Return to Transcripts main page
Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
NYPD Seeking 62-Year-Old Person Of Interest In NYC Shooting; Subway Shooter Fired Gun 33 Times, Hitting 10 People; NYPD: Subway Shooter Fired Gun 33 Times, Hitting 10 People; Ukraine: Land Mines On A Timer Dropped From The Sky In Kharkiv; Putin Critic Vladimir Kara- Murza Detained Outside Moscow Home After CNN Interview. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 12, 2022 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Evgenia Kara-Murza, thank you so much for coming on and speaking out for your husband, when in this moment, he cannot do it for himself. I really appreciate it.
EVGENIA KARA-MURZA, WIFE OF DETAINED RUSSIAN OPPOSITION POLITICIAN, VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA: Thank you very much for having me here.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
And thank you all so much for being with us tonight. I'm Kate Bolduan.
AC 360 starts now.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Police in New York tonight now have a person- of-interest, their words, in the subway mass shooting this morning that might have easily become a massacre. Thirty-three shots fired, 10 people wounded, amazingly and thankfully, no one killed.
John Berman here in for Anderson.
And take a look at this. These are the photos the NYPD released tonight of Frank James, the person-of-interest. He is 62 years old. He has addresses in Wisconsin and Philadelphia, and we should stress, police are not calling him a suspect. They say he rented the van found a short drive from the shooting scene in Brooklyn.
If you know him, or have any information on the shooting, you're asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS. That's 1-800-577-T-I-P-S.
This all began in the middle of rush hour this morning. The smoke from two smoke canisters police say the gunman set off before opening fire with a nine millimeter pistol. In a moment, we will speak to one of the 10 gunshot victims, a man who says he was sitting right next to the gunman moments before the firing began.
First though, we want to get the very latest from the scene in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn. CNN's Brynn Gingras is there. Brynn, a flurry of late developments today? Give us the latest?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and the biggest one though, John, is what you just said they are still looking for this person, as you mentioned person-of-interest according to law enforcement officials that they just want to talk to, and they're still trying to piece together how that person is connected to what happened here in the subway.
But there's been a lot of evidence that has been recovered that law enforcement is really working with at this hour. We know that they recovered the gun. As you said, there were fireworks. There were magazines and there were smoke canisters. So much was recovered that could have made this so much worse than it really was, not to minimize at all what happened because quite frankly, it was terror on the subway system this morning.
GINGRAS (voice over): It happened during the morning rush aboard a busy New York City subway train in Brooklyn.
Shots rang out and smoke filled the car. Witnesses say --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were people screaming for medical assistance. It was just a scary moment.
GINGRAS (voice over): Law enforcement arrived within minutes.
KEECHANT SEWELL, NYPD COMMISSIONER: An individual on that train donned what appeared to be a gas mask. He then took a canister out of his bag and opened it. The train at that time began to fill with smoke. He then opened fire, striking multiple people on the subway, and in the platform.
GINGRAS (voice over): Ten shot, five of them in critical, but stable condition with many more people injured according to the FDNY as photos from the scene show blood on the floor of the subway station.
YAV MONTANO, ON BOARD TRAIN DURING SHOOTING: We were stuck in the train right about to get to reach to the stop, and then thank goodness, the train moved within a minute. Or I don't know what would have happened if we were stuck there for longer.
GINGRAS (voice over): A gun, multiple high capacity magazines, fireworks, and gunpowder have been recovered in the station law enforcement sources say, and they believe the gun jammed during the shooting.
Tonight, a motive for the attack remains unknown with a suspect still on the loose.
SEWELL: He is being reported as a male Black, approximately five feet five inches tall with a heavy build. He was wearing a green construction type vest and a hooded sweatshirt. The color is gray.
GINGRAS (voice over): Late today, investigators located a U-Haul cargo van with Arizona license plates in connection with the shooting. New York Mayor Eric Adams who is in isolation recovering from COVID-19 told CNN it is too early to dismiss the subway attack as not terror- related.
MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D), NEW YORK CITY: This is terror -- someone attempting to terrorize our system. They brought in what appears to be some form of smoke device. They discharged a weapon, and so I don't want to be premature in identifying that this was not, I think, at this time the investigators are going to do their due diligence to properly identify what happened here.
GINGRAS (voice over): New York Governor Kathy Hochul on scene today called for an end to New York's recent wave of violent crime.
GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): We say no more. No more mass shootings. No more disrupting lives. No more creating heartbreak for people, just trying to live their lives as normal New Yorkers. It has to end, it ends now.
BERMAN: And Brynn, we're also learning more about the surveillance cameras at the subway stop. What can you tell us about that?
GINGRAS: Yes, John. We are learning actually that these cameras that are actually in the subway stop were not operating, but of course you have to know that there are thousands of cameras all around the city, all around this area. We have seen investigators going door to door getting surveillance camera footage, watching it inside delis. Certainly, they are all piecing that together. But then of course, a big thing here is all the eyes of New Yorkers since they put out that picture of a person-of-interest, Frank James, we're hearing differing in the height. I know you heard five-five there, but he might be taller.
They want you to call it in to the Crime Stoppers hotline, and they are offering a hefty award for information, $50,000.00, John. They want to talk to this person, see if they are connected, how they may be connected, what motivations might be, and at least just get this person to talking to investigators.
BERMAN: Again, if anyone out there has seen anything, please do call.
Brynn Gingras, thank you so much for reporting on the scene all day.
Joining us now from his hospital bed is Hourari Benkada who says he was sitting next to the shooter and was wounded in the leg.
Hourari, first of all, how are you doing tonight?
HOURARI BENKADA, NYC SUBWAY TRAIN SHOOTING SURVIVOR: Extremely in pain. Like the worst pain of my life.
BERMAN: I can only imagine. And I am so sorry that you went through this.
Can you walk us through what happened? I understand you say you actually sat next to the shooter on the train before everything happened?
BENKADA: Yes, so I was on 59th Street, on the odd train transfer and so on entering on 59th, I was at the first car, last seat, and I just -- I'm not -- I was not paying attention. I'm not really paying attention to that. So I just walked in and sat down, and the guy is next to me, but I did not get a glimpse of his face.
And all you see is like a smoke -- black smoke bomb going off. And then -- and then people bum rushing to the back. This pregnant woman was in front of me. I was trying to help her. I didn't know they were shot at first. I just thought it was a black smoke bomb.
She said "I'm pregnant with a baby." I hugged her. And then the bum rush continued. I got pushed, and that's when I got shot in the back of my knee.
BERMAN: Did you see the shooter open or drop the smoke canister?
BENKADA: I didn't. Once I entered the train, I wasn't paying attention to anybody. I wasn't looking to anybody. I was on my phone with my headphones on, just sitting down. And all you see was black smoke, and I turned to the right to the guy with a mask on, you know with the MTA bus.
BERMAN: And again, I'll just ask this again, the NYPD did just tweet out an image of a man they say is a person of interest in this shooting. They're not calling him a suspect right now. I know you have seen the picture. Does it look like the man you sat next to?
BENKADA: I'm not really sure, man. I haven't -- I wasn't able to see his face. He had a mask on.
BERMAN: And I understand that. I think, often we go on the subway, we are just minding our own business doing our own thing. We don't take a good look around.
BERMAN: In your case, you were doing that, then it all of a sudden, there was smoke everywhere.
There were some reports that the suspect was mumbling to himself before he started shooting. Did you notice that or anything else about the behavior beforehand?
BENKADA: You know, I wish I just had my headphones in my ears, my phone in my hand, minding my own business, and my head down, sitting down. But this makes me not want to ride a train ever in my life.
BERMAN: I'm so sorry. It's going to be something I know that will stick with you and you will --
BENKADA: That's me in the red hoodie coming out.
BERMAN: That's you in the red hoodie coming out?
BENKADA: Yes. It was in the beginning right there by that path.
BERMAN: Do you remember how long it took? Do you remember how long it took for the shooting to begin shooting?
BENKADA: So, normally the train from 59th Street to 36th Street usually takes two minutes. But the train kept stopping between tunnels, in between 41st Street, it took forever. You know and it's an old style train. You can't switch cars, you know.
Somehow, we had to break -- somebody broke the first door down, and the second door was really hard to break and I was just focused on the pregnant woman and that's when I got struck in the leg, man. I was just on my way to work.
BERMAN: How long was there smoke before he started shooting, do you know?
BENKADA: It was -- smoke went off first and then he started shooting as you seen the video, smoke still there when the doors open.
BERMAN: And what was it like -- you were just talking about it, an old style subway car?
BENKADA: I'm still shocked -- and I'm shaking. I don't even know how I'm holding my phone. You know, I don't think I could ever ride a train again to be honest.
BERMAN: And you were just worried about that woman. Tell me about the woman you were worried about trying to help?
BENKADA: Oh, the woman, so I was sitting closely next to the guy ahead of everybody and the woman was sitting next to me like let's say like 12 feet to the left. And I had seen she had a belly and when she got up, she was like -- once she had seen the smoke, the smoke went out first, then the gunshots went off, and when I had seen the smoke, she said "Oh my god, I'm pregnant." That's when I give her a hug.
BERMAN: And do you know, did she make it out of the car? Is she okay?
BENKADA: I did see her in the video make it out. I did see her in the video make it out, yes.
BERMAN: Oh, well that's a relief and I'm sure that your help was so crucial and helping her. How long was the shooting happening before the subway doors open before people could get out?
BENKADA: About three to four minutes -- the shooting happened about a minute like about like 10 shots went off. I think the gun jammed. I think he had like an extended clip or something because I never heard that many shots come off a handgun.
BERMAN: So 33 shots were fired. Does that sound like what you heard?
BENKADA: Yes. I mean, it did sound like a handgun, but he probably had extended clips or another firearm, you know?
BERMAN: Can you describe what it did sound like?
BENKADA: Sounded like the loudest thing I've ever heard in my life.
BERMAN: And did you see him? Or were you aware of him changing the magazine? The cartridge?
BENKADA: No. All I see was just black smoke and that's when I got hit. I didn't think you know, it was serious until I got off the train. I put my pants down and the size of a quarter just gushing out blood. I lost so much blood.
BERMAN: And it your knee. Where did the bullet hit?
BENKADA: So if you see right here, I am on a cane, but I'll demonstrate on my other leg. Right here. So the bullet went through the back of the knee, and it came out over here. That's a size of a quarter over here.
BERMAN: And did you know -- when did you know that you had been hit like that?
BENKADA: When I got off the train and you know, I looked at all the blood, and then, I was like this ain't right.
BERMAN: Could you stand up?
BENKADA: I cannot.
BERMAN: What have they told you about how long it's going to take to recover?
BENKADA: They're not sure right now. They're just waiting on me, my knee to heal. I'm not really sure, I'm spending the night here today. I'm not sure when they'll discharge me.
BERMAN: How did you manage to get out with your knee hit like that, bleeding as you were saying? You know, how did you get from inside the subway to outside the subway? And once you were out what happened?
BENKADA: You know, I was just so shocked that the pain had hit me until after.
BERMAN: And then, did someone come and help you?
BENKADA: Well, I'm sorry, I got a whole bunch of people calling me that's why it keeps going in and out.
BERMAN: No, I understand. People are probably seeing you. They're so thrilled that they can tell you're okay now. They probably just want to check in with you. When you were on the subway platform, once you realize you've been hit and bleeding, you know, how did you get to the hospital? Who took care of you?
BENKADA: On me -- BERMAN: Hourari, can you hear me?
BERMAN: I was asking. I'm just trying to figure out how you got the help you needed once you were hit.
BENKADA: I was -- I managed to go up the stairs myself. I went to the first flight of stairs myself. Every cop that passed by me just ignored me. They were just think maybe focused on the shooter. And then the fire -- and I told the guy at -- whatever you call him --I needed a lot of napkins. I'm bleeding. He didn't even know what was going on, the guy at the booth.
And then eventually after like five to 10 minutes, two firefighters helped me on their shoulders.
BERMAN: Wow. I can't believe you made it up the stairs on your own. It shows --
BENKADA: Yes, I was so shocked. I was like I didn't it was a bullet. I was just so shocked. I just wanted to get out of there after hearing all those shots firing off.
And Hourari, just finally, you had told me you think you're not going to want to ride the subway ever again.
BERMAN: Just talk to me about your feelings right now.
BENKADA: I think I might you know, I might be scared of riding the subway again because you just never know.
BERMAN: Hourari, again, I'm so sorry you went through this. I'm glad -- are there people there with you right now? Loved ones taking care of you?
BENKADA: Yes, I've got a nurse in and out. Yes.
BERMAN: Well, good. Let us know if there's anything we can do. I'm so sorry you went through this. I'm glad that you're recovering. You're obviously a strong guy. You walked up those stairs after a bullet went through your knee. So you've got some heart, my friend.
BENKADA: Thank you. Thank you very much.
BERMAN: Hourari Benkada, thank you very much.
Joining us now is the former New York Police Commissioner, Ray Kelly. Also CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former F.B.I. Deputy Director, Andy McCabe.
BERMAN: Commissioner, I just want to start with you. I mean, obviously, that was a heck of an account right there. A really, just terrifying account from a man who just went through hell, and is so lucky to be alive, like so many of those people. What's your reaction to that?
RAY KELLY, FORMER NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: You're absolutely right. I was very impressed with this young man. Obviously, he is still in pain. He had his senses to get out of the train, to get up the stairs that must have taken quite a bit of adrenaline flow to get him up there.
But yes, there were so many people who were lucky today. This individual, you saw him fire 33 shots. He had additional ammunition. His two clips for extended. In other words, they could have had, you know, extra ammunition in them. So it was in many ways a lucky day.
But New York City subways have been plagued with crime now for the last over a year, year and a half, and people are not going to be comforted by this type of event.
Travel is now about half of what it was before the pandemic. Say this is not going to help get people back on the train.
BERMAN: You know, Andy, the past hour, we have a name. We got a name -- Frank James, and a photo of the man that the NYPD is describing as a person-of-interest in this investigation. What do you think that investigators are focusing on as they're trying to locate him? How are they trying to find him?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, John, there's a massive effort going on right now to locate Frank James. I can tell you that any address that they have that is even remotely associated with this guy is probably under surveillance or about to be by F.B.I. agents and local police in all kinds of different jurisdictions.
They're coursing through Mr. James' presence online, social media, YouTube. I know there has been some discussion about videos he may have posted. They'll be looking at the metadata on all those postings to see if they can associate him with additional addresses.
They will be trying to locate and identify and talk to Mr. James' associates, family members, maybe if he has any work or employment record that we go into those places. You know, he is a person-of- interest at this point. But let's face it, he's got a lot of explaining to do.
He rented this U-Haul van in Philadelphia, and the key from that van ends up on the subway car, how he could be connected with that van and not have been inside that car when the shooting took place is going to be a hard story for him to tell.
But at this point, they just want to get in front of Mr. James and understand what his perspective on these events may have been.
BERMAN: And to be clear, the social media postings you mentioned, included references, we are told in that news conference to homelessness, New York City and also the Mayor Eric Adams and security has been increased as a result for the mayor as a precaution.
Commissioner Kelly, we also heard from law enforcement that they found among other items, a hand gun, smoke grenades, gasoline, extended magazines, and a hatchet. What does that tell you about the amount of planning that went into this?
KELLY: Certainly up to no good. That's quite an array of tools he had there. Yes, we don't know what he was going to do. Hopefully, if we can find this individual and talk to him. Right now, he is not charged with anything. So it would probably behoove him to come forward and talk to law enforcement authorities, rather than, you know, risk of confrontation at this time.
I like the fact that the mayor said today that he is going to double the number of police officers in the subway system. I think that that has to be done. People, as I say, don't have confidence in the system. We need a much larger uniform presence in the system to regain some sense of safety. Otherwise, you know, the subways are the lifeblood of New York City. That's how virtually 70 percent of the people get to work in New York.
So if they're not going on a subway, it's going to be a big problem as far as New York rebounding from the pandemic.
BERMAN: Director McCabe, given that the shooter reportedly fired 33 times, 10 people reported being taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds. What it says to you thus far there have been no fatalities, thankfully, no fatalities reported from this attack.
MCCABE: You know, John, that's a hard one to evaluate. I mean, obviously, an incredibly high degree of planning and premeditation goes into this attack. You know that from all of -- you know, from his very kind of careful way of boarding the train, putting on the mask, deploying the smoke grenades all kinds of stuff.
From that perspective, he looks like a pretty, almost a trained kind of very careful operator. On the other hand, he shoots 33 rounds, hits no one and runs out of the train leaving behind his gun and what seems to be a ton of possibly significant forensic evidence, so that really mitigates against any sort of like, you know, high level of training or competence here.
So, 33 rounds and no lethal shots could just be a lack of training or lack of familiarization. He may have been disoriented by the smoke and the commotion and everything else, but we'll have to see how that plays out.
BERMAN: Commissioner and Director, thank you both so much for helping us understand what we're seeing tonight.
Next is the latest update on the van connected to all this. We'll get a live report from the scene.
And later, Ukraine, President Biden calling Russian tactics there genocide for the first time, but whatever word you choose, there is new and graphic evidence tonight of the inhumanity Ukrainians are enduring.
BERMAN: As police in New York are seeking the man they're now calling a person-of-interest in today's subway shooting, they are asking for your help. They say his name is Frank James, 62 years old with addresses in Wisconsin and Philadelphia, and number to call is 1-800- 577-TIPS. Police say he rented the van found just a short drive from the shooting scene and in just the last few minutes, there has been activity around that van.
CNN's Miguel Marquez is nearby and joins us now.
Miguel, describe the scene where you are.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is the Graves and sort of Benson Hurst area of Brooklyn. The van that is connected to this individual, it was rented just yesterday in Philadelphia and you can see it off in the distance there. There's now a tow truck next to the van.
There has been a massive police effort in this neighborhood throughout the day this afternoon. This is just a few blocks from the Kings Highway stop on the N-Train where one could have gotten on and then continued to where the shooting took place.
Police had been going from door to door, both buildings, residential buildings and businesses looking at security video asking for security videos, seeing what else that they can find there to try to figure out where this individual is.
It felt very much like they were on to something greater at one point this afternoon. They had such a number of police investigators here. The bomb squad was here. Fire, Police and Ambulance Services as well in this area. They were really on the hunt.
You can get a sense of just how they swarmed this area and how right now, they are looking for this person-of-interest in this case in other areas like this -- John.
BERMAN: A much bigger operation, you described and just around the U- Haul van itself. But what are you -- what more are you learning about this U-Haul?
MARQUEZ: It has been sitting there most of the day. The one person most people -- we've shown everybody the picture of this individual, talked to a lot of people about the van. One person said he had seen it there all day long. So it may have been sitting there for quite some time. They did have the bomb squad there. They had other investigators that were looking at the van for much of the afternoon.
They left a short time ago. The tow truck is there now that they will probably take it to some evidence yard and they will go through it even in a more refined way.
But they are looking at every aspect of that van, trying to figure out if there's any clues there for where he may have gone next -- John.
BERMAN: You're looking at live pictures, just to be clear, of that van right now. The people who have been around and about that neighborhood, anyone there say anything about whether they recognize this person of interest.
MARQUEZ: We have asked. I've been showing that picture to everybody that I meet here, and some of them twice, and told me that they've seen it twice now. And nobody has seen this person that they know of. Some people thought he might have had a place to stay in the neighborhood.
I will tell you that police were going to businesses asking for videotape from security cameras, and in some cases, viewing security camera videos. So there may be some record of him in this neighborhood in the last 24 hours.
If that van was rented yesterday in Philly, it's only about a six-hour drive up here from there, so he could have been in this neighborhood for quite some time -- John.
BERMAN: All right, Miguel Marquez for us in Brooklyn on the scene where that van still is. Thank you very much.
We're joined now by former NYPD Sergeant Joseph Giacalone. Sergeant, thanks so much for being with us. Given the police now have a name and a photo, a person-of-interest in addition to the van, the items left at the scene, a whole lot here. How long would you expect this search for person-of-interest, Frank James, to go on?
JOSEPH GIACALONE, FORMER NYPD SERGEANT: This search is going to go on all night for sure, and then it's going to go on until they catch up. I mean, they have to find him, they have to bring him in, and they have to question him.
I mean, like they said before, it's just a person of interest. But that's just a term they use because they worry about legal issues down the road once an arrest has been made, just in case they get the wrong person.
So it's just, you know, just a way of getting around that aspect of it so far, but there is lots of evidence, especially in that van. They'll be doing touch DNA. They will be doing fingerprints. You name it. They will be taking out all the forensics they can, hair follicles, whatever they may find in there.
And they're also probably by now, they've already been to the U-Haul facility. They've gotten the video camera surveillance from that, and they're out talking to every family member they could find. And you know, hopefully they can get a cell phone number for this guy. Maybe they're trying to already contact him and just have himself -- give himself up. BERMAN: With the amount of information they have, with the amount of physical evidence they have, how hard would it be for him to hide for much longer?
GIACALONE: Well, you're dealing with a huge city here. We have nine million people you can hide in plain sight. That's why it's important. And that's why the police commissioner, talking about the value of what the community can do to in order to help the police find this guy, to be on the lookout for you. You have nine million people out there looking for him, and that's what's going to help.
I mean, the issue that comes down to is that the police can't be everywhere all the time, and we need the community's help a lot of times to solve these crimes. And it's an important aspect. And this is how you also build bridges to the community to show them how important they are to that police work and how much it's appreciated once they help the police to uncover certain things that they need in cases.
BERMAN: Mayor Adams, of course, a former police officer himself, has made subway safety a major focus of his administration. He said on CNN earlier today that the subway is safe, and he rides the subway often to send a message. But do you think it's safe? You know, and beyond increasing the numbers of officers patrolling the system, what can be done to make the train safer?
GIACALONE: Well, I take the train every week in order to get to school. So I've seen a lot of things that I haven't seen quite frankly, John, in a long time. I find needles on staircases, lights that don't work anymore, garbage everywhere. It is just not a place that I remember not too short time ago.
Listen, the subway needs to be ready to be used. We have just come out of COVID. We have the surge in crime, and now we're dealing with this incident. It's like a punch to the gut. You need to have the subway running, and it has to be -- the perception has to be that it's safe.
Right now that perception is not that it's safe, but it is also a reality. I mean, we're dealing with a 65, I think or 70 percent increase in crime year-to-date so far in the subway. Every week we have anecdotal evidence about things that just shouldn't be, right, people getting attacked with hammers and the like.
So the issue that it comes down to is, this subway should have been flooded weeks ago. When he came up with a zero tolerance plan, I thought that's what was going to be, but apparently, it hasn't done that and we still see double digit increases in transit crime since this this plan has come out.
My other recommendation is, if he wants to double the amount of cops, do it already. But also, he needs to reach out to the Governor and have the State Police come in instead of them having them sitting around on the bridges and the tunnels and everything like that. Let's get them into the subways and see if we can at least have that omnipresence, have them everywhere, too. I mean, this has gotten to a point where people like that gentleman that you had earlier that they just don't want to take the subway anymore, and we don't want to see that happen.
BERMAN: Former NYPD Sergeant, Joseph Giacalone, always great to have you on thank you so much.
GIACALONE: Have a great night, John.
BERMAN: We're going to have more on the New York subway attack later in the broadcast. But coming up, the latest in Ukraine, including President Biden accusing Vladimir Putin of genocide. Also and frightening, look at a brutal new tactic Russians are using to do catastrophic damage.
BERMAN: We'll have more than New York City subway attack in a moment. First, the latest on the war in Ukraine.
President Biden today for the first time called the atrocities being committed against Ukrainians, genocide. He said it once in a speech than a short time ago with reporters he expanded on what he meant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, have you seen enough evidence to declare genocide in Ukraine, sir?
JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Yes, I called it genocide because it become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being Ukrainian. And the mount -- the evidence is mounting is different than it was last week, the more evidence is coming out of the literally the horrible things that the Russians have done in Ukraine. And we're going to only learn more and more about the devastation. And we'll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Afterwards, President Zelenskyy of Ukraine thanked President Biden. These comments come after a fierce day of battle in the south and the east. And after Vladimir Putin said the peace talks had hit, quote, a dead end. They also come after Zelenskyy said Russians had left behind thousands of miles something he called a war crime.
(INAUDIBLE) is in Ukraine's second largest city with more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): This is the central market area in Kharkiv and this is the site of most of last night's strikes. We've come here with emergency service first responders, because the Russians have come up with a new tactic to ensure that the devastation of their attacks lasts far beyond first impact. (voice-over): Lieutenant Colonel Igor Ovcharuk is the head of the bomb disposal team.
LT. COL. IGOR OVCHARUK, HEAD OF PYROTECHNIC GROUP, EMERGENCY SERVICES (through translation): The mines explode by themselves and cause damage. These elements can detonate between three and 40 hours later, so we have to detonate them remotely to avoid damage to the civilian population.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): There are unexploded mines all over this area so they can't get too close. What they do is they wrap plastic explosives around a wire, link it to a detonator that's then placed next to the unexploded ordinance. They retreat. Then they blow it up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): A brutal new tactic leaving death to lie in wait for unsuspecting civilians.
(INAUDIBLE), CNN. Kharkiv.
BERMAN: And joining us now from Dnipro in Ukraine is CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward. Clarissa, look, we just saw in (INAUDIBLE) piece that mines have been left behind in Kharkiv. What did you see when you left Kyiv earlier today?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think we should be clear that mines are being used by both sides different kinds of mines. The Ukrainians, of course, have been using anti-tank mines that's to try to prevent Russian tanks from pushing deep into Ukrainian cities. We saw evidence of that driving along today, a field was completely cordoned off. There were signs everywhere saying mines, and we also saw an actual anti-tank mine, just by the side of a Ukrainian checkpoint. It's a different story when you push up north, from Kyiv to the (INAUDIBLE) region where we had spent a couple of days towards the end of last week. There, there is a very real threat of these anti-personnel mines that Russian forces have left behind. Those are much more dangerous in a sense, because they can be triggered simply by someone walking over them or walking near them. They can of course cause a huge amount of damage. They've also left anti-tank mines there.
And this is a big part of what is making it so difficult John, for Ukrainian forces to get into all these areas that have been cut off essentially, for weeks and weeks on end while they were under Russian occupation. Some of these roads are still impassable. Of course, many of the bridges were also blown up primarily by Ukrainian forces again to stop the Russian military from pushing into city centers. But all of that meaning that even after Russian forces have left, there are still a lot of dangers to contend with on the ground in terms of unexploded ordnance, John. BERMAN: I spoke to a 15-year-old boy from Chernihiv who lost his mother to a mine. It is such a danger. Russian troops do appear to be gathering the Donbass region and Putin said today that talks with Ukraine hit a quote, dead end. What is expected to happen in the coming days?
WARD: Well, one regional military official here John has said that they believe this offensive could really start anytime now. Tomorrow in the next few days, they are seeing a steady build up of heavy Russian equipment being pulled towards the front line. Now the one thing this official said that might sort of work in Ukraine's favor is that there are heavy rains forecast for the next few days. With those heavy rains, it's more likely that Russian tanks in the event that they do start this offensive in earnest, will be forced to use the roads as opposed to the fields. And if they use the roads of course, it's much easier for Ukrainian forces to defend themselves using anti- tank missiles like the javelins that the U.S. has been providing.
In the meantime, though, John, has people here wait for this offensive to begin, I should be clear that there is constant shelling taking place in these frontline towns, particularly in the Luhansk region. Authorities they're warning that they are running out of spaces in the morgues that they don't have electricity, that they have been forced to create new cemeteries because they can't reach the traditional cemeteries where they're basically using backhoes to dig trenches and then put the bodies in there at least temporarily so that they can be buried.
So, it's a very serious situation already. And the fear is that things are going to get a lot worse very soon, John.
BERMAN: Clarissa Ward, in Dnipro where this fighting close to it could take place. Please stay safe you and your team. Thank you very much.
Just ahead, we'll talk about Putin's next move in Russia and the latest high profile arrest of a dissident who protested the war with Russia and pro democracy leader and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov.
BERMAN: Last night, CNN's Matthew Chance reporter on a case of descent inside Russia, teacher tried to correct misconceptions in her classroom about the war and why it was begun. She was later arrested. It's a familiar pattern public dissent over the war followed by arrest and today we're following another case. This time it involves Russian politician Vladimir Kara-Murza, who has survived two suspected poisonings according to The Washington Post where occasionally writes opinion pieces both put him in a coma. He was detained outside his home in Moscow yesterday. It happened just a short time after he appeared for an interview on CNN+, he pulled no punches in that interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA, ARRESTED RUSSIAN OPPOSITION POLITICIAN: This regime that is in power in our country today. It's not just corrupt. It's not just kleptocratic. It's not just authoritarian. It is a regime of murderous and it is important to say it out loud. I have absolutely no doubt that the Putin regime will end over this war in Ukraine. Doesn't mean it's going to happen tomorrow. The two main questions are time and price. And by price I do not mean monetary, I mean the price of human blood and human lives and it has already been horrendous. But the Putin regime will end over this and there will be a democratic Russia after Putin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Earlier today, Putin made the provably false claim that his goals and Ukraine are, quote, noble and that he should try for a quote, peaceful resolution.
I'm joined now by Gary Kasparov, Russian pro-democracy leader and former world chess champion. He's also the author of Winter Is Coming, Why Vladimir Putin And The Enemies Of The Free World Must Be Stopped.
Gary, what was your reaction when you heard your friend Vladimir Kara- Murza had been arrested by Russian authorities? And do you agree that this war will be the end of Putin's control of Russia?
GARY KASPAROV, RUSSIAN PRO-DEMOCRACY LEADER: We'll hope so that for this war to be and of Putin's regime and to end Putin's crimes both inside and outside of Russia. We need Ukraine to win the war. Only military defeat could put a dictatorship in jeopardy. And that's why I keep repeating time and again that Ukraine needs every resource, every weapon. They need to win this war, for Ukraine to be whole and free and then we can hope for Russia to be rescued from Putin's criminal regime.
BERMAN: And your feelings. When you heard that your friend Kara-Murza had been arrested.
KASPAROV: We had to find out whether this arrest will be the last warning, because he now is, is put in jail for 15 days for violating police orders. Or they will lock him for longer opening criminal case. I hope that it's the last warning and he will be strongly advised to leave Russia and he'll follow this advice. And we can join forces continuing our fight against Putin's criminal regime and our fight to help Ukraine to win the war.
BERMAN: So Putin made this public appearance today and I want to play part of what he said listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): And what we're doing, we're helping people, we're saving them from Nazism in the first place. And on the other hand, we're protecting Russia, and we're taking measures to protect Russia security. And it is obvious that we had no choice. It was the right thing to do, and I have no doubt the objectives will be achieved.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: How does it make you feel when you see civilians, including children being killed every day? And here Putin say he's helping people?
KASPAROV: Look, like was always the main trait of Putin's character. He has been lying for more than two decades. Anyone who is surprised at Putinb's war crimes in Ukraine must not be aware about his long record, beginning with the second Chechen war and grossly more than two decades ago. Vladimir Putin has been a war criminal from the start.
So, right now, he's just he keeps repeating the same lies, and I couldn't agree more was President Biden, who eventually, you know, called Russian war crimes in Ukraine genocide. Now we have to see how this -- his administration, Biden administration will back this very strong and accurate statement.
BERMAN: Putin said today also you heard him that peace talks have reached a quote, dead end. We mentioned that he also called Russia's military goals, noble, you know, look, if that's his mindset. What will it take him to stop?
KASPAROV: I think Kara have to agree with Putin. It's a dead end. Because Putin's goal was, is and will be to destroy Ukraine, he does not recognize Ukrainian statehood. So Ukraine will never accept, you know, any limitations of her suitability. So that's why it's a simple outcome. It's win or lose. So we must fight and we must win. So and that's, that's why anyone who is trying to find common ground, is just ignoring the simple fact because meeting evil halfway is still a victory for evil.
BERMAN: You know, I mentioned earlier the story of the teacher in Russia, who was arrested for telling her students the truth about the war. She was turned in by her students, they recorded the conversation and handed it over to authorities. What does it tell you that students are turning in their teachers?
KASPAROV: Look, I was born and raised in the Soviet Union. So I'm not surprised. It's very unfortunate. But that's almost genetic. So we are generation of people who lived in a country controlled by KGB. And they were afraid of secret police and turning people out to authorities, even their relatives or their teachers. That's -- those are the dark pages in our history. Unfortunately, we seeing the repetition of that. So that's why we have to make sure that this war is won by Ukraine. And Putin regime is uprooted. It's not just Putin himself or his cronies, we have to do a lot of cleansing in Russia to make sure that all people who are involved in any sort of crimes will be denied access to have to state jobs.
So basically, the same process as Germany had in 1945. Again, I was putting the country needs densification, but it's not Ukraine. It's Russia. BERMAN: Garry Kasparov. I appreciate you being with us tonight. I hope you do get a chance to work with your friend and he is released from prison in Russia. Thank you.
KASPAROV: Thank you very much for inviting me.
BERMAN: Up next, an update on the New York subway shooting and some perspective on the recent increase in violent crime.
BERMAN: Earlier tonight you heard from (INAUDIBLE) who was wounded in this morning subway mass shooting in Brooklyn. He said he wasn't sure if he would ever take the subway again. Until recently New Yorkers gave him a more thought to crime underground and above ground and what it after all is still one of the safest big cities in the country. That said violent crime though exceedingly low compared to its peak in the '80s and '90s is on the rise, including in the subway system.
More now from Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): January this year, a mentally ill man shoved a woman onto the subway train track in Times Square. Police say 40-year-old Michelle Alyssa Go was pushed onto the tracks of an oncoming train around 9:40 a.m. Investigators say the attack was unprovoked. Police identified a 61-year-old man as the attacker and charged him with second degree murder. He later turned himself in.
ERIC ADAMS (D) MAYOR NEW YORK: What all of battle is in the subway system is fighting the perception of fear that cases like this could happen.
KAYE (voice-over): Stay away from the subway platforms edge said New York City subway chief after yet another January incident. In that case, police say a 62-year-old man suffered injuries after being pushed onto the subway tracks at the Fulton Street subway station in lower Manhattan. He was treated at a hospital for a cut to his leg.
JANNO LIEBER, MTA CHAIR & CEO: I don't want to tell people that they should stand on subway platforms and feel like they're you know, they're a threat of their lives. But everybody should stand away from the edge of the platform.
KAYE (voice-over): And look at this terrifying assault from February watch as the suspect repeatedly hits a 57-year-old woman in the head with a hammer as she makes her way down the stairs to a Queen Subway station. Police say she was struck as many as 13 times and left with a fractured skull in critical condition. Investigators say the suspect stole her purse.
Also in February soon after New York City's Mayor unveiled a new safety initiative to combat subway crime. There were at least six stabbings or slashings in the subway. Police say those included to stabbings at Queens Subway stations. A man stabbed in the back on a train in Manhattan and another assault involving a hatchet. And as terrifying as those attacks are, experts say a rider's chance of attack is close to one in a million. And that transit is no less safe than the rest of the city.
MICHAEL ALCAZAR, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: People are afraid to walk in the streets. Crime is happening, the subways a disaster.
KAYE (voice-over): Surveillance cameras captured this violent attack last month in the middle of the afternoon on the A train at West 190th Street. Police say the suspects spit at the 22-year-old victim before attacking him and ripping his hair out All the while making anti-gay remarks. Some incidents are being classified as hate crimes. Just last month the Manhattan DA filed two hate crime charges against an individual for allegedly assaulting a 29-year-old Asian man at a New York City subway station. The suspect allegedly possessed multiple weapons including a dagger, knife, machete and razor according to the criminal complaint. The suspect allegedly attacked the victim with a hammer causing injuries to his head.
ADAMS: We're going to make sure New Yorkers feel safe in our subway system and they don't feel that way now.
KAYE (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN.
BERMAN: Our thanks to Randi. We'll be right back.
BERMAN: Reminder, the NYPD is asking for the public's help tonight. They're looking for this man 62-year-old Frank James who they say is a person of interest in the investigation of the New York City subway shooting. They believe he rented the U-Haul van whose keys were found at the scene. Police are investigating whether he has any connection to the shooting and have not named him as a suspect. Anyone with information on this person of interest or the shooting is encouraged to call the NYPD at 1-800-577-TIPS.
Police say the U-Haul van was found just blocks away from the subway station. According to U-Haul records obtained by CNN, the van was rented Monday afternoon in Philadelphia and Frank James who was used a Wisconsin licensed with a Milwaukee address.
Stay with CNN for the latest on the investigation.
The news continues. So let's hand it over to Jake Tapper in Lviv in western Ukraine in "CNN TONIGHT."