February 24, 2022 - PBS NewsHour full episode
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February 24, 2022 - PBS NewsHour full episode
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02/24/2022 | 56m 42s | Video has closed captioning.
February 24, 2022 - PBS NewsHour full episode
Problems Playing Video? | Closed Captioning
JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening.
I'm Judy Woodruff.
On the "NewsHour" tonight: invasion.
Russian airstrikes bombard Ukraine, as ground forces advance on the nation's capital and other cities, forcing civilians to flee for their safety.
Then: JOE BIDEN, President of the United States: Putin chose this war.
And now he and his country will bear the consequences.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The West's response.
United States and European leaders announce new, harsher economic sanctions on Russia.
How effective will they be?
And a verdict.
The three officers who failed to intervene as George Floyd was murdered are found guilty of violating his civil rights.
All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour."
(BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: Russian, under Vladimir Putin, has launched what U.S. officials describe as the most significant military action in Europe in 77 years.
From the north, the east, and the south, Russia has attacked Ukraine with airstrikes, missiles, and troops.
Ukraine says that at least 57 have been killed and 170 wounded.
Elements of the Russian army, one of the largest in the world, are heading toward Kyiv, the capital.
And the U.S. fears the goal is to take over the country and evict the government.
Nick Schifrin begins our coverage.
NICK SCHIFRIN: In a European capital, the full weight of the Russian military, what the U.S. calls the initial phase of a full-scale invasion, with Russian helicopters flying low over residential rooftops and at the outskirts of Kyiv to seize a military airport, military vehicles pouring into Southern Ukraine, and Russian troops taking over the Chernobyl nuclear site on their way to sack the capital.
Ukraine and U.S. say the Russian military is advancing on at least three axes, from Belarus in a pincer movement toward Kyiv, from the south and Russian-occupied Crimea, and from the east into the country's second largest city, Kharkiv, where the war entered living rooms.
This is an unexploded rocket and the aftermath of a direct hit on a residential complex.
In this city of 1.4 million, the only safe place was the subway, where children distract themselves, as their parents fear for the future and loved ones hold on tight.
WOMAN (through translator): It is normal people who don't want war who suffer.
We want to live in peace, to go to work, build our families, develop our country.
We just want a peaceful sky over our heads, instead of hiding as rats in holes.
NICK SCHIFRIN: But the vast majority of targets, Ukraine's military.
A senior U.S. defense official says more than 160 Russian missiles launched from the air, sea and from inside Russia punished Ukraine's bases, airfields and air defenses.
It sparked an exit of cars.
Filled Kyiv streets, with families fleeing west away from the invasion, the highway out of town complete gridlock; 29-year-old Oksana Matiiash stopped at a gas station to tell us how she felt.
OKSANA MATIIASH, Resident of Ukraine: One of the news media that I checked, there was a huge headline that Putin started war on Ukraine.
I think that was the fastest in my life that I needed to pack my things.
And I just took my hoodie, one sweater, one pair of jeans, my computer, and that's it.
All of my belongings are left in Kyiv.
It is really scary, but I do believe in Ukraine, in its leadership, in our leadership, in our armed forces.
NICK SCHIFRIN: But in Mariupol, an industrial city near the coast, others had nowhere to go.
WOMAN (through translator): I'm alone at work.
Where will I run?
Where do I go?
Tell me please.
NICK SCHIFRIN: And today is just day one.
Russia has kept in reserve the vast majority of the more than 150,000 troops on Ukraine's border, who are waiting, posing for cameras and poised to further invade.
JOE BIDEN, President of the United States: Putin is the aggressor.
Putin chose this war, and now he and his country will bear the consequences.
NICK SCHIFRIN: At the White House.
Today, President Biden unveiled sanctions designed to punish Russia long term.
The U.S. has now blocked the assets of all of Russia's largest banks, including the largest, SberBank.
The U.S. sanctioned Russian oligarchs who have -- quote -- "enriched themselves at the expense of the Russian state."
And the U.S. banned exports of technology with any American intellectual property, including semiconductors used in cars, smartphones and missiles.
JOE BIDEN: We're going to stop the ability to finance and grow Russia -- the Russian military.
We're going to impose major -- and we're going to impair their ability to compete in the high-tech 21st century economy.
NICK SCHIFRIN: President Biden warned again that gas prices could rise and urged oil companies not to exploit global instability.
JOE BIDEN: My administration is using the tools, every tool at its disposal to protect American families and businesses from rising prices at the gas pump.
We're taking active steps to bring down the cost.
We are closely monitoring energy supplies for any disruption.
NICK SCHIFRIN: American sanction timed with European export controls announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
URSULA VON DER LEYEN, President, European Commission: Our measures will weaken Russia's technology, technological position in key areas, actually from which the elite makes most of their money.
And this ranges from high-tech components to cutting-edge software.
This will also seriously degrade the Russian economy and all areas in the future.
NICK SCHIFRIN: And the United Kingdom introduced new restrictions on wealthy Russians' access to British banks.
It banned Aeroflot from British airspace and is working to exclude Russia from the SWIFT financial system.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson: BORIS JOHNSON, British Prime Minister: Putin will stand condemned in the eyes of the world and of history.
He will never be able to cleanse the blood of Ukraine from his hands.
NICK SCHIFRIN: And the West fears Putin could expand the conflict into NATO.
So the U.S. announced today it sent 7,000 members of an armored brigade combat team to Germany, in addition to F-35s and Apache helicopters arriving today along NATO's eastern flank, and the 3,000 additional soldiers recently sent to Poland.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg: JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO Secretary-General: We have increased our president in the eastern part of the alliance with thousands of more troops, ships and planes over the last weeks to send a very clear message that an attack on one ally will trigger the response from the whole alliance.
And we do so not to provoke a conflict, but to prevent the conflict.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Inside Russia, Putin is preventing protest.
Moscow police arrested hundreds of demonstrators calling for an end to a war that Putin said was to -- quote -- "demilitarize and denazify Ukraine," even though President Volodymyr Zelensky is Jewish and his great uncles died in the Holocaust.
Last night, Putin also obliquely threatened nuclear war.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russian President (through translator): Whoever would try to stop us and further create threats to our country, to our people should know that Russia's response will be immediate and lead you to such consequences that you have never faced in your history.
We are ready for any outcome.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Despite it all, today, Zelensky offered diplomacy.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, Ukrainian President (through translator): We underline that it wasn't Ukraine who chose the path of war, but Ukraine is offering to get back to the path of peace.
NICK SCHIFRIN: And Ukrainians are offering something else.
In the face of invasion, hundreds lined up outside of hospital to show their resilience and donate their blood.
And, tonight, President Zelensky has ordered a general mobilization of all citizens in Ukraine in response to the Russian invasion - - Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Nick, on that point, what are the Ukrainians able to do to defend themselves?
NICK SCHIFRIN: Yes, Ukrainian officials I talk to do detail a series of successes that they describe against the Russian invasion.
They talk about tank battles in the northeast, mechanized units confronting convoys in the east, fighting along the Black Sea, and taking prisoners along the south as well.
They are better trained.
They have more equipment.
And they say -- senior officials in Ukraine talk to me about how they are better led, because they have been fighting for the last eight years in the east against Russian-backed separatists.
But the bottom line, Judy, Ukraine's military is badly outgunned.
Half the militaries in the east, which means they're spread thin throughout the rest of the country.
And there's little stopping Russia from destroying Ukraine's air defenses, little stopping Russia from coming down from Belarus and, therefore, little stopping Russia from threatening the capital, Kyiv, itself.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Nick Schifrin.
And we will see you again in just a few minutes.
But, for now, a day of testing for this administration and for President Biden himself.
Lisa Desjardins has been following all the developments on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue.
And she joins me now from the White House.
So, Lisa, you were there for the president's remarks today.
And you have been talking to people.
Tell us what message people are taking away from what he had to say.
LISA DESJARDINS: Well, the president has been observing these events, monitoring them closely we're told by White House officials, from the residence and from the Oval Office throughout this.
And it was clear tonight in his address -- this afternoon in his address that he was speaking to the American people.
The message he is trying to send is one of expectation-setting, realizing that this is not just a war about territory, but Vladimir Putin is setting a war about ideology.
It's important, the White House says, that President Biden is stressing to the American people that this is about American values, the idea of freedom itself, something he says America must fight for.
And he warned very clearly, Judy, that Americans may feel some pain from this, especially at places like the gas pump.
He also did something interesting, setting expectations about time frame here.
He told us today in the East Room of the White House that he expects Ukraine will feel this, will have a difficult, hard road ahead of it for weeks and months.
That is a longer spectrum.
And it's also important that he noted that he again stressed he will not send troops to Ukraine to fight Russia.
But he clearly said, if NATO allies themselves are attacked, then, in fact, that is on the table.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Lisa, we heard the president also suggesting that there could be even harsher, more powerful sanctions to come.
What would those be and why hold off on them?
LISA DESJARDINS: This is such an important part of the conversation right now at the White House and around Washington, in fact, around the world.
Let's look at some of the sanctions that have not yet been launched by the White House, by the American administration here.
First, at the top of the list, no sanctions yet against Vladimir Putin himself.
Talking to sources on the hill and here at the White House today, there is divide over whether that would be effective and, in fact, if they could even track down his actual assets.
Second, something called secondary sanctions, those are important.
That's the idea of sanctions against banks, institutions, businesses which actually interact with Russian banks.
These are the kinds of sanctions that really had such an effect on Iran, North Korea.
That is something that this White House has not deployed yet.
And then, finally, the idea of shutting Russia out of the SWIFT banking system, that's not something the U.S. controls, but it is something that the U.S. could levy enough sanctions on to essentially freeze Russia out.
That is something that it's debated how worthwhile it is, what effect it would have.
But it is something that remains on the table.
Why hasn't this administration launched those tougher sanctions, especially the secondary sanctions, with Russia invading now?
Well, I'm told by sources again here at the White House and at the Capitol it's because of Europe.
European allies are not yet on board those.
They would feel the pain from those sanctions more than America.
And President Biden wants a unified front here.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And finally, Lisa, I know you have also been talking to sources on Capitol Hill.
What are they saying right now?
LISA DESJARDINS: Right.
First of all, we saw unified rhetoric, Republican and Democrat, this morning coming after the attack, supporting President Biden, and, moreover, criticizing President Putin.
But I have to say that has flaked away in the last few hours after the announcement of these latest sanctions, some criticism, including from the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, who today came out and said that President Biden has effectively not deterred anything and needs to issue more sanctions now.
I can tell you some Democrats privately tell me they agree.
They think it is time for more sanctions now.
Also, an interesting note, there is a different amount of opinion now on what happens next.
Some who are very well-read on this, on the Hill, especially, tell me they think perhaps Putin stops or is stopped with a third of Ukraine, but there is a growing sense, Judy, that perhaps he goes much farther than that, even establishing a puppet government in the short term.
I will tell you, tonight, you hear drums at the White House from a demonstration nearby.
They are beating for Ukraine.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, Lisa Desjardins reporting across the city today.
Thank you, Lisa.
LISA DESJARDINS: You're welcome.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And now Nick is back with more on what the Russian military is doing and Ukraine's response.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Judy, for that, we turn again to Michael Kofman, a senior fellow for Russian studies at the CNA, Center for Naval Analyses.
It is a Navy-funded think tank.
Michael Kofman, welcome back to the "NewsHour."
Let me bring up that map that we started this evening with that U.S. officials say is really the beginning of the Russian operation, at least three axes, in from Belarus toward Kyiv, into the largest city in the east, Kharkiv, and in from the south up toward the middle of the country.
From what you see there, what are Russia's objectives?
MICHAEL KOFMAN, Center for Naval Analyses: Nick, I'm afraid that this is fundamentally a worst-case scenario.
It is a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
There's more than just three axes that are even on that map.
And I think we can assume that the operation that Russia is launching probably has two objectives.
The first is an encirclement of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, perhaps an attempt to impose regime change, which I think is quite likely, in terms of Russian ambitions, particularly what Vladimir Putin had stated during his speech which was similar to an official declaration of war.
And the second is a large scale encirclement of Ukrainian forces in the eastern part of the country.
And I see a fairly substantial advance of Russian ground forces, an airstrike campaign.
And this is only an initial commitment for this.
This is a fraction of the forces currently arrayed against Ukraine going in on the first day.
Unfortunately, I think there's much more fighting to come.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Yes, it is day one.
And, certainly, senior U.S. officials I talk to say that they believe the goal, they fear the goal is regime change.
President Putin said that he wanted to demilitarize Ukraine.
What does that mean?
MICHAEL KOFMAN: Well, I believe that this is probably a campaign with maximalist warnings.
That is, he intends to substantially degrade or destroy the Ukrainian military and impose a surrender.
And this is a campaign that's going to involve perhaps large parts of Ukraine, and I'm not sure it's even going to be limited to the regions east of the Dnieper River or even the southern coast.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Yes.
No, we certainly see also some troops in Western Belarus who are just outside of Western Ukraine, although no evidence that they have entered Ukraine yet.
I'm wondering if you could talk about Ukraine's resistance.
I reported a few minutes ago about what Ukrainian officials are saying.
But what have you seen in terms of Ukrainian resistance?
MICHAEL KOFMAN: Well, there's heavy fighting in some areas, particularly outside of Kharkiv to the east.
I think Ukrainian forces may have managed to retake the airport that the Russian airborne seized earlier today in the morning.
And you see considerable resistance along the eastern, let's say, side of the current combat operations.
But to the south, Russian forces have broken out from Crimea, and they're making rapid progress into Ukraine, across the river past to Kherson and Mykolaiv and Melitopol to the east.
So there are areas where you see substantial Russian advances at this point.
NICK SCHIFRIN: And, as you said, under this worst-case scenario, this is only day one.
The vast majority of the troops that Russia has amassed at the border remain poised to fight.
What are you looking for in the next 12, 24, 36 hours?
MICHAEL KOFMAN: And there's nothing more confusing than war, unfortunately.
And, right now, the picture is murky.
There's always competing reports, conflicting early reports.
I think, from my point of view, I will be looking to see the kind of fighting that takes place in and around Kyiv to the north, to what extent the Russian force made progress there, and what happens with the current Russian advances to the south and along Kharkiv to the east.
There may be a Russian breakthrough, or the front line may stabilize outside of Sumy.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Michael Kofman, I know you will be watching.
And we will be watching as well.
Thank you very much.
MICHAEL KOFMAN: Thanks for having me on your program.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And for more now on Russia's invasion of the U.S. and European reaction, we get three views.
Retired Lieutenant General Doug Lute had a 35-year career in the U.S. Army and served on the White House National Security Council staff during the George W. Bush and Obama administrations.
He also served as U.S. ambassador to NATO during the Obama administration.
Andrew Weiss served in the George H.W.
Bush and Clinton administrations on the National Security Council staff and the State Department's Policy Planning Staff.
He's now vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
That's a think tank.
And Angela Stent worked in the State Department during the Clinton administration and served as a top U.S. intelligence officer on Russia during the George W. Bush administration.
She is now a professor at Georgetown University.
Welcome, all three of you, back to the "NewsHour."
The first thing I want to ask you is what you think Vladimir Putin is trying to accomplish here.
And, Doug Lute, I'm going to start with you.
LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE (RET.
), Former U.S.
Ambassador to NATO: Well, I think his objective is clear, and it's regime change.
I think, on the other hand, he will be reluctant to try to occupy all of Ukraine.
And that's where the rub is.
The difference between overthrowing the Zelensky regime, replacing it with a puppet government is one thing, but it's a big gap between that and being able to control Ukraine, the size of Texas, with 44 million people.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Angela Stent, is that what you believe Vladimir Putin's goal here is?
And -- because if it is, there's a big gap between those two things.
ANGELA STENT, Director, Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies, Georgetown University: I do believe it's his goal.
He wants to subservient Ukraine.
He wants a Ukraine that will listen to Russia and stop moving westward.
And, for that, he indeed needs regime change.
But, as Doug said, Russia doesn't want to bear the cost of an occupation.
It would be expensive.
It would take too many soldiers.
And so the question is, is he going to be able to install a government that will have enough support from the people and that will do Russia's bidding?
And that also opens the question of Western Ukraine, which Michael Kofman raised.
If they want to do this, in fact, in the end, they're going to have to take Western Ukraine as well.
And there's bound to be a large amount of resistance there too.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Andrew Weiss, how do you see what Putin is trying to do here?
And I guess I'm asking, is it realistic, given the difficulty of controlling a country of, what, over 60 million people, if he says that's not his intention?
ANDREW WEISS, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: I believe that Vladimir Putin means business in Ukraine.
And I think he's perfectly happy with a destroyed Ukraine that starts to come apart, in which pieces either float back to Russia, or, as we saw in 2014, where, basically, government disappears overnight.
And, in the end, I think he either expects that somehow, magically, there's a silent majority in Ukraine that wants to be ruled by Russia.
I think he's profoundly mistaken on that count.
But he's talked about that publicly.
On the other hand, I think he also is a rather ruthless person who'd be happy to pass the parcel to the West and basically take a broken Ukraine with no military and then turn to the United States, the European Union, and the international community and say, OK, you guys can take care of this mess.
I have proved my point.
JUDY WOODRUFF: General Lute, do you see anything the West can do at this point to stop this march forward on the part of the Russians and Vladimir Putin?
LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE: Unfortunately, Judy, I think deterrence here has obviously failed.
And I don't see a major obstacle posed by the West to Vladimir Putin's objectives.
There are two other obstacles, though, that we should watch.
One is the Dnieper River, which essentially divides Ukraine north-south about in half, between the eastern half and the western half.
That's a major geographic obstacle, physical obstacle.
And then the other obstacle is the one we have all been referring to, and that's the resistance of the Ukrainian people.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And we're waiting to see how that develops.
And, meantime, Angela Stent, you have these sanctions that the West is imposing.
Do you see those having any kind of meaningful effect on what Putin is deciding to do on a day-to-day basis?
ANGELA STENT: I mean, they will certainly have an economic effect on the individuals, on the people who deal with the major banks that have now been sanctioned, in terms -- longer terms of the industry with the export controls.
But, unfortunately, I don't think they will have any impact on Vladimir Putin's decision-making.
We have seen him, particularly this last week in these diatribes that he -- on television, in his pronouncements, where -- which are widely not factual and don't have a basis in reality about what Ukraine is.
So I don't think that the prospect of some of his friends being sanctioned or banks being sanctioned, it's not going to change his calculus.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Andrew Weiss, what about that?
Now that we have seen this next level of sanctions being imposed by the United States, by the U.K. and others, do you see that having an effect?
ANDREW WEISS: I think the U.S. and Western response, in the level of coordination and joint action, is quite impressive.
And we're going to see far-reaching effects from the sanctions that have been announced and the ones that will come as early as this evening and tomorrow morning from the European Union.
The challenge is, the theory right now that I believe Western policy-makers have is, they're going to see spectacular effects in Russia asset markets, we will see dislocation and we will see disruption in everyday life.
The hope is that that somehow promotes cleavages in Putin's relationship with the Russian elite and with the Russian people.
There's a problem with the theory of the case, which is that, for the Russian elite, they're more Putin's employees than they are as equals.
And when it comes to the Russian people, their lives are quite hard.
And I think they know that their government has a tremendous capacity for repression and violence.
And they will steer clear of anything that looks like a direct challenge to Vladimir Putin's rule.
JUDY WOODRUFF: I want to come back, Doug Lute, to what you said a minute ago about the ability of the Ukrainian people themselves to stave off the worst here.
How do you see that unfolding.
And then the question becomes, how do you - - do you see this conflict in Ukraine spilling out into other countries in Eastern Europe?
LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE: Well, I think first of all, in terms of spillover effects, I don't see a military spillover, because just beyond Ukraine is the bright red line of the NATO boundary.
And I think President Putin understands that he does not wish to pick a fight with NATO itself.
But we are already seeing some spillover effects.
We saw the traffic jams headed west out of Kyiv.
Those displaced persons will eventually reach the Polish and Romanian borders, mainly, two NATO allies, and become refugees.
There's a humanitarian crisis associated with those displacements.
And then we're also seeing, Judy, the early returns of the economic spillover effects.
The global energy market is already tight.
Prices are high, and they're going to go higher.
All of that will fuel the inflation, which is also preexisting.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Angela Stent, is -- I mean, you're someone who has studied Vladimir Putin for a long time.
Do you see part of what he's doing is a waiting game to see if the West -- right now, it may look mainly divided, but that may not last.
ANGELA STENT: Yes.
And, certainly, if the conflict goes on and on, in some of the scenarios that Andrew Weiss was pointing out, I think you will see a crack in Western unity.
Europe, the United States, we have a lot of problems we ourselves are dealing with.
And I do also think that we have to remember that, once a war has started, you don't know.
Accidents can happen.
You don't know what the cost of the war is going to be.
And it is possible that some of our NATO allies on the eastern flank, Ukraine's neighbors, could somehow be affected.
And that could be a real crisis point for NATO.
We do know that, if you look at the treaties that the Russians presented in December, that Vladimir Putin also has his sights on Central and Eastern Europe.
So we hope that that's not the next phase in this war.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Andrew Weiss, how are you looking at that, that really terrible - - this is bad enough as it is, but the terrible prospect that it could spread?
ANDREW WEISS: I believe that the opportunities for spread are nontrivial.
And we now have a permanent Russian military presence in Belarus.
So the security landscape in Europe is now fundamentally altered, particularly if the Ukrainian military, as Michael Kofman was saying a minute ago, basically loses in a spectacular fashion.
And so you will end up with basically a new European sort of Cold War, and you will end up with a standoff that's increasingly unstable.
I don't think it necessarily means that NATO and Russia will tangle.
But it does mean that accidents, as Angela was just saying, might happen.
It also means that the United States is going to have to make major resource allocations to be the backbone of European security.
Unfortunately, our European allies just don't have the kind of military capability that the United States brings to this crisis.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Doug Lute, we could be down the line looking at a much greater U.S. commitment in Europe?
LT. GEN. DOUGLAS LUTE: I think we will, undoubtedly.
As was just stated, the European allies don't simply have the capability of defending themselves right now.
And you see this early on, Judy, by way of the sorts of forces that the U.S. is committing on a national basis to the defense in the east, so rapid reaction forces, high-end helicopters, aircraft.
The F-35 for the first time is in Central and Eastern Europe, long-range precision strike, intelligence surveillance, reconnaissance capabilities.
These are high-end military capabilities that take decades to develop.
And the Europeans, by and large, don't have them.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And just quickly, finally, to you, Angela Stent, there's some reporting today about Vladimir Putin's isolation.
You have spoken to us about that and -- when you have been on this program before.
Is there any prospect you see that there's significant pushback to him inside his own inner circle?
ANGELA STENT: It's very hard to see that at the moment.
I think the theory that, if his inner circle is sanctioned, they may get restive, I think we have to test that.
But they have what they have at the pleasure of the czar, of Vladimir Putin himself.
So, at the moment, I don't really see those fissures emerging, but who knows?
Further down, they might.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, we thank all three of you, Angela Stent, General Doug Lute, Andrew Weiss.
Thank you very much.
And for a closer look at the Biden administration's response to Russia's invasion, we're joined now by Ned Price.
He is the State Department spokesman.
Ned Price, welcome to the "NewsHour."
I don't know if you have been able to hear the discussion we have been having, but, frankly, overall, very pessimistic projections on what is going to come from what is happening in Ukraine.
Is that the overall outlook of the Biden administration right now about what's going on?
NED PRICE, State Department Spokesman: Well, Judy, we have been deeply concerned about this for not weeks, but months now We first started warning about this possibility in November, when we talked about the unusual military movements inside Russia, first 10,000 troops, 50,000 troops, more than 150,000 troops in recent days.
As our intelligence has built up, so too has our concern.
We have talked about the increasingly imminent signs of the invasion that started in many ways in recent days, including with the barrage of missiles and attacks last night, and, concerningly, the information we have that we have made public, that this is not only Russian aggression against the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
This is not only Russian aggression against the Ukrainian government, but this is intended Russian aggression against the Ukrainian people.
In other words, this is a concerted effort on the part of Vladimir Putin to harm the Ukrainian people, to throttle them and to crush them, as our national security adviser said the other day.
That is why we have been ringing the alarm bell in every way we can.
I think you have seen the United States act with unity, act with purpose, act with seriousness, with our allies and partners around the world, over the -- over recent days to impose substantial significant costs on Putin in response to this.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, and I want to ask about that, because you have been ringing the bell.
You have been united, to a large degree.
But these sanctions, as you know, that the administration and others announced in recent days didn't stop Vladimir Putin.
He is marching forward as if they didn't exist.
NED PRICE: Well, it sure seems that Vladimir Putin has been determined to do this for some time.
But we were also determined to use every tool, every opportunity we had to incentivize him, to deter him from not doing so.
Look, if we were to have taken a different approach, if we were to have kept this information to ourself, if we were, as some have suggested, to have implemented the sanctions beforehand, it would have suggested to Vladimir Putin and the Russian Federation that, one, we weren't actually serious about diplomacy.
And, two, if we were to have enacted these measures before this week, not only would it not have deterred him.
It may well have incentivized Vladimir Putin to move earlier.
If we imposed the cost that we have been warning against for some time, Vladimir Putin would have had no reason, no reason to give himself pause, no reason to think twice or three times, as he might have done in recent days, in recent weeks.
Our goal now is to prevent what we are seeing from becoming this all-out war, what would be a costly, devastating war for Ukraine, for the Ukrainian people, but also for Russia and the Russian people.
Russians will be coming home in body bags.
Russians may not see that on state-run television.
They may not see their fellow citizens marching in the streets.
But all of this will happen.
This will be a devastating, costly war for Russia and for Ukraine.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What makes the administration, you, the president, others, confident that this set of sanctions that are announced today, on top of what you have already done, in concert with what the rest of NATO and Europe is doing, is going to have an effect on Vladimir Putin, when nothing has deterred him until now?
NED PRICE: Well, we know it will have an effect on Vladimir Putin.
These sanctions are unprecedented in terms of their scope and scale, far beyond what the United States did in 2014, but also significant in terms of the fact that we are acting with many of our closest allies and partners, in terms of the measures we announced today.
We now have sanctions on Russia's 10 largest banks, 80 percent of Russia's banking sector assets.
We now have export controls that limit Russia's ability to import some 50 percent of the materials for the strategic sectors that they will need to operate with any strength on the world stage.
We have sanctioned oligarchs and others around Vladimir Putin.
And our allies and partners have done the same.
We have already seen the toll that these measures have taken on the Russian financial system.
You need only look at the Russian stock market, at the ruble, at investor sentiment around Russia to know that these measures have been costly and they will be costly.
The cost of these measures will gain, will gain momentum in the coming days, in the coming weeks.
And these measures will only escalate if Putin escalates.
We're prepared to go further.
JUDY WOODRUFF: At the same time, you have leaders like the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, saying the president should be - - should be putting forward much tougher sanctions than he is right now, pointing out what you and I have just been talking about, that it hasn't worked.
We also heard the president himself say today, Ned Price, when he spoke to the press, that the Europeans are not behind, for example, the idea of imposing restrictions on Russia through the so-called SWIFT system.
This is the global banking system that would clearly have some effect on the Russian leadership.
To what extent is the -- is European opposition holding back President Biden?
NED PRICE: Well, a couple points, Judy.
I think, today, the fact that we worked in tandem with the 27 members of the European Union, with Australia, with Japan, with Canada, with the United Kingdom, with other countries around the world, to impose these measures shows that, A, we're not divided.
And, certainly, we are united on this.
The United States alone is some 25 percent of GDP acting in the way we did today on more than half of the world's GDP.
The fact that we are acting collectively will take a large chunk out of Russia's economy and Russia's financial system.
I know there have been some who've called for other measures.
The measures we instituted today will have a more significant and sustained impact than some of those calls that we have heard.
That includes SWIFT.
That includes sanctions on any single individual.
We have gone after Russia's banking sector.
We have gone after Russia's strategic sectors.
We have gone after Russia's oligarchs and its elites.
All of these things have had an immediate cost.
And those costs will grow to the Russian Federation in the days to come.
JUDY WOODRUFF: How long do you think this conflict is going to go on?
What is the best information the administration has about how long the Russians are prepared to stick with this and how long the Ukrainians will fight back?
NED PRICE: Well, we know a couple things.
We know the Russian intent is to carry forward with this campaign until their objectives are achieved.
Our intent is to bring this conflict to a close, to induce Vladimir Putin and those around him to stop the violence, to withdraw the forces, to not go forward with this planned brutality against the Ukrainian people, and to come back to the diplomatic table, but to do so in good faith.
We, of course, have seen the Russian Federation at the table.
I have sat with Secretary Blinken when he's been across from Foreign Minister Lavrov.
The Russians to date have not done so in good faith.
The Russians, if they're serious in the face of our very serious measures, need to come back to the diplomatic table, need to prove their seriousness of purpose.
JUDY WOODRUFF: You still have some hopes on diplomacy, given the fact that all the diplomacy leading up to this didn't work?
NED PRICE: We are diplomats.
We always have hope with diplomacy.
We know that the only way we're going to save lives, that we're going to bring this conflict to an end as quickly as humanly possible is through diplomacy.
So, of course, we're going to stick at it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Ned Price, who is the spokesman for the State Department, thank you very much.
NED PRICE: Thanks Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day's other news: The invasion of Ukraine sent Wall Street down sharply at first, but stocks rebounded after U.S. sanctions proved less draconian than the market expected.
In the end, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 92 points to close at 33223.
The Nasdaq rose 436 points.
That's 3 percent.
The S&P 500 added 63 points, 1.5 percent.
A federal jury in St. Paul, Minnesota, convicted three former police officers today of violating George Floyd's civil rights.
They were accused of failing to help Floyd when another officer pinned him by the neck as he struggled to breathe.
We will return to the verdict after the news summary.
A judge has ordered a Michigan couple to stand trial for involuntary manslaughter, after their son allegedly killed four students at his high school.
Jennifer and James Crumbley are accused of buying the boy a gun and then doing nothing when teachers found disturbing drawings.
At a hearing today, guidance counselor Shawn Hopkins said he urged that their son get help immediately, but they refused to take him home.
SHAWN HOPKINS, Guidance Counselor: It was a really rough situation to be showing signs of needing help, of needing -- of needing support, and it felt like he got the opposite.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Fifteen-year-old Ethan Crumbley is charged with first-degree murder and other crimes in the school attack last November.
A widespread weather front spread freezing rain across more of the country's midsection today from Texas to the Great Lakes.
Ice-covered roads held up drivers and caused hundreds of traffic accidents.
The ice storm was expected to continue through the night and push into the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast.
The number of American women choosing abortion pills over surgery is up sharply since the pandemic began.
The Guttmacher Institute reports that 54 percent of all U.S. abortions in 2020 involved medication.
It was 40 percent in 2019.
The shift reflects increased use of telemedicine and FDA approval of getting the pills by mail.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his brother broke insider trading rules.
The Wall Street Journal and others report it involves a November tweet.
In it, Musk asked if he ought to sell part of his Tesla holdings, and company stock fell sharply.
One day earlier, his brother sold shares worth $108 million.
And newly revised numbers show that the U.S. economy grew more at the end of 2021 than first estimated.
The gross domestic product increased at a 7 percent annual pace in the fourth quarter.
Growth for all of 2021 was 5.7 percent.
That was the best showing since 1984.
Stay with us.
Coming up next, we will delve into efforts in Texas to prevent medical intervention for transgender children; and more.
As we reported earlier, three former Minneapolis police officers have been convicted in federal court of violating George Floyd's civil rights.
They were on the scene assisting fellow officer Derek Chauvin when he pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for nine-and-a-half minutes, killing him and setting off a wave of racial justice protests worldwide.
John Yang has the story JOHN YANG: Judy, all three of the officers were convicted for not giving Floyd medical aid, and two were convicted for not stopping Derek Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd's neck.
The jury rejected the defense argument that the officers were just following their training and deferring to a senior officer.
After the verdicts, federal prosecutors remembered George Floyd.
LEEANN BELL, Assistant U.S. Attorney: George Floyd was a human being.
He deserved to be treated as such.
He was a son, a father, a significant other, a family member, and a friend to so many.
My hope, the hope of our team is that today's verdict will bring a measure of justice.
JOHN YANG: The three still face a state trial on charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death.
Shannon Prince is an attorney in private practice in New York.
Her work focuses on policing policy and restorative justice.
Shannon Prince, thanks for being back with us.
This was a verdict that came after only about a day-and-a-half of deliberations, apparently very emotional for the jury.
Reporters in the courtroom say that some jurors were in tears as the verdict was read.
What is your reaction to this verdict?
SHANNON PRINCE, Boies Schiller Flexner: Well, I think that this verdict shows an increasing trend towards police accountability.
First in the Derek Chauvin case, we saw an officer held accountable for the deliberate acts he took that led to the death of a Black man.
Then, in the recent Kim Potter verdict, we saw an officer held accountable for the accidental action she took that led to the death of a Black man, albeit though given a light sentence.
And now, in this case, we see accountability proceed a step further, because these ex-officers were held accountable for the actions they failed to take.
This case is different from the upcoming state case, because that case is about the actions that the officers are alleged to have taken to have aided and abetted Derek Chauvin.
What this case was about was the actions they failed to take, their deliberate indifference to George Floyd's medical need and their failure to intervene in Derek Chauvin's unreasonable use of force.
JOHN YANG: And the rejection of the defense argument, that they were just following their training, that they had been shown officers doing what Derek Chauvin had done in their training, and that this was simply bad training on the part of the Minneapolis police, what do you think of that?
SHANNON PRINCE: So, I think that the prosecution put on a very strategic case.
First, they put on witness after witness, from Katie Blackwell, who formerly led the department's training program, to Zimmerman, who was one of the most senior men on the force, to say that officers are trained to intervene in the unreasonable use of force.
The prosecution even elicited testimony from the defendants themselves that they knew they had a duty to intervene no matter how junior they were.
Now, the defense put on a use of force expert who testified that, although Derek Chauvin's use of force was unreasonable, it was unlikely that someone like Officer Kueng, who was such a rookie, would physically move to remove Chauvin from George Floyd.
However, I think that the prosecution ultimately said, this is a case of policy vs. what the defendants were saying, that it is a case about culture, about a culture that wouldn't let junior officers challenge more senior officers.
And we see that the jury ultimately sided with the prosecution that policy trumps culture.
JOHN YANG: This is the sort of charge that federal prosecutors have not been bringing in previous cases.
It has been unusual.
And now they have got a conviction in a case like this.
Do you think we might see more of these?
SHANNON PRINCE: It is possible that we could see more of these cases, because every case sets a precedent, and those precedents an example for prosecutors to what cases are reasonable to bring because it is feasible that those cases could be successful.
But it is important to note that we shouldn't have been distracted by these blockbuster cases, because what ultimately changes policing is policy.
So, while we have had these recent convictions, the state case against Derek Chauvin, Chauvin's plea deal in his federal case, the case against Kim Potter, and this case today, we have to be mindful of the fact that, for example, Congress has not yet passed a George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that would have transformative change on policing policy.
JOHN YANG: Beyond policing policies, of course, earlier this week, we had the hate crimes conviction against the three men in Georgia in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.
Are we seeing a shift, whether it is -- I don't know if it is a tidal shift, or are we seeing a shuttle shift in how people are viewing these crimes?
SHANNON PRINCE: I think that we have a Department of Justice that is willing to bring these hate crime cases.
It is important to note, though, that of all the cases that U.S. attorneys look into as possible hate crimes, the Department of Justice ultimately goes forward with only about 17 percent of them.
And the primary reason for that is lack of evidence.
In this case, if one of the defendants, William "Roddie" Bryan, hadn't taped the killing and then made that tape available, there may not have been enough evidence in this case.
And so, although these precedents are important, these cases remain rare.
And one case or even one verdict doesn't represent a sea change.
JOHN YANG: Shannon Prince, thank you very much.
SHANNON PRINCE: Thank you for having me.
JUDY WOODRUFF: It's the latest fight over transgender rights.
And, once again, the epicenter is Texas.
Governor Greg Abbott and state Attorney General Ken Paxton have directed state agencies to conduct investigations of families when they provide gender-affirming medical care for transgender children.
Abbott and Paxton went so far as to say that this care should be categorized as child abuse.
Amna Nawaz has our report.
AMNA NAWAZ: Judy, even though this latest decision does not hold the weight of law, families in Texas are worried.
Here's what Amber and Adam Briggle, who have a 14-year-old transgender son, told us.
ADAM BRIGGLE, Father of Transgender Child: It's traumatizing.
And there's enough ambiguity to create, I think, genuine concern that somebody is going to feel like they have been deputized to be a vigilante law enforcer.
AMBER BRIGGLE, Father of Transgender Child: People think that, if it doesn't affect their kid, that they don't need to care about it, they don't need to think about it.
And though we are a small minority in this country, the rights of my child matter just as much as the rights of your child do.
AMNA NAWAZ: Medical experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, say gender-affirming care is safe and best practice for transgender patients.
For more on that, I'm joined by Dr. Stephen Rosenthal.
He's a pediatric endocrinologist and the medical director of the Child and Adolescent Gender Center at the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Rosenthal, welcome to the "NewsHour."
Thank you for joining us.
So, when people hear the phrase gender-affirming care, often, they don't know what that means.
What kind of care are we talking about?
What is the sort of range of care you and your center provide?
DR. STEPHEN ROSENTHAL, University of California, San Francisco: Sure.
Gender-affirming care really is an umbrella term that encompasses, first and foremost, a thorough assessment by a qualified mental health gender specialist, and then includes a range of possible medical options that range anywhere from fully reversible puberty blockers to gender-affirming sex hormones, and then, in some older individuals, perhaps some gender-confirming surgeries.
AMNA NAWAZ: And so what does the science, what does the evidence show us about that kind of care?
What is the consensus in the medical and child welfare community?
DR. STEPHEN ROSENTHAL: The practice that we follow is not out of the blue.
It is really based on what are referred it to as clinical practice guidelines and standards of care, which are evidence-based.
In fact, there are more than 25 years of published scientific evidence that support these guidelines.
I think I could highlight one particular study that was published just two months ago in "The Journal of Adolescent Health," which made the, I think, very compelling observation that access to gender-affirming care, in particular, sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen, to eligible adolescents, that this led to a significant decrease in depression, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.
AMNA NAWAZ: So when you heard officials in Texas equating this to child abuse, what was your reaction?
What did you think?
DR. STEPHEN ROSENTHAL: I was horrified.
And I can only imagine how families, patients would reaction to hearing this.
I cannot think of any medical reason to deny access to care, when every reputable medical and mental health organization in this country have endorsed an interdisciplinary model of care that follows the clinical practice guidelines and standards of care that I previously mentioned.
AMNA NAWAZ: So, Dr. Rosenthal, we should mention Texas isn't the only place that we have seen similar measures like this that do target transgender children in particular.
Twenty other states have introduced similar measures in the last year.
And some don't pass.
Some get stuck in court.
But the very fact that this is a conversation, a national political conversation in many cases, is it having an effect on these children?
DR. STEPHEN ROSENTHAL: It is unquestionable that this is having an effect on children, feeling that people who -- look, these are very complicated - - complicated situations that are best handled through a very, I think, intimate relationship between the patient, the family and a qualified health care team.
And when I say intimate, I mean medical professionals and mental health professionals that have been working closely with a patient and family and really get to know them and can do a proper assessment and figure out what is in that person's best interests.
This should not be in the hands of politicians, particularly politicians who likely have never read the science, nor have ever even visited a gender program such as ours.
AMNA NAWAZ: So, Dr. Rosenthal, if you -- if you are a teenager in Texas right now, if your gender identity differs from the sex you were assigned at birth, if you are a family like the Briggles we heard from earlier, what are your options?
What can you do?
DR. STEPHEN ROSENTHAL: We need to let people know that they are not alone, that they are being heard, and that people who are continuing to contribute to the science and to advocacy efforts are tirelessly doing that work.
And, of course, what recently happened in Texas is not legally binding.
And we will do everything we can to let people know that we will find ways of supporting them and that we will continue to do the science, so that we can continue to have a rational argument and contribute that to the discussion, and not just leave this in the hands of politicians it.
AMNA NAWAZ: That is Dr. Stephen Rosenthal of the University of California at San Francisco's Child and Adolescent Gender Center.
Dr. Rosenthal, thank you so much for your time.
DR. STEPHEN ROSENTHAL: Thank you so much.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And that's the "NewsHour" for tonight on this news-filled day.
Stay up to date with our continuing coverage of the crisis in Ukraine online at PBS.org/NewsHour.
And join us again here tomorrow evening for full analysis of all the latest developments.
I'm Judy Woodruff.
For all of us at the "PBS NewsHour," thank you for watching, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon.