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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

NATO Formally Invites Sweden And Finland To Join Alliance; France Terror Trial; January 6th Fallout. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired June 29, 2022 - 17:00   ET



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

Tonight, NATO gets set to expand and ups its military spending in Ukraine. Our diplomatic editor will look at the key takeaways from the NATO summit

so far.

Then, France issues a verdict in its landmark trial of 2015 Paris terror attack suspects.

And testimony in Tuesday's January 6 hearing sent shockwaves around the U.S. and the world. We'll have the latest on the fallout, ahead.

So, we begin with a tale of two summits with opposite priorities. NATO's heads of states met in Madrid on Wednesday, for the first day of a security

summit, and shifted Russia's designation from a strategic partner to threat.

At the same time, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a rare trip to Turkmenistan to meet leaders of countries bordering the Caspian Sea, hoping

to strengthen trade relations.

The NATO alliance once again vowed to support Ukraine and what leaders call, quote, a heroic defense of its country. NATO has agreed to a new

package of support aimed at modernizing Ukraine's military. And U.S. President Joe Biden has announced new troops deployed across Europe,

including a permanent army base in Poland.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, addressed the group, pleading for more weapons and money, and warning that Russia's ambitions will not stop

in Ukraine. He asked leaders to admit Ukraine as a NATO member, too. Take a listen.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): NATO's open door policy should remind us of the mechanism of the old Kyiv metro

barriers. They are open. As soon as you approach them they are shut until you pay. Has Ukraine not paid enough? Is our contribution to the defense of

Europe, and the entire civilization, not enough?


NOBILO: Zelenskyy's plea came as NATO invited to other countries to join, Sweden, and Finland.

Speaking to CNN's Christiane Amanpour, the Swedish prime minister said that her country was forced to drop its neutrality, due to Russia's direct

threat to Europe.


MAGDALENA ANDERSSON, SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER: I think it is so important that we, who our leaders of our country, that we also take time to explain

to our citizens that Ukraine is not only fighting a war for Ukraine but also for democracy's right to choose their own destiny and live in peace

and freedom. I know that the whole world is not affected by this war. That is because Russia has decided to invade a peaceful and friendly neighbor.

And therefore, this war has to stop and Ukraine has to win the war.


NOBILO: The big break came when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who met with U.S. President Biden today agreed to support Sweden and Finland's

NATO bids. Turkey had initially opposed them, accusing them of harboring members of a group that Turkey views as terrorists. The process of

admitting the Nordic nations could take as long as a year.

But let's bring in CNN's Nic Robertson in Madrid and Phil Black in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, to unpack this.

Nic, there's always a lot of promises and rhetoric at this summit. What do you see as the tangible outcome so far?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yeah, I think the tangible outcome is that NATO has grown. Its border with Russia has grown

that there are going to be an increased number of NATO forces deployed to that border and ready to go to that border, along with commitments for

weapon systems to be placed closer to the border.

These are very firm commitments. NATO has taught very carefully about this. And the nations that are signing up for this know what they are getting

into. They know they're going to increase their defense spending. They know that this is a commitment to the supreme allied commander of NATO so that

he will know precisely what troops are ready to go, what's terrain, what country along NATO's eastern flank that they are familiar with and where

they can go and fight.

So, I think these are very tangible things. President Putin, this is entirely the opposite of what he was looking for.

I sat earlier with Iceland's prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, and asked her if she thought or what's she thought President Putin would do next. She

said, look, we cannot just predict that.


I asked her as well about what she thought about President Erdogan's moves and about President Zelenskyy's idea that the war could be over by the end

of the year.


KATRIN JAKOBSDOTTIR, ICELANDIC PRIME MINISTER: I don't want to predict anything. What I see right now, we don't have any solution on the horizon.

We have now seen Finland and Sweden applying for membership in NATO. Nobody would have expected in the beginning of this year. So --

ROBERTSON: And President Erdogan blocked that membership but now it seems he isn't a conversation with President Biden to get F-16's. What do you

think about his manipulation of the situation?

JAKOBSDOTTIR: Well, I must say that this is something to think about really. When we said we will support Finland and Sweden's application, we

did that unconditionally out of respect for the Democratic wishes. I think actually what we have seen is that Turkey has been taking unrelated matters

and putting them in as conditions. I think it's, that's not the right way.


ROBERTSON: So you really get a sense that while NATO's acting with unity, with one voice, there are concerns about the way all the nations have

chosen to come together and how this come together. It certainly seems the commitments that they're making, they're going to be tangible.

And the real question, that open question is, how is President Putin going to respond? He said if there are NATO buildup since we did in Finland, that

don't exist today, that he will respond to that. We heard him say that before. Precisely what does he mean by that, isn't clear. But if NATO does

deploy troops or equipment to those countries, which is not in the cards of the moment, then there will be a reaction from Russia, all the reactions

just aren't clear.

NOBILO: Thank you, Nic.

And let's go to Phil Black now in Kramatorsk.

So, Phil, as Nic was outlining there, you know, there are nuances, but we are hearing stronger language and commitments from NATO. But Ukraine needs

advanced weapons urgently. Are any of these commitments translating to actual help on the battlefield right now and can give us the latest of

what's happening in Lysychansk?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bianca, Ukraine will tell you that they are grateful for what they have received. They are grateful for what they know

is coming down the pipeline. It does make a difference. It has made a difference on the battlefield, big difference.

But they also tell you it's not enough. As you said, they want more modern heavy weapons. What they've asking for recently has been new more

sophisticated anti-missile systems to protect civilians and infrastructure across the country.

On one hand, they say they noticed, I guess from their point of view, a positive trend, and that is as they transition to modern, western weapons

and ammunition, they say on the battlefield, they say Russia being forced to rely upon older, less sophisticated weapons and ammunition. So, a

positive trend that in theory at the time will give them an edge.

But Ukrainians will also tell you that as it stands, they are outnumbered and outgunned and that is what has really defining the current dynamic on

the battlefield. That is what you see here in the Eastern Donbas region, the remaining pocket that Ukraine is struggling to hold on to. That is why

Russia is steadily taking ground.

You mentioned Lysychansk, the city in the east of this contested pocket of territory. That is a city that by all accounts, it seems inevitably looks

to fall at some point in the not too distant future. It is all but cut.

It is under bombardment. Russian soldiers, we are told, are moving in there. We don't have a lot of direct information from the ground. It is

simply too dangerous, too desperate.

But Ukrainians admit this is an incredibly difficult fight. They are under great pressure, so to around 15,000 civilians still in that city. The

Ukrainian strategy at the moment is to be holding on there as long as they possibly can, trying to inflict maximum pain on the Russians as they try to

take ground. We've seen Ukrainians deployed the strategy in other areas and territory, other urban areas recently.

The problem with this is that inevitably, the Ukrainians also take heavy losses as well. As it stands, the fight in this region is steadily going

Russia's way, Bianca.

NOBILO: Phil Black in Kramatorsk, thank you so much.

And to you, Nic Robertson, in Madrid, Spain, thank you both.

Now rescue workers are searching the rest wreckage of a shopping mall in central Ukraine which was struck by a Russian missile on Monday. At least

18 people were killed and dozens wounded. Official says it will take days to clear the wreckage and to potentially find more victims.

Salma Abdelaziz is there to show us what the investigators are finding.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This surveillance footage is showing Russia's anti-ship cruise missile capable of carrying a 220-

pound warhead hitting the Amstor mall in Kremenchuk.


And this is a devastating aftermath. The complex completely ability iterated in a city far from the battlefield.

The Kremlin said it is not to blame for what happened here. It claims Russian war planes struck a hanger packed with U.S. and European supplied

weapons, and those weapons dedicated afterwards causing the fire.

The chief prosecutor of this region, Anton Stolitniy, he says he's collecting evidence to prove Moscow is lying and that it intentionally

targeted innocents.

We are investigating the site of the blast he says. We have removed fragments of the rocket and we will examine its trajectory.

Only two hours after the strike, Stolitniy and his team started their work.

We created a group of investigators that include the police and the security services, he says. And we as prosecutors coordinate their


There are two operations happening simultaneously -- emergency workers clearing the rubble in trying to find the bodies of the missing. At the

same time, Ukrainian investigators and prosecutors collecting evidence for what they say are Russian war crimes.

Stolitniy took us to the site of the second missile strike, the plant where the Kremlin claims western weapons were stored. But Ukraine says this is a

road machinery factory, civilian infrastructure.

There were no bullet holes in the other shells around us, which indicated there no ammunitions explode, he tells me.

Is there any military infrastructure anywhere in this area?


ABDELAZIZ: Another claim from Russia's defense ministry is that the shopping center was non-functioning. But President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says

about 1,000 people were inside that day, among them was this survivor.

I live near the mall and I can hear almost every day she says. It is always packed with people. And I remember all those faces.

When you look at that mall now, and I know this is your first time back, what do you think about what happened?

I feel dread and fear, she says. No Ukrainian is safe. Now we are in the crossfire. At any moment, any of us can tie.

Ukraine hopes to one day takes its case to The Hague, but bringing alleged Russian perpetrators to court is a tall order.

Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, Kremenchuk.


NOBILO: Pro Russian officials in Kherson have arrested the city's elected Ukrainian mayor. They have also announced plans for a referendum. Their

latest efforts to rectify the occupied Kherson region and scrub it of its Ukrainian identity. The mayor's advisor says is a certain he was arrested

for his refusal to cooperate with the occupying authorities.

Meantime, Syria's government is supporting as Russian allies, announcing it will formally recognize the independence and sovereignty of the so-called

Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republic. So far, Syria is the only country aside from Russia to recognize those breakaway regions as independent.

And a court in Paris just hours ago handed down historic verdicts in the trial of suspects involved in the November 2016 terrorist attacks. The main

defendant was found guilty of murder and terrorism charges and sentenced to life in prison. He's the only surviving member of the group that is

suspected to carry out the coordinated tax. He started the trial by saying he was a soldier of the Islamic State.

The Bataclan Music Hall, six bars and restaurants, and the area near the Stade de France Stadium were all targeted that night. One hundred and

thirty people were brutally murdered.

Melissa Bell joins us now live from Paris.

Melissa, what can you tell us about the verdict? And how important step is this for France in terms of healing and moving forward from the collective

trauma of 2015?

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: I think Bianca it was it is tonight in enormous step. Remember what happened that night traumatize not just the

city but the nation. The coordinated attacks that took place between just after 9:00 p.m. and just beyond midnight on the night of November 13th,

2015 had been quite extraordinary, the brutality in their randomness.

It was Paris and its bars, and its restaurants, and its nightlife. It was targeted, 130 people dead. And this trial, ten months it lasted, with 330

lawyers, more than 1,000 several parties taking place, hundreds of victims giving evidence. Video, audio that was replayed of what happened that

terrible night, was I think traumatic for everyone.

So, tonight, is not just a verdict but the sentencing, as you say, there were 20 people in who were on trial, 14 of them had been present at the

trial, six of them tried in absentia, five of them presumed dead in Syria.


But all eyes very much on Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving member of that group of ten men who were coming to Paris that night, armed with the vest

and detonated for some of them. His did not. Now, his defense was in the end that he had chosen to disable his vest. In the end, asking for

forgiveness from the families of the victims and saying that he was sorry.

The prosecution alleged that the vest had simply malfunctioned. Remember that Salah Abdeslam, for a while, had been simply uncatchable. For four

months, he'd been on the run. Interpol had launched a massive manhunt.

He'd been found in Belgium and Brussels four months after the events. There had been a shoot-out. He was then tried in Belgium for that. He was handed

out a sentence of 20. Years then he moved to France, so that he could face trial here.

When that began last September, in the beginning, it was quite unrepentant, as you say, and for a while really silent about exactly what had done on.

What he'd been looking for towards the end was more lenient sentence that would be received. Tonight, we learn not only that 19 of those 20

defendants were getting convictions for the charges against them, but also that he was receiving the harshest sentence the French judiciary can hand

out, that is a lifetime in prison without parole.

He appealed against. He'd hoped for clemency. He did not, in the end, get it. But the end of an important trial and the beginning of some healing for

the entire country beginning, Bianca.

Melissa Bell in Paris, thank you very much.

In the U.S., it was by far the most damning testimony yet. Never in U.S. history has a president, now a former president, faced such accusations and

it's still unclear where this fallout will lead.

A former White House aide told the congressional committee Tuesday that the then-President Donald Trump knew a mob of his supporters was armed on

January, even as he encouraged them to go to the Capitol.

Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Trump also asked security to stop screening them with metal detectors, saying, quote, they're not here to

hurt me. She said that Trump himself wanted to join the rioters but were stopped by his security detail.

Senior White House correspondent Phil Mattingly is following the story for us.

Phil, this testimony was explosive. What was the most significant and surprising allegation? Is there concern in America that this was damage how

the presidency viewed the eyes of the world?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think without question the most damning allegation was what you just laid out,

that the president knew his supporters had weapons, some of them semi- automatic weapons. He was clear it didn't matter because they wouldn't hurt him. He encouraged them to still go to the capital and made it clear until

the Secret Service pull the plug that he wanted to lead them to the capital.

It was a damning portrait. It was a portrait of an unhinged individual. It was a portrait of somebody who would throw food against the wall,

potentially attacks secret service officials. Unhinged, I already said it but I said it again. There's no other way to do it.

From a first person perspective, under oath, somebody who was in the inner sanctum, inner circle in the White House, there was no denying Cassidy

Hutchinson's role in the White House or her close proximity to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and the president himself. That is what made

that testimony so different.

In terms of the broader question about how -- what this means for how the country is viewed in the world, it's interesting. We are here in Madrid, at

the NATO summit, and I tracked back to a year ago, G-7 and NATO summits in Cornwall and Brussels, when I talked to European diplomats who pointed out

that President Biden, now President Biden kept saying American is back to great effect, and these diplomats said, for how long?

And I think the question right now, particularly when you talk to people here, European diplomats especially, has long been while President Biden

may have won, there has been no swing of the pendulum. There was 60-plus million Americans who voted for former President Trump. They are still very

loyal to former President Trump and the Republican Party is still very much in the mold of former President Trump.

And the idea when you talk to international officials, when you talk to diplomats that America has turned the corner and perhaps might be heading

in a different direction that President Biden campaigned on simply doesn't make any sense. Now there's really very real concern that for all of the

laudable effort that the administration has put and response to bringing coalitions together to respond to President Putin's invasion of Ukraine, to

how the U.S. has worked through the international construct that's been so effective, from the West over the course of the last eight decades, that it

may not last long at all, and we saw what the potential next step could be with the testimony on Capitol Hill.

NOBILO: Phil Mattingly in Madrid, Spain, thank you so much.

And Israeli lawmakers are taking an extra day to decide if they want to dissolve their own legislature. The vote, which is expected to happen

tonight, is now expected to happen on Thursday, and that's because several factions employed delaying tactics to stall the vote. But the bill is

expected to pass, triggering a snap election, and ending Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's relatively brief time in office.


And something of a surprise, he announced that he won't run for reelection, saying it's time for him to, quote, step back.

If Israel Knesset dissolves, centrist foreign minister, Yair Lapid, is set to take over as leader of the interim government and Israelis will head to

the polls for the fifth time in less than four years.

You're watching THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

Ahead, a reckoning in Columbia. A blistering report on the country's civil war is out. Can they find a way forward? We'll go live to Bogotta.


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

Vigils are underway in southern Texas after dozens of migrants were found dead in a tractor trailer on Monday. The death toll is now 53. And several

survivors remain hospitalized. Two Mexican nationals who authorities say were in the U.S. illegally have been arrested on firearms charges in the

case. But they have not been directly linked to these deaths.

Philippine journalist and Nobel Peace prize laureate Maria Ressa is vowing to keep her online news site open. She says it will appeal what effectively

a government order to shutdown. Rappler is known for its critical reporting of the outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte and his controversial policies.

Colombia's brutal civil war ended in 2016, but the toll of the fighting between Colombia's military and the armed rebels known as FARC is still

being felt. In a blistering 800-page report, the government appointed truth commission is urging reforms, and detailing how more than 220,000 civilians

were killed in the conflicts five decades. Some 34,000 children were forcibly recruited by FARC and millions of people were displaced.

Journalist Stefano Pozzebon joins me now from Colombia's capital, Bogota.

Stefano, tell us more about the report, what was revealed and how it's being received by the people of Colombia?


STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yes, Bianca, I think what we've seen yesterday, on Tuesday, here in Bogota, was really at the forefront just a

sheer scale of this conflict, 58 years. It's a -- it started in the 1950s and it ended only six years ago.

It touched every aspect of Colombian society, and touched mostly civilians. Between 70 and 80 percent of the casualties during the six decades of armed

conflicts were civilians, as you said, more than 220,000 people.

And that is why, for example one sentence that remain with me from that emotional event yesterday, from Padre Francisco de Roux, the president of

this truth commission. He said, if we had to honor with one minute of silence every victim of the conflict, Colombia would need 17 years of

silence to honor them all.

Just to understand how historic these truth commissions work for this nation and for the rest of Latin America, for the entire continent. It's

been compared to the post-apartheid process or to the peace process to the troubles in Northern Ireland.

And it really seems this week perhaps, that if you want, that Colombia is turning a page and that new climate of reconciliation is present. At least

here in Bogota, in town, yesterday, the president-elect, Gustavo Petro, received these reports from the hands of Francisco de Roux, saying that he

has committed himself to respect these recommendations of reform towards the armed conflict, reform of the war on drugs, and today, Petro met with

his political arch nemesis, the former president, Alvaro Uribe, 20 years of painful political fight finally to, most leading figures or political

figures in Colombia, meeting face to face.

NOBILO: Stefano Pozzebon, joining us from Bogota, Colombia, thank you so much.

Now the mayor of an Italian town has banned hairdressers from double washing their customers here to save water. The mayor of Castenaso, a town

near Bologna, says it's simply a waste of water. Anyone breaking the rules risks fines of up to $500. This comes as the country battles one of his

worst droughts in decades, with many regions forced declared state of emergency, and opposing water rushing measures.

Well, thank you for watching today. And I will see you all again tomorrow.