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Fiftieth Day Of Russia's War: Putin Looks To "Conquer" Donbas In "Days"; U.S. Military Looks To Train Ukrainians On New Drones; Protests After Videos Show Officer Shooting Black Man In The Head. Aired 7:30- 8a ET

Aired April 14, 2022 - 07:30   ET



FRANCISCO PUEBLA, SAW SUBWAY SHOOTING SUSPECT PRIOR TO ARREST: And I told the police officer that I just saw the man that -- the -- the one he did the shooting in Brooklyn. And he was -- she -- he just told me like, OK, what is he wearing, what is he carrying? And so I told him and this guy is wearing a cap and he's carrying a backpack on his right hand side and he's right in the middle of the block. I can still see him from here. And he's right there.

And after that police say, OK no problem. I will -- I will go and see. And so, the police just drive slowly and about one more block and after a block he stop and he -- they get off, both the police officers and that's how they get him.

JOHN BERMAN, ANCHOR CNN: Did you see the arrest itself? Was there any resistance?

PUEBLA: Yes, I was -- first of all, when -- when -- when the police the was he there I didn't (inaudible) right away because I was afraid and because of the backpack on his hand. You know, who knows what he carries in the backpack. And so, you know, I stayed back. But eventually when -- when I saw that they had already arrested and then that's when I went there and then -- and then I see that it was him.

BERMAN: What a moment that -- that must have been. And you -- you told me about the backpack. You were concerned because he was carrying a backpack. What else was he doing or saying? What was his behavior like when you first observed him?

PUEBLA: Well, when he passed by right next to us he was just talking bad words and talking to his self and just continually walking right on the street.

BERMAN: Just walking by. Did it look like he was trying to hide?


BERMAN: Did it look to you like he was trying to get away from the police when the arrest happened?

PUEBLA: Not really. He just was walking right in between the whole bunch of people, you know, like a regular person. But, yes, he was cursing, so.

BERMAN: What was the scene like, you know, in the East Village after the arrest? Was there -- were people relieved? I mean, how did you feel?

PUEBLA: Well, I feel better since, you know, like if -- I mean, I am -- I work almost all my life in East Village so, you know, I -- and when I see something like this, it's just like I was -- I was -- I was worried, but since they caught him, you know, I feel little safe. But yes, it's -- it's -- it's very, you know, hard, you know, what I had -- I left yesterday.

BERMAN: Did you ride the subway yesterday before he was caught?

PUEBLA: Yes. Yes, I take the subway every day, every morning.

BERMAN: And how do you feel about taking the subway now after all this happened?

PUEBLA: Well, I kind of like mine is I kind of worry because and every time when you see some people there on the other side of the train like talking to their self, you know, I feel worried. And because this is like every day you see inside the train. So, it's -- it's -- it's also that's kind of sad, you know, what we living on these days, you know.

BERMAN: Yes, it is. Listen, and just one last question. Given that law enforcement had put this guy's picture everywhere, do you think them doing that helped you identify him? How important was it all the focus that was out there over the few hours before?

PUEBLA: No, I think that was the smartest part that the police did. They put it all -- the face and all the description because basically what I -- I recognized because his body, a big man and also I recognized his -- his face. And yes, it was very helpful, actually.

BERMAN: Well, Francisco Puebla, thank you for being with us this morning. Thank you for being so alert on the scene there in the East Village and we wish you the best going forward.

PUEBLA: Thank you very much, guys.

BERMAN: All right, we do have breaking news out of Ukraine. New intelligence shows the Russian assault on the eastern part of the country is set to happen within days. Will American weapons get there fast enough. The Pentagon joins us live.

And just in, Elon Musk offering to outright buy Twitter, like a take it or leave it offer for all of Twitter. What's going on here? Breaking news on that coming up.



[07:38:42] BERMAN: With Russia poised for a full-scale offensive in Eastern Ukraine, there is new evidence of low moral among the Russian troops. CNN's reporters are covering the war from all the angles.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: I'm Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Biden administration officials say they see recent evidence of continuing poor morale problems inside the Russian military. That the troops inside Ukraine are disillusioned. The feel they were not prepared for what they are facing in this invasion.

But, also that the Russia Officer Corp is frustrated with the performance of the troops and the performance of their own colleagues. We will have to see how this all plays out as thousands of troops are expected to move into the Donbas in Eastern Ukraine for continued fighting.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kylie Atwood at the State Department. And with the Biden administration announcing $800 million in new security assistance for Ukraine, the Pentagon says that they are looking at options to train more Ukrainian troops to be able to use Switchblade drones that the United States is providing them with.

Now, Switchblade drones are small, portable drones that have warheads on them that detonate on impact.


And according to a senior defense official, these trainings could occur with U.S. troops that have been based in NATO countries in the eastern flank in recent months, of course, to bolster their defenses. And Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby said that these trainings could be put together very quickly.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Clare Sebastian in London. Russia has blacklisted 398 members of the U.S. House of Representatives in direct retaliation for the U.S. move last month to sanction 328 members of Russia's lower house of Parliament, its State Duma.

Well, Russia's foreign ministry says, given that several members of Congress, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi were previously sanction, this means all House lawmakers will now be banned for entering Russia on an ongoing basis.

And it's warned more countermeasures will be coming, quote, "In the near future," in response to U.S. sanctions.

SEAN LYNGAAS, CNN CYBERSECURITY REPORTER: I'm Sean Lyngaas in Washington. U.S. officials on Wednesday warned that hackers had developed tools capable of being used to disrupt energy facilities. While there isn't any evidence that these tools have been used in actual cyber attacks, it's the latest in a long series of warnings that hackers have taken increasing interest in these types of facilities.

U.S. officials at multiple agencies encouraged U.S. critical infrastructure operators to be vigilant for this new threat. While it's unclear who is responsible for the new hacking tools, the U.S. cybersecurity firm Mandiant said there is circumstantial evidence pointing to Russia.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: As Russia's attacks in Ukraine intensify, more than 4 million Ukrainians have now fled to neighboring countries just over 30,000 refugees are seeking safety in Estonia. CNN's Scott McLean is live for us in Tallinn, Estonia with more on this. Scott?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Brianna. Estonia got 116 refugees a couple of years ago, most from the Middle East, Syria and Afghanistan. And for this small country that was a lot of people. Now they suddenly have more than 30,000 Ukrainian refugees.

Almost all of the women and children. And for the last two months this has been a mad scramble for the government to actually find places for them to stay. Hotels have gotten quite expensive.

And so, instead, the government came up with this. This is the top deck of a cruise ship, actually. Normally this would be shuttling people back and forth from Latvia to Sweden. Now, it is parked here in the center of Tallinn, you can see the skyline there, to serve as housing potentially for up to the next four months.

Let me just take you inside briefly and show you what it looks like. So, this the 11th floor. There are seven other floors that look a lot like this with a lot more space actually, where people can gather, mill about. The kids, you can see, they can run around and be kids here and they have all this space in the world.

The rooms are extremely small here. Some will really only hold about a bed and maybe a tiny little bathroom. So, there's not a whole lot of room. But, of course, that is a lot better than a school gymnasium. It is a lot better than sheltering in a bomb shelter in Ukraine.

The government tells me that by and large Estonians want to help Ukrainians, which is why the are being so, so generous and taking so many. It's obviously a big financial burden, but Estonians understand the constant threat of Russian aggression as a ex-Soviet state themselves. So, they understand. They have a lot of empathy for Ukrainians.

Everyone here has a story. We've met people from all over the country. Some people fled Ukraine when the bombs got a little bit too close. Some from the worst hit areas, like Kyiv, like Irpin, others. One woman told me that her son was having panic attacks just from the constant sirens. A lot of the kids now are -- you'll see them on laptops, they're doing online schooling back in Ukraine.

One woman that I was speaking to, her son was doing school and he actually had the class canceled because there were sirens back in Ukraine where the teacher was located. So, there are all kinds of challenges.

The one constant that you find with almost everyone, is that everyone wants to go home at the first possible opportunity. Though the government says that for a small country that desperately needs more people, especially younger people, given that they have an aging population here, Estonia would like to see a lot of these people stick around for the long run. Brianna?

KEILAR: It is really sweet to see those kids just being kids, Scott. Thank you so much for that report.

This war in Ukraine has stolen childhood on an unimaginable scale. You saw that stroller in the aftermath of the attack on the Kramatorsk Train Station that killed five children and wounded 16 other kids.

We have seen parents writing personal and contact information on their children's bodies in case they are orphaned. That's according to "The New York Times." And UNICEF says that nearly two-thirds of the kids in this country have been displaced from their homes, fleeing their cities for safer parts of Ukraine. Fleeing Ukraine for safer parts of the world. But some never made it.


Twelve-year-old Veronika died in Chernihiv as her family tried to escape shelling. Russian forces hit their car. As Veronika tried to run for safety her mother told the BBC that she was killed as a shell came down near their car.

In Kherson, according to ITV, 5-week-old Vanushka (ph) and his 6-year- old sister Sofia (ph) when Russian soldiers at a checkpoint riddled their family's car with bullets. ITV told their story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were no survivors. Sofia (ph), the families gold girl, her mother and the children's grandparents, Anna (ph), Oleg (ph) a dedicated grandfather. They all perished.


KEILAR: Their uncle listened to it on speaker phone. He said he heard the soldiers shoot the car to pieces. He told ITV that he heard 5- week-old Vanushka (ph) crying. He was clearly injured. He said Vanushka (ph) cried for two minutes and then he went silent.

Ten-year-old Anastasia Stoluk, Nastya as she was know, died in Shybene which is north of Kyiv. Her cousin told "The Times of London" that Russian soldiers shot their weapons at random. They struck and they killed Nastya.

Eighteen-year-old Mykita Perebyinis and his 9-year-old sister Alisa (ph), they died with their mother in Irpin. "The New York Times" capturing the moment that a Russian mortar struck a known evacuation route used by civilians fleeing the suburb of Kyiv.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in foreign language).




KEILAR: Makita (ph) and Alisa's (ph) dad says he learned of their death after seeing a photo of the bodies on Twitter, because he recognized the luggage that was lying next to them. He spoke to CNN's Erin Burnett.


SERHLY PEREBYINIS, FAMILY KILLED IN RUSSIAN ATTACK (through translator): They were normal cheerful children. My son was the -- was older, he was 18 and he was in second year of university. He studied and wanted to become an I.T. professional. Started -- studied programming

And my daughter, and my daughter was 9-years-old, and what she liked, dancing, painting, she studied English. They were normal cheerful children.


KEILAR: A cluster bomb killed another girl named Alisa. Seven-year- old Alisa Hlans near Sumy after it fell on her school, according to an Instagram post from the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska. Alisa died with her grandfather as he used his body to try to shield her, according to "The Post."

Russian forces shot and killed 10-year-old Polina Zapadynskaya and her parents as the tried to escape Kyiv in a car. They injured her 13- year-old sister Sofia and her 5-year-old brother Semyon as well. Semyon died a few days later, after Polina, at a children's hospital. That's according to "The Telegraph." And his sister Sofia in critical condition at that time. Unaware that she was the only member of her family left.

Near Kyiv, in Novy Petrivtsy, Russian forces shelled the home of 2- year-old Stepan Shpak, killing the little boy as he slept in his bed. His father, Oleh, burring him in a small coffin.


OLEH SHPAK, FATHER OF 2-YEAR-OLD KILLED BY RUSSIAN FORCES (through translator): I don't know if there is a God. What is all this for? For what? A 2-year-old child, who hasn't experienced life yet. A 2- year-old child who died for nothing.


KEILAR: Four-year-old Sasha Yakhno was fleeing with his grandmother near Kyiv when the boat that they were trying to cross the Desperate River in capsized. Voice of America reported that they were heavy artillery fire at the time. His grandmother drowned and Sasha's body was found last week, his mother said on Facebook.

The Ukrainian government says nearly 200 children have been killed in this war here so far. But that is the official count, though it is a likely a gross underestimate that doesn't include those killed in places where active fighting is underway, where officials are still working to confirm deaths.

Like Mariupol where the mayor says 210 children had died in his city as Russians lay siege to it. "The Washington Post" reporting this out of Finland, a protest, 210 little pairs of shoes symbolizing their lives.

Russian forces bombed the Drama Theatre in mid-March there as more than 1,000 civilians sheltered. Children clearly written in Russian on the pavement outside.

Russian shelling killed an 18-month-old named Kirill in Mariupol. "Sky News" capturing footage of his mother Marina and her boyfriend running the toddler to the hospital. Doctors tried to revive him, but they could not save him. Marina, seen in a photo, kissing the lifeless body of her little Kirill.


Russian forces also bombed the maternity hospital in Mariupol, injuring this pregnant woman. The picture of her on a stretcher shown around the world. A surgeon performed a C-section, but told Ukrainian television that the child did not survive and neither did the mother.

And there's so many more that we don't have pictures or names of. Human Rights watches documented the death of a 14-year-old in the Village of Vorzel near Kyiv. Russian forces threw a smoke grenade into a basement and as the teen and a woman fled from their shelter they were both shot.

An "Associated Press" photographer says he witnessed the death of a 6- year-old in Mariupol. Russian forces shelled the building where she was staying and she was -- she was wearing unicorn pajamas as an -- as an ambulance rushed her to the hospital where she died.

So many -- so many have been injured, so many others. Fifteen-year-old Masha -- pardon me -- from a small town near Zaporizhzhia, she got her right leg amputated above the knee. She had her right hand shredded by shrapnel according to investigative reporter Tanya Kozyreva.


TANYA KOZYREVA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER BASED IN KYIV: It's a town where there is no (inaudible) and there is now military objects. And -- and she just caught this shrapnel in -- into her body while she was walking around her town with her mother.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: Russian forces shelled the car the 11-year-old Milena was riding in as she escaped Mariupol with her family. According to Kosareva (ph) the head of the intensive care unit where she was been treated, says that many of his Russians friends, they don't believe the pictures. They do not believe that the pictures of the -- these kids are real. They think they are fabricated by the Ukrainians.

But, they are real. Veronika, Vanushka (ph), Sofia (ph), Anasasia, Mykita, Alisa (ph), Alyssa (ph), Polina, Sofia, Semyon, Stepan, Sasha, Kirill, Masha, Milena and so many others whose names we don't know. We'll be right back.




BERMAN: New this morning, police in Grand Rapids, Michigan of a deadly encounter after an officer shot and killed 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya during a traffic stop last week. The officer is white. Lyoya is black, are seen wrestling on the ground before the fatal shot is fired. Now, there is an ongoing investigation into the officer's actions.

CNN's Omar Jiminez live in Grand Rapids with the latest on this. Omar, what have you learned?

OMAR JIMINEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well John, the investigation is with Michigan State Police and ongoing, even though this video was released now in the name of transparency. As a result of what was on the video, we saw protests by the hundreds. New story, same feeling, calling for justice in the name of Patrick Lyoya as a result -- or after I should say, he was killed in a way at least one family representative described as execution style.


JIMINEZ (voice over): A struggle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got one running.

JIMINEZ (voice over): A gun shot. A black man dead on the streets of Grand Rapids, Michigan. A police officer now under investigation for shooting 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya in the head.


JIMINEZ (voice over): A frustrated community demanding answers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay in the car.

JIMINEZ (voice over): On April 4, police say Lyoya was pulled over for improper registration on the car he was driving, though did not elaborate on why they were looking in the first place. Just a few minutes into the stop Lyoya starts to run. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no. Stop. Stop. Put your hands in the air (ph).

JIMINEZ (voice over): The officer catches Lyoya. The two begin to wrestle. The officer uses a taser.


JIMINEZ (voice over): But it fails to make impact. The officer's body camera turns off during the struggle. Police say it was unintentional. But the passenger in Lyoya's car was recording this cell phone video and captured what happens next.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drop the taser.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are determined to get this right.

JIMINEZ (voice over): Authorities now facing tough questions, like whether the officer's life was in enough jeopardy to draw his gun.

CHIEF ERIC WINSTROM, GRAND RAPIDS POLICE: So a taser is not, per se, a deadly weapon. The taser is what would be known as an intermediate weapon. Intermediate weapon would have the potential to cause death, it would have the potential cause great bodily harm, but not necessarily.

JIMINEZ (voice over): Lyoya was a Congolese refugee. The chief saying a potential language barrier is part of the investigation. The family's lawyer, Ben Crump, contends Lyoya was confused by the encounter and terrified for his life.

The NAACP adding, an unregistered license plate should not be a death sentence. The still unidentified officer has been stripped of his police powers but remains on paid leave pending the official state investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we will seek transparency, we will seek truth.


JIMINEZ: Now, once that investigation's done the results will be given to the police department for any potential disciplinary action, but also the country prosecutor for any potential charges as well.

Meanwhile, later today, we're expecting to hear from the family and Ben Crump, who has not only called for the firing of this still unnamed officer, but also his arrest and prosecution as well. John?

BERMAN: All right, Omar Jiminez for us in Grand Rapids. Omar, keep us posted.

"New Day" continues right now.