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New Day Saturday

Zelenskyy Calls For Negotiations On Peace "Without Delay"; Casualties Rise As War In Ukraine Enters Fourth Week; Drone Footage Shows Destroyed Buildings In Mariupol; Biden Warns Xi Not To Assist Russian War Effort; Biden, Top U.S. Officials Say Putin Committed War Crimes; International Criminal Court Investigating Potential Russian War Crimes In Ukraine; IEA Warns Of Oil "Emergency", Urges Governments To Cut Gas Use; Powerful Storm System Could Hit South With Hail, Wind And Tornadoes; Some Ukrainians Return To Home To Join Fight Against The Russians. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired March 19, 2022 - 07:00   ET




BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Buenos dias. Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. Thanks for joining us this Saturday, March 19th, I'm Boris Sanchez.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Kristin Fisher in today for Christi Paul. Up first, the President of Ukraine has a message from Moscow, it's time to talk. In a Facebook post today, President Vladimir Zelenskyy called on Russia to begin peace talks without delay or else.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translation): I want everyone to hear me now, especially I want them to hear me in Moscow, it's time to meet, time to talk, time to restore territorial integrity and justice for Ukraine or else Russia will face such losses that several generations will not be enough for it to rise back up.


SANCHEZ: His message comes as Vladimir Putin steps up his brutal attacks on civilian and military targets including a base in Mykolaiv. Russian forces also fired six missiles on the city of Lviv, and that's near the Polish border right on NATO's doorstep. President Zelenskyy says that 130 People have been rescued from that theater that was hit by Russian bombs in the battered city of Mariupol, but he says that hundreds more may still be trapped underneath rubble. The U.N. says that civilian deaths are up to at least 780 across Ukraine, though that number they suspect is actually much higher.

FISHER: The U.K. defense minister says that Russia has been surprised by the scale and ferocity of Ukrainian resistance. And U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin traveling in Europe says that Russia has made a number of missteps. Our correspondents are covering the invasion of Ukraine from all over the world, multiple angles on the ground in Lviv, to the refugee crisis in Poland, to the White House and the very latest on President Biden's phone call with Chinese President Xi. And we want to get the latest on what's happening in Ukraine.

SANCHEZ: Let's take you to Lviv now with CNN International Correspondent Scott McLean, who joins us live. And Scott, as the Russian onslaught has expanded, areas in the western part of Ukraine have been more of a focus recently and just the last hour you said you were hearing air sirens there.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's correct, Boris, so they went off a little bit over an hour ago or the alert was over a little over an hour ago. It seems like there was nothing hit in this general vicinity, at least nothing that we could hear from our vantage point here in the central part of the Lviv. But these air raid sirens are almost daily occurrence sometimes several times a day yesterday, though, was a real wake-up call when those bombs dropped just right next to the airport at an aircraft repair facility according to Ukrainian officials.

The city of Mykolaiv, though, Boris, in Southern Ukraine, that city has taken much more of a serious pounding from Russian air attacks. We're told by a local official just this morning that some 30 hours after Russian bombs were dropped on a military base there, the rescue operations are still underway. There are some absolutely stunning video that's come to us from CNN-affiliate expressing who had a team there on the ground in the immediate aftermath when they could see people still digging through the rubble trying to get out survivors.

In fact, they saw one man pulled out seemingly without a scratch on him. It was absolutely miraculous. Mykolaiv is important because it lies at a sort of a crossroads for the Russians, if they could take that city, it would allow them to go west, open up new fronts into Odessa. It would also allow them to turn north and then attack Kyiv from the south. We're also getting new information from Mariupol -- new images at least -- showing the destruction from the air. We are also seeing aerial pictures, new satellite images, I should say showing a trickle of cars that is starting to leave the city through an unofficial humanitarian corridor, it seems.

I say a trickle because there are hundreds of thousands of people's still trapped in that city who have not been able to get out, and for well over two weeks there has not been heat, power, water, and they are running out of food and water. As you mentioned earlier, the President Vladimir Zelenskyy also says that some 130 people miraculously were able to be pulled out of that theater that was bombed by the Russians, but there could be still hundreds more trapped under there, we're still waiting for word.


And as I mentioned earlier, Lviv here has been hit. Just yesterday by a new set of strikes. The concern here is that there are some 200,000 plus people in the city who have sought shelter from other parts of the country. The question is, will they stay? I asked one woman yesterday who had actually come from Kyiv, about her feeling on staying in her new home. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt really nervous about my daughter. If not for her, I wouldn't come. I wouldn't go. I wouldn't leave Kyiv because my husband is there. Why? Because I was born there. I want to be at home. I don't want to be refugee. That's normal, I think.


MCLEAN: And Boris, that is something that you hear over and over again from people, they simply do not want to leave for no other reason other than this is their home. This is where they feel like they belong, and obviously nobody wants to be a refugee.

SANCHEZ: Some six and a half million Ukrainians displaced by this conflict, just staying within Ukraine not leaving their country. Scott McLean from Lviv, thank you so much.

Let's pivot now to the White House. President Biden warning China against coming to the aid of Russia. The President spoke by phone with President Xi Jingping about Ukraine. CNN White House Reporter Jasmine Wright is traveling with the president in Delaware and she joins us now live. Jasmine, President Biden warning of serious consequences if China were to get involved directly in Ukraine.

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Boris. President Biden was direct when he described both the implications and consequences that China would face should it aid Russia in this ongoing conflict, according to U.S. officials. But one thing that does, that's not clear yet is whether or not President Biden achieved at least part of his goal, which is to influence China's President Xi into choosing the right path here, according to U.S. officials.

And now, we know that they describe the nearly two-hour long phone call as direct, substantive, substantive and detailed, and really comes at a pivotal moment in which U.S. officials believe that China could have real influence on the trajectory of the ongoing bloody conflict. As well as whatever decision China makes, could really influence U.S. and China relations for decades to come here.

And now, White House officials, really when asked, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, when asked yesterday, whether or not the U.S. still had concerns about whether China could come to Russia's aid either militarily or financially, something that U.S. officials have worn for the past week that they believe Russia has requested of China. Take a listen to Psaki's answer here.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We have that concern the president detailed, you know, what the implications and consequences would be if China provides material support to Russia, as it conducts brutal attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilians. And obviously, that is something we will be watching and the world will be watching. China has to make a decision for themselves about where they want to

stand and how they want the history books to look at them and view their actions. And that is a decision for President Xi and the Chinese to make.


WRIGHT: So, there we heard from Psaki saying it is up to President Xi to make that decision. Now, for their part according to state media, they said that President Xi made clear to Biden that it was up to both the U.S. and China to ensure that peace remains along the, remains around the globe. Now, we still have really no word as to whether or not the U.S. officials are assessing exactly where President Xi now stands in this ongoing conflict. It is something that will likely reveal itself over time. But again, that was another one of President Biden's goal to really nail down exactly where China is. But of course, the two parties have decided after that call to continue their conversations. Boris, Kristin.

FISHER: Jasmine Wright, thank you so much. And as Russia's attack on Ukraine intensifies, so does this refugee crisis. And the United Nations says that more than 90 percent of those fleeing Ukraine are women and children. CNN Correspondent Melissa Bell joins us live from Poland along the border with Ukraine. And you know, Melissa, we just heard from Scott McLean who talked to Ukrainians who don't want to leave because they don't want to become refugees, but you are where they have decided to leave and decided to become refugees.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kristin. Many of them doing so of course, one of them doing so totally reluctantly, and with a heavy heart. This is the face of Medica not very far from (INAUDIBLE) where the refugees arrived on foot. As you see, huge camp has been set up, NGOs providing basic necessities: food, water, and if a reminder, were needed of the nature of the population that is fleeing, as you said, because those fighting age men are staying behind to fight. It is 90 percent women and children.


That's why you'll see people giving out soft toys, wearing costumes to try and make the children feel more comfortable. So, what happens is the refugees walk up this way. They're greeted by NGOs, offered food, water, the children's stuffed toys, and they ended up over here, where they'll be loaded onto buses, and taken into (INAUDIBLE), and then provided with shelter or taken further on into Poland.

And I think it's important to remember that the vast majority of the more than two million Ukrainian refugees who have now crossed the British border remain in Poland. And of course, this has proven a massive strain. It is the speed with which these refugees have suddenly flooded into Poland, their number, the nature, again of the female and child population that makes it particularly difficult to deal with. What's been extraordinary as but to see, Kristin, the outpouring from ordinary people who wanted to help.

I'll just show you the images here of people who continue to trickle through this border. And one of the other points is that although there are bottlenecks that Europeans are trying to iron out now, to try and help more and more of these refugees move on, the vast majority of people we've been speaking to want to stay here, they want to stay next to the border, because they believe this is a war that's going to be won and all they want is to be going home. Kristin and Boris.

SANCHEZ: Melissa Bell from the Poland-Ukrainian border, thank you so much. Let's dig deeper now on this conflict with CNN Global Affairs Analyst and Time Magazine Contributor Kim Dozier; we're also joined by Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, he was the Assistant Secretary of State for Political and Military Affairs in the Bush Administration.

And General, I want to start with you with something that just came from the Russian Ministry of Defense. They are saying that they've used a hypersonic missile to destroy a military warehouse in Western Ukraine near the Romanian border. Reports indicate that if this is true, it's the first time that Russia has used this kind of weapon in Ukraine. Help us understand the significance of the use of this kind of missile.

GEN. MARK KIMMITT, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICAL AND MILITARY AFFAIRS IN THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION: Well, first of all, there's no reason for them to use a hypersonic missile in terms of the tactics, techniques or procedures. That's clear message to the United States that they have the hypersonic missile, and they want to find out first if we're able to intercept it. And second of all, to see if it affects our behavior that they have ramped up the provocation a bit.

SANCHEZ: And General, just for our viewers, could you extend, explain the difference between a hypersonic missile and just kind of a standard weapon, the types of missiles that they've been using in Ukraine thus far?

KIMMITT: Well, the word alone, hypersonic should indicate the difference. It goes at an incredibly fast rate, at incredibly fast speed. There are some questions about whether we can detect those missiles with our current radars. And because they're going so fast, if we can intercept them and knock them down. So, this is a new level of capability within the missile regime. And we're starting to see those used not only by the Russians now in Ukraine, but the Chinese have also developed that capability. We're developing that capability. But we're a bit behind the times compared to China and Russia right now.

SANCHEZ: That's an important note to keep in mind. Kim, I do want to ask you about something that the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, said about Russia's next move, let's play a soundbite.


LLOYD AUSTIN, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Because of the fact that they've, they've stalled on a number of fronts there, it makes sense that he would want to increase his capability going forward. We've just not seen that yet. But again, the most, the smartest thing that he could do right now is to make a decision to end his conflict. And, you know, he's passed by a number of opportunities to off ramp, de-escalate and, and try to settle this through negotiations, and we call upon him to do so.


SANCHEZ: Kim, I keep hearing experts talk about the importance of making sure that Putin has an off ramp to avoid something like the use of nuclear weapons, but he doesn't seem to be looking for an off ramp?

KIM DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Not so far, and the one positive that could have come out of the Biden-Xi phone call is that Xi has the ability to put pressure on Vladimir Putin. He may be the only person who can reason with him and say, look, here is an off ramp. The Ukrainians seem to be offering to you neutrality and possibly you could take some of their territory or leave it in a fuzzy state to be decided later.

Take that, because China is an ally of Ukraine and partner of Russia. And China doesn't want to get bashed with the secondary sanctions that could be coming. And surely, Biden let them know, in that phone call that the U.S. and Europe, two of China's biggest trading partners would punish Beijing if it stuck by Russia.


SANCHEZ: And Kim, you sort of outlined some of the potential outcomes that could come from an agreement between Ukraine and Russia. And I've heard repeatedly the concept of Ukraine adopting some sort of neutrality in the way that, that the Swiss have neutrality. What do you make of that idea?

DOZIER: Well, look, U.S. officials have tried to explain to successive Ukrainian presidents but Zelenskyy seems to have taken this on board. No NATO country is going to agree to Ukraine joining or any country joining that is partly occupied, especially by Russian troops. Because the moment they joined, they can use that Article Five, to turn around to NATO members and say, now you all have to help us drive those forces out. So, for the foreseeable future, decades, Zelenskyy knows that NATO membership is off the table. But maybe he could join the E.U. later if his country survives this invasion.

SANCHEZ: General Kimmitt, to you quickly, Russia says that they will treat weapons shipments entering Ukraine as a legitimate target that's coming from Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The White House that says that that's something that he's threatened before, that no U.S. troops would be an immediate danger. In your mind, could that be a threat that would lead to further escalation with the West, though?

KIMMITT: Well, I think it's more than a threat right now. Some of the attacks on the Lviv and in the West are specifically targeting those weapons shipments. But they only have been attacked once they enter into Ukraine. If they in fact, are going against the airfields in the NATO countries where they're being shipped from, that would invoke Article Five, that would expand this conflict and that would escalate to a level that I don't think either Russia and certainly not NATO is seeking.

SANCHEZ: We have to leave the conversation there. Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, Kim Dozier, we appreciate your time and expertise. Thank you.

DOZIER: Thank you.

FISHER: Norway's Prime Minister says that four U.S. soldiers are dead after a U.S. military aircraft crashed during NATO training exercises in Norway. The Osprey aircraft which belongs to the Marine Corps was spotted on Friday by a rescue helicopter. The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but Norwegian police reported bad weather in the area. Search crews have to get to the crash site by land using snowmobiles. CNN has reached out to the Pentagon. We're waiting for more information, and we'll bring it to you as soon as we get it.

President Biden and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken say that they believe Russian President Vladimir Putin is guilty of war crimes. So, will he face consequences and what goes into building a case for war crimes. We're going to delve into that next.

SANCHEZ: Plus, a warning that the oil industry could be headed for a major supply crisis. What that means for the price at the pump during the spike in gas prices. We'll be right back.



SANCHEZ: President Biden and top U.S. officials ramped up rhetoric against Vladimir Putin this week, directly saying for the first time that the Russian president is committing war crimes.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Putin a war criminal, Sir?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think he is a war criminal.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: President Biden said that, in his opinion, war crimes have been committed in Ukraine. Personally, I agree, intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime. After all the destruction of the past three weeks, I find it difficult to conclude that the Russians are doing otherwise.


SANCHEZ: Now, Biden and other U.S. officials had previously stopped short of using that label because there's a legal distinction. Actually, prosecuting a leader for war crimes is complicated. There are multiple probes right now under Russia's actions in Ukraine, including one by the International Criminal Court. The ICC is an independent court with jurisdiction in more than 100 countries that prosecutes individuals for atrocities on the battlefield and acts of genocide. This morning, we have an expert to walk us through the ins and outs of

these complex cases. Bill Wiley joins us now, he is the Founder and Director of the Commission for International Justice and Accountability, and he's been investigating conflicts for 25 years in places like the Balkans, Iraq, Syria, and Libya. Bill, we're grateful to have you this morning. Thanks for sharing part of your weekend with us.

On the surface, this seems obvious, we've seen what seems like countless images of Ukrainian civilians, suffering from Russian attacks in residential areas, areas that do not appear to be military bases or operations in any way. But you've noted that the footage that documents, what we've seen thus far is useless in an international court. Why is that?

BILL WILEY, FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF COMMISSION FOR INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE AND ACCOUNTABILITY: Well, useless is perhaps overstating it slightly if that's what I've said in the past, but it's a very, very minimal relevance because what that shows us is what we call the crime base. But ultimately, we need to understand the intent of the attacking force him to get it that we need materials generated by that attacking force, documentation, signals, intercepts, marked maps, all that sort of thing.

SANCHEZ: And walk through the process of collecting that kind of evidence because I imagine that in the fog of war, it gets pretty hairy.

WILEY: Well, certainly, when you're doing it in the midst of an ongoing armed conflict, for example, as my colleagues do in Syria, it is very difficult, but it is doable. So, right now, we'll have a situation where the Ukrainians are collecting Russian materials for intelligence purposes, from prisoners, debriefing, interrogating prisoners, taking paperwork from dead bodies, from prisoners, from vehicles, they've, they've captured, the maps and so on and so forth. And that material is being assessed for tactical and operational intelligence purposes. But it's precisely those materials that ultimately will inform an international criminal investigation and prosecution against the Russian leadership.


SANCHEZ: And what is it that prosecutors have to prove in these cases to get a conviction?

WILEY: Well, in a word "intent," is the intent of the attacking force to destroy civilian infrastructure to kill terrorize civilians? Is the attacking force failing to distinguish between lawful military targets and protected targets such as civilians? Or is there simply a pattern of recklessness, that the attacking force seeks to destroy military targets? But its use of particularly support fires, as one sees on CNN constantly? Is the use of that support fire so utterly reckless that it amounts to, to an offense because so many civilians are hurt and killed?

SANCHEZ: I think the question then becomes, what are, what are the consequences? Because we've seen atrocities committed in Syria, for example, that anyone would describe as a war crime. What kind of consequences could someone like Vladimir Putin face if he's in fact indicted by the ICC?

WILEY: Well, the fundament -- building a case is one thing, it takes some time and attention to detail, but case building is conceptually not that difficult. The fundamental problem is going to be detaining suspects, particularly when you get to the level of President Putin if indeed, there's sufficient evidence to, to lead to the issuance of an arrest warrant. And this is a political diplomatic issue, as of course, you'll know.

SANCHEZ: And how about for other leaders within the Russian military, if they are convicted? Do you think they would face consequences, incarceration, et cetera?

WILEY: Well, if they're convicted, yes, but nobody's going to get convicted until they're brought to, for example, The Hague or in front of a properly constituted court. If I was the chief prosecutor of the ICC, which I'd remind your viewers, I'm not, I would take a two-track approach. So, were the evidence sufficient against, for example, President Putin, I would issue an arrest warrant.

And then I would have a number of sealed arrest warrants for lower- level figures that wouldn't see themselves under threat. So, colonels, brigadiers that level, and then when the dust clears in a few years, and these individuals take, for example, their wives shopping in Paris, then they can be arrested on the basis of that sealed warrant. And so, then, ultimately, at least you get somebody in front of a court and some justice for the victims of this conflict.

SANCHEZ: It is a complicated process, and as you noted, a difficult and grueling one. But ultimately, accountability is important. The world can't let these war crimes stand just like that. Bill Wiley, thank you so much for your time.

WILEY: Thank you.

FISHER: Well, as you've probably seen by now, Russia's invasion of Ukraine is having a ripple effect all over the world, namely: on oil and gas prices. Up next, the warning from the International Energy Agency and what it wants people to do to offset the emerging energy crisis.



SANCHEZ: So, as a global energy crisis emerges, exacerbated by Russia's war in Ukraine, the International Energy Agency warns that governments around the world new to consider making changes to help slash demand for oil.

FISHER: Yes, the energy watchdog has released several recommendations which include working only three day work weeks if possible.

CNN's Matt Egan has more

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER (on camera): Boris and Kristin, the IEA is sounding the alarm about a global energy crisis caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. And they're urging the United States and other countries to consider drastic steps.

Here's just a sampling of some of the proposals in this emergency energy plan.

EGAN (voice-over): Lower speed limits on highways by at least 6 miles per hour. Work from home up to three days a week where possible. Car- free Sundays in cities. Using high-speed and nighttime trains instead of planes. Avoid business air travel when possible.

EGAN (on camera): Now, how realistic are these proposals? That's another question. It's easy to see how this could be very unpopular with the public, be very disruptive to society, just as people are trying to get back to normal after COVID.

EGAN (voice-over): And it could also slow down the economy. But the IEA is saying that all of that is better than the alternative which would be skyrocketing prices and energy shortages.

The goal here would be to slash oil demand, try to cushion the blow from the feared loss of nearly a third of Russia's oil production due to sanctions. This is an acknowledgment that there really are not many good options right now to increase supply.

OPEC has signaled that it's probably not coming to the rescue. Neither is big oil, and emergency oil releases are just Band-Aids, they're not real solutions.


EGAN (on camera): All of this is a reminder of just how addicted the world economy remains to fossil fuels, including oil. From some countries that are not very friendly to the United States or to democracy.

Boris and Kristin?

FISHER: Well, here with me to discuss this further is Mark Zandi, the chief economist with Moody's Analytics. Mark, oil prices dipping slightly this week, but they're already starting to rise again. So, what should people expect to see over the next week when they're filling up?

MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: Well, Kristin, prices are high. We're paying $4 in a quarter for a gallon of gasoline, pretty close to the record highs we saw last week.

I don't expect them to go back down as long as the conflict in Russia- Ukraine continues, because Russia is such a key player in global energy markets, it exports over 5 million barrels a day. It's about five percent of global oil demand and production. So, as long as that that Russia is invading Ukraine and markets are disruptive, I just don't see prices going down. And of course, the risks are that they go higher, you know, the potential for additional sanctions and businesses pulling back means that we could see further disruptions, oil supplies.

So, you know, I think people should expect to see $4 and a quarter -- $4.50 for the foreseeable future.

FISHER: Worst case scenario, I mean, how much higher do you think they could go?

ZANDI: Well, you know, you can construct pretty dark scenarios. You know, if all 5 million barrels of Russian oil exports are disruptive -- disrupted, that can't be filled by other sources of supply anytime soon. And thus, prices will go skyward.

So, if you told me we were $5 $5.50, that's, you know, very plausible, possible. I don't think that's the most likely scenario, but that's certainly a scenario.

FISHER: Well, that's good to hear. You know, we just saw these pretty radical recommendations from the International Energy Agency based on Matt's reporting.

Do you think there is more that oil executives could be doing to try to avoid higher prices at the pump?

ZANDI: Well, I don't think they're radical, Kristin. I mean, I think there's -- the common sense. I mean, I think it's going to be pretty tough. Go to changes in our behavior and the way we do things, you know, more remote work and taking more public transportation, more electric vehicles, that kind of thing.

So, that's going to take time. So these are changes that can't happen overnight, or even next year, this is something that happens over a period of time.


ZANDI: But they're all, you know, reasonable things to do.

With regard to the energy companies, well, they're in the business of selling oil and gas and other refining products. So, you know, they want to sell more at a higher price. So, it's going to be on us to figure out ways to consume less of it.

FISHER: Understood. And, you know, you look at another key inflation measure, the U.S. producer price index. That hit, I mean, double digits in its latest report this week. What do you think the impact is here? And what does this mean for consumer prices?

ZANDI: Well, the producer prices are the prices that businesses charge each other for the goods and services that they produce. It's kind of at the wholesale level before it gets to you and I as consumers. So, what it means is, you know, businesses are paying a lot more for the things that they buy from each other. But ultimately, we're going to be paying a lot more for those things as well.

So, you know, it's just -- it's just augurs poorly for inflation, at least in the near term going forward here. One kind of bright note though, is that the very high producer prices is largely related to the surge in oil prices due to Russia invading Ukraine. And hopefully, you know, we find -- you know, some resolution to this in the not too distant future and oil prices come back in, and we'll get you know, inflation back down.

But until that happens, we're going to be paying, as consumers, a lot more for lots of different things.

FISHER: Yes, absolutely. Well, let's hope Mark that your worst-case scenario predictions do not come through. Have a great weekend Mark Zandi. Thanks.

ZANDI: Sure thing.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): A tornado may be to blame for this damage in Alabama. The severe weather threat continues for more than 50 million Americans today. We're tracking the storms and have your latest forecast after a quick break.



FISHER: More than 50 million people stretching from the Gulf Coast to the northeast are now under severe storm threats, including strong winds, hail, and tornadoes.

SANCHEZ (on camera): In Louisville, Kentucky, tornado sirens sounded overnight as a line of thunderstorms left 1000s of people without power. And in Atmore, Alabama, six people were injured after storms rip through Escambia County.

Let's take you to the CNN Weather Center now and meteorologist Allison Chinchar. Allison, where is this line of storms headed?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST (on camera): Right? It's still moving, and it's the same system that caused a lot of damage across several states yesterday. It's still progressing off to the east.

So, let's take a look. Yesterday, in the last 24 hours, we had four tornado reports, five hail reports, and over 25 different damaging wind reports. And again, it stretched from Indiana all the way down towards Florida.

But that line is going to continue to shift off to the east, but the threats remain the same. So, from New York all the way down to Florida, we still have the potential for damaging winds, some large hail that could reach golf ball size or larger, and yes, even some isolated tornadoes. Here is a look at the timing. Down across Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, that threat is already still ongoing this morning. Really for much of the Northeast, however, that really ramps up as we go into the afternoon and especially the evening and overnight hours.

So, please make sure you have a way to get some of those emergency alerts overnight. They came in very handy last night across Louisville, which had an overnight storm roll through.

So, there's the severe weather on the east. We're also keeping an eye on this system out to the West.


CHINCHAR: It may not look like much right now, it's going to bring some rain, light rain, and some snow to the Pacific Northwest, then the Intermountain West.

But eventually, by the time we get to Monday, that system stalls out over portions of the central U.S. And this guy's is when we talk about the next round of severe weather. And this is going to be a multi-day event, starting Monday, Tuesday, and even carrying into Wednesday, multiple days of potential tornadoes.

SANCHEZ: Once again, an eventful week ahead. Allison Chinchar from the CNN Weather Center, thank you so much.

They are the Ukrainians returning to their homeland to face the dangers of war.


LES YAKYMCHUK, VOLUNTEER FIGHTER: We're trying to do this also to show people that it is possible not only to leave the country but also to come back to the country and to fight for this country because it's worth it.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): Their stories just minutes away. Stay with us.



SANCHEZ (on camera): We brought you the stories of some of the millions of Ukrainians fleeing the war, but there are some going in the opposite direction returning to help fight.

Retired tennis player Alex Dolgopolov is one of them.

FISHER (voice-over): The former world number 13 retired from the sport last year, following a career that took him around the world. But, he returned to Ukraine because it's where he was born.


ALEX DOLGOPOLOV, UKRAINIAN RETIRED PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER: You can't just watch how, how they shoot your people. I mean, once it's not a fight against armies, then, it becomes a fight against, you know, the whole nation.


FISHER: And he is not the only one. Here is CNN's Hala Gorani.

HALA GORANI, CNN HOST (voice-over): We've all seen images of Ukrainians fleeing the war, but there is a lesser told story. Those Ukrainians who travel in the opposite direction.


YAKYMCHUK: We're trying to do this also to show people that it is possible not only to leave the country but also to come back to the country and to fight for this country because it's worth it.

GORANI: Les and Olena were students at Ohio University, a Ukrainian couple who decided to head into the war zone when Russia invaded their country.


GORANI: They took first aid classes in America, collected donations, flew from Columbus to Warsaw, and drove to Kyiv, not even telling their parents so they wouldn't worry.

OLENA ZENCHENCO, VOLUNTEER FIGHTER: When I was at the -- at the door, So, I call them and say, don't freak out, please open the door.

GORANI: Oh, gosh.

ZENCHENCO: They freak out. But, this was a really combined feeling. So, my -- my father was crying on me, like, you're idiot, why are you doing it? But, in the same time, he was smiling.

GORANI: They now drive the roads they've known since childhood, delivering supplies. Les is conscripted, so, he could be drafted at any time.

YAKYMCHUK: It is my choice. It is my choice to stay here because this is my place when I grew up, I was raised, and I was born. So, it is something more than just like, you know, be safe, and study and trying to protect everything I can, everything that I am. I mean, I am this places. I mean, this coffee shop, this downtown of Kyiv.

GORANI: There are those who fled in the first days of the war, like Marc Wilkins and his wife, Olga. But after a few days safely resettled in Berlin, they say something didn't feel right. So, they drove right back to Ukraine.

GORANI (on camera): What was that like? What was your frame of mind that day, MARC WILKINS, DIRECTOR AND FILMMAKER: it felt good. We felt determined certain. And happy to be back finally, to be able to make ourselves useful.

GORANI: A British Swiss filmmaker who moved to Ukraine in 2016. He is now using his skills to create profiles of ordinary Ukrainians who become resistance fighters overnight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's my city, I need to defend (INAUDIBLE)

GORANI: All to raise funds for the war effort.

WILKINS: I'm not a soldier. I don't know how to handle a gun, but I'm a filmmaker. I'm a communicator, and this is what I'm doing now.

Now, the couple has decided to stay in Ukraine. Not yet back to their home in Kyiv, but in the relative safety of an apartment in Lviv, in the western part of the country.

And then, there are those like Illia Shpollanskyi, settled in Berlin with his wife and three kids, he knew from day one of the Russian invasion that he would head back to his home city of Mykolaiv.


This is my second time because I also volunteered to join the army in 2014. This is why I think from the first moment when the war had started, my wife knew it was inevitable, and she would not be able to stop me.

GORANI: Shpollanskyi starts his day at dawn. Distributing basic supplies like medicine, gloves, boots, sleeping bags, walkie-talkies -- what troops need to keep up the fight.

His hometown is in the crosshairs of the Russian assault between Kherson and Odessa. Fears bombardments and shelling have caused devastation throughout the region.

But the Ukrainians are pushing back.


It doesn't matter that I live in Berlin, it doesn't matter if I live in any other city. Ukraine is part of my soul, and I can't imagine life without the existence of Ukraine.


GORANI: Three stories, three journeys, all one destination -- back home to a country at war.

Hala Gorani, CNN, Lviv, Ukraine.


FISHER: We are continuing to follow breaking news out of Norway, where the prime minister has confirmed that four U.S. service members have died in a NATO training exercise. We're live in Brussels with the very latest right after this break.