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Netherlands Intends To Send Patriot System To Ukraine; U.K. Commits To Sending Challenger Tanks To Ukraine; Ex-Mercenary Says Prisoners Who Refused To Fight Were Killed; Nobel Laureate Maria Ressa Acquitted Of Tax Evasion Charges; Defeated Republicans Charged With Attacks On Democrats; India Set To Become World's Most Populous Country; Allies Promising More Military Support for Ukraine, Death Toll Rises to 45 in Dnipro Apartment Building Strike; Global Energy Crisis; Standing Ovation for Returning Djokovic. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired January 18, 2023 - 01:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: This hour on CNN Newsroom. Tanks a lot. NATO countries moving closer to supplying Ukraine with tanks and armored vehicles and heavy artillery ahead of an expected string offensive by Russian forces.

Sore loser. The Republican candidate who was clearly beaten by his Democrat opponent has been arrested on allegations he tried to shoot at their homes. Journalist at Nobel laureate Maria Ressa acquitted on charges of tax evasion. Her legal win, she says, is a victory for facts, truth and justice.

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

VAUSE: For weeks, possibly months now, Ukrainian leaders have been pleading with allies to send battlefield tanks, armored vehicles, and heavy artillery. And later this week, at a meeting of allies, it seems some of those requests might just be granted. The Ukrainians want the heavy firepower for a major offensive in the coming weeks, ahead of an expected all out Russian attack by spring.

The Netherlands will soon be sending a Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine. The announcement came from the Dutch prime minister during a White House meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden. Prime Minister Mark Rutte says aid to Ukraine will end when the war ends.


MARK RUTTE, DUTCH PRIME MINISTER: We have the intention to enjoying what you were doing with Germany on the Patriots project. So the air defense system, I think that is important that we joined that. I discussed this also this morning with Olaf Scholz of Germany.

And then on accountability, we can never accept that Putin and Russia get away with this. So accountability to take him to court.


VAUSE: New round of military aid could soon be coming from the United States as well. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hinted at the possibility during talks with his British counterpart in Washington. The top U.S. diplomat says the best path to a diplomatic end to the war is to give Ukraine a strong hand on the battlefield.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: As this aggression has evolved, so too has our assistance to Ukraine, making sure that it has what it needs to meet the aggression head on. And I would anticipate that you'll hear more announcements in the days to come.


VAUSE: Those remarks were echoed by the British Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly.


JAMES CLEVERLY, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: The importance of what we're doing transcends Ukraine in itself. We're defending the U.N. charter. We're defending the rule of law. We're defending territorial integrity. We are defending the concept that the powerful cannot just do what they like on the world stage without consequences.

Putin should realize that his ambitions will not be realized. We will not let him realize his ambitions.


CLEVERLY: And this is why -- and I keep repeating this, it's the best moral thing to do, to bring this to a conclusion.


VAUSE: Lieutenant General Mark Hertling is a CNN National Security and Military Analyst. For four decades, he served at the U.S. Army, rising to commanding general of U.S. Army Europe and 7th Army. And it's good to see. It's been a while.

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It has been a while, John. It's good to be back with you.

VAUSE: What is the more likely scenario here? What are the Ukrainians more likely to end up getting?

HERTLING: Well, I think that's what's going to be determined at the Ramstein meetings later this week. What you're asking for is really contributions to a defense force. But not only that, there is the requirement, especially for these front-line vehicles that are Western technology to train Ukrainian soldiers on the capabilities of these vehicles,. As we're seeing now after the United States said that they would offer Patriot missiles and the expectation is that these weapon systems that are literally worth billions of dollars will suddenly appear and be capable of countering a Russian threat. Now that we're training Ukrainian soldiers at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, there's the realization that, yes, this takes a long time. These are not something you just put a soldier in and say, point and shoot.

VAUSE: Yes. If don't ask, you don't get. I get -- that', you know, that's sort of one side of the equation. But Ukrainians will receive about 14 challenger tanks from the U.K. And that sort of commitment by the British, it's not just for battlefield purposes, I guess, because they're saying it also sends a strong message to the Kremlin. Here's the British Foreign Minister. Listen to this.


CLEVERLY: What Putin should understand is we are going to have the strategic endurance to stick with them until the job is done. And the best thing that he can do to preserve the lives of his own troops is to recognize that we're going to stick with the Ukrainians until they are victorious.



VAUSE: It would be ideal if Putin woke up one morning and realized he's bet the farm on a loser but that hasn't happened so far. But if there is this sort of rush of heavy weapons of tanks and, you know, infantry vehicles into Ukraine, to some kind of massive offensive, you know, the next couple of weeks, will he at least maybe take pause? Will he reassess it in some way?

HERTLING: Well, when you're talking about 14 challenger tanks from the U.K., again, I'm going to suggest people take an appetite suppressant and understand what this means. 14 tanks is a tank company. It has about 90 people in it. What General Zelewski (ph) and the Ukrainians are looking for are multiple tank divisions of 300, 600 vehicles as the General said in December.

That takes a long time. And even with 14 challenger tanks, it's going to take a significant requirement to train Ukrainian soldiers on that very modern, technologically advanced weapon system that the U.K. is giving. That's very different from the T-72s that they've been fighting on.

And in addition to that, they have to have the repair parts, the capability to conduct the repair and resupply these vehicles with ammunition. So, again, you won't see -- they may be -- the U.K. may be given these 14 tanks to Ukraine, but you will not see them on the battlefield within days. It will probably be within weeks.

Just like the 50 Bradley systems that the United States are given the Ukrainians, they are now beginning the training on those vehicles at Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels training area in Germany, a place where I know very well. So it will take a long time to get the familiarization and the crew training before those pieces of equipment can be found on the battlefield.

VAUSE: Mark Hertling, thanks so much for being with us. We appreciate your insights.

HERTLING: Pleasure, John. Thank you.

VAUSE: Ukrainian troops there in the Donetsk region targeting Russian forces with how it says believed to have come from Poland. Meantime, new video shows the Russian Defense Minister visiting troops and presenting awards for dedication and heroism. This is a top White House official tells CNN, Russia continues to face some major challenges.


JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: It is clear that Mr. Putin knows he's short on manpower in this fight. I mean, he has thrown an awful lot of resources, including human bodies into this fight in Ukraine, and he continues to suffer casualties at a very high rate.


VAUSE: A former Russian mercenary has fled the war in Ukraine, is now seeking asylum in Norway. The lawyer for Andrei Medvedev says possible war crimes charges for his client is a thought that is unavoidable, though Medvedev denies committing any such wrongdoing. The now former mercenary has revealed grim new details about how Russia treats prisoners fighting and dying in its war.

CNN's Nic Robertson picks up the story.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Andrei Medvedev is lucky to be alive. The former Wagner eunuch commander says he fled Russia in a daring Arctic escape, dodging bullets and dogs across a frozen river to Norway.

ANDREI MEDVEDEV, FORMER WAGNER MERCENARY (through translation): I've been chased. I'm afraid for my life.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Afraid, he says, because he has witnessed the murderous atrocities in Ukraine committed in the name of his ex-boss, Wagner oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, aka Putin chef, and he wants to tell all. Russians killing Russians, some of them former prisoners freed from Russian jails to fight for Wagner.

MEDVEDEV (through translation): I know cases where prisoners were demonstratively shot dead for refusing to fight or for betrayal. They were showing fighters here, this is what will happen to you.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): He says he joined Wagner in July last year, signed up for four months for near Bakhmut and eastern Ukraine. But when Prigozhin began recruiting former prisoners to swell Wagner's ranks, Medvedev saw a deadly change. Wanted out as his contract ended, but wasn't allowed to quit.

MEDVEDEV (through translation): Since the moment the prisoners have come to serve with us, strange things and murders of their own recruited prisoners by the Wagner security service and foolish orders, such as sending us to die as cannon fodder started to happen.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): He is the highest-ranking Wagner fighter to flee to the west. His eyewitness account of Prigozhin's murderous practices in Ukraine is revelatory.


VLADIMIR OSECHKIN, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: He is really targeted for the Russian special forces or security service from Wagner group. It's a very high risk of die.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Human rights activist Vladimir Osechkin helped Medvedev escape. Has made sure his story gets out.

OSECHKIN: It's very important to do the international investigation about this. It's very important to open this information to the Russian people to understand what has happened.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Medvedev's biggest revelation will likely be the most damaging to Putin and Prigozhin's recruitment drives. Last month, Prigozhin recorded this callous video purporting to pose in front of his dead fighters in body bags, claiming their contracts were complete and they were on their way back home.

But Medvedev says he's seen the truth. Many fighters never making it home because Prigozhin is too cheap to pay out insurance on their death.

MEDVEDEV (through translation): The majority of the prisoners were buried and then declared missing. The insurance only pays out money to relatives of the deceased if the body was identified and handed over to the relatives. So they were just declaring everyone as missing.


ROBERTSON: Right now, Medvedev is at a secure location in Norway, telling investigators every detail he can remember. He says he didn't commit a crime and wants those responsible for the murders brought to justice.

Nick Robertson, CNN, London.

VAUSE: Maria Ressa, the outspoken journalist and founder of the news site Rappler has been cleared of tax evasion by a court in Manila, ending what she says was part of a politically motivated campaign to muzzle her reporting. The charges were brought by the government of former Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte and a fifth tax evasion charge still looms over Ressa and her company, Rappler. If found guilty on the four charges, the veteran journalist faced 34 years in jail. She was clearly relieved once the verdict was announced.


MARIA RESSA, JOURNALIST & NOBEL LAUREATE: But today, facts win, truth wins, justice wins. (Speaking Foreign Language).


VAUSE: Our Maria joins us now from Manila. First of all, congratulations on the acquittal. How do you feel?

RESSA: Oh, my God, John, thank you. Well, first, how wonderful to speak with you again, but I feel vindicated, is a strong word. But, you know, it took more than four years to get us to this point. And the irony, of course, is just about six months before these tax evasion charges were were filed against us. Before the investigations, we were awarded by the Philippine government as a top corporate taxpayer. So it feels like the world is slowly turning right side up.

VAUSE: Yes, you said it's a win for facts, it's a win for truth, it's a win for justice. It seems those wins are fairly rare these days in many parts of the world. You have a sense that maybe things that are on the upper improving or are they just as bad as they have been?

RESSA: I mean, today I'm optimistic. You know, I've always chosen -- you know, I've always been an optimistic person. But it's been a tough six years or so, right? This is -- the world was really turned upside down against Rappler. In less than two years, I had 10 arrest warrants, and this was the cost of trying to do journalism in our country.

Is it turning around? Look, I don't think the problem is just the Philippine government. As long as our information ecosystem prioritizes the spread of lies, how can facts win? This is what social media and technology has done. So today, I am optimistic. The sun is shining, but the fight must continue.

VAUSE: Yes, I'm just wondering because these charges, these four tax evasion charges, they may have been politically motivated, but they were serious charges. You could have been facing years and years in jail if found guilty. I'm wondering, during the trial, did you contemplate what a guilty verdict would mean for you?

RESSA: Absolutely, until last night, until this morning. You know, because, in fact, Rappler, my co-founders and I and Rappler, the first thing that we think about is what do we do if it's a conviction, right. The first kind of statement we started thinking about was a conviction because you have to be prepared for the worst.

And also, I think, you know, as a joke, people were saying, I think Rappler has PTSD. We do. But we will continue to hold the line. You know, if it had happened that it was a conviction, it would have been a crushing blow, a, to the Philippine economy, because this is about making investments illegal. That's exactly what they would have done if if it had been a conviction.


The second is, it's for rule of law, which again will be helpful to investors because President Marcos, as you know, is in Davos. And the third one is press freedom, right? So, yes, acquittal it is.

VAUSE: And on that question of whether things are improving, I guess these charges came when Rodrigo Duterte was president. He did not hide his disdain for a free press. There is now this new president here, you mentioned President Marcos Jr. The fact that you were acquitted, do you see that as a positive sign? I'm trying to find something positive on this day. So do you see that as a positive sign, at least, in the near term?

RESSA: It's the first decision that's come under President Marcos, but again, this isn't necessarily President Marcos. I think what we have seen is a lifting of fear, right? I mean, it was -- fear was palpable under the term of President Duterte. And also, I was just thinking about this, you know, the independence of the justice system.

This is where the Court of Tax Appeals in this four years and two months that we were on trial was extremely professional. I don't think it had ever -- I was hoping for an acquittal, and I was thrilled to get it. You know, having said that, I think our victory, this victory is not just Rapplers, it is for every single person who's been unjustly accused with politically motivated charges.

And I named Frenchie Mae Cumpio. She's a journalist who is entering her -- this would be her fourth year in prison come February. And as you know, Lila de Lima, she spent her entire time as a senator in jail. She enters her 7th year in prison this February.

VAUSE: Maria, glad to speak to you. Keep up the good fight. And congratulations on your acquittal once again. It's great news.

Federal investigators have conducted multiple interviews as part of a review of how the U.S. President handled classified material. Sources tell CNN Biden's personal attorney Patrick Moore was among those interviewed. He made the initial discovery of classified material. About 20 documents in all from Biden's time as vice president have been found at his home in Delaware and at a former office he used in Washington.

The White House has been accused of a lack of transparency over what it has publicly disclosed. And on Tuesday, the administration remained on defense.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I have been forthcoming from this podium. What I said yes to was what the statement at the time that we all had, right? You all had the statement, and I was repeating what the council was sharing at that time. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you upset that you came out to this podium on Friday with incomplete and inaccurate information? and are you concerned that it affects your credibility out here?

JEAN-PIERRE: Well, what I'm concerned about is making sure that we do not politically interfere in the Department of Justice.


VAUSE: When you're explaining you're not winning apparently. One top Biden official, though, says the administration will fully cooperate with the Justice Department and answer any congressional concerns.

A Republican candidate who ran unsuccessfully for a State House seat in New Mexico last November is under arrest. Solomon Pena has been charged with contracting four gunmen to shoot at the homes of Democratic officials after he visited them to dispute the election results. Police say he's scheduled for a pre-trial detention hearing Wednesday.

CNN's Kyung Lah has the story.


DEBBIE O'MALLEY, FMR. COMM CHAIR, BERNALILLO COUNTY DIST., NEW MEXICO: One came right through here and then we've got the rest over here.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): About a dozen bullets embedded in the outside of Debbie O'Malley's home.

O'MALLEY: I was very angry, and I just disgusted about the whole thing.

LAH (on-camera): And these are significantly sized holes.

O'MALLEY: They are. It was so loud. This happened when my husband and I were asleep.

LAH (voice-over): O'Malley immediately suspected who the gunman might be. This man.

SOLOMON PENA, DEFEATED CANDIDATE: Hi. My name is Solomon Pena, can I speak with Debbie O'Malley.

LAH (voice-over): Solomon Pena, who had been looking for O'Malley, went to her daughter's address and then to her home a month before the shooting. This is him on the other side of the fence.

O'MALLEY: He seemed agitated. He seemed a little aggressive to me. I didn't consider him a threat then, but he was upset that he had lost the election.

LAH (voice-over): Police arrested him Monday in connection with a string of what they call politically motivated shootings of homes of four Democratic leaders in New Mexico. No one was injured.

CHIEF HAROLD MEDINA, ALBUQUERQUE POLICE DEPT.: It is believed that he is the mastermind that was behind this.

LAH (voice-over): Police say he's suspected of hiring a contractor for cash to commit at least two of the four shootings from December 4 to January 3. Pena was a Republican candidate for a State House seat in New Mexico and he spent years in prison for burglary and larceny. But a judge allowed the convicted felon to be on the ballot in 2022, calling it unconstitutional for Pena to be denied the ability to serve.

PENA: I had nothing more than a desire to improve my lot in life.

LAH (voice-over): He lost in November by a landslide, then accused his opponent of rigging the election.

Wearing a MAGA sweatshirt, Pena tweeted he stands with Trump. And he never conceded his own race in New Mexico. Election denialism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's some shenanigans going on.


LAH (voice-over): That he heard at Trump rallies like this one in Phoenix in 2021. Pena tweeted this picture saying he camped out all night to see Trump.

Photographs on the arrest warrant show Pena pictured with this man. The warrant alleges he is one of the suspected shooters who was arrested it with a gun used in one of the shootings. Police say Pena texted the home addresses of four Democratic targets to four suspects who carry out the shootings.

And in an exchange texted, they just certified it. "They sold us out to the highest bidder. They were literally laughing at us while they were doing it."

ADRIANN BARBOA, BERNALILLO COUNTY COMMISSIONER: Everybody's going to have to be more worried now.

Bernalillo County Commissioner Adriann Barboa was also targeted. Four bullets ripped through her home into the room where she had just been playing with her granddaughter.

BARBOA: It makes me angry that one person makes me angry that we have a former president and current elected officials in the highest level of government that think it's OK to, you know, invoke violence in these situations. So, yes, range of emotion, saying you're sad, disappointment.


LAH: Despite how emotionally draining and scary this has all been, what we are not hearing from these victims is any of them backing down from representing the people in politics and in government. Pena makes his first court appearance on Wednesday.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Albuquerque, New Mexico. VAUSE: When we come back here on CNN, a story no parent should miss. A toddler playing with a handgun, pulling the trigger. We'll explain what happened after the break. Also, head size matters. India either has or soon will take the title of world's most populous country from China. And with that comes a shift in global trade, even global power.

And later this hour --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got you. I won't let go.


VAUSE: Could Rose have really saved Jack? A new documentary looks at the answers for one of the biggest questions of our time. That's up later in the show.


VAUSE: Welcome back. So just how did a toddler in the U.S. state of Indiana get hold of a handgun, then casually waved the weapon in the air in the entryway of an apartment building while also pulling the trigger?

The footage from a security camera was aired on live TV last weekend during the Reels Program, "On Patrol: Live." According to affidavit, the boy's father says he was ill, and asleep, did not realize his young son had left the apartment.

Shane Osborn is now facing a neglect charge and is expected in court later this week. He denied owning a gun, says it belonged to a cousin. A neighbor called 911 after the toddler pointed the gun at her as well as his son. No one was hurt. No shots were apparently fired.


Well, India is on track to surpass China, and become the most populous country in the world this year. In fact, it may have already happened because India's 2021 census was delayed because of the pandemic. But U.N. experts predicted last year India would hit 1.412 billion people. Meantime, China's population has fallen for the first time in six decades. Now, at 1.411 billion.

India is one of the world's youngest countries, with more than one in four people between the ages of 15 and 29. That brings some challenges as well as opportunities.


DR. RINKU SENGUPTA DHAR, RAINBOW CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: The positive part of this is that, you know, India is going to have a very high percentage of young population, and that is good for our economy. We'll have a young workforce, and that is something which is very, very advantageous to us.

But the downside is that, you know, there is going to be the high population puts a constraint on our food, on our health, on education.


VAUSE: Off more with us to Los Angeles and Ryan Patel, Senior Fellow at the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. Good to have you on with us on this one.


VAUSE: Thank you. So how does this shift from China to India reflect a shift in global trade, possibly global power? What does this moment of say about the future and economic outlook for both countries here?

RYAN PATEL, SENIOR FELLOW, DRUCKER SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT: Well, I mean, I think, at least for -- I mean, for China, they knew this was happening, hence why 2021, they abandoned the rule and tried to increase the marital status and children to kind of grow the population. So they saw this coming.

For India, this has been -- this is something that they were preparing for, that they knew it was coming. They had all these policies in place to kind of make it more fun. They know they're going to need more jobs. They're going to need 90 million more jobs between 20 -- from now until 2030, just from non-farm payroll perspective.

And so they needed to get their infrastructure set up. And I'm not saying that they're there yet. There's still a lot of opportunity, but they weren't going to go backwards and try to control the population. They're obviously trying to do their best, but it's about how you're going to manage the flow of that.

VAUSE: They still have opportunity. That's a really good way of putting it. For India, there are benefits to being the world's most populous nation. That could strengthen their claim to a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. But I think you've hidden at this, there are drawbacks, too.

We spoke to a professor at the Indian School of Business. He told us, "India is sitting on a time bomb. There will be social unrest if we cannot create enough employment in a relatively short period of time."

So, OK, how are they going to basically generate all those jobs? I think you said 90 million jobs. And, you know, like, any change, how does this plays out in terms of benefits versus challenges or opportunities --

PATEL: So --

VAUSE: -- such it comes -- what the government does, right?

PATEL: Yes. I mean, so if I had to sit in my soapbox, remember, there's one thing is about saying things and doing things, right? That's easy to -- it's a little bit hard to put them in place with the Indian government has said, made an India program to start up India, skill India. They've started these programs. But the hard part, John, is, is to how to make them better, right? And the Indian government, Prime Minister Modi, knows there's many aspects, but they need to increase women's participation in the workforce by promoting equality and fair pay. This is going to be a game changer for them, John, to create more work, for a place to have income, to drive, you know, economic growth.

The second piece, too, is to be more open to international companies. We've seen that with Apple manufacturing coming into India being more competitive, they're being more open. And the third thing I would have to say is these other cities outside the ones that we know, Mumbai and Delhi, these other secondary cities like Ahmedabad (ph), these other cities that most people don't know, bill them as hubs.

They are actually, you know, gift cities in Ahmedabad (ph), where it's going to make it easier for international companies to come in to be able to do this. So, they have some of the initiatives in place, John, but they've got to do more. And that's the opportunity here, is that they cannot fall behind, is why I think the quote from the professor was a ticking time bomb, is that if we do nothing if it can go off.

VAUSE: Yes. The word participation rate for women, I think, is around 10 percent, which is pretty pathetic. China's birth rate over the past 60 years has fallen dramatically, peaking in the early 60s. Then in 1979 came the old one child policy. 2016, one became two. Then in 2021, two became three, effectively doing waves at all.

But despite effectively ending restrictions, the birthrate has continued to decline in China. Look at that number ships going down. And here's one possible reason why. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translation): The cost to raise a child now is too high. From when they are little to when they go to school, then when they look for a job in the future, get married and have their own children. The cost is too high.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): We have four parents combined between us. We also have grandparents. We need to take care of at least four elderly people. Now, the government is encouraging us to have three children. We simply can't afford it.


VAUSE: Everyone knows who has a kid. Kids are expensive, and the wealthier country becomes more expensive the kids are or at least raising the kids, I should say. Could India be facing similar problems at some point in the future? They'll also have this shrinking workforce supporting an aging population.


RYAN PATEL, SENIOR FELLOW, DRUCKER SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT: And yes. That's the difference between China and India. India, 27 percent of its population is 15 to 29 years old. And another quarter percent is from zero to 15. So they do have a younger growth potential where China obviously has an elderly age group that they have to take care of.

Now, in the forthcoming -- they are going to have to end up -- India's going to have to deal with this issue of how to deal with the elderly.

But it's funny, I saw a stat too, India's life expectancy over the last couple of years of average age actually increased and the death rate has fallen too. So they've got other -- I mean good thing to have, other obstacles to face too, when you have that aspect expanding.

VAUSE: When there are challenges, there opportunities. And you're the guy to tell us about it.

Ryan Patel there in Los Angeles, appreciate your time.

PATEL: Thank you, John.

VAUSE: The world's oldest known person, a French nun, has died age 118. Sister Andre passed away Tuesday in southern France. The city's mayor announced her death on Twitter.

According to Guinness World Records, Sister Andre was the oldest nun to ever live, dedicated her life to religious services.

She'd seen 18 French presidents, ten different popes presiding over the Catholic Church in just one lifetime.

When we come back, from rescue to recovery, the death toll rises at the site of the Russian missile strike in the city of Dnipro. We'll have the latest in a moment.


VAUSE: Welcome back. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Just a week away now from the 11th month mark since Russian forces invaded Ukraine but Vladimir Putin continues to call it a special military operation.

Western allies are once again stepping up military assistance to Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hinted at more to come after a meeting in Germany this week.

And the Dutch prime minister says his country intends to join the U.S. and Germany in sending Patriot missile defense systems to Ukraine.


MARK RUTTE, DUTCH PRIME MINISTER: We totally agree that we can only stop when the war stops and with a successful outcome for Ukraine. For the (INAUDIBLE) to be successful in Ukraine, Russia losing, losing the war --

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Western allies are urging Berlin to send German made Leopard tanks to Ukraine. And authorize other countries to do the same. Leaders in Poland and Lithuania are hopeful German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will give the greenlight.

Poland announced last week of plans to send the Leopard tanks to Ukraine but first needs Berlin's permission. The president of the European Commission says the west needs to step up military support for Ukraine and Ursula von Der Leyen spoke with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Do you believe that the German chancellor should deliver the Leopard tanks to join what other European countries are doing now?

URSULA VON DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT EUROPEAN COMMISSION: As you know, the European level -- the European Union does not own any military capabilities. But I've said from the onset of this atrocious war that Ukraine should get all of the military equipment it needs and it can handle. And this also includes the advanced system.

So I hope very much that Ramstein, when the meeting is I think it's the 20th of January, that there will be a big move forward and the decision taken that is necessary.

Overall, Ukraine also says that it has gotten a lot of support and that is good. But yes, there has -- we need to step up on that.

AMANPOUR: I mean again, you are the former defense minister of Germany, I know you are currently the president of the European Commission. But you know Chancellor Scholz. You know these people. Will you be urging him to make that decision on behalf of Europe and on behalf of what you all say is to defend Ukraine to the end, that Putin must not win. And that your credibility is on the line right now.

VON DER LEYEN: Yes. I do not have to convince the head of states and government because they know that. Of course, we talk a lot about this topic. It has been for example every time a subject of the European Council.

And indeed there is a need to step up now the deliveries. We just made the decision that we will deliver 18 billion euros in 2023, a financial support that is the responsibility for example of the commission.

Yesterday we dispatched the first tranche of three billion for the month of January and February. So in many different urgent fields, we are stepping up. And again, I think that Ukraine should get that material it needs and it can handle.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Bodies continue to be pulled from rubble and debris days after a Russian missile strike on an apartment building in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro. At least 45 people now confirmed dead, among them six children. More than a dozen people remain missing.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen has our report.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sirens mark the end of a search and rescue marathon. For three days, responders worked day and night trying to save lives. Now authorities say there is no more hope of finding survivors.

There is an eerie quiet here now. And you can really see how people were just ripped out of their lives as the building crumbled around them. You can also see the full scale of the destruction.

And Ukrainians say they cleared around 8,500 tons of debris from this area in about 72 hours.

And still more bodies were found, including children while others remain missing.

This man, searching for his grandson, venting his anger at Russia.

"There is no mercy for them," he says. "I will curse them until the last days of my life. May they die."

Kyiv says they are certain Russia struck the building with a cruise missile designed to destroy aircraft carriers.

Yelenora Riabitina (ph) tells me she was in her apartment in the complex when it was hit. She filmed the chaos when she first left the building and saw the destruction.

"We thought it was an earthquake or something," she says. "Unclear what happened. When we opened the apartment, we saw smoke and dust and heard screams."

The Kremlin continues to deny its forces were behind the attack but Moscow does say Russian fighters are now making gains on the battlefield.

Meanwhile Ukrainian forces are still shelling Russian troops around Soledar, which the Russians say is firmly under their control, thanks to fighters from the private military company Wagner.

A Wagner unit posted this video after advancing even further and taking a railway station. Wagner acknowledges using convicts recruited directly from Russian prisons to fight. Leader Yevgeny Prigozhin recently praising a group that survived.

"I told you I needed your criminal talents in order to defeat the enemy in Ukraine. Now those criminal talents are no longer needed. Ukraine says the Wagner assault and the missile strike show they need

more advanced weapons from the U.S. and its allies to keep momentum on the battlefield and protect citizens at home.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN -- Dnipro, Ukraine.


VAUSE: It's been months now since Sweden and Finland applied for full membership with NATO. Their bids have been quickly approved by the alliance, that is, except for one hold out, Turkey.

In the coming days, the Turkish foreign minister is expected to raise concerns over those applications during a meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State.


VAUSE: CNN's Jomana Karadsheh reports from Istanbul on what is behind the holdup.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Some Turkish officials have been saying that they are in no rush to approve Finland and Sweden's membership in NATO. Some Turkish officials also indicating that they might not take this to the Turkish parliament for a vote before elections that are expected here in May or June.

Turkey has accused those two Nordic countries of harboring members of Kurdish separatists groups that Turkey views as a national security threat. They did sign a memorandum between these three countries, between Turkey, Sweden and Finland in which they said they will be taking steps to address these national security concerns that Turkey brought up.

Turkish officials are saying that some steps have been taken but not enough has been done. They say they want to see more concrete steps taken before they go ahead and approve the membership.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in recent days also saying that they will not go ahead with this until Sweden and Finland hand over more than 100 individuals they say were wanted by Turkey.

But it is also very important to keep in mind that what Turkish officials say publicly doesn't necessarily reflect where things are in terms of negotiations taking place behind closed doors that have continued now for months, especially at a time when Turkey is headed into elections.

And we have heard from U.S. officials in the past and NATO secretary general and others who believe that Turkey will eventually come around and they will approve Finland and Sweden's membership but some believe that what it is trying to do right now is use this situation and this leverage to try to extract concessions it has been after for a long time from these countries and others. Jomana Karadsheh, CNN -- Istanbul.


VAUSE: Two years to the day since returning to Russia and being jailed, Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny says he will continue his opposition to the Russian government. Navalny tweeted, "When you write a post like this, you have to ask yourself how many more of such anniversary posts you have to write, life and the events around us prompt the answer. However many it may take, how miserable, exhausted, motherland needs to be to be safe. It has been pillaged, wounded, dragged into an aggressive war, turned into a prison run by the most unscrupulous and deceitful scoundrels."

Navalny is serving a nine-year prison sentence for fraud charges which his supporters and a lot of other people say were politically motivated.

U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner made her first public appearance since her release from a Russian prison last month. Griner and wife attended a Martin Luther King Jr. event on Monday.

Griner was arrested in Russia back in February last year for carrying a vape (INAUDIBLE) cartridges which contained cannabis. She was facing nine years in a Russian prison after being convicted but managed to be freed in a prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Moscow. Still to come, coal consumption soaring to record highs. Why global demand is going for the dirtiest of all fossil fuels despite countries pledging to phase it out.



VAUSE: Climate activist Greta Thunberg has been detained again by German police for the second time this week. She was with protesters opposed to the expansion of a coal mine operation in western Germany. Police say Thunberg and other demonstrates broke through a police barricade, heading for a coal pit. Thunberg has already been released according to the Reuters News agency. She was also detain on Sunday after addressing demonstrators then joining the protest.

The global energy crisis caused by Russia's war in Ukraine has pushed the worldwide demand for coal to record high. The International Energy Agency says that coal usage top eight billion metric tons for the first time ever last year.

The search comes just a year after coming to agree to face down their use of coal at the U.N. climate complement alignment conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Rising costs and lower supplies of natural gas and other are forcing some countries to turn to coal is a cheaper alternative.

Bob Ward is the policy communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate change and in Barnett's at the London School of Economics. And thanks for getting up early once again. BOB WARD, GRANTHAM RESEARCH INSTITUTE ON Hi CLIMATE SCHOOL: Hi.

VAUSE: So it seems going cold turkey on coal it's easier said than done. Germany has promised to do so by 2030 but just seven years from, so how does that explain the expanded coal mining effort that we're seeing in the loose around. How does that suit ed to the big picture overall.

WARD: Yes. It's difficult to understand what's going on here but in Germany, which is the largest energy consumer in the European Union a complicated energy system at the moment where it's trying to very quickly phase out the fossil fuels and to move to renewables.

But of course, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has led to a restriction in the supply of natural gas and temporarily, Germany is burning more coal, including (INAUDIBLE) which is a type of soft coal which is particularly policing and this is where that new mine is being expanded.

The problem for Germany that it's shutting down its nuclear power station. It generated record levels of renewable energy last year 46 percent of it electricity came from it.

But in the short term, while there's a restriction on supply of Russian gas, it's going to burn coal in the short-term ahead of a phase out where it's saying it will have no more coal fire power stations by 2038.

VAUSE: Right now there is the energy crisis. There is the war in Ukraine putting a squeeze on energy sources. But how long can we keep putting off the climate crisis?

I mean we have a crisis here now with Russia and Ukraine and high gas bills and high energy bills. But surely there comes a point when the climate crisis is here and now as well. That has to be looked at and dealt with as the at the same time. You can't keep putting it off.

WARD: Yes. We're at crisis point. The last U.N. Climate summit in Egypt in November pointed out that we are collectively way off target in terms of omissions. Our annual emissions greenhouse gases are still going up.

By 2030, our emissions are supposed to be close to 50 percent lower than they were 2020.

In fact, at the moment, they're likely to be 10 percent higher. We are way off. And what that means is we are off target for the agreed temperature target which is to limit warming to no more than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial because beyond that, the impacts become devastating. And we are way off of that target.

And it is unfortunately going to mean that we are going to see much more devastation around the world. We've seen this year, we've seen very clear impacts. We had a record hot summer in Europe which killed more than 20,000 people. We've had heat waves in China. We've had record -- you know, astonishing flooding in Pakistan. The costs are mounting around the world and yet we still are not

moving quickly enough to avoid even work in (INAUDIBLE) and our emissions are going up. The impact of climate change, just gets until the world gets essentially to zero emissions. We are a long way from that.

VAUSE: Well, the activist Greta Thunberg was among those detained by police at these protests. But because she was removed from the village, she had this to say.


GRETA THUNBERG, ACTIVIST: The carbon is still in the ground. We are still here. (INAUDIBLE) is still there. And as long as the carbon is in the ground, this struggle is not over.



VAUSE: Well, they're not there now, neither is (INAUDIBLE) and for the most part the carbon won't be in the ground for much longer either. Do we know how much coal is believed to be there? Is it possible to quantify what impact this expanded mine operation will have on carbon emissions overall?

WARD: It's not. I mean the problem for Germany is that this is supposedly -- they're going to meet al short term increase in demand. Well last year, the German parliament agreed that the coal mining and the phase out of quote as a source of power in the west of the country would be moved forward from 2038 to 2030.

So it is only in the east where it will continue. Now the fear that climate activists have and it should decimate (ph) there is that if you open a new coal mine, you become committed to then burning the coal, either in Germany or expulsing it.

You'll contribute to a little bit surprise n new coal, when you come committed to burning the coal either in Germany or exporting. It contributing to an oversupply of coal. Coal is the most polluting of all the fossil fuels. It produces more carbon dioxide, (INAUDIBLE) of energy than any other.

And it's the thing we have to phase out most urgently. And that's why Greta Thunberg and many others are legitimately concerned about the expansion of the coal mine. It does not make a lot of sense.

VAUSE: Yes. To put it mildly. Bob, thanks so much. We really appreciate, your time. Thank you sir.

WARD: Thank you.

VAUSE: This just into CNN, a tsunami warning has been issued after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake set off the coast of Indonesia. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says hazardous waves are possible for coastal areas within 300 kilometers of the quake's epicenter. We'll give you any updates as soon as they come in.

Those who have been wondering if Rose could've saved Jack in the film "Titanic", wait no more. A new documentary might have the answer.

Could he escape being (INAUDIBLE). Details in a moment.


VAUSE: The second NFL player seriously injured this month during Monday Might Football has been released from the hospital in Tampa Bay. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, wide receiver Russell Gage unenviable, and neck injury during the wild card play off against the Dallas Cowboys. We've offered three minutes less in the game he took a hit, fell awkwardly appeared unable to get up. But on Tuesday, the Buccaneers said he's taste come back to Normal and he will Tampa Bay.

Gage tweeted "I am doing great. and he thanks everyone for their support.

To the Australian open now where the Defending champion Raphael Nadal has crashed out of the tournament in the second round.

The 22-time major chat here, he was facing America McKenzie, McDonald on Wednesday. Noburn (ph) who's down a set, when he put neck injury. After a medical time out, he elected to continue but was unable to fully move was after in straight sent, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.

This is only the second time since 2007, the Spaniard has exited the Australian open this early in the tournament.

Meanwhile, nada's greatest rival, Novak Djokovic has been given a standing ovation during his first round victory at the Australian Open Tuesday. The Serbian is a nine-time champion in Melbourne but ahead of the time last year, was deported because he was not vaccinated for quarantine. Djokovic has been ruthless in his match against Spain (INAUDIBLE) winning straight set. The fans certainly helping Djokovic feel right at home.



NOVAK DJOKOVIC, TENNIS PLAYER: Thank you for giving me such welcoming reception I can only dream of. I really feel very happy that I'm back in Australia and I'm back here on the court where I've had the biggest success in my career.

You know definitely this court is the most special court in my life. And I could not ask for a better start of the tournament. So thank you for your support. I appreciate it. Thank you very much.


VAUSE: World number 1, Iga Swiatek has advanced into the third round, winning French Open and U.S. Open champion eased past Mila (INAUDIBLE) of Colombia 6-2, 6-3. The Pole is the overwhelming favorite to win the title (INAUDIBLE) for what could be her fourth career major victory.

Well, it's been 25 years since "Titanic". Now a new National Geographic documentary is trying to find an answer to an old age question of our time. Could Rose have saved Jack? Here's Jeanne Moos.


LEONARDO DICAPRIO, ACTOR: Take a deep breath when I say.

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's the "Unsinking of the Titanic", timed to coincide with the movie's 25th anniversary. The film's director is trying to finally slam the door on that age old question about the door.

Did Rose hug it when Jack could have fit? Room on that door for a family of four, argued critics. Adding pooches to prove the point.

But now Nat Geo presents a scientific reenactment. Using stunt doubles, plastered with sensors floundering in cold water. This is the teaser.

They consulted an expert on hypothermia, within eight minutes, Jack would've been unconscious in that position. By the way, director James Cameron told reporters it's technically not a door. It's a piece of paneling from the first class lounge.

Yes, well, whatever it was, it's been put to the test before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jack's death was needless.

MOOS: Myth Busters determined that if only they'd tied Rose's lifejacket underneath the wood, the additional buoyancy could've supported them both. But Director Cameron was unmoved.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The dude is going down.

Moos: Cameron compares it to Romeo and Juliet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the famous line you say I

KATE WINSLET, ACTOR: I'll never let go, I promise.



MOOS: This is one movie controversy that just won't sink. Colbert and Kate Winslet.

WINSLET: Come on darling, there is room for two.

MOOS: Have already done their own reenactment and no lifeboats were needed. All hands on deck.

Jeanne Moos, CNN -- New York.


VAUSE: She could've saved him.

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

CNN NEWSROOM continues with my friend and colleague Rosemary Church.

See you right back here tomorrow.