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CONNECT THE WORLD
Prosecutor Challenges Oscar Pistorius's Version of Events; 71 Dead In Bombing Near Nigerian Capital; Militants Ignore Ukrainian Government's Ultimatum To Leave Buildings; Syrian Government Retakes Town Near Lebanese Border; Doctors Try To Contain Deadly Ebola Outbreak In West Africa
Aired April 14, 2014 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AMARA WALKER, HOST: Blame and counterblame over the crisis in Ukraine. Kiev accuses Russia of importing terrorists across its border while the Kremlin warns against the use of force to disperse dissenters.
Also ahead, ethnic violence in Nigeria encroaches on the capital. More than 70 killed as a bomb rocks a bus station near Abuja.
And emotional outbursts as Oscar Pistorius is grilled about what happened on the night he shot his girlfriend.
And we begin with the very latest in the turmoil in eastern Ukraine. A deadline for pro-Russia protesters to evacuate government buildings has come and gone. Instead, they've taken control of yet another police facility, this time in the city of Kharlivka (ph). Kiev had threatened what it called a full-scale anti-terrorist operation if demonstrators did not leave those buildings. But that was hours ago and we have not seen a response by Ukrainian forces.
Now acting President Oleksandr Turchynov says he's open to holding a referendum on the country's status, possibly the same date as the presidential election on May 25.
Meanwhile, Kiev says Russian special operation groups are on the ground in the east with bullet proof vests and Russian weapons. But Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov denies reports that Russian forces are active in east Ukraine.
One of the biggest cities in that region is Donetsk. Nick Paton Walsh joins us live now. And Nick, as we mentioned, that deadline for the pro- Russian protesters to evacuate these buildings have come and gone. Are you still seeing no signs of any kind of crackdown by Ukrainian police?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nothing at all, really. I saw two Ukrainian policemen very calmly walk past the regional administration building behind me about 300 meters away where protesters are more camped in there. They've seen before. And also one said to me don't think any siege is coming. Extraordinarily relaxed. One of them telling me actually having just got back from Kharlivka (ph, the police station you said that have been overrun just recently.
And in fact we're hearing almost by the hour of other towns where similar disturbances are occurring.
It's clear the momentum remains with the pro-Russian protesters along with the militants backing them up as well. And it extraordinary, actually, how confused the response seems to be from Kiev. They face a difficult bind, because any forceful moves here risks a Russian military intervention. But at the same time, their strategy does seem to be a bit over the place in many ways. The referendum you mentioned as well. Well, that happening on the same day as presidential elections. Well, it must confuse voters to work out of the president to be president of in many ways if they're redefining the country's borders potentially at the same time.
And also we've heard from the party of the regions, a key bloc in parliament, they don't want to see an armed intervention. But also from Yulia Tymoshenko, a presidential candidate and an erstwhile ally of Russia who is obviously considerably anti-Russian at the moment saying it's time to stop all this (inaudible) this time.
So it seems that Kiev is divided over this. Of course there's an...
WALKER: OK. It looks like Nick Paton Walsh's live signal there is going in and out. We want to thank Nick for that live report there in Donetsk.
And of course, these events are prompting a lot of international reaction. Coming up, we'll be live in Moscow where the foreign minister is warning against any use of force by Kiev.
We're also live in Washington as Vice President Joe Biden prepares for a visit to the Ukrainian capital.
And we'll go to the United Nations where Russia is finding itself increasingly isolated.
All right, turning now to Nigeria where police say at least 71 people have been killed, 124 wounded in a blast at a bus station on the outskirts of the capital Abuja. The station was crowded with early morning commuters when the explosion took place. Vladimir Duthiers is tracking the developments for us in Lagos.
So Vladimir, tell us what happened.
VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREPSONDENT: Amara, the first responder that I spoke to this morning described the scene of this morning's attack as bodies scattered everywhere. Apparently at 6:45 local time this morning vehicle, perhaps two vehicles, crammed with explosives detonated in this very densely packed bus station on the outskirts of Abuja. As you said, 71 people killed, more than 120 people wounded.
Now, no group has yet claimed responsibility for this attack, but it does bear the hallmarks, the MO, if you will, of the Islamist jihadist group Boko Haram.
In the first three months of this year alone, Amnesty International says that this group has been responsible for some 1,500 deaths in Nigeria, mostly in the northeastern part of the country.
But it appears that until we get an official confirmation we can't say with certainty that it is Boko Haram, but there's certainly a lot of fingers in the government, in the military, in the police that are looking at that group now Amara.
WALKER: OK, Vladimir Duthiers with the latest there in Lagos, Nigeria. Vladimir, thank you very much.
And now, no one has put the blame on any group. As you heard the Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has used the attack to speak of overcoming Boko Haram.
Now CNN has been covering the Islamist militant group blamed for recent attacks, mostly in northeastern Nigeria. Vladimir Duthiers recently filed a report looking at the Nigerian government's battle against Boko Haram following a horrific attack on a federal government college. Find a link to the report on our homepage at CNN.com/international.
And another heart wrenching day on stand for South African track star Oscar Pistorius. The Bladerunner broke down several times on recalling details of the night he shot and killed his girlfriend. The prosecution was relentless trying to show Pistorius was not telling the truth. Robyn Curnow was with us from Pretoria with more on what happened in court.
So another day of aggressive grilling. What stood out to you, Robyn?
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there.
Well, indeed it was exhausting, I think, for Oscar Pistorius, because he was grilled consistently by this very dogged state prosecutor who was trying to establish a record of inconsistencies in his version. So not only was there a lot of time spent on the small details of what he said and what the state believed. But also crucially, I think, more importantly according to our legal expert, is the state really took the time to put on record what they believe were Oscar Pistorius's actions that night.
And more importantly again this is about legal arguments and there was -- they went some way in trying to establish not only intention, but also negligence, which directly relates not only to the murder charge, but to a lesser charge of culpable homicide.
I think exhausting, difficult would be one way to describe Oscar Pistorius's day on the stand today, very much so.
WALKER: And Robyn, you've mentioned Oscar Pistorius's body language before. Can you talk to us a little bit more about that and is he still kind of not addressing the prosecutor?
CURNOW: Yeah, I mean, it's -- you know, and I've said it before, because you know this is sort of at times some absurd TV drama you know where you sort of forget that there's real human tragedy involved and everybody has their own story.
And so there is this sort of play within a play in the courtroom, because even you as the viewers who are listening to Oscar Pistorius's account, can't really see him. But when you sit in the courtroom it's quite claustrophobic. And what is fascinating is that Pistorius sitting in the dock looks directly towards the judge that way.
Now he's being addressed by this prosecutor over and over and over again who is literally talking to him this way. And not once have I seen Oscar Pistorius ever look Gerrie Nel in the eye.
So there is this sort of three-way conversation where everybody is vaguely ignoring each other. So there is this very powerful underlying dialogue as well. And it plays into the sense of whose version is correct, because in many ways there are these two versions and they're literally talking past each other like that. And it's physically possible to see that in court.
WALKER: And we also heard -- you know, obviously Gerrie Nel scrutinizing, again, every single detail of Pistorius's version of events. And he also mentioned a pair of jeans that was left on the bed. What was the significance of that, Robyn?
CURNOW: Well, I think it all goes down to what were -- what was the crime scene like when the police found it? That's why there was so much weight placed on the photographs, the crime scene photographs. If you remember, the defense going into a lot of detail trying to allege no just that there had been meddling in the scene, some sort of negligence in terms of the police investigation, but saying there was outright tampering, because that is the kind of detail Pistorius is now being tested on.
Where did you move? Where did you go? Why didn't you move that there? What was here? What was there?
And there was such detail. And he's put it often by showing photographs. But I think what's also important is that the detail goes down to other people's forensic evidence. For example, the pathologist who said Reeva Steenkamp would have eaten between two to six hours before the shooting. Pistorius said they had dinner eight hours before.
And again needling, why the difference, why the discrepancy? So, he kept on having to defend himself over and over again. Did he go onto the balcony or didn't he? Where did hear the door slam? Was the door slammed before or after the screams? And literally it was like a predator, the prosecution circling him, getting -- trying to get him confused, darting between different subjects, all the while trying to extract these tiny little inconsistencies in his story that will hopefully, according to the state, prove a track record of inconsistency and untruthfulness, which will of course play into the judge's understanding of whether Oscar Pistorius did or indeed deliberately kill Reeva Steenkamp.
WALKER: Wow, what another riveting day in court today. Robyn Curnow live for us there in Pretoria. Robyn, many thanks to you.
And still to come, the Syrian president says the war is at a turning point. But what claims of victories on the battlefield? We'll explore whether things really are going his way.
Plus, a deadly epidemic -- alarming health officials in West Africa. We have an exclusive report from Guinea where our Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes us inside the battle against the Ebola virus.
WALKER: You're watching CNN. And this is Connect the World with me Amara Walker. Welcome back.
A U.S. man is due in court in the coming hours in the killings of three people at Jewish sites. It happened ahead of a major Jewish holiday. CNN's George Howell tells us even though they have a suspect, authorities still have a lot of questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a guy with a rifle here shooting at people. I would leave.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why, is he still here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know.
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the eve of Passover, a lone gunman opens fire at two different Jewish facilities near Kansas City.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's no other word to describe it. It's panic.
HOWELL: Panic, fear and confusion.
Dr. William Lewis Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson, Reat Griffin Underwood, both gunned down at a Jewish community center, where many teens have been taking part in rehearsals and auditions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We thought it was weather at first.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, there were people ducking down inside and people yelling at us to get inside.
HOWELL: Moments later, another victim is shot and killed at Village Shalom, a retirement community about a mile away.
Police arrested Frazier Glenn Cross at a nearby elementary school. As he's being taken away, he shouts a neo-Nazi slogan.
FRAZIER GLENN CROSS, SUSPECT: Heil Hitler!
HOWELL: Cross now faces charges of premeditated murder. Police say the suspect also known as Glenn Miller has ties to white supremacists.
He apparently has his own Web site and the Southern Poverty Law Center describes him as a longtime anti-Semite.
A police chaplain was told by witnesses Cross seemed chilling, deliberate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's apparently an older gentleman, and was asking people if before he thought if they were Jewish or not. This sounds like very much a hate crime.
HOWELL: Last night, just hours after the shooting, this powerful moment at a vigil.
MINDY CORPORON, MOTHER/DAUGHTER OF VICTIMS: I'm the daughter of the gentleman who was killed and I'm the mother of the son who was killed.
HOWELL: You can hear the emotion in the crowd as she shares her last words with her father and son.
CORPORON: I got to tell both of them today that I loved them. I was the last person in the family who saw them and I appreciate you being here. It's very helpful to me. That's how I grieve, thank you.
HOWELL: It was just people going about their regular routines on Sunday and forced to get on the ground, to get into locker room here in this community center and get out of harm's way.
Police are still investigating whether what happened here is a hate crime.
George Howell, CNN, Overland Park, Kansas.
WALKER: Live from CNN Center, this is Connect the World. Coming up, the standoff between Ukraine and pro-Russian protesters keeps up. We'll have live reports from Moscow, Washington and New York on the escalating crisis and diplomatic efforts to end it.
Plus, reports of another battlefield victory for Bashar al-Assad's forces in Syria. So what's next in the country's three year civil war?
WALKER: You're watching Connect the World live from CNN Center, welcome back. I'm Amara Walker.
Reports out of Syria say government forces have recaptured a strategic town near the Lebanese border. The predominately Christian Maaloula had been under rebel control for months.
It's the latest strategic area that's come under government control in the past few weeks.
The military gains come as the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says Damascus has shipped out 65 percent of its stockpile of chemical weapons.
Now all that seems to have boosted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's confidence. On Sunday, he told students at Damascus University that the three year war has reached a turning point in favor of his forces.
So, is President Assad winning the battle on the ground, or is this part of the propaganda spin aimed at disheartening the opposition? To discuss, I'm joined from Washington by a former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Theodore Kattouf.
Mr. Ambassador, think you so much for taking the time.
My first question to you is do you believe Bashar al-Assad is winning the war as he claims?
THEODORE KATTOUF, FRM. U.S. AMBASSADOR TO SYRIA: Well, it depends on how we define winning. I think it's safe to say in some of the most populated areas of Syria from -- down from the Jordanian border running north through Damascus, Homs, Hamaa, and over to the coast cities of Tartouf (ph) and Marakia (ph) his forces are mopping up and very much gaining control of that entire region.
However, there are large swaths of Syria that are not under his control and that will probably will not be for some time to come, if ever. And here I'm talking about the major city of Aleppo in the north and the eastern regions along the Euphrates River, Deir ez-Zor and other some other population centers.
WALKER: Now we know that Mr. Assad is seeking a third term. Is it safe to say that a victory on election day for al-Assad is almost a done deal? And has he tried to portray confidence ahead of these elections just a few months away?
KATTOUF: Well, the Assad family has never lacked for overwhelming margins in elections, which have never been free and fair.
But ironically, because this is such a zero sum game as both sides see it -- both the opposition and the Assad regime -- that those who feel they will suffer if the opposition wins would probably in a free and fair election vote for Assad, which might give him 35 to 40 percent of the voting public in Syria.
WALKER: So, now there are more than 150,000 people killed in this war that has dragged on for more than three years. There were reports of another air assault and claims of another chemical weapons attack over the weekend. Do you think the world has done enough?
KATTOUF: Well, you know, we can go back and use counterfactual arguments. What would have happened if the U.S. had helped the Free Syrian Army much earlier and much more strongly. But facts are facts.
And right now I don't see any country out there, including the United States, that is willing to put boots on the ground and take responsibility for what's going on there.
So the most -- at the moment we can hope for is a huge amount of humanitarian aid for the refugees and the displaced persons inside Syria. And secondly, that John Kerry carries on his diplomacy despite the fact that it has no hope right now of succeeding. But it's important that there are diplomatic channels that are open and that are viewed as legitimate by the both the Russians and the United States and many other in the international community. And here I'm talking about the Geneva talks.
And let's talk about the chemical weapons. Because we did mention a few moments ago that the OPCW reported that 65 percent of Syria's declared stockpile of chemical weapons have now been shipped out. What do you think about the progress that Syria has made thus far? And can Syria be trusted to get rid of its entire stockpile of chemical weapons?
KATTOUF: Well, I think Syria has actually made rather good progress even though they're behind the timetables that were set for them. The fact of the matter is that the largest amount of chemical weapons is already out of the country. And can Syria be trusted -- or rather can the regime be trusted to get rid of all chemical weapons? Probably not. You know, it's not even a matter of trust but verify, it's a matter of don't trust and verify as best you can.
WALKER: So, do you see any end in sight to what has become a three year civil war, longer than three years at this point?
KATTOUF: Tragically, I don't. I think Assad can bring a certain amount of stability and peace to those areas he controls, but the opposition is riven into different factions, including major factions that are -- that support al Qaeda or have strong inclinations towards al Qaeda and radical Islamist ideology.
And then you have a hodgepodge of other groups. So we could see a lot of (inaudible) fighting among the opposition in the large areas of Syria that the government doesn't control.
WALKER: All right, former U.S. ambassador to Syria Theodore Kattouf live for us there in Washington. Very interesting discussion. We really appreciate your time. Thank you for your perspective.
KATTOUF: Thank you, Amara.
WALKER: Well, doctors continue to race to contain a deadly Ebola outbreak in west Africa. More than 115 people have died in just three weeks, most of them in New Guinea.
What's different about this outbreak is how far it has spread. And right now, it's within a stone's throw of an international airport. Here's Sanjay Gupta.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRSEPONDENT (voice-over): A simple blue box potentially carrying one of the most dangerous pathogens in the world on its way to be tested. In less than four hours, we'll find out whether it contains the Ebola virus. The fate of three patients depends on what's inside. Simply getting the blood samples is a life-threatening job. One of these workers told us he has a 9-month-old baby at home. They'll do everything they can to protect themselves. Three pairs of gloves, booties and layer after layer of gowns. They go in to see the patients.
Every single inch of their body covered in permeable suits. Nothing in. Nothing out. Even the drop of the Ebola virus that gets through a break in the skin can infect you. We all have breaks in our skin.
(on camera): This is the painstaking detail and process you have to go through to interact with these patients with Ebola. This is as close as we can get. They're decontaminating themselves. They've taken the blood samples and put them in this blue ice chest over here. It's highly suspicious it contains Ebola.
(voice-over): WHO lab technicians suit up next. They've been handed the blue boxes. It's their job to test the sample for the deadly virus. They'll have results just two hours from now. A few years ago being able to test for Ebola on its own turf was impossible. Precious blood samples had to be taken out of remote forested areas in Central Africa and flown to the CDC in Atlanta or the WHO in Geneva.
Pilots would sometimes refuse to fly the dangerous pathogens. Even if they did, it could take days or weeks to get the results. At 8:00 p.m., we get the call.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, two of these are positive.
GUPTA (voice-over): Two of the three patients now have confirmed Ebola.
WALKER: And that was Sanjay Gupta reporting there.
The latest world news headlines just ahead.
Plus, the United Nations held an emergency meeting on the crisis in Ukraine. We'll have a live report on the diplomatic options on the table.
WALKER: This is CONNECT THE WORLD, the top stories this hour. Pro- Russian protesters in eastern Ukraine are ignoring a government deadline to lay down their arms. Demonstrators have even stormed a new building today and forced out local police. It happened in the city of Horlivka. Activists have now taken control of government buildings in some 10 cities across the east.
Police in Nigeria say at least 71 people have been killed in a blast at a bus station outside of Abuja. At least 124 people are injured. Officials say a parked vehicle exploded as early-morning commuters filled the station. Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan visited the scene. There's been no claim of responsibility, but early suspicion fell on Islamist militant group Boko Haram.
South African athlete Oscar Pistorius faced a fourth day of intense cross-examination in his murder trail. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel tried to point out what he says are inconsistencies in Pistorius's testimony about the night he shot Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius insists he thought he was firing at an intruder.
And a US man is due in court in the coming hours in connection with the killings of three people at a Jewish center and nearby retirement community in the US state of Kansas. It happened ahead of the major Jewish holiday of Passover. Police say the suspect once led white supremacist groups.
The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is moving into new territory. Searchers have now deployed an underwater vehicle called the Blue Fin 21 to try to find any plane wreckage in the Indian Ocean. Now, it uses a type of sonar to create a 3D map of the ocean floor.
The probe replaces the towed pinger locator crews had been using. It hadn't picked up any possible signals from the Flight 370 black boxes in six days. Let's go now to Will Ripley in Perth for the latest on the search. And as you have reiterated over and over, this underwater phase of the search is a very long process. What is happening right now, Will?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Amara, at this hour, that Blue Fin 21 submersible is down almost three miles, 4500 meters or so down. And it's hovering about 35 meters over this very dark, very quiet, cold, remote part of the world, scanning to see what it can find.
The search chief, Angus Houston, said today that this area is so isolated, it is really pretty much brand-new to man.
RIPLEY (voice-over): The search for MH370 is moving into a dark corner of the world that, in some ways, is more mysterious than outer space.
CHARI PATTIARATCHI, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA: We know less about our deep ocean than we know of the moon's surface.
RIPLEY: Chari Pattiaratchi and his research team took this video in the southern Indian Ocean. The professor of coastal oceanography at the University of Western Australia thinks this is what the search zone nearly three miles down could look like.
PATTIARATCHI: It's dark. It's very cold.
RIPLEY: With pressure so intense, it crushes a styrofoam cup down to a fraction of its size. The missing plane is believed to be 4500 meters, nearly 15,000 feet down.
PATTIARATCHI: It's flat and it's the sediment is -- it's silt.
RIPLEY: The extreme conditions will test the limits of the US Navy's Blue Fin 21, which is beginning the slow, painstaking process of mapping the ocean floor.
MARK MATTHEWS, CAPTAIN, US NAVY: Patience. People need to have patience.
RIPLEY: US Navy Captain Mark Matthews says just one mission takes 24 hours, 2 hours down, 16 hours of scanning, 2 hours up, another 4 hours of downloading data from the side scan sonar, which maps out the ocean floor.
MATTHEWS: You can actually see the shapes. You kind of see the traces, the outlines of the objects.
RIPLEY: Pattiaratchi's team also took this video of what the next step, the salvage phase would look like. Underwater robots would grab small pieces of the plane and pull them up. A ship would have to hoist up any large pieces.
PATTIARATCHI: Bottom line: it's a very, very slow process.
RIPLEY: A process that is just beginning, meaning MH370 families could wait months or even years for the answers and closure they so desperately need.
RIPLEY: And they've already waited so long, Amara. We are just minutes away from day 39 of this search, still not one single piece of debris from this plane. And today we heard not only from the search chief, but the oceanographer that I spoke with as well. The chances of finding any debris floating on the water at this point are very slim. That makes this underwater search that much more critical.
WALKER: Yes, and as you've heard, there's just no guarantee that this wreckage could even be found. Will Ripley, live for us there in Perth, Australia. Will, thank you.
And let's return, now, to our top story, the crisis in Ukraine. This hour, we are covering it all from all angles. Earlier, we heard from Nick Paton Walsh in Donetsk in the east of the country. Well now, Diana Magnay is live in Moscow with reaction from the Kremlin. Jim Sciutto in Washington with what the White House will do next, and Richard Roth is in New York with the diplomatic moves at the United Nations.
Let's begin, though, with Diana in Moscow. And Diana, we heard from Ukraine's president, Oleksandr Turchynov, who has threatened military action after his ultimatum went largely ignored. How is Moscow reacting to this threat of force?
DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Moscow has said that it is unconscionable to use force, for the Ukrainian authorities to use force against their own people and that this must not happen.
Now, Vladimir Putin, according to his press spokesman, is very alarmed at the situation in eastern Ukraine. He says that he's received numerous pleas of help from people in the south and east of the country to see whether Russia can't come in and help them.
Now, of course, that was the pretext under which Vladimir Putin and the Russian Duma authorized a possible intervention -- military intervention in Ukraine back at the start of the Crimea annexation, that it was to protect Russian interests and Russian-speaking people in those regions.
But here, the language that Russia is using is far more about trying to convene a national dialogue whereby people in the various regions can all participate in devising a constitution that works for them, and a constitution that would be more federalized and where, presumably, Russia could therefore have more of a hand in controlling what does go on in the south and the east of the country.
Now, this war of words that's been going on between the West and Russia just continues, each side accusing the other of lying, effectively. Let's just have a listen to what Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister said a little earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): It should be recalled that violence in Maidan, which has resulted in dozens upon dozens of death, was branded a democracy, while the peaceful protests currently held in the southeast are being branded as terrorism, with the announcement of plans to use the army to conduct so-called "anti-terrorist operations." This is hypocrisy beyond any limits.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MAGNAY: Russia says it doesn't have any agents on the ground in Ukraine and it's also questioning media reports circulating here in Russia that the CIA chief went to Kiev last Saturday. Amara?
WALKER: And Diana, Moscow has been urging Kiev to adopt a federalized constitution. Turchynov today said that he is not against a referendum for the people to decide what type of state Ukraine should be. Any reaction from Moscow on this?
MAGNAY: Well, Sergey Lavrov again has said that's all well and good, but we don't know what the question that would be put to the people in the referendum would be. And it also seems to be a bit sort of after the event. What Moscow wants is that a constitution can be devised now with all the various bodies and regions playing a role.
It is a big ask to ask the population on the same day that they're electing a president to decide on a constitution. That constitutional makeup should be, possibly, according to Moscow, thought up by various leaders in the various regions in advance of that date. Amara?
WALKER: All right. Diana Magnay, live for us, there, in Moscow. Diana, many thanks to you. I want to bring in Jim Sciutto, now, who is in Washington. And a lot of things happening on the diplomatic front. There was this emergency session at the UN on Sunday night, and now, US Vice President Joe Biden will be heading to Kiev in the coming days. What can we expect from that trip?
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF US SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is what we know what the US reaction is. Shuttle diplomacy, as you say, Biden going to Ukraine next week. You have Secretary Kerry going to Geneva this week, where he's expected to meet with the Russian foreign minister Lavrov.
Meanwhile, you have the White House saying that they are preparing new economic penalties for Russia in response to escalation in Ukraine, but those penalties have yet to be imposed.
I was able to speak with the US defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, in Beijing last week, and I asked him what the military response will be. He said that the NATO commander, General Breedlove, is preparing options that he will bring to Secretary Hagel for him to consider.
But those are really going to be about the movement of assets around the region there, the possibility of more troops, more Western troops, NATO troops, US troops, planes, et cetera, possibly some exercises in and around Ukraine as a show of force and a show of unity among NATO. Of course, no actual military options on the ground in Ukraine.
That's the status quo, but it's been that status quo for a couple of weeks. And one of the criticisms here is that the situation on the ground is clearly escalating in eastern Ukraine, but at the same time, the sanctions have not escalated.
It's been a couple of weeks since that first round of sanctions, targeting individuals and one institution in Russia, about a dozen or so Russian and Ukrainian officials, one bank.
There is talk now from the White House about broader economic sanctions against sectors in Russia. These would really be more painful, because you're talking about hitting the energy sector, et cetera. But those have not been imposed yet, even as the situation on the ground has been escalating.
And of course, those sanctions that they have cost, not just for Russia, but also for Russia's European trading partners as well. So, that's a step that so far the administration hasn't taken. The focus still is on a diplomatic solution this, but certainly as the situation the ground is proceeding very undiplomatically.
WALKER: Yes, the question is, what can the world do? And on that, let's bring in Richard Roth. Jim Sciutto, thanks to you. Richard Roth in New York at the United Nations. So, we -- as I mentioned, there was this emergency session on Sunday night. What came out of this meeting?
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Well, this meeting was called and requested by Russia with that deadline looming, which has now passed, of the Ukraine government saying it was going to conduct "anti-terror operations" against those who back the Russian government or want to be attached to them, the separatists.
But that deadline has now passed with no use of force. So, that was hanging over this meeting. The Russian ambassador came to the table saying let's try to make sure that the Ukraine government doesn't carry out on its threat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VITALY CHURKIN, RUSSIAN FEDERATION AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS (through translator): Protesters' opinions and interests have not been borne in mind, we're not talking about them. As a result of this, there has already been bloodshed in the southeast. And the situation is very dangerous. A further escalation of this must be swiftly stopped.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROTH: And as Diana Magnay reported, Russia again denying that it's behind stirring up an violence, any trouble in these eastern Ukraine cities. However, many Western ambassadors hotly disputed this, including the US representative, Samantha Power.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMANTHA POWER, US AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: These claims are claims that are rooted in some idea that the internet does not exist, that people cannot see for themselves that these are not protests, these are not demonstrations.
These are professional forces, carrying weapons, Russian-made weapons as it happens, carrying out sophisticated, coordinated military operations across a substantial number of eastern Ukrainian cities. These are not demonstrations, these are not protests. These are military operations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROTH: Now, a few hours ago, also, the Ukraine reported there was a phone call between the acting president of Ukraine and the secretary- general of the UN in which the Ukraine leader said the United Nations could go along on these anti-terror operations.
Amara, a UN diplomat says only the Security Council could determine whether the UN would be involved in any such raids. And after observing what's been going on at the Security Council, where Russia has a veto, this would be a definite non-starter of an idea, however well-intended by the Ukraine government. Amara?
WALKER: All right. Richard Roth, live for us there in New York. Richard, thank you. And we have an opinion piece on our website that takes an interesting view on the crisis, and it's generating quite a viewer response.
Robin Niblett is a director of the London-based think tank Chatham House, and he notes that there is a growing disbelief -- or belief, rather, that Europe and the United States provoked Russian president Putin into annexing Crimea. Read why he thinks this is incorrect and take part in the conversation at cnn.com/international.
Live from CNN Center, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. A woman is accused of murder after Utah police make a shocking discovery, finding the bodies of babies. We'll have all the details on this bizarre case coming up next.
WAKLER: A gruesome discovery inside a Utah woman's former home has left both her family and neighbors stunned. The 39-year-old is facing six counts of murder after police uncovered the bodies of several infants. Andrew Spencer has the story.
ANDREW SPENCER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Over the course of ten years, police say Megan Huntsman gave birth to then killed at least six babies. The remains were found inside this home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, a small city just north of Provo. Huntsman moved out of the house in 2011. It belongs to the family of her estranged husband.
MICHAEL ROBERST, CAPTAIN, PLEASANT GROVE POLICE: Some family members of the residence were cleaning out the garage, came across a suspicious package, had kind of a pungent order.
SPENCER: That led to a full-scale search, in which police found the remains of seven dead babies, a disturbing thought, especially for the neighbors.
KATHIE HAWKER, FORMER NEIGHBOR: She was always a good babysitter, because she babysat my grandchildren when they were little.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had no idea, absolutely no idea what it could have been.
SPENCER: Some also found it odd that they didn't notice Huntsman had ever been pregnant.
AARON HAWKER, FORMER NEIGHBOR: We always thought she looked skinny. We never saw any evidence of pregnancies.
SPENCER: The 39-year-old was booked in the Utah County Jail. Police say they searched her current home as well, but they didn't find anything noteworthy there.
I'm Andrew Spencer reporting.
WALKER: Now, we haven't heard Megan Huntsman give her side of the story. She is due to appear in court today or tomorrow. But of course, this case has left a lot of people asking what would drive someone to kill seven babies?
Joining me now is psychologist Erik Fisher. Thanks for being here, first of all. I mean, it's astounding to hear such a story.
ERIK FISHER, PSYCHOLOGIST: It is.
WALKER: And of course, the first question everyone wants to know is why? Why would anyone do such a thing?
FISHER: Well, I think we do have to ask a lot of questions. Things that we'd want to look at is, what is her history of mental illness? What is her history of child abuse, as in sexual or physical abuse growing up, that may have predisposed her to this type of behavior?
And is there a coordination between having been using drugs? There seem to be a longterm history of drug abuse that could have lead to some of these behaviors.
The curious question I have is, she has three daughters. One of the daughters is older than the first child who was killed. So, there's a daughter who's 20. This started happening when -- about 18 years ago. So my question would be, were these children that were killed, were they all male, potentially?
Because what we're going to be doing is asking questions of why would this serial-type of behavior happen over this period, and what would drive this type of behavior in terms of her belief systems, her judgment, her history?
WALKER: You have -- you mention she has other children. There are other family members that were in that home.
WALKER: Why didn't anybody notice? You would imagine someone would have alarmed -- or let police or someone know that she's been acting or behaving in a very strange or scary way.
FISHER: Well, there's a few things. One, you have the physical showing, appearance of somebody who is pregnant. What does that look like. And it's mostly noticeable to a lot of people, but does she have smaller children?
The other issue is, is there a pattern of denial that we see in this family, and how well was her pattern of denial and/or behavior to cover up these pregnancies over time?
WALKER: You said that you want them to look into -- or you're curious to know if these babies were male. Now, let's say they were. Would that suggest that she was sexually abused at some point in her life and this was a way to express her anger?
FISHER: Possibly. It could even have been about physical abuse. There could be some issue of was this person the father? There is a report that one of the children was stillborn, and if that child was stillborn, that's why there were only six murder charges, and did that behavior potentially -- or that action potentially start some of her belief systems that ultimately fed her behaviors that are so tragic?
WALKER: But as a psychologist, are you shocked to hear about something like this, especially now that there are seven babies that were killed?
FISHER: It's always shocking to hear stories like these. It's very difficult to hear stories like these. That's why we definitely want to encourage people to have the courage to ask for help when they need it, to make sure that we don't have a stigma against mental illness or even is this a pattern of psychoticism that happens?
Could she have a compounded post-traumatic stress or postpartum depression issue that may lead to postpartum psychoticism? However, you would expect to see that in some of her behaviors, unless she was very good at covering it up.
WALKER: So, are there any signs that we should be looking out for for our family members?
FISHER: Sometimes you want to look at behaviors -- hiding behaviors. Are they changing the clothes they're wearing, in terms of if we're looking for somebody who may be pregnant and covering it up?
But that's something we don't want to think about either. Having a child is one of the most happiest times of our lives, which is why this is such a disturbing issue for so many people, because these children are supposed to be brought into this world with such joy, we can't imagine them entering this world in such tragedy and terror.
WALKER: But this has to stem from some kind of psychological issue?
FISHER: Most likely, yes. Yes.
WALKER: OK. And lastly, I guess the question is why we are so captivated by a story like this. Do you think that there is -- if it were a father or a male doing something like this, there wouldn't be as much attention, as opposed to a female?
FISHER: I think in both situations, we'd be looking at these, whether it was the father or the mother, because it's just so tragic and so out of the norm. People just can't fathom how somebody could do something like this, especially six times.
WALKER: Exactly. Well, as we said, we haven't heard from Megan Huntsman, give her side of the story, and she is due in court today or tomorrow. Erik Fisher, psychologist, thank you so much for your perspective. Appreciate it.
FISHER: Thank you.
WALKER: So, what do you think about this? The team at CONNECT THE WORLD wants to hear from you, facebook.com/CNNconnect, have your say.
And coming up after this short break on CONNECT THE WORLD, millions of Jews are marking the start of Passover. We'll explain why bread was burned to get ready for the holiday.
Work hard, play harder. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge find time for some cricket as they continue their tour of New Zealand. The details are coming up next.
WALKER: It was another packed day for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they continue their tour of New Zealand. And as CNN's royal correspondent Max Foster reports, part of the day took on a somber tone.
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The scars left by the earthquake in 2011 are still strikingly visible in Christchurch. Prince William came here just after the quake hit and had been keen to come back and see how the city's healing. He and the duchess met bereaved families at the site where 115 people alone lost their lives in the CTV building collapse.
The couple then visited the so-called Cardboard Cathedral and went on a walkabout, which started out as a sedate affair, but quickly turned into a mad scramble. Our camera wasn't getting through this crowd anytime soon.
FOSTER (on camera): Well, if you can't beat them, join them. The crowd is so thick, I'm just going to go in with my very mobile phone.
FOSTER (voice-over): It helps if you're six foot four with very long arms. But you can also get on your mum's shoulders, like the little girl next to me did.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Princess Catherine!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aw!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much.
FOSTER: She was desperately calling out and had a bunch of flowers that nobody could beat. But would it be enough? Thank goodness for royal protection officers.
FOSTER: A big moment in a little person's life. As walkabouts go, it was a long one, but at the end of it, no time to rest. Anyone for cricket?
A chance to promote the 2014 Cricket World Cup and, for the royal couple, to show off their sporting sides again. Well, they weren't exactly dressed for it, but at least they had a go.
It was a photo opportunity guaranteed to keep the monarchy on the front pages. What a royal tour this has been. It's presented the world with a modernized royalty, one that's informal, energetic, and fun.
You can probably add to that now the word "cute," thanks to this little guy. Get ready Australia, Prince George is coming your way next.
Max Foster, CNN, Christchurch, New Zealand.
WALKER: Well, today marks the first day of the Jewish holiday of Passover, and for millions around the world, the week commemorates the liberation of their ancestors in Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. And for some Jews, Passover begins with the burning of food, items forbidden during the holiday. That ceremony is called Chametz, and it's our Parting Shots for you today.
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HAIM COHEN, JERUSALEM RESIDENT: Chametz is leavened bread, for the most part. But it's any leaven. Could be one of the five species of grain. But the idea is to get rid of the leaven in the houses, outside of the person's property, and inside. OK? So there is no leaven. That's what we're burning.
The leaven represents a haughtiness of a person. The idea that makes him feel that he's better than anybody else. And that's what we're trying to get rid of, OK? So to be humble is one of the ways to acquire Torah, to acquire godliness, so to speak.
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WALKER: And I'm Amara Walker in for Becky Anderson, and that was CONNECT THE WORLD. Thanks for watching.