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Ukraine Says Russians Blocking Part of Mariupol Near Plant; Ukrainian Girl Taken to Russian-Occupied Territory Now Free; Ukrainian Town Braces for Brutal Russian Offensive; China Defends Its Zero COVID Strategy; Lockdown in Shanghai Poses Growing Threat to China's Economy; Ukrainian Forces Exploit Design Flaw in Russian Tanks; Poland's Schools at Capacity as Refugees Join Classes; Scientists Working to Create Soft Robotics. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired April 29, 2022 - 10:00   ET




NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Early in the morning, said Luda (PH), they didn't let this out. We're shields for them. They

don't let us out by foot and by bicycle. We go in the fields. We ran.


ELENI GIOKOS, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: With Russian forces just across the river, the residents of this Ukrainian town are bracing for an imminent

attack. And --


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I was taken there at night, she said. They took shrapnel out of me, out of my ear. I screamed and cried

a lot.


GIOKOS: The story of this 12-year-old shows that Russian propaganda is not ashamed of using children to promote their message. Plus.


ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: In Warsaw alone, the mayor's office estimates the city has taken in more than 100,000 children. With

17,000 already enrolled in public school.


GIOKOS: For young Ukrainian refugees, this is a slice of normality. The question now is how many more will come? We go back to school in Poland.

I am Eleni Giokos in Dubai. Hello, and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.

Let us begin in Mariupol, where we're learning that 600 people have been wounded in the heaviest Russian airstrikes to hit the Azovstal steel plant

so far. The city's mayor says the bombing hits a makeshift hospital within the complex on Wednesday. It comes as Ukraine announces another attempt to

rescue those still trapped inside the factory. But a Mariupol official says Russia is thwarting those efforts.

In his daily address Thursday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned Moscow's relentless shelling of the besieged city.


PRES. VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINE (through translator): Moscow claimed they had allegedly cease-fire in Mariupol, but the bombing of the defenders

of the city continues. This is a war crime committed by the Russian military, literally in front of the whole world. Russia's shelling of

Mariupol did not stop, even when the U.N. secretary-general was holding negotiations in Moscow.


GIOKOS: Mr. Zelenskyy is also accusing Russia of launching a missile attack on the capital on Thursday while U.N. chief Antonio Guterres was wrapping

up his visit there. Officials say the strikes hit residential buildings in Kyiv wounding several people. And according to the U.S. and NATO, Russian

troops are making slow and uneven progress in their ruthless assault on eastern Ukraine. But they're learning from mistakes made during the early

days of the war.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military reports heavy shelling in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. The general staff of the armed forces is

accusing Russian troops of robbing one village of over 60 tons of wheat. Also in eastern Ukraine, this railway hub in the Donetsk region was hit by

heavy shelling on Thursday. It serves as a crucial supply line for Ukrainian troops in the east.

Just how much progress is Russia making in the Donbas? CNN's John Berman posed that question to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby a bit earlier.

Take a listen.


JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: What we're seeing here, John, is incremental progress by the Russians, particularly as they move south

through the Donbas coming from that northern area where they came in after they had to evacuate Kyiv. It's incremental and it's slow because they

might take a little bit of ground. The Ukrainians will take it back. And so they have not been exactly on their schedule.

They are trying very hard, John, to overcome the challenges they had in the north by making sure logistics and sustainment can keep up with the

movements of troops. But the Ukrainians are fighting back hard and making it hard for them to make any progress. They are also wary of running too

far ahead of their supply line. So they are going rather slowly.

The last thing I'd say is, just like we said it would, this particular fight is heavily reliant on what we call long range fires. Artillery. And

so you're seeing that the Russians are shelling well in advance of their troop movements and they're not able to, they have not been able to

sufficiently weaken the Ukrainian defenses with that shelling. The Ukrainians are able to fight right back.


GIOKOS: Well, that was Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby, talking to CNN there.

Now the reality of what's happening in this war isn't apparent to many inside of Russia. Case in point, the story of a 12-year-old girl taken from

her family and used to promote Russian propaganda.


Now as Matt Rivers tells us, the truth of her story is very different than what we saw on state-run Russian television.


RIVERS (voice-over): For Kira Obedinsky, her new iPad is everything. She's 12 after all. But the shiny screen is also a welcome distraction from an

ordeal no 12-year- old should ever have to endure.

Because just a few weeks ago, the young Ukrainian wasn't safe like she is now in Kyiv but in a hospital run by Russian-backed separatists forcibly

separated from her family.

When the Russians first invaded Mariupol, Kira's dad, Yeven (PH), was still alive. Her mom had died just after she was born. And when Russian bombs

started to fall, they sheltered in a neighbor's basement, she recalls.

But they hit the house where we were staying, she says. We were buried in the cellar. Then the rescuers took us out of the wreckage. Her dad did not

emerge, Kira told us. Now an orphan, she started to walk to try and find safety amidst chaos, and then another explosion from a mine.

My friend saw something on the ground, she says, and she hit it accidentally with her boot. The military came after the explosions and took

us to a hospital because we were bleeding.

But in some ways, her journey was just beginning. In the chaos she was picked up by soldiers she says spoke Russian and eventually brought to a

Russian-held area in Donetsk.

I was taken there at night, she says. They took shrapnel out of me, out of my ear. I screamed and cried a lot.

It was shortly after this happened that CNN first learned about and reported Kira's story because Russia paraded it on state TV.

State propagandists showed images of Kira in a Donetsk hospital and said she was being treated well. Convinced she was being mistreated, her family

went public with her story and it worked. A deal between Russia and Ukraine allowed her grandfather to travel to Russia and bring her back to Kyiv,

where she told us what Russian state TV did not.

It's a bad hospital there. The food there is bad. The nurses scream at you, the bed is bent like this. There wasn't enough space for all of us inside.

None of that came out on Russian state TV. Her injuries have largely healed now, though she'll stay in the hospital a little longer. It was there that

someone gave her that iPad after a presidential visit came bearing gifts this week. She didn't love all that attention, though, so for now she says

she just wants to see her cat and spend time with her grandfather recovering from the horrors of war one game at a time.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Kyiv, Ukraine.


GIOKOS: All right. A very heartbreaking story that we see there. I want to now take you to the southern Ukrainian town. We've got Nick Paton Walsh

standing by for us to give us an update.

Nick, great to have you on. You are in Kryvyi Rih right now. I want you to give me a sense of the news that we're hearing that there might be an

imminent attack in your region.

WALSH: Well, there have been concerns building over the past days that Kryvyi Rih, the hometown of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, might be next

target of this increased Russian southern offensive. Coming up from Kherson, the city that they first occupied at the start of the war, pushing

up the left bank of the Dnipro River towards forces in the east. Already making, it seems, minor gains in that area.

Here's what we saw on the ground yesterday.


WALSH (voice-over): If Moscow had any surprises left in this war, it is along here. The other side of the river has been Russia's for weeks. But

here, the western side is caught in the fast-changing landscape of this week's push.

(On camera): That's the prize over there, the Dnipro River, up past which on the left side bank here the Russians are trying to push, wanting control

of both sides of the vital part of Ukraine.

(Voice-over): Here in Novovorontsovka, we are told there are a handful of Russian tanks just over a kilometer away on its outskirts. Pushing,

probing, but ultimately kept at bay by Ukrainian forces that still hold the town. Resilience here embodied (INAUDIBLE) under the threat of rocket fire,

planting onions.


I'm here until victory, she said.

(On-camera): Her children have gone. It's just her and her mother. OK. Her 80-year-old mother and her are staying here. Her mother says she's not

going anywhere and she's not going to leave her alone. All her windows are blown out, she says.

(Voice-over): Ukrainian forces who don't want their positions filmed are dotted around the town, as too are the signs of innocent lives lost here.

Rockets peeking out from under the water. And this boat in which 14 civilians tried to flee Russian occupation on April the 7th, four of them

died when Moscow's troops opened fire when it was 70 meters out.

Yet still, the desperate keep fleeing. This morning, these women left behind their men to defend their homes near Novovorontsovka.

We ran, ran early in the morning, said Luda. They didn't let us out. We're shields for them. They don't let us out and by foot and by bicycle we go.

In the fields we ran.

Our soldiers were two kilometers away, Nodeshta (PH) adds and we ran to them. Well, they need the Russian tanks, she said, to take cars. They draw

that on everything.

As their new unwanted guests demanded milk and food at gunpoint, they had a glimpse of their warped mindset.

They say they've come to liberate us, Luda (PH) said. These aggressors. That's what they told us. They say America is fighting here, but using the

hands of Ukrainians to do it. That's what they say. Another claim to be fueled by the violence of the long war with separatists in the east.

In general, the Donetsk militants say, she said, you have been bombing us for eight years. Now we bomb you.

Across the fields, looting and artillery swallow whole once happy worlds.


WALSH: Now the offensive in the south from where I'm standing clearly does seem to be seeing some slight signs of Russian progress. But at the same

time, too, there are Ukrainian villages being taken back by Ukrainian forces. And so it is certainly a mixed picture. But what is totally clear

on two fronts is that Russia is making a significant effort to move up that side as the Dnipro River. It wants control of both banks of that strategic

water flow.

But at the same time, too, it seems it's trying to push up towards where I'm standing as well. But facing perhaps more difficulties than it would

like to have advertised. But what is important when we see today the extent of hopes for humanitarian evacuations out of Mariupol, far to the east from

where I'm standing but still in Ukraine south, but this southern front has become the one that possibly has more telling in exactly how this war is

going to progress -- Eleni.

GIOKOS: Nick, thank you so very much for that update. Great to have you on.

We're now following breaking news from Afghanistan. An explosion at a mosque in Kabul has left at least five people dead and 20 injured. But

witnesses are saying the death toll is likely much higher. It's the latest such attack in Afghanistan over the past two weeks. Most have targeted the

Hazara Shia community, with an ISIS affiliate claiming responsibility. Now it's not clear who was behind today's blast. We will be keeping an eye on

this developing story.

And just ahead on the show.

People in Shanghai, China under one of the strictest COVID lockdowns on earth, make their voices heard. We'll tell you about the banging your pots


And we follow CNN correspondent Selina Wang as she moves from Tokyo to China and endures the world's hot harshest quarantine.


GIOKOS: Perhaps a light at the end of the tunnel for many in Shanghai hard hit by COVID lockdown. City health officials say more than 12 million in

Shanghai live in low-risk areas and can now leave their homes. That's twice as many as nine days ago.

That is super loud. Well, that's the sound of banging pots as people protest from their balconies over a shortage of daily supplies and the

city's monthlong lockdown. Officials say almost all of the more than 15,000 new cases across China on Thursday were reported in Shanghai. 52 people

died from COVID on Thursday.

Still, China is defending its zero COVID strategy as, quote, "a magic weapon." Selina Wang is in Kunming, in southwestern China.

Incredible to see those images generally since we've seen the COVID outbreak in various parts of China and the aggressive approach. Many are

still questioning whether the zero COVID policy is the right one.

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Eleni, in year three China is still using these lockdowns, mass testing, strict border controls. In fact, China

is one of the hardest countries to enter in the world. Visas are hard to come by and so are flights. In fact, I just traveled into the country last

week, and the only flight our team could find for me from Tokyo was to Kunming, China, which was 1,600 miles from Beijing, where I'm supposed to

be based. So this is what my journey was like.


WANG (voice-over): Traveling into China is like entering a fortress, the country has been virtually sealed off since the start of the pandemic,

guarded by strict border controls and the world's harshest quarantine. My journey to get in started with three PCR tests in Tokyo.

(On camera): Seven days out from my flight, just got my first COVID test.

(Voice over): Back at home I tracked my daily temperature and packed a suitcase full of snacks to prepare for 21 days in quarantine. Within 48

hours of boarding, China requires PCR tests at two different government- approved clinics.

(On camera): This is possibly the most paperwork I have ever needed to board an airplane.

(Voice over): I say good-bye to Tokyo, my home for the past one and a half years. Checking in at the airport, relatively smooth.

(On camera): Still checking my documents. I finally have my boarding pass. I'm at the gate. I'm going to China.

(Voice over): Most people on my flight are Chinese citizens. Foreigners can only enter under very limited conditions. It's even harder for American

journalists because of U.S.-China tensions. All the flight attendants in full protective gear.

(On camera): Getting ready for takeoff. Here we go.

(Voice over): Flights into China, especially Beijing, are extremely limited. Even though I'll be based in the capital, first I'm flying to

Yunnan Province. After landing, I get another COVID test. A bus eventually takes us to the quarantine location. No one can choose where they'll be

locked in for the next 21 days. Hours later, we arrive. I count myself lucky. It's a hot spring resort converted into a quarantine site.

It's my first time here, but I'll have to enjoy the view from the window. I can't step out on to the balcony or open my door, except for health

checkups and food pickup.


Two temperature checks a day, regular COVID tests, sometimes even twice a day. Food delivery isn't allowed, but breakfast, lunch and dinner are part

of the quarantine fees.

These restrictions are all part of China's zero Covid policy. Across China tens of millions are sealed inside their homes. Since mid-December, China's

average new daily case count has surged from double digits to more than 20,000. Any positive case and close contact has to go to government

quarantine. Entire metropolises brought to a standstill.

Most of Shanghai's 25 million residents have been locked in for weeks, many struggling to get enough food and medical care. In year three of the

pandemic, most of the world is learning to live with COVID. But in China, no case is tolerated, no matter the emotional and economic cost.


WANG: I am currently on day seven of 21 days of quarantine. But even after I finished these 21 days it's unclear if I'll be able to get into Beijing.

Right now cases in Beijing are still relatively low but if this partial lockdown goes into a full city-wide one, flights will likely be cancelled -

- Eleni.

GIOKOS: Selina, I can't imagine the anxiety. I mean, I have to say that I think we've all been stuck somewhere during the pandemic. It is really

illuminating to see your experience, because it's basically a litmus sort of test of whatever one else might be going through. But more aggressively


Is there a sense by the government right now, because of the very vocal, you know, issues that people have been experiencing, that they might start

easing the way that they view this latest outbreak?

WANG: Well, actually, in the most recent government announcements, we are hearing them, Eleni, double down on zero COVID. It's clear that in their

messaging they believe that without this policy, they think that China's death numbers and case numbers could explode, and it could completely

overwhelm the health care system.

There is also a political element to this as well. So analysts say that this is putting politics over science. Xi Jinping, he's put his personal

stamp on this policy. And it has become a critical part, as well, of the propaganda machine to prove that look at how low the death rates are here

in China. This shows that our system is superior to America's and other Western countries.

Right now Beijing, they're in this partial lockdown. And they are mass testing as well. They're shutting many areas down. And the big question for

residents there is, could this turn worse -- Eleni.

GIOKOS: Yes. Selina, good luck and stay safe. Thank you so much.

Shanghai has been under strict COVID lockdown for weeks, and it could come to a heavy economic cost.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout explains.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's China's biggest and most affluent city, and the streets have been empty for weeks. Shanghai is battling its

worst ever COVID-19 outbreak, determined to crush it with its zero COVID policy. It comes at a steep cost to its economy and has implications for

the world.


MATTIE BEKNIK, CHINA DIRECTOR, ECONOMIST INTELLIGENCE UNIT: We're forecasting that the lockdown in Shanghai will rock China's economy. You

know, Shanghai is an economic powerhouse for China. It holds one of the two stock exchanges. Shanghai's port accounts for something like 3 percent of

global carfare throughput at any given time.


LU STOUT: Shanghai is home to the world's busiest container port. It remains operational, but according to logistics platform Project 44 on

April 18th, some ships have been diverted away due to truck shortages, but the containers are piling up at the port, waiting, on average, for 12 days

before they are picked up and delivered, compared to just over four days in late March.

Shanghai is also a major aviation hub, but the outbreak has forced the suspension of many flights, causing airfreight rates to skyrocket. All of

this is putting even more pressure on global supply chains.


PETER LEWIS, DIRECTOR, PETER LEWIS CONSULTING (CHINA) LIMITED: This is having a supply shock. A lot of these shipments now can't leave the ports.

Can't leave the airport in Shanghai. And these are goods which are ultimately going to Europe and the U.S. It's going to push prices up. We're

going to see more inflationary pressure.


LU STOUT: The zero COVID strategy has also forced many factories in Shanghai to suspend operations. The Apple supplier Pegatron has suspended

production at its Shanghai plant. And Volkswagen and Tesla's factories have been shot for weeks. Production has no resumed at Tesla where CEO Elon Musk

saying this. "Tesla Shanghai is coming back with a vengeance." But the company warned it too is not immune from supply chain problems.


LEWIS: Authorities in Shanghai are trying to get essential production plants open under what they call a closed loop system.


That means that their staff is actually asleep on the premises on the factory floors. Eats there, don't leave them. Don't go home. But the

problem is there is a lot of staff who don't want to do, and there's a shortage of parts to get these factories reopen. So it's going to be a

global problem.


LU STOUT: Analyst Yanzhong Huang warns that the economic pain caused by the zero COVID strategy could spiral out of control, saying this. Quote,

"Implementing this strategy in an excessive manner by itself could lead to disruption on the supply chain, mass unemployment, and then could translate

into social, political instability. Exactly what the zero COVID strategy wants to avoid," unquote.

And yet, Shanghai's weeks-long lockdown still has no end in sight. The bottom line from China watchers to the world, brace yourselves for the


Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.


GIOKOS: Let's get you up to speed now on some other stories that are on our radar.

And several dozen people were injured in a confrontation between Palestinians and Israeli police at a key holy site in Jerusalem. It

happened earlier today. The last Friday of Ramadan, at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound. Tensions at the site have been heightened during Ramadan, with

clashes every Friday.

Turkey's president is in Saudi Arabia. It is his first visit to the country since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. President Recep

Tayyip Erdogan is trying to mend ties with Saudi Arabia amid economic challenges in his own country. Mr. Erdogan took part in an official

ceremony at the palace before meeting one-on-one with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

UNICEF is urging residents of a province in the northwestern of the Democratic Republic of Congo to maintain vigilance. The second person who

died in a local Ebola outbreak was believed to have been in extensive contact with a large number of people.

And still to come, mighty Russian tanks with an Achilles heel. How Ukraine found the fatal flaw and took deadly advantage. And the determination to

make things work as Poland's public school system makes room for refugee children from Ukraine.


GIOKOS: Welcome back. I'm Eleni Giokos in Dubai and you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.


The number of Ukrainians reported injured inside the besieged steel plant in Mariupol is climbing. The mayor now says more than 600 people were

wounded at a field hospital there. And that's after Russia launched an intense bombing attack Wednesday. He added that the Russians are jailing

and torturing government workers who try to evacuate the city, although CNN hasn't been able to verify those claims.

President Zelenskyy's office has said an operation to get civilians out of the plant is planned for Friday, although the details are still unclear.

Meantime, Ukrainian officials say their forces have retaken a town near Kharkiv, while Russian forces have been shelling a critical rail hub that's

been supplying Ukrainian troops in the east.

U.S. and NATO officials acknowledge Russian forces are making incremental progress in the east, but a senior U.S. Defense official says overall

Russia's military progress in the Donbas region has been slow and uneven.

CNN's Oren Liebermann reports saying that there are more signs that Putin's invasion isn't going to plan.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Near the city of Kyiv, a Russian tank flaw laid bare, the turrets separated from the body of

the tank. A problem seen in other destroyed tanks as well. It's a design flaw in Russian tanks that Ukrainian forces have exploited.

MAJ. GEN. PAUL EATON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: If the turret is penetrated and all our weapons penetrate the Russian turrets without problem, particularly

the Javelin from the top where armors are the thinnest. But that exposed ammunition will cook off immediately. It will go high order and the whole

exposed ammunition program inside the turret will blow.

LIEBERMANN: Russia's invasion of Ukraine has revealed to the U.S. and the world many problems within one of the world's largest militaries. The

Kremlin has tried to hide its losses from its own people, but Ukraine's messaging since the war began has cranked out videos of Russian armor being

destroyed. The U.K. estimates Russia has lost as many as 580 tanks since fighting began.

LLOYD AUSTIN, DEFENSE SECRETARY: The Russians had -- have significant mechanized capability. But as you look at the techniques and tactics,

procedures that they used, they were not very effective. And so you question the training, the leadership at the noncommissioned level --

noncommissioned officer level and their ability to provide basic logistics to a force that size.

LIEBERMANN: Russian forces are now focusing on the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine where a senior U.S. Defense official says they have made some

progress. They're trying to fix many of the problems that plagued the early invasion using their advantage in firepower and trying to coordinate air

and ground attacks. But officials say they don't appear to have learned those lessons yet. The performance of Vladimir Putin's military has

surprised the U.S.

AVRIL HAINES, U.S. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: We did not do as well in terms of predicting the military challenges that he has encountered with

his own military.

LIEBERMANN: With the war now in its third month, no one's talking anymore about this ending quickly. Russia is attempting to regroup with a new goal

in mind in southeast Ukraine.

With U.S. and Western support, Ukraine is bracing for a long, brutal fight that the Biden administration has framed as much bigger than about one


(On-camera): A senior Defense official says the Russian forces are trying to learn from the mistakes they made early on in the invasion. Mistakes we

saw carried out multiple times around Kyiv. But they have yet to determine if they'll be able to do so. They're still seeing some of the same

logistics and sustainment problems and one of the key issues that will be very hard to fix is the morale issues.

A senior Defense official says the Russian conscripts come in very amped up for the fight they have been, quote, "feasting on Russian propaganda," only

to find out that the battle on the ground in Ukraine is going very differently.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, at the Pentagon.


GIOKOS: Many of those who fled Ukraine are children, and that's putting a strain on Poland's public school system.

CNN's Erica Hill has the story of one school in the Polish capital that's struggling to find space for the new students.


ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New school, new language, new country.

ANDRESZJ JAN WYROZEMBSKI, PRINCIPAL, 1ST LICEUM WARSAW (through translator): We follow the needs. When we open these classes, we did not

know what would be in a week, what would be in a month.

HILL: There are now 50 Ukrainian refugees enrolled at this Warsaw high school, bringing the student population up to 700.

It's Olena's (PH) first day. Lesia is a few weeks in and happy to be back in class.

LESIA, 14-YEAR-OLD REFUGEE FROM RIVNE, UKRAINE: It's given me some space or given me the feeling of safety that I'm safe here, I'm in my normal life.

HILL: In Warsaw alone the mayor's office estimates the city has taken in more than 100,000 children.


With 17,000 already enrolled in public school, the question now is, how many more will come?

RENATA KAZNOWSKA, WARSAW DEPUTY MAYOR: It's a big problem for us because we don't know how many students go to Warsaw and go to our schools.

HILL: Warsaw was already short 2,000 teachers before Russia invaded Ukraine. The city needs more staff and money.

WYROZEMBSKI (through translator): This is a huge challenge for us. A good heart, willingness to help, and volunteering are not enough.

HILL: And yet they're finding ways to make it work.

Polish students are paired with their new Ukrainian classmates.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We use a lot of Google Translate.

HILL: Local families have donated supplies. The school provides breakfast and lunch.

In Lviv, Maryana taught German. Officially she's now a tutor, yet it's clear this mom of three who also fled the war is so much more.

MARYANA DRUCHEK, REFUGEE FROM LVIV, UKRAINE (through translator): We don't just speak Ukrainian, we speak the language of emotions and the language of

what we've gone through.

HILL: Comfort amidst the uncertainty.

(On-camera): Is it good to meet other Ukrainian kids?

DENYS, 16-YEAR-OLD REFUGEE FROM KHARKIV, UKRAINE: Yes, because you're not alone.

HILL (voice-over): While there are more smiles every day, the principal says he can't forget what lies beneath.

WYROZEMBSKI (through translator): We have some who escaped in the middle of the night in their pajamas from the basement where they were.

HILL: While school is a welcome distraction, it's also a reminder of how much their lives have changed.

DRUCHEK (through translator): In our hearts we want to start the new school year in September at home. And we really hope for that.

HILL: Erica Hill, CNN, Warsaw.


GIOKOS: And still ahead, the golf world is buzzing and that's after Tiger Woods is spotted practicing and we'll tell you where he was and why it's

fueling speculation he's getting ready to compete again.


GIOKOS: On "Mission Ahead," we introduce you to innovators who are taking on big bold missions in science. Today we're looking at robotics in the

field of technology that's advancing by the day, sometimes in ways you might not expect.

CNN's Rachel Crane discovers a new kind of robot unlike any you've seen before.



RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Building the next big thing in tech can take time.


CRANE: In this case it's moving at a snail's pace. Meet Li Zhang, engineer, professor, and now maker of sludge like goo.

LI: It behaves sometimes like a liquid, sometimes like a solid.

CRANE: Inspired by the cheap slime toy that children play with all over the world, Zhang's team first created the substance in 2021 by mixing a simple

polymer with borax. The magic happened when they added magnetic particles.

LI: Then basically, you get this so-called magnetic slime bot.

CRANE: So when it comes close to a magnet, it can move and James change shape and grasp objects. Zhang is one of a growing number of scientists

worldwide on a mission to better understand a relatively new field in tech, soft robotics.

CONOR WALSH, PROFESSOR OF ENGINEERING AND APPLIES SCIENCES, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Traditionally when people think about robotics, they think

about robot arms in factories that are very strong and very fast and very precise. In the field of soft robotics, we're thinking about, how do you

make robots that are more flexible, more adaptable?

CRANE: Sometimes, looking to nature helps. Like the agile but entirely boneless octopus. In 2016, Harvard unveiled this silicone proof of concept

called the Octo-bot. Hydrogen peroxide inside the robot is converted into a gas, which moves its arms. Others are working on soft robotics that mimic

human limbs or even augment them, while Zhang is testing how his robot can work inside the human body.

For instance, a patient who accidentally ingested a foreign object, Zhang's idea? Rather than performing surgery, the doctor asks the patient to

swallow the robot. Directed by a magnet, the robot would locate the objects such as a battery, nail or coin, like this one, cushioning sharp edges and

stopping any harmful chemical leaks. Nature would eventually take its course for both.

So far the process is still hit and miss, and it is years from approval, according to Zhang. Experts say that this kind of research might ultimately

have a much wider influence in the world of robotics.

CECILIA LASCHI, PROFESSOR, THE NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE: Completely soft robots they don't make much sense. I think that now that we have

learned that compliance is helpful, softness is helpful, we cannot build robots without any compliant part.

CRANE: But like any big mission to develop new technology, this one will take time.


GIOKOS: Take two, Tiger? It could be happening. Tiger Woods was spotted playing a practice round Thursday at the site of golf's second major

championship of the season. And that's after returning to competitive action earlier this month at the Masters.

"WORLD SPORTS" Alex Thomas is here with more on this intriguing development for golf fans. Should we be reading into this, would you say, Alex?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN WORLD SPORTS: Not necessarily, but we are going to anyway just because he's such a megastar, isn't he? And we already thought we

might have seen the end of him on a competitive golf course, full stop after that horrific crash he had last year. You know, we now know in

hindsight that he almost lost his leg, he battled back. Golf may look like an easy sport compared to some others, but it's pretty grueling when you

have to walk around 72 holes. His practice round at Southern Hills suggests he will play in the PGA next month. He's already committed to the Open here

in the U.K. at St. Andrews in July.

GIOKOS: Interesting times. OK, Alex, we're going to a short break, and you'll be back with more sports right after this. Stay with us.