Return to Transcripts main page

The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Israel Strikes Gaza; China-Taiwan Tensions; Putin Meets Erdogan. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired August 05, 2022 - 17:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Isa Soares, in for Bianca Nobilo. A very warm welcome to THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

And just ahead on the show, Israeli forces have launched strikes on Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza. The prime minister warns, we will do whatever it

takes to defend our people.

Then, Taiwan reports a record number of daily incursions by Chinese warplanes.

And the Russian president and his Turkish counterparts have vowed to deepen their countries cooperation. We'll debrief some of the new entreaties.

But, first, Israel's army is continuing to target Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza just hours after Israeli airstrikes there.

Here you're seeing Gaza City just a short time ago coming under renewed bombardment. Palestinian officials say the early Israeli strikes killed at

least ten people including a five-year-old girl. Islamic Jihad says one of its senior leaders died, they are vowing to retaliate.

Southern Israel is on alert for rocket fire coming from Gaza. Like this from earlier, Israel leaders say it's strikes in Gaza are a preemptive.

Against an imminent threat from what they've called a terrorist group.

Israel says it's not targeting civilians. Have a listen.


YAIR LAPID, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Our fight is not with the people of Gaza. Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy that wants to destroy Israel and

kill innocent Israelis. The head of Islamic Jihad, is in Tehran as we speak. We will do whatever it takes to defend our people.


SOARES: Yair Lapid speaking earlier.

Journalist Neri Zelbir joins me now from Jerusalem.

Neri, this is escalating very quickly, at least it has in the past 3 to 4 hours. Just bring us up to date on the rockets being fired in both

directions, and the impact it's having on the ground?

NERI ZELBIR, JOURNALIST: That's right. Since this afternoon, the escalation is only gotten worse. Since the Israeli military and air force

struck the initial targets inside Gaza, as you mentioned earlier, striking a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander, as well as various other

militants and anti-tank crews according to the military, and various civilians including, unfortunately, a five year old girl.

On the other side, we've seen after a lull a few hours initially, a response by Islamic Jihad by a rocket fire, from Gaza into primarily

southern Israel. It's included further rocket strikes, longer range up to and including the outskirts of Tel Aviv, southern cities and the outskirts

of Tel Aviv. Over the past hour, we've got anywhere that Tel Aviv has opened up the bomb shelters, in anticipation of for that rocket fire into

the night.

And so, this isn't likely going to end anytime soon.

SOARES: Yeah. And Israel is also called up 25,000 reservists as well, which suggests that things might escalate.

Let me ask you this, Neri, as we just play there, Israel's Prime Minister Yair Lapid, saying the fight is not with the people of Gaza. He went to

say, Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy. I mean, where is Hamas in all this? Where are the mediators, I'm thinking U.N., the likes of Egypt?

ZELBIR: So, over the past week and the real context for this latest escalation was an Israeli military arrest operation in the West Bank

targeting a Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander. In response over the past four, five days, Islamic Jihad has vowed retaliation. And that's what we

saw earlier today, the Israeli military, is according to its officials, taking preemptive action against the possible Islamic Jihad retaliation.

But over the course of the past few days, we have seen Egyptian and Hamas officials trying to mediate between Islamic Jihad and indirectly with

Israel to stop what we are seeing today. Israeli airstrikes and rocket fire.

It is indicative, though, that so far, and I emphasize so far, we haven't seen Hamas join in the fighting. Hamas itself hasn't to the best of our

knowledge fired rockets itself. That in a very difficult day maybe the only silver lining in the sense that Islamic Jihad is alone in this fight and

may choose to stop hopefully soon.

SOARES: Yeah, important context I'm glad you brought that up. Of course, there is a need to de-escalate and to low the temperature right now.

Neri Zilber, I appreciate your time. Thanks, Neri.

Well, the White House says Beijing is, quote, punishing the whole world after China halted ties with U.S. on a range of critical issues including

military relations, inaction on the climate crisis.


The measures announced on Friday part of the continued fallout from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan, if you remember, earlier in

the week. The U.S. says China's choosing to overreact, but as Selina Wang now reports, Chinese officials are protesting that notion with a new show

of force.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rockets from China launched towards the Taiwan Strait, Chinese fighter jets approach the island.

Beijing ramps up its intimidation of Taiwan over U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit. China is staging a blockade around the island.

On Thursday, Chinese state media reported missiles flew over Taiwan for the first time before falling into nearby waters. Beijing then announced its

suspending cooperation with the U.S. on key issues, including talks between defense leaders and coordination over immigration, international crime,

illegal drugs and climate talks.

JUDE BLANCHETTE, FREEMAN CHAIR IN CHINA STUDIES AT CSIS: For as China is lobbing missiles all around Taiwan, they've decided that they're going to

cut off communications with the U.S., which just adds to the possibility of a miscommunication by either side.

WANG: The U.S. and China are blaming each other.

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: China has chosen to overreact and use Speaker Pelosi's visited as a pretext to increase provocative military

activity. There is no justification for this extreme, disproportionate and escalatory military response.

HUA CHUNYING, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): U.S. in some of its lackeys jumped out to accuse China of overreacting. If

they really worry about regional peace and stability, why didn't they send out earlier to prevent Pelosi from paying the provocative visit to Taiwan?

WANG: China flew an unprecedented number of fighter jets across the median line of the Taiwan Strait. PLA pilots said they were excited to get so

close to the island.

HOU HONG, PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY AIR FORCE PILOT (through translator): When I overlooked the coastline of the Taiwan Island, my determination to

safeguard the territorial integrity of the mother land became more firm.

WANG: All of this rage just over a two-day visit. Pelosi's presence in Taiwan, a slap in the face to Beijing, which insists the self-governed

island is a rebel Chinese province.

Pelosi is out of Taiwan but left a crisis behind her. Many in the region fear that Beijing's retaliation is just getting started.


SOARES: And that was CNN's Selina Wang reporting.

Well, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has called for an immediate halt for China's military exercises after Chinese drones flew around the Okinawa


This as Kishida met with U.S. House Speaker Pelosi as she continued her tour. Said the U.S. and Japan will work together to maintain stability in



FUMIO KISHIDA, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): With regards to China's ballistic missiles falling into waters near our country,

including our exclusive economic zones, I have told Pelosi that it is a serious issue for our security and for the safety of Japanese people. We

strongly condemn China and protested. The recent actions of China create serious concerns for the region, and to peace and stability to the

international community.


SOARES: Well, China's foreign ministry as we expected, didn't take kindly to the neighbor's warnings. Take a listen.


CHUNYING: Japanese government leaders have recently behaved really badly over the Taiwan issue, causing great discontent among the Chinese people.

As we have already said, Japan bears a serious historical responsibility on the Taiwan issue, and Japan is not qualified to say anything to China over

the Taiwan issue.


SOARES: Now a U.N. report says North Korea is preparing for a nuclear test, the report compiled by independent experts says that development has

been ongoing at multiple sites. It also says North Korea has been hacking into global systems to steal money for its nuclear as well of missile


U.S. President Joe Biden says he's feeling quite full about a possibility prisoner exchange with Russia. And that comes after Russian foreign

minister Sergey Lavrov say Moscow is, quote, ready to discuss the deal. The Biden administration has offered to swap convicted Russian arms dealer

Viktor Bout for U.S. citizens Paul Whelan as well as Brittney Griner, according to three sources briefed on the matter.

Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Moscow court and that happened, of course, on Thursday.

Well, Fred Pleitgen joins me now.

And, Fred, these comments from the U.S. side is a promising sign, at least it appears to be some sort of momentum. But what's the mood regarding this

prison exchange in the Brittney Griner camp, Fred?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, among her legal team and, of course, all the supporters of Brittney Griner. Of

course, all of them are hoping that some sort of exchange will take place but at the same time, it certainly something they're counting on. I was

able to speak to the legal team today, they say that they are completely focused on the legal battle ahead. And that essentially means filing an

appeal against the verdict they consider to be deeply unfair.

They have ten days to do so, they say they're going to do that a lot earlier and continue this battle at the same time of course after that

really tough verdict against Brittney Griner that was handed down yesterday. They came and visited Brittney Griner today and really tried to

lift her spirits.

Here's what we heard.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): After the harsh verdict against Brittney Griner for drug charges, the WNBA star's lawyer write after visiting Griner tells me

she is still in shock but in a fighting spirit.

MARIA BLAGOVOLINA, BRITTNEY GRINER'S RUSSIAN COUNSEL: She is doing better than yesterday. She is still processing what has happened, but by tried to

help. We told but this huge support she's getting, and in Russia now as well. Everybody here is very much surprised with this very harsh sentence.

PLEITGEN: The court sentenced the two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist to nine years in a Russian penal colony, and while her legal team says they

will immediately appeal the verdict which they say was deeply unfair, they welcome a prisoner swap to get Griner back to the U.S.

BLAGOVOLINA: It is the perfect thing to get her home, of course. We hope that she will get home soon.

PLEITGEN: Now that the sentence has been handed down, Russia for the first time is saying it is willing to engage with the U.S. on a possible

exchange. And that a mechanism for such swaps was put in place after President Biden's summit with Russian Leader Vladimir Putin in Switzerland

last year.

SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): As for specifically on the issue of persons convicted in Russia and the U.S., I

have already said that there is the special channel that was agreed to by the presidents. Whatever might be said publicly, this channel is still


PLEITGEN: The U.S. has said it has put an offer on the table to get both Brittney Griner and former marine Paul Whelan currently serving a 16-year

sentence for espionage which he denies, released.

CNN learning that the Biden administration is offering convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in return.

Secretary of State Blinken says Washington will take up Moscow's offer to negotiate.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We put forward as you know a substantial proposal that Russia should engage with us on. And what the

Foreign Minister Lavrov said this morning, and said publicly, is that they are prepared to engage through channels we've established to do just that.

And we'll be pursuing that.

PLEITGEN: The Kremlin was extremely irritated when the U.S. made its offer public last week. Vladimir Putin's spokesman saying any future talks need

to be held in secret or they'll fail.

DMITRI PESKOV, KREMLIN SPOKESPERSON (through translator): If we discuss even a few details of prisoner exchanges by the press, then those exchanges

will never take place. The Americans have already made that mistake, suddenly deciding to use mega phone diplomacy to resolve these issues. This

is not how they are resolved. So we will not give any comments.


PLEITGEN: As you can see there, he used some pretty direct and very clear words coming from the Kremlin. They're on the one hand, they are saying

that they are interested in engaging with the United States to try to move all of that forward. But also saying all of it has to happen behind closed


The Kremlin really, it's hard to overstate how irritated officials were here in Moscow when the U.S. first made what they call that substantial

offer public last week. The Kremlin now saying all this has to move forward, behind closed doors, unclear how long that's going to take, how

intense right now all those talks are, but certainly, if you speak to Brittney's lawyers and her supporters, they really hope that there is some

resolution very quickly, Isa.

SOARES: Fred Pleitgen for us in Moscow this hour. Thanks very much, Fred. Good to see you.

Well, in Ukraine, both sides are now blaming each other for shelling the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. It's the largest in Europe and Russia has

control that since the beginning of March. So far, Russian officials are downplaying the situation as CNN's Nic Robertson reports in southern parts

of the country where people are when again needing to flee.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Waiting and waiting, families, pets, possessions loading them down, all crossing to the

Russian occupied territory south of Zaporizhzhia.

This is what's slowing everything up here, the deep mud, cars getting bogged down sliding all over. This one just managing to get through, the

reason why they're coming this way is quite simple. The bridges are blown up.

Ukrainian emergency services doing their best to get people through the rain sodden fields. We've had to drag a few trucks out today, the commander

says. But it's drying out and getting easier.

Known as the green corridor that's where people cross to and from Russian occupied territories. But something of this day, traffic almost entirely

one-way. Evan estimated 6000 people stuck on the Russian side, only 76 crossed. Many, many hundreds went the other way.

Where are you going?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because my parents live in Kherson.

ROBERTSON: Is it dangerous because there's Russians controlling?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know this, I must take my parents from Kherson to my city Odesa.

ROBERTSON: Everyone leaving Ukrainian -controlled territory telling us similar things. They expect to come back, even if it appears they're not.

I'm taking my mother to the other side, he says, and picking up my grandmother. When we asked where he's taking his young daughter, he shrugs.

If they were going to live on the Russian side, no one willing to admit it.

The route working so well this day, several trucks taking the chance to turn a profit.

This man's van loaded with Pepsi toilet paper telling us he's taking it to market.

The emergency services here say that on a normal day like a traffic coming from the occupied, Russian controlled site. Today, it's different. They

understand that there will be nobody, nobody else coming from the Russian side today.

No one any wiser why the Russians are still blocking so many desperate to leave.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Kamianske, Ukraine.


SOARES: Well, staying in Ukraine, officials there are also reporting shelling in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv on Friday, especially

around the port of the Dnipro Rivera. They say the attack was deadly and tracking down alleged Russian informers. Despite the green deal between

Russia -- war ships carrying grain got the green light to leave Ukrainian ports along the Black Sea.

And still to come tonight, shunned by the Western world, Russian President Vladimir Putin is shoring up ties with Turkey. We will look at agreements

that came out of the dog meeting in Sochi. That is next.



SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.

Russia and Turkey are deepening ties, pledging to build political as well as economic cooperation after key meeting in the Russian city of Sochi.

Vladimir Putin hosted Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as you can see there, from a second talk in just over two weeks. The Kremlin says Turkey agreed to begin

paying rubles for some Russian gas supplies. The leaders also agreed to cooperate against terror groups in Syria. The meeting comes after turkey

helped broker our rare diplomatic break between Russia and Ukraine, a deal praised by Vladimir Putin on Friday.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): With your direct participation, mediation of the U.N., the issue related to the supply of

Ukrainian grain from the Black Sea port was resolved. Deliveries have already begun, I want you to thank you for this, and for the fact that at

the same time a package of decision was made on the uninterrupted supply of Russian food and Russian fertilizers to global markets.


SOARES: Let's get some perspective now from Omer Taspinar. He's professor at International Defense University and senior fellow at the Brookings

Institute in Washington.

Omer, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us.

Look, what struck me is what the meeting did show is that Putin and Erdogan kind of need each other right now. Obviously, Putin portrayed in ways to

circumvent the impact of Western sanctions. How is he looking to achieve this? How can Erdogan ease his economic pain right now?

OMER TASPINAR, PROFESSOR, NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY: That's right, the relationship remains very transactional, what Putin wants us to work around

western sanctions, and the European Union, is implementing energy sanctions, United States is pressuring for all kinds of financial and

energy sanctions. What Putin can do right now, according to some documents that the Ukrainian intelligence released to the Western media is to invest

in Turkey by buying Turkish refineries and Turkish depots where Russian natural gas, Russian oil could be basically stored and this would be sold

to the world markets as if it was coming from Turkey.

So, in a way investing in Turkish energy sector, investing also in Turkish banking. Turkish banks, state-owned banks are still doing business with

Russian banks. So, the financial sector which is under pressure in Russia could also work with the Turkish banking sector as one way to circumvent

the sanctions. Of course, this is risky for Erdogan. It opened up Turkey for secondary sanctions.

SOARES: Yeah, and just on this report just to bring it out, break it out for our viewers. According to this report, "The Washington Post" is quoting

it, too, Putin will seek Russian states and Turkish oil refineries, terminals, and reservoirs, in order what it's saying here, Omer, here, to

disguise the origin of Russian oil exports ahead of a EU oil embargo.

I mean, would Turkey entertain this proposal? Like you said it would be at risk as a NATO member of secondary sanctions?

TASPINAR: Isa, Erdogan willing to take this risk. It's an important question. When you look at the state of the Turkish economy, Turkish

inflation is at 80 percent, Erdogan is up for we election next year. He desperately needs lower energy prices, lower oil prices, lower natural gas


If this deal could lower potentially natural gas prices in Turkey for consumers, oil prices, Erdogan will be taking that risk. He also needs

Putin to, in terms of Syria. Syria is a big problem for Turkey. Again, for Turkish domestic politics. There is 4 million Syrians in Turkey, Syrian

refugees, and Erdogan wants to repatriate some of them in northern Syria.

For this, he has to open up certain parts of northern Syria which are now occupy by what Turkey calls Turkish terrorists. So, everyone is talking

about Turkish military incursion into northern Syria these days. Erdogan needs a greenlight from Putin who owns the sky, Moscow basically the

Russian air force is still active in Syria. They're providing some coverage to the Syrian Kurds, and if Turkey's to enter northern Syria, it means it

needs to orchestrate that's to deconflict this and to get some sense of greenlight from Russia.

Putin is willing to give this in return, for some economic benefits along the lines like we've discussed. So, full circle, the relationship is

transactional right now.


SOARES: Yeah, it does sound very transactional. Of course, important to point out to our viewers, this all coming in, some backdrop of skyrocketing

inflation. I have my correspondent earlier, economy overheating, and, of course, elections next year, all very important.

Omer, really appreciate you taking time to speak to us. Omer Taspinar, thank you, sir.

TASPINAR: Pleasure.

SOARES: Let's take a look at the other key stories making international headlines at this hour for you.

Rescuers are working nonstop to reach ten miners trapped, in a cool mind in northern Mexico. The miners have been trapped since Wednesday. Authorities

have brought them water, extraction pumps, and special force drivers to help with the efforts.

And intense heat wave continues across Europe's Mediterranean coast with numerous countries issuing weather warnings. France's prime minister says

the country is experiencing its most serious drought ever. In Italy, 16 cities face red alert for extreme temperatures on Saturday.

And Chile's Easter Island has reopened for tourist after closing its border 860 days ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those wanting to visit the

UNESCO world heritage site needs to fully vaccinated and present a negative PCR test taken no more than 24 hours before flying.

A rare piece of good news about the world famous Great Barrier Reef. It's suffered severe bleaching brought on by rising ocean temperatures. Monetary

group in Australia is as part of the reef, is healthier than they've been in decades. Two thirds of the reef reported the highest amounts of coral in

40 years. The scientists say they're still vulnerable and many public figures are calling for UNESCO to add the reef to it's endangered list.

Now a police department and Washington state is on the hunt for a person who scammed, get this an 11-year-old, Jeremy, who had set up a lemonade

stand was given $100 bill by the suspect in exchange for a drink. The person asked for exact change. So, Jeremy needs to use all of allowance

money to give $85 back before realizing that the hundred dollar bill was actually fake.

The Everett police department says that detectors are on the case but are asking for help to identify the suspect. Just incredible.

In the meantime, a GoFundMe account for the boy has raised almost $2,000 for him. Let's keep that number going up.

Thanks very much for your company. That was THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

"WORLD SPORT" is up next. Have a wonderful evening. Bye-bye.