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New Day

Bucha City Funeral Director and Coroner Join New Day; U.K.'s Boris Johnson Downplays Fears Of Russia Using Nukes; "Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy" Premieres Sunday at 9:00 PM ET/PT. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired April 28, 2022 - 07:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Ukrainian authorities are in Bucha and they're gathering evidence of what appears to be war crimes after Russian troops left that town. We have brought you the shocking images and the footage of people apparently executed in their streets, their bodies left where they died.

Earlier this morning, we posed questions to Serhiy Kaplishny. He is the Bucha city funeral director and coroner -- one of those tasked with finding their cause of death and making sure they receive a proper burial.


KEILAR: Serhiy, can you tell us how many people you have had to prepare for burial and what state they were in?

SERHIY KAPLISHNY, BUCHA CITY FUNERAL DIRECTOR AND CORONER (through translator) (via Skype): So far, we've collected 416 bodies. We collected them from the roadsides, from basements. We have to exhume some of the bodies because they were forcibly buried in people's gardens. And so, we had to collect all these bodies and move them to the mortuaries so that forensic experts could work with them. And then, once forensics released them, then we prepare them for burial.

KEILAR: There are so many reports we're hearing of bodies showing evidence of abuse. What have you seen?

KAPLISHNY: They were in a horrific state. Their families still can recognize them. We're having -- police are having to collect their DNA for identification. A lot of them were burned -- partially burned. Some were shot in the head. Some had half their head missing. A lot of them spent a lot of time in the basement -- lying in the basement after they died. So, yes, they were in a horrible state. And we're talking about partial decomposition. They spent 2-3 weeks after their death lying around.

A lot of bodies that we saw had -- they had evidence that these people were hit on the head. A lot have head injuries or dents in their heads -- so just hit on the head with a gun.

And a lot of them were burned. We found a family of six people -- five adults and one child -- and they were shot and then burned.

Some died in their cars because the cars were shot at -- fired on. And then, of course, if you fire on a car, quite often the car will catch fire, and these people were burned alive. We got a mother and two children out of one of these cars.

It's really horrible. A human brain can't wrap -- I can't wrap my head around this. I just can't really understand why they had to do it.

KEILAR: Serhiy, there are unconfirmed reports that some bodies in Bucha were found with many tiny metal darts in them. Have you seen that?

KAPLISHNY: No, I have not seen them. I've read about metal darts being found in bodies. I have not seen that myself because I'm not a forensic medic. My job is to collect the bodies, take them to forensics, and then to collect them back and arrange their burial. So, no, I've not seen that myself.

KEILAR: Serhiy, some of the bodies that were buried by families are now having to be exhumed so that you can document and establish a cause of death. Can you tell us about that?

KAPLISHNY: Yes. During the occupation, we were given a particular site. We weren't actually allowed to bury the dead initially. They told us here's the area where you can walk around until curfew, and that's it. You can't go anywhere else.


There were four or five army -- Russian army divisions stationed in our town and they were not talking to each other. But they told us you can't get out of this area. You have to stay in this area.

And we asked them three times -- we asked could we collect the bodies? And particularly worrying was the fact that there were bodies accumulating around the mortuary, and the mortuary is next to a hospital so there was a risk of infection. And the chief doctor of the hospital was very worried about that because also, we had no electricity, no refrigerators. Dogs were beginning to eat these bodies. So it was really a horrible picture.

And so we asked -- and the third time we asked we were allowed a small quadrant near the church. It was a tiny area where we could bury the dead that we were able to collect. So, these are the bodies that we've been exhuming just so that we can identify them. And, yes, we couldn't actually bury everybody so this was really just something that we were able to do very quickly.

KEILAR: And I understand you're having to record all of this by hand because the computer systems were damaged?

KAPLISHNY: Yes. We had no power and so the computers weren't working. And we had no mobile communication because they were jamming mobile signal. So, yes, this was all done by hand. And particularly, the first burial that we were able to do -- that was 57 people -- that was -- that was managed by the head of the hospital and we helped bury them. We helped transport them and take them to the site where we were allowed to bury them.

And then, also, people we were collecting, we created to mass graves and we buried 117 people and recorded it all by hand.

KEILAR: Serhiy, you have six people who are working with you and you have 10 to 15 funerals a day. You're organizing burials, you're releasing bodies to families. It is really hard to fathom this amount of grief.

What has this been like for you and those who work with you?

KAPLISHNY: Yes, it's difficult to convey my feelings. It's just so unprecedentedly horrible. We have to do this every day. We have to see this every day. And you kind of, in a horrible way, get used to that a little bit.

But one thing that I can't get used to, and I have to leave when this happens, is children -- when the parents come to collect their children. I have a daughter myself and I just can't watch that. I have -- every time that happens I have to leave.


KEILAR: Well, we certainly do appreciate him for sharing that with us. Very tough to hear but very important to know what they've gone through there in Bucha and other places.

A Russian banking executive leaves Russia to join the fight in Ukraine. This, after the mysterious death of one of his colleagues. He's going to join us.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The White House Correspondents' Dinner -- Brianna and I not invited, interestingly enough, but anchoring a primetime special to cover it. There is anxiety growing about this event as we learn President Biden will take precautions when he goes.

KEILAR: That's OK. I didn't want to go anyways. That's what I'm going to say.

So we also sat down with award-winning actor Stanley Tucci ahead of the new season of the CNN original, "STANLEY TUCCI: SEARCHING FOR ITALY." We'll have our conversation ahead. BERMAN: And a programming note. Get ready for adventure with an all- new CNN original series "NOMAD WITH CARLTON MCCOY." Join the master sommelier and celebrated chef as he -- I don't even know if I said that right -- (INAUDIBLE) drink wine -- as he searches for the true heart of the city through his food, music, art, and people. Catch the series premiere Sunday at 10:00 p.m. eastern only on CNN.



BERMAN: Intense hurricane and typhoons wreaking havoc on nearly every region of the globe. CNN's reporters covering the latest from around the world.


CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST (on camera): I'm CNN meteorologist Chad Myers here in Atlanta.

A study yesterday out of the journal Science Advances indicates that by 2050, the number of intense hurricanes -- category three or higher -- around the globe could double. Also, wind speeds in those storms could be increased by as much as 20 percent. This is all likely due to a warming sea surface temperature due to climate change.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF (on camera): I'm Steven Jiang in Beijing, just outside of one of the city's main children's hospitals. Parents who come here are lucky because this one is still open despite the closure of several major hospitals across the city with little advanced notice. Also closed, many schools in the city's most populous districts.

All of that, of course, a very ominous sign that the worst is yet to come, even though the capital city officially has recorded fewer than 200 cases in this latest outbreak out of its 20-plus million residents, most of whom have also gone through at least two rounds of mandatory COVID tests so far this week.


President Joe Biden will be here in South Korea next month, arriving May 20. He'll meet with the incoming South Korean president Yoon Suk- yeol, who will have only been in the job about 10 days. North Korea likely to dominate discussions there given the increase recently in missile launches.

Next, the U.S. president will be heading to Japan for a Quad summit, meeting the leaders of Japan, Australia, and India. Russia's invasion of Ukraine likely to dominate those discussions.


[07:45:00] A Russian military strike on a hospital in the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk has caused major damage. New video shows the aftermath of the blast. A large section of wall is blown out, there's shattered glass everywhere, and a mess of drywall, metal, and debris strewn all over.

A local official says that the building is one of only two remaining functioning hospitals in the entire region. He says one woman was killed in the blast. And despite the damage, the hospital will continue to operate.


KEILAR: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he does not expect any further Russian military failures in Ukraine to push President Vladimir Putin into using tactical nuclear weapons there just days after Russian foreign secretary Sergey Lavrov called the danger of a nuclear war serious and real.

I am joined now by Karen Pierce, the U.K. ambassador to the United States. Ambassador, thank you so much for coming in --


KEILAR: -- and joining us this morning.

Why is he not worried, considering the rhetoric that we're hearing from the Russians?

PIERCE: I think we've heard that rhetoric from the Russians pretty consistently -- almost since the war began. We do take all threats very seriously. NATO looks at contingency scenarios. But I think the prime minister has been clear this isn't a nuclear war. We're not talking about the imminence of any sort of nuclear strike.

But it's interesting that Putin wants to use such threatening rhetoric. It's part of his attempt to destabilize other countries and throw them off balance to detract from what he's doing in Ukraine.

KEILAR: We see a lot of that. The Kremlin spokesperson saying that pumping Ukraine full of weapons is a threat to European security. Do you see it that way?

PIERCE: No. What we're doing is helping Ukraine defend herself against Russian aggression. It's Russian aggression that's the threat to European and, indeed, world security. You know, Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council.

She does have nuclear weapons. We know she uses chemical weapons in Syria. And it's Russia who is the threat.

Ukraine's allowed under international law to defend herself, and to the U.N. Charter, she's allowed to ask other countries to help her. That's what we're doing. KEILAR: Your foreign secretary has actually said not arming Ukraine would be a provocation. He's urging Western allies to provide planes and to provide other heavy weapons.

Putin has said that Western interference is going to be met with this lightning-quick response. And I wonder if you feel that you, that Britain has a good sense of what that response would be.

PIERCE: Well, we certainly, with the NATO planners, sit down and go through lots of contingencies based on what we know of Russian military doctrine and based on what we've seen them do elsewhere in Syria. We don't know exactly what Putin might be. But I do want to stress that it is legitimate under international law for Ukraine to ask for help. We're in this situation because Putin invaded Ukraine.

KEILAR: There's a question of if this war is really contained to Ukraine. Do you think it is right now?

PIERCE: I think what happens in Ukraine will determine what happens in the rest of Europe as far as Mr. Putin's ambitions go. If he can be stopped in Ukraine -- if the Ukrainians can push him out then I think other countries in Europe will be much safer.

But if Ukraine falls then I think Putin will go after other countries in the southeast of Europe and in the Balkans. We already see Russian efforts at destabilization there. Not military efforts, but just enough to throw those countries off balance.

KEILAR: That's sort of -- I think there is an obsession and rightly so, with, in a way, trying to contain this to Ukraine. Do you think it's too much of an obsession? Do you think that it misses the point?

PIERCE: I don't think it's an obsession. I can see that, in some ways, Ukraine is being asked to bear all the risk, all the threat that Putin is throwing at Europe at the moment. But it is concentrated in Ukraine. The war is concentrated in Ukraine and that's where it needs to stay if we're to avoid a really big escalation in which many more people will die, including in Ukraine.

If we end up with a NATO-Russia conflict, then I'm afraid that's what will happen. It's why we help Ukraine with weapons.

KEILAR: Finally, I want to ask you -- a former Polish army chief is upset with the prime minister because he did talk about Ukrainian forces training in Poland on British anti-aircraft weapons. Does the prime minister need to be a little more hush-hush about these things?

PIERCE: No. Well, the prime minister, as you know, has taken a very strong position on the illegitimacy of what Putin is doing in Ukraine, and he's going to go on doing that. He talks to President Zelenskyy every day, giving him support. And the prime minister and the president have been getting together with other allies to work out what the next step should be, work out how the war might unfold, and how best we can support Ukraine.

KEILAR: But revealing where the training is going on, does he heed these concerns?


PIERCE: Well, we've been training Ukrainian soldiers for a very long time and if there's a possibility of helping them get to grips with more advanced weapons systems, we're very ready to do that.

I stress these systems are defensive. We're not giving Ukraine weapons to go off and launch attacks on to Moscow or anything like that. These are defensive weapons. And we're only doing that because Putin invaded.

KEILAR: And I will just say I think the Polish army chief fully welcomes that. It's the revelation of the information that he feels could be a little bit endangering perhaps.

But Ambassador, we really appreciate you coming in at such a critical time. Thank you so much for your time.

PIERCE: Thank you for having me.

KEILAR: Two former Russian gas executives and their families have been found dead. A top Russian bank executive who says he was fired for his pro-Ukraine views says he believes they were targeted.

BERMAN: And CNN on the front lines in eastern Ukraine.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basement -- let's go into the basement.


BERMAN: The latest as Vladimir Putin seems to threaten to widen the war.



KEILAR: Award-winning actor and best-selling cookbook author Stanley Tucci is back with a brand-new season of exploring the culinary delights of one of the world's greatest food capitals. In season two of "STANLEY TUCCI: SEARCHING FOR ITALY," Tucci showcases the regional cuisines that brings the country's very culture and rich history to life as he takes us on a mouthwatering journey through the Italian peninsula and beyond.

Here is a clip from his first stop in Venice.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

STANLEY TUCCI, CNN HOST, "STANLEY TUCCI: SEARCHING FOR ITALY": And these are cicchetti, a traditional Venetian snack.

TUCCI: (Speaking foreign language).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

TUCCI: (Speaking foreign language).

It's only 8:30, but a Venetian breakfast is eaten standing up, washed down with a glass of wine known as ombra or shadow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

TUCCI: (Speaking foreign language).

TUCCI: This is fast-food legume style. The word cicchetti means a nothing -- ironic because it's really something.

TUCCI: (Speaking foreign language).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

TUCCI: Oh my God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

TUCCI: (Speaking foreign language).

TUCCI: I'm coming over here so I can see it. Look at that. Oh my God.


KEILAR: Wow. OK, joining us now is the host of "SEARCHING FOR ITALY," Stanley Tucci.

And Stanley, you're in the right place because we also like to eat cicadas at 8:30 in the morning. But tell us -- I mean, this is fascinating. That actually looked very delicious. Give us a sense of what we're going to see here in the second season.

TUCCI (via Webex by Cisco): Hi. Thanks for having me on.

Yes, it was delicious. In fact, most of it was delicious -- all of the stuff that we -- that we ate there.

It -- we go to Venice -- the Veneto area. And then we also go to Piemonte, which is where the unification of Italy actually began -- the idea of it. We also go to Umbria.

And then we also go to London. One of the reasons we are in London is one, I live here. And second of all, there are over 400,000 Italians who live here. So it's -- it seemed to be a perfect place to include as one of the -- one of the reasons. BERMAN: Everything after wine for breakfast to me is a daze because I started to drift a little bit there. But -- so, to my eternal shame, I've never been to Venice. And in my head -- you know, it's the canals and the gondolas, but now it's wine for breakfast and sea cicadas. There is so much there.

TUCCI: There is so -- there is so much there -- even more than wine and sea cicadas. And, you know, the history of Venice is fascinating. And I think the influx of so many different cultures over millennia has created this truly amazing city, not to mention the fact that it's floating for all practical purposes.

BERMAN: I've loved you forever as an actor. And, of course, my children love you in "Captain America." But how --

TUCCI: Well, thank you.

BERMAN: I know. I'm sure that's exactly the one film that you want everyone to remember you for.

But how is it different doing this show, which you've done so well? I mean, so well. And it's such a smash hit. How is it different doing this than being in films or on stage?

TUCCI: Well, the great thing is you don't have to memorize any lines and that is huge at my age. So that -- that's wonderful. But also, it's very different. It's really the opposite of filmmaking in so many ways. It's similar to film in the sense -- and theater -- in that you have to make a connection with the people that you're -- that you're interviewing. If you don't have that connection then I think -- then I think it doesn't work.

KEILAR: We're getting into this point where a lot of people are traveling -- and they haven't, I think for a while now. And that means a lot of people are going to be going to Italy. And I wonder, especially when there are so many very touristy places that people can go, what your one piece of advice is for them going there and having an authentic experience, traveling or dining.

TUCCI: I think -- well, traveling, obviously -- you know, the more -- the more luxury there is the nicer it is for everybody, but it's always -- it's always hard to afford that. I think that -- but with regards to eating, I always think it's best to go where the locals go.