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Transcript: The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, 3/17/22

Guests: Ben Hodges, Gary Locke, Jack Barsky, Fintan O`Toole


MSNBC`s continuing live coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Vladimir Putin`s military could not possibly, invade and secure peaceful control of the largest country in Europe, not named Russia. A hundred years ago the ratio of soldiers to civilians killed in war was eight to one, eight soldiers killed for every one civilian killed.


LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Ali. Once again, thank you for an extraordinary hour of coverage, bringing us exactly what`s happening over there. We really appreciate it.

ALI VELSHI, MSNBC HOST: Thank you, my friend. Have a good show.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Well, the official count of Ukrainian children murdered by Vladimir Putin increased today. It increased to 108. That`s just the official count. An additional 120 children have been injured by Vladimir Putin`s attacks. Some of them may die.

So, after accurately calling Vladimir Putin a war criminal yesterday, today, President Biden described Vladimir Putin this way.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A murderous dictator, a pure thug who is waging an immoral war against the people of Ukraine.


O`DONNELL: Secretary of State Antony Blinken agrees.


ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: President Biden said that, in his opinion, war crimes have been committed in Ukraine. Personally, I agree. Intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime.


O`DONNELL: Russian soldiers in Ukraine are doing exactly what Vladimir Putin wants them to do. They are killing babies, because Vladimir Putin, obviously, wants them to kill babies.

Putin appears to believe that killing babies, by the hundreds, will terrorize 14 million people into surrendering to him.

Vladimir Putin knows, Donald Trump is the stupidest, and most foolish person he has ever met. Vladimir Putin was probably stupid, and foolish enough to believe that Donald Trump wasn`t the only person in the world who thought that Putin`s invasion of Ukraine was genius. Donald Trump very happily declared Vladimir Putin, once again, to be a genius, and that Vladimir Putin`s invasion of Ukraine, in which he was hell-bent on killing babies, was an act of genius. That is what Donald Trump set. That is what Donald Trump said on the first day of Vladimir Putin`s campaign of mass murder, in Ukraine.

But, no one else, in the world, has been willing to praise Vladimir Putin`s mass murder. And at the United Nations, the whole world is watching. And today, the American ambassador to the United Nations, once again, pointed out who is responsible for murdering 108 babies.


LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: AP reporters on the ground show the world a mass grave in Mariupol. A narrow trench, filled with the bodies of children. Locals have told families to leave their dead relatives lying outside on the streets, exposed to the world, because it is, simply, too dangerous with the bombs, and shellings to hold funerals.

Russia will be held accountable for its atrocities. This it is only one way -- one way to end this madness.

President Putin, stop the killing. Withdraw your forces. Leave Ukraine once and for all.


O`DONNELL: And what you just heard the ambassador say, she was using the "Associated Press" reporting that we have used, on this program, this week, about the atrocities that Vladimir Putin is committing. Vladimir Putin has been wrong about everything in this war. Joined by a former KGB agent, later in this hour, to explain how Vladimir Putin, a former KGB, mid level bureaucrat, is how much resistance the troops was going to face in Ukraine.

Russian soldiers are being killed in Ukraine at the fastest pace since World War II. American intelligence estimates indicate, at least 7,000 Russian soldiers have been killed, in these first three weeks of the war. Today, Ukrainians president, Zelenskyy, think that the number could be double that, suggesting it could be as high as 13,000 Russian troops killed, already.

In the Vietnam War, and with a high body counts of American soldiers, and the largest number in Vietnam in one month, in one month was 543 in April of 1969, 543, in the most deadly month for American soldiers in Vietnam.


Just these four weeks of April, 1969.

And in just three weeks, Vladimir Putin has lost more than ten times that many Russian soldiers in Ukraine and possibly, many more.

In World War II, the United States military lost, on average, 6,600 soldiers, sailors, and paramedics, per month in World War II. Vladimir Putin has now lost more than that, in three weeks.

We`re going to be joined tonight by a former American commander of forces in Europe who says that this war is going very badly for Russia, and he does not believe that Russia has the manpower, or firepower, to encircle the capital city of Kyiv, or to capture that city.

"The New York Times" reports that a Pentagon analysis focused on low morale for troops, and our parking their vehicles, walking off into the woods. Today, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy aimed these comments at that low morale, and, to the mothers of Russian soldiers, when he made this video statement in Russian.

Every mother who knows that her son was sent to war in Ukraine should check where her son is, and especially those who cannot reach their children. We did not count on taking thousands of prisoners. We do not need 13, 000, or however many thousands of dead Russian soldiers. We do not need them. We do not want this war. All we want is peace, and for you to love your children more than you are afraid of your government.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is very popular in Russia. He made movies in Russia, and he is one of only 22 people who is followed on Twitter by the president of Russia. And, in a video released today, with Russian subtitles, Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke directly to Russian soldiers.


ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, FORMER CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: To the Russian soldiers listening to this broadcast, you already know much of the truth of what we`re speaking. You have seen it with your own eyes. I don`t want you to be broken like my father.

This is not the war to defend Russia that your grandfathers or your great grandfathers fought. This is an illegal warm. Your lives, your limbs, your futures are being sacrificed for a senseless war, contempt by the entire world.

Now, to those in power in the Kremlin, let me just ask you, why would you sacrifice those young men for your own ambitions?

To the soldiers who are listening to this, remember that the 11 million Russians have family connections to Ukraine. So, every bullet you shoot, you are shooting at a brother, or a sister. Every bomb or every shell that falls is falling not on an enemy, but on a school, or a hospital, or a home.

I know that the Russian people are not aware of such things are happening. So, I urge the Russian people, and the Russian soldiers in Ukraine to understand the propaganda, and the disinformation that you are being told.

I`m asking to help me spread the truth. Let your fellow Russians know the human catastrophe that is happening in Ukraine.


O`DONNELL: Leading off our discussion tonight, as always is NBC News correspondent Cal Perry in Lviv, Ukraine. Also joining us now, retired Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, former commanding general of the United States army in Europe.

And, Cal, let me begin with you, in the situation there tonight.

CAL PERRY, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: So, I think that there is a number of indications that we can now point to on the ground. As evidence that this military operation is not going as planned. The first one is this brutal assault on the civilian population and in the last 24 hours, the choosing of targets that are the lifelines for civilians who are maybe behind, specifically, the food supply, and the medical supplies.

In the city of Mariupol, you have Russian troops inside of a Ukrainian hospital, using patients there as human shields, as a way to avoid being shot at, and a way to deny the enemy medical treatment happening, in an urban setting.

In the city of Kharkiv, we have continued shelling of a marketplace that sells food to the people who have remained in that city. And the city of Chernihiv, we have the attack on a bread line, civilians waiting in line for bread gunned down by Russian soldiers, or snipers.


Still unclear exactly how that shook out.

In Kyiv, the biggest brain silo in the country, bombed, and destroyed. So, you have, in lieu of these military failures, this assault on civilian populations, and the food that they rely on.

The other thing that`s happening, and we saw that with Kharkiv. In the city of Kharkiv, there was this initial assault by Russian soldiers into the city. They would either pushback, or outflanked, and the bodies of the Russian soldiers were killed in that battle, remain on the ground, in that city, until today.

It is just another indication that the military, the Russian military was unable to control the battle space. That even though they choosing that engagement, they lost that engagement, and furthermore, were pushed back, and haven`t been able to recover that ground.

The other thing, the last thing I would mention, as a sign that maybe this is not going as the Russian plan, it is along the Black Sea coast, you have a number of abductions. You have a number of mayors who were abducted, and again, this is out of the Russian playbook, we saw this in 2008 in Georgia, in the city, and they went into the towns, and replace them with figureheads.

We are also seeing the abduction of medics. One medic in particular, a 54- year-old medic, and she is famous. Her name is Tanya. She is now becoming a bit of a hero here because she was part of the revolution eight years ago. She went to the east to support troops. She has been taken off the street.

It seems to be a choice at the Russian military is making to hit these emotional targets, to try to break the back of any civilian resistance ,that`s her photo there, and they`re doing this very purposefully to, again, break the back of civilians whom, the majority of which, in the eastern part of the country, or in basements, and shelters, fighting for their lives, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: General Hodges, what is your assessment of the military situation as of tonight?

LT. GEN. BEN HODGES, U.S. ARMY (RET.), MILITARY EXPERT: Lawrence, well, Cal is exactly right. The Russians are in trouble. It is obvious, from this switch to this attrition warfare model, which is a medieval approach, but also the fact that they have reached out recruiting Syrians to come fight. I mean, that is an indicator of the man power shortages that they have. Their plea to China, for help.

All of those, indicators that there is trouble, and frankly, and they were killing innocent people for a while. I think that their overall offensive power is going to culminate within the next seven, eight, nine days.

O`DONNELL: General Hodges, given your experience to having the command of Europe, and knowing the region, what were you expecting exactly three weeks ago, at this very hour, on that Thursday night at 10:00, when we announced that this invasion was underway? What were you expecting them?

HODGES: I expected the Russian forces to be much more capable. In what we call, bringing together the effects of, air land, sea, and special forces. I had assume that they would completely shut down the Internet, and the cell service across Ukraine.

I`m guilty of overestimating their capabilities. I was sure Ukrainian soldiers would fight hard, I don`t know that I appreciated the incredible resistance of the Ukrainian people.

O`DONNELL: Cal Perry, one thing that I have been struck by and Russia `s own cyber capacity, or lack of cyber capacity, is that not only are the lights still on in Kyiv, but, the president of Ukraine is able to give these high tech addresses, around the world, to the parliaments around the world, from London, to Canada, to Washington.

You would have thought, the Russians would have had the capacity to interfere with that electronic capacity, that Ukraine still has.

PERRY: Absolutely. And as we game out, even to pull the curtain back a bit for the viewer, when we game out our coverage of this war, we sort of assume we would be knocked off the air from Kyiv. That was one of the reasons we set up here in Lviv. Instead, the power is, on the heat is on, the water is running, there is a theory that the Russians maybe need that equipment, because they don`t have the fuel to sustain their invasion.

But, it has allowed President Zelenskyy to continue broadcasting. There is a number of confounding things, like that. For example, these Turkish drones, where we talk so long about these 40-mile-long convoy, and it was stalled outside of Kyiv and we are wondering why that was stalled, maybe the fuel lines, we knew they were attacked, is re-supplies, but these Turkish drones, that are supposed to be easy to jam, easy to shoot down, have been strafing these columns, and have been killing Russian soldiers at an incredible rate. There has been no defense put up by the Russians to it.


It just simply does not make any sense that a modern army, invading a southern country, another country, is unable to defend itself on that invasion. I do not think that any of us expected that. There is a fear here, amongst the people here in Ukraine, that Vladimir Putin is being pushed into a corner, and is being embarrassed. And there is a worry that he will lash out in some horrendous military fashion, that is worse than what we`re seeing on your screens, right now. That that is even worse than the shelling of the civilian areas, because of the military operation hasn`t gone as planned. That I think is something people are concerned about, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: General Hodges, what about the resupply of hurts that Russia has to mount now. They`ve got all these troops across the border into Ukraine. They need to get fuel. They need to get ammunition.

What are the challenges they`re facing?

HODGES: Well, you know, if I could, Cal made an excellent point by the way. I also was astounded that President Zelenskyy was walking around five or six days into this with his cellphone. I mean, that may have been the most decisive aspect of Ukraine`s resistance, and I imagine for years, people are going to be studying this and wonder, why in the world were the Russians not shut down the network (INAUDIBLE) they were counting on using Ukrainian cell service because they don`t have the ability to bring their own networks with them the way that we do.

I think this is also why there have been several Russian generals killed, because they`re talking on their cell phone. This is a reflection of a lack of training, a lack of discipline, and actually, a lack of experience of operational level or fighting that the scale. That goes to the logistics.

They clearly did not anticipate, not only the resistance, but also the consumption rate of ammunition. They require probably 200 -- imagine the big fuel trucks we see driving around our towns carrying about 5,000 gallons of fuel to replenish gas stations. They need 200 of those every day, just to keep their vehicles going. Can you imagine on the road network that we see, how difficult that is?

And some of the tanks that they have a huge consumers a fuel, so it`s not like they`re driving a Volkswagen or Fiat. This is a very, very difficult problem. All 200,000 or 150,000, whatever the actual number of Russian soldiers, they`ve got to eat every single day.

And so this is a real problem. I think the logistical situation for Ukraine, on the other hand, actually gets better each day as the effort of the United States Army and Air Force to build up supplies, we get a little bit stronger every day.

O`DONNELL: Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, thank you very much for joining us and Cal Perry, as always, thank you very much for joining us tonight. And please stay safe.

Thank you.

Today, Uzbekistan, a country with close ties to Russia, actually called for an end to Vladimir Putin`s war in Ukraine. Uzbekistan`s foreign minister said, quote, first, Uzbekistan is seriously concerned by the situation around Ukraine. Second, we are the proponents of finding a peaceful solution to this situation, and resolving the conflict through political and diplomatic means. But in order to do that, first of all, hostilities and violence must stop immediately.

Today, the United Nations Security Council meeting on Ukraine, the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations said this:


ZHANG JUN, CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: The international community shares the common inspiration for cease-fire at an early date to alleviate the situation on the ground and to prevent civilian casualties. This is also the aspiration of China.


O`DONNELL: According to a report in the German newspaper tonight, a Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was on a flight to Beijing today, but the flight turned around midway and went back to Moscow. President Biden is scheduled to speak by phone tomorrow with China`s President Xi, and discuss Russia`s war with Ukraine.

And joining us now is Gary Locke, former U.S. ambassador to China during the Obama administration.

Ambassador, thank you for joining us tonight.

I want to add one piece to our China information here, which is that China`s foreign ministry today, their spokesperson issued a clarification saying, China truly supports these remarks by our in Ukraine. China supports all efforts that are conducive to easing the situation for a political settlement, and, of course, yesterday, China`s ambassador to Ukraine was very supportive of Ukraine.

What is your reading of China`s position in this situation tonight?

GARY LOCKE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: Well, China`s in a very difficult position because early on, they first declared their support for the integrity of countries like Ukraine and recognized the sovereignty of Ukraine. At the same time, they`ve expressed support and allyship with Russia. And they are aligned with Russia and trying to for instance, listen the dependence and stature of the United States and the Western allies.

But the images of the tragedy, the devastation, the massacres that are occurring within Ukraine are actually being broadcast throughout China. So the people of China are beginning to understand, this is a devastating, a terrible unprovoked, unjustified invasion of Ukraine.

So, now, I think the Chinese leaders are trying to position themselves as well in some ways blaming NATO and the West for precipitating the conflict. China now wants to be seen as a peacemaker and certainly not as a country aiding in the tragedy.

O`DONNELL: Yeah, I listened very carefully to everything the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations says. I`ve never heard him say anything directly supportive of China, nor do -- I`m sorry, of Russia, nor do every year the Chinese ambassador say anything condemning of Russia. But if you`re Russia and you`re waiting for something positive, actively supportive, to be said by China of the United Nations, you certainly haven`t heard it yet.

What are the Chinese people seeing in their news consumption of this? What is the state of accuracy that is being presented in the Chinese news media?

LOCKE: Well, certainly, the images, the live images, the tapes of the destruction, of the despair of the Ukrainian people, the destruction of buildings and hospitals, and residential areas. That is all being allowed into China.

So while the Chinese government still say this is the fault of NATO and the West, nonetheless, the Chinese people are beginning to understand the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis, and the naked aggression of the Russian leaders. And so now the question is, what will China do?

Certainly they can make calls for diplomacy, but, you know, Russia doesn`t listen to calls for diplomacy. The entire world has been calling for peace.

I think Russia will listen to is whether or not China helps Russia, either sending military equipment and supplies, or buying their industrial output that is no longer being sold to the West. So China -- I mean Russia, is looking for economic relief, markets from China buying Russian oil and natural gas, buying Russian agricultural output, as well as China`s supplying technology to -- they`re also looking for China to sell technology to Russia.

So, the more China`s able to stop. That`s why the conversation between President Biden and President Xi is very important. The more that China takes a more neutral stand, does not get involved, the tougher it is for Russia.

But the meeting with the two presidents tomorrow is going to be very critical. I`m sure President Biden be very firm in laying out potential consequences if China comes to the aid, the assistance, economic or military, to Russia.

O`DONNELL: Former American ambassador to China, Gary Locke, thank you very much for joining our show tonight. Thank you.

Coming up, former KGB agent, Vladimir Putin, expected to be in his third week of full control of Ukraine by now. How did he get it so hardly wrong? We will be joined by former KGB agent Jack Barsky next.



O`DONNELL: At the beginning of Vladimir Putin`s war in Ukraine, Donald Trump said that he is a genius for invading Ukraine. Donald Trump`s last secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, used the word shrewd, instead of genius, to express his awe for Vladimir Putin, when Putin began murdering people in Ukraine.

Trump and Pompeo are not the first American politicians to, wildly, overestimate Vladimir Putin`s intelligence. The American news media, and American politicians, have been doing that for 20 years. They have made the mistake of prescribing intelligence to Vladimir Putin, simply, because he used to work in the intelligence service of the Soviet Union.

But Vladimir Putin was never a rising star in the KGB. He was a mid level bureaucrat, who was told he was not good enough to be promoted to a leadership position in the KGB. Today, "The Washington Post" caught up with the obvious, in a story headlined, "Putin`s KGB past did not help him with intelligence on Ukraine".

Most people, in Ukraine knew would Vladimir Putin, apparently, did not know. Even I, who have never been to Ukraine, or Russia, and claim no expertise in the region, knew what Vladimir Putin did not know, which was Vladimir Putin`s military could not, possibly, invade, and secure, peaceful control of the largest country in Europe, not named Russia.


Every cabdriver in Kyiv knew what Vladimir Putin did not know. How could Vladimir Putin have been so horribly, and stupidly wrong?

Joining us now is Jack Barsky, a former KGB agent. He is the executive producer and subject of the podcast "The Agent", available on all major streaming platforms. And Jack, you defected from the KGB in 1988 toward the end of the Soviet Union.

But you knew the kind of place and the kind of work Vladimir Putin was doing in the KGB. Are you, in any way, surprised by what you have seen Vladimir Putin do over the last three weeks?

JACK BARSKY, FORMER KGB AGENT: May I first and your monologue with an amen. Congratulations, you are the first major news outlet who gets it right. You know, I have been fighting others who would ascribe superpowers to an ex- KGB agent. You got it right.

And the other thing I have to tell you, your reporting and your analysis is excellent. Congratulations to your team.

Now I got this out of the way, Putin is not a dummy, ok. You don`t rise to the top of Russia, and stay there for 20 plus years by being an idiot. So he is a masterful manipulator, chess player but his problem, he built up this image of himself as this superman.

You know, that he`s physically fit, he has a black belt in karate, he goes hunting. He rides horses with his chest exposed. And he beats the starting lineup of the Russian national hockey team by scoring a bunch of goals.

He started believing in himself. You understand the hierarchy that he built for himself and this creates sycophancy.

And the most telling scene that I have seen, is a video on YouTube where he is interacting with the head of the SVR, the equivalent of the CIA. And he is asking the SVR fellow some questions, he doesn`t like the answers, so the SVR fellow starts -- he`s shaking, he`s visibly shaking. He is changing the words that he is using.

That is the biggest failure of a leader, if you don`t start -- if you don`t listen to the folks -- the specialists under you. And I guarantee you, the most, by the way, the most capable intelligence services in the military intelligence service, the GRU, I guarantee you, they knew exactly what Putin had to expect when he invades Ukraine.

I knew it too, by the way because Ukrainians have a deep seated hatred for everything Russian -- not Russian people, as much as the Russian government and the old Soviet Union. And that was to be expected.

O`DONNELL: And do you Jack -- do you -- do you think that that information, and that view existed, but it didn`t get to Vladimir Putin, that they were afraid to present what they believe to be truth about Ukraine to Vladimir Putin?

BARSKY: It`s probably a mix. If he heard that he denied it and was against, you know, his wishful thinking. If you get to a point when you think you are the smartest man in the room, that is when you start failing. That is his individual failure I believe, not the failure of his intelligence apparatus.

Indeed, the truth was too easy to know. The one thing that was not foreseeable is that we have a modern-day Churchill coming out of Ukraine. That was a surprise. But it wouldn`t have taken that kind of leadership for the Ukrainians to stand up and fight, and fight to the death.

O`DONNELL: Jack Barsky, I really need you to come back because what I want to discuss next time you are here, is your own -- when you defected from the Soviet Union, how did you figure out that your side was wrong? That the information you were getting and that view was wrong and that you needed to defect? Because that is a lesson that today`s Russians need to hear and need to consider.

Jack Barsky, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Really appreciate it.

BARSKY: You`re welcome.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

And coming up, I always take notes when our next guest Fintan O`Toole speaks because I always learn something, and I am sure you will too.


Here is just -- here`s an example in his latest article. Fintan O`Toole notes that a hundred years ago the ratio of soldiers to civilians killed in war was eight to one. Eight soldiers killed for every one civilian killed.

Now, that number is reversed. Eight civilians killed for every one soldier who is killed in action.

Fintan O`Toole will explained how that happened and what it means for Ukraine next.



O`DONNELL: Today, at the annual St. Patrick`s Day lunch at the Capitol, the Irish American president with a pocket full of shamrock, hinted at the long history of violence, and sometimes war between the Irish and the British. When he said this.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now you have Ireland and Great Britain. And you now have a republic standing together against a murderous dictator. A pure thug who is waging an immoral war against the people of Ukraine.


O`DONNELL: In his latest column for the "Irish Times", the always brilliant and insightful Fintan O`Toole, rewrites our understanding of collateral damage. Quote, "This is not the Middle Ages or the 1940s. The nature of war has changed in two crucial ways. It is fought not primarily against civilians. It can drag on for a very long time without reaching a decisive conclusion.

In the early 20th century, the ratio of deaths in wars was roughly eight soldiers to every civilian. By the end of the 20th century, this was reversed. One soldier died for every eight civilians.

We must reverse the meaning of that horrible American euphemism collateral damage. It is dead and injured soldiers who are now the collateral damage of war. Civilian casualties are the main event.

Fintan O`Toole expects the violence in Ukraine the end the way the 30 years of violence, murder and mayhem end in Northern Ireland at the end of the 20th century in protracted and excruciatingly difficult peace talks.

Fintan O`Toole writes, "Talks will happen sooner or later. And later, everything will be much, much worse. If it`s sickening to engage with Russia now, imagine what it will be like after further months or years of atrocity.

And joining us now is Fintan O`Toole, columnist for the "Irish Times" and the New York Review of Books. He is the author of, "We Don`t Know Ourselves: A personal history of modern Ireland".

Thank you very much for joining us again tonight. And I want to begin with what you are telling us about this notion of collateral damage and how we have to reverse our thinking about that.

FINTAN O`TOOLE, "IRISH TIMES": Yes, Lawrence. You know, we have in our heads, this image of warfare, which is so deeply rooted in history which soldiers against soldiers and of course, that still happens.

You know, if we cast our minds back to archetype images say the American civil war, you know, you think of this horrible carnage of one group of soldiers charging against another. And that is absolutely terrible.

But often in these battles, you know, civilians are nowhere. There is no sense, at all, that ordinary life, as it were, outside of the armies is involved.

You think of the First World War, what image comes into your head? You think about the western front. You think about soldiers against soldiers.

And gradually over the 20th century, it is not that, of course, soldiers are not still fighting soldiers, but the main event in war is becoming more and more wars that are fought in cities. And wars that are fought against civilian populations.

We are seeing this now, horrifically of course in Ukraine. You know, look what`s going on in Mariupol, you know, a city which is under siege where Putin is not at all, interested in engaging with an army, right. He`s interested in destroying a city, destroying a population.

And horribly, this is much, much more typical of the way warfare has gone. You look at most of the conflicts we`ve had over the last 20 or 30 years, you know. And you know, a lot more civilians have died that soldiers.

And also what that means is that armies are now able to in a way, protect themselves. Historically, if you were a soldier and you are fortunate enough to be called up for somebody`s war, in fact, you are much more likely to die from disease or from minor wounds which got infected, and that is what killed you.

And now, armies have gotten very, very good at protecting themselves. Soldiers don`t die of malnutrition anymore. They do not die of dysentery anymore. They have got fantastically good at rescuing a soldier who`s been wounded, getting him out, and, you know, making sure that he survives.

The people who are dying, that we don`t really notice are our babies who are dying of dehydration. Old people who are dying because the hospital has been bombed. You know, the attack on civilian infrastructure doesn`t seem very dramatic.


But if you take away the electricity, if you take away the food supply, if you contaminate the water, if you make the air unbreathable, you know, that kills vast numbers of people. And the longer it goes on, the worse it gets.

And I think this is the thing we just have to realize about the Ukraine situation. Sickening, revolting as it is, to think about this thug, President Biden`s absolutely right to call this guy a pure thug. You know, there is no excuse in the world for what he is doing.

But we`ve got to face the fact that sooner or later this is going to be negotiated. And the sooner we can do this, more lives of ordinary, innocent people we can hope to save.

O`DONNELL: And you`ve had a relatively close view of the 30 years of shooting at each other I Northern Ireland. So, you have a kind of a long timeframe built-in as the possibilities of how long we could be watching this in Ukraine.

O`TOOLE: Lawrence, you know this very well, I know because you`ve thought a lot about this too and in the Irish situation.

I`m 64, I was ten years old when the Northern Ireland troubles started up again. Nobody in Ireland, literally nobody and nobody around the world thought that this would still be going on 30 years later.

Remember, Northern Ireland was, you know, white Christian people who shared 99 percent of their interests and their ideas. Very much the same culture. And to think that that could go on for 30 years and actually could have gone on for another 30 years if it were not for, you know, actually, some of the very brilliant political interventions by Bill Clinton, by Tony Blair, by the Irish government, by British government, a lot of people helped us (INAUDIBLE) get out of it.

It could have gone on maybe for 50 years. Who knows? So I`m scarred, in a way, by this idea that first of all things that you think are going to be short term may last for a long time.

And also that you need to get out of this as fast as you can because otherwise we`ll end up doing the same stuff much later rather than earlier.

O`DONNELL: Fintan O`Toole, as always, thank you very much for joining. Always appreciate it.

Thank you.

And coming up, we will get a live report from Kyiv, next.



O`DONNELL: The approximately two million people remaining in Kyiv emerged from a 35 hour curfew this morning, and our guest last night, Ukrainian Radio reporter Andriy Kulykov did as he promised he would do. He walked an hour from his apartment to Tolstoy Square in Kyiv after the curfew was lifted. And as you can see from this photo, Tolstoy Square, still as it was before the curfew.

Joining us now from Kyiv is Sudarsan Raghavan, correspondent at large for the Washington Post, and MSNBC contributor. What is the situation there tonight?

SUDARSAN RAGHAVAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, tonight it`s actually, it`s nearly 5:00 in the morning here. It`s pretty quiet. We haven`t heard any large blasts here like we`ve heard in the past few days. But certainly that does not mean something has not happened or won`t happen.

Usually what happens in Kyiv as you wake up in the morning and especially in the past couple days, there`s always a target. And it`s always been civilian target apartments getting hit.

And every day now you`re seeing these images kind of bombard you, these horrific images and there is no stop to it, it seems. Yesterday there was the image of this woman crying in front of a recovered body of a loved one and it`s bloodstained.

I`ve met the other day there were, this one apartment building was struck by a missile. It went up in flames. 16-floor building. And it was mostly elderly people inside, and most of them were on the top floor. They had to be brought down in these large cranes.

The fireman had to bring them down. They were so sad, they all sat down. They try to grab as much as they possibly can. Usually their -- whatever documents they had and medicine. And they were sitting there at the bottom of the apartment, staring at their home for so many years engulfed in flames.

So yes, and that attack there`s four people dead. But the casualties could have been a lot larger, because the only reason it wasn`t was because half the building had already evacuated and left the city.

O`DONNELL: And how are you able to report on these things and be able to get around the city to cover this kind of news?

RAGHAVAN: In Kyiv it`s not that difficult, because we hop into our cars. They`re labeled "Press", you know, in order for us to prevent getting shot at. And we just drive over there and we go to what is now quite a number of Ukrainian checkpoints. Usually we have to present our IDs.

But we eventually get there. So it`s not so difficult to move around Kyiv as of now. I mean what we are seeing is not the sort of bombardment that you are seeing in Mariupol or Kharkiv where it`s been impossible for journalists not only to get into but also move around in.


But here at least, I mean at least for now, you can move around, but that is the fear. Many, many people in Kyiv fear that what`s happened in Kharkiv and Mariupol and other cities will -- could happen in the capital.

O`DONNELL: Sudarsan Raghavan, thank you very much for joining us tonight. And please stay for. Thank you.

RAGHAVAN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Tonight`s LAST WORD is next.


O`DONNELL: Here is more of what the American to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said today.



LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: As President Biden said Ukraine will never be a victory for Putin. No matter what advances he makes, no matter whom he kills or what cities he destroys. Ukraine will never be a victory for him.


O`DONNELL: And tonight`s LAST WORD is happy birthday to Myrlie Evers, the widow of assassinated civil rights leader, Medgar Evers. Myrlie Evers is now 89 years old. Happy birthday, Myrlie.

That is tonight`s LAST WORD.