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Non-Stop Shelling and Fierce Combat Reported at Azovstal; Azovstal Commander: Russians Violated Truce Pledge; Stock Market Slide: U.S. DOW Dives 900 Plus Points; Ukrainian Commander: "Fierce, Bloody Combat" Inside Azovstal Steel Complex in Mariupol; Russian Presence in Syria Impacts Israeli Relations; Amber Heard Testifies that Johnny Depp "Slapped" Her. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired May 05, 2022 - 11:00   ET




ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: I'm Eleni Giokos. I'm in for my colleague Becky Anderson. Welcome to "Connect the World".

Non-stop shelling and bloody battles that's the scene emerging from the Azovstal steel complex in Southern Ukraine Ukrainians defending the plants

broke out in the battle anthem, and this is what it sounded like outside the complex.

Presidential Adviser says Ukraine repelled Russian forces on Wednesday, but a militia commander says they're back on the territory. This complex stands

in the way of Russia completely controlling the strategic city of Mariupol. As bombs fall hundreds of civilians, including women and children are

believed to be trapped below ground.

So let's talk more about what's happening in Mariupol and elsewhere in Ukraine and I want to bring in CNN Military Analyst Retired U.S. Army

General and Former NATO Commander Wesley Clark. Wesley really good to see you sir! I mean to be honest hearing the sounds that latest video and

specifically that Hymn the battle anthem of the Ukrainians underground in the bunker. Meanwhile, we see the Russian saying another thing that they

didn't have in order to storm Mariupol's Azovstal Steel Plant, interesting messaging coming through what are you reading into what the Russians are

doing, and specifically what the images are telling us?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, there are three things going on. First, some of the Russian forces were redeployed out of

Mariupol. They've been sent north toward the Donbas to try to reinforce the southern arm of what Russia is trying to do to those Ukrainian forces

there. Secondly some citizens in Mariupol have been pressed. I guess there are people who have come up above ground other Russians know they're there.

The Russians are using them as sort of forced labor to clean up the city at this point, in preparation for what's anticipated to be a 9 May, Russian

Victory Day parade through Mariupol.

And then the third thing is I think the Russians are trying to finish off the defenders here in the steel plant. Now for the people that are in that

plant, there are a lot of soldiers are some 500 wounded by all reports. Maybe some of them can still fight, maybe some are flat on their backs and

can't do anything and probably so in the past because they didn't have proper medical care.

But they're still fighting men in there and women and they're fighting for their very lives. Because they know, there's no surrender. We know what the

Russians do when they capture these Ukrainians as prisoners, especially the women.

So it's a very, very serious situation has been building for a long time. They've been incredibly courageous holding on in there. And it's really a

shame that the international community was unable to get in a humanitarian rescue effort, or even get the whole thing evacuated.

GIOKOS: General, you know, there's something you said that really strikes me here you said, you know, to an answer victory on May 9th is that your

prognosis that Putin is going to want to announce some kind of victory on May 9th and Mariupol would be part of that?

And you're basically saying this is a prelude to some kind of more chaos or intense fighting, specifically occurring in Mariupol. And that you don't

believe that the Russians want to open another humanitarian corridor out of the plot?

CLARK: What you know, the Russian, first of all, I think that Putin needs something on the ninth of May, and I think he take a victory parade in

Mariupol, and claim it was a huge win and so forth. If that's all he can get maybe that looks like that's all he's going to be able to get if that.

But also what you're dealing with is the Russian psychological warfare system of sort of raising hopes and dashing hopes raising hopes and dashing

hopes and they do this deliberately. When you offer humanitarian quarter people say oh, well, the Russians aren't that bad and you know, Putin does

respectable human life et cetera.

And then you smash it. Say, oh, the Russians are so mean. They're terrible and then you know it's this up and down that breaks morale at least that's

the way the Russians see it.


CLARK: It hasn't worked in the case of Ukraine, because they're determined.

GIOKOS: General, you know, it sounds so this deceptive tactic that we've seen occurring in the past, you know, during other wars, you know global

wars. And it's interesting to see what the Russians are saying? What do you believe about May the 9th? What do you believe that is actually going to

happen? Because they we know that they don't want to suffer any humiliation here?

CLARK: Well, I think you can't believe anything the Russians say about May the ninth. Remember, the Russians were very clear that they were not going

to invade Ukraine, including Foreign Minister Lavrov who said that so I noticed today their statements in Russian media saying, well, of course,

we're not going to declare a war on May the 9th, you know, go from a special military operation or war.

Of course, we're not going to mobilize. You can't believe any of this. This is just statements. So we don't actually know what's going to happen on May

the 9th? We do think that Putin cannot accept not winning. So he's built up this May 9th Victory Parade, he's going to have to do something to show

that he's victorious. So Mariupol, if he can get it that would be sort of the minimum. Could he launch - in Donbas?

GIOKOS: It's port city, it's an industrial city, you said renewed offensive in Donbas. You know, I was I was just writing down Kramatorsk residential

targets occurring with precision missiles from what we understand. Dnipro Railroad Bridge also targeted Lviv, substations targeted. Do you think that

Russians have more military might to continue this and potentially announce formally, that they're embarking on a war because that means that they

would need the equipment which we know that they've been whittling down?

CLARK: No, they don't have the military might to finish the job they've started. But they didn't do a whole lot more damage with their long range

missiles. But it's up to the west to provide Ukraine the military assistance it needs to use its manpower and determination to force the

Russians out of Ukraine.

That's the only successful way to settle this is Russia has to be defeated and pushed out, out of Donbas out of Mariupol out of Kherson out of the

whole area.

GIOKOS: Yes, General and you said something so important that it's a pity the international community and NATO wasn't able to avert this tragedy in

Mariupol. I want to get more from our Scott McLean now he is in Lviv. And Scott, you've been hearing so much about what's been happening and to be

honest, we've been watching these videos, we've been watching what's happening inside that bunker? It is absolutely petrifying. As an onlooker,

one can only imagine what the experience must be inside.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And you have to wonder how anyone is surviving at this stage of the game Eleni because we know that of course,

some of those bunkers go down quite deep. But we also know that some of them have partially collapsed, at least according to the fighters there who

said that they've had to pull people out who were trapped in parts of that underground tunnel system, that underground bunker system.

Trapped because of the volume of rubble, including some of the people who managed to get out to Zaporizhzhia, just recently, and so the Russians have

offered this sort of olive branch, at least they did yesterday saying that today, tomorrow, Saturday, they would offer these humanitarian corridors

allow people to get out allow them to go in either direction, really toward Russia towards Ukraine.

But now we're hearing from the Deputy Commander of the Azov Regiment saying that the Russians are not living up to their end of the bargain if there

was even a bargain that had been made. They're saying that they are not abiding by the ceasefire that they had promised. Instead, they continue for

the third straight day to try to storm the actual territory of the plant.

And that Deputy Commander appealing not only to the international community to get some kind of a corridor some kind of an agreement to get people out,

but also appealing specifically to President Zelenskyy to get the injured soldiers there, there could be according to the Ukrainian several 100 of

them with varying degrees of injuries.

And they, that Azov Regimen, saying that they are dying in agony, because there is simply not enough supplies, not enough medical supplies to treat

them and obviously no way out of this nightmare.

GIOKOS: Yes, and General Wesley Clark just told us a short while ago that we cannot actually believe what the Russians are going to be doing because

they've been so deceptive in the past specifically about these evacuation corridors which have been absolutely vital. But the pledges and the

commitments have consistently been broken.

MCLEAN: Yes, and both sides have blamed each other oftentimes in the United Nations and the Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez had said previously

that he wanted to broker some kind of an agreement where neither side could point the finger at the other as the reason for this failing.


MCLEAN: But now after one successful mission to get people out, more than 100 of them ending up in Zaporizhzhia. Now it seems like we're back to the

fingerprinting stage and back to the negotiation phase, which we are told is happening at some of the highest levels, but as you mentioned, Eleni, no

signs of anybody getting out today.

And so whether or not any of these humanitarian corridors materialized today or tomorrow, we don't know if there is any good news.

Perhaps it's that in this previously successful operation, officials had gone into radio silence mode, at least on the Ukrainian side, not wanting

to do anything to jeopardize the success of the operation.

So perhaps in the coming hours, we hear no news. That may be good news, fingers crossed.

GIOKOS: We remain hopeful, Scott, thank you so much. In southern Ukraine, after weeks under Russian occupation, hundreds of people have fled the city

of Kherson leaving their homes and their lives behind. Nick Paton Walsh spoke with some of them as they tasted freedom again.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice over): That road to salvation here is a dusty track. Where a few know the route, just follow

the car in front. Above the trees, a dust is likely from fires caused by distance shelling. These are over 100 cars that have run the gauntlet out

of Kherson, the first city Russia occupied.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No school, no almost hospital.

At the moment is terrible. There's so many Russian military there.

WALSH (on camera): What do they do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They, at the moment, they do nothing.

WALSH (voice over): Eyes here - exhaustion, hours held at Russian checkpoints. The only emotion left after two months under the Russian gun,

a slight smile of freedom. The idea dawning that life under occupation is behind them even if a life displaced by war is ahead.

WALSH (on camera): You can see just in the length of this cue here the scale of the desperation that we're talking about here. People fleeing

Russian occupation is leaving the small winning first flight from the city of Kherson, the first to be occupied by Russia at the start of the war some

of them on their fifth attempts to get out.

WALSH (voice over): Something this time was different. It was easing. We left early and they were all asleep, she says. Good have dried up,

everything is from Crimea, she adds. Edic in front squeezed 10 in here.

We were just on the way to get out and they let us pass as human shields when things were flying over us, she says it was terrifying. Five attempts,

Edic said they didn't let us through just turned us around.

They fled a city where things were not going according to the Kremlin's plan, the sham referendum Russia plan to consolidate control never

happened. And this weekend, almost at the moment when they introduced the Russian currency, the ruble, the internet and cell service suddenly went


But even the youngest, the hope ahead is palpable. It was sad to leave he says, but where are we going? We'll be better. This is happening as

villages and roads change hands daily hear these Ukrainian soldiers in the next village anxious to not have their location or faces shown.

We evacuated 1500 people over the last week one said kids, elderly. Russians let them through if they say they're going to Kherson further on.

They drop off their cars, bikes and go on foot to war side.

Across the fields, the agony of Russia's blundering and senseless invasion pours out Nick Paton Walsh, CNN Kochubeivka, Ukraine.


GIOKOS: Thanks, our Nick Paton Walsh there. Take a look at what the Dow Jones is doing right now, 3 percent down as we speak. This is a big loss, a

big down day giving back all of Wednesday's gains for Federal Reserve latest rate hike.

That's a big one and why it's so important to the global economy, that's all coming up next, stay with CNN.



GIOKOS: Right. Welcome back. I'm taking a look at what markets are doing. And it's pretty shocking. I want you to take a look at U.S. stocks. They're

taking a deep dive. We have blood on the market; it's safe to say Dow Jones down around 3 percent.

We have the NASDAQ taking a big hit as well. We've got to remind you that we had the Federal Reserve increasing rates yesterday by half a percent. It

was a big move reversal of the easing cycle that was largely anticipated, but reality is now sinking in as well.

We have, of course, a very big loss coming through on other platforms as well, NASDAQ taking a big fall as well. This is going to be a really big

shift for investors as well.

I want to bring Matt Egan into the conversation. Matt, I'm looking at these numbers, large tech stocks under pressure, Facebook Meta platforms falling

about 6 percent, Microsoft down about 5 percent. What is going on?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Eleni, yes, this is a major sell off just 12 hours or so 18 hours after a major market rally. And a lot of this really is

about the fact that the Federal Reserve, the most powerful financial institution on the planet is going from pedal to the metal stimulus on the

economy, to tapping the brakes on the economy and maybe even really kind of firmly slowing things down.

And that's a huge deal. Now investors cheered yesterday, because Chairman Jerome Powell, he said that right now, the Fed is not actively considering

an even bigger interest rate increase of three quarters of a percentage point.

He basically signaled that's not on the table. And so markets were relieved, we saw this really big rally the Dow yesterday closed up 932

points 2.8 percent.

But as you can see, the losses today are basically completely unwinding those gains, even bigger losses for the NASDAQ. And I think that this is

all about the enormous uncertainty facing the world economy and global financial markets right now.

GIOKOS: Absolutely.

EGAN: We just don't know whether or not the Fed is going to be able to successfully get inflation which is very, very high, get it under control,

and to do that, without sparking recession and so investors are clearly nervous right now Eleni.

GIOKOS: Exactly, look, it's a fine balancing act. It's like walking a tightrope, you've got inflation on one hand, we have uncertainty, you don't

know where oil prices are going.

You've got huge supply constraints and you've got inflation that was of course, spurred even during the pandemic, and then the other end you have

to try and protect growth.

So investors are starting to weigh up this reality, and it's not looking good. And as you say the potential of a recession is becoming so real

because this is actually the outlook and forecast by so many of the large institutions warning that this could come to fruition.


EGAN: Yes, Eleni, we have heard from some major banks, Deutsche Bank most notably saying that, listen, we do think that the U.S. economy is going to

go into recession. They don't think it's going to happen right now.

They think that perhaps late 2023, there could be the beginning of a recession. Jerome Powell, you know, he expressed some cautious optimism

here. He said that he thinks that the jobs market is strong enough to be able to withstand higher interest rates.

But he also conceded that there's a lot of uncertainty right now. I mean, think about all of these major supply, inflationary shocks that we've had

in the past two years, whether it's the initial round of COVID, the delta wave in the United States Omicron, the fact that China now has all of these

lock downs.

All of that is contributing to the bottlenecks on the supply side, and then you had the war in Ukraine, which is not only driving up energy prices, but

food prices and metals, as well.

And so if you combine all of that, you have all of these inflationary pressures. And the fed acknowledged that they can't solve that. I mean,

they can't just make oil prices go lower; they can try to ease demand.

But as you ease demand, that's going to slow down the economy. And that's where those recession concerns come in, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Absolutely, look, if you got runaway inflation, it is absolutely dangerous. And we know that could lead to stagflation, as well, you've got

the BOE also; increasing rates of inflation is actually such a worry.

I was looking at these e-commerce stocks that are also coming under pressure. Is there a possibility here with this drop that we've seen today?

And of course, you know markets could go up and down and there's volatility, we've got to look at the longer trend.

Could there be some just froth coming off the market right here, right now? Because we've actually seen a pretty decent run and markets are now

starting to price in this very new uncertain reality that's emerging.

EGAN: Yes, absolutely. I mean the fact that the Federal Reserve and other central banks had interest rates, basically at zero that forced investors

to go out on the risk spectrum; it forced them to gamble on stocks to gamble on riskier stocks.

And so, of course, that inflated evaluation of some technology companies, some high growth companies, some of them, you know, don't really make any

money don't make much money.

And so we're starting to see that unwind now, because of the Federal Reserve, Napoli's interest rates around 1 percent. If the expectation is

for that to go up to two to three or 4 percent over time, well, that's going to create a lot more competition for stocks.

Now, people are going to have to give a second look to bonds, which had been so boring for such a long time. And so really, that's what the fed is

doing here. They are tightening financial conditions, with the hopes that that's going to try to pull out the inflation fire and we're seeing that

play out in real time in financial markets.

GIOKOS: All right, thank you so very much, Matt. Good to see you. And I'm sure we'll have this conversation again. Looking at these numbers, NASDAQ

down five point a half percent. Dow Jones down almost 3 percent. This is a shocking day on the markets. Thank you so much, Matt, good to see you.

Now, the U.S. senate is sending a bipartisan message to President Joe Biden about the Iran nuclear deal. It passed a non-binding resolution that puts

tough conditions on Iran before the U.S. would agree to reenter the deal. Kylie Atwood joins me at the State Department. Kylie, what is the senate

asking for here?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so these senators are asking the Biden Administration to make sure that Iran agrees to some

minimal requirements before they re-enter into any Iran nuclear deal and these requirements that they want Iran to agree to don't have to actually

do with their nuclear program.

There are things such as Iran, preventing the export of oil to China taking actions to curb their ballistic missile program and maintaining the

sanctions on the IRGC. Now, these are things that aren't on the table when it comes to formal talks about the Iran nuclear deal.

But what these senators are arguing is that they don't want the Biden Administration to agree to a deal without getting some additional

agreements from Iran, because they think it just simply wouldn't be effective in combating the overall threat that Iran presents to the region.

Now, we should note, this is a non-binding resolution. So this isn't a law. But because there was bipartisan support when this was passed last night,

it does send a clear message to the Biden Administration that members on both sides of the aisle Republicans and Democrats believe that they can't

agree to a Iran nuclear deal that isn't actually sturdy, and something that is going to be effective in curbing Iran's activity on a plethora of

different issues.

GIOKOS: Yes. And parties have changed over the past month. Thank you so very much Kylie, good to see you. Imagine being in your home and furniture

falls all around you.


GIOKOS: Well, that's how one woman described a strike in Donetsk ahead, the walk through damage as Russia apparently zeroes in on civilian sites. Plus

a Ukrainian oligarch is fighting Putin and extradition to the United States.

Our Nic Robertson spoke with Dmitry Firtash, will have before ports coming up.


GIOKOS: U.S. stocks are taking a deep dive. I want you to take a look at what the Dow Jones is doing. It's losing almost 1000 points down 2.9

percent at this moment, basically raising all of the gains that we saw yesterday after the Federal Reserve hiked rates by half a percent.

It was a really important moment yesterday, after you saw an official end to the easing cycle by the Federal Reserve and one of tightening. And what

does this mean to try and temper the inflationary outlook, which of course, is causing a lot of concern about what that would mean for the cost of

living and also importantly for growth, the NASDAQ down 4.6 percent.

You've got the tech stocks and e-commerce stocks under pressure significant pressure today in S&P 500 also down 3.4 percent, recessionary fears

emerging in the United States. What is higher gas prices mean?

What are the supply constraints out of China mean for the U.S. as well? And of course, the huge uncertainty that's emerged out of Russia and Ukraine,

these are all on the minds of the investors. This is a big day.

We're seeing deep losses on U.S. stocks right now. And this is a very interesting time where you've seen markets basically being quite resilient

during this uncertainty but Federal Reserve even though they said they probably will not hike rates for the next few meetings.

Again, it seems that investors are starting to really take a reality check on what this could mean for growth going forward. All right, so we'll touch

on those numbers later in the show again, keeping an eye on what markets are doing. But I want to take you back to Ukraine.

A fierce a bloody combat is ongoing in Mariupol at the Azovstal steel plant complex, and that's according to Ukrainian commander. The Azov regiments

deputy commander accuses the Russians of breaking their pledge to allow civilians to leave through evacuation corridors today.

Now as many as 300 civilians are still trapped inside the complex, including 30 children. However, the Kremlin is dismissing reports that the

Russian army has broken into the plants territory. It says President Putin's order to avoid storming the plant is still in place, meantime

civilians continue to pay the price of Russia's war.


GIOKOS: The Head of the Donetsk regional military administration says at least 25 people were wounded after six strikes devastated a residential

area in Kramatorsk. The President of the European Commission during a donor conference had this to say.


URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: To see the mass graves to see the body bags to see the scars and wounds in the houses and

hospitals that have been shelled the kindergartens to schools. It is atrocious; it is a war crime on an everyday basis that Russia is



GIOKOS: As you can hear the urgency and her voice and our Sam Kiley has more on the devastation in Kramatorsk.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Kramatorsk was hit overnight with at least six missiles now; they have had clearly a

devastating impact. This is a heating a pumping station sewage area, the size of the building would indicate that it was in no way could have housed

any kind of military equipment.

LUDMYLLA, KRAMATORSK RESIDENT: I just got lucky. I went to the bedroom, I heard a bang. I sit down on the bed and it heats me and all the furniture

fell down.

KILEY (voice over): But the scenes here are absolutely extraordinary the way that these trees have been completely decapitated, torn to shreds. And

the same goes also for these homes. Now amazingly, very few people here considering the scale of the damage were injured, and none were killed.

They were 25 injured six have been hospitalized. One is in a critical condition. And the reason for that is that at least two thirds of the city

of Kramatorsk has already left, but this without any question is yet another strike by the Russians on a civilian residential area. Sam Kiley,

CNN in Kramatorsk.


GIOKOS: Well and a minute American courtroom or Battlefield in Ukraine. Ukrainian oligarch who is fighting extradition to the U.S. says he'd rather

choose option two. Our International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson is in Finland and he joins me now live.

Tell us more about this Nic. Interesting story that's playing out a Ukrainian oligarch fighting Putin head on, it seems.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, this is a very, very wealthy Ukrainian businessman who owns many significant factories in

Ukraine producing fertilizer, gas repair facilities, chemical factories, shipping company, imports a lot of the fuel in Ukraine and many of these

already been damaged in the war, so taking heavy losses to a lot of his investments there.

But he is pitting his wealth against President Putin right now. And of course, that doesn't come without dangers.


ROBERTSON (voice over): One of Ukraine's richest oligarchs is giving me a ride to his war room. It's bulletproof limo.

ROBERTSON (on camera): I think this is the most luxurious up armored vehicle I've been in; do you feel safe in here?


ROBERTSON (voice over): Dmitry Firtash has good reason to want protection. He is helping fund Ukraine's fight back against Putin, support the

Ukrainians are very happy to have. Inside Firtash's blast proofed office, security guards are just out of site.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Can you show me on the map where your businesses are?

ROBERTSON (voice over): Before the war, he tells me he employed over 100,000 people in banking, chemicals, media.

FIRTASH: Suddenly early deals came from here.

ROBERTSON (voice over): And controlled almost three quarters of Ukraine's fuel imports. He made his fortune buying cheap gas from former Soviet

States, which flow to Ukraine through Putin's Russia.

ROBERTSON (on camera): And this is where all your coordination of the war effort is happening.

ROBERTSON (voice over): In his war room, it seems clear his vast wealth is being unleashed against Putin's war. His new TV channel freedom is

streaming on the war room wall.

ROBERTSON (on camera): That's the new tanks.

ROBERTSON (voice over): A joint venture with other Ukrainian media bosses, a Russian language channel to counter the Kremlin's anti-western

propaganda. From here Firtash is repurposing his business empire, pitting it against Putin.

FIRTASH: Our plants that used to produce gas equipment before today have been transformed to produce anti-tank barriers.


ROBERTSON (voice over): He says his gasoline repairman was some of the first back into Bucha scene of so many alleged Russian war crimes.

FIRTASH: We provided our vehicles straight away and all logistical means to deliver humanitarian aid to all over Ukraine.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Are you helping the government move weapons around the country?

FIRTASH: We transport whatever they give us.

ROBERTSON (voice over): But Putin's war isn't Firtash's only fight right now. He's facing extradition to the U.S. on international racketeering and

conspiracy charges involving bribery, an eight year battle that could be decided soon.

FIRTASH: They don't even allege that I had bribed somebody but only intended to organize this.

ROBERTSON (on camera): But are they right?

FIRTASH: 100 percent no, there was no reason for that because for me to bribe someone I need to profit from this. I never benefited from this.

ROBERTSON (voice over): The charges are convoluted allegations of bribes for Indian officials to sell him cut price titanium for a U.S. aircraft

company. Firtash believes his problems with the United States are geopolitical, and began more than a decade ago, when he was backing

Ukrainian politicians perceived as Pro Putin.

Now both his fights are fusing into a perfect storm. He has been stuck in Austria since his arrest on the U.S. charges in 2014.

FIRTASH: I'm pretty sure that the whole affair was incorrectly assessed by the U.S. government. For some reason, they've concluded that I am pro-

Russian. And this doesn't match reality. I've always been pro Ukrainian.

I was trying to make a deal with the prosecutor's office so that they let me go home for the period when the war is going on to defend my country.

ROBERTSON (on camera): And they said no.

FIRTASH: And they said no. So I am forced to spend some of my time defending myself.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Reality is Firtash knows his eight years fighting extradition here in Vienna, could soon be coming to an end. He could be in

a U.S. court in just a matter of months. They're using the war to launder your image.

FIRTASH: No, not exactly what I'm seeing now is a situation where everyone needs to come to the aid of Ukraine. I'll say it for the 20th time. I am a

businessman, this is my job, I find ways to make money.


ROBERTSON: So he believes that if he does end up in court in the United States that he will win the case because he doesn't believe that the

charges will hold up in a courtroom.

And indeed, he points to the eight years going through the court process of extradition in Austria and he points to them and says look so eight years,

he Austrians haven't found a strength in the U.S. case that would have him extradited to the United States.

He certainly has a lot of wealth that he can bring to bear to fight his extradition. From his point of view, though, it will be far better in

everyone's interests, and indeed his own.

Of course, if he was able to go back to Ukraine spend all this time focusing and repurposing the resources, his vast wealth and resources to

fight the war. That's what he says he wants to do. He doesn't want to be thinking about the possibility of extradition.

GIOKOS: Nic, thank you so very much, really interesting story, much appreciated. Now since the invasion of Ukraine began, Israel has been

hesitant to directly criticize the Russian president or his government. As Hadas Gold tells us Israel's stance is changing. And that's often Russia's

Foreign Minister said Adolf Hitler had Jewish blood.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In the Golan Heights, old tanks in what's known as the valley of tears remind Israelis of the fierce

battles fought here in the 1973 Yom Kippur War against Syrian forces.

Such memories hang heavy as Israel attempts to navigate a new and very complicated geopolitical situation.

GOLD (on camera): Israel's frontier with Syria is just through this valley, we can even see Syrian towns from where we're standing. We're more than

1000 miles away from the war in Ukraine. But Israel's position on Russia is heavily influenced by what's happening just over there.

GOLD (voice over): Israel often carries out airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria, something it sees as critical to its security, but as

Russia has expanded its military presence in the country in order to avoid unnecessary conflict between Russia and Israel, the two countries now have

a direct hotline.

Jonathan Conricus, the former Israel Defense Forces spokesperson says the de-confliction mechanism is necessary because the Syrian battle space is so


JONATHAN CONRICUS, FORMER ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES INTL. SPOKESPERSON: Before an Israeli airstrike is conducted, there was a call to make sure that

Russian troops aren't in danger and Russian aircraft aren't operating in the area where the Israeli Aircraft are.

GOLD (voice over): But when Russia invaded Ukraine, Israel found itself in a tight diplomatic spot. It initially took a more cautious stance to act as

mediator worried about the hundreds of thousands of Jews in Russia and Ukraine and its freedom of action in Syria.


GOLD (voice over): Although Israel has condemned the invasion, accused Russia of war crimes, and isn't planeloads of humanitarian aid to Ukraine,

it's been criticized for not doing more.

The comments by Russia's foreign ministry on Israel's most sensitive nerve, the Holocaust, through one of the strongest Israeli reactions to date, it

does, Russia has amped up even more absurd claims about Hitler having Jewish ancestry and Israel supporting Neo Nazis in Kyiv.

The Rhetorical war of words could mean real on the ground consequences on Israeli strikes in Syria, and any possible future operations against an

even bigger enemy, Iran.

CONRICUS: Russia has the ability to interfere with Israel's capabilities to defend it and to negate Iranian military capabilities simply by being

present with their advanced weaponry in Syria.

GOLD (voice over): But the pressure is growing, as many believe Israel can afford those risks in order to be on the right side of history.

CONRICUS: Security is one thing, it's very important, but we need to make sure that we're on the right side of our moral values of our commitments to

ourselves to freedom and to other democratic countries.

GOLD (voice over): For now, the situation here on Israel's frontier of Syria is unchanged. But as the diplomatic tangles continue, it's not clear

how much longer that will last. Hadas Gold, CNN, the Golan Heights.


GIOKOS: And coming up Thailand's Indochinese tigers are endangered, but their secret life captured on camera gives hope for the species survival.


GIOKOS: A century ago there were around 100,000 Tigers worldwide. And now it's believed that there are fewer than 4000 but one place where Tiger

numbers are on the rise is a wildlife sanctuary in Northwest Thailand on today's Call to Earth protecting a red Tiger, Tiger hotspots from poachers.

Kristie Lu Stout has the story for us.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This lush tropical forest in Northwest Thailand is hiding a rare endangered species. It's one of the

last bastions for the Indochinese tiger, poached to the brink of extinction for their fur and use in traditional medicine.

This iconic species has all but disappeared from much of its range. Almost everywhere in fact, except for here. Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary is

part of Thailand's Western Forest complex with almost 7000 square miles of protected jungle. It forms the largest intact force block in mainland

Southeast Asia.


STOUT (voice over): Fertile ground for tigers and Pornkamol Jornburom is on their tail.

PORNKAMOL JORNBUROM, CONSERVATION PROGRAM MANAGER, WILDLIFE CONSERVATION SOCIETY: This is the tiger track so I'm doing the measurement to make sure

this is real tiger tracks. I will say this is healthy one adult Tiger.

STOUT (voice over): Another way to track them, follow your nose.

JORNBUROM: This is the Tiger spray. So basically Tiger will spread to mark those territories to tell other Tiger this is their homes.

STOUT (voice over): Jornburom works for the Wildlife Conservation Society. The nonprofit is partnered with the Thai department of national parks,

wildlife and plant conservation and a project training park rangers to reduce poaching here since 2005.

Together, they develop the smart patrol system, a combination of boots on the ground, camera traps and data collection to monitor signs of wildlife

and potential threats.

Armed and trained in self-defense, these park rangers are prepared for encounters with poachers. And unlike other protected areas in Thailand,

there have been no incidents of poaching here since 2013 according to the Wildlife Conservation Society.

By using 250 Camera trumps across the forest, they found that Tiger numbers have more than doubled here over the past 15 years to over 60. And this

watering hole deep in the forest has become a day spa for Tigers somewhere to rest, relax and - until they eventually make room for some other force

residents like the Asiatic black bear, Asian elephant and wild boar.

JORNBUROM: Tiger is the top predator of the food chain in ecosystem. So if we are successful in conserving tiger that means we can protect many other

endangered species.

STOUT (voice over): And as Jornburom says big cats need big food. Large mammals like Gower, Banteng and Sambar Deer are all on the menu here.

JORNBUROM: For one adult Tiger, it needs at least 50 Sambar Deers a year to feed them.

STOUT (voice over): 2022 is the lunar year of the Tiger marking a deadline set in 2010 by 13 countries to double their wild tiger populations. So far,

evidence suggests global Tiger numbers are on the rise, but their range has continued to decline. Jornburom is hopeful for Thailand's tigers.

JORNBUROM: For example, Huai Kha Khaeng right now we are the biggest home of Indochinese tiger population.

STOUT (voice over): So while tigers worldwide face an uncertain future, these tigers can relax, at least for now.


GIOKOS: Well, let us know what you're doing to answer the call with the #calltoearth, time for a short break. We'll be back in just a moment.



GIOKOS: More emotional testimony expected today is actress Amber Heard returns to the stand in Fairfax County Virginia, defending herself and a

$50 million defamation suit from ex-husband actor Johnny Depp.

And here's what she said earlier about Depp's behavior during his alleged drug abuse.


AMBER HEARD, ACTRESS: He tried to burn a painting; he was accusing me of having affairs with musician, my ex-partner. And he was on these like, you

know, a drug binge where I saw him not know eating little to no sleep, and he would just use cocaine and drink all day long.


GIOKOS: They filed the suit of a Washington Post opinion piece that heard roads where she claimed to be a public figure of domestic violence. Depp is

not named in the Op-ed but claims he lost - movie roles after its publication. Chloe Melas has more on her first day on the witness stand.


HEARD: This is the most painful and difficult thing I've ever gone through.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN REPORTER (voice over): Johnny Depp's defamation case against ex-wife Amber Heard continued for a 14 day with Heard taking the

stand. Heard's team began its defense Tuesday with a forensic psychologist who testified that she diagnosed Heard with post-traumatic stress disorder

as a result of intimate partner violence from depth.

HEARD: I fell head over heels in love with this man.

MELAS (voice over): Heard testified before a courtroom packed with Depp's fans. She chronicled her relationship with Depp, which she testified

started in 2011 on the media tour for the film The Rum Diary. She recalled the secret of warm glow of the beginning of their relationship that they

kept hidden from the public.

HEARD: When I was around Johnny, I felt like the most beautiful person in the world.

MELAS (voice over): She says the relationship took a turn when Depp struck her after she asked him about one of his tattoos. Depp denies ever striking

hurt and alleges she abused him.

HEARD: I just stared at him kind of laughing still, thinking that he was going to start laughing too, to tell me it was a joke. But he didn't. So do

you think it's so funny? You think it's funny? You think you're funny? He sat me again, like, I wasn't clear. It wasn't a joke anymore. I didn't want

to leave him I didn't want this to be the reality.

I didn't want to have the man I was in love with. I know you don't come back from that, you know not - I know you can't hit a woman, you can't hit

a man, you can't hit anyone. You can't just hit somebody because I knew there was no, I knew it was wrong.

And I knew that I had to leave him, that's broke my heart, because I didn't want to leave him.

MELAS (voice over): Heard told the court that Depp apologized for the incident. But by March 2013 the abuse was escalating. She sent a picture of

a bruise on her arm to her mother that she says she sustained from an argument with the actor.

HEARD: He grabbed me by the arm. And he kind of just held me on the floor screaming at me. I don't know how many times he hit me in the face, but I

remember being on the floor of my apartment. And I'm just I remember thinking how can this happen to me again.

MELAS (voice over): Heard shared pictures of drugs that she says Depp abused one night before he allegedly held his small dog out the window of a

moving vehicle.

HEARD: Everyone in the car I'll never forget it. Everyone just froze - did anything?

MELAS (voice over): In May 2013, during a trip to the desert where she testified both took drugs, Heard says Depp accused her of hiding his

cocaine. She alleges that he began ripping her dress off and proceeded to conduct what he called a cavity search.

HEARD: He starts you know what it feels like patting me down or saying he's patting me down. I can't recall but he ripped my dress, strapped top part

of my dress. He's like grabbing my breasts. He's touching my thighs and he rips my underwear off. Why would I hide his drugs from like, like he was

insinuating that I was doing it or something, it made no sense?

And he was telling me we're going to conduct a cavity search, just sit there staring at the stupid light. You know what; I don't want to do it. He

stood there, while he did that.

MELAS (voice over): Heard recalled another incident from 2013 where she was on Depp's yacht in the Bahamas with Depp's children.


MELAS (voice over): She says Depp's daughter realized her father had started drinking again and Heard says Depp accused her of ratting him out

to his kids.

HEARD: He slams me up against the sidewall of the bedroom of - we're in the bedroom this whole time. But up against the wall of the cabin and slams me

up by my neck and holds me there for a second and tells me that he could - kill me. Now it was an embarrassment.


GIOKOS: Alright, thanks to Chloe Melas for that report. OK. We have to show you the markets right now in the United States intensifying a sell off that

started as markets opened earlier.

The DOW Jones, look at that down over 1000 points a loss of 3.3 percent. Here's the reality reversing all of the gains that we saw yesterday.

Federal Reserve hiking rates by half percentage point, it's spooking the markets at the end of the easing cycle.

NASDAQ down 5 percent, S&P down almost 4 percent, this is because the recession new fears are starting to emerge as well and causing panic. All

right, thank you so very much for watching, that was "Connect the World". CNN's coverage of Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues after the short

break. Take care.