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Anti-Putin Fighters Pushed Back Into Ukraine; Typhoon Mawar Barrels Toward U.S. Island Of Guam; Wall Street Journal Reporter's Pre-Trial Detention Extended; House Speaker Kevin McCarthy Has Told Fellow Republicans They're Still Nowhere Near A Deal With The White House. U.S. Surgeon General: Social Media Presents Profound Risk For Kids; Surgeon General: Social Media Presents Profound Risk for Kids; France Bans Short Flights Where Trains Available; U.K. Court: Prince Harry Can't Pay for Police Protection. Aired 12-12:45a ET

Aired May 24, 2023 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Ahead this hour on CNN NEWSROOM. The war comes to Russia, the towns close to the Ukrainian border under attack for a second day by anti-Putin forces.

The monster storm packing a triple threat, Guam bracing for torrential rains, life threatening storm surge and hurricane force winds from Typhoon Mawar.

And a stark warning for the U.S. Surgeon General about social media and the harm it's doing to the mental health of children.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with John Vause.

VAUSE: With the northern summer just weeks away and still no sign of Ukraine's long awaited spring counter-offensive, Ukraine's national security adviser tells CNN the final decision on when it begins rest with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and that decision could come at any moment.

President Zelenskyy was awarding medals for bravery to troops on the eastern front line Tuesday, notably less than two weeks ago, he said his military needed more time to prepare for an all-out assault on Russian forces.

Since then, Zelenskyy has been promised advanced military hardware from France, Britain, Germany, and the U.S. In particular, he's been pushing for F-16s. And now E.U.'s top diplomat says Ukrainian pilots are being trained how to fly the fighter jets.


JOSEP BORRELL, E.U. FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF: I am happy that finally the training of the pilot for the F-16 has started in several countries, it will take time but the sooner the better. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: And for a second day, fighting has been reported on Russian territory just across the border from Ukraine. Senior Russian officials say a counterterrorism operation has killed more than 70 militants who attack towns and villages in the Belgorod region. One of the militant groups made up of pro-Ukrainian anti-Putin Russian dissidents say the fighting is ongoing and they still control some Russian territory. Neither claim has been independently verified, but two days of fighting forced Moscow to order the evacuation of some towns close to the border. Kremlin's officials blame Ukraine for the cross border incursions and allegation.

We have CNN's Fred Pleitgen put directly to Ukraine's national security adviser during an exclusive interview.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The Russian military allegedly fighting back, the Defense Ministry showing video of what it says are strikes against fighters who allegedly crossed the border from Ukraine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The remaining nationalists were thrown out to the territory of Ukraine where they were shelled until they were fully liquidated.

PLEITGEN (voice over): The fighters are anti-Putin Russians, calling themselves the Russian Volunteer Corps and the Freedom for Russia Legion.

Still, the Kremlin says it holds Ukraine responsible for the incursion.

But in an exclusive interview with CNN, Ukraine's national security adviser brushed off those claims.

OLEKSIY DANILOV, UKRAINIAN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER (through translator): There is a part of Russians who are on the side of light and who went to deal with the darkness that exists in Russia now. What are the questions to us? I don't understand at all.

PLEITGEN (voice over): Russia claims Ukraine ordered the raid to distract from the situation in Bakhmut where Moscow now claims its forces controlled all of the city that has essentially been reduced to rubble as these aerial views show.

The National Security Adviser insists Ukrainian forces still hold part of the town and that the decision to stand and fight despite overwhelming numbers of Russians was right.

DANILOV (through translator): It was our strategic defense operation which was successful for us, given that we held the territory for 10 months where we were destroying them every day.

PLEITGEN: (voice over): Forcing the Russians into a battle of attrition here allowed Ukraine to prepare for a massive counter offensive he says could begin anytime.

DANILOV (through translator): We are clearly aware of when, where, how and watch it start. The final decision is up to the president and the security staff. When the decision is made, Russia will definitely feel it.


PLEITGEN (voice over): Greetings from Bakhmut, a graffiti in one of the videos from the cross border raid into Russia reads and the Kremlin already using the incident to try and justify Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine. Putin himself portraying Moscow as the victim.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We are often told that Russia has started some kind of war. No, Russia with a special military operation is trying to stop this war being waged against us.

PLEITGEN (voice over): But clearly not all Russians agree, the groups who say they're behind the cross border attacks are vowing to battle on defending Ukraine.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kyiv.


VAUSE: To Steve Hall now, he's CNN National Security Analyst and the former chief of Russia operation for the CIA, and it's good to see you.


VAUSE: OK, so I want you to listen to the governor of the Belgorod region on these cross border attacks on Russian soil. Here he is.


VYACHESLAV GLADKOV, GOVERNOR OF THE BELGOROD REGION (through translator): Why is our border so porous? I have even more questions in you for the Ministry of Defense.


VAUSE: So clearly, you know, he's not happy with these cross border attacks, which are now into their second day.

Moscow says the pro-Ukrainian militants have all been forced back across the border. The paramilitary groups say the fighting continues. But the fact that this has now been two days of fighting on Russian territory, is that the kind of security risks that Putin has not had to deal with in the past?

HALL: You know, there's not often when I say things like, you know, I feel bad for Mr. Peskov in the -- in the Kremlin, but there's -- yes, there's no good story here. No, they haven't had to deal in this particular conflict with anything like this. And there's no good way to spin it.

I mean, you've got your own governors and your own local government officials saying why can't we secure the border?

So, you know, that's a horrific thing for Russia to have to contemplate the fact that these groups, these paramilitary groups were able to get into Russia from Ukraine and conduct these operations is a significant blow, security wise politically. It's just -- it's just really horrific for the Kremlin, I think.

VAUSE: Potentially, how much harm could they do to Putin?

HALL: Well, I think they could do significant harm. I mean, it's one thing to be fighting a foreign war, you know, in a neighboring country that you've attacked, that, you know, that's one plan. It hasn't gone as the Russians wanted to, but that's completely different from all of a sudden having these partisan guerrilla type of activities inside your own country, by your own nationals.

I mean, that starts to look like an insurgency. And that's a nightmare scenario for the Kremlin and for Putin.

VAUSE: Well, the Institute for the Study of War reports that had a detachment of Russian Volunteer Corps and Russian Legion consisting of two tanks and armored personnel carrier, and nine other armored vehicles crossed the international border and captured Kozinka, which is a small Russian village about a thousand people.

New York Times reports at least three of the armored vehicles were American, it seems to narrow down the possibilities of where these groups managed to get the military hardware from.

HALL: Well, I think it's clear that when you start looking about, you know, who shares interests in here. So, the Ukrainians, of course, obviously share a great interest with whatever these Russian national groups are of defeating Russia.

You've got Russian nationals, Russian citizens who were when they're in Ukraine are fighting on the side of Ukraine. And the Ukrainians are saying, yes, but when they cross the border and go back into Russia, we don't know what they do. We have no command or control over them.

So, you know, it's clear that they're getting their weaponry from, you know, from Ukraine as part of that -- as part of that effort to expel the Russians.

So yes, they have access to training and equipment from inside Ukraine, where apparently they're fighting alongside Ukrainians against Russia.

VAUSE: And the freedom of Russian Legion, according to the Moscow Times is made up of former Russian soldiers, as well as Russians who traveled to Ukraine alongside other foreigners to fight with Ukrainian army. It's one of many units from Georgians to Belarusians, operating as part of the international Legion for the Defense of Ukraine. Well, the Russian volunteer corps, according to Bellingcat

investigative journalist Michael Colborne, is made up of largely ostensibly, anti-Putin Russian far right extremists within Ukraine.

So, are they representative? Are they significant opposition group within Russia?

HALL: Well, you know, Russia is a really complicated place when you start looking at how it breaks down socially and ethnically and, you know, there's literally scores of different ethnic groups, you've got scores of different political beliefs inside of Russia, all of which we usually don't see in the West, because it's overlaid by the Putin, by the Kremlin control of these groups.

But now that things have started starting to fray a little bit along the edges, we're starting to see the identities of some of these groups. And some of them, you know, are arguably no better than who's sitting in the -- in the Kremlin right now, you do have a lot of groups with questionable ties.

But again, anytime you've got anybody who is uprising and trying to take up arms against your government from inside your own country, your own nationals, I mean, that is a very, very serious problem. And it's going to take attention, and it's going to take resources away from the main fight that the Russians are trying to conduct which is inside of Ukraine, not defending their own country. So it's really a bad situation.


VAUSE: And just quickly, I want to finish up at the head of NATO on training Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16s, here he is.


JENS STOLTENBERG, SECRETARY GENERAL, NATO: That doesn't make NATO allies party to the conflict, but we are supporting Ukraine to defend themselves against a war of aggression, a brutal invasion by President Putin.


VAUSE: You know, this is all part of NATO and U.S. concerns that fighter jets and long range missiles supply to Ukraine could be used to strike deep into Russian territory and the ramifications from that. Do these cross border attacks add to that unease?

HALL: Well, the unease is based on the idea that somehow Putin is going to feel like he's been backed into a corner. And he has no other alternatives but to take some sort of, you know, massive retaliation, whether it's a weapon of mass destruction or nuclear weapons.

I mean, this is sort of the nightmarish scenario for the West.

But you know, we really haven't seen any of that. And so, I think what's happening is, you recall the western countries of NATO alliance for said, well, you know, no, we're not going to supply long range missiles and tanks. And then that started to happen. We said no, on the F-16s, now that has started to happen.

So, you're almost building up an expectation on the part of Moscow and the Russians and indeed, the rest of the world that yes, eventually we're going to get there as long as Russia continues its offensive operations inside of Ukraine.

VAUSE: Steve Hall, as always good to see you and thank you.

HALL: My pleasure.

VAUSE: Russian fighter jet has intercepted two U.S. Air Force treaty bombers over the Baltic Sea not far from Russian air space. Russian officials say the operation was carried out, "In strict accordance with international rules for the use of air space".

The Pentagon has confirmed and played down the incident, describing it as safe and professional.

Allegations of ceasefire violations in Sudan are now being investigated by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. In a joint statement Tuesday, they said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States reiterate their commitment to the Sudanese people, demand that their parties fully abide by their commitments under this agreement.

The short term ceasefire was brokered by Washington and Jeddah after more than five weeks of intense fighting between the Sudanese armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

Guam bracing for a direct hit from Typhoon Mawar. The strongest storm the island has seen in decades. Landfall is expected in the coming hours. National Weather Service warns opposes a triple threat of devastation.

For more, let's go to CNN meteorologist Britley Ritz at the weather center with the very latest, a triple threat. What are we looking at here?

BRITLEY RITZ, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Life threatening storm surge, we're talking about torrential rainfall, as well as damaging and catastrophic wind damage.

The storm itself has actually weakened. However, it's still a historic storm nonetheless. It went through an eye wall replacement cycle, so the eye collapsed on itself. So, very well in deep convection however, with that buzzsaw look.

Winds sustained around the center of the low of 220 kilometers per hour, it's still crawling, it's moving slowly north northwest at nine kilometers per hour, we're starting to lose data. We've lost all radar data, the buoy well out to sea, you notice it starts to die out. It's just no longer there. We still have rain, the radars gone and we're also losing some of our wind data as well as the systems really start to collapse as the winds pick up. There's radar, what's left of it, and then you notice it starts to

drop out. The heaviest of the rain is still off shore, we can expect that heavy rain to move in within the hours. Notice again how it drops out but the heavy rain and with the reds starting to pop.

Now, the system starting to take a little further track north, which could be beneficial with the upper eye wall. Bringing in some of the strongest winds in between Rota and Guam.

Still expect really, really rough conditions across both islands. Some of the heaviest of the rain seeing on the southern end of the island and finally starting to taper back once we move into Saturday and into Sunday, it moves out to sea.

But regardless, we're talking about picking up rainfall totals over 250 millimeters over the next five days. Some of the northern part of the eye wall could be picking up roughly 200 millimeters per hour.

So, torrential rain causing catastrophic flooding on top of the storm surge with all of that wind pushing the water up on the shore. We're talking about storm surge on the eastern side of the island, John reaching over 16 feet, about six to nine meters in some cases.

VAUSE: That's incredible. Britley, thank you for that. We appreciate the update.

Well, the former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in hot water again. Coming up, the fallout from COVID lock down parties just keeps on coming.

Later this hour, flight ban in France on short haul trip less than two hours, a new law to cut carbon emissions. It's good in theory, but in reality, it's kind of not so much.



VAUSE: Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is once again under scrutiny for parties and gatherings held during the pandemic when the country was under lockdown. The focus this time is on meetings at Chequers, the countryside home used by British Prime Ministers.

The government has referred Johnson to police over the gatherings held between June 20 and May 2021.

Johnson's office says it was never contacted about the new allegations and calls the police referral bizarre and unacceptable.

Last year while still prime minister, he was fined for having lock down parties at 10 Downing Street, eventually resigned after months of scandal.

Russian court has extended pretrial detention for Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich until August 30. The American journalist was detained by authorities in March charged with spying. CNN's Kylie Atwood has details.


KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Evan Gershkovich's pretrial detention period was extended for at least three more months until the end of August. Now this was -- this was a request from domestic intelligence officers in Russia who are essentially building the case investigating Gershkovich's case, we know he is facing charges of espionage. Those are charges that he, his family, the Wall Street Journal, where he was working as a reporter vehemently denied.

Journalists were not allowed into the courtroom today, so we don't know of any specifics about how everything went down, but his parents did arrive at the courtroom with his Russian lawyer.

His parents fled the Soviet Union in 1979, came to the United States, raised their family here. And of course, State Department spokesperson Matt Miller did say that the United States didn't help to arrange their travel over there. Noting of course, that there is a travel advisory for all Americans not to be traveling to Russia right now, but said he's not going to criticize parents who want to see their son. Particularly a son who was wrongfully detained in Russia.

The U.S. embassy in Moscow said, "That they are deeply concerned by the court's decision today" and also reiterated that U.S. officials have asked multiple times over the past few weeks to receive access -- consular access to Gershkovich in jail, and those requests had been denied by Russian officials. Of course, they continue to press for that access.

Kylie Atwood, CNN, New York.


VAUSE: Former President Donald Trump's criminal trial for allegedly falsifying business records will start March 25th next year right in the middle of the presidential primary season.

Trump appeared by a video link in a New York courtroom Tuesday for hearing what he can and cannot say publicly about the case. The one term president, twice impeached president has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts. The case revolves around payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about their affair.


Despite another day of supposedly productive talks on raising the U.S. debt ceiling, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has told fellow Republicans they're still nowhere near a deal with the White House. Republicans and Democrats alike are getting restless and more vocal as the June 1st deadline for potential default draws near seen.

CNN's Manu Raju has more now reporting in from Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: here is still a significant gap between House Republicans and the White House to avoid the nation's first ever debt default. Meaning, unable to pay the bills of the United States that have occurred over the last many years.

In order to avoid that potentially drastic economic consequence, Congress and the White House need to agree on how to raise the national debt limit.

Right now, that debt limit is $31.4 trillion. And there is significant disagreement between the two sides on how to do just that.

Now, what the Republicans have been demanding for some time, our spending cuts, bringing down spending below this year's level of federal spending.

Democrats say that isn't a no go. They want to free spending. That is what the White House has offered as a potential compromise.

But the differences in hundreds of billions of dollars and how much the government can spend on a number of key domestic programs, that's unresolved, as well as some policy issues as well.

Republicans have been pushing for some work requirements on social safety net programs, the White House has been not in favor of that as well.

There have also been another Democratic efforts to try to get some Republican concessions, including to give Medicare more power to negotiate drug prices. Republicans have said no, in fact, Kevin McCarthy said they're not going to go offer a single concession, the only concession he said that Republicans would make would be to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for all of their demands.

Now, this all comes as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned Congress that they may have only until June 1st to raise the national debt ceiling. But a number of conservatives that I spoke to earlier in the day indicated they didn't believe that the June 1st deadline was real.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): I don't believe that the first of the month is a real deadline. I don't understand why we're not making Janet Yellen show her work.

RAJU: Aren't you concerned though that this this could be a roll of the dice?

GAETZ: I do not believe that to be the case.

REP. RALPH NORMAN (R-SC): She'll extend it. But right now she's using June 1st. Nobody knows that's false.

REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): The fact is, we passed the bill that will raise the debt ceiling. The fact is we're going to have cash in June. The fact is we're not going to default on our -- on our debt. That's just completely false. We've got the money to do it. So, everybody just needs to be patient.

RAJU: Now, there are a number of House conservatives simply don't want Kevin McCarthy to negotiate any further with Joe Biden, because they believe it'll weaken their bill that was passed in April that included a slew of spending cuts that Democrats in the Senate said it was dead on arrival. They don't want to negotiate off that position, so they're saying, don't even negotiate with the White House.

And on the Democratic side, there are a number of progressives who are asking Biden not to negotiate with Kevin McCarthy, concerned that doing so will only give in to the Republican demands, trying to pressure him to either raise the national debt limit or pressure the president to try to use his constitutional authority that has never been tested in the courts to raise the debt ceiling on his own to avoid a default on his own.

The president has been unwilling to go in that direction. But pressure is growing on both sides for their leaders not to give in which is raising all sorts of questions about whether a deal can be reached between Biden and McCarthy and whether it can pass Congress.

Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.


VAUSE: When we come back, a profound risk of harm to children and teens. A new warning for the U.S. Surgeon General on the impact of social media on young minds and mental health.



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

The search for new evidence in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann expected to resume in the coming hours. Heavy rain and wind force crews to postpone their work on Tuesday in southern Portugal.

A police source in Germany told CNN Portugal that pictures of the reservoir investigators are searching were found on a computer blowing to Christian Brueckner. He was named as a suspect in the McCann case last year, and is already in prison for the rape and murder of a 72- year-old woman.

McCann vanished in 2007 while on a family holiday in Portugal, she was just three years old.

More than 50 years ago, the U.S. Surgeon General officially warned about the health risks and harms of smoking, now, social media comes with a similar warning. And advisory by the U.S. Surgeon General says social media presents a, "Profound risk of harm for kids."

The warning comes in a mental health crisis of American children and adolescents. And this report includes recommendations on how to cut back on social media use, says there are some benefits to social media but not enough data.

The report outlines correlations between social media use and depression, anxiety, body image issues, eating disorders, online harassment, low self-esteem, the list goes on.

Here's more now from the U.S. Surgeon General.


DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: On average, teens are spending 3-1/2 hours a day on social media, that's on average, that means many kids are spending much longer than that.

But the key point is that the data also shows when kids are spending more than three hours on average, that they face nearly double the risk, increased risk of depression and anxiety symptoms. That's really profound.

And you know, there are more concerning facets here. But what we have to understand from all of this is that it is urgent that we take action to protect our kids and to make sure that their experience on social media is safe.


VAUSE: Joining U.S. this out is Tom Kersting, a licensed practicing psychotherapist specializing in some areas like parenting, kids and social media. His latest book is Raising Healthy Teenagers: Equipping Your Child to Navigate the Pitfalls and Dangers of Teen Life. I should get one of those, I have a teenage daughter. Tom, thank you for being with us.

TOM KERSTING, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Thank you, John. Appreciate it.

VAUSE: OK, so this is an incredibly stark warning from the Surgeon General. And he adds to it with an op-ed in The Washington Post where he writes this, it is no longer possible to ignore social media's potential contribution to the pain that millions of children and families are experiencing.

So, just looking at the bigger picture here, the view from 30,000 feet, how much harm has been done over the past two decades, because for the most part, we just didn't connect the dots?

KERSTING: Yes, so really, I mean a tremendous amount of pain. And unlike on the front lines here as the therapist helping out kids and families and so forth. So, as a result of this, starting in about 2012 when smartphones really became mainstream, we've seen an incredible uptick in mental health disorders. The suicide rate has escalated, families are sort of being torn apart as they're each individual including the parents are literally hypnotized by a glowing device.

So, it's really just tearing apart families, creating a mental health epidemic and destroying a future.

VAUSE: Well, so according to this advisory, those who spend more than three hours a day on social media face double the risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression, and anxiety, and also warns of developmental problems within a child's brain and areas which are responsible for emotional learning, impulse control, social behavior.

The harm and addiction caused by social media, it's often mean compared to smoking. That comparison now seems incredibly unfair to the tobacco industry.

KERSTING: Yes, but let me explain it to you scientifically, right. So, all of these products, social media, video games, and so forth, are intentionally designed to target the pleasure seeking part of the brain that produces dopamine. That's the part of the brain that is associated with every addiction whether it's tobacco, drugs, gambling.


And what we're seeing now is these -- these kids are just constantly getting bombarded with content, stimulating content and becoming addicted to this. Addicted to the attention.

And, you know, and as a result, if mom or dad take away the phone or the video game system, guess what the reaction is? It's an absolute withdrawal and crash in the form of, you know, behaviorally, not much different than if you would take drugs away from a drug addict.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And the surgeon general is calling for the development of safer online policies and practices. But I just wonder, is it almost too late?

Ninety-five percent of teenagers are on social media, a third saying they're almost on it constantly. Is this a problem that government regulation can fix? Or will it just ultimately come down to the family level at home?

KERSTING: I think it's a combination of both. I think, you know, you have to start somewhere, because we have a younger generation coming up that isn't -- that hasn't quite hit preadolescence or adolescence. But we can, you know, set up regulations now, rules, laws, whatever it is, that's going to protect those kids.

For example, like making -- a law of some sort that you can't get social media until you're 16 or 17 years old. You know, things like that. We can do what we can do to, you know, save the younger generation.

And it's now really the parents' role for kids that are -- if they have children 13 to 17 years old, it's the parents' role to really step in and deal with the -- with the blowback that they're going to receive by really, really, you know, tinkering down the amount of time that their kids are using these things.

VAUSE: And in terms of any kind of study here, this is still really early days. Because 2004 we saw Facebook come on the scene. You said in 2012, that's when it really exploded with, you know, individual iPhones and that kind of stuff. What is going to happen to this generation that has grown up on the

start of social media and all the problems that come with it, ten, 20, 30 years from now?

KERSTING: You know, that's a good question. I've been, believe it or not, lecturing all over the country on this topic since 2009. I've been doing this for 13 years. And a lot of the stuff that I was talking about way back then is coming true.

So what I am seeing -- here's a little light at the end of the tunnel. I see a lot of 20-something-year-olds I speak to, as well, and many of them are now -- are now pulling the plug on their social media, because they see what it's doing to them, how it's stripping away their time.

But for those kids that are already, you know, really kind of in a real bad mental and emotional place, you know, it's -- I do worry about the future. I worry about them participating in the work force. Are they going to be working in their parents', you know, house for the rest of their life. And just -- time is going to tell. I'm just crossing my fingers and praying that -- you know, that we escape this.

VAUSE: Yes. It's -- it's a problem. Anyone who has a kid these days knows a game or social media, it's tough. But Tom, thank you for being with us.

KERSTING: Hey, it's my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

VAUSE: Still to come here on CNN, its official. Short-haul flights in France are now banned. The move to cut carbon emissions, which has been greeted by some environmentalists like a piece of old lettuce.



VAUSE: France has now officially banned all domestic flights which are two and a half hours or less and can be completed on high-speed rail. The government says this is essential to reduce reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation industry.

But critics claim trains are already preferred among many travelers, and only three local routes have been discontinued so far.

A leading (ph) transport campaign group says the affected routes represent just seven point -- 0.3 percent, I should say, of all of France's flight emissions.

Joining me now from New York is Professor Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University.

Welcome back. It's good to see you.

JEFFREY SACHS, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: Great to be with you. Thank you. VAUSE: OK, so the flight ban has been on the books for a while but now

officially comes into effect. So how do you see this? Is it a moment to, you know, pop the champagne? Or is it a good start, with a lot more work to be done?

SACHS: Well, it's a small step. It only applies to a very specific set of cities, where you can reach cities by fast train from Paris in two and a half hours.

It applies, apparently, to three cities, to Nantes, Bordeaux, and Lyon. It -- it's not a big deal from the point of view of overall emissions, but it's a step.

And what countries need to do in general is to have plans or pathways to actually get to zero emissions. And so we could say OK, this is -- this is a modest step. I think that that's the way to put it.

VAUSE: Yes, and there are conditions on the train services, well, in relation to the flight ban. The law does specify that train services on the same route must be frequent, timely, and well-connected enough to meet the needs of passengers who would otherwise travel by air. That seems to give the passengers a lot of wiggle room here, if they want to avoid that train trip.

SACHS: Well, I'm a little bit amused. I wish the United States had any fast trains of this kind. Amtrak on the East Coast is about half the average speed of these fast trains in -- in France.

The fact of the matter is, actually, there are probably going to be battery-operated electric flights soon enough for these short-haul flights. And so there will be other ways around even on plane flights for short-haul.

The bigger problem for aviation is the longer flights for which there is not right now any effective substitute to the aviation fuel. So that's still an unsolved problem, more generally.

So this is a small step. France has fast rail. Good for them. I wish we did in the United States, and most other places in the world are still longing for this kind of fast rail.

More generally, though, the key right now is that every country needs a strategy to get to net-zero emissions across the range of uses of energy and technologies. We're still far from that goal being met by almost any country in the world.

VAUSE: Well, with that in mind, I want to listen to the French minister for transport. Here he is.


CLEMENT BEAUNE, FRENCH TRANSPORT MINISTER: The aviation industry is very strong in France. I wanted to remain strong. We're investing in (UNINTELLIGIBLE), which is a priority in clean fuels, for instance. In this green transformation of this industry, we will succeed, and we have set a target of zero carbon for 2015 this industry. But in the meantime, I think it's important to take into account some behaviors, some activities, which should contribute a bit more to the greening of our transport systems.


VAUSE: Given that the fact that the amount of carbon pollution caused by the aviation industry is increasing every year. As you mentioned, the reality is there's no alternative right now to aviation kerosene. Is it possible to reach carbon neutral anytime soon?

SACHS: It will be possible, because already for a short-haul aviation, going electric is -- is really within reach.

For long-haul, there are a range of synthetic fuels to which planes can be adapted. And I think that that's going to happen.

There are only a few civil aviation airplane manufacturers. There's Airbus, of course. There's Boeing. China will have civil aviation. It would be possible even globally to reach agreements and target dates for planes to convert to zero-carbon fuels by 2040. This is definitely not out of reach, and it needs to be done.


VAUSE: Good point to finish on, Jeffrey. Thank you so much for being with us. Jeffrey Sachs there in New York. Thank you, sir.

SACHS: Great to be with you. Thank you.

VAUSE: Right, so in Cardiff, Wales, after unfounded rumors that two teenage boys died in a car crash after a police chase.

Vehicles were set on fire, and a number of police officers were injured. Officials insist there was no high-speed police chase. The deadly accident, they said, happened long before officers arrived on the scene.

Multiple arrests have been made, and more are expected. A police watchdog group is now investigating.

While security clearly a major issue for Prince Harry in the United States, there's been a legal blow for him in London. The high court there has ruled the Duke of Sussex cannot privately pay for police security whilst in the U.K.

CNN's Anna Stewart has details.


ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Prince Harry has been pushing the U.K. police protection for himself and his family ever since the decision to take a step back from royal duties. So losing this legal challenge will sting.

According to the prince, private security firms cannot match the services of the U.K. police, and he thinks this protection is badly needed for when he and his family visit the U.K.

It's been a big issue for the duke and duchess of Sussex, ever since they left the U.K. And Prince Harry actually wrote about the discussions that were had back then with the royal family and their future roles at the so-called Sandringham summit in 2020. This from his memoir, "Spare."

"I didn't bloody care which option we adopted, so long as security remained in place. I pleaded for continuation of the same armed police protection I'd had and needed since birth." He says he offered to pay for police protection out of his own pocket, but this was denied.

It's not quite the end of the story, though. Prince Harry is also challenging the lawfulness of the decision at the home office to pull the taxpayer-funded police protection in the first place.

The home office has said that the decision made by the protection of royalty and public figures -- it's known as ROBAF (ph) -- considered it inappropriate for wealthy individuals to buy police protection when the committee decided it wasn't in the public interest.

Tuesday's ruling comes on the heels of Prince Harry and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, alleging they were chased by paparazzi in New York last week, which their spokesperson alleged could have resulted in a catastrophic outcome.

Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. After a short break, WORLD SPORT is up next. See you in about 18 minutes.