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Change in Electronic Interlocking Blame for Train Crash in Odisha; Over 270 People Died in Odisha Rail Accident; Annual "Roast and Ride" Event Gathers Republican Presidential Candidates to Iowa; Trump Absent at "Roast and Ride" Annual Event in Iowa; U.S. Debt Ceiling Suspension Becomes Law; Two Trump Investigations Have Revealed New Information; Austin Police: Suspect Called, Confessed to Murders; Russia's War in Ukraine; 2-Year-Old Child Killed in Russian Air Strike in Dnipro; Zelenskyy Talks Counteroffensive; Interview with Australian Army Retired Major General, Australian Defence College Former Commander, and "War Transformed" Author Mick Ryan; After Two Ships Nearly Collide, U.S. Defense Secretary Urges China to "Rein in" "Irresponsible" Behavior; At a Conference, U.S. and China Exchange Critical Remarks; 3 Israelis and an Egyptian Killed in Border Clash; Wagner Leader Criticizes military and Kremlin; Field Work, Farmers Depend on Foreigners. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired June 04, 2023 - 04:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers watching us from all around the world. I'm Paula Newton. Ahead right here on "CNN Newsroom".

Investigators say, they know what caused the deadly train crash in India and who's to blame. We will have a live report from the scene.

Plus, GOP presidential candidates are making their case to Iowa voters as we learn when another Republican will officially enter the race.

And stunning comments from Ukraine's president about the spring offensive against Russia. What he had to say and what it could mean for the course of this war.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN center, this is "CNN Newsroom with Paula Newton."

NEWTON: So, authorities in India say they have, in fact, identified the cause of the country's worst train crash in decades. Now, according to the railway minister, it was the result of a change in the electronic signaling system. The minister also says, the people responsible have now been identified, but he refused to provide any further details. Authorities are now clearing the wreckage and have ended, unfortunately, their search for survivors.

CNN's Ivan Watson has made his way to the site of the crash and he joins me now with more. And, Ivan, I have to say, every time I look at the scene behind you, I keep thinking that people's loved ones are still buried in those wrecks. And how horrific it is, especially now with authorities already saying that they understand what might have led to it.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean, I think the officials are saying that there's virtually no chance of finding any survivors at this point. So, the effort is very much on helping the wounded and helping victims be reunited with their families, and also, with the clearing of just the massive scale of the disaster.

We're going to try to give you a sense -- I mean, this is a disaster zone that covers -- it's hundreds of meters long. It involved at least 21 derailed and overturned train cars, three separate trains that collided on Friday night here, less than 48 hours ago. So, the sheer amount of wreckage here is massive. And the -- I think, what is remarkable is that you have hundreds of workers out here in brutal, ferocious heat. They have heavy equipment, but they're also working by hand, digging, using pick axes and shovels. Even manually tying new railroad rails, huge beams of metal to try to lay them down on the tracks, as the authorities say they want to get this stretch of railroad open again, as early as Wednesday morning.

That said the scale of the loss of life, I think, has really stunned people, in a country that depends very much on trains for everyday life. More than 13 million people move around India every day on trains. And that tragically also has a lot of history of deadly accidents on India's railroads.

But just to give you a sense here, we're in a rural part of Eastern India, of Odisha state. And the accident took place after sunset on Friday. One of the survivors is a woman whose own daughter died in one of these crowded train cars. Take a listen to what she had to say.


KOSHIDA DAS, TRAIN CRASH SURVIVOR (through translator): As we kept rolling, my daughter got stuck there and my daughter got buried under bulky iron right in front of my eyes. I managed to stand in the corner, but I was hit in the head by some iron rod or something. I thought about how to get my daughter out from underneath the iron, but didn't know how to move such heavy iron. My daughter kept crying and died right in front of my eyes.


WATSON: Now, condolences have poured into India from leaders all around the world, from Pope Francis. The Indian prime minister was here on the scene on Saturday, seeing the wreckage, visiting with some of the survivors, offering his condolences, and calling for an investigation into what exactly happened here. According to the railway minister, there was some kind of change in the electronic interlocking that led to this horrific disaster.


And he has indicated that the cause and the people responsible have been identified, but they have not been named publicly. The government has announced that it will provide half a thousand -- half a million rupees to the family of each victim of the accident. That's a bit more than $6,000 U.S. and some $1,200 -- the equivalent U.S. dollars to everybody who was wounded in this accident.

But again, we're just giving you a scene here, you've got heavy equipment and then workers out here carrying shovels and picks. And that's kind of how the work is going on here. India has been going through an effort to modernize its infrastructure. And even just driving here, the highway, you can see works projects to update and renovate the highway. But this has highlighted the fact that there are concerns about the aging rail infrastructure and concerns about human error, which possibly could have led to what officials have described as one of the deadliest rail disasters in a hundred years of Indian history. Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, despite how the crews are working on the scene there to try to get it up and running, as you say, Ivan, so many questions from families who have already been through really unspeakable tragedy in the last few days. Ivan Watson for us on the scene, really appreciate it, as we continue to check in with you.

Now, two more names will soon join the growing list of Republicans running for president. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who ran in 2016, is expected to announce his candidacy Tuesday. And Former Vice President Mike Pence says, he'll formally enter the race Wednesday. Pence and other GOP hopefuls gathered in Iowa, Saturday, for a major Republican event. Donald Trump, though, did not attend. The host of the event, Republican Senator Joni Ernst, told CNN that Republican voters are looking to the future, not the past.


JONI ERNST (R-IA): President Trump has a great face here. It is strong. But at the same time, people don't want to hear about what has happened in the past, because we've had two years of a Biden administration that is just destroying our nation. And so, they want to know, what are the future decisions that will turn our country around and who is going to lead us forward?


NEWTON: Now, Iowa is a crucial early state in presidential elections. And Saturday's event gave voters there a chance to see and hear candidates in one place. CNN's Jeff Zeleny was there.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF U.S. NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Republican voters in Iowa who will have the first say in the presidential race next year got an early glimpse of their options in this campaign. Former President Donald Trump, the only major candidate, not in the state on Saturday, as several others attended Senator Joni Ernst "Roast and Ride". It's an annual political event featuring barbecue, motorcycle riding, and a side of politics. These candidates were making their case to why they can be the best alternative to Donald Trump and be the best option for Republicans to win back the White House. Here's a sense of their argument that they offered to voters at this point.

FMR. GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R-SC), U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've got to start doing this in a way that we can win a general election. It's time for a new generational leader. We've got to leave the baggage and the negativity behind. We've got a country to save.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Here's the thing. You can't do any of it if you don't win. There is no substitute for victory. And we need to dispense with the culture of losing that has beset the Republican Party in recent years. Iowa shows it can be done. Florida shows it can be done. We had red waves in 2022. The rest of the country, not so much.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC), U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am running because I believe America can do for anyone, what she has done for me. We've got to restore hope.

ZELENY: So, many different faces, many different backgrounds, but most of these Republican candidates essentially singing from the same songbook. Trying to make the case for why they are best to win back the White House for Republicans and confront Donald Trump in a one-on- one competition as this race intensifies.

Now, there is no doubt the person hanging over this race more than anyone is Donald Trump. He decided not to come. He was invited to this. Senator Joni Ernst said she made the invitation but he simply does not like to be in the same room with other candidates. We will see, of course, in the months to come if that indeed was a mistake. But these candidates will be coming back to Iowa, which opens this process early next winter. This campaign right now, as summer approaches, is rapidly intensifying. Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Des Moines.


NEWTON: So, you saw Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in that report. Well, he's been unapologetic about his ongoing feud with Disney, one of his state's largest employers. During his appearance in Iowa on Saturday, candidate DeSantis vigorously defended his position. Claiming his dispute with Disney is rooted in deep principle about protecting children. But one of his rivals is taking issue with the governor's approach. Here's Former Arkansas -- pardon me, former Arkansas Governor, Asa Hutchinson, speaking earlier to CNN.



FMR. GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR), U.S REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I disagree with Disney. But no, let's don't use the power of government to punish a business that we disagree with on a social issue. That to me is a conservative position. And I don't think we should be going after and punishing businesses. (END VIDEO CLIP)

NEWTON: As you can see, it is game on with these candidates. So, be sure to catch CNN's upcoming town halls with two of the Republican presidential candidates. Tonight, you'll hear directly from former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley live from Iowa's Grand View University. And then on Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence, who is expected to announce his candidacy this week will take questions from CNN. They're all at the times listed that you see there.

Now, the epic battle over the debt limit officially ended on Saturday with U.S. President Joe Biden signing the just-passed bill into law. The White House announced the signing on Twitter with a statement from the president, saying the deal safeguards social security, Medicare, and veterans' benefits. Now, besides suspending the debt limit until 2025, the law also -- the new law also caps domestic spending at current levels, expands work requirements for some food stamp recipients and takes back billions in COVID relief funds.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump is facing several criminal investigations, even as he tries to make a case, as we were just saying, for that second term in office. Now, we don't know yet if he will face those charges, but we're getting more details about how those investigations are proceeding.

CNN Politics Reporter Jeremy Herb has the latest.


JEREMY HERB, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: We've learned key developments in two of the investigations into Former President Donald Trump. First, in Special Counsel Jack Smith's probe into Trump's handling of classified documents. Sources tell CNN that Trump's lawyers were unable to locate a classified Pentagon document about plans for a possible strike on Iran.

A document where Trump was recorded on tape claiming was in his possession in 2021. The special counsel subpoenaed Trump for the document in March, not long after one of his aides in that meeting, Margo Martin, appeared before the grand jury.

Well, Trump's lawyer provided some documents in response to the subpoena, they could not locate the classified document that Trump was referring to on tape. It's unclear whether if that document had already been returned to have the government, if it's still missing, or whether it was even in Trump's possession in 2021. Importantly, though, Trump on the tape appears to acknowledge that the document was still classified.

Now, in Georgia, the Fulton County district attorney is seeking information from two firms hired by the Trump campaign tasked with investigating claims of voter fraud after the 2020 election. Both of those firms found allegations of voter fraud to be false or offered information to the Trump campaign that refuted Trump's claims of election fraud. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is investigating attempts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia. Her efforts to obtain information from these research firms comes as she is eyeing potential racketeering charges in her investigation. The firms could help establish a pattern of failed attempts by the Trump campaign to find voter fraud after the 2020 election. Willis is expected to announce in August whether anyone will face charges as part of her investigation. CNN, Jeremy Herb, New York.


NEWTON: Ukraine's president drops new hints about the looming counteroffensive. What he said about Ukraine's preparedness to take back its occupied land. That's ahead.

And later, in Texas, authorities say a man called police and admitted to two murders. Why they think he might actually be a serial killer.



NEWTON: Ukraine says, the casualty toll is growing from a Russian air strike near the City of Dnipro. Now, officials say, the body of a two- year-old girl has been recovered from a building damaged in Saturday's attack. The number of wounded has now grown to at least 22 people, including five children. The strike damaged multiple homes and gas pipelines.

Now, Ukraine says, its air defenses, meantime, made a clean sweep in the skies over Kyiv overnight. Initial reports indicate Ukraine shot down all the Russian missiles headed toward the capital where air sirens still went off. And president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is dropping more hints about the looming counteroffensive. He told "The Wall Street Journal," Ukraine is ready and he said he strongly believes Ukraine will be successful.

For more on all of this, we're joined by Scott McLean who is in London following developments for us. You know, it's obvious what's going on here. I mean, officials in Kyiv obviously bolstered by the fact that their air defenses are shielding the city. And yet at the same time, we get the tragic details of that other strike in Dnipro. I mean, there's no way that they're going to be able to protect this entire country.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and that's precisely one of the points that President Zelenskyy made in that "Wall Street Journal" interview that you mentioned, Paula, that there are not enough air defense systems to protect both frontline soldiers and all of the Ukrainian cities. And Russia, he argues, still has this tool of intimidation at its disposal to intimidate the millions of Ukrainians who don't live anywhere near the front lines and still have to live in this constant fear.

He also talked about the Patriot air defense system. Arguing that his country needs far more because they -- this is the one system that can shoot down some of these incoming Russian missiles that frankly existing air defense systems cannot. He also made his pitch again for more modern fighter jets. Listen.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The reality is 50 Patriots will, for the most part, prevent people from dying. Everyone knows perfectly well that any counteroffensive without air superiority is very dangerous. If everyone understands the importance of protecting the sky, why is there an issue with giving us modern planes? What exactly is the problem here?


MCLEAN: So, Zelenskyy wants 50 Patriot battery systems. Right now, Ukraine has just two.


And when it comes to fighter jets, the U.S. defense official made clear on Friday that that's simply not the priority, that's more of a longer-term goal. The priority, at this point, is getting tanks on the ground and troops trained to actually use those tanks. They think that that will make a bigger impact on the battlefield, especially with this counteroffensive looming.

And in the sky, the U.S. says that, look, it doesn't make sense to try to match Russia plane for plane. What makes more sense is to give Ukraine the air defense system that it needs to keep Russian jets out of Ukrainian air space by and large, so that the tanks and the troops on the ground can do their thing. Paula?

NEWTON: And no matter the debate on military strategy, you could see Zelenskyy being quite frustrated there. What more did we learn from that "Wall Street Journal" interview, because he was incredibly blunt.

MCLEAN: Yes, he was. And this was a long interview. It was quite a wide-ranging interview, and he was blunt on quite a few topics. One of them was NATO. He said that, look, he understands that Ukraine cannot join NATO while the country is at war. But he also said that he is looking for a hint from NATO that it will, in fact, be able to join once the war is done. And if he's not going to get that hint at the next NATO summit next month, there's really no point in Ukraine showing up.

He also compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to a cornered animal. Saying that, look, the world needs to isolate Russia and it needs to isolate Russia more powerfully, meaning Russians shouldn't get visas to leave the country.

The other point that he made, Paula, is on U.S. politics. And he said that broadly speaking, the Biden administration has been more helpful to Ukraine than the Trump administration had been. But he also points out that, look, there wasn't the full-scale invasion when Trump was in office. He also said that he simply does not understand Trump's comments about being able end to the war in 24 hours, saying that, look, Ukraine was still at war, even though it was at a standstill, largely, when Trump was in office. And he didn't do that then. Paula?

NEWTON: Yes, clearly already sending a warning that time is trudging on for this election campaign. He cannot be guaranteed as to what the GOP candidates, nominee, or eventual president, if that happens, will give him in terms of his defenses. Scott McLean for us, thanks for wrapping all of that up. Appreciate it.

MCLEAN: You bet.

NEWTON: For more analysis, we are joined by Retired Army Major General Mick Ryan, a former commander of the Australian Army Defence College, and he comes to us now live from Brisbane. And really good to see you, especially since we have so much to go through. You know, Zelenskyy previewed that counteroffensive and his take, sobering. There was no bravado there. He said, Russia has superior air power. You know, how do you assess Ukraine's readiness at this point, even given what Zelenskyy says they do not have at this point?

MAJ. GEN. MICK RYAN, AUSTRALIAN ARMY (RET.), FORMER COMMANDER, AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE COLLEGE, AND AUTHOR, "WAR TRANSFORMED": Well, hi, Paula. It's good to be with you again. Ukraine has been preparing for this offensive for many, many months, indeed since the end of last year. They've been absorbing new equipment, forming new brigades. They've been conducting preliminary operations, deep strikes in Ukraine and beyond. So, they are as ready as they'll ever be. There's never a perfect time, but the time is getting close for them to launch this offensive.

NEWTON: Now, can you walk us through and describe what you are describing as a reconnaissance mission by Ukraine. And it's been ongoing, as you point out, for months. How crucial will that be to the success or failure of this counteroffensive?

RYAN: Well, for many months, Ukrainian forces will have been conducting reconnaissance across the front lines of Russian defenses, of their obstacle belts, of where Russian headquarters, logistics nodes, and their reserve locations are. So, they'll want to be picking targets to strike before the offensive, but also trying to divine where the weakest points of the Russian line is so they can potentially penetrate through there in getting to Russian rear areas.

NEWTON: The other point about this is the fact that Russia has been learning on the trot here in this war, as well. If in your words Russia is able to mount a more competent, mobile fighting force in the weeks and months to come, what will Ukraine actually be facing on the ground? It definitely will be a different scenario compared to the early days of this war.

RYAN: Absolutely. The Ukrainian offensive will become -- won't look like previous ones. Not only the Ukrainians are different, but the Russians are. As you said, they have learned, although they haven't learned as fast as Ukrainians, but they have learned. Those who have survived have been able to share lessons. And the Russian forces have occupied deep, kilometers-deep defensive zones, backed up with artillery, backed up with reserve mobile forces. So, this will be a very profound challenge for the Ukrainians, but they've been training, they've been preparing, they've been rehearsing and equipping for some time, and they're up to the job.

NEWTON: You know, the strategic stakes in all of this for this counteroffensive are very high.


We have always known that Russia believes it can play the long game. Ukraine -- Zelenskyy just said, they know they don't have that much time. How quickly do they need to show gains in this counteroffensive?

RYAN: Well, they certainly need to show some progress this year. I mean, Zelenskyy, whilst he said he might not go to the NATO summit in July if he doesn't have signals about joining, he would like to go to that summit and he would like to have some progress by then. But at the end of the day, the Ukrainians will need to destroy Russian forces and take back territory over the next couple of months to put them in a better position, to take back the more difficult territory, such as Crimea in the near future.

NEWTON: You know, Secretary Austin -- U.S. defense secretary said himself that he's not expecting Ukraine to gain every inch of territory. But he's expecting the dynamics to change. If the dynamics change, what will that mean in terms of negotiating some kind of truce here.

RYAN: Well, Ukrainians have been great at surprising us all with their competence since the beginning of the war. They've been nothing if innovative and inventive and good leaders on the battlefield. I expect as Secretary Austin said, that will continue. But by the end of this offensive, Ukrainians want to be in a position where the Russians aren't able to conduct a winter offensive, and where they're in a good position to hold Crimea and the Donbas at risk if they're not able to take it back this year.

NEWTON: Yes, not discussing the more-thorny issue of Crimea with all of that. Mick Ryan, thanks so much for us. Really appreciate your analysis.

RYAN: Thank you.

NEWTON: U.S. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, is also calling on China to, "Rein in its behavior after another close encounter between the two countries' militaries." The latest confrontation happened Saturday in the Taiwan Strait. The U.S. says, a Chinese military ship came within 150 yards of a U.S. destroyer. And the U.S. ship had to take steps to avoid a collision. It comes days after a mid-air incident between a Chinese jet and a U.S. spy plane. Austin is calling China's actions irresponsible. Listen.


LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: I've voiced my concern about the irresponsible behavior we've seen with the close intercepts and the coercive behavior that we see in the waterways. Just in the last day, we've seen another incident where one of their ships crossed in front of one of our ships, probably 150 feet or something like that, and that's extremely dangerous. I think accidents can happen that could cause things to spiral out of control.


NEWTON: Now, China's defense minister, meantime, says it's the U.S. that's being provocative by sailing its military ships near China. This comment came after he addressed a major Asian security conference in Singapore, condemning U.S. behavior in the region, but calling for cooperation.


LI SHANGFU, CHINESE DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): The China- U.S. relationship is more about relationship and has its global significance. The International Community looks for some stable relationship and is concerned about any potential conflict or confrontation. It is undeniable that a severe conflict or confrontation between China and the U.S. will be an unbearable disaster for the world.


NEWTON: OK. Ahead for us, conflicting reports emerge after four people were killed in a rare shooting along Israel's border with Egypt. We'll head to Jerusalem live for the details.



NEWTON: And welcome back to our viewers here in the United States. I'm Paula Newton and you are watching "CNN Newsroom." Police in the U.S. State of Texas believed they may have just arrested a possible serial killer. Now, it comes after the murder of an 80-year-old man, a five-day manhunt for the suspect, and a surprising confession from the victim's former roommate. Camila Bernal picks up the story from there.


CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: this is a man that authorities say was ready to kill again. And on May 24th, Raul Meza called the Austin Police Department and told the detective there, my name is Raul Meza and you are looking for me. In that phone call, Raul Meza told detectives about killing his 80-year-old roommate. He not only detailed their relationship, but also told authorities the manner in which he killed his roommate.

According to police, he gave them details that had not been made public before. And in addition to that confession, he also told authorities about killing a 66-year-old woman in 2019. So, authorities began looking into these two cases, but they now also say that they're looking at a number of cases that may have a connection to Raul Meza. They say, between eight and 10 cases that they're currently looking at, but also add that there could be more of these cases.

They knew he was dangerous. There was a five-day manhunt for Meza. And when he was arrested, they found him with a bag that had duct tape, zip ties, a gun, and additional rounds. The detectives said they spoke to him after he was arrested and here is what he's saying about that conversation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I won't go into the details of that conversation, because it's part of the investigation, but I will let you know that Mr. Meza said he was ready and prepared to kill again. And he was looking forward to it.

BERNAL: And looking at Meza's criminal history is also chilling, because in 1982, he served about 11 years of a 30-year sentence for killing an eight-year-old girl. Authorities in Austin saying that justice was not served in that case. And there are a lot of questions as to whether or not the latest killings could have been prevented. The Austin Police Department and detectives there say they're committed to investigating the latest killings, but also those cold cases. Meza is expected to be in court on July 5th. Camila Bernal, CNN, Los Angeles.


NEWTON: In Peru, the prime suspect in the disappearance of American teenager Natalee Holloway is on the move. Officials say, Joran van der Sloot was transferred from a maximum-security prison early Saturday to a facility in the capital Lima. From there he's expected to be taken to the U.S. to face extortion and fraud charges linked to Holloway's disappearance. Now, she was last seen alive with van der Sloot and two other men 18 years ago while leaving a nightclub in Aruba.

A 66-year-old veteran from New Hampshire is accused of threatening to kill a U.S. senator. According to the U.S. attorney's office, Brian Landry called a senator's district office and left voice mail.


It allegedly said, "I'm a veteran sniper, and unless you change your ways, I got my scope pointed in your direction and I'm going to get you." He then called the senator a dead man walking and added a couple of expletives. (Landry appeared in court on Friday and did not enter a plea. The New Hampshire man is charged with threatening to assault, kidnap, or murder a U.S. official. He's been ordered to request a mental and physical evaluation from the veterans' administration. Investigators did not identify the targeted senator by name.

Three Israeli soldiers and an Egyptian security officer are dead in a shooting incident and it happened Saturday on the Israeli side of the border. The Israel defense forces say an Egyptian police officer crossed the border and killed two Israeli border guards, triggering a manhunt that left the attacker and another Israeli soldier dead. Egypt says, their officer crossed the border in pursuit of drug smugglers and was killed in an ensuing gunfight.

For more on all of this, we want to go to CNN's Hadas Gold. She joins us now live from Jerusalem. And as we just outlined, there is still a lot of confusion as to exactly what happened here. Can you walk us through it?

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a lot of confusion because, Paula, this is such an unusual incident. Now, Israel shares a very long border with Egypt along the Sinai. And in recent years, it's been pretty quiet for incidents like this, compared to the borders with Jordan or with Lebanon.

Now, while there is a decent amount of drug smuggling, weapon smuggling that happens along this border, an incident like this hasn't happened in something like decade. What we understand is early this morning, after two Israeli soldiers who were manning a rather desolate outpost along the border, when they didn't respond to a check-in, other soldiers went to check on them, that's when they found their bodies. And then in ensuing manhunt is when more soldiers encountered this Egyptian security officer, engaged in a gunfight, and both the Egyptian security officer and another, a third Israeli soldier were killed in that incident.

Now, Israeli officials believe that this Egyptian security officer breached the border fence. Now, we do have an image of that border fence. You can see, and this is being explained in Israeli media, this is an emergency small opening that's used sometimes when needed to cross from one to the other. And Israeli media is saying that it was just secured with zip ties, which means that the security officer may be cut it with some sort of knife or something to cross over.

Now, the Egyptian military is saying that this officer was chasing drug smuggling agents. Saying that he breached the security barrier and exchanged fire with Israeli security personnel. Another thing we're learning from the IDF is that those two -- first two soldiers who were killed, they did not fire their weapons, which means that, essentially, they did not engage in any sort of gunfight with the security officer.

This is still being investigated exactly what happened because as we're hearing from the Egyptians, they say that their officer was chasing drug smuggling agents, but we haven't heard about any other officers that were with them. There were drug smugglers caught or drug smuggling stopped a few hours before, but it's still being seen as a very unusual and isolated incident. And there's very clear indication from officials from both Egypt and Israel that there is no desire to turn this into anything bigger than a potentially isolated and very unusual incident.

The Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant has already spoken with the Egyptian minister of defense. We've also heard from the IDF's chief spokesperson, who says this is a very unusual incident that does not represent the relationship and joint action between the militaries. Egypt and Israel often coordinate and cooperate on security in the area.

But Paula, this is also an indication, and it's being portrayed as this, in Israeli media, as a major failure by the Israeli military. How did they not notice somebody crossing the border and those two soldiers in that outpost they should be -- they should have been checked in on once an hour, that was not done. Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, as we say, still a lot more information to come. But I take your point that both countries, Egypt and Israel, wanting not to escalate this further and both will continue with their separate investigations. Hadas Gold for us in Jerusalem, really appreciate the update.

Just ahead for us, the man known as Putin's chef is pressing forward with his war of words against the Kremlin and the Russian defense ministry. What Yevgeny Prigozhin is saying now.



NEWTON: The head of the Wagner private military company has released an audio recording of him blasting unidentified Kremlin factions as well as Russia's top military leaders. Yevgeny Prigozhin took aim at the factions inside the Kremlin which he accused of destroying the Russian state. He also railed against the current state of the war, blaming Russia's defense minister and the chief of the general staff.

Prigozhin said that if defense officials don't stop the incursions in Russia's Belgorod region, Wagner units will go there unilaterally to, "Protect our people." The Wagner Group has been fighting for Russia for years, most recently during the months-long campaign to take Bakhmut. By Yevgeny Brogozhin -- by Yevgeny Prigozhin's own admission, pardon me, his mercenaries have suffered heavy losses there.

CNN's Melissa Bell has more now on the man who seems to have free rein to criticize other members of Putin's inner circle.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): For months now, Yevgeny Prigozhin has been leading the charge in Ukraine and stealing the limelight.

YEVGENY PRIGHOZIN, HEAD OF WAGNER PRIVATE MILITARY COMPANY (through translator): Guys, don't bully the Russian military.

BELL (voiceover): The taunt, typical, as he announced the withdrawal of his Wagner mercenaries last week after claiming the first Russian advance in Ukraine in months. Power on the ground that has translated into far more open political confrontation with Moscow. Long-known by his nickname as Putin's chef, the oligarch shared the Russian president's humble beginnings in the tougher neighborhoods of St. Petersburg. Reportedly a former convict, he used Putin's rise to build a vast catering empire.

As Putin set his sights on Crimea and eastern Ukraine in 2014, Prigozhin's forces were there. The Wagner Mercenary Group that he founded became known as Putin's private army, operating on his behalf, but in the shadows across the Middle East and Africa for years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in a foreign language). BELL (voiceover): But it took the chaos of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine for Prigozhin to take center stage himself.

PRIGOZHIN: (Speaking in a foreign language).

BELL (voiceover): Flexing his power and his voice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in a foreign language).

BELL (voiceover): Which he raised loudly again this week against Russia's top military brass after drone attacks on Moscow brought the war far too close to home for comfort.


PRIGOZHIN (through translator): You are the minister of defense. You didn't do a damned thing to stamp this out. Why are you allowing these drones to fly to Moscow?

BELL (voiceover): Because propaganda is arguably what Yevgeny Prigozhin does best. Setting up this notorious troll farm in St. Petersburg, which was blamed for pumping out disinformation around the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Prigozhin was sanctioned by the U.S. despite denying any involvement.

PRIGOZHIN: (Speaking in a foreign language).

BELL (voiceover): Now, he is personally taking his propaganda machine on the road and across Russia, turning his attention to what he calls the enemy at home with increasingly obvious political ambitions of his own.

ABBAS GALLYAMOV, RUSSIAN POLITICAL ANALYST: While the system was stable, there was no place for him, and he was waiting and waiting. And then the system started collapsing and he found the opening and he burst into the system.

PRIGOZHIN: (Speaking in a foreign language).

BELL (voiceover): And Russia's political system, just like its history, appears to be something Prigozhin is very aware of.

PRIGOZHIN (through translator): All these divisions can end up in a revolution, just like in 1917. First, the soldiers will stand up, and after that their loved ones will rise up.

BELL (voiceover): With Prigozhin's very thinly veiled threats, he's also now clearly hoping that Russian society may be ready for a message, even more hard line than that of the man who helped make him. Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.


NEWTON: Just ahead for us, fresh off a big victory. Manchester City are hungry for more. We'll explain why they have their sights set on the rarest accomplishments in football. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


NEWTON: California state officials are investigating how more than a dozen migrants were flown to Sacramento by private plane without any prior arrangement in place. California Governor Gavin Newsom says they were transported from Texas to New Mexico before being flown to the California state capital where they were left at the door of a local church. California's attorney general said the migrants had documentation purporting to be from the Florida state government.

Now, in Florida, meantime, this week, Thursday was dubbed a day without immigrants. Activists and migrant workers held protests against the state's new immigration law which goes into effect July 1st. It limits social services for undocumented migrants and expands verification requirements for employers. Governor Ron DeSantis called it the most ambitious such legislation in the country.

Some farmers though are concerned the new immigration law could lead to a shortage in workers, especially since they rely on foreign nationals to do agricultural jobs Americans don't want. CNN's Gary Tuchman has their story.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): It's 7:30 a.m. in humid north Florida, the beginning of a long day. On a large farm where hired workers are in the middle of harvesting roughly 2.2 million watermelon, about 32 million pounds worth, over the course of about six weeks with more than 150 people working to harvest the watermelon. I ask farm owner Trevor Bass this question.

TUCHMAN: How many U.S. citizens pick crops on your farm?



BASS: Zero.

TUCHMAN (voiceover): Actually, on this day, there is one U.S. citizen. Me. I requested a chance to work for one day on this farm, to learn more about why so many farmers have such a difficult time getting Americans to work on their farms.

TUCHMAN: OK. So, this watermelon is ripe, it's ready. You turn it over so the yellow part is on top, so then the people who pick it up know it's ready, because they see the yellow part on top.

TUCHMAN (voiceover): Everyone I'm working with here is from Mexico, all part of the U.S. government's guest worker program known as H-2A. American farmers can hire foreign nationals under the H-2A program as long as they follow strict provisions, which include only hiring them after trying to employ Americans first, which this farm owner did and got no takers. TUCHMAN: The idea is we have this chain here and we're going to be taking these watermelons, putting them on this bus, and we're going to be doing it for hours straight. Dustin Blank is a farmer is also represents other farms when selling finished product to stores.

DUSTIN BLANK, OWNER, B&H FARMS: I own two farming operation.

TUCHMAN: And you represent how many farms?

BLANK: I represent over 30.

TUCHMAN: And how many U.S. citizens do you know of who work on any of those farms?

BLANK: Short of management? Zero.

TUCHMAN (voiceover): Under H-2A, guest workers can't get paid less than Americans. Florida's minimum H-2A salary is $14.33 an hour. And at this farm, the Mexicans are permitted to work for as many hours as they want with extra bonuses for the amount of work done. They can easily make more than $1,000 a week. They are subject to income tax.

Edgar Hernandez is a husband and father who sends all of his money home to his family. I ask him why he doesn't think there are any Americans harvesting with him.

It's heavy, he says. The work is hard.

These farm owners don't disagree with that assessment. Americans have other choices and just don't want to do this, they say.

BASS: I would say this work, on a scale from one to 10 would be out of a nine. I mean, it's about as hard as it gets.

TUCHMAN: There are about 18,000 pounds of watermelon on each of these buses in addition to this being package (ph). It's extremely monotonous.

TUCHMAN (voiceover): Both these men describe themselves as politically conservative. However, they say, this government program is not only a necessity, but should have an application process that is faster and more flexible.

BASS: Yes, we don't need to open the borders and let everyone across, but these guys are coming here for a reason. They're coming here for serious work to try to support their families in Mexico or wherever they've come from. They're not here to play. I mean, it's very obvious. Look behind us.


TUCHMAN (voiceover): There is a lot of work to do, and many of these men work into the evening. All of them, except for me, will be back for several weeks to come. Gary Tuchman, CNN, Newberry, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE) NEWTON: Manchester City are on the brink of English football history after beating cross-town rivals Manchester United two to one in the F.A. Cup on Saturday. City scored just 12 seconds into the match. That's a record if you're wondering for the fastest goal in F.A. Cup final history.

Now, the club is just one win, one, away from the rare feat known as the trouble. That's winning the English premiere league, the F.A. Cup, and the Champions League in a single season. The citizens play against Inter Milan in the champions league final at Istanbul on Saturday.

U.S. First Lady Jill Biden is celebrating her birthday in Egypt. She turned 72 on Saturday and tweeted, "What a great way to start the day. I was fortunate to visit the magnificent Pyramids of Giza." Mrs. Biden is on a six-day trip to the Middle East and North Africa. She was in Jordan earlier this week to attend the wedding of the crowned prince and a Saudi architect.

And now, before we go, we are wishing Princess Lilibet Diana, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, a very happy birthday. She is two years old today. The young princess was named in honor of two significant female relatives, her grandmother, Princess Diana, and of course, her great grandmother, Britain's Queen Elizabeth, whose childhood nickname was Lilibet. And yes, happy birthday to her.

I'm Paula Newton. I want to thank you for your company. I'll be back in just a moment with more "CNN Newsroom."