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Crisis in Ukraine; White House Scrambling for Ukraine Strategy; What Caused Ukraine Crisis?; Stars Align For Hollywood's Big Night

Aired March 3, 2014 - 08:00   ET




JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: You just don't invade another country on phony pretext.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news, fighting breaks out between Ukrainians and suspected Russian forces this morning as John Kerry heads to Ukraine to try to make peace. Is tough talk enough to stop a war?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Also breaking, Oscar Pistorius on trial, pleading not guilty. Why he says he's innocent in his own words. We're live in South Africa.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: What a night. We're live in Hollywood with all the big winners, the moments after the show you might have missed plus the big question everyone wants answered? Who takes the prize for best dressed?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.


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

BOLDUAN: Good morning and welcome once again to NEW DAY. It's Monday, March 3rd, 8:00 in the East.

Ukraine and Russia in a standoff over strategic stronghold of Crimea. Ukraine's acting prime minister is giving a resounding rebuke against Russia this morning this after an army official was injured when armed men tried to take over weapons depot. Attacks have also been reported on Ukrainian border posts. Thousands of Russian troops have taken control of the peninsula, disarming Ukraine forces and Russian choppers are hovering over a border they share with Ukraine.

Russia defends its presence in the southern end of Ukraine, just to the west of Russia. The area has seen plenty of conflict separating Russia and Ukraine by about 10 miles. CUOMO: So, what do we do? Leaders in Washington and other Western states are holding emergency meetings all weekend, right up until this morning. The U.S. is among seven nations threatening to skip a planned summit in Russia. This as Russia's military gears up to go toe to toe with the Russians.

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


Well, the new head of the Ukrainian navy says that 10 military and naval bases are now surrounded by Russian forces, also there have been attacks by Russian special forces according to the Ukrainian government on border post, on the eastern side of Crimea.

Now, the Russian justification for any use or deployment of troops here is that ultranationalists from Kiev or a threat to the peace in Crimea, but we have seen no evidence there are any kind of radicals or ultranationalists who are in any way present in this region and about to disrupt the peace. Let's not forget, though, that these troops who are on the ground are not wearing any kind of military insignia, not identifying themselves 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 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.


MAGNAY: This city doesn't feel like it's on the brink of war, but it does feel like there is a war of information here between those who watch Russian state television and those who aren't getting their news from the west. None of them listening to the calls from Kiev for unity in this country -- Chris.

CUOMO: Part of the problem, Diana, thank you very much.

Secretary of State John Kerry preparing for a trip to Kiev Tuesday as President Obama cobbles together a strategy to answer one of the biggest international challenges, if not the biggest of his presidency.

CNN's Michelle Kosinski is at the White House with more -- Michelle.


Right. Secretary Kerry will leave tonight for Ukraine. He's going to meet with leaders of the new government there. Pledge U.S. support, including financial aid.

Meanwhile, here at home, senior administration officials have been trashing Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision-making on this, saying that he badly miscalculated, calling it 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.


KOSINSKI: The U.S. response so far is not without some strong criticism from some lawmakers of Obama drawing a line, basically telling Putin you must respect Ukraine's sovereignty, a line which Putin then almost immediately crossed, several to the U.S.'s red line regarding Syria for that regime's use of chemical weapons. Some are calling for sanctions against Russia now -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right. Michele, you lay it out there well. Let's take a closer look at what can the U.S. and West do to force Putin's hand here?

Here are some of the options: the West, we'll obviously start with the diplomatic option. The West has started with diplomatic snubs, stopping preparations for the G-8 summit scheduled for June in Sochi. The next step, possibly, Russia's membership in the G-8 could be revoked. What impact could that have? That's still TBD.

And then the economic options. Economically Washington and E.U., they're considering financial sanctions including a freeze on Russia as assets and limiting trade to the country. Will that have enough teeth? That's what remains a big question.

And then, finally, you have the military opening. The military opening remains very unlikely at this point. United States moved war ships into the black sea to support Georgia in the 2008 war with Russia but that move could be seen as further escalating tensions with Ukraine on the coast.

So, now that Russia has complete operational control of the Crimean peninsula, the U.S. says all options are on the table, raising the stakes once again for Secretary Kerry's visit to the Ukraine on Tuesday.

Let's get straight over to CNN's Barbara Starr now at the Pentagon with what officials are considering.

Barbara, what are you hearing this morning?


You're absolutely right. No military option is likely, but, in fact, a U.S. Navy war ship is scheduled to enter the Black Sea in about a week or so on routine deployment, long schedule and we're hearing this morning that deployment will go forward putting the U.S. warship in the Black Sea.

One of the biggest concerns the U.S. has right now is Russian disinformation and deception. These reports the Russians are putting out Russian citizens may need massive humanitarian aid, they may be subject to violence. The U.S. says there's no evidence of that so far and this concern of this type of information deception which is a classic soviet tactic may backfire and lead to some chaos. The U.S. now analyzing what the next Russian military moves will be, trying to figure out if they are going to move beyond Crimea, what kind of troops and equipment they are putting in and what that may signal about those Russian military moves.

But it is going to be a very tough problem. The Russians can move in real-time. The U.S. right now is still trying to react to all of that -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Barbara, it looks pretty clear that the U.S. got caught flat-footed here.

So, let's figure out what is practical going forward. Let's bring in chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto and Peter Beinart, CNN political commentator and contributing editor for "Atlantic Media".

I mean, Peter, when you were on last week, we were all talking in the theoretical -- well, they probably won't go in, they probably won't. They did exactly that. They've thumbed their nose, they don't care about your G-8, they don't care about your talk, they don't care about your sanctions.

You know, we're at that part of the conversation now where everybody keeps laying out the same things. Everybody knows military is not on the table for the U.S. There's no mandate for it at home. We don't seem to scare Putin anyway. He doesn't believe at least of all.

So, let's reset and talk some turkey about what really will happen going forward?

Jim you said it brilliantly this morning. Crimea never heard of it. Does it really matter? They pick a small place to start? How big is it important the Russians?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a big deal for the Russians. Big deal for the U.S. as well.

Big deal for the Russians, you have this key Black Seaport there, Sevastopol, the headquarters of their Black Sea fleet, their only warm water port, its their access to the Black Sea, Mediterranean, Atlantic. That's a big deal. That's where most of those Russian forces went the minute they crossed the border.

Of course key for the U.S., allies on the western border, allies we have defense agreements with. And really the front of an East-West pull, not a Cold war necessarily but it's cold where it war-like in that kind of tension.

CUOMO: So, let's role play it, OK? I'm Russia. You guys let's just game out how this goes forward.

OK, the state of play is I went in. They want me there. This is my place. I have military there. You butt out.

These days are over of me not being able to expand, they want me, there I'm there. They are unstable, not me. Just talking about the Ukraine. What's the best response from West?

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, first of all, the United States has to get on the same page with the European allies and that's the challenge because those European allies have depended on that Russian gas. Russia has more leverage or them than we do, especially Germany. When the U.S. went out and said maybe we'll kick Russia out of the G8 the Germans said, no, no, we're not on that.

So, if Obama's first challenge is to unify the European allies, take leadership over that and figure out what they can do together, because if Russia can divide America with European allies, we're not going to be able to exercise much leverage.

CUOMO: Strong point especially with Russia reading weakness in the solidarity of the G7/G8, whatever you want to call it, to me, Jim, smacks of Syria. It just does. I know it's an uglier situation of civil unrest in Syria, but you know, you made a line. I just stepped right across it as Russia and now what? We're hearing tough talk. What talk?

SCIUTTO: Absolutely. You bring up Syria. This is where it goes beyond Syria, right? Syria -- Russia is an important partner in the U.S. plan for Syria, for Iran, for many other crises. This expands well beyond there.

And also, when you look at the Russian argument here, you mentioned this -- they are talking about Russian citizens under threat. We have to go in and protect them.

CUOMO: They asked for us.

SCIUTTO: Which really is not true, frankly and that's why the Germans are talking about having this be fact finding mission. This is an argument that was used before. Milosevic used that argument 20 years ago, at the start of another civil war, right, in the middle of Europe, right? And went in and we know the tensions that that caused.

So, this is really one of the key point they got to right. They got undermined in that Russian argument. But like you said, how strong are our responses? You know, we can kick them out of the G-8. But, remember, Putin didn't show up at the G-8 a couple of years ago. Does he care? I'm not sure.

BEINART: And the frightening is, you know, there are Russians in almost all of those former Soviet republics. So, this same rationale, which is to say we have to violate your sovereignty to protect our folks, they've been giving these guys passport, these Russian, ethnically Russian members of these other Soviet republics. It's a dangerous precedent.

CUOMO: You already said, you're now talking about keeping me from advancing more. So I have to believe I'm safe. I'm going to get off scot free for this. I'm there. I'm in Crimea, nobody is really going to fight against me there among the locals. Ukrainian military, they can't take me on they can only take me on with your help. NATO is not going to do it. Why? Because we're battle weary. And it's all about the U.S. anyway, and the U.S. doesn't have a mandate.

So, what can you say to me?

BEINART: Look, there's a long history of this. The United States in 1956 when the Soviets marched into Budapest, NATO didn't do anything. When they marched into Prague in 1968, the tragedy is that, because this is a lot closer to Russia than it is to the U.S., the Russia -- we have always tended to think first because it's hard to convince the American people that we should risk U.S. lives in a place as far away from the U.S. as this.

And that is at the core of our fundamental weakness here. It's not to say we shouldn't be doing everything we can. I think the most important thing in some ways is to strengthen that government in Kiev, because right now, the government itself is quite fragile. It has to have the capacity to govern even in parts --

CUOMO: I think that's where you are. I think the distraction is focusing on Russia not for the reasons that the U.S. is spinning right now oh, it's not about us, oh, it is, you just can't win that ostensibly right now.


CUOMO: So you say you're going to send your warship. Didn't we do that in 2008 in Georgia and marched right in and what do you? Nothing.

So, it takes us, Jim, to how can we strengthen Ukraine so it doesn't split or fall?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: I think that's true as well. But I also think we can underestimate our leverage here. This is where the U.S. and the west now have leverage. The financial system is still based here in New York and in London. Russian companies, big Russian banks, Russian energy companies, they need to work through that financial system. If you really want to get at Russia, you sanction those state entities.

And already, some Republican lawmakers are talking about this. Secretary Kerry referred to that as well. That's really the way to go after them. We saw that with the sanctions against Iran. That worked. That brought Iran to the negotiating table. If you start making gas from Russia's big natural gas company, its oil exporters, its banks, if they can't buy and buy big apartments in New York City or in London, they can't (ph) move their money around. That's a good way to get at very powerful Russian people.

BEINART: This is the difference when you're in the cold war. The Russian elite now is very much connected to the west. These are people who go in vacation in Italy, in Britain, have homes there (ph). They're very interconnected. It's not like a soviet regime that basically is disconnected. So, you hit those people where it hurts. Their ability to basically live the lives that they lived, maybe you have some influence (ph).

CUOMO: Those are very smart points, those last points, but here's the question going forward that we don't know the answer to. Putin knows this as well. So, they know you might do this. Why is he still taking this action? What is he anticipating? We'll have to see. Peter, Jim, strong stuff. Thank you very much.

SCIUTTO: Thank you.

CUOMO: Kate.

BOLDUAN: Take a look at the weather. No rest for the winter weary, unfortunately. The eastern U.S. is getting hammered once again by another major winter storm. The worst of the storm is expected to hit the D.C. area. Commute is expected to be a nightmare in D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Because of that, schools in some hard hit spots are closed today and more than 2,000 flights have already been cancelled this morning.

Meteorologist, Indra Petersons, is tracking all of it for us live on the National Mall. It's gone from kind of white to all white around you throughout the morning, Indra.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Isn't it amazing we can see how quickly things changed out here. It definitely looks like a winter wonderland. Almost this eerie silence because, of course, the government is shut down today. Hard to tell, but we've already gotten several inches of snow here on the ground, but unfortunately, underneath that is some ice. We actually take a look here to my right and you can see even hard to see the capitol at this point.

And of course, the roads not in good condition at this point. In fact, just a few minutes ago, we actually saw someone skiing along the roads. It looks like that will be the best route today as another foot of snow is still expected here in the D.C. area.


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 nuts knowing that it's March.

PETERSONS: The massive storm pushing its way from the Midwest to the east bringing treacherous ice, powdery snow, and even thunder. The snowstorm forcing federal offices in Washington to close this morning in preparation for up to ten 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 south as Dallas. Kansas City, Missouri socked with whipping winds, snow, and ice. Single digits temperatures on Sunday could be the lowest ever recorded for March. The roads in Missouri so treacherous firefighters had to pry a man from this car that skid and crashed.

Illinois got hammered with enough thunder and sleet to create whiteout conditions, making driving on these roads nearly impossible. Plows worked feverishly to keep up with the ice. In Colorado, this frightening 100-car pileup over the weekend killed one and injured dozens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everything was fine. We weren't going that fast, then all of a sudden, everything just sort of went out of control.

PETERSONS: And in Montana, an avalanche powerful enough to rip this house from its foundation. Dozens of neighbors armed with shovels safely digging out an eight-year-old boy and two others.


PETERSONS (on-camera): You know, we keep talking about all this snow piling up pretty quickly here in the D.C. area. And you can tell, once again, the roads now -- the conditions are really worsening. The biggest concern here is that this morning -- remember, this started off as rain and ice. So, underneath all of this snow is a thin layer of ice. Any water left on the road currently is freezing as temperatures are getting cooler as we go throughout today.

That is the concern. And then on top of that, another foot of snow is still expected in the area. Now, it looks like this D.C. area out towards Virginia, this will be the bull's eye of this system. Snow is going to continue to fall and even get heavier at time as we go throughout the day. Even through the rush hour again tonight.

But then, as we go through the evening hours, this should exit out of the area. The concern behind that, of course, is that cold air still funneling through. So, this cold air is going to keep any snow on the ground still present for at least the next several days.

CUOMO: All right. Indra, thanks for that. We'll be back to you in a little bit.

Coming up on NEW DAY, military action is not an option for the U.S. but may be mandatory for Ukraine. The new government putting its own military on a high alert saying Russia has declared war. There's all out conflict. How long can divided and impoverished Ukraine hold off the Russian bear? The chairman of the House foreign affairs committee joins us live.

BOLDUAN: Plus, it is the most anticipated red carpet event of the year and what do people anticipate? Fashion, of course. We're going to talk about Oscar fashion coming up.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It is still dark outside. We're about an hour away from sunrise here in Los Angeles. We're live at a beautiful Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, just adjacent to Hollywood where hours ago, the red carpet was overflowing with all sorts of stars, Leo, Brad, Meryl, Liza, certainly, a memorable night for so many, packed with emotional tributes, show stopping musical performances, and this, one epic selfie.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the Oscar goes to --

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

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, BEST ACTOR, "DALLAS BUYERS CLUB": 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 for their transformational roles in "Dallas Buyers Club."

JARED LETO, BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, "DALLAS BUYERS CLUB": To those of you out there who have ever felt injustice because of who you are or who you love, tonight, I stand here in front of 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, BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, "12 YEARS A SLAVE": 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 the lighthearted, Cate Blanchett, took home Best Actress for her work in "Blue Jasmine".

CATE BLANCHETT, BEST ACTRESS, "BLUE JASMINE": Sit down. You're too old to be standing.

PEREIRA: Having fun with some of her fellow nominees.

BLANCHETT: Julia #suckit. You know what that means?

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

BRAD PITT, "12 YEARS A SLAVE," BEST MOTION PICTURE: We all get stand up here tonight because of one man who brought us all together to tell that story and that is the indomitable Mr. Steve McQueen.

PEREIRA: The honor making history. McQueen is the first Black director to win Best Motion Picture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery.

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


PEREIRA: A-listers shaking and shimmying of Pharrell's performance of "Despicable Me 2's" "Happy."


PEREIRA: Host, Ellen Degeneres --

ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST: Brad, get in here. No, I'm doing.

PEREIRA: -- snapping this celebrity selfie. Gaining millions of retweets and even crashing Twitter servers. The season comedian even passing out pizza.

DEGENERES: Carrie Washington is pregnant. She needs some --


PEREIRA: The over three hour show was packed with all-star singers.


PEREIRA: Bette Midler "Wind Beneath My Wings."


PEREIRA: And Pink's rendition of "Over The Rainbow."


PEREIRA: All receiving stand ovations. But it was the surprise appearance by legendary actor, Sidney Poitier, that truly lifted the crowd.

SIDNEY POITIER, ACTOR: Please, keep up a wonderful work.


PEREIRA (on-camera):

PEREIRA: And that call to (ph) action, I think, was heard all around the world to actors and aspiring actors everywhere from Sidney Poitier. "Gravity," now look, it wasn't chosen as Best Picture, overall, but still a great night for that science fiction film. Seven academy awards, including for its director, Alfonso Cuaron. A great night for that film.

Let us know what you think. I know you're at home watching. I was tweeting along with you. #NEWDAY. Get into the discussion. Do you think your favorite film was overlooked, maybe your star was overlooked. And of course, you know, oh, you know, we're going to cover the red carpet fashion. And I want to you tweet about that. It wasn't just the women. This is interesting. The guys looked great.

Gentlemen making some real bold fashion statements last night. Jared Leto among them. So, we'll be discussing that with two insiders who know a thing or two about fashion. And of course, you know, it is fashion's greatest night. I would argue.


PEREIRA: Kate, Chris.

BOLDUAN: I would definitely agree with you. A lot of white jackets we were seeing. Not the black tux.

CUOMO: Wound up being very successful.


CUOMO: Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor had it.

BOLDUAN: That's true.

CUOMO: And the long hair look, maybe that's the new thing.

BOLDUAN: Maybe you should try it out.


BOLDUAN: Maybe not. No. We'll get back to you, Michaela. Thank you so much.

Take another break, though. Coming up next on NEW DAY, "Blade Runner," Oscar Pistorius, now on trial for shooting and killing his model girlfriend. We're going to take you inside the courtroom live in South Africa coming up.