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New Day

Ukraine Says, Major Fighting Underway in East as Russians Shift; Lviv Region in Western Ukraine Targeted by Russian Strikes; Zelenskyy Challenges U.N. to Act After Horrifying Discoveries. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired April 06, 2022 - 07:00   ET




CHRIS HAYNES, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAVEN: What Americans care about in terms of elections are broader perceptions of the economy, how they think the economy is doing, not necessarily how they're doing individually, economically. And so even if they do get these benefits and they feel these benefits, it may not go down to the benefit of the politicians that are passing them.


GOV. NED LAMONT (D-CT): Well, look, you should always be concerned. You always run scared if it's a political year. Look, I come out of the business world. In our world, if you don't listen to consumer, you're dead. Now, I'm in the political world. If you don't listen to voters and at least try and address their concerns and explain what you are doing and why you're doing it and how you can ease their pain a little bit, you pay a price.


MCKEND (on camera): Now, we also spoke to the group, Energy Alliance. And they tell us that these short-term mechanisms, they may earn these governors some political points. But by improving demand, the problem could get worse because the market could get tighter. John?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Eva McKend, thank you very much.

And New Day continues right now.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers in the United States and around the world. It is Wednesday, April 6th. I'm Brianna Keilar in Lviv, Ukraine, with John Berman in New York.

And we begin with breaking news, major fighting underway right now in Eastern Ukraine. A local military official in Luhansk telling civilians to leave some towns there before it is too late to get out, announcing that five humanitarian corridors will be opening for evacuations. In the meantime, NATO leaders are expecting Vladimir Putin to shift the focus of his war strategy to the east, in the Donbas region. Military analysts caution that this new chapter in the war, if it materializes, could last months, if not years.

Also breaking, explosions overnight in western Lviv, about 45 miles from where I am. It's not far from the Polish border at all. That, of course, is NATO territory. And Ukrainian Air Force officials are saying that two suspected Russian cruise missiles were downed last night before they could do any damage.

In the meantime, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is turning up pressure on the west. He is demanding the United Nations do more to protect Ukraine, even asking why the councils exists if it is allowing the slaughter to continue.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Civilians were crushed by tanks while sitting in their cars in the middle of the road just for their pleasure. They cut off limbs, slashed their throats, women were raped and killed in front of their children. Their tongues were pulled out only because the aggressor did not hear what they wanted to hear from them. This is not different from other terrorists such as ISIS.


BERMAN: We have new video just in this morning from the southern city of Mykolaiv. An ambulance there, you can see it, blown up in a Russian attack on a children's hospital. Ukrainian official says that one child was killed there along with dozens injured.

In Borodyanka, and northwest of Kyiv, civilians found lying in the streets apparently executed. Police in the town say there could be hundreds of people buried under the rubble of apartment buildings that were leveled in Russian attacks there.

Breaking overnight, a fuel depot destroyed by a Russian attack, that happened near this city, Dnipro, here, sort of East Central Ukraine. According to local officials there, there were no casualties.

This morning, Ukraine's commissioner for human rights says the female Ukrainian soldiers in Russian captivity were subjected to torture, this as the Biden administration prepares to announce new sanctions against the Kremlin.

And I want you to look at this right here. That is Pope Francis with an emotional message about the killing of civilians in Ukraine. He unfurled that war-stained flag. That flag is from the city of Bucha, which has seen those mass graves there. The pope unfurling that flag during a Vatican address.

We want to start our reporting with CNN's Ivan Watson live on the ground in Zaporizhzhia. This is in Southeastern Ukraine. Ivan, I understand you have some news there, some civilians just arriving from Mariupol. What can you tell us? IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The International Committee of the Red Cross announced that its team managed to make it here to Zaporizhzhia from Russian-occupied territory in a convoy that included buses and also private cars with about 500 people who have made it now safely here escaping Russian- occupied territory. Many of these people originally had fled from Mariupol.

Now, the Red Cross went on to say that, quote, the ICRC team tried over five days and four nights to reach Mariupol and came within 20 kilometers of the city, but security conditions on the ground made it impossible to enter.


In fact, Russian forces detained the Red Cross team from Sunday to Monday in a Russian-occupied town. They are not allowing this neutral third-party aid organization to reach the city that the Russian military has besieged now for over a month where more than 100,000 civilians are believed to be trapped under Russian bombardment by land, sea, and air day and night.

The question being why won't the Russian military let the Red Cross into Mariupol? And that is a question that I cannot answer. I can only speculate about. Perhaps here's one answer or can lead us to an answer. This, week a Caribbean country, the Commonwealth of Dominica, says that one of its cargo ships that has been trapped in the port of Mariupol since before the war erupted, since before Russia invaded, it's a ship called the Azborg, was sunk in the port after coming under Russian fire.

That on the night of April 4th, this the government in Dominica, it says that the vessel was heavily fired upon by Russian Armed Forces after intentionally shelling the vessel twice a day earlier. That ship caught on fire and sank. One of its crew members wounded.

The International Maritime Organization says some 86 merchant ships have been trapped along Ukraine's coast since Russia launched this war against Ukraine. That just shows these are foreign crews that are caught amid the other civilians in this war.

And, again, John, I would argue maybe that's why the Russian military does not want Red Cross third-party neutral observers into a city like Mariupol to see firsthand what Russia has done there. John?

KEILAR: Yes. They would be witnesses, Ivan, to what has happened there.

And we're also seeing some new images of a hospital strike that occurred in Mykolaiv. What can you tell us about that?

WATSON: Right. So, the military governor of Mykolaiv, this is a city that's in Ukrainian-controlled hands in the south of the country, he posted this video. You see the parking lot of what he says is a children's hospital there, with ambulances parked there, apparently one on of them donated by the British government. And explosions go out, hitting those emergency vehicles.

Now, the aid organization, Doctors Without Borders, also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres, they had a team in Mykolaiv this week that witnessed firsthand what they say was the bombing of an oncology hospital and a neighboring pediatric hospital, that they say they witnessed at least one dead body and several wounded people after it. And that it appeared to have been cluster munitions that were used against this hospital.

On a bigger scale, the United Nations says that since they invaded Ukraine on February 24th, they have reports of strikes against at least 85 health facilities. Do the math. That's more than one attack a day on hospitals, when those attacks have killed at least 72 people. Russia says it is not targeting civilian infrastructure. It denies attacking hospitals. The evidence strongly suggests otherwise.

BERMAN: Yes, hospitals, by definition, civilian targets, helpless civilian targets. Ivan Watson in Zaporizhzhia, thank you so much for your reporting.

KEILAR: CNN has some new reporting out this morning that warns even though Russia has in recent days shifted its focus to Southern and Eastern Ukraine, Putin has not necessarily given up trying to capture the country's capital, Kyiv.

Joining us is Wladimir Klitschko. He's a member of the Kyiv Territorial Defense. He's also the brother of the mayor of Kyiv.

Wladimir, let's start with what you saw in Bucha. I know that you were there. It is so important that the world hears this. What did you see and what are you hearing about other cities near Kyiv?

WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO, MEMBER, KYIV TERRITORIAL DEFENSE: The images in Bucha, Hostomel, Ivankiv, the satellite city of Kyiv, the capital, are horrifying, cannot -- a human mind cannot comprehend how another human can do that, tied hands behind their back, on their knee, shot in the head, executed in the head.

What is happening in Ukraine, and this is not just in the outskirts of the capital, Mariupol, Kharkiv, in other cities in the south and in the east of the country and other civilians are getting murdered, butchered.


This is war against the Ukrainian population. And I believe when journalists are getting shot by snipers, when journalists have on their chests, on their hats, on their helmets press and those snipers know exactly who they are killing. They don't want anybody in the country and reporting from the country what is going on. They are killing civilians. They are trying to make them flee and leave the country. This butchering must come to an end.

And I want to remind President Biden before the Russian invasion started and the Russian military forces were on the border of Ukraine, President Biden said if the Russian army is going to invade Ukraine, the consequences are going to be severe. Now, after six weeks or seven weeks of war, the severe consequences are now been taking by the Ukrainians. Up to 500 children were killed, tortured and injured and thousands and thousands of civilian lives have been taken. Those consequences for now are severe for us.

And I'm asking the free world, the United States, to help us not just on the humanitarian side, it is crucial important, but also with the weapons. We can defend our country only if you can help us to defend the country with weapons as well. We need your support. We need your help. Please do not stop helping us and give us more.

It's not just about Ukraine. We're defending our people here, our families here, our houses here, but we are also defending the same principles as we share with you, principles of freedom, democratic principles. This is not just about Ukraine. This is peace in Europe and in the world. Please keep supporting us. It's very important, not in a week, not in a month, it is important now.

KEILAR: Wladimir, you tweeted -- I think it was you or perhaps it was your brother, you tweeted, don't tire of speaking out against the war. The Russian invasion troops don't tire of waging their war. Are you afraid that the west is forgetting? Are you afraid that they will forget?

KLITSCHKO: I just mentioned, if you were listening to me carefully, for the past seven weeks, the severe consequences were unfortunately on the Ukrainian side and our population. And we have been fighting, our military force has been fighting as much as they can. And they've been doing a great job. But the army that we are facing is one of the strongest armies in the world. We are getting support, but it's not enough. We definitely need more.

And there is no guarantee that they're going to be stopped here in Ukraine if you don't help us. If we fail here in Ukraine, you're going to fail too, guys, because these imperialistic ambitions are big than you think and the appetite is coming while (INAUDIBLE), so to speak. Not to forget about (INAUDIBLE) that had been Russia a while ago. That could be like Crimea, who has explained it's ours. The world can come literally to a third world war. We cannot allow it to happen. We must stop this war that Russia has started in Ukraine. Do not underestimate Russia and their appetite.

And, as you know, whatever statements were made, there was one to the other from the Russian side. And this murdering in Bucha, in Hostomel, in Ivankiv, in Borodyanka, and now the Russian side is saying that it was put in place by the Ukrainians? We may be invaded ourselves?


This is total nonsense and lie. And this lie unfortunately is poisoning the brain and minds in the country, in Russia.

This is so crucially important to understand that this must be stopped now. Russia will suffer. The Russian people are suffering as well with its propaganda, because they believe they fight Nazis with the Ukrainian president having Jewish roots. There are no Nazis in this country. We are a free country. They have been living and creating lies and more. And now these lives have been taken and our infrastructure has been destroyed to ash. That must stop now.

KEILAR: Wladimir, I do want to ask you, and I will say, Wladimir, I hear you. I hear you that you are saying the cost has been borne by Ukrainians but that you believe it will be borne much wider than it is right now as well. And you're warning Europe, you're warning Ukraine's allies, and I hear you saying that.

We've heard from U.S. and western officials who say that Putin hasn't necessarily given up on trying to capture Kyiv. Is that your assessment? Is that your concern?

KLITSCHKO: Absolutely, absolutely. They will be come back. This is capital. Kyiv is the capital with a history of 1,500 years because Moscow was founded and some (INAUDIBLE). This is the capital. That's the prize. That's the aim. And, of course, if they have been stopped here, it's not guaranteed they will never come back. Of course, they will and we expect that.

And the world must understand it. If they will have success in the East and the South of the country, they will come back. And we'll have more. They want to have more, and not just Ukraine. And this is so obvious. We didn't believe they will invade Ukraine in 2022, since Second World War, this international law has been not badly broken as it is now as in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea. And Russia just keeps rolling.

That cannot be happening more. Please save the lives, save the free world, the democratic principles, save Ukraine, save Europe, save yourself. It is crucially important to do it now and act now. Isolate economically Russia, embargo on oil and gas. On financial district, in this case, with the banks and SWIFT, it is important to stop it economically. Because every ever cent Russia is getting, they are using it to buy more weapons, produce more weapons that today killing our innocent.

And if you are silently observing -- one second. If you are silently observing and doing nothing, blood of the Ukrainians is on your hand as well. If you are still trading with Russia, you're supporting Russia. Blood is on your hands. Stop it now. Stop this war now. Help us stop it.

KEILAR: Wladimir, thank you so much. We hear your pleas. You are welcome on this show any time. We want to continue speaking with you in the days to come. Thank you so much, Wladimir Klitschko, we appreciate it.

BERMAN: Joining me now is Veteran War Journalist Sebastian Junger. His latest book is called, Freedom. Thank you so much for being with us right now.

You could hear the anger. Why such anger? Because he has seen the killing that's taking place, in places like Bucha. Borodyanka, right there, we are just getting our first look at some of the carnage on the streets there. Here are some of the video being taken from that city where they fear like as many as 200 bodies could be buried in the rubble here.

When you look at this, Sebastian, you have seen this type of thing before.

SEBASTIAN JUNGER, AUTHOR, "FREEDOM": Yes, this is very familiar. I mean, this is what Sarajevo looked like when Bosnian-Serbs surrounded Sarajevo. They'd siege to it for years, deprived it of food, fuel, humanitarian aid. And the purpose was to terrorize the population.

One of the things that the snipers did was target children, because they knew that adults might be willing to risk their own lives. But if their children started dropping dead in the street from snipers, that they would leave, and that's what they were trying to do.


BERMAN: And what's the long-term impact of something like this, you know, this type of carnage, this type of destruction?

HUNGER: Well, it's incredibly traumatic to the entire national psyche. I mean, anyone witnessing these things is going to be scarred for life. And it creates a kind of paranoia in a society because you can never assume that you're going to be safe, that you're going to be okay.

The same thing happened in Kosovo, the same murder of civilians, the same massacre, the same revenge massacres by military forces that had taken hits in combat. And they would turn their anger on the civilian population and basically line up everybody and machine gun them.

BERMAN: What do you say to those who say, you know what, this is happening, we all know it's happening, but there won't be consequences for Vladimir Putin even though we can all see there are war crimes are taking place. What do you say to that?

JUNGER: Well, there was a point where it didn't look like there will be consequences for the Bosnian-Serb leadership, Slobodan Milosevic, but there were. I mean, eventually, history moved and all of those people were brought to justice.

I'm not saying that Putin necessarily will. But even now, within days of disinformation, the world is starting to really grapple with the idea of painfully removing itself from Russian commerce. It seems that these images are what triggered that.

And, eventually, in the court of law, we don't know what was coming in Russia, like we didn't know what was coming in Serbia.

BERMAN: I want to ask because we heard from General Mark Milley, Chair of the Joint Chiefs, that he thinks this war could go on, well, let's listen, for years.


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 decade, 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 the allies and partners that are supporting Ukraine are going to be involved in this for quite some time.


BERMAN: It could go on years, and this comes as we're seeing intensified fighting in the eastern region here.

Sebastian, you have written about what looked like asymmetrical conflicts, the huge Russian army against the smaller Ukrainian army. If this does on for years, which side has the advantage?

JUNGER: Well, history shows that the occupying force, strangely, you're sort of at a disadvantage because their task is higher, right? I mean, maybe you can outwrestle someone and hold them and pin them, right? Are you prepared to keep them pinned down for the rest of your life? You may not have the resources to do that. So, the French could not hold onto Algeria and the insurgency went on for years. In Kosovo, the Serbs were driven. In Bosnia, the Bosnian-Serbs lost that conflict. After 20 years, we left Afghanistan on their terms, right? So, the occupying force has an enormous task and it's very, very hard, as the years go by, it's very, very hard to complete it.

BERMAN: One of the things that we did here, this is news just coming in now, is Kharkiv, which is the city right here, not far from the Russian border, a huge number of strikes overnight, around 25 specific strikes overnight.

When you deal with airstrikes at that level, what's the aggressor trying to do other than just destroy?

JUNGER: They're trying to terrorize the population and undermine support for the insurgency. They're trying to drive the population out and empty the region. That's what the Bosnian-Serbs did in Sarajevo, and then they can occupy it. But I should also add it is an act of frustration. When you can't win on the ground, which clearly the Russian soldiers have not been able to do, they're leaving their dead on the battlefield, that is a massive humiliation and a representative of a devastating defeat. When you do that, the one thing the super power can do is just bomb them. That never wins a war.

BERMAN: Look, it all tends to backfire on the aggressor. The problem is, it does come at an enormous cost. And it's coming in an enormous cost of lives for the Ukrainians.

Sebastian Junger, great to see you, thank you so much for being with us.

JUNGER: Thank you.

BERMAN: This morning, we're getting new details about the horrors that women prisoners of war faced while in Russian captivity, and we will hear from a pregnant military spouse whose husband is fighting for their country. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


KEILAR: With Russia's invasion, countless families have been separated by war again, because this isn't the first time that Ukraine has fought Russian invasion. And Ukrainians are fighting on the front lines but also on the home front, including right here in Lviv.


KEILAR: What is on your mind?

LIUBA, HUSBAND IS FIGHTING FOR UKRAINE ON THE FRONTLINES: I feel angry. Sometimes I'm angry at him that he rejoined the army again. But more often, I'm angry at the very fact that this war is happening. My son was waiting for his dad to come back from the war eight years ago. Now, my daughter has to wait.

KEILAR: Back in 2014, after Russian forces first invaded Eastern Ukraine, Liuba held down the home front as well when her husband, Mikhail (ph), served for more than a year in the Ukrainian military.

LIUBA: He's a veteran of war. He's on the short list of reserves that goes in the first wave.

KEILAR: Mikhail (ph) received a call from his old unit, she says, asking him to join immediately. Liuba, who is pregnant with the couple's third child, had been hoping she would weather this war with her husband. Instead, he deployed the day after Russia invaded and she moved her nine-year-old Siman (ph) and five-year-old Yestena (ph) out of their home in the center of Lviv to her sister's on the outskirts of the city where they are safer.

How are the kids doing? How do they make sense of it?

LIUBA: My kids, they know that the war is happening. They know their father is in the military. Siman (ph) is going through this as an adult. He understands everything.


Yestena will sometimes run to me and cry and say that she's afraid her dad will be killed but I always explain to her that her dad is big and strong.