Return to Transcripts main page

The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Afghanistan's Deadly Earthquake; Kharkiv Under Threat; Saudi Crown Prince In Turkey. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired June 22, 2022 - 17:00   ET



ALISON KOSIK, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Alison Kosik in New York. I'm sitting in for Bianca Nobilo. Welcome to THE BRIEF.

Tonight, a devastating earthquake in eastern Afghanistan kills more than 1,000 people. It is the deadliest earthquake to strike the country in 20


And Russian troops renew their assault on Ukraine's second biggest city, Kharkiv.

Then, Saudi Arabia's crown prince has visited Turkey for the first time since journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in Istanbul.

We begin with the humanitarian tragedy in Afghanistan. More than 1,000 people have been killed in more than 1,500 injured by a massive earthquake.

It struck each other eastern Afghanistan overnight, destroying countless homes, ripping apart entire villages, and pushing a country already in

desperate need of aid further towards the brink.

The U.N. and other international groups are sending help, but weather conditions are complicating the search and rescue efforts. As usual, it's

the most vulnerable citizens who are suffering the worst.


SAM MORT, CHIEF OF COMMUNICATIONS, UNICEF AFGHANISTAN: Afghanistan has long been one of the worst places to be a child in the world. Right now, we

got 24 million people in urgent need of humanitarian aid, 13 million are children. We got worst drought the country has experienced for 37 years. We

got chronic malnutrition crisis, and a million children under the age of 5 at risk of death without urgent treatment. We've got preventable diseases

such as measles and acute watery diarrhea spreading across the country.

And then on top of that, we've got economic collapse. You got 97 percent of the population on the brink of poverty, people not able to feed themselves,

high unemployment, high food crisis. Afghan people do not have their troubles to seek, and this earthquake has compounded an already miserable



KOSIK: Scott McLean brings us the latest. A warning, some of the images in his report are graphic.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is the sound of help arriving in Afghanistan's Paktika Province. Overnight, the extremely remote

area was struck by a magnitude 5.9 earthquakes that destroyed buildings and killed the more than 1,000 people, the deadliest quake in more than two


In one village, a group of men searching for survivors pulled out a lifeless body instead. Elsewhere, this man lifts the shrouds of the latest


These people died in the earthquake, he says, and 33 members of one family were killed.

The epicenter was a sparsely populated area along the border of Pakistan, and an active fault line about 100 miles south of Kabul.

"The kids and I screamed," this woman says. "One of our rooms was destroyed, our neighbors screaming."

Taliban trucks moved bodies out of the area. Some homes were badly damaged. The government says that some entire villages were destroyed. And that's

just what they know about so far.

MORT: Some communities are not accessible. There's a lot of rain here in Afghanistan at the moment, so we've had landslides and there's a lot.

And, of course, because these areas that are affected are so brutal and remote, there's no sophisticated equipment there.

The man shooting this video says that one of her grandchildren was buried in the rubble, but they managed to pull them out alive.

Foreign aid organizations say they're already on the ground, but the head of one local NGO says that the Taliban-led search and rescue effort is

desperately under-resourced.

OBAIDULLAH BAHEER, FOUNDER, SAVE AFGHANS FROM HUNGER: There probably weren't more helicopters to send out because when the United States was

leaving, most of the aircraft, weather it belonged to the armed forces or them. It is just that we constantly have been dealing with this, black and

white, the world isn't like that.

MCLEAN: At a press conference, the Taliban pledged to send more than $500 to those injured, and more than $1,000 to the families of those killed. A

bold pledge for a cash strapped government in a midst of an economic crisis, unable to feed even its own people.

Scott McLean, CNN, London.


KOSIK: The governor of Ukraine's Luhansk region says Russia is unleashing hell the last remaining areas still under Ukrainian control. He says

Russian forces are destroying everything, and Lysychansk attacking the city with tanks, artillery, and aircraft as they approach from the south,

seizing villages along the way. Russia is also tightening its grip on nearby Severodonetsk. Ukrainian defenders are concentrated in a chemical

plant on the city's outskirts. Hundreds of civilians are holed up there as well.

And in the northeast, Russian forces are intensifying attacks on Kharkiv. Ukraine says Russia is trying to terrorize the population.

I want to bring in CNN's Sam Kiley. He's live for us in Kharkiv.

Sam, good to see you.

I'm wondering if Russia's recent progress in the east, is that now encouraging kind of a focus back to Kharkiv which is Ukraine's second

biggest city, a very important economic center?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alison, I don't know it is the success of the Russians in the east which has been grinding

and extremely costly for them. They have been advancing south, as you rightly report there. They have been trying to make progress there for


And that is because the Ukrainians push their way out of Kharkiv and drove the Russian invaders back.

Now, that absorbed a good deal of Russian manpower. That now seems to be being reinforced, and there has been a very substantial and significant

intensification of airstrikes, missile strikes in and around Kharkiv in the last 48 hours. Fifteen people have been killed in the region yesterday, 10

so far today. This evening, I've heard at least eight, a pretty loud destination of missiles fired from Russian territory, very close to the

Russian border.

This is because in the view of Ukrainian officials and intelligence analysts they spoke to, there is a planned attack coming from the Russians.

This is how they were speaking.


KILEY (voice-over): Prayers on return to her bombed out home.

OLENA, KHARKIV RESIDENT (through translator): I hope and believe with all my heart that light will conquer darkness, that peace will triumph over


KILEY: It's a distant prospect because here, Ukrainians say that Russian forces are amassing for new assault on their hometown. She fled the last

Russian attacks in April when this area, Saltivka, bore the brunt.

Thousands of people were driven from their homes in this northeastern suburb of Kharkiv. Hundreds across the city were killed in missile strikes

that did this kind of damage to whole apartment blocks. The remains of some of those missiles are still scattered in the rubble here. And it still

smells of death.

Kharkiv is under constant and intense shelling and ending a lull after Russian forces were driven back several weeks ago. This college dorm was

hit on a day when 15 people were killed in and around the city.

On the front line, it's easy to see why Russia calls one of its rocket systems Grad. It means hail.

Many Ukrainian fighters raise private funds to buy civilian drones. It spots a Russian soldier who hears the tiny aircraft, he shows potentially

fatal curiosity. Less than 100 yards sometime separates the enemies on the outskirts of Kharkiv's north. Ukrainian forces call conventional trench

warfare like this the meat grinder.

Loki has been fighting in those same dugouts.

LOKI, SPECIAL UNIT ODIN: The main disadvantage and everyone knows it, and it's the only one that I will tell is the numbers, the raw numbers. There

are just too many of the forces and stuff.

KILEY: Ukrainian intelligence officers forecast for Kharkiv is a new threat of hail.

ANDRII MOGYLA, UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES: On this picture, you can see well hidden vehicles, and they are placing them almost on the forest. We have

firing positions of two self-propelled artillery, and the fire and control unit right here.

They actually tell us that they are going to prepare another invasion of Kharkiv.

KILEY: Do you have an estimate when that might happen?

MOGYLA: I can't be 100 percent sure, but I am kind of confident. So in nearest a week, I would say.

KILEY: This is proving to be a long war. Prayer often the last line of defense.


KILEY (on camera): Alison, the steady increase of the amount of attacks against civilian areas but also military areas in and around the Kharkiv

area does inevitably presage what those drone images and intelligence contact here, but also the central government in Kyiv, are saying, which is

that they expect a significant, a significant Russian push back against Kharkiv, perhaps not necessarily to try and take it entirely but to absorb

more Ukrainian personnel and try to press home those incremental advantages that they have further east, Alison.

KOSIK: All right. Sam Kiley, please be safe where you are. Thanks for your reporting.

Germany says it might begin training Ukrainians soldiers on a long range rocket system as soon as next week. After that, training in Germany is

over. Ukraine can then begin receiving does badly needed weapons.

Ben Wedeman explains how a more advanced arsenal could help Ukraine turned the tide of the war.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New rounds soon to be loaded into the breach. These Ukrainian troops wait for

the order.

They're preparing to fire this gun. Ukraine has received more than 100 M777 howitzers, but we've seen steadily the Russians are gaining more and more

ground. This helps, but it may not be enough.

With sophisticated U.S.-made and supplied 155 millimeter howitzers like this, Ukraine hopes to counter Russia's massive superiority in firepower.

That superiority has allowed Russian forces to push forward, subjecting cities like Severodonetsk and Lysychansk to intense bombardment.

This drone footage shows Russian tanks entering the town of Toshkivka just outside Severodonetsk. Outnumbered and outgunned in the east, Ukraine has

warned Russian forces may soon intensify their attack.

This artillery is firing rounds with a range of around 20 kilometers or 12 1/2 miles. The target, we're told, Russian armored personnel carriers.

Thanks to the Americans, I think we can win this war, says Bogdan. The only problem is we need more barrels, more artillery, and more ammunition. Or in

plain English --


WEDEMAN: His comrade puts a number to it.

We need at least 500 of these guns, he says.

This has become an artillery war, and victory in this war will come from the barrel of a gun.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Eastern Ukraine.


KOSIK: EU leaders are set to review an executive proposal this week that could make Ukraine an official candidate for European Union membership. And

just ahead at the summit, the European president says that the former Soviet republic deserves the candidate status.


URSULA VON DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: Our opinion stands from a careful and thorough assessment on the reality on the ground. This

evidence tells us that Ukraine, the opinion of the commission, deserves a European perspective. It deserves the candidate status, of course, under

the understanding that the country will carry out a number of further important reforms.


KOSIK: But even if the 27 leaders endorse occurrence candidacy, it would likely take years to become a member.

Coming up after the break, Saudi Arabia's crown prince and Turkey's president have met in Ankara for the first time since Jamal Khashoggi's

murder. We will look at why they are now attempting to reconcile.

Plus, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla are attending a summit in Rwanda, a historic trip for the British royal family.



KOSIK: Russian President Vladimir Putin is pushing for stronger trade ties with China, Brazil, India and South Africa. Addressing the virtual BRICS

summit, Mr. Putin said that Russia is rerouting its trade and oil exports to, quote, reliable international partners. Russia faces sweeping Western

sanctions for invading Ukraine. Chinese President Xi Jinping accused the West of weaponizing the global economy.

CNN's Selina Wang has more now on the BRICS summit and what China and Russia's leaders are saying.


SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At the keynote speech for the BRICS Summit, hosted by Beijing, Chinese president Xi Jinping called

sanctions on Russia a double edged sword. He said that the virtual summit, quote, facts have proven time again that sanctions are a boomerang and

double edged sword, politicizing, instrumentalizing and weaponizing the world economy, adding that sanctions take advantage of the international

financial system to bring harm to the people of the world.

Now, China claims that it is not taking sides in the conflict, but China does not call it an invasion. And China along with other BRICS leaders have

avoided outright condemning Russia. The BRICS summit is the first forum with the heads of major economies since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It is

a virtual form, but still, seeing Putin's face on screen alongside the leaders of China, India, Brazil and South Africa will send a signal that

Russia is not alone, that Russia is not a pariah to every country.

Putin's invasion does, however, throw another complication to the relationship. BRICS has already long struggled with distrust and

conflicting geopolitical interests among members. China has tried to portray BRICS as an alternative to G7, as a leader of the developing world.

Ever since its inception, BRICS has been calling for more representation of major economies on the world stage, pushing back against what it sees as

disproportionate dominance of Western powers.

BRICS countries comprised more than 40 percent of the world's population, about a quarter of the world's GDP.

Also likely to be a discussion point at the summit is how BRICS countries can settle trades in their own currencies outside the U.S. dollar system.

That's added relevance after Western sanctions on Russia.

Russia is also China's largest supplier of oil. It is a major supplier of arms to India. Just days after this summit, the G7 meeting, which has been

in united in their voice against Russia, will be kicking off.

Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.


KOSIK: The Saudi crown prince has visited Turkey for the first time since the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in


Mohammed Bin Salman met with Turkish President Erdogan in Ankara after visits to Egypt and Jordan this week. The meeting came as the West and

other Middle Eastern countries look to repair relations with Saudi Arabia, which have been strained since Khashoggi's murder. But President Erdogan is

looking for a financial boost to help Turkey struggling economy and seems to be turning the page on the scandal.

Let's bring in CNN correspondent Atika Shubert. She is live for us in Istanbul, who has been covering the crown prince's trip.

Atika, good to see you.

You know, there's so much outrage after the murder of him, a meeting like this, they were thinking this was going to happen but was unthinkable. But

it happened. So, does this mean all has been forgiven in the name of economic interests?


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, perhaps not all is forgiven but even a heinous crime can be conveniently ignored in the name of national


Certainly, it was a win for Saudi's crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Just the picture of him being welcomed to Turkey by Turkish President Recep

Erdogan is really an astonishing thing. And it really goes a long way to rehabilitating the international image of the crown prince.

There was a lot of pomp and ceremony when he arrived. He was literally embraced by Erdogan. So, right there, the Saudi crown prince knew what he

had to do. What is not clear is what Turkey got out of this.

You are absolutely right, Erdogan needs financial help. He is facing an election in exactly one year's time and he is struggling to contain both

inflation prices and currency crisis. Inflation here has skyrocketed to 73 percent, more than 73 percent. And the currency has plummeted, losing

nearly a quarter of its value.

So, what Turkey really needs help in replenishing its foreign exchange reserves in order to prop up the Turkish lira, the local currency, and

Saudi could certainly help with that. We have seen other neighbors in the region helping out such as the UAE, announced a five billion dollar deal

with Turkey in January.

So, it's quite likely that something similar was discussed at the meeting and perhaps President Erdogan hopes there is an agreement on that. But it

does not seem like any concrete agreement was announced today.

The leaders met for two hours, they discussed quite a few things. We didn't see any statement coming from both leaders. What we got instead was a joint

statement from the foreign ministers of both countries that promised to keep ties but fell short to uphold agreements.

In fact, the state dinner that both leaders were attending wrapped in under an hour. And the crown prince was quickly whisked off to his next meeting.

And so, it's unclear at this point just how much Turkey gain from such a controversial decision as this -- Alison.

KOSIK: OK. CNN's Atika Shubert, live from for us from Istanbul, thanks for your reporting.

Let's take a look at other key stories making international headlines today. Protests on the streets of Ecuador, indigenous demonstrators angry

at rising food and fuel prices clashed with riot police in Quito. They want fuel price cuts, a halt to expanding oil and mining production and improved

health care services. Since protests began a week ago, major roads into the capital have been blocked.

Thousands of farmers gathered near Amsterdam today, many arriving by tractor. They are protesting the plan to curb emissions of nitrogen oxide

from farm animal manure. The government also wants to reduce fertilization. Farmers say they will have to get rid of much of their livestock and could

face economic ruin.

The British prime minister is set to leave for Rwanda in the coming hours to attend a commonwealth heads of governments meeting. The UK struck a

controversial deal with east African countries to seek help asylum seekers. But Britain's first planned deportation flight, that was blocked last week.

The European Court of Human Rights issued a set of rulings just minutes before takeoff.

Boris Johnson mentioned this agreement before heading to the meeting. Listen.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: When it comes to the Rwanda policy that we are pursuing, that policy, Mr. Speaker, has not been ruled unlawful

by any UK court, nor so far by any international court. We will continue with that promise.


KOSIK: Prince Charles is also in Rwanda to attend a summit. The first time a British royal has visited the country. He and his wife Camilla met

Rwandan President Paul Kagame a short while ago, as well as survivors of that Rwandan genocide. Hundreds of thousands of ethnic Tutsis were

slaughtered by Hutu extremists in 1994 during the Rwandan civil war.

Back in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's leadership is being tested again. After surviving a vote by his own party to remove him earlier this

month, it's now the public's turn to have their say.

CNN's Bianca Nobilo has more.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A world away from Westminster, Boris Johnson's political future hangs in the balance,

determined by two small elections triggered by sex scandals. But the real issue maybe whether his personality is now a liability. The first, in

Wakefield, a cathedral city in northern England, was called to replace a member of parliament from Johnson's Conservative Party who was convicted of

sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

The second, Tiverton and Honiton, will see voters heading to polls in the bucolic farmlands of southwest England. There is a history of battles here,

this time it is political. The by-election is happening here because local conservative MP Neil Parish was, quote, watching pornography in parliament,

not once, but twice. But he said he was looking for tractors.

If Boris Johnson loses one or both of these elections, it will show that he is no longer in the driving seat. His position as prime minister even less

tenable, and his own MPs will be looking for ways to hasten his political demise.

And now, the prime minister's unpopularity is their problem.

KATHY, LOCAL RESIDENT: This MP of ours going that way, going the same way over such sleazy matters. You can get the feeling that it's drip-drip from

the top. I mean, he's shallow, he's self-serving. He's a serial liar. These MPs are disgusted with him.

CHESSIE FLACK, LIBERAL DEMOCRAT ACTIVIST: Boris Johnson still looks at the party that he is leading, and that is coming from the top. It is okay for

him to but it is all right for that to filter down to his MPs as well.

NOBILO: But the damage these voters say goes deeper.

JOANNA, LOCAL RESIDENT: Trump was shameful for America and Boris is shameful for us.

RICHARD, LOCAL RESIDENT: I couldn't agree more. I've always been very proud of Trump. I'm becoming less proud of actually the country that I come


NOBILO: Johnson, once a glittering election winner, Brexit star of the show, now airbrushed out of his own party's political campaign.

RUPERT: I think the prime minister is a complete liability for the conservative party. He just can't do it. Unfortunately, he just can't see


RICHARD FOORD, LIBERAL DEMOCRATS CANDIDATE: There is a big understanding here, for astute voters in our community. We can send a message on behalf

of all of those people who don't have the opportunities.

NOBILO: That message could be that Boris Johnson's once winning political formula has become toxic.

Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.


KOSIK: That's your GLOBAL BRIEF. Thanks for watching. I'm Alison Kosik. If you want to follow me on my Instagram and Twitter @alisonkosik. I'll see

you soon.