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Interview with Center for American Progress President and Former U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard; Interview with U.N. Under- Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths; Interview with Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and "Lessons from the Edge" Author Marie Yovanovitch. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired May 18, 2023 - 13:00:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, welcome to "Amanpour." Here is what is coming up.




AMANPOUR: Russia casts a long shadow at the G7. Is it time to play peacemaker? We dive into this with president of the Center for American

Progress, Ambassador Patrick Gaspard, as well as the impact of the U.S. debt crisis.

Plus --


MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE AND AUTHOR, "LESSONS FROM THE EDGE": I am not sure that the time for actual peace negotiations

are at hand right now.


AMANPOUR: Former American ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch weighs in on what it will take to end Russia's war.

Then --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please help us. Humanitarian organizations, please help us. Not for us, but for the sake of these children.


AMANPOUR: -- desperation in Sudan where the warlords compete for total control. I'm joined by U.N. humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths.

Also, ahead.


DR. LEAH TATUM, OBSTETRICIAN-GYNECOLOGIST: I see about three times the consults for sterilization as I used to.


AMANPOUR: A personal story on the abortion laws, impossible choices facing America's women.

Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in New York.

G7 leaders are gathering in Hiroshima, Japan for a high-stake session. And the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, will address the summit via

VideoLink. He once again is asking the world's most powerful leaders to support his fight against Russian aggression.

But not all countries are on the same side of the alliance. China, of course, remains close to Moscow while also attempting to play peacemaker,

sending a special envoy to Ukraine this week. Meanwhile, South Africa's president, Cyril Ramaphosa, is trying to mediate too. He says both

countries have accepted his proposal to host an African peace mission.

And while President Joe Biden contends that with these diplomatic challenges in Japan, his focus is very much on the home front where the

serious threat of death default is looming. Patrick Gaspard, the president of the Center for American Progress and a former U.S. ambassador to South

Africa is joining me from Washington. Welcome back to a program, Ambassador.


particularly in this fraught moment for our economies and for democratic practice across the globe.

AMANPOUR: Well, that's what we are going to discuss. So, we are glad to have you in all your capacities. So, you were once a member of the Biden --

Obama/Biden administration. So, let me just ask you about the economy and the debt.

President Biden, as we said, is cutting short most of that Asian trip. He's coming back on Sunday. Not going onto Australia and elsewhere because of

this showdown. Is it the right thing for him to do? What kind of message does it send?

GASPARD: Well, firstly, Christiane, the president is right to go to Japan, to go to the G7, to reassure them that we're going to resolve this crisis

at home with the default crisis. And he is right to cut the trip short to come back to get a deal done.

Christiane, everyone should, of course, understand that according to Moody's Analytics if default crisis last even a few weeks of unresolved

debt, that could lead to the loss of 6 million jobs in the U.S. and $12 trillion loss in household family wealth across America. It could lead to a

recession, not only in America, but that could spiral out across the world. So, it's an incredibly consequential moment. He is right to go and reassure

that the U.S. will be faithful to its full debt and credit, but then we have to get a deal done here at home.

AMANPOUR: Do you think there's a possibility of a deal and have you ever seen it get to this kind of showdown or has -- have we been here before?

There have been these crises before.

GASPARD: We've been here multiple times before. Certainly, when I served in the Obama/Biden White House. We had a similar crisis in 2011 and again

in 2013. Each instance we got to a resolution. But I have to say, Christiane, that we've never had a Congress like this one where,

regrettably, we are all quite concerned that Republican leadership, influenced by MAGA Republicans, like Marjorie Taylor Greene, are far more

concerned about their own power than they are about the debt and credit of the United States.


I am heartened by the talks that occurred yesterday, and that both sides came out and said that, one, we agree that there should not be a default.

And two, there is enough recognition that we've got to get something done and that we've to segregate out the question of the debt of the United

States from issues of budget, which are open to negotiation.

AMANPOUR: Can I just ask you, since this is happening in international global context, of course, with the president abroad, you know that a few

weeks ago the Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote about this as a national security issue. Basically, saying that any default or even a

suggestion thereof contributes to the image of a declining democracy in America.

And this is actually what she said. Trust matters in international affairs. We frequently ask other nations to put their faith in the United States.

Our military will be there to protect allies, our financial system is secure, and when we warn about compromise Chinese telecom equipment or an

impending Russian invasion, we're telling the truth. Threatening to break America's promised to pay our debt calls all that into question.

Do you agree and what would be the practical ramifications at this point?

GASPARD: I rarely disagree with Hillary Clinton. She is spot on in her analysis there. Secretary Blinken has said similar things. Americans need

to understand that the world relies on the stability of our economy, the stability of our democratic infrastructures. Some of that sense of reliance

and resilience has surely been shaken by the debt ceiling crisis, by the crisis that we have in our courts, the banking crisis and certainly, of

course, by some of the political violence that we have seen in the U.S. the last few years.

But I think that President Biden is bringing significant reassurance to our G7 partners. There is a confidence that exist there, and in our markets,

that we will get a deal done because Republican leadership appreciates that it would be perilous to go over that cliff, or at least, I hope that they

are recognizing that. But, of course, Secretary Clinton is correct.

AMANPOUR: OK. So, one final one on this before we move on to other peace and war, et cetera. But you mention MAGA Republicans are determined to have

their way. Obviously, the leader of the house, the speaker of the house, is not a MAGA Republican but he has had to, I suppose, give a lot to them in

order to be elected the leader of the house, as we recall.

Do you think that he gets the crisis nature of a default? And more importantly, will he prevail over his rather restive caucus?

GASPARD: Christiane, I will say that what we heard from Speaker McCarthy in the last 24 hours is altogether different than what we've observed in

the last many weeks, even months. From the moment he gaveled into his leadership of the House he has been beholden to extreme elements of his

party, and we saw those extreme elements really hold the Republican Party captive during the primary process that cost them House seats and Senate

seats and I think, ultimately, caused them the president in -- the presidency in 2020 and is likely to do so again in 2024.

Kevin McCarthy seems as if he's being a good deal more responsible in this hour than he has been in the last few weeks. There's every reason to

believe that a deal will get done. But it's important that as they get to the outline of a deal, the contours of one, that there's no retreat on the

significant unprecedented legislative gains that President Biden and Democrats made on infrastructure, on health care expansion, on setting up a

new resilience in our budgeting as a result of the historic bills that were passed last year.

AMANPOUR: So, let's move on. And maybe this sort of influences or impacts some of the other big geopolitical issues that the president is dealing

with. First, in your former capacity as U.S. ambassador to South Africa, what do you make of the fact that the president of South Africa, Cyril

Ramaphosa, is, A, trying to play peacemaker hasn't been fully on the side of the western alliance when it comes to censuring and sanctioning Russia,

and is now saying that both Russia and Ukraine have accepted an African union peace delegation.

Can you put all of that into context in terms of the -- you know, the playing field right now or the battlefield right now?

GASPARD: Well, thanks for giving me an opportunity to revisit my past service from the U.S. to South Africa. Christiane, I'll answer in the South

African context, but I'll also bring in Brazil and India into this, they are essential members of BRICS, but they're also critical democracies and

allies of the United States that we have a rich shared history and shared values with.


It's encouraging that Cyril Ramaphosa is taking it upon himself working with other BRICS nations to encourage a peace process. But I have to say

that while I appreciate the history that exist between South Africa and Russia, it's disconcerting that some of the rhetoric has really held

Ukraine, and the NATO nations, responsible for Putin's illegal aggressive incursion into a neighboring democratic sovereign state.

Cyril Ramaphosa, Lula in Brazil, leadership in India need to be encouraging Vladimir Putin to the peace table, need to encourage Vladimir Putin to pull

out his tanks and his soldiers and to turn the tide here towards peace.

So, we're encouraging of this, the Biden administration certainly has done everything that it can to invest in and resource the ability of Sub-Saharan

Africa nations to play an essential role in peacekeeping and in diplomacy in their region and throughout the world. And this is an important step

that can only be encouraged.

AMANPOUR: Ambassador Gaspard, let's just -- you mentioned BRICS, that is the alliance made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, and it

is an alliance that, I guess, more and more is facing off against NATO, G7, et cetera.

So, again, my first question before I get to a conversation, I had with the Brazilian foreign minister this week is, why are they taking this position?

These are mostly democratic -- most of the BRICS are democratic nations, why are they taking this position at this point against the democratic

rights of Ukraine?

GASPARD: I think sometimes, Christiane, that we make an error when we have conversations about challenging issues like the war in Ukraine. The error

we make is that we treat all of this as if the history is approximate one, it's not.

If we look at South Africa in isolation, you, of course, know that there's a complicated history between the United States and South Africa during the

period of apartheid where formerly our government was in alliance ship (ph) with the apartheid regime, had this initiative called constructive

engagement with the apartheid leadership and was seen by the ANC and others as being hostile to the creation of black franchise in South Africa. All of

that history still continues to inform and influence outcomes in this challenging moment.

During the entire period of the Cold War there were a set of relationships that Brazil and India had with Russia and with China that were altogether

different than how they viewed the West. All of those challenges continue to be persistent in this moment.

We also have to recognize that even our economy is absolutely complex. And in this moment where we have sanctions against Russia, there are still

ongoing trade, ongoing commerce, particularly as is interdependent on energy, all of that is certainly true for the BRICS nations as well.

So, they are trying to thread a needle where they maintain a set of complex relationship with the West, with Russia, and with China because their

economies are dependent on those relationships but they recognize that because of their shared values with us on human rights, principles of peace

that they've got to get to the other side of this conflict.

I will also add that in the South African constitution and in the way they conduct their politics, there is a radical insistence on the sovereignty of

nations. We should take that insistence to Vladimir Putin during these negotiations to insist on the sovereignty of the democratic nation of

Ukraine that Putin refuses to recognize as such.

AMANPOUR: And if we pull back further, again, as I mentioned, to Brazil. Brazil has actually actively complained that the E.U. is sending, you know,

weapons along with the U.S. and others to Ukraine, wants it to stop, won't send any defensive weapons itself. But when I talked to the Brazilian

foreign minister, he again denied that they were taking sides but talked about peace. This is what he said. Just take a listen.



MAURO VIEIRA, BRAZILIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We are not siding one country against the other or the other way around, we are talking and giving our

contribution and trying to convince those two countries involved with which we have direct communication the need to sit down and negotiate. That's

what we are driving at.


AMANPOUR: So, do you think that there is a moment for negotiation right now or is that not yet reached the -- yes?


GASPARD: Christiane. Christiane, I'm sorry. I really take umbrage with what the foreign minister said there. And I respect him and I respect the

sovereignty of Brazil, Indian and South Africa on -- as it relates to their foreign relations, but the truth of the matter is that each and every one

of the interns has -- have been critical of the West for arming Ukraine. And the reality is, if not for our support for Zelenskyy and the Ukraine,

that nation would have absolutely been steamrolled by this point, it would be a satellite of Putin's Russia. That is the reality. The foreign minister

needs to face that.

John F. Kennedy once said that diplomacy and defense are not exclusive of one another and are reliant upon each other. So, we welcome, we encourage

the attempts that are being made by other BRICS nations to bring Vladimir Putin to the peace table. But in the meantime, we are going to continue to

be robust partners with the people of Ukraine who hunger and thirst for peace, for democracy, and for the heel of Russia to be removed from their


AMANPOUR: Can I bring you back now into the United States? You know, yours is the Center for American Progress. As you see Former President Trump has,

obviously, thrown his hat into the ring. It appears that the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, is very close to doing the same thing. And in the

run up to any declaration, he has apparently signed a whole stack of very, very tough bills.

What do you think? How is this going to proceed, this actual campaign season right now? Everybody competing for the most extreme, at least on the

Republican side?

GASPARD: You know, Christiane, the blood of democracy courses through the heart of competition. We need robust parties, but we need those parties to

take up a sense of pluralism, a sense of fairness in competition. That's not what we are experiencing right now.

Both Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump and others who are declared and soon to be declared candidates are playing to the extremes of the Republican

primary, which, unfortunately, has been captured by MAGA interest and MAGA instincts. And we have to guard against that.

Those of us who care about democracy have to be vigilant when we consider what occurred on January 6th on Capitol Hill, when we consider the kind of

policy secession that we are seeing in state after state where they're blocking the right to vote, the right of women to choose a direction for

their own lives and are subverting democratic practice.

But, Christiane, I'm going to say that in addition to the competition between parties we need, in this country and elsewhere, vibrant media that

we can hold to account. It was really just -- as you said Donald Trump has stepped forward, it's disturbing when we have our mainstream media, not

social media, treating the political contest in this country as if it is a blood sport in the Roman coliseum, a replete with built-in cheering crowds

for the most extreme and viral and violent statements being made by the former president.

The work that we do at the Center for American Progress is meant to stand up a robust civil society that can hold that government to account, but

that has to extend to the business of media as well to the vital part of our democracy.

AMANPOUR: Very finally, we've got one minute. Do you think -- obviously, you are a Democrat. You support your -- you know, President Biden who is

running for reelection. Do you think he can again survive these culture wars, and what the "New York Times," to be a second attempt, maybe a

stealth attempt by lots of GOP legislators to actually, you know, undertake a new wave of voting restrictions, which is largely going unnoticed?

GASPARD: Yes. You know, it's important to know, Christiane, that the initiatives that are being advanced by the extreme wing of the Republican

Party, which is the dominant wing of that party now, they don't have a popular mandate for that agenda. They've lost election after election

across the country. The majority of Democrats, majority of independents, the -- a plural majority of Republicans stand against these extreme

measures and they know that their only opportunity to bring the stuff into law is by subverting democratic practice.

Joe Biden will be successful because he'll be able to tell a story about the historic gains Americans have been able to make under his leadership in

the economy with employment being -- unemployment being at its lowest in the history of the U.S. and with unprecedented success in Capitol Hill in

passing infrastructure bill, expanding access to health care and making certain that senior citizens don't have to make some of the toughest

choices about paying their rent or getting access to medication.

AMANPOUR: Patrick Gaspard --

GASPARD: Joe Biden has done that. He'll tell that story.

AMANPOUR: Thank you so much for being with us.

GOLODRYGA: Thank you, Christiane.


AMANPOUR: And next, we turn to the heavy toll of another war. In Sudan, fighting is entering its second month. The U.N. says that nearly a million

people are internally displaced and about a quarter million have actually fled the country. It has launched an urgent appeal to meet the rising

humanitarian crisis.

Martin Griffiths, the U.N.'s humanitarian chief is heading up that effort. And he joined me to discuss what's at stake.

He has seen firsthand the suffering in the war-torn country and he's just back from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia where attempts are being made to broker an

end to this civil war.

Martin Griffiths, welcome back to our program.


AMANPOUR: So, you are back at headquarters in Geneva after having spent, I assume, quite difficult moments trying to resolve the situation in Sudan.

What is the current actual state of the humanitarian crisis, including the number of people who have been forced to leave, the levels of food and

other critical needs?

GRIFFITHS: As of today, we reckon there are over a million people, Sudanese, who have been uprooted, most of them displaced still within Sudan

but over 200,000 who have fled the country to neighboring states, as you know, Egypt, Central African Republic, Chad, and so forth. So, over a

million displaced within a month. That's a lot of people. And, of course, it's still going on.

Secondly, we calculated -- we launched an appeal yesterday for the humanitarian needs for the new crisis, as well as the old for $2.6 billion,

and we calculate that half the population of Sudan, 25 million people, are in need of humanitarian assistance. And, Christiane, that's an increase of

about 6 or 7 million on top of the existing caseload, if I can put it that way, that came out of the (INAUDIBLE) for crisis the last decade. So, it's

a really, really big viral, rapidly expanding crisis.

AMANPOUR: So, let me just put to you what another of your U.N. chiefs have said in terms of the head of the World Food Programme, Cindy McCain. I

spoke with her a week or so ago about actually just trying to get food to all of these people, who you just say, are desperate. And at the time, she

told me there have been quite a lot of attacks on the very U.N. humanitarian efforts. This is what she said.


CINDY MCCAIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: They not only looted our food but some of our trucks are gone. They have -- you know,

they have complete gone into our housing and destroyed that. It's an all- out wilding, as far as I'm concerned, in Sudan.

The important thing to remember is that we -- with our other U.N. agencies, are working out on how we can get into more places and work as best we can

to provide food to those who are most vulnerable and left behind because of this, and it is usually women and children.


AMANPOUR: So, Martin Griffiths, just talk a little bit about that. But also, we understand, you know, U.N. officials and aid officials or workers

have been killed, health facilities are being destroyed over there. Put what Cindy McCain said in current context.

GRIFFITHS: First of all, thank God for Cindy McCain who has just joined the United Nations, as you know, Christiane, to run the World Food

Programme, this mega agency and gone straight into the middle of crisis in very quick time.

And what she says is completely, first of all, true. A representative of what's happened others, UNICEF had its warehouses looted in Soba, a town

south of Khartoum in recent days. WFP had its office in Khartoum bombed again, apparently, the night before last. And so, the stories go on.

And there's been specific looting of humanitarian supplies. WFP calculates they have lost $56 million worth of food and other surprises as a result of

the looting in this last month. So, that's a really, really bad story.

And as you say, Christiane, humanitarian workers have not been spared either. The World Food Programme lost three staffs right at the beginning,

other agencies have as well. This is why we have placed such an emphasis on what was eventually signed late last week by the two parties, this

declaration of commitment, as it's called, this United Nations' document which outlines what we expect from them, vis-a-vis a humanitarian



AMANPOUR: Well, I was going to ask you about that. Is it actually being respected? It's not a cease-fire, it is how you termed it, it's not a

political deal, but it's in order to facilitate humanitarian distribution. Is this being respected?

GRIFFITHS: Not enough, is the quick answer to that. What we are doing is - - and this is what -- I had explained it to the two generals when I was in Port Sudan about 10 days ago, we will begin with the signing and

understanding of the declaration of commitments. And thank you, by the way, to the two organizers of the Jeddah talks for their negotiation with the

two parties of this document.

Number two --

AMANPOUR: You, meaning the United States and Saudi Arabia, right?

GRIFFITHS: The United States and Saudi Arabia whose sort of day-long, night-long work has led to this negotiation. And importantly, meant that

the two parties studied that document in great detail. They made some suggestions for amendment, which we all agreed and have now was signed it.

But it's when you negotiate the precise local arrangements based on those high concepts that it becomes real. And, of course, as of now, we still

haven't got the kind of accountability and the kind of record that we want to see. We are there for, of course, keeping a record of where we see

breaches of it.

And as you say, this is not about cease-fires, which would, of course, be wonderful, but they are not cynic (ph) one on for humanitarian operations.

But it is about not looting humanitarian stocks, not stopping humanitarian aid workers from doing their work.

And humanitarian workers include, very importantly in this context, the incredible heroes of this conflict, which are the local communities, the

resistance committees, the civil society in places like Khartoum and elsewhere, they are our humanitarian partners. They need to be respected

and protected as well.

AMANPOUR: Doesn't it really all go back to the beginning, so to speak, you know, 2021, the basic attempt to get democracy, there was a coup, these two

generals are now struggling for all-out control it seems. I want to ask you about how the West, how the International Community dealt with or failed to

deal with what they were seeing on the ground.

Because Jeffrey Feltman, who, as you know, was the U.S. envoy to the Horn of Africa, he basically has said that this violent breakdown between these

two generals was "predictable." He said, we avoided exacting consequences for repeated acts of impunity that might have otherwise forced a change in

calculus. Instead, we reflexively appeased and accommodated the two warlords. We considered ourselves pragmatic. Hindsight suggests wishful

thinking to be a more accurate description.

Now, I know you are in the humanitarian realm right now, but can you comment on that, because that's fundamental.

GRIFFITHS: Yes. Yes, it is. And Jeff, with whom I'm in frequent contract, was reminding me of exactly those sentiments when I was down in the region.

And of course, he is right. However, I know myself, from my own experience in mediation, that there is an imperative in any conflict to get those who

are in control of the guns to get them to agree to silence them.

This is not an inappropriate ambition or aspiration. And to do that you have to deal with them. And by the way, if we look at Yemen, where we have

some hopes for the future. In Yemen, the focus has been, for now, on ending the fighting and opening up the economy. And the political consultations

have yet to begin on some month's off. So, it's not only Sudan which looks at silencing the guns as a permissible priority. So, that is my first


It means that silencing the guns, cease-fires, cessations of hostilities never work, they're never sustainable, in my experience at least, if they

don't also become rested or nestled in a political framework. Now, that you said Jeff is right.

Whether it is true, Christiane, that stern admonition and stern judgments of accountability would have been more useful than alleged, you know,

disregard and allowing impunity. I don't know. It is very Sudan specific, and I'm not an expert. I can understand, however, how there were such


What's really important now, I think on the basis of the Jeff Feltman sort of playbook, is that the focus on the civilian element in the future of

Sudan, the political process that is needed to -- within which cease-fire stuff can be embedded, that's what we need to see. There is no reason to

wait for efforts to make cease-fires to happen, for that to happen. In fact, that could be, you know, a revisiting of the mistake that was made

last time.


I am very, very loathed to use hindsight about conflict resolution, because it's too easily done. However, if I was a Sudanese, I'd be using hindsight

quite a lot at the moment.

AMANPOUR: Yes. And, I mean, the fact is, again, Alex Rondos, who is the E.U. envoy to the same region also spoke to me.


AMANPOUR: And he basically said that the International Community had been "too polite." That really these warlords were all about control of the

resources. And right now -- and wanting total control for themselves. And right now, as you know, the fighting has spread to Darfur, which is clearly

has horrible ramifications because of the genocide took part -- place there in early 2000s.

So, what -- if you don't want hindsight, what do you see in all of your experience as a way forward to actually end this war, to actually get a

cease-fire and to move this process forward?

GOLODRYGA: You know, I think getting a cease-fire is obviously incredibly important. It's not necessary for humanitarian operations, but that doesn't

reduce its importance -- its priority at all. So, yes, that's a laudable emphasis and priority.

But, however, and I have had endless experience in this. As I've said earlier, it doesn't work without a political framework. And so, what is

really needed is not simply, I would suggest, to rely on the two generals to suddenly find God and stop fighting, but it is indeed to, you know,

embed them in a framework which allows the people of Sudan to speak.

Now, we all know how difficult it is to find that kind of framework, to find out who are the people who should be around the table, but that would

appear, to me, to be as imperative, right now, as is -- as are the efforts going on in Jeddah to find those -- you know, to get those elusive cease-


And, of course, it's possible and it's probably iterative but it is very, very, important, and this is where the region, as you know, Christiane,

comes to the fort (ph).

AMANPOUR: Exactly. So, finally, you know, you have a lot of humanitarian crises and disasters on your plate right now, from Ukraine, where, you

know, an increasing number of civilians are being killed and wounded in Russia's relentless missile strikes. And you've also got Afghanistan, where

the last time we spoke to you, the U.N. was, essentially, putting its humanitarian efforts on hold because of the Taliban's refusal to allow

women to work and for the U.N.

What is the status in Afghanistan, particularly for those women?

GRIFFITHS: What we are doing in Afghanistan now is what we put into place as a result of the edict that came out on the 24th of December, you'll

remember, which stopped the working of women in humanitarian organizations limited to NGOs, it was extended to the U.N. some -- a couple of months


The framework that we put into place then, in late January, is now still operating. And what it provides for is where we can work with women, we

will work with women, and for women and children. And what the Taliban have done after these edicts has made exemptions and exceptions, as you know,

Christiane, we've discussed it in certain sectors, for example, the health sector and in some parts of the country.

So, humanitarian organizations continue to, as the saying goes, stay and deliver where they can. But what we do not do is accede to the men only,

you know, aspiration of those edicts, that is unacceptable. And frankly, it also doesn't work in practical terms, humanitarian assistance in place like



GRIFFITHS: So, we are continuing to operate. We never left. We will not leave where there is a moments opportunity to work with and for its people.

Afghanistan needs a break.

AMANPOUR: Boy, does it. It's such a difficult, difficult, situation. Martin Griffiths, thank you so much indeed.

GRIFFITHS: Thanks, Christiane. Thank you very much indeed.

AMANPOUR: Now, returning to the war in Ukraine and the possibility of peace, as we were discussing earlier, Marie Yovanovitch served as the U.S.

ambassador there after Moscow invaded Crimea. She was removed from that post by President Trump, later testifying in his first impeachment trial

about the U.S. withholding aid from Ukraine.

To discuss how the war can end and why the West must not repeat the mistakes of Crimea, the former amasser is joining Walter Isaacson now.



WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, welcome back to the show.


ISAACSON: It has been a busy week on the Ukraine front. You were ambassador to Ukraine. We have a lot of movement, both diplomatic and with

the start of the military offensive. Let's start with the diplomatic ones.

The Chinese special envoy is going to be wandering through the region, going to Russia and going to Ukraine for the first time. Jake Sullivan, our

national security adviser, just met with his counterpart from China to discuss possible things that could be done in Ukraine.

As a diplomat, as somebody who once worked in the State Department, has a career of foreign service officer, what do you make of all this diplomacy

happening and what could it lead to?

YOVANOVITCH: Well, I think it is a very good sign. I think, you know, jaw- jaw is always better than war-war. And so, you know, I welcome the fact that various parties are talking to each other. China, obviously, the

country in the world that has the most influence, if any country does, over Russia. And so, China could play, could play -- we'll have to wait and see

-- but could play a constructive role here.

And I think the Chinese envoy is also going to countries in Europe, France and Germany as well. So, I think, you know, trying to get a sense of what

is out there, what is possible, the talks between Jake Sullivan and the Chinese last week, that you mentioned, sounded like they were pretty

constructive as well. So, let's see where we go from here.

I would say that, as a note of caution though, that there's a time or a season, as it says, for everything. And I am not sure that the time for

actual peace negotiations are hand right now.

ISAACSON: Why is that?

YOVANOVITCH: Because I think both sides want to -- want facts on the ground that will strengthen them at the negotiating table. That is

certainly true for Ukraine. Ukraine wants to push Russia, you know, further back. Hopefully, all the way back, so that Ukraine can reclaim its


ISAACSON: Wait, wait. What do you mean by all the way back? Do you mean all the way to -- through Crimea as well?

YOVANOVITCH: Yes. I mean, Zelenskyy has been pretty explicit about that. So, we'll see. And the Ukrainian people support that as well. So, we all

know that in negotiations that -- you know, this war will end. All wars end. And it will most likely end with -- be followed by negotiations, as

most wars do.

And the Ukrainian people have -- usually, there are compromises when there are negotiations. But the Ukrainian people have been very explicit, and

poll after poll after poll that they want all their territory back. They want no concessions for Russia.

ISAACSON: Well, wait. I don't quite understand Crimea, how that could be possibly be won militarily in the foreseeable future.

YOVANOVITCH: Well, I guess the point that I'm trying to make is that this is the view of the Ukrainian people. And Ukraine is a democracy. This is

something that, I think, Vladimir Putin, of the many things that he doesn't understand about Ukraine is that it is a democracy.

And so, while leaders may be ready to make compromises, including, perhaps, on Crimea at some point, they also need to bring the Ukrainian people along

with them. That's going to be a critical factor. And it's going to be really, I think, challenging for Zelenskyy.

ISAACSON: We have seen a whole lot of assurances of new weapons. The Germans coming in with a very big package. The British coming in with a

type of long-range missile that even the U.S. was reluctant to supply. So, tell me why was the U.S. reluctant to supply these missiles? Will these

long-range missiles from Britain help? And will they put Ukraine in a better position to, perhaps, win?

YOVANOVITCH: Yes. I think it is very significant. The British have always been out front in terms of, you know, where they position their own

military with regard to Ukraine. The kinds of systems that they've been providing, and we have often followed suit. You know, the most recent

example being tanks to Ukraine. We'll see whether this example of the long- range missiles will provide that same kind of incentive for the U.S.

Buy, yes, I think, you know, potentially, it's -- I don't want to say a game changer, but potentially very significant because it can -- these

missiles can reach very, very, far and will force the Russians to pull back troops. And so, there's more --

ISAACSON: Well, wait, wait. You talk about a game changer, that --

YOVANOVITCH: Well, I said, I didn't want to call it a game changer.


YOVANOVITCH: But the words they came out of my mouth.


ISAACSON: Yes. Right. But it -- a game changer is a double-edged thing. Meaning, it could really change the game if there are long-range missile

attacks on the Russian homeland. Do you think that could lead to tactical nuclear weapons being used by Putin?

YOVANOVITCH: Well, I don't know what kind of caveats the British received or demanded from the Ukrainians. So, as you are well aware, when we have

provided certain weapon systems, we have told Ukrainians that they can't use them on Russian territory. And so, again, I don't know whether the

British asked for that or not.

ISAACSON: Do you think that's a good idea when you wouldn't -- I mean, you even negotiated things like the javelin missiles, which are really just

anti-tank missiles. But did you feel it was a good idea to say, you can't use weapons on Russian territory?

YOVANOVITCH: Well, you know, it provides sanctuary for the Russians. You know, they can attack and then they run back and hide. And now, the

Ukrainians do have their own weapons, which they have very successfully used against Russian forces, against Russian infrastructure and military

objects. But, you know, this idea of sanctuary in Russia really gives Russia an advantage.

ISAACSON: What are your expectations for the counteroffensive that the Ukrainians seem ready to begin right now? And, you know, how far do you

think they could take it?

YOVANOVITCH: Well, you know, one thing that's been constant since the beginning of this war is that we underestimate Ukraine and we underestimate

the Ukrainian military. So, I don't want to make that mistake because, you know, again, I just know the Ukrainian people and I know the Ukrainian

military for my time there, and I think that they could really move forward quite successfully.

You know, what we are seeing right now in Bakhmut, I mean, we are being told this is not the counteroffensive that we're anticipating, but what we

are seeing in Bakhmut is some pretty sophisticated fighting there and the Ukrainians are gaining on their Russian adversaries.

So, you know, if that continue in the counteroffensive, I think they could be pushing the Russians back quite a bit. And I hope that that's what will

happen because it's important. The facts on the ground are important, and they will strengthen Ukraine's hands in negotiations that we assume will

come at some point in the future.

But the other thing I did want to say, Walter, is that whatever happens with this counteroffensive, it is not going to be the end of the war, no

matter how widely successful Ukrainians are. And I think that we shouldn't overestimate what is going to come because the war, I think, will continue

for some time. I don't think Russia is ready to give up at this point and I wouldn't anticipate that they would be by the end of the summer either.

So, we need to understand that victories are a great thing and we'll build to ultimate success for Ukraine, but it will take time.

ISAACSON: You talk about there being a time for war and a time for diplomacy and about facts on the ground and what the facts on the ground

maybe at the end of this summer after the offensive. When do you think that the facts on grounds or the timing would be right for everyone to say, OK,

let's stop this, at least have a permanent guaranteed cease-fire or perhaps even a comprehensive peace?

YOVANOVITCH: It's hard to know, but I think it will take some time into the next calendar year even. And I think we just need to be steadfast and

continue to support the Ukrainians. And I think that as we look at the contours of a comprehensive peace would be, because just to recall, back in

2014, 2015, the Germans and the French, the Russians and Ukrainians, they did come up with a cease-fire. And, you know, the Minsk agreements, which

were not successful. The Russians never adhered to them. There wasn't even an actual cease-fire. But it got us to take our eye off the ball. I think

that's what the Russians are looking for, some temporary -- certainly, right now, they're looking for some temporary cease-fire that they can use

the time gained to regroup, re-arm, rest and then, come back when they assess that the West has moved on to the next shiny object. And -- you

know, and that could be years from now.

I mean, if you consider that Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014, 2015 and then, reinvaded with this total war that we are seeing now in 2022. Russia

is patient.


ISAACSON: You've said that this war could go on indefinitely, that would mean a change of mindset, almost, in the United States and in the West,

which is not just providing weapons right now, but providing a very sustained war in Ukraine. What do you fear about the politics in the United

States as people start, especially on the left and the right, peeling off from wanting this war to continue?

YOVANOVITCH: Yes. I mean, you raise a really important issue. And I think that what we need to do, what Zelenskyy needs to do, and I think he is

doing that in his outreach in Europe, last week and this week, and presumably he will, at some point, come to the U.S. again as well.

What Zelenskyy needs to do, I think what the Biden administration needs to do is communicate to publics, including the American public, what the

stakes are, that this is a war about Ukraine but it is also about much, much more. It is about our national security. It's about global security.

Zelenskyy, when he was here, in December, told Congress, you know, helping Ukraine isn't a charity, it's an investment in your national security, and

I think that is absolutely right. And explaining to the American public why that is the case, that Zelenskyy -- that Putin, if he is successful in

Ukraine, he will keep on going. That's been his pattern since he took power and he's told us this, and I think we need to believe him.

That will undermine, as it is undermining right now, the international rules-based order where sovereignty is, you know, kind of the golden rule

where you don't invade other countries. And Putin has, of course, violated that rule.

ISAACSON: Well, aren't you sort of encouraged in some ways that he did that a year ago and it turned out it was a really bad idea for him, and he

has been -- you know, especially, with Finland joining NATO?

YOVANOVITCH: Yes. All sorts of unintended consequences, no question about it. And a reinvigorated NATO, you know, the West coming together as never

before. But, you know, there are other -- you know, other countries are not supportive. They're waiting on the sidelines to see what's going to happen

next. And I think there are authoritarian states that are watching very keenly whether Russia will be successful, because if Russia is successful

then, you know, perhaps they can do the same things. And if Russia is successful in Ukraine, Russia will certainly keep on going.

So, I think the stakes are very, very high and it will affect, you know, not only global security, it will affect the global economy and it will

affect our freedoms, because security and freedoms always go together.

ISAACSON: Your memoirs, which you published a year ago, are out in paperback this week, a new addition. And you have a great afterwards, which

I loved reading last night. But you talked about something that interested me, which was you call the PSYOPS, meaning, what does Putin do when he is

threatening nuclear weapons, for example. Explain why we have to be aware of that.

YOVANOVITCH: Yes, yes. So, when Putin talks about using nuclear weapons, I mean, obviously, we need to pay attention all the time because you never

want to -- you know, to get nuclear weapons questioned wrong. But he is trying to scare us. He is trying to scare the Ukrainians. But mostly, he is

trying to scare the West and the United States, trying to intimidate us into not supporting Ukraine.

And, you know, here's what I would say, if we fall for that, if we become intimidated, he will do it again. And other countries well too. They'll

realize that they can intimidate the West just by the threat of nuclear warfare. We need to stand for our principles, we need to stand for our

values, we need to stand for our interests.

And I think, you know, that one of the things that I've seen in Putin over time is that he is a bully. You know, he -- and he is a head of a big

country. So, he can push little countries around. But he understands force, he understands strength. And if we stand up to him, I think he'll

understand that language.

And back in the fall when there was a lot of loose talk about using nuclear weapons, there were some, you know, behind closed door conversations,

diplomatic conversations with the Russians, as well as with other countries that this was not a good idea. Jake Sullivan said very publicly that it

would be catastrophic for Russia if Russia use nuclear weapons.

And while the talk hasn't completely abated, it has significantly died down. And so, I think that's an example of how Russia, the bully, has to be

dealt with.


ISAACSON: You say that this fight in Ukraine is part of something larger, which is why it's so important for us to pay attention. And that larger

thing is the fight against authoritarianism and breaking the rules of international order versus the order that we have had for the past so many

decades. Tell me, are you worried that authoritarianism is on the rise here or do you actually see some glimmers of hope that this spring we're seeing

the pushback of some these authoritarian regimes, including the success that the Ukrainians have had?

YOVANOVITCH: Yes. Well, just to neckdown (ph) the question to Ukraine. I'm very optimistic about Ukraine and I am optimistic because of the people in

Ukraine. You know, I first started working there 20 years ago and there was no civil society to speak of. People, you know, waited for leadership to

tell them what to do. That is emphatically not the case.

That -- in Ukraine, every man, woman and child is mobilized. And not mobilize because the, you know, leader, Zelenskyy or a mayor has told them

that they needed to do something. They look around and see what needs to be done and they go and they do it.

And so, you know, they are fighting for -- you know, for their families, for their country, for their future. And that future is a European future

where the rule of law is supreme. They've been trying to do this for many, many years, and I think this is the latest manifestation in the war against


And when -- you know, finally, you know, we've been talking a lot about war and then the peace, but when that peace comes to Ukraine, I think it is

going to be a European future because the Europeans are not fighting for the country they had before that had so many challenges with corruption and

rule of law issues, they're fighting for their future.

ISAACSON: Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, thank you so much for joining us



AMANPOUR: Of course, that's what we hear from the Ukrainians as well.

Now, the abortion pill, mifepristone, has become the epicenter of America's debate on reproductive rights. Its opponents say it is dangerous and they

are suing the government to get it banned. But data shows that Viagra is actually more lethal than abortion medication. And the fight could soon be

headed it all the way to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, women are being forced to make impossible choices in some cases. Elizabeth Cohen spoke to one woman who decided to get sterilized rather

than risk getting pregnant.


KARA NEILS, CHOSE TO BE STERILIZED: I'm Kara. I had my tubes taken out last week.

This is one.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR HEALTH CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Kara Neils, 25 years old, opted six months ago to be sterilized. Dani Marietti, also

25, had a picnic to celebrate her sterilization last July, complete with commemorative cookies. Mariah Marsh also had her tubes removed as a 28th

birthday present to herself in January.

All three have known for a long time that they don't want children. And after Roe v. Wade was overturned last year, they got sterilized.

MARIAH MARSH, CHOSE TO BE STERILIZED: And I knew that the only way I could really protect myself is to go ahead and get the surgery.

COHEN (voiceover): Mariah, an admissions officer at Indiana University, has a neural muscular disease that can make pregnancy risky. She said the

ongoing legal battle over mifepristone makes her even more grateful she got sterilized. The legal challenge to this drug, one of two used together in

medication abortion, could bar its use for abortion nationwide in the future.

MARSH: It does make me happy that I made the decisions that I made because it validates my thought process, which was they're just going to come for

any access to care that a woman can make on her own.

COHEN (voiceover): Dr. Leah Tatum, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Austin, Texas said she hears this frequently from patients.

DR. LEAH TATUM, OBSTETRICIAN-GYNECOLOGIST: Their concerns are if medical abortions are no longer accessible, what if their reproductive rights are

restricted even further?

COHEN (voiceover): She says, as abortion rights are getting chipped away - -

DR. TATUM: I have definitely seen an increase in the request for sterilization. I see about three times the consults for sterilization as I

used to.

COHEN (voiceover): Women like Mariah, Dani, and Kara --

NEILS: Find somebody in your area, find somebody who is covered by your insurance --

COHEN (voiceover): -- are securing in their choice as some options for choosing a life without children are being taken away.


AMANPOUR: Elizabeth Cohen with a window into some women there.

And finally, tonight, a piece of history to the highest bidder. This Hebrew bible sold for $38.1 million. It's one of the steepest prices ever for a

book or document sold at auction. Dating back to around the year 900, it is the oldest most complete Hebrew bible known to exist.

Alfred Moses, the former U.S. ambassador to Romania purchased the Codex Sassoon. It will be going on display at the museum of the Jewish People in

Tel Aviv.


And that is it for now. Thank you for watching and goodbye from New York.