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Erin Burnett Outfront

Russia Admits Warship Sank, Denies It Was Due To Ukrainian Strike; CIE Chief Warns A Desperate Putin Could Resort To Tactical Nukes; Ukraine: Russian Forces Trying To Advance Toward Eastern Donbas; International Criminal Court Prosecutor: "Ukraine Is A Crime Scene"; Ukraine Seizes 55 Homes, 26 Cars, Yacht From Putin Ally; New Video Shows Subway Shooting Suspect Before Attack; 44 Chinese Cities Under Full Or Partial Lockdown Amid COVID Surge. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 14, 2022 - 19:00   ET


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Estonia is generally not a popular country for refugees. The ministry that you saw there told me that three or four years ago, Estonia had 116 refugees show up. And for this country, that was a lot of people. Now they're getting on average five times that every single day. One in every 44 people in Estonia right now, Jim, is a Ukrainian refugee.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: Amazing. All right. Scott McLean, thank you very much.

And Erin Burnett starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the flagship of Putin's Black Sea Fleet sinks. An embarrassing admission tonight from the Russians themselves. The CIA warning, an increasingly desperate Putin could resort to using nuclear weapons.

Plus, 26 cars, 55 homes and apartments, 30 plots of land and a yacht tonight, the stunning number of assets that Ukraine says it seized from one man, Putin's close ally in the country.

And Shanghai's brutal lockdown, people screaming in agony over a lack of food and medicine. Our reporter is part of the only American television crew living inside the Shanghai lockdown and he'll tell you what's happening tonight. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

And OUTFRONT tonight, we begin with the breaking news, Putin's surprised warship is underwater. Russia just admitting that the flagship of its Black Sea Fleet sank after a major explosion on board. The Russian state news agency TASS is saying this. This is the government, saying it sunk while it was being towed.

Now, Ukraine claims the explosion was due to a Ukrainian missile strike. A claim the United States believes is credible.

But make no mistake, the sinking of this warship is a major blow to Putin. This is the 50th day of his Ukraine invasion. He only has three of those ships. Only has three. So now a third gone, poof gone, sunk to the bottom of the Black Sea along with a lot of the weapons that he's already been hemorrhaging in Ukraine because that ship was packed with anti-ship missiles, surface to air missiles, long range missiles, a dual barrel cannon as well as torpedo tubes.

The ship is also equipped with advanced radar which was actually playing a crucial role in helping to defend the rest of Russia's fleet from Ukrainian strikes. And Russia has now moved half a dozen of its ships further away from Ukraine's coast as an indication of the - weather it was hit by Ukrainian missile, well, they've now moved everything else as far away as they can.

The sunken ship speaks volumes about Russia's incompetence at this point. That's just - you got to use the word, which has the CIA fearing that Putin could turn to his nuclear arsenal in an effort to restore his reputation.


WILIAM BURNS, CIA DIRECTOR: Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks that they've faced so far, militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low yield nuclear weapons.


BURNETT: Of course, he's talking about tactical low yield. In addition, Russia is armed with nuclear weapons in terms of intercontinental ballistic missiles and others. It is the largest stockpile with more than 6, 200 nuclear warheads, including what is believed to be nearly 2,000 of the tactical nuclear weapons to which Director Burns just referred.

This is one of Ukraine's top military officials says heavy shelling continues tonight around Kharkiv. New pictures showing the complete devastation of what's left of that besieged city starting to look like Mariupol. The buildup comes as President Biden is now weighing what would be a dramatic show of support for Ukraine. The White House says it's working to potentially dispatch a senior member of the administration to Ukraine.

We have reporters across the country. I want to begin though with Fred Pleitgen who is OUTFRONT live in Kyiv tonight. And Fred, it was literally 24 hours ago when you brought the ship up and you said you could confirm that the ship had - that this explosion had occurred. Obviously, at the time you said it was extremely significant and, wow, we have seen how right you were. What more are you learning about the ship?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, it certainly looks like it's a major embarrassment for Vladimir Putin and for his military. And one of the things that is not clear yet is whether or not any of the sailors on board that ship were actually killed when these apparent strikes happen.

That ship normally has a complement of about 510 sailors on it. Again, unclear what's happened to them. The Ukrainians are saying unequivocally they hit that ship. The Russians, their explanations are quite interesting. They say it sank because it became unstable because of the fire and then the subsequent explosion of some of the munitions.

It certainly seems as though some of these explanations do sound quite strange and it seems to be quite, frankly, the Russians talking their way out of a major embarrassment. I was actually able to speak to the National Security Advisor of Ukraine today and we spoke specifically about this subject, here's what I learned.


PLEITGEN (voice over): It seems like a massive blow to Russia's war against Ukraine. Ukraine's forces saying they've struck the flagship of Putin's Black Sea Fleet, the guided missile cruiser, Moskva.


I spoke exclusively with Ukraine's National Security Advisor.


PLEITGEN (on camera): Can you tell us what happened to the cruiser Moskva?



PLEITGEN (voice over): "It sank," he says jokingly.

Russia admits the ship has, indeed, sunk but has not yet acknowledged it was struck by Kyiv. Instead, it says it was badly damaged by a fire and then sunk while being towed in stormy seas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language).


PLEITGEN (voice over): The Moskva was involved in a now famous incident in a place called Snake Island, when its crew told Ukrainian soldiers to surrender. This was the answer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Russian warship, go f--- yourself.


PLEITGEN (voice over): The event has become so legendary in Ukraine they've commemorated it with a special stamp. People of this post office in Kyiv standing in line to get it. "An important event happened yesterday, our armed forced destroyed the

aggressor's flagman ship. I think this even has to have a place in everyone's memory," this man says.

The Ukrainians say they managed to hit the ship which has formidable defense systems with Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles.

"The Moskva was still there near the Snake Island and was hit yesterday by two powerful Ukrainian-made missiles," he says. And then a warning to Putin, "This is just the beginning," he says there will be more than one Moskva.

But the leadership in Kyiv understands the next major battles will be different and possibly even more blood as Russian tanks and artillery pour into the Donbas region.

"This horde has invaded our country and they think we will watch them destroy us," he says. "But, of course, we will respond by all means we have, thanks to our international partners, we have interesting tools.

The U.S. and its allies have already provided Ukraine with billions of dollars worth of weapons and are now moving to give Kyiv heavier arms to counter Vladimir Putin's tank battalions. The National Security Adviser says Ukraine needs all the firepower it can get.

"I would never say that the Russian army is weak," he says, "given the amount of weapons thrown there, the number of tanks, armored personnel carriers, planes and helicopters, I would not say this is a weak army. I would say these are strong Ukrainian soldiers who fight back such a powerful army."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language).


PLEITGEN (voice over): And these territorial defense soldiers in Kyiv are vowing to keep up the fight. Their elite troops gearing up to head east.

"We are absolutely prepared for this. We have both fighting spirit and fighting mood. We are patriots of our country. And, of course, we will fight back the enemy," the soldier who goes by the name 'Vlad the Rifle' tells me. And they vow, just like in Kyiv, they will confront the Russian army once again.


PLEITGEN (on camera): So right now you can see, Erin, a big morale boost there for the Ukrainian military sinking that Russian ship. But then also I have to say, those new U.S. weapons that have been pledged by the Biden administration, they also make a big difference at some of the things that the National Security Adviser told me as well.

But they are also very well aware of the fact that Vladimir Putin is putting together a formidable army to try and attack them in the east of the country. And the Ukrainian government says they believe that some of those Russian forces are still actually training on the Russian side while some others are already scoping out the territory here on the Ukrainian side, Erin.

BURNETT: Fred Pleitgen, thank you very much.

Just fascinating to see all the details about that ship, so let's go now to Seth Jones. He's the Director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He was an adviser to the Commanding General of U.S. Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan. Andrei Soldatov joins me, a Russian investigative journalist. The founder and editor of, which has been blocked in Russia. And retired U.S. Army Major General Paul Eaton, the former Commanding General of Coalition Military Assistance Training in Iraq. Thanks to all of you.

So Seth, let me start with you, because I know you've been talking to your sources. What are you learning about what actually happened to the ship and how significant of a deal this is?

SETH JONES, DIRECTOR, INTL. SECURITY PROGRAM AT CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Well, Erin, it does look like, according to sources I've spoken with today, that it was likely Neptune anti-ship cruise missiles that struck the Moskva. I mean, it's a significant target. Just for folks, this is where the admiral actually flies his flag, so it's got enormous symbolic value.

The name of the ship itself is also the capital of Russia. And this is a ship that is used in part to target U.S. aircraft carriers. That's why it was built. So it's got enormous value to the Russian. So sinking this is yet another embarrassment to all of the problems that the Russians have had in this war, so it is significant.


BURNETT: Right. And it's not just something you just replace. They only have three of them, so they've gone from three to two.

Andrei, how is Putin going to react to this?

ANDREI SOLDATOV, RUSSIAN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, I think that his reaction will be quite emotional. The thing is that the entire narrative of the Kremlin about this war was built around the Russian Black Sea Fleet, as the war started in 2014 because Russia wanted officially to secure the military base for the Black Sea in Sevastopol.

And this year, when the war started and Putin had his pro-war rally, he immediately mentioned the Russian Admiral of the Russian Black Sea Fleet of the 18th century, Nahimov (ph), as his inspiration. And now this flagship was sunk and I think it will have a big impact on public opinion and the country.

BURNETT: Which is a huge thing to say, because of all the conversations we have had about that issue, nobody expected that your way into Russian public opinion would be the thinking of the Moskva. I think that's just safe to say. Nobody thought that that was going to be the path in. I mean, it's pretty stunning that this happened.

Gen. Eaton, the Russians, they're forced to admit the ship sank because they said it was being towed in the storm and it sank. But there was a lot of clouds, so you couldn't see it from satellite, but they know that everyone's going to see it's gone, so they have to admit it's gone.

Now, they say that there was just kind of an explosion at one point. They said, oh, maybe it could have happened because two people were smoking cigarettes and now the thing is on the bottom of the Black Sea. You heard Seth from his sources that likely this happened, this was a strike from the Ukrainians. Why does the Russian story - why it's so absurd?

MAJ. GENERAL PAUL EATON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: So the Russian story is absurd, because they're used to disinformation. That's all they do. And they will try to lie their way out of a dilemma. The dilemma is that the Ukrainian Armed Forces, sophisticated, well- trained, well-equipped killed this ship and to argue the opposite is simply an untenable approach.

What we have, I've watched the U.S. Navy in training on how to deal with fires. The U.S. Navy is brilliant. They know what they're doing. And it would be extremely unlikely, it would be absolutely a huge surprise to try to insert a narrative that would go to the Russian's explanation.

Now, the Ukrainians, they wanted the ship, they had the weapon, they had the training, they killed it and well done Ukrainians.

BURNETT: So Seth, the French military says Russian troops, at least - now we don't know what impact this will have on that, but that they were preparing to start their offensive to conquer the Donbas region over the next few days. Now, that would be a pretty miraculous thing, just given the state of their troops. But they were saying over the next few days and you've been looking at the satellite imagery, so what are you seeing?

JONES: Well, Erin, what some of the satellite imagery across the border in Russia indicates is they are building up an invasion force or at least additional forces to supplement what they have in Ukraine right now. Additional main battle tanks, additional towed artillery, armored personnel carriers for a continuing push into the east and the south.

So - and I spent part of the afternoon with the Dutch Foreign Minister today and he said everything the Dutch are seeing as well as the number of the European countries are - they fully expect that Vladimir Putin will continue to fight this out now in the east and the south as his main target areas. That's, I think, what we should expect to see right now is the push. And, again, we're seeing an increase in those forces just across the border in Russia.

BURNETT: So Andrei, the question is who's going to be held responsible for what happened with this humiliation with the ship among other things. And you and I have talked a lot about Putin's handling of battlefield losses, how he's acting out inside Russia to his inner circle.

So you have focused in on the arrest of Col. Sergei Beseda, who's head of the 5th Service of the FSB. In that role, he was in charge of a few very crucial things, one of which was maintaining official contacts with the CIA. And you said that "people in Moscow and the Kremlin have been asking themselves why U.S. intelligence before the war was so accurate." Tell us what more you're learning about Beseda's case tonight.

SOLDATOV: Well, we know that Beseda was placed in a prison called Lefortovo. And what we got now is that the prison warden was replaced and he himself was an FSB officer. So it looks like the Kremlin is getting quite desperate at trying to contain the information about the protest inside of the FSB.


But everybody in Moscow are talking about that and I'm getting calls from my contacts in the military who are getting quite excited about that, because now they are blaming the FSB in all of the problems they have in Ukraine.

BURNETT: Wow. So they're blaming the - they're just hoping the finger won't be pointed at them. They can blame the FSB is what you're saying as opposed to they see an opportunity to somehow topple Putin.

SOLDATOV: Yes. It's mostly about who to blame and now they are blaming the FSB.

BURNETT: So Gen. Eaton, in this context, Director Burns warns about his fear of nuclear weapons use, specifically seeming to refer to tactical nuclear weapons, which would change the trajectory of the war and possibly make it a much, much bigger war and much more terrifying war. Do you think that those concerns are reasonable at this time?

EATON: They are reasonable. When we war gamed how the Warsaw Pact attack on NATO might have occurred in the '60s, '70s, '80s, the loser always initiated with nuclear weapons. And we need to send an unambiguous message to the President of Russia that the use of a nuclear weapon initiates nuclear warfare and that we will respond, NATO will respond in kind that it's unambiguous use of a nuclear weapon, you cross the threshold, you now open up to a repost and that we will respond, we NATO will respond in an unambiguous manner.

That's got to be a clear message to this man that he can't have it as a tactical nuclear weapon. A tactical nuclear weapon is a nuclear weapon and it crosses the threshold and it can only escalate.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much. I appreciate your time tonight.

EATON: Thank you. BURNETT: And next, the account from one Ukrainian woman trying to flee

only to then be attacked by Russian troops. Bullets missing her head by just inches.

Plus, one of Russia's richest oligarchs tonight without his massive 600-plus-million-dollar super yacht, which also happens to be the largest yacht in the world, complete with an 82-foot swimming pool, multiple heli pads.

And Shanghai on lockdown, food for many is dwindling, even for our reporter, David Culver, who is there. He's just happy to get this.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Today's delivery, a bag of price.




BURNETT: Ukraine is a crime scene. That is the grim assessment from the Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, who saw the devastation up close in the towns of Bucha and Borodyanka, who met with residents still trying to survive there, who were still there. It comes as control of the key city of Mariupol hangs in the balance and the full scope of the horrors there, frankly, no one has any idea how bad it is. Zelenskyy says 10s of thousands of people are dead. Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): When the first bomb struck Mariupol, Katya Erskaya thought her most effective weapon would be a gentle smile and the ability to calm terrified families. She lived in an underground shelter, coordinating relief supplies for the trapped civilians of this besieged city.


LAVANDERA (on camera): So you're watching your city get bombed and destroyed, people are being killed, you decide not to leave but to help.

KATYA ERSKAYA, MARIUPOL RESIDENT: It's horrible, it's animus didn't allow even children to go out from the city.


LAVANDERA (voice over): Day by day, the video Katya captured showed life in Mariupol unraveling. She lost touch with the outside world. None of her family and friends outside the city knew if she was alive or dead. Life here was falling into an abyss.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ERSKAYA: It was like middle age.

LAVANDERA (off camera): It was like the middle ages.



LAVANDERA (voice over): It's almost like you could feel yourself running out of time. There was only so much longer you could stay in Mariupol.


ERSKAYA: I thought I will never go from Mariupol until the end.


LAVANDERA (voice over): On March 16th, Katya evacuated. She recorded two short videos on her way out just before seeing a family walking on the side of the road: a mother, grandmother and two young girls.


ERSKAYA: We had to two free places in our car and we saw this family and we decided to help them.


LAVANDERA (voice over): At one of the Russian military checkpoints, they stopped in front of a soldier.


ERSKAYA: And he's - show us was to go out and we began to turn on our car and after that he began to shoot.


LAVANDERA (voice over): One of the bullets pierced the car over her head.


LAVANDERA (on camera): But in the backseat was 11 year old Milena Orolova (ph), shot in the face. The Russians realizing their mistake sent the girl to a hospital. Katya, now separated, traveled on without knowing if the young girl survived until ...


MILENA OROLOVA: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven ...


LAVANDERA (voice over): CNN found Milena in the basement of a children's hospital in eastern Ukraine after surviving life-saving surgery. For Katya, the relief is overwhelmed by the horrors of what she witnessed.


ERSKAYA: I saw a lot of dead people, a lot of common grace (ph) on the street, for example, in my yard, and I started to believe that they're crazy because they were like maniacs.

LAVANDERA (off camera): They were maniacs to you?

ERSKAYA: Yes. They are really crazy, like Nazis in the Second World War.


LAVANDERA (voice over): After escaping, Katya remembered the videos she recorded before the Russians ravaged Mariupol. Ukrainians protesting outside the now famous theater that in a matter of weeks would be the site of one of the most grotesque bombings in this war. The theater still intact, the city's buildings unscathed. She sees the peaceful faces of families and children. The video is hard to watch. Are these people alive or left in makeshift graves around the city?


Katya Erskaya doesn't know and for her there's only one way to deal with this haunting reality.


ERSKAYA: I decided that I will cry only once the Ukrainian gets victory.



BURNETT: And Ed is with me now from Mykolaiv where he is reporting indoors due to a curfew. So Ed, just so moving to see that, seeing that theater and the people outside it, knowing that it's just completely devastated now and that hundreds of people died is just unbearable. What is going on where you are right now?

LAVANDERA (on camera): Well, we are west of Mariupol and this is rather close to the front in this area of south central Ukraine. And based on the news of the day and the sinking of that Russian warship, a lot of concern here along the coastal villages and cities of Ukraine about retaliation. We're expecting - they're expecting some sort of retaliation, figure out what the Russians are going to do next, obviously, probably very angry about what has happened to that warship.

And here throughout the night in Mykolaiv, we have heard several hours of just kind of a low steady rumble of bombardment out in the distance from where we are staying here in Mykolaiv. So we will continue to monitor that. We don't have any real details on exactly what is unfolding because we're not allowed to be out at this hour of the night, but there is the sounds of war out there.

BURNETT: Yes. The sounds of war and it's just so incredible sitting where you are, that you're right there on the front that you don't - you can't really know what's happening a quarter mile away. You can hear it, but you can only imagine what's unfolding. Ed, thank you very much. Please stay safe there tonight.

LAVANDERA (voice over): You got it.

BURNETT: And next, 55 homes, 30 plots of land, 26 cars and a yacht all were seized by the Ukrainians from one man. One of the wealthiest people in Ukraine who happens to be a Putin ally. His wife tonight is begging Zelenskyy to free her husband.

Plus, new surveillance video of the suspected New York subway shooter taken just before he's accused of opening fire on a crowded train.



BURNETT: Ukrainian authorities saying they seized 154 assets from the detained Ukrainian opposition politician and Putin ally Viktor Medvedchuk. That includes 26 cars, 26 cars for one guy, 30 plots of land, 23 -- 23 houses for one guy, 32 apartments and a yacht.

Medvedchuk is believed to be one of the richest people in Ukraine. Also, has deep personal ties to Vladimir Putin.

Putin, himself, has acknowledged the two know each other very well. You just have to take with this one crucial fact. Putin is the godfather of Medvedchuk's daughter.

OUTFRONT now, Stanislav Kucher. He's a Russian television journalist who left the country because he had no longer do his job as a journalist there. And Luisa Kroll, the executive editor of "Forbes" which has done extensive reporting on the oligarchs, Russian, Ukrainian, and others.

So, Luisa, these asset seizure is pretty stunning. I will say it again -- 26 cars, 30 plots of land, 23 house, 32 apartments, and a yacht. This seems like a very big victory for the Ukrainians.

LUISA KROLL, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, FORBES: Well, I mean, I think it's -- it's a victory. I mean, the fact that he is under house arrest again, that is a bigger victory. The fact that he -- he would never have had access to any of those assets right now, anyway. But yes, it's definitely something that Zelenskyy and Ukraine can point to and, of course, they have been trying to use that as a bargaining trip with Putin, though that seemed to have failed at least for now.

BURNETT: So, Stanislav, the Kremlin says Putin and Medvedchuk never had any, quote, behind-the-scenes relations. That seems patently false. Four times we could find them together. That's four of many. And Putin is Medvedchuk's daughter's godfather. We know that because Putin told that to Oliver Stone, right? So we know that as a fact.

What can you tell us about Medvedchuk? Someone, I know you have covered.

STANISLAV KUCHER, RUSSIAN JOURNALIST: Well, yes, Erin. The thing is that Medvedchuk -- Medvedchuk is the way to pronounce his last name. Although, there are many in Russia who still make mistakes.

Medvedchuk is the guy who is considered by a lot of Russians and Ukrainians as great master of con, as a great master of grift. As somebody, you know, who has always positioned himself as, you know, the guy who solves problems and the guy who controls everything in Ukraine.

And that is probably his greatest asset. As far as, again, position -- he has position himself. And that, at the same time, is turning out to be the greatest drawback about him now because he had numerously informed Putin and his entourage that Ukraine is again under control of his oligarchs, that he can solve any problem in Ukraine and that if Russia enters Ukraine, if Russia invades Ukraine --


KUCHER: -- then, lot of Ukrainian entrepreneurs, businesspeople, will just welcome an invasion like that.

So, right now, a lot of -- right now, what I hear from my sources in Moscow is that the Kremlin is very, very irritated, to put it mildly, with the information, or should I say misinformation, that Medvedchuk provided them with for years.


BURNETT: All right. So has all been a fraud. So, you know, forget the whole Godfather thing. He is not -- Putin is certainly not going to step in here seems to be the bottom line, Stanislav?

KUCHER: Well, exact -- the thing is there is something you should understand about Vladimir Putin. You know, whether he was his youngest daughter's godfather or not, Medvedchuk is just an asset for Putin. People are assets for Vladimir Putin. People are -- he exploits people.

So as far as loyalty is concerned if you are speaking about loyalty, you know, whether he can approximate so precious to Putin just because Putin had once been his daughter's godfather? No. Putin wants people to be loyal to him but he doesn't believe he should be that loyal to people. They were once close together.

BURNETT: So, Luisa, obviously, now -- now that he made the pronunciation clear, is obviously Ukrainian oligarch with deep loyalties to Putin but you have all the oligarchs now, seizures happening such that they can, right? Because these guys are masters at hiding money.

But German officials say they have now seized the world's largest yacht. It is 512 feet. It's called the Dilbar, owned by one of the richest oligarchs in Russia, Alisher Usmanov, that yacht, I understand is valued up to $750 million, 82-foot swimming pool which is the biggest on any yacht. It's got a garden, two helipads, all that sort of stuff.

This is happening, and I know -- I know, Luisa, it gives people around the world some sense of -- that it's righteous these things are occurring. But at this point, is there any pressure that this sort of stuff puts on Putin himself?

KROLL: Well I think, just as my colleague was saying, not at all. He doesn't really care about much these oligarchs. I think he is going to kind of let them, you know, wallow or whatever in the wind and he is not too concerned. I certainly have not seen much pressure or any kind of reaction from Putin about these yachts and stuff. I mean, he is more concerned about the commodities that are being sanctioned, et cetera.

And, you know, Usmanov -- by the way, you know, he had transferred ownership of these assets, of Dilbar and yacht and a plane to his sister, a couple years ago, although he was expecting something like this to happen. So whether or not this is really going to stop the lifestyles of these people, you know, is not clear either as many of them start to look farther places they can move. So, I don't --

BURNETT: As I said, there is kind of a righteousness in it. But that may not be matched by the reality of the impact in any regard.

Thank you, both, so very much. I appreciate your time.

And next, the suspect in the New York City subway in court today as we are learning new details about his alleged plot to carry out a mass attack.

Plus, our David Culver is in Shanghai. He's the only American television crew there that is actually living through the harsh lockdown.


DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The extent of my freedom is all the way to here -- the compound gate. Still, double locked. It has been like that for about a month.



BURNETT: Tonight, CNN obtaining new surveillance video that shows shooting suspect Frank James approaching the subway before he allegedly opened fire, wounding at least ten people. Suspect making his first court appearance today, where federal prosecutors argued the attack was entirely premeditated and they detailed a vast stockpile of weapons and ammunition that they say were stored in at least three locations.

Shimon Prokupecz is OUTFRONT.


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The New York subway shooting suspect in federal court today for the first time. Frank James, facing a terrorism-related charge after authorities say he opened fire more than 30 times in a crowded subway car did not enter a plea. His attorneys say it's too soon to jump to conclusions.

MIA EISNER-GRYNBERG, ATTORNEY FOR FRANK JAMES: We are all still learning about what happened on that train, and we caution against a rush to judgment.

PROKUPECZ: Making a case for James' actions just before his arrest, his lawyer says James called a tip line himself to report his location.

EISNER-GRYNBERG: Yesterday, Mr. James saw his photograph on the news. He called Crime Stoppers to help. He told them where he was.

Initial press and police reports in cases like that one are often inaccurate. Mr. James is entitled to a fair trial, and we will ensure that he receives one.

PROKUPECZ: The 62-year-old James was taken into custody without incident.

DISPATCH: You have one male stopped in regards to the subway incident yesterday, St. Marks and First Avenue.

OFFICER: Sergeant, no further -- perp's in custody.

PROKUPECZ: Denied bond, federal prosecutors argued that James should stay behind bars pending trial, saying Tuesday's attack, where ten people were shot and a dozen others were injured, was premeditated by James. Prosecutors detailed James's planning in a letter to the judge saying, quote, the defendant came to Brooklyn prepared with all the weapons and tools he needed to carry out the mass attack, including a Glock pistol, gasoline, torch, and fireworks. Making the case that James posed a danger to the community.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the guy. That's what the police report said that he looked like.

PROKUPECZ: Before his arrest, New Yorkers on edge were on the lookout for James. One student on a photography field trip reported seeing him on Canal Street Wednesday morning.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was just looking for things, so street on the street, graffiti, anything. And then I suddenly saw him.

PROKUPECZ: The motive in Tuesday's attack remains unknown -- as investigators continue to look through evidence, including James's social-media rants, to determine if it may explain why he carried out the attack.


PROKUPECZ: And, Erin, in court today, his attorney asked that the judge order a psychiatric evaluation for medical purposes so that the jail where he is going to be spending time as he awaits trial, perhaps give him some kind of conditions that they can treat some condition, and treat him psychologically. They are not yet indicating what kind defense they plan to mount.

So this is just a psychiatric evaluation to try and determine if he needs any help while he is in jail, Erin.

BURNETT: Shimon, thank you very much.

And next, screams heard across the massive metropolis of Shanghai. You hear that? It just makes you -- goose bumps, people pleading for food and medicine, after being locked down for weeks. And tonight, even more massive cities are facing the possibility of total shutdown. Our David Culver is there with what he is witnessing, next.

Plus, the girl in the red coat from "Schindler's List" now helping Ukrainian refugees. We'll speak to hear, next.



BURNETT: Tonight, more than 40 Chinese cities under full or partial lockdown to stop the latest COVID outbreak which may still be getting worst. The city of Suzhou just announcing a partial lockdown, and urging all 12.7 million residents to stop unnecessary movements.

Meanwhile, in Shanghai nearby, I guess, a small glimmer of hope, because for the first time in weeks, some residents allowed to step outside their apartment door. One of them is our own David Culver who is part of the only American television crew living through this in Shanghai. He's going to show you what life under this strict lockdown is truly like.


DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A few steps of freedom granted to some Shanghai residents, strolling their own neighborhoods as if taking in some strange new world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But where are you going to go? There's nowhere to go.

CULVER: Shops still closed, and public transportation halted, still this woman can't hold back her joy, recording as she and neighbors roam the empty streets.

After forcing 25-plus-million people into weeks of harsh lockdown, government officials facing mounted pressure lifted some restrictions, for communities like mine without a positive case in the last seven days, that meant we could actually step outside our apartments. My neighbors enjoying the taste of relative freedom, and so too, our pets, eager to stretch their legs, still keeping within the confines of our compound.

The extent of my freedom is all the way to here, the compound gate still double locked, it's been like that about a month, in recent weeks, community permission to leave our homes, mostly for COVID tests of which there were many, we could also step outside to pick up the occasional government distribution.

Today's delivery, a bag of rice.

But even with heavy restrictions still in place, we had it good, for now at least.

The majority of this city remains in hard lock down, kept to their homes, some hungry and suffering. This woman heard begging in the middle of the night, begging for fever medicine for her child, and this man, recording his dwindling food supply.

Then there were those who've tested positive, tens of thousands being sent to cramped government quarantine centers whose residents described a host of problems, facilities quickly and apparently poorly constructed. Outside of shanghai? Panic spreading quicker than the virus. The horror stories from China's financial hub have residents in other Chinese cities stocking up, from Suzhou to Guangzhou.

Online, sales for prepackaged foods surging, this as China's national health commission warns of more cases and publicly calls out Shanghai for not effectively containing the virus, shifting blame to local officials for allowing it to spread to other places.

China's strict zero COVID approach forcing dozens of cities into weeks-long full or partial lockdowns. Residents in Jilin banging on pots to protest. Most of the 24 millions in the Chinese province confined to their homes for more than a month now.

Back in Shanghai, the joys of freedom for some might last only a few hours, as it only takes just one new case nearby to send them back inside, resetting the clock for their community, another 14-day sentence in lock down, a seemingly endless cycle.


BURNETT: And, David, I know that there's, they've said they're going to lift some lockdowns but the restrictions you are showing there are horrible. I mean it's extremely tight. I can't imagine just, you know, it's soul-crushing when you're experiencing, what others are going through. Is there any sign that China might just stop with the zero COVID policy in light of all of this mental suffering and in some cases also, you know, physical suffering, hungry people?

CULVER: Yeah, and you're right to point out that there's a lot of talk of these lockdowns lifting but you're right, the restrictions are still very heavy. As far as this zero COVID policy, for as much uncertainty as there is,

Erin, in all of this, perhaps the only one guarantee is zero COVID is here to stay, that has been reinforced multiple times by President Xi Jinping, and we see it in the efforts to build massive government quarantine centers, reports on social media reading of people evicted from apartments here, office buildings being taken over, why? So they can turn all of that space into more isolation facilities, Erin, to hold more people.


BURNETT: It's unbelievable and to imagine the response would be to triple down on it, it is an incredible commentary.

Thank you so much, David. I appreciate it.

CULVER: Thanks.

BURNETT: And next, we're going to speak to the actress who played the little girl there, little girl in the red coat are remember from that iconic scene in "Schindler's List"? How she's now helping people fleeing Ukraine.


BURNETT: And, finally tonight, paying it forward. Oliwia Dabrowska, the actress who played the little girl in the red coat from that iconic scene in Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List," she's 32 years old. She's helping Ukrainian refugees at the Polish border.

Her character became a symbol for the atrocities of World War II. That red coat was the only color in "Schindler's List", right? That was the old thing. It was black and white, except for her coat.

Dabrowska is documenting her relief efforts, sharing this artists rendering of the scene on Instagram, the red coat her changed to blue in a nod to the Ukrainian flag. Olivia told OUTFRONT she sees it as a symbol of hope.


OLIWIA DABROWSKA, "SCHINDLER'S LIST" ACTRESS: I believe there is hope for their future, for Ukraine, and that is why the girl in the blue dress became a symbol of hope for me. We must stand with Ukraine, with the Ukrainian people and remember -- remember about Second World War, what was happening. We can not let this happen again.


BURNETT: Growing up to do great things.

Thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.