Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Russian Aircraft Bombed School With 90 Civilians Inside; Biden Announces $150 Million In Additional Ukraine Aid; New Images Of Patrol Car Used In Alabama Prisoner Escape; White House Warns Of 100 Million New COVID Cases This Fall And Winter; Is The U.S. Headed For A Recession; Is The U.S. Headed For A Recession; Ed Sheeran Works With Ukrainian Musician In New Video. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 07, 2022 - 19:00   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Ukrainian officials say Russian forces bombed the school which had 90 people taking shelter right inside of it. What we know about it so far coming up.

Plus a new warning from the Biden administration as we navigate life post-pandemic. The U.S. could see 100 million new COVID infections this fall and winter.

And is the U.S. heading towards a recession or not? That debate tonight right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

First with our breaking news this hour. A high number of casualties expected after Russian forces reportedly dropped a bomb on a school. Ukrainian officials say 90 people were taking shelter right inside of that school in a village about seven miles from the eastern front lines.

Scott McLean has more.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pam, there are fears of a high casualty count after the Ukrainians accused the Russians of dropping a bomb on a school in a small village in eastern Ukraine. The head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration said the Russians were fighting with unarmed civilians when they dropped that bomb on the school in the village of Bilohorivka which is about seven miles west of the front lines.

Ninety people were thought to have been taking shelter there at the time the officials says that 30 people had been pulled out of the rubble, though judging by the pictures it is incredible that anyone could have possibly survived.

Now that official said that almost the entire village had been taking shelter there because it was one of the few places that were even left to shelter in. This village is not too far from Lysychansk in Sievierodonetsk where heavy fighting has been taking place recently, as the Russians try to push their way through the front lines.

That strike will inevitably bring back memories of the bombing of a theater in Mariupol where hundreds of women and children were taking shelter. Some 300 people or more were thought to have been killed there. They've even spelled out the Russian word for children in hopes of being spared by the Russian bombs.

Now this village of Bilohorivka, it has been taking Russian shelling for weeks now. Officials managed a successful evacuation operation in late April where they got out 49 people, including eight children by train to western Ukraine but clearly, Pam, not everyone had left.

BROWN: So sad. And as we learn more about the attack on that school, we're also getting a rare bit of good news. A top Ukrainian official says all women, children and elderly have been evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. Hundreds of civilians took shelter there shortly after the war began and they spent weeks trapped in bunkers as Russia bombarded that massive complex.

Well, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy says that his government is now getting ready for the second stage of the evacuation mission there in Mariupol, bringing out the Ukrainian troops, some severely wounded who have been trapped there.

And as the war rages on, President Biden says the U.S. will send $150 million in new security assistance to Ukraine. This money will go toward additional artillery munitions, radar and other equipment. And the package follows the president's $33 billion proposal to Congress that would provide military, security and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

Arlette Saenz is at the White House for us.

Arlette, it seems the president is reaching the end of the line for what he can do for Ukraine financially without help from Congress. So where do things go from here?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, the U.S. is preparing to send this latest round of military assistance, $150 million worth of equipment, over to Ukraine bringing the total given to Ukraine since the beginning of this war to $3.8 billion. If you take a look at what's included, it includes artillery rounds, counter artillery radars and jamming equipment and other field equipment as well.

But as President Biden announced this new package, he said that they have nearly exhausted the funds that are available for a drawdown authority. That allows the president to send equipment assistance to Ukraine without getting that prior authorization from Congress. Now that fund could soon be depleted but the president has asked for an additional $33 billion worth of military, economic and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine.

But currently that remains stalled up on Capitol Hill. It remains unclear how soon Congress might be acting on that, and the president has said it's incredibly urgent to ensure that they keep sending this type of equipment to Ukraine uninterrupted.

Now this latest package that the president had announced last night comes as tomorrow he is said to hold a virtual meeting with G7 leaders. Also participating in that meeting will be Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.


Part of the goal of those conversations is to further show support and solidarity for Ukraine. As Russia is expected on Monday to be celebrating so-called Victory Day, that is the day, a holiday celebrated for when the Nazis were defeated during World War II. Now on this G7 call tomorrow that the president is participating on from his home in Wilmington, Delaware, the leaders will also be talking about possible sanctions that they can impose against Russia.

It's expected that in the coming days the U.S. and allies might roll out some type of sanctions, that they have said that they've been preparing and have been open to imposing those additional costs on Russia as they're further trying to hold Russia accountable for its war against Ukraine and also with this type of military assistance, further assistance going into Ukraine showing that they are fully supporting the Ukrainians as they continue to try to defend themselves against this invasion -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right. Arlette Saenz, at the White House, thank you so much.

And still ahead tonight, a Ukrainian rock group is doing more than just volunteering in the military to save their country. Now they are also collaborating with super star recording artist Ed Sheeran.


A familiar face is about to join us tonight. Lead singer of Antytila, Taras Topolia. He joined us a few times before so you probably recognize his face. He's going to talk about his band's new song with Ed Sheeran later this hour.

Tips are pouring in from across the country in the manhunt for escaped Alabama prisoner Casey White and the corrections officer who police believed helped him get away.

CNN's Nadia Romero is following all of the latest developments in Florence, Alabama.

Nadia, so many twists and turns in this case. New to CNN tonight are these pictures of Vicky White's patrol car that she was driving the day she and Casey White vanished. Are these pictures helpful at all to investigators? What are they saying?

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, they have some leads coming in but really not a lot of details as to the planning and their escape. And so they're going through everything with a fine- tooth comb including these pictures of the inside of her patrol car. So it's only about four miles or so from where we are in Lauderdale County courthouse. This is Florence, Alabama. The next biggest town is Huntsville, Alabama. So we're talking small town America. So things aren't very far apart.

So not far from here is where she ditched the patrol car after taking Casey White from the detention center to a shopping mall parking lot. She left her patrol car there. Inside is where investigators were able to find her keys and some of her other information that she used as a part of her job as a corrections officer. She left that in the car and then presumably got into another car, a Ford Escape.

And that vehicle, a bright orange SUV, was found abandoned in the middle of the road about two hours from here north in Williamson, Tennessee. Now the sheriff here in Lauderdale County believes that that really wasn't part of the plan because it was abandoned in the middle of the street. He believes that it broke down. So they tried at some point he says to spray paint it green or black and that looked terrible. So they ended that plan, got rid of that plan, and decided to move forward.

The big question, though, was how did they go from the patrol car to that orange Ford edge and then what? Did they walk? Did someone pick them up? Did they flag someone down? The sheriff says they're still going through stolen vehicle reports to see if they maybe carjacked someone to get away in that third vehicle.

Now this is all happening because Casey White was facing capital murder charges. That's what brought him back to Lauderdale County Detention Center where he was able to meet and spend a lot of time with Officer Vicky White.

The son of Connie Ridgeway, Connie Ridgeway was the woman that Casey White allegedly said that he murdered back in 2015. Well, her son says he has this plea for Casey White. Take a listen.


AUSTIN WILLIAMS, MOTHER WAS ALLEGEDLY MURDERED BY CASEY WHITE: Please turn yourself in as soon as possible. I mean, I know you contested my mother's murder, it is a possibility that you're innocent. And if you're innocent, let us find out. You know, if you're innocent, I'm OK with that. I don't want anyone who is innocent to be punished for something that they didn't do. But please turn yourself in.


ROMERO: And at this point we heard a plea from Sheriff Rick Singleton pleading for Vicky White to turn herself in. He still believes that she could be in danger -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right, Nadia Romero, thank you very much.

And when we come back, a dire warning from the White House that a COVID wave starting in the fall could infect 100 million Americans.


Meantime, a hepatitis outbreak that has killed five children is puzzling the experts. I'll ask Dr. Jonathan Reiner what's driving the surge.

Also tonight, in our big debate, we ask our two economy watchers if they think the U.S. is headed for a recession.

And then later, derby hats, mint juleps and a new Kentucky Derby winner is crowned. We're going to take you there live to my home state.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.


BROWN: New this Saturday, though it may sound like a headline from 2020, the CDC is investigating a COVID outbreak aboard a cruise ship. The Carnival Spirit left Miami on April 17th, went through the Panama Canal and docked in Seattle Tuesday. Now the government isn't allowed to say how many passengers or crew tested positive. The CDC says most cases were not severe and Carnival says there were no serious health issues. The ship later sailed to Alaska.


Meanwhile, the White House is warning that the U.S. could see 100 million new COVID infections this fall and winter. And it's basing that in part on the impasse with Congress over more money to fight the virus.


DR. ASHISH JHA, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: The consequences here are quite catastrophic if we do not get funding. I mean, my goodness. We're not going to have vaccines for the American people. We're going to run out of treatments for the American people. We're not going to have diagnostic testing. It's a pretty bad situation. I think Congress is going to step up and do the right thing. They have to.


BROWN: With me now is CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner. He is a professor of medicine and surgery at George Washington University.

Dr. Reiner, what do you think about that? Do you believe that warning of 100 million possible new cases?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: We'd probably had 130 million cases during the Omicron surge. So what we've learned is that this virus does have these seasonal spikes and, yes, it's very possible next fall and winter to have another big surge. And what Dr. Jha was really talking about is the necessity to be able to revaccinate the country perhaps with a new customed configured, maybe (INAUDIBLE) vaccine against more than one strain.

The ability to ramp up and have large stores of tests available, large amounts of PPE like N-95 masks. Maybe now, the next time the virus surges to that degree, maybe everyone in the country wears an N-95 mask rather than a surgical mask or just a sort of cloth bandana. And to do that requires money. The administration originally wanted $30 billion then they decreased it to $25 billion, and that was stripped out of the last bill. So I think the need is there.

BROWN: I want to talk about another ominous number. It could be reached any day now. One million COVID deaths in America. You tweeted that it would take 58 days to read the names of all those we have lost. Did you ever think it would get this bad?

REINER: No. And it's a loss that's too terrible to think about. And there's aren't just numbers, although the numbers are staggering. There are seven states in this country that have fewer people than that one million number. But these are our parents and our children and our partners. It's been estimated that over 175,000 children in this country have lost either a parent or an in-home caregiver.

So the survivors will have to deal and suffer with the consequences, you know, well, into the future. It didn't need to be this bad. It didn't need to be nearly this bad. And what continues to haunt me is the notion that we've become numb to a million souls lost. This notion that well, we're just going to leave this pandemic response to personal responsibility, you know, you do you.

But we live in this community and our community has lost a million people, and we need to regain this sense of community, pull together, and develop pandemic strategies that protect all of us including the most vulnerable. So that one million number is staggering but it's going to go higher than that.

BROWN: What do you say to those watching right now who are of the mind that this pandemic is over? I mean, we saw what happened last weekend after the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Not going to ignore that. I mean, what do you say?

REINER: Well, that was an unforced error. And that was so predictable. The pandemic has resurged. But we live in sort of a bubble here in D.C. There are a lot of vaccinated people. An event like that has a lot of affluent people who have their doctors on speed dial and their phone who can get Paxlovid pretty quickly should they get ill and who could afford to work from home. They won't lose pay if they don't -- if they can't go into office or into the store.

And that's a privileged environment but there are so many people in this country having to lose work for a week or two might be the difference between being able to pay their rent or getting COVID if you're immunocompromised might have a much greater health consequence than if you're healthy and well-boosted and have no other health concern. So there are a lot of vulnerable people in this country that stand to be really hurt economically and physically the longer this pandemic goes.

And, you know, my sense was that while this virus is surging, having almost 3,000 people in that ballroom sort of -- in this sort of self- congratulatory way, ignoring the fact that the virus has not gone away, and in fact surging in the United States.


Cases have risen over 50 percent in the last two weeks, hospitalizations are up and now finally deaths are rising again was the wrong message to this country. It might have been the right political message for this administration but it was the wrong public health message.

BROWN: I'm going to ask you before we run out of time, this new survey showing less than one U.S. parents will get -- actually I think we're missing a number in this but a very small percentage from what we see right here. Parents say that they want to get their kids vaccinated. Less than fewer than 1 in 5.

REINER: Right.

BROWN: What is your message to parents who are hesitant or simply refuse to get them vaxxed? And look, as a parent of two young kids, you know, when it comes to your children, it's always something that's a little scary when you think OK, well, there's COVID but then there's this vaccine, and you look at the numbers and you're trying to figure out what do I think. What would you say to parents?

REINER: COVID can hurt your children. And we have a tool, we have a vaccine, a very well-tolerated vaccine that can protect them. We've only vaccinated about 35 percent of kids between the ages of 5 and 11. Only about 68 percent of kids between 12 and 17. So there are a lot of kids who've been left vulnerable. 13 million kids have gotten COVID in this country. And it's estimated that somewhere between 2 percent and 10 percent of children have experienced long COVID symptoms from their infection.

So it's true. And thankfully most children will not succumb to this infection. A very, very few percentage -- a very small percentage of children will actually die from this but these kids can get sick, they can be hospitalized, and long COVID is very real. It doesn't need to be this way. Our vaccines are very effective in preventing serious illness or hospitalization in children. And every parent needs to vaccine them. We've done a very poor job getting that message out to the public.

BROWN: Very quickly. What do you say to parents concerned about this unusual cluster of hepatitis in kids?

REINER: There's a lot more to learn. You know, right now we've seen a couple hundred cases in the United States. It looks like it might be associated with an adenovirus which is a very common virus. It's a virus that causes things like colds and conjunctivitis. It's not usually associated with hepatitis. We'll learn a lot more over the next few weeks to few months about whether this is solely the outcome of an adenovirus infection or whether it is related to something else. Perhaps a concurrent infection or even whether COVID is somehow related as well to this.

BROWN: All right. Dr. Jonathan Reiner, thank you very much.

Well, with the U.S. economy in a massive state of flux right now, are we heading for a recession? It is up for debate. We're going to talk about it with two men who have very different opinions on this subject. That's next.



BROWN: If you're feeling the economic blues, you're not alone. There are plenty of reasons to be concerned. Historic inflation, rising interest rates and the stock market settling at its lowest point for the year. But there are reasons to be optimistic. The jobs market is red hot right now. Chances are if you want one, you can find one. And that leaves a big question that has economists pointing in different direction.

Is the U.S. headed for a recession or not?

To handle that debate, we brought in the experts. Alex Domash is a research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and Justin Wolfers is an economics and public policy professor at the University of Michigan.

Alex, I'm going to kick off things with you. We're going to start with the doomsday here. No, I'm just kidding. But I do want to hear your thoughts, if you would, Alex, lay out if you could why you think the U.S. could be headed towards a recession.

ALEX DOMASH, RESEARCH FELLOW, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: Thank you. So let me begin by saying that nobody can know with certainty what's going to happen to the U.S. economy. But I certainly believe that the risk of recession is higher than normal today.

Today we have an inflation rate at 8.5 percent. We have a red-hot labor market where employers are struggling to fill job openings which is putting more inflationary pressure in the economy. And we have a Federal Reserve that is significantly behind the curve in bringing inflation under control.

And so what the Fed is trying to do is they're trying to raise interest rates to cool economy just enough to bring inflation back down without causing a corresponding increase in unemployment, and unfortunately, history suggests that inflation rarely comes down without a significant economic downturn. So there's a chance that this time is different and I hope that I'm wrong and that this time is different, but I do think more likely than not we may see a recession in the coming years.

BROWN: All right. So, Justin, let's hear your thoughts because you believe we aren't necessarily headed towards a recession. How would you classify the state of the economy?

JUSTIN WOLFERS, ECONOMICS AND PUBLIC POLICY PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN: Well, there's a problem which is we economists just tend to be grumpy and I think it's OK sometimes once in a while to be a little bit cheerful. So let me tell you the good news which is unemployment is 3.6 percent. Within a month or so, we'll have the lowest unemployment rate that we've had in over 50 years. Most people that want a job can find a job. And you know, normally the

single best way of figuring out where the economy is going next is figuring out where it is. And where it is is a pretty good state and we're creating jobs at a rate of 400,000 a month. If we weren't so eternally gloomy, we'll call that an economic boom. Not the cusp of a recession.


Now, Alex is right. There is one big cloud out there, which is inflation. And in fact, we're in a world with a whole lot of risks from Russia to COVID and everything in between.

But look, when things are going okay, it's okay to say, hey, the economy is looking okay and I'm also pretty optimistic that inflation is going to start to come down over the next few months as well.

BROWN: So what do you say to that, Alex? So, you know, the emphasis on the fact that look, you know, unemployment is super low right now compared to historic records, and that the inflation cloud, that dark cloud of inflation actually isn't as big of a deal as maybe some economists think, what do you say?

DOMASH: Look, I don't think anything is inevitable, but if I'm trying to make a prediction for the future, the best that I can do is take a look at the historical evidence and make my best judgment, and what I know is that since the 1950s, every time inflation has been above four percent and the unemployment rate has been below four percent, the U.S. economy has gone into recession within two years.

And so given history, given the fact that the Fed hasn't had a lot of success historically in taming inflation in such a way that doesn't cause significant economic disruptions, I think there is certainly substantial risk in the current economic moment.

Now, am I going to say that with certainty, we're going to go into a recession? No. But I think that we need to proceed with caution and I think that that is certainly a possibility for recession in the coming years is likely.

BROWN: So then what do you say to that, Justin? As Alex pointed out in the past, high inflation and low unemployment have been strong predictors of future recessions. So it seems like we're right in the thick of that right now, both of those factors. What do you say?

I mean, how do you look at those same factors that have led to recessions in the past and say, well, we're not in for it this time around, too?

WOLFERS: There's an old saying among economic forecasters, which is either say a number or a time period, but never both. And so, it is worth just trying to clarify what we're talking about here.

So is there going to be a recession in the next three months? You know, I really think almost impossible. Is there going to be a recession in the next 10 years? Almost certainly. Do I see the seeds of a recession out there right now? And sure, I want to take what Alex said seriously, which is, it's really hard to bring inflation down without causing a recession.

So what he is betting is the Fed will make a mistake of moving too hard and too fast and cause a recession. Now, the thing about mistakes is you can make mistakes in either direction. So, it's just as likely the Fed won't move that hard, won't move that fast. And in fact, the economy will keep motoring on a little too quickly.

So the point here is simply that the balance of risk is remarkably balanced right now.

BROWN: I'm curious, Alex, what your view is given your perspective on where the economy is, and where it is headed, with the caveat that no one knows what the future holds, how people should handle their money right now. I mean, what should people be doing with their money? Should they be saving up more? Should they be, you know, what advice do you have?

DOMASH: So, I am not a stock advisor. I cannot predict the stock market or exactly what's going to happen.

BROWN: If you could, that would be amazing by the way. We've had you on the show all the time, go ahead.

DOMASH: But what I do think is that there is significant risk in the economy, and that people need to make -- they need to make adequate decisions that are correct for them, given the risk that we have in the economy.

Just going back to one thing that Justin said as well, with a red hot labor market, it's certainly a good thing for workers, but one problem is that, it puts significant upward pressure on wages and that can cause additional pressure on inflation in the economy.

And so it's actually making the Fed's job even harder to bring inflation back down to its two percent target. So given that, I think people do need to make their own decisions, but I do see significant risk in the economy.

BROWN: Okay, so what do you say to that about the labor market? And also I want what your advice is for people what they should do with their money, Justin?

WOLFERS: Well, my advice to your view is, is even though I'm trying to be sunny and optimistic right now, I think you should take seriously what Alex is saying, which is, if the last two years has taught us anything, it's that the world and the economy and our prosperity is more fragile than any of us understood.

Look, I teach college students who are often you know, 20 years old, and in the last 10 years they've seen two once in a century recessions hit them. So my advice is make sure to keep that rainy day fund up to date, just in case Alex is right and so you want to keep enough savings that if you lose your job you'll be able to you know, keep putting food on the table further three or six months it might take you to find another job.


BROWN: And really quick, anything else you want to say on what he claims about the labor market, how the unemployment rate could actually be somewhat concerning as it pertains to wages?

WOLFERS: Of course, he's correct, but let's think about it another way. We economists complain about everything. When unemployment is too high, the problem is, no one can get a job. Now unemployment is low, and of course, employers are complaining they can't find workers.

You know what? I think it is a pretty great state of affairs. I love it when people can find work. I love it when people can move from a crappy job to a better job. And I love it when workers get bargaining power and can start to push up wages and get what they deserve.

BROWN: You know, economists sound like journalists when you're talking about the whole grumpy part there.

Alex and Justin, great to have you on. Great hearing your perspectives on this. I know our viewers hopefully took a lot from this discussion as well as they try to figure out their situation and try to figure out what we're in for as it pertains to the economy. Thank you both.

WOLFERS: Thank you, Pamela.

DOMASH: Thanks, Pamela.

BROWN: And you're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

My next guest is working to protect his country from Russian invaders, but he and his band are also collaborating with Ed Sheeran to raise awareness about the situation and Ukraine.


BROWN: Singer, Taras Topolia joins me next to discuss. We will be right back.



BROWN: In Cuba, the death toll tonight stands at 32 after that massive explosion ripped through a Havana hotel. The state run company that owns the Hotel Saratoga says 11 of its workers died and 13 are among the 19 people still missing.

Well, the government there says one of the dozens injured and the explosion is Cuban-American. Authorities believe an accidental gas leak may have caused Friday's tragedy.

For weeks now we have been following the story of Taras and Olena Topolia. They are popular Ukrainian musicians separated by war. Olena left Ukraine after the invasion began while her husband, Taras stayed behind going from front man in the band "Antytila" to paramedic on the frontlines.

Taras' band asked to take part in the U.K. concert for Ukraine. Organizers turned them down wanting to avoid association with anything related to the military, but it helped spark a social media friendship with Ed Sheeran and that resulted in a musical partnership and a remix of Sheeran's song, "Two Steps."


BROWN: Taras Topolia joins me now. Hi Taras, so good to see you again.

How did this come to be? Because I remember we first had you on after the concert, the people who were putting the concert on decided to not have you be a part of it, and it was pretty disappointing for you.

Now, you're collaborating with Ed Sheeran. Tell us about it.

TARAS TOPOLIA, UKRAINIAN MUSICIAN: Hello, everybody. Thank you for calling, saying thank you for your interest in this story.

So the team, Ed Sheeran's team and Ed Sheeran personally proposed to us maybe one and half months ago to create something special to collaborate with him and to make a remix, a remake of his song "Two Steps." And of course, we agreed.

And now you can see what we have done and this is just a story of mine, just a story of my family, the stories of the families of my colleagues, friends, musicians of the band Antytila and story of the millions of Ukrainian people who now are in war situation and whose families like separated the war when the husband stays in city to defend the country, but wife with kids went away, goes away to safety place.

BROWN: I know and we actually had your wife on, we've had the two of you on together and you've been so open with us and honest just about how difficult that is that she is in the United States helping raise your children while you stay behind in Ukraine and fight.

I wonder as you are fighting, how have you been able to also work on this with Ed Sheeran? And what has that been like to just be communicating back and forth with him?


TOPOLIA: Well, believe me, it was not so easy to create the lyrics of this song, the Ukrainian lyrics of this song because it was so hard situation in that time in Kyiv where I was serving with my colleagues and my friends. And, of course, it was very hard psychologically, first of all, but we were like -- we understood that we should do this, we should collaborate, and shoot through the music and through the video to talk with all over the world, and to show to, like, spread our truth and our feelings to all over the world.

So we pushed ourselves to do this, and of course, it was a big pleasure to take part in something creative with Ed Sheeran. And, you know, it was difficult not just to create the lyrics, but to record the voice on the studio because our studio where we used to record the musical instruments and, and my voice was under occupation in the Hostomel city.

But we found a way how to do this. We asked our friends to help us and we -- finally we record the voice, and after that, we decided, of course to create the video for the song.

But in that time, our battalion was replaced -- was moved from Kyiv to Kharkiv where we are now. And of course, it was impossible to create something and to -- like to shoot the video because we were not available to do this and we asked our friends, Dmitrich Murach (ph) with his team to create the video. We invented the idea and he created this video clip.

It also was not so easy because -- I think you understand why, but in the time where this video was created in the outskirts of Kyiv and the cities nearby Kyiv were recaptured by Ukrainian Armed Forces. So we took an opportunity to shoot this video there over in Kyiv.

But my part of the video where I'm singing, it was shoot nearby Kharkiv at the north of the Kharkiv district between the combat positions of our battalion, so we just stopped on the road and it took me maybe 15 minutes, this part of the video, and it was also not so easy, it was dangerous because the positions of our battalion and the road was under Russian fire.

And if you stopped like more than 10 or 15 minutes, you can be shoot by a sniper or another -- or in another way.

So you know because of this I think because -- because this video gets -- because to create this video, it was lot of people who were working to create this video and because it's absolutely truly video, absolutely true story of our life today. So I think because of this video, it became so popular in the world.

I see how it looks how it has impressed people, how like this video touched the people's hearts and you know, it's very good creative way to talk with the world and to share our pain, not just like, share just to share, but to make understand everyone what are we feeling now and what are we going through now. What is the war in Ukraine and it touched everybody?

BROWN: Well, and now hearing all of that you had to go through do to make this even deepens that understanding and will touch even more hearts.


BROWN: Taras Topolia, thank you so much for coming on and doing this video and sharing everything that you went through and making it and Happy Mother's Day, by the way as your wife who is caring for your children in the United States.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BROWN: The 148th Run for the Roses is now in the record books. It is

the greatest two-minutes in sports and the first jewel in the Triple Crown this year goes to a Major Long Shot.

CNN's Andy Scholes us live at Churchill Downs in Louisville.

Andy, 80 to one odds. First of all, love your outfit, so appropriate for the derby.

Sorry, I had to mention that because I am from Kentucky, but man, can we get back to the Cinderella story? This is amazing. I had friends there texting me like people couldn't believe it. What a big upset this was.


ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: So Pamela, this 148th Kentucky Derby is a perfect example of what makes this race so great. You have a 20-horse field, anything can happen and Rich Strike who wasn't even in the original field didn't get into the field until Friday when there was a scratch, ends up winning the derby at 80 to one odds.

One Donerail at 91 to one odds back in 1913 had longer odds of winning the Kentucky Derby then did Rich Strike and it was an incredible race. You know, Rich Strike, he was right there in the thick of it around the final turn, and then he just turned it on and then ended up surging past the front runners, Epicenter and Zenden in the final stretch to get the wind, really just shocking the entire crowd of more than 150,000 here at Churchill Downs.

And just -- what a moment this was for the Rich Strike team. Trainer, Eric Reed is from Kentucky, actually lost 23 horses in 2016 stable fire loss, trophies, memorabilia, but now he is a Kentucky Derby champion in his very first try. He has been training horses for 37 years. He said it was just a dream just to be called up to compete in the derby, and now, he has won the Run for the Roses.

Owner, Rick Dawson, said you know despite the long odds, they always believed they could win. So just an amazing, amazing race we had this year, Pamela.

And you know, some of us here had no long days at the track, not winning very much and put $5.00 on Rich Strike to win the Kentucky Derby.


SCHOLES: Eight to one odds. That's a nice rally there. It paid off.

BROWN: You must be feeling good. Andy Scholes, thank you so much, super jealous of your assignment.

We'll be right back.