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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Strikes Across Ukraine; Evacuations From Mariupol; Global Impact Of Roe v. Wade. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired May 03, 2022 - 17:00   ET



CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome. I'm Christina Macfarlane in for Bianca Nobilo. This is THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

Right now, several regions across Ukraine are being targeted by missile strikes. We'll bring you the latest on the ground.

Then we hear from evacuees who have at long last made it out of Mariupol.

And, is the U.S. Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe versus Wade? As the president calls leaks from a draft document, radical. We look at the global


Let's start now in Ukraine, where at this hour, nowhere seem safe from Russia's war machine. In the last few hours, Russian forces have launched

missiles across the country. They've struck Lviv in the west, a place that up to now has been relatively safe so far, knocking out power to the much

of the city. The map also shows where these airstrikes have been reported. You can see they stretch across from the far west to Dnipro in the east.

Let's bring in Scott McLean in Lviv for us.

Scott, you are there when the strikes happened in Lviv. What more can you tell us?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christina, yeah, so the sound of these bombs was really unmistakable. So this was three and a half, maybe

even four hours ago now that these blasts were heard inside for Lviv. The sound was unmistakable.

Moments later, you could see black smoke rising in the horizon and several different directions. And once we figured out where exactly the strikes had

hit, we headed out towards one of the sites. So where I am right now is about six kilometers or so east of the city. And what you can see here is

what is left of this fire. This is a substation that was hit just beyond this, is actually train tracks. There's no indication that the train tracks

themselves were actually damaged because we saw a train go by not long ago.

So the firefighters have been working on this for a few hours now. It's mostly out right now, it's just heat smoldering from we can see there. But

when we first arrived here, not long after the strike, there were pretty strong fire burning.

Now, CNN also spoke with a witness, who lives in this area, who saw, was outside when the missiles flew overhead. And they actually thought that it

was a Ukrainian fighter jet, because it was flying so fast and it was so loud.

Two seconds later, they said they heard the explosion, they thought that perhaps a house was hit. So they actually go to their vehicle up with a

shovel and a bucket and an ax thinking that they might actually have to go and try to pull someone out of the rubble if there were survivors. It turns

out, this electrical substation. But not long after that, they said that that was the second explosion and that was a transformer actually blowing.

So this is when the series of strikes, as you mentioned, across the country and across the city as well. Targeting, it seems, electrical and real

infrastructure. Part of the city right now, Lviv, the power is out. That means are also having issues with water as well.

There were air raid sirens that went off about an hour or so before this, usually the air raid sirens go off to mark the beginning of an air raid

alert and then at the end as well. So, lasted about an hour, or an hour and a half.

And as you mentioned, Christina, Lviv has been a place of relative safety. It has been a place where people from eastern Ukraine or southern Ukraine

have been coming to seek refuge. Missile strikes here have been rare, they have happened, this is the fourth one by my count.

But people still often pay very little attention to the air raid sirens because they go off every day -- sometimes twice a day, almost every day.

Sometimes twice a day. But it seems, as you mentioned, this is just another sign that nowhere is safe and Ukraine right now -- Christina.

MACFARLANE: Yeah, it certainly is a worrying development.

Scott from Lviv, thank you very much.

Well, on Tuesday, some fortunate few were able to leave one of you -- eastern Ukraine's most embattled places. The Azovstal steel plant in

Mariupol. More than 100 people were evacuated to Zaporizhzhia today, finally escaping the plan where they sheltered underground for weeks. They

have left behind intense fighting as Russian forces continue their assault on the Azovstal complex.

Now, CNN is not in Mariupol, but the city's mayor tells us that more than 200 civilians, including young children, were still trapped in the plant

and need a safe way out. And he says Russia has forcibly evacuated nearly 40,000 civilians from Mariupol to Russia held territory.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is in Zaporizhzhia and he spoke with some of those who escaped the nonstop bombardment in Mariupol. Take a look.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): Five buses only, but within them, the world's hopes of a way to deliver innocent

Ukrainians to safety from Russia's onslaught. Just over 100 civilians, the first to leave the basement of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol,

bringing with them stories of the circle of hell they lived in underground for weeks.

This is Olga, after two months in the dark, she struggles in sunlight still. I ask if she can see okay. Bad, she says. I can't see anything in

the sun.

Age 78, and she keeps saying, completely alone. Her entire life is in these two bags. Forty-eight hours earlier, she was pictured in Ukrainian military

video just walking out of Mariupol, cheerfully across a bridge.

Now, via the U.N. and Red Cross, talks in Moscow and Kyiv and countless Russian checkpoints, she's here, worried she cannot fend for herself as a

wound to her leg isn't healing because of her diabetes. The head torch that was her only source of light still around her neck. Her toilet roll in her


OLGA, AZOVSTAL EVACUEE (translated): Toilet paper. Everything I own, I have with me. I went to the basement with just a bag and left with it. I

thank the boys who carried me out. Thanks to them. Lord bless them. I can't say anything bad about our soldiers there. Azov or not Azov.

They held me in their hands, brought me out. One of them wanted to lift me up but I said you can't. They took each others hands to lift me. It's hard

to carry an old lady like me.

WALSH: I tell her she is healthy and has many years left under the sun.

OLGA: I'm half paralyzed.

WALSH: I ask her if she needs anything.

OLGA: Chocolate. And coffee.

WALSH: Also coming off the bus is another familiar face, Anna, with 6- month-old Siataslav (ph), embraced by a friend, one of many intense reunions here.

She was also seen in the same video as Olga leaving Mariupol. The day after, Siataslav turned 6 months old. She was a French teacher in happier


How do you feel now?

ANNA, AZOVSTAL EVACUEE: Now, I feel happy and exhausted. Because two months --

WALSH: How do you live for two months in a basement with a 4-month-old boy? How did you eat?

ANNA: Now, I smile because I can smile finally, because all these months I was crying every day. Emotionally, it was really very, very difficult. When

we didn't have any hot water for him, we just took a candle and we heat water on the candle.

WALSH: The busy world she's emerged into now different for her.

ANNA: For me now, how to say --


ANNA: Yeah, yeah, the most difficult and the most scary because now when I -- sorry. Emotional.

WALSH: Of course.

ANNA: Now, when there are a lot of noise, I have like a reflex to hide myself, you know?

WALSH: What are you going to tell him when he's older?

ANNA: I just tell him that he was really very, very brave boy. Very brave. He's very calm. He is the best child in the world. I can say.

WALSH: He's sleeping well. So that's good. That's all you can ask for.

ANNA: All the time, yeah. And also I can say that I don't want for him to repeat this story or to repeat this story with his child.

WALSH: Yet the terror they have bore witness to will fuel a loathing, but won't pass quickly.


MACFARLANE: Two months with a baby in darkness, imagine that.

Okay, while Russian president Vladimir Putin is urging the west to use his influence to stop the atrocities he claims are being committed in the

Donbas region by Ukrainian forces.


During the two hour telephone call with French President Emmanuel Macron, Putin also demanded the West stop supplying Ukraine with weapons, something

Russia has previously compared to pouring oil on the flames.

Well, CNN's Matthew Chance is live for us in Moscow.

And we do want to remind viewers that Russia has introduced strict laws regarding how the conflict in Ukraine is described and has prohibited the

broadcasts of information in regards as false.

So, Matthew, tell us what more you know regarding that call that happened between Putin and Macron.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Christina. Yeah, this, there's been this to our phone calls you mentioned and we've

had readouts from both the Kremlin and from the Elysee Palace. And it shows a very different sort of, very difficult sort of diplomatic relationship

that still continues to exist between Russia and European states, particularly France.

You know, Emmanuel Macron telling, according to the French readout, calling for an end to what he called the devastating aggression in Ukraine at the

hands of Russian forces. Macron also expressing his deep concern about Mariupol, and the situation in Donbas and he called on Russia to allow

further evacuations of that Azovstal steel factory in the city.

The Russian readout on that call, basically a bit more -- a bit more kind of, didn't accept any of those kind of allegations or any of that

responsibility, saying that it was the Ukrainian forces that were carrying out in the words of this readout, atrocities against civilians inside

Donbas, that area of eastern Ukraine where the majority of the fighting is taking place right now. And he said it was basically, Putin said his base

of the responsibility of the West to try and bring those killings to an end. For instance, by stopping the channeling of weapons to Ukrainian

forces -- something, obviously, that the west have been doubling down on, in recent weeks and in recent months.

The diplomatic phone call shows us that both sides, neither side, neither the west nor Russia are prepared to back down at the stage. And there is

still a wide gulf between. Them on how they see this ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Christina.

MACFARLANE: Good to have you there in Moscow. Matthew Chance, thank you.

We'll just hours ago, U.S. President Joe Biden visited a facility in Alabama that produces anti-tank Javelin missiles. These particular weapons

have been crucial in Ukraine's fight against Russia. Biden was clear that the U.S. and his allies will continue to firmly support Ukraine's fighting



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We know that the United States is leading our allies and partners around the world. To make sure the

greatest Ukrainians who are fighting for the future of the nation have the weapons in the capacity in admonition and equipment to defend themselves

against Putin's brutal war.


MACFARLANE: Also, Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson became the first world leader to address the Ukrainian parliament since the beginning

of the conflict. Johnson unveiled a new $376 million military aid package to the country and invoked the UK's wartime leader, Winston Churchill, in

stressing his country's support for Ukraine.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: This is Ukraine's finest hour that will be remembered and recounted for generations to come. Your children and

your grandchildren will say that Ukrainians taught the world that the brute force of an aggressor counts for nothing against the moral force of a

people determined to be free.


MACFARLANE: Well, as the U.S. and UK promised more aid, Ukraine is begging for more weapons. As Russian forces continue their assault on eastern

Ukraine, they are laying down a waste of the towns, the houses and the people in their path.

Sam Kiley now shows the devastating impact of people who have lost everything but who managed, at the very least, to keep their lives.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Since Russian rockets destroyed her home, killed her brother, all she has left is

her mother and her life.

LUDMILLA, INJURED IN RUSSIAN ARTILLARY (through translator): All at once, rods started falling one by one. There were explosions everywhere. Opposite

the kitchen in the house, the windows and frame blew to a room. We're standing there.

My brother was making the sign of the cross and I'm shouting. I turned away from him to look at the house and then another rocket hit and I was trapped

in the rubble.


I can't see my brother anymore. I fell and I don't even know how I woke up and started pulling myself out. I'm all scratched and battered. I yield,

don't really, Vita (ph),Vita, but he was gone.

KILEY (voice-over): Ludmilla's home was flattened in Lysychansk during the battle for Rubizhne, which is now in Russian hands. Putin's forces have

been driving southeast along the Donets River and south from Izium. Russia's stated aim is to capture all of the Donbass and that includes

Luhansk and Donetsk provinces.

The governor of Luhansk says that Ukraine can hold the Russians back for now.

But he says, we need powerful long range artillery. And that unfortunately is not here yet. And it could completely change the whole war.

Without the heavy weapons already promised by the U.S. and other Western allies, he says, the Russians will destroy everything with artillery and

mortars. They destroy with aircraft, they use helicopters. They're just wiping everything off the face of the earth, so there's nothing left to

hang on to.

For Ukraine, this is an existential battle. Reinforcements are being rushed to the front lines. But there's no sign of the heavy weapons needed to

block a Russian advance, much less reverse it.

The doctor says Ludmilla will be moved west for more treatment, but of fate and that of a 96-year-old mother is unknown.

We simply cannot physically handle so many wounded with such severe injuries, he says.

This elderly woman, a victim of Russian shelling that morning, joins the ward. And more than 13 million other Ukrainians have fled their homes to

escape Ludmilla's fate.

LUDMILLA (through translator): I was brought here naked, I have nothing at all, no money, no documents, nothing.

KILEY (voice-over): Yet a very survival is a small victory over Putin, because she's been neither beggared nor beaten.

Sam Kiley, CNN, in Bakhmut.


MACFARLANE: All right. After the break, a leaked documents suggests America's top court could outlaw the constitutional right to abortion. We

will look at the fallout in the U.S. and around the world.



MACFARLANE: Welcome back.

An unprecedented leak from the U.S. Supreme Court is sending shockwaves across the country and the world. Chief Justice John Roberts is launching

an investigation after a draft opinion from the court was obtained by "Politico". It suggests that the court may be about to overturn Roe versus

Wade. If it did, abortion access would no longer be a constitutional right and it would be up to individual states on how to govern it.

It's a lightning rod political issue. If overturned, it would be considered a huge victory for America's conservative movements.

Responding to the news, U.S. President Joe Biden says a woman's right to choose is fundamental.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: If the rationale of the decision were to be sustained, the whole range of writer in question, a whole range of rights.

The idea where Loving, the states make those decisions, will make those decisions would be a fundamental shift from what we have done. So, it would

go far beyond the concern about a woman's right to choose. It would go other basic rights.


MACFARLANE: Elsewhere, the Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell criticized the breach of security as shocking.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Justices must be able to discuss and deliberate in an environment of total trust and privacy. Americans cannot

receive a fair trial if politicians, pundits, bullies, and mobs get a say in court.


MACFARLANE: Access to abortion is a divisive issue globally, with leaders and lawmakers from around the world already weighing in on the potential

global impact of overturning Roe versus Wade.

My next guest says overturning Roe versus Wade might involve certain countries that want to rollback -- to abortion. Access to safe and legal

abortions is far from guaranteed. Many countries allow abortions on request, where a large number only allowing it to save the woman's life,

and a handful prohibiting it completely.

Joining me now is Amanda Klasing. She is the woman's rights advocate directorate at Humans Rights Watch.

Thank you for joining us.

We know that global access to abortion has made significant strides in recent years, but it has taken certain more conservative countries along

time to get here. If this draft becomes laws, which many expect it, how much will that rollback potentially eliminate years of progress?

AMANDA KLASING, WOMEN'S RIGHTS ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: That's a great question. I think what we need to understand that we are not

in the context of 1973 anymore, when Roe versus Wade was decided. Instead we have an international human rights legal regime that actually has

encouraged states to decriminalize abortion and ensure access to abortion as a part of their human rights obligation.

And this is a legal regime that the U.S. is a party to. There are a number of human rights treaty bodies that are calling on states to take bolder

action. And this would demonstrate the U.S. repudiating its human rights obligations. It would embolden other states who are already no longer a

susceptible as to human rights pressures.

And the U.S. has had a fixed mixed record globally on supporting access to abortions. Under the last administration, there was a lot of effort by the

state department and other parts of the Trump administration to gather up countries that were hostile to access to abortion to ban to gather and

really push global consensus away from a rights respecting future. This would give more ammunition, if you will, to those states.

MACFARLANE: And just talking about the practicalities of this, in countries where we know draconian total bans are in place, what impact is

that actually having on the abortion rate? How much more dangerous a situation is that creating for women who are taking risks as a result?

KLASING: It's a great question. What we do know based on statistics globally is that criminalized abortion does not make abortion go away. It

just dries that underground. When it drives it underground, it creates increased risks for, particularly women living in poverty, young, women

indigenous women, women of ethnic minorities, women who don't have access of good, quality health care that they can pay for out of pocket.


There are access to safe, medical abortions that actually decrease the risk of mortality, but that is difficult for people who have challenges

accessing information, challenging accessing money needed, and so you see, when they are having to go into hospitals, for post abortion care, you see

women suffering from sepsis and other types of pregnancy related disorders because they did not access care in time, or because of unsafe procedures.

And more troubling, from a state perspective, is that you see women being prosecuted for crimes based on obstetric emergencies and actually put in

jails for years and years at a time because they cannot prove that their miscarriage was not induced. Instead, they're being charged with murder or

something that would increase the likelihood that they would stay in jail for very long time.

MACFARLANE: Just briefly, Amanda, if this law is an act, or are there any countries you expect to -- you know, countries that would change their laws

if this comes to pass?

KLASING: I think that it would encourage countries like Poland, that has already been quite emboldened to restrict assets to abortion, to be even

more so, to be more vocal. I think there are countries that are on the precipice of decriminalizing abortion through their legislative processes,

or through constitutional courts, that may see this as a discouragement from doing so.

But I want to point to the flip side, that there is an increasing trend in decriminalizing abortion. I think countries like Mexico show that there are

strong constitutional courts that are looking at international law and international trans, to demonstrate what it means to have a rights

respected law around access to abortion. Hopefully there is enough pressure in the other direction.

MACFARLANE: Yeah, we would hope. Plenty more to come of this in the weeks ahead. But for now, Amanda Klasing, thank you for joining us.

And, unfortunately, we have run out of time here on the show. Thank you so much for watching. We'll be back again tomorrow with THE BRIEF.