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Crisis In Ukraine; Pistorius Ex-Girlfriend Testifies; Interview with Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Aired March 7, 2014 - 15:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: And tonight, turned away for a second time -- armed gunmen stop European officials from entering Crimea once again. We reflect tonight on what has been a dramatic escalation of events in Ukraine with reverberations around the globe.



ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: It's important for us to send that very clear message to Russia...


ANDERSON: NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen tells me just what NATO's role might be in ending this crisis.

Also this hour, allegations from Oscar Pistorius's ex-girlfriend. We will be live in Pretoria with how that testimony went over in court.

And meet the Belgian designer who got heads turning at Paris Fashion Week.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN London, this is Connect the World with Becky Anderson.

ANDERSON: Very good evening to you from London.

Kiev may soon get a whole lot colder. The Russian gas provider Gazprom says Ukraine hasn't paid its bills for February. And it won't deliver the country's gas for free.

Meantime, Russia is warning the U.S. against hasty action. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says any U.S. actions against Russia will, quote, "inevitably boomerang on the United States."

Well, earlier Russia's parliament backed Crimean lawmakers who want to see the region split from Ukraine and join Russia. And in Crimea itself, there are signs that pro-Moscow authorities in Crimea are clamping down on opposition. At least two Ukrainian TV channels have been blocked in the area.

These are fast moving events. Apologies for the sort of machinations, as it were, of the sort of minute by minute movements here, but they are important and they do have global reverberations, as it were.

Let's get you to Kiev. Michael Holmes watching developments from there.

And Michael, the lights are still on in Kiev, I can see behind you there, but there is no denying the issue of Ukraine and its relationship as an energy customer, as it were, of Russia. And that is a pressing one. I mean, you know, it can't pay its bills. Another string to what is an increasingly complicated relationship.

What is the mood where you are?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you right now -- you can probably hear, I imagine behind me -- the mood is patriotic. The national anthem being sung yet again. It's sung every hour on the hour from a stage there on Independence Sqaure. People here are worried about what's happening in Crimea. Obviously they don't agree with it. They're fervently against it. One man told me today down there that it's a joke, he said. It's a joke, he said. How can you have a referendum looking down the barrel of a Russian gun.

That's the sort of attitude you're hearing around here. People don't want to lose Crimea from Ukraine. And they feel that what's happening there is Russian interference. They say it very openly. And they fear that any referendum that would take place would not be free, nor fair.

Now then there's a whole other political argument about it. The Ukrainian government, the interim government, they say that such a vote would not only be a joke it would be illegal under the Ukrainian constitution and wouldn't matter.

Let's get to the point of the talks. We know that the U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with the Russian President Vladimir Putin last night. Don't know what came of that, but possibly nothing. They're talking past each other pretty much.

There are also those talks we saw going on in Brussels. Well, interestingly this afternoon I managed to speak with the Ukrainian foreign minister Andriy Deschytsia, he just got back from Paris where the diplomats were scrambling to get consensus on what to do about the Ukrainian crisis. Despite being in the same city at the same time, Becky. Deschytsia says efforts to speak with the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov came to nothing. And he says not talking at the moment helps no one. Have a listen.


ANDRIY DESCHYTSIA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We do believe that the only way for us to talk with Russians is a dialogue. We want to continue this dialogue that used to be between Ukraine and Russia from previous years and previous governments. If we are not talking, then there is a lot of suspicions and tension arise. And it's not good for people, also, if the officials are not talking. So -- and of course it's not for the benefit of all -- of all countries in the region.


HOLMES: And interestingly, Becky, a little sidebar. While we were there at the foreign ministry, which is a rather grand building about a mile from here, we saw a giant -- and I mean, giant, European Union flag being erected on the facade of that building, perhaps a message in that, Becky.

ANDERSON: Fascinating stuff. This story is never ending at this point.

Michael, thank you for that.

Some news just into CNN. Crimea TV reporting that Russians have stormed a Ukrainian air force base in Crimea. They were said to be ramming the gates with a truck.

Anna Coren is there in the regional capital this evening.

Anna, what do you know of the details of this attack?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERANTIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Yeah, a few details, Becky. But it would appear that this confrontation is ongoing. We have confirmation from the Ukrainian defense military, I should say, saying that these Russian Cossack soldiers have been surrounding this army base -- I beg your pardon, air force base down in Sevastopol, which is about an hour- and-a-half from where we are. That of course is where the Russia's Black Sea naval base is.

And these Cossack soldiers rammed the gate with a Russian military truck. There are about 40 of them now on the base. There are 100 Ukrainian soldiers who have barricaded themselves inside apparently negotiations are ongoing.

But that is the information that we have received today. We're trying to get more details, Becky.

ANDERSON: As you do, we'll come back to you.

Anna, for the time being, thank you for that.

Well, for a second day international monitors trying to get into Crimea were stopped. Masked men carrying rifles blocked the group of unarmed Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe observers at a checkpoint. Matthew Chance was with them as they were turned away. This is his report.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: All right, well, we're here at this checkpoint near the Crimean peninsula. I can tell you, the monitors, they're from the OSCE, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. They have just been turned back again from this checkpoint after trying to negotiate with those pro- Russian gunmen over there, who are stopping this mission of the OSCE from entering Crimea.

Trying to negotiate with them to let them through, at least a portion of them through. That's not been permitted. And, of course, that's caused a great deal of anger amongst the crowds that have gathered here. Many of them ethnic Tartar, some of the ethnic Ukrainians, as well. But they're obviously extremely angry that the mission has not been permitted through and the mission members themselves very frustrated as well.

But again, it's underlying that situation that exists in Crimea, that it's the pro-Russian gunmen there, armed with (inaudible) assault rifles, their faces covered, that are in essentially operational control certainly at this check point, and they're not permitting these international monitors, as I say, to go through.


ANDERSON: Matthew Chance.

Well, NATO has been absolutely clear in its stance that Russia has breached international law in Ukraine. Russia has hit back saying NATO's involvement is only escalating tensions further.

Well, earlier I spoke to the secretary-general of the organization Anders Fogh Rasmussen. He told me about NATO's view on the crisis and what we can expect to see on the ground.


RASMUSSEN: You won't see NATO forces on the ground in Ukraine. And let me stress there's no military solution to the crisis in Ukraine. And we all agree that. I had a meeting with the Ukrainian prime minister, he also agreed. And NATO as an alliance can help Ukraine modernize and strengthen their armed forces through partnership activity.

It's important for us to send that very clear message to Russia and on the line that Russia must withdraw troops to barracks and bases. We need international observers in Ukraine and we need a direct dialogue between Moscow and Kiev.

ANDERSON: Russia, sir, has said that you have shown a biased and a prejudiced approach that is adding additional tension in the crisis over Ukraine. Your response.

RASMUSSEN: This intervention is a clear breach of international law. It's also a clear breach of the fundamental principles upon which we have built the NATO-Russia relationship and that's why we have responded and now suspended practical -- or planning practical cooperation with Russia until our foreign ministers meet in April.

ANDERSON: This decision to suspend combined operations with the Russians on removing Syria's chemical weapons has created real concern, concern that you are encouraging more of a security threat to the region. How do you respond to that?

RASMUSSEN: First of all, let me stress that the decision to suspend planning for a joint NATO-Russia escort mission does not affect the destruction of chemical weapons, that destruction will take place anyway, but Russia will not participate in the escort, the maritime escort of the U.S. vessel.

ANDERSON: But this -- this is a key message, and a provocative one. The very notion that this message from NATO to Russia could create further security concerns across the region surely is one that you are concerned about.

RASMUSSEN: It's absolutely not a provocative answer. The provocation action is taken by Russia, by intervention in Ukraine in Crimea and this is a breach of international law and that's why we are participating as NATO in building an increased international pressure on Russia.

ANDERSON: The further you push Russia away from the sort of cooperation that we are -- what we have seen in the past few months, the less likely it is that they will help provide a solution in Syria. And our viewers will be well aware that their relationship with the Syrian government is a crucial one in providing any kind of solution going forward.

RASMUSSEN: We are not pushing away Russia, but Russia is distancing itself from the international community. The Russian intervention in Ukraine is in contradiction with its international obligations and obviously that intervention cannot be unanswered.


ANDERSON: That's the NATO chief talking to me just before the show. And we've got plenty more on Ukraine coming up tonight, including a closer look at the Crimea facts.

I'm going to speak to the director of the Eurasia group Alexander Clement. He visited both Ukraine and Russia last week. Let me get more perspective about why Crimea is so important to both sides. So why do we care, I guess. And much more on the media battle that's unfolding in the region, how Crimean officials are apparently trying to silence the opposition.

Still to come tonight, silencing their critics, how Crimea's separatist leaders are clamping down on press freedom.

Plus, South Africans riveted as a celebrity murder trial continues. The latest from Pretoria.


ANDERSON: Welcome back.

I want to do a little more on our top story tonight. In Ukraine, the struggle for control of the Crimean peninsula is now being played out in the media with reports of Crimea's self -- or new self-appointed rulers trying to silence their opponents.

My colleague Isa Soares has the story.


ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Armed men carrying a Russian flag march through Simferapol in Crimea. They're not here to take over a military base. Instead, they storm a television network.

It's part of a media war being waged in the Crimea where information and influence are becoming the new battleground. On Thursday, Crimean TV station 1+1 was forced off the air. It's been replaced by a Russian state channel.

The TV presenter for 1+1 Channel says that according to our information there was an order from the self-proclaimed premier of Crimea Mr. Aksyonov to forbid the 1+1 Channel on the peninsula. The frequency, she adds, is now occupied by the Channel Rossia (ph). It's one of multiple TV stations, which have been pulled off the air.

Crimea Black Sea TV website still warns of attacks against its channel.

DUNJA MIJATOVIC, REPRESENTATIVE ON FREEDOM OF THE MEDIA, OSCE: The situation is of great concern. There are reports of attacks, intimidation, harassment of journalists.

SOARES: With the referendum on Crimea's future looming, Russia TV channels have been dramatizing the crisis on the ground.

They warn of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Soon, the flaws in their coverage were pointed out. The so-called exodus to Russia was instead just a line of people at the Ukrainian-Polish border.

In one case, alleged pressure to control the story has backfired. Russia Today journalist Liz Walls (ph) says she refuses to be part of a biased message and resigned on air.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is why personally I cannot be part of a network funded by the Russian government that white-washes the actions of Putin.

SOARES: But objectivity can be harder when journalists are being attacked. This footage shows a Bulgarian journalist attacked by what is believed to be pro-Russian and uniformed masked men. CNN cannot independently verify this footage.

MIJATOVIC: Unfortunately when history taught us that in any times of crisis you have these attempts of the authorities and the powerful to control the media in order to stop information. Luckily now, we live in a digital age and in digital era where there are more means of communicating.

SOARES: In this fight of information, certain channels have taken a more, well, creative approach. This woman has reportedly been spotted all over the Ukraine in various different guises -- here as a house wife in Odessa and a soldier's mother in Kiev as well as a fleeing Ukrainian mother, always pro-Russian, always played out for Russian TV audiences. A drama that is hoping to hook the Crimean people and secure their vote.

Isa Soares, CNN, London.


ANDERSON: Well, the Sochi Paralympics have kicked off. And despite increasing tensions the Ukraine says it will compete at the 2014 games, but only one of the country's athletes actually attended Friday's opening ceremony.

Phil Black has more on those games filed from Moscow.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Before the start of the Paralympics, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he hoped these games would reduce some of the heat of the passion surrounding the issue of Ukraine. Ukraine's athletes have decided to stay in Sochi and compete, but they used the opening ceremony as a stage to protest Russia's policy and actions in their country.

They decided only one athlete would participate in the opening ceremony. Mikhail Tykochenko (ph) entered the stadium alone in a wheelchair carrying the Ukrainian flag.

Earlier, the Ukrainian sports minister said the team had been warned they risked disqualification if they made any sort of political statement or protest during the games.

But this was a powerful statement to the world and to Russia's president who was in the stadium at the time watching the ceremony.

President Vladimir Putin is now in an extraordinary position, first as host welcoming the world to this international sporting event while at the same time denying accusations he is responsible fort the military occupation of part of the neighboring sovereign country.

In Moscow, there had been strong gestures of support in favor of the Ukrainian region of Crimea and its intention to hold a referendum on breaking away from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation. In Moscow, thousands of people rallied in support of the idea and Russia's policy in Ukraine under the banner we are together. This was next to Red Square, right next to the Kremlin.

And a delegation of Crimean politicians from Crimea's parliament traveled to Moscow to meet with members of Russia's parliament. And they received a heroes welcome. They were praised for their courage, told of the joy Russian politicians felt at hearing the news that Crimea sought to join Russia. And they were told that Russia's parliament would quickly recognize the results of the referendum and economic sanctions from western countries would do nothing to change their mind.

Phil Black, CNN, Moscow.


ANDERSON: The report from Moscow.

This is Connect the World live from London. I'm Becky Anderson for you.

Coming up, allegations of cheating at the Oscar Pistorius trial as his ex-girlfriend takes to the stand. We'll be live from Pretoria up next.


ANDERSON: 23 minutes past 8:00. This is Connect the World live from London. I'm Becky Anderson.

A look at some of the other big stories that we are following for you today here on CNN. And this week saw the start of one of the most high profile murder trials in recent history. Oscar Pistorius has been changed with the murder of his ex-girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp who he shot dead in February last year. Now he admits killing her, but says it was an accident.

Robyn Curnow is in Pretoria. And she joins us with the very latest from there.

What did we learn today, Robyn?


Well, day five of the first week of this trial, and as you said so high profile. A lot of it important from a legal perspective, a lot of it important, perhaps, for the headline tabloid Sunday newspaper perspective. And of course his girlfriend -- ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor perhaps getting a few headlines today. And essentially what she was doing, brought in by the state not only to create some sort of character witness, character assassination depending on who you're speaking to, is also she was brought in to describe an incident where Oscar Pistorius allegedly shot a gun through a sunroof in a traveling car.

His defense say he will deny that completely.

What she also described in her time dating Oscar Pistorius was his relationship with guns, you know, how he carried his gun with him. Just take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you know that he owned a gun during your relationship?

TAYLOR: Yes, my lady (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you know that?

TAYLOR: He kept it on him all the time, my lady (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he say he kept it on him on the time?

TAYLOR: He carried it around with him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he would go to friends, what would he do? When he visited friends, would he carry the gun?

TAYLOR: Yes, he would, my lady (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, at night you know what he did with his firearm at night?

TAYLOR: He placed his firearm next to his bedside on the bedside table, or next to his legs on the floor.


CURNOW: Well, our legal expert and the number of people I've spoken to said she wasn't the strongest of witnesses. And in fact she might have helped Pistorius's case because she described a few incidents where he felt his life was in danger or they were threatened, particularly in bed the one night, maybe more than once he woke her up saying he was scared, that he had heard a noise in the house in the very bathroom that he eventually shot Reeva Steenkamp in, and that he had picked a gun, his gun up and rushed into the bathroom in the same way that he did on Valentine's Day creating a pattern, or a suggestion that when he was faced with danger -- or perceived danger, this is what he did and that he felt vulnerable because there was an incident, she said, when they had been followed and Pistorius had reacted in a similar way.

The question is depending on whose sign you're on in that court, whether you're the state or defense, is you know why didn't he wake Reeva up that night the way Samantha Taylor said he had woken her up at night during those times.

ANDERSON: And you make a very good point, it depends which side of this case you are on. It's been fascinating to watch, you know, prosecution witnesses being turned over, as it were, by the defense and defense witnesses being turned over by the prosecution this week.

How would you sum up this week in court?

CURNOW: Well, I mean, obviously I'm no legal expert. I'm certainly not a lawyer. And you know, who cares what I think or anybody else, actually, because this is not a jury system, this is a judge who is making these decisions based on legal procedure and law. It's about intent versus negligence.

However, let's just pretend that I know the intricacies of South African law. And of course I have had Kelly Phelps, our legal expert, giving me -- giving me wonderful advice throughout.

And our assessment, based by being in the court and watching it, was that Oscar Pistorius's defense team did a very, very good job of sowing doubt, that the witnesses the state brought actually heard what they thought they heard. They talked about screams. They talked about gunshots. But, you know, by the end of the week you kind of thought, you know, were those cricket bats hitting the door? Was that Oscar Pistorius screaming like a girl?

And you know they very cleverly, in terms of the defense, sowed this doubt. And that's their job, isn't it?

ANDERSON: Absolutely. It is reasonable doubt. And the not guilty -- not guilty decision will be his, I guess.

It's going to be a long trial. Always a pleasure. Robyn Curnow there. As she says, not a legal expert, but knows a lot more about this than most of us do.

Thank you, Robyn very much indeed.

Former Congolese warlord Germaine Katanga has been found guilty of war crimes following a six year trial at The Hague. The charges include murder and pillage over a village, a massacre in 2003 in which some 200 civilians were killed.

This is only the second conviction in the 12 year history of the International Criminal Court, or ICC. Katanga was cleared of other charges.

Well, Saudi Arabia has officially designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. According to a statement by the interior ministry two days ago Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar over its support for the group.

Turkey's prime minister says that the government could ban Facebook and YouTube. This comes in the aftermath of the online release of audio recordings that Mr. Erdogan says are meant to damage him. Turkish president Abdullah Gul, however, said later his government respects freedom of expression and a ban will not happen.

All the latest world news headlines, as you would expect them, at the bottom of the hour here on CNN, plus fears of ethnic targeting with a troubled history, one community in Crimea is moving to protect itself, and we discuss what is the Crimea factor, why the southern peninsula of Ukraine is so vitally important in what is this ongoing crisis. That after this.


ANDERSON: A Ukraine military spokesman tells CNN a group of Russia- allied Cossacks used a truck to smash the gates of a Ukrainian command point near Sevastopol in the tense Crimea region. These are your headlines this hour. The spokesman says now some Ukrainian officers have barricaded themselves inside the facility while others negotiate with the so-called self defense group.

For a second day, observers from OSCE have been denied entry into Crimea. Masked gunmen are telling the European group that they've been ordered by the government of Crimea not to let anybody in.

Better-than-expected news on the US job front. According to Washington's monthly report, the American economy added 175,000 jobs in January. That beat the expectations by analysts. The unemployment rate, though, ticking up from 6.6 percent to 6.7 because more Americans joined the labor forces. Just one of those really weird things that happens, isn't it?

And the first week of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial has wrapped up in South Africa. On Friday, the Pretoria courtroom heard from a security guard that responded after the shooting last year, as well as a former girlfriend of the athlete known as Bladerunner.

I want to get back to our top story tonight and the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, where the interim prime minister says, and I quote, "no one in the civilized world will side with Crimea's vote on joining Russia." That's, at least, his point of view.

That vote scheduled for nine days from now, and as Anderson Cooper found out, reactions in Kiev, which is, of course, the capital of Ukraine, are anything but welcoming.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Kiev's Independence Square, a group of mothers protest for peace, a few dozen women barely noticed by the crowds.

The protesters still living in the square pass time with daily chores. The sidewalks are still torn up, cobblestones left in piles in case violence breaks out again. With word that Crimea will seek a referendum on joining the Russian federation, there is anger and fear, confusion over what happens next.

COOPER (on camera): Would it be acceptable for you if Crimea became part of Russia?

COOPER (voice-over): "My mom is from Russia," this woman says, "and she keeps telling me they'll not give up on Crimea. I keep telling her, it's just impossible breaking up Crimea from Ukraine. Impossible, just impossible. That's the way it is now, we're used to having Crimea. We cannot imagine it otherwise." It is hard to imagine for many the pace of events here the last few weeks.

"I couldn't miss coming here," this woman says, "to pay tribute to those who died here. I feel so sorry for those who lost their lives, for those who got wounded and are still recovering. I still can't believe something like this could have happened in Ukraine."

All that's happened here is still not clear. Some still search for answers. This sign says Sasha Kapanos (ph) was killed here, but his girlfriend is looking for a witness to his death. Dozens who protested are still missing. Leonid Navitsky (ph) has vanished. Misha Varovic (ph) as well. The sign says his friend Andre is looking for him.

"Death is tragic in any case," this man says, "but these people were not dying for nothing, they were dying for the idea, for Ukraine. I'm a military man. I've seen things in my life, but still, people died for their beliefs. This is very emotional."


COOPER: On the central stage, a young man sings. Another stands nearby. He speaks no words, looks straight ahead, his country's flag held tightly in his hands.

Anderson Cooper, CNN, Kiev, Ukraine.


ANDERSON: Well, that was the view from Kiev, but Crimea is also very important to Moscow. Part of that lies in the historic roots of the peninsula. For centuries, Crimea was part of the Russian empire, and then the Soviet Union. The port city of Sevastopol has been home to the Russian Black Sea Fleet for 200 years, and is Russia's main access route to the Mediterranean.

Its strategic importance is not lost on Kiev. It's true that a large majority of the Crimean population, 58 percent, are ethnically Russian, but a quarter are Ukrainians, and 12 percent are Crimean Tatars. For many of those, the prospect of a Russian-ruled Crimea is far from appealing. Diana Magnay on their story.



DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is an emergency meeting of Crimean Tatars from the town of Bakhchisaray. Anxiety, foreboding heavy in the air. Ninety minutes earlier, a house of one of their own was broken into. Ethnic hate or simple theft, they don't know.

They must step up security with round-the-clock patrols. "The thing that happened today, thank God, had no victims," the head of the local council tells the crowd. "We cannot even let the smallest threat into the place where the Tatars live."

Suffering is etched onto these people's history. Only the young don't remember exile. Lives lived in Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan or other Soviet republics after Stalin deported the Tatars from their homeland for supposedly collaborating with Hitler.

Some remember deportation, which has its own word, "surgun," the Tatar equivalent of the Holocaust. But since the end of the Soviet Union, many have returned to Crimea, living peacefully alongside a jumble of other ethnicity, other religions.

Now, men who've lived through it all are being asked to choose between Russia and Ukraine. "It is not legal. We are the original nation of Crimea. Our Khan state was here. Russia left us with no rights. We don't want to be with Russia, we want to be with Ukraine." He thinks there will be war. "Russia will not retreat," he says.

We visit the house where the attack happened. A brazen intrusion in broad daylight, trashing the family home. It's a first for this tight-knit community, and on a day when their political future is thrown into chaos.

MAGNAY (on camera): Even if this was just a burglary, the reaction amongst the community shows you just how tense these times are, that they'll patrol these streets 24/7, taking security into their own hands, having lost faith in the apparatus of the state.


MAGNAY (voice-over): As darkness falls over the mosque, there are prayers and consultations, looking for answers from one another before the nighttime patrols begin.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Bakhchisaray, Ukraine.


ANDERSON: So, the big question is simply this: if the vote goes through and Crimea does become part of Russia, well, what then? To discuss this further, I'm joined by Alexander Kliment, he's a director of political risk from the consulting firm Eurasia Group and has just returned from a trip to both Russia and Ukraine.

We're at the point int his story when I guess many of our viewers around the world will be thinking so what, why should we and, indeed, those in Russia and Ukraine, care about Crimea? Can you just delineate the kind of arguments here, very briefly, for us?

ALEXANDER KLIMENT, EURASIA GROUP: Absolutely. Well, from the Kiev government's perspective, obviously they have an interest in protecting the territorial integrity of Ukraine as such, but I think there's also a concern that if they are seen to lose Crimea, that could cost them political support on the streets. As you saw in Anderson's reporting from Kiev, this is a very sensitive issue for many Ukrainians on the street.

From Russia's side, the key interest obviously is the Black Sea Fleet basing rights at Sevastopol. Russia is concerned that a Kiev government that looks to be charting a more westward course could present problems for the basing agreement at Sevastopol.

ANDERSON: And why would a westward-looking Kiev have any real interest in Crimea?

KILMENT: Well, there's certainly the argument to be made that the Kiev government could cut their losses. Crimea is a reliable bastion of support for pro-Russian parties and pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine. So insofar as Kiev seeks to chart a more westward course, there could be a calculus that look, it would cut our losses on Crimea and move forward, certainly.

ANDERSON: I spoke to the head of NATO today, who assured me that there won't be boots on the ground anytime soon. In fact, of course, NATO isn't a member of Ukraine, so there's no reason for there to be boots on the ground, so far as NATO is concerned.

But they've been involved in sort of strategic operations with NATO in the past. How big a deal -- how fierce, as it were, a hotspot do you think this Crimea story really is?

KLIMENT: I think it's very difficult to imagine an actual military confrontation between NATO and Russia over Crimea. I think that what we'll see as this crisis escalates, if it escalates, is an increasing war of sanctions between the EU and Russia, and Russia will try to retaliate.

But the prospect of actual military confrontation between the West and Russia over Crimea I think is extremely remote.

ANDERSON: Yes. Interesting. Look, I want to talk about the sort of wider perspective here. When I spoke to Anders Fogh Rasmussen earlier on today, we were discussing the fact that Russia had suggested that NATO was being "provocative" when it suspended cooperation with Russia, with Moscow, on the help with the movement of Syria's chemical weapons.

I know I'm sort of extending the sort of argument slightly here, but I certainly think, and I think our viewers will understand, that that's an incredibly important story. We are looking at an international community who are increasingly isolating Russia at this point. Does that worry you, and do you think we should be worried about that?

KLIMENT: Well look, as you mentioned, there are a number of areas in which cooperation between Russia and the international community is important. Syria is one of them. Of course, Iran is another. So, I think there's certainly a risk that if this crisis escalates and as Russia becomes more isolated, working through those issues could become more difficult.

On the Iran side, I think the key question at the moment is more whether everyone can get onboard with a deal in Washington and in Tehran. I think the Russia focus is not quite as intensive on that particular issue right now, but certainly could become one. I think you put your finger on an important issue in the kind of global context and global repercussions of this standoff.

ANDERSON: Alexander, thank you for that analysis. A wider story, as it were, than just the part of the map that we've been showing you tonight, which is an all-important story, of course, in and of itself, Ukraine, Russia, and Crimea.

You can find more analysis and perspective on that on the website, where we explore Russia's interest in the region and why it might risk war to protect those interests. All that and more at

Live from London, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Coming up, a tale of tragedy in triumph. We explore the story behind the most powerful woman in South Korea.

And Paris Fashion Week might be over, but these Belgian designs aren't leaving the French capital anytime soon. Find out where they are off to next.


ANDERSON: Well, talk about getting an early taste of life in the limelight. One woman to grow up -- or grew up in a political family, a decision, though, to pursue another career was turned on its head when tragedy struck her life. This week's Leading Woman is South Korea's first female president.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She's one of the world's leading political figures and presides over the 15th largest GDP in the world.

HANCOCKS (on camera): And so, was this building here when you were here as a teenager? This part of the Blue House?


HANCOCKS (voice-over): South Korean president Park Geun-hye is making her mark on the global stage as South Korea's first female president. Park was elected to the Blue House in 2012, an achievement that surprised some as the country has one of the highest levels of gender inequality in the developed world.

HANCOCKS (on camera): This is a very male-dominated society, and many smart, well-educated women are struggling against a very entrenched glass ceiling. How can you ensure there is equality rather than simply being a symbol of equality?

PARK (through translator): I believe the very fact that I was elected as the first female president of the Republic of Korea is testament to the dynamism of Korean society. And thus, I'm confident that as long as women really continue to hold onto their dreams and work hard, they will gradually be able to ebb away at the glass ceilings confronting them.

Whether it be in the political circles or other fields, we will seek a society where women can actually live out their potential and build up their careers.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Park's career path began outside of politics, even though her father, Park Chung-hee, was president for 18 years.

HANCOCKS (on camera): You were here in the Blue House as a teenager. Did you always know that you wanted to be president of South Korea, or did you have a very different dream when you were a child?

PARK (through translator): When I was a child, I longed to become a teacher. And after I got into college, I had hoped to be able to contribute to the industrialization of my country by being involved in research and science and technology, and that is why I subsequently chose my major in electrical engineering in college. But my life took a completely unexpected turn.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): That turn took place in 1974, when Park's mother was killed during an assassination attempt on her father. At 22 years old, Park became the first lady of South Korea, with duties like receiving first ladies from other countries. All this thrusting her into politics.

Thirty years later, she solidified her political ambitions when she became the head of South Korea's Grand National Party in 2004. Throughout her career, Park says she's viewed herself as a voice of the people.

PARK (through translator): I would say that my greatest mentor from whom I seek counsel is the citizens of this country.


ANDERSON: And don't forget that Saturday is International Women's Day. CNN hosting a live tweet chat tonight just after the show, actually. Join the debate about gender equality by getting online and using the hash tag #CNNwomen.

You can interact with our special guests, including Anne Marie Slaughter and Laura Bates, the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project. That is tonight, 10:00 PM in London, 11:00 in Berlin.

Well, coming up after this short break on CNN, from the catwalk to the Louvre, how a Belgian designer's works of art are now in one of the world's most famous museums. All that and more.


ANDERSON: Let's talk fashion, shall we, just at the end of this show? Paris Fashion Week coming to an end this week. One Belgian designer was the first big name to show in Paris, interestingly enough, and now his designs are on display at the fashion arm of the Louvre. Find out who I'm talking about with CNN's Myleene Klass.


MYLEENE KLASS, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fashion Week is more than just runways. It's an opportunity to toast the craft of making clothes.

KLASS (on camera): This year, the Belgian designer Dries Van Noten has been singled out: 180 items from his archives are on show at an exhibition of his work at Les Art Decoratifs' respected Caribbean museum.

KLASS (voice-over): The exhibition is called "Inspiration."

DRIES VAN NOTEN, DESIGNER: It was really diving in my own archives and also trying to understand how I work, and that, of course, is sometimes quite scary when you have to do it form your own work.

Duration, that's for me a very important thing to share with people that it's not only making pretty clothes. It's a lot of things. It's fashion, it's movies, it's art, all these different elements.

PAMELA GLBIN, CURATOR, LES ARTS DECORATIFS: It's an exhibition about creativity and the creative process, and Dries very generously opened up somewhere his mind and let us in to understand how a designer works today.

Behind me, you see a Bronzino portrait, a Renaissance painter, but next to it, you also have one of the most important contemporary artists, Gerard Richter, with an abstract painting. These two were part of his thought process in the Spring/Summer 2014 collection.

Jimi Hendrix was also part of that inspiration, and two of the fabrics from our direct collections were used in his inspiration for it. It was first and foremost the abstract part of the back of the fabric, and that's how everything began.

MARK LEE, BARNEYS, EXHIBITION SPONSOR: Dries is amazing. Barneys New York, we have a special relationship with Dries because we were the first store in America to bring him to America something like 28 years ago. I think he's one of a kind.

To be the founder of his brand, he himself the designer, he himself the CEO, you come down to a couple of fingers I could count, so he's quite exceptional.

KLASS: From the back catalogs to the current catwalk collection, the Belgian designer's style is instantly recognizable: bold, bright, and beautiful. This season's Paris show was no exception.

VAN NOTEN: Inspiration, unexpected couture, unexpected elegance, bright colors, very bright, radical, very shiny sometimes, combined with very spontaneous, very artesianal hand-painted flowers. So the balance is really important for me to have here, like something cold, something strict, and something very spontaneous.

Also gardener, so of course when you are often in the gardens, so they flowers speak to you.

KLASS: The gardener certainly shone through. Big flowers bloomed across the designs, which grew on the crowd. Even front-row favorite Anna Wintour, US editor of Vogue, seemed impressed. As one of the world's most successful independent designers, his clothes are very much in demand.


ANDERSON: And so are all of you, our viewers, very much in demand. Thank you for joining us. I'm Becky Anderson, that was CONNECT THE WORLD. We'll see you on Monday.