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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

EU To Propose Price Caps On Russian Gas Ahead Of Winter; FSB Informants; Pakistan Floods. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired September 07, 2022 - 17:00   ET



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

Ahead, we will be saying freeze. That's the message from Russia's President Putin as Europe weighs out its options to combat the energy crisis.

And then, CNN speaks to Russian FSB informants who have defected, shining a light on the inner workings of the Kremlin's secretive security services.

And, we're drowning. Pakistan's largest lake overflows as aid efforts struggle.

We begin with the world reeling from Moscow's actions. Right now, people and businesses are being suffocated by the harsh economic impact of

Russia's war in Ukraine. In Sri Lanka and Indonesia, people are paralyzed by the lack of fuel, taking to the streets once again.

Meanwhile in Europe, countries like Austria are freezing electricity prices. While others such as Greece, are begging people to turn off lights

to save energy.

It's a crisis at the top of the agenda for world leaders, with Brussels trying to cap energy prices to halt soaring bills across the European

Union. Despite Russia's President Vladimir Putin threatening to block all energy sales if that was to happen.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Like I said, we won't supply anything that goes beyond our contracts. We won't do anything

that was imposed on us. It will be only one thing left for us. Just like in a Russian fairytale, we'll be saying -- freeze, freeze, the wolf's tail.


NOBILO: This raised the risk of rationing in some of the world's richest countries this winter. Russia already cut energy supplies to Europe in

retaliation of the sanctions. The E.U. is rushing to find alternatives to Russian gas, especially in the Middle East and Africa. And Mr. Putin says

that he's setting his sights there to.


PUTIN (through translator): As I said earlier, more now without a doubt focused on developing our infrastructure in the east, and also developing

the international north-south corridor, and our Sea Black and Azov ports. We will not forget about this. This will open new possibilities for Russian

companies to access markets in Iran, India, countries of the Middle East, and Africa, and, of course, also to supplies coming from these countries.


NOBILO: Meanwhile, the world's newest leader Liz Truss made her British parliamentary debut. The U.K. prime minister is set to release an energy

crisis plan on Thursday, making it clear that this is the new government's priority.


LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Sort out the energy crisis, get our economy going, make sure people can get doctor's appointments. That's where

I'm focused on.


NOBILO: The European Union is going to hold talks to address this crisis.

CNN's Anna Stewart breaks it down for us.


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The EU is facing an energy crisis, even before Russia stopped the operations of Nord Stream 1. So, it has really

gone from bad to worse. And there's no indication of when or even if gas supplies will resume down that pipeline.

On Wednesday, the EU commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, spoke ahead of an emergency energy meeting, it's going to be held in Brussels on

Friday. And she laid out some proposals, I also think she made clear to Russia as much as the bloc, that Europe has already weakened Russia's grip

on their energy.

URSULA VON DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: At the beginning of the war, if you look at the imported gas, 40 percent of it was Russian gas.

Today, we're down to 9 percent only. So, these are the five measures we will discuss what the member states at the informal council, Energy

Minister Council on Friday.

These are tough times and they are not over soon. But I'm deeply condensed that if we show the solidarity, humanity, and we have the determination for

that, we have an economic strength, we have the political will, that we shall overcome.

STEWART: The five measures the E.U. will be pushing to member states include reducing the bloc's electricity consumption, particular looking at

reducing these at peak times. For sometime, analysts have told me it's critical not just to bolster energy supplies, but also reduce demand,

putting in place a revenue cap for non-gas generators who are profiting from higher energy prices and implementing a windfall tax on fossil fuel

generators, using that money to support vulnerable people and businesses.


Liquidity help for energy suppliers, who are paying such high prices for wholesale gas. And finally, a price cap on Russian gas will, at least

according to Russian President Vladimir Putin who also spoke Wednesday, simply mean no Russian gas being supplied at all. He warned that the West

will freeze.

So, EU member states will potentially be signing up to a total cut off of Russian gas if they approve all these proposals when they meet on Friday.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


NOBILO: Turning from the global impact of the war to the latest on the ground. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, a backup power

line to the Zaporizhzhia power plant has been damaged by shelling. The agency says there is no immediate impact to the plant, which is relying on

its full operating reacted from power. Ukrainian officials say they're now considering shutting down the facility.

Sam Kiley is in Odesa for us.

Sam, what would the consequences be of Ukraine shutting down the plant completely?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ukraine itself with them suffer a very serious loss of generating capacity. This is a

nuclear power state that provides at its peak 20 percent of the electricity generated in this country. It's the biggest nuclear power station in

Europe. It has six nuclear reactors when it's at full blast, if you like. It has two that are currently functioning, but there is very sporadic in

terms of the contribution they can make to the Ukrainian national grid because of the shelling attacks and the use of that location are near that

location by the Russians as a fire base.

Now, in the last ten days or so, there's been so many frequent outages of power going into these reactors. There's really serious concern that the

cooling systems can break down. At the moment, they're relying on the ability called island ding, which is the reactor itself generated in power

to cool itself. That's kind of a last resort.

The diesel generating backup systems that are supposed to kick in are extremely vulnerable, consume a large amount of diesel and need

maintenance, because above all, the power coming in from the nearby traditional power station, that provides the cooling current effectively

into these reactors keeps getting cut by attacks recently.

Just in the last 24 hours, we heard from the Ukrainians and the U.N. watchdog, the really serious concerns that they might have to actually

mothball the power station. Whether they can do that while it's under Russian occupation, I don't know the answer to that. It seems pretty

unlikely -- Bianca.

NOBILO: Sam Kiley for us in Odesa, thank you.

A recent string of defections from Russia is shining our light on the inner workings of some secretive Kremlin operations.

CNN's Matthew Chance is covering the story for us and he joins us live.

Matthew, what have you learned from these people you've been speaking to?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think quite a lot in terms of insight into those inner workings, specifically how

the FSB which is one of the main security services inside Russia, a successful organization to the KGB. They've developed a network of

informants and political parties, opposition groups, inside Russia but also expatriate communities outside the country as well.

We spoke to two defectors. One of them in exile in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, the other in Amsterdam.


CHANCE (voice-over): This is where we sleep. This is how we live, Mikhail says. As the Russian political activist turned FSB informant shows us

around the Dutch refugee center, where he's now seeking asylum.

All I want for the future is a positive, normal life, he says, without any more of these adventures.

It was as a young opposition campaigner that Mikhail, seen here at an anti- government protest in Russia, caught the attention of the Kremlin security service, the FSB.

His later work for Alexei Navalny, Russia's most prominent jailed opposition leader, must have made him particularly valuable. But he was

originally targeted to be turned, he told me, with FSB threats.

MIKHAIL SOKOLOV, FORMER FSB INFORMANT (through translator): They knew I was avoiding military service and gave me a simple choice, either to

cooperate with them or go to prison for years. Basically, I was threatened, and as a 19-year-old student, very frightened. There are so many stories,

even videos, of people being abused in prison, to even think about that is scary.


CHANCE: You were working with Navalny. There's pictures of you working quite closely with him. What kind of information did you give the FSB about


SOKOLOV: I wasn't his close friend, so I couldn't give them information specifically about him. I was just working in a regional office, so they

were more interested in when we were planning to hold meetings or protests, and, of course, what kind of investigations we were conducting.

We even cooperated on some of these investigations. Following any media outcry, the FSB would either imprison or protect a particular official.

CHANCE: But as well as keeping tabs on activists inside the country, the secretive Russian security services also appeared to have been stepping up

surveillance of Russians living abroad. Mikhail says the FSB pulled him out of Russia and sent him to the former Soviet republic of Georgia to

infiltrate the growing expatriate community there, escaping repressions at home, alongside a network of other FSB informants already in place.

Informants like Vsevolod, a young political activist who says the FSB also threatened him with prison unless he sent detailed reports from Georgia on

what Russian opposition figures there were thinking.

Specifically on the Ukraine war launched in February this year, which forced many Kremlin critics into exile, and the FSB's informant operations,

he tells me, into overdrive.

What does that say to you about what the fears are in Moscow about what could happen in the future? What are they frightened of?

VSEVOLOD OSIPOV, FORMER FSB INFORMANT (through translator): Russian special services are very well aware of our history. When a huge Russian

immigrant community emerges abroad where people speak freely to each other, work on projects together, help Ukrainian refugees, and basically create a

mini Russia abroad, which is not under the control of FSB, they are afraid that history will repeat itself.

In 1917, Lenin came to Moscow and started a Russian revolution. And they are terrified the regime will be threatened once again by war.

CHANCE: It was there opposition to the war, both Vsevolod and Mikhail say, finally compelled them to turn their backs on their FSB handlers.

Mikhail even appeared on Georgian television berating the Russian regime for which he had spied.

SOKOLOV: I texted the FSB guys and told them they had started this war, that it was horrible. I saw all the images online and they had turned my

world upside down because I not only felt hatred toward the Russian government but towards myself for working for them for all these years.

CHANCE: It is self-hatred and a deep sense of guilt for the lies and betrayals he says he was forced to make.


NOBILO: Matthew, obviously, former FSB informant speaking out publicly, giving their names, appearing on camera so that we can identify them. It's

quite a brave and dangerous act. Are many others speaking out?

CHANCE: Yeah, you're right. It is quite a brave and dangerous act. And who knows what risks the really running?

But I think it's a measure of the level of feeling amongst many Russians in the country. Even those who worked and informed with the FSB, that they're

shocked and angered by the invasion of Ukraine, the outgoing conflict there, that they are prepared to take those risks and to speak out.

Actually we have something similar a couple weeks ago. I spoke to a deserter from the Russian military who fought for two months on the front

lines. He also came out, left the country, because you can't say these things inside the country. He left the country, he spoke about the low

morale of the frontline, he spoke about the poor conditions of soldiers, and of the fear that people felt fighting a much more disciplined Ukrainian


And you got to think, you know, there's a few people coming out to speak out, and regardless of the risk that's probably going to be a lot more

people that are keeping silent, but have exactly the same feelings inside Russia, Bianca.

NOBILO: Yeah, the other tip of the iceberg, fascinating. Thank you so much, Matthew Chance, for us in London.

A new report is giving insight into a critical damage control assessment underway in Washington involving classified documents stash for months in

Donald Trump's Florida resort. "The Washington Post" says that one documents seized during a re-spin search describe the nuclear defense

capability of a foreign nation. It didn't identify the nation or disclose whether it was a U.S. ally or enemy.


The report says that some documents detail operations so secretive that many senior national security officials don't know about them. A judge has

halted the criminal investigation into the documents, but is allowing intelligence community assessment to proceed. A spokesman for Trump is

criticizing the leak, calling the report propaganda.

Still to come for you tonight, a humanitarian crisis even after death. We'll have the latest from Pakistan, a nation under so much floodwater even

those who perished have to be brought to higher ground.

And Taiwan carries out military drills soon after China did the same. We'll have a report on the cross strait tensions coming right up.


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

Critics are lashing out at Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro for co-opting the country's Independence Day celebrations. After overseeing a military

parade, the president spoke to his supporters, urging them to fight for their freedom ahead of next month's election. Brazil is marking 200 years

since it declared independence.

The Taliban say they're investigating after local officials in eastern Afghanistan reopened five girls schools without permission. The schools are

for students in grade 6 to 12, the Taliban spokesperson said that any institutions reopening much be announced by the ministry of education.

And the death toll for the 6.6 magnitude earthquake that struck the Chinese province of Sichuan has risen to 72 people. Authorities say that more than

250 people were injured while 15 are still missing. Workers of rescue more than 200 tourists were trapped in the scenic spot by Monday's quake.

While the ground shakes in China, it's drench in India's high tech hub.

The city of Bengaluru is the center of India's Silicon Valley, and it's received 116 percent of its normal rainfall, that submerged homes, roads,

and businesses, and all but shut down the city.

Neighboring Pakistan is facing devastation on the ground but some help from above, as floodwaters submerged one third of the country. United Nations

airlifts are underway trying to try to bring aid to stranded and uprooted families.

Earlier today, CNN spoke with Kelly Clements. She's the deputy commissioner of the U.N. High Commission on Refugees.

Take a listen.


KELLY CLEMENTS, UNHCR DEPUTY COMMISSIONER: Pakistan has an enormous logistical capacity, but they're also a country that's under tremendous

strain. This is where the international community and the U.N. and were part of that U.N. response. We need to get relief supplies to Pakistan

quite quickly. They are leading the response. We are behind them. But it needs to go from central level obviously down to the local level.


NOBILO: Much of Pakistan's to flooded even to get the data final resting place. We have to warn you that some of the images in the next story are

quite disturbing, but as we hear from CNN's Anna Coren, it's even harder to look away as floodwater combine with poverty to rob even the dead of their

last chance for dignity.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A metal box is pulled through the floodwaters. What's in the box, asks the bystander. A dead body,

replies a man. They open the lid and show the body of a man cramped in.

The family doesn't have money for a funeral, he explains. There is no place to bury the dead. That is how bad the situation is.

They continue to hold the makeshift coffin through the brown, murky water, searching for higher ground to bury the courts. In another district, a

group of villagers dragged a makeshift raft with another man's body through the floodwaters.

We came across an official with a tractor, says a man looking distressed. We requested help to try to transport the body but, he denied. There is no

ambulance, no support by anyone. As Pakistan's catastrophic floods continue to inundate one third of the country, the province of Sindh in the

country's southeast is now bearing much of the brunt of these climate change induced disaster.

With the water unable to drain away, there is nowhere to give the dead a dignified burial. Instead, these villages hold a funeral procession for

their relative in the very waters that claimed his life.

Pakistan's unprecedented monsoonal rains have been falling since June have affected at least 33 million people across the country. That's 15 percent

of the population. Millions are being displaced, having lost their homes and crops in the floodwaters.

And the government and aid agencies are struggling to provide enough food, medical care, and shelter to those who've lost everything. The ferocity of

the flash floods has been the biggest killer. More than 1,300 people have died one third of them children, including a three day old baby girl whose

family tried to escape their home as the water almost reached the ceiling.

PETER OPHOFF, IFRC PAKISTAN: But wife had the baby in her hands. And just at the end, she couldn't hold because the water was too strong, and the

baby swept away. And they found the baby, but unfortunately, the baby died.

COREN: For the people living near Lake Manchar, Pakistan's largest freshwater lake, a looming disaster supposedly averted has come at a very

high price. Officials were forced to breach it due to dangerously high water levels. But tens of thousands of villagers downstream have now been

left homeless, and further flooding is still expected.

It destroyed our crops and houses. No one informed us it was happening. No one warned us, explained this family, tending to his castle, barely keeping

their heads above water. The village is submerged. There is no way to get to our village, says this man. Some families are now stranded. They appeal

to the government to send rescue teams and help these people -- a plea to an already overstretched government, grappling to deal with this

unprecedented calamity.

Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.


NOBILO: Taiwan is holding two days of military exercises soon after China carried out its own military drill around the island. On Wednesday,

Taiwan's defense ministry reported three Chinese jets crossing median line in the Taiwan strait, which is seen as an unofficial dividing line.

CNN's Will Ripley reports on the drills.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I am here in southern Taiwan, where the army is holding live fire drills amid rising tensions

with China.

It is one thing to read about $1.1 billion in weapons that the United States, Biden administration just announced would be sold to Taiwan, the

sixth such arm sale under the Biden administration, five of them just this year.


It is another thing to actually be out here and to feel, you know, the ground shutter from these massive explosions when you're looking at the

tanks and the armored vehicles and the combat helicopters and you're seeing the mortar fire, basically decimating the hill behind me.

It really does give you an indication of just how horrifying it would be if war were to actually break out on the self governing democracy, an island

of almost 24 million people that has had its own military, its own government for more than 70 years, but continues to be claimed by Beijing's

communist rulers as Chinese territory, even though they never controlled this island.

The Taiwanese military says that they will defend their homeland. They say that they do not accept the unilateral takeover by China. And that's why

they are conducting military training like this, these live fire drills on a regular basis. They have been throughout the year.

CAPTAIN KUO JIA-MING, 564TH ARMORED BRIGADE: In this environment, we must prepare the war and simulate the battlefield. Let our soldiers get used to


RIPLEY: But it is especially important to focus on it right now, given what has been happening over the last month or so, after the U.S. House

Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a controversial visit to Taipei, followed by several other high-profile U.S. lawmakers. You had China conducting the

largest scale military drill encircling this island that we've seen. It was truly unprecedented.

China almost simulating a blockade of Taiwan, which would be a precursor to an actual war. You also have incidents escalating on the outline islands of

Taiwan, including the island of Kinmen, where Chinese drones have been spotted in the air, flying over and photographing sensitive, restrictive

military outpost.

The officials who are on command here say that this is part of the islands ongoing effort to get ready for a possible war with mainland China.

Will Ripley, CNN, Taiwan.


NOBILO: For the first time in history, two women at the helm of the metro system in Egypt. Meet Hana Mahmoud (ph) and Suzanne Ahmed (ph) who hope to

pave the way for the next generation of female metro drivers in Cairo. Both have trained for months after transport authorities added new lines to the

megalopolis underground system. (INAUDIBLE) I do apologize.

Thank you for watching. That was THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

And "WORLD SPORT" is coming up for you next.