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E.U. Plan Meant To Offset Cuts In Russian Gas Supplies; Ukraine Trying To Claw Back Land In South, Retake Kherson; Officials Try To Convince Nancy Pelosi Of Risks Of Taiwan Trip; Donald Trump Repeats False Election Claims, Slams January 6 Committee; IMF Downgrades Global Forecast As Top Economies Stall. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired July 27, 2022 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone.

Coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM. Winter is coming to Europe. Russian gas is not. Russia's energy giant Gazprom cutting supplies by 80 percent of capacity.

Trump versus Pence, once unlikely allies turned bitter rivals, delivered during speeches outlining a very different vision for the Republican Party.

And the swarms of jellyfish off the coast of Israel could be a glimpse of the future as the world's oceans continue to warm.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with John Vause.

VAUSE: Officially, it's about maintenance and repair. Russia's Gazprom says the flow of natural gas to Europe from the Nord Stream pipeline will be reduced to 20 percent of capacity from today, while a turbine is repaired. The same reason was given last week when supplies were cut to 40 percent.

But the E.U. says this is clearly a political move by Vladimir Putin. Retaliation for sanctions imposed by Europe for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is also a test of solidarity and unity within the 27 nation bloc, which for now is holding after an agreement within the E.U. to voluntarily reduce demand for natural gas by 15 percent from August through March, although it does come with a lot of exemptions.


JOZEF SIKELA, CZECH MINISTER OF INDUSTRY AND TRADE: We are sending a strong signal not only to Vladimir Putin who once again failed to divide the European Union, but most importantly to our citizens. Unless the E.U. gets rid of dependency on Russian gas, the prices remain high. If we succeed, the prices will drop.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: For more now on the impact on Europe by Russia's decision to drastically reduced gas supplies, we're joined by Rob Thummel Managing Director of Tortoise Capital, he oversees, he taught us energy independence fund, and has a long history in energy and politics and finance. So, thank you for being with us.


VAUSE: Thank you. Now, one U.S. official told CNN, this move by Russia is the biggest fear now realized, because the impact on Europe could boomerang back onto the United States spiking natural gas and electricity prices.

And there's a whole lot of knock-ons from that likely fueling inflation, risking and further slowing of the U.S. economy. And there that happens, you know, it's felt all around the world. But are we borrowing problems from the future by going down that road? How do you see this playing out?

THUMMEL: Yes, so I think here's the challenge that we have, I guess, internationally is Europe decided to rely on the second largest producer of natural gas in the world. But the problem is that second largest producer in the world is Russia. And they're an unreliable supplier of natural gas.

So, we have a situation today where natural gas prices in Europe are six times higher than they are in the U.S. Natural gas prices at $50.00 and MCF are really going to cause potentially a significant slowdown in Europe, and potentially a recession in Europe, which then could cascade throughout the rest of the world.

VAUSE: Yes, well, there's a couple of ways (PH) of plan here. This was -- they've allowed a number of member states out of this agreement, because a small, tiny island nations Ireland, Cyprus and Malta, they're now attached to the E.U. system of pipelines for one thing. There are other provisions which kick in under specific circumstances. And for more on that, here's the E.U. commissioner for energy. Listen to this.


KADRI SIMSON, EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FOR ENERGY: Our initial calculations indicate that even if all the exemptions were used in full, we would achieve a demand reduction that would help us safely through an average winter.


VAUSE: So, the original plan before the compromise would have seen Europe through a very cold winter. Now it's an average one. How significant have the compromises been? And were they worth the price of E.U. unity?

[00:05:01] THUMMEL: Well, so I think the situation is there is a scenario where the E.U. and Europe in general could run out of natural gas this winter. It's small, but as long as there continues to be some flow of natural gas from Russia to Europe, it's likely that the Europeans will not run out of gas, natural gas.

But what they're doing now is they're affecting the demand side of the equation. So, Europe is going to reduce demand for natural gas starting now so that Europeans can build natural gas inventories in order to feel more comfortable that when the winter season gets here and the demand for natural gas significantly exceeds the supply coming through the pipelines, that Europe will feel more comfortable that they will be able to make it through a winter, where they won't have access to Russian natural gas.

VAUSE: There's also another key part of the deal, which would see member states, they will not be permitted to hoard natural gas for national use in their storage facilities when others are suffering shortages. The E.U. countries agreed to share their gas stocks and bail each other out if there are huge shortages.

So, how long will that actually last, especially when temperatures are plunging below zero or below freezing, and there's massive job cuts because industry can't operate?

THUMMEL: Yes, so the key number there is to look at as 85 percent. So, if you can get 80 -- if you can get storage across the E.U. up to 85 percent capacity, that's the key number because that then will allow or be adequate to allow for the natural gas volumes to flow out of storage in the event that potentially Russia reduces or even cuts off natural gas to Europe.

Each country is different. Germany doesn't have a lot of storage. Spain and Italy have some storage. Each country is different in terms of USLNG. And I think that's a really important point here, John, that you might be wanting to talk about, is the fact that USLNG has really stepped up and is providing a significant amount of natural gas to Europe, not only now but also into the future. And that's going to help out a lot over the next several months, as well as the next several years.

VAUSE: Reducing the gas to Europe seems to be a one way pipeline in terms of economic pain, despite all the sanctions, all the cuts in buying Russian energy. Forbes is reporting that Russian tax revenue at all levels of government was 31 percent higher in April 2022, than in April 2021. And that was a good year in itself.

Roughly one-half of the federal revenue is from taxes levied on oil and gas. In the long term outlook for Moscow is another story altogether. But for now, the money is flowing and Putin seems to be in a much better position than Europe, at least in the short term.

THUMMEL: Well, the unfortunate thing of this whole crisis, John is this that commodity prices, oil and natural gas prices have risen substantially. Russia is a top five producer of oil in the world. They're a top five producer of natural gas in the world right now. And so, as a result of the significantly higher prices for both oil

and natural gas, Russia and Vladimir Putin are benefiting through higher revenues.

But hopefully that can change over time.

VAUSE: Absolutely. We'll see what happens. Rob, thanks so much for being with us. We really appreciate it.

THUMMEL: Thanks, John.

VAUSE: Ukrainian forces have reportedly attacked a key bridge used by the Russians to send reinforcements to occupy Kherson. Ukrainian authorities believe the additional troops are being sent to bolster positions in the south of the country. Video posted online earlier and geolocated by CNN through this heavy military equipment on the move clogging highways while crossing from Russia through the Crimean Peninsula and then, into the Kherson region.

Analyst say the deployment show Russia is preparing to counter an eventual Ukrainian counter offensive. But the Kremlin denies sending any extra troops saying the number they're devoted to this special military operation in Ukraine is more than sufficient.

Meantime, on the southern front, Ukrainian fighters outnumbered and outgunned continue to try and retake territory under Russian control.

CNN's Ivan Watson has the story.


IVAN WATSON, CNN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Scenes from Ukraine's southern front in the first months of the war.

Footage shared exclusively with CNN shows Ukrainian Senior Lieutenant Andrii Pidlisnyi hiding in shell craters, flying a drone to call in artillery strikes on Russian positions.

But the team of spotters also narrowly escapes long-range fire from the Russian military.

Months after filming these videos, Pidlisnyi is still fighting on the southern front.

Where the Russians in this village before?


WATSON: The Ukrainian military is fighting to claw back territories seized by what this commander describes as well prepared Russians.

PIDLISNYI: It's very slow, the process, to take back all of our territories. But step-by-step, with the help of Western guns, vehicles, and so on, artillery systems, we do that.

[00:10:02] WATSON: This month, my team and I travelled the length of the southern front from the critical ports of Odesa to the edge of the Donbas region. I spoke to people willing to risk their lives against the Russian war machine.

In the city of Kryvyi Rih, Ukrainian forces stormed a building. It's actually a training exercise to prepare these men for one of the most dangerous forms of modern warfare, urban combat. The commander here was gravely wounded pushing Russian-backed separatists out of cities in the eastern Donbas region in 2014.

We have a duty to liberate our territories, he says. This is our land and we will not give it to anyone.

That confidence shared by a regiment of frontline troops in eastern Ukraine. They show off recently arrived British-made Land Rovers, and this armored personnel carrier.

I just noticed something, take a look over here, at this tire, made in Russia. This was Russian.

VILNYI, AZOV KYIV REGIMENT: It was a Russian car. But our soldiers fight him and take this car.

WATSON: You captured it?

But the war is taking a dreadful toll here.

Day and night, Russian rockets, S300 surface-to-air missiles repurposed to strike ground targets pound the frontline city of Mykolaiv. And more appear to be on the way.

Ukrainian resistance group shared this exclusive footage with CNN taken just days ago, showing the arrival of a train full of missiles in the occupied southern Kherson region, later confirmed by these satellite images provided to CNN by Maxar. But with the help of U.S. long-range rockets known as HIMARS, Ukraine has been targeting ammunition depots.

Senior Lieutenant Pidlisnyi says he knows the difference on the front lines.

PIDLISNYI: We've had about two-there weeks when they haven't enough ammunition to fight us.

WATSON: Still, he predicts it will take a long time for Ukraine to win the war in the south.

PIDLISNYI: I'm not sure that we will win within the end of this year. It might be the end of next year.

WATSON: Before I go, Pidlisnyi shows me captured Russian passports and drivers licenses.

When did you capture these?

PIDLISNYI: About some weeks ago.

WATSON: Russian men ranging from 22 to 41 years old who Pidlisnyi speculates are now dead. They look like you.

PIDLISNYI: Yes, they look like me.

WATSON: They have similar names.

PIDLISNYI: Yes. But they are our enemies because I'm standing in my territory and they came to me to capture our territory to kill me, to kill maybe my parents.

WATSON: This is what Ukrainians are fighting for.

Ivan Watson, CNN, on the southern front in Ukraine.


VAUSE: Developing story now in the Philippines which was struck by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake early Wednesday. The U.S. geological survey says the quake hit Northern Luzon, the country's most populous island shortly before 9:00 a.m. local time, at a relatively shallow depth of about 10 kilometers, that often changes though.

New video just into CNN shows debris falling as this tower shook. Officials say many homes and buildings have been damaged. Tremors were felt in Manila. That's more than 400 kilometers from the epicenter, shaking chandeliers and furniture in homes. Many people fled into the streets for safety when they felt the tremors.

The country's president expected to visit the affected areas soon as he's already given the all clear, we'll bring you any new developments as we get them.

Still to come here on CNN, how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is uniting the U.S. Congress with both Democrats and Republicans urging her to go ahead with a planned visit to Taiwan, despite objections from the White House and Beijing.

Plus, the focus of a political debate in the U.K. turned from the candidates to the moderator after she fainted live on T.V., the latest on her condition and the debate when we come back.



VAUSE: Pope Francis will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the coming hours. On Tuesday, the Pope held mass for an estimated 50,000 people at Edmonton Commonwealth Stadium. The homily focused on the importance of parents and grandparents, as the Catholic Church celebrated the feast of Jesus's grandparents.

Later, the Pope visited a lakeside pilgrimage site where he once again addressed the violence suffered by indigenous Canadians. This is day four of his trip to Canada.

Well, there is the White House and Beijing on one side, House Democrats and Republicans on the other. The unusual allies have come together over a plan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to visit Taiwan.

The Biden administration is working to convince Pelosi about the diplomatic risks of her potential trip tried to urge her not to go.

CNN's Selina Wang live from Beijing with more on this.

Obviously, the China isn't happy with Pelosi visiting Taiwan and they've probably got a forceful response. So, what does that actually mean?

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yes, John, well, China has said it would take "resolute and powerful measures" if Pelosi were to visit Taiwan.

And just yesterday, China's Defense Department urged the U.S. to cancel the trip. The Department spokesperson said "if the U.S. insists on taking its own course, the Chinese military will never sit idly by and it will definitely take strong actions to thwart any external forces interference and separatist schemes for Taiwan independence and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity".

Now, John, it is just impossible to overstate how important and central Taiwan is not just to the Communist Party, but also to its legitimacy. China sees the self-ruled island as a breakaway province that must be reunified with the mainland. Beijing is against any move that appears to acknowledge Taiwan as an independent country, or makes the U.S. relationship more formal.

Now, there have been recent U.S. Congressional visits. But if Pelosi goes to Taiwan, she would be the highest ranking U.S. official to go there since then House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997.

So, this is significant because of her stature. And the timing of this potential visit also comes at an extremely sensitive time. China's military is celebrating its founding anniversary on August 1st, we're just months away from a key political meeting where Xi Jinping is expected to seek an unprecedented third term.

So, some experts say that this increases the chances China will overreact and take a rash action in order to avoid looking weak at this critical moment.

Some U.S. officials have told CNN that China could impose a no fly zone around China. Some experts say a visit could also further compromise Taiwan security. A notable is that in Taiwan media coverage of this trip has been relatively muted.

But on the other hand, important here is that the Chinese government has not given details about how it could retaliate. Other experts have told me that this is by design. The point here is that the uncertainty will lead Pelosi to back out but that Xi Jinping does not actually want to and is not ready to risk a military conflict, John. VAUSE: Yes, difficult tense times ahead. Selina, thank you. Selina Wang live for us in Beijing.

Well, former U.S. President Donald Trump and his former Vice President spoke at separate events in Washington on Tuesday. Both Mike Pence and Donald Trump may be looking to run for the White House in 2024. They appear to take very different sides about what happened in the last presidential election.

In his first speech in Washington since losing office, Trump repeated his false claims about 2020 and after riling up a mob of insurrectionists in 2021, some of whom were chanting hang Mike Pence, Trump says it's the January 6 committee who are the real thugs.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now we have the January 6, the unselect committee of political hacks and thugs. And it's this -- think of this, these are hacks and thugs. The same people that we've been dealing with for four years.

But they really want to damage me so I can no longer go back to work for you. And I don't think that's going to happen.


VAUSE: Right. Mike Pence so distanced himself from Trump's election falsehoods, saying conservatives need to focus on the future to win.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But in order to win, conservatives need to do more than criticize and complain. We must unite our movement behind a bold optimistic agenda that offers a clear and compelling choice to the American people.


VAUSE: Meantime, The Washington Post reports that the U.S. Justice Department is now looking directly at Donald Trump's actions in its criminal probe of efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

CNN has learned two former aides to Mike Pence wants to know where the bodies are buried. His chief of staff Marc Short and lawyer Greg Jacob, have both recently testified before a grand jury. Both men were asked about the fake electoral scheme that was pushed by some Trump allies and outside lawyers.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland says prosecuting Donald Trump is a very real possibility.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We intend to hold everyone, anyone who was criminally responsible for the events surrounding January 6th for any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another accountable.

LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS HOST: So, if Donald Trump were to become a candidate for president again, that would not change your schedule or how you move forward or don't move forward?

GARLAND: Say again, that we will hold accountable anyone who was criminally responsible for attempting to interfere with the transfer -- legitimate lawful transfer of power from one administration to the next.


VAUSE: Despite some compelling and powerful testimony by former Trump officials, it seems a new CNN poll has found this committee and the hearings are not moving the needle a whole lot in terms of how Americans view the Capitol riot.

Public consensus though is growing that Donald Trump acted illegally or at least unethically in trying to hold on to office after the 2020 election, with 79 percent of those surveyed saying that was the case. Meantime, 69 percent of Americans now consider the January 6th attack a crisis or major problem for democracy. But that's only up slightly from earlier this year when 65 percent had the same belief.

The political editor for the U.K. TalkTV said to be doing fine after fainting on air during a live political debate.


LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: He's going to challenge the freedom and democracy -- Oh, my God.


VAUSE: That crash you heard, that was Editor Katie McCann -- or Kate McCann rather hitting the floor after passing out Tuesday. She was moderating the second live televised debate between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak. The two front runners to replace Boris Johnson as prime minister. The rest of the debate was cancelled about halfway through.

After, Truss tweeted she was relieved to hear that McCann was OK. Sunak also tweeted his well wishes and says he looks forward to finishing that debate sometime soon.

Still ahead, the International Monetary Fund downgrades projected growth for the global economy, saying the worst is yet to come.


PIERRE-OLIVIER GOURINCHAS, CHIEF ECONOMIST, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND: The world may soon be teetering on the edge of a global recession.


VAUSE: So, what are the factors contributing to this possible global recession? More on that after the break.

Also ahead, how old ammunition making it even harder for the fire crews who's struggling to contain a raging wildfire in Germany.

And Russia says do svidaniya to the International Space Station by the Kremlin's announcement has many wondering if it really is goodbye.



VAUSE: Wherever you're watching around the world, welcome back, everyone. I'm John Vause. This is CNN newsroom.

Now, the grim outlook for the global economy, the International Monetary Fund has again downgraded its forecast for global growth, the outlook now officially gloomy. The IMF expects growth in 2022 to reach 3.2 percent. Nearly half of last year's prediction.

The IMF says the adjustment was made during slowing trends in the world's top economies. The outlook for 2023 doesn't look a whole lot better, dropping at 2.9 percent. Just slightly above what the IMF considers the threshold for a global recession.

With the war in Ukraine still raging on, plus mounting inflation and supply chain issues, the IMF's chief economist says a global recession seems likely.


GOURINCHAS: The outlook is darkened significantly since April, the world may soon be teetering on the edge of a global recession. Only two years after the last one.

Multilateral cooperation will be key in many areas from climate transition and pandemic preparedness, to food security and debt distress. Amid great challenge and strife, strengthening cooperation remains the best way to improve economic prospects for all and mitigate the risk of geo economic fragmentation.


VAUSE: Joining us now from Chicago is Leo Feler, senior economist at the University of California Anderson School of Management, where he's responsible for the U.S. macro-economic forecast. Leo, thanks for being with us.


VAUSE: OK, so if there is in fact a global recession, different countries will be affected in different ways. So, from your outlook, which countries will feel it the most? Where will -- where will be the hardest hit?

FELER: So, you know, I think the first one will be the group of emerging market countries that are net importers of food and oil. So, think like places like Sri Lanka.

And we're seeing this already in countries like Sri Lanka where higher food prices, higher oil prices, are really creating a lot of hardship for the populations there.

So, this is the first group of countries, the second one really is going to be Europe. You know, we are expecting with higher energy prices, higher gas prices coming in from Russia, that there will be significant slowdown in manufacturing in Europe.

You know, especially as we get into the winter months, and there has to be prioritization of gas and energy for heating homes rather than for producing, say, automobiles or appliances or heavy machinery, we expect a lot of economic production to slow down in Europe.

And then you know, third in the U.S., we're seeing monetary tightening, we're seeing the Federal Reserve tried to slow down the economy to try to contain inflation.

And then fourth, China, you know, a property market that is struggling. And the likelihood as we saw earlier this year of lock downs because of resurgence of COVID, potentially, you know, again, later this year if COVID, you know, becomes an issue once more.

VAUSE: You know, in recent years, the world economy has weathered record high inflation, supply chain issues, the war in Ukraine, those lock downs in China, you just mentioned, the climate crisis, food shortages, energy crunch, all happening pretty much at the same time. It seems a recession was going to happen sooner or later.

Right now, many predict it to be short and shallow. What's the reasoning behind that outlook and are they right?


FELER: So, you know, the reasoning behind the short and shallow is -- you know, these are shocks, right? There's not something systematic that needs to be unwound as we had in 2008-2009 with the financial crisis where we had a lot of that debt that were made. A lot of that housing speculation that occurred in the U.S. and other parts of the world. That took a lot to unwind. And so, there was some economic pain as we transitioned, you know, away from a highly leveraged economy into an economy that was, you know, a little bit more balanced.

Right now, the economy, aside from some of these shots that have occurred was fundamentally healthy. And then we had, you know, shocks because of Russian and Ukraine. We had an exacerbation of supply chain constraints with China shutting down again because of COVID. And, you know, we -- that has sped into the higher inflation that we're seeing. There's been a resurgence in inflation in part because of these higher commodity prices because of supply constraints related to China shut down.

You know, while we also have very strong demand in, you know, the U.S. and in Europe as people are releasing a lot of pent-up demand that they accumulated during these past two years. This really means that you know, some of these shocks are likely to dissipate pretty quickly as long as, you know, the economy starts getting back to normal.

That's the reason for the shallow, right. It relies on the war in Ukraine, you know, perhaps not escalating, coming slowly to an end. It relies on, you know, COVID shots not being so much of an issue. And so, that's -- it's more hopeful than realistic.

VAUSE: The Biden Administration is hopeful, the U.S. will avoid a recession, but then that depends on what your definition of a recession is. Here's Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on NBC.


MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: I mean if the technical definition is two-quarters of contraction, you're saying that is not a recession?



YELLEN: -- that's not the technical definition. There is an organization called the National Bureau of Economic Research that looks that a broad range of data in deciding whether or not there is a recession. And most of the data that they look at right now continues to be strong.


VAUSE: Well, that is news to me. For as long as I can remember, the technical definition of a recession was two quarters of negative growth or contraction. Are they gaslighting us?

FELER: No. So, that is actually the -- the technical definition is that this NBER, National Bureau of Economic Research, determined several factors, not just GDP, but also gross domestic income, right. So, they're different -- different sides of an equation. Income is how much we are earning. GDP is how much we are spending or consuming. You know, you don't just track one variable because one variable might have a lot of noise.

And so, you know, the NBER takes various indicators. What is happening to income? What is happening to spending? What is happening to employment? What is happening to industrial production, (INAUDIBLE)? And they use all of that information to come up with a definition for a recession.

I think in the end though, what we call the current thing that we're experiencing doesn't really that matter all that much. Whether we call it a recession or not, the reality is consumers are facing declining purchasing power, you know, their wages went up but their real wages, given inflation, actually went down.

You are seeing a lot of consumers struggling. We can see from data that consumers are shifting in the U.S. from shopping at, you know, higher-end retailers to shopping at dollar stores. From buying brand name products to buying, you know, the store brand products. And so, we can see that consumers are feeling this pain from inflation. Now, if we call it a recession or we don't, that does not make a difference in the lives of everyday people. It makes a difference in the lives of economists.

VAUSE: It may not be a recession in definition, but for many people, it feels like one, I guess. And that's what matters, I guess.


VAUSE: So, Leo, thank you very much. We appreciate you staying up late. We appreciate you being with us.

FELER: Yes. Thank you very much for having me.

VAUSE: Pleasure. Thank you.

Russia says it's planning to pull out of the International Space Station after 2024, a move that would end more than two decades of partnership with the United States and other Western countries. Some believe it's just a threat, while others say it's a result of western sanctions on Moscow. The Russians Space Agency it plans to build its own space station. Even released a computer-generated model. More now from CNN's Kristin Fisher.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is not the first time that Russia has threatened to pull out of the International Space Station. But what makes this time different is that the announcement was made on the Kremlin's website by the newly appointed head of Russia's Space Agency Roscosmos. A man by the name of Yuri Borisov was given the job just a few days ago by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.

So, today's announcement carries much more weight. With that said, NASA says it still has not been formally notified about this decision, something that is required of all the partners up at the International Space Station.


So, it remains to be seen if this time Russia is serious. But regardless, the NASA astronauts up at the International Space Station right now say that they were surprised by today's announcement. Here's NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren.


KJELL LINDGREN, NASA ASTRONAUT: And as to the news, you know, that's -- that is very recent news. And so, we haven't heard anything officially. Of course, you know, we were trained to do a mission up here and that mission is one that requires the whole crew. And so, we continue to work every day to conduct the science and research that we've been trained to conduct.


FISHER: The State Department says it too was surprised by today's announcement. But regardless of whether or not this time Russia is serious, the White House says that NASA is now actively preparing contingency planning for the possibility of a full Russian withdrawal from the International Space Station. Kristen Fisher, CNN, Washington.

VAUSE: Still to come here on CNN Newsroom, record rainfall in leaves St. Louis, Missouri under water. Many scrambling to get out of their cars and their homes. More on that when we come back.


VAUSE: Record-breaking rainfall in just a matter of hours has caused widespread flooding in St. Louis, Missouri. Hundreds rescued after they were stranded on rooftops in their homes or in their cars. At least one person was found dead in a flooded vehicle.

The flooding also forced the partial closure of all four highways heading to Downtown. St. Louis. Further service data shows intense rainfall like this happens once every 500 years, guess again. The governor's office has declared a state of emergency.

In Europe, hundreds of firefighters are struggling to contain a large forest fire in Northeast Germany. Conditions are especially dry after the recent heat wave, making it easier for the fire to spread. On top of that, officials say crews have to be extra cautious because ammunition from an old military base is buried in the area. To the South, firefighters are battling another powerful blaze near the German-Czech Republic border.

For more, let's go to meteorologist Pedram Javaheri at the CNN Weather Center. Sir Pedram, it's bad enough fighting fires, you got to worry about the, you know, uncovered ammunition.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you know, it's a really scary setup across that area. And you know, when you look at how dry and how the -- how high the risk of fire danger here is, John, is -- it is -- really what's most jarring because look at this map here and kind of pick out the color that stands out to you most. And to me, it's the oranges, it's the violets, it's the purples. And that really the all-encompassing here across much of Europe, and that's indicative of high to very high, extreme and then very extreme which is the deepest colors of purple there showing you how high the fire threat levels are.

And of course, you get into the alps, you get into portions of the UK, on into Ireland and Northern Ireland and that's where you have the very low levels of concerns for fire danger. But beyond this, just about everyone else, they are dealing with very arid landscapes that are setting the stage here for fire weather to really take off.


And notice the drop monitor, I counted every single nation across Europe has at least some level of concern when it comes to droughts being currently in place. So, again, speaking to how widespread this particular event is. And as a result, you have fires that have really flourished across this region with the excessive temperatures that we've seen. Now, in the immediate term, there is some cooler air that is pushing in across the northern tier of Europe over the next couple of days. The southern tier stays pretty warm here. Much of Italy, in fact, still seeing temps that are above the seasonal averages. But for the morning, not a bad start. Paris had 15 degrees. Around areas of London at 14 degrees this morning. Even Leon, only at 18 degrees to start off the morning.

So, really a nice shift here towards more moderate temperatures. But you'll notice there are low levels of heat concerns at least in place there across areas of Italy. And it really doesn't take long because our friends in Paris begin to see a climb here. Temps do go back up again close to 30 degrees which is good -- seasonal mount well above the average of about 25 for this time of year.

Now, look at this, the Pacific Northwest which is typically the coolest area of the United States, essentially equivalent to what you'll find across the UK seeing temps into the 30s and 40s. And, of course, not a coincidence that this time last week, John, we were talking about the heat across areas of Northwestern Europe, now the Northwestern United States dealing with similar heat, it's called teleconnections in the world of weather where you have similar patterns play out within about a week of each other as the weather, kind of, the energy shifts from one place of the world to another in the northwest not going to feeling the brunt of the heat.

VAUSE: Pedram, we appreciate the update. Thank you.

Israel is facing a jellyfish invasion and beachgoers are feeling the sting. Global warming a disaster for most species, but not jellyfish. The warmer oceans lead up their development which means this could be a glimpse of the future for the entire planet. CNN's Hadas Gold reports now from Tel Aviv.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): White specks dot the turquoise blue waters off the Coast of Israel. Each one, a translucent pulsating jellyfish. Hundreds of millions of them. Eye-catching, but venomous, swarming the Mediterranean Sea. While the region has always had a jellyfish season in the warm summer months, this year rising water temperatures have caused an explosion in numbers.

GOLD (on camera): Normally, these beaches would be packed full of locals and tourists. But the lifeguards here tell me that the crowds are staying away because of the jellyfish.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm afraid because it's very dangerous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of my sons was stung the other day.


GOLD (voiceover): Dr. Bella Galil is one of Israel's top jellyfish experts. She says the species is not native to the Mediterranean. But in recent years, entered from the Red Sea through the Suez Canal. As the Canal has expanded and waters continue to warm as part of climate change, she warns they could spread even further.

GALIL: Since the sea kept warming, it spread with the warming sea. And it now reaches Tunisia, Malta, and Sicily. And with the expected continued warming, it may reach European coast.

GOLD (voiceover): Their sting is more painful than that of many jellyfish native to the Mediterranean, Galil says. And in some cases, can cause people to go into anaphylactic shock and coma. But it's not just the harm they can do to beachgoers that is a cause for concern.

GALIL: The most important is having a swarm, a juggernaut, of very efficient predators going through the sea and eating up the local biota that other species are at a loss.

GOLD (voiceover): Galil says some short-term solutions like creating saltwater barriers in the Suez Canal could help stem the numbers. And within a week, this current wave is expected to subside. But as climate change continues to push temperatures upwards, these hauntingly beautiful yet dangerous creatures will keep coming. Hadas Gold, CNN, Tel Aviv.


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