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Maryna Mykhailova is Interviewed about Fleeing Mariupol; Obamacare at 12 Years Old; Heavy Shelling in Kharkiv. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 11, 2022 - 06:30   ET



PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: In place, but there is a high level of apprehension according to one source about the White House and where the next few weeks are heading.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Priscilla Alvarez, on it. Thank you so much.

Trapped for weeks in the Russian occupied -- oh, the Russia -- OK, trapped for weeks in Mariupol, a mother escapes with her family. She shares her remarkable survival story ahead.



JULIAN LENNON (singing): Imagine all the people, living their life in peace.


BERMAN: Oh, haunting, isn't it? That is Julian Lennon, the son of John Lennon, singing his father's iconic song for the first time ever. Why he says he needed to do it.



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Amid the brutal devastation and destruction in Mariupol, we do have a story of survival. One woman's family was trapped inside that city for weeks and endured repeated bombings without heat or electricity, with barely any food or water.

And joining me now to share her story is Maryna Mykhailova, who escaped with her son and with her mother from Mariupol to Poland.

Maryna, thank you so much for being with us. We are so incredibly glad to see you and see that you have made it to safety.

Can you tell us a little bit about what it was like to be stuck in Mariupol and the conditions you endured?

MARYNA MYKHAILOVA, TRAPPED FOR WEEKS BY RUSSIAN OCCUPATION OF MARIUPOL: It's difficult to say it in few words. You know, if we need to describe it, it's like you think that today is the worst day and it cannot be worse. But the next day shows you that it can.

It's the shooting, which is 24 for seven. We were there from -- until the 16th of March. And from the second -- no, from the third day of the war, it was impossible to escape from the city, especially if you don't have a car, which we didn't have. So we were trapped in there.

There was no connection. We couldn't -- we didn't have any information at all. We had only Russian radio. We didn't have any connection with our relatives, with nobody. We didn't have electricity, heating, gas, nothing. About the food, as you said, yes, we had some kind of -- like something that we had at home. But with the water, it's like, we ate one time per day. We had one glass of water per day.

And -- but it's not the most awful. The most awful thing that you hear are these bombs and missiles and they are over your head all the time. There is no place to be safe. I mean not -- not the basement, not the house, not the street. Everything is dangerous -- was dangerous in there.

And the worst thing was (INAUDIBLE) because when the plane came, I mean the Russian plane came, you -- you just sit and hear the sound and you understand that it will come. And after that you hear this explosion. It means that the plane bombed somewhere.

And, you know, in this time you just feel this kind of (INAUDIBLE) thought that -- you understand that somebody's died in that moment. But you're actually happy that it's not you.

At first this plane, it came like every three hours. Three or four hours. And it means that, like, you had three hours to cook something maybe or just to -- not to think about this plane. But I mean, maybe from the 8th of March or something like that, to be honest it was very difficult to follow the dates because you didn't have the opportunity to charge your phone. And --

KEILAR: Maryna.

MYKHAILOVA: And after that the plane was every 30 minutes.

KEILAR: Maryna, can I ask you, because I know that you were --

MYKHAILOVA: Of course.

KEILAR: And then it came every 30 minutes. Every -- so at least you knew at first you had three hours, then it went to 30 minutes.

MYKHAILOVA: Yes. Yes, after that --

KEILAR: And at a certain point, you decided with your -- with your mom and son, we've got to get out of here. What was it that made you -- I mean that's a lot of courage to summon and say we're going to try. What made you try?

MYKHAILOVA: The bombs made us try. We wanted to escape like maybe on the 28th of February. We understood that we needed to go somewhere, but it was impossible. Russia blocked all the roads from the city. I mean everywhere around the city, there was Russian army, and they didn't allow people to go outside the city. They started shooting. And a lot of cars and people in their cars died because they were like -- they were killed.

And, as I told you, we didn't have any car. So we had a neighbor who had a car and he agreed to take us with him. And we did several attempts to go outside the city, but it was impossible. The shooting began again and again and again. And on the 16th of March, we were just lucky. We're -- several cars -- a lot of cars, I mean, from the city, with such desperate people as we were, we formed the column with wide stripes and we just wanted to go somewhere, not to stay in these, because it was awful. And we were lucky because we managed to escape from the city. But while we were going to, like, to that (INAUDIBLE), we understood that we have two choices, either we escape or we will be killed. And, you know, we were ready to be killed.


I mean I was really ready to be killed. And, to be honest, one thought was -- one wish was to be killed but not wounded. And to be killed the first of the family and not to see the death of others.

KEILAR: You -- I know you had friends who you say were captured by Russian forces. Have you been able to figure out what happened to them?

MYKHAILOVA: Nothing. I know that they were captured. It was a husband and a wife. They are my friends. And their child and the mom of my friend was -- didn't, like, they were not captured. So, the mom, the granny is with the child. But he and she, we don't know anything about them. And they are not only people who we don't know what is with them.

KEILAR: There are many people in that situation where they don't know where their friends or their loved ones are.

Can you tell us about people still stuck in Mariupol?

MYKHAILOVA: I had some calls from neighbors who escaped after me. The situation became worse.

KEILAR: I think we're having a little difficulty here with Maryna's signal, so we're going to try to reestablish that. But she was saying that at first the bombs were falling every three hours. Then they were falling every 30 minutes. And she said that she could hear planes targeting buildings. You'd hear an explosion, she said, and you would know that someone was dying there, but you would be happy that it wasn't you.

This is the horror that is Mariupol where Maryna and her family escaped and where tens of thousands of people at least are still stick.

All right, we're going to try to reestablish that, but I'm afraid we lost Maryna.

Maryna Mykhailova, we do appreciate you sharing your story with us. Thank you so much.

A Russian teacher turned in to authorities after students made a recording. Hear what he said about the war.

Plus, new satellite images of another Russian convoy. We're going to take you there.



BERMAN: An important anniversary. Twelve years since the Affordable Care Act first became law, Obamacare has allowed millions of Americans to get health care coverage.

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen joins us now with the complicated legacy.



John, back in the day I covered the creation of Obamacare from the beginning to the end. And I will tell you, with all the conflicting interests between doctors and insurance companies and hospitals, it really looked at moments like it was not going to make it. But it did. And 12 years later, it is the law of the land despite repeated threats by Republicans.


COHEN (voice over): The Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama 12 years ago this spring. Then Vice President Joe Biden at his side.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Health care reform is no longer an unmet promise. It is the law of the land.

COHEN: Last week, Obama commemorated the anniversary with now President Biden at the White House, his first time back since he left.

OBAMA: We passed the ACA. I've said it before, it was a high point of my time here because it reminded me and it reminded us of what is possible.

COHEN: Today, about 14 million get private health insurance through Obamacare and another 14 million people get insurance through expanded Medicaid programs. That's about 9 percent of the U.S. population insured because of Obamacare. And insurance companies can't deny you or charge you more because of a pre-existing condition. Children can stay on their parents' insurance until age 26. And prescription drug costs are lower for nearly 12 million seniors.

But it was a rocky start for Obamacare. Back then, I tried for two weeks to get an account and log in to I failed again --

COHEN (on camera) (October 2013): Which we couldn't make this page work.

COHEN (voice over): And again --

COHEN (on camera) (October 2013): It wouldn't log me in.

COHEN (voice over): And again.

COHEN (on camera) (October 2013): It's not working.

OBAMA: It didn't help that when we first rolled out the ACA, the website didn't work.

COHEN (voice over): For a long time, Obamacare was relatively unpopular, largely during President Obama's tenure. All that changed when Republicans tried to repeal the law in 2017.

LARRY LEVITT, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION: Now is the moment when Obamacare became popular.


COHEN: Former President Donald Trump tried to convince Americans that Obamacare was bad. That spring, Trump met with people who he called victims of Obamacare. The rallying cry from Trump and Republicans on Capitol Hill.

TRUMP: We will repeal and replace Obamacare. You watch.

COHEN: But their efforts failed that summer when three Republican senators voted against it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator John McCain, just days removed from his cancer diagnosis, stunning the chamber, turning the thumbs down on the repeal bill.

COHEN: Including the late Senator John McCain of Arizona.

COHEN (on camera): What do you think changed the public's mind about Obamacare?

LEVITT: Republicans were trying to weaken pre-existing conditions protections, take coverage away from people, increase the premiums people would pay. And that was a very unpopular effort.

COHEN: We heard repeal and replace from Republicans over and over again. Do you think we've reached the end of that?

LEVITT: I think the effort to repeal and replace the law back in 2017 really burned Republicans. You know, it was unsuccessful. It hurt them in the voting booth. And, you know, I really think Obamacare is here to stay at this point.

COHEN (voice over): Last year, President Biden expanded financial assistance for people to buy Obamacare insurance through 2022. And Biden is trying to fix a so-called family glitch in Obamacare that would help insure more families of working parents.


BIDEN: Under the current rules, a working mom is told, as long as she can afford employer-based coverage for herself, she can't qualify for premium subsidies to afford coverage for her family. Cover her, but not her family.

COHEN: With the fix, an estimated 200,000 more people would gain insurance and nearly 1 million people would pay less for their insurance. Already Obamacare enjoys record enrollment and President Obama says there's a reason it's so popular 12 years later.

OBAMA: Because it's done what it was supposed to do. It's made a difference.


COHEN (on camera): Still, 12 years later, there are 12 states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid. Now, President Biden tried to clean up that coverage gap for more than 2 million people, but his efforts were thwarted by Congress last year.


BERMAN: Yes, evolving issues, but an interesting legacy 12 years later.

Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much.

Students in Russia turn in their teacher for making pro-Ukraine comments. That teacher now under criminal investigation. New twists in that story.

Plus, we're getting word of major shelling underway in Kharkiv. We're going to speak with the mayor as the Russian attacks on the east are already starting.



KEILAR: In Russia, students are getting teachers they consider traitors fired for speaking against the war in Ukraine. One woman who was forced to resign is now being criminally investigated after her students secretly recorded her and turned her in.

CNN's Matthew Chance is live for us in London with more.

Matthew, tell us what's happening here.

All right, I think we're trying to establish our communications with Matthew Chance.

Matthew, can you hear me?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, they're not talking to me. I --

KEILAR: All right, we're going to come back to Matthew Chance.

NEW DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KEILAR: Good morning to viewers in the United States and around the world. It is Monday, April 11th. And I'm Brianna Keilar, in Lviv, Ukraine, with John Berman in New York.

Ukraine says the new Russian onslaught on the eastern part of the country has already begun. The battle for the Donbas region is expected to be defining in this war. And Vladimir Putin is bringing in a new commander with a very cruel history the take it over, after Russian forces failed to seize the capital of Kyiv. Alexandr Dvornikov, also known as the butcher of Syria, is notorious for inflicting brutality and atrocities on civilians. President Zelenskyy says Ukraine is ready for the fight but desperately needs more fire power from the west.

PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, UKRAINE (through translator): New wave of this war. We don't know how much Russian weaponry we will be, but we understand there will be many times more than there is now. It all depends on how fast we will be helped by the United States. To be honest, whether we will be able to survive depends on this.


KEILAR: And new overnight, Russian forces have shelled another railway station in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian rail officials are not providing a specific location here, though we are told that no one was injured. But five locomotives, tracks, and power lines were damaged.

BERMAN: We have new satellite images from Maxar Technologies. Look at this behind me. You can see an eight-mile-long convoy of Russian military vehicles. Maxar says the convoy consists of armored vehicles and trucks with towed artillery and support equipment. You can see it right there. Let me show you where it is on the map. This is just east of Kharkiv. This is the second largest city of Ukraine just over the border here. The question is, is this convoy moving south here to the Donbas region? Where exactly is it headed?

Russia has also launched several missiles strikes in Dnipro over the weekend. A military official says the airport in the east central Ukrainian city has been destroyed. No word yet about possible casualties there.


KEILAR: Let's begin our coverage now in Kyiv with CNN's chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward. Clarissa.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brianna, all eyes now very much on the eastern part of the country. As one Ukrainian official saying essentially that offensive to try to take the Donbas region and potentially much more as well is already effectively underway. He said that already you are seeing Russian troops being redeployed, moved out of the area north of Kyiv, north of here, and essentially moved around to participate in that offensive towards the east of the country.

We're also seeing a sustained increase in the amount of shelling in recent days in Kharkiv, a city -- well, Ukraine's second largest city in the northeast. The local municipalities there saying 66 incidents of shelling in and around Kharkiv yesterday. They said that 11 civilians were killed, among them a seven-year-old child.

And you also mentioned, and I think it is significant, that another railway station, according to Ukrainian authorities, was also hit by artillery. Now, no one was killed in this, which is a mercy after the horrifying scenes we saw in Kramatorsk train station where the death toll has now gone up to 57 according to Ukrainian authorities.