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Ukriane Intercepts Russian Communication; Charles Michel and Volodymyr Zelenskyy Hold Conference to Enbolden European Commission. Aired 11a-12p

Aired April 20, 2022 - 11:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: This hour, the military commander of the strategic Luhansk region tells me any agreement with Russia is not

worth the paper it's printed on. This since Moscow pummels Eastern Ukraine. That interview is just ahead this hour.

Hello and welcome back to "Connect the World." Get out while you can, that's the message from the mayor of Mariupol in Ukraine as Russian forces

tighten their grip there. A commander in the city's last holdout, which is a steel complex, says they may be in their final hours. That complex has

been under heavy bombardment with Ukrainian troops and civilians inside.

A corridor has been set up to ferry people from Mariupol to the city of Zaporizhzhia. A U.S. official tells CNN there was hope Russia would allow

civilians and wounded troops to leave and that NATO allies could be involved in that evacuation. Meantime, the U.S. says Russia hasn't actually

made any big gains in its new offensive in the east.

The Ukrainian commander I just mentioned is appealing to the world leaders to help safely evacuate everyone inside the Mariupol steel plant. It comes

amid what Ukraine says is an ominous warning from a Russian commander about Mariupol's future. Matt Rivers has that.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For the battered and desperate citizens of Mariupol, a chilling new threat has emerged. The

Security Service of Ukraine, or SBU, released a purported communications intercept of a Russian ground unit commander who said Russian aircraft were

planning to "level everything to the ground" around Azovstal.

UNKNOWN WOMAN (Translated text): (Speaking Foreign Language) Will there be some kind of explosion?

UNKNWON MAN (Translated text): (Speaking Foreign Language) They said to level everything to the ground.

UNKNOWN WOMAN (Translated text): (Speaking Foreign Language) Oh.

UNKNWON MAN (Translated text): (Speaking Foreign Language) They are being bombed and bombed, they are knocking them out.

RIVERS: CNN cannot vouch for the authenticity of the recording, but the SBU has previously released audio from intercepted radio traffic revealing

Russian shoulders discussing killing and raping civilians, bolstering allegations of war crimes by Russian troops. Military observers have also

noted a tendency of Russian troops to use unsecured communications in Ukraine.

For now, a Ukrainian commander says Russian forces are "willingly bombing and shelling" the plant, a sprawling complex in Mariupol's southeast that

once employed more than 10,000 people. It's unclear how many Ukrainian forces are at the site, but one commander says the Russians are using

freefall bombs, rockets, bunker buster bombs and other artillery at the facility.

Video posted on government social media, which CNN cannot verify, shows dozens of women and children who say they've been staying under the

facility for weeks holding out against Russian attacks.

The surrender deadline Russian forces issued to Ukrainian troops has now expired, but the Russian military official in charge of the operation said

they will allow civilians safe passage out of the area.

COL. GEN. MIKHAIL MIZINTSEV (through translator): Russian leadership will guarantee safe evacuation of each and every civilian, as well as the safety

of the humanitarian convoys movement in any direction they choose.

RIVERS: It's unclear if the Ukrainians will take the world of the Russian general who has, himself, been accused of excesses during the Mariupol

campaign. Not all of Mariupol's civilians are in the steel factory. Tens of thousands are trying to survive in other parts of the city.

CNN is not in Mariupol, but the Reuters news agency found these people cooking outside a residential building on Monday. They're chopping wood to

make a fire to boil water, soup and cook some pancakes. This woman cutting a boy's hair says "they need to quickly fix the water supply problem. How

can we live without water? It's horrible." And this woman says of the bombardment -

OLGA, MARIUPOL RESIDENT (through translator): To be honest, we are not well. I have mental problems after air strikes, that's for sure. I'm really

scared. When I hear a plane, I just run away.


ANDERSON: That was Matt Rivers reporting. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calling Russia a source of evil and says that its targeting of

civilians has become a trademark. This is a Russian military unit accused of war crimes in Bucha and is being honored by Vladimir Putin.

The Russian president signed a decree on Monday giving the 64th Motor Rifle Brigade the title of guards and praising the unit for showing "great

heroism and courage". But what Moscow calls valiant, Ukrainians call murder.


CNN's Phil Black reports from Bucha where authorities and families are recovering the victims of Russia's invasion there, a warning some of you

may find parts of this report upsetting.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Morgue's aren't supposed to be busy, or so over capacity. They need a team of volunteers to move bodies

around and large mobile refrigerators to accommodate them. This is one of seven sites in and around Kyiv, working to cope with the tide of death left

behind by Russia's retreating forces.

Are there still more bodies coming?


BLACK: Lots?

BILYAKOV: A lot. Lots every day at morning.

BLACK: Andrii Bilyakov normally teaches forensic medicine, now he's a full- time volunteer performing endless autopsies.

But how many murders are you seeing?

BILYAKOV: Murders, I think near to 40% is exactly murder.

BLACK: By his definition, that means 30% of the people in these bags have deliberate gunshot wounds to the head. We witness a continuous cycle,

shuffling bodies from vehicles to storage to autopsy to storage and ultimately preparation for burial. Usually it will be their second. Most

have been exhumed from temporary graves.

Families buy new clothes for those they've lost as a gesture of love and respect, but they often go unworn. They can only be laid inside the coffin.

The condition of the bodies means dressing them is impossible.

Among those lying here waiting to be collected is Ramon Leper (ph). His family says he was killed when munitions struck his home in a small remote

village. Ramon's (ph) wife Victoria (ph) survived, only to endure a form of hell. Intense fighting meant she couldn't escape the house.

Victoria's (ph) brother Ihor (ph) says "my sister had to step over her husband's body for two weeks. She had to go through it to get to food or

water. The room is still covered in blood. She is very bad now. Very bad. I don't know how she will live with this loss."

Others who grieve are living through a different form of hell. They can't find the body of the person they love. Volodymyr (ph) is searching for his

brother, Leonid (ph). He shows us where he was shot and killed. Where he was buried in a shallow makeshift grave before officials exhumed the body

and took it away. So Volodymyr (ph) has taken leave from active duty to travel through devastated communities, going from morgue to morgue, but no

one can help.

Eventually he's directed to a police office with a central list of the dead. He's told his brother probably hasn't been processed yet. Volodymyr

(ph) must return to the war. He doesn't know when he'll be able to come back, even if Leonid's (ph) body is found.

"It hurts a lot," he says. "It hurts a lot, but we don't give up." Russia has left so much death behind in areas near Kyiv, some people must wait

their turn to grieve. Phil Black, CNN, Bucha, Ukraine.


ANDERSON: The very raw reality of this war. Well, we know the focus of Russia's assault is on the east, including the region of Luhansk. Heavy

fighting is being reported in several cities there. The region's military governor has been urging people to evacuate, saying there are no safe

places left in his region.

Well today, he warns of possible Russian provocations during upcoming orthodox easter services. He says all churches in the region have been

destroyed and he is urging citizens who have not been evacuated or been able to leave to stay at home and join services online. I spoke with him

earlier through a translator.


SERHIY HAYDAY, HEAD OF LUHANSK REGIONAL MILITARY ADMINISTRATION (through translator): Well, we have a very serious situation here. The whole of

Luhansk territory is being shelled. There is no safe town. We understand that the Russian government is going to push ahead and going to destroy

everything on its path, so what we're doing is to try and to evacuate everybody as much as possible, as many people as possible.

ANDERSON: How much of the territory in Luhansk is under Russian control at this point?

HAYDAY (through translator): I would say somewhere in the order of 80 percent.

ANDERSON: What's the humanitarian situation like, sir? How many people are left in the area around Severodonetsk? And is it possible to supply

them with aid in any way anymore at this point, given what you've just told me?

HAIDAI (through translator): As far as communications, water, electricity is concerned, all that is very critical, because for almost two months now

shelling has been done absolutely without respite. So, that's destroyed all the water supplies, the electricity grid so they are without services.

As far as Severodonetsk is concerned, we are getting humanitarian aid there. The humanitarian cargos which are on the road are being supplied by

the Ukrainian government. And we also have some humanitarian aid coming from abroad.

ANDERSON: Are you managing to evacuate people? Can you share numbers with us?

HAIDAI (through translator): Well, there was something like 350,000 people living there in the first place in Ukrainian territory. But as of today

something like 70,000 remain. Most people have left on their own transport or using our national buses or volunteers. We have no idea when the

humanitarian corridors will be established, but we are evacuating every day.

The point is that Russia always violates the agreements and shelling despite the quiet hours is still going ahead. So, we have managed to get

some corridors working and we are evacuating absolutely every day.

ANDERSON: For the 70,000 who remain at present, just describe what they are going through.

HAIDAI (through translator): Well, most of them are continually in bunkers or in sellers, shelters and some people are living in their flats, their

conditions are very difficult, bombing is continuing as I said.

So, this is the second month that we've had all these people living underground essentially. And we try to supply them with some kind of aid,

trying to get sanitation and water to them. And make sure they don't starve to death. There's hardly any stable supply of gas, so the situation is

really pretty desperate.

ANDERSON: How would you compare the situation to of Mariupol as you understand it to be today?

HAIDAI (through translator): There are corridors for us, at least, that we can get aid through to. And we can actually still evacuate people. But,

bombing goes ahead every day until nightfall. And so, in that respect it's very similar to Mariupol.

ANDERSON: Russia says that a new phase of this war has now begun. Is that how you see it? What is militarily and tactically changed in Russia's

fight against Ukraine? What are you witnessing at this point?

HAIDAI (through translator): Well yes, I think you can say that the second stage has begun, although it isn't a complete and total invasion. But,

certainly they are spreading out a lot. We've established our defense in a lot of towns. They're trying to encircle our troops. A lot of nasty

business is going on there. But, so far they are not successful. They haven't had any successes so far.


We try to make sure that we are in a better position ourselves. And but, you know, we are -- we're doing well to destroy their equipment.

ANDERSON: What does Ukraine have and what does it need to win this fight at this point?

HAIDAI (through translator): Well, some western aid has got through to us from our partners and friends. But, essentially, what we need is aviation.

We need to protect our skies. It's air defense. And heavy artillery.

ANDERSON: The U.S. plans another huge military aid package to Ukraine. Let's just dig a little deeper in what you believe that package of aid

should include. Can you be quite clear with me?

HAIDAI (through translator): Well, we want to get aviation, air defense equipment, lots of UAVs from the U.S. and long-range heavy precision firing

artillery. I think that recent events have shown that the much loaded Russian army is really not up to scratch and not what we thought. And so, I

think it is possible for the Ukrainian armed forces, provided it gets this kind of equipment, to actually beat them.

ANDERSON: Are you convinced that you will get that?

HAIDAI (through translator): We will defend our homeland at any cost, because we have to defend our children, our mothers and our wives. We will

fight till the end and we very much hope though that we will receive it, because the west is also interested in that.

ANDERSON: What does the end of this war look like for you? Is it through military means, one side victorious over the other? Or is it through a

political agreement? Is there -- is there any scope for that at this point?

HAIDAI (through translator): Well, I think it's very probable that there may be a cessation of hostilities and an agreement is possible. But, you

can't believe in Russian, they're lying all the time. Everybody knows about that. Nobody believes in them. So, everybody knows that an agreement with

Russia's not worth the paper that it's printed on. Russia is the enemy of the entire world today, not just Ukraine. Their ambitions spread much

further than Ukraine.

ANDERSON: Hold for more on what is happening in Ukraine's east and south. I'm joined now by Vera Michlin-Shapir who is Visiting Research Fellow at

King's College London Centre for Strategic Communication. You are, indeed from Ukraine, and you have an awful lot of family there. And we will talk

about what you are hearing from them as we discuss what happens next for Ukraine.

On the military front, let's start there. The U.S. has said there is another enormous package of aid pending. We were talking to the military

commander of Luhansk who delineated what is needed. This is -- this is pretty sophisticated weaponry, which will need training.

VERA MICHLIN-SHAPIR, VISITING RESEARCH FELLOW AT KING'S COLLEGE LONDON CENTRE: Yes. So, what we're seeing right now is that what the U.S. is

moving in and what we're hearing from the DOD, what the U.S. is sending, these are weapon systems that require training, but they're not the most

sophisticated ones.

So, we're hearing that Soviet-made military equipment was moved to Ukraine, very important ones, S-300 from Slovakia and --

ANDERSON: Air defenses.

MICHLIN-SHAPIR: -- MiGs, yes, air defense systems and MiG-29s from Poland. Thee are important things. The Ukrainians have the training for

those. They don't need a lot of -- a whole lot of training there. Now, from the U.S. we're seeing things that do need training, but not a lot of


What we heard before was that the -- that the Ukrainians were asking for more sophisticated weapons systems and the U.S. was holding back on them

because it's not very effective because they need longer time for training. So, but this is we're here with Ukraine in the long-haul, right?

So, I think that this is now a time for the west to start thinking of how is this - how is this campaign going to develop? How is Ukraine going to

boost its defenses?

ANDERSON: Because we are in this for the long haul is what you are suggesting?

MICHLIN-SHAPIR: Indeed, indeed. We're here. We are in this in the long haul because even if Russia now is saying that Russia has been - I mean,

Russia was - it has severe - it had severe kind of setbacks in the Kyiv region. The forces that are being drawn down to the east and to the south

of Ukraine are weakened. Yes, we see all of that, but Russia's ambitions and this is the governor - the military governor of the Luhansk region was

saying Russia's ambitions will not stop, right? The Russians will continue pushing on Ukraine.

ANDERSON: We are hearing from the U.S. State Department that there is the possibility that NATO allies may have - we have little detail on this, but

may help with some of the humanitarian evacuation, specifically I think regarding Mariupol, which we are not in, so we cannot - we're not reporting

on the ground at CNN, but we see video coming from there. It is catastrophic. What do you make of what appears to be an offer by NATO

allies to be active on the ground in Ukraine?

MICHLIN-SHAPIR: Extremely important in terms of morale. Extremely important in terms of the tragedy that unfolded in Mariupol. Yes, so now

Mariupol is no longer a military issue. Mariupol is a humanitarian issue. There are people --


ANDERSON: Because it's fallen?

MICHLIN-SHAPIR: Because it's effectively. Effectively. You have a small group of military men that are held up in bunkers in Azov steel plant with

civilians in there, so what is needed now is to remove civilians out of there. And fan that (ph) NATO - if NATO steps up into this humanitarian

mission it's a huge morale boost for people in Ukraine, huge one that they will not be left behind, that this kind of tragedy cannot certain (ph). We

cannot just stand on the sidelines and see it unfold.

ANDERSON: I do want to ask you just before we go how's the family and what are they telling you about what's going on the ground?

MICHLIN-SHAPIR: Our people who stayed in Ukraine, people - obviously the younger members of family and so on, they evacuated as the government - as

the government asked the people to do. People who stayed are very much on the side of defense. They're very much - they're very stern in terms of

resisting, especially after the images that emerged from North Kyiv region. I mean, they're very stern -


ANDERSON: From Bucha?

MICHLIN-SHAPIR: From Bucha. They're very stern in that, and the morale boost and the weapon and the assistance that the west is giving is

extremely important in helping Ukrainians help themselves.

ANDERSON: Vera, we will talk again, sadly, but thank you. It's really important to get your insight and analysis. Thank you.

I want to get you to Kyiv now where we have just heard from President Zelenskyy talking to Charles Michel. Have a listen.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINE PRESDIENT: (through translator) Despite of all the challenges, despite of the war, despite of all the security

challenges, today Charles Michel came to Ukraine, and before meeting me he went to Berdyansk. We have discussed - for two hours we have discussed

important issues briefly, sanctions, weapons, membership in the European Union, and money. Things that we really need, things that we will for sure

need after our victory to reconstruct our country.

We understand that Russia wishes to destroy the Ukrainian people, our statehood. We have the same understanding. We have the same views, and this

is real genocide. It is important that today you personally together with your team visited Berdyansk and with your own eyes you have seen what

happened there, what the Russian occupants have done, that there - this is an important political signal. We have agreed that the Ukraine and the

European Union will cooperate closely to investigate these war crimes and crimes against humanity.

We see that Russia is not stopping in its bloodthirsty wish to destroy Ukrainians, to destroy our state, but any price, women, children, innocent

civilians. Russian troops have started a new large scale offensive in Donbass. We understand all of this. We see all the risks. We see all the

steps. They continue firing missiles all over the territory of Ukraine. They keep in siege according to our information about 120,000 people only

in Mariupol. Crimes that are happening in Mariupol are much more awful and large scale than in Berdyansk.

I am convinced that with our joint efforts we will be able to inflict liability on all those guilty, and I do assure you that we will find



Today we have discussed the way - the areas where you can help us in order to stop this barbarian war against our peaceful Ukrainian people. First, it

is important to maximally strengthen - to strengthen to the maximum the sanction pressure.

Finally, this - we have to do everything in order to deprive Russia to - for all the possibilities to fund this blood shedding war. We are grateful

for all the five sanction packages of the European Union. Unfortunately, certain things in our opinion are not yet finalized, and they have to be

developed in more detail and have to be completed because at the moment they are not enough to stop the funding by Russia of this - the funding of

this war by Russia.

We do want that the next powerful sixth sanction package is approved. We call on the entire, on the complete energy embargo, including import of oil

and gas. Oil should be part of the sixth package. Without it this package will be empty, will not be powerful enough (ph).

Finally, all Russian banks have to be disconnected from swift (ph) including Barbanekn Estrom (ph) Bank, and full stops should be put in this

area as concern sanctions. It is important to block all accounts of the Russian state and companies, and this money should be channeled to the

reconstruction of Ukraine.

Every Russian official and their families have to feel on themselves the action of the sanctions and the consequences of their personal support of

the war against Ukraine on our Ukrainian land.

Second area, it is important to ensure that Ukraine has all the necessary modern weapon. We have paid a lot of attention to weapons, a lot of time.

European partners have made a considerable contribution to the support of our military capacities. I'm grateful for _1.5 billion within the framework

of the European Peace Fund for funding of the - of the military needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

We have agreed to use this money to the maximum effect for Ukraine to get exactly the weapon that we do need. Not all weapon but the weapon that is

the priority for us. Not all, but the weapon that we lack. And this is very important. These are very important issues and very important words, and

this is very important emphasis. This - we need this weapon in time and we need what is - what is required.

We have to unite our efforts in order to restore our infrastructure, infrastructure of our villages and cities, taking to account the big number

of temporary displaced persons. There is a need to start the reconstruction works to rebuild our cities now already without waiting until the end of

this war because people live now and people need to use this infrastructure today.

I am grateful for the initiative, for the establishment of the trust solidarity fund that was - has been supported by the E.U. member states.

This fund should become one of the main components to ensure immediate economic support to Ukraine and also support for the post-war

reconstruction. We have discussed the prospects of the donor conference to launch this fund.

Difficult challenges require immediate actions without delay. These should be our joint actions because only together we can and we will overcome

everything, and we will reach success. As concerns the European Union, our future membership we have discussed that this is a priority for our

country, for the strength of our people who are ready to defend and who are defending our land against Russian occupants even without weapons.

We are waiting. We have done everything. We have answered almost all the questions, almost all. We have passed the question here to you, to the - we

have passed the question - the answers to the question to the ambassador. Ambassador, good afternoon once again. So we are waiting for the meeting

and on this very important issue for our country.

And we are hoping, waiting for the support of E.U. member states and also for your personal support, dear Charles Michel.


We can talk for a long time and we can - but the most important thing is to act and there has been quite a lot of such steps and I would like to thank

personally (inaudible) for this.


CHARLES MICHEL, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. Last year, I had the occasion to come three times in Ukraine

and exactly one year ago in March last year, we went together to Donbas. And there in the Donbas, I said Russia is not immediate. I said Russia is

party to the conflict, and the situation today showing that I was right.

And this morning, I went to Borodyanka in order to witness with my own eyes what the situation there on the ground. I met people. There are no words to

explain in order to explain what I feel, not as President of the European Council but as father, as a human being. These are atrocities. These are

war crimes. It must be punished. It will be punished. They must pay for what they have done there in - and in many other cities and other locations

in Ukraine.

And right now, like you, I think to the people, the soldiers, but also the citizens in the Donbas, in Mariupol, in other cities who are fighting for

their life, who are fighting for the sovereignty of Ukraine, but I know very well who are fighting for the European values, for the freedom, for

the democratic principles.

We are determined to do everything that we can in order to support Ukraine because we want the victory of Ukraine. And it's why we will use all the

possible tools in our hands. Of course, the financial support is very important. We had the occasion with the president to go more into the


And that's why we have decided a few weeks ago after a talk we had by phone, dear president, to launch this trust fund in solidarity with Ukraine

in the following day. It will be the 5th of May. It will be the starting point of this trust fund with these international donor countries which we

organized together with Poland, with Sweden and with the support of the European Commission, all the member states, but also the support of many

international actors.

We are also working closely with international organizations, like the IMF, the World Bank and others in order to make sure that we can mobilize funds

and support in order for Ukraine to be able to pay the social expenditures that are needed in the short-term, in the mid-term and the long-term, but

also this is very important in order to start as soon as possible the rebuilding program for the country.

And I can assure you that the E.U. will be on your side in order to rebuild the country. We stressed to the very strategic and interesting ideas about

operational and concrete ideas in order to accelerate the process.

And we're optimistic that in the following days and weeks we would be able to clarify the exact nature of the support that we will be able to provide,

also in order to succeed with the - when we discuss the rebuilding of the countries (ph) and the investments that are needed in infrastructures and

the different fields.

The (inaudible) important topic is the military support. And for the first time in history, the E.U. has decided to provide little military equipment

for the first time in history. It was a decision taken two days after the start of the war. I remember very well, I will never forget because you,

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, you called me on Saturday, two days after the start of the war, and you asked me to coordinate the effort in order to start to

provide military treatment.

And you succeeded to convince the European Union member states in a few hours to provide military treatment. We decided the first tranche of _500

million. Today, we have decided _1.5 billion of military equipment. And day after day, in close consultation with you, we are trying to convince member

states to act better to our (ph) support.

We are to make sure that what we provide is what you need and we discussed it with you precisely what are the needs and how we are able to make sure

that we can provide with the E.U. member states and other partners the means that are needed in order to fight and in order to win this war.

The third point is a political support (ph), and I would like to see here that, of course, I understand and I show full respect for the free and

democratic decision taken by the government and you of Ukraine when you decided to - when you decided to apply in order to be an E.U. member. We

have decided to task the commission immediately only in a few days, usually it takes eight months in order for the commission to publish an opinion.

We are in close contact on the substance. We will have discipline (ph) of the commission by the end of June.


And it will be my responsibility to assess when I can put this point of the agenda of the European Council and the council here to make sure that we

have the political discretion (inaudible) in order to make progress.

And this part that I want to say, I want to share with you that I feel - I feel a very strong support in order to make sure that we can provide

concrete support to Ukraine in your choice to follow this E.U.'s path for your own future.

And I'm convinced that what you are demonstrating day-to-day, this demonstration that you are totally committed for the democratic principle,

for the freedoms and you don't fight only for the future of the (inaudible), we know you fight for the European fundamental principles and


And then we are also determined to provide humanitarian support and we are determined to provide support in order to make sure that international

justice and justice will prevail because there is no peace without justice. That's why it's very important to collect the evidence and to support all

the actors that are - who are working in this important field.

Finally, we are going to discuss the sanctions because we simply must put pressure on the regime, on the Kremlin. We have decided many concrete

measures. This is not enough, and it's why we are constantly working in order to increase the pressure.

And again today, we had the occasion to go more into the details and to identify some additional elements in order for us to put proposals on the

table of the council and to be able to maintain the maximum pressure on Russia.

Finally, one last word, dear President Volodymyr, we met for the first time about three or four years ago, and this was the starting point of a

personal relationship based on trust and confidence.

I want to tell you that I am and we are extremely impressed by your personal leadership and your personal leadership is also showing the

bravery and determination of the people of Ukraine. You are not alone. We are with you. And we'll do everything, to which is possible, in order to

support you and to make sure that Ukraine will win the war. Thank you.


ANDERSON: Charles Michel and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaking there. And a big shout-out to the Ukrainian President from the E.C. commissioner

there, a show of massive solidarity talking about how he felt about the Ukrainian president there very personally.

Ben Wedeman joining me from Kramatorsk in Eastern Ukraine, Nic Robertson is in Brussels. A lot of detail there, but ultimately, you know, the - the

sense is that this is the E.U. and the Ukrainians joined at the hip, not just in solidarity but in promises that they will do more both on the

military and economic fronts.

Ben, you know, I don't know how many Ukrainians today are watching television and listening to these sort of press conferences. Clearly on the

ground things are extremely difficult. But how will the sort of words, the narrative that we've just heard, go down in areas, for example, where you

are, where life is now so difficult?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, I think many people have gotten accustomed to President Zelenskyy. Obviously he has a

high media profile internationally. People here probably are more focused on the harsh reality of their daily life, just trying to get to somewhere

safe, scrape by with what they can if they're staying in cities like this, Kramatorsk.

So, you - and there is - you do pick up a certain amount of disappointment particularly with the E.U. Oftentimes, you hear words of praise and thanks

for the United States and the United Kingdom, but there's frustration with the E.U. People are aware, for instance, that Hungary says it doesn't - it

will not abide by a gas and oil boycott of Russia. So what we're - I think that, as I said, they've heard a lot of words, people want to see action.

There has been action on a certain level with aid from the E.U., from the United States, from the U.K. and elsewhere but certainly when you're on the

front lines, one thing everybody always will tell you is what we need in terms of weaponry, and clearly they don't have enough Becky.


ANDERSON: Yes, Ben, that perspective is really, really important. Let me get you to Brussels, folks, where Nic Roberson is standing by. And I think

those -- those points that Ben is raising there are so important, aren't they. For those who are on the ground in Ukraine at this point, this is

just a question of trying to survive in so many places, Nic.

But, behind the scenes and today in Kyiv, there you see one of the leader of, you know, the European block sort of standing shoulder-to-shoulder.

First of all, that's a show of solidarity from the E.U., the fact that Charles Michel is even in Kyiv today.

But secondly, a discussion between the Ukrainian president and the E.C. president about exactly what the Europeans can do next. Question is, of

course, is it enough? Nic?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, it was interesting as well listening on into that press conference to hear what

President Zelenskyy was saying. He said, and this really gets to the issue of weapons and that feeling that they haven't been getting enough and there

have been some European Union nations who have been dragging their feet on this particular issue.

He said that he felt the attitude from the west towards Ukraine on weapons was warming. Those were his words, warming. And he also said, and I -- and

I found this interesting, we've heard talk about it, about planes being given to Ukrainian officials, he said, I won't tell which planes we've been

given. I won't go into those details. But, this seemed to be part of the context of what he was saying about the relationship over weapons warming.

So, it does -- you do get the sense in that press conference that Zelenskyy is indicting that, you know, this drive and request for these heavier

weapons, that it is being listened to. Charles Michel for his point talking about donor conference coming up on the 5th of May, but also his own

witnessing of atrocities, war crimes he called them, and vowing that those responsible will be held to account.

Obviously, very important for Ukraine when eventually some sort of peace appears on the horizon that can be negotiated. Zelenskyy saying, there is

nothing in terms of peace talks with Russia ongoing on the table right now, Becky.

ANDERSON: Nic's in Brussels. Back to you, Ben. Just finally, you've been speaking to people on the ground and I know people who were, you know, 57

days ago not expecting this invasion, weren't prepared for it and are now living through the very raw reality of what this invasion by Russia of

Ukraine means for them on a daily basis.

WEDEMAN: Yes, and I think the most disturbing aspect of this war for many people is the sheer randomness of Russian shelling on cities, not just big

rockets. I'm talking about things like cluster munitions that spray shrapnel everywhere. An this is one of those cities.


WEDEMAN (voice over): Bomb disposal technicians collect the pieces of a Russian missile that slammed into a warehouse in Kramatorsk Tuesday

afternoon. The missile killed a 40-year-old worker, injured three others.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language).

WEDEMAN: Doctors patch up one of the wounded from the afternoon strike. Since Russia invaded Ukraine almost two months ago the staff here has had

no rest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We weren't preparing for this, says Dr. Vitali Krylanko (ph). Now we're doing only urgent surgeries. One operation ends and another

begins. This time a soldier wounded on the front line. Even here, glass doors must be taped to minimize shattering in case of bombing, sandbags

cover the windows.

WEDEMAN: The director of this hospital says, thanks to help from abroad, they do not lack for medicine or equipment. What they desperately need is


WEDEMAN (voice over): That in a war where intense bombardment is the norm. These men are recovering in a special unit, specializing in treating

concussions sustained in artillery bombardments.

When shelling is just steps away, the damage is invisible but it's there. They suffer from intense headaches, nausea, dizziness and disorientation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Am I tired? A bit, says Roman (ph), who twice has suffered concussions. Not all wounds bleed.

WEDEMAN: And what we saw in that clinic was basically men with 1,000 yard stare. These are men who have been under heavy bombardment for weeks,

perhaps. Perhaps more than a month. What they've seen will stick with them for the rest of their lives. Becky?


ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman reporting. We're going to take a short break. Back after this.




ANDERSON: Today on Call To Earth, the first of three special reports on big cats under threat around the world. (Inaudible) Shafqat Hussain is our

guest editor on Call To Earth for this, Courtney (ph). He's been protecting snow leopards in his native Pakistan for over 20 years. Have a look at



SHAFQAT HUSSAIN, PROFESSOR OF ANTHROPOLOGY AT TRINITY COLLEGE (VOICE OVER): It is really a spectacular area of the world and especially in winter, it's

so beautiful. The sense of remoteness, the sense of isolation is really acute. And when you go further, high up or deeper into the heart of the

mountains, there is a very good chance that a snow leopard might walk right in front of me.

The first time I heard a snow leopard roar I still remember, a long time ago. And suddenly I heard this roaring call. I mean, if anything, it was

sheer wildness.

My name is Shafqat Hussain, I'm a professor of anthropology at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. I work on a snow leopard conservation

project in northern Pakistan that has been running for the last 20 years. I have never seen a snow leopard in the wild.

HUSSAIN: You're looking at one, two, three --

HUSSAIN (voice over): You're dealing with an animal that is very, very elusive and it's habitat is really difficult to study.

HUSSAIN: Many times I have told my colleagues when, you know, we are setting up camera traps or doing surveys, that I'm sure that a snow leopard

is watching from somewhere up there.

HUSSAIN (voice over): The snow leopards are incessant communicators. I wonder what they would do if they had, you know, all this new social media

technology, right?

HUSSAIN: Because just like we human beings, we are always connecting.

HUSAIN (voice over): And you can see the snow leopard, you know, doing the same by leaving all these marks in their territory, whether it's a spray or

leaving their cheek hair, as if these cats are trying to communicate with other cats in this big vast and empty landscape.


We have been working in close to 25 villages. In the region of Baltistan, 95 percent of these people keep livestock and they also have small

agricultural fields, and every now and then their livestock gets attack by predators such as snow leopard that really brings a huge economic loss for

these people.

So then they retaliate by attacking and killing these predators. We have set up close to 20 small micro-insurance programs where local people get

compensated for their losses. The other strategy is to construct predator- proof corrals because that is very impactful in the long run in reducing mortality from snow leopard attacks.

We're also implementing a conservation education program. (foreign language). Unless we get the human equation side right it's very difficult

to sustain any conservation effort in the long run.

We think that in our area we can claim that snow leopard population is stable. There's also a threat from climate change and global warming with

receding ice line, but I think snow leopards will definitely be around for a long, long time. I hope that in the years to come snow leopard sighting

will become an everyday phenomenon.


ANDERSON: Well let us know what you are doing to answer the call. You can use the #CallToEarth. We will be right back after this.


ANDERSON: Well this just in to CNN. Russia says it has successfully tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile. The Defense Ministry says it

traveled from Northern Russia to the countries far east. And it says the missile will go into service once the testing is done. President Vladimir

Putin is credit to saying (ph) it will, quote, "give thought to those who are trying to threaten Russia."

And also breaking the past hour also, Russian and Belarusian tennis players will now not compete at the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament this summer here in

London because of Russia's war on Ukraine. A statement from the All England Lawn Tennis Club cites, quote, "unjustified and unprecedented military

aggression." The Kremlin calls the decision to ban the players unacceptable.

Amanda Davies, your thoughts (ph)?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORT: Becky, let's not underestimate how big a statement this is. Wimbledon is a jewel in not only the British sporting

crown but Britain's crown era (ph). It dates all the way back to 1877, and you've got to bet even if you don't know that much about tennis or sport

you've heard of Wimbledon. And the statement from the All England Lawn Tennis Club that, of course, organizes and hosts Wimbledon has talked about

the responsibility to limit Russia's global influence through the strongest means possible.


They have gone much further than any other tennis tournament up to this point, even above the ATP, the WTA, the organizing bodies of both the men's

and the women's tour. And we shouldn't be under any illusion of the governmental, political influence in this. We know because of what

Wimbledon it means how much it means to the government to be able to use this as leverage and make a political statement.

The Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, has talked and has spoken about the U.K. taking a leading role internationally to make clear that President

Putin must not be able to use sports to legitimize Russia's barbaric invasion of Ukraine.

There is an acknowledgment, and acceptance that the individual players, for some of them this is really quite tough. We had Andrey Rublev, the Russian

player, just days after the start of the war -


DAVIES: -- famously signing that camera saying no to the war. You suspect there will be an appeal --


DAVIES: -- for the Court of Arbitration for Sport. It will carry on.

ANDERSON: Amanda, thank you. Amanda Davies with us in the house. Thank you for joining us wherever you are watching. CNN continues after the break.