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Attacks On Ukraine Depot And Border; Secretary Kerry To Visit Ukraine; Monster Storm Moves East; And the Oscar Goes to...

Aired March 3, 2014 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The United States is united, Russia is isolated.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news in Ukraine, suspected Russian forces launching small attacks at the Ukrainian border and the military. Russia's prime minister now warning blood may be spilled as secretary of state, John Kerry, heads to the region. Has the U.S. been outplayed by Putin again?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Also breaking, thousands of flights cancelled today as yet another winter storm tears through the east. But, the forecast is changing rapidly. Who's getting hit now and who's being spared?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Historic win, we are live from Hollywood the morning after "12 Years A Slave" becomes the first movie made by a Black director to take the top prize as Matthew Matthew McConaughey and Cate Blacnhett celebrate in style and host, Ellen Degeneres, literally broke Twitter.

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.


CUOMO: Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It is Monday, March 3rd, 6:00 in the east. Ukraine officials say they're on the brink of war with Russia. Just this morning there was an assault on a weapons depot in Crimea where armed men stormed a military base, but were fought back by Ukrainian troops. Now attacks have also been reported on Ukrainian border sites as well. Those posts are reporting just now so we are going to try to understand it as it comes in.

Officially thousands of Russian troops have ousted Ukrainian forces and taking complete control of the key strategic Crimean Peninsula. Now take a look at where this is exactly. Ukraine is in yellow there. Crimea is in red. Russia, obvious neighbor to the east. Crimea is always a source of conflict in this region.

It is so key to Russia. Just 10 miles separate Russia from Crimea, but there's a lot of history there, there have been famous battles there, Crimeans have been at odds with the Ukraine since the separation in 1991. We are going to explain all of this to you in a little bit.

BOLDUAN: And leaders of the White House are holding emergency meetings. They have been holding them all weekend really with the U.S. among seven nations that are now threatening to skip a planned summit in Russia in the coming months. With Secretary of State John Kerry preparing to head to Kiev this week, Ukraine's new government tells its military be prepared to take on the Russians.

We have the crisis covered around the world for you this morning, starting with Diana Magnay in Ukraine - Diana.

DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT:: Hi. Well, we hear from the Ukrainian naval commander recently appointed because of the defection of the previous head of the Navy, that's ten Ukrainian or naval and military bases on Crimea have now been taken. Also, these attacks on border posts along the east find what the Ukrainians are calling Russian Special Forces. Now none of these men have any kind of military insignia on their uniforms, but it's pretty clear who they are.


MAGNAY (voice-over): Ukraine's military is on high alert this morning, according to U.S. and Ukrainian officials, thousands of Russian ground and naval forces occupy the Crimean Peninsula with troops surrounding several bases and demanding Ukrainian forces surrender and hand over their weapons. The Ukrainian military is mobilizing on troops and calling on army reservist to report for duty immediately. Ukraine's new prime minister now fierce a wider invasion by Russia.

ARSENY YATSENYUK, NEW PRIME MINISTER, UKRAINE: This is actually the declaration of war to my country.

MAGNAY: Ukraine's ambassador to the U.N. says his country needs military support, but NATO is pushing for peaceful diplomacy.

ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: We urge all parties to urgently continue all efforts to move away from this dangerous situation. I call on Russia to deescalate tensions.

MAGNAY: Putin is defending his actions. He argues that Russia is only trying to protect Russian-speaking people and its interests in the region, including a valuable naval base. Outrage though over Russia's moves is mounting, as western nations accuse Mr. Putin of violating international law and ignoring warnings not to intervene.

JOHN KERRY, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: You just don't invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests.

MAGNAY: Crimea remains a stronghold of opposition to the new leadership in Ukraine. This embattled semi-autonomous region near the border representing a country divided. In Western Ukraine, many want closer ties with Europe, but in the east and in Crimea, which belonged to Russia until 1954, some want to rejoin their Soviet roots. Tensions in this east-west standoff over the future of Ukraine now have the country teetering on the brink of disaster.


MAGNAY: And Simferopol where I am, which is the capital of Crimea, is pretty calm for now. It's not there are tanks on the street. It's pretty much business as usual although locals tell us there are fewer people on the streets than normal. There does feel as though there is a war of information going on here between those who watch Russian TV and those who get their news from the west, accentuating these divisions when Kiev is calling for unity -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right, Diana, thank you very much. As we move down into the Crimean Peninsula, this is certainly a crisis. While it is specifically about Ukraine sovereignty, there's unquestionably an overlay now of a power struggle between east and west and really the U.S. and Russia.

This morning, Secretary of State John Kerry is preparing for a visit to Kiev as a show of solidarity for Ukraine and also a pointed warning to Moscow. However, to this point, talk is proven fairly meaningless. What is the next move to avoid bloody conflict?

We pick up the story there with CNN's newest White House correspondent, Michelle Kosinski, joining us now. Welcome and an important day to be here.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Chris. Good morning. You're right. Secretary Kerry travels to Ukraine tonight to pledge U.S. support for the new government there including financially. While here senior administration officials publicly trash Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision making on this saying, he badly miscalculated, a terrible choice that will only leave Russia severely isolated if this continues.


KOSINSKI (voice-over): The secretary of state is preparing for an emergency trip to the center of the crisis. It comes after President Obama and his national security team worked through the weekend on the dangerous escalating situation in Ukraine. The president spoke by phone with leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Poland, and the U.K. after an hour and a half call with Vladimir Putin himself.

Senior administration officials say Obama flatly rejected Putin's reasons for entering Ukraine and taking over Crimea, telling him to back out, but also offering ways forward through dialogue or international monitors to make sure the Russian-speaking people there are protected under Ukraine's new government. Secretary of State John Kerry didn't hold back on Russia's move in a string of TV appearances.

KERRY: It's an incredible act of aggression. It is really a stunning, willful choice by President Putin to invade another country. It's a 19th Century act in the 21st Century.

KOSINSKI: Russia's action comes after Ukraine's president was ousted last month in the wake of a bloody street protest after his rejection of a deal with the European Union that would mean closer ties to the west and away from Russia. Secretary Kerry says at least 10 other nations are prepared along with the U.S. to sanction Russia to go to the hilt he said to isolate it economically just as it craves foreign investment.

Now the administration has cancelled trade talks with Russia and with several allies has backed out of meetings leading to the G-8 Summit in Sochi in June.


MAGNAY: All this has also drawn strong criticism from some lawmakers of President Obama's drawing a line, telling Putin to respect Ukraine's sovereignty, which Putin quickly crossed. Similar to the U.S. drawing a red line with Syria over that regime's use of chemical weapon. Well, for all of the work here, though, it seems that maybe Germany now has found the off ramp to Russia's course saying that Russia has accepted its proposal to establish a fact finding mission to Ukraine and start a dialogue -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: We'll see what that really means in practice. Michelle, thank you very much and welcome to CNN. Great to see you.

KOSINSKI: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: This all leave many questions, of course, an important one is what will President Putin do next? Russia's prime minister saying Sunday that the Ukrainian president's ouster made the region extremely unstable and could lead to new blood in his words.

Let's get to Phil Black now in Moscow with that angle of this developing story. Phil, what's the very latest from Moscow?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, good morning. Amid all the international criticism of Russia, Russia is now claiming support from a fairly significant international power, China. Foreign ministers from the two countries this morning spoke after which Russia says their views coincide on the issue of Ukraine. A later statement from Chinese Foreign Ministry says that they still respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine, but understand why the events on the ground are unfolding as they are.

It's not a powerful endorsement of Russia's actions but nor is it a stinging condemnation either. As for Russia's end game, that is still not entirely clear. At the very least we know that Russia is keeping its options open. Difficult to imagine a scenario where it gives up control of Crimea back to the government in Ukraine.

And President Putin spoke to President Obama saying that Russia reserves the right to protect its interest to its people not just in Crimea, but in the east of the country as well, which at least raises the possibility of a further military incursion into that eastern region of Ukraine. The key question now is how far is Russia prepared to take this? Chris, back to you.

CUOMO: All right, Phil, that is the pressing question. There are so many factors that go into the calculus here. So let's take a step back and we are going to explain right now. We have with us CNN's chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto. There are so many factors here. There is geography. There is politics. There is culture. This seems far away, but it isn't.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It's not. It seems a million miles away to Americans, but just a reminder, Ukraine is in Europe, Kiev is just a few hundred miles away from cities Americans visit all the time, Rome, Paris, London, that kind of thing and we have U.S. allies just to the west of it, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, all members of NATO.

Under the NATO Charter, the U.S. is required to defend these countries militarily if they come under threat. Now Ukraine is not part of NATO, but there's been a lot of talk in recent years about closer relationships bringing them closer to NATO.

CUOMO: Now Crimea, the focus right now appropriately colored red. Why?

SCIUTTO: Well, because it has that pull towards Russia and why is Russia interested here? Right on the tip of the Crimean Peninsula is a key Russian naval base, Sevastopol, the headquarters of their Black Sea fleet. It's their only warm water port in all the Russian ports up here. They are cold. They don't have access to them in the winter. This is key. Now this is a key national security interest for Russia and it's one of the key reasons why when those thousands of Russian troops moved into Crimea, this is the first place they went.

CUOMO: And people will remember this place throughout history. You had, you know, famous things that have been happening here as part of its separation, people, we were talking earlier, Florence Nightingale.

SCIUTTO: That's right, long ties between this part of the world and again seems a million miles away in Europe.

CUOMO: And important to remember that charge of the light brigade obviously the British and Russia back in the 1850s. They went against the wrong front there and it proved very costly. A reminder to doing things the right way this time. So now, we look at the country. It's a sovereign, it's its own country but very divided how?

SCIUTTO: No question. So here's the eastern part of the country on the Russian side of the border, deep red. More than 75 percent of the people here are ethnic Russian, speak Russian. Come to the western side of the country, in this part, only 5 percent. That's a major division and in this part of the country that feels that pull towards Europe.

They want closer relations with the E.U. Many in this part of the country feel that historical tie to Russia, they want to be closer to Russia, but it's not all black and white. Crimea, you know, this is deep red, but still 40 percent of the people there are not Russian.

So you got divisions in every city, in every town, and every village in this country and that's a real volatile mix. CUOMO: A little unusually sympathetic down in Crimea because when Ukraine separated from the Soviet Union, only 35 percent down there were in favor of it so it's always been a little mix, but we see it play out not just in culture, but politics.

SCIUTTO: Absolutely. In 2010 election, elected Victok Yanukovych until he fled the country. A week ago, he was the president. So here's how it divided up. You know, 50 percent to 75 percent of the people again in that pro-Russia east voted for Yanukovych. Over here, 50 percent to 75 percent voted for his opponent, Yulia Tymoshenko, who when we were speaking to her, you noted, she was thrown in prison after that election on charges that U.S. officials believe were trumped up. Released just last week. You can count on her being a very visible, very powerful leader of the pro-western part of Ukraine in the coming weeks.

CUOMO: All right, so now, you've very well explained all the dynamics inside and yet there is the big elephant. The big elephant is that this place is basically a metaphor for whether the cold war is really over in one way, right, I mean, because that seems to be what the Russian perspective is about in increasing influence.

SCUITTO: Yes. You know, the president said last week this is not a cold war chess game. We don't see it, but you know, we're seeing it playing out right here, the pull between east and west. Russia wanting to reassert itself, and you know, Ukraine was part of the USSR. Until the fall of the wall, until the 20 years ago, they want it back in their sphere of influence, but that country divided right down the middle and in its key to U.S. interests. Remember all those allies right here. It's not something that we can imagine is a million miles away.

CUOMO: Jim, thank you very much. Complicated yet very relatable. We appreciate you laying it out for us. We'll have you on a little bit later on to take us through the specifics -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Chris. Another big story that we are watching here at home, the winter weary Eastern U.S. getting slammed once again. A monster storm moving coast to coast is leaving a trail of ice, sleet and snow in its wake. Schools in several major cities are closed at least for the day and more than 2,000 flights have already been cancelled this morning.

The worst of the storm is expected to hit the D.C. area and that's where we find meteorologist, Indra Petersons who is live in the National Mall for us this morning. I know it's been changing quite a bit in the overnight hours, Indra. How is it looking now?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I mean, it's amazing how quickly, Kate, you're talking about it changing because right now, yes, we're seeing that wintry mix and really primarily it's going to switch over to snow. But I want to show you just a few feet away, you can actually see the remnants of these paddles on the ground.

I mean, just a few hours ago we were talking about rain and even some freezing rain. So we had a lot of icing across the area. Now the concern, of course, is that temperatures will be cooling off as we go throughout the day. Many places on the east coast will have highs in the early morning hours and temperatures could drop the next 30 degrees over the next few hours and of course, another foot of snow, hard to believe, still making aim here at the mid-Atlantic this morning.


PETERSONS (voice-over): A nasty mix of winter weather spanning a whopping two dozen states is wreaking havoc for 90 million people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a little nice snowing that it's March.

PETERSONS: The massive storm pushing its way from the Midwest to the east bringing treacherous ice, powdery snow and even some dirt. The snowstorm forcing federal offices in Washington to close this morning in preparation for up to 10 inches of the snow.

On Capitol Hill, the House and Senate postponing all votes until Tuesday.

The nation's capital hit hard two weeks ago buried under a massive snowstorm that dumped more than a foot of snow in just 24 hours. Public schools are closed this morning in Philadelphia, parts of New Jersey, and as far as Dallas.

Kansas City, Missouri, socked with whipping wind, snow and ice. Single-digit temperatures could be the lowest ever recorded for March. The roads to Missouri so treacherous, firefighter himself to pry a man from this car that skid and crashed.

Illinois got hammered with another thunder and sleet to create whiteout conditions, making driving nearly impossible. Plows worked feverishly to keep up with the ice.

In Colorado, this frightening pileup killed one and injured dozens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything was fiend and we weren't going that fast and all of a sudden everything just went out of control.

PETERSONS: And in Montana, an avalanche powerful enough to rip this house from its foundation, dozens safely digging out an 8-year-old boy and two others.


PETERSONS: So, Kate, I was showing you these puddles on the ground earlier. There's a reason I'm showing you this, because keep in mind, this is a dynamic storm. We're talking about warmer air first, rain and then now snow. The reason that's so important: the roads, if you have rain first, they couldn't pre-treat these roads with salt. Now that the storm is on its way, they have to go out and salt those roads.

And that's the concern here. We're talking about potentially another foot of snow, the bulls eye being the D.C. area, all of Maryland and out towards Virginia. This is hard to believe because just two weeks ago, we were talking about the system that brought six inches to a foot of snow across this area as being the biggest snowstorm in three years. The fact that we're having another one, definitely a lot of concern in the region today.

And the system did shift farther to the south. If you're around maybe New York City and not seeing the snow you thought you were expecting, and we know the reason why. Remember, this is the storm we were tracking all the way from California and the models kind of just brought it a little further to the South as it tracked across. So, today, you're just looking we're still talking about the wintry mix around the Carolinas.

All of this should push out by the time we go through this evening. That's the good news. But the cold air means any snow is going to stick around for a while, guys.

BOLDUAN: Some good news there. All those cold temperatures there back, just like you expected, Indra. We'll check back with you, of course, throughout the show, Indra.

Take a look at some of the other headlines we're looking at this morning. Happening today, President Obama is meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. Iran's nuclear programs are expected to be discussed. Netanyahu is also addressing the American-Israel Committee conference in Washington.

CUOMO: We have breaking news overnight out of North Korea. They have freed an Australian missionary who was detained last month. He is 75- year-old John Short, accused of secretly spreading religious material, that's a crime in a irreligious state. But North Korea is still holding American Kenneth Bae, who is accused of trying to take down the government with religious activities. It's reported Bae had been conducting missionary work there.

Now, just hours before Short's release, North Korea fired two short range missiles into the sea off the east coast of the Korean peninsula, the second such launch in less than a week.

BOLDUAN: Breaking news from South Africa this morning, Oscar Pistorius pleading not guilty to murder charges. His trial is now under way but the court is currently in a break. The former Olympian admits shooting and killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, more than a year ago. But he says his mistook his girl friend for an intruder. Prosecutors say he shot her after a heated argument. Pistorius faces life in prison if he's convicted.

CUOMO: So, that's going to be trial resonating really all over the world.

BOLDUAN: They call it the trial of century in South Africa.

CUOMO: Yes, we'll be watching that, for sure.

Let's take a break here now on NEW DAY: when we come back, we're going to get back into the Ukraine because the crisis is deepening, the world is on edge, and once again, Vladimir Putin seems to be setting the agenda. The obvious question: what can be done to avoid complete conflict?

Christiane Amanpour is her. She's going to break it down for us.

PEREIRA: Plus, Hollywood's biggest night. A closer look at who took Oscar home. We have all the highlights for you.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

I know you're singing along. That is Idina Menzel with her song from "Frozen" "Let It Go." Oh, wow, what a tremendous moment last night at the 86th Academy Awards, and coming to you from Beverly Hills, we're live at the Montage Hotel.

I sort of feel like I should be whispering. Folks are slowly trickling in from the parties happening over the evening. It's been a really a great program. If you watched it at home, you were seeing a lot of folks in the audience having a great time laughing. We'll tell you about.

But we know it was also an historic night. We saw the usual lineup of famous faces in the audience. And we know it was really the night for newcomers. A lot of them were the ones that scored in a big way.

And, of course, there was laughter, there were tears and a whole lot of emotion in the star-studded show. Don't forget those memorable speeches. Take a look.


WILL SMITH, ACTOR: And the Oscar goes to --

PEREIRA (voice-over): It was a night full of inspirational speeches.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, ACTOR: When you got God, you got a friend and that friend is you.

PEREIRA: The magnetic Matthew McConaughey winning best actor and his co-star, Jared Leto, best supporting actor, with their transformational roles in "Dallas Buyers Club".

JARED LETO, ACTOR: To those of you who have ever felt injustice because of who you are and who you love, tonight I stand here in front with the world with you and for you. Thank you so much.

PEREIRA: Newcomer Lupita Nyong'o named best supporting actress for her powerful performance.

LUPITA NYONG'O, ACTRESS: When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every little child that no matter where you're from, your dreams are valid.

PEREIRA: And a light-hearted Cate Blanchett took home best actress for her work in "Blue Jasmine".

CATE BLANCHETT, ACTRESS: Sit down, you're too old to be standing, having fun with some of her fellow nominees.

Julia hashtag (AUDIO GAP). You know what I mean?

PEREIRA: The evening's biggest honor awarded to the film based on a true story, "12 Years a Slave."

BRAD PITT, ACTOR: We all get to stand up here tonight because of one man who brought us all together to tell his story, and that is the indomitable Mr. Steve McQueen.

The honor making history. McQueen is the first black director to win best motion picture.

STEVE MCQUEEN, FILM DIRECTOR: I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery.

PEREIRA: It was also a night of wild star antics.

A-listers shaking and shimmying to Pharrell's performance of "Despicable Me, Two's Happy."

Host Ellen DeGeneres snapping this celebrity selfie, gaining millions of retweets and even crashing Twitter servers.


PEREIRA: The seasoned comedian even handing out pizza.

DEGENERES: Kerry Washington is pregnant, she needs some.

PEREIRA: The over three-hour was packed with all-star singers, Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath my Wings." And Pink's rendition of "Over the Rainbow." All receiving standing ovation.

But it was the surprise appearance by legendary actor Sidney Poitier that really lifted the crowd.

SIDNEY POITIER, ACTOR: Please keep up the tremendous work.


PEREIRA: Tremendous amount of emotion last night, from that touching moment with Sidney Poitier, to all of the laughter.

If you watched the stars in those front few row, they were having a great time between the pizza and the selfie with Ellen. They seemed to really enjoy the show. And if you are watching at home, the show clocked in at about three and a half hours.

Our Nischelle Turner had a chance to rub soldiers with Spike Lee, and he said he felt the show moved along really fast. We agree.

So, some people obviously had a better night than others. Talk about the folks from "Gravity," they scored eight Oscars. That's a good night for that film. And, of course, we know, "12 Years a Slave" garnering best picture.

Overall, guys. I gave it two thumbs up. And, again, live here in Beverly Hills, it's very early at the montage but if we see stars coming through, we'll try to grab them.

BOLDUAN: If you stars coming through, there will be a seven-second delay because they're just ending their evening.


CUOMO: Staggering through. You know, looking for a trophy. Have you seen this gold thing?

BOLDUAN: I just misplaced. I set it down for one second to get my other cocktail. We were talking about it when Michaela's piece was running, we both thought that Ellen DeGeneres did a great job last night.

CUOMO: I thought she channeled Bob Hope. She was more edgy obviously. But there was a pleasantness and intimacy with the people there, that she's able to make certain show.

BOLDUAN: She revved them. She did good, though.

CUOMO: She did a right way, though.

BOLDUAN: She did a good job.

CUOMO: All right. So, let's talk some other news this morning, in the sporting word, gold news specifically, the Honda Classic ended in spectacular fashion. Sudden death playoff in golf but it what happened before. That's the big headline.

Tiger Woods is such big deal that we need play. It's big news. He quit the tournament supposedly with a back injury.

So, let's get more on that.

Andy Scholes is here with the "Bleacher Report".

What do we know?

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Yes, Chris. You know, this is not the start to the PGA season Tiger Woods is looking for. So far, he's off to his worst start ever and a 18years as a PGA pro. Tiger's back started acting up and he was forced to withdraw after 13 holes. Tiger said he doesn't know if he'll be able to play in this week's WGC Cadillac Championship at Dural where he's defending champion.

And March is here and the madness is right around the corner. Sloshing Sunday. Now, less than two weeks away, Arizona strengthened their resume late last night beating Stanford with the win. Wildcats clinched the packed 12 regular season title. Right now, Arizona is projected as one seed for the NCAA tournament. Turning on "Bleacher Report" right now, Paula Creamer at the HSBC needed to make this eagle putt from 75 feet away for the win and take a look at this. It gets online and it drops! An incredible shot. This was Creamer's first LPA win in the last three years. Guys, it's definitely going to be a memorable one.

We were talking about it -- if she lines that up another hundred times, it would be hard to see if she could even make it once.

BOLDUAN: That is crazy town.

SCHOLES: Seventy-five feet for the win. Ice in the veins.

BOLDUAN: Oh, my gosh.

CUOMO: One of the hardest things to do in sports.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I could pull it in putt-putt I think. Just kidding.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Andy.

Happy Monday, my dear.

All right. Let's take a break. Coming up on NEW DAY, a closer look at the crisis in Ukraine. We're going to stay all over this. What prompted Russia to act the way it did and what does the U.S. now? No easy answer there.

Christiane Amanpour is joining us to discuss.