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Hala Gorani Tonight
White House: Biden Laid Out Consequences For China If It Supports Russian War; Xi Says The U.S. And China Have A Responsibility To Work For Peace; Putin Marks Anniversary Of Crimea Annexation; WH: Biden Laid Out Consequences If China Supports Russian War; Britain Joins E.U. In Banning Russian State TV Channel; Empty Strollers Symbolize Children Killed During War; Ukrainian Volunteers Racing To Help Frontline Fighters. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired March 18, 2022 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello and welcome, I'm Lynda Kinkade coming to you from the CNN Center. This could be one of the most
critical conversations in weeks of telephone diplomacy over Russia's war in Ukraine. U.S. President Joe Biden speaking with Chinese leader Xi Jinping
for nearly two hours today, warning the world's second largest economy not to give Moscow any military assistance or help it evade sanctions.
According to a Chinese state media, President Xi said Ukraine crisis is something we don't want to see. And President Biden just told CNN that the
call went well. The White House says he outlined the consequences for China if it does support Russia's war. We are expecting to learn more details
from a White House briefing, and we will bring that to you live when it happens.
Right now, I want to bring in Kevin Liptak who joins us from -- near the White House. Good to have you with us, Kevin. So, we did just get that
read-out from the White House on this two-hour call between U.S. President Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Certainly, it was made clear
by the sounds of it that if China supplies Russia with help, either militarily or some sort of help to evade sanctions, that there will be
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, that certainly seemed to be the message that President Biden was conveying in this call today. Now,
this really doesn't necessarily have any surprises in it, and we don't really have any more details about what those implications or consequences
might be for China if it decides to assist Russia in this war in Ukraine. But one thing that the White House did say is that President Biden
underscored his support for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis and he described, as he said, the implications and consequences if China provides
this material support.
And remember, Lynda, the United States has assessed that China has expressed some openness to providing the support, it hasn't necessarily
seen that support going over yet. Which is why this was such a critical moment for President Biden and President Xi to speak. The U.S. really sees
this as a tipping point, as President Xi considers what he's going to do next, weighs what his next steps will be, they really wanted to get
President Biden on the phone with President Xi in order to both ascertain what his plans going forward will be, and to influence him as he makes this
And of course, President Xi and President Putin have formed this partnership, they say, with no limits. The U.S. has watched that with
growing concern, starting from last month. What the White House has said is that President Biden really views President Xi as sort of the most
important bilateral relationship in the world, and as this Russian invasion continues, he certainly wants to make his voice known as this decision-
making goes forward.
And one thing that White House officials say is that President Xi wasn't necessarily prepared for how poorly Russia's invasion would go. He has been
unsettled by the number of losses that you're seeing on the ground in Russia, by Russian forces, and that has caused him to reconsider somewhat
how associated he wants to be with this Russian invasion, and that is certainly something that President Biden will have wanted to hone in on,
and sort of underscore is that, you know, the world is going in one direction, and that direction is against Russia and that he wants President
Xi on board with him as he rallies the world behind that.
KINKADE: And Kevin, just quickly, we did see, according to a Chinese state media that Xi Jinping said that both China and the U.S. have a
responsibility to work for peace. What does that signal from China? Is it willing to diffuse the situation?
LIPTAK: Yes, it certainly could be an oblique nod to China, saying that it won't provide this military assistance, but it's really written in such a
vague way that I don't think any American officials are taking too much stock in what the Chinese put in that read-out. And certainly, the language
that they used isn't significantly different from the way that they've described this conflict previously. Of course, the Chinese are watching
very closely because they don't necessarily want to incur the wrath of American sanctions should they decide to partner with Russia in all of
Their read-out did make clear that they view this conflict as sort of an irritant to global stability, that's something that's very important to
Chinese President Xi Jinping. And so when you read that read-out, it did make certainly plenty of references to peace, to global security, to
sovereignty and that sort of thing, but it isn't necessarily providing any reassurances to the White House and to Washington at this point that, that
assistance won't necessarily go forward.
KINKADE: All right, Kevin Liptak, good to have you with us, thanks very much.
KINKADE: Well, so far, China is refusing to distance itself from Russia and has actually played the mediating role that it said that it would. Days
before Ukraine was invaded, Russia's Vladimir Putin and Chinese Xi Jinping called on NATO to halt further expansion. They also said the friendship
between the two countries has no limits, and in the time since U.S.-China relations have gotten worse.
Well, the invasion on the other hand has galvanized not only the West and NATO, but also countries in the Asia-Pacific which are now keeping a close
eye on Taiwan, the self-governing island claimed by China. American officials say the united response to Russia could make China rethink
whatever plans it had for Taiwan. Well, I want to discuss China's role in the conflict, Max Baucus is a former U.S. Ambassador to China joins me now
live. Good to have you with us, ambassador.
MAX BAUCUS, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: Thank you.
KINKADE: So give us a sense of the relationship between China and Russia. Is Xi the only leader who could pick up a phone to Putin and say stop it?
BAUCUS: Well, backing up a little bit, I just want to focus a bit on the telephone call between President Biden and President Xi. I think that's a
very great opportunity for our two countries to maybe start working together a little better together. The important point to make here is that
China is not going anywhere. China is a huge country. Its population is four times that of the U.S., it consumes half of the world's coal, produces
half of the world's coal, and it's a huge country.
Compared with Russia which is very -- actually quite a small country economically. Its economy is about the size of Spain or Italy. So, my main
point here is that President Xi -- to answer your question, could exercise a lot of influence in how this war finally ends. I mean, it's clear he did
not want the war, President Xi did not. Because Chinese, if anything, worship stability.
They just don't -- they want -- don't want the boat rocking. Clearly, a war causes immense instability. They want stability because it's part of their
long-term plan to keep growing economically, and it could be that, he, President Xi believes that they could keep going and develop their long-
term goal by putting more pressure on Putin to back off, but that's really a decision for President Xi.
KINKADE: The war does create immense instability as you say, but also economic pain, not just in Ukraine or Russia but around the world. If we
look at what's happening on the battlefield in Ukraine, what are the risks for China if it supports Russia? We heard in that read-out from the White
House that U.S. President Biden said there would be consequences. if China is sanctioned, how worried could China be about that prospect?
BAUCUS: I think quite worried. Because of U.S. congressional support, bipartisan along with President Biden in opposing Russia's invasion of
Ukraine. And add to that, all the allies are united against the Ukrainian invasion. And so if China were to aid Russia with military arms, it would
cause a huge outcry to Washington, huge. And that have immense consequences. In fact, the outcry could be so great, it would force
President Biden's hand, so -- and China understands that.
And China is not dumb. They're pretty smart, actually. And so, I think they're going to be very careful about sliding in military aid to Russia.
Maybe a little bit -- some other kind of aid, but I doubt seriously, any significant military aid.
KINKADE: Ambassador, how, ideologically, a China and Russia similar, because no doubt though, we have seen China expanding its territory in the
South China Sea, it obviously claims Taiwan. But in terms of where these nations see eye-to-eye. Just explain it to us.
BAUCUS: Well, they're very different, frankly. Russia has a -- its grandiose sense of itself, which is not materialized in any result.
Examples like Afghanistan, it just -- they have very exalted sense of themselves, it just doesn't materialize. And I think in part because the
economy is not nearly as great as a lot of people think exactly as the Russians think. Contrast that with China, very large country, its economy
is going to maybe exceed that of the U.S. but 5, 10, 15 years from now.
And China's view is a long term. They are not a country which is, expands militarily. Rather, they're a country which expands economically. It's the
Belt and Road Initiative, it's Asia Development Bank. I was recently in Africa, stunned at the amount of Chinese investments in Africa. So they're
very different. Once Russia's more military, is pushing to obviously try to get a military solution, China on the other hand is not military, it is
economic. It is slowly gaining economic advantage around the world as much as they can.
KINKADE: Ambassador, the Chinese leader has referred to Vladimir Putin as his best friend. How do you think this war could impact that friendship,
their alliance? Because you seem to allude to earlier that this war might bring China and the U.S. closer together.
BAUCUS: Well, I have to smile at that because I've seen so often where leaders say they're best friends, and it turns out there's a lot of tension
afterwards. And leaders have to say that to some degree. No, clearly, Russia and China, they're autocracies, they're authoritarian governments,
and they could talk to each other, Putin and President Xi can, and they'll try to work out some agreements.
On the other hand, each has different goals, and let's not forget, the bottom line for every country is what's best for their own country. What's
best -- China will do what's best for China. And Putin will do what he thinks is best for Russia, and of course, President Biden, what he thinks
is best for the United States. So sure, there's a camaraderie of stories between Putin and Xi, but I wouldn't bet my bottom dollar on that being too
stable in the long term because each is pursuing its own interest.
KINKADE: Yes, exactly, Max Baucus, former U.S. Ambassador to China, good to get your perspective, thanks for your time.
BAUCUS: You bet.
KINKADE: Well, Russia's president has justified the invasion of Ukraine at a rally marking the eighth anniversary of the annexation of Crimea.
Speaking before a packed football stadium, Vladimir Putin promised all of the Kremlin's aims would be achieved as tens of thousands of people
chanted, waved Russian flags and sang patriotic songs. Mr. Putin hailed what he called the special operation in Ukraine and the Russian soldiers
fighting for their country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT, RUSSIA (through translator): The best proof is a way up, always a fighting in this operation, shoulder-to-shoulder,
supporting each other, and if need be, protecting each other like brothers, shielding one another with their bodies on the battlefield. We haven't had
this unity for a long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Well, CNN's Nina dos Santos is live for us in London covering the event. So, Nina, we heard Vladimir Putin describing yet again this war in
Ukraine as a special operation and certainly, try to justify it.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN REPORTER: Yes, that's right, and this special military operation that he also claims is going a lot better than Western
intelligence officials have been saying over the last few weeks. This was all about Russian nationalism, it was about showing the world that there
were tens of thousands of seemingly adoring Putinists out there, and he very much had the support of the people.
But it was a very bizarre appearance here, Lynda, because we don't really know whether it was disseminated live. And at one point, it appeared as
though when Vladimir Putin got to the climax of his speech, talking about the military commanders in this special military operation as the Kremlin
calls it, everybody calls it a full-blown war or invasion of Ukraine, he then seemed to get cut off, and suddenly, the tape went to something else.
There was a Russian pop-star pre-recorded segment on that that appeared to cut him off. Now, the Kremlin afterwards cleared it up, saying that this
was just a technical glitch. I have to point out, it's very rare for technical glitches of this type to happen with the Kremlin's normally well-
oiled propaganda machine, particularly when you're talking about an event of this scale, this stadium that he is in, apparently can take 81,000
people. And as you can see by these pictures, it appeared to be totally packed.
KINKADE: Yes, it was certainly an interesting point you made about that so-called technical glitch. I want to ask you if we have any sense, Nina,
of what Russians are thinking right now. It must be hard for people to speak their mind, because Putin has threatened anyone opposed to the war,
calling them traitors.
DOS SANTOS: Yes, that's right. And it's the juxtaposition between this performance here with so many seemingly adoring fans of President Putin,
although we don't know whether a number of them were actually chosen to be there, whether they were encouraged to go there because say, they were
public sector workers or whether they had actually bought tickets to this event. There are some question marks over that because not all that many
western journalists are still operating inside Russia.
There has been suggestions by other western media outlets that they interviewed a few people in the crowds, and many of them said that they
were public sector workers, teachers and so on and so forth, who had been told that they had to go there and show their support. But this comes very
much in juxtaposition to that very pointed message that we saw Vladimir Putin pre-record yesterday, which was of course, that speech in which he
talked in very menacing terms about Russians who espoused western values as he put it.
He said more or less, we know that you are traitors and the people will spit you out like a fly or a gnat that has come into their mouth, say when
you're -- you know, out and about on a Summer's evening, will spit you out because we will realize that you are the traitors.
Now, that is really worrying talk for people in Russia who don't support this war, who can't speak out about it because the levers of protest have
been tightened so much over the last few years, not least in the last 3 weeks after the Russian parliament passed some draconian anti-free speech
laws which meant that you could face between 3 and 15 years in jail if you didn't refer to what Vladimir Putin talked about on stage there at that
event today as a special military operation.
If you called it a war, where you could fall foul of these new laws. So, it's really concerning and Russians are leaving the country by the droves,
about 200,000 have already left to places like Georgia, Finland and elsewhere.
KINKADE: Yes --
DOS SANTOS: Lynda?
KINKADE: Just incredible numbers, the amount of Russians leaving. All right, Nina dos Santos, good to have you with us from London, thanks very
much. Well, we are still waiting for word on more survivors of an attack on a theater in a besieged port city of Mariupol. The building which was
serving as a bomb shelter was flattened by Russian strikes two days ago. Earlier, Ukraine's president said 130 people were rescued, but hundreds
more may still be trapped.
Well, this week, we have been telling you about people traveling to Ukraine from overseas to aid in the war effort. And they include Ukrainians
themselves who are returning to the country to take up that fight. Our Hala Gorani has some of their stories.
HALA GORANI, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): We've all seen images of Ukrainians fleeing the war, but there is a lesser told story. Those Ukrainians who
travel in the opposite direction.
LES YAKYMCHUK, UKRAINIAN RETURNING TO COUNTRY TO FIGHT: We're trying to do this also to show people that it is possible not only to leave the country,
but also to come back to the country and to fight for this country because it's worth it.
GORANI: Les and Olena were students at Ohio University, a Ukrainian couple who decided to head into the war zone when Russia invaded their country.
They took first aid classes in America, collected donations, flew from Columbus to Warsaw, and drove to Kyiv. Not even telling their parents, so
they wouldn't worry.
OLENA ZENCHENKO, UKRAINIAN RETURNING TO COUNTRY TO FIGHT: When I was at the door, so I called them and said, don't freak out, please open the door.
GORANI (on camera): Oh, my gosh --
ZENCHENKO: They freaked out. This was a really combined feeling. So my father was crying on me, like you're an idiot, why are you doing it? But at
the same time, he was smiling.
GORANI (voice-over): They now drive the roads they've known since childhood, delivering supplies, Les is conscripted, so he could be drafted
at any time.
YAKYMCHUK: It is my choice. It was my choice to stay here because this is my place where I grew up. I was raised, I was born, so it is something more
than just like, you know, be safe and study, and trying to protect everything I can. Everything that I am. I mean, I am these places. I mean,
this coffee shop is downtown of Kyiv.
GORANI: There are those who fled in the first days of the war like Marc Wilkins and his wife Olga. But after a few days, safely re-settled in
Berlin, they say something didn't feel right, so they drove right back to Ukraine.
(on camera): What was that like, what was your frame of mind that day?
MARC WILKINS, FILM MAKER: It felt good. We felt determined, certain, and happy to be back finally to be able to make ourselves useful.
GORANI (voice-over): A British-Swiss filmmaker who moved to Ukraine in 2016, he is now using his skills to create profiles of ordinary
Ukrainians who have become resistance fighters overnight.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's my city, I need to defend the --
GORANI: All to raise funds for the war effort.
WILKINS: I'm not a soldier, I don't know how to handle a gun, but I'm a film maker, I'm a communicator, and this is what I'm doing now.
GORANI: Now, the couple has decided to stay in Ukraine, not yet back to their home in Kyiv, but in the relative safety of an apartment in Lviv, in
the western part of the country. And then there are those like Ilyash Bolyenski(ph) settled in Berlin with his wife and three kids. He knew from
day one of the Russian invasion that he would head back to his home city of Mykolaiv.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
GORANI: Bolyenski(ph) starts his day at dawn, distributing basic supplies like medicine, gloves, boots, sleeping bags, walky-talkies, what troops
need to keep up the fight. His home town is in the crosshairs of the Russian assault between Kherson and Odessa. Fierce bombardments and
shelling have caused devastation throughout the region, but the Ukrainians are pushing back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
GORANI: Three stories, three journeys, all one destination. Back home to a country at war. Hala Gorani, CNN, Lviv, Ukraine.
KINKADE: Well, we are awaiting a briefing from the White House, following that two-hour phone call between President Biden and Xi Jinping. We will
bring you that live when it happens. And still to come tonight, a safe haven under fire, why an attack on the Ukrainian city of Lviv is a serious
new development in this conflict.
KINKADE: What was once a refuge, now it's under attack. For the first time in this conflict, Russia has struck within the borders of the western
Ukrainian city of Lviv. It's a major development because since the start of this war, Lviv was seen as both a safe haven and a life-line for people
fleeing Ukraine. It's about 70 kilometers from the Polish border, something which made the city a gateway to the EU.
Several missiles hit an aircraft repair plant, but work had stopped there beforehand, there are no reports of casualties. Well, CNN's Fred Pleitgen
joins us now from Lviv. And Fred, we are awaiting a White House briefing which we will go to shortly. But first, I just want to ask you about these
attacks. These missiles fired towards Lviv, and this city that was considered one of the safest places in Ukraine.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Lynda. Well, I think it actually still is considered that. And if you look
at the streets here during the day time, something you can actually forget that you're in a country that's at war. And It certainly is also -- and
you're absolutely right to point that out, a place where many people have fled to and where many people, quite frankly, have sort of moved the
centers of their lives to, if they've had to flee areas further in the east of the country. But of course, then there are those times --
KINKADE: All right, sorry to cut you off, Fred, the White House briefing is beginning. We're just going to listen in.
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: OK, just want to (INAUDIBLE) all of you at the top. On Monday, the president will join the business
roundtable CEO quarterly meeting at their headquarters in Washington D.C. to discuss the United States response to Russia's unprovoked and
unjustified war with Ukraine, and the president's plan to lower cost for working families, create good-paying union jobs and tackle the climate
On Wednesday, as you all know, he will travel to Brussels, Belgium, where he will have a packed Thursday, he will -- he's traveling that day, there's
not a schedule of that day, but eat your Wheaties, eat your spinach, it's going to be a long Thursday. Because on Thursday to start the day, the
president will attend an Extraordinary NATO Summit to discuss ongoing deterrence and defense efforts in response to Russia's unprovoked and
unjustified attack on Ukraine.
He will also reaffirm our iron clad commitment to our NATO allies and to defend every inch of our NATO territory. Then, he will join a scheduled
European Council Summit to discuss our shared concerns about Ukraine, including Trans-Atlantic efforts to impose economic sanctions on Russia,
provide humanitarian support to those affected by the violence and address other challenges related to the conflict.
Later in the day, he will attend the G7 meeting called by Germany to further discuss with our allies and partners the consequences we are
imposing on Russia for its war of choice. We'll have more announcements, I'm certain on the trip in the days ahead. I don't have additional details,
we've also, of course, invited our national security adviser who always enjoys engaging with all of you, to join -- just to preview the trip early
next week. So, we're just figuring out the date and the time depending on when the charter leaves. With that, Ziquan(ph) should kick us off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No update on his Friday schedule?
PSAKI: So, I don't have any updates at this point in time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After the president's call this morning with President Xi, does the White House now have a sense of whether or not China has
decided whether to assist Russia backfill its supplies -- fulfill its request for material while it's invading Ukraine.
PSAKI: Well, I'm not going to give an assessment of that from here. What I can tell you is that the majority of this call -- as I think you heard --
you saw in the read-out and you heard, I think on the call we just did, but was focused on Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. The president spent
the vast majority of the nearly two hours was spent with the president outlining the views of the United States and our allies and partners on
this crisis, including a detailed overview of efforts to prevent and then respond to the invasion.
How we got here, steps we've taken, where we've gone and why? And, of course, as I was also noting in the read-out, but let me just reiterate, he
also conveyed and described the implications and consequences if China were to provide material support to Russia. But again, I'm not going to provide
any additional assessment from here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president has cast the efforts to fill up -- the western alliance as sort of a democracy versus autocracy. One very audible
word is democracy of the world is in fact buying Russian oil right now at a discount, if he's expanding his purposes, taking advantage of the
situation. Does the White House have any response to any of its purchases there and instead of the president's plan to reach out to the government,
to try to get back into the city first?
PSAKI: We have not -- well, we made a decision about banning the Russian import of oil. Every country has not made that decision and we recognize
that and have different economic reasoning as to why different countries do, including some in Europe. We have been in touch, of course, with Indian
leaders at a range of levels, not through the president, if that happens, we will of course provide that readout and information to all of you.
But what we would project or convey to any leader around the world is that, the world -- the rest of the world is watching where you're going to stand
as it relates to this conflict, whether it's support for Russia in any form as they are illegally invading Ukraine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you (INAUDIBLE) COVID, we're trying to resolve this week. Pfizer requests EUA for --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A fourth booster -- fourth shot or second booster dose to seniors in Moderna last night, boosters for all adults and other
patients. Does the federal government have the money right now to purchase the doses needed to give everyone the boosters? Should the FDA and the CDC
PSAKI: Well, just to reiterate some of the pieces of where the process is. So, the CDC who does recommend fourth doses for the immunocompromised,
while it hasn't been, of course, as you noted, approved for others. And they're running a vigorous data-driven process. And right now, over 100
million Americans have been boosted, millions more have not done so and are eligible to do so and need to get boosted.
But to go to your question, we've been clear, we need additional funding from Congress, you've heard me talk about that a fair amount in here,
including for the possibility of a fourth dose or a variant specific vaccine. So we would indeed need additional funding to ensure that can be
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But during the readout of this call, a senior official said that the President was really sort of laying out his assessment of
this situation to President Xi, that he was making clear the implications of certain actions but that President Biden wasn't making specific requests
of China, why not given the stakes here?
PSAKI: Because China has to make a decision for themselves about where they want to stand, and how they want the history books to look at them and view
their actions. And that is a decision for President Xi and the Chinese to make.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Given the growing concerns about China possibly aligning with Russia, would you say it's more concerning at this point that
they would help Russia resupply, help Russia with military equipment, or that they would offer economic support to help Russia evade sanctions?
PSAKI: Any of those would be concerning to us, but I'm not going to give a rank order assessment of which we're more concerned about.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you don't have a sense that China may be leaning more in one direction or another?
PSAKI: Not an assessment I can provide from here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And here's sort of a logistical question.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, the Chinese got out a readout of the call fairly quickly --
PSAKI: Before it was even done.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It wasn't -- I think 3 1/2 --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- before your readout was out, should we read anything into the time that it took to get your side of the story out?
PSAKI: So it was a lengthy call, as you all know. Two-hour call is, of course, a lengthy call even with translation. And what typically happens,
and this time is a little longer than typical, but is -- there's a, you know, meeting to discuss what happened during the meeting and assess what
kind of information we can provide publicly. Obviously, we want to do as much as that as possible to all of you. But we also want to ensure we're
protecting the diplomatic channels and conversations. So it was an effort to do exactly that. Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I just wanted to ask, so, you know, we've spoken to U.S. and European diplomats who say that there's still not exactly an
agreement on what the red line would be, that, you know, what, when China would face consequences. Can you say a little bit more about those
discussions, and whether there is agreement with G7 allies and others who have joined in about what the trigger is, and what sort of consequences
there would --
PSAKI: Well, Andrea, I would say, you know, the movement of China to align with Russia or to -- yes, the movement of them to align with Russia or
their proximity of moving closer together is certainly of great concern to us, as we've expressed, and we are not the only country that has expressed
that concern, including many other members of the G7 have expressed exactly that concern.
So this is part of the discussion, has been an ongoing part of the discussion, expect it certainly would be when the President goes to Europe
next week. But we're not in a place at this point to outline the specifics. We're still discussing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then just to follow up on that, the -- initially, I think, going into the call, we were expecting that there would be
discussion about Iran and North Korea as well. Did the two leaders get around to those issues? And are they any closer in terms of alignment on
And then just to your first point, or your response, one of the issues that has separated the U.S. and China over in recent years has been disputes
over trade and lots of tariffs. And would you anticipate that China would face a larger trade war if -- or additional sanctions and tariffs if it
does proceed to align closer -- more closely?
PSAKI: Well, we have a range of tools that could be considered and sanctions are certainly one tool in the toolbox, as they are for other
countries as well, even if we -- as we have not outlined specific consequences, and will communicate those directly to China and, of course,
with our European partners and counterparts.
The call was focused, as the readout conveyed, the vast majority of it was on Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. But also, the issue of Taiwan
was raised by the Chinese and the President reiterated the U.S. policy on Taiwan has not changed. That was really the vast majority of the focus of
Obviously, there are a range of issues and topics we discuss with the Chinese. And as a part of this call, there was an agreement on ensuring
there was an open line of communication and that the discussion would continue in this critical period ahead, of course at lower levels. Go
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During the two-hour call, did President Xi ever refer to it as an invasion?
PSAKI: We'll let President Xi and his team outline any more specifics about his component of the conversation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why not reveal if he called it an invasion or called it a war?
PSAKI: Because we don't, as a policy, speak for other countries. They can speak for themselves.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yesterday, Secretary Blinken said the administration was concerned that China is considering answering Russia's request for more
military equipment. After this two-hour call, does the White House still have that concern?
PSAKI: We have that concern. The president detailed, you know, what the implications and consequences would be if China provides material support
to Russia, as it conducts brutal attacks against Ukrainian citizen civilians. And obviously, that is something we will be watching and the
world will be watching.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So that concern hasn't gone away following the call?
PSAKI: Obviously actions are a key part of what we'll be watching.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov says that Russia will view any weapons shipments into
Ukraine as "legitimate targets." Obviously President Biden just authorized $800 million and more security assistance, aka weapons, potentially going
into Ukraine. So what is the President's response to that comment?
PSAKI: Well, that's a threat that he has made before, I would just note, Foreign Minister Lavrov. I would note that just in terms of how it works,
without getting into too many logistics, of course, there are no U.S. troops operating inside Ukraine, our forces are in NATO territory. And so
we're NATO forces in NATO territory.
So as we're talking about the operations of the movement of convoys, and the movement of assistance, that those are not the bodies that would be
moving those assistance within Ukraine. So beyond that, though, I would say of course, we watch closely what the actions are, the continued escalatory
actions, of the Russians, and we will watch closely if they follow up on that threat.
I would remind you all that all of the convoys are not just moving military assistance, many of them are moving humanitarian assistance as well, food,
you know, and other aid that is getting to people who have been injured through this brutal invasion.
COLLINS: I guess the question is, how concerned are you about being able to get all $800 million if that assistance that's obviously so critically
needed into Ukraine?
PSAKI: Well, we continue to have the means of getting that assistance in and we have effectively been doing that in recent days. So we will continue
to work through those channels.
COLLINS: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Jen. Did President Biden directly as --
KINKADE: You've just been listening to the White House press secretary Jen Psaki, this follows the two hour phone call between the U.S. and the
Chinese leader. She reiterated that China has been warned of consequences if it helps Russia. And she said sanctions are just one option in their
toolbox should China cross that red line.
She also laid out the President's upcoming schedule that he's going to travel to Brussels, Belgium Wednesday for an extraordinary meeting of NATO
on Thursday. That will be followed by a G7 meeting called by Germany to discuss consequences for Russia in their war of choice. We're going to take
a quick break, we'll be right back.
KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, the Kremlin is calling its anti-Russian madness. Broadcasting rule makers in the U.K. say they are defending
freedom of expression. Britain has taken the Russian news channel RT off the air revoking the channel's broadcasting license.
Well, for more on what message this sends to Russia and the world, I want to bring in Oliver Darcy. Good to have you with us. So this information war
is escalating. RT, the state broadcaster in Russia, no longer allowed to air its propaganda in the U.K.
OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes, Lynda, this is a big blow to Vladimir Putin's propaganda machine. You know, over the last few weeks
since this war broke out, we have seen countries and companies take measures to limit RT's reach. Of course, we've seen companies like YouTube
ban RT across the world and the E.U., they banned RT a couple of weeks ago and so it's no longer been available for distribution in E.U. countries.
Over in the U.K., though, Ofcom, this media regulator for the U.K., has said that it had been under investigation, checking to see RT met the
requirements of an impartial broadcaster. And now they've come out and said that RT does not and it's going to lose its broadcasting license.
I want to read to you a statement that Ofcom put out earlier and they said -- quite clearly they said "Freedom of expression is something we guard
fiercely in this country and the bar for action on broadcasters is rightly set very high. That said, following an independent regulatory process, we
have today found that RT is not fit and proper to hold a license in the U.K. As a result, we have revoked RT's U.K. broadcasting license." So this
is just the latest blow for RT and its reach across the world.
KINKADE: And Oliver, the actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has also joined this fight against Russia's propaganda. He
made this video pleading with Russians to end the war. Let's just play a little bit for our viewers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR & FORMER GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA: I don't want you to be broken like my father. This is not the war to defend Russia that
your grandfathers or your great grandfathers fought. This is an illegal war. Your lives, your limbs, your futures have been sacrificed for a
senseless war condemned by the entire world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: He made it clear that he doesn't blame the Russian people. But he says they have a role in stopping this. How much impact could that video
have? Because it's a video that has even gone viral on Twitter and Russia.
DARCY: I think it's really important that people like Arnold Schwarzenegger are trying to get around this digital iron curtain that Vladimir Putin has
erected. What was really interesting in that video actually is that Schwarzenegger tells the Ukraine or the Russian people you have been lied
to. This is not the truth that you are hearing in Russia, that Russia is actually the aggressor here, not Ukraine, that the country is not led by
Nazis. It's led by a Jewish president.
He's getting this message out trying to bypass the propaganda machine and the digital iron curtain that Vladimir Putin has erected over in Russia.
How much impact it will have, you know, we don't know, but I think every time the Russian people hear these sort of messages that contradict the
official line that they're getting from the Russian state run media, it's of course very important.
KINKADE: Yes, absolutely. Oliver Darcy, good to have you with us. Thanks.
DARCY: Thank you.
KINKADE: Well, still to come tonight Ukrainians are mourning their loved ones. We'll have details on an emotional tribute to the youngest victims of
KINKADE: Well, in western Ukraine, there's a sobering reminder of the human toll of the war. People in Lviv have set up empty baby strollers at the
City's Central Square. They symbolize the number of Ukrainian children who have been killed so far. The United Nations says the civilian death toll in
Ukraine has risen to at least 780 people, among them 58 children.
One Ukrainian journalist says her country's seeing a surge in patriotism, and that it may have cut ties with Russia forever. Anna Myroniuk wrote in
The Washington Post, "If there was room for mixed loyalties and convenient vagueness before, now Ukrainians are more united than ever."
Well, Anna joins me now from inside Ukraine. Good to have you with us, Anna. You've -- many have fled, but you're bravely staying behind. Talk to
us about how you're doing, how life has changed since the war began.
ANNA MYRONIUK, CO-FOUNDER, THE KYIV INDEPENDENT: Hello, Lynda. I'm doing all right. As much all right as it is possible having the situation
covering on the ground, reporting on war developments. That's my duty now.
KINKADE: Yes, I guess most -- pretty much every journalist in Ukraine now have become war reporters, right?
MYRONIUK: Yes. We can see that everyone who have never ever experienced conflict reporting have now turned into a war reporter because everything
around -- surrounding us right now is war, basically reporting on everything is war reporting. Yes, that's something people have to adjust
to. But I had the experience of reporting from the Donbas from the early days of the conflict since 2014. So I have the experience needed.
KINKADE: And I understand your mother came to stay with you. She escaped Russian shelling in her town. And this isn't the first time she's had to
escape a Russian attack.
MYRONIUK: Yes, correct. My mother appeared to be in a war hotspot. It's a city of Belichi town just outside Kiev. She was there, cut off internet,
electricity hit water and food supplies because the town was occupied by the Russian soldiers. So the citizens, the residents of the town had to
hide in the basement trying to escape the shelling and encounters with the Russian soldiers.
There was a moment when I couldn't reach her for five days because the line was off. And I was constantly calling her number just trying to hear her
voice. And then once she picked up and said that she was unable to speak because the Russian soldiers came to her apartment.
They inspected her apartment, they talked to her neighbors and checked their passwords and even took away their SIM cards, mobile SIM cards. I was
terrified to hear that and eventually, my mother was evacuated through the green corridor that was negotiated by both sides when the ceasefire was
KINKADE: And how would you describe what sort of state your mother was in when she came to you? I understand you've got no heating in your apartment
and I can only imagine she was quite traumatized.
MYRONIUK: She was traumatized. She couldn't hook -- couldn't stop crying. She was trembling all the time. I couldn't help her to warm up. I put
everything I had on her. All the sweaters, duvet, blanket, all I had just to try to warm her up because she was very, very cold in that basement,
hiding there for two weeks.
Yes, it was difficult. We didn't have a chance to talk a lot because she slept all the time. And then I quickly put her on a train to safety. But
yes, it was a very difficult moment for me to see my mother in such a condition and also she had bad dreams, she dreamt about reference soldiers
torturing her. Something that isn't hard to imagine because the reports of Russian soldiers kidnapping Ukrainians, murdering Ukrainians, raping
Ukrainians, are now everywhere. We can see human rights groups alarming about the situation.
So when I heard my mother back then on the phone saying that she met the Russian soldiers that came to her apartment, I was terrified because I
couldn't stop thinking of what could happen next. What would they do to her? Hope -- fortunately for our family, she escaped in one piece but many
other families had different experiences with the Russians that were fatal.
KINKADE: Well, it's good to hear your mother is now able to be out of the country and was able to get through that safe corridor. We wish you all the
best. Anna Myroniuk, thanks so much for your time and stay safe.
The Ukrainians have no allusions that their backs are against the wall in this war. But that's only motivated many of them to fight back any way they
can even if they don't carry a gun. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz has this story.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: At the youth library in Lviv, the old adage rings true, necessity is the mother of invention. Here, eager volunteers
are cutting old clothing into strips, threading and tying it to large pieces of mesh, and making camouflage netting for the frontline troops.
Lead coordinator Natalya Tamavasca tells us everyone here feels a sense of purpose.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NATALYA TAMAVASCA, LEAD COORDINATOR: We will be more powerful because each lady, each child, and each grandmother are with our army.
MARIA YALOVA, VOLUNTEER: I could help my country --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABDELAZIZ: 18-year-old Maria Yalova fled Kyiv with her family about a week ago, leaving her cat behind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YALOVA: I feel panic a bit because I don't want to leave my home.
ABDELAZIZ: When you look around you, how do you feel?
YALOVA: I feel very happy, very strong, and a bit safer and calm.
ABDELAZIZ: In the war effort, nothing is spared. Every single scrap is put to good use. Russia might have the more powerful military but Ukrainian say
it's their resourcefulness that will win them the war.
ANDRE LAVETSKI: We'll go to woodpark --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABDELAZIZ: In peacetime, Andre Lavetski's workshop makes household furniture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAVETSKI: Yes, we make like the doors.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABDELAZIZ: But they've stopped making money and started making anti-tank barriers for checkpoints.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDELAZIZ: Did you ever make things for the military before?
LAVETKSI: No, because now, it's necessary to help our soldier, our refugees, and so on and so on. So we look in the internet how it's --
ABDELAZIZ: You looked up online to figure out how to make it?
LAVETSKI: Yes, yes, yes. And after that --
ABDELAZIZ: Do you watch like a YouTube tutorial?
LAVETSKI: Yes, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABDELAZIZ: And when tens of thousands fleeing violence flooded Lviv, the Les Kurbas theater set the stage for their most important role, hosts.
"These beds that you see here are not beds at all. They're parts of our fold-up theater," she tells me. The few at the frontline are supported by
the many of us at the rear.
Creativity and tenacity bolstering a nation's resistance against a superpower reliant on brute force. Salma Abdelaziz, CNN Lviv.
KINKADE: Well, if you would like to help people in Ukraine who may be in need of shelter, food or water, please go to cnn.com/impact. You'll find
several ways you can help.
Well, the impact of this crisis is being felt all over the planet and well beyond. The launch of Europe's first planetary rover is now on hold as a
result of the war. The mission had been a joint effort with Russia. They were aiming to send a rover to Mars by September, but the European Space
Agency met this weekend and unilaterally decided to suspend cooperation with Russia's space agency. The ESA says it deplores the human casualties
and tragic consequences of Russia's war against Ukraine.
Well, thanks so much for spending some time with us tonight. I'm Lynda Kinkade at the CNN Center. Stay with us. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" is
coming up next.