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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Biden Imposes Sanctions, Declares Beginning of Russian Invasion. Aired 5:30-6p ET

Aired February 22, 2022 - 17:30   ET


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello and welcome. This is THE GLOBAL BRIEF. And I'm Bianca Nobilo in London.


Tonight, the West is speaking with one voice at this hour, saying Vladimir Putin crossed the line by attacking Ukraine's sovereignty with the stroke

of a pen, insisting Russia must now pay the price.

U.S. President Joe Biden announced new sanctions a short time ago. He says Russia's recognition of two separatist regions of Ukraine amount to the

beginning of an invasion.

Russia, meanwhile, confirming that it regards the entire territories of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent, even those parts that are not currently

controlled by pro-Russian separatists. Biden calls that a bizarre attempt to carve out a chunk of Ukraine.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Who in the Lord's name was Putin think gives him the right to declare new so-called countries on

territory that belonged to his neighbors? We've said all along and I told Putin to his face more than a month ago that we would act together and the

moment moved against Ukraine. Russia has now undeniably moved against Ukraine.


NOBILO: Just moments ago, Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying he's called off a planned meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov,

although he says Washington remains committed to diplomacy if Russia is serious about it.

But the situation only seems to be escalating. Russian lawmakers formally approved the deployment of troops to Eastern Ukraine today. Mr. Putin won't

say whether the troops will enter those regions although forces have been there since 2014.

NATO calls this the most dangerous moment in European security for a generation. The Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg says Russia has moved

from covert attempts at destabilizing Ukraine to overt military action.


STOLTENBERG: Every indication is that Russia continues to plan for a full scale attack on Ukraine. And we see the ongoing Donbas and different false

flag operations to tray to get the pretext for an attack.


NOBILO: European leaders are moving fast to impose economic consequences on Russia for its moves against Ukraine.

One of the first and most significant actions was Germany's suspension of Nord Stream 2. The $11 billion pipeline project was meant to double the

flow of Russian natural gas to Europe, but Chancellor Olaf Scholz says Russia's actions forced him to reconsider.


OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): These are difficult days and hours for Europe. Close to 80 years after the end of world war

two, there's danger of a war in Eastern Europe. It is our job to avert such a catastrophe, and I again appeal again to Russia to help in the process.

Thank you.


NOBILO: A top Russian official, Dmitry Medvedev, responded with a taunting tweet. He said, welcome to the brave new world -- suggesting Europeans

should brace themselves for much higher gas prices.

Let's bring in CNN Russian affairs contributor Jill Dougherty in Moscow and White House reporter Natasha Bertrand.

Jill, let's go to you first. So, we've had Putin's recognition over Luhansk and Donetsk and also his authorization for Russian traps to enter those

areas. Do you think this seems to be an end in and itself, which is simply one step towards a much grander plan?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Of course, we really don't know, but it would appear since everything up to this point has seemed to be one step

incrementally leading to another, that I think you have to infer that there could be more, and President Putin is kind of laying the steps out, and a

lot of them is this theater we have had today on TV of the legality, the legal process, parliament, et cetera.

But I think laying the ground possibly for more action. We don't know yet. And I'd also say that there's -- to kind of pick up on what you were saying

right there at the end. There's also the sense here in Moscow, of we are going to go full steam ahead regardless of what you're doing. Former

President Medvedev's comment is I think quite significant "welcome to this new world".

And even this afternoon and this evening when President Biden spoke, the Kremlin said, we did not have time to watch that because we had a meeting

here at the Kremlin.

So there's these very serious steps referred to, and then just the tone would lead you to think that this is not the end of it.

NOBILO: And, Natasha, over to you, and a very warm welcome to THE GLOBAL BRIEF.


Can you talk us through the most significant sanctions that were announced by President Biden?


And also, whether or not there's consensus for the lawmakers in the U.S. and whether or not it will be effective in these circumstances?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Thank you, Bianca, for welcoming me.

Yes, I do think there is broadly a consensus that it is good the president did something, that there were questions about whether the White House

would actually impose certain sanctions if Russia's aggression fell short of a full scale invasion. And that is something the White House is still

grappling with, what constitutes the full scale attack that we then allow the United States and its allies to impose the sanctions they have been

threatening for months now?

There are some senators and Congress people in the U.S. who still say today's sanctions package does not go far enough, that it sanctions two

Russian banks, two pretty important ones, though not as important as perhaps the United States could have sanctioned, those closest to the

Russian president, for example, and certain high level Russian officials who the United States has determined have been involved in some way in

Putin's planning.

This is something that many of the president's allies see as a very strong first step, because, again, Russia has not gone on Kyiv yet, and that is

the kind of big thing that all of the U.S. officials are watching for is when is Russia going to actually launch that full scale invasion that would

then justify the full range of very severe consequences that the U.S. has been warning of?

So I think this is what the White House is communicating, is that these are going to come in waves. These sanctions are going to be implemented based

on what Russia is doing on the ground. If they continue their aggression and further sanctions are going to be implemented, including export

controls, that would really cut Russia off from the technological.

So, we should expect to see more as time goes on, and as Russia clearly demonstrates that they are not pulling back any time soon.

NOBILO: Natasha Bertrand in Washington, D.C. and Jill Dougherty in Moscow, thank you both very much.

And you're watching THE GLOBAL BRIEF. We'll be right back after this.


NOBILO: Despite the worries in the West that Russia may be planning a full scale invasion of Ukraine, the country's president said early Tuesday he

doesn't think an all-out war is going to happen. Volodymyr Zelensky is calling Russia's military move into Ukraine separatist held regions an

attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity on the country.

While he acknowledges that Russia could escalate even further, he said that he isn't expecting that.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): With regards to being on a military footing, we understand that there will be no war.

There will not be an all-out war against Ukraine, and there will not be a broad escalation for Russia.


If there is, then we'll put Ukraine on a war footing.


NOBILO: Ukrainian parliament member Kira Rudik has just come from a meeting with President Zelensky and joins us now from Kyiv.

Thank you very much for joining the program. We appreciate you taking the time.

First and foremost, tell us about the message you just had with the president. Any messages to communicate to the global community? And also,

he says that he doesn't expect there to be war with Russia. Do you also believe that?

KIRA RUDIK, UKRAINIAN GOLOS PARTY MP: I think that the chances of having war with Russia, full scale war, are getting higher every single day,

especially after Vladimir Putin said that he recognizes the territory that he accepted, not only within the borders that they are occupied right now,

but within the border of territories as Ukraine sees it on the Ukrainian map.

So, there is a huge difference between those two regions of what is currently occupied by Russia and how the region looks in full. So, Putin

said that he accepts the so-called republic with the regions as they are in full, and this is the scary piece, because this means that he will go

further. After they recognized the temporary occupied territories and so- called republics, he will go further to complete the invasion.

And this is why we think that there will be attack from Putin's side in the nearest future. As for the situation inside the country right now and the

actions that President Zelensky made after his meeting, today is that he made a statement about the call for duty for the reservists. This is the

first line of the mobilization, and this means that starting tomorrow people who serve in the Ukrainian army before will have to join the forces

and be ready to go and protect our country.

And we strongly support this step because we understand that every single day, the situation becomes more and more heated, and we have an eight-year

history fighting with Putin, and we know what he's capable of. So this is a great decision right now.

However, there are more things that need to be done and that we are expecting both from the president and that we're hoping to get from our

international partners. So, on the internal side, we will have to introduce the martial law for at least those two regions, and there will be debates

in the parliament regarding that tomorrow, but myself and my party Golos will be strongly supporting that.

On the international side, we really appreciate and strongly support all the sanctions that has been put on Putin, his surroundings, and the largest

banks. And one great news today is that Nord Stream 2 was put to freeze. However, the question that everybody's asking themselves is, is Putin going

to stop? And the answer is definitely no.

NOBILO: Yeah, so, Kira, I think you made an important point before for our international viewers about how the self-proclaimed people's republics of

Donetsk and Luhansk are about a third of the actual territories in Ukraine I believe of Luhansk and Donetsk and the question is whether or not Russian

traps are going to try to move beyond that line of control to take more territory.

So, is that your expectation and the president's expectation that that will be Vladimir Putin's next move, to fully occupy the territory of Donetsk and


RUDIK: Yes, this is the expectation of most members of the parliament right now, that he's going to go and take the rest of the territories for

the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. At his original speech, what was the crazy speech, you know it, right, which was from Orwell's "1984" movie. So, in

his speech, he said that he only accepts self-proclaimed republics within the current borders.

But right today, statements changed and we have heard from his closest surroundings, and his closest allies that they are accepting the self-

proclaimed republics in the original -- in the original state, in the original territory and the original borders, which means that he will go



NOBILO: Okay, and, Kira, we've only got a minute or so left, but what do you feel is required from the international community to try and prevent

any further encroachment into Ukrainian sovereignty?

RUDIK: The question that we all have right now is if there is a power in the world that is able to stop Putin. And there is a force. So, this force

we believe is the united actions of all our democratic partners -- United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Netherlands, and every other

country that understands what the threat Putin and Russia poses right now.

So if there are any sanctions hidden in the pocket, they need to be taken out. The strongest one that we see right now is obviously cutting Russia

off SWIFT and making and basically isolating them.

However, there is a question if the United States or Biden is ready to do that right now. But that would be a thing that could stop Putin. We are

getting tomorrow early in the morning with all the members of the parliamentary protections to discuss the further steps inside the country.

But what's outside and what's with the international partners, we will need to have it done by them.

NOBILO: Kira Rudik, thank you very much for joining the program. We appreciate it.

Let's take a look at the other key stories making international impact today.

Colombians who support abortion rights are celebrating a historic ruling. The country's highest court on Monday decriminalized abortion until 24

weeks of pregnancy. This is one of the biggest gains for abortion right advocates in Latin America.

And Uganda may soon give fines to people who refuse to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and send those who don't pay them to prison. Uganda's parliament

says it's looking into a new public health law that would do just that. Officials blame vaccine hesitancy for the low number of people getting the


Hong Kong is rolling out its toughest COVID-19 measures yet -- all of the city's 7.5 million residents will have to undergo mandatory testing

starting next month. Hong Kong is dealing with a fifth wave of infections, with more than 6,000 new cases reported Tuesday.

And Tonga has been literally reconnected with the rest of the world, a month after that devastating volcano and tsunami cut a critical undersea

cable. That 827 kilometer fiber optic cable has been repaired, restoring full internet and telephone communications to the Pacific Island nation.

And that is it, your shortened edition of the very brief GLOBAL BRIEF tonight.

"THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer is up after a short break. We'll see you tomorrow.