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tv   CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell  CNN  February 22, 2022 11:00am-12:00pm PST

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targeted at those two breakaway regions of ukraine. we've had a remarkable shift in tone from last flight. last night senior administration officials were not labeling what had happened an invasion. that might have reflected the inability to figure out exactly what had gone on, and also to assess the unity of allies. we got answers to that this morning when germany announced a halt in the certification process for the nord stream 2 pipeline. that is a tough thing to do for grermeny. it's not going to be the last step. administration officials say they're going to withhold some sanctions to deter putten from potentially seizing kyiv and the rest of the country, but we don't know which ones will be held back and which ones are going to be rolled out today. on the table are things like unplugging russia from the global financial system, specific sanctions on oligarchs, the uk imposed some of those this morning, and also
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potentially sanctions against vladimir putin himself. big men knew, don't know which items the president is going to select, but he's going to let us know. it's a big moment for him because this is, after all of the buildup and speculation, about what was going to happen in ukraine, it now seems to be happening and the question now is, what does the united states, and its allies do and is it going to be effective? >> john, we got the two-minute warning from the white house, right at the start of your answer so that means we are pretty close to hearing from the president. i'm reluctant to start the next question. i may have to interrupt you, but have we heard a response from the ukrainians to the decision from putin to order troops in, not just the decree of the und pens of these regions but to send troops across the border? >> i'll go quickly. awaiting the president. president zelensky here did come out today and make a statement and it's interesting, again, you know, we went from the u.s. and
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ukraine being separate, to lockstep on the intelligence and now separate again. zelensky said there will be no war with russia. he continued to say it will not be an all-out war and there will not be a broad-based, broad-cut escalation, which is different from the united states, which, you know, in terms of the rhetoric saying they see the possibility of an all-out escalation and conflict. again, a little bit of blue water between the two, but you'll see, obviously, how this goes over the next hours and certainly what the president has to say now is going to be crucial on the sanctions. the ukrainians want big, serious sanctions. the u.s. government wants to start at a level where they can escalate significantly, depending on what putin does, and a lot of what we've seen so far today has been window dressing. what uk did, those oligarchs they sanctionsed had been sanctioned by the united states for the past four years. they're pretty much on every list. that's not much from the uk. they say their ay're going to
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escalate it but it depends on what biden brings to the table. >> i share victor's trepidation because we're watching the podium closely, but tell us what is happening in kyiv at this hour? >> i would say there's a marked shift, alisyn, in the mood and tone here that we're hearing and feeling. everybody recognized yesterday's speech from president putin as a pivotal moment, whereas before, people said there's no way he's going to invade, after listening to that speech where he basically negated the idea of ukraine even being a sovereign state, i think people feel very differently and we've seen protests in solidarity with the government in some parts of the country. down in the southeast, that's a city that if putin did decide to push forces into the donbass and did decide to go for the original borders they see as being part of those breakaway republics, could, quite frankly,
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be swallowed up entirely. there's anxiety right now, a lot of questions as to what happens next. president volodymyr zelensky trying to keep people calm and confident and saying he doesn't believe there will be an all-out war. he didn't tellingly use the invasion word, but he did say that he thinks that essentially russia has created a legal basis or the fig leaf of a legal basis to further aggression and that could be, indeed, what we might see here as we anticipate and, indeed, as nato says we are already seeing russian troops going in to that donbas area. that front line has been very tense for the last few days and months and the worry now is that things will escalate further. >> nic robertson, we heard from erin discussing the sanctions from the uk. we heard from the european union today sanctions as well. is there anything that has
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surprised the kremlin potentially on these lists of sanctions ahead of what we're waiting for from president biden? >> if you take every piece of evidence that president putin is putting forward and has been ramping up his propaganda today, he's not been put off at all by anything heard. the former prime minister dmitri medvedev said welcome to the new world reality, essentially, that this is going to mean the nord stream 2 pipeline not going ahead, hire u gas prices for europeans. what have we heard from president putin? he has pulled his diplomats out of ukraine. that's a concern. he has got the government authorization rubber stamped to put his forces inside ukraine. he has said that the territories that russia now respects as independent are not just those areas that are held by the separatists themselves, but are actually much larger areas, some
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parts of which are held by ukrainian authorities. he's ramped up his propaganda without basis saying ukraine is preparing a nuclear weapon threat against russia, that he says is a strategic threat to moscow. the rhetoric that president putin is using does not indicate that he's cowed by any of the sanctions he hears and does intd cate he's preparing the russian public the world at large potentially that he has -- that he has potentially the intention to actually go in to ukraine as has been long feared. this is the type of rhetoric that he's been laying out. it's been building on previous days. >> michael, to you. president putin said the minsk agreement, helping what little it could, to keep the volatile tensions down, no longer exists he announced. what does that mean now? >> well, president putin never
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adhered to the minsk agreement. there was very little adherence to the cease-fire provisions of it. i know that. i was part of the osce. we observed the russians were not moving their weaponry away from the frontline. they were hiding it. the other thing, they were actually blocking, rather than giving unfettered access, to the osce, the special monitor to ukraine. if i could pick own what erin and clarissa said, i'm watching in front of me right now lviv television asking viewers, do you think putin will bomb lviv, ukraine? a quarter responded, replied yes. that gives you an indication of even the fear here in western ukraine we're about as close as you can get as a big city to the ukraine/polish border. the other thing i'm hearing, a lot of my ukrainian friends to the east are actually thinking about coming this way.
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the city is not well prepared to take in more migrants when they -- the russians invaded in 2014, 2 million plus people migrated to various parts, so there's already that congestion if you will. a lot of anxiety. one more quick thing about another attack on the infrastructure, atm networks, things like that, you're seeing a little bit more activity around the banks here and other essential services too. >> we're more than 8 minutes nast two-minute warning we received from the white house. let's keep this going with general zawhack, what does a peacekeeping mission from the russian perspective going into the donbas look like? >> thank you, victor, for the question. we can go back to 2008 and look at georgia as an example and even in the events around crimea
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in 2014, with -- in the -- in that. it gives them, if you will, in their legalistic how they try to justify it, it gives them what they see as top cover. the peacekeepers will come in, the patches now will be, you know, it will be white, blue and red patches, russians, that makes it an invasion because it's a peacekeeping only on from their perspective and the two separatist regions. you've got that. as we talk about that, their military, what comes in, is it low arm, armor and all of that, last thing, with all of that, what is 120 to 150,000 troops all around including belarus haven't moved an inch doing? it's coercion.
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there's sort of a threat over the whole area, whatever they're trying to do in donbas doesn't work. >> john harwood, back to you about president biden's response here. we've learned that he had intelligence months ago and has been preparing for this on some level, knowing that vladimir putin might be interested in an invasion, might be taking steps towards an invasion, and is capitol hill responding the same way? is there unity for what u.s. response should be here? >> for washington, yes, unity. supportive words from senate republican leader mitch mcconnell. it is true that republicans and democrats have been arguing about potential sanctions, some of which republicans wanted to impose on vladimir putin before he made a move to reinvade ukraine. the biden administration did not want to do that because their view, which is the correct one according to fiona hill, the russia expert i talked to a
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couple days ago, that you hold them back because if you impose them you lose the deterrent effect. that was a back and forth and they reached a stalemate. they ended up doing a resolution of condemnation of what russia was doing. it's not particularly meaningful. for the standards of washington this has been a relatively unified response especially at the senior levels of the republican party and president biden certainly is going to welcome that. this is a very, very difficult problem for president biden. you know, one of the things we've seen from recent presidents, they engage in military action, both presidents bush in the gulf had military action that in the case of afghanistan, resulted in a rapid victory initially, then, of course, it got extended. in the case of the first president bush, rapid victory there, approval ratings went way up. this is a different situation. there's not going to be an american victory on the battlefield. this is going to be a long slog
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in which the results are going to sting the pocketbooks of the american people because a prolonged conflict or face-off or confrontation with sanctions against russia is going to raise energy prices in europe and in the united states. it's -- this is why the presidency is difficult. there's not a big immediate upside for president biden here. some opportunity to show leadership, but it's not going to be quick, clean and decisive. >> all right. everyone stay with us. the start time for these remarks has bounced around throughout the day. first it was 2:00 and then moved to 2:00 and now back to 2:00 and a few more minutes. everyone stay with us. we will standby and wait for president biden's first remarks on camera since the order of troops into the donbas region from president putin. our live breaking news coverage continues. re... ...demands a lotion this pure. new gold bond pure moisture lotion.
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we're waiting for remarks from president biden about the order from president putin to send troops into the donbas region of ukraine. our full panel is back with us. i want to start with clarissa, there was some dissatisfaction from the president's only party domestically to the severity of the sanctions announced yesterday. congressman gary mendy of the foreign affairs committee said it's time to hit putin over the head with a 2 by 4. senator van hollen says the u.s. needs to do more. what was the response or has been the response thus far to the sanctions already announced from -- by president biden? >> well, i think they were seen as being largely symbolic and an
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important immediate reaction, but the expectation here is that more needs to help and quickly. that's why ukraine's leadership will be watching as we all are, although i'm sure they already know what president biden is going to say today, but their argument all along has been listen, if you're so sure that this is happening, why are you waiting to levy those sanctions? why don't you do it now? why don't you preempt that aggression and avert a potential catastrophe if you're so convinced it's going to be an an all-out invasion. no matter what sanctions are announced today, and even if they bite and bite hard, the reality is, is that president putin has already baked this into the costs in his mind and has already made the calculation and understand exactly what the results of those sanctions will be, and still, he appears to be committed to this trajectory. one thing i would say, though, is, while all things are pointing in a very gloomy
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direction, we still don't really have clarity on what president putin's plan is yet. that is exactly the ambiguity that he thrives on, that gray space, that sense of not knowing, that sense of everyone being on the back foote, constantly second guessing, us all spending hours speculating about what his plan is. it allows him power and also has allowed him over the course of the last few months to massively destabilize ukraine, without actually even launching an all-out invasion. i think that's been another frustration i've seen from ukraine's leadership. don't underestimate how much damage has already been done. don't underestimate how many billions of dollars are being removed and pulled out of this country. every single month as a result of russia's many different tactics. this is hybrid warfare 101 that president putin practices and ukraine has really suffered as a result. one other thing i'll add, we
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heard from ukraine's foreign minister who says again, this is a line they have been echoing over and over again, we're interested in peace, we will work towards peace, but that doesn't mean we will allow russia to freely roam across ukraine's lands or allow the 2014 tragedy to happen again, the 2014 tragedy referring to the beginning of this war, the first invasion, if you would like. that is an interesting comment in and of itself because he is saying, there is a limit to how long we will keep pushing on this diplomatic process. we favor peace, we favor diplomacy, but at some point ukraine could be put in a position where they will feel forced to fight back. victor? >> that leads us to moscow where nic robertson is for pus. if the threat of sanctions are not a deterrent what would be? has the unity of nato that we've seen since all these actions have emerged, has that been a
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surprise to the kremlin? >> i think the general view is it has ban surprise. putin hasn't outwardly said that. he did offer a way today, an off ramp for everyone. he said everyone in the recently could essentially sleep easier if -- this just isn't going to happen but this is what president putin said earlier today -- if ukraine decides it doesn't want to join nato. then he says all of this is over. we no longer need to worry. that's not ukraine's position. it's not nato's position. and actually, that belies much else that is actually said in terms of the propaganda that is building up here at the moment. this seems to be a situation where president putin, with increasing repeatedty, over the past 24, 36 hours, has been preparing the country for going to war. it's been an accelerated process and revealed several sides of
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president putin that i don't think people have been terribly aware of. you know, his he's viewed as this careful, strategic player who goes legally step by step, inch by inch. yesterday, he appeared on television as a very angry man, absolutely bitter in his views about ukraine, about its place in russia, the current leadership. there was a real sense of anger there. when we saw him as well earlier in the day with his national security council asking them all to step up to the plate, his defense chief, his intelligence chief, his foreign minister, his aide who has been involved in the negotiations with ukraine, getting them all to sort of step up, in some cases he dressed some of them down. some of them looked quite nervous. this creates an impression of a very supplicant situation. a president who has been in power for 20 years, who's been frustrated, particularly over -- for over more than a decade with
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the role that nato is playing in the region, one who seems, perhaps, not to engender in his staff an ability to speak up and speak their mind. truth to power. that was the impression that he created yesterday. this is a leader perhaps that we're getting to see a side of who is isolated, who is not getting good information from his key officials because they're afraid to give it, and one who is incredibly frustrated. it's worrying picture to see a leader with so much power at their finger tips, poised as we are at a momentous point in history. >> control room, pull up the big board. the dow is down about 600 points right now. erin burnett to you, there could be a significant economic impact of what the -- from what the president is about to announce, not only for companies listed there, but for individuals who
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are concerned about the gas prices, concerned about inflation as well. >> yes. watching that podium as you are, getting ready for the president. you're going to see it worldwide. it's a combination of the fear of what the impact could be on energy prices, energy prices going up adds to the already very serious inflation challenges that united states is facing. so that drop in the market obviously significant. they are expecting an increase in both gas prices, anything linked to oil as a result of what is happening here and as a result of further sanctions. the u.s. government at this point we haven't heard about any mass sanctions on russian oil. if they were to do that, yes, that's going to have a direct impact on the u.s. the two countries have felt it the most, clarissa mentioned ukraine. for that government to borrow money for a one-year period -- >> the president is walking out, so let me interrupt you and listen to president biden his latest thoughts on ukraine.
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>> well, good afternoon. yesterday vladimir putin recognized two regions of ukraine as independent states. and he bizarrely asserted that these regions are longer part of ukraine and their sovereign territory. russia announced it is carving out a big chunk of ukraine. last night putin authorized russian forces to deploy into these regions. today he asserted these regions are actually extend deeper than the two areas he recognized, claiming large areas currently under the jurisdiction of the ukraine government. he's setting up a rationale to take more territory by force in my view, and if we listen to his speech last night, many of you did, i know, he's setting up a rationale to go much further. this is the beginning of a russian invasion of ukraine, as he indicated and asked permission to be able to do from his duma.
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let's begin to -- so i'm going to begin to impose sanctions in response far beyond the steps we and our allies and partners implemented in 2014. if russia goes further with this invasion we stand prepared to go further as with sanctions. who in the lord's name does putin think gives him the right to declare a new so-called countries on territory that belonged to his neighbors? this is a flagrant violation of international law and demands a firm response from the international community. over the last few months, we've coordinated closely with our nato allies and partners in europe and around the world to prepare that response. we've said all along and i've told putin to his face more than a month ago that we would act together and the moment russia moved against ukraine, russia has now undeniably moved against ukraine by declaring these independent states.
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so today, i'm announcing the first tranche of sanctions to impose costs on russia in response to their actions yesterday. these have been closely coordinated with our allies and partners and will continue to escalate sanctions if russia escalates. we're implementing full blocking sanctions on two large russian financial institutions, veb and their military bank. we're implementing sanctions on russian's sovereign debt. that means we've cut off russia's government from western financing. it can no longer raise money from the west and can not trade in its new debt on our markets or european markets either. starting tomorrow, and continuing in the days ahead, we'll also impose sanctions on russia's elites and their family members. they share in the corrupt gains of the kremlin policies and should share in the pain as well. because of russia's actions we've worked with germany to
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ensure that nord stream 2 will not, as i promised, will not move forward. as russia contempt plates its next move we have our next move prepared as well. russia will pay a steeper price if it continues its aggression, including additional sanctions. the united states will continue to provide defensive assistance to ukraine in the meantime and will continue to reinforce and reassure our nato allies. today, in response to russia's admission that it will not withdraw its forces from belarus, i have authorized the additional movements of u.s. forces and equipment already stationed in europe, to strengthen our baltic allies estonia, latvia and lithuania. let me be clear, these are totally defensive moves on our part. we have no intention of fighting russia. we want to send an unmistakable message, though, that the united states, together with our allies will defend every inch of nato territory and abide by the
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commitments we made to nato. we still believe that russia is poised to go much further in launching a massive military attack against ukraine. i hope i'm wrong about that and i hope we're wrong about that, but russia has only escalated its threat against the ukrainian territory including the major cities and the capital city of kyiv. there are still well over 150,000 russian troops surrounding ukraine. as i said, russian forces remain positioned in belarus to attack ukraine from the north, including war planes and offensive missile systems. russia's moved troops closer to ukraine's border with russia. russia's naval vessels are maneuvering in the black sea to ukraine's south including amphibious assault ships, missile cruisers and submarines. russia's moved supplies of blood and medical equipment into position on the border. you don't need blood unless you plan on starting a war. over the last few days, we've seen much of the playbook that
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secretary blinken laid out last week in the united nations security council come to pass. a major increase in military provocations, and false flag events along the line of contact in the donbas. dramatically staged conveniently on camera meeting of putin's security council to grandstand for the russian public. and now, political provocation of recognizing sovereign ukrainian territory, so-called independent republics, in clear violation, again, of international law. president putin has sought authorization from the russian parliament to use military force outside of russian territory. and this set the stage for further pretext of further provocations by russia to try to justify further military action. none of us, none of us should be fooled. none of us will be fooled. there is no justification. further russian assault of the ukraine remains a severe threat in the days ahead.
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if russia proceeds, it is russia and russia alone that bears the responsibility. as we respond, my administration is using every tool at our disposal to protect american businesses and consumers from rising prices at the pump. as i said last week, defending freedom will have costs for us as well and here at home. we need to be honest about that. but as we will do -- but as we do this, i'm going to take robust action to make sure the pain of our sanctions is targeted at the russian commeconomy not ours. we're monitoring energy supplies for any disruption and executing a plan in coordination with major oil producing consumers and producers toward a collective investment to secure stability and global energy supplies. this will be -- this will blunt gas prices. i want to limit the pain to the american people, fueling at the gas pump.
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this is critical to me. in the last few days i've been in constant contact with european leaders, including with ukrainian president zelensky. vice president harris met in person with the leaders in germany over the weekend at the munich conference, including president zelensky. at every step, we have shown the united states and our allies and partners are working in unison, which he hasn't been counting on, mr. putin. we're united in our support of ukraine. we are united in our opposition to russian aggression. and we're united in our resolve to defend our nato alliance. and we're united in our understanding of the urgency and seriousness of the threat russia is making to global peace and stability. yesterday, the world heard clearly the full extent of vladimir putin's twisted rewrite of history. going back more than a century, as he said eloquently noting -- i'm not going to go into it,
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nothing in putin's lengthy remarks indicate interest in pursuing real dialog on european security in the year 2022. he directly attacked ukraine's right to exist. he indirectly threatened territory formerly held by russia, including nations that today are thriving democracies and members of nato. he explicitly threatened war unless his extreme demands were met. and there's no question that russia is the aggressor. we're clear eyed about the challenges we're facing. nonetheless, there is still time to avert the worse case scenario that will bring untold suffering to millions of people if they move as suggested. the united states and our allies and partners remain open to diplomacy, if it is serious. when all is said and done, we're going to judge russia by its actions, not its words. and whatever russia does next, we're ready to respond with
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unity, clarity, and conviction. i'll probably have more to say about this as it moves on. i'm hoping diplomacy is still available. thank you all very much. >> president biden there announcing what he calls the first tranche of sanctions in response to russia's actions there along the border and in ukraine now, announcing a full blocking sanctions for two banks there, cutting off russia from western financing as well. let's bring in the full panel, we're adding chief political analyst gloria borger to the conversation as well. but i want to go to erin burnett first. the sanctions that the president announced, are these severe? are these going to be impactful? >> look, versus what we've heard from the uk and europe, yes, absolutely, they are. they're starting way higher than
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they started before. they took five months to do the first sanctions related to crimea. they are significant, right, cutting off from the financial system, significant. keep in mind, though, some of these, he's giving himself room to ramp up. the senate couldn't reach a sanctions bill. the bank they put on their list veb. you heard the president mentioned thatp he's sanctioned that. it leaves him room to ramp up to a russian bank that russians bank at that would impact day-to-day life in russia. hasn't done that yet. that's important to keep in mind. the sovereign debt, you know, a few years ago would have been significant for russia. it's important, it sends putin a strong message, they do, though, have a huge rainy day fund and surplus, so in that sense it's not going to immediate -- putt hans been preparing, as clarissa pointed out for this eventuality. we'll wait and see what that list is. i don't have it of the owebly gashgs of how big and broad that is because that's important. if they get angry and upset it could have an impact on putin
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and put more pressure on him than anyone in that room yesterday. starting at a higher point than anywhere in europe and higher than many may have thought but there is runway to ramp these up. >> general zwack, what if the sanctions are not a deterrent for putin going farther as president biden predicted he would into ukraine? what next here? >> i agree with the sanctions' approach, however there is a big basket of them out there, a scenario that a lot of people are concerned about is if the russians, the kremlin, decides that donetsk and luhansk aren't enough and they want the rest of the donbas and eastern ukraine. now they have to conduct military operations where if not hundreds of thousands of soldiers, ukrainians, would be killed in trying to push through
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the minsk accord, with a line of contact that is dividing the russians to -- and the ukrainian militaries. so that becomes a key point. at that point it's time to unleash -- i mean it's out, there is no -- there already is no ambiguity. the relentlessness, the implaquibility of this, is mind boggling if the russians come over that line of contact, thousands will be killed and at this point you unleash everything that we have, short of, you know, boots on the ground in ukraine. it's that serious now. >> nic robertson, not only the economic sanctions announced by the president, but also moving forces already in europe to the baltic states, latvia, lithuania, estonia, how do you think this announcement lands in
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moscow? >> victor, i got to say, this is a very surreal situation here right now. for whatever reason, somebody not far from our office here is launching a huge barrage of fireworks here in moscow. heaven knows what they're celebrating at the moment, but it's not that uncommon to have fireworks here. there were certainly firework in the donbas region when president putin made his announcement last night. i think to the point of your question, though, that what, you know, what impact is this going to -- what impact is this going to have? it's hard to see at the moment that president putin is going to be put off of his stride. he seems committed in the direction he's going at the moment, ramping up the rhetoric and military force in ukraine has given the grounds to do that by saying the independent areas
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that he has recognized are not just the bits controlled by the separatists, but parts of those areas are controlled by the ukrainian government. the -- he knew that this new round of sanctions was going to hit people close to him in his inner circle, people it was hoped would then be pressuring him, you know, to dial back his situation. he does seem to be in a position, we cannot say alone, but he has put himself in a position where this is very personal, that he has committed himself to this strategy, this line that ukraine is part of russia. this is going to be very hard for him to walk back from unless he hears from some very key people close to him. it's not clear those people are ready to speak up, that they're going to be sufficiently impacted. the central bank earlier today said with the reserves of the rainy day fund that he has, that
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they were going to be able to support the country through economic troubles. that's what his -- that's the narrative here at the moment. >> michael bociurkiw, give us your assessment of what we just heard from president biden? >> very interesting. i think it would have been nice if he had actually arrive on our -- in our inbox a few days or weeks ago. in terms of sanctioning the bank, since 2018, putin has been creating rainy day funds, slush funds if you will, for the banks and oligarchs. a $3 billion slush fund for russian oligarchs who have been already sanctioned by the west. i don't know how far that will hit them. for the longest time, i have been saying and writing for cnn opinion that russia has been deep in the process of inoculating itself against these western sanctions. i don't think, sadly, this will be much of a deterrent.
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i think what the general said about the power available there to putin is yes, they will probably cross that contact line. at the moment in donetsk, the russian-backed thugs control the industrial heartland. luhansk is more of a hinter land. i think you could probably see a push to marupol in the south. one more thing if i will, in terms of the oligarch, i think that is a crucial area to fine tooun and boris johnson in the uk has been working on that. i think we have to get to a place where you are a persona nongrada if you're a russian oligarch, miami, london, vancouver, you will not move around, and your credit cards will not work. this is the only way to get pressure back on to putin to stop. like many of the panelists have said, he's probably made up his mind that the speech last night was blood curdling, we may be,
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sadly, in a position where there's little deterrence left. >> gloria borger, on the politics of this for people who bemoaned what they believed was the abdication of american leadership in the world stage in the last administration and cheered when president biden said america is back for the first year of his presidency, he says now, this is what the cost can be, saying defending freedom will have a cost. it comes at a time when the practical costs for a lot of people in this country is stressful. >> right. and he, you know, did say that. he didn't go into specifics. i don't think this was the speech he wanted to do that in, but he did say, look, i care that americans don't suffer as a result of this. we have to protect our consumer, for example, from rising prices at the pump. but what really struck me was the president's tone and the president's language here.
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this really was the language of war, i think. he called putin's speech a twisted rewrite of history, saying there is no doubt, no question, that russia is the aggressor, and it's very clear that the point he was trying to make today is the one thing that vladimir putin did not expect is that american allies would work in unison. he also made it very clear that this is the first tranche as he said, and you've spoken about what that contains. there is more coming. i don't think he wanted to lift the veil on that completely. but i think the seriousness of the situation was something you could see in the president's face and you can see in his language. when he spoke about there's no justification for this, russia bears the full responsibility, and trying to get americans to
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understand about the cost of defending freedom which has always been a theme for joe biden, and now here it is. didn't take questions. walked off the stage curtly. talking to the allies. i think we're going to see this unfold in real time in the hours to come as there are more sanctions if putin doesn't change his mind, which nobody predicts, of course, that he will. >> yeah. i was struck by the language too. it was quintessential biden, i thought, when he said who in the lord's name does putin think gives him the authority to declare, you know, this of his independent neighbors. that was, i thought, pretty bi biden-esque. clarissa, how do you think president biden's words will be received in kyiv now and beyond? >> well, i think in kyiv there will be a sense of appreciation. these are robust sanctions and robust rhetoric, and that's what they want to hear.
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there will be a degree of gratitude. but i think there is a real sense at the moment that no matter what sanctions were announced, that is not going to necessarily deter president putin from his current course of action. so i guess the question becomes, for people here, is there still an opportunity to deescalate? is there an off ramp for president putin? what would that look like? before, behind closed doors, people had talked about well maybe ukraine would be forced to implement the minsk agreements which were traditionally seen as being in favor of russia. now minsk is off the table. the issue of nato's open door policy is off the table. you start scratching your head and asking yourself, is there anything left that could be done to try to forge ahead a diplomatic path? maybe it's not just coming to me right now, but i can't think of anything off the top of my head. which then leads me to go back to the line that president biden said during his announcement
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just now where he talked about them setting up a rationale to take more territory by force. of course, as president putin had earlier said talking about those two breakaway separatist republics and recognizing them by their own self-declared borders, which as you've heard from michael and nic, go beyond the areas that they hold right now and go into large city centers, you're talking about maropol, a port city, half a million people, people gathering in the streets tonight carrying ukrainian flags, what happens to these people if they do decide to go ahead, russian troops, with those pro russian separatists and launch some kind of major incursion? how is the west going to respond now? how does the u.s. respond to that? because at a certain point, it becomes obvious that the sanctions are not enough to prevent that kind of an escalation because it's so clear that president putin has already
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factored them in to his equation. i guess the question diplomats are asking themselves now, what is left? what more can be done? is there something that could still avert a catastrophe and people here are on the ground in ukraine, needless to say, very much hoping there is and very much committed to a path of peace, and yet a grim recognition is apparently settling in that it just may not be possible. >> john harwood, on the question of the possibilities of diplomacy moving forward, there had been this summit agreed to in principle, no specific date or time or any of the particulars there between president putin and president biden, considering the context if there had been no invasion -- the white house is calling it that. they have not been clear if that will move forward. but do we know if the meeting between the russian foreign minister lavrov and secretary of state blinken is moving forward?
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>> well, victor, that's why i think the point that clarissa was just making is so important. it is still, as grim as the situation appears well, still do not have a clear picture of vladimir putin's end game in any near-term scenario. you did not hear from president biden that the secretary of state blinken/sergey lavrov meeting scheduled for thursday, you did not hear that was off. you did not hear anything about the potential for this -- for a meeting with vladimir putin or virtual or otherwise, which is, of course, all contingent on there not being an invasion. bit we also did not hear the president lay out in any detail what the united states believes has actually crossed the border. we saw some video from russian-controlled media, but we don't have a clear picture of how much has gone on. i was just having a text exchange with our colleague retired general hertling, former commander of the u.s. army in europe, he said there's been no kinetic activity in europe, that
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makes the sanctions the first tranche, appropriate to where we are in this scenario. until you have kinetic activity, you still have some possibility for vladimir putin to pull back. does it look like that's what he's doing? he's laid out the justification and the angry argument for why russia thinks it can seize more territory and you have to assume that is the likely scenario, but we don't have that in detail yet and the president clearly left the path to diplomacy open. >> general zwack, you have laid out for us at the beginning of this conversation a chilling scenario of what happens next as putin pushes towards that contact line and possibly beyond. you know, president biden has said for weeks, i mean more than a month, the u.s. is not going to go to war with russia, the u.s. is not going to go into ukraine. we already have troops in theater, but we're positioning them, you know, in nato countries, but what happens if we start to watch, you know,
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swaths of civilians being killed? >> yes. first, i believe that it is too darn dangerous not to talk until it really -- until they cross that line and start -- and if they start to get into a combat with the ukrainians. there's got to be a mechanism to blow off steam. what we have seen, the tiger has shown its stripes and any discussion i think that we would be very, very clear eyed and europe. on what could happen? we have a -- all of these are -- when i say minimal options they're all dangerous and very significant. one, is that, again, the -- all of donetsk including mariupoll would be bloody and there would be combat. that's one for the russians. they may be able to justify it in their own mind. two, they go big. they go beyond mariupol and try
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to push down to the crimea, it becomes a long front, the becomes increasingly dangerous also for the russians. and then three, the maximalist tragedy which is really the unbelievable because it would be crossing the rubicon for the russians as well, is you do the belarus down towards kyiv through and do the full up thing which in my mind is the road to predigs for the russian military and the folks that would go in there and the other thing on the side is now the negotiations. you're talking to putin, but you're talking to the regime and through them you're talking to the oligarchs and the money interested and a bad extended war for russia is bad for business and that matters. >> well, obviously this is a very precarious moment and it is so helpful to have all of your expertise, everyone on our
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panel, john harwood, erin burnett, clarissa ward, nic robertson, retired general peter zwack and michael bociurkiw, thank you for helping us understand where we are at this moment. >> thank you, everyone. now a day shy of two years since ahmed arbery was chased down and killed. a jury found the three men who killed him guilty of hate crime charges. we're live outside the georgia courthouse. that's next. beer on a friday ♪ ♪a pair of jeans thatat fit just right♪ ♪and the radio up well i've seen the sununrise..♪ get 5 boneless wings for $1 withth any handcrafted burger. only at applebee's the new ww personalpoints program. it's particular to you. what's your favorite food? avocado. u can fill a bathtub. - i love i - with guacamole. all over. helps the skin, helps the bo. today only! get stard for just $2 at ww.com.
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in brunswick, georgia, a jury found all three of arbery's killers guilty of a hate crime. they chased down and killed arbery because he was black. >> his mother and father were emotional after the verdict. s >> i, as a mom, will never heal. >> you better say it. >> i want to go back to the doj. i told the doj they were prosecutors or one thing they didn't have, they didn't have a son that was lying in a cold grave and they still didn't hear my cry. >> cnn nick joins us.
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i assume this is why the family did not want the defendants to be able to plead guilty fl. there was so much evidence that came out at trial. >> reporter: to think this trial almost didn't happen, if not for the courageous fight for arbery's family. we saw that evidence repeatedly put into evidence here. the repeated use of the n word. referring to black people as savages or subhuman. that evidence would not have come out. remember last month the mcmichaels agreed to take a plea deal offered by the department of justice where they plead guilty to the hate crimes. in return, they would have been allowed to serve out their sentence in federal prison. if they were still alive, would go onto serve their convicted murder sentence in state prison. ultimately, this is how the federal prosecutors painted these men as targeting, chasing down, shooting and killing ahmaud arbery because he was black. a jury of their peers agreed. the family emerged from court
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holding their hands up. saying they had gotten full justice. you heard a short time ago, wanda cooper jones taking the moment to tutput the department justice on blast and criticizing for the plea deal. it's something merrick garland addressed, seeming to choke back tears of emotion. >> i cannot imagine the pain that a mother feels to have her son run down and then gunned down while taking a jog on a public street. my heart goes out to her and to the family. that's really all i can say about this. >> reporter: after the verdict, wanda cooper jones said this message was more important than just brunsbawick that this sent message to the world that racism will not be tolerated.
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i asked what kind of message does this send to the district attorney who was charged for covering this incident up, refusing to prosecute this case, initially. she said that to jackie johnson, you covered up a murder and her attorney ben krump added we're coming for you next, jackie johnson. >> thank you very much. we have more on the breaking news from washington. president biden announcing new sanctions on russia after vladmir putin ordered troops into parts of ukraine. stay with us.
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