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One Dead, Seven Wounded In Shooting In West Bank; International Court Of Justice Holding Hearings On Legal Consequences Of Israel's Policies In Palestinian Territories; CNN Investigation: Israeli Forces Fired On U.N. Food Convoy; Outmanned And Outgunned, Ukrainians Vow To Fight On; House Republicans Defiant After FBI Informant Discredited; Displaced Palestinian Journalist Speaks Out Against Hamas; Journalist Speaks on Ordinary Palestinian's View of Hamas; EU Agrees to New Sanctions Targeting Russian Drones; Japan Spearheading Efforts to Rebuild Ukraine; No Decision Yet if Assange Can Appeal U.S. Extradition. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired February 22, 2024 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world and to everyone streaming us on CNN Max. I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, near starvation in Gaza and exclusive CNN investigation into what happened to one aid convoy struck in the war zone.

Outmanned and outgunned as Russia's full scale war against Ukraine nears its third year. Ukrainian soldiers say they are facing catastrophic shortages of both weapons and manpower.

Plus, U.S. House Republicans tried to contain the fallout after the informant at the center of the Biden impeachment inquiry is indicted for lying.

ANNOUNCER: Live from Atlanta, This is CNN NEWSROOM with Rosemary Church.

CHURCH: And we begin with breaking news out of the occupied West Bank where at least one person is dead after a shooting. Elliott Gotkine is live in London. Elliot, what more can you tell us about this shooting?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Rosemary, according to police, three terrorists in their words got out of their vehicles on Highway 1, which was running towards Jerusalem. They got out of their cars and began firing with automatic weapons on other vehicles that had been stuck in a traffic jam. Two of the gunmen were neutralized in the words of the police on the spot, and other was neutralized as he was trying to flee.

Now, that usually means that they were killed, doesn't always, but usually means that they were killed. And this highway, Highway 1 as you say, it's in the Israeli occupied West Bank, just in Ma'ale Adumim it's called. It's actually an extension of the main highway that runs from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as you say, one killed so far seven injured, some of them seriously and they are being evacuated to hospital for further treatment, Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. We will continue to monitor that breaking news of course, but I do want to move on to what we're learning about urgent and accelerated efforts to negotiate a hostage deal ahead of Israel's threatened Ramadan deadline for an offensive in Rafah. Elliott, what more can you tell us about that?

GOTKINE: As you say, Rosemary, these talks have taken on an additional air of urgency because Israel is now saying that if these hostages are not released in time for Ramadan, which starts around March the 10thm that this ground operation into Rafah whether there are 1.5 million Palestinians sheltering will go ahead.

Indeed, Benny Gantz member of the war cabinet, saying just yesterday that Ramadan will not stop Israel from continuing its war efforts. Now he also seemed to suggest that another hostage deal, a new framework, in his words could be on the table, adding that the Israeli government will leave no stone unturned in its design, in its quest to get those more than a hundred Israeli hostages who were kidnapped on October the 7th as part of the Hamas led terrorist attacks, get them back into Israel.

Now we know that more talks are due to take place this coming Friday. In Paris, Bill Burns, the head of the CIA will be there once more, along with his counterparts from Qatar, Egypt, and Israel.

And the hope is that there will be more moves towards reaching some kind of compromise. You may recall that Hamas's proposal for the release of thousands of prisoners, including many who have been convicted for killing Israelis or being involved in attacks that led to the killing of Israelis, in addition to a complete cessation of hostilities and Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Those demands or that proposal by Hamas was decried as delusional by Prime Minister Netanyahu, his chief hostage negotiator, adding that they are not connected to reality.

So, I suppose the hope is that Hamas may be moderating its stance a little bit so that there can be some kind of compromise reached to see those hundred plus hostages freed in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners, a pause in the fighting and of course, more desperately needed humanitarian aid going into the Gaza Strip, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Elliott Gotkine joining us live from London, many thanks.

In the coming hours, the International Court of Justice will continue with hearings on the legal consequences of Israel's policies and practices in Palestinian territories.

On day three of the hearings, the U.S. said the World Court should not order the unconditional withdrawal of Israeli forces from Palestinian territories. More than 50 countries are voicing arguments. The UAE's envoy to the U.N. argued Israel's presence is, "illegal and cannot remain without consequence."


But the U.S. said the October 7th attack served as a reminder that Israel's security must be guaranteed.


RICHARD VISEK, ACTING LEGAL ADVISER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: Any movement towards Israel withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza requires consideration of Israel's very real security needs.

Regrettably, those needs have been ignored by many of the participants in asserting how the court should consider the questions before it.


CHURCH: Israel is not participating in the hearings. The U.N. General Assembly asked the World Court back in 2022 to issue a non-binding opinion on the issue, but no decision is expected for months.

Well, as the airstrikes and fighting continues, there's growing fears of starvation in northern Gaza. The Palestine Red Crescent Society says children and the elderly are dying because they don't get enough food. Some families only get one meal for the whole week. And the World Food Program is halting a delivery to the area due to safety concerns for its staff.

The Hamas run Ministry of Health says Israeli attacks killed at least 118 people in the past day. An airstrike allegedly hit this home in Rafah killing a doctor and his family. The U.K. and Jordan air dropped four tons of life saving aid to a hospital in Northern Gaza. The packages of food, medicine and fuel was sent with trackers to ensure it reached the hospitals safely.

On the ground, some aid convoys appear to have been attacked amid the fighting. A CNN investigation found Israeli forces fired on a U.N. truck carrying food as it sat stationary at an IDF checkpoint. Katie Polglase has our exclusive report.


KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER (voice-over): This is how desperate the people in northern Gaza are. This aid truck filmed at the end of January is one of the last enter the region. And here's why -- aid so often caught in the fighting.

Now CNN can exclusively reveal that this truck carrying vital food headed for northern Gaza was hit on February 5th by an Israeli shell, despite an agreement to provide a safe route. CNN has seen the internal U.N. incident report and the correspondence between the U.N. and the Israeli military that show the route of this convoy was agreed upon in advance. And with starvation imminent for many across Gaza, experts say hitting a food truck is a potential war crime.

JANINA DILL, OXFORD UNIVERSITY'S INSTITUTE FOR ETHICS, LAW AND ARMED CONFLICT: Looking at it with the available facts, its really difficult to see how this could be a legal attack. And so at minimum, it would look like a very serious violation of international humanitarian law, whether its also criminal, then depends on questions of intent.

POLGLASE (voice over): The trucks that off as part of a un marked convoy of ten up Al Rashid road in the early hours. It reached an IDF holding point at 4:15 a.m., stationary for over an hour. It was then hit at 05:35 a.m. fortunately, no one on board was killed.

The U.N. says they were hit by Israeli naval gunfire. And in satellite imagery taken just two hours after the attack, CNN identified ships that could only be Israeli naval boats. They've been deployed along the coast and are attacking Gaza from the west.

JULIETTE TOUMA, GLOBAL DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, UNRWA: We share with the Israeli army the coordinates of the convoy. And only when the Israeli army gives us the okay, the green light does UNRWA move. And the purpose of this deconfliction process is to make sure that aid convoys don't get hit.

POLGLASE (voice over): It's not the first time this has happened. Many other aid trucks have been hit since the beginning of this conflict. The U.N. says northern Gaza is still home to reported 300,000 civilians on recess. UNRWA says half of its mission requests to the north have been denied since January and since this latest attack, they've taken the painful decision to stop trying to deliver aid to the north at all.

The IDF says it's helping to coordinate humanitarian relief in Gaza, but aid agencies say they faced repeated delays while some staff are detained and even tortured. A U.N. mission and December described one aid worker who said he was stripped beaten, and blindfolded.

Even when convoys are allowed through, some routes are simply not possible. This large crater blocking Al Rashid Road just weeks before it was designated by the IDF as the main route permitted for humanitarian vehicles.

DILL: Such large percentages of the population are at such dire need at such immediate risk of starvation. From that perspective, its really hard for me to understand what kind of potential military rationale could be advanced to justify actions like this.


POLGLASE (voice over): As the humanitarian crisis deepens, the question is whether Israel will be held accountable in a court of law for depriving so many in Gaza of aid.


POLGLASE (on camera): Well, CNN did reach out to the IDF for comment on this piece multiple times, and they are yet to respond. They did respond on the day of the incident February 5th, saying they were looking into it. But this forms part of a concerning theme, just on Tuesday, the World

Food Program said they were also posing missions to the north, because one of their convoys came under fire in Gaza City, and with the International Court of Justice saying that Israel must take immediate measures to provide humanitarian assistance in Gaza. It really calls into question whether they are adhering to this.

Katie Polglase, CNN, London.

CHURCH: Now to the growing international fallout over the death of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. It's been six days since he died suddenly at a penal colony in Siberia after a brief walk according to the Russian prison service.

Now the U.K. is slapping sanctions on six individuals from that prison, banning them from traveling to the U.K. and freezing their assets. Here's what Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had to say about Navalny.


RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: He died for a cause to which he dedicated his whole life, freedom. And to return home knowing that Putin had already tried to have him killed is one of the most courageous acts of our time. Together with our allies, we are considering all options to hold Russia and Putin to account.


CHURCH: Later this week, the U.S. will unveil a new raft of sanctions against Russia intended to hold President Vladimir Putin accountable for his invasion of Ukraine and the death of Navalny.


MATT MILLER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: It will be a robust sanctions package. We are always looking at additional ways that we can choke off the Russian war machine that we can deny the Russian military industrial complex components that it needs to use to fund its war effort, as well as to hold accountable those involved in it.


CHURCH: An independent human rights group report some men detained while they were laying flowers for Navalny, had vigils in St. Petersburg, Russia, were handed military draft summonses.

Ukraine's president claims Russia has lost seven troops for each Ukrainian killed in Avdiivka. But Moscow is now trying to capitalize on its victory there, hoisting a flag on Wednesday in a village about 30 kilometers to the southwest.

Russia captured Avdiivka on Saturday after months of all out attacks. But Ukraine says it's still holding on to areas recaptured last year where Russia is also trying to advance, that includes this area in southern Ukraine which Russia has been trying to overrun for weeks. Kyiv is also denying Russia's claim that it made gains against

Ukraine's bridgehead on the left bank of the Dnipro River.

Ukraine will mark the second anniversary of the war this weekend outmanned and outgunned by Moscow. Christiane Amanpour reports on the toll the war has taken on Ukrainians and on their will to keep fighting.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (voice-over): Snow fall softly on new recruits for the Ukrainian army 3rd assault brigade.

Drill sergeants push them through their paces with urgent basic training for the trenches, urban warfare and assault maneuvers. Every woman and man counts now for a battle that seems to return to the dire days at the start.

28-year-old Serhii came back from Lithuania to serve two weeks ago despite his health.

What's wrong with you?

SERHII, UKRAINIAN ARMY RECRUIT: It's asthma. But right now we need to take our best man and no matter what, I will -- I will serve my country until the victory.

AMANPOUR (voice over): The brigade says its training professional fighters, not cannon fodder like Russia. Their soldiers helped evacuate to eight survivors of the battle for Avdiivka where Russia has now raised its flag. But many of their wounded were left behind. Just watch this video call between a severely injured soldier, Ivan (ph), and his panic stricken sister Katerina (ph).

UKRAINIAN SOLDIER (through translator): Everyone left, everyone retreated. They told us that a car would pick us up. I have two broken legs, shrapnel in my back. I can't do anything.

SISTER: Are you there alone or what?

UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: No, there are six of us.

AMANPOUR (voice over): Ivan and his comrades never made it. Ukraine says there was a deal. Russia would evacuate them and exchange prisoners. Instead, Russia released video of them dead. The brigade says they were shot.


These are desperate times in Ukraine's fight to survive. They need to replenish the ranks of the dead and injured.

And even here at the super humans' facility in the western city of Lviv, therapists and prosthetics specialist work around the clock giving these war amputees a second chance and even a return to the front lines. Twenty-five-year-old Anastasia Sovka (ph) is an army sniper. She stepped on a landmine in November near the Zaporizhzhia front. And she tells me they are scattered there like snow drops in spring like daisies in summer.

We couldn't get out for a long time because we were under very heavy fire, she tells me. To be honest, we were ready to die there. The attacks was so close and we were thinking this was the end.

Olga Rudneva is CEO of the center, which is supported by Ukrainian businessman and the American philanthropist Howard Buffett. Eighty percent of the patients, a military, many of the multiple amputees and that's because Olga says the wounded cannot get out of the battle zone during the so-called golden hour to save their limbs.

OLGA RUDNEVA, CEO, SUPERHUMANS: People are advocated for ten hours by comrades very often because Russians are shelling our medics. So by the time they arrive at stabilization point, we have to cut them high because of the tourniquet. So that's why we have multiple amputations.

AMANPOUR: Not only are they outmanned, they are also outgunned. The gridlock in Congress over military aid is showing up at the front and time is not their friend.

We reach Sergeant Mikola (ph), who's also serving now on the Zaporizhzhia frontline.

Do you have enough weapons? Do you have enough people? Do you have enough ammunition?

Of course, we don't, he says. there is a catastrophic shortage of people the same with weapons. There aren't enough shells for artillery and tanks, or the tanks and artillery themselves.

On a brief hiatus in the rear, they've had to buy their own mortar, small caliber just for self-defense. Problem is no ammunition.

Anastasia practices perfecting her balanced, her endurance, regaining the strength to shoulder her weapons. And she wants to go back to the front.

I think anything is possible, she says, but whatever happens, we all need to fight this together because the enemy is advancing.

No one wants their children to still be fighting the war they and their parents have been fighting ever since Putin's first invasion a decade ago.

Christiane Amanpour, CNN, Kyiv.


CHURCH: Republicans are rushing to contain the fallout after the ex- informant at the center of their impeachment investigation against President Biden was indicted for lying. We will have reaction from Capitol Hill.



CHURCH: Back in Washington, House Republicans are refusing to back off efforts to impeach U.S. President Joe Biden, insisting there's still plenty of evidence he was involved in a bribery scheme. Even though a key informant has now been discredited and charged with lying to the FBI. CNN's Manu Raju reports.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Republicans defiant in the face of a damning indictment, charging an FBI informant of making up a bribery scheme involving President Biden and his son, Hunter, allegations central to their

impeachment probe into Biden and his family's business dealings.

But your promotion of a bribery scheme was false?

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Not at all. We're looking at the four facts I just gave you. Those facts are true.

RAJU: Was it right to promote a bribery scheme from the president based on that?

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Today, we're asking questions to James Biden, so we're going to ask him about some of his business relationships with China.

RAJU: Was your brother involved in any of your business dealings?

RAJU (voice over): Behind closed doors today, the president's brother, James Biden, told House investigators that the president never had any involvement in his business activities, all as the GOP is at risk of seeing support for the impeachment effort collapse in the House, since they have yet to prove that Biden acted corruptly to assist his family.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): I think it's time for Chairman Comer and the Republicans to fold up the circus tent.

RAJU (voice over): After 43-year-old Alexander Smirnov was arrested on charges of lying to the FBI and creating false records, he told the FBI that officials associated with Russian intelligence were involved in the false Biden bribery allegations. And today, Special Counsel David Weiss asked a judge to keep Smirnov in jail as he awaits trial.

Yet it was Smirnov's allegations that Republicans ran with, citing an FBI form known as a 1023 that contained the unverified accusations.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Even a trusted FBI informant has alleged a bribe to the Biden family.

RAJU (voice over): A key GOP chairman helping lead the probe even calling it a smoking gun. REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): We already know the president took bribes from Burisma. REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): Those allegations are consistent with a pattern that we've seen in Romania and maybe some other countries.

RAJU (voice over): And Chairman Jim Jordan indicating the informant's allegations were essential.

JORDAN: The most corroborating evidence we have is that 1023 form from this highly credible confidential human source.

RAJU (voice over): Today, Jordan downplayed that recent remark.

RAJU: You said the 1023 is the most corroborating piece of information you have?

JORDAN: It corroborates but it doesn't change those fundamental facts. So, now --

RAJU: It's not true.

RAJU (voice over): Republicans today criticizing the FBI and DOJ for previously calling Smirnov credible and paying him for information as they circulated talking points saying the Biden probe has secured more evidence and was not reliant on Smirnov's testimony, even as they removed a reference to the informant in a letter sent to a witness.

RAJU: But what evidence do you have of a bribery scheme now?

REP. ANDY BIGGS (R-AZ): We've got lots of evidence, yes.

Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.


CHURCH: And we'll be right.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. The Israeli military says its troops are still finding more tunnels built by Hamas in Gaza. The latest stretched for more than a kilometer under Khan Yunis according to the IDF. Israel says they have destroyed the tunnel which they say was used by senior Hamas officials. That tunnel network built by Hamas has been a key target for Israeli troops since the war started.

And one Palestinian journalist says the tunnels were even more extensive than many outsiders realized. Writing for Time Magazine, he revealed that Hamas build tunnels beneath his own family home in Gaza. And it's now with the war raging and much of Gaza in ruins that he feels compelled to speak out.

Jehad al-Saftawi he joins me now from San Francisco. He is a Palestinian journalist and the co-founder of refugee AI, a nonprofit that supports refugee journalists. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So, you escaped Gaza about seven years ago and came to live here in the United States. And now you've written an essay for Time Magazine, about Hamas building tunnels beneath your family's home in Gaza. That home now lies in ruin. Do you blame Hamas or Israel for the destruction of your home and ultimately for this war?

AL-SAFTAWI: Absolutely. Which is I'm not usually an absolute this person. But I absolutely blame Hamas, blame the kind of ideology that led my homeland into the state that it's been for the last couple of months.

Hamas have used my family for years and years as a human shields. It was our family's biggest secret for over 10 years, I haven't been able to share that big secret until I had the moment of seeing the ruins of my family's home.

I was ready enough to speak about my family and to shed the light into the population of Gaza. And the kind of reality they have to endure under Hamas.

CHURCH: And when did you first realize Hamas was building tunnels beneath your home and what was your prime concern when you realize what they were doing?

AL-SAFTAWI: It wasn't a -- it wasn't even a prime concern. It was a phone call. My family was saving money for almost 18 years to build the house of their dreams. 18 years of saving. They started building this house.

And one day we received a phone call from a neighbor our about to be new neighbor because we were building the house but we haven't settled in there yet. The neighbors are telling my mom that why your son's coming to the house after 12:00 in the night, every couple of nights, my mom said it wasn't them.

And then, from there, a whole thing unfolded for several months and months of us discovering these people coming into our build, like our house, inside the house. They cover it with plastic tarp and they do what they were doing. With me, my mom and my brother dug for almost like half a meter. And we were faced with a gate sealed with a lock.


We did not know what was on the other side of that gate.

CHURCH: And you mentioned that you blame Hamas for the destruction of your home. Do you think most Palestinians, as they are trying to flee the destruction of Gaza as a result of the airstrikes, do they blame Hamas for the most part?

AL-SAFTWAI: I absolutely think the suppressed Palestinians of Gaza, who Hamas have maintained an iron grip on their lives, they weren't able to speak for almost last two decades since Hamas came and took control of Gaza. Now, we are witnessing, if you people are paying attention, led to (ph) the numbers that are coming from Hamas run Ministry of Health. If you people are paying attention to those that are demonstrating, protesting, thousands of people are for the first time, because of all these constraints that Hamas imposed on them, thousands of people taken on the streets and literally saying, downfall, Hamas. Downfall, Sinwar. Sinwar, go to hell, which is the leader of Hamas, who Israel is claiming that he was the mastermind behind the October 7th attack. So absolutely, a lot of Palestinians in Gaza, I would say most of them, a lot of Palestinians blaming Hamas.

CHURCH: Right. You'll referring there to Yahya Sinwar. So, what do you see as the solution to this war? And what should happen to Gaza once it's over? Is a two-state solution still viable at this point?

AL-SAFTWAI: A two-state solution is viable when we are having rational actors on the table. My family, myself, finally, I am able to speak about the experience of my family, so we are making it clear to policymakers of the way Hamas was using the entire population of Gaza in every street, under every room, they were operating. And we have to understand that Hamas must go for a two-state solution to be revived.

As long as they are in place, as long as they are in power, being able to deal with billions of billions of resources -- of dollars of resources, there will be no two-state solution. So, there needs to be, yeah, must end to Hamas rule in Gaza.

CHURCH: So, are you saying that you would like to see Israel to continue going after Hamas and following its mission of trying to destroy Hamas? Which would mean --


AL-SAFTWAI: What I'm saying is the world have to look Gazans in the eye. The world continue to fail the population of Gaza, the helpless population of Gaza, continued to fail them for the last two decades -- for -- to have a government that is zero investing into people's lives. Since Hamas came to power, look at the unemployment numbers, about -- statistics about water, electricity, zero investment into people's lives. There's just extreme, extreme terrorists that are carrying out their genocidal plans with zero regard to the population there, holding. So, I don't want Israel -- it's not about me asking Israel to continue to carry on to take out Hamas.

The international community should step in and actually find an act -- just solution to the hostage population of Gaza under the ruling of Hamas. Hamas proved again and again, they've always proved, but maybe October 7 should be awake call, like for the kind of people that we are dealing with. Not only Israelis and what they have experienced under Hamas brutality on October 7, but the kind of people that have been ruling Gaza for almost two decades -- two decades, this is what Hamas have done to the people of Gaza. And this is what Hamas have done to Israelis on October 7.

CHURCH: Jehad al-Saftwai, we thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

AL-SAFTWAI: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: The European Union has agreed to its 13th round of sanctions against Russia. It targets the production of drones and names nearly 200 Russian companies and individuals, that makes it one of the EU's largest sanction packages to date. On Tuesday, Russia's defense minister says the country produces thousands of drones to use in Ukraine a day. The European Union hopes to have the new sanctions in effect by February 24, the second anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The EU is also considering the possibility of using Russia's frozen assets to help Ukraine. Japan is taking a leading role in preparing for Ukraine's eventual post-war reconstruction. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida welcomed his Ukrainian counterpart to Tokyo this week to discuss the plans.


CHURCH: Japan has limited its supply of military equipment to non- lethal aid. Its focus has been mainly on humanitarian assistance, pledging more than $10 billion.

Joining me now from Tokyo is Japan's Cabinet Secretary for Public Affairs, Noriyuki Shikata. Appreciate you being with us.


CHURCH: So, why has your country chosen to take a leading role in reconstruction for a post-war Ukraine rather than providing military aid, which Ukraine desperately needs right now.

SHIKATA: Prime Minister Kishida has been expressing his utmost respect for the courage and perseverance of the Ukrainian people, defending freedom, independence during the last two years. So Japan has been supporting Ukraine, standing with Ukraine, and we think that Japan has a very special role to play in promoting economic growth and economic reconstruction of Ukrainian economy from medium to longer term.

CHURCH: So, how does Japan plan then to rebuild the war-torn nation and how difficult will that reconstruction be?

SHIKATA: Well, it's a challenging situation indeed. However, Japan is promoting wide-ranging cooperation in various sectors, which include collaboration with start-up companies, venture capital, industrial technology, manufacturing, infrastructure, agriculture, renewable energy, cybersecurity, you name it. So, we wish to come up with a comprehensive strategy to promote the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine.

CHURCH: The problem for Ukraine right now, of course, is that Russia continues to attack the war-torn nation, and there's a possibility that Russia will win this war. So, what happens then? There wouldn't be any reconstruction, presumably, on the part of Japan. Is that correct?

SHIKATA: Well, you know, what we are talking about is, in any parts of the world, you cannot unilaterally change the status quo by force. So, Prime Minister Kishida has been saying that today's Ukraine could be tomorrow's East Asia. So the international community, especially G7 members, NATO, EU members, have been collaborating to step up support for Ukraine and also implementing sanctions against Russia. So, this is something we need international solidarity, to prevent such a situation from happening.

CHURCH: Noriyuki Shikata, joining us live from Tokyo. Many thanks for being with us.

SHIKATA: Thank you.

CHURCH: And we'll be right back.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Julian Assange is still waiting to find out if a London high court will give him permission to appeal his extradition to the United States. Assange's wife and dozens of supporters gathered outside the courthouse on Wednesday as judges wrapped up the final day of hearings, without issuing a decision. CNN's Melissa Bell has more on the story.

MELISSA BELL, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The end of two days of hearings into Julian Assange's last ditch attempt to get the chance to appeal his extradition to the United States. Two days of hearings that ended for now without a decision, the judges have reserved their judgment, giving no timeframe as to when it might come. Essentially Julian Assange's lawyers are arguing that he should be given leeway (ph) to appeal the decision that had been made back in 2021, reconfirmed in 2022, stamped by the home secretary at the time, that he should be extradited to the United States.

The U.S., of course, (inaudible) espionage charges relating to the release on WikiLeaks, of which he was the founder, of classified military documents back in 2010, 2011, that the United States argues had led to the lives of people being endangered. Now, the U.S. government's counsel argued that in fact, Julian Assange had gone beyond ordinary journalistic practice. These documents have not had any redacted names. His lawyers, Julian Assange has argued on the contrary that his extradition would set a difficult precedent for journalism and freedom of speech generally.

The arguments went on for a couple of days. For now, we don't know what the outcome will be. We wait to hear when the judge's decision will come. Either his request for the possibility to appeal his extradition will be accepted, which will mean that the legal proceedings will continue in the United kingdom or they will be refused, in which case the extradition of Julian Assange to the United States will start and he could be in the U.S. within a matter of weeks.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris. CHURCH: Thanks for joining us this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. "World Sport" is up next, then I'll be back in 15 minutes with more "CNN Newsroom." Do stick around.