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New Day Sunday

Putin Names New General To Direct Russia's War On Ukraine; U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson Visits Kyiv, Pledges More Aid For Ukraine; Aftermath Reveals Cruelty Of Strike On Crowded Train Station; Rising Food Coasts Leave Vulnerable Americans To Make Tough Choices; Satellite Pollution Is Threatening To Alter Our View Of The Night Sky. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired April 10, 2022 - 07:00   ET



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: I hope the coffee is warm for you on this Sunday, April 10th. Thank you for making time for us today. I'm Christi Paul.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Christi. I'm Boris Sanchez. Thank you so much for starting your morning and your week with us.

Up first, a change in command. A new general taking over Russia's war in Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin appointing General Alexander Dvornikov as the new commander after Russian troops stalled in Kyiv and failed to take the capital city.

Russia is now believed to be preparing an assault in the eastern part of Ukraine.

PAUL: The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is praising UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the additional military equipment that Britain is sending to Ukraine. Johnson made a surprise visit to Kyiv, where he met with President Zelenskyy. The Ukrainian leader urged countries to follow the example of the UK and provide more weapons and support to Ukraine.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): But Ukraine does not have time to wait. Freedom does not have time to wait. When tyranny launches aggression against everything that keeps peace in Europe, action must be taken immediately.


SANCHEZ: The head of the European Union Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, also visited Ukraine recently, and says Ukrainians are showing incredible bravery against Russia and that the fight against Russia troops is not Ukraine's alone. She says the carnage she saw in the town of Bucha left her speechless.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EU COMMISSION PRESIDENT: There are no words for the horror I've seen in Bucha. The ugly face of Putin's army terrorizing people. They are fighting our war. It's our fight that they are in, because it's not only Ukraine fighting for its sovereignty and integrity, but they are also fighting for the question whether humanity will prevail or heinous devastation will be the result.


PAUL: Now, authorities in the southern region of Odessa have imposed a weekend curfew in response to the deadly attack on a train station in eastern Ukraine on Friday. Residents have been told, stay home until 6:00 a.m. local time tomorrow. That's because of the threat of Russian missile attacks there. And it's a cruel irony, isn't it? The people who were killed in that missile strike on that crowded train station were just trying to get to safety.

SANCHEZ: And it is further evidence of alleged war crimes by Russian forces.

CNN's senior international correspondent, Ben Wedeman, takes us to the scene.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At 10:30 in the morning, Friday, as many as 4,000 people were here at the Kramatorsk railway station, waiting to be evacuated, when there was a large blast overhead that rained down thousands of pieces of shrapnel on the crowd below. At least 52 people were killed. You can still see the blood all over the ground.

As many as 100 people were wounded. All of the injured have been evacuated out of this city to the city of Dnipro and the capital Kyiv, because, of course, there is a profound fear that there is going to be a massive Russian assault on the Eastern Ukraine.

Here we can see, a shoe that's been ripped apart by shrapnel. There is just blood everywhere. The authorities in this part of Ukraine have urged all civilians, especially women, children and the elderly to leave as quickly as possible, because of fears of that Russian assault.

This is a city where just to the east of here, there have been intensive Russian bombardments on Ukrainian positions. So the evacuation continues. Prior to the blast on Friday, they were dealing, they were with about -- handling about 8,000 people leaving the city. Now the evacuation effort has moved elsewhere, because this station is no longer functioning.

Here inside the station, more blood on the floor. Many of the wounded were dragged inside for fear that there might be yet another blast.

[07:05:00] This is the luggage of those who were killed and wounded, left behind. There's more blood here on the floor. Cleanup crews are just almost 48 hours after the blast coming to cleanup, but here we see more glass on the floor. What happened here can only be described as a massacre.

I'm Ben Wedeman, CNN, reporting from Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine.


SANCHEZ: Ben, thank you for that report.

We are getting new reports of missile strikes in Eastern Ukraine ahead of what could be a major offensive by Russia.

PAUL: President Vladimir Putin has appointed this new general to take over Russia's war on Ukraine.

CNN correspondent Phil Black joins us now from Lviv.

This is a general, Phil, who has a pretty brutal reputation and background. Talk to us about what we know.


What we understand now, for the very first time, as Russia prepares some big plans for the east, Russia is going to have one commanding officer overseeing the entire operation. Not just in the east, but indeed over all of its operations in the country. His name, General Alexander Dvornikov. And yes, his history is one that will add to concerns about coming brutality, as Russia launches its new offenses.

And that is because he was the commander of Russia's intervention in the Syrian civil war. A campaign that was notorious for brutality, for causing suffering, terror, and death among the civilian population. This appointment is seen by western officials as yet another tacit admission that what Russia has been trying to do in this country up until now, it hasn't been working.

Up until now, the assessment has been, different lines of advance have been working independently in different parts of the country. This is expected to bring greater cohesion to Russian operations, in what was already looming as a more cohesive and more focused Russian advance. And that is also why the Ukrainians are expecting this coming fight, perhaps, to be toughest yet.

SANCHEZ: And, Phil, I want to ask you about these new satellite images coming in from eastern Ukraine, just east of Kharkiv, they show an eight-mile-long convoy of the Russian forces, artillery and armored vehicles.

What does this tell you about the next phase of the war?

BLACK: Yeah. So, east of Kharkiv, Boris, close to the Russian border, advancing south, it backs up what we've been hearing from Ukrainian officials from some time, that is the site we've been seeing new troops, new resources joining the Russian presence there in the east, adding to the expected imminence of this new Russian offensive operation.

That southward movement from Kharkiv through and to the city of Izyum beyond there, that's expected to be up with of the key lines of advance if and when Russia makes the move and tries to breaking through Ukraine's defensive lines and expand its control over that Eastern region.

PAUL: Phil Black, we appreciate all of it. Thank you so much.

Really appreciate the report there.

Now, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson brought encouragement and a promise of more military assistance to Ukraine.

SANCHEZ: Johnson made a surprise trip to the capital, Kyiv, where he met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

CNN correspondent Nima Elbagir breaks down the visit.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This evening in Kyiv, the city is somber and almost silent as it dims its lights for curfews. But during the day, it was a very different scenes as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson became just the latest world leader to make a pilgrimage to the Ukrainian capital. He brought with him much of what was expected, a raising of Britain's guarantee, of Ukraine's debt ceiling at the IMF to almost $1.5 billion in total.

More, much of the same defensive military aid, probably not exactly what the Ukrainians were hoping for or thought they needed, but he brought as other world leaders have also done something that Ukrainians tell us is almost more important. He brought a sense of respite because they know when Boris Johnson or others like him come here, for that short space of time, they are safe. For that short space of time, they feel a little less isolated by this conflict from the rest of the world.

Prime Minister Johnson has gone, and with it has gone the safety that he brought. But for many Ukrainians, they hope that the visits will continue as well as the defensive aid, as the Russian offensive in the east offensive in the east of the country continues to build up steam.


Eventually, they're hoping more than just visits and respite will come with these global leaders.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, Kyiv, Ukraine.


SANCHEZ: For more perspective now, let's bring in Dalton Bennett. He's a reporter for "The Washington Post," who is in Kyiv and has spent time documenting everything going on in Ukraine.

And, Dalton, we appreciate you being part of our show this morning. We appreciate your time.

You have documented some of the scorched-earth tactics that Russian forces have used. You said that you fear what happened at that train station where Ben Wedeman filed a report just moments ago, you fear that what happened there was only a preview of what's to come.

What have you seen so far that has struck you the most?

DALTON BENNETT, REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good morning. We've been reporting now for almost two weeks throughout eastern Ukraine. And what we've seen is a steady buildup and regrouping of Russian forces near these real critical areas of the Ukrainian-held territory in the regions of Donbas.

We've seen the Russian military deploy and utilize these tactics, what I describe in our stories as scorched-earth tactics. These are the words that we heard from fighters active in those areas, trying to push back Russian forces. What they've done is by using advanced weapons systems from artillery to rocket systems is they've put a huge amount of emphasis and focus on specific strategic areas within the region in order to seize them, by using these weapons, for example, in the town of Izyum, which is a very strategic and important location. They've essentially razed the town to the ground in order to seize it.

Now, with that in their possession, recently, from that local itself, they slowly have made games towards these government-held areas, these Ukrainian government-held areas within the Donbas region, in order for what officials believe and Ukrainian military on the ground believe in order to encircle these well dug in, well-fortified, well-defended Ukrainian military positions. You know, something like that would obviously pose a serious risk and dangers to Ukrainian military positions on the ground but also in any civilians that are left behind.

SANCHEZ: Well, that's specifically what I wanted to ask you about. An area or region may be strategically important for Russian forces, but often, as we've with that rail station, these aren't exactly military targets. So how would you describe the intent of Russian forces when they use these tactics? Would you consider what you're seeing a genocide?

BENNETT: You know, I'm not an expert on genocide. I can tell you what I've seen on the ground and from speaking with civilians who have been caught in this conflict, from speaking with local authorities who are trying to manage the crush of local evacuees, is that the tactics that have been adopted by Russian military in the region have been described as we said before, as a scorched-earth tactics, right? We've seen the targeting of critical and important infrastructure that's used to support the war effort, to reinforce Ukrainian military positions. I mean, that same infrastructure also has an impact on civilians, right?

So, I was -- on Friday, we arrived a to the train station, 15 minutes after the strike had taken place. It was well known that that location was used by thousands of civilians and that there is a potential for, you know, that same number of people to be there. So what we're seeing writ large in the region is that as Russian

forces push closer to these strategic locations, whether that's a crucial railway line or in the case of these regional capitals, where the Ukrainian government has, you know, is organizing a lot of their war effort, where there are large civilian populations, we are seeing civilians caught in the crossfire.

SANCHEZ: And out of curiosity, when you have spoken to those residents, for instance, at the railway station, where you showed up soon after missiles came raining down, what did they share with you about their fears or concerns? Are any of them clear in their decision to stay or to leave?

BENNETT: So, we had spent -- you know, we had spent the week following up, seeing what the situation was like at the train station. The governor of the region, the president, everybody had requested that. Everybody left and would evacuate as quickly as possible.

So, you know, from the people that we talked to and specifically on that day, there was a large influx, a crush of people that were hoping to escape the region, right, as fighting has inched closer to these Ukrainian-held territories.


One comment that really stayed with me is that after the strike had taken place, we were inside of the train station and there was an attendant that was there working, helping, looking after the conductors and the staff that were helping to operate the trains. And as she's sobbing, she says, I hope that we don't become the next Mariupol. So, the fear is visceral.

And we saw the consequences of this missile strike that's killed over 50 people and injured upwards of 100 people that were just right to escape. They were hours away from their own salvation to escape the fighting and bloodshed in the region.

SANCHEZ: And that's what's so heart wrenching. These were refugees that were ready to escape that area and were targeted brutally.

Dalton Bennett, we appreciate your work. We hope you and your team stay safe. Thank you.

BENNETT: Thank you.

PAUL: Coming up, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the latest sanctions against Russia just are not enough. He's asking what he calls the Democratic world to hold Russian soldiers and their commanders accountable for their actions in Ukraine.

Also, investigators are looking for suspects who shot and killed three members of the same family and stole at least 40 weapons from a shooting range in rural Georgia. We have details for you.

Stay close.



SANCHEZ: An international fund-raising campaign has raised nearly $11 billion in support of the people fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Politicians and celebrities alike came together Saturday in Warsaw, Poland, for the global Stand Up for Ukraine event, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who called for more sanctions against Russia.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: They have to do everything to force Russia to seek peace. They have to do everything to hold Russia and its commanders accountable for their crimes against the Ukrainian people. Sanctions must be imposed, against all Russian banks. Russian oil embargo must be imposed.

We have asked for weapons. We have asked for financial assistance. We have asked for support to Ukrainian nebras (ph), for those 10 million people forced by Russians to flee their homes. The democratic world got the power to help.


SANCHEZ: Zelenskyy sending a direct message to Germany there, which still relies heavily on Russia for oil and gas. The Ukrainian president also taking time to praise those in his country still fighting to defend their homeland.

PAUL: While lawmakers are hearing this, they're set on further isolating Russia for invading Ukraine. Congress passed two bipartisan bills this past week. One, to suspend normal trade relations with Russia. Another banning energy exports from the country.

Now, the Senate unanimously voted for both measures. Only three House Republicans, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, Congressman Thomas Massie and Congressman Matt Gaetz opposed both of those bills.

Emily Holland is with us now. She's an assistant professor in the Russia Maritime Studies Institute at the U.S. Naval War College.

We are so grateful to have you with us, thank you so much. I wanted to ask you, what do you think is the impact of these sanctions, particularly from the U.S.?

EMILY HOLLAND, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, RUSSIA MARITIME STUDIES INSTITUTE AT THE U.S. NAVAL WAR COLLEGE: Well, Congress is passing these bills, sort of banning Russian imports of oil and gas and essentially abandoning normalized trade relations. It's a strong signal that they support President Biden's initiatives to isolate the Russian economy and punish them for their brutality and aggression in Ukraine.

Now, this is more of a sort of symbolic set of sanctions, because the U.S. is not heavily reliant on U.S. energy. It only uses about 3 percent of Russian oil for its daily consumption. So, this is something that the U.S. can actually work around. And it's a symbolic sort of move to say, we are going to go where we've never before, and we are going to begin to sanction Russian oil, and that's always sort of been off the table because some of our allies are so reliant on Russian energy.

PAUL: Mainly Germany and Hungary, as Boris had pointed out.

The European Union countries did approve a ban on Russian coal imports and the European Commission this week announced working on proposals for possible sanctions, possible sanctions to include oil imports.

What do you think it would take to establish significant sanction from those countries, given their independence on oil and natural gas?

HOLLAND: Well, honestly, the EU's sanction of Russian coal was a pretty significant first step towards Europe taking a real hard line against Russian aggression. The ban of Russian coal is the least important of all three major commodities, but it's still extremely significant. That amounts to stopping about 8 billion euros a year of trade towards Russia. And the Europe gets about 50 percent of its coal and solid fuel from Russia. It is extremely significant.

Now, it's dwarfed in comparison to state oil. Stopping Russian oil imports would amount to stopping about 700 million euros a day from flowing into Moscow's coffers.

But it's much harder to do. Replacing oil and particularly natural gas in Europe is very, very difficult and will have to cause some significant behavioral changes in these European states. But after what we've seep this week, the horrific atrocities the Bucha and the train station, the European unions are already now having discussions on their sixth round of sanctions packages, which will likely include maybe oil.


Natural gas is a little bit harder, and Germany and other states in particular are extremely reliant on Russian natural gas. One in every two German homes is heated by Russian gas. So, replacing those extremes is going to be very, very difficult.

PAUL: Yeah, it's going to cause problems. Listen, to get back to the domestic conversation, before passing the measures, the state did give in to Kentucky Senator Rand Paul's demands not to change -- I want to be very specific with this, not to change language in the Global Magnitsky Act, which he says would give the branch too much power to pursue those accused of human rights abuses.

Why would that have been a sticking point in these two bills with Congress this week?

HOLLAND: Well, the Magnitsky act has been a political act that's been very politicized within the United States for a number of years. This is really -- it's a long-standing act that proceeded Russia's invasion of Ukraine and its aim was to target Russian individuals who were perceived as committing human rights violations in Russia, targeting them in the United States, right?

So, this was sort of a new era in sort of expansive foreign policy towards the Russians. And so sticking to that language was sort of important, because it changes the sort of level of what the United States is able to do about other citizens in other states.

Now, given what Russia has done over the past two months, there's obviously been a major change in sympathy along most people in the major parties in the United States and citizens in terms of what they think about the ability to punish Russians. And we saw, actually, also, in this latest round of sanctions in the United States, was that there are increased sanctions against Russian individuals.

So trying to sort of expand the Magnitsky Act actually gives the United States more powers in other states that some people were a little bit uncomfortable with. But given the sort of scale of the atrocities and potential war crimes that we're witnessing now, I think most people have come around to the fact that sanctioning Russian individuals for human rights abuses in other countries is the right thing to do.

PAUL: All right. Emily Holland, appreciate your expertise this morning. Thank you more taking the time to be with us.

HOLLAND: Thanks so much.

PAUL: Of course.

I want to tell you that food banks nationwide are facing a supply crisis. Donations are down, operation costs are way up, and demand is surging as more families battle inflation. Now, some pantries are even rationing their food supply. We have more on that, ahead.

SANCHEZ: Plus, as you might imagine, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has upended life in all sorts of ways. And something as ordinary as celebrating a birthday becomes a challenge. We'll show how one Ukrainian family gave their daughter a bright and joyful celebration, just a few minutes away.



SANCHEZ: So inflation is squeezing food banks from all directions. And as costs are rising, it's harder for food banks to get those basic staples that are needed to help feed the vulnerable. Also, the better off have become less likely to donate in tough times.

PAUL: So, listen to this. Some food banks are being forced now to ration their supplies.

Here's CNN's Gabe Cohen.


GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sabrina Faith is a mom on a mission.


COHEN: To keep her pantry full. And her daughter Leila (ph) fed.

FAITH: It's been a doozy. No.

COHEN: She's a delivery driver and part time student in Ohio, stretched thin by the rising costs of -- well, everything, especially gas and groceries. In the past year, the price of milk, eggs, meat, fish and fruit are all up at least 10 percent.

FAITH: It makes me feel insecure because I can't fail. You know, she has to eat.

COHEN: More than one in 10 Americans are facing food hardship of 30 percent since August. A poll found nearly half of Americans are worried about affording enough to eat.

FAITH: Thank you.

COHEN: So in recent months, Sabrina's turn to food pantries for the first time in her life.

FAITH: It means that I'm able to feed me and my daughter.

COHEN: But food banks nationwide are in crisis. Demand is surging.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A highest February and March that we've ever had across our 20 counties.

COHEN: But donations are plummeting and operating costs are way up.

COHEN: In several states, including Ohio, empty shelves are forcing pantries to ration supplies.

TYRA JACKSON, SECOND HARVEST FOOD BANK: And typically this would be completely full.

COHEN: With bare donation bins, Second Harvest Food Bank in Springfield is giving families 20 percent less food.

JACKSON: They are not receiving one to two days worth of meals from the food bank.

COHEN: Every week?

JACKSON: Every week.

COHEN: Emily Lena's family relies on this food.

EMILY LENA, FOOD BANK CLIENT: If we didn't have this, we would probably be eating minimal.

COHEN: Feeding America is 60,000 pantries and programs are now buying 58 percent more food to fill the gap. They're asking Congress for $900 million to keep food banks afloat.

CLAIRE BABINEAUX-FONTENOT, CEO, FEEDING AMERICA: And I'm very concerned that some of them are on the brink of closing and that without additional help that they will.

COHEN: Meals on Wheels is also weathering price hikes on food and fuel with some programs cutting services or adding weightless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good afternoon, good afternoon.

COHEN: In Atlanta, around 150 seniors are in line.


COHEN: Stella Straud got off that list three months ago.

STELLA STRAUD, MEALS ON WHEELS CLIENT: I knew I was in need for food, so I'm getting enough now.

COHEN: This year, food costs are expected to rise another 5 percent with added pressure from the war in Ukraine and a looming global food crisis.


It'll stretch these programs even further.

JACKSON: It is concerning because you just don't know.

COHEN: Along with the families that desperately need their help.

FAITH: I just want to make sure that we can eat.


COHEN (on camera): And, remember, it's not just groceries and gas. Families are seeing price hikes on rent and health care. Plus, the child tax credit just expired. All of that is squeezing families and driving up food insecurity. Just as these food banks are facing their own turmoil.

Gabe Cohen, CNN, Grove City, Ohio.

PAUL: Well, distance and dark times could not stop a Ukrainian family from celebrating their daughter's tenth birthday. This is an emotional story, but you're not going to want to miss it.

Stay close.



PAUL: So try to imagine, really, what daily life is like for millions of Ukrainians who are forced to flee the fighting in their country.

SANCHEZ: Yeah. In these dark times, families are still working to retain some sense of normalcy, especially for their kids.

CNN's Rafael Romo has more.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christi and Boris, this war has affected just about every aspect of life here in Ukraine, even as something as simple and ordinary as a birthday, but a father was determined to make sure that his daughter had a bright and joyful celebration for her 10th birthday, even if they're not together.

(voice-over): The cake is ready and most of the family has arrived. And what's a birthday party without birthday hats?

Happy birthday.

Grandpa and grandma get their hats, too, and it's time to light the candles. But there's something missing, or rather, someone. The birthday girl herself.

Is that why her father seems pensive, sad, perhaps? A girl from the city of Lviv in western Ukraine turns 10 today. But she is far, far away, 1,500 kilometers away. Technology allows for long distance birthday wishes.

We congratulated you on your birthday her grandmother tells her on the phone. We wish you happiness and health, and although we're not together, our hearts are with you.

The story about how this family is celebrating a long distance birthday is the story of thousands upon thousands of Ukrainian families whose lives have been upended by a Russian invasion.

How would you have described the situation of having witnessed the bombing?


ROMO: Yuriy Pelenskyy is her father. You told me you could hear the bomb coming here.


ROMO: He says he wanted to keep his family together in their home, but when bombs flew right above their apartment building and exploded at a military base a few kilometers away, he knew it was time to say good- bye.

PELENSKYY: It's war. It's like a horror film. It's like a bad dream and you wake up and you understand it's not like bad dream.

ROMO: The following day, he drove his daughter, wife, Martha, and mother Licia to Krakow, Poland. And there they took a flight to Milan, Italy, where they are currently staying with family, far away from any air strikes.

ROMO: How do you explain to a 10-year-old girl that the only country that he's ever known is at war and that bombs are falling?

PELENSKYY: We explain that it's Russia come to our country and bad things are happening now. People die. And it's very dangerous.

ROMO: When the family finishes singing "Happy Birthday ", there's not a dry eye in the room. Everybody gives the birthday girl a virtual kiss. And moments later, they all have to run to the underground shelter after the air raid siren goes off once again.

What is your hope for the future?

PELENSKYY: My hope for the future is that everything will be okay. I know that everything will be okay. And we will win the war.


ROMO (on camera): And when Ukraine wins the war, Pelensyy says he will be able to be reunited with his family. Darina's eighth and ninth birthday parties were canceled because of COVID-19. Her father hopes the whole family will be able to celebrate her 11th birthday next year together in a country at peace, where children are no longer afraid of falling bombs.

Christi and Boris, back to you.

PAUL: We hope that, too. Rafael Romo, thank you so much.

Well, Pope Francis used his Palm Sunday mass -- yesterday was Palm Sunday -- to call for real negotiations for peace in Ukraine. In his address, the pope condemned the war there, with calling it, quote, a war that every day puts before our eyes brutal massacres, unquote. He also referenced those killed in the fighting as well as the refugees that are trying to escape the violence.

This morning's Palm Sunday service is the first since 2019 that the public was allowed to attend. Palm Sunday opens Holy Week, of course, leading to Easter.

SANCHEZ: Still ahead, why experts are warning that satellite pollution is threatening to alter our view of the night sky. The impact it could have on human space flight and robotic missions, also just ahead.


And don't forget, be sure to tune in tonight for the CNN film, "Roadrunner." This is the story of Anthony Bourdain you've not yet heard from the people who knew him best. "Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain", premieres tonight at 9:00 p.m., right here on CNN.



PAUL: So, experts are warning that satellite pollution is threatening to alter our view of the night sky because thousands of pieces of debris or space junk -- I'm sure you heard that term -- they failed or they have been just left in orbit by humans at the end of their mission. Space junk can refer to dead satellite satellites. But there's smaller things such as paint particles that have fallen a rocket, and you might wonder, well, how are those detrimental?

SANCHEZ: Yeah. There's so much debris, even too tiny to be tracked, that's still large enough to threaten human space flight and robotic missions. They exist in the near earth space environment.

Since the junk and spacecraft are at high speeds, an impact of a tiny piece of junk, some of the paint chip stuff that Christi was talking, that could create big problems.

Joining us is Janet Ivey. She's the president of Explorer Mars Inc., and usually has a very snazzy background when she joins.

Good morning, Janet. Great to share our Sunday with you.

JANET IVEY, PRESIDENT, EXPLORE MARS, INC.: Good morning. Always a pleasure.

SANCHEZ: Of course. As of last year, the U.S. space surveillance network was traveling 15,000 plus pieces of space debris. Can you walk us through how damaging that is? How that might impact our view of the night sky.

IVEY: So, first of all, let's talk about the impact on the night sky. So, what it does is it increases the brightness of the sky with all of these artificial satellites. So, imagine that if you are already in a city where you have light pollution and then you have this myriad of satellites up there. And granted, we love GPS, our Internet, you know, financial institutions rely on the global satellite network. Many things that -- weather satellites, climate monitoring, all of those things are important.

But imagine that covering. What astronomers are worried about is, can that increase brightness in situations that are light polluted, decrease our view of the sky and potentially some great new discovery? But let's talk about four inches. I raided my grandkids' Lego box.

But if this is traveling seven times the fast as a speeding bullet, we're talking speed 17,500 miles per hour, up to 22,000 -- this little thing could impact -- look here, we have a rocket coming. We want to get to the moon and on mars. That could have detrimental, even fatal consequences for a crew.

Now, you got other things. You talked about -- we know the United States space surveillance network knows at least about these things that are up to four inches. The harder part is these microscopic things. Imagine, like you said, paint fleck. It's off an old space shuttle. This paint fleck actually damaged a window on the international space station. There are things -- Ed White in 1965 lost a glove in space. Other astronauts -- during a space walk, lost a screwdriver.

So, those things traveling at great speeds -- why this is important and why you need to think about that future job, how becoming a space trash collector? You do have folks thinking about it. We have -- everybody is thinking about a space net, remove debris successfully.

But again, the larger pieces, you may be able to do that. We are hoping the tiny pieces eventually fall out of orbit and burn up in the earth's atmosphere. But that crowded space in low earth orbit is where the International Space Station resides. What we have to travel through to get back to the moon and on mars. We have to pay attention. Somebody -- it's time for somebody to take out the trash, guys.

PAUL: What are the plans to do that? How do you do that? Where do you put it?

IVEY: So, again, these are excellent questions. The European Space Agency does have something and it sounds like something I'm making up, but it's called the Space Claw. It will have four robotic arms that will grab these kind of extinct and defunct satellites, grab them, store them. And then either kind of like bring them to the position that they can de-orbit and burn up in the earth as atmosphere.

Other folks have said, hey, why don't we create space storage or a place you could literally kind of have a recycling station in space for some of the parts?

The truly -- the hardest part is this microscopic stuff. It's traveling at huge amounts of speed. How to collect that? They have an idea about some kind of space magnet. Then you start -- it can affect satellites and electronics in bad ways.


So, it's a big problem. And unfortunately, as we all well know, humans love to wait to the last minute to do their homework. It's kind of like we reached critical mass. We are entering this golden age of space travel.

Axiom space launched an all civilian crew to the International Space Station. And as we launch more and more people to space on the moon, we have this beautiful SLS that's sitting there on Pad 39.

Yes. So, we have to think about this. There are some smart people doing it. It's a growing concern. And we got to pay attention.

SANCHEZ: Smart people just like you. Janet. We always appreciate your time. Always learn something when you are on with us.

Janet Ivey, thanks for joining us.

PAUL: Janet, thank you.

And thank you for being with us.

IVEY: Thank you for having me.

PAUL: Absolutely. We hope you make great memories today.

SANCHEZ: "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY" starts in just a few minutes. Thanks for joining us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)