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Horrors Of War Exposed In Chernihiv As Russian Forces Withdraw; Tiger Woods Roars Onto Masters Tournament Leaderboard; Soon: Film Academy To Decide Fate Of Will Smith Over Chris Rock Slap. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired April 08, 2022 - 11:30   ET



ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brianna. Well, that happened around midnight last night here in the Odessa region, just on the outskirts of town northeast of the city, three strikes in the -- in that area of Russian Ministry of Defense's claiming that it was a military target where foreign fighters were training.

But I can tell you, we were able to get somewhat close to that site, most of it is blocked off by a military checkpoint so it's impossible to get terribly close to this area. But many of the residents there that we spoke with in that area say that they're very skeptical of the idea of foreign fighters training at this base that other location that has been talked about is a military base that dates back to the 1970s and in the Soviet-era.

So, it's a -- it's a -- appears to be a well-known Ukrainian military location. But this does kind of highlight the dynamic nature of the situation here in Odessa, these multiple strikes overnight. And just about 30 minutes ago, we heard another loud explosion. It didn't sound particularly close inside the city, but it happened just outside. And it's the first time since I've been here. And that I can remember that there has been a daytime strike.

And, Brianna, this also comes -- we heard that strike just as we were hearing the news that here in the Odessa Ukrainian region, they are issuing a curfew that will go into place tomorrow night and last until Monday morning. And they're saying that they're making that announcement based on the attack at the train station we've seen today in eastern Ukraine, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Horrific pictures that we're seeing out of Kramatorsk. Thank you so much, Ed, for that report live for us from Odessa. Much of the suffering in Ukraine is only now coming to light as Russian forces have pulled back in the Kyiv area. CNN's Clarissa Ward takes us to a city in northern Ukraine that is in ruins.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): For weeks, Chernihiv was completely cut off from the rest of the country. Once a vibrant city of 300,000 people, now parts of it a wasteland. Just 45 miles from the Belarusian border, it was quickly surrounded by Russian forces. There was no power, no water, and little food. 71- year-old Ivan Yovanovitch (PH) survived the relentless bombardment but his struggles are far from over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Speaking a foreign language.

WARD: He's saying that he's hungry. He needs something to eat. He's asked us if we have any groceries. Less than one week after Russian forces left this area, Chernihiv is reeling, and the true scale of its loss is only starting to emerge. Outside the morgue, makeshift coffins stand ready for the dead. Authorities say at least 350 civilians were killed in a bombardment and they expect to find more.

Overwhelmed, morgue director Sergei Andreev, (PH) is now using a refrigerator truck to store the bodies of those who have yet to be identified. Their relatives likely fled the fighting or were killed in it. He tells us hundreds more died because they simply couldn't reach the hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Speaking a foreign language.

WARD: There was a constant flow of dead people like this in our morgue. The main reason was heart attacks, pneumonia, diabetes, he says. And I believe all of this was because they didn't get medical treatment on time. Cut off from the main cemetery by constant shelling the city was forced to clear wood to make room for the dead, buried in large trenches, their names signposted for relatives to find.

WARD (on camera): What's so heartbreaking to see is people here looking desperately trying to find their loved ones among this mass of new graves.

Did you find him? This woman asks. She's looking for her husband Vladimir Shulga (PH).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Speaking a foreign language.

WARD: I can't find him. Her daughter tells us. I need to keep searching. Those who are lucky enough to find their family members can at least say goodbye. The farewell brings little solace. At one grave, relatives mourn the death of Vladimir Adrichenko, (PH) a Ukrainian soldier who was ambushed by Russian forces as he tried to recover the bodies of his fallen comrades. His father, Leon Ed says it was 17 days before the Russians left when he could finally reach the place where his son was killed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Speaking a foreign language.

WARD: I dug the ground with my own hands. I uncovered his face, he says, and I recognized him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Speaking a foreign language.

WARD: We waited for him and then we lost him. Vladimir's wife says. They took him and we lost him. Brushes war has taken so many from Chernihiv. And while its forces may have retreated, the grief may long remain.


KEILAR: Thank you so much to Clarissa for that report. And, you know, we're witnessing so much pain here of these families of these Ukrainians here, Kate, and you hear from people in Chernihiv, where Clarissa was and people in Kyiv, and they're just afraid that Vladimir Putin's army has not done with them.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Yes. I mean, the pain is just unending for -- I mean, it is an entire nation and Chernihiv is just an example of just how horrible it is. It's an amazing report from Clarissa again. Brianna, thank you so much.

Coming up for us still, a moment many thought that they would never see again, Tiger Woods was off to a strong start at the Masters. The question now is how far will he go? A live report next.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ignition starts. Go, Falcon. Go, Dragon. Godspeed Axiom One.


BOLDUAN: A major milestone for space travel. Moments ago, SpaceX launched four civilians and a first-of-its-kind mission to the International Space Station. CNN's Rachel Crane, live at Kennedy Space Center in Florida watching all of this. So, Rachel, why is this one so special?

RACHEL CRANE, CNN INNOVATION AND SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, I just wanted to point out today was a beautiful launch, it's gorgeous here at Kennedy Space Center really couldn't have been better conditioned for a launch. I've never been to one that takes off on time today. It, in fact, did no delays.

Now, the reason that this launch, you know, so many eyeballs were on it, and it's so important is it really signifies another major milestone in the commercialization of low Earth orbit. You know, these are four private citizens that are going to the International Space Station. A mission like this has never been done.

Of course, there have been other spaceflight participants as they're called or space tourists that have visited, but today, all four people inside that Dragon capsule were private citizens. They're now making their way to the International Space Station for a 20-hour journey. They'll be on board for eight days.

And, Kate, they're doing 24 experiments while onboard. So I'm not just enjoying the views. They're actually doing a lot of work while they're up there. BOLDUAN: I mean, they can still enjoy the views, but it's great to hear another flawless launch. It's great to see you down there. Thank you, Rachel.

Also developing right now, this just in. A verdict has been reached in the trial of four men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, specifically though a verdict has been reached on some counts. And in a note to the judge this morning, the jury says they're deadlocked on other counts. They asked the judge for guidance now on what to do next. All four defendants have pleaded not guilty. They face up to life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge.

There's also this. Tiger Woods is set to be back at it today at Augusta National for the next round of the Masters after what is being called by pretty much everyone a very impressive opening round yesterday, back in the tournament just a year after that horrible car accident, where he nearly lost his leg. CNN's Coy Wire is at Augusta. He's here with us now. Coy, what is the very latest from there?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Kate, finishing the first round ahead of eight of the top 12 players in the world, he -- look as he hadn't had his leg removed shooting one under. He's just four shots behind the leader Sung-Jae Im. And with that rod and screws in his leg and foot, Tiger was limping, my crew walked along and no doubt he was battling physically and mentally to push through the miles and miles of this hilly course at the masters. The 46-year-old described all that it would take overnight to prepare for today's round two. Listen.


TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Lots of ice --lots ice baths and just you know basically freezing myself to death and you know that's just part of the deal. You know, in most sports if you're not feeling very good, you get a teammate to pass it off to and they can kind of shelter the load or in a football yelled, you know, one day a week. Here we got four straight days and there's no one's going to shoulder the load beside me and I got to figure out a way to do it. I know how to play. I just got to get out there where I can play.


WIRE: Now, football players go hard more than just one day a week, Tiger but as pro athletes, in addition to the ice baths, Kate, 20 minutes and 20 minutes out over and over, it's steam machines sending electric pulses through the muscles to force swelling out, getting the muscles firing, it's massage, compression sleeve, sleeping with your leg elevated. All that while the 20, something and 30-year-olds are feeling good. It's like salmon swimming upstream out there, Kate. Hordes of people following Tiger's every move. He gets started at 1:41 Eastern today.

BOLDUAN: Just a note, everyone, what Coy is getting out there is obviously a reminder Coy is a former professional football player so a little touchy there, a little touchy. It's OK. It's good to see you, Coy. WIRE: That was a little bit of a jab. You too.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, buddy. Coming up for us. Consequences for actor Will Smith are expected soon, the Film Academy kicking off a long-awaited meeting moments from now to discuss what they're going to do in response to that slapping incident at the Oscars. A live report next.


BOLDUAN: It is decision day for the Motion Picture Academy. After weeks of internal discussion and public speculation, moments from now, the Board of Governors will be meeting to decide the possible punishment Will Smith will face for slapping Chris Rock on TV during the Oscars. CNN's Chloe Melas has more on this. What are you learning? What do you -- what is going to happen?


CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Right. Well, so the Academy's Board of Governors which is about 54 people, which includes Steven Spielberg, Laura Dern, you know, the top people in Hollywood are going to be meeting, like you said, for this board meeting, this emergency meeting that was supposed to be on April 18 but has been moved up since Will Smith voluntarily resigned last week.

They're going to be deciding whether or not he can ever come back to the Oscars again. So that could be one of the things. The fact that Will Smith kind of preemptively resigned prevents him now, as no longer a part of the voting body of the Academy Awards. So he can't be a part of that. But will he be able to go to next year's broadcast? I'm assuming unlikely.

But what's interesting, though, Kate is that what happens if he ever gets nominated again? Are they going to say that he can't be nominated again if he is banned from ever going to the Academy Awards again? Which many might say, OK, so what? What's the big deal? But the thing is, though, is what really more can they do? I mean, can they find him? You know this is your -- I think that like they're limited in what they can do.

But you know, it's an ego thing. You're an A-Lister to be banned from ever going to the Oscars, again, is the big deal if that's what they decide to do. But will he be able to go if he's ever nominated? So interesting little caveats that we should know, very, very soon.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And there'll be -- I mean that is exactly right, they're going to be meeting and we could learn really quickly today, what they actually decide.

MELAS: We'll note today for sure.

BOLDUAN: Oh, we weren't -- we definitely will.

MELAS: I think so. BOLDUAN: OK, me too.

MELAS: I'm expecting a statement as soon as the meeting is over.

BOLDUAN: OK, great to see you, Chloe, so much for that.

MELAS: Good to see you too. Thank you. Joining me now for more on this is CNN Media Analyst, Bill Carter. Bill, it's good to see you. So you think that the Academy's options are limited as well, tell me why.

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Well, look, they basically lost their major option, which you know, would have been to not have them give a speech. That really was their mistake that day. They had -- they had a serious option to say, you just did this, you're not getting up there to give a speech. Then it would have been to have him, you know, sanctioned in other ways and lose his voting rights.

And he took that off the table. So they're limited, I think the idea of not allowing him to be nominated again is completely out of bounds because you can't have -- that plays as your blacklisting a man of color. I mean, that's never going to play. So that's a terrible idea. I don't see them doing that.

And I don't know what their options are with fines, I don't -- I don't see what that would do. So I guess I believe they will not be back next year to give out the award for the Best Actors, which is what the best actor does the following year, and maybe he'll have a multiple- year ban of showing up for the awards.

But that might create a situation where he's nominated and he doesn't show up. And he has to designate someone to accept which has happened before, that is not out of bounds. That to me is the one option left to them.

BOLDUAN: I'm interested when you say that you think that the moment they lost leverage, essentially is when they allowed Will Smith to go up to accept his award, give us a speech, offer that first apology. Why was that the moment?

CARTER: Well, look, here, it happens at the moment, and I don't blame them for the chaos, because who would ever expect this in a live television event, the Academy Awards that a guy goes up and punches the guy on camera, live on TV? No one would have expected that. But after he did that, the decision should automatically come out, he is out. He's out of the arena, he is not going to stand up there and give a speech after that happened.

What he did was really destructive to all the other winners, in my opinion, because their night was like, you know, tainted by this event. They didn't get the full attention that they deserve. So I think he should have been expelled. And they talked about it, obviously, and now there's a back and forth as an LA Times article about it whether or not he really was asked to leave or not asked to leave.

But it seems like nobody went even wants to go on the record and talk about that because they're -- they know they fudged it, they messed up then. That was their chance to say you can't do this. If you do this, you can't get up on stage.

BOLDUAN: And, Bill, some of Will Smith's projects have been paused over in the midst of all of this. Do you think that sticks or do you think the production houses are simply waiting for things to cool off and for people to turn their attention elsewhere?

CARTER: I obviously think the second thing. I mean, he's a successful actor. Leading men are very hard to find in Hollywood. A guy with Box Office appeals very hard to find. You know, again, it's a cooling-off period. And I think there'll be a certain amount of evaluation made, he will come out again and say how wrong he was, and they'll try to move on. That's my opinion.

BOLDUAN: Is there a less -- what is the lesson learned here from all of this then? Because you know, the academy is going to come out and they're going to wrap this up today.

CARTER: Well, look, I think the Academy has in the past been very lacks about allowing people doing very egregious things to win. I mean, you know, Roman Polanski won an Oscar after his scandal. Harvey Weinstein obviously has an Oscar. They don't take them away. But they have to be kind of cognizant of the fact that you're going to get bad actors, and that doesn't mean just an actor but someone who has done something egregious, and you have to have a plan. They had no real plan for anything like this.


CARTER: And again, I don't especially blame them. I've heard someone say oh, shoot, security should have come up and grabbed them before. That's crazy. They would have thought it was a comedy bit. Everyone would have thought that. So that can't be part of their plan. But I do think there has to be something in place for you to stay within the rules of this organization, or these are the consequences.

BOLDUAN: It's good to see you, Bill. Thank you. We will see and we will learn today. All right, before we go, everyone, a quick reminder, you can also join me every morning on my new CNN Plus show, 5 Things at 7 a.m. Eastern, and always available on demand. You can sign up at We're going to get back to our coverage of Russia's war on Ukraine. That coverage continues on INSIDE POLITICS after this break.