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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Pledges Of Military Support; Crisis Beyond Ukraine; Twitter Takeover. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired April 26, 2022 - 17:00   ET



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

Ukrainian allies pledged more military support as the U.S. says there's no more time to waste to counter Russia. We ask if there is still an off ramp

diplomatic de-escalation.

Then, we're seeing the beginning of a new front in Russia's war. Ukrainian officials claim a state of unexplained attacks in a Moldovan breakaway

region indicate that Russia could expand its conflict beyond Ukraine's borders. We speak to the former NATO commander.

And how will Elon Musk Twitter takeover impact you? We look at the concerns being raised.

From helping Ukraine defend itself to helping Ukraine win the war, and weaken Russia's ability to launch similar offensives in the future. The

U.S. and its allies are expanding their goals as they hurry military aid to Ukraine, marking a shift in this new phase of the war.

Listen to what the Pentagon press secretary said about Russia while he was attending a security conference on Ukraine.


JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: They have suffered casualties and they have suffered losses in this invasion of Ukraine. They are a weaker

military. They are a weaker state right now. They're -- and again, further isolating themselves.

What we want, and again you've heard this from President Biden as well as national security adviser, we want Russia not to be able to threaten their

neighbors again in the future. That's where we're talking about here.


NOBILO: But the rhetoric is getting more heated on both sides. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggests NATO is engaged in a proxy war with

his country. And while he said that Russia prefers to use its nuclear weapons arsenal for deterrence only, his words carried an implicit threat.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. The danger is serious and real.

And it should not be underestimated.


NOBILO: On the ground in Ukraine, more evidence emerging of apparent atrocities. The mayor of Mariupol says a third mass grave has been found

around the city. He says that Russian fighters force local residents to dig trenches in exchange for water and food.

Officials in Eastern Ukraine say that Russia is firing across virtually the entire frontline. Some areas, like this village in the Luhansk region of

Donbas, have been completely destroyed.

CNN's Clarissa ward visited Kharkiv Tuesday, a city left in shambles after weeks of relentless attacks.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's no rest at night for the people of Kharkiv. Flares light up the sky as

artillery thunders through the air.

For nearly nine weeks, Ukraine's second largest city has been shelled relentlessly. Only by day do you see the full scale of the destruction.

The neighborhood was hit repeatedly last month, as Russian forces try to push into the city. No site was spared, not even the local nursery school.

So it looks like this was some kind of a dormitory. You can see children's beds here all around. And then in the next room over there was their


Their shoes still litter the locker room. Mercifully, the school had been evacuated, so no children were killed in the strikes.

The mayor of Kharkiv says that 67 schools and 54 kindergartens have been hit here since the war began. What's so striking when you look around is

that it's so clearly not a military target. This is a residential neighborhood.

Just a few blocks away, the bare skeleton of an apartment building. Authorities say more than 2,000 houses have been hit here. Sounds of war

are never far away.

You can see this is what's left of the bedroom here. It's just astonishing.

Two doors down, we see a figure peeking out, 73-year-old Larissa Krenina (ph) is still living there alone.

So she's saying she does have a sister who she could stay with, but she also lives in an area that's being heavily hit, and she's living in a

shelter at the moment.


It's from all sides, she says. From there and there, they can shell.

With her fresh lipstick, Larissa is a picture of pride and resilience -- much like this city, still standing tall in the face of a ruthless enemy.


NOBILO: That was Clarissa Ward reporting for us from Kharkiv.

In Germany, military leaders from 40 countries and alliances met Tuesday to find ways to cut through the proverbial red tape and get more weapons to


CNN's Oren Liebermann is at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany where this gathering took place.

So, Oren, we've seen a distinct rhetorical shift from western leaders about weakening Russian to the point where it won't be able to launch a similar

offensive on countries around in the future.

What has changed in the thinking of the allies in the last week?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Part of it is there appears to be at least a willingness to accept that this sort of rhetoric, this

sort of language comes with an added level of risk. But that is a calculated risk that the U.S. and others are willing to take -- an open

statement that Ukraine needs to win this war and therefore Russia needs to lose this war.

It's worth pointing out that this isn't just a shift in the rhetoric over the course of the past couple of days and weeks I would say, we have seen

unwillingness by the U.S., the U.K. and others to send in more powerful heavier weaponry. For example, the howitzers that have begun arriving. That

wasn't the case just a few weeks ago when the U.S. and others were much more careful about what they said and what they sent in.

Now, that willingness to send in very apparent at the U.S. hosted more than 40 countries here at Ramstein Air Base behind me to figure out what Ukraine

needs and who is in the best position to get it to Ukraine. One of the key challenges among many here is that time is incredibly critical.


LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: We don't have any time to waste. The briefings led today they are clearly why the coming weeks will be so

crucial for Ukraine. So, we got to move at the speed of war. And I know that all the leaders leave today more resolve than ever to support Ukraine

in its fight against Russian aggression and atrocities.


LIEBERMANN: This isn't just a short term need. It's not just a function of getting small arms ammunition and a few cabins of artillery, battalions of

artillery into Ukraine. The U.S. and allies here see this as long term. This war does not end in days or weeks, we are well past that point. This

is now measured in terms of months.

So, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announces the discussion hosted today would become monthly. That is the sort of timeline of the thinking, they

are thinking in terms of months, which means keeping Ukraine in the fight now and giving them the weapons they need to succeed, but also long term,

with a need to defend their sovereignty, when this war either enters a longer term face or if there is some sort of and to this conflict, what

does it mean past that.

NOBILO: Oren Liebermann in Germany for us, thank you.

Now, let's bring in General Wesley Clark, a former NATO supreme allied commander and CNN military analyst.

Thank you for joining the program this evening, sir.


NOBILO: I want to start with warnings from Russia's foreign minister. There is a considerable risk of this armed conflict spreading beyond

Ukraine. We've seen Ukrainian officials claiming this state of unexplained attacks in Transnistria might suggest Russia might be trying to open a new

front there.

Let's take a listen to what's the Moldovan president had to say.


MAIA SANDU, MOLDOVAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Our analysis indicates there are tensions between different forces within the region who

are interested in destabilizing the situation. This makes the region of Transnistria vulnerable and creates risks for Moldova.


NOBILO: How likely do you think it is that this conflict is going to spread beyond Ukraine's borders?

CLARK: I think it's always been Mr. Putin's intent to take over Moldova and Georgia, and the Baltic states. He is capable of horizontal escalation,

what you call it, when it serves his purposes. If he thinks he can deter the West or frightened people by doing this or distract us from supporting

Ukraine, then he will do so. If he judges that this is going to backfire and cause him more grief, then he won't destabilize.

This is all done by Mr. Putin. It's part of his tactics and strategy.

NOBILO: And given the possible level of his territorial expansionist ambition, I want to put to something that Boris Johnson refuted today.


He refuted that Putin actually needs some kind of territorial win in Ukraine to sell to his people, in order to end this war. Johnson was saying

that because of the apparent obliviousness of Russians to this conflict, and the way it's controlled in the media, it might not be necessary. Do you

agree with that?

CLARK: I think the only way you can successfully and this war is for Ukraine to push Russia out of its territory and reclaim its territorial

integrity. At that point, Russia can negotiate or surrender and agreed to pay reparations. It's not feasible to tell the Ukrainians, okay, okay,

we're going to reward Russia for taking half your country. But please, don't shoot anymore.

That is a destabilization of the entire global system, where you reward aggression. Russia attacked Ukraine unprovoked.

And now, it's so outrageous to hear the Russian foreign minister there is a risk of nuclear escalation. There is no risk of nuclear escalation unless

Russia uses nuclear weapons. Is that what he's threatening?

So, you know, Russia needs to understand that it is in violation of international law. That the world is not going to permit this. We are going

to come to the defense of Ukraine, because that's the obligation in the United Nations charter, of which Russia is a member.

And so, this is a war -- of a big mistake, by a big mistake a Vladimir Putin. He needs the back off as rapidly as possible. And he can do it.

NOBILO: Britain's armed forces minister, earlier today told the BBC that it would be legitimate for Ukraine to strike Russian logistics lines and

fuel supplies, acknowledging that the weapons the international community is now providing could be used in Russia.

Basically, British weapons or other weapons from allies could be used to strike Russia. Then the Russian response was that if that occurred, there

would be immediate proportional repercussions. What do you think that could look like?

CLARK: I think Russia has to understand it can't expect its territory to be a sanctuary, when it uses it to invade, attack, and try to overrun

another country. So, it is Ukraine's right to self defense. If that self- defense requires striking logistics, nodes, other military targets that are supporting that invasion and if those are inside Russia, then they are

legitimate targets. Russia can't expect a sanctuary.

On the other end, Russia has no right, no right whatsoever, to expect that other nations will not come to Ukraine's self-defense. That right of self-

defense, and the obligation to help nations create self-defense for themselves, it is written in the United Nations charter.

NOBILO: And, General Clark, just lastly, before we go, we've heard the rhetoric ramp up from the Western allies about their approach to this

weakening Russia, so they can't do this again. Do you think the off ramp of de-escalation has passed now, diplomatically?

NOBILO: I don't think it's just the rhetoric that's ramped up. I think this is a change in policy, starting in Washington and being carried

throughout NATO. At the beginning it was, let's keep NATO together in this very uncertain and dangerous time. We will do what we can to help Ukraine.

But as we've seen the terrible tragedy unfolding in Ukraine, we've seen the brave, stout resistance by Ukraine, it's clear that help can be given to

Ukraine and it's important to stop this Russian onslaught in Ukraine. The best way to prevent World War III is to help Ukraine gain its territory and

weaken Russia and create for Russia a strategic failure.

And so, we've seen the policy shift -- not a clearly enunciated policy shift, but before this, back in November maybe, there were people who said,

maybe this war won't happen, we can worry about China, that's the long term threat. Maybe, you know, Mr. Putin is just bluffing.

Okay, it's clear he is not just bluffing. He's trying to eradicate a sovereign state. This is totally unacceptable, totally illegal, by

international law. If we believe in a rules-based system, then the West and the world has put its foot down and said, Mr. Putin, no, you won't get away

with this, you will withdraw, and you will pay reparations.

NOBILO: General Wesley Clark, thank you very much for joining us this evening.


CLARK: Thank you, Bianca.

NOBILO: The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency visited Chernobyl on Tuesday to assess the defunct plant after it was

temporarily captured by Russia in the early weeks of the war. Chernobyl is the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster and the IAEA said another

catastrophe was narrowly avoided, with radiation levels raising while Russian forces controlled the plant. Those levels have now returned to

normal, thankfully.

The director generals visit coincides with the 36th anniversary of the accident at Chernobyl. A vigil was held to mark the anniversary, with one

man who worked at the power plant during the disaster, reflecting on the need to remember what happened there.


OLEKSANDR ZABIRCHENKO, FORMER CHERNOBYL NUCLEAR POWER PLANT WORKER (through translator): I have been coming here and we'll continue to come here while

I am alive. Maybe there will be such a time that I will have to be brought here by wheelchair. But I will still come. I want Ukraine's youth to know

about it.


NOBILO: As history is remembered, so too it can be cruelly repeated. Europe is in its biggest refugee crisis since World War II, with the U.N. saying

that more than 8 million people are now expected to flee Ukraine. Some of those may not have a say in their destination. According to Ukraine's human

rights commissioner, which accuses Moscow of deporting Mariupol residents and forcibly taking them to Russia's far east.

As Scott McLean reports, it's evoking painful memories from decades ago.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These photos were shot in a Siberian city of Nakhodka, just a stone's throw from North Korea. Russian

media reported that more than 300 Mariupol residents arrived here by train. Ukrainian human rights commissioner says the new arrivals were forcibly

deported from Ukraine and take into Siberia, a violation of the Geneva Convention.

The story appears to fit a growing pattern. Mariupol's most desperate people being pushed into Russia territory. The American ambassador to the

U.N. has raised concerns about the apparent forced removals, a tactic that is well worn in soviet history.

Your mother worked in the coal mine?


MCLEAN: Enno Uibo is 76 today, but he was only three when soldier showed up at his family home, in southern Estonia, then part of the Soviet Union,

to take his family away.

UIBO: We saw cars very rarely. Never been in a car before. This time, we got to ride a car.

MCLEAN: You couldn't understand why everyone was upset because you are excited to be able to ride in a car.

UIBO: For me, it was not understandable. My family used to be very cheerful. I couldn't understand why my brother was not making jokes, my

sister was not laughing, mom had tears in her eyes, and father was very gloomy.

MCLEAN: In the dead of winter, that pick up truck took them to the train station where they were loaded with others into a packed cattle car and

taken on a journey that took 18 days. Some people did not survive the trip.

His family was among the millions of people who under Joseph Stalin were forcibly taken from their homes and sent to remote parts of the Soviet

Union. Political dissidents, rebels, farmers who opposed the communist takeover of their land, were all marked for deportation, all in an effort

to crush any dissent.

In Siberia, Uibo's family lived in the barracks of an old prisoner of war camp. It was almost a decade before they were finally allowed to return to

their home, which by then had been destroyed. The names of the more than 22,000 Estonians who were killed or died in the brutal conditions are

inscribed on this memorial. Uibo's older brother, who took up arms for independence, is one of them.

Historian Meelis Maripuu also has family on the wall.

MEELIS MARIPUU, HISTORIAN: It was a possibility to kill the people without doing nothing. The people just died from diseases, from starvation.

MCLEAN: It made people realize they should just bow down and accept the system as it is?

MARIPUU: Yes. After such reparations, the people should accept the system as it is.

MCLEAN: What has been the lasting impact of this experience on your life?

UIBO: I lost my childhood. I had to remain myself in foreign and hostile environment.

MCLEAN: Do you see any parallels with what's happening today?

UIBO: I was sure that nothing like this could ever happen again. But what is happening in Ukraine has brought these painful memories back very

vividly. It's unbelievable that time hasn't changed anything at all. Evil has become even worse, with my whole soul I feel for Ukrainians who are

taken violently, against their will, from their homes, to the unknown.

MCLEAN: Scott McLean, CNN, Tallinn, Estonia.


NOBILO: Coming up, after a short break, North Korea's leader delivered a series of threats during a vast military parade in Pyongyang. We will tell

you about his warning that any country who threatens the north.



NOBILO: North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says the country will strengthen its nuclear arsenal, quote, at the fastest possible speed. His comments

came as the north marks the ninth anniversary of its army with a huge military parade in Pyongyang. The country's largest known intercontinental

ballistic missile was on display, along with other heavy armaments.

South Korea urged the North to stop causing tensions from the Korean peninsula, but Mr. Kim so that any country confronting the north militarily

will, quote, cease to exist.


KIM JONG UN, NORTH KOREAN LEADER (through translator): We will continue to take measures for further developing the nuclear forces of our state of the

fastest possible speed. The fundamental mission of our nuclear forces is to deter a war. But our nukes can never be confined to the single mission of

war deterrent, even at a time when the situation we are not desires of at all it's created on this land. If any forces try to violate the fundamental

interests of our state, our nuclear forces will have to decisively accomplish its unexpected second mission.


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

Tigrayan rebel forces in Ethiopia says they were throwing from the far region. Rebel leaders say Ethiopian officials have kept critical food and

aid from reaching Tigray, their presence in Afar. Ethiopia's government denies this. Northern Ethiopia has been rocked by war since 2020 through a

humanitarian cease-fire which has been in place since March.

Sri Lanka's main opposition party has started a six-day protest march. It's demanding that the country's president and cabinet resign, blaming them for

Sri Lanka's words economic crisis in decades. Protests over a fuel shortages and power cuts have been going on for weeks.


Beijing is condemning comments made by Australia's defense minister who suggested China is on a path similar to Nazi Germany in the 1930s. China's

foreign ministry said that the comments which were made on Anzac Day were outrageous and politically motivated.

And Tesla CEO Elon Musk is officially set to buy Twitter. The social media platform accepted his $44 billion offer on Monday. And now, he wants to

take it private. The deal process will take months.

But right now, advertising is what keeps Twitter alive. It faces huge pressure from shoulders to step up that revenue. And for cofounder Jack

Dorsey, Musk is the solution. He says taking Twitter, quote, back from Wall Street is the correct first step. But some are raising questions about who

end up pulling the strings once that takeover wraps up.

Jeff Bezos, another billionaire, asked whether Beijing would now get leverage over Twitter because of Tesla's financial ties to China?

So, senior media reporter Oliver Darcy is in New York for us to discuss this.

Oliver, great to have you. So, we might not see changes for months. But what are the early indications of how Elon Musk takeover is going to affect

politics and online discourse?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Well, I think there are real concerns that some of the policies that twitter has put into place over the

last few years to curb harassment, to curb hate, to curb misinformation. I think there are real concerns that those might be rollback under Musk. Musk

is someone who has described himself as a free speech absolutist. He's spoken out about what he calls censorship on the platform, including as

early as -- or as late as a couple of hours ago.

I'll read to you what he tweeted and it's kind of gives us a little hint on where he might want to take the transform. He says by free speech, he

simply means that would matches the law. He says I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law. If people want less free speech, they will

ask government to pass laws to that effect.

Of course, Twitter is a global company and so it's unclear exactly what's laws Musk is referring to here. Is he referring to U.S. laws, Twitter

operates in countries around the world. Is he going to say that he's going to abide by all local laws? Some countries have much stricter laws on free

speech, I think that Musk might like. Is he going to go against this?

This is all -- this is all unclear on what he said so far. But I think the big question is, will Donald Trump be allowed back on the platform? Musk

has not addressed this directly. But everything he is saying sort of hints in that direction.

NOBILO: We shall have to wait to see and we know you'll all over it. Thanks so much, Oliver Darcy, for joining us.

And thank you all for watching. You can find me on Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram. And I will see you again tomorrow.