tv CNN Newsroom CNN February 9, 2015 8:00am-9:01am PST
war tears apart ukraine. how deep will the u.s. get in? president obama in a key meeting at the white house right now. in a few minutes he could announce new plans. we have it live. isis targets being bombarded in iraq as coalition forces try to stop the group's march into iraq and syria. now others are joining the fight. it's really happening. a huge snowstorm smacks the northeast. nearly two feet on top of almost five feet in some places. it might never stop. ever. hello, everyone. happy monday. i'm john berman. >> i'm kate bolduan. thanks for joining us. a lot to get to. the most intense and destructive fighting that europe has seen in years is happening right now in ukraine. the urgent question for the
obama administration is how deeply involved should the u.s. get? >> at this moment president obama and german chancellor angela merkel are meeting in the white house before a crucial news conference which will be in a few more minutes when we could learn if the u.s. will give the ukrainian government what it desperately wants. weapons to defend itself against pro-russian rebels. what the you're looking at are pictures from moments ago. the beginning of the meeting between president obama and german chancellor angela merkel. the white house considering giving weapons to ukrainians. german chancellor thinks that's a bad idea. >> absolutely she thinks that's a bad idea. she rejected that idea over the weekend with the thought that vladimir putin would bring russian airpower into the fight. leaders from france, germany, russia and ukraine are planning to meet wednesday to try to negotiate a deal to stop the fighting. you will remember it's not groundhog day. they've done this before.
the last time that last cease-fire deal didn't stick obviously. >> our nick paton walsh was in one of the eastern ukrainian towns that has just been leveled by the fighting. weapons fire was everywhere there. this will give you an idea of just how destructive this conflict has been. >> reporter: two huge holes punched right through it. clearly once ukrainian defensive position. around me you can hear the outgoing fire of pro-russian separatists that continue to try to advance toward a town that is a key objective of them. they want territory in donetsk after that. you can see really the signs of devastation. armored personnel carry here which the cameraman will pan toward slowly but literally no building escaped the destruction here. >> amazing. nick is joining us now from donetsk not far from where he filed that report. the town where you were earlier looked abandoned. when you see that destruction,
lay out from that perspective on the ground what's at stake in what's being talked about in washington today. >> reporter: the amounts of territory in question are small given the political stakes. this is about the separatists trying to get hold of all of the donetsk region. they are fighting village by village often very poor rural areas with infrastructure absolutely brutalized by violence. but the end goal really here is about whether or not there is some sort of global mechanism at play which can slow the separatists down and get vladimir putin to reel in assistance they're getting. this is vital. the broader western feelings is they can't stop the violence here and if they can't make moscow feel there's potentially some stiff penalty for them to pay, if they don't reel in assistance to separatists and it's clear they are assisting them heavily, that's a large geopolitical failing on washington's part and
potentially resets the balance globally in terms of the 21st century order of things. a lot of concern about what may happen but also on the ground here the separatists are clear they have big territorial ambitions and may try to realize more of them before people sit down to negotiate peace. >> it might get worse before it gets better there as both sides try for a land grab right before these crucial meetings. nick paton walsh live for us in donetsk. thanks so much. right now president obama as we said is behind closed doors with the german chancellor angela merkel discussing and maybe debating the best course of action in ukraine right now. in just a few minutes they'll hold a crucial news conference where perhaps they will announce new plans and we'll bring that to you live. the u.s. is now considering as part of this debate and discussion sending ukraine lethal aid. but that is also threatening to drive a wedge between the two key allies. merkel over the weekend rejected the idea of sending weapons to
ukraine saying more weapons will not lead to progress. the progress that ukraine needs and she'll be pushing that stance you can expect to president obama. let's get over to the white house. michelle kosinski is there for us. we just saw the video of the meeting getting under way. >> there's a lot to discuss. they're going to have about an hour-long discussion and then we'll hear questions from reporters and see what they say during this press conference. that's going to tell us a lot about what unity is there and in what areas because we've heard secretary of state john kerry over the weekend talk about the unity being strong between the u.s. and eu on coordinating the response against russia but at the same time we're having this divergence between the u.s. and germany and other european leaders on whether it's even a consideration to send arms to ukraine. it looks like there are three areas really where we're likely to see the discussion and maybe something come out of it.
one is what is the frame workwork of this peace proposal that will be discussed on wednesday. that's holding up everyone's reaction. not necessary to issue more sanctions now or make any announce announcements now about arming ukraine before we see what happens. if there is a peace deal that could be hammered out that would be acceptable to the u.s. as well. all the better. the u.s. has been concerned about that deal potentially. would it give ukraine back control of its borders and its integrity. also sanctions. will the u.s. and germany unify on who will be sanctioned and how broad sanctions could be as well as further discussion on the arms issue. kate? >> michelle kosinski at the white house waiting for that meeting to wrap up and then the real work begins. michelle will be in there and they'll take questions from reporters. when the president and chancellor go before cameras
later this hour we'll bring that to you live. wolf blitzer will lead our special coverage of that. also this morning, secretary of state john kerry says the u.s. coalition is on the road to destroying isis. he told "meet the press" over the weekend that coalition is more committed than after especially after isis burned to death pilot muath al kaseasbeh. the question now is kayla mueller still alive? her family wants hard proof about her condition. three days since the 26 year old was killed in a jordanian air strike on a building in syria. many inside and outside the u.s. are skeptical on this account. a new development in the region as well. the united arab emirates is once again an active member. they suspended air strikes over concern for their pilots but now fighter jets will fly side by side with jordanian counterparts
in the intensifying war there. we'll get a report from jordan as soon as we can. in the meantime, we have some more news. the snow will never stop. the northeast getting covered right now. the storm in boston could bring nearly two more feet in some places. that's on top of the piles and piles already there. >> and the real focus today to arm or not to arm ukrainian military. the debate behind closed doors happening right now between the u.s. and germany. we're waiting this hour to hear from president obama and chancellor merkel. everyone loves the way dark clothes make them feel... and no one wants that feeling to fade. that's why there's woolite darks. without harsh ingredients, it keeps darks vibrant for over 30 washes. so your love for dark clothes doesn't have to fade. for the love of darks.
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it could dump up to two feet that's two new feet of snow in some places. >> that hurts to even hear. boston has been buried in more than five feet of snow canceling snow for another two days this week already. same for cancellation for flights at logan airport, one of many headaches the city is facing as you can see is where to put all the snow. we go live to boston for more. how are they handling it? i can barely even see you piles are getting so high. >> reporter: the snow is coming down harder right now, kate too, that's part of the visibility problem. this is the big question that residents have is what are they going to do with all these snow? these piles are mild. some of them in places are taller than i am. you can see piles that go up midway to street signs and light posts and if you look down the sidewalks in the last few hours people have begun to plow. they are creeping into the streets making it much more
narrow. that causes a lot of safety problems because a lot of people we saw walking to work in the streets, that's dangerous, especially when the streets are so narrow and when you're driving, we can attest to this firsthand, you come around corners on major roads and you cannot see what's around the corner or sometimes what's right next to you with these snow piles being so large. now, the mayor addressed this a little bit yesterday. he said part of the problem is that the budget is completely shattered at this point. they're still plowing but we haven't seen anyone removing snow from the streets. residents here in the beacon hill area say they've never seen anything quite like this not at least since the '70s, the massive blizzard in the '70s that was record breaking. they haven't seen piles this large and they are not being moved out of town. this is a problem across the state of massachusetts. the governor was talking about how so far this season some areas have seen up to 80 inches
of snow and this is still only the second week in february. there are also reports in states like new hampshire where they simply can't bring in enough salt fast enough for these back to back to back snowstorms. another issue the mayor here talked about was private contractors coming in and trying to basically do things on their own and what they're doing is removing snow from the businesses that are paying them and then dumping it into alleys and streets and that's causing more problems for other people. so just all around kind of a mess john and kate. >> you see underneath it says braces for six to ten inches of snow today on top of what's fallen in the last 24 hours. i was there saturday night and it was just starting to snow. it's been snowing from saturday night until now and they could get ten more inches today on top of five feet they already have. we appreciate you being there. stay strong. >> stay strong. coming up for us the german
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german chancellor merkel says doing that is going to increase fighting. we'll hear from them in a news conference coming up in just a few minutes where they could announce new plans. some u.s. lawmakers think there is no way around arming the ukrainian military right now and angela merkel thinks that could force the u.s. to get more deeply involved. >> putin does not want a diplomatic solution. he wants to dominate ukraine as well as russia's other neighbors. he may make tactical compromises here or there but just as a prelude to further aggression. mark my words. >> there is no military solution. the solution is a political diplomatic one but president putin's got to make the decision to take an off-ramp and we have
to make it clear to him that we're absolutely committed to the sovereignty and integrity of ukraine no matter what. >> want to bring in the former u.s. ambassador to ukraine. ambassador thanks so much for being with us. we know where you stand on this. you support -- you have written a paper supporting providing defensive lethal weapons. anti-tank weapons to it the ukrainian military. there's a meeting going on between the german chancellor and u.s. president. if they come out of this meeting with anything short of providing lethal weapons in your mind is it really no help at all to the effort there? >> i guess the first point i would make is that those of us who are advocating providing arms to ukraine are doing it to support chancellor merkel's objective which is to get to a negotiated political solution. unfortunately over the last seven or eight months you have not seen russians negotiate seriously. they signed onto a cease-fire back in september.
they've done nothing. the question is can you raise the cost to the russian military such that they then choose to pursue a negotiated solution. so we see these things coming together. we'll have to see the discussions between chancellor merkel and president obama and see where they come out on this. >> everyone is waiting to hear what comes out of that meeting especially because it's before the peace meeting where peace talks that are supposed to happen this coming wednesday. you say what you guys are proposing and what a lot of folks are supporting is giving some arms to the ukrainian military is working towards the chancellor's point, would get to the chancellor's point. i find that interesting. take a look. this is what the chancellor said over the weekend when she flatly rejected the idea of arming ukraine. i can't imagine a situation in which an improved arming of the ukrainian army leads president putin being so impressed that he
believes he will lose militarily militarily. i think we differ on the means here. the problem is that the russians and separatists believe there's a military solution and if one believes that current russian objective is to destabilize ukraine, make life more difficult, the current situation works just fine. we need to find way to move the russians away from that calculation. one tool is the economic sanctions that the united states and european union applied and chancellor merkel has been very strong and helpful on that. by beginning to change calculation on the battlefield that also pushes moscow toward negotiated settlement. >> ambassador the european union is considering new sanctions against russia. what has effect of sanctions been so far do you think? >> i think there have been huge impacts on the russian economy. now, in conjunction with fall in
the price of oil. russian government said that last year $150 billion in capital flight out of russia. the russian minister of economy has said that the russian economy will contract this year perhaps by as much as 5%. the russians expended about $110 billion in reserves much of which was designed to support the ruble but the ruble over the last eight months lost half of its value against the dollar. the economic impact has been significant. it has not yet reached the point, however, where mr. putin is prepared to make the necessary political decision to go for a negotiated settlement. i think one of the most important messages that come out of the meeting between president obama and chancellor merkel is a very strong message to the moscow that the sanctions will stay on. they will stay on until such time as the russians really begin to negotiate seriously. my guess is mr. putin is hoping that the sanctions will begin to ease without him having to give anything seriously on eastern ukraine and west cannot let him
have that impression. >> we're just minutes away from hearing from president obama and german chancellor angela merkel and could get answers to the questions you pose. new sanctions, will that be in play? thanks so much. >> ambassador lays out really well what's at stake in this meeting. an important meeting later this week but what president obama and chancellor merkel say are they together on this? these are key allies or is there a rift as some fear on this important issue. >> a few minutes from now we should know part of the answer to that question. in the meantime isis took control of iraq's second largest city in june but now is the coalition poised to take back this crucial city? what does that mean? how complicated will it be? is the coalition ready for a ground war that could mean urban combat? that's next. your daughter has a brilliant idea for her science project. and you could make it happen. right? wrong. because you're not you you're a cancer hospital and your daughter... she's a team of leading researchers...
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welcome back. you're taking a look right now at live pictures from the white house in the east room where reporters are getting ready and we're all getting ready to hear from president obama and german chancellor angela merkel. they've been in a closed door meeting talking about possibly the future and the fate of ukraine. they are talking about fighting in ukraine and how bad it's gotten and what the allies are going to do about it. we'll bring that you live news
conference coming up in just a few minutes. >> whether the united states will provide lethal aid and whether europe will impose new sanctions. these questions will be answered in just minutes. new developments in the u.s. led war against isis. a major push is under way to take back iraqi city of mosul from the terror group in the first stages right now it seems. coalition air strikes pounding isis positions from the air. on the ground kurdish forces are trying to surround the city to cutoff the isis supply lines. >> the aim is to weaken the terror group ahead of an anticipated ground battle in mosul, iraq's second largest city. let's discuss this and more on the isis front to bring in cnn terrorism analyst paul cruickshank and retired lieutenant colonel james reese. colonel, first to you. on the issue of what's going on in mosul, lie out why this is important in the fight against isis and what is the state of play on the ground there?
>> mosul is the second largest city in iraq. it was the first major city that isis when they did their blitz across the north from the west took mosul down and it's become their staging place and their main city in iraq. right now with the iraqi army along with the coalition forces their aircraft and some iranian shia militia have worked their way north up the tigress river valley from baghdad and taken down key cities. peshmerga in the north have isolated mosul and we're cutting off isis' supply lines to allow them to replysupply with people and ammunition in mosul. they're surrounded. it's a large city so now iraqis have to prepare to conduct urban warfare in a city of several million people which could become problematic. >> problematic to say the least. you talk block by block combat in a congested area right there.
paul when isis took mosul, it was jaw dropping. it was the jaw dropping development in that region. it put isis on the map literally for u.s. policy makers. how important do you think that that city is for isis? do they need this presence in iraq? >> it is absolutely crucial from an isis point of view. it will be a really difficult city to take. remember how difficult it was for u.s. troops to take fallujah in 2004. the kurds don't have that much of an interest in takeing the lead in this battle. their main interest is defending kurdish areas. the iraqi army is not ready to take on mosul and if they go with shia fighting forces and shia militias that could backfire big-time. they need to integrate more sunni forces into the iraqi army. i don't think anybody thinks they'll be ready before the summer. some kurdish leaders talking
about no operation until october. i think that isis could be in charge of mosul for months and months to come and it will be a really difficult operation. >> talking about isis and the march that they have been making into syria as well as iraq. we're talking about also a new propaganda video that isis has put out. it doesn't maybe look like much if you will when you look at it. i don't know if we can show folks. thank you. what does this tell you? they are trying to send a message. you were talking about this. this was shot in libya near tripoli. between tripoli and benghazi. what are they trying to say? >> isis is trying to send a message. we're expanding in libya. this is 300 miles east of tripoli. the capital. late last month we saw that attack from isis from libya. an american killed in that attack. they have control of a town of 100,000 people in the east of libya. they are expanding and taking
advantage of this civil war in libya to expand across the country. they are a force to be reckoned with. the reason they have expanded in libya is because of a return of 300 veterans that fought with isis in syria have come back over the last several months and expanded across the country. this is really a new front for isis along with egypt because a group of egypt late last year which also joined the isis fighters. it's other countries in the region. a big challenge moving forward. >> that also is why at the same time you talk about a new front. we heard from secretary of state john kerry who said over the weekend that the u.s. is on the road to destroying isis. so you have new fronts and strong talk coming from the administration. paul thank you. colonel, thank you as always. >> that's it for us right now. up next special live coverage of president obama and german chancellor angela merkel with a crucial press conference at the white house. stay with us.
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hello. welcome to our viewers in north america and around the world. welcome to our special live coverage of the joint news conference that's coming up at the white house. i'm wolf blitzer reporting from washington. there you see live pictures from the east room of the white house. president obama and the visiting german chancellor angela merkel conferring right now on the latest multilateral attempt to bring cease-fire if not peace to the situation in ukraine. on wednesday chancellor merkel
and the french president francois hollande will sit down with vladimir putin. if that sounds familiar it should. a 12-point peace plan came out of talks last september but it never actually turned into reality. five months and thousands of casualties later, the west and ukraine's pro-western government insist putin remove his fighters from large parts of eastern ukraine loyal to moscow. in brussels the european union agreed on another round of economic sanctions if nothing helps in minsk. a huge explosion at what was thought to be a chemical factory. watch for president obama to face serious questions today on a growing call by so many u.s. lawmakers for the united states
to start sending what's described as lethal aid. that's weapons to ukraine's army. chancellor merkel is firmly opposed to that idea. let's bring in jake tapper. he's got a lot of members in the house and senate and not only republicans but democrats who want the u.s. to start sending lethal aid to the ukrainian military. getting resistance from the europeans. especially chancellor merkel. what's going to happen? >> that's the $64 million question. it's not just voices in congress. democrats and republicans on capitol hill. it's also people in his own administration who think the united states should be sending lethal aid. president obama has so far let the german chancellor angela merkel take the lead when it comes to ukraine policy. she is opposed. she thinks sending in weapons from the united states from other european countries would only drag out and exacerbate this conflict. there are those that see on capitol hill and those in the administration who see anything
other than help anything other than lethal aid, people who call for a diplomatic solution to this they see that as appeasement. what kind of diplomatic solution can there be? will you give some of eastern ukraine to russia as what happened with crimea. i have no idea where president obama is going to land on this. >> it will be the questions -- there will be two questions from american reporters at this joint news conference. two questions from german reporters. they will open up with opening statements. the president and the chancellor presumably not only on this but other issues could come up including what's going on in this war against isis. >> absolutely. although there's more agreement there than there is on what's going on in ukraine. obviously a lot of this meeting behind closed doors will be about economic development and trade deals and the like. surely the focus will be and this press availability on ukraine and what the united states should do which many lawmakers want to do that is
completely at odds with one of our strongest allies in europe. chancellor angela merkel. >> a significant potential source of friction there. we'll see what happens wednesday in minsk. as important as this meeting is, the wednesday meeting in minsk will be critical. stand by for a moment. full analysis coming in. our special live coverage of this news conference and gloria borger is here our chief national correspondent jim sciutto, national security analyst peter bergen and our national security commentator mike rogers joining us from raleigh, north carolina. our senior white house correspondent jim accosta is already there in the east room of the white house getting ready for this news conference. i'll get to all of you in a moment. i want to go to the region. our senior international correspondent nick paton walsh is joining us now from a brutalized area in donetsk. as bad as is it there, what you saw earlier in another town not very far away is simply awful. >> reporter: the kind of
wreckage i haven't seen in the former soviet union since the russian region of chechnya's capital was bombed twice in the '90s. this town to the northeast of where i am standing on the outskirts of donetsk was caught in the crossfire as they moved quickly toward another key town they're trying to get hold of. this is key to the peace talks and discussions happening inside the white house, wolf. there's reality on the ground of separatists well equipped. the u.s. nato and ukraine say by russian military who also have personnel here too. they are moving through territory. they have broad ambitions. they want all of the donetsk region back. much of it they did control at some point last year. that's dictating reality here. behind me you can hear the thump of what sounds like mortars. this is constant for the last three days. i'm in the center of donetsk here. we heard a loud explosion last night which rattled the entire city which one european diplomat says was an armed depot being
hit. this violence is casting civilians in the middle of it and the fear is that ahead of these peace talks in minsk it could escalate. both sides want to be in the best position on the battlefield militarily militarily before they agree to a cease-fire. in the 36 to 40 hours ahead before maybe the four leaders find themselves to sit down together at a table, we could see an escalation here and more civilian lives lost or a dramatic change in events in the battlefield could sabotage those talks. separatists themselves said we will not take one step back. that's going to make it hard to reconcile what kiev wants which is no real change to their borders and what i think may be during diplomatic rounds which is freezing of the conflict here and peacekeepers involved and recognition that frankly i'm standing in an area that separatists call their own republic. ukraine, the west doesn't recognize that. running itself on russian time. you have to cross through ukrainian border guards to get
into and frankly recognizes itself as russia. it's an extraordinary mess. a lot of damage to this one city of a million people and maybe there is some in kiev who thinks it's time to let go of it and let russia pick up the pieces however damaging to ukrainian officials who want to see the fight for this area and ukraine's territorial integrity continue. >> nick paton walsh, we'll get back to you in donetsk. let's go to kiev the capital of ukraine. frederik pleitgen is on the scene for us there. we know the ukrainian government and president poroshenko has been begging for aid. he spoke before a joint meeting of congress last september asking for military aid. the u.s. has not yet supplied it. potentially right now on the verge of starting what's called this defensive lethal aid to the ukrainian military despite opposition of so many in europe including the german chancellor angela merkel. what are they anticipating where you are in kiev?
>> they are hoping for that aid. one thing they're looking forward to before that is this conference in minsk. you see the ukrainian government have a dual strategy in this. on one hand it keeps calling for those weapons deliveries and on the other hand pedro poroshenko says the talks in minsk need to deliver an immediate cease-fire. they have various weapons for wanting the weapons. one is to stand up to the threat of vladimir putin but they say it's because their soldiers are dying on the battlefield because their equipment is old. what they're looking for, they say, on one hand anti-tank weapons. something they say they need very badly. even more than that they say, they need electronic warfare equipment. one of the things they say they have a lot of difficulty with is they get shelled by the pro-russian separatists and don't know where the shells are coming from so electronic equipment to help detect where
shells are coming from and help them fire back is something they need badly and because they don't have those things is run of the ynsreasons troops are on the defensive as bad as they are. you do sense here that there is a certain sense of disappointment that sore if a there hasn't been more aid for them to stand up to those pro-russian separatists militarily but there are politicians in kiev who understand the positions of angela merkel that say at this point in time it would be difficult to introduce new weapons into the battlefield so certainly these minsk negotiations coming up will be something watched closely where ukrainians say they don't have a lot of hope in these negotiations but it is certainly something where they say it is worth going through and then after those negotiations if indeed there is some sort of cease-fire agreement that is signed they say the implementation will be key because as you said at the beginning, wolf and this is certainly something that the government points to again and again, there have been agreements in the past.
there's a minsk agreement that in paper is in place however on the battlefield means nothing as that agreement is in tatters from what we saw from nick paton walsh as to how bad these sides are fighting at each other. they hope an agreement will be reached and the big issue will be will that agreement actually be honored? >> that's a huge issue. we'll see what happens on wednesday in minsk. standby. i want to go to the white house right now. jim accosta is in the east room where the president and the chancellor will be walking in momentarily we're told. this is a very difficult issue for the president. he's got to decide whether to go ahead with the dispatch of military equipment to the ukrainian military in the face of strong opposition from a close ally like chancellor merkel. >> reporter: that's right. this is a critical game changing question for president obama as to whether or not he's going to provide those defensive weapons to ukraine in this battle against those pro-russian separatists and just last week you recall that his nominee for defense secretary ash carter was
testifying on capitol hill that he was inclined to support such a decision and i talked to a senior administration official after that comment was made who said the white house is not that far away from that position. so interesting movement in that direction but then it sort of everything changed over the weekend. we saw joe biden go to that security conference in munich and give that very tough speech saying that russia cannot be allowed to redraw the map of europe but then angela merkel the german chancellor says she doesn't agree with this position. she does not think it will help the situation to dump more weapons into eastern ukraine and i talked to a senior administration official this morning who said this is being hotly considered inside this white house, the president wants to hear from chancellor merkel and i think it would be a big departure from the obama doctrine against interventionalism and unilateralism and pro-multinational cooperation and for the president to move toward with the decision to provide weapons without the support of angela merkel and
before the summit that happens on wednesday. of course the situation with isis the war on isis we still don't have a status update on what happened to that hostage, kayla mueller, who isis claims was killed in that jordanian round of air strikes late last week. we'll wait to see if somebody asks a question about that. a curveball to watch and listen for during this news conference keep in mind chancellor merkel is that foreign leader spied upon by this administration. remember when the white house had to apologize to angela merkel for that. german press, it's a big subject of discussion in germany and it may be an opportunity for the germans to ask the president what has changed with respect to that surveillance program so that sort of thing doesn't happen again. >> we'll see what those two german reporters ask. two american reporters will have a chance to ask questions. there will be lengthy opening statements from both of these both of these leaders.
you're looking at life pictures from the east room of the white house. the chancellor of germany, angela merkel will be walking in together together with president obama. they've been in the oval office in the west wing. they've been conferring on several different issues. right at the top of the agenda ukraine. there's a war going on right
now. i'm sure there will be several statements from both of these leaders as well as questions from reporters on what's going on in ukraining with also what's going on in the war with isis. gloria boar jer, there seems to be a split in the obama administration on whether to go gord and provide military equipment. >> it's public split as you've seen. jim was referring to the incoming secretary of defense, ash carter general breed love has sent in -- >> the nato supreme allied leader. >> and you have a bipartisan group of united states senators who said that they would approve it. kerry seems to be tending in that direction. we're not sure about joe biden. his speech did indicate that she was thinking about that. and the question that i have is really whether the threat of weapons deliveries could actually help merkel and aland
come to some diplomatic solution and whether there's a good cop bad cop situation here where you have the public movement towards weaponry and then merkel doing her diplomatic move. and maybe there's a sense inside this administration that they could help her with her da plo mycy if the threats remain public. >> my clear sense from traveling with secretary kerry to the region at the end of last week is that the direction is moving towards, if not making the decision to arm there's a greater openness to arming. while the sanctions have raised the cost on the russian economy, it has not changed theit on the ground. ukrainians view this as a life or death situation for their country. and when you look at the da plo smacy so far, there was another minsk agreement last september. since that agreement was negotiated a military
occupation has been solidified in eastern ukraine. officials are talking about hundreds of ton of ammunitions that have gone in. >> from russia. >> heavy russian artillery, radar jamming equipment. serious stuff and troops as well. secretary kerry was clear about that saying this is not separatists. they are part of it but this is a russian occupation. all of that has happened while the diplomacy is going on. >> isn't the question also whether angela merkel would publicly condemn arming the ukrainians? if she were to publicly condemn it, i don't think the president would do it. >> there are others who told me on the ground that they're generally concerned about whether that would escalate the situation. without any benefit of actually changing the military calculation on the ground.
>> you know peter, there's a sense from the military analysts that i've been speaking to that the fear is that the ukrainian military is not up to the job in the face of what would be an enormous russian advantage on the ground. and even if the u.s. were to provide anti-aircraft missiles with the ukrainian military still would not be able to do much against an invading russian military force. >> i think there is also a view and correct me if i'm wrong that putin is amenable to negotiation right now. the sanctions are hurting. another round of sanctions would tank the russian economy and that's seen as a point of leverage. >> well there is talk of the oil price going up. but the other story i heard about putin while i was in kiev was peter the great. that she sees himself as restoring russia's power and empire and that's hard to deter. >> we're going closer to the start of the news conference. you're seeing the delegations
walking into the east room of the white house. the german delegation there. there were reserved seats in the front row. the top national security advisers foreign affairs adviser to the president they'll be walking in. let's bring in mike rogers, the former chair of the house intelligence committee. this seems like an awful situation. let's not forget in the last several month, about 5,000 people have been killed thousands have been injured, whole towns have been destroyed and leveled. as bad as it's been there is a potential it could get a whole lot worse. >> oh absolutely. -- aren't able to at least hold ground under assaults from what the vush hands would call little green men dotted across there who have little russian forces in track suits. if there isn't a push back or a defensible position putin is
going to continue what she's doing. we have to remember. germany is not our only ally in the region. the poles who have been allies since the fall of the soviet union have been eagerly supporting getting arms to the ukrainians so they can defend themselves. the baltics also are very encouraging to try to help the ukrainians fight for themselves. >> what do you say, though to mike rogers who chancellor merkel and other opponents supplying what's called defensive lethal aid to the ukrainian mull tear? they fear if the u.s. were to do so i would only make matters worse because the fighting would intensify. the russians and their supporters would really escalate the situation. >> the only thing that's going to stop putin's calculous now is if she starts losing on the ground or at least not being able to advance on the ground.
cry miae crimea is costing him a lot of money. i think you have to have a way to alter what the equation is on the ground. the only way to do that i think, is by arming them. remember what highthey're asking for, counter battery fire. they put in sophisticated artillery pieces. and they can fire an artillery piece that fires at them almost simultaneously. the ukrainians are saying give us the same thing so we can push back the way they're pushing us back. >> i want to take a quick break. they're about to walk out. 60 seconds. we'll be right back. it's why edward jones is the big company that doesn't act that way.
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the microphone make opening statements and answer reporter's question. high on the agenda the awful situation in ukraine but certainly the situation, the war on isis on the agenda as well. jack tapper is here with us. this is a really sensitive important critically decisive moment for the president right now. does he go ahead and supply weapons to ukraine or not? >> and in the past we've seen the president guided by the notion of blowback the idea that involvement in another country's moern affairs can result in the circumstances that the u.s. does not want. we've also seen the example of not getting involved specifically in syria, also