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Don Lemon Tonight

Key Russian Warship Sinks After Ukraine Claims Missile Strike; Ukraine Military Official: Heavy Shelling In Kharkiv and Izyum; Russia Admits Warship Sank, Denies It Was Due To Ukraine Strike; Russian Military Facing Multiple Setbacks In Ukraine; Russia Claims Ukrainian Marines Have Surrendered To Russian Forces In Mariupol, CNN Cannot Verify The Claim; NYC Subway Shooting Suspect Appears In Court, Charged With Federal Terrorism-Related Crime. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired April 14, 2022 - 22:00:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much for watching us live here in Kyiv, Ukraine. I'll see you tomorrow afternoon on "THE LEAD" live from Ukraine, beginning at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. And please join me for a State of the Union live from Ukraine this Sunday. That will begin at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. DON LEMON TONIGHT starts right now. Hey, Don.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Say -- I understand you're traveling inside the country. You've moved from Lviv in the west to Kyiv. What's the travel like? What's that like?

TAPPER: It took a long time. It took about seven hours or so to drive the whole way. We stopped for checkpoints, a lot of traffic, especially outside of town because of all the checkpoints. And then about an hour outside of Kyiv, you start to see all the evidence of the bombings. You see, you know, burnt out tanks and just destruction. Gas station blown up industrial buildings blown up.

I mean, it's kind of, you know, it's like a -- an industrial area kind of like a lower middle class industrial area, like Queens, New York or something except entire blocks wiped out, bombings really surreal and upsetting.

LEMON: Yes. Well, be safe, Jake. Get some rest. We'll be watching you tomorrow. Thanks a lot. This is DON LEMON TONIGHT. And we are in a race against time really right now in Ukraine. Forces gathering on both sides. A Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine could come any day now. A senior Pentagon official telling CNN the first Russian troops to leave the north are now showing up in the east.

Ahead of what is expected to be a major push by thousands of Vladimir Putin forces. Widespread shelling reported by Ukrainian military officials. And there is talk of what would once have been unthinkable. Nuclear weapons. The CIA warning that we can't afford to take the threat of Russian tactical nukes for granted. And this is big. What looks like a huge victory for Ukraine as a matter of fact. A huge embarrassment for Vladimir Putin. Who's not likely to take this well. We told you last night about the Russian warship, the Moskva. The pride of Russia's whole Black Sea Fleet. And how Ukraine said it hit the Moskva with Neptune anti-ship missiles. Russia insisted it was fire that caused the ammunition to explode, damaging the ship and forcing the crew to be evacuated.

Well, now Russia's military of Defense says the ship sank. Here's the statement I quote. "During the towing of the cruiser Moskva to the port of destination, the ship lost its stability due to hold damage received during a fire from the detonation of ammunition and the conditions of stormy seas, the ship sank." Their flagship, the most powerful ship in the fleet which reportedly cost $750 million. That according to Forbes Ukraine.

Now here's the most recent view of the ship before it sank. In a satellite image, this is from Maxar. Sources familiar with U.S. and Western intelligence telling CNN that Ukraine's claims its missiles sank. The Moskva is believed to be credible, although officials don't have definitive proof. CNN has not been able to independently verify what caused the damage to the ship. But who could forget what happened when a Russian officer on the Moskva tried to force Ukrainian defenders on Snake Island to surrender?




LEMON: Right away to CNN's Frederik Pleitgen and live for us tonight in Kyiv. Fred, hello to you. Fighting intensifying in eastern Ukraine, what is happening on the ground in Ukraine right now?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Don. Well, a lot of this is happening in the region around Kharkiv. And it's sort of the greater Kharkiv where the local government there has said that there's a lot of shelling over the past couple of hours, I'd say really, throughout this entire day. And that's going towards the city of Kharkiv but really also south of there as well.

And that's where many people believe that that big Russian offensive is really already taking shape. And probably the early parts of it have already started. There's a town there called Izyum, and it's sort of south of the Russians are trying to advance. The other thing that the Ukrainian government has been saying and this is something I really took note of today. They say that Vladimir Putin has amassed a lot of those forces that we saw about 10 days ago around the Kyiv of area that have since had to withdraw in the face of stiff resistance from the Ukrainians to western Russia.

And is apparently training them up to then begin that large scale offensive in eastern Ukraine. But they also say that there are additional Russian forces that are already scoping out possible battlefields in the east of Ukraine, again, on top of the forces that he already has inside in eastern Ukraine that are already shelling positions in the Kharkiv area and of course, also killing a lot of civilians as well, Don.

LEMON: Let's talk about that Russian flagship that I've just talked about that sank in the Black Sea. You spoke exclusively to Ukraine's national security adviser. What did he tell you about it?

PLEITGEN: Well, he unequivocally said absolutely, the Ukrainians nailed that ship. He said that it was Neptune missiles that the Ukrainians actually developed themselves.


It's a further development of a Soviet missile that the Ukrainian simply made better. And he said it was two of those missiles that hit this ship and he said it was highly damaged. And of course, later we found out now from the Russians, that they themselves are saying that it sank. I want to listen to a little bit of what the national security adviser told me.


PLEITGEN: Can you tell us what happened to the cruiser Moskva?

It sank he says, jokingly. The Moskva was still there near the Snake Island and was hit yesterday by two powerful Ukrainian-made missiles, he says. And then a warning to Putin. This is just the beginning, he says. There will be more than one Moskva.


PLEITGEN: So the Ukrainians, Don, very proud of the fact obviously that was Ukrainian-made missiles, as he put it that hit that ship. The other thing that we're also hearing is that apparently other Russian ships that were in that area, and we kept talking about this, I recall when we you were here in country as well, how the Russians were pressuring some of those forces that the Ukrainians have on land with ships on the sea towards the Odessa area and elsewhere as well.

Apparently, some of those Russian ships have now moved further away from the Ukrainian shores. Obviously, that could also be or probably is an effect of the fact that that ship got struck by missile, Don.

LEMON: Fred, so many people see this as you know. This war as a David versus Goliath story. How is Ukraine's national security adviser thinking about Russia's army and their capabilities right now?

PLEITGEN: Yes. I mean, I think they also see it as a David versus Goliath thing. But they also think that David is currently getting a lot of weapons from another Goliath and that is the United States. And I think that those weapons are making a big difference. And I think the Ukrainians understand and see the fact that especially the heavy weapons that are among this new package, the Biden administration has put together that those are going to be very important.

Nevertheless, the Ukrainian are saying, look, make no mistake. Yes, we managed to beat the Russians back here on the Kyiv area, but they also said that this is still an extremely dangerous and very strong force that the Ukrainians are going to have to deal with. Let's listen in.


PLEITGEN (voice over): I would never say that the Russian army is weak, he says. Given the amount of weapons thrown there, the number of tanks, armored personnel carriers, planes and helicopters. I would not say this is a weak army. I would say these are strong Ukrainian soldiers who fight back such a powerful army.


PLEITGEN: And we did actually see some of those Ukrainian soldiers that fought around here in the Kyiv area today and they are now indeed gearing up to move to the east of the country. The Ukrainian saying they have already moved additional forces to the east to try and hold up that Russian offensive that's taking hold. So, everything, Don, right now is gearing up for a massive battle in the east of this country. Don?

LEMON: Frederik Pleitgen, thank you very much. We appreciate that. I want to turn on to CNN Military Analyst and retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton. Colonel, good evening to you. Thanks so much for joining us once again. The Moskva at the bottom of the Black Sea tonight and sources are telling CNN that U.S. and Western officials believe Ukraine's claim of a massive missile strike hitting the flagship vessel is credible. That's a big blow.

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It sure, Don. In fact, it happened right here. That's near Snake Island, that infamous island where the Ukrainians of course, had their (INAUDIBLE) of those famous words that we all know about. But here is a picture of the Moskva in (INAUDIBLE) before anything happened to it. And you can see that it is really one of the most impressive warships that they have.

It has missile capabilities, these are cruise missiles, they have the possibility of their missiles on onboard here and a lot of armaments. In fact, some of the weapons that they have here include the anti-ship missiles, surface to air missiles, long-range surface to air missiles as well, plus various machine guns and torpedo tubes. And, of course, a real amazing suite of radar. This ship, you know, is known not only for its firing capability and its ability to really bring naval power to bear on a particular coastline.

But it's also a -- was also a command and control ship for the Black Sea Fleet. It was in fact, the flagship, like you mentioned, of the Black Sea Fleet Commander. And the very fact that this was sunk is a significant victory for the Ukrainians when it comes to the naval battle in, you know, off the coast of Odessa and along the rest of the Black Sea coast. So, this does make a huge difference.

LEMON: Certainly does. The Pentagon says there were almost 500 sailors on board. Would there be substantial loss of life from a ship like that sinking?

LEIGHTON: Possibly, yes. We don't know the way the Russian reports were phrased it indicated that they had saved a lot of these contingent, a lot of the crew on board. But when something like this happens, it's really rare for everyone to be saved. And especially in a situation like this. I would dig, yes, that there were some casualties.


LEMON: How will the loss of this ship change the way Russian forces approach this war? I know it was packed with a lot of essential weapons and equipment. But what does it change?

LEIGHTON: So, there are two other ships that have the same kind of weaponry that the -- that the Moscow had. So, in essence, what you're talking about is reducing the capability by about a third of the Russians had to have a read off of the Black Sea coast. And it also affects the entire Russian Navy, frankly. So, it minimizes their capability, it actually makes it more difficult for them to go after land targets from the sea.

And that could have implications for their efforts against their Odessa and their efforts against other areas if -- near the sea of Azov for example,

LEMON: You've been listening to our correspondents were there on the ground and now you - Ukrainian military governor says that there's been intense shelling in Kharkiv tonight. And active hostilities around the Izyum area. What do you think the Russians are trying to accomplish here?

LEIGHTON: So, one of the things that I've thought about when it comes to Kharkiv, Don, is that they could possibly be trying to surround Kharkiv. This is Ukraine's second largest city. It is very important places basically, the center of their northeastern area. Izyun is another town right here. And this town is also the scene of increased shelling, increased movements of Russian troops. And it sounds based on the reporting that we're hearing that they are using these efforts to possibly encircle both Kharkiv and Izyum as a way to establish reconnaissance capabilities, and as a way to test out the battlefield in these areas.

So, what they're doing is they're looking at this as being a way in which they can go into this area right here. This is the other part of the Donbas which they don't have yet, which the Russians don't have yet. And so, if they go through Izyum, if they go around Kharkiv. If they do all of these things from the north, from the east, and from the south, what they could very well end up doing is cutting off Ukrainian forces that are arrayed against them here.

That would be dangerous for the Ukrainians. So, the Ukrainians have to be very careful as this all moves forward. But what we can see happening here is efforts by the Ukrainians to move their forces in and potentially forestall Russian advances in these areas.

LEMON: All right, Colonel, thank you very much. I appreciate it. Thanks.

LEIGHTON. You bet, Don. Absolutely. LEMON: As Russian forces mass in eastern Ukraine, desperate people are running out of time to escape their home soon. CNN's Clarissa Ward has our report from one town where the Russian shelling never seems to stop.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The town of Avdiivka is no stranger to war. For eight years, this has been the front line of Ukraine's battle with Russian-backed separatists. People here are used to shelling. They have never experienced anything like this. A missile can be heard overhead. This emotional man approaches us. They smash the old part of town, he says.

As we talk a artillery intensifies.

(on camera): told him it's better to go home now because there's a lot of shelling and he said there's more shelling where he lives.

(voice over): As Russia prepares a major offensive in the east, frontline towns like a Avdiivka are getting pummeled.

(on camera): So, you can hear constant bombardment This is the bomb shelter down here but you can see this building has already been hit.

(voice over): More than 40 people are now living in what used to be a clothing store. Lita (ph) and her two sons had been here for three weeks. She wants to leave but says her boys are too scared to go outside.

We're afraid to stay and afraid to go, she tells us. But it's fate. Whether you run or don't run. On an apartment block, an icon of the Virgin Mary has been painted. Plea for protection. But there is no respite in the bombardment.

(on camera): If we look over here, you can see the remnants of some fresh strikes.

(voice over): 37-year-old government worker Rati Slab (ph) looks at what remains of his family home.


(voice over): He takes us inside to see the full scale of the destruction.

(on camera): It's completely destroyed.

(voice over): Mercifully, no one was at home at the time of the strike.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was photo albums. My children's photograph.

WARD: His family has already left but he says he plans to stay. I'm afraid like anybody else. Only the dead aren't afraid he tells us. But a lot of people are still here on Avdiivka living in bomb shelters and we need to support them. Authority say roughly 2000 people remain in this town. There is no water, no heat. Electricity is spotty. The local school has become a hub to gather aid and distributed to the community.

Volunteer Igor Golotov (ph) spends his days visiting the elderly and disabled. Today he is checking in on 86-year-old Lydia (ph), petrified and alone, he has yet to find an organization willing to come and evacuate her.

When there's no electricity and it's so dark and there's shelling, she says, you can't imagine how scary it is. She tells us she recites prayers to get through the night. I never imagined that my end would be like this, she says. You can't even die here because there's no one to provide a burial ceremony. For Igor, it is agony not to be able to do more.

I promise you, Igor says, I will help you to be evacuated.

As we leave, Lydia is reluctant to say goodbye. It is terrifying to live through this time to do it alone is torture. It's so nice to see real people, she says. Probably it's going to get worse. A prediction all but certain to come true a second Russian offensive draws near.


WARD: Don, we also spoke to the mayor of Avdiivka who says that he has been desperately urging people to try to evacuate in anticipation of this offensive which is expected to begin really any day now. But the people that we spoke to on the ground, even those who wanted to leave said that it's simply not feasible. They don't have the money, they don't have a place to go. And that's really Lydia's situation as well.

She wants desperately to get out of her home and to have proper assistance but so far, there's just no one who can come and take care of her. Don?

LEMON: Clarissa, thank you so much. Absolutely heartbreaking there. Next, fears Vladimir Putin may double down and resort to nuclear weapons in the wake of his setbacks on the war.



LEMON: Russia admitting its prized warship is underwater tonight claiming it sank after an explosion on board. They're denying the Ukrainian strike was responsible, even though the U.S. believes it is credible. It's another major blow to Vladimir Putin's forces on the 50th day of his war in Ukraine. There's so much to discuss with former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and that's William Taylor. Thank you, Ambassador. Good to see you this evening.

So, how do you think Vladimir Putin is reacting to this massive warship sinking? And do you think who is getting the blame? I should ask.

WILLIAM TAYLOR, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Putin must be humiliated. He has been humiliated on the ground around Kyiv. And now he's humiliated on the sea by a Ukrainian missile that they created themselves. They manufacture themselves. He's not been able to achieve what he's gone out to do in any of the areas. They've moved in the south, of course. But even Mariupol continues to -- as you say, 50 days on.

No one expected this heroic city to still be standing and it is. So, President Putin cannot be happy. I saw that R.T., your counterpart in Russia. R.T. is calling the sinking of that ship a plan sinking. So, this is just humiliating for the Russians, Don.

LEMON: The CIA Director William Burns spoke today. Watch this.


WILLIAM BURNS, DIRECTOR, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks that they've faced so far, militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons.


LEMON: Do you think Putin using nuclear weapons is a real possibility?

TAYLOR: Of course it has to be considered a real possibility. And anything that the Bill Burns says, you listen to very, very carefully. But they roll out this nuclear threat regularly. We heard Medvedev say the same thing when he heard that Finland and Sweden were considering joining NATO. So, we've heard this before. We're reminded each time from President Putin and others that they are a nuclear power.

They don't need to remind us, we know that. And we have to be ready. But we have to be calm. We have to take the right measures.

LEMON: Ambassador Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia's Security Council is also raising the specter of nuclear weapons if Finland and Sweden join NATO. He said this today.


And I quote here. He says, "There can be no more talk of any nuclear free status for the Baltic. The balance must be restored." What do you think the Russians are trying to accomplish with this nuclear saber rattling?

TAYLOR: Don, the Russians seem to be trying to intimidate the Swedes and the Finns in their interest in securing themselves by joining NATO. And of course, the Russians are doing exactly the opposite by this saber rattling as you say, this Swens -- the Finns and the Swedes are understanding -- they understand that there's a big threat to their east. Russia is a threat. The way to defend themselves they figured as the Ukrainians did before them is to join the NATO alliance.

LEMON: I want to get your take on Ukrainian authorities saying that they seize 154 assets from detained Putin ally, Viktor Medvedchuk. I mean, this includes 26 cars, 30 plots of land. 23 homes, 32 apartments and a yacht. How big of a deal is this for Ukrainians?

TAYLOR: This is a big deal, Don. This is a big deal. One of the things that President Zelenskyy made top of his list, when he was running for president back in 2019, was to go after corrupt oligarchs. And you can add corrupt Russian oligarchs. And maybe the joke is clearly in that category. His -- one of his kids is the godson of President Putin. So, they're that close. And that kind of wealth is exactly what President Zelenskyy was going after.

It's clearly corrupt, ill-gotten wealth and President Zelenskyy is going after Medvedchuk and others.

LEMON: But listen, President Zelenskyy has proposed a prisoner swap with Russia. Medvedchuk for captured Ukrainian prisoners of war. Do you think Putin will go that far?

TAYLOR: There have been some prisoner swaps done, and that President Putin apparently has a real affinity, a friendship, some close relationship with Medvedchuk. So, that is certainly possible. President Zelenskyy was very high importance on all of his soldiers. And getting them back into Ukraine is very important to him. So it's a swap that he can propose.

LEMON: I liked the way you said Medvedchuk. There's just -- I'm plain on Medvedchuk. Listen, President Biden says that he is in the process of making a decision on sending a senior U.S. official to Ukraine. What would you advise him to do?

TAYLOR: A senior official visiting Ukraine sends the exactly the right signal of support. And we've seen Prime Minister Johnson do that a good move. Good for Prime Minister Johnson. Presidents of East European countries, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, they visited, good for them. It shows that support. The last time a sitting president, sitting U.S. president was in Kyiv. I was the ambassador back in 2008.

So, it would be a good time to -- for the president or the vice president, the Secretary of State and secretary of defense to show up in Kyiv and demonstrate that strong support.

LEMON: Do you -- do you think the president should go? Joe Biden?

TAYLOR: He should -- he's talked about going, Don. He's talking about going in the past. It's a major undertaking. It's a -- it's an enormous logistical challenge and security challenge to do this. But if President Biden were to show up in Kyiv, that would be a very strong signal, very strong signal support.

LEMON: Ambassador Taylor, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

There's the war for land, right? And then there's a war for people's minds. My next guest is working to fight Russia's propaganda. He's going to tell us how after that.



LEMON: It has been 50 days since Vladimir Putin launched his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. And while many Ukrainians are fighting Russia on the physical battlefield, others are using data technology to fight on the information battlefield. Joining me now, Jonathan Teubner. Jonathan Teubner is the founder and CEO of data analytics company, Filter Labs. Steve Hall is here as well. He's a CNN National Security Analyst and the former CIA chief of Russia operations.

We're happy to have both of you on, gentlemen. Good evening. Jonathan, you first. Your company has been working to gather data from message boards and online forums about how Russians see this war. You've looked at a lot of different topics from sanctions to casualties, to military conscription. What's having the most impact on Russian opinion?

JONATHAN TEUBNER, FOUNDER AND CEO, FILTER LABS: What we're finding from all of these sources that we're getting that are hyperlocal and are -- where people are really engaged at a local level within local forums. What we're finding in those places is that the more personal the issue, it resonates more. And so, for example, between issues of casualty versus the draft, it's a big difference that we're seeing in the messaging. When the Ukrainians are just talking about casualties that's a little distant.


That's a little abstract. But when they bring it down to the draft, that becomes much more personal for a lot of the people in the country because it means that their child is likely to go and fight. And so, that -- that's the way that we're kind of seeing these Ukrainians really start to resonate within Russia is along those really personal stories.

LEMON: What about -- what about the war in general? How did Russia then see it?

TEUBNER: On the whole, we have been noticing that they are still broadly popped (INAUDIBLE) broadly approving of the war. What we're kind of seeing is something like the war in general is broadly approved in Russia. Casualties are a little bit less approved. But when it gets down to things like the draft, that's trending very negatively. And so, we're starting to see and trying to dig below various aspects of it.

So, just to talk about the war in general and to message that into Russia, we're not seeing as effective as messaging more particularly around the draft.

LEMON: Steve, Putin has a tight grip on what gets to the Russians, cutting off social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. How could the Ukrainians take data like this to combat Russian propaganda and influence public opinion?

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, first of all, I want to give Jonathan's organization a shout out. You've heard me say many times, you know, that when the Levada Center, or the polling organizations inside of Russia, when that information comes out, my view on that is, you know, the Russian populace knows what to say when the pollsters coming back -- come knocking at the door and they're going to be very protective.

But when you have an organization's like what Jonathan's doing, you're following clicks, you're following -- you're following actual content going back and forth. That's actually much more, you know, much more, I think, indicative as to what's going on. Putin will indeed try to like continue to lock down the Russian people as much as possible, which is going to be -- it's going to make it difficult for the west and for Ukraine to try to break through and to say, no, this is what's actually happening on the ground.

But, you know, we've seen this in the United States in the west as cell phones are now predominant, smartphones, anybody can video anything. It's really hard to combat those images. And there's a lot of young Russians who are figuring out how to break through the walls that Putin has set up around his people. And they're starting to get perhaps some real ideas what's going on Ukrainian. If that's happening, I don't think -- I don't think that's a good thing for Vladimir Putin.

LEMON: Can you speak to that, Jonathan?

TEUBNER: About the issue of --


LEMON: Is that happening? Is it -- are enough people getting around? Young people and people who may be savvy enough to get around, you know, state-run media and the propaganda that Vladimir Putin is putting out to really make a difference?

TEUBNER: Well, the best way to get around state propaganda is human connection. And that's what we're really enabling the Ukrainians and other Eastern Europeans to do to go onto those message boards, and start to talk to them as fellow humans. That the way to like really break through and defeat state propaganda is to become human with them. That's the most important thing that we can really be enabling people to do.

And that's what Filter Labs really enables really, anyone to do, whether the political campaigns, the U.S. or businesses in the U.S. or these Ukrainians in Russia. We're trying to help people make human connections with it. And then drive the sentiment through those connections.

LEMON: Have you noticed, Jonathan, any changes in the trends as this war has gone on, especially considering Russia has faced multiple setbacks on the battlefield? TEUBNER: We've certainly seen through the month of March. A negative trend in attitudes towards the draft. We've also seen negative trends in the month of March towards casualties. The war itself has stayed relatively steady there. Some other things that we're starting to pay more attention to are things around the sanctions. And that's another way but we want to start to look at it as being much more personal.

So, it's not just so much about the idea about the value of the ruble, but it's about whether a mother can find food to put on the table, whether they are starting to get concerned about whether they're going to go hungry.

LEMON: You know, Steve, Putin is doing everything he can to punish people who criticize his war. How realistic is it that any efforts by Ukrainians will sort of pierce through his propaganda bubble? I mean, you spoke about it just a little bit ago. And, you know, Jonathan says it's to get on message boards, to do what you can to speak human to human to people. But how -- to get through that bubble, especially if there are Russians who don't want to know the truth.

HALL: Yes. There's a couple of complicating factors here. And again, I agree with Jonathan. This is the person to person methodology especially when you've got, you know, people who speak the same language.


I mean, the Ukrainians, 90 percent of them are -- a great number of them, you know, speak Russian. So -- and they're, you know, a bordering nation. So, it -- there is a -- there is a personal length that can happen. One of the issues though is that the Russian security services and particularly the FSB are watching for exactly -- for exactly that. They're concerned that information will start to get in from the outside, whether it's via, you know, a western news service using, you know, Telegram or, you know, one of the encrypted apps.

Or whether it's individuals in Ukraine, somehow trying to get on message boards or other thing. And the FSB is very good at finding out those attempts and then punishing or worse, the Russians who attempt to engage. Vladimir Putin is excellent at a couple of different things. One of the things that he's really good at is repression. And so, you know, he has no problems that people are trying to break his rules and try to get outside this bubble and make contact with people in Ukraine or elsewhere to take very strong action against them to put them in jail or worse.

So that's a grave concern I think that any Russian is going to have before they interact with somebody outside of Russia. They know that Putin is watching them. They know the FSB is waiting for them.

LEMON: I want to put up a video, Steve, and it's Russian T.V. video just put out, claiming more than a thousand Ukrainian Marines have surrendered and Mariupol. CNN cannot verify this, but what do you make of Russia's showing this footage? And what does it say about the effectiveness of their propaganda? HALL: You know, this is actually pretty much, you know, down the center of propaganda. It's nothing fancy. I mean, you know, of course, if you've invaded a country, what you want to do is you want to find or create photos and videos of guys surrendering of the adversaries military surrendered. The Russians are extremely good against the intelligence services working at creating out of whole cloth or taking bits and pieces of video and pulling things together.

Now, you know, we don't know whether there was a surrender or not. What we do know is that the Russians in the past, they've implicated completely innocent people and, you know, done horrible things simply by patching to get -- by doing a really good job of patching together video and audio and making things look really bad. So, this is -- this is, you know, standard operating procedure for the Russians. They know how to do this.

LEMON: Steve, Jonathan, thank you both gentlemen. Appreciate it.

The suspected subway shooter in court today. We're going to tell you what happened. That's next.



LEMON: The suspect who allegedly fired his gun into a crowd near New York City subway train on Tuesday appearing in court for the first time since his arrest. 62-year-old Frank James charged with a federal terrorism-related crime accused of staging a violent attack against mass transit. 10 people were shot, some two dozen injured in total. Incredibly no one was killed. Bail was denied at today's hearing and here's more tonight in the story from CNN's Brynn Gingras.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Frank, why did you shoot all the people?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The suspect in federal court today two days after allegedly shooting 10 people on a busy subway train in Brooklyn. 62-year-old Frank James did not enter a plea and only spoke to acknowledge that he read the criminal complaint against him.

James is accused of firing at least 33 rounds during the morning commute Tuesday injuring at least 29. Federal prosecutors argued the violent attack was premeditated, carefully planned and cause terror. James is being held without bail.

MIA EISNER-GRYNBERG, BROOKLYN SUBWAY ATTACK DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What happened in the New York City subway system on Tuesday was a tragedy. It is a blessing that it was not worse. We are all still learning about what happened on that train and we caution against a rush to judgment.

GINGRAS: James's attorneys consented to bail denial but reserved the right to contest at a later date. KEECHANT SEWELL, NEW YORK CITY POLICE COMMISSIONER: We use every resource at our disposal to gather and process significant evidence that directly links Mr. James to the shooting.

GINGRAS: Investigators left with a trove of evidence at the scene including a nine-millimeter handgun with three extended magazines, several smoke grenades, a hatchet, keys to a U-haul van and the credit card used to rent the van. James is charged with violating a law prohibiting terrorist and violent attacks against mass transportation. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

New video shows James walking down the street wearing a helmet and bright orange construction jacket pulling a black roller bag at some point before the shooting Tuesday. Surveillance video obtained by WNBC shows what appears to be the same man entering the New York City subway system carrying a black roller bag. Lining up with a criminal complaint describing James that day reviewed by CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No further central, perp's in custody. No further to the location central, perp's in custody.

GINGRAS: James was arrested Wednesday after calling Crime Stoppers to report himself telling authorities he was at a McDonald's in Manhattan according to two law enforcement sources. Witnesses described the arrest as surreal.

ELLA MISCHE, FILMED BROOKLYN SUBWAY ATTACK SUSPECT'S ARREST: You're not expecting it to see it, there you see it in news so much and it seemed like all of New York's was sort of an uproar. You felt the energy in the city was heightened.


GINGRAS: The NYPD came out today defending the MTA. If you remember, Don, there were three cameras in the subways that weren't working and there were reports that maybe that allowed James to get away in the aftermath of the attack. Well, the NYPD essentially saying that's not true, and reiterating the fact that the MTA is a vital partner with the NYPD. Another thing to keep in mind, law enforcement, their main priority for the last couple of days has been to get James in custody and into a courtroom.

And now that that's happened, they now have the big task of going through all of this evidence, everything they've collected in several states and essentially continuing to build their case. And It's possible maybe even likely that James will face more charges in the future. Don?


LEMON: All right. Brynn Gingras, thank you very much. Appreciate it. A billionaire wants to buy Twitter but what's Elon Musk's motivation?


LEMON: The world's richest man wants to buy Twitter. Elon Musk has made a $41 billion bid to acquire the company and says the cash offer was his best and final offer. Twitter saying its board would carefully review the proposal to determine what comes next. Musk speaking out today and linking his potential takeover on the social media site to humanity's future.


ELON MUSK, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, TESLA: My strong intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization.



LEMON: So Musk has not disclosed how he intends to fund his purchase, despite being the richest person on earth. Most of his $274 billion net worth -- well, that's a lot of money, right? It's tied up in holdings in Tesla stock and privately held SpaceX. So stay tuned. See what happens.

Next, 50 days of war and Ukraine's marking it with a major blow against the Russian military claiming that they have sunk Russia's key warship. Stay with us.


LEMON: This is DON LEMON TONIGHT. A major blow to the Russian military in Ukraine.


Russia admitting one of its most important warships has sunk in the Black Sea. Ukraine claims that took the ship out with a missile. Russia denies that.