Return to Transcripts main page
Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin
Ukraine Says It Shot Down Two Russian Missiles Near Lviv; Joint Chief's Chair Predicts Ukraine Conflict Will Last Years; Ivanka Trump Meets Virtually with January 6th Committee; Ukraine's Western Lviv Region Targeted by Apparent Strikes. Aired 5-5:30a ET
Aired April 06, 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. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. It's Wednesday, April 6th. I'm Laura Jarrett.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christine Romans. We are in New York. Brianna Keilar is in Lviv, Ukraine where there is breaking news this morning -- Brianna.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Laura and Christine, we're beginning with this breaking news. The western part of Ukraine is under attack. Officials say air defense systems shut down two Russian cruise missiles in Radekhiv. Ukrainian officials say fighter jets flying from Belarus hit the territory. No casualties were reported, however.
Also overnight a British intelligence report says the humanitarian situation in Mariupol is worsening with no light, heat, medicine or water as heavy fighting and Russian airstrikes pound the city.
Even as Russia sticks to its story that its troops are not targeting civilian homes or infrastructure, things that we know to be untrue. This security footage shows the moment that an ambulance parked outside of a children's hospital in Mykolaiv was hit by an artillery shell on Monday.
And it is images like these, horrible images like these along with sickening pictures emerging out of Bucha that left President Volodymyr Zelenskyy outraged when he addressed the U.N. Security Council, pushing world leaders to do something. Even questioning the Security Council's purpose for existing.
Today President Biden will announce sweeping new sanctions against Russia including some aimed at Vladimir Putin's two adult daughters.
CNN's Phil Black is joining me here in Lviv. What are we expecting?
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Brianna, let's start with those fighter jet attacks that we understand took place here in the Lviv region overnight. As you say, these are two aircraft -- c. What we've seen is that these are being shot down by air defense systems according to Ukrainians. So success there, and there were some explosions, but nothing, no serious injuries.
However in the Dnipropetrovsk region in the center of Ukraine there is yet another fuel depot burning there because missiles did strike successfully there. And this is in addition to Russian claims that they hit a number of other targets all across the country. The breadth of the country overnight.
So what this shows is that Russia continues to use this capability, these long-distance precision cruise missiles fired from the air, fired from the sea as well to knock out key points of Ukrainian infrastructure. And we've seen it time and time again in recent weeks. Fuel depots, weapon supply points. They also said they hit a command post.
The whole idea here is that regardless of what is taking place on the ground, Russia has this ability to degrade the support networks that are keeping Ukrainian soldiers moving around the shooting back.
KEILAR: Do we see that that's having any effect on the Ukrainian military thus far?
BLACK: The Ukrainians don't say that openly. No. But what we've seen is that this has been such a constant campaign now. There have been so many strikes into these sorts of areas, particularly fuel depots.
The Ukrainians are not admitting that this is having an impact, but it's very difficult to see how it wouldn't at some point, in some way be impacting the way that the Ukrainians are at the very least responding to this. They will have to be thinking about how they resupply their fighting units, how they get fuel to the front line, how they do, in fact, keep their forces moving in such a way that they are not vulnerable to these sorts of attacks.
KEILAR: Can we talk a little bit about Mariupol? Because obviously there's been so much -- there have been so many problems with getting people out of Mariupol. What is ahead for that city right now?
BLACK: So the situation quickly remains the same. 130,000 at least, probably more, still there, no food, no power, no water, an incredibly dire humanitarian situation. Russian forces moving in on all fronts. It's been surrounded for a very long time now. I think the extraordinary thing is the Ukrainian defense is holding out.
There was an expectation that it was going to fall long before now. Such as the, you know, the tactical situation on the ground. But the defense there has been so desperate that they are continuing to fight. And the Russians are responding to that by still continuing to squeeze the civilian population. They're still bombarding civilian areas. And crucially they're not letting aid in. This is the effort that the Ukrainian government has been really pushing in recent days. And those convoys aren't getting through.
KEILAR: Yes. There's little information coming out of there except for the people who are able to escape, which is not that many at a time. And so few pictures but it's so important to keep our eye on Mariupol because that is where the worst of it is happening. BLACK: No doubt.
KEILAR: Phil, thank so much. Really appreciate it. Phil black.
The top U.S. military officer appearing before the House Armed Services Committee for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley telling lawmakers Tuesday he does not think the conflict in Ukraine will be ending any time soon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: But I do think this is a very protracted conflict and I think it's at least measured in years. I don't know about decades, but at least years for sure. This is a very extended conflict that Russia has initiated and I think that NATO, the United States, Ukraine, and all of the allies and partners that are supporting Ukraine are going to be involved in this for quite some time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: All right. Let's bring in retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Davis who is now a senior fellow and military expert at the Washington think tank Defense Priorities.
General, how do you see the contours of this war ahead? What do you think the timeline will be?
LT. COL. DANIEL L. DAVIS, SENIOR FELLOW AND MILITARY EXPERT, DEFENSE PRIORITIES: Yes, I'm not completely sure. I believe it's going to go years as the general says there, for the fact that I just don't know it can. I don't know any side can hang on that long and continue the fighting. And I think that what you see, what your correspondent was just mentioning there about the Russian ability to continue to hit critical military infrastructure throughout the country, not just in the east but also in the western part which is where all the aid from the West is got to come through.
I was actually talking to a source I have on the ground not far from Mariupol a couple of days ago specifically about the logistics issue and he said that the Ukrainian forces are having a terrible time getting stuff to the front, and that's showing you how successful some of this process is for the Russians in that they are having a hard time getting the stuff they need just to continue the operation.
Now, as you may know, probably the biggest fight possibly of the war is shaping up in the Donbas area right now where Ukraine is sending as many reinforcements as they can. Russia has repositioned a lot of those troops that were up north of Kyiv and they are preparing for an assault in the Donbas area where they could potentially trap up to 50,000 Ukrainian soldiers. And if they close a pocket around them, it could get very dire indeed for the Ukrainian side. KEILAR: So the U.S. right now has authorized another $100 million in
anti-armor systems to Ukraine. How effective are these systems and what more do they need?
DAVIS: Well, you know, I mean, obviously the anti-armor systems have had a tremendous impact. I mean, you know, all these pictures you see of these hawks and burned-out tanks of Russians from the beginning in large measure is due to those systems, so it's certainly very helpful. But what I think that Ukraine needs far more than that is these killer drone systems, the switchblade weapons that we've talked about coming in, I believe up to 100.
I think that needs to be in the thousands, not just the hundreds, because the anti-armor systems, and especially in this eastern fight, is in much more open terrain. And the Russians have a lot farther range of attack so that they can destroy these -- the Ukraine farther out but the drones can obviously be done from miles behind in a safe area and has devastating effect. So I think we need to send them a lot more of that kind of weapons systems.
KEILAR: All right. Colonel, thank you so much for being with us. Colonel Daniel Davis, we do appreciate it.
Laura and Christine, back to you.
JARRETT: Brianna, thank you.
Ivanka Trump answering questions before the January 6th Committee for eight hours. What the panel's chair is now revealing about how it all went down.
ROMANS: And what the former president says about the true outcome of the 2020 election when he's behind closed doors. We'll ask the historian who interviewed him, ahead.
JARRETT: Ivanka Trump in the hot seat. Former President Trump's daughter and senior adviser met virtually Tuesday with the House Committee investigating the Capitol attack. She spent nearly eight hours answering their questions. Ivanka's testimony coming after her husband Jared Kushner met with the panel last week.
CNN's Annie Grayer is live in Washington with more on this story.
All right, Annie, so the committee is obviously very enthusiastic about getting Ivanka in there. She's a key witness. What are they hoping to learn specifically?
ANNIE GRAYER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Laura, there are many reasons why Ivanka is a key witness for the committee, like you mentioned. Number one, she was at the White House on January 6th while the riot at the Capitol was unfolding, and two, she even went into the Oval Office at least twice that we know of to try and talk to her father, former President Donald Trump, about the violence that was happening at the Capitol and even trying to get him to stop that.
And three, we know from witness testimony that Ivanka was in the Oval Office in the morning of January 6th when her father was on the phone with then Vice President Mike Pence where Donald Trump was trying to pressure Pence to not certify the election later that day.
Now as you mentioned, Ivanka came in for an eight-plus hour interview. This was a voluntary interview. Ivanka did not come in under subpoena and neither did her husband who met with the committee last week, Jared Kushner.
I spoke with the committee chairman, Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson while the interview was going on yesterday and he told me that Ivanka was answering questions but didn't describe her as particularly, quote, "chatty" was the word that he used.
So, you know, it's going to be really interesting to see what we can find out about what the committee learned from Ivanka yesterday.
JARRETT: Yes. And it's interesting, you know, him saying I'm not aware of when asked if Trump was citing the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination or any type of other privilege. So it sounds like she was sort of forthcoming. Exactly what happened remains to be seen. We know you will get that reporting.
Also, want to ask you about this. The House is set to vote today on contempt charges for those two former Trump advisers as part of the January 6th investigation. Any chance that they're not found in contempt?
GRAYER: So the House is voting today. You know, we're looking -- we're assuming that's going to pass on party line vote but likely including, you know, the two Republicans on the January 6th Committee who were part of the group to initially make this referral. So these two Trump aides are Peter Navarro, who's Trump's one-time trade adviser, and Dan Scavino who was Trump's deputy chief of staff.
And they're being held in contempt for not cooperating with the January 6th committee's investigation. Peter Navarro has talked publicly about his efforts to try and subvert the 2020 presidential election and working with Trump to do so, but he has claimed executive privilege when the committee has tried to ask him to answer the same questions that he's talked about publicly.
And Dan Scavino has used a number of delay tactics to try and evade the committee's investigation. And he is a long-time Trump aide who was in the White House on January 6th that can provide some key testimony.
Now the House is going to be voting on a contempt referral to the DOJ for a third time today. They've done it twice previously. It's important to note that only one of those referrals, and that's for Trump ally Steve Bannon, has actually been picked up by the Department of Justice. So as you can see, while this is a process that the committee uses frequently to try and hold those that they want to -- hold those in contempt if you don't cooperate their investigation, you know, this is a very lengthy process.
JARRETT: Yes. Very lengthy and especially if the DOJ doesn't prosecute, then you wonder how much teeth the committee has.
All right, Annie, thank you for your reporting as always. Appreciate it.
All right, we are following breaking news out of western Ukraine this morning. The region apparently targeted by Russian strikes. We are live in Lviv with the very latest next.
KEILAR: And we're back now with the breaking news out of western Ukraine where the Lviv region, that is the region we are in here right now, was targeted by Russian strikes. Ukrainian air defenses say that they shot down two Russian cruise missiles. No casualties were reported.
Let's bring in Michael Bociurkiw. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and also a former spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Michael, thank you so much for joining us. We've heard this assessment from General Mark Milley in the U.S. that this is a conflict that might be measured in years. What do you think?
MICHAEL BOCIURKIW. SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: Well, pretty extraordinary. Of course, Ukrainians all tell me that they've been living with this war, hybrid war for eight years. Another 10 years will be -- could be a death blow to the economy here. Already we're seeing a lot of companies really struggling, even multinational companies, Brianna, who were here have had a lot of damage to things like warehouses, things like that. And they're not covered by things like war insurance.
So even the investment attractiveness of Ukraine is really declining. So even if this goes on a month longer, two months longer, it's just going to bring down an economy that was roaring before, you know, February.
KEILAR: What do you think, especially on the heels of what we heard President Zelenskyy say yesterday to the U.N. basically enough with the conversation? If all you're going to do is talk, then you might as well dissolve yourself. I'm paraphrasing, but really not that much there.
BOCIURKIW: Yes, well, look, I used to work for UNICEF. I used to work for the U.N. so this must be quite something for the U.N. leaders to hear. But you know what, I think it had to be said. And good for him. He has the guts to say that sort of thing. And hopefully it will make them think, because, you know, for example I've been writing a long time now, for weeks, for CNN Opinion, about how the U.N. is appearing toothless in this whole conflict.
The U.N. was created to stop this kind of conflicts from happening in the first place. Early on in the war they couldn't even bring themselves to call it a war. They called it an escalating conflict. Also they -- still to this day few U.N. agencies can even call out the aggressor Russia. So it's going to be interesting to see how far Zelenskyy can push the U.N. and other international organizations and Western leaders because there is that timeline where they may say, well, this isn't a very nice thing to say and we may not listen anymore. So that remains to be seen.
KEILAR: This isn't a nice thing to say. The atrocities that we're seeing are horrific. We've seen them outside of Kyiv. We've seen some reporting outside of Mykolaiv. I think the expectation is that where Russian forces have occupied, this may be the norm if you've had villages completely taken over.
KEILAR: Bucha not being unique perhaps. Are you surprised as you see this as the world is?
BOCIURKIW: No, I'm not. I think the first time you and I spoke was in July of 2014 when MH-17 came down. 298 innocent civilians brought down by a Russian Buk missile.
They knew what they were shooting at. So there have been other atrocities committed behind the frontlines in Donetsk as well, which we ourselves saw as part of the OSC monitoring mission. So I think Ukrainians are shocked, of course, horrified but perhaps not surprised at the Russian brutality. What remains to be seen is whether this will be finally the red line for the West that we can no longer tolerate these sorts of things because I think sadly there is more of this to be found.
KEILAR: What does this do to the Ukrainian psyche? Does it diminish the will or increase the will to withstand Russian aggression?
BOCIURKIW: Absolutely increase. Absolutely. I talked to a lot of Ukrainians in the past few days as I always do. And I think kind of the feeling here is it's better to die fighting on your legs rather than to live your life on your knees begging for the survival of your country. So they're going to fight this to the end. However, it has to be said that more and more I think Ukrainians are feeling they're almost battling a proxy war for the West because NATO is not coming up with those jets, with a lot of the other things they're asking for or even protection of humanitarian corridors.
KEILAR: It's a very good point. We're hearing that from so many people.
Michael, wonderful to speak with you. Thank you so much for your insights.
KEILAR: Laura and Christine, back to you.
ROMANS: All right, Brianna, thank you so much.
Russia's atrocities in Ukraine triggering a new round of sanctions today against Russia. The E.U. plans to target Putin's daughters.
JARRETT: And the surprising admission from the former president who usually refuses to admit he lost.