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Isa Soares Tonight

Russia Accuses Ukraine Of Drone Attack On The Kremlin; U.S. Fed Set To Make A Decision On Interest Rates; Nine Killed In Serbian School Shooting; Federal Reserve Raises U.S. Rates By Quarter Point; Atlanta Police Hunt For Gunman After Deadly Shooting; European Police Hit Italian Criminal Network; Coronation Rehearsals For King Charles III. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired May 03, 2023 - 14:00:00   ET



ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, three major stories this hour. Russia

says Ukraine flew two drones towards the Kremlin in what it calls an attempt to assassinate President Vladimir Putin. We'll tell you what Kyiv

is saying in response. Plus, any moment now, the Fed will make a decision on U.S. interest rates, we'll bring you that in just a moment.

And shock and sadness in Serbia after nine people, including eight children are killed in a rare school shooting. Topping the headlines tonight,

accusations from Russia that Ukraine tried to attack the Kremlin with drones in an attempt to assassinate President Vladimir Putin. Now, videos

are circulating on social media purporting to show the alleged attack.

Speaking earlier in Finland, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denied Ukraine had any involvement. This is what he said. Have a listen.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE: We don't attack Putin or Moscow. We fight on our territory. We are defending our villages and cities. We

don't have, you know, enough weapons for this. That's why we don't use it anywhere. For us, that is a deficit. We can't spend it. And we didn't

attack Putin. We leave it to tribunal.


SOARES: Our Nick Paton Walsh is standing by in Dnipro, Ukraine. But first, let's go to CNN's former Moscow bureau chief Jill Dougherty, who joins us

in Washington. Jill, this is an extraordinary claim. Has Russia provided any evidence that Ukraine is behind this?

JILL DOUGHERTY, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: They haven't per se. I mean, at this point, there are a lot of questions about this.

SOARES: Yes --

DOUGHERTY: But the Russians who are saying, I think a couple of things. Number one, that it actually happened, that there were two drones. And that

the purpose was to allegedly kill President Putin. So, immediately, there are so many questions. How did it get -- if it came from Ukraine, how did

it get all the way across the border? You know, Russia has a lot of defenses along their border.

How did that happen? How did it get so close to the Kremlin, and why a drone? I mean, a drone that apparently was either shut down or somehow

disabled by these forces, the security around the Kremlin. And we can talk about this later, but I mean, the issue of who would want to do this? There

are many suspects in this.

SOARES: Let me go to Nick, and Nick, you know, you have being -- and you've reported on several false flag operations over the last year or so.

Why -- you know, we heard Zelenskyy saying he wasn't behind this, Ukraine wasn't behind this. What would Ukraine gain out of this, Nick?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Not a huge amount. And we're sort of seeing that in the reactions of ordinary Ukrainians here.

There's a lot of apprehension as to the last part of the Kremlin statement. Now, they issued this statement, it's pretty much all of the actual

concrete evidence that we have of this attack.

There are a number of videos and which appear to match, suggesting an incident occurred. But that isn't the same as it actually, necessarily

having happened in reality. The end of the Kremlin statements says that Russia reserves the right to retaliate for what it describes earlier in the

statement as an attempt to assassinate its head of state.

There aren't many more escalatory measures, frankly, that you can accuse your enemy of, than trying to kill your own president. And that's exactly

what Moscow have done. And it puts them in a difficult bind here to some degree, in that they now look clearly very weak, and that they had a

security breach of such extraordinary extent that we've seen these explosions hitting the Kremlin.

That's startling. So, obviously, there are some analysts wondering, well, what really comes next? And we're already hearing from some Russian

politicians, again, echoing the sort of clumsy nuclear blackmail we've heard since the start of this war. But suggestion that somehow Russia needs

to reach into its arsenal to find weapons that can remove the Kyiv terrorist regime. And that's their phrasing once and for all.

Now, we've heard this before again and again, but, the nature of these videos, the extraordinary nature of this claim, embarrassing as it is for

Moscow, in extremists, does make me wonder quite what we may see next in all of this. We're dealing with a beleaguered Russian military, which is

struggling to even fill conventional soldiers to the fight, using convicts from Russian jails around Bakhmut in the past months.


And so, there are only a certain possibly few things left they might be able to do to exact an extra price on Ukraine. But all of this comes, Isa,

just in the hours or days ahead of Ukraine's expected counteroffensive. There are multiple signs across the country that something is possibly

beginning underway, has been underway maybe for a number of days in a preparatory phrase.

And so, this Kremlin statement, whether or not it's backed up by events that happened in reality, serves certainly to remind, I think many people

globally that Russia remains a nuclear power, that Russia remains a power that's claimed, it has significant weaponry that isn't nuclear, but it

hasn't necessarily deployed all the time to this conflict yet.

And that's got many people deeply worried here in Ukraine about what may follow. And above all, it is still extraordinary to be dealing with a claim

like this from a country which, for so long held its head up high as militarily superior, and is now, it, seems forced to admitting that drones

hit the Kremlin either through some sort of fiction designed to enable them to justify some escalation, that's one theory, or because it genuinely

happened and they can't hide it.

Both of which, deeply troubling and startling, given Moscow tried to think this war would take them 3 to 4 days, and they'd be running all of Ukraine


SOARES: Yes --


SOARES: Indeed. And let me go back to Jill. And Jill, the timing of this is interesting because of course, next week, on May the 9th, military day

parade, it's a big day in Russia, it's when Russia showcases its military might and prowess. How do you think this will play out at home? How is it

being covered, in fact, in Russian state TV?

DOUGHERTY: Well, it's still early, but I think you'd have to say that Russians would be alternately very worried about this. I mean, again, if

two drones penetrated to the Kremlin, that is quite incredible. And then also, I think it would probably be angry. And, again, you know, this is

kind of a hall of mirrors at this point. So, why would -- you know, why would somebody do this?

Maybe to encourage patriotism or fear. There are ideas, you know, perhaps, it was done by Russia itself. If it was done by Ukraine, then there are

other things at play, showing that they can take the fight to the enemy. But then, the Ukrainians are denying it, and very vehemently. So that

raises the possibility of groups, let's say Ukrainian groups that are not allied with the Ukrainian government.

Or it could be internal groups in Russia that are anti-Putin. So, again, we're back to a lot of different people who could, you know, want this to

happen. But I'd have to say, now that we're kind of watching as hours go by, there is a high propaganda component to what --

SOARES: Yes --

DOUGHERTY: We saw. I mean, a drone, you know, was knocked out of the sky pretty easily, it would seem. So there's a shock value that it happened at

the Kremlin, but it was -- the Kremlin was protected. And there have been cases early, I'm thinking one in particular, Isa, that I covered early on

in President Putin's presidency. Which was attacks on apartment buildings in three locations in Russia at that point, and blamed on terrorist by the


And after that, there was a severe crackdown and the second Chechen war began. So that is another possibility, that this is kind of, you know,

leading to something. It could be attacks, obviously, on Ukraine or it could be predators within Russia.

SOARES: A playbook that perhaps we have seen before. Let me go back to Nick. And Nick, you were talking about how militarily, Russia has very

much, I think it's fair to say, floundered on the battlefront in this war. How concerned then is Ukraine about any sort of retaliation here? What are

you hearing from your contacts?

WALSH: Look, I mean, just from ordinary people we've been seeing on the streets, there are deep concerns, because they have -- as Jill was saying

there a great familiarity with Russia's history of expressly saying it has been attacked and using that attack or in some cases whether appeared to

have occurred in the way they said or not, using that attack as a justification for like the second Chechen war.

And that resonates with people certainly a lot here. What's left for Russia to do? Well, I mean, obviously there's the nuclear card, and that's

something that clumsily banded around since the beginning of this war. There are some analysts who think, look, that's farfetched. Russia has made

the calculus. That's simply a bad idea and it has received significant signaling from the West, as to what the West will do if that occurred.

And there are others who say, well, look, this is just trying to scare people, hovering this idea above Ukraine as the counteroffensive gets



We heard a statement from the Russian Ministry of Defense saying that they had gathered military attaches from allied nations and explained that

Russia only uses nuclear weapons in a defensive posture. That's not necessarily something that has never happened before. But it's certainly

odd timing and raises that question all over again.

There are other possible conventional weapons Russia might reach to as aviation has not been used to the full extent that perhaps many analysts

believed it had. That's something we could see. But fundamentally, this is an extraordinary move by Moscow who have so far, despite appalling

information they've been given about how well this war would go, do appear to have reacted more or less rationally.

This statement is a significant risk by the Kremlin because they're having to admit to an enormous security breach. Yes, Vladimir Putin wasn't there,

yes, the damage was minimal to the Kremlin. But at the same time too, there will be calls for escalation. Escalation that Russia may not want to do or

may not be able to perform. And so, we're into uncharted territory here. But the nature of his words, frankly, put up by the Kremlin's spokesperson.

SOARES: Yes, an extraordinary claim indeed. Nick Paton Walsh for us in Dnipro, Jill Dougherty, thank you to you both. Now, we promised to bring

you the latest on the Fed. The U.S. interest rates are going up again. Just moments ago, the Federal Reserve announced it is raising the Fed funds rate

by a quarter point as it continues of course, to fight persistent inflation.

Analysts expect that, that hike, even though some economists say raising rates just days after the failure of First Republic Bank may be a bad idea.

I want to go straight to CNN business editor-at-large Richard Quest who joins me now from Budapest. So, Richard, 25 basis points very much in line

in expectations. What stood out to you?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: What stood out to me is that they decided to do this, because it tells me that inflation is stickier

than they would like, and that it is more robust than they wish. And so, that they're going to take these extra measures as their own insurance

policy, if you will, against or to bring inflation down. Now, what happens next?

That's the key question. Because looking at the Fed's statement now, they keep -- they say there are lags of monetary policy. The cumulative

tightening that's taking place so far, the banking crisis which will in itself slow things down as banks become more hesitant to lend. So, the Fed

I take today is basically going on pause.

Now, that shouldn't be a pause with a bias to cuts. I think this is a pause, do we need to do more? And I would look forward in the next few

months to the Fed as they say, be data dependant, we're up 5 percent and 5.25 percent, much higher than we thought it was going to be at the


SOARES: You clearly have seen a lot of these press conferences when you say it's going to be data dependant, Richard. But -- and look, this is a

contradictory column --

QUEST: Oh, yes --

SOARES: You pointed it out, right? A slowing economy, high inflation, unemployment, multi-year lows. And it comes on the heels as we mentioned of

First Republic Bank. Any reference in that statement to the bank and the stress of course, on the banking sector, Richard?

QUEST: Well, yes, right at the beginning, the U.S. banking system is sound and resilient. Well, I guess, we're all happy to hear that. And I think

that's a general view. That there is no other First Republic waiting out there, there is no other SVB that they're aware of at the moment. Of

course, Isa, raising rates and continuing to raise rates does make a bad situation worse for those banks that have screwed up their interest rate,


But the fundamental issue is, there are mega banking crisis waiting to tip over that doesn't seem to be the case. What's interesting is how the banks

will slow lending, and how much this will feed into the slowing economy. By the way, just to put this in perspective, U.S. inflation around 5 percent,

6 percent, 7 percent.

Here in Hungary, we'll be talking about this on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" tonight, inflation is 25 percent. Food inflation is over 40 percent, and

interest rates are 13 percent.

SOARES: Wow, that is pretty impressive. And Richard, of course, we'll have that, all the latest there from Budapest. And we will look quickly at the

Dow, it's pretty flat, pretty flat at this moment. We knew that was --

QUEST: Yes --

SOARES: Expected in our lives. It'll be interesting to see, I know you'll be analyzing the dot-plot in your show.

QUEST: Yes --

SOARES: Richard Quest live from Budapest, thank you very much. He'll be back in 45 minutes, and we expect to hear more about the Fed's rate

decision in about 15 minutes or so when Fed Chair Jerome Powell speaks to the media, it normally happens at half past the hour, so we'll bring you

that, to you live.

Right now, I want to update you on some breaking news we are following in Atlanta in Georgia. A gunman is on the loose after opening fire at a

medical building. Police say at least, one person was killed, and four others are wounded. A source tells CNN, the man was visiting the hospital

with his mother.


Police are actively searching for the suspect, and they are warning the public, he is armed and dangerous. We'll bring you much more on this story

right here on the show. Now, a school shooting in Serbia's capital, Belgrade, killing eight children and a security guard. Serbian officials

say the alleged shooter is a teenage student who is now in custody, and that his parents are also under arrest.

The Interior Ministry says seven other people are now in hospital. Our Scott McLean is covering the story for us.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Handcuffed with a jacket over his head, the teenager is whisked away by police. He is the suspect in

a mass shooting that's brought Serbia to a standstill. The 13-year-old was accused of using his father's handguns to kill at least eight children and

a school security guard at a renowned elementary school in an up-scaled part of Belgrade.

Serbia's Interior Minister says the boy had the code to the safe where his father locked the weapons. In the immediate aftermath, worried parents

rushed to the school anxiously waiting for news their kids were OK. The ones who do emerge are shell-shocked or overwhelmed. Some parents recall

their children seeing the attack right in front of their eyes.

ASTRID MERLINI, MOTHER OF BELGRADE ATTACK SURVIVOR (through translator): She heard shots before that, but thought those were firecrackers. When she

saw the security guard fall, she immediately rushed back to the class. She was scared. She told her teacher, there is a shooting upstairs. Police and

ambulances quickly rushed to the scene to treat victims.

Six students and a teacher were taken to the hospital, some in stable condition, others fighting for their lives.

SINIAA DUCIC, CARETAKER DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY CHILDREN'S CLINIC TIRSOVA (through translator): It is very difficult surgery because of the severe

brain injuries. The child is out of operation room and is vitally endangered, and it's in the intensive care unit. All resuscitation

procedures are performed.

MCLEAN: Belgrade police said the teenager waited to be arrested in the schoolyard after calling police himself to confess what he had done.

VESELIN MILIC, POLICE CHIEF, BELGRADE (through translator): Upon arriving at school, he immediately pulled the pistol out of his bag and shot DV, the

security guard. He then went past the on-duty staff member and sat down at his desk like he did nothing wrong.

MCLEAN: Despite one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world, mass shootings in Serbia are rare. Police said the attack had been

carefully plotted for more than a month. While the precise motive is unclear, the education minister and this high school student blame the

violent video games and media.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This demonization and popularization of violence and crimes through public and media, through

art, through everything that can popularize it, and this example of violence is a consequence of that.

MCLEAN: Police have cordoned off the scene and continue to investigate. And while answers may bring clarity for families, it won't bring back the

young lives taken far too soon. Scott McLean, CNN.


SOARES: And CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is here with me with the very latest. And Salma, we mentioned that both his parents were under arrest. Just

explain why that is.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, we have to explain that the shooter is underage. He is only 13 years old, and under local law,

that means he cannot be tried as an adult. He can't even be tried or prosecuted for this crime potentially at all. So that's the first thing to

note. Who is being held responsible here? Could it potentially be his parents?

And the second thing is, you have to remember that the two pistols he was carrying, those were pistols owned by his father. We understand from

officials, from local police, that those pistols were under -- you know, inside a safe, but clearly the boy was able to gain access somehow. We also

know from the police that he had been taken to a shooting range with his father at least, at one point at one incident.

So are officials concerned that the parents are responsible here? You have to understand all of this is under investigation. Police still trying to

ascertain the circumstances here. But they want to speak to those -- to those parents.

SOARES: So pretty unprecedented at this stage. But I mean, he could be released.

ABDELAZIZ: He could be released. I mean, this is -- you have to remember, again, nothing like this has ever happened in the history of Serbia. A

shooting in a school in this manner. There was intent, according to the police. This boy was drawing maps of the school, he had a list of names,

he'd been planning this for a month. He walked in with two pistols and four Molotov cocktails, he walked out quietly --

SOARES: Just startling(ph) --

ABDELAZIZ: After this chilling shooting and called the police on himself. I mean, really astounding details here. We do understand he's going to have

to undergo a psychiatric evaluation --

SOARES: Yes --

ABDELAZIZ: And there is a long process ahead here. But think of those parents, of those victims, they are seeking justice. They are seeking

answers. This makes it all very complicated.

SOARES: Plenty of red flags that you just outlined and lots of answers that we still need to hear from police. Salma, I appreciate it, thank you

very much. And still to come tonight, street battles near the presidential palace in Sudan. A deeply -- a deadly power struggle intensified despite of

course all the talk we heard of ceasefires, we are now heading to the seventh ceasefire, that story after this.



SOARES: Welcome back everyone. The U.N. Aid chief is on the ground in Sudan today, making an urgent appeal for meaningful ceasefire. The new

fighting once again is undermining hopes for a truce, amid more airstrikes, street battles are taking place near the presidential palace in Khartoum.

This video is from the Rapid Support Forces, a militia locked of course, in a deadly power struggle with Sudan's army.

South Sudan says both warring factions have agreed in principle to a seven- day truce, starting on Thursday. But previous ceasefire deals, of course, as we're showing you here, have collapsed. Meanwhile, the U.N. is warning

of a humanitarian catastrophe, saying more than 100,000 people have fled to neighboring countries.

But today, the U.N. Aid chief began a mission to help millions of others who are unable to escape. Of course, Martin Griffiths arrived in Port

Sudan, calling for security guarantees to allow the safe delivery of humanitarian supplies. I'm joined now by Kholood Khair, Sudanese political

analyst, she was in Khartoum when the fighting broke out and managed to evacuate from Port Sudan last week.

Thank you very much for coming on the show, it's great to have you here, you and I spoke a couple of weeks ago. So, let's focus, if we can, Kholood,

on what is going on. The -- you know, another ceasefire is expected. It's been shaky, I think it's fair to say, it's been broken at various

instances. Do you -- would you expect that both sides to stick to it?

KHOLOOD KHAIR, SUDANESE POLITICAL ANALYST: Quite frankly, no. The problem so far is that no side that has brokered a ceasefire has firmly put any

leverage on the table. South Sudan in particular is unable to do so because actually, it's Sudan that has leverage over South Sudan because the oil

pipelines go through Sudan towards Port Sudan.

So actually, there's no enforcement, there is no monitoring, there is no guarantee of the ceasefire holding, much like the ones before.

SOARES: Give us a sense of what the situation is like on the ground? We've been hearing of course, it's harder, I want to be frank with you, it's

harder for us to get people on the phone now because the signal keeps dropping. You still have family on the ground. What are you hearing from


KHAIR: It seems that things are as predicted, going to be much worse from now on. Every day, there's a cumulative impact --

SOARES: Yes --

KHAIR: Of just several days that the banks haven't been opened. The shortages that we're seeing of food, of fuel, meaning that people who want

to leave are unable to do so.


You know, prices on buses that are leaving Sudan to Khartoum towards other parts of Sudan have gone up ten times, making them completely out of reach

for a lot of --

SOARES: Yes --

KHAIR: People.

SOARES: And in terms of how we get out of this, the political, diplomatic way out of this, it's clear this is an existential crisis between -- for

these two men. What can anyone put on the table that would make one side or the other silence the guns, stop the fighting? Is there anything, you


KHAIR: Well, without money, frankly.

SOARES: Yes --

KHAIR: Without these generals having access to money, without having access to arms, this war will be very short-lived. But the people who have

leverage over them, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, they're not yet willing to come to the table and say, we will cut you off if you continue

this --

SOARES: Why not?

KHAIR: Fight. Because both have frankly skin in the game at the moment. And both are unfortunately taking sides to the extent that, neither of them

want this really, because this fight spells bad news for the entire region. But so far, they think that making appeals to the generals will find a way

forward, that effectively, if one of them manages to beat the other militarily, that maybe their interest will be met.

But frankly, no one's interest will be met. And there's no such thing as military victory between these reasonably-equally matched forces --

SOARES: It's very risky, given in exact what you are saying, the repercussions, the impact that might have on the region as well.

KHAIR: Absolutely, and Saudi Arabia now is trying to mediate between the two sides. But it must also take into account there are patrons in the

region. And frankly, the extent to which Saudi Arabia has any leverage over Egypt and the United Arab Emirates also remains to be seen even if the U.S.

is supporting Saudi if it's to mediate.

SOARES: How do you see this playing out then, are we going to look at eighth ceasefires, ninth ceasefire, how do you see it?

KHAIR: I think we're seeing very much the same behaviors and attitudes towards mediation before the conflict very much now. And those were, as we

know, quite unsuccessful. Unless there's a radical rethink of how we approach these generals and how we approach the regional backers, we're

going to keep seeing more and more of these failed ceasefires and an elongation of the conflict.

SOARES: Kholood Khair, always great to see you, I really appreciate any time you speak to us, thanks so much, Kholood. Still to come tonight, how

the U.S. is responding to Moscow's claim that Ukraine tried to kill Vladimir Putin in a drone strike. That story, after the break.




SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.

Let me just show you what stock markets are doing in the United States. You can see the Dow Jones just up 0.1 percent, Nasdaq slightly better, almost 1

percent. The S&P up almost 0.5 percent. The reason I'm showing you the markets, of, course in the last half an hour we heard from, we got a U.S.

interest rate decision.

And the interest rates are going up again. It is the 10th interest rate hike since March 2022. It was very much priced in, hence why you're seeing

green arrows right across the board. We are expecting to hear from Jerome Powell, Fed chair, who will be speaking any minute now.

But what he says will be fundamental. And there he is. Let's have a listen to what he has to say about the state of the U.S. economy.

JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: Good afternoon. Before discussing today's meeting, let me comment briefly on recent developments

in the banking sector. Conditions in that sector have broadly improved since early March and the U.S. banking system is sound and resilient.

We will continue to monitor conditions in the sector. We are committed to learning the right lessons from this episode. And we will work to prevent

events like these from happening again.

As a first step in that process, last week, we released Vice Chair for Supervision Barr's review of the Federal Reserve's supervision and

regulation of Silicon Valley Bank. The review's findings underscore the need to address our rules and supervisory practices to make for a stronger

and more resilient banking system and I'm confident that we will do so.

From the perspective of monetary policy, our focus remained squarely on our dual mandate, to promote maximum employment and stable prices for the

American people.

My colleagues and I understand the hardship that high inflation is causing and we remain strongly committed to bringing inflation back down to our 2

percent goal.

Price stability is the responsibility of the Federal Reserve. Without price stability, the economy does not work for anyone. In particular, without

price stability, we will not achieve a sustained period of strong labor market conditions that benefit all.

Today, the FOMC raised its policy interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point. Since early last, year we have raised interest rates by a

total of 5 percentage points in order to attain a stance of monetary policy that is sufficiently restrictive to return inflation to 2 percent over


We are also continuing to reduce our securities holdings. Looking ahead, we will take a data-dependent approach in determining the extent to which

additional policy forming may be appropriate.

I will have more to say about today's monetary policy actions after briefly reviewing economic developments.

The U.S. economy slowed significantly last year, with real GDP rising at a below trend pace of 0.9 percent. The pace of economic growth in the first

quarter of this year continued to be modest at 1.1 percent despite a pickup in consumer spending.

Activity in the housing sector remains weak, largely reflecting higher mortgage rates. Higher interest rates and slower output growth also appear

to be weighing on business fixed investment.

The labor market remains very tight. Over the first three months of the, year job gains averaged 345,000 jobs per month. The unemployment rate

remained very low in March at 3.5 percent.

Even so, there are some signs that supply and demand in the labor market are coming back into better balance. The labor force participation rate has

moved up in recent months, particularly for individuals aged 25 to 54 years.

Nominal wage growth has shown some signs of easing and job vacancies have declined so far this year. But overall, labor demands still substantially

exceeds the supply of available workers.

Inflation remains well above our longer run goal of 2 percent. Over the 12 months ending in March, total PCE prices rose 4.2 percent. Excluding the

volatile food energy categories, core PCE prices rose 4.6 percent.

Inflation has moderated somewhat since the middle of last year. Nonetheless, inflation pressures continue to run high and the process of

getting inflation back down to 2 percent has a long way to go.

Despite elevated inflation, longer term inflation expectations appear to remain well anchored, as reflected in a broad --


SOARES: You've been listening to Jerome Powell, the U.S. Fed chair.


SOARES: It comes on the heels of the rate high that we see in the quarter point or so that we have seen in the last 34 minutes. The reason they are

doing this, of course, is to you keep a lid on inflation. The target of inflation is 2 percent.

Jerome Powell said that they have lifted raise rates by 5 percent since last year. But he did talk about the banking system, of course, on the

heels of what we saw of First Republic early this week.

He said, the banking system is sound and resilient. He hopes to prevent events like this from happening again. Of course, the failure of First

Republic making headline concerns over the fragility of the banking system.

In terms of interest rate decisions, the FOMC, he says he understands the economic hardships that high inflation is causing Americans. But that this

is very much data dependent.

So hinting that there we could be looking at further interest rate hikes. We will keep on top of what he says if there are any more developments, of

course, we will bring them to you. And Richard Quest and QUEST MEANS BUSINESS will have the very latest in about 20 minutes or so.

Now we want to get back to our top story, Moscow's claim that Ukraine tried to kill Russian president Vladimir Putin overnight in a drone strike on the

Kremlin. Russia is calling the alleged strike a terrorist act and says it reserves the right to take retaliatory measures.

The allegation has met forceful denials from Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who says Ukraine was not involved in any way. Meantime, U.S.

secretary of state Antony Blinken has cast doubt on Moscow's claims of an attack against the Kremlin.

CNN's Alex Marquardt joins me now from Washington with more on the U.S. response to those developments.

Alex, what are you hearing from the U.S.?

How are they analyzing what we heard today?

These extraordinary claims, I should, say from Moscow?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are certainly still analyzing. We know from several sources that they are

poring over intelligence, intercepting satellite imagery, trying to figure out what exactly happened here.

The administration does not appear to be any closer to actually figuring it out. We have heard from a number of administration officials today. We

heard from the White House press secretary just a short time ago, saying that it is too early to say whether what we saw in Moscow was a false flag

by the Kremlin.

The White House press secretary pointing out that Russia does have a history of false flag operations. But again, that it is too early.

And then we heard from the secretary of state Antony Blinken, who says that, whatever we hear the Kremlin in general, in this case, it is this

accusation that this was an Ukrainian attempt on Putin's life, should be taken with what he called "a large shaker of salt." Take a listen.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I can't in any way validate them. We simply don't know. Second, I would take anything coming out of the

Kremlin with a very large shaker of salt. So -- let's see. We'll see what the facts are.


MARQUARDT: All right. Isa, at the same time I've heard from a number of officials, who said that, whatever happened, they were not given any kind

of heads-up or warning. And that would imply they've not completely closed the door on the possibility that it was Ukraine who was behind the attack.

Of course, they heard the forceful Ukrainian denials but if it were Ukraine, it would be a highly brazen attack and something that the U.S. has

feared that Ukraine might do, because the U.S., for the entire stretch of this war, has been afraid of anything that could be seen as too provocative

against Russia.

Anything that can give Russia a pretext for escalation, that's why we haven't seen the U.S. offering Ukraine the longest range rockets that

Ukraine has repeatedly asked for. That's why we've seen the U.S., press Ukraine, essentially to promise that they wouldn't use U.S. made weapons

inside Russia in those attacks, which we don't believe that Ukraine has.

So. Certainly a lot of nervousness here in Washington when you hear the Kremlin say things like, this was an attempt on President Putin's life

because that would give the Kremlin some kind of a pretext for escalating the conflict in Ukraine.

We should point out that it isn't beyond the realm of possibility that Ukraine could do something like this. We have seen these hundreds of leaked

classified documents come out in the past few weeks.

One of them pointedly said that Ukraine did want to bomb Moscow back in February on the anniversary of Russians invasion but they backed down under

U.S. pressure, that they didn't do that in the end. So this is certainly something of concern for the U.S.

The U.S. has said that Ukraine does have the right to defend themselves but that the U.S. is not enabling or encouraging Ukrainian attacks inside

Russia. Isa.

SOARES: It still doesn't explain what Ukraine would gain from doing something like this. I think it has gotten enough on its plate already in

Ukraine. Alex Marquardt, really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

I want to go back to the manhunt underway in Atlanta, Georgia.


SOARES: Police say a man open fired at a medical building, killing one person and wounding four. People in the area are being advised to shelter

in place as the suspect is still on the loose and is considered armed and dangerous. Let's get the very latest from Josh Campbell, who is monitoring

the story.

Bring us up to date on where we are and who this man is.

Do we have a name?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We are getting new information about the suspect. Deion Patterson is what Atlanta police say

is this individual's name.

Just walking you through the timeline, just a couple of hours ago, police reported that shots were fired in this area, this populated area in

Atlanta. This was the Northside Hospital, one of their Midtown locations. We are told four people were injured. One of those people has since died.

That according to Atlanta police.

However, the suspect in this case is still on the loose. They don't know if the suspect has been contained in this area, where we have seen this

massive police presence, or if the subject fled that area and is on the run perhaps in a different area.

Police did release these photos that you're seeing here on your screen. One of them seems to show the suspect holding a pistol and opening fire inside

this hospital. A source said the suspect, in his mid 20s, was at the hospital along with his mother for some type of appointment.

He eventually, according to the source, got agitated and decided to open fire for reasons that are currently unknown. That launching this massive

police hunt. We have seen well over 100 law enforcement officers now staged in and around the area. Authorities have not announced whether they have

any leads at this hour.

But they are warning the public to be on the alert. This area has apartment buildings, hotels; it's a highly populated area. So all of these people are

sheltering in place right now, as police try to contain the situation.

The gunfire has since stopped for about 45 minutes to an hour. So we haven't heard any shots or reports from police. But if the suspect is on

the loose and has a weapon and he is confronted, that is something the police are concerned about.

So the manhunt at this hour, we see this massive police presence but as far as we know right now, no leads on where this person is.

SOARES: Josh, if there are any new developments, please come back to us. Josh Campbell, thank you.

And still to come, a massive hit on organized crime. Police across Europe made a spate of arrests as they target an infamous drug trafficking


As the U.K. prepares for King Charles' coronation, we speak to one singer who performance on Saturday will make history. That's next.




SOARES: A hit on organized crime itself. European authorities say they have just coordinated their largest ever operation against Italy's mafia-

like 'Ndrangheta. Europol says more than 130 members of one of the world's most powerful criminal networks have been taken into custody.

Italian authorities have released images showing what appear to be confiscated drugs, money, as you can see there, and weapons. Barbie Nadeau

is in Rome with more on the significance of these arrests.


BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: More than 130 people have been arrested in multiple European countries in what authorities are calling the largest

ever coordinated hit against Italian organized crime.

The arrests were part of the Eureka operation, tied to the increasingly powerful 'Ndrangheta crime syndicate, based in the southern Italian region

of Calabria. It has achieved global reach; 108 of the arrest warrants were handed down in Italy. The others were made in Belgium, Germany, France,

Slovenia, Spain and Romania.

Arrests were also made in Brazil and Panama. More than 2,770 officers were involved. The massive sting operation took nearly two years of

investigation that unraveled an international network of drug smuggling from South America to Europe and Australia.

A number of European seaports were also involved. The arrests were tied to the 'Ndrangheta's extensive global drug smuggling network and charges

included arms trafficking, money laundering, mafia association and aiding and abetting a fugitive.

Millions of euros in cash, drugs and weapons were also confiscated in the raids -- Barbie Nadeau, CNN, Rome.


SOARES: Now some news just in to CNN. In the past few minutes, the suspect in last week's massacre in Texas has been formally charged with five counts

of murder; the 38-year-old, Francisco Oropesa, was caught after a four-day manhunt on Tuesday night.

He is accused of fatally shooting five of his neighbors, including a 9- year-old boy. Authorities found him hiding under a pile of laundry in a closet just miles from the scene of the massacre.


JIMMY PAUL, FBI ASSISTANT SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: We just want to thank the person that had the courage and bravery to call in the suspect's

location. We've always said it's not a matter of if but a matter of when the suspect is going to be caught. And we're extremely glad that today is

the when.


SOARES: The suspect's partner was also arrested in the same area on Tuesday and is facing a charge of hindering the apprehension of a felon.

Authorities are looking at whether other people may have helped him escape.

All the victims were Honduran nationals, including Sonia Guzman (ph) and her son, Daniel (ph). Oropesa said very little in court. His next

appearance will not be until after he is indicted, which isn't expected now for weeks.

We will be back after this short break.




SOARES (voice-over): And that's just the preparation. The coronation preparations are in full swing, as you can see here in London. This

rehearsal could play for the early hours this morning under the cover of darkness. U.K. police are scaling up their operation. They'll have more

than 11,000 officers on the streets on Saturday.

One of the largest single day deployments in decades. Officers have already responded to one incident at the gates of Buckingham Palace on Tuesday. A

man threw a suspected shotgun cartridge into the grounds of the king's residence.

The coronations performers are also warming up, of course their vocal chords ahead of the big day, including Welsh opera star Sir Bryn Terfel. He

will be singing during the ceremony in Welsh, the first time a Welsh language song has been featured in a U.K. coronation. Sir Bryn joins me now

from Wales.

Sir Bryn, wonderful to have you on the show. First of all, congratulations. What an invitation to part of this moment in history. How did you find out?

How were you invited? How did you get it? And what was your reaction?

SIR BRYN TERFEL, OPERA SINGER: Thank you, Isa. First of all, I have to thank the Hamburg opera house because I did have a concert there over the

weekend. And they were gracious enough to give me another date, which meant I was free.

And yes, my agents had a letter from Buckingham Palace with an invitation to perform in this magnificent ceremony. And I do get the greatest of

honors to perform in my mother tongue, in Welsh.

Charles has chosen nearly 10 composers to write new pieces. And mine is written by a Welsh man called Paul Miler (ph). And the text is the "Kyrie,

eleison." And his secretary, Grahame Davies, has translated the "Kyrie." It's one minute and 45 seconds. So don't make a cup of tea at the beginning

of the ceremony.

I think I'm second in line with performances. And I will be in the midst of the Westminster choir, as well, which is magnificent. And there will be

young children singing there, from Scotland, Ireland, Wales and the chorus itself.


SOARES: Singing in Welsh, this must be very special.

What does it mean to you and, of course, to Wales?

TERFEL: Yes, we are having a couple of Hollywood actors here in Wales. They bought Wrexham Football Club, as you might have read in the news. And

they are putting Welsh on a certain platform in every interview that they have.

So I consider myself quite fortunate to have another platform where Welsh is heard. And the Welsh performers are seen and heard as well. I will also

sing in the concert in Windsor on Sunday night, a duet with Andrea Bocelli. So I'm very lucky this weekend. But, yes, a magnificent platform to be

singing in Welsh.

SOARES: And I imagine you know King Charles; he was Prince of Wales. Describe what he's like. I know that he loves the arts, loves music and he

loves opera.

TERFEL: With Charles, whatever you see is what you get. He's always true to his word. Of course, a figurehead for nearly 70 organizations within

classical music. Our paths have crossed very often.

I tend to like to do things that are connected with Wales, like the Welsh national opera, the Royal Wales College of Music and Drama.

And one given evening in the ballroom in Buckingham Palace is something that they are indeed worthy of because of their hard work and dedication

but the amount of money that could be given to their coffers as well for young students.


SOARES: I think we lost Sir Bryn Terfel --


SOARES: We've got, you we've got you. Keep going.


TERFEL: Still hear me?

SOARES: Yes, of course. Yes.

TERFEL: Yes, so the orchestra performing will be members from different orchestras of his organizations as well.

SOARES: Fantastic. And I bet there must be an element of nervousness there. We can't wait to see you in action, of course. For those viewers who

have never seen you, it's just fantastic, fantastic singer.

And I want to thank you first of all for coming on and I would love you if you could end the show with a bit of a cappella. Sir Bryn, from me, thank

you very much.

Would you mind singing us out?

TERFEL: You actually want my dulcet North Walian warbling tones, that's what you need?

SOARES: We'd love that.