Return to Transcripts main page

Erin Burnett Outfront

Ukrainians: Russian Missiles Strike Key Port City Of Odessa; Putin Defends Ukraine War, Does Not Signal Escalation; "Unconscionable": Pentagon Has Seen "Indications" Russians Moving Ukrainians Into Russian Camps "Against Their Will"; Putin Makes No Claim Of Victory, But Defends War As "Righteous;" U.N.: 3,381 Civilians Killed In Ukraine Since The Start Of The War, Including Nearly 800 Women And 200+ Children; Biden Expresses Concern Putin Cannot Find A Way Out Of Ukraine War; Authorities: Fugitive Officer, Inmate Caught, Chase Ends In Crash. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 09, 2022 - 19:00   ET


DR. TOM FRIEDEN, FORMER CDC DIRECTOR: We'll be more vulnerable and Congress needs to step up and provide that funding promptly.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Really important indeed. All right. Dr. Tom Frieden, thank you very much for joining us. And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." You can always follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next live from Kyiv, Russia pounding a key port city tonight as Putin defends his ruthless assault on civilians and marks Victory Day in an unexpected way. Gen. David Petraeus and Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister are both OUTFRONT tonight.

Plus, Putin's Defense Minister who had vanished from public view now appearing in Putin's Victory Day parade front and center. What does this say about his standing with the Russian president?

And breaking news this hour, the corrections officer and murder suspect who had been on the run now in custody. New details tonight about how authorities track them down. It's an amazing story. Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. Welcome to a special edition of OUTFRONT. We are live from Kyiv tonight. I'm Erin Burnett.

And OUTFRONT tonight we begin with the breaking news, explosions rocking the Ukrainian city of Odesa tonight. Witnesses say a large shopping center has been hit. Russia has been pounding the crucial port city in recent days and in Mariupol this hour, Russian forces we understand are storming the steel plant, where Ukrainian soldiers are holed up.

As Ukraine's Ministry of Defense releases this video, they show Ukraine's flag flying tonight over that steel plant and the CIA Director Bill Burns says that Putin is stepping up his assault in Ukraine because he does not believe he can afford to lose this war. It all comes as Putin gives a defiant message to the world.

During his so-called Victory Day speech, Putin referred to new Nazi threats in Ukraine, again making the baseless claim that this invasion is meant to denazify Ukraine. But despite the pageantry of the day, which celebrates the Soviets defeating Nazi Germany, many things were missing. The planes didn't fly overhead due to weather they said, but also missing was any claim of victory by Putin and that's because even as air raid sirens went off several times in Kyiv today - President Volodymyr Zelenskyy chose to mark Ukraine's Victory Day by walking the streets here in Kyiv and vowing to keep up the fight until Putin's forces retreat.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through interpreter): Very soon there will be two victory days in Ukraine and someone won't have any.


BURNETT: We are live across Ukraine tonight and Sam Kiley begins our coverage in Kramatorsk which is east of where I am this evening. And Sam, you are not far from the front lines tonight, what is the latest where you are?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, the Russian offensive continues to grind on here most recently killing a large number of people who were sheltering in a school. There's another location where it is not yet clear whether or not least 10 people are sheltering in a basement in a village have been cut off. Nobody quite knows what's happened to that because there has been a Russian thruster in the direction of the city I'm in now, all coming on the eve and during these Victory Day celebrations. This is what it looked like.



ZELENSKYY: (Foreign language).


KILEY (voice over): One man's parade for the many. The many on parade for one man. And on the eve of Victory Day, authorities here say 60 people died in a Russian airstrike. The victory over German Nazism once united the people of Russia and Ukraine, not anymore.

This is what Putin's modern campaign to denazify Ukraine looked like on the eve of that Victory Day in the east of the country. From Mariupol to Mykolaiv and Kherson to Kramatorsk, Russians war in the name of saving Russian-speaking people in Ukraine has focused most violence in the East, where most people speak Russian.

On Victory Day, Ukrainian towns under Russian control held muted memorials to a past war, while the present rages on. This man survived the Bilhariva (ph) airstrike and his response to Putin's parade ...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language).


KILEY (voice over): ... a sarcastic let them celebrate, we would celebrate too.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language)


KILEY (voice over): "Imagine what they bombed, an ordinary village with only pensioners and children." They died in a Russian thrust into their village during an operation to throw a military bridge across the Donets River shown here in this satellite image.


The move is intended to cut this supply route to Russian-speaking Ukrainian towns now under bombardment. Ukrainian forces are counter attacking, but Russian artillery is already hitting the road and the oil refinery next to.


KILEY (on camera): With the killing of at least 60 people, civilians cowering in a school not far from here, it's clear that the Russians are continuing with their campaign to obliterate civilian life. But this is also a sign that they're pursuing traditional tactics, trying to break the infrastructure that could support the Ukrainian war effort.


KILEY (voice over): Putin's allegations of Nazism in Ukraine are turned back on the Russian leader by survivors of the real war against Hitler's ideology.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Foreign language).


KILEY (voice over): She says, "I think victory will be ours, only ours. If I were younger, I would have ripped this thug's throat out with my teeth."


KILEY (on camera): Now, Erin, that kind of sentiment is exactly the sort of thing we're hearing from the old and the young throughout this Russian-speaking region. So even if and it's very unlikely, indeed, that Putin were to prevail here, declare victory and annex another chunk of territory in the Ukraine into some kind of independent Russian Federation or some such mutant entity, he would face a vicious and perpetual insurgency conducted by Russian speakers against the Russian state, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Sam Kiley, thank you very much.

And among the keywords there said by Sam, perpetual. No faltering at all in the fortitude and strength of the Ukrainian resistance thus far. I want to turn to Putin speech in Moscow today. As I mentioned, he was defiant, consistent, saying that he's going to continue defending this war. Our Matthew Chance was there and he had a very special vantage point, seated in the VIP area, not with the rest of the press and Matthew joins me now from Moscow.

And Matthew, what was the mood like there in Moscow today before and after Putin speech where he talked about his special operation?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, it was pretty patriotic here, I have to say. I mean, look, Vladimir Putin was in a very defensive mood. He was defending what he calls his special military operation in Ukraine, saying that Russia was facing an imminent attack and that he had no choice but to strike defensively and preemptively.

All this, of course, against the backdrop of that dramatic parade in Red Square in the center of Moscow to mark Victory Day, the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany. And, of course, a significant day of national pride in this country.


CHANCE (voice over): This is how Russia glorifies its embattled military. A spectacular display as a stony-faced commander-in-chief, President Putin, inspects the troops paying such a high price for his special military operation in Ukraine.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language).


CHANCE (voice over): From the stands, hundreds of invited guests, usually loyal officials and their families or foreign dignitaries get a front line seat. This year, for the first time in two decades of reporting Russia and Ukraine, I was invited too.


CHANCE (on camera): What I can tell you it's always the day of huge national pride here in Russia. But this year, it's especially poignant, here is the stance, viewing this spectacular display here in Red Square in the center of Moscow, because this isn't just the fact commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 by Soviet Union, its allies. It's also about celebrating what the Russian military is doing now.

These troops being celebrated and the weapons being shown here today are the same ones that are fighting in that terrific country (ph).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Foreign language).


CHANCE (voice over): Against that backdrop, the armored columns rumbling over the cobbles of Red Square may seem less heroic, the intercontinental ballistic more sinister. But the Kremlin leader drew repeated links between the sacrifices of the Second World War, which millions of Soviet citizens were killed and the battles currently being fought in Ukraine, links Ukrainians and their allies reject.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through interpreter): I am now addressing our armed forces and the militias of Donbas. You are fighting for our motherland for its future, so that no one forgets the lessons of the Second World War, so that there is no place in the world for tortures, death squads and Nazis.


CHANCE (voice over): But it is what was not said that was the most conspicuous.


There had been wide speculation Putin would use this parade to formally declare war on Ukraine and announce a general mobilization to bolster his stuttering forces there (inaudible) ...

Conscious perhaps not all Russians, many of whom gathered to commemorate Victory Day outside Red Square were fully on board with more bloodshed.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Foreign language).


CHANCE (voice over): "I'm in two minds," says this woman, "because I feel very sorry for the civilians suffering in Ukraine. The children, the old people."

"We are at war," another said, "and I feel sadness for our boys dying on the front lines."

When it comes to the Second World War, what Russia calls its great patriotic war, this country has traumatic memories. After the Victory Day parade, 10s of thousands led by President Putin himself marched through the streets of Moscow, many carrying photographs of relatives who fought the Nazi (inaudible), Putin held a picture of his own dad.

But state media also broadcast images of people carrying recent photographs too of soldiers apparently killed this year. The effort to connect Russia's current conflicts with its past glories relentless.


CHANCE (on camera): Well, Erin, no formal declaration of war, as I mentioned there, also no announcement about a mass mobilization. But I think crucial as well, no indication from Vladimir Putin that he was prepared to back down in any way when it comes to his special military operation in Ukraine.

BURNETT: No, none at all and amazing, though, just to see what you saw, Matthew, that you were you were actually able to be there. What was it like being near Putin himself for this event?

CHANCE: Yes. I mean, it wasn't that close to him, in fairness. Although I did see him walk past at the end of that parade and people started chanting Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia. So it's a real patriotic fervor. I mean, it was really fascinating to be there in the stands watching this very formal, celebratory military parade, particularly because I spent so much time in Ukraine, as you have, and I've seen that conflict really close up.

And so to be come back to Moscow and to be thrust in the middle of this formal kind of celebration, formal parade was a little bit bizarre, because I've seen the reality of the situation on the ground, but a really interesting experience. It's really interesting to see how Russians reacted so patriotically still to their forces and their calls by the Russian president for them to continue to fight what he says is Nazism in Ukraine.

BURNETT: Yes. Well, it was incredible to see your reporting there. And Matthew Chance, thank you so very much from Moscow tonight.

And OUTFRONT now, the former CIA Director, retired U.S. Army General David Petraeus. He's the former commander of U.S. Central Command. And I really appreciate your time, General. Plenty of senior sources in the United States and Europe said that Putin would use his Victory Day speech to either formally declare war on Ukraine or mobilize troops, as Matthew said, he did not do either of those things, though, were you surprised?

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS (RET.), FMR. CIA DIRECTOR: Not entirely. I think that he is very wary of losing popular support. It's still with him. His popular approval ratings have actually gone up, but he's aware that if he mobilizes, if he puts it all on the table that pain back home could start to undermine that support. So he's really in a very, very difficult position, I think.

He realizes that his own arsenal is starting to run dry. He's running out of soldiers and out of tanks and so forth, they certainly can't produce new missiles or other weapons systems because of the export sanctions on microchips going to Russia. And on the other hand, he faces an opponent, Ukraine, which is fully mobilized, fighting for its very survival and has the arsenals, with an S on the end, of democracy supporting enormous quantities of weapons systems pouring into Ukraine from the United States, the U.K. and other NATO nations. Of course, $33 billion of additional aid on Capitol Hill right now that could be signed into law in the next few days or a week or so.


PETRAEUS: So I think again, in a very, very difficult position, I think he realizes it and they're just seeing what they can gain on the battlefield as to what his options will be beyond that.


BURNETT: So the man now occupying one of your old jobs, the Director of the CIA, Bill Burns, he is warning that Putin believes that doubling down as Director Burns says it on the military conflict is still his best path forward. And the full quote is, "He's in a frame of mind in which he doesn't believe he can afford to lose."

Obviously, that borders on the 'you have nothing to lose', so you could gamble everything, it possibly puts everything on the table. Is there a limit to how far Putin will go to win?

PETRAEUS: I think there is. I think that what we have seen today at the very least is indecision. He obviously did not double down today. It means that he has - he's questioning the validity, the wisdom of that. Obviously, there are other options that he has, some of which are - should remain unthinkable, but that now are to a degree, the use of tactical nuclear weapons again, that threshold that I don't think he will cross.

Another option is that he could end up back at the negotiating table and he has to make a decision on that based on what he has on the battlefield, I think really both sides right now are trying to determine what they can gain in terms of leverage on the battlefield. And let's note that Ukraine has a counter offensive going around its second largest city, Kharkiv, it looks as if it will drive the Russians all the way back across the Russian border and could actually cut a very important supply line that runs from Belgorod to the fighting in the east.

So there are challenges on the battlefield for Russia that are increasingly significant as these additional capabilities flow into Ukraine and go up to the frontlines.

BURNETT: So the White House says President Biden was displeased, that was the word used today with leaks about the U.S. sharing intelligence with Ukrainians. And to be specific, General, this is an intelligence that was used extensively to kill Russian generals and sink Russia's flagship destroyer. Now, Putin has not used this information, this leak to justify any kind of actions against the United States, but are you worried about this? PETRAEUS: Well, the administration so far has really done quite a masterful job of taking what are clearly finished intelligence products and turning them into publicly releasable information. But this clearly has gone too far.

What we should do is be firm, very, very firm, very determined, but not needlessly provocative. And I think that these probably in the view of the White House crossed into the area of needlessly provocative.

BURNETT: All right. General, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

PETRAEUS: Always a pleasure, Erin. Thanks.

BURNETT: All right. And next, talk of Putin using nuclear weapons growing louder on Russian state television, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister responds next.

Plus, the horror, a Ukrainian woman raped by a Russian soldier and then had to bury her dead husband.

Plus, a firsthand look at the destruction from Putin's invasion.


BURNETT: Here in Kyiv, one of the things that really strikes you is the randomness of war. This building behind me was hit by a missile at four o'clock one morning, massive explosion for people inside killed. And yet when you look next door, you can see other buildings nearby, largely untouched.




BURNETT: Tonight, the U.S. saying it's seen evidence that Ukrainians are being taken against their will to Russia and put into camps. The Pentagon calling the actions by Putin's regime 'unconscionable'. This as Putin used a Victory Day speech to praise his invasion as a 'righteous battle'. I spoke earlier with Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanishyna and I began by asking if she was surprised by Putin's speech.


OLGA STEFANISHYNA, DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF UKRAINE: Well, first of all, thank you for being here physically over - these days on the 9th of May when major provocations might have been occurred. We never expected that over the 9th of May, Putin will be declaring or announcing any special things. But we were not surprised by giving - by the fact that we were not giving him the opportunity to announce any victory he never managed to gain the control over the Luhansk and Donetsk region, capture Mykolaiv, give the referendum in occupied Kherson or anything related to a central area.

All the efforts he was trying to put to announce at least a smaller minor victory (inaudible) were failed, so we are happy that we haven't heard anything special. But while he was pronouncing his speech, the bombing were continuing over the Odesa region just when the ...


STEFANISHYNA: ... Charles Michel, the President of EU was there with the Ukrainian Prime Minister. So words has nothing to do with his actions and the gravity of this attacks will be growing harder through all the territory of Ukraine.

BURNETT: So he used his speech to justify his brutal invasion. He tried to compare it to Russia's fight against the Nazis in World War II. Here's how we set it.


PUTIN (through interpreter): I am now addressing our armed forces and the militias of Donbas. You are fighting for the motherland for its future so that no one forgets the lessons of the Second World War that there is no place in the world for executioners, punishers and Nazis.


BURNETT: What do you even say to that?

STEFANISHYNA: Well, we're far from commending any of these too realistic, propagandistic messages sent by Putin or his Pokemons (ph), let's say, in the Kremlin. But we feel so sorry that he thinks that his people, his nation is so stupid to eat that and we should not ignore the fact that the address he made, this was not addressed to the West or to the leaders, this will be addressed to the people. So when he pronounces these narratives, he thinks that people should eat that and that they would buy it and he will gain more support on this military operation. Unfortunately, we see that people are deprived of so many rights that they basically have no right to choose which opinion to believe in.


So they just eat the products he pronounced from his mouth, but for what is more important than what they feel, they feel that and not have access to services, they cannot leave the territory of Ukraine, they cannot fly whatever they want. So this is the words which are clearly not matching the opportunities provided to Russian people.

BURNETT: So, there's been a lot of talk on Russian state TV which sort of gives you a sense of where the Kremlin is about nuclear weapons, right., and the possibility of their use. There was a simulated video on Russian channel, basically, a nuclear weapon launched against the U.K. and the word was that it would plunge Britain into the depths of the sea, that's how they described it. Is this bluster, Deputy Prime Minister, or do you truly fear at this point that the use of a nuclear weapon of some sort is a real possibility? STEFANISHYNA: Well, basically, we should like maybe as a politicians invent so-called Russian dictionary just to re-translate what they're saying and mentioning. Failure to get any kind of victories he declared before in Ukraine forced Putin to reach the narrative that he's fighting not Ukraine, but NATO, all Ukrainian territory, because basically, his army has been put in under a significant failure.

In terms of the nuclear threat or threat to apply any chemical weapons, we now understand that the war which is on our territory, this is the war for independence, but also this is the war for democracy. Thus, the gravity of his madness could be absolutely different. It might be also the tactical nuclear weapon applied, but we have no other option but to gain the unconditional victory. Unfortunately, this is as pragmatic as it is. But so far, little of instruments can deter him from making this decision and this decision depends on him.

And the less financial instruments he can use to have this war by restrictions which are put in there, the more capable Ukrainian army is the less maneuver he has to take this decision. So hopefully, with the (inaudible) signed by President Biden and the military support from other EU countries, and next round of sanctions to be imposed by Russia, the room for this maneuver is getting smaller.

BURNETT: All right. Deputy Prime Minister, thank you so much. I appreciate your time and being with you here tonight.

STEFANISHYNA: Thank you so much.


BURNETT: And next, the unthinkable horrors of Putin's war. One woman telling CNN her home came under fire. Then she was dragged down the street to a farmhouse where she was raped and the attacks didn't stop there.

Plus, the breaking news this hour, authorities capturing the corrections officer and murder suspect who had been on the run for more than a week as we are learning the officer, Vicky White is now in the hospital after shooting herself.



BURNETT: Tonight, the United Nations confirming more than 3,300 civilians have been killed in Ukraine but, of course, they warn the actual death toll is even higher and it's obviously going to be significantly higher but they know that number for sure now.

Russian President Vladimir Putin defending this war as new stories emerged of his troops on the ground including many reports of rape.

Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT and the warning that the story you're about to hear is graphic.


SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this pine forest, the remnants of a nasty battle caught in the crossfire, a farming village in Ukraine's Provary (ph) district. Here, Russian soldiers are accused of doing more than destroying homes, two women say, they raped them too.

MIKA, RAPE SURVIVOR (through translator): What the son of a pitch did to me was horrible, he forced me to, I can't talk about it -- I'm ashamed and scared.

SIDNER: She shows us where Russian soldiers fired a shot in her home in March. She said she heard them say their names, one was Oleg, the other Danya.

MIKA: Danya started to pull me by the hood, I told him it's painful. He said come with me.

SIDNER: She says they dragged her down the street to their neighbor's small farm house, there, a grandmother, her daughter, her daughter's husband and her grandson were all inside sleeping when the soldiers arrived.

What happens when the soldiers arrived at your house?

VALENTINA, MOTHER OF RAPE SURVIVOR (through translator): I heard them banging at the door, so hard that everything around was shaking, even the windows.

SIDNER: She said she stayed in the house. Her son in law went outside with the soldiers and neighbor.

MIKA: There was a short conversation, then there was a sound, like a bang. Shot like a firework. My body was shaking.

SIDNER: They killed him, she says. They took his wife while the Russian soldiers marched the two to this empty house. She says she heard them talking.

MIKA: They were calling each other by name saying look who we are going to (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

SIDNER: She said she tried to reason with the soldier who got a hold of her.

MIKA: Danya told me he was 19, I told him I was 41, my younger son is the same age as you. I asked if he had a girlfriend, she said, yes. She's 17 but I haven't had sex with her.

Then, why are you doing this to me? He answered, because he hadn't seen a woman in two weeks.

SIDNER: She says the soldier not to kill her, but when she escaped, she had to risk her life just to get home because this village was under heavy bombardment.

MIKA: There were bullets flying around from the forest, I said oh my gosh, someone will see me and kill me.

SIDNER: The two women survived the assault but then became the target of nasty gossip by other neighbors who saw Russian soldiers roaming around one of their homes. Grandmother Valentina explained why, saying their traumatized daughter went to the Russian commander demanding help burying her husband.

VALENTINA: You guys came at night and kill him. You have to help us bury him.

SIDNER: We're standing on the grave? She takes us to her back yard and points to two patches of dirt.


Her daughter couldn't bear the pain and left the country, her neighbor decided to stay and fight back.

MIKA: Did they see it? They didn't see it. I can accuse some of them too.

SIDNER: Do you feel like you've been punished twice, once by the rape and then second time by the rumors in the village?

MIKA: Yes, it's really true. But God can see everything.

SIDNER: Since the war began, the ombudsman for human rights for Ukraine says reports of rape on the hotline have exploded.

LYUDMYLA DENISOVA, UKRAINE OMBUDSMAN FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (through translator): More than 700 calls since the 1st of April.

SIDNER: The United Nations says rape is often used as a weapon of war, but the ombudsman says tracking down evidence and identifying perpetrators of any war crime is especially daunting. It sounds to me like many of these war crimes will go unpunished. How do you not lose your mind listening to these horrific stories of rape?

DENISOVA: It's very difficult. You know, someone has to do it for our fighters risking their lives on the front lines. They are in danger every minute. This is my own frontline.

SIDNER: One of Ukraine's top prosecutors investigating this case told us the details described by this women behind this gate very clearly constitute war crimes. This survivor says she intends to help them prove it.

What should happen to these soldiers?

MIKA: I want them to be punished by the court. The judges must decide what to do with them, shoot them, kill them, tear them apart. The bastards.


BURNETT: I mean, Sara, just hard to even watch that. Just the layer upon layer the neighbors talking about them, just horror. I know the prosecutor general says there are nearly 10,000 war crimes being investigated here and who knows what the real number will be, but how widespread are these reports of rape?

SIDNER: We heard there from the head of the human rights commission here in Ukraine that they have about 700 calls since the start of war, since April 1st, to this hotline they've created just for that purpose. The people who answer that hotline are psychologists.

The issue is this, some people are calling because they are victims of rape, some people are calling because they're witnessing it and feel survivors guilt and want to talk to some and they need help. The problem is a lot of people will not go to police and this woman knows that, knows there is still a stigma. She experienced it in her own village and is determined to at least try to name and shame the men who did this to her who she is very clearly says were Russian soldiers.

BURNETT: Right and she knew their names.

SIDNER: She heard their names.

BURNETT: So, you and I both here, victory day today as Putin calls it. We're both here in late February in the first days of the war and so much changed since then and yet so many of the sounds and air raids are the same. As you have returned, what stands out the most to you?

SIDNER: You know, it's interesting, because I was on the other side of the border, on the side of the polish border watching people come over and that's changed completely, now more people are internal and trying to figure out their lives because they thought they were going to come back and thought it was going to be fast.

And now they're realizing that their lives may be like this not for days, not for weeks, not for months, but for years, really, really difficult to have that realization, but here, this place has started -- Kyiv has started to come back to life in many ways. Because people are seeing what's happening, things have been fairly safe in this area, and we're seeing people really return as much as they can to being able to try to live some semblance of normalcy.

BURNETT: Right. What were they supposed to do, obviously, missiles hit here but you have to continue.

SIDNER: They are, and they were fighting back.


All right. Sara, thank you very much.

SIDNER: My pleasure.

And next, just in President Biden just calling Putin, quote, very calculating, saying it appears the Russian president can't find a way out of the war as Putin's defense minister makes a rare public appearance. And the breaking news, dramatic new details coming in on how

authorities were able to track down and capture the corrections officer and escaped murder suspect.



BURNETT: Just in, President Biden saying he's worried that Vladimir Putin doesn't have a way out of the war in Ukraine, Biden making these comments off camera at a DNC fundraiser just moments ago, calling Putin, quote, very calculating. Now, it comes as Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu makes a rare public appearance in Russia's Victory Day parade.

Now, you may remember, we talked about this, Shoigu completely disappeared from public view from more than a week in March, and it was the target of intense speculation and questions about his standing with Putin.

Well, OUTFRONT now, Andrei Soldatov, Russian investigative journalist and founder and editor of, which is the watchdog of the Russian Secret Service activities that is now blocked in Russia.

And, Andrei, I always appreciate your perspective because you know so much about this. Do you think President Biden is right to be concerned that Putin does not have a way out of this war?

ANDREI SOLDATOV, RUSSIAN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Yes, I think it's a very legitimate concern. Everybody expected Putin to make today, some sort of statement about the way he wants this war to go, but we got nothing, which is a good news because we didn't get any big news about mobilization or a big war announcement, but nevertheless, we got nothing. So it seems that Vladimir Putin is trying to find a way but there's no way right now.

BURNETT: So you've done so much reporting about the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, which is significant because he was present today at that parade. So, he disappeared back in March which you've talked about, then made this public appearance today.

And it wasn't just that he was there although obviously that's huge but his presence with Putin saluting him, shaking hands with him, next to him there, what do you know about his standing with Putin right now?

SOLDATOV: Well, it seems that Sergei Shoigu found a way how to make Putin believe he was absolutely dispensable and although the Russian army is not extremely successful in the battlefield, it seems in Moscow they know how to play these games and we just got the news that the first head of the Russian military intelligence, GRO, was made, the top general in charge of intelligence operations in Ukraine, which is a big win in the traditional competition with the FSB.

BURNETT: So -- and obviously a significant shift there. So in terms of the speech itself, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. tells CNN Putin did not declare victory in the speech because he, quote, recognizes he has no victory to celebrate. Do you agree with that that he recognizes that and who does he blame?

SOLDATOV: Well obviously, he is blaming NATO and his speech was full of these complaints about NATO and the west but it was extremely vague. He never named Zelenskyy, he never said anything about his plans for the future of Ukraine, it was extremely vague. So it seems that he's trying to understand what to do next.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Andrei, I appreciate your time. I always do.

And next, breaking news and new details on the dramatic ending of the massive manhunt for corrections officer and murder suspect. Plus, see firsthand the destruction from Putin's war right here in Kyiv.


BURNETT: In the distance, even now, you can hear air raid sirens going off but behind me is the mall destroyed in late March. It's utterly destroyed, as you can see. But even here, on the other side of the building, it's amazing how different it looks.




BURNETT: Breaking news, inmate Casey White and former correction officer Vicki White are in custody tonight, almost 11 days after they escaped from that jail in Alabama.


RICK SINGLETON, LAUDERDALE COUNTY SHERIFF: We got a dangerous man off the street today. He is never going to see the light of day again.

You know, I had every bit of trust in Vicki White. She has been an exemplary employees and what in the world provoke or prompt her to do something like this, I don't know. I don't if we'll ever know.


BURNETT: Nadia Romero is OUTFRONT live from Florence, Alabama, where the sheriff just held that press conference.

And, Nadia, what are you learning about how this manhunt ended?

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Erin, we know it ended in Evansville, Indiana, which is about four hours from here, but just two hours from where authorities found their last gateway car in Williamson, Tennessee. Now, the U.S. Marshals says that they first learned there was an F-150 truck and Casey White was at a carwash and released those photos to us earlier today but the sheriff said he was so specialized to learn they were still in the area. U.S. marshals went to a hotel saw Vicki White and Casey White. They

jumped into a gray Cadillac, tried to flee U.S. Marshals, they pinned them. Their car was turned on its side, into a ditch.

They say Casey White surrendered but Vicki White had a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Casey White is in custody. Vickie White is now getting treatment for he injuries. The sheriff hopes that she is okay but she's got a lot of questions to answer tonight -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. And, of course, a head injury so we don't know the status of that really will be. I do know, Nadia, the sheriff said Vicki White will be extradited back to Alabama along with Casey White. And, you know, we just heard the sheriff there talking about how for so many years, she was an exemplary employee, right? This was basically on the eve of her retirement and yet she chose to do this.

How much prison time could she be facing?

ROMERO: Yeah, that's what surprised so many people here. Everyone we spoke with who knew Vicki White said she was well-respected, well- liked, that they didn't think that this would ever happen to someone like her, that she had been involved in something like this. She is facing up to 10 years prison for helping Casey White escape.

She also has another charge the sheriff's office told us act today for using a fake ID we know she used it to buy at least one of the get away cars here locally. But the police tell us that she had other aliases, like other IDs and credit cards to help in that escape. So she could be facing more charges. Casey White was already in prison for 75 years and he was expected to stand trial this summer for capital murder charges so he has that charge, many more coming his way. The sheriff telling us that he will do everything in his power to make sure that he never sees the light of day again -- Erin.

BURNETT: Nadia, thank you very much, reporting live there from the scene.

And next, what life is like for Ukrainians still here in the capital city?


BURNETT: On one side of the street, building hit by a Russian strike. On the other, a pretty busy grocery store and that's sort of what we've seen all day. We heard air-raid sirens, we heard booms, and then we saw a full-car wash.





BURNETT: Today was a high anxiety day in a nation at war. And yet, it was a gorgeous day. Spring cannot be stopped and life for millions is not stopping.

This apartment building was hit before dawn on March 14th, extinguishing four lives. Today, we saw a crater, front of the building blown off to reveals lives within. Bok shelves, open refrigerators.

Around this footprint of terror and destruction, though, life continues. A man out for a bike ride and two girls, Vetilina and Yana (ph), out for a walk. Their school now is online only due to martial law. So they have nowhere else to go.

They stop to stare at the building and talk quietly until life called. One their phones rang. In the parking lot of that destroyed shopping mall, the randomness of Putin's campaign of terror, this one parking space was pockmarked by a mortar that cut so easily to the asphalt, it looked splash water.

Across the street, windows of entire apartment blocks blown out by the blast wave. But life calls. Inside, we heard drills, we saw people getting their scooters. While we were there, we heard air-raid sirens and massive explosions in the distance but life was louder.

The sirens didn't stop people. A nearby car wash was full. That's the awkward juxtaposition of life for many millions here anyway.

In the rest of the country, in Lviv, the church of the center of town was barricaded. Statues wrapped. Just feet away though, last night, cafes were bustling, patrons sitting next to a memorial to some of the lost soldiers.

Ukraine is ready for a long bar. It's not bending. That is the fortitude we are seeing and hear even as battle rages on.


BURNETT: And thanks so much for joining us tonight from Kyiv.

"AC360" starts right now.