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Moscow Set For Victory Day Parade; G7 Leaders Say They Will Continue To Provide Military And Economic Assistance To Ukraine; U.S. First Lady Jill Biden Makes Unannounced Visit To Ukraine; Voting Underway In Philippines Presidential Election. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired May 09, 2022 - 01:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.

ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, a very warm welcome to our viewers right around the world. I'm Isa Soares live in Lviv, Ukraine. Russia prepares to commemorate the Soviet victory over Adolf Hilter 77 years ago. But Vladimir Putin has nothing to celebrate as his own brutal war rages on in Ukraine.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And I'm Anna Coren in Hong Kong. Voting is underway this hour in the Philippines in a high stakes election to determine the country's next leader.

SOARES: Welcome to the show, everyone is 8:00 a.m. in Ukraine and all eyes on Moscow where Russia's annual Victory Day parade is about two hours or so away. And this is video from rehearsals on Saturday. The holiday marks the defeat of Nazi Germany during World War II.

But today, under the shadow of a new war in Europe, the event has taken on added significance. Western leaders as well as analysts have warned the Russia President -- Russian President Vladimir Putin could use the event to make a major announcement about the war in Ukraine and yet, victory there seems really elusive -- as elusive as ever and increasingly hard to define.

Based on video released on Sunday, a Russian Deputy Prime Minister has visited Mariupol the country's highest ranking official to set foot in since the war started. The southern Ukrainian port city has been decimated we've seen by weeks of bombardment, and it's now almost entirely under Russian control.

Except right here, inside this sprawling Azovstal style steel plant. That is where a group of Ukrainian soldiers are still holed up, refusing to surrender and vowing to fight to the death.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's military says it managed to thwart Russian efforts to take more territory in eastern Ukraine but warn Russian forces are likely preparing to storm several key towns in the region soon. A small sign of hope in a city that has been all but flat and of course by Russian attacks, some 170 Ukrainian civilians trapped in Mariupol have been evacuated to safety. Our Scott McLean has this story.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Well, the Red Cross has confirmed that 10 buses carrying passengers from the Azovstal steel plant as well as the wider city of Mariupol arrived successfully in Zaporizhzhia on Sunday that is on Ukrainian territory comes after the Ukrainians announced that all of the women, children and elderly people had been successfully evacuated from underneath of the plant.

Though a soldier from the Azov regiment, the part of the Ukrainian military that's been leading the fighting from the plant claims that there are still dozens of civilians left, though there is no indication for many Ukrainian officials that that is the case. Those who are left include hundreds of soldiers many of them who are wounded. The soldier say that the Russians continue to the bard the plant using artillery, tanks and mortars as well as ground troops and snipers.

They say that they have enough ammunition for the moment to be able to fight off the Russians but they say that they will not surrender because they say that surrendering to the Russians, in their words would mean the chances of survival would be zero.

President Zelenskyy says that he is working to try to broker some kind of an agreement to get soldiers out from under the plant, though at this stage there is still no indication as to when or even if that might happen. Scott McLean, CNN, Lviv, Ukraine.


SOARES: Well, G7 leaders continue to show their support for Ukraine they met virtually with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went to Kyiv to meet Mr. Zelenskyy in person. CNN's Arlette Saenz has details now from Washington.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): President Biden and other G7 leaders met virtually Sunday with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a meeting that offered an opportunity to express further solidarity with Ukraine but also gave the leaders a chance to talk about further sanctions they could impose on Russia.

The meeting lasted a little over an hour. President Biden participated from his home in Wilmington, Delaware.

And if you take a look at the photo, the President released you can see that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seated in the very same room as Ukrainian president Zelenskyy, as Trudeau traveled to Ukraine for this meeting, and in a show of solidarity.

Now, the leader is committed to provide further a military and economic assistance to Ukraine as they continue to defend themselves against this Russian invasion.


But the leaders also talked about further sanctions they could impose against Russia as they are trying to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable for his actions. The U.S. on Sunday announced a new raft of sanctions they are imposing against Russia that includes banning U.S. advertising on three Russian state media or run organizations. Additionally, the U.S. is banning a U.S. companies from providing management and consulting services to you to the Russians.

The goal there is essentially to prevent Russians from being able to evade any sanctions that are imposed against them. Additionally, the U.S. is placing export controls on the industrial sector within Russia.

Now after this meeting, the G7 leaders released a statement, which also said that they would eventually phase out or ban Russian oil and gas from their countries. Of course, the U.S. has already banned Russian energy imports.

But that statement is particularly noteworthy since so many European countries are dependent on Russian energy, though the statements did not outline a timeframe for when this would be done. But really, this meeting capped off a weekend of demonstrations of solidarity with Ukraine, as Russia on Monday is expected to celebrate Victory Day which marks the day that the Nazis were defeated during World War II, but the US and its allies trying to make clear that they will further support Ukraine as they defend themselves in this war, and are looking for additional ways to punish and hold Russia accountable. Arlette Saenz, CNN, the White House.


SOARES: Russia's Victory Day events are expected to get underway in the coming hours a day commemorates, as you heard Arlette Saenz say the Soviet Union's role in defeating Nazi Germany in World War II, and has deep symbolic meaning for Russians. But in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, there is a shared belief that Mr. Putin has nothing to celebrate.


LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UN: They have nothing to celebrate tomorrow. They have not succeeded in defeating the Ukrainians, they have not succeeded in dividing the world are dividing NATO. And they have only succeeded in isolating themselves internationally and becoming a pariah state around the globe. So what's liberating tomorrow is their own lack of success.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: On Victory in Europe Day, when we all celebrate the victory over fascism of so many decades ago, Vladimir Putin is bringing shame upon the memory of the millions of Russians who fought and died in the fight against a -- fight for freedom and fight against fascism.

So whatever he says tomorrow is irrelevant, because history will bear out that he is a bending and going against the very values that so many people fought and died for.


SOARES: Justin Trudeau there. We're joined now by Ukrainian political analyst Taras Berezovets to discuss more. He is the founder of the Free Crimea Project and joins me live from Kyiv, a very good morning to Taras.

As we have been saying and outlining in the coming hours, we are expecting to see a show of force and military might on display in Moscow. But what do you think there as well, we'll hear likely to hear from President Putin.

TARAS BEREZOVETS, UKRAINIAN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, good morning. Thanks for having me. Well, as we heard yesterday from Russian president, he congratulated all Ukrainians on the common great victory. Sorry, on the come on great holiday of victory in what he calls Great Patriotic War and wished all Ukrainians a peaceful and just future, that congratulations addressed to Ukrainian citizens, including war veterans have been published on Kremlin's website and voted by Russian media.

In his message, Putin declared a sacred duty and not to allow revenge on the ideological cares what he calls of the Nazis. And according to Russian president, now Nazism is again raising its head and trying to impose its barbaric inhuman order. That's exactly what we hear from Vladimir Putin.

And this year, the parallels between World War II or what he calls great per petrologic war and Ukrainian conflict would be absolutely obvious. He wants to say that Nazis which Soviet Union and his allies defeated 77 years ago, is in literally the same and we again for fighting the same dangerous enemy.


SOARES: S you think Taras that he -- we'll hear more of the, you know, the Nazi rhetoric that we have been hearing for months now? Do you think that as West seems to think that he will officially declare war in Ukraine? And importantly, what impact, of course, will this have? How will that translate into the battlefield here?

BEREZOVETS: Well, from my perspective, it seems to be unlikely that he's going to declare war on Ukraine and the West, literally, because he will definitely -- he's going to hint that Nazi enemies is more dangerous than the Russians initially for.

You know, that declaring a war can be tricky as if you do so we have to win. You have to present some example of victory. Meanwhile, the goals of so called special military operations are not clear for Russian people. And you can terminate it at any stage -- stating that you already won.

You know, this usage of Soviet patterns and examples of Red Army symbols like red flag and soever, the Russians, they literally want the world they would like it. And Putin understands that addressing Soviet past seems to be, well, absolutely clear and well, fleeing from any Russians. And for this perspective, this parallels, like I said, between Great Patriotic War or World War II, and nowadays, Ukrainian who seems to be very easy to use and to explain to Russians what's going on here in Ukraine.

SOARES: You are in Kyiv, of course, the capital, we heard from the mayor of Kyiv over the weekend, where he's been urging citizens to be aware and staying side Sunday, even into Monday. Give us a sense Taras of what the mood may be like today in Ukraine as we wait to hear from President Putin.

BEREZOVETS: Well, sedation and give and the biggest Ukrainian seems to be quite tense as Ukrainians expecting more rocket attacks from Russians. And that's exactly what Ukrainian military intelligence.

And they can say that, for instance, yesterday on eighth of May, a lot of key ones, well, from my perspective, the left the city because obviously they were not so many people on the streets.

Mayor of Kyiv Klitschko (INAUDIBLE) not to return to the capital before ninth of May. And some Ukrainian politicians suggested that the Ukrainians should live bigger cities and go somewhere to rural areas.

And this morning, we heard this sirens here in Kenya. And I think there was at least twice, twice during this night. And there were several attacks in biggest Ukrainian cities in Sumi, in Odesa, in the Mykolaiv and hours during the night and the Russians use their bombs and their rockets to attack the civilian population.

SOARES: Yes, we've also been hearing more frequently sirens in here in Lviv, and we have also been seeing, of course, more shelling more bombing across the country in particular, Taras, in East Bay -- in Luhansk, that we saw that school shelled and be completely bombed.

BEREZOVETS: Well, that's another atrocity which Russians committed. And unfortunately, we're not surprised by that. Because after what we saw in Mariupol, then Russians bombed the theater which was filled with women and kids and more than 600 people died, according to Associated Press. Well, nothing can surprise us.

Of course, this is one more war crime which Russians committed on Ukrainian soil. But that's what exactly that what Putin is doing. He's doing this tactics and he's doing this bombing to humiliate the aggression Ukrainians to frighten Ukrainians and to break their spirit to fight against Russian occupied forces.

Well unfortunately for him, Ukrainians are not celebrating Ninth of May as a victory day now. The Ukrainians are looking forward and looking forward for our victory over Russia which would be our national celebration day for sure.

SOARES: Taras Berezovets, always great to get your insight and do stay safe. Thank you very much Taras.

BEREZOVETS: Thank you.

SOARES: Now, U.S. First Lady Joe Biden's now the latest high profile American to visit Ukraine. She crossed into the country from Slovakia meeting with Ukraine's First Lady Olena Zelenskyy on Sunday.

This is the first time Mrs. Zelenskyy has been seen in public since the war began. They gathered at a school that now serves as temporary housing for displaced Ukrainians.


JILL BIDEN, U.S. FIRST LADY: I wanted to come on Mother's Day, I thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war has to stop. This war has been brutal and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.


SOARES: And before she heads back to the U.S., the White House's Joe Biden would meet with the president of Slovakia to express gratitude for Slovakia support for Ukrainian refugees.

Well, the UN 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 are internally displaced or displace.

Among those internally displaced are evacuees from Mariupol, who reached relative safety in Zaporizhzhia on Sunday. One woman says she was overwhelmed by the amount of destruction that they witnessed.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I have never seen such destruction. We have seen many wars and films but have never seen such destruction in any war. It is a mockery.

SOARES: Cannot imagine what they have seen of what they've gone through. Still to come right here on the show. Filipinos are voting right now to choose their next president.

The race pits the current vice president against namesake son of a late dictator. We'll have a live report for you.

We'll also have the latest on an Israeli police officer who was attacked in Jerusalem on Sunday. Anna Coren will have that story on more of a very short break. You are watching CNN Newsroom.



COREN: Welcome back. Well, voting has begun in the Philippines as voters pick the country's 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 current Vice President Leni Robredo.

Well, CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson is tracking the election from here in Hong Kong.

Ivan, if we go to the polls, it would look like Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos, Jr, the son of a former dictator will win in a landslide or do you believe it's a much tighter race?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is what we're going to try to find out today in this election. It is a pivotal election. It's a big election on with more than 18,000 positions, political positions up for grabs. Of course, the number one job is that of the President and there are 10 candidates.

They include the current Mayor of Manila, the boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao, and as you pointed out these two front runners according to the surveys, Leni Robredo, who is the outgoing vice president and Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos, Jr, who has been a lawmaker and governor in the past, and is the son of the ousted dictator, Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

They went head to head in 2016 and the last national election for the post of vice president and Robredo edged out Bongbong Marcos Jr. So this is a rematch so to speak. The Robredo camp in the colors of pink they've been out campaigning in the last couple of days with huge rallies, and then Bongbong Marcos Jr. in red, who has allied himself with a vice presidential candidate, Sarah Duterte Carpio, who is the daughter of the outgoing president, Rodrigo Duterte. So you can see how politics in the Philippines are dominated by political dynasties. Anna.

COREN: Yes, Ivan, you mentioned these dynasties, these two families that really have dominated, you know, Filipino politics, but for many years, what would a Marcos-Duterte government mean for the people of the Philippines and would their lives be improved?

WATSON: Well, part of the campaign of Bongbong Marcos Jr. is nostalgic campaign. He's been basically critics argue, whitewashing his father's legacy, downplaying certainly the horrific human rights abuses that the elder Marcos's regime was accused of during nearly a decade of martial law and talking about unity, trying to sell a positive message and that is very concerning to people who suffered directly at the hands of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. regime.

The message also is one of economic prosperity because the Philippines has suffered mightily under the COVID pandemic, with joblessness going up, inflation now, an additional challenge.

Robredo is been talking about transparency, about bringing back democratic ideals, which I think many analysts would argue suffered tremendously during Duterte's last six years in power, certainly with accusations that he committed crimes against humanity with a deadly drug war that was part of his law and order message that Filipinos voted for six years ago. Back to you.

COREN: So many problems facing the Philippines and as you say, Leni Robredo, she has the support of the middle class, the educated but does she have enough to get across the line? Ivan Watson, I know you were keeping across this story for us, many thanks.

Well, Israeli and Palestinian officials say a 17-year-old Palestinian man was shot in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.


The Israel Defense Forces say he had a knife and was shot by a civilian. Well, meantime and Israeli border police officer was stabbed in Jerusalem on Sunday. Police say the suspect is a Palestinian who was living in Israel illegally. CNN's Hadas Gold has the details.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): 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.

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.

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 Elad.

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.

Now Israeli-Palestinian tensions have soared over the past month and a half or so. There is this attack was the sixth such attack targeting Israeli since last March, bringing the death toll to at least 18. And as a result, Israeli forces have set up raids and what they say our counterterrorism 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: Well, coming up, a Ukrainian oligarch who got rich importing that cheap gas from former Soviet republics is using his fortune to defend his country. Nic Robertson will bring you the story next.



ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Isa Soares coming to you live from Lviv, Ukraine. The Ukrainian military says it has fended of Russian efforts to seize new territory in several parts of the country's eastern region. We're now hearing there's a lot of active combat near the Black Sea and that fighting in Kiev and Mariupol has, to some degree decreased. The Red Cross says more than 170 civilians from Mariupol have now arrived safely in the city of Zaporizhzhia which remains under Ukrainian control. Some of them have been trapped in the Asonsol Steel Plant for weeks now as it endured round after round of Russian bombardment.

Meanwhile, Russia is celebrating its annual Victory Day which marks the Soviet Union's triumph over Nazi Germany in 1945. These images are from rehearsals on Saturday. A military parade is expected to get underway in Moscow in about 90 minutes or so with President Vladimir Putin scheduled to speak in Red Square. On Sunday he addressed the (inaudible) republics (inaudible) Ukraine and reportedly said he was confident that quick victory will be ours. Dmytro Firtash made his fortune buying cheap gas from former Soviet states. Now he's using his wealth for Ukraine's defense against Russia, but he's also been fighting an extradition request with the U.S. government. Here's the story from CNN's Nick Robertson.


NICK ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: One of Ukraine's richest oligarchs is giving me a ride to his war room, in his bulletproof limo. I think this is the most luxurious armored vehicle I've been in. Do you feel safe in here?


ROBERTSON: Dmytro Firtash has good reason to want protection. He is helping fund Ukraine's fight back against Putin, support the Ukrainians are very happy to have. Inside Firtash's glass proofed office, security guards are just out of site. Can you show me on the map where your -- your businesses are? Before the war, he tells me he employed over 100,000 people in banking, chemicals, media.


ROBERTSON: And controlled almost three-quarters of Ukraine's fuel imports. He made his fortune buying cheap gas from former Soviet states which flow to Ukraine through Putin's Russia. And this is what all your coordination of the war effort is happening here. In his war room, it seems clear his vast wealth is being unleashed against Putin's war. His new TV channel "Freedom" is streaming on the war room wall.

FIRTASH: (Inaudible) of the new tanks.

ROBERTSON: Yes. A joint venture with other Ukrainian media bosses. A Russian language channel to counter the Kremlin's anti-western propoganda. From here Firtash is repurposing his business empire, pitting it against Putin.

FIRTASH TRANSLATED: Our plants that used to produce gas equipment before, today have been transformed to produce anti-tank barriers.

ROBERTSON: He says his gasline repairmen were some of the first backing the Bucha, scene of so many alleged Russian war crimes.

FIRTASH TRANSLATED: We provided our vehicles straight away and all logistical means to deliver humanitarian aid to all over Ukraine.

ROBERTSON: Are you hoping the government move weapons around the country?

FIRTASH TRANSLATED: We transport whatever they give us.

ROBERTSON: But Putin's war isn't Firtash's only fight right now. He's facing extradition to the U.S. on international racketeering and conspiracy charges involving bribery. An eight hear battle that could be decided soon.

FIRTASH TRANSLATED: They don't even alleged that I had bribed somebody but only intended to organize this.

ROBERTSON: But are they right?

FIRTASH TRANSLATED: 100 percent no. There was no reason for that, because for me to bribe someone I need to profit from this. I never benefited from this.

ROBERTSON: The charges are convoluted. Allegations of bribes for Indian officials to sell him top price titanium for U.S. aircraft company. Firtash believes his problems with the United States are geopolitical and began more than a decade ago when he was backing Ukrainian politicians perceived as --


ROBERTSON: -- pro-Putin. Now both his fights are fusing into a perfect storm. He's been stuck in Austria since his arrest on the U.S. charges in 2014.

FIRTASH TRANSLATED: I am pretty sure that the whole affair was incorrectly assessed by the U.S. government. For some reason they've concluded pro-Russian and this isn't my reality. I've always been pro-Ukrainian. I was trying to make a deal with the prosecutor's office so that they let me go home for the period when the war's going on to defend my country.

ROBERTSON: And they said no.

FIRTASH TRANSLATED: And they said no, so I am forced to spend some of my time defending myself.

ROBERTSON: Reality is Firtash knows his eight years fighting extradition here in Vienna could soon be coming to an end. He could be in a U.S. court in just a matter of months. Are you using the war to launder your image?

FIRTASH UNTRANSLATED: No, not exactly. What I'm seeing now is a situation where everyone needs to come the aid of Ukraine. I'll say it for the 20th time. I am a businessman. This is my job. I find ways to make money.

ROBERTSON: Hero, villain, businessman, however history judges Dmytro Firtash, one thing does seem to be clear. His country, Ukraine needs him and his wealth right now. Whether they get that depends on American justice. Nick Robertson, CNN, Vienna, Austria.


SOARES: And coming ahead on CNN Newsroom, city officials are tightening restrictions in Shanghai once again, as COVID cases surge we'll have a live report from (inaudible) just ahead.


ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR OF CNN NEWSROOM: And North Korea is watching what happens in Ukraine very closely, more importantly the international reaction to Russia's actions. CNN's Paula Hancock --



PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Meeting for the first time in 2019, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin revived a decades long alliance. North Korea has unsurprisingly sided with Russia, calling the U.S. the root cause of the Ukrainian crisis the war reinforcing a basic lesson.

ANDREI LANKOR, PROFESSOR AT KOOKMIN UNIVERSITY: Only one, that's very important. Never, ever send your nuclear weapons. They have known it anyway for (inaudible) and now they're got yet another confirmation, after Iraq, after Libya.

HANCOCKS: (Inaudible) 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, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE: But I think the war in Ukraine really affirms the North Korean view of how the world works. You know, the North Koreans, I think, have persistently rejected any idea of any form of international order really having an effect on how states related to each other.

HANCOCKS: Kim is experiencing the most favorable weapons testing environment he has seen in his 10 years of power. A split between United Nation's Security Council permanent members, Russia and China on one side, the U.S., UK, and France on the other with the chances of punishing North Korea (inaudible). LANKOR: It's quite clear that China and Russia will lock additional

sanctions and France is not quite clear what else can you possibly sanction.

HANCOCKS: North Korea has launched nearly a dozen missiles already this year, including an intercontinental ballistic missile. Satellite imagery of the Punggye-ri Underground testing site, suggests a seventh nuclear test may also be eminent. 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.

LANKOR: Maybe, just maybe this American president of the year 2045 or 2055 will not risk San Francisco in order to save Seoul.

HANCOCK: 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 Moscow, potentially at a discount and certainly would appreciate dealing with a country that no longer feels constrained by U.S. led sanctions. Paula Hanocks, CNN, Seoul.


COREN: It's months away but U.S. officials are warning of a COVID spike this Fall and winter. The White House says the U.S. could say 100,000,000 infections. Top health officials say the time to get ready is now and that means more funding from Congress.


DR. ASHISH JHA, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: We're looking at a range of models both internal and external models, and what they're predicting is that if we don't get ahead of this thing we're going to a lot of waning immunity. This virus continues to evolve and we may see a pretty sizable wave of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths this winter. We're going to need Congress' help and that's one of the key messages here is we need the resources to fight that battle so we don't have that kind of a Fall or winter.


COREN: This warning comes a the U.S. edges closer to 1 million confirmed deaths from COVID-19. Well on Sunday China reported more than 4,200 new COVID-19 cases. The majority were in the high hit city of Shanghai which has been coping with a crippling lockdown, which officials are now tightening even further. For more on that, I'm joined by CNN Steven Jiang in Beijing and Steven, as we know Shanghai residents have been locked up for more than a month. Some even longer, how can authorities further tighten restrictions there?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Well Anna, things in Shanghai really took a really ominous turn after President Xi Jingping made clear late last week that he was not only sticking to a (inaudible) zero COVID policy. But also ordering officials around the country to, in his words, resolutely fight any distortions, doubts and rejection of this policy and that is exactly what we have seen across China since especially in Shanghai where officials are really adopting this military campaign style tactic. Not only to contain COVID but also, of course, to prove their loyalty to the Chinese supreme leader. That's why we are seeing a growing number of residents that are being resealed into their homes after the authorities eased lockdown measures in some districts without COVID cases. And now we are seeing a growing number of residents, including the elderly and some sick with other illnesses being forcibly removed from their homes and that has often been accomplished by police with flex or force.

And also there are growing complaints from residents that health workers got into their homes during their absence to spray disinfectants everywhere and ruin their homes --


JIANG: -- all that obviously very unnerving to an already very jittery population including workers being forced to sleep on factory floors to resume production. In one viral video, we have seen dozens of workers at Quanta. This is a major supplier to Apple and Tesla in Shanghai, dozens of workers overwhelming has (inaudible) over factory gates to escape after they learned there might be positive cases among the workers. So all of this obviously weighing very heavily on the Chinese economy disrupting global supply chains and (inaudible) trade. But also taking a very heavy psychological toll on millions of Chinese across the country including residents here in Beijing, even though there's no citywide lockdown.

Even if though the daily case count is still in the dozens, the authorities here have also been ramping up restrictions and other COVID measures especially in Chaoyang District the cities biggest and also where we are, they have ordered everyone to work from home, shut down non-essential services and suspended most public transportation and not to mention the incessant mass testing. Just early this morning I did my ninth COVID test in the last two weeks and we have been warned that this is going to be part of a daily routine. Because wherever you go now, you have to show a negative test result to access public places if and when they reopen. Anna.

COREN: Yes Steven, you have to worry about the mental health of -- of people in China, particularly those in these extended lockdowns. Steven Jiang, as always, thank you. Well we are following the mysterious deaths of three Americans staying at a resort in the Bahamas. CNN has learned that another person, an American woman, who got sick at the same property according to a Bahamian official is now in a Miami hospital in serious condition. Well CNN's Polo Sandoval has this report.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Bahamas police expects to release the identities of three of those Americans that were found dead in their hotel room. Hopefully they'll release that by Monday, that's according to police commissioner (Paul Roe) who says they were two American couples who were vacationing at a Sandals Resort on Great Exuma Island. According to staff at the facility, they initially called investigators early Friday morning after discovering an unconscious man in one of their villas. He was later pronounced dead at the scene. There was a woman that was also in the room that had to be airlifted to a local hospital in the Bahamas and has sense been transferred to a Miami hospital where she's listed in serious condition, though authorities have not elaborated on the nature of her injuries.

During the course of the investigation on Friday, they also discovered that second couple in a separate villa. Both of them pronounced dead at the scene, investigators said they had visited a local medical clinic a day before they were discovered. They had been complaining about experiencing vomiting and nausea. According to investigators they were treated at that clinic and then allowed to return back to their hotel room, what's a telling sign here according to police is they both had signs of convulsion when they were found on Friday morning. Some of the reasons why environmental scientists there on the Bahamas are involved in the investigation to see if this is part of a broader public health emergency, or if it was isolated which seems to be the case according to officials on the ground. What's a very telling indicator here is the body's showed no signs of trauma according to investigators, so that's why they've eliminated the possibility of foul play. As for Sandals Resort, they released a statement over the weekend saying that they followed their protocols during this emergency and they are also speaking with investigators in assisting them as well as the families of those effected. Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.

COREN: At least 30 people are now confirmed dead after Friday's explosion at a Cuban hotel. Rescue workers continued searching the hotel ruins in Havana on Sunday. Officials have said that survivors may still be trapped inside, and some two dozen people who escaped the wreckage have been hospitalized with injuries. Cuban authorities say a gas leak is thought to have caused the blast at the Hotel Saratoga. Stay with CNN. We have much more.



SOARES: Welcome back everyone. Russia is celebrating its annual Victory Day which marks the Soviet Union's triumph over Nazi Germany in 1945. The military parade is expected to get underway in Moscow in about an hour or so. Let's get more now from one of our correspondents who has witnessed several Moscow's Victory Day parades first time. Clare Sebastian joins me now from London. And Clare I know you have reported out of Moscow for many years, so give us a sense of what we can expect to see as well as hear from President Putin today.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think there's going to be an effort to make this look, you can see that from the footage of the rehearsals, make this look very similar to previous Victory Days despite the fact this is, of course, a country at war. We're going to see a lot of military hardware, slightly less than previous years, but still a lot of tanks, even into continental ballistic missiles, a lot of troops, war planes being paraded through the center of Moscow. That is something we have seen, really, throughout Putin's tenure and in -- and in increasing volumes. This is an incredibly important day for Russia. Not only right now as a, sort of, PR exercise for the military which is taken such a reputational hit during Ukraine. But -- but worth remembering as well, this is a historical weight here. The Soviet Union lost 27 million people during the second World War. That is more than twice the population of current day Moscow, so it is that historical weight that gives this day such significance in Moscow.

But of course, as you say, all eyes will be on what President Putin has said, predictions have ranged from sort of decoration, victory to a -- to an official declaration of war. Of course up until now, they have referred to this as their special military operation and declaring war would -- would allow for an increased mobilization of, sort of, (conscripts) in this war. We don't know what he's going to say. I think it's highly likely that there will be an emphasis on the parallel between the defeated Nazi's and the Soviet Union and of course the other allied forces in 1945, and -- and the sort of proported excuse for the -- for the war in Ukraine. He continues to bring up that is, sort of, another deNatzification operation.

SOARES: Yes. I think the irony is not lost with anyone here I can tell you that. Clare give me a since of what, you know, what --


SOARES: -- the impact has been on Russia, because you and I have spoken at length now about the west, sanctions from the west from Russia. Are we staring to see them have an impact. Is it starting to bite?

SEBASTIAN: You know, I think a lot of people in Russia, including the fact the foreign minister has admitted this outright. We're taken aback by the strength of some of these sanctions. I think initially the -- the sanctions in the central bank, the deswifting of banks hit really hard. Russia, though stepped in to take care of the central bank and managed to stabilize today. I'll tell you today, is the ruble -- is that there's 68 rubles to the dollar today. That is as strong as it's been since the pandemic. So they've really stabilized the (inaudible) system. Of course, its unofficial the central banks propping it up, but you know a few people are going to buy rubles for 68 to the dollar. But they've stabilized the financial system, I think what's going to hit hard now are the restrictions on imported goods.

Russia relies from imports from the west from everything for its auto sector to its planes. I think we're going to start to see shortage of things like pharmaceuticals. So I think there's a lot more pain around the corner and Putin has been preparing his population for the long haul here. So, you know, we need replace these imports with different things that we make ourselves and I think there's a parallel to that with Victory Day. A way to, sort of, present the -- the Army, to -- to fuel patriotism, to garner support from the population so he can prepare them, perhaps for the long haul in the war with Ukraine.

SOARES: Very important perspective from Clare Sebastian. That does it for me. I'm Iso Soares in Ukraine. Do stay with us our news coverage continues after a very short break. You are watching CNN.