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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Ukraine Gains; Nordic Nations; Journalist Killed In West Bank. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired May 11, 2022 - 17:00   ET



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

Ukrainian forces gain battlefield gains near the country's second biggest city. Meanwhile, new leaders in the now Russian-controlled city of Kherson

appeared to be incorporated into Russia. Our reporters bring you the latest on the ground.

Then, from neutral to NATO. We look at the shifting stance for the Nordic countries.

And, an Al Jazeera journalist was killed in the West Bank. We speak to the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Ukraine says that Russia is very worried about a counter offensive in the eastern city of Kharkiv, warning that Russian troops could be regrouping

for a new attack. Ukrainian forces have retaken several towns in the last few days, but a senior official says that Russia has now assembled about 20

battalion groups just across the border, in Belgorod.

Ukraine says that foreign-supplied weapons are lifelines for soldiers as Russia's advances. It says almost all of these weapons sent are now on the


And in Mariupol, encouraging news about civilians trapped for weeks underground in a besieged steel plant. A Ukrainian commander inside the

plant tells CNN he believes all civilians have now made it out.

The Ukrainians who have escaped Russian bombardments, at homes are hiding places, the trauma doesn't end when they have reached safer ground.

Nick Paton Walsh spoke to a woman who is still haunted by nightmares after suffering a rocket attack in Kharkiv against all odds.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): Sometimes places speak only of death throw up a jewel of life. This is the

first time Ayuna has stood in this spot since sent 72 days ago, she was tracked out from the rubble here.

Her husband Andrey had been scouring, looking for her for three hours.

She remembers the cupboard.

AYUNA MOROZOVA, KHARKIV BLAST SURVIVOR (through translator): That was where I was standing,

WALSH: The multiple rocket attack on the Kharkiv regional administration was an early sign of the ferocious cowardly brutality, that Russia would

unleash on civilian targets. This is Ayuna then. She had been serving coffee and cookies to soldiers, saw a flash, and curled into a ball.

MOROZOVA: I feel a physical manifestation of fear. I do not like cookies anymore. The box fell on me, and I remember the smell.

WALSH: She asked to step away, saying she's sick with butterflies, like she has not felt since she used to swim professionally.

Andrey picks up the story.

ANDREY MOROZOV, AYUNA'S HUSBAND (through translator): When I heard her voice, I was crawling across the road. The emergency services were trying

to kick me out. I pulled a man out, and then heard her. I did not plan to leave her here.

WALSH: The soldiers were waiting in the corridor outside from her died. The young woman in the basement below her died, that body was not found for

three weeks. And yet somehow, the concrete here fell, shielding Ayuna.

MOROZOVA: I knew I was alive, in pain but nothing broken, I was worried that I would be left and never be heard. The first time that they heard me,

they started to get me out, and when the second missile came, and I was properly trapped.

WALSH: A rescuer eventually heard her.

MOROZOVA: Andrey got closer, and I said it was me, and he cried.

They said they should not lift the baton on me, but Andrey did alone. It got easier to breathe. I was surprised as I thought that I was still at

ground level. The ambulance guy said it's your second birthday, you're live.

WALSH: Fragments of Kharkiv are now past, they peppered the shells, cleaning up and trying to sweep away its trauma.

MOROZOVA: I sleep with the lights on, and when there is a loud car or, God forbid, a jet plane, I brace. The nightmares that I'm again lying there in

shivering cold, and that nobody hears my cries.


That also stops me from sleeping.

WALSH: Ayuna was born in Russia, but could no longer talk to her relatives there. She says they believe Russian state media's absurd claims this is a

limited operation against Nazis.

MOROZOVA: They say it was my stupidity, and that I don't need to be here.

I hope when time passes my children can talk, but I can't talk to them now.

Russia has lost its mind, and cannot control its president. They are all each responsible, every citizen.

WALSH: The story here, not of ruins, loss, or burial in dust, but instead of a feverish energy, that burns through the buildings bones, as Kharkiv

gets to decide where its pieces fall now.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Kharkiv, Ukraine.


NOBILO: The new leaders recently installed by Russia in the Ukrainian region of Kherson say that they want to be officially annexed by Moscow.

Russian forces occupied the southern region in early of the invasion and introduce the ruble as currency. Russian media reports that the

administration plans to appeal directly to Vladimir Putin, but Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, says that Kherson citizens should make the

decision. The Russian ministry released these pictures of Kherson citizens receiving aid packages from Russian soldiers. There have been regular

protests against the occupation.

CNN's Sara Sidner joins me now live from Kyiv.

Sara, what more can tell us about what the population of Kherson actually think about potential for annexation to Russia?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At this point, they are just trying to survive all this but we heard the appeal, that's attributed to Kirill

Stremousov, the newly appointed deputy head to the military civilian administration there in Kherson. At the weekend, he said citizens residing

in Kherson could obtain Russian citizenship. He goes on to talk about how they are taking over and that this is going to be an administration that is


We have also heard from the Ukrainians, basically, they are saying that you can call it whatever you want. You can say that Kherson is part of Mars, if

you want to, but the truth is these are just games and they plan to take Kherson back.

But it is a worrying thing for this instance there who are stuck in between these two powers. Many of the citizens obviously want to be part of

Ukraine. Some of them, just like in other parts of the country have some allegiance to Russia. What they are saying we do not know at this point,

this has been a point of contention, a lot of civilians when these things happen, trying to keep their opinions to themselves as the warring factions

go back and forth and control of the place goes back and forth.

But it is certainly worrying for Ukrainians, who truly believe that they will be able to fight their way back into holding the territory. Right now,

though, we are hearing as Russian state media has gone crazy with this, that there is a newly appointed administrator in the area, who is saying

that this will be a part of Russia, if you will, and you will be able to apply for Russian citizenship there.

NOBILO: Sara Sidner in Kyiv, Ukraine. Thank you.

And Ukraine has suspended the flow of Russian natural gas at a major transit point in an area controlled by Russian forces. The pipelines cross

Ukraine have remained open throughout this conflict, and Russia has continued to pay Ukraine for the transit of its national gas directed to


But now, Ukraine is accusing Russia of interfering with their operation at the transit point, which handles one third of the Russian gas that flows

into Europe.

The U.K. has struck new security deals with Sweden, and Finland, pledging to support each country's military if they come under attack. Both Sweden

and Finland are considering applying to join NATO. Finland's decision could come soon.

The Finnish president says that if they join after decades of neutrality, it is solely because Putin has showed that Russia can, and will attack a

neighboring country.

Nic Robertson is in Helsinki and shows us where Finland stands in its decision-making process.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Warm handshakes, smiles, and then a signature, promising military support as

Finland's speeds towards requesting NATO membership.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: In the event of an attack on either of us, then, yes, we will come to each other's assistance, including with

military assistance.

ROBERTSON: Johnson's assurance precisely what the Nordic nation's president wants, as they considered joining the transatlantic alliance.


SAULI NIINISTO, FINNISH PRESIDENT: This is very good, a good way to come forward, and we do appreciate this big step.

ROBERTSON: In parliament, where historic vote will happen, routine business continues. Politicians are cautious of stating their positions

publicly, less Russia escalates tensions.

JOHANNES KOSKINEN, FINNISH PARLIAMENT MEMBER: There is this idea that time from the final decision making, towards the application, and then to the

joining NATO, it should be as short as possible.

ROBERTSON: When the moment comes, and a pleading recession of parliament next weekend, Koskinen, a member of the PM's party is sure that the vote

will carry, easily.

KOSKINEN: The results, maybe around 180 out of 200 in favor of membership.

ROBERTSON: Politicians and public, for the most part in lockstep, wanting to join NATO.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People, of course, support, especially when Russia has attacked Ukraine.

ROBERTSON: Not just the invasion of Ukraine, but a history of rocky relationships with Russia, spurring many here to reassess decades of


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a very old father. He was 96 when we had our wars in Finland, with Russia. And he has been talking about, you know, the

Russians could come anytime.

I say, back in the `40s, take it easy. You never know with the Russians think, they can always come. I said take it easy. And now, I just had to

say to him, well, you are right.

ROBERTSON: In a way, Finland has been preparing for this moment for more than a generation. They have been involved with plenty of NATO and

international military operations, with Iran to Afghanistan, to Kosovo, Bosnia, Lebanon.

Just last week, British troops were training here with Finnish, American, and other NATO soldiers. Johnson's visit promising more of this.

NATO ascension, should Finland ask for it, is expected to be fast-tracked, but could still take months.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Helsinki, Finland.


NOBILO: Let's take a look at more of the global reaction. Hungary's foreign minister says that his country will back the EU sanctions on

Russian oil for one condition. Brussels come up with a solution to the problems that this would create for Hungary's economy. They say would cost

hungry millions of dollars, and the country has yet to Steve an acceptable proposal.

The United Nations secretary general says that he is concerned about world hunger becoming worse, as the war threatens food security in Africa, Asia,

and the Middle East. He also downplayed the possibility of peace talks happening anytime soon. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the

U.S. House of Representatives for approving a $40 billion aid package to Ukraine.

He met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Kyiv last month. The bill has to go through the Senate before the U.S. president can sign it into law.

And coming up after the break, a journalist is killed covering an Israeli raid in the West Bank. We'll have a report from Jerusalem, next.



NOBILO: There is growing condemnation and calls for answers after the fatal shooting of an Al Jazeera journalist in the West Bank. Shireen Abu

Akleh was shot and ahead at the covering an Israeli raid in Jenin. The Palestinian Authority, Al Jazeera and Qatar accused Israel of killing the

American-Palestinian journalist.

Israeli military said it is not yet possible to determine who killed Abu Akleh. They set up a special team to investigate. Palestinians and Israeli

police clashed in Jerusalem after Abu Akleh's death, after demonstrators took the streets to mourn the journalists.

Hadas Gold has been covering the story from Jerusalem. We have to warn you. Her report contains disturbing images.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Veteran Al Jazeera journalists Shireen Abu Akleh killed on Wednesday, fatally shot while covering an

Israeli military operation in Jenin in the West Bank.

The well-respected Palestinian-American correspondent had reported for decades in the region plagued by violence that ultimately claimed her life.

Disturbing video from the immediate aftermath shows Abu Akleh lying on the ground in full protective gear, including flak jacket and helmet, with the

insignia clearly identifying her as a member of the press.

In the fire, her colleagues were initially unable to get her out. Abu Akleh's producer was also shot but is now and stable position.

ALI AL-SAMUDI, JOURNALIST (through translator): We were going into film the army operation. Suddenly, one of them shot at us. They did not tell us

to leave. They did not tell us to stop, they shot at us.

The first bullet hit me. The second bullet hit Shireen. They killed her in cold blood because they are killers specialized in the killing


GOLD: Israeli officials and initially accused Palestinian militants of likely being the ones who killed Abu Akleh in crossfire. But in its latest

statement, the Israeli military says it's unclear who shot her and have set up a special investigation.

Al Jazeera had blamed Israeli forces for the killing, saying: Al Jazeera Media Network condemns this heinous crime that intends to only prevent the

media from conducting their duty. It also calls on the international community to condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for

their intentional targeting and killing of Shireen.

MOHAMMAD SHTAYYEH, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRIME MINISTER: Shireen Abu Akleh is loved by every Palestinian. She does -- she entered the house of

everybody with her news and what Israel wanted was not only to kill Shireen Abu Akleh but wanted to kill the voice of justice and the voice of peace.

GOLD: The IDF said they were in the area to conduct counter-terrorist operations. A recent attack targeting Israelis have killed 18 people.

Several of the attackers killed from Jenin area, prompting the military raids that Abu Akleh and her team were covering.

Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called the accusations the IDF targeted the journalist as unfounded.

NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Based on preliminary information that we have, there is a significant possibility

that the journalist was shot by the armed Palestinians, however, to uncover the truth, there must be a real investigation. And the Palestinians are

currently preventing that.

GOLD: In Jenin and later in Ramallah, mourners carried Shireen Abu Akleh's body, wrapped in a Palestinian flag through the streets. Her death adding

another tragedy to a spiraling conflict she had covered for so many years.


Hadas Gold, CNN, Jerusalem.


NOBILO: Violence against journalists is a threat to fundamental freedoms, and too many journalists have paid the ultimate price to bring truth to


Shireen Abu Akleh is one of 31 journalists and media workers around the world who have been killed so far in 2022. According to the Committee to

Protect Journalists, violence against journalists such as imprisonment, physical attacks and intimidation, also puts severe threats the press

freedom around the world.

I would like to bring in CPJ's executive director, Robert Mahoney who writes and speaks on press freedom around the world.

Thank you for joining the program, sir.

: Happy to be here.

NOBILO: So, the CPJ has obviously condemned the killing of Shireen, calling for a swift and transparent investigation. What's your personal


ROBERT MAHONEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS: It's one of horror and shock. I worked as a journalist for Reuters for several

years in Jerusalem. When she started out, when Shireen started out with Al Jazeera, I have seen far too many journalists killed in doing their job

over those years in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Here, this is a particularly outrageous case because it looks, according to the journalist with her, that she was shot in the head deliberately by an

Israeli soldier. Israel disputes that. We need to have the facts. That is why we want an independent inquiry.

But this journalist was well known in Palestinian households and was well known in the broader media community. It is shock and grief the reaction

that I have.

NOBILO: The videos of Shireen being killed are unbearable and were fairly quickly being circulated on social media, which has become a key tool for

the process about the witness and the pursuit of justice, the three public pressure.

How do you think those mediums that we were already seeing on social media could help achieve accountability here? And what would that accountability

look like?

MAHONEY: Well, the more material that is available that can be verified that could get us closer to the truth would be incredibly useful.

Accountability, look, we have seen so many inquiries over the year went very little accountability. The Israeli government offered to do a joint

inquiry this morning first thing with the Palestinians, which was rejected. I think that is an adequate. What I would like to see is an independent

international inquiry into this killing.

NOBILO: And we often speak about the current backslide of democracy in many parts of the world. Do you think we are also seeing a turn against

press freedom when we see a appalling violence against journalist like this?

MAHONEY: Definitely, we need journalist on the ground, reporters bringing us the facts as they see them, whether it's in Ukraine over the last three

months or here in the West Bank. We are awash with videos, many of which are completely bogus or distorted. We need journalist on the front lines to

do their jobs.

And so, the killing of a journalist like this is a terrible chilling effect. It deprives us, the public, of first hand information. These were

raids that were being carried out on Palestinian homes and refugee camp. We needed journalist there to be able to document what was going on.

They went just to do that, and one of them paid with their life.

NOBILO: And what areas of the world do you think are the most dangerous for journalists to be operating in?

MAHONEY: Well, at the moment, we have emerging conflict and war in Ukraine. We have seen at least seven journalist killed since February,

bringing us the news from there of targeted or reported in crossfire, or deliberately targeted.

Btu in the backgrounds of that is also we have seen a lot of journalists, at least 11 journalists by initial reports, who have been killed in Mexico

just this year, alone. Those journalists have been covering crime, drug smuggling and other forms of corruption. They have been murdered.

It has been a terrible year so far in 2022, with at least some 30 journalist killed, 17 of them the motives were, we were able to confirm,

directly targeted for their work or caught in the cross fire. We are off to an awful start in terms of the number of journalists killed this year.

NOBILO: Robert Mahoney, thank you for talking to us this evening, thank you for the work you do to protect journalists all around the world.


MAHONEY: Thank you.

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

The U.S. and the Vatican say that they are concerned after Hong Kong arrested three prominent activists, including a 90-year-old cardinal. The

Vatican says that Josephson was later released on bail. The former bishop is accused of collusion with foreign forces in connection to his role as an

administrator of humanitarian relief fund.

Sri Lanka has extended its curfew until Thursday morning local time. The government has ordered troops to shoot on sight, anyone found damaging

state property or something officials. At least nine people have died in clashes since Monday. The president says that a new prime minister and

cabinet will be appointed by the end of the week.

And China is pushing back against critics of its pandemic policy. Beijing says that zero COVID strategy is best for the country's epidemic prevention

and control. This after the World Health Organization general said that China's policy is not sustainable.

And the effects of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, a report shows that warming water has caused coral leaching in 91 percent of

reefs there. Bleaching occurs when stress corral eject algae from within its tissue, depriving it of a food source. Coral can then start and die,

turning white.

And, finally, a real life story of bravery and keeping cool under pressure. A private plane takes off, the pilot becomes incapacitated. So, one of the

passengers who does not have any flight experience whatsoever has to land that plane.


PASSENGER: I've got a serious situation here. My pilot has gone incoherent, and I have no idea how to fly the airplane but I'm maintaining

at 9100.

TOWER: Caravan 333 Lima, Delta, Roger. What's your position?

PASSENGER: I have no idea. I see the coast of Florida in front of me and I have no idea.

TOWER: What was the situation with the pilot?

PASSENGER: He is incoherent. He is out.

TOWER: 3LD, Roger. Try to hold the wings level and see if you can start descending for me. Push forward on the controls and descend at a very slow



NOBILO: The air traffic controller who is also a certified flight instructor guided the passenger to the area's biggest airport, and it

worked. The air traffic control even gave the landing a ten out of ten.

Thank you for watching. I'll see you again tomorrow.