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A Disturbing Discovery After Russian Troops Left The Chernobyl Nuclear Plant; COVID Rules Reportedly Worsen Food Problems In China; An All-Civilian Crew Visits The ISS. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired April 11, 2022 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi. I`m Carl Azuz. Welcome back to a new week of our show.

Our first report covers events from Eastern and Northern Ukraine. On Friday morning, a missile struck a train station in the Eastern Ukrainian city of

Kramatorsk. There were thousands of people estimated to be there at the time waiting on trains to evacuate the war-torn area. At least 57 were

killed in the blast and more than a hundred were injured.

Ukrainian officials blamed Russia for attacking civilians. They say Russian forces knew the area was filled with people and chose to deliberately and

barbarically kill them.

Russia says it did not conduct any artillery strikes in the city and that the type of missile involved was used only by Ukrainian forces.

The attack took place as Russia reportedly planned a major military operation to take over territory in Eastern Ukraine. Before it invaded the

country, Russia recognized two areas in this region as independent. On the day of their invasion, February 24th, Russian forces took over the

Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

It`s located in northern Ukraine, not far from the nation`s capital. It`s the site of the worst nuclear accident in history. When Ukraine was still

part of the Soviet Union in 1986, an explosion and partial meltdown here released harmful radiation into the atmosphere and the surrounding

environment. Chernobyl was shut down and covered by a large dome in the years that followed but radioactive material remains in the Red Forest that

surrounds Chernobyl, and Russian troops there might have been exposed to dangerous levels of it. The radiation they tracked into the plant wasn`t

especially high.

CNN`s Fred Pleitgen went there.


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Simply getting to the Chernobyl exclusion zone is a treacherous journey. Many

streets and bridges destroyed, we had to go off-road crossing rivers on pontoon bridges.

Finally, we reached the confinement dome of the power plant that blew up in 1986, the worst nuclear accident ever.

Russian troops invaded this area on the very first day of their war against Ukraine and took Chernobyl without much of a fight. Now that the Russians

have left, Ukraine`s Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky took us to Chernobyl and what we found was troubling.

The Russians imprisoned the security staff inside the plant`s own bomb shelter, the interior minister told us, no natural light, no fresh air, no


While the plant`s technical staff was allowed to keep working the Ukrainians say Russian troops were lacks with nuclear safety.

And as we enter the area Russian troops stayed and worked in, suddenly, the dosimeter`s alarm goes off -- increased radiation levels.

They went to the Red Forest and brought the radiation here on their shoes, this national guardsman says. Everywhere else is normal. Only this floor is


I ask, "Everywhere is okay but here is not normal?" "Yes," he says. "The radiation is increased here because they lived here and they went

everywhere." "On their shoes and clothes?" I ask. "Yes, and now they took the radiation with them." "Let`s get out of here," I say.

The so-called Red Forest is one of the most contaminated areas in the world, especially the soil. The Ukrainian government released this drone

footage apparently showing that the Russians dug combat positions there. The operator of Ukraine`s nuclear plants says those Russian soldiers could

have been exposed to significant amounts of radiation.

We went to the edge of the Red Forest zone and found a Russian military food ration on the ground. When we hold the dosimeter close, the radiation

skyrockets to around 50 times above natural levels.



AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:

What is the most populated city in China?

Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen or Hong Kong?

Beijing is the capital but Shanghai is China`s most populous city with more than 28 million people living in the metropolitan area.


AZUZ: Chinese President Xi Jinping recently praised his country`s strict COVID policy, calling it a great success. Many people in the city of

Shanghai would disagree. China has kept the goal of trying to eliminate COVID cases altogether while most other countries have adopted policies of

living with the virus, treating cases of it without shutting down. The major coronavirus version that`s circulating right now is believed to be

less severe and less deadly than previous versions.

But China has maintained a zero COVID strategy that`s so strict, it might have contributed to problems with getting basic supplies into Shanghai. On

Saturday, the local government allowed certain e-commerce deliveries to start again.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Workers stack a truck with bags of food and supplies to deliver to people locked down in the city of

Shanghai. But this shipment was made more than a week ago and residents say resupplying China`s most popular city of 25 million people is a logistical

nightmare. Much of Shanghai has been confined to their homes because of a severe COVID-19 outbreak in the city, and people are complaining that

stores have run out of food and it`s nearly impossible to schedule deliveries because couriers can`t keep up with the demand.

One man in Shanghai documenting the shortages on Twitter says, we had three deliveries that were booked to deliver today. All three were cancelled.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyday, my business is shut but my employees need to eat. I don`t have money! I have to pay for mortgage. In two days my

mortgage is due!

COREN: Public anger over the restrictions is at a boiling point. On top of the difficulty of getting food, people have been outraged by a policy

separating COVID positive children from their parents, which was modified last week to allow infected parents to join them at isolation centers.

Uninfected parents of children with special needs can now also accompany their children if they sign an agreement saying they understand the health

risks, though the term "special needs" was not defined.

On Saturday, the city`s Vice Mayor Zong Ming acknowledged that authorities had not met the public`s expectations in their handling of the situation.

And she also said the city may soon begin to ease restrictions in some areas where transmission rates are low enough.


AZUZ: We`ve talked about how NASA wants more private investment in the International Space Station before the orbiting laboratory is taken down

and destroyed in 2031.

A Texas company called Axiom Space is involved here. It books rocket rides, training and flights to the ISS for anyone with the, quote, tens of

millions of dollars it costs for a seat. Axiom, SpaceX and NASA just sent three paying customers plus one former NASA astronaut to the orbiter. It`s

a first for people who aren`t currently government space employees, but they don`t want to be called space tourists.

Here`s what they`ll be doing on their day mission.


RACHEL CRANE, CNN INNOVATION AND SPACE CORRESPONDENT: The crew of Ax-1 successfully docked at the International Space Station Saturday morning

following a 20-hour journey. Now, this was a first of its kind mission that`s because all of the astronauts on board were private astronauts and

they were greeted once they boarded the International Space Station by the entire crew of Expedition 67 which included three NASA astronauts, a

European astronaut, as well as three Russian cosmonauts.

Larry Connor, the pilot of Ax-1, had some words about the historic nature of this mission. Take a listen.

LARRY CONNOR, PILOT OF AX-1: We`re here to experience this, but we understand there`s a responsibility, and the responsibility is for this

first civilian crew to get it right and that`s what we`re fully committed to with the support of everybody here at the ISS and on the ground. So it`s

going to be a busy week of research for us and I`m sure it`s going to fly by.

CRANE: And it`s going to fly by because they will be very busy on station. They`re not just taking in those breathtaking views. They`ll be conducting

over 100 hours of scientific experiments doing 25 different experiments. One on hologram teleportation, which is essentially a fancy way of saying a

two-way video dialogue, but also doing research into aging, as well as brain health and cardiac health.

So a very busy eight days on station before they splash down here next week.

Rachel Crane, CNN, Cape Canaveral, Florida.



AZUZ: Things that are fun to find in a couch -- a dime, popcorn, not a snake. But this is what a man in San Diego recently found coiled up in his

couch, a seven-foot long Vietnamese blue beauty rat snake. It`s not venomous but it can pack a painful bite.

So the homeowner who is described as pretty frantic called a snake removal company to evict the uninvited house guest.

No one can explain how or why the animal wound up in a sofa. If you`re a coil at a coil found so far out of soil and it spoils and foils or taxes

you`re planning to relax, it`s time to call one who extracts and hope he gets there right away to strike the problem and viper away before it

slithers astray, no one wants to battle or rattle, you trip and fall, it could cause trouble when you`d rather it be in a purse or wallet.

I`m Carl Azuz.

Maybe it makes sense we`re shouting out Medical District High School today. It is in Memphis, Tennessee. And we hope to CNN Ten-nessee all y`all again