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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Putin Announces Martial Law In Four Regions Of Ukraine; UK Political Chaos; Iran Climber. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired October 19, 2022 - 17:00   ET



CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome. I'm Christina McFarlane in London. This is THE GLOBAL BRIEF.

Ahead, Russian President Vladimir Putin declares martial law in four regions he says he's annexed Ukraine.

Then, reports of chaos in the British parliament with some lawmakers saying they were manhandled into supporting the government in a fracking vote.

And the latest on Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi who told state media she, quote, accidentally competed without her hijab.

The Russian president has just declared martial law in parts of Ukraine. He claims to have annexed them. Ukrainian officials are calling it a new stage

of Russian terror, to legalize looting, forced deportation, and conscription. Russia's so-called martial law started Thursday in

Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Luhansk and Donetsk, regions that Russia doesn't fully control, where it is losing ground to Ukrainian forces.

The Russian appointed leader in Kherson says the situation is difficult. Russia's forces are retreating and they're moving civilians farther into

Russian held territory. All this is happening as Russia bombs Ukrainian energy facilities, actions the EU calls a war crime. Ukrainian officials

say they have lost at least 40 percent of the country's power stations to Russian attacks and is now calling for cutbacks in electricity use.

Well, CNN is covering all of these stories right where they happen.

Nic Robertson is reporting on Kherson where Russian leaders are rushing to get civilians out as Ukraine advances. Then we will head to Bakhmut in

Eastern Ukraine where Fred Pleitgen witnessed how mercenaries are helping Moscow's war effort. And then we are live to Moscow to learn more about

President Putin's new martial law.

But, first, to Kherson. Ukrainian officials say Russia's evacuation of civilians is meant to intimidate and create panic, comparing it to

deportations in Soviet times.

CNN's Nic Robertson has details.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Ukrainian civilians, now under Russian martial law, in Kherson City, lined up to be

evacuated, potentially to Russia. Russian imposed officials and illegally annexed Kherson have told them it's not safe to stay. Up to 60,000 forced

out. Boats used to ferry them away from the front line, and their homes, to an uncertain future.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I bought extra close for my dog, my other half. My antidepressant.

ROBERTSON: Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of whipping up hysteria, compelling people to leave. Residents received text messages

Wednesday morning from the pro-Russian administration.

Dear residents, it read, evacuate immediately. There would be shelling residential areas, by the armed forces of Ukraine.

The punishment under martial law for failing to comply unknown. The threat, clear.

KIRILL STREMOUSOV, RUSSIAN INSTALLED DEPUTY GOVERNOR OF KHERSON REGION (through translator): I ask you to take my words seriously and to

understand them as meaning as prompt an evacuation as possible.

ROBERTSON: Vladimir Putin is tightening his grip, not just on Kherson, but Donetsk, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia, the four territories he illegally

annexed last month, all under military command.

Ukrainian forces have been advancing through several parts of the Kherson region. In recent weeks, capturing villages and farmlands along the western

bank of the Dnipro River. The Kremlin's new commander for Ukraine said Tuesday that the situation in Kherson was far from simple and implicitly

hinted, his forces may withdraw.

SERGEI SUROVIKIN, NEW COMMANDER OF RUSSIAN "SPECIAL OPERATION" FORCES (through translator): Our other plans and actions regarding the city of

Kherson will depend on the unfolding military and tactical situation on the ground. I repeat, it is already very difficult today.

ROBERTSON: Across the rest of Ukraine, Putin's forces kept up their barrage on the power stations. And despite at least four cruise missiles

and ten drones shot down by Ukrainian forces, another three electricity generating plants hit. More Ukrainians denied power and water.

Amidst those dwindling surprise, President Zelenskyy calling a crisis meeting to head off a nationwide blackout. Vowing to keep critical

infrastructure up and running.


ROBERTSON (on camera): In this war, Putin is turning out the lights. It is Ukraine that is taking the key commodity, territory. Putin's martial law,

officials here say, an indication of just how much he's losing control.


Nic Robertson, CNN, Kyiv Ukraine.

MACFARLANE: Now, Israel's defense minister says his country will not send weapons to Ukraine, but instead, he is offering to help develop an air

defense alert system. In the past few days, Ukraine called on Israel to show its support while Russia warned that if Israel sends weapons, its

relations with Moscow would be destroyed. Now, Kyiv is saying it is too late for the Israeli offer.

Ukraine's ambassador to Israel tells CNN, Ukrainians defensive weapons and inter defense illicit and would have been useful before the war. Russia's

artillery barrage in eastern Ukraine is stalling Kyiv's counteroffensive in a strategic city.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen got an exclusive look at the front lines where even the private Russian military company. Wagner Group, seems to be involved.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When entering Bakhmut, the need is for speed. We're driving straight into

one of the most dangerous places in war-torn Ukraine with a military combat medic who goes by a call sign Katrusya.

Bakhmut is under a nearly constant Russian assault.

Our car hasn't even come to a full stop when the first shell hits nearby. The medic stops. We need to take cover as best we can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're waiting for the shooting to stop.

PLEITGEN: So we're taking cover because we had some incoming artillery fire. We're going to wait and hope that there aren't any hits anywhere

close to us.

We're at the receiving end of a full Russian artillery barrage.

Photojournalist Richard Harlow (ph) tracks the projectiles whizzing over our head.

Katrusya says Ukrainian troops face this kind of shelling several times a day.

KATRUSYA, COMBAT MEDIC, UKRAINIAN ARMY (through translator): The artillery attacks happen every day. It's never quiet. Other parts of the city take

hits many times a day. There are times when several mortars hit within a minute.

PLEITGEN: Katrusya's own husband was killed here a month and a half ago. While Ukrainian forces have been gaining ground against the Russians in

many places, in Bakhmut, things are different.

Kyiv is trying to fortify its positions but they acknowledge the Russians have more artillery and are using seasoned fighters from the Wagner private

military company.

Still, even pinned down with artillery flying overhead, Katrusya says her confidence isn't shaken.

KATRUSYA (through translator): Absolutely we will win. The price of victory will be huge. Unfortunately, every day, civilians are dying and

there are a lot of dead and injured soldiers on every part of the line.

PLEITGEN: The fighting here has destroyed much of this town and left the few people who remain, traumatized.

Sergei (ph) doesn't even take cover anymore as artillery strikes nearby.

I asked him if he's afraid.

SERGEI (through translator): Afraid of what? Everything will be fine, mate. Everything will be fine.

PLEITGEN: A pause in the shelling gives us a chance to get out of Bakhmut Ukrainian tanks roll in the other direction trying to defend this key city

from Vladimir Putin's forces.


MACFARLANE: That's senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen reporting there. And as we mentioned, Vladimir Putin has declared martial

law in the four regions of Ukraine that Russia claims to have annexed. He's also putting extra restrictions on Russian areas near the Ukrainian border

and says he will increase the power of local authorities in all Russian and Russian occupied regions.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): In this regard, let me remind you that in the Donetsk People's Republic, the Luhansk

People's Republic, as well as in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, martial law was in effect before joining Russia. Now, we need to formalize

this regime within the framework of Russian legislation. Therefore, I signed a decree on the introduction of martial law.


MACFARLANE: Well, CNN's Matthew Chance is in Moscow for us tonight following developments. Matthew, just explain what martial law actually

means under Russian law? What difference these security measures will potentially make?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is basically ruled by the military, by the army. In the areas where martial of

been imposed, these four areas which Russia says it annexed earlier this month. I don't think they are going to make a lot of difference, not least

because it is already a war zone, the military is a preeminent force there, but also because Russia doesn't control all of those areas. They are not

able to impose its will on vast swaths of the territory that it's imposed martial law on.

I think you're going to see more an impact on the security measures that have been put in place in areas inside Russia, near the border of Ukraine

for instance, there is a heightened security regime that is been put in place which would involve military checkpoints, roadblocks, more travel

restrictions for people going in and out of those areas. There has been a lot of attacks over the course of the past several weeks and months from

Ukraine into those border areas. And so, this, I expect, is an attempt to answer that.

But further afield as well, even in Moscow, the capital, there are new security measures that have been put in place which severely curtail what

would be considered normal civil liberties, the right to gather, things like that. There's going to be more checkpoints, we don't really know quite

how it is going to play out yet.

But I think the crucial thing is that there is a flexibility in these new pronouncement that have been made by Vladimir Putin. At any time, the

Kremlin can impose any level of military restrictions on any area wants. It's really Vladimir Putin responding to the criticism that is been made

against him during the course of the setbacks on the battlefield and him saying, look, I'm not going to back down in any of this. In fact, I'm going

to double down and sort of making his, you know, authorities prepared to take whatever action they have to to maintain order in the country --


MACFARLANE: All right. Matthew Chance for us live in Moscow tonight, Matthew, thank you.

Well, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has sparked controversy by saying that he has received, quote, sweet letters from

President Putin. Berlusconi told lawmakers that he has re-connected with the Russian president who sent him vodka and flowers for his birthday in


The 86-year-old politician has also called Mr. Putin one of his closest friends. He is currently negotiating a cabinet post in his new elected

coalition government.

Now, her campaign slogan was "in Liz we trust". Now, that does not appear to be a promise that British Prime Minister Liz Truss is delivering,

particularly when it comes to her own government. Liz Truss has just lost her Home Secretary Suella Braverman. She was resigning after using a

personal email account sent an official document. She also spoke about mistakes she believes the government is making.

It buries the British leadership into further chaos. The turmoil we saw hours ago during the House of Commons, during a voting on fracking, when

MPs made allegations that they were bullied and manhandled to support the government.


CHRSI BRYANT, BRITISH LABOR PARTY MP: Madam Deputy Speaker, I would urge you to launch an investigation into the scenes outside the entrance to the

lobby earlier. As you know, members are expected to be able to vote without fear or favor. The behavior code, which is agreed by the whole of the

House, says that they're shall never be bowling or harassment of members. I saw -- I saw members being physically manhandled into another lobby.


MACFARLANE: It goes from bad to worse, doesn't it?

Well, despite the chaos, Liz Truss insists that she is not a quitter.

Bianca Nobilo has more on where the British government stands now.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Prime Minister Liz Truss had a rollercoaster day on Wednesday and not the fun kind. The day kicked off

with reports that her special advisor had been suspended pending investigation. Then, she had to appear before prime minister's questions

and she faced a confident leader of the opposition, she knew that this was a make-or-break moment for her fragile premiership.

KEIR STARMER, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: I've got the list here, 45P tax cut, gone. Corporation tax cut, gone. Twenty feet tax cut, gone. Two-year

energy freeze, gone. Tax free shopping, gone. Economic credibility, gone.

And her supposed best friend, the former chancellor, he is gone as well. They are all gone, so why is she still here?

LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Mr. Speaker, I am a fighter and not a quitter. I have acted in the national interest to make sure that we have

economic stability.

NOBILO: Truss is more energetic and at points fiery performance seems to have brought her a little bit more time with her party.


But later in the House of Commons, the vice chairman of the powerful backbench committee of conservative MPs that controls rules over ousting

leaders and electing new ones, declared publicly to the House of Commons and nation that he could no longer look voters in the eye and that the

prime minister had to go.

WILLIAM WRAGG, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: I am personally ashamed because I cannot go and face my constituents, look them in the eye and say that they

should support our great party and the polls seem to bear that out.

NOBILO: And the political blows kept coming when Suella Braverman announced that she was resigning as home secretary. She said that this was

over a technical infringement, sending an official document from a personal email address. She didn't waste the opportunity in her resignation letter

to criticize the government. In a thinly veiled attack, she said that she held herself to the highest standard. Her resignation was the right thing

to do. Writing, the business of government relies upon people accepting responsibility for their mistakes, pretending we haven't made mistakes,

carrying on as if anyone cannot see that we have made them and hoping that things will naturally become right, that is not serious politics.

Braverman continued that she has deep concerns about the direction of the government. Will her resignation be the first of many, or an isolated

incident? It is impossible to say this evening which just underscores the instability of this current government.

Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.


MACFARLANE: Well, still ahead on the brief, Iranian climber Elnaz Rekabi has returned her home country after competing without wearing a hijab. She

was welcomed home as a hero. But how safe is she back home?

Plus, flooded Australian towns get sandbags in place ahead of even more rain. We will take you to Victoria state.



MACFARLANE: Welcome back.

Amid Iran's anti government protests, Iranian rock climber Elnaz Rekabi has returned to Tehran after competing in South Korean without wearing a hijab.

But during an interview with Iranian media, Rekabi insisted she didn't intend to break the rules. She said she was called to compete unexpectedly

and forgot to wear her head scarf. As she arrived Wednesday at the Tehran airport, she was greeted by a large crowd shouting, Elnaz the hero.

But it is not clear if Rekabi is now under detention or if she will face consequences for breaking Iran's strict dress code. Her return comes as

prominent Iranian sports figures have urged FIFA to ban the Iranian football federation from the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. They say the Iranian

government's actions against protesters have reached a, quote, tipping point.

Well, for more than a month, women across Iran have taken off the hijabs in public to protest the country's religious dress code. The protesters were

triggered by the death of 22 year old Mahsa Amini after morality police detained her for not properly wearing her hijab.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh shows us how Iran is violently cracking down. We are not identifying the protesters in this report because of safety concerns.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The desperate struggle to break free tells of the cruelty that awaits. It's not

just to escape. It's to survive, to stay alive.

So many Iranians know all too well the path to which this would lead. Hell on Earth for those who dare to dissent.

It's the repressive regime's playbook tried and tested time and time again.

This 29-year-old protester says he was detained this month and endured four days of torture by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps.

PROTESTER (through translator): Somebody started kicking, punching our stomach area, putting our heads in buckets of water so we couldn't breathe,

and beating us with a belt, hose and electric shockers.

KARADSHEH: He claims he was coerced into signing a confession saying he was paid by the U.S., U.K. and Israel governments to, quote, create chaos

in Iran. He's been left with minor scars that are hearing, but what we don't see may never heal.

PROTESTER (through translator): Nowadays, I don't have much sleep. I have nightmares most of the time. In my nightmares, I see someone as following

me in the dark and I'm alone and no one is helping me.

KARADSHEH: And he says the authorities still stalk him.

PROTESTER (through translator): I received a phone call from an unknown number but I'm active on Twitter. He threatened me and my family saying if

you don't stop they will arrest me and that I know what's awaiting me.

KARADSHEH: It's a pattern of oppression that's played out before. In 2019, the world saw how far the state would go to crush those rising up.

Farhad, the father of two, tells CNN he watched several of his friends gunned down on the street back then. Weeks later, the authorities came for

him. He says he was dragged from his home in the middle of the night and taken to what he describes as a regime torture chamber for 16 days of

horrors and beatings that left him beyond recognition.

We reviewed the horrific photos of Farhad's injuries. To protect his identity, we're not showing those images and his scars. He's had several

reconstructive surgeries that patched his jaw back together.

But Iranian authorities have not left him alone. He says they freeze his bank account at times, and call threatening to kill his children and rape

his wife.

It's all part of the disturbing playbook that several protesters CNN spoke with have experienced firsthand. They're watched through CCTV cameras and

by state sponsored hackers online, hunted, tortured, forever stalked and threatened.

But that's not stopping the thousands risking it all every day in Iran. Farhad is back out protesting, this time with his children. He knows the

cost of defiance, but it's a price he's willing to pay for their freedom.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.


MACFARLANE: Well, CNN asked the Iranian government about these accounts of arbitrary detention, torture and harassment of protesters as well as the

widespread violations documented by human rights organizations. It did not respond to our request for comment.

Turning now to Australia where the body of a 65-year-old man has been found in floodwaters in northern Victoria. He is the third person to have died in

massive flooding in southeastern Australia in recent days. Many others are displaced with roughly 60,000 people already applying for government

assistance in Victoria.


Meantime, communities are frantically preparing for additional flooding with the river expected to rise and more rain to come.

Here's News Nine's Izabella Staskowski.


IZABELLA STASKOWSKI, NINE NEWS: Local contractors have worked throughout the night building this two and half quickly rallied to protect homes and

their towns. Sadly, a number of properties on this side of the levee can't be saved. They are too close to the Murray.

Using donated supplies and working around the clock, this is a final effort by locals, they're hopeful that it will stop rising water in the coming

days. There are fears that up to 2,000 homes could be impacted.

DAMIEN SMITH, BUSINESS OWNER: People are sandbagging. We don't know. We honestly don't know where the water levels are going to be.

STASKOWSKI: And it is all hands on deck, the community helped him in his home, he was driving a truck here, determined to help others. The spirit

has been nothing short of incredible, we have seen strangers assisting each other, people helping local businesses until late at night.

SMITH: We are very proud, the donations of food, the offers a fuel, the offers of labor, support, machinery, it is just been overwhelming.

STASKOWSKI: The rivers have already broken their banks, the rain and the Murray will be the next challenge. The water is already high, pushing

paddlers 20 meters higher than they normally are.

Nearby, in Rochester, the cleanup continues. Residents are being calling for help and good news, they're expecting the army to assist today.

In a town meeting, locals here have been told that it is going to experience something it has never experienced before. Rain is going to come

soon, it will be heaviest on Sunday.


MACFARLANE: Now, the European parliament says there is no one more deserving of its annual award for freedom of thought then the brave people

of Ukraine. In announce their collective win in the prize on Wednesday saying Ukrainians are risking their lives in the face appear Russian terror

to fight for the values of the free world. The prize money of 50,000 euros will be distributed among Ukraine's civil society. Perhaps fittingly, the

award is named after a late Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov who championed democracy and human rights.

Good night. Thank you for watching. That was THE GLOBAL BRIEF. I'm Christina Macfarlane.

Stay tuned. "WORLD SPORT" is up next.