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Hala Gorani Tonight

Macron To Face Le Pen In French Presidential Election; Ukraine Braces For New Russian Offensive In The East; U.K.'s Prime Minister Boris Johnson Visits Kyiv; Ukraine's U.K. Ambassador Speaks To CNN On Lethal Aid Pledge; Reports: Kremlin Critic Detained In Moscow; Parliament Votes In Shehbaz Sharif As Prime Minister; Shanghai. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired April 11, 2022 - 14:00   ET



HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN in London, I'm HALA GORANI TONIGHT. Two major stories across Europe. In

France, Emmanuel Macron hits the campaign trail finally some might say, preparing to go head-to-head with Marine Le Pen and the battle for the

French presidency. We will dive into the results from Sunday's first round of voting.

First though, dire warning from the besieged city of Mariupol and Ukrainian forces on high alert for a new Russian offensive in the east. We'll have

all the latest on day 47 of Russia's invasion. Ukraine's president says tens of thousands of Russian troops are amassing for an all-out assault in

the east, an area already coming under heavy fire. They're also tightening the siege of Mariupol as Ukrainian forces there warn that their ammunition

is running out.

They're still defending the city, though. The U.K. Defense Ministry says Russia could use phosphorus munitions as part of their final push to take

the city. And the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave this staggering death toll today.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): Mariupol lies destroyed. Tens of thousands have been killed there, and still, the

Russians won't end their offensive. They want to make an example out of Mariupol as a city ruined.


GORANI: A Russian general who has been overseeing operations in Mariupol and southern Ukraine is now in charge of Vladimir Putin's entire war. He's

infamous for his brutal tactics in other conflicts including Syria and Chechnya. The U.S. says Russia is moving to reinforce and re-supply its

forces in the east as these satellite images appear to confirm. They show - - you can see it there, on this satellite image, a very long, which is nearly 13-kilometer long Russian convoy east of Kharkiv.

Today, Austria's chancellor became the first European leader to meet face- to-face with Vladimir Putin since the war began. Karl Nehammer says it was not a friendly visit to Moscow. He describes the talks as very direct, open

and tough. Mr. Nehammer said his most important message was that the war in Ukraine must end. It fell on deaf ears, though.


KARL NEHAMMER, CHANCELLOR, AUSTRIA (through translator): At the moment, I am not particularly optimistic after my talks with Mr. Putin. The offensive

is being prepared with determination.


GORANI: Well, our Nic Robertson is following this story from Brussels for us with more. What was the Austrian chancellor hoping to achieve where so

many heads of state before him have failed?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I don't think he went in there with the expectation that he was going to succeed, but the

importance was to go and tell the truth to President Putin, knowing that there's a circle of people around Putin who won't tell him the truth, and

tell him the truth of what the international community sees, and as the Austrian chancellor told President Putin, he's seen with his own words the

-- in his words, "the immeasurable suffering that's been caused by" -- in his words, "Russia's war of aggression".

And that's what he said he told President Putin. Now, that's not a narrative that the Kremlin accepts, and that's why the meeting we've heard

was unfriendly, because there's a complete opposition and different points of view. But it was important at a humanitarian level, the Austrian

chancellor thought, to deliver the truth to President Putin and how the world sees him. And to try to get some humanitarian corridors open, and to

try to end the suffering of the civilians in Ukraine.

In fact, what the chancellor also told Putin was that as long as people would continue to die in Ukraine, then the European Union, their allies and

partners, the United States and others, would continue to put more and more tighter -- tighten the sanctions on President Putin.


So he's very clearly been told a message that may not have been getting through to him. Clearly, that may have been filtered by, you know, the

subordinates around him. I think, you know, you have to look at this as in a way Austria has a slightly different relationship to some of the other

European nations with Russia. It's historically had this sort of military neutrality. There's a closeness and an understanding that perhaps doesn't

exist between some of the European countries and Moscow.

And it was an opportunity to use that. But the duration of the meeting, 75 minutes really told you that this was two sides, two opinions, two views,

and little crossover, if any.

GORANI: All right, certainly, it seems that way. Thanks very much, Nic Robertson in Brussels. Now, let's talk about the humanitarian situation on

the ground, what so many around the world are calling outright war crimes by the Russian side, alleged war crimes. Many people fleeing eastern

Ukraine ahead of this expected Russian offensive are now avoiding the trains after the deadly missile strike at the station in Kramatorsk.

The death toll from Friday's attack has now risen to 57, and the chairman of Ukraine's rail systems says that a second station elsewhere in the east

has now been struck as well. While some are still boarding trains from the nearby city of Sloviansk, many others are looking to buses and even private

cars as they seek a route to safety. CNN's Ben Wedeman is in eastern Ukraine.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The air raid siren rings out over a scene of carnage past. In Kramatorsk railway

station, a ripped shoe, a discarded hat, a cane left behind. They came to the station with only what they could carry, hoping to reach safer ground,

but nearly 60 never left. Lives cut short by a missile, on it someone scrolled in Russian, "for the children".

Four thousand people were here waiting for a train west when the strike happened. The massacre accelerating the exodus.

(on camera): Most of the residents of Kramatorsk have left the city, having been urged to do so by local authorities. As this part of the

country, the entirety of eastern Ukraine braces for what could be a massive Russian offensive.

(voice-over): At the city's bus station, Nikolay, a volunteer has been helping with the evacuation. For him, news of the pull-back of Russian

forces around the capital, Kyiv, was bitter sweet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I heard about Kyiv, that they leave Kyiv, I was happy, you know, but then I realized a couple seconds later that they move

in to Donbas, all their forces. I'm a little bit -- I can't say that I'm scared, but I'm worried about my people, about people, about mothers, about


WEDEMAN: Some are heading west, others north to the town of Sloviansk where trains still run. Oksana and a friend and their children are bound

for Lviv in the far west.

"There's a lot of bombing here", says Oksana, "I'm afraid for the children." The children, thankfully, still children. A handful of adult

relatives stay behind, far more aware of the danger ahead. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Sloviansk, eastern Ukraine.


GORANI: And one of the defining features of this refugee and internally displaced crisis in Ukraine is the separation of families, because as so

many of you know, men cannot leave the country aged between 18 and 60. Let's go live now to Ukraine, Phil Black is joining us from Lviv with the

very latest on these Russian troop movements toward the east of the country where it appears the Russian military is refocusing its efforts after its

retreat from outside Kyiv.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Hala, what we are hearing from a senior Ukrainian adviser to the government today is that from their point

of view, this offensive, this new operations by Russia in the east, they are already effectively underway, because they are already experiencing an

escalation in shelling and bombardment across the three key areas there, te regions in the east, Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk, they're already seeing a

major reinforcement of Russia's presence with new troops, new hardware.

What they are waiting to see now is a final push, an effort to drive forward and breakthrough Ukraine's defensive lines to seize and control the

whole of the Donbas or liberate the Donbas as Putin would say.


But that is expected to happen in the coming days and weeks. Most analysis suggests that this is going to be imminent, that Putin is pushing for quick

results. That is why for the first time he has appointed an overall commander in the field to get this job done. And the accepted deadline is

somewhere close to May the 9th. Russia's victory day, when it traditionally celebrates the defeat of Nazi, Germany and World War II.

But which in recent years, it's taken on a broader meaning, morphed into a broader celebration of Russia's military might and glory, Hala.

GORANI: Phil Black, thanks so much, reporting live from Lviv. The war in Ukraine initially gave the French President Emmanuel Macron a political

boost at home. He's up for re-election in just a few weeks and came out on top of the first round of voting yesterday. Now, he is projected to win the

runoff later this month against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, but by a major -- by a -- sorry, I should say by a razor-thin margin.

In past elections, left and right-wing voters have come together to block the far-right from power. Now, many left-wing voters are saying they will

abstain in the runoff vote, and President Macron needs their votes to win. Let's take a closer look with senior international correspondent Jim

Bittermann and political commentator Agnes Poirier live from Paris. So, before we get to the Macron-Le Pen runoff, which was essentially the

picture in 2017, I want to start with Agnes, what we witnessed is the complete collapse of the traditional socialist and mainstream right-wing

parties in the country.

In fact, the right-wing candidate Pecresse is not even going to get her deposit back because she didn't hit that 5 percent threshold. The socialist

candidate, Anne Hidalgo, who is the mayor of Paris barely registering at around 2 percent. What's going on?

AGNES POIRIER, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good question. Look, it's been going on for years, to be honest. And that's probably why Emmanuel Macron could

actually suddenly emerge on the national political French scene. But it is quite incredible to see when you think that the two main parties have

completely collapsed, and 5 percent symbolic, you know, parts of the electorates under which it is true you're not reimbursed all your campaign


So, basically, what we have is a completely recomposed French political landscape, and you have extremes, 57 percent of the French electorate

actually cast a vote for political extremes, far right, far left. And this leaves, you know, a vote, an enormous void, that President Macron is trying

to fill. At the center or from the center, and the French, as you know, Hala, very well, like something that is clear cut, left or right, and they

have difficulty relating to a centrist candidate, is too much on the left or the right, too much on the right or the left.


POIRIER: And somehow is -- you know, he dissatisfied a lot of French voters.

GORANI: Sure, but let's about Marine Le Pen, Jim Bittermann because a few months ago she was in the teens in terms of her popularity. And suddenly,

she is -- almost a quarter of the electorate voted for her in the first round, and she's coming very close within the margin of error to Emmanuel

Macron in the second round.

How do you explain that she has progressed so much in the polls in the last few months, when this is a candidate who five years ago was, you know,

talking about how she admired Vladimir Putin and saying Crimea was never invaded, it was always part of Russia just as Russia invades Ukraine.

What's going on there?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, exactly, Hala. One of the things that I think we've seen happen -- and by the way, those positions that she

had, she's modified them slightly during the campaign --

GORANI: Yes --

BITTERMANN: But they still exist on the Rassemblement National, her party's website, you can still find them there basically, she says among

other things that security in Europe is not possible without the Russians. This with the background of the Ukrainian situation. In any case, I think

that basically, she very cleverly in the campaign allowed Eric Zemmour, who is the extreme right, further right -- or to the right than she, in fact,

let him take on these extremist positions, anti-immigration and what not and anti-Europe.


And on her platform, basically modified to make it -- to kind of sound like she would adopt a position more towards the center. And that certainly, I

think helped her last night. One of the things that Agnes was just saying interesting is that, this afternoon we've been listening to Mr. Macron who

has been out on the campaign trail today, up in some areas that were won by the extreme left and by the extreme right yesterday, and trying to garner

some votes.

In any case, he said that he was going to call together a conference, I'm not sure how this is ever going to work, but a conference of left and right

candidates who were defeated yesterday. There were 12 candidates yesterday, two have made it to the runoff. So there are 10 candidates out there. Left

and right candidates called them together in a conference to exert some kind of -- to come up with some kind of national unity, which, of course, I

think would -- he would hope --

GORANI: Yes --

BITTERMANN: Would gather behind him, Hala.

GORANI: And this has become once again a battle, Agnes, between sort of the multilateralist, globalist, pro European centrist Macron, and the

populist anti-EU in some cases, NATO skeptic, Putin-embracing up until this invasion, it has to be said, candidate on the right, on the more extreme

fringes of the right. And the French people are asked to decide once again between -- it's not only happening in France, it's happening in many other

countries between these two very different visions of what a western democracy should look like.

And why is France tempted at all by someone like Le Pen? It's -- what's going on? Is it because she's talking about purchasing power and things

that matter to ordinary French people now?

POIRIER: Well, it's exactly what Jim said earlier. She's been very astute, very shrewd in her campaigning. Don't forget that she has learned a lot

from her failure from last time --

GORANI: Yes --

POIRIER: And because, Eric Zemmour on the far right of her far right, managed to make her look just by sheer contrast, more moderate, more

acceptable, more mainstream, and she was very clever in not talking about her manifesto at all. And I would urge a lot of people to look into her

manifesto because it is --

GORANI: Yes --

POIRIER: Really extreme right. And she played the unity card. She talked about the cost of living and inflation, things that, you know, the French

love hearing about, how tired they are. With Emmanuel Macron, was actually very straightforward in the very little time he had to campaign. He talked

about very honestly about the reforms he was going to implement, and as you know, all the French are reformed phonics, that's not what --

GORANI: Yes --

POIRIER: They want to hear. So we'll see how both of them and especially Emmanuel Macron, you know, start campaigning from today --

GORANI: Yes --

POIRIER: And they've got two weeks.

GORANI: He's got two weeks, but Agnes, I wanted to ask Jim about this, finally he's campaigning. Had only one big rally, and then there's this --

I cannot imagine even what the ratings will be for this. A debate between Macron and Le Pen on the 20th of April. The last one was a disaster for

Marine Le Pen in 2017. She came out looking awful. So these are live images by the way, coming to us from -- let me read that, Carvin, France, I don't

know where Carvin is -- it's in northern France, OK. He's campaigning now. A lot hinges on this debate this time, doesn't it, Jim?

BITTERMANN: Absolutely. The debate is going to be the Wednesday before the final round of the elections. And you're right. I mean, in 2017, Marine Le

Pen did terribly. And she said afterwards that she was tired and out on the campaign trail and what not. So, this time around, they're talking within

her campaign of giving her two or three days off so that she can rest up and practice and that sort of thing for the debate, because there's no

question about it, Emmanuel Macron is a skilled debater, Marine Le Pen, not so much.

And so, this will be a chance to sort of get her up to speed and hopefully to square off with Emmanuel Macron. But it remains an open question, and

also, like you're saying, this is going to be very influential, just a few days ahead of the vote as it was last time. I mean, last time, she lost by

a landslide in the second round. So it could be very influential on what happens on the 24th. Hala?

GORANI: Right, we're going to see. We're going to see because that debate was -- I mean, I guess we can -- we can -- we can call it a train wreck for

Le Pen. We'll see how much better prepared she is this time. She certainly was in her campaigning. So we'll see if that translates into the actual

debate. Thanks so much to both of you, Jim Bittermann and Agnes Poirier in Paris. Still to come, he came, he saw, he promised.


But is Prime Minister Boris Johnson's new aid package enough for Ukraine? I'll ask that country's ambassador to the U.K. next. And later, we'll take

a closer look at the general. Vladimir Putin has just appointed to command Russian forces and his history of waging some very brutal wars.


GORANI: Well, it was a surprise visit. The U.K. prime minister visited Kyiv over the weekend. You see him here getting a tour from Volodymyr

Zelenskyy In the center of the city. Prime Minister Johnson is putting British money where his mouth was, sending armored vehicles, missile

systems, under $30 million worth of other equipment to Ukraine. The Ukrainian embassy tweeted that it was a surprise visit, including a winky

face emoji. Mr. Johnson's train ride from Poland was kept secret at the time for obvious reasons, but he sent this message to rail workers.


BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: I just want to say a massive thank you to all the staff of Ukrainian railways for what you're

doing. I gather you're called the iron people, men and women of iron because of -- because that's the trade that -- the industry that you work

in. But I think it also reflects the spirit that you're showing and the spirit of Ukraine.


GORANI: Well, joining me now is the Ukraine ambassador to the United Kingdom, Vadym Prystaiko, he joins me live from London, thank you so much

ambassador for being with us. We're just --


GORANI: Getting this news crossing, our Pentagon correspondent is reporting that Ukrainian officials, in fact, visited the United Kingdom

recently to evaluate weapons systems and military equipment. What were they doing? Were they evaluating weapons systems with the objective of then

having them potentially sent to Ukraine to defend against the Russian invasion?

PRYSTAIKO: That was yet another secret just recently unveiled. You're right, that's where my people were just recently with all delegation from

different types of knowledge and different expertise, headed by a high official of Ministry of Defense.


The assertion, they came to check what can -- what we need -- what can be done, and what requires less training, because we're running out of time,

we don't have enough time to prepare our soldiers, our officers.

GORANI: OK, so they were evaluating weapons systems that would be different from the ones that the U.K. has already pledged? Would it be --

can you tell us what weapons systems?

PRYSTAIKO: I can't tell you the exact -- the exact weapons systems. What I have to tell you, that what we expect right now is not just from the U.K.

U.K. s just at the forefront of this effort --

GORANI: Right --

PRYSTAIKO: Trying to mobilize everybody else's systems. And where they cannot have something in their own thoughts, they are trying to find out

around the globe. We are talking now --

GORANI: Right --

PRYSTAIKO: About something which will give us a much wider effect with much longer distance, and with much higher caliber capacity. We are looking

for the -- something anti-ship. We need artillery systems with which we can reach far. We need multiple rocket launching systems which will allow us

to clear up our land, stage by stage.

GORANI: So the -- you talk about the anti-ship, that's obviously important for the Naval attack vessels that Russia has in the Black Sea, especially

with regard to a city like Odessa, I imagine. The U.K. has pledged to send those. But obviously the Ukrainians need to be trained on them. This isn't

something that happens overnight. What is your hope with regards to when these could be put into practice, into effect?

PRYSTAIKO: There are some things which can be taken from here. There are some Intelligence needed. There are satellite images also needed on top of

everything we just discussed with you. But there are systems for Soviet Union production which our people know how to operate, and this system

might not be on the U.K. soil, but they're around the globe. The U.K. is quite, you know, happy to provide us assistance, sometimes financial

assistance to buy for our own needs.

Sometimes we just need the coordination. So, somebody in another nation will tell, yes, we have it in stock, we can provide it. But we need

logistics, we need fixing of these things. So, that's what U.K. is doing on top of just providing their own pieces.

GORANI: So you're saying the U.K. is coordinating the procurement worldwide of some of these weapons and weapons systems. Are they doing this

in a way that other European countries are not or is their role, some sort of special role when it comes to helping Ukraine arm itself against Russia

right now?

PRYSTAIKO: I believe the U.K. took on this role for quite a long time ago. The prime minister of the U.K. was in Kyiv in December. We were talking

already at that time --

GORANI: Yes --

PRYSTAIKO: About imminent attack on Ukrainian soil. So the preparation started a long time ago. Some of the systems are quite advanced like Star

Streak anti-air missiles were just starting to come, but LAW, anti-tank along with the American system, anti-tank system. They are now a backbone

of our effort against this tank, tank mass which Russians are throwing at us.

GORANI: That being said now, it looks as though the Russian troops might learn from their mistakes around Kyiv. They're regrouping to the east. It's

a very different fighting terrain, I don't have to tell you that, you know your country much better than I do, although I spent a few weeks there. But

it appears as though this is going to be really as Zelenskyy, your president has said, a major battle for the eastern part of the country.

And you -- we've heard even around Mariupol that some of the troops there are running out of weapons and ammunition. How concerned are you that this

is going to be very tough?

PRYSTAIKO: We totally understand the situation. We admit that this time it will be different. Russians did learn from their mistakes, and the grave

sort of fight which was quite sufficient in our case with the system for the javelins and LAWs and all this stuff, almost of guerilla style fight.

This stage is over. Our people showed, enormous, remarkable bravery and effectiveness. So, now, we have to come to the much longer distance as


We'll have to reach out and be able to fight them at a distance. That's something where in this capacity we're still lacking.

GORANI: And briefly, so you're still lacking. Why are you lacking it? Are countries not providing it to you? Are they promising them but they're

not ready to be shipped, what's the problem?

PRYSTAIKO: There are few nations which can provide us with what we need. This is the heavy artillery of 155 NATO caliber. We also need rockets which

will be able to fly hundreds of kilometers, not something we have in stock. We're just running out of our own stock. And again, the air, air control.

This is something which we were lacking from the very beginning. Remember when we were asking to help us close our air space, it was not done.


We are trying to you know to compensate with the anti-air. So what actually we have right now is the Stingers and then the U.K.'s Starstreaks, but they

will reach out only to four kilometers where it's something really serious to be able to wipe out the airplanes from our skies.

GORANI: All right. Well, thank you very much for joining us on the program, Vadym Prystaiko, who is the Ukrainian --

PRYSTAIKO: Thank you.

GORANI: -- ambassador to the United Kingdom with more there on the U.K.'s role in all of this and his country's reaction as it continues to -- on day

47, still, we could be the target of this Russian assault. Thank you. Still to come tonight, why Russia has defaulted on its foreign debt and what it

means for their economy. We'll be right back.


GORANI: Let's talk about the economic impact that this war is having on Russia and Ukraine. The ratings agency, S&P, has downgraded Russia's credit

rating on foreign debt to selective default. We'll get to what that means in a moment. It comes after Moscow attempted to make bond payments in

rubles instead of dollars. Last week, the U.S. Treasury blocked Russia from accessing its foreign currency reserves in American banks, a move that

meant Moscow had no choice but to offer to pay its debts in rubles.

Anna Stewart joins me now to discuss this. So let's talk about selective default. Can you pay your foreign debt in your country's currency and not

in dollars? Crew is not working out for Russia.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: It kind of depends on the T's and C's, and for some bond payments, sure, you can pay it in a different currency, not these

ones. These are dollar denominated, and it was $649 million on debt payments, a couple of different bonds there, which came due last week. So

they've had a week and S&P have clearly decided that despite there being a 30-day grace period, they've really decided this isn't going to happen.

Russia are not going to be paying this in dollars.

Now is that because they can't due to sanctions and half their foreign reserve's being frozen?


Is it because they're unwilling? And it could be a little bit of both. There's some technical difficulties but, you know, Russia is still getting

a lot of money in revenue from oil and gas. So potentially they could have done it. But then --

GORANI: Right. But -- so who do they owe this money to? Where's this debt held?

STEWART: international investors who probably were expecting this to happen, but actually, when you're looking at sovereign debts held by

foreign investors, it's a much smaller part of the pie to corporate debt. If Russian corporations start defaulting on debt, that will have a much

bigger impact for financial markets.

GORANI: All right. Let's talk about the economic impact. And this is the World Bank that's assessed this calendar year what could happen to the

Ukrainian economy and to the Russian economy. Ukraine first.

STEWART: This is really quite shocking, but probably actually not very surprising if you look at what's happening on the ground. The estimate here

from the World Bank is Ukraine's economy to shrink by 45 percent, this year, so halving.

GORANI: A complete collapse.

STEWART: And in the worst-case scenario, should the war actually escalate, a contraction of 75 percent. And perhaps one of the more shocking facts in

here is they're now estimating that this year, a fifth of the population will be living in poverty, living on less than 5 1/2 dollars a day. So it

really goes to show the need for huge amounts of financial aid, you know, not just military aid, not just aid actually right now to pay salaries and

keep lights on and get food to people that need it, but longer term if you start considering how you rebuild this economy that has been shattered.

GORANI: And the Russian economy prediction is 11 percent. Best-case and worst-case, what was it?

STEWART: That's current case. Worst-case is 20 percent contraction. And actually, I've spoken to economists who could see it being worse than that,

because you also have to consider what happens next with oil and gas. If there were more of an embargo on that from other nations, that is their

main source of revenue right now, that would see that number.

GORANI: Right. We'll see. Anna Stewart, thanks very much.

Vladimir Putin has now appointed a top general with a history of brutality to command Russia's forces in Ukraine according to U.S. and European

officials. They Army General Aleksandr Dvornikov is to assume the post. European officials say it's an acknowledgment that Russia's war effort is

going badly and needs to be fixed.

Dvornikov's previous commands of Russian forces in Syria, well, those paint a very bleak picture under his leadership. Russia and its allies devastated

the city of Aleppo, killed countless civilians. And earlier he was a top commander in the second Chechen War, which left that region's capital,

Grozny, in ruins, the most destroyed city on the planet at one point.

CNN's Pentagon Correspondent Oren Liebermann has been digging into General Dvornikov's history and tells us more. What should we expect then from this


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very clear what the U.S. and Western officials are expecting. They expect more of the same

brutality, the same indiscriminate attacks, including attacks on civilians, that we've seen, not only in what you just mentioned, in Grozny and then in

Aleppo, Syria, but also that we've already seen in Ukraine.

Until this point, U.S. officials say they hadn't seen an overall theater commander, somebody who could coordinate the attack on multiple fronts that

Russia had tried to carry out, an attack from the north aimed at Kyiv, an attack from the east on Donbas, and then an attack coming in from Crimea.

They were uncoordinated.

There was a lack of communication, a lack of an effort on the same page here and that perhaps why Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided,

after watching and after we have seen multiple failures on the part of the Russians, to try to appoint a theater commander to bring this all together.

And that, as we've now learned from both U.S. and European officials, is General Aleksandr Dvornikov.

He is a career soldier. He graduated from Russian military schools in the early 80s. And then a follow up school in the '90s. He is a veteran of

multiple Russian campaigns in different theaters, first in Grozny where, as you pointed out, that city virtually destroyed. Then he was the first

Russian commander in Syria, when Putin moved in to prop up the government of Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, that led to the destruction of the

city of Aleppo.

We have already seen in the first six weeks or so of this war in Ukraine, the brutality and the attacks, which have flattened cities in Ukraine are

devastated parts of cities. And that, according to the U.S. officials we've heard from over the course of the last few days, is very much what they

expect to see.

There is a bigger question over this. The naming of a theater commander is an indication of failures on the Russian part. And we've seen that,

failures in logistics, in sustainment, a fundamental lack of morale and coordination. Can a theater commander fix that? It's not an automatic given

that it can and that it can turn the tide of the Russian campaign as it moves and focuses on southeast Ukraine and Donbas. That, of course, is what

everyone here is watching, Hala, as we see what this new general can do and what he can affect on the part of the Russians.

GORANI: Thank you, Oren Liebermann, at the Pentagon.

This just coming into us, reports out of Russia say that a prominent critic of the Kremlin has been detained out words after CNN Plus aired an

interview with him.


Vladimir Kara-Murza, who's condemned the Ukraine invasion, was apparently detained outside of his apartment building in Moscow. Our streaming service

CNN Plus featured an interview with Kara-Murza earlier today, in which he called the Russian government a regime of murderers. Here's a piece of that



VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA, RUSSIAN OPPOSITION FIGURE: Well, I have to say one of the most frustrating and frankly enraging, you know, feelings that I and I

know many other colleagues in the Russian opposition have been experiencing in these last month and a half now since Putin has been waging his war of

aggression in Ukraine is the fact that this was both predictable and preventable, because for years and years and years, people like Boris

Nemtsov, people like Alexei Navalny, people who are the leading members of the Democratic opposition in Russia, were warning the world, were warning

the West about where this would lead because Vladimir Putin made no secret of his intentions.


GORANI: All right. Well, that's air -- that aired on CNN Plus, and as I just mentioned, hours later, Kara-Murza was detained outside his Moscow

apartment building. He has survived two suspected poisonings and we'll bring you more details on his detention as we get those.

Still to come this evening, Palestinians mourn a young man killed by Israeli forces. We'll tell you why Israel and the West Bank are on edge

again ahead. We'll be right back.


GORANI: Well, after a week of uncertainty, Pakistan has a new prime minister, the opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif has been voted in by

Parliament. It follows the ouster of former P.M., Imran Khan, through a no- confidence vote on Sunday.

Sharif played a key role in that. He was elected unopposed after Khan's party staged a walkout and boycotted the vote. There he is, the new Prime

Minister. Sharif is set to serve until the next general election which is expected to happen in 2023.

Tensions in Israel and the West Bank are skyrocketing even higher after a weekend of bloodshed. Israeli forces shot and killed three Palestinians in

separate incidents on Sunday. Two women and a man. It comes as Israeli forces are stepping up operations in the West Bank after a series of

shooting attacks on Israeli citizens that have killed 14 People in less than a month.


Hadas Gold joins me now from Jerusalem with more. What are these -- how are these operations in the West Bank linked to some of the shooting attacks

that have killed Israeli civilians in cities like Tel Aviv?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Hala, the violence has really been escalating. And I can tell you that everything feels very much on edge

here, the Israeli military rates in the West Bank have increased. And that's after a series of terror attacks, as you noted, that killed fourteen

people in Israel in the span of three weeks. And over the weekend, it's now actually four Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli forces in

separate incidents.

The Israeli military says that in all but one of those cases, they were responding to what they say were violent acts, in one case, a stabbing and

another case they say was in response to a fire bomb or a Molotov cocktail that was thrown at an Israeli victim.

But one incident in particular is raising a lot of questions, Hala, in international condemnation. This happened on Sunday when a 47-year-old

woman was shot at a military checkpoint near Bethlehem. Now the Israeli army says that the woman had been told to stop verbally by soldiers as she

approached the checkpoint. When she failed to do so, they fired warning shots into the air. Video of the incident does appear to show the woman

breaking into a run at which point the army says that their soldiers fired toward the suspect's lower body, but the woman, who was unarmed, later died

of her wounds.

Now the Israeli military says that their soldiers were falling protocol but that they will be investigating the incident. But representatives of the

United Nations and the European Union say this incident and others show Israel is using what they say is an unacceptable and excessive use of

lethal fourth -- lethal force against civilians. The Israeli military says that they're undertaking very precise operations in the West Bank to go

after accomplices of those that they say carried out those attacks in Israel over the last month.

And, Hala, things don't seem to be coming down really anytime soon. The Israeli military operations are continuing, and many people are concerned

about further violence, further attacks, especially because this upcoming weekend, Hala, will bring the holidays of Ramadan, Passover, and Easter

altogether all overlapping. This is not something that happens in many years. Hala.

GORANI: All right. Hadas Gold, thanks very much.

In Shanghai, COVID restrictions began easing today after weeks under an incredibly strict lockdown. Authorities say measures are being partially

lifted in thousands of COVID free-neighborhoods.

Now due to China's controversial zero COVID policy, the areas must not have reported any new infections in the past 14 days but people in those locked

down areas have been extremely frustrated, some saying they can't get food, they can't get basic necessities. Some people even complaining that they

were starving.

Still to come tonight, millions of Ukrainians are in limbo, displaced in their home country yet not home at all. We'll hear from them next.



GORANI: Ukrainian refugees have left their homes, their neighborhood, their friends and families after Russia's invasion. Millions though haven't left

the country. They are still in Ukraine, staying as close as they can to their former lives hoping against hope sometimes that it will go back to

normal soon. They are telling their stories to Jake Tapper.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Beneath the punching bags in this university gym in western Ukraine, those civilians able to flee their homes

in the east and south and dodge the Russian military's relentless barrage, are catching their breath. No one wants to be here, but it beats the

alternative. And the stories they tell us reveal why they fled.


ANYA, FLED KYIV WITH HER DAUGHTER (through translator): We live very close to Irpin and it was very scary. The explosions were very loud. We spent two

days in the basement. The kid was very scared and we decided to go.


TAPPER: Anya, who once worked as a nanny, and her 13-year-old daughter, Margarita, fled Kyiv on February 28th, with nothing but their documents and

their dogs.


ANYA (through translator): We had to decide either bag or dog and we decided to take the dogs.


TAPPER: The dogs, too, are a mother and daughter. The mattress is on this gym floor their home since March 1. The fate of so many close to Anya,

friends, and Margarita's classmates, unknown.


ANYA (through translator): I have a lot of friends including some of them, which cannot be reached at this moment. You try to track them down on

Facebook, but you see they don't come online, and it's scary.


TAPPER: Anya has been able to connect with her husband still back east who now works for the local defense forces.


TAPPER: Is he fighting?

ANYA (through translator): Yes, in territorial defense.

TAPPER: And how is he doing?

ANYA (through translator): It's better not to say.


TAPPER: they come from Luhansk, they come from Donetsk, they come from Kharkiv, they come from Mariupol, they come from Kyiv, they come from

Bucha, to here, to this university, to this beat-up old gymnasium just for a safe place away from Putin's bombs and bullets.


ANYA (through translator): Putin is an a-hole.


TAPPER: Yulia Loznitza, who has called this mattress her home for one month as of today, tries to brighten her small part of the gymnasium floor.


YULIA LOZNITZA, UKRAINIAN SHELTERING IN LVIV (through translator): These are not even my things. It is hard to bear it to have to wear someone

else's clothes. That's why I like to have flowers to somehow make it comfortable and beautiful.


TAPPER: Yulia was once an administrator for a chain of sushi restaurants, a chain that shut down after Kyiv came under attack. She fled in part because

she needed to come somewhere where she could still buy vital medications for her aging mother, which she sends back through the still functioning

post office. Yulia lived once just about six miles from Bucha, the site of so many atrocities.


LOZNITZA (through translator): It is hard to speak without crying because a lot of friends and colleagues live in Irpin and Bucha. It is all impossible

to imagine because it's so close and I might have known these people.


TAPPER: She recently spoke with one of her friends, Alexei.


LOZNITZA (through translator): The Russians couldn't open the cellar, so threw a grenade at the door and the girls were raped by the soldiers that

entered the basement. I'm afraid to ask her more detail about it. I will know more when I meet her on the day of the victory.


TAPPER: Her nephew's girlfriend is 18 and may have suffered a similar terror. No one wants to talk about it.


TAPPER: Are you going to try to leave Ukraine?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Yes.

TAPPER: This 18-year-old did not want us to show his face or share his name. His parents live in a part of the Donbas region since taken over by

Russians. He does not have the proper paperwork to return there. And communications from the area have been shut down. He is here with his phone

and a few belongings all by himself.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My parents are not allowed to leave the Russians.


TAPPER: His father is a local fire chief, he says.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He was forced to sign a contract with the Russians. He was given a choice, either to lose all his property

or to sign a contract to work with them.


TAPPER: He was in Kharkiv when the shooting started. He spent 10 days sheltering in a subway. Then he fled here more than a month ago. He wants

to leave Ukraine, but he turned 18 seven months ago and he is not allowed to leave.



TAPPER: They're all fighting. Each man has to stay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes.

TAPPER: It must be so tough to be on your own. You're just a kid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Yes, it's true. But I would like not to hear all the sirens and to try and live in peace.


TAPPER: Just 18 on his own, with nothing, unable to talk to his family who he may never see again. It is difficult to imagine, but in Ukraine during

Putin's war, this is what is considered relatively lucky. Jake Tapper, CNN, Lviv Ukraine.


GORANI: Well, there are ways to help people in Ukraine who may be in need of basic necessities. You can go to We've curated a list of

organizations that are helping on the ground. Well, thank you for watching tonight. Do stay with CNN. I'm Hala Gorani. I'll see you next time. "QUEST

MEANS BUSINESS" is coming your way next.