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War In Ukraine Reached Pivotal Moment; China's Economy Shows Good Recovery Momentum In May; S&P 500 Falls For A Fifth Day, Slips Deeper Into Bear Market Territory; UK Forced To Cancel Deportation Flight To Rwanda After European Court Ruling; World Food Programme Suspends Some Food Aid In South Sudan As Funds Dry Up; White House Announces Biden will visit Saudi Arabia. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired June 15, 2022 - 01:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, I'm Paula Newton and this is CNN Newsroom.

Ahead this hour, the war in Ukraine could be at its most crucial stage yet as fierce fighting rages in the east and Ukrainian president pleads with the West for more weapons.

The controversial flight that never was the UK plan to deport asylum seekers stopped at the very last minute.

And the BTS announcement that shocked the world of K-pop in fact shocked the world. Why the superstars are preparing for some time apart.

And we begin this hour in Ukraine where Western intelligence and military officials believe the war has now reached a pivotal moment. One that could determine the long term outcome of Russia's invasion, now that assessment coming as fierce battles are being reported in the Kharkiv region. And of course in Severodonestk, where President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his country is experiencing painful losses. It's there that Russia is now calling on Ukrainian fighters to lay down their arms.

But Mr. Zelenskyy says Ukraine must hold on emphasizing how vital it is for its military to stay in the Donbas region. Also crucial more weapons, Ukraine's president is now pleading with allies to send modern anti-missile weapon systems to help battle Russia's aggression.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Even though Russia has fewer and fewer missiles with each passing day, Ukraine's need for such systems remains because Russia still has enough Soviet types of missiles which are even more dangerous. They are many times less precise and therefore threaten civilian objects in ordinary residential buildings much more.


NEWTON: More on this, CNN's Salma Abdelaziz joins us now live from Kyiv and good to see you once again. Salma, now as Russia advances in the east, Ukraine, looking to allies in the West, right, especially that meeting of NATO ministers, President Zelenskyy has his itemized shopping list of military hardware and he pleads again. He wants them to be delivered ASAP. You know, my question to you is if he gets more of what he wants, can it make a difference quickly enough, even in the next matter of weeks?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Well, let's start by this Western intelligence assessment because this is important, Paula. This is about reading the battleground. This is about understanding the needs in the battlefield. Western intelligence says this is a critical moment, a pivotal moment in this battle that could determine the future outcome of Ukraine. They have three scenarios really that could play out.

The first is that this grinds on this war of attrition continues. You see these incremental gains by Russia, of course with its superior artillery power 10 times the firepower of Ukraine that you continue to see these incremental gains, but they are just that incremental in this war of attrition drags out with major losses on both sides.

The second and this is wishful thinking on the part of Western intelligence, wishful thinking that maybe Putin achieves that goal of taking the East, taking the Donbas solidifying those goals and declares victory and the conflict ends. That's highly unlikely.

And the third, and this is the most concerning one for Ukrainians but of course, for Western allies as well, is that President Putin uses the East his gains essentially as a staging ground to try to push further into Ukraine in the future. And that's really the concern is that this is just the beginning of President Putin's appetite for territory here in Ukraine.

So there's an understanding that President Putin is ambitions are huge, that Ukraine's losses are massive that they are outmanned and outgunned. But you are mentioning those weapons, can they make a difference?

Well, I'm going to give you just one example the high marks so these are long range rockets that can be used up to 70 kilometers away, up to 80 kilometers away around that assessment that were promised by the United States a few weeks ago. But it takes three weeks for soldiers to be trained on them just the training. They have yet to enter the battlefield.

So you're looking at a huge gap here between the moment in which Western allies promise something and when that weapon actually enters the battlefield and begins to make a difference, if you look at the Donbas that simply doesn't look like it could come soon enough to change the outcome on the ground.


Ukrainian officials say they are losing and Severodonetsk, they are losing and the Donbas. Russia is continuing to make those games. So you have the technical difficulties here, as well of many Ukrainian soldiers are trained on Soviet air systems, so to train them on new technology, new systems, that takes weeks to enter the battlefield. That takes weeks.

You've mentioned these meetings, these NATO meetings with defense ministers today. There's more meetings led by U.S. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin tomorrow as well, 50 countries a working group, so they're going to be drilling down on how they can support.

But the fear for Ukrainians is that resolution, that determination to support Ukraine. It's softening at a very critical time, Paula.

NEWTON: They're critical time indeed, as you saw rightfully point out will Russia use those victories in the east to prepare the groundwork for even more assaults to come further west. Thank you for that Salma. We really appreciate it.

Now Beijing says the Chinese economy is on the mend but at a slow pace. New numbers for me were released just hours ago from China's National Bureau of Statistics report showed some growth after repeated hits from extended COVID-19 lockdowns as well as blows to the country's tech and real estate industries.

CNN's Beijing bureau chief Steven Jiang is here with more. And you've been looking at these numbers, Steven, they were not as bad as they could have been. And still the data countries themselves use the word grim in describing the future outlook. And given those COVID issues. And remember, this isn't over by a longshot in China. Where does this put the health of the Chinese economy?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Paula, of course, these official government, economic data, which is always viewed with a grain of salt by many economists from around the world does point to this partial recovery in this economy.

Despite the ongoing lock downs of dozens of cities, including Shanghai in May, industrial output, for example, unexpectedly grew 0.7 percent in May, that's compared to a drop of nearly 3 percent in April. This is probably due to the resumption or ramping up in production, especially in Shanghai, where the authorities have ordered many factories to set up those so called manufacturing bubbles, basically forcing workers to live and work in their factories, and in some cases, sleeping on factory floors to keep the production lines going.

But even officials here have to acknowledge all the difficulties and challenges that remain and are expected to continue in the coming months when you look at other numbers, for example, retail sales remained very weak. It dropped 6.7 percent in May, even though that was a slight improvement from April when it dropped more than 11 percent.

But when you have millions of consumers locked in their homes, they're not spending money, especially in wealthy cities like Shanghai, a lot of people have said even when they're released from quarantine, there will be no so called revenge shopping because of their concern over the uncertainty in this economy and therefore their future income.

And another set of numbers I think worth pay attention to is unemployment figures nationwide, is stands at -- just shy of 6 percent fairly stable. But when you zoom into to look at unemployment among young people aged between 16 and 24, it actually was creeping up to 18.4 percent in May, that's very alarming because this year, China is going to produce its largest number of college graduates. 10 million people are graduating in the coming weeks and months, obviously flooding this already very depressed job market.

And as you know, anytime when you have high unemployment among the young, this is can be a recipe for potential disasters, especially for government whose top priority is always social stability. That's why even with some of the more positive trends or development, if you will, this overall picture remains quite challenging, if not bleak, with many people saying the government's goal of achieving positive growth for the second quarter, which only has a few weeks left, increasingly out of reach. Paula.

NEWTON: Yes. Steven, as you point out, if you look at retail sales, youth unemployment right there, you see the challenges ahead. Steven in Beijing for us. Thanks so much.

Now the rough ride isn't letting up for U.S. financial markets either. The S&P 500 finished lower for a fifth consecutive day on Tuesday, pushing it further into bear market territory and the Dow lost another 150 points after falling nearly 900 on Monday. Yes, we are reminding you of that.

Now the tech heavy NASDAQ was up slightly but not by much. So let's take a look at what U.S. futures are doing right now. As you can see, they're still trying to inching away -- it just turned negative as we were looking at the S&P.

I warn you, futures were up higher just a few hours ago so we can predict it will be another volatile day on U.S. markets.

Now meantime, President Biden says he knows tackling inflation is sapping the strength of a lot of families and bringing prices down, remains of course one of his top priority. Listen/


JOE BIDEN, U.S PRESIDENT: Gas is up and food is up which we're going to get down come hell or high water. This is America. We can do any damn thing we put our minds to.


NEWTON: Now, the U.S. Federal Reserve is certainly putting its mind to taming inflation, right. The central bank is expected to announce a three quarters of a percentage point hike in interest rates, the biggest increase in nearly three decades. CNN's Alison Kosik has our report.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The bear market for U.S. stocks deepened into the close of the session on Tuesday, a day before the Federal Reserve is set to make its interest rate decision.

The Dow fell over 150 points. The S&P 500 fell slightly but the NASDAQ ended with slight gains. Investors are on edge about the meeting. Will the Fed be more aggressive in its rate hikes as much as Wall Street is worried about the possible side effects of the Fed getting too aggressive? Many economists and traders are calling for the Fed to get tougher on inflation through its rate hikes.

And the question is will the Fed get it right? There's no guarantee that interest rate hikes will solve the inflation problem. But increasing rates at a faster pace is expected to slow demand exactly what the Fed wants. But the outcome could push the U.S. economy into a recession. It's a delicate dance for the Fed and investors know it.

And so investors are preparing, which is why we've seen so many volatile sell offs in the market. There's a repricing of stocks underway to adjust and reflect a new landscape, not just a fewer gains in the stock market, but slower economic growth, higher interest rates and high inflation. Alison Kosik, CNN at the New York Stock Exchange.


NEWTON: All right, let's talk more about this with Ryan Patel. He's a Senior Fellow for the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. And good to see you, Ryan. You and I didn't talk about long ago, so much has changed in a little bit more than two weeks on the economic front.

We have to start with the Fed, right, it's making its interest rate decision. I have percent we know is already baked in. But it almost seems as if the market, the market is pushing the Fed to say you need to do more three quarters of a percent, maybe even a full percent to hammer inflation.

RYAN PATEL, SENIOR FELLOW, DRUCKER SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT: Well, you are being nice by saying being pushed. I think it's being shoving in the direction of 0.75 basis points or seven basis points or more. I think what's changed in the last time you and I spoke to now is the market, you know, overheating, overreacting or whatever you want to say it's not as stable when you have the CPI report not great input, the recent inflation report even higher.

So from what's changed from the last time we spoke is that it isn't stable. But it didn't nothing stable came out in the last two weeks and actually went the opposite direction. And now is shoving the Fed to make a decision or more importantly daring the Fed to say well, what are you going to do to stop it.

NEWTON: And as you said, during the Fed, they almost want to make sure that whatever is done kind of takes care of inflation once and for all, especially when some of the indicators are pointing to double digits.

I want to ask you, though, do you sense more of a fundamental shift here? You know, we have been used to these low interest rates, low inflation, most times robust growth most time some years you put up with a little bit more or a little bit less than others. That seems to have been gone now. And you have people now talking that a recovery here from a recession might take longer. Nevermind the fact that a recession is already a fait accompli?

PATEL: Yes, I think the recovery, unfortunately, will be longer. And it's not just, I mean, obviously inflation is a piece of it, you know, the global recovery will be longer, which we're all interconnected. And I know you've heard me say this. That can't be underestimated, right, you got Shang, you know, Shanghai being closed for two months, the busiest port in the world, this is all going to have some kind of an impact and to ignore it is not right.

I think the other thing that you mentioned, you're right, you know, everyone is so used, you know, and we used to last couple years 3 percent, 2 percent interest rates, I mean, 4 percent to 5 percent. I'm not saying that I want 4 to 5 percent interest rate, but that was what normal was 5 percent, right? Is there now, if we hit the 8 percent, 9 percent, and more obviously, it's not where we want to go.

But yes, I think the ability to stabilize is going to have to go with some aggressive actions. And that's where I think the Fed will not just lead with the meeting tomorrow, it will actually going to be able to do even further.

NEWTONL Yes, which is extraordinary, because right now, the Fed didn't even have anything higher than a half percent on the table. And this is going to be quite a meaning just to see how much they have to backtrack.

You know, you mentioned China still struggling with COVID. How much of a risk do they still pose to the global economy? I know that they realize the risks of their own economy. They're already talked about quite a bit of stimulus. But do you think that's still a global risk at this point?

PATEL: I mean, I can tell you this.


China will do everything in its power to aggressively put in policy measures to get that economy back up and running. I mean, I say this is because, you know, they suggested to be GDP growth at 2 to 3 percent. The real estate in China was already kind of hurting before COVID was in shambles, they need capitalization. So they have to jumpstart it.

And the reason is, they are putting that much pressure on the market and to the consumers to jumpstart it. Well, what do you -- what happens in the number two economy's feeling that pressure, you're going to feel it, the rest of the countries are going to feel it because they've got to get their act in order as well as again, two months of lockdown.

I mean, you're taking 10, 12. Do you have 10 months of income or GDP growth? I mean, that's really hard. It's already hard to do in 12 months. Now you can try to do in 10 months. It's a big task.

NEWTON: Yes, big task seems like the kind of words that a lot of bankers and economists are talking about right now. Ryan Patel, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.

PATEL: Thank you, Paula.

NEWTON: Ahead for us, the U.S. is announcing the worst kept secret in Washington, President Biden will travel to Saudi Arabia in July how the White House is defending the controversial trip, that's coming up.

Plus, more backlash over the Saudi backed LIV Golf Series, why critics say it's a prime example of sportswashing in action.


NEWTON: The first flight of a controversial deportation plan by the UK was grounded at the 11th hour. Now the plane was on the tarmac. You see it there. Engines on and the cabin crew was seeing boarding when the European Court of Human Rights intervene. Now it issued a series of rulings regarding the cases of the handful of asylum seekers on board. The court ordered the UK not to deport them for the time being as legal proceedings play out

CNN's Nada Bashir has been covering all of this for us. She's in in Paris now. Quite a dramatic intervention here. What more do we know, Nada? And what kind of legal standing does the European Court have to stop Britain enforcing what it considers unnecessary migrant policy?

NADA BASHIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL REPORTER: Well, look, Paula, the European Court of Human Rights still has jurisdiction over the UK at this point. But this really was, as you said, an 11th hour intervention. We've seen advocacy teams, legal teams really working up until the last minute to secure those cancellations of those deportation notices.

Now, originally, they had been expected to be more than 100 people on that flight by late last night that was down to around seven. The European Court of Human Rights as we saw intervening on behalf of one individual, an Iraqi National stating that the individual had not exhausted all legal proceedings in the UK just yet, but that was crucial in allowing the remaining six.


The lawyers for the remaining six asylum seekers to submit last minute applications, essentially bringing all remaining asylum seekers off the flight and this is a big blow to the government. We've seen over the last few days the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, all stressing this flight would go ahead. A spokesperson for the Home Office even saying that the flight would go ahead, even if there was only one person on board that clearly that hugely controversial flight has and was grounded last night, no flights took off to Rwanda for deportations.

Now, of course, we have heard from the Home Secretary Priti Patel speaking in response to this she issued a statement late last night saying that she always knew that this would be difficult, they are actually sending the asylum seekers to Rwanda would be a difficult process.

But she also said it was disappointing to see the European Court of Human Rights intervening when the actual flights had already been upheld by Britain's own courts. Of course, we did see those two high court legal battles calling for an emergency injunction, the High Court ruled that these flights could legally go ahead. So there is of course, some tension between the British government and the European Court of Human Rights.

But as I said that this has been a deeply controversial policy as a whole and those challenges are expected to continue. The UN's refugee agency has described the policy as a whole as unlawful. We've heard from human rights, which was just criticized the British government's own human rights assessment of Rwanda, saying that they've ignored facts on the ground. They've cherry picked facts on the ground. They've pointed to Rwanda's appalling human rights record. That's how they've described it. So there are concerns.

The Church of England even came out in recent days to describe the policy as immoral. And we have seen protests, because we have also heard from the Rwandan government saying that they still stand ready to receive asylum seekers and have called on critics to give the program a chance. Paula?

NEWTON: Yes, and all eyes again on more courtrooms as this controversy continues in Britain and beyond. Nada Bashir for us in Paris. Thank you.

Now, nearly 1.7 million people in South Sudan are at risk of starvation this according to the World Food Program after its suspended food assistance operations do they say to a funding shortage, The suspension will affect almost one-third of the people in South Sudan. WFP had planned to support this year and nearly 60 percent of the country's population struggles with food insecurity, and close to 180,000 school children who received daily meals could be affected.

Conflict and drought are factors but so in fact is the war in Ukraine, much of Africa and the Middle East depend on Russian and Ukrainian grain. The WFP is seeking $426 million for the next six months to stave off this latest crisis.

Now, the White House is making it official announcing President Joe Biden will visit Saudi Arabia, Israel and the West Bank in mid-July. The Saudi stop on this trip is reviving controversies. As a candidate, the president vowed to make Saudi Arabia a pariah over human rights abuses and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

But now Mr. Biden is expected to meet with the man accused of authorizing that murder, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a White House official spoke to CNN's Brianna Keilar earlier, here's how he defended this trip.


JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL COORIDATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: He's going over there as part of the GCC plus 3 that talk about counterterrorism, Iran's destabilizing behavior, certainly energy production, as well as trying to end this war in Yemen. And he will talk with nine heads of state. There'll be lots of bilateral discussions.

And yes, that will certainly include King Salman and his leadership team, and we would expect that the crown prince will be part of those discussions. We're not shying away from that. I mean, it's just -- there's a big context here with respect to this trip and what -- why this trip is so important to the President, to the American people.


NEWTON: For more now, on this upcoming trip and the state of U.S.- Saudi relations, here's our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (on camera): Well, the Saudis are saying that President Biden is going there at the invitation of the king, King Salman. But they're making it also very clear that President Biden will meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, indeed, it's with the Crown Prince is expected at least from a Saudi point of view, expected to have his most substantive conversations about food security, energy security, economic ties, improving trade relations, even discussions about space.

So, MBS is really the day-to-day power in Saudi Arabia. And there seems to be a recognition now by the White House that MBS is going to become the king eventually in Saudi Arabia that is likely to be in position for many decades to come. MBS himself views himself and the Saudi Kingdom as being the significant power player in the Gulf region.


So for all of these reasons, and the fact that President Biden does need an oil producing swing capacity state like Saudi Arabia, to help out with the rising energy prices around the world, that for all these reasons, compromises on both sides of being made, but it is a significant climb down for President Biden. He had said on the campaign trail that he would turn Saudi Arabia into a pariah state.

Now, the Saudis listen to his campaign rhetoric, believed that once in the White House, Biden will tone it down. And from conversations I've had with Saudi officials, none of them really expected the relationship to get as rocky as it has over the past year and a half, or to take this long to reset. But it does seem to be coming back to that point that so many Saudis talk about, about a long and enduring an important relationship with the United States. Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


NEWTON: Now, earlier I spoke with Terry Strada, she is the national chair of the 9/11 Families United group, her husband, Tom was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

More than 20 years later, she and many other 9/11 families want Saudi Arabia to finally be held accountable for its role in the attacks. And I asked her how President Biden should address the matter during his upcoming trip, trip, listen.


TERRY STRADA, NATIONAL CHAIR, 9/11 FAMILIES UNITED: I'd like to see a full transparency and a full accounting of the role that the Kingdom played, all the evidence that we have that is strongly pointing to them and supports that they put in a support network that met and greeted these 19 hijackers before they came here, or in order for them to come here and set up the attacks.

We need to learn everything about that in order to protect ourselves going forward. So really, our national security interests are at play here. And that's why the President needs to really take this very seriously, and to not let the kingdom evade any of the hard questions. And let's get to the bottom of everything.

And if we're going to have a reset on this relationship, it needs to be based on the truth and not lies. He needs to have a very hard discussion with the Crown Prince. That is his job. It needs to go leader to leader now on the responsibility and the accountability for the role that his agents played in killing our loved ones.


NEWTON: Now, we'll have the full interview with Terry Strada for you next hour. But what's interesting here is that she's also accusing the Saudi Arabian government of sports washing, investing in popular sports to help clean up its reputation. Now, those claims have grown especially loud amid the rollout of the Saudi back so called LIV Golf Series. CNN's World Sports Don Riddell has our report.


DON RIDDEL, CNN WORLD SPORT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sport is exciting and fun. It can make you feel good. It's big business too. And governments know that investing in sports events and even teams can make them look good.

There's a word for that sportswashing. Macmillan describes it as when a corrupt or tyrannical regime uses sport to enhance its reputation. Think of a sports event as a laundromat where countries can clean up a dirty record of human rights abuse.

In the last few years, Saudi Arabia has pumped billions of dollars into sport as a way to enhance its reputation. They've invested in boxing, motorsport, and horse racing. They've bought the Premier League football team Newcastle United, and now they have the highly controversial LIV Golf Series.

The Kingdom is trying to present a softer side. They rather we didn't talk about their role in the war in Yemen. And the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents and the handsomely paid athletes seem happy to go along with it.

GRAEME MCDOWELL, 2010 U.S. OPEN CHAMPION: We're not politicians or professional golfers. And, you know, if Saudi Arabia wanted us the game of golf as a way for them to get to where they want to be, and they have the resources to accelerate that experience, you know, I think we're proud to help them on that journey.

RIDDELL: The word sportswashing gained popularity in 2015, when the sports for rights campaign group tried to call attention to Azerbaijan's hosting of the European games as an attempt to gloss over its controversial record on human rights.

But the idea is far from original. Adolf Hitler tried it in 1936 when Nazi Germany hosted the Berlin Olympics, just three years before starting World War II.

In more recent times, you could point to Russia's hosting of the Winter Olympics and the World Cup, while China's hosting of the Summer Games in 2008 and the '22 Winter Games were attempts to present themselves as free and fair. Both countries have controversial records in the Human Rights arena.

Middle Eastern countries are increasingly turning to sports and vestment. Qatar just hosted the World Athletics Championship and will stage the FIFA World Cup in November or Sheikh Mansour of United Arab Emirates has turned Manchester City into one of the most successful football teams in the world.


As a result, some of the city's fans might now be more forgiving of the UAE's restrictive approach to civil liberties.

Many countries use soft power as a means of leveraging influence on the world stage, and sport is just another tool. But nobody can prove, that sports washing is 100 percent perfect, and arguably investing in such major events could actually lead to more scrutiny than the corrupt regime would prefer.

And in any case, who gets to decide who is good, and who is bad? Many governments use sporting success to promote themselves internationally. And with the documented rise of nationalism around the world, is anybody really perfect anymore?


NEWTON: Ahead for us, as fighting rages in eastern Ukraine, a frantic rush to evacuate civilians living near those frontlines as the window to escape gets even smaller. That's just ahead.

Plus an urgent call for more weapons in Ukraine. CNN's Ben Wedeman on the ground speaking with troops who say some critical supplies are running low.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is an American (INAUDIBLE) firing Italian bullets. There's a problem though. We're told there's not enough western ammunition.


NEWTON: It's terrifying, every day. Now, amid the sounds of those explosions, you just heard a frantic rush to escape the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

That's video from Ukraine's national police force. And it shows officers helping evacuate civilians, many of them elderly. From a town near the front lines. Residents say it's one of the last options for anyone still hoping to escape.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks to the police for helping to evacuate people. There are no other options today, evacuation buses cannot reach the town. Because there is shelling. Police evacuate people on their own.


NEWTON: That's just an example. You know that the human toll as we have been telling you of Russia's war has just been staggering. The U.N. has now confirmed more than 4,000 civilian deaths including close to 300 children.

Ukraine says hundreds of its soldiers are now dying each day and that means funerals like this one are becoming all too familiar.


NEWTON: One, on Tuesday, mourners paid their respect to Ukrainian serviceman killed in the war. His mother had these words for her son's fellow soldiers.


ALONA CHUBASHEVA, MOTHER OF SOLDIER KILLED IN WAR: Being a mother, I give you my blessing to defeat all the villains that came to our land, to get rid of them. Oleksei (ph) always dreamed of a new, clean, whole (ph) Ukraine. Of integrity and independence. Don't let the sacrifice made by our country be in vain.


NEWTON: That mother's plea coming as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urges western nations to send more weapons and fast as troops are locked in fierce fighting in Eastern Ukraine.

CNN's Ben Wedeman has more on the ongoing battle.


WEDEMAN: American symbol, American weapon. Ukrainian troops try out a new equipment U.S. -- supplied M4 rifles fresh out of the box. Away from the front lines, these soldiers are preparing to join the battle raging in the east.

This exercise is designed to test Ukrainian forces to the use of western weapons. This is an American 50 caliber gun, firing Italian bullets.

There is a problem though, we are told there is not enough western ammunition.

And not enough weapons either. Even in this drill, much of the firepower dates back to the Soviet area.

Ukrainian forces are slowly losing ground in the battle for the eastern Donbas region. Morale here is high.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning Vietnam.

WEDEMAN: Yet no one believes these rifles will halt the Russian advance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not enough.

WEDEMAN: Ukrainian officials say Russian artillery outnumbers their artillery at a ratio of perhaps more than 10 to 1 used to deadly effect in the city of Severodonetsk, now almost completely in Russian control.

Big guns not small arms could help Ukraine turn the tide.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I can protect myself as a soldier with this weapon, I cant protect my comrades. But unfortunately, I can't clear my country from invaders using only this rifle. So we need more artillery. We need heavy rocket systems, and (INAUDIBLE) weapon because it's the modern war.

WEDEMAN: The U.S. and its allies have delivered advanced weapons systems to Ukraine. And more are on the way. But the army here is losing men at an alarming rate. More than 100 killed in action every day, according to Ukrainian officials.

"We need a basic minimum to avoid more casualties -- artillery, smart weapons, radar, drones, and people to train us", says the commander, Lt. Oleksander, a veteran of the French Foreign Legion.

"We've shown we will fight, we will learn to use these weapons."

And that will take time, and time is a luxury this nation at war cannot afford.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, central Ukraine.


NEWTON: Now, some countries that can afford to send more military aid are expected to promise to do so in the coming hours in Brussels. And that's according to a senior U.S. defense official. Who spoke ahead of a meeting of 50 nations known as the Ukraine Contact Group.

NATO defense ministers will also meet separately later in the day. NATO Secretary-General said this ahead of those meetings.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: NATO allies have supported Ukraine for many years. Since 2014 NATO allies have trained and equipped tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers, officers who are now actually on the frontline fighting the brutal invasion of President Putin. And they make a huge difference.

But we need to be prepared for a long haul. There is no way we can predict how and when this war will end. We need to be prepared to continue for a long time to continue to provide support and this will be addressed tomorrow in Brussels.


NEWTON: I want to bring in our Josh Rogin, he's a columnist for the global opinion section of "The Washington Post" and a CNN political analyst. And good to see you.

Given what NATO is looking at over the meeting, you know, in fact, it might be more complicated now for what NATO to decide what to do next than it was when this war started. NATO unity has been impressive.

But let's face it, it's not been enough, right not been enough for Ukraine to prevail. Will NATO commit more militarily here.


JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well that's what the Madrid summit coming up later this month is intended to do. They will commit more, the question is, will it be a substantial increase both in quantity and quality of weapons to reflect the new dynamics of the fight?

And, you know, the tactics have changed, the battlefield has changed. And the Ukrainian army's needs have changed. And they're saying that pretty clearly to anyone who will listen.

What they need now are heavy artillery, armed drones, anti ship missiles. The kinds of things that are fitted to push back the Russian assault which is killing up to 200 Ukrainians a day according to their president.

And whether or not NATO will step up in that regard remains to be seen and it really is in a large part due to the hesitancy of the Biden administration and Washington which has been making all sorts of calculations about what they can have and what they can't have. They can have the rockets that go this far but not the rocket that go that far. They can have the systems that can attack Russians in Luhansk, but not in Russia proper.

These kinds of calculations are resulting in Ukrainians getting killed on the field. That's what Ukrainian officials constantly tell us.

So not a question of if NATO will increase, if they will increase, but will they really give Ukrainians a real shot at what they call winning this thing, which is pushing the Russians out of their land. I hope they will, we don't know.

NEWTON: In terms of NATO unity, European unity, whether or not there are some differences of opinion between the U.S. and Europe. Do you think that anyone at this point in time will want to push Ukraine to a diplomatic solution? Because they don't feel that Ukraine could win this on the battlefield?

ROGIN: Right, I mean the NATO unity has been what it always has been which is a certain level of unity on goal and a purpose. But a lot of differences between NATO countries about the details. It's always been that way this way and continues to be that way.

And the lines are familiar, the Polish president -- prime minister said today coming out of his meeting in the Hague, with the NATO secretary general. He says we're not doing enough. We haven't done enough, we need to do more.

And then you have other actors, like the French president, trying to talk about a deal to settle now. And then you have the United States being silent on the diplomacy and aggressive on the military side. And that kind of dynamic is sort of a sense of disunity. It's a break that the Russians will be sure to try to exploit because what's clear from the Ukrainian officials that I have talked to (INAUDIBLE) is that they are not about to make a deal right now. Not on these terms, not under these conditions, not with the Russians holding this much land. And the deal that they could be happy with, if there is one. It's not the one that's on the table.

So I do think that there are some NATO European members, who are pushing the Ukrainians towards a deal. But I don't think it will work. I don't think the Ukrainians will say yes. And I do think that undermines the goal of actual unity that the United States and other NATO countries are trying to project.

NEWTON: Yes. In fact, Ukrainian officials have told us, you know, for months, especially in the last few days that a deal is not in the interest of anyone at this point in time. Josh, you just returned from Asia, from what was a wide ranging security summit. In response to your question, President Zelenskyy had a warning, right? He said to you, no one benefits from more, apart from certain political leaders, who are not content with the present level of their ambitions.

Now, you pointed out look, he didn't say Taiwan, he didn't say China. But the point was blunt and clear nonetheless, right?

ROGIN: Yes, I asked President Zelenskyy during the Shangri-La dialogue in Singapore, what advice he had for Taiwan who is facing a similar situation. They're being coerced by their neighbor dictator. And they're being threatened

And what he said was very clear. He said you should try to solve these things by diplomacy if possible. But the time to solve them is before the attack occurs. Once the war breaks out, that's all bad, and the only people who benefit are the aggressors.

And that's the lesson that he is trying to tell us about Ukraine is that the world waited too long. And for some reason, Vladimir Putin got the impression that he could attack Ukraine with impunity and that we shouldn't take that for granted. We should learn from that when we look at China and Xi Jinping.

So, you know, President Zelenskyy is being very careful. He's got to balance his relationship with China and lots of other big powers. But the message he sent was clear is that don't wait around now and hope everything is going to be ok.

The only thing that aggressors understand is strength. And the best time to stop a war is before it starts not after it starts. And he was talking about Taiwan, and I think he was right.

N1A: A lot on the table, both for NATO ministers and then later on in Madrid when NATO leaders get together.

Josh Rogin for us. Thanks so much.

ROGIN: Anytime.

NEWTON: To other news now.

There is worrying economic news from the U.K. where average wages are falling at the fastest rate in more than two decades. The country is also facing its highest inflation since the early 1980s. That's not a good combination.


NEWTON: CNN's Anna Stewart reports, people everywhere are feeling the impact, when it comes to something synonymous with Britain.


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: People flock to the seaside town of Whitstable. A peaceful day out on these pebbly shores, it feels far removed from the war in Ukraine, but its impact is still reaching the U.K. shores.

And Britain's unofficial national dish.

This is delicious, you actually just can't beat eating fish and chips right by the seaside. Now, this traditionally was considered quite a cheap meal, but everything you see here is shooting up in price. From the white fish and the batter used to cook it, the potatoes and the cooking oil, the mushy peas, even the packaging.

Since last year, vegetable oil is nearly 50 percent more expensive globally. Wheat prices are up even more. And the price of fertilizers made in the U.K. are up nearly 180 percent, which pushes up the cost of vegetables like potatoes.

All key ingredients for fish and chips and all that largely a result of the war in Ukraine, one of the world's biggest producers of food commodities.

Thank you very much.

BC Jones as a family run business.

So how long has this been in your family?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 60 years plus --

STEWART: 60 years.

The last two years have seen it battered by these rising costs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You see the horror going on in Ukraine, Brexit had (INAUDIBLE) crisis of fish -- everything has gone through the roof.

STEWART: So much of the white fish that you get in fish and chip shops is actually caught in Russian waters. And that has gotten more expensive as the result of tariffs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seeing the price of cod increase week from week to 60 percent, so far, it's directly linked to sanctions.

STEWART: Your profit margins much be really squeezed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The profit margins are literally evaporating.

STEWART: Down at the harbor, local fishermen are bringing out shellfish, the main catch for this seaside town.

CHRIS ATTENBOROUGH, FISHERMAN: -- oil, plus the fuel and how we mark (INAUDIBLE) the bill is doubled. My little boat -- you know, it's a big cost.

STEWART: For these fishermen and the U.K. chickpeas, the problem does not stop there, not only have prices gone up, but customers have less money to spend. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Energy bills have gone up, petrol is gone up, as

well, I definitely will be more conscious, I think, when I go out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We think twice before we decide to go out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am looking for the cheapest place to have food because I used to go to the restaurant, but when I go there now, it is horrible. The prices have nearly doubled.

STEWART: For now, fish and chips still appears to be in hot demand here. But as the cost of living continues to bite, tucking in to this traditional seaside dish may become less palatable.

Anna Stewart CNN, Whitstable, U.K.


NEWTON: A record heatwave in Europe has people finding creative ways to keep cool. Find out how hot it's going to get. We are checking the forecast.



NEWTON: A record-breaking early heat wave is still being felt across much of Spain. Daytime temperatures have topped 35 degrees Celsius for much of the country. And, that is above 95 Fahrenheit. People are trying to keep cool anyway they can, running through water fountains -- you see it there, it looks like fun doesn't it -- and cold sprays. The heat has forced some schools and businesses to adjust their schedules. Sweltering temperatures causing concerns of course, right across Europe.

I want to get straight to our meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri. I know you've been following this closely. We are pretty hot here in Atlanta as well but I know that this is going to be about Europe. And, a reminder a lot of people in Europe don't have air conditioner.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Good point. Absolutely, and you know, summer is officially about 8 days away so we are still a week out from summer. We're seeing these excessive temperatures across the southern United States, across western areas of Europe.

And, really remarkable, h eat here hot enough to where farmers are being urged to start their morning shift prior to the sunrise and try to end it by about 3:00 p.m. before they get to the peak of the afternoon heating there. Let's just say 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. across this region but there we go.

Low pressure offshore, we are getting southernly flow off Africa. We have high pressure off towards the east, southerly flow once again out of Africa. So we're getting -- a very toasty air has been ushered across this region. And even into the month of June so far Madrid has already exceeded 30 degrees eight times.

So, it speaks to how much of a long duration event this has been. And these numbers are remarkable.

In, fact not just say five or ten degrees above average which by the definition of the World Meteorological Organization, five consecutive days of temperatures of five degrees Celsius or, above average -- higher above average are considered a heat wave.

We are talking 15 degrees above average in a few spots. So, essentially tripling that here for the next couple of days.

We had the hottest day across Spain since 1964. The heat now as we usher in the middle portion of June, pretty extensive here and encompasses really much of the portions of Spain. Temps in Madrid expected to reach 41 degrees. Paris, at 31. You'll notice this heat wants to expand farther towards the north so we speak about this being a multi day setup.

We expect to see to really ramp up here and in fact hot enough across areas of London by Friday afternoon, where London's high of 34, which I looked into this hottest day in two years will be warmer than Karachi's high temperature on Thursday across this region of 32 degrees.

So again incredible heat here. Kind of show you how things are playing out and notice we do finally see some relief here, Sunday into Monday. Of course, showers bring us back down to reality in London in temps into the teens and 20s this time next week.

NEWTON: Yes, Pedram. Given how long they wait for those warm summers in Britain, we'll see how much they enjoy this warm weather to come.

Pedram, thanks so much.

Now, big news in the K-Pop world. BTS says that they are taking a break. What we are learning about the superstars' solo project.



NEWTON: Come on, you all know that song. K-Pop superstars BTS, you just are hearing them there. They say they aren't breaking up, just taking a break. The massively popular boy band made the announcement during their ninth anniversary celebration on Tuesday. And we are very careful to call this a hiatus.


NEWTON: The members say they want time to explore solo projects. One of them did admit they were going through, quote, "a rough patch" right now. BTS promises the band will get together again someday.

For more now we're going live to CNN's Blake Essig in Tokyo.

It is really difficult to exaggerate the influence of this band. I have a 20-year-old daughter, enough said.

Blake, what can you tell her about when and if they might get back together and why they're breaking up.

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Paula, your son and my five-year-old daughter aren't alone. The BTS army that includes tens of millions of fans worldwide are devastated by the news. Some taking to social media to say that they've been crying for hours.

Well, it isn't going to ease the pain of the super fans. The group offered several reasons for the decision to go on this so-called, hiatus. Including a lack of individual growth and the inability to pursue solo projects.

Now, even though the band is taking time to pursue those individual projects, band member V, hinted that they haven't ruled out continuing to work on projects as a group saying that, well, when we gather as a group the synergy will be like no other.

While acknowledging to their fans, the band admitted that the dynamic of the group had changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. And that it's been a long and exhausted process trying to find their identity. Take a listen.


RM, BTS MEMBER (through translator): Right now, we've lost our direction. And I just want to take some time to think, and then Return. That just feels rude to our fans. I feel like I'm letting down their expectations.


ESSIG: Although it wasn't given as a reason for the group's decision to at least temporarily, part ways, it is worth noting that all South Korea men aged 18 to 30 are required to serve in the military for about two years to guard against North Korea. And band member, Jin, who is 29 years old is due to serve in the military by the end of this year with two other band members needing to serve by next year.

Now on the business side of things, as a result of the announcement of BTS' announcement, excuse me, to pursue solo projects, the bans management company has had their stock fall 25 percent. At one point, members were given nearly 500,000 shares in the company, making them all millionaires.

Of course, Paula, I'm sure they're all going to be just fine financially. The impact of last night's announcement, of course, likely did cost them.

NEWTON: Absolutely, and it cost a lot of fans as well.

One thing to say Blake Essig is the Backstreet Boys, they came back. So, let's hope for the fans -- there's still some hope there.

Blake, thanks so much.

And I want to thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm Paula Newton. I'll be right back at the top of the hour with the more news.