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Connect the World
Biden: Bringing Down Deficit helps Fight Inflation; Biden Speaks on Economy Ahead of Expected Interest Rate Hike; Hungary and Slovakia May Seek EU Oil Embargo Exemptions; Kremlin: No Chance Putin will Formally Declare War May 9; Uproar Over Possible Abortion Ruling from U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Ambassador to Moldova: No Indication Russia Plans Attack. Aired 11a- 12p ET
Aired May 04, 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: I'm Eleni Giokos. I'm in for my colleague Becky Anderson. Good to see you. Welcome to "Connect the World".
And we begin with the siege of that steel complex in Southern Ukraine is taking a chilling turn. A day after a number of people managed to evacuate
radio silence now.
The Mayor of Mariupol says all contact with fighters inside the plant has been lost his reporting heavy battles at the complex like the ones captured
here on video on Monday. He says hundreds of civilians remain trapped inside including 30 children. Officials tell us electricity is back on in
the Western City of Lviv.
Now cruise missiles hit several power stations last night. And Ukraine says it's driven back a dozen Russian attacks in the east. This oil depot was
attacked in the Donetsk region. Russian backed separatists blame Ukraine. And Europe will consider its toughest sanctions against Russia today a
complete ban on Russian oil. Here's the European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: This sends another important signal to all perpetrators of the Kremlin. We know who you are?
We will hold you accountable. You're not getting away with this. Putin must pay a price a high price for his brutal aggression.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: One by one country in Europe will have to make some difficult decisions. We've got Anna Stewart tracking the proposed sanctions from
London for us. We heard Ursula Von Der Leyen there saying that is going to be a huge cost for Russia. Do we know what kind of impact it's going to
have? We know that the big one would be gas but oil is just as important in terms of exports to some countries.
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and when she talks about that high price, we're talking about a really high price because the EU is actually
Russia's biggest oil customer. So it brings in a lot of revenue $95 billion just last year. So that is the point of this sanction measure it would be
very costly to Russia's economy.
But the flip side, of course, as ever, when we look at these sanctions, it would also be costly to Europe because they need to find a way of replacing
nearly a third of all of their oil imports and of course there are 27 member states, it will be more costly for some members than others.
There's also a plenty of fear Eleni that Russia could potentially retaliate here and stop sending gas to Europe. Because while the EU is proposing to
be ready to--
GIOKOS: I'm going to interrupt you we are going to go to the White House, we're going to listen in on President Joe Biden.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The biggest decline in the single year ever in American history, the biggest decline on top of
us having a $350 billion drop in the deficit last year, my first year as president.
We also learned that for the first time since 2016, the Treasury Department is planning to pay down the national debt issued to the public this
quarter. And for all the talk that Republicans make about deficits, it didn't happen a single quarter under my predecessor, not once.
The bottom line is the deficit went up every year under my predecessor before the pandemic and during the pandemic. And it's gone down both years
since I've been here, period. That's there the facts. Why is it important?
Because bringing down the deficit is one way to ease inflationary pressures in an economy where a consequence of a war and gas prices and oil and food
and it all it's a different world right this moment because of Ukraine and Russia.
We reduce federal borrowing and we help combat inflation. This process is a great deal is good news, but it didn't happen by itself. The previous
administration increased the deficit every year was in office, in part because of its reckless $2 trillion tax cut.
Now you're tired hear me saying but that but a $2 trillion tax cut that was not paid for was not paid for. And a tax cut that largely benefited the
biggest corporations 55 of which earned $40 billion in profit and paid not a single penny in income tax in 2020 and wealthiest Americans, like the
billionaires on average pay just 8 percent in federal taxes.
The previous administration not only balloon the deficit, it undermined the watchdogs, the Inspector General's whose job it was to keep the pandemic
relief funds from being wasted. Remember at the time I kept saying they're going to fire this inspector general's well they fired the inspector
BIDEN: And in my administration, those watchdogs are back the Justice Department has a chief prosecutor for pandemic fraud who's going to go
after the criminals stolen billions, billions of relief money meant for small businesses and American families, but never got to them got in the
pockets of criminals.
When I came to office, we took a different approach across the board. With the American Rescue Plan and other actions, we started to grow the economy
from the bottom up in the middle out, rescue checks and tax cuts for working families that gave them this a little bit of breathing room and put
food on the table and a roof over their heads.
Remember, the first year all those lines, long lines of automobiles lined up and going through a parking lot just to get a box of food in their
trunk. Those are all that we put - we got vaccination shots in arms that helped us go from 2 million Americans who had been vaccinated to more than
220 million Americans fully vaccinated.
We made it easy for millions of Americans that sign up for coverage on the Affordable Care Act, saving them an average of $2,400 a year. As a result
of these and other economic recovery plans we recovered faster than projected record 6.7 million jobs created last year, the most in the first
year of any president in American history, and the fastest economic growth in any year in nearly four decades.
And looking ahead, I have a plan to reduce the deficit even more, which will help reduce inflationary pressures and lower everyone's costs for
families flow. It's a plan that lets Medicare negotiate price of prescription drugs. As they do that with the Department of Veterans
Affairs, we can cap the price of insulin at $35 instead of the hundreds of dollars even $1,000 a month for some families.
And my plan provides tax credits to utility companies to generate clean energy. And those companies are required to pass those savings on to
families. I've met with about a dozen of those utility CEOs here in the White House. And they confirm this plan will lower energy bills for
My plan includes tax credits for consumers to purchase electric or fuel cell vehicles new or used, which will save the typical driver about $80 a
month not having to pay for gas at the pump. Tax credits for folks to buy solar panels and heat pumps, and more efficient windows and doors for their
homes estimated savings $500 per year on average.
We can do these things by making sure that no one earning less than $400,000 a year will pay a single penny more in federal taxes. All we're
asking is that the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations began to pay their fair share at least part of their fair share.
You've heard me say before, I'm a capitalist, I believe you should be able to make as much money as you legally can. But just pay your fair share.
There's no reason why billionaires should be paying a lower tax rate than a teacher or a firefighter. That's a sharp contrast to what today's
Republican Party is offering.
And if I - if I hadn't put this in print, you think I was making it up? Senator Rick Scott of Florida, United States Senator, who's leading the
Republican National Senatorial Campaign Committee, released what he calls the ultra-Maga agenda. It's a Maga agenda all right.
Let me tell you about this ultra-Maga agenda. It is extreme as most Maga things are. It will actually raise taxes on 75 million American families,
over 95 percent of whom make less than $100,000 a year. Among the hardest hit, working families, kids with folks, imagine your family of four and you
don't pay, you don't make enough money to have federal taxes.
You're not because you don't - you don't make enough money to pay them. You pay all your taxes, but you just don't make enough. And under this new
plan, this tax plan the ultra-Maga agenda, while big corporations and billionaires are going to pay nothing more. The working class folks are
going to pay a hell of a lot more. And it goes further than that.
This extreme Republican agenda calls for Congress. Look, this is I'm not making this up either. You got to really think about this requires a vote
if it were to pass. Every five years the Congress would have to vote to reinstate or eliminate Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Social Security is something seniors have paid him for their whole life. And it has to be reauthorized has to be reauthorized every five years.
Look, again, it's hard to make this up. But then again, it's a Maga agenda. You know, meanwhile, millionaires and billionaires and corporations skate
Imagine that. Just imagine that. I think it is truly outrageous. I've offered a different plan a plan rooted in American values of fairness and
BIDEN: Wealthy folks and corporations will pay a little more; billionaires and have to pay a minimum tax. And again, most importantly, no one making
less than $400,000 will pay a penny more in federal taxes. We're going to protect to strengthen Social Security, Medicare, not put it on the block
every five years.
Let me remind you again, I reduce the federal deficit, all the talk about the deficit from my Republican friends, I love it. I've reduced it $350
billion in my first year in office, and we're on track to reduce it by the end of September by another $1,500,000,000,000 the largest drop ever.
I don't want to hear Republicans talk about deficits and their ultra-Maga agenda. I want to hear about fairness, I want to hear about decency. I want
to have our help on ordinary people. The bottom line is that for decades, the trickle-down economics has failed. As income and equity grew to
historic levels under the Republicans, the Maga Republicans, the Maga Republicans, I don't want to mispronounce it, the Maga Republicans.
This is time to grow the economy, but from the bottom up in the middle out because here's the deal. When the poor have a ladder up in the middle class
grows, the wealthy always do very well. They do very well. That's what this is about.
This was this is about everybody doing better. And so I want you to understand, again, first year $350 billion reduction in deficit this year
1,000,000,000,005. It's going to bring some relief. Thank you. I take a few questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: --ask a quick question about sanctions the EU about sanctions against or about further sanctions in Europe. The European Union
today announced new sanctions against oil against Russia. What's the next round for the U.S.? And also on a separate issue what's the next step on
abortion once this case gets settled?
BIDEN: --my deficits? I want to make sure this doesn't get covered. OK, here we go. I'm going to answer those two questions. I'm going to go out to
talk the Olympians. With regard to the additional sanctions we're always open to additional sanctions. And I've been in consultation, I'll be
speaking with the members of the G7 this week about what we're going to do or not do, number one. Number two, what was the second one?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Second one was about abortion.
BIDEN: As I said, when I - when this hit is I was getting on a plane to go down to Alabama. This is about a lot more than abortion. I hadn't read the
whole opinion at that time. But this reminds me of the debate with Robert Bork.
Bork believed the only reason you had any inherent rights is because the government gave them to you. If you go back and look at the opening
comments of when the Bork Biden weren't I was crushing him as chairman. I said I believe I have the rights that I have not because the government
gave it to me which you believe.
But because I'm just a child of God, I exist. I delegated by joining this union here to delegate some obligations some rights I have to the
government's for social good. So the idea that somehow there is an inherent right, that there is no right of privacy that there is no right.
And remember the debate we don't remember but we had a debate about Griswold versus Connecticut had been a loss same a married couple could not
purchase birth control in the privacy of their own bedroom and use it.
Well, that got struck down - was thought to be a bad decision by Bork. And I'm my guess is the guys on the Supreme Court now. What happens if you have
state changes the law saying that children who are LGBTQ can't be in classrooms with other children? Is that is that legit, under the way the
decision is written?
What are the next things that are going to be attacked because this Maga crowd is really the most extreme political organization that's existed in
American history in recent American history.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: --like you did on voting rights, Mr. President? Mr. President, how can you combat it?
GIOKOS: Right, President Joe Biden there ending that press conference by saying the Maga crowd was the most extreme political crowd he's seen in
U.S. history is, of course referring to the Trump Administration. He spoke about abortion rights, and of course, those are addressed but importantly,
this whole press conference is really centered around talking about the economy, the efforts to try and reduce the U.S. deficit.
GIOKOS: And he says they've already done unprecedented work on that $350 billion thus far, they're targeting $1.5 trillion going forward. And then
of course, the Federal Reserve is said to make a decision on an interest rate hike. And of course, that's to try and temper inflation, which has
been getting out of control.
The U.S. economy is in a precarious position. He was also referring to potential tax hikes for billionaires, he really spoke about what he called
the Maga crowd and the policies that have been hurting the most vulnerable in the United States.
And he really reiterated the notion of fairness and getting politicians sorry getting billionaires and corporations to pay their fair share of tax.
I'd like to now get more perspective on this. And I'd like to bring in our Business Correspondent, Rahel Solomon in New York, and our White House
Reporter Kevin Liptak, in Washington, really good to see you. Rahel I want to talk about the Fed decision later today.
And really, when we're talking about cutting back on deficits, we're talking about tempering inflation. These are all very important macro-
economic issues for the United States. But the world is watching very closely, because if you're just stopping the easing cycle in the U.S., that
sends a single signal to everyone else.
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It does Eleni in fact, because a lot of the sort of factors that we're dealing with here in the U.S., many of our
western counterparts and economies around the world are also dealing with, of course, the war in Ukraine and energy prices, surging.
China shutdowns and so we're sort of all dealing with a lot of the same macro factors. So to your point, yes what happens here in the U.S. will be
watched very closely by other economies and governments around the world.
In fact, what happens in a few hours has been watched very closely. And Eleni, you're hearing the whispers about, are we going to see a recession
start to grow louder and fast? So this was an opportunity for President Biden to signal before we hear from Powell in a few hours, that the economy
is strong in his words.
Now, can they do it? Can they sort of raise interest rates without triggering a recession? That's the question. And the consensus appears to
be that it's very hard to do, because the jobs market is so strong. In fact, Powell pointing to that recently saying that it's at an unhealthy
So what we'll wait to hear at 2 pm, Eastern, what the decision is, and then we'll hear comments from him at 2:30.
GIOKOS: All right, thank you very much Rahel. Kevin great to have you on! I mean, you know, Biden really mentioning so many important things, targeting
billionaires saying that people that earn $400,000 are not going to be targeted for tax hikes.
Again, what stood out for you there because it seems like he was really taking a stab on Maga what he called Maga Republicans as well, it was
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOSUE REPORTER: Yes. And this is something that he had sort of begun rolling out last week when he was talking to democratic
donors. And it's a message that White House officials and democratic officials in Washington say that the president increasingly wants to use as
we near these midterm elections of primaries for those who have just gotten underway.
And it's something that the president hopes to do more of which is contrast his agenda with that of a Republican Party, which he says is growing more
and more extreme. Today, you heard him pivot to this area of fiscal responsibility, whether it's a reducing the deficit or eliminating debt,
it's an open question of whether voters will really respond to that issue.
It's something of an abstract concept when you have rising prices, rising gas prices, staffing shortages, that are affecting people's everyday lives,
it's unclear whether a lowering the deficit, which is not something that an average American will feel on a day to day basis, will really resonate.
But the President also has another audience, which is members of Congress, and in particular, the moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who has
expressed a number of concerns about rising deficits, about fiscal responsibility.
And you heard the president in that speech, a pitch his social spending plan, he is still a sort of on that, on that beat, he still would like to
see that passed, he laid out a number of provisions that are included in it. Those talks are sort of stalled at the moment.
It's not clear whether Democrats will get that over the finish line by the midterms, let alone by the middle of this summer or so. And so the
president had a number of audiences there but clearly, at this heightened rhetoric about the extremes of the Republican Party, you could hear him
also alludes to that in his remarks on abortion as well. This is clearly the message that he hopes to ramp up as the political season begins.
GIOKOS: Interesting times, Kevin, thank you so very much appreciate your insights. We are going to a very short break when we return more "Connect
GIOKOS: Welcome back. And I'd like to now take you back to our top story. As we were discussing earlier, Europe is considering its toughest sanctions
against Russia to date, a complete ban on Russian oil.
It's not clear yet whether every country in the EU will have to follow this planned EU embargo to a tee. It's being reported by Reuters that Hungary
and Slovakia two countries heavily reliant on Russian oil may be given exemptions and they may still be able to buy the fuel until the end of
Hungary's government has asked for clarity on what the EU's contingency plan for energy will be. Its spokesperson tweeting that he has not seen any
plans or guarantees on how a transition could be managed or how Hungary's energy security could be guaranteed.
Zoltan Kovacs joins me now from Budapest. Thank you very much, sir. Good to have you on. I'd like to start off with whether you've specifically asked
for an exemption, you've been very vocal about the fact that oil and gas has been a red line for Hungary.
ZOLTAN KOVACS, SPOKESPERSON FOR HUNGARIAN PRIME MINISTER: Yes, it's as simple as that. We are reliant on Russian oil 65 percent and Russian gas 85
percent. It's a situation we have inherited. It's not the fault. As a matter of fact, it's remained with us against the efforts of this
government for the past five years to increase energy diversification.
So what we've seen so far, the proposals, the announcements we've seen on behalf of Brussels is simply against Hungarian national security, energy
security, and cannot be done if it's about Hungary.
GIOKOS: But have you asked for an exemption at this point in time in the negotiations that are currently ongoing for the sixth round of sanctions?
KOVACS: Again, the proposal on behalf of Brussels suggested that it should be done by the end of next year. The shortest period, we've been clear on
that our oil companies have been clear on that is three to five years, not to talk about the costs actually such a switch with the mean.
So we haven't seen any feasible plan, any guarantee that it can be done and the European country, Brussels is going to help us make that switch.
GIOKOS: So you're saying if you don't actually see a concrete plan on securing oil and gas supplies for Hungary that you won't be able to even
agree to the exemptions that would carry to 2023.
KOVACS: Something like that, because the very essence of decision making in Europe is consensus. A consensus only can be done if everybody agrees and
to be able to agree.
You have to be aware of the facts on the ground, in our case, and in this case, we need to see how they think it can be done. We see we maintain and
we've been telling Brussels and all the European member states that on Hungary's behalf it simply cannot be done as they require.
KOVACS: As we see, we don't stand alone, as you rightly suggested Slovakia, but also, as we see, the Czech Republic is having problems with this plan.
GIOKOS: You know, I've taken a quick look at your energy mix, you've got coal, you've got nuclear, you also have new oil fields, and of course you
are extracting at this point in time. Is there no way to ramp up capacity in terms of your other energy sources in order to meet, you know, these
restrictions that are coming through?
And I guess the question that many are asking is this, you know, rooted in sort of the political stance that Hungary has been very clear and taking
that your offerings of Russia or is this going to really do with energy security that you're concerned about?
KOVACS: No, it has nothing to do with emotions, political like or dislike, it's a matter of hard physical facts on the ground. Hungary is a landlocked
country, we have inherited a one sided dependence on Russia and the fall of communism.
For the past 30 years, Hungary was trying to make more resources and pipelines available. Keep in mind that we are a landlocked country, so we
don't have harbors, provide an alternative.
And it's been for the past five years that indeed, we've been stepping up with these alternatives and with the establishing alternative routes. We
haven't received much assistance, actually, on behalf of the European Union so far beyond the LNG terminal in Croatia.
So simply, neither resources nor capacities, no alternative resources are available for Hungary for the moment and for the foreseeable future.
GIOKOS: I want to find out if your president knows when Putin is planning to end this war. There are a lot of reports flying around that Hungary
might have Intel on this.
KOVACS: Certainly not, the reference you are using is a discussion which has been distorted a couple of weeks ago. We all receive information and
intelligence from those resources that are reliable and coming from our partners and allies and NATO and the Central European countries.
GIOKOS: Was Hungary pre warned of Russia's invasion?
KOVACS: Of course not, we have received information that the intelligence with the same pace and the same time as other NATO allies was receiving.
GIOKOS: Zoltan, thank you very much for that clarification.
KOVACS: Thank you.
GIOKOS: Really good to have you on, much appreciated for your time, sir. You're watching "Connect the World" live from CNN's Middle East
Broadcasting headquarters in Abu Dhabi. And still ahead the Kremlin refutes reports of a possible formal declaration of war on Ukraine. We're live in
GIOKOS: All right. I want to share new images that we've just gotten into CNN from Ukraine. You're looking at bombardment of the Azovstal steel
plants in Mariupol, where heavy new battles are being reported. Take a look at that.
Now these pictures come from officials at the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic. CNN can't verify when the images were formed, but analysis
suggests the damage was done this week.
Let's bring in Scott Mclean from Ukraine. You're in Lviv, good to see you Scott. Looking at these new images, it just shows the extent of the damage
and the bombardment at the Azovstal steel plant. And yesterday, successful evacuation today we've lost--
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's images are really amazing to look at. It looks as if the steel plant is being suffocated with all the
smoke that is billowing above it.
You can imagine the intensity of those airstrikes. The mayor of that city says it's not just airstrikes, they're also being hit with fire from
artillery fire from tanks. In fact, they say that the Russians have actually moved a ship closer to the steel plant. We know obviously, it's
right on the water there. And that ship is now also firing into the plant area. And the mayor makes sure to point out as well that there are still
civilians trapped under there, including 30 children.
And the fighting is so intense there that he has lost any ability to communicate with the soldiers who are actually sheltering and fighting from
that steel plant. The Russian Defense Ministry Eleni had previously said that the Russians essentially have that plant sealed off, there is no way
for soldiers to get in or to get out.
But the Kremlin is now saying today, the Russian troops are not storming the plant from the ground. But they added an important caveat.
They said what they are doing though, is suppressing militants attempts to take new firing positions. That explains some of the fire that they're
obviously saying is taking place there today as well, Eleni.
GIOKOS: Scott, we heard some attacks occurring in Lviv specifically targeting power stations. This is not infrastructure that's easily
replaceable. What has the damage been? And I know that power has now been restored.
MCLEAN: Yes, that's true. So yesterday, just before dark there were three strikes here in Lviv, they're quite loud. You could hear them from the
center of town and then we realized that there were strikes to the west and the east and to the south of the city.
We went out to the one to the east of the city, which was an electrical power substation. It ran right along a set of train tracks, and it was just
a few 100 meters from an actual train station to pass a very small passenger train station on the outskirts of Lviv as well.
This is the same line that takes passengers typically from Lviv to Kyiv. Now, there's no indication from our vantage point that the tracks
themselves were actually hit.
But obviously, this electrical infrastructure had an impact on the city's power system because power was out for large swaths of the city for some
time. The mayor says that it has now all been restored.
But this is part of a pattern. The Pentagon says that the Russians are trying to cut off access east west for Ukrainian shipments of arms to get
to the front line because many of these strikes landed alongside train tracks or damaged train infrastructure including the strike in - which
injured one person.
The mayor of Lviv says that there were actually 18 or 19 missiles fired at this country. Many of them were shot down including over Kyiv and over
Vinnytsia as well. But the one that really stood out to me Eleni is the one in Zakarpattia.
This is a region in the far west and south corner of the country. And it has been an area of not relative peace. It has been an area of peace since
the war began. It has not been hit with any strikes. It has been nowhere near close to the front lines and now all of a sudden, it can no longer
GIOKOS: Scott Mclean, thank you very much. The Kremlin is calling reports that President Vladimir Putin might formally declare war on Ukraine on May
May 9 is Victory Day in Russia. Senior International Correspondent, Matthew Chance is in Moscow. And we do want to remind viewers that Russia has
introduced strict laws regarding how the conflict in Ukraine is described and has prohibited the broadcast of information it regards as false.
Matthew, good to see you, please could you explain the significance of Victory Day and what today's comments mean for the mobilization of further
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Your Victory Day, obviously very significant in Russia. It's an annual event, which is intended to
commemorate the soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the 1940s.
But it's taken on additional significance because of the context of the conflicts in Ukraine, which is taking place next door. It is a display of
Russian weaponry of Russian military power, a display of Russia's nuclear forces, usually its intercontinental ballistic missiles are also paraded
through the streets of the Capitol and through Red Square, there are military parades that take place across the country as well.
And so that's particularly significant given that Russia's military is engaged in what it calls a special military operation in Ukraine, as I say,
for the past couple of months.
And so the context of that will be significant. Every year, Vladimir Putin tends to make some remarks. He addresses the troops, he makes some remarks
which are broadcast around the country, and of course, around the world as well.
And normally, in my experience, that they're usually kind of quite sort of generic kind of praise. It's usually quite generic praise of the Russian
military and the sacrifices people have made in the past.
But there's a lot of anticipation this year that the remarks from the Russian president could be about the conflict in neighboring Ukraine and
the nature of Russia's special operation.
Some speculation coming from the United States and other Western officials, saying that this could be an opportunity for Russia to formally declare a
war on Ukraine to formally annex the mobilization of forces, so it can bring more military powers to bear on the conflict in Ukraine.
But the Kremlin have dismissed that they've said no, that's nonsense, as you mentioned, they're not giving anything away about what if anything is
going to be said.
But anyways, I experienced at this point two months after the Russia sent its troops over the border into Ukraine, that we have to sort of wait to
see what Russia actually does, rather than what it says it's going to do.
Those things are sometimes a little bit different. And so look, we'll be watching this very carefully. And we'll be seeing what Vladimir Putin says,
and seeing what message comes out of that very important day of commemoration here in Russia.
GIOKOS: Matthew, we've been reporting since this morning that the EU is proposing to ban all oil imports from Russia by the end of this year. Has
there been any reaction from the Kremlin to that decision?
CHANCE: Yes, the - I mean, obviously, it's been that would be a massive blow to the Russian economy. I think it was last year that the European
Union imported something like 25 percent of its oil from Russian sources.
And so you know, it's going to be difficult for the Europeans as well. The Europeans have said, look, you know, we will try to do this within the next
six months, with a couple of exceptions to allow some European Union countries to look for sources of oil elsewhere.
I think it's being extended for a year for some countries. And it's not had final approval, yet. It takes unanimity in the European Union, of course,
for something like this to get through. But the expectation is that it probably will.
It's been discussed for some weeks now, how to bring more tough sanctions to bring some pain to bear on Russia. The Russian response has been well,
to sort of play it down a little bit to say look, it's just discussions at the moment for keeping an eye on, but also to warn that it's a double edged
That's the phrase actually, the Kremlin use when they address this. It's a double edged weapon, they say that will hurt the Russians, but will hurt
European Union citizens as well.
Because it will, you know, when you cut off Russian supplies of oil, it inevitably is going to push up the cost of living in European Union
GIOKOS: Matthew Chance in Moscow, thank you so much. Good to see you. And just ahead, this document has ignited a political firestorm across the U.S.
And there's plenty of reaction from across the world as well.
The global reverberations afterward that America's top court could strike down Abortion Rights, that's coming up next.
GIOKOS: People across the United States have been taking to the streets. Huge crowds turning out for demonstrations after news broke on Monday that
the Supreme Court may strike down Roe v. Wade, a move that would overturn the federal constitutional rights turn abortion.
There's been plenty of international reaction too. Keep in mind globally, more nations have been liberalizing access to abortion in recent years,
especially in Latin America and the Irish Republic right now.
We're joined by one of the leaders of the successful campaign to decriminalize abortion in the Republic of Ireland, Activist and Academic
Sinead Kennedy in Dublin.
And from New York, I want to welcome and bring in Gloria J. Browne- Marshall, Constitutional Law Professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Author of the book "She Took Justice: The Black Woman, Law, and
Thank you so very much to both of you. What's an important time to have a conversation about something that I guess we didn't think was going to be
brought up again, in 2022.
Sinead, I want to start with you. You know, in Ireland, there's been incredible fight to try and get the rights of women the right to terminate
a pregnancy. So you know, what is at stake here? What does it mean, when the U.S. is considering banning abortions for protection of women in where
SINEAD KENNEDY, ABORTION RIGHTS ACTIVIST AND ACADEMIC: Well, I think I mean, first and foremost, this will this is obviously a huge shock to women
and pregnant people in the United States. And I think our thoughts are first and foremost with them. But the United States is a global power.
The anti-abortion movement in the United States is very influential and very powerful. So it will have consequences that will reverberate far
beyond the United States into Europe and also, I suppose into Ireland.
Currently in Ireland at the moment our constitutional ban on abortion was removed in 2018. And our first abortion law was introduced in 2019. That
law is currently under review at the moment.
And I suppose this will add a certain degree of confidence to the anti- abortion movement in Ireland that's always been very influenced by the United States. We are attempting while we did win an important victory in
Abortion continues to be quite restrictive here in Ireland and significant numbers of women are still forced to travel abroad. So we are trying to
make that law more accessible and more equitable.
And I think this decision has made things I suppose are more challenging. But I think Ireland shows abortion was only made legal in Ireland in 2019.
But Ireland has long had an abortion rate that is comparable to most European countries.
And it just shows how banning abortions doesn't stop women and pregnant people accessing abortion. It just makes it harder particularly for poor
more marginalized groups, particularly women, women of color.
Because if you can travel, if you have the ability to travel, the financial means and the ability to, you know a passport to cross a border, you can
with difficulty but you can access abortion.
It's the most vulnerable it's the most marginalized, that abortion bans affect. They don't stop people having abortions.
GIOKOS: Yes. So well put. Gloria, I want to bring you in here. And I read your analysis. And you were saying that conservatives were basically
waiting for this opportunity. You know, try and do that work that was done on Roe v. Wade.
And you mentioned, - and it's interesting. We just heard from President Joe Biden, he also mentions - saying that this is going to bring into question
so many other rights to privacy that could, of course, put so many other things at risk.
I want you to give me a sense of where we all right now and what legal avenues could be explored to try and avert what many call a catastrophic
GLORIA J. BROWNE-MARSHALL, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Well, we have one, the idea that this was
generationally done. When Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, that very year groups met to try to put in place, what would be necessary to undo it.
And so one thing that happens quite often is the progressives think from very small, short term from election to election. Well, the conservatives
are thinking generationally. And they know by 2045, the United States of America is going to be majority people of color.
And so this is part of the nationalist movement that's taking place around the world. This is a global issue, this whole idea that patriotism, and
patrimony and all of these things that come together to be a patriarchal system, I mean, will then continue to stay in place.
And we'll be back to the 1940s and 50s. So when Justice Alito wrote this opinion, he wrote it with the idea that he would give it to the states,
because most of the states are run by conservative political leaders.
And so the state's running these political trigger laws that are already in place, they've enacted laws that are just waiting for this decision to
become official, and then they will banned abortions altogether in many of the states.
BROWNE-MARSHALL: Here's the problem that we have. As was pointed out, poor women are going to either harm themselves or they will go into those states
that are still allow abortion such as New York.
What this decision does not say is that they should actually pass a federal law in congress. Why did Alito specifically say go to the states because he
knew the states would be more conservative.
However, in our country, the way the legislative body works, federal law can then create an abortion that might have restrictions to it or right
altogether, that all the states must abide by.
So I think the next level is going to be for progressives to stop thinking from election to election, act as quickly as possible, pass a federal law
that allows for abortions to take place, and then their change should not have the power to overrule a woman's right to choose.
GIOKOS: Sinead, I want to bring you in here again, what are you doing at this moment, to try and ensure that the work that you've done is not
reversed on the basis of what's happening in the U.S.? And are you specifically worried about, you know, the next few months in terms of this,
as you say, anti-abortion groups feeling emboldened by this?
KENNEDY: Well, I think it is, it is, yes, it is a concern. But we did have a very kind of strong movement here in Ireland that had been building for
many years. So I think it is a case of mobilizing that, that movement, again, of centralizing the experiences of women and pregnant people, which
was so important in winning our victory back in 2018.
But I think one of the lessons that we're learning is that you can never take for granted these rights so that rights that are given can be quickly
taken away. And that's why I think it's really important. It's been very, I think, heartening for us here in Ireland.
And we want to all I think all the activists here express our solidarity with women and pregnant people in the United States, because that is how
you win. Rights are not gifts that are bestowed by politicians and judges.
They are things that we have to struggle for and take for ourselves. And I think, you know, the scenes that I've been seeing for the past, you know,
two days are really inspiring, and I think they will inspire us here in Ireland as well.
GIOKOS: Sinead, Gloria, thank you very much, right that must be protected and must be guarded and I'm sure we'll be speaking on this topic in the
next few weeks. We hope sanity prevails here. Thank you so much to both of you.
Next on "Connect the World" we'll go to Moldova where the U.S. ambassador's responding to fears over Russia expanding its war in Europe.
GIOKOS: Despite your concerns the U.S. Ambassador to Moldova says there's no evidence Moscow is planning an attack. Kent Logsdon who you can see on
the right of your screen accuses Russia of trying to redraw the map of Europe at gunpoint, but he insists Vladimir Putin will lose.
The EU is also looking for ways to offer military support to Moldova after recent attacks in the pro Russian Transnistria region.
Randi Kaye is in the Moldovan Capitol, Chisinau, thank you so much, Randi, for joining us. Good to see you. You've been speaking to the ambassador,
what is he saying?
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We spoke with the U.S. Ambassador Kent Logsdon. And we talked mostly about the security concerns and whether or
not Moldova could be drawn into this war with Ukraine. And here's what he said when I asked him directly if Moldova is facing a direct threat from
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENT LOGSDON, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO MOLDOVA: We have looked at all the ways that we can try to support Moldova but we don't see any indication right
now. And we look at it every day. But we see no indication right now that there's any Russian plan to attack Moldova.
KAYE: How concerned are you that that could change?
LOGSDON: We're concerned every day because in the neighborhood, it's obviously a great concern to people here. We try to do our best to assess
what we see. And of course, anything that increases tension in the region is something that we worry about and take a look at. But we try very hard
to make sure that we give good information and good assessments to the government of Moldova.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Of course, there's a lot of concern here Eleni, because if Russia isn't doing well in Ukraine, some fear that Vladimir Putin may see Moldova
as an easy target.
GIOKOS: Yes, exactly. It could cost his - wider. I mean, how do people feel about that possibility of being dragged into a war?
KAYE: Well, we've spoken to people, certainly in some of the villages that are closest to Transnistria, that breakaway region that sits on the border
with Ukraine, and Moldova and some people are packing their bags, they're getting their documents in order.
Others have said they're going to stay and fight for their country and fight for their home. But we did ask the ambassador, if there's anything
that he can say to the people of Moldova that will calm their fears, and this was his response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: What is your message to everyday Moldovans who see what's happening across the border in Ukraine and worry that Moldova could be next?
LOGSDON: The message that I give very consistently is that we are good partners, to the Republic of Moldova, to the people and to the government
here. We have from the beginning of this war in Ukraine, shared information as we've had it, and will continue to share information.
Each time I'm out in public each time I'm in a meeting or I just meet with regular Moldovans. And they ask, what's the situation? I make sure it's
clear, the U.S. Embassy is here. We're open. We're operating per normal. Our families are here. We continue to work here.
We obviously have to pay attention to safety and security issues no matter what every day we worry about that whether there's a war on next door or
not. But in this case, I think we have to be particularly vigilant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: And of course, as you know, Moldova is not a member of NATO. It has applied for membership into the European Union, but it is not really in a
position to defend itself.
The ambassador said that Moldova has a very weak army with outdated equipment. But we did also speak to the foreign minister here in Moldova
and he said that they are certainly increasing the patrols at the border to try and keep the peace there.
KAYE: Even looking at the green border, as they call it, the fields in the country making sure that those are safe and also they are checking the
people and the cars that are coming out of that breakaway region, Transnistria just to make sure that there aren't any threats coming into
GIOKOS: Randi Kaye, thank you so very much for that update. Good to see you. All right and thank you so very much for joining us that was "Connect
the World" I'm Eleni Giokos, CNN's coverage of Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues after the short break with Zain Asher, stay with CNN.