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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 3/9/22

Transcript: Oleksandr Tkachenko, Jack Crosbie, Samantha Gross

Summary

Today, an apparent Russian strike destroyed a children`s hospital

and maternity ward in the southern Ukraine city of Mariupol. The

devastation of civilian areas continues in Ukraine and people are fleeing

by the millions to avoid the ongoing violence. As part of the escalating

economic sanctions against Russia, the U.S. has taken a significant step

banning all imports of Russian energy even as President Joe Biden concedes

that move will cause already-high gas prices to go up even more.

Transcript

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Ukraine is standing by until

they`ve secured their freedom.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: Erin McLaughlin, thank you so much. Wow. That is

tonight`s "REIDOUT." ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voiceover): Tonight on ALL IN.

ALEX CRAWFORD, REPORTER, SKY NEWS: So, how can you stop it? Are you going -

- are you prepared to do a deal? You`ve said you`re happy to talk.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE: We can`t stop alone of this.

HAYES: The Russian bombardment continues and the Secretary of State gives a

stark assessment of Putin`s plan.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: He has a clear plan right now to

brutalize Ukraine. Tonight, Admiral James Stavridis on how to think about

the Russian attack two weeks in.

Then, a reporter`s journey out of Ukraine with Rolling Stone`s Jack

Crosbie. Plus, a member of the Zelenskyy cabinet on how their government is

maintaining control. The latest on the mass exodus of refugees into Poland

and beyond. And America`s search replace Russian oil from Saudi Arabia, the

UAE, and Venezuela when ALL IN starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. We`ve been

saying this on the show for the past several days, that since the Russian

military failed to achieve a quick victory in Ukraine, it has pivoted to

enforcing as much misery as possible on the people who live there.

Today, an apparent Russian strike destroyed a children`s hospital and

maternity ward in the southern Ukraine city of Mariupol. NBC News has

verified the building you see here in ruins is the same hospital in videos

shared by Mariupol`s city officials. The number of casualties is still

unclear.

Today`s attack comes after days of heavy bombardment by Russians that`s

left people there without power or water. Ukrainian President Volodymyr

Zelenskyy tweeted this video of what he called the direct strike on a

maternity hospital calling on the world to close the sky and stop the

killings.

In an exclusive interview with Alex Crawford from Sky News, Zelenskyy

accused world leaders of being too slow to come together to support

Ukraine. He repeated his call for NATO to "close the sky," which is a

request for a no-fly zone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRAWFORD: Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister as a number of other

world leaders say if they do that, if they close the sky, that is -- that

could exacerbate and make the situation even worse. If they provide -- if

they allow Poland to provide you jets stationed on NATO land, that will

make it worse.

ZELENSKYY: What would -- what does it mean worse? For whom? So, the first

question is rhetorical. And we don`t need rhetorical questions and answers.

We have to have concrete things. So, it would be worse for home? For our

families? No, for whom? For them, no, who knows? Nobody knows.

And -- but we know exactly that now is very bad. And in future, it will be

too late. And believe me -- believe me if it`s prolonged this way, yes, you

will see they will close the sky, but will lose millions of people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Of course, closing the sky would require U.S. or NATO willing to

shoot down or fire on Russian jets in Ukrainian airspace, which would be a

hot war between two nuclear powers, something that the Biden administration

and much of NATO very much wants to avoid for very obvious reasons.

The attack on that Children`s Hospital never should have happened in

Mariupol. And not just for any reasons having to do with the laws of war or

the basic questions of decency, but also because remember, Russian

President Vladimir Putin and his army were supposed to have taken the

country two weeks ago.

Here, look. Look, we`re Mariupol is on the map, OK. It is right next to the

Russian border. If their invasion was going well, they should be long past

trying to subdue this city. It is clear that in many ways, the Russian

military has stalled. Things are definitely not going as planned.

This is what the Director of National Intelligence Admiral Haines said

yesterday about the status of the invasion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AVRIL HAINES, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: We assess Moscow

underestimated the strength of Ukraine`s resistance and the degree of

internal military challenges we are observing which include an ill-

constructed plan, morale issues and considerable logistical issues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Bad plan, low morale, big logistical problems. That`s basically

everything. I mean, they`ve had this massive convoy we`ve had our eyes on,

right, heading for the capital city of Kyiv for the past two weeks, 40

kilometers long, is still getting stuck.

Today, a senior U.S., defense official said there`s been no significant

movements towards Kyiv since yesterday. The official said the Ukrainian air

defense system remains effective and viable, and Russia has not gained

superiority over the whole country despite Russia having the second largest

air force in the world.

New York Times reports Ukraine has shut down military transport planes

carrying Russian paratroopers, downed helicopters, blown holes in Russia`s

convoys using American anti-tank missiles and armed drones supplied by

Turkey.

[20:05:07]

When all these places the Russian army plan to seize or go past on their

way to Kyiv have put up tremendous resistance, which has led to scenes like

we are seeing here in the second-largest city in Ukraine, Kharkiv, where

they are just indiscriminately shelling.

That`s the one thing that is working, I guess, if you could call it that

for the Russians, missiles and artillery they can lob into civilian areas.

But while awful in its human impact, it`s not clear it`s even achieving any

tactical objectives. This is what U.S. Secretary of State answering Blinken

said today about Putin`s onslaught.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: He has a clear plan right now to

brutalize Ukraine. But to what end? Because when it comes to an end game,

the big question -- the first instance is what is his endgame? We saw the

failures of the initial military plan to quickly subjugate the country.

That`s failed. So, he`s now turning to a strategy of laying waste to the

population centers to the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: It has been two weeks. The world has changed in those two weeks due

to this aggression, invasion by Russia. The great question now is what

happens, where are we, are the Russians just behind schedule or have they

performed so poorly? Had their logistics gotten so screwed up? Have the

weapons flowing from NATO and other European allies been so effective? Has

Ukrainian resistance has been so strong the Russians are not actually

winning this war or going to?

There has been in just two weeks and almost incomprehensible, just insane

human toll on the people of Ukraine. Yesterday, the United Nations said

already more than two million people have fled the country, half of whom

are children. It is the fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War II.

And just for context here, in 2015 and 2016, about two million Syrian

refugees fled to Europe. In Ukraine, two million had fled in two weeks. We

simply have not seen anything on this scale in the modern era. The U.N.

says thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been killed or wounded. Like

this woman who was injured after an airstrike damaged an apartment complex

outside of Kharkiv.

There`s also been as far as we can tell, and it`s hard to get reliable

numbers on this, a huge Russian toll. The Ukrainian military is claiming to

have killed an extremely high number of Russian soldiers. That number has

not been confirmed.

Yesterday, the head of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency estimated that

two to 4000 Russian soldiers have been killed. Now, those numbers are far

lower than what the Ukrainians are saying. But even if they are more

accurate, they are still stunning. I mean, for context again, nearly 2500

American service members were killed in Afghanistan in the war that lasted

nearly 20 years. Or rather, take for example, the Soviet war in

Afghanistan. According to official Soviet numbers, which are probably low,

just under 15,000 members of the Soviet military were killed in their 10-

year war, about 1500 per year.

The Russian military, to lose an estimated two to 4000 soldiers, many of

them apparently conscripts, in less than two weeks is unheard of in Modern

Warfare. And this might be the one thing that Vladimir Putin fears most

because no amount of propaganda, no amount of state media can lie to you

about whether your son is dead or alive.

MSNBC Correspondent Cal Perry is in Lviv in western Ukraine, and he joins

me now with the latest. Cal, what`s the situation there?

CAL PERRY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, we`ll start in Mariupol where

you`ve laid out what was a bloody day to Ukrainians on Ukrainian state

television all day. Some more details coming from the deputy mayor there

about how bad the situation is in that city. He estimates at least 1200

civilians have already been killed in the siege of that city. And we got

word that yesterday they dug their first mass grave in that city.

That is truly the last act of a desperate city under siege where people are

afraid to be above ground, even long enough for funerals is how bad we`re

told the situation is there. In Kharkiv, to the north, it is equally as

bad. The city is under siege now for five days, no power, no water, no

heat. This does seem to be out of the Russian playbook.

And I think as you laid out, while Russia`s war may not be going the way

they planned, certainly it is playing out the way Ukrainians feared it

would with these tactics that we have seen before in places like Syria

where these cities are either indiscriminately bombed or where civilians

are being targeted.

Those humanitarian corridors today largely failed. One succeeded, about

35,000 people getting out of Sumy in the north, but all of the other ones

seem to have failed. And again, we`re hearing from the State Department

from the United Kingdom Department of Defense that Russians are targeting

civilians as they`re leaving this area.

Now add to that, here in the western part of the country, you have a

growing fear over some of these nuclear sites. Chernobyl has been cut off

from the IAEA monitoring system as has the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power

plant. That`s the largest plant in Europe. It provides a quarter of the

power here in Ukraine. And so, you have growing concern about what exactly

is happening there.

[20:10:15]

Frankly, we don`t really know what`s been happening at Chernobyl now for

10, 11, almost 12 days. Add to that the White House saying tonight that

folks should be on the lookout for a false flag attack. They`ve been saying

that now for three weeks. And the false flag attack that they say could

take place might involve chemical weapons.

All of this, Chris, is a long way of my saying that the humanitarian crisis

is going to get worse. Two million people have already left the country, as

you said, millions are on the move. But that number is going to increase

and it`s going to increase dramatically as we continue to hear reports. Be

them verified or not, of nuclear sites and of chemical weapons, people are

going to simply want to flee and the conditions are getting more and more

desperate, Chris.

HAYES: Cal Perry live in Lviv tonight, as always, Cal, thank you and stay

safe. I appreciate it.

Admiral James Stavridis was the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO from 2009

to 2013. He`s now the MSNBC Chief International Security and Diplomacy

Analysts and he joins me live tonight. Admiral, let`s start with what

appears to be a tactic and approach to target civilian areas in the cities

under siege using primarily it seems missiles and artillery, but it appears

some bombs actually dropped by Russian jets today and Mariupol. Is their

method to this madness, which is you know, obviously horrific and brutal?

JAMES STAVRIDIS, MSNBC CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AND DIPLOMACY ANALYSTS:

There is no method, no -- but a great deal of madness. What this is Chris

is a war crime. Let`s call it what it is. And you know, having spent a

lifetime or felt like a lifetime, 37 years in uniform, devoting myself as

the vast majority of military officers do to avoiding collateral damage, to

not striking civilians. It makes me heart sick to watch this.

This is not what militaries do. The United States, all of our allies, we

try our best always to follow the Geneva Conventions to avoid these kinds

of war crimes. And this is clearly a deliberate strategy at this point,

frustrated by the failure of his generals, frustrated by terrible

logistics, frustrated by a bad strategy, Putin has unleashed the dogs of

war crimes. And that is what you`re seeing on our television screens

tonight.

What we need to do is exactly what we are doing at MSNBC and our fellow

networks are doing. Show this. And let me tell you something, the greatest

weapon in this war, Chris, is right here in these cell phones. It is the

ability of the local populations to tell this story, get it back to Russia,

get it to the world. That is what will coalesce the opposition to these war

crimes.

HAYES: I want to talk about a no-fly zone. Zelenskyy has been talking about

closing the skies. There is resistance, I think, to my view, quite

understandable from the Pentagon and NATO. It also seems to me -- and

again, correct me if I`m wrong -- that air superiority or big bombing

sorties have not really been the prime problem for Ukrainians so far. Is

that -- is that your understanding?

STAVRIDIS: It is absolutely correct. A way to think about it is the vast

majority of the damage you`re seeing now is by artillery. It`s by shelling,

some long-range missiles, some dumb bombs. They`re clearly not using

precision-guided munitions the way that we would to go after specific

military targets. They`re just throwing everything at the problem, if you

will. But the aviation side of this, frankly, has not been terribly

significant.

Now, here isn`t an interesting point. If the Ukrainians had the ability to

deploy tactical air into this fight, they could, for example, Chris, go

after that convoy. You know, you look at that and see a 40-mile convoy, as

a military guy, I see the biggest target in the world. To get at it, the

quickest way to do it would be with fighter jets. That`s why I do support

getting NATO fighters in the hands of the Ukrainians, these MIG-29 from

Poland.

It`s run into a bit of a snag. I`m hoping NATO will continue to revisit

that and figure out the logistics of making that happen. It could make a

real difference.

HAYES: Obviously, it`s a very uncertain situation. No one can predict the

future. But I think my sense from my reporting and talking to folks who

studied the Russian army and who were really read in on what the battle

plan appeared to be where it`s gone wrong, was, in the beginning, this

expectation that they thought they`re going to go fast, they`ve run into a

bunch of problems they didn`t anticipate, and they`re in a bad spot,

they`re not where they wanted to be. But that, the expectation is they are

superior military firepower, and with enough time, they will be able to

take the country.

That now seems not a foregone conclusion. I don`t know if anything is a

foregone conclusion either way, but what is your assessment of where things

are now?

STAVRIDIS: Well, first and foremost, there are no foregone conclusions in

war. Go back 2500 years ago, I`m Greek American, a tiny Greek force held

off the entirety of the Persian Empire in places like Thermopylae in

solidness. There are no certainties in war.

Number two, the Ukrainians are like those ancient Greeks. Behind them are

their children, their spouses, their parents, their cities. They`re highly

motivated. Coming at them are conscripts, reservists, I would not

overestimate the ability of Russia to simply flatten the Ukrainian

resistance. I don`t see an ounce of quit in the Ukrainians or in their

President Zelenskyy.

Having said all of that, Chris, quantity has a quality all its own. The

Russians have mass. They can throw that at the battle problem. It still

hangs in the balance. This is why the West needs to do everything it can to

support this brave Ukrainian fight against Russia.

HAYES: All right, Admiral James Stavridis whose latest book 2034: A Novel

of the Next World War, which we really hope is fiction, is now out in paper

book -- paperback. Thank you so much.

Much more to come tonight. My interview with a member of Ukrainian

government on what governing in a time of war looks like, in the fight to

preserve the nation`s cultural heritage while under attack.

Plus, we`ll go live to the Polish border with some of the estimated two

million Ukrainians who fled the country are seeking refuge. All that in

just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:20:00]

HAYES: Nearly two weeks ago, when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, my

colleague Ali Velshi spoke to Ukrainian Minister from his car on the

outskirts of Kyiv. We asked him if the Ukrainian government would fall and

what it would do and his response was defiance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC ANCHOR: You did not feel they`re going to succeed in

taking out your administration and your government?

OLEKSANDR TKACHENKO, MINISTER OF CULTURE AND INFORMATION POLICY, UKRAINE:

No way.

VELSHI: What will you do if they -- if they occupy Kyiv? What happens? What

are your contingency plans? Will you go west to Lviv? Will you form a

government in exile if the Russians force you to?

TKACHENKO: I said, they will never take Kyiv.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Two weeks into this, the capital city of Kyiv is still standing. The

Russian military is now advancing as it lays siege to other major cities.

But for now, Kyiv remains under Ukrainian President Zelenskyy`s control.

I`m joined now by that same man, the same Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko.

He`s the Ukrainian Minister of Culture and Information Policy. It`s very

good to have you. Two weeks later, I want to check-in and ask how you`re

doing and how you feel about whether the Russians will be able to

successfully take your city.

TKACHENKO: I can repeat, never. Because -- of course. the situation is not

good. It`s bad because people were killed. And you saw the pictures from

Mariupol which was awful and it`s really war crime. But at the same time is

good because we are continuing resistance. And we will because resistance

is our soul.

For many centuries, more than millennium, we`re fighting for our

independence. So -- and we will do and victory will be with us.

HAYES: You know, obviously, this is an extraordinary time for the people of

your -- of your country. And I was reading some reporting about the fact

that obviously, Ukraine is a large place, 44 million people. Like any

country of that size, there`s internal political divisions, people disagree

about all kinds of things, you`ve got different parties.

And there was a faultline around sort of, you know, wanting to be close to

Russia, be closer to E.U. and NATO, Russian speakers, Ukrainian speakers,

that much of that has changed in the face of the onslaught, that that the

political divisions that were there have kind of gone away even folks from

like the Party of Regions, for instance, which had been very aligned with

Russian interests kind of renouncing their past support for that. What is

it like inside your government right now, and among the governing class of

your country?

TKACHENKO: People from different parties, different views are united. We

even have unprecedented situation when all channels, different private

channels, are united in one air. So, they change in schedule. And each

channel supported by other channel. So, we have one picture in all channels

at the same time.

And we are going to organize Russian-speaking channel quite soon to show

for Russian-speaking population, not only in Ukraine, but mainly in Russia,

and in Europe, what`s really going on in Ukraine, because as Putin as

former KGB man, his first weapon is disinformation. When Putin speaks, it

mean he lies. And lie kill people now physically.

So, that`s why we`re trying to switch off Russian channels from European

satellite platforms, and instead put Ukraine and channels. That`s my goal.

HAYES: What is it like to govern during this crisis? I mean, how much is

Kyiv intact as a place that`s where you have power and water and access to

food and can -- and can meet with fellow members of the government?

Obviously, there`s very big concerns about your safety, about President

Zelenskyy`s safety. That must be weighing on you heavily as well.

TKACHENKO: You know, we are with -- Mr. Zelenskyy are from media business.

And you as a person who host the program knows that we used to be under

stress. And during this stress, we`re concentrated. And I have no doubt in

Zelenskyy`s capability to lead the nation in this period of time. The same

as with his government.

So, we see our leader, we`re united, we are working from day to night,

almost 24/7. And it means that we need to do our best to support our

soldiers, to support our territorial defense, to make possible this victory

in which we are sure.

[20:25:43]

HAYES: I think if anyone like yourself had their way, right, a magic wand,

it would be for Putin to just retreat tomorrow, say this was -- this was

stupid. Get out of here, right? That seems that -- you`re laughing because

I think that`s an unlikely outcome unfortunately.

TKACHENKO: No, but he can be killed by his surroundings.

HAYES: Right. Well, I guess that segues to my question you of what you

think the out -- what is -- what is an achievable outcome for your country?

How do you think about the end of this as a victory that`s an achievable

one?

TKACHENKO: I`ll tell you a story of how my relatives welcome me at morning.

As a member of governors, they think that I know when Americans will give

us aircrafts, and new air defense systems. So, that`s the main question

because without assistance of our lines, as Zelenskyy told, it will be

quite hard to continue resistance.

And this weaponry is hardly needed, drones, aircrafts, anti-air systems.

That what we really need to see. And of course, joining of European Union,

which is a symbolic gesture for the country, which for ages lives in

Europe. And now because of this resistance to barbarians, because they

can`t call these soldiers who are trying to not only kill people, but also

ruined -- they call this liberation but they liberate people from their

homes, their lives as threatening and ruined culture heritage in Ukraine

from what they believe is their home because they are seeing that history

belong and everything belong -- the former Soviet territory to them.

It`s not. It`s not true from the historic point of view, and from values

point of view, which is very important. Because when Russian soldiers are

invaded to Ukrainian cities and occupied territories, they`re still scenes

from homes.

HAYES: Yes.

TKACHENKO: And I have no words.

HAYES: Oleksandr Tkachenko, I really do appreciate you at 3:00 in the

morning under incredible duress and stress taking some time to talk to us

here in the States. Thank you very much, sir.

TKACHENKO: (Speaking Foreign Language)

HAYES: Up next, one reporter`s journey out of Ukraine. Jack Crosbie crossed

the country covering the Russian invasion for Rolling Stone. He joins me

live right here at the desk right after this. Don`t go anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:30:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Mariupol is now

completely surrounded. We`re talking about firing into a captive

population. There are 400,000 people or were about 400,000 people in

Mariupol. Some have managed to escape but the vast majority are trapped in

the city. They are running out of food. They are running out of water.

And then this massive explosion, it dug a crater that looked 30, 40 feet

deep. Locals were describing it as an airstrike, potentially a very large

bomb dropped by a Russian fighter jet. And it destroyed a large section of

the -- of the hospital, a children`s hospital and a maternity ward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: That strike is just the latest blow to the southern Ukrainian ports

to the Mariupol which is still under attack tonight. Here`s what the city

looked like in the days before the invasion, pretty familiar to anyone

who`s been to a European port city. Here`s what it looks like now after two

weeks of intense assault by Russian forces.

Of course, Mariupol is not alone. This is how Ukraine`s northern city of

Kharkiv looked before invasion. This is how it looks now after being under

similar attack. The entire neighborhoods destroyed as residents struggled

to flee amid the indiscriminate shelling.

Rolling Stone Correspondent Jack Crosbie was in Kharkiv when the attack

started and documented in his reporting. His latest piece for Rolling Stone

details his journey through Ukraine. And Jack Crosbie is now back in the

U.S. and he joins me here in studio. It`s really good to have you here. I`m

very happy that you`re safe.

JACK CROSBIE, CORRESPONDENT, ROLLING STONE: Thanks so much for having me.

HAYES: You made a journey out of the country, which is a journey that

millions have made in the past two weeks at basically record-setting rates.

What was that journey like?

CROSBIE: Yes, so, you know, as I talked about my latest piece, there`s

basically two ways you can do it now. You can take a train of via some

route in between cities across the country, if you`re coming from as far

east as Kharkiv or you can go by car. A lot of people do it by both in

different sets.

I took a car I was lucky enough to get a ride out of Kharkiv, sort of right

at the beginning of when we started to see this indiscriminate shelling of

civilian areas. You know, before that, in the city, the shelling had mostly

been on the outskirts and -- but on that Monday that we left was when

things really started to come in closer.

So, I did it in several legs, kind of jumping from city to city in car,

resting a few days here, sorting out kind of logistics of the trip and

things like that. And that was a -- that was a journey that many other

people -- you know, at each stop along the way, there were a lot of people

that were coming from the same places as us. And then others that I know

just took trains across.

[20:35:35]

HAYES: And there`s checkpoints obviously. This is very slow going, right? I

mean, there`s like everything I`ve read your reporting anothers sort of

understandable paranoia on the part of Ukrainian regular army, territorial

defense forces about Russian infiltrators, roads blocked off to stop

advancing tanks. This is not like you get in the car, you drive you get

petrol, you drive.

CROSBIE: Yes, absolutely. I mean, there`s -- there were huge lines of most

of the gas stations that we passed, massive queues outside of checkpoints.

It was all just felt very sort of arbitrary and random. Like, we pass

through a couple of major cities that we`d heard -- you know, we were

getting security briefings each step along the way, some even chatting from

people at MSNBC that had had traveled the roads before us and stuff like

that. This is just sort of what you do logistically.

And oftentimes, those would be dated within six hours, you know, so you

really never knew when you were going to come over a rise in the road and

run across a three kilometer long queue of cars or an incredibly long queue

at a gas station. So, we just tried to stay fueled up as much as possible,

had jerry cans in the back full of fuel in case it ran out and just build

in as much time as we could to travel.

HAYES: You were in Kharkiv when the war started or right around it, right?

What was that -- I mean, there`s this real palpable sense of reality and

shock, I think, from folks in Ukraine. I think really didn`t think it was

going to happen. What was that first transition from a city of peace to one

at war look like?

CROSBIE: I mean, those first -- the first day of the war was just

completely surreal. The day before, my reporting partner and I had actually

Kharkiv sort of as a break. We`d been down in Donbas on the weekend

previous to this doing some reporting in frontline towns around there. You

know, we retired, hadn`t been sleeping, the greatest conditions for a

while, went to Kharkiv, had a nice Airbnb.

The day before the war, we were walking around the city. I went to that

Kharkiv Fine Art Museum, you know. It`s all this like wonderful classical

artwork and architecture and stuff like that they have on display. And, you

know, we got home that evening, and that was when Putin was giving this big

speech. And, you know, the new U.S. intelligence assessment started coming

through. And that was -- those were specific and directed in a way that

none of the warnings had been before. And I think at that point, you know,

we kind of knew.

HAYES: You were there at the beginning when Kharkiv started to get this

very intense and indiscriminate shelling of the civilian areas that we`re

now seeing that in Mariupol. And, you know, many people have noted this was

similar to tactics used in Syria. You cover the war in Donbas in the

eastern part of Ukraine. What is it like to be in a city that`s undergoing

that?

CROSBIE: Yes. I mean, you know, as I said, I got out right before the worst

of this. The missile attack to hit the government building in Kharkiv was

right around the corner from my hotel and that hit the morning after we had

left. There was some shelling in the city center as we were leaving as

well. But the images that you`re seeing right now, you know, that`s just a

step up from anything that Ukrainian city had experienced before this

point.

And it`s -- you know, this is a documented tactic of militaries who are

stalled out on other objectives and can`t make up any ground that they then

decide to escalate and try to pressure populations as much as possible

through any means necessary and often that means that innocent people are

just thrown right into the -- into the firing line.

HAYES: Jack Crosbie, it`s good to have you here. I`m glad you`re safe.

Thanks a lot.

CROSBIE: Thanks so much.

HAYES: Still to come, the search to replace Russia`s oil. Why the answer

isn`t to increase production in the U.S. And next, what life is like for

some of the nearly two million Ukrainian citizens who fled their country.

We`ll go live to refugee camp in the Polish border right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:40:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ENGEL: This man, you treated him. Tell me. He was in a building that

collapsed with a bombed. Tell me a little bit of what you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was found in his building really destroyed walls with

the blown-up windows. He was found by his brother because there was no

mobile connection with him for more than a day. He was found in this

building laying down facedown on the floor with no signs of any

consciousness

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: That`s NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel reporting

of the bombing of a residential building in the capital city of Kyiv. The

devastation of civilian areas continues in Ukraine and people are fleeing

by the millions to avoid the ongoing violence.

Most of Ukrainians are escaping to neighboring Poland, which has taken in

more than one million refugees so far. MSNBC Correspondent Ellison Barber

joins me now near the Hrebenne Crossing along the Polish Ukrainian border.

Ellison, what are you seeing there?

ELLISON BARBER, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Chris, we have been to six different

border crossing, six different refugee welcome centers, makeshift refugee

sites as well near these border crossings, and we have seen just a sea of

people. People traveling packed in vans, coming in personal cars, walking,

oftentimes waiting hours and hours to get through the queue at the border

to make their way into Poland.

Most of the people that we have seen that we have met, it is women and

children, because men who are considered fighting age 18 to 60 they`re not

able to leave Ukraine. Earlier today, we met a 16-year-old. She had fled

with her family from Eastern Ukraine, Kharkiv. She talked about helping her

mom get her three younger siblings to safety.

She said, when they ran, kind of this 10 minute period from their home to

the train station, she told her younger siblings don`t look up, just run.

Listen to more of what she told us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It was really difficult to escape

when we were getting on the train. Everybody was pushing each other. The

little children are falling down. It`s so scary. Everybody is panicking. It

was so hard. And they start shooting. So, altogether, this is terrible.

BARBER: What do you want other teens in the U.S. and anyone watching this

to understand about what you`re going through and what you want for your

future?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I want them to know that we need

to value what we have and not to complain about something you don`t have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BARBER: She`s 16 years old. I asked her if she feels like in the last two

weeks, she`s been forced to grow up. She said absolutely yes. She talked

about how at the end of the day, she`s looking back at the photos, the

videos before war, wishing that that was still her life. But because of

what she has seen, what she has experienced, her life is forever changed.

Her father, back in Ukraine fighting in this war. She, like so many other

children is hoping she can reunite with her father, the rest of her family

soon, but they don`t know when that will be. They did not have a specific

location or plan for where they were going to go next from the border.

We`re meeting a lot more people of late like that, Chris, people who don`t

have any family or friends in Poland. They just needed to get somewhere

safe.

They came here. There`s this immediate sense of relief when they cross the

border that they are somewhere safe. But then you see particularly with

mothers, with the adults, just this need to go into action and figure out

where they go from here. Chris?

HAYES: Ellison Barber, that was great reporting. Thank you so much for

that. I appreciate it.

Still to come, following the ban on Russian oil imports, the U.S. is now

knocking on the doors of some of the world`s most nefarious regimes in

order to get our oil fix. That story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:50:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you have a minute to speak about gas

prices?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They`re going to go up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What can you do about it?

BIDEN: Can`t do much right now. Russia is responsible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: As part of the escalating economic sanctions against Russia, the

U.S. has taken a significant step banning all imports of Russian energy.

Even as President Joe Biden concedes that move will cause already-high gas

prices to go up even more. It`s a rare concession from U.S. president

following years of bipartisan consensus that cheap oil should be the top

imperative.

For decades, Washington is basically had a kind of two plank system to keep

oil cheap. One, boosting domestic energy production here at home and two,

coddling regimes abroad that supply oil. And both are, let`s just say,

deeply flawed.

Increased domestic fossil fuel, of course only exacerbates the climate

crisis flying in the face of the scientific consensus that a habitable

future requires zeroing out fossil fuels like really, really soon. There`s

also the undeniable fact that the timetable, and listens carefully, for

domestic oil production just doesn`t work to help offset crisis situations

like this. There is no magic wand to wave on Monday to make more oil coming

to the ground in the U.S. on Tuesday.

And the other plan, the foreign parts the policy part is equally ill

advised. Importing fossil fuels from foreign countries means cozying up to

some of the worst, most oppressive regimes simply because they have large

oil reserves. You`re seeing that play out in real time as U.S. scrambles to

replace Russian oil which makes up about two percent of our energy supply.

Less than two years after the U.S. supported what some have called a coup

in Venezuela to oust its socialist leader Nicolas Maduro, who the State

Department does not even recognize as its president, the Biden

administration sent an envoy to the oil rich nation. We don`t know what

will happen next, but Venezuela just released two American prisoners.

There are also talks about renew deal with Iran. And while those

negotiations have been taking place for months. There`s increased attention

on U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil in light of our current situation.

Now, to be clear, I think normalizing relations with Venezuela and Iran is

probably a good thing. Diplomatic progress is a good thing, most

specifically for the people of both those countries who suffer under

crippling sanctions.

But again, it`s kind of funny, these tasks are very much happening for the

wrong reasons. It`s like which -- who can we get oil from? Which regime can

we talk to? Oh, and then there`s our buddies, our friends or allies Saudi

Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Leaders of both countries reportedly

snubbed phone calls from President Biden this week while taking calls from

Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the Wall Street Journal.

And while the UAE has since pledged to increase oil production, the Saudis

have not. That`s perhaps the most egregious example of how flawed this

current system is. I mean, for years, the U.S. has utterly coddled the

Saudi royal family, even setbacks of brutal war in Yemen, uses the same

kind of cluster bombs on civilians that the U.S. has now condemning Russia

for, to say nothing the fact that you know, Saudi security forces likely

under the order from the crown prince himself just murdered a Washington

Post journalist who was living in America and dismembered his body with a

bone saw.

[20:55:11]

And the trade-off for turning a blind eye to those atrocities, ones which

are still continuing in Yemen was supposed to be access to Saudi oil if we

needed it, and here we are, and the plan is failed. All for nothing. The

administration is left desperately searching for another oil rich state to

bail us out.

Samantha Gross is the director of the Energy Security and Climate

Initiative at the Brookings Institution. And she joins me now.

You know, Samantha, it strikes me that we`re seeing the flaws of a lot of

thinking about oil and crisis and when you can get access to cheap oil play

out here, which is to say, it`s just not that easy with a global commodity

that is priced on a global market. And with OPEC wielding a lot of pricing

power, there`s like not a bunch of knobs for us to turn when we need it.

SAMANTHA GROSS, DIRECTOR, ENERGY SECURITY AND CLIMATE INITIATIVE AT THE

BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: No, there are very few knobs. And the thing is we

talk a lot about oil production here in the United States. But we sometimes

forget that oil is priced on a global market no matter where it`s produced.

And so, it`s great for our economy that we`re producing oil here, but from

a pricing point of view, it doesn`t matter at all. Really the only lever we

have in the short term is the strategic stocks that we keep around for

emergencies.

HAYES: How -- you hear about using the strategic stock shocks all the time,

and again, like, this is probably like my 15th round of oil -- you know,

like price at the pump news cycles in my life. So, you hear about the

strategic socks. Are those actually big enough -- do we -- like, could we

use them at scale to actually lower prices? Is that even on the table?

GROSS: Yes, it`s on the table. The question is, how long can we do that

compared to how long this process might go on? They could certainly make a

difference, but could they make a difference for the months and perhaps

even years that this crisis may go on? That`s not really in the cards.

But what they can do is help get us over the hump until new production

comes online. And so, we get a little better at rearranging some of the oil

that used to come from Russia, now needs to come from someplace else. And

so, it can help us over the hump, but it`s not a miracle cure.

HAYES: How much do you think these geopolitical imperatives will change

things, particularly when you look at Iran and Venezuela to oil-producing -

- oil-exporting nations that are essentially, you know, nation non grata to

the United States, but both have bilateral talks opened up now?

GROSS: You know, we need to think about this in two different time frames

really. In the immediate timeframe, we`re looking for oil and gas, given

what`s going on in Russia. And it`s really important to have supply for the

energy system we have now. However, over the long term, the energy

transition will help us. The idea is that we won`t rely on these regimes so

much, and we won`t have the carbon emissions that come with these fuels as

our energy systems -- as our energy system transitions.

And so, the idea is we have to deal with the system we have now and the

fuels we need. But ultimately, this should fuel us and push us towards the

energy transition that we know we need.

HAYES: Yes. I think the danger I see here, when you when you see some of

the things that are being called for by the industry particularly, which is

like, oh, we got to get rid of some regulatory hurdles, and Republicans are

like, let`s drill more, that you get lock in basically, right? That that

things you do in short-term crises produces lock into more fossil fuel

production, more fossil fuel consumption, and higher levels of carbon

emissions, even though that is literally the opposite of what we need to

do.

GROSS: There is some truth to that. I mean, we don`t want to build a lot in

new fossil fuel infrastructure when what we want to do eventually is phase

it out. But again, it`s going to take a while to phase it out. We can`t

just sort of turn the page and have an entirely new energy system.

And I think investors now need to understand that some of those fossil

systems that they may put in maybe retired before they enter their natural

lives. But that`s the way it has to be. It`s better than not having enough

energy to run our economy to move around and to stay warm in the

wintertime. There are things that may be less than ideal, but that`s the

world we live in.

HAYES: Yes, we`re showing a chart of the big downward movement today which

I think was partly off the UAE`s announcement. I mean, it is crazy the

degree to which these producers because of OPEC, and because of their

control over supply- demand can move -- can move prices. How much -- how

much could we -- if the Saudis and UAE got together and really sort of

listened to what the White House wanted in ideal world, like how much could

we see that plausibly move prices down?

GROSS: Now, I think it`s kind of a fool`s errand to guess how much prices

could come down. But yes, it would definitely make a difference. I mean, a

lot of the movements that you`re seeing in oil price today are not really

about supply. They`re about concern about future supply.

HAYES: Right.

GROSS: I mean, here in the United States, we had already stopped buying

Russian oil before yesterday when President Biden said that we would stop.

HAYES: Yes, that`s a really, really good point. The market`s pricing in a

lot of future worry right now somewhat understandably. Samantha Gross,

thank you very much. That was illuminating.

That is ALL IN on this Wednesday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts

right now with Ali Velshi again live from the Ukrainian border. Good

evening Ali.