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New Day

Republican Warning After Confirmation; April Showers Hit Northeast; Ukrainian Survivors Speak from Hospital. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 08, 2022 - 06:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brianna Keilar, live in western Ukraine.

And we do have some more on the breaking news out of eastern Ukraine where Russian forces have struck a crowded train station that is full of people -- it was full of people, has been for days, waiting to evacuate. We're getting now the very first images from this attack. Thirty killed. That is the early estimate right now, 100 more injured. And 90 percent of the casualties we've learned are women, children, and the elderly because those, of course, are the folks who are trying to escape, right? The men cannot leave, most of them, if they are of fighting age. And a Ukrainian official says that Russia knew exactly what they were hitting as dozens were there waiting to get out of the area to somewhere safer.

This is horrific. And, John, to the point that you've been making, this is a place that funnels people out of this region. It is known that folks would be here trying to get to safety.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Those images are terrible. You can see the tarps laying over the bodies in that train station. At least 30 people were killed at this point. These are just the very first images we're getting out of there and we expect more.

And so people know where this is, it's in Kramatorsk right here. It is in eastern Ukraine. This region here is where everyone expects the Russians to try to launch this massive assault, this massive invasion. So, this attack could be in preparation for that. But people, thousands of people, have been evacuating this area. Thousands and thousands of Ukrainians have been trying to get out here. You can see how Kramatorsk is right in the center of it, a central location where thousands of people congregate every day. Ukrainians say the Russians absolutely knew, they must have known what they were hitting when they launched this missile strike there today.

Again, if we can put those pictures back up again. The first pictures we are getting from this deadly attack there. Again, you can see the tarps over the bodies. The first responders, we're told, are on the scene right now working feverishly. And we'll get much more information when we can. KEILAR: Yes, these are, As Christiane Amanpour said, not Ukrainian's

caught in the crossfire, they are targeted. They were not anyplace where they should have been hit.

Now, the Russians have reportedly pulled all of their ground forces out of northern Ukraine. We are seeing some firsthand, this devastation that they left behind. CNN is going to take you live to Chernihiv, a city in ruins, ahead.



BERMAN: All right, the breaking news, we're getting our look at the first images to come in the aftermath of what appears to be a devastating Russian missile strike at a crowded train station in eastern Ukraine. You can see the first responders here in Kramatorsk going through the rubble right now. Bodies covered in tarps there. Oh, my. You can see the blood stains on the ground.

We're told at least 30 people killed there. More than 100 injured. But judging by the pictures we're seeing here, you can expect those numbers to rise. Thousands of people, we are told, were at this train station at the time of the attack, including children and the elderly.

Ukrainian officials say the Russians knew exactly what they were hitting as this place, this Kramatorsk right here, this train station has been a hub for thousands and thousands of people trying to get out of this war-torn part of the country.

Turning now to an historic vote in the U.S. Senate. The Senate did vote to confirm President Biden's Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first black woman to serve on the highest court of the nation. Looking forward, some Republicans warn it could be the last Biden nominee confirmed, especially if Republicans win control of the Senate.

Senator John Thune says, if there is a vacancy next year, he says, quote, I think it's going to be hard because that's kind of the environment we're in right now. If you've got a divided government, you're going to have a president that is willing to nominate -- you're going to have to have a president, he says, who's willing to nominate mainstream judges.

Joining me now is Sara Sidner, you saw her there moments ago in camera frame, anchor of "Big Picture with Sara Sidner" on CNN Plus.


Sara, on your show you have been talking about this historic confirmation.

SARA SIDNER, CNN PLUS ANCHOR, "BIG PICTURE WITH SARA SIDNER": We -- I mean, if you look at it, it's more than 200 years since the Supreme Court had its first session in 1790. And more than 200 years later, a black woman has finally ascended to being a justice. It is a huge moment in our history. But, in those words that we heard there about, well, we're probably not going to be able to confirm anyone else, what is happening I think with the court is, it is becoming political. And the court doesn't want to be, as you know, political. They want -- don't want the public to see them that way. But the more we go down this road where only if you are in power of the Senate will you confirm someone, if that is where we are going, then the court automatically becomes this political beast and maybe some of its power is reduced as one of the third powers of government.

BERMAN: Yes, no question.

Look, John Thune, who's the number two in the Senate there, people might be upset that he's saying what he's saying, but he may be right.

SIDNER: He may be right.

BERMAN: I mean I -- you can't argue whether or not he's right. It would be very hard for Joe Biden to have a nominee confirmed if Republicans take control of the Senate. That's the politics of it. I want to, if I can, talk more about the history of it because you had a really interesting interview on your show just making note of what a big deal this was.

SIDNER: Let's listen to it, because this is the very first black person who came the dean of Rutgers Law School. And she happens to be a black woman. I want you to listen to what she has to say.


KIM MUTCHERSON, DEAN, RUTGERS LAW SCHOOL: You are hyper visible when you're a first in a role like that. And so that sort of feeling of constantly being watched, that their -- you know there are people who are waiting for you to make a mistake. You know that there are people who think that you didn't earn your position there. And we saw a lot of that in the confirmation hearings. And that, I think, is a -- is a level of pressure that a lot of other folks just don't feel.

When you're the first, there is this pressure to make sure you're not the last. And so that means you really have to, you know, step up to the plate, do the job extremely well, because in a way that's simply not true for lots of white men. If you're the first black woman and you fail at that job, that is going to have repercussions for the black women who come after you.


SIDNER: So she was talking about what it's like to be a first. She knows what it's like in her realm. And she was talking about what it will be like likely for Ketanji Brown Jackson.

There is one thing I know that we haven't mentioned but I can't help mentioning it. The video of the Republican senators walking out, two of the senators not making it in because they didn't have the right ties. This -- when I talked to black folks across the country after seeing this and hearing about this, they said, this is so disrespectful. And one person said something to me, look, you know, Malcolm X, back in the day, said the most disrespected person in America is a black woman. And that is exactly how a lot of black women felt. When they saw that, they felt like these senators turned their back not just on Ketanji Brown Jackson, but on the achievements of black woman. So it was a very strong reaction to that.

BERMAN: Sara Sidner, thank you so much for that reporting.

And, of course, you can watch Sara Sidner every week day at 9:00 a.m. Eastern only on CNN Plus. That's when her show begins to stream every day. Of course you can click on it any time you want.

Much more ahead on the breaking news out of eastern Ukraine. A Russian missile strike on a train station packed with people waiting to leave part of the country that has been just savaged by war recently. At least 30 killed, more than 100 injured. We're establishing communication with people on the ground.

This is CNN's special live coverage. Stay with us.



We're following some breaking news here out of Ukraine. We're going to bring you more on this. At least 30 people killed, 100 injured. Ukrainians in a train station. This is a Russian strike on a train station in eastern Ukraine, which is where thousands wait to evacuate. They are known to be there trying to leave the area. We're going to be joined by someone from the ground in just moments.

In the meantime, back to New York.


BERMAN: Yes, first, let's get a quick update on the weather here in the United States. Major storms hitting parts of the country already, and more coming for the weekend.

Let's get to CNN meteorologist Jennifer Gray.


JENNIFER GRAY; AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, John, we are seeing a lot of rain anywhere from the south all the way up to the Ohio Valley, into the northeast and New England. Even some snow from northern sections of New England and even some ice for northern sections of Maine. So a dangerous commute for a lot of people this morning.

And you can see, more rain to come as we go into the next couple of days through Saturday. You can see pockets of icing. That pink also snow as far south as Virginia, even into North Carolina for the higher elevations.

We are going to see widespread amounts. Under an inch of rain. But we could see anywhere from two to four inches of snow. Some isolated amounts even higher, especially for the higher elevations of the Appalachians.

And here's the temperature trend. We're finally going to be warming up a little bit for the Midwest but cooling off considerably for portions of the east with temperatures in New York only topping out in the low 50s by Sunday.


BERMAN: All right, Jennifer Gray, thank you very much.

We're getting more information on this deadly Russian missile strike on a crowded train station in Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine, as more civilians are being killed and injured. CNN's Jake Tapper goes inside a hospital to hear from survivors.

Stay with us.



KEILAR: As Russia's attacks intensify, Ukrainian hospitals that are still standing are filling with civilian victims. Some patients badly wounded in Russian bombardment are sharing their harrowing stories of survival.

CNN's Jake Tapper has the story.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" (voice over): Just as Putin's forces did in Syria, so too are they targeting hospitals and medical centers here in Ukraine. Two hundred and seventy-nine hospitals have been damaged since the war started, according to the Ukrainian health minister, with 19 of them completely decimated, forcing thousands of innocent Ukrainian civilians, wounded in Russian attacks in the east and south, to be shuttled hundreds of miles to hospitals in western Ukraine to fight to stay alive, such as Olga Zhuchenko.

TAPPER (on camera): Do you ever think you'll be able to go back to your normal life?

TAPPER (voice over): She ran a grocery store in the Luhansk region with her husband, Maxim Alexandrof (ph), when seven bombs hit their neighborhood. Shrapnel pummeling their apartment balcony.

OLGA ZHUCHENKO, SURVIVED SEVEN BOMBS DROPPING ON NEIGHBORHOOD (through translator): I have lost everything. I have lost my flat, my property, my health.

We didn't expect to see it. We always have counted Russians as brotherly people. We never hoped they will exterminate us like that.

TAPPER: Olga has been here in this hospital, in this bed, for one month. She may never walk again. Their elderly neighbor was killed in the same attack. They tell me she

had been so scared she stayed with them for a few days before her life was so brutally and unfairly snuffed out by Putin's bombs.

By now it is clear these attacks on civilian apartment buildings are no accident. Entirely civilian city blocks in Irpin and Mariupol, residential apartment buildings have been obliterated. The facts lead to only one conclusion, the Russians are purposely slaughtering Ukrainians, moms and dads, children, grandparents. The Russian government, of course, denies targeting civilians.

A group of American doctors with expertise in war injuries, because of unfortunate American experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq, were visiting the hospital when we were there, meeting with the mayor of Lviv, sharing what they knew about war wounds.


DR. JOHN HOLCOMB, PROFESSOR OF SURGERY, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA BIRMINGHAM: We wanted to share information from our experiences in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the civilian hospitals in the U.S.

MAYOR ANDRIY IVANOVYCH SADOVYI, LVIV, UKRAINE: Thank you for visit. Thank you for support. And thank you for cooperation.

HOLCOMB: Of course.

SADOVYI: This is very important for Ukraine and for United States and for future.

TAPPER: These are brutal injuries that are unfamiliar to young surgeons in western Ukraine. Dr. Hnat Herych, chief surgeon, has seen an influx of thousands of these patients.

DR. HNAT HERYCH, CHIEF OF SURGERY AT A UKRAINIAN HOSPITAL: The injury that we have now is unbelievable.

TAPPER (on camera): What do you want the world to know about what you're seeing here?

HERYCH: I want the world know that they need to know that the Russian forces, they don't fight with the -- with the Ukrainian army, they fight with the Ukrainian people. They killing civilians, they killing children, and they destroying our country.

YURIY KHANIN, UKRAINIAN PATIENT WHOSE HOME WAS DESTROYED BY BOMBS (through translator): Shrapnel. Shrapnel now in my back, in my feet, everywhere.

TAPPER (voice over): Before he was a patient, whose body is now riddled with shrapnel when his home was hit, Yuriy Khanin, from the Luhansk region, was an anesthesiologist.

KHANIN: The flat where we lived in is destroyed. My parent's flat is destroyed. My wife's flat is destroyed. We lost everything.

TAPPER: He has a number an army medic wrote on his arm so they could keep track of patients needing help in the chaos of the war.

TAPPER (on camera): Causing war, creating war is not just directly inflicting pain with bullets and bombs on a people, it's also creating conditions of desperation, which poses a whole other set of problems, whether disease or starvation or panic.

TAPPER (voice over): And these secondary effects from the chaos of Putin's war can also be fatal.

OLHA AKYNSHYN, UKRAINIAN PATIENT: We had a happy life. Everything was perfect. And then everything changed very abruptly.

TAPPER: We met Olha Akynshyn on her 45th birthday. She and her husband Alex and 10-year-old son had been hiding in their basement in the Kharkiv region for a month. The shelling, they say, was relentless.

AKYNSHYN: We are so afraid, especially our kid was so afraid, that we couldn't stay anymore.

TAPPER: When the building next door was flattened, she was so scared for her son's life, they got in their car and fled. She had not slept for two days. She was in a horrific car accident.

AKYNSHYN: When I got in my first hospital in Kilmalski (ph), they couldn't help and operate severe broken skull and bones.

TAPPER (on camera): So you can't see right now?

AKYNSHYN: Only silhouettes, like very far away.

TAPPER: Do you think you'll ever go back to the life you had?

AKYNSHYN I hope it will. The school where my child learned has been destroyed. But I hope if our house stays safe that we will return, rebuild. Our neighbor will rebuild, our village, our town. I love my Ukraine so much. I would only want to live here in Ukraine.

TAPPER (voice over): Putin fashions himself an alpha male, a tough guy. One has to wonder why Putin thinks slaughtering civilians, seniors, women and children, mutilating women such as Olga and Olha, are those the actions of strong, powerful man, or are they actions of someone else, someone weaker and pathetic?


TAPPER: And, Brianna, when we talk about incidents like we're talking about now in Kramatorsk, the train station that was hit by a Russian strike, killing at least 30, wounding at least 100, those patients in all likelihood, the ones that survived, will be taken to western Ukraine to places like Lviv and around here because there are no hospitals that can take them in. In Luhansk province, there are no hospitals left, government officials say.

And this is also one of the effects of Putin's war. It's not just the killing of those 30 people, it's the 100 people that were wounded. It's the chaos. It's the disease. It's everything he is causing these innocent civilians to have to deal with.

KEILAR: That story was incredible, Jake. I thank you so much for sharing that with us. It is tough to watch, but it is essential to see.

Thank you so much.

TAPPER: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: And, of course, you can catch Jake on "THE LEAD" at 4:00 p.m. Eastern and tonight at 9:00 p.m. as well.

New DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KEILAR: Good morning to our viewers in the U.S. and around the world. It is Friday, April 8th. And I'm Brianna Keilar, here in Lviv, Ukraine, with John Berman in New York.


We are beginning with breaking news out of eastern Ukraine. New images just in that show a Russian missile strike on a packed train station. This is a train station.