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Morocco Races To Dig Out Survivors After Strongest Quake; Luis Rubiales Resigns As Spanish Soccer President Following Unwanted Kiss; Biden Leads U.S. Tech Executives In Talks With Business Leaders In Vietnam; 2,000 plus Killed after Powerful Earthquake Hits Morocco; Chile Commemorates Coup by Augusto Pinochet; Mexican President Endorses Former Mayor as Successor; Djokovic Wins U.S. Open. Aired 1- 2a ET

Aired September 11, 2023 - 01:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. Appreciate your company. Coming up here on CNN Newsroom, a race against time in Morocco, residents and rescue crews searching the rubble for survivors of Friday's earthquake but the window of opportunity to find anyone alive is starting to close.

Luis Rubiales resigned Spain soccer boss announcing he will step down following a World Cup kissing scandal that shook Spanish and global football to the core.

Plus, Ukraine deploys the decoys how Kyiv is using fake weapons to fool Russian troops into firing at the wrong target.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN Newsroom with Michael Holmes.

HOLMES: And rescuers in Morocco are racing against the clock to find more survivors of Friday's powerful earthquake as the death toll continues to climb. More than 2,100 people and now confirmed dead after the country was hit by the 6.8 magnitude quake the strongest in more than 120 years.

Near the quake's epicenter in the Atlas Mountains scenes of destruction and devastation with homes in small villages reduced to piles of rubble. Many people have spent another night outside now and the frustration and desperation is building, especially in some of the hard hit and remote areas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): You can smell the corpses everywhere. It's a shame the authorities didn't help these people. Some people have received aid, tents and food. However, some villages have not received anything, especially in the mountainous areas with dangerous roads. I hope that the authorities and civil society will show more solidarity in these areas.


HOLMES: Residents in villages along the foothills of the Atlas Mountains are now dealing with a new and difficult reality. Many of them now staying in tents with some being told on need to remain in makeshift camps for at least a week. CNN's Sam Kiley with more from one heart hip down.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): People here in Asni in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains have taught that when this earthquake struck, and it did this, they didn't so much feel the tremors as feel that they were being caught up in some kind of war. And that is exactly what it looks like.

They didn't feel the ground shaking under them. They said they felt and heard the sounds of explosions, explosions from within and without their own homes and explosions up in the hills.

And 25 people were killed in the town of Malai Abrahim (ph) which is just about three kilometers a mile and a half or so from here. This is normally a tourist paradise, not just for foreigners, but for locals too. Some of the victims still being left buried under the rubble because it's too dangerous to get them out, or actually Moroccans who were up in these mountains, enjoying the cooler temperatures in the summer.

Everybody we're talking to here, though, is got a complaint that the central government is really nowhere to be seen in their words. We have seen some evidence of their help with these yellow tents offering temporary accommodation here in Asni. That's a commendation for 1,200 people who've lost their homes, or whose homes are now uninhabitable, the dangerous.

This area has been struck in the last 24 hours by at least four aftershocks. Local people tell us and they're saying they're just not getting the help that they need. Inevitably there is always going to be a level of frustration from people hit with this cataclysmic event but there are dozens of these villages all over this region and for that reason, it is the hardest hit region in all Morocco where the death toll continues to climb well over 2,000 now. Sam Kiley, CNN in Asni.


HOLMES: Heartbreaking stories of tragedy are emerging as people in Morocco search through the debris hoping to find loved ones alive. We got this man, he in the in the video there. His son was killed in the quake and he describes how it struck at night while they were eating a meal.


HAMID BEN HENNA, SON KILLED IN EARTHQUAKE (through translator): It all started at 11:00 p.m. or 11:30 pm. We were having dinner. I asked my son to bring a knife from the kitchen dessert, he didn't bring it because as soon as he left the kitchen the earthquake struck. He ran here where you can see rubble.


He was buried by one and a half to two meters of rubble. At night, there was no electricity. We couldn't see it all. And stones were falling on us in the dark. I hurried and luckily there was a gate open. I helped my wife was injured get out along with two other kids.


HOLMES: Now the boy's body was recovered after family members arrived from Casablanca the next day to help with the rubble.

Morocco's government and some volunteers are handing out desperately needed supplies but the kingdom has now formally accepted aid from four countries after weighing its needs. Many more countries have offered assistance and Morocco says it could ask for additional help as the situation on the ground continues to unfold.


HOLMES (voiceover): More boots on the ground. A Spanish search and rescue team arrives in Marrakesh to assist with relief operations in Morocco. The help coming just in time as rescue has faced blocked roads and mountainous terrain as they search for survivors in some of the country's hard to reach villages.

But the specialized unit of Spain's Armed Forces has faced challenges like this before having deployed in previous disaster zones like Turkey, Nepal and Haiti. The Spanish defense ministry says the team has four dogs with them, as well as tools that can cut through concrete. All things Morocco needs as rescuers pushed deeper into the remote areas of the Atlas Mountains.

Many countries have sent offers of help and so far Morocco has accepted assistance from some after what it says is careful assessment of its needs.

On Sunday, the Moroccan King thanks Spain, Qatar, the UAE and the U.K. for their support, which is beginning to funnel into the country. In Qatar, shipments of emergency vehicles were loaded on a transport plane bound for the quake zone. The Gulf nation also sending pallets of supplies and rescue personnel to the region.

Help is also on the way from the U.K. with 60 search and rescue specialists joining the efforts. The Tunisian Government says it's also sending reinforcements who stood with bags packed and ready to leave as the country's Interior Affairs Minister wish them luck in what will likely be difficult work ahead.

KAMEL AL-FEKI, TUNISIAN INTERIOR AFFAIRS MINISTER (through translator): God willing we will be proficient as expected. We will do our best standing alongside those who will also participate in the search and rescue in the Moroccan regions affected by the earthquake.

HOMLES: Some food and water is already reaching some hard hit areas. These supplies organized by the Moroccan government and civil society organizations. Other essential items have been collected outside grocery stores in Marrakesh by volunteers.

ABDELTIF RZOUKI, VICE PRESIDENT, DRAW SMILE (through translator): I think the food suppliers collected today should be able to sustain at least 100 families for a week covering all their food needs.

HOLMES: Needs that are likely to continue in the coming days, weeks and months, as Morocco faces a long road to recovery.


HOLMES: Now for more information about how you can help victims of Morocco earthquake go to

The Spanish football federation is looking for a new boss after Luis Rubiales resigned as president. This follows weeks of criticism over that unwanted kiss that he gave star player Jennifer Hermoso after the Women's World Cup victory.

On Friday, the Spanish national prosecutor filed a complaint against Rubiales for sexual assault and coercion against them also. In a social media post, Rubiales maintained his innocence and said he will continue to defend his honor. CNN's Don Riddell with details.


DON RIDDELL, CNN WORLD SPORT (on camera): It's been three weeks since the Spanish football team won the women's world cup in Australia but the story ever since then has been dominated by the male president of the Spanish football federation Luis Rubiales and he's in the news again because he has finally submitted his resignation to the Spanish FA.

Ever since he was roundly criticized for planting and unsolicited kiss on the lips of the player Jenni Hermoso, Rubiales has remained in his position but he has now changed his tune. Rubiales reveal his intention is during an interview with Piers Morgan.

LUIS RUBIALES, FORMER PRESIDENT, SPANISH FOOTBALL FEDERATION: Yes, I'm going to. Hang on. I'm going to yes because I cannot continue my work.

PIERS MORGAN, HOST, "PIERS MORGAN UNCENSORED": What was the final moment for you was it talking to your family your dad perhaps?

RUBIALES: Yes, my father. My daughter's. I spoke with them. Is not -- they know is not a question about me and some friends very, very close to me.


And they say to me, Luis, now you have to focus in your identity and to continue your life because if no probably you are going to damage people you love.

RIDDELL: Rubiales has also resigned from UEFA, where he was a vice president. His departure is hugely significant, his behavior and up until now, his lack of contrition and his refusal to take any responsibility for it all has been hugely damaging for the reputation of Spanish football on the world stage.

The scandal exploded at a time when Spain is bidding to co-host the Men's World Cup in 2030. In the wake of the kiss, Spain's players refused to play again for the national team until Rubiales quit or was fired. Since then the team's entire coaching staff has resigned in protest.

And last week, the head coach Jorge Vilda was fired. He was succeeded by the team's first female coach Montse Tome. It remains to be seen what happens next. But the players have been calling for a systemic change in a football culture that they believe is deeply flawed. Will the departure of Rubiales be enough? I guess we'll soon find out. Back to you.


HOLMES: CNN sports analyst Christine Brennan joins me now from Washington DC, always good to see my friend. So, it's a long time coming in the view of virtually everyone. Why do you think it took him so long to quit?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Because I don't think, Michael, he felt he did anything wrong. You know, I mean, who knows what's been going on behind the scenes with him in the Spanish Federation. But we do know what was going on with the team a year ago with the head coach, of course, now former head coach, Jorge Vilda, and the players complaining to Rubiales about him.

So, the sense that these guys felt that they were, you know, bulletproof, that they couldn't be toppled. But that, you know, he runs Spanish football. He's the UEFA Vice President, he is a big shot in FIFA, they're trying for the Men's World Cup in a few years. All of it would have said, Hey, you can get away with it. You can do whatever he wants. So I think that was it.

HOLMES: Yes. And to that point, because it's very interesting. I mean, do you think that, you know, four or five years ago, this wouldn't have ended this way that it would have been ignored and dismissed and swept under the rug?

BRENNAN: I think it might have. I think that's a great question. A great point, Michael. I think, you know, me, too, started not long after the 2016 election where Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton that was in the US. So, you know, maybe we just want to say seven years ago or eight years ago, whatever.

But absolutely, I think the awakening that has happened over the last few years is because facilitated moments like this, and where Rubiales had to resign. And I think five years ago, seven years ago, eight whatever nobody want to pick, no, I do not think that it would have happened this way.

HOLMES: The delay in quitting, the no acceptance of responsibility for his actions. I mean, really even now shows remarkable hubris. I mean, how has this episode and the dragging out of it hurts Spanish football. You know, Rubiales still has these allies in the system.

BRENNAN: Oh, he does. And we remember lots of people saw that speech where he said five times I will not resign, I will not resign. And there's cheers and uproarious, you know, applause for him. The man and even some women in that room.

So, they were living in that time, it's almost like OK, that was, I guess we could say before the force kiss, which is also you can call sexual assault.


BRENNAN: So before the forced unwanted kiss, and after the kiss, right, I think that's what the time we're living in. And so they thought he thought in that world, that was the world that he thought he could keep and keep going.

HOLMES: Do you think this will lead to some fundamental changes not just in how Spanish women's football is run, but Spanish football, the culture and women's football more broadly, globally is run.

BRENNAN: It has to, it has to. This has been a cataclysmic three weeks for Spanish football, for FIFA for everyone. Anyone who loves soccer football around the world. It has just been top of mind, it has been, you know, leading the news around the world. It's not even a sports story, Michael, it is but it's also a cultural story.

And so yes, and one of the things I think that FIFA if they wanted to start being forward thinking which I guess we can dream that they might not that I would ever expect. They really would. They need to be proactive.

So Spain, we now know the cesspool that was the Spanish Federation. What about all the other countries that we know don't care about women's soccer?


So what's going on behind the scenes? And they need to be able to reach out and ask the women, these questions have an anonymous tip line, something on boots people out there to hear the stories of these women from other countries, because we know there are stories that I'm sure they wouldn't want to tell.

HOLMES: That's a great point. I mean, you know, you got to you got to wonder if he said after this happened, I'm sorry, that was really bad, bad judgment. I really apologize. It would have ended there in some ways.

In his announcement, you know, one of the reasons he said was, the quote was, he said he was doing it because there are actual powers, which will prevent my return, which suggests he was facing the reality of the politics rather than the reality of his actions.

BRENNAN: Oh, totally. And he said, I can't do my job anymore.


BRENNAN: I mean, at no point did he say, I behave terribly, and I'm going to resign because I've behaved terribly. He never said that. It's all people are doing it to him. Again, he, you know, reality check time. You know, pal, it's 2023. And, you know, this century, the 21st century just kind of slapped you in the face. I'm going to guess we'll never really see him again, because he's never even allowed himself to be really rehabilitated, or begin to learn about what he really did. He's been kicking and screaming the whole way. And, you know, well, you know, good (Inaudible) he's gone now. But what a legacy that he is leaving.

HOLMES: Yes. Christine Brennan, always such a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you, my friend.

BRENNAN: Thank you, Michael.

HOLMES: Still with sport and Novak Djokovic has won his fourth U.S. Open title adding more incredible achievements to his already illustrious career. With Sunday's victory over Russia's Daniil Medvedev in straight sets. Djokovic is tied with Australian legend Margaret Court for the most all time Grand Slam singles titles 24.

At 36 years of age, Djokovic is now the oldest man to win the U.S. Open singles title in the Open Era, and he's the first man to win three Grand Slam titles in a single season on four separate occasions.

CNN caught up with Djokovic after the historic victory, and we will have that interview for you later this hour.

U.S. President Joe Biden has a busy final few hours in Vietnam. After the break, we'll get the latest on the diplomatic push in a live report from Hanoi.

Also fooling the enemy with false targets. We'll show you how Ukraine is keeping its air defense system safe from Russian attacks. You're watching CNN Newsroom. We'll be right back.


HOLMES: Welcome back. U.S. President Joe Biden is in the middle of a busy final day in Vietnam pursuing his vision of what he called a conference hence the strategic partnership.


He's just met with the Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh. Next hour he will meet with the president Vo Van Thuong. And they will both attend a state luncheon. CNN's Anna Coren is there in Hanoi and joins us now live to talk all about it.

So how is this Biden outreach being seen in Vietnam and other indications of success?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. Michael, we're seeing tangible results, you speak of the President meeting with the Prime Minister very shortly with the President. But what will be happening within the next hour is the signing of multibillion dollar deals by U.S. companies investing here in in Vietnam. We know the heads of Boeing, Intel, Amkor are here amongst many others, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

So this is something that that is concrete, that is real, that is part of this comprehensive strategic partnership, which has just been formally announced. Let me read to you some of the things that it will take -- take in political diplomatic relations, economic trade investment, the STEM, education, climate defense. Now human rights is also part of this comprehensive strategic partnership. We know that Vietnam historically has an appalling record when it comes to human rights.

President Biden was asked about this in the press conference last night. And he made a point of saying he brings up human rights with every single person that he has met here in Vietnam.

But you know, President Biden, Michael, talked about this 50-year arc from conflict, to normalization of relations to now this elevated level of partnership, it's about countering China's influence, really, in the region.

America making very clear that it is part of the Indo-Pacific. This was something that President Obama spoke about during his presidency. It was more lip service, President Biden and his administration is much more definite about making that a reality. And we've seen the partnerships that that America has formed with with countries in this region, the latest here in Vietnam, but let's have a listen to what President Biden had to say about America's presence in the Indo- Pacific.


JOE BIDEN, U.S PRESIDENT: All effort, we've advanced from day one of my administration to demonstrate to our Indo-Pacific partners and to the world, the United States is a Pacific nation. And we're not going anywhere.


COREN: That's a clear message, you'd have to say, Michael, to China, but President Biden made a point during that press conference last night that America is not interested in containing China, something that China continues to say that America is trying to do.

He said that he wants Beijing to succeed. He wants China to succeed, but it has to be on a fair playing field. But what is happening here is significant. I mean, there are many analysts who saying that Biden's visit is, you know, the most important visit by a U.S. president since Bill Clinton came here and reestablished diplomatic ties in 2000, Michael. But I should just mention that he's off to meet with the Presidents for lunch. Before he flies out, he's going to visit the memorial of the late Senator John McCain, his friend, who was shot down here in Hanoi, and was a prisoner of war in in Vietnam. So that is something that the President will be doing later this afternoon.

HOLMES: All right, appreciate the wrap up there. Anna Coren there live in Hanoi for us. And as Anna actually just mentioned, Mr. Biden said he is sincere about his wish to improve America's difficult relationship with China. And he says his Asia trip is not about limiting China's influence.


BIDEN: What his trip was about, it was less about containing China, I don't want to contain China. I just want to make sure that we have a relationship with China that is on the up and up squared away. But as I said, I'm not -- we're not looking to hurt China. Sincerely. We're all better off if China does well.


HOLMES: Now, his comments came after the Chinese Foreign Ministry suggested the U.S. is trying to in its words, target a third party, namely Beijing during his visit to India and Vietnam.

CNN political and national security analyst David Sanger spoke about the situation with CNN earlier.


DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So the Chinese see what the U.S. is doing as containment or at least so they say they do. And I can understand why it looks that way. Biden has been much more successful than any of his recent predecessors, including President Trump and President Obama in cutting off exports to China that are useful for military purposes but that are also critical to China's development in the most high tech industries. That includes doing high end semiconductors. It includes the hardware you need and much of the software to do artificial intelligence and to do quantum computing.

So when the Chinese look at this, they say, well, you're not just trying to stop our military from developing. You're also trying to keep China from being a competitor in the biggest, most profitable industries of the future. And they're not wrong in that.


HOLMES: That was CNN political and national security analyst David Sanger speaking with us earlier. Obviously unacceptable, that's what the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he told Chinese Premier Li Qiang, following a -- following reports that a parliamentary researcher and another Parliament employee have been arrested on charges of spying for Beijing, the two leaders met in New Delhi during the G20 Summit. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: With regard to my meeting with Primier Li, what I said very specifically, is that I arranged a raise at -- a range of different concerns that we have in areas of disagreement, and in particular, my very strong concerns about any interference in our parliamentary democracy, which is obviously unacceptable.


HOLMES: But China is now forcefully denying that it tried to steal British intelligence information. Its Embassy in London is calling the accusation quote, completely fabricated and nothing but malicious slander.

Even as Western nations deny the just concluded G20 Summit was a diplomatic victory for Russia. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is declaring it in his words and unconditional success. Lavrov spoke after the summit, participants failed to condemn Russia's aggression against Ukraine in any specific way. He told reporters at the New Delhi Summit site that Russia's partners in the global south prevented the west from in his words, Ukrainizing (ph) the agenda.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): It is telling that the Ukrainian paragraph was included and is a consensus subject, but it's not about Ukraine. This is very important because as soon as Ukraine is mentioned, you cannot engage with the west on an intellectual level. They just demand a cessation of Russian aggression and a restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity.


HOLMES: The French president Emmanuel Macron disagrees with Lavrov's assessment.


EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT (through translator): We have reiterated at the G20 that we support the Charter of the United Nations which is being violated at this very moment by Russia. So there is no ambiguity.

16 G20 members have voted for the solutions that sanction and condemn Russia. Three have abstained, one voted against it. Guess who? Russia. I don't think it's a massive diplomatic victory or anything other than the reality of isolation and minority status.


HOLMES: Mr. Macron also downplayed the G20s interest in political issues. He said the summit is primarily a forum for discussing economic, financial and climate issues. Quick break here on the program. When we come back, a desperate search

for survivors in Morocco, as rescue was raised to find anyone still buried in the rubble after Friday's powerful earthquake. Also, Ukrainian forces on the move but the top U.S. General warns winter is coming and that could make the fighting much, much more difficult.



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Updating you on our top story of that devastating earthquake in Morocco. The death toll now topping 2100. That number expected to rise even more in the days ahead.

This, as we're getting new images of the destruction and a look at what those on the ground experienced when the quake hit on Friday night.

That was the scene at a wedding in Marrakesh, the musicians abandoning the stage along with the guests and fleeing when the shaking begins.

Marrakesh, of course, a popular tourist hub not far from the quake's epicenter in the Atlas Mountain range. And rescuers in Morocco still digging through the rubble hoping to find survivors before time runs out. Many who did make it through are not left sleeping outside intense.

CNN's Nada Bashir with more from Marrakesh.

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well days on and here in Marrakesh, the population is still stunned by the events of Friday. You could see the destruction behind me a reminder of what the city has faced. But further afield across the Atlas Mountains, there has been widespread destruction and devastation.

And right now, the priority continues to be the search and rescue operation. But of course, there is now a shift in the focus moving towards a humanitarian response effort. Take a look.


BASHIR: Morocco in mourning, still grappling with the aftermath of Friday's devastating 6.8 magnitude earthquake. In Marrakesh, families lined the streets at night, too afraid to sleep inside as after shock still ripple through the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All our houses are cracked, they could fall down at any moment and that is why we can't go back. All these people are afraid to come back home.

BASHIR: The city lies around 40 miles away from the epicenter. But even here in Marrakesh, the impact, the extent of the damage caused by Friday's earthquake is evident. You could see this building damaged behind me, parts of the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site has also sustained damage.

But in other parts of the country, the devastation has been far more severe.

Along the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, a path of destruction, stretching miles. Rescuers in a race against time desperate to find survivors. The more they dig the higher the death toll. Adding to more than 2,000 lives lost what has become the deadliest quake to strike the country in decades.

Pushing through the grief, many are queuing up here in Marrakesh to donate blood. It is an act of solidarity. And there has been an outpouring of support from the international community with offers of aid from countries including the U.S., Japan, France and the UAE.

But the challenges ahead for Morocco are immense. And the recovery effort will well take years.

And while it certainly will be a long road ahead for the government, for the Moroccan population, for those impacted by the earthquake the immediate priority is getting through the devastation that they have all experienced over the last few days.

For a third night in a row here in Marrakesh, we have seen families huddled together, gathering outside to sleep on the street for fear that their homes aren't safe or that there could be another aftershock or even another earthquake.


BASHIR: So there certainly still is a high degree of fear and apprehension and of course for the government there is mounting pressure now to provide that urgent relief needed by those impacted.

Nada Bashir, CNN -- Marrakesh.


HOLMES: Earlier, CNN spoke with Avril Benoit, the executive director of Medicine Sans Frontier or Doctors without Borders. She described what she is hearing from her teams on the ground in Morocco.


AVRIL BENOIT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MEDICINE SANS FRONTIER: What our teams have reported from (INAUDIBLE) for example, which is one of the villages in the High Atlas that was most affected by the earthquake, is that a local clinic had some medical staff who were receiving wounded non stop. And they have been working 36 hours straight at the moment that our team arrived.

What we're trying to do then is to see ok, they've got lacerations, they've got broken bones, you've got cranial injuries. You also know that when people are pulled out of the rubble they may have sustained more severe injuries for example crush syndrome where your limbs are basically compressed so much that it risks all the circulation that could have, infections that are deadly.

And so there's always this very tense situation where you tried to save the limb but sometimes it ends up with amputation. So the more severe cases have been moved by ambulance and transported as they are taken out of the rubble to referral hospitals in Marrakesh.

So that is good so far. But what our teams are pointed on the ground is that the Moroccan medical staff, at this clinic were exhausted. They were using the supplies that they already had on hand. And were beginning to run low.

And so our goal is to assess how can we help them, make that offer to the government in a formal way which is required in Morocco. And then hope that the Moroccan government, the emergency commission, the authorities that are now taking care of how to wrangle all this aid offer will give us the greenlight to be able to deploy more substantially, whether it is earthquakes, specialized logistics staff, medical staff, you know what to do in situations like this.

Whatever they need, essentially, from that medical humanitarian perspective. We are there with our offer.


HOLMES: Avril Benoit there with Doctors Without Borders speaking with CNN earlier.

Now, for more information about how you can help victims of the Morocco earthquake, go to

Ukrainian officials are honoring two foreign aid workers who were killed in an attack on Sunday. Ukraine's president said both humanitarian workers, one from Spain, one from Canada, died when Russia struck a volunteer vehicle with an anti tank missile. The Ukrainian ministry of defense says that they work with an organization called Road to Relief, which provides aid to civilians on the front lines. Two other volunteers from Germany and Sweden were injured in the attack.

A top U.S. general is praising Ukraine's counteroffensive gains, but he is warning there are just a few weeks left for the Ukrainian forces to capitalize on the good weather before winter approaches. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says his forces have made advances on the southern front this past week. And he claims there is what he describes as movement around the beleaguered city of Bakhmut in the east.

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff says Ukraine has made very steady progress in the counter offensive so far. And he predicts that momentum will continue.


GENERAL MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, U.S. JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: There is still a reasonable amount of time. Probably 30, to 45 days worth of fighting weather left.

So the Ukrainians aren't done. This battle is not done. And they haven't finished the fighting part of what they're going to accomplish.

So we will see. It's too early to say how this is going to end.


HOLMES: Some of Russia's ongoing strikes aim to destroy expensive Ukrainian weaponry, of course. But Ukraine has a strategy to outsmart the enemy by luring them into costly mistakes.

CNN's Melissa Bell shows us how decoy weapons are shielding Ukraine's true military targets from Russian fire.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An Iranian-made Sahe (ph) drone, launched by Russian forces heads towards a Ukrainian air defense system, a miss quickly celebrated by Ukrainian soldiers.

What the Russians missed was this -- a fake air defense system. Part of an entire arsenal of decoys that has popped up around the country, fake weapons that are as cheap to make as they are useful to deploy.


BELL: An American M777 Howitzer costs anywhere between two to $4 million. This one cost just $1,000 to make, it's essentially made up of drainpipes.

But the point is, each time one of these is hit it is a real one that is spared. And it's cost the Russians time, energy and money to hit.

The challenge for the steel works company that had nothing to do with arms making at all, updating their designs to keep up with the ever more sophisticated weapons arriving in Ukraine.

Despite them, the fighting along the eastern front has been tough. Ukrainian officials acknowledge.

The forest just outside the eastern town of (INAUDIBLE) has been a battleground for much of the war. But the counteroffensive has made its daily battles that much more intense.

Yuri Mekriak (ph), a special forces commander has just returned from there with his men.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need munitions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Without all these high precision missiles, long- range artillery and ammunition, we cannot fight effectively.

BELL: Behind Mekriak, one of the Russian tanks his unit took in Irpin earlier in the war. He says the lack of ammunition has been chronic in this war. Ukraine, he explains, has had to use creativity as it holds the lines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are trying to use military ingenuity together with our combat experience to fool the enemy and invent new traps.

BELL: A part of that effort is happening far from the front lines. In factories like this one. Perfecting the art of the fake weapons.

The measure of each decoy's success, how quickly it gets destroyed once in the field.

Melissa Bell, CNN -- in central Ukraine.


HOLMES: President Vladimir Putin's United Russia Party is claiming overwhelming victory in regional elections held across the country and in parts of occupied Ukraine. The international community and monitoring groups though say that these so-called elections were rigged and an outright sham.

There was limited choices in many places. A lot of opposing candidates were simply blocked from running. One independent Russian vote monitoring groups that they saw many instances where the result was falsified.


STANISLAV ANDREYCHUK, CO-CHAIR, GOLOS (through translator): Probably, one of the main features of voting in 2023 is the blatant use of power resources by the state and a rather blatant disregard for the law for the part of members of election commissions in some regions.


HOLMES: A historic passing of the baton in Mexico. Just ahead we will have details on who the country's president is backing to take his place come election time next summer.

We'll be right back.



HOLMES: Police and protesters clashed in Chile's capital Sunday at a march commemorating 50 years since the military coup of Augusto Pinochet. Some protesters throwing stones, police responding with water cannons and tear gas.

Meanwhile, families who lost loved ones when Pinochet rounded up opponents, social activists, and students to be tortured and executed were also at the march, clutching photos of those who were killed or disappeared.

Ahead of Monday's anniversary, the Chilean government announced a new initiative to find the remains of more than a thousand people who vanished during Pinochet's 15-year dictatorship.

Chile's president also showed up for that commemorative march and afterwards he thanked Mexico for helping Chileans who fled to the country during General Pinochet's brutal military rule.


GABRIEL BORIC, CHILEAN PRESIDENT (through translator): After the coup d'etat on September 11th, 1973 Mexico opened the doors of its embassy and welcomed more than 3,000 compatriots into its land. It offered them asylum from oppression, sheltered them and supported them at a very difficult time in their lives.

That is why today on behalf of the state of Chile, I thank you, Mr. President, for your country's solidarity with all those who are having a hard time in those difficult times. Solidarity that continues to be expressed to this day. Thank you, President, and thank you, Mexico.


HOLMES: Meanwhile, Mexico's president showing his support for the woman his party is nominating to run the country once he leaves office. And it is shaping up to be a historic lineup of candidates in the presidential election next summer.

CNN's Rafael Romo explains.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A ceremonial passing of the baton to the women named by the government party the day before as the presidential candidate. Constitutionally barred from running for reelection, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wanted to show in a very public way that Claudia Sheinbaum, a 61-year-old former Mexico City mayor has his blessing.

In thanking Obrador for his support, Sheinbaum hit all the right notes by promising to continue the course of what she called the transformation initiated by the president.

This now means that when they go to the polls next June, Mexicans for the first time in the country's history will likely choose between two women when voting for president.

Xochitl Galvez, the candidate for the main opposition coalition described the passing of the baton ceremony as a circus. The 60-year- old senator described the ceremony as an act of authoritarianism of the Mexico we want to leave behind, from a weekend president who urgently needs to inherit his mandate due to lack of results.

This is not the first time Mexico has seen a woman running for the presidency. In fact before Sheinbaum and Galvez there had been six other female presidential candidates. But with the two major political coalitions naming women as their candidates, this is the first time it's practically a given that starting in December 2024 Mexico, a country previously known for machismo, will be ruled by a woman.

ROMO: Sheinbaum, an environmental scientist with a doctorate in energy engineering and a protegee of Lopez Obrador would be the first president with Jewish heritage if she wins.

Xochitl Galvez, the daughter of an indigenous father and a mixed-raced mother, served as a top official for indigenous affairs under President Vicente Fox and later as senator.

Unfiltered an irreverent, she describes itself in an interview with CNN en Espanol as an all-terrain four by four kind of woman.

Early in the summer, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador made her a target of constant verbal attacks that backfired, making the candidate from a tiny town in central Mexico who rose to become a businesswoman but still rides a bicycle even more popular.

But Claudia Sheinbaum will be a formidable opponent to beat not only because she has the full support of the governing party but also because as mayor of Mexico's most important city for the last five years, until her resignation in June to run for the presidency, she has constantly been in the spotlight.

Rafael Romo, CNN -- Atlanta.



HOLMES: Hurricane Lee has strengthened back to a Category 3 storm in the Atlantic. And even though it's far from land, forecasters say it's effects are now being felt all along the U.S. East Coast, with dangerous surf and rip currents reported in parts of the southeast late on Sunday.

Lee's top winds or sustained winds are around 120 miles an hour or 193 kilometers an hour. And it could reach Category 4 strength in the coming hours.

The storm's long term path is still pretty hard to predict. It's been impacting islands in the Caribbean and by midweek, forecasters believe it will make a turn north, eventually moving between Bermuda and the U.S. East Coast.

Hawaii's most active volcano is erupting for the third time this year. Mount Kilauea began spewing lava on Sunday afternoon after a period of strong seismic activity according to the United States Geological Survey.

Scientists say the lava flow is currently confined to the surrounding crater floor and isn't threatening any residents. It last erupted in June.

Well, it was a night for the history books at the U.S. Open. Novak Djokovic notching another victory and his 24th Grand Slam title. We'll hear from the tennis star after a quick break.


HOLMES: All right.

More now on the historic U.S. Open victory for Serbian superstar Novak Djokovic whose win on Sunday extending his record number of Grand Slam titles to 24. CNN sports Carolyn Manno caught up with Djokovic on the court after

his latest achievement.


CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Congratulations to you, Novak, your 24th Grand Slam championship. It's a really beautiful and poignant moment with your family right afterwards including your children and your wife and your team.

Just walk us through what was going through your mind in those very special moments.

NOVAK DJOKOVIK, TENNIS PLAYER: Yes, I mean, of course it's incredible to win again. I was just hoping he's going to put these last 4 in the net which happened. And I felt a huge relief because it was a very demanding, physically grueling match between the second set.

You know, I did my best in the last 48 hours not to think about what if scenarios. Two years ago, I feel like, you know, I probably let emotions control me on the court. There was a lot on the line, a possible golden slam.

And I lost to the same opponent in straight sets 3 years ago. So I learned my lesson. And you know, I felt that when I was struggling the most, actually physically and being under huge tension and stress particularly in the second set, every time I would look at my daughter, she was sitting courtside, facing me facing the bench where I was seated. She would give me a smile and a fist bump.

And that would, of course, melt my heart and give me this kind of energy and strength and also playfulness that I needed in that moment.

So of course, once I shook the hand of my opponent today, the only thing I wanted to do right after that is hug her and then hug my wife and my son and my parents -- all the team. Because, yes it's an individual sport, of course, but it comes down to how you're going to perform on a given day.


DJOKOVIC: But it is a team effort behind the stage because they put in a lot of energy, you know, into -- into my life, into my career, and sacrifice and support. So I value that very, very much.

MANNO: The mental fortitude that you've become known for was on display in that second set. And an ode to Kobe Bryant was appropriate in that moment.

And you mentioned a need for reinvention which is something that he talked about when he was alive, the need to be better and strive for more.

How much is that on your mind now as you look to where you're headed from here? DJOKOVIC: Kobe was a friend. And we had a great relationship. And he

was one of the people that helped me the most when I was struggling with an injury.

And after surgery, it took us quite some time to get back on track on the desired level mentally and game wise.

And he was one of the people that I talked with most in those moments. And he was so, so kind, and so generous, so helpful. You know, many, many different conversations we had about the mentality, about the approach, about visualization, about things that I -- you know, we can do with ourselves internally. And then obviously, externally, whatever happens is in God's hands.

And when he passed away with his daughter three years ago, you know, my heart broke. And you know, I was extremely sad, as well as most of the world of sport because his legacy will live forever.

He has been, you know, one of the most incredible basketball players, but more than, that he is an incredible human being. So down to earth, so supportive, so charismatic, fantastic personality, mammoth (ph) mentality. And 24 is the famous jersey that he wore. He made himself a legend of basketball. And because of the relationship and kind of symbolics of 24 grand slams, I thought if I get a chance to win the slam a week ago, I thought of creating, designing a shirt with our photo and mentality and 24 on the back. So, I kind of paying attribute and homage to him.


HOLMES: All right, a Delta passenger is being reunited with her beloved dog Maya more than three weeks after the dog disappeared at the world's busiest airport.

Paula Rodriguez and Maya were flying from the Dominic Republic to California last month for vacation but during a layover in Atlanta, the woman's tourist visa was canceled and Rodriguez had to return home.

Maya though never made that return flight. Rodriguez later learned her dog had escaped Delta's handlers and went missing somewhere at Atlanta's airport.

Luckily this past Saturday, Rodriguez was told Maya had been found hiding near a cargo facility. And now Delta is working to get them reunited.

That wraps it for this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for spending part of your day with me.

My friend Paula Newton will pick up our coverage after a quick break.