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North Korea Launches Ballistic Missile Over Japan; Ukraine Offers U.S. Target Oversight In Bid For New Rockets; Iran Escalates Crackdown On Protesters, Witnesses Describe Students Being Beaten, Shot And Detained; Liz Truss Government Promises New Plan After Tax Cut U-Turn. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired October 04, 2022 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Wherever you are around the world, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

Coming up, J-alert Tokyo which has evacuated notices in the north, train services are stopped as a North Korean ballistic missile travels over Japan. The first such test flight in five years.

Ukraine's reality in Moscow is fiction. Putin announces the annexation of Ukrainian territory at the same time his troops are in fast retreat from that very same territory.

And is Liz Truss toast? No longer the new U.K. Prime Minister? Now, beleaguered from the damage caused by 10 days of economic mistakes.

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

VAUSE: The first time in five years a North Korean ballistic missile has flown over Japan, not only a clear violation of U.N. sanctions, but what is seen as an attempt by Pyongyang to escalate tensions with Tokyo and Washington.

South Korean officials say a suspected intermediate range ballistic missile was launched at 7:22 a.m. not far from North Korea's border with China, traveling over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Sirens alerted residents to take cover. Train services were suspended before the missile crashed into the Pacific Ocean.

North Korea has conducted an unprecedented number of missile tests this year, including five in the past week.

CNN's Paula Hancocks following developments from Seoul but first, we have Blake Essig standing by in Tokyo. We also have Paula now, we'll go to you first Paula, Japan, U.S. and the South Korea (INAUDIBLE) trilateral military exercises earlier last week, that was known to be a provocation to Pyongyang but this seems beyond the normal. What's happening right now? PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): John, as you mentioned, we have seen a flurry of launches from North Korea in recent weeks and months, but as you say, five in the past 10 days. But what we have seen this morning is an escalation, a significant escalation from Pyongyang. This is an intermediate range ballistic missile, according to officials in both South Korea and Japan, and the very fact that it did fly over the territory of Japan is significant in itself, first time in about five years. But it does bring extra concerns to the region.

The extra concerns of the fact that there was no warning from North Korea that this was happening, what danger does that pose either to flights in the area or to ships in the water.

In fact, this was addressed by the White House in their response, we had a comment from the National Security Council advisor saying that it is destabilizing. They condemned the launch showing it shows a blatant disregard not only for the United Nations Security Council resolutions, but also international safety norms.

Now, this has been roundly condemned by the U.S., by South Korea, by Japan as well saying just how destabilizing an effect this does have on the region.

One interesting thing we will be watching out for is whether or not North Korea actually announces this launch to its own people. What we've seen in recent days and weeks is that North Korea has not been publicly acknowledging what it is doing with these launches itself.

There are a number of reasons for that potentially. Its people have other concerns at this point. So, whether it's COVID, whether it is food shortages, we know are happening within North Korea, or whether or not it is that Pyongyang wants these launches to be seen as a normal -- a normal effect of a military trying to increase its capability.

Whatever the reason, it will be interesting to see if Pyongyang actually does admit to this one, but there has been a very quick and very joint response from officials in those three countries.

As you say, John, they have been carrying out naval drills, which is something that Pyongyang would often react to. We also had the U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris here just last week, and she went up to the DMZ, the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, so that again, would have been seen as a provocation from Pyongyang's point of view.

VAUSE: Stay with us, Paula. Let's go to Blake now. Blake Essig in Tokyo.

So, Blake, tell us exactly where was the path of this missile? Over what part of Japan was it and where did it end up landing? And why was the need for this alert, which is very rare alert, this J-alert which was issued by Tokyo.

[00:05:04] BLAKE ESSIG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): You know, John, so what we know at this point is that this missile flew directly over Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido. What happened early this morning around 7:30 a.m. local time, many people here in Japan were headed to work when they received this warning from the government that at least one ballistic missile fired by North Korea was possibly headed towards Japan's northernmost island, a warning that has since been validated immediately following the launch.

In a series of tweets, the prime minister's office urged people living in Hokkaido and the country's Northeastern prefecture of Aomori to evacuate inside a building or underground of warning that was apparently ignored by a lot of people.

Some wrote on social media that despite the air raid warning and initial concern that if a missile was heading their way, nothing could be done so, most people went to work and life went on as normal.

But despite the fact that people here in Japan are seemingly used to North Korea's routine missile tests, this morning -- this morning's launch, excuse me, as was touched on by Paula as well, marks a significant escalation. That's because for the first time, a North Korean missile has flown over Japan since 2017, when it launched a Hwasong-12 ballistic missile which also passed over Hokkaido.

During a press conference held this morning, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called North Korea's recent missile tests the fifth in roughly the past week outrageous. The country's Chief Cabinet Secretary also weighed in calling today's launch a threat to the public. Take a listen.


HIROKAZU MATSUNO, JAPANESE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY (through translator): A ballistic missile launch that flew over our country is not only an issue for aircraft and vessels, it's a serious and problematic action that involves the safety of residents living in the area where the missile flew over.

We have strongly protested against North Korea in the strongest terms.


ESSIG: And Japan's public broadcaster NHK is reporting that North Korea fired an intermediate range ballistic missile that flew about 4000 kilometers over a 20 minute period. Experts believe that today, the North tested again its Hwasong-12 ballistic missile. Similar to the one that last flew over Japan in 2017, making this the third time this particular missile has traveled over Japan and the eighth time that it's been tested.

Our experts also say that this serves as a reminder of the severity and range of security threats facing Japan that also includes China to the south, and Russia to the north.

And with this latest missile test, possibly being a direct challenge to the Biden-Kishida and union governments to coordinate a response, John.

VAUSE: Blake, we appreciate that. Blake Essig there in Tokyo. Paula Hancocks in Seoul. Thanks to you both.

Vladimir Putin's decision to illegally annex four Ukrainian regions is expected to get the rubber stamp from Russia's upper house of parliament when it meets in just a few hours.

On Monday, the lower house voted to approve the annexation of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions despite being a violation of international law.

The process is moving forward even though some territory Moscow now claims is back under Ukrainian control and exact borders have not been determined.

Moscow's move comes as Russia forces suffer a series of defeats on the battlefield and Ukrainian forces see further gains.

Images show the Ukrainian flag being raised as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reports new liberated settlements in a number of regions.

Ukrainian forces are now pushing towards the occupied city of Kherson captured one town on the western bank of Dnipro River. They're also said to be advancing into the Luhansk region.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The prospect of these hostilities is obvious, more and more occupiers are trying to escape. The enemy army is suffering more and more losses. And there is a growing understanding that Russia made a mistake by starting the war against Ukraine.


VAUSE: Ukraine is looking to bolster its recent gains on the battlefield with state of the art rocket systems from the U.S. and in an effort to sway Washington. Kyiv is now offering the Biden administration full visibility into the list of intended Russian targets.

CNN's Alex Marquardt has more now, reporting from Washington.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Ukraine continues to push for bigger and more sophisticated weapons from the west and the United States in their fight against Russia. Now they're doing so by offering the U.S. a remarkable level of transparency, sharing the Russian targets that Ukraine intends to hit with the rockets that they're asking the U.S. for.

Now, at the top of the Ukrainian wish list is a long range U.S. missile system called ATACMS. So far, the U.S. has resisted giving Ukraine the ATACMS because the U.S. fears that the rockets could be fired into Russia and escalate the war. And Russia, for its part has said that this would cross a red line and make the U.S. a party to the conflict if those American rockets are giving -- given to Ukraine.

ATACMS can fly around 200 miles or 300 kilometers, that's about four times the distance of the longest range rocket that has been given to Ukraine by the U.S. so far, that rocket is fired from the HIMARS system that we have talked about so much for several months.


Ukraine says they need the longer range ATACMS now to reach Russian targets in Ukraine that they cannot currently strike in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine, including Crimea.

Targets like ammunitions depots, air defenses bases, and as one U.S. source told CNN, locations where Russia is launching Iranian drones from.

To try to comfort the U.S. and convince them to offer these long range attack on rockets, Ukraine is offering oversight of what they want to blow up as one senior Ukrainian official put it to me, they have described to the U.S. exactly what specific targets Ukraine needs to hit on Ukrainian territory that would essentially give the U.S. veto power over Ukraine's ability to target inside Russia with these rockets, which Ukraine argues they would not do that they could have done before now, and they have not with the U.S. HIMARS systems.

But that argument has failed to sway the U.S. so far. One U.S. official told me it is "low reward and high risk". The Pentagon has not ruled this out but says for now, Ukraine has the rockets that it needs for the current fight against Russia.

Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: On state T.V., the thousands of new Russian conscripts being mobilized by President Putin well equipped, the images posted on social media tell a very different story.

Stay with us later this hour for more on Russian morale on the front lines.

Images from Iran appeared to show a fight up room full of female students chanting anti-government slogans. They protest in the city Shiraz as part of a nationwide movement triggered by the death of a young woman after she was arrested by the morality police for not wearing her hijab correctly.

In the capital Tehran, riot police were still on guard Monday in Revolution Square after protests at a prominent university a day earlier.

And Iran's Supreme Leader is speaking out for the first time about the death of 20-year-old Mahsa Amini calling the incident tragic.

But Ayatollah Khamenei had harsh words for the United States and Israel, accusing them of fueling the unrest.

While speaking at a university for officer and police training, he said the protests were "schemes designed by the U.S. and the fake Zionist regime". The Ayatollah claimed they were aided by what he calls treasonous Iranians.

Meantime, U.S. President Joe Biden says he's gravely concerned about the crackdown against peaceful protesters after violence at Tehran University over the weekend. One of the demonstrators spoke exclusively to CNN's Jomana Karadsheh.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A snapshot of a night of horror at one of Iran's most prestigious universities, chaos, panic and fear of students. Some of Iran's best and brightest ran through the Sharif University car park in Tehran, chased by security forces on foot and on motorbikes.

Those who couldn't escape the violent crackdown hooded and taken away. We don't know what happened after the shot was fired. Birdshot and paint balls were used to crush the protest, and to stop those who are trying to film.

As news spread, crowds gathered outside chanting, free the students, fears of a repeat of the bloody 1999 crackdown on student protests, students were attacked in their dormitories of Tehran University.

CNN track down one of those who rushed to save students trapped inside. For his safety, we're concealing his identity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw this SOS call from Sharif coming. And one of my friends called, he just told me that please come save us. They are shooting at us.

I took one of my friends with me. So he could help me a little bit. So, we got on our bikes and we went there and we practically had to capture an America in our way into the university because they had guns, they had paintball guns, they had batons, little war zone, and there was blood everywhere.

KARADSHEH: No one really knows how many were hurt, how many were dragged away. The little video and harrowing accounts still trickling out into picture of the ruthless force used after students refused to attend classes and some chanted insults against the Supreme Leader.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When the students were led out by the security forces of the university, they were then stopped. They told that if you go near the supply station, we will start shooting. Go back into the university.

One of the teachers, one of the professors was trying to get a few of the students out. They told him to get the children out and you can go and he said no. After that, he came out of the car himself, locked the doors, they beat him up. A lot of the professors actually tried to save the students. [00:15:08]

KARADSHEH: Students in their thousands are staging protests on campuses and on the streets across the country. What started with demands for justice and accountability for the death of Mahsa Amini has quickly morphed into more daring widespread calls for regime change for bringing down the repressive Islamic Republic. Anger that has been building for years captured in video like this one, protesters in Tehran tearing down and destroying the Islamic Republic street sign.

The regime that has a bloody history of suppressing dissent is only just beginning to unleash all it's got against its own people. But defiant protesters say this time, there will be no turning back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no, no, no. This is far from over. We are not scared. We are outraged. We are furious.

You know, these people think that we are due to the previous generation that if they do this, we're going to just stop; we are not going to stop. This is a one way road for us. Because if we stop, they are going to kill even more people, take even more people into custody, torture them, rape them. These people can do anything. So, we won't stop. This is not the end. I promise you that.


VAUSE: During the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Fiona, Puerto Rico will receive $60 million in federal funds to help storm proof the island. The announcement was made by the U.S. President Joe Biden who visited the island Monday surveying the damage and meeting with victims.

He acknowledged the federal government has failed the U.S. territory after other natural disasters notably the response to Hurricane Maria back in 2017. He says his administration will do better.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After Maria, Congress approved billions of dollars for Puerto Rico. Much of a not having gotten here initially.

We're going to make sure you get every single dollar promised and I'm determined to help Puerto Rico build faster than in the past and stronger and better prepared for the future.


VAUSE: This week, the U.S. president will also survey storm damage in Florida. More than 100 people have been confirmed dead from Hurricane Ian.

A week on, the state is nowhere near full recovery. More than 450,000 customers still without power. Neighborhoods ruin flooded. Rescue efforts ongoing. Residents of the hard hit region Lee County say officials waited too

long to order evacuations.


SHAWN CRITSER, FLORIDA RESIDENT: And then when the evacuation order came, were like 24 hours. That's not a lot. But you know, we'll still kind of make it and it wasn't until Wednesday morning when we woke up and saw that it had made another adjustment. And at that point, it's just too late.


VAUSE: State and local leaders are refusing to accept responsibility for late evacuation notices. Here's how the governor responded to criticism.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Well, did you -- where was your industry stationed when the storm hit? Were you guys in Lee County? No, you were in Tampa. So that's you know, they were following the weather track and they had to make decisions based on that.

I will say, you know, they delivered the message to people, they had shelters open. You know, everybody had adequate opportunity to at least get to a shelter within the county.

But you know, a lot of the residents did not -- did not want to do that. I think for probably for various reasons. Some people just don't want to leave their home period, their island people whatever. But I think part of it was so much attention was paid to Tampa that I think a lot of them probably thought that they wouldn't get the worst of it.


VAUSE: Find out how you can help the victims of Hurricane Ian, visit our website

Still ahead, the Bank of England stepping in after a bond sell off and a (INAUDIBLE). The British government now rethinking those plans on how to fix an ailing economy, one that does not cause massive amounts of inflation or increase the debt.



VAUSE: Well at best, it could be said better late than never after 10 days of economic turmoil, the new U.K. Prime Minister has scrapped her economic plan to reboot Britain's economy, promising details soon on a new fiscal plan.

This came after an embarrassing episode of the conservative conference in Birmingham. Prime Minister Liz Truss and her finance minister are banning a proposal to cut taxes on Britain's wealthiest while much of the country is struggling with a cost of living crisis.

The plan sent the pound plunging, could signal trouble for Truss who's been on the job for less than a month.


KWASI KWARTENG, BRITISH CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER: What a day. It has been tough, but we need to focus on the job in hand. We need to move forward. No more distractions. We have a plan and we need to get on and deliver it. (INAUDIBLE).


VAUSE: More now, the latest reaction to the Tory turmoil from CNN's Bianca Nobilo reporting in from Birmingham.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The mood now in this auditorium where the Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke is empty and flat.

An exaggerated version of the move here our conservative party conference overall. When the chancellor took to the stage, he did so in perilous political circumstances. But he just performed a screeching U-turn on a controversial government policy scrapping the top rate of tax for Britain's wealthiest earners while the rest of the country struggles with a cost of living crisis.

But in the chancellor's speech, he barely made reference to that U- turn or the crisis that his policy had created.

KWARTENG: I know the plan put forward only 10 days ago has caused a little turbulence, I get it, I get it. We are listening and have listened. And now I want to focus on delivering the major parts of our growth package.

Because with energy bills skyrocketing at painful COVID aftermath, war on our continent, a 70-year high tax burden, slowing global growth rates and glacially slow infrastructure delivery, we couldn't simply do nothing.

Kwasi Kwarteng's speech was points and not so thinly veiled critique of the previous Conservative government's economic legacy. So, it did little to mend divisions, allay concerns or calm the party.

But there's one more chance for the government here at conference to steady the ship. And that will be when the prime minister takes to the stage on Wednesday.

The audience reception and level of enthusiasm when she speaks will be seen as a barometer of her leadership. Will there be support a willingness to give her another chance and let her lead or will Truss be abandoned by her party?

Bianca Nobilo, CNN, Birmingham. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Eswar Prasad is a professor of economics at Cornell University, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institute, and the former head of the IMF China division.

Professor, thanks for being with us.


VAUSE: So, in the days after this tax plan was announced, the British pound plummeted to an all-time low. Interest rates went up, there was a selloff of government bonds, which was the Bank of England to intervene. The IMF was publicly critical of it.

Beyond intangibles like trusting credibility in terms of dollars and cents or pounds and pence, is there a number that reflects the cost to the U.K. for the past 10 days for a plan with pretty much everyone and their dog said would be a disaster.

PRASAD: It'll take a while for all the costs to be fully realized John. In the short run, the pound did fall very substantially. It's come back up now that the Truss government has withdrawn one of their less popular elements of the plan, which was to cut the income tax on high income earners.

But I think the real cost is the disruption to the market on U.K. gilts, which is U.K. government bonds. And that is going to have significant ripple effects on the mortgage market, it's going to make it much harder for people looking to buy homes or in fact, will need to roll over their mortgages to get mortgages at low interest rates, those interest rates are going to be higher.


So, those disruptive effects to financial markets. And of course, the knock on effects on the fact that it's going to be much harder for the U.K. to borrow from investors abroad is going to matter a lot.

Now, it turns out the U.K. has been running a current account deficit, which means that it consumes a lot more than it produces. And that has to be financed by the rest of the world.

So, foreign investors are now going to charge the U.K. economy even more money in order to finance the deficit. So, there are going to be significant costs.

VAUSE: And as you've mentioned, there's only one part of this plan which has been taken away, which is the tax cuts for the wealthiest.

And (INAUDIBLE) Sunday, the prime minister, you know, she's not backing down, she said if there were problems with this package, it was because of the lack of groundwork before the announcement. Here she is.


LIZ TRUSS, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE PARTY LEADER: I do stand by the package we announced. And I stand by the -- by the fact that we announced it quickly because we had to act.

But I do accept we should have laid the ground better. I do accept that. I have learned from that.


VAUSE: What else should Liz have learned from all of this?

PRASAD: That is certainly one lesson. But perhaps a better lesson would have been to come up with a better package. Because the U.K. economy is in fairly dire straits, inflation is very high. There are prospects of the U.K. economy is going to go into recession.

And what is needed at this stage is some way to build confidence by thinking about measures that could improve productivity, growth that could protect people in the economy from the effects of these high prices.

And certainly, the cap on energy causes a welcome move.

But the reality is there were many other measures there that were unfunded, in other words, expenditures or tax reductions that were going to blow a hole in the already large budget deficit, which again, would require more domestic borrowing, more foreign borrowing, which in turn was likely to raise interest rates.

So, I think the real problem here is that the fiscal package at this time when the economy is suffering from high inflation and prospects of very low growth was really ill advised and Ill timed.

And clearly, the market reaction and the reaction of international institutions speaks to that.

VAUSE: And last week, during an interview with the BBC, Liz Truss seem to really have -- she seemed to struggle to really understand the impact that this financial plan would actually have. Here she is, listen to this.


TRUSS: We need to borrow more this winter for the energy crisis that we're facing. And I think that was the right thing to do. That is --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to put spend more in mortgage fees under what you've done based on the predictions than we would have saved with energy.

TRUSS: I don't think anybody is arguing that we shouldn't have acted on energy, which is what the majority of the package that we've done is all about.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Clearly, she did not answer the question, which on top of everything else does not help when it comes to the question of credibility. How much of a blow overall has all this been to the prime minister's credibility, the government's credibility and the country's credibility?

PRASAD: That pregnant pause before the answer and the lack of a direct answer says it all. And that's what markets are reading into this. It's a set of policies that seem to be born along largely on the back of political promises that Prime Minister Truss made in the heat of the campaign to become prime minister.

And I think the reality is that this is not well thought out. And again, what Britain really needs right now is a much more comprehensive fiscal package that ties in with what the Bank of England is also trying to do.

So, right now, you have the government having this set of policies that don't seem to be well anchored in what Britain really needs, and it's working at cross purposes, with both the Bank of England is trying to do.

So, I think there's going to have to be a real substantial rethink of the fiscal policy in terms of the short term but also how it ties into the long term growth prospects of the UK economy. So, lot of work to be done to rebuild the damage credibility.

VAUSE: Professor, thank you so much for being with us. We really appreciate your insights.

PRASAD: My pleasure again.

VAUSE: Still to come here on CNN, the fine line between an orderly wealth and a humiliating -- orderly retreat rather, and a humiliating route.

What are the options for the Kremlin as the Ukrainian counteroffensive shows no sign of letting up.


VAUSE: Welcome back to our viewers all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.


Well, after retreating in parts of Eastern Ukraine, Russian troops are believed to have regrouped further East to try and hold the line. That's from a senior U.S. military official.

Ukrainian forces pushed the Russians out of the strategic city of Lyman in recent days. And as CNN's Melissa Bell reports, the morale of Russian troops on the frontlines, many of them new conscripts, is now what the Kremlin would like you to believe.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russian President Vladimir Putin's military, once feared, now mocked.


BELL (voice-over): "No laughing," the officer says to her recruits. "Ask your wives, girlfriends, mothers for period pads and tampons. Do you know what tampons are for? You stick it in a bullet wound," she says. "It swells and closes the wounds. Bring your own sleeping bag, too," the men are told.

On television, the hundreds of thousands being mobilized by President Putin are well-equipped. In reality, their military videos on social media tell a different tale.

"We were officially told that there would be no training before being sent to the combat zone," this recruit says. "We had no shooting, no tactical training, no theoretical training, nothing."

Another officer addresses his recruits: "If you have hernias, plates in your head, I was told you're fit for mobilization," he says. "So stop saying you can't. I live on pills. So if I go, you'll be doing your tasks like everyone else."

CNN cannot independently verify these widely-circulated videos. Even the deputy prime minister of the Donetsk People's Republic annexed Friday by Russia couldn't help but be honest as the city of Lyman fell to Ukrainian forces.

"The situation on the front is bad. Let's speak frankly," he tells a Russian propagandist. "Everything is the same as everywhere else. Namely, there are not enough people."

The sorry state has tainted the hallowed halls of Russian state television, where careful skepticism about Putin's war is increasingly tolerated. This time it's the head of the state-owned RT network.

"If I had to gather train loads of body armor, socks and the rest for those already on the frontlines," she asks, "have these 300,000 been supplied with all that they need?"

These recruits in the central city of Perm clearly haven't. They lament being dropped by the side of the road late at night, saying they'll have to build a fire to stay warm.

The impact is plain to see. Ukraine recaptured more territory in the past month then Russia had gained in the past five. Ukrainian intelligence well aware of the propaganda value regularly puts out intercepted calls between Russian soldiers and family back home.




BELL (voice-over): "There should be helicopters, planes," the woman says.

"There's nothing. Nothing, nothing," says the soldier.

"What kind of army is this?" she replies. "Just a tv show?"

Putin's army, once feared, now in disarray.

Melissa Bell, CNN.


VAUSE: Cedric Leighton is a CNN military analyst, and he joins me this hour from Washington. Thanks for being with us.

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: You bet, John. Good to be with you. Thank you.

VAUSE: Later on Tuesday, Russia's parliament is expected to continue with its political theater of rubberstamping its annexation treaties, where in some places, Russian troops are actually in retreat.

Here's part of a report from CNN's Nick Paton Walsh in recently- liberated Lyman. Here he is.


TANYA, LYMAN RESIDENT (through translator): They left in the night and the day, people said. I didn't see it myself, but they say they sat on their APCs, and their bags were falling off as they drove. They ran like this.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): It would be remarkable timing, that Russian fled Lyman in the very same hours that Putin was signing papers declaring here Russian territory and holding a rally on Red Square.


VAUSE: That's just one example. So clearly, the Russians are in retreat. Assuming that continues, what's the point of formalizing an annexation treaty which you can't enforce?

LEIGHTON: That is really an amazing political conundrum for Vladimir Putin, I think. I think at this point, John, there really is no point to doing this and it points to the farcical nature of the Russian propaganda efforts. And really the Russian political efforts that are supposed to undergird this war.

It is not working for him, and it's certainly not working for his troops on the frontlines.

VAUSE: And once the battle turns like it has in Eastern Ukraine, with the momentum really with the Ukrainians, and the Russians in disarray, what will Moscow do, do you think, to try and fend off (ph) defeat, coming around? LEIGHTON: So I think that, you know, it's going to be really very

difficult for the Russians to turn this around, because they have, as you said, lost the momentum.

They have lost the ability to, in essence, think on their feet when it comes to reacting to the Ukrainians. And it's really very difficult to take in an armed force that has been beaten and that continues to be beaten and turn that into a victorious armed force.

Now, there is some historical precedent for these kinds of things happening. For example, you can look at the conduct of the Soviet army during the Second World War, which was really resoundingly beaten by the Germans up until the point of Stalingrad.

And when that happened, the tide of the war turned.

I don't foresee that kind of a battle happening in this particular war, but we certainly have to be prepared for momentum to shift and to -- things to change.

But I don't see that happening, and I don't see a figure like the Soviets had in the form of Marshall Chuikov at that time, coming up on the Russian side at this point in history.

VAUSE: Ukraine's president is optimistic that the Russian military defeats in the East will not be unnoticed by leaders within the Kremlin. Listen to this. Here he is.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The prospect of these hostilities is obvious. More and more occupiers are trying to escape. The enemy army is suffering more and more losses. And there is a growing understanding that Russia made a mistake by starting the war against Ukraine.


VAUSE: I mean, are we at the point yet that there is a growing understanding within the Kremlin that maybe this was a mistake? And when we get to that point, will we know? What will happen?

LEIGHTON: Yes. That's -- I think we are beginning to see this point occurring in the minds of various people within the Kremlin, John. But it's going to be, I think, uneven, because people have been convinced for a long time. Their public has been convinced for a long time of the might of the Russian army.

And when that Russian army unravels, it is going to be very hard to tell people that that is, in fact, what is happening. But once it happens, it will have a cascading effect.

So I think that, you know, within the next few weeks, we will probably start to see a kind of dramatic change in the popular sentiment. We're already seeing it on television. We're seeing it in the Telegram channels, the various pundits as well

as military people have -- have posted. There's going to be a big change in the way people perceive this.

And when that does occur, I think it's going to be very hard for the Russian commanders in the field to keep their forces together. So that is going to be a big challenge for the Kremlin.

It's possible that they can, you know, bring everybody to heel, in essence, but it's going to be a very difficult task for them. And it's almost really in this modern age impossible task.


VAUSE: Very quickly, on the use of short-range tactical nuclear weapons, "The New York Times" is reporting that Vladimir Putin is now discovering what the United States itself concluded years ago.

American officials suspect small nuclear weapons are hard to use, harder to control, and a far better weapon of terror and intimidation then a weapon of war. So on that point, do you think that we are at the point now where Putin would just discount the use of nuclear weapons, essentially because it's just not effective?

LEIGHTON: I don't think he's completely convinced they're useless, John, but I think that what might happen is he might realize that they have only a limited utility.

So he may try to use them in one way or another, whether it's a demonstration or an actual employment in a combat situation. But that remains to be seen.

But if it does happen, it's going to be not only a tragedy, but it will be of limited duration before, I think, things turn around and these weapons are consigned to the dustbin of history.

VAUSE: I hope you're right. Cedric Leighton, thanks so much. We appreciate you being with us.

LEIGHTON: You bet, John.

VAUSE: We'll take a short break. Right back. You're watching CNN.


VAUSE: Hard to imagine all these years, there could possibly be never- before images of the far [SIC] -- Fab Four. But prepare to twist and show, because here they come.

This footage was released in Japan. It shows the group arriving in Tokyo in 1966. Japanese police recorded the film, but it was all tied up in legal proceedings for years.

So the long and winding road that led to the release included a stop at an edit bay, where the faces of everyone back of the Beatles pixelated to protect their privacy. Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Back with more

headlines around the world about 15 minutes from now. In the meantime, WORLD SPORT is next.