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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Kremlin Vows Success; Russia's Military Blows; Jerusalem Violence. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired April 15, 2022 - 17:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome. I'm Bianca Nobilo in London, and this is THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

The Kremlin says Russia's forces will accomplish their goals as the conflict ramps up in Eastern Ukraine.

But setbacks to Russia's military lead to growing worries that Moscow could turn to tactical nuclear weapons to try and win this war.

And we'll examine a burst of violence in Jerusalem. More than 100 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli police.

Intense fighting is underway across Ukraine's eastern Donbas region, as the Kremlin says that it has no doubt that Russia will accomplish its mission.

The Ukrainian defense ministry says that Russia has used long-range bombers to attack Mariupol for the first time. Russian forces are claiming

advances, as they battle the last remaining defenders for full control.

A regional official in Donetsk says almost all settlements along the front line are now under attack. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says

that Russia's goal is annihilation.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): During the 50 days of full-scale invasion of the Russian federation, they showed that

Donbas is the main target for Russia. It is Donbas that Russia wants to destroy in the first place. It is the Luhansk and Donetsk regions that

Russian troops are destroying, as if they only want stones to be left, and no people to be left at all.


NOBILO: Russia also carried out its first major strike around Kyiv in weeks, hitting a military factory where it says that anti-ship missiles

were being manufactured. That happened hours after Russia suffered a massive blow, the sinking of its main warship in the Black Sea. The

Pentagon is now backing Ukraine's account. A U.S. defense official says Washington's assessment is that the ship was hit by Ukrainian missiles.

And in the Kharkiv region, prosecutors say that ten civilians were killed in Russian shelling attacks Friday, including a 7-month-old baby.

All across Ukraine, the death toll is rising, as Russia bombards civilian areas. The city governor in Mykolaiv says at least five people were killed

by cluster munitions on Friday, and Ed Lavandera is on the scene.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The cluster of explosions jolted this residential neighborhood in Mykolaiv Friday morning.

Witnesses say some people were walking their dogs in a park at the time. One of the munitions struck just feet away from an orthodox church.

You can see the impact spot of one of the munitions that went off this morning. As you look around here, you can see the impact and the damage

done to this church here as well.

Multiple people were killed and more than a dozen others injured. Paramedics treated victims on the scene.

Across the street, under the shattered windows of an apartment building, this man told us, he help drag two injured people into a store for safety.

YURI ZAYTSEV, MYKOLAIV RESIDENT (through translator): The noise. The noise of a rocket flying and explosions, that's what I saw and heard when I was

in the shop. People ran into the store and I saw people scared. I saw people dropping to the ground from explosions.

LAVANDERA: The sounds of explosions inside the city started around mid- morning and appeared to strike at least three different locations.

Mykolaiv authorities released this video of a private home burning after a rocket strike.

Mykolaiv strikes come as residents in southern Ukraine are worried about Russian retaliation for the sinking of the Moskva warship in the Black Sea

and Russia's renewed offensive in eastern Ukraine.

In recent days, CNN has witnessed long convoys of families fleeing Russian- occupied areas near Mykolaiv. This bombing struck a densely populated area.

Galina Mironchuk says she was brushing her hair when the bomb landed just outside her apartment window. The blast shattered the glass and shattered

her sense of peace.

Did you think something was going to happen to you?

I didn't think of anything, she tells me. I thought that was the end of the world.

The recent attacks have also crippled parts of the city's infrastructure. The water has been out for three days, forcing hundreds of people to get

water from a river and natural spring. This man evacuated his mother and plans to stay in the city to fight off the Russians.

How worried are you that the Russians are getting closer?


It worries me a lot, he tells me. That's why I sent my mother away. That's why we are getting ready. We are still working. But if the Russians are

close, I will fight them.

For now, residents are left to clean up the bloody aftermath and brace for the next attack.


NOBILO: That was Ed Lavandera reporting.

Russia's setbacks on the battlefield have led to growing worries that Moscow could use chemical or even tactical nuclear weapons to try and win

this war. And Russia is even dangling the threat of nuclear weapons to discourage Finland and Sweden from joining NATO.

Russian Security Council official, Dmitry Medvedev, said that Russia might move nuclear weapons into Kaliningrad, which is sandwiched right between

Lithuania and Poland, if NATO expands northward.

And in an exclusive interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Ukraine's president warns that Russia's arsenal is a threat not just to Ukraine, but to the

entire world.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Not only me, I think all of the world, all of the countries have to be worried. Because, you know that, it

can be not real information, but it can be the truth, because when they begin to speak about one or another battles or involved enemies or nuclear

weapons or some chemical, you know, issues, chemical weapons, they should do it. They could do it.

I mean, they can. For them, life of the people means nothing. That's why, we should think not be afraid. I mean, not be afraid. Be ready, but -- but

that is not a question to Ukraine, and not only for the Ukraine. But for all of the world, I think so.


NOBILO: Pavel Podvig is a senior researcher with the U.N. Institute for Disarmament Research and directs the Independent Russian Nuclear Forces

Project and he joins us now from Geneva.

Thank you for being on the program tonight, sir.


NOBILO: So, Zelenskyy says that the world needs to be ready for Russia to use nuclear weapons. And the head of the CIA has warned that Russia may use

low-yield tactical nuclear weapons.

Can you explain what that is to our viewers and if you think that is a possibility?

PODVIG: Well, I think that the term tactical nuclear weapons is a bit of a misnomer, because any use of nuclear weapons would be a strategic use,

meaning the goal would be to change the strategic outcome of the conflict and in terms of yield and the effect, yes, there are weapons that are lower

yield, but, in fact, the fact of the matter is that in this kind of a conflict, there is no plausible military for nuclear weapons and any use of

nuclear weapons would be against civilians or it would be a signal of resolve to use nuclear weapons against civilians.

And from that point of view, whether it's a high-yield weapon or a low- yield weapon, whether you call it tactical or strategic doesn't matter, as I said, any use of nuclear weapons would be strategic in the sense that it

would be an attempt to change the strategic outcome of this war.

NOBILO: And the Lithuania defense minister has said that Russia or specifically Dmitry Medvedev's threat of deploying nuclear weapons in

Kaliningrad was strange, given that they've always been kept there and also, Russia does have intercontinental missiles. So what did you make of

that announcement from Medvedev?

PODVIG: Well, Russia has the capability to move nuclear weapons into areas closer to the Baltic states or Scandinavia. However, we need to keep in

mind that the only weapons that are actually deployed, meaning that they are mated to missiles and are ready to be used, are those on

intercontinental ballistic missiles or submarine launched ballistic missiles.

Other weapons are -- they could be stored in normal places, but they are usually stored away from aircraft delivery systems, from aircraft or

missiles. There are no tactical -- the missiles driving around with nuclear warheads on them or there are no planes sitting on tarmac with bombs in the


So Russia could move its weapons to storage sites closer to the Baltics. There is a storage site in Kaliningrad. But in fact, it's -- again, this

would not have significance from the military point of view, if you will, or political point of view, because Russia has plenty of capability to use

weapons, if it chooses so, to use weapons deployed deeper in its own territory, or use some weapons that we would normally call strategic, like

those on intercontinental ballistic missiles.

So I think it's a symbolic step. It's not something to take lightly, but it's also something that we should not overestimate the importance of.

NOBILO: Pavel Podvig, thank you very much for joining us tonight.


NOBILO: What does the loss of a key Russian warship mean for Moscow?

The Moskva was the flagship of Russia's fleet in the Black Sea and now it's lying beneath it. We'll discuss.


NOBILO: One of the Russian navy's most important warships is now at the bottom of the Black Sea. It's been unclear if the Moskva fell victim to an

attack, Russian incompetence, or something else. But now, a senior military official says according to an assessment, the Moskva sank because it was

hit by two Ukrainian anti-ship missiles. It's the biggest wartime loss of a naval ship in four decades and a huge blow to Moscow.

Ukraine says Russian troops are taking their revenge now, in the southern part of the country.

So let's go to our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson.

Nick, so all of the potential explanations for this were negative for Russia, especially if it was a Ukrainian attack, which took it down. So how

is Russia spinning this symbolic and strategic loss?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, it played it down from the get-go by initially saying that there was a fire, it was under

control, that they were investigate why there had been a fire, that it had reached the ammunition store, that that had been controlled, that the ship

was still afloat. Now they've finally admitted that the ship has sunk. They're saying that everyone onboard is safe, but that belies the evidence

at the moment that seems to point to some losses, about an estimated 480 or so crew members onboard, Turkish rescue vessels picked up 54 people from

that the sinking ship.

But the way it played out on state media is a way that the Russian government takes control. It takes control of the propaganda narrative. It

slows down the information. It says, in essence, everything is okay. We've got it under control. And in the middle of the night, the ministry of

defense, when most Russians are asleep, the ministry of defense finally admits that it has actually sunk, but not admitting why.


The reaction on state media by anchors is really to ratchet up their anger and call very President Putin to take the gloves off, saying that Russia

has been calling this a special military operation. They're now talking about that he needs to go for all-out war.

So the temperature and the talk around this from Russian state media is getting hotter.

NOBILO: So, let's talk more about this ratcheting up of rhetoric. As you said earlier, confronted with falling short of their military expectations

in Ukraine, Finland, expressing an desire to join NATO along with Sweden, the sinking of Moskva, what you seeing more broadly in terms of a

rhetorical shift in Russia in response to those losses?

ROBERTSON: I think there's a rhetorical shift on both side here. Certainly, one, you've had very strong calling from the Ukrainian leadership,

subsequent to the exposure of Russian war crimes on a horrific scale in Bucha and other places. That has helped drive up a call for more to be done

-- bigger weapons, stronger weapons, tougher weapons to be sent by NATO to Ukraine. That in turn has led Russia to issue a damas (ph), you know,

ratcheting up their verbal warnings that NATO shouldn't be supplying Russia with armaments.

The fact that Finland and Sweden are thinking about joining NATO, that's brought a ratcheting up of rhetoric by the Russian leader. Now they're

seeing it on their state media as a reaction to the losses, the compounding losses, the failure to get Kyiv, the sort of stalling battle lines, the

loss of troops, the loss of equipment, and now, the sudden, very significant and symbolic and militarily important loss of this warship.

And it is bringing the temperature up on the debate. And at the moment, that's the course of direction, and it seems to lead to encouraging leaders

like President Putin, who needs popular support, who manages and propagandizes the narrator to maintain that support. He's getting that

bellicose narrative now.

Forget calling this a special military operation. Go to war, drop a big bomb, they're saying, on Kyiv, so that no Western leaders can go there. So,

it seems that the Russian public is willing to take greater pain and all- out war means greater call for Russian men of military age.

So, at the moment looking at this -- it's not absent an off-ramp, it's absolutely on an escalatory ramp at the moment.

NOBILO: Nic Robertson in London, thank you.

Jailed Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny urged the West to launch a campaign against, quote, Putin's insane regime. Navalny posted a series of

tweets, accusing Vladimir Putin of lying about support for the war in Ukraine, calling the Russian president a war criminal. Navalny wants to get

the facts to the Russian public, and he says that anti-war ads could reach Russians on social media.

And police in the Kyiv region say that they've discovered bodies of more than 900 civilians since Russia forces withdrew from the region, saying

that there were signs of torture on people who were, quote, ordinary locals -- locals who were wearing white arm bands at the request of the Russians,

but who were killed anyway.

Ukraine's parliament has declared that Russian forces are committing genocide.

And recovering those killed in the suburbs around Kyiv has become a grueling and emotional task. In the town of Bucha, we're now learning about

who the victims were and the lives that they lived. We caution you that Phil Black's report is graphic, coming from a place an international

criminal court prosecutor has called a crime scene.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The operation to recover and investigate Bucha's dead is now industrial in its scale. Teams

of people are working to empty the town's mass grave and many smaller ones. The victims of Russia's opposition are being retrieved from the earth.

There are so many bodies, rarely do those doing the digging know the stories of how each person lived and died.

Here, two men are being exhumed from the grounds of a small church. The priest who oversaw their first burial department know them.

He says he thinks one was a scientist, the other a school bus driver. He thinks they were shot and killed in the street.

Among the now notorious images from Bucha's road of death, Yablonska Street, was this man lying beneath his bike. His name was Vladimir

Brovchenka (ph). Svetlana is her widow.

She said she told her husband, don't go, they're shooting, the tanks are already on Yablonska Street. But he insisted on leaving the house. She said

the 68-year-old grandfather was killed as soon as he reached the road. His bike is still there.

This building stands near Bucha, in the village of Bozel (ph). Among those killed here were Yulia's parents, Natalia and Victor Mazoaha (ph). She says

her mother was helping a young injured woman who had been discarded by a Russian soldier when more soldiers suddenly entered their home.

She says they came in, shot the woman, shot my mother, and my father ran out when he heard something was wrong and they shot him.

The young woman was Karina Yarshova (ph). She was 23 years old. Karina's mother says police told her, her daughter was raped before she was shot.

It's more than two weeks since the Russians withdrew and the operation to account for all the bodies they left behind isn't finished, mourning each

victim, remembering how they lived, understanding why they died will take much longer.


NOBILO: Phil Black reporting.

You're watching THE GLOBAL BRIEF. We'll be right back after this.


NOBILO: In the long weeks since Russia attacked Ukraine, nearly 4.8 million people have fled their homes. But not every refugee's experience has been

the same. Some groups of people are receiving a colder welcome.

Kyung Lah explains why.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Since late February when they fled Ukraine, this has been life for these refugees in Poland. You're just

moving from shelter to shelter?

Yes, says Marcia Hornyak (ph), who fled a home near Lviv, Ukraine, where husband fights in the war. Hornyak says her children have watched as other

refugees have moved out of Polish host homes and apartments.

Is there a difference with how others are being treated compared to your family?

A big difference, she says, the help goes to Ukrainians with clothes, food. Roma people are treated like, I don't know what, she says.

To be clear, these families are all Ukrainian, but they're not considered white. They're Roma, Europe's largest ethnic minority. Among the millions

of Ukrainians fleeing the war, the European Commission estimates 100,000 are Roma. Most of them say Roma nonprofit groups are in Poland.

What do you see happening here when it comes to Roma people?

RAJMUND SIWAK, VOLUNTEER: Big problem. Big problem. People, Polish people know they help the gypsy.

LAH: Rajmund Siwak, who is also Roma, is a volunteer for a Roma relief group in Poland. On this day, he's going from shelter to shelter, picking

up Roma families.

JOANNA TALEWICZ, VOLUNTEER LEADER: Yes, this is racism. It's a very open racism.

LAH: Joanna Talewicz runs the group helping Roma refugees.

TALEWICZ: Nobody wants to take them from different cities, from refugees' shelters, from volunteers.

LAH: Across Poland?

TALEWICZ: Across Poland. Forget that you are able to rent apartment for those people. It's impossible. It's impossible even if you have money.

LAH: Talewicz's group found three houses in Poland that they can rent for these exhausted families. Fatima Hordiva's (ph) daughter Milana (ph) fell

asleep immediately once she was on the bus.

How hard has all of this been on all of the children here?

It was hard in the shelter, she says.


Before they finally head to this house, the volunteers stop at another shelter and pick up Oresia Pitula who barely escaped Russian missiles in

her suburb outside of Kyiv. She has also been in shelters for the last month.

With all your children and you're pregnant?


LAH: Seven months pregnant traveling with three-year-old twins and her eight-year-old. The Roma volunteers say Roma families are often larger,

creating a different housing challenge in this crisis. But these Ukrainians just like their fellow refugees have husbands fighting in the war, and

children they're trying to protect.

TALEWICZ: I thought that during the war, you know, during these terrible circumstances, we need to help all refugees. I never thought that we will

have a deal with a racist during the war. Yes. And it was naive. It was very, very naive.


LAH: CNN has reached out to the European Commission and multiple levels of the Polish government. We did hear back from local provincial office here

in Warsaw that said it had not received any complaints from the Roma community, but that any complaints would be investigated.

Now E.U. representatives have said that they visited Poland and other border countries in early March and that, quote, it did not witness any

incidents of discrimination or racism.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Warsaw, Poland.

NOBILO: The Palestinian Red Crescent says more than 150 people were sent hoe tonight after violent clashes in Jerusalem Friday. Fighting broke out

at the Al Aqsa mosque compound, one of Islam's holiest sites.

Video show as Palestinians throwing stones and firecrackers and Israeli security forces firing what looks like stun gun grenades and tear gas.

Israeli police later entered the mosque and said they arrested more than 300 people. Some Muslims say that the police actions were a breach of its

sanctity and violation. The unrest all took place during holy day for Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike.

Thanks for watching the show tonight. For our viewers tuning in on CNN+ in the U.S., our show is on demand. For our viewers around world, you can find

me on Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram. I'll see you again on Monday. Happy Easter to all of you celebrating.