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Russia's War On Ukraine; Remembering The Queen; Samarkand Summit; Wales and the Monarchy Share a Conflicted History; Biden: Republicans Using Migrants as Props; Freight Railways, Unions Reach Deal to Avoid Shutdown; Armenia-Azerbaijan Tensions: Ceasefire Ends Days of Fighting; Haiti Rocked by Protests after fuel Subsidies Cut; Typhoon Nanmadol to Strengthen Before Hitting Japan. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired September 16, 2022 - 01:00   ET



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes. I appreciate your company.

Coming up here on CNN Newsroom, what the Russians left behind. CNN takes you inside a border town retaken for the Ukrainian counter offensive. In London, borders waiting for hours for a few moments with the Queen as she lies in state. Plus, the fallout from the Florida governor's political stunt, sending planeloads of migrants from Texas to Massachusetts without warning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN Newsroom with Michael Holmes.

HOLMES: Welcome everyone. We begin in Ukraine and the discovery of the new mass burial site following the retreat of Russian forces in the northeast. Ukraine's Defense Ministry says at least 440 unmarked graves have been found in the city of Izyum, which was liberated last weekend. CNN does not know who was buried there nor how they died, but President Zelenskyy says Ukraine will provide more information on Friday when the media will be allowed to go to the city. And he was quick to point the finger at Russia.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): We want the world to know what is really happening and what the Russian occupation has led to in Bucha, Mariupol and now, unfortunately, Izyum. Russia is leaving death behind everywhere and must be held responsible. The world must bring Russia to real responsibility for this war.


HOLMES: Meanwhile, Ukraine says at least two Russian military units have been forced to disband because of recent losses in the northeast. Ukrainian officials also claimed they have liberated more settlements in the south of the country. In Washington, the US says it is sending another $600 million worth of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine. The package, though, does not include longer range tactical missiles for HIMARS systems Ukraine has already received.

Now all of this happening on the heels of a third visit to Kyiv by the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. After meeting, President Zelenskyy on Thursday, she said Ukraine's bid to join the European Union is well on track.

Ukraine successful offensive in the northeast has been moving with blistering speed, of course, in just one week. It liberated more territory that Russia captured in the past five months, and that includes some areas right along the Russian border. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh went to a town that was under Russian occupation just days ago. A warning, some of the images in his report are graphic.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: The darkness is breaking quite suddenly up here, and the road to Russia's border with Ukraine strewn with what it left behind in its panic, including its own. Two Russian soldiers shot dead in fighting about five days ago, yet another sign the Kremlin doesn't care what or who it leaves behind.

This is Volchansk, the closest town to Russia that Ukraine has taken back, and whose vital railways began the supply chain for most of Moscow's war. The Russians, everyone says, just packed up and vanished a few days ago. They've always been so close so part of life here, any joy is not universal.

They were not very good, says Andrey (ph), they didn't shoot anyone though.

The hardest was to see their checkpoints and their Z signs, and feel hatred growing in my heart, says Tatiana (ph). They can drink their oil and have their golden diamonds for desert but just leave us alone here.

Nastya (ph) is sailing ships, she says. Ukraine has been at war all the eight years she's known. I think it'll be better without them, she says. It was uncomfortable having them here. A parents nearby say fear meant they slept in their clothes all the six months.

It's kind of strange here to see how almost unaffected so much of this town has been and how life seems to have slipped comfortably back into normal when the Russians just picked up and left.


And it gives you a feeling of how normality must still reign. It's just a matter of six kilometers away across the border in Russia.

But normal is never coming back, particularly to hear the border line itself. Russia retreated back over it but must now live with the hatred that has stirred.

The fact that Ukrainian forces are able to push right up to here, the beginning of the border buffer zone with Russia. Russia is just a matter of kilometers in that direction. Is it another calamity Moscow has imposed upon itself. Its opponent in this war and it's struggling so deeply to defeat is now so close to Russia's own towns and cities.

A moment long coming, says local soldier Anton (ph).

How do you feel walking along the Ukraine-Russia border?

Some people have waited this for eight years, he says. It is the start of our victory.

Across the one sleepy field here, lives and harvests stalled wilting if another year will come. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Volchansk, Ukraine.


HOLMES: Well, the long awaited details of Queen Elizabeth's funeral have now been made public, and it promises to be one of the most elaborate events ever held in Great Britain. Later on Friday, King Charles will be joined by his younger sister and two brothers at a silent vigil at their mother's coffin in Westminster Hall, where mourners have been streaming through by the thousands since late Wednesday.

On Sunday, the King will host the royal reception at Buckingham Palace for the many heads of state and dignitaries who have been invited to the state funeral. The Prince and Princess of Wales visited with well wishes at the royal residence of Sandringham in Norfolk. The heir to the throne confessing the past few days have been difficult.


WILLIAM, PRINCE OF WALES: doing the walk yesterday was challenging. It brought back a few memories. It's one of these moments where you kind of think to yourself. I've prepared myself for this but I'm not that prepared. It's this weird kind of thing because we knew she was 96.


HOLMES: The Queen's funeral is set to officially get underway on Monday morning with just two minutes of silence just before noon. Until the coffin is removed from Westminster Hall, the public will be allowed to view it if they're willing to wait for hours. CNN's Anna Stewart has been speaking with people in the queue.


ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: A new day and old line. It started days ago. They've come from near and far, hundreds of thousands of people.

Why are you here today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To go and celebrate the Queen's life and pay our respects.

STEWART: From Big Ben to Tower Bridge. By lunchtime the lines stretch beyond four miles and it could go longer still. The government warning it already takes nine hours. Stamina is a must, there's little chance to sit down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was at the coronation as a young boy.

STEWART: You are at the coronation?


STEWART: And you're walking four miles.


STEWART: Good work. Well, best of luck with it, sir.

Well, you can see there are so many people here, and actually we've seen estimates that say it could top 750,000 over the coming days. People have traveled across the UK to be here and even from further afield. I've met some people who flew in from South Africa to be here.

There's a multitude of reasons to be here, primarily of course to pay their respects to the Queen. There's also a big moment in history, a moment they want to mark and remember. And they can do that by walking through London's landmarks, making new friends, sharing memories of the Queen and the hopes for a new king.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he understands what it is to be king. That's what he's certainly shown so far.

STEWART: What about Harry and Meghan? Do you think they'll come back to the fold?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they will come back to the fold, yes.

STEWART: They will.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they will come back with what's happened. I think the family should reunited.

STEWART: You hope they reunited.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They will. I think they will.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They will. Keep the fingers crossed.

STEWART: What about the new Prince of Wales and Princess of Wales?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, we love them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love them very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wish them all the best.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. We hope we will see one day when they sit on the throne.

STEWART: As the line reaches Westminster, excitement turns solemn. Inside, a deafening silence. Everyone in their own way marks the moment. Many overcome with emotion as they say their final farewell. That brief moment worth the hours and the miles. Anna Stewart, CNN, London.



HOLMES: Now, even at this early hour there are plenty of people eager to witness this historic moment for themselves. CNN's Nada Bashir is there. And I know you've been out there for hours with these patient people. What have they been telling you? How long is the line? And it looks like it's been a bit chilly as well.

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: It is certainly colder than it was yesterday, Michael, but yet we are seeing longer queues than yesterday. The wait time right now, according to the trackers, about nine hours, the queue about 3.6 miles long. So it has gone down since we got here just a few hours ago when it was almost five miles long. It does appear to be speeding up. But many of the people that we have been speaking to over the night seem quite upbeat. They are keen to be part of this moment of history. But more importantly, very keen to have the opportunity to pay their respects to late Queen Elizabeth.

And we have with us, Jen (ph) and Helen (ph). They've been waiting in the queue overnight. You've got to hear about 10:00 PM last night.


BASHIR: How has it been for you so far?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not too bad. It's not been cold. It's been OK. That's not been too bad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been slow and fast. It's a bit mixed, actually. But yes, fine. Met a lot of people in the crowd that have been very friendly, nice, yes.


BASHIR: And why was it so important for you to do this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I was three when she came to the throne, so I've spent all my life really, it's part of English history, isn't it? And it's something that you just have to do. I came to the Queen mother's laying in state.

BASHIR: How does this compare to that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I came on the last night of that, and I only had to queue from London. I was only about an hour-and-a-half, but --

BASHIR: So this is a lot longer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's when you get into Westminster Hall. It's, you know, the atmosphere. And I think that's when it's kind of hits you. And I think it's been a shock to us all, you know, and I think that's when you actually get kind of closure in a way. It's nice to pay respects.

BASHIR: And this is, of course, an emotional moment of mourning for many people, but we are welcoming in a new monarch. What are your thoughts on seeing the new king?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, fine. Yes, I think Charles will do a very good job, actually. I think he was ready for it. He's been expecting it for a while. I think he's going to do a good job, yes. And I think Camilla is wonderful actually. I think between them, they'll sort it, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just going to be a bit strange having a king and not a queen, you know, when you've had somebody there for sort of 70 years. It's going to be a bit of getting used to. But I think, you know, as I say, I think he's got -- he has some good training, he's got someone who really brilliant sort of follow on and has been able to sort of show him the ropes really, so yes.

BASHIR: I mean, King Charles will be taking part in that vigil later tonight around the Queen's coffin. For those watching who are perhaps considering joining the queue, is it worth it?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Something you've got to do now. Because if you don't, you're going to think all the time I wish I'd have done that, yes.

BASHIR: Well, good luck. I have to stay warm. Thank you.



BASHIR: There is still a while to go for the people who are waiting just behind me. I have to say, Michael, it is remarkable. It is stretching well beyond this point down the River Thames. They've got about two more hours to go in this queue but it is moving quickly. And just across the river is, of course, the Palace of Westminster where the Queen is lying in state until Monday morning when that funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey.

HOLMES: Yes. I -- like how many miles you've covered in the last few days. Speaking of what's to come, tell us what's on the schedule for tomorrow and then the rest of today for that matter.

BASHIR: Well, Michael, preparations are well underway for the funeral on Monday. The infrastructure is being built. The security preparations are certainly underway as well. We can see that across the streets of Westminster. But while there is a funeral to be planned and to go ahead on Monday, the royal family does have several engagements to go today and over the weekend. The new king, King Charles III, and his Queen Consort Camilla taking part in their first visit to Cardiff and Wales as King and Queen Consort. The King, of course, was the Prince of Wales more than 50 year.

So this is their first visit. They are to be taking part in a memorial service later this morning. And then they will be meeting with the crowds there, expecting thousands to take the streets of Cardiff for a chance to see the new king. But, of course, as we just mentioned there, a little later this evening, the King and the rest of the Queen's children, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward will be taking part in that vigil.

And what we've seen around the coffin, the Queen's coffin, in the hall of Westminster is a 24-hour vigil by soldiers serving the royal household. But it will be the Queen's children this evening we're expecting who will take part in that vigil.

So for many of the people who will be waiting in this queue later today, this isn't only an opportunity to pay their respects to the Queen but it's also an opportunity to see the new monarch and other senior members of the royal family in the Palace of Westminster. Michael?


HOLMES: All right. Good to see you. Thanks, Nada. Nada Bashir there for us, all right.

Well, Vladimir Putin calls it a partnership "as solid as the mountains." Just ahead, China's president walks a fine line when it comes to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. We're live in Beijing for you. Also, emergency shelters set up in Martha's Vineyard after dozens of migrants landed on that Massachusetts Island. US President Joe Biden calling it a political stunt. We'll have the very latest.


HOLMES: Let's return now to Ukraine and the discovery of a new mass burial site following the retreat of Russian forces in the northeast. Ukraine's Defense Ministry says at least 440 graves have been found in the city of Izyum, which was liberated last week. CNN does not know who was buried there nor how they died. But President Zelenskyy says Ukraine will provide more information on Friday when the media will be allowed to go to the city.

Andreas sub joke is a member of the Ukrainian Parliament. He's joining me now from Kyiv. And thanks for doing so. I wanted to start with Izyum and this mass grave Ukraine says has been found. There have already, of course, been war crimes elsewhere in the country, Bucha and other places. Do you expect to see more evidence of war crimes as the Russians retreat?

ANDRII OSADCHUK, UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT MEMBER: Good evening. Thanks for having me here. For us, it's absolutely dramatic to liberate our territory as fast as possible because hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians during all this months were under occupation. And unfortunately, what I know is a member of the Parliament and the deputy head of the Law Enforcement Committee, that more its words are coming on Russian atrocities on occupied territories.

As from Izyum City, we should just mention as -- from other, there's more city officials recently captured backed by Ukrainian army. Unfortunately, Russians, they never follow the rules of war and civilians were always a target for Russian military. So unfortunately, it's the fact that more evidences of mass war crimes will come and Ukraine doing all the best together with our allies to investigate each case.

HOLMES: I wanted to ask you too what you made of the retreating Russian forces targeting infrastructure, like power generation taking out entire areas from the electricity grid. And also more recently, water pumping stations and a dam in Kryvyi Rih, which has led to residents having to evacuate.


I mean, what do you make of that? Is that just revenge?

OSADCHUK: Again, that's typical ways for Russians to conduct warfare. I'm just coming back here to my discussion, which I had in June, this summer, with our refugees in Paris. They asked me, shall they come back to Ukraine in autumn or winter? And my answer in June was that, it still will be very, very dangerous mostly from infrastructural point of view. I was predicting that they will attack, (inaudible) heating power supply stations. And unfortunately, we see that now.

For the last week after another success of Russian military in the east, there were blackout in Kharkiv, which is the second largest city in Ukraine. And you're right, it was attack on the water pumping station in Kryvyi Rih, which is definitely a revenge of Russian. And then the way how they conduct the warfare. As soon as they have problems with military, they attack civilian and civilian infrastructure.

HOLMES: Yes. And before I move on to the next question, we've actually just received the first pictures of these mass graves that have just come into us, just a couple of images. And you can see them there on your screen. A number -- the Ukrainian say more than 400 bodies. So we'll know more in the next 24 hours or so. I want to go back to Russia and there has been increased public opposition within Russia to the war, fairly small, but it does exist and it is public.

There was one pro-Kremlin blogger on telegram who said, "Lord, save the Russian soldiers from blows from the front, and even more blows from the back." Is there or could there be soon any realistic threat to Putin if the current path of the war continues in these public pronouncements continue.

HOLMES: So first of all, from the very beginning of this big war, it was understood that Russia is trying to recruit soldiers from the distant regions of Russia, not to create any emotions in Moscow or St. Petersburg. And we see the paramount majority of losses of Russian military, and for the moment more than 50,000 Russians were killed in Ukraine, but most of these people from very rural areas of Russia, and it's not really visible in the big cities, especially Moscow and St. Petersburg.

But from another hand, you should realize that the Russian leadership pyramid is a typical mafia model. And each criminal model, if the leader is making big mistake, it's a big waste for him. And we believe that all the circle of Putin, all this Russian billionaires, they really understand that things are going very bad for Russia and for all of them. And I will not exclude that everything may end up dead expectedly, because now they're fighting not for success in Ukraine. They're fighting for their lives, literally for their lives.

So that's why again, I will not exclude that this war may end up that unexpectedly with the kind of coup in (inaudible). And you remember that we saw that during last two decades several times in Moscow before.

HOLMES: Yes. And Russian soldiers, it must be said, fighting for a salary. They're not fighting for their country. So the motivation and morale is different. I read that 91% of Ukrainian support Zelenskyy, 98% are confident in victory, so a very unified Ukraine. Andrii, we're going to leave it there. Andrii Osadchuk, thank you so much.

OSADCHUK: Thank you.

HOLMES: Now, Xi Jinping appears to be doing a rather delicate dance along the ancient Silk Road in Samarkand in Uzbekistan. The Chinese president met with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, pledging mutual support and cooperation on core interests. But only Mr. Putin mentioned the war in Ukraine .CNN's Ivan Watson reports.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Two leaders united by their dislike of the US. Xi Jinping making his first trip outside of COVID lockdown China in more than two years, face to face with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, who quickly addresses the elephant in the room.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): We highly appreciate the balanced position of our Chinese friends in connection with the Ukrainian crisis. We understand your questions and concerns in this regard.


WATSON: Questions and concerns about Russia's deadly war in Ukraine, a shift in tone from the last time these two men met. At the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, Xi and Putin announced a friendship with no limits, and called for a new world order not dominated by Washington.

But only weeks later, Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine, and it has not gone according to plan. Russia's military battered. Its economy increasingly isolated. Putin now needs China more than ever. But in his public comments, the Chinese leader made no mention of Ukraine. The White House argues when it comes to this war, Chinese friendship does have limits. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KIRBY, NSC COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: We haven't seen the Chinese do anything overtly to support the effort by Minister Putin inside Ukraine. Clearly they haven't publicly condemned it. I think the Chinese as they watch what's going on here, they recognize how isolated Moscow is from the rest of the international community, recognize the economic costs and consequences that this war is having on the Russian economy.

WATSON: Thanks in large part to the ongoing COVID lockdowns of entire Chinese cities, the Chinese economy is also taking a beating something. Something Xi can't afford to ignore as he prepares to grant himself a third term in office.

The Chinese and Russian navies are conducting joint patrols in the Pacific Ocean, but these types of shows of force have been challenged by the fierce resistance displayed by a much smaller military fighting on the battlefields of Ukraine. Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


HOLMES: And let's bring in CNN's Beijing Bureau Chief Steven Jiang live this hour in the Chinese capital. Steven, just fascinating to see Vladimir Putin thank Mr. Xi for China's position on Ukraine and Mr. Xi not even mentioning Ukraine, bring us up to date.

STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: That's right, Michael. As Ivan mentioned there, it does show some limits in the so-called no limits partnership and also shows this imbalance in this relationship with China increasingly clearly being the greater power. That's why while Xi made no mention of Ukraine publicly, Putin definitely mentioned Taiwan, which of course, is perhaps China's most important so called core interest and a source of its growing tensions with the West, especially the US after that controversial visit by Nancy Pelosi.

So Putin not only pledged Russia's continued support for China's claim in position, even went out of his way to condemn the US and its allies for their provocative actions against China in this regard. And if you read between the lines, Xi also said he is willing to work with Putin to show the world the responsibilities of great powers in terms of injecting stability into a world of turbulence. And that is seen by some as a subtle or even not so subtle approach of Russia, because obviously invading your neighbor is not doing that.

And the uncertainty and the economic fallout from that war, of course, has not been good for the already struggling Chinese economy. That's why Xi is very likely continue to straddle that is a broadly speaking. He is going to continue to offer Putin support diplomatically and strengthening bilateral ties. But he's also not going to make China itself a target of Western sanctions, because China obviously has a much bigger trading relationship with the West than with Russia. And also needs continued access to Western money and markets.

But it's also worth noting that from the Chinese perspective, this trip by Xi Jinping is not just about a sign of Russian ties, it is really -- they're trying to highlight China's growing interest and clout in the Central Asian Region and many nations there, obviously, with a very strong suspicion of Putin's intentions in their countries. That's why you see the same media here really putting out a propaganda blitz, highlighting Xi's meetings with other leaders, his interactions with other leaders in this trip, really showing how China as a multi- dimensional power, has other interests and relationships to take care of as well. Michael.

HOLMES: All right. Steven, appreciate the update. Steven Jiang there live in Beijing for us.

Now, there is a long tradition of the heir to the British throne being named the Prince of Wales but there's also a history of Wales fighting against English rule. We'll have a report on what's at stake for the monarchy as King Charles begins his reign in just a few moments. We'll be right back.



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes thanks for being with us.

Now, thousands upon thousands of people currently waiting outside Westminster Hall in London, for a chance to view the Queen's coffin before her funeral.

I want to show you the scene right now, where the late monarch is lying in state until Monday morning. Later this Friday, the King and his younger brothers and sister will hold a silent vigil by their mother's coffin.

Up to 2,000 foreign dignitaries are expected to attend the Queen's funeral and will be hosted by King Charles at a reception on Sunday.

A live tracker of the queue to get inside Westminster Hall, shows it is currently almost four miles long, with an estimated wait time of around 11 hours.

Now Wales, the U.K. country, has a history of resisting English rule, and also accepting the reigning Prince of Wales. A majority of Welsh people say they're in favor of the monarchy, even as some Welsh leaders call for an end to it.

CNN's Nina Dos Santos with the story.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tributes for Queen Elizabeth are everywhere to be seen across Wales. As one of the countries that makes up the United Kingdom, Wales has played a special role in the royal succession. And yet, its part in the monarchy's future remains an open question.

By tradition, the heir to the British throne is formally titled the Prince of Wales. It's a relic of the medieval Game of Thrones between England and Wales, as the English Crown looks to control its Welsh rivals, throughout the Middle Ages.

This heritage still resonates in Wales, a country with its own language, its own national identity, and its history of resistance to English rule.


DOS SANTOS: So in 1969, when Prince Charles was to be officially crowned the Prince of Wales, there were fears he could face embarrassment. Just 20 years old and with a flimsy knowledge of Wales' culture, Charles was sent to University College Aberystwyth -- for a crash course in the Welsh language.

EMYR LEWIS, PROFESSOR, ABERYSTWYTH UNIVERSITY: There was a desire to use the unifying appeal to the royal family as a way of diverting attention and support away from people who saw the future for Wales as lying outside the United Kingdom.

DOS SANTOS: At the service with Queen Elizabeth at his side, Charles spoke first in Welsh.

Then in English, pledging his service to the people.

KING CHARLES III: I am more than grateful, to the people of this principality, for making my brief stay so immensely worthwhile.


DOS SANTOS: It was a warmly-received speech, and a pivotal moment in the young prince's life.

Back then Welsh nationalists were mainly activists and academics but today they're in government, in Wales' own parliament, the senate. After the death of the Queen the leader of Plaid Cymru, the nationalist party said that the monarchy's future in an independent Wales should be decided by the people.

His predecessor put it more bluntly saying, Wales has no need for a prince.

The Welsh public, however, are less scathing. A survey in March from Cardiff University said 55 percent of Welsh people believe Britain should continue to have a monarchy.

JAMES GRIFFITHS, RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, WELSH ELECTION STUDY: There's a lot of tacit consent for the monarchy in Wales, they may not like what's happening, they might not like some of the money that they get but they are willing to continue to accept the status quo.

DOS SANTOS: As the line of succession moves along, the title of Prince of Wales now falls to the new heir, Prince William, who says he is honored to serve the Welsh people.

William already has a long association with Wales. As a Royal Air Force pilot, he was stationed on the Welsh island of Anglesey. And it was there that he made his first family home with Kate Middleton, after the birth of their son Prince George.

For now, the Welsh people will pause in this moment of grief and ponder the future ahead.

Nina Dos Santos, CNN -- Cardiff.


HOLMES: The U.S. President Joe Biden is slamming the governors of Texas and Florida, for sending migrants to cities run by Democrats. In the last few days, groups arrived at Vice President Kamala Harris's official residence in Washington D.C., and also Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.

CNN's Miguel Marquez has our report on that and the scramble to find food and shelter for those migrants.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ubaldo Arcaya (ph) was in San Antonio Texas yesterday, along with 50 other Venezuelan migrants. Today he's in Martha's Vineyard.

When you got off the plane, I asked him, and what did you think of this place?

"Beautiful, gorgeous," he says, "The people are very friend. He says in Texas he was promised help if you got on the plane. No idea where he was going.

There were three options, he said, Washington, Utah and here in Massachusetts, whatever was available. The plane left and brought us here.

It's a tactic we've seen in Texas, Arizona and now Florida. Republican governors shipping migrants to so-called sanctuary cities and states, with little to no notice.

DYLAN FERNANDES, MASSACHUSETTS STATE REPRESENTATIVE: There is no low that these people will go -- they'll keep going lower and lower. And they are willing to use humans -- children, women, families -- as political pawns for their own gain. It is depraved, it is evil, it is wrong.

But what makes America great, is what we see here today, which is an island community, and the state of Massachusetts coming together to support the people here.

MARQUEZ: Arcaya, a 27-year-old mechanic from Venezuela, says he's been welcomes with food and new clothes here on the island.

He tells us he made a difficult month and a half long journey for liberty, democracy, and the promise of America. "When you step on American soil, you feel at ease, that you are here

and well protected. You lose the stress of the journey we had to go through in seven countries. Very stressful, across all of Central America."

This parish house bustling with activity. Volunteers and organizers working since yesterday to provide food, shelter and immigration services.

LARKIN STALLINGS, MARTHA'S VINEYARD COMMUNITY SERVICES: We've got the bodies to do this. The biggest problem was the short notice, and that was obviously intentional.

MARQUEZ: Just 20 minutes' notice, says the airport manager, a deliberate move by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is taking credit for the surprise trip.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Our message is, you know, we're not a sanctuary state. We don't have benefits or any of that. There are some sanctuary jurisdictions, and that would be better.

MARQUEZ: But that message, not sitting well with officials here in Martha's Vineyard.

FERNANDES: We're going to come together and support whoever shows up here. And we're going to make sure that people have the food, water, and shelter that they need.

You know, Ron DeSantis and Republicans might want to play political games with peoples lives, I believe that's incredibly inhumane to be using women and children and families as a political pawn.

MARQUEZ: And I want to give you a sense of what's happening here more than 24 hours after these immigrants were brought to Martha's Vineyard.

This is St. Andrew's Parish House, this is the only a homeless shelter on Martha's Vineyard, it usually holds ten people, they've had to increase it on sort of an emergent basis to hold up to 50.


MARQUEZ: Lawyers who've been meeting with the migrants are starting to get a sense of where they're from, what their legal situation is. They say that all of them that they spoke to were told untruths and lies about getting on that plane and where they were going to go and what sort of resources would be here.

So they're trying to sort through all of that. But they also say that in the days ahead, in a few days maybe, most if not all of those 50 immigrants who arrived here will move on to other cities across the country. Back to you.


HOLMES: Our thanks to Miguel Marquez there. Miguel Marquez Now a sigh of relief for U.S. consumers, a rail strike that would have

been disastrous to the U.S. economy has been avoided. A tentative last-minute deal between labor unions and railroad management was reached on Thursday just hours before the strike was set to begin.

U.S. President Joe Biden, whose administration played a major role in the talks, offered his thoughts shortly after the announcement was made.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This agreement is a big win for America. This agreement can avert significant damage that any shutdown would have brought.

Our nation's rail system is the backbone of our supply chain, with unemployment still in record low and signs of progress and lowering costs, this agreement allows us to continue to rebuild a better America. With an economy that truly works for working people and their families.


HOLMES: A narrowly avoided strike would have been the first of its kind in 30 years, Amtrak had canceled all of its long-distance trains earlier this week in anticipation but now says it's working to quickly restore service and alert impacted customers of available departures.

The deal is tentative, and must get the greenlight from union rank and file, but union leaders say that shouldn't be a problem.

And in the coming hours, Mr. Biden is set to meet for the first time with family members of two Americans imprisoned in Russia. The U.S. has been working on a deal to swap a convicted Russian arms dealer for women's basketball star Brittney Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan.

CNN's Kylie Atwood with the latest.


KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: A senior administration official is giving sort of a status update on these ongoing Biden administration negotiations with Russia to try and secure the release of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, saying that there has been movement but not breakthrough indicating there has been back and forth but also saying that the Biden administration has encouraged Russia to put a serious counteroffer on the table but they haven't done that.

Instead, what they have done is repeatedly demanded for something that the Biden administration is not capable of delivering on. That's how a senior administration official describes it. Now, of course, this comes as President Biden is meeting on Friday with the wife of Brittney Griner, Cherelle Griner, and the sister of Paul Whelan, Elizabeth Whelan.

These two families have both been pressing the White House for this meeting with President Biden for quite some time. And so, it is significant that he is meeting with them, but the White House is not indicating if there is any major breakthrough that he will present to these families.

Kylie Atwood, CNN -- at the State Department.


HOLMES: Much more to come on CNN NEWSROOM including a fragile cease fire between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We'll see what sparked the latest fighting in a decades-long conflict.

We'll be right back.



HENRY: A new cease fire between Armenia and Azerbaijan appears to be holding for now. At least 170 people though have been killed in two days of fighting. A previous agreement brokered Wednesday by Russia was broken almost immediately.

The countries once part of the Soviet Union have been fighting for decades over Nagorno-Karabakh, the mountainous region is inside Azerbaijan's borders but is controlled by ethnic Armenians.

The U.N. and the U.S. both appealing to both sides for peace.


MIROSLAV JENCA, UNITED NATIONS ASSISTANT SECRETARY GENERAL: We urge the parties to take advantage of this important mechanism as an essential step towards alleviating tensions at the border.

This week's events are also a stark reminder that tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan also have the potential to destabilize the region. They highlight the need for all actors, in the region and beyond, to act constructively, to press the sides to work for a peaceful settlement.


HOLMES: And joining me now from London, Laurence Broers. He is an associate fellow in the Russia and Eurasia program at Chatham House. He's also the author of "Armenia and Azerbaijan: Anatomy of a Rivalry".

It's good to see you. And thanks for joining us bringing your expertise. This has been a long term dispute? Why this flare-up, and why now, briefly?

LAURENCE BROERS, ASSOCIATE FELLOW, RUSSIA AND EURASIA PROGRAM, CHATHAM: Well, good morning. Yes, the conflict goes back to the late 1980s but the latest big outbreak was in 2020. A six-week war in which more than 7,000 people were killed. Now that war resolved many of the issues, but Azerbaijan still wants to drive for a full peace treaty. And I think what we're seeing now is the use of military pressure driving Armenia to agree to a peace treaty on Azerbaijan's terms.

HOLMES: I mean to a lot of people it might seems to be a localized regional dispute, but what are the wider implications if it escalates in a regional sense.

BROERS: Well, I think this particular cease-fire is holding. I think we will see more escalations in the future. The regional implications are that you've got these three regional powers -- Russia, Turkey, and Iran who neighbor the region, and all have different kinds of interests implicated in the relationship between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Further afield, you've got the European Union and the United States, who are also playing roles in the mediation process.

I don't think we're going to see a large regional war now, but there is always this risk that they can be dragged in.

HOLMES: And to that point, you know, how does or how might the Ukraine war and Vladimir Putin play into the tensions. He's a bit distracted at the moment. As you point, out Armenia has been a Russian ally and has specifically called for Russia's help.

And the Turkish leader Erdogan has warned Armenia it will face quote, "consequences" for its aggressive attitude.

BROERS: Well, Russia is the traditional regional hegemon in the South Caucuses. It is a Russian peacekeeping mission that is currently deployed in Nagorno Karabakh itself. And Russia is formerly an ally of Armenia.

With the Ukraine war, I think we're seeing a really dramatic decline in Russia's standing as a security patron, and in the standing and perception of Russian security guarantees.

So I think this is opening up an opportunity for local actors, to take matters into their own hands I think we're seeing that with Azerbaijan. And we're also seeing it in central Asia. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have been shooting at each other in recent days.

So yes, a very significant degree of distractions, resulting in a kind of security vacuum in the former Soviet Union.

HOLMES: And it's interesting is it not that the European Union has grown more dependent on Azerbaijan for energy as it seeks for alternatives to Russian gas. How might this uptick play into Europe's energy crisis potentially?

BROERS: Well, that's right Michael. The European Union has been looking for alternatives to plug its gas deficit in the wake of the war in Ukraine.


BROER: Now, Azerbaijan is a significant gas supplier and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen was actually in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku in July of this year, signed an agreement on the doubling of Azerbaijan's gas supplies to the European Union.

Now that is significant, but it is relatively speaking a very small share, about 13 percent of the gas deficit would be (INAUDIBLE) to fill. So Azerbaijan is not that big a player in the energy stakes.

I think the European Union is actually more bound in and more interested in Azerbaijan, also because it his field and it's only the (INAUDIBLE) initiative.

There have been four meetings in Brussels over recent months and E.U. is obviously in a very difficult position now trying to hold its mediation effort together in the wake of this violence.

HOLMES: Yes. Tensions worth keeping an eye on and I know you do. So we appreciate that. Laurence Broers, thank you so much there in London for us.

BROERS: Thank you. Thank you, Michael.

HOLMES: Haiti is already the poorest country in the western hemisphere and things are about to get even worse now that the government is ending fuel subsidies, effectively doubling the price for consumers.

Protesters have turned out in force right across the country, CNN's Patrick Oppmann with more.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Widespread protests across Haiti have paralyzed much of the nation following an announcement by the Haitian government that the price of fuel would be more than doubled.

The Haitian government says they simply cannot afford to offer subsidies anymore on fuel with the runaway inflation taking place in Haiti that the government has to increase more than double the price of fuel to be able to continue selling fuel to Haitians.

But this has provoked a widespread outpouring of anger. This has led to thousands of Haitians taking to the street, not just in Port-Au- Prince, but across the country, and has led to violence, attacks on gas stations. It has caused foreign embassies, many foreign embassies to shut down. And international carriers of the flights to come into Haiti. Many of them to suspend their services, as tensions mount.

The Haitian government has said that the runaway inflation in this country has forced them to more than double the price of fuel, that essentially they cannot continue to offer subsidies, if they wanted to.

If the government is going to continue to operate to offer services, but many Haitians complain that the government offers them few services.

The gang violence is out of control in Haiti, that there is little protection offered by the police, and that the government is increasingly failing to provide any services. And essentially, what the government is proposing, this huge spike in the cost of fuel will bleed many Haitians dry.

Patrick Oppmann, CNN-- Havana.


HOLMES: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Just, ahead Japan in the crosshairs of a powerful typhoon. We'll have the latest forecast when we come back.


HOLMES: Pope Francis says he is on board with selling weapons to Ukraine, if it's done for the right reason. On his flight back from Kazakhstan on Thursday, the Pontiff was asked if those sales were morally acceptable. He said, they could be, but only for self-defense.



POPE FRANCIS, PONTIFF, HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): Defending ourselves is not only lawful, but also an expression of love for the country. Who does not defend themselves? Who does not defend something does not love it.


HOLMES: But Francis said selling weapons for profit or to incite wars is not the right thing to do. He also pushed for a dialogue as a way to help end the war in Ukraine.

Japan bracing for a direct hit from a powerful typhoon this weekend. Let's bring in meteorologist Derek Van Dam with the latest. What are you seeing, Derek?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Earlier this week, it was eastern China in the crosshairs, now we've got this behemoth over the western Pacific. This is typhoon Nanmadol, and it's got its eye set on mainland Japan. We did some calculations, and as this projected path is expected to run parallel with the mainland of this country, the potential to have over 125 million people feel the impacts of this particular storm, as it just races across this area across the weekend with strong winds, heavy rain and coastal storm surge as well.

Here's the latest. 205 kilometer per hour sustained wins. that makes it an equivalent to a Category 3 Atlantic hurricane. It only needs to reach to 240 kilometers per hour to actually be considered a super typhoon.

And if we look at the projected path from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center it shows a strengthening typhoon to super typhoon status within 24 hours. It approaches the southern Ryukyu Islands once again. This is yet another typhoon that's impacting the region, the southernmost island in the mainland of Japan going forward by early Sunday morning local time.

Rainfall totals across this area could exceed 400 millimeters in a five-day period. So actually it's a three day according to our legend, and that of course leaves the potential for landslides, localized flash flooding.

And then the rain will overspread much of the major parts of Japan, including Tokyo, as we round out the weekend and start off the work week next week. You'll see this projected path as it continues to curve to a north northwesterly direction and then eventually take that easterly track.

And there's such a significant difference especially when you're talking about how water and its runoff capabilities fare compared to national ground and urban ground. You get 55 percent more runoff within a city district, compared to that of a natural surrounding, where much of the water is actually absorbed, Michael.

HOLMES: All right, Derek Van Dam, appreciate that. And I love the jacket. I just do.

VAN DAM: Thanks. I'm taking after you.

HOLMES: I want it.

I'm Michael Holmes at the CNN Center in Atlanta. Becky Anderson will join me in a moment from London as CNN's special coverage continues.