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Trump: Whistleblower's Identity Must Be Revealed; Trump Rejects Polls Showing Impeachment Support; Four Injured, Two Critically, In Knife Attack; Prime Minister Appeals For Calm After Weeks Of Unrest; Source: Trump Admin Puts Hold On Lebanon Military Aid; Warren Defends "Medicare For All" Plan In Iowa; Buttigieg Criticizes Warren's Health Care Plan; Vote Soon For New Speaker Of U.K. House of Commons; On the Front Lines of Ukraine's Battle to Hold Off Russian-Backed Separatists; New Delhi Chokes on Thick Smog. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired November 4, 2019 - 01:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And I'm Michael Holmes. Coming up right here on CNN NEWSROOM. This is the start of a key week in the impeachment inquiry into the U.S. President. Among the big developments Donald Trump's former National Security Adviser could testify.

ALLEN: Also ahead here, a brutal attack during a protest in Hong Kong, it sent a pro-democracy politician, and several others to the hospital.

HOLMES: And holding the line in Ukraine as the country's leader is caught in the middle of the U.S. Impeachment Inquiry. We'll show you how Ukrainian soldiers are trying to fight off Russian back separatists.

ALLEN: Thanks again for joining us. Our top story. We are entering a crucial week and the U.S. Impeachment Inquiry. One that could bring testimony from a wild card.

HOLMES: Yes, we're talking about the former National Security Adviser John Bolton. He's scheduled to appear before house investigators on Thursday. He did of course, butt heads with the U.S. President on foreign policy before he was ousted in September. On Sunday, President Trump having this to say about where the Bolton would testify.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's up to him and up to the lawyers. It's truly up to the lawyers. I like John Bolton. I always got along with him, but that's going to be up to the lawyers. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ALLEN: Bolton is one of nearly a dozen current or former U.S. officials who have been asked to appear this week. But we're learning several of them including these four men were set the test of Monday, but they don't plan on showing up.

HOLMES: You don't have to guess what three of them look like. An official tell CNN John Eisenberg is claiming executive privilege. And then you've got Michael Ellis, Robert Blair, Brian McCormack. They're not going to appear because they say they don't have an administration lawyer.

Democrats who have too long complained that the White House is stonewalling the inquiry say, they're moving forward regardless, even if they're subpoenas are ignored, and officials won't testify.

ALLEN: House Republicans also want to hear from the whistleblower who raised the alarm about President Trump's dealings with Ukraine. A lawyer for the whistleblower says his client is willing to answer written questions.

HOLMES: Then you've got Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee. He says that's not enough. He says in a statement, "written answers will not provide a sufficient opportunity to probe all the relevant facts and cross-examine the so-called whistleblower. You don't get to ignite an impeachment effort, he said, and never account for your actions and role in orchestrating it. We have serious questions about this individual's political bias and partisan motivations.

And joining us now is Julian Zelizer, CNN Political Analyst, also a historian and professor at Princeton University. Always a pleasure, Julian. Thanks for your time. OK, so Donald Trump continues to say the whistleblower lied, always wrong in when in fact the evidence of others, including the administration think it backs up what the whistleblower reported. Before we are going, have a listen to Donald Trump.


TRUMP: The whistleblower gave a very inaccurate report about my phone call. My phone call was perfect. It was totally appropriate. But he gave a report, he or she but according to the newspapers, it's a he, they think they know -- they know who it is. You know who it is. You just don't want to report it. CNN knows who it is, but you don't want to report it. So when -- and you know, you'd be doing the public disservice if you did.

The whistleblower gave a false report. And because of that false report, people thought bad things were done. And then you had Schiff go out and speak before Congress, and before the American people and give a false story. He made up a story. And then I released -- after all this was done, I released and everybody said he didn't do anything wrong. But the whistleblower should be revealed because the whistleblower gave a false story. Some people would call it fraud. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Yes, a bit of a word salad as you might expect there. But for a start the, whistleblower's account has been backed up by others. But the President wanting the whistleblower to be revealed, how extraordinary is that given the legal protections offered by law?

JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's very dramatic to watch a president do this. This is intimidation at one level and it's also at another level of threat to why we have whistleblower laws. It's to protect people who see something wrong that's going on and want that anonymity to report it with some protection.

And here's the President of the United States using his megaphone to go after the whistleblower to make this whistleblower the source of what he says are false stories, despite overwhelming evidence that what the whistleblower said is exactly what happened.


HOLMES: Yes. You know, it's interesting. But because it was also Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman who was given evidence of his concerns about that phone call with Ukrainian president raise serious concerns about what was said. The President spoke about him as well. Have a listen.


TRUMP: With all of those people, very few people that I know came forward and they only came forward when you asked and some of them and never Trumpers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, what evidence do you have that Colonel Vindman is a never Trumper?

TRUMP: We'll be showing that you are real soon, OK.


HOLMES: He said a lot more about Lieutenant Colonel as well. But essentially you had there the U.S. President threatening that there is evidence that he's never-Trumper and it's going to come out soon. There was some already suggesting that witness tampering or the very least intimidation. What's your view?

ZELIZER: Well, it is. I mean, first the charge itself isn't really relevant. What's relevant is what he reported about the phone calls and this entire operation. And this is what the President does. He attacks the legitimacy of the person who bears information as a way to discredit the information. But this is intimidation and it replicates what happened during the Mueller investigation.

The President would go on, he would attack people who were involved, whether it was the investigators or people giving testimony, and use it to raise questions about who they were so that you didn't focus on the information they were actually giving the investigators. HOLMES: It was -- I mean, it was -- it was such a lot that he -- that he said today. I mean, he was raging against the polls again. I mean, polls showing more Americans want the president impeached than do not. Let's have a listen to that one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to several recent poll, more Americans want you to be impeached and removed from office than the number of Americans who don't.

TRUMP: You're reading polls. You're reading the wrong polls. Let me tell you. I have the real polls. I have the real polls. CNN poll is fake. The Fox files have always been lousy. I tell them they want to get themselves a new pollster. But the real polls -- if you look at the polls -- if you look at the polls that came out this morning, people don't want anything to do with impeachment. It's a phony scam. It's a hoax.

HOLMES: Professor, do you -- do you think he really believes that the polls even from Fox are wrong and he has some secret polling, real polls?

ZELIZER: He might believe it. I do think at some level he lives in a bubble. He believes the bubble within which he lives, and everything outside of him is false, fake or manufactured. But regardless of what he thinks, it's a very systematic, consistent strategy we've seen from the president. It's an information war. And when information goes poorly for him, when the data doesn't support that people approve of what he's doing or that his opponents are weak, he goes after the information and simply says it's not true.

And so probably at this point the two converge. It's a strategy, it's his belief, and we're going to hear this repeatedly over the next few months as the impeachment investigation goes public.

HOLMES: Just very briefly, the narrative with the Republicans is pretty much shifted from no quid pro quo to it might have been wrong, but it's not impeachable. Does that new claim call qualify constitutionally to as impeachable?

ZELIZER: Absolutely. It fits the two things the Founders were concerned about, a president governing for his own self-interest, and the potential of a president being corrupted in the end by foreign power and foreign policy. So these are the exact kind of concerns that the phone call raises. Its textbook definition.

HOLMES: Julian Zelizer, as always, thanks. I appreciate it. Thanks, professor.

ZELIZER: Thanks for having me.

ALLEN: Well, coming next here on CNN NEWSROOM, we'll take you to Hong Kong, a city already on edge. Tensions over the pro-democracy protests now have turned more violent, a knife attack in the city leaving several people with serious injuries. We'll have that ahead here.

HOLMES: Also still to come, CNN in the trenches with Ukraine's Marines hearing what they think of the U.S. President Donald Trump's suspension of military aid, and five years of bloody fighting against Kremlin-backed separatists. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. We'll be right back.



PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri with you on a quiet setup across portions of North America, as quiet as an early autumn afternoon gets across portions of the United States at least where we do have a frontal boundary in place. That's about it. Low pressure system is trying to squeeze its way across northern areas of Texas and with it again, a few showers with the northern disturbance and a little more energy farther to the south.

But we'll notice the system here kind of gets going later on into today. It could bring in a brief shot of rain showers. It should be warm enough though to support generally rain, not snow unless you work your way into the Great Lakes region into the northern area of that region. But beyond this, again, a very, very quiet setup over the next couple of days which is a well-deserved setup.

But of course with that, with the clear skies and of course shorter days now, we're getting some cool area here to settle in and freeze warnings for the first time also season setting up across portions of the Carolinas even its parts of Alabama. Notice multiple shots of cool aid do sneak in here with exchanges of milder weather, but the Frigidaire really takes over we think sometime late this week into the early weekend portion where temps drop off below zero in the Midwestern U.S.

In fact, Chicago only at zero degrees, but you'll notice Minneapolis at minus two for an afternoon high, and in Chicago. We kind of settled there for a few days and then rebound back up but still below the average for this time of year which sits at 13 degrees. Atlanta will go with 17, Los Angeles the winds finally dying down highs 27.


ALLEN: And welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. Police in Hong Kong say four people were injured Sunday by a man who went on a knife rampage. It happened outside a mall we're pro-democracy protesters had gathered.

HOLMES: Yes. We've got the video of it to show you. I should tell you, the images are graphic at times. And what happened was full people stand before the crowd eventually wrestled the attacker to the ground. They run reports that he partially bit the ear of a pro- democracy politician.

ALLEN: The violence comes on the 22nd straight weekend to protest and it's just weeks before Hong Kong is supposed to hold district council elections. Our Will Ripley is in Hong Kong live for us now with more on these developments. Will, what do we know about the attacker and his motivation?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't know his motivation because we haven't heard from him or his attorneys. But the attacker is believed to be the second man that you saw on that very graphic video of a pro-democracy lawmaker, you know, holding onto the side of his head with his partially severed ear lying on the ground reportedly bitten off by another man, a man who was wielding a knife in an attack that left at least five people injured.


And you could see the man bloodied on the ground. Bystanders say that a large mob attacked him after the incident at a very busy Hong Kong shopping mall. A mall just a short distance from where we're standing, the scene of more violence over the weekend. This is the Xinhua News Agency. And as we pan down here, you can see their front doors were completely smashed in. Protesters were going to shopping malls targeting businesses like the Xinhua, state-owned Chinese news agency that they believe are pro-Beijing and pro-Hong Kong government.

Of course, all of this, this attack, you know, the stabbings the ear being bitten off, and of course, the continued violence including violence over the weekend at a number of locations that suspended transportation both here on Hong Kong Island and across Victoria Harbour on the Kowloon side. All of it is an indication of just how divided Hong Kong is right now. And with yet another major protest scheduled for tomorrow, here tomorrow night, with the location supposed to be announced just a couple of hours ahead of time, so that police don't have too much time to coordinate and plan and assemble. It just goes to show you there really is no end in sight here. Natalie?

ALLEN: Right. And you know, this attack -- this attacker like you say you don't know the motivation, but had there been many attacks of people, citizen against citizens during these weeks of unrest?

RIPLEY: Oh, absolutely. Think back to what happened at Prince Edward Station when a number of protesters were coming home after one of the larger gatherings earlier this summer. And they were attacked by men and white t-shirts believed to be tied to the triad gangs here in Hong Kong, suspected amongst the protest movement of somehow coordinating those attacks with people who support Mainland China in Beijing. There are conspiracy theories floating around, there are people who are getting beaten in the streets. There have been numerous incidents over the weeks increasingly violent, including one activist who was beaten with metal poles and left beaten and lying on the ground. He is recovering and expected to be OK. But it is -- even though the crowds are smaller, the violence continues to find new ways to shock many people, as this summer of unrest is now in its 22nd week.

ALLEN: And as you say another protest may get underway tomorrow. All right. Will Ripley for us there in Hong Kong. As always, Will, thank you. HOLMES: Well, activists say three Iraqi protesters were killed Sunday as dozens of people tried to break into the Iranian consulate in Karbala, a significant and important Shia city. Protesters set fires, they tried to breach the building's fence. Iraqi security forces eventually opening fire to disperse the crowd were told at least 60 people were wounded. Meanwhile, Iraq's Prime Minister is begging those anti-government protesters to return to normal life, saying, the unrest is costing the economy billions across the country. Angry Iraqis continue to demand the government step down, saying it is corrupt, and there aren't enough jobs or basic services for people.

And large anti-government demonstrations are also raging right across Lebanon in Beirut. Thousands pouring onto the streets resuming their calls for widespread political reform. The unrest has already forced the resignation of the Prime Minister, now many protesters are calling for the President Michel Aoun to step down. The President does still have supporters, though, hundreds of them holding a big rally just outside the Capitol, Beirut. They believe Mr. Aoun is the only one who can bring reform. Now, this unrest comes as a source tells CNN The United States has placed an indefinite hold on military aid to Lebanon. This includes a $105 million package to support the Lebanese Armed Forces. CNN's Ben Wedeman with more now for us from Beirut.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It really sends the wrong message at this time of uncertainty in Lebanon. Apparently, the State Department wasn't informed that this decision by the White House nor was the Pentagon, and our sources in the Lebanese military weren't aware of it as well.

Now, the Lebanese army has since 2006, received about $1.7 billion in aid from the United States. The reason why the United States supports the Lebanese army is it wants to be the sole military force in this country, keeping in mind that Hezbollah, the political and military group here actually has the most effective military force in the country. And the purpose of this aid program from the United States was to bolster the Lebanese army. So, this is barely a vote of confidence by in that institution.


Now, we do know that according to reportings from the Wall Street Journal, earlier this week, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was pressuring the United States to pressure Lebanon, on what the Israelis allege is a Iranian missile building program here in Lebanon, but it's such a sensitive time. This decision from the United States really seems to confirm from the Lebanese perspective that the United States has one priority in Lebanon and that is to crush Hezbollah. Ben Wedeman, CNN, Beirut.


ALLEN: Well, U.S. presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren is taking aim at her democratic rivals who have taken shots at her Medicare For All plan.

HOLMES: Yes, her opponents have criticized the $20 trillion healthcare proposal calling it unrealistic.

ALLEN: But the Massachusetts Senator fired back saying, she's not running a campaign with, quote, tepid ideas designed to offend no one.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Political pundits and even people in our own party don't want to admit it. They think that running a vague campaign that nibbles around the edges is somehow safe. But if the best democrats can offer, is business as usual after Donald Trump, Democrats will lose.


HOLMES: Now, Warren made those comments during a town hall in Iowa on Sunday. CNN's Leyla Santiago with more from the campaign trail.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Senator Elizabeth Warren spent much of her time in Iowa this weekend at the LNJ celebration where lots of Democrats came together, and really hosting some town halls. This is an area that right now she is topping the pole. The latest poll shows her as the top candidate here in Iowa, but really spent a lot of her time talking about her recently released plan for how to fund Medicare For All. She stayed consistent on three points; she was quick to make the pitch directly to the middle class saying, look, I am not here to raise taxes to the middle class. In fact, I will put $11 trillion right back in your pockets, but that's something that her opponents have criticized saying, Look, that's not feasible. Not OK as Vice President Biden saying that it is mathematic gymnastics.

Now, she sort of flipped the script saying that she wants to know where her opponents are with their plans for funding their health care proposals. And then this was interesting, Sunday morning, Senator Sanders criticized her plan, saying that his was more progressive and that hers could hurt job creation to which she responded saying, Bernie and I have the same idea and the same goals. We just have different ways of getting there. How long she will plan to stay aligned with him, we'll have to wait and see. In Muscatine, Iowa, I'm Leyla Santiago, CNN.


HOLMES: All right. Pete Buttigieg, we were just talking about him actually is one of the candidates. He's among those Democratic candidates who is criticizing Warren's plan. He calls her math controversial. Now, this comes as the South Bend, Indiana mayor now finds himself walking back his comment that the 2020 Democratic primary is now a two-person race between himself and Warren.

ALLEN: He now says he didn't think those remarks came out right. This comes as Buttigieg is rising in the polls. CNN's Abby Phillip was just at one of his events in Iowa. She's got more about it.


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is working to build momentum here in Iowa on a multi-day bus tour throughout the state, especially since he's been rising in those polls in recent days. Here in Iowa, the campaign knows that the stakes are incredibly high. They're hoping that he can finish strong here in the state and work with that momentum to do well in other states down the line. But in the meantime, he is contending with Senator Elizabeth Warren, he even criticizing strongly over her Medicare For All plan. Now, Buttigieg pushed Warren essentially to release a plan to pay for it, but asked whether he has read Warren's plan and whether he has any critiques of that plan. Buttigieg says he hasn't looked at the details just yet.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think the biggest issue I'm hearing from voters, though, even above and beyond how you're going to pay for this is, am I going to lose my private plan? And that's something that (INAUDIBLE) heard a -- well, we have heard an answer, but I think it's the wrong answer which is the (INAUDIBLE) private plan. So, even as the Congress argue over the numbers and the math, you've got other core concerns (INAUDIBLE)


PHILLIP: And he continues to build the pressure on Elizabeth Warren here in Iowa, clearly. His campaign is hoping that Iowans do for him what they did for Barack Obama in 2008, when Obama was able to score a big win here over a better-known candidate. Now, Buttigieg is also arguing that he's the candidate who can unify the country, not just in 2020, but after Donald Trump leaves office. He told supporters here in Mason City that he is the candidate who can build a coalition of liberals, of moderates, and of Republicans to do just that. And with one year, less than one year before the next election, the stakes here in Iowa continue to get higher and higher. Abby Phillip, CNN, Mason City, Iowa.


ALLEN: All right. Well, let's turn to British politics, shall we? The election campaign is heating up there with Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologizing for failing to deliver Brexit by that October 31st deadline.


BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: It's a matter of deep regret. All we need to do now is get on and do it. And the difference between this government and any other party is only this government offers a deal that is ready to go, and a way of delivering it immediately in the middle of December if we're lucky enough to get a majority. Now, of course, it's a big if.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOLMES: Now, for his part, Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage is

critical of Mr. Johnson's withdrawal deal with the E.U. Farage currently sitting in the European Parliament. He says he won't be standing as a candidate in the U.K. general election on December 12th.

ALLEN: In the coming hours, British lawmakers will vote for one of the most senior roles in Parliament Speaker of the House of Commons.

HOLMES: Yes, we talked about John Bercow. You've seen him or you've heard of him. He's going to bow out -- he bowed out last week, actually, after serving 10 years in the post. You'll remember this.




ALLEN: He does that well, doesn't he? All right. Supporters say he modernized the House of Comments but -- Common, but critics call him polarizing. Now, there are at least five lawmakers vying for his job.

HOLMES: Now, that includes the Labour Party member Lindsay Hoyle. He's been Deputy Speaker of the Commons since 2010. Book magazines say he's popular on both sides of the House, which is handy.

ALLEN: They also say his main rival is Harriet Harman, Parliament's longest serving female M.P. and also a member of the Labour Party.

HOLMES: As you said, can they say, order, order.

ALLEN: Order.

HOLMES: All right. Still to come, CNN on the frontlines of the war in Ukraine, asking if the country's troops feel they still have an ally in Washington.

ALLEN: Also ahead here, a breath of fresh air is getting harder to come by in New Delhi. More on the toxic haze enveloping the city and problems it's causing for travelers in India.



NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, for weeks now, CNN had been reporting on many angles of the U.S. impeachment inquiry. At its core, of course, the allegation President Trump suspended military aid to Ukraine as a way to get dirt on one of his political rivals.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Just months ago, the President put nearly $400 million on hold, money meant to help Ukraine, a U.S. ally in its battle with Russian-backed separatists.

Now, CNN sent Clarissa Ward to the front line to see what the situation looks like right now. And here's what she found. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: On the front line of Ukraine's war with Russia, conditions are basic, and the enemy is near. This position just 600 yards from Russian-backed separatists.

Soldiers stand guard in dirt trenches, reminiscent of the First World War.

Commander Pavel Sergeyevich (ph) tells us one of his man was shot dead by a sniper ten days ago.

He says Ukraine needs all the help it can get.

He's saying that when he heard the news that President Trump had frozen military aid he was unhappy because he says America is our most important, our strongest ally.

That aid was released in September -- the temporary freeze left a chill.

The nearest village, Shyrokyne, used to be a popular seaside resort. Now there are no people left, just devastation. Even the church was hit, in war nothing was sacred.

After five long years, the world's attention has basically moved on from Ukraine. But the war here is not over yet, and Ukraine is still very much dependent on the support of the U.S.

Ukrainian marine Alexander shows us what is left of the local school. It was destroyed by Russian artillery at the start of the war.

"It will be ten years before people can come back," he says. "All this territory needs to be demined."

But that process can't even begin until the fighting stops.

Our guide has asked us now to put on our helmets because apparently the separatists have actually been using drones to drop ordnance on some of the soldiers here.

Alexander says it is time to move on. He is concerned we may have been spotted. We push further north to the mining town of Feretsk (ph). Once under control of Russian-backed separatists it was taken back by the Ukrainian army in a bitter battle in July 2014.

You can now see the flames shooting out at the top of the building.

Theresa Fillmon (ph) watched it all from her home. The Florida native runs a Christian charity called His Kids Too and has lived here for many years.

THERESA FILLMON, HIS KIDS TOO: I mean we were shelled for days on end and, you know, I would go to sleep and I'd literally just lay there and just say "God protect me". WARD: During the worst of the fighting she would bring home-cooked

meals to Ukrainian troops on the front lines.

FILLMON: So when you start knowing the people and put a face, putting a name and a face together, I mean I have friends that were killed. It's not -- I'm not going to minimize this.

WARD: Were you aware of the fact that the White House had temporarily frozen military aid to Ukraine? What was your reaction?

FILLMON: Probably frustration because as far as I'm concerned, we are in a David and Goliath situation -- that we are unmanned and outgunned.


WARD: That hasn't slowed Fillmon down. Her days are a blur of activity, distributing food to the needy and displaced. Across this country more than a million people have been forced from their homes.

Like pensioner, Yelena Saliyeva (ph). She was hit by shrapnel while picking tomatoes in her garden. She fled and has been living in this care home ever since.

"What can I do? I can never go back," she says. "It's five years since we left."

Like so many here Yelena no longer cares who wins this war.

So you just want peace. You just want an end to the war.

Ukraine's president is trying to make that happen but peace is best negotiated from a position of strength and having the U.S. as an ally is key.

In the west of the country far from the front lines, Ukrainian forces carry out military exercises under the watchful eye of their American trainer. Captain Matthew Chapman (ph) has been working with this unit for two months.

Can I ask what your reaction was when you heard that military aid had been frozen to Ukraine?

CAPT. MATTHEW CHAPMAN, U.S. ARMY: Personally I don't pay attention to U.S. domestic, foreign policy or politics while I'm here. We are solely focused on the mission at hand.

WARD: And it didn't create an awkward atmosphere at all with your Ukrainian fellow soldiers.

CHAPMAN: It has not even come up in conversation with our OCs.

WARD: His Ukrainian counterpart agrees.

NAZAR SHPAK, UKRAINIAN ARMY LIEUTENANT: You know, I don't like to speak about politics. My mission in my main role is to protect my land, my country -- this is all I want and it's all I know for myself.

WARD: Do you believe that America is an ally Ukraine can rely upon?

SHPAK: Completely, yes. Completely, yes.

WARD: Privately some Ukrainian soldiers admit to feeling uneasy. They fear that the White House's fickle behavior may strengthen Russia's position. But all agree that with or without America's help they have no choice but to continue this fight.

Clarissa Ward, CNN -- Ukraine.


ALLEN: All right next here -- unbearable and apocalyptic, that is how the smog blanketing New Delhi is being described. Even airplanes have not been able to land. We will have more on the travel disruptions in a live report next.



HOLMES: A thick blanket of toxic smog causing travel chaos and other problems in the Indian capital of New Delhi. Some flights were canceled, actually diverted from the city's international airport due to the poor visibility from pollution.

New Delhi's chief minister says conditions are unbearable as air quality has reached hazardous levels.

Journalist Vedika Sud joins us now from New Delhi to talk more about it,

Somebody said it's like smoking two packets of cigarettes a day just to be in New Delhi. How bad is it and why?

VEDIKA SUD, JOURNALIST: Well, to begin with, at the very outset let me just give you the air quality index figures right now. It's about 12 noon here in India and it's about 450 which Michael, is much better than yesterday so I would call it a significant relief but some relief coming the way of (INAUDIBLE), it's like smoking 30 to 35 cigarette today, especially for infants and toddlers who are anyway locked up in their homes because the Delhi government has also come out and issued an advisory where they have asked people to stay indoors as much as possible. Only venture out if it is necessary but that hasn't stopped people from going to work today.

Schools are closed, that is the latest update we have also be schools will be closed today and tomorrow. We will have to wait and watch and see how the situation is on Wednesday whether schools will remain closed. But that Delhi government advisory is very important as well, because they've also asked people to wear masks if they are venturing outside the house. So as of now I would say it's much better but as far as Delhi is concerned there are a lot of areas where the air quality index still remains above 800 which is extremely hazardous for the people residing in those areas.

HOLMES: It is absolutely staggering. I think the index stops at 1,000 and it has been at that level before and they said we can't go any higher so we don't know how bad it is, which must be worrying just to be there.

Speak to the causes, I know the burning of crops stubble is part of it. Had a lot of fireworks which the rally (ph) and I guess a lot of traffic as well. what is being done to stop this happening because it's killing people.

SUD: That is an important question you asked. Today is the first day that the Delhi government has in fact implemented the odd and even scheme. I'm going to take a moment to explain that.

So private vehicles and public vehicles on the road that apply, today is the fourth of November, here in India. So with all the registered vehicles number please ending with an even number -- those are the cars that can fly today but not tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be the odd numbers because it would be the fifth. Also there is a heavy fine, at least heavy enough for Indians there which is 4,000 rupees which comes to about 56 USD, which is also being applied to people who don't follow this rule.

Now already we have seen a slight relief, for Delhiites with a (INAUDIBLE) preceding the average of the (INAUDIBLE) but all eyes will be on 8:00 p.m. that is when the scheme is lifted for the day. This theme lasts through 15th of November. It is a 12-day scheme actually.

And we will have to see at the end of the day -- if July numbers are any better. That's one of the measures that the Delhi government has taken. Importantly, the prime minister's office has also stepped in because environmentalists are very worried about the situation so they have also written to them asking the prime minister to intervene and he has this people on the ground, with the ear to the ground following the situation.

HOLMES: And you know it is pretty dire. Vedika Sud -- good to see you. Thanks very much for joining us. Put a mask on before he had anywhere. Thanks -- Vedika.

I saw thing -- the limit is a thousand after that it doesn't register. And it's been there --




ALLEN: All right. We'll continue to follow that. Thanks for watching. I'm Natalie Allen.

HOLMES: And I'm Michael Holmes.

"WORLD SPORTS" is up next. More news at the top of the hour with Rosemary Church.