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tv   Deadline White House  MSNBC  March 9, 2022 1:00pm-3:00pm PST

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number of munitions are not and therefore not precise and raises the likelihood and the chances of civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure. not precise. even in their use of precise weapon systems or so-called precise by russian accounts, we have seen again civilian infrastructure hit and civilian casualties caused. cara? >> hi. how concerned is the pentagon of the risks to escalate into the nuclear conflict increased and did that weigh into the decision to say the u.s. would not have a role in transferring the migs? >> the risk of escalation factored into the thinking on the proposal. and again, i want to be careful.
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we are not getting into intelligence assessments. russia is nuclear power. no question about that. nobody stands to gain if the conflict which is already so deadly gets even more deadly because of the potential for a broader, deeper, wider, nonconventional conflict. we are mindful of that threat. as i said at the outset, we want to make sure whatever decisions we make and the support we give and the leadership we show it is not in a way that makes the conflict escalatory. >> related to that, has the pentagon noticed changes to russia's posture of nuclear or the u.s. deterrent posture in the days since putin announced the change? >> the answer to the question same way i have been doing it
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without specifics. we are comfortable with our strategic current posture as it is. just leave there. sill vi? >> to go back to the patriots. is poland the only nato country that requested patriots? i could ask do you plan to plan to deploy patriots anywhere in the region? >> not aware of other request so i have no plans or no future redeployments to speak to you today. >> you are clay if ied the pentagon position on the jet transfers but it was a sharp contrast of secretary blinken said over the weekend of the green light of the transfers. are the pentagon and the state department on the same page coming to the situation? >> absolutely we are. you're talking about comments
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that were made over the course of the last weekend when this was a nash ent idea and we did talk about it and we did. secretary blinken was 100% right. it wasn't our place to tell poland what to do or not to do. that was the main point he was trying to make and also indicated accurately that we were having an interagency discussion inside the administration about this idea. we have had those discussions. the poles putt out a statement last night about this transferring to u.s. custody. talked about that and came out here today to read out to you today where we ended up landing on that. >> time for one measure real quick. heard about the help to the ukrainians. is the pentagon monitoring actoring that could be assists
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the russians? >> monitoring actors? >> china, iran, other countries working with russia while now viewed as a pariah on the world stage? >> i won't talk about intelligence issues here. we are obviously scanning the threat landscape as broadly and as deeply as we can and certainly we have taken note that the chinese for instance have at the very least provided a tacet level of approval of what russia has done and blaming the united states for this war, incredibly. and again we're constantly looking at the threat landscape and i don't have anything more to add on that. >> thank you. first, russia has designated south korea and united states, its allies as nonfriendly
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nations. and putin's retaliation against the south korea has already begun. what is your comment on russian action on this? >> i think -- i think our actions speak louder than comment or woshds to offer here today. we continue to look for ways to support ukraine in the defense. we are grateful that allies of south korea have levied sanctions and been willing to offer support. i think that's indicative of the close partnership and friendship and more of the south korean government and their concerns about what russia's doing. >> secondly, yesterday -- >> hi there, everyone. just after 4:00 in new york. we have been watching the briefing from the pentagon. situation in ukraine and saying
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this every day. growing more dire by the hour. innocent the innocent ukrainians trapped in the besieged port city of mariupol. not long after officials accused russian forces of shelling an evacuation route today. ukrainian president zelenskyy calling this an atrocity. this is the aftermath of an air strike on a children's hospital. they have been without water and heat. associated press is reported that many families broke into stores in search of food. melting snow for drinking wart. hiding in base rmts as russian artillery rains down. elsewhere in ukraine a temporary cease-fire held today and still many unable to access any of them. we have been keeping track of the situation in irpin people
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there are seeking safety from the continuing russian advance on the capital city. meanwhile the international community is at a crossroads. vice president kamala harris will meet with officials in poland shortly for a previously scheduled trip a day after did department of defense rejected an offer to send polish jets to a u.s. air base in germany to be trance firing to ukraine. now they say that flying into contested areas is untenable. house and senate leaders struck a bipartisan deal for nearly $14 billion in aid for ukraine. let's bring in pentagon correspondent courtneykubie watching with us. questions for jon kirby about the attack on that children's hospital in mash poll. what have we learned? >> number one on the polish mig
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transfer getting attention press secretary jon kirby said that the u.s. and poland in a call today with secretary of defense austin and polish counterpart said this is not the right time to do this and send the fighter jets to ukraine. it comes down to that there was an assess. of high risk epa could be seen as escalatory and given the picture on the ground in ukraine the assessment was they with respect as necessary as other things to provide. it will get criticism. give them everything that they need. a factor is how dangerous this potential transfer could be because the air space is contested. russia owns much of air space
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and a very serious threat from russian surface to air missiles. they have the ability and radars in certain areas and the ability to shoot down aircraft. there's a very serious concern about the migs fly in. we hair if they're flying why not have ukrainian pilot gos to poland or germany and man the arktd and fly them to ukraine themselves? it is the same concern. according to the officials i speak with. the planes could be shot down. so it is a very difficult and dangerous situation. a short journey by air but fraught with peril. that was one thing taking the briefing here today and heard more about some back and forth we have heard from the russian ministry and that is the
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russians claiming that the ukrainian government is planning to use some sort of chemical weapons. or create a pretext where biological weapons could be used and press secretary kirby denied the u.s. is aware of that. i asked him specifically is there concern that russia may be claiming these because they plan to potentially use a chemical or biological weapons? he said that's a concern and don't have the intelligence yet pointing to that but something they are watching. >> and the brutal and seemingly indiscriminate attacks on a children's hospital in mariupol. what the assessment? >> it seems -- there doesn't seem to be a solid assessment that the russian military targeting the places. but it is hard to make that
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assertion with a lot of confidence. the reality is russia is using increasingly less and less precise weapons, specifically when they're talking about civilian populations. so we we have been hearing about now and press secretary kirby confirmed today that russia is using what's called dumb bombs. basically weapons that are not precision guided. so they are by nature not precise. they're also using more and more artillery from close range. they fire into busy populated areas and the more and more that this occurs in places like mariupol and kharkiv in the east getting absolutely bombarded by missiles and artillery today, we will see and hear about more and more civilians injured and
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killed and infrastructure being hit and targeted in the days ahead and the concern of u.s. officials is as they continue to ensickle the cities they use the imprecise weapons and see the absolutely heartbreaking images like we are seeing from mariupol. and that we are going to see more and more in the days ahead. i have to say we have heard about the stalled efforts in the north around kyiv. they have made progress in the east. but they are making progress in the south. they have made progress along the ground there and the situation is not getting any bet every. >> that's a heinous hell on earth. been described that way and see the images of parents clutching small children. snow suits with the feet attached. it is just horrific.
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courtney, thank you for watching that briefing with us and the briefing an exclusive interview of president zelenskyy and alex crawford. take a listen. >> they want us to feel like animals because they blow up the cities. the biggest cities in ukraine and they blocked and because they don't want our people to get some food, water. yesterday, for example, children. i don't know if you know the children in mariupol -- the child was dead. yes. you know that that is the idea of this operation. i don't know how it's put in telling about it. the idea to -- do with ukrainians as animals but we are not. >> how do you stop it? are you prepared to do a deal? you said you're happy to talk.
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>> we can't stop alone all of this. no. it is -- >> how is it going to stop? >> only if the world will unite around ukraine. around -- >> we are uniting around ukraine. >> they are not. it is still very solely. it is still very slowly. you can feel it when you are here. the people from europe or usa, it is far from ukraine. far from the heart of the -- and the -- you can't understand the details because you are not fighting here. i understand why. i don't want them to fight but the countries can help. can unite. because we can't speak about the close -- i'm sorry that i'm speaking again and again about this problem but we spoke about children hospitals. et cetera. you know the number of these child that's -- and -- and so,
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we are speaking about closing the sky. you can't decide to close or not to close. you can't decide. if you are united against the nazis and this terror you have to close. not me. don't wait me asking you several times. a million times. close the sky. no. you have to phone us to our people who lost their children and say, sorry we didn't do it yesterday. one week ago. we didn't push putin. we didn't speak with him a lot. we didn't find the dialogue with him. we did nothing. and it's true. yesterday the world did nothing. i'm sorry but it's true. >> can you -- >> yeah? >> british prime minister as a number of other world leaders say if they do that, if they
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close the sky that is -- that could exacerbate and make the situation worse allowing poland to provide you jets and station it on nato land. that will make it worse. what would you say to them? >> what does mean worse? for whom? so the first question is rhetoric. we don't need rhetoric questions and answers. we have to have things. it would be -- would be whom? for our families. no. for whom? for them? no. who knows? nobody knows. and we know exactly now is very bad. and in future it will be too late and let me -- let me, if it is prolonged this way, yes, you will see they will close the sky. but we'll lose millions of people.
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>> alex crawford doing that interview from sky news speaking with ukrainian president zelenskyy. he notably giving voice to something that cal perry reported yesterday. first time a ukrainian died from something other than russian bombing. dying of dehydration in mariupol. we are thrill ds to be joined by jack crosby filing the last dispatch from ukraine for now at least. we are so glad you're back safely. your reporting there is extraordinary. the writing so vivid. i want to start with reading it and then get your reaction. i have the whole thing underlined. i'll put up first. seems like every person i met along the way was in a stage of grief. over dinner i watched a woman
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eat a full meal while staring an off into space. i sat down with employees of a design firm. they spent four days huddled in the basement and a metro before piling 11 people, a dog and 6 cats to flee under fire. every night i see the war. sophie said i don't want to sleep. i see it in my dreams. she laughed a little probably knowing that it was a cliche and also true. i have dreamed of cluster bombs in places. how are you doing? >> better than i was. >> yeah. >> and, you know, again, i think my experience is -- has been similar in some ways to many ukrainians in that country but vastly different as i have written about. my trip out of the country was going home for me.
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escaping to a place i knew was safe and secure. for many of them leaving home going to places that they're not sure will be secure. i have sources that i have spoken to fled front line towns and now staying outside of towns and cities that may come into the firing line in the next couple of days and may have move again or may stay and are trapped. the woman i spoke to there you were quoting out of made it to a city. i was texting with them today. the west of the country. the men can't leave the country. not sure if they will be asked to fight. and they're sharing i think two rooms in an apartment with the people and all of those pets. >> six cats and a dog. >> yeah, yeah. and those are good conditions i think for a lot of people in the country. >> what is the connection between the leader and his people right now as the -- you
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used the word -- i want to get it right. you describe it as a new wave of savagery of russia. >> a person said to me that if putin tried this in 2014 first invading and sort of gone for it bigger in what we see now that this young woman told me he might have succeeded. this was a politically divided country at the time. didn't have a super strong sense of the national identity was. but she said to me, she said in 2014 we were younger and not as politically engaged and thinking about these things but we have been in this war for eight years and seen what it does to our friends and family and exploding to the country she was saying
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it's cleefr for us that we know who our enemy is in this case and see that reflected in the country. you have seen that in cities in ukrainian like odesa and mariupol now very adamantly clear about which side they are on and overwhelmingly it's to that you are constituents and people suffering under the violence. >> how did the country change? war changes everyone who witnesses it and covers it. war has come to them and whether they fled or stayed, they are now seeing their country brutalized by vladimir putin. how has that changed the people? >> you know, like i said i think a lot of people there are in different stages of grief and shock. i had so many conversations with
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people who are cheerful and optimistic. >> i interview folks are there and sort of what you describe. they're on the grief spectrum but they have this fortitude that's extraordinary at a human level. >> yeah. you can only spend so much time sort of bogged down in this horror and terror and inclinations will often be to try to find small, good things in their lives to look toward and find optimism and find any kind of emotion that keeps them going and some cases that's denial. i have spoken to people who are saying with hope like i hope this will be over in a week. i hope this will be over in a month or something. i think what we have seen the conflict so far suggests that's not true. they're determined to keep going and there are a lot of people who are shocked and hurt and in
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pain but i haven't seen too many people who have looked like they're completely sort of beaten and defeated. >> what is it you understand about the russian savagery for the attacks on kharkiv to understand watching the attacks on mariupol? >> so i think what you are seeing is the beginning of a playbook. i hate to use the sports terms as they relate to war but it is one we have seen the military use in syria and in chechnya and other modern militaries including the u.s. in certain places and it is when you can't accomplish the objectives you set out to accomplish through the means. in this case a russian swift lightning invasion to topple the
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government and transition to a different warfare to subdue and sub milt the people in the locations you try to control by any means necessary and that's very much what we see here and clear we are going to see in cities across from ukraine, anywhere where the military can project that power. this is going to be felt by civilians. >> i don't know if you were back yet and saw the photo on the front page of monday's "the new york times." she was our guest and she said russia is undoubtedly targeting civilians and women and children and undoubtedly war crimes. is that your sense? >> yes. yes. i think deliberate attacks on civilians are always a war crime. always something that any military should seek to avoid. it is one that many militaries do not. and the russian military in particular in this conflict and
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others has shown a near complete disregard for civilian life and has in these cases been deliberately targeting it and i think benefits them because they can continue to sow fear and terror among people to make moving around the country as uncertain and unclear and unsafe as it can be and fuels toward instability, burdens the ukrainian government and western governments and nongovernmental organizations to preserve the lives which to the russian government in this context do not matter. >> russian president zelenskyy there in the interview here for the first time is making this argument about the no-fly zone and it could apply to all of the debates taking place at how far we go and what we do. tell me what that debate sounds like having been in country?
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>> you know, you speak to people who are on the ground there and of course they want a no-fly zone. people who experience violence will reach for any solution to improve the solution immediately. i think it's a very difficult political question as to whether or not the united states should do that. i have my opinions on this. i think most people do. to me it seems like it could be hugely destabilizing to the greater geopolitical situation but people who are being shot at and bombed are not thinking about that. they're not thinking about game theory and realism and the united states of the united states and russia. they think every night something could drop on the house and kill them. if there's a solution in the media or by the leaders that promises to alleviate that of
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course they will push for that and advocate for that. that's a hard position for them to be in and a hard position for everyone who has the privilege of having that one step of removal to think in these terms and not debating this in board rooms but in the kitchens. >> i want to ask you about the great migration under way. if we are not as 2 million people that left the country we are knocking on the door. you made a great migration and i just -- i want to understand what it feels like and how long it took you and reading this top of the new piece. before the war there were so many ways to travel in the country. slow sleeper training rocking passengers in bunks before stations in new cities as dawn broke. fast express trains that race
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with soldiers to the old front lines. and cabbies that refused to go slower than 80 miles per hour. now two. train or car. 2 million people have left ukraine. there's so many more who have yet to escape. people wait in an enormous crowds while shells explode nearby to fight for enough space to sit straight up for 28 hours. there are no more tickets or conductors. only physical space to take you from death hopefully. these are desperate time that is bring out the worst. international students with skin a different shade are shoved aside who prefer to get the
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countrymen out first. everyone is running from the same thing. leaving kharkiv they shut out the lights so that the train won't be an illuminated target for russian guns. tell me more. >> yeah. so the entire time i traveled across the country we were making many calculations as people in it do. i left kharkiv on monday of last week i believe by cash. got a spot in a car with some other journalists. this was -- we were lucky to get out at a good time right before the sort of indiscriminate shelling of civilians or as it started. >> from west? >> from kharkiv sort of south and west to a city that's the safest road out at the time. most of the roads were closed.
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southern roads were open. we made the escape through checkpoints and last i checked some of the roads were still open. some people ferrying the refugees each day and not knowing if we would have that ride my reporting partner working for american magazines debating to try to get on a train. and does it go through kyiv? has the station come under attack? the trains leave west. will that go through a front line getting to kyiv? will that go through a front line? decisions to make every step of the way. and then planning the next trip. a train? most go back up the river to kyiv and split off and again having to look to make that trip
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safely. is that the best bet. ultimately we decided to find a vehicle and skirt most of the front line areas but a luxury that many, many people do not have and information on the routes is constantly changing and it can be difficult to find out and so this is what every day families overwhelmingly women and children because men stay behind to fight or other responsibilities are having to make on their own with only what they can carry. >> when you got to poland, you told us you felt guilty about leaving. it is something to ask you about. hope you can stick around for longer. the balancing act between helping the millions of people under attack in ukraine and not starting world war iii. that fine line, the u.s. and
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allies are walking this hour. beyond gist the destruction we have seen in mariupol, those still inside ukraine pleading with the world to do more as the president said. we'll talk with a member of ukrainian parliament. all that and more after a quick break. k.
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♪ feel stuck with credit card debt? move to sofi and feel what it's like to get your money right. ♪ ♪ move your high-interest debt to a sofi personal loan. you could get out of debt sooner — and get your money right. ♪ ukrainians claim that a maternity and children's hospital in mariupol was hit
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directly by russian strike. duch anything on that? >> we have no reason to doubt it's true. we can't independently verify. it is just another indicator of the supreme sacrifices that the ukrainian people are making and shouldn't have to make. you know? we are talking, you know, families, children, killed, wounded, displaced. all of it, all of it avoidable. completely avoidable. >> that's jon kirby commenting on the reports that a maternity and children's hospital in mariupol was shelled by the russians amid car crimes in ukraine. the tragic scenes coming out of cities like kharkiv and mariupol have repeatedly fueled calls for doing more, for a no-fly zone over ukraine as u.s. lawmakers from both parties and the biden administration warn that it could lead to a direct
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confrontation with russia. joining the conversation is ellen farkas. jack crosbie is still with us on set. you signed a let we are the former ambassador taylor calling for something in between. explain. >> right. so a military no-fly zone require it is military to take out any potential plane or artillery that might target military aircraft so ahead of the no-fly zone they have to take the targets out. that is why it's pretty much almost like going head to head with the russians right away but a humanitarian no-fly zone is
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different. if the russians agree to a cease-fire in a corridor there needs to be a way to enforce it. the way the russianing fight is dirty and in syria to use the corridors to actually attack civilians when they flee. so we could in theory try with the russians to get them to agree to allow enforcement of the corridors. if they agree we would not take an action until or unless the russians did something to strike at the civilians who are being protected. >> ellen, you are skilled enough as policy to explain it the way i understand it but what is the likelihood that someone like vladimir putin itching for a
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phony pretext would appreciate the nuances? >> i think the generals would explain it in language he would understand because they should understand what that means. i guess your question does raise the question which is, how far will vladimir putin go? does he want war with nato? and i have been of the mind-set he doesn't but it is true if he doesn't feel like he is prevailing he could expabd the war and a rationale but i don't think the generals want that and when turkey shot down a russian aircraft straying into air space and didn't heed the warnings of the turkish air force the russians did not retaliate with force. we have seen where they don't counter attack. there's risk but i think the
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ultimate argument that i try to make as well as my colleagues who signed this open letter is to say don't take anything off the table and don't tell vladimir putin what we won't do. >> right. i think that one of the great international mysteries in the west at least is what is putin's end game. you have anecdote just dropped in here that russian spies captured in a town. explain. >> i mean, i use that anecdote to illustrate the culture of paranoia and fear. i cannot confirm the person that the small village border checkpoint guards allegedly caught was a russian spy but the talk you hear throughout the country. and this is very much the atmosphere that you experience
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there. every town getting out to try to photograph or to talk to people we would be stopped either by police or militia or random guy driving by to yell out what are you doing? as i wrote in the piece this is widespread throughout the country. also testament to the ukrainians in general that as i wrote if you spent any longer than that they would probably take you in and feed you. >> right. what comes next is a hot meal. >> right. we had the surreal experiences where we'd encounter people manning check points very serious and certainly we had gotten security briefings. i think a nbc colleague matt bradley experienced this firsthand of checkpoints really looking for spies and in the
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parts of the country far from the front lines. and i think that's sort of testament to the fact that this war became all encompassing across the country so quickly and that a lot of these things that seem out landish that i was skeptical of at the beginning of the war have come true. there were attacks in kharkiv when the war began where russian forces to penetrate extremely quickly and pop up out of nowhere and so i think that this mix of real events happening and this culture of just fieible paranoia created this situation. >> how does that coexist with zelenskyy? seems like they rumble with defiance next to this paranoia
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which is justifiable as you said. >> i think the personal decisions have been enormously significant to the ukrainian people. them being able to see him there. he had an infamous early video just taking a selfie with the defense minister while in kyiv basically under bombardment at the time. that's part is that ukraine is emphasizing this hyper vigilance everywhere and can be damaging and dangerous in some ways but it's also doing that as a way to say every inch of the territory is ours. we are not giving it up. his posture played into that. >> someone else that played into that is a guest from before epa and glad to speak to her again.
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cara rudic, a member of the ukrainian parliament. we are talking about the attacks in mariupol and kharkiv. your president gave an interview today with sky news talking about something that we talked about yesterday. a first doet from something other than russian attacks a young girl that died in mariupol of dehydration. i wonder if you can address the conditions on the ground in ukraine. >> hello. thank you so much for having me. >> thank you. >> so today there was an atemptd to get people out of mariupol. the third attempt and the third attempt that failed. this only tells us one thing. putin cannot be trusted and there is no diplomatic resolve of this conflict because there's no way to fulfill the simple
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promise. to let people who are starving, who let people out in the weather for seven days out of the city being the soldiers fishing at them. yesterday a child died. 21st century in the country at the center of europe a child died of dehydration. today the desperate people were not able to get out. the hospital was bombarded. so what should you feel? we only feel the rage. rage against what is happening in our country and the rage to go and just take them away from ukraine. and this is where i keep talking about the supportive thing to get because -- because mariupol was attacked by the air force. because mariupol was bombarded. and we need protection to make sure this wouldn't happen again.
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the russians will keep bombarding our cities and there is nothing that we can do about this right now and it's why we need the jets. we need the additional air force protection and we need a no-fly zone even though everybody says we are not getting this. what is the result of the situation then? is the world going to watch and see every single city bombarded to the ground? do we want to see the humanitarian catastrophe in mariupol throughout ukraine? i can tell you that today the chernobyl the nuclear station that created the largest nuclear catastrophe in the world right now is out of power and the russian soldiers are not letting anybody to fix this. if nato countries are so afraid of the nuclear attack they should be more afraid of what will happen if we won't fix
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chernobyl. what is the good result of this situation? we see threats there and here. the nuclear and humanitarian catastrophe. full-scale in the heart of europe. we are fighting. we do need help and support. we need the support right now because we are buying time with our own lives and blood and to see the footages is heart breaking. so i'm pleading with everybody who sees and hears us. we need a no-fly zone, the air force support and we do need as soon as possible. >> when you hear the argument against the no-fly zone in the west or in this country and i don't know how closely -- i hope you don't follow it too closely but democrats and republicans in america agree on very little but agree on the no-fly zone by and
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large because their argument it would lead to world war iii and i guess i hear you say that you are already living that. can you speak to the feefrs that drawing putin into a broader conflict would lead to world war iii? >> i would like to support the previous argument that we can start with the humanitarian corridors. if we start with them, if we start with a no-fly zone over the corridors putin will break the agreement very quickly, as well. so we have already all in the world war iii. this is an illusion that we are not because putin was very adamant after ukraine he will take poland and go after lithuania. what do nato countries plan to do then? are they just planning to see
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and hope that the situation will resolve itself? we don't. we were fighting russia. it won't resolve. putin wouldn't die as everybody is hoping it would resolve itself. there needs to be a proactive solution. we are fighting on the ground. we don't want anybody to fight for us. you can support us we know that this is our mission. we need the support from the air. humanitarians, jets, air force. there are different ways to be implemented without calling it no-fly zone. if it's not implemented what's the ideal situation and positive point on where everybody is thinking it will come. it won't. it just won't. >> cara, a member of ukrainian
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parliament, thank you so much. please stay safe. evelyn, thank you. grateful to see you. jack sticks around. an emotional message from ukraine's first lady. lot of pr zelenskyy. this is one of her most powerful statements yet on child deaths. child casualties. the price of war being paid by children. her message to the media. her pleas to the world about the unthinkable, unfathomable tragedy her country and children are enduring. that's next. y and children are enduring that's next.
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we don't want to fight. with anyone. we want to be in our home with our parents, children. >> to civilian, human, children and from us. >> we're all buried. >> yes, yes. in the park. in the square. where two weeks ago, children -- >> were playing. >> those are the stories of war in ukraine. the u.n. says that at least 29 children are among the 474 civilians killed so far that we know of. they're the focus of a heartbreaking open letter from
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the first lady of ukraine to the media, asking them to continue covering the truth of the quote, war being waged against the civilian population in her country. what she calls the most terrifying and devastating part of the invasion. she writes about 8-year-old alice who died while her grandfather tried to protect her. one who died in the shelling with her parents. a 14-year-old who was hit in the head by wreckage and could not be saved because the ambulance could not get to him. she says this, quote, when russia says that it is not waging war against civilians, i call out the names of these murdered children first. and the families who showed the strength of ukrainians look into the eyes of these tired women and children, she writes, who carry with them the pain and heart aches of weeping loved ones. the men bringing them to the
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border. they're bravely returning to fight for our freedom. jack is still here. there's a line near the end of your story that is just harrowing. texting with something you rented a car from. you write this. the woman i rented car from texted me this morning saying we're not bombed yet, followed by the prayer hands emoji. the dead are lying on the road and the dogs are dragging the bodies, she wrote. i didn't know what to reply. we know that over 2 million have fled by car, by train or on foot and more leave every day and we know before the war, 44 million people lived in this country. some day after the war, we will find out how many people died there. until then, those who left be watch and wait not knowing if they will be able to return and what will be there for them when they do. how do, it comes back to i guess
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the policy debate we're having. how do we bear witness without losing our souls? >> i don't know. i think it's hard to watch conflicts like this as americans who are a world away. and think about the case that our country can do. in doing so, i think we have to think as well about the things our country has done and many other countries around the world and in many other conflicts. in a lot of cases, we've made them worse or started them ourselves. i think as we're watching this, the impetus is always to do something. i think that is a worthy impulse. i think that it's not one that we can rush into needlessly and
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i think it's something we owe to the people of these countries as citizens of a country that is for the most part in a very comfortable place and has an enormous amount of power on the world stage. i think we owe it to those people to ask the hard questions of our own leaders and to make sure the decisions they make on our behalf are justified and consistent and as compassionate as they possibly can be. i think as external observers of this war even for people like me, who you know, have been there, you just have to come back to that. you have to say what can i do in my work to make sure that we are putting those pressures on our own leaders. >> we benefit so much from you being there and bearing witness.
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thank you so much for being here today. the next hour of deadline white house starts after a quick break. stay with us. starts after a quik break. stay with us ks from home. but she can handle pickup, even when her bladder makes a little drop-off. because candice has poise, poise under pressure and poise in her pants. it takes poise. wayfair has everything i need to make my home totally me. sometimes, i'm a homebody. can never have too many pillows! sometimes, i'm all business. a serious chair for a serious business woman! i'm always a mom- that is why you are smart and chose the durable fabric. perfect. i'm not a chef- and, don't mind if i do. but thanks to wayfair, i do love my kitchen. yes! ♪ wayfair you got just what i need. ♪ - common percy! - yeah let's go! on a trip. book with priceline. you save more, so you can “woooo” more. - wooo. - wooo. wooooo!!!!! woohooooo!!!! w-o-o-o-o-o... yeah, feel the savings. priceline.
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up the stairs, it's just mothers and the youngest children. 5-year-old mirasa and her mother left. natalya says she finally believes that once again. olga and 9-year-old sonya left kharkiv as the bombing intensified. russian air strikes every minute, she says. the circle getting smaller and smaller around her house. >> hi, everyone. it's 5:00 in new york. midnight in kyiv. heartbreaking pictures of women and children taking shelter away from their families.
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today, a horrific site sent out by president zelenskyy. images of a bombed out maternity hospital in mariupol where he said people are stuckunder the wreckage. so far, no deaths have been reported. boris johnson says this, quote, there are few things more depraved than targeting the defenseless. world health organization said it has verified 18 attacks against ukrainian health facilities, health workers and ambulances since the start of the invasion. the city of mariupol, where the hospital is located, is where an estimates 200,000 civilians have attempted to evacuate as russian forces have continued their shelling despite agreements to let people escape.
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>> without water, heating system, the temperature outside is below zero, but people are very happy because of the snow and they collect snow and melt it to water and find wood and prepare food on fire. so this is combined together with continuous bombing. >> we heard about mass grave you had to dig there because there were just too many bodies and no ability to hold private ceremonies. it's 2022. >> through yesterday we should do that and to put to mass grave for 47 person because it's not possible to make their private graves. >> the escalating and
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unthinkable crisis comes as the house is set to vote on $14 billion on aid to ukraine, more than twice the amount originally requested. in the last hour, kamala harris landed in poland where she will address the rejection of poland's offer to transfer their soviet era fighter jets to a u.s. base in germany then transfer them on to ukraine. it's a plan the pentagon says it doesn't consider tentable. for the people of ukraine, protection from the skies is all they want about this hour. here is some reporting from our sky news colleague, alex crawford. >> the road out is littered with possessions they once thought essential. now just surviving is the priority. >> sometimes, we thought this is the second. it was very scared. >> i bet it was. >> they that he had sure yodel, the cat, made it, too, but also insisted the world needs to help them now. >> what should they do about
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this? >> should do? they should close. >> skies. >> maybe we can fight. >> we begin this hour in kyiv with this report from nbc news chief foreign correspondent, richard engel. >> reporter: after two weeks of war, russia has carried out its most despicable act. bombing a women and children's hospital in mariupol, a city that is surrounded by russian troops. people in mariupol, 400,000 of them, cannot leave. today's attack was look shooting hostages. ukrainian officials quickly called it a war crime. president zelenskyy said that victims remain trapped under the rubble under the debris of this hospital. it is not the only city that russia is attacking. russia has continuing attacks on kharkiv. it is continuing its attacks
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north of kyiv. here in the center of the city, people are bracing for much more violence to come and they are watching what is happening in mariupol. watching what is happening in kharkiv and believe it could have no strategic military value except for one purpose. to try to terrify ukrainians to try to convince them to give up this fight and surrender before they face a similar fate, but ukrainian officials said they will not surrender. that they will fight until the end. they are calling for more support. they are calling on nato. they are calling on the united states to provide aircraft. they are responding, but not with a no fly zone or more aircraft. instead, with more anti-aircraft systems. so far, the ukrainians still have much of their armed forces in tact. still have much of their air force intact. for now, they are able to defend
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the skies to a degree, but today in mariupol, they could not stop what looked like a massive bomb that left a crater 20, 30 feet deep next to this hospital and left many casualties. >> that was richard engel from kyiv. joining us now from a town southwest of kyiv is the managing editor of new voice of ukraine. romeo, i know it's a huge country and asking you what's going on right now, it's nighttime, but we've had an hour of reports mostly focused on the horrors in mariupol on the continuing sort of march toward kyiv. i wonder if you can give me a sense of where things are the most intense and where people are bracing for it to be that intense in the coming days? >> a lot of the forces currently are concentrated breaking
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through the northwestern suburbs of kyiv. there has already been a lot of damage there. that's likely to continue. of course, kharkiv, suni, mariupol, these remain hot and remain massive targets for the russian forces to break through and try to go deeper into ukraine from those. so i think the images that we've been seeing in the past day are far from over. and we're going to continue seeing devastation like this. until something is done to prevent this kind of, these kinds of strikes in ukraine because otherwise, there's nothing much that we can do. >> romeo, it's been described as war crimes. it is clearly the targeting of
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civilians. for as sturdy and defiant and strong, the ukrainian people are, what is, what can you do? how do you defend yourself against these indiscriminate attacks against civilian centers? >> i mean, you can't, right? that's why they're made. to instill terror. we've seen this playbook before. we saw this in 1999. we've seen this playbook over and over in syria. this is what the russians do when they have no other method of subduing the population. and they have been successful in the past. they have no reason to think they won't be now. ukrainians though, we have seen the sheer incompetence displayed by the russian military. the miles and miles of abandoned
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convoys. the inspired rations. unsecure communications and the failures of the russian army has given us a lot of hope that we can be successful despite this kind of simply devastating bombing. it's hard to even watch these images over and over. but again, that's the purpose of it. it's a psychological -- and putin thinks he can terrify us into being subservient, but that's not going to work out the way he hopes. >> romeo, i don't mean to, i certainly take your point about seeing the images over and over again. it can have the effect of making people, it's not our intention. your twitter feed is full of firsthand accounts of what's going on there and i just want to read a couple of your tweets. you tweeted this on monday. the russians finally did it. half my in-law's house is
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destroyed. my father-in-law and dog survived due to him sleeping in the cellar overnight. now he's on the way to the rest of the family. how are your friends and family doing now? >> well, they've relocated to a village pretty far away and they're trying to get themselves comfortable. i think the last update, they're trying to build a stone oven to keep the place up. so i'm told he's in pretty decent spirits. so i'm honestly, i'm just glad beyond belief that they, that nothing disastrous happened to them and they're mostly fine. >> are you able to, to conduct your job? to get the news out to all ukrainians? how, i know that the, a tower was bombed.
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it was put back up. tell me what it's like. take me through sort of a day in your job right now on day 14. >> as you can imagine, it's been really chaotic. generally speaking, wake up around 9:00. turn on the news and then it's upsetting stories, tweeting, posting. pretty much until i just give up or my body just passes out. or tells me that it just can no longer focus and can no longer do work. that's typically around 6:00 or 7:00 p.m. then i really try to decompress. because for a lot of people, these images are something they will see for five minutes on the news every night. for me, it's something i have to troll through pretty much every minute of my working day and it absolutely takes a toll. so i try to, i have the
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privilege at least where it is relatively safe, of not having to think about the war all the time. that does let me decompress a little bit because otherwise, i'm not sure i would be able to do this continuously and continue to report. >> no, i know what you're saying. obviously i have all of the safety that distance provides. i want to ask you about your reach. is it your sense that anyone in russia is seeing the truth about what putin and his military are doing to your country? >> it's less about them seeing truth because they have access to putin. to russian social media feeds. they could easily see the truth. they can easily see this indiscriminate shelling. the photos of dead children. they could see all this. they choose not to.
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this is a very deliberate choice made by a lot of the russian populous. of course, there have been thousands and thousands who have gone out and protested against this war, but that is a drop in the bucket quite frankly compared to the general support that putin has. there was a poll that came out in "the washington post" that said i believe 56% of russians support the war. sorry, the military operation, quote unquote. >> right. >> so they have access to this information. they can see what's going on. they choose not to. there's been a decades long, like campaign to simply brainwash the russian populous into believing things that are absurd and false and it seems to have worked. >> that happens here, too. romeo, thank you so much for
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staying up and talking to us. please stay safe. we'd like to continue to check in with you. >> thank you very much. >> when we return, a warning from u.s. officials that putin might try to use chemical weapons in ukraine. those new develops after a quick break for us. plus, the scary news that russia has disconnected the chernobyl nuclear power plant from ukraine's power grid risk what ukraine's foreign minister says what could be a radiation leak. we'll ask a nuclear expert about the dangers for ukraine and all of europe. and later, the story of brittney greiner arrested and detained in moscow on what are thought to be trumped up drug charges. what will it take to get her home while tensions with moscow are at their highest in decades. please stay with us. hest in dec. please stay wi uths.
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nbc news is reporting that officials are concerned that russia could be preparing to use chemical or biological weapons in ukraine. an official said his worries come after the russian ministry of defense say that ukraine may be planning a false flag attack, a claim they may use to justify further action. this afternoon, john kirby responded. >> i have no evidence of that. i'm not suggesting that's in the offing right now. i have no intelligence indicators that that type of weaponry is in ukraine and being planned to be used. so i want to be clear. but it is of a piece of the
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russian playbook to blame others for that which you are about to do or you're considering doing. they've done that plenty of times before. >> joining our conversation, ben rhodes, former national security adviser to president obama and an msnbc contributor and miles taylor is here. he oversaw the department of homeland security's efforts to counter russia while serving as the chief of staff at dhs. ben, for an hour and 20 minutes today, people have been describing putin's conduct and war plan in ukraine as out of a playbook and i suppose that's what makes this reporting about chemical and biological weapons so terrifying. >> we've seen obviously that russia over the course of several days now, has shifted to just complete indiscriminate violence against civilians. that is the strategy because he was not able to bring about the
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rapid collapse of ukrainian government and morale. given he's in the frame of mind to just be leveling population centers and infligting terror as a strategy, you worry about ways in which that could escalate. and in addition to this reporting, we have seen in russia for some time now, eve predating the war, these warnings that ukraine was preparing to carry out chemical attacks. so this has been hanging around the russian media and propaganda machinery and obviously incredibly worrying if this is something that is emerging from u.s. intelligence given how accurate it's been in predicting what putin's going to do next. >> miles, i want to read you something that thomas friedman writes in today's "new york times." putin has no good way out and that scares me. so either he cuts his losses now
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and eats crow or faces a forever war against ukraine and much of the world, which will slowly sap russia's strength and collapse its infrastructure. as he seems hell bent on the latter, i'm terrified because there's only one thing worse than a strong russia under putin and that's a weak, humiliated, disorderly russia that could be in a prolonged leadership turmoil with different factions wrestling for power and with all those nuclear warheads and cyber criminals. putin's russia is not too big to fail. but it is too big to fail in a way that won't shake the whole rest of the world. was this putin, this weak and haphazard version that thomas friedman writes about, was this a scenario that you guys talked about in the trump years or was trump so committed to keeping him strong that it was never really contemplated? >> well, nicolle, i think we
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actually saw in donald trump, a really good analog for putin. donald trump was defined by this characteristic of never wanting to be seen as a loser and being obsessed with being seen as a winner. it's very, very similar to the profiles we had on putin. he's got a similar mindset and i think to tom's point, that's really what's very scary about this. is putin refuses to be seen as a loser in this conflict and that means we should be worried about what he might deploy in order to maintain control. ben just noted it wouldn't be unusual for them to employ chemical weapons and nuclear weapons. the russians don't treat these attacks as different. it's all part of increasing action. so yes, we should be worried about this. if putin starts to feel like
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he's a loser, it destroys the legacy he's trying to build over the last 20 years. you have to remember why this conflict started. it didn't start for the reasons the russians wanted. they wanted a false flag and u.s. intel was very good at calling this out. they started this war because putin has been planning to restore the former soviet union for decades. that is his goal. his legacy, his life's work. and if his life's work is on the line, you can bet he will do anything to try to. it seems that the role of russian state media in keeping his population brainwashed and ruled off from the truth of what russia is doing in ukraine, the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of children, the bombing today of a maternity and children's hospital in mariupol.
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is a national security question that i don't hear really asked and answered in a very satisfying way. but it seems that putin's greatest asset, more than his military at this point is this brainwashed population. what is the population national security circles how to pierce that? >> well, it's an incredibly important point. this is something putin's understood from the beginning. one of the very first things he did after becoming president of russia is begin to take control of the media. moving pretty quickly to gain control of the largest television stations in russia and turn them into a propaganda vehicle and then finding in social media, american made social media platforms the kind of perfect tools for the rampant spread of disinformation, conspiracy theory. if you are a russian, i talked to a russian writer, one who has taken a courageous stance against the war. she described living in russia
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as living in a state of constant violence. the violence was on the media. on social networks and so the russian people aren't just brainwashed as we said. it's more also that they've been stirred up into this frenzy of putin's world view of encroaching enemies and yes, some russians get that that's totally bogus. i've talked to russians in recent days who know what's going on but they're the younger people in st. petersburg who are more wired to the rest of the world. the great challenge here is going to be the reality that you cannot hide body bags. you cannot hide thousands and thousands of russian casualties. tens and tens of thousands of russian soldiers who are in ukraine on a military operation that they were not prepared for and have the capacity to communicate back home. that's not communicating to those middle class oppositionists in moscow and st. petersburg. that's communicating to their mothers all over russia who have
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been putin's support base. part of what the ukrainians are doing is facilitating that communication. encouraging captured russian to be in touch, deliver the message directly back home in a way that's not going to be on television. american social media platforms that have been largely unregulated have been tools for this disinformation. one of the conversations that have been escalated in recent years, what kind of policies can be pursued? what can be done in partnership with companies to make sure they're not unwitting enablers on these strategies as well. >> you know, the view from inside moscow and i think one of the most alarming days was friday when russia passed this law criminalizing what the kremlin characterized as fake news. the 15 years in jail, cnn, bloomberg, the bbc and
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yesterday, "the new york times" followed suit. to leave moscow. i think we have this reflex, miles, in this country, to think we're different. it couldn't happen here. but millions of people get their news from state run media in the mrks which you served. i'm talking about fox news. i'm wondering if they'll take more seriously as a national security threat, a disinformed, propaganda consuming public? >> we absolutely should. i said this at the beginning of the crisis that yes, the russians were invading ukraine, but there's already been a multiyear russian invasion of the united states underway. a propaganda invasion of this country and it's been wildly successful in large part because donald trump refused many of our recommendations on how to crack down on russia. in fact, i would be willing to submit that this war in ukraine would not have happened if
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donald trump had taken the steps necessary to deter russia. i have pretty high confidence that if ben and the team he was with in the obama administration, they would have said yet and deterred putin and shown him there's an extraordinarily high cost to meddling in the west and it would have prevented this type of interference. i'm afraid instead the russians learned the opposite lesson. that the west didn't stand up. so they went and engaged in this unlawful action. this humanitarian atrocity. the last thing i would add is here at home, that propaganda is having real negative effects on our national security. the fact that now we have millions, perhaps tens of millions of americans who support putin and are cheering him on is a danger to us. they need to realize putin is no friend. he's a foe of this country and is actively undermining our national security. there's a lot of deep programming to do on that front
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and it's going to take a generation. >> you know, ben, to miles' point, i saw a poll at the beginning of this war, 14-day war now, in which 80 to 90% of republicans admired putin and just about 20 to 30 of the same republicans admired president biden, but it is president joe biden who has marshalled the allies to impose brutal sanctions. has unified nato after donald trump beat up on it for four years and who is protecting, in his view, the world or this country from getting drawn into world war iii. how do you square the threat of world war iii comes from the man 80% of republicans approve of and the man prektding all of us from that war, only 30% of republicans approve of him. >> we saw this in the late obama
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years when there was a really concerted effort to talk about putin's leadership on right wing media and contrast it with barack obama's leadership. it was an extension of a form of identity politics. you know, what putin taps into in russia, what he tries to present himself as is an ethno nationalist strong man who will act on your grievances. whether they're against a foreign enemy or internally, really stigmatizing communities in russia. so there was kind of a global right wing identity politics that putin has been at the vanguard of that has been attractive to some republicans to try to draft behind that. both to take shots at democrats, but also to kind of appeal to the idea that you know, we should be leaders like putin, right? we are seeing now how dangerous this is. and there are two things that need to happen, at least two things i'd say. the first is i hope once and for all the wake up call about who
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putin is in particular shocks enough republicans out of this flirtation with putinism, right? and i do think that obviously the images we're seeing on screens are reaching some americans, but make no mistake, there's tens of millions of americans who are living in information ecosystems that have spent many years talking up putin and his brand of leadership. but the second part that has to be done is even those people who are now revolted by what they see in russia, they have to understand that this toxic brand of grievance-based politics and toleration and conspiracy theory fueled bubbles that you're trying to lock people in as an electoral strategy, that can lead to what we are seeing. history tells us that that kind of blood nationalism, that kind of garbage, leads to conflict. >> you know, miles, i think about liz cheney's role in the january 6 committee as you watch
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this war play out among other they thinks, a democracy on russia's autocratic border. and i think about liz cheney's journey from trump critic to powerful vice chair of the 1/6 committee and her warnings for her party about the dangers of decimating our democracy at home. and i wonder your thoughts. i know too many of the people you and i knew in republican politics are beyond a wake up call, but i wonder if you think it changes anything in sort of republican-based politics to see the leader of the republican party cheering a warmonger. >> i think there are some opportunities here. a lot of our former colleagues from the bush administration and other periods, they do reflect a
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lot of republican primary voters around this country who thought we were tough on you know, in foreign policy. they're reaganites in terms of how they think of defense. so i think there's an opportunity to win some of those people back from maga land, but make no mistake. right now, the pro trump, pro putin wing of the republican party i believe is one of the biggest national security threats to the united states. i don't that as a political statement. i've never been a political operative. i say that from a national security standpoint. by excusing these types of autocrats who are actively trying to undermine american democratic institutions and break the western order, they are letting the enemy in the back door. this is happening. this is i think the biggest national security threat i have seen in my life. more than what we dealt with on the cyber front, on the counterterrorism front is this invasion of pro authoritarian propaganda into our political
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party. it's a big concern. people like liz cheney give me some hope there's an opportunity to again win some of those people back, but a lot of those folks are no longer reachable. they are quite literally radicalized and it looks like what you saw with the radicalization of isis. they follow the same path of leaders who prey on grievances, who propagate conspiracy theories and convince the appearance that the only way to get what they want is violence. that's what we're seeing in our own country. our city streets have become the front lines in addition to what we're seeing in ukraine. >> miles taylor, thank you for that and thank you for spending some time with us. ben is sticking around. we woke up to some frightening headlines about the chernobyl nuclear plant. we'll get answers from an expert about that. stay with us. t swaners from an t about that stay with us he big switch is happening across the country. small businesses are fed up with big bills
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this morning, the world woke up to a startling warning from ukraine about the chernobyl nuclear power plant. it's been nearly 36 years since the worst nuclear disaster in history happened there in north ukraine under soviet control back then. a radio active cloud due to the explosion covered and contaminated parts of europe and killed 30 people instantly and
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many more since. decades later, the radio active material stored there remains cooled. obviously dangerous in their own hands. as of two weeks ago, it's in russia's control, which has sparked widespread global alarm and today, ukrainian officials say the electricity to chernobyl has been cut off. they're demanding an immediate cease fire to restore electricity. the director of the iaea says the loss of power is likely to lead to further deterioration. he said he is concerned about the agency's recent loss of data messaging and another plant now controlled by russia. the largest in europe. one of four active plants in ukraine. a top u.s. energy official telling nbc news that those four are an even bigger concern than chernobyl.
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joining our conversation -- a group dedicated to the elimination of all nuclear weapons. ben is still with us. emma, let me ask you first. i understand there's no immediate danger because nothing is leaking and sort of derailed at this point, but how long can any nuclear power plant go without electricity before the lack of monitoring and the lack of cooling and the lack of power becomes a risk in and of itself? >> that's a good question. there's an emerging consensus that time should be measured in weeks or months and that because the material in question is from the three retired reactors that were returned to operation after the chernobyl disaster and decommissioned by 2000, over 20
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years has passed. if the material is less radio active than it was at that time and the water that is currently being used to cool the material should be able to do that for a fair amount of time. you brought up a good point of monitoring though, which, you know, shows that to some extent, the iaea, ukrainian authorities and others don't know what they don't know about what's going on at chernobyl. so that as well as reports that chernobyl staff are not getting what they need to do their jobs, not being allowed to leave or switch shifts are two things i would say are more immediately concerning. the plant has been a focus of european international ukrainian collaboration for decades to clean up after the disaster and make sure that the material is
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contained safely and that the area can be used by technicians, but if people aren't allowed to do their jobs at the plant, that's a real cause for concern. >> and emma, i wonder how it is that we haven't moved to a place where and i guess the same could be asked of civilian evacuation corridors to concede the point from the outset that nothing goes according to plan at a time of a brutal war, but how is the disposition of nuclear power plants not something that the laws of engagement take into consideration when if anything goes wrong in ukraine, it obviously endangers russia and the whole of europe. >> well, i think we can't discount the power of you know, even just waking up here and hearing that there might be something wrong at the chernobyl
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nuclear plant, most americans don't know that much about ukraine or definitely not before this war started, but when you hear chernobyl, you have a certain association with it. i think that's powerful as a tool for russia as it seems to target these plants. so i think the, you know, the fact that we're watching and we are sort of reacting with fear and alarm when we hear that a nuclear plant has been attacked, which is reasonable, it's kind of, part of that strategy of why russia might be targeting these plants. >> ben, what are your thoughts having been inside at the highest levels of the obama administration? >> yeah, i think there are a couple of they thinks i'd add. we dealt with incredibly -- situation in fukushima in japan. the first is you made reference to diplomacy. there is ongoing diplomacy
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between ukrainians and russians. we know russia doesn't keep its word. we know they violate humanitarian corridors. we can't trust what they say. at the same time, you want to make sure you're underscoring that you want ukrainians to be able to do their job there. that you want things turned on to the national atomic energy agency are able to monitor levels there. this is a matter of global security and certainly security for ukraine, belarus, russia, but also all of europe. i think the other thing i point out about the other nuclear power plant that was taken, the one that is the largest one in europe, that provides power to a quarter of the ukrainian people. and i agree that part of the strategy is kind of to terrorize the broader public, but part of it is also not chernobyl, but other nuclear plants, is to terrorize the ukrainian public
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by cutting off their access to power. shortages of food, water, power, combined with the indiscriminate violence we've seen are putin's approach to trying to sub ja gait the people. >> president zelenskyy talked about the 8-year-old girl who died of dehydration. obviously the human -- is the defining future. thank you for spending some time with us today and helping us understand these issues. emma, thank you for joining us. ben sticks around for questions about what putin will do next. the fate of american basketball superstar remains unclear after her arrest and detention in russia on drug charges. what is being done to get her out. all that after a quick break. stay with us. all that after a qk stay with us
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of the brightest basketball super stars. the wnba's brittney griner was detained at an airport after russian authorities claimed they found hash oil in her luggage. the incident reportedly happened at some point in february. griner is a seven time all-star, two time olympian. there is growing concern about her safety and well-being given putin's frustration over how his war in ukraine is going. over the weekend russian tv aired this image of griner and it's now on her youtube channel as translated by nbc news saying this, quote, the hope of american female basketball is posing in a police station with a sign with her surname on it. nbc news has not verified that the photo is actually griner's police photo. joining us is tom firestone,
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former legal adviser for the u.s. embassy in moscow. ben is still around. i wonder, tom, if you can tell us how to read the fact that there is so little information about this case, one of the biggest stars in basketball in america. >> well, thank you for having me. i think part of the reason there's little information is that nobody is sharing it. i think the people in her camp, it's not a positive story for her so they're not looking to attract attention to this. i suspect that they think attracting attention to this given the current political environment is not going to help her case. the russians are traditionally very tight-lipped about criminal investigations. there are rules against disclosure about criminal investigations so i imagine they're not sharing any information and then i suspect that her russian basketball team employer is also not sure how they want to handle this and do
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not see an advantage of disclosing information. i think for that reason there is not much information coming out. >> have you ever been involved in anything like this? >> i've been involved in the government and criminal prosecutions of foreign citizens in russia so i have seen these kinds of cases before, yes. >> what can we expect is happening behind the scenes? >> what i think is happening behind the scenes is that the investigators are doing their investigation. they have a period of time during which they can keep her detained and continue the investigation. the standard time is two months in russia under russian criminal procedure. that can be extended to 6 months, 12 months, 18 months in extraordinary circumstances. i think that her lawyers are trying to arrange some sort of bail package and negotiate with prosecutors and get her out on bail, house arrest or something like that. i think that's going to be very
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difficult given she was a foreign citizen and she was arrested with drugs. i imagine what's happening is the investigators are doing her investigation. her lawyers are preparing her to be interviewed by the investigators and they're presumably trying to work out a way that she can get out on release pending trial. >> been, same question to you. have you been involved in a case like this? and what is your sense of the role the statehouse is playing behind the scenes? >> i've been involved in cases involving american citizens. those are normally in normal circumstances and you can advocate. he'll be honest. it is not beyond the russian authorities and vladimir putin to respond in strange and asymmetric ways to what they believe is u.s. pressure. when we impose sanctions on russia during the obama administration, one of the ways in which he reciprocated was by
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terminating the capacity of americans who adopt russian children. so whether or not that was the impetus for this arrest or whether or not she has now tragically become a pawn in the tools available for putin to respond, i don't think this is a normal law enforcement case at this point. vladimir putin's reprisal against americans may be one of the ways in which he escalates this as the officials said. that's why i really worry about brittney griner's case here because the likelihood that vladimir putin is going to release an american who he believes might give him some leverage over american public opinion or retribution, that has
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to be the first question in our mind. >> hash oil is cannabis. all corners of this country you can find that legally. tell me what the laws are about cannabis in russia. >> they're very -- they're very severe. there has not been the kind of liberalization as we've seen in the united states with cannabis. according to the russian press reports she has been charged under article 229 of the russian criminal code. part one, subsection 2, possession of a contraband of a narcotic substance in significant amount carrying a penalty of 5 to 10 years. so this is a very serious charge that she's looking at if the reports are to be believed. >> we said at the beginning there's very little information. as we learn more we'll turn to both of you. tom firestone, ben rhodes, thank you so much for joining us on this. quick break for us. we'll be right back. and when we find it...
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thank you so much for letting us into your homes during these extraordinary times. we are so grateful. the beat with ari melber starts right now. hi, ari. >> hi, nicole. welcome to the beat. we are tracking a dire moment. the bombing of this maternity ward in mariupol. the images are disturbing. they're also significant for the world to see exactly what we're learning and what the war correspondents and videographers are finding about the russian invasion. we can show you inside the hospital. this is what it looks like after russia's bombing, the windows shattered, the rooms destroyed.


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