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Hala Gorani Tonight

Zelenskyy Urges U.S. Congress To Do More To Help Ukraine; Mariupol Theater Sheltering Hundreds Of People Destroyed; Biden Pledges Additional $800 Million In Security Assistance To Ukraine; Mariupol Theater Sheltering Hundreds Destroyed; Mykolaiv Braces For Potential Russian Ground Attack; Russian Forces Change Tactics As Ground Invasion Stalls; Tsunami Warning For Eastern Japan After 7.3 Magnitude Quake; Journalist Who Protested On Russian TV Speaks To CNN. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired March 16, 2022 - 15:00   ET



CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello and welcome, I'm Christina Macfarlane. Tonight, Ukraine is facing terror not seen in Europe

in eight decades, and its destiny is being decided today. That was the message President Volodomyr Zelenskyy brought to the U.S. Congress in a

heartfelt plea for more military aid. He received a standing ovation as he appeared Wednesday by video link.

Mr. Zelenskyy said Russia is using planes and tanks to try to crush Ukraine's values and freedoms. He pressed for a no-fly zone, but also

aircraft and more defensive weaponry. Mr. Zelenskyy played a dramatic video capturing Ukraine's hell on earth. He said his country is enduring the

equivalent of September 11th attacks every day. He switched to English at the end of his address speaking directly to the American people and

President Joe Biden.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE: Today, the Ukrainian people are defending not only Ukraine, we are fighting for the values of Europe and

the world, sacrificing our lives in the name of the future. President Biden, you are the leader of the nation, of your great nation. I wish you

to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means to be the leader of peace.


MACFARLANE: Well, President Biden spoke a few hours later, pledging an additional $800 million in security assistance to Ukraine, he said the

principles of the democratic world are at stake.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's about freedom. It's about the right of people to determine their own future. It's about making sure

Ukraine never -- will never be a victory for Putin no matter what advances he makes on the battlefield. The American people are answering President

Zelenskyy's call for more help.


MACFARLANE: Well, horrific new attacks today underscore Ukraine's immediate need for that help against Russian bombs and artillery strikes.

This is what's left of a theater in Mariupol. Officials say hundreds of civilians were taking shelter there when the building was hit by an

airstrike, their fate is currently unknown. On north of Kyiv, witnesses say at least 10 people were killed today when a breadline was shelled in


Well, in its -- the capital itself, this video captured the moment a blast ripped through a residential building in Kyiv killing at least two people

and in central Ukraine. Authorities say an evacuation convoy was hit by Russian artillery fire, at least, five people were hurt. Let's go now to

our international security editor Nick Paton Walsh who is in Odessa. And Nick, all of these just tragic reminders yet again of how far will it --

how far Russia is willing to go.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Yes, certainly, the drama theater in Mariupol at this early stage, and we have only preliminary

information, does potentially have to be one of the worst losses of civilian life we've seen so far, why? Because, well, a city council

statement has suggested that the entrance to the underground of that drama theater was in fact damaged, and they're struggling to get inside.

But it is possible that up to a 1,000 people may have been sheltering in the basement of that theater. And so, essentially, this airstrike,

according to local officials hit the place that people are hiding to get away from bombardment. Now, as I say, it is still early information, we

don't know the full extent to what's happening there. We may not know for a number of hours quite who is trapped within the rubble there.

But it is yet another example potentially of the blatant disregard Russia has for civilian lives if not in this specific case, targeting individuals

gathered together like that.


Remember, too Mariupol, the scene of a maternity hospital hit also by a devastating airstrike. I should just point out too, there have been

suggestions from Russian officials, this may have been in fact, a place where Ukrainian militants or troops were using as a shelter, that has been

rapidly debunked by local officials there. Potentially hundreds missing if not dead in this devastating blast, Christina.

MACFARLANE: It is so heartbreaking. Nick, we heard from President Biden that new package of aid announced earlier. From what you've seen on the

ground, how effective is that going to be for the Ukrainian army?

WALSH: Well, it depends how fast it gets here. A lot has been delivered already, and it is, I have to say quite startling to see the damage that

some of the javelin missiles already delivered have done to Russian arm here. It performs on a practical military level, appallingly, badly well,

badly in this conflict at this stage. And the package announced puts in potentially 9,000 more pieces of anti-armor, predominantly 84 lighter anti-

tank weapons, but more javelins as well.

And also to 800 stinger anti-aircraft missiles that have proven effective against helicopters and jets here as well. Talk of other longer range anti-

aircraft systems, and then also to slightly more cryptic reference to drones that are going to be supplied, that may be kind of a state-of-the-

art technology, that could, too, massively change Ukraine's abilities here on the battle field.

It's not all that they wanted, and certainly, the detail, slightly detracted from the volume of numbers that President Joe Biden put forward

there, particularly, when it comes to the anti-tank weapons, but they have been extraordinarily effective, allowing Ukrainian troops to take on these

columns of Russian armor that have been at times decimated around the country. It has not been a good nearly 3 weeks now for Russia's attempt to

showcase what it thinks its investment is in its armed forces.

Certainly, Joe Biden's statements, a lot of financial aid there, a lot of practical military aid coming through, it will certainly, I think, raise

hackles in the Kremlin who believe U.S. involvement here is potentially a reason why they can raise escalatory rhetoric back against Washington.

We'll have to see what they actually respond to after that aid package, but it certainly shows that despite Ukraine wanting a no-fly zone and not

getting it, they're getting an awful lot else instead. Christina.

MACFARLANE: Yes, indeed. Nick Paton Walsh there from Odessa, thank you, Nick. Well, let's go to Washington now where we're joined by White House

correspondent Stephen Collinson, he says the Ukrainian president's address to Congress today comes at a cruel turning point of the war. And Stephen, I

want to get your thoughts on that unprecedented huge aid package announced earlier, but also, we understand in the past few minutes that President

Biden has just actually moved to call President Putin a war criminal. Give us your response to this.

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I guess that's crossing a rhetorical divide there, Christina, the president would come out and say

that, I think it's partly a symptom of the disgust really in the United States and in Washington about what is going on in Ukraine, the devastating

pictures we're seeing of civilians being targeted.

It does raise some interesting questions going forward. If the U.S. President has labeled Vladimir Putin a war criminal, is there any universe

in the future in which he could sit down with him at some point, perhaps, to discuss European security issues arising from any eventually peace

settlement in Ukraine?

So that does make it a little bit more difficult to see how normal business could be conducted with Russia, although you could say that the events over

the last few weeks have taken this into a new era where there will be no more normal business with Russia. But it certainly does add a complication,

I think, into the question of how this conflict will be ended, eventually, the United States and Russia, because of security of the world, their own


The fact that they're two world's biggest nuclear powers will have to talk to each other. But it really is, I think, a sign of the pressure that

Zelenskyy has been able to bring to bare on the president, particularly, when he broke into English at the end of his speech to Congress today. And

basically said to President Biden who has put -- held himself up as almost the global savior of democracy in his presidency, well, now, you have to

act to make good on your words.

MACFARLANE: Stephen Collinson there, thank you for that perspective.


MACFARLANE: Well, in what could be an encouraging development, Ukraine's president says Russia's negotiating position is becoming, quote, "more

realistic". Russia's foreign minister says hopes for a compromise are emerging, even though discussions remain contentious.


SERGEY LAVROV, FOREIGN MINISTER, RUSSIA (through translator): We have underlined again that the aim of the actions Russia is taking is to defend

the Donbas citizens from a direct military threat on the part of the Kyiv regime, and to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine so that the citizens of

the country of all ethnic groups could live in peace agreement and safety.



MACFARLANE: NATO officials say they've tried unsuccessfully to reach Russia through de-escalation hotline. Members are growing increasingly

concerned that the Russian invasion could spill over into NATO territory. An attack this week on the International Peacekeeping Center killed dozens

of people just 16 kilometers from the Polish border. The NATO secretary- general is adamant they don't want to deploy forces.


JENS STOLTENBERG, SECRETARY-GENERAL, NATO: Allies are also united when it comes to that NATO should not deploy forces on the ground or in the air

space over Ukraine. Because we have a responsibility to ensure that this conflict, this war doesn't escalate beyond Ukraine.


MACFARLANE: They are, however, weighing whether to move their air and missile defense systems further east to cover the areas next to Russia,

those include Belarus and potentially Ukraine, say senior military officials. Now the Polish ambassador to Ukraine is standing his ground in

Kyiv, hard at work in the besieged capital city. In fact, he's the only EU ambassador still there. Bartosz Cichocki joins me now via Skype.

Ambassador, great to have you with us. We have --


MACFARLANE: Been talking -- thank you. We have been talking as I'm sure you've heard about this new military aid package. Poland, of course, are

strategic in this because of how you are placed. How are Poland going to facilitate that military aid getting into Ukraine, and have you

communicated at all directly with the U.S. about how that's going to happen yet?

CICHOCKI: We are, I believe, we are in constant talks with all our NATO allies, including, of course, the U.S. Today, ministers of defense of NATO

met in Brussels, so it was yet another possibility to publish our cooperation and coordination. Poland is key not only because of our

location, but also because of our stocks that still possess many post- Soviet technologies that Ukrainian warriors are familiar with. So, we supply -- we supply Ukraine with our weaponry.

And as Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal yesterday confirmed to Prime Minister Morawiecki in Kyiv, these supplies are very much appreciated. These are

very precise, effective, military equipment.

MACFARLANE: But there's a concern about how this military equipment can now cross the border, because of course, we saw an attack on a military

base very close to the Polish border earlier this week. What new steps are you taking in order to try and protect this hardware coming into Ukraine?

CICHOCKI: I'm sure you are not -- you don't think I will discuss it publicly. We are quite confident we are still able to supply our Ukrainian

brothers and sisters -- the attack on the Yavoriv base, it was made precisely because Putin's regime feels the pain, feels how problematic is

the western supply, the international support for Ukraine and they -- and Russia tried to, with this -- with this assault, to discourage us.

What we should do is precisely the contrary. We should increase our supplies, our support to Ukraine, both militarily, economically, and over

the energy, security area, these were the issues prime ministers of Poland, Slovenia and Czech discussed yesterday in Kyiv with President Zelenskyy and

Prime Minister Shmyhal.

MACFARLANE: I appreciate you can't share with us the details, but obviously, you are taking steps, precaution to enable that military aid to

cross over?

CICHOCKI: You are right. We are taking measures to be effective and to be secure.

MACFARLANE: We know that the U.S. previously rejected an offer from Poland to send MIG fighter jets to Ukraine. Where does that issue stand now? Are

there discussions still being had about that possibility?


CICHOCKI: I'm not going to -- again, to share my -- the knowledge I have on this publicly, but I believe we are -- we are addressing Ukrainian

requirements, Ukrainian requests for this kind of support soon.

MACFARLANE: What concerns do you have about provoking President Putin? I mean, we talked of course, about the attack on the military base. And are

Poland preparing for that eventuality that this will spill over into Polish borders?

CICHOCKI: President Putin has launched war on democratic world. The war is on. There is no more grounds for considering how not to provoke Russia,

because Russia is already going after us. So now, what we believe we should do is to focus how to discourage President Putin from making further

mistakes and further crimes -- committing further crimes.

MACFARLANE: And how do you do that?

CICHOCKI: By supporting Ukraine, and by publishing sanction policy on Russia, by consolidating the international community in support for Ukraine

and isolation of and deterrence of Russia -- well, more or less like this.

MACFARLANE: I just want to ask you one last question. We spoke about the fact that you are the last ambassador standing in Kyiv. How long do you

intend to stay in the country? Are you willing to stay and fight at this point?

CICHOCKI: Fight? I'm a diplomat. I'm not going to fight, but as long as there is a democratically-elected, internationally recognized government of

Ukraine, I don't see a point to leave. And this is not my personal, of course, decision. This is the decision of the government of Poland, which

does not mean that I am made to stay. This is the state policy.

MACFARLANE: Bartosz Cichocki, thank you very much for speaking to us this evening.

CICHOCKI: Thank you for having me.

MACFARLANE: All right, still to come tonight, a desperate journey leading to desperate new struggles. We speak to the EU's crisis manager leader

about helping the millions of people fleeing Ukraine.



MACFARLANE: Just moments ago, speaking to reporters. The U.S. President called the Russian President a war criminal. Here's what Joe Biden said

about Vladimir Putin.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he a war criminal, sir?

BIDEN: Oh, I think he is a war criminal.


MACFARLANE: Well, a journey for survival. Three million times over, that's the number of people who have now fled Ukraine, an exodus not seen in

Europe since World War II. Poland has taken the highest number of refugees by far, around 1.8 million, that's double what officials initially

anticipated, something that's putting huge strain on authorities and aid agencies there. Our Ed Lavandera is in Przemysl, in Poland.

I believe you're at one of the first ports of entry for refugees fleeing in Ukraine, Ed. Obviously, Poland under huge strain at the moment with the

numbers there. How are they coping?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are clearly getting pushed to the max here. We are outside of the train station here in Poland, and this

s one of the first stops that you make once you come from Ukraine into this country. You can see behind us the crowd of people overflowing out here

because the inside of this station is filled with people. And here, what is happening is that they're essentially waiting for trains to take them

further into Poland and perhaps other parts of Europe as well.

And what is interesting, we saw several trains arrive today from Ukraine absolutely packed. We're still seeing massive numbers of people arriving

here, and some people will disembark, stay in this general area for several hours as they try to figure out what is next? But what we have also noticed

which is interesting is that, there is another train immediately waiting for many people who will then take these refugees to Krakaw or to Warsaw,

several hours away, but much larger cities much more capable of handling this massive influx of refugees arriving here at the Polish-Ukrainian


So, that has been an interesting development. Just a few days ago, the mayor of this city said that the refugee numbers here have settled to about

25,000 people per day, and really, we can -- have witnessed just the constant arrival, one train arrives, they empty the carriages, and there's

another train that then departs back into Ukraine as well. It is just a stunning sight to see how the people continue to come here to Poland.

MACFARLANE: Completely stunning, Ed, thank you very much there from the border. Well, there are growing questions over how the EU will provide

further support to tackle a crisis well within its borders. Let's speak to the EU Commissioner for Crisis Management,. Janez Lenarcic joins us now.

Thank you for joining us this evening. We heard --


MACFARLANE: Just then from Ed, you probably heard as well, that countries like Poland are really bearing the brunt at the moment, 1.8 million

refugees flooding in there, Ed saying 25,000 people a day. These, of course, these neighboring countries, some also -- the poorest countries in

Europe. So how are the EU stepping up to provide assistance, more assistance?

LENARCIC: Well, the European Union has mobilized all its instruments -- all its instruments --

MACFARLANE: Unfortunately, we have lost our guest, but we'll try and get him right back. Can you hear me Janez? Are you back?

LENARCIC: I can hear you very well.

MACFARLANE: Thank you, I was just asking you about how the EU are stepping up efforts to help countries like Poland.

LENARCIC: The European Union has mobilized all its instruments to support both Ukraine, as well as the neighboring countries like Poland. And this is

really a major challenge. We are now in the third week, ending the third week since the Russian aggression, and we have over 3 million refugees from

Ukraine that have entered European Union, more than half of them, Poland. This means we have 1 million people coming in the European Union per week.

At such a rate, of course, this is an amazing and unprecedented challenge. We are therefore trying to help both the neighboring countries like Poland,

like Slovakia, also Moldova, which is a neighboring country of Ukraine, but not a member of the European Union.


And we should also not forget about the people who are still in Ukraine, and about 12 million or more than 12 million of them are already in need of

humanitarian assistance.


LENARCIC: Yes, where we can mobilize -- yes, go --

MACFARLANE: Sorry, carry on.

LENARCIC: Yes, where we can mobilize first the civil protection mechanism of the European Union. Actually, we are now running the largest ever civil

protection operation in which all EU member states, all 27 of them, plus Norway and Turkey are contributing to help Ukraine, and to help Moldova, to

help Poland, Slovakia, but also Czech Republic, which is not neighboring country, but is already receiving large influx of refugees from Ukraine.

There is a constant flow of emergency aid going to Ukraine from European Union daily, trains are running, truck, convoys are bringing emergency aid

to Ukraine on civil -- under civil protection mechanism. This includes shelter, it includes medicines, food, medical equipment, firefighting

equipment, ambulances, mobile hospital, and the like. At the same time --

MACFARLANE: Can I ask --

LENARCIC: We had all --

MACFARLANE: Sorry to interrupt --

LENARCIC: We have also mobilized our humanitarian aid --

MACFARLANE: Sorry to interrupt, Janez. I mean, the scale of what you're talking about is absolutely huge. So I just want to try and break it down a

little bit. You talked just then about internally displaced people within Ukraine, obviously you're helping out externally as well. But I want to

know how you were able to get aid into Ukraine right now, to the areas, to the people who need it when we've seen that humanitarian corridors have

been shut down, people have been targeted. Is that aid that you say you are providing getting to the people?

LENARCIC: There are two channels for our emergency aid. One is the Civil Protection Assistance which goes to the authority of Ukraine, it's a major

logistical operation. We have set up logistical bases in Poland and Romania for that purpose to facilitate the provision of the emergency aid to the

Ukrainian authorities at all levels. At the same time, we are funding humanitarian organizations that are on the ground in Ukraine and trying to

help people who need humanitarian aid.

And this is increasingly difficult because of the access to people in need, which is -- which is difficult to the security situation due to the fact

that the Russian forces are attacking population centers and it's difficult to reach people who are there, trapped, and who have been going now for

weeks without heating, without electricity, without food and medicines. So this is a big challenge, and we keep calling on the Russian forces to

respect international humanitarian law.

Meaning that they have to protect civilians at all times, that they have to refrain from destroying and damaging civilian infrastructure, and that they

have to provide safe passage, both for civilians who are seeking refuge, as well as for humanitarian aid --


LENARCIC: And humanitarian workers to reach people in need.

MACFARLANE: And we hope that at some point that aid will reach those people in need. Janez Lenarcic, thank you very much for joining us this

evening. All right. Still to come tonight, some Ukrainian cities are getting pounded from the sky while others are being attacked from the sea.

Russian warships have targeted villages in the south. We'll have a report from the region.




MACFARLANE: Breaking news we're just getting in to CNN. The Ukrainian government says it has rescued the mayor of the southern city of Melitopol.

Ivan Fedorov was seen in this video last week, being detained by armed men in the Russian-occupied city.

An official in President Zelenskyy's office said in social media, the special operation to secure him had been completed. In another video,

Zelenskyy is seen speaking on the phone to someone identified as Fedorov.

As we've been saying earlier in the show, a theater in Mariupol, Ukraine, has been destroyed and hundreds of people could now be buried under the

rubble. The city council is accusing Russian forces of bombing a theater on purpose.

Hundreds of civilians were sheltering there. CNN has geolocated these images and we can confirm it is of the theater or what is left of it.

Elsewhere in southern Ukraine, the situation is growing more desperate. Nick Paton Walsh reports now from Mykolaiv.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): This is the road down which Russia's war of annihilation may lurch. And its

emptiness speaks only of what is to come from Russian held Kherson up here, to the vital port of Mykolaiv.

They know what it is to be in Russia's way.

"Out of 18 homes, 10 are left in our village," she says. "No electricity, gas, water or heat."

"The only ones left are those who can't leave," another adds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

WALSH (voice-over): They are young, edgy, guns raised, unsure who we are. "Press" written on our vests and press cards slowly calms them down and

they apologize. But this is not an army in full control of its destiny.

The trenches are where the rockets land every night. Some are from Odessa, Moscow's eventual target here. Others from just down the road.

WALSH: He's saying his house is just over there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

WALSH (voice-over): It's important to see what tools Ukraine has been left with by a world that seems so concerned. They fight for their homes but

tell me they captured Russians, who seemed unaware why they were even here.

"They said they can't understand what's going on," he said. "They can't go back because, back there, they're being shot for retreating. So they

advance or surrender."

Dusk in Mykolaiv has sounded this way for weeks. But unbroken morale takes different forms. And this is a police chief, driving a birthday gift to the

governor, with a captured Russian machine gun soldered onto it.

It does not distract from the seriousness of the twilight world in which his colleagues work.


(voice-over): Any drunk or man changing his car battery after curfew could be a Russian saboteur, they fear. There really is no way to check by

looking at phones and in trunks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

WALSH (voice-over): The city is dark, bar their lights and the flash of a distant enemy's bombs. An urgent hospital call for blood has gone out. They

rush to help. The savagery of Russia's targeting measurable in how dark this four-floor hospital keeps itself at night, invisible not from a power

cut but to avoid Russian bombs.

Mykolaiv has been fearing encirclement for days. There is heartbreak for those who leave. Amid the shared agony, still a tussle to get onto buses to

Moldova. The men stay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, this my wife. Zenia (ph) is my daughter and Inia (ph).



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

WALSH: What will you do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language). This is my country. This my country.

Why they want to do it?

No apologies. My home.

WALSH (voice-over): And there is heartbreak for those who stay. Svetlana (ph) lost her husband in a rocket attack Sunday that killed nine outside a



SVETLANA (PH), BEREAVED WIFE AND MOTHER (from captions): In a moment, everyone gone.


WALSH (voice-over): The violence here is a chain of moments of blinding grief.

SVETLANA (PH) (from captions): The rockets landed and my husband just exploded and the blood came out from his head. And he is still lying there

in the blood. And they took me here. In pieces.

WALSH (voice-over): Pieces left to wonder alone -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Mykolaiv, Ukraine.


MACFARLANE: The Russian advance is stalled in parts of Ukraine, even as Russian forces pound cities with shelling. Western observers say Moscow's

initial playbook for invading Ukraine has not gone according to the Kremlin's plan. CNN's Phil Black has this.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Russian ammunitions are still having a devastating impact on civilians in key cities. In Mariupol, in the capital

Kyiv but Russian forces are still making little progress advancing across Ukrainian territory. The core us assessment hasn't changed for much of the


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Kremlin's forces remain stalled in many areas.

BLACK: And experts agree almost three weeks in Russia is in trouble.

MATTIEU BOULEGUE, RUSSIA & EURASIA PROGRAM AT CHATHAM HOUSE: No wars go according to plan. The problem is that Russia's plan was extremely bad.

BLACK: The key question, why?

BOULEGUE: I would argue it is a mix of everything. It is a failed or botched concept of operation with plenty of wrong assumptions about the

very nature of the battlefield. Russia believing in a way that Ukrainians would capitulates or Ukraine would crumble.

BLACK: And experts believe Russia's failure to secure a quick definitive win has revealed another major flaw in its planning.

BRIG. GEN. KEVIN RYAN (RET.), DIRECTOR DEFENSE AND INTELLIGENCE PROJECTS AT HARVARD: Russia is out of available combat forces to put into this fight.

BLACK: Analysts say Russia's limited forces are now divided between taking territory and laying siege to major cities, reducing the ability to do both

tasks effectively. And that means Russia must be reassessing what victory looks like.

BOULEGUE: At this stage, we are still talking about limited games and goals. There's simply not enough troops potentially coming from Russia or

elsewhere to do a sort of massive full scale ground invasion of Ukraine, keep that territory, hold it and then fight a very costly counter

insurrection war.

BLACK: U.S. officials say they're seeing some early efforts to boost troop numbers with foreign fighters.

GEN. FRANK MCKENZIE, U.S. CENTCOM COMMANDER: We believe that out of Syria, there perhaps small, small -- very small groups of people that may be

trying to make their way to Ukraine.

BLACK: How the next phase of the war plays out, will be significantly determined by Russia's intentions in Kyiv. Trying to take the capital would

likely involve months of bombardment and urban warfare.

ADM. JAMES STAVRIDIS (RET.) FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: That's going to be a tough order of business. Those Ukrainians know every single

alley, every backroom, every road, every intersection.


The Russians are going to find themselves in a hard fight.

BLACK: Slow Russian Progress can help Ukrainian forces by allowing them more time to prepare and be resupplied with advanced weapons from allies.

But experts say it could also inspire greater brutality from Russia, a willingness to escalate and destroy in order to compensate for its stalled

invasion -- Phil Black, CNN, London.


MACFARLANE: All right, still to come, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe coming home to the U.K. after spending six years in prison in Iran. The remarkable

release -- next.




MACFARLANE: At least one person is dead and 88 injured after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Japan. The quake was felt 250

kilometers south in Tokyo, where buildings shook violently.

A tsunami advisory is issued and at least one small tsunami has been reported on the northeastern coast. This is the same region devastated by a

deadly tsunami 11 years ago, which triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant. The quake struck just before midnight local time. Our Blake

Essig is in Tokyo.

What more can you tell us about this?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, Christina, the Japan meteorological agency has issued a tsunami warning for Fukushima and Miyagi

prefectures after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake structure northeastern Japan as you said just before midnight local time.

So far, a small tsunami, 20 centimeters, was reported in Miyagi prefecture, with officials asking people to stay away from the coast. There are no

reports of major damage but it is still dark. The sun doesn't rise another hour or so. So that is subject to change, especially given the fact

(INAUDIBLE) bullet train derailed during the earthquake.

Although no injuries were reported involving that train incident, city officials say one man in his 60s has died and public broadcaster NHK

reported at least 88 people were injured as a result of the earthquake in Soma city alone, located in Fukushima prefecture.

Good news: Tokyo electric poewr company says there are no abnormalities in a radiation dose on or around the premise of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear

power plant.


And all power has been restored for the over 2 million people in Tokyo and nearby prefectures who initially lost power.

From where I'm sitting about 250 kilometers from the epicenter of this earthquake, I can tell you the shaking was violent. It lasted what felt

like an eternity, I was lying in bed with my kids when the shaking started. I immediately grabbed the pillow, covered their heads, while my wife, in

our living room, crouched under a table.

She recorded video of this violent shaking of the TV, plants, furniture rocking against the walls. And again this was 250 kilometers away from

where the really violent shaking took place -- Christina.

MACFARLANE: I'm glad you both managed to stay safe, I know it's coming up to 5:00 am there, so we'll be keeping an eye on this for us. Blake, thank

you very much, there from Tokyo.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe a charity worker jailed for 6 years in Iran, is on her way home to the U.K. She's one of two British Iranian women Iran

just released. A British MP shared this photo of Zaghari-Ratcliffe leaving the Iranian capital, smiling, sparking relief for her family in the U.K.


RICHARD RATCLIFFE, NAZANIN HUSBAND: (INAUDIBLE). It's going to be lovely to see her, lovely (INAUDIBLE). We've chosen which toys we're taking so she

will get to see them. And then looking forward to a new life.


MACFARLANE: Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in 2016, falsely accused of plotting to overthrow Iran's government. She has vehemently denied the

charges. The British government has worked for years to secure her release.

But no one has worked more tirelessly than her husband. Richard Ratcliffe even went on a 21-day hunger strike to protest her detention. U.K. foreign

secretary Liz Truss says that these agonies must never happen again.


LIZ TRUSS, U.K. FOREIGN SECRETARY AND MINISTER FOR WOMEN AND EQUALITIES: I want to express my admiration for the incredible resolve and determination

shown by Nazanin, Anooshee, Morad and their families.

I have been in contact with them throughout, together with our specialist consular teams. Their suffering has moved us all and so does the prospect

of them being reunited with their loved ones once again after this long and cruel separation.


MACFARLANE: CNN's Nada Bashir joins me now.

This is just the most incredible news story today, it sparked relief and joy. Tell us about the reaction we've seen today.

NADA BASHIR, CNN PRODUCER: It's been a hugely emotional day, not only for Nazanin's family. You heard her husband speaking alongside her daughter.

She hasn't seen her mother for so many years now.

And obviously for the country this has been a hugely significant case for the country, really capturing the attention of many across the globe. But

there was a sense of caution.

Yesterday, we did hear from her local lawmaker, member of Parliament, who has been a very vocal back-up of the Free Nazanin campaign, saying she had

her passport returned, although we didn't hear any official lines from the government. The prime minister saying he didn't want to tempt fate because

we now have that amazing news that she is on her way back.

Confirming she is currently on a flight from Oman to the U.K., to be with her family after six years away from them.

MACFARLANE: Everyone pressing pause and waiting for her to actually get on the plane toward the end there. The timing of this is unusual, though,

isn't it.

Why now, after six years, did Iran strike this deal with the U.K.?

How much does it have to do with the Iran nuclear deal currently in play?

BASHIR: Yes, I mean, foreign secretary Liz Truss spoke earlier in the House of Commons and touched on this, saying there was a new government in

Iran and new opportunities for the British government and the negotiating team to really find a resolution to this issue with their Iranian


And they have stressed that the Iran nuclear deal is a separate issue. But others wondered if there were sideline conversations. But another key issue

is a decades-old debt owed to Iran by the U.K., predating the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Now Liz Truss confirmed that debt has been settled. And there were questions whether it's linked to the conditional release of Nazanin

Zaghari-Ratcliffe and other dual nationals in prison in Iran.

Her husband has from the beginning described her as being a pawn being used by the Iranian regime to put pressure on the British government so it seems

she was tangled up in this diplomatic struggle between the two countries.

MACFARLANE: Whatever the situations of her release, I know her family won't care as long as she is back on U.K. soil. Nada, thank you so much.

Still to come tonight, impossible to stay silent. The video's gone viral.


Now we hear from the woman herself. A Russian journalist who staged this remarkable protest on state TV speaks to CNN.




MACFARLANE: It's the duty of journalists to speak out about the events that govern our lives. But sometimes speaking out becomes an important

event in its own right.

You may have seen this video of a Russian journalist protesting the war on state TV. Her act of defiance now has been condemned by the Kremlin and

she's been fined hundreds of dollars.

So why did she do it?

In her first major TV interview since the protest, she told Christiane Amanpour it was simply her responsibility.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: I just want to know, on a human level, how are you feeling, are you feeling scared right now?

MARINA OVSYANNIKOVA, RUSSIAN JOURNALIST AND PROTESTER (through translator): No. You know, I don't feel scared. But at the moment, of course, I feel a

huge burden of responsibility. And I realize that my life has changed irreparably.

I don't think there's some sort of sad fate in store for me, for the protest on air. But I'm hoping I don't face criminal charges. I wanted to

show to the world that Russians are against the war, the majority of Russians are against the war.

And even if they support the Kremlin policy, they are pacifists. They hate war inside themselves. Everybody in Russia is scared by what's going on.

Everybody's confused. Our own life changed overnight. Russians are really scared by what's going on. And their faces show fear and confusion.

I don't know yet what to do next, what my steps will be. At the moment, my children are safe. And, of course, I fear for them very much.


(through translator): But I hope they will be OK.


MACFARLANE: An incredible woman.

All right. A former U.S. astronaut says he is backing off his Twitter feud with the head of the Russian space agency following a warning from NASA.

Scott Kelly says he will stop criticizing the director general for Roscosmos.

Last week NASA officials emailed all former U.S. astronauts, warning that such attacks are damaging to the mission of the International Space


The invasion of Ukraine pushed Kelly and several other former astronauts to speak out against Russia. They're also responding to the head of Russian

space agency's related threats to pull out of the ISS.

All right. That will do it this evening. Stay with us on CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is coming up next.