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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Ukraine: At Least 11 Civilians Killed In Russian Shelling Near Kharkiv; Zelenskyy: Tens Of Thousands In Mariupol Are Dead; United Nations: More Than 4.5 Million Ukrainians Flee Putin's War; Official: Biden "Candid" With Indian PM Over Neutral Stance On Ukraine; 26,000+ New Cases A Day In Shanghai Despite Strict Lockdown. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired April 11, 2022 - 16:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: I'm standing on a rooftop looking out on Lviv on day 47 of Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine. I'm Jake Tapper. Welcome to this special broadcast of THE LEAD.

We're live from western Ukraine, and we start tonight with intensified attacks on the eastern part of this country. The Pentagon is cautioning Russia's offensive in the southeastern Donbas region that itself has not yet begun in their estimation.

But CNN's Nima Elbagir visiting the northeast town of Kharkiv today, that's just some 25 miles from the border with Russia and north of the Donbas region. Local military leaders report a barrage of Russian attacks over the last day there, mostly bombings it appears. At least 11 civilians were killed, including a 7-year-old Ukrainian child.

Even more horrific news from the key port city of Mariupol, which has been under a relentless Russian assault for weeks now.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy making this grim assessment today.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Mariupol lies destroyed. Tens of thousands have been killed there, and still, the Russians won't end their offensive. They want to make an example out of Mariupol as a city ruined.


TAPPER: Today, I'm also learning that nine volunteer drives working to evacuate Ukrainians from Mariupol have been detained by the Russian military, and as of now, they remain missing. The head of the Ukrainian organization Help People says ten drives had been trying to get civilians out of that besieged city when their vehicles were stopped by Russian soldiers who demanded that the evacuees and the mini-buses go to Russia. The drivers refused. They were detained. The head of the NGO lost contact with nine of those drivers. One of

them was released and said they were interrogated with brute force, fed poorly, kept under appalling conditions. We should note, we cannot independently verify these claims. The group has been in contact with the Ukrainian government.

CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward joins us now live from Kyiv.

And, Clarissa, you traveled east of the capital of Kyiv, to towns that Russians had occupied for most of the war, but they have now withdrawn.

What is the new reality on the ground there?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, these people are just starting to emerge from a brutal nightmare, Jake, the harrowing accounts that you hear in the towns that we visited of Novi (ph) and Starilikov (ph) -- you can hear the air raid siren. That's not something we're hearing so often in Kyiv these days.

But in these two villages to the east of Kyiv in the Chernihiv region, they reported at least six young men were executed without any specific reason. One young woman is missing. There were arbitrary detentions. People were blindfolded, forced to remain in their cellars for weeks and weeks on end, as they describe coming under heavy bombardment, not having food, not having water, not having electricity and just starting to emerge from this nightmare and put their lives back together again.


WARD (voice-over): Ukrainian soldiers returning from the front, jubilant after a humiliating defeat for Russian forces in the north. In the neighboring villages, exhausted residents are emerging from their homes after five weeks of Russian occupation and the horrors that came with it. On day four of the war, this peaceful community became a front line. And nowhere was off limits.

Russian forces transformed the local school into their base. The principal shows us the carnage that was left behind. She's saying they were using this as a toilet as well.

The main entrance is now spattered with blood, the scene of heavy fighting. Russian soldiers took cover in classrooms and treated their wounded with whatever they could find.

So, you can see they were eating here. These are some Russian military rations. Walking the ravaged hallways, she says she is still in a state of shock. What wasn't destroyed was looted.

We are for education. Education is the future, our students, she says. It's such a shame that our occupiers didn't understand this. Why steal everything?

[16:05:01] This is a school.

In several classrooms, there are signs that some of the Russian soldiers felt ashamed that their actions. A message on a chalk board.

It says, forgive us, we didn't want this war.

But forgiveness will be hard to come by here. At the local cemetery, Valentina takes us to the graves of six men who authorities say were executed by Russian forces on the day they arrived. It's so hard to get over this, she says. She they murdered them.

Valentina says the Russians held on to the bodies for nine days before dumping them at the end of the village with instructions to bury them quickly.

We dug very fast so they wouldn't shoot us, she says, but there was shooting over there and heavy shelling.

Among the dead, her neighbors, brothers, Igor and Oleg Yabun (ph). Outside the family home, we meet their mother, Olga. For days, she thought her sons were in hiding until a neighbor called her with the devastating news.

The agony and the grief are still very raw. They were very good boys, she says. How I want to see them again.

Do you have any idea why the Russians would kill your sons?

Who knows? There was a bridge that was blown up and somebody shot at a Russian drone, she says. The Russians were searching the village and rounded them up on the street, six boys. I don't know anything else.

A few streets away, Katarina Androsha (ph) is also looking for answers. Her daughter, Victoria, a schoolteacher, was taken by Russian soldiers on March 25th. They said they found information on their phone about their forces, she says. They told me she was in a warm house, that she was working with them and she would be home soon. But Victoria never came home. We hope that she will get in touch, Katarina says, with somebody, somewhere.

In this small community of 2,000, it seems no street has been spared. The invaders marked their newly seized territory with crude graffiti and battle markings.

Another "Z" on their fridge.

But brave residents like Tamera carried out quiet acts of resistance. We kept it, we kept it, she says, showing us a Ukrainian flag given to her husband for his military service. We hid it.

A bold risk in anticipation of this moment, when Russian troops would be forced to retreat.

And the villages would finally be free.


WARD (on camera): Now, a lot of those Russian troops who were responsible for these atrocities not just obviously in Novi and Starilikov (ph) but in a number of towns and villages and Kyiv suburbs, as we have seen unfolding, horrifying scenes, they will now be redeployed. They have left the country. They are heading east, and they will be part of this major offensive that Russia is preparing in the east in the Donbas region.

So the fear is that these are not isolated events, that we may see more of these horrors and we'll only really know about them, Jake, once Russian forces are pushed out once again, because so many areas that continue to be under Russian control, these types of atrocities are playing out on practically a daily basis. And because journalists and aid workers and independent observers can't get into those areas we are just not able to see the full scale of them, which is frankly a chilling thought, Jake.

TAPPER: Clarissa Ward live in Kyiv, thank you so much for that important report.

To the northeast now, the city of Kharkiv already facing relentless shelling from Russian troops, new satellite images warn of what might be on the horizon -- an eight-mile long Russian convoy of tanks and artillery. To the east of that city, a now U.S. and European officials are warning, Russia has appointed a new general to direct the war. He is known as, quote, the butcher of Syria.

CNN's Nima Elbagir went to Kharkiv yesterday -- oh, I'm sorry, today, to see the devastation first hand and speak with the Ukrainian civilians who refused to leave despite warnings from their own government.



NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You can see all around us just the sheer devastation. Right here is a crater from where a bomb was dropped just two days ago.

North of here, about 25 miles away is inside Russia. That's where the Russian positions are shelling. That's where they're throwing devastation and death into places like this in Kharkiv, into civilian areas.

Most of the people who have been able to evacuate have already left this city. Those that remain have told us it's because they believe that nowhere in Ukraine is safe. They wouldn't speak on camera because they're worried what will happen when and if the Russians finally arrive.

And that is what U.S. and Ukrainian intelligence officials believe is about to happen. They believe Russian troops are amassing. That was just a mortar strike as we were talking. It's about the third or fourth that we've heard. It's coming from that direction over there. We're continuing to hear strikes.

Imagine what it's like to live here. Imagine what it's like to be in one of these apartments, to have been unable to evacuate. Hearing that every day since this war again, knowing that you cannot evacuate, knowing that, as one woman told us, there is nowhere safe here in Ukraine.

U.S. and Ukrainian intelligence officials say that they can see Russian forces amassing just the other side of the border, some 25 miles to the north of Kharkiv. They believe that they are amassing to come here and to come here as soon as they can.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, Kharkiv.


TAPPER: Our thanks to Nima for that reporting from Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Coming up, building the case to punish Putin. We're going to go along for the ride here in Ukraine as investigators select evidence of war crimes and talk to witness who is describe the atrocities they saw firsthand.

Plus, President Biden's candid conversation today with a U.S. ally who still has strong business ties to Russia.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: And we're back in Lviv, where you can hear behind me air raid sirens have just gone off as happens relatively frequently during the week. Every day in Ukraine brings new and horrifying pictures and stories of Russian atrocities -- murder, rape, genocide. I just got off the phone with an international lawyer earlier today. He had just been in Bucha where excavators just discovered the grave of a woman and her two children, all three of them murdered.

This was in the center of Bucha, right near where the Russians had put up a small station, and next to a bigger grave where 40 bodies had been recovered over the last few days, he said. They're using drones to map the area. He said it's just grim discovery after grim discovery.

Over the weekend, the Ukrainian government said more than 4,000 individual cases have been opened by the prosecutor general. I'm going to talk to her in a moment.

But first, our visit to a small town over the weekend where we met with prosecutors who are methodically gathering evidence to make a case against Russia.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TAPPER (voice-over): About 90 minutes outside Lviv at this pink school, up the stairs, past the paw prints in this grade school classroom, there's a war crimes investigation under way. Ukraine's prosecutor's general's office has deployed teens of investigators to villages and shelters nationwide with a mission -- build a case strong enough to punish Russia in international courts. Ukrainians who have fled their homes and willing to testify are asked to give detailed accounts of the language, uniforms, timing and actions of those who wronged them and destroyed their lives.

IRINA LEVRENKO, WAR CRIMES INVESTIGATOR (through translator): The main idea is to officially set the status of these people as crime victims, for example, because they will get their right for compensation in the future.

TAPPER: Irina Levrenko was a chief ecological prosecutor in southeastern Ukraine before the invasion, but since March 28th, she's been collecting war stories from people sheltering in the west, even as her own village remains under Russian control.

LEVRENKO: After I moved here to the relative safety in western Ukraine, I heard the call from the prosecutor general's office that this group would be created, so I went and joined. I didn't hesitate even for a second.

TAPPER: Neither did Vasyl Shevchuk, a witness from Bucha.

VASYL SHEVCHUK, FLED FROM BUCHA DISTRICT (through translator): It was important for me to tell, but hard to tell. I'm still shaking.

TAPPER: He is a long time paramedic who says he helped the wounded back home.

SHEVCHUK: There were people watching the equipment and they were shot at. Two people were running into a cellar and one of them was killed.

TAPPER: Shevchuk, along with his family, sheltered at home for ten days.

SHEVCHUK: Me, and my son and brother were in the house and my wife and daughter were in the cellar.

TAPPER: He said he had a pitch fork ready to protect his 13-year-old daughter and 25-year-old son.

SHEVCHUK: If they came in my house, I would use to pitch fork to kill them. If I got killed it would be easier. I don't need to see my dearests suffering from the Russians.

TAPPER: His friend in a neighboring village was not as lucky.

SHEVCHUK: She called me on the 25th of February. She has a mentally ill disabled son who went out to look at the tanks and machines and they shot him dead.

NATALIA, TESTIFIED AS PART OF A WAR CRIMES INVESTIGATIONS: How many people died and who knows how many will die.

SHEVCHUK: Sixty-three-year-old Natalia is a retiree from Kharkiv who testified today about the brutality she witnessed by Russian soldiers.

NATALIA: I can't say a good word about these people. I can't even call them people.


Maybe they have no brains at all. I don't know what they're thinking and how their mothers are bringing them up and giving meat to this war.

TAPPER: She says she sheltered in her basement for six days. The windows had been blown out of her house and her sister is dead.

NATALIA: She had a heart attack in the cellar where she was hiding because of the big stress.

TAPPER: Still, Natalia is not sure her story or any reparation for it means much.

NATALIA: How can they be punished? I don't think they'll be punished severely. Only God can punish them. What they have done, it cannot be repaid by any money.

TAPPER: By now, most have seen horrific images of war crimes on CNN and other news outlets but there is much more too horrifying to show and much more news media have not seen that is being added into evidence. With a click, witnesses can upload photos and videos to this website created by the prosecutor general's office of Ukraine. The interviews, however, are done in person.

LEVRENKO: People often cry during their questions and so on, and it is much easier for the person who is in the same room to be connected to the people questioned and to find a better line of investigation.

TAPPER: The sad truth? This part of the world has a lot of experience when it comes to such prosecutions.

Lviv University, in fact, is the alma mater of the two lawyers who came up with the legal concepts of prosecutions at Nuremberg for genocide and for crimes against humanity. In fact, one of those former law students here was, Hersh, was working with the allied powers in 1942, preparing for those prosecutors, at the same time members of his family here in Lviv were being rounded up and killed because they were Jewish. Those ideas and laws hammered out between U.S., British, and Soviet powers to go after Nazi crimes will now be used to go after the grandchildren of those soviets.

SHEVCHUK: I call Russians cockroach cockroaches now and I want to destroy these cockroaches. I want to crush them forever.

TAPPER: Vasyl says he would join the military if he could.

SHEVCHUK: I would fight, but my eyesight is minus 9. I wouldn't see. TAPPER: Instead, he's giving the court a clearer view of what the Russians have done.

SHEVCHUK: Yes, I can't help any other way.


TAPPER: With us now from Kyiv is the Ukrainian prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova.

Thank you so much for joining us.

You personally toured Borodianka. Tell us what you saw.

IRYNA VENEDIKTOVA, PROSECUTOR GENERAL OF UKRAINE: Good evening, dear friends. Thank you that you are having me.

Yes, I was in Borodianka, I was in Bucha several times. Tomorrow, I will go to Bucha again. We are still (INAUDIBLE) from the mass grave.

Actually, what we see, now we horrors of war, a lot of war crimes -- actually, it is not only war crimes. Now we can say about a lot of crimes against humanity. And you mentioned that we have more than 4,000 cases of war crimes now. We are not proud, but we have 5,800 such cases. And with every day, we started more and more such proceedings.

TAPPER: Fifty-eight hundred, wow. While, well, the Ukrainian prosecutor general's office, your office, just put out a statement saying 183 children have been killed. Three hundred forty-two injured since the invasion. You said that a lawyer -- as a lawyer, you want to be professional, you don't want to be emotional.

But I have to say, that must be very difficult when you hear these stories and see these photographs that are so horrifying we can't share them on TV.

VENEDIKTOVA: It's extremely difficult, actually.

You spoke about figures, but they are not correct. We can't count correct. For example, we don't understand what's happened in Mariupol just now and how many kids are dead inside Mariupol.

That's why, of course, a lot of Ukrainian children are dead, a lot injured. Most of them are now leave for Ukraine and try to save their lives abroad. And all these great pressure whole life of Ukrainians, actually.

It's very hard, and for us it's -- because it's still not finished. It's still bombing, it's still shelling, attacks. For example, now, in Luhansk, in Donetsk, just in Kharkiv, we have bomb attacks.


TAPPER: The cases that you're building, more than 5,800 cases, and as you rightly point out, that doesn't include Mariupol or lots of other parts of the country that the Russians are still in effect in control of, is this for prosecutions against individual Russian soldiers, prosecutions against Russian commanders, prosecutions against Vladimir Putin, or all of the above?

VENEDIKTOVA: I want to say that what about Mariupol? We started to proceed with the common case. We don't know concrete facts, but common face, for example, as a bombing maternity hospital in Mariupol, drama theater in Mariupol, and other cases we started because we have some refugees who know that people evacuated from Mariupol -- we knew some facts from the witnesses.

What about our suspects? Actually, we understand that our national jurisdiction is very important for us. We want to prosecute these war criminals in our Ukrainian courts named by Ukraine.

But, of course, for us, our approach, it is line of International Criminal Court. What we have now in Ukraine, we do everything on the international humanitarian law, under common international law. That's why we have now more than 500 suspects, concrete individuals. It is top politicians, top militaries, top propaganda agents of Russia Federation who we suspect absolutely illegal started this war or continuing this war.

And, of course, we understand that three person in the Russian Federation now is on functional (ph) immunity for all the initial legislation. It is president -- when he's still president, then ministry of foreign affairs and prime minister. This is rule.

That's why we understand this is people for this period is -- under functional immunity. But from other side, absolutely possible to take them to responsibility by instruments of international criminal courts. That's why we document evidences for all of big fish of what really do everything for this war and who wanted this war, who started this war, and who continue this war.

TAPPER: Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, thank you so much. Really appreciate your time.

VENEDIKTOVA: Thank you very much. Good-bye.

Coming up next, the sensitive connection that has compelled so many people in Poland to help Ukrainian refugees any way they possibly can.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Continuing with our world lead, the United Nations says the number of refugees who have fled Ukraine because of Vladimir Putin's ruthless brutal invasion has surpassed 4.5 million people. At least 2.5 million of those refugees crossed into neighboring Poland, where Jewish families have their own haunting memories of war and genocide.

And as Kyung Lah reports, many of those families are opening their homes to Ukrainians seeking shelter and safety.



KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is more than Jan Gebert's Warsaw neighborhood.

GEBERT: The white one.

LAH: Oh, the white one.

It's a path to his family history.

GEBERT: That's the building where my grandma was born and raised.

LAH: Gebert lives a block away from where his Jewish grandparents lived before the holocaust.

GEBERT: That's my grand mom and her mom.

LAH: In the chaos of World War II, Sofia Poznanski (ph) was separated from her husband and child. The Nazis executed her at a Treblinka death camp.

Of the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, around half were killed in the Poland's concentration camps.

But Gebert's great grandfather Julian Poznanski escaped the horror, sheltered by a non-Jewish family.

GEBERT: We are alive because someone help us, and thanks to that, I can help other people.

The apartment is one-bedroom apartment.

LAH: Gebert's home has little space.

GEBERT: We are sleeping over here, and that used to be our bed. And we gave this bed to our Ukrainian guests.

LAH: But it's enough to share with a Ukrainian mother and child. The third family Gebert has taken in since the war began.

GEBERT: I just felt it's part of me, and I don't know if it's faith or tradition. It's just part of me. I have to do it.

MICHAEL SCHUDRICH, CHIEF RABBI OF POLAND: It's our time to do what we needed to have done for us 80 years ago.


LAH: Michael Schudrich is chief rabbi of Poland.

In Warsaw, the Jewish community has plunged in to help in this humanitarian crisis, offering everything from child care to food and housing, counseling, and Polish lessons.

Schudrich says Jewish philanthropies, mostly American, have donated about $100 million to help Ukrainian refugees no matter where they are or what faith they practice. The effort is centering on Poland, where in World War II, the majority did not help.

SCHUDRICH: Half the Jews killed during the Shoah, the Holocaust, were from Poland.

LAH: So, given that complicated history, how does that motivate the Jewish community today?

SCHUDRICH: It clearly has an added meaning for those who are Jewish. Understanding that this is what my grandparents needed. And if we still have somewhere in our hearts a sadness that more people didn't help, it needs them to push us to do more to help now.

LAH: For Jan Gebert, he feels his country changing as Poland welcomes almost 2.5 million Ukrainians. His great grandmother's home is now a shelter for refugees.

Do you think about what would have happened if more of your family had been protected, had been taken in?

GEBERT: Yeah, it's a great question. I would hope that there would be someone like me letting my grandparents and my cousins during the Holocaust. Yeah, that would be wonderful. I would have much greater family next to me. To have the great big family in Warsaw, Jewish family, and we survive the war, that would be most beautiful, beautiful thing. Definitely.


LAH (on camera): That $100 million raised worldwide, again, predominantly by American Jews, that money is going into the childcare and the language lessons that you saw in the story. I spoke to those women who are being helped. None of them are Jewish. One of the Ukrainian refugees, she didn't even know that it was a Jewish organization that was helping her out.

So after seeing the worst of humanity in Ukraine, here in Poland, Jake, they are seeing the grace of the Jewish community -- Jake.

TAPPER: Kyung Lah in Warsaw, Poland, thank you so much. Appreciate that report.

At the White House today, President Biden acts after months of pressure to do more to address gun violence. His plan to tackle what are called "ghost guns", that's next.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, President Biden speaking candidly with Indian Prime Minister Modi in a virtual meeting today. That's what we're told by the White House, pressing him to take a hard line against Russia's invasion. Critical meeting comes as India tries to maintain a neutral stance on Putin's brutal invasion of Ukraine.

India is continuing to buy Russian oil. India abstains from U.N. votes condemning the brutal assault on Ukraine.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins joins us now live from the White House.

And, Kaitlan, a senior administration official told CNN that there was this candid exchange of views during today's meeting. Tell us more what you're learning about it?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jake. Russia is really looming over this entire conversation that President Biden was having with the Indian prime minister. As you noted they're trying to get them basically off the fence when it comes to the Russian invasion, because they have the key votes at the U.N. they've continued to snap up Russian oil.

So during this call today, we are told that President Biden told Prime Minister Modi he did not believe it was in India's interest to continue buying this Russian oil in the quantities they have. The White House has downplayed just how much oil they are getting from India.

But he also sought to reassure him on the concerns India has about how much military hardware they get from Russia, saying there will be basically alternative methods to get that and they continue that if they were to speak out which they declined to do so far, because the little preview of the call we heard today that reporters were in the room for, you heard the prime minster talking at atrocities that are being committed in the Ukraine, saying they are worried for India, but, Jake, he hesitated to directly call out Russia for committing those atrocities.

So, it's kind of been this delicate balancing act, where you're seeing the White House work this behind the scenes, but they haven't been applying that much pressure publicly even though at times they have expressed frustration over how India has handled this.

TAPPER: Kaitlan, this afternoon, the administration announced their new nominee for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. They also talked about regulations on ghost guns. These are untraceable essentially homemade weapons without serial numbers made from parts you can purchase online.

The president spoke about these new rules a short time ago. Tell us what he said.

COLLINS: Yeah, he was talking about the criticism he's gotten for the new rules working their way through the system. They're new rules that would clarify the parts of the guns you can order online and print at home and assemble yourself as firearms, because they want to make them easier to regulate, easier to trace and since as you noted they oftentimes don't have a serial number with them. The president talked about the criticism he's gotten for these new rules. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The NRA called this rule I'm about to announce "extreme".


Extreme. But let me ask you, is it extreme to protect police officers, extreme to protect our children, extreme to keep guns out of the hands of people who couldn't even pass a background check?

Look, the idea that someone on a terrorist list could purchase one of these guns is extreme -- it isn't extreme. It's just basic common sense.


COLLINS: Jake, he also called on Congress to pass a broader gun control legislation. Of course, that is something that is not even close to happening so far, but he did talk today about a new nominee forward to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. This is his second try to get a nominee through and confirmed by the Senate. Of course, they had to withdraw the last person after it was clear he was not going to get enough congressional support. So they are going to try again this time.

We should note, there has not been a confirmed director of the ATF in seven years, though, the White House is hoping they'll be successful this time around, Jake.

TAPPER: Kaitlan Collins at the White House for us -- thanks so much.

Coming up, the loud late-night screams in a city locked down. What might be the breaking point for the people of Shanghai despite a record spike in COVID cases?

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our health lead, China's government is coping a coronavirus surge that is getting worse despite its rather harsh lockdown policy. Shanghai reported more than 26,000 new cases on Sunday. That's the fourth consecutive day new cases topped 20,000.

Because we're talking about the Chinese government, which does not believe in transparency in any way, we do not know if the higher case numbers are resulting in higher numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, which, of course, are the key indicators far more so than cases. This comes with a lockdown in the city of 25 million people.

CNN's David Culver is among those forced into lockdown in Shanghai.

David, people are shouting from their balconies. They can't stand take it anymore. They're running out of food. It sounds just awful.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Jake, the videos emerging stay it all. I'll pause. You can listen to some of the frustration, and anger and pain that's being evoked.




CULVER: People sealed inside their homes. This has been like no other lockdown. The scale alone of the population here puts this beyond Wuhan in 2020.

And most shocking is that this is happening here in the country's cosmopolitan and affluent financial hub. The door behind me, that's my exit to the alley, and a couple of nights ago, I heard them taping my door with neighbor's doors placing a paper seal, so to keep it closed. Some buildings with positive cases, they're actually locked from the outside with a bicycle lock or even padlocks.

It's this strict containment effort that's gone on for more than three weeks now that's led to massive food shortages and it's really difficult to source basic necessities. You got doors closed, delivery drivers who like us are also in lockdown. So, neighbors are now having to come together. They're trying to source directly from suppliers.

And there have been for some a few government handouts, but certainly not enough. It's led to the really harsh demands from people saying, Jake, that they are starving. These are some of the literal words that we're hearing. We are starving, we are starving.

TAPPER: Beyond the health and psychological impacts, David, what's the wider economic impact?

CULVER: Yeah, well, this is, Jake, China's leading financial center and some of its largest sea and airports are here. Several weeks of this already shocked the economy. It placed more strain on global supply chains, not to mention it's going to further fuel inflation. But it's impacted hundred of global companies that have regional headquarters based in Shanghai.

Tesla's factory has come to a halt. Apple supplier not able to operate. Starbucks, another American company, likely to take a big hit from massive closures in this metropolis alone. Many argue this is not health security so much as a politicized attempt to save face and take control.

TAPPER: Yeah. David Culver in Shanghai, thanks.

Coming up, a media executive here in Ukraine spent years trying to fight Russian disinformation online. Now he is taking it to a whole new level and trying to confront the Russians face to face and he'll join us next.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

TAPPER: Welcome back to this special broadcast of THE LEAD live from Western Ukraine. I'm Jake Tapper. I'm standing on the rooftop, looking out on Lviv, on day 47 of Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine.

We begin this hour with the Russian assault on eastern Ukraine, what the Pentagon cautions the new offensive expected in the southeastern Donbas region. That they say has not yet begun.

In the northeast, Kharkiv and its surrounding regions saw heavy Russian shelling overnight. At least 11 are dead, including a 7-year- old child.

In Mariupol, Ukraine's president said Russian forces are trying to turn the port city into a ruined city, adding quote, tens of thousands have been killed after six weeks of heavy Russian bombardment.

Zelenskyy continues to urge civilians to evacuate the region, but many are getting trapped in these areas of fighting and Russian forces are blocking access to some towns.

Today, I'm also learning nine volunteer drivers working to evacuate Ukrainians out of Mariupol have been detained by the Russian military. They've been missing since late March. We cannot independently verify these claims but the volunteer group called Help People has been in contact with the Ukrainian government and that is the information they shared with them and with us.