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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Odesa Missile Strikes; China Restaurant Attack; U.S. Supreme Court's Rulings. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired July 01, 2022 - 17:00   ET



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

Tonight, missile strikes on the residential area in Ukraine's Odesa region have killed at least 20 people. Officials say one of the buildings it was a

children's medical center.

Then, a CCTV footage of men assaulting women of a restaurant in northern China has sparked outrage across the country, renewing the debate over the

treatment of women there.

And in a debrief, the U.S. Supreme Court has just concluded one of its most controversial terms and weeks and recent history, from abortion rights to

climate change, the latest rulings have divided American and sparked debates all around the world.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is accusing Russia of deliberately targeting civilians and terror attacks. After missile tracks killed 20

people in the southern Odesa region. This is what is left of the housing block that was destroyed while people were sleeping inside. We are also

learning that a medical rehabilitation center that was used to treat children from Moldova was hit. That's according to Moldova's health


A Kremlin spokesman said that Russia does not target civilian infrastructure. In eastern Ukraine, officials say the city of Lysychansk is

close to be encircled by Russian forces after relentless bombardments. Ukraine says that Russia now controls part of the oil refinery there, while

Russia claims complete control of that refinery. Some civilians who managed to escape the fighting are taking shelter in the city of Dnipro. They're

describing apocalyptic conditions back home.


NINA BONDAR, EVACUEE FROM LYSYCHANSK (through translator): The city doesn't exist anymore. It is practically been wiped off the face of the

earth. There is no humanitarian aid distribution center. It has been hit. The building which used to house the center doesn't exist anymore, just

like many of our houses.


NOBILO: Let's bring in CNN correspondent Phil Black who is in Kramatorsk for us.

Phil, this was a week where we had a lot of conflicting actions and messages from Russia. What overarching shift has we seen in their strategy

this week?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bianca, Russia continues to attract from the air, pretty much as a pleases anywhere it likes in the country.

And the strikes today in Odesa are particularly terrible example of that.

But its effort to conquer territory, to take it and hold it, they are still very much focused on the east, in the Donbas region. And there is an

undeniable truths to its effort here. The fight is going Russia's way, and that's because Russia is using overwhelming firepower to really pound

Ukrainian positions and communities. It is steadily wearing down Ukrainian soldiers and civilians.

Take a look.


BLACK (voice-over): These Ukrainian fighters know it won't be long now. The Russians are getting closer, firing heavy ammunitions into this dense

forest everyday.

Vladimir shows us where much bigger rounds have fallen close to their camp, incoming fire booms steadily nearby. As Mykhailo proudly shows us the

advance the antitank weapons provided by Western allies. They were hugely effective earlier in the war, but they're not the weapons Ukraine needs

most for this fight in the east.

You can hear it, Mykhailo says, every one of our heavy shots, they make 10 or 20. It's because we lack artillery. Outgunned by the Russians,

outnumbered, too.

Of course, they're coming, Maksym says, and there are many more of them than us.

The fight is positioned in this forest a short distance from Russian lines, are all volunteers who signed up when the war started. For weeks, they've

been waiting, ready to carry out one job -- to attack any Russian convoys trying their luck on a nearby road.

If, when, the Russians decide to move through and take this territory, it is unlikely these soldiers will ever see them, not up close, they will just

feel more of the same. Heavy weapons, artillery, the rocket fire, the big heavy weapons Russia was using to drive Ukrainian forces back steadily,

slowly, across this region.

Russia's big weapons don't just fall in the forest. Sloviansk, a key city in the Donbas, now within easy range. Here, Russia artillery destroyed a

local business.


Six people outside a supermarket were injured when cluster bombs dropped around them.

Bomblets also scattered around this apartment complex, killing a man and a pet, terrifying many more people.

Valentina says the explosions blue debris over her bed. Every night, she tries to block out the noise of war with a pillow.

In Bakhmut, southeast of Sloviansk, explosions even greater in number and power, tearing apart peoples' homes as they huddle beneath them in


The Russian advance in Bakhmut is only a short drive from this road, almost every home still has someone living in it, almost every home has felt

Russian firepower. But the people here are still reluctant to leave.

Marina feels she has nowhere to go, with the strain of staying is unbearable. She says, we don't have gas, we don't have power, we don't have

water, but we only want the shooting to stop.

In the Donbas, Russia's unmatched artillery is an unstoppable force, with (INAUDIBLE) and no concern of civilian suffering. It is steadily

overpowering Ukraine's defenses.


BLACK (on camera): Rockets are falling over -- just a short distance we're from where we are, with such regularity, officials are saying every day

people should get out while they still can. They want to avoid a repeat of what is currently happening for the east, in Lysychansk, that is that city

that you mentioned, which is almost completely encircled, we're told under constant bombardment day and night, and there still seems to be about

15,000 people there.

This all adds up to a grinding sense of inevitability in this war for the Donbas. The fight is so unequal that Russia can be slowed down, but it this

stage, it doesn't look like it can be beaten, Bianca.

NOBILO: Phil Black in Kramatorsk, thank you so much for your report and for that heartbreaking piece.

U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner is now on trial in Russia on charges of drug smuggling. The two-time Olympic gold medalist appears in court in

Moscow on Friday for the first trial and hearing. Friends and supporters and U.S. officials say that she's been wrongfully detained and is being

used as a political pawn which the Kremlin denies.

Fred Pleitgen tells us what happened in court and what's coming next.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Brittney Griner handcuffed as she was led into the courtroom. Cameras were

not allowed inside the trial where the WNBA star was read the charges of allegedly trying to smuggle drugs into Russia.

Her lawyer saying Griner is in strong spirits.

ALEXANDER BOYKOV, BRITTNEY GRINER'S LAWYER: She's a bit worried. But she is a tough lady. I think she will manage.

PLEITGEN: What do you think are the chances she can get out? That you can get an acquittal?

BOYKOV: I would not comment.

PLEITGEN: Brittney Griner was detained at a Moscow airport on February 17th. Prosecutors today claiming she was carrying two vaping cartridges

with a total of about 0.7 grams of cannabis oil inside them, a crime in Russia they can carry a sentence of up to ten years in a prison colony.

The U.S. considers Brittney Griner as being wrongfully detained. The charge d'affaires of the U.S. embassy was inside the courtroom and called on

Russia to release Brittney Griner immediately.

ELIZABETH ROOD, U.S. EMBASSY MOSCOW: Wrongful detention is unacceptable wherever it occurs. The United States government, at the very highest

levels, is working very hard to bring Ms. Griner, as well as all wrongfully detained U.S. citizens safely home.

PLEITGEN: Brittney Griner's trial starts as tensions between the U.S. and Russia have reached the boiling point. Not just over Russia's invasion of

Ukraine, the U.S. is also calling for the immediate release of former marine, Paul Whelan, who was sentenced to 16 years in Russian prison for

alleged espionage.

The U.S. called his conviction politically motivated. The Kremlin rejects that and today also said Britney Griner's trial was not political.

DMITRY PESKO, KREMLIN SPOKESPERSON: You know, I cannot comment on the action of the Russian court. We don't have the right to do that. And never

do. I can only deal with the facts, and the facts say that a prominent athlete was detained in possession of prohibited substances that contain


PLEITGEN: After about two and a half hours, Brittney Griner's trial was adjourned for another week and she was led away handcuffed again, as her

lawyers and U.S. authorities fight to bring the basketball star home as soon as possible.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.


NOBILO: Hong Kong has a new chief executive, John Lee. He's a hard-line police officer appointed by Beijing.


Chinese President Xi Jinping was there to swear him in an marked 25 years since the former British colony was returned to Chinese rule.

Mr. Xi said the one country, two systems policy must be followed and the city cannot afford to be destabilized.


XI JINPING, CHINESE PRESIDENT (through translator): After going through a period of turbulence, we all deeply feel that Hong Kong cannot afford to be

destabilized. And Hong Kong's development cannot be further delayed. We must eliminate all interference and focus on our development.


NOBILO: For many people living in Hong Kong, the promise to preserve the city's freedom now rings hollow.

Let's take a look at the other key stories that we were talking about internationally today.

COVID-19 infections in the United Kingdom increased by 32 percent during the past week alone. The office of national statistics says it is likely

caused by omicron sub-variants. In England, now one and 30 period are currently testing positive for COVID-19, and in Scotland, the rates there

are even higher, with one and 18 people testing positive.

Also in the UK, a member of parliament has been suspended from the conservative party after accusations of groping emerged against him. Chris

Pincher resigned as deputy chief whip on Thursday after reports alleges he groped two men at a private member's club. In his resignation letter to

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Pincher says he, quote, drank far too much. Downing Street initially said that Pincher would not face disciplinary

action, but after pressure from both sides of the benches, he was suspended from the party later today.

Medics in Sudan say the military killed nine protesters Thursday during anti coup demonstrations. Social media videos shows opening fire on crowd

several times. The protests continue today. There have been no reports of more violence. Medics say that more than 100 protesters have been killed

since October, when the government dissolved.

Turning now to China. The graphic surveillance video of man assaulting women at a restaurant last month has gone viral, triggering a flood of

anger across Chinese social media. The incident prompted calls for systemic change over the treatment of women. It's also inspired other victims of

criminal violence to demand that police solve their cases.

Selina Wang has the latest for us from Beijing.


SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This brutal attack on women at a restaurant in northern China last month triggered nationwide rage and

despair. And this is how the government is reacting to the incident in Tangshan City, amassing an army police to track down on crime, sending

brigades of armed police to patrol the streets at night, going into bars, restaurants, outdoor food markets. Interrupting groups eating outside with

loudspeakers, telling men, no fighting, no beating, especially of women.

SWAT teams hovering over women without male companions. Women on Chinese social media mocked the excessive show of force. One wrote: This is just

for show. It doesn't solve any real problems.

Another said: We don't need immense protection. What we need is a safer and fairer society.

The graphic surveillance video from last month shows a man making an unwanted advance towards a woman. After she pushes him away, the assault

escalated to shocking brutality. Multiple men taking kicking and beating the women will bottles and chairs.

This is believed to be an image of one of the two women who was hospitalized after the attack. Authorities claim the two women are still in

the hospital, recovering from quote minor injuries, denying rumors that some of the women died.

Police arrested all nine people involved in the attack. Several of them had criminal histories.

The victims of criminal activity in Tangshan seized the moment for the police station. This man says he's 86 years old. He has been waiting in

line for hours. This man says it has been seven years since he reported his case but still no progress.

They hope the national attention will pressure police to solve their long ignored cases. Online, people rushed to do the same, holding up their ID

cards to prove the authenticity of their claims and call out the perpetrators' names.

This man says, friends on the Internet, please uphold justice for me.

Another woman church footage of her boyfriend violently attacking her when she was seven months pregnant, putting her down in an attempt she says to

kill her baby.

Another says gang members broke into his bakery a year ago. He shows surveillance footage of them destroying his shop. He says criminals have

harassed him and his family ever since.

This woman, a bar singer, says in May, gang members beat her and her colleagues and locked them in a cage for 16 hours.


Police say they are investigating all three of those cases. State media says gangsters and drunken mentor to blame for the restaurant attacked,

while reports linking the case to sexism or systemic violence against women have been swiftly censored.

LIANG XIAOWEN, CHINESE FEMINIST ACTIVIST: By framing this incident as a single incident that's merely gang violence, the government avoided the

problems within their system. This is the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other incidences that are happening every day. Chinese women are

actually demanding a systemic change.

WANG: In recent years, authorities have tried to stamp out feminist voices, seeing them as threats to social stability. Ask police parade

across the country to show they're taking crime seriously, the government squashes outrage over sexual harassment and gender-based violence.

Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.


NOBILO: That was jaw-dropping.

Coming up, we will debrief the end of U.S. Supreme Court's controversial turn, from abortion rights to climate change policies, the latest rulings

that divided America and sparked debates around the world.


NOBILO: A conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court has concluded one of its most significant turns in recent U.S. history. The courts

rulings have erased one decade-long constitutional right, the right to abortion. And from gun regulations to curbing the environmental -- the

government's environmental powers, it's been a controversial term indeed.

Most of the new decisions have had an immediate and direct impact on the lives of Americans, and have renewed debate across the world, on issues

like abortion, and the relations between state and religion.

Joining me now to discuss is CNN presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley, from Austin, Texas.


Great to have you on the program tonight, sir. Thanks for joining us.


BROWN: So, people have a habit of catastrophizing their current circumstances, and sometimes, viewing the past as a golden age. But if we

broaden this out beyond the Supreme Court, to also the testimony that we heard, that was explosive about January 6th this week, how bad of a state

do we think American democracy is in right now, compared to the rest of its history?

BRINKLEY: Well, it's important, always as a historian, to remind people that our own times are not uniquely perilous. We always feel like the sky

is falling on us, generation after generation. I would say it's better to be alive in the United States today than it was during the Great

Depression, or World War II, for example.

But with that said, our political fabric, our democracy, our institutions are really stressed like never before. You have to go back to the Civil

War, the 1860s, to find the country this split in two. Vietnam, it was does versus hawks, the war took a cost on the 60s and 70s, 58,000 dead in

Vietnam, and the assassination of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King Jr. and the rest.

But right now, where in a country where nobody -- the polling on President Biden, on congress, on the Supreme Court, on journalism, the country seems

in a sour mood about all its institutions, except for the armed forces.

NOBILO: And do you think the recent ruling from the Supreme Court -- I'm thinking particularly on guns, especially on abortion -- are going to

foment more of the divisions that exist within America? And how might those divisions manifest, as they develop?

BRINKLEY: Well, it's definitely going to. Joe Biden has faced a setback. The Supreme Court has shut down three important planks of what the Biden

administration is all about. Gun reform, not happening. Roe v. Wade, dismantled, being done away with. And the environment, major setbacks on

climate change.

So if you are President Biden, what do you do? You try to rally Americans to gander, to get their anger up, to say register, vote, and try to hold on

to the Senate in Congress this November. But elections matter, and Donald Trump, as president, got three conservative Supreme Court justices in his

four short years, and this is now a Trump court going on here.

And, you know, we are watching in the same time, the January 6th committee hearings. We are looking at how Trump ostensibly tried to orchestrate a

coup on the federal government. So, it's very troubled political times in the United States right now, and we are heading into wildfire season to the

American West. And then, the hurricane season for the Gulf of Mexico. We are living in an age of climate.

So, there is an anxiousness in the country that certainly hasn't been there, my life. And I think you would have to go back into the 19th century

to recall a time when Americans were pitted against Americans in such an extreme way.

NOBILO: Now, just there, and moments ago also on one of your answers, you compare the situation now to the Civil War in America. And others made that

comparison as well, with less nuances, perhaps more hyperbole. But if you could, boil down to its most essential, the divisions that you see in the

country, in terms of how do those Americans view America differently? Why do those viewpoints read such discontent at the moment? Why are they so


BRINKLEY: It's that important question asked. There are few key answers.

One is the urban versus rural divide. Rural people vote. They live in small towns, go to their local fire station, and they are angry. They feel

they're left behind.

The Internet revolution, you know, many of them weren't on Wi-Fi. They were out of range for a long time. And so, that is one divide.

Then, race in America, which has always been the plagued from, you know, the middle passage to slavery on down, we are seeing feeling of Americans

waking up, white America, certain degree of them saying, we're not a majority white country anymore. We are heading into being the minority.

And so, I would call it white backlash going on, particularly in the Southern states, in the Midwest as well.

And then, there are people that are still believed in states rights, let the state decide on abortion or guns, versus people that want a big, strong

federal government.

What's being litigated, if you like, I think, is the great society of Lyndon Johnson, when we expanded with Medicaid, and Medicare, and PBS, and

NPR, and wild and scenic rivers, and water quality acts, and you can go on.


If you go to the Johnson library here in Austin, you just see walls of pensively Lyndon Johnson. And the Reagan revolution, as it metamorphosize

into the Trump era, is trying to undo the Great Society. So we are stuck in a huge cultural war battle.

And then, add to it in fact that say the Catholic Church in America, one in four Americans are Catholic, and the Catholic Church is opposed to Roe v.

Wade. So, there is a religious underpinning to some of this, to secular society versus Judeo-Christian American society. And they're all kind of

coming to a head in an unhealthy way.

I do think local government in America is functioning much better, community by community, then at the federal government, writ large with

this moment because conspiracy theories at the bound. And people don't trust the federal government, and make up weird stories all the time.

As a historian, I have to deal with people who think Americans never -- Neil Armstrong never went to the moon. And we haven't done a good job

having history, civic, good governance teaching. We failed in our schools to let young people know what is the cost of democracy and how important it

is to protect.

So, we are in a civics-learning deficit era, which, you know, compounds all of these problems.

NOBILO: Douglas Brinkley, we're going to have to go. We're going to have you again soon to discuss more about that, sort of breakdown of trust in

institutions. And it's been great to speak to you this evening.

CNN presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley, thanks.

BRINKLEY: Thank you.

NOBILO: Now, Italy's regions are battling the worst drought in 70 years. What you are seeing here is a River Tiber in Rome, just one of many rivers

to end up because of unprecedented heat. The reverse water has fallen so low that it's not possible to see ancient ruins built by the Roman Emperor


The region has declared a state of emergency, including a ban on using hose pipes and refilling swimming pools.

Well, thank you all for watching today. I hope you have a great weekend. I will see you again on Monday.