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Ukrainian Drone Unit helps Target Russian Vehicles; Russia Pressing Attacks in Eastern Ukraine; ICRC Helps Hundreds of Ukrainians Flee Mariupol; U.S. Announces new Sanctions on Russia; U.S. Senates Votes to Suspend Trade Relations with Russia. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired April 07, 2022 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Weapons, weapons and weapons that is the call from Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaking
from NATO Headquarters. I'm Eleni Giokos filling in for my colleague Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome to "Connect the World".
That high stakes NATO meeting in Brussels wrapping up with Ukrainian Foreign Ministers saying he believes there's a growing understanding that
Ukraine isn't fighting just for its own security it's fighting for the alliance. And Ukraine's message to NATO could not be any clearer. Take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: I came to Brussels to participate in the NATO ministerial and to hold bilateral meetings with
allies. My agenda is very simple. It has only three items on it; its weapons, weapons, and weapons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: Well, a message there and earlier today, Ukraine's President gave a virtual address to the Greek Parliament echoing his Foreign Minister.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, saying Moscow's actions were not only a threat to his nation, but to all of Europe. We're listening for Mr. Zelenskyy's addressed
to the Cypriot Parliament this hour.
Now, turning to the situation on the ground, the Russian assault is ramping up in Eastern Ukraine with heavy fighting reported in the Donbas region the
Military Governor in the District of Luhansk now calling on civilians in several towns to evacuate. New drone video shows the extensive network of
trenches that Russian troops dug in highly radioactive soil. This is near Chernobyl that's near the Chernobyl power station. Take a look at that.
The site of one of the world's worst nuclear disasters because of the contamination this area is off limits to anyone who does not work there.
And this video comes from Ukrainian authorities who have once again gained control of the area.
Ukrainian officials say curfews have been declared in Bucha and surrounding areas due to looting and the presence of an exploded device. Also outside
the Capital the Ukrainian army units is helping to target and destroyed Russian tanks and other military vehicles.
And just a few months ago, most of these people were civilians who flew their drones for fun. Now they're doing what they can to defend their
country. CNN's Fred Pleitgen has a story and a warning the report you're about to see contains graphic video.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's like a scene from the gates of hell. The deadly strewn across this Highway
west of Kyiv some steel next to the wreckage of their vehicles as the dogs roam around, looking to scavenge. This is what Russian forces left behind
when they retreated from here. They organized ambush over there. We're going right now.
PLEITGEN (voice over): Oleksandr Radzikhovsky tells me these were civilians gunned down from this position where the Russians had placed a tank.
OLEKSANDR RADZIKHOVSKY, BUGATTI COMPANY/UKRAINE TERRITORIAL DEFENSE FORCES: And you can see it's actually build in the shootings on, you see.
PLEITGEN (voice over): Yes.
RADZIKHOVSKY: And these cars look them sort of in line. There is no car here because they will not let them come. They just showed as soon as they
PLEITGEN (voice over): The Russian government denies targeting civilians they call such allegations" fake and propaganda", but Oleksandr is part of
a drone unit and they filmed one incident. It was March 7 when the Russians were still in full control of this area.
And a group of cars was driving down the highway. They turned around after apparently taking fire from the tank position. This car stops and the
driver gets out, then this.
RADZIKHOVSKY: He's raised his hand above his head. And in this moment he was shooting by on this place.
PLEITGEN (voice over): Two people were killed that day. Maksim Ivanka and his wife who was also sitting in the vehicle, the family has confirmed the
identities to CNN. After the incident, the drone filmed a Russian troops getting two further people out of the car and taking them away.
It was coupled six year old son and a family friend traveling with them the relatives confirmed both were later released by the Russians. The soldiers
then search Maksim's body and drag him away, this incident both traumatizing and motivating for Oleksandr's drone unit.
RADZIKHOVSKY: In normal life before the war we were civilians who liked to fly drones around casually and just like making nice video YouTube videos.
But when the war began, we become actually a vital part of the resistance.
PLEITGEN (voice over): Oleksandr sent us hours of video showing his team scoping out Russian vehicles, even finding them when they're hidden and
almost impossible to spot. And then helping the Ukrainians hit them.
RADZIKHOVSKY: We are eyes, we call eyes because with eyes you can see and you can report as soon as you see you can conduct strikes artillery,
PLEITGEN (on camera): How long does it take to get your information to the right places to then be able to act on the intelligence that you provide?
RADZIKHOVSKY: In good time, it's about matter of minutes.
PLEITGEN (voice over): And sometimes a little mosquito can take out a whole herd of elephants. This is drone footage of Oleksandr's unit searching for
a massive column of Russian tanks and armored vehicles. And this is that column after the drones founded.
Oleksandr tells me units like his played a major role fending off Russian troops despite the Ukrainians being vastly outgunned.
RADZIKHOVSKY: We agile as a total offense we can, we don't want to just like it's - damage we need to go. But the army they have to stay the order
to stay, they stay. They dine but they stay in the holding this put the ground.
PLEITGEN (voice over): Nobody knows how many Russians died here but the group says it was many taken out with the help of the band of amateur drone
pilots looking to defend their homeland. Fred Pleitgen, CNN Ukraine.
GIOKOS: United Nations vote to suspend Russia from the group's Human Rights Council could come today. The UN is holding a special session of the
General Assembly suspending Russia would require approval by two thirds of the members. The U.S. Ambassador to the UN says she's confident there will
be enough votes to do that. CNN's Richard Roth has covered the United Nations for nearly 30 years.
Richard, I know that members are currently addressing the Security Council give me a sense of some of the messaging because we heard from the
Ukrainian Ambassador, it was sobering. He spoke of mistakes made in the past and to not repeat those. What are all members saying?
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: There are a number of speakers before the vote. There's about six speakers left before this interesting
tally to see where each country stands currently on this conflict six weeks in or so.
Ukraine and Russia the main protagonist here did speak right at the top, the Ukraine Ambassador, in effect telling the General Assembly member
countries the words of - about how indifference is not just in effect and abstention vote you have to be able to remember how your vote is going to
be recorded through history here.
And the Russian said this is a plot really of the United States to match global domination goals. Then the rest of these speakers including North
Korea, Iran, some of them say they want to respect the sovereignty of a UN member country but they also hate the human rights system which they find
discriminatory and Western inspired and Western paid for.
So people are trying to decide how they will look after this vote. Abstentions do not count in this tally. It's all members who are present
and voting. If you haven't paid up your UN dues or General Assembly money you're not allowed to vote. We'll see what happens here, Eleni.
GIOKOS: Yes, OK. So give me a quick sense, the importance and significance of the votes like this to suspend a member from the Human Rights Council.
ROTH: Well, many citizens of the world may roll their eyes, but for the UN member countries at the government level, it's a big deal. And people will
remember how each country voted, especially the way things may go or not go on the warfront here, but it's an important vote.
There aren't votes held every day. This is not like Congress. And you will see how a country believes which side and whether they have the courage to
put their vote on the record. There were 38 Abstentions or so on another General Assembly vote on this conflict weeks ago. That number maybe it'll
even go higher.
GIOKOS: Yes, interesting. And of course, the countries that have been abstaining have definitely received quite a bit of attention because it
speaks volumes. Richard, thank you so much. We will be touching back with you to figure out exactly how this is going to go.
But moving on now the Head of the European Commission will travel to Kyiv on Friday for a meeting with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. It comes after
foreign ministers from NATO countries make just a short time ago and agreed to provide more defensive weapons to Ukraine.
It is unclear exactly what weapons will be headed to the battlefield. But Britain's Foreign Minister says the age of engagement with Russia is over.
CNN's International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson is at NATO Headquarters. Nic, great to see you!
This is after two days of foreign ministers from NATO members and G7 countries were meeting and there seems to be consensus that there needs to
be a global coordinated action because security in the world has changed fundamentally, what was the main lines that sort of deviated from the main
messaging from NATO that we've been hearing since the war started?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, the main thing that the NATO Foreign Ministers heard today was principally from their
foreign minister of Ukraine who said he got three messages for them weapons, weapons and weapons.
ROBERTSON: His messages have been answered. But we have difficulty knowing exactly which weapons, weapons, weapons are being delivered because it does
feel as if NATO is being more reticent about being specific about what it's providing.
Now, the Ukrainian foreign minister said that he needs these weapons systems as soon as possible. They're absolutely needed in the battlefield
now. And he said something else that was quite interesting. He said, you know, how the arm is due?
And how sanctions go, is going to affect the outcome of the negotiations, which while he said, you know, Ukraine is still engaging with Russia, in
terms of negotiations really gives you the understanding that there's a lot still to play for in the battlefield.
And we've heard from Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO saying that he thinks that this war could go along. And the preparations they are
trying to provide them the support they're trying to provide for Ukraine is to sustain it over that term. But listen to what he had to say when he was
answering the question about precisely which weapons are going to be provided.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: The rest assured allies are providing a wide range of different weapons systems, both solid aero
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 itself.
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 them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: So that very clear and intentional ambiguity, doesn't give tactical information away to Russia. And it also potentially reduces the
risk or the potential that NATO could end up in direct conflict with Russia, because this is something they absolutely want to avoid.
They continue to say and Stoltenberg said it again, you know, our top priority is the security and defense and the security and safety of all the
people within NATO nations. That's their priority. So this does seem as this war goes long, that they're going to be more ambiguous about precisely
what they're providing.
GIOKOS: What are China's moral in the --? That was also mentioned that, you know, it is a global security risk.
ROBERTSON: It is this concern, obviously, and there was hope, originally, that China would not support Russia, not give it political, diplomatic
cover, not given any military or economic support. And the reality is that China is siding with Russia.
And that changes the calculus for NATO. And I think that speaks to the presence of Australia's Foreign Minister, New Zealand, here as well, the
Republic of Korea, Japan, all having a presence here, because the Asia Pacific is going to be very important to NATO going forward.
We know it's very important to the United States. But that the idea that NATO will now have to adjust its relationship with China because it sees
because the way it sees China positioning yourself, that's a first and that's something NATO is going to put in writing in its strategic concept
that it will put to leaders at the June summit in Madrid.
GIOKOS: Right, Nic Robertson, thank you so much for that update. Let's turn now to the areas seeing the most military action right now. Eastern Ukraine
Ukrainian officials say they see a most difficult situation in that area as Russia has built up its forces and appear to be targeting civilians and
infrastructure in eastern cities.
Ukrainian military sources say they are launching counter offenses in the East, especially around Donetsk. They say Ukrainian forces are still in
control of Mariupol but accused Russia of trying to wipe that city off the face of the earth.
CNN's Ben Wedeman is in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv. It is astonishing and alarming to see just the extent of the physical
infrastructure and the destruction that we've seen in the east. To what end, Ben, are you seeing these indiscriminate attacks?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, what we're seeing is that with the Russian forces largely withdrawn from the
area of Kyiv and essentially North Central Ukraine, the expectation is that those forces after regrouping, re-equipping fixing equipment perhaps
remaining after all their losses will focus their efforts on the eastern part of the country.
WEDEMAN: And that is where it is expected that the next big battle will be. Now Mariupol that besieged city onto the Sea of Azov that has, we've heard,
for instance, the mayor saying that perhaps the death toll among civilians there could be as high as 5000.
And therefore, clearly the pressure is on to stop any Russian advance if that's possible. But it's still early days at this point. Now here in
Mykolaiv, we've been hearing some distant thuds all afternoon. This is a city that is regularly under Russian missile bombardment.
They seem to be simply there's no rhyme or reason method to their madness, when it comes to their bombardment of this city, mostly civilian areas. We
were in a market this morning that was hit earlier this week, killed nine people.
41 people were injured and we walked around and looked for all the individual impact points. And essentially within a radius of 100 meters, we
found 23 impact points. And of course, each one of them throws shrapnel in every direction. It was a bloodbath.
There's still blood on the ground all over that market place. Now these missile strikes are causing a good deal of fear in this city for a while
since when we first arrived. There was a sense that perhaps life was getting back to normal.
But today we saw people lining up for two buses, one to Poland, one to Moldova, women and children leaving the city because the feeling is that
perhaps the Russians could come back again Eleni?
GIOKOS: Ben Wedeman thank you so much for the work you're doing and the stories that you're bringing us. Under Siege and constant bombardment
Ukrainians are scrambling to get out of harm's way in Mariupol. Coming up, we'll speak to Red Cross official about those evacuation efforts.
And later this hour another round of sanctions against the Kremlin why the Ukrainian president says they're just not tough enough.
GIOKOS: Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister says Russia agreed to open 10 humanitarian corridors today and south eastern Ukraine on Wednesday more
than 4800 people used those evacuation routes to feed conflict zones.
The International Committee of the Red Cross says it helped more than 500 people get out of Mariupol and a convoy of buses and private cars as after
weeks of Russian bombardments. The Red Cross says the situation in Mariupol is growing direr.
Mariupol's mayor says more than 90 percent of the city's infrastructure has been destroyed. And just a few hours ago, CNN Senior International
Correspondent Ivan Watson was on a train with evacuated Ukrainians. Here's how one woman described what it feels like in - under weeks of Russian
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): You finally decided to leave with your family. What was it that finally pushed
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I'm just worried just weren't my I have very old grainy and my mother don't want to leave her alone. And I decided to go
along because I very afraid to stay there.
WATSON (on camera): How many weeks were you living under Russian occupation?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Month.
WATSON (on camera): A month?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes. They occupied our city from the 27th February. And from this day, we all feel this pressure.
WATSON (on camera): Are you do you feel better now that you are out of Russian consultant?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt better after we leave our city already, because I understand everything already will be much better for me, but I'm very
worried about my family there.
WATSON (on camera): You left family behind?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes and family, my home my apartment, my beds--
WATSON (on camera): What would you like to tell people right now about the conditions when the Russian military occupies your town in Ukraine?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want them all these people just trying to leave this place if they have this opportunity, because there is really terrible and
I'm sure they will remember this forever. And their kids will remember this forever.
And I'm not sure our nation deserves all of this. And I want we all come back here. We all want this. We all want come back just because we love
Ukraine. We love our people. We all love our streets and builds and we radiate. Yes, we just lost everything.
WATSON (on camera): I'm so sorry Katya - I'm glad you're safe Katya right?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes.
WATSON (on camera): OK, so this is Katya from - 28 years old, who has lived - who has lived for a month under Russian military occupation until fleeing
yesterday. Thank you very much.
GIOKOS: We will remember it forever. Our kids will remember this forever. Some of those words coming through from Ivan Watson's reports important
stories of the refugees that people are trying to evacuate the hardest hit of cities, specifically in eastern Ukraine.
And let's focus on those evacuation efforts now, out of the eastern part of the country. We've got Patricia Rey. She's the Head of Communications in
Ukraine for the International Committee of the Red Cross. And she joins us now live from a town in western Ukraine.
Patricia, thank you so very much. I know that the Red Cross has been trying incessantly over the past week, to move people out safely to try and get
specifically aid into Mariupol. You've come across major headwinds and challenges.
But it seems you've been able to do some work over the past 24 hours. Could you give me a sense of what you've experienced?
PATRICIA REY, HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS IN UKRAINE, ICRC: Yes, indeed, yesterday, we managed to successfully evacuate thousand people out of the
city of Mariupol. It was a highly complex operation that took us six days and five nights. But in the end, we managed to bring people out of the hell
that Mariupol is right now.
We managed to get to a point which is 19 kilometers away from Mariupol. The conditions on the ground did not allow us to get into the city. The people
that are trickling out of Mariupol are looking for safe heaven under nights of cold, hostile environments and with seven buses and our three cars.
We lead a convoy of almost thousand people to the city of Zaporizhzhia where they are now receiving support and assistance.
GIOKOS: Patricia, please give me a sense of how are the people that you've been able to help those 1000 people what are they telling you and are they
REY: When we met those people, they were trying they were hugging us when they saw the buses. They are mainly women and children. One of my
colleagues met a 14 year old girl who was by herself.
She left her parents behind in Mariupol with her parents and her brother was waiting for her in Zaporizhzhia. So these are people who have been
under terrible circumstances. Let's not forget that the situation in Mariupol is apocalyptic.
We have no water, there's no access to medicine. People have been hiding in shelters for weeks. We know that there are still elderly people; we know
that there are sick wounded people. On the bus, there was a woman who was crying throughout the journey.
REY: Her husband had fever. We gave him some medicines, but the conditions this people are in a terrible. So we are pleased today at least we managed
to, to ever pay those thousand people. But it is very important that humanitarian aid is allowed into Mariupol and that the conditions are given
to evacuate those people who want to leave the city.
GIOKOS: So you said something really important? Yes, you were saying aid going in; we know that you haven't been able to as the Red Cross to get aid
into Mariupol. And you also said that the conditions on the roads on the routes make it impossible to get in and out what exactly is happening?
Are we talking about Russian checkpoints that are not allowing you through even though these decisions to open the corridors were made by both sides?
REY: We need all the conditions and security guarantees to be able to access the area. This is an international armed conflict and the situation
on the ground is extremely complex. We have to cross a number of checkpoints, front lines, but this is why in our role as neutral
intermediary as a neutral organization, the ICRC the International Red Cross needs to be given the security guarantees to be able to access these
This is very important for us. We have called upon the parties to agree on very specific elements such as routes, the timing for a ceasefire, so that
we can go and get humanitarian assistance in because we know that is we are running against time to save the people who are right now in Mariupol.
So we repeat the call to give us security guarantees to give us the necessary conditions to be able to reach the people in need right now in
Mariupol. And not only in Mariupol --have not been trapped.
GIOKOS: The security guarantees are not being met. So you're saying the security guarantees are not being met. But it's just the situation is
REY: Security on the ground is very unstable. We are in direct dialogue with sides of the conflict to make sure that we are given the space the
necessary space to enter the area and to evacuate people.
However, what is really important is that we are able to bring assistance in and also that these people that can get out can receive the assistance
that they need. It is also very important that those who stay are protected, and that they are not under attack. So it is very important for
us that indeed there is a protection of the population, both those who live and those who stay.
GIOKOS: Patricia, do we know how many people are trying to get out, because the numbers are between 100,000 and 160,000 people that are trapped
currently in Mariupol. Like as you say, very little food and even water.
REY: We don't have the exact figure; we know that it might be around 100 and 1000. And again, it's under very, very difficult conditions. So these
are people that need indeed a way out. And the exact figures are we don't have no matter.
The conditions we know from what we've been told by the people that we met on the buses. And we hope that soon when we managed to have a solution for
Mariupol; it's been for weeks already in this situation, which is totally unbearable for the people there.
GIOKOS: Yes, Patricia Rey, thank you very much for your insights and the work that you're doing on the ground. We appreciate you joining us today.
Right, we are also standing by for a United Nations vote to suspend Russia from the group's Human Rights Council.
The U.N. is holding a special session of the General Assembly, suspending Russia would require approval by two thirds of the members. The U.S.
Ambassador to the U.N. says she's confident there will be enough votes to do that.
As you can see images right now from the U.N. as members are currently speaking and addressing the Security Council. All right and just ahead as
the West tweaks another round of sanctions against Russia find out why the Ukrainian president says it is not enough.
GIOKOS: Welcome back. I'm Eleni Giokos. I'm in for Becky Anderson and you're watching "Connect the World". We are waiting the United Nations vote
to suspend Russia from the group's Human Rights Council.
The U.N. is holding a special session of the General Assembly is suspending Russia would require approval by two thirds of the members. The U.S.
Ambassador to the U.N. says that she's confident there will be enough votes to do that.
We'll be keeping an eye on those votes and bring you the results as they happen. Now the Ukrainian president has a message for the West. He says the
latest sanctions are not enough. Vladimir Zelenskyy's remarks follow an announcement afresh U.S. actions 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. 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 EU's top diplomat says he's hoping to see the new sanctions agreed by Friday at the latest. Well CNN's Clare Sebastian joins me now from London.
Clare, this is unprecedented in terms of what we've seen from the U.S.
The EU is doing what it can so that it doesn't incur too much pain on itself in terms of energy security; it seems to be a fine balance. But the
point is to inflict as much economic pain as possible on Putin.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and then we've certainly seen an escalation in terms of, particularly in Europe, that will to weather some
pain themselves in order to try to coerce Russia to end this war.
I'm talking particularly about the proposal in this fifth package of sanctions to ban Russian imports of coal into Europe. Now, this would be
perhaps the easiest of the three fossil fuels coal, oil and gas for Europe to deal with.
It's the smallest they've been moving away from it anyway, there would be alternative suppliers that they could tap, but it does show that they have
the will to disrupt their own energy supply chains. Russia would be deprived if this happened of about $4.3 billion in revenue a year not a lot
of money when it comes to the amount of money Russia makes from its exports of energy.
And certainly when you consider that according to the EU's top diplomat Joseph Burrell, the EU has already paid Russia 35 billion Euros that's
about $38 billion for its energy since the conflict began. But it's a statement it's a start. It shows that that Europe is willing to go there
and potentially endure more economic pain in the process.
GIOKOS: Yes, and Clare, what's interesting here is that the Ukrainians have been very clear, they say that from the start, sanctions were not tough
enough, and they keep requesting the same and President Zelenskyy said, it's not good enough.
I guess the Europeans are aware of this. But the question is how do you counter the impact that it will inflict on Europe as a whole? And I know
Germany is one of those very sore points where they're hesitant to discuss anything more other than coal, at least for now.
SEBASTIAN: Right. I think like, Europe is potentially facing Germany in particular an eminent recession if we see suppliers of Russian gas
disrupted. They are not at the point at any Europeans where they are willing to discuss cutting off supplies of Russian gas.
SEBASTIAN: They have said that they want to cut down their use of Russian gas by about two thirds this years. But in terms of fully weaning
themselves off it, they have set a deadline of 2027, so a five year timeline.
But like oil is significant. If they move to talk about this, as there's a morality, U.S. top diplomat says they will on one day oil is significant
because it's easier for the European Union to replace supplies of oil, even though it relies on Russia for a quarter of its oil imports.
It's easy to replace, but it's significant for Russia, because oil is its biggest revenue generator bigger even than gas. So while it's slightly more
convenient, perhaps for Europe, it is going to hit Russia where it hurts if they do move to either ban or restrict Russian oil imports into Europe.
So that is really the one to watch, I think in terms of what Europe could potentially be prepared to do down the road.
GIOKOS: So Clare, stay with me stay with me, because this has just come in the U.S. Senate has voted unanimously to suspend normal trade relations
with Russia, as well as Belarus. Senate lawmakers, punishing the country's for the invasion of Ukraine, by paving the way for higher tariffs on
imports from both of them.
The trade relations bill is the latest effort by the U.S. Congress to crack down on Russia and help Ukraine. This is fascinating; this has just come in
Clare. Give me a sense of just how far countries are willing to go to inflict that pain on President Putin because thus far, his actions on the
ground show that he just is becoming so much more ruthless.
SEBASTIAN: Yes. Eleni there's a significant move by the U.S. one of a number of ways they are tightening the screws on Russia, just this week.
But I think if you're talking about whether or not this is working, I think it's worth looking at how Putin presents this issue to his people.
We've seen since even before the war started. You know, he said in his speech that, that whatever we do, they're going to put sanctions on us. He
disconnects the whole issue of sanctions from the conflict in Ukraine.
He says that this is just the U.S. trying to hold back Russia, trying to hold back its potential. So he is not connecting those issues, as far his
people are concerned. But look, there are significant measures that are coming in from countries you've seen since we've started to see those
horrifying images come out from previously occupied Russian towns in Ukraine, the situation has escalated.
One significant measure from the U.S. came this week, when they prevented Russia from using their frozen reserves to pay down their debt. That could
push the country closer to a sovereign default, which really would compound their inability to access international finance, not super impactful for
the actual real economy in Russia, but it would be significant as far as the country's reputation internationally Eleni.
GIOKOS: Yes, that's such a good point. Because thus far, there are creative ways to find loopholes specifically for, you know, Russians, but
importantly, the impact on the ground. So in terms of the inflationary impact in terms of the currency impact for average Russians, and then just
how that's going to create you know, multiplier effects across businesses and companies that have opted to leave the country as well.
What is the prognosis would you say Clare in terms of how long it would take Russia to really, you know, buckle and get on its knees?
SEBASTIAN: You know, I think that's going to depend on how far the sanctions regimes go. I think it would be that that situation would be
accelerated if we start to see, for example, Europe ban oil imports. But right now, look, it's a little tricky to get the full sense of the state of
the Russian economy.
There are really two sides to the story. One is the ruble, which is now stronger than it was on the day the war broke out compared to the dollar;
the stock markets have more or less stabilized after their initial falls.
Those are situations that are being managed by the government and in particular, the central bank with capital controls with restrictions on
stock sales and things like that. But we are starting to see in terms of the real economy, real incomes, inflation, things that affect the Russian
people. We are starting to see the pain show up inflation numbers have been going up in Russia in terms of the car market, we saw new car sales
collapsed 63 percent in March.
That's partly because some car factories have had to stop work because they aren't able to access imported products. These situations are going to
continue industries in Russia that rely on imported products are going to see real problems and that could affect employment.
That is another situation in which we expect the Russian Government will try to manage to avoid mass unemployment. But they are having to address
this and address it urgently Eleni.
GIOKOS: Yes, Clare Sebastian in London, thank you so much for that analysis. Great to see you and of course we are monitoring the U.N. Human
Rights Council decision and vote on whether to suspend Russia. We'll be bringing you those updates as they happen. We're going to short break, stay
GIOKOS: All right, welcome back. You're watching "Connect the World". In the last half hour something incredible has happened in Augusta. Georgia,
one of the greatest names in golf has returned to compete one small many doubted that he would ever play again.
Maybe even he had doubts and I'm talking of Tiger Woods, of course. World Sports Amanda Davies joins me now with more. Amanda it is quite remarkable
and an incredible comeback.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORTS ANCHOR: Yes, Eleni, we shouldn't be surprised. Tiger Woods has a made come back from adversity in the past. But
this is a comeback that nobody expected this time last week, people didn't expect him to be making this reappearance just 14 months after that car
accident which left him with very serious leg injuries. Tiger mania has seriously kicked in at Augusta; there was no pressure for him to return
this week, no expectation for him to make a comeback this week. So why is he done it?
Well, he said he's done it because he believes he can win. As you mentioned, he has taken to the course wearing that fairly resplendent pink
you can see, but I am not going to spoil the surprise and let people know how he's doing just yet. We're going live to my colleague Patrick Snell in
just a couple of minutes in World Sports and I hope you can join us for that.
GIOKOS: All right, fantastic. We're going to short break, stay with us.