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Zelenskyy Looking to Evacuate Soldiers at Azovstal; Red Square Prepares for Victory Day Parade; North Korean Launch Possibly Ballistic Missile; North American Soldiers Say Why They're Fighting in Ukraine. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired May 07, 2022 - 03:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and a very warm welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm Isa Soares, live in Ukraine.

Evacuations for the lucky few in Mariupol offer hope for safe passage to those still there. But they must survive Russia's relentless shelling as the Kremlin looks for victory in the days ahead.

KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): And I'm Kim Brunhuber at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. Following our other stories, we are learning that North Korea has fired what appears to be a ballistic missile. We will bring you more in our live report from Taipei.


SOARES: Welcome to the show, everyone. It is 10 am here in Ukraine.

For the first time, Ukraine is accusing Russia of blowing up bridges to prevent counterattacks in the nation's northeast. We heard that a short time ago, in an update from the Ukrainian general staff. CNN cannot independently verify that claim.

We do know that, in the past two weeks, Ukrainian troops have retaken a number of villages to the north and east of Kharkiv. We are also keeping, of course, a close eye on any news coming out of the city of Mariupol, as you can see in the map, to the south.

At least 50 civilians were successfully evacuated from the Azovstal steel factory on Friday. The Russian military was seen escorting two buses said to be carrying some of those evacuees to a town east of Mariupol.


SOARES (voice-over): And as we have been showing you for the last few days, in fact, the sprawling factory has been under constant shelling and bombardment, with President Zelenskyy saying he is pursuing diplomatic options for the safe evacuation of the soldiers still inside.


SOARES: On Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden announced $150 million in additional military aid. He warns that the U.S. is running low on what it can send without additional approval, of course, from Congress.

The Pentagon says that more than 200 Ukrainian soldiers have now been trained to operate the U.S. howitzers that recently arrived in the region. Now with the very latest on the dire situation in Mariupol, here is our Sara Sidner.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A Ukrainian soldier in shocked silence, his arm shredded and burned, his vehicle hit by a shoulder fire grenade launcher official say, another victim in the bloody battle from Mariupol.

The video, a terrible reminder for those who have relatives still fighting there. Olga (ph) has a husband and the Ukrainian army in Mariupol. Anna's (ph) brother is there as well.

It's so painful for me. People can't just be silent about the horrors happening there. They don't have days there. They are counting the minutes.

Anna says she fears for her brother who she says is deteriorating physically as he fights the Russians inside the plant. He's very skinny. He's exhausted. His eyes have black bags, she says. He's in horrible condition but that's just physically. Mentally, he's unbelievably strong. They are all so motivated to tear the Russians apart.

Russia is attacking from the ground and the sky. The devastation immeasurable, the human suffering incalculable. Under heavy fire, hundreds of civilians still stuck cowering in fear under the steel plant. This is the last Ukrainian stronghold in Mariupol.

But Russia is squeezing in on it, relentlessly bombing the place even after a promise of a ceasefire to allow those trapped civilians to escape.

SVYATOSLAV PALAMAR, DEPUTY COMMANDER, UKRAINE'S AZOV REGIMENT (through translator): Once again, the Russians violated the prominence of the truth and did not allow the evacuation of civilians who continue to hide from shelling in the basement of the plant.

SIDNER (voice-over): Friday, a third rescue attempt got underway at least a dozen civilians rescued, adding to the nearly 500 people free.

Twenty-one-year-old Nicole (ph) was able to escape -- really happy life there now devastate her. This is practically suicide. If I do, my heart shatters. I don't understand why, how at some point.

On the other side of the Battle, a Russian soldier nonchalantly says talks are useless for a ceasefire. The war in his mind, has been ongoing for eight years since the Russians invaded and occupied Crimea.


SIDNER (voice-over): Now terror washes over another place and the bombs continue to fall -- Sara Sidner, CNN, Kyiv.


SOARES: I want to show you these live pictures coming in to us. I believe they are coming in from Moscow, victory day preparations, as you can see, a dress rehearsal, in the center of Moscow. It's now 10 am in the morning.

And of course, victory day -- as we've seen it over the years, projecting strength for a large military parade. And we are looking really at Red Square Moscow, where the Kremlin is preparing for Monday's parade.

Russia's celebrates May 9th each year as an anniversary of the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II. But this year it stands in sharp contrast, of course, to the brutal military campaign that President Putin has been waging next door in Ukraine.

We've seen the images of Mariupol, where the Azovstal steel plant is being besieged, it is being really hammered, for days and bombarded for days on end. Success, of course, has been questionable, Putin's success. And the losses appear to be very, very steep.

Yet the images, that we shall see tomorrow, coming from these dress rehearsals, they will tell a very different story. At least, that is what's Putin will want, the message to convey at home.

We've got more on all of this. Jade McGlynn is a senior researcher at Monterey Initiative in Russian Studies.

Perfect timing having you here as we look at these pictures. In the last several weeks, we've heard about Russia's victory day, on May 9th, this is supposed to be -- and you can correct me if I am wrong -- kind of more of a somber occasion of remembrance.

But under Putin it has become, as we see these dress rehearsals, a show of strength and military hardware. Talk us through the significance of this day for Putin and for Russia.

JADE MCGLYNN, SENIOR RESEARCHER, MONTEREY INITIATIVE IN RUSSIAN STUDIES: Thank you. So the 9th of May, it is the day that Russians celebrate victory in World War II or the great patriotic war, as they call it, from 1941 to 1945. I think to many Westerners, it probably does conjure up images of military parades in Red Square, soldiers marching.

In recent years, even little children dressed up as soldiers (INAUDIBLE) and certainly as you correct said, it has become an incredibly militaristic and, I suppose, quite commodified holiday. But that isn't -- for many Russians, it still does retain its

(INAUDIBLE) and it does still have the title, the holiday with tears in your eyes. There is the state but there are also the ordinary Russians. And they remember it differently.

SOARES: Yes, exactly. They will probably be remembering the significance very differently. And I said it's tomorrow, it's not, it's Monday, I've got my days mixed up.

I've been hearing from officials here -- and we've been hearing from sources, the Russian generals are under pressure to deliver any sort of win.

Is that needed, given the images we see?

MCGLYNN: I am not quite sure that it is needed because I suppose if I think about it in the U.K. context, I would say, yes, Putin would be under pressure. But of course, he doesn't live in that democratic context with those pressures on him.

So he does have a lot more freedom of maneuver. Of course, as well, he has the whole state propaganda apparatus. That's under his control. So he can always manufacture a win.

And I think there has, of course, been a lot of speculation on what might be announced. But we can be sure that there is going to be a real, however grotesque it may seem, there will be, of course, victory day celebrations in Mariupol and in Kherson.

And, of course, that will look incredibly grotesque. In Mariupol, the Russian viewers won't see this. They will see this as -- many of them will see it as Russia having liberated Mariupol. And now they are allowed to celebrate victory day.

It's one of the big lies that the Russian state has (INAUDIBLE) is that, in Ukraine, you're not allowed to celebrate victory day and the veterans are beaten up or abused or spat in the street, which is just nonsense.

SOARES: So Jade, in that case if that message is not needed, if clearly what everyone will be seeing is this.


SOARES: If he doesn't have to deliver any win as you said, who is this directed to?

Is this to the West, is this some warning or show of force for the West?

MCGLYNN: It is a bit but. It's also that since 2012, for the last decade but especially since Russian first invaded Ukraine, it has become the central idea of Russian identity. So this is something that they have been adept in using, the powerful cultural memory of World War II, trying to cohere a sense of nation, which Russia has struggled with since the post-Soviet era. So this is one thing that can unite all Russians. The pride and the memory of World War II, we can see how powerful it is in the way it's been used to discredit the Ukrainians that have been seen as Nazis or under a Nazi government over the last few years.

So there is that, the reappearance of the doomsday, I think that's certainly intended as a bit of a message to the West. But it's also the shoring up of domestic support.

SOARES: And you know, Jade, as I've looked at these images, as the prep is underway, my mind takes me to the images that I have been seeing now for weeks on end of Mariupol, being bombarded relentlessly, a very different image from what we are seeing now on your screen.

We have seen in Mariupol that Russia is replacing road signs, putting up statues. We just showed a woman showing a Soviet flag.

Does this Russification help?

MCGLYNN: Yes, I think it does if we're talking about domestically, although one of the things that I think people underestimate is how powerful Russian propaganda is.

And so I think as well it will begin to take effect in some of the occupied territories where Mariupol's just in ruins. But in Kherson, of course, it's not in ruins. One of the first things was to shut off all Ukrainian television stations.

And there's a reason that happens. It's very deliberate. I think it's difficult to know how effective it is in Mariupol, given the scale of devastation. But it will be tragic and interesting to see how that works out.

SOARES: Yes, and that we have seen, of course, in 2014 as well. Jade McGlynn, always great to get your insight. We could talk about this for hours, the history, the meanings, the propaganda, really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us.

As we look at these live images coming to us from Moscow of the preps, the dress rehearsals for Monday's parade, we will have live coverage, as troops and officials gather. At 9 am Moscow, that is 7 am in London. The parade is expected to get underway about an hour later.

And Kim, as you just saw from the live images, we are expecting another image, more images of Putin, trying to show power, military power, an image like we heard from my guest just now, intended very much for propaganda purposes at home but also for the West.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely, I will be having a guest talking about the Russification of Ukraine coming up in about an hour. Thank you so much Isa, very much appreciated.

Japan's defensive ministry believes an unidentified projectile fired by North Korea could be a ballistic missile. South Korea's joint chiefs of staff says it has been fired off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has conducted repeated ballistic missile tests this year,

the most recent on Wednesday. For more on this let's bring in Will Ripley, live in Taipei.

What more are we learning about this?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So you're right, Kim, there has been a test on Wednesday, which North Korea never publicized, certainly interesting. Normally they take about 24 hours after a launch.

That launch was in an area near the North Korean capital, where a intercontinental ballistic missile was launched back in March. This launch today, though, very interesting because it happened in the waters off of the coastal city of Sinpo, leading the United States, Japanese and South Korean intelligence agencies to assess that it is likely a submarine launched ballistic missile.


RIPLEY: Now a submarine launched ballistic is something that is troubling for any country that has a coastline, because unlike an ICBM, where a launch can be detected ahead of time, an SLBM or submarine launched ballistic missile can roll up and basically fire almost like a surprise attack, if you will.

Now their submarine fleet is older, it's noisy, these are diesel submarines, far more loud technology than the stealth U.S. nuclear submarine fleet. But the fact that North Korea is perfecting submarine launched technologies and demonstrating it does keep it consistent with what Kim Jong-un has been doing throughout this year.

He has been launching weapons at an unprecedented pace. This is the 14th test, missile launch, of 2022. That is more, Kim, than 2020 and 2021 combined. It comes less than two weeks after Kim Jong-un gave a speech at a military parade in Pyongyang, that country's military foundation day, where he vowed to continue to grow his country's nuclear forces at the fastest possible speed.

This is happening and there is another potentially significant event on the horizon. U.S. military intelligence has been looking at satellite images of Punggye-ri, shuttered for about five years. I was there back in 2017, when they blew up the entrances and said that it could never be repaired.

Guess what, Kim, the North Koreans are now repairing it, they're digging new tunnels, building a new command center and the U.S. thinks that a nuclear test could happen as soon as this month. It would be North Korea seventh nuclear test. Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Wow. As you say, very troubling implications. Great to get your insights on this story. CNN's Will Ripley in Taipei, thank you so much.

The presidential inauguration will be getting underway and we will look at the challenges Emmanuel Macron will face for his second term. That is ahead. Plus, nationalist parties could be set for a historic win after local

elections in the U.K. But it was a tough night for the Conservatives. We will have more after the break. Stay with us.





BRUNHUBER: Emmanuel Macron is just hours away from being formally inaugurated as president of France for a second term. The ceremony will take place at the Elysee Palace in Paris. President Macron will sign the official documents, be recognized as a grand master of the Legion of Honour and deliver a speech.

Macron defeated far-right candidate Marine Le Pen to become the first French president in 20 years to win reelection.

It was a tough night for Boris Johnson, after the U.K. prime minister's Conservative Party lost hundreds of seats in local elections across the U.K. on Thursday. In Northern Ireland, nationalist party Sinn Fein looks set for a historic result. Final results are still pending. Bianca Nobilo has the story.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: It has been a bruising day for prime minister Boris Johnson as expected as results have trickled in from local council elections all across the U.K.

The prime minister lost more than 300 seats in what was considered to be the first real political test of his leadership and all the scandals that have beset his premiership, most notably Partygate.

And his loss has been in large part the gain of Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, winning over 200 seats so far. But it wasn't a unqualified success for Starmer, because it was announced today that the Durham constabulary would look at whether he breached COVID-19 rules in April 2021. This could cause political problems for Starmer.

He has built many of his arguments against the prime minister based on the hypocrisy of Johnson breaking COVID-19 rules.

It's also been a historic night in Northern Ireland, where Sinn Fein is set to be the biggest party since its existence. Michelle O'Neill would take the role of first minister. Earlier I spoke to the president of Sinn Fein, Mary Lou McDonald, on whether she thought that this meant that Northern Ireland was closer than ever to unification with the Republic of Ireland.


MARY LOU MCDONALD, PRESIDENT, SINN FEIN: I think in this decade we will witness constitutional change on the island of Ireland. And it is my absolute determination that that change will be entirely peaceful and highly democratic and orderly.

So we have been saying to the government in Dublin and, indeed, in London, that the preparation for constitutional change in Ireland needs to begin now. There will be no prize for anybody, irrespective of their political strife, for burying their head in the sand.

We need to be alive to the fact that change is on direct. And we also need to also be cognizant of the immense -- I mean, immense economic and social and cultural opportunities that will be afforded to us, to the island of Ireland and to us as an island nation in the coming years.

And I really want us to grasp those opportunities and for everyone who calls this island home to benefit from that change.


NOBILO: While this is a historic night in Northern Ireland, it is also a potentially decisive one for both Johnson and Starmer. Johnson has built his political career on being a proven election winner.

So this puts him in political danger. And if Starmer can capitalize on this success and reinforce it with his party, Labour could be on track to a much better showing in the next general election -- Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.


BRUNHUBER: I'm Kim Brunhuber, for our international viewers, "AFRICAN VOICES: CHANGEMAKERS" is next.


BRUNHUBER: For those of you in North America, the news continues after a break, please stay with us.





SOARES: Welcome back.

More evacuations are planned today from the steel plant in Mariupol, where the city's last Ukrainian defendants have been holed up now for weeks, along, of course, with civilians.

The Ukrainian and Russian officials say 50 civilians were rescued on Friday. President Zelenskyy said he is working on diplomatic options in the hopes of getting soldiers out safely as well. This as Ukraine's military said Russian forces have begun to blow up

bridges east of Kharkiv to slow the Ukrainian counter offenses and Ukraine also said fewer offensive actions by Russia over the past few days could indicate a pause before Russian forces launch a new phase.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden has announced $150 million in additional military aide for Ukraine on Friday. But he warns the U.S. is running low on what it can send without additional approval from the Congress.

And I want to take you now to Bucharest. The U.S. first lady Jill Biden arrived a short time ago in Romania's capital. It's the first part of a four-day trip that will see her first trip to Slovakia. She will spend time with families displaced by Russia's war on the Ukraine.

And we will see Biden meet with Romania's first lady, who is educated and kept her job as an English teacher at a local college during her tenure. Romania has taken more than 850,000 refugees from Ukraine, Slovakia, nearly 400,000, not nearly as many as Poland. Both countries are straining to meet the needs of the influx.

These images are coming from the capital, Bucharest, as first lady Jill Biden there begins a visit there. As soon as we get more pictures, we will, of course, bring them to you.

Well, even though governments around the world have warned their citizens against traveling to Ukraine to fight, some foreign nationals have decided to go anyway. I spoke with two former U.S. Marines and a former Canadian sergeant. And they described the challenges they face.


SOARES (voice-over): For weeks now, these volunteer fighters, have been defending a country that is not theirs.

"DOC," VOLUNTEER FIGHTER IN UKRAINE: I saw, on the news, just like everybody else, the atrocities that the Russians were committing. That's the reason why I came.

SOARES (voice-over): The two Americans and the Canadian, who prefer we identify them, by their nicknames, tell me that, from their experiences, with one particular unit, the Ukrainian forces, they have been fighting alongside, on the front lines, are ill-equipped and cut- off from resources.

"RAT," VOLUNTEER FIGHTER IN UKRAINE: Specifically, NATO munitions, in terms of anti-tank weapons, as well as artillery, like Howitzers --

SOARES: So heavy air?

RAT: -- or tanks or --


RAT: -- even like MRAP-type vehicle, anything like that? It's nowhere on the front.

SOARES (voice-over): "Doc," "Rat," and "Shadow (ph)," say they have fought, near Kyiv and in the east, in the Kharkiv region, where Russian troops has strengthened their presence.

RAT: So they would push here, send troops, massive column, on the main road, push them here.

SOARES (voice-over): This video, filmed by them, shows the challenging terrain.

RAT: It's just fields, as far as the eye can see, with nothing but open ground and next-to-zero concealment.

SOARES (voice-over): A battleground without the right equipment can be deadly. The former Canadian Armed Forces Sergeant tells me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a miracle, it's a straight-up miracle that we are still alive.

DOC: You basically have to be a tank or artillery or a aircraft, right now, to fight, in the eastern front.

SOARES (voice-over): So far, the U.S. has approved more than $3 billion, in military assistance, to Ukraine, including thousands of Javelin, Stinger, missiles and other critical weapons. Equipment that these former U.S. Marines say they haven't seen.

DOC: The stuff from these packages need to get to the front.


DOC: They do.

SOARES (voice-over): So much so they are being teased about it.

RAT: We will have guys, coming up to us, with Google Translate.

DOC: Yes.


RAT: "Where are the Howitzers?"

DOC: Yes.

RAT: "Where is Biden's help?"

DOC: Yes.

RAT: Or "Where is NATO's help?"

SOARES (voice-over): Last month, the Pentagon said military gear and equipment was getting to Ukraine, between 24 hours and 48 hours, after it was shipped. But the U.S. was transferring it, to Ukrainian hands and not dictating how fast they get it, to the front line or what unit gets them.

These fighters had just one glimpse, of one front line. But they're not alone, in thinking that Ukraine's Military remains desperately outgunned.

RAT: Both parts. It's one side has nothing and it's doing everything they can. And then, the other side has everything. And they're too afraid to do anything with that.

SOARES (voice-over): Despite the challenges of the battlefield, "Doc," and "Rat," are returning to the front line, moved by Ukraine's fighting spirit.

DOC: The Ukrainians are giving it their all. And they're doing it every single day, every single minute, every single hour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are not part of NATO, so --

SOARES (voice-over): "Shadow (ph)," meanwhile, staying away from the front lines, in Lviv, after learning he's going to be a father.

Camaraderie and a common cause, as they fight for freedom, in a foreign land.


SOARES: And we have reached out to the Ukrainian defense ministry for comment on the claims that you heard there, of the foreign fighters featured in my story, that military aid is not reaching the front lines in the northeast of the Ukraine and why it hasn't.

Well, we have yet to receive a response. But this week, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the U.S. weapons being provided are being put to, quote, "very good use." We will stay on top of the story for you.

After the break, a major development in the manhunt for an Alabama inmate and corrections officer. What authorities are saying after finding that getaway car. We will have the latest for you after a short break. You are watching CNN.





BRUNHUBER: Both anger and support have erupted over the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade. Most Americans are against it, according to a new CNN poll, following the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion; 66 percent of Americans say Roe v. Wade should not be struck down.

It has provided federal protections for those seeking an abortion for nearly half a century.

We are learning more information on the manhunt for an Alabama inmate and corrections officer who went missing over a week ago. The U.S. Marshals Service says they believe they found the getaway car used by Vicky White. CNN's Ryan Young with the latest.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of information in the fugitive manhunt for the two missing people, Vicky White and Casey White. On day eight, police hope to be able to focus on the new information they've learned.

They found the Ford they've been looking for. It is the orange vehicle they put out all across the country hoping someone will turn that car in and that will lead to the two people. Now what we know from the sheriff's department and the Marshals Service is someone found that car last Friday.

It was abandoned in the middle of the street in Tennessee about two hours away from the Alabama location they took off from. What we know how from the two truck driver is that car broke down and he had to tow it somewhere.

He noticed it on TV and told the sheriff's department in Tennessee, who told the department here in Alabama. They are still tracking these two. Listen to the Marshals Service talk about the manhunt.


CHAD HUNT, COMMANDER, U.S. MARSHALS GULF COAST FUGITIVE TASK FORCE: So now what we are doing in addition to canvassing the area, doing some interviews and looking at all those tips that were specific maybe to that area. That really invigorates the investigation for us. And it gives us a trajectory to carry on this investigation.


YOUNG: With the Marshals Service and the sheriff's department, all these phone calls, because of the media coverage, really helped them getting more tips in. We know because of the pictures released, you can see the tattoos on Casey White. He has a Confederate flag on his back, two eyeballs on the back of his head.

When you talk about Vicky White, apparently she has a waddling gait when she walks and they've released pictures of what she might look like if she had brown hair. All that, they say, they're hoping the public will look at this video and pictures and if they see someone like this, they can make that phone call to get more information in.

This continues to be an active manhunt with all parts of the country looking for these two -- Ryan Young, Lauderdale County, Alabama.


BRUNHUBER: All right, coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, two legends: Tom Brady and Lewis Hamilton in a sitdown interview, what drives them to succeed beyond most people's wildest dreams. We will have that story next, stay with us.









BRUNHUBER: I'm Kim Brunhuber. I will be back with more news after a quick break, please do stay with us.