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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Zelensky Rules Out Diplomacy; North Korea's Missile Test; Iran's Internet Shutdown. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired October 04, 2022 - 17:00   ET



CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Christina Macfarlane, in London. Welcome to THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

Just ahead, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy formally rules out the possibility of negotiations with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

And, North Korea has fired a ballistic missile over Japan for the first time in 5 years, a move the U.S. calls this, quote, dangerous and reckless.

Then, the Iranian government's crackdown on protests that is sweeping across the country is not only happening on the streets, but on the

internet as well. We'll have a special report.

Now, Russia is losing ground in Ukraine, in territory it claims to be annexing. Ukraine's president says the army has liberated dozens of

settlements since the Russian pseudo-referendum this week alone. Ukrainian forces are making rapid gains in the east, in Luhansk, and in the south, as

they move towards Kherson.

Russian defense department's maps show significant territory loss around the Kherson region from just a single day of Ukrainian advances. Even

Russia's media is now acknowledging the hardship. Commentators saying the country's military campaign is in an operational crisis. This comes as

Russia's parliament has approved the annexation of occupied Zaporizhzhia and Kherson and the so-called People's Republic of Donetsk and Luhansk.

But it's an annexation only on paper. As one lawmaker pointed out, not all of the territory claimed is under Russian control. And from Ukraine's move

Tuesday, that is, of course, even more true.

Well, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is in Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine, and Matthew Chance is joining us here live in London.

And, Nick, let's go to you first. We have been saying Ukraine's advance appears to be happening at a rapid pace. Russia has acknowledged withdrawal

in just the east and southern front. So, how at risk are Russia of losing strategic town now in Kherson, near where you are, as we saw when you were

in Lyman, just 48 hours ago now.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I mean, that Kherson is pretty important to Russia's presence here, partly because of the access

a kids towards the Black Sea, which is part of its broader goal of inflicting damage on Ukraine's economy. And it does appear that in just 24

hours, as you are saying, even according to Russia's defense ministry, they have lost possibly a quarter, maybe a third of the territory on the west

hand side of the Dnieper River.

Now, that essentially has left a whole load of Russian troops on the other side of Dnieper, essentially distanced by that river from the eastern side

of the remaining parts of Russian held occupied territory. Now, they do appear to be losing ground rapidly and often the things admitted to by

Ukrainian officials and Russian officials are a bit of a time like to what's really happening on the ground. The situation may be even more dire

than they are actually admitting at this stage.

The issue for troops on that western side of the river is that they have been poorly supplied for quite a lengthy period of time. And the bridges

giving them access back to the east and the rest of Russia's forces are being increasingly damaged. So, the collapse there could be relatively


That comes, as you mentioned, after what we've seen in the east just at the weekend which is Lyman, a very strategic city, falling to Ukraine after

weeks of pressure. It wasn't overnight. It wasn't fast.

But eventually, Russian forces appear to have except they need to pull out. But also pulled out at times in chaotic circumstances, it seems also taking

casualties too. That has had a knock on effect further east, which we are seeing Ukraine trying to exploit already.

And all of this is occurring under this extraordinary backdrop of Moscow continuing to push forward with the rubberstamping, what they referred to

as the illegal annexation of parts of Ukraine, nonsense under international law, but also nonsense too in reality, where hour by hour, in the more

vital areas for Russian control, they're actually losing ground to Ukraine's military -- Christina.

MACFARLANE: All right, Nick. Standby for a second.

I will just turn to Matthew Chance who's here in London.

And, Matthew, in response to the illegal annexation of these territories. We saw Zelenskyy sign a degree, formally rolling out the possibility of

negotiations. Ukraine, obviously, as Nick has been saying there, in possession of real strength right now. So, what does taking diplomacy off

the table mean for those sides?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, presumably, it means that the war continues apace. The pronouncement that Volodymyr

Zelenskyy made today, something he announced last week when these sham referendums were underway, or were concluded, saying that he would never

negotiate with Vladimir Putin.


Vladimir Putin reciprocated as well, saying that if there are any negotiations with Ukraine, then, the four regions, which have now been

supposedly annexed by Russia, would never be subject to debate. The citizens of those countries, you made the point, would always be part of


And it is that reluctance on the part of both sides to conceive of any kind of area of possible compromise that means that -- we have not seen any

serious negotiations unfolding, taking place, to try to bring a halt to the bloodshed on the battlefield at the moment. There has been a response from

the Kremlin over the course of today to that declaration by the Ukrainian president, that he would not negotiate with Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin

saying that it takes two for a negotiation so we will wait until the current presidency of Ukraine changes its mind, or until a future Ukrainian

president comes into power, who will make decisions in the interests of that country.

And so, the Russians seem to be quite comfortable at the moment in not engaging in negotiations either.

MACFARLANE: All right. Matthew Chance there live in London, and Nick Paton Walsh for us in Ukraine, thank you both so much.

Now, Japan has been taken by surprise as North Korea fired a ballistic missile over the country for the first time in 5 years.


MACFARLANE: Sirens rang out and people are urged to take shelter. Japanese authorities say they did not try to destroy the missile because they didn't

believe it would cause damage.

The prime minister's office is in no way dismissing this launch.


HIROKAZU MATSUNO, JAPANESE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY (through translator): A ballistic missile launch that flew over our country is not only an issue

for aircraft and vessels, it is a problematic action that involves the safety of residents living in the area where the missile flew over. We have

strongly protested against North Korea in the strongest terms.


MACFARLANE: The U.S. President Joe Biden has now spoken with Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

CNN's Will Ripley is following this from Taiwan.

And, Will, obviously, this was a hugely provocative act, designed to send a message. What has been discussed between the two leaders regarding a


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, clearly, what we're seeing from the United States with Japan with South Korea is a more

coordinated military response than what we have seen in recent years to this unprecedented binge of missile testing by North Korea and Kim Jong-un.

They have launched more missiles more times this year than at any point during Kim's decade in power.

And, on Friday, of last week, there was the first time in 5 years you saw these trilateral anti submarine exercises. And just hours after this latest

launch, the U.S. engaged in a bombing exercise with South Korea.

So, clearly, they're trying to send a message, not a rhetorical message like in the fire and fury days with the former U.S. President Donald Trump,

but to show that the militaries of Japan, the United States and South Korea are prepared to respond when North Korea ups the level of provocation.


RIPLEY (voice-over): Across Japan, a chilling, it familiar, sound.

From Hokkaido in the north, to the streets of Central Tokyo, Tuesday began with an ominous emergency message.

An incoming missile from North Korea, minutes away. Many heard a similar warning 5 years ago, in 2017, the last time North Korea launched a missile.

This time, it flew more than 20 minutes, passing Japanese airspace at 17 times the speed of sound. The missile traveled more than 2,800 miles,

farther than any of this year's 23 missile tests.

Japan calls it an act of violence.

JEFFREY LEWIS, DIRECTOR, EAST ASIA, NONPROLIFERATION PROGRAM, MIDDLEBURY INSTITUTE: I think what it tells us is the North Koreans are in no mood to

talk. They are in the mode of testing and blowing things up.


LEWIS: Well, I think the North Koreans try their hand at diplomacy in the Trump administration. They didn't get what they wanted.

RIPLEY: Now, an unprecedented testing binge, accelerating ever since U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris visited the heavily armed DMZ, dividing North

and South Korea.

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the North, we see a brutal dictatorship, rampant human rights violations and an unlawful

weapons program that threatens peace and stability.


RIPLEY: Kamala Harris said we call for a complete denuclearization from this brutal dictatorship. It sounds like the same language they've been

using for years.

ANKIT PANDA, SENIOR FELLOW, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE: Absolutely. Denuclearization is now I think in the dustbin in history as a

failed policy. There is simply no practical plan at this point, especially in the short term, to bring North Korea to the negotiating table and to

proceed denuclearization.

RIPLEY: A crisis that just got even more real. Last week, South Korea, the U.S., and Japan, held anti-submarine exercises, the first of their kind in

5 years.

Hours after Tuesday's launch, the U.S. and South Korea staged a precision bombing exercise, a cycle analysts say will likely escalate in the coming


What can we expect between now and then?

LEWIS: Well, there's a lot of things that North Korea is going to do, I think, in the next few months. We will probably see a nuclear weapons test.

RIPLEY: Experts say instead of calling for denuclearization, the focus now should be on risk reduction, preventing a crisis from a spiraling out of



RIPLEY (on camera): And the more times that there are missiles flying over Japan or in the air and more times that they're exercises and drills

happening, the greater chance, experts fear, for some sort of miscalculation that could cause misunderstanding and this current crisis to

really, really escalate at a time, Christina, that the world needs anything but yet another hot spot.

MACFARLANE: Yeah, so precarious right now. Will Ripley, thank you for joining. Thank you for your reporting. Appreciate it.

All right. Just ahead, as protests tear through Iran, it's hard-line Islamic leaders are trying to shut down the Internet. And international

sanctions are helping them do it. We will show you how.

And we'll bring you the latest from the conference in Birmingham, England, ahead of Prime Minister Liz Truss's highly anticipated speech tomorrow.


MACFARLANE: European Union and the U.S. are considering new sanctions against Iran as the country's Islamic leaders take a hard line against

protests sweeping the country.


Schoolgirls marched and chanted Tuesday in Tehran, calling for greater freedoms and women's rights. Similar scenes played out at other schools

across Iran.

But riot police are lining the streets and in some cases, security forces have turned violent. Iran says it has released 400 detained protesters. But

the E.U. and U.S. are discussing sanctioning Iranian officials to protest the crackdown. Iran's government is trying to tamp down the protest by

cutting off the internet. And while it's done this before, the scale of the outages is unprecedented. Still, it isn't just Iran that is stifling online


CNN's Katie Polglase explains.


KATIE POLGLASE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As protesters took to the streets of Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, video clip of this

uprising began to flood the Internet, making sure the world saw and heard the desire for change. But then it went dark.

ALP TOKER, DIRECTOR AT NETBLOCKS: Starting with Instagram and WhatsApp and LinkedIn.

POLGLASE: NetBlocks is one of the global leaders on Internet monitoring. They quickly observed alarming electricity in Iran.

TOKER: What's astounding is the variety of Internet restrictions and disruptions that have been put in place.

POLGLASE: Users inside Iran confirmed the shutdown, sending CNN screenshots of sites they couldn't access.

The Iranian government has a long history of restricting the Internet. Protests in 2019 prompted the most severe shutdown to date, an attempt to

hide from the world a violent crackdown on dissent. But the Iranian people have become experts at finding work-arounds. A young tech savvy population,

vast numbers of them use VPN, virtual private networks.

Now even this may be difficult. This teenager told us via text from inside Iran that the government is disabling VPNs one by one. However, the

obstacles Iranians face have come not just from their own government, but also from the international community.

For the last decade, U.S. sanctions led many major tech companies to withdraw from Iran completely.

Mahsa Alimardani is an internet researcher focusing on freedom of expression online in Iran.

MAHSA ALIMARDANI, SENIOR INTERNET RESEARCHER, ARTICLE 19: There's a massive, you know, population of Iranian technologists, Iranian developers

who rely on certain services like Google cloud platform or Google app engine. And so this has been basically blocked from the U.S. side because

of sanctions. This had had a detrimental impact.

POLGLASE: Activists say the removing alternatives for Iranian users has actually bolstered the Iranian government's efforts to set up a national


ALIMARDANI: Infrastructure stays local, the data stays local, the ability for the authorities to censor and control what is going on in the internet

remains centralized into their hands.

POLGLASE: Following the latest protests, the U.S. Treasury finally announced updates to the sanctions in order to encourage tech companies to

operate in Iran.

ALIMARDANI: It has been almost ten years that Iranians have had to wait for the update and the license. And while better late than never, but it

has been a delayed action by the U.S. government and so there has been a lot of harm done in the interim.

POLGLASE: The onus is now on tech companies to act. Many large tech firms including Google and Meta have said they planned to open services to Iran

after the U.S. announcement. But activists say they are doing a fraction of what is possible.

AMIR RASHIDI, DIRECTOR, DIGITAL RIGHTS & SECURITY, MIAAN GROUP: Iran is kind of isolated. So, we need to break that isolation. So, we need to see

more help coming from other big tech companies like Google.

ALIMARDANI: The crucial services really have not been worked on yet and so there is a lot to be desired.

POLGALSE: Google told CNN ongoing legal or technical barriers may block the provision of certain services, but we are exploring whether additional

products might be made available.

Meanwhile, those inside Iran remain frustrated at the inaction. This young Iranian told CNN, tech companies were restricting them and not the


Katie Polglase, CNN, London.


MACFARLANE: CNN has contacted the U.S. and the Iranian governments for comment that has yet to receive a response.

Now, two major social media reversal. Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent a letter to Twitter suggesting he go forward with a take over the country company at

the originally agreed upon price. It comes after the Tesla CEO tried to get out of the deal he struck in April. Twitter took him to court to force them

to go through with it. It says it received Musk's proposal and plans to go through the deal with the agreed upon price.

Elon musk also got flashback from Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, after tweeted out some unsolicited advice on how to

bring about peace amid Russia's ongoing invasion of the country.


It included redoing elections under the U.N. supervision in the regions formerly annexed by Russia, and formally recognizing Crimea as part of


Zelenskyy responded by posting a Twitter poll asking followers, which Elon Musk do you like better, one who supports Ukraine, or one who supports

Russia? The results overwhelmingly, one who supports Ukraine.

To the U.K. now and the conservative party's annual conference underway in Birmingham with Prime Minister Liz Truss due to speak Wednesday. This comes

as the party faces outrage from conservative MPs and the public alike after a major policy U-turn Monday which saw the government abandoned

controversial tax cuts to the highest earners. Truss defended the decision Tuesday in an interview with Sky News.


LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I took the decision very rapidly on the 45P rate that it was becoming a distraction from the core policies we were

delivering. Core policies on the energy price guarantee, on keeping taxes low during the economic slowdown. These were the priorities. Frankly, the

45P wasn't a priority policy.

And I listen to people. There's absolutely no shame that in a leader listening to people and responding.


MACFARLANE: Well, let's get to that conference hall in Birmingham where Liz Truss will make her speech tomorrow and to our Bianca Nobilo who I

think is somewhere in the room or somewhere close to that podium, ahead of what could be, Bianca, a break -- a make-or-break moment for her

premiership that dramatic U-turn on Monday.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Christina. No less than that, myself in the team were just inside the hall where Truss will be

giving her speech tomorrow and the pressure is on.

This has been on unmitigated political disaster of a conference. She wasn't in a strong spot moving in and she doesn't have a mandate from the country

at large. She has two U-turns now. Her trust and her confidence in the party have been eroded. The performance she has given the media have been

largely panned.

And yes, there is always some dissent at conference. There is sometimes plotting, but not usually one month into a prime minister's tenure, which

you hear people discussing how they might oust her. That is entirely unprecedented.

So tomorrow is a herculean task for the prime minister because she has to try to mend divisions within the party, to try to inspire them that there

is better to come, and to try to convince them that she has what it takes to take them seriously as a prime minister. So far, as a conservative mp

said to me today, when people show you who they are, you have to believe them. He thinks it's unlikely that on lurking beneath the actions of the

prime minister last month lies a very different politician.

So, she has a lot to prove, and she is in a very weak political position at the moment, Christina. And a large part of that is now her party consents

that she is weak. They know that they can try and exploit her current position to ensure the policies that they want. It means that she will be

batted around like a political ping pong ball. That's what we're seeing this week as well.

And to add insult to injury, tonight, more polls have come out, showing the conservatives trailing so far behind the opposition Labour Party, which is

leading to even more division, even more concern and anger. So, in some, it's not going well. And the prime minister really has to deliver tomorrow

to ensure her position in the coming months.

MACFARLANE: Bianca, we heard Liz Truss is there in that interview with Sky, saying that the 45P tax is not a priority to her plan in she has known

in the past for changing position on key policy so is this what people are coming to expect of her now, someone who changes remind, who flip-flops,


NOBILO: Well, you're quite right, Christina. She is known as somebody who's changed her mind frequently in the past. She's actually member of the

liberal Democrat Party, which is in a different place in the political spectrum to the conservative party that she is no leader of. She was

initially against Brexit. Now she has become a born again Brexiteer, some people refer to her as that. She changed her mind several times on key


Now, her supporters have said that shows a flexibility of mind, and willingness to listen to people and to adapt accordingly, whereas a lot of

politicians can be stuck in the mud and not really accept when they made a mistake. Her detractors say prime ministers have to show consistency. You

have to know what a person believes or we can get behind them and know what to expect. The country does, too.

So, it's certainly playing into that narrative. This is a politician that can be a little bit, not necessarily unpredictable, but can vacillate what

she is deciding to do.


And that's not helping her either, Christina. So, there's a lot on the prime minister's shoulders tomorrow and we are expecting her to say the

best of times are ahead coming for this country. Whether or not she can actually convince anyone if that's the case under her premiership, it

remains to be seen.

MACFARLANE: Yeah, I don't expect that Liz Truss will be getting much quality sleep tonight. I know you'll be there to bring us the headlines


Bianca Nobilo there, live from Birmingham, thank you.

All right. Let's take a look at the other key stories making international headlines today.

Lebanese depositors stormed several banks Tuesday, in some cases they took hostages, as they demanded to receive part of their own savings. Such moves

have come to symbolize the dire living conditions in Lebanon as the country suffers a financial meltdown.

Three scientists are sharing this year's Nobel Prize in physics for discoveries in quantum mechanics. The three includes Alain Aspect, a French

physicist, John F. Clauser of the U.S., and Anton Zeilinger, an Austrian quantum physicist. They explained why certain particles can have a spooky

behavior as Albert Einstein called it, and is now known as entanglement.

Here's Clauser, the American physicist.


JOHN F. CLAUSER, 2022 NOBEL PHYSICS LAUREATE: This is all for a work I did more than 50 years ago. I've given up holding my breath that I would win

one. But I am happy to still be alive, in time.


MACFARLANE: Now in an unmistakable country twang, Loretta Lynn sang of her hard scrabble life in words and music that resonated with working class

people everywhere. Now that voice has gone silent. The American country music legend Loretta Lynn, the coal miners daughter, has died at the age of


Her music was honest, direct, and at times, controversial. But as Dolly Parton said today, Loretta had millions of fans and I was one of them.

Rest in peace.

Thanks for watching. That was THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

Stay tuned for "WORLD SPORT" coming up next.