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tv   CNN Newsroom Live  CNN  April 2, 2022 1:00am-2:00am PDT

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>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. hello and welcome to all you watching us here in the united states, canada and all around the world. i'm kim brunhuber. i want to get straight to our breaking news. ukraine's fighters appear to be picking up momental retaking towns lost in the early days of the russian invasion. the first five weeks have been unexpectly costly for russia. russian armor and artillery abandoned their positions in key
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air base in kyiv. the kremlin now appears to be pivoting forces to the east and south while still keeping up shelling and missile strikes in other places. we have disturbing video out of one of those recently captured towns. ukrainian forces regain control of the town. they encountered gruesome images of dead bodies lying where they fell. the u.s. on friday announced another $300 million of military assistance to ukraine. and even with that helpia crane's president says he expects tough fighting in the days ahead. here he is. >> reporter: in the east of our country the situation remains difficult. the russian militaries are being accumulated in donbas in the kharkiv direction. they're preparing for powerful blows. we're preparing for even more contactive defense.
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>> with moskow's assault faltering on many fronts there are growing questions about an apparent air strike early friday on a russian fuel depot. did ukraine attack russia on its own soil? president volodymyr zelenskyy said this on fox news. >> translator: i did not discuss any of my orders as commander in chief, the leader of this state. you need to understand that on that territory that you mentioned you have to know they were placing their shooting systems and firing those missiles themselves. >> ukraine won't confirm or deny whether it was behind that fiery attack. russia claims two ukrainian helicopters flew in at low altitude early friday and fired
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on the storage tanks. now, cnn hasn't verified that claim. the kremlin is warning the attack could have a negative impact on the ongoing talks between moskow and kyiv. we have cnn correspondents covering the conflict from multiple angles. phil black in lviv, fred pleitgen in kyiv and atika schubert in valencia, spain. we'll begin this hour with phil black in lviv. so, phil, let's start on that counter offensive by ukrainian forces. what's the latest there? >> reporter: according to president zelenskyy from his own address he says the trend we've been talking about for a week now is clearly noticeable. that is russian forces pulling back from the north essentially as they said they were going to do. but he said in some cases it's because they had been pushed back ukrainian counter offenses, they'd been excelled from territory. in other cases simply abandoned
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territory they fought hard to win in the first place. you can see that, we can see that from satellite images particularly of territory to the north and northwest of the capital kyiv. these are positions that the russian forces did occupy from the earliest days of the conflict. and you can see these positions where they were digging in as part of their effort to encircle the capital. well, they have now just been abandoned. the point that zelenskyy makes and really all ukrainian officials make is this isn't something to be celebrated at this stage because of their belief these forces aren't being pulled out to be sent home. they're being pulled out to be either resupplied and sent back into battle. and sent back into battle notably in the east. that's where russia is planning to mount new offense operations to try and secure in an outright military victory encontrolling the eastern donbas region, which for the moment at least is what
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president putin appears to have set as the bare minimum in terms of military goals. >> that strike on the fuel depot in russia, russia is saying there night be political questions here but there's still questions about who's actually behind them. >> indeed. russia's talk about repercussions explains why ukraine did it and assuming they didn't do it at this stage, why they're unwilling to talk about or confirm it publicly. we've been hearing this literally from the highest levels down, from zuleelenskyy himself. it's difficult to know if we assume ukraine did this why they would be unwilling to discuss it. it could be the sensitivity of launching an attack like this on
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russian federation soil because i guess it is one thing to attack russians while they're invading your homeland, another to attack them on their own territory. it does risk potential reprisal, potential escalation. there could be other operational security matters we're not aware of. we just can't say for sure. if we assume ukraine did this, then it is undoubtedly a bold strike showing capability that is impressive and sofesticated in some ways against a target that they believe is of high value. and by knocking it potentially impacting russia's ability to maintain its military operations. >> and finally, phil, when you and spoke yesterday there were hopes russia would let a humanitarian convoy through but that failed. any hope things will be better today? >> reporter: so it's quite a messy picture regarding the
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humanitarian corridors at the moment, but it does appear there was some success in getting out thousands of people from russian controlled territory in -- largely in the south of the country including people fleeing the besieged city of mariupol. somewhere at least we believe in excess of around 6,000 people, possibly more. where the success didn't take place was with the red cross' efforts to get aid into mariupol. they say the circumstances were such it simply became impossible, but they do say they're going to try again today. >> we're going to be following that throughout the day. phil black, thank you so much. there are concerns russian forces aren't the only enemy present zelenskyy faces on the battlefield. on thursday he announced he removed two top military generals. but listen to how he described the move in an address posted on
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facebook. >> translator: now, i do not have time to deal with all the traitors but gradually they will all be punished. i >> i want to focus on that last part where he says all the traitors, so that raises the specter of more potential turn coats. in fact a repeat report on the title plot to destroy ukraine, addresses that very threat, observes how russia could through infiltrating ukrainian politics bring about regime change, something russia's military so far has failed to make happen. thanks so much for being here with us. so when you heard the news that ukraine's president had fired two top generals for being traitors were you at all surprised to hear about this betrayal at such a high level or
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were you more surprised zelenskyy announced it publicly? >> thanks for inviting me on. there's a long back story in which russia has been trying to influence from the ukraine soviet leader collapse and in particular through the national security apparatus which histtorquely have been close to it russians and until 2014 were quite integrated. there is a long effort to weave out pro-russian efforts here. and this has been a decision zelenskyy has made to publicize they're continuing with this strategy. wfr the war began there was a lot of evidence the russians had a developed plan to try and use their assets in ukraine for
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diversion, to try to create a puppet regime. >> let me ask you about that. so this report came out just about a week before the invasion. it says meeting with ukraine security officials there's a widespread acknowledgment many of their colleagues even in quite senior positions are working for or sympathetic to russia. if that's the question, then how extensive is the problem? >> well, i mean, i think it's been put under control quite effectively. and of course what we see from war the russian intelligence from ukraine has been pretty poor. they haven't been that well-informed about what ukraine is going to do. while they have some access to ukrainian internal thinking i think it's been rather limited. in fact, what we saw earlier this month the head of the foreign intelligence director in moskow was placed under house arrest indicating there was a lot of dissatisfaction from the
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kremlin in terms of intelligence they're getting from ukraine. >> that's, you know, about intelligence getting back from ukraine. but the members of the so-called fifth column there also have assets within ukraine covert and spels forces operating in ukraine. and the question before the invasion was what were they going to do when the russian troops crossed the border in terms of direct action? i want to quote here from the border. it said ukrainian officials expect and have a decapitation strategy against them. now weeks into the war how do you assess those russian covert efforts and more direct action? >> well, there's evidence there has been so sabotage activity, blowing a bridge, trying to
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destroy and so on. there was a strategy to try to seize kyiv quickly and put in a pup lt regime using these kind of connections already in place inside kyiv. with the russians pulling back that strategy i think has been abandoned and has been unsuccessful so far. the ukrainian intelligence service is reported to have shot a member of their delegation in the peace negotiations for being a russian agent about to hand over information. so i think they've also got a strong sense about who these people are now in ukraine. >> gosh, i -- yeah, that's pretty dramatic then. so maybe i can follow up about negotiating. how does the question of these questionable allegiances sort of play into negotiating? i've spoken with some ukrainian members of parliament who went to great lengths to say that
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even their colleagues who were friendly to russia are now joining the efforts against the invasion and also playing up the sense of unity, but how real is that? from what you're saying it's still not -- maybe that might be more of an illusion. >> i think there's been an enormous rallying around the flag in ukraine. even the pro-russian party, the opposition platform for life, i think parts of that have very clearly now come over to the ukrainian side. and of course the way that russia has approached the war, the brutality, destruction of cities, that's spurred or i think rallied possible elements of ukraine who might have been open to working with the russians. so there's actually i think very little evidence now the serious parts of ukraine are collaborating with russia. >> yeah. welcome news i imagine for all of those forces there. but i imagine we're only, you know, scratching the surface here as your report notes. you know, ukrainian officials may not want to take action against people suspected of
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treason because that could, quote, fracture ukrainian politics creating precisely the conditions to facilitate a russian takeover. the result is that russia has a bureaucracy in waiting. so i'm wondering given the remarkable resistance both militarily and among the ukrainian people, the support for zelenskyy, the patriotism on display, it sounds like you're less worried about this element sort of coming to the fore. is that right? >> i think we're seeing a refocus on the donbas, and they're starting to setup territorial administrations on the territory they've occupied since the war began. they're starting to pull-on those assets and puppet regimes.
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but of course that seems completely legitimate across ukraine. >> listen, it's a fascinating and frightening subject. really appreciate your insights on this. the director of the international security studies at the royal united services institute. thank you so much for joining us. >> thanks a lot. fighting has already caused a close call at one of ukraine's nuclear plants. now the head of the nuclear watchdog talks exclusively to cnn about whether that could happen again. and after a long difficult bus ride these displaced ukrainians still have a journey ahead of them. bring you their story after the break. stay with us.
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shipstation saves us so much time it makes it really easy and seamless pick an order print everything you need slap the label on ito the box and it's ready to go our cost for shipping, were cut in half just like that go to shipstation/tv and get 2 months free the director of the chernobyl nuclear power plant says it's impossible to determine the level of radiation russian troops were exposed to there. in the telegram message he said troops may have received significant exposure if they were digging or entrenching in the area and their activities in
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the contaminated red forest remains unclear. the head of the u.n.'s nuclear watchdog says what's happening around ukraine's nuclear plant is dangerous, uncharted territory. raphael grossy just came back from a trip to russia and ukraine. cnn asked him what condition those nuclear plants are in. >> the power plants, reactors are operating as if we were in peacetime but we're not in peacetime, and this creates a number of question marks and situations that require attention. as you were saying just return an hour ago return from ukraine where i have been talking to my ukrainian counter parts on the activities that we -- by we i mean the iaea, the international atomic agency is going to be performing next week hopefully
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to assist ukraine in preserving the safety of including chernobyl. there operations continue in a satisfactory way, but of course there's a lot of uncertainty as you can imagine. >> and you remain extremely concerned that this infrastructure could become a target during this war, correct? you and i spoke a couple of weeks ago and you expressed significant concern at that point. >> of course. i think that preserving the physical integrity of a nuclear power plant is of the essence. i think that the deployment of the iaea, the presence of the iaea, the intensity of our work and attention on this is helpful in averting such a scenario,
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which is the worst that you could have. you're describing an attack on a nuclear reactor, which is i think not a very probable scenario. but there are other issues we have been looking at and must be looking at. namely the possibility of a nuclear accident. >> grossi also said russia fully understands any attack on nuclear sites would violate international law. in the coming hours the red cross will again attempt to help thousands of civilians leave the hard hit city of mariupol. about 100,000 people are still trapped in the city which has been the target of constant tom bardment since the five-week invasion began. the red cross says it was unable to get into mariupol on friday. president zelenskyy says the situation there is a humanitarian catastrophe. some residents have been lucky enough to get out but in much
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smaller numbers than the red cross planned. our ivan watson was there when the buses arrived. >> reporter: the buses have finally arrived from the russian occupied city. it's supposed to be a 2 1/2 hour drive, and we were told they left around noon local time. it was around noon local time, and they've come in just before 11:00 p.m. and these buses have red crosses on them, and there are dozens and dozens coming behind them, and they're pulling into this parking lot. it's all rather dark because the city is blacked out to protect it from the threat of air strikes and so on, and people here are piled in and exhausted. this has been close to a 12-hour journey for people who were already trying to flee the besieged city of mariupol. so people have already had to endure bombing and weeks
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without -- weeks without electricity and connection to the outside world, cellphone signals. and they're finally here reaching a ukrainian controlled piece of territory, but it has been an incredible ordeal to try to help these people through. you can just see kind of exhaustion here as you take a look at some of the faces of folks. these are people who didn't have cars to make their own escape. they were waiting for this kind of transport. everybody has been forced to leave their homes. many of the people who arrived earlier today with their own cars said that their homes were destroyed by russian artillery, by russian air strikes. i saw people bruised and bashed up as a result of surviving explosions and blasts. there are estimated today be more than 100,000 civilians still in mariupol. the international committee of the red cross, they were trying to reach those people, and they
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publicly announced that their convoy and just kind of five vehicles or three vehicles and nine people were not allowed into the city, and russia controls the interest because it incircles with its troops. here you have people coming in after just an incredibly long day, and what happens is they're brought in by ukrainian police and then ukrainian volunteers who register people, check their documents, and then they're welcomed into a super store that the city government and volunteers, they've organized medics, hot meals, clothes for free if they weren't able to get out with their clothes in time, and then further information about where to go from here with free transport because, again, everybody -- a lot of these people this is all they have left, a bag, a suitcase perhaps. and if they're lucky, their family members with them. so this a major evacuation and
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estimates of at least some 2,000 people on some 52 buses that have finally made it through many, many russian check points to ukrainian controlled territory. >> if you would tike loo safely and securely help people in ukraine who may be in need of shelter, food and water please go on i'm kim brunhuber. for those of you watch using in north america back with more breaking news from ukraine right after this short break. please do stay with us.
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welcome back to all of you watching us here in the united states and canada. i'm kim brunhuber and this is "cnn newsroom." u.n. special envoy to fly to moskow. vehicles showed vehicles, now just the burns are there and new disturbing images from a town
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also near kyiv. it shows a number of bodies along a roadway including one person who appears to have bip on a bicycle. it's not clear whether the bodies are civilian or military. bucha is another town where the military retook from russian forces. it says the refinery was attacked by three russian airplanes around 6:00 a.m. local time and russia says it also struck military airfields using high precision air based missiles. that comes amid questions over the attack on a fuel depot in the russian city of belegrad. ukraine won't confirm or deny if it played any role in the attack. we have more now from cnn's fred pleitgen. >> reporter: it could be a brazen and bold counter attack by the ukrainians. this social media video seeming to show two attack helicopters
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penetrating russian territory and firing at an oil depot setting the facility ablaze. the russian military publicly acknowledging the incident. on april 1st at around 5:00 a.m. moskow time two ukrainian mi24 helicopters entered the airspace at extremely low altitude, the spokesman says. the ukrainian helicopters launched a missile attack on a civilian oil storage facility on the outskirts. as a result individual tanks were damaged and caught fire. video from the aftermath shows the facility engulfed in massive flames with firefighters struggling to put out the blaze. it's a highly militarized city right across the bor r border from car kfb in ukraine. it was from here russian forces attacked the border moving large amounts of tanks, armored vehicles and trucks towards
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ukrainian territory. the ukrainians so far have not acknowledged they hit the depot. >> i can neither confirm nor -- nor reject the claim that ukraine was involved in this simply because i do not assess all the military information. >> reporter: the strike comes as russian forces have been suffering setbacks in their invasion of ukraine. withdrawing some forces from the area around the capital kyiv after failing to storm the city. the russians now saying they want to focus their offensive on the east of the country which includes kharkiv where authorities report a major uptick in shelling in recent days. all this as talks between russia and ukraine to try and end the fighting continue. but moskow now saying vladimir putin has been briefed from the chopper attack and it could have
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a negative impact on the talks. of course this is not something that can be perceived as creating comfortable conditions for continuing negotiations the kremlin spokesman said. the strike on the oil facility will probably do little to hold up russia's invasion of ukraine, but if the ukrainians are behind it, it would show they are not afraid to strike back at the country that is attacking them. fred pleitgen, cnn, kyiv, ukraine. >> all right for more on this let's bring in atika schubert who joins us now from valencia, spain. take us through the reaction from moskow. >> this is very unusual incident, and it's the first time russia has admitted to infrastructure being hit inside russia. we've aalways seen it the other way around. what the russian military has said is that this fuel depot is only for civilian use, that it does not supply russian troops
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in ukraine. but as you heard in that report it's a very highly militarized city, and it is the main staging ground for a lot of the military activity by russian troops in eastern ukraine. and this fuel depot is bound to have a big logistical impact on all that. according to the russian news service agency, state news agency citing emergency officials there, they have reported that 16,000 cubic meters, more than 3 million gallons of fuel have been set on fire as a result of this attack. so that is bound to create quite a big hit on the logistics of the russian military going into eastern ukraine. i think it's also interesting to note this is actually quite an embarrassing admission by the russian military because remember they have claimed to have air superiority over ukraine, degrading the ukrainian air force so much they said they had virtually destroyed its ability to operate. and yet they have also admitted that we now have this air attack
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coming from the ukrainian side. so i think there seems to be conflicting messages coming out of russia on this. and again, the fact that we are seeing negotiations continue, this could have an impact on that. but for now the russian attack to this seems to be fairly muted. >> all right, thanks so much, atika schubert live in valencia, spain. now, the white house is being extra careful in its comments about the attack on the russian fuel depot. a misinterpreted comment could elevate the already dire situation in ukraine. >> reporter: the white house is currently not commenting on russian claims that it was a ukrainian air strike that started this fire at a fuel depot in belgerad, russia. or whether the u.s. would
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discourage ukrainians from taking those kinds of actions that would certainly be seen as escluatory. here's what white house press secretary jen psaki told cnn. >> this is war of aggression by russia's leadship, by president putin that has left millions of people displaced, homeless, has targeted civilians, hospitals and other innocent people across ukraine. we know who the aggressor is. that is president putin and russia. and beyond that i don't have any comment on military tactic. >> reporter: now all of this coming as the u.s. has said in recent days that they believe vladimir putin is being misinformed by some of his advisers and that he appears to be self-isolated, that he might even be punishing some of his own advisers. it is notable at the u.s. appears to not want to comment right now on potential ukrainian counter attacks on russian soil. the u.s. has so far been very careful to not say anything, to do anything that might be seen by the kremlin as being
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escalatory. mj lee, cnn the white house. >> while the people of ukraine continue their fight against russian forces one member of their parliament is in the united states to get more help. has been meeting with members of congress and earlier she spoke with our wolf blitzer. >> i don't know a ukrainian who hasn't lost someone they love or know. and i think this war will change us forever because every ukrainian pushed out of his or her home have been pushed out of the country. a lot of women have been raped. a lot of children have died. his friend has lost a child because of this war. unfortunately this is the tragedy of the 21st century we're witnessing right now. this is literally about killing as many ukrainians and
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destroying as much as they can. that's exactly what russians are doing to ukrainians now. >> she also experienced personal loss when a friend who also serves in parliament lost her husband this week from russian shelli shelling near cher hfb. foreign minister sergey lavrov was in delhi friday. he says russia is ready to sell india any kind of goods it wants to buy and also said the two countries will increase use of their own cur arencies in trade. listen to this. >> you know our position.
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woo do not fight anything that we appreciate that india is taking this situation in the entirety effects not just in a one-sided way. >> before his trip to india lavrov visited china. those two countries are refusing to directly condemn the invasion of ukraine. and reprecisely because of that sense china took heat from the eu. after the talks the eu said china can't look the other way. the head of ineuropean commission said she had an open and frank exchange with china's president. the message was, quote, if you're not part of the solution, don't be part of the problem. here she is. >> we expect china as a member of the security council of the united nation to take its responsibilities. there are few members only, and they have a vast responsibility, and china has an influence on russia, and therefore we expect
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china to take its responsibility to end this war and to come back -- that russia comes back to a peaceful negotiations solution. we expect china if not supporting the sanctions at least to do everything not to interfere in any kind. also on that point we were very clear. >> also told china no european would understand any support for russia's war effort. well, two ukrainian film makers accidently predicted the war from russia. we'll look at how their fictional movie turned into an uncanny reality and what they're doing now coming up ahead. stay with us. i always had a connection to my grandfather... i always wanted to learn more about him. i discovered some very interesting documents on ancestry. this is the uh registrtration card for the draft for world war two. and this is his signature whwhich blew me away.
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get started with internet and voice for $64.99 a month. and ask how to add securityedge™. or, ask how to get up to an $800 prepaid card. the u.n.'s culture agency says at least 53 historical
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sites have been damaged during russia's invasion of ukraine. the north eastern city of kharkiv has suffered the most with 18 damaged sites including a holocaust memorial. so far key landmarks in the capital kyiv have remained largely unscathed and, innone of the seven world heritage sites located in ukraine have been damaged by hostilities. when two ukrainian film makers made a movie about war between ukraine and russia they didn't know how eerily accurate their predictions would be. three years after creating reality is mirroring their art. now they're turning their cameras to document this conflict. yet despite the destruction of their homeland they remain positive and resolute about the future. elani giokos has more. >> reporter: when russian bombs hit the first ukrainian cities it was a shock but not a surprise to ukrainian film
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makers. in fact, they spent months of their lives imagining it. set in 2025, their film "atlantis" depicts a desolate ukraine ravaged by brutal invasion. they imagine a remarkable victory but at a huge cost. the ukraine they knew torn to pieces, grave yards stretching for miles. most of the actors you see on-screen are veterans themselves who know the violence of war all too well.
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as cities they know become war zones vallen teen and volodymyr have been on the ground documenting the experience of ordinary people. >> we shot several days of the evacuation of the suburbs nearby kyiv which called irpin. and it was first time when we -- the russian people bombshelling us during this immigration of civilians, and we tried to do it as best as we can because it's going to be kind of historical document what's happened with all of us. >> reporter: and if the time comes to fight, both say they'll
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be ready. >> we're still fighting for our right to exist. it's not something which we can negotiate. either we survive and be a separate nation or we're going to be enslaved. >> don't be afraid to fight for our own future because we have a common future, all of us. all the world now is connected. there's more fall out after will smith slapped comedian chris rock at the oscars. the punishment he faces from the academy coming up.
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the academy of motion picture arts and sciences says it accepts will smith's resignation after the actor slapped presenter chris rock on stage last weekend during the oscars. in a statement smith apologized for his actions saying the list of those i've hurt is long and includes chris, his family many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance and global audiences at home. i betrayed the atrust of the academy. i deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for
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their extraordinary work. >> reporter: it's become one of the most famous and controversial moments in oscar's history. >> will smith just smacked the [ bleep ] out of me. >> reporter: it wasn't just oscars viewers who initially thought the moment will smith slapped chris rock might have been staged. the man running the entire show, first time oscar's producer will packer says in a news interview with good morning america said he thought so, too. >> i thought it was a bit like everybody else. once i saw will yelling at the stage with such vitreal, my heart dropped. i said did he really hit you, and he looked at me and said, yeah, and he goes i just took a punch from muhammad ali as only chris can. he was ipjoke mode but you could tell he was still very much in shock. >> reporter: smith played in a
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film muhammad ali. showing a new angle of the incident this time filmed from behind smith's wife jada pinkett smith. packer says that los angeles police were prepared to arrest smith that night. >> and they were saying this is battery. we will go get him. you can press charges. you can arrest him. as they were talking chris was, he was being very dismissive of those options. he was like no, i'm fine. >> the academy of motion pictures arts and sciences released a statement this week saying they asked smith to leave and he refused. academy leaders had told smith's publicist to deliver a message to the actor. now packer is saying chris rock did not want smith removed from the show. >> they were about to physically remove smith. i said rock has made it clear that he does not want to make a
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bad situation worse. >> reporter: packer praised rock for how he handled the situation. >> did he save the show? >> i think he did. i think he did. he certainly saved what was left of it at that point. chris handled the moment with such grace and aplomb. >> reporter: rock told fans during his stand up show in boston this week he's still processing what happened. thursday he faced a heckler who yelled "f" will smith. according to people rock repeatedly told the audience member no. the academy says they're going to have consequences for will smith's actions and that they're going to announce that around april 18th. so what could that mean? it could mean the academy bans will smith from attending the oscars ever again. now the fact will smith has resigned means he can no longer be a voting member in the academy so he can't vote in
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upcoming award shows. now, could he still be nominated for an academy award, that's left to be seen. and before we go tip off to this year's men's final four basketball tournament is just hours away. duke will face their bitter rival university of north carolina before the coach announced he'll be retiring after 42 seasons of the head coach. all right, that wraps this hour of "cnn newsroom." i'm kim brunhuber. i'll be back in just a moment with more news. please do stay with us.
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this is cnn breaking news. 4r. hello and welcome to all of you watching us here in the united states, canada and all around the world. i'm kim brunhuber. i want to get straight to our breaking news. the russian military just announced launched an air strike on an oil refinery in central ukraine that russia says is being used to refuel ukrainian forces. it happened on a city miles east of eve. the facility was attacked by three russian aircraft and caused a fire around 6:00 a.m. local time


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