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60 Feared Dead after Russia Bombs School Shelter; Russia to Celebrate Victory Day Amid Fighting in Ukraine; U.S. First Lady Makes Surprise Visit to Ukraine; Voting Underway in Philippine Presidential Race; China: 4,260 New Local COVID Cases, Majority in Shanghai; Israeli Police Officer Stabbed in Jerusalem; North Korea Even More Determined to Keep Nuclear Arsenal; Irish Town Welcomes Hundreds of Ukrainian Refugees. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired May 09, 2022 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Welcome to our viewers right around the world. I'm Isa Soares, live in Lviv, Ukraine.
As Russia wages a brutal and relentless war on this country, the Kremlin is set to commemorate Victory Day of the Soviet feet of the Nazis and World War II.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: And I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. Voting is underway this hour in the Philippines.
A divisive presidential election with the son of a dictator as the frontrunner.
SOARES: Good morning, everyone. It's 7 a.m. here in Ukraine but all eyes on roscoe where Russia's annual Victory Day parade is hours away. This is video from rehearsals on Saturday.
The holiday marks the defeat of Nazi Germany during the Second World War. But today under the shadow of a new war in Europe, the event is taking on other (ph) significance.
Western leaders and analysts have warned now that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use the event to make a major announcement about the war in Ukraine.
Well, the Victory Day celebrations in Moscow come one day after Ukraine marked its own day of remembrance, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accusing Russia of failing to learn the lessons of World War II. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Russia has forgotten everyone that was very important to the victors of World War II. But Ukraine, and the whole free world, will remind it, so that no one will forget. So that really important words, "never again," which are repeated all over the free world, every year on the days of remembrance of the victims of World War II regain their weight again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Based on video released on Sunday, a Russian deputy prime minister has visited Mariupol, the country's highest ranking official to set foot there since the war started.
The Southern Ukrainian port city has been decimated by weeks of bombardment, and it's now almost entirely under Russian control. Except here. That's inside the sprawling Azovstal Steel plant. That's where a group of Ukrainian soldiers are still holed up, refusing to surrender and vowing to fight to the death.
Meanwhile, many of the civilians who spent weeks sheltering alongside those troops are now back in Ukrainian-held territory. The Red Cross said Sunday more than 170 evacuees from Azovstal and Mariupol had arrived in Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine.
And we told you yesterday about the Russian airstrike, if you remember, on a school in the Luhansk region, where people were sheltering, dozens of people are feared dead.
CNN's Sam Kiley spoke to some of those who survived that nightmare.
SAM KILEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This, for Vladimir Putin, is what a modern Russian victory looks like. Dozens dead or missing from a Russian airstrike, on a Russian-speaking village, as part of a Russian campaign that Putin says is to protect his kin folk in Ukraine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
KILEY (voice-over): The rescuers are saying the heat's overwhelming. Local authorities fear about 60 people died here.
This was a school in Bilohorivka in Eastern Ukraine. Villagers were sheltering in its basement. Some had been there for weeks.
Survivors were left with little but grief. We asked if his family had been with him.
His mother didn't survive.
KILEY: It is not lost on anybody here, that on the eve of Vladimir Putin's celebration of the Soviet victory in the Second World War over Nazi Germany, it is civilians who are suffering the most in the name of Vladimir Putin's de-Nazification of Ukraine, a country with a Jewish president.
KILEY (voice-over): "I got slammed down by a slab and pinned to a wall. Then another explosion. Small rocks sprinkled the darkness. Then I looked, and the dust settled, and a ray of light appeared. Sergei (ph) crawled out, and then he dug me out, dug Uncle Tolia (ph) out, dug Aunt Ira (ph) out. We crawled, all in a fog," he said.
Ukraine has stalled Russia's plans for conquest. So the Kremlin's added strategic sites, like oil supplies, to its target list and stepped up its air strikes against civilians in Eastern Ukraine, this week hitting a residential block in the strategic city of Kramatorsk.
Ukrainian politicians refer to Putin's campaign ideology as a fascist creed they call Russcism.
SERHIY HAYDAY, HEAD OF THE LUHANSK REGIONAL MILITARY ADMINISTRATION: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
KILEY (voice-over): Speaking soon after the latest air strike, he said, "They shoot prisoners. They torture women and children. They rape; they loot. They go step-by-step towards Nazism."
Such explanations for what is happening here don't really answer the painful question: why?
Sam Kiley, CNN, Bakhmut.
SOARES: Heartbreaking piece there from Sam Kiley and team.
Well, ahead of Russia's Victory Day celebration, G-7 leaders met virtually with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday to show their ongoing solidarity and support for Ukraine. And they issued a scathing statement accusing President Vladimir Putin of bringing shame to Russia with his war on Ukraine. And they vowed to phase out dependency on Russian oil in a timely manner.
And they also reassured Ukraine that, quote, "We will pursue our ongoing military and defense assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, continue supporting Ukraine in defending its network against cyber incidents, and expand our cooperation, including on information security. We will continue to support Ukraine in increasing its economic as well as energy security."
That statement from the G-7.
Well, in another show of solidarity, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a trip to Ukraine to meet with President Zelenskyy on Sunday.
And during his visit, Mr. Trudeau announced the reopening of the Canadian embassy in Kyiv, and Canada will be supplying more military weapons, as well as equipment, to Ukraine.
Meantime, American diplomats returned to the U.S. embassy in Kyiv for the first time on Sunday since the war in Ukraine started. They timed the visit to commemorate Victory in Europe Day.
The State Department says this was not an official reopening of the U.S. embassy but a step -- excuse me -- in the right direction.
For more, I'm joined by CNN military analyst and retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton from Washington, D.C.
Very good morning. Let me start, really, with what we have been seeing. In the last 24 hours, just more brutal attacks, as you heard there, from Sam Kiley. Attacks on civilians, a school shelter bombed, a civilian convoy fired on near Kharkiv. Is this a sign of desperation from Russian forces?
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: In some ways, Isa, I think it is. You know, when you look at the way in which the Russians are conducting war, it's pretty clear that the only way forward, in many cases, for them, is through sheer force. In other words, through as much as force-on-force application as they can muster against Ukrainian forces, but also, sheer force against a civilian population.
And I think that's where the most brutal aspect of this war comes into play here. That is what we're seeing. We're seeing a desperate move by the Russians to try to claim as least some degree of progress in this war, you know, from their standpoint. And that's, I think, very dangerous for the civilians that are remaining in the Donbas region and in other areas that are being affected by the Russian invasion.
SOARES: And one of those areas is, of course, as we've discussed for wreaks now, is Mariupol. We saw on Sunday the Russian deputy prime minister visit Mariupol and what is left of Mariupol, I should say, which has been completely decimated now by weeks of bombardment.
The soldiers, though, are still inside Azovstal, and they said only yesterday in the conference they did, kind of conference call they did, that surrender is not an option. What is the fate of these soldiers now?
LEIGHTON: Well, this is, you know, the most likely fate, unfortunately, is the worst fate, that they would be killed by the Russians. I -- I hope that doesn't happen, I hope that there is a way that is found, diplomatically, for them to get out.
It's unlikely, or almost impossible, for them to leave, breaking out of the siege, based on, you know, what we see in terms of the Russian military disposition of forces around the Azovstal plant.
So the only way out for them, I think, is going to be through some kind of truce that is arranged, where they can leave without being harmed by the Russians. The likelihood of that, I think, is fairly slim, unfortunately.
SOARES: Yes, and we have heard from President Zelenskyy in the last 48 hours, where he talked exactly about that, Colonel, trying to find a diplomatic solution to -- to evacuate the soldiers, 600 or so, in fact, and many wounded, which is important to point out.
Let's look ahead, if we can, to really, today in the coming hours. Victory Day in Russia, a celebration, of course, as we've been saying, surrender of the Nazis in World War II.
Do you believe that President Putin will use this holiday as an excuse, really, to declare so-called victory over the Donbas and de- escalate? Or double down and expand the war? What is your view on what we can expect?
LEIGHTON: So I think he might do parts of both of that. He may declare the Donbas region or the extra parts that he hasn't annexed yet. He may declare them as, you know, integral parts of Russia.
He may also do the same thing for the area around Kherson, in the South. That could very well be his -- his way forward. I don't think that it will be a way for him to finish these hostilities at this point. I think he's kind of dug in for the long haul here. And we may see the kind of warfare that we've seen since 2014 in the Donbas but in a separate series of regions, not only the Donbas but also in the South and possibly in the Northeast, around Kharkiv.
So I think it will be something like that. Of course, the extreme possibility would be that he would actually declare war against Ukraine, not that he isn't actually fighting the war right now. But declares a war. That would then open things up from a mobilization standpoint.
And he would have more manpower, theoretically, more weapons eventually that would be brought into the area. But the Russian supply system is so distressed by what's going on right now that I think it's very unlikely that he would get a quick fix out of declaring war. So that is something that he may not do, perhaps because of that reason. So -- so it will be a mixed situation, I believe, from him at this point.
SOARES: And, you know, we're what? Seventy-plus days into this war, Colonel. How do you view, you know, how the battlefield has evolved here over those -- over these 70 days?
LEIGHTON: Well, I think, you know, over the past 70 days, Isa, the situation has been quite favorable for the Ukrainians. And that was something that very few people believed they would be able to carry out. They were able to not only stall the Russian advance around Kyiv but also roll it back.
The danger, of course, that they have is that their forces in the Donbas could be surrounded by the Russians, and I think what we're seeing now is a way in which they're doing artillery duels between the Russians and the Ukrainians.
Both sides are trying to outmaneuver each other, but it's very difficult to do that with just artillery. And that's, I think, more of what we're seeing, instead of the tank battle that many of us have projected in this area of flat, low-lying lands that would be ideal in some ways for tank warfare. So that still might happen, but I think what we're going to be seeing is kind of a stalemate.
SOARES: Yes, I mean, it's very much what we have been seeing, isn't it, in the last 48 hours in the Luhansk region, in particular.
Colonel Cedric Leighton from Washington, D.C. Always great to have your insight, Colonel. Thank you very much.
LEIGHTON: Isa, thanks so much.
U.S. first lady, Jill Biden, is now the latest high-profile American to visit Ukraine. She crossed into the country from Slovakia, meeting with Ukraine's first lady, Olena Zelenskyy [SIC], as you can see there on Sunday.
This is the first time Mrs. Zelenskyy has been seen in public since the war began.
CNN's Kate Bennett has the story.
KATE BENNETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: First lady Jill Biden making a surprise Mother's Day trip into Ukraine, spending some time --
BENNETT (voice-over): -- just under two hours, in a town about 15- minute drive from the Slovakian border.
An even bigger surprise, as well as the visit, was the appearance of first lady Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine, who has been in hiding, keeping a low profile, not being seen in public since February and the beginning of the Russian invasion.
But she wanted to meet with Dr. Biden, and today the two women met in person. They discussed several things, I'm told, including the health and emotional welfare of children, families, and soldiers going through crisis in Ukraine.
The first lady of Ukraine asking Jill Biden for her help and advice, as she and her country navigate this time.
Dr. Biden was spending a four-day trip in Europe. She's already been to Romania and Slovakia. She returns to Washington tomorrow.
But it was very important for her to make this trip to Ukraine, something a first lady hasn't done, visiting an active war zone, since Laura Bush visited Afghanistan by herself in 2005 and 2008. Certainly, a courageous thing for a first lady to do.
And on her wrist, I might add, today, a corsage from President Biden, who had it delivered for Mother's Day to the first lady, all the way over in Slovakia. She kept it on all day --
BENNETT: -- clearly honoring this holiday and spending it in a country that is suffering, and that America is supporting.
SOARES: CNN's Kate Bennett, reporting there.
And the White House says first lady Jill Biden will meet with the president of Slovakia in the coming hours before heading back to the United States.
And we'll be back later on the show, but coming up next, millions of Filipinos are heading for the polls to pick their next president. The race pits the current vice president against the namesake son of the country's controversial dictator. We'll have a live report after a very short break.
You are watching CNN NEWSROOM.
COREN: Welcome back. Well, voting has begun in the Philippines as they vote for the next president for the next six years.
There is a large field of candidates, but the two main contenders are Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the son of the country's late dictator, and incumbent vice president, Leni Robredo.
Well, CNN international correspondent Ivan Watson is tracking the election from here in Hong Kong.
And Ivan, if we go off the polls, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., the son of the former dictator who committed human rights abuses and allegedly fleeced the Philippines of ten billion U.S. dollars, will win in a landslide. Or is this a much tighter race?
IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, most of the polls have indicated that he is by far the favorite, and we'll just really have to see. Because, as we have seen in other elections around the world, polls sometimes are proven wrong.
This election is a big one, Anna. We're talking about some 67 million registered voters. We're talking about, of course, the top spot of president, for which there are ten candidates running for office.
Ferdinand Marcos Jr., also known as Bongbong Marcos in the Philippines. Leni Robredo, the current vice president. Also, a professional boxer, Manny Pacquiao, who's also a lawmaker in Manila, and a number of other candidates.
But there are more than 18,000 other political positions up for grabs right now. So this is a big deal taking place in the Philippines. It is going to be a period of transition from Rodrigo Duterte, who kind of surprised the world and the Philippines when he captured the presidency in May of 2016. That mercurial leader who, interestingly, has not endorsed Bongbong Marcos Jr., even though Duterte's own daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, is Bongbong Marcos Jr.'s running mate as vice president.
So you have very interesting dynamics here among the different dynasties, political dynasties in the Philippines. Bongbong Marcos Jr. has had some success running as a nostalgia candidate, talking about a unity and the golden years when his father was the dictator of the Philippines, running the country for nearly ten years under martial law.
Leni Robredo, interestingly, the vice president, she beat Bongbong Marcos Jr. six years ago in the last national election, running for vice president, edging him out. And he claimed that there had been cheating at the polls.
So we'll be watching very closely to see how today unfolds, Anna.
COREN: Ivan, Leni Robredo, who you just mentioned, we know she has a lot of support from the educated and the middle class. But is that enough to get her across the line?
WATSON: Well, that's the big question here. And both candidates, both of these leading front-running candidates have had these huge rallies in the run-up to today's election.
There's been -- you're looking right now at the colors pink, which are the colors of Robredo and her campaign, which has been out on the streets, active online, as well.
But, don't forget that Bongbong Marcos Jr., with his color red and with the support of Rodrigo Duterte, his daughter, as vice president, they've been out in red, also very active online.
There's been a lot of accusations of spreading of false news, of fake news, of bullying and of trolls active online. It has been a kind of messy campaign leading up to today.
And the question will be, can this pink wave really challenge what the polls have said is the frontrunner in red -- Anna.
COREN: Time will tell. Ivan Watson, as always, good to see you. Thank you.
Well, on Sunday, China reported more than 4,200 new COVID-19 cases. The majority were in the hard-hit city of Shanghai, which has been coping with a crippling lockdown which officials are now tightening even further.
For more, we're joined by CNN's Steven Jiang in Beijing. And Steven, Shanghai residents have been locked down for more than a month, some even longer. How can authorities further tighten these restrictions?
STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Anna, things in Shanghai really took a very ominous turn after the country's supreme leader, President Xi Jinping, made clear late last week that he is not only sticking to a very strict zero-COVID policy but also vowing and also asked officials across the country to, in his words, "resolutely fight with any distortion, doubts and rejection of this policy."
And that's exactly what has happened across China but especially in Shanghai, where officials are increasingly adopting political campaigns or even military-campaign-style tactics, you know, by receding people into their homes after somewhat easing lockdown measures in districts with no positive cases.
Now, not only people are being re-locked into their homes, the authorities have also banned deliveries of groceries and other daily necessity items.
But what we're also seeing authorities are really forcibly removing a growing number of residents, including the elderly and people sick with other diseases, into those hastily-built quarantine camps with horrific conditions. Not only with positive cases but also sometimes residents living on the same floor or in the entire building.
So, all of that, of course, is very much unnerving in an already very jittery population, including workers who are being forced to live in their factories to resume production.
And, in one viral video we have seen workers, dozens of them, in Quanta, this major supplier to Apple and Tesla in Shanghai, really overwhelming hazmat-suited security guards and vaulting over factory gates to escape after they have learned there might be positive cases inside the factory.
And so, compared to Shanghai, the residents here in the capital city, Beijing, have had it relatively good, because there is still no citywide lockdown. But even though the daily case count is still in the dozens, the authorities here also ramping up restrictions and other measures, especially in Chaoyang district, the city's biggest and also where we are located.
Not only everybody in the district has been ordered to work from home. They have also suspended most public transportation and closed down also nonessential services and also, of course, incessant mass testing.
Anna, just this morning, I did my ninth test in the past two weeks, and the authorities here have made clear this is going to be increasingly part of your daily routine in terms of showing a negative test result to access most public places, if and when they reopen -- Anna.
COREN: Extraordinary, isn't it, Steven, when the rest of the world is getting on with living with COVID, China doubling down on their zero- COVID strategy.
Steven Jiang, as always, thank you.
On Israeli border, a police officer was stabbed in Jerusalem on Sunday. Police say the suspect is a Palestinian who is living in Israel illegally.
CNN's Hadas Gold has the details.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This incident took place at the Damascus gate, which is one of the main entrances to the old city of Jerusalem for Muslim worshippers to reach the holy sites there. And it's often a flashpoint between Israeli forces and Palestinians.
GOLD (voice-over): On Sunday evening, Israeli police say a 19-year-old Palestinian man approached a police post near the gate with a knife. And police say when they approached him for questioning, he stabbed a 24-year-old officer in the upper body.
Police say they opened fire, hitting the man, and both men were taken to the hospital for treatment.
GOLD: Earlier on Sunday, Israeli forces announced they had caught two Palestinian suspects, alleged to have carried out a deadly terror attack on Thursday night in the Israeli town of El'ad.
GOLD (voice-over): The suspects, who police say killed three and seriously injured at least four others with a gun and an axe, were caught in a forested area not far from the town where the attack took place.
Israeli officials said hundreds of forces were involved in the three- day manhunt, which used everything from drones to DNA technology.
GOLD: Now, Israeli-Palestinian tensions have soared over the past month and a half or so. Thursday's attack was the sixth such attack targeting Israelis since last March, bringing the death toll to at least 18.
And as a result, Israeli forces have set up raids on what they say are counter-terrorism operations in the West Bank, where at least two dozen Palestinians have been killed.
And regular clashes at Jerusalem's holiest site, the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, also known as the Temple Mount, have inflamed tensions near the boiling point that helped spark last year's 11-day war between Hamas militants and the Israeli army.
Hadas Gold, CNN, Jerusalem.
COREN: North Korea is watching closely how the West is reacting to the war in Ukraine. Why Kim Jong-U.N. thinks Kyiv made a mistake decades ago that he never will repeat.
SOARES: Welcome back. I'm Isa Soares, live in Lviv, Ukraine.
And our top story this hour, as Russia prepares to commemorate their Soviet victory in World War II, a victory in Ukraine appears as elusive as ever. In the coming hours, Russia will hold its annual Victory Day parade in
Moscow's Red Square. And this video is actually from rehearsals on Saturday.
Western leaders have warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use the event to formally declare war in Ukraine, or make another major announcement.
Those celebrations in Moscow really a stark contrast to the brutal reality on the ground. This was the scene in Eastern Ukraine's Luhansk region on Saturday. Local leaders say about 60 people are feared dead after Russian forces bombed a school where they were taking shelter. Only around 30 people survived the attack.
Fighting in the Luhansk region has been raging now for months and ramped up in recent weeks as Russia refocused its invasion on Eastern Ukraine.
In the meantime, North Korea is watching what happens in Ukraine very closely, and more importantly, the international reaction to Russia's actions. CNN's Paula Hancocks explains.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meeting for the first time in 2019, North Korean leader Kim Jong-U.N. and Vladimir Putin revived a decades-long alliance. North Korea has unsurprisingly sided with Russia, calling the U.S., quote, "the root cause of the Ukrainian crisis." The war reinforcing a basic lesson.
ANDREI LANKOV, PROFESSOR, KOOKMIN UNIVERSITY: Only one, but very important. Never, ever surrender your nuclear weapons. They have no need anyway for the (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and now, they've got another confirmation after Iraq, after Libya.
HANCOCKS: Pyongyang often makes the connection between the former leaders of Iraq and Libya giving up their nuclear ambitions, then losing power, and ultimately, their lives.
Ukraine agreed to transfer thousands of nuclear warheads to Russia after the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. It did not have an independent weapons program.
ANKIT PANDA, STANTON SENIOR FELLOW, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL POLICE: I think the war in Ukraine really affirms the North Korean view judge of how the world works. The North Koreans, I think, have persistently rejected the idea of any form of international order really having an effect on how states relate to each other.
HANCOCKS (voice-over): Kim is experiencing the most favorable weapons testing environment he has seen in his ten years in power. A split among United Nations Security Council members, Russia and China on one side, the U.S., U.K. and France on the other, means the chances of punishment on punishing Russia.
Despite the intent on Russia, it will block additional sanctions. And frankly it is not clear what else else you can possibly sanction.
HANCOCKS (voice-over): North Korea has launched more than a dozen missiles already this year, including an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Satellite imagery of the Punggye-ri preliminary underground testing site suggests that a 7th nuclear testing site may also be imminent. N
North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950. The thought it might try again has long been dismissed. But Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the West's refusal to fight directly against a nuclear power, is at least raising the question.
LANKOV: Maybe, just maybe, this American president of the year 2045, or 2055, will not risk San Francisco in order to save Seoul.
HANCOCKS: North Korea could also benefit, potentially, from countries boycotting Russian oil and gas. Cash-strapped Pyongyang would be more than happy to pick up some of the slack from Russia, potentially at a discount, and certainly would appreciate dealing with a country that no longer feels constrained by U.S.-led sanctions.
Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.
SOARES: Well, Ukrainians displaced by Russia's constant attacks are breathing the perils, really, of war in search of shelter. More evacuees of Mariupol reached relative safety, as you can see there, in Zaporizhzhia on Sunday.
And one woman says she was a overwhelmed by the amount of destruction that she had witnessed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I have never seen such destruction. We have seen many wars in films but have never seen such destruction in any war. It is a mockery!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: So heartbreaking. Well, the U.N. reports more than 13 million people have been forced to flee by Russia's war. Nearly 6 million have gone to other countries, and more than 7.7 million, you can see there, are internally displaced.
Well, tens of thousands of Ukrainians are finding a safe haven in Ireland. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan returned to his hometown to see how Ukrainians are being welcomed in the Emerald Isle.
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It may be thousands of miles away, but Cahersiveen, my hometown, is just one part of rural Ireland being transformed by the war in Ukraine.
TREASA NI CHROININ, SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: Welcome back!
O'SULLIVAN: How are you? What's going on? How are you?
NI CHROININ: Any flashbacks?
O'SULLIVAN: A little bit, because see, I was over on the bicycle.
NI CHROININ: Yes.
Six weeks ago, we were a school of 103 pupils, seven teachers. We arrived back after St. Patrick's weekend to a 50 percent increase in our school population, where today, six weeks later, we have an enrollment of 155 pupils, and ten teachers.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): With a population of only 5 million people, Ireland has taken in more than 25,000 Ukrainians fleeing the war. Hundreds have come to Cahersiveen, and everyone is involved in making them feel welcome.
HUGH HORGAN, SCHOOL JANITOR: I come in here mostly when the classes are finished, and there's a beautiful young girl here. She's a classical pianist, and she -- she comes in and plays the piano when the school slows. So she serenades me for maybe an hour or two in the evening. It's fantastic!
D. O'SULLIVAN: Hello, Mr. O'Sullivan! How are you?
CORMAC O'SULLIVAN, TEACHER: Nice to see you.
Where is everyone here from? Where are you from?
VIERA (PH), REFUGEE FROM KYIV: I'm from in Kyiv.
D. O'SULLIVAN: You're from Kyiv?
VIERA (PH): Yes.
D. O'SULLIVAN: And how long have you been in Cahersiveen?
VIERA (PH): Two months, maybe.
D. O'SULLIVAN: Two months?
VIERA (PH): Yes.
C. O'SULLIVAN: Viera (ph) is actually an exceptionally talented piano player.
D. O'SULLIVAN: Are you the piano player?
VIERA (PH): Yes.
D. O'SULLIVAN: Is that you?
VIERA (PH): Yes.
D. O'SULLIVAN: Do you play in here?
VIERA (PH): Yes.
C. O'SULLIVAN: OK, boys and girls.
D. O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): As well as using translation apps, Scall Saveen (ph) has hired teachers to help the new students learn English.
C. O'SULLIVAN: All their general knowledge is really good. It's just that the English is at a lower level. But they're like sponges. They learn really quickly. And they're already -- They're lovely children. They're always smiling.
D. O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): As for the Irish students?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's a very nice experience to have Ukrainian people in our class. And that they can learn from us, and we can learn from them.
D. O'SULLIVAN: And you're happy to have so many new people in the school?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it's different. And it's a lot busier. People have new friends now and all. It's very nice, I like it.
NI CHROININ: It's just so lovely, despite language barrier, to see pupils engaging, learning, happy, and laughing. And adjusting. Our huge success, and just totally because of the whole community.
D. O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Across Ireland, Ukrainian refugees have been placed in hotels and emergency accommodation and granted the right to work. Despite stretched resources, many local communities are happy to have them.
COLMAN QUIRKE, LOCAL NEWSAGENT: A lovely thing happened in the shop, about four or five days ago. A Ukrainian family, they were buying stuff in the shop. And they were just about to pay the bill when an older guy just stepped in, and he said, No, and he handed me his card. And he says, I'm getting that. And, I mean, they were in tears.
D. O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Lilia came here with her two children and has been overwhelmed by the Irish welcome, but of course, still yearns for her home.
LILIA OREVCHUK, FLED FROM UKRAINE: You know, Irish people ask us, Are you happy? And we are trying to be happy. Because, so, we - we have everything that we need now here. But we -- we don't have previous life. So it's kind of difficult, a little.
D. O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Back at the Scall Saveen (ph) --
D. O'SULLIVAN: You come in here. Who's this? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is my daughter, Margarita (ph).
D. O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Margarita's (ph) mom came by to watch her daughter perform for some of her new Irish and Ukrainian friends.
D. O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Donie O'Sullivan, CNN, Cahersiveen, Ireland.
SOARES: What a lovely piece that.
And that's all for now for Lviv. I'll be back at the top of the hour. Up next, in the meantime, what we could hear from the Russian president during his speech, his Victory Day speech, from the journalist who worked in Moscow and wrote a book on Vladimir Putin.
COREN: We're just hours away from the start of Victory Day celebrations in Russia, marking the Soviet Union's role in defeating Nazi Germany in World War II.
Russian president Vladimir Putin will give an address as part of the day's event. And Western officials will be watching for a potential major announcement and insight on where the conflict in Ukraine could go next.
Mr. Putin has already sent Victory Day greetings to leaders of several nations and breakaway states that were part of the former Soviet Union.
Well, Susan Glasser is a CNN global affairs analyst and a staff writer with the New Yorker. She joins me now from Washington.
Susan, great to have you with us.
Vladimir Putin released a message on the eve of Russia's Victory Day celebrations, reaffirming Russia's continued fight against Nazism and liberation from Nazi filth in Ukraine. He certainly appears determined to double down on this war.
SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, that's right. I, mean we're more than two months in, and it's really -- it's a gross perversion of the Russian cult of Victory Day in World War II to -- reinvented all these decades later as if your peaceful neighbor that you've just invaded is the second coming up the Nazis.
It's really -- it's quite an extraordinary moment, it seems to me, in modern geopolitics to see this happening and Putin continuing on. By all appearances, not only is he not going to back away from the war, but he's going to commit even more resources to it. COREN: You say more resources. What are you expecting: further
GLASSER: Yes, I mean, you know, the bottom line is that Vladimir Putin has failed to win the war with the contract army and the conscript army that he has so far. And he needs more resources if he's going to continue to pursue the war of conquest and aggression against Ukraine; he seems determined to do that.
So, I think many experts are expecting anything from a full mobilization of Russian to society to a more limited version. But it does seem clear that Putin is going to need more resources and will call them up in some way in order to have more forces. He's already repositioning forces that were in Syria, that were in the Russian Far Eastern military district, and re-positioning them for the war in Ukraine.
COREN: So, how soon do you expect that mobilization to happen?
GLASSER: Well, I think we're going to get a lot more understanding today in whatever it is that Vladimir Putin has to say and do on the ninth itself, as an example of where the war is headed.
So he may not fully show his hand. But I think it's fair to think that he's going to tell us something in the course of this really bizarre reenactment of victory in World War II at the same time he's attacked his own neighbor.
COREN: Susan, in Eastern Ukraine, Russia certainly seems intent on making its occupation permanent. We've seen Russian flags go up in the street, the installation of Russian road signs. What does this say to you?
GLASSER: Yes, I think that, you know, there were many warning signals before the invasion was even launched of longer-term plans on the part of Russia.
And I think this is really an example of where -- it was so unthinkable, what Putin and his advisers were planning, that it seemed almost easier to ignore the evidence. rather than to realize it was actually happening.
Even now that it's actually happening, it's hard to know what to make of the fact that literally thousands of Ukrainians in occupied areas have been deported to Russia, by early fragmentary accounts. We obviously, still need to know much more about that.
There's evidence they're using food as a weapon. Confiscating grain stocks. There are the examples that you pointed out, as well as, you, know, retributive justice against those Ukrainians whose territories have been taken under Russian control and have dared to object and to protest.
So, we're looking not only at occupation but a particularly brutal scorched-earth kind of occupation that's very reminiscent of the worst of Stalin-era crimes. COREN: Susan, we've seen U.S. first lady Jill Biden, the Canadian
prime minister, Justin Trudeau. They've both made unannounced visits to Ukraine. The G-7 has pledged to ban or phase out Russian oil.
And the unrelenting support of Ukraine would only grow. I mean, the West certainly is unwavering in its support. So where, I guess, is this war heading?
GLASSER: Well, look, I think you're right to point out that there has been a remarkable amount of European and American solidarity in the face of the Russian aggression.
In fact, the most concrete kind of geopolitical scrambling that you could say, in addition of higher oil prices that have been occasioned by the Russian invasion and higher grain prices, because Ukraine is such a big producer of grain for the world market, that the other thing that's happened is that it looks that both Finland and Sweden will now be joining NATO. Something that even Stalin's aggressions after World War II could not make happen. Both preserved their neutrality.
But now Vladimir Putin, who claimed to be objecting to NATO, in launching this war in the first place, the most specific thing you can say to have come out of it in Europe is the increase in NATO. And, again, it's just the kind of failure of his initial strategic objections that Vladimir Putin did not seem to count on in launching this war.
COREN: Well, we'll be certainly listening to what Vladimir Putin has to say in his highly-anticipated speech for the Victory Day celebration. Susan Glasser, great to get your perspective. Thanks so much.
GLASSER: Thank you.
COREN: Still ahead, Bono and The Edge rock the Kyiv metro. The story of their surprise performance in Ukraine's capital when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow. Oh, my goodness!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Well, frightening scenes from Seward, Alaska, on Sunday. A landslide caught on camera. The landslide is blocking the primary road between the town and a popular tourist spot. People ran for cover as trees slid into the water. No one was hurt, but that area is still unstable.
Officials say they cannot clear the area until geologists declare it safe. A water taxi is a available to transport people from the closed- off area, if needed.
A surprise concert in a metro station that doubles as a bomb shelter in Kyiv.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(MUSIC: "STAND BY ME")
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Well, thankfully, there was no shelling to be heard. Only music performed by Bono from the rock band, U-2 and his bandmate, The Edge.
The two were joined by Ukrainian pop star Taras Topolia to sing the song "Stand By Me." They performed a 40-minute set and praised Ukrainians for their defiance against the Russian invasion.
Bono and The Edge also visited neighborhoods near Kyiv that were damaged in the fighting between Russian forces and the Ukrainian army. Bono says Russian President Vladimir Putin is to blame for this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BONO, MUSICIAN: I think it's one man's war, really. And I think there's people in Russia who will -- younger people know what's going on. And I trust in the younger people in Russia to throw this man out of his office that was so high and is so low right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Well, he may not be as well-known as Bono, but Ukraine's most famous dog is getting plenty of attention. Well, Patron, the Jack Russell terrier, became a national hero for his work with the country's bomb disposal teams.
He's credited with uncovering some 115 munitions during his time on the job.
President Zelenskyy awarded Patron and his owner the state award for dedicated service on Sunday during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Well-deserved, Patron.
Well, thanks so much for watching. I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. Please stay with us. The news continues right here on CNN after a short break.