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Russian Strike On Dnipro Constitutes "War Crime"; Mafia Boss Matteo Messina Denaro Arrested In Sicily; London Police Officer Admits To 49 Charges Of Sexual Abuse; China Records First Population Fall In Decades As Births Drop; Ukrainian Troops in U.S. For Patriot Missile System Training; How NFL Prepares for Medical Emergencies; Ex Twitter Employees Take on Elon Musk. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired January 17, 2023 - 01:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up here on CNN Newsroom. Moment of truth, the U.S. ramps up training for Ukrainian troops with Russia and Ukraine, appearing to be planning for what could be major offenses.

30 years of hiding in plain sight is over for one of the world's most wanted fugitives, Mafia kingpin Matteo Messina Denaro arrested while seeking treatment for his prostate.

At a day without Twitter, the financial trouble the social media platform mounts up from unpaid rent shortchanging severance payout is Twitter unfixable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN Newsroom with John Vause.

VAUSE: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says a deadly Russian strike on an apartment building in Dnipro was a war crime. At least 40 people were killed by Russian missile strike on Saturday, making it one of the single deadliest attacks against civilians since the start of the Russian invasion.

At least 25 people remain missing. Rescue crews have been working around the clock and made a desperate search for survivors.

At the site of the attack, Ukrainians have been leaving flowers at a makeshift memorial for all the victims including three children. Zelenskyy says those responsible for the violence will be brought to justice.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We will use all available opportunities both national and international to ensure that all Russian murderers everyone who gives an execute orders on missile terror against our people face legal sentences and to ensure that they serve their punishment. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: And with Russia's relentless attacks comes a warning about Ukraine's power grid. The mayor of Kyiv says a collapse could happen at any time if missiles destroy critical infrastructure across the country. Vitali Klitschko says the capital has an energy deficit of around 30 percent at a time when Ukrainians are struggling with bitterly cold temperatures.


VITALI KLITSCHKO, KYIV MAYOR: We don't talk about the collapse but can happens in a second because NSA congressional records can destroy our critical infrastructure in our hometown and Kyiv, and not just in key than other cities.


VAUSE: CNN's Fred Pleitgen though reports out on the devastating strike in Dnipro.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONENT (voiceover): While rescue crews are still sifting through the debris, the chance of finding any more survivors is virtually zero, a gaping hole where dozens of families once lived.

PLEITGEN (on camera): As you can see here, this building was completely annihilated all the way down to the ground floor and the Ukrainian say the reason why the damage is so extensive is that the Russians used a cruise missile called The KH-22, that is designed to destroy whole aircraft carrier strike groups. And when it hit the building, the building just completely collapsed and buried dozens of people underneath.

PLEITGEN (voiceover): A miracle that anyone survived at all Ukrainian authorities say. Katarina Zielinska (ph) was pulled from the rubble by rescuers hours after the strike, but her husband and one year old son remain unaccounted for.

And this video shows happier times for the Karnovski (ph) family, father Mihailo Karnovski (ph) was killed in their apartment, their distinctive yellow kitchen like their family torn apart by the massive explosion.

15-year-old Maria was also killed in the blast. Dozens of relatives, classmates and teachers coming to pay their final respects. She was an incredible child, her class teacher says. God is taking the best of ours. This is what happened.

The Kremlin denies its forces were behind the strike and instead claims a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile hit the building. The Ukrainian say that simply isn't true and Dnipro's Mayor tells me his city and the country need more Western air defense systems. Western countries give us air defense systems he tells me, but unfortunately it's not enough and it comes with delays. More air defense systems are the only thing that can save our civilians in our cities.

The Ukrainians say they had no chance of stopping this missile that crashed into the residential building killing scores in an instant. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Dnipro, Ukraine.


VAUSE: And for the record Ukrainian troops now in the U.S. training on how to use the Patriot missile defense system. U,S, has promised to supply Ukraine with the world's most advanced air defense system.


Later in this hour, I'll look at how that actually works and the type of training Ukrainians are receiving.

California could see clear skies later this week after weeks of rain. The state usually is in the news for as wildfires which is but this year has been hit by massive storms over the past three weeks. Lieutenant Governor has says California has seen about a year's worth of rainfall in that amount of time leading to evacuations, power outages, and a whole lot more.

California's governor signed an executive order on Monday to provide more resources to the state's emergency response and support those impacted by the storms. Those 20 people have died from the severe weather so far.

Sources are telling CNN there could be more searches applications connected to the U.S. President Joe Biden for sensitive documents. Republicans in Congress are clamoring for more transparency. Even some Democrats call the situation embarrassing after a number of disclosures in separate locations of Joe Biden's private house -- office he used in Washington Before being elected president. CNN's Arlette Saenz has our report.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): President Biden refusing to answer questions as pressure mounts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you testify with the Special Counsel?

SAENZ: CNN has learned that the President is personally frustrated with how the classified documents saga has unfolded this as more details about the classified documents at his Wilmington Delaware home come to light. The White House on Thursday morning saying Biden's personal attorneys searching a room adjacent to the President's Wilmington garage found one page of classified material. Over the weekend, the President's White House lawyer revealing he travelled to Delaware on Thursday evening, and five additional pages with classification markings were discovered. It's the latest example of a shifting narrative from a White House on defense now referring all questions to the Justice Department as the special counsel investigation gets underway.

MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly.

SAENZ: The President's personal attorney defending their information sharing approach, saying they're working quote, to balance the importance of public transparency where appropriate with the established norms and limitations necessary to protect the investigations integrity, but Republicans promising investigations are sounding off.

JAMES COMER, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: The administration hasn't been transparent about what's going on with President Biden's possession of classified documents.

SAENZ: The House Oversight Chairman demanding visitor logs for the President's Delaware home. But the White House and Secret Service say they simply don't exist. The White House Counsel adding like every president across decades of modern history, his personal residence is personal. Some Democrats acknowledging the situation has been messy.

DEBBIE STABENOW, U.S. SENATE DEMOCRAT: It's certainly embarrassing, right? I mean, it's embarrassing that you would find a small number of documents.

ADAM SCHIFF, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: I still would like to see Congress do its own assessment and receiving assessment from the intelligence community of whether there was an exposure to others of these documents where there was harm to national security in the case of either set of documents with either President.

SAENZ: But as he celebrated the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, the President trying to keep the focus on the future.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: This is a time for choosing when we choose democracy over autocracy or community over chaos, love or hate. These are the questions of our time.

SAENZ (on camera): This all comes as sources tell CNN there are additional locations tied to President Biden that could be searched for more classified documents or government records. Now so far President Biden's personal attorneys have searched his two homes in Delaware and that former private office here in Washington DC but sources believe there may be other locations that could be searched, though it's unclear who exactly what search those locations or where those locations exactly are. But all of these are matters that could be looked into by the Special Counsel is an investigation gets underway. Arlette Saenz, CNN, the White House.


VAUSE: He was known as the Last Godfather of the Sicilian Mafia, a feared bloodthirsty mob boss who'd been on the road for three decades until Monday. Matteo Messina Denaro was arrested at a medical clinic in Palmero, Sicily while reportedly seeking treatment for his prostate. Denaro was considered Italy's most wanted man yet he'd been hiding in plain sight for the past 30 years. He suspected in dozens of Mafia related murders and was convicted in absentia for deadly bombings which killed two anti-mafia prosecutors in 1992. He was also convicted for the kidnapping and murder of a 12-year-old boy, the son of a former mobster turned informant. The child's body was dissolved in acid.

John Dickie is professor of Italian Studies at the University College London and author of Mafia Republic Italy's Criminal Curse. He is with us live this hour from London. Thanks for showing up early. It may have taken 30 years but still, the Italian Prime Minister was there, praise law enforcement for striking a blow to organized crime. Here she is. Listen to this.



GIORGIA MELONI, ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We have not won the war. We have not defeated the mafia but this battle was a key battle to win and it is a heavy blow to organized crime. I also want to add that today is a date of celebration for me.


VAUSE: And we have this reporting from the New York Times, which adds, besides his bloodlust, he was known for his business savvy, managing assets and infiltrating legal economic enterprises, including wind energy companies. He enjoyed protection from a wide network of mobsters, but also the authority said and a strong suggestion of corruption, civilian mobsters.

So how much of a blow is the arrest of the 60-year-old man? What will be the impact on organized crime you think in a day-to-day sets?

JOHN DICKIE, AUTHOR, "MAFIA REPUBLIC": I wouldn't say a huge amount. I think the importance is symbolic and historical at the moment, rather than because of any power he may still have wielded today. I think over the years over those 30 years that you talk about, very, very slowly, his power has eroded, the circle closed around him.

And by the end, I suspect, I mean, we will see that clearly more information to come out. And concerns were really just staying out of the reach of the law and getting his illness treated.

VAUSE: He'd been on the run for 30 years. So besides those civilian mobsters referred to by the times, how do you actually manage being caught for so long?

DICKIE: Well, you have to remember 30 years ago, large parts of Sicily were a kind of no go territory for the state, and the mafia had what Mafiosi call territorial control. So it wasn't a problem for Mafiosi to remain out of the reach of the law, with their support networks to stay, you know, perhaps in a hideout and yet carry on with their affairs pretty normally.

But the last 30 years, I've seen a very, very slow ratcheting up of the fight against particularly for the Nostra but the other mafia organizations in Italy to. And you know, there was a time again a generation ago, when Italy did mafia trials a lot, the dock would be empty, because the Mafiosi on trial would simply, you know, go on the run and carry on pretty much as normal. That is no longer the case.

Matteo Messina Denaro was the last of the great mafia fugitives from justice. The state has territorial control. And Cosa Nostra is much, much weaker than it was.

VAUSE: We get to the point that, you know, this could be seen as almost like a death now?

DICKIE: I wouldn't go that far. No, but the Sicilian Mafia is certainly in a very, very bad way. I mean, one indication is that Cosa Nostra when it's working well has a ruling body a kind of coordinating committee called the Commission and it's the commission that traditionally elects the boss of all bosses of the Sicilian Mafia.

The Commission hasn't managed to meet since 1993. They've tried four times by my reckoning, and each time the authorities have been watching, monitoring them and they've arrested everybody involved.

So the mafia is in a very bad way and I think Matteo Messina Denaro arrest even though it's largely of symbolic and historic significance is yet another indication of that, that decline in Cosa Nostra's power.

VAUSE: So what about did that for himself? What happens next, see what hits a life in prison? What's the future of him?

DICKIE: Yes, yes, I mean, he's already clocked up numerous life sentences. Most notably for being part of the leadership group of the Sicilian Mafia in 1992, the so called Massacre Wing of Cosa Nostra, that planned and carried out the murders of heroic anti-mafia investigators Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.

But the damage that Falcone and Borsellino did to the Sicilian Mafia with their Maxie trial, and then also with Falcone's reforms to the way mafia crime is investigated and monitored after his famous Maxie trial, is really what is ultimately responsible for this decline in the fortunes of the Sicilian Mafia.

VAUSE: John, as always, thank you so much for getting up early, as I just said, but it's good to have you with us. Really appreciate your insights on that. Thank you.

Well, for the better part of two decades, a prolific British sex offender has been wearing a police badge, and the extent of his crimes and abuse of authority is only now coming to light. London Metropolitan Police Officer David Carrick has admitted in court, dozens of sexual assaults as well as several counts of false imprisonment. The Crown Prosecution Service calls the case one of the most shocking it's ever seen. [01:15:00]


JASWANT NARWAL, CHIEF, CROWN PROSECUTION SERVICE THAMS AND CHILTERN: Carrick held a role where he was trusted with the responsibility of protecting the public. Yet over 17 years, in his private life, he did the exact opposite. This is a man who relentlessly degraded, belittled, sexually assaulted, and raped women. As time went on, the severity of his offending intensified as he became emboldened, thinking he would get away with it.


VAUSE: This case has reignited demands for police reform, the Met Commissioner says as many as 1,000 sex offenses and domestic abuse claims involving around 800 officers and now under investigation.

Place (ph) your break when we come back here on CNN Newsroom, the most populous country in the world, many of the less crowded what's driving the declining population in China. Also head, why actor Idris Elba is being honored at the World Economic Forum in Davos as well as his message to business and political leaders.

And despite some glimmer of hope in the battle against climate change, harsh realities emerge at a renewable energy summit.


JOHN KERRY, U.S. SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY FOR CLIMATE: Even if we went to zero, even if China went to zero, we don't solve the problem. Every country has to step up.



VAUSE: A long standing Spanish tradition. You're already a patron saint of animals by forcing horses to ride through fire. This is the Las Luminarias festival on Monday Western Madrid. The event takes place every year. Hundreds of horses and riders galloping through the streets and leaping across flames.

Some animal rights groups have complained about the tradition. Organizers though insists the horses are not harmed because they're protected with a layer of wax.

For the first time in six decades, the population of China has actually decreased fully by 850,000 last year, that's Bureau of Statistics has released a slew of new information including data showing the economy grew by 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter, well short of Beijing's official annual target of 5.5 percent. Making sense of all of this in Hong Kong like to see it as Kristie Lu Stout out. So, we'll go through some of the data what it says about, you know, COVID and the impact it's had on the economy as it goes from you that some of the toughest restrictions in the world. KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, all this data just marks a really depressing end to what was a very challenging year for China look for 2022, China posted GDP growth of only 3 percent. And on for the fourth quarter posted GDP growth of only 2.9 percent year on year. And on top of that, China's population is shrinking. It's shrinking for the first time since the 1960s. Its total population now 1.41 billion people.

Right now China's counting the costs of its ongoing and historic property slump but also its zero-COVID policy, the zero-COVID policy which really wreaked havoc on the nation's economy. Last year, you remember the hit that it had on domestic spending on domestic tourism on factory output with those protests and disruptions at the iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, you know, the list goes on.


Not only that, it also costs provincial governments billions of dollars. We learned that Guangdong Province spent 20 billion U.S. dollars just to cover zero-COVID expenses like testing and vaccinations. And this is one of the reasons in addition to the NCC (ph) recovered protests, why China suddenly had that U-turn and abruptly ended this policy last month.

And now China is in this very difficult transition, exit wave of infection is underway. But when you talk to economists, they say that the economic pain right now will only be short term. And want you to take a look at this statement that I got earlier from Aidan Yao, who is a senior economist at AXA, and he told me this quote, Q4 has likely marked the darkest before the dawn, and he went on to say, with the reopening timeline now significantly front loaded, the economic outlook has brightened beyond the near term, unquote.

Now looking ahead, economic growth in China is set to rebound because a number of factors and one China's finally gotten to learn how to live with COVID. Number two, there are signs that the Chinese leadership is easing up on its regulatory crackdown on the tech industry. And lastly, Chinese leaders have recently pledged to stabilize the economy. And that's why a number of economists are saying that they expect economic growth to top 5 percent in this year 2023. Back to you.

VAUSE: Kristie, thank you. We appreciate the update. Kristie Lu Stout live for us in Hong Kong.

In the coming hours opening remarks will begin at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Some of these powerful people in the world have arrived at that mountain resort along with celebrities and activists, including British actor Idris Elba and his wife. They are honored for their efforts to promote conservation and food security. And Goodwill Ambassadors are urging wealthy nations and big companies to invest in developing nations, not just write a check.


IDRIS ELBA, ACTOR: The poor of this world are not just looking for aid and handout. They are looking for investment, investment in people, in nature, in innovation, in partnership. What Sabrina and I would like to leave with you today is please do not lose courage. OK, it takes stamina to try to stay the course.


VAUSE: Meantime, climate activists are trying to give the uber rich some headaches in Davos by blocking the entrance to an airport for private jets. Protesters suspended themselves from wooden poles as part of the make them pay campaign. (INAUDIBLE) the richest 1 percent accountable for the ecological damage caused by quote, extreme emissions, policies and investments. Outside the airport, activists posted signs reading Davos billionaires party, while the world burns.

Those billionaires are getting much richer much faster than anyone else. Oxfam recently released an inequality report that shows the top 1 percent so their fortunes saw by $26 trillion over the past two years. Net worth of everyone else the bottom 99 percent grew by 16 trillion.

The UAE is getting ready to host the Global Climate Summit COP28 later this year, but first of, the International Renewable Energy Assembly. CNN's Becky Anderson is there has this report from Abu Dhabi.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): We here at IRENA's General Assembly surrounded by some of the biggest players in the global energy transition. Now, this is setting the scene for the United Arab Emirates hosting COP28, which will provide a critical status update on our battle to fight climate change.

SULTAN AL JABER, COP28 PRESIDENT: GOP28 will be a milestone moment, as the world conducts the first global stocktake to assess progress against the goals of the Paris Agreement. We don't need to wait until the global stocktake to know just how much work there is ahead of us.

ANDERSON (voiceover): These leaders say they are working towards the same goal, limiting the Earth's warming to 1.5 degrees. But despite some progress that last year's COC27 in Egypt, the world is still not on track to meet those goals.

ANDERSON (on camera): John Kerry, let me bring you in at this point, you know, collectively the NDC is not on track to hold temperature rise at 1.5. Have we move past that target at this point? And what policies and measures is U.S. putting in place to increase your own ambition?

KERRY: Well, thank you, Becky. Theoretically, yes, we can. But there's nothing in the current activities of countries all around the world, mine included, that indicates that we are prepared to do what we need to do in order to meet the 1.5. Even if we went to zero, even if China went to zero, we don't solve the problem. Every country has to step up. And that's the virtue of the stocktake

[01:25:00] ANDERSON (voiceover): The United Nations chief Antonio Guterres addressed the assembly, emphatically outlining his solution, renewables, which he says are the only safeguard to our future and can ensure energy security.

Today he says renewables accounted for about 30 percent of global electricity. Guterres says this was doubled to over 60 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050. To make a renewable future a reality, it's critical developing nations have the resources and tools to transition. But where will the required investment come from?

KERRY: No government in the world has enough money to do what we need to do. We're talking about trillions. Who has the trillions? The private sector has the trillions.

ANDERSON: The message from this meeting, then renewables where the wind, solar or hydro are key to saving the planet. But unless private investment is ramped up, and is universally accessible, it is the most vulnerable nations who will continue to suffer the most, no matter they own climate policies.

SIAOSI SOWALENI, TONGA PRIME MINISTER: We are very small economies. But we are trying to actually do what we can to actually help trying to fight climate change that and rightly so I mean, for the Pacific climate change is an existential threat to us. And we will do whatever we can to actually give it 1.5 degree Celsius.

ANDERSON (on camera): We know that we are not on track to meet the goals set out in the Paris Agreement. Frankly, in many instances, we are regressing and that is unlikely to change by COP28, which will be held at the end of the year up the road from here in Dubai.

ANDERSON (voiceover): But that doesn't mean the world can't correct its course before 2030. Ahead of this year's COP event, the panel's message is clear. Further, private investment in renewables is vital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Climate change has already started.

ANDERSON: But that takes not just a willingness to change, but a real roadmap for action. And that starts right here. Becky Anderson, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


VAUSE: Still to come, UK has announced plans to send Challenger tanks to Ukraine. The Russians say they're planning to burn them.



JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM with me John Vause.

Well the search has resumed this hour for two people who remain unaccounted for after a deadly crash of a Yeti Airlines plane in Nepal. Authorities say 70 bodies have been recovered, at least 41 have been identified.

Some local families are now waiting to receive the body of those who died, while the bodies of foreign nationals police airlifted to the capital of Kathmandu. 72 people were on board, including four crew members when the plane crashed into a gorge on Sunday.

The British defense secretary says Ukraine is in need of a new level of support to expel Russian troops from the country and so the U.K. is now gearing up to send more help.

Ukrainian forces there firing a the British Howitzer on the frontlines and soon Ukraine will be receiving main battle tanks from the U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the package will help accelerate the end of Russian President Vladimir Putin's brutality and ensure Ukraine retains its momentum.

President Zelenskyy expecting other allies will soon do the same and supply modern tanks and other heavy weapons.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): What happened in Dnipro, the fact that Russia is preparing a new attempt to seize the initiative in the war, the fact that the nature of hostilities at the front requires new decisions and the defense supply.

All of this only emphasizes how important it is to coordinate our efforts. The efforts of all members of the coalition to defend Ukraine and freedom. And to speed up decision making.


VAUSE: Kremlin spokesperson, Dimitri Peskov, said those British tanks would, quote, "burn like the rest". They said deliveries of advanced military equipment from the U.K. and other countries would not change the situation on the ground but adds will only drag out hostilities.

Ukraine is about to receive even more support from western allies. Ukrainian troops are now in the United States to train on the Patriot missile defense systems, the world's most advanced defense system. And this could help keep intercept ballistic missiles and cruise missiles being sent in from Russia.

CNN's Oren Liebermann has details.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The first group of Ukrainian troops has arrived at Fort Steele in Oklahoma to begin training some time this week on Patriot missile systems. Fort Steele is where the U.S. conducts its own Patriot training, not only for the U.S. troops but also for visiting troops from allies and partners. And that is where a team of about 90 to 100 Ukrainian troops has arrived to begin their own training. The training, according to the Pentagon is expected to take several

months. The U.S. is trying to figure out how much it can accelerate the training on this system. But it is an advanced and inherently complex system so operating it will require a tremendous amount of time, not only on how to fire it but also on how to maintain the system in the field. So all of that is folded in.

Also the U.S. doesn't want to give a timeline on how long the training may take because it doesn't want Russia to know when the Patriot might arrive in the field. It is designed to be a long range aerial defenses syst to help in addition to the shorter and more medium range systems the U.S. and the others have already provided.

The Patriot will be able to use its radar to detect incoming threats at a greater distance and its missiles to intercept those threats. It has been given to more than a dozen other countries and has shown its effectiveness in other theaters. Ukraine looking to add it to beef up its own aerial defense system, as we see these barrages from the Russians continue.

Oren Liebermann, CNN -- at the Pentagon.


VAUSE: Malcolm Davis is with us this hour from the Ukraine capital. He's a senior analyst for defense strategy and capability at the Ukraine Strategic Policy Institute. Welcome back Malcolm.


VAUSE: Ok. So we just heard a short time ago from Ukraine's president calling for Western allies to rethink, speed up weapons shipments ahead of an expected Russian offensive.

Now, I want you to listen to U.K.'s Defense Minister Ben Wallace, speaking in parliament on Monday on what is

needed, in his opinion, to force a full Russian withdrawal.


BEN WALLACE, BRITISH DEFENSE SECRETARY: That requires a new level of support. The combat power, only achieved by combinations of main battle tanks, squadrons operating alongside division artillery groups and further deep precision fires enabling targeted and Russian logistics sticks and command those at greater distance.


VAUSE: Have we reached the point here where both sides have kind of come to the same conclusion that, you know, that it's now time for an all out major offensive. That this is the best time for it. And if not now, it's got to happen in the next couple of weeks. But it seems that both sides are now hanging towards this sort of pivotal moment.

DAVIS: Look, I think you're right. I think that we are at the crucial point here where we need to bring this conflict to a decisive close with a Russian defeat in this year. And the best way to do that is to give Ukraine the sort of long-range firepower. And also the combined fighting capabilities that it needs to defeat these Russian offensives that everyone knows are coming.

So the tanks are a start. But really, what the Ukrainians need is systems like attacking missiles or HIMARS. They need additional air power and they need additional artillery.


DAVIS: The ability to do that combined arms maneuver with long-range firepower and its support is really crucial.

VAUSE: And as for that old question, how goes the war, here's the Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking on Saturday.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The dynamics are positive. Everything is double up within the framework of the plan by the ministry of defense, the general stuff. And I hope that our fighters will continue pleasing us with the results of their combat work.


VAUSE: Everything is going according to plan if that plan calls for an almost year long protracted conflict that would leave Russia's military humiliated and hunted down in the east, barely able to hold territory (INAUDIBLE) was a decade ago.

Clearly, right now there is Putin as under pressure for some kind of victory here. How does that factor into the timing of any renewed push by Russian forces? What are the politics that he's facing at home that factors into all of this?

DAVIS: Look, he's clearly laying the basis, the information campaign to support a prolonged war that could last beyond 2023. But everyone knows that these big offensives coming probably from late February onwards. Where there is real pressure on the Russian commanders to achieve goals and to win victories.

Gerasimov, for example, has been told by Putin that he has to control the Donbas Region by March. And I think it is unlikely that he'll be able to achieve that.

So, if we get to the end of 2023, and the Russians are still on the defensive and still seeing defeat after defeat then than not only will Putin's commanders be in big trouble but Putin himself will be in big trouble.

So, think the Russians that are going all out this year to try and turn the war in their favor.

VAUSE: Well, the only Russian battlefield win in months has been to take the small town of Soledar. That was at the hands of mercenaries, not regular conscripts so a point of pride here it seems to Yevgeny Prigozhin -- (INAUDIBLE) private military army. Here he is.


YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN, WAGNER GROUP (through translator): They fulfill all the task on their own. They have warplanes. They are heroic pilots who don't fear to perish. They have multiple launch rocket systems of all types. There are air defense systems which have downed a huge amount of enemy planes. They have artillery systems of all caliber, tanks, infantry fighting vehicles.


VAUSE: Prigozhin is seen as a loyal Putin ally, help me out here, but is he just sort of cruising here for business? Is he setting himself up for some kind of counter kind of like the Russian military? What's going on? what's the (INAUDIBLE) here between him and Putin?

DAVIS: I think Prigozhin is basically seeing some political ambitions for himself. He sees that Putin probably, if Russia cannot deliver victories will probably be gone and Prigozhin, I think it would like to fill that rank here.

And I think that if that would happen it would be an even more of dangerous situation because Prigozhin is probably far more hardline, far more willing to take risks than escalate than even Putin is.

So, I think that Prigozhin is trying to exploit Russian failures to his political, personal benefit against Putin. And that's setting up an internal political competition between Putin and Prigozhin which I think is interesting to watch.

VAUSE: And just very quickly, we have 30 seconds Malcolm, this is the problem with everybody. Why don't they just take up Putin? It's because what comes next?

DAVIS: Well exactly. Firstly, it's extremely difficult to take out Putin. He is very well protected.

Secondly, such an act could, if it was, done could potentially generate a Russian escalatory response including tactical nuclear weapon use.

And thirdly, as you say, what comes next? We really don't know. We could be going from the frying pan into the fire. So it's a dangerous course of action that is.

VAUSE: Two words. Malcolm Davis in Canberra (ph) thank you sir.

DAVIS: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, the commander in the Russian mercenary group Wagner has fled to Norway seeking asylum. Andre Medvedev says he feared for his life after refusing to renew his contract as a private military company.

He's accused a group of abusing prisoners who've often been recruited as missionaries, saying some are being killed for refusing to fight. The leader says it's Medvedev who attempted to mistreat prisoners, a claim he denies. All this comes as the rift is the most interesting. Wagner and Russia's own defense ministry, over who deserves more credit for advances in Ukraine. The Kremlin denies there's a rivalry saying both are fighting for the homeland.

Coming up, Novak Djokovic is getting ready to step on court Down Under a year after the Serbian number one play in the world who was deported from Australia over his vaccine status.

And CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta will take you on the behind scene the scenes tour of how the NFL prepares for medical emergencies.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Once you see this, you'll probably never watch a game the same way again.




VAUSE: Welcome back.

The Dallas Cowboys are moving on after a convincing win in the NFL wild card game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Cowboys quarterback, Jack Prescott connected with the tight end Dalton Schultz for the game's first touchdown. There's no looking back from there. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay offense struggled throughout the game. There he is throwing his interception in the end zone. Final score -- Dallas 31, Tampa Bay 14.

The Cowboys heads to San Francisco to take on the 49ers, Sunday.

During the game Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Gage was injured late in the fourth quarter. Medical personnel rushed to the field to treat him. He was eventually carried from the field suffering concussion (ph) and undergoing tests for potential neck injury.

This comes just two weeks after Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest during a game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals.

CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has a behind the scene look at the NFL plans for medical contingencies like these before and during every game.


DR. GUPTA: When Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, went into cardiac arrest the game stopped. But for the emergency response team everything was just getting started.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go in. Go over (INAUDIBLE) like how he went down.

We're going to need everybody. All call. All call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring everybody. We need everyone out everybody. Bring in the cops, the medics and all of them and get boards out here.

DR. GUPTA: As rare as this all is, I'm going to explain now these remarkable chain of events that came together to save Damar Hamlin's life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this is actually the EAP for --

DR. GUPTA: It starts within. So what is EAP? What does that stand for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It stands for Emergency Action Plan.

DR. GUPTA: And that takes place for every game?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So basically, any time or any place that players are going to be active, there has to be an emergency action plan. The EAP was followed to the letter that night.

In that moment, everyone knew what they needed to do, how they needed to do it and had the equipment to do it and felt comfortable.

DR. GUPTA: Dr. Allen Sills is chief medical officer of the NFL. He is giving me a sideline view of the preparedness that goes into every game day. Once you see this, you will probably never watch a game the same way again.

You may have missed this, pop-up blue tents. It's on every sideline.

DR. ALLEN SILLS, NFL CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER: It's like a medical exam room. Now we've got a major -- say a medical stage even in the middle of a very busy stadium.

It's so much easier to do things in here. Just like I said, everybody is just more relaxed. You don't have the cameras. You don't have the Fans.

DR. GUPTA: Or this. The injury review screen.

DR. SILLS: So, we can be down here on the sidelines and the spotters booth if they have seen an injury video, they will queue it up for us, put on the video, exactly what we need to see. We can ask them to run it back. We can talk and --


DR. GUPTA: The spotter's booth. They are the eyes in the sky.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey. Welcome, welcome.

DR. GUPTA: Thank you.


DR. SILLS: So, this is another part of our game day medical preparations and the real goal of this booth is to help spot any injuries or illnesses on the field.

It's pretty hard to see the whole field from down here.

DR. GUPTA: Right. Probably one of the most unique thing to sports is the spotter can directly communicate down to the referee.

These people can stop the game.

SUE STANLEY-GREEN, CERTAIFIED ATHLETIC TRAINER SPOTTER: So, we watch every play, probably minimally four times. And then we will go back and watch it again. And so, you know we just want to make sure we don't miss anything.

DR. SILLS: It's always about the right people the right plan and the right equipment. We have almost 30 medical professionals and everyone has a job to do.

DR. GUPTA: ER doctors, orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, paramedics, x-ray techs and airway specialists like Dr. Justin Deaton.

DR. JUSTIN DEATON, AIRWAY SPECIALIST: So This is the bag that I carry and it's got a number of things in here that we could use. The first thing is a portable video (INAUDIBLE) scope. We have a portable ultrasound machine that we can use. And we also have the ability to perform surgical airways. I really have all the resources available here that I would have in an emergency room.

DR. GUPTA: What is the biggest challenge of that scenario versus being in an emergency room?

DR. DEATON: Well, the biggest challenge is the external environment and the chaos of the situation. When you have a larger than average size person that's laying flat on the ground, not able to be elevated to a certain level with extra equipment plus cameras and other people around. Those are really the kind of things that make it more difficult to manage.

DR. GUPTA: How does everyone know you're the guy in charge?

DR. DEATON: I wear a red hat on the sideline. That signifies me as the emergency physician, the airway physician, something that even the other team knows when I come out what my role is.

Every game comes with a new lessons. For example, on September 25th when Miami Dolphins Tua Tagovailoa stumbled after a hit, he was allowed back in the game. That won't happen again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we changed the protocol earlier this year when you and I spoke to say that if we see something that looks like a (INAUDIBLE) in video they are also done.

DR. GUPTA: And as the teams all warm up, there is one final crucial step.

DR. SILLS: Every time I'm in the operating room, we do something known a timeout. Everyone stops what they're doing, they make sure that everyone's on the same page. This is the same sort of thing that's happening here behind me.

It is called a 60 minute meeting. It happens 60 minutes before every game. It's a chance for all the medical professionals to make sure that they know who each other are, to make sure that they know who is going to do what if there's some sort of crisis out on the field.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, so, let's start with introductions so that everybody familiar with the medical staff that's here in the game.

I'm Kevin Kaplan (ph), head team physician on orthopedics for the Jaguars.

DR. DEATON: Justin Deaton, airway management physician.

DR. SILLS: So we're seeing Justin is going to be on our 30 yard line. He stands just to our right. If a player goes down, obviously he won't know if it's orthopedic or internal medicine. He'll step out onto the field.

Our all-call sign is an X. So, if you need him to come out he will come out with an X. All of the important equipment, airway, defibrillator, all the medications are all behind him with our paramedics on our sideline.

If a player needs to get taken off of the field the ambulance is going to be in the tunnel to your right. If you need anything at all, we'll be out here for you guys if you need us. Otherwise, hope we have a safe and healthy game. Good luck.

DR. GUPTA: Keep in mind, the medical team was able to get to Damar Hamlin within ten seconds. And speed really matters here. Every additional minute that someone in cardiac arrest goes without CPR, mortality goes up by about 10 percent.

DR. SILLS: This is a process that's in place for every single game. And we train in the off-season. And just like the players train and practice, we do as well.

So I have a tremendous confidence -- but, you always want to see a game with no injuries. And you want everyone to frankly be bored on the medical side. That's a good game from my standpoint.

DR. GUPTA: I hear you.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN -- Jacksonville, Florida.


VAUSE: Just a few hours now into the eagerly anticipated return of Novak Djokovic and his first match of the Australian Open 12 months after he was deported for his refusal to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

The 35-year-old is a nine-time champion Down Under. He comes into the event as one of the favorites to claim his 22nd major title which would be a tie of the record currently held by his rival, Rafael Nadal.

Now we'll take a short break. When we come back, the legal complaints keep piling on against Elon Musk. Former Twitter employees claiming their own severance and a lot of it. More on that, in a moment.



VAUSE: The bad news keeps on coming for workers laid off by Twitter. A U.S. federal judge has ruled they cannot bring a class action lawsuit against the social media company over their termination payments. Instead they'll have to pursue individual claims.

About 3,700 employees were laid off back in November, that is not long after Elon Musk took over. Ever since small legal complaints have followed, including allegations the company violated federal labor laws, targeted women for layoffs, and failed to pay severance.

To San Francisco now and Mike Isaac, the technology writer for "The New York Times". Mike, it's good to see you.


VAUSE: Well, Welcome back.

Now, the timeline here, just for some context. It all begins back in November. Not long after Musk bought Twitter, laid off 3,700 workers, promising three months of severance, he noted at the time it's 50 percent more than legally required.

When the severance agreement arrived, the final offer was for one month's, 50 percent lower than legally required. That was quickly rejected by a lawyer representing a small group of Twitter workers saying that he was basically trying to fleece them.

And then came a ruling in a district court last week. Laid-off Twitter workers are being forced to drop their class action lawsuit and go into individual arbitration.

So back to the lawyer, who then tweeted, "We anticipated this and that is why we have already filed 500 individual arbitration demands. And counting. This is not a win for Elon Musk."

Ok, first up, this legal decision, in and of itself, does look like it's a win for Musk simply because dragging out these social legal battles only harms the plaintiffs who often trying to get a fairly quick settlement and companies usually have, you know, the deep pockets so he can hold out for longer.

ISAAC: Yes, 10O percent. And you know the lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan who also worked on class action suits against Uber and other companies know that a high-profile public legal battle is back (INAUDIBLE). So according to the contracts that they signed to work at Twitter, they were required to go into arbitration to begin with. And so the judge basically said that, you know, we're upholding those contracts.

So I think, you know, as much as she wants the position as a win, or not a loss, rather I think it is actually one of the rare wins for Elon and ongoing saga at Twitter.

VAUSE: Well, part of that ongoing saga, last Wednesday came word that Twitter employees were escorted out of their office in Singapore which serves as this Asia-Pacific headquarters because the rent hadn't paid. The rent hasn't been paid on other premises as well, so is this Musk's plan for saving Twitter, screw the workers and stiff the landlords?

ISAAC: You know, it's funny because my colleague tonight when we've been reporting on this we started to get sort of tips coming in on, you know, they're going to get evicted from these offices.

And you know, Musk obviously no longer the richest man in the world but I believe that at least up there, quite first or second. But part of his whole strategy is basically to cut costs where we can and that means, literally, not paying rent on the Seattle offices, which they were already evicted from, offices around the world. In San Francisco, they're not paying rent.

And I think his basic sort of strategy is push it to the limits, see how far we can make it before we absolutely have to pay something. And then only then will we start paying.

And another things to keep the lights on we start renegotiating those contracts to everyone that they're working with which is just, it is a real hardball way of doing business.

VAUSE: Well, one reason he is just like that is because back in November, when he announced that thousands of workers were being fired, he said, it's because the company was losing $4 million a day. And according to "Time" Musk's deal to buy Twitter has an annual cost in interest payments of $1.3 billion a year.


VAUSE: Twitter has never come close to making that much money and one year. So you got to asked the question, who's lending (ph) him the money based on that formula? Or that calculation?

But more to the point, what are the chances here that Twitter just ends up going out of business (INAUDIBLE) because there is the Twitter that everyone idealizes and wants and then there's the Twitter that Musk is looking at. Those two things don't seem to coexist.

ISAAC: Well, 100 percent. I mean Twitter has, you know, long before Elon, I had a lot of criticism of what Elon has been doing. But long before he ever showed up the business was not that great, you know. Twitter eight out of the past ten years was not a profitable company. They have been trying for a long time to sort of get costs down enough so they could start turning a profit.

But you know, Elon's plan in theory, in some ways to reduce costs in a big way would've been great if he kept the revenue where it was at. But the big problem is that Elon is not able to stop himself from tweeting and saying things all the time. And all the advertisers started fleeing. So at the same time, he's decimating his ad revenue, he's also sort of firing the folks who might have been able to help him build the thing backup.

So I don't know. I mean, there's potentially a cost cutting way to turn this company around. But that's if he stops tweeting, basically.

VAUSE: So it could be a day in the near future where there's no Twitter?

ISAAC: I think it's possible. I absolutely think it's possible. I mean I think in the span of technology companies and the span of history, you know, these companies can rise and fall fairly quickly, you know. I mean from the MySpace days to Facebook is, you know, for as big as it is, not what it used to be in terms of powerhouse. And the amount of time it took TikTok to rise is very short.

So, I don't think it's out of the question that Twitter can go away someday.

VAUSE: Oh gee, what a shame. Mike, thank you. Mike Isaac in San Francisco there with us, thank you sir.

ISAAC: Thank you, sir.

VAUSE: Find me on MySpace, not really.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

CNN NEWSROOM continues with my friend and colleague Rosemary Church after a very short break.

Hope to see you right back here tomorrow.



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, new details about the moments leading up to Sunday's deadly plane crash in Nepal as the search continues for two people still missing.

And western allies.