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Biden Announces $375M in New Military Aid to Ukraine; Interview with Atlantic Council Eurasia Center Senior Director and Former Ambassador to Ukraine Ambassador John Herbst; New York Struggles to Accommodate Migrants; Gun Ownership in Latin America; Nebraska's Legislature Passes 12-Week Abortion Ban; Voting Underway in Greece; Interview with Journalist Elinda Labropoulou; Sudan Forces Sign Seven- Day Ceasefire; PGA Championship Showdown; Awaiting President News Conference. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired May 21, 2023 - 04:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: And a very warm welcome to our viewers here in the United States, Canada, and all around the world. I'm Paula Newton.

Ahead here on "CNN Newsroom," U.S. President Joe Biden tells Volodymyr Zelenskyy he's getting another multi-million-dollar aid package as the two world leaders meet at the G7 summit. This as the fighting on the ground in Ukraine continues.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: For today, Bakhmut is only in our hearts. There is nothing on this place.


NEWTON: Solemn words there from President Zelenskyy as he says the highly symbolic City of Bakhmut is in ruins.

Plus, no breakthrough in the debt ceiling talks yet, but President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are expected to talk in the hours ahead.

And voters are going to the polls in Greece at this hour. But there may not be a clear winner in the parliamentary election. We'll go live to Athens for the latest.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is "CNN Newsroom with Paula Newton."

NEWTON: And we begin with a busy day in Japan as the U.S. says it will provide Ukraine with another $375 million in military aid ahead of that country's expected counteroffensive against Russia. The U.S. president, Joe Biden, made the announcement as he met with Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in the final hours of that G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan. Have a listen.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Today, I'm announcing the next tranche of U.S. security assistance to Ukraine, a package that includes more ammunition, artillery, armored vehicles to bolster Ukraine's battlefield abilities.

Mr. President, what the people of Ukraine are defending, what you've achieved is a matter for the entire world to observe. And they're in awe of what you've done so far, really and truly. It's incredible.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: First of all, thank you for your apt leadership, for your support, and, really, for this new package. It's great. Thank you very much from our people. And I'm so happy that, you know, we have so strong relations with our people, that our people during these -- all these challenges, they go shoulder to shoulder. I'm very thankful to the American people.


NEWTON: Russia's war in Ukraine dominated much of this year's summit, and Mr. Zelenskyy was busy, really busy with one-on-one meetings from the moment he arrived on scene. Now, earlier today, he sent out this tweet, saying, he presented a 10-point proposal to end Russia's aggression, declaring, "We are all in it together." His comments come on the new Russian claims of success on the battlefield as Russia and Wagner mercenaries said they had captured the Ukrainian City of Bakhmut.

CNN's Kevin Liptak joins us now from Hiroshima.

You've been following all of this for a few days now. You know, diplomatically, look, it was hard to miss that this G7 was a big win for Zelenskyy, but then, juxtapose that, right, with Russia's news on Bakhmut in the last day, it was sobering, right? What are you hearing from officials that hope that this was mission accomplished at this G7 gathering, that it will move the needle in this conflict?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, I think that that news about Bakhmut really did kind of lend some urgency to President Zelenskyy's attempts here at the G7 to marshal western support around his country, and you did see him walk away with some notable successes even before he arrived here yesterday.

The G7 announced the significant -- a new package of sanctions. The president, President Biden that is, announced this decision on F-16 fighter jets that will allow them into Ukraine, and then, he also announced that new security assistance package, $375 million, artillery, armored vehicles, that sort of thing.

And so, I think, on that front, President Zelenskyy certainly leaves here with a lot of what he's asking for. But, you know, President Zelenskyy always wants more. He always wants more advanced weapons, more sanctions on Moscow. One of the things his time here really did give him an opportunity to do was to get in front of some countries who aren't so supportive of his cause, countries like India, Indonesia, the so-called fence-sitters who are trying to maintain ties with Moscow and haven't necessarily been as forthright in their condemnation of Russia's invasion.

And so, I think in the hopes of the G7 leaders, Emmanuel Macron, President Biden, they really do hope that meeting these leaders face- to-face will allow other countries to come into the fold and give them more support going forward.


So, as these leaders leave today, that will be an open question as to whether these additional leaders will come into the cause, whether the G7 leaders will be able to maintain the unity in their own countries going forward? So, a lot of questions but also a lot of diplomatic successes as well as the summit concludes.

NEWTON: Yes. And perhaps one of those successes, we were just seeing Prime Minister Modi there sitting down with President Zelenskyy, I will note that it didn't seem like President Lula, from Brazil, you know, really accepted the invitation for a bilateral.

You know, it was hard to miss, though, as well, Kevin, as you've reminded us in the last couple of days, that China was top of mind for many at this meeting as well is. Is there now a new understanding among allies about how to go forward with this relationship, especially given that some allies at the table really value their trade relationship with China and yet, there is really that -- you know, that expectation that they need to be careful going forward on security issues with China?

LIPTAK: Yes, yes. And the term you've heard over and over and over again, it's this new term, they're trying to derisk, not decouple their economies from China. Basically, making the point, they're never going to be able to completely sever themselves from Beijing, but they can try and remove these potential national security risks, things like supply chains, things like sending semiconductors to China that maybe used against those countries.

And so, we did see them yesterday, the G7, come out with a statement that, at least, tried to put forward the appearance of common ground when it comes to these economic issues, vis-a-vis China.

And so, I think on that front, they do seem like they are collectively getting on the same page. The place where they don't seem as coherent and cohesive is on the security front. You know, Taiwan is a major issue that has been a rising threat in this region. The leaders, particularly in Europe, and you've heard this from French President Emmanuel Macron, don't necessarily want to go alongside the United States in the event of a potential Chinese invasion. So, that remains something of a difference.

But it is striking. It was only two years ago that China first came up with the G7 at all. It really wasn't a topic of discussion for this particular block for decades before that. President Biden has sort of ensured that they are keeping an eye on Beijing with the recognition that this is going to be a threat for many years to come.

NEWTON: Yes. In fact, it was startling to hear from Rishi Sunak, the British prime minster, using very stark words to really portray the threat from China. Kevin, I can never let you go here in the last few days without talking about those contentious negotiations on the debt ceiling. Any sign of progress? And I know this is top of mind. As you've reminded us, right, not just for White House officials and the president, but for those G7 allies as well.

LIPTAK: Yes. Instead of progress, it actually seems to be moving backwards, somewhat. Both sides are kind of sharpening their rhetoric around this issue. You saw talks break down over the weekend. Republicans are now accusing the White House of putting forward what they say is a partisan potential agreement. The White House says that the Republicans have put forward an agreement that caters to the most conservative wing of their party.

Now, the president, President Biden, is going to speak with House Speaker McCarthy when he gets on Air Force One and flies back to Washington. There is some hope that that could potentially break some of the logjam. We'll just going to have to see. That is certainly the most pressing issue for the president right now, Paula.

NEWTON: Yes. Not much time before markets open on Monday. So, I think most people are looking for a sense of calm and progress in these talks.

Kevin Liptak for us. Thanks so much. You'll continue to stand by for us in Japan as we get more not from the G7 meeting wrapping up. Appreciate it.

Now, the Kremlin has released a statement on behalf of Russian president, Vladimir Putin, congratulating the Wagner Group after the mercenaries claim to have captured the Ukrainian City of Bakhmut. Now, Russia's defense ministry also issues a statement touting the "liberation of the city." And Wagner chief, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, had a message for Ukrainian President Zelenskyy who is attending, as we were just saying, the G7 summit.


YEVGENIY PRIGOZHIN, WAGNER GROUP (through translator): Without sarcasm, your guys fought bravely, fought well. And if you follow this path, then you can become the second army in the world. Of course, after the most powerful army in the world, that is Wagner PMC.

Today, when you Biden, kiss him on the top of the head. Say hello for me.


NEWTON: CNN cannot independently verify that the city has been captured. Now, the Ukrainian military said in its daily update that "battles for the City of Bakhmut continue. But Prigozhin says his forces would hand over the control of the city, in fact, to the Russian military on Thursday." CNN's Scott McLean joins me now from London, where you have been following all of this and the reaction to it.

You know, we have to talk about what Zelenskyy and his officials said about this. In fact, it may be more telling the fact that he had a denial that the Russians had taken over Bakhmut, and yet, it was what he conceded, how he followed up with that. What more do we know about the claims from both sides at this hour?


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you're absolutely right, Paula. So, first off, from the Russian side, from their view, from the Kremlin, the ministry of defense and the Wagner Group, private mercenary group, they're claiming mission accomplished. From the Ukrainian side, it is much more complicated than that.

I should also point that this is not the first time the head of the Wagner Group has claimed victory in Bakhmut. It was just in April that he said that, at least in legal terms, Bakhmut has been taken. The enemy is concentrated in the western districts. And right now, that seems to be what Ukrainians continue to say.

The deputy defense minister said that the Ukrainians still maintained a toehold in far western edge of Bakhmut. And as you pointed out in the operational update from the military that we got this morning, they say that battles for the City of Bakhmut continue.

No one here is disputing though that the Russians, led by Wagner, at least in the city, have made their way through the majority of the town. What is not clear is whether the Ukrainians hold any part of it at all. President Zelenskyy, while he was sitting down with President Biden at the G7 summit in Japan, was asked whether or not the Ukrainians are still in control of Bakhmut. And I just want to play you the whole exchange, because it's not entirely clear what he meant to say. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Bakhmut still in Ukraine's hands? The Russians say they've taken Bakhmut.

ZELENSKYY: I think no, but you have to understand that there is nothing. They've destroyed everything. There are no buildings. It's a pity. It's a tragedy. But for today, Bakhmut is only in our hearts. There is nothing on this place. So, just ground and a lot of dead Russians.


MCLEAN: So, Paula, the Russian media very quickly seized on this, pointing it to -- pointing to it as evidence that the Ukrainians had conceded, they lost the battle for Bakhmut. But we got in touch with Zelenskyy's office to clarify what he meant there and they made very clear that Zelenskyy was not saying that Bakhmut had been lost. He was, in fact, denying that the Russians were in complete control there. Paula.

NEWTON: Yes. And I said, even if he says that perhaps Ukraine still holds part of Bakhmut, as you've explained to us, you know, conceding that there's nothing left there was also quite telling.

Listen, Zelenskyy has been on quite a road trip in the last few days. He's, of course, secured more military assistance, as we were saying, and that important moral support. But I want to ask you, what difference is all of this to make right now in the coming weeks as we still await that Ukrainian counteroffensive?

MCLEAN: Yes, probably not a big impact right away because obviously it takes time for these commitments to actually make their way onto the battlefield, but what Zelenskyy has procured in the past is likely to play a big role in this counteroffensive, which may well start any day, any week now.

You know, Zelenskyy has recently gotten long-range missiles from the U.K., that we have had confirmation that they have been used on the battlefield, tanks provided by the West will surely be a part of this counteroffensive as well. And Zelenskyy in his approach in Japan seems to be using a tried-and-true method that the Ukrainians have had success with, which is to get one western ally to commit to something and then, hope that the rest will follow. It happened with tanks, it happened with long-range missiles, it happened air defense systems, and now, they are hoping that it will happen with F-16 fighter jets as well.

The British minister, Rishi Sunak, says the training on the F-16s for Ukrainian pilots will begin this summer in the U.K. He's already made clear that, along with the Netherlands, the U.K. wants to form an international coalition to try to figure out how to procure these planes for Ukraine. Paula.

NEWTON: Yes. Very interesting developments, especially given what Zelenskyy is going back to now as obviously the fighting continues. Scott McLean, really appreciate all your insights there.

Now, for more on this story, I'm joined by Ambassador John Herbst. He is the senior director of the Atlantic Council Eurasia Center and a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. And I thank you for your time.

As I'm sure, it has been interesting for you to watch all the choreography of everything that's happened with Zelenskyy in the last few days. Zelenskyy's expectations. Look, he's secured both moral and military support, and yet, you know, arguably, some would say that this just enables further military escalation. In your view, what has all of this accomplished?

AMBASSADOR JOHN HERBST, SENIOR DIRECTOR, EURASIA CENTER, ATLANTIC COUNCIL AND FORMER AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Look, those who say this only allows for the military escalation are saying that the victim does not have a right to defend itself. In this case, the victim has been subject to massive war crimes which border on genocide. So, that's amoral and actually a politically ignorant point of view.


Ukraine has been able to fight the Kremlin to a standstill, and I suspect with the equipment that Zelenskyy has been receiving or the procurement that he -- whose approval he has been receiving will enable him to conduct a very successful counteroffensive later this year.

If he had F-16s now, if he had the long-range missiles, not just the British Storm Shadow, but the U.S. (INAUDIBLE) now, he could conduct a massively successful counteroffensive, even without all of these things, he has some of them, he will conduct a successful counteroffensive now, which will make the Russian seizure of Bakhmut, if that in fact has happened, seem like rather a small change.

NEWTON: Yes. It's interesting what you say about people who point to this being a political escalation. I mean, look, no one has paid a higher price than Ukraine through that military escalation. I was interested to hear from President Zelenskyy, as he was landing in Japan, to tweet, this will bring us closer to peace. And his point is that what you said, when I get that military hardware, the faster I get it, the faster we can end this conflict.

When you look at this counteroffensive and what might be approaching in the spring, what do you think will make the difference there? Because they do not have the F-16s right now, and they've obviously suffered heavy, heavy losses in Bakhmut.

HERBST: One, it looks like the Russians have suffered at least five casualties for every one Ukrainian casualty in Bakhmut, that's according to British intelligence. Ukrainians thinks the ratio was more like 7.5 to 1. Moscow is unable to conduct a greater offensive this year. Even if they've taken Bakhmut, this is as far as they're going.

I have confidence that given what Ukraine has put together right now, at a minimum, it will conduct a counteroffensive, which will take several hundred square kilometers of Ukrainian territory away from the Russian's, returning to Kyiv's control. It's quite possible the offensive will be much more successful than that, but they will at least achieve that.

NEWTON: And given what Zelenskyy has said about Ukraine, I'm not going to get into the semantics about who's actually taking it in terms of Bakhmut, right, he's saying that there's nothing left there. What does it tell us? Because, you know, the allies were skeptical that Ukraine should have taken Russia on in that area in the first place.

HERBST: Well, I think this has been, at a minimum, a success in blunting Moscow's offensive. I mean, look, it's taken Moscow -- if, in fact, they have captured all of it, and it looks like that's not necessarily so, it's taken them eight months to take the city. Putin had set a deadline of mid-December, and here we are approaching the end of May, and maybe they've captured it, maybe they haven't.

And in the meantime, you know, according to U.S. estimates, Russia has suffered 100,000 casualties since December, and they are unable -- they've spent their artillery, they spent their weaponry, and they have spent, especially, their human -- their soldiers' lives in this effort. So, if it turns out to be a "Kremlin victory," it will be a pure victory.

NEWTON: Which, as you point out, may have come at great, great cost to their capability to continue this conflict in other areas of Ukraine. I want to get back to that G7 meeting for a moment.

You know, India was there, Brazil was there. I'm just naming two countries that have not really taken a position. Although, in not taking a position, they have, you know, certainly significantly hobbled Ukraine in its efforts.

You know, Prime Minister Modi was quite conciliatory in what he said, and yet, President Lula, from Brazil, really -- from what we understand at this hour, still hasn't even agreed to a bilateral with Zelenskyy. How important do you think these countries are in terms of trying to bring them on board? Do you think it will materially affect how to conflict goes forward and how long it will last?

HERBST: Well, this -- all of these things point to Putin's diplomatic isolation. Modi, of course, is the -- is in charge of the world's greatest democracy -- not greatest but its largest democracy. And I'm sure Putin was deeply unhappy as you watched Modi and Zelenskyy meet together in a bilateral.

Lula has been appeasing the authoritarians in a truly disgraceful manner when he went to China and talked about, you know, let's have an alternate currency to the dollar, and his refusal to meet with Zelenskyy. It's a really rather shameful performance, and I think this is well understood by people in Brazil.

NEWTON: Yes. And we'll continue to see how Zelenskyy's efforts continue on those points. He, you know, went to the Arab League and tried to deal with some of the people there who are still having significant relations, diplomatic and otherwise with Russia.

Ambassador John Herbst, we'll have to leave there, but I really thank you for your time.

HERBST: My pleasure. Thank you.


NEWTON: To El Salvador now. At least 12 people were killed in a crowd crush at a soccer stadium. Now, officials say about 90 others, and those include minors, were injured in the incident on Saturday, that's according to the National Civil Police.

It happened when the fans tried to enter the venue to watch a match between two of the country's most popular football teams. Officials say emergency crews have transported the injured to hospitals, and most are now in stable condition. El Salvador's president says police will conduct an exhaustive investigation into the deadly incident. New York City is struggling to accommodate migrants bussed from the southern U.S. border. Coming up, we'll show you the city's plan to get recent immigrants closer to where they want to be.

And gun ownership on the rise in Latin America. After the break, some of the arguments over gun rules in Chile and Brazil eco sentiments in the United States. Stay with us.



NEWTON: Now, despite plummeting numbers of migrants making their way across the U.S. southern border, the City of New York is struggling to accommodate migrants who continue arrive, even those who hope to keep moving on. CNN's Gloria Pazmino shows us how the city is trying to handle them when they get to the city.


GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And I'll tell you a little bit about what we have been watching here outside of the Roosevelt Hotel. All day, we have been watching as migrants arrive. Many of them include children, young people, families who are arriving here to New York City after being bussed from the southern border.

Now, the city has set up this place as a sort of first stop for migrants. They are being brought here from the local bus terminal in hopes of connecting them to the available resources. This hotel is being set up as a place where migrants can rest, they can shower, go to the bathroom, they can sleep if needed for a night or two. They are also provided food, water and medical care. And then, they're connected with the services that they might need.

I want to show you what it looks like inside the hotel. You can see that they've set up different waiting areas and common areas for people to try to get on whatever journey they are getting on to. Many of the migrants that are being sent to New York City do not intend to stay in New York City. Some of them are trying to connect with other family members or travel to other parts of the country, and the city is trying to step in and help them do just that.

But there are also some very real challenges when it comes to sheltering migrants. The City of New York has been running out of shelter space, and we watched today as a couple of migrants were removed from this location and sent to another shelter location likely to be given a place in one of the city's local shelters while they wait to resolve their housing situation. That is certainly one of the challenges that the city is dealing with.

I spoke with one of the local advocates that has been working with migrants and with the city to try and connect them to services.

MURAD AWAWDEH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NEW YORK IMMIGRATION COALITION: New York has welcomed people for centuries from across the world, from Europe, from Asia, from Africa, the Middle East, and beyond. Immigrants and refugees have built the city, have really are part and parcel of the social fabric and cultural fabric of what we call New York, not just here in the city but across the state. And Immigrant communities and refugees have actually brought back communities and have been the backbone of local economy.

PAZMINO: Now, despite that reputation that New York City has always had as being a place where migrants are always welcome, you have seen in the last several weeks that there has been some conflict with the suburbs outside of the city, particularly after Mayor Eric Adams here announced that he would be bussing some migrants out of the city in order to alleviate some of the capacity constraints that the city has been dealing with.

Other places around the city have not been as welcoming. Some have filed lawsuits in an attempt to stop the city from bussing migrants. So, it just really shows you how much tension and difficulty there has been over the last several days. As migrants continue to arrive here in New York, despite numbers at the border being significantly down since the expiration of Title 42, we've spoken with advocates here who tell us that despite numbers at the border, migrants are continuing to arrive here in the area.

So, again, the mayor asking for federal intervention, for federal funding, and asking other local lawmakers in the city to lobby the White House to get some of that federal funding.

Reporting in New York, Gloria Pazmino, CNN.


NEWTON: A leading U.S. civil rights group has issued a formal travel advisory for Florida, urging the black community to avoid visiting or moving to the state. The NAACP says Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ plus individuals. The State of Florida, it says, devalues and marginalizes the contributions of and the challenges faced by African American and other communities of color.

The debate over gun law has been going on for years for in the United States. Now, some of those same arguments are surfacing in Latin America as gun ownership rises in some of those countries. CNN's Rafael Romo has more.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voiceover): He's been training for 45 days. Jose Tomas Barja (ph), an engineer who lives in Santiago, the Chilean capital, says he's considering buying a gun.

My decision has to do with trying to protect my family and my home, he says. Barja (ph) is one of more than 1,500 students at this gun club in Santiago.

The gun club's director says more than 90 percent of the students there are learning to use a gun for protection. [04:30:00]

ROMO (on camera): In many respects, some of the same polarization about gun ownership that has intensified in the last decade in the United States has also been spreading to Latin America. Last October, during a heated presidential race in Brazil, guns got in fake news were some of the main topics of discussion. Some gun owners in the region say, it's not the guns that are the problem, mirroring arguments used in the United States.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, ACTOR: We need to invest in mental health care, we need safer schools, we need to restrain sensationalized media coverage, we need to restore our family values.

ROMO (voiceover): While in Brazil, federal police said the number of registered firearms rose from 350,000 to over 1 million between 2018 to 2021 when right-wing president and Trump sympathizer, Jair Bolsonaro, was in office, Canada was trying to make an about-face.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: We're introducing legislation to implement a national freeze on handgun ownership.

ROMO (voiceover): According to a study by ASCOA, some countries in Latin America have adopted stringent gun control laws, but efforts are complicated by arm smuggling.

Argentina requires as gun permit that can only be obtained by those who are 21 years of age or older, have no criminal record, pass physical and psychiatric tests, undergo training and show proof of income. They also have to detail where the gun will be kept.

In Brazil, the minimum age for ownership is 25 and guns must be registered with the federal police. Assault weapons are illegal for civilians, and it's difficult to get a permit to take the gun outside your home. Gun ownership is not a constitutional right in Chile, but personal firearms are allowed for residents over the age of 18, and owners have to register, get psychiatric approval and pass an exam.

ROMO (on camera): Mexicans do have a constitutional right to own guns, but there's only one authorized gun store located in Mexico City for the entire country of 126 million. Even so, according to study, there are nearly 17 million guns in the hands of civilians, many of them from smuggling. The Mexican foreign ministry estimated back in 2021 that 200,000 guns are trafficked from the United States into Mexico each year. That's an average of more than 500 per day.

ROMO (voiceover): The main difference between those Latin American countries and the U.S. when it comes to gun ownership, the U.S. requires no permit.

If you make the decision to buy a weapon, Barja (ph), the Chilean trainee to own a gun says, the most responsible thing is to be fully trained to use it before doing so. An act of personal responsibility, he says, that may end up saving a life.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta. (END VIDEO CLIP)

NEWTON: So, Nebraska joins other U.S. states to ban most abortions. Just ahead, the limited options women in the state will have as the conservative legislature pass as restrictive bill.



NEWTON: And welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Paula Newton. And you are watching "CNN Newsroom."

Now, as Ukraine expected to launch a counteroffensive against Russian forces in the near future, the U.S. has announced another $375 million in military aid, including ammunition, artillery and armored vehicles. U.S. President Joe Biden made the announcement as he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the final hours of the G7 summit in Hirosima, Japan.

It also follows a deal to train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets. That was welcome news for Mr. Zelenskyy who has been asking for fighter jets for the past year. Have a listen.


ZELENSKYY: I remember your last brave historical visit to Kyiv and, really, our society highly appreciate for this. And we spoke about very difficult decisions. And you did it with a training mission. We are very thankful. I think it will give us more strong positions on the battlefield.


NEWTON: Now, as you might have guessed, Russia's war in Ukraine dominated much of this year's summit, and Mr. Zelenskyy was busy with one-on-one meetings from the moment he arrived.

Now, earlier he sent out a tweet, saying, he presented a 10-point proposal to end Russia's aggression, declaring, "We are all in it together."

Now, meantime though, a big problem back home is reaching President Biden even in Japan, America's debt limit crisis. Mr. Biden says he'll be talking with House Speaker McCarthy about it in the coming hours hoping to break an impasse in the negotiations.

Now, a reporter asked the president about it, just a few hours ago, but he was keeping rather silent on it. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, what will you tell Speaker McCarthy? What's your main message?

BIDEN: We're going to get a chance to talk to later in today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your message to him?

BIDEN: I'll give it to him before I give it to you.


NEWTON: OK. But before -- with both of the White House and Republicans rejecting each other's latest proposal, Mr. Biden's press secretary said, last night, in D.C., the speaker's team put on the table an offer that was a big step back and contained a set of extreme partisan demands. Let's be serious about what can pass in a bipartisan manner.

To Nebraska now where the conservative legislature has voted to ban abortions at 10 weeks of pregnancy, the law known as the Let Them Grow Act would also restrict gender-affirming care for transgender people under the age of 19. It now goes to the governor's desk for his signature. CNN's Camila Bernal has those details.

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are waiting for the governor of Nebraska to sign this bill into law, and we expect him to do so. Now, the Let Them Grow Act has two pieces to it, the gender-affirming care part and the apportion part of it.

Now, when it comes to the abortion part of it, this was an amendment, a last-minute amendment that was actually added on Wednesday. And I do want to explain the gender-affirming care part of it first. What this bill would do is prohibit health care providers from performing gender transition surgeries for anyone under the age of 19. Now, this is actually rare when it comes to minors.

The other part of the bill is that it would essentially restrict access to puberty blocking medication or hormone treatments for anyone under the age of 19, and this is standard care.


Now, the other aspect of this bill is the abortion part, and what it would do here in Nebraska is ban abortions or most abortions at 12 weeks. There are some exceptions when it comes to sexual assault, to incest, or to medical emergencies. Of course, there was a big debate over both of these issues on the floor, and I want you to listen to what some of these lawmakers had to say.


STATE SEN. MIKE JACOBSON (R-NE): We're not the bad guys. We're trying to protect young children and young adults before the age of 19, and we're trying to protect preborn children from being brutally murdered in the womb.

STATE SEN. GEORGE DUNGAN (D-NE): Colleagues, we should not be in the business of telling people what they can and can't do with their bodies, and we should not be in the business of stepping between doctors and patients in circumstances like this. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERNAL: Now, there has been a lot of opposition for this bill, and a number of people were arrested on Friday. And another thing to keep in mind here is that the abortion part of this bill would go into effect the day after the governor signs it, but the gender-affirming care part of the bill would go into effect on October 1st. Of course, we would need that signature first.

Camila Bernal, CNN, Los Angeles.

NEWTON: Still ahead for us, voting is underway in Greece, but a clear winner is unlikely from today's parliamentary elections. We'll head to Athens for the latest.


NEWTON: In Greece, voting is underway in the parliamentary election, and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is seeking a second term. But opinion polls indicate is (INAUDIBLE) conservative party will fall short of an absolute majority, setting the stage for a second vote in July. The opposition leftist, Syriza, is trailing in second place.

For more we want to go to Journalist Elinda Labropoulou who joins us live from Athens.


Good to see you, Elinda. As, you know, the Greeks are obviously heading to the polls today, the whole electoral process, apparently though, has changed. How might that play out in terms of results?

ELINDA LABROPOULOU, JOURNALIST: Well, it's extremely significant because what's happening now is a direct propositional representation system for this election. This means that for any party to be able to secure a majority, a one-party majority, it would need to have over 45 percent of the vote. And at the moment, none of the polls have indicated that any parties are anywhere near that.

New Democracy, the governing and the ruling party, is in the lead, the center right party under Prime Minister Mitsotakis. But at the moment, the best we've seen in the polls is about 35, even 37 percent, but not higher. Greeks are fully aware of that, and what we expect to see is people, as a result, maybe giving their vote to smaller parties, protest votes. And if there is a second round, which is what we expect, we expect that this election will go to a second round -- a second election probably in early July, then for them to sort of gather and rally behind the two main contesting parties.

NEWTON: And given that, of course, the economy is always top of mind, I did want to turn attention to, in recent days, a "New York Times" investigation, that claimed to show the Greek Coast Guard. Apparently, "The New York Times" claims that they were actually setting migrants adrift at sea. Given the controversy over that and immigration in general, how could that play out with voters through this election? LABROPOULOU: I would not say that it's going to be particularly significant. I mean, not because migration hasn't been, but largely speaking because the economy seems to be dominating people's minds. It's the economy, in general, and personal finances that people are primarily voting for, both with the main competing parties have based their agenda on the economy, and the governing party has talked about growth and achieving 3 percent growth this year, has talked about the revival of the Greek economy since coming to power.

So, although the opposition has largely been very vocal about potential lack of rule of law in Greece, has accused the government of a wiretapping scandal and its migration policy, accusing the government of pushbacks, this does not seem to be that high up on voters' lists.

NEWTON: Yes. And as you said, it may be several weeks before we find out exactly where the results land. Elinda, Labropoulou for us from Athens. Thanks so much. We appreciate it.

Now, in war-torn Sudan, there is a glimmer of hope for millions of civilians affected by the fighting. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces have agreed to a limited seven-day cease-fire.

Now, they're meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. There are hopes the cease-fire will be different from earlier ones, which failed because the U.S., Saudis and others will now monitor it. The two sides have been fighting since the middle of April, reportedly killing 850 people, wounding thousands and displacing more than 1 million Sudanese.

In addition to the capital, Khartoum, heavy fighting has been raging in Darfur, particularly in the two cities you see there on the map. Darfur has been at the center of this conflict for decades now, and there are fears the fighting there could spread to neighboring countries.

Mexico City's international airport has reopened after a volcanic activity caused it to shutdown temporarily. A nearby volcano has spewed ash on the airport, suspending flights for more than five hours. Officials say the airport resumed operations after crews removed the ash from runways and checked wind conditions. Officials say the volcano poses a threat to millions of people living near the area.

Just ahead for us, the final round of one of professional golf's biggest tournaments tees off in a few hours from now. We'll have a preview from Rochester, New York on who's the running to win it all.



NEWTON: The final round of the PGA Championship is scheduled for Sunday. CNN World Sport's Patrick Snell looks at what those at the top of the leaderboard are saying as they head into this decisive day. PATRICK SNELL, CNN WORLD SPORTS: Brooks Koepka is a four-time major winner, but you have to go back to 2019 for the last of those triumphs when he won this tournament for a second time. A lot has happened in his life since then. He's overcome injury. And last year, he joined the controversial LIV Golf series. But now, he's eyeing up his own very special piece of history.


BROOKS KOEPKA, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: It would mean a lot. I think a major championship would mean a lot to anybody. So, yes, to win one would be fantastic. I mean, I was just told that I think only Tiger and Jack have won three, so that would be pretty special to be in a list or category with them. So, just got to go out and play good tomorrow.

VIKTOR HOVLAND, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Any chance you have to play in the final group on a Sunday in a major that's pretty special. But, yes, I mean, the mind-set is just going to be, I play my own game, and, you know, obviously, I want to win. But I am going to just play what I think is the right play on every single shot. And if I get beat, I get beat, but, you know, the plan is to, you know, not give it away.

COREY CONNERS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: I've played solid the last few days. So, just trying to do more of the same and, you know, have fun out there and play with freedom.

SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Yes, for me, you know, winning golf tournaments out here is difficult. There's a lot of talented players and I know what I need to do going into tomorrow. It's just a matter of going out there and executing. I feel like I've hung in there the last three days to give myself a chance going into Sunday.

RORY MCILROY, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: I'd obviously like to be a couple shots closer to the lead, but I think with -- you know, again with how I felt this week, you know, if you hadn't told me on Thursday night that I'd be going into Sunday in the top five and, you know, with a realistic chance to win this golf tournament, I would have taken it.



SNELL: For Mcilroy, a win would mean a first major triumph in nine years since he concurred Valhalla in 2014. While for Koepka, the chance to become the first LIV golfer to win a major.

Patrick Snell, CNN, Rochester, New York.

NEWTON: A horse and his trainer both made history at the Preakness Stakes on Saturday. National Treasure was first to cross the finish line at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, and that win made trainer Bob Baffert the winningest trainer in Preakness history with eight horses that have won the race. Baffert picked up the win after another of his horses was euthanized after an earlier race.


BOB BAFFERT, TRAINER, NATIONAL TREASURE: To win this, it's -- losing that horse today really hurt, but I'm happy for Johnny. He got the win. I have a great team. I got -- I'm sorry, but it's been a very emotional day.


NEWTON: Now, the race also marked a triumphant return for Baffert who was suspended from last year's Preakness after his 2021 Kentucky Derby win was tainted when his horse tested positive for an anti- inflammatory medication.

OK. A reminder from us, we are awaiting now a press conference from U.S. President Joe Biden. It's expected to start in just a few minutes, and we'll bring you that live.

I'm Paula Newton. Stay with us. We'll be back with more "Newsroom" in a moment.