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Connect the World

Sweden: Taking Finland's Step Forward Towards NATO "Into Account"; Finland Moves Closer to Joining NATO; Thousands Attend Memorial Procession for Slain Journalist; Ukraine Destroys Pontoon Bridges in Luhansk; Gazprom to Stop Using Pipeline that Runs Through Poland; First Image of Milky Way's Supermassive Black Hole Revealed. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired May 12, 2022 - 11:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN, Abu Dhabi. This is "Connect the World".

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

From the likes the look of NATO and after seeing what Russia is doing to Ukraine, the Nordic countries leaders say Finland must apply for membership

without delay for its parts NATO is promising a warm welcome.

And Ukraine's President Zelenskyy has been quick to congratulate Finland on its decision after all, it's a big shift for Helsinki and it's been neutral

since World War II. NATO's pat on the back comes one day after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Finland to offer UK support CNN's Nic

Robertson bringing us the story from Helsinki.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice over): Warm handshakes, smiles and then a signature promising military support as

Finland speeds towards requesting NATO membership.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: In the event of an attack on either of us, then yes, we will come to each other's assistance, including a with

military assistance.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Johnson's assurance precisely what the Nordic Nations' President wants, as they consider joining the Transatlantic


SAULI NINISTO, FINNISH PRESIDENT: This is very, very good way to go forward. And we do appreciate lot this big step.

ROBERTSON (voice over): In parliament where the historic vote will happen, routine business continues. Politicians cautious of stating their positions

publicly, less Russia escalate tensions.

JOHANNES KOSKINEN, FINNISH PARLIAMENT MEMBER: There's this idea that the time from the final decision making towards the application and then to the

joining to NATO should be as short as possible.

ROBERTSON (voice over): When the moment comes in a plenary session of parliament likely next week Koskinen, a member of the PM's party is sure

the vote will carry easily.

KOSKINEN: In the plenary, the results maybe around 180 out of 200 in favor of membership.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Politicians and public for the most part in lockstep wanting to join NATO.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People of course support, especially when Russia have attacked the Ukraine.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Not just the invasion of Ukraine, but a history of rocky relations with Russia spring, many here to reassess decades of


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a very old father, he's 96. So he was here when we had our wars in Finland with Russia. And he's been talking about, you

know, the Russians could come anytime. And as you know, the fact that you're back in the 40s and take it easy, and they're not yes, you never

know what the Russians they can always come. I said take it easy. And now I just had to say to him, well, you were right.

ROBERTSON (on camera): In a way Finland has been preparing for this moment for more than a generation. They've been involved in plenty of NATO and

other international military operations, from Iraq to Afghanistan to Kosovo, Bosnia, Lebanon.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Just last week, British troops were training here with Finnish American and other NATO soldiers Johnson's visit promising

more of this. NATO a session should Finland ask for it is expected to be fast tracked, but could still take months Nic Robertson, CNN, Helsinki,



GIOKOS: So as Nic mentioned, Sweden might also be on the brink of joining NATO. And Anna Wieslander joins us now from Stockholm. And she's the

Secretary General of the Swedish Defense Association and the Atlantic Council's Director for Northern Europe really good to see you. Thanks so

much for taking the time.

I want you to give me a sense of where Sweden stands right now, from what we know it's that Sweden has indicated it will announce a decision on NATO

membership around the same time as Finland. Do we know any more about this?

ANNA WIESLANDER, SECRETARY GENRAL, SWEDISH DEFENSE ASSOCIATION: Well, we have exciting days ahead of us tomorrow there will be a parliamentary

report on the security situation and on Sunday the governing party the Social Democrats will announce their stance on joining NATO.

And we expect a shift there from not wanting to join NATO to wanting to send in an application and actually there are indications that already on

Monday this could be possible because in Sweden this is the government decision.


WIESLANDER: And you could just have an extra meeting and basically decide that Sweden should join NATO. And there has also been an announcement of a

parliamentary debate on Monday. So these are very exciting days just ahead of us.

GIOKOS: Anna do you have a sense of whether this is going to receive support? We spoke to the Defense Minister not too long ago. And he

basically said that there was still a non-alignment of EU in Parliament's that it would still need to go through various processes.

And what he also said to us, we must also see what will happen if we apply for NATO membership, the risk if we apply, have those checks and balances

occurred at this point in time?

WIESLANDER: Well, we had a visit yesterday from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and there was a bilateral declaration of security guarantees and

security support for Sweden as well as for Finland. And I would expect the same.

There have been the same kind of discussions with the U.S so not treaty based, but political declarations and a lot of political and military

engagement and presence here. So I think those things have been settled, basically.

And also, we have had within the social Democrats and the Defense Minister himself just a couple of days ago, saying that, you know, there are

advantages with Sweden and Finland joining NATO, there will be things that we can do that to secure Northern Europe, that have not been possible, as

long as we are outside of NATO.

So there is a shift definitely among leading politicians, also in Sweden. And on Tuesday, the Finnish President Sauli Ninisto will visit Stockholm on

a state visit planned since a long time back. But that is, of course, a very important time also where we could expect perhaps joint statements

from Sweden and Finland on this.

GIOKOS: It's such an important point that you make that there's been a shift specifically from the Defense Minister, who was always very hesitant.

Do you feel confident that the decision will be made by Monday and that Sweden will join NATO?

WIESLANDER: I feel pretty confident on this. Yes, because of the shifts and the tones that in the way it's argued. And also because Finland is actually

leading the way here, Sweden and Finland security are very much dependent upon each other. And I think that's the recognition among all leading

politicians in Sweden.

And since we had this announcement today, of the urgency for Finland to join NATO, this is really important also for Sweden, and its security. So I

do expect this to happen yes.

GIOKOS: Yes. And it's interesting that you say Finland has a you know, in Sweden are moving in lockstep together with regards to joining NATO. You

mentioned Boris Johnson's visits, and the UK has agreed to mutual security deals with both of the of your countries to Sweden, as well as Finland, can

you give me a sense of what this will mean for security in your countries?

WIESLNDER: Well, it means a lot of course, because the UK is an expeditionary force, it has nuclear weapons. It is - a dominating actor in

Northern Europe so if something would happen here, or a crisis would develop, UK would be here very quickly, and I expect them to be around here

a lot. Already we have through the joint expeditionary force which the UK leads in which Sweden and Finland participated?

We have practice together hybrid scenarios already. And so there is a lot of activity. And there is also a political commitment from the UK towards

this area. And that's very important for us.

GIOKOS: Anna very quickly, are you worried about Vladimir Putin retaliating?

WIESLANDER: Well, I think definitely there will be reactions from Russia. They have announced that they will react and I'm sure they will in some

circumstances. What we have seen so far has not been as much as we perhaps expected.

But there is still an insecure situation ahead and that could be anything from you know cyber-attacks or disinformation electronic jamming. We have

had intrusions into our airspace and I'm sure there will be more longer term make shifts to move the military installations closer to our borders

for instance.


WIESLANDER: And of course react politically, I would expect that as well. But on - I think we have anticipated most of what could happen already and

taking measures to counter that.

GIOKOS: Anna Wieslander, thank you very much for your insights great to have you on the show! Now the Kremlin is watching the NATO live in like a

proverbial Hawk. CNN's Nic Robertson is back with us this time live from Helsinki.

Nic, you know I have to say just speaking, to Anna Wieslander there saying that Sweden will be debating this in parliament that it is inevitable that

they will join and importantly walking in lockstep in terms of what Finland is doing. And they see themselves as two countries that will probably be

joining the NATO alliance together?

ROBERTSON: Very much so. And these are two countries that have a strong security alliance. Anyway, they joined the EU pretty much around the same

time. There is a real sense here that this should happen together to sort of ease just to make it easier on the NATO process internally, as it

reviews a session of both countries, obviously, both countries are individuals and individual countries, and will have to be assessed on their

own merits.

But in terms of the processes and the meetings within NATO, it makes it more straightforward. And I think this has been really the hope or the plan

of both the prime ministers of both countries, because if you just go back to mid-April, the Prime Minister of Finland here went to Sweden to have the

joint announcement that Finland was going to put forward a paper, a government paper to the parliament for debate on security and about the

issue of NATO.

So it's been a real effort from the get go to be in lockstep. And it's important for both of them because neither wants to be left behind neither

wants to be exposed to whatever actions Russia may choose to take.

GIOKOS: Yes, and for the Swedes quite interesting that we had spoken to the Defense Minister, and he had said that they still wanted to be sort of non-

aligned that that was the strategy. But it seems now that there's been a huge shift. And they're taking into consideration the huge risks related to

being so close to Russia?

ROBERTSON: I think, you know, politically here in Finland, they really took note late last year when you know, when the Russians sent their security

guarantees, demand, if you will, that sort of 17 page document, they sent it to NATO, they sent it to - they sent it to President Biden as well.

And in that they spelt out that NATO should not expand, no one else should join NATO, and both Finland and Sweden knew that meant them. And that was

impinging on their sovereignty. And they knew at that moment that something had changed over the past decades of their relationship with Russia.

It have been at times tense at times more at ease, we you know, with open movement across the border, very open movement across the border, but they

recognize that something had changed. And then on top of that, you had the invasion of Ukraine and the assessment very, very, very sharply, that Putin

was in a risk taking mode, put the two issues together, and they just couldn't stand by and take and take the risks themselves.

And therefore the only way to get security the best way to get security and as well, a lesson learned watching what happened to Ukraine. Ukraine was

the object lesson that if you're not in the NATO umbrella, then NATO nations would not step into your country to support you and potentially go

against Russia and everything that that means.

If you're outside the NATO clubs are all of this became crystal clear. And that's what changed perceptions here.

GIOKOS: Right, Nic, thank you very much. I'm sure we'll be speaking over the next few days about these developments great to see you. Now to the

conflict that has inspired Finland to break its decades of neutrality.

Ukraine reports more villagers in the Northeast near the Russian border are coming under fire, with one community getting hits with 20 artillery

shells. Still Ukraine's military claims a number of villages are back under Ukrainian control but still within range of Russian artillery fires CNN's

Nick Paton Walsh spoke with one woman who barely escaped a Russian missile strike.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: (voice over): Sometimes places that speak only of death for a jewel of life. This is the first time

Ayuna has stood in this spot. Since 72 days ago she was dragged out from the rubble here.


WALSH (voice over): Her husband Andrey had been scouring it looking for her for three hours. She remembers the cupboard.

AYUNA MOROZOVA, KHARKIV BLAST SURVIVOR: That was where I was standing up.

WALSH (voice over): The multiple rocket attack on this, Kharkiv regional administration, was an early sign of the ferocious cowardly brutality

Russia would unleash on civilian targets.

This is our Ayuna. She had been serving coffee and cookies to soldiers saw a flash and curled into a ball.

MOROZOVA: I feel a physical manifestation of fear. I don't like cookies anymore. The box fell on me and I remember the smell.

WALSH (voice over): She asked to step away, saying she's sick with butterflies like she hasn't felt since before races when she used to swim

professionally. Andrey picks up the story.

ANDREY MOROZOVA, AYUNA'S HUSBAND: When I heard her voice, I was crawling across the rubble, and the emergency services were trying to kick me out. I

pulled a man out and then hurt her. I did not plan to leave her here.

WALSH (voice over): The soldiers waiting in the corridor outside from her died. The young women in the basement below her died. Their bodies not

found for three weeks. Yet somehow the concrete here fell shielding Ayuna.

MOROZOVA: I knew I was alive in pain but nothing broken, but was worried I would be left and never be heard. The first time they heard me they started

to get me out and the second missile came and I was properly trapped.

WALSH (voice over): A rescuer eventually hurt her.

MOROZOVA: Andrey got closer and I said it was me and he cried. They said they shouldn't lift the baton on me but Andrey did alone. It got easier to

breathe. I was surprised as I thought I was still at ground level. The ambulance guys said it's your second birthday you're alive.

WALSH (voice over): Fragments of a Kharkiv have now passed pepper this shell cleaning up and trying to sweep away it's trauma.

MOROZOVA: I sleep with the lights on and when there's a loud car or God forbid a jet plane I brace. The nightmares that I'm again lying there and

shivering cold in that nobody hears my cries that also stops me from sleeping.

WALSH (voice over): Ayuna was born in Russia, but can no longer talk to her relatives there. She says they believe Russian state media is absurd claims

this is a limited operation against Nazis.

MOROZOVA: They say it was my stupidity and that I don't need to be here. I hope when time passes, our children can talk but I can't talk to them now.

Russia has lost its mind and cannot control its president. They are all each responsible every citizen.

WALSH (voice over): The story here not of ruins loss or burial and dust but instead of a feverish energy that burns through the buildings bones as

Kharkiv gets to decide where it's pieces for, Nick Payton WALSH, CNN Kharkiv, Ukraine.


GIOKOS: Well coming up, horrifying video obtained by CNN may provide evidence of a possible Russian war crime and we'll bring you the report

right after this. And the memorial procession for an Al Jazeera journalists killed in the West Bank while covering an Israeli military operation. What

Palestinian leaders are saying today about her death?



GIOKOS: The honest voice never dies those words chanted in the West Bank today at the memorial possession for Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu

Akleh. Al Jazeera and the Palestinian Authority say Israeli forces fatally shot Abu Akleh as she covered an Israeli military operation in Jenin on


The network calls her death a cold blooded assassination and Israeli military spokesperson told CNN it is not yet known who killed Abu Akleh.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says he will bring Abu Akleh's killing to the International Criminal Court.

Hadas Gold was at the memorial position in Ramallah earlier and joins me now from Jerusalem. Hadas, I was just looking at those images of the

procession and the thousands of people that would gather there and also them chanting, that's an honest voice never dies.

Tell me about the people there. And importantly, as well as the messaging of those that spoke.

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So Eleni, the ceremony took place at the residence of the Palestinian Authority President. And there were probably I

would say thousands of people gathered both within the compound and outside on the streets surrounding the compound.

And it was a wide range of people. There were officials, there were politicians, religious officials, and of course, many, many journalists and

only to cover the event but also colleagues of Shireen's as well as just members of the public there.

Several people brought signs that called for justice; they brought pictures of her many people brought flowers to place upon her coffin. And there were

also members of Arab members of the Israeli Knesset politicians who were there as well, as well as diplomats.

And it just went to show you what an icon Shireen Abu Akleh was to this community and to people all around the world. She was such an important,

not only female journalist, but just iconic journalist for so many of these people for so long.

As you noted both before and after, before her body was brought to the ceremony and as it was being taken away in a convoy of ambulances, the

crowds who were both inside and outside, they began chanting things like you said, they said the honest voice never dies.

They also said we sacrifice our blood and spirit for you, Shireen. Again, you could just really feel what she meant to so many people. You know, she

died when she was only 51 years old.

She had so many years left of reporting that she could have done. Now during the ceremony, the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made

a speech about Shireen about her contributions. But he also made some comments about this about the investigation into her death and what


And he said that the Palestinian authority rejected and will continue to reject the joint investigation that the Israelis had asked for. The Israeli

said that they want to do a joint investigation to figure out what had happened to her.

And as you noted, he also said that they want to go immediately to the International Criminal Court. I also want to play for you what the

Palestinian Prime Minister had to say about the incident as well.


MOHAMMAD SHTAYYEH, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRIME MINISTER: We will run the investigation alone. And we'll share the findings with all the

international partners. The U.S. the ICC, Qatar and whoever is connected to this story will have a copy of the investigation file and we will give the

findings to the ICC.

We do not believe in the Israeli judiciary. We do not believe in Israeli investigation. We have seen dozens of Israeli investigations without

results. The soldiers who kill are awarded or move posts.


GOLD: Now the Israelis had specifically asked they said that they wanted to also be able to examine the bullet that killed Shireen.


GOLD: But Mohammad Shtayyeh, the Palestinian Prime Minister said that they will not give the Israeli side the bullet at any cost, Eleni?

GIOKOS: Hadas, thank you so much. And this is a story that of course, we'll be keeping a close watch on as investigations still get underway. Thanks so

much. Now North Korea is reporting its first case of COVID 19.

State media is calling it a major national emergency. And North Korea's leader has ordered lockdowns across the country as Paula Hancocks tells us

the outbreak could prove especially challenging to fight in a country with little testing and no known vaccine program.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is likely the first time we've seen North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wear a mask in public since

the pandemic began ordering all cities to lock down after admitting the first COVID 19 case in Pyongyang.

MASON RICHEY, ASSOCIATE PROF. HANKUK UNIVERSITY OF FOREIGN STUDIES: We think that there have probably been cases before, but they haven't admitted

them. And the fact that they've admitted them now would indicate that there's really no hiding it.

HANCOCKS (voice over): The numbers of cases of the Omicron variants are unknown. But North Korea is one of only two countries in the world believed

to have delivered zero COVID vaccinations.

BRIAN WAHL, EPIDEMIOLOGIST, JOHNS HOPKINS BLOOMBERG SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Even in other settings where there's very low immunization

coverage. Presumably there would be higher levels of prior exposure. And so this is really a unique situation that we have in North Korea right now.

HANCOCKS (voice over): COVAX, the global vaccine sharing hub has moved to a needs based vaccine allocation, saying it's currently not committed any for

North Korea, Pyongyang last year has believed to have rejected vaccines from China according to the U.N., China now sets it is ready to provide its

full support.

The level of testing is low up until March 31. Just 64,000 people had been tested had a population of over 25 million since the pandemic began. And

health infrastructure in the country is fragile at best; even developed health systems around the world have struggled under Omicron outbreaks.

WAHL: I would imagine that in North Korea, the high levels of malnutrition may be an additional risk factor for severe disease and deaths associated

with COVID-19 right now.

HANCOCKS (voice over): It is a population under lockdown in a country not set up for delivery of food and survival items. Extended isolation could

have a serious impact on future food supply, already at a crisis in the country.

RICHEY: Could affect agriculture and harvest. It could affect obviously interior commerce within the country the ability of the public distribution

system, which is already not working very well to function.


HANCOCKS: As many experts wondered whether an Omicron outbreak would halt its recent run on missile and weapons tests. Pyongyang answered Thursday

evening with another launch. Paula Hancocks, CNN Seoul.

GIOKOS: Right, coming up on "Connect the World" Russians have reportedly stolen some 400,000 tons of grain from Ukraine. But where is it going?



GIOKOS: Welcome back, Russia is reporting the first civilian killed in Belgorod since the war began. Now the Regional Governor says it was the

result of cross border shelling.

The Belgorod region lies directly across the border from Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city and has faced a series of explosions in recent months.

The Ukrainian army has either denied or claimed responsibility for them within their own borders.

Drone video shows that Ukrainians have blown up at least two pontoon bridges set up by the Russians in the Luhansk region. And I want to bring

in Sara Sidner who has been tracking developments from Kharkiv from Kyiv rather.

And Sara, I want you to give me a sense of what we know right now about these bridges, these pontoons that were taken out and what is the situation

specifically on the front lines in Luhansk?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR U.S. CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's simple that Ukrainians are taking these bridges out to hope to try to regain some of

the territory or at least keep Russia from being able to send more and more troops.

And Luhansk has been encircled really at this point; there is no running water, no cell phone, no access to news, and no electricity. And so that

region is really under occupation.

At this point in time Ukraine trying to fight back any way it can, as the Russians tried to take territory after territory in the eastern part of

this country. As you know, in the northern part here and around Kyiv, the Ukrainians were able to fiercely fight back and push them back out of the


But they have really the Russians concentrated on the Donbas area have concentrated on the eastern part of the country. And that is where you're

seeing this huge onslaught of bombings and of shelling as the Russians tried to take over place by place city by city.

GIOKOS: Right, Sara, and we have new surveillance video showing Russian soldiers fatally shooting to unarmed civilians near Kyiv. What more do we

know? SIDNER: Look, it is really an example of just a callous murder. And if you look at the video of what you see are two men who had had some sort

of conversation with them, and then walk away when their backs are turned and they have walked a few steps away. That is when they are shot by

Russian soldiers.


SIDNER (voice over): This is a stark example of a potential war crime perpetrated by Russian forces and example, the world has not yet seen

Russian soldiers shooting two civilians in the back.

CNN obtained the surveillance video taken from this vehicle dealership that sits along the main highway to Kyiv. The video is from the beginning. As

Russians tried and failed to shell their way to the Capitol, the fight along this road was clearly fierce.

But what happened outside this business was not a battle between soldiers or even soldiers and armed civilians. It was a cowardly, cold blooded

killing of unarmed men by Russian forces.

The soldiers show up and begin breaking in inside of a guard shack to Ukrainian men prepare to meet them. We tracked down the men's identities.

One is the owner of the business whose family did not want him named. The other was hired to guard it.

YULIA PLYATS, FATHER KILLED BY RUSSIANS: My father's name is --Leonid Alexievich plots.

SIDNER (voice over): His daughter Yulia wanted the world to know his name and what the Russians did to him. Both civilians both unarmed. We know this

because the video shows them greeting and getting frisked by the Russian soldiers and then casually walking away, neither seem to suspect what was

about to happen.

That is what a member of the civilian fighting force who talked to the man a couple of days before the attack told CNN, he did not want to be

identified for security reasons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We came there earlier, warn people to leave that place. We also hope for the humanity of Russian soldiers. But unfortunately, they

have no humanity.

SIDNER (voice over): You see the two men walking in the shadows toward the camera. Behind them, the soldiers they were just talking to emerge. A few

more steps and their bodies dropped to the ground.

Dust shoots up from the bullets hitting the pavement, the soldiers have opened fire. Minutes later, the guard Leonid gets up limping but alive.


SIDNER (voice over): He manages to get inside the guard booth to make a call to the local guys for help. This is one of those guys. A Ukrainian

truck driver turned civilian soldier.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, we felt a big responsibility. We knew we should go there because a man needed our help. He was still alive.

SIDNER (voice over): He's the commander of a ragtag team of civilians who took up arms to fight for Ukraine and tried to save the men. When the guard

called them he explained what transpired with the soldiers.

He said the soldiers asked who they were and asked for cigarettes, then let them go before shooting them in the back. When his men finally got to

Leonid, he had lost massive amounts of blood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One man from our group went there and the guy was still alive. He gave him bandages, tried to perform first aid, but the Russians

started shooting.

SIDNER (voice over): They tried to fight back but were unsuccessful. They didn't have the firepower to save their countrymen.

SIDNER (on camera): Yulia, have you seen the video?

PLYATS: I can't watch it now. I will save it to the cloud and leave it for my grandchildren and children. They should know about this crime and always

remember who our neighbors are.

SIDNER (voice over): Her neighbors to the north. These Russian soldiers show just how callous they are drinking toasting one another and looting

the place, minutes after slaying the two men.

SIDNER (on camera): What were the last words that you remember he said to you?

PLYATS: Bye, bye, kisses, say hello to your boys.

SIDNER (voice over): Her boys will be left with a terrible lasting memory, the death of their grandfather now being investigated as a war crime by



SIDNER: Yulia is hoping that there will be some kind of justice though she knows there is nothing at all that can bring her father and her children's

grandfather back. But we do know now that investigators are at this very moment trying to identify those Russian soldiers.

They have seen the entire video and they're trying to identify them to try and find them, capture them and bring them to justice, back to you.

GIOKOS: Yes, Sara, thank you, appalling and shocking videos, thank you so much for sharing that story with us. Right, Russian forces are stealing

farm equipment and thousands of tons of grain from Ukrainian farmers in occupied territories.

This may threaten this year's harvest in one of the world's most important grain producing countries. At least one ship carrying stolen grain has been

turned away from ports in Egypt and Lebanon, and is now in the Syrian port of Latakia.

These images obtained by CNN show the Russian vessel dock there. CNN has identified the bulk area as the Matros Pozynich, the ship departed from the

main port in Crimea two weeks ago.

It is one of three ships involved in the trade of stolen grain according to open source research and Ukrainian officials.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense says an estimated 400,000 tons of grain have been stolen. The U.N. Secretary General says he's deeply concerned

about the risks of widespread hunger due to the interrupted food supply caused by the war.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: I do believe that there is no solution for the problem without bringing back to the markets, the food

production of Ukraine and the foods and fertilizer production of the Russian Federation in Belarus.


GIOKOS: And is called for quick and decisive action to ensure the steady flow of food supplies to the international market. Now before the invasion,

Ukraine accounted for nearly 9 percent of wheat exports worldwide.

As well as 16 percent of maize exports and 42 percent of sunflower oil, food is not the only essential commodity affected by the war. Energy prices

are being impacted as the West tries to loosen its dependence on Russia.

Russian state energy giant Gazprom says it has stopped using a key European pipeline because that line runs through Poland. The YAML line shown here in

green runs from Russia through Belarus and Poland before reaching Germany.

Russia and Poland have been fighting over gas for several weeks. CNN's Anna Stewart is following the story.

Anna, I want you to walk us through what we're seeing right now the disruption, whether this has got to do with sanctions, whether we're seeing

actual pipeline issues coming through, it seems that the relationships are deteriorating, and now that is impacting gas supply.

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Yes. And a lot of what we've seen just in the last 24 hours relates to a presidential decree from President Putin, which

is essentially in retaliation to general sanctions against Russia from the west.

And it is targeting as you mentioned the Polish part of the YAML pipeline Gazprom will not be sending any gas through there.


STEWART: Limited impact there simply because Poland has already cut off from gas from Russia. And there wasn't much flowing through that pipeline

anyway. Also targeted our current or former Gazprom subsidiaries in the West and the biggest is actually Gazprom Germania in Germany.

Germany took control of that over a month ago, and it relates to all sorts of gas supply from transmission to storage of gas, Gazprom will not be

sending that gas. Now looking at how much that accounts for it's around 3 percent of Germany's Russian gas, again, not huge.

And the German foreign ministers today said they are looking for alternative supplies. Currently, their supply is stable. That add that to

what we saw yesterday, Eleni, we're talking about it Ukraine transit point, a really major one suspended, because Ukraine alleges that Russian forces

are interfering and stealing gas that has also reduced gas supply.

So Germany said that their gas supplies by Ukraine were down 25 percent yesterday, they've made that up with supplies from Norway and the

Netherlands. But what we're seeing here essentially is thread drab of disruptions that we weren't really seeing in weeks gone past.

And the little bit of gas here and a little bit of gas there may not impact households heating right now or business operations, given we're in spring

and heading into summer, but it will limit how Europe puts gas into storage.

And that is absolutely critical, as it tries to insulate itself from further disruption from Russia, wean itself off Russian gas and get ready,

frankly, for winter.

GIOKOS: And I tell you, you know, maybe you know, small supply constraint that is emerging that could be part of a wider macro issue. But it's also

going to impact sentiment and perception.

I mean, looking at the oil price right now, it's above $100 a barrel. It's rising, WTI crude, also rising, that is going to stoke inflation. And

here's the big question, Anna. We know that Russia is in desperately needed of the revenues it gets from gas.

But at the same time, it has this ability to really put a further news around European countries, and as we've ascertained, the relationship is

deteriorating, and it seems that they are willing to pull the plug where it suits them.

STEWART: And that is the biggest concern, because the EU has made clear it's looking at banning Russian oil, though not all of its members agree,

it is not ready to be done with Russian gas is far too reliant on it.

And I can show you what gas prices did this morning. On the back of all of this news, they spiked 14 percent in terms of European gas futures, that is

worrying and it's not just on the disruption we were just talking about, it's the fear of what comes next.

And the biggest one Eleni is, we talked about Poland, no longer having gas supplies all Bulgaria they won't pay for their gas in rubles. Other

countries, other supplies around Europe have payments due next week. If they don't pay for it in rubles, what happens next, Eleni?

GIOKOS: Such a good question, Anna, I think we're going to be talking about this for quite some time to come. Thanks so much and coming up a

heartwarming homecoming and some unexpected new neighbors on New Zealand's South Island, that's all coming up.



GIOKOS: We got a few heartwarming stories to end the show and endangered sea lions are making a comeback on New Zealand South Island after an

absence of more than a century.

And they're turning up in unexpected places including golf courses, and swimming pools and backyards. On today's Call to Earth, we show you how

their human neighbors are trying to live in harmony with the playful animals.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): As a volunteer with New Zealand sea lion trust, Hannah Yeardley is monitoring the sea lions where she lives near the

Otago Peninsula on the country's south island.

HANNAH YEARDLEY, VOLUNTEER, NEW ZEALAND SEA LION TRUST: It's kind of like babysitting, you know, especially when they're pregnant or they have pots.

You kind of make sure that someone's at least seen them or checked up on them during the day. There is having a wastage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): These pups are part of a new generation of sea lions that have returned to this coast after a long absence. Driven

off the mainland over a century ago by hunting, New Zealand sea lions survived on sub Antarctic islands until one day in 1993.


mainland and she proceeded to have 11 pups, so essentially this one female was responsible for bringing back a population of Siemens to Otago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): That's pivotal sea lion was named Mum. She left behind a density of sea lions that continues to thrive on this

coast today. But they don't just stick to this coastline.

FYFE: They really push inland as far as they can. And that usually puts them up against the road; you take care of around those roads and so

actually one of the biggest threats, some of those modes of transport.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): The sea lions have returned to a very different coastline to the one they left over 100 years ago, one with

crowded beaches. Keeping them safe is the job of biodiversity Ranger Jim Fyfe.

FYFE: Humans love to go to the beach at summer. Sea lions like to breed on the beaches at summer. The young sea lions are really curious and playful.

They know that the surfers are they're having fun as well. And so they want to join none there you know, social animals.

Our advice is that you just don't interact with them, just ignore them and get on with what you're doing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): Despite their recovery here, New Zealand sea lions are one of the world's rarest sea lion species facing threats

from disease and accidental capture in local fisheries.

That makes protecting this burgeoning population even more important and that's where local residents come in.

FYFE: Communities usually once they start to learn about them take a real interest and I really protective of the sea lions that are breeding in

their communities.

People are just surprised to find these animals in their backyard.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice over): This year 21 sea lion pups were born on the Otago Peninsula Fyfe says. It's the highest number since they returned

to the shores and will keep sea lion babysitter's like Yeardley busy for years to come.

YEARDLEY: It's very cool, because you're going to get to see them with faces again. Once you get to know them, sea lions do have personalities,

just seeing them enjoying them while respecting their space of course. That's the thing that I enjoy the most.


GIOKOS: Just adorable. Well, let us know what you're doing to answer the call with the #calltoearth. We'll be right back after the short break.



GIOKOS: It has fascinated mankind for years. And now we're getting our first image of the super massive black hole in the center of our Milky Way.

It's called Sagittarius A star. And this image was years in the making captured by the event horizon network of telescopes.

And it was unveiled by an international team of scientists earlier today in Washington. Let's bring in Lia Medeiros; she is one of the astronomers who

helped make this remarkable discovery possible, she joins us now live from Washington.

I am so super excited about this. I'm completely revealing my tendencies to watch what you guys at the Event Horizon Telescope are doing. And I

remember the photograph that was released in 2019, in 87 and so excited about Sagittarius A star. How are you all feeling? And how long did it take

you to get this spectacular image?

LIA MEDEIROS, CO-LEAD, EHT GRAVITATIONAL PHYSICS WORKING GROUP: Thank you so much for having me. First of all, I'm very excited to talk with you

today. We are really frilled a little relieved also has been a lot of work over many, many years.

The Sagittarius A star image that we published today, we actually took that data at the same time that we took the data that was published for the M87

image. So we've had the data since 2017.

So it took you know that amount of time until today, to publish that image. There are several reasons why Sagittarius A star is a little more

complicated to image - M87. But we are all very, very excited to finally be able to share with everybody what the black hole at the center of our

galaxy looks like.

GIOKOS: Yes, very exciting. I mean, this one is only 26,000 light years away in 87, 55 million light years away, I want you to tell me how many

telescopes it took to take this image?

MEDEIROS: Yes, so in 2017, we observed with eight telescopes at six different locations. And so all of these telescopes, worked together like a

team and everybody looked at these sources at the same time.

And everybody worked together to create an Earth sized telescope so that we could create such an incredibly high resolution image.

GIOKOS: Yes. Also, what have we learned about black holes since M87 was taken us specifically Sagittarius A star because that is sort of the big

question, what do black holes do? And do you know, what does it mean for us?

MEDEIROS: Yes, so that is a wonderful question. And it's something that I'm very personally involved in. So I'm working primarily on the testing

gravity, part of this collaboration.

And so we have a paper that came out today that talks about what we can learn about black holes, and what we can learn about gravity as a whole

from this new image, so that's really, really exciting.

It's a really remarkable new test of gravity, it's the first time we were able to test gravity. With this mass, we've never been able to test it at

such a high precision for a black hole of this mass.

And one of the things that we look into in this paper is whether or not this object has an event horizon.

So black holes, according to the theories that we have right now, in particular, Einstein's theory of gravity, they are predicted to have what's

called an - which is a boundary of no return.

So we look into whether or not we can prove if this black hole has an event horizon, when we can actually rule out almost every alternative to an event

horizon. So that is something really exciting. That's new that we can actually show that it really should have an event right.


GIOKOS: And that is really exciting to me too. I have to say, how does it make you feel that you're helping, you know, prove and confirm Einstein's

theory of relativity and the work that Stephen Hawking has done and all of you young scientists working on this incredible project?

MEDEIROS: Yes, so I actually work at the Institute for Advanced Study, which is the same institute where Einstein spent the later part of his

career. And so it feels really incredible. And kind of I have to kind of pinch myself sometimes.

I'm in the same buildings where he himself worked.

And we're still testing his theory over 100 years later, and he's still right over 100 years later. It's, it's really remarkable. It's very

humbling, for sure. And we're just all so incredibly excited that we were finally able to share this result with everyone.

GIOKOS: Well, those like me are watching you very closely and feeling very proud of all of you today. Thank you very much, Leah, great to see you. And

thank you so very much for joining us at home. That was "Connect the World", CNN continues after the short break, stay with us.