Return to Transcripts main page

Connect the World

Fighting Rages Around Russian-Held Town of Izium; Russian Forces Advance in Eastern Areas of the Donbas; U.S. Preparing to Approve Long- Range Rocket System for Ukraine; Questions Mount Over Law Enforcement Response to Massacre; 10-year-old Survivor Shares His Story; Putin Says Government Working to Stabilize Russian Economy; A Grim Look at Life Under Russian Occupation in Kherson. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired May 27, 2022 - 10:00   ET




NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: An artillery duel has been raging for days, torching around the vital Russian held town of Izium.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: As strikes rain down on the Donbas region, Russian forces ramp up their pounding of Ukrainian

territory, leaving ashes behind. Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He walked in unobstructed initially, so from the grandmother's house to the bar ditch to the school, into the school, he was

not confronted by anybody.


ANDERSON: Anger from the parents of the children murdered in a Texas school. Why did law enforcement not act sooner? And --



JAYDEN PEREZ, SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: Still sad about some of my friends that died.


ANDERSON: This 10-year-old saw things no child should see, and now he is afraid of going back to school. And he misses the classmates who are now

gone forever.

It's 3:00 p.m. in London. I'm Becky Anderson. Hello, and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. We'll have all the latest developments on this school shooting

in Texas later in this newscast, but we begin with the increasingly dire situation in Donbas, where Ukraine's president says Russia's military aims

to burn key cities to ashes, as its forces advance.

One of those cities is the strategic hub of Severodonetsk, where more fierce battles are reported today. You can see on this ap, its location on

the edge of Russian controlled territory shown in red. A bit to the east, reports surfaced today that the city of Lyman, site of a key railway hub,

has fallen to Russian-backed separatists. That has not been confirmed. If true, though, it would clear a path to Sloviansk and then further into the

Ukrainian controlled parts of Donetsk.

All part of Russia's focus on capturing more territory as its forces make what Britain's prime minister called slow but palpable progress in their

drive to take full control of the Donbas. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy again accusing Russia of scorched earth tactics to achieve its goals.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): In cities and communities closer to the Russian border, in Donetsk, in Luhansk, they

gather everyone they can to fill the place of those killed and wounded in the occupation contingent. All of this, including the deportation of our

people and the mass killings of civilians, is an obvious policy of genocide pursued by Russia.


ANDERSON: Well, Russian forces now occupying Izium, using it as a base to launch attacks to the south.

Nick Paton Walsh reports on the fierce fighting that has been going on for days now around that city.


WALSH (voice-over): Putin would leave little of what he claims to liberate. An artillery duel has been raging for days torching around the vital

Russian held town of Izium. Up on high, in the position we were asked not to reveal these Ukrainian troops dug in and buoyant have a clear view of

the damage below, but also their enemy.

WALSH (on-camera): So the Russians are just a kilometer on the brow of this hill in that direction.

WALSH (voice-over): This unit only here two days but say they have already destroyed a Russian tank. Yes, they play to the cameras, but it's pretty

clear up here their morale is sky-high.

UKRAINIAN SOLDIER (through text translation): Where is my armored Hummer?

WALSH: They are exposed, but ready, keen to show off actually gleeful at the international menu of weapons that they have been sent, almost a silly

amount. These Swedish anti-tank munitions and of course a British NLAW, then from out of the grass a German one which they particularly like. A

Polish grenade, no training on them, just practical use, they joke, giving them the widest experience of anti-tank weapons in Europe. Parading also

what the Russians left, thermal optics and a Soviet era anti-tank weapon that they wind up like a telephone.


Yet still, the Russians persist, even as the prisoners these troops have taken have revealed how young the soldiers they are fighting are.

UKRAINIAN SOLDIER (through text translation): They're children who have grown up only under Putin. They don't know any other kind of power. They

say, Putin said so, he can't deceive us. We're doing everything right. Like zombies. It's like the firmware in their brains was updated because they

only quote phrases. Poor and unhappy. Sad to look at them.

WALSH: In the village below, the endless shelling is flushing the remaining life out. This woman said telling me her name would make no difference.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through text translation): There were 11 explosions around my house last night. Holes. Eleven. Go and count them. I sat in the

cellar, on my knees asking God to put goodness in people's brains. Will the brain hold up? It will. See? I am here.

WALSH: They really don't know where they'll go, or what if anything they can come back to. Just that life has no space left here.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, near Izium, Ukraine.


ANDERSON: And Suzannah Malveaux, across what is going on today in Ukraine. She's live from Lviv in western Ukraine.

And we are seeing a major offensive in that Donbas region with Ukrainian officials admitting that they are outmanned, and they are outgunned. What

do we know about the Russian advances?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, we do now, according to the Ukrainian military in a rare admission that in the Donetsk

region, that they have lost some territory there. There has been fierce fighting for days and for weeks there, but they now say that the Russians

have captured a district that is just 10 miles away from a key resupply position for the Ukrainian military, and that position is very important to

them because that allows them to get fresh troops, as well as equipment.

But it's also a humanitarian corridor, it allows for residents to leave, to escape, for food to come in. The Russians desperately want to get that

resupply location, and they are getting much, much closer. We have been told that the Russians' advantage to Ukrainians when it comes to personnel

is 8 to 1, and you take a look at the equipment, it is actually twice as much. They say that the heavy artillery, the tanks, the rockets, the

missiles, all of that that has been directed, particularly to the city of Severodonetsk, is making an impact here.

And we're talking about, as you know, Becky, a city, a town that was essentially more than 100,000 people now reduced to 15,000 hiding in

basements and bomb shelters. We have learned today that there is an active hot spot location at the Mir Hotel in that area, that is where they say

that Russian troops stormed the hotel. The Ukrainian forces are trying to get them out, that is an active situation there.

But the battles continue on the streets as well as hitting those civilian targets, so we are talking about civilian deaths, casualties for people who

lost their lives. Yesterday, 11 buildings destroyed in that Severodonetsk area. This is a fierce, fierce fight. And it is one, Becky, that the

Ukrainian military say is they are up against really, and perhaps at a disadvantage at this point.

ANDERSON: Yes, meantime, in Kharkiv, and that I remember Sam Kiley reporting from that ahead of February 24th, this was a bustling city of

more than a million people. Today we are seeing that targeted yet again. The targeting of residential areas. How confident are Ukrainian forces that

they can hold that city of Kharkiv?

MALVEAUX: Well, Becky, at least they described a sense of greater confidence, I suppose, in trying to hold that city. They know that it is a

very important target for the Russians, so they say they have not made progress in terms of taking that key city but if you just take a look

around in the Kharkiv region itself, it is punishing, punishing to those who live there in that area. We were, Becky, of just a tragic situation

that occurred yesterday as this residential community was pummeled just outside of the city.


Nine people who died and one of them, a family, simply walking in the street, a husband, a wife, the husband -- the father carrying a 5-month-old

baby. Both of them struck and killed immediately, the wife taken to a hospital, severely wounded, 19 others also wounded. And so they are just

taking hit after hit. The Ukrainian forces, however, trying to reassure the people that that city, that key city, is still holding, Becky.

ANDERSON: Suzanne Malveaux is on the ground for you.

Well, the Biden administration is preparing to send more help to Ukraine, this time advanced long range rocket systems. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

has been pleading in recent weeks for the multiple launch rocket system. The U.S. made weapons can fire a barrage of rockets hundreds of kilometers,

and Ukraine believes these could be a game-changer in its war with Russia.

Let's bring in CNN's Natasha Bertrand.

Natasha, according to your sources, just how effective could these weapons be at curbing Russia's offensive? And are they the game-changer that the

Ukrainian president is so desperate for at this point?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, according to the people that we've spoken to, and that includes lawmakers who have been

pushing for this as well for weeks, they really could be a significant tool to push back the Russians decisively. That is not only what the Ukrainians

are saying, but it seems to be a consensus here as well. And that is because of that extremely long range that they have. They can fire up to

186 miles.

Now compare that to the artillery that the Ukrainians currently have, the maximum reach that they have currently is about 18 miles, right, so this

would be a very significant ratcheting up of their capabilities there against the Russians. It also, though, because of that, has significant

concerns within the Biden administration about the possibility that sending these systems over could be viewed as highly provocative to Russia because

of the possibility that Ukraine could actually launch cross border attacks into Russia using these systems, which again are very powerful and have a

very long range.

But the Ukrainians now are saying, look, we cannot afford anymore wavering by the Biden administration, by the U.S., on this topic. We really don't

have any time here, and we cannot push the Russians out decisively unless we have these systems.

Take a listen to what the Ukrainian foreign minister said yesterday.


DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We need heavy weapons. The only position where Russia is better than us, it's the amount of heavy weapons

they have. Without artillery, without multiple launch rocket systems, we won't be able to push them back.


BERTRAND: So, Becky, the Russian conventional artillery can fire about 50 kilometers, and that is what the administration here and sources we speak

to say could result in these rocket systems having a very significant impact on Ukraine's ability to fight this war against Russia, because of

the ability of Ukrainians to potentially defend cities against Russian artillery, which is of course, would not be as significant as what the

Ukrainians would get if they got these MLRS systems -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating. Thank you, Natasha.

Well, as this war rages on, we've heard many accusations of Russia is committing genocide against the Ukrainian people, not least by the

country's president and by the United States' President Joe Biden, but for the first time, an independent group of legal analysts says the Russian

state is inciting genocide in Ukraine and is intending to, and I quote here, "destroy the Ukrainian people."

The report was put together by a U.S. based think tank and a Canadian human rights organization, and it's signed by more than 30 scholars. Earlier,

contributor Emily Prey explained their findings.


EMILY PREY, SENIOR ANALYST, NEW LINES INSTITUTE FOR STRATEGY AND POLICY: There exists a serious risk of genocide in Ukraine. As you said, Russia is

-- bear state responsibility for breaches of the Genocide Convention for incitement to genocide, and all of this ties together to trigger the duty

to prevent under international law.


ANDERSON: And we will be exploring this a lot more in detail the next hour with one of its contributors, (INAUDIBLE). Please stay with us for that.

How did an armed teenager walk into an unlocked elementary school and stayed nearly an hour carrying out the deadliest U.S. school shooting in

almost a decade? New questions emerging about how the police handled the massacre in Uvalde in Texas. Plus, 10 years old and on the front lines of

the attack, hiding for his life. A survivor shares his terrifying story of the shooting that claimed the lives of so many classmates.



ANDERSON: Law enforcement did not confront the gunman who slaughtered 19 children and two teachers before he entered an Uvalde, Texas, elementary

school. That key detail from public safety officials contradicting what we were told earlier about the timeline of the shooting and raising even more

questions about the police response.

We are expecting an update from authorities in about 90 minutes from now. Meanwhile, we are learning at least seven officers rushed into the school

within four minutes of the shooter's arrival, but it's still not clear why then took nearly an hour to breach the classroom where the 18-year-old

shooter had barricaded himself in.

Parents understandably frustrated and very angry, emotional new video shows them gathering outside the school while the attack was unfolding. Some were

screaming at police to storm the building and save their kids.

Meanwhile, the gunman's own mother speaking out for the first time and pleading for forgiveness.


ADRIANA MARTINEZ, GUNMAN'S MOTHER (through interpreter): I have no words. I have no words to say. I don't know what he was thinking. He had his reasons

for doing what he did. And please don't judge him. I only want the innocent children who died to forgive me.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER (through translator): What do you tell their families?

MARTINEZ (through interpreter): Forgive me, forgive my son. I know he had his reasons.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER (through translator): What reasons could he have had?

MARTINEZ (through interpreter): To get closer to those children instead of paying attention to the other bad things? I have no words. I don't know.


ANDERSON: CNN crime and justice correspondent Shimon Prokupecz is on the scene in Uvalde, Texas, where investigators are still working.

Shimon, piece together a timeline of this massacre. What do we know at this point?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: So we have a general timeline. You know, we've been asking for this timeline from authorities,

really, you know, for the last several days. They finally gave us some of it. And they lists for us when the shooter, the gunman, first came to the

scene, how long it took him to get inside the classroom.

There are two key things in the beginning when all of this was going on there was a 12-minute gap between 11:28 and 11:40, where he's outside the

school shooting. He's using this rifle and he's shooting at some people, and then, about four minutes after that, he's already inside the school

through an open back door. Police get here, they confront him inside the school, there's an exchange of gunshots.

And then he goes down the hallway and barricades himself inside this classroom, where he kills all of these children and the teachers, and then

he's in there for an hour.


And we are not clear on what police were doing to get inside and stop him during that hour. They have not responded to any of the questions.

Yesterday, that was the big question that I posed to the police here, why it is that it took an hour to get inside this classroom? Take a listen.


PROKUPECZ: Can you explain to us how he was barricaded and why you guys cannot breach that door?

VICTOR ESCALON, SOUTH TEXAS REGIONAL DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: So I have taken all your questions and considerations. We will be doing

updates. We will be doing --

PROKUPECZ: I know. But here now you should be able to answer that question now, sir.

ESCALON: What is your name?

PROKUPECZ: Shimon Prokupecz from CNN.

ESCALON: Shimon. I hear you.

PROKUPECZ: Because we've been given a lot of bad information so why don't you clear all of this up now and explain to us how it is that your

officers, who are in there for an hour, yes, rescuing people, but yet no one was able to get inside that room?

ESCALON: Shimon, we will circle back with you.


PROKUPECZ: And hopefully that happens today. Like you said, in about 90 minutes or so, the police say they're going to come here and they're going

to talk to us again, and I quite honestly, if it's just going to be where they're taking five questions and then they're just going to end the press

conference again, that's not going to be sufficient. So hopefully, they'll take more questions.

The key here is what was going on in that hour. The information that the police have initially provided turned out to be bad. They said that there

was a resource officer, a police officer on scene that engaged the gunman, there was a confrontation, that never happened. We learned that there was

no resource officer, a school officer that was on scene. Why that bad information was put out? We don't have clarification on that.

But that is certainly something that I hope to be able to ask the police today. And of course, that one hour, we still don't know why the police did

not go inside that classroom. We are hearing stories from kids who were inside that classroom, survivors, those moments of what it was like, they

were hoping, they were really just hoping, they were wondering, where were the police?

As all the parents, as you know, who are outside the school, saying why aren't the police going? We're going to go in ourselves and try to rescue

our kids. So hopefully later today, we will get some answers.

ANDERSON: Yes, 90 minutes from now is what -- is promised. Shimon, (INAUDIBLE) for us, thank you.

Well, U.S. President Joe Biden and the first lady will visit Uvalde on Sunday to try to comfort families who lost loved ones and to speak to

community leaders there.

As Shimon says, for many of the young survivors, the experience has left them shaken and scarred. Adrienne Broaddus spoke to one fourth grader

forced to watch several of his friends die as he hid from the gunman.


ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jayden Perez is better today.

PEREZ: Still sad about some of my friends that died.

BROADDUS: And the 10-year-old shooting survivor says talking helps.

PEREZ: It was very terrifying. Because I never thought that was going to happen.

BROADDUS: Inside a fourth-grade classroom, the 10-year-old said he and his classmates hid near the backpacks. This photo of a classroom was taken long

before the shooting.

PEREZ: Five of us hiding there and then the rest under a table. But that didn't stop one of my friends getting hurt. The shooter shot through the

window and hurting my friend and my teacher. Like my teacher got hurt like on right here, like -- I don't know which side, but she got hit, like hit

on the side. And then my friend got like shot through the nose. And they both had to get surgery.

BROADDUS: Perez said an officer helped him and his classmate escape through a window, but not before the shooter had killed his friends.

PEREZ: Makenna, Tess, Annabell -- basically almost some of them. Basically, almost all of them.

BROADDUS: Jayden's pain not physical, but emotionally paralyzing.

PEREZ: No, because after what happened, no.

BROADDUS (on-camera): Do you ever want to go back to school?

PEREZ: I don't want to know -- because I don't want anything to do with another shooting and me in the school.

BROADDUS: You scared it might happen again?

PEREZ: Yes. And I know it might happen again probably.

BROADDUS (voice-over): Jayden's mom Crystal shared these pictures taken about 90 minutes before the shooting. She's with her son at the school

celebrating Jayden's honor roll achievement. His mom said, waiting, not knowing, was tough.

BROADDUS (on-camera): What did you tell your mom when you finally saw her?

PEREZ: I left my water bottle at school.


BROADDUS: You're water bottle. Did you hug her?

PEREZ: Yes. Or she hugged ad me first, because she was like --

BROADDUS: Was she so happy to see you?

PEREZ: Yes, and my dad, and my grandma.

BROADDUS: What are your parents mean to you?

PEREZ: A lot. Because they brought me into this world.

BROADDUS (voice-over): A world where schools are also crime scenes.

BROADDUS (on-camera): Did you hear the gunfire?

PEREZ: Yes. You never know when you can lose someone close to you.


ANDERSON: Well, an 11-year-old who was wounded in that school shooting wants the world to know what she lived through, but Miah Cerrillo was so

scared of men right now because of what happened that she only feels comfortable speaking with women. She agreed to speak to CNN producer Nora

Neus but didn't want to go on camera. Here's Nora explaining what Mia told her to my colleague John Berman.


NORA NEUS, CNN PRODUCER: Miah says it just happened all so fast. He backed the teacher into the classroom, and he made contact with a teacher again,

looked her o right in the eye and said, goodnight. And then shot her and killed her.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: He said goodnight before he shot her?

NEUS: He said goodnight. And then it happened pretty fast after that as well. He started open firing in the classroom. He hit the other teacher, a

lot of Miah's friends. At that point, Miah was hit by fragments of the bullets. You can even see them yesterday, I mean, on her back, on her

shoulders, the back of her head.


ANDERSON: For more on this story, of course, at There's an awful lot of information there that you can use. That's had impact (INAUDIBLE).

Well, despite the shooting, the tragic loss of life the National Rifle Association says it plans to move ahead with its scheduled convention this

weekend. The powerful gun lobby meets today in the same state as Uvalde school shooting, that's Texas, of course. Former president Donald Trump,

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz are scheduled to speak there.

Just ahead, Russia's leader is talking about keeping his country's economy stable in the face of crushing sanctions. Is this a case of magical

thinking on the part of Vladimir Putin? More on that after this.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in London, just after or four half past 3:00 here. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. You are more than

welcome wherever you are watching around the world.


Remorseless Russian bombardments and outgunned Ukrainian fighters. We are now talking about the eastern Ukraine where officials are now voicing

concern that Ukrainian troops are outmanned as the Kremlin intensifies its attacks. Ukraine says Russian forces have made some modest gains and

appears to be pushing towards the key city of Kramatorsk.

At the same time, the British prime minister warning that Russian president Vladimir Putin is making what he calls slow but palpable progress in the

Donbas region. That has got Boris Johnson calling for multiple launch rocket systems to be given to Ukraine.

As Moscow fights for control of the east of that country, President Vladimir Putin is talking about stabilizing his own economy. He says his

government is tackling Western sanctions imposed on Moscow and is working on increasing access to finance. The Russian leader addressed the Supreme

Eurasian Economic Council as it is known a short time ago via remote.

CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is here with me in the studio. Remotely and we haven't seen Vladimir Putin leave the country now

certainly since before this war began. Is this wishful thinking when he is addressing -- explain to this group here, when he's talking about, you

know, stabilizing and improving the Russian economy at this point?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. What he's trying to do here I think is create a narrative and context at home that we are

still part of an international group of nations and this particular group of nations mostly former Soviet states, Belarussia, Kyrgyzstan, the host if

you will, the virtual host, Kazakhstan, interesting because they've sort of distanced themselves a little bit from President Putin and his war in


It was interesting listening to the other leaders leading up to President Putin because they were saying this Eurasia Economic Group that we are, we

need to do more. We need to build more roads. We need to have greater digital connections. We need to do all these things. We need to them

faster, and Putin's narrative was, isn't it great? We're doing really well. This is good. There's more to do but look at how much our trades improved.

You know, GNP for Russia about 4.7 I think he said for the whole group, it was a whole 4.6. So it was very Putinesque. Everything is wonderful. We're

doing well together. But I think his again, for that projection of an image, and he talked about the free trade agreements that they're doing

right now with Iran, not a major economy, one that he hopes to do with the UAE. Maybe that could be beneficial. With, Indonesia, yes, that could be

big as well.

And with Egypt, someone coming to conclusion they're not so big. It's the portrayal as a sort of business as usual, our economy is good, and let's

all stay strong.

ANDERSON: Because it's not business as usual, let's be quite frank. On the ground, though, it does seem as if the Russians are making some gains, and

it's got Ukrainian officials concerned and it has the international community or at least America and its allies wondering just how this all

ends at this point. And we are beginning to see if not fissures, at least cracks in the narrative about what a victory will -- you know, a victory to

whom, we might ask, would look like.

ROBERTSON: Yes, let's go back to the beginning of the war. What Zelenskyy was saying and what everyone backing Zelenskyy was saying for the first

couple of months at least. Peace negotiations with Russia look like Russia withdrawing to the prewar positions, the 23rd of February positions. Now

Zelenskyy is very clearly saying no, we're going to push Russia back off the 2014 incursions and annexation of Crimea.

The United States saying yes, we want to have a weakened Putin. Yes, he shouldn't be able to do this anywhere and in Ukraine again. The German

chancellor Olaf Scholz saying that Putin can't dictate the terms of peace. We have Boris Johnson today saying that, you know, negotiating with Putin

is a bit like working with a crocodile that's trying to bite your leg off at the same time.

So no one is under any illusions about Putin. There is, though, a sort of disconnect now what's does actual peace look like. And Zelenskyy is

incredibly aware that he needs weapons from the West, but when it finally comes down to it, is the leverage over Zelenskyy beyond the weapons. Well,

look, he wants to become a member -- wants Ukraine to be a member of the European Union.

So, OK, can you put something on the table to induce Ukraine to give up some territory to get into the European Union faster, that's got good

potential economic backing, but none of this is really having a conversation, but it's there waiting to happen because the winning

narrative that Ukraine has had on the battlefield is now going to be eroded and replaced for a while by Russia making gains and hence Boris Johnson

saying, give Ukraine these rocket launching systems that will tackle the root of its problem, which is Russia has them and using them to devastating



That's going to be the problem going forward. It's like, how much do you keep ramping up to match what Russia is doing, to hold Russia back, and

then push them back. It's the very beginning of a long conversation.

ANDERSON: Yes. And one that, you know, that we are aware but let's be quite frank, that is being had behind closed doors, very quiet as the "New York

Times" having to suggest today. I think Richard Quest was commenting on, you know, just the sense at Davos this year as people -- and this was front

and center, as people consider what's going on in Ukraine. There was this sense of will there be a war fatigue? You know, from --

ROBERTSON: This is very much on the Ukrainians' mind. I was in Vienna a couple of weekends ago speaking with a Ukrainian polyglot, a businessman.

And he was very aware that this support, and he's very much engaged obviously financially and other means helping the Ukrainian government. But

he's very aware of this largess that's coming from the international community right now isn't going to last and that there are belief that

surfaced in Ukraine. Ukrainian politics, internal politics at play here.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson, it is always a pleasure. Good to have you on the set.

ROBERTSON: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

Well, from the war-ravaged city of Mariupol, CNN's received videos and spoken with people who lived under Russian occupation there. And that's

what it is, it is now Russian occupation.

CNN's Melissa Bell has more on what the city has become.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After three months of war with Azovstal, that symbol of Ukrainian resistance in ruins, Mariupol is

the city of ghosts.

These exclusive pictures obtained by CNN show the dead only now being retrieved from the rubble. At least 22,000 people are now believed to have

died according to the city mayor's office now working in exile.

PETRO ANDRIUSHENKO, ADVISER TO MARIUPOL MAYOR: It's absolutely, absolutely dark inside the city. Just lights by Russian troops, you know, by Russian

patrols. And everywhere it's the smell of death. Really smell of the fire. Smell of the smoke and the smell of death. It's Mariupol's reality.

BELL: Very different from what's now being transmitted inside Mariupol. Russian TV channels, to go with the Russian passports residents here have

already been issued with. 20-year-old Nicole is one of the lucky ones. She fled Mariupol with her 5-year-old nephew in early April. It took them five

days to get to Ukrainian-held land on foot. She won't give their full names because her parents are still trying to get out.

As she starts to tell us her story, Carol, who had to be silenced she says for the five days it took them to flee, says he wants to speak. He says it

was very scary getting out, showing us how he had to hide his head from the shelling. His message now, I want everyone to stay alive, he says.

To the west of Mariupol, the city of Kherson. The pictures now emerging secretly filmed lines of residents waiting to buy oil and medicine. Tales

of hardship shared also by those who fled the city since it fell to Russian forces on March 2nd.

Those still inside too scared to be identified. One man telling CNN of a protest four days at the main train station when a Ukrainian flag was

raised, he says anyone within a mile radius was arrested.

In Mariupol, too, the images speak of the new reality of what lies beyond the reach of the free press. Russian-controlled Ukraine.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Kyiv.


ANDERSON: Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now. There are now 26 confirmed cases of monkeypox in

Canada. And health officials there say that number is likely to rise. Most of the people infected are in Quebec with a single case in Ontario.

Canada's public health agency is offering a smallpox vaccine to areas requiring a targeted response.

Dangerous and disappointing, that is what the U.S. is calling China and Russia's veto of a new U.N. sanctions on North Korea. Thursday's move comes

after more than a dozen North Korean ballistic missile tests this year. The U.S. ambassador of the U.N. says the veto could fuel Pyongyang's program to

develop nuclear capable missile systems.

And Washington is said to be bolstering economic ties with Taiwan. Senior Taiwanese official said a new round of economic talks is expected to go

underway in a few weeks. This, as some experts are concerned China is looking at Russia's invasion of Ukraine and learning lessons that it could

apply in Taiwan.

Ivan Watson has that story.



IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russia and China enjoy a friendship with no limits. This announcement made by the

Russian and Chinese president when they met on February 4th on the eve of the Beijing Winter Olympics. 20 days later, soon after the end the

Olympics, Moscow invaded Ukraine.

Russia's unprovoked war sparking fears China could have similar plans for Taiwan. Beijing claims the self-governing island belongs to China. Asked if

he would get involved militarily to defend Taiwan against China, the U.S. president had this explicit warning.



BIDEN: That's the commitment we made.

WATSON: Beijing has long called for peaceful reunification with Taiwan, but it has also never ruled out using force against Taiwan's democratically

elected government. And when it comes to military force, China dwarfs Taiwan boasting the largest navy in the world. And the largest air force in

the region. But if Russia's deadly adventure in Ukraine taught strategists anything, it's that size doesn't always matter.

BONNIE GLASER, GERMAN MARSHALL FUND OF THE U.S.: The country may clearly have a conventional military advantage over an adversary. But that doesn't

mean that it would necessarily achieve easy military or political victory.

WATSON (on-camera): The war in Ukraine highlights another potential challenge for China. To attract Ukraine, Russian troops simply drove across

the border from Russia and from neighboring Belarus. But to reach Taiwan, Chinese forces would have to cross the Taiwan Strait, more than 100 miles,

180 kilometers of open water.

PHILLIPS O'BRIEN, PROFESSOR OF STRATEGIC STUDIES, ST. ANDREWS UNIVERSITY: Amphibious assaults are the most difficult, complex operations in warfare.

If the Chinese tried to send an invasion force from the mainland to Taiwan, they would have to contend with salvos of anti-ship missiles and what we

would see as a massacre of shipping probably in the waters around Taiwan.

WATSON (voice-over): The Russian Navy has suffered major losses from suspected Ukrainian anti-ship missiles. First losing this landing ship in

the Russian occupied port of Berdyansk. And then losing the Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet.

Analysts say Taiwan has a much larger arsenal of anti-ship missiles at its disposal and its military has been training for 70 years against the threat

of a Chinese invasion.

KEN JIMBO, PROFESSOR, KEIO UNIVERSITY: China is learning lessons from Ukraine. Both in a positive and also in the negative manner.

WATSON: Early in his Ukraine war, Vladimir Putin publicly put Russia's nuclear weapons on alert. A thinly veiled threat to the West.

JIMBO: Probably that the China will bring in the kind of advantage of the nuclear threats in the early phases of the scenario. That will potentially

I think the change in calculation of the Washington, D.C.

WATSON: As a warning to the U.S., China's Foreign Military declared this week that no force in the world can stop China from achieving reunification

with Taiwan.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


ANDERSON: Still ahead, remembering a young life ended too soon. Her name was Layla Salazar. And she was just 11 years old. Her family tells CNN she

was their everything.



ANDERSON: You're looking at images from Uvalde, Texas, where people are coming to a memorial to pay their respects to the kids and the teachers

killed in what was the mass shooting at an elementary school there earlier this week. The gunmen barged right through and unlock the backdoor to enter

the school. A much different account than what police initially reported. They originally said the shooter was confronted by a school-based police

officer before entering.

But a new timeline shows two police officers entered the school four minutes after the shooter. He then barricaded himself inside a fourth grade

classroom, then took an hour for police to shoot the gunman. By then he had already killed 19 children and two teachers.

Now we have these pictures of the victims. And I'd like you to just take a bit of time to consider these images. Just children. Ten years old. And

their teachers. Their teachers are just doing their jobs.

And we've continue to focus on the victims, like 11-year-old Layla Salazar. In their grief, Layla's family has talked to CNN's Gary Tuchman about what

her favorite things to do were and the places that she loved.



GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The girl wearing the gray shirt is 11-year-old fourth grader Layla Salazar, about to win this

race at last month's Robb Elementary School field day. Her family was there. But today they mourn. Her parents, two brothers and grandparents

have lost their little girl.

VINCENT SALAZAR III, LAYLA SALAZAR'S FATHER: She loved to run. Her favorite thing was, you know, TikTok, you know, doing little TikTok dances and --


V. SALAZAR: I can't.

ALEJANDRO: She loved it.

V. SALAZAR: She liked to draw. She liked to dance.

ALEJANDRO: She was just a tomboy/girl. I mean, if anything, she knew how to climb a tree, she would probably climb a tree and jump off of it.

V. SALAZAR: She loved the river. We used to go to the river. She loved to swim.

ALEJANDRO: She was just an active person.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Your husband was telling me, you were telling me that she loved the Guns and Roses song "Sweet Child of Mine."

V. SALAZAR: Yes, "Sweet Child of Mine."


TUCHMAN: Which I love, too.


TUCHMAN: But you played that for her.

V. SALAZAR: Yes, we played that every time in the morning when we took her to school. We sang it together.

ALEJANDRO: And we played that every morning we went to go to school.

TUCHMAN: And what an appropriate song, because she was a sweet child.

V. SALAZAR: Yes. It just hurts now.

TUCHMAN (voice over): Earlier this month, on Mother's Day, Layla took to TikTok.

LAYLA SALAZAR, SCHOOL SHOOTING VICTIM: Hey, guys. Today is Mother's Day, OK. And if you haven't said Happy Mother's Day to your mom, what are you

doing? Go say it right now. And I just wanted to wish all the moms out there Happy Mother's Day, even though you're not my mom. And I also wanted

to say, I hope you -- I hope all the moms out there have an awesome and blessed day.

ALEJANDRO: This is my only princess. She's my everything. She's like -- we went together everywhere. She was like stuck on me like glue. She had her

own bedroom. She always laid with me. She always -- we did everything together. Everything. We had so much plans for her after --

V. SALAZAR: We took her to the park. She liked to feed the ducks.

ALEJANDRO: Yes, we used to go feeding the ducks a lot.

V. SALAZAR: She was so excited about her last few days in school.

TUCHMAN: Everyone in this family doted on Layla, particularly her grandparents.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was our world.

SALAZAR SR: No replacing that. Even though we can't speak up, our hearts are shattered.

TUCHMAN: There was a sense of disbelief among these family members that this happened. How can Layla no longer be here? How can they cope with

never seeing her again?

V. SALAZAR: The most thing that's the hardest is that I'm her father and I wasn't there. I wasn't there to protect her.

TUCHMAN: For now, this family leans on each other for support.

(On camera): And I hope you know that so many of us, not just us who are here with you right now in your yard, but around this country and around

the world are thinking of you.


Does that give you strength?

V. SALAZAR: Yes, it helps.

ALEJANDRO: It helps.

V. SALAZAR: It helps to know that so many people care.


TUCHMAN: A makeshift memorial has now been set up in downtown Uvalde. Uvalde is a very small city, only about 16,000 people. The surrounding

county has 26,000 people. But so many people are coming here to pay their respects, partly because lots of -- the people who are showing up are from

other parts of Texas and from out of state.

Twenty-one crosses for each of the victims with their names on top and with hearts on the crosses where people are writing things. This is the little

girl we just did the story on, Layla Salazar. Flowers, stuffed animals, and poignant messages, like this one, I will always love you. Rest in peace. My

beautiful granddaughter. And here from a classmate, you are so pretty.

One of the visitors who came here a short time ago, unannounced, Meghan Markle, the wife of Prince Harry. She brought with her a bouquet of

flowers, also went around the city, but made a stop at this memorial.

This is all so tragically sad. What makes you feel somewhat reassured are all the kind people in this city and all the kind people who have shown up

at this memorial.

This is Gary Tuchman, CNN, in Uvalde, Texas.



ANDERSON: Well, closing arguments have started in Johnny Depp's $50 million defamation case against his ex-wife Amber Heard. The jury has heard more

than 100 hours of testimony of what has been six weeks now and they at this point have to decide if Heard caused Depp to lose work when she presented

herself as a survivor of domestic abuse in a 2018 opinion piece in the "Washington Post."

Meanwhile, Heard is countersuing Depp for $100 million. She was the final witness to testify on Thursday.


AMBER HEARD, ACTRESS, EX-WIFE OF JOHNNY DEPP: I am harassed, humiliated, threatened, every single day. Even just walking into this courtroom,

sitting here in front of the world, having the worst parts of my life, things I've lived through used to humiliate me.


ANDERSON: Entertainment reporter Chloe Melas joining me now from New York. It does seem a long time going. It has been somewhat of a crazy ride, I

have to say. But we are in the final stretch here. What can we expect from court today? And how long can the jury deliberate? Is it clear?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: That is not clear. And listen, you know, the jury, like you said, hundreds of hours of testimony

to sift through. It's a he said-she said situation. And remember, this is a defamation suit where Johnny Depp says that he's not been able to get any

meaningful, lucrative work and that he was not able to be in "Pirates of the Caribbean" or locked out on film roles because of Amber Heard's

"Washington Post" op-ed in 2018 in which she didn't name Johnny Depp. So the jury is going to have to decide this. And the bar is really high when

it comes to defamation whether it's here in the U.S. or overseas.


But when you -- today is closing arguments, and so each side is getting in their final word and you had the attorney for Johnny Depp getting up there

and saying, there is a victim of domestic abuse in this courtroom but it's not Amber Heard. And we have seen so many moments from the courtroom go

viral, so much public support for Johnny Depp. And Amber, at one point, getting up on the stand and saying -- not today but the other day that her

career has been deeply impacted by this.

So the jury is going to have a lot to think about and remember Amber Heard is countersuing Johnny Depp for $100 million saying, hey, you hurt my

career here. And she says her role in the "Aquaman" sequel was greatly reduced.

I actually wouldn't be surprised if perhaps the jury awarded both of them nothing, and found both of them to just, you know, walk away here as both,

I guess, for lack of a better way to put it, losers in it. So I think that that potentially could happen.

ANDERSON: Are you surprised by how this has played out frankly?

MELAS: Yes. I'm really surprised. I mean, I can't tell you the amount of people that have asked me about this all across the country, the amount of

DM's I'm getting on social media from strangers all over the world, it's because it's televised. But it's also because we're living in this age of

social media where we're so connected, where everything from what Johnny Depp is eating and the jelly beans and his outfits are going viral, taking

away from the actual moments here.

Taking away from the severity of these accusations that this is domestic abuse allegations that we're dealing with. And so I'm surprised of the

attention. I don't necessarily think it helped either of them. And I think it's going to be interesting to see what happens to both of their careers

when they are past this trial.

ANDERSON: Chloe Melas, thank you.

Well, the summer movie season is starting with what some Hollywood pundits are predicting will be the box office hit of the year. "Top Gun Maverick"

opens today in North America and nearly a dozen countries around the globe, and this has been a long time coming, folks. The equal to what was the 1986

film starring Tom Cruise was shot mostly back in 2019, but its release got delayed due to COVID. And no streaming options on this one right now. This

movie is playing on the big screens only.

You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. We will continue with the second hour of the show after this short break. Stay with us.