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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

NATO Support For Ukraine; Iran Student Protests; France Petrol Strikes. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired October 12, 2022 - 17:00   ET



CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN HOST: Hello and a warm welcome to the show, everyone. I'm Christina Macfarlane in London. This is THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

Just ahead, NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels promised to continue providing more air defense systems to Ukraine.

The crackdown on dissent in Iran has now literally reached the country's classrooms following student protests.

And widespread strikes and fuel shortages pushed the French government to breaking points.

NATO says it's racing to get critical weapons and air defense systems to Ukraine. Fifty defense ministers met in Brussels two days after Russia

began its most intense air assault on Ukraine since the war began. Ukrainian forces say they have been able to neutralize many of the incoming

missile and drone attacks, but they are asking for more advanced air defense systems. NATO defense ministers say that there are more committed

than ever to getting Ukraine what it needs.


LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: The systems will be provided as fast as we can physically get them there. And this is something that, as I said

at the top, we remain focused on. We are going to provide systems that we have available, that countries like Germany has available. We're also going

to try to provide additional munitions to the existing systems that the Ukrainian forces are using.


MACFARLANE: Meanwhile, Russian forces are continuing to bombard civilian areas. More than 300 Russian shells landed in just one town in the

Zaporizhzhia region on Wednesday according to officials there. An attack on the market in the eastern city of this killed seven people.

Also, Russia's president is deflecting blame, this time for the energy crisis in Europe. He says it's not because of the so-called military

operation in Ukraine, and he is accusing Ukraine Special Forces of blowing up the bridge linking Crimea to Russia.

And that United Nations general assembly has just overwhelmingly approved a resolution, condemning Russia's attempt at annexation of four Ukrainian

territories. The resolution says Russia's actions are illegal and not valid.

Well, we've got a team of reporters on tap with the latest developments, including our Nick Paton Walsh. He's in Ukraine. Nic Robertson here in


But, first, let's go to Oren Liebermann who's at the Pentagon.

And, Oren, we heard from NATO leaders, secretary defense, Lloyd Austin today recommitting to provide air defense systems to Ukraine, saying that

he would deliver them as fast as possible. What is that timeline likely to be and what challenges does that pose from a technical standpoint?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is very much an effort to get air defense systems to Ukraine as quickly as possible.

Crucially, to advanced NASAMS air defense systems developed jointly between Norway and America are expected to arrive in Ukraine within the next few

weeks. There are a number of other NASAMS systems pledged to Ukraine, but those have to be essentially built still. Those are still months, if not

years away.

The effort now is to figure out what systems can Ukraine use and use quickly. So, for example, patriot missiles, which the U.S. uses, they

require tremendous amount of training and a tremendous amount of troops to operate. Those are unlikely.

Meanwhile, something that was used in Kabul and Baghdad, C-RAMs, counter- rocket mortar systems. Those don't have the range or the ability, or capability that some of these larger systems do. So they might not be

appropriate for the situation, which means the U.S. is working with its allies. Everybody at the contact group over the course of essentially today

and the next couple of days to figure out what systems are out there such as Soviet -era S-300s that the Ukrainians are already know to use, and can

this be brought in as quickly as possible.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says Ukraine has used U.S. and Western weapons effectively and will continue to do so.

MACFARLANE: All right. Oren, thank you for now.

Let's turn to Nick Paton Walsh who's in Ukraine.

And, Nick, as these conversations were being had in Brussels, Russian forces were continuing to bombard civilian areas today. As we said, one

town being hit by some 300 shells.

We hear often that Russian supplies, ammunitions are running out. How true is that likely to be, and this is really now a race against time, Nick, is

it not, to get these air defense missiles in place?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Yeah, I mean, certainly. I think when it comes to the guided missiles, they wreaked havoc

across Ukraine on Monday and Tuesday. Those air defenses stems may make a bid to shave the number of missiles that effectively get through.

But as you mention, there is a fundamental question as to how sustainable those a barrage is that we saw on Monday and Tuesday, apparently using a

large number, well over 100 guided cruise missiles, can actually be maintained. And certainly, Pentagon officials believe that Russia stocks of

precision guided missiles are dwindling.

We have seen them use them over the past month, what we saw over the past him days is significantly escalation in the volumes sent, but not a new



And we saw today the attack on the town, in Avdiivka, in Donetsk, not far from areas controlled by Russia and an area which Russia, through its

annexation, has claimed falsely that actually it's part of Russian territory. A market town there, seven killed. Not wildly abnormal, I should


There's been a lot of focus, since the weekend, on Russia hitting civilian targets because of the volume that are being hit and the ferocity of the

attack. It is not new that they would indeed do that.

Also, in Zaporizhzhia oblast, Orikhiv, another town hit there with well over 300 shelves. These shelves are often inaccurate. We saw today

ourselves in Kherson, yet more intense shelling by Russia forces. It is often simply firing where they think they are going to hit something of

use, or to try to frustrate the advances of Ukrainian forces, certainly here in Kherson. Ukraine claimed to have taken five sediments back from


So, fundamental questions about what Russia tries to hit when it fires. Often, civilians are hit. Is that deliberate? It is unclear, Ukraine always

just technically with attack on Avdiivka, it's unbridled attempt, in the words of one official, to take civilian lives. But still, a large question

between exactly how long Russia can sustain this sort of ferocious bombardment -- Christina.

MACFARLANE: Nick Paton Walsh, thank you.

Let's turn to Nick Robinson in London.

And, Nick, we know that all of this missile attack this week have only serve to bolster support for Ukraine. We saw that in Brussels again today.

I want to get your thoughts on that assembly because we know that NATO has been a very careful to avoid direct confrontation with Russia.

So, how will today's very public recommitment of support to Ukraine being received by Moscow? Especially following that warning we heard yesterday

from the Russian ambassador about crossing red lines.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yeah, Russia certainly is not short on ramping up the threatening rhetoric. President Putin, of

course, using his threats or implications that there could be nuclear weapons in use at some point. It seems that Russia is using its usual

tactic of trying to intimidate and be the enemy. In this case, Ukraine and the west, into submission. I think today, again, if Moscow is reading

what's happening in Brussels correctly, they will have seen that unity, and, unusually, the French have been very clear. President Macron speaking

today, what clearly France is going to do, they're going to support Ukraine.

Radar systems are coming. Missile defense systems are being very specific in a way that France hasn't done recently. France in particular, president

macron has tried in the past to at least keep some sort of open channel with President Putin to keep the possibility of dialogue open. He's not

shutting that down. I think when France goes on the record, making it very clear what they are going to supply to this contribution to defend and

support Ukraine.

That's a very clear message for the Kremlin. And it is a double message because the message is, you can wrap up your rhetoric against us, it is not

going to stop us supporting Ukraine.

MACFARLANE: Yeah, and, Nick, just briefly, this request for a layered air defense system or an air shield I guess as it has been called, it is a

pretty sophisticated technical feat. How within NATO's range and grasp is it to actually supply this to Ukraine?

ROBERTSON: They can do it relatively easily if they have the equipment at their disposal. It is not quick necessarily. It is easy because a good part

of it is air transport-able. It could be taken to the border. We know that the Ukrainians can get some complex and large pieces of military equipment,

like those HIMARS, multi-barreled rocket launchers, high precision, that they have been using on the front line. They can get that equipment in.

They can deploy it without the Russians potentially knowing where it is.

But this is a system that requires integrating. You have low altitude, short range, mid-altitude, mid range, high altitude, long-range missile

systems in this field. You have to add that all together. It has to be integrated together.

That process in and of itself is not necessarily quick. The training of Ukrainian troops to do that, that takes time, but probably not too much

time. There is a huge effort from a lot of nations to give Ukraine the training.

So, it is not something that can be dropped in place overnight, or even over the space of a few weeks. It would perhaps take several months. That

gets to why I think Ukraine say that they should give us the S-300 surface to air missiles, the ammunition for them. We know how to use them. We are

using them, that's a good -- that's a good start.


MACFARLANE: All right. Nic Robertson, Nick Paton Walsh, Oren Liebermann, thank you all very much.

All right. Let's turn now, let's turn our attention to Iran with the education minister has confirmed the detention of some school students

during the protests that are sweeping across the country. Speaking to Iranian media, Yousof Nouri said that some protesters have been set to,

quote, psychological institutions to reform and reeducation and to prevent antisocial behavior. UNICEF has called for the protection of young

protesters in Iran, citing reports of children and teenagers being killed or injured during the unrest.

So far, no amount of brutality has been able to stop the groundswell of anger that has been triggered by the death of young women in police


CNN's Jomana Karadsheh takes us to the streets of Iran.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Calls for nationwide protests on Wednesday brought Iranians back onto the streets of cities

across the country. Protesters undeterred by a ruthless crackdown on peaceful demonstrations, and they were met with other brutality. Baton-

swinging policemen beating up those who try to get away. And this disturbing scene caught on camera, plainclothes secret e forces opening

fire on the streets of Tehran after a small group gathered chanting, get lost.

But perhaps the most terrifying response to protests this week is the government's decision to detain schoolchildren for protesting and sending

them to psychological institutions to be, quote, reformed and re-educated. A chilling message from a regime that now appears to be threatened by the

fearless young schoolgirls. The regime clearly under pressure, not only struggling to contain protesters spreading like wildfire, now facing

strikes hitting an economy already on his knees.

Some oil workers now striking working roads and burning tires. Their strikes so far limited and not unusual. But some on are joining in the

chance. This could be a sign of trouble that a government can't afford.

ROHAM ALVENDI, IRAN HISTORIAN/ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, LSE: Strikes have historically played a very important role during revolts. They were a core

of both of the revolutions that Iran had in the 20th century, the constitutional revolution in 1979. The oil and gas industry was

particularly sensitive, because that is where much of the state's hard currency earnings are derived from.

KARADSHEH: Many businesses in the mostly Kurdish region have been sheltered for days, as calls grow for a national general strike.

ALVENDI: People keeping a very close eye on that. If there is a general strike, if there is a nationwide general strike, what can the government do

really? You can send troops to drive them out. That doesn't seem to work. So, that would completely paralyzed the state. It would show the

powerlessness of the state in the place of this movement.

KARADSHEH: A movement of nationwide protests that is morphed into an uprising, getting stronger by the day. It is harder and harder with an

oppressive republic to control.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.


MACFARLANE: Still to come, a showdown over fuel. The French government takes an extraordinary step to break a weak refinery strike and ease

shortages. Details next.

And as winter approaches, Germany is racing against time, trying to change course after years of reliance on Russian gas.



MACFARLANE: A massive damages verdict in the U.S. today. A Connecticut jury has awarded nearly one billion dollars in damages to aid families and

an FBI agent in the defamation trial of Alex Jones. They sued the far-right conspiracy theorist for lies he told about the 2012 shooting massacre at

Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 children and six adults. Jones says he will appeal.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the deposed leader of Myanmar, faces three more years in prison. It's the latest conviction in a string of charges ranging from

graft to election violations.

Paula Hancocks has more.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The total number of years that incentive to faces behind bars is now at 26 years. This follows another

court case this Wednesday where, again, she was found guilty, this time of corruption. Now this according to a source familiar with proceedings saying

that Aung San Suu Kyi, the deposed leader of Myanmar, pleaded not guilty and will appeal these connections. The source also saw that she did appear

to be in good health.

Now, what we are hearing from supporters offense and sushi and human rights groups is that these cases being brought against her by the military are

all trumped up to try to keep her behind bars and out of sight, in a country where the military leadership knows that she is extremely popular

and has a significant following. The pro-democracy and anti-military junta protests do continue despite the bloody crackdown we have seen from the

military. For those who do oppose them.

Now, there was also a second case this Wednesday again held behind closed doors. This has become the norm for any so-called legal proceedings within

this military leadership. This was for the Japanese journalist Toru Kubota. According to the ministry of foreign affairs in Japan, they say that they

have understood he has now been sentenced to a further three years in prison on immigration charges.

Now, he has already been charged and sentenced to ten years in prison for sedition and violating the law on environmental communications. The

journalist was arrested at a protest in Yangon where he was filming a documentary. According to Japan's foreign ministry, they are working to

secure his early release.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


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

Venezuela announces at least 43 people have been killed on this week's catastrophic landslide. The country's vice president also says that dozens

are still missing. Hundreds of Venezuelans are roaming the streets, digging and searching for relatives lost in the devastating floods.

A new poll shows a 55 percent of Brazilians would support opposition presidential candidate Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva in this month's runoff.

Incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro holds 45 percent of the support of the 2,000-people.


Brazil's polarizing presidential race will go to the runoff on October 30th after no candidate achieve a majority in the first round. The British prime

minister faced a grilling from lawmakers and parliament for the first time since her many budget triggered economic turmoil. Liz Truss said she will

not cut public spending to fund his controversial tax cuts.


LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: What we are making sure that we protect our economy at this very difficult time internationally, and as a result --

as a result of our action, Mr. Speaker, and this has been independently corroborated, we will see higher growth and lower inflation.


MACFARLANE: It comes as the Bank of England again reiterate's that it supports the vulnerable market will end this week with some fearing there

will be more market chaos to follow.

France is also enduring economic pain. Inflation is lower there than -- in much of Europe but it is still close to around 6 percent. Now the

president, French president is ordering striking essential workers at gas refineries to leave the picket lines guidelines and return to work if talks

between anomie companies and unions don't conclude in the coming hours. The weeks-long strike over wages has sparked fuel shortages and caused drivers

to wait for hours in line for gas.

CNN's Jim Bittermann is in Paris for us.


JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the kind of situation that mortars and France are facing right now as about one

third of the gas nations in the country are either completely out of gasoline or about to run out of some different grades of gasoline. It's

because of a refinery strike.

And as a consequence, you can see the line here this morning stretches all the way around the block about 500 yards. Some people tell us that they

have been waiting in line for as much as two hours or more to get gasoline.

The refinery strike right now is something that the government is addressing seriously. They have taken steps that are very rare. They have

requisitioned workers from the refineries. Six of the seven refineries are either partially or completely out of business. And they have requisitioned

employees which means that they can put them in jail for as much as six months if they don't comply and find them up to $10,000.

It is a situation that is getting more tense between the government and the unions. We will see what happens. The unions are challenging it in court.

Even if they don't win, and the refineries are back in action, it is still going to take two or three or four days before the stations will begin to

look normal again.

Jim Bittermann, CNN, Paris.


MACFARLANE: Well, we are also seeing long lines of motorists at the pumps in Tunisia.

Gas stations there started running out of fuel this past weekend. Tunisia is facing a public financial crisis that is waiting to hear about IMF

rescue money. The country's energy minister has said the fuel shortage would end on Monday with a new gas delivery, but many people are losing



WALID BJAOUI, TUNISIAN CITIZEN (through translator): There is a great impact on everybody. The interest of all citizens are disrupted. There are

those who want to go to work or school. This is not the first time we have had this crisis but hopefully, it will be solved soon.


MACFARLANE: The head of Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom warns that there is no guarantee that Europe will survive this winter if it keeps

weaning off energy from Russia. Alexei Miller is also claiming that Germany's underground gas storage can only cover up to two and half months.

CNN's Clare Sebastian reports on Germany's race against time by its citizens with enough energy this winter.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Through the early autumn drizzle, Germany is racing against time. Construction started on this

liquefied natural gas terminal in its North Sea coast in May.

HOLGER KREETZ, COO ASSET MANAGEMENT, UNIPER: Normally, it takes four to five years to realize such a project, sometimes even six years.

SEBASTIAN: This one will be up and running by early next year, its operator says, capable of providing up to 8 percent of all of the gas

Germany needs. Gas it used to come from Russia. Until the war in Ukraine, Russia provided more than half of Germany's gas. Now because of Germany's

own efforts to reduce its reliance, and Russia cutting supplies, no Russian gas is currently flowing.

KREETZ: Obviously, we had to bring power plants back into operations. We had to invest into bringing for a certain period of time at new gas to

Germany. It was not a question of whether we like it or we don't like it, but it is a must for the society.

SEBASTIAN: Skyrocketing gas prices have already forced some companies to curve production. Inflation mostly due to rising energy prices hit 10

percent in September.


SEBASTIAN: Amid fears of shortages, the EU agreed on voluntary tests energies as this winter. While at the same time, the German government says

it will borrow almost $200 billion to shield consumers from soaring costs.


A policy that for Claudia Kemfert, a longtime adviser to the German government, doesn't make sense.

CLAUDIA KEMFERT, GERMAN INSTITUTE OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH: Actually the households are not saving enough gas but also the government is doing the

next mistaken announcing that we might get a gas price cap. And that brings us to the private household, oh everything is fine. You can continue in

consuming gas as we did in the past.

SEBASTIAN: Are you worried about the winter?

KEMFERT: If the weather gets very cold we do not get any Russian gas anymore, it might come to scarcities.

SEBASTIAN: Some Germans are not waiting around to find out. Domestic solar panel sales were up 22 percent in the first half of the year.

Youkan (ph) and Marika Schmidtman have come to this Berlin workshop to learn how to operate one from their balcony.

MARIKA SCHMIDTMAN, BERLIN RESIDENT (through translator): Because energy costs have skyrocketed so much that we are simply seeing if we can somehow

throttle them.

SEBASTIAN: They are also hoping to be part of a renewable energy transition, one that is now happening alongside an energy emergency.

Clare Sebastian, CNN.


MACFARLANE: Now, people are buzzing with excitement for the title winner of the wildlife photography of the year competition. U.S. photographer

Karen Aigner's incredible image called the "Big Buzz" shows a group of bees competing to mate in south Texas. Other winners include an eerie scene of a

polar barracks luring a deserted settlement in Russia, and some heavenly flamingos reflecting dreamily off the surface of Bolivia's famous salt

flats. Amazing.

And this electrifying tableau from Japan showing the reproductive dance of the giant sea star.

And there has been some good news for space fans. Hollywood actor Tom Cruise says he is hoping to become the first civilian to perform a

spacewalk outside the International Space Station. The stunt is apparently part of an upcoming movie that will be partially shot on the ISS. And you

know, whether it is hanging off the side of a train or the tallest building in the world, he's certainly got the resume for it. No mission impossible

it seems.

Thank you for watching. That was THE GLOBAL BRIEF with me, Christina Macfarlane.

Stay tuned for "WORLD SPORT". That's coming up right after this break.