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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Prosecutor: Russian Kill 10 Civilians In Attack On Residential Buildings, Including 7-Month-Old Child; Ukraine: Russia Taking Revenge For Sinking Of Key Warship; Zelenskyy Reflects On His People's Grief: "Great Pain For Me."; Ukrainian Jews Begin Passover Amid Russian Invasion; FDA Authorizes First Breathalyzer Test for COVID-19. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired April 15, 2022 - 17:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And welcome back to this special broadcast of The Lead, live from Ukraine. I'm Jake Tapper.

Looking out on the capital of Kyiv where the clock just struck midnight on day 51, I guess 52 now here in Ukraine of Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine.

We begin this hour with another attack on innocent civilians in a residential building in Ukraine. A prosecutor in Kharkiv says Russian shelling killed 10 people including a seven-month-old child. Another 35 Ukrainians were injured. This is just the latest example of a seemingly endless string of attacks on innocent Ukrainian civilians with those left behind trying to cope with immeasurable loss. Such as this young child in Bucha, offering food to his mother's grave as his younger brother and neighbor stand nearby.

Or this young couple Marina Yasco (ph) and her boyfriend Theodore (ph), rushing to the hospital after her 18-month-old son was killed by shelling in Mariupol. Their grief is palpable through the photographs, mourning the loss of a life that had only barely begun. Of course, we know this will need-- not be the end of grief here in Ukraine.

Earlier today, I asked Ukraine's President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy about the emotional toll. This is all taken on Ukrainians and on him. We'll get to more of that interview in just a moment.

But Ukrainian officials are clear. Russia is now seeking revenge after Moscow's key warship the Moskva sank. A U.S. official confirmed two Ukrainian Neptune missiles hit the vessel earlier this week. Now the Kremlin is claiming Russian forces hit a military facility on the outskirts of Kyiv where I'm standing, one that produces anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles. It's a move seen by Ukrainians as retaliation for what happened to the Moskva.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the country, heavy shelling was reportedly heard in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kharkiv. And a Senior U.S. Defense official says Mariupol is in a quote dire position. The U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken is also telling European allies he thinks this war might last the rest of the year. CNN's Phil Black is here for us, and back from a trip to the ravaged town of Bucha that you've heard so much about just 20 miles, northeast of kyiv.

And Phil, Ukraine's National Police say more than 900 bodies, 900 civilians we should know. Not soldiers, civilians had been discovered in the Kyiv region since Russia withdrew its army two weeks ago. What did you see in Bucha?

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, the images from Bucha shocked the world because of what they showed on the surface, there are many bodies just laying where people fell. But the reality is that most people who died during rush Russia's occupation there were buried during Russia's occupation there, either in a large central site, or small shallow graves, wherever people thought they could safely dig them.

And there is a large ongoing effort to ensure each and every person is recovered and accounted for. Warning, this report has some disturbing images.

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 occupation 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 didn't know them.

ABBOTT MYKOLA VOLOSYANSKIY, VOLUNTEER, VORZEL CHURCH OF TRANSFIGURATION (through translator): He says he thinks one was a scientist, the other, a school bus driver. He thinks they were shot and killed in the street.

BLACK: Among the now notorious images from Bucha's road of death, Yablunska Street was this man lying beneath his bike. His name was Vladimir Rovschenka (ph), Svetlana (ph) is his widow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): She said she told her husband don't go, they're shooting. The tanks are already on Yablunska Street. But he insisted on leaving the house. She says the 68-year-old grandfather was killed as soon as he reached the road. His bike is still there.

BLACK: In this building stands near Bucha in the village of Vorzel, among those killed here were Julia's parents, Natalia (ph) and Victor Mezzuha (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.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): She says, they came in shot the woman, shot my mother, and then my father ran out when he heard something was wrong, and they shot him.

BLACK: The young woman was Karina Yurshuva (ph), she was 23 years old.


BLACK: Karina's mother says a 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.

Jake, there are so many bodies that are unclaimed and identified. There is an online social media database that people can search through with details of the bodies and images. Images that can't hide how these people were brutalized, how they suffered in the moment they died, or clearly in the moments before they died as well. It is harrowing to scroll through. And it is another way in which Russia's occupation of these areas is continuing to inflict pain and trauma weeks after that occupation ended.

TAPPER: Phil Black, thank you. You honored these victims by telling their stories. Thank you so much for that.

For Ukrainians left behind civilians are left both alarmed and numb by the distraction in their country. I asked Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy about this earlier today. Take a listen.


TAPPER: I'm sure you have seen the video of the Ukrainian mom finding her son?


TAPPER: And her sorrow, her crying just is devastating to hear. And you have seen a lot of videos like that. What is it like for you, as the President of this country to see those videos, to hear the crime of the moms?

ZELENSKYY (through translator): This is the scariest I have seen in my life in principle. I look at this first of all as a father. It hurts so, so much. It's a tragedy. It's suffering. I won't be able to imagine the scale of suffering of these people, of this woman. It is a family's tragedy. It's a disaster. The dreams and the life you've just lost.

We live for our kids, that's true. Kids are the best we were given by God and by family. It is a great pain for me. I can't watch it as a father, only because all you want after this is revenge and to kill.

I have to watch as the president of the state where a lot of people have died and lost their loved ones. And there are millions of people who want to live. All of us want to fight. But we all have to do our best for this war not to be endless. The longer it is, the more we would lose. All these losses maybe just like that one.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: I want to bring in Seattle Sviatoslav Yurash, 26 years old. He's Ukraine's youngest Member of Parliament. He's been one of the many young Ukrainians fighting for Ukraine on the street. Sviatoslav, we spoke last week, and you told me that the horrific images from Bucha are only going to be the beginning and soon the world would see more horror in Ukraine as more cities become liberated. Tell us what you're seeing and how it's been for you emotionally?

SVIATOSLAV YURASH, PARLIAMENT MEMBER, UKRAINE: The reality of the surroundings of Kyiv is unbelievable. The images of all the cities that correspondents saw is just the starting point. I mean, there's the issue of the drama (ph), the horror of Borodianka City and then north of Kyiv to the far North of Kyiv. And then there was no military base. There was no military unit station, there was no airfield, there was no battle. And the Russian airplanes hit civilian residential buildings that essentially unknown rubble.

And there are people underneath that rubble that are discovered daily. And that is just the Kyiv region. Russians have also been defeated in other regions of northern Ukraine. And the cities are being uncovered. My colleagues and (INAUDIBLE) were going, and they're telling us the horrifying stories from there.

But it's just the places that have been liberated. We have many more battles to do in the Kharkiv region, in Donbas, in the southern Ukraine. And believe me, what Russians have shown that is manifested that tenfold because they keep occupying those cities and destroying people there.

TAPPER: You've been with soldiers fighting side by side other Ukrainians defending your country. What can you tell us about the Ukrainians you're fighting alongside?

YURASH: Determination that we felt at the start to showcase to the world to the Russians that we want our independence, integrity, and freedom is just the starting point. And now it is about making all that sacrifice and all these people that have given their lives for our chance for the future, to make that sacrifice worth it and to try and justify all that has been given to them and to exact justice to those who have made intolerable suffering on this nation.


TAPPER: Russian forces have largely left this area that I'm in Kyiv, they're now seemingly focused on the East, like Kkarkiv, and the south of Donbas. Are Ukrainians in those areas prepared for what's about to happen?

YURASH: They have been fighting for all this time it's more that Russians were attacking north of Ukrainian Kyiv just begin with. And now we'll start taking the East. Russia will hoping to blitz both through the South, the East and the North of the country, they've been unable to do so. And the point is them being defeated here Near Kyiv is just barely used (ph) for the full battle in the East, which has been raging all along and now will rage with more intensity.

But we have given Russians pause in the last month and a half now. We'll be giving them another defeat in the east.

TAPPER: Sviatoslav, we've talked about this before, but this is incredibly personal for you. You're a Member of Parliament, you're fighting, this is your country, you've had friends die, including, we should know journalist, Oleksandra Kuvshynova, who was killed by Russian shelling mid-March, he was working for Fox. How has this war changed you, do you think?

YURASH: She was so much more than a friend in the decade that we knew each other in every single way. As far as my changes, they are very clear, because our determination now is basically win, struggle now is not just to try and beat back the Russians, but to showcase to the Russians that they cannot dictate our future.

And we must put everything on the line here now, not just in terms of voting special laws or having special seminars or conferences, but having and getting those skills that are needed to defend every inch of this country and be useful in every way for the battle for this country's future. That's why I and countless other colleagues have been mobilized into the Ukrainian Armed Forces and will be fighting for the future of this country.

TAPPER: Sviatoslav Yurash, thank you so much. Good to see you again, my friend.

We've seen the pictures from Bucha, we've heard the stories of rape, and murder, and destruction. What's next in the international investigation into Russian war crimes? Well, we'll ask somebody directly involved coming up.

Plus, are we closer to no more no swabs after more than two years into the COVID pandemic now? A new way to test for COVID. That's ahead.



TAPPER: And we're back with our World Lead. All signs pointed Russia still preparing to launch an all-out assault in Eastern and Southern Ukraine. Although, cities and towns along the front lines have been enduring relentless shelling for days and weeks now. CNN'S Ben Wedeman spent the last three days along those front lines. He joins us now from Kramatorsk. Ben, you've been hearing air raid sirens and distance shelling for much of the day?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not distant shelling actually. We heard a very large explosion earlier today. It appears to have been perhaps a cruise missile strike on an industrial state in the city Kramatorsk. And, yes, we've been hearing the air raid sirens go off after that happened. And just a few moments ago, before we came to you. We were hearing more distance shelling which is something that you hear much of the time. And this town when you get closer to the front line it's not distant, it is often very nearby perilously so, sometimes.

And what we've seen is that the intensity of the shelling particularly on those-- in those communities close to Russian front lines is intensifying. Now, yesterday we were in the town of Sievierodonetsk, and basically just to the North, really just a suburb

of that city is controlled by Russian forces. And we were told that Russian artillery, Russian armor, and Russian troops are building up in this-- that town.

And what we're seeing here, for instance, in Kramatorsk is fewer people. There were very few people when we arrived last Friday in the aftermath of that attack on the train station. Now, there are fewer still now regarding that train station attack, which was a horrific event where you had 4,000 people waiting out on a platform for trains to evacuate them out when a missile exploded overhead. It's believed perhaps it was a cluster munitions. And the death toll has now risen to 59 for that incident. Jake.

TAPPER: And now, it just added two kids to that grim list. You have spent you and your team three very long days along the frontlines. You've seen firsthand how heavily shelled these towns and cities are. Tell us about how difficult life is for those who stayed behind?

WEDEMAN: It's incredibly difficult. I mean, really, what I saw with all the people I spoke to, it can only be described as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. People are their-- at their wits, and it's important to point out. Many of these people who are staying behind are staying behind not necessarily because they're stubborn, it's because they don't have the means to leave.


WEDEMAN: They're-- many of them are very poor, they simply don't have the cash to sustain themselves in any way once they get out of here. So they are forced to stay behind. And there's a fairly decent system of distribution run by the municipality and a lot of volunteers, and they do their best. But because of the shelling, sometimes supplies don't get through.

And today, shelling hit one of the water mains and so much of the town is without water, electricity, it comes and goes, it's very unreliable. And we went to the hospital, the hospital there, we spoke to the director 90 percent of the staff has left for reasons of safety and other. And so they don't have enough people to manage the morgue.

So, the morgue is full of more than 20 bodies, simply strewn around covered with blankets and sheets. And they're barely able to cope with the situation at the moment. And that sort of best describes the situation of these communities on the front lines. Jake.

TAPPER: Ben Wedeman, thank you so much. Appreciate it. Joining us now is Clint Williamson, who served as U.S. Ambassador at Large For War Crimes issues from June 2006 to September 2009.

So, you're heading up a joint U.S.-European Union effort to assist the Ukrainian Prosecutor General here in the offices investigations of war crimes. You've been going back and forth between the U.S. and Ukraine. Tell us more about that, and how that's going to work?

CLINT WILLIAMSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR, LARGE FOR WAR CRIMES ISSUES: Well, as you said, it's a joint effort with a number of international partners, the U.S., the EU, U.K., and Canada. And we are trying to provide expertise to the prosecutor general's office at a high level derived from years of experience in the International Criminal Tribunals, where cases of this side have been dealt with previously.

Additionally, we're trying to provide support with their ground level investigations, helping them to make sure that evidence is collected in the right fashion and could be used effectively, in any subsequent prosecutions.

TAPPER: Based on all of CNN's reporting on the ground here in Ukraine, it seems just factual and obvious that war crimes did take place committed by Russians. What's next in the investigation?

WILLIAMSON: Well, I think you're right. I mean, the-- what we seen from the very early days of the current invasion, is that war crimes were occurring. And I think with these discoveries in Bucha, in Irpin, in Mariupol, there's very compelling evidence of crimes against humanity having occurred.

So, the process now is I'm trying to put together the evidence that substantiates those crimes that can be used in a judicial proceeding. And trying to build these cases, trying to determine who the perpetrators are, and take that off the chain of command so that those in senior political and military leader-- leadership positions are held accountable.

TAPPER: Your team toured Bucha though, you personally didn't. What did they find? And what did those findings mean for this international investigation?

WILLIAMSON: Yes. I mean, I think what everyone is seeing is consistent with your reporting, which has-- it has detailed this, you know, in a very graphic and compelling fashion. In the-- Karim Khan, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, described the whole area around Kyiv as one massive crime scene. And I think that's correct.

We were-- we're very troubled by what we're going to see in other areas as the Russians pull out. But clearly, the types of things that have been discovered, seeing people that have had been executed, that have ligatures on their arms, that are blindfolded, bearing signs of torture, bearing signs of rape, and other sexual assaults. I mean, all of these are clearly war crimes. And so it's now a matter of putting all of this together, trying to do these linkages with commanders and identifying those who should be held accountable.

TAPPER: Just a few days ago, President Biden called what Putin and the Russians are doing in Ukraine genocide, for the first time, and he clarified this was his opinion, it wasn't a legal ruling. It wasn't the State Department concluding this. Does that affect at all what you're doing? Does that drive it or impacted in any way?

WILLIAMSON: Not really, at this point in the-- as I said, I think they're very clear indications of war crimes and crimes against humanity. [17:25:02]

WILLIAMSON: There are some additional elements involved in genocide, and really it boils down to intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnic, religious or racial group. And when you go back and you look at some of the statements that had been made by President Putin himself, it seems pretty strong signals of that intent.

But I agree with President Biden's sort of conclusion that is still requires more analysis. And clearly that's something that will be going on. So I don't think people have reached a legal conclusion on that yet. But they'll be looking very carefully at it.

TAPPER: Ambassador Clint Williamson, thanks so much for your time tonight. We really appreciate it.

Coming up. A holiday meant to celebrate freedom. Join me on a visit with Ukrainians Jewish community preparing for Passover in the midst of a war. stay with us.



TAPPER: Staying in our world lead, Jerusalem is on edge as violence erupted there in a rare convergence of Ramadan, Passover and Easter weekend.

Palestinian and Israeli security forces clashed today around the entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the site known to Jews at the Temple Mount, and sacred to both religions.

Palestinians threw stones at Israeli police who responded by firing stun grenades and rubber bullets. More than 150 people have been hospitalized with injuries as a result of the unrest.

This confrontation comes amidst weeks of escalating tensions and violence that have killed 14 people in Israel and left several Palestinians dead.

In our faith lead today, a show of solidarity during a Good Friday evening procession led by Pope Francis. Two women, one Russian and one Ukrainian, carried a cross together during the Vatican's annual Way of the Cross tribute.

A gesture which has drawn tribute from some Ukrainian Catholics, who do not feel that unity with Russia right now, to say the least.

Back here in Kyiv, this year, the Passover story is especially meaningful for Ukrainian Jews forced to flee their homes and witness their country being wrecked by war.

I joined with some of them for Passover Seder preparations earlier today as they cope with the brutality of Putin's invasion on a holiday that is supposed to celebrate freedom.


TAPPER (voice-over): Passover commemorates the Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt and honors tenacity during hardship. Hardship here is easy to find. And so is tenacity.

Ukraine is home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the world. But it is a complicated history, including pograms, ghettos and work camps in World War II.

This is all that remains of a synagogue bombed by the Nazis in 1942. A memorial now in its place.

TAPPER: But just over the wall, Meilakh Sheikhet is unboxing newly donated Matzo amidst a worldwide shortage.

MEILAKH SHEIKHET, HEAD OF ORTHODOX COMMUNITY IN LVIV: When we get this, we cried of happiness.

TAPPER: And lighting candles for a dozen expected Seder guests.

SHEIKHET: Every year, when we celebrate Passover, we celebrate like we now get out of slavery. Not it happened 2,500 years ago. It happening now.

TAPPER: Insanely, Russia has been trying to justify this war by pushing the false claim that Ukraine is a Nazi stronghold.

SHEIKHET: Dictators always use Jews as a stick to get their interests done. We would never allow us to use us as a stake against any people, including Ukrainians.

TAPPER: At every Seder, Jews say, let all who are hungry, come and eat. And at this synagogue in Kiev, they are taking it literally.

RABBI RAPHAEL RUTMAN, HOSTING PASSOVER DINNER IN KIEV, UKRAINE: We have been providing food packages, water, non-perishable items, medicine, evacuations. Trying to celebrate freedom while there's so much terror going on around us, is very, very difficult.

TAPPER: Still, the consistency of tradition it is all more crucial when it is hard to uphold. Last night, Russians were shelling nearby.


Tonight, Rabbi Rutman invites me in and asks me to put on the pilactories (ph) containing parchment inscribed with verses from the Torah.

(on camera): This is a little bit defiant. There are people who tried to get rid of our people in this part of the country. In fact, in this part of the world. And there are still some people like that, right?

RUTMAN: This is a way of showing defiance. This is a way of showing that the Jewish people live on. No matter how many years pass by, the Jewish people are alive and well. And we are proving it by praying.

TAPPER: Hear that? Hear that, Nazis? We're still here.


TAPPER (voice-over): Rabbi Rutman is proud of the Jewish president of his country.

RUTMAN: Shalom.

TAPPER: But seems just as proud to live in a town where the Christian mayor visits to pay his respects.

UNIDENTIFIED MAYOR: I received invitation. I can't say no.

TAPPER: Inside, before sundown, Rutman shows me the Seder table and answers the traditional question: Why is tonight difficult than all other nights?

RUTMAN: There are many things about this night that's different. People who are coming to spend the holiday will be spending it under curfew and arrangements have to be made for that. So there's a lot of things very different about this night.


TAPPER: As we get closer to sunset back in Lviv --


TAPPER: -- Vladislad Kovalov, is busy preparing for tonight's Seder in the shelter he has been staying at for a month.

His family refused to leave northeastern Ukraine amid attacks. But as a military aged man, he is not allowed to leave Ukraine.

KOVALOV (through translation): Passover is typically a family holiday. Normally, I would be with my family. Now I have another family here. It's a very big family that we welcome everyone to.

TAPPER: The meal will be a welcome bit of familiarity for the families staying in the office building-turned-refuge.

From table to table to table, those lucky enough to celebrate Passover in relative peace will pray the families of their fellow Ukrainians will be passed over, as the Russians continue their bloody destructive invasion.

RUTMAN: Passover is Passover. It is about freedom. And we cannot give up. And the good always has to outweigh the evil and the bad. And it will.


TAPPER: For those who celebrate, happy Passover.

We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


TAPPER: In the health lead, a new first in the pandemic front after two-plus years of those uncomfortable swabs being shoved up your nose.

The FDA has now authorized the first breath test that can detect the COVID-19 virus.

Let me bring in CNN's Jacqueline Howard.

Jacqueline, how effective is this new breath test?

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Jake, the accuracy does look comparable to the rapid antigen test that we already use, like the at- home test.

Here's what we know. According to one study that included more than 2,400 people, the breath test showed 91 percent sensitivity. That is the percent of positive samples the test correctly identified.

And then 99 percent specificity. That's the percent of negative samples the test correctly identified.

So it is comparable to the rapid antigen tests, Jake. But if you test positive with the breath test, just like if you test positive with a rapid antigen test, you still need to get that nasal swab PRC test to confirm the positive test results.

The breath test also is shown to turn results in three minutes. And I also want to say, the way it works, it detects a chemical compound associated with COVID-19 in breath samples.

So that's the technology there, Jake. That's what we know.

TAPPER: So to be clear, despite the strong findings, this new breathalyzer from Inspect I.R. does not completely replace the nose swab test?

HOWARD: That's right. This is not a replacement. It is more like having another tool in our testing toolkit.

Another key difference, Jake, this test is authorized for use in doctor's offices, hospitals, at mobile testing sites, but not for use at home. If you want an at-home test, those are still what is already available, which are the nasal swab options.

TAPPER: Do we have any idea how long it will be before a breath test is available for at-home use?

HOWARD: That's the question everyone has, right, Jake? But if that is a possibility, that would be far out in the future.

We did reach out to the company here. We have to see where the technology takes us. But right now, the company said the at-home -- excuse me -- the breath

test used in doctors' offices, that was just authorized, is not even available yet. They will announce a launch date. They will announce cost.

But what they plan to do, they plan to produce about 100 of these instruments per week. And depending on how much they cost, that will tell us how many doctors' offices will be able to use them.

But when it comes to seeing this technology at home, I guess we'll have to see where the science takes you in the future -- Jake?

TAPPER: All right. Jacqueline Howard, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Meanwhile, a COVID crisis in China. With more than 95 percent of all cases in that country reported in Shanghai, more than 23,000 cases yesterday alone in this third-most populated city in the world.

Shanghai has been on a full lockdown for more than two weeks as the Chinese government tries to get a hold the outbreak.

CNN's David Culver is in Shanghai. And he's among the 26 million people on lockdown.

David, I hope you're doing OK. The confinement is causing some wild scenes.

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It really is, Jake. This Omicron surge in Shanghai has got public health officials within this scrambling to try to build these makeshift quarantine facilities and keep most of the 25 million people here living in lockdown, including us, as you point out.

And then there are videos now circulating on social media showing people confronting police. I'll pause so you can take a look at this one.




CULVER: All right. You can see, in this video, these are residents that are being forced from their homes, their residential compounds. These compounds are then turned into government-designated quarantine facilities.

The video showing police, detaining residents for protesting. One of the residents told us, all of those were taken into custody by police. Yes, they were later released. But the owner of the compound confirmed the government took over nine apartment buildings so as to make the quarantine centers.

The Shanghai government, they referred us to the property owner's statement. They declined to comment further.

But this is all part of Beijing's zero-COVID policy. They require positive cases and close contacts to be isolated from the rest of the public.

So this is one of the ways, Jake, that they're having to make space in this city of more than 25 million people.

TAPPER: Tesla is among the companies pushing to reopen and restart business. But is the Shanghai government open to loosening any of the restrictions? It doesn't look like it from that really disturbing video.


CULVER: It's interesting. Out of all the industries that you would think would convince this government, even Beijing, to reassess this approach, perhaps it would be the finance industry and the businesses impacted. And they're certainly voicing their concerns.

Tesla has a giga factory that is shut down indefinitely. Disney has a very profitable theme park here that likewise has no plans to open in the near future. At least has not set a date. Volkswagen, likewise.

This is a huge issue for what is the most international city in this country and what has been seen as the window to the West.

If you look at where some of these other outbreaks are happening beyond Shanghai, they're also along the coast of China. You're talking about major ports, not only here in Shanghai but in other cities being impacted.

That in turn is affecting shipping which continues then to put a strain on global supply chains.

So if you thought that the economics of all of this, and the fact a massive metropolis like Shanghai is virtually shut down, that all the finance that's generated from this city would impact or influence Beijing in their decision making in this, think again -- Jake?

TAPPER: Yes. David Culver, in Shanghai, thank you. Hang in there, buddy.

A world at the extremes. How the climate crisis is set to fuel more flooding this hurricane season.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our "EARTH MATTERS" series today, a troubling trend set as we get closer to hurricane season in the United States in June. Scientists blame the climate crisis for a super charge of rainfall in the 2020 hurricane season, as much as 11 percent higher than previous years.

CNN's Bill Weir, in Vero Beach along Florida's eastern coast, joins us.

Bill, what's so troubling about the report, scientists learn all the past rain in hurricane seasons, it's just only going to get worse, which means more flooding during these storms.

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, exactly, Jake. And it's hard to believe it's been about almost 17 years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. We were young reporters at ABC. That was the first big storm I covered then.

But it's staggering to realize that, as devastating as that was, it was seemingly the storm of the century, it would be much worst today.

And what we're getting now, through the new studies, new data that confirms the basic laws of physics, which is a hotter, warmer atmosphere holds more water and moisture. That means bigger rain bomb events.

And heat and water are the engines of hurricanes, the food, the fuel. So all of those make for what would be average category twos or threes or big monster fours and fives.

So it's a very little science on whether it would increase the number of hurricanes, but having worse, bad ones is going to be expensive and tough enough -- Jake?

TAPPER: And as you note, Bill, we saw more evidence of catastrophic flooding this week when a storm dumped several months-worth of rain in 24 hours in South Africa.

WEIR: Yes. This is down on the Eastern coast of South Africa near Durbin there. They had four times the monthly average for April in 24 hours of rain, over 300 lives lost there so far.

But that's just, again, evidence of what we're seeing of too much water in some places, not enough in others, on this warming planet.

Meanwhile, at the bottom of the globe, this strange atmospheric river is heating up the South Pole in freakish ways, continues to stun scientists.

Large ice shelves, C -- A, and B, fell years ago -- could collapse at any moments. It wouldn't lead to a jump in sea level rise but it holds back all of that inland ice, which, over time, could be troublesome.

So a lot of strange happening around the world when it comes to our climate change.

TAPPER: All right, Bill Weir, thank you so much.

Coming up next, the challenge for Ukrainians who have already overcome incredible odds. The upcoming competition to celebrate their resilience. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


TAPPER: We're in a Ukraine, but yet, we're doing a sports lead because members of the Ukrainian military are competing in this weekend's Invictus Games.

The event, founded by Prince Harry, was formed on the idea of resilience. Injured servicemembers compete in sports, such as rowing, archery, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball.

Many of the Ukrainian athletes were on the frontlines just days ago fighting for their country. They've arrived safe in the Netherlands, ready to fight for their country in a different, more enjoyable way.

Yesterday, President Zelenskyy voiced support to the competitors over a video call. He says the country will wait for their return.

He says, "Victory is important for us. It is important to prove that we are all unconquered. And your team is part of the spirit of indomitability of Ukraine, the Ukrainian people, and each of us."

The games' inspiration draws from William Ernest Henley's poem "Invictus," or inconcurable. "It matters not how straight the gate, our charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul."

And our best wishes to all of the athletes at the games.

A reminder, you can see my full exclusive interview with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on "STATE OF THE UNION." That is Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. Then it replays again at noon Eastern.

Dave Matthews will also join me Sunday to perform a new song in support of refugees.

Until then, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, @JakeTapper, or tweet the show at the THELEAD@CNN.

If you ever miss an episode of the show, you can listen to THE LEAD wherever you get your podcasts.


Our coverage continues now with Jim Acosta. He is in for Wolf Blitzer, but he still is in "THE SITUATION ROOM."