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New Day

50th Day of Russia's War, Putin Looks to Conquer Donbas in Days; Ukraine Claims Strike on Russian Ship, Kremlin Claims Onboard Fire; NYC Subway Shooting Suspect in Custody, Faces Terrorism Charge. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired April 14, 2022 - 07:00   ET



DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, 12 and older, John, if you are that age group, getting the booster is part of being up-to-date with vaccines, obviously the same with adults. So, they think that that will be case with 5 to 11-year-olds as well, but we'll see. We'll see what the FDA says.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

New Day continues right now.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEW DAY: Good morning to viewers in the United States and around the world. It is Thursday, April 14th. I'm Brianna Keilar in Lviv, Ukraine, with John Berman in New York.

It is day 50 of Russia's war on Ukraine, and a large-scale assault on the Donbas region could be just days or even hours away, according to French military officials. The Kremlin clearly stating the mission in Donbas is to conquer it. Kyiv could also be targeted they say, the Russian military threatening to strike Ukrainian decision-making centers, including those in the capital.

There are contradicting reports this morning about a critically important Russian warship in the Black Sea that has suffered heavy damage. The Kremlin says there was a fire on board its flagship vessel in that fleet. The Ukrainians claim they hit the ship with a missile attack.

The Ukrainians have also released new images reporting to show a Special Forces operation that blew up a bridge in the Kharkiv region, as a group of Russian military vehicles heading to Donbas was crossing. Ukraine says armored cars and trucks were destroyed.

BERMAN: So, Russia is also releasing videos, so consider the source. It aired on Russian state T.V., claiming to go show more than 1,000 Ukrainian marines surrendering in Mariupol. Now, Ukraine has denied the report and CNN cannot verify the claim.

Ahead of Russia's anticipated attack on the Donbas region, President Biden just unveiled an $800 million security package for Ukraine. It includes, as you can see, Javelins and military helicopters. And this morning, the U.S. is talking about sending a high-ranking official to Ukraine. We're told President Biden and Vice President Harris are unlikely choices but possibly, our reporting is, the secretary of state or secretary of defense.

We, also this morning, have new details on the arrest of the suspect in the New York City subway attack. We'll get to that in a moment.

First, back to Brianna in Ukraine.

KEILAR: I want to bring in CNN's Matt Rivers who is here with me in Lviv. Let's talk about this warship. Differing stories coming from the Russians and the Ukrainians. What do you know?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And we just heard from the Russian Defense Ministry within the last half an hour or so, Brianna. They say that the ship is still floating. They say that the fire that was on board has been contained, that there are no more explosions of ammunition, of all the ordnance that is on board this ship. So, they say that the situation is more under control and it's going to be towed to port.

Now, they say, that they're still looking into the cause of this fire. They haven't said why this started. What we know from the Ukrainian side is that they say they are the ones who started it by firing a shore-based cruise missile that hit the side of the ship called the Moskva, which actually named after the capital city, Moscow. So, it's a very symbolic attack.

If the Ukrainians are to be believed here and this was actually an attack that they launched, not only does it significantly affect the technical capabilities of the Russian Navy in and around this area, but it's also a very symbolic attack. It is the flagship of the Black Sea fleet, for the Russian Navy. It is named after the capital of Russia. And so it really will have a big impact no matter which way you look at it.

KEILAR: It is also, according to the Ukrainians, a ship involved in that Snake Island incident from which that Russian warship go F yourself rallying cry that has defined so much of this conflict for the Ukrainians comes from.

RIVERS: 100 percent, and that just one more element of symbolism to all of this. And our viewers will remember in the beginning of this war, that was one of the things that kind of showed you the Ukrainian troops' state of mind, that they were not just going to roll over in the face of this unprovoked invasion by the Russians. The fact that this flagship was involved in that and it gives the Ukrainians one more thing to point to and say, look, we're fighting back against the Russians, we are capable, we can protect and defend our homeland. It really is quite staggering.

KEILAR: Matt, thank you so much for that. We do appreciate it. John?

BERMAN: President Biden unveiling a new $800 million military assistance package for Ukraine. So, what exactly is in it? One man has the answer.

CNN's Tom Foreman here to lay it out for us. Tom?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. If you look at what's going in terms of heavy hardware, 11 of these Mi-17 helicopters, many of these came out of Afghanistan, they're Soviet-made, they're mainly troop carriers but they can carry big heavy guns and they can fire some missiles if they're outfitted that way, armored personnel carriers, a bunch of Humvees in there and unmanned coastal defense vessels to deal with those very issues you're talking about a minute ago, the very strong Russian fleet down there on the Black Sea.


If you move on from that to artillery, they have howitzers and tens of thousands of artillery rounds. Very important here, 300 Switchblade drones and 500 Javelin missiles. These are both hand-carried. They fit very well with the fast-moving small Ukrainian units that have been so successful and a huge number of the tanks and large pieces that you have seen knocked out of the Russians were done by these in small groups that can get in closer with these, strike and keep moving.

Claymore anti-personnel munitions, C-4 explosives, things like, to use beyond that. And then they have another thing that fits very well into this new theater here or this focus theater now in the east, where there is a lot of open ground and the Russians will tend to want to use their artillery to pound into towns and use their tanks in support of ground personnel. That's the way the Russians tend to operate.

These radar systems will give the Ukrainians a little bit better ability to target what they're after and to see attacks coming in that open ground, which is largely considered more favorable to the Russian way of fighting.

So, this is incredibly important, usually not as exciting as the offensive weapons but still pretty important to what they are doing there. And then, of course, there's more protective gear for the troops for the Ukrainian side, medical equipment, body armor and helmets, that sort of thing.

There are a few caveats to this, John. They really are racing time to try to get all of this to the Ukrainians so they can deploy it, get it in position and use it when this attack goes in earnest. And there will be some additional training needed for the howitzers and the Switchblade drones to make sure they do not go to waste.

But this is a significant boost at a critical time if they can simply get all of this hardware to the frontline, to the east where the fight is really intensifying now. John?

BERMAN: Yes. Tom Foreman in Washington for us, an aid package tailored for this region of the country if it can get all the way there in time.

Next hour, we're going to speak to Press Secretary John Kirby about all of this. Brianna? KEILAR: Let's bring in Adviser to President Zelenskyy's Chief of Staff Oleksiy Arestovych, who is with us now.

Oleksiy, what can you tell us about this Russian warship? Did Ukraine attack it?

OLEKSIY ARESTOVYCH, ADVISER FOR PRESIDENT ZELENSKYY'S CHIEF OF STAFF: It's a flagship of Chernomorskiy fleet, and for Russian open source, they had a fire on board. And some Romanian or Turkish sources say they're going down.

But Russian Minister of Defense today declined this and says battle cruise Moskva is on the (INAUDIBLE) and they tried to provide security measures on this stuff. I don't have real information about this and I prefer to wait and check quietly what sources say about it.

KEILAR: Yes, no, no. I understand that. Can you tell us, Oleksiy, about Mariupol? Russia say marines there surrendered. Is that true? Does Ukraine still hold part of Mariupol or is it now in Russian hands?

ARESTOVYCH: We have in Mariupol 36th Marine Brigade. And it was divided on the different regions of defense. Some of them tried to escape to the north of the city and was captured. Some of them go to the regiment Azov. They are united and still keeping their regional defense. That is as of right now.

KEILAR: Okay, some are still, you say, are there --

ARESTOVYCH: It's about more times less.

KEILAR: What is more times less?

ARESTOVYCH: Russians say they kept in prison about 1,000 marines. It is like not 1,000, more times less than 1,000.

KEILAR: Okay, I understand. We are getting word that the Biden administration, it looks like they may be sending a high-level official, a cabinet-level official to Ukraine. Who do you want to see come, and is this enough since it isn't President Biden?

ARESTOVYCH: I think that would have to be symbolic and practical (INAUDIBLE).


It could be Minister of Defense General Austin probably. Because the main line of our negotiations right now with the United States is to achieve by Ukraine its head weapon from America. It is most important we need right now because if we not have the weapons, Russian stay on our land more and more weeks. It would take heavy weapons, we can take them out. And every week of Russians staying here mean more Buchas here.

KEILAR: We see that, it seems, where Russian forces retreat. We see that left in their wake. The weapons that Ukraine has gotten from the U.S. and from Europe, can they get to the Ukrainian troops out east in time for what seems to be this impending assault by the Russians?

ARESTOVYCH: I think this will take weeks. But even after weeks, we still need this weapon to slow the Russians down from our land. Because if Russians stay, I repeat again, it's more and more Buchas. Right now, we have three or two little villages, which is -- where we can proclaim like new Buchas (INAUDIBLE) of our country, in Sumy District.

KEILAR: Oleksiy, I thank you so much for being with us and for updating us. Oleksiy Arestovych good to see you, we appreciate it.

ARESTOVYCH: Thank you so much.

BERMAN: Right after a nearly 30-hour manhunt, a suspect in the New York City subway mass shooting has been arrested. And sources tell us that the 62-year-old alleged gunman called a tip line himself, which helped lead to his capture. He will face a judge in federal court today. He is charged with violating a law that prohibits terrorists and other violent attacks against a mass transportation system.

Joining me now, retired NYPD Officer Jillian Snider and Early Start Anchor and Attorney at Law Laura Jarrett.

Jillian, look, he called the tip line himself. What does that tell you?

JILLIAN SNIDER, FORMER NYPD OFFICER: There's a lot of reasons he may have done that, honestly. One that I was considering last night was maybe he felt that there would be vigilantism against him. Everyone in the city knew who he was at that point, 10 million eyes on him. Maybe he was scared for his own safety and figured he would be safer in capture.

BERMAN: So, he was only in the East Village, I mean, which is still part of New York City, a short subway ride from where the crime took place. Why is it that you think he didn't try to flee? That's the question people are asking.

SNIDER: Because his photo was everywhere. This has made international news, honestly. Everyone -- my brother-in-law called me from France to make sure we were okay on the night of. So, honestly, this is all over the world. People know what happened. People recognize him. And I think he knew he couldn't get away.

BERMAN: It sounds like you're saying that the way that law enforcement went about capturing him had a big impact in the way that this all happened.

SNIDER: It did. They disseminated information in real-time. As soon as they had credible, factual support, they put it out there to the public. They wanted them to be involved. They wanted them to be on the lookout. And I think the way the NYPD and the FBI handled this is outstanding. BERMAN: All right. Counselor, explain to me the charges that he faces, because this is something we haven't really seen that much.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: And it's interesting, because, you'll remember, in the beginning, investigators said we don't think this is terrorism. And I think a lot of people are confused about that because you think of terrorism as an intent to intimidate the public or the government. But a lot of people don't realize there is no standalone federal terrorism statute. You have to have some other connection.

Now, here, authorities have lucked up because he did this on a train, he did this on mass transportation, which happens to be one of the ways that you get someone with a federal charge like that, and it is a significant charge. It carries life in prison if he's actually convicted. And, here, he has left such a trail of evidence online through all of these rants and all of these YouTube videos and all of the planning that went into this, including all the stuff that he actually left at the scene of the crime. It's going to be a mountain of evidence against him.

BERMAN: What role do you think the videos will play?

JARRETT: I think it goes to intent aspect. There's, I think, a lot of questions about motive. It seems like sort of a lone wolf, mentally ill situation as of right now. But he's talking about doing things on trains. He's talking about there need to be more mass shootings. If you have some of it, maybe we can play it. But it's disturbing stuff. It's a lot of rants. It's a lot of racism. But it provides a trail and a peek behind the curtain into his intent.

BERMAN: That mental health thing you brought up, colloquially known as an insanity defense, is that something that could go to that?

JARRETT: He could try. But even with that, you don't walk scot-free. You still have to go to an institution. And so there is a process that goes along with it, obviously. We will see if he tries to mount that.

He has a history, obviously, of criminality. He's never been charged with a felony before, which is why he was able to get the gun.


But he has a pretty lengthy criminal history.

BERMAN: In the videos, again, Eric Adams, the mayor, told me yesterday, he wish that social media companies had done more to monitor this kind of thing to maybe prevent a shooting like this from happening because of the messages a guy like this was sending. How possible is it?

SNIDER: It's so hard. There are so many people that put so many different things. And, again, freedom of speech, people can kind of say what they want when they're on social media. Of course, we should be proactively looking for any threats. And the FBI does that. The New York City Police Department does that. They will flag anything that's suspicious. They will let the precinct know that there might be a threat imminent and we will get what level of what kind of threat it is, what we can do to maybe intervene.

BERMAN: Are you surprised it ascended as quickly as it did?

SNIDER: Yes. I'm very pleased though. 30 hours is very impressive.

BERMAN: And they did some amazing work there work there. All right, thank you so much for being with us this morning.


BERMAN: Soon, we're going to hear from one of the heroes who spotted the suspect in the subway shooting and helped get him off the streets.

And this just in, New York attorney general is watching a price- gouging situation in the oil and gas chain.

And in Ukraine, a mother inconsolable after finding her son's lifeless body in a well.



BERMAN: All right. Just in to CNN, New York's attorney general launching an investigation into gas price gouging. We're told the entire oil and gas supply chain could be under scrutiny, including some giant multinational firms.

CNN's Matt Egan here with the latest. What are we looking at here?

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Well, John, we're told that this is going to be a wide-ranging investigation by the New York A.G. into whether or not the oil industry has engaged in gas price gouging.

Now, this probe is a big deal for three reasons. One, it is believed to be the first in the nation in response to this current period of high gas prices. Two, it's a reflection of anger in Washington and on Main Street about these high prices and the fact that oil companies are making a lot of money. Although, I would point out that in 2020, all these companies lost a lot of money when prices crashed. Prices go up, they go down.

The other thing here is that this is a big deal because of how broad it is. New York law gives authorities wide-ranging power to investigate the entire supply chain. And I'm told that's what's going to happen here, not just the super major companies but also the refiners, the independent operators of terminals and also of pipelines.

Again, looking at gas prices, the national average $4.07 a gallon, that is very high, but it's actually down significantly from a month ago, New York as well. They were looking at 4.50 a month ago. It's come down, not as fast as oil prices have come down.

Let me read you a statement from the oil industry, American Petroleum Institute tell me that this is an industry of price-takers not price- makers. And countless investigations throughout history have shown that changes in gasoline prices are based on market factors. Stay tuned for what this investigations turns out, if anything.

BERMAN: Yes, we'll see how far they dig there. All right, Matt, thank you very much.

EGAN: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Brianna?

KEILAR: All across Ukraine, mothers are grieving for children who have been killed in this war, almost 200, according to the Ukrainian government. And what you're about to see is heartbreaking. It is difficult to watch.

It is a mother in a village near Kyiv discovering her son's body dumped in a shallow well after Russian forces retreated.

We are told she recognized her son by his shoes. I mean, just the pain, that's just the pain of one family, Berman.

BERMAN: And as the Russians have pulled out of so many towns in the north there, the things that people are finding are horrifying, just horrifying.

More on our breaking news, a key Russian warship severely damaged. Ukraine says that it hit the ship, but Russia denies that. The Pentagon joins us live.

Plus, the man who captured this video of the accused subway shooter being hauled away in handcuffs joins us now with his story.



BERMAN: Hours from now, the man suspected of shooting ten people on a crowded subway train in Brooklyn will face a federal judge in court.

Francisco Puebla captured this video of the arrest. He recognized the suspect walking down the street and flagged police. And Francisco Puebla joins me now. Thank you so much for being with us this morning.

Why don't you just tell us what you saw?

FRANCISCO PUEBLA, MANAGER, SAIFEE HARDWARE AND GARDEN IN LOWER MANHATTAN: Yes. So, basically, we were three guys outside the store where I work. And so, basically, we were installing new cameras outside. And at that moment, that's when this guy was walking pass by. And when I saw his face, I recognized him like right away. And at the same time, I feel kind of panicked because he was carrying a backpack on his right-hand side. It was like heavy. And he was going and talking to himself.

So, yes, and then to make sure that I was right, I asked the other gentleman, the one who was next to me, which was Muhammad (ph), and I asked him, Muhammad (ph), tell me about if I'm right or wrong, I think this is the guy that did the shooting in Brooklyn. And he just said, yes, I think he is. And then he pulled out his phone and he looked at the picture and said, yes, man, this is the guy.

And after that, he told me just to call 911. I said no. I'm not 100 percent sure if it's him. And I don't want to put someone in trouble if I'm not 100 percent sure. So, I wouldn't do that. But in that moment, exactly in that moment, it was a red light right on the road and then police car, I saw right on the road. And so what happened, what I did, I took some action and I went straight up to the police car.