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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Historic NATO Summit; Russia's Snake Island Retreat; U.S. Supreme Court EPA Ruling. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired June 30, 2022 - 17:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Bianca Nobilo in London. Welcome to THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

Tonight, NATO leaders are wrapping up a historic summit in Spain, with the military alliance declaring itself stronger than ever before.

Then, a victory for Ukraine as Russian forces abandoned Snake Island. But in the battle for the Donbas, 15,000 people remain trapped in Lysychansk.

And the U.S. Supreme Court limits the government's authority to reduce carbon emissions from power plants. U.N. calls this move a setback in the

global fight against climate change.

A far-reaching NATO summit wrapped up in Madrid just hours ago. And its members want the world snow it is more unified than ever. Secretary General

Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance is committed to supporting Ukraine and countering the treat of Russian imperialism for as long as it might

take. It is agreed to high alert troops and will soon welcome Sweden and Finland as numbers.

U.S. President Joe Biden says this type of solidarity is exactly what Russia's president should have expected when he invaded Ukraine.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Before the war started, I told Putin that if you invade Ukraine, NATO would not only get stronger, but we

will get more united. And we would see democracies in the world stand up and oppose his aggression and defend a rules-based order. That's exactly

what we're seeing today.


NOBILO: But China is accusing NATO of trying to provoke confrontation, calling it a remnant of the Cold War. That's after NATO included China and

its updated mission statement for the first time. Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said that China isn't an adversary but its growing assertive

and coercive policies posed a challenge to the allies' interest.

Nic Robertson joins me now from Madrid where the summit just wrapped up.

So, Nic, one of the challenges going into the summit was how to strengthen NATO, make it more robust, without strategically escalating the situation

and provoking Russia. Has NATO succeeded in those objectives?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It certainly got President Putin's attention. Because Putin is going to shake off with NATO

is doing here, which is the opposite of what he wanted when he set out his security plans in December last year. He wanted less NATO further away from

Russia. And he's got more NATO closer to Russia.

And he's saying that NATO right now that wants supremacy. So, NATO has been able to do what it wanted to do which is to get into Putin's thinking, to

interrupt his planning, and to make him look at his war in Ukraine with a different view, with the view that Ukraine is going to get support from

NATO. That he can't reach beyond Ukraine if he desires. And then the war in Ukraine is going to be more costly to him and the country economically,

militarily and in the cost of soldiers' lives.

All of that is happening. The statement of unity that Jens Stoltenberg has talked about here NATO today reinforces all of that. This is something that

moves forward and continues and becomes more entrenched.

So, have they done something that doesn't push Putin to escalate? To use his nuclear weapons as it's talked about or saber-rattle this people have

described it? We don't know. I don't think anyone really knows how President Putin is going to change the way he's fighting the war in

Ukraine, or what he might do next.

He is certainly got his attention. -- it hasn't pushed him into doing something escalatory so far. But can it reset his calculus? Not unless NATO

makes good on its commitments that it has made. And we understand that these are going to take some time to put into place.

NOBILO: Nic Robertson for us in Madrid, Spain, thank you so much.

Now, there is one spot in Europe that military experts will become NATO's Achilles heel. It's a small strip of farmland between Lithuania and Poland,

and it's nestled between Belarus and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad.

Nina Dos Santos shows us how Lithuanians are trying to keep that threat at bay.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR (voice-over): Having a neighbor like Russia keeps Vytas Grudzinskas up at night. Armed with his machine gun and

a Maltese terrier, he's literally the first line of defense if the Kremlin's troops at the end of this street take one step onto NATO's soil.

That's where Russia starts --


DOS SANTOS: -- at the end of your street.


DOS SANTOS: Vytas says he can see the soldiers after dark with his night- vision goggles. He points to a shooting range over the hill. You often hear the shots, he says, from there.

Soviet occupation is a deeply personal memory in this part of Europe. Vytas says his own father was among the quarter of a million Lithuanians to be

sent to Gulags where many perished.

So, when Russia annexed Crimea, Vytas joined Lithuania's historic volunteer militia, the Riflemen's Union, run by a regional commander also desperate

to avoid a return to Russian rule.

EGIDIJUS PAPECKYS, COMMANDER, RIFLEMEN'S 4TH REGIONAL COMMAND: Everybody has the same story. Somebody was shot by a Soviet -- for example, by Soviet

or sent to (INAUDIBLE), or just because they were Lithuanians.

DOS SANTOS: The Riflemen's membership has increased 10- fold since the war in Ukraine began -- young and old keen to get trained up.

"Every Lithuanian knows that Russia is a threat," says this new recruit in his 30s. And in this part of the southern Baltics, that threat feels very


I'm standing on what is currently one of the world's hottest borders right inside NATO territory. It's attractive land called the Suwalki corridor

between Lithuania and Poland, which also lies to the west here between Kaliningrad, the heavily fortified, nuclearized Baltic outpost of Russia.

And over there, the Kremlin's ally, Belarus, about 60 miles in that direction.

The fear is that if Ukraine were to fall, Russia's army could roll right through here.

GABRIELIUS LANDSBERGIS, LITHUANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We've always said that we need additional allied troops within Lithuanian territory in case

Mr. Putin or his friends would try something.

DOS SANTOS: Lithuania's move to block the transit of some goods to Kaliningrad has raised the stakes just as NATO leaders meet. And Russia has

already retaliated with ongoing cyber attacks.

MARGIRIS ABUKEVICIUS, LITHUANIAN VICE MINISTER OF DEFENSE: We have started witnessing an increase in more intensity in cyber activities against our

state institutions -- against some critical operators, especially transport.

DOS SANTOS: Realizing it may get just one shot at protecting the Baltics, the alliance will now more than double the 3,000 troops stationed here

today. When they arrive, the Riflemen will be ready.

PAPECKYS: We are ready to fight with NATO -- together with NATO, shoulder- to-shoulder.

DOS SANTOS: Vytas and his fellow volunteers have faith in NATO's protection, but living so close to Russia they also have to be ready for


Nina Dos Santos, CNN, in Marijampole, Lithuania.


NOBILO: On the ground in Ukraine, Russia has abandoned a strategic island that has become a powerful symbol of Ukrainian resistance. Moscow says that

its forces left Snake Island in the Black Sea as a, quote, goodwill gesture. But Ukraine says that it drove them out with an artillery and

missile assault.

In eastern Ukraine though, Russian forces are gaining ground in their attack on Lysychansk. Russia says it is now in complete control of the

besieged oil refinery, while Ukraine says it is partially occupied. The U.N. is warning of the growing humanitarian toll of Russia's war.


OSNAT LUBRANI, U.N. HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR: Almost 16 million people in Ukraine, today, need humanitarian assistance, water, food, health services,

a roof over their heads, protection.


NOBILO: CNN's Scott McLean is in Kyiv for us.

Scott, so Russian forces retreating from the symbolic Snake Island, but pushing ahead in Lysychansk. What factors are driving both of those

military actions?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is really a tale of two battles, Bianca. You mentioned the oil refinery in Lysychansk, for instance. The

Russians say they have control of, it Ukrainians that they control small slice of it.

But regardless of who's in control, the reality on the ground in eastern Ukraine is that the fighting is very slow. It is in extremely deadly.

The Russians are retaking bits and pieces of land, slowly, but it seems lately pretty surely as well. Of course, Ukrainians are putting on one of a

resistance, but they're really struggling to hold the line. The Russian bombardment and Lysychansk officials say there is so heavy that they're

sparing nothing, not civilian targets, not even humanitarian centers in the city either. It has gone so bad that they say it is too late for people to

evacuate at this stage because they believe that the roads in and out of the city, the remaining routes in and out of the city, are likely mine with

anti-tank mines.

So instead there are devising the 15,000 people who are still they believe stuck in the city and who has so far refused to evacuate, they are advising

them to seek shelter in their basements until this is all over, hopefully soon, one way or the other.


Ukraine would love to change a fortune in that part of the country. Unfortunately, it doesn't look likely anytime soon. But they did get one on

Snake Island as you mentioned. This is a rocky outcrop in the Black Sea, not far from Odessa. It has a heck of a lot of strategic importance, but

for the Ukrainians, it also has perhaps even more symbolic value.


MCLEAN (voice-over): In the battle for Ukraine's eastern Donbas region, the Ukrainians are losing ground slowly. The Russians continue bombard the

city of Lysychansk, making escape for those who remain extremely difficult or even impossible.

Farther west, the search for bodies at that bombed shopping mall in Kremenchuk seems equally hopeless, as people lay flowers for those found

dead and those who may never be found at all.

But Ukraine can claim one victory on Snake Island. The rocky outcrop in the Black Sea near Odessa now back in Ukrainian control thanks to an overnight

artillery assault that forced the Russian occupiers to flee.

NATALIA HUMENYUK, UKRAINIAN MILITARY'S SOUTHERN COMMAND SPOKESWOMAN (through translator): The Russians truly understood they had to do the

right thing, gather their things and got out as soon as they could.

MCLEAN: Ukrainian military released this video, showing recently strikes in its week-long campaign to take back the island. New satellite images

show the scars of war left behind, but no Russians.

Russia claims it withdrew from the outpost as a goodwill gesture to Ukraine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This solution will prevent Kyiv from speculating on an impending food crisis, citing the inability to

export grain due to Russia's total control of the northwestern part of the Black Sea.

MCLEAN: In response, Ukrainian foreign minister tweeted that the Russians always downplay their defeats this way. Partners should not be wary of

providing Ukraine with more heavy weapons so that we liberate more of our lands.

Snake Island has played an outsized role in the war, from the very first day when a Russian warship ordered Ukraine troops stationed there to

surrender and got this response.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): Russian warship, go F yourself.

MCLEAN: Since then, that defiant response has been immortalized in a postage stamp, reprinted on every souvenir and still a source of national


KAROLINA GULSHANI, ARTIST: We will never give up, you know, like never, ever, like the people from Snake Island, they knew, this is like a fight

they cannot win, right? They were still like, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you.

MAKSYM, JOURNALIST (through translator): It would be great if the next Russian goodwill gesture would be Putin shooting himself in his bunker.


MCLEAN (on camera): Now, Snake Island, Bianca, is important not just militarily, but also economically as well. As the Ukrainians will tell you,

whoever controls that island, controls the flow of civilian ship traffic along that stretch of the southern Ukrainian coast.

And not long ago, President Zelenskyy mentioned snake island and the strategic and symbolic victory for his country in his nightly address to

Ukrainians. He said that it significantly changes the situation in the Black Sea. It does not guarantee safety at. It does not yet guarantee that

the enemy will not return, but already limits the actions of the occupiers significantly.

Now, Ukrainians say that although it seems that the Russians are gone and feeling completely, they want to make sure that they haven't set a booby

trap, sit any minds on the islands for the Ukrainians to walk into before they go and try to set up or a military outpost on that island, Bianca.

NOBILO: Of course.

Scott McLean in Kyiv, Ukraine, thank you very much.

Poland has finished building a wall along parts of eastern border with Belarus. The 186 kilometer metal barrier was built to stop the flow of

illegal immigrants trying to cross. The wall soon will have motion detectors and thermal cameras to detect any illegal crossings. The Polish

prime minister set on Thursday that the wall is a precaution, calling the border crisis last year the first step to the war in Ukraine.


MATEUSZ MORAWIECKI, POLISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): There is a bloody war happening behind our eastern border, the bloodiest war since

World War II. And today, we clearly see that this war had his first court and the first court of this war was Lukashenko's attack on the Polish

border, the border with Belarus.


NOBILO: We've all known that type of crisis and the military experts were saying just that.

Well, coming up, the U.S. Supreme Court limits the government's authority to regulate carbon emissions from power plants. How it could make it hard

to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement.



NOBILO: The United Nations calls a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling a setback in the global fight against climate change. Warning it will now be harder

to meet the goals of the Paris agreement. The court is limiting U.S. government's ability to regulate carbon emissions from coal fired power

plants. The Biden administration has been working on new regulations meant to accelerate the shift to clean energy solutions.

Let's bring in CNN's Rene Marsh for more on this. She is live for us in Washington.

Rene, good to see you.

So, this is yet another controversial decision with wide ranging consequences from the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.N.'s call this a setback in

the fight against climate change. Tell us what the ruling actually does.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it does and just a new nugget off the top for you, the head of the EPA has put out a statement calling the

ruling, disappointing, but vowed that the agency remains committed to using a full scope of EPA's authorities to protect communities and reduce

pollution that is driving climate change.

But to your question, Bianca, the Supreme Court ruling is a ruling that is in favor of coal power plants. It is a win for coal producing states, but a

blow to President Biden's climate agenda. And it will make reaching his climate goal of cutting greenhouse gases by 50 percent by the end of the

decade much more difficult.

Power plants, as we have said all along, they are the second largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions here in the United States. These

emissions are warming the planet, they are causing this climate change.

And today, the Supreme Court curbed one of the EPA's most effective tools to drastically cut back on these emissions. So the court says, they believe

that -- or I should say, the conservatives on the court saying that they believe that this authority belongs to Congress. But the reality is,

Congress has shown that it lacks this sort of political consent to show aggressively take on climate change.


So, by default, this sector and this ruling means that this sector will see less regulation, as it relates to greenhouse gases. And the question

becomes, you know, what impact will this have on the larger international stage? And, you know, many are saying that it will have an impact.

The U.S. clearly will not be leading in this space and if other nations see that the United States is not aggressively looking to curb their emissions,

they may begin to think, why should we? And so, the feeling amongst the United Nations and other nations is just simply that this is a step back

not just for the United States, but for the entire world when it comes to fighting climate change.

NOBILO: Rene Marsh in Washington, D.C., thank you for that report.

MARSH: Thanks.

NOBILO: Friday will mark 25 years since Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule. China's Xi Jinping is attending official events there, including the

swearing in of the city's new chief executive, John Lee. A number of local and international journalists, including from CNN, cannot independently


Their applications but rejected for quoting, I'm, sorry there was a bit of confusion there. So, a number of journalists would want to attend these

proceedings cannot for, quote, security reasons. For many, it's just another example of the erosion of freedom in Hong Kong.

Under President Xi, the one country two systems principle seems mostly to exist in name only, as CNN's Ivan Watson now reports.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A massive police deployment in central Hong Kong on June 4th to stop what

used to be an annual tradition here -- a candlelight vigil for the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing.

For 30 years, the visual attracted tens of thousands of peaceful participants, until the practice was banned in 2020, they say, due to

COVID-19. In fact, the authorities have banned all independent street protests, while also cracking down hard on the city's political opposition.

DENNIS KWOK, FORMER HONG KONG LAWMAKER: People are living in a state of fear.

WATSON: For years, Dennis Kwok was an elected Hong Kong lawmaker until the government disqualified him from running for office in 2020.

KWOK: There are so many of my colleagues who are either in jail or have been arrested.

WATSON: Speaking from self imposed exile in the U.S., Kwok argues the freedoms Hong Kong enjoyed started coming under threat when Xi Jinping took

control of the ruling communist party in 2012.

KWOK: Hong Kong is one of the symptoms of where China is going, and I'm afraid that the countries taking a turn for authoritarianism of a kind

which we have not seen for many, many decades.

XI JINPING, CHINESE PRESIDENT (translated): The era of the Chinese nation being slaughtered and bullied is gone forever.

WATSON: This year marks Xi's tenth year as the leader of China.


WATSON: CY Leung previously worked as Beijing's appointed chief executive of Hong Kong. He's also unenthusiastic supporter of Xi.

LEUNG: On the environmental front, for example, he's a key and major driving force behind basically cleaning up the country and also his anti-

corruption efforts on all levels in the country.

WATSON: This would be, in your opinion, the highest marks of its kind of biggest accomplishments?

LEUNG: Yes. I would say so and also development of the economy.

WATSON: Xi has asserted Chinese hard and soft power overseas, building man-made islands and military bases in contested waters of the South China

Sea. Under his rule, China has made huge trade and infrastructure investments around the world as part of the belt and road initiative.

In 2018, China's ceremonial parliament removed presidential term limits, paving the way for Xi to potentially rule for life.

CARL MINZNER, SR. FELLOW FOR CHINA STUDIES, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: We look back at the `50s, possibly `60s, and see that if I can bring back

some of the political ideology, the vibrancy of that period, this can help combat swat and corruption, other problems of the Chinese system.

WATSON: Xi's time in office has also seen dramatic expansion of a high tech state surveillance system used to chilling effect in China's Xinjiang

region, where western governments accuse Beijing of detaining up to 2 million Uyghur Muslims and members of other ethnic minorities in interim

internment camps. Traumatize victims of this crackdown question Xi's legacy.

ABDUWALI AYUP, UYGHUR ACTIVIST & FORMER POLITICAL PRISONER: What are we going to leave behind? Genocide, cruelty, dehumanization. This kind of

cruelty and if you want, this will this become a culture, become, like, the behavior and then do you want to expand this behavior to a different

country like this?


Do you want, in the world, you become -- you create this system, digitalized prison in the world?

WATSON: The Chinese government rejects criticism of its human rights record, arguing it uses lawful measures to maintain security against

violent extremists.

In mainland China, officials offer cash rewards for tips about hostile forces, while here in Hong Kong, this public awareness campaign warns

people to be on the lookout for possible terrorism.

WATSON: After a decade in power, Xi Jinping says he's making China great, but his government seems to talk about internal and external threats more

than ever.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


NOBILO: Okay, so there's some more international stories today that we would like to draw your attention to.

Starting with for the fifth time in less than four years, Israelis will head to the polls with an election of the new Knesset set for November the

1st. Lawmakers voted to dissolve the parliament, pending weeks of political paralysis. Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will become caretaker prime minister

from Friday until a new government is formed.

Al Jazeera's managing director says, the media organization will bring the case of Shireen Abu Akleh's killing to the International Criminal Court.

This follows reports from the U.N. Human Rights Office alleging that Israeli forces fired the bullets that killed the journalist. Israel says

it's still investigating, but claims it's clear she was not killed intentionally.

And one of the most infamous names in Filipino politics is returning to the halls of power. And activists are making their feelings clear. Hundreds

have protested in Manila against the inauguration of new president, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son of the late dictator who ruled the Philippines

for two decades in the 20th century.

And a photo opportunity unlike anything on earth. All of Mars has not been photographed by a Chinese spacecraft, according to the country's space

agency. The images reveal the full otherworldly extent of Mars's unique surface, including dusty red dunes, giant craters, and an ice sheet at its

south pole. China says the orbiter will continue conducting tests and that its scientific data will be shared at an appropriate time.

Thank you all for watching this evening. I hope you have a good one. I will see you again tomorrow.