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Ukraine's New Warning On Russia; Barbados Moves Past The Queen; Travel Restrictions Grow As Omicron Variant Spreads. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired November 30, 2021 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to have you is joining us from all around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Rosemary Church. Just ahead, what you should do right now to protect yourself from the Omicron variant and what the world must finally do to beat this pandemic? Ukraine has a new warning about the threat from Russia just hours before a key meeting of NATO foreign ministers gets underway.

Plus, Queen Elizabeth rules one less Island today as Barbados raises the flag on the world's newest republic.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Rosemary Church.

CHURCH: Good to have you with us. And we begin with a growing concern around the globe for the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. At least 18 countries and territories have confirmed cases that the mutation. Among the latest is the French Island or reunion out in the Indian Ocean. It's a long way from Paris but it is France's first official case. And dozens of countries and territories have imposed travel bans and new restrictions in response to its spread.

Experts are racing to answer three key questions. Is the Omicron variant transmitted more easily? Is it more severe or deadly? And will the vaccines work against it? The World Health Organization says answers on transmission and severity could come within days. But assessing the vaccines effectiveness will take two to four weeks.


ALBERT BOURLA, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, PFIZER: There are few things that we don't know about the vaccine. But there are a few things that we know for certain. We don't know if it will be more virulent. We don't know if it's going to transmit faster or have higher disease. We don't know it will escape the protection of our vaccines, but we know the sequence of the virus. We haven't. And this is how everything starts.


CHURCH: Pfizer, BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson are already working on possible modifications to their vaccines to fight this new variant. In the meantime, experts say get the shot, get a booster, wear a face mask and practice social distancing.


DR. PETER SINGER, SPECIAL ADVISER, WHO DIRECTOR-GENERAL: Omicron is like a wake-up call as though we needed another wake up call to vaccinate the world. This issue of vaccine equity with rates like 60 to 70 percent vaccination in the U.S. and seven percent, seven percent on the African continent, you got to wonder whether we really love our neighbor. But the point I want to make here is that it's the smart thing to do because it's self-defeating not to do it because this is the way to make variants is to let the virus rage.


CHURCH: And CNN is covering this fast developing story with our resources around the globe. We will hear this out from correspondents in Europe, Africa, and Asia. So let's begin in France after news of a confirmed case on reunion and CNN Cyril Vanier joins us live from Paris. And Cyril, what are you learning about this first French case of the Omicron variant?

CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. First French confirmed case. Absolutely, Rosemary. We're learning just a little bit more in terms of details. We know that that passenger arrived several days ago on November 19 at the Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean and he had been traveling from Mozambique via -- sorry, let me rephrase that. He had been traveling through Mozambique but had come from South Africa.

So this is not a case of community transmission. This is another case of the virus being imported from one of those countries where it was originally detected in those Southern African states to which Europe has now closed its doors and imposed either a travel ban or a strict quarantine restriction. We also know that that passenger had a mild case of the coronavirus. He was symptomatic but only mildly so.

So we believe he did not require hospitalization. We also know that the people he was traveling with, we understand it to be six people have been placed under isolation as well, Rosemary


CHURCH: And Cyril, new restrictions are in place in the U.K. as well to combat Omicron. What can you tell us about that?

VANIER: Absolutely. Well as of today, you have to wear face masks in stores and on public transport. Now this is something that is already taking place, of course, in many countries across the continent but the U.K. had refused to make it mandatory at the beginning of the summer on what they termed their freedom day when the British Prime Minister explained we have to learn to live with the variant.

So it wasn't mandatory until now. Now starting this morning, you have to wear a face mask in stores and on public transport. Also travel restrictions, Rosemary, people coming into the country are going to have to self-isolate until they do a test which must take place on their second day after arrival and they can only leave self-isolation once they get the results of the day two test provided of course, Rosemary the results are negative.

Lastly, the JCVI, the body that recommend -- makes recommendations on vaccinations in the U.K. has now recommended that all adults that's to say all over 18 years old get a booster dose, Rosemary, which hadn't been the case until now.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. Cyril Vanier joining us live from Paris. Many thanks for that. To Asia now and Hong Kong ramping up its travel restrictions even further in response to the new variant. CNN's Will Ripley joins us live from Hong Kong with more on this. So, Will, adding more countries how likely is it that Hong Kong will eventually do what Japan and Israel have done and ban all international visitors?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're certainly getting closer to that, Rosemary, with Hong Kong now banning non- resident arrivals from 13 more countries, countries where the Omicron variant has been detected. Immediately effective are for Southern African countries. And then starting on Thursday, they're adding additional countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Israel, Italy.

Anybody who's been there in the past 21 days and is not a Hong Kong resident can't come in. Now this is in addition to the already eight Southern African countries that were on that banned to travel list. If somebody is a Hong Kong resident, they have to go to a government quarantine facility for seven days where they're tested for COVID every single day. Then they move into a designated quarantine hotel like the one I'm at, the Regal Airport Hotel.

One of many designated quarantine hotels in Hong Kong where they will have an additional 14 days of isolation. Most incoming travelers are going to have 21 days of isolation in a hotel or 14 days if you're fully vaccinated and coming from a country considered low risk. But the number of countries that are considered high risk is growing by the day which means that essentially this global financial hub, which is embracing a zero COVID strategy, much like Mainland China is once again hunkering down, closing down its borders.

Similar to what we are seeing right now in Japan which local media in Japan reporting now, their first confirmed case of Omicron has been detected an incoming traveler from Southern Africa but CNN still working to verify exactly who that is, where they came from, and what that's going to mean. Because of course, Japan also has now shut down its borders for all new foreign arrivals, no matter what country they want to come from around the world. If they don't have an existing visa and they're not Japanese, they're not getting in, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And just back to what's happening inside Hong Kong, because you've told us what's happening as far as international travelers go. But since the start of the pandemic, how have things changed in the way Hong Kong is dealing with this? RIPLEY: Well, Hong Kong has been somewhat consistent. Once it established these very strict quarantine protocols, while other countries around the world have walked away from a zero COVID approach as more and more people in their population are fully vaccinated. Hong Kong while continuing to offer vaccinations, including booster shots available to most adults now still has essentially kept up this very strict quarantine of -- for most incoming travelers, 21 days.

Even those who are fully vaccinated or maybe 14 days if they're coming from a small select group of countries that are deemed low risk. Why is Hong Kong doing this because they're trying to get in sync with Mainland China which has even stricter quarantine protocols than Hong Kong. In mainland China sometimes you're going to be quarantining for up to a month up to seven weeks in some cases, depending on where you're coming from.

So this is because Hong Kong and the mainland are hoping in the coming months to partially reopen their borders, allowing for quarantine, free travel for some people on a limited basis back and forth from this Chinese territory to Mainland China, but essentially sealing them off for much of the world.

CHURCH: All right. Will Ripley joining us live from Hong Kong. Many thanks for that. The new wave of travel restrictions through swift backlash from officials and health experts in Southern Africa. They call the bans on overreaction and say they are unlikely to have much of an impact.


SALIM ABDOOL KARIM, CO-CHAIR, SOUTH AFRICAN MINISTERIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON COVID-19: Firstly, it's outrageous that, you know, South Africa and Southern Africa is being punished for having good surveillance.


KARIM: And, you know, ensuring that we wanted to be completely transparent. So this kind of early knee-jerk reaction to block travel is probably just going to slow the seeding slightly at best, but it'll probably have little, if any impact.


CHURCH: And for more, we want to bring in CNN's Eleni Giokos. She joins us live from Johannesburg. Good to see you, Eleni. So as more countries put travel bans in place targeting Southern Africa, what impact could all this have on the region and what more is being said about this?

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, and it's really fascinating hearing, you know, from the scientific community, as well as experts, as well as leaders saying that this actually has no benefits in the long term that Omicron is probably already spread around the world. And we know that it's already found in around 17 territories globally. This is what we're hearing from a lot of the international community. The Red Cross says that these travel bans and they call them ineffective, as well as impulsive, saying that it's going to plunge more countries into poverty. The United Nations Secretary General says that he is deeply concerned about the isolation of Southern African countries because of these travel restrictions. And also talking about the low vaccination rates, Africa has seven percent vaccination rates partly because of vaccine hoarding globally.

And this, of course, has resulted in the spread of the coronavirus. And then of course, that means more mutations are probable. In terms of the economic impact and, Rosemary, I have to say ironically, I was here for a trade fair that was held in Durban a week ago where we had thousands of people from across Africa coming, talking about how they can restart and reboot Africa's economy.

There was a big concern about the poverty levels that have been rising, and then importantly, how to get the tourism sector back on track, because that is an important revenue earner. That now has, of course derailed everything. The Omicron variant and in all these travel bans, has derailed the kick starting of a lot of these economies. And it's going to be absolutely devastating. In South Africa in particular, there was a hope that now with the summer season here getting underway, that you'd have a lot of tourists coming in from Europe and the U.S.

Now that is, of course not going to be possible. Again, the South African President says that this is discriminatory, that this is, of course very disappointing that a lot of the promises made by the G20, the commitments made to help reboot the economic environment in Southern Africa has now -- these promises have been broken. So Rosemary, I think that the next two weeks as we say, the vaccine manufacturers will have a little bit more information.

The evidence of whether Omicron is more transmissible, whether it's more dangerous, and whether this results in severe illness that is going to be important in terms of what these countries do with travel bands in the longer term.

CHURCH: Yes, of course, we desperately need answers to those specific questions. Eleni, while you're there, I do want to ask you, of course, this started in the Southern Africa region, but how far has it spread across the African continent?

GIOKOS: And it's a really good question, because we've -- it's been, you know, detected in neighboring countries here in Southern Africa. So Eswatini, in the likes of Botswana, we've also heard news from Mozambique. What's been fascinating as well is the genomic sequencing in South Africa is very advanced. So that is why South Africa was able to detect the Omicron variants. And that's why you see so much coming through in terms of South Africa being punished.

We know that a lot more work is being done by South African scientists, by the African Union, CDC as well to try and ascertain just how much it's spread. But testing remains low on the African continent. And that is why we don't really know the extent of the spread of Omicron. But importantly here, and I'm glad we're talking about, you know, that the case numbers in South Africa, we're seeing an average case positivity rate of around 2800.

Rosemary, that is vastly different from the tens of thousands of cases that you're seeing being posted in many European countries. And the fear is that genomic sequencing needs to happen at a rapid pace in other parts of the world to ascertain whether the Omicron variant has now overridden the likes of Delta and other variants.

CHURCH: Yes, exactly right. Eleni Giokos joining us live from Johannesburg. Many thanks for that. Well, scientists are still trying to assess how dangerous the Omicron variant could be. As we've been discussing. CNN spoke with a doctor who was one of the first to suspect a new variant was circulating. She says most of the symptoms seemed mild and most of the cases she found were in people under 40. Take a listen.



DR. ANGELIQUE COETZEE, CHAIR, SOUTH AFRICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: Listen, if you have this extreme fatigue, this malaise type of feeling, I'm not feeling very well, something is wrong and the other thing that they also will tell me is that for this type of a scratchy throat, it's not a sore throat, it's just a scratched. I call it scratchy, it's very interesting. And it's sort of a dry cough but it's not the same dry cough that we have seen previously.

It is like an irritation, not very prominent either. So this is -- so if you are a patient or out there are suffering from any of these type of very, very mild symptoms. The idea is please don't get yourself this (INAUDIBLE)


CHURCH: Well, Dr. Samuel McConkey joins me now to discuss more. He is head of the Department of International Health and Tropical Medicine at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. Thank you, doctor for being with us. Now important to point out you haven't seen anyone yet with this new Omicron variant. But what is your best advice to everyone watching right now to protect themselves against it even though we have more questions than answers right now about this new variant?

DR. SAMUEL MCCONKEY, HEAD, DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL HEALTH AND TROPICAL MEDICINE AT THE ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEONS: So the things we can do with me to protect ourselves are the same things that we could do to protect ourselves from the previous variants, from the Delta strain, the Alpha strain, from the original 2019 strain. Its issues like keeping our social networks small, wearing masks, good ventilation and not being indoors in crowded places.

Though it's more of the ? just really implementing that we analyze particularly over the wintertime.

CHURCH: And, of course, Ireland has a high COVID vaccination rate. But that is not the case for other parts of Europe or the world. So health officials are now urging people to get vaccinations and boosters to offer some level of protection even though again, we don't know if the variant can evade these vaccines. But how do you convince people who are refusing to get the shot that this could prevent severe illness, even death?

MCCONKEY: We've achieved over 99 percent vaccination rate in the older group of over 70s in Ireland. And now even though we've a lot of cases in Ireland, they're mostly in younger people. We're having an epidemic and the unvaccinated younger people. Many of them are not what I would call sort of evangelical anti-vaxxers. They're more people who just didn't get round to getting the vaccine.

They want to do it, but they haven't really got around to it. So I think we need to make it easy for them with vaccination availability and pharmacies and GPs in vaccinate -- centers in their workplace. Encourage them to do this (INAUDIBLE) as they end up some of them in hospital needing oxygen in (INAUDIBLE) us six bedrooms where people are in the ward with others with COVID with the same illness, and then they see some others get very sick.

And the experience of watching somebody else very, very sick with COVID really changes people's mind. And then their social network, their family are -- all said, please all get vaccinated, this thing can make you very sick. So it's -- a lot of it is about communication and people really learning through experience but the experience of their neighbors and friends and the people in their community is at the worst end of COVID.

And once people see that (INAUDIBLE) media programs about what it's like to be in work in a hospital with COVID. So that's really helped our vaccination rates.

CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. And of course, some experts suggest the Omicron variant may be more transmissible but probably not more lethal. Is that how variants generally work as they mutate? Do they get less lethal when they become more contagious?

MCCONKEY: So yes, when there's a lot of amino acid changes (INAUDIBLE) then that change can sometimes lead to more transmission, but because of that the virus is that it's less pathogenic. So that is a hope at this stage that that will be the case. But I would encourage you and all your listeners to think back to what we had, for example, in New York in March 2020 when there was a big surge of cases.

We all heard stories of people unable to get a hospital bed, hospital struggling with staffing with oxygen. Similarly, in northern Italy and Europe, we had this back in March 2020 when the old people in Bergamo and seven cities in (INAUDIBLE) sick with respiratory failure, needing lots of oxygen and running out of the ICU beds. The same thing happened, of course, back in Wuhan in December and January, December 2019 and January 2020 when China essentially closed all of their economy on the 25th of January.

That was in response to pictures we've all seen of the hospitals being overcrowded. Whereas what's very different, it's almost good for us all to think what's different this Omicron variant. We're not hearing stories In South Africa of the hospitals being full of sick people all over the place and people are too scared of failure needing oxygen.


MCCONKEY: So there's -- really an (INAUDIBLE) called Omicron going on in South Africa. But it's not bringing behind it, at this point, at least a huge number of cases of sick people. And that, to me is a bit heartening that we're not -- maybe that the South African scientists are a step ahead. And that the danger will come in two or three weeks' time that they've just been able to detect it quicker.

And great credit goes to South African authorities for sequencing this, finding it, discovering it, and telling us about it. So maybe that will come. But so far, we've not seen that trail of death and destruction in South Africa or Southern African countries from this. So that bring -- sort of hard to me that who are less may be more transmissible and it may not be so pathogenic, and I'm hopeful for that.

But we in Europe are dealing with the old virus, we still have Delta. And we're still in the middle of trying to manage that. So it's back to the old problem of COVID-19 rather than this new variant.

CHURCH: Understood. But certainly take some hope from what you're saying about this new variant. Dr. Samuel McConkey, thank you so much. We did have some audio issues there and our apologies for that but brilliant to have you with us. Appreciate it.

Well, coming up. A new flag is raised over Barbados, as the island ditches the British monarchy and becomes a republic. And details on the woman looking to make history in Honduras as the country's first female president. Back with that and more in just a moment.


CHURCH: Barbados is waking up to a new era after 400 years the island nation is now a republic. Cutting their last remaining ties to the British monarchy. Prince Charles attended the transition ceremony where he was bestowed the country's highest ranking honor. The order of Freedom. In his speech, he reaffirmed the friendship between Barbados and the U.K.


PRINCE CHARLES, PRINCE OF WALES: The creation of this republic of the new beginning. But it also marks a point on a continuum. A milestone on the long road you have not only traveled, but which you have built from the darkest days of our past and the appalling atrocity of slavery which forever stains our history. The people of this island forge their path with extraordinary fortitude.

Emancipation, self-government and independence were your waypoints. Freedom, justice and self-determination have been your guides.


PRINCE CHARLES: Your long journey has brought you to this moment, not as your destination. But as a vantage point from which to survey a new horizon.


CHURCH: Seventy-three-year-old Sandra Mason is now the first ever president of Barbados. She says true independence was a long time coming.


SANDRA MASON, PRESIDENT OF BARBADOS: Our country and our people must dream big dreams and fight to realize them. As poet James Stephens puts it, we must learn that we are better than our clay, and equal to the peaks of our desire. I was born and grew up in the time of colonialism and witnessed Barbados' independence. I am part of the bridge generation from the colonial past to the independent nation to the future of the New Republic.


CHURCH: Barbados still plans to remain part of the Commonwealth. A 54- member organization of mostly former British territories.

Honduras appears on the brink of major political change. Xiomara Castro is poised to become the country's next president 12 years after her husband was ousted in a coup. She ran in a field of more than a dozen candidates and if she wins, she will become the country's first female president.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): Sadly, men have lost credibility after mismanaging corruption, abuse of power, personal ambition, leadership battles and special interests. Today history is being written in Honduras, and I think women should be proud of having a woman guiding a country marred by poverty and corruption.


CHURCH: CNN's Patrick Oppmann has more on the election.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A political earthquake may be taking place in Honduras where the wife of a former president deposed in a military coup is inching towards an electoral victory. Leftist candidate Xiomara Castro has not been declared the winner of the election, at least not yet. But she is leading in the vote count over the National Party of sitting president Juan Orlando Hernandez.

Castro would be if elected the first president -- first female president in Honduras's history. She has vowed if she does win this election to fight corruption and official ties with drug traffickers. That's a reference to accusations that sitting President Juan Orlando Hernandez has allowed Honduras to become a transshipment point for drugs heading to the United States. Hernandez has denied those accusations.

In 2019 though he was implicated in the trial of his brother in the United States on charges of drug trafficking. His brother eventually was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. It remains to be seen whether Hernandez himself will face charges in the United States once he leaves office. He has denied any wrongdoing. Castro is feared by some in Honduras that she will lead a tilt to the left if she is elected that she will essentially ally herself with Venezuela and Cuba with the socialist governments in those countries.

But Castro has said that she's willing to work in the fight inequality in poverty in Honduras. One of the conditions that are leading to a surge in migration of Hondurans to the United States. Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.

CHURCH: It's Deja vu in Sweden, social Democrat, Magdalena Andersson has been elected prime minister again, just days after she had already won the job and quickly resigned. Andersson quit hours after she was elected last week when her proposed budget was defeated, and her coalition government broke down. Now Sweden's first female prime minister plans to form a minority government that social Democrats only hold 100 of the 349 seats in Parliament. Meaning she will need the support of other parties to pass legislation.

Talks have resumed after a lengthy pause on Iran's nuclear program, the latest on negotiations, and what Israel is saying about Tehran's plans for enriching uranium.

Plus, tense days in Ukraine as President Zelensky says he could be the target of an alleged coup attempt this week.




CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Well, health experts say they could know within the next few weeks how effective the current COVID vaccines are against the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. At least 19 countries and territories have confirmed Omicron cases, the latest being Japan, which confirmed its first case. The World Health Organization's governing body will meet again in Geneva in the coming hours, declaring on Monday the overall risk from the Omicron variant is very high.

The first sample of the mutation was taken November 9th because of a surge of cases in South Africa. Experts there say the strain appears to spread quickly, but it is too soon to say if the variant is more deadly, causes more severe disease or is resistant to vaccines. The top infectious disease expert here in the U.S. is offering familiar advice.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO U.S. PRESIDENT BIDEN: We want to get a lot more people who are eligible to be boosted boosted. Vaccination is going to be the solution to this, whether it is the Delta variant or whether it is the Omicron variant. Vaccination is going to be the solution.


CHURCH: And we get more now from CNN's David McKenzie, reporting from Johannesburg.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: This variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): According to the U.S. president, perhaps, but across Europe, parts of Asia and the Middle East, North and South America, and even other parts of Africa, world leaders have been slamming the door shut on many African travelers as cases of a new Omicron coronavirus variant continue to spread.

TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, W.H.O. DIRECTOR-GENERAL: The emergence of the highly mutated Omicron variant underlines just how perilous and precarious our situation is. South Africa and Botswana should be thanked for detecting, sequencing and reporting this variant, not penalized. We shouldn't need another wake up call. We should all be wide awake to the threat of this virus.

MCKENZIE (voiceover): The World Health Organization has warned against hasty travel restrictions, because it says they only offer marginal benefits. South Africa's president, himself, describing the measures as deeply disappointing. But scientists still need to determine the basics, whether Omicron is more infectious or causes more severe disease. Some scientists are confident that the vaccines will continue to provide protection.

DR. SHABIR MADHI, VACCINOLOGY PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF THE WITHWATERSRAND: We need to adopt our different mindset and we need to start to understand that it's not about eliminating the virus, which is what much of travel is centered on. It's a misconception that we still got the tools to be able to eliminate the virus. We need to accept that the virus is with us, but we do have the tools to protect against severe disease.


MCKENZIE (voiceover): The variant was first identified in South Africa, where Omicron appears to be dominating infections. Cases have now been confirmed across several European nations, as well as Canada, Israel, Hong Kong, and Australia. And while both travel restrictions and national COVID-19 measures are being tightened across the globe, there remain many serious questions over the risks posed by this new variant. And at this stage, still very few answers.

David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


CHURCH: E.U., Iranian and Russian diplomats are setting a positive tone after nuclear talks resumed Monday. This latest round comes after a nearly six-month break. The European Union, France, Germany, China, Russia, and the U.K. are meeting directly with the Iranian negotiators. Tehran refuses to meet with the U.S. face to face, so U.S. diplomats are meeting with allies separately. Iran announced its willingness to reach a deal, but only if the U.S. lifts sanctions.


SAEED KHATIBZADEH, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): The government has shown its willingness and seriousness by sending a quality team known to all. If the other side chose the same willingness, we will be on the right track to reach an agreement.


CHURCH: Israeli is lobbying hard against lifting sanctions, releasing a report saying Iran is prepared to her enrich uranium to the level needed for a nuclear weapon.

Well, if Ukraine's president is right, his government will be the target of a Russian-backed coup attempt by the middle of this week. The Kremlin calls it nonsense. But in Kyiv, they are still worried about threats from inside and outside the country. CNN's Matthew Chance reports from the capital.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's certainly some tension in Ukraine. There's been a lot of concern expressed recently about the buildup of Russian forces near Ukraine's borders potentially posing a threat of invasion. Something, by the way, that has been strongly denied by the Kremlin, in Moscow.

And, of course, late last week, the Ukrainian president poured even more fuel on the fire by announcing that a coup plot had been uncovered, involving Russians and Ukrainians plotting to overthrow the government here in just a few days from now, actually, on the 1st, he said, or on the 2nd of December.

So, when I got the opportunity to put a question to the country's foreign minister, I asked him about the latest thinking of that coup.


CHANCE: Do you think the threat of a Russian-backed coup is still real today or has that threat now received?

DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: External, military pressure goes hand in hand with domestic destabilization of the country. So, we look very seriously in the information available to ask to the government of the Ukraine, at this stage when it comes to the potential coup in Ukraine and we remain extremely vigilant. Our law enforcement agencies are all examining this information, and we will, of course, provide our partners with these updates as they arrive.

But I want to be clear that if Russia decides to resort to the last measure of a military offensive operation, it will, undoubtedly, be preceded or accompanied by systemic and bold attempts to destabilize Ukraine from the inside by all means available to Russia.


CHANCE: Well, the U.S. has also been warning of the Russian threat. But Ukrainian officials complain that the United States has also been resisting calls to reimpose sanctions on Russia's controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Well, in a rare admission of differences in Washington, the Ukrainian foreign minister told me that the U.S., and Ukraine were still at odds over how to deal with the pipeline and how to prevent this important strategic project from Russia from being weaponized to threaten Ukraine and to prevent Europe becoming even more dependent on Russian gas.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Kiev.

CHURCH: Still to come on CNN, Tiger Woods opens up about his future in golf, discussing it for the first time since he was badly injured in a car crash earlier this year. Back just in a moment.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone.

Well, Twitter's CEO, Jack Dorsey, is stepping down from the company he co-founded more than 15 years ago. The change is effective immediately with Twitter's chief technology officer, Parag Agrawal, taking over as CEO. Addressing his exit, Dorsey released a statement saying, in part, I have decided to leave Twitter because I believe the company is ready to move on from its founders. My trust in Parag as Twitter's CEO is deep. His work over the past 10 years has been transformational.

Well, Tiger Woods says in his days as a full-time golfer are over. He spoke with "Golf Digest" about his future for the first time since his car crash back in February. Woods suffered serious leg injuries and says he will now pick and choose a few golf events to play each year.


TIGER WOODS, 15-TIME MAJOR CHAMPION: It's an unfortunate reality, but it's my reality. And I understand it and I accept it. Just hopefully, I can have time off at the right premise (ph).


CHURCH: Woods says he is not even at the halfway point of his rehabilitation and he's also dealing with issues from his five back surgeries.

And thank you so much for joining us this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. World Sport is coming up next. Then I will be back in 15 minutes with another hour of CNN Newsroom. Do stick around.