Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

CNN International: Ukrainian President Zelenskyy Speaks at Arab League Summit; Zelenskyy: Russia's Aggressiveness doesn't come from Strength; U.S. Won't Block Allies Sending F-16 Jets to Ukraine; What do we know about the Children Missing in Colombia; Speculation over who May One Day Lead Luxury Brand LVMH. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired May 19, 2023 - 08:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello you're watching CNN "Newsroom" I'm Bianca Nobilo in for Max Foster. We are just going to tune in now to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy who is speaking at the --

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: Education of tens of thousands of Arab students in our Universities every year. And I really it's an honor for us that children from Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia went to Ukraine for education. With you, we have fulfilled one of the most honorable tasks in the world.

Food security, Ukraine traditionally supplies your countries with wheat and other agricultural products. We're glad to welcome the investments of the Arab nations as well as the investments of Qatar in the port infrastructure post the pandemic. And then a more terrible virus the rabies of aggression, hit this and our other normal relationship.

And I am more than sure that none of you will agree to surrender a third of your country to the invaders. And I am more than sure that none of you would watch without a fight how for in a still the children of your people. Hundreds of thousands of our children are deported to Russia separated from their relatives and there are in Russia, they are trying to teach our children to hate their natives.

And I am more than sure that none of you would admit the military occupation of a nuclear plant to use it to make way of the world with new disaster. Look at how much suffering the long term wars have brought to Libya, Syria, and Yemen. How many lives have been wasted by years of fighting in Sudan and Somalia, in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Everyone who -- to suffering by his new aggression and everyone who sues enmity, everyone who was bringing back their old days of invading empires that didn't count with the will of independent nations every aggressor goes against the world, and will be caused by the people.

And I greet everyone who is ready to join us on the pass of justice. Ukraine proposed the peace formula to end the war. You can see how it works on the example of food security. One of the points of our formula, even when the war is thrown into our home, we do everything so that the homes of other people's also survive.

We managed to launch the Black Sea Grain initiative, and partially live the Russian novel blockade of our ports. These civilized food markets and helped many, including the nations of the Arab League. The implementation of another point of our peace formula will also help many the return home of all captives and deporters.

Each of the honorable delegation was given a document in your language with 10 points of the peace formula peace you can choose the point to have that you consider appropriate and I will be grateful to each of you who will choose exactly the direction of rescuing people held in Russian captivity.

So I invite all of you who respect peace, to join the implementation of the peace formula, and do to reduce enmity and wars, suffering and evil. Russia is weak, we beat it even when it has more weapons in their hands is aggressiveness doesn't come from strengths, but from the understanding that the time of empires has passed.

That's because the time of free independent nations will never end and Ukraine proves it. I wish you peace. I invite you to cooperate directly with our country without any intermediaries. And may our and your -- act in a coordinated manner for the peace and good of people of all nations and please, listen to their Crimean Tatar people listen to the Muslims of Ukraine. May, the almighty protect our soldiers Slava Ukrainian. Thank you.

NOBILO: You've been listening to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy address the Arab League summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. And CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins us now live from Istanbul to discuss. Jomana, what struck you about what we've just heard from President Zelenskyy?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very interesting, Bianca, it's a pretty bold move by the Ukrainian President to show up in a region that has for the most part tried to stay out of the Ukrainian war that has really tried to stay on the fence. This is a region where you have countries with very close ties as well, to Russia economic and military ties.

And he's really trying to reach out to these countries, of course, you know, with all the talk about the spring offensive in the works right now. It does appear that he is trying to reach out to these countries that have really tried to stay out of it for the most part.

With Saudi Arabia, for example, they have really tried to emerge as a mediator in this region, whether it is brokering a prisoner's swap deal few months ago between Ukraine and Russia, or whether it is other conflicts in this region. So you see President Zelenskyy really trying to reach out to them talking about Muslim Ukrainians who are victims of the oppression and the aggression.

And really trying to speak to this region, giving them examples of you know, what Ukrainians are going through saying that you would not accept foreigners taking away your children, foreigners taking your land, invading your country really trying to connect with this region that is economically important. And of course, a very, very interesting time to also be at the summit, Bianca, and doing this at a time where all eyes were already on this Arab League Leaders meeting because Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian President, who for more than a decade now has been a pariah on the international stage has been brought back into the regional and Arab fold. He was making his appearance today at the summit.


We have seen him shaking hands with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman all smiles being welcomed with handshakes and red carpets to this summit.

So all eyes were on that it's going to be very interesting to see both President Zelenskyy and Bashar al-Assad at the summit, which we haven't actually seen just yet, because, you know, over the past year or so, Bianca, I've been speaking to a lot of Syrians who see a lot of parallels between what they have gone through over the past decade.

Of course, because Russia backed President Assad, it is the reason he survived the civil war in his country. It is the reason why he is emerged pretty much victorious in this war, and so many Syrians feel that they are the victims of that Russian support for President Assad. And they have always drawn these similarities between Russia and Ukraine saying, if the world had stopped Russia in Syria, they believe Ukraine wouldn't have happened.

NOBILO: It is fascinating to see that clash of geopolitical alignment really coming to the fore at this summit and the Arab League deciding that engagement is the way forward with Bashar Al Assad, unlike most Western countries. Jomana Karadsheh, live in Istanbul. Thank you so much.

Following his stop in Saudi Arabia, officials say that President Zelenskyy is expected to head to Japan for an in person visit to the G7 summit. It comes as G7 leaders was set to discuss the possibility of fighter jets for Ukraine at their gathering in Hiroshima. Sources telling CNN that the Biden Administration has signaled to European allies that it would allow them to export U.S. made F-16 jets to Kyiv.

CNN's International Diplomatic Editor is covering all of these developments live for us from Eastern Ukraine. Nic, these are potentially two very high profile international trips that President's Zelenskyy has decided to make this week. What calculus would be at play in his mind when he's making the choice to leave Ukraine to undertake these meetings?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I think when you look at the invitation to Saudi Arabia, the bilateral meeting is expected to have with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and remembering that the Saudi Foreign Minister was in Kyiv, only a few months ago pledging hundreds of millions of dollars in humanitarian support.

Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in particular, really want to have a stake in a peace process for Ukraine. They want to have a state the part of the state they see is the rebuilding of Ukraine in the future. They have heavy investments inside Ukraine and have had for years.

So there is that bilateral relationship and undoubtedly, that's something President Zelenskyy would like to build on, I think perhaps a broader message is one that he would like to reflect that relationship that's being developed with Saudi Arabia more broadly, through the Arab world and have the conflict in Ukraine understood through a different prism to interrupt the Putin narrative that pervades in the Gulf in some countries.

The perception that NATO is the problem that the West is the problem that Putin is right in his argument that this isn't about Ukraine is actually fighting Western hegemony that's interrupting that message is something Zelenskyy would like to do. And perhaps that's a forum for it.

I think when it comes to more broadly, you know, that message they like the Zelenskyy and his officials like to interrupt with the Chinese as well. The Chinese envoy was here earlier in the week. And obviously, better relations are being developed between Gulf countries and China at the moment.

So I think all of that in the round, is Ukraine able to get its message and give its understanding of what's happening in its country. And specifically, you know, Zelenskyy use the language of, you know, a third of the country being occupied and the children being, you know, forcibly taken away to another country.

Evocative emotive statements but designed to play on an understanding of fundamental understanding of what's happening rather than Putin's narrative. When it comes to the G7 Zelenskyy's advisors are saying quite clearly he needs to be there in person to put forward Ukraine's case to put forward its proposals to put forward its arguments.

And this is a meeting where we know Charles Michel, the European Council President was speaking early said the F-16 fighter jets is going to be on the table. We know European leaders meeting in Iceland earlier in the week, through the leadership of both British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Mark Rutte, the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, initiating an effort to coordinate purchase of F-16's and training of F-16 pilots.

So this is momentum building and Zelenskyy wants to be there and part of it and shape it and direct it and give it. Real momentum because the message from Ukraine remains, they need the jets they need ammunition and the people that can provide it they're sitting around the table at the G7.


NOBILO: Nick Robertson for us from Eastern Ukraine. Thank you very much. And it's not just fighter jets under consideration at those G7 meetings. World leaders are also looking for new ways to cut off Kremlin funding for its 15 month long war in Ukraine. Here they are in this year's class photo.

Earlier, they announced tough new sanctions against Russia, and they just wrapped up dinner on a small island outside of Hiroshima. CNN's Marc Stewart joins me now live. Marc, we've just been speaking about President Zelenskyy's priorities head of his visit to Japan. What is it likely that G7 leaders will give him in response to his requests and arguments?

MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's, interesting Bianca, because these G7 leaders really do see eye to eye with President Zelenskyy. And they certainly are willing to help. But it's also other players who will be a G7 with whom President Zelenskyy will be meeting that will also have an impact on this broader conversation about sanctions and how to assist Zelenskyy and Ukraine.

So President Zelenskyy will have some contact with the members of Indonesia, with India, as well as Brazil. These are countries that have maintained some economic relationships with Russia. And it's something that he will certainly want to stress to them needs to be cut off for the sake of democracy.

And then of course, this brings up this bigger discussion about sanctions. So one thing that G7 leaders have agreed to, is to provide sanctions, additional sanctions against Russia and places where it really hurts things like construction, manufacturing, business services, anything that can inhibit Russia in its efforts, to not only continue its military effort, but to really try and cripple Russia militarily.

So it will have perhaps a funding struggle when you know as this war moves forward, so that is kind of the big headline from today. Also, I just want to add on to Nic Robertson's point, a lot of discussion about F-16 fighter jets. Something that's also coming up for conversation here are anti-missile systems.

They've been proven to be very effective used by Ukraine against Russia. That's something that also is expected to come up for discussion here as well, Bianca.

NOBILO: CNN's Marc Stewart for us in Japan. Thank you. A programming note for you President Recep Tayyip Erdogan join CNN's Becky Anderson for an exclusive in depth interview ahead of Turkey's Presidential run off on May 28th.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Up until last Sunday, you had comfortably won every election that you have competed in that is a remarkable record over 20 years now your leadership is challenged and you are competing in the first ever Presidential runoff in Turkish history. How confident are you sir?

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKISH PRESIDENT: The currency competitor has been challenging us for 15 times now. And he was defeated each time that he challenged us and the forthcoming runoff elections which will be held next Sunday. I feel confident that my people will invest in a strong Turkish democracy and I hope and pray that out of the runoff elections our people will not let us down.


NOBILO: You can watch the full interview with President Erdogan on "Connect the World" at 5 pm in Istanbul 10 pm in Hong Kong. The deadly flooding in Northern Italy has now claimed 14 lives. That's according to local leaders who say six months' worth of rain fell in just 36 hours.

Thousands of emergency workers are deployed looking for missing people and helping those who've been displaced. And the rain unfortunately is not over yet. Forecasters expect heavy rain across Italy. They say the Northern regions could see 100 millimeters of rain.

Shelters are popping up across the region including this one. You can see here at the classes Museum in Ravenna. Area residents can find beds and food among the vases and sculptures. Thousands of people have been displaced by these devastating floods.

Barbie Nadeau joins us now live from Rome with the details. Barbie, we're getting a sense of some of the assistance we just saw some pictures of a museum reaching out to help people who are displaced. What more can you tell us about the help that Italians in hard hit areas are getting?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, they are getting a lot of help from elsewhere in Italy. But the big concern right now are these rain that's coming and that the rivers are rising and flooding their banks and that because the roads are out evacuations continue to be very, very challenging.


The Mayor of the small town of Russi where two people died yesterday I had this warning for her people.


VALENTINA PALLI, MAYOR OF RUSSI AT EMILIA ROMAGNA: We have therefore decided that you must go to the upper floor of your home. I repeat, go to the upper floor. Only those who don't have an upper floor must evacuate their home.


NADEAU: And you know, Bianca, when you listen to that, you know that if you can't be evacuated, just go upstairs, take some food with you and hope for the best. That's kind of the message in some of these areas. There's so many small rivers that are just jumping over their banks and the rain is still coming, Bianca.

NOBILO: Barbie Nadeau in Rome. Thank you. 8 more bodies have been recovered at the site of a suspected cult in Eastern Kenya. And we warn you that the video we're about to show from the scene is disturbing. Authorities say the total number of bodies found in the mass graves is now 235.

Authorities believe those who died were part of a Christian cult and believe that they would go to heaven if they starve themselves. The group's leader and 30 others have been arrested and investigations are ongoing. Still to come more than two weeks after that plane crashed deep in the Colombian jungle four children remain missing what we know about the search effort, next.


NOBILO: Colombia's Military is desperately searching for 4 missing children in the jungle. Their small plane crashed more than two weeks ago. And while 3 adult bodies have been recovered from the crash site, Officials believed that the children could still be alive. The Army has found footprints they believe could belong to the children.

Rescuers have also found evidence of a makeshift shelter alongside other personal items. On Wednesday, the Colombian President tweeted that the children whose ages range from just 11 months to 13 years old were found alive. But he later deleted the tweet saying the information couldn't be verified.

Stefano Pozzebon is following all the latest developments for us from Colombia. Stefano, what do we know about these missing children. Who they are their well-being because the minimal communication that we've had from official channels has now raised more questions than answers?

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yes, definitely. Unfortunately, there is not much we know and that is because the situation down there in the jungle is so critical in terms of both communications and transport, Bianca. Unfortunately, late last night, the Colombian Military released a statement saying that they found fresh footprints.

And with some photos of these footprints apparently are those footprints of the oldest of those children who is aged only 13 which gives them hope. But at the same time, this whole entire nation is still holding its breath to see how these frantic searches and rescue operation at this moment ends up, Bianca.


NOBILO: And who is participating in this search and rescue operation?

POZZEBON: Yes, we have a variety of organizations there is, of course, the military and especially the armed forces. One of the techniques that they use to make contact with his children is to blast out of helicopters, messages, audio messages from the grandmother of those children in their own indigenous language to try calm them down.

And suggest to get as close as possible to the river because in that part of Colombia. The rivers are the real way to move around its waterways and the small rivers and streams in the middle of the jungle. But it's also a community that is coming together, Bianca.

The indigenous community of Colombia in particular of that region in the Amazon, which really are the people who knows best and how to move around and how to recover whatever is lost in the middle of the jungle. And yesterday for example, we could join a vigil held here in Bogota, in remembrance for the three people who have already died. One of them is the mother of the children, and also a vigil to hope for the best for these four kids, Bianca.

NOBILO: Stefano Pozzebon, thank you so much for that report. Still ahead, life imitates art. French billionaires real life story shares some similarities with a certain hit TV show, but perhaps with much less drama, a closer look at the world's richest man Bernard Arnault when we return.


NOBILO: The family dynamics and the life of the world's richest man are an uncanny resemblance to a certain hit TV show. Bernard Arnault is the CEO of the luxury brand LVMH and much like Logan Roy in the HBO series succession. He's looking to one of his children to take the reins of his company. Melissa Bell reports.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A magnate and Patriarch preparing his succession as carefully as he built his empire. Not Logan Roy, but the real world's richest man, Bernard Arnault, the Frenchman who built the world's biggest luxury goods company, all the while very personally raising, educating and evaluating his five potential successors.

BERNARD ARNAULT, CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF LOUIS VUITTON MOET HENNESSY: And because also I think my group is controlled by my family. So instead of looking every day at the stock market, I look for the next 10 years.

BELL (voice over): All five, I don't know children work for their father, Delphine, the Chair of Christian Dior, her brother Antoine, the CEO of Dior and the three children from Arnault's second marriage. Alexandre, an Executive Vice President at Tiffany's, Frederick, who runs TAG Heuer and the youngest Jean, the Director of Development and Marketing at Louis Vuitton's Watch's division.

RAPHAELLE BACQUE, AUTHOR OF "SUCCESSIONS: MONEY, BLOOD AND TEARS": He is at once and attentive father, a good father, but also a merciless boss, so the children had to work hard. He has a fairly clear idea of their qualities and their weaknesses and when the moment comes, we'll be able to choose.


BELL (voice over): The $500 billion LVMH dominates the world of fashion, with some of its biggest names like Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton. It was built through roofless acquisition and like Waystar is diverse with vineyards, hotels, restaurants, and newspapers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have you beat.

BELL (voice over): But it is in the treatment of their children, that the fictional and real characters diverge, far from fostering discord, Arnault has ensured harmony, but with a cold eye on business nonetheless. This stakes are huge, the value of the company but also the power that it brings.

Like Logan Roy, Bernard Arnault has cultivated his relationships with a powerful acquiring a vast media empire and making LVMH a symbol in France. Its headquarters stormed by protesters only last month. But while Arnault has sought to protect his children, he's also made it clear what he expects of them.

ANTOINE ARNAULT, CEO OF CHRISTIAN DIOR SE: Of course, we understand the level of responsibility that is ours. The way we see things is that my father is super healthy, and going to work 10, 15, 20, 25 years his five children are now working together in different parts of the group, but we're very close.

BELL (voice over): And Empire carefully built and ultimately soon up for grabs, but so far without the family drama. Melissa Bell, CNN Paris.


NOBILO: And lastly, on a sad note, Andy Rourke Bassist for the English Rock Band, The Smiths has died after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Rourke joined The Smiths in 1982 and played alongside the band until their split in 1987. The Smiths Guitarist Johnny Marr tweeted that Andy would be remembered as a gifted musician and a kind and beautiful soul.

Andy Rourke was 59 years old. Thank you for joining me here on CNN "Newsroom". Have a good weekend. I'm Bianca Nobilo in London. "World Sport" with Amanda Davies is up next.