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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

CNN Gets Access To Victory Day Parade In Moscow; Ukraine: Russian Forces Firing Cruise Missiles Near Odesa; Sri Lankan Prime Minister Resigns Amid Protests Over Economic Crisis. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired May 09, 2022 - 17:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST: Hello, and welcome. I'm Bianca Nobilo in London. And this is THE GLOBAL BRIEF on May 9th.

Today is the Victory Day in Russia, marking the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in 1945. Just eight decades later, and it was anticipated to

be a pivotal day, regarding Moscow's military action in Ukraine. We'll be taking a look on the day's events in both Russia and Ukraine.

It starts in Moscow by Russian President Vladimir Putin accused NATO and the West of creating a threat absolutely unacceptable to Russia. It has

defended what it calls, quote, special military operation in Ukraine.

CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance was at the Victory Day parade in Moscow, and he has this report. But we do want to remind you

that Russia has introduced strict laws regarding how the conflict in Ukraine is described. It also prohibits the broadcast of information that

the Kremlin says is false.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is how Russia glorifies its embattled military.

Spectacular display, a stony faced commander in chief, President Putin, inspects the troops playing such a high price for his special military

operation in Ukraine. On the stands, from the hundreds of invited guests, leisurely loyal officials and their families or foreign dignitaries get a

front line seat.

This year, for the first time in two decades of reporting Russia and Ukraine, I was invited too.

I can tell you it's always a day of huge national pride in Russia, but this year, it's especially poignant here in the stands, viewing this spectacular

display here in Red Square in the center of Moscow, because this isn't just about commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany 1945 by the Soviet Union and

its allies, it's also about celebrating what the Russian military is doing now, these troops being celebrated, and weapons being shown here today,

it's the same ones that's are fighting between that horrific conflict.

Against that backdrop, the armored columns rumbling over the cobblestone of Red Square, they seem less heroic and the intercontinental ballistic

missiles even more sinister. But the Kremlin leader drew repeat links between the sacrifices of the Second World War, between millions of Soviet

citizens were killed, and the battle currently being fought in Ukraine, link Ukrainians and their allies reject.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I am now addressing our armed forces and the militias of Donbas. You are fighting

for our motherland, for its future, so that no one forgets the lessons of the Second World War. So that there is no place in the world for tortures,

death squads, and Nazis.

CHANCE: But it is what was not said that was most conspicuous. There had been wide speculation Putin would use this parade to formally declare war

on Ukraine. And announce a general mobilization to bolster this stuttering forces there.

Conscious perhaps not all Russians, many of whom gathered to commemorate victory day outside of Red Square, were fully on board with more bloodshed.

I'm in two minds, I feel very sorry for the civilians suffering in Ukraine, the children, the orphans.

We are at war, another says, I feel sadness for our boys dying on the front lines.

When it comes to the Second World War, with Russia causes great patriotic war, this country has memories.

After the victory day parade tens and thousands led by President Putin himself marched through the streets of Moscow, many carrying photographs of

relatives who fought the Nazi.


Putin held a picture of his own dad.

The state media also broadcast images of people carrying recent photographs, too, of soldiers apparently killed this year. The effort to

connect Russia's current conflict with its past glory is relentlessly.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.


NOBILO: In stark contrast to the pageantry in Moscow, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, walk the streets of Kyiv alone for his victory day

address. Ukrainians, of course, were part of the Soviet forces who defeated Nazi Germany, and President Zelenskyy says Ukraine will now defeat the

Russians as well.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We are fighting for our children's freedoms, and therefore, we will win. We will

never forget what our ancestors did in World War II, which killed more than 8 million Ukrainians. Very soon, there will be two victory days in Ukraine.

And some won't have any. We won then, and we will win now.

Happy Victory over Nazism Day.


NOBILO: Pro-Russian separatists held Victory Day celebrations in several occupied towns and cities. This giant black and orange ribbon carried

through Mariupol is a traditional symbol of military valor in Russia.

The Mariupol City Council says that the occupiers are, quote, celebrating on the burns of Mariupol's residents. Russia has level much of the city,

it's intensifying its attacks on a steel plant with the last remaining fighters are holed up.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is following developments from Kryvyi Rih in Ukraine.

Nick, Putin's victory day is a classic case of him inverting the truth, and how have Ukrainians reacted to this pomp and propaganda and has there been

any change or intensification on the battlefield like some predicted?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I think it's important remember that we've been in a country that's been bracing for the

worst over the last 48 hours, it may still be the case, there's signs tonight that perhaps Odesa is receiving cruise missile strikes, possibly

three, possibly five hitting targets from a shopping center to residential areas there as well.

They've had cruise missile attacks over the past days, but many think of looking across the country to see whether the 9th of May would be marked by

an intensification and we have seen some Russian bits to progress in the east of the country, in the direction of Bakhmut and Severodonetsk. And, of

course, they're still recovering and that same area from the shocking attack of an airstrike on the school where people were sheltering, they

believe possibly as many 60 people have died, they're simply trying to crawl from the rubble to work out how bad that damage was.

In short, Bianca, put aside all the pageantry and the ludicrous suggestions in Moscow that they indeed are fighting Nazis, it's been another day of

Ukraine simply trying to defend itself from this unprovoked invasion by its large neighbor, and one in which we've seen Ukraine's continued to die and

when indeed which President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in that speech said, this is in a battle between two armory's, it's a battle between two views of the

world. Essentially Ukraine's desire to be more West and looking to join NATO, to join the European and of course the utter fear that strikes in

your territory and system of Russia, that may somehow impinge upon the power structures of the Kremlin rely upon.

But here, 9th of May so far it appears to be comparatively less of a day of Russian uptick in activity than many were fearing. Certainly -- early on

today and they were nervous from 4:00 a.m., that something could've happened, because of a symbolic nature of victory day itself. It doesn't

mean things can't, this image because Vladimir Putin didn't stand there and telegraph's future military plans, that he has none.

They're American officials warning now that there could be looking at this dragging on for months. The idea of long range bombers, cruise missiles,

perhaps we saw action in Odesa tonight, that will lead many Ukrainians deeply concerned about how long they can sustain this successful defense so

far, Bianca.

NOBILO: Nick Paton Walsh for us in Kryvyi Rih in Ukraine, thank you very much.

And reacting to Russian President Putin's speech, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations warned the conflict in Ukraine will continue for a long

time. As we were just hearing from Nick.

Let's listen to what Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.


LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: President Putin has recognized he has no victory to celebrate. His efforts in Ukraine

have not succeeded. He was not able to go into Ukraine and bring them to their knees in a few days and have them surrender. He gave up on taking




NOBILO: And speaking to the European parliament in Strasburg, French President Emmanuel Macron described Mr. Putin's speech as bellicose


He also said that the EU and Russia showed two very different faces of May 9th and it's significance.

Now, for weeks, analysts, experts, and world leaders have warned that Russia's Victory Day may be a turning point in its war against Ukraine. But

Vladimir Putin has not official declared war, nor has he declared victory, or shifted in strategy at least and what he said.

Now the world has left guessing as to what he's going to do next.

So, let's bring in retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling who joins me from Florida.

Always good to have you on the program, sir.

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, U.S. ARMY (RET): Thank you, Bianca.

NOBILO: What did Putin's victory day speech tell you about what he perceives the success of this war so far, and his long term strategic


HERTLING: Well, he didn't address it specifically, Bianca, and I was one of those that you just mentioned, who predicted that he would declare some

sort of victory, some sort of change in the approach of the war, a formal declaration of mobilization. But he didn't do any of those things, he

continue to give the old stripes and old lies about NATO attacking Crimea, Donbas, and Russia. Nazis are everywhere and the West is weak -- all those

kinds of things.

But one of the things that I heard him say that was critically important was he specifically mentioned the war in the Donbas. So, that indicates to

me that he has changed his overall strategy, his desire for operations and other parts of Ukraine, and what that may mean in terms of tactics because

of his inability, his military's inability to come to closure on some of their objectives, strategically, tactically, and operationally.

I also think you can tell by the tone of the speech that he's probably very concerned about the current status of Russia on the world stage, both from

the standpoint of not only their military being proven, starting out on a three-day operation where they had so many extreme objectives. And then

now, we're in the 74 of this operation and he still hasn't really achieved any major victories, but also the political implications, the economic

inflations that are getting worse by the day, and how he's being treated on the world stage.

NOBILO: Now, I'm sure you've seen the horrific video and reports of the brutal bombing of Bilohorivka, killing 60 in a school which is just the

latest of Russian's attacks on Russian speaking areas of Ukraine in the East.

What do you think the Russians intention is with these towns that they decimate? Are they expecting Ukrainians living there who survive, to live

under them?

HERTLING: Well, it's a continued approach to try and subjugate Ukrainian people to the Russian well, to treat them like animals in a very barbaric,

bestiality, and criminal way. This is just a continuation of the Russian method of trying to subdue the Ukrainian people, but it certainly hasn't

seemed to affect their well this far.

In fact, there are many analysts, me included, that seem to indicate and think that it's actually harden their well, harden their desire to beat

Russia. And when you're talking about specifically in the so-called Russian-speaking areas, the areas of the east where the Russian language is

still a priority amongst the population, he is even -- Mr. Putin's even losing the support of many of those who might be Russian-leaning, but now

they're coming truly Ukrainian patriots.

NOBILO: That's why that strategy has never made any sense to me, because they've often been the hardest on towns which traditionally might have pro-

Russian sympathies. Obviously, not now.

Now, the Russian advance -- sorry, go ahead.

HERTLING: No, I'm sorry. I interrupted, you please.

NOBILO: I'm just going to speak more about the Russian advance in the east, which we see now more or less circling the strategic towns of

Sloviansk and Kramatorsk. How close do you think they are to being captured by the Russians?

HERTLING: I don't think they're very close at all, Bianca. The Russians are having some successful tactical operations, for a short period of time.

And every time they advance, there seems to be a recurring Ukrainian counterattack that pushes them back.

What we are seeing in the north in the Kharkiv, in the area of Luhansk and Donetsk, they are, the Russians are achieving some objectives. But we are

seeing those are being contested across the board by the Ukrainian forces.

I'm watching very closely that the northeastern fight, because I think that is where we see the majority of the Russian units being based, and

conducting attacks from the northeast.


Not as many in the southeast, but many in the northeast, and in the north in Kharkiv. But the Ukrainian army has been exceedingly successful in

pushing those back, once they commit, once the Russians commit maneuver forces. Yes, there certainly taking a great deal of artillery attacks, and

missile and rocket attacks from the Russian forces.

But I think we will see in the coming days that the effectiveness of Ukrainian counter-fighters is going to even the odds in those areas and in

fact, take the battle to, not only the maneuver forces but the Russian artillery as well.

NOBILO: Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, thanks for joining us. We'll have you on again soon.

HERTLING: Okay, thank you, Bianca.

Well, the world focuses on what's next in the complaint, it remains important to look back on what's already happened, and deal with the

lasting effects. Officials in Ukraine have accused Russian troops of using rape as a weapon.

As CNN Sarah Sidner reports, prosecutors announced changing the rape investigation protocols to make sure that survivors are heard and

perpetrators are held accountable.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this pine forest, the remnants of a nasty battle caught in the crossfire, a farming village in

Ukraine's Brovary (ph) district. Here, Russian soldiers are accused of doing more than destroying homes, two women say, they raped them too.

MIKA, RAPE SURVIVOR (through translator): What the son of a pitch did to me was horrible. He forced me to, I can't talk about it -- I'm ashamed and


SIDNER: She shows us where Russian soldiers fired a shot in her home in March. She said she heard them say their names. One was Oleg, the other


MIKA: Danya started to pull me by the hood. I told him it's painful. He said, come with me.

SIDNER: She says they dragged her down the street to their neighbor's small farm house. There, a grandmother, her daughter, her daughter's

husband and her grandson were all inside sleeping when the soldiers arrived.

What happened when the soldiers arrived at your house?

VALENTINA, MOTHER OF RAPE SURVIVOR (through translator): I heard them banging at the door, so hard that everything around was shaking, even the


SIDNER: She said she stayed in the house. Her son in law went outside with the soldiers and neighbor.

MIKA: There was a short conversation. Then there was a sound, like a bang. Shot like a firework. My body was shaking.

SIDNER: They killed him, she says. They took his wife while the Russian soldiers marched the two to this empty house. She says she heard them


MIKA: They were calling each other by name saying, look who we are going to (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

SIDNER: She said she tried to reason with the soldier who got a hold of her.

MIKA: Danya told me he was 19. I told him I was 41. My younger son is the same age as you. I asked if he had a girlfriend, she said, yes. She's 17

but I haven't had sex with her.

Then, why are you doing this to me? He answered, because he hadn't seen a woman in two weeks.

SIDNER: She says the soldier promised not to kill her, but when she escaped, she had to risk her life just to get home because this village was

under heavy bombardment.

MIKA: There were bullets flying around from the forest, I though, oh my gosh, someone will see me and kill me.

SIDNER: The two women survived the assault but then became the target of nasty gossip by other neighbors who saw Russian soldiers roaming around one

of their homes. Grandmother Valentina explained why, saying her traumatized daughter went to the Russian commander demanding help burying her husband.

VALENTINA: You guys came at night and kill him. You have to help us bury him.

SIDNER: We're standing on the grave?

She takes us to her backyard and points to two patches of dirt. Her daughter couldn't bear the pain and left the country. Her neighbor decided

to stay and fight back.

MIKA: Did they see it? They didn't see it. I can accuse some of them too.

SIDNER: Do you feel like you've been punished twice, once by the rape and then second time by the rumors in the village?

MIKA: Yes, it's really true. But God can see everything.

SIDNER: Since the war began, the ombudsman for human rights for Ukraine says reports of rape on the hotline have exploded.

LYUDMYLA DENISOVA, UKRAINE OMBUDSMAN FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (through translator): More than 700 calls since the 1st of April.

SIDNER: The United Nations says rape is often used as a weapon of war, but the ombudsman says tracking down evidence and identifying perpetrators of

any war crime is especially daunting.

It sounds to me like many of these war crimes will go unpunished. How do you not lose your mind listening to these horrific stories of rape?

DENISOVA: It's very difficult. You know, someone has to do it for our fighters risking their lives on the front lines.


They are in danger every minute. This is my own frontline.

SIDNER: One of Ukraine's top prosecutors investigating this case told us the details described by this women behind this gate very clearly

constitute war crimes. This survivor says she intends to help them prove it.

What should happen to these soldiers?

MIKA: I want them to be punished by the court. The judges must decide what to do with them, shoot them, kill them, tear them apart. The bastards.

SIDNER: Sara Sidner, CNN, Brovary District, Ukraine.


NOBILO: If you would like to help people in Ukraine, please go to You'll find several ways to support those in need.

And coming up after the break, we'll have more on the civil unrest in Sri Lanka, with pro and anti-government protesters have clashed over the state

of the economy.


NOBILO: It's the worst unrest Sri Lanka has seen in seven decades. And after weeks of it, the prime minister has resigned.

Both pro and anti government protests broke out on Monday, prompting a nationwide curfew. Colombia's national hospital says more than 150 people

were injured. The country is struggling with severe economic hardship. Sri Lanka's 22 million people are suffering from power cuts and a shortage of

essentials like fuel and medicine.

And CNN's Will Ripley is monitoring the turmoil in Sri Lanka.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There have been calls for Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign for weeks, weeks

of civil unrest has been going on really since March. Anti-government protesters have been clashing with ruling party supporters. There is been

violence. There have been alleged arson 's. Dozens of people sent to the hospital.

And police have been out, with tear gas, water cannons. There is a nationwide curfew. They even called paramilitary, military forces to try to

calm things down.


Nothing worked.

So, on Monday, the prime minister announced his resignation. He called for an all party government, an interim government to try to figure things out.

The problem is that people are angry not just at him, but at his family, which is a political dynasty in Sri Lanka. His brother is currently the

president. He actually had to resign. The prime minister has been prime minister for times. He's been president twice himself.

He resigned back in 2018, and then was basically reappointed by his brother, when his brother was elected president in 2019. That's the year

that many say that the economic crisis began for Sri Lanka, starting with Easter bombings, which caused a dramatic drop in tourism, and of course he

had the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, just as Sri Lanka was bouncing back from the tourism decline from the Easter bombings.

They reopened to tourism August of last year, but there was also a cargo ship fire late last year, that basically dumped plastic pellets all over

their beaches. So, now, they've had dip in tourism yet again with all of these weeks of unrest.

So people who were opposing the government say that yes, despite the difficult circumstances that Sri Lanka faced, it's really the family that's

at the top, that is corrupt, and that is financially mismanaging money.

So the question is, will this all party ever be enough to classify the protesters, and stop the violence? Or they're going to continue to demand

that even the president, also step down? He still has quite a bit of time left, couple of years on his term.

Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


NOBILO: Let's take a look at the other political stories making an impact around the world today.

Leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party says he will resign, if fine for breaking lockdown rules. Police say they're investigating an alleged

lockdown gathering attended by Keir Starmer. He says he's absolutely clear that no laws were broken. Starmer has previously called for Prime Minister

Boris Johnson to resign for violations of lockdown rules.

And Hong Kong's next leader says safeguarding security and further integration into China will be high on his political agenda. John Lee was

confirmed as chief executive Sunday by members of a Chinese government committee, stacked with pro-Beijing members. He was the sole candidate

formerly to take office from the 1st of July.

Votes are still being counted in the Philippines, but the son of former dictator looks headed for victory. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., also known as

Bongbong, is the only son of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos. A win would return the Marcos in a seat to power more than three decades after the

family fled a mass uprising.

And that was your GLOBAL BREIF. Thank you for watching. I'll see you again tomorrow.