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NATO Chief Speaks amid Russian Attack on Ukraine; U.N. Holds Emergency Special Session on Ukraine; U.S. Announces New Sanctions on Russia; Aired 10-10:40a ET

Aired April 07, 2022 - 10:00   ET




JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: -- with additional humanitarian support and more military (ph) equipment. And it was a clear message from

the meeting today that allies should do more and are ready to do more to provide more equipment.

And they realize and recognize that urgency. So this is actually one of the reasons why it was important to have Minister Kuleba at the meeting. And we

are closely coordinating, working with -- discussing these issues with Ukrainian and, of course, the different meetings we have helps us also to

be informed about their needs.

So allies are providing and are ready to do more when it comes to military support.


QUESTION: Speak about more weapons, right.

Does it mean in quantity or are you talking about a different kind of weapon, more as we call it a more offensive weapon?

And how do you think Russia is going to respond to that?

That's my first question. And secondly, I would like to ask your comment on this video that has emerged, where Ukrainian forces appear to be killing

Russian soldiers that have been captured already. Thank you very much.

STOLTENBERG: I fully understand that you're asking specific questions about specific types of weapons. At the same time, I think it is important

to understand that our allies believe it is better off to not be specific exactly about what kind of systems.

But rest assured, allies are providing a wide range of different weapons systems, both Soviet-era systems but also modern equipment. And I think

that this distinction between offensive and defensive is a bit strange, because we speak about providing weapons to a country which is defending


And self-defense is a right which is enshrined in the U.N. Charter. So everything Ukraine does with the support from NATO allies is defensive,

because defending themselves -- and, of course, they need different types of weapons and allies are providing them with different types of weapons.

And we see the impact of these weapons on the battleground every day because Ukrainians have been able to inflict severe losses on the invading

Russian forces.

Then the report on potential violations of national law should be fully looked into and, of course, any violation of international law and any war

crime is always unacceptable. But I cannot comment on that specifically, because I don't know anything about that specific incident.


QUESTION: Yes. Thank you very much. One more question about weapons. I'm not asking what, when and how, of course, not, I'm not asking about those


But can you say the -- sort of say the line within NATO, are there any exclusions of the types of weapons that NATO allies are ready to provide?

As we heard a couple of weeks ago during the NATO summit, like Macron was saying, that tanks and jets are out of the question.

Or can you say that now there are no exclusions of the types of systems that can be provided to Ukraine?

Thank you very much.

STOLTENBERG: So again, if I start to be specific in my answers to that type of questions, I just said a lot about what kind of systems we are

delivering, our NATO allies are delivering.

So again, the important thing is our NATO allies are providing significant military support to Ukraine but also humanitarian support, international

support and lethal and nonlethal support.

We have done that for many years and allies have now stepped up. Then what is important to also underline is that NATO allies provide support to

Ukraine. At the same time, NATO's main responsibility is to protect and defend all allies and to prevent this conflict from escalating to a full-

fledged war between NATO and Russia.


STOLTENBERG: And that's reason why we also are focused on how to manage the risk of escalation and also to send a clear message that we are ready

to defend and protect all allies, not to provoke a conflict but to prevent a conflict and the reason why we have, the last weeks, deployed 40,000

troops under direct NATO command to the eastern port alliance and also added more troops under national command, including more U.S. troops in


And this presence is to help prevent escalation of the conflict. So we are preventing escalation. NATO will not be directly involved in the conflict.

NATO allies will not send troops or capabilities into Ukraine. But at the same time, we are providing support to Ukraine in many different ways.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To HBO, the lady in white, yes.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) the U.S. and Secretary Blinken have been approaching this week.

And why is a long haul for this war an assumption?

Why not just do everything you can now while Russia retreats?

STOLTENBERG: The easiest way to end the war is for President Putin to pull back all his troops and end to the war and to sit down and engage in

serious dramatic (ph) efforts to find a solution.

But we need to be realistic. And we have no indications that President Putin has changed his overall goal and that is to control Ukraine and to

achieve significant military victories on the battleground.

So we don't see a Russian retreat. What we see is a Russian regrouping and repositioning of their forces, moving out of northern Ukraine but, at the

same time, moving those forces to the east.

And we expect a big battle in Donbas, a big Russian offensive. And that's the reason why the urgency of providing more support to Ukraine and that is

also the message, of course, from Minister Kuleba.

So that's also the reason why we need to, of course, work for a quick end to this war. And that's the reason why also allies are imposing heavy costs

on President Putin and Russia and, at the same time, be prepared for a long haul. This war may last for weeks but also months and possibly also for

years. And therefore we need to prepare for the long haul.


QUESTION: Thank you so much. Mr. Secretary-general, you mentioned a strategic concept 2030, which will be the road map for these organizations.

That's why this document is very, very important for Georgia.

What should we expect?

I mean, open door policy about the future aspirants.

And can you tell us more about meeting with Georgian foreign affairs minister?

Thank you so much.

STOLTENBERG: The Georgian minister of foreign affairs attended the meeting today and, for me, it was a pleasure to meet him and to talk to him. We

have also a bilateral meeting and I think it is important that we have close contacts with Georgia and also the new minister of foreign affairs.

That demonstrates the strength and importance of the partnership between Georgia and NATO.

And we also are working on how to further strengthen our partnership, including by improving and strengthening the package we have all agreed and

to add more to that package, including issues related to secure communications for civilians and cyber.

So we look into how we can further strengthen both the political and the practical cooperation in partnership with Georgia.


STOLTENBERG: Well, in the strategic concept, that will be agreed in -- at the summit in Madrid. But I expect allies will agree that NATO's door

remains open and also that allies would agree on the importance of further strengthening to work with partners, including those partners like Georgia,

who -- which are under pressure from Russia, and to step up the cooperation and support to those partners.


QUESTION: Mr. Secretary-general, we just heard Foreign Minister Kuleba here offering an understanding with NATO.


QUESTION: That if you support us with what we need, we shall fight for our security but also their security, that is NATO security, so that President

Putin cannot contest Article 5.

Is that also NATO's understanding after this meeting?

STOLTENBERG: Well, our understanding and the message from all allies is that we are ready and NATO allies are ready to provide support to Ukraine

and also provide more support. And allies recognize the urgency of providing more support. And that was the main message from allies today.

At the same time, of course, NATO has a core responsibility to ensure collective defense, to ensure credible deterrence. And we have done that

for more than 70 years. But after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014, we are at significantly stepped up our presence in the eastern part of the


We tripled the size of the NATO response force, for the first time in our history deployed combat ready troops to the eastern part of the alliance

and we have increased defense spending across the alliance.

And then after the second invasion, after what we saw on the 24th of February, six weeks ago from today, we have further stepped up thousands of

more troops, backed by substantial naval and air capabilities.

So we are ensuring credible deterrence and, at the same time, supporting Ukraine, because Ukraine, of course, their bravery, their courage, their

commitment, both of the Ukrainian armed forces but also the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian political leadership have inspired us all.

And it is extremely important that we continue to support them.


QUESTION: Thank you.

Secretary-general, what is the risk for NATO if the war will be very long?

Thank you.

STOLTENBERG: If the war is going to drag on and be long, then the risk is, first and foremost, for the people of Ukraine, who will suffer more, who

will see more damage, more death and more destruction. So this is first and foremost a tragedy for them.

And the responsibility of President Putin to end this war, to withdraw his troops and engage in serious political efforts to find a political

settlement (ph). But of course, as long as the war continues, there will be a risk escalation beyond Ukraine.

And that's exactly what NATO is focused on, is to prevent that escalation. And we are focused on prevention or to prevent escalation partly by making

sure that allies deliver the same message and stay united but also by increasing the presence in the eastern part of the alliance in particular.

We have done a lot already. But at the summit we had recently, here in Brussels, with all the NATO heads, they agreed to ask our military

commanders to provide options for more longer-term changes in our military posture to address the long-term effects of this war.

Because, regardless of whether this war ends within weeks, months or years, it will have long-term effects on our security, on the way NATO needs to

respond and assured continued collective defense and the safety and security for NATO allies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Thank you very much. This is all we have time for.


ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST: All right, there we have Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary-general, wrapping up a press conference after a two-day

meeting with foreign ministers of NATO members but also allies of NATO, discussing global issues, which, of course, he says, will have long-lasting

impacts for everyone.

Just some of the important things that came out and, again, an ominous warning, something we've heard from NATO since the start of this war: be

prepared for the long haul. This could last weeks, months and probably even years.

And the impact ramifications of this -- and, again, a warning here -- damage, death and destruction and that it could escalate further into NATO

territory. And that is what they're trying to prevent. More weapons will be deployed.


GIOKOS: He stopped short of clarifying what kind of weapons because they are concerned about the intel the Russians would have. But he said,

importantly, Russia is not retreating. They're just regrouping and preparing for war -- further war and further escalation in the Donbas


They also agreed to strengthen up other partners, response and capabilities, with regard to cyber and communications, specifically

focusing on Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and also mentioning China.

Its unwillingness to condemn Russia is a serious challenge, he said, to us all. This is going to be a very big focal point for NATO going forward. The

future relations of Russia, the global response is also going to be something in terms of discussing consensus, what is that going to look

like, that road map, the NATO road map, the strategic road map will then be deciphered during the summit in Madrid.

We have CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson standing by for us at NATO.

What stood out for you from Jens Stoltenberg?

It's messaging we heard before again, but that ominous warning that we should be in this for the long haul and should be prepared.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. I think that's what he is positioning NATO for. The idea he doesn't want to get into

details -- and we had a lot of pushback over questions about tanks, questions about jets, going back to when NATO said jets was a step too far;

that would potentially put us into direct confrontation with Russia and that could bring about a much bigger World War III, was the quote at the


But I get the sense that what we're hearing from Jens Stoltenberg now, because these are the things that he emphasizes, he talks about not getting

into the specifics. And also talks about the importance of not escalating and protecting the security of NATO members as well by not escalating.

I think this idea that there is a degree of ambiguity or at least obscurity over precisely what NATO is doing, I think that speaks to that idea that

they're not going to give Russia perhaps not the technical details and the understanding about precisely what is being provided, rather let Russia

figure it out for themselves how the battlefield turns to their disadvantage because of the weapons systems that have been put in the hands

of the Ukrainians.

We know at the beginning of the battle, the Ukrainians were getting, for example, the sort of old-fashioned Stinger surface-to-air missile. We know

that in recent weeks they got a more sophisticated surface-to-air missile from the British, possibly others.

These things are being heavily advertised but they are having an impact on the battlefield and I get that sense from Stoltenberg here, that, rather

than lay it all out for -- not just for sort of strategic gains for the Ukrainians but rather focusing on a nonescalation, the nonconfrontation, if

you will, with Russia and giving Russia the ability to say, you provided that.

You did this and this is what we're going to do in response. I think there is a sense of that that comes through, which, of course, over the long

haul, which is what he's talking about, is going to be important.

GIOKOS: And also, it really struck me with regards to China, sort of the big unknown and how this is going to complicate global security. NATO is

thinking about this. And we know that there were non-NATO members at this meeting and other allies there.

Nic, what are you reading into this in terms of how NATO is preparing for a wider issue, global security issue, that could be playing out?

ROBERTSON: Yes, the fact that New Zealand was represented here, Australia represented here, Japan represented here, Republic of Korea, South Korea,

represented here, this speaks to that concern. That security in the Pacific is also of an importance to NATO and for those Pacific allies and partners,

that NATO is an important ally for them.

And that is all about China and there have been concern at the European Union, concern at NATO, waiting to see which way China moved on this. Now

it is very clear that China is not stepping aside from Russia.

And that's a concern. So the strategic concept, the big forward-looking paper that NATO will present at its leaders summit in the end of June in

Madrid, that that strategic concept is now, as Stoltenberg said, for first time, going to include a component about how to deal with China in a more

adversarial environment.

These are very significant, long-term implications of what is happening here.


ROBERTSON: This is what, if you will, really shapes the new world order that is emerging.

GIOKOS: Incredible. Thank you so much for that insight, Nic. Great to have you on the show.

The United Nations could vote today to suspend Russia from the group's Human Rights Council. The U.N. is holding a special session on the U.N.

General Assembly vote. Removing Russia would require a two-thirds of the members to approve the measure. The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. says she's

confident there will be enough votes.

CNN's Richard Roth has covered the United Nations for nearly 30 years.

And, Richard, as we say, you've covered this type of scenario many times; the voting at least. Give me a sense of what we're expecting today and how

this is going to play out.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: The idea is to keep the pressure on Russia. And this -- General Assembly votes really are not

legally binding. But it is the General Assembly that chooses who is to sit on the Human Rights Council in Geneva, 47 countries in all.

Russia is not going to be happy about this. But it still really will be, I think, a blip along the way. The Human Rights Council does assign

investigations around the world and has conducted them. It will be very interesting to see what the vote is.

Two different General Assembly votes in the last few weeks had about 140- 141 countries voting against Russia. It will take two-thirds of those present and voting. The 38 countries which last time abstained, it won't be

counted. So you need a two-thirds majority of who is left.

Libya was suspended once before in 2011 for Moammar Gadhafi's militia attacks on civilians. That was the last and only other time a country was

suspended from the Human Rights Council.

Ukraine will introduce the resolution, which accuses Russia of human rights violations, et cetera. Then a host of countries, some defending Russia

before the vote. So we're at least 30 to 40 minutes away from this tally. With an electronic scoreboard, a vote, anytime in the U.N., it's a big day.

We'll see what happens.

GIOKOS: OK, just give me a sense of what happens to the countries that abstain from this vote?

ROTH: Yes, their vote doesn't count and many will probably try to play it both ways and do the abstaining and hope that neither side gets offended,

hide behind the more massive number like that.

But you know, it is a good way to see what the sense of the world is. This is it. One vote; there are 193 member countries but several are suspended,

because they haven't paid their dues. So get ready with your scorecards.

GIOKOS: Absolutely, yes. The countries that abstain actually says a lot about who they're supporting and who they're not. Richard, great to have

you on and we'll be watching closely on that vote. Much appreciated.

Despite the flurry of diplomacy and sanctions to help Ukraine, many fleeing war are relying on the kindness of strangers for survival. How a group of

friends are hosting dozens of Ukrainian refugees in Poland. But there are also those determined to stay in Ukraine but certainly not in their homes.





GIOKOS: Today, 10 humanitarian corridors are scheduled to be open for people who want to flee Russia's bombardment in Ukraine's southeast. This

comes after the Ukrainian deputy prime minister said nearly 5,000 people used corridors to get out of harm's way on Wednesday.

Since the war began, the U.N. says more than 11 million people have been displaced both in and outside of Ukraine, including more than 4 million,

who have fled the country. Of those, Poland has taken in the most number of refugees, more than 2.5 million.

All right, we're going to be taking you to the United Nations, where the Ukrainian ambassador is currently addressing the Security Council. Let's

listen in.

SERGIY KYSLYTSYA, UKRAINIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Unfortunately, that was largely ignored by overstretched secretariat of the United Nations.

In early April, once again in April, in 1994, in the comfort of the United Nations headquarters, the Security Council received letters, in which the

Rwandan (INAUDIBLE) front reminded member states that, I quote, "When the institution of the United Nations was created after the Second World War,

one of its fundamental objectives was to see to it that what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany would never happen again," end of quote.

In 1994, Rwanda itself was a nonpermanent member of the Security Council.

This allowed the genocidal regime to influence other members of the council with its view of the situation as the Russia's presence today in the

Security Council allows you to spread lies almost daily.

In April -- again, in April -- this time 2006, in the docks of New York by the Hudson River, an ocean-sized, state-of-the-art liner was launched. This

magnificent liner was then docked on the shores of Lake Geneva, beautiful as it is, far from being an ocean.

We named this liner the Human Rights Council. The adoption of Resolution 60/251 was a culmination of five months of consultations and negotiations

facilitated by president of the assembly Jan Eliasson and Ambassador Arias of Panama and Ambassador Kumalo of South Africa.

Let me remind you of the words of Mr. Jan Eliasson, the president of the 60th session of the U.N. General Assembly before the adoption of the


He said, and I quote, we have no -- "We have now reached a decisive moment both for the promotion and protection of human rights and for effective

multilateralism and understanding of the United Nations as a whole.

"As our leaders acknowledged in September 2005, the three pillars of the United Nations -- development, peace and security and human rights -- are

interlinked and mutually reinforcing," end of quote.

Now the world has come to a crucial juncture. We witness that our liner is going through treacherous bogs (ph) toward deadly icebergs. It might seem

that we should have named it The Titanic instead of the Human Rights Council.

If not, we need to take an action today to save the council from sinking. The composition of the Human Rights Council is as diverse as the world map,

as this assembly is.


KYSLYTSYA: But this council, unlike the assembly, has been established for a specific purpose, to promote and protect human rights around the world.

And we are in a unique situation now, when on the territory of another sovereign state and member of the Human Rights Council can commit horrific

human rights violations and abuses that would be equated to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Bucha and dozens of other Ukrainian cities and villages, where thousands of peaceful residents have been killed, tortured, raped, abducted and robbed

by the Russian army, serve as an example of how dramatically far the Russian Federation has gone from its initial declarations in the human

rights domain.

That is why this case is unique and today's response is obvious and self- explanatory. Let me offer you another quote.

"Our topmost priority is to ensure all human rights and freedoms in their entirety, including political and civil rights and decent socioeconomic and

environmental living standards. I believe that these questions are not an internal matter of states but rather the obligations under the U.N.


"The international governance and conventions, we want to see this approach become a universal norm," end of quote.

It is hard to believe that the above quotation belongs to the president of the Russian Federation. Another president, however, in other times. It was

said by President Yeltsin in 1992 in the statement -- in his statement at the U.N. Security Council.

We can only regret that the democratic aspirations of the peoples of Russia in early '90s have, by Putin's regime, been incrementally turned to the

opposite: aggression, hatred and Soviet-style thinking and reflections, including in the area of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

And now we hear completely different statements here in the United Nations from the Russian Federation. This week alone, we hear from the Russian

ambassador that there is a warfare in Ukraine and civilians are killed in war.

It is being said, as a matter of fact, this Monday, in cold blood and as an absolute normal course of action, also known as quote-unquote "special


Should we agree with the describing of killings as something normal?

The only healthy answer should be no in order to contribute to the maintenance of the U.N.'s health and the health of its human rights

mechanism. All of you received the Russian diplomatic note yesterday, in which our collective effort to preserve the credibility of the Human Rights

Council was considered as an approach to preserve the -- I quote -- "domination and total control in the world," end of quote.

And human rights, neocolonial policy in international affairs. We have heard many times the same perverted logic of the aggressor, attempting to

present itself as a victim while in fact, doing exactly what it tried to gain seeing (ph) in its note, killing citizens of neighboring country,

trying dominate if it not colonize it.

In reply to that, we call on Russia, when its rights of membership in the Human Rights Council are suspended, to return to responsible behavior by

implementing the decisions of this assembly and of Human Rights Council. If Russia expulses itself from the council, it would be its own choice. And

there will be no need to blame others.


KYSLYTSYA: Suspension of the rights of membership of the Russian Federation in the Human Rights Council is not an option but a duty. And let

me quote how this duty is formulated in the operative paragraph 8 of Resolution 60/251, and I quote.

"The General Assembly may suspend the rights of membership in the council of a member of the council that commits gross and systematic violations of

human rights," end of quote.

So ladies and gentlemen, it is not an option. It is what the resolution prescribes. We view voting to suspend a state's Human Rights Council rights

as a rare and extraordinary action.

However, Russia's actions are beyond the pale. Russia is not only committing human rights violations; it is shaking the underpinnings of

international peace and security. A draft resolution on the matter under A/ES 11/L4 is a result of the collective effort of a cross regional group

of 2 dozen states that represents all regions.

It has been co-sponsored so far by more than 50 U.N. member states. I call upon all responsible member states to support the draft.

Let me now once again refer to the commemoration (ph) of one of the darkest stages in recent history: in 1994, genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

On this day of grievances and during its own tragedy of thousands of Ukrainians killed by the Russian invaders, Ukraine stands together with

Rwanda and calls to reform our pledge to never forget and to never allow the recurrence of genocide, which was a result of the international

community's indifference.

To those of you who, for these or in other reason, opts today to keep being a bystander, to abstain, let me quote Elie Wiesel addressing President

Lincoln in 1999, talking about the perils of indifference.

"Indifference elicits no response. Indifference is not a response. Indifference is not a beginning, it is an end. And, therefore, indifference

is always the friend of the enemy for it benefits the aggressor, never his victim, whose pain is magnified when he or she feels forgotten.

"The political prisoner in his cell, the hungry children, the homeless refugees, not to respond to their plight, not to relieve their solitude by

offering them a spark of hope, is to exile them from human memory. And in denying their humanity, we betray our own," end of quote.

The genocide in Rwanda was largely due to the indifference of the world's community when the U.N. did not respond to warnings in the U.N. Security

Council and in General Assembly a year before the tragedy, that we commemorate exactly on this day, on the 7th of April.

Today in the case of Ukraine, it is not even a year, because the tragedy is unfolding right now before our eyes. In a couple of minutes, you will have

a chance to prove that you are not an indifferent bystander. All you need to do is to press the yes button and to save the Human Rights Council and

many lives around the world and in Ukraine.


KYSLYTSYA: On the other hand, pressing no means pulling a trigger and means a red dot on the screen, red as the blood of the innocent lives lost.

And this image of the red bloody dots on this screen will stay with you and all of us as long as memory does not fail us. Think about it.

Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thank the distinguished representative of Ukraine.

We shall now proceed to consider draft resolution A/ES-11/L4.

Before giving the floor for explanations of vote before the vote, may I remind delegations that explanations of vote are limited to 10 minutes and

should be made by delegations from their seats.

I now give the floor to the representative of the Russian Federation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Thank you, Mr. President.

Now is not the time or the place for theatrics, extremely theatrical performances like the one presented by Ukraine. In fact, the draft

resolution we're considering today has no relationship to the actual human rights situation on the ground.

I would like to repeat a quote, our note on which the ambassador mentioned. What we're seeing today is an attempt by the United States to maintain its

dominant position and total control, to continue its attempt at human rights colonialism and international relations.

A certain part of the member states are already subordinates. Those who wish to conduct an independent foreign policy are -- it is an attempt to

kind of move them to the periphery of international relations.

Today we're seeing how, through the efforts of a small group of states, the human rights architecture has a -- has -- there is a crack that has

appeared in that architecture. And it was decades in the making.

And the secretary-general stated that the possible exclusion of Russian Federation from the Human Rights Council could be a dangerous precedent.

And this practice has shown Western approaches in dealing with acute human rights problems and certain countries have not really been successful.

Not a single conflict was resolved, it was only exacerbated. And many -- this was due to the use by Western countries, the use of sanctions and

military intervention; whereas, Russia, throughout its membership in the commission and Human Rights Council, has consistently defended the

principle of cooperation based on mutual respect and equal status as one of the main foundations of the human rights architecture.

Our main priority has been constructive dialogue involving all interested sides in the collective development and adoption of decisions in defending

and promoting human rights.

We reject the untruthful allegations against us based on staged events and widely circulated fakes.

Mr. President, based on everything I've said, we would like to put this draft resolution to a vote and call on all those present here to really

consider your decision.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): And to vote against the attempt by Western countries and their allies to destroy the existing human rights


Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thank the distinguished representative of the Russian Federation. I will now give the floor to the distinguished representative

of Kazakhstan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The chair, Kazakhstan closely follows the situation in Ukraine.

GIOKOS: All right, you're seeing images and speeches coming to you from the United Nations secretary -- General Assembly. This is really an

important moment. This is the moment where members are about to vote on whether to suspend Russia.

We heard from the Ukrainian ambassador and he gave a very sobering message and repeating the mistakes of the past and stains on the United Nations;

the Rwanda genocide he mentioned extensively. And he spoke about indifference.

So the countries that will choose to abstain, he says, will be friends of the enemy or will benefit the enemy. Very powerful words coming through. We

heard from the Russian ambassador as well.

And he maintains that this is a theatrical response and that the vote today, he says, has absolutely no bearing or basis on the human rights

situation in Ukraine.

Again, talking about the disinformation that he's being complaining about, saying that most of the photographs that we have been seeing, some of the

atrocities, he says, were staged.

We have got Richard Roth with us, he's covered the United Nations for nearly 30 years and he has seen some of the mistakes made by the Security

Council. He's seen voting like this happen before.

And what really struck me, Richard, was just the correlation to what we saw in 1994, the Rwandan genocide and the indifference that was shown. And so

many people's lives lost over a three-month period, as decisions were meant to be made at a global level.

And drawing correlations to what we're seeing in Ukraine, do you think this is going to have bearing as people go and vote today?

ROTH: I don't know. Today is the anniversary of the Rwanda genocide, also a different case compared to Ukraine. Ukraine is an active U.N. member

country, invaded by another member.

Rwanda was the scourge of what has been happening in the world, the internal breakdown of society in one country. And the U.N. was not set up

for that. The U.N. was set up to send peacekeepers to be on the border between two warring countries when they were ready for peace.

The U.N. has no army.

But yes, the haunting words of Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor, read by the Ukrainian ambassador to the U.N. and, again, in effect, saying don't

forget. And also your voting light on the board, if you're voting no against this resolution to suspend Russia from Human Rights Council, will

live on in time, kind of haunting you.

But there have been many examples, as you pointed out, where the U.N. was not able to intervene, the bigger countries didn't want to act, the U.S.

did not want to go into Rwanda, believed -- Bill Clinton said it was his deepest regret -- or Madeleine Albright, the U.S. ambassador at the time.

So we'll find out after a few more speakers here. The sense of the world, as you did say, it an important meeting. Maybe the Human Rights Council is

not as significant but, overall, you're getting a sense now, over a month into the Ukraine carnage, how each country feels.

GIOKOS: Richard, thank you very much for that analysis. Great to have you on again. We'll be watching very closely as and when we get that final

outcome on whether the Security Council votes in favor of suspending Russia.

We'll be back right after this short break. Stay with us.





GIOKOS: High level talks going on this hour at the U.N. General Assembly over potential war crimes committed by Russia near the Ukrainian capital.

They have been discussing whether to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council.

It is a draft resolution that will indicate whether the UNGA, whether it will do so and review the matter further. So this is a significant moment.

In the meantime, in Brussels, a meeting of foreign ministers from NATO and G7 nations has wrapped up. Speaking a few minutes ago, NATO chief Jens

Stoltenberg said they have no indications Mr. Putin has changed his goal of overtaking Ukraine.

He says NATO and its partners are working together on supporting Ukraine with cyber and maritime security and are ready to provide more equipment to


The country needs all the help it can get. Heavy fighting is being reported in the Donbas region and villages and towns in Luhansk have been heavily


This map shows where the front line was located when this war started. And the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe pulled out. And as

we watch what is happening at the U.N. and NATO, the E.U.'s top diplomat says he hopes to see new sanctions against Russia agreed by Friday at the


Earlier this week, the European Union announced plans for a fifth round of restrictions, including a ban on Russian coal imports and a full

transaction ban on four key Russian banks.

The Ukrainian president says the West's later sanctions are not enough. His remarks follow the announcement of fresh U.S. sanctions to punish Russia

for the brutality on the ground in Ukraine. And they include freezing all U.S. assets of Russia's Sberbank and Alfa Bank and sanctions on the Russian

president's two adult daughters.

U.S. President Joe Biden had this to say about the decision.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is nothing less happening than major war crimes. Responsible nations have to come together

to hold these perpetrators accountable.

And together, with our allies and our partners, we're going to keep raising the economic cost and ratchet up the pain for Putin and further increase

Russia's economic isolation.


GIOKOS: All right, we have got Clare Sebastian, joining us now from London.

Really good to see you. The E.U. sanctions, this is the fifth round. We know they have said there will more rounds of sanctions. Coal is important

but not as big as oil and gas. And that's the big bold decision on whether Europe will be able to handle that kind of economic pain.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, coal really isn't about the amount of money that this would represent for Russia. The E.U. commissioner

said there would be $4.3 billion in revenue per year that, if the E.U. banned coal, that would be the amount of money it would deprive Russia of.

In the grand scheme of Russia's revenue from its energy exports, that is a tiny fraction, a tiny fraction as well of what the E.U. has said it has

paid Russia so far during this war, 35 billion euros, according to the E.U. top diplomat, Josep Borrell.

That's about $38 billion. So you see the context there. But this is a statement because, so far up until this point, we have not seen the E.U.

willing to disrupt its own energy supply chain for the sake of coercing Russia into, hopefully, stopping this conflict.

So it is now saying that it would be prepared to go there. But we're in the second day of talks now, among E.U. ambassadors. We're hearing from E.U.

sources that the political will to get this done is there but they're still talking about technicalities.

And the E.U.'s top diplomat said he hopes a deal in this fifth round will be done on Monday. He also did say they do expect to start discussing the

prospect of a ban on Russian oil imports to Europe on Monday. So that would really be significant.

GIOKOS: Yes, and that's easy to replace, because they can find other supplies. I guess gas has always been a big issue.


GIOKOS: I find it fascinating in terms of what the U.S. is doing, is also sanctioning President Putin's daughters and also trying to find other

creative ways of getting Putin to back down. That seems like it is not working.

But how much more economic pain can Russia endure?

SEBASTIAN: Yes, look, sanctions are a moving target because, as they come in gradually, which is a way for countries like the U.S. and European Union

to continue to have leverage over Russia, Russia can start to adapt.

But it is certainly feeling the pain. We see inflation numbers go up in Russia. We saw according to data this week, that car sales in March in

Russia that car sales collapsed by 63 percent.

We're starting to see signs of the pain on Russia. But yes, the U.S. is looking for creative ways. Individuals like the president's daughters, it

has been targeting families of oligarchs and officials because of the sense they might be holding assets of these officials as proxies for them.

So President Putin's daughters will have their assets frozen. But one particularly significant measure that the U.S. brought in earlier this week

on Monday, was to prevent Russia from being able to pay down its debt using frozen reserves.

Half the foreign currency reserves have been frozen as part of the sanctions. This will push Russia closer to a sovereign default. Russia says

that default is artificial, it has money, it can't use it. That would really sort of cement its isolation in terms of accessing international

finance. That would be significant as well.

GIOKOS: The E.U. has conceded to the fact that they know that money that is flowing from Europe is funding Putin's war chest. It is a big dilemma.

Could you give me a sense of how much economic pain Germany in particular would have to endure, should it have to make the tough decision of cutting

off gas supplies?

SEBASTIAN: Yes, so the first thing to know is that they're not there yet. Certainly the sense in Europe is that they could do coal; they'll talk

about oil, which would be easier to replace.

But when it comes to gas, Russia is the world's top exporter of natural gas. Europe is its biggest customer. It would be incredibly difficult to

replace that supply, not least because of the way gas is transported.

You need the infrastructure, the pipelines and Europe does not have the infrastructure to receive liquefied natural gas as of yet, not enough of

it. So it would be a huge dilemma. Germany could potentially be tipped into a recession if it sees a disruption to natural gas supplies.

GIOKOS: Clare Sebastian, thank you so much for joining us. Good to see you.

CONNECT THE WORLD continues after this break. Stay with us.