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Russia Firing Missiles on Port City of Odesa; Villagers Face Relentless Shelling Outside Kherson; U.N.: 7.7 Million People Internally Displaced by Russia's War; Finland's Leaders Set to Decide on Country Joining NATO; Officer is Dead, Jail Escapee is Caught After Police Chase; High Winds Threaten to Spread Fires Raging in Southwest. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired May 10, 2022 - 04:00   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and all around the world. I'm Max Foster in London. And the hunt is over for a former Alabama prison guard and escaped inmate. Details on the violent end to the weeklong search.

ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Isa Soares in Lviv, Ukraine where missiles are pounding the port city of Odesa just hours after Vladimir Putin honored the heroic cities that survived the Second World War.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Putin couldn't declare victory because even the Russia propaganda machine couldn't back that one up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was not able to go into Ukraine and bring them to their knees.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What Putin put out was completely detached from reality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Russian offensive continues to grind on here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is happening now in the so-called phase two, is he looking for a smaller prize.


SOARES: Welcome to the show everyone. It is Tuesday, May 10th, 11:00 a.m. here in Ukraine. And a day after Vladimir Putin failed to declare victory in Ukraine, the White House says it is worried that the Russian president may not be able to find a way out of the war. The U.S. Congress is expected to take up a $40 billion aid bill for Ukraine in the coming hours. President Biden says existing funding will run out in about ten days. Meanwhile, a senior defense official says the U.S. is seeing anecdotal reports that some Russian troops and officers are refusing to obey orders or move forward in the new Donbas offensive. But the Pentagon says it doesn't mean that they've given up. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: I would not call it a stalemate. There are literally towns and villages that are changes hands, sometimes in the course of a day or so. And we assess that the Russians continue to make incremental progress moving down from the north pushing down into the Donbas area from the north of that area particularly along the line of access coming out a town called Izyum. But it's incremental and it's still plodding, as I've said and it's slow and it's uneven. And they continue to meet very stiff Ukrainian resistance.


SOARES: Well, Russian forces are also clearly focused on punishing the Ukrainian port city of Odesa. The city has been hit by a barrage of cruise missiles in the past day, fired from Russian planes, from Russian ships, as well as from Russian submarines. Local officials report at least one person was killed in attacks on a shopping mall, as well as two hotels.

And this is the scene near Ukraine's second biggest city, Kharkiv, and that's in the northeast just across the border from Russia. Moscow's forces are said to be enhancing protections in the face of Ukrainian counterattacks. Video posted on social media shows the aftermath of an attack on a civilian convoy that killed a number of people. And you can see there in that video, you can see a baby stroller and infant's car seat among the wreckage. It is not clear when the video was recorded, but authorities say they lost touch with the convoy on Friday.

And in the south in Mariupol, Ukraine's defense ministry says Russia's forces are mounting a storm offensive on the Azovstal steel plant. And Ukrainian soldiers claim they're still holding out and video shows the country's blue and yellow flag -- as you can see there -- flying atop the factory. CNN cannot confirm at this stage whether it's still there.

Now the Kherson region along the southern Ukrainian coast is vital to Russia's ambitions of linking the Donbas to the east -- particularly to the east to Crimea. A senior official in Moscow says the Russian plan to stay will Kherson forever, but the battle for the region hasn't stopped making life a nightmare for the residents trapped by endless shelling. Our Nick Paton Walsh has this report.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice over): Both nothing and everything has changed here. The frontlines 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 a churn of a brutal stalemate.

Here in the village of Shevchenko are two neighbors both called Lyuba. LYUBA, LOCAL RESIDENT (translated text): This granny lives on the

second floor. And she's learned quickly how to run.

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

LYUBA (translated text): Oh, Lord, this is a nightmare.

WALSH (voice-over): Leonid 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.

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

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

LYUBA (translated text): 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 alone. Shells always seem to just miss her.

VALENTINA, LOCAL RESIDENT (translated text): 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's happened here. Lord, how much more?

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

VALENTINA (translated text): This house was smashed to clay. I'm left alone in four walls. Nothing anywhere. I cried 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 has been drinking.

Hello to everyone, he says. 40 times a day and night, they shell. Barely a window is intact, shrapnel flying through the glass daily.

Yesterday was Svetlana's turn, but she can't leave because 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 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.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Shevchenko, Ukraine.


SOARES: And that was in Kherson. Let me take you really to what we've seen in Odesa. The European Council President -- as you can see there -- Charles Michel visited the port city on Monday where he met with Ukraine's Prime Minister and spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy by video link. And he also toured the city's port on the Black Sea which has been blockaded during the war. Ukraine is a major supplier of wheat and grain around the world and it's Black Sea ports are a critical link in the supply chain. Well on Monday, Mr. Zelenskyy called on the international community to end Russia's block or risk a global food crisis.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): This is not just a strike at Ukraine. Without our grain export, dozens of countries in various regions of the world have found themselves on the brink of food deficit. With time the situation can truly become disastrous. This is a direct effect of the Russian aggression that can only be overcome by the united efforts of all Europeans of the entire world by means of putting pressure on Russia, by effective measures to force Russia to stop this ignominious war.


SOARES: Well, Charles Michel's visit to Odesa was also briefly interrupted on Monday after he was forced to take shelter during a missile attack. Ukraine's Prime Minister shared this photo of the two of them continuing their meeting from a bunker.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is set to be in Moldova today visiting with Ukrainian refugees. Moldova has taken in nearly half a million people from Ukraine. The U.N. reports Russia's war has forced more than 13 million people to flee their homes. And nearly 6 million have fled Ukraine and more than 7 million are internally displaced -- 7.7 million to be exact.

Well, for more I'm joined now by Federico Rota. He's a technical advisor for shelter and settlements at Catholic Services any joins me now from Moldova.


Federico, a very good morning to you. We have heard in the last 24 hours signs from President Putin at least of a continuation of current hostilities and no signs overnight at least from Odesa, from what we've seen, that this is changing. What will an expansion of this war mean for civilians, as well as the challenges for the neighboring countries?

FEDERICO ROTA, CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES: Good morning. Thanks for the invitation. Yes, we are all very worried about the potential expansion of the attack. And priority for Catholic Relief Services and our partners on the ground is to continue and be able to continue to provide much needed humanitarian assistance to those in need at the moment. We are seeing as you were saying before more than 7.7 million people

displaced within Ukraine and a total of more than 12 million displaced also outside the country. And it is paramount that we are able to continue to provide this humanitarian assistance.

SOARES: And Federico, my team tells me that you were recently in Ukraine supporting of course the displaced families -- the 7.7 million to be exact -- displaced within Ukraine. Talk us through, Federico, the work you and your team are doing on the ground.

ROTA: Yes, Catholic Relief Services and its partner Caritas are supporting people that are -- displacement within Ukraine. We are working to support the collective centers that provide temporary relief for those fleeing. People need a temporary place for a few nights or a few weeks to be able to rest, grieve, talk to their children, have the dignity of a shower and hot meal as well as receiving everyday items and a food parcel. We're also scaling up a program for cash assistance to both displaced families and host families within Ukraine.

SOARES: And these of course, Federico, are kind of almost immediate needs. But as we see a continuation of this war, people no doubt will be looking for stability here. What would be the long term needs that you will now have to think about?

ROTA: Exactly. It is paramount that we continue to provide the much needed emergency relief and assistance. But at the same time as you mentioned, it is important to acknowledge that most of these families will need to live, unfortunately, in displacement for the period to come. So, you know, in parallel of providing humanitarian assistance, it is important that we start thinking about more durable solution and longer term solution.

For example, when it comes to accommodations and services for children and families to continue living in displacement. We are providing support to host families as well in order for them to continue providing the much needed support to the families in displacement.

SOARES: Federico Rota, I appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. Thanks very much, Federico.

ROTA: Thank you.

SOARES: Now Russia's war in Ukraine has many people in Finland and Sweden urging their countries to join NATO and that decision to join the alliance could come this week for Finland with an announcement expected perhaps on Thursday. For the very latest, our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson joins me now from Helsinki. And Nic, Finland of course and Sweden, as we've said time and time again, have historically avoided NATO membership despite of course close Western alignment in an effort perhaps to appease nearby Russia. So, what will it mean for Europe really?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, it's been to sort of a historically head off of what was a Soviet aggression toward Finland. And of course, Finland has more recently become an EU member. And it goes on NATO military exercises, does training with NATO nations, partakes in military operations around the world and in partnership with NATO and Afghanistan, Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia, Lebanon, all those countries. So, there's that long history of alignment.

But as you say, a sort of nonalignment at the same time and that was explicitly to head off what was perceived as a Soviet potential Russian aggression. And of course, what's happening now, the dynamic now is exact country of what President Putin has been trying to achieve.

There is a process in place here now in Finland. A few weeks ago, the government presented a security paper to the Parliament, the next sort of really big significant step comes as early as tomorrow when the foreign affairs committee provides its response, the president expected to give his opinion on Thursday. And this momentum building to the Prime Minister's party making its decision likely over the weekend. And then an official decision coming as early as this weekend.


But the reality is that most fins here believe that because of the aggression that President Putin is showing in Ukraine, they are better off joining NATO. This has been a slow shift in previous decades. It's been accelerated over the past couple of months. And there's an opportunity now while Russia is fully engaged fighting in Ukraine to make this significant and historic shift. It is the changing geopolitical landscape that President Putin has triggered as he tries to change the security dynamic, the post-Cold War, post-World War II security dynamic in Europe. It's having an opposite repercussion for him here.

SOARES: So really what you are saying, Nic, is that we could be looking at two new NATO members right on Russia's doorstep. How much will that rattle President Putin?

ROBERTSON: Well, he's already said or his officials have said that it could need to be, from the Russian perspective, a security balance put on the border with Finland. When Finland joins -- as it is expected to. I think we can safely say that. It will more than double NATO's current border with Russia. So that sort of fault line, if you will, grows. And NATO's Article V which says what one nation is in trouble and under attack, the others will come to protect it, so that there will be a sort of -- a much longer border with Russia that NATO may ultimately need to protect. And that of course, is reciprocated that Fins may have to go and protect, you know, Poland or another country should -- you know, should Russia show aggression towards them. It's expected that this will happen quite quickly.

SOARES: Nic Robertson for us in Helsinki, Finland. Thanks very much, Nic.

I'm Isa's Soares coming to you live from Lviv, Ukraine. We've got much more coverage of Russia's war on Ukraine just ahead. For now, though, I want to go back to Max Foster in London with some of the other top stories -- Max. FOSTER: Isa, thank you very much.

Now a car crash was part of the dramatic end to an 11 day manhunt for a fugitive inmate and Alabama corrections officer. Authorities say that they were able to remove inmate Casey White from the wrecked car after a high speed police chase in southern Indiana. But they say officer Vicky White was pinned inside with a gunshot wound to her head and later died at hospital. A police tip led authorities to the pair who were hundreds of miles away from the jail where Casey White escaped. CNN's Nadia Romero picks up the story from there.


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

NADIA ROMERO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A defiant and triumph Lauderdale County Sheriff, Rick Singleton, detailing what happened when U.S. Marshals captured corrections officer Vicky White and inmate Casey White. First, this F-150 truck and Casey White spotted at a car wash in Evansville, Indiana reported to Alabama authorities Sunday night.

SHERIF 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 had remained here.

ROMERO (voice-over): Monday, U.S. Marshals found them in a hotel in Evansville. That's when marshals say the two fled police in a gray Cadillac. Casey White was driving, Vicky White in the passenger seat. U.S. Marshals pinned their car. They ended up in a ditch. Casey White surrendered, but U.S. Marshal say Vicky 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 will assure you that.

ROMERO (voice-over): The Lauderdale County district attorney says he is 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 (voice-over): Nadia Romero, CNN Lauderdale County, Alabama.


FOSTER: And still to come, the sticker shock at the gas pump isn't over. Details on rising gasoline prices and inflation in the U.S., next. Plus, it's wildfire season in the U.S., the weather conditions are crucial to stopping the fires raging in the Southwest. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri will have the very latest forecast for you.



FOSTER: The U.S. Senate has passed a bipartisan bill that would expand security protection to the immediate family of members of the Supreme Court justices. That's after supporters of abortion rights rallied loudly but peacefully outside the homes of three justices. Demonstrators are ferrous over the courts apparent plans to overturn the landmark 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade that made abortion the law of the land. The likely decision was revealed in a leaked draft opinion but it's not yet final.

Now in the coming hours U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to outline his plan to fight inflation and lower costs for working families, a key economic issue for the midterm elections just a few months away. But Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi says taming inflation could be a challenge for U.S. lawmakers. The price of housing, which includes both mortgage and rental costs is expected to become an even bigger contributor to inflation. To adjust that, Zandi says lawmakers should do more to increase the supply of rental homes.

Wall Street failed to stop the bleeding on Monday. The tech heavy Nasdaq plunged more than 4 percent, the S&P dropped below 4,000 for the first time in more than a year. And the Dow fell nearly 2 percent. This follows the fifth straight week of losses for all three major stock indices.


At last check the futures appear to have much more promising news, so it could be a better day. Oil is not immune to the market turmoil either. U.S. crude prices endured their steepest one day decline since late March tumbling more than 6 percent to just over $103 a barrel. Experts blame the drop not just on Wall Street but also China's COVID lockdowns and Europe's lack of progress in phasing out Russian oil.

Americans may see gas prices hit a record high by the end of the month. Analysts expect the national average of gas lead to hit $4.5 a gallon in the coming weeks. It wouldn't be too hard of a climb given the current U.S. average and its growth since just a week ago.

High winds threaten 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 fire in New Mexico. It has burned through an area nearly the size of New York City. Those high winds meant some aircraft were grounded on Sunday. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins me now with more on all of this -- Pedram.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Max, you know, these conditions here have been so persistent for so long when it comes to the fire weather and of course, the gusty winds, the extreme temperatures. All of this really setting the stage for explosive fire weather the last couple weeks. And of course, some 12 large active fires across portions of the Western U.S. spanning parts of four states.

And northern New Mexico, that's the biggest area of concern. That's where we've had some of the strongest winds in recent weeks. Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon fire, almost 200,000 acres consumed, notice the containment numbers up to about 43 percent.

While in Arizona the Tunnel Fire that is kind of locked in place around 19,000 acres nearing full containment there. But the concern levels have remain high when it comes to fire weather because the gusty winds have been in place, the ongoing drought situation, of course, and just the dry air. And of course, we had a heatwave as well.

But look at this coverage of red flag warnings encompassing much of the western United States. And you look at some of these numbers, it's remarkable. Because we had 20 days in the month of April where the National Weather Service in Albuquerque issued red flag warnings. In the first 10 days of the month of May, eight of them have already seen fire alerts there across parts of New Mexico.

With that said, on average we see 40 days in any given year and you will notice 39 have been issued there so far in 2022, a record into the 80s which we're not too far off when you consider that we're only less than halfway through the entire year.

But here's the setup. Gusty winds once again back in the forecast. Northern Arizona, northern New Mexico, some of these winds at times will push up to say 35, 40 miles per hour. We know the heat is going to be extensive. It going to expand a little farther toward the East and the heat dome we've talked about is still locked in place across the region. In fact, look at these temperatures in the past 24 or so hours across portions of Texas, 105 degrees besting records, and in some cases, some of these records have been standing for some four to five decades. And the long range forecast keeps this area warm, keeps this area dry. So, very concerning for firefighting efforts -- Max.

FOSTER: Pedram, appreciate it. Thank you very much indeed.

Still to come, Ukrainians working tirelessly to get the wounded from frontlines to the hospitals. Still trying to process the atrocities of war. Isa goes inside a hospital in Lviv next.


SOARES (voice-over): His voice almost a whisper, he tells me he regrets not listening to his elders that fateful day.

SOARES: How are you feeling after, you know, clearly horrendous few days?