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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Russia Claims Azovstal Victory; Monkeypox Outbreak; Other Key Global Headlines. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired May 20, 2022 - 17:00:00   ET



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

Russia claims that it forces has liberated besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol. We will follow the latest developments.

And cases of monkeypox, a rare viral disease normally found in Central Africa are being reported across Europe as well as in the U.S., Canada and

Australia. That is in the debrief.

And we'll bring you other key global headlines, the stories that you need to know.

We begin with major news from Mariupol. Russia says that all Ukrainian fighters at the Azovstal steel plant have now surrendered, ending a weeks-

long siege. It says that 531 more fighters emerged on Friday. We just got this new video from the Russian thumb fence ministry showing soldiers

leaving the plant. CNN can't independently verify that all the fires have surrendered.

Earlier, Azov regiment commander gave the order to stop defending the port city. The battle of Mariupol and the steel plant in particular have been

seen as emblematic of Ukraine's resistance against Russia. One soldier called Azovstal, quote, the place of my death and my life.

Let's bring in Melissa Bell live in Kyiv for us.

Melissa, as we're just saying, the battle for Mariupol and particularly the resistance in the Azovstal steel plant have become symbolic of Ukrainian

resolve. It was also strategic destruction of Russian forces in eastern defensive.

So, what more have you learned about the surrender and the orders that were recently given?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, throughout the day enough to the last few days we've seen evacuations begin, Bianca. We had wanted to know

exactly what was happening inside the plant. First of all, evacuations had begun. The understanding here in Kyiv had been a fairly straightforward

prisoner exchange might be organized. Certainly, when negotiations were underway. That did not happen.

Earlier today, we heard there were nearly 2,000 evacuees in Russian hands, prisoners of war. What we did know much about was the fate of those who

remained inside, whether they intended to fight on, whether they intended to give themselves up or how many of them had died. We do have some clarity

tonight, and that comes from the much Russian ministry of defense as you say.

We can't independently verify ourselves. They claim that 531 fighters have now been added to those nearly 2,000, and essentially, the extraordinary

symbol of Ukraine -- has fallen.


BELL (voice-over): The latest picture of Dmytro Kozatskiy, a soldier with the Azov regiment posting: That's it. Thank you for the shelter, Azovstal,

the place of my death and my life.

A steady stream of its haggard and injured defenders has been leaving these last few days, Russian forces and their allies in the Donetsk militia

surrounding the plant.

SERGEI SHOIGU, RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): Nationalists are actively surrendering. So far, 1,908 people have laid down their arms.

BELL: The injured taken to hospital. The evacuees now prisoners of war in the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic.

Some of their families finally beginning to hear news from their loved ones.

NATALIA ZARYTSKA, WIFE OF AZOV FIGHTER: So, my husband wrote me two days ago and the situation is really hard and horrible. And my husband is on the

way from one hell to another hell.

BELL: Russia's promised to treat the fighters according to international law but has said nothing about any exchange of prisoners of war.

According to Ukrainian officials, negotiations are difficult. After weeks of bombardment, the place that symbolized Ukraine's resistance seems at

last to be quiet.


NOBILO (on camera): We have chosen to blur the images on those pictures that have been released by Russia since they were taken as prisoners of

war, because there are technically prisoners of war, but when you see them as they were released, Bianca, they are really fairly haunting. We're

talking about men who were inside that plan for many weeks, fighting, often under Russian shelling.

With dwindling medical supplies, in terrible shaped physically and with very little food, and for a long time not knowing when or whether they

would get out. Now that they have gone I think it's important to remember that that resistant state put up was also a measure, Bianca, of just how

important Mariupol is to Ukraine.


And you need only look at a map tonight of those territories that are now in Russian hands from Mariupol to the northern strongholds of Donetsk and

Luhansk. That land bridge that now goes from Crimea to those what had already been self-declared republics before the war began, to see there is

no huge swath of Russian territory in the hands of Russia that could and may at some point be the subject of Russian negotiations for them simply to

try and annex it, Bianca.

NOBILO: And speaking of those strategic objectives, Melissa, there's obviously continued heavy fighting in the east. Heavy bombardment for

Donetsk and also missiles hitting north of Kyiv and outside Kharkiv. Where does that picture tell you about Russia's current battlefield strategy in

the shifting front lines?

BELL: Well, that after a disastrous first few weeks of the Russian campaign, and I think we can't really describe it as anything else. We've

been hearing tonight from British intelligence sources that several generals who were in charge of some of the strategic -- Kharkiv, the Black

Sea, have simply been sacked.

We've also been hearing in Kyiv as a result of that extraordinary war crimes trial that has been happening, not just the prisoner of war, but the

Russian soldiers on trial, but one of the men -- from the bottom of that Russian invasion and how difficult it must have been for the young soldiers

who came not in really knowing what they were doing in Ukraine and face with extraordinary scenes of fear and chaos.

You get a picture of what has been a difficult campaign for Russia so far. Certainly not what it had planned, and so what you are seeing along that

front line that you mentioned and those pictures of that shelling in that town south of Kharkiv province, but also further to the east,

Severodonetsk, that remains tonight the scene of heavy shelling, some 50,000 civilians in the cellars of that city, hoping that it's not going to

fall to Russian forces. That entire frontline to the north of Donetsk and to the north and west of Luhansk where clearly they're trying to enforce

their position and take as much ground as they can, that fighting is extremely fierce tonight. All the more fierce for the resistance that has

been put up by the Ukrainian and fairly successful counteroffensive or the course of the last few days in the northeast of the country, Bianca.

NOBILO: Melissa Bell in Kyiv for us. Thank you so much.

Nick Paton Walsh has more from the Kharkiv region, with a firsthand account of village that was burned to the ground. Take a look.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): Putin would choke the life and light out of here. We are driving into the smoke

of an incendiary munitions attack, we're told here, against the civilian village. Homes, fields, even the air itself torched.

Vera says she saw it falling from the sky and her neighbor hit.

VERA, TSYRKUNY RESIDENT (translated): Phosphorus or bright sparks of some kind, were flying. That's a fire. Before that, a bomb landed there. It blew

up three houses, I think.

WALSH: The incendiary munitions which burned hot through everything in its path came after heavy normal shelling -- which makes you question, like so

much here, exactly why Russia needed to heat fire on top of heavy explosive.

It hit just ten minutes ago, this man says, pointing the way. Some left bewildered. Others in the first moments of shock.

Valentina is very matter-of-fact as she describes what happened to Viktor in her neighbor's house.

VALENTINA, TSYRKUNY RESIDENT (translated): There was an explosion, smoke all around. He climbed into the attic, to see if it was on fire.

Immediately, there was another explosion in the year. I should "Viktor!" He's not there.

WALSH: She shows us the courtyard where a dead man lies, a large hole in his chest and an ear torn off. She points to the body just behind the tree

and then says, here he is.

VALENTINA: He's my husband.

WALSH: Viktor had rushed to check on their neighbor's home.

Russia occupied here for weeks, and as it retreats, these tiny corners of green are where it visits its anger.

Up the road towards Russia's last position before the border, the shells land even closer. Natalia's husband died in shelling weeks ago, and the

houses, like almost everything here, ruined.


NATALIA, CHETKASKI TYSHKY RESIDENT (translated): We've lived through everything already. I have no strength or patience left after my husband

was torn to pieces. We must understand how hard it is.

WALSH: For the weeks when here was occupied, she lived across the street from an enormous Russian base.

Our guides from Ukrainian rapid response unit were cautious. Fighting is intensifying up at the road and they know the Russians got comfortable


Their base, even needed this aircraft warning device up high to tell Russian jets it was friendly.

This is their problem each time they move forward. Here they are and what was once the Russian position, and look all around you, impossible to know

who is really in control of this area where the fight happening just on the other side of the hill.

The smell of corpses among the pines, and every footstep, a threat of mines. Everywhere you look, foxholes, ammunition boxes, clearly a

significant Russian base here. They're calling it a little town, using this forest as cover, but clearly hit really hard.

The tomb of the unknown Russian soldiers, this says, ghoulish relics here, where it once buzzed with the brutish clumsy task of besieging the city.

Smoldering in the trees here, but swallowed in a toll of silence.


NOBILO: Nick Paton Walsh reporting from Kharkiv region in Ukraine.

Now, the first Russian soldier to be tried for alleged war crimes in Ukraine said he did not want to kill an unarmed civilian, but he does not

deny shooting an elderly man back in February that says that he sincerely repent.

The 21-year-old appeared in the courtroom again on Friday. He could get life in prison. The defenses his client was not aware of what was happening

in Ukraine. He says the wrong person is being prosecuted.


VIKTOR OVSYANNIKO, DEFENSE ATTORNEY (through translator): The leadership of the Russian federation is to blame for this, for not this boy. He was

trying to save his own life, especially from the threat that came from his fellow serviceman.


NOBILO: Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country has become the victim of recent cyberattacks since it began the world in Ukraine. He says

that planned attacks have targeted Russian media, government and financial systems. In a security council meeting on Friday, he called for Russia to

reduce its independence on foreign technology.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): In order to strengthen our technological sovereignty, the government needs to create a

modern Russian electronic component base in the shortest time possible.


NOBILO: Germany is taking action to lessen its need for Russian gas was sliding and energy partnership with Qatar. Under the plan sign on Friday,

Doha could start supplying liquefied natural gas to Berlin by 2024. The German chancellor Olaf Scholz calls this move a big step.

And just miles from the Russian border, a Finnish brewery is making a bold statement by launching a new beer to commemorate the country's bid to join

NATO. The beer is called Otan olutta, and is a play on the words for both beer and NATO in Finnish.

Incidentally, the brewery Olaf Brewing is named after Sir Olaf's castle, a medieval fortress from the 1400 bill to protect invaders from the east. I

love those historical parallels.

Still to come on the GLOBAL BRIEF, in Afghanistan, girls are barred from going to secondary school for now. Why the country's former president is

hopeful though that the Taliban will let them back in.

And health officials are monitoring a rare disease being reported around the world now. We look at what the risk might be.



NOBILO: Afghanistan, under Taliban leadership, is that a crossroads right now.

CNN's chief international correspondent has been inside the country this week, saying how it's the new rules are affecting women and girls.

Christiane Amanpour spoke to the former president, Hamid Karzai, who made a point of staying after the government fell and she asked what the Taliban

promised him about girls education and women's role in the country when they first took power.


HAMID KARZAI, FORMER PRESIDENT OF AFGHANISTAN: The day the Taliban arrived in Afghanistan, that evening, I moved -- in Kabul. That evening, I moved

into Dr. Abdullah's house and stayed in his house with him for about 12, 13 days.

And it was during those days that the Taliban leadership began to visit us. From the very beginning, our discussions were exactly of the same viewpoint

that you just expressed, an Afghanistan that is for all Afghans, a government that is acceptable to all Afghans, and people going back to

schools and education and national values. Those are good discussions.

Yes, unfortunately, some of the decisions that were announced later, two months ago on girls not going back to school from 6xth to 12th grade, those

were unfortunate decisions. Those decisions that hurt Afghanistan deeply, deeply.

And you saw the reaction to those decisions by the clergy of the country. The religious scholars all over Afghanistan rose up against that decision

and criticized it.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Criticized the fact that girls were not be able to go to high schools?

KARZAI: Criticized strongly that the girls were not allowed to go to school. They said, this is un-Islamic. This has got nothing to do with


But this -- in Islam, there's clear, clear call for education for both men and women. So, no, those decisions were wrong. They hurt the country. And

we want the Taliban to reverse that decision as soon as possible.

AMANPOUR: So, I have been here for about a week now. I had a very wide- ranging interview with Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is the deputy Taliban


He's probably one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, members of the current government. He said, absolutely, they're going back to

school soon, soon, soon.

The problem is, they have been saying that for a while.

What do you believe? And what actually do you think is going to happen?

KARZAI: I saw parts of that interview with you, a good interview, in which Mr. Sirajuddin Haqqani speaks of the Taliban's intention for good relations

with the United States and with the rest of the world.

We approve of that. We support that. That's -- it's good for the country.

I also saw his words on the return of girls to school, which will be soon. We hope that happens as soon as possible. And that's something we also


AMANPOUR: Do you think he means it?


Does he want it? We're trying to figure out, are they just saying stuff to us because we're foreigners? Or is there a split in the Taliban?


AMANPOUR: Or what? Or are they really against women?

KARZAI: No. No, it isn't -- he's not saying that because he wants the foreigners to hear good things.

But I have heard that he's been saying these same remarks also to Afghans who have met with him, exactly on the same line. So, that's a good sign.

And we hope that these good words will be soon put into action by the by the current government.


NOBILO: The spread of a rare disease normally found in Central Africa's not being reported around the world. It's called monkeypox, a virus related

to smallpox. Monkeypox in initially looks similar to flu. Health officials in the U.S. and UK said they are monitoring the situation and that there is

no cause for alarm.

While the risk of catching monkeypox is low, the United Kingdom is experiencing the largest outbreak of the virus with 20 cases in the past

few weeks. Monkeypox has also been found in the United States, Canada, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Portugal and Australia.

So, let's bring in Dr. Anne Rimoin, professor of epidemiology to learn more about this risk.

Thank you very much for joining the program, Professor.


NOBILO: So, just tell us, what are the symptoms of monkeypox and how deadly is it?

RIMOIN: Monkeypox has symptoms that initially start very similarly to flu. You may feel chills, achiness, fever, swollen lymph nodes. It can progress

to a rash illness, which will be hard pustules.

The infectious period for this virus is throughout the entire life of having this rash and potentially before the rush will start. So it could be

2 to 4 weeks of actually being infectious during this time.

NOBILO: Are you only infectious when you get the rash just before? I know that this will typically have a long incubation period like between five

and 21 days.

RIMOIN: Indeed it can. Monkeypox in terms of infectivity we're not completely sure. Certainly there could be some infection prior to the rash

occurring. Certainly until the lesions fall off. That is what the standard understanding of monkeypox is at this time.

NOBILO: And we will get on to the possibility of mutation in a moment. But typically, what is the fatality rate of monkeypox?

RIMOIN: So, it depends which clade we're talking about. The West African clade, which is the clade that is circulating that is linked to these cases

that we're seeing globally is less severe than the Central African clade, which occurs in Congo, the Democratic Republican of Congo.

The West African clade has a fatality of somewhere between one and three and a half percent. The Central African clade has a fatality of some around

six to 10 percent. But this is very low resource setting.

We are talking about these cases occurring in high resource settings, where we really have not seen a lot of cases before. The greatest number of cases

that we have ever seen at a high resource setting was in 2003 and a monkeypox outbreak that occurred in the United States.

In that outbreak, there were 47 cases. There were no fatalities. There were several cases of severe disease that require hospitalization, but no one


NOBILO: And how does it usually spread?

RIMOIN: Monkeypox spreads from the initial introduction into a human populations from an animal, because this is a zoonotic disease that is --

that lives in animals. It doesn't naturally live in humans. So, once it spreads to a human, usually through a bite or scratch or contact with a

wild animal, then it can be person to person. That is usually from very close contact. It could be respiratory droplets, bodily fluids, skin to

skin contact when you come into contact with the lesions and the material on the lesions.

Also, if someone has monkeypox, they can also shed the virus on to bed sheets, clothing, towels, so it can also spread through indirect contact

with something that a person who has monkeypox that they have been in contact with.


NOBILO: Now, as you mentioned earlier at the beginning of your interview, there have been monkeypox of breaks before. They happen, but usually they

are fairly contained. This is already global. It's obviously very, very low in terms of spreading.

Does that suggest to you as an epidemiologist that it may have mutated to become more transmissible?

RIMOIN: So, I've been working on monkeypox for two decades in the Democratic Republic of Congo. So, this is a virus that I have been watching

very carefully for very long time. I don't think that there is anything in this particular global outbreak that we are seeing --

NOBILO: I think we've lost --

RIMOIN: At this point no.

NOBILO: Sorry about that, we had technical difficulties.

Thank you so much for joining us, Dr. Anne Rimoin. We really appreciate it.

And we're bring you more on monkeypox and there are some treatments like smallpox and others which are effective.

Now, let's take a look at the other key stories making international headlines today.

The polls open shortly in Australia for national election that will decide the conservative liberal national coalition will stay in power, or if the

Labour party will take control after nine years of waiting. Opinion polls give a nod to the Labour Party, but the gap has narrowed in recent weeks.

At least ten people have died from flooding and landslides in India's Assam stage. Heavy pre-monsoon rains and overflowing rivers have swamped hundreds

of villages there and forced more than 700,000 people to flee their homes. Officials say that the rains have disrupted food supply and crops as well.

Spain's former king is making his first public appearance in the country more than two years after investigations over alleged fraud. Juan Carlos

was greeted by cheering crowds. The Spain's left-wing coalition government is asking the former monarch to explain his role in these allegations.

And, finally, tributes are being paid to a musician who helped shift the landscape of cinematic sound.

The stirring theme from "Chariots of Fire" which earned Greek composer Vangelis an Academy Award for best score. He died at age 79 and being

remembered as the pioneer of electric sound by Greece's prime minister and many others. Vangelis also composed music for the iconic movie "Blade

Runner", again, using his trademark synthesizer.

Well, thank you for watching. Have a wonderful weekend, and I will see you again on Monday.