Return to Transcripts main page
Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin
Zelenskyy Warns Deaths May Be Higher In Other Liberated Cities; New Horrors Uncovered in Bucha After Russian Withdrawal; U.S. to Announce More Russia Sanctions This Week. Aired 5-5:30a ET
Aired April 05, 2022 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. It is Tuesday, April 5th. I'm Laura Jarrett.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christine Romans here in New York. Brianna Keilar is in Lviv, Ukraine, for us again today.
Brianna, what's the latest?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Christine and Laura, Volodymyr Zelenskyy saying that the barbarity the world seeing in the town of Buja may be just the beginning. Ukraine's president accusing Russian troops of atrocities against civilians. He says the number of victims may be much higher in other cities around Kyiv now liberated from Russian control and a warning now that much of this video is graphic and disturbing.
In Bucha alone, Zelenskyy says more than 300 people were killed and counting. He also warned that Russia will try to cover up the violence committed in Bucha and elsewhere. On cue, apparently, Russia claiming Ukrainian's fake video in the street after Russian troops left the area, but satellite images proved otherwise.
Objects from this March 18th satellite view exactly match the locations of bodies that are seen in the video. Journalists from around the world are on the ground in Bucha as witnesses to this horror.
Here's ITN's Dan Rivers.
DAN RIVERS, ITN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The gateway to Bucha and Hostomel, there are the mangled remains of Russian vehicles and the blown bridge which marks the extent of their advance. And nearby, the burnt bodies of soldiers killed here by a Ukrainian counteroffensive. Dated Russian machinery was pitted against the latest Western supplied anti-tank weapons. This was the result, a rewriting of the orthodoxy about Russia's perceived military strength. Some of the Russians that occupied this town will probably never
leave. Thanks to one man's war, the remains may never be repatriated or possibly every identified.
This is the most potent symbol of the Russian defeat here in Bucha, a street choked with the charred remains of their tanks, and armored vehicles. Now, we're gone, we're beginning a fuller picture of the terrible toll inflicted on the civilian population here.
War in all of its grotesque brutality has turned these streets into a hell from which there is no triumph. Massacres of Ukrainian men have been uncovered by the army here. The war crimes committed here mark a bleak new low in this conflict described by Ukraine as the most outrageous atrocity of the 21st century.
There isn't just one site where massacres occurred. The true picture here is only just emerging. This man in Hostomel talks about the rape and dismemberment of the young women at the hands of two Chechen soldiers. He says they just slaughtered like a lamb, took his revenge with the local men, killing them both.
For the civilians like Maxym Skripnik caught between the two sides, there was little to do but pray for deliverance.
Describe what it was like, the bombardment. Describe how it felt to you.
MAXYM SKRIPNIK, BUCHA RESIDENT: It was terrible. It was completely terrible. You know, me in my car exploded three mines.
Some of the dead were buried by their daughters closed to the shattered remains of their homes. This is where Inna lies, hit by a shell. Her grave were done with food and drink her relatives would have traditionally shared at her funerals. But his son has been unable to reach their town to grief with his mother.
But many more were hastily interred without head zones or even identification. Here it's believed 280 people were buried in mass graves, one row for Ukrainians, one row for Russians.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): This is horrible. We survived this. They were shelling us. I cannot find words to describe what we lived through.
RIVERS: This family appeared to have escaped unscathed after days in a bunker. Yadima's (ph) father was detained by the Russians and never seen again. As he swings he says, if the bad men come back, I'll stamp on them.
There seems little chance now of the Russians fighting their way back into these towns, but the legacy of their brief rein of terror will never be forgotten.
KEILAR: Thank you to Dan Rivers for that report. I want to talk with CNN military analyst, Lieutenant General Mark
Hertling, who is retired. He's the former commanding general of Europe and Seventh Army.
And, I think, General, the question here, is this just the beginning? Because you're hearing from President Zelenskyy that there are other areas that could be even worse. We're seeing in a way this just being revealed now the atrocities of the last month. What do you think we're going to see?
LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It's going to get worse, Brianna, much, much worse. I mean, this is one relatively small suburb of Kyiv that we're seeing. There are already indicators it is happening elsewhere. Russia says the scenes are staged. It actually seems to be quite in line with the other things that we've just watched from the beginning that Putin and his generals have done in attacking civilian targets, bombing schools, targeting shelters.
It's -- as the world continues to see what Russia forces are doing in this place with similar results other campaigns have done, the thing that is so horrific is that it all seems to be, number one, part of their plan but, secondly, now when they're called on it is without remorse and without shame. It's just unfathomable as a soldier to see this stuff. Thinking watching the civilians, many of us would be furious if we saw this and saw how Russian troops, the undisciplined mobbed criminals would have done something.
KEILAR: There's no internal accountability which is essentially endorsing this, right? There's no repercussions from this. We're seeing Russia repositioned. I'm wondering if you think they're going to have more success in the south and eastern regions of Ukraine now that they've moved?
HERTLING: I don't. Not at all, not at all, Brianna. I think they're going to run into the same buzzsaw of Ukraine's army and their territorials.
And what many have been talking about over the last several days is this force that's been north of Kyiv is going to -- there's been various terms used, withdraw, reposition. What you have to consider is those forces have been mauled so badly and lost so many of their front line force that they have to go something -- go through something that the U.S. military calls regeneration.
When you're talking about how they went into this fight, with extremely poor leadership, with untrained soldiers, what seemingly small pieces of equipment ill-repaired, with very little supervision to try and maintain their gear, as they're pulled out after they have a large percentage of their fellow soldiers, they are not going to be able to regenerate as people would think they magically would and appear in another part of the theater.
So, yeah, they will eventually get there. It may take weeks or months. They'll go there and they have suffered this mauling and have come together but they won't be much of a fighting force having seen regeneration and how hard it is to do that. So, you're talking about conscripts that are leaving, new conscripts
that could potentially coming in. A Russian president that is scrambling to mobilize other people to assist them, whether it's the bizarre Wagner group or other forces from Georgia or Chechnya. They're going to roll into this fight unprepared, in fact worse so than the other group and they'll become mauled too. I think the most important thing is the Ukrainians maintain their mobility, their opportunity to move around this new battlefield quickly to meet those Russian forces wherever they try and generate some momentum. I don't think they're going to have much success in the east either truthfully.
KEILAR: General, the U.S. successfully tested a hypersonic missile. This was in mid-March, but it kept it quiet for a couple of weeks to avoid escalating tensions with Russia. What do you think of that?
HERTLING: I don't think it's going to play much in this campaign, in the near term, Brianna. But it is something we can counter anything Mr. Putin has used. You know, he believed that his hyper sonic testing a year ago and perhaps the use of one or two of these in this campaign would have been a threat and something we could not overcome. To know the U.S. has tested it and have the ability too do much more in terms of our stockpiles of these kinds of missiles and potentially others, I think, you know, is a counter to Mr. Putin's threat.
There is still the potential threat from Russia of weapons of mass destruction, both chemical and nuclear, and we have to be very concerned about that.
But as John Kirby said yesterday, the Pentagon and intelligence agencies are watching that closely for the potential of any movement of those kind of weapons. By the way, I think we have to say and remind everyone that Russia has used chemical weapons in the past in Syria, at the same time doing the same kinds of criminal activities on the battlefield that actually relate to war crimes. It's just it's been much greater here because of the intensity of the combat and the number of people involved.
KEILAR: Yeah, there are so many eyes here seeing this. General Hertling, thank you so much. We do appreciate it.
Laura, Christine, going back to you guys in New York.
I think, you know, yesterday we -- the day dawned. We saw what happened in Bucha. Today, this day is dawning and we're understanding just how much more we may be seeing as you heard General Hertling, how much worse this is going to get.
JARRETT: And how many more are out there that we just haven't found yet.
ROMANS: Yeah, these towns and it's instilling the West to punish this war.
Brianna, thank you. The Biden administration set to announce new economic sanctions this week to punish Russian for its invasion of Ukraine.
CNN's Jasmine Wright is live in Washington.
Jasmine, what steps are we expecting the U.S. and allies to take?
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, additional economic pressure elements. That is how Jake Sullivan described what we can expect. He said the U.S. and allies are coordinating closely on what exact sanctions could look like and looking to flush it out as they've done for months.
But we know really that this will be aimed at targeting elements of the Russian economy that are still popping up and fueling this war in a lot of parts. Now, Jake Sullivan on Monday told reporters, he described the long-term view is taking when it comes to these sanctions. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: We don't expect that that shift in behavior will be caused by sanctions overnight or in a week. It will take time to grind down the elements of Russian power within the Russian economy, to hit their industrial base hard, to hit the sources of revenue that have propped up this war and propped the kleptocracy in Russia. That's going to take some time to play out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WRIGHT: So, we just heard from Sullivan saying that's going to take sometime to play out when it comes to sanctions. But something that could have a more immediate effect, Christine, could potentially be the weaponry that the U.S. continues to send to Ukraine.
Now, Sullivan said that they would be adding more advanced weaponry, including some type of lasers and drones to the $300 million security package that the Pentagon announced on Friday. All of this comes after President Biden returns to D.C. on Monday. He called Putin a war criminal from all of the reports we have seen coming out of Bucha, that he stopped short of calling it a genocide. Sullivan said that more evidence has to be amassed before any type of declaration like that could happen.
ROMANS: Yeah. It's -- whatever words you use, it is certainly horrific. The pictures we are seeing and the firsthand accounts we are reporting from there. Thank you so much, Jasmine Wright. Nice to see you.
JARRETT: Up next for you, a CNN crew under fire in Ukraine. The harrowing moments captured on camera in the field.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Down here, John. Down here. Keep on rolling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: The mayor of Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine says ten people died in heavy shelling by Russian forces around the city in the last two days. At least 46 more were injured. That shelling led to a very close call for one of our CNN news crews.
Senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman and his team suddenly facing incoming artillery fire after they stopped to speak to some Ukrainian soldiers as they were reporting. One of their cars was badly damaged but they were able to reach safety to tell the story.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is an area where there's been a fair amount of outgoing as well as incoming artillery. Down the road is a town that has been fought over for several days by Russian and Ukrainian forces.
(voice-over): In these vast open spaces, the Russians seem far away. They're not.
Down here, John, down here. Keep on rolling. You see it over there?
We hug the earth. Two more artillery rounds.
Cameraman John Torigowe (ph) keeps rolling.
All right. So we have had two incoming rounds responding to artillery that's been firing in the Russian directions. Those shells came pretty close to us.
No one has been injured. The officer tells the translator Valaria Dobustka (ph) we need to go now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Go away. Hit a run.
WEDEMAN: I hope the car is okay. Yeah, let's go.
And so we run with full body armor to the cars.
One can't move, peppered with shrapnel. We're losing petrol.
No time to lose. Throw it in the back.
Driver Igor Dyagno (ph) razor-focused on getting us to safety, his car also hit.
Go, go, go, go, go!
All right. Right now, we're trying to get out of this area as quickly as possible. Our other car completely destroyed.
Crammed into the small car, we approach safer ground.
CRENDON GREENWAY, SECURITY ADVISOR: We'll (INAUDIBLE) cover (ph) that village and we'll take a breather.
WEDEMAN: Producer Karim Hadar (ph) checks the damage to the car.
The soldiers we left behind are still out there. We could leave. They can't.
Ben Wedeman, CNN, outside Mykolaiv, Ukraine.
ROMANS: Terrifying. I got to say those guys --
KEILAR: Thank you to Ben Wedeman and his team.
JARRETT: Yeah. It's just extraordinary. What our crews are doing to try to tell the story. Our thanks to Ben for that.
ROMANS: All right. Coming up, they called for a sitting war leader to be charged with war crimes. Is it even possible to prosecute him?
JARRETT: And the ordinary people who could not stand by and watch. How they're taking action to help Ukraine's refugees.
JARRETT: Welcome back.
Nearly 2.5 million refugees, nearly 6 percent of Ukraine's entire pre- war population have now crossed into Poland. Many of them greeted by dozens of volunteers. Some belonged to charity organizations but others are just ordinary people who say they saw the humanitarian crisis and they had to act.
CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is on the ground at the Polish border.
Salma, you've been doing such great reporting from the border. You've covered so many of these stories. Who are these folks?
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely. So, this is the pedestrian crossing here, Laura. And people come across with just the bags they can carry and immediately, they're going to be greeted by a warm face, someone who want to help them pick up their bags and ask them what they can do to make their journey just a little bit easier, because here, yes, they've escaped violence, they've escaped war, but they're at the crossroads, and what they're going to enter is essentially this tiny tent community of volunteers. We're going to swing around to show, Paul, one of the volunteers here,
is bringing out more hot grilled cheese. He's doing this every day for days now.
Paul is from Canada.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
ABDELAZIZ: Why is it so important for you to come out here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, to be honest, back home we watch it on TV. We read about it online and it's just the amount of despair these people are living through just touched me, and I just felt like I couldn't stay at home and watched it anymore. So, I hopped on the plane and came here and started volunteering.
ABDELAZIZ: Amazing. And just tell me, again, you've been here for a while now. Tell me about the need that you're seeing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take a look around you. You see it, right? You just take a look at their faces, distress, the anxiety, from young and old, especially the elderly. The other day, we had people come up here, two women, and asked, where am I going to speak tonight? Where am I going to do? They know nobody here in Poland, nowhere to go.
And we don't really have the answers. We direct them to the bus stop. They'll ship them off to Przemysl, and maybe another two, four hour journey ahead of them.
ABDELAZIZ: And these grilled cheeses keep on coming. I mean, I can see over there, you just have an endless stack. What does it mean to offer a hot sandwich to someone who fled war?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It means a lot. To them, they really appreciate it. It may be a little bit something, but it's special. It shows them that the world cares. So many of them tell us that they're amazed come from all over the world to help them.
ABDELAZIZ: Thank you so much, Paul. Thank you. Good luck.
And you see this everywhere. I mean, there is literally volunteers from all over the world and all they really want to do is give these families a bit of dignity, maybe a bit of warm food and see how can we help.
JARRETT: Yeah, just simple acts of kindness going so far at the moment like this. Selma, thank you for your reporting as always.
ROMANS: Yeah, human behavior that is the opposite of the invasion to put this all in motion.
ROMANS: All right. Coming up, four men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a jury could decide their fate today. JARRETT: Plus, why prosecuting Vladimir Putin for war crimes could be
easier said than done. Proof is not the hard part.