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tv   American Voices With Alicia Menendez  MSNBC  March 12, 2022 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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♪♪ hello everyone, i'm alicia menendez it is 6:00 of. in new york, here's what you need to know what is happening in ukraine. russian forces are tightening their grip on key ukrainian cities, the southern port city largely pounded into dust, 400,000 people under naval blockade amid constant shelling among russian military. safety corridors that have been established have been ignored by the russians continuing to harass and f. even fire upon civilians. >> all of the bridges were exploded. . we were jumping from bush to bush. we were crawling through the forest.
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>> earlier today seven people including women, children, were killed when russian soldiers attacked their evacuation convoy near kyiv. meanwhile the propaganda machine stoking fears about a potential chemical attack as the kremlin continues to claim, falsely, that the united states is operating bioweapons labs in ukraine. and warned the russia warns u.s. over -- . the u.s. additional $200 million to ukraine bringing assistance to $2.2 billion. and $2.2 billion. an more than 1.5 million refugees fled to poland. romania opening its borders over 80,000 more and russian people continue to pay the price for
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putin's aggression. ebay the latest company to halt operations in russia and economic pain looks like it will remain for the foreseeable future as attempts by france attempt to cease fail failed. let's bring in now ali in the western city of lviv, which has been the safe zone in the western part of the country for several weeks but doesn't seem to be the case as russian is thousands in the cross hair. give us a sense of the atmosphere there. >> that's right, alicia, this brutal bombing campaign is going on in the east starting to move westward people are getting more jittery here this has been a safe haven for so many of the displaced people from the east but as that bombing gets closer westward air raid sirens keep going off here in the city of
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lviv, this morning in the crack of dawn they went off. there's all these people, with children, with pets, having to rush to the cover of shelter having come from an already-brutalized part of the country at 10:00 in the evening here there's a strict curfew, most of the lights in the city go out, people draw their curtains, there's telecommunications mask before us those are all off. it is a city on edge. it's a safe haven. it's a way out of here. but people don't know how long that's going to last for, nonetheless, everybody here is making any war effort they can. we've met so many phenomenal people trying to do their bit. there's a beer factory here, for the last two weeks has not been making beer it's been making maltov cocktails to throw at troops of they come to this
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city. there's a gunshot usually you can only buy guns for hunting purposes with a license but are selling it to anyone who wants to buy one to defend their home, to defend their country and another young woman in lviv with her two children have been picking up people that have been displaced from the east and landed here in lviv and she's been driving them across the border into poland. she gets to poland drops them off and picks up supplies and drives back here, why? because men are not allowed to leave the country so so many women have step in to play the role of ferrying people across. she told me when she was coming back she'd see van after van of women drivers doing the same thing as her. i asked her what's going to happen if the bombing happens here in lviv, she says, she has two small children so she would leave. she doesn't want to put a strain on the ukrainian army but said her husband would stay and fight
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and so would her father who is 63 years old. in this country if you're under 60 you have to stay and fight. if you are over 60 you get a pass to leave. the father didn't want to leave. he wanted to stay here and protect his country. there's a lot of fortitude an resistance from the people, they're digging in for the worse. you see a lot of places here have put billboards in front of their windows in case the bombings happen here so the glass doesn't shatter inside. and around the perimeter of the city all these make-shift check points have been set up with sand bags, they're being manned by volunteers and soldiers. it's a city on the edge but a city that's getting prepared >> trauma layer upon trauma. thank you. the u.s. today said it would rush $200 million to ukraine for small arms, anti tank and anti aircraft weapons and vice
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president harris spoke about the stakes to the world today at a dnc meeting. >> russian's invasion threatens not just ukraine's democracy it threatens democracy and security across europe and by extension when democracy is threatened anywhere it threatens us all. >> joining me now, peter baker is the "new york times" chief white house correspondent and also an msnbc analyst and co-author of "the man who ran washington "a.i. we learned today that joe biden authorized 200 million dollars for help to ukraine what else can you tell us. >> that's right. what they talked about was poland shipping older soviet-made mid-fighter jets to
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the ukrainians and it came to a dispute who would do the delivering, and what you see here is a latest of a long series of shipments of weapons from the biden administration to ukraine and you're hearing russia and putin talk about it is provocation on the part of the west and the weapon shipments would be a fair target for russian troops so obviously there's a risk for americans and europeans as they seek to arm ukrainians to defend themselves and being drawn in to this conflict. >> are white house officials are drawing up response to the event russian uses nuclear chemical in ukraine. >> they're very concern that there are chemical biological weapons being created in ukraine as a threat to them seen as a way of signaling what they may do. we see it all the time from
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moscow classic for putin to accuse others to do what they're doing. >> a senior russian diplomat earlier, to your point, warned that moscow could target western shipments of military equipment to ukraine. how seriously would the white house view an escalation like that if they actually went through with it. >> depend where's it happened, if they target americans in the process of providing this aid that would be an act of war and obviously the kind of thing that leads to an escalation that could be quite dangerous. it happens after the weapons are in ukrainian hands that's a different thing. it kind of depends on the circumstances. obviously the russians understand presumably that to target these weapons, if they are in the hands of americans or their allies in europe would be something that could draw in a much, much wider conflict >> president biden friday called for end of normal trade relation
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with russia, peter, can you give us a sense of the context how important that step is. >> well it's somewhat important in the sense of one more step sealing the isolation of russia from the rest of the world, right. giving them most favored nation status, giving them normal trade status was a big deal when it happened, a way of saying the old conflict of the cold war was over and we're welcoming russia into at the the family of nations in a way they aren't been and now reversing things, trading with foreign countries is fallen off, you cut off banking and currency exchanges it's hard to do trade. and most western companies are beginning to pull out anyway. in some ways this is simply ratifying the step that's have already been taken and it's a big deal in the sense of saying we're entering a period russia is retreating into its own isolated world behind his own new iron curtain in effect falling across the border.
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>> pete erp baker, as always thank you for your time and being with us. >> thank you. >> disagreements continue among law and policymakers how to best arm ukrainians in the brutal fight against putin. friday president biden once again made it clear what was not on the table. >> we will not fight a war against russia in ukraine, direct confrontation between nato and russia is world war three, something we must strive to prevent. >> joining me now texas congressman who is a member of the armed services committee. congressman, thank you for being with us. we know the russian army is attacking civilians, women, children, does that change the way the united states approaches our response to this conflict? >> obviously it is going to really, i think, speed up the fact that, hey, we need to do something to help ukraine. you've already seen that in the
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form of assistance, both financial and small arms and as they continue to do these things that are horrible and shocking to the world, as well as here in the united states, there's going to be an ongoing effort, i think, as far as the united states is concerned, to make sure that we continue to help the ukrainians. but as far as getting us into a direct conflict with the russians over this, i don't see that happening. that doesn't seem to really be a desire from democrats for republicans when you talk to different members on the house floor for it to escalate to that level. >> one of the things that is in question, this question about whether or not, the extent to which to provide jets, group of 42 republican senators including senate majority leader mitch mcconnell wrote to biden urging him to transfer soviet aircraft to ukraine and it was scrapped due to logistical concerns how to get those planes to the
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ukrainians hand how do you see the situation playing out especially that you have moscow threatening to attack any convoy carrying weapons. >> how it plays out in the long-term will be interesting to see. i think for one of the neighboring countries to be part of the transfer, for instance, poland, that that would be something more appropriate. i don't think any of our western allies would really want to be a part of that type of transfer. i served on the helsinki commission and was in vienna for one of the conference meetings a few weeks ago and i can tell you the way that our friends in western europe are viewing this versus the former soviet baltic states it's completely different and i believe particularly in western europe there is a desire for this to end but for it to end where there is not an
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escalation with germany, england, france and other countries that are really concerned about what is happening. they want to try to help ukraine as much as they can but it certainly comes with limits. >> thank you so much, congressman of texas. ahead, the humanitarian crisis growing on ukrainian worlders we'll speak to the president and ceo of unic e f usa and what his aid group is doing on the ground and how you can heliport. plus the heliport. plus the can a help. and the russian threat on kyiv. and later, the biden administration reevaluating relationships in south america. wnba brittney griner still detained in russian and jason speaks about why he's so concerned for her safety. just getting started here on ""american voices". ""american voices"
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as russian forces ramp up shelling in urban areas, the united nations said more than 2.5 million refuges fled the country, more than 1 million are children, the majority fled to neighboring nations like poland. president biden on friday, signaling the u.s. would welcome refugees here. >> we will send money and food and aid to save the ukrainian people and i will welcome ukrainian refugees, we should welcome them here with open arms if they need access and we're going to provide more support for ukraine. >> in the meantime humanitarian organizations such as unicef are providing life-saving equipment to refugees in western europe, with us now, the president and ceo, michael ninehouse thank you for being us. unicef has brought six trucks
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carrying 70 tons of supply including p p e and surgical kits and medical supplies in 22 hospitals in 5 war zones. i want you to talk about what it is like on the ground right now and how unicef is able to even get those supplies to hospitals. >> well, i will just tell you two things about unicef first that will help explain that, we've been in ukraine for 25 years, we know the country, we know the government, we know the partners there, we know how to move around, we're also extremely experienced in conflict settings in the work we do. we run the largest humanitarian distribution center out of copenhagen, denmark, that delivers critical supplies all over the world in these types of settings, so we know what we're doing and can get the supplies to the hospitals that need them. we've been able to do that effectively. of course we're very concerned about the safety on the ground for our team and medical staff there, and are watching that very carefully.
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>> at this point, what are the most important supplies still needed and the biggest challenges in terms of getting them where they knead to be? >> well for 15ist. r 15ist. for safety and access to humanitarian corridors remain critical. we need to make sure the humanitarian corridors that have been agreed to stay there so we can pass through. so that people on the move can pass one direction and we can get supplies in in another direction. critical medical supplies, surgical supplies and all those sort of things are still essential. we're also delivering clean water which is really important there's places that isn't available any more and people have taken shelter in bunkers and we need to have access to clean water for those people. >> as you said this is unicef's work, you know how to do this, how this goes, i wonder for you, having watched crisis like these unfold before, there are waves to this thing right?
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like first it was few hundred thousand refugees and two weeks in up to 2.5 million and know the number is expected to get close to 5 million. neighboring countries have been very welcoming to this point. there's always the anxiety that will hit a tipping point. talk tlus what the next face of this crisis looks like of this crisis looks like talk us through what the next phase looks like >> it is important to move across the borders and great to hear biden said it will welcome refugees here. there's going to be a lot of people. we need to be able to place them in many different places so the burden just isn't on the host communities along the border there. unicef runs so far about 26 what we call blue-dot centers right across the border well-marked with the unicef blue logo and
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known to be safe places for children and families to could. there we provide basic care and respite for those children who have been traumaized over and every, along with directions to other services, housing, transportation, things they need. we got to beef up that work because more people will be coming and the humanitarian corridors need to be open so the people who want to leave can. mentioned close to 1.5 million children left and that means there's still 6 million people in ukraine and the traumas they're facing have to be dealt with too. >> all those traumas layer. michael thank you for being with us. up next, new threat of chemical weapons if russia uses them in ukrainian how should the world respond. and -- a message to the u.s. and allies. >> if you could say something
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to president biden or speak directly to u.s. politicians what do you want them to know? >> finish mr. putin, he is the source of all this situation. second thing concerning refugee crisis, you know, european union is very rich, we don't need it right from the u.s. but if you could accept some refugees, i think relocation program is very necessary. ary. ink you choose. try boost glucose control®. it's clinically shown to help manage blood sugar levels and contains high quality protein to help manage hunger and support muscle health. try boost® today. to help prevent bleeding gums, try saying hello gumwash with parodontax active gum health. it kills 99% of plaque bacteria and forms an antibacterial shield. try parodontax active gum health mouthwash. meet brett from apartment 2b. he's not letting an overdraft alert get him stressed. he knows he's covered with zero overdraft fees when he overdraws his account by fifty bucks or less.
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countries for safety a majority heading to poland more than 1.5 million people crossed into poland with more refugees arriving every day. organizations are feeling the strain as they try to provide resources to people in desperate need of aid. our reporter there now. >> guillermo: this is a beautiful, special city that is struggling to handle the influx of refugees who have come here trying to seek safety for themselves and often their very young children. we heard the mayor of this city as well as the mayor of warsaw warn they're at their limit, so many people coming in they can't keep up with the need of refugees here, not only they need safe places to rest their head but also long-term, they
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need access to social welfare programs, to adequate health care, and immediate medical issues, things like that. there are already populations in these cities needing access to that as well. so balancing that, figuring out how to care for everyone offal the cities are struggling a bit to do it, at least right now. we spoke to non-governmental organization and said part of the problem the polish government hasn't done enough for relief efforts past the initial crossing of the boreder, once they make their way into cities like warsaw what they're encountering is volunteer-led ad hoc minute-by-minute relief effort and it's not sustainable.
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listen. >> how much coordination has there been between groups like yours and the polish government. >> unfortunately i would say the polish government stood back, doing a lot of pr job, going to the border showing that they are doing some stuff but they are not visible here. i know they do some stuff on the border but the actual job is done by volunteers. there's no -- i wouldn't say there is government on site. >> over 2.5 million people have been forced to leave their homes in ukraine, the vast majority of those people, about 1.5 million have come here to poland. one thing we heard people talk about is the idea of offering more options for relocation assistance to other countries,
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some volunteers saying the u.s. needs to step up and offer more assistance so people could come to the united states. that being said, a lot of the refugees we spoke to they desperately want to go home and hope the war ends soon and don't often blamed by the opposition even though it was the regime carrying out these attacks so i think it is excellent we've gone
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public with the intelligence we have that russia is planning chemical or biological weapons attack to let them put them on notice to know what we're up to and as the general said and president biden commented that the repercussions, international response would be severe >> yeah, and the choice to make it transparent all
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test. test. test. test. general, i want to weave two questions together. you both said that the united states needs to send a clear message that there will be repercussions if russia chooses to use these weapons, i want to ask what those are, and also, if russia does use chemical weapons what then can the united states and nato do? >> well, i think there's a single answer, first of all we can say what we're not going to do. obviously we're not going to respond in kind with biological or chemical weapons nor are we going to up the ante, nor do i think will nato put troops in
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ukraine or belarus to respond to that. i've been thinking about this quite a bit and i think despite some discussions with russians that our best option would be a limited cyber attack of some kind strong enough the russians would get the message and pay the price but not so strong for us to reveal our tactics, and techniques and procedures because every time you do a cyber attack you giveaway bread crumps and they can trace how you did it. we have used the sanctions we can use, and doing all of the military we're willing to use, and only thing left is an enormous cyber capability and this may be one of the times we use it. >> i want to ask the team to pull up the map to show viewers as i ask this question they can have context what we're talking about, which is, all of our reporters that you seen are largely operating out of the western part of the country.
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that is both where refugees are flowing out of and it is where resources are floating into the country. we now believe that russia is setting its sights on the western part of the country, they've started more aggressive measure there's, what does that tell you about the next phase of this campaign. thank you. that is the map. i want you to see the western part of the country by poland where a lot of our reporters are reporting from and where you are see a lot of the refugees flow out of, what phase are we in if putin is setting his sights on the western part of the country. >> first we have to figure why he's doing that in the first place, does he want to expand the war? he could. he may want to put 90% of his troops that he doesn't have in there right now to do that. but candidly he's having a pretty hard time managing the three military operations he
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already has. the other option may be that he is doing it to finally attack the supply lines. i'm support prized they haven't done t prized they haven't i'm surprised they haven't done that so far but nato has had a freehand getting all this military equipment into ukraine. obviously coming primarily through the west, maybe they've waked up and realize they should be attacking the supply lines to try to choke off the supplies of weapons coming in, very much the way the ukrainians are trying to do that with the russian supply lines >> andy and general, as always, thank you both for being with us, for your time and for your expertise. next, the war in europe, changing u.s. relations from latin america, the impact on columbia and venezuela. also ahead wnba star brittney griner still in prison in russia and jason wrongfully held in
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♪♪ today i'm proud to announce that i tend to designate columbia a major non-nato ally and want to thank you mr. president for helping combat the pandemic, advancing health security and taking on the climate crisis with urgency and genuine ambition and helping working with refugees and tackling unprecedented levels of migration. >> president biden formerly embracing columbia as an ally and praising the columbia president how he has handled many challenges, including immigration. our next guest said columbia's handling venezuela's refugee is so admirable that europe should
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use it as a road map to help navigate their current crisis. joining me now, dan, there are going to be watching like, i'm not sure if you understand where the current crisis is unfolding, why are we talking about latin america but as i've said, this is a global crisis. before we dive into your piece and your argument talk about the ripple effects this will have through latin america. >> a number of ripple effects. so russia has had close relationships with a handful of countries in latin america, primarily venezuela and -- finds himself with patron horrifically miscalculated in europe and politically and economically weaker ichiro each -- passing day and is a
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real opportunity for the united states to reassert our own leadership in the region. and to make sure the countries know that there is a value-add in the relationship with the united states that doesn't exist in a relationship with russia or for that matter with china. >> you write, quote, columbia has a lot to share with european countries as they begin to address the basing need of refugees pouring over their borders embraced for the millions more likely to come because columbia has seen millions of desperate people fleeing the collapse of venezuela since 2015 in fact the vast majority of 6 million venezuelans forced out of their country found first refuge in
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colombia -- the first wave of refugees often have connection with the country they're going to. in the case of ukraine we're seeing folks reach out to ukrainians elsewhere in europe in colombia, venezuela it was columbians returning having sought refuge in the dayle of the armed conflict. that is key because it allows you to take a different approach, not put folks in camps but see the integration of these populations as fast as you can do is really critical. we seen it in latin america. in colombia we seen the president extend temporary protected status for more than 1 million venezuelans for a 10-year period of time to allow this displaced population to root in this new -- in the new communities, to get to work, to become contributing members of
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the city rather than live on the margins. will be really important in europe, folks have been displaced, these are talented people on the move, they have a lot to offer to the communities receiving them but they need protective legal status to integrate quickly into the communities and start contributing and not simply be seen as a burden. >> talking about what europe could learn from colombia and you and i could be discussing what the united states could learn from colombia in regards to integrating refugees and migrants into the community that's another six-minute segment you and i will have in a few weeks. you made the argument at the top of this that the u.s. leadership is critical in spurring the countries of america of effective, collection action, how so? >> it is, couple reasons, one is being a better example ourselves. in the case of venezuelans president biden did something over due he granted them
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temporary protective status in the us which makes sense for all of the reasons i just said, the united states also needs to push the international financial institutions. places like the world bank, interamerican development bank, to support country's efforts to regularize and integrate these populations. this takes money. countries are coming out of the economic wreckage of the pandemic. they need basic budget support. this is not bilateral assistance it's leveraging international financial institutions, the u.s. did this in notch november in colombia to support $800 million loan to support integration of venezuela it needs to happen throughout the migratory chain it is that kind of leadership to mitigate and order migration so it doesn't become an excuse for nativists to attack our own
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democracy. >> my friend, so grateful for your time and helping us connect the dots. thank you. >> my pleasure. next, still held in russia, and information very slim on wnba star's well being brittney griner. jason rozine who was wrongfully held in iran brings his insight. also, kyiv bracing for attack, we'll get a live update from ukraine and historic city of odesa preparing for the invasion. >> in odesa trendy food hall has been turned to and a station, this is a lawyer organizing the effort. >> what's your message to is vladimir putin. >> oh, my god, go, go away. just do anything with your russia, anything you want, but never come again. we hate you and please we don't need your support. you're a target for chronic kidney disease.
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it looks like nutritious food, and it is. i'm investing in my dog's health and happiness. get started at >> there is a legal process, but i'm also not gonna shy away i also am not going to shy away from the united states protecting its citizen and that's what she is, a renown and important one, we don't want to make it difficult for her or to elevate her so she becomes a target. any time you're jeopardy. >> that was congressman sheila jackson this morning on msnbc.
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she's been working towards the release of wnba star brittney griner. she has been detained in russia for nearly a month. russia claims griner was detained for possession of vapor trudges, containing hashish oil. the next guest jason rezaian was a former hostage in iran for nearly two years, and his latest piece for the washington post details his concerns for the wnba star. he aims that the american government's response. jason is the global opinions columnist for the washington post, and then executive producer on the film, bring them home, a documentary on wrongful detentions. jason, thank you so much for being with us. i saw your piece, and i knew i wanted to talk to you. why are you so critical of the u.s.'s response? >> well, alicia, thanks for having me on. i think i'm critical of the u.s. government's response, and also the eu response. i've seen a lot of people take the approach that she -- when you read the headlines, she says, charged with
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possession of drugs. i'm not concerned with the charge, but i am concerned with fellow american citizen, a very high profile one, was apparently been denied her consular access, and is being held in an undisclosed location. and, you know, as soon as the russian government puts out images and news of her arrest, they have taken control of this narrative. and i think that the u.s. government, you know, while i am sure they are working to try and win her release, my concern is that in the past, we've taken a flat-footed approach to these kinds of cases. mine as one example, and many others that have followed. >> to the point you've made, there are a lot of unanswered questions about her detention at this point. what is your greatest concern for her? >> well i think first and foremost her rights.
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i understand that she has access to her lawyer in russia, but the fact that she hasn't been given consular access, access to the embassy is a big red flag, right? congresswoman jackson lee talked about the legal process that she would go through. but there are, you know, they are diplomatic processes. and one of those is being able to speak to representatives of the countries that are censoring you. when that is being denied, it is one indicator for the state department that there might be something fishy about this case. so for me, i think, as soon as she's able to speak with representatives of the u.s. government, and really, get her voice back, my fears would be lessened. but right now, there's just so little that we know, and they can be doing anything that they want to her at this moment. >> you're right. the u.s. needs a more robust approach to cases like these to run for the tensions of americans inside other countries. i wanna know what that looks
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like? and based on your own experience, when you see that lightly, what message does that send? >> first, i need -- i think we have to come out and say that these people are being held unjustly. in the case of brittney griner, there is still a lot of information to gather, and i don't think that the u.s. government has made the indication that she is necessarily a wrongful detainee. but when that happens, first of all, i want to change the vocabulary in this. wrongful detaining means hostage. it means someone being held as leverage against united states and its interests. i think the short term response needs to be one that actually raises stakes, for bilateral relationships between the u.s. and the countries that are doing this, whether it's russia, iran, china, venezuela, or even some allies, saudi arabia, turkey, all of these countries have taken citizens and held them hostage in recent years. and then, there has to be
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actual credible deterrence on the back and. when we bring these people home, to make this kind of hostage taking harder for governments to do in the future. to make them think twice about making americans, you know, political leverage in their negotiations with the u.s.. >> jason rezaian, i appreciate your time, and i hope that as we continue will follow the story, you come back and join us. >> at the top of the hour, the russian advance intensifying around kyiv. we're gonna go live to ukraine for the latest. plus, they're telling very different stories on russian state media. look behind the iron curtain. and in the next hour, former president trump is getting back on stage. which will he say about the invasion of ukraine? and will republicans continue to be divided on the war that is all ahead. you're watching american voices right here on msnbc. t here on msnbc. (music throughout)
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>> it is a new hour of american voices. thank you for being here. i am alicia menendez. it is 2 am in kyiv, ukraine. it is unclear what could happen by morning. as russia ramps up its attacks around the city. throughout the day, shelling intensified in the suburbs, and to the south, as russia ice the port city of mariupol. despite safety corridors established, providing away for innocent civilians to get out,


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