million. Therefore, this pledging event today was so important. But, of course, there are funds from the European Union, structural funds, $17 billion, that are there to accommodate these more than four million refugees.

Yesterday, I was in Kyiv. I saw President Zelenskyy. And I promised to him that we're going to take good care of the refugees until they can return safely home. That is very important to rebuild their country.

But there are also the 6.5 million internally displaced people in Ukraine who urgently need help. And I'm very grateful that the pledging event today was also organized for them, because they need support through the Ukrainian authorities.


And I'm very glad 1.8 billion euros will go to Ukraine refugees in Ukraine. So, this is very important for the Ukrainian authorities too.

TAPPER: And, President von der Leyen, you made a point of visiting Bucha this week to see the aftermath of the atrocities firsthand there. You also met with President Zelenskyy in Kyiv. He told you that what the Europeans are doing is -- quote -- "not enough." What did you say to him? And did what you saw in Bucha drive home the need for Europe to do more, to do everything in its power to help Ukraine?

VON DER LEYEN: Yes, President Zelenskyy was very grateful what -- for what has happened already, what we have done already.

But he's right. This war is going on. We have to do more, and be it sanctions on Russia. And I'm very grateful that we have so many partners, Canada, for example, strongly supporting us with the sanctions against Russia to really dry out Putin's war chest.

We have to deliver arms, weapons, so that the Ukrainian people can defend themselves. It's really urgent right now. A lot has been done, but more has to be done. As I said, we have to support the refugees in Ukraine, but also very important, we have to financially support Ukraine.

Yesterday, I could deliver one billion euros directly for the Ukrainian government, but more, of course, has to come there too. So, whatever is necessary is being done. And we know we are in for long haul here to fight Putin's aggression, to defend the integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, but also, afterwards, after that war, when Ukraine will have won that war, to reconstruct Ukraine and rebuild this country.

TAPPER: Prime Minister Trudeau, you have seen the horrific images coming out of Bucha and other Ukrainian towns.

You know that, on Friday, a Russian missile strike on that railway station in Eastern Ukraine killed dozens of civilians who were just trying to escape, just trying to get to where I am, in Lviv.

President Zelenskyy says Russia is committing genocide here in Ukraine. Do you agree?

TRUDEAU: The images are horrific, the stories we're hearing and we have been hearing from Ukrainian Canadians, but through social media as well, of what's going on.

It is clear that Putin is systematically targeting civilians, whether it's hospitals or train stations or maternity wards. This is one of the reasons why Canada was one of the first countries to call on the International Criminal Court to look into Putin's war crimes.

We're providing investigative support. We're building up the case for people to recognize that not only was this a terrible mistake to violate the sovereignty of another country and create massive global instability that's impacting energy and food prices around the world, but it is also a series of war crimes that Putin is deliberately committing that he needs to be held to account for.

TAPPER: Is it genocide, though?

TRUDEAU: Those are the things that will be determined. Obviously, the messages we're seeing, the stories of what Russian soldiers are doing, not just the murder of civilians, but the systematic use of sexual violence and rape, to destabilize and have the greatest negative impact on Ukrainian people as possible is absolutely unforgivable and unacceptable.

And that's why the global community is going to and is responding so strongly.

TAPPER: President von der Leyen, you gave Zelenskyy a questionnaire to fill out in order to start the application process for Ukraine to join the E.U. That's a process that typically takes years, as you know.

You told him you think it could be -- quote -- "a matter of weeks."

How important is membership as Ukraine fights for its survival? Could Ukraine be part of the E.U. by the end of the year? And what would that do in terms of helping Ukraine defend itself?

VON DER LEYEN: For Ukraine, the most important thing is to decide themselves what they want to do in the future and how they want to shape their country. And they want to join the European Union.

This is normally a process over years, indeed. And, yesterday, we did an important step forward. That is this questionnaire which forms the basis for the information we have to then form an opinion whether I can, as a commission president, recommend the candidate status to the so-called council. So, it sounds technical, but it's a very important step forward.

Yesterday, somebody told me: "You know, when our soldiers are dying, I want them to know that their children will be free be and be part of the European Union.


So, there's a lot of hope in Ukraine that they -- they belong to our European family, without any question. And, therefore, they are in an extraordinary situation, where we have to take unusual steps.

One thing is clear for me. After this war, when Ukraine will be rebuilt, when we support Ukraine in reconstructing this country, this will be accompanied by reforms. So, it is an extraordinary way to shape the country and to go down the path towards the European Union. And we have done an important step yesterday.

TAPPER: Mr. Evans, this does not obviously end with one big event. These refugees are going to need help for weeks and months, years to come.

What can everyday people, our viewers right now, what can they do to help?

EVANS: Well, I firstly want to thank you everyone who contributed to the pledging event today. To secure over $10.1 billion in commitments was extraordinary, including over $4.6 billion in direct grants for the Ukrainian people and for the refugees in the surrounding countries.

Right now, we need citizens all around the world to use their voice and encourage world leaders to continue to step up, because this is a marathon, not a sprint. And if you can make a donation, go to today and start making a donation behalf of your family, your friends, your community.

All of us can do something to support the people of Ukraine. All of us can stand up for Ukraine.

TAPPER: Thanks to all three of you. Really appreciate your efforts.

Congratulations on the successful fund-raiser. We appreciate it very much.

EVANS: Thank you, Jake.

VON DER LEYEN: Thank you.

EVANS: Thank you so much.

TRUDEAU: Thank you.


TAPPER: Vladimir Putin has a new general to oversee his barbaric invasion of Ukraine. What can we learn from that?

General David Petraeus on the latest -- next.


TAPPER: As Russian troops roll their tanks to Eastern Ukraine, Ukraine's foreign minister says, in just days, that area will resemble the front lines of World War II.

Retired Four-Star General, former CIA Director David Petraeus is here to help us understand this all.

So, General, thanks for joining us.

A top Ukrainian military official said the Russians are making final preparations for what he called a massive breakthrough in Eastern Ukraine. It seems what, from what we understand, from what General Milley said, this land is more open, less wooded, which I guess would undermine the successful Ukrainian tactics for the battle K.V. -- Kyiv, which -- which were more guerrilla in tactics.


What are you expecting next in the region?

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS (RET.), FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Well, it's going to be quite a fight.

But, Jake, let's review what happened over really the course of this very quickly. What we have seen, initially, the main effort was Kyiv. And so you saw the column that came down from there, and another one that came over here. There were also cities up here, Chernihiv and Sumy.

And, essentially, the Ukrainian stopped them cold and then started to counterattack. And then the Russians withdrew all these forces like that. So, that campaign is over. The Ukrainians won the battles of Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy.

They were also trying to get to Odessa. That's the major port on the Black Sea. They got stopped cold right at Mykolaiv. And now the Ukrainians are counterattacking down there. So, the focus now is the Donbass. And that is this area here. This is what was controlled originally by the separatists right here.

You still have the battle of Mariupol going on. There's still three areas in which there's resistance that the Russians have to deal with. But once they deal with that, you will see these forces come like this.

And then you will see the ones that are being pushed in to the east of Kharkiv and coming down here, these little salients that you can see, because what they want to do is to encircle, if they can, the Ukrainian forces that have been fighting along essentially the front lines of the Donbass, which is almost a World War I kind of situation with trenches.

I have been there. I was there several years ago. And you're right. This is much more open, although there are some cities, and they are generally road hubs as well. And, by the way, this is Kramatorsk. This is where that terrible bombing of the train station took place that you discussed earlier.


PETRAEUS: So, that's what's coming.

Now, and we saw this convoy. This has been laid out for everyone. Again, satellites picked this up. They're moving south, so to come back to Donbass. What they're doing is, they're over here, moving along like this, and they're coming south. And, again, they're going to be pushed in from here.

And, of course, you have a new commander. You have General Dvornikov. He is known as the Butcher of Syria for this...

TAPPER: Yes, let me...

PETRAEUS: ... brutal campaign that he prosecuted in Syria when he was the commander there in 2016.

TAPPER: And what does it tell you that Putin put General Aleksandr Dvornikov in charge of the invasion now, not just, obviously, that the previous military efforts failed, but does this mean that it's going to get even worse, even more brutal, even more targeting of civilians?

PETRAEUS: I fear that it may.

Again, the Russians were known in Syria basically for -- quote -- "depopulating" areas. That's what they did to Aleppo. That's what they did to other areas. And I think we can expect that. We saw the very first operation taken under him includes that terrible strike on the rail station.

So you're going to see the focus. Again, the focus is the southeast. They have said phase one is over, achieved all our objectives, which, actually, they withdrew from, again, the main effort originally, which was Kyiv, They didn't topple the government, replace President Zelenskyy with a pro-Russian figure.

So now they're putting it all into the southeast. And what they'd like to do, of course, is, by 9 May, they'd like to have a success so that, when they celebrate World War II Victory Day, they can also say that they have now not denazified the southeast part of Ukraine, that's all they really wanted to do all along.

And, again, they'd love to have an area that would be all of this right here, plus this ground link to Crimea. And he could paint that as a success, President Putin could.

And, again, you have this one general that will be in charge of all of this, so the first time you actually have one figure who is the overall commander. Now, he's been involved here, but now everyone else is stepping aside. He's in charge.

And, again, I think you can -- you can expect more of what we have seen. The hallmark of the Russian forces so far has been indiscipline, not discipline. It has been violation of the Geneva Convention and the law of land warfare and so forth. We have seen repeated evidence of that.

And that's what we're going to see more of, I fear, in the days and weeks that lie ahead.


PETRAEUS: So, we got to do everything we can to provide everything as quickly as possible.


General David Petraeus, thank you so much for helping us understand that better. Really appreciate it.

PETRAEUS: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: Some in the West are proposing that Ukraine concede the Donbass, the eastern territory to Russia, so as to bring an end to the bloodshed, to bring an end to the war.

But those experts may have lost sight of one key part of what motivates Ukrainians. They know what and who they're fighting against. They know life under Russian repression.

I want to warn you, some of the images we're about to bring you are graphic and disturbing.


TAPPER (voice-over): Only 25 years ago here in Lviv, Ukraine, this statue cast in bronze was erected, a Ukrainian breaking free of Russian bondage, the inscription, "To the victims of communist crimes."


The statue was built under the initiative of a former Soviet prisoner. And there are others such survivors still alive, still sharing their stories.

(on camera): But they were that small, or little...

MARYNOVYCH: A little bit bigger.

TAPPER (voice-over): Myroslav Marynovych is vice-rector of Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv and a former prisoner in his Soviet gulag in the Ural Mountains. We met up with him at Ukraine's National Museum and Memorial of Victims of Occupation Regimes, which highlights Polish, Nazi and Soviet oppression.

MARYNOVYCH: This is the place the tragedy is concentrated. It's a very painful place.

TAPPER: Tiny cement cells and tools of deliberate discomfort, even torture, by the Soviets used against critics and human rights activists, such as Marynovych, who was held in a similar place.

MARYNOVYCH: I was with one other prisoner.

TAPPER: In the 1970s, he and other activists dared to document and publish Soviets' humanitarian violations in Ukraine, similar to what Putin is trying to prevent news and human rights organizations from doing today.

MARYNOVYCH: We were arrested and punished with maximum terms as most dangerous state criminals.

TAPPER (on camera): This is just because you detailed human rights abuses and wrote about it? That was your crime?

MARYNOVYCH: Yes. Yes. It was the only crime of mine.

And, of course, the Soviet Union questioned everything we wrote. It denied any violations. And we were treated as liars, and, for that, punished.

TAPPER (voice-over): Seven years of hard labor, followed by three more in exile in a small town in Kazakstan, for telling the truth about the brutality of the Kremlin. MARYNOVYCH: Mass killings, mass torturing, awful information war against local population. Now we see the same technique in the eastern of Ukraine.

If Putin prevails, then the whole Ukraine will be intimidated with awful terror. So, I'm very afraid of that.

TAPPER (on camera): Faulkner once said, the past is never dead. It's not even past.

The people of Ukraine, they don't have to imagine what life would be like under Russian rule, the oppression, the cruelty. They have already lived it. The cells that held dissidents and human rights activists, those cells are still here.

OLEKSANDRA NESPIAK, HISTORIAN, LONSKY PRISON NATIONAL MEMORIAL MUSEUM (voice-over): Since 2005, Russia officially is the heir of the Soviet Union and views themselves as a continuation of the Soviet Union.

TAPPER (voice-over): The museum's historian, who curates cruelty for a living, has this warning for the world:

NESPIAK (through translator): We know from Ukrainian history about three genocides against the Ukrainian people. And history is repeating once again.

TAPPER (on camera): Do you think the fact that Ukrainians like yourself have been through this, have survived it, have been strong enough to get here gives you -- does that give you any hope that you will be able to get through this?

MARYNOVYCH: I am absolutely sure that Ukraine will win this war, because we understand the danger that may happen with us if Putin wins.

TAPPER (voice-over): Marynovych warns he hears echoes, not only of Stalin, in what Putin says, but of past world leaders who tried to appease Stalin in the words of those who seek today to appease Putin.

MARYNOVYCH: He was victorious. So, the world decided, OK, for security reason, we would better preserve peace.

But, for us, it was like leaving seeds in the ground. And now we see that these seeds are blossoming again, seeds of crimes, seeds of communist ideology, communist visions. That's why my appeal now to the world is, please do not commit the same mistake in order to preserve security, to leave these Putin seeds in ground again.


TAPPER: This is all real, and this is all present.

At the museum, a picture of our local producer's grandfather was on the wall. He had been imprisoned for two years before being sent to a Soviet gulag for 25 years.


Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with us. I will have more reporting from Ukraine over the next week.

The news continues next.