Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Kharkiv Officials Cite Ukrainians Troops Are Retaking Villages; U.K. Stands With Sweden And Finland In New Security Agreement; Al Jazeera Journalist Killed While Covering Story In The West Bank; Ukrainians Fight Russians With Their Own Tank; Kherson Resident Describes Life Under Occupation; U.S. Senate To Vote On Abortion Rights Bill; Former President Da Silva Challenging Bolsonaro; Passenger Lands Plane. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired May 11, 2022 - 14:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, HOST, CNN NEWSROOM: Hello everyone, I'm Lynda Kinkade, you're watching CNN Newsroom live from Atlanta. Ahead on the show. Ukraine's counter-offensive in the east reportedly has Russia worried, as officials in Kharkiv say they're retaking villages. Then the U.K. stands with Sweden and Finland. Details of the new security agreement Boris Johnson signed today. And later, a journalist killed while covering a story in the West Bank. What we know about that shooting.

The first Ukrainian city to fall to Russian forces in this war could go the way of Crimea. The Russian-installed leadership in Kherson says it will make a former request to Moscow to essentially annex the region. The Kremlin says it's up to the people of Kherson to decide if they want to be part of the Russian federation. A Ukrainian presidential adviser dismissed the announcement, saying Kherson will be liberated from Russians no matter what games they play.

Ukraine also says Russia is very worried about a counter-offensive in the Kharkiv region. Troops there have retaken several towns from Russian forces in recent days. But Ukraine says Russia has now assembled about 20 battalion groups just across the border, and could be planning another attack. I want to bring in now Scott McLean who joins us live from Lviv in western Ukraine. And Scott, let's start with Kharkiv.

The Ukraine's president says its forces have pushed Russian forces away from some of those villages surrounding that city. What's the latest there?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is a bright spot for the Ukrainians undoubtedly. The frontline hasn't moved in a lot of places along that long stretch of the eastern Donbas. In some places there, they say they're outnumbered something like 10 to 1. But in the Kharkiv region, that is where they're really starting to make up ground with this relatively successful counter-offensive. They say that the city itself has been quiet in terms of shelling and bombing and things like that over recent days. But it's really the villages and towns where the Ukrainians have been able to push further out, retake some of those areas and actually move towards the Russian border. In fact, that they say that in some places, the fighters from the Azov regiment actually, one of the fiercest fighting forces within the Ukrainian military, they're only near kilometers away from the border. And you mentioned Lynda, the 20 battalion tactical groups -- just to give you a sense.

If you figure there's around 900 or so troops in each one that the Ukrainians say that the Russians have repositioned to that area just inside the Russian border, we're talking about 18,000 Russian troops that are sitting there in anticipation of the Ukrainians actually reaching that border area.

Unfortunately for the Ukrainians, they are well aware that, that means that the Russians have plenty of gas left in the tank, plenty of manpower in order to take back some of these regions that have been -- talking about some of these towns, some of these villages that have been retaken.

So, this is far from over by any stretch of the imagination. In general, the Russians in terms of available manpower outnumber the Ukrainians by 4.5 times. But the deputy defense minister says now that at least when it comes to equipment, because of the influx in foreign equipment, foreign weapons that have come into the country.

Well, the Russians -- it's getting to the point where the Russians almost don't have an advantage in terms of hardware either. So, that is definitely a reassuring for the Ukrainian side, Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, absolutely. But certainly, a different case in the city of Kherson where the Russian-installed leaders there say it's up to the city to decide if it wants to be part of the Russian federation. And we heard from the Kremlin press secretary saying that it will face annexation legitimately as it was with Crimea, it was his words. Any indication of how soon that could happen, and what it would mean for those still living in this major city.

MCLEAN: Yes, legitimately, like it happened with Crimea, that's the line coming from the Kremlin right now. I think a lot of people will probably roll their eyes at that characterization that things were done legitimately in Crimea. But the Kremlin also saying, Lynda, that look, the people ought to decide what to happen -- what should happen in Kherson, whether they should be an independent republic or whether they should join Russia or -- well, I guess, in theory, remain part of Ukraine, though that likely isn't one of the options.


But the Kremlin also is not calling for a referendum on this issue either. They're just saying as you mentioned that it needs to be done legitimately. So, this would involve essentially skipping the referendum and joining the Russian federation. This would mean that the people who live in that area would be eligible for Russian citizenship, Russian passports, things like that. It's not really clear what the timeline could be on that. There have been plenty of talk in the past about, you know, the officials, the Kremlin-appointed officials in that area, wanting to hold the referendum that never really panned out. The Ukrainians had said in the past that there weren't enough people willing to organize that kind of a thing, there weren't enough people in favor of that kind of a thing to even make it look like it was legitimate. So, obviously, they're taking a different path, they're taking a different tack.

It's not clear whether it will work or not, obviously, the Russians are in control right now, but the Ukrainians as you mentioned, planning very much to take back this territory at some point.

KINKADE: Yes, frightening prospect for the people in that city. No doubt. Scott McLean for us in Lviv, good to have you with us, thank you. Well, Britain is laying the groundwork for Sweden and Finland to make a historic bid to join NATO. A possibility that's looking more and more likely as Russia's war in Ukraine rages on. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is offering both nations security guarantees in case they come under attack.

Russia has repeatedly warned of serious consequences if they move to join a western military alliance. Mr. Johnson met with Finland's president in Helsinki shortly after leaving Sweden earlier today.


BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: The Russian invasion of Ukraine has changed the equation of European security, and it has re-written our reality and reshaped our future. We've seen the end of the post-cold war period and the invasion of Ukraine, certainly has opened a new chapter.

SAULI NIINISTO, PRESIDENT, FINLAND: For us here, joining NATO would be not against anybody. We would like to maximize our security in weight or in other, while thinking membership in NATO. But it is not a zero-sum game. If Finland increases its security, it's not a way from anybody else.


KINKADE: Our Nic Robertson is following the story and joins us live from Helsinki. Good to see you, Nic. So, the British prime minister signing security agreement, pledging military support to Sweden and Finland. What is he trying to signal here as this process plays out this week?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, he's trying to signal to the Finns, not just the president, the government, parliament, but the Finnish people in general who are on the steps really are taking this hugely historic decision because so many people in Finland have sort of identified with their non-alliance state, and say neutrality in the past.

So, this is a big decision, but it comes at a moment where they're very concerned about what Russia could do. But of course, the process of joining NATO is by its very nature political signaling along the way, by leaders like the president today, by a comment by the prime minister in Japan earlier on today, signaling there. Then there's a vote.

The process gets them to a point where they've made a declaration that they want to join NATO, and then that has to go to NATO, and NATO has to decide, can they join? So there's this period before they get into NATO and get that security guarantee that they really want. That there's a sense that they would be -- you know, potentially vulnerable to an escalation or an attack by Russia. And this really signals it's bridging that gap, and that's really what Boris Johnson was doing. And the president also went on to say, you know, how important that was, and this was -- and this was really what they needed.

KINKADE: And Nic, you've been speaking to people in Finland to get a sense of how much support there is to join NATO. Just explain what you found out.

ROBERTSON: Big support. The current polling is at about 76 percent, so that's three-quarters of the population -- I went into a market yesterday morning, I talked to four different people, three of them said yes, one of them said no. There's your three-quarters for a quarter. Again, that's just our straw-polling. Yes, I've also talked to students here who have some concerns that this decision is being taken in haste, that their generation will have to live with the consequences.

They wonder about the possibility of, you know, ultimately, one day of Russia changing its leadership and wanting a different relationship, they worry about all those sorts of things. But on the ground, the vast majority of people we have talked to here, are ready even for economic hardship because of sanctions on Russia.


They prioritize security and they want this move, and they've really come around to that where thinking relatively, recently, since the invasion of Ukraine, in fact.

KINKADE: All right, Nic Robertson, with your finger on the polls, good to have you with us, joining me, Helsinki, Finland, thanks so much. Russia's foreign minister says Moscow does not want war in Europe, but Sergey Lavrov who is sometimes known for his sarcastic and provocative remarks didn't stop there.


SERGEY LAVROV, FOREIGN MINISTER, RUSSIA (through translator): If you're concerned about the prospect of war in Europe, we absolutely do not want this. But I draw your attention to the fact that the West constantly insists that Russia must be defeated in this situation. Draw your own conclusions.


KINKADE: Well, this of course, follows the comment by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin who recently said he wanted to see Russia weakened. Well, right now, some of the most active battles are being fought in the southern part of Ukraine. Ukrainian forces say they've reclaimed a crucial village along the Dnipro River that had been under Russian control for weeks. But as CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports, these gains come at a high cost.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): Racing under the tree line, changing their path every time with Russian troops often just meters away. This is the fight for Ukraine's most important river bank, and this is the place where Moscow's brutal advance has been stopped.

Osokorlyvka(ph) was held by Russian troops for weeks, but now, the Russian shell where they once hid and probed the outskirts daily. Vladimir(ph) and his men have been alert since 4:00 a.m. fearing a Russian attack, and more of the cluster bombs they say tore down this tree.

(on camera): So, they're about 2 kilometers away in that direction he says.


WALSH: So, occasionally, they get what Russians call diversionary groups, which kind of scouting groups to try and probe their defenses, but so far, he says they've been successful fighting them.

(voice-over): Fresh flowers laid at the monument to the last war's dead, but broken glass here where this war is living shelter. Faces that seem beyond caring who is in control. And dust that makes you wonder who will come back if it ever gets normal again. In this endless idyllic villages, it bends belief to see the quiet life forced underground like this.


WALSH (on camera): Saying that the rocket landed during lunch time and there was nobody in there.


WALSH: Forty, fifty people have been at one point -- see them.

(voice-over): But it is not an easy job taking back these villages.


WALSH: Loyalties have evaporated in some cases. The troops say they found traitors here, but lack evidence to prosecute, citing one case. And now a local on the phone is reason for suspicion.


WALSH: "Russian troops came to one man's home", he says, "and offered to make him a local leader. It's not at all simple. He was the local mayor for them, that's why they never touched him. And is also a former Russian colonel living here." They say they have reason to know they're being watched.

"I only say that when we first came here", he says, "it was in the morning when there was a fog and it was impossible to see us. But the Russians shot at us, which means someone gave us up." As we emerge, a puff of smoke in the sky, an explosive or a flare. Two blasts leading them to think the cluster bombs may follow again.

Vladimir(ph) stays in place. The back and forth persists for places that cease to exist in the fight for them. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Osokorlyvka(ph), Ukraine.


KINKADE: Now, the conflict is having ramifications across the globe. In Europe, energy is feeling the strain as Ukraine suspends the flow of some Russian gas to Europe, blaming Moscow for diverting supplies. Russian gas had continued to flow through the pipelines across Ukraine since the war began. CNN's Anna Stewart has been following the story for us and joins us now live from London. Good to see you, Anna.

So, it is surprising in some respects that gas has been flowing through Ukraine from Russia to Europe since this war has been going on for almost three months.


Now, they've suspended it at a key station. Just explain why?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Yes, I think you're right that it is interesting in a way that there hasn't been disruption until now. And this disruption is an interesting one. I want to show you a map of the transit point in question. It's one of the main ones in Ukraine. It takes around a third of the Russian gas that goes through Ukraine to Europe. And you will see it's in the Luhansk region, it's called Sokhranovka.

And this is now held, really, or controlled at least by Russian forces. Now, the Ukrainian gas grid network operators have said that as a result of that, there has been interference with this transit point. And they say there have been a diversion of gas away from the network where it's meant to flow. But in fact, in a briefing this afternoon by Naftogaz; the Ukrainian gas company, the chairman said they don't know exactly how much gas was diverted or siphoned off.

But they believe it may have totaled around $30 million a day. So, it is sizable. So, Ukraine has decided to suspend this transit. They would like to see gas re-routed to another transit point. Gazprom meanwhile denies any interference with this. They don't understand why it's happened. They say -- and they say they will not be able to re- route gas. They say that's not possible. So, we're hearing lots of different things from both sides.

But for investors and for Europeans, the big concern here is, does this impact how much gas will go to Europe? Because Europe is still very much reliant on Russia for gas.

KINKADE: Yes, that's right. So, how much gas is impacted by this suspension? And can Europe source it elsewhere?

STEWART: Yes, a back of the envelope sort of calculation I did earlier, I believe this is around 8 percent of the gas that Europe gets from Russia goes through this particular transit point in Ukraine. So, it is significant. Now, if Gazprom refuses to increase other gas shipments through other lines through Ukraine, they could also look to maybe do it through Nord Stream 1, which is the pipeline that goes under the sea from Russia all the way to Germany. That is the biggest pipeline.

The second capacity for Russia to be able to send all of the gas that it needs to get to its clients in Europe, if it wants. And this is the thing, it's possible, but will Russia be willing? And that's what we're going to have to watch for next few weeks or days, comments, I think regarding that. Interestingly, speaking to an analyst, we don't expect an immediate impact on any of Europe's -- the European customers of this Russian gas that's clearly not going there right now.

And that's largely because it is Summer, lots of this gas would have gone into storage facilities to try and help the EU wean itself off Russian gas particularly for next Christmas. And it's interesting to note that the EU is working hard, it's planning to cut its reliance from Russian gas by two-thirds this year and it is slowly getting there. So, we've seen some press reaction today, but lest, this sort of disruption was to be repeated somewhere else, we may be there with it, we might not see too much more.

KINKADE: All right, excellent to have you on the case for us. Anna Stewart, as always, in London, thank you. Well, still to come tonight, a journalist who is killed covering an Israeli raid in the West Bank. We're going to have a live report from Jerusalem.



KINKADE: Welcome back. Demands for answers after a well-known "Al Jazeera" journalist was killed whiles working in the West Bank. Shereen Abu Aqleh was covering an Israeli raid in the city of Jenin. Hadas Gold has this report, we have to warn you that it contains some disturbing images.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Veteran "Al Jazeera" journalist Shereen Abu Aqleh killed Wednesday, fatally shot while covering an Israeli military operation in Jenin in the West Bank.


GOLD: The well-respected Palestinian American correspondent had reported for decades from the region plagued by violence, that ultimately claimed her life.


The disturbing video from the immediate aftermath shows Abu Aqleh lying on the ground in full protective gear, including flak jacket and helmet with insignia clearly identifying her as a member of the press. Under fire, her colleagues initially unable to get her out. Abu Aqleh's producer was also shot, but is now in stable condition.

ALI AL-SAMUDI, JOURNALIST (through translator): We were going in to film the army operation, suddenly, one of them shot at us. They didn't tell us to leave. They didn't tell us to stop. They shot us. The first bullet hit me, the second bullet hit Shereen. They killed her in cold blood because they are killers specializing in the killing of Palestinians.

GOLD: Israeli officials initially accused Palestinian militants of likely been the ones who killed Abu Aqleh in crossfire. But in its latest statement, the Israeli military says it's unclear who had shot her and have set up a special investigation. "Al Jazeera" have blamed Israeli forces for the killing, saying, ""Al Jazeera Media Network" condemns this heinous crime which intends to only prevent the media from conducting their duty."

It also calls on the international community to condemn and hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for their intentional targeting and killing of Shereen.

MOHAMMAD SHTAYYEH, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRIME MINISTER: Shereen Abu Aqleh is loved by every Palestinian. And she does -- she entered the house of every Palestinian every day with her news, and what Israel wanted is not only to kill Shereen Abu Aqleh, but wanted to kill the voice of justice and the voice of peace.

GOLD: Yadief(ph) said they were in the area to conduct counter- terrorism operations. A recent series of attacks targeting Israelis have killed 18 people. Several of the attackers came from the Jenin area, prompting the military raids that Abu Aqleh and her team were covering. Earlier, the Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called accusations the idea of targeted the journalist as unfounded.

NAFTALI BENNETT, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL (through translator): Based on preliminary information that we have, there is a significant possibility that the journalist was shot by the armed Palestinians. However, to uncover the truth, there must be a real investigation and the Palestinians are currently preventing that.

GOLD: In Jenin and later in Ramallah, mourners carry Shereen Abu Aqleh's body wrapped in the Palestinian flag through their streets. Her death adding another tragedy to spiraling conflicts she covered for so many years.


KINKADE: And Hadas Gold is covering this from Jerusalem. Such a tragic tragedy, Hadas. Just tell us where the investigation goes from here.

GOLD: So, we actually just heard from the Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz who handled briefing with reporters. He expressed condolences and says that they need Palestinian cooperation in order to carry out an investigation. That they wanted to be transparent, they wanted to include forensic evidence. Interestingly, he said that they are in touch with the Palestinians and the Americans.

And that they have asked the Palestinians to provide the bullet for ballistic examination. That will likely help reveal where the bullet was fired from and will help determine who actually shot Shereen. So, now, the question will be, what will this potentially -- investigation look like? Will it be a true joint investigation between the Palestinians and the Israelis working together? And also, how will, or if the Americans will get involved in this investigation, and of course, what will the results be, and whether they will be accepted.

KINKADE: Yes, many questions. We will stay across this story. Hadas Gold for us in Jerusalem, thank you.


Well, still to come tonight, Ukrainian forces are preparing to be hit with a full force of Russia's power in the east. We'll show you how? Plus, protesters of the Russian occupation in Kherson have been met with tear gas. Now, the Kremlin wants the city to decide whether to join the Russian federation. One resident tells us how she feels about that.


KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade, you're watching CNN Newsroom. Ukrainian military officials say they are liberating more areas around Kharkiv. Have a look at this joint footage which shows Ukrainian troops targeting a Russian tank just east of the city. Still, Ukrainian officials warn civilians that it's too dangerous to return to the area, saying Russian forces have mined everything including homes and schools.

Well, for 77 days, Ukrainian troops have fought tooth and nail to defend their capital and win back regions that Russia has occupied. What's remarkable is that just weeks ago, many soldiers weren't soldiers at all. They were civilians, working regular jobs, living peaceful lives. Sam Kiley spoke to volunteers on the frontlines.





KILEY: Bunny is a tank. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, so, Bunny is a tank.

KILEY: He's got quite a carrot.


KILEY (voice-over): Bunny's got a very stick. The TAT tank was built two years ago and was until March, in the vanguard of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, down below, you see now the loader, it's also slightly modernized to shoot more like advanced and like better rounds. It can shoot guided missiles.

KILEY: Alex was on a sniper team when he discovered Bunny, stuck and abandoned in a field in March, eight days into Russia's assault. Within days, the tank was back in action against Russians.

ALEX: This is like my personal tank I'm tank commander and tank owner.

KILEY (voice-over): In March he says the tank destroyed 24 Russian vehicles and two tanks.

ALEX: We're fighting like new resume. So here we already destroyed three or four enemy tanks like we have three confirmed and four it's like not fully confirmed that it was our cue.

KILEY (voice-over): That was in the previous couple of days when Russian forces tried to break through Ukraine's lines in the better battle for the east.

ALEX: Showing like the thermal side.

KILEY (voice-over): Alex isn't a professional soldier. He's a software engineer who lived in the now smashed IT hub of Kharkiv. His home has been destroyed. Bunny's being serviced as the battle rages a few miles away. Burning fields encroach on the tanks hideout. The front line in Ukraine is hundreds of miles long.

KILEY: For many Ukrainian soldiers on this front line, there's a sense that perhaps the Russians haven't yet bought their full, destructive power to bear. But they expect to find out this week.

KILEY (voice-over): Russia's artillery is relentless. And Putin's tank amassing this army of volunteers is expecting a hard Russian push. Anna is 22, she has been a soldier for a month and now she's a driver in a reconnaissance unit.

ANNA, DRIVER IN THE UKRAINIAN MILITARY: There are a lot of opportunities to be killed.

KILEY (voice-over): She just graduated from university.

ANNA: That seems that makes me that angry as to is raped children and women. KILEY: Is that something that you're afraid of happening to you?

ANNA: I can't say that I'm afraid of something like that. I'm afraid to be not useful for my country, for my people.

KILEY (voice-over): This is what being useful here means killing Russians, Russians Anna's age. But this is a war thrust upon Ukrainians. Anna works with Vlad, a poet, author, publisher and war vet.

KILEY: And reconnaissance is a highly dangerous work. He lost many comrades, friends.

KILEY (voice-over): Vlad said since 2014, so many of my friends, people I knew comrades have died. So far the people I came with since the beginning of the latest invasion have not died. And I'm very happy. It's cool. These people are still fighting.

They're already in charge of units. It's awesome. The best of the best are here. His books are dark fantasies set in this war with Russia an all too rich source of material -- Sam Kiley, CNN, Eastern Ukraine.


LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: As we described before the Kremlin spokesperson says Kherson, the city it occupies in southern Ukraine, should decide whether to become part of Russia. Earlier, I spoke to a young woman in Kherson, whose answer is clear, absolutely not. And she told me why.


TANYA, KHERSON RESIDENT: It's very hard to live in such conditions. Physically, because you cannot do things that you do in town until the war, before the war. You can't go out as much. You can't breathe fresh air. So it's hard physically.

And psychologically, it is even more hard because you see all those empty shelves in the stores. You see all those armed people going out, you walk by -- walk by you in the street. And it's terrifying because they are all around the city. So --


KINKADE: -- so Tanya, what's it like when you see Russian soldiers?

What sort of interaction is there?

TANYA: I have no interactions with them. I am afraid of them, I'm terrified when I see them, because they walking not just one by one, they walking by a group of people, which is supplied by their guns. So I don't have any reason to interact with them.

KINKADE: And Russian installed leaders in Kherson say the people have to decide if they want to be part of the Russian Federation. The Kremlin press secretary has said that it will face annexation, he says, legitimately, as it was with Crimea.

What's your response to that?

TANYA: (INAUDIBLE) the situation.

First of all, this leader is a well-known separatist. He has -- we have some problem with his (INAUDIBLE).


TANYA: I don't know any person who would like to join the Crimea, like the part of Russian Federation. I don't know any person in Kherson who just talking on the street with them, they don't want to be part of Russian Federation. They see what they've done.

Russia can not even fend for itself, (INAUDIBLE) from (INAUDIBLE) here and to make coming here something good. It sounds like a joke to me.


KINKADE: Still to come tonight, the U.S. Senate is poised to vote on a bill to protect abortion, even though it is expected to fail. We'll have a live report on that next.

Plus, a former Brazilian president has thrown his hat into the ring for the October elections.

Will Lula da Silva make a comeback?

We'll tell you why many are rallying behind him when we return.




Welcome. Back any moment now we're expecting a yes or no vote on one of the most controversial issues facing American lawmakers, abortion. It comes after a leaked draft decision indicating Supreme Court is prepared to overturn a landmark ruling in place for nearly half a century, Roe v. Wade, affirmed the nationwide right to an abortion.

The bill the Senate will vote on is the Women's Health Protection Act. It is intended to protect a person's ability to determine whether to continue or end a pregnancy and to protect a health care provider's ability to provide abortion services.

Democrat and Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, says it's the most important vote this century. Let's bring in congressional correspondent, Jessica Dean, to explain it for us.

Good to see you, Jessica. This vote is happening on this bill, which is expected to fail. Take us through exactly what the bill states and how this vote is expected to play out. JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're expecting to see this vote within the next half hour to hour here at the U.S. Senate on Capitol Hill. It is absolutely critical for Democrats right now.

They know that they can't -- they don't have the votes to get this through. This is simply a messaging vote. They don't even have all Democrats on board. In fact, senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, has said it is too broad. He cannot support it.

He would support codifying abortion rights but he just doesn't support this particular legislation.


DEAN: So to your point, I can walk you through what exactly is in this. Of course, it does enshrine the right to an abortion and for people who provide abortions to provide that service to women across America.

In addition to that, it is also targeting a lot of these restrictive bills that we've seen in states all across the country. What is important is, if this were to pass, that would supersede any of the laws of the state.

What that would do is end things like mandatory ultrasounds before an abortion or mandatory waiting periods. It would remove restrictions on telehealth, using telehealth as a method if they're using the pills that are used for abortion sometimes.

They will use telemedicine so someone doesn't have to travel into a clinic. It removes a lot of the restrictions on that. That is where Democrats have run into trouble with one of their own, Joe Manchin.

But also, some Republicans, who do support abortion rights, including senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski who have their own version of this legislation that simply focuses on codifying these rights. It doesn't do as much as the legislation is going to be voted on later today.

But again, people on the Left are saying it doesn't go far enough. We are going to see this vote happen in the next hour or so. It will fail. From there, congressionally, Democrats really have no other way to go.

Any of the other options that they might have in front of them, some people said blow up the filibuster, they don't have the votes for that. Expand the Supreme Court, they don't have the votes for that, either. They are left now with this messaging vote.

KINKADE: It really is a tricky position. And interesting to note, Jessica, polling in the U.S. shows that the majority of Americans want women to have the right to choose.

Why, then, is it being decided by the Supreme Court, which is a body of lawyers, unelected by the public? DEAN: That's right, these are nine Supreme Court justices, who are

appointed by the president. Look, 2016 ended up being a monumentally important election when it came to the Supreme Court and nominating justices to that bench.

You remember, former president Trump got three conservative justices appointed to the bench. That swung the bench in a more conservative way. It's set all of this up to move forward.

While the justices themselves, as you mentioned, are not elected by the people in the United States, they are appointed by an elected president.

This is the case that both Republicans and Democrats have made, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump made that case back in 2016, that the balance of the Supreme Court was one of the key issues that was so important to who won in 2016. We see the repercussions of that playing out now.

KINKADE: Yes. Of course these justices have these lifetime appointments. Jessica, good to have you with us. Thanks so much.

Well, just one example of how tense this debate is, one Republican senator called police over an abortion rights message written outside her home. Senator Susan Collins voted against sending the Women's Protection Health Act to the Senate in February.

The message written on chalk outside of her home in Maine says, "Mainers want WHPA, vote yes, clean up your mess."

Her office says the senator notified police. She periodically gets threatening letters and phone calls.

New polls show former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is the front-runner in the Brazilian elections scheduled to take place in October. Da Silva launched his presidential bid last week. He called on Brazilians to unite and defend democracy from the authoritarian government, a far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro.

Isa Soares reports, many Brazilians are rallying behind their former leader.


ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Omar's bar in downtown Rio de Janeiro is buzzing with political optimism. And as the beer flows and the samba plays, there's only one name on everyone's lips.


SOARES (voice-over): This is, after all, a bar dedicated to the Brazilian Left and its hero, former president Lula da Silva, the man they hope will put an end to Brazil's political hangover.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language). SOARES (voice-over): For many here the last few years have been tumultuous and tragic. As they point out, President Bolsonaro attacked democratic institutions, eroded environmental protections and played down the severity of COVID-19.


SOARES (voice-over): Even casting doubt on the importance of vaccines and social distancing. The policy left more than 600,000 people dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

A 32 year old man, who runs the bar along with his family, says Bolsonaro did nothing for Brazil, a sentiment shared by this lawyer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

SOARES (voice-over): Over 40 percent of Brazilians, according to the latest poll, say they will vote for Lula in October's election.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

SOARES (voice-over): Lula's return to the political stage will feel very different from his rise from factory worker to president in the early 2000s. He was jailed and barred from office over a money laundering scheme. He was released from prison in late 2019 to rapturous applause.

His convictions later annulled by the supreme court and his biggest trial, says a Latin American expert, will be unifying a fractured Brazil and containing Bolsonaro.

CHRISTOPHER SABATINI, CHATHAM HOUSE: It's not going to be like his first two terms in power. First of all, he's got a very divided country. It's not just any garden-variety conservative party, it draws evangelicals, it draws some very vitriolic, almost anti-democratic elements in part of Brazilian society that's called the Bibles, bullets and beef constituency.

SOARES (voice-over): Then, there are other challenges. Brazil's economy has been hit hard by rampant inflation, soaring unemployment, with hunger resurfacing once again.

Back at Omar's bar, there is a real hope that 76 year old Lula can turn it around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).

SOARES (voice-over): A big ask but not impossible task for a man who will hope to repeat the magic of a decade ago -- Isa Soares, CNN.


KINKADE: Still to come tonight, a miracle landing. The story of how one passenger with no flight experience became a pilot. We'll hear from the air traffic controller that guided his plane back to solid ground.





KINKADE: Welcome back.

The Vatican is expressing concern about the situation in Hong Kong. Hong Kong police arrested three prominent activists Wednesday, including Cardinal Joseph Zen, a 90 year old former bishop. The Vatican says he has since been released on bail.

He is charged with collusion with foreign forces in connection to his role as administrator of a humanitarian relief fund. The Vatican says it is closely watching the situation.

China's zero COVID policy is not sustainable, that is according to the World Health Organization. Take a listen.


DR. TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: When we talk about the zero COVID strategy, we don't think that it's sustainable, considering the behavior of the virus now and what we anticipate in the future.


KINKADE: His comments are already being censored on Chinese social media. The country hit back at critics, saying it can and will achieve dynamic zero. It comes as 31 cities are in full or partial lockdowns, despite low infection rates.

There is a new warning from U.S. intelligence officials, they believe China's actively attempting to build a military capable of taking over Taiwan within the next eight years. Those officials say the West's response to the war in Ukraine could impact China's timeline and approach to Taiwan. Will Ripley reports.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Taiwan's first line of defense from a Chinese invasion. Billions spent on missiles, new warships and submarines, an upgraded fleet of fighter jets. Expanded training for reserve soldiers, all of it dwarfed by the mainland's massive military. China's defense budget 17 times bigger than Taiwan. Experts say the

island's best defense, its biggest weapon against China, is technology so small you need a microscope. Super tiny, super powerful semiconductors. This tiny tech powers products you probably use every day. Taiwan produces about 70 percent of the world's semiconductor chips, most of them made by TSMC, Asia's most valuable company, making chips for companies around the world like Apple and Intel.

Experts warn any disruption to Taiwan's chip supply could paralyze global production, impacting almost everyone.

J. MICHAEL COLE, SENIOR FELLOW, GLOBAL TAIWAN INSTITUTE: People like to say, Well, Taiwan should be defended by virtue of it being a democracy. This is oftentimes too abstract. If there is war, an invasion in the Taiwan Strait and immediately, the price of computers would increase. Your cell phones would become more expensive. It helps people make that self-serving but emotional connection with a society that otherwise would be abstract to them.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is raising questions about the future of Taiwan, a self-governing democracy, claimed but never controlled by Beijing's communist rulers.

RIPLEY: Well, what makes Taiwan different from Ukraine, right, is the economic levers?

ROY LEE, CHUNG-HUA INSTITUTION FOR ECONOMIC RESEARCH: Taiwan is much more relevant to the global economy than Ukraine. That is true.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Even China relies on chips from Taiwan. More than 50 percent of the island's exports to the mainland: semiconductors. China is Taiwan's top trading partner.

RIPLEY: So what does it mean economically for Taiwan and China if there was some sort of conflict to break out?

LEE: It would be disastrous, not only for Taiwan, not only for China but also for the U.S. and the E.U. and everybody.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Chinese President Xi Jinping had vowed to reunify with Taiwan at any cost. Taiwan's chip industry could make the cost of any invasion far too steep -- Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


KINKADE: Finally, tonight, imagine getting on a flight as a regular passenger and then finding out you not only have to fly the plane but you have to land it yourself with no experience and no training. That's exactly what happened to one unsuspecting man in Florida.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got a serious situation here. My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane but maintain at 9100.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no idea. I see the coast of Florida in front of me and I have no idea.

MORGAN: What is the situation with the pilot?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is incoherent. He's out.


MORGAN: 3LD, Roger. Try to hold the wings level and see if you can start descending for me. Push forward on the controls and descend at a very slow rate.


KINKADE: That is incredible. Keeping cool under immense pressure. The air traffic controller guided the first time pilot back to the runway. Take a listen.


MORGAN: About 300 feet he kind of disappeared off the radar scopes.

I said, "hey, can you still hear me?"

I didn't want him to get nervous. He said, "Yes, I'm still here."

I said OK, when you get in closer to the runway, it's going to get bigger. That's when you want to reduce your power. The plane just landed.

He said, OK, how do I stop it?

I said just hit the top of your brakes. It will come to a stop.

He said OK, do want me to taxi off the runway?

I felt like I was going to cry then I had so much adrenaline built up.

He came over after and he cleared everything up because they had to clear customs. And he just gave me a big hug. He said, thank you so much.

I said, man, I'm just glad that you're OK.


KINKADE: Remarkable. Here is a photo of that moment. Two very relieved men enjoying being back on solid ground.

Thanks so much for watching tonight. Incredible story, I'm Lynda Kinkade. Stay with CNN, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.