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Bill to Avoid Default Passes U.S. Senate, 63-36; 3 Killed Trying to Get in Locked Kyiv Bunker; Biden Fine After Fall Over Sandbag; Serbia & Kosovo Trading Blame Over Regional Crisis; Eurozone Inflation Slows to 6.2 percent in May; Sherpa Rescues Distress Climber on Everest. Aired 12-12:45a ET

Aired June 02, 2023 - 00:00   ET


JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Ahead this hour on CNN NEWSROOM, back on the brink. The U.S. Congress passes a compromise deal, raising the federal government's debt ceiling for two years.


NATO's moment of truth and out of excuses for denying Ukraine immediate membership to the alliance.

And Joe Biden takes a tumble. The 88-year-old president joked about being sandbagged on stage. Republicans say it's more evidence he's unfit for office.

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

VAUSE: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. Great to have you with us.

And we begin this hour in Washington and a crisis averted, at least for now. And weeks-long battle to raise the governments the federal government's debt ceiling is now over.

An hour ago, the Senate narrowly voted in favor of a compromise deal and avoided an unprecedented default by the U.S. government and an economic meltdown that would have been felt around the world.

The bill had cleared the lower House a day earlier and was narrowly passed by the Senate, 63 to 36. The U.S. government is just days now from running out of money. Once the president signs this bill into law, the treasury can resume borrowing money to meet its many obligations until 2025.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Democrats are feeling very good tonight. We've saved the country from the scourge of default, even though there are some on the other side who wanted default, who wanted to lead us to default. We may be a little tired, but we did it. So we're very happy.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement, "Thanks to House Republicans' efforts, the Fiscal Responsibility Act avoids the catastrophic consequences of default and begins to curb Washington Democrats' addiction to reckless spending that grows our nation's debt."

President Joe Biden called the deal a big win for the U.S. economy and its people, and he's set to deliver his first ever Oval Office address on avoiding default on Friday night.

With us now from Los Angeles is political analyst Michael Genovese, president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University.

Michael, good to have you with us.


VAUSE: So in the true spirit of compromise, no one seems happy. Listen to the independent Senator Bernie Sanders. Here he is.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): The fossil fuel industry, doing great. They're going to get a fast track for a pipeline that we don't need. But if you are a working-class person, elderly person, low-income person, maybe not so good. Maybe you're going to lose a little of your benefits. Not a good deal.


VAUSE: And for the view across the aisle, listen to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. Here he is.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): To my House colleagues, I can't believe you did this. To the speaker, I know you've got a tough job. I like you, but the party of Ronald Reagan is dying.


VAUSE: OK, if there is a loser in all of this, is it true Biden's promise of higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations to finance social programs like, you know, childcare, paid family leave, community college, that kind of stuff?

GENOVESE: I don't think there are any clear winners. I think, if anything, the Democrats may have gotten a little bit better than the Republicans, but in divided government, you get compromises; you get bargains; you get deals. No one is happy, and no one really is happy with this.

The left wing of the Democratic Party is blaming Biden. The right wing of the Republican Party is blaming McCarthy. They're both right. They both caved in a lot. They both gave a lot. But in the end, I think both sides now can move on and get some real work done.

VAUSE: From your lips to God's ear.

Then there is the issue of how this actually played out in the first place. In the interest of bipartisanship, here's Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): We should never have been put in this position to begin with. This is about paying the ransom to a bunch of hostage takers, and that is not how we should run this government. It's not good for the people of this country, and it's not good for the position of the United States all around the world.


VAUSE: It is not surprising Republicans have an entirely different take on how this played out and who's to blame. Here's Senator John Cornyn.


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): I think we're being jammed by Joe Biden. We're back up here against the ex (ph) date, and this could have happened months ago. So, I'm not happy with him. I'm not happy with the process.


VAUSE: At the end of the day, are they both right?

GENOVESE: I think they are both right. I mean, the sound you hear is a big sigh of relief. And it's a sigh of relief not with joy, not with any victory attached to it, but it's simply relief. We're not going to default.

And so that means that the people on the right and the left of each party are going to have a lot to complain about, because bargaining and compromising is not pretty. You don't get what you want. There are always losers.


And -- and therefore, democracy has to work, be made to work. It's not a self-executing machine. And I think what you saw is how the sausage is made. And neither side performed especially well, but they got it done, and we can move on. We're not going to default.

VAUSE: You say we can move on, and it seems, you know, the U.S. hasn't so much avoided a self-inflicted economic Armageddon, but rather delayed the possibility until 2025, when there will be another vote to race the debt ceiling and a very good chance that we go through this process all over again, as we have done in the past, time and time again. GENOVESE: And we will. We will in the not-too-distant future. But the

good news for President Biden is he got a two-year deal. And so he's got time, and he'll go into the 2024 presidential election without that albatross around his neck.

Because a lot of Republicans wanted him to have to face the budget deficit again and face these same questions going into a presidential election. But he removed from the hands of some right-wing Republicans the sledgehammer they were going to use to beat him over the head.

So if there's a victory for Biden, that's one of the bigger ones.

VAUSE: Is it possible that, at some point in the future, the debt ceiling could be removed altogether, that they -- we don't have to have these showdowns over the weaponization of the debt limit every couple of years?

GENOVESE: Well, to paraphrase you, from your lips to God's ears. That is what most people would like, but if Democrats are in the White House, the Republicans won't do it. If the Republicans are in the White House, the Democrats won't do it.

It makes eminently good sense to just drop this whole thing, to not have this -- have to face this year after year after year. But it's become a permanent feature of American politics. I don't see it going away.

VAUSE: Michael Genovese, it was good to see you. Thank you, sir.

GENOVESE: Thank you, John.

VAUSE: Now to Eastern Ukraine. More evidence the war in Ukraine is slowly evolving to become the war in Russia.

The government of the Belgorod region claims Ukraine's military has carried out dozens of artillery and mortar strikes in the past day. Twelve people wounded but no one killed. A group of Russian dissidents fighting alongside Ukraine says it destroyed ammunition and rocket launchers.

Meantime, air-raid sirens are sounding against -- across Ukraine again, with Kyiv's mayor reporting explosions in the capital. On Thursday, three people, including a 9-year-old girl, her mother were killed by missile debris, as they tried to make entry into a locked bomb shelter.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, at a summit of European leaders in Moldova, pleaded with allies for more Patriot missile defense systems until fighter jets, F-16s, can actually be delivered.

NATO foreign ministers in Norway agreed Ukraine will join the alliance eventually. For now, the secretary-general insists Kyiv has the right to defend itself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: We don't know when the war ends, but we must ensure that, when it does, we have credible arrangements in place to guarantee Ukraine's security in the future and to break Russia's cycle of aggression.


VAUSE: Kyiv's mayor says police will start patrolling bomb shelters in the capital after the deaths on Thursday, and those responsible for those locked doors will be held accountable.

CNN's senior international correspondent, Sam Kiley, reports.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Grief has struck again in Kyiv, overwhelming grief when a loved one is taken.

Three people killed here in Russia's latest attack on Ukraine's capital.

At 3 a.m., civilians ran for cover. The bunker was inexplicably locked. Debris from a downed missile killed two women and a child. A fatal accident in an all-too-deliberate attack.

Such events are driving support for Ukraine from NATO, Europe, and beyond.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: That is why every European country that borders Russia, and that does not want Russia to tear them apart, should be a full member of the E.U. and NATO. And there are only two alternatives to these: either an open war or creeping Russian occupation.

KILEY (voice-over): NATO's weapons are already in use in Ukraine's East. And now Ukraine has launched a campaign inside Russian territory.

At least eight people have been injured and hundreds evacuated from what are now frontline villages in Russia.

KILEY: The original sin of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, compounded as it is by their continued targeting of civilians, the absolute brutality of their occupation has ceded Ukraine an unassailable position on the moral high ground. But they've got to hold onto that, even as they prosecute their own campaigns inside Russian territory.


VYACHESLAV GLADKOV, BELGOROD GOVERNOR (through translator): A massive attack is ongoing. The lives of local people, primarily in Shebekino and nearby villages, are in danger.

KILEY (voice-over): Anti-Putin Russians in Ukraine's forces claim to have raided his province a second time, and broadcast these warnings. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Stay in your homes. Don't

worry. Soldiers of the Russian Volunteer Corps are not at war with civilians.

KILEY (voice-over): They claim to have hit Russian ammunition dumps and other military targets. But Russia says the raiders were driven out with heavy casualties.

Still, Ukraine now holds the initiative on this front.

Russia continues to rain misery from the sky. Yarasov (ph) lost his wife and 9-year-old daughter in this raid on Kyiv.

"Nothing matters anymore," he says. "There are no more people left."

Sam Kiley, CNN, in Kharkiv.


VAUSE: Joining us now is Matthew Schmidt, an expert on defense intelligence, as well as Russia and Ukraine. He's also professor of national security at the University of New Haven.

Welcome back. Good to see you.


VAUSE: OK. So next month, the heads of NATO will gather. Finland will be welcomed as a new member. Sweden's pending application, we've discussed. So, too, progress on Ukraine's bid to join the alliance. And on that, here's the NATO secretary-general. Listen to this.


STOLTENBERG: As late at last year, all allies agreed that Ukraine will become a member of this alliance. And -- and we are making concrete steps, because Ukraine's moving towards NATO, meaning that they're coming closer and closer, meaning that they are moving from the Soviet standards to NATO standards, equipment doctrines, and we are helping them doing that as we speak.


VAUSE : This doesn't make any sense to me. At this point in time, no one has done more or paid a higher price to secure the security of Europe from Russia than the Ukrainians. They've degraded Russia's military in terms of manpower, ammunition and hardware.

And in the past, the argument has been, if Ukraine joins NATO, it would enrage Putin. Well, that ship has sailed, so why delay? Why leave Ukraine twisting in the wind any longer?

SCHMIDT: People and organizations believe things that aren't true. This is the case of, you know, the -- Chicken Little saying that the sky is going to fall, saying that Putin is going to nuke us, that Putin's going to invade Europe, if only NATO, you know, takes Ukraine in.

And I think what we've seen is there's no reason that reality has to match Putin's fears. If he says a thing is true, then he can act against it.

But the other reality here that I think NATO, and in particular here, the U.S. and Germany are just sort of sticking their heads in the sand about, is that Russia doesn't have the punch that it threatens to have.

We've seen over and over again that it can't win on the ground against Ukraine, and it sure can't win against NATO. And Putin knows this. He's not going to risk the destruction of his military, which is the destruction of the power in the international world, you know, by trying to pick a fight with NATO. He's just not.

VAUSE: So shy of immediate membership, here's Ukrainian President Zelenskyy on what NATO can do. Here he is.


ZELENSKYY (through translator): Are there any security guarantees besides NATO? Probably. We have to think what it is. We would like to have NATO guarantees. And while we are not in NATO, we want to have security guarantees.


VAUSE: How would these guarantees actually work? Are they binding? And in the U.S., for example, one long-shot Republican presidential candidate is talking about ending all U.S. assistance for Ukraine. So would these guarantees be subject to politics?

SCHMIDT: They are subject to politics. They can be made less so or at least less so to domestic politics if they're made by NATO, and the U.S. agrees as a NATO member to support that guarantee.

It means that, if the U.S. was going to violate that guarantee, you'd have to violate its relationship with NATO, which would be, you know, more difficult than just violating a bilateral guarantee to Ukraine.

But the other thing I think people need to remember is, if Ukraine is calling for a security guarantee, you call for guarantees because you think that the threat is going to be long-term.

What this means is that Ukraine is not going to defeat Russia and then Russia is going to slink back home and not continue to be a threat to Ukraine or to NATO. Ukraine understands that it has to have long-term guarantees to protect its survival, and that means the war's not going to end anytime soon.

VAUSE: And just as a reminder of Russia's plans in Ukraine, here's the latest ranting from Russia's former president, prime minister, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DMITRY MEDVEDEV, CHAIRMAN, RUSSIAN SECURITY COUNCIL: It's clear what response is needed. They need to be annihilated, not just in a personal capacity, but we have to destroy them in the hornets' nest itself.


VAUSE: That's in response to recent Ukrainian drone and other attacks on Russian soil, which by the way, are allowed under (UNINTELLIGIBLE) rules of war.

This comes back to the question many asked at the beginning at the invasion. If Ukraine falls, the country with the biggest standing army in Europe in terms of manpower, how much harder will it be to stop Vladimir Putin?

SCHMIDT: It will be enormously hard, right? The thing is, is that if Ukraine falls, it means that Russia has figured out how to use the army, how to use its army effectively.

And that's where you start to worry, because right now, what we've seen is, Russia isn't a significant threat to NATO, because it can't perform.

But if it defeats Ukraine, then it's proven that it can conform. And then the other thing here is that even -- even a non-performing Russian military can cause a lot of death and destruction.

So -- so what you want is you want Russia to die on the battlefields of Ukraine. Right? You want it to lose its military war-making capability here. And it makes the most sense for the West to throw in and do this now so that it happens in Ukraine, right, and not in Germany. And so that it defends Ukrainian democracy and doesn't threaten German democracy, as well.

VAUSE: Matthew, good point to finish on. Thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

SCHMIDT: My pleasure.

VAUSE: When we come back here on CNN, the E.U. has a plan to end the unrest in Kosovo. Details on that and what triggered the latest unrest in the first place.

And a presidential stumble. The White House says all is well for Joe Biden. Republicans say, no, it's not.


VAUSE: What was an embarrassing moment may become a political problem for the U.S. president. The White House says Joe Biden is fine despite falling onstage after an address at the Air Force Academy Thursday. The president was returning to his seat when he stumbled over a sandbag.

More now from CNN's Phil Mattingly, reporting in from the White House. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: For several hours on Thursday, President Biden's address and efforts at the Air Force Academy commencement address were very much like what has been tradition over the course of several presidencies, several administrations.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): The president attending a service academy commencement, giving those remarks and then standing, oftentimes for hours, to hand diplomas, shake hands, and salute every single cadet that is in the graduating class.

The president, President Biden was no different. For more than 95 minutes, standing there and handing out every single diploma, exchanging salutes and shaking hands.

Everything was normal until the president finished. The very last cadet receiving his diploma. The president turning around to walk back to his seat and shipping over a sand bag.


Now, you can see in the video itself, the president pointing to the sand bag that was not necessarily in the most opportune spot, to some degree.

And White House officials very quickly taking to Twitter --

MATTINGLY: -- making clear to reporters that the president was OK. The president himself, upon returning to the White House, well, he added a little levity to the matter.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I got sand bagged. That's right.

MATTINGLY: And as you just saw there and White House officials have continued to repeat throughout the course of the night, the president is fine. No ill effects of that fall. Obviously, he walked on his own volition back to his seat, participated in the end of the ceremony, and then traveled back to Washington.

The real focus for the president and this White House: watching the Senate vote, the final votes on the debt ceiling agreement taking a major, major high-stakes and potentially economically catastrophic threat off of his plate.

That, White House officials say, is what the president was really focused on on the way back to Washington, D.C. Not the fall, but at least took some time to have a little fun with it in front of reporters before he walked into the White House.

Phil Mattingly, CNN, the White House.


VAUSE: Talks between Sudan's rival factions have been suspended after repeated cease-fire violations.

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia have been mediating these talks in Jeddah, but Sudan's armed forces suspended participation on Wednesday. Sudan's military and the rival Rapid Support Forces have agreed on Monday to a five-day cease-fire.

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia say the violations have hindered the delivery of humanitarian aid and essential services, which was the main purpose of the pause in fighting.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We'll continue to be engaged, but at the same time, we're also looking at steps that we can take to make clear our views on any leaders who are moving Sudan in the wrong direction including by perpetuating the violence and by violating the cease-fires that they've actually committed to.


VAUSE: Both sides are guilty of repeatedly violating cease-fires since fighting erupted in April.

The E.U. is stepping in to try and lower tensions between Serbia and Kosovo, after dozens of NATO peacekeepers and protesters were wounded in clashes earlier this week in Northern Kosovo.

The key players met on the sidelines of the European political summit in Moldova Thursday. According to the French president, the Serbia and Kosovo leaders have accepted a plan to resolve the ongoing tension and will meet with the E.U.'s top diplomat next week.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator: what we ask for the two parties is very simple, the organization of new elections as soon as possible in these four municipalities.

Commitment on the part of Kosovo, clear participation in these elections from the Serbian side and priority settlement without delay.


VAUSE: Meanwhile, Kosovo, Serbia and some of their allies have been trading blame over just who's responsible for the unrest and what should happen next. More details now from CNN's Scott McLean.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For now, things are calm. Wednesday, we saw peaceful purposes in Serb majority areas. Thursday, there were peaceful protests in ethnic Albanian areas of Northern Kosovo. Those communities are now divided by NATO peacekeeping forces.

Now, the U.S., which is one of Kosovo's most important allies, has pointed the blame squarely at Pristina for the violence over the past week, by sending in police to ensure that the ethic Albanian mayors could take their offices, despite widespread boycotts of local elections from ethnic Serbs.

Now, the U.S. wants the police withdrawn from local town halls and mayors to work from alternate locations, but the Kosovo prime minister, Albin Kurti, has made clear he has no plans to do that.

ALBIN KURTI, KOSOVO PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Mayors should go and work with their offices. There's no need for parallelism. We need to have normality, to have a republic for democracy and for a principality that will serve its citizens. What is the meaning of having public buildings for state officials, if they are not used?

MCLEAN (voice-over): No, Kirby also said that he will withdraw the police only when the protesters -- he calls them criminal gangs -- go either to Serbia or to jail.

The Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic accused Kurdi of falsely labeling ordinary citizens as criminals. He says he has no direct control over protesters but has called for them to be calm.

He's calling for the ethnic Albanian mayors to be withdrawn and for Kosovo to implement previous agreements, which would give the Serb- majority areas some level of autonomy. But he says that Kosovo has to play along.

ALEKSANDAR VUCIC, SERBIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We will try and do our best for things to return to normal, for the situation to de-escalate. But whatever will happen or not, it takes two to tango. And it's not just up to us.

MCLEAN: The most recent normalization agreement between Serbia and Kosovo was reached earlier this year, though most of it has yet to actually be implemented.


Scott McLean, CNN, London.


VAUSE: What appears to be a real turnabout in Israel as a far-right nationalist who once heckled gay rights protesters now has responsibility for protecting them at Jerusalem's gay pride parade.

Israel's police minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, once called the event an abomination, but now, he's promised security for all law-abiding citizens. He joined about 2,000 officers who were deployed on Thursday to keep the peace.

Thirty-thousand took part in the annual parade in Jerusalem.


ITAMAR BEN-GVIR, ISRAELI NATIONAL SECURITY MINISTER (through translator): We are committed. I want to ensure that not even a hair on the heads of the marchers is harmed, and police are fully prepared.


VAUSE: The parade was held without incident, but there has been a 400 percent increase in anti-LGBTQ incidents since December, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hard-right coalition government took office.

Inflation in Europe has fallen to its lowest level since Russia invaded Ukraine. Consumer prices in the Eurozone rose 6.1 percent in May, compared with a year ago. It's down from 7 percent in April.

CNN's Anna Stewart has details.


ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Prices are still rising in the Eurozone but month on month, they are heading in the right direction, with a fall in inflation across a broad range of categories.

Food inflation dropped by one percentage point in May, compared to April, although it remains high at 12 and a half percent. And at this early stage, it's unlikely households and consumers across the bloc are feeling much benefit from this improvement.

While the glimmer of good news caused some economists to question whether the European Central Bank might ease up on its rate hikes, the general consensus is there be a rate rise this month, and another to come this year.

Not least after ECB President Christine Lagarde spoke about the bank's determination to bring inflation down to 2 percent in a speech in Hanover Thursday, adding, "We've made clear that we still have ground to cover to bring interest rates to sufficiently restrictive levels."

One of the headwinds for the ECB is wage growth in the Eurozone. Unsurprisingly, given just how costly life has become, thanks to inflation, workers have demanded higher wages. Wage growth in the eurozone was 5.1 percent year on year in the last quarter of 2022.

Now, that is not enough to offset the cost of living, but it does contribute to inflation. So the ECB will be watching that indicator as well as CPI before considering a new phase for interest rates.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


VAUSE: They had nowhere left to run. Still ahead, three people killed during a Russian missile attack on Kyiv. They were locked out from safety. More details in a moment.


[00:30:23] VAUSE: Welcome back, everyone, I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

In the Ukrainian capital in the early hours of Thursday morning, the air-raid sirens warned of yet another round of incoming Russian missiles, many headed for safety, what's become an almost nightly routine for millions of residents.

But for one little girl, just 9 years old, her mother, another woman, when they reached what they thought was safety, there was nowhere left to run. All three were left stranded in the open, because the doors to the basement of the local health center were locked.

And as debris from the intercepted missiles came crashing down, all three were killed. A moment of tragedy amid an already tragic war, a moment which seems impossible to imagine.

And so it was for the grandfather of the little girl. For hours, he sat on the ground next to the dead bodies. At one point, someone gave him a chair, and there he set, hour after hour, trying to make sense of the senseless.

Ukrainian officials have now launched an investigation, and the Ukrainian president has made his feelings known about this.


ZELENSKYY (through translator): People will answer for the fact there were those who couldn't get into the bomb shelter and, unfortunately, died. As if it wasn't enough to have Russia as an enemy, we also have internal ones. There's a word I want to say, but there are many journalists here. It's on the tip of my tongue.


VAUSE: For more now, we're joined by Ukrainian parliamentary member Kira Rudik. Thank you for being with us. It's been a while since we've spoken.

KIRA RUDIK, UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENTARY MEMBER: Hello, John, thank you so much for having me.

VAUSE: Let's be clear. If Russian missiles were not being fired at defenseless civilians, there would be no need for bomb shelters. But how these deaths happened just seems to be especially tragic. Here are some more details about how it all played out from Yaroslav, whose wife and daughter died in the attack. Here he is.


YAROSLAV, VICTIM'S HUSBAND (through translator): If you live in this building right across from the hospital, there is a good basement there. And we always hid there. And these buildings, we all used to come here. It was always open, even at night, but today, we didn't succeed.


VAUSE: Why would doors to any kind of safe room, be it basement or bomb shelter, be locked while the city is under constant attack?

RUDIK: You know, it's indeed a tragic event, and we are still processing what happened. And there are no words to express the feelings about -- about the loss of this man.

We are investigating right now from our side of why the doors were locked. And yesterday, we launched a system of checks that all the bomb shelters in Kyiv are available for the people.

However, we need to remember one thing. If it was not for the Russia, we would not have to have people to run to the bomb shelters early in the morning with their kids, with their families, trying to find their rescue.


RUDIK: And though I know that we will be able to fix the issue and the bomb shelters and make sure that they are available, we still cannot make sure that people who go to sleep at night, that they would wake up in the morning. And this is still terrifying.

VAUSE: And President Zelenskyy spoke of internal enemies. Who was he referring to? Because it seems to me he's implying the doors of the shelter may have been locked by either Russian agents or Russian sympathizers.

RUDIK: I think everybody is very emotional right now. We, of course, we will check on why the doors were locked.

However, it doesn't seem like it was ill intent. I think it was a mistake, and that it cost the life of three people.

We -- again, we are doing the checks in different cities right now, as well, to make sure that -- that these mistakes would not be repeated.

VAUSE: The latest word we have is that overnight, Ukrainian air defenses shot down 30 Russian missiles and drones over the capital. You went through that. Explain what it's like to go through that, not just last night but night after night after night.

Thirty missiles intercepted by air defenses, not knowing if they'll be intercepted, or not knowing if they'll hit your building, not knowing if you will wake up alive or dead.

RUDIK: So, you go to sleep about 10 or 11. We learned to go to sleep earlier. At 2 a.m., the air defense alarm starts, and then, it means you have to go to the bomb shelter or toward a safe place.


We believe in our air defense, but we know that the most deaths recently happened because of the debris or the fire.

So I hide behind the stairs in my home, and I have a fire extinguisher with me in case there would be an explosion and a fire.

Then you try to get some sleep, but the explosions are extremely loud. There is nothing similar that you heard. Imagine like this -- imagine somebody driving a more bicycle right nearby you with this loud sound. And you don't know if it will end up in explosion and fire or it will be taken down.

And so, it goes on and on and on for a couple of hours until about 4 a.m. You will hear that the air raid siren is soft. You won't message the people that you care about if they're OK, and that you tried to get a couple of hours of sleep. It is -- it is really taking its toll on you, because you have to go day by day without having a decent night's sleep.

I want you to listen to the mayor of Kyiv on his take on what life is like in the capital. Here he is.


VITALY KLITSCHKO, KYIV MAYOR: Every day, the Russian send drones and missiles to our hometown. And a lot of people are killed, a lot of buildings destroyed. Yes, of course, people are angry. People are very angry. It's not war, it's genocide against Ukraine, against Ukrainian people from Russia.


VAUSE: And it's been like that for 463 days. This is day No. 463 of the war. This is the sort of life Ukrainians are living. Do you think that many around the world have sort of tuned it out because it has just been going on for so long, this horrible reality that many in Ukraine are just dealing with day after day?

RUDIK: Well, of course, the emotions are not as high as they were at the very beginning of the full-scale invasion. However, with the amount of weapon supplies that we are still receiving and with the support that we are receiving from people, I know that we are in people's minds.

And it is so important for us here in Ukraine to know that we are not alone in this fight. And no matter if there are other things happening in people's lives, there's just so many people saying that we are standing with you, we are thinking of you, we will support you for as long as it's necessary.

And we really feel it happening.

VAUSE: Kira, it is good to see you. I am glad you are safe. I'm glad you are well. I hope we can speak again soon. Stay safe.

RUDIK: Thank you so much, John, and glory to Ukraine.

VAUSE: You bet.

We'll take a short break. We'll be back in a moment. You are watching CNN. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a human. You're a mermaid.

HALLE BAILEY, ACTRESS: That doesn't make us enemies.


VAUSE: The live-action remake of "The Little Mermaid" was released last week and has already made $200 million at the box office. But the Disney film appears to be the target of what's known as a review bomb: online trolls wanting to lower its rating.

The speculation, in this case, it's likely because the actress who plays Ariel, Halle Bailey, is black. IMDB says it is re-working its ratings system for the movie.

In a statement, the company said, "Our rating mechanism has detected unusual voting activity on the title to preserve the reliability of our system and our internal rating system has been applied." What a tragedy this is needed.

One of Mount Everest's deadliest climbing seasons in years is now over. Twelve people have died, trying to reach the summit of the world's tallest mountain in the spring. Five are still missing, but one Malaysian climber is not on either list, thanks to a Nepalese sherpa guide who found him clinging to a rope.

CNN's Isa Soares picks up the story.


ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the ominously named death zone of Mount Everest, during one of the deadliest climbing seasons on record.

Nepali guide Gelje Sherpa carried out a rare and almost impossible rescue mission.

It was midnight when he saw a Malaysian climber clinging to a rope, shivering in freezing temperatures. Just over 1,100 feet away from the 29,000-feet high summit. The air too thin for humans to breathe and for helicopters to land.

GELJE SHERPA, EVEREST GUIDE (through translator): It was important for us to rescue him even from the summit. Money can be earned any time. Left like that, he could have died. We have saved his life by quitting the summit.

SOARES (voice-over): Gelje convinced his client to abandon the summit climb attempt so they could save the Malaysian climber's life. Gelje wrapped the distressed climber in a sleeping mat and hold him down with another guide's help.

GELJE (through translator): We had brought him down from Camp Four, carrying him on our backs, because dragging was impossible. It took me 5 to 6 hours to get from 8,500 meters to 7,900. It was very difficult.

SOARES (voice-over): From there, a helicopter lifted the climber down to base camp.

The favorable spring weather is gradually turning even more unpredictable due to climate change. Eleven people died on Everest in 2019, a climbing season that saw unprecedented traffic and long delays in the same death zone near the summit.

This season, Nepal issued a record 478 climbing permits. So far, 12 people, including an American, have died, the highest number for eight years, and another 5 are missing.

The unidentified climber was put on a flight back to Malaysia last week. Thanks to Gelje, his name was kept off the list of the mountain's victims.

Isa Soares, CNN.


VAUSE: Thanks for watching. I'm John Vause. Another hour of CNN NEWSROOM coming up in about 15 minutes with my colleague, Michael Holmes. In the meantime, WORLD SPORT starts after the break.