CNN’s chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward showed a whole lot of compassion Saturday while reporting from an area near Kyiv, Ukraine, that had been demolished by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assault, pivoting from her live broadcast to comfort elderly refugees.
“These people have been under bombardment for seven straight days and are only just leaving their homes — and they’re leaving them reluctantly and leaving them with the knowledge that they might not be able to go back to them,” Ward said in front of rubble from a bridge destroyed by Russian strikes.
A line of people carrying what little of their belongings they could gather marched up the embankment toward and past her to higher, hopefully, safer ground. Ward paused to speak to an elderly man in his native language and point him in the right direction.
She continued with her live report: “People are so exhausted. They can barely walk. They’re having to climb this sort of twisted metal,” she said. “Many of them, as you can see, are elderly, they’re visibly distressed. It’s just an awful, awful scene. And these people are the lucky ones.”
Another older woman approached her, weeping. Ward spoke with her in her native language, as well, touching her arm and then stroking her back for comfort. Ward excused herself as she signaled to the anchor back in the U.S. studio that she was going to help the woman carry her bag up the path. Just a few yards away, Ward spoke to the woman again and offered her more words of comfort.
“People are obviously incredibly affected by this situation. They’re frightened. They’re exhausted. They’re on edge. They’ve got their pets. They’ve grabbed whatever they can. And you’re right,” Ward said. “A lot of these people have no idea where they’re going to go once they cross this bridge.”
She went on. “They know they’re in relative safety once they do it, but they don’t have any idea where they’re going to go, they don’t have any idea where they’re going to sleep tonight. They don’t have any idea when they can get all their belongings from back home. We’re still hearing the steady thud of artillery in the distance and the fear is,” she said. “It’s just going to keep getting closer.”
You can watch the events as they unfolded in the video at the top.