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Germany and U.S. at Odds Over Tanks for Ukraine; Russia's War on Ukraine Continues; Peruvian Police Brace for More Protests; Alec Baldwin Vows to Fight Charges; U.S. Hits Debt Limit; Noisy Crypto Mine Disrupts Appalachian Tranquility.; Microsoft: Russian Cyberattacks Against Ukraine Easing; Growing Support In South Korea For Developing Nuclear Arsenal. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired January 20, 2023 - 02:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to all of you watching us around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. Ahead here on "CNN Newsroom," a standoff among friends, the U.S. and Germany at odds over tanks that Ukraine says it desperately needs. We are just hours away from the meeting that could change everything.

Bracing for impact, Peruvian police are preparing for another day of violent protests.

Also, ahead --



BRUNHUBER: The life and legacy of music legend David Crosby.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is "CNN Newsroom" with Kim Brunhuber.

BRUNHUBER: Ukraine will soon be getting a significant military upgrade, thanks to a new $2.5 billion in aid from the United States and pledges of more weapons from Europe.

Stryker combat vehicles capable of moving infantry across the battlefield at the center of the U.S. package. Washington is also sending more Bradley fighting vehicles and HIMARS rocket systems. The Strykers are lightweight vehicles capable of travelling up to 100 kilometers an hour. They can also be used for reconnaissance and medical evacuations.

Meanwhile, nine European countries are pledging more military support, including howitzers and ammunition from Estonia, anti-aircraft guns from Poland and Lithuania, and squadron of Challenger tanks from the U.K. Now, the U.S. aid package does not include M1 Abrams tanks which Ukraine says it desperately needs.


BRUNHUBER: The machines that require rigorous training are equipped with jet engines and are notoriously difficult to maintain.

JOHN KIRBY, COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: The Abrams tank is a very sophisticated, very capable armored vehicle, armored weapon system, and it does have special requirements. It would require some unique supply chain requirements and maintenance and operation requirements that other tanks probably wouldn't and would be easier for the Ukrainians to learn how to use and to use effectively on the battlefield.

But we are going to keep this conversation going. It's going to happen tomorrow at Ramstein with Secretary Austin and dozens of other nations. We will see where this goes.


BRUNHUBER: The U.S. wants Germany to send its Leopard tanks to Ukraine or let Poland and Finland send their German-made Leopard. A senior Biden administration official says Germany has the U.S. over a barrel.

But we could see some progress on the standoff when western allies gather at Ramstein Airbase in the coming hours to discuss military aid to Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he is expecting strong decisions on powerful military support.

For more on all of this, let's bring in CNN's Nada Bashir live in London. So, Nada, take us through what we are expecting from today's meeting.

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Kim, this is set to be a hugely significant meeting, the eighth that we've since this meeting was formed back in April the 5th, in-person session meeting bringing together the defense chiefs of nearly 50 countries to come together in discussion of that crucial military support that are set to be provided to Ukraine.

Now, in the coming hour, we are expecting U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov, for bilateral talks which will certainly be focused on this latest package of security aid which the U.S. will be providing to Ukraine.

We've already heard from President Zelenskyy now in a tweet thanking the U.S. government for this significant package of support. This is what Zelenskyy had to say on Twitter. Thank you to the president of the United States for providing Ukraine with another powerful defense support package worth $2.5 billion. Stryker IFVs, additional Bradley APCs, Avenger air defense systems are important help in our fight against the aggressor. Thank you to the U.S. people for their unwavering leadership and support. The Ukrainian defense minister will also be meeting on the sidelines of this session with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg. Further discussions there are set to be held on NATO's military support to Ukraine.

And as you laid out there, we've already had pledges from at least nine European nations for further military support in various forms, including further artillery, air defense systems, and tactical vehicles as well. But, of course, the major sticking point and what is set to be the key focus of today's session will be the supply of tanks.


BASHIR: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other military officials in Ukraine are urging and appealing the NATO and European allies for those modern tanks which they say are crucial in aiding the Ukrainian armed forces in winning this war against President Putin and the Russian armed forces.

Of course, at this stage, Germany has failed to offer a commitment to provide those Leopard 2 tanks which Ukraine is hoping for. But this will be a key focus of discussions today.

We've already heard from prime minister of the Netherlands speaking to CNN just yesterday, saying that while he believes that there needs to be a broad coalition when it comes to supplying these modern tanks to Ukraine, he is fairly confident that the 50 or so defense chiefs' meeting today will be able to come to some sort of conclusion on this front.

Of course, we have also heard from Poland. They suggested that they may well go ahead with supporting Ukraine on this front regardless of Germany's position.

So, it remains to be seen what these conclusions are, but certainly a key focus of today's meeting. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: All right. We will be tracking that throughout the day. Thank you so much, Nada Bashir, in London.

So, while western allies argue over what weapons to send to Ukraine, the fighting rages on, especially in the eastern city of Bakhmut.

CNN's Ben Wedeman and his team met with Ukrainian soldiers just back from the frontlines.



BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They have been through the valley of the shadow of death. Most but not all made it out of the valley alive. But not unscathed.

On this stretch of road overlooking the battles for Bakhmut and Soledar, it is safe enough to deliver the wounded to medics. Strewn along the road, a blood-stained stretcher, a discarded, bloodied flak jacket.

(Voice-over): These troops are just back from the fronted (ph) Soledar. They took wounded. They were facing Wagner fighters. They say those fighters were attacking in waves. Now, they are going back to safer ground.

(Voice-over): The combat they saw was intense.

There were regular troops, says this soldier. And in front of them, just meet convicts in packs, on drugs, without armor, without helmets. For them, life has no value.

Down in the killing fields, the shelling goes on without letup. For the medics, there is no rest.

Sometimes, the mortars don't give us any breathing space, An Angola (ph) medic tells me. We have many casualties from shrapnel. And when the snipers come, then there are many dead and wounded.

Troops transfer a fallen comrade from their armored car to a van. Here, the shadow of death weighs heavy.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, outside Bakhmut.


BRUNHUBER: Nationwide strikes caused major headaches across France on Thursday, some really disrupting trains, flight, schools and businesses. In Paris, a small number of clashes broke out between demonstrators and riot police. The French interior ministry says that more than a million people took part in the walkouts but major union puts the number of strikers at over two million. They are protesting the Macron government's plans to raise the retirement age by two years to qualify for a full pension. The French president is defending the reform. Here he is.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): In countries where people live ever longer, where we have created strong and fair wealthier systems which rely on equality between generations, and moments where there are fewer and fewer people who are economically active and more and more who are retired, if you want the path between generations to be fair, this reform needs to be carried out.


BRUNHUBER: Major French unions are calling for another round of strikes in 11 days.

Peruvian authorities are bracing for more mass demonstrations as the death toll climbs from weeks of political unrest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRUNHUBER: The government reports that at least 54 people have died in nationwide protests which began in early December after former President Pedro Castillo was impeached, forced from office and detained.

Reporter Guillermo Galdos was in Lima on Thursday as police and protesters again faced off in the city center.

GUILLERMO GALDOS, JOURNALIST, CHANNEL 4 NEWS LATIN AMERICA CORRESPONDENT: The police -- the police was just gassing the protesters just down the corner.


GALDOS: Thousands of people have arrived in Lima from all over the country and plot (ph) has been formed to take over the capital. They want Dina Boluarte, the president, to resign, the government (ph) to be shut down, and a new constitution to be (INAUDIBLE).

For the past five years, Peru has had five presidents. And now, in the past month alone, more than 50 people have been killed all over the country from these protests.

The police are throwing tear gas and rubber bullets to the protesters. I have seen people from (INAUDIBLE), people from (INAUDIBLE), people from the south. People all over the place have converged here in the capital to protest.


BRUNHUBER: A showdown between two of the biggest rivals in football. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi faced off in an exhibition match in Saudi Arabia.


BRUNHUBER: The match was Ronaldo's Saudi debut after signing a reported $200 million-contract with the Al Nassr Football Club.

But Messi threatened to overshadow Ronaldo, scoring after less than three minutes. Ronaldo answered with two goals (ph) before leaving the match early. Messi and (INAUDIBLE) ultimately won the (INAUDIBLE) 5-4. And after the match, Messi shared video on his Instagram of the two rivals hogging. Good to see.


BRUNHUBER: Spectators at the Australian Open were on the edge of their seats until the early hours Friday morning as an instant classic (ph) did not finish until 4:00 a.m.


BRUNHUBER: Former world number one Andy Murray, who underwent multiple potentially career ending hip surgeries back in 2018 and 2019, found himself down two sets to one against the Aussie. Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round (INAUDIBLE) fought back to take the match to deciding fifth set. The match ran five hours, 45 minutes before the 35-year-old (INAUDIBLE) finally completed the win.

ANDY MURRAY, TENNIS PLAYER: Unbelievable that I managed to turn that around. Thanasi is playing and serving unbelievable, hitting his forehand huge, and I don't know how I managed to get through it. I did -- I did start playing better as the match went on, and yeah, I have a big heart.



BRUNHUBER: And there is plenty more on Andy Murray's big win and plenty more world sport coming up in about 35 minutes.

Still ahead this hour, the U.S. government has reached its boring (ph) capacity. Can lawmakers on Capitol Hill come to an agreement before the government defaults on its debts? We will have a report from Washington coming up.

And actor Alec Baldwin vows to fight the charges he now faces in the shooting death on his western movie set. We will have all the details.

Also ahead, how the cryptocurrency craze has disrupted the tranquility of a rural American community and how residents are fighting back. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: The trial for Matteo Messina Denaro, one of the bosses of Sicily's Cosa Nostra Mafia, has been adjourned until March 9th. Messina Denaro didn't appear by video link at his hearing Thursday but he wasn't required to do so. His attorney appeared in court on his behalf.

Messina Denaro has been on the run since 1993 and was considered one of Europe's most wanted criminals before his arrest on Monday. He is now being held in a maximum-security prison in central Italy.

Actor Alec Baldwin is vowing to fight the charges he is now facing in New Mexico. The district attorney announced plans Thursday to charge Baldwin and an armorer with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of a crew member on the set of the movie "Rust" in 2021.

CNN's Josh Campbell has more on this story.


JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Set in the Old West, "Rust" was filming outside of Santa Fe. Baldwin and crew members were rehearsing a scene inside a church when a prop gun in the actor's hand discharged. UNKNOWN (voice-over): We have to injuries from a movie gunshot.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): Killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza.

MARY CARMACK-ALTWIES, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT ATTORNEY, NEW MEXICO: This was a really fast and loose set that nobody was doing their job. There were three people, that if they had done their job that day, this tragedy would not have happened. That is David Halls, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, and Alec Baldwin.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): Assistant Director Dave Halls, who handed Baldwin the gun, has already pleaded guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon. Hannah Gutierrez-Reed served as the armorer and props assistant. Baldwin has repeatedly claimed that he pulled back the gun's hammer as far as he could without cocking the gun and released the hammer, telling CNN and others --

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: The trigger wasn't pulled. I didn't pull the trigger.

UNKNOWN: So, you never pulled the trigger?

BALDWIN: No, no, no. I would never point a gun at anybody and pull a trigger at them. Never. That was the training that I had. You don't point a gun to somebody (ph) and pull the trigger.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies disagrees.

CARMACK-ALTWIES: Every person that handles a gun has a duty to make sure that if they are going to handle that gun, point it at someone and pull the trigger, that it is not going to fire a projectile and kill someone. An actor does not get a free pass just because they are an actor.

BALDWIN: I was the one holding the gun, yeah.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): Safety expert Steve Wolf has a theory as to why Baldwin says he didn't pull the trigger.

STEVE WOLF, SAFETY EXPERT: If your finger is on the trigger and you're not aware that you're pressing it, and you pulled the hammer back and release it, the gun will also fire. And I believe that that is why he's saying he didn't press the trigger.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): Baldwin's attorney says he will fight the charges, calling the decision a miscarriage of justice, and Mr. Baldwin had no reason to believe there was a live bullet in the gun or anywhere on the movie set. He relied on the professionals with whom he worked, who assured him the gun did not have live rounds.

An attorney for Gutierrez-Reed calls the charges wrong and believes the armorer will be found not guilty by a jury and she did not commit manslaughter. She has been emotional about the tragedy but has committed no crime.

UNKNOWN: It is not clear to me that there's criminal liability here. Given all the circumstances, I'm not saying that. I'm really looking forward to what they are going to prove because this is an aggressive charge and I'm not sure they have it.

CAMPBELL (on camera): And as far as what happens next, the district attorney here tells me that she expects charges against Alec Baldwin to be filed by the end of the month after which time he will receive a summons to appear here either in person or via video conference. Of course, we expect Baldwin's legal team to aggressively fight these charges.

Josh Campbell, CNN, Santa Fe, New Mexico.


BRUNHUBER: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is apologizing for not wearing a seatbelt in a moving car. That is according to a Downing Street spokesperson who said that Sunak received the seatbelt to film a short video clip, calling it a brief error of judgement. The video of the prime minister was posted to a social media account on Thursday. In the U.K., a person can be fined up to $600 for failing to wear a seatbelt even in the backseat.

U.S. President Joe Biden says that he has no regrets over not publicly revealing the discovery of classified documents sooner. This was Biden's first public remarks in a week on the documents that were found in his private office in Washington and at his home in Delaware. They were first discovered in November but it was not made public until last week.

The president made the comments while touring the ongoing recovery efforts in California following recent deadly storms. He seems a little bit frustrated over reporters' focus on the documents. Here he is.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They found -- they found a handful of documents. They were filed in a wrong place. They immediately turned them over to the Archives and the Justice Department. We are fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly. I think you're going to find -- there is nothing there. I have no regrets. I'm following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do. It is exactly what we are doing. There is no there there. Thank you.


BRUNHUBER: The U.S. Treasury is using so-called extraordinary measures to keep paying the government's bills after reaching its debt ceiling on Thursday. Now, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are up against the ticking clock to avoid the nation defaulting on its debt for the first time ever. The catastrophe, officials warned, is a real possibility.

CNN's Phil Mattingly is outside the White House with more. [02:20:00]


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. debt ceiling has officially been hit. We are now in a moment of what is known as extraordinary measures. The Treasury Department is shifting funds around, delaying some investments, moving others as they attempt to buy time essentially over the course of the next couple of months' time.

But very much is needed when you look at that alliance that has been drawn over a fight we've seen over and over and over again for the better part of the last decade.

Here's what is different. White House officials saying explicitly, unequivocally and in a way that they say will remain firm over the course of those months, they will not negotiate. There will be no deals, there will no sitting down on the table, and exchanging pathways forward to get out of a very potentially consequential mess, a catastrophic one, if you listen to what economists say.

Republicans says they won't agree to any type of debt ceiling increase without spending cuts, without some of their own items to be considered. That, of course, means that there is a pretty significant problem.

Now, there are four or five months, give or take, where things can actually be figured out, and that is certainly part of the reason White House officials laid down their own red lines this early on in the process, expecting to use that time behind the scenes to try and see if there are pathways forward to a clean debt ceiling increase.

But, at this point in time, with the stakes as high as can possibly be and the economic repercussions as dangerous as they could possibly be, one thing is very clear (INAUDIBLE) White House officials and House Republicans who now hold the majority and, therefore, will have to figure out a way forward on this, there is no deal anywhere near the offing and no clear idea how to get one at any point any time soon.

Phil Mattingly, CNN, the White House.


BRUNHUBER: The new CEO of the failed FTX crypto exchange says the company could start back up again. John Ray III is handling the company's bankruptcy proceedings. He told "The Wall Street Journal" that some customers are pushing to reboot the company and believe that they may get customers their money back quicker. Ray said that all options are on the table. The token issued by FTX jumped 32% after Ray's comments.

And NEXO Capital has agreed to pay $45 million in penalties to settle charges in the U.S. with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The crypto firm was accused of not registering its lending product which started in 2020. It allowed investors to give their crypto assets to the company in exchange for promised interest. NEXO did not admit or deny the charges. The U.K.-based company says that it will phase out its U.S. products and services in the coming months.

Well, cryptocurrency exchanges rely on large banks of computer service with powerful fans to keep them cool. Now the so-called crypto minds can be extremely noisy, especially for people who live nearby.

CNN's Bill Weir visited one rural North Carolina community where peaceful quiet has been replaced by the roar of a crypto mine. Folks there are not amused.


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the sound of Green Mountain Farm. Certified by Quiet Parks International as one of the most peaceful spots in North Carolina. Thanks to their rare local enforcement of laws against noise pollution.

Meanwhile, about 90 minutes away, beautiful Cherokee County sounds like this. It is stack upon stack of computer servers and the fans needed to cool them. This is what is known as a crypto mine, and it makes the sound of people in San Francisco trying to make virtual money.

(On camera): How do you describe that noise?

MIKE LUGIEWICZ, MURPHY, NORTH CAROLINA RESIDENT: We are probably sitting at about 65 decibels right now. When it's about 75, 80 decibels, I'd say a jet engine, a jet engine that never leaves.

WEIR (voice-over): Sixteen months after the mine fired up without warning, Mike Lugiewicz put his house up for sale in frustration.

LUGIEWICZ: There would be turkeys out in the field and deer by the hundreds. You don't have that anymore.

WEIR (voice-over): While Tom Lash (ph) misses the wildlife --


WEIR (VOICE-OVER): Phyllis Cantrell says she feels trapped.

CANTRELL: You can actually lay your head on the pillow and hear it hum up through the walls.

WEIR (on camera): Have you thought about moving?

CANTRELL: We are 73 years old. Where are we going to go?

WEIR (on camera): Imagine a dam where the dice have a billion sides, and the first person to roll a 10, wins. That is essentially crypto mining. And to play that game these days, you need computers. Thousands of computers running 24/7, 365. And after China outlawed cryptocurrency and crypto mining, more and more mines like these began popping up in Appalachia, places where the power is cheap and the regulations are either nonexistent or unenforced.

(Voice-over): But in this deep red republican pocket --


UNKNOWN: (INAUDIBLE) 24/7. (INAUDIBLE) do nothing to help these people. What are you guys going to do to help?

WEIR (voice-over): The mine has upended local politics.

JUDY STINES, MURPHY, NORTH CAROLINA RESIDENT: I like to be behind the scenes and I like to serve pot. And I knew that we needed to win an election.


WEIR (voice-over): Outrage over the mine helped flipped the balance of power in November's county election.


WEIR (voice-over): With the new board of commissioners now asking for federal help in ending American crypto mining.

UNKNOWN: (INAUDIBLE) legislation through U.S. Congress to ban and/or regulate crypto mine operations in the United States of America.


WEIR (voice-over): When asked over LinkedIn for reaction, Chandler Song, one of the mine's co-owners, wrote, oh boy they wanted us so bad a year ago.

As for the proposed ban, it is unconstitutional to say the least. Song and his crypto mining co-founder made Forbes 30 under 30 list a few years ago and recently claimed quarterly revenues of more than $20 million. But when asked follow-up questions, Song went silent. His mine in Murphy has not so far. But the county attorney is looking for a legal way to shut it down.

A cautionary reminder that the next time that you hear a place as peaceful as Green Mountain Farm --


WEIR (voice-over): Chances are someone got loud and fought for it.


BRUNHUBER: Russia may be pulling back from a key front in its war with Ukraine. We will talk about why cyberwarfare could be tapering off at least for now.

And a nuclear arms race in Asia, how deterrence for one country is seen as escalation by another. We will have a report from Seoul just ahead. Please, stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BRUNHUBER: Welcome back to all of you watching us around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is "CNN Newsroom."

We are about 90 minutes away from a crucial meeting in Germany where western allies will map their military aid strategy for Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants tanks to fight off a Russian offensive they are expecting in the spring. But Germany is hesitant to send its Leopard tanks or approve their transfer by Poland or Finland.

U.S. has already approved the $2.5 billion military aid package that includes Stryker combat vehicles, more Bradley fighting vehicles with no M1 Abrams tanks.


And now a closer look at cyber warfare. The president of Microsoft tells CNN that Russian cyberattacks against Ukraine have been easing up lately. He says that Microsoft has also noticed a pullback on pro- Kremlin digital propaganda linked to the war. Listen to this.


BRAD SMITH, PRESIDENT, MICROSOFT: In terms of cyberattacks, the last 30 days have been quieter. There had been fewer Russian cyberattacks against Ukrainian targets. We'll see if that lasts or whether there is an effort to regroup and do something new. We need to be prepared for it all.


BRUNHUBER: So, for more on this, I want to bring in Eric Noonan, the CEO of CyberSheath who is in Reston, Virginia. Thank you so much for being here with us. So, I just want to give you some stats here. According to Ukraine's computer emergency response team, 2000 cyberattacks were aimed at Ukrainian organizations in the last year, in 2022. So, first, in terms of the military targets. What have, they have largely been focused on, and what effect they been having?

ERIC NOONAN, CEO, CYBERSHEATH: Kim, thank you. You know, so interestingly, early on in the war, what we saw was more attacks on military infrastructure, so think satellite and telecommunications infrastructure and so those traditional military targets early on. But we have seen a shift for sure to more civilian targets. Think critical infrastructure and energy, heat, and water supply, more aimed at the civilian populists. So, there has been a definite shift in the targeting for sure when it comes to cyberattacks within Ukraine.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. More on the statistics, I mean only about 300 of those 2000 attacks were against the security and defense sector. The rest of them basically were against civilian targets as you said, presumably to have a psychological effect rather than affecting the battlefield, is that right?

NOONAN: That is what we think, Kim. And I think the other thing to remember there is the civilian attacks -- cyberattacks obviously are much more visible and we can see many of those in real-time. In any attacks on military infrastructure, you know there is tighter communication that weren't there in terms of how the information ultimately comes out whether or not the attacks are successful or not. So, it is something that we have to keep in mind as we measure these statistics is successful attacks against the military are less likely to be widely reported and visible than attacks on civilian infrastructure.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. And as well on that note, the difference between these so-called cyber fires, these destructive types of attacks versus the things you do not see like intelligence gathering which I take performs a large part of what these hacks are all about.

NOONAN: It's a great point, Kim, and I think it so interesting. And so, the intelligence gathering, espionage of cyber warfare is what we are used to seeing certainly here in the western world. But now in Ukraine, we have an active conflict in multiple parties essentially trying out military doctrine that has been thought through and testing it in real-time.

And so now, it is an active battlefield relative to cyber, less only a kind of espionage intelligence gathering front, much more actively on the disruptive operations and destruction of equipment and information. And we are seeing that action which we have never seen before at this scale and for such a sustained period of time. It's truly a historically incredible time in terms of being able to write and then adapt military doctrine as it comes to cyber warfare.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, incredible and frightening. Who is behind this? Is it largely the state itself or is Russia leveraging an army of sort of exterior cybercriminals?

NOONAN: Well, it is a historical time on both fronts, Kim. So, we have obviously, clearly, Russia is a nation-state at the tip of the spear for all of these attacks. But then also on the other side, the United States, NATO allies, and then as you highlighted, Microsoft and other private companies who have committed resources, information-sharing, and other tools to the fight.

And so, on both sides, we are seeing something that we've really never seen at scale for such a sustained period of time before in the cyber domain of warfare. So again, on both sides, we have organized governments, militaries, nations states, and then also private corporations committing resources. And so, the amount of learning that is being done for things that were previously very much academic relative to cyber warfare is really incredible.

BRUNHUBER: This collaboration that you are speaking of between Ukraine and its allies, is that why Russia's cyber war, largely speaking, has not had the effect that many have predicted at the start of the war?

NOONAN: I think that it's a big part of the reason why. The other thing not to forget is that Ukraine is one of the most battle-tested relative to cyber warfare.


Again, not espionage, not information gathering, but actual cyber warfare. Ukraine is one of the most battle-tested countries that I can think of really given previous incursions into their electrical grid that left millions in the dark and large swaths of the country in the dark. So, they've basically been attacked before on the cyber domain, they've had to defend against it, and they've had now time to learn the adversaries, tactics, respond, and create a more hardened set of defenses and infrastructure against those attacks. So, I think you have the global community and information-sharing public-private partnerships in addition to a country that is more battle-tested in the cyber front than probably nearly any other one on earth when it comes to actual conflict.

BRUNHUBER: Yes. And just because you keep talking about learning, quickly before we go. Largely speaking, what do you think we are learning from this unprecedented cyber war that the U.S. and its allies might be able to take away from this?

NOONAN: Well, it's a long list, Kim, but you know probably at the top is just the limits of cyber warfare, not to overestimate the learning that's been done. So, just because Russia's capabilities have now - you hear some talking about the maybe downplaying of Russia's capabilities. And I don't think that's the case at all.

So, the learning, we should not take away from this one particular episode even though it has been sustained over the last few. We should not think that Russia is any less of a threat on the cyber front at all. Again, remember, just a year ago, the attacks against Viasat and the effectiveness of that. So, I think we have to be very careful about it. There's a lot of learning to be done but I think that some of it need to be done in hindsight in quieter times.

BRUNHUBER: Great point. We will have to leave it there. Eric Noonan, thank you so much for your analysis. I really appreciate it.

NOONAN: Thank you, Kim.

BRUNHUBER: A long-running debate in South Korea appears to be shifting. Recent polls show there's growing support among South Koreans for the country to develop its own nuclear arsenal in the face of threats from the North and regional uncertainty. CNN's Paula Hancocks has more now from Seoul.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Kim Jong- un wants bigger and better nuclear weapons, calling for an "exponential increase in North Korea's nuclear arsenal," a compelling reason for a growing number of South Koreans to believe that they too should have nuclear weapons.

BRUCE KLINGNER, SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW, HERITAGE FOUNDATION: It is very striking how it has gone from really a fringe discussion to very mainstream. HANCOCKS: South Korea is protected by the U.S. nuclear umbrella. But for some conservatives, the pledge to come to Seoul's aid up to and including the use of nuclear weapons if under attack is no longer enough. Not helped by former U.S. President Donald Trump, who turned traditional alliances on their head suggesting that the U.S. should not be defending South Korea, citing expense.

ANKIT PANDA, STANTON SENIOR FELLOW, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE: The alliance was on thin ice during the Trump administration. And so, on some level, it's a natural response for South Korea to seek out ways in which to enhance its autonomous defense capability.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course, North Korea doesn't want South Korea to have nuclear weapons. Now, they can ignore the South Korean military but they will be nervous if we have enough nuclear weapons as we have enough nuclear materials to make more than 4000 weapons.

HANCOCKS: A poll conducted by Gallup Korea last September found 55 percent of those polled supported South Korea having its own nuclear weapons. Other polls show even higher support. But some experts say that the reality would be very different.

JEFFREY LEWIS, MIDDLEBURY INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: You know, the funny thing about nuclear weapons is that your weapons do not offset their weapons. And the best example I can think of that is look at Israel. Israel has nuclear arms and it is terrified of Iran getting nuclear weapons. So, Israel's nuclear weapons don't in any fundamental way offset the threat that they feel from Iran's nuclear weapons.

HANCOCKS: South Korea's president Yoon Suk Yeol also floated the idea of a nuclear program last week, speaking to his defence ministry. Comments walked back by those around him. Yoon has been calling for stronger extended deterrence for months. Some conservatives favor the redeployment of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons to the peninsula.

KLINGNER: Putting U.S. nukes back on the peninsula makes no military sense. They currently are on very hard-to-find, hard-to-target weapons platforms. And to take the weapons off of them and put them into a bunker in South Korea which is a very enticing preemptive target for North Korea, what you've done is you've degraded your capabilities.

HANCOCKS: Washington says that the extended deterrence is solid and that the nuclear umbrella is intact. And it also points to the fact that some 28 and a half thousand U.S. troops are permanently stationed here on the peninsula which could have a very real tripwire effect. And the last thing that the U.S. wants or China for that matter is a nuclear arms race among America's allies in Asia.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BRUNHUBER: And we'll be right back.





BRUNHUBER: The sounds of the legendary band Crosby, Stills, and Nash when they performed live in their induction into the rock and roll hall of fame in 1997. Well, founding member, David Crosby, died Thursday at age 81 after a long illness. He had already been inducted into the Hall of Fame a few years before as a founding member of the Byrds.



BRUNHUBER: Crosby performed on and off over the next 50 years, including the live aid benefit concert in 1985. Like many other musicians at the time, he had to deal with drug and alcohol addictions, prison, and chronic health problems. The original Woodstock concert in 1969 was only the second time that Crosby, Stills, and Nash had played together live. On the 50th anniversary of the event, Crosby spoke with CNN's Bill Weir about his musical legacy. Listen to this.


BILL WEIR, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: And this burst of creativity you've had, you sing about death. Do you think about how you want to be remembered?

DAVID CROSBY, SINGER: Not so much. The songs will do that. They are the best I can do. That's the weird thing everybody is scared to talk about it. The question is what are you going to do with it? How do you spend that two weeks or that ten years? And I got that figured out, family, music because this is the only thing I can do.


BRUNHUBER: David Crosby, dead at the age of 81.

I'm Kim Brunhuber. I'll be back at the top of the hour for more CNN NEWSROOM. "WORLD SPORT" starts after a quick break.