This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 21, 2022. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: All right, you have been listening to John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, updating us on what seems to be clearly a targeting of civilians going on to the part of the Russian soldiers there and airstrikes that continue to pound much of the country.
Welcome, everybody. I'm Neil Cavuto. And this is YOUR WORLD.
And as if there were any doubt, the videotape that doesn't lie. You can see it and you can hear it. Take a look. All right, this attack on protesters in Kherson, it continues a theme that we have seen play out over this roughly month of fighting in Ukraine at a shopping mall in Kyiv. We have also seen at a hospital in Mariupol, at a school and a theater in Mariupol, Kharkiv, the university.
And on and on it goes, where civilians aren't just collateral damage. They are the targeted damage, meant to dispirit the people of Ukraine, but little indications that is happening.
Let's go to Jeff Paul in Lviv, Ukraine, with the latest on that front -- Jeff.
JEFF PAUL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Neil.
And despite Russia claiming that it is not targeting civilians, Ukrainian officials say innocent people continue to be injured or killed in many war- torn areas of Ukraine. And, tonight, we're even learning, according to the governor of one southern region, he claims that buses that were carrying innocent people out to evacuation areas was shelled by Russian forces, leading to the injuries of at least four kids.
And we haven't been able to independently confirm that. But you started looking at some of these images of the coastal city of Mariupol. And we're learning that hundreds of thousands of people may be trapped there who are just trying to get to safety. Russian forces have encircled this strategic city along the coast, where Moscow has delivered an ultimatum for Ukrainian forces to lay down their weapons and surrender.
The mayor, though, of Mariupol quickly denied that request. Officials say the constant bombardment of the city has led to the deaths of as many as 2,300 people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We got in the car at our own risk and left in 15 minutes, because everything is destroyed there. Dead bodies are lying around. They don't let us pass through everywhere. There are shootings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: In Kyiv, crews in that city are working through what's left of a shopping center that was blown up last night. Officials say eight were killed after Russian forces fired a rocket into the mall.
Russia claims they only fired upon it because it was being used to store rockets. But there are zero independent reports confirming the mall was being used by Ukrainian military assets. In fact, one woman told reporters that her daughter was working there just the night before, so obviously very terrifying to see that happen.
And, Neil, one other thing we're learning is that Russia has passed along some information about 500 Ukrainians that they have essentially detained. And they are saying that they are willing to swap them with Russians who've been captured by Ukrainian forces -- Neil.
CAVUTO: That's unusual.
Jeff Paul, thank you very much for that. Very interesting in Lviv, our own Jeff Paul.
Meanwhile, the president is getting ready to head out to Brussels. He will be meeting with other NATO leaders, stopping by Poland. The rest of his schedule, well, to be continued.
Jacqui Heinrich at the White House with more -- Jacqui
JACQUI HEINRICH, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Neil.
Yes, as we are watching for that travel later on in the week, right now, the White House is focusing on an increased potential for Russian cyberattacks right here on U.S. soil.
The White House highlighting work they have done with the private sector to shore up defenses against cyberattacks in the pipeline, electric and water sectors, as well as mandates for new defenses for government agencies.
But they're instructing all U.S. companies right now to take the following steps. Mandate use of multifactor authentication. Deploy modern security tools to scan and mitigate for threats. Check with cyber professionals to make sure all of your systems are patched and protected against known vulnerabilities. Change your passwords across all networks, so that stolen credentials are useless.
Back up data and encrypt your data. Also, ensure that you have got offline backups of your data. And they're telling people to run drills and exercises, educate their employees on common hacker tactics and engage with the local FBI proactively, so you have got contacts in case there are any cyber incidents.
The administration refused to lay out what kind of Russian activity they're seeing right now or describe what kind of industries or companies might be at the highest risk, at least publicly. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEINRICH: The people the industries that need to know about this risk know?
ANNE NEUBERGER, U.S. DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER FOR CYBER AND EMERGING TECHNOLOGY: We believe the key entities who need to know have been provided classified briefings.
I mentioned, for example, just last week, several 100 companies were brought in to get that briefing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEINRICH: Meantime, the president is preparing to head to Brussels in Poland this week, as Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has warned that World War III could be on the horizon if peace talks between Russia and Ukraine continue to fail.
But at least right now, the president is keeping his focus on NATO.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Can you talk a little bit about whether President Biden had explored going to Ukraine at all?
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We have not explored that option.
The president felt and our national security team felt that he could have the most effective and impactful trip by convening these meetings with NATO leaders, the G7, the E.U. in Brussels to determine both continued military coordination, humanitarian and economic coordination, as well as by going to visit Poland right next door.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HEINRICH: Later today, the president is meeting with executives and CEOs from some of the largest U.S. companies for the Business Roundtable CEO quarterly meeting amid soaring gas prices and, of course, rising inflation, as we have been seeing.
Among those in attendance include manufacturing, agriculture, and financial services, as well as energy sector CEOs. So that's what the president has scheduled for later on today. You will also recall, Neil, last week, the president spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
And we just heard out of the press briefing here at the White House one thing that we have not seen from China that the U.S., that the White House wants to hear is condemnation of what is happening in Russia -- or -- excuse me -- in Ukraine by Russia, and we heard out of the briefing basically calls for China to condemn everything we have been seeing, highlighting that did not come out of the president's call -- Neil.
CAVUTO: All right. Got it. Thank you very much, Jacqui Heinrich at the White House.
So all this targeting of civilians, you would quite well imagine would be making it very anxious times for civilians. But that has not loosened their determination to keep up the fight.
Lesia Vasylenko us right now, Ukrainian member of Parliament.
Lesia, very good to have you back. Again and again, civilians are targeted here. The Russians always counter that they were not the targets. But taking out a shopping mall would seem to indicate otherwise. What do you think?
LESIA VASYLENKO, UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER: Well, the world is almost one month in into witnessing atrocities and crimes of war and crimes against humanity happening right here in the middle of Europe in the middle of the 21st century.
Really, I don't think that any of us who are thinking this through and over could ever imagine that we would be living in something very close to World War III. And I for sure can speak for myself and say that I could never imagine that I would be living through and witnessing on a day-to-day basis events which essentially amount to genocide of the Ukrainian people.
CAVUTO: I'm just curious, Lesia.
With Mariupol now under Russian control, or so it would appear, and the Russians demanding that everyone there just surrender, the mayor has said no. The people there seem to say no. If this continues city after city, what do Ukrainians do? What will their response be?
VASYLENKO: I think it's clear. You can see it from the response of the people of Mariupol.
I mean, Mariupol is the -- really the Aleppo and the Srebrenica of our time. And what is happening there is just atrocity after atrocity. And yet the people, the 400,000 Mariupol people, they do not surrender. They still stay strong.
They're saying, OK, we are ready to endure this, because, at the end of the day, we want to continue living as a free people. And they are not taking Russia's so-called assistance, when the Russians are taking them, not to safety, but across the border to Russia into camps, which are essentially very similar to concentration camps of the World War II era, because, in those camps, the Ukrainians are again deprived of food, deprived of water deprived of basic needs.
And we hear reports now from our intelligence services that more and more Ukrainians are just disappearing from those camps without any contact being established with them whatsoever.
CAVUTO: Well, Lesia Vasylenko, please...
VASYLENKO: And yet, in these circumstances, the people of Ukraine still continue to fight.
And the people of Mariupol still continue to demand that they remain under Ukrainian authorities, and that the Russians get out, and get out not just from Mariupol, from Ukraine.
CAVUTO: All right, that latter part isn't happening yet, but maybe your determination and their determination, we will see just that.
Lesia, thank you very, very much. Didn't mean to jump on you there.
We will continue to follow developments in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, in this country, a Supreme Court justice position is up now, and a confirmation hearing has begun.
Shannon Bream following all of that with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on this opening day.
Friendly today, but the real fireworks probably come this week, huh, Shannon?
SHANNON BREAM, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Neil, you are correct.
Today was sort of, let's get to know each other, let's introduce ourselves. Tomorrow, yes, maybe some fireworks.
So we actually heard from the nominee, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, today, the first time she's addressed the senators directly, who will in this committee vote on her and whether or not they sent her to the full floor of the Senate, likely to happen, and then, of course, the full Senate vote from there.
So she was -- had an opening statement today that many people say characterizes her. I have talked to a lot of people. Whether they support her, don't support her, they say she is brilliant, she is charming, she is warm.
We saw all of that today. She repeatedly talked about how much he appreciates and loves this country, the opportunities that she's found here. And she's gotten a lot of praise across the aisle.
So we do have GOP senators, though, who say, we have got to take a deep dive on her record. There's much more we need to know. They have asked questions about sentencing decisions that she made as a judge. A number of Republican senators have also said they want her to answer the question about whether or not it would be OK to pack the court or to add seats.
Here is Senator Tom Cotton talking about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): I would hope that anyone nominated to the court would have no problem echoing the words of Justice Ginsburg and Justice Breyer.
Both of these liberal lions have said that expanding the Supreme Court to achieve favored legal and political outcomes is a dangerous idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: So conservative senators want to hear the same thing from her. They say they can't get an answer from her on that. Of course, she clerked for Justice Breyer, and he is one of the more liberal justices on the court, and he has said he does think it would be a bad idea to add to the court.
So as for accusations that she's soft on crime, that she's progressive or too liberal, well, Senator Patrick Leahy came to her defense. I think he mentioned today he has been a part of 20 of these SCOTUS confirmations. Here's what he said in Judge Jackson's defense:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT): Let's make a few things clear.
Judge Jackson is no judicial activist. She's not a puppet of the so-called radical left. She's been praised by Republican-appointed judges for her jurisprudence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BREAM: So she has.
Now, tomorrow, we will actually get to hear from the nominee. She will be engaging in these questions. She has been practicing. They do these so- called murder boards, where they prepare her to take these tough -- grilling, tough questions that she will face.
And so she will now finally get a chance to answer for herself about her record as a judge, as a federal public defender working with Gitmo detainees, and all the other things that have come to fore. Now we will hear from her starting 9:00 a.m. Eastern tomorrow -- Neil.
CAVUTO: I think you have some long days ahead of you, Shannon.
CAVUTO: Thank you very, very much, Shannon Bream, of course, "FOX News @ Night," our chief legal eagle, if you will.
So lots to come with that confirmation process.
In the meantime, here, lots to at least worry about in the financial markets today, interest rates backing up, stocks backing down in the face of oil prices that will not quit. The big news came from no less than the chairman of the Federal Reserve, who at least threw his trepidation aside and talked about the possibility interest rates might be hiked a lot more than earlier thought.
That was enough to sort of take the wind out of the sails of many of those along this market.
But we will be exploring those taking advantage of that big backup in oil prices, including the rush to electric vehicles. GM's president on that push that began in earnest today.
Stay with us.
CAVUTO: All right, all these attacks on civilians are not coincidence. They're targets. They're meant to be. And they're war crimes, in and of themselves.
Mark Meredith with the view from the Pentagon -- Mark.
MARK MEREDITH, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Neil, good afternoon to you.
Moments ago, we heard from Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby, who outlined where things stand between Russia and Ukraine, while cautioning that the U.S. doesn't have a perfect assessment of what's been going on.
But, as you talked about, the big headline right there, that civilian targets continued to be a big problem, and that obviously the Russian forces continue to ramp up their airpower. However, the U.S. is also saying that they believe that Russian troops are still having a problem here with supply chain logistics, still having trouble getting food, as well as fuel to their troops, and that the forces that are outside of Kyiv remain stalled about nine miles outside the capital.
And they're even having trouble launching some key attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIRBY: The Russians have been flummoxed. They have been frustrated. They have failed to achieve a lot of their objectives on the ground.
They are stepping up their -- what we in the Pentagon here call long-range fires, bombardment from afar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MEREDITH: Officials say, since the war began, Russia has fired at least 1,100 missiles into Ukraine and that Russia is all so increasingly relying on long-range missiles.
Over the weekend, Russia claimed it fired a hypersonic missile. The Pentagon was asked about this. They were not confirming or denying those reports. But another official basically was saying they'd be surprised that this would be the route that Russia would go, given where things stand in the war.
Officials also add that the U.S. is in the process of putting together as much aid as possible in terms of weapons shipments into Ukraine, but that those processes are still ongoing, that they have to get those missiles, they have to get the body armor, as well as bullets, that they are so in the process of getting that package out there after the president signed another $800 million just last week in order to aid Ukraine.
The Russians, of course, continue to threaten to attack those weapons shipments say that they believe that could be another reason that would provoke an escalation in this conflict. But the U.S. is showing no signs of backing down from supporting Ukraine.
We also learned that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, he will be going back to Europe. He was just there last week. He's going to be going back to NATO headquarters later this week, when he follows President Biden for that meeting in Brussels -- Neil.
CAVUTO: Mark Meredith, thank you very much, my friend.
Mark at the Pentagon, of course.
Want to go to General Jack Keane on all of these developments.
And, General, I did want to get your thoughts on these hypersonic missiles if indeed Russia is using them. I guess they're unique to Russia, the first time being used in combat. They go five least -- at five times the speed of sound. But if they're open to using weapons like this, General, is it unthinkable that they would use chemical weapons?
JACK KEANE, FOX NEWS SENIOR STRATEGIC ANALYST: Well, first of all, these weapons, in and of themselves, are not decisive.
I mean, it's -- they have never been introduced in conflict before. So that's significant. The fact that you can't defend against it, certainly, that is significant. The warhead that's being delivered is pretty similar to the other warheads that Russia has in its arsenal that are raining down on our cities.
So, from that perspective, it's not decisive, in and of itself. I think they're using this to brandish the fact that they're an advanced-technology military, and they want to use the intimidation of a weapon system, as I discussed, that cannot be defeated.
But the reality is, they're likely also short on precision-guided munitions, which we have had some indication of at the Institute for the Study of War. So I don't see this as actually making any difference in the war.
As -- chemical weapons, certainly, and weapons of mass destruction is always an option that they can choose, certainly, but that would be crossing a mighty line in doing that and would want an international response.
And, Neil, I'm hoping that President Biden when he has his NATO ministerial meeting this week, that certainly that that particular option that you mentioned is on the table, and what is discussed is the consequential action that NATO would take in response to something -- to something like that.
And, certainly, that has got to be on a table front and center as part of their discussions dealing with the war.
CAVUTO: I assume, General, that means they have got to be unequivocal about it. If you, Vladimir Putin, use chemical weapons, this war has now expanded.
KEANE: Yes, there's no doubt about that.
I mean, a model for that is what took place certainly in Syria. He used the chemical weapons when President Biden was there, Bashar Assad, I mean. No response. When President Trump was there, they got a military response. I thought the military response wasn't as strong as it could have been. We did get a second chemical attack. The military response was much stronger. And he shut that down as long as President Trump was there.
It didn't result in declaring war on Syria. As a matter of fact, it just dealt a military response to discourage any use of it again. But this is a major change if Putin enters into such a thing, but -- right. President Biden and NATO have to come to grips with it, put these horrible options on the table and determine what your response is.
CAVUTO: You know, if I could switch to China, General, we have made it very, very clear, and it came up in the Pentagon briefing today, that these waters are international waters in the South China Sea near the area where China's militarized, I believe, three more of those islands.
So we freely navigate in that area against Russian warnings or -- I'm sorry -- Chinese warnings that were in their territory, but we continue doing so. This back-and-forth could agitate on both sides. What do you think?
KEANE: Well, certainly, China signing a deal with Russia is a seminal event.
It has brought these two countries together in a strategic partnership. The denominator, as stated in the agreement, is there are no limits to that. And they have -- despite all their historic differences, they have come together singularly because their mutual interest is in changing the world order that the United States and Western democracies, by and large, are leading, have been doing that since post-World War II.
And both countries have come to the conclusion that is not in their interests. This is a serious thing. And it's got to be a major wakeup call, in conjunction with Russia's invasion of Ukraine, that this is a changing event, Russia and China together, working towards mutual benefit, declaring, in fact, that the United States and Western democracies in a sense are their adversaries, and they want to change the world to their sphere of influence.
We have got to take that very seriously. I believe NATO's reaction here to the Ukraine invasion has been positive, has unified them and strengthening them. We're going to see more troops on Russia's border than they ever wanted to see as a result of that.
E.U.'s -- the E.U. has stepped up and has stiffened its response, certainly, and that is good. I believe it's going to have a huge, positive impact on our allies in the region, Neil
I mean, President Trump revitalized the Quad agreement, that is, United States, Japan, Australia and India. Three of the four top economies are in it. And other relationships have been strengthened. This will solidify those relationships and be a catalyst and a wakeup call to these countries, to include Taiwan, to improve its defenses based on what's happening.
I see a positive impact on the partnership and their up-gunning of their defenses. And the United States is seminal to this. We are outgunned and outmanned, Neil. And we have got to catch up.
And what you're pointing out in terms of the militarization of the -- militarization of the South China Sea is part and parcel of that story, how all that got away from us. But we have the incentive. We have been doing it. We have got to put more into our military defenses and take a whole-of- government approach dealing with our allies in attempting to cope with China and certainly contain their ambitions.
CAVUTO: General, always good. Thank you very, very much.
General Jack Keane on these developments..
Part of this new agitation is leading to inflation, of course. That has really picked up considerable steam right now. But that can be an opportunity for some companies that want to front-load some ways to protect you from that. For example, electric vehicle sales are all the rage right now.
The president of General Motors coming up on why that company is moving full forward fast on vehicles of his own to counter what you're seeing there, energy prices that are now just crazy.
Stay with us.
CAVUTO: All right, well, a spike in COVID cases in China has it closing down its Shanghai Disney, one of the largest Disney resorts in the world.
Could others follow?
We're on it -- after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: Do you ever worry, though, that -- I know, in the environment we're in, sir, where gas prices are soaring -- if they come off this post- Ukraine war high -- there are other factors involved beyond the Ukraine war, I understand -- that the appetite for electric vehicles might wane a little bit, that whatever wind is at your back now might sort of calm down, and you're caught committing to an all E.V. lineup, when the demand might not match it?
MARK REUSS, PRESIDENT, GENERAL MOTORS: Yes, I think we do enough research and look at the industry here to know that demand has spiked for E.V.s even before the war, which is a very important point.
Now, is the war and gas prices an accelerant? Yes. And maybe they coincide a little bit here. But in the long run here, the appetite and the desirability of E.V.s, you have got a vehicle that looks as good as the Cadillac Lyriq here, it matters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: All right, GM President Mark Reuss indicating GM is front-loading its E.V. plans right now, hopes to be all electric vehicle in a little more than a decade from now, mirroring similar plans by the likes of Volvo and BMW and Mercedes and Ford, and obviously accelerating all the more in the face of the higher energy prices that at least these companies do not think will be short-lived.
Inflation is real. And when it comes to energy, it's good to stick around a while.
The very fact that we had Jerome Powell indicating as much today, the Federal Reserve chairman also hinting that rate hikes could be more aggressive than earlier thought.
Let's go to my friend and colleague Bret Baier, the host of "Special Report," bestselling author.
Bret, if you think about, the clear signal that we're getting from some of the mightiest in corporate America, as well as now the chairman of the Federal Reserve, is, this is no longer a fleeting phenomenon. What do you think of that?
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: No, it's not transitional at all.
Good afternoon, Neil.
I think it's a big factor for why you're seeing these meetings at the White House, meeting with CEOs of big companies, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Cargill, Land O'Lakes, others, J.P. Morgan Chase, and they are all talking about what the administration is doing or saying about inflation.
Now, the administration obviously has tagged Putin and saying Putin's price hike for everything from gas to food. But that doesn't jibe with the numbers heading into this invasion of Russia. And you have this study from the Business Roundtable where 175 CEOs really changed their outlook from December to March.
That was significant, not only for the GDP and what their prediction was going to be, which was aggressive, but also for their confidence in where the economy was going. And I think that's jarred some inside the White House.
CAVUTO: Also, they been jarred back, right?
These CEOs really don't take too kindly, particularly the energy CEOs, that they're gouging Americans or the administration's even putting it out there. So I just wonder, to be the proverbial fly on the wall in some of these sessions, how they're -- how they're reacting to the president saying that.
BAIER: Yes. I agree.
And this is not scheduled on the president's agenda this afternoon, but is expected to include the Treasury secretary, also key administration officials in the economic wing of the West Wing. And they're meeting with these CEOs off the record.
The Business Roundtable meeting is later tonight, and the president is expected to go there, meeting with CEOs. And I agree with you. I think that there is this target on the back of energy companies in particular that you hear the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talking about all the time, suspiciously, why the prices are the way they are.
They're not in the oil business, obviously.
CAVUTO: No, they're not.
I'm just wondering too how it's all falling out. I mean, obviously, everyone of in power, including the Federal Reserve not too long ago, thought all this was transitory, to your earlier point, and it would go away.
But the fact you have companies like General Motors investing billions in a technology that they thought could wait a little bit, that is, electric vehicles, they're not waiting. They seem to be betting with their own money that this is worth making the switch and turning over to these types of vehicles now. They're not the only types of companies doing this.
A good majority of the Fortune 500 already are. I'm just wondering what signal that is sending the White House and the powers that be.
BAIER: I think they see that as hopeful. That falls into their green agenda. That falls into what they plan for in some of the infrastructure spending that included electric stops along the way from New York to California.
But it's a long way away, Neil, and that transition is going to be interesting to watch. If this country -- if gas prices come back down, will there be this want, this need, this push for electric vehicles? GM is betting yes. We will see if consumers are betting yes.
CAVUTO: Yes, they're still expensive to get, compared to other regularly powered cars. But the argument seems to be, gas gets expensive enough, they will pay for themselves. We will see.
Bret, looking forward to see you in a little over hour-and-a-half from now. Thank you very, very much.
Bret Baier following these developments.
CAVUTO: We are also following what's happening right now, not only on the energy front, with prices going still higher, but fears we could see cyberattacks.
When you're getting warnings and companies being even guidelines what to do to prevent something from happening, it makes you wonder. Something could be happening -- after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEUBERGER: We're not looking for a conflict with Russia. If Russia initiates a cyberattack against the United States, we will respond.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAVUTO: All right, they keep talking about a cyberattack, so they must think something is up and it's very close to coming to us.
John Negroponte joins us, the former director of natural intelligence, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the former U.S. ambassador to Mexico.
Man, oh, man, to have his resume.
Very good to have you, sir. And thank you very much.
What do you make of what the White House seems to be clearly telegraphing, that something's up and something could be coming very, very, very soon?
JOHN NEGROPONTE, FORMER U.S. DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think it's a little bit about the dog that has embarked yet.
And one of the striking features of this conflict up until now is that cyber does not appear to have been used to any significant extent. So, I don't know whether this is based on some kind of intelligence on the part of the administration -- it could well be -- or, when you start thinking about other things that Russia could do, given the fact that their efforts have not been successful thus far, clearly, cyber is one of the options available to them.
And, of course, they're quite experienced in the area of cyber warfare. And it wouldn't come as a big surprise to me that they might at some point try and use it.
CAVUTO: Maybe they're just not using it now because that's something that they hold in their hip pocket that they can down the road?
NEGROPONTE: Right, and one of several things on a scale -- on some kind of escalatory scale.
And cyber could be one of the immediately next tools that they might resort to before even more drastic or serious measures. But I think, at this point, it's anybody's guess.
I don't doubt our capability to respond, as the spokesperson said, and we will see what happens.
CAVUTO: I mean, that has always been -- I think, since your days in power and handling these issues, that's always been sort of like a tantalizing idea.
We're pretty good at this stuff. We have just behaved and not utilized it, but we could always counter, taking the same actions Russian entities could against us. But then it gets to be almost mutual cyber destruction. How does that play out?
NEGROPONTE: Yes, that's a great question.
And, of course, there are no significant -- there are no rules of the road. There's no playbook as to how this might go. And the focus, I think, on both sides has been in terms of developing strong offensive capabilities. We have not been as good at defense, as we know from the great costs that have been inflicted on our economy by cyberattacks of various kinds from various sources.
But, as far as the offensive capabilities, we have them. I'm sure the Russians have them as well. The Chinese, the Israelis, the Iranians, the North Koreans, those are the countries that have these strong offensive capabilities.
CAVUTO: Director, I'd be curious what you make of Vladimir Putin's ongoing war, in the face of all these disappointments and criticism of his troops and how they have not been able to close the deal here, whatever you want to say.
And yet he still enjoys strong support at home. But does any intelligence indicate to you that Russian citizens are tiring of this? They might not know the details of what's going on in Ukraine, but they do know a thing or two about long lines outside banks and about U.S. companies that have left one after the other, rising food costs in their own country, rising energy costs in their own country, a ruble that's now virtually rubble.
They know that. How is that factoring back home?
NEGROPONTE: Well, I mean, there have been a couple of pretty important surprises in this whole, what is it, a one-month war now, the first of which has been the incredible resilience and capability of the Ukrainians to defend themselves.
And the counterpart surprise has been the ineffectiveness, significant problems that have been experienced by Russian forces in practically all respects.
Now, the conflict has only gone on four weeks. I don't know whether long lines and economic suffering will take its toll on the Russians that soon. Also, don't forget they don't have an open information society. So they don't really know the full picture of what's going on.
And, as a result, they're probably willing to trust their leader for at least a time longer, until more hard evidence comes in that their suffering severe setbacks down there in Ukraine. But, at the moment, they're not getting the full picture. And they're also being fed this line that Putin gives them, which is that he's defending ethnic Russians who are being mistreated in Ukraine. That's the story they're getting.
But, again, it -- I don't know how long it compensates for the pain they're feeling, to your point.
John Negroponte, thank you very, very much.
NEGROPONTE: Well, compared to the pain that the Ukrainians -- compared to the pain that Ukraine is facing, it's not that great yet.
But you're -- you're right. I'm sure, at some point -- in Afghanistan, it happened with the body bags and all of that, and how fed up the army got with the war. But I don't know whether we're -- I don't know how far we are away from that point.
CAVUTO: Yes, neither do Ukrainians. They're hoping that it does resonate back home, because that's the only way they see this ending, at least a lot of them.
So we will watch it very, very closely.
Director, good seeing you again. Thank you.
NEGROPONTE: Thank you.
CAVUTO: All right, what we do know, in the meantime, is 3.5 million refugees seeking out safer havens. Poland accounts for more than half of them.
And that's where you will find our Aishah Hasnie -- Aishah.
AISHAH HASNIE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Neil.
We know that the vast majority of these refugees coming in from Ukraine are women and children leaving their fathers or husbands behind in their homeland to fight the war. And that is opening up the door to a very risky situation, possible human trafficking.
I'm going to tell you what local officials here in Poland are doing to prevent that coming up.
CAVUTO: All right, the president is heading out to Brussels this week. After that, he's going to be going to Poland.
Poland itself has taken in more refugees from Ukraine than all those other countries combined. And it's presented a huge financial burden.
Aishah Hasnie is seeing it up close in Poland -- Aishah.
HASNIE: Hey there, Neil. Good afternoon to you.
Not only a big financial burden, but also the risk of human trafficking. Imagine this. You have got millions of women coming in with children, their husbands, their fathers back in Ukraine. They show up, they're exhausted, and they're tired from their journey. They also probably can't speak Polish oftentimes, and all of a sudden they meet someone who's offering them a ride to a hotel or to a home.
This is the perfect recipe for human trafficking. In fact, just about a week ago, police actually detained a 49-year-old man in Western Poland for allegedly raping a young refugee girl who could not speak Polish. He reportedly lured her in by offering her a place to stay.
The European Commission now has activated their anti-trafficking coordinators. And there's also a new system in place here that requires volunteers to now check in with authorities, and they get a bracelet that then proves that they are a registered driver.
Now, we met an American from Idaho, Rob Sturgill. He not only has that bracelet, Neil. The other day, he told us he got on the phone with a very worried husband of a Ukrainian refugee. And he spoke to him for a while on the phone, until that man trusted him with his family.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROB STURGILL, AMERICAN VOLUNTEER: And he paused for about five seconds and then said: "I have got to trust you."
And so we took the family up to Krakow, put them in a hotel room. We actually let them contact family, take a picture of our passports, take a picture of our license plates on the vehicles that we have. And, sometimes, it does take quite an effort to get them, because these people are -- they're scared. They're scared to death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HASNIE: Yes, it's a very desperate situation for these families that practically have no other choice but to trust whoever is helping them.
So, now we're hearing from a crisis volunteers at these border crossings and train stations that they actually are trying to get the police here to ban private vehicles, private cars from showing up at these places, and really trying to guide these people, these refugees onto buses instead that will take them to refugee centers, because those buses are part of humanitarian aid groups -- Neil.
CAVUTO: Aishah, thank you very, very much. Be safe yourself.
Aishah reporting from Poland.
Again, the lion's share of those refugees are going to Poland, and the Poles have been extremely generous, but bearing the large cost of this, looking no doubt to President Biden when he visits the country for some help in that regard.
Right now, the big issue is the ongoing war itself back in Ukraine and all the cities that could be falling and demanding immediate surrender on the part of the residents and the powers that be in those cities. So far, that is not happening right now.
Dmytro Veselov is taking up arms to defend Ukraine. And he is leading that effort right now to make sure no one surrenders to anyone at this point.
Dmytro, good to have you.
Could you explain a little bit what you're doing?
DMYTRO VESELOV, TAKING UP ARMS TO DEFEND UKRAINE: Hello.
Well, the initial plan was send in fighting Kyiv. But, apparently, I was taken to send by my command and send to -- as the Ukrainian foreign legion operations.
So, I now help the foreign volunteers to train Ukrainian troops on the base near Lviv.
CAVUTO: So, these foreign volunteers, are they from several countries? I know you can't detail much, but what could you tell us?
VESELOV: Yes, they're from many countries.
The most of them are from the United States, because, like, the United States has the biggest military, operating military that is allied to Ukraine. But we also have volunteers from Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Great Britain, and many other countries of Europe.
CAVUTO: So, when a city falls, or the Russians say it falls -- like, Mariupol is a good example, Dmytro -- and they demand the full, complete unconditional surrender of local authorities and the population, and that - - population refuses, as is the case in Mariupol, I'm wondering how then your men and women in these foreign forces, whatever you want to call them, how they -- what they do at that point.
VESELOV: Well, the foreign forces, at that point, they follow the command structure of (INAUDIBLE) of Ukraine.
And, like, they do whatever their Ukrainian command tells them to do.
CAVUTO: So, if the Ukrainian command says, we never give up, we never surrender, we continue fighting, even in those cities that have been captured by Russian soldiers, then what is their role? What are these -- the fighters' role, even working with the Ukrainian command?
VESELOV: Well, in the military, if your command gives you an order to make a final stand, then what you do is make a final stand.
Or if you need to fight a guerrilla warfare in an occupied city, then you fighting a guerrilla warfare in an occupied city. That's what you do.
CAVUTO: You know, Dmytro, it's interesting that the Russians have talked about -- I don't know how true it is -- you would better than I would -- that they would release prisoners, Ukrainian prisoners, if Ukrainians released Russian soldiers who are prisoners.
How do you personally feel about such a swap?
VESELOV: Well, a prisoner exchange is a common practice during wartimes.
But, like, the question is if we can trust Russians. And extrapolating from Russian promises on the green corridors for the refugees, I wouldn't trust them all that much.
CAVUTO: So, these humanitarian corridors that the Russians have promised to honor to allow those in Ukraine who want to leave to, do you trust them on that?
VESELOV: What I know so far is that we had civilians who died trying to move out in -- through these corridors. Like, they were shot by Russians.
And, like, we have features of civilian cars that made through, that -- those humanitarian corridors, and those civilian cars have a lot of bullet holes on them. So, that behavior of Russian troops does not inspire a lot of trust.
CAVUTO: Understood. Understood.
Dmytro Veselov, thank you very, very much.
To accentuate what Dmytro was just saying, the Ukrainian deputy prime minister said a little more than 8,000 people have escaped through these seven humanitarian corridors. But, remember, there are 10 of them, so only through seven.
That will do it here.
Here comes "THE FIVE."
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