Russian forces bombard Ukrainian cities. Russia accused of bombing maternity hospital. Humanitarian crisis deepens in Ukraine. Pentagon rejects Poland`s offer of fighter jets. Zelenskyy renew plea for no-fly zone. U.N.: Over 2 million refugees have fled Ukraine. More major companies cut ties with Russia. NATO Secretary General: Russia and China are now operating more closely together.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: The anthem is not a cheery, upbeat celebration of the joys of life in Ukraine. It is not a song filled with optimism for the future. The title is taken from a line of the poem, and reflects Ukraine`s long history of suffering. The title of Ukraine`s National Anthem is Ukraine Has Not Yet Perished.
Ukraine`s National Anthem is tonight`s "LAST WORD." THE 11TH HOUR with Stephanie Ruhle starts now.
STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST: Tonight, the grimace phase yet in Russia`s war in Ukraine, a children`s and maternity hospital bombed, pregnant women pulled out and fears that children could still be trapped beneath the rubble. And if that wasn`t enough, the U.S. is now warning Russia could use chemical or biological weapons next, and more companies cutting ties with Moscow. But who`s still staying? As the 11th Hour gets underway on this Wednesday night.
Good evening, I`m Stephanie Ruhle. Day 15 of the invasion in Ukraine, and Russia appears to have begun a more brutal and devastating phase of its assault. Today, airstrikes on the southern city of Mariupol` destroyed a children`s and maternity hospital. The horror of the bombing captured in this image of an injured pregnant woman carried out on a stretcher.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (through translation): Vladimir Putin says Russians should be proud of what their soldiers are doing in Ukraine. But where`s the honor in bombing a children`s and maternity hospital in a city that`s surrounded.
No patients were reported killed in this attack. But pregnant women were among those who were helped out of the building. Ukraine called it a war crime says children are still trapped.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I cannot realize why it`s necessary for Russian troops to destroy a hospital.
ENGEL: Russia denied it was responsible. The Russian forces have been cutting off variable for days. The city has run out of basic supplies.
We don`t have electricity, we don`t have anything to eat. We don`t have medicine. We have nothing this woman says the crater next to the hospital gives an idea of the sheer size of the bomb, dropped in the center of the city. Bodies here are being laid to rest in mass graves, harkening back to wars Europe thought were consigned to the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Richard Engel on the ground in Ukraine. Tonight there are also concerns Russia may be preparing to use chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine. And at the same time, U.S. officials warn Russia is now falsely accusing Ukraine of having biological weapons labs and chemical weapons. They warn that the Kremlin may be making those accusations to try to justify some sort of false flag attack using their own poisonous weapons in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukraine`s President continues to beg for help from the west. In an interview with Sky News earlier President Zelenskyy said other nations must act now before it`s too late.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: They want us to feel like animals because they blocked our 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 that children in Mariupol` was the child was dead.
Yes, you know that is their idea of this operation or I don`t know how is Putin is telling about it. So that the idea that you grew, do with Ukrainian animals, but we are not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So how do you stop it? Are you going -- are you prepared to do a deal? You`ve said you`re happy to talk?
ZELENSKYY: We can`t stop along of this. No, it`s --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you think it stopped? How was it going to stop?
ZELENSKYY: Only if the world will unite around Ukraine, around --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Uniting around Ukraine?
ZELENSKYY: They`re not, they`re still -- it`s still very slowly. It`s still very slowly but you can feel it only when you`re here because the people from Europe or USA it`s far from Ukraine, from the heart of this tragedy. And you can`t understand the details because you`re not fighting here. And I understand why. And I don`t want them to find really but these countries can help, can unite because we can`t speak about the closing there, I`m sorry that I`m speaking again and again about this problem but we spoke about children`s hospitals et cetera. And you know the number of these child deaths and -- so we are speaking about closing the sky.
You can decide to close or not to close. You can decide if you are united against the Nazis and these terror, you have to close.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: It`s now just after six o`clock in the morning in Lviv or NBC`s Cal Perry is standing by. Cal, the world is rocked looking at those images from the Children Hospital. We just heard the Zelenskyy again begging for help from the west. What are you hearing on the ground?
CAL PERRY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, unfortunately, what we`re hearing here is that while the pictures are shocking, the situation is actually worse than what you see from the deputy mayor in Mariupol`, he`s reporting that at least 1200 civilians have been killed since the siege of that city, though he says he expects the number to be maybe three, maybe four times higher. We also heard yesterday that a mass grave was dug in the city of Mariupol`. People cannot even get above ground to carry out funerals. So at least 50 people were put into that mass grave.
And we`re seeing these scenes play out across the country. And folks here are not surprised that hospitals are now being targeted at least 60 hospitals, 60 have been knocked at least offline without power or have been impacted by some kind of shelling in some kind of way.
In the city of Kharkiv, there are bodies in the streets, according to the mayor there. Similar scenes playing out as these cities are run with Russian troops and then shelled until there is no more power. There is no more water or there is no more heat all the while, as you heard from our Richard Engel forces closing in around Kyiv and some of the residents there for all the obvious reasons because they are being targeted, as they leave are just headed further into the city which is becoming a more and more desperate and dangerous situation.
Add to that concerns about nuclear facilities, Chernobyl has now been cut off from the IAEA`s monitoring system. While the IAEA says that the danger has not been raised, we don`t really have a good understanding of what`s going on there. And as Apache (ph) Power Plant, which our viewers will remember, we had that firefight at the end of last week and a fire breakout. Again, the Russians are in control, and they have removed it from the IAEA grid.
It is all the more concerning when you talk to people here in the west of the country in cities like the one, I am now bursting with refugees, talk of nuclear issues, talk of chemical weapons, the pictures coming out of these black sea towns is only forcing more and more people, Stephanie, to try to abandon their lives and try to flee to safety and all of that while the conditions are only getting worse. Stephanie?
RUHLE: What is doing psychologically to Ukrainians until now everyone we`ve heard from as devastated as the country has been. They said we will defeat Russia, we will defeat Putin, we are not scared. But when you look at what happened in Mariupol, just today alone, is this creating a psychological break there?
PERRY: Absolutely. And when you look at the indiscriminate shelling of the civilian areas, there is a purpose to it from the Russian army, it is to break civilians in this country. If you take out the heat, for example, or you take out the power in the cities, it`s unlivable. People cannot survive subzero temperatures for that many days without food and without water. So what happens, these cities clear out. The tragedy here though, is that people who can`t leave are stuck in these cities. The elderly, the infirm, people who are sick, people in these hospitals, people receiving treatment in hospitals, the people who can`t leave are the ones who are stuck behind. And those are the people that are dying tonight, Stephanie.
RUHLE: Cal Perry, thank you for joining us, really important reporting. I want to bring into the conversation Dmytro Gurin, he is a member of Ukrainian Parliament and he grew up in Mariupol. His mom and dad still live there now. I want to start right there. How are your parents? Have you been able to speak with them?
DMYTRO GURIN, UKRAINE PARLIAMENT MEMBER: I only know they are alive as for yesterday. I haven`t speak with them for days already. There are several, only several spots in the city where you can get their cell phone network. So there is no network connection with Mariupol. And that`s really they have minus seven by Celsius, subzero temperature, no heating, no water, no gas, no electricity, any community, no communication, no transport, no supply of food, no supply of water, no supply of medicine. And that`s called humanitarian disaster people melts in snow for making water. People prepare food and open fires near the building, they cut trees in there, near their buildings and you know I`m just thinking about my parents 67 and 69 perhaps to prepare food and open fire.
And people say in the media, people say, all people stalking Mariupol`. No people not stock in Mariupol`. Russian army seizing the humanitarian corridors, hitting them with artillery. They mined arose around Mariupol` and filter around Mariupol`. They shoot to the civil cars that trying to escape from Mariupol`. There is 350,000 people in mousetrap.
RUHLE: So is that it, they`re there because if they try to leave, they fear they`ll be gunned down, your own parents?
GURIN: Of course, they will be gun down. Because it`s four day where Ukrainian side were trying to open humanitarian corridor. And their bombing their meeting points for people for escape in the city meeting points. They mined all the roads out of city. Week ago, it was an ordinary war, army against army. And we were asked for help for Western world and the Western world helped. And we thank you. But now it`s not just an ordinary war anymore. We all resist, we will win. So they did -- and we resist until the last man and they decided let`s kill them all. And what`s going on? It`s just a medieval siege. In three, five days in Mariupol, we will have real hunger in the center of Europe. Because food supplies itself -- almost all supplies unknown and food in the city is almost over.
And in two years, you will ask yourself, what did we do in 15 years you will answer your children question and they will ask you why are you allowed to kill all these people? And where every day we are asking please close the sky? And you are saying no we cannot? Because Putin will bomb us, oh guys trust me, Putin anyway will bomb Poland and will bomb Baltic states. And if you don`t trust just me, ask them.
And if you cannot close the sky, please close the sky where humanitarian corridors, please let these people in mousetraps let them go out from the cities without any communication that just dying in this freezing temperatures. And I asked all who received this program to call to the senators, to call to the Congressmen and tell them what`s going on. And ask them to close the sky, at least over the humanitarian corridors.
RUHLE: You yourself are on Putin`s kill list. How concerned are you that you`ll be targeted? You lived in that country for eight years. And now here you are?
GURIN: I`m in Ukraine, all of us are in Ukraine, the president, government and these, all of us here, and we`re defending country. Everybody on their own front. I mean, media and information war. And what should we do? It`s our country. That`s our land and our children behind us. We have -- we don`t have place to run. We will defend it and we will win. Now, it`s the only the only question is about humanity. It`s not just a war anymore, is just the world to like just looking. Our people are killed. And now in several days you will be looking just looking how people are dying from hunger.
RUHLE: It is extraordinary to watch all of this. Dmytro, thank you for joining us. We are thinking about you and your parents tonight.
RUHLE: With that, let`s bring in our experts. Michael McFaul, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia and MSNBC International Affairs Analyst, and John Sipher, a Former Senior CIA Officer.
Ambassador McFaul, you just heard that. You`ve been in the center of this for the last two weeks. You`re talking to people in Ukraine, you`re with us on air. At this point. Is there anything Putin won`t do, right? Two days ago, it was we have to hit Putin where it hurts. We got to ban Russian oil. We did that. And what did he do in response? He bombed a children`s hospital. Where are we going here?
AMB. MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: I don`t know, Stephanie. It`s very tragic to watch what`s happening in Mariupol right now. That testimony was really hard to listen to as an American. Remember the city is a city that has -- it`s changed over the years but it`s a half Russian city, half Ukrainian city. The dominant language they speak in Mariupol is Russian. So Putin is killing Russians right now. That`s just how grotesque this war is, and he doesn`t care.
And it`s not enough to ban McDonald`s and put sanctions on and stop Russian oil. We have to arm Ukrainians in my view. That`s what President Zelenskyy is calling for. You just heard it in his interview, they need more weapons to protect themselves from bombing. And by the way, it`s not just airplanes, it`s artillery, long range artillery that`s doing this grotesque killing of civilians and Mariupol. And I just think it`s incumbent upon the Western world to say, if we really stand by Ukraine, we can`t just stand on the sidelines, we have to help them fight. We`re not going to fight. I take that, I agree with President Biden on that. We should not send American soldiers or pilots to Ukraine, but anything short of that, I think we have to do it. And we have to do it now.
RUHLE: And why do you think we haven`t?
MCFAUL: Well, the Biden administration with respect to the MiG-29 planes from Poland, this, you know, this back and forth, the Poles initially said, they`re going to give them to us. And then we said, we don`t want them. We said it was the recipe. You know, what they say is they`re worried about escalation from Putin. They`re also worried about the logistics of how do you get those MiG-29 there and where they will fly from. Those are legitimate questions. I want to be clear about that. And it is escalatory to send those planes. And it is a bit of a, you know, a shiny object right now, we`re all focusing on those MiG-29s. In fact, you know, the Ukrainians already have MiG-29s that they`re not flying, because Russia has really good air defense systems, they don`t want to lose them. I really think we need to focus more on surface to air missiles, other kinds of ways to Gurin, to clear the sky, to make the sky safe as your guest just said earlier. It`s not just airplanes.
But also, if Zelenskyy wants those planes. And we are worried about escalation, because that`s what our intelligence say, so what? President Putin`s already said that sanctions are tantamount to World War Three, and as long as we are sure that escalation does not lead to nuclear war and my -- from what I hear from the Biden administration, they are sure of that, then then what does this threat mean? He is struggling with his army with all of his forces in Ukraine right now. Do you really think he`s going to launch an attack against NATO right now, with the full arsenal that we have? I think that`s highly unlikely. So I just would encourage everybody in the Biden administration, other bilateral negotiations, as the Pentagon said today, to think about what can you do to save lives in Ukraine? It`s just that simple. And maybe it`s not MiG-29, maybe it`s something else. But what can you do to save lives in Ukraine?
RUHLE: John, do you agree with that? With the exception of removing Putin from power, is there anything that will stop this man?
JOHN SIPHER, FORMER SENIOR OFFICER: No, I think that we could have expected that he was going to sort of double down. We saw what happened in Grozny in Chechnya, in the 1990s in the late 2000s. They thought it was going to be easy. They could just go in and put in a puppet government. And, you know, lots of Russians died. So they essentially went in and carpet bombed the place until there was nothing left.
And I think he thinks that`s what`s going to happen here. And I totally agree with Ambassador McFaul here. You know, Vladimir Putin has sort of used threats and intimidation over the last 10 years with us. And oftentimes, because of those threats and intimidation, we`ve sort of backed down from pushing as hard as we should have in retrospect. And the thing is, right now, we really can`t do this. This is really a fight for rule of law and democracy is something we need to take really incredibly seriously.
Listen, this country was the arsenal for democracy -- arsenal for democracy in World War Two. We did the Berlin Airlift, we did land lease, we fought wars on behalf of Kosovo and Kuwait, we fought a worldwide war against terrorism. We have -- this is equal to those kinds of things. And we need to start taking that way. I`ll leave it to the experts whether no fly zones should happen, or MiG-29. Those are things they can be decided. But if we`re not doing everything we can, in we`re showing timidity and worrying about what Vladimir Putin might consider escalatory we`re already losing. You know, we`re the biggest, most powerful country on earth with a powerful set of alliances and allies working with us. We need to leverage those and not be afraid to make threats back the other way.
RUHLE: John, let me ask you about Putin`s propaganda war, we have to remember that there are tons of Russians that have absolutely no idea about what`s really going on. I want to share with one Ukrainian, told my colleague Lawrence O`Donnell about a conversation he had with his father who lives in Russia. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And when I told him, father Russia start bombing us, it invades Ukraine and now I`m trying to save my little son and my little daughter and to escape from the Kyiv from the bombs. And she said, no, no, no, no, he starts arguing that in reality, Russia now as saving you from the Nazi regime, and we don`t have Nazi regime. And he said, the most interesting thing that the Russian soldiers now are given us food and warm clothes. I can blame my father in this situation. He`s also a victim.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: I mean, that is extraordinary. To me, his own father, who is sitting in Russia, watching the state run media hearing no, the Russian soldiers are giving you warm clothes and food. Given that, does Putin actually have a lot of support in Russia by Russians, because they don`t know the truth?
SIPHER: I suspect he does. But he`s also a dictator. And dictators worry about, you know, having power one day and not having it the next day. In fact, he`s, you know, seeing this happen around the world and places were very, very powerful dictators, in fact, that Andropov, one of the people he took great pride in is the head of the KGB and head of the party was in Budapest in `56. And this happened, where he`s working with the strong, powerful security service there.
One day, they were in charge. The next day, they are hanging from light posts. And so that`s the kind of thing a dictator worries about, but yes, in early 2000s, of one of the first things he did is to control the media. So he`s been controlling the media and lying to people for years and years. So this won`t be easy. But I think that`s one of the things we really need to focus on here is how do we get information into that closed society? How do we start to get some of those strong statements from Zelenskyy, in Russian, to Russians? How do we get these kinds of pictures into them?
Listen, I worked for the CIA for my whole career. And the CIA over its history is sometimes got involved in covert actions that have turned out not to be as helpful as they probably should have been. But if there was anything that the CIA was created for is exactly for this, this is the kind of thing where we need to get into the people, we need to get information to those people in Russia, not necessarily because we know what`s going to create an immediate change and immediate overthrow or Putin or anything like that. But we need to sort of start to get information into that system, because it`s the Russian people who are suffering here, not as much as Ukrainians, obviously. But Putin has thrown him under the bus, their economy is going to be terrible for the next 10 years. You know, people are coming back in body bags. They`re pariahs around the world. And they`re going to be dependent on China as a sort of little brother for years to come. And so they need to understand what Vladimir Putin has done to them.
RUHLE: Thank you both for joining us tonight. John Sipher, Ambassador Michael McFaul. And ambassador, I am so sorry I -- watching you tonight, speaking to you, I can feel your heartbreaking. This must be devastating.
MCFAUL: Definitely devastating.
RUHLE: Coming up, UNICEF man in Ukraine says there are traumatized children everywhere. How he is trying to fix that on the ground. And later, some Americans call rising gas prices, a patriotic price to pay. The latest on the economic warfare over Ukraine`s freedom. THE 11TH HOUR just getting underway on this very busy Wednesday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENSKYY: Don`t wait me asking you several times, a lot 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 we can go. We didn`t push Putin. We didn`t speak with him a lot. We didn`t found -- find to dialogue with him. We did nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Another desperate plea from President Zelenskyy, as 1000s of Ukrainians continue to flee for safety. My dear friend Ali Velshi is back on the border with Hungary tonight. Ali, you have been there since late last week. What`s changing now? This is a dark night?
ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: It`s getting it`s getting more desperate, Stephanie. It`s -- first of all, it`s very cold here and it`s going to be colder in the next few days. That -- you know, it is cold an Eastern European winter. The issue is that the lineups on the other side of the border, I`m in Zahony Hungary, on the other side is a place called Shapp (ph) in western Ukraine. The lineups have gone from a few hours, to six hours, to 12 hours. And now with increased bombing and shelling in eastern Ukraine and central Ukraine. What you`re seeing is yet more people every day we`re meeting people. I just spoke to a woman from Kyiv who`s left and again it`s women who are leaving with their children, sometimes their elderly parents or their elderly in laws, right men of fighting age are staying behind. So there`s a lot of complications there. There`s the fact that these families are being wrenched apart.
People are leaving their husbands or their sons or their fathers behind in a situation in which they could likely die. And then they are bringing their children. They`re arriving here. They go through the customs formalities. And then they`ve got to go somewhere else and start life. Sometimes they`ve got friends. In other Eastern European countries, sometimes they don`t have a plan. There are aid agencies to help them but it`s getting worse every day, Stephanie.
RUHLE: Ali, thank you for joining us. Please stay safe where you are.
I want to bring back this evening James Elder. He`s a spokesman for UNICEF, the U.N. agency that helps children in need across the world. He`s joining us on the phone because the TV signal where he is isn`t strong enough this evening. James, give us an update, you walked across the border into Ukraine two weeks ago since then, you have been helping mothers, children across the country. What`s it like now, worse than ever?
JAMES ELDER, UNICEF SPOKESPERSON: Yeah, hi Stephanie. Yeah, yeah, I keep being asked, you know, could this get worse? Well, yeah, think about those millions of Syrians over the years and years.
Yes, it can get worse. And as you`ve been showing heartbreakingly infuriating me, it just got worse. We see these images, these reports from the maternity ward in Mariupol in that moment that should be if not, what is like the greatest moment for a person, a moment of becoming a mother of childbirth, welcoming that little person into the world. But, you know, as your reports are showing, no women are giving birth in bonkers. Well, right now, women that seems have been given birth and being bombed. Pregnant women, highly pregnant women in labor being buried beneath the rubble of destroyed buildings after yet another indiscriminate attack. Yeah, sorry, Stephanie. Yes, it can get worse it just did.
RUHLE: My gosh, today feels just worse than we could have imagined. But here we are. I want to ask you about so many of the millions of people who have been able to get out of the country, they`re in Hungary, Poland, other places around Europe, and they`re not just going to be there for a few days, for a few nights. Are these countries ready to handle this new refugee population that will be there indefinitely?
ELDER: Yes, it`s a great question. On one hand, we`ve seen time and again, both the support from these countries from, you know, Hungary or Poland or Romania, literally welcomed with open arms, and strategically and having setups, you know, working with an agency like UNICEF around unaccompanied children having that first part of support for people or volunteers handing out SIM cards so people can reach their families or blankets, clever, consistent support. But in short, it`s impossible to think everyone can be supported at this time, 2 million people since almost to the minute that you and I speak two weeks ago, this this war started 2 million, it`s a number unprecedented mind boggling, Stephanie, nothing since World War Two million children.
You know, I referenced Syria just before and we must remember that what still goes on for children there or in Yemen and UNICEF continues to work. We work everywhere, as you and I -- as you and I speak. But in Syria, you know, he was around just under 300,000 Syrian refugees in the first 18 months of that conflict. 300,000 Syrians in 18 months. This is 2 million people in two weeks, a million children it was in 12 days. So unfortunately, as long as the indiscriminate attacks continue, as long as the war continues, no, there`s no way we can expect those countries to be able to meet the demands of so many people so quickly.
RUHLE: I want to ask you what this is like for other families, right? Many of the people who we see on the trains and making their way to other countries, their children can make it there, on foot, their kids are healthy. But what is this like for other families with sick children, with children who have special needs who can`t simply go down into a bunker or a shelter, it`s just not something they`re capable of?
ELDER: Well, exactly spot on. When I was at a center just a couple of days ago, it`s a center for autistic children, another one of these centers that, you know, we see the volunteers are incredible. It`s well set up. It`s by a mother, who had an autistic child. It has rooms of early childhood development of speech therapy, it`s wonderful, Stephanie, and yes, UNICEF is now supporting it. But again, she`s now dealing with people who have children with autism who`ve come from areas where they`ve been under great fire.
Now, anyone who knows autism knows that children those children cannot be in contained spaces like a bunker. So families had to accept we can`t go down there. We can`t do this to our child. We have to stay in the apartment, and risk being bombed. But then the bombs do heat all around, the missiles to bit all around and the children scream because of the noises as much as any child would. But typically one of those or yes, the baby`s in ICU, the children on groups, the babies in incubators, I see them here in the Lviv, which has been relatively safe. And yet clearly now we`ve seen -- basically see what those images but no one is safe anywhere because we`ve seen maternity wards and bombs.
So there`s still many 1000s of children who can`t get out, who simply by this situation are unable to and there`s many, many 1000s who are in bunkers and these indiscriminate attacks, Stephanie, this war, what we`ve seen overnight in the last six or seven hours, we have to see the greatest for these children.
RUHLE: James Elder, you are an angel among us. Thank you for everything that you do. And for you at home watching we will tweet out how you can support UNICEF and their efforts in Ukraine and around the world helping children in need. James, thank you.
Coming up, dozens of businesses cutting ties with Russia, but some are staying put. We`ll speak to the Yale professor calling out major companies that are still operating there, when the 11th Hour continues. Stick with us.
RUHLE: As the federal government ramps up economic pressure on Putin with sanctions, Americans are pushing U.S. companies to cut ties with Russia. Big brands like Nestle and Sony are the latest to follow what my next guest calls, the great business retreat, Yale Professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and his team are tracking which companies are out and which ones are staying put. His list includes more than three dozen companies still making money in Russia.
We welcome Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Senior Associate Dean for Leadership Studies at Yale School of Management, and Heather Long, an Economical Columnist for the Washington Post. And may I say, one of the best.
Mr. Sonnenfeld, I really want to have this conversation because you are personally and I thank you for it, talking to every Fortune 500 company doing business in Russia, great news that some have left. But I want you to tell me the names of who is still doing business there and why? A couple of hours ago, I spoke to Mondelez who said, hey, we want to let you know we`re scaling back in Russia. And I don`t know what scaling back means. They sell Cadbury chocolate, Oreo cookies and Tang I`m not sure why they would only need to scale back, time to go cold turkey.
JEFFREY SONNENFELD, SENIOR ASSOCIATE DEAN FOR LEADERSHIP STUDIES AT YALE: That`s exactly right, that places like Mondelez are calling that a humanitarian assistance of great nutrition I guess with those Oreo cookies. You got to think of some of the companies that are there with some pretty halfhearted excuses. Many great companies left and we don`t need to celebrate them now, that they`ve been gotten plenty of celebrations in the oil and professional services and technology companies that are rarely the early movers. But in this case to have the oil service companies, I can`t imagine why they`re still hanging on with the sanctions coming out. Baker Hughes and Schlumberger and Halliburton with large chunks of business there. Technology companies industry like Cummins Engine or, you know, some of these fashion companies Uniqlo, there`s stubbornly virtual, you know, vehemently there, and Ferragamo, Burger King, Cargil, Amway. They can have Amway, but AmerisourceBergen. And then the ad agencies, you name the ad agency, they`re advising everybody else and how to manage spin. And there they are Publicis and Ogilvy and Mather used to be such an ethical, responsible firm and (inaudible) Thompson.
RUHLE: I know you`re calling upon all of them. Why are they doing this? What is their excuse?
SONNENFELD: You know, it`s interesting. They`re very excused as some of them are arguing humanitarian reasons. The companies which had complex franchise arrangements, a lot of the hospitality and hotel firms, their buyouts and things Starbucks, McDonald`s, you know, and Yama figured out how to work around these, but why is Burger King still there? But then others say, well, we have this large workforce. We want to -- don`t want to hurt our workers, our loyal workers. The whole idea is to inflict pain on the economy here, we`re not looking for soft landings, it humanitarian as humanitarian to not drop bombs and bullets on them. This is one step away from war. And this is what we`re trying to do is when you take a look at paralyzing an economy, you have to take it seriously. And others are a lot of boards and CEOs are still caught in this perestroika mindset of 1990. We`re all one big happy family, we have these brands of freedom and liberation. Not now, there`s no middle ground here, with those guests who just had on, with those gut wrenching stories of obviously James Elder, you`re right, such an angel, but that Misha Kevzara (ph) would not even be able to break through to his Russian father and what the truth is, with the magnitude of this suffering, you`ve got this vicious, tyrannical, bloody bully on one hand, and these the worst of villains, and these innocent victims being, you know, shelled in their homes that have done nothing wrong as civilians. There`s no middle ground. But some of these boards are still trying to find the gray and what`s truly a black and white situation.
RUHLE: Heather, I read your column today. And it was scary. We know that Russia`s economy is crumbling. But you write that even without the oil ban, you think Europe is likely to slip into recession? I mean, that is a big call, especially when you think about the fact that we`ve got a global economy. And just a few weeks ago, we in the U.S. were boasting about our economic recovery, are we at risk of losing all of it?
HEATHER LONG, THE WASHINGTON POST ECONOMIC COLUMNIST: And the situation is certainly getting worse and worse by the day. Obviously, as Jeffrey was just pointing out, we are trying to enact the maximum amount of pain on the Russian economy. But that really spills over heavily into the European Union. And a big reason that I and a number of others are starting to think that it`s going to be very hard for the European Union to avoid a recession this year, is because a lot of it is not just those spiking gas prices or putting gas in our cars and natural gas coming from Russia into the European Union.
But there`s also just going there`s more of these supply chain issues. So Russia doesn`t just provide Europe with energy. It provides them with a lot of their food imports, it provides them with a lot of nickel and aluminum that are needed and they`re heavy manufacturing in Germany and elsewhere. And so you put all that together, and basically the situation you`re looking at in, particularly in European Union is soaring prices and a lot of potential factory at least temporary shutting down for a while because they can`t get the parts they need.
RUHLE: From COVID to a war, this is where we are Heather Long, Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, thank you both for joining us tonight. I appreciate it.
SONNENFELD: Thank you.
RUHLE: Coming up next, there`s another potentially significant player in this Ukraine crisis, China. China already helping to push Putin`s propaganda, that is dangerous. The global concerns about that on the 11th Hour continues.
RUHLE: As most of the world has come together to condemn Russian aggression in Ukraine, China has refused to call it an invasion. And a news conference earlier today, China`s Foreign Minister blamed NATO for pushing Russia- Ukraine tension to a breaking point. With us tonight to discuss Amy Qin, an International Correspondent for The New York Times
Amy, I want to share what CIA Director William Burns had to say about China earlier today.
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WILLIAM BURNS, CIA DIRECTOR: I think President Xi and the Chinese leadership are a little bit unsettled by what they`re seeing in Ukraine. They did not anticipate that the significant difficulties the Russians were going to run into I think they`re unsettled by the reputational damage that can come by their close association with President Putin, second by the economic consequences.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: So China`s caught off guard, does that chap track with your reporting?
AMY QIN, THE NEW YORK TIMES INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It does. I think China, you know, prizes stability, above all else, and the fact that this is becoming a long protracted war is something that they certainly did not anticipate, and it this is a huge political year for China`s leadership. The President Xi Jinping is preparing to take an unprecedented third term in power and so he needs to be able to control things at home and this is something that he certainly was not expecting.
RUHLE: Ian Bremmer, excuse me, has a much scarier take. He tweeted this, China`s state media is close to 100% aligned with Putin`s narrative on the war in Ukraine, very problematic sign for the global order is heading. That`s really scary. We know that Putin`s narrative is an absolute lie. If Russia and China truly become aligned, how concerned should we be?
QIN: I think it should be very concerning, but at the same time, I don`t think we should. It`s too soon to say right now that, you know, that this is a very firm alliance, the China-Russia relationship goes back a long time, there`s been a lot of distrust and bad blood in the relationship before. Certainly we`re seeing warming relations now between President Xi and President Putin, they`ve met nearly 40 times since 2013. Xi Jinping has called Putin his best friend and has, you know, as recently as a few weeks ago, said that the relationship between China and Russia has no limit. But that`s not to say that in the future, as Russia, you know, continues to feel the economic consequences of what`s happening that China is all in on this relationship. And I think that it still remains to be seen how China will, you know, handle this continuing crisis?
RUHLE: Well, let`s not go to the future. Let`s go to the present right now. What are the Chinese seeing on their state-run media, on their news, what are they telling them?
QIN: So right now, what they`re seeing as, you know, you said that there`s repeating a lot of this sort of propaganda that`s coming out of Russia that this is a -- that this was because of the U.S. and because of NATO. NATO`s expansion in Europe, pushed Russia to go into Ukraine, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokespeople have refused to call the invasion and invasion, they are sticking by the Russians line that this is a special military operation. And, you know, most, most recently, we heard them talk about, you know, U.S. bioweapons laboratories, you know, spouting these new theories about that. And so, they`ve also censored a lot of the pro-Ukraine voices in China as well. There have been scholars and people who have come out to voice criticism against Russia. And those people have been censored on social media, too. And so I think, you know, the view in China right now among the public is very similar to what people in Russia are getting from Putin and the state media there as well.
RUHLE: Could China step in and buy a whole bunch of Russian oil on the cheap?
QIN: They`re definitely looking at ways that they can benefit economically from this situation. But at the same time, I think China is worried about the blowback and getting too caught up in the sanction that Russia -- are being put on Russia right now. And so I think they`ll be careful. But this is something that they`re definitely looking at.
RUHLE: Who`s best friend, always remember, the truth matters, but only if you see it. Amy Qin, thank you so much for joining us tonight. We`re going to leave it there.
Coming up, from performing on stage to joining the war effort, how some of Ukraine`s top dancers Ballerinas are getting involved in the fight, when the 11th Hour continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EKATERINA KOZLOVA, DEPUTY DIRECTOR KYIV CITY BALLET: We are exhausted. We`re both physically and emotionally exhausted. Being able to focus on work is kind of a bright point in our day, when we get to focus on the ballet steps and focus on music and something other than the conflict in Ukraine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: I just couldn`t sign off tonight until I shared this last thing before we go, from ballet to battle. The Kyiv City Ballet received a much deserved standing ovation for their performance in Paris last night. Part of the company was on tour in France when the war broke out Ukraine. Now, stranded there, the city of Paris and the Ballet community have come together to find them temporary housing. But some of Ukraine`s other ballet stars are putting their careers on hold and they`ve stayed behind to join the fight. NBC`s Erin McLaughlin highlighted some of these brave performers, now warriors.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Dancer (inaudible) says our test prepared her for war. Ballet teaches you to have a strong spirit, she says.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: Sadly she had to call upon that strong spirit back in 2019 when her husband died fighting on the frontlines in eastern Ukraine. Today she said she would fight to protect her son and her country. We also heard from a dancer who is now working as a military paramedic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN (through translation): Of course I`m scared says artist Alexi Proteomcan (ph). I`m not a military person, but I couldn`t just sit on the sidelines and observe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: And another performer working to defend Ukraine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCLAUGHLIN: Last time (inaudible) danced it was the night before the war began. Now he`s building anti-tank hedge hawks.
MCLAUGHLIN (on camera): Do you think you`re going to dance again?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, 100% I go back again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUHLE: 100%, we wish these talented heroes the very best, and hope to see them back on stage as soon as possible. And on that note, I wish you a good night.
Thanks for staying up late with me. I`ll see you at the end of tomorrow.