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The Lead with Jake Tapper

U.N. Votes To Suspend Russia From Human Rights Council; Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) And Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) Are Interviewed About Russia's Suspension In Human Rights Council; Senators Push Bill To Suspend Moscow From INTL. Diplomatic Groups And Discourage Foreign Investment In Russia; Handful Of Lawmakers Vote Against Bills Punishing Russia; CNN Visits Hospital Coping With Deluge Of Wounded Civilians; Secretary Blinken: "We Must Assume Russian Soldiers Are Committing More Atrocities" Like In Bucha; Ukrainian Civilians Defend Small Town From Russian Troops; Murdered Ukrainian Mother Identified By Her Distinctive Nails. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired April 07, 2022 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Tanks and armored vehicles, planes and artillery are pleading once again for more weapons from NATO countries including the U.S. Kuleba warning that sanctions cannot be seen as fully efficient and that the heaviest fighting is still to come.

Meanwhile, Russian troops continue to bombard Ukraine's east. A Ukrainian government official says it is focused on the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the southeast of the Donbass region, as well as Kharkiv which is northeast. Today, one local leader said every hospital in the Luhansk area has been destroyed. We will have a special report on that coming up this hour.

The top U.S. military officer Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley today said that he expects Russia's war with Ukraine is going to, quote, "be a long slog with no signs on the horizon that the Kremlin will stop its aggression and its slaughter of innocent Ukrainian civilians." Now Germany's Foreign Intelligence Service as it is intercepted radio communications where Russian soldiers can be heard talking about shooting civilians in Ukraine. That's according to a source familiar with the matter.

CNN's Matthew Chance is in London for us.

Matthew, this could theoretically bolster evidence that Russian troops committed actual war crimes.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it definitely could. Because I mean -- and there's a growing body of evidence that that has indeed taken place. But the difficulty is, you know, linking Russian forces with specific deaths that can be sort of held up to judgments in any possible war crimes tribunals in the future. And I think what's important about what we're hearing the German security forces have identified is radio intercepts, according to their Spiegel which first reported this, linking Russian forces with specific deaths that have been recorded through other media.

"The Washington Post" is also reporting that German intelligence has satellite images of Russian forces carrying out specific killings as well. And again, that's important because that linkage is crucial. There is bags of evidence out there of people having been killed, of course, by Russian forces, but video of dead people does not constitute evidence of war crimes. You're looking for that, you know, that linkage between the killing and the perpetrator of the killing. And I think that's what, you know, the value, potentially, of this German intelligence, you know, may offer.

TAPPER: All right, CNN's Matthew Chance in London with that reporting for us. Thank you so much.

Now to the new warning from Ukraine's Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, saying that the heaviest fighting is still to come. And telling NATO officials today that help is desperately and urgently needed in the battle for the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine.


DYMTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Many people will die. Many civilians will lose their homes. Many villages will be destroyed exactly because this help came too late.


TAPPER: CNN's Nic Robertson joins us now live from Brussels.

And Nic, the foreign minister saying this is going to be a major military operation, the likes that Europe has not seen since World War II. What is the foreign minister specifically asking NATO for?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLAMATIC EDITOR: He came asking for three things. He said in the morning weapons, weapons, weapons. He certainly has an audience that appreciates what he's saying at NATO that understands it.

Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg of NATO said that he believed that Russia was regrouping for this big push, the evidence is as seen as like Mariupol. People have questioned, you know, how can Russia control areas of Ukraine it takes overwhelmed by destroying so much of the building structures that the civilian population live in. It means when the people are driven out and can eventually get out. There is no one -- nowhere for them to go back to and that makes those areas easier for Russia to control. And that's why the foreign minister has such an urgency in his voice.

It's not just to fight to control that land, but it's a fight to keep the towns and structures in place as they are. So that when the war abates and there is a peace and if they've had to move back, they can come forward and go back to their homes again, potentially, and not the destruction. So, the message to NATO was that very clear weapons, weapons, weapons, now, now, now, Jake.

TAPPER: And how are U.S. and NATO officials responded? ROBERTSON: This is really interesting, because just a couple of days ago we were hearing that there would be tanks being sent there. There'll be armored fighting vehicles being sent all to help the Ukrainians fight this new phase of the war where Russia has regrouped where it's coming back, it doesn't have extended supply lines like it had around Kyiv that allowed the Ukrainians to make really solid and strong gains after a lot of very hard fighting. This will be different. But NATO uncharacteristically both the Secretary General Stoltenberg and Secretary State Antony Blinken refused to be drawn on exactly what weapons would be given, perhaps not to give away tactics to Russia, perhaps also to try to diminish the tensions between NATO and Russia.


Obviously, the Ukraine has tanks now. But if it's telegraphed and too strongly told that they're going to get additional tanks through NATO partners, when those tanks fire on Russian troops, Russia could turn its attention and escalate tensions with NATO. So no detail. That was interesting, and it's a change.

TAPPER: Nic Robertson, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

CNNs Nima Elbagir joins me now live from Lviv. She is of course our chief international investigative correspondent.

Nima, so good to see you. Thanks for being here.

So, today, the U.N. General Assembly voted to suspend Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council. Does that mean anything? What is the significance?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it sends a message, but it also robs Russia of a pretty crucial platform from which it was perpetuating a lot of the propaganda for years actually, around this idea that actually it's U.S. overreach, it's United States imperialism, it's the -- it's NATO and the European Union that are incurring into Russia's backyard. So the message is pretty significant.

Unfortunately, the message to be backed up by reality, I don't really see how you move forward when Russia is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council. And you also have these -- the ongoing issues around perhaps -- surrounding perhaps a little shakiness in the middle ground beneath the United States.

TAPPER: Because of the Iraq war?

ELBAGIR: Because of the Iraq war, because of perhaps some of the misrepresentations around Libya or China at the time felt that Libya was not sold as an on the ground intervention, that it was supposed to be just air cover to protect civilians. So you have a lot of cracks in the firmament of what is supposed to be this international coalition that is we're showing the civilians here where we are that the world is behind them. You'll see the United States has only just rejoined the U.N. Human Rights Council, that itself is not a member of the International Criminal Court, that isn't keen to see American soldiers prosecuted. How do you square that and Russia was using the U.N. Human Rights Council to point out all those different ways in which the U.S.'s message was not marrying with the way it was behaving itself on the world stage.

TAPPER: How does the U.S. thread the needle there, presuming that there is ultimately some sort of international criminal court tribunal or investigation into what Russian soldiers are alleged to have done here, considering the fact that the U.S. is not a signatory to the ICC, to the International Criminal Court? I mean, is there a case to be made?

ELBAGIR: Well, the U.K. and the European Union and others have pushed forward the referral and that has been incredibly helpful. But the problem that we keep returning to is, is the U.S. a credible interlocutor? Are they a credible platform? And unfortunately, given recent history, they're not, whether it's the Iraq War, whether it's the pardoning of war criminals by former President Trump, it creates this morass. And Russia is very good in terms of disinformation and exploiting those moments.

And it feels here, just even from Lviv, we're at an inflection point where Russia is able to comfortably use its own territory as a staging now. We've been following some of the range of the ordinances that they've been firing. It is potentially a very, very difficult time because Russia can safely attack civilians from its own territory.

And if you can't figure out a way to prosecute Russian soldiers, there's no way to kind of pull back any of this and no way to reassure the civilians here that the world really is behind them in a meaningful way.

TAPPER: Nima Elbagir, thank you so much. Appreciate that perspective.

Coming up, they traveled hundreds of miles from the frontlines to a hospital here in western Ukraine. They were seeking care, they were seeking safety. I visited with some civilian survivors of Putin's war. You do not want to miss their stories.

Plus, I'm going to talk to a Republican senator and her Democratic colleagues who are teaming up to punish Putin. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Topping our world lead today, American lawmakers are reaching across the aisle to try to come together to punish Putin's Russia for its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. One of those bipartisan bills is the Russian Federation Suspension Act which would direct the Secretary of State to suspend Russia from the U.N. Human Rights Council, Interpol and the G 20 and discourage international investment in Russia.

Joining us now live to discuss in their first joint interview the, cosponsors of this bill, Republican Senator and Combat Veteran Joni Ernst of Iowa and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.

Senator Ernst, today we saw the U.N. suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council. Why is it also so critical, do you think, for Russia be cut off from these other international diplomatic groups?

SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA), CONFERENCE VICE CHAIR: Yes. And thank you so much, Jake. We want you to be safe.

But I am thankful that the U.N. did suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council and that Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield used her voice and I'm so thankful that she stood up and really pushed this issue. But as for the other agencies, the G20, the Interpol and discouraging their types of Economic Development in Russia, we know that we have to push back very hard against Vladimir Putin and cut off any direct activities that would encourage cooperation with Russia. This is so important to help bring the Ukrainian Russian war to an end.


Senator Van Hollen, we have heard people in the Biden administration, notably Climate Change Envoy, Senator John Kerry, talking about the need to continue to work with Russia. We've also heard individuals in the Biden administration talking about the need to have Russia on board for potential diplomatic negotiations with Iran. Should those two efforts be scotched as well?

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Well, the JCPOA, and it's great to team up with Joni Ernst, Senator Ernst on this bipartisan legislation, we may have differences on the JCPOA, I think that that's in our interests to pursue.

Russia has a pretty big part in that. But I do agree that we need to ostracize Russia and make it a pariah state in these international organizations on top of our efforts to impose increasingly punishing sanctions and of course, to provide Ukrainian forces with the weapons they need. I think those three things, weapons, punishing sanctions, and what Senator Ernst and I teamed up to do, which is to isolate Russia in these international organizations, like the Human Rights Council, at the same time that we're collecting evidence on Putin's war crimes, which are evident for everybody who has eyes to see. They shouldn't also have a role on that on that council.

TAPPER: Senator Ernst, last night the House of Representatives passed a separate bill that would require the State Department to report and preserve evidence of war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine. I was kind of surprised to see anybody voted against it, but specifically six House Republicans voted against it. Congressman Thomas Massie and Scott Perry, Warren Davidson, Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar and then of course Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Today, seven Republicans and two Democrats voted against a bill to ban Russian oil, gas and coal. And then of course, there were more than 60 House Republicans that did not vote in support of a statement in favor of the NATO values. What's going on? There does seem to be a number of your fellow Republicans who are in for want of a better term, some sort of Putin caucus? ERNST: Yes, I would say, Jake, it is more of an isolationist attitude. And while I agree with America first, it certainly is not America alone. And you see great bipartisanship throughout the House and the Senate with my friend Chris Van Hollen, of course, we've found ways to work together to make sure that we are enabling Ukraine to help them win this violent and bloody war, this invasion by Russia push back on Vladimir Putin.

And I think that's what we need to focus on and stress to those members why this is important to America. Why this is important for the stability of Europe and for the world. Again, America first, but certainly America can't do this alone. So we do need to engage.

And again, that's why this Russian Federation Suspension Act with Chris Van Hollen is so important. And I'm glad to be working in a bipartisan way to get this over the finish line.

TAPPER: Senator Van Hollen, quickly if you could, I'm just wondering if you think that the Biden administration is doing enough to cut through the red tape to get whatever weapons and armaments and military aid is needed here in Ukraine. You heard the Ukrainian foreign secretary make a desperate plea today.

HOLLEN: Well, Jake, I think we're all impatient to get Ukraine the weapons it needs as fast as possible. I know that that's the administration's goal. I know they're working as fast as they can with our allies, but we got to get them the S300s now. We got to get them to switch blades.

I will say that the Congress has sat for a little while on the effort to terminate most favored nation status. But we also did get that done today. Hundred senators just voted to cut off Russia's (INAUDIBLE). So, we are moving ahead in the right direction, and as Joni said, mostly on a bipartisan basis.

TAPPER: It is good to see bipartisanship in this time. Republican senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, thank you so much. Appreciate your time today.

Coming up to understand the horrors of this war, talk to the survivors in the streets, in the hospitals. Coming up, I'm going to talk to one woman who has been trying to recover from her war injuries for a month. She was just an innocent civilian hit by one of Putin's bombs and she might never walk again. That's next



TAPPER: The reality here in Ukraine is that no hospital is safe from the munitions fired by Vladimir Putin's forces. We just visited a hospital in western Ukraine to speak with civilian victims of Putin's war, people who endured long painful journeys covering hundreds of miles from the frontlines of this war. Their journeys in many cases took multiple days just to find treatment, just to find a chance to heal in relative safety. (BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

TAPPER (voice-over): Just as Putin's forces did in Syria, so too are they targeting hospitals and medical centers here in Ukraine. Two hundred seventy-nine hospitals have been damaged since the war started according to the Ukrainian health minister, with 19 of them completely decimated, forcing 1000s of innocent Ukrainian civilians wounded in Russian attacks in the east and south to be shuttled hundreds of miles to hospitals in western Ukraine to fight to stay alive. Such as Olga Zhuchenko.


(on camera): Do you ever think you'll be able to go back to your normal life?

(voice-over): She ran a grocery store in the Luhansk region with her husband Maxim Aleksandrof (ph) when seven bombs hit their neighborhood, shrapnel pummeling her apartment balcony.

OLGA ZHUCHENKO, SURVIVED SEVEN BOMBS DROOPING ON NEIGHBORHOOD (through translator): I have lost everything. I have lost my flat, my property, my health. We didn't expect to see it. We always have counted Russians as brotherly people. We never hoped they will exterminate us like that.

TAPPER (voice-over): Olga has been here in this hospital, in this bed for one month. She may never walk again.

Their elderly neighbor was killed in the same attack. They tell me she had been so scared she stayed with them for a few days before her life was so brutally and unfairly snuffed out by Putin's bombs.

By now it is clear these attacks on civilian apartment buildings are no accident. Entire civilian city blocks in Irpin and Mariupol residential apartment buildings have been obliterated. The facts lead to only one conclusion, the Russians are purposely slaughtering Ukrainians, moms and dads, children, grandparents. The Russian government, of course, denies targeting civilians.

A group of American doctors with expertise in war injuries, because of unfortunate American experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, were visiting the hospital when we were there, meeting with the mayor of Lviv, sharing what they knew about war wounds.

DR. JOHN HOLCOMB, PROFESSOR OF SURGERY, UNIV. OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM: We wanted to share information from our experiences in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the civilian hospitals in the U.S.

MAYOR ANDRIY IVANOVYCH SADOVYI, LVIV, UKRAINE: Thank you for visit. Thank you for support. And thank you for cooperation. This is very important for Ukraine, and for the United States and for future.

TAPPER (voice-over): These are brutal injuries that are unfamiliar to young surgeons in western Ukraine. Dr. Hnat Herych, chief surgeon, has seen an influx of 1000s of these patients. DR. HNAT HERYCH, CHIEF OF SURGERY AT A UKRAINIAN HOSPITAL: The injury that we have now is unbelievable.

TAPPER (on camera): What do you want the world to know about what you're seeing here?

HERYCH: I want the world to know that -- they need to know that the Russian forces they don't fight with the Ukrainian army, they fight with the Ukrainian people, they killing civilians, they killing children and they destroy our country.

YURIY KHANIN, UKRAINIAN PATIENT, HOME DESTROYED BY BOMBS (through translator): shrapnel strapped on now in my back, in my feet, everywhere.

TAPPER (voice-over): Before he was a patient whose body is now riddled with shrapnel when his home was hit, Yuriy Khanin from the Luhansk region was an anesthesiologist.

KHANIN (through translator): The flat where we lived in is destroyed. My parents' flat is destroyed. My wife's flat is destroyed. We lost everything.

TAPPER (voice-over): He has a number and Army medic wrote on his arm so they could keep track of patients needing help in the chaos of the war.

(on camera): Causing war, creating war is not just directly inflicting pain with bullets and bombs on people. It's also creating conditions of desperation, which poses a whole other set of problems whether disease or starvation or panic.

(on camera): And these secondary effects from the chaos of Putin's war can also be fatal.

OLHA ARKYNSHYN, UKRAINIAN PATIENT (through translator): We had a happy life. Everything was perfect. And then everything changed very abruptly.

TAPPER (voice-over): We met Ola Arkynshyn on her 45th birthday. She and her husband Alex (ph) and 10-year-old son had been hiding in their basement in the Kharkiv region for a month. The shelling, they say, was relentless.

ARKYNSHYN (through translator): We were so afraid, especially our kid was so afraid that we couldn't stay anymore.

TAPPER (voice-over): When the building next door was flattened, she was so scared for her son's life they got in their car and fled. She had not slept for two days. She was in a horrific car accident.

ARKYNSHYN (through translator): When I got in my first hospital (INAUDIBLE), they couldn't help and operate severe broken skull and bones.

TAPPER (on camera): So you can't see right now? [17:30:00]

ARKYNSHYN (through translator): Only silhouettes like very far away.

TAPPER (on camera): Do you think you'll ever go back to the life you had?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Foreign Language).

AKYNSHYN (through translation): I hope it will. The school where my child learned has been destroyed. But I hope if our house stay safe, that we will return, rebuild. Our neighbor will rebuild, our village or town. I love my Ukraine so much. I would only want to live here in Ukraine.

PUTIN (voice-over): Putin fashions himself an alpha male, a tough guy. One has to wonder why Putin thinks slaughtering civilians, seniors, women and children, mutilating women, such as Olga and Olha. Are those the actions of a strong, powerful man, or are they the actions of someone else? Someone weaker and pathetic?


TAPPER: Seeing the images, it is hard to imagine living in Bucha. One woman hid from Russian forces for days, her harrowing story of escape is next.



TAPPER: We're back with our world lead as the world grapples with the images from Bucha. Today, Secretary of State Antony Blinken had this warning. Take a listen.


ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: For every Bucha, there are many more towns Russia has occupied and more towns it is still occupying, places where we must assume Russian soldiers are committing more atrocities right now.


TAPPER: Joining us now is someone who witnessed those atrocities firsthand, Yana Rudenko. She sheltered in Bucha for 14 days with her boyfriend. Yana, we're so glad that you're safe now. You are hiding from Russians in a basement for days. How were you getting information while you were down there? How are you getting food or water?


TAPPER: Yes, go ahead.

RUDENKO: -- the most crucial (INAUDIBLE) lack of information. It's a lack of information and how hard it was get -- we could get it. And because Russians -- Russian soldiers were blocking connection and we had just one point, one place where we could get the information where is that connection was good. Good enough. So it was super hard. And I can say that connection is the most crucial thing in this -- in the whole story.

TAPPER: And there was a strike on a building close to you. You sent us this video of blood on the stairwell leading into the shelter. Tell us what happened.

RUDENKO: One evening, I was in the basement. But my boyfriend and his brother decided to go to the apartment to check some stuff, to check cats because we were having -- like we're having four cats. And in one moment, we heard like super loud sound. And when I was in the basement, like literally, everything started vibrating.

And it was a plane as it dropped a mine on the house, on the building next door. And it's the fifth part of the building is like destroyed. And actually, that was a building where me and my boyfriend were living. Yes. So it's just plane, a Russian plane that dropped in mine. And I don't know. It was just randomly. He dropped it randomly on civilian -- where civilians live.

TAPPER: We've seen these horrible images out of Bucha. Is everyone from your family or all of your friends accounted for and OK?

RUDENKO: Yes. My friends are OK. But friends of my friends who were living in Bucha for longer period, they got hurt. And there is a famous photo of women hand with red nails, that was actually -- this woman was quite not famous, but people in Bucha knew her. And like it is lost for many people.

TAPPER: Yana Rudenko, we're so glad you're OK. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

We have more ahead from Ukraine. But we are also following breaking news out of Israel. At least two people have been killed and Israeli officials say many more are wounded following a shooting in Tel Aviv. This attack comes as that city in that country are already on edge.

There have been three separate terrorist attacks last month in Israel leaving 11 people dead. Those earlier attacks have been blamed on ISIS and Palestinian terrorists. Police in Tel Aviv do not know who carried out this most recent attack in the middle of the city, they say. But militant groups, terrorist groups in Gaza and the West Bank have praised the shooting, though no one has yet claimed responsibility.

How determined civilians and a colorful band of grandmothers in one Ukrainian small town fought off a Russian invasion? That's next.



TAPPER: As Russian troops advance in the east of Ukraine and the south of Ukraine, Ukrainian civilians continue to show heroism and courage in the face of so much brutality. Townspeople in Voznesensk, which is north of Odesa, defended their town by working with Ukrainian military feeding information on Russian troop positions. CNN's Ed Lavandera filed this report.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The sign into town reads, "Russian soldier you will die here." The Russians didn't listen. This is the story of how the small city of Voznesensk fought off the Russian invasion in early March.


Evgen Velichko is the mayor of the city of 30,000 people. He took us to the bridge, at least where the bridge used to be where Ukrainian soldiers, volunteer fighters and a fearlessly creative cast of civilians stare down the Russians.

(on-camera): How close did the Russians get to taking over the city?


LAVANDERA (on-camera): You can see over here on the other side of the bridge in the distance there just on the other side of the bridge, a row of tires and that's as close as the Russian tanks came.

(voice-over): The mayor says the Ukrainians blew it up so that the Russians couldn't cross into the heart of the city, that sparked a two-day confrontation. With thousands of residents were trapped on the other side of the bridge. Only section of the city, Russian forces invaded.

This man named Ivan lives in a house along the main road into town. Several homes and cars around him were scorched in the firefight. He hid inside with his elderly mother, as the Russian tanks swarmed his neighborhood.

(on-camera): He describes how terrifying it was. Several homes blown up around him, constant barrage of gunfire. But he tells us he actually didn't see it, he had to hide inside his home, but just the sound of it was terrifying.

(voice-over): Various cameras captured the images of the Russian military vehicles with the letter Z emblazoned on the side. The mayor says three columns of Russian soldiers moved into the city. One military official says the Russians invaded with at least 100 tanks and armored personnel carriers and as many as 500 soldiers.

(on-camera): So this is Ghost. He's asked that we not use his full name. And he is the head of a reconnaissance unit here in this town that was instrumental in fighting back the Russians. And this was the spot. This was the spot where you fought the Russians.

He says he thinks that's a blood stain there. Wow. The remnants of a Russian meal?


(through translation): When they advanced over the bridge, thanks to the Ukrainian military forces, the Air Assault Brigade, the territorial defense and our Recon Squad. We fought them off.

Here we showered them with artillery, and we destroyed them.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): The Ukrainians blew up multiple bridges in the city to keep the Russians from moving into this town that sits at a strategic crossroads in southern Ukraine and kept Vladimir Putin's army from invading deeper into the country.

(on-camera): So we are standing in this spot just on the edge of the city. Multiple Russian tanks we're taking out here. We're actually standing in the ashes of one of those tanks. And there were at least two Russian soldiers that were killed in this very spot.

GHOST (through translation): We're strong. Our city is strong, our spirit is strong. When the enemy came, everyone rose up from kids to the elderly.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Hiding residents called in the locations of Russian soldiers. Others ran ammunition and supplies wherever it was needed.

(on-camera): The Russians had more firepower, had more weapons than you guys had.

GHOST (through translation): They were powerful. They had tanks. They had APCs, a lot of wheeled vehicles, but we're stronger, smarter and more tactical.

LAVANDERA (on-camera): Are you worried that they're going to come back for revenge after you guys embarrassed them?

GHOST (through translation): No. It's them who shouldn't be afraid. They should know if they come here. They will remain here as (INAUDIBLE). We already have refrigerators for their bodies, and we can bring more.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): In a small village on the edge of Voznesensk, one resident captured the first sounds of the invading Russian convoy. But the Russian soldiers weren't ready to face the grandmothers of Stepilva (ph) Street. 88-year-old Vira walked out, armed with her canes and fired off an epic tirade of verbal artillery.

VIRA PARASENYK, RAKOVE, UKRAINE RESIDENT (through translation): I come out from the kitchen and I said to him sorry for the language. Fuck your mother. Has your Putin gone mad, firing at kids?

LAVANDERA (voice-over): They say they were chased out of their homes and robbed. But the women relish telling this story with laughter. I asked if they're worried the Russians will return to seek revenge. They tell me, they're not going anywhere.

(END VIDEOTAPE) LAVANDERA: Jake, while the grandmothers might be smiling tonight, we should point out that inside the city there is a sense, a very heightened sense of tension about what's coming next.


There's a great distrust of outsiders. They're worried about what's coming, but they also say they are preparing for what could be a very -- a second round of fighting in that very city. And we should point out, one of the reasons for that is because of what we just experienced here in Odesa a few hours away.

Just a short while ago, we heard too loud missile explosions here in the city, followed by a barrage of anti-air defense firing from the ground here. So, you know, an active night in a region that is expecting more fighting. Jake?

TAPPER: Ed Lavandera, thank you so much for that report.

Of all the horrific images of this war, some strike right in the hearts of the world. We can now tell the story of this woman murdered by Russian troops while simply riding her bike. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our world lead, there have been many stories and many images from Ukraine these last few weeks that have captured the world's attention. One of those images is this photograph from the massacre in Bucha. The woman was a mother of two daughters. She was senselessly gunned down by Russian forces as she rode her bike home.

CNN Phil Black joins us now here live in Lviv with more on this. Phil, this a heartbreaking story. What more are you learning about this woman?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, Iryna thought that she could endure and survive the Russian occupation. On the day she died, she told one of her daughters, don't worry about me. I can move mountains. So perhaps no surprise that another described her as fierce, but also loving and loved.

And ultimately, it just didn't occur. Perhaps not unreasonably, didn't occur to this 52-year-old woman that she would be deliberately targeted by the heavy guns of two Russian armored vehicles. A warning this report does have some graphic images.


BLACK (voice-over): Iryna Filkina in a happier time before the Russians came. It's likely this video shows Iryna after the invasion in early March just moments before her death. She seems cycling through Bucha, heading towards a large number of Russian vehicles. As she approaches a corner, she dismounts. One of the vehicles fires. She moves around the corner out of sight, and it fires again and again, at least five more times. Then a large muzzle flash from a second concealed vehicle. Moments later, smoke rises from near that corner.

A different video, geo located by CNN, to the same corner shows a dead woman on the ground next to her bike. Other images of that body clearly show her hand and her distinctive nails. The woman who only recently taught Iryna how to apply makeup recognize them instantly.

ANASTASIA SUBACHEVA, MAKEUP ARTIST: It show card thing (ph) on her finger because she started to love herself. This woman was incredible.

Olga Shchyruk didn't need to see the nails to know that was her mother's body.

OLGA SHCHYRUK, IRYNA FILKINA'S DAUGHTER: She tells me she doesn't know what she feels now. It's such a void, she says. When I saw that it was my mother, the war faded away. The war ended with her and I lost the war.

Olga says her mother called her while she was cycling that day, not long before she was killed. She'd been sheltering at her workplace and decided to go home because she thought it would be safer.

BLACK (on-camera): Tell us about your mother. How would you like the world to know her?

(voice-over): She says Iryna had a hard life overcoming obstacles, only really starting to live in the last two years. But she could do the impossible and inspired others to believe they could too.

Elsewhere in Bucha, someone recorded the moment three men were found, all face down in a yard, all shot in the head. This video is how Olga Gavriluk found out her son, Roman, and son-in-law Sergei had been killed.

She says, I don't want to live anymore. The grief. I cried day and night. I don't know how to live.

Images from Bucha have taught the world undeniable truths about the brutality of Russia's invasion. For some, that knowledge is deeply personal and impossibly painful.


BLACK: Jake, these are just two families directly impacted by the atrocities in Bucha. And they want the world to know and understand what happened there. But they also want those they've lost to be remembered for who they were, not just as victims or brutalized bodies left behind in Russians retreat.

TAPPER: You know, when the world started reporting this, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said it was hysteria. We're being hysterical for reporting these images.


TAPPER: Amazing reporting. Phil, thank you so much. Really appreciate it. It's just a horrible, horrible set of circumstances.

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the TikTok at JakeTapper or tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. If you ever miss an episode of the show, you can listen to THE LEAD wherever you get your podcasts. I'll be back again at 9:00 p.m. Eastern for CNN Tonight with more from Lviv, more from our incredible team of reporters on the frontlines of this bloody invasion.

Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." I'll see you in a few hours.