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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Blasts Shake Crimea Ammo Depot; Brazil Election Campaign Begins; Lake Mead Drying Up. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired August 16, 2022 - 17:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Lynda Kinkade, in for Bianca Nobilo. Welcome to THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

Just ahead: Russian forces face new pressures to get military supplies after a blast destroyed a crucial ammunition depot in Crimea.

Then, one of the most divisive political campaigns in Brazil's history begins. Incumbent President Bolsonaro is already sowing seeds of doubt in

the electoral system.

And across the world, extreme heat is causing natural disasters. We'll take you to Lake Mead, one of America's largest reservoirs. It's drying up.

Russia is calling it sabotage. Ukraine is calling it demilitarization in action. A Russian ammunition depot inside Crimea jolted by explosions and

fire. Six kilometers away, the commuters who shot this video say their bus shook. Now, this is the second time in a week that blast rocked the Russian

facility in Russian occupied Crimea, and it happened even as Moscow accused Ukrainians of blowing up power lines at a nuclear power plant 110

kilometers inside Russia. Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for any of it.

In eastern Ukraine, intense shelling and fighting is repairing several Donetsk and civilians are taking a large measure of the damage. This is the

aftermath of a Russian bombardment Tuesday in the residential area in Kramatorsk close to the front lines. A Ukrainian soldier working on a

grenade said it appears Russia's ramping up its offensive to capture all of Donetsk.


MYKHAYO, UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: The intensity has increased in the last few days, especially in the morning when they begin the assault. They come

closer at night and begin the assault and spread it outside. We receive coordinates, where they are and how many of them, and we began our work to

cover infantry.


KINKADE: Take a look at this map of what the Eastern front looks like right now. Ukraine says Russia is making some limited gains, but it also

says it has repulsed Russian forces from advancing north of Sloviansk.

We want to welcome CNN military analyst, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling in Florida. He's the former commanding general of the U.S. Army in Europe

and the Seventh Army.

Good to see you.

MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY: Good to see you, Lynda. Good to be with you.

KINKADE: So I want to start with Crimea. For the first time since the annexation in 2014, we are seeing significant explosions in that Russian

controlled area the last week in the Russian airbase and in the last 24 hours that ammunition depot. Power station and railway also damaged.

Ukraine didn't take credit for the destruction of the Russian planes, but it is hinting that it is responsible for the attack on that ammunition

depot. What do you make of that?

HERTLING: Well, it's a brilliant use of all types of their force, Lynda. We've been watching this very closely. What you see is not only their

incorporation of new technology from the beginning of this campaign, when they first started hitting Javelin and Stinger initials, to now when they

have HIMARS and MLRS and they're countering Russian fire from artillery pieces and rockets.

But you are also seeing out the incorporation of special operations forces, territorials, homeland defense, resistance elements that are complementing

the Ukrainian army in attacking behind the line. They're telling the Russians there are no safe places for you. They are brilliantly conducting

this campaign because they're focusing primarily on logistics and supply lines, which is damaging the Russian capability to fire indiscriminately

with their artillery and their missile barrages.

KINKADE: And, of course, this war started as the country-wide offensive. Russia attacking all over Ukraine. It appears now to focus in a two-pronged

manner, the south and the east of Donbas region.

Can Putin fight and win in a two front war? Or as the saying goes, should he pick his battles?

HERTLING: He is certainly going to be tested. Mr. Putin started as you said with about nine different avenues of approach. He now really has two

main axes in the Donbas and in the south, trying to keep supply lines open from Russia, across the southern perimeter, all the way potentially to

Mykolaiv and then onto Odesa.


He has failed in every capability to try to do that. What Ukrainians have been brilliant's is opening up that dangerous second front by putting more

forces into Kherson province, or Kherson oblast, which President Zelenskyy order them to do. What does that is threaten additional supply lines coming

out of Crimea and also coming out of the eastern part of the country.

So, all of these things are devastating to Russia and causing some big problems.

KINKADE: And I want to talk about Russia 's loss. It has suffered significantly on the battlefield. Ukraine's defense ministry claims 43,000

Russian troops have been killed. The Pentagon puts the numbers 80,000 killed and injured. Of course, we are seeing these unprecedented sanctions

on Russia.

What does Russia have to show for almost six months of war?

HERTLING: Well, when you take a look at their strategic an operational objectives, they have failed in accomplishing any of them. They have

certainly occupied some territory, but those territories that they push their forces into have mostly been destroyed because of their criminal

attacks on civilian infrastructure, civilians themselves, and it has caused a devastating effect in some parts of the country.

They never -- the Russians never had the capability to sift seizing and securing talents, so in fact what they did was destroy them. So, you are

now seeing Ukraine pushing back after estimating the amount of literally hundreds of billions of dollars of damages that they're going to have to

rebuild when this war is over. They are pushing back.

Russia continues to extend their lines of communication. They're incapable of really controlling the cities throughout the south and in the east. So

Ukraine is putting the Russian forces on the arms of a dilemma. Do they continue to try to tack in the east? Or do they protect their elements in

the south? They can't do both.

So, I think we're going to see increasing victories and small ways by the Ukrainian army in both of these tough fights, and not many advances by the

Russians. They've been out this for, what, five months. The Russians have not gained considerable ground that they can basically secure and claim to

be their own.

KINKADE: Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, always good to get your perspective. Thank you so. Much

HERTLING: It's a pleasure. Lynda, thank you.

KINKADE: Well, there is growing optimism that the 2015 Iran nuclear deal may be revived. Tehran has responded to the European Union's latest

proposal, saying an agreement can be reached if America's response is also realistic and flexible.

A regional diplomat tells CNN that Iran wants compensation if the U.S. withdraws from the deal once more. The E.U. and the White House are now

studying Iran's response.

Earlier, CNN spoke to Mikhail Ulyanov, the Russian ambassador to an international organization in Vienna and a permanent representative to the

U.N. Security Council. He's a key voice in these ongoing negotiations.



it happens, we will have most likely ministerial meeting with the joint commission of JCPOA either this week or next week. Indeed, we are very

close to the final -- very final stage.


KINKADE: CNN international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen has more on the sticking points of the deal.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR ITNERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Lynda. Well, there certainly seems to be a good degree of optimism on the

parts of the Iranians. They believe that they are close to reaching disagreement. However, they do warn that things could still go wrong. There

are still several sticking points. That probe by the International Atomic Energy Agency which questioned some alleged traces of possible nuclear

activity and some undeclared sites.

The Iranians were reprimanded by the board of directors of the IAEA. They say this probe is unfair and they want that probe to go away. Now, as far

as the JCPOA itself is concerned, the Iran nuclear agreement, the Iranians want to make sure that they have real sanctions relief. They want to make

sure that companies that want to do business with Iran, countries that want to do business in Iran are not intimidated, for instance, by the United

States. And so, they really want to benefit from the Iran nuclear agreement.

And then you have the feeling inside Iran that they were burnt when the Trump administration decided to exit the deal they say they believe

destroyed a lot of their nuclear inventory. They destroyed a lot of their centrifuges, for instance.


And then the Trump administration left the agreement and they were also subject to those very heavy sanctions. So, the Iranians say they want to

make sure this time if the U.S. leads the deal again, that there will be a heavy price for that. These are sticking points that the Iranians say have

already been addressed to some degree. They say they want some stronger language in that EU proposal that was put forward.

Again, the Iranians saying this is something they believe that can be solved, however, we know from covering these negotiations, that here is

very little in the way of trust, especially between the U.S. and around -- Lynda.

KINKADE: Yeah, trust is a big issue no doubt. Frederik Pleitgen, thanks to you.

CNN's Kylie Atwood is monitoring how Washington is responding to all of this. She joins me live from the State Department.

Good to have you with us, Kylie.

So, certainly, a level of optimism not seen in almost 18 months. Iran saying the deal can be made if America's response is realistic and flexible

to the expectations set up by Iran. One of which is a guarantee that the U.S. won't withdraw for a second time. How is the U.S. responding? Is that

a promise of the U.S. can make?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, first, on how the Biden administration is responding, as you said earlier, they said that they have

received Iran's comments through the European Union and they are reviewing them. What they aren't doing right now is putting any characterization on

what Iran's put forward, how they have responded to this EU proposal that they put on the table. We should note that conversations surrounding this

particular way forward have been going on since march. Conversations to revive the Iran nuclear deal on a whole have been going on for more than a

year and a half.

So, the Biden administration is also saying that they believe it is past time for any solution to actually come to fruition here. They're saying

this has gone on far too long. They do think that the major issues have largely been solved. They are not saying here that they are particularly

hopeful that this will lead to an agreement. But they also are not coming out and so aggressively saying, as they have in the past, that the Iranians

should stop bringing things to the table that are outside the contours of the Iran nuclear deal itself, those extraneous issues having to do with the

IRGC and the like.

Because there are things that they aren't saying, perhaps there is some hope here. But the Biden administration is just reviewing what has been put

forward, they said they will then relay their sentiments back to the European Union, and then we expect that they are probably the ones that are

going to say what the path forward here could potentially look like.

KINKADE: All right, we'll stay on the story. Thank you so much.

Well, in the year since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, the country's been essentially frozen out by the world. No country recognizes Taliban

leadership and they have cut off funds and foreign. Women have lost most of their rights and jobs and girls are denied a secondary education.

The Taliban takeover came as the U.S. military was conducting a chaotic and clumsy withdrawal. Now U.S. lawmakers and officials are examining the

failures of a two decade-long war and looking at what comes next.

Now, Alex Marquardt reports.


ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): One year ago, this was the deadly and chaotic culmination of efforts by the past two U.S. presidents to withdraw from Afghanistan. The

Taliban had overrun the country. The Afghan military and government had collapsed, sapped of American support.

The biggest U.S. base in Afghanistan, Bagram, abandoned by U.S. forces virtually overnight.

The Trump administration had struck a deal with the Taliban to have U.S. troops leave in mid-2021, an agreement President Joe Biden argued forced

his timing.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So we were left with a simple decision -- either follow-through on the commitment made by the last

administration and leave Afghanistan or say we weren't leaving and commit another tens of thousands more troops going back to war.

MARQUARDT: Like Trump, Biden wanted out. Staying, he said, would lead to a forever war, which had already cost almost 2,500 American lives. And he

argued ending it would also end the extraordinary cost that had risen to $2 trillion.

Republicans like Congressman Mike McCaul of Texas blasted how the withdrawal was handled, calling it a stain on Biden's presidency.

REP. MIKE MCCAUL (R-TX): The evacuation was so poorly handled that we just left so many behind, whether it be American citizens or Afghan partners.

MARQUARDT: Thousands of those Afghans remain, often hunted, McCaul says, by the Taliban.


More than 74,000 Afghan special immigrant visa applicants are in the pipeline. The Biden administration so far has issued over 15,000 visas.

SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): It's a broken program. It's continued to be broken. The Biden administration made a recent announcement to help with

that, to help speed up the process.

MARQUARDT: Many are Afghan women trying to get out as their rights are torn away by the Taliban, an issue that Senator Jeanne Shaheen has fought

for for years.

SHAHEEN: We've seen the rights of women be dramatically restricted, their ability to work, to go to school.

MARQUARDT: Without the American military there, Shaheen says, the U.S. is hamstrung in its ability to do more.

And the agreement the U.S. struck with the Taliban to not harbor terrorists, she says, is effectively dead after the leader of al Qaeda,

Ayman al-Zawahiri, was found to be living in downtown Kabul. The U.S. drone strike that killed him, the Biden administration says, is proof that so-

called over the horizon missions from outside Afghanistan can work.

But the U.S. intelligence community is severely hampered by not having American eyes and ears on the ground, according to the CIA's top former

analyst on Afghanistan, Beth Sanner.

BETH SANNER, FORMER DEPUTY DNI: We have a growing terrorist threat in Afghanistan. I will say I think we need to keep this in perspective. It's

nothing like what it was before 2001. Al Qaeda is still a shadow of itself. We still have that ability to take them out.

MARQUARDT: A threat that raises concerns of an attack in the United States. The head of the FBI, Chris Wray, said earlier this month.

Today, Afghanistan is spiraling, facing medical, humanitarian, and economic crises that only further fuel the fierce debate over the Afghanistan war

and its calamitous ending, a debate that will continue long past this first anniversary.


KINKADE: That was Alex Marquardt reporting there.

Well, Brazil's presidential campaign is now in full swing, but instead of rallying for a specific candidate, some voters are marching for democracy

itself. We will show you why.

Plus, extreme weather sweeps the globe. We look at how the U.S. is planning to ease the strain on its drying river basins, next.



KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Linda Kinkade. You're watching THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

The first round of Brazil's presidential election is now less than two months away. President Bolsonaro is expected to make it to a runoff. So is

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva who led the country from 2003 to 2010.

So far, this is shaping up to be one of the most divisive presidential campaigns in Brazilian history.

CNN's Isa Soares explains.


ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The presidential campaign has only just started, but many are already afraid of how it may end, with

hundreds marching on the Capitol in defense of Brazilian democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It happened in the United States of America, and it is happening in this country, the constant attack against our democratic


SOARES: The man they say stoking the spear is the incumbent president himself, who has been repeating baseless attacks on the electoral System,

promising his opponents a tough fight as he launched his bid for a second term.

JAIR BOLSONARO, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We are the majority, we are the good ones, and we are willing to fight for our freedom

and our homeland.

SOARES: For over a year, Bolsonaro has been criticizing electronic voting, saying without any evidence that it's open to fraud. His call for printed

ballots to be used alongside electronic ones, and in doing so has his eyes fully on the presidential prize.

BOLSONARO: I have three alternatives for my future jail, death or victory.

SOARES: It's a rhetoric that both his starch supporters and party fully back.

CAPTAIN AUGUSTO ROSA, LIBERAL PARTY VICE PRESIDENT: We believe President Bolsonaro's criticism to be valid. We have a portion of society around 15

to 20 percent, which also dealt electronic ballots.

SOARES: But what his party says is the quest for transparency, many argue is dangerous rhetoric, even prompting civil society figures to sign a

letter for democracy and manifesto in defense of democratic values.

Judge Luis Barroso was the President of the Supreme Electoral Court until the beginning of the year, helping organize elections at a national level.

He tells me the need for a manifesto show some are afraid for Brazilian democracy.

LUIS BARROSO, JUDGE, BRAZILIAN SUPREME COURT: The numbers of times that people ask me if I fear a coup d'etat means that there is something strange

going on.

SOARES: And for the man vying for Bolsonaro's job, the perceived threat and democracy has a clear origin.

LULA DA SILVA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, WORKER'S PARTY: Every day, he offends the Supreme Court every day, he offends an electoral justice, and

every day, he offends those who do not like him.

SOARES: Returning to the ballot after more than a decade on the sidelines and after being convicted for corruption, the former president and

Bolsonaro's main opponent says he wants to focus on Brazil's post pandemic recovery.

SILVA: I am older but I am much better with much more strength and with much more courage to make this country succeed.

DA SILVA: But Brazil's success is dependent on a smooth election despite the rhetoric from populace President Jair Bolsonaro. Judge Barroso tells me

the electoral system is strong enough to handle the criticism and says there's some good news.

BARROSO: Around 80 percent of the population trusts the system despite all the attacks we've been suffering. And our role is to assure that whoever

wins in the October elections will be inaugurated on January, the first and the plane is going to land safely.

SOARES: Still, as the campaign kicks off and the rhetoric hardens, political turbulence cannot be ruled out. And the right could still be


Isa Soares, CNN.


KINKADE: The U.S. is facing in a storage drought. The largest wet reservoir drying up. Lake Mead seen here being one of them. The federal

government is making mandatory water cuts to save the river basin.

Our Bill Weir has more.


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Whiskey's for drinking. Water is for fighting. That supposed Mark Twain quote has been a

western slogan since the first settlers, but now the worst drought in 1,200 years, as water managers in seven states, 30 trouble relations, and Mexico,

fighting over every precious drop.


CAMILE TOUTON, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION COMMISSIONER: But to date, the states collectively have not identified and adopted specific actions and

sufficient magnitude that would stabilize the system.

WEIR: That was the commissioner in charge of dams and reservoirs, admitting that upper and lower basin states have failed to agree on ways to

cut their water use by up to 25 percent.

PAT MULROY, FORMER COMMISSIONER, SOUTHERN NEVADA WATER AUTHORITY: I think, ultimately, the states are going to realize they are playing Russian

roulette. And they will have to come to their senses.

WEIR: For almost 30 years, Pat Mulroy was in charge of southern Nevada as water, and led an aggressive conservation campaign to tear up laws, reuse

wastewater and scold waterways there's.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can't water in the middle of the day ma'am, you will be fined if you don't change or watering clock.

WEIR: All measures she would like to see happened downstream.

MULROY: I think they are kicking the can down the road past the election, if you want me to be very frank about it. I don't think anybody wants to

make great public announcements about measures they may have to take prior to the election.

WEIR: Rather than force new actions, the feds will let the -- automatic cuts will lower water delivery by 7 percent to Mexico, 8 percent to Nevada,

and 21 percent Arizona.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can hear this crunching. It is just starting to dry up.

WEIR: Here, alfalfa farmers are being paid to let their fields go fallow. While some are switching to crops like guayule, a rubber plant that grows

in the desert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Crops switching, looking at lower water use crops like that are one of the solutions we need to look at in the dry future to allow

communities to sustain themselves.

WEIR: Thanks the creative water counting, California will not face mandatory cuts next year. But their governor is already warning of a future

with a lot more people and a lot less water.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSWOM (D), CALIFORNIA: Science and the data leads us to now understand that we will lose 10 percent of our water supply by 2040. If all

things are equal, we will lose an additional 10 percent of our supply by 2040.

MULROY: We have the very real possibility, this coming year, if we have another lousy winter, all things being equal, that we will dry this lake

down to elevation 1000. That is 100 feet above dead pool. And you are at the bottom of the martini glass. It doesn't take much to tip that over and

get to the point where nothing can go downstream.

And if you don't take it seriously now, if you think that you are going to avoid this through rain dance, go pray, do whatever, that we have a great

winter, you are insane.


KINKADE: That was CNN's chief climate Bill Weir reporting from Boulder City, Nevada.

Thanks so much for joining me. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Stick with CNN. "WORLD SPORT" is next.