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Lukashenko: Prigozhin is in Russia, Not Belarus; Russian Strike Shatters Illusion of Safety in Lviv; U.S. Treasury Secretary Meets with Chinese Officials; U.S. Drones Over Syria Harassed Twice in Two Days; Toxic Gas Leak Kills at Least 17 in South African Mine; ICC Investigating Crimes Against Rohingya by Myanmar. Aired 12-12:45a ET

Aired July 07, 2023 - 00:00   ET


JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, the mystery defense. Where is Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Russia's mercenary mutiny? Apparently, he's not in exile in Belarus. Neither are the thousands of troops under his command?


Justice delayed no more. The International Criminal Court set to quicken a genocide investigation into Myanmar's military as the chief prosecutor hears testimony from Rohingya survivors.

And Twitter takes on the Twitter killer, threatening legal action over the so-called copycat app Threads, which already has tens of millions of users and growing fast.

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

VAUSE: Wherever you are around the world, thank you for joining us. And we begin with the mystery of just where is Russian warlord, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

The only certainty, it seems, right now is that we don't know the whereabouts of the head of the Wagner mercenaries, who less than two weeks ago marched on Moscow, in defiance of President Vladimir Putin in a short-lived open rebellion and attempted coup.

During a rare media conference, the president of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko told reporters he knows where Prigozhin is not, and that's Belarus, where Prigozhin was exiled in a deal with the Kremlin to avoid prosecution.

Lukashenko believes the man once known as Putin's chef is likely in Russia. Possibly St. Petersburg, hometown for both Prigozhin and Putin.

Not long after the Belarusian leader made those public remarks, Russian state television aired images of Prigozhin's office and residence in St. Petersburg being raided by police, who say they found wigs and fake passports, piles of gold and cash, as well as firearms.

But there has been no official comment from the Kremlin on Prigozhin's whereabouts. This all began with that rare news conference by the Belarusian president, who also said thousands of Prigozhin's mercenaries also meant to be living in Exxon Belarus, as well, have not left their barracks in Russia, as well as in Ukraine.

CNN's senior international correspondent, Matthew Chance, was at that news conference in Minsk.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The rare meeting with the Belarusian leaders. And an extraordinary revelation on the whereabouts of Wagner, the Russian mercenaries he's meant to be sheltering.

Despite earlier statements, neither its fighters nor its leader, he tells me, have taken up his offer of exile.

ALEKSANDR LUKASHENKO, BELARUSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): As far as I am informed, as of this morning, the Wagner fighters are now stationed at their regular camps, where they go for rotation, to rest and recover from the front lines.

In terms of Yevgeny Prigozhin, he's in St. Petersburg, or maybe, this morning, he will travel to Moscow or elsewhere. But he's not on the territory of Belarus now.

CHANCE (voice-over): It wasn't meant to be this way. Lukashenko's deal was how the Kremlin explained how Wagner's armed uprising last month had been brought to an early end.

There was even talk of Prigozhin arriving in Belarus, and of all charges against him being dropped.

CHANCE: And so the offer that you extended to Wagner and to Yevgeny Prigozhin has not been taken up? They are not in your country?

LUKASHENKO (through translator): Not yet. This will depend on the decision made by the Russian government and Wagner PMC. If they deem it necessary to locate a certain number of Wagner fighters in Belarus for rest and preparation, then I will keep my promise.

CHANCE (voice-over): But the Kremlin may have other plans. Russian state TV has, for days, been painting Prigozhin as a traitor and a criminal. Now broadcasting these new images of a raid on his St. Petersburg property.

The police seizing weapons, cash and gold, even wigs for disguise and multiple passports under aliases.

The Kremlin told CNN they won't comment on where Prigozhin is or whether new charges may be filed against him.

But Lukashenko raised the disturbing possibility of Prigozhin being assassinated before insisting the Kremlin would never do it.

[00:05:04] LUKASHENKO (through translator): What will happen to Prigozhin next? Well, in life, anything can happen. But if you think that Putin is so malicious and vindictive Putin is so malicious and vindictive that he will do him in tomorrow, no. This won't happen.

CHANCE (voice-over): But clearly, the fate of Wagner and its leader is now in question. Just last week, these satellite images appeared to show a military base in Belarus being prepared for a possible influx of fighters. Lukashenko may now, himself, have got cold feet.

CHANCE: Is part of this you rethinking the wisdom of inviting a battle-hardened rebellious mercenary group into your country? Are you concerned that that would have destabilized Belarus? I mean, the Russians thought that it was -- you know, it was safe to have them but you know they were wrong.

LUKASHENKO (through translator): This is not a situation where I was landing Wagner a helping hand. This was reached in the process of negotiation. You know what was at stake. I made this decision at that time, and I would stick to it. But I don't think Wagner would rise up and turn its guns against the Belarusian state.

CHANCE (voice-over): But for Belarus, Wagner's absence may yet be a blessing in disguise.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Minsk.


VAUSE: Steve Hall is a CNN national security analyst and the former chief of Russia operations for the CIA. And it's good to see you again, Steve.


VAUSE: OK, so all of this seems a bit like where's Waldo. Where in the world is Yevgeny Prigozhin? Is he back in Russia at St. Petersburg? So don't ask the Kremlin. Here's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.


DMITRY PESKOV, KREMLIN SPOKESPERSON (voice-over): We don't track his movements. We neither have the opportunity to, nor do we wish to do that.


VAUSE: Yes, right. They have no idea of the whereabouts of the leader of a mercenary army which presented the greatest threat to Putin in 23 years, and in their words, could have sparked a bloody civil war in Russia? Seriously?


HALL: Yes, I mean, Putin must be asking himself, how do I solve a problem like Prigozhin? You know, they've tried so many different things after he, you know, marched on Moscow.

For me, there's just so many questions here that need to be answered. I don't know that we'll ever get to them.

First of all, why is Prigozhin still alive? I mean, he sent his troops, and they made it halfway to Moscow after shooting down a bunch of Russia aircraft, killing Russian servicemen.

You know, he basically went against Putin by saying the entire reason for invading Ukraine was really not, you know, about getting rid of the Nazis in Kyiv or, you know, the NATO threat. It was all a bunch of rich oligarchs who wanted more money.

These are all treasonous remarks, as Putin himself said. So why is -- why is he still alive? It's amazing to me that he is.

However, it seems like, as opposed to just killing him outright, they have decided to take sort of a tried and true method, which they use with Navalny, and you know, a longer time ago, Mr. Khodorkovsky (ph), another oligarch who stepped out of line and got himself crosswise with the Kremlin.

And so they're saying he's a criminal. He's corrupt. And so we need to do an investigation, which oftentimes leads to lengthy prison sentences in tuberculosis-ridden jails and oftentimes death.

So that may be a slower way that they're going about this. But why it's come to this and it's been so ugly for the Kremlin up until now, it's just -- it's mind-boggling.

VAUSE: Yes. And this question, much as why is he alive, but his location. This all began with the Belarusian president, Lukashenko, said that that Prigozhin had left Belarus, describing him as a free man, and raising doubts over this whole deal, which Lukashenko brokered to end the mercenary rebellion. which included a condition that Prigozhin be exiled to Belarus to avoid prosecution.

Here's a little more. I know it's complicated, but here's Lukashenko.


LUKASHENKO (through translator): I don't know everything about the relationship between Putin and Prigozhin. and I don't want to know everything. Putin knows Prigozhin much better than me. I just met him in the buildup to some events. The first time was maybe 20 years ago.

Putin has known him for much longer. Probably for 30 years, from when they lived and worked in St. Petersburg, and they have a very good relationship with one another.


VAUSE: Does he even know what he's talking about?

HALL: So, more questions. To start with, why would Lukashenko do any of this? Say any of this? So we had this neat package presented to us last week, all tied with a pretty bow on top. You know, Prigozhin got into trouble a little bit, so now he's going to go spend some time in Belarus, along with all of the Wagner guys.

And today, Lukashenko holds a press conference. So one of the great deals about being an autocrat is you don't have to hold a press conference. There's no -- there's no freedom of the press. Nobody's demanding it. You only do it if you want to.

So Lukashenko decides I'm going to hold a press conference, and what does he do? He goes against Putin.

VAUSE: Well, part of the effort to discredit Prigozhin was these images of his, you know, so-called palace in St. Petersburg being released as this raid took place that appeared on state television. TV anchors, commentators describing what they saw as scandalous.


But much of that lifestyle was funded by the Kremlin, as Vladimir Putin admitted about a week ago. Here he is.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Meanwhile, I want to know it. I want you all to also know about this. Support for the entire Wagner Group was fully provided by the state from the defense ministry, from the state budget. We fully funded this group. From May 2022 to May 2023 alone, the state paid Wagner more than 86 trillion rubles.


VAUSE: That's a lot of rubles, which on current exchange rates is just shy, I think, of about a billion U.S. dollars. So did Putin just step on another rake here?

How do you discredit Prigozhin when the Kremlin has been funding that scandalous, lavish lifestyle?

HALL: And again, it's one thing, you know, to -- for the Kremlin to try to come up with some sort of cockamamie story about, Oh, you know, this is why we're going after Prigozhin now. We -- you know, but then what are they going to say?

Because Putin publicly has said this to the Russian people. So, you know, most -- most Russians, when they watch television, they get what Putin is feeding them. And that's certainly the case here with Putin himself doing the spoon-feeding himself.

So how is he going to go back on that. How is he going to -- how is going to rectify that with Russian society to say, yes, there was corruption, but we were the ones who are paying him billions of dollars.

I'm sure they're going to try to spin some sort of story, and there is a very strong historical tradition in Russia of, Well, you know, the czar sometimes is surrounded by bad men, but the czar himself is still, you know, strong and good.

Putin's going to try to milk that for all it's worth. But he really getting to the point where I don't think he can rely on that kind of thing anymore.

VAUSE: Interesting days in the Kremlin, no doubt. Steve Hall, thank you, sir.

HALL: My pleasure.

VAUSE: The death toll continues to rise in the Western Ukrainian city of Lviv as more bodies are pulled from the rubble of an apartment complex left badly damaged by Russian missile strikes. Six people, now confirmed dead; at least 36 were injured.

There are also reports that bomb shelters were locked during the attack. The mayor of Lviv had this response during an interview on CNN.


MAYOR ANDRIY SADOVYI, LVIV, UKRAINE: We have in my city 6,000 shelters. It is private shelters and local government shelters and different owners. And after missiles attack, we made a new decision. All shelters must be open all the time.


VAUSE: Lviv has been mostly spared the worst of the fighting since the war began. But as CNN's ben Wedeman reports, the Russian strike has shattered an illusion safety.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even away from the front lines, nowhere in Ukraine is safe. This is the aftermath of a Russian attack in the Western city of Lviv.

Cruise missiles struck a residential building overnight, Thursday. Ages of the victims ranged from 21 to 95, including a World War II survivor. Authorities are calling it the most devastating attack on civilians in Lviv since the war began.

"The Russians say that they're bombing military objects, but they hit a peaceful house. People were sleeping," says Lviv resident Vera Lubin (ph). "How could they do it? World, help us."

The nighttime attack smashed the roof and top floors of an apartment building and damaged several others.

Ukraine says the attack was carried out by a Russian Kalibr missile, a long-range hypersonic missile that carries a payload of 1,000 pounds of high explosives.

Kalibr missiles are extremely accurate and have been used frequently in Russian attacks on Ukraine. Emergency workers and firefighters have been removing chunks of rubble

from the blast site and have evacuated over 60 people so far.

Standing atop the damaged buildings, they continue to sift through the rubble for any sign of life or death.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs says as many as ten bomb shelters were locked shut in Lviv when the attack happened. An investigation is ongoing to understand why.

But considering the city's relative safety, the strike was probably a shock for many. In the early days of the war, the city served as a refuge for tens of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing Russian attacks.


Given its proximity to the borders of Poland, a NATO member, many hoped they would be safer there.

But as rescuers continue to clear the rubble and repair the damage, it's clear no place here is beyond Russia's reach.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, Eastern Ukraine.


VAUSE: Ukraine's top military commander has reassured U.S. officials the counteroffensive is going as planned, and President Zelenskyy says right now, speed is not a priority for the military.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): As for the counterattack, we are attacking. We now have the initiative. The offensive is not fast. That's a fact. But nevertheless, we are advancing, not retreating like the Russians. And that's why I see a positive in this.


VAUSE: The U.S. is expected to announce Friday that controversial cluster munitions will be sent to Ukraine, according to defense officials.

The weapons are banned in over 100 countries but not the U.S. or Ukraine. Both Moscow and Kyiv have already been using cluster bombs.

And 45 Ukrainian service members are now back home after the latest prisoner exchange with Russia. Ukraine says it's brought back close to 2,600 soldiers through similar exchanges since the war began.

Well, high-stakes meetings are underway in Beijing between senior Chinese officials and the U.S. treasury secretary, who's trying to repair relations between the world's top two economies.

Janet Yellen has been meeting with former vice premier, Liu He, as well as the governor of the People's Bank of China.

In the hours ahead, she's also expected to meet with the current Chinese premier, who is considered a close ally of President Xi Jinping.

CNN's Anna Coren following Yellen's visit, live from Hong Kong. So, Anna, no meeting, though, with Xi Jinping, which seems notable.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No. No meeting with Xi Jinping, but look, U.S. treasury secretary, she is no stranger to China. In her role as the former chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, you know, dealt with Chinese central bank officials quite often.

But this trip, John, is on the back of Blinken's visit two weeks ago. It's all about improving communication and relations between the U.S. and China. As a senior treasury official said, you know, for the world's two largest economies not to have clear communication would be a mistake.

This morning, Janet Yellen, she met with her old friend and former counterpart, former vice premier Liu He and former People's Bank of China Governor Yi Gang (ph), for what we hear was an informal and substantive conversation. It went, in actual fact, longer than expected.

This afternoon, she will hold a roundtable with representatives of the American business community in which the U.S. ambassador, Nick Burns, will also be attending.

And then later this afternoon, she will meet, as you mentioned, John, with Premier Li Qiang at the Great Hall of the People. She was with him at the Paris finance summit last month, where she said that the world expects for the U.S. and China to work together.

And then tonight, just to wrap up her day's itinerary, she'll have dinner with leading Chinese economists.

Last night, John, Janet Yellen sent out this tweet. Let me read it to you: "I'm glad to be in Beijing to meet with Chinese officials and business leaders. We seek a healthy economic competition that benefits benefits American workers and firms, and to collaborate on global challenges. We will take action to protect our national security when needed and this trip presents an opportunity to avoid miscommunication or misunderstanding."

Now Beijing sees Yellen as this voice of reason within the Biden administration. You know, she has pushed to maintain economic ties with China. She's argued against tariffs, cautioned against restrictions on investment in China, and while giving testimony before Congress back in April, she warned that decoupling from China would be disastrous.

But this won't be without its tension. You know, the treasury secretary, she's spoken out against China's human rights record and believes that the American supply chain needs to diversify away from China.

But Yellen will be working to convince Beijing that America is not trying to harm or contain the Chinese economy by blocking access to sensitive technologies such as semiconductors in the name of national security.

John, this is something the Chinese certainly are not buying. You know, this week they retaliated by announcing that it would restrict the export of certain minerals critical for the production of semiconductor chips, solar cells, and other tech products.

But you know, roughly $700 billion in trade occurs between China and the United States each year. Both economies are deeply entwined.

Global economic uncertainty only adds to the importance of this relationship. China, as we know, struggling to reboot its economy post COVID. Then you've got the U.S. trying to contain inflation and avoid recession.


So John, they are both very well aware that they -- they do need each other, and they need to communicate.

VAUSE: Like it or not, they do need each other. Communications, there has been a lot of that since the beginning of the pandemic. So it's a start.

Anna, thank you. Anna Coren, live for us in Hong Kong.

COREN: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, Russian fighter pilots in the skies over Syria deliberately interfering with U.S. drone operations for the second time in two days. When we come back, the very latest from the Pentagon.


VAUSE: Protesters are expected to take to the streets across Pakistan in the coming hours, angered by the burning of a Quran in Sweden.

The prime minister called for nationwide participation in the demonstration, which coincides with Pakistan's Holy Quran Day. It becomes a week after a lone protester was allowed to burn a copy of Islam's holy book outside a mosque in the Swedish capital of Stockholm.

An Israel Defense Forces soldier has been named as the victim of a shooting at an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank on Thursday.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Israeli military says a gunman fired at security forces, who stopped his vehicle for inspection. The IDF says the suspect was neutralized, in their words, after the incident.

Meantime, a rocket fired from Southern Lebanon landed in Israel, also on Thursday. A Lebanese security source says authorities believe Palestinian militants are likely behind the rocket fire.

Israel responded by striking parts of Lebanese territory.

Well, in the skies over neighboring Syria, Russian fighter pilots have stepped up their harassment of U.S. military drones operating in that airspace against ISIS Targets. Yet again on Thursday, Russian jets intercepted an American drone, forced it to take evasive action.

CNN's Oren Liebermann has details, reporting in from the Pentagon.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: For the second time in as many days, Russian fighter jets intercepted and harassed U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drones operating over Syria.

This time, it occurred early Thursday morning, and the commander of U.S. Air Force Central Command, Lieutenant General Alex Grynkewich, says those Russian fighters got dangerously close to the U.S. drones.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): In this video, you can see this encounter as it happened. You see as the Russian fighter jets get close and fly above and faster than the drone.

One of those jets begins dropping a series of flares, and it almost looks like the fighter jet is attempting to hit the drone with those flares.

This is very similar to what we saw the Russians do one day earlier. That's when three Russian fighter jets approached three U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drones and conducted very similar activity, which the Department of Defense called unsafe and unprofessional.

In that case, one of those Russian fighter jets dropped parachute flares in front of the U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone while another lit afterburner in front of the reaper drone, which made it difficult to operate the drone in a safe manner.

LIEBERMANN: Crucially, it's not just the U.S. that appear to be the target of these aggressive Russian activities. The French said they were also, essentially, harassed by a Russian fighter jet. This time the French --


LIEBERMANN (voice-over): -- on the official Twitter account of the French armed forces, said they had to of their -- fighter jets arriving near the Iraq-Syria border when a Russian Sukhoi SU-35 fighter jet came up and operated in a non-professional manner.

The French, according to this tweet, essentially averted any sort of risk and flew away. We've seen this play out over several months. Back in April, a U.S.

official told us it was recently the Russians trying to operate in a new and more aggressive manner here,= --

LIEBERMANN: -- ignoring the deconfliction protocols that were specifically set up to avoid any sort of conflict or miscalculation between two of the most powerful militaries in the world.

Oren Liebermann, CNN, in the Pentagon.


VAUSE: Search-and-rescue operations continue near an illegal gold mine in South Africa, where at least 17 people, including children, were killed by a leak of nitrate gas on Wednesday.

We get details now from CNN's David McKenzie, reporting from Johannesburg.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's certainly a very disturbing tragedy here in South Africa.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): At least 17 people are dead -- men, women, and children -- according to authorities, because of this nitrate gas leak to the East of where I'm sitting here in Johannesburg.

MCKENZIE: Now, authorities say it could be linked to illegal miners that operate in that part of the city, as well as other parts. They go into disused and even active gold mines to extract the precious metal and sell it on the black market.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Now this video shows the canisters in these shacks, this very tightly-packed informal settlement to the East of Joburg, where the people noticed this odd smell. According to police who spoke to local media, they alerted the police. At least one person seems to have shut down one of those gas cylinders --

MCKENZIE: -- which could speak possibly to foul play. But it's too early to tell.

The authorities say they will stamp out these illegal miners, but they are finding it very difficult to deal with these organized groups. T

MCKENZIE (voice-over): This is what one official had to say about being on the scene.

PANYAZA LESUFI, PREMIER OF GAUTENG PROVINCE: The scene was heartbreaking. It was heartbreaking. I -- I regretted we have to go through with that scene. It was heartbreaking. So it's something that we might need assistance. The bodies were scattered, literally, everywhere.

MCKENZIE: Illegal mining in South Africa is a million-dollar business, according to researchers. MCKENZIE (voice-over): And certainly, because of the organized nature, and the heavily-armed nature of many of these groups, authorities are struggling to clamp down on these miners.

MCKENZIE: At this stage, no arrests have been made.

David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


VAUSE: Well, promises to quicken an already four-year-long investigation into crimes against humanity committed by Myanmar's military during a brutal crackdown on Rohingya Muslims. When we come back, an exclusive interview with the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.



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

For years now, Myanmar's military has carried out brutal, deadly and appalling crimes on defenseless civilians, burning and destroying villages, deliberately cutting off access to food and water, killing unarmed civilians, moms, dads, and children.

The United Nations says Myanmar's rulers have the country trapped in a deadly freefall. The U.N.'s high commissioner for human rights spoke about how the military is using fear and terror to control the population two and a half years after seizing power in a coup.


VOLKER TURK, U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: It is almost impossible to imagine that the people of Myanmar can endure more suffering. Yet the country continues its deadly freefall into even deeper violence and heartbreak.


VAUSE: The years before the military overthrew the democratically- elected government, the Rohingya minority were the victims of the worst atrocities, forcing a million of them to flee the world's largest refugee camp in neighboring Bangladesh.

That's where the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has been this week, investigating who should be held accountable for what was essentially genocide, carried out on the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Karim Khan is the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. He joins me now from Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. Chief Prosecutor, thank you for being with us.

KARIM KHAN, CHIEF PROSECUTOR, INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT: Great pleasure to be here. Thank you for having me.

VAUSE: You're welcome, sir. Now, you spent a number of days there, four days, in Cox's Bazar, partly to hear testimony from those who were the targets of Myanmar's military's campaign of genocide.

What have you heard, and what impact will that have on your investigation?

KHAN: Well, John, the investigation was opened by my predecessor in 2019. But the Rohingya can't feel that they've been forgotten. And so I came last year, and I promised I would come again. And I will come every year until we had some demonstrable proof that the investigation is proceeding.

There's heartbreak in these camps. I spoke to a group of women whose houses had been burned, women who had been raped. The youth, children who can't go to school, and youth that are trying, struggling to better themselves but really have very few opportunities.

And they feel the world is looking elsewhere, is looking at Ukraine, looking at other epicenters. And they have a right to justice, and that's why my team has been here so consistently over the last year. But we have to accelerate our efforts.

VAUSE: Yes. The U.N. high commissioner for human rights says Myanmar's military continues to rely on control tactics like fear and terror by carrying out, in his words, "grotesque acts of violence," in particular against the elderly, children, as well as the disabled. He went on describe their overall strategy. Listen to this.


TURK: Every day the military's ruthless so-called "four cuts" strategy continues to wreak destruction. Entire villages are razed and burned to the ground, collectively punishing civilians by depriving them of shelter, food, and lifesaving aid.


VAUSE: That, in and of itself, sounds like ongoing war crimes at the very least. Is it possible to document these individual instances when this "four cuts" strategy is implemented and use that as part of a legal prosecution against the military dictatorship, which is already underway?

KHAN: Well, we need the widest spectrum of evidence, John. And it's quite right. There are crimes continuing.

We have jurisdiction only because Bangladesh has -- is a state party, has accepted the jurisdiction of their own statute. So the judges have held that we can look into matters where at least one of the elements of the offense is committed on this territory.

But I think we have -- there are different data streams available. Witnesses who've been raped or who have been killed, whose family have been killed or houses have been burnt, they've also got to find the linkage evidence. And I think until we show that there are some red lines that cannot be crossed -- politics, national interests, the aim to retain power, are not good enough to literally ride roughshod over the rights of civilians.

Until we show what the law can do, I think we are collectively we're failing. And I think what we're trying to do in the office that I lead is to move with more focus and to get some results by separating truth from fiction.


VAUSE: You traveled to Kyiv just over a year ago, and you had this assessment of Russia and its actions, its tactics for civilians. Listen to this.


KHAN: Clearly, I'm here for a reason. And we have reasonable grounds to believe crimes within the jurisdiction of the court have been committed.

It is a crime to intentionally target civilians. It is a crime to intentionally target civilian objects.


VAUSE: So that was March 2022. A year later, an arrest warrant was issued for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

For the Rohingya, it's been six years since the genocide that they experienced in Myanmar. So there is a disparity in the timeline here. How soon can, you know, the Rohingya expect some kind of action, like a warrant being issued for a leader who's carried out these crimes?

KHAN: Well, a big differences is we have access to Ukraine. We don't have access to Myanmar.

But the investigation has been open for four years. I've been prosecutor for two years. Every year, I've been here. I've just come, and I've appointed a senior lawyer to lead the Myanmar team. We're trying to get additional resources. We are under-resourced across all our situations.

And my presence here, my presence last year, and the team's almost constant presence here over the last year, a much more regular presence, is evidence of the fact that this is important. They re not forgotten.

And if I can say so, John, the world can't look away. It's not just the obligations of my office. I spoke to families yesterday, and until March, children, women, and men were used to three meals a day. There's been cuts to the World Food Program of the United Nations.

Now families are being given nine taka. That's the local currency in Bangladesh. Nine taka a day for a meal. And the cost of one single egg it 12 taka. So literally, food should not be taken off the plates of children and

diverted elsewhere if we are true to our claim that every human life matters equally.

VAUSE: Absolutely. It is -- that is a tragedy upon tragedy right now for the Rohingya Muslims. You know, suffering seems to never end.

I guess, though, one of the biggest questions which hangs over both of your cases here, be it Ukraine or Myanmar, will we ever see Vladimir Putin on trial? Will we ever see General Min Aung Hlaing be held accountable for what he's done?

KHAN: These are great questions. And some people would say -- will say we're on a fool's errand.

And the best answer that I can come up with is, there were naysayers, there were pessimists, there are those that said it was a fool's errand to start the Yugoslav tribunal or Rwanda or the special court for Sierra Leone.

But the evidence, not the conjecture, is that President Charles Taylor is now in Durham Prison. Milosevic, Karadzic and and Mladic were tried by the Yugoslav tribunal. The former prime minister, Jean Kambanda, was tried by the Rwandan tribunal. The list goes on.

So one thing is certain. Unless we collect evidence, unless we analyze evidence, unless we check what is incriminating and what is exonerating, there will be no chance of justice.

So we have to do our job, and then we'll wait and see about the opportunities for enforcement if judges of the International Criminal Court decide to issue any further warrants or in relation to the warrants already issued.

VAUSE: Chief Prosecutor Khan, thank you so much, sir, for your time. Best of luck with your work. Thank you.

KHAN: Thank you, John.

VAUSE: Twitter fires back, threatening legal action over Meta's new app, Threads, which looks very, very similar to Twitter. We'll have more on that, in a moment.



VAUSE: OceanGate has suspended operations following the deadly implosion of its Titan submersible this month -- or last month, which killed all five people on board.

The sub was on a voyage to the wreckage of the Titanic when it lost contact with the support ship. That was June 18th. Days later, after a very widespread international search effort, authorities confirmed the sub had suffered a catastrophic implosion. In the wake of disaster, new details have emerged about warnings and

safety concerns about the submersible, including an ominous email from a former employee that the Titan could fail and result in deaths.

Well, the so-called Twitter killer has arrived, the Meta-owned Threads, with millions signing up every hour. Thirty million within the first 24 hours of Threads going online, to be precise.

It looks a lot like Twitter, mostly text-based posts for real-time public conversations. New users sign in via their Instagram account, but that link means any attempt to kill a profile on Threads can only be done by deleting Instagram, as well.

Twitter clearly sees Threads as a competition and as a threat, with lawyers from Elon Musk threatening to sue Meta for hiring former Twitter employees -- you know, all the ones that Elon Musk fired -- in order to steal Twitter's trade secrets.

Coming up next hour, a lot more on what this was between the microblogs actually means, and could this actually see Twitter's days being finally numbered?

But given Threads is owned by Meta and its controversial past, is that necessarily a good thing?

Finally this hour, a familiar sound is going away.




VAUSE: The Eagles announced details on Thursday of their final tour later this year. The band announced the first 13 U.S. cities on the tour but says more will be added and the tour may not end until 2025. That's quite the long tour.

The Eagles closed their announcement by saying, "This is our swan song, but the music goes on and on," on until 2025.

I'm John Vause, back with more CNN NEWSROOM at the top of the hour. In the meantime, please stay with. WORLD SPORT is up after a very short break. See you back here in 17 minutes.