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Russia Claims Ukraine Attacked Fuel Depot Inside Russia; Convoy of 2,000 Mariupol Evacuees Heading To Zaporizhzhia; Ukrainian Soldiers Boast Of Stronger Morale Than Russians; Ukrainian TV Host's Foundation Leads Efforts To Equip Army; Kremlin Says Russia Won't Cut Off Gas Supplies From Today; Odessa Braces As Russian Advances Stalled On Black Sea Coast; Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Visits China And India Under Shadow Of Conflict. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired April 01, 2022 - 10:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: I'm Becky Anderson. Hello, and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. We begin with what could be a very

consequential moment in Russia's war with Ukraine.

This is video of what the Kremlin claims is a Ukrainian helicopter attack on a fuel depot inside Russia. Ukraine's Defense Ministry is declining to

comment. And CNN cannot confirm this. The Kremlin spokesperson saying President Vladimir Putin has been informed and that the purported attack

could have a negative impact on ceasefire talks which have resumed virtually a few hours ago.

Also today the evacuation of people from Mariupol, the city council saying some 2,000 people are finally out of that besieged city. Dozens of buses

and private vehicles headed to the Ukrainian controlled city of Zaporizhzhia, the destination point for other Mariupol evacuees this week.

Well, that evacuation happening after Russian forces temporarily blocked the convoy from heading to the area on Thursday.

But tens of thousands more remain stuck in the southern port city. A city council member telling CNN Russia is refusing to allow larger evacuations

or desperately needed food, medicine and supplies into the city.

Well, meantime it's another day of heavy Russian shelling across eastern Ukraine. Ukraine's largest city Kharkiv enduring dozens of strikes over the

past 24 hours.

Well, Phil Black is covering what is going on in the ground for us today. He is in Lviv. And let's start about with what we know, Phil, if we can

about this attack on an oil depot on the Russian side of the border.

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, what we can be certain of comes from the video that we can see of that explosion. There is a huge fire at that

site. There's multiple videos which showed that. One video shows a little more, it shows incoming fire impacting that site in the moments just before

the explosion. So it suggests that somebody has shot at this facility creating all of that damage, but there are no casualties we understand.

The Russian version is that two Ukrainian helicopters flew low across the border over Russian territory and fired their weapons at the fuel storage

site creating that explosion. From the Ukrainians so far as touched on they are being deliberately vague on this at the moment. Certainly they are not

accepting responsibility. In fact they are leaving it somewhat of an open question.

We have a quote to show you. This is the response from a Ukrainian military spokesperson when asked about this specifically. This was the response, it

says, "I would like to emphasize that Ukraine is performing a defensive operation against Russian aggression on the territory of Ukraine. That

doesn't mean that Ukraine has to be responsible for every miscalculation or event or catastrophe that occurred on the territory of the Russian

federation. This is not the first time we are witnesses such accusations, therefore I will neither confirm nor deny this information."

So deliberately vague and the takeaway is that if Ukraine did this, they are not celebrating it publicly -- Becky.

ANDERSON: The White House has been warning for some time that there could be attacks by Russians inside the Russian border or indeed on the eastern

flank which the Kremlin may blame on others. So clearly that may be a part of the equation here as you rightly point out, we're still seeking some

clarification on exactly what happened. Were it to have been the Ukrainians, though, what are the likely consequences at this point?

BLACK: Well, it depends on how Russia would choose to respond. And you're right, you're talking about a so-called false flag operation. There has

been a concern expressed by Western governments that Russia would do this. Some form of justification to escalate the war in some way. We don't know

that. And that's why we're being very careful in our language here.

The Ukrainians may have done this. And they may be choosing to be deliberately ambiguous in public perhaps because they are concerned about a

Russian reprisal of some kind or perhaps they are masking some form of capability here. If they did this, I think the closest thing it compares to

was that attack a week or so ago by the Ukrainian forces against a Russian warship in a Russian controlled port on the Ukrainian coast of the Sea of



On that occasion Ukraine said, yes, we did this, and it was yet another bold attack showing sophisticated capability against a high value target.

But while they accepted responsibility for it, they did not reveal on that occasion just how they were able to pull that off -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you. Phil is on the ground for you in Lviv, folks.

Well, the International Committee of the Red Cross says getting aid in and evacuees out of Mariupol is, quote, "extremely complex" as you can imagine.

That's a massive understatement. Put the utter devastation there into context, a Red Cross spokesperson said, quote, "We are running out of

adjectives to describe the horrors that residents in Mariupol have suffered."

We heard similar statements from Filippo Grandi when we spoke to him. The head of the UNHCR just 24 hours or so ago. A rescue convoy of people

evacuated from the city is now headed to Zaporizhzhia. And that is where CNN's Ivan Watson is standing by.

What do we know about these convoys at this point, who is in, how many, and who is left at this point?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, I think part of the problem here and what the International Committee of the Red Cross

has said is that there needs to be evacuation of civilians. According to international law from places like Mariupol, besieged now for months,

100,000 civilians trapped there, but that's not happening. And they say themselves how complicated it is.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that there would be a humanitarian corridor allowed today. This kind of -- is a kind of way station for the

evacuees to arrive in, to be processed by Ukrainian officials and security officials and volunteers, and everybody is standing by for what has been

described as a convoy of 52 buses carrying some 2,000 people. But the last information we've heard is it's held up in a town called Vasylivka, in

Russian controlled, a Russian occupied town about 45 minutes to an hour's drive to the south of here.

And instead of that big convoy coming in, we have a trickle of people arriving in their own vehicles. And all of them, a lot of them hanging

white rags on their cars or put the signs children or people or improvised signs on there. And all of these people described the horrors of living

through the siege of Mariupol. Many of them tell me that their homes have been destroyed by Russian airstrikes, by Russian artillery.

Some of them are bashed up. I've seen a man with bruises today arrive here on a bus that had red crosses on it. And these are the people who have

their own vehicles to make this journey. The Ukrainian government is saying that other people who don't have their own cars, whose cars may have been

destroyed in the siege of Mariupol, they need to be allowed to leave. And that's why these buses were sent.

And it's just not working out. The International Committee of the Red Cross is trying to help, but as they have said, it's very complicated. One man I

spoke to today, he arrived in kind of a van and he said that they were stopped at a Russian checkpoint today and all the men had to take off their

shirts to show if they had any tattoos, and he claimed that there was an 18-year-old boy in the van who had tattoos and the Russians put a hood on

him and threw him into an armored personnel carrier.

So that's the kind of -- that is the kind of security environment that people are in when they are fleeing. And I'm just going to leave you with

one last thing here. Here's an example. These people have clearly fled. They've got handwritten signs taped to their car that say children in

Russian, and that's kind of one of these desperate attempts to make sure that they are not going to be targeted by the militaries who are killing

each other on the battlefield in towns and cities that have become the battle field of this war -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you. That's remarkable insight. And we are talking about a town which is not very far away from where Ivan is. Thank you, Ivan.

Ivan just describing the extent to which people are faced with this incredible challenge just to find themselves in safety. Unbelievable stuff.

Russia's aerial bombardment of Kyiv seems to be intensifying but in a village east of the capital, an eerie calm.


Ukrainian soldiers there proudly speak of their strong morale and spirits. Something that gives them an edge, they say, over their Russian


CNN's Christiane Amanpour reports from a battered suburb of Kyiv. Have a look at this.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (voice-over): The first thing you notice approaching the front northeast of Kyiv are the lines of

villagers waiting for humanitarian handouts. They receive a bag of bread and basics to get them through these difficult days.

The first week of the war, a shell hit us near the greenhouse, we barely survived, says this woman. We had help from strangers around us. They gave

us bread and canned food. We wouldn't have managed otherwise.

No one here knows when this war will end or whether Russia still has designs on Kyiv. The frontline is about a mile away. For now an uneasy calm

prevails ever since the Ukrainian defenders stopped the Russian advance here. It was February 28th, they say, day four of the war.

They want to show us how they did it, but first we have to climb over the bridge they downed to see the armored column they managed to take out. The

river bank is littered with their skeletons. And this was a turkey shoot, Russian armored vehicles and tanks had come off the road to avoid the anti-

tank mines, only to find themselves unable to cross the bridge and unable to reverse in time. Ukrainian forces tell us none of the soldiers inside


A little further up the road, two tanks have been virtually smelted, blasted almost to smithereens. Forty-year-old Yevgeny, a veteran fighter,

proudly tells us this was his handy work.

We all here have one role, to keep the enemy off our land, he says. First thing they did after seeing the village, they started to shell houses just

like that. They didn't see us. They didn't know we were here. So they just started to work on houses. And so I took the tank in my sights and I fired

a rocket. And good-bye to him.

The destroyed vehicles are stamped with an O. The Ukrainian officers here tell us this identifies them as Russian units that entered from Belarus to

the north. Oleg is the officer who commanded this operation.

As for now, looking at previous fighting we've had, I can tell you that we are trained better, he tells me. We have stronger morale and spirit because

we are at home. They are afraid. But they go because they are made to.

He's been battle hardened ever since the first Russian invasion in 2014. He said his side has enough weapons, ammunition and determination to win.

I can tell you I'm almost sure the Russians are regrouping and not retreating, he says. Besides, we are preparing ourselves to go forward,

we're not preparing just to defend here.

U.S. and British intelligence say Putin seems to have, quote, "massively misjudged the situation" and clearly overestimated the abilities of his

military to secure a rapid victory.

And this old lady tells us, I have seen one war and here we go again. I wish Putin would go away.

The people of this land remain stalwart and the soldiers remain dug in, hoping they can continue to withstand whatever Putin has in store for them


Christiane Amanpour, CNN, east of Kyiv.


ANDERSON: Well, my next guest is a well-known Ukrainian TV host and President Zelenskyy's former political rival. For years he has been leading

grassroots efforts to equip the Ukrainian army and he says his foundation has raised millions in the weeks since Russia's February invasion. That's

Serhiy Prytula. He joins me now live from Kyiv.

And before we talk about what you are doing, how are you? How is your family?

SERHIY PRYTULA, UKRAINIAN ARMY VOLUNTEER, POLITICIAN, TV HOST: My family -- hello. My family now in safe place in the west part of Ukraine. I'm staying

here in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. And I'm not the only one here. A lot of citizens of our city staying in Kyiv because we want to fight for our

houses and we are really happy that our president, that our government, that our parliament also staying in Kyiv.

So -- and we have good results today because Russians troops, they are running from Kyiv, and our artillery works as well. Thanks for your support

and I also want to say one important thing for me. I want to thank everyone, U.S. taxpayer, because we feel your support. Thank you.


ANDERSON: Well, there has been an enormous amount of aid sent to Ukraine by the Americans, an enormous effort by NATO allies as well. Let's talk about

what you have been doing and then what more is needed to your mind. You've been leading a campaign to supply the Ukrainian army. With what? And how

did your foundation get started?

PRYTULA: Exactly I started to be a volunteer here in Ukraine in 2014 after that first attack of Russia by occupying the Crimean Peninsula. And we had

a war in Donbas region for eight years. But after 24 February, I decided that it's not enough to be a volunteer like private person. And that's why

my charity foundation, my charity foundations that I had before, (INAUDIBLE) foundation that it was carried by some other cases but not


And we change our business and after that, we started buying everything that our soldiers need. Because Ukrainian army --

ANDERSON: Like what? Where are you getting these supplies?

PRYTULA: Like helmets, bulletproof vests, drones, drones with thermal vision optic, night vision optics, different other things. And it's not

enough really because my foundation and some other volunteer foundations, we are just volunteers and we cannot have budgets like the Ministry of

Defense. And sometimes some deliveries works very slowly and it hurts me. But we all understand that this war is for a long time and that's why we

pay now (INAUDIBLE) and we understand that we will have delivery in one month or in six weeks but we are buying everything because we need to make

our army more stronger.

ANDERSON: Yes. And you say that you believe this war is going to grind on. And while you say that you are grateful to have seen the, quote, "retreat"

of the Russian assault from the area that you are in, of course the intention seems to be to concentrate on the east, on that Donbas region. So

what does the Ukrainian army need at this point?

PRYTULA: At first, mostly the main important things that we need, it's not only Ukrainian army, but all Ukrainian people, we need air defense. Because

Russians, they are like, I don't know, like they are afraid to fight on the battlefield with Ukrainian soldiers. And all that they can do now is just

airstrike ss and we had airstrikes here in Kyiv yesterday. And in most Ukrainian big cities, we had it before and they still do it.

And they are destroying our homes, our streets, our cities. And they don't care, is military object or school or hospital. They are bombing

everything. So we need to close the air.

ANDERSON: Yes. That's not going to happen at this point, though, is it? This has been a request, an ongoing request, an appeal, a plea from your

president, President Zelenskyy, for a no-fly zone. Also an enormous appeal from him for air defense systems. Neither of those are forthcoming at this

point. What's your message?

PRYTULA: Look, our president tried his best and we all support now him. We had different political -- why is this so -- I don't know.

ANDERSON: Positions? Ideologies? Yes.

PRYTULA: Yes. But, now we are -- we all together. All country, all people. And we really understand that it will be hard to fight with Russia without

help of United States, without help of Canada and without help of Australia, without help of the European Union. We don't want you to fight

in stand of us. No. We will do it by ourselves. But help with weapons because we really need jets, we need tanks, we need air defense.

And we will do everything by ourselves. Our soldiers, they fight very brave. And we are proud of them. But just help with all that our army



And it will be better for whole world and for Europe because if someone in Europe or in the United States think that Ukraine is enough for Putin, so

you are wrong. It's the biggest mistake because he is absolutely mad man and he want to come back his country to Russian empire like it was a little

bit more than 100 years ago.

ANDERSON: Right. Yes. Sir, we'll let you go. Times are tough. And we wish you and your family the best. Thank you for joining us.

PRYTULA: Thank you also for your support and God bless America and glory to Ukraine. Stay in touch.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

Well, the southern port city of Odessa meanwhile watching what's happening in Kyiv and elsewhere. Ahead on the show, we'll take you to the strategic

city as Russian advances stall along the Black Sea coast. And Russia's surprise energy announcement yesterday coming just hours after President

Putin made a get-tough declaration. I'll explain that up next.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. CNN has learned that the International Energy Agency is holding an emergency meeting today. Now that comes on the heels

of what was a big announcement from U.S. President Joe Biden. He is releasing a million barrels of oil a day from U.S. emergency reserves over

the next six months. This is to try to cool crude prices and the price of course ultimately of gas at the pump for domestic American consumers.

But the world has its eye on Russian energy of course right now. That's because the Kremlin says it won't cut off gas supplies to what it calls

unfriendly countries despite a new decree requiring payment in rubles. Well, the E.U. said it won't be blackmailed. So what happens next?

Let's bring in CNN's Anna Stewart live from London.

On the IEA stuff, by the way, we don't have the details yet, Anna, as I understand it, of what is being discussed. There are reports that OPEC will

actually ditch that agency from its listed trusted data contributors which could actually be a message by OPEC members to the West. And of course OPEC

Plus not changing its supply quotas for the time being. We got the announcement from Joe Biden yesterday after that decision to say that the

U.S. is going to throw some more oil at the market, a significant amount of oil on to the market to try and keep these prices down. There is an awful

lot going on here as Russian gas of course is still flowing to Europe today.


We got a big threat from Vladimir Putin yesterday that the taps would be turned off unless Europeans paid in rubles. They seemed to have walked that

back somewhat. What's going on?

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's really interesting, isn't it? Because yes, gas is still flowing to Europe and you know what, I don't

expect anything to change on that front. This decree from President Putin a few days ago is implemented today. However it has been very clear ever

since there was a suggestion that Europe would have to pay for Russian gas in rubles that they wouldn't. And here's what the Belgian prime minister

told Richard Quest just a few hours early today in Brussels.


ALEXANDER DE CROO, BELGIAN PRIME MINISTER: Our position is that you cannot just change the terms of a contract. So we'll just stick to the position we

had and the contracts we have. In any case, on the Belgian side, we're not very much exposed to that, less than 5 percent of our consumption is coming

from Russia. But let's see if Russia really pushes through. But the European position is the correct one. We won't be blackmailed.


STEWART: We will not be blackmailed, that is the line that we are getting from all of the E.U. leaders. They will not pay for Russian gas in rubles.

But you know what, they don't really need to because you are right, if we get to the nitty-gritty of the detail of this decree, it really only

impacts Gazprom Bank, the big bank that all foreign buyers of Russian gas already use, already have accounts with to buy their gas.

Now they can still send euros, they can still send dollars, but Gazprom Bank will convert that to rubles and pay that to Gazprom -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes. They'd rather have payment in rubles I think was a slight change in position by the Kremlin today.

Let's just set some context for everything that's going on while I've got you. So we've got oil prices still above 100 bucks on the barrel. Joe

Biden's decision to potentially flood the market with a significant amount more U.S. oil. Certainly taking the heat out of the market somewhat. But

those prices are still extremely high. And there is still, you know, a real question mark as to what happens with regard to this gas flowing in to


A block that is so dependent on Russian gases. Energy squeeze on Russia does have an impact elsewhere, doesn't it? It will take a real effort to

keep these Europeans united when consumers start feeling the pinch on their gas bills, Anna.

STEWART: Yes, I'm hearing lots of rhetoric from the E.U. and European leaders. And listen, they want to cut off their reliance on Russia for oil

and gas. They're desperate to do so. They have set their target for this year to cut their gas reliance by two-thirds and a longer date for oil. But

the fact of the matter is they can't do that overnight.

And you can see how high gas prices are across Europe, how much that is impacting households and businesses. So the reality of it is if they can

get away with a political fudge and continue to pay for Russian gas not with rubles, standing very firm on that, they probably will continue do so.

Particularly as we're not actually out of winter yet. It appears 1st of April, Becky, and it's snowing across Europe and it was snowing earlier

even here in the U.K.

ANDERSON: Yes. Absolutely. I saw those images across the Europe and, as you say, in the United Kingdom. Thank you for that. Tough times.

Ahead on the show, Ukraine's critical port city of Odessa bracing for Russian attacks. CNN is on the ground with more on the mood as Russian

advances on the coast are stalled. More on that after this.



ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. The time here is 6:30. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

Well, a ceasefire talks between Russia and Ukraine kick off again. A video has emerged of what Russia claims is Ukraine attacking a fuel depot inside

Russia. Ukraine's Defense Ministry says it will neither confirm nor deny it and CNN cannot verify it. The Kremlin spokesperson saying President

Vladimir Putin has been informed and that it may impact ceasefire talks.

Meantime, Ukrainian officials in the east have been reporting heavy shelling, an apparent attempt by Russia's military to redirect efforts to

that Donbas region.

Our Ed Lavandera is in Odessa, a strategically important city on the southern coast.

What's the mood there? As it does seem Russian advances have stalled along the Black Sea coast, but we do know that the east of the country is very

much where Russian action is and will be focused going forward.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Becky, I think there is an anxiousness here in the city. It has been several days of relative quiet

but people know here that this can all change very quickly. And in the days -- in the early days of this invasion and this war, you know, many people

here expected that one of the strategies that the Russian forces would take is to try to move in from southeast Ukraine and make its way -- make their

way all the way down here to the strategic port city which would essentially create a landlock country for Ukraine.

But so far Russian forces have been kind of stalled out about halfway between here and Mariupol. And now what people are watching closely is the

movement of Russian forces in the north. And the retreat there and whether or not that means those forces will then be moved over and to kind of

refortify the forces that are down here in the southern part of the country. And so the question really becomes the timing of all of this, is

that going to happen, do the Russian forces have the will to do that given how poorly things have gone in the north.

But, you know, people here, you know, watching that very anxiously because they know even though they've been able to enjoy relative calm and peace

throughout much of this invasion, they fear that that can change quickly -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Ed Lavandera is on the ground for you. We've been reporting around Ukraine this past hour. The West has maintained a united stance

against Russia since its invasion of Ukraine began. But Moscow is not without friends and allies. Russia's Foreign minister just wrapped up a

visit to India after visiting China earlier this week. Two nations that have not yet publicly condemned Russian's actions.

Well, earlier Lavrov thanked India for not taking sides. Meanwhile, China faced pressure over the war in Ukraine from some of its top trading

partners during today's virtual summit with E.U. leaders.

CNN's Will Ripley joining us from Taiwan.

I'll get to you, Will, first up let's just bring in our Vedika Sud who is live in New Delhi. And for our viewers who may not be following the

machinations of this perhaps as closely as you are, just explain why this relationship with Russia is so important to India and hence New Delhi's

position, very neutral position, in not taking a side in this war.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good to be with you, Becky. So yes, India shares a very special relationship with Russia for decades in fact.


And that's the reason like you mentioned India has abstained from voting against Russia in key international votes when it comes to Russia's

aggression in Ukraine. Now what we do know is that India heavily depends on Russia for imports of ammunitions and India has over 50 percent of its

supply coming in from Russia when it comes to defense equipment. And that is one reason India really can't turn away from Russia at this point.

So they've got a very neutral stand like you mentioned when it comes to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and this was also evident the friendship

between the two was very evident today when Russia's Foreign Minister Lavrov was visiting New Delhi. His visit comes at a time when you have

ministries both in U.K. as well as U.S. already in New Delhi trying to make their case to India about how those sanctions are very important, the

Western sanctions, against Russia.

But Lavrov took to the stage today after he met with his Indian counterpart, Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar. He spoke from the Russian

embassy in New Delhi to the media and he said that Russia is ready to supply any goods that India needs from them. And they could use the ruble-

rupee understanding to really go ahead with those transactions. Here is what Lavrov said.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: This day our Western colleagues would like to reduce any meaningful international issue to the crisis in

Ukraine. You know our position. We do not fight anything and we appreciate that India is taking this situation in the entirety effects, not just in a

one-sided way.


SUD: Becky, America is watching every development taking place in New Delhi with Lavrov's visit very, very closely. They do understand that India has

geographically compulsions because India shares a border with China, its main adversary. But at the same time they know that the only counter to

China in the region is India. Hence, you aren't seeing any sanctions ever since this S-400 defense missiles were bought from Russia last year --


ANDERSON: Yes, Vedika, thank you for that.

Let's bring in Will Ripley who is in Taiwan. And Will has been monitoring the meeting that is going on between China and the E.U. Let's just remind

ourselves what Sergey Lavrov said just earlier this week, describing Russia-China relations as at their all-time best. That's a message the

Europeans will have heard at what is a very delicate time to be holding this E.U.-China summit. Clearly the Europeans leaning heavily into China to

try and get a more than neutral response out of them.

The E.U.-China relationship by the way is an extremely important one. Certainly to the Europeans. I know that Beijing will consider it so as

well. So what did we get out of this meeting today? What was the atmosphere?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there is more tension, Becky. And you just sort of laid out, you know, the scenario

leading up to this very crucial virtual summit. This is the most tense that the relationship has been between China and the European Union, which is an

extraordinarily important economic trading partner. 25 percent or so of China's trade with the E.U. and by the United States, 2.5 percent or so

with Russia.

But ideologically of course China and Russia are authoritarian countries, led by, you know, communist rulers or, you know, what has emerged from the

old communist world order and in some, you know, some circles believe that China and Russia are trying to work together to bring the world back to a

more authoritarian existence to try to flex the muscles of authoritarianism which is what has led to this unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. And it is now

leading to these questions, Becky that the E.U. is asking of China.

What is China's intention going to be with Ukraine? Are they going to help Russia bypass international sanctions and diminish the impact of those

sanctions? Will they supply Russia with assistance whether it'd be financial and military assistance? Or will they work with the much of the

world to try to end the war and to punish Russia and its president Vladimir Putin for these actions that have taken so many innocent lives and caused

so much unnecessary suffering.

And then of course so you have this virtual meeting happening between the West and China, then you have China and Russia, you know, the Foreign

Minister Lavrov's first visit to China since Moscow began its invasion of Ukraine last month. They are there to talk about Afghanistan, Becky, but

you can be sure that Ukraine is looming large and if there are any sort of discussions that are happening behind the scenes, it will certainly

interesting to be a fly on the wall to hear what they are really saying to each other about what's going on right now.


ANDERSON: Yes. Absolutely. Will Ripley, Vedika Sud, to both of you, thank you.

Well, coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, football fans eagerly awaiting the Men's World Cup draw which is happening soon in Qatar. We'll have more on

what to expect in what is today's very big event.


ANDERSON: Well, we are now less than two hours away from what is a highly anticipated FIFA Men's World Cup draw in Doha, Qatar where teams will learn

their fates as it were, who will go up against in the first-round matches of the 2022 Football World Cup this November and December. Yes, you heard

me right, this November and December. That is a first.

"CNN WORLD SPORT's" Alex Thomas is in the house. And it certainly feels like a long time in coming for the region I live and work, and the fans

can't wait, the host nation all but ready at least in terms of footballing infrastructure. And to get the ball rolling as it were less than six months

out. It is showtime today in Doha. The big draw, Alex. What can we expect?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN WORLD SPORT: Yes, Becky, it feels like a long time because it was a controversial pick as host nation way back in 2010 under a very

different looking FIFA leadership regime. It's being held later in the year because of the heat during the summer there of course, and lots of other

things that are different about this World Cup draw. We'll get into it in "WORLD SPORTS" in just a moment.

ANDERSON: Lovely. Thank you for that. That is coming up after the break and we will have the second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD after that. Do stay with

us, folks.