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Gay Nightclub Shooting Killed Five People; Survivors Fighting for Their Life; No Suspect Taken Yet in Idaho Murder Case; Republicans Gearing for a Political Revenge; U.S. National Team Faces Wales. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired November 21, 2022 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.
Just ahead, America comes to grips with yet another mass shooting as police in Colorado search for a motive in an attack on a gay nightclub. We'll look at the heroic response that stopped it from becoming an even deadlier tragedy.
Unsolved murders in Idaho. A week after four students were stabbed to death in their beds no suspect, no weapon. We will ask a former FBI special agent about how investigators can crack the case.
Plus, the battle of the investigations. How a change of power in the U.S. House could lead to gridlock on Capitol Hill.
UNKNOWN: Live from CNN center, this is CNN Newsroom with Rosemary Church.
CHURCH: And we begin with the latest developments in this weekend's deadly shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Police are still investigating the motive for the shooting.
Meantime, mourners have been laying flowers at a makeshift memorial outside the club. At least five people were killed and 25 others injured. Police have not yet released the names of the dead, but the parents of bartender Daniel Aston say their son was among those killed.
They tell the Denver Post he moved to Colorado Springs to be closer to them two years ago, he found a job at the club only a few minutes from their home. Police say Aston's alleged killer 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich entered Club Q late Saturday and opened fire with a long rifle. Colorado Governor Jared Polis, who is gay, spoke with CNN about how the community is reacting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JARED POLIS (D-CO): This was just a place of safety for people. It was a place where people could, in a conservative community, often get the acceptance that too many of them might not have had at home or in their other circles. And to see this occur, is really just put us all in a state of shock here in Colorado and across the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Authorities say at least two people inside the club confronted the shooter, fought with him, and prevented more bloodshed. The suspect survived and was being treated at a hospital. Club Q posted a statement on social media thanking the heroic customers who took down the attacker.
The mayor of Colorado Springs says the motive is still unclear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN SUTHERS, MAYOR, COLORADO SPRINGS: This is a scenario that's pretty familiar to many of us, or all of us in America. A young male, this guy is 22 years old, acting on his -- on his own and with incredibly, incredibly, tragic results. But his specific motive, what was driving him to do this, we'll have to see what the investigation shows.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Police say the suspect was arrested in June of last year in connection to a bomb threat that led to a standoff at his mother's home, but no charges were filed in that case. Meantime, officials say some of the people injured in the nightclub shooting are in critical condition and the death toll could rise.
CNN's Nadia Romero has more now on the story.
NADIA ROMERO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Another terrible update in this story. Twenty-five people now injured. Overnight that number was just 18. So now at 25 injured, five people dead and we were told by authorities that number could continue to fluctuate. We know that not everyone was initially accounted for.
Some people may have taken themselves to a hospital, some people may not have gone at all or reported their injuries and that number of people dead stands at five right now. But that number could change sadly, because we know that there are people in the hospital right now in the intensive care units fighting for their lives.
I want you to hear from two medical professionals as they discuss what it has taken to take care of these patients overnight and into the day hours.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL PLAUTH, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, PENROSE HOSPITAL: We've taken care of seven members of our community to remain in critical care, but are in excellent hands. The other five patients mainly had extremity injuries, and two have already been treated and released back to the community. [03:05:07]
And then the others have been admitted to the hospital are still undergoing treatment.
DAVID STEINBRUNER, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, UCHEALTH MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: We do have patients in critical condition as well, but like anything else, it's a moving target. We have all of our physicians actively taking care of everybody as appropriate, depending upon their injuries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMERO: Now police have yet to release any of the names of the victims or those people who were impacted, either injured or killed. They say they're still notifying family members, but we do know the name of the suspect. Twenty-two-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich. Now police say that they recovered two guns in the nightclub, but they believe he used a long rifle in the shooting.
Now the district attorney in that area says they believe he acted alone, but as far as a motive, that's something that people are speculating about. You may see that on social media. A police right now say that they are looking into whether or not this was a hate crime, that this particular nightclub was targeted because it was an LGBTQ, a gay nightclub.
Now we know that the FBI is also investigating. That's one of the angles that they'll be looking into as well as we await more answers to many of the questions that still remain.
Nadia Romero, CNN, Atlanta.
CHURCH: Club Q opened 20 years ago and was until recently the only LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs. Many considered it a safe space for the gay community. One witness who was inside the club during the shooting described how the traumatic event unfolded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSHUA THURMAN, CLUB Q PATRON AND SURVIVOR: I was on the dance floor dancing when I heard four to five shots. I thought of it was the music, so I kept dancing. Then I heard another set of shots, and then I -- me and a customer ran to the -- to the dressing room and got on the ground and locked the doors and called the police immediately.
It was so scary. I heard shots, broken glass, bodies. It was -- how? Why?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: President Joe Biden issued a statement offering prayers for the victims and their families, and he condemned the increasing threats of violence against the LGBTQ community. He said, quote, "places that are supposed to be safe spaces of acceptance and celebration should never be turned into places of terror and violence, yet it happens far too often."
And he continued saying, quote, "we must drive out the inequities that contribute to violence against LBTQI+ people. We cannot and must not tolerate hate."
Well, one week on, and police in Idaho are still searching for a suspect in the killing of four university students. Authorities have searched the house where the victims were stabbed to death. They have also fielded more than 600 tips and conducted over 90 interviews, and so far, no leads on a suspect. But police have been able to rule out a few people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGER LANIER, CAPTAIN, MOSCOW POLICE DEPARTMENT: We do not believe the following individuals are involved in this crime. The two surviving roommates, a male seen at the Grub truck food vendor downtown, specifically wearing a white hoodie, a private party who provided rides home to Kaylee and Madison in the early morning hour of November 13th. Currently, there are no suspects in custody and we have not located a weapon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Steve Moore is a CNN law enforcement contributor and a retired supervisory special agent with the FBI, and he joins me now from Miami. Thank you so much, Steve.
STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks for having me.
CHURCH: So, it has been a week since four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death in their Moscow off-campus home. And while police have fielded more than 600 tips and conducted more than 90 interviews, they still have no leads on a suspect or the weapon. How unusual is this and why do you think this investigation is taking so long?
MOORE: Well, first of all, Rosemary, this investigation will take a long time and I think people need to -- need to for -- forget what they see on TV where crimes are solved within 40 minutes and three commercials.
This is a serious, deep investigation. That's one thing, and we have to give it time. But the other thing is right now, the fact that they're doing six, 700 interviews indicates that they are doing a generalized search. They haven't even been able to target it yet, and I think that's where the focus needs to be on focusing the investigation.
CHURCH: So, what about the fact that police have already ruled out our suspects, the other roommates who were home at the time of this gruesome crime, as well as some other individuals. How do police make that determination so early in the investigation? MOORE: Simply by alibi, information as to, you know, where the person was, people saying, yes, he or she was with me. Things -- things of that nature. There's also other intangibles like the fact that, you know, you couldn't commit these murders without having blood on you and, and, it would just seem logical that you could rule out certain people, even the ones in the house.
CHURCH: And police say that some of the four victims had defensive wounds. What does that reveal to you and, and why do you think the two other roommates in the home were not attacked? What does all of this signal to you?
MOORE: Rosemary, what I'm seeing here is that this case is not -- the motive of this killer is not going to make any sense to you and me. I do not think this was drug related, money related, sex related, relationship related.
I believe we're dealing with somebody who is -- who's deranged essentially. And so, I believe that they're going to, that the case is going to depend more on what profilers say about this killer than what can, what we would think just generally. The fact that the women were not assaulted sexually tells us something. The fact that he brought his own weapon tells us that he was expecting to kill when he went there.
The two on each floor may have been all the person needed for whatever desire they had. We won't know until we get to the person. But what's interesting is they said some of the victims had defensive wounds. What that tells me is that the killer was attacking most of them, if not all of them, as they slept, as they had no chance to defend themselves, and maybe only one woke up in time. So, this killer came in and killed people or tried to kill people who were sleeping.
CHURCH: It is just horrifying. And Steve, while the Moscow Police Department is leading this investigation, they're also getting assistance from the FBI, state police and other local police departments. What does that tell you and how, how long do you think it will take to track down a suspect with those massive resources available?
MOORE: You know, I worked a case like this a while back, a cold case, and it took us 18 years. I don't expect that to be the case here. But what this tells me, is that the Moscow Police Department is doing the right thing. They are aware of the limitations of manpower, of they may not have profilers. They are putting the case ahead of their department.
And the FBI can bring in profilers, they can bring in manpower, and the police in Idaho don't have to lose control of the case. And this is crucial and it tells me a lot of good things about how this department is led, but right now, they need to start paying strong attention to the types of profiles the profilers are providing them.
They can -- they can pinpoint generally the kind of person who might have done this and say things like, he probably knew the victims. He might live a walking distance away. These are things that the kind of things that they could come up with.
CHURCH: Well, let's hope they find this aspect sooner rather than later. Steve Moore, thank you so much for talking with us. I appreciate it.
MOORE: Thank you, Rosemary.
CHURCH: We are following new reaction to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland's decision to appoint a special counsel to weigh potential charges against Donald Trump in two federal investigations. House intelligence committee chair Adam Schiff is hitting back at the former President's suggestion that the move was politically motivated. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN KARL, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: Because they're still going to say it's political.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): They're still going to say it, but it's the right thing to do. And most particularly, if you ensure that it won't cause any delay. So, if the same prosecutors that have been investigating the former president and others can be moved onto the special prosecutor's team, then there's every reason to do it. No reason not to do it.
And I think the person he's chosen seems to be capable and qualified.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Adam Schiff there. And Republicans are now vowing to investigate U.S. President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as they look set to take over the House.
Last hour, I asked Ron Brownstein, CNN senior political analyst about why Republicans now seem focus on political payback after they campaigned so hard on high inflation and the economy. Take a listen.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The underlying reality that shapes every decision by this narrow new House Republican majority is that because of Donald Trump's lies about 2020, somewhere around three quarters of Republican voters say Joe Biden was illegitimately elected.
And that puts enormous pressure on them to confront him at every turn, and to avoid making deals with him at every turn. And the complication they've got is that that is the dominant impulse for most of the caucus. The vast majority of the caucus are representing safely Republican areas that are in that mindset and one confrontation at every turn.
But there are going to be somewhere between 16 and 18, depending on the final votes, House Republicans who were elected from districts that voted for Joe Biden in 2020 and they may be less enthusiastic about the course that this new majority is already setting off on. And it will be interesting to watch how that tension plays -- plays out in how they deal with what is going to be a very aggressive and confrontational posture.
CHURCH: Ron Brownstein talking to me last hour.
In a surprise move, Bob Iger is returning to run Disney and the current CEO, Bob Chapek is stepping down immediately. No reason was given, but Chapek's management has been criticized of late with Disney's stock down more than 40 percent this year.
Disney says Iger will serve as CEO for just two years to help turn things around and ultimately help choose his successor. Iger previously led the company for 15 years and oversaw the acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel and Lucas Film, which brought the Star Wars franchise to Disney.
Well, still to come, the U.S. prepares for its first match of the World Cup, but after an eight-year absence, how will they stack up against their opponents? A sports writer weighs in. That's next on the other side of the break. Do stay with us.
CHURCH: We are just a few hours away from the first full day of World Cup competition. England will take on Iran, and later the U.S. will play Wales. Ahead of that match President Joe Biden call the team to wish them luck.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: It says POTUS, that's where it's coming from.
UNKNOWN: Sir, you have the U.S. men's national soccer team.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Coach, put, man, I'm ready to play. You guys, I know you're the underdog, but I'll tell you what, man. You got some of the best players in the world on your team and you're representing this country and I know you're going to play your hearts out, so let's go shock them all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Now, even though Mr. Biden called the Americans underdogs, they are actually favored to beat Wales, but they will face a tough test against group B opponent England in the week ahead.
And all of this follows an historic opening match between Qatar and Ecuador. On Sunday, the South Americans spoiled the party for the Qatari host, beating them with a final score of two-nil. Qatar is the only host country to ever lose in the tournament's opener.
So, let's discuss all this with Henry Bushnell. He is a writer at Yahoo Sports and he joins us live from Doha.
Good to have you with us.
HENRY BUSHNELL, WRITER, YAHOO SPORTS: Thanks for having me.
CHURCH: So, excitement is building as we count down to the faceoff between the United States and Wales at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. That's less than 11 hours from now. How do you think the U.S. will likely go up against Wales after an eight-year absence?
BUSHNELL: Yes, I think they're shaping up pretty well.
I think they'll play with a youthful exuberance that they haven't had, you know, in the previous cycle when they failed to qualify. And that could be really valuable on such a big stage. And I think they're a more talented team than Wales actually.
Now, Wales certainly has more experience. They probably have more of a on field identity of, you know, a formula that has led them to success at the European championships, for example.
But this U.S. team is one that's been totally overhauled and rebuilt since they failed to qualify last time around. As I said, they're young and fearless. They have a 23-year-old captain actually, that they just named yesterday, the youngest at the tournament. And they have a group of players that are playing at like some levels of European club football that American soccer has never really touched before. And I think those players could win the day against Wales.
CHURCH: All right. Well, that sounds very hopeful for the U.S. at least. So, the U.S. will then face group B opponent in England in the week ahead. What are your expectations with that?
BUSHNELL: Yes. So, in one sense the England game will be a bit tougher, right? Simply because England is just a far more, they have more talent than both the U.S. and Wales. But in another sense, I actually think this game might suit this U.S. team more than the Wales game will.
The U.S. has a tendency to, I'd say play down to lesser opponents and play up to superior opponents. So, they raise their level when they're playing against better teams, and they're at their best when it's the opponent that is more aggressive and proactive and has the ball a lot.
So, I think the U.S. could, you know, they could fly around the field a lot. They could pick and choose their moments to press and counter attack and, you know, look, I'm not saying they're going to beat England. That's certainly not the expectation with anybody around this team. I mean, obviously the players will, will think that they can win.
I'm just saying I think there is a better chance than a lot of people realize that they actually could get a result in that game, whether or not they get a result tonight.
CHURCH: And of course, it has to be said there has been much controversy surrounding Qatar's hosting of this year's World Cup with the head of FIFA blaming western nations for triggering controversy surrounding Qatar's human rights record.
What is your reaction to what Gianni Infantino had to say on this, and should Qatar be hosting given its record of migrant worker abuses, and of course the harsh treatment of women and homosexuals.
BUSHNELL: Yes, it was a really, I was in the press conference on Saturday and it was one of the more remarkable press conferences I've ever been in. Just your draw -- your jaw constantly dropping at what was coming out of Gianni Infantino's mouth.
I think his comments actually hit on something that I've been thinking a lot about, which is I think there maybe is some western bias in how some of these issues have been covered, especially by the European media. Just in that there has been this unquenchable thirst to criticize Qatar, whereas maybe there is not that same thirst when powerful western nations are hosting these mega events.
You know, for example, I haven't seen too much criticism yet of FIFA putting the 2026 Men's World Cup, the next one in U.S. states that have some really discriminatory laws towards a variety of people.
But of course, that isn't a reason to not criticize Qatar. I don't think they should be hosting this World Cup. Because, you know, what happened -- what has happened here, what has happened to enable this World Cup and what continues to happen, albeit to a lesser degree, some -- to some extent with migrant workers, but it's pretty appalling.
And you know, the problem with Infantino's speech with his press conference is that it was full of some just really tone deaf whataboutism. And his defensive Qatar on all these issues was either, yes, well it's also bad elsewhere or, yes, well it's better now than it used to be and FIFA has helped make it better. So, stop criticizing us.
BUSHNELL: And he never really reckoned with the fact that it's still really bad for a lot of -- a lot of people here in a lot of different segments of society. And I think that's what offended and even infuriated so many people.
CHURCH: Yes, I mean definitely some false equivalence there. And I did want to ask you this. What is your reaction to Qatar banning the sale of beer in stadiums despite Budweiser's 75 million World Cup sponsorship?
BUSHNELL: Yes, look, this is another interesting issue because, you know, going off what we just talked about, and as various people have said, whereas some -- something, whereas some -- whereas human rights are at issue with a lot of these things, beer is not a human right. And like, I think this is totally separate from the questions about when we talk about whether gay fans are welcome here, for example.
And I think it actually would've been, or would've been totally fine if Qatar and FIFA had just come out years ago and said, there will be no alcohol at stadiums here. You can survive if you can't drink for a few hours. And, you know, we'll work with Budweiser on the side to make it up to them, which by the way, I'm sure FIFA is doing, and Budweiser is already re-up for 2026.
And you know, they'll have a beer bonanza in the U.S. and Canada and Mexico when the World Cup comes there in 2026. The larger issue here is the last-minute change, right?
BUSHNELL: It's -- which it's clearly come under pressure from the Qataris. And it raised a lot of questions about like, well, if they can just change this at the snap of a finger, what else could they change? And you know, is FIFA even really in control of its own World Cup here? And Infantino says he feels 200 percent in control. That was his quote. But I think that's a fair question to ask at this point.
CHURCH: Yes. It was the surprise element as you point out that really annoyed so many people. Henry Bushnell, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.
BUSHNELL: Thank you.
CHURCH: And still to come, parts of New York state covered in a blanket of snow. We will have the latest forecast as well as how the historic snowfall forced the NFL to get creative. We're back with that and more in just a moment.
CHURCH: You are watching a time lapse video of snowfall in Buffalo, New York. Over the weekend, parts of the state saw up to 80 inches of the white stuff, that's around 200 centimeters since Thursday. More than three million people in Western New York are under winter weather alerts right now. With more snow expected to fall through the night.
And the snow was so deep in Buffalo the NFL was forced to move Sunday's game between the Bills and the Cleveland Browns to Detroit. The Bills say more than 56,000 tickets sold for the relocated game in less than 24 hours with fans eager to support their teams away from home.
And CNN's Polo Sandoval has more now from New York.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just about everywhere you look just south of Buffalo and really in the city, there are reminders that the cleanup efforts after this historic snowstorm, they're far from over. This is a residential neighborhood just south of Buffalo proper. Residents have been working all weekend to dig their way out of their homes, clearing their driveways. The city, the county, they're joining the efforts, making sure that the streets are clear as well. They're also taking some extraordinary steps to not just plow the snow but also remove the snow.
You see this lake effect, frozen precipitation, it's wet. It's very heavy. So according to one city official I spoke to on Sunday, it's not the kind of snow that you could just sort of plow and leave it there. So, they are taking these extraordinary steps by basically using equipment to remove the snow from these neighborhoods and then pile it up high tons at a time.
In some of the city facilities that they have, they say that certainly snow and buffalo is not extraordinary, but the num -- the volume that they received, for the last three days, it certainly is.
Polo Sandoval, CNN, Buffalo, New York.
CHURCH: And meteorologist Britley Ritz joined me now with more on the weather. So, let's have a look at this because this is an extraordinary amount, historic amount of snow.
BRITLEY RITZ, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely, Rosemary. Crippling to be exact at. People are not supposed to be out on the roadways, specifically in areas that are still under these snow squall alerts. And here we are at Orchard Park, New York with 80 inches, roughly 200 centimeters of snowfall.
Now Buffalo picked up over a three-day time period, 36.9 inches. That's a second snowiest three-day period for Buffalo for the month of November. And for Saturday, all over 24 hours period time, 21 and a half inches. Previous record for one day was 7.6.
All right, so here's what's going on. All of that cold air rushes over the lake, we call that a fetch, and that warm water of the lake gets picked up, cools, condenses, and then falls to the ground over the land. We wind up with lake effect snow, heavy snow.
So, thankfully, our winds are starting to switch direction and that's key. We now have more of a southwest wind, and that's going to pick up through the afternoon of 35 to 40 miles per hour. While the fetch decreases, the winds increase and out of a different direction, it doesn't matter. We're now dealing with blowing snow, so we're still dealing with the snow drifts.
Wind advisories in effect. Watertown, Rochester, Buffalo included throughout the afternoon. We now have a lot of these winter weather alerts expiring, which is hopeful, which means our snow chances are starting to die down. But we still have one band in particular rolling through Central and upstate New York, and we're watching this closely.
See the heavier snow bands showing you the darker purples and the grays. That's three inches an hour. And again, with winds we're down near zero visibility. So, travel is still not advised with this issue. And again, snow still expected to fall here in the upcoming days. An additional one to two inches possible, but things are starting to lighten up.
So, good thing there when it comes down to travel for Thanksgiving. But now we're watching the rain chances across the south and the southeast rolling into the holiday. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Right. Many thanks, Britley Ritz, joining us there. I appreciate it.
It is now -- has now been 270 days since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. And in that time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the Russians have now used more than 4,700 missiles to strike his country.
In an address on Sunday he said, quote, "hundreds of our cities are simply burned." He also gave an update on the fighting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): The first topic is the front line. The fiercest battles as before are in the Donetsk region. Although there are fewer attacks today due to the deterioration of the weather, the number of Russian shelling occasions remains unfortunately extremely high.
The second topic is energy, restoration of networks and technical supply capabilities, demining of power transmission lines, repairs, everything goes on around the clock. We managed to alleviate the situation in some regions where there were a lot of real problems yesterday. This evening, there are stabilization shutdowns in 15 regions and in Kyiv as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: According to Ukraine's national police, more than 44,000 criminal cases have been opened across the country since the start of the war, involving what it says crimes committed by the Russian military.
Over the weekend, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was shaken by more shelling. Experts with the International Atomic Energy Agency said more than a dozen blasts were heard Sunday morning. The head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog said whoever is responsible is playing with fire. As concerns grow that fighting so close to the plant could cause a nuclear accident.
CNN's Sam Kiley is following developments from Odessa.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Once again, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, which was captured by Russian forces back in March of this year in the early stages of their campaign, is coming under threat. Now the Ukrainian authorities are accusing the Russians of deliberately target -- targeting infrastructure in that nuclear power station that has cut its ability to supply electricity into the Ukrainian national network.
They say that they had got reactors five and six up and running and supplying electricity into the already teetering network, which has been under extreme military pressure from a series of wave upon wave of Russian cruise missile and drone strikes now for several weeks.
The Ukrainians saying the Russians deliberately targeted the capacity to supply electricity into that network. The Russians for their part are denying, as they always do, any kind of strikes against a facility that is actually under their control. It is under military control this nuclear power station, although the workers there are predominantly Ukrainian and some are Russian experts too.
And the plan has always been from the Russian perspective to try to pipe that electricity, if you like, into the Russian network. That has not yet happened. Now this all occurring as Nikopol across the river from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant received large amount of incoming Russian missiles and other artillery attacks last night with one person being seriously injured, but dozens of buildings and other locations being hit from arguably areas or fire bases very close to that nuclear power station being used by the Russians.
Sam Kiley, CNN in Odessa.
CHURCH: Ukraine is now responding to Russian war crimes accusations. Moscow says videos circulated online show Russian soldiers killed after surrendering to Ukrainian forces.
On Sunday, Ukraine's human rights commissioner claimed the Russians staged a surrender and opened fire first. Adding that, quote, "returning fire is not a war crime." Russia has not yet publicly commented on Ukraine's response.
And CNN has geolocated the videos to the outskirts of Makiivka, a recently liberated village in the eastern Luhansk region. The edited video purports to show a group of Russian soldiers lying face down on the ground with their hands over their heads.
More soldiers are seen emerging from a building and lying down next to the other troops in the yard. A man can be heard shouting, come on out one by one. Which of you is the officer? Has everyone come out? Come out? A short burst of gunfire is heard before the video cuts off. A second clip shot from a drone appears to show the same men dead on the ground surrounded by pools of blood.
Now we are unable to verify what exactly happened in the first clip or what happened between the clips. But we know from Reuters that the U.N. human rights office is aware of the video and is investigating.
Russia's ministry of defense says the video shows, quote, "a deliberate and methodical killing of more than 10 immobilized Russian servicemen."
Executing prisoners of war is a war of crime -- is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions, and Ukraine has also accused of multiple war crimes since the invasion began.
Well, still to come, a rights group is expressing concern after several people were killed in the Kurdish region of Iran, including two minors. We will have the details after the break.
CHURCH: Human rights activists fear a crackdown in Kurdish areas of Iran. An activist group posted an unverified video allegedly showing Iranian forces firing indiscriminately in two Kurdish cities. And a warning, some of the video is disturbing to watch.
The group says at least 36 people have been killed in the region since last Tuesday, including two 16-year-old boys. CNN has not been able to independently verify these reports.
So, for more, let's go to CNN's Jomana Karadsheh who joins us live from Istanbul. Good to see you, Jomana. So, what were you learning about this apparent crackdown in in a Kurdish region of Iran?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, what we have seen over the past week is this new wave of protest that has erupted across the country. Many of these -- many of these demonstrations taking place in Kurdish cities and towns in the region in the western part of the country.
And the human rights monitor Hengaw is telling us that there has been an intensifying crackdown in the Kurdish region and that they have seen what they describe as brutality increasing significantly. They say security forces have been shooting directly and deliberately at protesters, as you mentioned.
So far, they have identified they say 36 victims, including two 16- year-old boys who have been killed since last Tuesday. But Hengaw is concerned that the number could be higher than that.
And on Sunday, Rosemary, there was a lot of concern about what is going on in the city of Mahabad. Activists, rights groups were warning that a bloody crackdown might be coming. As we've seen, security enforce -- reinforcements being sent into the city, including members of the feared revolutionary guard corps.
And then what we saw is a number of cities according to Hengaw and other activists, several cities and towns and villages in the Kurdish region they say rising up in support of Mahabad and they say that those areas came under intense attack as well.
The Iranian regime, Rosemary, is confirming that it has sent forces into the Kurdish region. But what it's doing is continuing to push the narrative that what is going on in that part of a country is not protests, not real grievances by its long-oppressed Kurdish minority. What they're saying is going on is some sort of a separatist terrorist movement. The IRGC in a statement saying that they have sent troops to confront
and deal with these separatists and terrorists. Also, as part of this government narrative, we're seeing once again the Iranian regime conducting strikes into Iraq's northern semi-autonomous Kurdish region. Missiles and drones targeting several areas, several target in that part of Iraq.
They say targeting Iranian Kurdish opposition forces who they've accused of fueling the unrest in western Iran's Kurdish region. So, a lot of concern, Rosemary, about what might be happening in the next hour -- in the coming hours and days in the Kurdish region of Iran.
And in more disturbing news coming out of Iran on Sunday as well, Rosemary, we heard from state media announcing that a revolutionary court sentenced another protestor to death. This is the six protesters to receive the death penalty in a week. This protestor who hasn't been identified, they say was accused of blocking traffic and attacking members of the paramilitary besiege forces.
Again, the sixth sentence in a week in what rights groups are describing as these sham trials. What I can tell you, Rosemary, despite these death sentences, the arrests, the violent crackdown, the rising death toll, the protests are not stopping. What we are seeing happening is people growing angrier by the day and more defiant.
CHURCH: Yes, brave and defiant and just incredible. And we thank you, Jomana Karadsheh, for shining a light on this reporting there from Istanbul. I appreciate it.
And do stay tuned to CNN for an exclusive report releasing today on Amanpour. Nima Elbagir reports on the brave Iranian women and men exposing a patent of repression. They say some security forces at detention centers in Iran are sexually assaulting and raping protestors. Here is just a brief excerpt.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: This is Hannah (Ph), not her real. A Kurdish Iranian woman recently smuggled out of Iran. She fears for her life. After taking off and burning her head scarf on the streets she was arrested and detained by Iranian intelligence officers.
They choose the women who were pretty and suited their appetite. Then the officer would take one of them from the cell to a smaller private room. They would sexually assault them there.
CHURCH: And tune in to Amanpour at 1 p.m. Eastern, that's 6 p.m. in London for that exclusive report.
And you are watching CNN. I'll be back after a short break.
CHURCH: And finally, more on one of our top stories. The World Cup event that will draw some four billion TV viewers.
CNN's Michael Holmes shows us how football fans around the globe have been swept up in the excitement.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): World Cup fever. It's not just a Doha thing. Fans around the world getting into the matches and revving up support for their teams even if they're not in Qatar. Back in Brazil, people cheering on the home team, hoping for a sixth World Cup victory by painting the streets of their neighborhoods and streaming flags of yellow, blue, and green.
UNKNOWN (through translator): We are all working to give energy to our team and for Brazil to be champions.
HOLMES: In one town in India, their excitement for the Cup looming so large there are large cutouts of some of the greats of the game like Leonel Messi and Neymar towering over the roadside. Local businesses say it's already a win for them.
SABIN, SHOPKEEPER (through translator): People are asking for Argentina, Brazil, and Portugal jersey. We have everything from flags and jerseys to cutouts. It's going to be a blast.
HOLMES: Mexico looking to score some points from on high. One church parish dressing up a statue called the Child of the Miracles in the uniform of the Mexican team. The priest says a first World Cup win for Mexico is a common prayer.
UNKNOWN (through translator): Many people do have this feeling that with God's help, they will be able to win.
HOLMES: And even though Kenya didn't qualify to play in the World Cup, people in Nairobi still expected to pack the sports pubs where all the African teams are fan favorites.
UNKNOWN: We're still hoping that one of the African nations can probably do well the World Cup. But I think the e judgement, the build-up, the pomp and color, the fans, they're the things that make the World Cup special.
HOLMES: The excitement also felt in Idlib, Syria where a future football star could be sharpening their skills. Three hundred children playing in a mock version of the World Cup. Many coming from camps for the displaced and industrial zones in the region. And just like their role models in Doha, these kids say they have one goal, to win.
Michael Holmes, CNN. (END VIDEOTAPE)
CHURCH: And thanks so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Have yourselves a wonderful day. CNN Newsroom continues with Max Foster. That's next.