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Interview With German Chancellor Olaf Scholz; Interview With British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly; Interview With Paralympian And "The Hard Parts" Author Oksana Masters; Interview With "Water Always Wins" Author Erica Gies. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired February 17, 2023 - 13:00:00   ET




CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome to AMANPOUR live from Munich. Here is what's coming up.


OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR: I think it is wise just to be prepared for a long war, and it is wise to give Putin the message that we are ready.


AMANPOUR: As Russia's war in Ukraine forces Germany to confront its past, I'm in Munich speaking with the leader determining its future, Chancellor

Olaf Scholz. And.


RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: When it comes to the provision of military assistance to Ukraine, nothing is off the table.


AMANPOUR: Britain has been steadfast in its support for Ukraine. Now, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly tells me whether the U.K. plans to keep up

the weapons Kyiv needs. Then, from Chernobyl to the gold medal platform, Paralympian Oksana Masters shares her story of indomitable courage in "The

Hard Parts". And, later, critical lessons from the world water wars. Harry Sreenivasan speaks with Erica Gies, author of "Water Always Wins".

Welcome to the program, everyone. I am Christiane Amanpour, live here at the annual Munich Security Conference. One week before the first

anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Later in the program, my colleague Bianna Golodryga will have the rest of the news in the United States. But first, this time last year on the main

stage in the conference hotel behind me, I spoke to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Then, he hoped that diplomacy would work to deter a

war. But he said that Ukrainians would absolutely remain firm to defend their country.

And now, more than 7,000 civilians and known dead, and perhaps many more as well some tens of thousands of soldiers. Millions are displaced, homes and

schools gone, churches and civilian infrastructure destroyed. And the war grinds on with no end in sight. But a year ago and no one predicted that

Ukraine would still be hanging on. Much less taking the fight to Russia itself.

Today, here at the Munich security conference, President Zelenskyy addressed the people, the leaders, by video. And he said that he still

needed weapons, appealing for those weapons for more support to sustain democracy and global security.

Now, as leader of Europe's economic powerhouse, the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has huge influence over whether Ukraine gets the support it needs.

And so, after his speech here in Munich, we sat on the stage together and I was able to ask him about whether this would be a sustained effort for as

long as it took.


AMANPOUR: Mr. Chancellor, this time last year I had the privilege of sitting here with President Zelenskyy. The United States had told him maybe

you shouldn't leave your country because something might happen. But he came here anyway to say that our fight is your fight, as he did again.

Many nations here with the exception of the U.S. and U.K. did not believe in the intelligence that Vladimir Putin would in fact invade. And then

three days later, it did. You heard President Zelenskyy just say, this must be over this year. Do you share that belief that it can and must be?

OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR: I think this is really a very brutal war. It is the imperialistic approach of Russia to conquer the whole Ukraine,

still, or big parts of it. And he is doing this with very much furor, with a lot of brutal impact on the soil of the Ukraine, and many people suffer

from that. Dying men, women, children, and young and old people. Ad this is what we should know.

So, this is what we can do it now facing the situation, and that is giving the best support we can. And this is why Germany enlarged constantly its

capacity of support for the Ukraine. And we did so with the effect that now we can say, that Germany is the biggest supplier also of weapons to Ukraine

on -- in continental Europe. And we will continue to be there.


AMANPOUR: But, you in your speech said, we have to be ready for the long haul. I mean, you must strategize. You must think among yourselves how long

this could last. Do you have a target date?

SCHOLZ: I think it is wise just to be prepared for a long war. And it is wise to give Putin the message that we are ready to stay all the time

together with Ukraine and that we will constantly support the country. So, it is not really a very good idea that in this conference, or at this

podium, the two of us discuss the question when exactly, in which months this war will end. The really important decision we should take all

together is saying that we are willing to do it as long as necessary and that we will do our best.

AMANPOUR: Do you believe that NATO -- sorry, the allies will stay united and do you believe that your people will stay behind you and behind this


SCHOLZ: Yes. First, I am absolutely sure that Putin never expected that there would be that united Europe and that there would be that united

world. He never thought that the Transatlantic partnership would work that good. But also, he never thought that there would be so much support for

Ukraine from many other countries all over the globe. And, he never expected that there would be a majority of people voting in the general

assembly saying that this is a war of aggression that could not be accepted. And he never expected that even in the G20 meeting, we had a very

strict sentence about this war and the Russian aggression and the absolutely clear sentence that nuclear weapons should not be used in this


So, the unity is someone he never expected and it is our task but also our chance that we stick to it. I am absolutely sure that we will. And looking

at the situation in my country, I see that there is a broad support for the strategy and activities of the government.

Yes, there are some and we are a democratic country that are not that sure whether it is really a good idea to do all of these sanctions and to deploy

all these many weapons to Ukraine. But even the big majority of those is, in the end accepting, that the government has to take a responsible

decision and trust us in doing what we do.

And even those who possibly sometimes think we should do something more, really understand that it is very good that we stick together, that we

never go alone, and that we just do it together with our friends and partners and especially with the United States. And this is why I am also

sure that we will have the support of our people for the things that we are having to do.

AMANPOUR: Obviously, one can't put a date on the end. However, it does depend, I suppose, on the amount of help that you send and the speed with

which you send it. So, no point in going over the length of time it took to get the Leopard tanks, and for you to say that the, sort of, choreography

between the U.K., U.S., and Germany.

But now, you seem to be in the position of having to persuade all those other countries that were trying to get you to send the Leopards or let

their Leopards to actually send them. Why?

SCHOLZ: Yes. There is a question I have to ask to others, especially those who were so much urging me to act in a special way. And I will just repeat,

the only strategy for being united is never doing something just for your own, and to discuss with your friends and partners, and this is what we

did. And I am really appreciating very much the strong alliance with the United States in this case. It is very good that we did a lot, and not just

in the last step together. And I am sure that we will continue to be together in this very difficult case.

AMANPOUR: When will they get there? When will the tanks get there, yours and the others?

SCHOLZ: So, we are working -- the minister of defense is here. He is working very hard to make it happen and the industry is doing the same so

that we are able to deploy the first Leopard tanks very soon, and also with trained soldiers. This is what we already started. And we are doing so also

in giving training and support for all the maintenance which is necessary, and ammunition to other partners that will join.


And as I learned, many are not able to deliver the most modern tanks, which we do, I hope some more will join also in this case. But in the ones, they

are delivering, we will give that support as well. And as you, know there is also a big number of older tanks which we will deliver.

And so, this is all together what we can do. It's part of our joint activity. And I'm sure that in the end the -- it has a concrete military

effect. But the most important effect of this case is that Putin learns that it is a miscalculation if he thinks he can just stick to this course

as long as necessary and then we will stop our supports. This will not happen.

AMANPOUR: Chancellor, there is also some worrying information or reality about your own, and generally NATO's ammunition stockpiles. Secretary

general said this week, that what used to take 12 or four months to order and produce is now taking 28 months. Is that a worry? I mean, they are now

using a huge amount of shells, obviously, but how can you continue to prosecute this war if you're running out of ammunition and the production

has not yet ramped up?

SCHOLZ: First, I discuss very often with Jensen (ph), also with Boris, the defense minister in Germany and my Foreign Minister, Annalena, that we have

to change the way of dealing with the industry. So, in the last years, more and more we thought that the relation between the public defense department

and the industry is something very similar to a company that is buying a car.

So, there is always a stock of cars. There's a permanent production. There is always what you need for maintenance. The way we did in the past -- in

the last 20 years or so, is that we -- once ordered and we agreed that the production is stopping because we have already bought what we need.

So, we have to understand that for our security, we have to change the way of dealing this fact. We need a permanent production of the most important

weapons we are using, and this is also due to maintenance questions, and this is also due to the question of munition.

And so, this is what we are learning. But learning it is -- means that we are now taking action in case of our old defense capabilities. But also,

doing it in supporting Ukraine. So, you already may have heard that we -- though this is a weapon that has not been used and produced for, I think 20

or 30 years. We are now producing, again, the munition for the Gepard Flak tank which is a very essential in defending Ukraine from air -- from

missiles and other things. And it is something which we are starting so that there is a constant supply.

We also discuss what we can do for achieving the chance that the munition that works with the tanks that are in use in Ukraine, mostly of eastern and

Russian origin, could also be continued. And there are a lot, and I see them, of our eastern partners who could be very good partners in creating

the production in this case. So, we are willing to do our best that a permanent supply is feasible.

AMANPOUR: Part of this conference is also, as it was announced, to include the global south. And actually, to try to change public opinion and opinion

amongst the leadership. You were just in Brazil talking to President Lula. You asked for ammunition for the Gepard tank. I also interviewed him in

Washington when he visited President Biden, and he said, no. Not doing it. Don't believe in it. Don't believe in what you're doing.

How are you going to convince the rest of the world to come on board with what you call a war for international and global values and the rule of


SCHOLZ: So, first, I think that this is the last moment for what Putin always is calling the global west. To have a very good and much better

relationship to many countries in Asia, Africa, and the south of America, my -- I'm completely convinced that if we look from the world, from the

perspective of 2050, it will be a different world with many powerful nations in Asia, in Africa, and the south of America. And this is obviously

Indonesia or in India, if you look to Asia.


But also, our good friends, we already have in Japan and in Korea. But look at Vietnam, look at Malaysia, look at the Philippines, look at Thailand,

there are many countries that could be good partners for us if we are dealing with them, and this is what we should do. And this is the same with


I just want to repeat that it's very good that we have a good relation with South African Republic. That we have a good discussion with Senegal as the

leading country of the African Union today. But I would just remember you that Nigeria will have, as some people are telling us, 500 million

inhabitants in the midst or near the midst of this century.

And, if we go to the south of America with Brazil, with Mexico, with many other countries there, they will be strong. And they will not accept that a

country, even a country coming up now will give them advice. This will be definitely a multipolar world. And the task we have today is to make very

sure that this multipolar world is not a world which is not accepting the rule of law in the relation between countries that revisionism is never

accepted, which is what Putin is doing.


SCHOLZ: And that we have -- that we do not all agree on the way of governing our countries. Agree that the habeas corpus, the integrity of a

person, is something that is also accepted by those countries who are not democracies like for instance, Germany or France or U.K. or United States.

And this is the one thing we have to do, and this is why I invited many of them to this annual meeting and G7 in Germany. And this is why, I think,

that we should underestimate the situation. It was Brazil, it was South Africa, it was Argentina, it was Indonesia, it was India, and many others

that made it feasible that we had that strong stop decision in D20 (ph), saying that this is an aggression and saying that nuclear bombs should not

be used in this war. And we have them as partners. Those who already decided on the general assembly together with us. But also, those who did

not have done this, but who are absolutely clear about the aggression.

And just -- you mentioned Brazil, Lula was and is absolutely clear, saying this is an imperialistic aggression by Russia and nothing else.

AMANPOUR: Yes, but he also gives a little, you know, he also says, it takes two to tango. And he puts some of that blame on Zelenskyy. In any

event, let's move on because we're going to get some questions in a moment.

But first, you know, the tanks were like no, no, no, no. Yes. Are the planes going to be, no, no, no. Yes? And what are you going to talk to

President Biden about when you go to Washington to meet him soon?

SCHOLZ: So, we have a very good friendship and it is not that we are having -- we have public debates but we have a lot of debates where we work

on the questions on the table. And it is something that only works if we do not tell you before what we will do and afterwards possibly also not all.

So, we have to do something and have to deal with was some questions.

And as you know, I think some questions before you asked me, you were deciding to send combat tanks.


SCHOLZ: And now, you have to convince others. But though you did this, you know, ask me about another question which is not on the table, which is not

on the agenda, whereas no need for discussing it. I think we will have to do a lot for making feasible that now broad support for the things we

already delivered for the battlefield on the ground and which will -- are - - will be important. And we will continue to do more of what we already did, and to get many countries joining us.

AMANPOUR: Thank you very much, Chancellor.


AMANPOUR: So, just before Chancellor Scholz, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president, addressed the conference via satellite, via remote.

And he portrayed the struggle as the Ukrainian, David, against Putin, the Goliath. And this is what he said. David had to be more and further



VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: David defeated Goliath not by the power of conversation, but by the power of this excellence. By the

courage and slaying. Courage is what we have, there is enough of it. Not only in Ukraine but in our entire collision of victory. The sling should

get stronger.



AMANPOUR: Now, from the very beginning, Britain was a very vocal, a material supporter of Ukraine's defense. But with economic troubles and

stockpile and ammunition woes around the NATO alliance, how long can this support be maintained? Well, James Cleverly, the U.S. -- sorry, the U.K.

foreign secretary, is here to discuss this with me. Welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: So, Zelenskyy was again, asking as he always does for more, more, more. Big thank you for everything you've all done. But there seemed

to be a mood in the room that the west is falling quite far short of ammunition and the ability to keep producing it at the rate in which it's

needed. Is that the same case at home?

CLEVERLY: Well, the point that the U.K. has consistently made is that we need to support Ukraine and we need to support the Ukrainians who are

fighting for their self-defense until this is resolved, until this war is over, until it has been concluded properly. And that means giving more

equipment, that's why we are very proud before this conflict started last year to have provided those anti-tank missiles systems.

That's why we have worked with the international partners to provide artillery support. And most recently tanks, I'm, very pleased that there is

now a real international consensus that that is the right way forward. And we have to stick with them until this is done. We have to have the

strategic endurance to stick with them until this is done.

AMANPOUR: Can I ask from the British point of view, or the -- how the British define until this is done? What is victory? I know you say that

Putin can't win and Ukraine must win. But we haven't heard specifics about what winning looks like. To your mind, what does winning look like?

CLEVERLY: Well, what I'm not going to do is either explicitly or indeed implicitly dictate to the Ukrainians what should be a decision that is

rightly made by them. But it's clear that we have to send a message to the whole world that you cannot invade your neighbor. You cannot brutalize

their people. You cannot destroy their infrastructure. You cannot disregard the U.N. Charter with impunity.

Vladimir Putin has to be seen to have been unsuccessful in this aggressive attempt to redraw borders by force. That, ultimately, is what him failing

and Ukraine succeeding has to look like.

AMANPOUR: And that, again, it would be great to get some, sort of, clarity on how you've war game it out. What does that look like? When does Vladimir

Putin, to your mind, feel the pain enough to do exactly what you're saying? No, that he cannot succeed.

CLEVERLY: So, he has to enter negotiations in good faith. All conflict ends in negotiation. We want this conflict to come to a swift conclusion,

but it's got to be when the Russian leadership enters negotiations in good faith. Up until this point, we have not seen any indications of that good


But it needs to be in all our minds that Vladimir Putin will lash out. He will get aggressive. He'll make all kinds of threats on the road to

ultimately recognizing that he cannot and will not win. We need to be prepared for that. We need to expect that. And we need to make sure that

when he does finally get at the negotiating table, that he is negotiating a meaningful and sustainable permanent peace settlement which does right by

the people of Ukraine who have sacrificed so much.

AMANPOUR: So, the U.S., the CIA director, has said that there's no sign that Vladimir Putin wants to do as you say he has to do, negotiate in good

faith. He's not at all ready to do that. The Ukrainians, and again today, to the BBC, President Zelenskyy said we -- our condition is that he's out

of all our territory, including Crimea. Is that something that you support?

CLEVERLY: Well, as I say, it is -- it would not be right for the U.K. or the -- anyone else to dictate to the Ukrainians. It's been their sons and

daughters and brothers and sisters who have lost their lives. It's been their cities that were brutalized. Last year, when I was in Kyiv and in

Irpin, just on the edges of Kyiv, I saw the damage that had been done by Russia's invasion. I saw the graveyard of vehicles full of bullet holes as

people were shot by the Russian forces as they tried to evacuate from Kyiv. I heard stories of Ukrainian children being forcibly deported to Russia to

have forced adoptions.

AMANPOUR: And we don't know how many, right? We --


CLEVERLY: We don't. We don't. But what we do know is that the people of Ukraine have suffered enormously. And I think it would be perverse for us

or anyone else to start telling them what their victory conditions should be. Of course, we are good friends, and of course, we are close supporters.

And we will always act in their best interest to help them bring this to a swift but equitable conclusion.

AMANPOUR: So, you must be looking and waiting for this much haunted Russian offensive. I, for the life of me, can't quite understand. Has it

happened? What are you seeing? We get all sorts of different scenarios painted. Obviously, the Ukrainians are very concerned about it and they're

fighting very hard at the Bakhmut area, and it's tough.

And as I said, ammunition and the like are dwindling. But similarly, I've asked intelligence and others and they don't see a mass of either Russian

new troops, new heavy vehicles, aircraft or anything. What are you seeing that you can tell us? Can you tell us, like you did last year, the -- that

part of the intelligence?

CLEVERLY: Well, obviously, I am not going to start discussing this.

AMANPOUR: No, but last year you did.

CLEVERLY: We did, and that was very conscious.

AMANPOUR: So, just what you can tell us in general.

CLEVERLY: But I think what we should recognize is that throughout this conflict, as Vladimir Putin has been progressively unsuccessful in his

various attempts. He has changed the way he has attempted to brutalize Ukraine. So, initially, it was tanks around Kyiv. Then it was the fighting

we've seen in eastern and southern Ukraine. And then, of course, most recently, we've seen these vicious attacks on the civilian centers of

population and civilian infrastructure.

So, we know that Vladimir Putin --



AMANPOUR: Stuff happens on live television. It's a small car crash, but I think it's OK.

CLEVERLY: I think it's --

AMANPOUR: It's not your car.

CLEVERLY: It's not my car.

AMANPOUR: All right.

CLEVERLY: So, we know that Vladimir Putin has a track record of lashing out. And we have to help the Ukrainians defend themselves against whatever

form of attack Vladimir Putin throws at them. But ultimately, as I say, what this is about, this is about our support to bring this war to a swift

conclusion. And that does mean, at some point, Vladimir Putin needs to recognize that he is not going to win. And that's why we and our friends

internationally have been supporting the Ukrainians with money, humanitarian support, of course military support as well.

CLEVERLY: Just to pivot to something very, very crucial to you, to Great Britain, more close to home. You have been in Brussels speaking with the

E.U., and there was some idea, perhaps, that the prime minister and you all had worked out a solution to Northern Ireland Protocol. Prime Minister

Sunak has been a Northern Ireland speaking with the parties today. What can you tell us about where that is?

CLEVERLY: Well, there has been a lot of, I believe, very well-intentioned speculation over a number of months that we are just on the verge of a

breakthrough and this is about to happen, that's about to happen. The simple truth is, this is a complicated challenge but we've been speaking

with the European Union intensively and in good faith. We have a good working relationship. We built, I think, a very good momentum.

But we still have difficult issues that need to be resolved. We are more than willing, as indeed are the European Union, to work intensively to try

to resolve those. We would love to have this done sooner rather than later. We're not chasing arbitrary deadline. We want to get Stormont, the Northern

Ireland executive back up and running. And we will continue working with the E.U., with the political parties in Northern Ireland to try and get

this resolved as quickly as possible.

AMANPOUR: Very thorny, isn't it? Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly. Thank you very much indeed for joining us.

CLEVERLY: Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Thank you.

And that brings it to the end of our coverage from here in Munich. I, now handover to my colleague, Bianna Golodryga in New York for the rest of the

day's news. Bianna.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: All right. Christiane, thank you. Fantastic interviews there. Very insightful.

Well to another insightful and person in conversation, Oksana Masters, is a one-of-a-kind athlete. A six-time U.S. Paralympic champion. Bringing home

the gold in a variety of sports. Oksana's story starts in Ukraine where she was born with multiple birth defects in the shadow of the Chernobyl nuclear

power plant.

Adopted and brought to America by a loving single mother, Oksana's drive and determination took her to the pinnacle of athletic success. She tells

her story in a riveting new book, "The Hard Parts", a memoir of courage and triumph.

Oksana Masters, welcome to the program. It's great to see you.

OKSANA MASTERS, PARALYMPIAN AND AUTHOR, "THE HARD PARTS": Thank you so much for having -- thank you so much.

GOLODRYGA: So, Oksana, you started your life, you were born in Ukraine.


And as we noted, you had multiple birth defects in light of the great tragedy there, the Chernobyl Nuclear accident. You spent the first seven

years of your life in an orphanage, looking for a mother, desperately trying to determine where your mother was. You ultimately found her, a

woman named Gay Masters, who adopted you and moved you to the United States at seven, and that's your life began here in the U.S. What, if anything, do

you remember from your time and Ukraine?

MASTERS: You know, honestly, when you think about orphanages, it's never a good place for any child anywhere to grow up, especially in Eastern

European, in the small village that I came from. I was -- when I came to America, I was considered failure to thrive because the resources for food

wasn't there. My resources for medical needs, I did not have, even though I did have seven surgeries, it wasn't to the level that I needed.

And there was a lot of -- kind of, around when I was 13, a lot of memories I suppressed of the abuse, of the physical and sexual and emotional things

that I experienced were coming to surface. And these are all things that I wanted to, not just to highlight that only happens in Ukraine, this happens

in every orphanage or foster care system all over the world.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, and the mental scars that stay with you throughout life. I guess many children are able to suppress them but at some point or another,

you do come to terms with them. Just to give our audience a sense of what you were able to come to terms, you were born with six toes on each foot,

five webbed fingers on each hand and no thumbs. Your left leg was six inches shorter than you are right one and both of your legs were missing

weight bearing bones.

When you moved to the United States, you ultimately had surgery in which both legs were amputated above the knee. And yet here you are, a decorated

sports athlete. What drew you to sports?

MASTERS: Honestly, for me, I never saw anyone that looked like me, that was missing legs, representing Team USA or racing at that level in

Louisville, Kentucky where I was living at that time. And when I got into sports, it was rowing was the sport for me, and it was my therapy.

It was my way to -- I wasn't ready to verbalize and share through words of what I experienced. And I didn't know how to articulate the memories and

the scar tissue in my mind that I had from the experiences into words. And I was able to do that into rowing, into sports. And it was that relief of

pulling the oars and then, you know, just get this immense release, and it was my way to scream without having to scream. So, kind of, like silently.

GOLODRYGA: And yet, look at where you are right now. Did you ever think the day would come where you would be a champion in so many fields?

MASTERS: No way. I blame it -- I am a Gemini. So, I do --

GOLODRYGA: I'm a Gemini, too.

MASTERS: Oh, my gosh. This is cool. So, yes. You get it, like -- you're like everything. You're just very versatile and diverse and stuff. I would

never imagine my life to be an athlete, let alone a paralympic athlete representing Team USA for as long as I've been able to do. And to be able

to have the support behind me, and people who did believe in me, help me get to where I am with the medals I can bring for Team USA --

GOLODRYGA: Not just any paralympic medalist.

MASTERS: -- and Ukraine.

GOLODRYGA: And Ukraine. We'll get to Ukraine in a second. Not just a medalist, a 17-time paralympic medalist, just to give you the props that

you are due. And the person who you call your lifeline is your mother. And I want to read an excerpt from your book about her.

You say, for the first time in my life, I fall asleep with a smile on my face. For the first time in my life, I'm not afraid to show it. No one can

use my feelings against me anymore. No one will hurt me anymore, because I have a mother.

Your mother turned your lifeline, your biggest champion. I guess a soulmate, in many ways. Talk about the impact she has had, not only in

bringing you here to the United States but also throughout your career.

MASTERS: I mean, my mom, that excerpt you just read from the book is the first memory that I had when I first met my mom in Ukraine. In the middle

of the night she came and woke me up and I told her, I claimed her right there and said I know you, your my mom. And claimed it right there and it

wasn't going to change, and I remember that so vividly.

And going back to -- going -- remembering that to where I am now, I mean, I would not be here talking to you because she saved my life. I am here

because of her. I was not expected to live past 10 and she truly saved my life and fought for me. She was my biggest advocate for when I needed to

have my amputations. And society was my biggest advocate for making sure that I was able to be -- partake in it.

And just -- you know, she saved my life in -- from Ukraine and that orphanage system. But then she saved it again by introducing the world of

sports to me.


And my mom is one of those parents that she opens the doors. She just wanted to open these doors but she never pushed me through and forced me to

walk through them. She waited until I was ready. And I was finally ready to walk through that door of sports.

GOLODRYGA: And she never denied you your past as well and your heritage. You're an American, you're a Ukrainian-American. As somebody who overcame

such a dark past and such terrible memories and atrocities inflicted upon you when you were a young child, how do you view your birth country now?

MASTERS: Oh my gosh. Honestly, I -- I've always been proud to be Ukrainian. I don't view what happened and what I experienced as I hate

Ukraine, this happened in Ukraine because it was just a few bad people, it was the people. Because I have incredible, incredible memories of my time

in Ukraine too. And you know, they outweigh the multiple bad experiences that I unfortunately experienced. But I'm not the only child that does

experience those situations.

And I -- literally, I told my mom that I'm a smart girl. I'm not going to learn English. I'm going to teach you Ukrainian. I did not want to learn

any other language. I was very proud to be Ukrainian. And my mom always said -- and you are saying, that she honored my identity and where I --

being Ukrainian. She always said it was my Ukrainian heart that drove me that extra mile and made me work and that resiliency.

GOLODRYGA: That is an incredible story. And I know you were competing in Beijing last year when Russia invaded Ukraine. Talk about what that felt

like just knowing what was happening.

MASTERS: Oh, my gosh. I had no idea. There's a physical toll of training in racing. But the emotional, mental toll that I felt was out of the five

games at that point, Beijing was my sixth I was that, that was the hardest one. And I didn't want to go because I thought, at that time, it was the

most selfish thing to do is to go and line up on the start line for something that is very selfish and my own goals instead of -- when knowing

there's so many kids, and so many -- in the country, my home country, is being under attack.

My friends and family there that I can -- those dreams of meeting them and seeing them in person can only happen there. And I just didn't want to go.

And -- I mean, obviously, I did go because my coach told me the power that I had to represent being a Ukrainian-American, not just a Ukrainian.

GOLODRYGA: For you, I guess that was the best of both worlds. Just representing your past and your present and your future. I know that you're

raising money to help disabled children in Ukraine, tell us more about that.

MASTERS: Yes, so in Beijing -- it started in Beijing. And the reason how I came to terms of allowing myself to line up on the start line and race,

every ounce of my body and put it into the race is to give back. And if I was lucky enough to end up on the podium, I was going to donate my winnings

-- portions of the winnings to an organization and Ukraine.

And the one I chose was through global giving, it was Bright Kids Charity, and the specific one under that was No Child Forgotten. And that's where I

donated. And I was very lucky to end up on the podium seven times.

And on all seven events, I still get goosebumps because every time I looked at my flag, and every time I looked out, I knew I wasn't just standing

there for my own goal at that point. It was I actually can give something back. At one point in my life in Ukraine, I was a little girl with no

voice. And now, I can do something to my home country. And I was one of those kids that was forgotten, that was an orphan with a disability.

GOLODRYGA: Well, Oksana, as an American, you have made this country so proud. And I know that as Ukrainians there watch and cheer you on, you make

them so proud as well. Thank you for joining us today. You are such an inspiration and keep going.

MASTERS: Thank you --

GOLODRYGA: We look forward to watching what happens next in your life.

MASTERS: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: Well, now to a crisis of water impacting countries around the globe. In the United States, at least seven states are affected by the

alarming deletion of the Colorado River. With the water levels of Lake Powell and Lake Mead reaching historic lows, some are calling it an

absolute nightmare. Author and journalist Erica Gies is sounding the alarm in her book, "Water Always Wins". She joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss

innovative ways to conserve the precious resource.



Erica Gies, thanks so much for joining us. Your book talks about water in, kind of, a global sense. But here the United States right now, there's a

very active conversation on what is happening to the Colorado River. And how, essentially, all the states that benefit from the water of that river

are trying to figure out how to redo and rethink an agreement.


Why is this so crucial to the United States?

ERICA GIES, AUTHOR, "WATER ALWAYS WINS": Water is an inherently local issue. Every place has its own unique geology, ecology, and human culture.

And so, you know, all the solutions need to be tailored within those realms.

And the point that I make in my book is that, yes, climate change is making drought and flooding much more intense. But a significant part of our

issues with water are related to our development choices. So, that's urban sprawl, industrial, agriculture, and even the concrete, kind of, very

control-oriented way that we try to manage water has dramatically altered the water cycle. And in that way, we've created a lot of problems for


SREENIVASAN: When we look at how we engineer how water gets to us, people will say, yes, obviously, there are more demands on the water, there's

greater population that there was 100 years ago when these treaties were signed. But haven't we, kind of, engineered our way into a solution where

there are unintended consequences that we didn't think about? By putting in these sorts of canals and dams that we have?

GIES: I think the very heavily engineered water system that we have has worked to a point. But now we're hitting these tipping points with

population growth and climate change. But I just want to offer a couple of statistics to give some perspective on how we've interfered with the water


So, humans have drained or filled 87 percent of the world's wetlands. And we've intervened with dams and diversions on two thirds of the world's

large rivers. And the land area covered by our cities has doubled just since 1992.

So, in all of these ways, we're actually preventing water from having its low cycle. So, these are wetlands, floodplains, mountain meadows, and

forests where water can flow on the land and move underground. And the relationship between surface and groundwater is really important, and I

think it's something that people have really forgotten in the U.S. was, you know, we tend to think of groundwater as extra water when surface water

runs dry. But in fact, surface water and groundwater are connected. And when you have a healthy water table that supplies streams, rivers, and

wetlands from below.

SREENIVASAN: If you could explain this idea of slow water.

GIES: So, all the people around the world who I met, these are engineers, ecologists, landscape architects, urban planners who are doing this really

innovative things with water, they are all seeking to restore slow bases we've eradicated with development. And they're also seeking to, like,

reconnect that surface groundwater like.

And so, I came to think of them as part of the slow water movement, which I find analogous to the slow food movement. I mean, that's why I thought of

it because the slow food movement is, you know, drawing attention to where our food comes from and how its growth impacts local people and the

environment, and similarly, the way we relate to water is having these kinds of impacts.

So, there are characteristics of slow water. It -- they're distributed across the landscape rather than centralized. They are socially just. They

don't take water from one place and give it to another. They don't protect one area that -- and then therefore make another area more vulnerable.

There's often a community engagement component.

So, places I traveled in India and Peru, for example, Kenya, you had local people who were actually, you know, building and maintaining these

projects, sometimes collaborating with each other in a very hands-on way. It's kind of hard to imagine that in the United States, although certainly

people who are landowners have done things like this on their own property. But there can also be an educational component, like if you reclaim that

industrial site alongside the river and build a park there, you can have signage that explains to the public, you know, what's happening with the

water cycle there.

And to a large extent, slow water is local. And, you know, that can seem anathema to places like the U.S. Western California where we bring so much

water from elsewhere.


GIES: But it really means -- you know, making the most of the water that comes and, you know, capturing it on site. Having it be there locally and

trying to think in terms of living within your water means.


SREENIVASAN: You also mentioned, for example, the ripple effects of what we've done as human beings on all the different river sheds and the river

systems around the world by, for example, putting dams. On the one hand, lots of people who engineer this and countries will say, hydroelectric

power is fantastic. It is so much better than, you know, us trying to use fossil fuels. It's here for us.

But at the same time, we are now in a situation where Lake Mead is running, potentially, so low that it might not be able to generate power in the


GIES: Yes, I think that there are some misconceptions about hydropower. Before, I wrote a lot about water, I wrote a lot about renewable energy.

And you know, there are countries in Southern Africa, like Zambia, for example, Mozambique, where they get 96 percent of their power from

hydropower. And, you know, for a long-time people thought of hydropower as a reliable baseload power.


GIES: But, you know, we've seen really terrible droughts where hydropower isn't able to be produced anymore. And then you have, you know, entire

economies collapsing at times if you have a country where, you know, you're entirely dependent on the hydropower. And even countries that aren't 100

percent or, you know, largely dependent on the hydropower can still have significant impacts.

I'll also add that, for a long time, hydropower was considered to be carbon free source of electricity. And in fact, it's not. There has been an

increasing body of science showing the emissions that are embedded within hydropower that were not really counted because people just presumed or

we're not burning anything, so it's fine.

But, you know, there's a lot of emissions embedded in concrete. I think something like eight percent of our global emissions come from concrete.

And then there is significant methane releases from the reservoir as that plant material decomposes. So, you know, it can take, you know, more than a

decade of, like, the equivalent of burning fossil fuels too overcome that embedded carbon within a dam. And then there is just really, really major

ecological and sociological impacts which have been pretty well documented around the world.

SREENIVASAN: China, for example, has very visibly gone through some of that hardship of people being displaced because of the needs of a dam. You

also write about something that's kind of interesting that I haven't heard about before this. Sponge Cities that they have there. What are those? What

can we learn from them?

GIES: I mentioned that the area covered by pavement in our cities, globally, has doubled just since 1992. And we've seen a real increase in

urban flooding. And it's because when rain falls -- I mean, partly it's because climate change is bringing bigger storms, but part of it is also

because that water can't sink into the soil. And so, it just runs off the pavement and then you have a lot of water at once that you have to do

something with.

And there's a landscape architect there named Yu Kongjian who is pretty well-known internationally for his work in trying to find places within the

city for water to slow and move underground. And he does this through his landscape projects. So, the president of China, Xi Jinping, became aware of

this work and decided to make it a nationwide program to try to make cities more permeable and dubbed it Sponge Cities.

And I really like that moniker because it's very evocative, you know. You imagine the soil absorbing the water and then releasing it later when it's

needed. And so, within a city, there are various ways to do this. You know, you can have green roofs. You can have biosoils which are, like, ditches

that absorb stormwater and typically they're aligned with native plants that can tolerate both the water and the dry period. You can do

infiltration wells, which are kind of conical wells into the ground and then the water absorbs through the sides. You can make your pavement

permeable. You can make incentives to increase infiltration, like, with street trees and things like that.

SREENIVASAN: You mentioned that, you know, trying to return water back more towards the natural state of how it flowed doesn't just have a

regional benefit, but it can help with this existential crisis that we face about climate change. How?

GIES: You know, there's an expression that climate change is water change and that's because a lot of the ways that we are starting to experience

climate change in our own communities is through these water extremes.


You know, heavy flooding or really intense droughts. And I think, you know, people can feel really overwhelmed by a climate change. We are waiting for

our national leaders to make deals with other national leaders and everybody to reduce their emissions.

And, you know, that's incredibly important, but 25 percent of our emissions come from land use change. And these slow water solutions have a really

important carbon storage component. And in some cases, like, different kinds of wetlands can store three to five times more carbon dioxide than


SREENIVASAN: You know, just recently, we had John Hickenlooper on the program. And he was talking about the need for senators to come together

and try to hash out their disagreements about how to use the water on the Colorado.

If you are in that room, so to speak, where these people are, I mean, what is -- based on your reporting on the water detectives that you've talked to

and the research that you've done for those on what is working around the world, how -- what does the water -- what does the Colorado want? And how

can we help it become more, I guess, life-sustaining which is beneficial to us?

GIES: What water wants is a return of these slow faces (ph) that we've eradicated with our development, you know, the wetlands, the floodplains.

So, there are a lot of different things that we can do. You know, beaver restoration is a really important thing that's happening in the western

U.S. It started, kind of, in Washington State, but now it's expanding to Oregon and California and Colorado.

And, you know, trappers came first across around the United States and Canada and eliminated most of the beavers, killed them through trapping for

the fur trade. And so, when settlers came, the landscape was already significantly dried out from what it had been naturally. And beavers play a

really important role, you know, they build these ponds and that slows water. And then, you know, the water can then move underground and join the

surface water at a later date.

The floodplains, so, you know, when we put levees right along with the floodplain and use that land for development or for farming, we are raising

the level of the river and increasing flood risk. But we are also preventing that water from slowing on the flood plain. And that kind of

whisks our water away and makes less of it available into the dry season.

There's a lot of important processes for carbon storage and food and salmon that happen on the floodplain. So, in some places, including California,

there are new policies to encourage moving the levees back to the far edge of the floodplain and returning that land to water. But I really do think

it requires thinking more in terms of -- you know, I hesitate to say this because I feel like it sounds a little new agey, but the abundance

mentality versus the scarcity mentality.

You know, when you are team not trying to suck out every drop and maximize every efficiency, you're leaving more water in the system for it to do its

thing. And you know, like, in California, we have this, you know, fish versus farmers argument. But there's been some good scientific work showing

that when you set back the levee on the floodplain and you allow the fish to spend time on the floodplain when they're small, they get really, really

big, you know, significant five, 10 times faster than they would if they're just going through the river. Because the river in a levee is like a food



GIES: So, the fish on a floodplain gets fat and happy. It's much stronger. It doesn't need as much special attention. And then that wonder is -- that

same water that was benefiting the fish is moving back into the river over longer period of time and keeping water levels higher during the summer.

So, the same water is benefiting the fish and the farmers. And so, that's just one example of the way in which providing for the systems and making

them healthier, you know, they can better provide for us.

SREENIVASAN: Erica Gies, thank you so much for joining us. The book is called "Water Always Wins: Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge".

Thanks so much for joining us.

GIES: Thank you.


GOLODRYGA: And finally, we'll have much more from the Munich security Conference next week. Hearing from key leaders across Europe. And as

President Biden makes his way to Poland, Christiane will have the latest from Warsaw.

And then, marking a devastating day, we'll bring you special coverage on the ground in Kyiv one year on from Russia's latest invasion of Ukraine.

Well, that is it for now. Thank you so much for watching and goodbye from New York.