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Video Shows Likely Cluster Munition Explosions In Kharkiv; Manhunt Underway For Person Of Interest In Subway Attack; Trevor Reed's Mom: Russia Wants To Use Our Son For "Trade." Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired April 13, 2022 - 07:30   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: This, as Russian forces are pushing further into eastern Ukraine.


KEILAR: I'm Brianna Keilar live in western Ukraine.

A potential new escalation this morning in Russia's war in Ukraine. New video appearing to show explosions from cluster munitions in a civilian area in the Kharkiv region -- at least four blasts, seconds apart. You can see just how chaotic the scene is after this occurs. And this use of cluster munitions against civilian targets in Ukraine may amount to war crimes, according to the U.N.

Joining me now is retired Brigadier Gen. Steven Anderson. I want to talk to you about logistics here in just a second, but let's discuss this video that we're getting in. We knew of reports about cluster munitions being used. You're now seeing video of what appears to be this. What do you think?


BRIG. GEN. STEVEN ANDERSON, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, thank you, Brianna.

I think this shows how desperate Vladimir Putin is. He's trying to terrorize the people and he's committing war crimes in doing that.

I've been to the Ukraine. I've met many Ukrainians and a couple of things that always stand out is how much they love being European and how much they love American-style democracy, and how much they hate the Russians. And this is going to only infuriate them. They are not -- this is not going to succeed in degrading the will of the Ukrainian people, which is the reason they're winning this war so far.

KEILAR: Let's talk about logistics because we saw that really contributing to the Ukrainian victory and the Russian failure and then withdrawal around Kyiv.

Do you expect this to be playing out similarly in eastern Ukraine or is it a different situation? ANDERSON: It is a slightly different situation but the same emphasis on the logistics needs to occur. I mean, it's still going to determine who wins the battle of eastern Ukraine.

Let's talk about that for a minute. First of all, let's look at Belgorod right here. This is a key logistics hub that the Russians are no doubt going to use. Now, we've seen lots of evidence of stockpiling of munitions and supplies in order to support some kind of a move into the east, probably from the north.

And let's look at some of -- and why that is so important is because we believe there is about 40 battalion tactical groups that have been massed. Now, many of those came from the original area, and perhaps some came from up north of Kyiv and were able to reconstitute and move down to this area.

But we know that this organization of 35,000 troops, 40 battalion tactical groups has a huge logistics requirement -- huge footprint. Probably 200 tanks and trucks a day.

Now, why is this important? Well, because they've got to move 180 miles from Belgorod down to this key area right here, Kramatorsk. Now, this was hit earlier in the week by a -- the train station was attacked there. Why is that important? Well, because it's the central logistics hub for this entire area.

If you want to secure this area you're going to have to have this town. Why is that? Because it's the gateway to Luhansk, it's the gateway to Donetsk, and it also provides a pathway to Dnipro.

The Russians cannot hope to hold the Donbas region without this town. So they're going to be coming from these areas right here where we just saw pictures of convoys, 100 miles to this area, to try to take this town. And this is going to be a very, very difficult task because they're going to be exposed on both flanks and the Ukrainians are going to try to do everything they can interdict those convoys coming down.

Remember, it was 100 miles from Belarus down to Kyiv. Now this is more like 125 or 130 miles, so the logistics challenges are going to be huge for the Russians in the east.

KEILAR: Yes, bigger supply lines all around for both sides.

General, thank you so much. We do appreciate that.

The parents of Trevor Reed, the Marine who has been detained in Russia since 2019 -- they say that their son is being used as a pawn by the Kremlin.

And CNN is on the scene in Brooklyn with the latest on the manhunt for yesterday's subway shooter. Ten people shot and several others injured when the gunman went on a rampage during the morning commute. We're hearing from a survivor as he recovers from a hospital bed this morning.


HOURARI BENKADA, NYC SUBWAY SHOOTING SURVIVOR: All I seen was black smoke and that's when I got hit. I didn't think it was all that serious until I got off the train. You know, I don't think I could ever ride a train again, to be honest.




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, I'm John Berman live in Brooklyn this morning where there is a manhunt underway -- an intense search for whoever opened fire on a subway. The station right behind me here -- it is open -- people going in and out. Thirty-three shots fired, 10 people hit. Miraculously, no one killed.

As of now, there is a search for what police are calling a person of interest -- a man named Frank James. Police are searching for him because U-Haul keys believed to be connected to him were found at the scene.

Now, I had a chance to speak to someone who was injured -- shot in the leg in this mass shooting. He says he was sitting next to the shooter before it happened. I had a chance to speak to him from his hospital bed.


BERMAN: Hourari, first of all, how are you doing tonight?

BENKADA: I'm extremely in pain. The worst pain I ever felt in my life.

BERMAN: I can only imagine and I am so sorry that you went through this.

Can you walk us through what happened? I understand you say you actually sat next to the shooter on the train before everything happened.

BENKADA: Yes. I was just -- I was on 59th Street on the R train, transferring to the N train on 59th. I was in the first car, last seat, and I just -- I'm not -- I'm just not paying attention. I'm not really paying attention to that.

So I just walk in and I sit down and the guy next to me -- I got a glimpse of his face. And all you see is like the smoke -- black smoke bomb going off and then -- and them people bum-rushing to the back.

This pregnant woman was in front of me. I was trying to help her. I didn't know there were shots at first. I just thought it was a black smoke bomb. She said I'm pregnant with a baby. I hugged her.

[07:45:00] And then the bum-rush continued. I got pushed and that's when I got shot in the back of my knee.

BERMAN: Did you see the shooter open or drop the smoke canister?

BENKADA: I didn't. Once I -- once I entered the train I wasn't paying attention to anybody. I wasn't looking to anybody. I was on my phone -- had my headphones on just sitting down. And you could see was black smoke. And I turned to the right to the guy with a mask on along with an MTA vest.

BERMAN: There were some reports that the suspect was mumbling to himself before he started shooting. Did you notice that or anything else about the behavior beforehand?

BENKADA: You know, I was -- I just had my headphones in my ears and my phone in my hand minding my own business, and my head down, sitting down. But this makes me not want to ride a train ever in my life.

BERMAN: Do you remember how long it took for the shooter to begin --

BENKADA: And train from --

BERMAN: -- shooting?

BENKADA: So normally, the train from 59th Street to 36th Street usually takes two minutes but the train kept stopping between tunnels in between 45th Street. It took forever. And it's an old-style train. You can't switch cars, you know. We had to break -- somebody broke the first door down and the second door was really hard to break.

And I was just focused on the pregnant woman and that's when I got struck in the leg, man. I was just on my way to work.

BERMAN: How long was the shooting happening before the subway doors opened -- before people could get out?

BENKADA: About three to four minutes. About -- the shooting happened about a minute. Like, about like 10 shots went off. I think the gun jammed. I think he had like an extended clip or something because I never heard that many shots come off a handgun.

BERMAN: So, 33 shots were fired. Does that sound like what you heard?

BENKADA: Yes, yes. I mean, it did sound like a handgun but he probably had extended clips or another firearm, you know?

BERMAN: Can you describe what it did sound like?

BENKADA: It sounded like the loudest thing I ever heard in my life.

BERMAN: And did you see him or were you aware of him changing the magazine -- the cartridge?

BENKADA: No. All I see was just black smoke and that's when I got hit. I didn't think it was serious until I got off the train. I pulled my pants down and the size of a quarter gushing out blood.


BENKADA: I lost so much blood.

BERMAN: And it was your knee. Where did the bullet hit?

BENKADA: So, if you see right here. I'm on a cane but I'll demonstrate on my other leg -- right here. So the bullet went through the back of the knee and it came out over here. And it's the size of a quarter over here.

BERMAN: And did you know -- when did you know that you had been hit like that?

BENKADA: When I got off the train and I looked at all the blood, and then I was like this ain't right.

BERMAN: Could you stand up?

BENKADA: I cannot, yes.

BERMAN: When you were on the subway platform --


BERMAN: -- once you realized you'd been hit and bleeding, how did you get to the hospital? Who took care of you?

BENKADA: I managed to go up the stairs myself. I was -- I went to the first flight of stairs myself. Every cop that passed by me just ignored me. They were just I think maybe focused on the shooter.

And then the fire -- I told the guy at the -- at the -- whatever you call them I needed a lot of napkins -- I'm bleeding. He didn't even know what was going on -- the guy at the booth.

And then eventually, after like 5-10 minutes, two firefighters helped me on their shoulders.


BERMAN: Hourari Benkada from his hospital bed said he'd never heard a sound as loud as that before in his life. Thirty-three shots fired. Never felt pain like that before in his life as the bullet entered behind his knee and exited the front. We certainly wish him well.

In just a moment we will speak with another survivor who did also tend to a man who was shot in the leg.

Plus, New York City Mayor Eric Adams joins me live. He was mentioned by name in videos by the person of interest.

This is CNN's special live coverage. We're in Brooklyn. We're in Ukraine. Stay with us.



KEILAR: The parents of Trevor Reed, a former U.S. Marine who has been detained in Russia since 2019, now say they believe their son is being held by Russia as a trade.

This, coming after a Russian court remanded Reed's case to a lower court for review, according to U.S. ambassador to Russia John Sullivan, who was present at the proceedings.

Joining us now are the parents of Trevor Reed, Paula and Joey. Paula and Joey, thank you so much for being with us again. How is he doing? Can you give us an update on how Trevor is doing -- how he looks?

PAULA REED, MOTHER OF TREVOR REED WHO'S BEEN DETAINED IN RUSSIA SINCE 2019: Oh, well -- actually, Brianna, we saw a video of him yesterday and he looks terrible. He looks very, very thin. He looks like he has circles under his eyes. And he just doesn't look like the same Trevor that we knew and we're really worried about that.

KEILAR: Joey, I know you're -- I know you're worried about what you saw.

JOEY REED, FATHER OF TREVOR REED WHO'S BEEN DETAINED IN RUSSIA SINCE 2019: Yes. He looked like we -- I guess like we expected him to look. He's malnourished and he's just -- his facial expressions -- he just -- he just looked thin and did not look well.

KEILAR: So, those recordings that you saw from court -- you were given a chance to see him, to hear him. What did you think about the court remanding his case to a lower court? What are your concerns there?

J. REED: We -- we're not really concerned. What it is, is he was never given copies of the appeal or the court documents. This -- we've been through this multiple times. We've been in that particular court in an appeal before for his bail being denied. And so, sometimes it takes them months to give him just a simple piece of paper in English with whatever his charge or his appeals are.


And they did not do that, as usual. So he used the Russian law -- it's one of the few laws they follow -- and said I need this before we can go forward.

So they withdrew his appeal and they've sent it back to a lower court who will decide whether they send attorneys to him or they send him to Moscow to review it with his attorney.

KEILAR: So, Paula, I know -- Joey, you said that you think they're using him as a trade. Paula, what do you -- what do you think they want to trade him for? What do you guys mean by that?

P. REED: We believe that want a Russian prisoner that's here in America.

J. REED: Yes. President Putin and --

KEILAR: Do you believe they have a particular person in mind?

J. REED: Yes. President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov have mentioned a couple of prisoners multiple times over the last two years -- or three years in relationship to our son and Paul Whelan, the other former Marine that they've had for eight months longer than our son.

So, we don't want to say their names here but you can look in the news. You can look at any interview with those Russian leaders and they'll tell you the names of the two or three people that they want home.

KEILAR: And now, Brittney Griner, WNBA star, also in prison there.

Do you think that a trade might happen, and what do you -- what are you saying to the U.S. government about this?

J. REED: Well, we're not -- we're not sure. We've been advocating for a trade for over a year just based on the fact that it's Russia. We believed all along we weren't going to be able to coerce them like we might have a small nation without a military. They are obviously the largest nuclear power in the world.

Sanctions from the whole world obviously haven't affected them. So, really, if you want to get something from Russia you're going to have to trade, and that's what both countries do normally. And president -- all of our presidents have done this in the past and we'd just like for this administration to get with it. Go ahead and make these trades.

P. REED: Brianna -- yes. Brianna, we feel that's the best way. That's the only way he's going to get home is by a trade. And we're worried about his health and we'd like to get it done quickly.

J. REED: And not just our son but for Paul Whelan and the dozens of other Americans around the world that are in the same predicament.

KEILAR: And Joey and Paula, you met with President Biden a couple of weeks ago. Paula, have you heard anything from the White House or from the Biden administration since that meeting?

P. REED: Yes, we have. Obviously, we can't discuss it but we did hear from them.

KEILAR: OK. Well, that is certainly a good development, I would hope.

Paula, Joey, can you -- we always do this but in the case that Trevor can hear you, what do you want him to know?

J. REED: We're never going to stop trying to bring you home, son. We love you. And we're trying to convince our leaders -- the Congress is behind you

-- both parties. We just need the administration to make a deal with someone they don't want to make a deal with and get you and other Americans home.

We love you and we're never going to stop fighting for you.

P. REED: And I'd like to say to him to just hang in there a little bit longer. We're coming.

KEILAR: All right, Paula and Joey, I do hope that he gets that message. We always appreciate your time and thank you so much for checking in with us about how Trevor is doing.

J. REED: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: Paula and Joey Reed, thank you.

J. REED: Thank you.

P. REED: Thank you, Brianna. Bye-bye.

NEW DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: All right, good morning to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. It is Wednesday, April 13. I'm John Berman in Brooklyn. Brianna Keilar is live this morning in Lviv in western Ukraine.

There is a manhunt underway right now -- a search for the gunman who terrorized rush-hour commuters at this train station behind me just one day ago.

Twenty-four hours ago, almost exactly, he fired 33 shots. He hit 10 people. He injured 29 people overall. Five of the victims were children on their way to school.

People scrambling to get out of the train. Some of them were wounded. The floor of the platform stained in blood. Many people gasping for air because of the smoke canisters used by the gunman.

Now, police have not named a suspect yet but they have named a person of interest. Listen closely. They're looking for 62-year-old Frank James. Police are asking you to help. If you have any information about this man, call 1-800-577-TIPS.

Investigators believe James rented this U-Haul van, which was found a few miles from the scene.