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U.S. Pushes Back On Vladimir Putin's Claims In Victory Day Speech; Volodymyr Zelenskyy Delivers Victory Day Address To Counter Vladimir Putin; Ukrainian Hospitals Treating Patients With Complex Wounds; Officer Is Dead, Jail Escapes Is Caught After Police Chase; China Doubles Down On Its "Zero-COVID" Policy; Villagers Face Relentless Shelling Outside Kherson. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired May 10, 2022 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause.

Ahead this hour, Moscow's Victory Day parade with everything from goose-stepping soldiers to the very latest intercontinental ballistic missiles. The only thing that was missing was victory in Ukraine.

No end in sight even as new COVID cases are falling, officials in Shanghai have suddenly and mysteriously tightened pandemic restrictions.

And what began as a jailhouse romance comes to a deadly end for a former Alabama prison guard who helped a suspected murderer escape.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with John Vause.

VAUSE: It is 7:00 a.m. in Ukraine where the port city of Odessa appears to be the target of a ramped up Russian attack, including cruise missiles fired from the air and sea.

On Monday, residents and witnesses reported multiple missile strikes throughout the day. Many analysts believe Russia wants to capture all of Ukraine's Black Sea ports and close off its southern coast.

Further to the east in Mariupol, Ukrainian fighters say they're still holding out at that besieged steel plant. The defense ministry claims Russian forces are using tanks and artillery and a continued storm offensive. Government video shows a Ukrainian flag still flying over the island steel works. Although CNN cannot independently verify it's still there.

And video from Kharkiv shows the aftermath of an attack on a civilian convoy that killed several people. It's not clear when it was recorded, but authorities say they lost contact with the convoy on Friday.

For the very latest in Ukraine, let's bring in Isa Soares in Lviv live for us. Good to see you, Isa.

ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: A very good morning to you, John. U.S. officials are pushing back after Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a defiant Victory Day speech in Moscow on Monday.

Now, many analysts have feared that Mr. Putin will use the holiday to expand the war in Ukraine or make a major announcement.

Instead, what we heard is pretty much Putin doubling down, repeating baseless claims that Russian forces are fighting Nazis in Ukraine and accusing the West and NATO are forcing his hand by creating threats on Russia's border.

On Monday, the White House admits those claims are absurd. Have a listen.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The suggestion that this war that was prompted by -- directed by President Putin was prompted by Western aggression or Western plans is patently false and absurd.


SOARES: What we saw in Moscow was really pomp in circumstance. It came in really stark contrast to the realities of war in Ukraine where air raid sirens and missile strikes are now really daily fact of life.

Our some Kylie has the very latest for you.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): One man's parade for the many. The many on parade for one man. And on the eve of Victory Day, authorities here say 60 people died in a Russian airstrike. The victory over German Nazism once united the people of Russia and Ukraine, not anymore.

This is what Putin's modern campaign to denazify Ukraine looked like on the eve of that Victory Day in the east of the country. From Mariupol to Mykolaiv and Kherson to Kramatorsk, Russians war in the name of saving Russian-speaking people in Ukraine has focused most violence in the East, where most people speak Russian.

On Victory Day, Ukrainian towns under Russian control held muted memorials to a past war, while the present rages on. This man survived the Bilohorivka (PH) airstrike and his response to Putin's parade, a sarcastic let them celebrate, we would celebrate too.


KILEY: Imagine what they bombed, an ordinary village with only pensioners and children. They died in a Russian thrust into their village during an operation to throw a military bridge across the Donets River shown here in this satellite image. The move is intended to cut this supply route to Russian-speaking Ukrainian towns now under bombardment. Ukrainian forces are counter attacking, but Russian artillery is already hitting the road and the oil refinery next to it.

With the killing of at least 60 people, civilians cowering in a school not far from here, it's clear that the Russians are continuing with their campaign to obliterate civilian life. But this is also a sign that they're pursuing traditional tactics, trying to break the infrastructure that could support the Ukrainian war effort.

Putin's allegations of Nazism in Ukraine are turned back on the Russian leader by survivors of the real war against Hitler's ideology.

She says, I think victory will be ours, only ours. If I were younger, I would have ripped this thug's throat out with my teeth.

The President is insisting Ukraine's victory is certain. The one who is repeating the horrific crimes of Hitler's regime today, following Nazi philosophy, copying everything they did, he is doomed.

But it will be a long, hard fight to turn the lessons of history into a modern day Ukraine Victory in Europe. Sam Kiley, CNN in INAUDIBLE.


SOARES: Well, let's get more on all of this. John Spencer is the chair of Urban Warfare Studies at the Madison Policy Forum. He also served more than 25 years in the U.S. Army. A well-known face here in the show and he joins me now from Colorado.

John, very good evening to you. Let me start really what we heard there from Sam Kiley, and what we've seen the last few days really Russian forces using submarines, using really surface ships and aircraft to launch missiles at Odessa. How are you seeing John the battle for Odessa play out?

JOHN SPENCER, CHAIR OF URBAN WARFARE STUDIES, MADISON POLICY FORUM: My opinion, Isa is that the battle of Odessa is not going to happen. They're basically just doing missile terrorism, trying to keep Ukrainian forces occupied there. Trust me, the Russians don't have what it takes to take -- to attack Odessa.

SOARES: They don't have what it takes to attack Odessa but for so long, they've been saying we've been talking about the fact that they want Odessa, the significance of Odessa. Why? If they don't have what it takes, why pound it so much and relentlessly in fact, in the last few weeks?

SPENCER: I mean, they don't want forces leaving Odessa. They want to make Odessa think -- they want the Ukrainian higher command to think Odessa is under threat.

And to be clear, the Black Sea is and it's a huge impact to the economy. But militarily, they don't have what it takes to hit the beaches, to hit from another area. They're struggling in the Kherson as well. They don't even own Mariupol with all the forces -- the land forces they used against it, it's just terrorism.

SOARES: It's terrorism, but what you're hinting at John is that perhaps is a distraction by hint -- by hitting Odessa. What we have seen, of course, is this critical port city has been cut off from the Black Sea and that's having a big economic impact.

In fact, President Zelenskyy talks about this overnight because according to the U.N., millions of tons of grain remain blocked in these ports and that has ripple effects. And not just, you know, beyond Ukraine.

SPENCER: Yes, absolutely. And the Navy is blockading and strangling although the Russian Navy is not doing too good out there, the Snake Island is being contested, they're losing ships, small (INAUDIBLE) ships every day. Absolutely. It's a big deal that Odessa is being blockaded and that those economic -- the main port of -- especially the grain, there's going to be felt (PH) around the world.

SOARES: Yes, let's turn our attention to Donbas, we now know directly from President Putin that this John is his strategic price. I mean, he mentioned it on Victory Day. What can we expect to see in the battlefield now that he has signaled the importance of it for Russia?

SPENCER: Yes, absolutely. I don't know if he -- personally, I think he didn't, he signaled that's about all they can -- they can attempt. The victory parade it looks more like a sad March of defeat to me.

But in the East, I think we're seeing basically the second half of his base, so now he's marshalling more forces in Belarus and trying to push because they failed, right?


SPENCER: They failed to give Putin a victory for Victory Day. They didn't push into his (INAUDIBLE) like they wanted to. They didn't encircle the JFO and the Ukrainian forces. But now, I think there's going to be a new push, a new effort.

And like you said, He's signaled that that's one of the only places he mentioned in his speech that he wants the Donbas. There's a whole bunch of Ukrainians armed with the best weapons that the West can provide at the moment. And it's already on the battlefield, you know, 85 of 90 artillery systems are -- you can pretty much predict that they're in the East in the Donbas line is stopping them and they're having successes not only stopping them, but counter offensives.

SOARES: Explain to us very quickly, John, the use of this platoon bridges and what the strategy is here.

SPENCER: Yes, so Ukrainians have done really well in contesting the waterways. I mean, you can't move across with military equipment like tanks and things like that. So they have to -- the Russians had the pontoon or basically create these military bridges is all they are. And it's a -- it's a deliberate operation. We call them wet gap -- wet gap crossings. But we saw today, that creates a very large signature. And now, that

the Ukrainians have these longer reaching artilleries, you know the TB2 drones, those are right targets because they're very limited in nature, these military bridges, these pontoon bridges.

SOARES: Yes, of course, and it's also supply, trying to cut off their supply which is critical. John Spencer, always great to get your insight. Thanks very much, John.

SPENCER: Thank you, Isa.

SOARES: Well, hospitals here in western Ukraine are filling up as the wounded arriving droves from the frontlines of increasing Russian attacks.

I visited one of the hospitals here in Lviv and spoke with patients about their recovery, and to their doctors, some are testing their skills by performing procedures they only read about in books.


SOARES (voice over): Dmytro is in shock. His body pierced and organs punctured multiple times by shrapnel. From shelling just outside his home in Kharkiv, a battleground in eastern Ukraine.

At first, he was very tough, he tells me. And then, I came to terms with everything that happened to me. His voice almost a whisper. He tells me he regrets not listening to his elders that fateful day.

How are you feeling? After you know, clearly some horrendous few days?

I never thought that I would say it. You have to protect yourself to the maximum and follow all the rules that are told by adults, he says.

The 19-year-old who lost both his parents before the war was evacuated by train and transferred here to Western Ukraine's biggest hospital, where he's undergone multiple surgeries and spent weeks in the ICU.

Dmytro's doctor tells me he too is struggling to make sense of the injuries he's been seeing.

DR. HNAT IHOROVYCH HERYCH, SURGICAL DEPARTMENT HEAD, LVIV FIRST MEDICAL UNION: I've done some operation that I only read from the books and my colleagues from the Austria in Germany they also have some experience but they never seen such serious disease.

SOARES: Dmytro's part of a steady stream of patients who have been evacuated from the frontlines and arrived in Lviv on medical trains like this one, an impressive wartime operation with an inbuilt ICU carriage, which travels back and forth between the frontline in the east with critically injured patients.

It's a journey that little Sofia also had to make when she left Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine. The 9-year-old just out of the ICU is now recovering after a piece of shrapnel measuring one centimeter entered her brain as she made her way home. She's very strong. She hasn't even cried when she got wounded, her

mother tells me. Visibly exhausted, her mother shows me photos of happier times. Now relieved her little girl is turning a corner.

At first when she started breathing independently and was still in Mykolaiv, they let me walk into the ICU. I walked in and unexpectedly she said mommy with tears in her eyes. I was so happy that she remembered me and that she didn't lose her memory, she says.

Sofia's neurosurgeon tells me he's never seen a case like this, as he shows me her C.T. scans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- more than one percent.

SOARES: So, the shrapnel came through the front.


SOARES: All the way, perforated all the way to the back of the skull?



SOARES: Dr. Mykhailo (PH) tells me he operates on as many as five children every week. Proof perhaps that even the most innocent are not immune to the scars of Russia's war.


SOARES (on camera): An incredible -- incredibly brave little girl and I'll have much more fun Lviv the next hour. But first, want to send it back to John in Atlanta, John.

VAUSE: Thanks, Isa. Appreciate it. Now, an Alabama corrections officer accused of helping a murder suspect escaped from jail has died from self-infirmary -- self-inflicted gunshot wound.

An 11-day nationwide manhunt for the pair ended on Monday following a car chase with police that ended in a crash.

CNN's Nadia Romero picks up the story from here.


SHERIFF RICK SINGLETON, LAUDERDALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: It ended the way we knew it would, they are in custody.

NADIA ROMERO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A defiant and triumphant Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton detailing what happened when U.S. Marshals captured corrections officer Vicki White and inmate Casey White.

First, this F-150 truck and Casey White spotted at a carwash in Evansville Indiana, reported to Alabama authorities Sunday night. SHERIFF DAVE WEDDING, VANDERBURGH COUNTY, INDIANA: After the vehicle was located a while back. We at least knew they may have been in our area. But I couldn't believe that they have remained here.

ROMERO: Monday, U.S. Marshals found them in a hotel in Evansville. That's when Marshall say the two fled police in a great Cadillac. Casey White was driving, Vicki White in the passenger seat.

U.S. Marshals pinned their car. They ended up in a ditch. Casey White surrendered. The U.S. Marshal say Vicki White had a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. She died from those injuries Monday night.

Sheriff Singleton says Casey White will be brought back to Alabama for his arraignment. He's expected to return to the same place from where he escaped more than 10 days ago.

SINGLETON: He's not getting out of this jail again. I'll assure you that.

ROMERO: The Lauderdale County District Attorney says he's focused on the victims of Casey White and the family of Connie Ridgeway. Casey White is set to stand trial for capital murder charges related to Ridgeway's death this summer. The Lauderdale County District Attorney says his office will be ready.

CHRIS CONNOLLY, LAUDERDALE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: After finally being able to indict him for her murder of having this twist and turn in that case, it's got to be devastating to them. So, we look forward to bringing him to justice.

ROMERO: Nadia Romero, CNN, Lauderdale County, Alabama.


VAUSE: We'll take a short break but when we come back, China doubling down on its zero COVID policy and two of its biggest cities imposing more tough restrictions even as COVID cases continue to fall.



VAUSE: Well, even as new COVID infections are falling in China's two largest cities, they're tightening restrictions yet again, doubling down on zero COVID policy.

In Beijing, testing is now required every 48 hours to enter public facilities and Shanghai in during its six week of lockdown, despite reporting a drop in new infections for 10 straight days.

CNN's Will Ripley joins us now live in Taipei. This is a mystery, it's been a head scratcher, why?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, because President Xi Jinping gave his speech where he defiantly went against everybody, whether they be inside the party or in China, you know, as a whole. Anybody who disputes that his zero COVID policy is not the absolute way to proceed could be penalized.

And so, as a result, the heat is now on for local governments, city regional governments to step it up. And so, that's exactly what they're doing in Shanghai.

Even though the numbers are going down, you have these videos on social media of, you know, police standing in front of the door of an apartment telling residents that they're going to be transported to a government quarantine center for five days, because they live on the same floor as somebody who tested positive, no evidence that they're even at close contact.

I mean, how often are people hanging out in their neighbor's apartments on the same floor in the apartment building? And yet, that's what they're doing in Shanghai.

According to this social media video, I do have to say CNN can't independently confirm this. We did reach out to the Shanghai municipal government for clarification. We're awaiting a response. And we haven't been able to identify the people in the video. So, there's a lot of caveats there.

But you get the gist, John, you know, on top of over a month of not being able to have access to food in some cases where medical care in Shanghai, it's really been disastrous.

And yet, what the officials are doing is they're just turning it up even more because President Xi said that's what they have to do.

And he's about to potentially get a third term as the Chinese president or president for life as some analysts have put it.

In Beijing, residents now have to stick the jabs up their nose every 48 hours just to go to office buildings, shopping malls, supermarkets, hotels, government facilities.

They did a mass testing drive six or seventh mass testing drive on Sunday, they screened 17.8 million people in one day, John.

So, China certainly putting a lot of effort into the lockdowns, the mass testing, and yet why is it that there's such a huge portion of their elderly population that's unvaccinated and therefore at risk, which is the justification that President Xi and the Communist Party rulers use for imposing these draconian lockdowns on almost 200 million people in 30 some odd cities.

VAUSE: Well, it does seem that they liked those draconian lockdown, they use them a lot. Will, thank you. Will Ripley in Taipei.

In southern Ukraine, residents talk what seems to be never ending shelling by Russian forces and coming up, we'll hear from those trapped by the fighting on the road to Kherson.


[00:28:43] VAUSE: Welcome back everyone. The Kherson region along the southern Ukrainian coast is must have real say (PH) if Russia wants to take the Donbas in the east to Crimea.

A senior official in Moscow says the Russians plan to stay forever in Kherson but further is a long time and for now, the battle goes on, making life a nightmare for residents trapped by endless shelling.

This report from Nick Paton Walsh.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Both nothing and everything has changed here. The front lines have barely moved on the road to the southern city of Kherson, the first Russia captured in the six weeks since we were last here.

But instead, since then, almost everything in between has been torn up by shelling that literally does not stop, trapping people who physically cannot flee in the churn of a brutal stalemate.

Here in the village of Shevchenko are two neighbors both called Lyuba (PH).

LYUBA, LOCAL RESIDENT (through translator): This granny lives on the second floor. And she's learned quickly how to run.

WALSH (voice-over): We move to the yard as the shells get closer.

LYUBA: Oh, Lord, this is a nightmare.


WALSH (voice-over): Leonid (ph) still manages to get down to his wife's basement shelter. She's installed a plank on the way here to help him rest.

They used to get dressed up to go to bed, it was so cold down here. But mention leaving, and she chuckles.


GRAPHIC: I've got plans for tomorrow. Every day I go out, the goats are waiting for me. I'd sleep longer but there's shelling, and the goats are asking for food. They are my children of war. That's what I call them.

WALSH (voice-over): Nights spent here have focused her hatred.


GRAPHIC: Russian soldiers are just following orders. Putin, I would cut into four pieces and scatter the pieces around the world.

WALSH (voice-over): Across the road is Valentina (ph), alone. Shells always seem to just miss her. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

GRAPHIC: I was born in a time of war and will probably die in one. When I die, as my mother said, bury me in the garden so I can see what happens here. Lord, how much more?

WALSH (voice-over): Overwhelmed, yet hauntingly eloquent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (speaking foreign language)

GRAPHIC: Look at these torments. This house was smashed to clay. I'm left alone in four walls. Nothing anywhere. I cry to my dead husband to rise up and see what's happening. Better to lie down at night and never get up. Neither see nor hear. Pity the people, the soldiers.

WALSH (voice-over): It's not so much that life goes on here, but that it has nowhere else to go. These men, selling cow's milk, although that's not what Leonid (ph) has been drinking.


WALSH (voice-over): "Hello to everyone," he says.

Forty times a day and night, they shell. Barely a window is intact. Shrapnel flying through the glass daily.

Yesterday was Svetlana's (ph) turn, but she can't leave, as she's waiting for her son to return from the war in Mariupol.

"Our children are all at war," she says. "My son is a prisoner. If he comes back, and if I have gone, it's like I've abandoned him. We wait, hope, worry. He is alive, and we will live."

On the road out of here, the shrapnel rises fiercely above the warm fields.


VAUSE: That was Nick Paton Walsh with that report.

We'll come back here in a moment. We'll head to South Korea with a new president with no foreign policy experience, the lowest approval ratings in South Korean history and a house (ph) opposition-controlled Parliament. It's going to be a big job ahead.


VAUSE: Just gone 36 minutes past the hour. Welcome back, everyone.

South Korea has inaugurated its new president. Yoon Suk Yeol begins a five-year turn with an increasing nuclear and missile threat from North Korea; a COVID-ravaged economy struggling with high inflation and high interest rates; and an opposition-controlled Parliament.

After winning the closest presidential race in South Korea's history, Yoon takes office with the lowest approval ratings in South Korean history and precisely zero foreign policy experience.

CNN's Paula Hancocks, live this hour from Seoul. He's got a lot of learning on the job to do, it seems?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. It's certainly going to be a steep learning curve, John, when you consider, for example, the national security issues he has at hand at this point.

North Korea has, this year alone, launched some -- some 14 missile launches. And they are still in full swing. So that is something he's going to have to deal with quite early on.

He just said in his inauguration speech at the National Assembly behind me that he would have an audacious plan to shore up the North Korean economy, if they did decide to denuclearize. But as you say, very little is known about Yoon Seok Yeol.


HANCOCKS (voice-over): Yoon Suk Yeol is starting his first job in politics, president of South Korea, a political novice and an international unknown.

RAMON PACHECO PARDO, PROFESSOR, KING'S COLLEGE, LONDON: I think we know very little about Yoon. And in terms of foreign policy, I think some of his advisors are better known, at least by those who have been interacting with -- with Korea.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Untried and untested politically, Yoon made his name as the prosecutor who led the corruption case against former President Park Geun-hye in 2016 that led to her impeachment, praised and promoted by President Moon Jae-in, who replaced her.

Yoon's grasp of his new job will have to be swift. Eleven days after taking power, he'll be hosting a summit with U.S. President Joe Biden. During his campaign, Yoon stressed the need for a closer U.S.-South Korean alliance.

YOON SUK YEOL, SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT (through translator): South Korea's only ally is the United States. Since we are countries that promise to protect each other's security with blood, I think that a suitable relationship should be established again.

WOOYEAL PAIK, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, YONSEI UNIVERSITY: Get more security and economic and technology cooperation with the United States. And this is more like a comprehensive, you know, alliance, many people say.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): North Korean policy is expected to change quickly, from Moon Jae-in's pro-engagement push to Yoon's hardline stance.

During the campaign, Yoon floated the idea of a preemptive strike, if Pyongyang look close to a threatening launch against Seoul. ANDREI LANKOV, PROFESSOR, KOOKMIN UNIVERSITY: The policy of the

conservatives will be hard line, pure and simple. And there are chances that such hard line will lead to military clashes, which might escalate.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Pressing domestic issues also await Yoon on day one. COVID-inducted economic pain, polarization, population decline.

The country that voted him in now waits to see will kind of leader he will be.


HANCOCKS (on camera): And in his inauguration speech, he also said that he wants to be a president that plays more of a role on the international stage, criticizing former President Moon Jae-in.


He has said in the past that he thought more should have been done to support Ukraine, for example, after Russia's invasion. So he said in his speech that he does want to be far more vocal and far more involved when it comes to global politics -- John.

VAUSE: Paula, thank you. Paula Hancocks, live for us in Seoul.

Well, what was once unthinkable now seems to be on the verge of reality in the Philippines, with the son of the dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, on the brink of being elected president.

According to unofficial results, he appears to be winning the presidential election by a landslide, after his father was ousted as a dictator 36 years ago. Unofficial projects have Marcos winning about 30 million votes, compared to just 14 million for his closest rival.

I'm John Vause here at the CNN Center. WORLD SPORT is up next for our viewers on CNN International.



VAUSE: Russia's ambassador to Poland marked Victory Day with a visit to a Soviet cemetery in Warsaw. And once there, he was doused in blood-red paint.

Russian state media reports he was trying to lay a wreath at the time. Polish and Ukrainian protesters blocked his faith. The ambassador left the cemetery with the help of police.

Russian foreign ministry, though, blamed neo-Nazi supporters for the paint attack.

U.S. Senate has passed a bipartisan bill that would provide extra security for family members of Supreme Court justices. Conservative justices have been loudly denounced after a leaked draft opinion indicating they plan to strike down the landmark 1973 case Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide.

Over the weekend, protesters with signs reading, "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries" gathered outside the home of Chief Justice John Roberts. He angered abortion rights supporters by calling the leak absolutely appalling, while showing absolutely no concern about the likely decision to eliminate a woman's right to choose.

Demonstrations were peaceful.

But the White House tweeted that the right to protest "should never include violence, threats or vandalism. Judges perform an incredibly important function in our society. They must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety."

Abortion rights protesters always rallied outside the home of Brett Kavanaugh. He's one of three justices appointed by former President Donald Trump, all of whom appear to have voted to overturn Roe.

Meanwhile, Senate Democrats will soon hold a vote on federal legislation that would guarantee the right to an abortion. This is the latest battle in the political war over abortion rights, but this measure is doomed, because Democrats just don't have the votes.

They will, however, be able to get Republicans on the record opposing abortion rights, which could, or could not, hurt them in midterm elections later this year.

The top Senate Democrat says Republicans will not be able to hide from their role in bringing Roe to an end.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Every American is going to see where every senator stands on protecting one of the most important rights a woman has regarding her own body.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Leader Schumer wants the Senate to vote again on a Democratic bill that would effectively legalize abortion on demand through all nine months. Their bill is written to protect abortionists, rather than mothers.


VAUSE: The vote on the Women's Health Protection Act is expected Wednesday.

Voters in Pennsylvania will cast their ballots in primary elections next week, and abortion is becoming a central issue in campaigns across the state and throughout the country. But one Republican candidate for governor is going further than most to tie himself to Donald Trump.

Here's CNN's Kyung Lah.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just days left before the gubernatorial primary in the battleground of Pennsylvania. We arrive at Republican State Senator Doug Mastriano's campaign rally.

Open to the public, the campaign had said CNN could come.


LAH (voice-over): To this event at an indoor hotel courtyard next to the pool. But at check-in, a volunteer says journalists are not welcome.

LAH: Do you know why media isn't being allowed in?

LAH (voice-over): We're here because Mastriano is one of the leading contenders for the Republican nomination for governor. He's avoided nearly all independent press. The voters rely on reports to understand their candidates.

LAH: After the Mastriano campaign said that media wasn't allowed at their political rally, we rented a room from the hotel, who gave us permission to record the event from here.

LAH (voice-over): With a CNN producer registered as a guest in the crowd and us in a balcony, Mastriano took the stage, railing against abortion rights, COVID restrictions and what he claims is Marxist ideology in public schools.

STATE REP. DOUG MASTRIANO (R-PA), PENNSYLVANIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Any God-fearing, flag-waving patriotic Americans in the house here?

LAH (voice-over): Mastriano shot to national prominence in 2020, baselessly raising doubts about Pennsylvania's presidential election results. Donald Trump lost here by more than 80,000 votes. But Mastriano has ignored the truth, instead banging the bogus drum beat of election lies as a state senator.

MASTRIANO: We are here today to try to find out what the heck happened in the election.

LAH (voice-over): As a gubernatorial candidate, his rally opened with a prayer mentioning fraud without offering any evidence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We ask God that, as the ballots go forth, Lord God that you remove every fraudulent ballot, Lord God.

LAH (voice-over): The campaign fuses politics with Christianity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God used you to call us.

LAH (voice-over): Mastriano is one of nine candidates vying for the Republican nomination, a hotly-contested race that could impact the next presidential election. The next governor has the power to appoint the top elections official in the commonwealth. [00:50:04]

BILL MCSWAIN (R), PENNSYLVANIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I am a Republican candidate for governor.

LAH (voice-over): The field includes former U.S. attorney Bill McSwain, to State Senate President Jake Corman, but it's Mastriano who Democrats believe -- and hope -- they'll face in November.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Mastriano wins, it's a win for what Donald Trump stands for.

LAH (voice-over): This statewide ad is paid for by Shapiro for Pennsylvania.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our next governor in Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro.

LAH (voice-over): Josh Shapiro is the likely Democratic nominee for governor and current state attorney general, gambling that by boosting a more right-wing candidate in a swing state, Democrats come out on top this November.

JOSH SHAPIRO (D), PENNSYLVANIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: They are extremists. They are out of touch with where I know Pennsylvanians to be.

LAH (voice-over): At an abortion rights rally, Shapiro hammered away at Republicans and Mastriano.

LAH: Has the general already started, then, for you?

SHAPIRO: I think it's pretty clear he's going to be their nominee. We think it's important that the people of Pennsylvania know that there's a clear contrast between he and I. Our democracy was birthed just a few blocks away here in Philadelphia. We have the unique responsibility as Pennsylvanians to defend it.

LAH: In the final days, both Democrat and Republican are talking about abortion rights. Josh Shapiro leaning in to protecting access, saying that he wants to energize women in the suburbs to come out on primary day.

Doug Mastriano says that he will sign a so-called heartbeat bill. That is a pledge that he has made to his voters, hoping to energize his conservative base. The primary is May 17.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Pittsburgh.


VAUSE: At least 43 people are dead in Northern Ecuador after rival gangs caused a prison riot at a maximum-security facility. Police now announced on Monday they've recontrolled [SIC] -- they've regained control of the rehabilitation center.

More than 100 inmates are now back in their cells. Gang violence is a consistent threat in Ecuador's prisons, and police say the death toll is likely to increase.

Authorities have found human remains in the largest reservoir in the U.S. as water levels plunge. The remains were found in Lake Mead in Nevada, less than a week after a body was discovered in a barrel at the same reservoir.

Police say the first body was likely a murder victim from the mid-70s to early '80s.

Around 40 million people in the region rely on water from the Colorado River, Lake Mead and Lake Powell. The water levels have fallen dramatically amid a climate change-fueled mega-drought.

High winds threatening to make wildfires burning across the U.S. Southwest even worse this week, and that includes the nation's largest active blaze, the Calf Canyon, Hermits Peak Fire in New Mexico.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov reports now from the scene of the blaze.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this has been a monster blaze and a difficult one to contain. And you can see why.

These incredibly powerful winds, low humidity, high temperatures. It's a dangerous combination.

And you can see behind me, that massive plume of smoke. That's been moving here quite quickly. Firefighters struggling to contain the blaze, with winds up to 30 miles an hour at some points, gusts of up to 60 miles an hour. And those weather conditions could very easily, very quickly change.

Now, this is the second-largest wildfire in New Mexico history. It's the largest fire burning in the U.S. right now. As of early Monday morning, 100 -- nearly 190,000 acres scorched. That's nearly the size of New York City. Of course, the population is a minuscule fraction of that.

But officials told me that, at least as of Monday morning, about 12,000 homes were under mandatory evacuation orders. They weren't sure how many people resided in those homes, how many folks were actually heeding the warnings to get out.

But most people in this part of New Mexico impacted by this fire in one way or another, certainly with the smoke. You can see that behind me. And certainly with the winds.

Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Las Vegas, New Mexico.


VAUSE: Queen Elizabeth will not be on hand to open Parliament Tuesday, according to Buckingham Palace. A statement from the palace says mobility issues are the reason. Instead, Prince Charles will read the opening speech, with Prince

William also set to attend. This will be only the third time the queen has missed this symbolic duty since taking the throne in 1952, with her previous absences during pregnancies.

The 96-year-old monarch temporarily stepped back from her royal duties last year after being hospitalized for unknown reasons.

One of Andy Warhol's iconic Marilyn Monroe portraits has just set a record as the most expensive 20th Century artwork sold at auction.

"Shot Sage Blue Marilyn" could have been yours if you had $195 million.

Christies, which conducted the sale, described it as, quote, "one of the rarest and most transcendented [SIC] images in existence."

It had previously been shown at several museums and galleries in New York, Paris, and London.


The previous record for a Warhol painting, $105 million, but that was about a decade ago. Nice if you can get it.

I'm John Vause at the CNN Center in Atlanta. Please stay with us. I'll be back after a very short break with a lot more news at the top of the hour, along with Isa Soares, live in Lviv, Ukraine.

Thanks for watching. See you in a moment.


VAUSE: Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

Coming up, Moscow's Victory Day parade, with everything from goose- stepping soldiers to the very latest intercontinental ballistic missiles. The only thing that was missing was victory --