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Hala Gorani Tonight

A Ukrainian Official Says 130 People Have Been Rescued From The Bombed Theater In Mariupol; U.N. Security Council Meet On Ukraine`s Humanitarian Crisis; Blinken Describes Russia`s Actions In Ukraine As War Crimes; Survivors Emerging From Bombed Mariupol Theater; DIY Armor Made For Ukrainian Military; Descendants Of "Righteous" Couple Find Safety In Israel; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Appeals To German Parliament For Action; Zelenskyy Taps Into Patriotic Ideals In Speeches To West. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired March 17, 2022 - 15:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello and welcome, I`m Lynda Kinkade at the CNN Center. We begin with a dangerous and difficult effort

to rescue survivors from the wreckage of a Ukrainian theater. As many as 1,300 people were taking shelter there when a bomb flattened the building.

A former regional officer says about 130 people have been pulled out alive in Mariupol, but there`s no official rescue effort because constant Russian

bombardment has caused city services to collapse.

Residents are clearing away the rubble themselves despite fearing further attacks. Ukrainian leaders have called it a war crime. Satellite images as

you can see there, up-close show there were children, was clearly written in Russian outside that theater before it was attacked. United Nations is

focusing on the dire humanitarian situation in Ukraine today. A Security Council meeting is just now getting under way.

Well, Ukrainian leaders are growing increasingly frustrated that NATO is rejecting their calls for a no-fly zone, asking how many lives must be lost

before the world will protect the skies? One parliament member tells CNN that no effort should be spared to stop Russia`s war on Ukraine.


MARIAN ZABLOTSKYI, UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER: I think that Putin has crossed all the red lines possible. We have over 100 children dead already

and thousands of civilians killed indiscriminate, but sometimes precision fire on civilians. I think this is the 93 date or the 93 to `9 moment when

Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia or Poland.


KINKADE: Well, communities across Ukraine are coming under fire, but perhaps nowhere is the devastation worse than in Mariupol. It`s been

implicated for 16 days, cut off from heat and water as food supplies run critically low. As our Nick Paton Walsh reports, the theater bombing is

just the latest blow to a city under siege.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): The flicker of flame here, where Russia`s barbarism peaked, and an airstrike

hit a bomb shelter hiding hundreds beneath a theater, said local officials. The damage so complete, the entrance was reduced to rubble. This satellite

image from two days earlier showing the building standing with children written large outside. In case you`re still thinking, nobody knew who was


Videos had been circulating for days of the hell inside. How over a week of siege and shelling had forced those still living into a space so tight and

dark, it must have felt like a tomb. "Here", he says, "is where we give out food to children, women and elderly first." This is the converted cloak

room of the theater. If this looks like how you imagined the end of the world, for these children packed in, that may have been the case when the

bomb struck.

Russia claim Ukrainian radicals caused the blast. "In this room, 15 people", Ben Riti(ph) says. Little comfort any parent can give by the lie,

this would be over soon. And below this store, there are yet more, an entire city forced underground. Little aid allowed in, and few allowed out.

"People hear us, here are children", he says. His appeal is for food, help. Perhaps unaware it may have led Russian bombs straight to them.

The swimming pool was also hit, a place where this narrator says a pregnant woman was trapped under the rubble and where only expectant mothers and

those with under threes hid. The Kremlin wants to break or flatten this port, but its defenders still exact a cost, still keep them out. This drone

video shows the moment Ukrainian fighters hit a Russian tank. The shots come again and again, removing one of the tanks` tracks.

The crew were later seen hit as they try to flee. No room for mercy in a city that has little space left for life itself.



KINKADE: Well, Ukraine`s defense minister spoke to the European parliament about the bombing and didn`t hold back his fury.


OLEKSIY REZNIKOV, DEFENSE MINISTER, UKRAINE: You can see from the maps, from the drones that are around this theater, big letters of "children"

were written so that the pilot of the plane which was throwing the bombs could see, and still, in spite of that, this monster has bombed the



KINKADE: Well, that was Ukraine`s Minister of Defense. Andriy Zagorodnyuk one of his predecessors joins me now. Good to have you with us.


KINKADE: Just -- before we get started, how are you doing? How is your family, how are your friends?

ZAGORODNYUK: Thank you. Well, lots of friends in difficult situation, so trying to -- trying to survive, some of them fighting, some of them, you

know, the whole country fights for -- fights for freedom and, you know, survival. So, essentially, that`s how I`m doing.

KINKADE: You predicted that Putin would take Ukraine. Before the war started, you said this is his obsession, and as long as he is alive, he

will try to get his hands on Ukraine, despite the fact that we heard Russia continually denying plans to invade. We now see this fully-fledged war,

wide-spread attacks across your country. What do you think will stop Putin?

ZAGORODNYUK: Well, unless he is arrested for war crimes, and essentially, what may stop him is just running out of the resources because he has

caused -- as somebody already said, he crossed all imaginable red lines. He can do bombing of civilians, of children, and so on. So certainly, nothing

of moral kind stops him. So yes, it`s just like -- it`s just the fact that he loses. Sanctions may, because especially if he runs out of money, and

also the fact that he runs out of military capabilities.

You know, he already lost a lot of his people and equipment. And so if that continues, I mean, he will have nothing to fight with. But that`s

difficult. That`s difficult because it`s one of the largest armies in the world. So we are facing extremely hard challenge.

KINKADE: American Intelligence officials have estimated that Russian troop deaths are about 7,000, and that a staggering number of body bags are being

sent into the allied country --


KINKADE: Of Belarus. By all accounts, Ukraine is putting up a better resistance than anyone anticipated. Given that it`s fighting against a

military that is much bigger and much better funded. What do you attribute this to?

ZAGORODNYUK: Well, first of all, motivation, because we are defending our home. And many Russians don`t understand what they`re actually doing there.

So motivation is certainly on our side. Plus, we are much better prepared, much more effective, so actually, efficiency is more important than

numbers. And that sends a signal to all analysts who were saying that, you know, you need to compare military by numbers.

No, that`s not the case. You need to compare military by the -- by motivation and by skills and by efficiency and so on. But also, they do

some quite substantial command and control mistakes, and essentially, we try our best to fight them, and as you can see in many respects, it`s -- we

succeed more than they do, for sure.

KINKADE: Yes, and it certainly seems like President Zelenskyy staying in the country has seemingly helped morale. He, of course --


KINKADE: Yes, do you want to respond to your view of how people see him in the country, because he obviously has spoken to parliaments around the

world in the past few days.

ZAGORODNYUK: He has an absolute support of people higher than ever before. And people admire his courage and his vision. We certainly don`t have any

other choice, but to fight. We certainly don`t have any other choice but to fight for -- you know, and defend ourselves, because Putin decided that

country like Ukraine shouldn`t exist anymore. And that is in 21st century in Europe, just somebody decides and sends hundreds of thousands of troops

to our country just to kill our people.

So president demonstrates a huge, you know, resolution and encouraged himself, and obviously, inspires lots of people around, pretty much


KINKADE: I love talking to you. We`ll have to leave it there for now, but hopefully, we`ll get you back on the program. Former Ukrainian Defense

Minister Andriy Zagorodnyuk, thanks so much for your time.

ZAGORODNYUK: Thank you. Thank you.

KINKADE: Well, Russia`s advance into Ukrainian territory has slowed to a crawl. The British Ministry of Defense says that Russian forces are making

little progress in their push forward while taking heavy casualties from Ukrainian counter-attacks. Our Frederik Pleitgen has been watching the

military action and joins us now live from Lviv, Ukraine. Good to have you with us, Fred.


So, 3 weeks into this war, the British Defense Ministry says that the Russian invasion has essentially stalled.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they certainly are saying that. And that certainly does seem to be the case. And

I think one of the most interesting facts that we have in this conflict is that, we are now, of course, 3 weeks into the war that was launched by

Russia and the Russians still haven`t managed to take a single large city, single major population center here inside this country.

Even though, of course, several are under horrible sieges like for instance, Mariupol, Chernihiv as well. And that in part is due to the fact

that the Ukrainians obviously have tactics and strategy that seems to be working in part, that`s also due to some of the weapons that they`re

getting from the U.S. and its allies. But it`s also of course, the way that they are employing those weapons. So, here`s what we found out.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): This is how Ukraine`s army is halting Russia`s advance, using anti-aircraft weapons like the U.S.-made stinger against

low-flying helicopters. Now, answering Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy`s plea, the U.S. says longer range anti-aircraft missiles are

arriving in Ukraine, including the powerful S-300.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): You know what kind of defense systems we need, S-300s and other similar systems. You

know how much depends on the battlefield, on Russia`s ability to use aircraft.

PLEITGEN: After Zelenskyy`s impassioned speech to Congress, President Biden announced a massive new security assistance package worth $800

million, including drones, anti-tank weapons, and 20 million rounds of ammunition.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It includes 800 anti-aircraft systems to make sure the Ukrainian military can continue to stop the planes

and helicopters that have been attacking their people, and to defend the Ukrainian air space.

PLEITGEN: Despite being drastically outgunned, Ukraine`s forces have been putting up a tough fight. The country`s ground troops led by Colonel

General Oleksandr Syrskyi; a veteran of Ukraine`s defense of the Donbas region. Meanwhile, the chief commander of the armed forces, General Valerii

Zaluzhnyi, who is widely credited with reforming Ukraine`s military vows to fight the Russians to the last drop of blood.

"I don`t have any illusions, and don`t wait for a gift from God", he says. "I fought and have been preparing my armed forces." The weapons supplied by

the U.S. and its allies are giving them a fighting chance. Ukrainian units blowing up Russian tanks with shoulder-fired missiles like the javelin

supplied by the U.S. or NLAWs, a similar anti-tank weapon made in Britain.

WESLEY CLARK, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: We`re at a crucial point in the battle here where Ukraine is tipping the balance against Russia. Russia is truly

in trouble.

PLEITGEN: Ukrainian troops have fought tooth and nail with the Russian tanks on the ground despite being massively outgunned Vladimir Putin`s

army. While the U.S. and NATO still reject the idea of a no-fly zone, the Biden administration has made clear it will continue to arm Kyiv`s forces

to help as they bog down the Russian military and inflict massive casualties.


PLEITGEN: And of course, Lynda, one of the things that the Ukrainians are saying -- I think you talked about this a little bit as well is that, there

are certain areas now going on counter offenses, and they are saying that`s having a huge impact as well. Of course, one of the possible signs of that,

that we saw recently is that shelling of an air base where there were Russian helicopters near Kherson where apparently, at least, three

helicopters were destroyed in that counter attack by the Ukrainians, other areas as well.

So, Ukrainians certainly putting up a big fight, at the same time, we do, of course, keep hearing President Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying, he wants this

war to end as fast as possible, because, of course, he wants to protect the civilian population here in this country, Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, exactly, all right, Fred Pleitgen for us and great reporting there for us from Lviv, Ukraine, thanks very much. Well, still to come

tonight, pure thug, murderous dictator, President Biden using these and other strong words to describe the Russian leader. We`re going to have a

live report from Washington. Plus, how the Kremlin is responding to President Biden calling President Putin a war criminal.



KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, the refugee crisis is at the center of a U.N. Security Council meeting under way this hour. They`re assessing the ever-

growing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Right now, the Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees Operations is addressing the council. More than 3

million Ukrainians have fled so far to neighboring countries in just the last few weeks. Well, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he views

Russia`s actions in Ukraine as war crimes.

His remarks coming a day after the U.S. President called Vladimir Putin a "war criminal" for the first time.


ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: Yesterday, President Biden said that in his opinion, war crimes have been committed in Ukraine.

Personally, I agree. Intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime. After all the destruction of the past 3 weeks, I find it difficult to

conclude that the Russians are doing otherwise.


KINKADE: Well, President Biden is using those choice words again today, calling Mr. Putin a pure thug and a murderous dictator. Well, CNN`s Kylie

Atwood is monitoring all the developments and joins us now from Washington D.C. Good to see you, Kylie. So, we just heard there from the U.S.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, he held that briefing a short time ago, outlining the boarding schools that have been bombed, the hospitals that

have been attacked in Ukraine, saying -- standing essentially by Biden`s remarks, calling Putin a war criminal.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you heard the Secretary of State say there that he personally agrees that there are war

crimes being committed in Ukraine. In some ways, echoing what we heard from President Biden yesterday that he believes President Putin himself is a war

criminal. But what you`re seeing from these top Biden administration officials is their personal view put on display.

They are speaking like everyday folks around the world, based on what they`re seeing, these horrific images of people being killed, mothers who

are pregnant, you know, dying and the like. But what they aren`t doing is officially saying that it is the legal position of the Biden administration

that war crimes have been committed. And you heard the Secretary of State talk about the process that is ongoing to document and to evaluate what has

occurred on the ground to then go forth and prove that those are war crimes.

To go ahead and prove that Russia is intentionally targeting civilians in these strikes that have occurred. So, that is the process that is underway,

but they are very clearly saying that they, personally, feel that war crimes have been committed. The other thing that the Secretary of State did

was talk about what the United States believes is next in Russia`s playbook here. We had seen the Biden administration do this before this invasion

occurred, and now, the Secretary of State is talking about what we could expect next.


He talked about the fact that the Russians could carry out systematic kidnappings of local officials and replace them with proxies, Russian

proxies. He talked about the fact that they may create false narratives about genocide. We have already seen them begin to do that. And he also

talked about them potentially carrying out chemical weapons attacks and then blaming the Ukrainians. That is something that the Biden

administration has been warning that Russia could do for a few days, for really a week now. So he`s been very clear about what may happen next here.

KINKADE: And Kylie, you`re also staying across the United Nations Security Council meeting which is under way right now. Several countries want to

call for an end to hostilities, Russia, of course, proposing safe passage, humanitarian corridor for people seeking to leave the country. But we`ve

already seen in the past few weeks, any time that has happened, civilians have indeed been attacked. What can we expect to come from this meeting


ATWOOD: Well, listen, we`re still waiting to hear from the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, but rest assured that she will once again call for

the need to allow those refugees to get out of the country safely for those humanitarian corridors to be protected. They have not, so far, been

protected holistically across the board here. And so, we are watching the international community essentially beg for that to be the case.

It will also be interesting to see what folks have to say today at this meeting about China and their role in this horrific war that is happening.

We heard Secretary of State Antony Blinken say earlier today that China has essentially a special responsibility here to hold Russia accountable, and

that`s because of the close relationship between those two countries. But he also said that so far, China has moved in the opposite direction because

they have refused to condemn what is happening in Ukraine.

KINKADE: Our thanks to you, Kylie Atwood for us in Washington D.C., thanks very much. Well, the Kremlin has fired back at Mr. Biden`s "war criminal"

comment, saying the U.S. President`s remarks were absolutely unacceptable and inexcusable. President Putin also condemned Russians who have a western

mindset, calling them national traitors who will be, quote, "spat out" or "spit out", he said. Well, for more on this, I want to bring in CNN`s Nina

dos Santos. But just before that, I want to play some sound. Take a listen.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT, RUSSIA (through translator): But any people, the Russian people especially, are able to distinguish true patriots from

bastards and traitors, and will spit them out like a gnat that accidently flew into their mouths. I am certain that this necessary and natural self-

cleaning of our society will only strengthen our country, our solidarity, togetherness, and our readiness to answer any calls to action.


KINKADE: Well, Our Nina dos Santos is following these developments and joins us from London. Good to have you with us, Nina. So, ever since Russia

started bombing hospitals and places where civilians are, the U.S. has been asked whether he is indeed a war criminal. Initially, the answer was, there

is evidence of war crimes, but they would not say he`s a war criminal. Now, we are hearing from both the U.S. President and U.S. Secretary of State,

saying in their personal opinion, he is one. Russia certainly quick to respond.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. Well, we`ve had Dmitry Peskov; the Kremlin spokesman saying this, he called the U.S.

president`s statement unacceptable and unforgivable rhetoric on the part of the head of a state whose bombs have killed hundreds of thousands of people

around the world. That`s according to the Russian state news agency, "TASS".

That was the Kremlin`s response to Dmitry Medvedev who at one point was president of Russia and was also prime minister of Russia, said that these

comments were absolutely disgusting from the United States. But as you saw there, the fighting talk wasn`t just between presidents of the United

States and president -- the president of Russia. The President of Russia, Vladimir Putin also issued a huge amount of fighting talk for his own

citizens if they didn`t agree that this was a special military operation that the Kremlin was conducting inside Ukraine, and if they had any western

values or doubts about his policies at all.

It was really chilling talk. You heard a little bit of a snippet there of him calling Russians with a western mindset traitors. He went further, he

called them scum. He also said that when it came to the oligarch class, that the west has been trying to push so hard with all those sanctions to

try and exert their influence over Vladimir Putin.


He tried to torpedo their influence straight out, saying that these were people who, essentially, cannot live without oysters and gender freedom and

luxuries like villas in the south of France and foie gras. So, this was a very bizarre speech, but it is also a chilling one that many Russian

watchers have said is the closest yet we`ve seen in Russia since the days of Stalin and the Gulags. This is a president, remember, who has been

accused of poisoning two people here on U.K. soil, a Russian dissident and also somebody in Russia, Alexei Navalny.

He`s been accused of using nuclear agents here on U.K. soil to poison people, and also Novichok, which is a deadly nerve agent. So when he issues

these kind of words, people really sit up and listen, not least, the more than 200,000 Russians who fled since he`s been tightening free speech and

started this invasion of Ukraine. Lynda?

KINKADE: Yes, it`s just incredible, those numbers, 200,000 that have fled Russia. All right, we`ll leave it there for now, Nina dos Santos in London,

thanks so much. Well, still to come tonight, a hopeful sign after a day of tragedy, Ukrainian survivors emerge from the rubble of a theater after it

was bombed. We`ll have the latest on the rescue efforts.

Plus, the power of words in the face of warfare. How Ukraine`s president is drawing on lessons from the past to address the emergencies of the present.


KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, we want to show you some new video just in from the city of Kharkiv. The sprawling barbaric show of a market is on

fire there after being hit by Russian shelling. You can see the massive smoke plumes rising into the air. CNN has geo-located and confirmed the

authenticity of this video. The mayor of Kharkiv says on social media that one rescue worker died fighting the fire there.


Well, meanwhile, a Ukrainian official says about 130 people have so far been rescued from a theater in Mariupol a day after it was bombed by

Russian forces. But he says efforts to pull out survivors have been hindered by a breakdown in social services as well as the threat of further

Russian attacks.

Mariupol is one of many Ukrainian cities battered by constant Russian shelling. Well, CNN`s Ivan Watson is in the city, Vinnytsia, where ordinary

Ukrainians have been trying to find ways to survive -- sorry for stumbling over that there.

Ivan, good to have you with us. Firstly, just give us an update on that horrific attack on that bomb shelter, which, by all accounts, mostly women

and children were sheltering.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I`m having a little bit of difficulty hearing you right now. I think there`s some interruption

on the line. I am coming from the city of Vinnytsia. Now this is in the center of the country. The ground war has not reached it. There has been

some rocket fire that had hit things like a TV antenna in recent days here.

And what we`re seeing is that this is a safe route out for people displaced from the intense savagery that we`re seeing in other cities further to the

east and to the north from here.

But also, we see residents here, who clearly feel a sense of responsibility to support their fellow countrymen in those front line cities. And we got a

remarkable example of that with one family.



WATSON (voice-over): Melody in a time of deep uncertainty, a family hard at work turning their living room into a makeshift workshop, producing

locally-made armor for the Ukrainian military.

So this is heavy. This is a flak jacket.

(voice-over): These flak jackets are the work of this grandmother and former seamstress. Russia`s invasion of Ukraine pulled 68-year-old Erina

Prochenka (ph) out of retirement to work as a volunteer, sewing flak jackets for Ukrainian soldiers.

Erina (ph)says she sews these flak jackets with love. And it`s with that love that she hopes it`ll help protect defenders, help save their lives.

(voice-over): In the kitchen, Erina`s (ph) son, a lawyer, crafts the blue and yellow armbands that security forces wear on their arms to identify


How many do you make in one day?


WATSON: 200?


WATSON (voice-over): This family workshop is part of a larger, improvised production chain that sprouted up in the central Ukrainian city of

Vinnytsia. It`s the brainchild of Vitaly Golovenka (ph). He takes orders from soldiers and members of the territorial defense, requesting armor

before they head to the front lines.

Before the war, Vitaly (ph) was a lawyer and an amateur reenactor of scenes from the First World War, when Ukrainian nationalists fought against

Russian Bolsheviks.

Several days into this modern war, Vitaly (ph) says he asked his mother-in- law, Erina (ph), to help sew armor when his son`s godfather couldn`t find a flak jacket before heading off to combat. This operation relies on

donations and improvisation.

This is some padding for the flak jackets to go around the armor plates. And they`re made from the material that`s used for floor mats for cars.

(voice-over): The armor plates come from scrap metal, scavenged from old cars, welded and reworked by volunteer mechanics -- and field tested.

So Alyek (ph) has taken out plates to a firing range. And this is 6 millimeters in width. And they tried different kinds of firearms and rounds

and it was able to block some rifles. But a sniper`s rifle punched right through, as did a machine gun. They`re not using this width for their flak


(voice-over): The team settled on a width of 8 millimeters. Vitaly (ph) says this newest model will go to a new fighter within the hour.

VITALY GOLOVENKA, LAWYER AND DIY ARMORER (through translator): My normal work is to defend people in a court of law. But now, we have to defend

people`s lives from the enemy, from the killers, who, for some reason, want to kill me, my little daughter, my grandmother and so on.

WATSON (voice-over): This is just one example of the collective war effort that has sprung up here, ordinary Ukrainians doing their part to protect

their homeland.


WATSON: Now, Lynda, I spent the afternoon intervening a major from a command battalion in Ukraine`s territorial defense.


He was pulled out of the reserves by the Russian invasion and commands about 380 men. Almost all of them are volunteers who were mustered, who

volunteered to join in the defense of the Ukrainian capital.

And he described to me how these fighters were going up against Russian units, armored vehicles and tanks, using largely Soviet-era weaponry. But

during the three weeks of this war, they started to receive also some U.S. weapons, the shoulder-fired weapons that can be used to kill tanks.

So he did say that he has touched and felt some of that aid that is coming into the ranks of the Ukrainian armed forces and in addition to some of

these ad hoc measures, such as the homemade, locally-produced flak jackets we just saw in this report, Lynda.

KINKADE: It`s quite an incredible report you did, Ivan, just showing us how people like the man who was a lawyer a month ago is now joining the war

effort. A great job to you and your team. Stay safe, thanks so much.

Our Ivan Watson there in Vinnytsia, Ukraine.

Still to come tonight, a desperate escape. Tens of thousands of people fleeing Mariupol as accusations of Russian war crimes grow.




KINKADE: Welcome back.

Around the world, people are celebrating the Jewish holiday of Purim. It`s a moment of escape for Jewish refugees who have fled the war in Ukraine.

Israel has welcomed orphans from the war-torn nation and, today, children dressed up in costumes, played games and enjoyed sweet treats in honor of

the holiday.

Some people who risked their lives to help Jewish people survive the Holocaust are designated Righteous among the Nations by Jerusalem`s Yad

Vashem Holocaust memorial. Today, a family from Kharkiv, descendants from a righteous couple who saved a Jewish man during the Holocaust, has found

refuge in Israel. CNN`s Hadas Gold has their story.


HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For hours, Katya Gusarov waited anxiously for two Ukrainian refugees to emerge from Tel

Aviv`s Airport.


(voice-over): Finally, she spots them, Alla Misiuk and her daughter, Liza.

It`s a warm embrace but, before today, they had never met.

Katya is a researcher at Jerusalem`s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Museum.

Alla is the great-granddaughter of a couple deemed "Righteous Among the Nations" by Yad Vashem for helping save the life of a Jew during the


That act of salvation now paid forward; Katya is hosting Alla and Liza after their terrifying journey out of Ukraine. They grow emotional

recalling the last three weeks, including nearly 24 hours on a train that came under fire near Kyiv.

ALLA MISIUK, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE (through translator): We were told to turn off our phones and turn off the lights.

Do you understand how scary it all was, that even small children, 2 or 3 years old, they understood that something terrible was going on and even

they were silent. They were afraid. We lay like that for an hour and a half, each on top of each other.

GOLD (voice-over): Their family ripped apart by war, Liza and her mom forced to leave dad, Arthur, behind.

Liza, you`re only 12 years old.

Do you feel like you`ve grown up very quickly in the last few weeks?


(through translator): I may look the same on the outside. But my characteristic has changed because I`m ready for war at all times. The

siren starts to blow and you realize that your life is in danger. You realize that you may never see your family again. That`s what changed my


GOLD (voice-over): Inside Katya`s home, a chance to look over why Alla and Liza ended up in Israel.

More than 80 years ago in 1941, Alla`s great grandparents, Yvan (ph) and Tatiana Parmont (ph), saved the life of a young Jewish man and Soviet

soldier named Viktor Rudnick (ph).

Documents detail how they sheltered Rudnick after he escaped from a prisoner of war camp, at one point, risking their own lives by pretending

Rudnick was their own son, even while they were forced to host German soldiers in the same house.

A letter in the file written by Yvan Parmont describes how their town near Kharkiv was bombed in 1943, the similarities down to the dates haunting.

A. MISIUK (through translator): The downed Germans bombed us from March 2nd to March 19th, every day, from morning to evening. For three days, we were

hiding in our cellar. On March 5th, a bomb hits our barn.

GOLD (voice-over): Alla grows emotional over the parallels to what the Russian army is doing now.

A. MISIUK (through translator): They just destroyed them, destroyed them deliberately, destroyed them ruthlessly because, well, because it`s

genocide. It`s just genocide of the Ukrainian people.

GOLD (voice-over): Katya and Alla`s bond started when Alla reached out to the museum a year ago via email, simply seeking more information about her

family. Then the war started. And Alla wrote again, asking for help.

And after days, traveling by train, car and on foot they made it to Poland and, soon, onto the plane to Tel Aviv. For now Alla and Liza say they feel

safe, taken in by Katya`s (ph) family, like Alla`s did for Viktor so many years ago.

KATYA GUSAROV, RESEARCHER, YAD VASHEM WORLD HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE CENTER: This bonding -- this bond of helping people, it`s just normal. It should be

because if you do a good thing, it will be back to you in one way or another.

GOLD (voice-over): Hadas Gold, CNN, Israel.


KINKADE: Talk about paying it forward, that`s remarkable.

Well, if you would like to help people in Ukraine who may need shelter, food or water, go to You`ll find several ways you can help.

We`re going to take a quick break. We`ll be back in just a moment.





KINKADE: Well, stunning video from the besieged city of Mariupol. Hundreds of cars lined up, fleeing a city being hit by up to 200 Russian airstrikes

every day. About 30,000 people have left the city.

Many of these cars had signs on them saying "children" in the hope they would dissuade Russian forces from attacking.

Ukraine`s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged Germany to take more decisive action to help his country during a virtual address to German

parliament. This morning, warned that Ukraine is becoming cut off from the rest of the world.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Once again, you find yourselves behind a wall. It is not a Berlin Wall; it is a wall in

the middle of Europe, between freedom and bondage. This is a wall that is getting thicker with every bomb falling on our land, on Ukraine.


KINKADE: Mr. Zelenskyy`s speech was part of a virtual tour of Western parliaments, in which he`s been tapping into the universal power of

patriotism. The aim is to frame the conflict in Ukraine not as some far-off dispute but as something more fundamentally human, a fight for freedom,

democracy and dignity.

Mr. Zelenskyy made an explicit reference to the Holocaust during his address to German lawmakers. He said actions must speak louder than words

if Europe is truly committed to ensuring history does not repeat itself.


ZELENSKYY (through translator): After 80 years, this has happened again. And I implore you, every year, politicians repeat the words "never again."

And now we see that these words are worth nothing.


KINKADE: And far from what`s playing out in Europe, a speech that played on the American dream. Mr. Zelenskyy repeated the immortal words of Martin

Luther King in his address to Congress as well as invoking memories of 9/11 and Pearl Harbor, suggesting Ukraine today is at a moment just as pivotal

in its history.


ZELENSKYY (through translator): "I have a dream." These words are known to all of you. Today, I can say I have a need. I need to protect our sky. I

need your decision, your help, which means exactly the same, the same you feel when you hear the words --

-- "I have a dream."


KINKADE: While it was very much in the spirit of Winston Churchill, which Mr. Zelenskyy channeled when he addressed Britain`s Parliament last week,

the Ukrainian president thanked the U.K. for its support since Russia`s invasion and said more needs to be done to ensure Earth, sea and sky are

safe again.


ZELENSKYY (through translator): We will fight to the end. We will fight at sea, we will fight in the air. We will defend our land, whatever the cost.

We will fight in the forests, in the fields, on the shores, in the cities and villages, in the streets. We will fight in the hills.


KINKADE: Let`s review the rhetoric and its impact now with global affairs analyst Aaron David Miller, who joins us now from Washington, D.C.

Good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So pretty much, wielding words, Ukraine`s president giving some very compelling speeches.


Each tailored to the specific country he was talking to and certainly drawing parallels to the wartime leader, Winston Churchill.

What`s your assessment?

How compelling are these speeches?

MILLER: Well, I think they`re very compelling. In fact, if you ever needed demonstration of the fact of an individual`s role in history, you have one


I mean, think about two individuals, Vladimir Putin and his naked aggression against Ukraine, an isolated, detached Putin, pictured at long

tables, separated even from his closest advisers on one hand and President Zelenskyy on another, who has risen to an occasion.

Whether leaders are born or not is an arguable proposition. We`ll never know. But they are made. And here is an example of a human who has stepped

up beyond any capacity, demonstrated extraordinary physical courage -- and, as an actor, I think, frankly, the theatrics, his capacity to project and

to find the right words and to tailor them to Brits, to the Americans; he`ll speak to the Israeli parliament I believe on Sunday and, of course,

to the Germans, I think, by and large, Zelenskyy is the face, along with the Ukrainian military, of Ukraine`s struggle.

And I think he`s done an extraordinary job, in an age of Zoom and the internet, of being able to do what so many leaders throughout history

probably wanted to do but couldn`t. So, yes, I think he is quite an extraordinary human.

KINKADE: Yes, he certainly seems to be helping the morale in the country. I want to ask you a little bit more about that in just a moment.

But I want to talk not just about the language we`re hearing, the speeches, but also the imagery, the visuals. He showed this edited video to Congress,

beautiful buildings being bombed, classical music playing in the background -- some of this vision is very graphic so I want to warn our viewers -- but

I think we need to play it. And then I`ll come back to you.



KINKADE (voice-over): That was just a portion of the video played to Congress from the Ukrainian government.


KINKADE: I want to ask you what impact he is hoping to have with a video like that. Obviously, people around the world are seeing reports on what`s

happening in Ukraine.

What sort of impact is he hoping that particular video would have because, at the very end, he did make an appeal to close the skies over Ukraine?

MILLER: Yes, I mean, look, words are fine but images and pictures, particularly those that are so horrendous and heart-rending at the same

time, nothing substitutes for that.

And he`s able, he was able to, through that video, I think, to evoke an extraordinary emotional reaction from so many members of Congress.

I also think, Lynda, he has done something that no American president, frankly, no American politician has yet done in this country and that is to

create, with a lot of help from Vladimir Putin, to be sure, a moment of bipartisanship, rare bipartisanship, in which you have Democrats supporting

increased military expenditures.

And you have much of the Republican Party detaching itself, at least here, from the former president`s sort of selfish "America first" rhetoric and

resuming a more natural Republican view on the importance of American leadership in the world.

Zelenskyy, none of this would have happened, frankly -- imagine a counter factual (ph) another leader, a leader who didn`t have his capacity, his

physical courage, a leader who didn`t know how to behave and who was focused primarily on his own security.

I think the most iconic line that Zelenskyy has uttered, that will represent this crisis, is when he said, I don`t need a ride, I need




MILLER: That`s just an extraordinary testament to how individuals, different ones respond to pressure in their circumstances.

KINKADE: Yes, it was funny; I really wanted to point out that line myself, because it does speak to the bravery, that he was given the opportunity to

flee but he stayed. And from the outset of being elected, just at 44 years of age, this former actor, this former comedian, many thought he wasn`t up

to the task of leading the country.

And it seems he`s proved a lot of people wrong.

MILLER: No question. And again, I think that you never know how an individual is going to react. But the ones that manage to rise to the

moment --


-- are the ones that play a role in shaping your country`s future. And under these circumstances, this man has managed to do an extraordinary job,

extraordinary achievement, of projecting not only Ukraine`s relevance to the world -- you said it yourself, Lynda, in the initial opening.

But to link Ukraine to the broader issue of human freedom, of democracy and of values in this world and I think that message has really resonated. It

can only do so much, though. It won`t push the American Congress or the administration to do what Zelenskyy wants; at least, as of now, it hasn`t.

But he has done an extraordinary job for his country and for the world.

KINKADE: That`s right, yes. He does want that no-fly zone. It doesn`t seem it`s going to happen. Aaron David Miller, we`ll leave it there, thanks so


MILLER: Thank you.

KINKADE: And thank you, everyone, for watching, I`m Lynda Kinkade at CNN Center. Stay with us, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.