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CNN TONIGHT: OSCE: "Clear Patterns" Of Humanitarian Law Violations In Ukraine; NYC Subway Shooting Suspect Arrested; Russia Sanctions 398 Members Of U.S. Congress In Retaliation. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired April 13, 2022 - 21:00   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Travelers on public transportation, will need to mask up, until at least May 3. The federal mandate was set to expire, Monday. However, the CDC said today, the order will stay, while they evaluate the current uptick in cases.

The news continues. So, let's hand it over to Jake Tapper, in Ukraine, and CNN TONIGHT.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: John, thanks so much.

I'm Jake Tapper. And this is CNN TONIGHT, live from Lviv, Ukraine, where it is just after 4 A.M.

We're going to bring you all the latest developments, on this huge news, back home. The capture of the man, police believe, is the subway mass shooter, in New York City.

The suspect apprehended after a more than 24-hour manhunt, someone with a very long rap sheet, who has posted dozens of videos, online, spewing racist, anti-Semitic and, frankly, completely deranged tirades. Hear how police found him, and where this investigation is likely to go from here.

But first, a visceral reminder of the brutality of the war, here, in Ukraine. A mother, in anguish, as she finds the body of her son, dumped in a well, near Kyiv.









TAPPER: She is wailing, "My little son," as she falls to her knees. She says, she will not leave.

Her world completely changed forever, like so many thousands of others, in this country, as the Russians continue their invasion, and their brutality.

New satellite imagery shows Russian Ground Forces, continuing to redeploy, and move, into eastern Ukraine. That is where the stage is being set, for a major offensive, in the Donbas region.

This comes as President Biden has called Ukraine's President Zelenskyy. He did so today, to pledge another $800 million, in military aid, for Ukraine.

And this, just in, a first on CNN, other new satellite images, of a Russian warship, seen off the Crimean coast, in the Black Sea. Now, Ukrainians claim that they have hit this Russian ship, with missiles. There are conflicting reports, this evening.

We should note, this is not just any Russian warship. It is a very powerful and significant one. And it is the one made famous, on the day of the invasion, when Russians demanded that Ukrainian soldiers, on Snake Island, surrender.

And the Ukrainians responded with this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Russian warship, go (BLEEP) yourself.


TAPPER: Our Nima Elbagir is on the front lines now, in Kharkiv.

But let's start with CNN's Fred Pleitgen, in Kyiv, for us.

And Fred, what more can you tell us, about this Russian warship, the Moskva?


And it's actually the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, which is, part of the Russian Navy, Jake that, over the past couple of years, really, since 2014, the Russians have spent, a lot of money, upgrading. The Moskva itself is an older warship, but it certainly is one that is very powerful. And the Ukrainians, a couple of hours ago, had come out, with information, where they said that they had managed to strike this ship, the Moskva, off the Black Sea coast.

They said that they used two Neptune anti-ship missiles, to do that. Those are pretty powerful missiles that the Ukrainians actually developed themselves. They fly very low, and RFC-capable (ph) of hitting ships.

What we hadn't had was any sort of confirmation, from the Russian side. But now, the Russians, I would say, about an hour - hour half ago, on state media, RIA Novosti, they came out, and they said that this ship had had a fire, on board.

They didn't acknowledge that this happened, because of some sort of ship - anti-ship missile strike. They did say there was a significant fire on board. That fire caused ammunition, on board, to ignite, as they said. And they also said that the entire crew had now been evacuated off that ship.

And this is a huge blow, to the Russian Navy, to the Russian military, in this campaign here, against Ukraine. Obviously, their Black Sea Fleet flagship, having been hit by a country that actually currently doesn't operate the Navy, in this conflict.

So, this is a big admission, for the Russians, to make. And they're not coming forward with all the details. But a huge blow. And, a really huge victory, for the Ukrainians, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Fred.

We're also learning about how Ukrainian officials are uncovering more bodies, corpses, in the Sumy region. That's in northeastern Ukraine. And some of these corpses show signs of torture. This also comes, on top of new video, out of Kharkiv.

Tell us more.


PLEITGEN: Yes, you're absolutely right.

This is the Sumy region. This is a region that was actually taken back, by the Ukrainians, I'd say, about a little over a week, maybe 10 days ago. And there had already been some towns in that region.

First and foremost, Trostianets, it's where bodies had been discovered. And the Ukrainians now saying that they're discovering more and more hundreds of bodies, in the Sumy region, some of them not only bearing marks of torture, but also having, for instance, hands tied behind their back.

It's a grim thing that unfortunately, we've been seeing, in so many areas, here, in Ukraine, where the Russian forces had been in place, there, and had then been beaten back, by the Ukrainian military. We've seen some of that, firsthand, with bodies also, clearly bearing marks of what could very well be torture, bruises, all over their bodies, and then also hands tied behind their backs, bags over heads, people shot in the head. Those kinds of things, unfortunately, quite common.

And, of course, something also that the Ukrainians are looking into, and gathering a lot of the information, about that, for possible war crimes, crimes against humanity trials and genocide as well.

And then, in Kharkiv, you had what appears to be the use of cluster munitions, with those, you know, they're small explosions, coming down in the street, where, again, there, all you see there is civilian vehicles.

You can see some of those small explosions there. Those munitions, normally banned, from use, in civilian areas. That alone could amount to war crimes. But, of course, very dangerous, for civilians, as well, Jake.

TAPPER: Fred Pleitgen, in Kyiv, for us, thank you so much.

After relentless shelling, landmines, sniper attacks, this is what is left of Saltivka, one of the most populated areas, in Kharkiv, now decimated by Russian forces. The town is on the front lines, with Putin's military efforts, to push deeper, into Ukraine.

Our Nima Elbagir, and her team, were about one mile away, from the Russian troops.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Desolate, bare, lifeless, this is what it looks like, after weeks of relentless Russian shelling.

Saltivka, the most densely populated district, in Kharkiv, it's being bombed, day after day, night after night. There are very few people, left. The elderly, mostly.

One man stayed behind, to keep his mother safe.

ELBAGIR (on camera): Igor (ph) says that he lives on the 16th floor, of one of these buildings, with his mother. He says, his mother is deeply religious, and deeply committed, to staying here, even though they're almost entirely surrounded. And she won't leave. So, he won't leave.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): But this is a front line, under renewed pressure. The Russians are pushing hard.

ELBAGIR (on camera): That is so close. Those are Russian positions. They're shelling towards us. We are just over a mile away from the Russian forces. This is their route into Kharkiv, and then on into Ukraine. For now, this is the front line. That could change at any moment now. They are trying, as hard as they can, to push that front line, inwards.


ELBAGIR (voice-over): The soldiers want to show us, more evidence, of the heavy bombardment.

ELBAGIR (on camera): The soldiers want us to move very quickly, because Russian snipers are operating in this area. We've got to move.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): The rumble you hear is the constant shelling.


ELBAGIR (on camera): The shelling has just been absolutely relentless. From the moment that we've arrived, we've been hearing it. We have to be careful, where we step, because the Russians are also dispersing mines, from the rockets that they're sending over, into here.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): The shelling has intensified, over the last few days. Regional officials, told CNN, this is evidence of the renewed Russian military push.


ELBAGIR (on camera): Yes, let's go.

So, from where we are, we're pretty much surrounded, by Russian troops, on three sides.


ELBAGIR (on camera): Tens of thousands, of Russian troops, are believed to be amassing, to come into Kharkiv, to come into Ukraine, from this direction. We've got to move.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): The soldiers wanted us out of there.


ELBAGIR (voice-over): It was becoming too intense. Just 30 minutes later, we saw why.

This warehouse is in the south of Saltivka. It took a direct hit. This is an area that after the initial aborted invasion has been beyond the reach of Russian ground troops. But now, once again, nowhere is safe.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, Kharkiv.


TAPPER: A new OSCE report finds, quote, "Clear patterns," of violation of international humanitarian law by Russian forces.


One example, from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe study describes dozens of local officials, activists, and journalists, in Ukraine, being abducted by the Russians, the whereabouts of many of them still unknown.

The report also cites many well-documented cases of the use of cluster munitions. Rockets or bombs that hold dozens or hundreds of smaller bombs inside. They're designed to discharge, over a wide area, inflicting as much damage as possible.

Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze is a Ukrainian Member of Parliament. And she joins us now, to talk about this.

Ivanna, thank you so much for joining us.

I want to start with the fact that you have yourself seen, the atrocities, in Bucha, in Irpin, in Borodianka. What do you make of this new report stating that these human rights violations, are just very widespread, and seem to be committed, as a member - as a matter of policy, in some cases, some people say?


Yes, we visited with my colleagues, lot of this little villages and towns that have been basically totally destroyed. And we have talked to all those survivors, of the occupation.

And we see that Russians have been continuously conducting this indiscriminate shelling, of residential areas, of residential buildings, of schools, kindergartens. They have been killing - deliberately killing civilians, just for them being Ukrainians, and for them being citizens of this country, not posing any threat to obviously Russian forces.

Those horrific pictures, from my perspective, are just speaking to the fact that Russians have been consciously carrying out genocide acts, against Ukrainian population, here.

TAPPER: Yes. CNN cannot confirm that chemical weapons were used by the Russians, in Mariupol. You've said that they likely are. But you're awaiting more Intelligence. You've said chemical weapons are a red line that should demand a strong response from the international community. What should that response be, do you think?

KLYMPUSH-TSINTSADZE: Well, I really think that we have to kind of go over that political divide, in the decision-making, when all the heavy weaponry, including fighter jets, would be given to Ukraine, in order for us to be able to protect ourselves.

And, obviously, I would like all the hardest or heaviest, comprehensive, most comprehensive sanctions, to be finally imposed, on Russian Federation.

And I think that this is something that is very, very much possible to help us to defeat Russian Federation, to win this war, and to ensure that Ukraine has the possibility, to survive, and to develop the way we chose for ourselves.

TAPPER: Putin is vowing to see the invasion to a full completion, he says, with Russian forces, now preparing for a new onslaught, on eastern Ukraine, on the Donbas region.

How do you think this conflict is going to end?

KLYMPUSH-TSINTSADZE: Being a Ukrainian, and being Ukrainian politician, I would love to see us winning. I do not think that we have any other choice to survival.

I don't think that I can survive in this country, if Russians will take over, or any of my friends, or any of our, you know, of people, who have been building democratic, free and independent country, over this 30 years of independence.

So, therefore, I hope that this war, with your support, with the support of the world, Free World, with backing up with military capacity, with sanctions, with a full devotion, to help Ukrainians, is going to be ending, with our victory, but at very, very high cost that is almost unbearable.

TAPPER: Regarding the reports about Russians using crematoriums, to incinerate the corpses, of their victims, so as to hide their war crimes, presumably, have you, and other members of parliament, discussed any way, to identify these people that have been killed and burned?

KLYMPUSH-TSINTSADZE: For us, it's a big challenge, because that is - those reports have been coming out, from Mariupol. Around 13 mobile crematoriums have been recorded, being used there, by Russian Federation. At this particular moment, unfortunately, we do not have access, to those areas.

And we do understand that this is one of the ways, how the Russians are, after the Bucha massacre, and other massacres, have been revealed, to the world, are trying to cover up, their crimes, on our own land.


So, we will be relying, on recording of the information that we will get from the survivors. I think that that's probably the most important way how we can - how we will be able to get information.

TAPPER: Thank you so much. Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, appreciate your time, this evening.

Much more ahead, from Ukraine.

But coming up, we do have information, on the New York City subway shooting suspect, who has been captured, after a manhunt, of more than 24 hours. And this guy was apparently not hiding. He was seen, strolling the streets of New York City, hours before his arrest, today, sitting in plain sight, on a sidewalk.

How that arrest went down, and where this investigation goes, from here, that's next.


TAPPER: We're live in Lviv.


Let's turn now, to the breaking news, back home. The suspect, in the New York City subway shooting, 62-year-old Frank James, is in custody, this evening. James was arrested, this afternoon, thanks to a phone tip. But we should note, he's the one who made the phone tip.

CNN's Brynn Gingras is at that subway station, in Brooklyn, New York, with new reporting, on that conversation


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake. Sources telling me and, my colleague, Mark Morales that when James called into the Crime Stoppers tip line, he essentially told police there that he saw himself, on TV, and that he knew police wanted him.

He also said he was headed into a McDonald's, to charge his phone. And then, when police tried to ask, for a phone number, he said he didn't have it, and the call went dead.

Authorities arrived there, on the scene, at that McDonald's, in Manhattan. He wasn't there. And then, 911 calls came in, as well as bystanders, flagging down police, on the street, to James' whereabouts. And he was arrested, basically an hour, after that initial call, he made, into the tip line.

So, an interesting moment, there, during that arrest, and how it all went down. But this is the culmination, to a chaotic day and a half, for the NYPD, and its federal partners, for this investigation that really spanned several states.


GINGRAS (voice-over): The gunman, in the Brooklyn subway attack, now in police custody.

MAYOR ERIC ADAMS, (D) NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: 33 shots. But less than 30 hours later, we're able to say, "We got him."

GINGRAS (voice-over): Sources telling CNN, 62-year-old Frank James, reported himself to police, by calling Crime Stoppers. Police later spotted him, walking on a Manhattan street.

COMMISSIONER KEECHANT SEWELL, NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT: He was taken into custody, without incident, and has been transported to an NYPD facility. He will be charged with committing yesterday's appalling crime, in Brooklyn.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Authorities say, it was James, who set off smoke canisters, and opened fire, into a crowded subway car, Tuesday morning.

SEWELL: We used every resource, at our disposal, to gather and process significant evidence that directly links Mr. James, to the shooting. We were able to shrink his world, quickly. There was nowhere left, for him, to run.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Investigators determined, the gun found at the scene, of the attack, was purchased by James, in Ohio, in 2011, elevating him, from a Person of Interest, to a suspect.

Keys, found at the crime scene, led police to this U-Haul van, investigators say, James rented, in Philadelphia, leading police to a storage facility, and apartment there, filled with ammunition.

His motive, in the attack, still unclear. But investigators have pointed to repeated chilling rants, by James, on his YouTube account. The latest video, posted on Monday, where he talked about committing violence.

FRANK JAMES, SHOOTING SUSPECT: I've been through a lot of (BLEEP) where I can say, I wanted to kill people. I wanted to watch people die, right in front of my (BLEEP) face, immediately. But I thought about the fact, "Hey, man, I don't want to go to (BLEEP) prison."

GINGRAS (voice-over): James also advocating for mass shootings on social media.

JAMES: We need to see more mass shootings. Yes. You mean he does not know (ph). We need to see more, there has to be more mass shootings to make a (BLEEP) understand this that you're going, you're going, you're going down. It's not - no, it's not about the shooter. No. It's not about the shooter. It's about the environment in which he is - he has to exist.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Other videos included James claiming he had post-traumatic stress, and more rants, about race, homeless people, and the policies of Mayor Eric Adams.

ADAMS: We are watching signs around us of those who are leaning toward violent actions and we are ignoring them.

Why aren't we identifying these dangerous threats? Why aren't we being more proactive waiting - instead of waiting for this to happen?

GINGRAS (voice-over): James' gun jammed, during the shooting. 10 people were shot, and more than a dozen others, were injured, including five children.

HOURARI BENKADA, SHOT IN NYC SUBWAY ATTACK: I don't think I can ever ride the train again.

GINGRAS (voice-over): All are expected to recover physically. But the mental toll of the attack will likely weigh on the victims, and everyday New Yorkers, for some time.

SEWELL: We hope this arrest brings some solace, to the victims, and the people of the city of New York.


GINGRAS: James is now in federal custody. And the investigation, behind-the-scenes, still continues. Investigators looking through the social media footprint, going through evidence, still trying to see if they can bring even more charges, against him.

Right now, there's that one federal charge, Jake, and he'll be in court, tomorrow.

TAPPER: All right, Brynn Gingras, thank you so much. Good to see you.

Tonight, we are getting a closer look, at new video, obtained by WNBC, showing a man, law enforcement believe to be Frank James, in the subway system.

You see this man, dressed like a construction worker. Moments earlier, surveillance shows a similarly-dressed man, walking down the street, moments prior to the subway attack.

Joining us now is former FBI Special Agent, Bobby Chacon.

Bobby, thanks for joining us.

Even with cell phone video, and tons of surveillance, the reason the suspect's in custody, right now, at least partially, is because he turned himself in. What do you think made it so tough, for law enforcement, to find him, more quickly?


BOBBY CHACON, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: Well he wasn't - the first thing you do is you track him. So, they had his address in Philadelphia. They got an address in Wisconsin. So, they were doing all the traditional law enforcement shoe leather that brings you to where a person should be.

Manhattan, in New York City, in general, is a big place. A lots of people, lots of people that look alike. And so, I bet every officer, this morning, at roll call, got a picture, or looked at pictures of this guy, and they were on the lookout. It was only a matter of time.

I don't - I don't think - I don't see it as a problem. I think he was in an area where, none of the clues led to that particular area. I think there were certain neighborhoods that probably were on a higher look-out for him. And those officers were probably scouring crowds, looking for him. I don't think this was one of them, in Lower Manhattan.

So, I just think that it was a matter of time. And, as you heard, the net was getting closer, and his world was shrinking.

And, why a citizen didn't recognize him, from a lot of the coverage? I don't know. But eventually, they did. And I'm glad that he was taken in, before he could hurt anybody else. TAPPER: It didn't seem like he was hiding. He was enjoying the sunshine. He was eating a Happy Meal. I mean, what does that say about the suspect, and his frame of mind?

CHACON: That's an interesting question, Jake. And I've wondered that myself, since hearing about him, calling the tip into himself. It was very odd behavior, to me. It was almost like he was turning himself in, but not, you know?

Why the people, at McDonald's, didn't recognize him? I don't know. Maybe they didn't, look at the pictures, as much as other people did.

Yes, it's, this is kind of a bit of a mystery, in this whole thing. But, like I said, I think, he would have gotten taken into custody eventually. If not, then, within hours, after that, somebody would have recognized him.

I don't know how long he was out on that street. Somebody said, an hour, after the tip call came in, is when they took him into custody. I don't know how many hours before he went to that McDonald's. He was simply strolling around that neighborhood. And why nobody, on that street, kind of said, "That's the guy I saw on the news?" It's difficult to say.

TAPPER: What does the suspect's disturbing videos, which advocate for mass violence, they're anti-Semitic, they're racist, they're deranged, what does it tell you, about his possible motivation, for that horrific act?

CHACON: Well, if I was looking, at those videos, he espouses a lot of, you know, you can almost see him as a lone wolf Black Nationalist domestic terrorist. I mean, he was espousing a race war. He distributed radical Louis Farrakhan videos.

He said, Black people, and White people shouldn't be in contact with each other. He said, the only reason Black people have equality is because of violence. And he espoused violence. And so, it looks like he was looking at it - that some radical Black Nationalist ideology. And so, he could be seen as a domestic terrorist.

But what works against that train of thought is that he picked a target, a train that's in a very diverse neighborhood.

And so, you would think, I would have thought, if he was intent on carrying out a race war, or an attack that would try to push us into a race war, he would have picked a different target. Because this neighborhood was blue-collar people, going to work. They were multi- cultural, multi-racial victims.

And so, I, you know, I just don't - it's still a mystery. They're still combing over his social media. And maybe, they found things, in his apartment, or in some of the search warrants, that will give them a better idea, of what he was trying to do.

But, of course, this could be simply a person, in the midst of a mental health breakdown, and his actions-- TAPPER: Yes.

CHACON: --may not make sense.

TAPPER: Yes. Yes. Bobby Chacon, thank you so much. Appreciate your insights.

CHACON: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: Back here, in Ukraine, ahead, hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of additional military aid, being granted, by President Biden, to help Ukrainians stop this invasion. The question is, how much will it help, and for how long?

Keen insights, from a retired U.S. Army Major General, that's next.



TAPPER: And we're back, live, in Ukraine.

Ukrainian forces are anxiously awaiting more military aid, from Western allies, as Russians ramp up attacks, in the east and the south of this country.

Just today, President Biden approved $800 million, in new security aid, including new types of equipment, such as Howitzer cannons, 40,000 artillery rounds, 200 armored personnel carriers, and more.

The package will also provide additional equipment, the U.S. has sent before, such as Mi-17 helicopters, Switchblade drones and protective armor.

So, just how much of an impact might this have? Let's bring in retired Army Major General Paul Eaton.

General Eaton, good to see you. So, new satellite images show Russian Ground Forces moving into eastern Ukraine, with these armored vehicles, and support equipment, and personnel carriers, and artillery.

How much of a difference, do you think, this additional aid makes to the Ukrainians - will make to the fighting, on the ground for this battle that's coming up?

MAJ. GEN. PAUL EATON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST, U.S. ARMY (RET.), FORMER COMMANDING GENERAL, COALITION MILITARY TRAINING TEAM IN IRAQ: So, what we have, and to borrow from Yogi, is deja vu, all over again. This is what I lived, in the 70s and 80s, working with NATO forces, on the Inner German border, facing off against the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact.

So, it's about battlefield distribution. We provide a very large number of capabilities of systems. And you need to have the right number of systems, where the enemy is going to present. The enemy has evoked. And you need to be prepared, when you're on the defense, which is where we are, with Ukraine, to be able to manage what we used to call and, now, we call again, "Battlefield math."

We need to be able to handle the number of targets presented, in a manner, to defeat them, in greater numbers, than they present. So, it's a function of math. You got to kill them faster than they present.


TAPPER: So, let's break down some of the new equipment, for our viewers.

Beginning with these Howitzer cannons, the Pentagon says, this is the first time, they'll be sending these, along with the associated rounds, because it's reflective of the kind of fighting, Ukrainians are expected to face.

Can you explain how this specific weapon would be crucial, here, along with these armored personnel carriers, as well?

EATON: Of course. So, when you're facing, with the Russian army? The Russian army is basically an artillery-based army. They use a terrific amount of indirect fire, to support the advance, of their armored forces. You need to kill their direct fire systems. You need to kill their indirect fire systems.

So, if you match artillery, with the counter-battery radar systems that we have, then when the Russian army fires artillery, you are able to capture the location of the delivery system that they've got, their artillery pieces, and you can do counter-battery radar-developed fires.

So, basically, it's, they fire, you find them, you kill them. And that is a critical component of dealing with the Russian army systems that we have, right now.

TAPPER: So, U.S. officials say they're sending over the remainder of the last package. And then, within 24 hours, the next 24 hours, Ukraine should be receiving more Javelin anti-tank missiles, as well as a number of Switchblade drones, also known as Kamikaze drones, because they can detonate, on impact.

Where might these pieces of equipment be most useful?

EATON: So, Jake, again, it's how you distribute these systems. Throughout the battlefield, you've got to figure out, and all the Intel guys will try to discern, where the main effort's going to be, from the Russians, coming in.

And that's the art of the issue, is where do you concentrate these counter systems, to be able to develop propel fires, to defeat the attack? So it's, where do you concentrate the availables that you have, and that distribution with all the systems that we're developing, right now, and delivering? And particularly, the Switchblade systems, because they're - this is a new battlefield system, that when concentrated, develop a counter- system to the attack that we're developing.

TAPPER: OK. Major General Paul Eaton, thank you so much, for your expertise. We appreciate it.

While President Biden now calls the Russian atrocities, committed against Ukraine, "Genocide," officially, the U.S. government, is not there yet. And one U.S. ally worries those comments could only make things worse.

Former NATO Ambassador Kurt Volker will join me to discuss, next. Stay with us.



TAPPER: We're back, live, from Lviv.

The atrocities here, in Ukraine, are challenging the U.S., and other Western nations, to formally define the horrors, under international law.

But President Biden, yesterday, made clear, how he views, what's happening here.



The evidence is mounting. It's different than it was last week. The - more evidence is coming out of the - literally, the horrible things that the Russians have done in Ukraine.


TAPPER: In spite of President Biden's declaration, however, U.S. officials say, it is not expected, to trigger any immediate changes, to U.S. policy, that declaration. The President himself also acknowledged that it would be up to international lawyers, or other lawyers, to make that determination.

I want to bring in Kurt Volker. He's former U.S. Ambassador to NATO.

Ambassador Volker, thanks so much for joining us.

First, I want to get your response, to President Biden, calling this, "Genocide," which, as we've described before, is legally defined, as any action committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.


He is saying publicly what all of us can see with our own eyes, that Vladimir Putin has publicly said that Ukraine doesn't exist, as a country, and doesn't believe that its people are actually a separate nationality. He thinks they should all be Russians. And they have gone into Ukraine, and killed civilians, with a view of exterminating the country, and the population.

So, President Biden is just saying what we can all see. I appreciate the fact that the lawyers, the historians, the diplomats will all say, "Well, this needs to be verified. This needs to be assessed. There needs to be more of a process here." But I think President Biden is actually doing something significant here, by saying the truth that we can see.

TAPPER: Yes. I mean, the State Department formally declared that what Myanmar did to the Rohingya, in 2017, is a genocide. But it took five years! I mean, the U.S. has only declared genocide--

VOLKER: Right.

TAPPER: --eight times, I think. In this case, we're hearing this, in real-time. Though, we're also hearing that it's not going to trigger any immediate changes to policy. History shows us that genocide declarations--


TAPPER: --really often, you know? What's your response to that?

VOLKER: Well, I think that you've put your finger on something that's significant here, which is, changes to policy.

The United States, has an interest, in seeing Ukraine survive, as a sovereign independent state, and seeing the kind of aggression that, Vladimir Putin has launched against Ukraine, fail.


So, our policy should be set at the point of saying, what does it take to help Ukraine win? That's where we need to be. And I don't think declaring a genocide, or not declaring a genocide, is material to that, although it is a visible thing that we can see.

I do think that the kind of assistance, the U.S. is providing, to Ukraine, right now, that is significant, and it's needed. Could have been done weeks ago. But it's finally flowing. And, I think, we have kind of got ourselves, in the right position, now.

TAPPER: The French President, Emmanuel Macron, today warned that by using the term, "Genocide," in his view, prematurely, without a formal investigation, and declaration, that, risks escalating tensions, with Russia, in Macron's view.

Do you think he has any point there, especially when diplomatic talks are ongoing, although Putin called - Putin said that they're at a dead-end?

VOLKER: Well, I certainly come down on the side of honesty and clarity.

And, I think, where Macron is coming from, is a perception that at the end of this war, Russia may be left standing, Vladimir Putin may be left standing, and France or Germany is going to have to deal with Vladimir Putin. So, they're not willing to actually call things, as they see them.

And, I think, that's unfortunate. And I think that we actually are at a moment, right now, with the killings of the civilians that we've seen, the executions, the torture, the rapes, we need to be more explicit, about what we're seeing, calling it as it is, and then generating the action required, to actually stop it.

TAPPER: Russia incidentally, announced that it was going to impose sanctions on 398 Members of Congress, today. This is in retaliation for Washington, blacklisting hundreds of Russian lawmakers, people in the Duma, last month.

Will that have any real impact?

VOLKER: So, as John McCain said, when he was sanctioned, by Russia, he wasn't planning to take a vacation, in Siberia, anytime soon, anyway. And I'm sure many of the Members of Congress feel the same way. I don't think this has any material impact on them.

And in fact, I think what it does show, is that Russia is looking for ways to punch back. They don't like the sanctions. They don't like the fact that they're losing in the war. And they're trying to search for ways that may appear to be some kind of punch-back, to get people, to be concerned.

TAPPER: All right, Ambassador Volker, thank you so much. Good to see you again. Appreciate your time, this evening

VOLKER: Pleasure to see you, Jake.

TAPPER: Coming up, I'll talk with a man, who raced to the scene, after the Russian attack, on that Ukrainian train station, full of innocent people. And now, he's carrying out his own lifesaving mission, to get Ukrainians, the medical help, they need. That's next.



TAPPER: Back now, in western Ukraine.

The images we're about to show you remain difficult to watch, days later. 57 dead, more than 100 wounded, in Friday's Kramatorsk train station massacre, by the Russians.

I spoke with somebody, who heard the explosion, and rushed over to help, a former construction engineer, who now spends his days, arranging medical transport, for people, in besieged towns, who have been wounded.

He told us about that horrible day, and suspicions he has, about how it all went down.



TAPPER (voice-over): The call came, Friday morning, from the Mayor of Kramatorsk. "Something had happened, at the train station. Come immediately."


TAPPER (voice-over): Vyacheslav Zaporozhets had heard the explosion. He ran, right there.

ZAPOROZHETS (through translator): There were bodies that were torn into pieces.

TAPPER (voice-over): 57 killed, more than 100 wounded.

ZAPOROZHETS (through translator): There was a lot of blood, puddles of blood. It was easy to track how many people moved by the traces of blood on the ground.

I saw a lot of elderly people, mostly women, children, and very young people that are very simple people that do not have their own vehicles. It was basically the last wave of evacuation.

TAPPER (voice-over): Before the war, Zaporozhets was a construction engineer, in Kyiv.

Now, he spends his days, driving around Ukraine, arranging medical transport, for people in towns, being besieged.

ZAPOROZHETS (through translator): Everyone was worried about Kyiv, and the possible attacks on Kyiv. But, I think, everyone understands that these small cities, like Kramatorsk, they are in danger, even more. The evacuation is ongoing. And they can be targeted.

TAPPER (voice-over): We caught up with him, as he rode, from one town to another. The train was supposed to leave the Kramatorsk station, at 9 that morning. But it was delayed. On a beautiful spring day, people started coming to the station, around 10.

He suspects, an informant told the Russians, when to strike, for maximum civilian casualties.

ZAPOROZHETS (through translator): I believe there was somebody, a saboteur, or a person, who exactly chose the right time, when most of the people were outside. And there was a crowd, already gathering, who might have given the command, to fire the missile.

TAPPER (voice-over): Seeing all these wounded people, for the last month and a half, has been devastating.

TAPPER (on camera): You've been witnessing this now for a month and a half. What has been your emotional response?

ZAPOROZHETS (through translator): I had a 50-minute chat, with a psychologist. And it was the first time I felt some ease. But it's not over.


TAPPER (voice-over): A front-row seat to what the Russians are doing.

ZAPOROZHETS (through translator): From what I've witnessed, and seen, I can say, I realize it's not war. It's pure terrorism.



TAPPER: Pure terrorism. The Kramatorsk mayor said as many as 4,000 people, were at that train station, when the missile struck. They were just trying to escape.

We'll be right back.



TAPPER: Thank you so much for watching.

I will be back, tomorrow night, at 9 P.M. Eastern, for CNN TONIGHT, live, again, from Ukraine.

I will see you, tomorrow afternoon, on "THE LEAD," which begins at 4 P.M. Eastern.

"DON LEMON TONIGHT" starts right now.

Hey, Don?


Listen, Kramatorsk, in western Ukraine, faded into the background. This as far as the news, right? It's there are things still happening there. But Ukrainians are still facing the reality, on a daily basis. How are they dealing?

TAPPER: Well, I was at a train station, for a piece, I'm going to do - that I'm going to air, tomorrow. It's at a train station, nearby here, in Lviv. And a bunch of kids, wounded kids, came. Remember, five were killed. More than 16 were wounded. And there were about nine kids, children, severely wounded, on that train, coming here, for care.

I suspect that Kramatorsk, is going to stand, in the minds of Ukrainians, the way that we think of things, like Pearl Harbor, or Columbine. We identify Parkland, we identify horrific events, by the name of a town.