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Biden Ready To Respond Decisively If Russia Invades Ukraine; France To Ease Quarantine Rules For Those Fully Vaccinated; U.K. P.M. Warns Of Considerable Pressure On Hospitals. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired January 03, 2022 - 10:00:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: France and the U.K. both worn hospital systems under pressure as COVID cases in both countries remain

stubbornly high.

Sudan's Prime Minister resigns as more protesters are killed in the streets. What's next in the struggle for democracy?

Plus, ready for decisive action. U.S. President offering major reassurances to his Ukrainian counterpart on the heels of a tense call with Vladimir


A very warm welcome. It is 7:00 p.m. Here in Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.

France and the U.K. entering 2022 struggling to get a handle on surging coronavirus cases as the pandemic itself enters its third year. France's

Health Minister has an ominous warning. He believes the record breaking COVID cases will continue to rise. At this hour the French Prime Minister

and his cabinet are meeting to try and plot a way forward.

The British prime minister also has a warning during a visit to a vaccination center just hours ago. Boris Johnson told reporters hospitals

will face considerable pressure over the next few weeks.

Well, Nada Bashir is in London for us on that story. But we begin with Cyril Vanier who is in Paris. Cyril, several nations across Europe

reporting record case numbers with governments announcing new restrictions on the one hand whilst actively reducing or considering reducing the

quarantine rules for the vaccinated. Just explain what we know today about what is going on in France.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky. What's happened I think over the last 10 days really over the holiday season here in France is that the

country has switched into a new reality. A reality that is now shaped by the Omicron variant. And that means two things. That means on the downside,

it means a huge number of cases. I think Becky we last spoke about 10 days ago. At that time, France had roughly 70, 80,000 cases a day.

That was already a record high. Now we're at 250,000 cases a day. New infections every day, Becky. So, plus, what is that? 200 percent in new

daily infections. That's massive. That's on the downside, of course of this Omicron-shaped reality. On the plus side, however, Omicron doesn't send

people to hospital and I should say into ICUs and to the more nearly as much as the Delta variant used to.

With the Health Minister explaining today the Omicron patients, by and large are those that occupy the regular hospital beds for those of them

that had to go to hospital in the first place. Whereas the Delta patients are those that you find in ICU. So, France has this new reality, more

cases, but less lethality new due to Omicron. The major concern of the government at this stage, Becky is how do you keep the country running,

when you have that many cases?

And by the way, there could be even more than the number I just cited. That 250,000 daily infections, the health minister say it could be as much as

half a million every day. We don't know the exact number, but it's more than what is being officially reported. So in order to keep the country

running and basic public services running, that is why France has relaxed the quarantine and isolation rules.

So now if you're vaccinated and our contact case, you haven't been affected, but you've been in touch with somebody who was, you no longer

have to isolate at all. You can go back to work the very next day, you just have to test multiple times. If you are, if you have been infected, well

then, the minimum duration of the isolation has been brought down from seven to five days.

All of this, Becky, done in the same spirit of trying to keep the country running in the face of such a huge number of infections. Becky?

ANDERSON: Stand by. I just want to get to Nada because the U.K. ending 2021 beginning 2022 with COVID infections, hitting new highs as well. We heard

from the British Prime Minister in the past couple of hours. He had an ominous warning about the impact that this may have on ICU and certainly

hospital admissions. What did he say?

NADA BASHIR, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Becky, the Prime Minister has issued a warning (INAUDIBLE) over the next few weeks. There were a series of

questions of the holidays over whether or not new restrictions would come into force. And at this stage it's not looking like there'll be a

tightening of the measures. But the Prime Minister has warned that if people aren't sticking to his plan B restrictions, that is wearing masks in

public spaces and on public transport and working from home.


BASHIR: And of course, as he said, being sensible, using common sense, staying away from these crowded places, then we could see intense pressure

on the healthcare sector. Although he did know that we're not seeing the same sort of pressure we saw on hospitals as we did this time last year.

But he's really urging people to stick to those restrictions currently in place.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Looking at the pressures on the NHS, in the next couple of weeks, and maybe longer. Looking at the numbers of

people who are going to be going into hospital, it will be absolute folly to say that this thing is all over now bar the shouting. We've got to

remain cautious. We got to stick with Plan B, we've got to get boosted.


BASHIR: And really the emphasis there on people getting boosted going out to get their jobs. Now according to government data, more than 90 percent

of people in the U.K. over the age of 12 have now at least received one dose, and nearly 34 million adults have now received the booster job. And

that really is where the government's focus has been on getting people vaccinated and pushing for people to adhere to the government's Plan B


But there has been some new restrictions brought into force with children returning to schools after the Christmas holidays. Now, the government is

advising students in secondary schools, that pupils aged 11 up to 18 to wear face masks in classrooms and they're encouraging both students and

teachers to take a rapid test before going back into school. And that's really all part of efforts to stem the spread of the Omicron variant.

And of course to minimize disruption for education, which has been a key focus for the government. Becky?

ANDERSON: And Cyril, what's the story in France with regard youngsters and kids at this point?

VANIER: Well, what the government has done is tried to widen the pool of people who can be vaccinated, so they have extended the eligible population

to everyone who's above the age of five previously was everyone above the age of 12. So five to 12 year olds can now be vaccinated. That has been the

case since just before Christmas. Not very many have taken up that possibility but that -- the government explains that that's pretty normal

because it was during the holiday period.

The government is hoping that more five to 12 year olds will start getting vaccinated especially as they are seeing this ? the coronavirus spread like

wildfire in classrooms. Now I have kids, Becky, who are that age, and their classes have anecdotally speaking been shut already twice since the

beginning of the school year because of multiple cases in their classrooms. So the government wants them to get vaccinated however, it is not mandated.


ANDERSON: Yes. Fascinating. Thank you to both of you. Well, that's the story in Paris, a snapshot of what's going on in the U.K. as well. Just a

short time ago the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the FDA announced it is expanding booster shots for children. It will now allow children 12 to

15 to get a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine. That decision comes as more kids are heading back to school amid the surging Omicron variant.

And Israel expanding the list of people who can get an unprecedented fourth vaccine. The country rolling out its second booster shots to healthcare

workers and those over 60. At the same time, Israeli authorities are relaxing quarantine rules for people who were exposed to the virus but who

aren't vaccinated and tested negative. Elliott Gotkine has been tracking the story for us from Jerusalem and he joins us from there now live.


ELLIOTT GOTKINE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky with so many countries, as we've been hearing grappling with unprecedented levels of COVID infections,

there'll be taking a very keen interest in what's unfolding in Israel and in particular, to see if the fourth dose or the second booster if you will,

can help in the fight against Omicron.


GOTKINE (voice over): Fourth time's the charm. Israel's immunosuppressed began receiving their second booster shot on New Year's Eve. On Sunday

evening, almost two weeks after trumpeting the plan Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said they'd now be joined by those over 60 and health care workers.

NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Israel will once again be pioneering the global vaccination effort. Omicron is not Delta. It's a

different ballgame altogether. We must keep our eye on the ball, act swiftly and decisively if we want to continue engaging and working with an

open country as much as possible throughout this pandemic.

GOTKINE: To that end, Bennett also announced that quarantine requirements would be lifted completely on people exposed to an Omicron carrier, so long

as they test negative and their vaccinations are up to date. Yet with long lines outside testing centers and cases doubling every few days Israel is

bracing itself for the full force of its fifth COVID wave. The only bright spot it may not last.

ERAN SEGAL, PROFESSOR, WEIZMANN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE: Our projection is that this wave is going to be rather quick and that's within about three

weeks I estimate that at least two million people here in Israel which is about one-fourth of the population is going to -- is going to be infected.


SEGAL: And that may lead to a sort of herd immunity after which we may see a slowdown.

GOTKINE: For now, though Israel is hoping Omicron possibly lower level of severity together with the rollout of the second booster will help keep the

number of serious cases down, and that like other COVID waves before it, this one too shall pass.


GOTKINE: And in other news on the COVID front here in Israel, the government is planning that from Sunday, it will reopen its borders or

partly relax some of the restrictions it has on its borders on non-Israelis coming into the country. So, non-Israelis from most countries if they are

vaccinated, or if they can prove that they are recovering from COVID they will be allowed in, they'll take a negative PCR test if that's negative, or

if 24 hours pass, they'll be free to go on their merry way.

But I should just note that some countries remain on Israel's Red List, which means that non-Israelis cannot come into the country from these. They

include the United States, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. Becky?

ANDERSON: Fascinating. Thank you. Well, Chile has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world and it is about to get higher. The president

there has announced that the country will offer fourth COVID booster shots starting in February. About 86 percent of Chile's fully vaccinated

according to the government.

And India, expanding COVID vaccinations to some minors. 15 to 18 year olds there began getting their shots today with schools doubling and vaccination

centers. It comes as new COVID cases quadrupled from just a week ago as we hear from CNN's Vedika Sud in New Delhi.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: India's Health Ministry has reported 33,750 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. A fourfold increase since last

Monday. This is the highest single day rise in COVID-19 cases since mid- September last year. New Delhi and Mumbai has seen an exponential hiking cases. India's capital has reported a 10-fold increase while Mumbai has

reported a nine-fold increase in COVID-19 cases in just eight days.

Authorities in both cities say most cases are asymptomatic. Amid rising Omicron cases vaccination for children between ages 15 and 18 commenced

Monday, a booster dose for healthcare and frontline workers and senior citizens with comorbidities will kick start next week. As many as 14 states

and union territories have implemented COVID restrictions. However, the biggest fear remains the spread of the virus and political gatherings with

elections in several key states this year.

Politicians have been addressing public meetings with many attendees without masks and little social distancing. Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.

ANDERSON: And live updates on what is going on with regard COVID around the world of course.

Well the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is in hospital suffering from an intestinal blockage. He was reportedly on vacation in the country south

and was flown back to Sao Paulo and taken to hospital. Matt Rivers joining us on this from Mexico City. And what do we know at this point?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that Bolsonaro says he's feeling relatively well, Becky. He actually got on his Twitter account not

that long ago and tweeted a picture of himself also providing some updates. You know, we first learned about this earlier this morning, but it's

Bolsonaro himself through his Twitter account where we're seemingly getting the most information.

So, according to the his latest tweet, he says he started to feel sick while he was on vacation. After Sunday lunch as he put it, they decided to

go to the hospital where he arrived to a hospital in Sao Paulo at around 3:00 a.m. local time on Monday morning you can see in the picture that he

tweeted himself. He's doing a thumbs up and they put him in a nasal gastric tube and he says that more tests will be done to explore possible surgery

for internal obstruction in the abdomen region.

Now the doctor who usually treats Bolsonaro was also on vacation. He is on his way back at this point to treat Bolsonaro. Expected to arrive sometime

mid-afternoon in Sao Paulo. But of course, you know, this is not the first time that Bolsonaro has been hospitalized during his presidency. I remember

he was stabbed while he was a presidential candidate back in 2018. And he has suffered a severe complications from that stabbing in his abdomen over

the last several years.

He's had four major surgeries according to Bolsonaro himself, he has been hospitalized twice for the same symptoms. It was actually last year at some

point that he was hospitalized last for what was then called an extreme case of the hiccups. But basically, you know, Bolsonaro's health problems

do continue as a result of this stabbing. And also don't forget, Becky, he was also diagnosed with COVID-19 at some point during this pandemic.


RIVERS: So this is a man not unfamiliar with medical issues. The Brazilian public quite used to I think at this point seeing the president giving

updates from the hospital. He gave an interview the last time he was in the hospital. He's talked to our affiliates, CNN, Brazil, this morning from the

hospital. So he is someone who stays in touch, but he does have serious medical issues that do need care from time to time as we're seeing as we

kick off this week.

ANDERSON: Matt Rivers on the story for you, folks. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you, Matt. This show is of course live from our Middle

East Broadcasting hub in Abu Dhabi. Still ahead, Sudan facing an uncertain future after the resignation of the prime minister. Abdalla Hamdok's

warning to his country in the wake of more deadly protests.

And President Joe Biden is promising his Ukrainian counterpart to act decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine. Taking a very short break.

Back after this.


ANDERSON: I want to get you to some images out of Cape Town. These are live images from Cape Town, South Africa where suddenly flames appear to be

still breaking out after a fire ripped through the parliament building yesterday. A 49-year-old man is under arrest for allegedly starting that

fire. He's doing court Tuesday to face charges of arson and theft. Police say they caught him with stolen property after noticing that the building

in Cape Town was on fire.

Political upheaval and more deadly. Protests in Sudan where the now former Prime Minister says he's done everything he could do to keep his country

from slipping into disaster. Abdalla Hamdok urged Sudan to continue its fragile move towards democracy in his resignation speech to the nation he

stepped down Sunday after three people were reportedly killed in the latest mass prodemocracy protests around the capitol Khartoum.

Hamdok you will remember became prime minister in 2019 after the ousting of long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir. Civil unrest followed leading to a

landmark power sharing deal. Well that fell apart when the military staged a coup last October detaining Hamdok and then releasing him. Protests have

continued throughout. Senior International Correspondent Nima Elbagir has done extensive reporting on Sudan. She joins me now today from London.

You've got some brand new information for us and why it is that the prime minister resigned when he did? What have you learned?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN WELL, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, CNN has been speaking to sources within Sudan's political civilian leadership.


ELBAGIR: Both sources close to the former Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and those who are perhaps at a slight remove from his original decision to go

back into partnership with the military. And they say that this was about the fundamental principle upon which this agreement was first signed, which

is non-interference on the part of the military. And when you learn that Becky, then listening now to -- in hindsight what the Prime Minister put

out in his speech makes sense. Take a listen to this small clip from his resignation speech.


ABDALLA HAMDOK, SUDAN'S PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Our country is going through a dangerous turning point that may threaten its entire

survival if it's not urgently remedied. In light of this diaspora and conflicts within the political forces between all the components of the



ELBAGIR: A very clear warning, but not just those close to him, tell us Becky, to the Sudanese people but also to the international community that

Sudan is now at a precipice. Prime Minister, Hamdok and his deal with the military, which should have allowed him to pull together his own

technocratic government, as he said at the time. Well, now that that's gone, now that that band aid has been ripped off, what remains?

Well, what we saw in the last few days in the waning hours, in fact of the old year was a return to the bad old days, the generals announced via the

state news agency sooner that they were rebranding and relaunching the notorious Sudanese Intelligence Service, NISS (INAUDIBLE) really an old foe

and old specter for those protesters on those streets by another name, Becky, and it is very, very difficult contemplating the coming weeks and

months for those watching us at home in Sudan.

What we're hearing from so many people reaching out on social media and otherwise, Becky is that they are very concerned about the international

community's inaction and what lies ahead for Sudan.

ANDERSON: So what has been the response of the international community?

ELBAGIR: So far, nothing. A resounding lack of response, we've heard incremental statements from the United States who in the waning weeks of

the old year added the Sudan democracy and Accountability Act to one of their key pieces of legislation in order to force it through Congress, the

National Defense Authorization Act, and that's something that happens a lot with key pieces of human rights, bills and law.

We've seen that but we haven't seen anything since then. What we have seen Becky, is the weekly death toll from these protests rising. And the worry

is that what the generals are doing, what Sudan's military is doing is that they're incrementally scratching away at the will of the people to continue

to push for democracy with numbers that don't ever seem to register on the on the international community's conscience.

But the reality is that the -- these are still people's loved ones who are dying. And one of the processors we spoke to said to us, who gets to decide

what a big number is? Is it three? Is it four? Is it 15? At what point does the world act? How many processes need to die, Becky, that's what we're

being told.

ANDERSON: I just want to remind our viewers -- thank you, Nima, of the timeline here. And then I'm going to just let our viewers know who we will

be speaking to next hour. Because look, as Nima has been very eloquently pointing out, it's been more than a turbulent time in Sudan. A time of one

political upheaval after another. It was just two years ago Sudan's army removed longtime ruler, Omar al-Bashir from power.

He was replaced by transitional military government. A period of protests and government crackdowns followed but a power sharing deal was struck with

the goal of a three-year transition to civilian rule. At the end of 2019, Bashir was convicted of corruption and sentenced to two years in a

correctional center. By March 2020, the country faced more unrest including an assassination attempt on the Prime Minister, rising food prices and more

street protests.

And in October of that year, Sudan signed a landmark peace deal with an alliance of rebel groups but after a shaky coalition of military and

civilian groups, thousands of Sudanese turned out on the streets to demand the country's full transition to civilian roll. Calls that were ultimately

dismissed when Sudan's military dissolved that transitional government, as we said, and we will have a lot more on this in the second hour of CONNECT


Today I'm going to talk to the United Nations Special Representative for Sudan, Volker Perthes about Abdalla Hamdok'S resignation, and what he calls

the significant achievements made under Hamdok's leadership.


ANDERSON: We will ask him for a response at least from the U.N. if not the wider international community and to Nima's point . The silence is pretty

deafening at this point.

Let's meantime get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now. And shares of Chinese real estate giant Evergrande

were suspended on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Monday. The company says the halt was related to an announcement about inside information but it did

not elaborate. And that's why if Evergrande collapses, it will trigger a wider real estate crisis.

The company has about $300 billion in liabilities and that could have a significant impact on other Chinese businesses and indeed the Chinese

economy. Well another blow to press for freedoms in Hong Kong. Citizen news which is an online pro-democracy news outlet says it will shut down on

Tuesday to protect its staff. Citizen was the largest remaining independent news platform after the closure of Apple Daily and more recently, stand


CNN's Ivan Watson is in Hong Kong and joins us live. Citizen news pointing to what he calls the "deteriorating media environment." Just fill us in on

the details of why that organization is so worried that it is decided to quit and is shutting down.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in its final post on Facebook, which was titled Thank You and So Long, it's cited the

safety of its own employees. And it appears to be a preemptive move coming just days after police raided another independent online news agency here

called Stand News, they raided it, they froze that organization's assets and arrested at least seven people tied to that organization, charging them

with sedition and forcing effectively the closure of that news organization.

That happened just Wednesday. And then of course, in June of last year, you had the biggest tabloid Independent newspaper here in Hong Kong Apple Daily

which had its newsroom raided. Its publisher arrested, some top editors arrested and its assets seized and I watched the printing presses at that

large newspaper come to a halt for the very last time. So what you see is a -- is a trend of these news organizations.

These independent voices that had engaged in critical reporting on the authorities here being closed down under substantial government pressure.

Take a listen to what one of the writers of Citizen News had to say today.


CHRIS YEUNG, CHIEF WRITER, CITIZEN NEWS: Overall, media is facing a -- an increasingly tough environment. And for those who love being seen as

criticals or troublemakers, they are more -- they are more vulnerable. So this is what we are facing. And that's why we made the decision.


WATSON: Now, there has not been any government action that we've seen against Citizen News after the raid on Stand News last week and its

subsequent closure. The authorities here in Hong Kong defended their actions. And their narrative is basically that they are not targeting

journalists per se, they are targeting alleged criminals. They argue that they describe as wolves in sheep's clothing who are trying to shield

themselves in journalistic work while threatening national security.

The U.S. State Department has a different take on this. Anthony Blinken put out a note saying that journalism is not sedition, a confident government

that is unafraid of the truth embraces a free press and calls on Hong Kong to protect press freedoms. Back to you, Becky.

ANDERSON: Ivan Watson is in Hong Kong. Thank you, Ivan. Well, the U.S. President has a reassuring message for Ukraine. But Joe Biden's words will

not sit well with Russia's president. We'll go live for details and reactions to the White House and to Moscow.

Plus, football star Lionel Messi received an unexpected and unwelcome holiday gift. One that will delay his return to the pitch. More on that

after the break.



ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. The time here is half past 7:00 in the evening and you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. U.S. President Joe

Biden told Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday that the U.S. and its allies will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine. Those

exact words are from the readout of a call between the two provided by the White House.

Up to 100,000. Russian troops are along the border with Ukraine right now. Mr. Biden had a call with Russia's Vladimir Putin just a few days earlier

and raised the threat of new economic sanctions. U.S. and Russia officials are supposed to meet in Geneva next week. So let's bring in our White House

Correspondent John Harwood as well as our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, who is today in Moscow for you.

John, let me start with you. President Biden, making it clear that there will be a decisive response, should Russia and I quote here, "further

invade Ukraine." What does he mean by that?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, Becky, I think we have to acknowledge that for the President to call the U.S.

response decisive is an aspirational statement, because we don't know whether that will -- the threat will deter Vladimir Putin or the reality of

those sanctions will cause him to back down. But what the President's talking about is unplugging Russia from the global financial system, which

is a step that has not been taken before.

He's talking about potential severe sanctions personally on Russian oligarchs, and perhaps Vladimir Putin himself. What we know, however, is

that Vladimir Putin has a history of aggression, invaded Georgia when George W. Bush was president, seized Crimea when Barack Obama was

president. And sanctions haven't deterred him. Now President Biden says that these will be sanctions the likes of which Russia has never seen

before. That may be true.

The U.S. and NATO are also promising to bolster the military posture of Ukraine in a way of helping them defend themselves from Russian aggression.

But this is a big question mark and the negotiations that will occur in Geneva between the U.S. and Russian sides between NATO and Russia with the

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. All of those are going to tell us which direction this is going. We don't know the answer right


ANDERSON: Yes, Nic, you've been -- thank you, John. You've -- you're in Moscow. What's been reaction to this there?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, the reaction I think, at the moment is that whatever talks happen, they're not going to

drag on. That's what the foreign -- the foreign minister here Sergey Lavrov said.


ROBERTSON: We've also heard coming from Russian-state media that there will be a meeting between Russian, German and French officials about Ukraine in

the next few days before the United States gets to talk to Russian officials. You know, the pattern that's being created and established here

by Russia, remembering it's created this circumstance, it's created the pressure for all this dialogue be with us unilateral, unilaterally, with

NATO in a more expanded fashion with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe at another level.

And now another sort of phase or shaping of conversation with just German and French. It's creating an atmosphere that Russia has created before in

these sorts of scenarios, where there are many parallel conversations that are going on. And Russia is pulling, you know, is directing all of those

conversations the way that it wants to. So what are some of the concrete facts we have here?

Well, we know that that conversation between President Biden and President Zelensky of Ukraine last night, they touched on and talked about the

importance of diplomacy on Minsk two. Minsk two being the agreement that helped end the conflict between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian

government in the east of Ukraine 2014, 2015. So that has stalled. So there's an impetus to kind of get that going.

But, you know, the reaction from Moscow at the moment seems to be have these conversations. And one would anticipate that they already have an

idea how they want this and expect this to play out in the short term. But what they're saying is there won't be a long term, but I think that's part

of the picture of pressure that they're putting on all of this, Becky.

ANDERSON: John, just how important then is this meeting in Geneva next week? I mean, what does -- what does Washington want to get out of this?

HARWOOD: I think what Washington wants to get out of it, Becky, is for Vladimir Putin to take the diplomatic off ramp that he is offering. That is

to say, some way of reassuring the Russians that the U.S. and NATO are not themselves seeking to aggress against Russia sovereignty. Russia wants a

firm promise that Ukraine will never be admitted to NATO, Joe Biden is not going to do that.

But there are other things you could do to try to deescalate the situation, to try to reassure Russia that NATO -- accession to NATO by the Ukraine may

be a long way off, if it ever happens, that there are other mechanisms for preserving some sort of neutral zone that would allow Russia not to feel

threatened. You know, it's Vladimir Putin nurtures the ambition of restoring the greatness of Russia, what -- during the days of the USSR.

That's not going to happen? But the question is, can the United States provide some diplomatic incentives with the cooperation of Ukraine? Because

that what the President has said is nothing about them without them. So Zelensky would have to go along with these steps. But there may be ways to

reassure Russia that could cause them not to take this step of invading Ukraine, because after all, that would be costly for them, not just

economically, but also militarily. It would be a tough fight.

ANDERSON: Yes. Stakes couldn't be higher at this point to both of you John in Washington and to Nic Robertson who is tonight in Moscow for you folks.

Thank you very much indeed.

Coming up on the show. Quitting your job is never easy, but when it comes to drama, this NFL player is in a league of his own. What he did, is coming


And loose lips sink ships, they say. We'll find out why star striker Romelu Lukaku maybe pondering those words. All that after this.



ANDERSON: Tonight as Paris Saint-Germain plays in the French cups next round they will be missing their bright star Lionel Messi. The Argentinian

player who went home for the holidays tested positive. The club has confirmed since joining PSG from Barcelona in August. Messi has scored just

one Liga goal. The French club said three of its other players are also self-isolating after catching COVID.

Well, the name Antonio Brown might not mean much to you unless you are a Buccaneers fan. But just look out this mid-game, he decided that he had had

enough and was going to quit so he took off his jersey, his pads, toss them into the stands and then he just walked off. Tampa Bay's head coach was not


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- giving the crowd a piece outside.


BRUCE ARIANS, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS HEAD COACH: He is no longer a book. All right. That's the end of the story. Let's talk about the guys that went out

there and won the game.


ANDERSON: Hmm. Well, Antonio Brown has been suspended for three games last month after the league said he lied about his COVID vaccination status.

Well, think before you speak. Excellent advice that may have come a little too late for the Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku. Last night as his club

Chelsea played a spirited game against Liverpool and what a game it was. I have to say the star was left out of the team. Amanda Davies is my World

Sport colleague has details on that and the details on a game which certainly had a first half to be reckoned. With what's going on?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes, it absolutely did, Becky. Yes. We have questions about the future of two big name stars coming up in World

Sport in just a couple of minutes. Antonio Brown, as you mentioned and Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku dropped by the Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel for as what

you said was a -- absolutely fantastic Premier League clash between Chelsea and Liverpool.

Two all it finished you suspected, Manchester City cheering about that as it certainly does. Their title hopes no damage at all. But Lukaku has said

he isn't happy. He wants to go back to Italy. There's crisis talks at the club today. And we've got news of that coming your way in just a couple of


ANDERSON: Good stuff. All right. That's World Sport after the break. We'll be back top of the hour for you. Thank you.