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Erin Burnett Outfront

Ukraine: Russian Attacks Intensifying in Eastern Ukraine; Water Supply System, Food Warehouse in One City Damaged; Russia Warns U.S. of "Unprecedented Consequences" Over Ukraine Aid; Russia Claims Advances in Besieged Port City of Mariupol as Ukraine Estimates As Many as 22,000 People Have Died There. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 15, 2022 - 19:00   ET



SERGIY KYSLYTSYA, UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: I will never forget you. Such letters should not have to be written. If they are, it means that something has gone terribly wrong, including here at the United Nations.


GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: So no matter how many times the Ukrainians ask for reform, it is not going to happen anytime soon, Jim, if ever.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: All right. Gloria, thank you very much. And thanks to all of our viewers for watching.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Russia retaliates. Attacks on several major cities after the sinking of Putin's prized warship.

And President Zelenskyy in an interview exclusively with CNN warns Putin may resort to nuclear weapons.

Plus, they are the victims behind the horrific images broadcast around the world like the man lying dead beneath his bike in Bucha. Tonight, their stories from their loved ones who survived.

And a CNN exclusive, see shocking text messages from two Republicans that went from defending the big lie to warning Trump's White House that it could 'backfire badly'. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm in tonight for Erin Burnett, I'm Poppy Harlow.

And OUTFRONT tonight breaking news, Russia ramping up its brutal assault in the east. Three regions now under constant bombing, according to officials. That includes Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine. You can see the hole in the roof of one apartment building there. And the attacks which are said to be getting more intense now targeting crucial services, damaging one city's water supply system and two food warehouses. In Kharkiv, at least 10 people so far have been killed in this attack

and that includes a seven-month-old child putting. Putin also retaliating by launching an offensive after a key Russian warship was destroyed. And just outside the capital of Kyiv, this is all that is left of a factory after being hit by Russian missiles, the entire facade, as you can see, is gone.

Inside, two women scene cleaning what is left of the building that's reported to have produced missiles. And tonight, new fears from Ukraine's President Zelensky that Putin may resort to nuclear weapons. Listen to what he just told our Jake Tapper.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: I think we all over the world, all the countries, have to be worried because you know that it can be not real information, but it can be the truth, because when they began to speak about one or another battles or involving the enemies or nuclear weapons or some chemical issues, chemical weapons, they should do - they could do it.


HARLOW: We have our reporters across Ukraine tonight. But let me begin with Ben Wedeman. He is OUTFRONT live in Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine. Ben, Ukrainian officials say there have been eight separate attacks in just the last 24 hours exactly where you and your team are. What are you seeing on the ground?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we're hearing right now is just north of here, a steady rumble of what seems to be artillery in that area. And this city around mid-day shook when there was a strike on an industrial site just next to the city as well.

And you're referring in your introduction to a town where we were, Severodonetsk, where the water mains were hit as well as two food warehouses.

Yesterday, we were at a food warehouse. We called, it was not the one of the two that was struck, but that really that town is the front line, just to the north of it really just a suburb to the north of it. We understand that there are - their Russian troops, artillery and armor, are amassing in preparation for this offensive. We've seen on social media that Russian forces are seriously reinforcing.

Now, what's interesting that some of the Russian forces that were in the area around Kyiv and north central Ukraine are being brought to the eastern part of the country. They may not be in the best fighting condition after the mauling they got from Ukrainian forces. But in the totality, it certainly does seem that the Russians are preparing for this offensive quite rapidly.

And we heard from one Ukrainian official today that this offensive is going to take place or rather start in days rather than weeks.

HARLOW: Wow. Ben Wedeman, we appreciate the reporting very, very much on the ground in Kramatorsk. Thank you very much.

Also new tonight, Russia is formally protesting the weapons shipments the United States is sending to Ukraine.


And in this diplomatic memo warning of a 'unprecedented consequences' if those weapons keep flowing into the country. Let's go straight to Kylie Atwood. She joins us OUTFRONT tonight at the State Department.

So Kylie, I mean, it is a stark warning they use these words unprecedented and predictable consequences, and then they don't say what they are. How is the U.S. responding?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes, Poppy. It's a threatening diplomatic note, no way else to cut it. But what Biden administration officials are saying is that these words aren't going to have an impact on their policy of continued support for Ukraine, continued military support for Ukraine.

State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that Russia has said things in public. They have said things in private, but nothing is going to dissuade the Biden administration from the strategy that they are pursuing here of that continued military support for Ukraine.

And the timeline here sort of underscores or give some credence to those comments, because our reporting is that this diplomatic note was received by the Biden administration on Tuesday, and President Biden went forth with his plans to announce additional military support from the U.S. to Ukraine on Wednesday, indicating that even though they'd received this message from the Russians, they weren't going to be dissuaded. They're going to move forward.

And when you talk to Biden administration officials about what this message from the Russians indicates about their standing right now. They believe that it indicates that Russia is hurting. That this military support from the U.S. to Ukraine is being effective and some Biden administration officials believe Russia wouldn't have sent such a diplomatic note, if they felt that they were in a strong standing on the battlefield.

HARLOW: Right. Yes, that makes sense. Kylie, thank you so much for the reporting tonight. Kylie Atwood at the State Department.

Let's talk a lot more about this. I want to bring in retired Army Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt and Ronald Marks, a former CIA official who oversaw actions against Russian spying operations. Thank you, gentlemen, both so much for joining us.

And Gen. Kimmitt, let me begin with you, because when you have the Russians in this diplomatic memo, if you will, warning of unpredictable consequences if the U.S. keeps giving weapons to Ukraine, which it will, what does that even mean unpredictable consequences?

BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMITT, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, first of all, I think we've got to put this diplomatic note, this demarche from the Russians in context. A demarche is something that happens almost on a daily basis inside the State Department. I would not make too much of this.

If there were really unpredictable consequences and the Russians truly meant it, they wouldn't be caught doing this through a diplomatic note. They'd actually be doing this directly to the Department of Defense or to Jake Sullivan. So I think this was more about using the typical State Department protocol and nothing more than that.

HARLOW: So Ronald, I mean, one of the unpredictable consequences could be, let's hope not, could be Putin using a - we're hearing a lot in the last 48 hours about a tactical nuclear weapon, potentially. Something we heard the CIA Director warned about yesterday. And then we just heard Ukrainian President Zelenskyy tell my colleague Jake Tapper today that the world should be worried that Putin might do that. How real do you believe that possibility is tonight?

RONALD MARKS, FMR. CIA OFFICIAL: Well, let's face it, I mean, Putin wants this - wants win on this from the marrow of his bones. Now, how far he's willing to go on, this is something else. Everybody's frightened of nuclear weapons. Nothing has been used in the battlefields since August of 1945. He knows what that means.

So the very thread of it, I think, is enough to make people begin to stand up. Is he going to use something they have the father of all bombs, which is like 44 tons or something like that of explosive, thermobaric bomb, would they use that on the battlefield? Yes, I'm sure they would, because they're going to look into inflict casualties.

But in terms of nuclear weapons, I would say it's a possibility but not a probability.

HARLOW: Gen. Kimmitt, U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken told European allies the U.S. believes at this point that this war could last through the end of 2022. And we know the Kremlin is promising that its military goals will be achieved it seem at pretty any cost. What would you expect Russia's tactics to become, more brutal as this becomes more protracted?

KIMMITT: Well, first of all, I think we've got to look at the new commander they've been putting in charge.

HARLOW: Right.

KIMMITT: Gen. Dvornikov is a pretty tough guy. Pretty tough in Syria, human rights violations, flattening cities such as Aleppo. He did the same thing in the operations against Crimea very quickly and he did Crimea as well. So I would expect him to feel unconstrained on the level of brutality he would be willing to use. They would not only fight at the front lines, these vaunted offensive that everybody's talking about.


But I would expect to see continued shelling of cities, continued human rights violations, continued firing on civilian targets.

So I don't think we can understate the level of brutality that we would see over the next months to come on the part of the Russians.

HARLOW: Yes. Interesting what we've seen in Bucha, those mass graves in Mariupol, et cetera.

Ronald, a source tells CNN that in a recent conversation with President Biden, President Zelenskyy asked the U.S. to designate Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. U.S. officials have not ruled that out in the past. What difference would that make? Do you think that's something the administration should do?

MARKS: Well, it's certainly a symbolic effort. I mean, you do have - it is the bad guys list. I mean, it's Korea - it's North Korea, rather, it's Cuba, it's Syria, et cetera. The function of sanctions and all that I tend to be a little more skeptical about their longer term. It does make a statement and also, by the way, it makes a statement to the G7, because the G7 also have the equivalent of that article as well.

But I'm not so sure, frankly, when it's all said and done, it's symbolic, it's important. I think it's an indicative level of sort of a marking of the Russians at this point, perhaps one more along the line, but - and I understand why they would want to have it. But when it's all said and done, I really doubt the efficacy of it.

HARLOW: Gen. Kimmitt, in an interview, a fascinating interview with President Zelenskyy published today in The Atlantic, he voiced a lot of frustration over repeated questions about which weapons Ukraine needs the most, questions from the U.S., the West. And I was struck by his quote in the interview. He said, "When some leaders asked me what weapons I need, I need a moment to call myself because I already told them the week before. It's Groundhog Day. I feel like Bill Murray." Obviously knowing the audience that he's speaking to clearly.

What do you what do you make of that? I mean, he feels like I'm saying it over and over again, do you not hear me, who do I need to tell?

KIMMITT: Right. But that's got to be balanced against the policy that the United States has, which is we will do this operation by with and through NATO. And NATO is an organization of 30 countries. And when you have a coalition like that and you want to maintain consensus, oftentimes, you have to go to the lowest common denominator.

So if two or three countries object to a no-fly zone or two or three countries are worried that a too aggressive nature would put their countries and NATO at risk, at this point, we seem to be abiding by that least common denominator.

There's question whether that shopping list of Presidents Zelenskyy may be too excessive, but I think this really comes down to more and more that simply to keep this coalition of 30 countries together, President Biden and some of the hawks and some of the hawkish countries are trying to balance what they're trying to do with those other countries, particularly those that are on the border with Russia right now.

HARLOW: Gen. Kimmitt, Ronald Marks, thank you both very much for your extra piece tonight.

MARKS: You're welcome.

HARLOW: OUTFRONT next, hear for the first time firsthand accounts of that brutal massacre in Bucha from those who survived.


PHIL BLACK, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She says, "They came in, shot the woman, shot my mother and then my father ran out when he heard something was wrong and they shot him."


HARLOW: Plus, it is Russia's greatest naval loss in a generation, but Russian state media is telling a very different story.

And tonight a CNN exclusive, text messages from Republican lawmakers urging former President Trump to contest the election. They were all in on the big lie until they changed their minds.



HARLOW: Tonight, the tragic toll of Putin's war. According to Ukraine, more than 900 bodies have been discovered outside the capitol. New images show one body bag after the next after the next being lined up today, as crews begin the grim task of removing debris. And tonight, we hear firsthand from those who survived the atrocities in Bucha, home to brutal killing of civilians that the world has now seen in gruesome detail. Our Phil Black is OUTFRONT live tonight in Kyiv. Phil, what did the people who survived this massacre tell you?

PHIL BLACK, CNN ZINTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Poppy, everyone who lived through Russia's occupation has a story of trauma. They've all seen death. They've all lost friends, family or very least neighbors. The images that shocked the world out of Bucha were of bodies laying discarded in the street as the Russian forces withdrew.

But the reality is that most of the people who died during Russia's occupation were buried during that time, either in a large central site or small shallow graves that people dug wherever they thought it was safe to do so.

We saw an ongoing effort to recover and account for everyone who died during that time. A warning, this report has some disturbing images.


BLACK (voice over): The operation to recover and investigate Bucha's dead is now industrial in its scale. Teams of people are working to empty the town's mass grave and many smaller ones. The victims of Russia's occupation are being retrieved from the earth.

There are so many bodies rarely do those doing the digging know the stories of how each person lived and died. Here two men are being exhumed from the grounds of a small church. The priest who oversaw their first burial didn't know them.

He says he thinks one was a scientist, the other a school bus driver. He thinks they were shot and killed in the street.

Among the now notorious images from Bucha's road of death, Yablonska Street, was this man lying beneath his bike. His name was Vladimir Brovchenko, Svetlana is his widow.

She said she told her husband, "Don't go, they're shooting. The tanks are already on Yablonska Street."


But he insisted on leaving the house. She says the 68-year-old grandfather was killed as soon as he reached the road. His bike is still there.

This building stands near Bucha in the village of Vorzel. Among those killed here were Yulia's (ph) parents, Natalia and Victor Mezoha (ph). She says her mother was helping a young injured woman who had been discarded by a Russian soldier when more soldiers suddenly entered their home.

She says, "They came in shot the woman, shot my mother. And then my father ran out when he heard something was wrong and they shot him."

The young woman was Kareena Yorshova (ph). She was 23 years old. Kareena's (ph) his mother says a police told her, her daughter was raped before she was shot. It's more than two weeks since the Russians withdrew and the operation to account for all the bodies they left behind, isn't finished. Mourning each victim, remembering how they lived understanding why they died will take much longer.


HARLOW: Wow. Phil, thank you for that reporting. As impossible as it is to watch, it's so important to remind people of how they lived. How are they getting the remains to their loved ones with so many bodies?

BLACK (on camera): It is a huge challenge, Poppy, because quite often neighbors and communities will tell families what happened to the people that they've lost, but the bodies themselves have been dispersed to centers across the region. Authorities have set up an online database, a social media database that people can search with information and images.

Images that are graphic that cannot hide the way many of these people suffered in the moments before they died. It is truly harrowing to scroll through this, but this is what so many families must do in order to track down the bodies of those they've lost, Poppy.

HARLOW: Phil Black live for us in Kyiv tonight, thank you for that reporting, Phil.

And OUTFRONT next, the Russian warship at the bottom of the ocean tonight, a huge embarrassment for Putin. How is his state-run media though spinning it? We have a special report ahead.

Also, she was working in a maternity hospital on the day it was attacked in Mariupol. She barely escaped and tonight she is telling her story to OUTFRONT.



HARLOW: Well, tonight, CNN is learning the U.S. believes two Ukrainian missiles hit that massive Russian warship that sank in the Black Sea. Russia disputing that account saying a fire broke out on board and going to great lengths to downplay this catastrophe on state media. Nic Robertson is OUTFRONT.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice over): Russia's biggest naval loss in a generation hidden by propaganda state TV.

Top story on Russia's most watched primetime new show gas exports, anchors railing against the West. Almost half an hour later, the first mention of Russia's prestigious prize Black Sea Fleet flagship the Moskva, they've buried the lead, now they lie about it, claiming it's a float. There's no open fire. Ammunition explosions are contained.

It's another six hours near midnight most Russians asleep when Russia's military finally acknowledged what Ukrainian officials have been saying for hours that the $750 million according to Forbes Ukraine, nuclear capable guided missile cruiser has sunk. It's not the first Russian naval ship the Ukrainians say they've hit. March 24th, claiming to have destroyed an amphibious assault ship.

Putin's losses are mounting. A failed assault on Kyiv, thousands of troops killed, massive economic sanctions. His apparent callous indifference to naval losses has a track record as long as his reign.

In 2000, during training exercises, the nuclear powered Kursk submarine sank to the bottom of the Barents Sea. Putin was on vacation, reluctantly only returning to Moscow nearly a week later, 218 men died.


LARRY KING, FMR. CNN HOST: What happened?


ROBERTSON (voice over): When confronted back then by CNN's Larry King, Putin's stark solitary comment.



ROBERTSON (voice over): It sank.

Lithuania's defense minister claims 485 crew were board the Moskva, noting Turkish rescue boats picked up only 54 of them. State TV claims all the crew survived. Russia's most disastrous naval adventure was 117 years ago against Japan. They lost the whole fleet. Eventually, the Tsar and his family paid the ultimate price in Russia's revolution.

Too soon to say if the Moskva's sinking can punch a hole below Putin's propaganda waterline.


ROBERTSON (on camera): Putin's state TV spin machine has now admitted that the Moskva has sunk and they've reacted angrily calling on Putin to go for all out war, drop a big bomb on Kyiv they're saying to stop Western leaders going there. Poppy?

HARLOW: Nic Robertson, thank you for that reporting.

OUTFRONT now Greg Yudin, Russian political scientists and sociologists who has been tracking public opinion in Russia throughout this war.


I should note, Greg, that you were hospitalized after an antiwar protest in Moscow on the day of the invasion.

We're glad you're doing better, at least on the mend a bit. And thank you for joining us tonight.


HARLOW: This sunken warship was a huge loss, clearly, for the Russian military. You have said, though, importantly, even the horror of the mass graves in Bucha did not change Russian public opinion. Did you think this significant development, what happened to this warship will change Russian public opinion on this war at all?

YUDIN: Well, from the reaction we see on the most militarized, I would say, segments of Russian audience, it seems like this ship catastrophe was a blow for them. But no, I don't think it is going to change the general picture, just didn't happen with the Bucha massacre, precisely because -- well, it is actually not true that Russians don't understand what is going on there in Ukraine, that they have a completely false picture. Deep inside vast majority of Russians, of course, understand everything. The problem is that there is deep belief that any way Putin will, is going to win it, he's going to have the upper hand, and in this sense, I mean, admittedly, even to yourself, there is massacre going on, there is also a military catastrophe going on, that's just too difficult to bear. HARLOW: I mean, Ukraine says 20,000 Russian soldiers have been killed

in the war. Given how the Russian media is framing all of this, you say Russians are prepared for even higher casualties?

YUDIN: Well, the Russian propaganda has been framing that increasingly as a new patriotic war, as a continuation of the war from the '40s. And may I remind you that it cost 27 million casualties to Russians. So if now this framing prevails, then Russians might be eventually ready for a new patriotic war and that would be a different order of magnitude of the casualties.

HARLOW: This week, CNN reported about this teacher in Russia who says she was secretly recorded by her students making antiwar comments in the classroom. She's now under investigation and I ask you this as a professor, you say you're seeing instances of this, school administrators are actually being replaced, you say by FSB officers at universities.

Can you speak to what is happening on the education front at that level?

YUDIN: I would say this is something completely new to the post-Soviet Russia. This level of crackdown, people are being fired everyday. I know a lot of professors who have been fired, students expelled, and yeah, there are interrogations by the Secret Services, the security apparatus, the professors being interrogated and asked to report on reliable on colleagues and students.

And there's also a significant pressure to stage assistance support for military operation, all these things going through the whole education system from university all the way down to kindergarten, see the pictures of small kids standing on their knees in the shape of a Z which symbolizes Russian military aggression.

HARLOW: Greg Yudin, thank you very much for all of that important insight. We appreciate your time tonight.

YUDIN: Thank you.

HARLOW: OUTFRONT next, this CNN exclusive, the revealing text messages from Republicans who were pushing President Trump's big lie, then suddenly switched and turned on Trump's lie. Why?

Plus, she just barely escaped with her life after working at a Mariupol maternity ward that was bombed. The attacks sparked global outcry and tonight, she is speaking to OUTFRONT.



HARLOW: Tonight, CNN exclusively obtaining dozens of text messages with inside look of how Republican lawmakers coordinated with the White House to try to overturn the 2020 election. These texts from Senator Mike Lee and Congressman Chip Roy show them lobbying for Trump to challenge the election results before then backing off just days before the January 6th riot.

Roy responding tonight, tweeting in part, quote: I stand behind seeking truth, fighting nonsense and then acting in defense of the Constitution,

Sara Murray is OUTFRONT.

Sara, good evening.

Let's begin with right after the election, November 2020. What were Senator Lee and Congressman Roy saying on these text messages at that point?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, what you see in these text messages is just how eager these Republican lawmakers were at least initially to get behind Donald Trump's claims that, you know, somehow there was widespread fraud, the election was stolen and he was the true victor. So here is Chip Roy. He's talking to Mark Meadows, then the White House chief of staff saying, dude, we need ammo, we need fraud examples, and we need it this weekend. Meadows tells him, we are working on exactly that.

Then Mike Lee is weighing in with his two cents. He's saying Sidney Powell, Sidney Powell is saying she needs to get in to see the president, but she's being kept away from them. Apparently, she has a strategy to keep things alive and put several states back in place.

You see Lee there trying to get in with Meadows, trying to essentially help the White House come up with these strategies to be able to continue to try to challenge the election results.


HARLOW: And multiple times going to Meadows and saying get Sidney Powell in front of the president, but then a major turn when you read through all these texts. When did they start to take a turn?

MURRAY: You know, it's hard to remember this sometimes looking back, but there was this sort of wild press conference felt like many, many members of the legal team including Sidney Powell, including Rudy Giuliani and they were just rolling out this sort of, you know, fact- free totally baseless claims, and this is a moment that really seems to have given some of these Republican lawmakers pause.

Here is what Mike Lee was saying. The potential defamation liability for the president is significant here for the campaign, and for the president personally. Unless Powell can back up everything she said, which I kind of doubt she can. And Meadow says I agree, very concerned.

Then later on in the area, you get to December, and you have Chip Roy saying the president should call everyone off. It's the only path, if we substitute the will of states through electors with a vote through Congress every four years, we have destroyed the electoral college. So you see them souring and ultimately neither Mike Lee nor Chip Roy were among the Republicans agreeing to certify. You know, Lee's office told my colleagues that he had been transparent throughout this, wanted to be investigated and ultimately voted to certify the election results.

But you see the sort of trajectory and frankly, how willing they were to buy into what Donald Trump was saying initially that there was this widespread fraud which, of course, there wasn't.

HARLOW: Right. Sara Murray, thank you so much for the reporting tonight.

And OUTFRONT next, the images of a missile strike on that maternity ward in Mariupol, sparked global outrage.

And next, OUTFRONT, speaks to a doctor who was working there on that day. Her story of survival is ahead.

Plus, an up and coming pop star in Ukraine starting a new life right here in the U.S.



HARLOW: The Russian military saying its made advances in the besieged city of Mariupol. It comes as Ukrainian officials estimate as many as 22,000 people have died in that city as the fighting intensifies.

And one of the most chilling and ugliest attacks in Mariupol occurred in the early days of the war, that is when the Russian military shelled a maternal ward in the city. The attack sparked global outcry after photos emerged of pregnant women injured from the blast and the women showing on the screen right now died along with her child.

Erin spoke earlier with the director of that maternity ward, Dr. Lyudmila Mykhailenko. She barely escaped the bombing, leaving the hospital just 15 minutes before the airstrike.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Dr. Mykhailenko, I'm so grateful for your time. I want to start with the fact that you barely escaped the bombing. You had just left from your shift 15 minutes before the missile strike. And then you returned hours later. What did you find?

DR. LYUDMILA MYKHAILENKO, ACTING DIRECTOR OF BOMBED MARIUPOL HOSPITAL (through translator): When I came back, I found huge crater and the cars that were burnt, and the three buildings of the hospitals that were completely ruined. They were polyclinic, children's, outpatient department, and women's consultation.

BUNRETT: And you know, at that moment, you realized and must have been so terrified for your patients, for all the women that were there and also, on some level you realize that you, yourself, had possibly just barely escaped death. How did you even process those emotions?

MYKHAILENKO: A feeling of disaster that everything, everything was ruined. I was just feeling desperate. Everything that was dear to your life, all your life, was ruined with just this one blow, and it was not clear at all why and what for. This aviation bomb fell on it.

I couldn't understand what was -- what was the fault of our patients, of the children, of the doctors who were helping the patients, why our hospital was chosen to be the object of the strike.

BURNETT: Dr. Mykhailenko there were photos that emerged of pregnant women injured in the bombing. Of course, we know one of them subsequently died and the story of her death is just so hard to hear. And then the Russian embassy in London, they claimed they first tweeted, eventually, those tweets were deleted by Twitter but they claimed that the photos that we saw of those women were staged and that the women were actors.

What do you say to the Russians? This was the formal Russian government.

MYKHAILENKO: I can't even imagine the cynicism of a person who can say black to something that is white. It is out of my human understanding. I have been doing this job for 20 years, saving lives of adults and children and I can't understand how someone can be called a human being if he is being so cynical.


BURNETT: One of the women, Doctor, who was accused of being an actress, we understand is now in Russian-controlled territory and this is according to reporting from "The Associated Press". In a video that is heavily edited, the Russians to create their narrative, she now says the maternity ward was not hit by an air strike. Here she is.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Then we started discussing whether there was an air strike. We were told there was no air strike. Our opinion got confirmed that we haven't heard anything and they haven't heard anything.


BURNETT: Doctor, we don't know what she actually said in the full video. We don't know under what conditions this was filmed, who was around her, who controlled this. We know she's in Russian territory now.

At first, they said she's an actress. Now they're saying, oh, we'll use her to say it didn't happen. What do you make of this?

MYKHAILENKO: At the time I was in charge of the whole hospital. And I could see this plane. And I could see this explosion.

This is why I couldn't go further and I had to return, from that place, because there was an explosive. And this lady in the video, she was in the basement same as all other pregnant women. This is how we managed to avoid more victims of this explosion.

Because when this shelling started, we moved everyone, most of the people into the basement. So everyone was in shock and they being in the basement, they couldn't assess the situation properly.

BURNETT: Doctor, I am grateful for your time and for sharing all of this with me. Thank you.



HARLOW: Wow. Dr. Mykhailenko also told Erin that she went to work every day during the war but said she had to leave Ukraine due to a leg injury that requires hip replacement surgery, an operation she cannot get right now back at home.

OUTFRONT next, a rising Ukrainian pop star who once earned a spot on Ukraine's got talent, forced to leave everything behind, but now starting a new life here in the U.S.



BURNETT: Finally tonight, curtain call. A rising pop star in Ukraine displaced by the war. She spent most of her life performing, even competing in "Ukraine's Got Talent". But now, she is starting her life over in Philadelphia.

Alex Field is OUTFRONT.


ALEXANDER FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before the explosions, the sound echoing through Ukraine's port city of Odessa was music.

ANASTASIYA PETRYK, FLED UKRAINE AFTER WAR BEGAN (through translator): Wherever you go in the center, you will see bands playing, street musicians, guitars, saxophones.

FIELD: And perhaps you would have heard the voice of Anastasiya Petryk, a 19-year-old rising star who has spent her young life performing on stages all across the country, at one point, earning a spot on "Ukraine's Got Talent".

And as a child, taking home the top prize in the 2012 Eurovision Junior Competition, the first Ukrainian to do it.

A. PETRYK: Whenever I would participate in any kind of a singing competition and shows, I would always make sure to tell everyone that I'm from Ukraine and I'm really proud of it.

FIELD: Last month, Petryk arrived here in Philadelphia after a harrowing journey out of her war-torn country. She will never forget what it was like to be under attack.

A. PETRYK: Five o'clock in the morning, that's when the first explosions pretty much woke us up. Understanding that you will have to leave came right away.

FIELD: How did you manage to get out? What was that journey like?

Petryk and her mother managed to pack into a train, evacuating people from Odessa.

A. PETRYK: Later on, a lot of people started getting on that train. There was a lot of panic around. They were trying to open the doors of our compartment to get in there. Of course, it was very strange and scary.

FIELD: From there, they traveled into Poland, to Warsaw, and finally to the U.S. where they were reunited with Anastasiya's father Igor who had been visiting Philadelphia when Russia invaded Ukraine.

IGOR PETRYK, REUNITED WITH DAUGHTER WHO FLED UKRAINE (through translator): The worst of this story is that our parents are still there. My brother is still there.

FIELD: Today the streets of Odessa are filled with the sounds of resistance. Across the country, musicians have played on through the war, amid the wreckage.

What does it mean to you when you see the other performers, these musicians representing Ukraine in this way?

A. PETRYK: I feel like it is impossible to describe these feelings just in mere words.

FIELD: Instead, Anastasiya is hopeful that she, too, will be able to recommend what she describes as the strength and the beauty of Ukraine on stage here in the States, and one day, back home.

Are you already imagining a day when you might go back there, perform there again?

A. PETRYK: Every day of my life.

FIELD: Alexandra Field, CNN, Philadelphia.


HARLOW: Alex, thank you form.

And tonight, we'll leave you with this right here in New York. The Empire State Building lit with the colors of the Ukraine flag in support of the people of Ukraine.

To find out how you can help, visit Impact Your World at

Thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.