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American Trevor Reed Released from Russia in Prisoner Swap; Large- Scale Destruction in Kharkiv from Russian Shelling; Funeral for Madeline Albright at Washington National Cathedral; President Attends National Cathedral Service for First Female U.S. Secretary of State; Biden Gives Eulogy at Madeline Albright's Funeral; Russia Cuts off Natural Gas Supplies to Poland & Bulgaria. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired April 27, 2022 - 11:00   ET



ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: --for my colleague Becky Anderson. Thank you very much for joining us. Now as Russia makes new gains

in Eastern Ukraine we are seeing ripple effects from its war beyond Ukrainian borders.

The Kremlin today is denying accusations that it is committing blackmail by cutting off gas shipments to Poland and Bulgaria. Explosions were reported

in three border regions just inside Russian territory. An advisor to Ukraine's president says Karma is a cruel thing. We'll have much more on

all this ahead.

But first, Former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed is now free from Russian detention in a prisoner swap. His parents say their prayers have been

answered. They received the good news a short time ago from President Joe Biden.

Reed was freed in exchange for a Russian pilots held in the U.S. The release ends a nearly three year ordeal for Reed and brings renewed

attention to the cases of detained American Marine Paul Whelan and U.S. Basketball Star Brittney Griner.

CNN White House reporter Natasha Bertrand is standing by in Washington for us. We've also got CNN's Matthew Chance in London. Matthew, I'd like to

start with you. This is really significant, given the timing, given the tensions between the U.S. and Russia, but also perhaps a bit of hope, that

there are still diplomatic discussions happening behind the scenes.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, look, I mean, the release of Trevor Reed and of course, his exchange for constant

in the Yaroshenko, who is a Russian national who was convicted in 2010, of conspiracy to smuggle drugs, narcotics, and held in a prison since then,

those negotiations to end that and to and to kind of make that swap happen, have been taking place for years.

And it's always reached a dead end, because the United States has always been reluctant to release what they have called serious, serious criminals

being held in U.S. prisons. It's not been politically possible, those negotiations have still continued.

And, of course, you know, the context being this sort of - relationship between Russia and the United States and Russia in the West in general,

particularly over the conflict in Ukraine. It is a sort of rare sort of sign of positivity.

But as you mentioned, there are still a number of American citizens, including Paul Whelan, who remain in U.S. custody, there is at least one

very prominent Russian who remains in U.S. custody as well that's Victor - who was a notorious arms trafficker, who is serving a lengthy prison

sentence in the U.S. jail, as well.

And you know, so I expect that now we've seen that first bit of progress and this prisoner exchange take place. Negotiations may well continue to

see the release and the exchange, ultimately for those other individuals, as well.

GIOKOS: Natasha, you know, we mentioned that there are clearly diplomatic lines that are pretty much open. And as Matthew mentioned, there are other

prisoners, but the U.S. has people that Russia wants and clearly the U.S. is going to try and assist the detainees in Russia. Is there any glimmer of

hope do you think that conversations like this could continue to help free the other detained?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: What the State Department Spokesman Ned Price did say earlier on CNN that they are working still

through these channels that remain open with the Russians to try to secure the release of those people that they call hostages American citizens who

are detained currently in Russia, and that does include Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner.

But Paul Whelan's family released a pretty dramatic statement earlier today in response to Trevor Reed's release saying, essentially, and I'm

paraphrasing here, but look, is this going to be the policy of the U.S. government moving forward that some of these hostages in Russia are

released, while others are kind of left behind here.

They said they were happy that Trevor Reed was released, but that they're still kind of confused and disappointed about why Paul Whelan is still in

detention after just over three years there after being arrested there three years ago?

So it clearly there is still a lot of work to be done here. And it is a very delicate moment for the U.S. Russia relationship, obviously, given the

war in Ukraine. And so they're kind of doing this one step at a time. They did manage to swap this prisoner who was convicted of drug smuggling in the

U.S., for Trevor Reed kind of a lower level swap there.

But when it comes to kind of higher level criminals that the U.S. has in custody, that they say will be more difficult, for example, to exchange

with the Russians in exchange for American citizens being held there. That remains to be seen whether or not they're going to be able to accomplish

that in the future, especially given the sensitivities at this moment.

But, you know, President Biden, U.S. officials here the Secretary of State Antony Blinken, they have said repeatedly that it is their number one

priority to get these Americans home and the U.S. Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs, Roger Carstens played a key role in this.

Of course, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, which is still operating also, played a very important role. But this is a very, very fragile moment for

U.S. Russia relations. So I think this is going to they're going to take this as a comment take it day by day Eleni.


GIOKOS: So Matthew, when it comes to, you know, release of detainees, you know, one would expect there's got to be some kind of good faith or

reciprocation of sorts, or something that would benefit both sides in some way. How does this war complicate these discussions would you say?

CHANCE: Well, I mean, look at well, first up the war doesn't seem to have gotten in the way of the backroom negotiations that have been taking place

for several years now. And they've been obviously reaching the conclusion when it comes to Yaroshenko and Trevor Reed, which has resulted in their

prisoner exchange.

And so in that sense, the war, the conflict, the special military operation as Russia calls, it has not actually got in the way of finding a resolution

to the problem associated with those two people. But I think it raises the political cost, from a U.S. perspective of doing a deal with Russia,

especially when it comes to the other level of prisoner.

The Viktor Boot situation, for instance, is going to be much harder for the United States to let go or to release early, someone like Victor Boot, who

is, as I mentioned, a notorious arms trafficker, and is convicted of those very serious offenses.

And the individual, the U.S. citizen, who is in Russian custody, who the Russians wanting to change his Paul Whelan who is, has been convicted of

espionage but there's no real evidence that he engaged in that kind of activity at all.

He was just a frequent visitor to Russia to Moscow with sort of multiple passports. He's got British and Irish and Canadian passports, as well. But

look, I mean, the context of that very poor relationship between Russia and United States. And this conflict in Ukraine, as I say, makes it politically

much more difficult for the U.S. to do a deal with Moscow on any of these those issues.

And so it's, it's quite surprising that this deal has been done now. But it's going to be even harder when it comes to the much more high level much

more serious individuals that are still outstanding.

GIOKOS: Matthew Chance and Natasha Bertrand, thank you very much for that insight. Russia is making gains as it steps up its offensive in Eastern

Ukraine. The Ukrainian military reports several villagers in the Kharkiv and Donetsk regions are now in Russian hands.

Local officials say the Luhansk region has seen intense shelling over the past 24 hours. One described the scene as Armageddon. And there's this.

A key rail bridge attacked for a second time in Odessa. That's in the south where Russia is also widening the battlefield. When Russian forces were

around Kyiv they captured a number of civilians and shipped many of them to Russia. Now those civilians are trickling back and giving disturbing

accounts of their time in captivity. CNN's Phil Black picks up the story.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): War creates powerful connections between people. Volodymyr - and Nadia - didn't know each other

before the Russians can. Now he's brought her news that inspires pain and hurt.

Vladimir was recently freed from a military detention center in Russia. He says Nadia's Grandson Sasha was there too. For weeks Sasha's family didn't

know if he was still alive, seized and held by Russian soldiers in early March. They heard nothing about his safety after the invaders retreated.

-- And Helene Holyoke knows the same pain and uncertainty. Volodymyr has told them he knows their son - was recently alive in the same detention

center in Russia. He says he heard - name shouted every day during roll call. There is comfort in that but not enough to sue a mother's anguish.

I don't have hope any more Halina says. I know they are best. They will kill them, and no one will find them. Ukrainian officials say dozens of

people were abducted from around the town of Dima near Kyiv during Russia's occupation, and most were initially held here in a sprawling industrial

site. The Russian forces used as a command post.

Ukrainian prosecutor Oleksandr Zuz shows me the conditions those captured people were forced to endure a small, dark cold room. People were packed

together here he says hands bound eyes taped.

OLEKSANDR ZUZ, PROSECUTOR: In this place were 22 people. Once they trying to get the toilet, they need to walk on legs of somebody else because too

much people.

BLACK (voice over): He says people came and went some spent weeks here someone tried to keep track of days by scratch marks on the wall.


BLACK (voice over): He says all the people who came through this room had only one thing in common. They were civilians. Several people who were kept

here tell us they were frequently beaten and interrogated for local information. One man says his hands and fingers were cut to the bone by

Russian soldiers because he couldn't help them.

BLACK (on camera): Does it make any sense to you that they did this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No chance. I didn't know exactly what kind of information they could take from these people?

BLACK (voice over): This drone video catches the moment when Ukrainian forces attacked the industrial side, driving out the Russians a number of

those who were still locked in the room at that time. Tell us that's when all remaining captives were able to escape.

But others including Volodymyr Harpoon, had already been taken elsewhere. A long road trip via Belarus in the back of a military track ended in Russia,

where he was given this military identification document.

It says he resisted the special operation conducted by the President of the Russian Federation. In reality, he was detained while volunteering with the

Red Cross helping people escape the fighting. Ukrainian government has confirmed Volodymyr was returned to Ukraine as part of a prisoner exchange

with Russia. He believes that explains why Russian forces are abducted Ukrainian civilians.

He says they took us as goods that can be exchanged later, like a mobile phone or another commodity. Here Volodymyr inspects a list of more than 40

names provided by the local government, a register and people from the area who are still missing.

He says he recognizes most of the names for his time in the Russian detention center because he deliberately tried to remember as much as

possible. He says sooner or later one of us had to be the first to be released. And that's why we tried to remember the names of other people to

let their relatives know they're alive.

Volodymyr says there were about 200 Ukrainians in detention while he was there. He hopes all will get home quickly so the suffering they and their

families are enduring can end and their healing can begin. Phil Black, CNN in the Kyiv region.


GIOKOS: And as we mentioned earlier, the Ukrainian military says Russia is making gains in Eastern Ukraine. Some of the heaviest activity they say was

around the Northeastern City of Kharkiv. It is now in shambles after weeks of relentless Russian attacks. CNN's Clarissa Ward shows us some of the

devastation there.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): There's no rest at night for the people of Kharkiv. Flares light up the sky as

artillery thunders through the air. For nearly nine weeks, Ukraine's second largest city has been shelled relentlessly. Only by day, you see the full

scale of the destruction.

The neighborhood of - was hit repeatedly last month, as Russian forces tried to push into the city. No site was spared, not even the local nursery


WARD (on camera): So it looks like this was some kind of dormitory you can see children's beds here all around. And then in the next door room over

there was their classroom.

WARD (voice over): Their shoes still litter the locker room. Mercifully, the school had been evacuated so no children were killed in the strikes.

WARD (on camera): The Mayor of Kharkiv says that 67 schools and 54 kindergartens have been hit here since the war began. And what's so

striking when you look around is that it's so clearly not a military target. This is a residential neighborhood.

WARD (voice over): Just a few blocks away the bare skeleton of an apartment building. Authority say more than 2000 houses have been hit here. The

sounds of war are never far away.

WARD (on camera): So you can see this is what's left of the bedroom here. It's just astonishing.

WARD (voice over): Two doors down us see a figure peeking out. 73-year-old Larissa - is still living there alone.

WARD (on camera): So she's saying that she does have a sister who she could stay with but she also lives in an area that's being heavily hit and she's

living in a shelter at the moment.

WARD (voice over): It's from all sides, she says, from there and there they can shell.


WARD (voice over): With her fresh lipstick - is a picture of pride and resilience much like this city, still standing tall in the face of a

ruthless enemy Clarissa Ward, CNN, Kharkiv?


GIOKOS: The British Foreign Secretary urging allies to supply Ukraine with warplanes and other heavy weapons. Russia's Ministry of Defense released

this video of missiles it says it used to destroy weapons the West has already supplied to Ukraine.

In a keynote foreign policy speech set for Thursday. The UK's Liz Truss is set to argue the need to double down on supporting Ukraine's military. Her

words echo the U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who hosted a meeting of Defense Ministers at the U.S. Air Base in Ramstein in Germany.

He stressed the importance of moving quickly to get Ukraine, the military aid it needs. Also attending that meeting is Estonia's Minister of Defense.

He is now in Poland. And you see him there meeting with Estonian troops at the Belarus border with Poland.

Kalle Laanet now joins me from Poland. Thank you very much Minister for joining us. It's really good to have you on. There's something that really

struck me after that meeting yesterday with Defense Ministers, your General said that the next three weeks are going to determine how we live in the

next 15 to 20 years? Could you clarify that for us because it is a warning of a massive security threat that could be looming - further looming for


KALLE LAANET, ESTONIA DEFENSE MINISTER: Good evening, everybody. And I absolutely agree with that, mainly, because we had to do everything that

Russia can't win. That means that we have to support with any means Ukraine, and all states around the world who are keeping same values,

democratic values, have to give heavy weapons, helicopters, airplanes, fighters, everything what they can do, because Estonia started to support

Ukraine, even before war started in reality. And that's the message from General Milley to the states that were around today and yesterday.

GIOKOS: Your Prime Minister has also voiced very clearly the need to deploy more forces in the Baltic States to you know, take a look at NATO borders.

And countries like Estonia that is basically at the coalface of a potential threat. Do you feel you're getting the right support?

LAANET: I hope so, because the entire security situation is totally changed. And right now it's time to move from posture, defense presents to

the forward defense. And that means that all Baltic States need more forces from NATO.

And I hope so that decisions will be made in the NATO Summit in June in Madrid. And this is the only way how to strengthen the Eastern Flank of

NATO and show to Russia power, because Russia accepts only power, nothing more. There is no negotiation.

GIOKOS: You mentioned strengthening the Eastern Flank. So what exactly would you like to see on the ground in terms of shoring up that strength?

LAANET: Of course, we need more troops in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and also division size headquarter or command structure. And this is the main

thing we need, strengthen our air, land and also sea domains. And of course, its rapid reaction is the main thing that we can deploy or

reinforce forces very quickly. That's the main thing.

GIOKOS: I spoke with the Defense Minister of Sweden a short while ago. He says Sweden is currently debating whether they should join NATO. They're

working closely with Finland. And we know the news is that they might be a submission to join NATO might be imminent.

Do you want to see Finland and Sweden joining NATO? Is that going to be important in terms of securing Europe's borders?

LAANET: Absolutely. Estonia and personally I welcome Sweden and Finland to our friendship group or amongst to our allies to NATO and it will

strengthen our, let's say, eastern part of NATO. And I hope so that Swedish people and Finnish people will make right decision.


GIOKOS: If they don't join, what does this mean for Europe security? Are you worried that they won't join?

LAANET: I am waiting the play actually joining NATO because it makes European security stronger.

GIOKOS: Minister, are you concerned about what's happening between Moldova and Ukraine in - and what that would mean in terms of Russia's next move?

And also the fact that we're seeing intensified aggression coming through not only in Eastern Ukraine, but also potentially in the South?

LAANET: As we know, earlier that Putin strives to build up, let's say, this kind of security fork, we don't exactly where and when he would like to

build up the next crisis point. And right now we see this kind of - are also in Moldova. And that means that he makes worried all this part of the

world, and we don't see exactly what is the next step from each side from the Russian side?

GIOKOS: Yes. Kalle Laanet thank you, Mr. Minister, really good to have you on the show! We appreciate your insights, and we hope to speak to you soon.

Thank you.

And still ahead, I'll talk to Bulgaria's Energy Minister about Russia's move to halt natural gas shipments to his country, as well as Poland. And

she was America's first female Secretary of State today the trailblazing life of Madeleine Albright is being remembered by some of the most powerful

people in the world a live report from Washington National Cathedral up next.


GIOKOS: You're looking at live pictures of the funeral service for Madeleine Albright, America's first female Secretary of State's. President

Joe Biden is expected to give the eulogy at Washington National Cathedral. And we're watching out for that Albright died last month from cancer at the

age of 84.

And she was a central figure in Former President Bill Clinton's Administration for serving as his U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

before he picked her in his second term to be Secretary of State. CNN U.S. National Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux joins me now live from Washington's

National Cathedral.

It is a sad day. But of course remembering a formidable woman that you know changed the direction of politics in many ways in the United States.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, and it is also a joyful day in some ways as many are seeing this really as a

celebration of an extraordinary life.


MALVEAUX: We are here in Washington, D.C., outside of the Washington National Cathedral really are participating in a tradition, a time

tradition that acknowledges our greatest public servants. It's a windy, beautiful sunny day here.

There are many people who are inside this beautiful, beautiful church and of which she was very familiar and a part of this church for many decades.

Her daughter's going to the school affiliated with this with this religious institution here, and we saw it really the who's who, if you will, of

politicians of diplomats, peacemakers?

But also, you know, some departures from the tradition, those that were the pallbearers carrying the casket inside and inside of the church, her secret

service detail her security detail for many, many years, the ushers are who hand out the programs are those who are her teaching assistants.

She was a professor at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. And of course, her family really critical to her, her three daughters and an

Alice identical twins, Katie as well. Her survived by a brother, a sister and six grandchildren who are present there inside of the church, notably,

many, many world leaders from throughout the world.

But one of the people who be giving the eulogy delivering President Joe Biden, as well as President Bill Clinton, and Former Secretary of State

Hillary Clinton, just those of you see in the audience themselves are world leaders and current and former administration officials.

The current Secretary of State as well as a Secretary of Defense and in the audience of President Barack Obama, Former First Lady, Michelle Obama,

Former Vice President Al Gore these are the people that span her life, her career as an author as a diplomat, as a leader as a grandmother, and as an


A feminist icon and, and really a powerhouse in her own right. She stood only 5.10' inches tall, but was considered a Titan among world leaders for

her blunt outspoken language, her ability to break down complex issues world foreign policy at a time that was critical of following the Cold War,

but in that 10 year period before the war on terror marked by the 9/11 attacks, as she shaped the foreign policy.

And pushed aggressively President Bill Clinton's foreign policy whether it was going into the to the Balkans and ending the war and ending the ethnic

cleansing that was taking place, whether it was pushing for military intervention in areas around the world or trying to reduce nuclear chemical

weapons around the globe. These were the kinds of critical issues that were important to her and important to the administration.

GIOKOS: Suzanne, thank you very much very illuminating and of course a pioneer. You're seeing live pictures coming through there from Washington

D.C. We are going to go live - we're going to come back live to you Suzanne, when Joe Biden gives the eulogy. And again, live pictures coming

through from D.C. Madeline Albright's funeral.

You're watching "Connect the World" live from Abu Dhabi. And still ahead, Bulgaria is moving forward after Russia's decision to hold gas supplies to

that country and Poland. I'll talk live to the Energy Minister. And the Russian President's alleged girlfriend now taking a higher profile in the

midst of Vladimir Putin's war why some in the USA it's time for her to get sanctioned?



GIOKOS: Blackmail; that is the word the European Commission President is using today after Russia's decision to hold shipments of gas supplies to

Bulgaria and Poland. Ursula Von Der Leyen says the EU is mapping out a coordinated response.

Russia says it cuts off supplies for failure to pay in Rubles. In Moscow, the Kremlin spokesperson denied the move is blackmail saying Western

sanctions forced the switch to payment in Rubles.

Both Poland and Bulgaria say they've been preparing for the Russian move. And I want to talk more about this - response with Alexander Nikolov the

Country's Energy Minister joins me now from Sofia. Minister, really good to have you on! Firstly, we've been hearing that Poland and Bulgaria have been

preparing for a move like this. Did you anticipate that the tap would be switched off so soon?

ALEXANDER NIKOLOV, BULGARIAN ENERGY MINISTER: Anticipation wise I could say yes. Because actually we have been notified as of the first of April, as

you know that actually of the payments and everything should be flowing in Russian Rubles. And actually, this is not the biggest issue.

The biggest issue is the mechanism behind itself. So as you know, the devil is always in the details. And the details are that actually, the

description letter provided by Gazprom export does not fit in any way. The first of the entire existing contract secondly, it could result in

significant risks for the Bulgarian state owned entity of meaning up losing control or famer.

GIOKOS: Minister, I'm sorry I have to interrupt. I'm going to sound so sorry. We have to go to Washington, D.C. We are going to be hearing the

eulogy from President Joe Biden. Let's take a listen.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: There are always those who fight for their freedom. And that's 20th and 21st century, freedom had

no greater champion than Madeline Korbel Alright and Alice, Katie, your mom was a force, a force of nature with their goodness and grace, her humanity

and her intellect. She turns the tide of history.

David, Daniel, Jack, Jake, Ben and Ellie, you're too young to remember this. But when the Iron Curtain fell, the Berlin Wall came down. Our world

faced one of those inflection points, once in a generation moment of upheaval but opportunities well.

People in nations around the world were deciding the future they wanted to make for themselves. Your grandmother, your grandmother, as a Madam

Ambassador, as the first female Secretary of State in American history, made sure those nations and those people knew exactly where the United

States of America stood.

And what we stood for you know all through it her beloved sister Kathy and her brother John can attest she never forgot where she came from or who she



BIDEN: President Obama, President Secretary Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, members of Congress, cabinet members past and present. Today, we

honor a truly proud American who made all of us prouder to be Americans.

I also want to welcome the distinguished guests and dignitaries who have traveled around the world to celebrate a daughter, the Czech Republic, who

knew what it meant to endure war and flee persecution with her friend, McCullough hobble when he died. I remember when Madeline eulogized him, she

used these words and I quote, he casts light into places of deepest darkness.

And remind reminded us constantly of our obligations to one another. These words, these words apply equally to Madeline. When I got word and Madeline

passed, I was in midair on my way to Europe to meet with our NATO allies in Brussels to help try to continue to keep the strong, strong alliances


Our organization, an international response to Russia's brutal and unjustifiable war against Ukraine it was not lost on me that Madeline was a

big part of the reason. NATO was still strong and galvanized as it is today.

And a few days later, I traveled to Poland and spoke about all that was at stake in our world. And for democracy and freedom is under assault from

forces of autocracy, and oppression. Many are tired of hearing me say I think we're at another inflection point in world history whether it is

literally a severe contract confrontation between autocrats and democratic nations. President Clinton Bill was not lost on me that you spoke the same

Warsaw castle, but I was about to speak at 25 years earlier.

My case was evening. That interior the castle a beautiful courtyard holds about five 600 people. And mostly poles and Ukrainians were present when I

spoke. And I'm sure men in the audience spoke English. No likely not their first language.

When I mentioned the name, they were respectful what I've seen. But when I mentioned the name of Madeleine Albright was a deafening cheer. They all

stopped everything. They started to cheer was spontaneous. It was real.

For her name, is still synonymous with America as a force for good in the world. Madeline never minced words or wasted time when she saw something

needed fixing or someone who needed helping.

She just got to work as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from the time I was a kid. There were the good old days. I was the chairman

or the ranking member for a good part of that time.

And in the 90s I can attest that Madeleine with a significant help with the president United States kept the committee really busy. And our work to

halt genocide in the Balkans support new democracies in eastern and central Europe to develop plan Colombia, and all those undertake ease.

Madeline was an incomparable ally and adviser beyond the president to me and to others in the committee. She always had a knack for explaining to

the American people why it mattered to them.


BIDEN: That people everywhere in the world were struggling to breathe free. Madeline stop when she left government for decades, she was a Nexus to the

foreign policy community always. And I mean, always, on top of the latest developments, always speaking out for democracy, and always the first to

sound the alarm about fascism.

Present as leaders around the world continue to solicit her advice, including me. When I asked her last year to chair the Defense Policy Board,

she built businesses. She pumped out New York Times best sellers that were both highly pressured and deeply salient and constantly best sellers. I

think I've read them all. You know, and she mentored generations of rising foreign policy experts.

The, quote, foreign policy establishment, you know, and the thing that I noted that was deliberate and remarkable, not unlike Secretary Clinton, was

that she made sure that young women knew they belonged at every single table, having to do with national security, without exception.

Today, across our government and around the world, Madeline's protegees are legion. Many are here today. Each carrying with them, a spark lit by her

passion and her brilliance I thinks part of the reason why Madeline was such a successful diplomat was the she understood something I've always


And my boss, President Obama, when I was Vice President, used to kid me because I repeat so often. Because I believed she understood something I've

always believed that all politics, especially in a national politics is personal.

And ultimately, it's personal. She could go toe to toe with the toughest dictator's then turn around and literally teach a fellow Ambassador How to

do the Macarena on the floor of the UN Security Council.

You think I'm kidding. I'm not kidding. She thought it was too difficult to teach me how to dance. She was right. No matter where she was. She

understood people. She cared about people. And all of that was grounded in an education gained by watching her father, George Josef Korbel, and her

mentor as well.

She learned diplomacy at the dinner table. And throughout her life, nothing mattered to Madeline more than the family. Nothing Madeline had same role

that I do and others here do. No matter what's happening in my day, as President Obama can tell you, who I'm meeting with, if one of my children

calls, I take the call.

She was the same way and Alice Katie, your grandchildren, each of you. Each of you is literally a tribute to her enormous to her enormous capacity to

love. I know it's hard. But I promise you. She's always with you, in your mind, in your heart, and part of your soul.

And I promise you, you're gonna have a tough decision. You're going to be asking yourself, what would she want me to do? Not a joke. Remember I said

that's going to happen. And Kathy and John, the connection the three of you maintain through your lives was always an anchor to Madeline through all

the ups and downs of life.

What a gift. What a gift what a family. You know, from that first transatlantic crossing and on USS America to landing and nations around the

world and that big blue and white plane emblazoned with the words United States of America.


BIDEN: Madeline understood her story was America's story. Her story was America's story. She loved to speak about America as the indispensable

nation to her. The phrase was never a statement of arrogance was about gratitude.

For all this country made possible for her was a testament to her belief in the endless possibilities that only America could help unlock around the

world and her true understanding what America power could achieve when is united with and motivated by enduring American values.

That's why there was nothing she loved more than swearing in new citizens to this great nation of ours. She'd light up reminding them that she wants

stood where they stood. Having gained the blessings of liberty, she wanted nothing more than to share them around the globe.

To Madeline, from my perspective, was no higher mission any greater honor to serve this great experiment and freedom known as the United States of

America. May her memory continue to be a blessing to our nation? And may we remember her words and her deeds.

May she always be a light to all those are the darkest places reminder more obligation to one another. God bless Madeleine Albright.

GIOKOS: President Joe Biden their eulogy for Madeleine Albright and moving eulogy, remembering her life, her impact, and how she trail blazed her way

through US politics. We've got Suzanne Malveaux joining us now live.

Suzanne, incredibly moving and also, what really struck me as you know, him alluding to what would Madeline do over these difficult times that are

facing the world. MALVEAUX: He definitely put it into perspective, the current politics that

geopolitics is playing out with Russia's invasion of Ukraine and really saying that, as former Secretary of State and former ambassador to the UN,

that she really did push and set the stage for, for international alliances for a stronger us purpose.

It was one of the things that she emphasized late in life as well, in her speaking engagements I had an opportunity to be with the secretary as well

as a former Secretary Powell for a discussion about an hour and a half or so at Creighton University some four years ago.

And she really stressed the concern that she had about those international alliances really coming apart at the seams. And there is a sense now that

we've heard from President Biden of restoration of a U.S. power and confidence in dealing with what you are seeing the threat to Russia's

neighbors today.

GIOKOS: Suzanne Malveaux, thank you very much for that update great to have you on. We're going to a very short break and when we return, we will be

bringing you more news stay with CNN.



GIOKOS: Welcome back! And as we mentioned earlier, the European Union is responding to Russia's decision to cut off gas supplies to Poland and

Bulgaria. Russia says it cut off supplies for failure to pay in rubles.

The European Commission President calls that blackmail which the Kremlin denies and want to bring back Bulgaria's Energy Minister Alexander Nikolov

from Sofia Minister, thank you so much, and I apologize for that interruption. Great to have you back on. The European Commission is calling

this blackmail. I want you to give me a sense of Bulgaria's position at this point.

NIKOLOV: Our position was pretty clear. First of all, when receiving the when receiving the message, the official letter from the Russian entity, we

have asked explicitly critical questions that are referring to the mechanism of the payments, which is not actually being as described by

Russia, failure to Pedro was because transaction robots can be executed.

But though, you need all that actually, we want to retain control over the money and subsequently over our obligations under the existing contract

which means that actually we are trying even in these really tough circumstances to follow all prerequisites under the existing contracts with

third party.

Whereas perhaps we don't receive any immune response from these requests to be more specific on how we should follow the mechanism. And if we do so,

and on top, we were pleased re-declared approval follow a common position on regarding European Union standpoint, then we will not accept the fact

that one of the parties within the contract in deciding to change entirely the payment mechanism. So we ended up where we are today. And this is the


GIOKAS: So are there any legal, you know, options for you at this point, as you say Russia has decided to change the terms of the contract. They're not

supplying to you? Are there any legal ramifications that you could be exploring here?

NIKOLOV: Of course, also given the fact that if we look at it from - from our perspective above our gas, the state doesn't entity has executed the

payment. And then the money got returned from Gazprom to actually prove that Gazprom didn't want the money that are referring to the current

month's invoice, which is if we're talking about a breach of the contract then it is absolutely clear from a legal and legislation perspective who

has breached the contract.

And yes, I do understand that already in Europe, and especially in Southeast Europe, as we are on this blank closest possible to Russia, war

is coming to a different dimension, whereas the utility is used as not only as energy tool but also as social distress to as an economic weapon.

GIOKAS: So I'm going to say I want to ask you this 90 percent of your gas comes from Russia, but how important is gas to your overall energy

security, you are going to cancel this contract from what we know at the end of this year. So clearly you had a plan in place already one would


NIKOLOV: Yes, we have assessed the infrastructure that is within our state and we have examined all possible solutions in terms of diversification. As

you know, we are progressing quite fast with Greece regarding the interconnection.

Greece Bulgaria, so actually, it will not only be LNG, LNG is just the option as diversification will you As to the extent possible southern gas

corridor we are trying to extend our partnership with verbiage so practically yes coming from 90 percent to zero of course going to be tough


NIKOLOV: And of course you have a price to pay. But at the end of the day sobriety solidarity is much more important and also the fact that will not

obey a one kind of really strange standpoint from the rational entity, which is pay in a specific way without actually describing the mechanism


GIOKAS: Minister Alexandra Nikolov, thank you very much for your insights. We hope to speak to you soon again to talk about the short term impact of

this decision. Thank you very much for joining us.

And thank you at home for joining us as well that was connect the world CNN's coverage of Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues after the short

break. I'm Eleni Giokos, take care.