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Don Lemon Tonight

Russian Forces Fighting Heavily In Eastern Ukraine; Surrender Is Not An Option For Ukrainian Soldiers; Russian Army Targets Civilians; Russians Taking Note Of Their Mistakes; Judge In Florida Go Against Mask Mandate; World Central Kitchen Undeterred By Missile Strikes. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired April 18, 2022 - 22:00   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: You see that but you also see in their faces, I think, and understanding of just how long a haul this country is in for. You see it in their faces. And it's sad to see.

Laura, thanks so much, I'm going to be here in Ukraine every night this week for CNN Tonight and I have the pleasure that Laura will be with me reporting from Washington. DON LEMON TONIGHT starts right now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Jim, you don't get to go away that easy because I want to talk to you about what happened especially it resonated with me because when I was in Lviv, Russian attack that fuel depot --


LEMON: -- in the city just a few weeks ago and you are on the scene following the deadly strike there today. Let's watch and then we'll talk about it. Here it is.


SCIUTTO: This is the scene of one of the missiles strikes this morning, you can see the emergency responders back here but as we arrived another air raid signal went off, and soldiers concerned that this will be a secondary strike on the same target.

Ukrainian soldiers ordered us behind a concrete barricade.

UNKNOWN: We understand you can't film this.

SCIUTTO: Nervous about us filming any soldiers or military facilities one member of the territorial defense forces cocked his rifle. As he shouted at us to move back.


LEMON: It's interesting, and you're wearing the flak jacket and the helmet. Most civilians don't have that, right, just people would surround their neighborhood. It is, you have to wear it, it is protocol, there was a bombing there or a missile strike and you want to be safe. What a tense situation, what happened after that? SCIUTTO: So, what happened was a series of further air raid sirens.

The concern was after those first four were the Russians going to hit again because three of the targets today were military warehouses. The question was, what were those warehouses storing, right? Why were the Russians hitting them?

And then over the course of the day, I think you heard three more rounds, the most recently within the last hour. And you know, Don, we'll have uncovered your own, you see those pictures there, aftermath of one of the strikes. You hear the air raid siren and then you listen for the booms, you listen for the strikes to follow. And that's what we heard this morning.

LEMON: Jim, here is the concern. You having been there twice. You know the air raid sirens go off; some people don't pay attention to it. Right? Sometimes it become background noise sadly.


LEMON: It shouldn't. But Lviv is a safe haven for so many Ukrainians that have fled other parts of the countries or cities and part of the country. I felt that that may have been false sense of security after the attack that I saw there.


LEMON: Is that starting to sink in with people?

SCIUTTO: I think so, you know, Lviv has been a lifeboat, right, for people either transiting here out of the country on to Poland and elsewhere or staying here. Staying in the country, further away from their homes but hoping that they can go back soon and quickly.

There was a bit of a lull between the strike you covered in March and this one. And you started to see the curfew shorten and more places open up here. I think a tentative relaxation. That's gone today. Because Russia showed -- Russia showed again today they can strike anywhere in the country.

LEMON: Very well put. Jim, you be safe. By the way, is that snow behind you or is that rain?

SCIUTTO: It's snowing. You know, I apparently brought the missiles in the snow. It's winter again here in Lviv.

LEMON: Yes. The weather there is so unpredictable, and it was freezing. It looks like it's freezing now. You be safe. Be well. Get some sleep. We'll see you tomorrow, Jim. Thank you very much.


From the west to the east in Ukraine there is heavy Russian shelling. As we have just been discussing in the Donbas region. Ukraine's President Zelenskyy says the battle for Donbas is underway. And tonight, he is telling CNN's Jake Tapper in an exclusive interview that Ukraine needs more weapons. And needs them now. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): Whether it's kamikaze drones, artillery, Howitzers or MLRS complexes. We have very smart people for this. We've had training with NATO countries. We are prepared to use any type of equipment. But it needs to be delivered very quickly. And we have the ability to learn how to use new equipment. But it needs to come fast.


LEMON: So tonight, the Pentagon warning that Russia's beefed up its military with 11 additional tactical battalion groups. And that Russian forces have likely learned from their mistakes in failing to take Kyiv.

There is a whole lot to discuss tonight. So, I want to stay tuned. But we're going to begin our coverage with CNN's Ben Wedeman who is in Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine. Ben, hello to you. The battle for the Donbas in eastern Ukraine is intensifying. Ukraine's defense ministry says that Russian forces have regrouped there. Give us the latest please.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, basically along an entire 300-mile front Russian forces have opened up with mortar artillery and rockets. Now if this is the beginning of the offensive, Russian offensive for Donbas as President Zelenskyy is saying. It's a lot different than the initial phases of this war that began on the 24th of February.

The Russians have managed, for instance, to take a small town, the town of Kreminna which has been a sight of street battles for quite some time. But that represents the totality at this point of what they've been able to take.

Now what we've seen in recent weeks on the Ukrainian side is intensive preparations in anticipation of this offensive. We, many of the times we've been toward the front lines, we've seen them digging trenches, laying mines, wiring bridges with explosives. And there's been a lot of Ukrainian heavy armor and troops heading toward the front.

Now I can hear the air raid siren in the background, it's been going on all night. But oddly enough, in this town, Kramatorsk, we didn't hear the normal sort of background sounds of thuds, distant thuds all night. So, it does appear that perhaps the Russians are focusing their fire on the front line as opposed to some of the back, and the positions to the rear that they've been hitting since we've been here for the last 10 days, Don.

LEMON: Ben, I just want our viewers just to listen to this for a moment. So, Ben is in Kramatorsk. He is listening to the air raid sirens. Ben, just quickly, I want to know is this ongoing? Is it intermittent, do they come and go or is this constant air raid sirens? WEDEMAN: It depends. I mean certainly, this evening or this morning

here now, they've been -- they were on for about five or six hours. But you know, we were walking around the city yesterday speaking to people and one man told me, look there on all the time and in the center of the city they're really loud. And he said, I just cover my ears and keep on walking. Go around, go along with my business.

The feeling is that in a sense, you know, I think after almost two months of this war things like air raid sirens, people don't always hear them.

LEMON: It's very interesting. Ben Wedeman is in Kramatorsk and he's listening to that and there have been some disturbing graphic images following that strike there. Let's put them up and we'll listen to Ben and show some of the things that came from that strike. That happened where Ben was, it just a few days ago. And he is covering that now and he is listening to air raid sirens go off.

Ben Wedeman, I want you to be safe, you've been doing such a terrific job there, putting yourself in the middle of the dangers. We want you to be safe, and we appreciate your reporting.

Ben Wedeman reporting from Kramatorsk in Ukraine this morning, 5.08 in the morning there.

I want to turn now to Simon Shuster. Simon Shuster is a reporter for Time magazine. He is in Kyiv tonight. Simon, thank you for joining us, we appreciate that.

You're in touch with one of the Ukrainian soldiers fighting back the Russians at that massive iron and steel plant in Mariupol. It is a four-square mile area. What's that soldier telling you and how long can they hold out, you think?

SIMON SHUSTER, REPORTER, TIME MAGAZINE: The soldier is telling me we've been texting back and forth for about a week now. Sometimes he gets a signal down there so he texts to respond at night. And his main messages, you know, they're still down there, they're still holding out.

And they feel that their mission has already been accomplished. Because they've drawn so much Russian firepower on themselves. That it's given other cities in Ukraine a chance to prepare, to survive. It's given Ukraine forces much more time to prepare for the battle. For eastern Ukraine that's begun tonight. He says he's wounded, but he is hanging in there.

LEMON: Simon, there is this new video of a woman and children reportedly sheltering four weeks in the basement of a plant. CNN cannot verify the authenticity of the video or when it was taken. But after reviewing thousands of photos and video as well, the walls of the shelter appear to match, the lime green painted walls of the plant's basement. Tell me what's are conditions like inside?

[22:09:58] SHUSTER: Well, it's hard to imagine, it's a really massive facility. It has multiple levels of bunkers underground. Rooms, chambers, and we've heard just in the last couple of weeks some of the Russian military officials, spokespeople officers going on state TV and complaining and trying to explain why it's taking them so long to try to seize this facility.

They say that, you know, if Russian forces continue trying to do with the conventional means, it'll just become a black hole for Russian weaponry and soldiers because the facility is so hard to seize. It's just this enormous war of underground tunnels.

One Ukrainian official told me that it's built even to withstand a nuclear strike. So, it's not clear how the Russians intend to take it. There have been reports, as I'm sure you've seen and your viewers have seen, of Russia potentially using already some chemical agents to try to, to try to kill or get the people inside those bunkers under the steel plant to come out.

And so, we don't know how this is going to end. But my understanding is they still have quite a lot of provisions to hold out for a long time. So I think ultimately it's going to depend on how the battle for the east turns out. I mean, the soldier I've been texting with, his main hope is that Ukraine will be able to break the blockade that Russia has around the city.

LEMON: You know, Simon, we were -- we just had Ben Wedeman on, he is showing the horrific images of what happened in Kramatorsk. You were in Bucha. The images from there shocked the world. How is that what happened there, how is what happened there impacting the Ukrainian forces who are fighting for cities like Mariupol?

SHUSTER: Well, the soldier I've been texting with mentioned Bucha. One of my questions to him was, do you consider it possible to surrender in the hope that eventually you may be able to be traded in a POW exchange between Ukraine and Russia? And his answer was, after the atrocities we saw in Bucha, that is not an option for the soldiers there.

He says that first of all, they are too revolted by the Russian forces and what they've done in Bucha and other places. And also, he just doesn't believe after what we've seen in Bucha, that the Russian forces would treat POWs especially the ones, the soldiers that are there in Azovstal with any dignity or respect, or would indeed keep them alive long enough for a trade. So, he said that surrendering is not an option.

LEMON: Simon Shuster, thank you so much. Please be safe, OK? And we'll have you back on really soon. Thanks.

SHUSTER: Thank you.

LEMON: Phase two. Ukraine saying the second phase of the war is beginning as U.S. officials warn that Russia's learned from its earlier losses. Colonel Cedric Leighton is here to break down the battlefield right after this. [22:15:00]


LEMON: The battle for the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine has begun. That's according to President Zelenskyy. Officials reporting intense Russian bombardment as they look to push back Ukrainian forces. And in western Ukraine, Russian missiles hitting the city of Lviv near the border with Poland, a NATO country.

So, joining me now to discuss this is senior military analyst and retired air force colonel, Cedric Leighton. Colonel, thank you so much. I appreciate you joining us once again.

Let's talk about the strategy on the battlefield here. A senior U.S. official is warning that even with its struggles, the Russian military is learning from its mistakes in northern Ukraine. So how do you expect this next phase of the war to play out differently?

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I think this is going to be really interesting, Don. Because what you're going to see, instead of what we saw in Kyiv, you know, where we had a really basic way in which they could encounter insurgency type activities almost even though this is not a counterinsurgency operation.

What the Ukrainians were able to do was they were able to push the Russians back in all of these areas right here. Now, this is going to be a different terrain. This is all flat. This area around Kyiv was hilly. The area in the east is basically flat with a few little exceptions.

And what we're going to probably be seeing here is the Russians coming down from the northeast, potentially using this area in the east to move a little bit forward, potentially coming out of the south. Big issue in south though, for them is what we were just talking about, at Mariupol. That is hindering them quite a bit in their operations.

So, one of the things that we have to look for is the Russians going into the specific areas here in the Donbas, and actually using these areas to kind of gain momentum. We've heard of them going into the town of Kreminna. They are using that town as kind of a jumping off point for further activity. And if they head down this way, they're going to be where Ben Wedeman is in Kramatorsk.

They're going to move in these general directions, and of course Donetsk is also in the area, that's kind of in the border area between the Russian-backed separatist-controlled areas and the part of the Donbas that Ukraine controls.

So, all of these areas are really under the gun, if you will, because that's going to be where most of the action is. With a few exceptions out there, one of the major ones being of course Mariupol.

LEMON: So, let's talk more, you mentioned Kreminna, Russian forces have also entered there in the east. What makes it so significant? LEIGHTON: So Kreminna is significant for one big reason, this is kind

of a road juncture area, right, and through here. The roads go this way and they also come down in this general direction. So, this is an important area. It's also a railroad junction area, and Ukraine uses a lot of rails compared to the United States.


So, all of these transportation areas are really critical for any army moving forward. So that's one reason to get it. There's also a bit of an emotional reason for the Russians to do this. The mayor of Kreminna was actually assassinated, he was a pro-Russian mayor, he was assassinated a month or so ago.

And that was one of the things that the Russians may be looking at as kind of a revenge aspect here. So, there's that. But the more important thing for them is to move down in this area and grab the transportation nodes so they can move further, and in basic terms lock this part of the country off the rest of Ukraine.

LEMON: Colonel, against all odds, some Ukrainian defenders are still holding out in Mariupol. The defense is hanging on by a thread really. What happens if -- if and when it collapse -- collapses?

LEIGHTON: So, Don, what the -- this is the Azovstal iron and steel works, the area that was talked about all of this gray right here. The way it's been described is kind of this cavernous area where a lot of people are hiding out. And that includes a lot of civilians. This was built during the Cold War to withstand all kinds of enemy activity. At that time, the enemy was the United States and NATO.

While in this particular case the enemy happens to be the Russians. So, if they can hold out, which would actually be a miracle, this could really thwart a lot of the Russian plans to move into this area. What the Russians want to do is they want to control all of Mariupol, they've got the area right here and right here. This area is contested.

So, what they're trying to do is they're trying to work through all of this, that they grab everything. Keep in mind that all of the buildings, practically all of the buildings here are either significantly damage or totally destroyed.

So, the real estate is basically worthless from our point of view, but from the Russian point of view this is the land bridge that they need in order to make that connection between the areas that they have here and the areas that they have here, plus this area. So, what they want is a total connection this way, and that then cuts Ukraine off completely from the Sea of Azov which is right here.

LEMON: We're also seeing images of Russian strikes close to the border, in Lviv where at least seven people have been killed. I mean, Lviv, right, supposedly a safe haven. Is any part of the country safe? I think I know what your answer is going to be, but please explain to our viewers. We talked about this as a matter of fact, last week, Colonel. LEIGHTON: Yes, we did, Don. Absolutely. Here's a picture of a missile

that is striking in Lviv, this is one of the Russian cruise missiles. But just to get a basic idea here of where things are on the big map. This is Lviv in the west, 40 miles away from the Polish border. And you, you know, spent a lot of time there so you have a real good feel for this.

But the key thing is this, every single major city that's listed here is within range of Russian aircraft or missiles. And the Russians are now playing a game where they go after all the different targets. The Ukrainian air defense system at the moment is not robust enough to shoot either the missiles or any airplanes that the Russians carried a flyover this airspace, to shoot them down.

They can't do it on a consistent basis. They can do it some of the time, but they can't do it all of the time. So, either side has what is known as air superiority over this region. And that very fact makes it difficult for the Ukrainians to continue keeping things the way they are, and to ensure the safety of their citizens in any of these areas, including in the far west, and Lviv.

LEMON: Colonel, once again, thank you so much. I learned a lot. I appreciate it.

LEIGHTON: You bet, Don.

LEMON: President Biden getting on a secure call with allies tomorrow. Will they ratchet up the pressure on Putin? And will anything work, really? I'm going to ask the former defense secretary next.


NED PRICE, SPOKESMAN, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: Russia, more than just launching an invasion, more than launching a war has launched, it's undertaking a campaign of terror, a campaign of brutality, a campaign of despicable aggression.




LEMON: Destruction all across Ukraine tonight as Russia intensifies its assault in the east and nearly two months into the war, a U.N. official is saying tonight that no ceasefire is on the horizon. Joining me now to discuss the former secretary of defense, William Cohen. Good to see you, thank you for joining.

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: Good to see you, Don. Thank you.

LEMON: So, Secretary, no ceasefire in sight. Fighting only escalating. Especially in eastern Ukraine and then of course, you know, you have what's happening Lviv which is west pretty close to the border. What is going to force Putin -- take to force Putin to seriously come to the bargaining table? Is that even possible?

COHEN: I think -- more on the ground. Obviously, he's suffering on the economic sanctions notwithstanding in his statements, but on the ground, he has got to be punished even more than he has been to date. So, I would hope that the United States and NATO countries would provide aircraft to Ukrainians, that we'll provide long-range artilleries so they can pound the massing of Russian forces as we're going to this new phase.

And anything else we can provide them to serve, to kill as many of the Russian soldiers as possible, that may send a message to Putin he's not going to overwhelm the Ukrainians.


I don't think we have given them what they need. Because they need much more to over -- during the encounter the overwhelming numbers and the weight that Russia has against them. So, it's not been a fair fight but they've got a lot of fight left in them.

LEMON: You know, Secretary, Putin is sounding defiant and saying that what he calls the economic Blitzkrieg of sanctions against Russia has failed. But the full effects take time to be felt in Europe. And he's working on plans to further reduce Russian oil imports. Is it too early to say sanctions can't work?

COHEN: Well, sanctions, I don't think ever designed to say we're going to force him to stop the war or to defeat him as such. They were set in order to send a message that he is going to pay a penalty by being isolated economically and diplomatically from the rest the world.

The mayor of Moscow, as I understand, the reporting that's coming out, so the sanctions have caused or will cause 200,000 jobs in Moscow. Well, maybe it out to be two million jobs. Maybe we are to intensify the sanctions, if there are any banks that have not been cut off from SWIFT they ought to be cut off. Perhaps we should consider looking at secondary sanctions for countries that are still doing business with Russia.

There are things that we can do but Putin, as I've said from the beginning, is betting that we will -- we will wear down, we will grow weary of the sanctions before he does. We have to put him to that test and going forward.

LEMON: How much do people feel and, you know, how much they sort of fight back against that when do they get tired of it.

Tomorrow President Biden is going to hold a secure call with allied leaders about what more can be done to support Ukraine and hold Russia a countable. What do you think needs to be -- what do you believe needs to be done to ratchet up the pressure on him?

COHEN: More heavy weapons, more armor, more tanks, more everything. I want to comment just briefly on the Time reporter, Simon Shuster, he mentioned the word nuclear that that has been bandied about by Putin himself. I think we make -- we need to need to make it clear perhaps at that meeting tomorrow, a one kiloton nuclear or five or 10 or 50, it should be no difference.

If he crosses the threshold and uses a nuclear weapon, that should change the game as far as NATO is concerned. He has crossed a boundary which sets in motion the possibility of a nuclear escalation. So, I would think at that particular point, we have to have unanimity with the NATO countries. OK, he has gone too far, we have witnesses slaughter of innocents, we have witnessed the decimation of cities, he cannot use nuclear or chemical or biological, if he does, it is a new ball game in town with two players coming in to Ukraine.

That's what I hope. That what I hope they will talk about. Whether it happens, you know, I'm just in a position to talk to you on it.

LEMON: Well, I asked you, I said, what do you believe, that's what you believe, so that's you think should happen. And listen, I don't think anyone disagrees with you.

The Austrian chancellor who met with Vladimir Putin last week is saying that he thinks Putin believes Russia is winning this war. How dangerous could that be?

COHEN: Well, he has been losing. He's been losing as the generals, the colonel just indicated before he's been losing on combat, face to face combat with Ukrainians he's losing. So now what he's going to do is long-range shelling, leveling cities, killing innocent people by the thousands in order to break their will.

So, it's clear that he's -- when he has to turn to the kind of slaughter of innocents that tells you he's losing. He's losing the war. He's not fighting fair but there are no rules for Putin. That's why I think we've got to reevaluate what rules he can set for us, where he says, no, you can't provide them with this kind of weaponry, well why not, you've set the rules and saying there are no rules for you. I think there have to be rules for him and that means upping our game and upping the game of the Ukrainians by giving them more than we have today.

LEMON: All right. Secretary, thank, you always a pleasure.

COHEN: Good to see you, Don.

LEMON: Planes, trains and buses. A judge striking down the federal mask mandate for public transportation. What does that mean for your next trip, stay with us.



LEMON: A federal judge in Florida striking on the CDC's mask mandate for airplanes and public transportation today. The U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruling that the mandates unlawful because it exceeded the CDC's statutory authority. An administration official says the agencies are roughing the decision. And in the meantime, the travel mask mandate will not be in effect.

Let's discuss now. Sara Nelson is here, she's the international present of the Association of Flight Attendants. Elie Honig is here as well, CNN's senior legal analyst.

Good to have both of you on. I can't wait for this conversation I've been hearing from so many people, so many ways on different sides of this today, on opposite sides. Good evening.

Sara, you first. So, take -- I want you to take a quick listen to somehow fly passengers reacted to this ruling.


UNKNOWN: It's official on Southwest Airlines from --


UNKNOWN: No more mask.

UNKNOWN: On our Delta hub into masks now optional for employees, customers following White House --


LEMON: Cheering and celebrations all-around, and the airlines didn't waste any time. The American Airlines, Southwest, United, Delta, Alaska Airlines, all dropping their mask mandates. What do you think about this and the reaction you're getting from your fellow flight attendants?


SARA NELSON, PRESIDENT, ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS: We've been hearing from flight attendants for the past several months very strong feelings both in terms of wanting the mask mandate to go away, others very much wanting it to stay in place. We've had to deal with conflict on our planes for a very long time because this was turned into a political issue rather than a public health issue.

And so, we did not take a position on whether or not to extend the mask mandate but what we said was let's not make this a public debate. Let's not continue to politicize this. Because when that happens, it's creating conflict, flight attendants, passenger service agents and others are getting hurt.

The problem with today is that this was not an orderly shift. This is not the way that you move public policy. Some flight attendants were on the plane hearing this for the first time as pilots were making an announcement. And they're in the cabin up to that moment they were told their job was to enforce this. They are supposed to have that standing in the cabin to keep everyone safe. And that really undermines their role.

So, there should be a more orderly transfer and we're really concerned about the chaos that this created today by the way that this was done. LEMON: OK, so then the question is, look, you have to sort of, you've

been policing this, right, and people have been upset about it. And you've seen, you've mentioned all the fights and people. Do you think that this in some way will this make people, you have to be more police? We have to police more now --


NELSON: Here's the prob --

LEMON: -- you think or you think less?

NELSON: Here is the problem, Don. People have been claiming that when this goes away that the conflict goes away. But some of the most violent events that we've seen on planes over the last two years had nothing to do with masks at all. Or what we have seen is that people get upset on other side of the issue, there are some people who have gotten physically violent because they're upset that other people are not wearing masks.

So I think what this is going to do is this is going to create a situation where flight attendants are centrally creating the smoking and non-smoking sections on the planes like we used to. And --


LEMON: Yes, that's the reason I asked the question.

NELSON: That's right --

LEMON: Yes. That's why it's the question, like what is this for us.

NELSON: So, there's going to be a lot more work for us.

LEMON: OK. A lot more work. So, you think this is make it harder than just having like, hey, look, you got to wear a mask. Do you think this makes it harder?

NELSON: Well, look, I think a lot of people are really happy that they are going to have the personal choice of not having to wear, we're going into the summer months, it's really hard to wear --


NELSON: -- when you're sweating and flight attendants are working 14, 15 hours a day and having to enforce this. But it's going to be difficult. What we are saying is everybody be patient, be calm, listen to the instructions. Let's just be respectful of each other. That's how we're going to get through.

LEMON: OK. Good. Because I don't know, you said one thing, you said the majority of the confrontations on planes, did you -- on planes, did you not say that it had nothing to do with masks?

NELSON: The violent confrontations on planes. Generally, not had to do with masks. They've had to do with other issues altogether. So, there's been this idea that the masks have created all the conflict when, in fact, there has been this push of conflict on society. And this desire to back any kind of insurrection all, and the flight attendants are just doing their jobs trying to keep everyone safe. And simple safety instructions are sending people off.

LEMON: Wow. Not an easy job. That's why I always, whatever the flight attendant says, OK, yes, sir, yes, ma'am, I will do it.

NELSON: Thank you. Thank you.

LEMON: Elie, you say today's ruling is not -- listen, it's temporary for me I only have to be on the plane for a couple of hours, people should realize that. You guys are on planes a lot more and you have to deal with not just me but hundreds of people on flights every single day. Thousands on flights.

So just do what the flight attendants says and then move on about your business, go by your business, get off the plane and then everything is fine.

Elie, you say today's ruling is not a policy decision but certainly a legal determination. Where did the judge find the CDC fell legally short with creating this mandate?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Don, so it's important to understand, the judge did not say this is good policy, this is bad policy. This was not a health ruling or a science ruling nor should it be. This is a legal ruling. And really, this is a procedural decision more than anything else.

The judge said first of all, CDC, you made a rule that goes beyond the authority that Congress gave you. And second of all, the way that the Biden administration went about this according to this judge violated the procedural rules. An agency like the CDC cannot just rule by decree. They have to follow certain rules about putting up notice and comment and letting people comment for 30 days and giving specific reasons for their decisions.

And the judge found the Biden administration did not do that and that matters. I mean, the Trump administration had several major policies struck down because they didn't follow the procedural rules. And according to this judge, the Biden administration did not do so here and that's the basis for this ruling.

LEMON: So, is this it? No changing, no going back, Elie, legally?


HONIG: Yes. Well, so Sara makes a really good point that flight attendants were put in a bad position today and the onus is on the Biden administration to make clear very quickly what they're going to do.

Because as of this moment, the mask mandate has been struck down. But the Biden administration can a, seek a stay, meaning, judge, we want you to put this on pause. They've not on that yet, I think they need to come out very quickly and say we are or are not going to seek that. And b, we need to know whether the Biden administration will appeal this to the court of appeals. Usually you would in this situation, they've lost. However, I think given all the factors there's chance they don't.

So, I really think the Biden administration owes it to all travelers to flight attendants, to tell us very quickly what they're going to do, but right now as we sit here, Don, at 10.45 p.m., Eastern, on this Monday, the mask mandate is off.

LEMON: Yes, I think if they were going to do what you said they probably would've acted very quickly but we will see. We will see.


LEMON: Thank you both, I appreciate it. Be safe. Thanks.

NELSON: Thank you.

LEMON: So, there are charity feeding hundreds of thousands of people displaced by war, then their hub was struck by a Russian missile and destroyed. I'm going to speak with the CEO of World Central Kitchen who is in Kharkiv, that's next.



LEMON: So, you got to pay attention to this because there is a bombing -- a bombing in Kharkiv striking one of the World Central Kitchen's restaurants. Take a look at this video, it shows volunteers in the facility before the attack working tirelessly to feed the hungry in Ukraine. And now near total destruction.


NATE MOOK, CEO, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN: Not a long ago, a missile hit here. And as you can see, tremendous amounts of damage still a fire in the building there. Right here is the kitchen area, it goes back, a lot of damage to the kitchen as well. A number of staff were wounded, they were at the hospital right now. Nobody was killed in the restaurant but we are told that one person was killed in this strike.


LEMON: So, the World Central Kitchen reaffirming its commitment to feed those in need. That was Nate Mook in the video, he is the CEO of the World Central Kitchen. He joins me now.

Nate, my goodness. So, I have to tell you, Nate and I spend a lot of time together when I was there. We happen to be staying at the same place and then we also did a story on them and followed you guys around. So, I'm so glad that you're OK. And I really appreciate what you and Jose Andres and the World Central Kitchen is doing. So let me just say that straight off. Four staff members from the restaurant were injured in the attack in

Kharkiv and I understand that some are still in the hospital but they're eager to get back to work. How are they doing tonight?

MOOK: They're doing well. I want to see them yesterday, spent some time in the hospital, they're in good spirits. And they are recovering. And one of the staff members, Yulia (Ph), told me that she was excited to get back into the kitchen and start cooking.

And also, what's amazing about these women is, a couple of them are administrators, they're managers at the restaurant during normal times. And now they've jumped in to cook and help prepare meals and packaged meals and whatever they need to do. It just goes to show you the spirit of the Ukrainian people right now.

LEMON: Yes. You posted, I'm going to put some video to Twitter of your team moving food and non- damage equipment from the destroyed facility to another location in Kharkiv. How is the missile strike impacting your ability to feed people in Kharkiv?

MOOK: You know, thankfully this kitchen was one of many kitchens here in the city. And so while it did disrupt the operation, this kitchen was producing between 3,000 and 4,000 meals every day. There was another facility that was able to get up and running, and as you see we were able to get some of that equipment and towed out the team jumped right in, and the restaurant management, the owners of the restaurant obviously didn't force anybody to go back. But almost all of the staff said, we're ready the very next day, and jump right in.

So, actually as of tomorrow, they'll be cooking in a new kitchen that will replace the one that was heavily damaged and so it's just truly amazing. Now of course, it's a reminder of the situation that we face right now. That there is so much uncertainty.

You know, this missile was not targeting the restaurant specifically but it hit the building right across the street the sheer immensity of the destruction causes the scene that you showed. As we saw in Lviv today, these missiles can come out of nowhere and hit innocent people.

LEMON: Yes, listen, when we were there, I remember on the fuel depot. The randomness, you just don't know. Right? People were saying, it's in the east, it's in the north, whatever, but Lviv is the farthest west the biggest city close to the Polish border. And they've had several strikes, I think three or four since the war began. And on big targets.

You also posted, I want to put up this clip of one of your World Central Kitchen truck drivers capturing a missile strike in Lviv. Here it is. I mean, it seems more and more like nowhere is safe inside Ukraine. Are you committed to staying there and I know the answer is going to be yes, but there's got to be some concern from your family members and I'm worried about you and Jose and all of them?

But are you committed to staying there and feeding the people of Ukraine no matter how bad this gets, Nate? Because this could get -- this is terrible, you are even in Kramatorsk right after the train, the shelling of the train station. I mean, come on, man.

MOOK: Yes, so safety and security is obviously number one for our teams and for all of our partners on the ground, all the restaurants and cooks that we're working with. You know, we have a small World Central Kitchen team in country here in Ukraine.


I'm here, Jose has been here. You know, and we're closely following the situation and making sure that we're not putting ourselves in danger. We're, you know, moving to places that we know are as safe as possible but there is an element of uncertainty.

But talking to our amazing Ukrainian partners, I mean, they're telling us, look, we're committed here. This is our way to fight. This is, we are food fighters, we are cooking for the people and keeping our country going. At the end of the day, as long as they are still here in Ukraine as long as they are still working and cooking, World Central Kitchen is going to be there alongside them.

So, we might not have our international staff here, we might obviously try to work with our partners to make sure they're as safe as can be, make sure they are in the right places that are, you know, they can cook in kitchens that are underground. That they have the right equipment. But you know, the Ukrainian people are strong and resilient and they're not giving up in this fight. And so, we're going to be there, standing beside them as long as we can.

LEMON: You are good man. So is Jose and what you guys are doing. Please be safe, my friend. OK? And keep us posted as to what's going on. We'll have you back soon.

MOOK: Thanks so much.

LEMON: Thank you very much. There you go. So, strikes in a region believed to be safe. Multiple people killed after Russia fires missiles at Lviv, Ukraine. We're live on the ground there, that's next.