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tv   Alex Witt Reports  MSNBC  March 12, 2022 11:00am-12:00pm PST

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all of you from msnbc world headquarters in new york, welcome, everyone, to "alex witt reports." we are past 2:00 p.m. in washington, 9:00 p.m. in kyiv, 10:00 p.m. in moscow and as night falls on that part of the world, the french president is now reporting that vladimir putin has once again refused to stop the fighting in ukraine.
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it is being reported by the "wall street journal" and our own cnbc anchor hadley gamble. here's what she told me she is hearing from her sources just in the last hour. >> he and his counterpart, german chancellor olaf scholz, were asking specifically for an immediate ceasefire, and according to french officials, the background chatter, if you will, is that president putin showed absolutely no sign that he was in any way focused on ending this conflict. of course, that should be something that everyone takes into account, especially as the u.s. president, joe biden, has said that he's going to pump an extra $200 million to ukraine in terms of financial assistance. >> also new today, ukraine's president zelenskyy floated the idea of meeting face-to-face with putin, potentially in israel >> translator: i'm not even talking about technical meeting but about meeting at the level of heads of state, maybe israel could be such a country, especially jerusalem. that's my opinion.
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and this is what i told him. as for details, or his talks with the russian president, i cannot talk about that, because he should first of all talk about those details and discuss with his own community. i don't have the right to do that. even though i know some things. this is why we have a positive attitude. >> zelenskyy referencing a call he had with the israeli prime minister, naftali bennett there. zelenskyy claimed russian forces kidnapped a local mayor and residents have been out in the streets protesting that. in just the last hour, the european parliament condemned the reported abduction calling it illegal, cynical and barbaric. ukraine state emergency service say work is under way at a bombed out residential building in kharkiv. this one you're looking at here. they say it was destroyed by russian shelling and their teams have recovered three bodies at that site. nbc news, though, has yet to
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independently verify this. and the u.s. embassy in ukraine is issuing a new warning to americans who are still there. leave the country if it is safe to do so. following the very latest for us overseas, we have nbc's molly hunter, once again from lviv, ukraine, and then here in washington, lauren egan. so, welcome to you both. molly, bring us the very latest in terms of where the situation stands right now. i know you have reported a sense of normalcy but not completely so there in that city. >> reporter: yeah, alex, not completely so but mostly because it is so packed full with so many people who have fled the violence in the east. i want to bring you up to speed because we have been following those 14 humanitarian corridors announced at the beginning of the day. we've got a lot of updates since last hour. around kyiv, state emergency services say 2,000 people have been evacuated. many of those humanitarian corridors, those green corridors, were from the suburbs of kyiv into the capital city for additional safety.
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but just in the last hour, horrific news has broken. the ministry of defense says seven people have been shot dead, including a child. the russians are not holding their fire on these agreed upon humanitarian corridors. the state service of special communication and information protection, alex, said in a tweet saturday that the convoy of women and children were traveling to the village along an agreed green route when russian forces began shooting at them. now, down south in mariupol, the city we have been talking about for the last two weeks, that has been bombarded, besieged, completely cut off from the outside world. well, we have an update there. part of these humanitarian corridors and part of the agreement that the icrc has brokered is that humanitarian aid goes into these areas, civilians come out. we have just learned that there is a huge humanitarian cargo convoy that has left and gotten more than halfway to mariupol. if all goes according to plan, it should arrive in mariupol tomorrow. there's a lot of very, very cautious hope that that might
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deliver much-needed medicine and water and basic food supplies. every single humanitarian convoy that's been headed to mariupol this week has gotten attacked or shelled by russian forces. you did mention in your open that president zelenskyy has been speaking today. i want to share another little excerpt of what he said with your viewers. take a listen. >> reporter: now, information about russian casualties, information that is certainly not getting back to the majority of russia. we did hear on the casualty front from the mayor of mariupol that 10,000 people in that ukrainian besieged city have been killed in the last two weeks. the real number, many fear, is much, much higher. >> understandably so, molly.
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thank you so much for that. we have some more breaking news to share. today, the president authorized more than $200 million in military aid for ukraine. let's go to nbc's lauren egan in washington for us. so, lauren, welcome. what kind of help are we talking about? >> yeah, those $200 million can go towards things such as military training programs, weapons, or other assistance that ukraine needs. this now brings the total amount of defense aid that the u.s. has given to ukraine in the past year to $1.2 billion, and it also comes just a day after congress on friday approved an additional $13.6 billion in emergency aid to ukraine. in the past few minutes, we've also heard from vice president harris. she was speaking earlier today to the winter conference, a meeting of the democratic party, and in those remarks, she addressed the crisis in ukraine. listen to what she had to say. >> russia's invasion threatens
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not just ukraine's democracy. it threatens democracy and security across europe and by extension, when democracy is threatened anywhere, it threatens us all. and the ocean that separates us will not leave us untouched by this aggression. >> reporter: throughout this crisis, the white house has been trying to offer ukraine assistance without doing anything that might directly engage nato or the u.s. in this conflict. president biden has been very, very clear that he wants to help ukraine where he can, but he will not send any u.s. troops to the region to fight directly with russia. at the same time, the president wants to offer assistance without further provoking the russian president, doing anything that might give vladimir putin an excuse to
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escalate this situation beyond ukraine. it's a difficult dynamic, a difficult balancing act, especially when you consider that we heard from moscow just earlier today, officials there saying that they view any military shipments from western countries to ukraine as, quote, legitimate targets. >> okay. lauren egan, thank you for that from the white house. meantime, to the outskirts of kyiv where ukrainian troops are on the lookout for approaching russian forces. alex crawford of sky news is there. >> reporter: russian tanks and other armored vehicles in an eastern suburb of kyiv. now abandoned and damaged but gleefully driven by the ukrainians who ambushed them and pushed the troops into retreat. but this is demonstrable evidence the russian military is on the move and trying several different routes to get into the capital. the ukrainians are grasping this as an opportunity to emphasize just how capable they are of defending their main city.
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the drone footage released by ukraine's armed forces is now being lauded as a tremendous military defense. in the footage, the russians come under repeated attack with soldiers running for cover. rockets frantically fired in this built-up area. it's the main eastern highway leading directly into the center of the capital. but the activity around the capital's outskirts has definitely picked up. these pictures filmed by journalists with ukrainian soldiers appear to show the troops under fire as they engage their russian counterparts. apparently in a village in the greater kyiv area. the russian defense ministry released these pictures claiming to show their troops moving inside the wider kyiv region. they are thought to be regrouping and repositioning to encircle the capital before launching a prolonged attack on the city center. probably within days. but the man with hero status in ukraine for raising millions to support their armed forces insists they're ready.
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>> we will fight from every window. we will fight from every basement. we have enough anti-tank missiles, thanks for our allies from united kingdom, from united states, so they will -- they will lose tanks every street. every block. every crossroads. >> reporter: there are more and more barricades going up in and around the capital. they're digging trenches, and this is in the middle of the city. although we're not showing the location for security reasons. either way, soldiers and civilians are preparing for either attack or siege. they have created a whole network of these trenches, as much as protection but also from where they can mount fighting positions. they've been taking on russian troops around several points on the edges of the capital.
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but there's a growing expectation that the city is headed into a very grim few days or weeks. alex crawford, sky news, kyiv. >> joining me right now is lisa, member of the ukrainian parliament. lisa joins us from a train station in strasburg, france, there for an eu meeting and thank you, lisa, for joining us in these very stressful times. as you know, vladimir putin today talking with the french president, also the german chancellor. are these the guys you want to be mediating on ukraine's behalf? i mean, do you think ukraine can get a fair deal from these discussions? >> well, of course, we are very happy when there are any mediators and any possible discussions happening around ensuring ukrainian peace right now. but so far, they haven't seen any progress in any signs from the russian side that they are ready for any common sense peace. now, it's just manipulation, and it's absolutely crazy statements
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from the russian side when they want to replace the government or they approve and confirm that they are bombing maternity wards and they say it's fine. so, at this stage, it looks very, very painful for us, but we'll keep pushing for an opportunity, of course, for the direct negotiations between president zelenskyy and putin. i believe this -- reach some possible peace but at this moment, putin is fighting his final battle with all crazy methods, completely killing civilians and using all methods of war crimes, unfortunately, against ukraine. >> so some sort of a meeting, potentially in israel, but on the heels of this, the senior ukrainian official telling axios that the israeli prime minister, neftali bennett told president zelenskyy earlier this week that he should take putin's proposal for ending the war. the official says zelenskyy and
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his advisors didn't like that recommendation. however an official in the israeli prime minister's office is denying that claim. but it comes, lisa, as there's a new analysis piece in the "washington post" looking at a possible off-ramp, asking if ukraine could become neutral. you know, be something like switzerland. so, what does the ukraine government view as terms that could potentially end this war and terms that you think russia could accept? >> ukrainian government is representing the voice of ukrainian people, and we are not ready for any compromise on human lives in ukraine and on our territory. any possible negotiations, however, with the security guarantees is possible. but we need guarantees. that will be provided that will protect our territorial sovereignty, of course. if it just will be a paper and words without real guarantees, of course, we are not going to
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agree to that neutral possible status. but we are ready to do whatever it takes to discuss this all, but only with the mediators and with real negotiation. >> so, the deputy head of the president's office said that there are currently, what, 14 green humanitarian corridors in ukraine, including to mariupol. we've seen some of these evacuations fail because of the ongoing, the lack of stopping any russian attacks. are they any more successful today than they have been? >> there's been some success, but very small. unfortunately, we keep seeing that civilians are targeted, lots of traumas, lots of killed people, lots of wounded. yesterday, i was welcoming the buses of ukrainian refugees in strasbourg, and most of them are
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coming from the kyiv region. most of them lost their homes. everything is completely ruined, and they don't know when they can be back and whether any piece of the building or the house is left. so, this is the sign, and actually, the evidence how this so-called humanitarian corridors that i agree with russia are not happening, because russia is violating all the agreements and rules. >> i'm curious what you're hearing from kyiv, because the u.s. believes that russia's trying to encircle the city. yes, it's a very large city, like 11 times larger than the island of manhattan. however, ukrainians, we know, are doing everything they can to fight back. but have you heard about the mood there today? are people confident that ukraine troops can hold kyiv? >> we absolutely confident that ukrainian troops will protect ukraine and kyiv, but we fear that it will come again at very
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high price of losing more and more lives, and today, there was a bomb in one of the center of the kyiv, and we know that putin keeps targeting kyiv as one of the main goals. and it's very scary and that's why we're calling for closing the sky and if not closing the sky, then providing us the air defense military assistance that would help us to protect our sky. >> lisa, i have to ask. given all that russia has done to ukraine, how in the world can you negotiate with them -- can ukrainians negotiate with russians in good faith? and if you are able to do so, what kind of price do you want to see enacted on russia as a result of what they've done to ukraine? >> well, we want to end this evil, of course. of course, we want to see that the freedom of speech and the truth is coming also to the
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russian society. we want to see that our dignity is protected. but as i said, there couldn't be any compromise on our territory. we are ukraine. and we are independent. and we proved to all the world that we are going to fight to the death to protect that freedom. >> all right. lisa yasko, i hope the discussions you are there in strasbourg for go very well. thank you so much. he is public enemy number one in russia. now jailed kremlin critic alexey navalny has a new message. hear from an attorney who works with navalny. message. hear from an attorney who works with navalny [winter wind noises] you wanna go out, walter? let's go. yeah! mush, walter! pace yourself. ♪♪ whoa. that's incredible. oh yeah, it's a chevy silverado trail boss. this thing's built for off-roading right from the factory.
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we're back with breaking news. according to the u.n. refugee agency, more than 2.5 million ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries since this war began. but as 1.5 million of those
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people have sought refuge in poland, two of that country's largest cities are warning they can no longer absorb ukrainian refugees. nbc's ellison barber is in one of those cities, krakow, poland. so, try to describe the struggle with this refugee crisis there. >> reporter: yeah, i mean, you know, we hear so much about people opening their doors, offering rooms, places for people to stay, but what city officials are talking about when they say that they are strained is the system. it's that they are concerned they don't have enough doctors, nurses, teachers, other social welfare programs and needs to assist their own population in addition to the thousands of refugees now calling these cities home, almost overnight. one thing that we heard from an ngo we were speaking to is that they want to help but they feel like there is a lack of organization from the top down, from the polish federal government, once people are coming through the border
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checkpoints. there's sort of immediate help along the border, food, blankets, donations, transportation to the big cities, but then after that, they feel like it sort of stops or at least it is this ad hoc, very minute-by-minute volunteer-led approach that is not sustainable. one thing that an ngo we spoke to in krakow was talking about was other countries outside of the european union stepping up and offering relocation assistance to people if they want to leave the country. this is not a big city. this is not a very big country. they are overnight just being overwhelmed by people. 1.5 million people have fled to poland alone and there are a lot of concerns in the cities about what help looks like in two, three, four weeks and whether or not they can really give people the help they need unless other countries, other nations start to step up a little bit more. listen to what he told us. you could say something to
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president biden or speak directly to u.s. politicians, what do you want them to know? >> finish mr. putin. he's the source of all this situation. second thing concerning the refugee crisis, you know, european union is very rich. we don't need aid from u.s., but if you could accept some refugees, i think relocation program is very necessary. >> reporter: you think about these numbers, and unicef has said that over half of the people who have fled ukraine are children. the longer this war goes on, the longer they are unable to go home, those children will need to be enrolled in schools. that's a challenge. they only have so many teachers, so many schools available here, and the concern from ngos is that perhaps at least at the federal level here in poland, that plans are not under way, at least not effective enough to be prepared for that possibility. alex?
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>> okay, definitely the realization of a long-term struggle there. thank you so much, ellison. how to get wnba star brittney griner out of russian custody? my next guest gives us an inside look at how hard that fight's going to be. an inside look at how hard that fight's going to be. i brought in ensure max protein, with thirty grams of protein. those who tried me felt more energy in just two weeks! (sighs wearily) here i'll take that! (excited yell) woo-hoo! ensure max protein. with thirty grams of protein, one gram of sugar, and nutrients to support immune health. refresh italiano one gram of sugar, subway now has italian-style capicola on the new supreme meats and mozza meat. just like my nonna makes when she cooks! i don't cook. wait, what? it's a good thing he's so handsome. subway keeps refreshing and refre- as a main street bank, pnc has helped over 7 million kids develop their passion for learning.
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might just need to break 'em in a little bit. you don't want 'em too loose. for those who were born to ride there's progressive. with 24/7 roadside assistance. -okay. think i'm gonna wear these home. -excellent choice. new reaction to the war in ukraine from jailed russian opposition leader alexey navalny, urging russians to protest this weekend, writing on instagram, the crazed, maniac putin will be most quickly stopped by the people of russia if they speak out against the war. joining me now is jamison fire stone, new york attorney who works with the anti-corruption foundation that's been led by alexey navalny. welcome to you. look, navalny himself is probably vladimir putin's greatest outspoken enemy inside of russia. first of all, have you spoken to alexey during this invasion, and if so, what's his take on the war? >> well, no, the only people who can speak to alexey are his lawyers or anybody who visits
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him in the prison camp that he's in outside of the moscow. so, i haven't had any contact with him and very few people get to have contact with him, but his -- alexey recognizes that this war that putin has started is what's going to define the russian people right now. if russia -- and he stated basically whether russians actually support this war is going to be the defining feature of russia in this century, so he's called upon russians to oppose this war and take to the streets every single sunday. >> yeah. can i get a quick update, what you know about his health? i know that given the poisoning that he suffered through, he was in extremely poor health. you know, recovered, came back and allowed himself to be put in jail because he wanted to come back and be able to protest inside of russia. it was a sign of strength. but do you know how he's doing in general? >> well, there was a time when it was really, really rough. there was a time when he was being denied medical care and
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when they were basically subjecting him to sleep deprivation. now, you have to remember that he was poisoned with novichok, and the other novichok victims who survived all have lingering health problems, and that are never going to go away. so, you know, i haven't heard a recent health update, much better than before, but he's more fragile than your average prisoner would be because of what he went through. >> yeah. i can imagine so. so, as far as sanctions go, jamie, what else does the u.s. have in their arsenal that they could use to punish putin, and do these sanctions hurt putin, specifically, or just the russian people? >> well, i think they hurt both. the idea right now is to limit russia's ability to fight this war and to fight it for any amount of time, and so the things that we've been sanctioning for the most part
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are things like technology that would be helpful to russia. the currency reserve. so one of the things that we've done is we've -- russia built this huge war chest of 600 billion, and everybody was saying, oh, they could weather this war. so, we froze 400 billion of that. the rest is in gold. so -- and we've made it illegal to deal in dollars there. so, all of this is going to have a crushing effect on the russian economy to limit the russian ability to fight the war. but one thing we have to understand is that europe buys gas from russia, and they send over 200 -- well, $300 billion a day -- excuse me, $300 million a day to russia every single day, so it's -- we're hurting them, but we're also fighting against the fact that europe is sending a lot of money every day. >> yeah. you've got to think that alexey himself would want to get these kinds of truths, the reality of the situation out.
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so my question is, given how few people do have connection with him, how is he able to post on instagram and suggest to people, get out there and protest this weekend? is there somebody that's running that for him? do you know? >> well, yes. so, what happens is, again, people visit alexey in the prison camp, and he tells them what -- then they have control of his account so they have control of his twitter and control of his instagram, and so, sometimes he gives them letters. sometimes he gives them particular posts to give. one of the things that he just did recently was he had his organization run a poll to kind of feel out how russian perception has changed towards the war since it started. and it was a small poll. it was only 700 people. and it was done in moscow. and you have to realize that, you know, most of -- most of russia doesn't get on the internet for their news. they watch it in the highly propagandistic tv, but still, what the polls showed was that
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the amount of people who think that russia is the aggressor in this war has increased by 2.5 times. now, that's only 36%, but that's a huge increase. >> for sure. >> at least the people who are keyed in are getting it. >> yeah. so, i understand that you established a law firm in moscow. this happened back in the 2000s, and you have worked with dissidents there, so i want to ask you about the wnba star, brittney griner, who's been detained since mid-february, we're told, in russia, after airport officials allegedly found hashish oil in her luggage. how difficult is it going to be for u.s. authorities to free her? what are the big challenges? >> well, the first challenge is if she actually had hashish oil. what's been said so far is that she had a vape pen. she had a cartridge for the vape pen or maybe several cartridges that had hashish oil in them, which would be legal in many states in the united states, but
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it's not legal in russia, and russia has a very draconian drug policy, and so what they've done is they've accused her of smuggling a large amount of drugs. >> yeah, drug trafficking, i think, is what they're saying, which seems very extreme. >> exactly. >> yeah. >> it is extreme, and of course they could charge her with a lesser offense, possession or whatever. the prosecutors have leeway there, and they're choosing to go a pretty heavy-handed way, and that carries five to ten years, and in the best of circumstances, if we weren't having this bad relationship with russia right now, it would be a tough case. what she does have going for her is that she's famous and because she's famous, she'll probably be treated better than if she wasn't famous. i don't mean that she'll win her case any easier, but if she has to serve a sentence, there will probably be some political eyes watching to make sure things don't go too bad. >> that makes sense. what about griner's family, though, and the legal team? they've stayed pretty quiet throughout this entire ordeal.
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does that tell you anything about maybe communication between them and russia, or are they just taking a prudent approach? >> okay, i think the problem is that when you play the political game, and make some -- you can turn somebody into a hostage who's not a hostage. and i think that that -- >> you mean for what, bargaining purposes, you mean? >> right. i mean, there's always a chance, depending on how things are going, that you can get a lesser offense or -- it's hard to win in russia, by the way. they have a 99% conviction rate. little higher than 99%. but the thing is, if you make her a political bargaining chip, there isn't really anything -- i mean, we're hitting russia so hard right now that they don't have any incentive to give her up. i mean, they might, you know, just want to hold on to her for as long as possible until they can think of some way to use her, and i would imagine that her family is trying to avoid that happening.
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>> yeah. you can about imagine. jamison firestone, thank you so much for the conversation. much appreciated. coming up next, the new jersey man who felt helpless about the war in ukraine and decided to do something about it. he started by buying a plane ticket. he'll tell you what happened next. he'll tell you what happened next age is just a number. and mine's unlisted. try boost® high protein with 20 grams of protein for muscle health. versus 16 grams in ensure high protein. boost® high protein also has key nutrients for immune support. boost® high protein. ♪ ♪ ♪a little bit of chicken fried♪ ♪cold beer on a friday night♪ ♪a pair of jeans that fit just right♪ ♪and the radio up well i've seen the sunrise...♪ get 5 boneless wings for $1 with any handcrafted burger. only at applebee's looking to get back in your type 2 diabetes zone? once-weekly ozempic® can help. ♪ oh, oh, oh, ozempic®! ♪ ♪ oh, oh, oh ♪ ozempic® is proven to lower a1c. most people who took ozempic® reached an a1c under 7 and maintained it.
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now with this breaking news out of russia. after a diplomatic push to end the conflict in ukraine, french president emmanuel macron, german chancellor olaf scholz
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spent about 75 minutes on the phone with vladimir putin today urging an immediate ceasefire, but according to french officials, putin gave no indication he intends to stop this war. earlier today, ukrainian president zelenskyy speaking on where negotiations with russia stand. >> translator: a group of ukrainians and russian representatives, they are discussing certain issues. they have discussed real things and not just throw ultimatums at us. i know there should be a fundamentally different approach, and it should be so. i believe that our western partners are not sufficiently involved in that process. >> meantime, in ukraine, russia is intensifying its attacks as forces close in on the capital city of kyiv. in mariupol, ukraine is accusing
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russia of shelling a mosque that was sheltering more than 80 civilians. residents of that city have been trapped for more than a week now without food, electricity, or water. and this just in. moments ago. ebay has temporarily suspended all transactions involving russian addresses. the company says that this decision comes as a result of service interruptions by payment vendors and shipping carriers. those payment vendors may be having to do with the sanctions imposed on russia. we have more breaking news to share this hour. it's now more than two and a half million people who are fleeing ukraine since russia invaded. that number is increasing daily. border crossings are overwhelmed and the mayor of a new jersey town wanted to do something about it so he went to ukraine so he could give some help himself to the refugees. joining us now is paul, the mayor of point pleasant beach, new jersey. i got to say, kudos to you, because there are a lot of people, paul, that are sitting at home, saying to themselves, i
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want to do something to help. i would go to ukraine to do it. but they're not going, and you did. what made you decide to leave the u.s. and help people there, and how did you go about it? >> well, thank you so much for having me on to talk about the refugees' plight and that's where i was, the same place that so many viewers are at right now in terms of, how can i help? luckily, i've traveled to over 70 countries. i've been to ukraine, poland, slovakia, that area. i have some family background in that area as well, and when we saw that 40-mile convoy heading towards lviv, that was when i realized that the situation was really going to get bad, and i wanted to get over there as quickly as possible and do my part. and that involves sweat equity on the ground. these things, when there's a refugee crisis, they're generally very disorganized. it's just everybody coming from all over the globe to pitch in, and that's what we wanted to do, and if we -- our mindset was if
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we could even help just one person, we would consider it a success. we probably helped close to a thousand people. >> yeah. you mentioned poland and slovakia and the fact is that you do have some family heritage associated with that, but also there's a large ukrainian population there in point pleasant beach, so this feels personal for you, yeah? >> so, in the summertime, everybody knows point pleasant beach on the east coast for our great boardwalk and rides and attractions. it's a family-friendly place, and young ukrainians have been coming here for years to pitch in, enjoy themselves for the summer, help operate all our attractions, and during that time period, they forge real, long-lasting, lifelong bonds with our residents and their kids, and this was an attempt for me to help kind of pay it forward. >> yeah. absolutely. i'm also going to give a shoutout to surf taco. that's another great place in point pleasant beach that we can talk about. during the summer only right now because i got to tell you, all we're thinking about is ukraine. but when we talk about the folks
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there at the border of poland and ukraine, describe the scene. what do you want to know about the plight of ukrainians? >> it is, i mean, it's the highest of highs and lowest of lows in terms of emotions. you see people coming through one exit of the border, actually, that exit that you're showing right there is unfortunately the exit where people come through if they don't have anybody, and it's a very solemn, sad experience. they get in lines. we help hand out hot food, hot soup as well. but they're waiting in lines to get in buses to the refugee center, and then figure things out from there. but there's another line where they have people waiting for them, and there's tearful, joyful reunions at the same time. so, it's very surreal in terms of the pulling and the tugging on the emotions. >> what kinds of things, paul, did you bring to help the people? >> we recognize that it was going to be disproportionately women, children, and elderly, and we tried to pack accordingly.
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we brought toys with us and diapers and baby products. we brought toiletries, and then we brought a bunch of new clothes, warm clothes. in these situations, when you look at when they're trying to identify clothes, it's really just mounds of wet, damp clothes on the ground, and we wanted to humanize the situation a little bit. we brought tables. we tried to fold everything, make it look nice, and we went through everything in an hour and a half and then we spent days and days taking the van, going to local stores, wiping them out completely, going back, setting it up. it would go in a couple hours, and rinse, wash, repeat, and that was a lot of what we spent our time doing. >> yeah, i've heard also socks because of the dampness there on the ground. the socks get just wrung through wet so that's something that people could potentially bundle up and send over there somehow. for those people who want to volunteer, is there room? i mean, this must have to be
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very, very organized before they head over. or can someone just head over and try to help? >> honestly, most of the situation on the ground is very ad hoc. there's no common thread. there's no chain of command or anything like that. you can go to the train station, and there's a volunteer office and you can pitch in. you can set up your own table and stake out your own ground at the refugee center. you can jump into a kitchen line that's serving food. we did all of that. we worked with world central kitchen for a couple days making meals, shuttling supplies to the border, handing out hot meals at the border, so if people really do feel compelled to go, i'll tell you, first of all, air fair is relatively cheap, at least from the east coast right now, and they do need bodies, so that or even, you know, $2, $5 donation to one of the groups on the ground puts a hot meal in somebody's hands. >> okay. mayor of point pleasant beach, new jersey, paul kinitra, you are absolutely an inspiration. thank you so much. for giving us your story.
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(vo) discover more in the all-new subaru outback wilderness. love. it's what makes subaru, subaru. new polls show americans overwhelmingly support a ban on russian oil but they're split on who to blame for the rising gas prices. according to the latest quinnipiac poll, 71% support president biden's sanctions on russian energy, even if it means higher fuel costs but another poll shows a statistical tie between biden and putin when it comes to who americans blame. joining me now is hayes brown. so, welcome to you, my friend. first of all, i wanted to ask you about what you're feeling as you watch all these images from ukraine, and while this is certainly important to americans, the economy, they have a desire to help, so can you distill americans' worrying about this nightmare in ukraine
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versus fuel costs? >> i mean, so far, yes. i mean, the thing to keep in mind, though, is that we are only about three weeks into this conflict so we're in the early stages. we're at the point of time bay area where people are glued and they see the images coming out, they see the videos from people like president zelenskyy and people from -- ordinary ukrainians on tiktok. they have ukrainian americans within their community, and so right now, the interest in wanting to help and wanting to feel like a good person as this country is attacked is high. if this persists, though, will we see that sort of same shift that we saw, for example, in germany when, during the syrian refugee crisis, at first, everyone there was -- i mean, a lot of people there were very excited to bring in syrian refugees to help, but as the crisis wore on, people became less and less willing to have more people come in, to -- and i
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worry about how lengthy a war ukraine will compete with americans' attention and with their own self-interest, to be honest. >> well, yeah. and that's down the road. however, we have these two polls that almost seem to contradict each other taken right now. now, granted, i know that polls and the way a question is phrased, has a lot to do with how you calculate the numbers. that said, it would seem there are some people already who are saying, i'm paying so much money for this and i'm mad at president biden and equally at vladimir putin. >> yeah. that's -- the ugov poll is a really interesting one. i posted that on twitter not too long after it went up and one of the most interesting critiques that people were pointing out were, what if it's neither? very few people in that response said, someone else. so people aren't blaming oil and gas companies. people aren't blaming, you know, the markets in general. people aren't blaming the fact that we aren't moving to renewable energy resources.
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in that polls framing, like you mentioned, people were pretty well split between biden and putin. but if you look at the breakdown, i mean, it is republicans who are saying that this is president biden's fault by and large. with some of them saying it's more putin's fault. >> well, and listen, here's the phrase that they're saying. the gop, and you wrote about this, saying, the gop wants you to think of joe biden when you fill your tank. so, do you think the republicans' attempt to politicize gas prices in this situation, this environment, is that going to have a major influence on the upcoming primaries? >> that's a great question. on the primaries, i'm not so certain. i don't think that the price of gas is going to, you know, bring down many democrats in competitive races within the party. so, i think the primaries, i think, it's going to be -- i don't know if it's going to have that much of an impact. if these prices continue into the midterms, quite possibly, because people very incorrectly assume that there is so much more that presidents do than
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they actually can to influence gas prices. when, you know, over 50% of the price you are paying at the pump is based on the price of crude oil, which is set globally. that's not something that joe biden or donald trump or george w. bush or barack obama have that much control over. and so, when you see politicians try to scramble for who to blame or to avoid blame, they're doing so knowing, for the most part, at least, that there's not much that, like, congress can't pass a law that would bring down global oil prices right now. >> look, the fact is that the president clearly relative to the midterms laid out the possible risks for democrats. take a listen to what he said. >> that's why we have to continue to maintain our majority. this off-year election, in my view, may be the most important off-year election in modern history. because we know what happens. we know the fundamental change that shifts if we lose the house and senate. the only thing i'll have then is
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a veto pen. >> is president biden banking on americans putting their moral compass ahead of the calculations in their wallets and politics? >> that's a great question. i am very glad, in a sense, that this is happening now and not in september, october, as we are closer to the actual elections that will be taking place. a lot can happen in these, what, eight months between now and then. gas prices could come down, the war could end. many things could happen between now and then. i do think that he's right to be concerned about keeping the house and senate, especially when republicans are going to, no matter what happens, continue hammering him as though he, for example, the keystone pipeline, keystone xl pipeline, which biden canceled the permits for that when he came into office. that has been a great talking point for republicans to say, oh, if only he hadn't done that and, you know, shut down the drilling industry, then we would have lower gas prices, when
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that's not really the case. it wouldn't be operational even until next year, the keystone xl pipeline, and the keystone oil fields are still pumping oil, and that is still coming in from canada. >> doesn't keep the gop from using it as a tagline, though. anyway, hayes brown, thank you so much as always, my friend. that's going to do it for me or this edition of "alex witt reports." in just a moment, joy fryer picks up our coverage. just a m picks up our coverage. and it's easy to get a quote at so you only pay for what you need. isn't that right limu? limu? sorry, one sec. doug blows a whistle. [a vulture squawks.] oh boy. only pay for what you need. ♪liberty, liberty, liberty, liberty♪
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♪♪ good afternoon, i'm joe fryer in for yasmin vossoughian today. a lot of news to get to at this hour. as russia intensifying its assault around ukraine's capital, president biden is authorizing additional aid to ukraine. up to $200 million. the funds would cover weapons plus other military services and training that could help ukrainians repel russian forces. just a short time


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