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Alexander Khrebet is Interviewed about Bucha Killings; Zelenskyy Makes Appearance at Grammys; South Carolina Dominates UConn; Horrifying Atrocities Discovered in Bucha. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 04, 2022 - 06:30   ET



SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Now, Margareta (ph), as you heard there, still wants to travel even further. She wants to make it to the United States. After we were done interviewing her, we sat down and Skyped her brother in New Jersey. They're waiting on her visa. She could very well possibly become one of those 100,000 refugees that President Biden has approved to come from the United States -- to the United States, rather, from Ukraine. Her story just tells us how important it is to open our doors to refugees like this, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Salma, that story took my breath away. I mean what a brave woman. No one should have to be that brave once, let alone twice. And it just goes to show, people need to know, for Ukraine -- for Ukrainians, history is not in the past. They are still living very much in this moment of centuries of oppressions. And it's very real and it's very raw.

Salma Abdelaziz, what a revealing story. Thank you so much.

We've got much more on the breaking news. CNN teams find evidence of mass graves near Kyiv. We are live on the ground in Bucha moments from now.

Plus, we're also live in the city of Kharkiv, where people are sleeping inside a metro station to escape the bombings. Christiane Amanpour joins us live from the scene.



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brianna Keilar, live in western Ukraine. And the gruesome images of alleged genocide in Bucha have horrified the world. But a Ukrainian journalist says he believes this is just the tip of the iceberg and warns that these atrocities are most likely happening in many other towns, including Mariupol and Kherson.

Joining me now is Ukrainian journalist Alexander Khrebet. He arrived last week in Lviv after living in a bomb shelter in Kyiv for two weeks.

Alexander, thank you so much for being with us. I just -- these images that we are seeing coming out of Bucha, what

are you thinking as you see them?

ALEXANDER KHREBET, UKRAINIAN JOURNALIST FOR ZN.UA: We see -- we see them, signs of the genocide, the Russian army committing over there. But this -- as you said, this is just the top of the iceberg because Bucha is a small down, but to -- to -- more -- more to follow because the Ukrainian army, they regained control and they will find more of those horrifying scenes and things and for sure that we don't know anything what is happening in Mariupol, Kherson, in (INAUDIBLE) and like a lot of places in the east -- east of -- in the south (ph) of the country, which are under Russian control right now.

KEILAR: We've seen a lot of bad images and stories come out of this war. This one seems even worse. Does this feel different to you?

KHREBET: This is something like I can compare to what is -- ISIS was committing to the Iraqis, because we see the same -- the same footages of the banded (ph) -- banded (ph) armed of the people, the tied arms of the people, shooting at the head or the forehead. So, also, it's just -- just a horrifying, horrifying things. And the mayors and the witnesses, they say they are Russian troops. They were like killing, raping, torturing people. And this is just out of any -- any common sense really.

KEILAR: How is it affecting you emotionally? How are you coping?

KHREBET: Oh, this is really hard. Even while I'm talking to you right now, the goose skin (ph) is going out there on my back. It's still to be realized, but seeing those first things, first footages and videos, it was just horrifying. And just realizing that it is happening just right now.

And while we are talking to you, it's also happening in the south and in the east. And this is just like -- the shock -- word shock is the smallest thing I can say. This is just out of -- out of really mind. This is so horrifying.

KEILAR: You told me in the commercial break, and I'm sorry for saying this, but I think it does drive home the point, you said you're not -- you're not really someone who cries, but this is something that has made you cry multiple times.

KHREBET: Yes, It's just -- I was holding up not to -- like to -- to bring myself -- like together because I don't -- I cannot afford myself to just -- just to lay and do nothing because we have all of the country need to -- to keep on with the -- with a fresh hat. And those footages, they are just kicking and knocking out the people, and especially in -- and me as well.

KEILAR: The mayor of Bucha told us that there are a little under 300 people they think in that mass grave. And he said a lot of them are elderly, they are women, they are children, the are teenagers. And he said he thought that the Russian military was given the green light to go on safari.

What do you think?

KHREBET: This is the regular things that Russians were doing this in Syria, in Africa, in Central African Republic and other African countries. And today the Russian -- the state agency, the biggest one, Ria (ph), they posed that peace (ph), like calling the Russian troops to commit more crimes in here, because they're calling the completely erasing Ukrainian identity -- erasing completely Ukrainians. So -- and more to follow. And I can assure you, we will see more horrifying things. And this mass grave in Bucha is only the -- it's just the beginning.

KEILAR: What do you think the world needs to know?

KHREBET: The world needs to know is here what is happening is just mass killing of the people, free people, who are just different out of Russia.


And Russia is fearing that spirit of Ukraine. And the world needs to support more Ukraine. And sending more weapons o stop it and to prevent more killings of Ukrainians. And to sanctions more on Russian government and Russian oligarchs, the Russian richest people, harder and harder because the only thing that can stop this war if they lose all of their money, it's the only thing they can stop this war because we -- unless we don't have the proper -- proper weapons to -- to repel Russia in every Ukrainian territory, they will just killing more and killing more people in here.

KEILAR: You were holed up for quite some time in Kyiv before coming here to Lviv.

How has this changed your future and the future of your family?

KHREBET: Oh, my mom, I haven't -- I'm not sure, because she was living on the other bank of the river and the bridges was blocked. So only one was working. And this -- this the longest from her (INAUDIBLE) distance. She couldn't come to me, to my place. And she was living alone there. I was so, so scary about her.

I was living with my girlfriend in a basement. And it was like almost non-stop shelling. Because my neighborhood is just next to all of those small towns in Kyiv suburbs. This is very outskirts of Kyiv. And all of those things, like sounds of explosion, shellings, the explosion waves, I was even like hearing this and feeling this on my balcony when I was standing there.

And this is changing, like, not only me and my family, it's changing like every person in the country. And basically those who witnessed all of those things in Kyiv and in Kyiv suburbs.

And, me, I fled the war in 2014 in Donetsk where I was born, my home city, when the Russian troops came in, and now I need to fled for the second time.

And this is just out of mind because nowhere -- leaving for the first time, you don't know what is to -- what is to expect. I haven't been at home for eight years, never. And coming here to Lviv, once again, from Kyiv, where I found my second home, and I like build everything over there, and knowing that this could happen next -- and maybe I will not come -- have a possibility to coming back over there, it's just also like kicking -- kicking me and punching me like in the -- in the heart and in my soul.

KEILAR: You can feel it. And I think it makes sense why. Thank you so much for being with us.

KHREBET: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.

KEILAR: I really appreciate you witness this and telling us about it. Thank you.

KHREBET: Thank you.

KEILAR: Up next, President Zelenskyy made a surprise appearance at the Grammys. What he said during his powerful and impassioned speech.

Plus, a new inspirational song that paid tribute to the Ukrainian people.




BERMAN: What an emotional moment at the Grammys. John Legend and Ukrainian artists performing, as I said, just full of such meaning. And that wasn't all there last night because for this country under attack and new evidence of mass atrocities, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a remote appearance there with an important message.

CNN's Chloe Melas joins me now with all of this.


CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: John, it was an unexpected moment at the Grammys because this was what people were expecting to happen last weekend potentially at the Oscars. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, he did a pre-taped message that was heartfelt and emotional. And we have some of that for you now. Take a listen.


PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINE: Our musicians wear body armor steady of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded in hospitals. Even to those who can't hear them. But the music will break through anyway.

We defend our freedom to live, to love, to sound. On our land, we are fighting Russia, which brings horrible silence with its bombs. The death silence. Fill the silence with your music. Fill it today to tell our story. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MELAS: Right after this message, several Ukrainian artists, which you can see here, took the stage with John Legend to perform "Free." There was even a poet who read some poetry in the midst of this song with images of the war displayed on the walls behind her. And she -- it's said that she had just escaped Ukraine days before and made her way to the Grammys for this incredible moment. There was not a dry eye in the entire stadium, John.

BERMAN: Wow. I have to say, the Ukrainians are fully mobilized in this war effort, and that includes the cultural side of it. They fully understand that the arts are a potent weapon against oppression here. When you hear Volodymyr Zelenskyy say fill the silence with your music, it's really poignant.

MELAS: Yes. I mean this was a very unexpected moment, like I said.


And it lasted for several minutes. And everyone was completely fixated. It immediately began trending on social media. But this was an incredibly powerful moment. And they really outshined what the Oscars did the week before in terms of how they handled Ukraine. This was a very powerful moment and, honestly, what everyone was waiting for.

BERMAN: Thanks, Chloe. I really appreciate it.

MELAS: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, South Carolina on top of the world. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report" live from New Orleans, site of tonight's men's championship.

Hey, Andy.


So, you know, the Gamecocks, they've been favorites all year long. Just capping off an incredible season last night in the championship game. They were taking on a UConn team that was 11-0 in title games under Head Coach Gino Auriemma heading into that one. But South Carolina just dominant. They were on a mission in this game. They jumped out on UConn from the start. They outrebounded the Huskies 49- 24. Player of the year Aliyah Boston grabbed 16 of those rebounds, was named the tournament's most outstanding player.

The Gamecocks would win rather easily in this one, 64-49, just capping off a dominant season. Head Coach Dawn Staley capturing the school's second national title as her team avenges that painful upset in last year's final four to Stanford.

All right, back here in New Orleans, meanwhile, North Carolina and Kansas are going to meet for the men's title later tonight. The eight- seeded Tar Heels coming off that incredible high of beating their archrivals, Duke and ending Coach K's career on Saturday night. Now they're going to face a Kansas team who dominated Villanova and is looking for their first title since 2008. You can watch the title game tonight just after 9:00 Eastern on our sister network TBS.

And, finally, things are trending towards Tiger Woods playing in the Masters this week. Tiger practicing at Augusta National yesterday in hopes that he's going to be able to play in the Masters starting on Thursday. Woods has been rehabbing from those serious leg injuries that he suffered in a car rash 14 months ago.

Earlier in the day Woods tweeted that playing in the tournament's going to be a game time decision. He hasn't played in a big-time tournament since the Masters back in November of 2020. And, John, you know, I was at that Maters. I followed Tiger all 18 holes on that Thursday. And afterwards, I was rather tired, and I wasn't swinging a golf club. So, it's going to be interesting to see if Tiger -- you know, coming back from those injuries, is able -- going to be able to walk the Masters course.

BERMAN: Well, you should start doing your stretching exercises now, Andy, because I think you're going to need to be walking quite a bit once again. I think he's playing. That's just me. But, we'll see.

Thanks so much. We really appreciate it.


BERMAN: So, thousands of Ukrainian refugees now heading back home despite Russia's escalating attacks. Why they say it's time.

Plus, carnage in Bucha where the bodies of at least 20 civilian men lined a single street. How world leaders are responding to these shocking images.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KEILAR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. It is Monday, April 4th. I am Brianna Keilar, live in Lviv, Ukraine, with John Berman in New York.

And this morning, a potential turning point in Russia's war in Ukraine as the evidence is mounting of apparent war crimes committed by Russia against civilians in Ukraine. We do want to warn you that the images that you are about to see are graphic and disturbing, but they are incredibly important.

In Bucha, a suburb northwest of Kyiv, bodies are seen littering the streets. The unburied dead. Some of them with hands bound, killed execution style. Sickening scenes of murdered civilians revealed after Russian troops withdrew from areas surrounding Kyiv. The mayor of Bucha told us earlier that half of his city is destroyed. He says they will never forgive the Russian people for the crimes that have been committed there.


MAYOR ANATOLY FEDORUK, BUCHA, UKRAINE (through translator): We get the impression that the Russian occupiers have got the green light from Putin and (INAUDIBLE), the Russian defense minister, to have a safari in Ukraine. And they weren't able to take Kyiv, so they vented their frustration on Bucha and the -- and the surrounding areas.


KEILAR: Here in a moment, we will show you the entirety of that interview. It is essential to hear what he has to say there.

These atrocities against civilians are sparking a global outcry, sparking condemnation from world leaders. Ukraine's president echoing those calls, going even farther, saying that Russia is guilty of genocide.

BERMAN: CNN's teams saw this all with their own eyes. At least a dozen dead. You can see in those bags. Just horrifying images there.

We have new satellite imagery captured by Maxar Technology, which appears to show mass graves dug into the grounds of a church in Bucha. You can see it right there.

Want to show you how close Bucha is to Kyiv. You can see on this map, it's practically on top of it. Push in here. It's this suburb. Actually a pretty wealthy suburb just north of the city of Kyiv there. That's how close it is. The Russian troops retreating north from here.

Also breaking overnight, there was an air strike in the port city of Odessa. Several missiles being shot into the city. This follows Russian missile strikes on an oil refinery and fuel depot in the city this weekend. And in Mykolaiv, right here, the mayor there says that a Russian missile strike killed one and injured five.


KEILAR: I do want to bring in CNN's Fred Pleitgen, who is live on the ground in Bucha where the carnage has taken place.

Fred, you have seen it. Tell us what you've seen.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Brianna. I'm not sure I can -- I've lost communication with you but I'm just going to start talking because it's very difficult, the communication here right now on the ground here in Bucha.


So, essentially, what we're seeing here, what you have behind me here is a mass grave.