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New Day Sunday

Biden: Vladimir Putin "Cannot Remain In Power"; Russian Missiles Striking Ukrainian Fuel Depots; Biden Warns Russia Away From NATO Territory; Biden Meets With Refugee Families In Poland; Second Black Box Retrieved From China Eastern Plane Crash; Tributes Pour In For Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins; Food Truck Owners Charging More As Inflation Surges; Pope Francis Criticizes Ukraine-Russia Crisis; Ukrainian Crew Member Tried To Sink Yacht Tied To Russian Oligarch. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired March 27, 2022 - 05:00   ET




CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to Sunday. Early this morning. It's 5:00 am Eastern here. It's Sunday, March 27th, in fact. I'm Christi Paul.


I'm Boris Sanchez. We're grateful you're starting your morning with us.

We begin with President Biden back in Washington this morning, after an historic trip to Europe, rallying U.S. allies behind Ukraine and also raising eyebrows when he appeared to call for regime change in Russia. The White House trying to clean that up, saying that that is not what he meant.

PAUL: Yes, the president actually arrived back at the White House earlier this morning. His remark about President Putin came during a speech in Poland at the end of his European trip here, after calling Putin a butcher earlier. The president said Ukraine will emerge victorious over Russia's onslaught and Putin's brutality.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A dictator bent on rebuilding an empire will never erase the people's love for liberty. Brutality will never grind down the will to be free. Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia, for free people refuse to live in a world of hopelessness and darkness.

We will have a different future, a brighter future rooted in democracy and principle, hope and light, of decency and dignity, of freedom and possibilities. For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power.


PAUL: That was the line that caught a lot of people -- and the White House downplayed it.

A White House official saying, quote, "The president's point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin's power in Russia or regime change."

SANCHEZ: In his speech, Biden warned that the battle in Ukraine will not be won in days or months but, he says, NATO remains united and warned Russia not to move a single inch closer into NATO territory.

Just before the president spoke, though, Russian forces struck a fuel depot at a military site, just outside of Lviv. At least five people were reportedly injured there. The attack on the fuel depot has sparked flames and sent thick, black smoke -- you can see it on your screen -- billowing over the city, which up until this point, had been considered relatively safe.

The mayor there says a second strike caused significant damage to the city's infrastructure. We want to get more details now on the airstrikes in Lviv and their aftermath.

PAUL: CNN correspondent Phil Black is with us live.

Phil, so good to see you this morning. Update us on the situation there and what you've seen in the last 24 hours and what it means for that region.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure. Christi, Boris, good morning.

These were the first strikes to take place within the crowded city limits of this city of Lviv. It is a significant development, because it's a city quite close to the start of NATO territory, at the Polish border.

Two strikes, one targeting the fuel depot. The other was only described by Ukrainian officials as military infrastructure. Russians have been claiming responsibility for this attack, today have said the second site was a radio repair plant, used to modernize Ukrainian weapons. Injuries, only, we understand.

No casualties, no fatalities, I should say, reported, which is perhaps remarkable, because these strikes took place very close to where people live. This was the mayor of Lviv, talking a short time after these attacks.


MAYOR ANDRIY SADOVYI, LVIV, UKRAINE (through translator): This is the second hit over the last week. And we can clearly see that there was very targeted strikes on the infrastructure. And the destruction is serious. And the shock of blast also destroyed a kindergarten, a school. And luckily, there are no casualties.


BLACK: Emergency crews fought those flames, those enormous flames, at the fuel depot through the night. It took about 14 hours to extinguish.

This is the third fuel depot, at least the third fuel depot, to be destroyed by Russia in different parts of the country in recent days. It's also been striking with precision weapons, certain locations, where it says Ukrainians have been storing weapons.


BLACK: It's a clear campaign to go after the logistics and support sites that Russia thinks that Ukraine needs to continue its military defense -- Boris, Christi, back to you.

SANCHEZ: Undoubtedly, Phil, a message to the West and President Biden, as he's visiting only some 250 miles away from Lviv. Phil Black, thank you very much.

Let's dig deeper now with Michael Bociurkiw, a senior fellow at The Atlantic Council and a former spokesperson for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Also with us is CNN political analyst, Josh Rogin. He's a columnist at "The Washington Post."

Good morning, gentlemen.

Michael, I wanted to start with you, because you are in Lviv. And as we just heard from Phil Black, those Russian missile strikes unnerved a lot of the folks there.

What did you see yesterday and what's the situation like where you are now?


Well, it's a marked change this morning compared to a week ago. This is the third Sunday in Lent in the Julian calendar, which orthodox Christians observe here. I just popped into one of the churches here, all boarded up, because of the fear of more missile strikes.

But a packed church. But outside, there's got to be probably only a quarter of the pedestrian traffic you would normally see, compared to about a week ago.

I spoke to parking attendants and others and they told me that a lot of people left last night. And by the way, I was at that press conference last night with the mayor. And the immediate reaction to those missile strikes, the reason for it was, the Ukrainians saying, that the Russians were sending a provocation to Mr. Biden, knowing he's giving that speech in Warsaw.

The other thing they told me is that they heard really nothing new in that speech. They still feel they're pretty much alone in this battle against Russia, that they're executing a proxy war for the West to push Russia back from NATO's eastern flank. SANCHEZ: And Josh, at the end of President Biden's speech in Warsaw,

he said, Putin cannot remain in power. The White House tried to walk that back. But I think the Russians certainly heard it a certain way.

What'd you make of that comment from the president?

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It would be one thing if he intentionally called for Putin to leave power. Another if he accidentally did it. But the worst is if he intentionally did it and then White House claims that he accidentally did it.

That projects not just to Russia but also to Ukraine and to Europe and to Americans as a muddle. It makes it seem like the U.S. President and his staff don't know what they're doing and can't get their stories straight.

As for the substance of it, to my mind, it seems a little weird that we wouldn't want Putin to leave power after calling him a war criminal. He's murdering people every day. He's clearly a destabilizing force.

But saying it does have an effect, maybe not on Putin but on the rest of the world. And I think the White House should just make a decision one way or the other.

Do we want Putin to stay in power or not?

I think we don't. But I'm not sure what the U.S. government position is right now.

SANCHEZ: And, Michael, were you able to get reaction from people on the ground in Lviv to that specific portion of Biden's speech?

I'm wondering how they received it.

BOCIURKIW: Yes, there was a lot of talk about that on social media. And I watched a lot of Ukrainian television last night.

And of course, everyone here would like to see the last of Putin. But one social media thread was half-joking that, perhaps Mr. Biden should hire Mr. Zelenskyy's speechwriter and perhaps his speeches will go over a lot better.

But again, let there be no mistake. The Ukrainians are, I think, increasingly disappointed, especially at seeing reaction like that, the White House walking back those comments. And if I can get you a quick example, Mr. Biden said a lot about, you know, we're 100 percent with Ukraine, we're sending weapons.

But yesterday, for example, there were 300 new recruits to the so- called territorial defense of Ukraine, which is a separate but integrated branch of the Ukrainian military. But it's for ordinary people to join, bankers and plumbers and truck drivers.

They went to the front line with automatic weapons but with no body armor, no helmets. So it leads you to wonder, what is going on in terms of those supply


There must be a much, much more robust response on the ground, as well as in the air, to protect what happened yesterday.

SANCHEZ: Josh, now, you've written extensively about Xi Jinping and the Chinese being co-conspirators in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It seems that Russia and China are now lobbying another major player in Asia to embrace a more anti-Western position in this conflict. Help us understand the role that India plays in all of this.


ROGIN: Well, of course, India has the -- a very long history of a relationship with Russia and has been very proud of its non-alliant status over the decades.

More recently, it's teamed up with the United States, Japan and Australia in the Quad in order to confront the rising China. What Russia is doing is very simple: they're trying to keep India out of it, keep them on the sidelines, despite the fact that India is the world's largest democracy and naturally should be against attacking democracies.

And I think that's a worthwhile effort for the Russians to do and worthwhile for the U.S. and its allies to oppose. So the alliances are changing fast these days. And we don't know what the world order will look like when this thing ends. And I think countries like India and Saudi Arabia and Israel and Turkey all have a choice to make.

That is, what side of history do they want to be on?

So I would say, side with the democracy, side with freedom, side against mass murder and war crimes. I think that's the right side of history. But I think the Indian government and the people have to make their own choice.

SANCHEZ: I think it's important to highlight what you just suggested, that the result of this conflict will undoubtedly have an effect on the world order and what that could mean, moving toward the rest of this century.

Michael Bociurkiw, Josh Rogin, we've got to leave it there, thank you both so much.

ROGIN: Thank you.

BOCIURKIW: Thank you.

PAUL: Still to come this morning, millions of Ukrainians are flooding into neighboring countries to escape the combat zones there. We'll take you to Poland, to see how the refugees and their stories are making an impact on President Biden.

Also, driving into danger. We're following a volunteer ambulance driver from Poland, as he risks his life to save people across the border in Ukraine.





PAUL: So glad to have you with us this morning.

President Biden called Russian president Vladimir Putin a butcher after visiting with refugees in Poland. The president got this firsthand look at the developing humanitarian crisis.

At one point, look at this, that little girl he picked up, wearing a pink jacket, just held her in his arms. Poland borders Ukraine to the west and has registered more than 2 million Ukrainian refugees crossing into their country.


BIDEN: I visited your national stadium, where thousands of Ukrainian refugees are now trying to answer the toughest questions a human can ask.

My God, what's going to happen to me?

What's going to happen to my family?

I saw tears in many of the mothers' eyes as I embraced them, their young children, their young children, not sure whether to smile or cry.

One little girl said, "Mr. President," -- she spoke a little English -- "and my brother and my daddy, are they going to be OK?

"Will I see them again?"

Without their husbands and fathers, in many cases, their brothers and sisters who stayed back to fight for their country, I didn't have to speak the language or understand the language to feel the emotion in their eyes, the way they gripped my hand and the little kids hung on to my leg, praying with a desperate hope that all of this is temporary.


PAUL: CNN's Melissa Bell joins us now from Poland.

Melissa, we know that country has taken the vast majority of refugees from Ukraine. We heard a lot of empathy from President Biden, how it impacted him.

Do we have a good gauge of what the impact was of President Biden's visit on those refugees that saw him? MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, first of all, to have been seen and heard will matter a great deal. And as the president was just saying there, these are people who have lost everything.

And over the course of the last month, as we've been watching them come across the border, their stories of what they have left behind, their homes, their husbands, their brothers, their sisters, as you said, still fighting, all the uncertainty of what will happen to their loved ones back home.

Have a listen to what one woman told us yesterday, as she got off the train at Przemysl station, about her husband that she left behind. She was all alone.


MARYNA LIKKEI, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE: Yes, it is -- we are really scared. And so we understand the situation that we have to be on the separate side. Yes. But in general, it is really sad and I am really disappointed to leave my family and my husband. Yes, but we understand that we have to do it.


BELL: She was a web designer, who had to leave everything at the last minute and flee with absolutely nothing but the suitcase she was carrying.

And of course, those kinds of stories -- and specifically when these women have children with them, Christi, break your heart. They have fled everything to head toward very little. So I think the fact of the president's visit, the fact that they were seen and heard, that he took the time to speak to them, to hear their stories.

And each individual story is tragic in and of itself, at the homes that they've lost, the people they've left behind, the uncertainty which they've had and then the scale of it. Those 3.5 million Ukrainians that have fled across Ukraine's border.

And also, the 6.5 million still inside of it, who have had to flee their homes. In fact, the U.N. believes that it is one in every two children that has now had to leave their homes as a result of the violence.

And so many remain trapped in a country where that violence continues. It is heartbreaking and will continue to be heartbreaking.

There are also, within Ukraine, some 12 million people, Christi, according to U.N. estimates, who simply cannot leave their homes because of the violence.

Extraordinary images here at the border that continue, more than one month after this war began, of women fleeing for their lives and really carrying only their children, Christi.

[05:20:00] SANCHEZ: A humanitarian crisis with no end in sight. Melissa Bell from Poland, thank you so much.

More than 3.5 million people have left Ukraine since Russia's invasion. And many of those helping the refugees actually have no connection to Ukraine at all.

PAUL: Yes, and that includes an ambulance driver, who is helping critically ill Ukrainians escape the war. Here's CNN's Ed Lavandera.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The air raid sirens no longer startle Didrik Gunnestad.

DIDRIK GUNNESTAD, VOLUNTEER AMBULANCE DRIVER: The sirens are telling us it's no danger anymore.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): With that, he eases the nerves of a mother and her two children he's just picked up at the train station. Tonight, he will drive them to Poland.

Didrik Gunnestad struggles to explain how a 27-year-old from Norway has found himself dragging an ambulance through the streets of Lviv.

GUNNESTAD: That's the most difficult question actually.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): He's part of a volunteer team evacuating critically ill hospital patients and refugees from Ukraine.

GUNNESTAD: I just wanted to help, do something. Not sit at home and just look at everything on the TV.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Most days, Didrik drives into Lviv from Poland with an ambulance full of medical supplies and distributes the loads to hospitals facing grave shortages.

Zoryana Ivanyuk is the medical director of the Saint Nicholas Hospital in Lviv. She says, since the start of the war, her hospital has been overwhelmed, treating every day seriously ill patients.

DR. ZORYANA IVANYUK, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, SAINT NICHOLAS HOSPITAL, LVIV: He brings us some medicines, some equipment, which we need so much. That's why we are thankful for him and his team. It's really a dream team.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Hospitals are struggling to handle all the patients needing critical lifesaving care.

That's where Didrik's team comes in.

GUNNESTAD: We have just delivered a lot of equipment to that hospital and to another hospital. We went to the train station and picked up a few refugees as well.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): He's lost count of how many patients and refugees he's driven out of Ukraine.

GUNNESTAD: I have helped a lot of kids, women and children who needs to go out of the country. And in the places we are getting the people, they don't have anyone else. For right now, they only have us.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Didrik and his team of paramedics and nurses have spent almost three weeks crisscrossing the city, answering any call for help that comes in.

LAVANDERA: How stressful is it to drive around Ukraine right now?

GUNNESTAD: Oh, my God. It's horrific. And it's not possible to explain.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): This area of Western Ukraine has seen just a few Russian airstrikes since the war started nearly a month ago. But Russian forces have targeted hospitals and civilians in Eastern Ukraine.

Didrik knows he's driving into potential targets. It's a risk he's willing to take.

LAVANDERA: Is doing this worth dying for, for you?

GUNNESTAD: Yes, it is. Because it's so meaningful what I'm doing. When I see this crying children who are really sick and needs to get out, I feel a responsibility.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): For Didrik Gunnestad, it feels like the road to saving Ukrainians goes on forever -- Ed Lavandera, CNN, Przemysl, Poland.


SANCHEZ: Thanks to Ed for that report.

His death stunned the music world. And as tributes pour in for Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, we have a look at his final performance, after a quick break. Don't go anywhere.





SANCHEZ: A second black box has been recovered from the China Eastern Airlines flight that crashed in the southern part of China on Monday. State media reports, after combing through debris for days, rescue crews are confirming all 132 people on board were killed in the accident.

PAUL: An airline representative says that the plane was flying normally before it suddenly lost contact with ground control. The cause of the crash is unknown and investigators are warning it could take months before they have answers.

SCHLESINGER: Tributes for Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins are pouring in after his shocking death. He died on Friday at 50. A preliminary toxicology report found 10 different substances in his system. The cause of his death remains unknown.

PAUL: Days before he died, Hawkins made a 9-year-old drummer's night. He came downstairs to look for her in the crowd, after she was playing outside of his hotel in Paraguay and impressed him with her skills. Then when he found her, he took this picture.

CNN's Chloe Melas has more on how this musical legend is being remembered.


CHLOE MELAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The news of Taylor Hawkins' death has rocked the music industry. Hawkins was the drummer for the Foo Fighters for more than two decades. The band announced the news in a statement shortly after they were to play a concert in Colombia, saying that they were, quote, "devastated."

I spoke to a longtime friend of the band earlier today, music and TV executive Tom Calderone.


TOM CALDERONE, MUSIC AND TV EXECUTIVE: My recollection with Taylor is simply one word. It's just joy. There are people smarter than me, that can talk about what a great technique drummer he was and everything.

But when you're behind the drum kit, it's hard to be a rock star. But he was a rock star. And he was one of those guys that people 8 to 80 would just smile when they saw him. And there was a way of working with him, this definite self-awareness, that he knew that he was a rock star. He knew that people loved him and loved the music.

And he had a responsibility to his fans but he also was a geek. He was also that music geek that would ask you questions about other bands that would come into MTV or VH1 or he would talk to you about Headbangers Ball or what have you and just got to a place where, you just realized, this guy is just an incredible music fan and pop culture fan.

MELAS: Speaking of Dave Grohl and his relationship with Taylor, I've heard it described as like a brother type of relationship.

How do you think Dave, the loss of Kurt Cobain, now this, what do you think is going through his mind right now?

CALDERONE: I think the sad part about this is, yes, Dave has lost two very important friends in the music industry. Nirvana was a reluctant rock band.

[05:30:00] CALDERONE: Foo Fighters was a very positive rock band that really loved the essence of being a rock band. And I think they enjoyed the ride together with not a lot of stress.

You look at the way that Dave would look back at Taylor when they were playing and performing. He smiled; Taylor smiled back and then the crowd smiled. You would look in those crowds and just everybody was smiling and singing along.

When it was over, it was like, ah. But when Taylor also stepped out from behind that drum kit and sang some Queen songs or some cover songs, everyone gave him all the love. And I think that kind of trust level on stage only comes from the trust level of being a brother from another mother. And that's what they were. That's what they were.

MELAS: Lastly, Tom, and thank you for your time, if you could just talk to me about his impact on the music industry, Taylor, as drummer, one of the greatest of all time.

When you think of Van Halen and his mark, when you think about Taylor, you think of fill in the blank.

CALDERONE: I'll tell you, being a rock star behind the drum kit is tough. But what Taylor provided was the fact that music can still be fun. I think music has become such a commodity now with streaming and everything else, they brought life to music.

I think there's not one person that didn't plan their summers around a Foo Fighters concert whenever they went on tour. I don't think there was anybody that missed a Foo Fighters concert when they came to town because of the joy they brought.

And I think what Taylor did was bring and elevate a musician like a drummer, to say that they can be a personality. They don't have to necessarily always be a hired gun. And there's very few of them out there.

You can say Lars from Metallica and drummers like that that ,that are personalities and, frankly, could do great interviews. Taylor was great on camera. You saw him in the movie "Studio 666."

That's what's bugging me, is that there was so much for this guy to do on this Earth creatively. And the joy that he brought to his fans. And it's -- it's going to be a tough one.


MELAS: Hawkins' cause of death has not yet been released. We have reached out to his representatives for further comment.


SANCHEZ: Taylor Hawkins was 50 years old. Thanks to Chloe Melas for that report.

Tomorrow, the White House is expected to release a new minimum income tax for those worth more than $100 million. It's part of President Biden's proposal for the 2023 budget.

PAUL: This plan aims to ensure that the wealthiest Americans pay a tax rate of at least 20 percent on their full income. Here's CNN's Arlette Saenz with details.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris and Christi, the White House on Monday is set to unveil a new tax, targeting the super rich in this country as part of President Biden's budget proposal for the next fiscal year.

The White House is calling this the billionaire minimum income tax. And it essentially would require that households worth more than $100 million pay an income tax rate of 20 percent on their full income, as well as unrealized gains in the value of liquid assets like stocks and bonds.

The White House projects that the majority of revenue from this tax would be coming from billionaires. This proposal marks the first time that President Biden is getting behind a wealth tax, something that progressive Democrats have really been pushing over the course of the past few years, including senator Elizabeth Warren.

But one big question is how exactly this would sit with moderate Democrats up on Capitol Hill, like senator Joe Manchin and senator Kyrsten Sinema. It's unclear whether they would be on board with such a measure.

But the White House is saying that this proposal would help ensure that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share in taxes. On Monday, President Biden will be unveiling his full budget, outlining the domestic priorities and where he wants to see that spending take place -- Boris and Christi.


SANCHEZ: Arlette, thank you so much.

Struggling with record gas prices, how the high cost of fuel is affecting food truck owners and their bottom lines, next.





PAUL: You know what it feels like right now and it is not comfortable, people getting hit so hard by these high gas prices and the rising grocery prices.

SANCHEZ: And because food truck owners rely both on food and fuel to run their businesses, their weekly costs are adding up quickly. CNN's Dianne Gallagher has more.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sizzling, savory, sauteed or smashed. However you like your meal --

FELICIA REESE, 22 STREET KITCHEN OWNER: Do you want any jalapenos?

GALLAGHER (voice-over): -- it's probably served somewhere on wheels.

REESE: So I got a sub, no mayo, light tomato and a chips and salsa. GALLAGHER: But these days it's not cheap to eat mobile.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The prices. Everything's going on up. Gas is especially hitting us.

GALLAGHER: The one-two punch of inflation and gas prices is forcing food trucks from California to the Carolinas to tap the brakes.

REESE: Have a good day.

It's very uncertain right now.

GALLAGHER: Serving all well-seasoned American fare from his BCooks food truck --

BRYAN ANDERSON, BCOOKS OWNER: I don't skimp on the seasoning.

GALLAGHER: Bryan Anderson says the rising cost of food and supplies has already impacted his menu.

ANDERSON: So I would pay maybe $60 for a case of salmon. Now I'm paying close to $90 for a case of salmon.

GALLAGHER: But when the price of gas started to spike last month.

ANDERSON: I have propane, I heave diesel and regular gas.

GALLAGHER: He had to introduce a price increase of his own.

ANDERSON: I could have managed with one or the other but both at the same time, I'm just like, OK.

GALLAGHER: During the height of the pandemic, with restaurants closed around the country, when customers craved a chef's cooking, these gourmet gas guzzlers cashed in on changing habits. Now many are struggling to survive.

REESE: I don't know what we're going to do.

GALLAGHER: In uptown Charlotte, Felicia Reese is changing her packaging and charging for condiments now.

REESE: Do you need any ketchup or anything?

GALLAGHER: But says she can't stomach the cost of ingredients. REESE: We have gulf shrimp that we're using. It used to be like $120 a case and now it's like $200 a case.

GALLAGHER: Inflation data show the differences are real. Food prices rose 1 percent in February, the largest monthly increase in nearly two years. But over just the past 12 months, they went up 7.9 percent, the biggest spike since July 1981.

Gas prices shot up more than 6.5 percent last month and 38 percent in the past year. And these numbers barely scratch the surface of any impact Russia's invasion of Ukraine may have on prices in the U.S.

REESE: We were paying $60 for a tank of diesel and now we're paying like $90. Our generation, it was about $8 to fill it up and now it's like $30.

MICHAEL TERRILL, TIN KITCHEN MANAGER: You just want like a -- just a regular corn tortilla on the side?

GALLAGHER: It's been a double whammy for the Tin Kitchen and its two trucks.


TERRILL: A travel fee is something that we're charging now because -- it's not something we used to charge.

GALLAGHER: In business for a dozen years, Michael Terrill says he's never seen anything like this.

TERRILL: It just sucks. It just sucks.

GALLAGHER: Saving money by limiting where they go and what they serve.

TERRILL: We reduce our menu for sure. We're making sure that the spots that we're going to are either nearby or it's going to be worth our trip out there.

GALLAGHER: Permanently parking is not an option for these food truckers but they do hope help, in any form, shows up.

ANDERSON: I have to just be strong and just, you know, fight through it. But I do wish that someone would just, you know, put their foot down and be like, OK, hey, these guys were killing it during the pandemic, let's do something about it. Let's keep them going. Let's, you know, help them out a little bit.

GALLAGHER: Food trucks are a $1 billion industry. There are food truck parks like this all over the nation. But they really are small businesses. Most have one to three employees on average.

I asked each of those food truck owners and managers, what do you need to go down most quickly, food or gas?

Unanimously, Boris, Christi, that answer was food. All of them said inflation is what's really killing them. (END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Dianne Gallagher, thank you so much.

Pope Francis is speaking out about Russia's war on Ukraine and the response to it. How he's interjecting into the international debate. That's next.





PAUL: It's 44 minutes past the hour.

Pope Francis is again condemning Russia's war in Ukraine, he calls it shameful and is also now criticizing the response to it, dismissing sanctions against Russia and increased military spending in response to the invasion as "madness."


POPE FRANCIS, PONTIFF, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): Everything is lost. Everything. There is no victory in war. Everything is defeat.


PAUL: Now the pope and the Vatican are working on other strategies to bring the bloodshed to a peaceful end. Let's talk to CNN's religious commentator, father Edward Beck with us now this morning.

Father, it's so good to see you with us again. Thank you so much.

I wanted to ask you, is it unusual, given the long-standing Vatican neutrality that is seen, really, at the end of the day, as necessary to protect Catholics in both of these countries, so is it unusual to hear such strength in words from this pope?

FATHER EDWARD BECK, CNN RELIGION COMMENTATOR: I don't think so, Christi. I think he's always spoken against injustice and war and this kind of unilateral aggression, unjustified aggression.

Pope Francis and other popes before him would always speak against. I think the question or criticism he has gotten is, he hasn't directly named Putin. He hasn't directly criticized Russia. And people are saying he should.

And yet I think the perspective of the pope and the perspective of Vatican neutrality is you have to keep a crack open for negotiation, that, if you do it behind the scenes, then you have a better chance of affecting some change. So he walks a very, very narrow, diplomatic line in trying to be the peacemaker, appeal to Putin and, by the way, patriarch Kirill, who's the head of the Russian orthodox church, he has not been helpful in this situation.

So Francis is kind of negotiating in the midst of both of them.

PAUL: And we know the pope has offered to be a mediator between Russia and Ukraine. Russia has ignored that offer up to this point.

But what would a negotiation look like with the pope involved?

BECK: Again, one of the first things he did was he called patriarch Kirill. Supposedly, Putin pledges allegiance to this church. Believe it or not, Putin calls himself a Christian, if you can imagine.

And how a patriarch of a Christian church and a leader like Putin can claim what they're doing in the name of Christianity-- which, by the way, has been inferred, that they're trying to push out Western liberalism -- you know, gay parades have been quoted, you know, that the West is having too much influence.

So it's almost reminiscent of the holy wars, of bringing back religion, as the one that will triumph in terms of pushing out all of these nefarious encroachments. And I think this is ridiculous, that this could ever be done in the name of Christianity.

So to your question, if he could appeal to patriarch Kirill, the pope, leader-to-leader, to have some influence with Putin and to have Kirill more vociferously condemn this kind of aggression and war, that's the first step.

Of course, Putin has met with the pope three times in the past. Putin shows up at the Vatican as if, oh, here I am. And the pope meets with everybody but you can be assured that, behind closed doors, the pope is not supportive of Putin's policies.

PAUL: And we know historically, Russia has been suspicious of Roman Catholicism.

So what do you expect next from the pope?

What is realistic?

What is a realistic expectation for his involvement?

BECK: I think you're going to see him continue to reach out diplomatically. Remember, back with Cuba, Christi, nobody even knew it was happening. But the pope was writing to Castro. He was writing to Obama. He was trying to get them to release the political prisoners. He was trying to broker a deal with the United States, would have more open relationship with Cuba.

And guess what?

It happened. President Obama credited Pope Francis with being the behind-the-scenes broker.

And so I think something very similar is happening right now here. And we'll probably hear about it, if it has any effect, after the fact. Right now, Pope Francis is administering his role as pastor. There are 5 million Christians in the Ukraine -- not Christians -- Catholic Christians in the Ukraine.


BECK: Even 5 percent of Russia is Roman Catholic. So he has a flock there. And he has to tend to it while walking this very, very tenuous, diplomatic line.

PAUL: Father Edward Beck, we appreciate the insight so much. Good to see you again. Thank you.

BECK: You too, Christi. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Russia claims that one of its itself cruise missiles destroyed a fuel depot in the Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv on Saturday. The besieged city has been devastated by the ongoing fighting. But residents are still holding on to hope that things will soon return back to normal.

CNN's senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman takes us there.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Once more, the people of Mykolaiv can have their daily bread.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

WEDEMAN: "I see a change," says Maxim.

"Now it's getting back to normal. I really hope it will last."

The Ukrainian army and volunteer fighters have pushed Russian forces east, sparing this port city, blocking Russia's push to seize the country's entire western Black Sea coast. The supermarkets are fully open, even if some shelves are empty. Fresh milk still missing.

Alexander and his family seem to savor the mundane task of grocery shopping.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

WEDEMAN (voice-over): He begins to tell us the Russians stopped, when his wife interrupts him to say, "We're still afraid."

WEDEMAN: On the surface, life seems to be resuming most of its regular rhythms. But that's just the surface.

All over the city, there are piles of these old tires, intended to be set alight to obscure the vision of invading Russian forces. And there's also, among the tires, Molotov cocktails.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): Around the city, signs of destruction. This empty hotel struck several days ago in the early afternoon. Natasha wasn't home nearby when it happened. In this predominantly ethnic Russian city, she scoffs at the idea Russia is waging war on her behalf.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not for our home. And not for Russian people.

WEDEMAN: The Red Cross has turned this wedding hall into a center providing medicine, diapers and other supplies. What they can't provide, however, is a sense this nightmare is coming to an end -- Ben Wedeman, CNN, Mykolaiv, Ukraine.






PAUL: Edging toward the 6 o'clock hour here. We have a CNN exclusive for you.

A Ukrainian crew member on a yacht, tied to a Russian oligarch, says he tried to sink the vessel when Russia invaded Ukraine.

SANCHEZ: And he shared his story with our senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SR. INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Taras Ostapchuk, a 55-year-old nautical engineer, says he spent the past 10 years serving on the Lady Anastasia, an aging luxury yacht, sailing the Mediterranean.

TARAS OSTAPCHUK, FORMER CHIEF ENGINEER, LADY ANASTASIA (through translator): We had a crew of nine people, including a chef and a waiter.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): He says the yacht's current owner and only user is Aleksandr Mikheyev, a sanctioned, Putin-connected oligarch and the CEO of a major Russian state-run company that rakes in tens of billions of dollars, selling munitions, everything from weapons to ammo to aircraft.

Yacht engineer Ostapchuk went from cruising in oligarch luxury to a bunker in Ukraine.

Our interview just began, stopped by an alert of an incoming Russian attack.

OSTAPCHUK: OK, sorry. See you next time. Bye-bye.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): His life changed in late February, when the yacht was docked in Spain and Russia invaded his home country.

GRIFFIN: Welcome back. Thank you.

OSTAPCHUK: Nice to meet you again.

GRIFFIN: So good to see you, my friend.

OSTAPCHUK: Yes, I'm safe.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Safe once again, Ostapchuk explained he was spurred to action when he saw this image of a Russian military strike in an apartment building in his hometown of Kyiv.

OSTAPCHUK: My role is started. Yes --

GRIFFIN (voice-over): At that moment, he knew he had to do something to retaliate: sink the Lady Anastasia.

OSTAPCHUK (through translator): Water began to fill up the engine room and the crew space. After that, there were three crew members left on board. I announced that the boat was sinking and that they should leave the ship. I did this on my own.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The other crew members, also Ukrainian, didn't want to risk their own jobs, he said. Instead, they sounded the alarm, called authorities. He was arrested and the Anastasia saved, although damaged.

In court, Ostapchuk denied nothing, instead declaring he would return to Ukraine, where he picked up arms and joined the military.

OSTAPCHUK (through translator): Now a war has begun, a total war between Russia and Ukraine. And you have to choose, either you are with Ukraine or not. You have to choose.

Will there be Ukraine or will you have a job?

I made a choice. I don't need a job if I don't have Ukraine.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Back in Spain, Spain's ministry of transport has agreed to the provisional detention of the yacht Lady Anastasia while it confirms its real ownership and determines if it falls under European Union sanctions and can be seized.

It's one of a long list of suspected Russian oligarch yachts, now frozen in European ports, in an effort to apply pressure on Putin through his inner circle of oligarchs, to stop this war.

Taras Ostapchuk says others working for oligarchs around the world should expose them and their assets. His effort: to make the profiteers of Vladimir Putin's regime pay for what they are doing.

OSTAPCHUK (through translator): I think what I did is absolutely 100 percent correct. I tried to sink the boat as a political protest of Russian aggression, because its owner is connected to the production of Russian weapons. They should be held responsible because they, who, with their

behavior, with their lifestyle, with their unquenchable greed, they precisely led to this. In order to distract the people from the real plunder of Russia by these rulers, they arrange divisionary wars with other countries that are innocent.

GRIFFIN: Is there any message that you would like the people of the United States to know right now?

OSTAPCHUK: Help us, please. Send guns to Ukraine, please. We must stop it, this war. We must win.

GRIFFIN: Taras Ostapchuk says he has no doubt that the military equipment made by the Russian defense firm linked to his boss is right now being used to kill civilians in Ukraine. It is why he did what he did.