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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Explosions Reported In Kyiv; Biden Seeks New War Funding; Erdogan In Saudi Arabia. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired April 28, 2022 - 17:00   ET



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

Two heavy explosions have been reported in Kyiv, just after the UN secretary general wrapped up talks in the Ukrainian capital.

And, U.S. President Joe Biden has signed a supplemental 33 billion dollar request to fund Ukraine in its fight against Russia.

Then, the Turkish president arises in Saudi Arabia, in his first visit to the kingdom since the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russian strikes that hit Kyiv a few hours ago were in attempt to humiliate the UN. He says that the

attack happened immediately after his talks with the UN secretary general, while Antonio Guterres was still on the capital. Officials say an apartment

building was hit, injuring at least ten people.

Meantime, disturbing developments out of Kherson in southern Ukraine, one of the first cities to fall under Russian control. Russian occupiers are

trying to erase its Ukrainian identity. They have appointed their own officials to run Kherson. One of them says the city will be using the ruble

next week, adding that a return to Ukrainian control is, quote, impossible.

NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg says we're can last for months, even years, but he says that the alliance will continue supporting Ukraine

as long as it takes, despite Russia's warning to stop armed shipments. U.S. President Joe Biden is ready to dramatically increase assistance to

Ukraine. He's asking Congress to approve a new $33 billion package of military and humanitarian aid.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The cost of this fight is not cheap, but caving to aggression is going to be more costly if we allow it

to happen. As long as the assaults and atrocities continue, we will continue to supply military assistance.


NOBILO: Russia is trying to get control of the Dnieper River that runs through the center of Ukraine. , but Ukrainian forces and civilians are

holding out.

Nick Paton Walsh shows us.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): If Moscow had any surprises left in this war, it is along here. The other side

of the river has been rushes for weeks, but here the western side is caught in the fast changing landscape of this week's push.

That's the prize over there, the Dnieper River up past which on the left side bank here, the Russians are trying to push, wanting control of both

sides of that vital part of Ukraine.

Here in Novovoronstsovka, we are told there are a handful of Russian tanks just over a kilometer away on its outskirts pushing, probing, but

ultimately kept at bay by Ukrainian forces that still hold the town. Resilience here embodied in Ludmila under the threat of rocket fire,

planting onions.

I'm here until victory, she said.

Her children have gone. It's just her and her mother. (INAUDIBLE) OK, an 80 year old mother and her staying here.

Her mother says she's not going anywhere and she's not going to leave her alone.

All our windows have blown out, she says.

Ukrainian forces who don't want their positions filmed are dotted around the town. As to other signs of innocent lives lost here, rockets peeking

out from under the water. And this boat in which 14 civilians tried to flee Russian occupation on April the seventh, four of them died when Moscow's

troops opened fire when it was 70 meters out.

Yet still, the desperate keep fleeing. This morning, these women left behind their men to defend their homes near Novovoronstsovka.

We ran, ran early in the morning said Luda (ph). They didn't let us out. We're shields for them. They don't let us out by foot or by bicycle. We go

in the fields, we ran.

Our soldiers were two kilometers away, Nadeszha adds, and we ran to them. What they need they take, she said, they take cars.


They draw Zeds on everything.

As their new unwanted guests demanded milk and food at gunpoint, they had a glimpse of their warped mindset. They say they've come to liberate us, Luda

said, these aggressors, that's what they told us. They say America is fighting here but using the hands of Ukrainians to do it. That's what they

say. Another claim to be fueled by the violence of the long war with separatists in the east.

In general, the Donetsk militants say, you've been bombing us for eight years, now we bomb you. Across the fields, loathing and artillery swallow

whole once happy worlds.


NOBILO: Thanks to CNN international security editor Nick Paton Walsh for that report.

The UN secretary generals held talks with Ukraine's president after visiting Bucha just outside of Kyiv. Russian forces are accused of

committing war crimes there and in nearby towns. Local police have said they recovered the bodies of more than 1,000 civilians in the Kyiv area,

and that 50 to 70 percent of them have bullet wounds.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: I fully support international -- I appeal to the Russian federation to accept to cooperate with the

International Criminal Court.


NOBILO: Ukraine's general prosecutor says some of the Russian soldiers allegedly involved in what's happened have been identified. She says they

are part of a brigade that was awarded honorary title by Vladimir Putin earlier this month.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also called for an escape route from Mariupol the city in southeastern Ukraine has been under siege since this

war began. He says that he wants to humanitarian corridors to open up, and the time is running out.


GUTERRES: Mariupol is a crisis within a crisis! Thousands of civilians need lifesaving assistance. Many are elderly, they need medical care. Or,

they have limited mobility. They need an escape route out of the apocalypse.


NOBILO: Ukrainian forces are holed up inside a steel plant complex in Mariupol, the city's last line of defense, and hundreds of civilians are

also said to be trapped inside.

CNN's Isa Soares takes a closer look at what's the plants owner calls a humanitarian catastrophe.


ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ivan used to live on Mariupol's Peace Avenue.

You want your city to remain the same as it was in your memory, he tells me. That city now lies in ruins, a shell of what it once was. And the steel

plant his family has dedicated three generations to, suddenly finds itself as Mariupol's last line of defense.

Seeing your city being destroyed is horrible, he tells me, you can compare it to a relative dying in your arms, and seeing him or her dying gradually,

organ after organ failing, and you can do nothing.

For his colleague, Alexei, it's also personal. He's lost not just friends, but his mother-in-law. To shelling when they first tried to flee Mariupol.

How does this make you feel? You must be so angry.

My emotions disappeared already there in Mariupol, he says. That is why there is nothing but hate.

Alexei has worked at the steel plant for 26 years, he's one of 11,000 employees who have kept the iron furnaces turning here. A major play in the

metals industry, Azovstal produces 4 million tons of steel per year. It's metal shining brightly, in Manhattan's Hudson Yards and London's yard.

Now, as Russia pummels its plant and production jobs to a heart halt. The CEO of the company behind Azovstal Steel tells me at least 150 of his

employees have been killed, and thousands are still unaccounted for.

YURIY RYZHENKOV, CEO, METINVEST: Out of the 11,000 employees of Azovstal, only about 4,500 people get out of Mariupol, and getting contact with us.

SOARES: This is our plant, he says, he works here, says his little girl in a promotional video.

Built in 1933 under Soviet rule, Azovstal was partially demolished during the Nazi occupation in the 1940s. Now, it faces the wrath of a president

who says he is denazifying it, attacking the very foundation that his country helped build.

Holed up inside are thought to be around a thousand civilians, hiding in shelters, women, children, and the elderly, who haven't seen sunlight in

more than 50 days.

And then, there is the injured in field hospitals like this one.


Russian forces continue to encircle the plant, and they are not budging.

RYZHENKOV: I don't think it's the plant that he wants. I think he's about the symbolism.

SOARES: A win in the port city of Mariupol would provide President Putin with a land bridge to Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in

2014. If fully taken, Rinat Akhmetov, one of Ukraine's richest men, and the major shareholder of the group behind Azovstal Steel, tells me via email,

under no circumstances will these plants operate under the Russian occupation.

Alexei agrees. Telling me, after what they did, never. But a wall of steel defending, to the bitter end, the place they have called home.

Isa Soares, CNN, Lviv, Ukraine.


NOBILO: Ukrainian military says Russia is bombarding eastern Ukraine with intense artillery and Russian rocket fire. Often the case, it's civilian

suffering the most. At least 27 houses were damaged in at least one village outside of Donetsk. The head of the regional military association posted

these pictures to Telegram, showing extensive damage, as you can see.

Now, to the story of a young Ukrainian girl, she is now free after being taken into Russian occupied territory and becoming the subject of a

propaganda campaign.

Matt Rivers speaks with her.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Kira Obedinsky, her new iPad is everything. She's 12, after all. But the shiny

screen is also a welcome distraction from an ordeal no 12-year-old should ever have to endure. Because just a few weeks ago, the young Ukrainian

wasn't safe like she is now in Kyiv. But in a hospital run by Russian- backed separatists, forcibly separated from her family.

When the Russians first invaded Mariupol, Kira's dad was still alive. Her mom had died just after she was born, and when Russian bombs started to

fall, they sheltered in a neighbor's basement, she recalls.

But they hit the house we were staying, she says. We were buried in the cellar. Then the rescuers took us out of the wreckage.

Her dad did not emerge, Kira told us. Now an orphan, she started to walk, to try and find safety amidst chaos, and then another explosion from a


My friend saw something on the ground, she says, and she hit it accidently with her boot. The military came after the explosions and took us to a

hospital because we were bleeding.

But in some ways her journey was just beginning. In the chaos, she was picked up by soldiers she says spoke Russian and eventually brought to a

Russian-held area in Donetsk.

I was taken there at night, she says. They took shrapnel out of me, out of my ear. I screamed and cried a lot.

It was shortly after this happened that CNN first learned about and reported her story, because Russia paraded it on state TV. State propaganda

showed images of Kira in a Donetsk hospital and said she was being treated well.

Convinced she was being mistreated, her family went public with her story, and it worked. A deal between Russia and Ukraine allowed her grandfather to

travel to Russia and bring her back to Kyiv, where she told us what Russian state TV did not.

It's a bad hospital there. The food there is bad. The nurses scream at you. The bed is bent like this. There wasn't enough space for all of us inside.

None of that came out on Russian state TV. Her injuries have largely healed now, though she'll stay in the hospital a little longer. It was there

someone gave her that iPad, after a presidential visit came bearing gifts this week.

She didn't love all that attention, though. So, for now, she says she just wants to see her cat and spend time with her grandfather, recovering from

the horrors of war, one game at a time.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Kyiv, Ukraine.


NOBILO: Let's take a look at more the global reaction.

As Finland and Sweden debate whether to seek NATO membership, NATO secretary general says the process would go quickly if the countries decide

to apply. Jens Stoltenberg says both countries already very close to the alliance. He said intermission is will be put into place until they become

formal members of NATO.

Germany's chancellor is warning that his country must be prepared for a possible halt of Russian gas. His caution comes after Russia stopped

shipments to Poland and Bulgaria for refusing to pay for that gas in rubles. The Chancellor Olaf Scholz made these remarks in Japan during his

first official trip to Asia.

And, Canadian lawmakers have voted unanimously to declare Russia's attacks in Ukraine a genocide. Parliament members say Russia's possible war crimes

include mass atrocities, the willful killing of civilians, the forcible transfer of children and torture and rape.


The Kremlin denies it is targeting civilians, calls many of the allegations fake.

Israel has taken an almost 300 Holocaust survivors from Ukraine. Many of the elderly are shocked at having to once again flee their country. Dova

Govergeviz is one of the refugees, she was forced to flee Kyiv to escape the Nazi invasion during World War II. Now, at 100 years old, Dova has fled

Kyiv again, not knowing if she will ever return.


DOVA GOVERGEVIZ, 100-YEAR-OLD HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR FROM UKRAINE (through translator): Of course, I said to myself, oh my God, what a nightmare.

Here we go again with the war, bombings, evacuations, leaving your home behind. Not being sure if you will stay alive or not. What about Putin

himself? What can I say about him?


NOBILO: Nova joins more than 160,000 Holocaust survivors and victims of anti-Semitism who live in Israel. On Thursday, the country commemorated the

victims of the Holocaust with sirens sounding for two minutes.

And, coming up for you after the break, division in Europe as the EU scrambles to respond to Russia's rules on the gas payments. What this means

for Europe's energy supply, next.

And, a trip to mend fences. Turkey's president is in Saudi Arabia, his first visit since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in

Istanbul. Details ahead.


NOBILO: United on Ukraine, divided Russia. European Union is right now split over how to respond to Moscow's demand that it's gas be paid for in

rubles. Russia's President Putin is already following through on his threat to cut off unfriendly countries, which don't follow his rules. Russia, on

Wednesday, suspended gas shipments to Poland and Bulgaria.


And today, top officials in Russia say the method of converting euros to rubles runs afoul of EU sanctions.

However, at least two EU energy companies are in talks with gas companies about the payments. First from Austria and Germany both heavily dependent

on Russian gas, saying that the plan is not breach EU law.

So, let's bring in "Financial Times" associate editor and CNN global economic analyst, Rana Foroohar to discuss this with us.

So, Rona, is it possible for European countries to pay in rubles while still complying with EU sanctions? Can you explain some of the loopholes

being attempted here?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, you know, I can't get into the details of the loopholes because I think that they are still being

worked out. But, you are seeing the head of the European Commission, Van der Leyen, say, no way, you know, this is a violation.

But, you are seeing companies moving ahead. These things are moving targets. At the end of the day, it comes down to power. Who is holding

power? I mean, Russia is holding power over Europe, in fact, holding Europe hostage over energy.

Europeans are trying to band together with Americans and hold Russia accountable to the power of sanctions. Companies want to make money. Many

vulnerable states in Europe feel that they really can't risk going into a recession by saying, no, we are not going to pay in rubles. This is a

moving target we do not know how this story is going to end.

NOBILO: So, let's pick up on that point and some of the countries that are more vulnerable here and talk about how Europeans is divided. So, I'll show

viewers this map. This shows, if we can pull them up, that Hungary has agreed to pay in rubles. Germany and Austria are in talks. Poland and

Bulgaria have now had their gas cost. Where does the rest of the block stand?

FOROOHAR: Again, moving target. These are major political decisions that are being hashed out in real-time. I mean, the scary reality is that Putin

may decide to say, all right Germany, all right, you know, whatever larger European country you want to name. If you are not going to play ball my

way, then we are going to cut off gas. You know, this is someone who is not making decisions based on economic efficiency. He's making them based on

power plays.

You know, Europe is, sadly, I think, reaping what it has sown by becoming dependent on Russian gas over the last few decades. This is something that

is very much still a work in progress, and I am not holding my breath yet. I think it is possible that you could see this all ending in tears with a

cut off from one side or another, and Europe ending up in a serious recession because of it.

NOBILO: And one of those countries which has done the least to really dig dangle itself from Russian gas, Germany, of course, the biggest buyer.

Today, the chancellor said that Germany should be prepared to hold gas imports. The vice chancellor also said that it is time to try this

unrealistic plan. What could that plan look like for Germany? One of the other options?

FOROOHAR: Well, for starters, cutting off Russian energy. Let's be honest. This will immediately plunged Germany into a recession. There is no way

around that.

It would also have incredible supply chain effects. You know, Germany is the economic powerhouse of Europe. It is the export engine of Europe. A lot

of industrial products from that country fuel other parts of the world.

So, it would be a major, major economic event. No getting around that. On the other hand, this is war.

You know, I think that we keep trying to look at these questions in terms of economic efficiencies, and predictable market impact. There is no such

thing. We are in the realm of psychology, now. We are in the realm of geopolitics, now. It is very hard to know how it's going to end.

NOBILO: That is an excellent point. And it's also the way we have to view it. The war in Ukraine, obviously, reverberating far beyond European gas

markets. Early today, we learned that the U.S. economy contracted for the first time in two years. And, in just the last hour, Amazon reported its

first quarterly loss since 2015.

Now, Amazon is blaming a big investment in electric car makers. But, it is also blaming the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. So, how is this war

having a wider impact on the global economic landscape?

FOROOHAR: It's all about inflation. We saw this in the very beginning. Immediately following the war, energy prices spiked. Then, he started

seeing food crisis spiking. That inflation, of course, hits companies like Amazon, but it also hits individuals in their wallets.


And you see the effects of that, because globally, you are starting to see these involuntary buying strikes. You know, consumers are just not buying

things that they don't have to buy. Companies like, forget about even Amazon, Apple is scaling back the number of models of certain phones that

they are going to be producing because they don't think people will buy them.

Are folks going to be traveling this summer? Will people be driving to vacation spots? Very much up for grabs.

If you start to see those dominoes falling, that will impact worker profits, just like what we have seen from Amazon. You know? The biggest and

richest most powerful company in the world, if not the most powerful, having problems because of this war.

What happens in other countries -- if other ones have problems. But if their share prices go down? What effect does that have in terms of making

people that might be owning stock feel poorer?

Again, they start to cut back. It is a snowball cycle. This is how the major market corrections start to happen.

NOBILO: Rana Foroohar, thank you so much for joining us. Always great to talk to you.

As our viewers can see there, the Amazon stock price down 10 percent. So, we will keep an eye on that for you.

Italy's constitutional court has ruled that children should have both of their parents family names if both parents agree. The court said that the

tradition by which all newborn babies are automatically named after their father is, quote, discriminatory and harmful to the identity of the child.

Parliament will not have to approve the legislation, for this to go into effect.

If that happens, parents will still have the option of choosing just one of their family names if there is joint agreement.

Well, thank you all for watching this evening. I will see you again tomorrow.