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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Putin Claims Mariupol Victory; IMF: War Sets Back World Economy; Refugees Return To Ukraine. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired April 21, 2022 - 17:00   ET



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

Mariupol officials accuse Russian troops of burying civilians in mass grave, and Russian president Vladimir Putin orders soldiers to blockade the

Azov steel plant.

Then, the Ukrainian finance minister tells the International Monetary Fund that his country needs $5 billion per month to survive.

And CNN speaks to some Ukrainian refugees who are taking the path back to their home country.

Even as Russian President Vladimir Putin declares victory over the Ukrainian city of Mariupol and U.S. President Joe Biden disputes that, new

disturbing images illustrate the brutality behind Putin's dubious declaration. These satellite pictures appear to show some 200 mass graves

at a site of about 20 kilometers west of Mariupol.

An adviser to the mayor says Russian trucks carrying civilians bodies from the city dumped them into the graves that he says Russian troops dug.

Meantime, Mr. Putin is ordering his forces to blockade a Mariupol steel factory. CNN isn't in Mariupol. These are from Russian television. Hundreds

of wounded Ukrainian fighters and civilians are holed up inside and Russia is ignoring the Ukrainian president's offer to swap them for Russian

prisoner of war.

Seventy-nine Mariupol residents arrive Thursday in the Zaporizhzhia after being evacuated. One described the horrors the Russians have unleashed.


VALENTYNA ANDRUSHENKO, MARIUPOL EVACUEE (through translator): They, the Russians, were bombing us from day one. They are demolishing everything,

just erasing Mariupol. They force everyone to think it's our Azov unit.


NOBILO: To the north in Kharkiv, war is also raging. Ukrainians forces fire Grad rockets at Russian positions. Kharkiv's mayor says the Russians

massively bombarded the city overnight. And in Luhansk, townspeople are facing relentless shelling and watching the lives they took decades to

build destroyed in an instant.

CNN's Clarissa Ward has ventured with an intrepid volunteer who's bringing many of them to safety and she joins us now from Dnipro.

Clarissa, before you tell us about that man and his story, what can you tell us about the eastern offensive at the moment? I hear that Western

officials are saying it's possible the Russians may have learned from some of their earlier mistakes when it comes to their military strategy.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bianca, from what we have seen on the ground over the course of the last week traveling

around the Donbas region, it's clear that this is going to be a long, hard slog. If Russian forces were hoping that they were going to cruise into an

easy victory after the humiliation that they faced after their defeat in the north around Kyiv and Chernihiv, they have been very much mistaken.

They have managed to take at least one town, the town of Kreminna. There is heavy fighting in several other towns, including Rubizhne and a town called


We actually drove to the outskirt of Popasna with one volunteer who continues to risk his life every single day to try to get civilians out

safely. Take a look.


WARD (voice-over): It's a road few are willing to take anymore. But every day, volunteer Alexander Prokopenko (ph) makes the dangerous drive toward

Russian forces in his hometown of Popasna to rescue fellow residents from the heavy fighting.

They shell everything, he tells us. School buses, the Red Cross, anything that moves.

So, why do you do this work?

I love my town and I can't leave it, he says. I can't leave the people here. Somebody needs to help people.

He's hoping the rain provides some let-up in the relentless artillery. It's better for us, but it's worse for the road, he says. You can't see the

potholes and the shrapnel from the shells.

He arrives at the village of Kamyshevakha in the outskirts of Popasna. In the last few days, it has come under heavy shelling.

Anatoli (ph) is now being evacuated with his son, Vladimir. A neighbor shouts at us to show what the Russians have done.

Those who stay here are now completely cut off from basic services.

So, there's no electricity here, no water at all and you can see they're actually collecting rainwater.

It's time for Anatoli and Vladimir to go. Their entire life now packed into the trunk of Alexander's car.

Leaving the village, we spot a house destroyed by shelling. As we get out to take a closer look, a tearful Galina Nikolaevna emerges. She tells us it

happened two days earlier.


The first hit was at 5:50 and then there was a second hit, she says. And that hit my garage.

She takes us around what remains of her home. The steady thuds of artillery can still be heard.

The roof is completely destroyed.

This is where the first shell hit, she says. Galina had just woken up and was lying in her bed when it happened.

We have nothing left, she says.

In the living room, she takes down the drapes that were hung to hide any light. This is how we tried to mask ourselves, she tells us. There's no

need for them anymore.

Galina and her husband still don't want to leave their home, but she understands that Russia's offensive here as only just begun and it's going

to get much worse.

I lived until 60 and now I have lost everything, she says. Honestly, I have no words.

For those like Anatoli and Vladimir who do leave, there are few good options. Alexander takes them to a dormitory in a nearby town of Vakhmod

(ph). They can stay five days for free. After that, it's up to them.

In the next door bed, another couple says there is nothing left of their home but they don't blame President Putin.

Thank you, America, she says. It's a horror. It's a nightmare.

So it's interesting. She's saying that she thinks that Russia actually wanted to negotiate here and she blames America primarily for this war.

Putin wants to find a peaceful solution, her husband tells us.

Please don't tell this bullshit to the whole world, Alexander says.

It's not an uncommon view in these parts of eastern Ukraine, making the situation here all the more complex. Alexander says he evacuates anyone,

whatever their political views. He knows there are still so many out there who need his help.


WARD (on camera): Luhansk authorities today, Bianca, said they have successfully evacuated 100 people from their homes, 60 of them from that

town of Popasna. But Alexander told us he believes there are more than a thousand people still left in the town. Most of them don't want to leave,

many of them because they don't have a lot of money. There aren't a lot of resources to help get these people out safely and give them places to stay

in the future, and they're deeply attached to their homes which they have worked so hard to build.

But the problem becomes that the longer people wait and the heavier the fighting gets, the more it becomes increasingly challenging to safely

evacuate civilians from these areas, Bianca.

NOBILO: Clarissa Ward in Dnipro, Ukraine, thank you so much for your reporting.

Ukrainian officials are still determining how many civilian were killed in Borodianka, a town outside Kyiv, during the Russian troops' occupation. The

Russians are now gone, but the residents are suffering, reliving memories of senseless violence and mourning the loved ones they lost.

Our Ed Lavandera is there. A warning, some images in this report are graphic.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hidden behind the rural homes in the town of Borodianka, Ukrainian police exhume the body of

nine civilians killed by Russian soldiers. They're documenting evidence of war crimes. This mother stands over her son's body left in a makeshift

grave. On the other side of the graves, we notice Ivan Onufrienko staring quietly at the grave of another victim.

One of your friends is buried here?

Ivan says his friend was killed by Russian shrapnel as she tried to escape the city. The cross bearing her Katya's name was made by his grandfather

who dug this shallow grave because they couldn't story the bodies at the hospital.

IVAN ONUFRIENKO, 16-YEAR-OLD RESIDENT OF BORODIANKA (through translator): I can't take this well when I see this. I cry, but I'm not showing this. I

feel weak. Weak because I cannot do anything.

LAVANDERA: Ivan is 16 years old two months of war, he's witnessed the innocence of childhood die before his eyes. Watching Ivan makes you wonder

how a teenage mind copes with the horror in front of him.


His family says to understand, we must see what he experienced. Ivan's family never left that backyard shed for more than 30 days while Russian

troops occupied this city. Ivan's grandfather and father showed us how they survived on nothing but homemade bread.

So, basically, they would take the raw grain, grind it down into flour, or a version of flour, and then they would make their own bred in this oven,

and that's what they lied on for more than a month.

Five adults and four children hid in this underground bunker. This is where Ivan heard weeks of artillery blasts and cries for help. The sounds of war

that will haunt survivors forever.

ONUFRIENKO: I slept here. My sister and mom slept here, and another family slept here, too. We tried to curl up and sleep here together. Sometimes

when things got really scary, our dads would come down and stay with us.

LAVANDERA: Ivan's grandfather Sergei (ph) says Russian soldiers told him the family could be killed if they tried to escape. Police say more than 50

people were killed here, many of them shot as they tried to run away. The death toll is expected to climb.

How frightening was this experience for you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't express it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a war. It is scary. We never felt anything like that. Tehyh were hitting everything, smashing it.

LAVANDERA: Sergei is stoic as we talk about surviving the Russian siege, but there's one question that pierces his heart. Do you worry about your

grandchildren witnessing this war?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have words for that, do you understand?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The little ones can forget, but the older ones will remember always.

LAVANDERA: Grandfather and father know their children will never be the same.

Why do you feel it was important to be here at this moment?

ONUFRIENKO: So people can see for themselves, the whole world should see how the Russian world comes and kills civilians for nothing.

LAVANDERA: When you get older, what do you think you'll remember about this moment and this day?

ONUFRIENKO: I'll remember everything. I'll remember every day, and I will tell my children and my grandchildren. I will remember this all my life.

LAVANDERA: He's a teenager who refuses to look away from the raw reality of this war.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Borodianka, Ukraine.


NOBILO: In Ukraine, more than 7.7 million people, one-sixth of the entire population are now internally displaced. That's according to a report from

the international organization for migration, and a report found that women and children, elderly, and people with disability are the most affected.

And that's on top of those who have fled to other countries.

Now more than 5 million people since the invasion began. But as the war grinds on, some of them are returning.

CNN's Scott McLean met some of those who are taking the path back to their war torn homeland.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONALCORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the early days of war, trains leaving Ukraine were standing room only, packed with

terrified women and children. Trains going the other way were virtually empty. As the bombs fell and the tanks rolled, millions desperately tried

to get out, most to Poland.

Almost two months later, there are now days when more people go back into Ukraine from Poland than come out.

Do you think that the mass exodus is over?

PIOTR ZAKIELARZ, SPOKESPERSON FOR POLISH REGION'S BORDER GUARDS: We can never say that. It's hard to predict actually the direction of the crisis.

MCLEAN: In Przemysl, the first stop in Poland for many Ukrainians traveling by train, the mayor was once overwhelmed by the number of

refugees showing up every day. Not anymore.

MAYOR WOJCIECH BAKUN, PRZEMYSL, POLAND: It looks better, way better organized as well after two months of experience. And we're happy, we are

so happy that situation on Ukraine looks better at this moment.

MCLEAN: Inside the station, Natallia Belchik and her family are headed back to their hometown in southern Ukraine, about 50 miles from the

contested city of Mykolaiv.

NATALLIA BELCHIK, FLED FROM SOUTHERN UKRAINE (through translator): In our town, we had about seven or eight people killed at a military unit when it

was bombed. My child was so scared.

MCLEAN: They fled to a small town in northern Germany where the government put them up in a nice hotel. But they say they had little help beyond that.

BELCHIK: We didn't know what to do. Nobody helped us to find jobs. Well, we were told we needed to speak German.

MCLEAN: Are you willing to take a small risk to get your life back?

BELCHIK: Yes, we want to go back. After all, home is home.

MCLEAN: Down the hall, Nataliia Vyhivska fled Kyiv just days into the war. While she stayed with friends in Germany, her neighborhood withstood

Russian shelling. Now that the Russians have retreated, she's going back.

NATALIIA VYHIVSKA, FLED FROM UKRAINE (through translator): It's a bit scary, but I've been looking forward to seeing my husband. I never thought

this would last a long time. I thought it would be for a week or two. I don't want to start a new life in Germany without my husband.

MCLEAN: At the border, the lineup to get into Ukraine stretches for five miles. At the Polish side of the pedestrian crossing, there are more

volunteers than refugees.

Oksana Deresh is going back to see her patients in Lviv.

OKSANA DERESH, FLED FROM LVIV: Actually for Easter because I want to meet my parents. I miss them very much.

MCLEAN: Scott McLean, CNN, Przemysl, Poland.


NOBILO: Let's take a look at some of the global reaction to the conflict. Spain and Denmark are sending more military assistance to Ukraine. The

prime ministers visited Kyiv on Thursday to announce the aid. One of the Spanish ships is already bound for Poland according to officials. Denmark

says its latest aid package will be worth around $90 million.

And Ukrainian President Zelenskyy thanked president jen for more economic and military support. The latest package includes $500 million in

assistance for Ukraine's government and $800 million in military aid. Some of the money will also go to essential workers who have stay in the service

during the conflict.

Pope Francis met the Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Thursday. He thanked Budapest for taking the in Ukrainian refugees. While Orban invited

the pope to make a state visit to Hungary. The Vatican said there wouldn't be a statement since this was a private visit.

And coming up in the program, despite the billions of dollars of damage and all of the lives lost, Ukrainian leaders still hopeful for the future. How

they're asking to world to help, coming up next.


NOBILO: As Ukraine's military battles to push Russian forces out of the east, its government is also looking towards the future, to the long

project of reconstruction after the war is over. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the International Monetary Fund that it will take hundred of

billions of dollars to rebuild Ukraine.

He says that right now, the country needs $7 billion per month to make up for the economic losses it's taken since Russia waged war.

Lesia Zaburanna is a member of parliament in Ukraine and she joins me now from Kyiv.

Thank you so much for joining the program this evening.

LESIA ZABURANNA, UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER: Thank you very much for invitation.


NOBILO: So, President Zelenskyy says your country will need $7 billion a month to stay afloat. What type of support would that actually provide

Ukrainians with?

ZABURANNA: Thank you for the question.

You know, I work in budget committee, so we discuss with our ministry of finance, our premier minister, economic losses during the war. Now we have

about more than $600 billion because of the war financial losses. Every month we have deficit of state budget about $7 billion.

So, of course, we need not only military assistance, but economic assistance also. We highly appreciate your support, support of all American

people, support of your president, Congress, Senate. And we know that today, President Biden announced about $800 million of military assistance

and $500 million of economic assistance.

We highly appreciate it, but it's not enough for us. Because now, we have really a very terrible war. And I would like to highlight, it's not a war

between Ukraine and Russia. It's a war between evil and all democratic world. So we need to support of all democratic world.

NOBILO: And what support do you need specifically to prevent the food security situation from further deteriorating? Of course, it's now spring

when Ukrainian farmer would be planting in their fields.

ZABURANNA: First of all, in this sphere, we need economic support. Now we have a program, special program for our farmers. They have ability to take

loans from the bank with very nice rate, about 3 percent. But, of course, we need financial support from other countries, from our partners.

And, of course, we have also to help our farmers to realize agriculture -- need to be in safe atmosphere. So we need military assistance, we need

jets, we need more weapon, and we will help our farmers to have effective agriculture season.

NOBILO: Now, changing subjects slightly, Ludmila Denisova who's a senior official in Kyiv has accused the International Committee of the Red Cross

of working in concert with Russia in Ukraine. Do you believe that's the case? What evidence is there?

ZABURANNA: You know, we discussed the situation with the Red Cross when our delegation visited Washington, D.C. We had a lot of question. And I

would like to tell you the truth in this sphere.

I was elected in Kyiv and now I help my friends -- I mean members of parliament -- which represents different regions, not only Kyiv regions but

other regions. And I would like to tell you that we don't see the work on Red Cross on the ground.

On the ground with people, with refugees in residential areas work our NGOs, other international organizations, but not Red Cross. And

unfortunately, we also have information that Red Cross opened the office in Rostov, and for us, it's terrible situation, because we need to help our

people to, defend our people, but not to relocate our people to the country of aggression.

So, of course, we also need your support, not only from the United States, but from other countries in communication with Red Cross, because Red Cross

has to help us in humanitarian assistance. But we don't see this activity, unfortunately.

NOBILO: Lesia Zaburanna, thank you so much for joining the program today. We appreciate it.

ZABURANNA: Thank you very much.

NOBILO: Thank you.

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



NOBILO: Let's take a look at the other key stories making international impact today.

The U.N. is investigating a string of attacks on crowds of people in Afghanistan. An ISIS affiliate claimed responsibility for this bombing at a

mosque. At least ten people killed there. A separate blast killed five more people and in Kabul, a third bombing injured two children.

The Israeli military says it carry out air strikes in Central Gaza Thursday after multiple rockets fire from the Palestinian territory into Israel the

night before. We're also seeing clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police in Jerusalem's old city, especially around the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

British lawmakers have now ordered a parliamentary investigation into Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It's over claims he misled parliament when he

denied reports he and his staff broke COVID-19 lockdown rules. So Mr. Johnson began a two-day visit to India on Thursday to work on a post-Brexit

trade deal. His office said he'd not lecture Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking a soft stance on Russia.

And Queen Elizabeth got a Barbie for her birthday. She turned 96 Thursday. And Mattel released this commemorative doll to mark the occasion, as well

as the Queen's 70th year on the truth. She's the longest serving monarch in Britain ever. Queen Elizabeth celebrated the day at her Sandringham estate.

Well, it's my birthday, too, coming up, who's listening. But thank you for watching.

For our viewers tuning in on CNN+ in the U.S., our show is on demand for a little bit, and for our viewers around the world, you can find me on

Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram. I'll see you all again tomorrow.