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Biden Labels Russian Atrocities "Genocide"; Interview with Karl Nehammer, Austrian Chancellor, on Clear Message to Putin that War Must End; Finland and Sweden Considering NATO Membership; Frank James Named as Subway Shooting Suspect; Shanghai Police Warn against Breaking Lockdown Orders; CNN Interviews Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska. Aired 10-10:40a ET

Aired April 13, 2022 - 10:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): I'm Becky Anderson, coming to you live from London. Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.

Today an exclusive interview with the Austrian chancellor after his face to face meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin on Monday. Why he

believes we're at a, quote, "dangerous moment" in Russia's war in Ukraine.

Next hour, I'll speak to Italy's foreign minister about the impact on the invasion on his country as costs soar amid talk of further Russian energy


Plus Pakistan's new prime minister on the job. We'll speak to the head of one of the parties that put him in power about what to expect next.

In Eastern Ukraine, Russia is redeploying forces and ramping up attacks amid a new military phase of this brutal war. At least 7 people were

wounded when a missile strike damaged an apartment blocking the Donetsk region. The military governor says Russia's main tactic now is to kill and

terrorize civilians.

And we have new video of cluster munitions in a civilian area of Kharkiv. You can see four explosions just seconds apart, spanning about 90 meters.

The U.N. had said such attacks in populated areas may amount to war crimes.

Meanwhile, major escalation in rhetoric by the U.S. president. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I called it genocide because it becomes clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe

out the idea of even being able to be Ukrainian. And the evidence is mounting. We'll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it

qualifies but it sure seems that way to me.


ANDERSON: Ukraine's president later thanked Mr. Biden, "Calling things by their names is essentially to stand up to evil."

Not all Ukraine's allies approved. French President Emmanuel Macron rejected the use of the term saying it won't help stop the war.

The presidents of Poland and the Baltic States are on their way to Kyiv to meet with Volodymyr Zelenskyy to discuss the investigation into war crimes

and getting aid to Ukraine's civilians.

The chancellor of Austria visited the region recently. He stopped at the Ukrainian town of Bucha, where authorities say hundreds of bodies are being

found. I asked him why it was so important to talk to the Russian president in person and what he thought of Vladimir Putin's mindset. Have a listen.


KARL NEHAMMER, AUSTRIAN INTERIOR MINISTER: First of all, my first trip was to Ukraine to meet President Zelenskyy, to visit Bucha, the village where

we could see a mass grave.

We talked there to the priest and he informed us that the people in this mass grave were murdered by Russian soldiers. Afterwards I made a decision

to go to Moscow, to look and confront President Putin with what I saw, the war crimes. The Russian soldiers, they need to stop the war.

ANDERSON: How was Vladimir Putin's demeanor?

NEHAMMER: Well, he was very clear in his messages. In his point of view, he has to defend the Russian Federation, the Russians living in Eastern



NEHAMMER: And I think we will see that the war will go on. He was clear in his messages and his own logic about war. I think this is very dangerous

now. On the other hand, he mentioned the Istanbul peace talks. I think the Istanbul peace talks could be a chance to stop the war.

ANDERSON: Putin said that peace talks had hit a dead end.

You still see an opportunity?

NEHAMMER: Yes and my impression, he mentioned the peace talks, I informed President Zelenskyy about that. And before I went to Putin, I asked if it's

useful to do this trip.

He said, please, if you go there, tell him it's now needed to have safe humanitarian corridors for the people in Mariupol. They don't have water,

no electricity. They have to think about the wounded there.

ANDERSON: Some Europeans and Ukrainians criticized you for going there.

What's your response?

NEHAMMER: I think it's useful to go there, to look in his eyes and to say the war has to end because I think it's also useful other prime ministers

of the European Union talk to him by phone calls. But I think it's much stronger, first to visit Kyiv, to visit Ukraine, to see what is going on.

These pictures in the mind, going to Moscow, with those pictures, what you saw there, the war crimes have to be investigated by international justice.

ANDERSON: Did you accuse him of war crimes?

NEHAMMER: Well, I confronted him with that. I told him that it's necessary to have international justice, the United Nations there. And for him, it's

not easy to talk about that. But we have to do that.

ANDERSON: Did he accept that there are war crimes being committed?

NEHAMMER: Well, you know, it's President Putin. In this position, he was not clear.

ANDERSON: Is it your sense that Putin is getting a full reporting of this war from his generals, from his military assets on the ground?

NEHAMMER: You know, I don't know. What I know is to confront him is useful. To do something is better than to do nothing.

While I think other European leaders should do the same, but the most important thing is to visit first Ukraine, to see what is going on there,

what happens there, to see the suffer of Ukrainian people and to confront Putin with that.

ANDERSON: You spoke to President Zelenskyy and he is absolutely adamant that sanctions should be ramped up on Russia. The European Commission has

said nothing is off the table.

Are you adamant that Austria will not agree to oil and gas sanctions under any circumstances?

NEHAMMER: Well, first of all, Austria is not alone against the gas embargo. And on the other side, Austria stands strong with other E.U.

member states with the sanctions against the Russian Federation. But sanctions must hurt Russia more than the European Union.

ANDERSON: Do you worry that the issue of a gas embargo could fracture --


ANDERSON: -- what is otherwise, at present, a united Europe?

NEHAMMER: No, I don't think so. We are 27 member states. We decided together about the sanctions against the Russian Federation. They're really

tough and strong. And we will decide about more sanctions against Russia because we want to show that there is unity in the European Union, that

this war has to end.

ANDERSON: But there isn't unity, is there, on the issue of gas, for example. That's really important. Zelenskyy implores Europe to do more. At

this point, despite multiple sanctions, to date, they haven't stopped Vladimir Putin.

If not energy, what else is left in the tool box?

NEHAMMER: We decided a new one for small electronic parts produced in the Western world. They are used in Russian weapons so an embargo is very

useful to stop a tank or stop a drone. We should think about sanctions now in a more intelligent way.

There's a decision in the European Union that we try everything to become independent from Russia gas and it's also the willing of Austria for sure.

But it's not possible now, it will take time.

ANDERSON: Do you genuinely believe that is multiple rafts of sanctions to date on Vladimir Putin are working?

NEHAMMER: Whew, that's a good question. I think it will change our sanctions. It will change the Russian situation for decades. And I think

Putin knows that. What we see now is that there is a war inside Ukraine and, on one hand -- and on the other hand, I think he needs also a kind of

way out.

Maybe, maybe the Istanbul peace talks could be this way out for ending this war.

ANDERSON: Austria is militarily neutral.

Will you reevaluate this stance, given the conversation you've had and the suggestions you have made, that this is going to go on?

NEHAMMER: We have a strong opinion against war. We stay on the side with the European Union with the sanctions against Russian Federation. The

neutrality in Austria is deeply rooted in our history. So for us, it's not a question to give that up.


ANDERSON: The Austrian chancellor speaking with me earlier.

Let's parse some of this out with Nic Robertson.

Number of issues that we discussed there. Let's talk about the first, which was the chancellor going to see Vladimir Putin face-to-face, the first

European to do that in some time since the war began. He looked into his eyes and came away believing, "in a very dangerous moment" in this war. He

said it could go on for a very long time.

Your thoughts.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: When he said he confronted him on the issue of whether or not war crimes are being

committed, he said that was very difficult to read what President Putin actually said.

This is typical of Putin. But we know from what else putting subsequent to the meeting, that he believes the war crimes committed in Bucha are

provocations by the Ukrainian side. So his going there is hugely important.


ROBERTSON: Satellites can provide you so much. But looking at President Putin gives you a clue as to how those tanks will be used. So the

assessment from the Austrian chancellor, it's very chilling. It's very clear, Putin is not minded to believe that he's in the wrong and is minded

to continue with this offensive.

ANDERSON: And he said, when I asked him whether it was clear to him as to whether Vladimir Putin is getting reasonable, clear, truthful reporting

from the ground, he said it was a good question. But it wasn't really clear to him whether that was true or not. That's an interesting point.

Austria is heavily dependent on gas, 80 percent from Russia. They said they are not willing to take the pain of Russian oil and gas sanctions. That

doesn't sound as if that will change anytime soon.

He suggested there were other tools to use but the Russian energy issue is really important and contentious now for Europe. He said he wasn't sure the

Russian sanctions were making any difference.

ROBERTSON: Yes, he suggested you can use the sanctions on technical goods; these are devices that get used in tanks to fire missiles. He said it

doesn't hurt us as much but it will hurt the Russians.

But the Russian military advance is underway now. The tanks are there with the firing systems in place. They are ready to go. So that's not going to

have an immediate effect on the battlefield.

But hitting Putin's pocket by immediately cutting off what the E.U. spends every day on Russian energy, which is $1 billion a day, might have a more

immediate impact.

But as the chancellor said, that not a place that Austria can go, that they can go at all. He talked about President Putin needing a way out. I don't

think that's something the Ukrainians see. They see a need for peace talks but a way out, I think there are deep, fundamental differences on how to

deal with conflict and how Europe should deal with it.

It's a difficult, tricky, complex situation. You heard one side of it there but it was very frank. And Putin reads all of that and takes advantage.

ANDERSON: You are in the corridors of power, listening in to what are some very difficult conversations that are going on at present, as we grind

through into what is the 7th or nearly 8th week of this war.

We are also hearing from the Swedish stakeholders, who are alongside Finland, debating whether or not to join NATO.

What do we know at this point?

ROBERTSON: I think what we heard today is the soundings of the biggest geopolitical, strategic shift that Russia has caused by its invasion of

Ukraine. A Finnish diplomat in January said it's very clear to us, if Russia attacks you and you are not inside NATO and not protected by the

common defense Article 5 --


ROBERTSON: -- if you're not protected by that, then you're standing out there alone.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: European security architecture have changed fundamentally after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The change in the

security landscape make it necessary to analyze how we best secure peace for Finland and in our region in the future.

MAGDALENA ANDERSSON, SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER: The resa (ph) before and after 24th of February, the security landscape has completely changed both

with demand from Russia in December and on the invasion of Ukraine.

Given that situation, we have to really think through what is best for Sweden and our security and our peace in this new situation.


ROBERTSON: The Finnish parliament will go first and will be coming to the NATO summit in June. Significantly, that will double the land border that

NATO has with Russia at this time. It's about an 800-mile land border along the Russian-Finnish border. That will become potentially of NATO concern.

Russian officials saying the security of Europe will not be enhanced by that.

ANDERSON: Nic, thank you.

A risky maneuver has considered remain Ukrainian forces in Mariupol. That's according to the Ukrainian presidential adviser. He says a marine battalion

and the Azov regiment are now working together. CNN cannot independently confirm that.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi. It was apparently a risky maneuver, according to the Ukrainians. Essentially what

happened, the defenders of Mariupol, which is the marine unit and some of those Azov units were in different locations.

They had been separated by Russian forces, who had managed to drive a wedge between the two. Russians have been tightening their grip on Mariupol. Part

of the Marines managed to break through and joining up with the Asov group.

Russians saying about 1,000 Marines were captured. They were running very low on fuel and on ammunition as well. They put up the video that you were

talking about.

We have to acknowledge we're not on the ground in Mariupol because that place is under siege by Russian forces and therefore impossible to

independently verify all the information that's coming out there.

We do see it on our screens now that the Russians seem to control large parts of the city. You can see the Russian military vehicles moving through

the streets. Nevertheless, the Ukrainian forces still holding out and, as you mentioned, the remnants of the Marines still there, vowing to battle on

until their last shot.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Fred. We'll have more reporting from Bucha next hour.

We will be right back.





ANDERSON: Welcome back.

New York police believe Frank James is responsible for setting off smoke grenades during Tuesday morning rush hour and firing dozens of shots that

hit 10 people, setting off a panic of scrambling passengers, trying to get off the train.

Jason Carroll joining us now with the latest.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Investigators are following up on all the leads and doing everything they can to find Frank James, anyone

who knows him. Investigators found the keys to that U-Haul van, rented in Philadelphia.

It turns out James has addresses in both Philadelphia and Wisconsin. Also following up on a number of disturbing things posted to social media on

YouTube just the day before the shooting.

James posted a video talking about killing people before that on social media posts. He not only mentioned New York City, the homeless issue going

on in New York but he talked about mass shootings. He talked about Eric Adams, the New York City mayor.

Adams, for his part, speaking to CNN and saying these social media companies need to do more to protect the public.


MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D-NY), NEW YORK CITY: You look at how we use social media right now, to put threats out there, carry out dangerous actions and

then clear correlations between what's being posted and what's being carried out in our streets in this case and in many other cases.

Part of the job is receiving threats. I get threats from time to time not only as the mayor, as a state senator and even as a police officer. I have

a great deal of confidence in the law enforcement officers that are around me.


CARROLL: The hunt is on for the suspect. The U.S. Marshals have joined the hunt along with the NYPD, the FBI and the ATF.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

Let's get you up to speed with some of the stories on our radar.

The uptick in violence between the Israelis and Palestinians not letting up. A 34-year-old Palestinian man was killed in the West Bank. Israeli

soldiers have been ramping up raids in the West Bank after a series of attacks killed 14 people. Five Palestinians have been killed by Israeli

forces since the weekend.

Flooding from days of heavy rain have killed at least 45 people in South Africa. Some reports say the death toll could be much higher. The port city

of Durban reported containers landing in chaotic piles.

Shanghai reported 26,000 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. Police warn anyone violating lockdown orders will be punished.


DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm David Culver in Shanghai, where, despite local officials promising to lift lockdowns, the

vast majority of the 25 million people living in the city remain sealed inside their homes as COVID cases continue to rise.


CULVER: The anger, frustration, fatigue now have police warning that anyone violating lockdown orders would be punished within the law. China's

national health commission has called out Shanghai officials for not effectively containing the virus.

Folks in other parts of China are stocking up, preparing for more harsh lockdowns, a seemingly endless cycle.


ANDERSON: Up next, Ukraine's first lady talks to my colleague Christiane Amanpour about the challenges facing her country and her family. Why she

says being a wartime first lady is like walking a tightrope. That is coming up.




ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

"The number one target is all of us." Those sobering words from first lady of Ukraine. She refused opportunities to flee the country when Vladimir

Putin ordered his troops to invade. She's drawing global attention to the hardships faced by Ukraine's children.

Millions have fled the country with their families. According to Ukrainian officials, nearly 200 of them, 200 kids have been killed during Russia's

invasion, with hundreds more injured. Our chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour joins me now.

You were recently in Ukraine and you're just back. You asked Olena Zelenska via email about the huge challenges facing her and her family.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I did by email because the security situation is too difficult.

You remember, at the beginning, the president said the number one target is me and then my family, number two. That's because everybody thought the

troops were trying to get to Ukraine and thought Putin's first aim was regime change.

So nobody knew whether Zelenskyy and his family would be safe. When we asked what it's like being there in this wartime situation and how her

husband is doing, this is what she said today.


OLENA ZELENSKA, FIRST LADY OF UKRAINE (through translator): It's like walking a tightrope: If you start thinking how you do it, you lose time and

balance. So, to hold on, you just must go ahead and do what you do.


ZELENSKA (through translator): In the same way, as far as I know, all Ukrainians are holding on.

Many of those who escaped from the battlefields alone, who saw the death, say that the main cure after the experience is to act, to do something, to

be helpful to somebody. I am personally supported by the fact that I try to protect and support others. Responsibility disciplines.

Volodymyr and his team actually live in the president's office. Due to the danger, my children and I were forbidden to stay there. So for more than a

month, we communicate only by phone.


ANDERSON: That's remarkable.

AMANPOUR: It is. And she's real wartime first couple who have risen to the occasion in the most tremendous, tremendous way.

ANDERSON: You also asked her whether she had a message for Russia, for Russians, who we know are seeing this war through a very, very different


AMANPOUR: Very, very different. And it really bears repeating. I actually do believe the polls that suggest the Russians overwhelmingly support

Putin, because I don't think there's a choice. They're completely brainwashed by the state TV and radio and the state propaganda.

There are some who don't and who try to resist but by and large the population does. Putin has framed this as a war now against what they now

call Ukrainian Western nazification. So it's all a change in goalposts.

But it's a very bitter war against Ukraine and the West. So I asked, because you remember, her husband, the president, did try to address the

Russians in Russia, native Russian speaker and he tried to do it.

Then he did -- he accepted an interview with independent Russia journalists but Russia refused to allow that to air. So I asked her about how to get a

message across. This is what she said.


ZELENSKA (through translator): The level of Russian propaganda is often compared to Goebbels' propaganda during the Second World War. But in my

opinion, it still exceeds because, in the Second World War, there was no internet and access to information, such as now.

Now everyone can see the war crimes; for example, those committed by the Russians in Bucha, where the bodies of civilians with their hands tied,

simply lay in the streets.

But the problem is that the Russians do not want to see what the whole world sees. And it is important that our war does not become habitual so

that are victims do not become statistics. That's why I communicate with people through foreign media, don't get used to our grief.


AMANPOUR: And that's so important. In the weeks I was there, I understood what they need right now. There's a window of opportunity. The Ukrainians

have pushed back the Russians as we have seen in certain areas. But there's another massive assault coming.

And they need heavy weapons. I spoke to the head of military defense there, intelligence, and they need proper anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems,

combat aircraft and long range artillery. They really need that right now if they are to hold out in the east.

ANDERSON: Let's hope they get it. Christiane, it's always a pleasure. Thank you.

AMANPOUR: Thank you, Becky.

ANDERSON: Meanwhile, President Zelenskyy is proposing a prisoner swap, asking for release of captured Ukrainian forces in exchange for a pro-

Russian politician with ties to Putin. Ukraine's security service detained Viktor Medvedchuk in what Mr. Zelenskyy calls a special operation.

(INAUDIBLE) escaped from house arrest shortly after Russia invaded in late February. President Putin is his daughter's godfather. Viktor Medvedchuk

served as a liaison between Kyiv and Moscow after pro-Russian separatists took over areas in the Donbas in 2014. The U.S. sanctioned him that year

for, quote, "undermining Ukraine's democratic institutions and processes."

Next hour, the Italian foreign minister offers us the inside track on Europe, holding its nerve against Russia and building an even more unified

NATO. I speak to him next hour.

And a shocking upset in one of last night's college games. "WORLD SPORT" has all the twists and turns for you, coming up.