Tug of War

Tug of War

In a special ongoing season, CNN reporters take us on-the-ground in Ukraine to document Russia’s invasion, the escalating conflict, and what it means for the rest of the world.

Episodes

June 8, 2022 19 min

He was in Kyiv at the very start of the invasion - CNN Senior International correspondent Matthew Chance returns to find a city experiencing an uneasy calm. Meanwhile, brutal fighting continues in the South and East as the Ukrainians go on a counter-offensive, hoping to retake Russian-occupied territory. We examine what life is like for everyday Ukrainians who have returned to horror and look at what comes next as the conflict drag...

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Ukrainian officials claim Russia has targeted numerous cultural and historical sites during its assault on the country. In response, artists and historians have been racing to save key artifacts in an effort to preserve Ukrainian culture. CNN Style Global Editor Fiona Sinclair Scott has the story of one such artist and examines how some Ukrainian residents have returned to the ballet in hopes of a more normal night out. 

See the “F...

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Although US-Russia tensions have been at an all-time high, the two countries have been staying in touch on another issue. Trevor Reed, an American imprisoned in Russian territory has finally returned home after nearly 3 years and intense negotiation between the two countries. His fate is different from fellow Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, along with others imprisoned in multiple countries around the world. CNN’s Jake T...

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After decades of neutrality, Finland and Sweden are set to file applications to join NATO, undermining Russian president Vladimir Putin’s aim of splintering the military alliance. CNN International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson traces how the war in Ukraine convinced the Finnish government to take this step and examines how the world order could be impacted if other European countries follow their lead. 

Recorded on May 16, 2022.

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Russia’s war on Ukraine is causing a global scramble for essential commodities such as wheat, natural gas, and sunflower oil. But how are shortages on these goods resulting in an export ban on palm oil in Indonesia and skyrocketing dairy prices in the UK? CNN Business Senior Writer Julia Horowitz talks us through the economic domino effect rocking global markets and the civil unrest it could spark.  

Recorded on May 10, 2022.

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May 4, 2022 19 min

Before the war, Mariupol was a peaceful port town. Now, it’s the focal point of the biggest land war in Europe since 1945. CNN’s International Security Editor Nick Paton Walsh spoke to some evacuated residents who have spent the last two months holed up deep beneath a local steel plant - he tells us about their journey, what life is like for those who remain in Mariupol and why future evacuations may be hard to come by. 

Recorded o...

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April 27, 2022 22 min

Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, has been a strategic target since the earliest days of Russia’s invasion. Amidst constant bombardment and heavy losses, residents fear the worst could be yet to come should their city be encircled by Russian forces. CNN Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward has seen both the rubble and the heroism on the ground in Kharkiv. She takes us inside the city to examine Russia’s gruesome ta...

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The new CNN Films documentary “Navalny” chronicles the aftermath of top Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny’s poisoning, allegedly carried out by Russian agents (a charge the Kremlin denies). We talk with the film’s director, Daniel Roher, about how he was able to obtain intimate access to Navalny and his family, why it’s important to him for Russians to see the movie and what Putin’s response to Navalny can tell us about his ...

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April 20, 2022 18 min

When Russia invaded Ukraine, Western allies were quick to slap sanctions on the wealthy oligarchs closely aligned with Vladimir Putin. But are they having an impact? CNN Contributor and former CNN Moscow bureau chief Jill Dougherty examines who is in Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, how they work hand-in-hand with the Kremlin, and why Russia is so desperate for anything it can call a “victory” on the battlefield.

Recorded on Tuesday,...

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Last week, President Joe Biden described the atrocities being discovered in Ukraine as "genocide" for the first time. CNN Chief International Investigative Correspondent Nima Elbagir explains the legal ramifications around the label and also examines how Russian tactics compare to other conflicts she’s covered around the world. 

This episode contains graphic descriptions of war. 

Recorded on April 15, 2022.

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After suffering a series of failures in the north of Ukraine around Kyiv, Russia is set to shift its focus to the east. There are fears that the assault could be even more relentless and indiscriminate as Vladimir Putin searches for some sort of victory. CNN Senior International Correspondent Fred Pleitgen examines why Putin is so focused on this area, what dangers await residents coming back to their homes near Kyiv, and how every...

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April 10, 2022 21 min

As Russia leaves behind a trail of dead civilians in Ukraine, the global outrage grows louder. Russian propaganda tries to hide the horrors of bombed cities and potential war crimes by Russian soldiers, but Ukrainian security services have released radio intercepts that counter that narrative. CNN Senior International Correspondent Matthew Chance discusses how Russian soldiers are communicating while on the ground in Ukraine, Putin...

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April 6, 2022 17 min

For the past few days, the world has reacted in horror to the shocking images coming out of Bucha, Ukraine: dead civilian bodies in the streets, many with hands tied, and mass graves containing hundreds of unarmed people. Some believe the atrocities may even be a tipping point in the conflict with Russia. After visiting Bucha, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned peace talks with Russia would be difficult. CNN internationa...

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April 3, 2022 22 min

The city of Mariupol has been under near-constant bombardment since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. Anyone still left in the crumbling city has been dealing with no electricity and a lack of food for weeks. In this episode, we catch up with CNN Senior International Correspondent Ivan Watson, who has been talking to people who have made the dangerous journey out of Mariupol. We hear their stories and examine how the invasion h...

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March 30, 2022 17 min

After the latest round of in-person talks between Ukraine and Russia, Moscow said it would “drastically reduce” military activity around two major Ukrainian cities. However, many experts remain skeptical about this strategy shift and believe peace could still be a long way off. CNN Senior National Security Correspondent Alex Marquardt lays out what both sides are looking for in negotiations and examines President Biden’s unscripted...

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Russia’s onslaught on Ukraine has left widespread destruction in some of the country’s major cities. But as Ukrainians fight back, there are fears that Vladimir Putin could escalate the conflict by using even deadlier weapons. In this episode, CNN Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour talks about why Vladimir Putin’s strategy isn’t working as well as he had hoped. She also examines the war crimes allegations leveled agains...

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March 23, 2022 21 min

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches its one-month mark, President Biden joins other world leaders in Brussels, Belgium for a NATO summit where he hopes to sustain the Western alliance. The stakes are high, as the world will be watching closely and Ukraine is especially eager to know how far the alliance will go to deter Putin's advance. CNN’s White House reporter Natasha Bertrand has been reporting from NATO headquarters...

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As Russia’s unprovoked destruction and targeting of civilians wreaks havoc across Ukraine, Russian citizens have been hearing a different story entirely. That’s because Putin is also waging a war on his own people through a merciless effort to crack down on independent media and dissent. Hear how one TV station used a ballet to make a point. Anderson Cooper talks to CNN’s International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson about the curr...

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More than 3 million Ukrainians have fled their country since Russia’s invasion. Many are escaping though Poland, which borders the west of Ukraine. Anderson Cooper talks to CNN’s Sara Sidner who has been reporting from the region for the past several weeks. They discuss what she’s witnessed there — from the incredible generosity of the Polish people to blatant discrimination when it comes to people of color trying to reach safety t...

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March 13, 2022 19 min

As Russia continues its violent assault on Ukraine, it has also unleashed an assault on the truth. CNN’s Anderson Cooper talks with International Security Editor Nick Paton Walsh who has been covering the conflict in southern Ukraine. They discuss the struggles of covering a war when one side is deliberately lying about the reality on the ground and his approach to talking to people experiencing the worst moments of their lives. 

R...

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