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The Global Brief with Bianca Nobilo

Russia Attacks Ukraine's Energy; Iran's Protests Escalate; A Look At Brazil's Election. Aired 5-5:30p ET

Aired October 27, 2022 - 17:00   ET



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

Russia strikes devastate Ukraine's energy facilities. But Ukrainian officials say it will not break their spirit.

Also, an exclusive investigation into the death of an activist in Iran, as nationwide protests against the regime continue.

And Brazilians head to the polls Sunday for what has been described as one of the most consequential elections in the country's democratic history.

We'll debrief why.

Russia's latest attacks on Ukraine's power facility is plunging more people into darkness and cold, as winter approaches. Russia fired drones and

missiles overnight at power plants in Kyiv, causing massive fires, requiring the deployment of dozens of emergency workers. Ukrainian

officials say they had to implement severe and unprecedented power cuts in the region to avoid a complete back out.

One energy CEO says hundreds of thousands of homes are now without power. UN and Red Cross officials say it will only cause deep suffering for the

Ukraine people, depriving them of hate, ordering electricity.

It won't be easy for Ukraine to carry out repairs on the heavily damaged power plants. Our Nic Robertson with an exclusive look at one facility,

which was targeted twice by Russia.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The sirens are going off. We have only just arrived at the power plant. Everyone's going into

the bunker. We're going to have to go in, too.

(voice-over): There is no fuss. Everyone here knows what to do.

We agreed not to show faces or name the power plant for security regions.

We've been given these safety jackets to wear. Officials here telling us it's normal to end up in a bunker several times a day.

The coal-fired power plant hit twice since Putin began targeting electrical facilities days ago. Cards, dominoes, messaging loved ones passes the time.

This 29-year veteran of the Soviet-era plant tells me every minute in the bunker is time wasted. We need to be on top repairing the bomb damage.

An hour and a half later, all clear, everyone back to work.

One of the first things you notice here is just how quiet it is. No generator stumping away.

Around the corner, engineers are already around the bunker making repairs. Those cables are the easy bit. Russia's cruise missiles and drones ripped

through the hardest part of the plant to repair.

They say got tangled up in the high bolted cables appear. It ripped equipment apart all on the ground. It's all around burnt out cables. And

over here, burnt out equipment.

And the problem official says that this part of the site was the most sensitive part. It has been off line since.

Officials here convince Putin's power engineers, are advising his military had a crash Ukraine's grid.

PAVLO BILODID, STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER, DTEK GROUP: For sure, they know that weak place and make sure they hit it a few times in the same


ROBERTSON: As for how long repairs will take, no one knows.

BILODID: The equipment is quite unique. To produce some of them, we need from 8 to 18 months. We don't have so much time.

ROBERTSON: The clock, despite some speedy repairs, taking in Putin's favorite. More than 40 percent of the grid taken offline in less than three


This is very where the cruise missile impacted, two drones came down over there. The pylons were taken out and had been repaired already.

But that's the big test right now. Can Ukraine repair faster than Russia can bomb and destroy?

Nic Robertson, CNN at a power plant in Ukraine.


KINKADE: Well, Russian President Vladimir Putin says the world faces the most dangerous and unpredictable decades since the end of World War II. At

the same time, he says he has no regrets about sending troops into Ukraine.

The Russian president was speaking at an event in Moscow on Thursday.


And in his speech, he blamed Western countries for inciting a war and says Russia does not consider itself an enemy of the West.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Russia is not challenging the Western allies. Russia is defending its right to exist and

for the developed.


KINKADE: Well, Ukraine says its troops are holding that against repeated Russian attacks on two eastern towns, including Bakhmut, while in the

south, Ukrainian forces are slowly advancing towards Kherson, carrying a major counter offensive. They say Russian troops are digging in,

reinforcing their positions to try and hold on to their city.

The Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskyy says, of course, those Russian forces will be defeated.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen visited the frontline and filed this report for us.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Across these fields are the Russians. That means we need to get into the

trenches that snake their way through this battle space in southern Ukraine.

So, this is the actual front line between the Russians and the Ukrainians. They say that the Russians are only a couple of kilometers in that

direction. And obviously, there's a lot of shelling that goes on here almost all the time.

A destroyed tank turret right outside Ukrainian position shows just how fierce the fighting is here, spent cartridges from cluster bombs and

Russian flak vests also still lying around.

While some thought the Ukrainians might quickly oust the Russians and take back the key city of Kherson, in the trench, a feeling of stalemate.

ALEXANDER, 59TH BRIGADE, UKRAINIAN ARMY (through translator): There is shelling every day. In some places less. In some, more. We would shoot

back, but we have nothing to shoot with here.

PLEITGEN: Inside the main headquarters, the unit commander, who goes by the call sign Nikofor, shows me the gear they used to monitor the Russians

movements and communicate with their own units.

He says they've observed the Russians strengthening their defensive positions here.

NIKOFOR, 59TH BRIGADE, UKRAINIAN ARMY (through translator): They have dug in very well for the moment. Without efforts, we're showing them that we

are stronger and are slowly pushing them back from our territories.

PLEITGEN: This territory was all Russian controlled, but now Ukrainian troops are inching ever closer to Kherson. They've taken out most Russian

supply routes across the massive Dnipro River. Ukraine's president says, Moscow's forces need to get out of this region or risk being besieged.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: They are not ready to go out of Kherson. But they know that it will be, if we will have success, they will

not have the possibility to exit.

PLEITGEN: Ukraine's military is pushing Russian troops back on several frontlines across the country. And as his army displays clear signs of

weakness, Russian President Vladimir Putin ripping into the U.S. and its allies during a speech in Moscow.

PUTIN (through translator): World domination is what the so-called West bet its game on. But that game is, without doubt, a dangerous, bloody, and

I would say filthy one.

PLEITGEN: But the Ukrainian troops in the trenches say they are resisting for their own country's sovereignty and hope to retake much of the key area

in south Ukraine before winter sets in.


KINKADE: CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is following the developments from Odessa and joins us now with more on all of that.

Good to see you, Fred. Thanks so much that report.

I want to start with what we are hearing on the front lines. We have been reporting that Russia was sending prisoners to the frontline. We have been

learning that some are diseased prisoners. We've also seeing new video emerged showing Russians complaining that they don't have basic tools to


CNN can't independently verify that video but it's consistent with what we've been reporting the past.

What else are you seeing and hearing in the frontlines, Fred?

PLEITGEN: Well, first of all, I think the situation of the frontline here is extremely difficult for both sides. It seems that both sides are really

well dug-in, especially in the area that we were at today, it's an area south of Mykolaiv, towards the Kherson area. We see the Ukrainians are

definitely in a strong position, but the Russians definitely also are very well dug in as well, and something that the Ukrainians openly admit. They

say that what they're seeing so far is definitely nothing that seems to indicate that there's going to be a Russian withdrawal from this are.

In fact, they say they've seen the Russians reinforce their positions. In some cases even with concrete, trying to really cement if you will those

positions, to make sure that the Ukrainians can't take the city of Kherson.

Now, the Ukrainians believe that they have the firepower and the strategy to possibly do that by year's end. But they also admit it's going to be

very difficult fight. For one of the main advisers to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, that he believes the toughest fighting in Kherson is yet ahead.


However, the Ukrainians believe, Lynda, that the battle for Kherson is absolutely key, both to them and the Russians. They believe that for

Vladimir Putin, it's absolutely key to hold on to Kherson because it's only real population center that the Russians have managed to capture here in

Ukraine and still hold, or at least it's almost completely destroyed, like for instance Mariupol.

But for the same time, for the Ukrainians, it will obviously be a huge victory to manage take Kherson back, Lynda.

KINKADE: And we did hear from Vladimir Putin today, Fred, accusing the West of playing a dangerous, bloody, 30 games what he said. He also made

several references to World War II. You have reported on and from Moscow extensively.

What was Putin hoping to convey. Who is he speaking to? Who is his audience?

PLEITGEN: Well, in many cases, it's a domestic audience, where he's trying to justify the invasion of Ukraine. He's obviously saying essentially that

Russia had no choice but to do this. It was the West that have been gearing up for this for a long time. It was interesting to hear him say that the

West was playing a dirty game that essentially, over the last year, the West has cornered Russian and that now Russia had no choice but to do this.

One of the interesting things that I picked up from Vladimir Putin speech was where he said that he believes that Russia only wants to exist, that he

doesn't want to confront the West, that Russia only wants to exist. But at the same time, you see here in Ukraine, there's Russian offensives going

on. There's obviously a lot of people being killed.

It certainly seems like Vladimir Putin is trying to justify that at home and obviously trying to justify that abroad as well. But, first and

foremost, he's obviously trying to keep the Russian population in line and behind the war effort that's currently going on, Lynda.

KINKADE: Frederik Pleitgen for us in Odesa, Ukraine, good to have you with us. Thanks very much for that reporting.

Well, I want to turn our attention to Iran. The perpetrators of a deadly attack in the Iranian city of Shiraz will certainly be punished. That's

what Iran's supreme leader says. At least 15 people were killed in an attack Wednesday when a shooter opened fire at a shrine. Two people have

been arrested and a manhunt was underway for the third suspect.

ISIS is claiming responsibility, but the Iranian military is saying protesters are, quote, complicit. Using the attack as an excuse for an even

harsher crackdown on the ongoing demonstrations across the country. But Iran has produced no evidence to support that claim.

And a young woman named Nika Shahkarami has become a focus of Iran's protest movement, after going missing last month. She was among the many

demonstrators on the streets just days after Masha Amini's death. And after analyzing more than 50 videos obtained by CNN and speaking to six

witnesses, there's evidence that he was chased and detained by police just a few hours before going missing.

CNN's Katie Polglase reports.


KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER (voice-over): Nika Shahkarami, the 16-year-old has become one of the most known faces in Iran. On

September 20th, Nika was a high profile figure at the protests, a known personality on social media. She stood on bins chanting for the crowds.

Officials say that within 24 hours, she would be dead.

Nika joined a growing list of young women who have lost their lives in recent weeks as protesters swept Iran, and authorities have waged a violent

crackdown in response. The Iranian government has made a series of shifting claims, first saying that her death had, quote, no connection to the

protest, but that she was thrown from a roof. And then on Wednesday, a new claim from the judiciary saying it was a suicide.

On the basis of our investigation, using 50 videos from that night and speaking to those with her that evening, CNN can reveal that some of Nika's

final hours respect of the protest including evidence that suggests she was chased and detained by security just a few hours before the state said she


The first videos we found of Nika on the 20th are here at 7:00 p.m. As protests heat up, Nika can be seen right at the front, throwing rocks at

the formation of uniformed officers, easily recognized, she was brave, not even frightened, eyewitnesses said.

At this stage in the evening, Nika is here, by Laleh Park. Then as more officers arrive, witnesses say Nika starts to move away from them, first

along Keshavarz Boulevard, and then down Shelzara street, where she's seen making phone call just before 8:00 p.m.

The police crackdown intensifies, moving it to nick's new location. Then to start emerging and protesters are seen being detained by plainclothes

officers. One person told CNN they saw security forces hitting women and putting them in police vans.


In the midst of this heightened violence, CNN found a video of Nika still at the center of the protests, it's 8:37 p.m., and the last known video of


Don't move, don't move, she shouts, as she crouches between cars to hide from authorities.

The person filming from the car told CNN that shortly afterwards, Nika was taken by several large bodied security forces and bundled into a van.

By this point in the evening, police were everywhere. Videos we've geolocated to the scene show police to the south and also to the north of

Nika. It means when she was crouching in traffic, she was completely surrounded.

By the next morning, she would be dead according to this death certificate. First obtained by BBC Persian and verified by CNN, which shows she died

from multiple injuries caused by being hit by a hard object. And it's dated September 21st.

But Nika's family would not learn of her death for another ten days. Meanwhile, both Nika's mother and aunt have cited in interviews that

credible sources told them that for days during that window, Nika was in state company. The Iranian authorities released this CCTV footage claiming

Nika died after being thrown from this building later the same night, in an incident they say was unconnected to the protests. They made no claim about

who allegedly threw her. And CNN did not verify if the person is Nika, nor the day it was filmed.

Nika's mother has publicly disputed this footage saying it's not her daughter. And it's hard to square this calm walk with the evidence we have

of Nika being chased by police and detained just a few hours earlier.

Iranian officials have not responded to CNN's inquiry as to whether she was ever in custody in the hours leading up to her death. What is certain

though is that Nika was a prominent activist at the center of a police crackdown on the protests that night.

Katie Polglase, CNN, London.


KINKADE: Thanks to Katie and our investigation team for that exclusive report.

Well, a landmark agreement between Israel and Lebanon is now in effect. It resolves a long time c border dispute, opening up of short oil and gas

fields. There was no joint signing ceremony, as they are officially still at war, despite this limited diplomatic breakthrough. Lebanon's president

signed in along U.S. officials who mediated the accord.

Well, still to come on THE GLOBAL BRIEF, Brazil's bitter presidential race continues. Experts say those most need a change might be the ones making a

final decision.

Plus, Prince Harry's new memoir title has people's talking. We'll explain why after the break.



KINKADE: Welcome back. This is THE GLOBAL BRIEF. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Good have you with us.

Well, Brazil is just days away from choosing its next president, and voters have a choice between two names on Sunday's ballot. Former two term leftist

president, Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva, popularly known as Lula, and his far-right opponent, who currently has the job, Jair Bolsonaro.

Well, socially and economically, Brazil is suffering. Recent polls say that the poor and women may cast the deciding votes on Sunday.

CNN's Paula Newton is following the political battle for us and join us in the capital.

Good to have you with us.

So, Brazil, of course, was hit really hard by the COVID pandemic. Bolsonaro frequently dismissed the threat. At one point, calling it the little flu.

And Brazil has certainly shackled to emerge from the economic turmoil. What are the main issues from those that you have been speaking to that are

struggling to put the basics on the table at dinnertime. How is this election going to play out for them what are they looking for?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Lynda, it is such a good question in terms of what kind of electoral strength those in poverty in

Brazil have. They have quite a bit. The point is how to leverage it towards which candidate and who will actually serve their interests.

You're just talking about the difference between the two. Jair Bolsonaro claimed a post pandemic, this economy has recovered. The people we spoke to

feel otherwise.


NEWTON (voice-over): Nova Vitoria Esperanca, this pandemic-era village on the outskirts of Sao Paulo is fertile ground for votes but not food. The

irony not lost on anyone here.

Food is the issue this mother of four will be voting on, her partner work 16 hours a day and still, she tells us, there is not much in her


I just don't want my kids to go hungry, she says.

She fears they may if President Jair Bolsonaro is reelected, even though he raised welfare payments ahead of the election.

In my view, she says, Bolsonaro did not fulfill his promises, and has only given a subsidy to see if he can get more votes.

People here know better than to expect too much from either candidate. From former President Lula da Silva, they expect something.

I intend to vote for Lula, she tells us, because Bolsonaro has been there for four years, and in four years, he's not been able to do much.

From Brazil's impoverished suburbs to the streets of the commercial capital, inflation is biting here. Access the food has become a central

election issue and a convenient campaign promise, as tens of millions continue to live in poverty.

At Bolsonaro rallies, supporters ridicule Lula, calling him a thief who belongs in jail, hardly a savior of the poor. Even they see Lula's past

corruption scandals differently.

Every single one that is in there still something, she says, even just a little. They are talking about Lula and saying that he stole, maybe he did,

but at least he takes care of us, takes care of the poor.

Bolsonaro has spent billions on welfare subsidies in the lead up to the election, trying to prove that he can save Brazilians from hunger.

Robson Mendonca has been feeding the hungry for decades. He says hundreds more have been lining up at a soup kitchen in recent months, and he is

troubled that the desperate plight of so many is being exploited for votes.


ROBSON MENDONCA, SAO PAULO COMMUNITY LEADER (through translator): Bolsonaro was even capable of lying on national radio, saying that there is

no hunger in Brazil. They don't see anyone asking for bread at the bakery, he does not know reality. There are millions asking for a plate of food

because they can't feed themselves.

NEWTON: To win, both presidential candidates need to count on votes from those who can't count on their next meal, a stark snapshot of what's at

stake for Brazil's hungry.


NEWTON (on camera): And when we talk about hunger, Lynda, think about it, by some estimates, two of every five children in this country now live in

poverty. What that means is that a whole new generation struggling with hunger has not had to do that in the last few years. A lot at stake here,

as I said and people try not to be too cynical about which candidate might bring them some relief from what has been, again, just absolutely crippling

economic demise here.

KINKADE: Yeah, and that election happens on Sunday. We will touch base with you again very soon. Paula Newton, thanks so much.

Well, let's take a look at the other key stories making international headlines today.

Uganda has recorded a dozen new Ebola cases, raising the number of confirmed cases to over 120. The Ugandan health minister says many of those

are health care workers. The government is now working to set up treatment centers across the country.

And residents of Lhasa, Tibet, are protesting Chinese COVID-19 lockdown measures that have lasted more than 70 days. People have not been allowed

to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary since August. Last Friday, the city said it would begin easing restrictions. No date has been given a

when that will happen.

Elon Musk is attempting to reassure Twitter executives one day before his takeover that the company is expected to begin. In an open letter, musk

says he does not want the company to become, quote, a free-for-all hellscape and promised to cut back on the platform's content restrictions.

This could impact accounts previously banned, like former U.S. President Donald Trump.

Thanks so much for watching. That was your GLOBAL BRIEF with me, Lynda Kinkade.

Do stay with CNN. "WORLD SPORT" is coming up next.