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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Zelenskyy's Message To The World; Global Food Crisis; Bangladesh & India's Floods. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired June 21, 2022 - 17:00   ET



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

Tonight, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warns how the war ends depends on the world's attention.

Then, Mr. Zelenskyy also says that Africa is a hostage of this war, referring to the food crisis. So, we'll bring you the reaction from leaders


And displaced residents in Bangladesh and India wait for aid amid deadly floods. Our chief climate correspondent will join us ahead.

The world must remember that Ukraine is fighting for freedom, those words from President Zelenskyy as he warns against allowing the war to fade from

the headlines and says that its outcome depends on the world's attention. His plea came as Russia seized another town on the outskirts of

Severodonetsk, inching closer to its goal of capturing the entire Luhansk region in the Donbas. It's also intensifying attacks on Kharkiv, in the


Officials say Russian shelling killed 15 people in that region, on Tuesday, including an eight-year-old girl. Ukraine is still vastly outgunned,

despite Western armed shipments. It says it's now received powerful self- propelled German howitzers, but is pleading for more heavy weaponry.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz says that his country will continue arming Ukraine for as long as needed.

Let's go live now to Ukraine. CNN's Ben Wedeman is joining us from Kramatorsk.

Ben, I just mentioned how the Russians have captured another town near Severodonetsk. Can you bring us up to date on what the situation is there?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they have managed to seize this town of Toshkivka. And it's extremely important

because it's due south of both Lysychansk and Severodonetsk. It's basically open ground, directly to Lysychansk, from this town of Toshkivka.

And, of course, Lysychansk, there are thousands of civilians, many of them old and infirm, in addition to its Ukrainian defenders. And if Lysychansk

falls, for the beleaguered Ukrainian defenders and as many as 550 Ukrainian civilians, holdup in the Azov chemical complex in that little corner of

Severodonetsk, still controlled by the Ukrainians, could very well be completely surrounded by the Russians.

So, this really is indicative of what has been going on here in the Donbas region. Now, since April, the Russians have been conducting this offensive.

It's not a blitzkrieg by any sense, or any meaning, of the word, but slowly and surely, they're using their superior, their superiority in air power

and artillery and in troops, to slowly gain more and more ground.

The Ukrainians -- we were today at one of the batteries of these M777 155 millimeter U.S. made and supplied artillery pieces. But compared to what

the Russians have, even this latest Western armament and technology simply is not enough to stop this very slow, but steady, Russian advance --


NOBILO: Ben, we've been following the story of the two American volunteer fighters who have been detained by Russian-backed separatists closely. Have

you learned anything else about where they might be -- might be being held? Or any more details?

WEDEMAN: Well, basically, it's the same as we've been reporting for the last couple days. They are believed to be in an internment center in the

Donetsk people's republic. That's the pro-Russian breakaway part of Ukraine. They have appeared in various YouTube channels and other media.

They appear to be in good condition. I can't speak to their mental state.

But today, we heard Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, saying that in their case, the Geneva Conventions do not apply to them. The Russians claim

these men are essentially mercenaries, not ordinary soldiers. Peskov did not rule out the death penalty in their case -- Bianca.

NOBILO: Ben Wedeman for us in Kramatorsk, thank you so much for your reporting.

Now, in Russia, those who show dissent against Moscow call us -- calling it special military operation in Ukraine, can face arrest, fines, and

imprisonment. But that isn't scaring everyone. Fred Pleitgen speaks with an elderly in St. Petersburg artists who's using her paintings to set pointed


A caution though, his report contains graphic images.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Elena Osipova might seem a bit frail, but her will is strong and her

creativity seems unstoppable. The 76-year-old artist has been detained for several anti-war protests since Russia began what it called its special

military operation in Ukraine. But when we visited her in her apartment in St. Petersburg, she showed no signs of feeling intimidated, instead

complaining that police have taken her posters.

They took some away and haven't given them back, although they promised to give them back to me, she says. This has been going on for some time.

So she keeps painting more posters like this one, a bird symbolizing Russia with the writing, Russia is mourning and Russia is not Putin. It's a

repentant bird, she says. A bird in mourning. And there are many such people in mourning here.

Elena Osipova is not afraid to speak out about even the most difficult topics, like the massacre in Bucha, where hundreds of dead bodies were

found in the key of suburb after Russian forces retreated from there in early April. Ukraine and international investigators have launched

investigations into possible war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Moscow continues to reject its forces were responsible. The very large poster shows dead people with huge piercing open eyes and the text says the

eyes of the dead will remain open until Russia repents. For me what was important in this poster is this word, repentance, she says. It was

important to me to emphasize it.

While some Russians took to the streets to protest Vladimir Putin's special military operation during its early days, authorities have now effectively

stopped any larger movement from taking hold, dismantling opposition groups and banning many media organizations not in line with the Kremlin's


Elena Osipova says she understands people's fears. They are afraid of losing their jobs, she says, being expelled from college and there have

been such incidents even if they see a photo on the internet showing someone holding a Ukrainian flag, that is already grounds for sacking.

But Elena Osipova isn't scared, she says. If the authorities keep taking her protest art, she'll paint more and even a battalion of riot police

won't silence her creative mind.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, St. Petersburg, Russia.


NOBILO: Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is calling Africa hostage in the war with Russia. Grain, cooking oil, fuel, and fertilizer

prices are soaring because of the conflict.

But as a South African minister tells CNN's David McKenzie, that she finds that comment odd.

David is in Johannesburg for us.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine addressed African leaders saying that Russia is holding the

countries hostage because of an ongoing blockade of millions of tons of grain that should be leaving ports like Odessa, and going across the world.

Now, several nations in Africa and in the Middle East, even central Asia, are heavily dependent on grain imports from Ukraine, and in fact, from

Russia. The United Nations says almost 25 million tons of grain is stuck that it could lead, in the coming weeks and months, to a devastating impact

on food security, particularly in the African continent. I spoke to the foreign minister of South Africa, who insisted that wood is needed is a

negotiated settlement between Russia and Ukraine, to release the grain.

NALEND PANCOR, SOUTH AFRICAN MINISTRY OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS & COOPERATION: I found the hostage notion odd in the context of discussions

that are trying to find the solution to this. The situation of not having access to wheat is a very problematic one for many countries on the African

continent. So, we have to find a solution to that, one that both Ukraine and Russia would agree to.

MCKENZIE: Zelenskyy was also trying to gain political backing from African nations with his address to the African Union Commission. There has been

ambivalence, it must be said, from several countries on the continent towards wholeheartedly supporting Ukraine and condemning Russia --

something, despite the pressure from the E.U. and the U.S., it appears that those countries won't change on.

David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


NOBILO: Russia's war has also prompted a historic shift in European security. Last month, Sweden and Finland set aside decades of neutrality

and formally applied to join NATO. That bids faced immediate backlash from Turkey, which has accused them of housing Kurdish terrorist groups. NATO

officials say they are working to address Turkey's concerns. Some Swedish Kurds are watching this unfold with rising concern of their own.

CNN's Nina Dos Santos has the story.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR (voice-over): At this Kurdish community center in Gothenburg, locals are uneasy. They've been dragged into Sweden's

NATO negotiations.

"Of course we're scared," says Nelsa Bahir (ph).

"We're caught in the middle," says Hira Kadoi (ph), "and we're not being given a say."

Weeks after its application, Sweden's plans to join NATO remain in limbo, thanks to Turkey, which claims that Kurdish separatists operate from these

shores. That's something Sweden denies.

Yet, Ankara is still trying to extradite dozens of people, including members of Sweden's own parliament, most of whom have no links to Turkey at

all, like the men in this room, born in Iran and Iraq.

"Erdogan is saying, if you're a Kurd and you want freedom, you're a terrorist," says Karim Masoubi (ph). "That's not true."

"No matter where you come from, if you're a Kurd, you're going to have problems with Turkey," says Bahir (ph).

PAUL LEVIN, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR TURKISH STUDIES, STOCKHOLM UNIVERSITY: From the Turkish perspective, they're saying, Look, Sweden, you want to

join a military alliance where we are one of the members. We perceive of these groups as national security threats.

They make the same demands on other NATO member states, but they don't have the same leverage as they do now that Sweden is waiting to come in.

DOS SANTOS: Sweden is home to an estimated 100,000 Kurds. That's almost 1 percent of this country's entire population. And there's widespread

sympathy for their cause.

That means that as Turkey continues to stall Sweden's NATO bid, there's a growing sense of indignation.

Swedes were almost split on NATO accession before the country decided to sign up, and among Kurds, there are different views, too.

At this anti-NATO protest, Fauzi Babban (ph), an Iraqi Kurd, says that he is against NATO membership.

"Look at what NATO members did in my country," he said. "They completely destroyed it. I'm strongly affected by this," he says, "since I've come

here as a prisoner of war."

RAGIP ZARAKOLU, NOBEL PEACE PRIZE NOMINEE: Here is my working club (ph).

DOS SANTOS: Turks fighting for Kurdish rights in Sweden are also stoking Ankara's ire.

ZARAKOLU: This is my Kurdish award they gave me when I was in the prison.

DOS SANTOS: Seventy-four-year-old Turkish born Nobel Peace Prize nominee Ragip Zarakolu is now a Swedish citizen. But he's fighting off extradition

to Turkey for his writing in defense of minorities there.

ZARAKOLU: I feel at risk. I'm a Swedish citizen, and how can the Swedish government can make a bargaining issue. I can't find the words to define

this strangeness, this absurdity.

DOS SANTOS: Sweden decided to join NATO to make its population safer after Russia invaded Ukraine. But for part of its people, the process of

accession is making them feel anything but secure.

Nina Dos Santos, CNN, Gothenburg, Sweden.


NOBILO: A Russian Nobel Peace Prize laureate is using the honor to help Ukrainian refugees, while setting an astonishing world record.

Journalist Dmitry Muratov has just auctioned his prize medal for more than $103 million. That's more than 20 times what any Nobel medal has sold for

before. This money will go to UNICEF child refugee fund, to help the 7.5 million Ukrainian children affected by the war.

Muratov is the editor in chief of "The Novaya Gazeta", one of Russia's last remaining independent newspapers. They're facing potential prosecution

under Russia's new reporting crackdown. The paper has suspended operations until the war ends.

Let's take a look at the other key stories making international impact today. French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has submitted her resignation

to President Macron. It's customary after election. But Mr. Macron refused to accept it, so that the government can, quote, stay on task. Their camp

lost an absolute majority in parliament on Sunday and Borne held a cabinet meeting Tuesday to discuss new alliances.

South Korea's space program has entered a new era. The countries successfully put satellites into orbit after launching its first

domestically built rocket, called Nuri. It makes South Korea at the seventh country to develop a launch vehicle that can carry a one-ton satellite. It

plans at least four more rocket launches by 2027.

And British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has condemned the widespread rail strike crippling the United Kingdom.


He called the walkout wrong and unnecessary and said that it's interfering with health appointments and school exams. The labor strike over pay and

working conditions is the U.K.'s biggest rail strike in many decades.

CNN's Scott McLean has more for you from London.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the UK has returned to relative normality for a long time now. This week, it is feeling a lot like a day at

the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, just a trickle of people coming through London Bridge Station, one of the busiest stations in the entire

United Kingdom. Most of the platforms closed off because only 20 percent or so of trains across all England, Scotland, and Wales are actually running

because of the biggest rail strike in the U.K. in the last 30 years.

We've been talking to people here and many who have managed to make it to Central London say they are finding difficult, sometimes impossible, to

make it to their final destination somewhere in the city because this is impacting the London underground, the tube system, in a city where most

people don't actually have a car.

What I found striking, though, is that most people have a lot of sympathy for these striking workers. The question, though, is how long will that

sympathy last?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody has their own issues with pay. But, you know, it's not going to help if nobody can't work, you know? So, because

they are saying everything is increasing, but we just have to go to work as well, because if you don't work, you won't get paid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's very considerate. I'll support the actions, but it's like come at the cost of everyday people.

MCLEAN: Do you think you will make it at all today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope so. I have patients waiting. I can't say no.

MCLEAN: Further strike action is set to take place Thursday and Saturday of this week. The unions are hinting that this could go on, potentially,

for months. The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, calls a strike wrong and unnecessary and especially since the government bailed out the rail

industry, making sure that no workers lost their job during the pandemic.

The unions see things differently. They say because of the pandemic, it had two years of paid raises. Now they want their wages to keep up with

inflation. The difficulty is that inflation, in this country, is now 7 percent and forecast to get even worse before it gets better. The

government's concern is that a large pay rise like that would actually make inflation even worse.

Scott McLean, CNN, London.


NOBILO: Coming up next, extreme weather and other natural disasters are affecting millions across the world. We'll debrief the links to climate

change, coming up next.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have lost our home after it was swept away by the flood water. All our belongings are gone too.


NOBILO: That woman is one of 4 million people stranded after catastrophic flooding in Bangladesh.

The floods, which hit the region in the east, are the worst in more than a century. At least 32 people have been killed. Stranded residents await aid

from authorities, including drinking water, and medical supplies.

And in India's northeastern state of Assam, hundreds of rescue and relief teams have been deployed to help with this severe flooding. Landslides,

flash floods, and lightning strikes, have displaced more than 200,000 people there.

CNN's Vedika Sud is in New Delhi, with more on the dire situation that we're seeing in both of these countries.


VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: Heavy rainfall and flooding have had a devastating impact on the lives of millions of people in Bangladesh and

India. Huge settlements have been incurred by floods.

Villages in northeastern parts of Bangladesh, especially in the district called Sylhet remain submerged. While tens of thousands have been taken to

safer ground by rescue teams, many remain homeless and stranded.

There is water all around, but very little to consume. This young boy in Sylhet can barely keep his head above floodwater, holding a metal jar in

his hand, he is in search of potable water, as are these women riding on boats. There's been a huge shortage of drinking water in this district.

Bangladeshi air force choppers have been deployed in hard hit areas like Sylhet. They've been dropping food and water packets to those cut off by

the floods.

In western India, 11 deaths have been reported Monday in India's northeastern state of Assam. More than 1,400 makeshift camps have been set

up, home to more than 230,000 people displaced by the ruinous floods. Rescue teams have been working around the clock.

In this image, a young boy sitting inside a bucket was taken to safety by rescue worker. People young and old are being evacuated to higher ground

from their homes in low-lying areas.

One of India's leading environmentalists, Sunita Narain, says climate change is causing extreme water events in the region.

SUNITA NARAIN, ENVIRONMENTALIST: It is very clear that with climate change, this region is going to see extreme weather. And already, in

Bangladesh and in the Northeast, you are seeing that impact. The region has gone from water scarcity to flood in one -- in one go.

And that is the impact of climate change. This devastating flood is clearly linked to the changes we are seeing in the world.

SUD: Bangladesh's Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, conducted an aerial survey of the flood affected areas Tuesday. According to Bangladesh's

national news agency, Hasina promised to rehabilitate every person impacted by the floods.

Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.


NOBILO: Climate change is fueling dangerous weather across the world. For one look into the natural disasters that have recently had an effect on

millions of people, I'm joined by CNN chief climate correspondent Bill Weir in New York.

Bill, always great to talk to you.

Can you explain to our viewers how climate change affects these kinds of natural disasters that we're seeing in India and Bangladesh? And also if

governments have started to do anything to try to protect people from them?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it varies by country. This, again, is an example, as we saw the heart wrenching scenes from India

and Bangladesh, that those who contribute the least to the problem for capita will suffer the greatest pains, as a result of have a hotter planet

and just basic physics. The hotter planet means the atmosphere holds more moisture in some places, and not enough and others. So, drier places become

drier. Wetter places become much, much wetter.

This region in northeast India is one of the wettest places in the world. But now, it's 43 percent above records there.


So, we're talking about nine feet, almost, of rain in three days, three meters of rain in three days. No amount of infrastructure anywhere, even in

the Western world, could handle that.

I saw one quote and it was right out of the rhyme of the ancient mariner. Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink. It's the sanitary

conditions that come from this devastation that make a long tale disaster. And this is on the heels, Bianca, of horrible floods just in may. It's one

after the other.

And they're not, of course, unused to flooding in the Brahmaputra River, in that area there. Monsoons are a finely tuned natural system, where if you

get too much too soon, it washes your soil away. Not enough, it could lead to crop failure and eventual famine at that event.

But this is really going to wreak havoc on so many lives right now. And you don't know what places -- you know, what kind of equipment these

governments have to employ. We saw them throwing food out of helicopters. In some places, that will be the most help they'd get.

NOBILO: Bill Weir, it's always great to talk about this, such a worthy expert and champion about climate change. Thank you.

And scientists in the French Alps are analyzing the links between so-called snow blood and climate change. Well, the term snow blood might sound like

something you would read in a horror novel.

The phenomenon is produced by green algae, which have colonized snowy mountain habitats. The algae are naturally green. But they accumulate red

pigment to protect themselves from the sun.

Scientists at the CEA Center in Grenoble, are working against time to understand why the phenomenon is now spreading too quickly, as temperatures

are rising and snow is melting.


ALBERTO AMATO, GENETIC ENGINEERING RESEARCHER, CEA CENTRE GRENOBLE: So, it's likely linked to global warming. The warmer it is, the more algae

there are. And the more the snow melts quickly. So, it's a bit of a vicious cycle. And we are trying to understand all the mechanisms, to understand

this circle, so we can try to do something about it.


NOBILO: And thank you for watching. That was THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

"WORLD SPORT" is up for you next. See you soon.