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Connect the World

Evacuated Fighters Taken to Separatist Region; Russia Scaling Back its Ambitions as War Nears 3-Month Mark; Irish Leader: UK is not Engaging Seriously in Talks; HRW Report Details Alleged War Crimes by Russian Troops; Economic Crisis Plunges Afghans into Poverty, Starvation; Ireland Houses Ukrainian Refugees in Castles & Camp Beds. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired May 18, 2022 - 11:00   ET




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

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

Mariupol Steel Plant became the symbol of defiance for Ukraine now faced and an uncertain future.

Russia says about 960 soldiers have surrendered since Monday. Although we are hearing reports that top commanders are still inside. The fighters were

put on buses and escorted to territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

Russia says they will be interrogated but promised they will be treated in accordance with international law. Ukraine has hoped they would be part of

a prisoner exchange. A separatist leader is now calling for a trial. The fighters were holed up four weeks as the complex was being bombed by

Russia. It was the last holdouts in Mariupol.

The city's fall effectively gives Russia a path from the Donbas to Crimea. CNN's Melissa Bell is watching this play out from the Ukrainian Capital.

Melissa, good to speak to you! You have been covering the Azovstal Steel Plant and just the dramatic revelations we've seen happening over the last

few weeks. And now finally, a little bit of resolution in terms of where to from here for so many of the trapped inside but it still feels very murky

in terms of their fate.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. First of all, as you said Eleni, the fact that we're learning from the Head of the Donetsk People's

Republic that the military commanders, the leaders of the Azovstal fighters are still inside the steelworks so that there has not been an absolute

surrender of the steelworks, I think is probably the real headline that we're hearing this morning.

But of course, as you suggest, we're finding out more about the fate of those evacuees. Now the understanding here in Kyiv, and certainly from the

families had been that when those evacuations began, there would be negotiations so that a new exchange of prisoners of war could take place

and hope to the families they'd be able to be brought home soon. That at this stage is looking at far from certain. Have a look first of all, at the

men themselves.


BELL (voice over): Its images had become iconic, its fighters symbols of Ukrainian resistance. Until the surrender of Azovstal with the wounded seen

here on images released by Russia's Defense Ministry fighters, now prisoners of war evacuated in their hundreds since Monday from the site, a

victory for Russia, but a source of hope also for the families of the soldiers themselves.

Chechnya (ph) doesn't know if her husband's amongst those evacuated so far, but she and her daughter Lira have gone food shopping just in case after

hearing about the news on TV. Since then, they've received a text that's given them heart. She wrote, girls, I love you, kiss you. I may be offline

for a while, everything will be fine.

The sprawling Soviet era steel plant had become a refuge as much of Mariupol was razed to the ground back in March. The evacuation of the

civilians that had sought shelter there began on May 1st, leaving hundreds of soldiers inside under frequent attack and with dwindling supplies of

both food and medicine.

Their families had called for foreign mediation by Turkey or China to try and secure their release some of their wives meeting with the Pope to try

and draw attention to their plight.

DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The bleeding wound in the battle for Donbas is Mariupol. Azovstal has a stronghold, the last stronghold of

Ukrainian resistance.

BELL (voice over): That resistance now ending in surrender with the fate of the fighters now hanging in the balance.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive, to bring the boys home, the work continues. And this work needs

delicacy and time.

BELL (voice over): Long the embodiment of Ukrainian resistance Azovstal now an important test of Russia's goodwill.


BELL: Now, the latest, of course, is that we're hearing from the Russian the Donetsk People's Republic that there could still be military commanders

in the blood, and that's important because of the significance of Mariupol to the wider, wider war and as a strategic objective for Moscow.

As to the fate of the evacuees so far, you're quite right Eleni to point out that of extreme concern to the families we're hoping to get them back

and soon will be those comments also from the head of Donetsk People's Republic that they could now be facing trial and in fact court-martials


GIOKOS: Yes, facing trial. That's perhaps one of the realities. And it's interesting. There's a trial that is ongoing right now, in Kyiv, where a

Russian soldier has been accused of a war crime. He's now pleaded guilty, so many questions surrounding this in terms of what's going on in the


And secondly, while the Ukrainians are thinking about a prisoner exchange, to what extent is the trial that you've been covering, creating more


BELL: Well, I think certainly there is even as the battle rages on, on the field now battles going on in the courtroom that are likely to reflect each

other if those trials go ahead on the Russian side. Here in Kyiv what we've seen is the first prisoner of war to be tried for war crimes in Ukrainian

court, make his plea.

The 21 year old veteran Vadim Shysimarin pled guilty. Now he's accused of having killed an unarmed civilian after he and some of his men escaped from

an attack convoy in a stolen car. They sold them out on a bicycle; Vadim Shysimarin who is now pleading guilty to this is accused of having shot


Now what we learned today in the court room court hearing that had to be suspended because there was simply too many journalists there, which gives

you an idea of the interest in this story. It will resume tomorrow in a bigger courtroom so that the journalists can all be squeezed in.

What we did learn beyond his guilty plea is that we're also going to be hearing tomorrow Eleni from another of those Russian soldiers who were

traveling in that car with him. So we're going to get a better picture of exactly what went on more about Vadim Shysimarin's defense and how he

intends to present that? For the time being he was given an opportunity today in court to make a statement, which he did not take Eleni.

GIOKOS: All right Melissa Bell, thank you so very much for that insights! Now, one of the consequences of Russia's invasion of Ukraine is that the

NATO Security Alliance which Vladimir Putin detested could grow; Finland and Sweden each formally apply to join NATO earlier today.

The two nations had long prided themselves on their neutrality, but public opinion shifted in the wake of Russia's aggression. The addition of Finland

would put NATO on Russia's doorstep in a major way, the two nations share more than 1300 kilometers of border, significantly expanding NATO's contact

with Russia.

But there are still hurdles to clear before Finland and Sweden are admitted to NATO. Nina Dos Santos has more on that. Nina, I mean, we know that the

military is compliant in terms of what NATO needs and wants, lots of formalities. But I guess the big conversation had been to try and expedite

it. I think a lot of people hadn't anticipated that Turkey would be posing quite a substantial challenge.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. Turkey has been posing, or at least the President of Turkey has been posing some question

marks over how quickly this process will go ahead. The Prime Ministers of these countries have made it clear that they're expecting this accession to

NATO to potentially take several months, even perhaps even a year.

But the wheels of diplomacy have been set very quickly in motion. We've got the Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin, and who's been in Rome today,

having meetings with the Prime Minister of Italy to try and update him on.

You know what this means for NATO security, drumming up support from some of the big members. And then of course, we've got the U.S. President Joe

Biden, was invited the Prime Minister of Sweden and the President of Finland, who here in Stockholm yesterday to present this show of forces,

their countries agreed to join NATO.

They have been invited to the White House tomorrow to discuss how quickly this process could proceed. That's a bit of a show of force, if you'd like

to try and quell those concerns that Turkey has. I spoke to the Prime Minister of Sweden just yesterday and asked her directly how much she

thought Turkey would be able to frustrate this process, and what exactly they might be negotiating for? He was her answer on Turkey. And then later

on, I also asked her about Russia.


MAGDALENA ANDERSSON, SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER: We've stated very clearly to Turkey that we are ready to toe us are ready to go to Turkey to have

bilateral discussions on the way forward. So we are ready to do our part.

We don't know. But we are ready and prepared if there is retaliation, but I've also noted that the EU has not been all that outspoken when it comes

to threats to Sweden. Of course we welcome that very much. I mean, that's part of the European security order. Every country has their own right to

make their decisions. And our decision to join NATO is not something we're doing against Russia. We're doing it for our security.



SANTOS: So what she was talking about there, Magdalena Andersson is that Russia at first appear to be quite hostile towards these two countries

deciding to change their course of history, because remember, these are countries that have up until now, embrace neutrality.

And although they have been NATO partners since the mid-1990s, that means they do joint exercises, and so on and so forth. They will not pro joining

NATO, but everything their leaders say has changed since the war in Ukraine.

Russia initially appeared to want to push back on that, but now, they're saying it's no big deal as long as there's no big military infrastructure

that's put into this part of the Baltic Sea. We'll have to see how that plays out.

But in the meantime, the Ambassador to Moscow of Sweden has been a meeting with her counterparts over there to update them on what NATO membership

means. And that's been happening with Sweden and Finland's embassies today, right around the world Eleni.

GIOKOS: Nina Dos Santos, thank you very much. All right let's not forget that Vladimir Putin used the threat of a larger NATO to justify the war on

Ukraine. And he was worried Ukraine would seek membership making NATO too close for comfort.

Meantime, before a Russian Colonel had scathing remarks about the war, something that you don't hear often on state television, take a listen.


MIKHAIL KHODARYONOK, RETIRED RUSSIAN COLONEL AND MILITARY ANALYST: I must say, let's not drink information tranquilizers, situation for us and

frankly, get worse. The biggest flaw in our military and political situation is that we are in total geopolitical solitude. And the whole

world is against us, even if we don't want to admit it.


GIOKOS: CNN Contributor Jill Dougherty. He joins us now and she knows Russia really well. She's our FORMER MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF and you're now Joe

with Georgetown University. You're in Estonia right now. I have to say I was quite taken aback hearing those quotes where we've got information

tranquilizers, we've been fed that we're in geopolitical solitude.

This is pretty big. I've got two questions. Has this been deliberate messaging that is, you know, coming through on state television, or is this

really a criticism, a brave criticism?

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, RUSSIAN AFFAIRS: You know, Eleni this is happening on state television. There's no way that this just kind of

happened. Or that he's I think, or that he was just brave doing it.

I think, you know, those conversations, you know, talk shows are often meant to kind of launch trial balloons or, you know, raise an idea and

plant it, then, you know, it's not official, the government doesn't have to, you know, sign on to it.

But I think it is very significant that you said that, because, as your - you just pointed out in that previous piece, I think Russia is having

difficulty figuring out how it pleases? How it explains the fact that overnight since this war began, you have a complete revamping of the

security structure, certainly in the Nordic countries, and down here in Estonia, where I've been at a security conference with a lot of people from

Finland, Sweden, and this region in the Baltics.

And there's no question that this is an enormous step, and will mean long term changes. And it also means that Russia is now if it ever was, you

know, nervous about NATO coming to his border, it's got a much bigger border that it has to worry about. So I think the Russians really don't -

don't know how explain it.

GIOKOS: Yes Jill, and there's been so much happening. I mean, you know, Azovstal has been really interesting with the Russians say, they want to,

you know, hold the soldiers that have not been evacuated on trial. There's a trial that's going on in Kyiv at the moment.

We've had a Human Rights Watch report that's coming out. And I have to say chilling atrocities that are being reported there. What is your prognosis

of some of the information that is coming through in terms of what Russia's endgame is here and how they've been indiscriminately targeting civilians?

DOUGHERTY: Well, I think with those soldiers who have been now taken into Russian custody, it's very worrying, because, you know, these are the

people who really held out the longest. These are the people who are the symbol of Ukraine fighting back, and now that the Russians have some of

them, I think, you know, they will try to use them for whatever messaging they need at that point.

The messaging at this stage seems to be Russia won, Ukrainians are losing in that particular battle. But what they will do in the future, you know,

they could have shown trials. That's a distinct possibility. They could use them for trading some of their own people.


DOUGHERTY: It's hard to say, but I think it's a, you know, psychologically or let's say, in a public relations messaging sense. It is very bad news

for Ukraine, however, that Ukraine can use the fact that the men held out as bravely as they did to the end.

So, you know, we'll just have to see what the Russians will do. I think, you know, they will probably base it on whatever is happening at that

moment to try to exploit whatever they can from it.

GIOKOS: I mean, look, you're in Estonia right now. And I know you were attending a security conference, some of these elements have been discussed

there. What are leaders saying right now with these developments?

DOUGHERTY: You know, I'd say the mood here in Estonia really, is vindication, because the Estonians, you know, the entire Baltic countries,

Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia. But especially here, I'm hearing in Estonia, they are essentially saying, we told you so.

We told you so a long time about Vladimir Putin; we told you a long time ago about Russia, that it is a threat. And now they are saying and I don't

think they're very happy that they are right.

But they are saying, you know, we told you it was a threat. And now you see it in Ukraine. And there is I would say a great feeling of unity in this

part of the world. The Baltics, Ukraine is not that far away the Scandinavian countries.

And now you have this entire area really joining together and with the new members of NATO, presumably, you know, pretty soon. So it is a monumental

shift in security.

GIOKOS: Yes, and it's a tectonic shift specifically for Sweden, right. 200 years of neutrality. I have to ask you, because you've been covering, you

know, Russia, so long, Putin and Erdogan, is that a relationship who should be watching closely, specifically, because Turkey might be a big challenge

for new NATO membership?

DOUGHERTY: Yes, that's a great question. I think, you know, obviously, the Russians would love to convince President Erdogan that it is that, you

know, these countries should not be allowed or should not be, let's say that he should not cast his vote for them to become members of NATO.

However, you already see that the reason this has come up is actually kind of a technical detail, that doesn't really have a lot to do with NATO

membership, per se. It's this organ, this group that, that Turkey considers a terrorist organization.

So behind the scenes, I think within NATO, you may have a way to work this out. And we've seen indications of that. But certainly, I'm sure that you

know, Putin, we're already getting some indications not confirmed, that he might be needing, you know, with Erdogan, this is not confirmed. But I'm

sure that they would love to try to put whatever pressure or influence they can to try to stop this.

GIOKOS: Jill Dougherty really good to speak to you, thank you so very much. You're watching "Connect the World" live from CNN's Middle East

Broadcasting hub in Abu Dhabi.

And still ahead the troubling findings of a report by Human Rights Watch on alleged Russian war crimes. And Ireland's Prime Minister warns that the UK

is not doing enough to avoid a trade war with the European Union over Brexit, or break down the latest route after the break.



GIOKOS: New legislation proposed by the British government is setting the UK and European Union on a collision course over Brexit. British officials

say it's necessary to fix certain elements of the 2019 Brexit agreement regarding trade arrangements for Northern Ireland.

The EU bristled at that warning any unilateral changes by the UK would be breach of international law. At a time when Europe is keen to show a united

front against Russia's invasion, some are warning this is a trade war neither side can afford. Bianca Nobilo explains.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For all of the disruption of Brexit, arguably, the thorniest challenge and least debated beforehand was its

effect on the island of Ireland. The Northern Ireland protocol came into effect in 2020 to try and address some of these difficulties.

It had two key objectives. Number one, protecting the EU's single market which allows the free movement of people goods, services and capital,

because Northern Ireland is part of the UK separated by the Irish Sea.

And Republic of Ireland is part of the EU. So this is now the only land border between the UK and the EU. The second thing was avoiding a hard

border on the island of Ireland.

The removal of border checks was an important part of the peace process in recent decades. And there are fears that the restoration of a hard border

here would have an incendiary effect on tensions between the Unionists who want Northern Ireland to remain part of the UK and Republicans who want

unity with the Republic of Ireland.

Plus, they had to find a way to mitigate the economic and social impact on people and businesses which move across this border frequently. So the way

to square this circle ended up being customs and regulatory checks on the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, effectively

creating a border in the Irish Sea, which has infuriated Unionists.

So why does this matter? The Northern Ireland executive is in deadlock because of it. Unionist parties are refusing to reenter government until

major changes are made to this protocol.

Because this assembly is based on power sharing, there must be both a nationalist representative and the unionists and one cannot be empowered

without the other. So UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, there he is, says that he wants to get the government there back up and running.

He's also arguing that circumstances have changed dramatically since the protocol was agreed, namely the pandemic and a European war worsening a

cost of living crisis.

So he's threatening to override the protocol to make changes that are palatable to his government and Unionist parties in Northern Ireland. And

he says he'll do that unilaterally, saying that the UK would have a necessity to act if a compromise can't be found with the EU.

But the EU has made it clear that unilateral action would be a breach of international law, which is generally not a good look for a head of state.

And the EU has warned that taking that step could spell a trade war and or legal challenges.

And Sinn Fein now the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly has warned that the Prime Minister tearing up the protocol will destabilize


GIOKOS: The UK says it's still hoping to negotiate a solution to its trade disputes with Brussels. But not all sides are convinced. Ireland's Prime

Minister says the UK is not sincerely engaging with the European Union, as he told our Richard Quest.


MICHEAL MARTIN, IRISH TAOISEACH: It's time you started negotiating seriously and in a substantial way with the European Union. I mean, this is

the treaty that you signed up to the British government signed up to this, ratified it in Parliament.

And now have misgivings in terms of the potential operation of this protocol, because let's not forget some aspects of this haven't been

implemented yet. Grace periods, exemptions and so forth.

But nothing can replace substantive professional negotiations between the European Union and United Kingdom to deal with issues that have

legitimately arisen in respect of the operation of the protocol, particularly raised by unionists within Northern Ireland, which we believe

can be resolved through sentiment negotiation.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Right but they would say that there has been negotiation for the last six months to a year, there has

been negotiation. The EU proposals are not acceptable to the British and vice versa. And therefore this is the way forward. They're not of course at

the moment activating article 16.


MARTIN: There haven't been negotiations for the last six months. But they know that there hasn't de facto because there are elections happening in

Northern Ireland.

Now the war engagement prior to Christmas and to be fair, - Vice President of the European Commission, he brought forward very significant advances.

And he listened and he met Unionist politicians, and also industry in business in Northern Ireland.

By the way, the protocol is advantageous now, it's working in favor of industry, business jobs, agriculture, Northern Ireland, and most people in

Northern Ireland want to retain access to the European single market.

QUEST: Would you support a change in the protocol?

MARTIN: Now, we were prepared as members of the European Union, through negotiations between the European Union to commission Vice President and

his team and the UK Government to minimize the impact in terms of checks and so on, of the operation of the program, which can be done with sensible

engagement that can be done.

But this kind of an off start, you know, the Beachcomber can't just keep talking to itself about this. It needs really to get into proper

negotiations with the European Union.


GIOKOS: But you're up to speed on some other stories that are on our radar right now. And your report on climate change says the past seven years were

the warmest ever recorded on Earth.

The warmest ever recorded on Earth. Melting ice has caused sea levels to rise twice as fast in the past nine years, as they did in the previous

decade, and the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in 2021 was higher than ever been recorded, pretty scary thought.

North Korea's COVID outbreak is still growing the country reports more than 230,000 new cases and six deaths between Monday and Tuesday. That brings

the death toll to 62. Leader Kim Jong-Un is reportedly holding meetings to analyze the prices and the country's prevention policy.

And your report says the China Eastern plane crash in March may have been deliberate. The Wall Street Journal says flight data suggests someone in

the cockpit intentionally down the plane, killing all 132 passengers and crew on board it was China's deadliest air disaster in decades.

The first Russian soldier to stand trial for war crimes in Ukraine has pled guilty. Ahead a new report by Human Rights Watch lists of dozens of other

alleged Russian war crimes will talk to the group's Associate Director for Europe and Central Asia.

And almost half of Afghanistan's population is living on less than one meal a day. CNN's Christiane Amanpour meets some of the Afghans fighting this

daily battle for survival that report just ahead.



GIOKOS: Ukrainian officials in Donetsk say Russian attacks are happening day and night. But they say despite being outnumbered by both Russian

weapons and troops, Russian advances are failing. Russia is using airstrikes to attack towns in the region.

And a grim reminder of the excruciating toll this war is taking on Ukrainian civilians, including the youngest. This video shows responders

working to rescue a nine year old boy wounded in an airstrike in Bakhmut.

That city is considered an important hub for Ukraine's military with a hospital that treats wounded soldiers. That young boy's injury is a stark

reminder that civilians have been targets of Russian attacks since the start of the war.

And earlier we saw the guilty plea from the first Russian soldier to stand trial for war crimes. Now Human Rights Watch says it has documented dozens

of alleged Russian war crimes committed against civilians in the key venture Neve regions early in the war.

Its investigation uncovered 22 apparent summary executions, nine other unlawful killings, six possible enforced disappearances and seven cases of

torture. And I want to talk more about this with Giorgi Gogia, Human Rights Watch Associate Director for Europe and Central Asia.

And he's joining me now via Skype from Tbilisi, Georgia. Giorgi, thank you so much for joining us! I mean, so much of what you've documented in that

report really chilling.

And to be completely honest with you very difficult when I was reading it, I had to stop at so many points. I want you to tell me what you and your

organizations have found on the ground. That is absolutely vital and understanding the plight of Ukrainians at the moment.

GIORGI GOGIA, ASSOCIALTE DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Thank you for having me. I mean, in April, just days out, the Russian forces withdrew from a key

venture - region, we went into over 17 villages and towns spoke with over 65 people looked at physical evidence analyzed, analyzed both video and

photo materials provided by victims and witnesses.

As well as looked at satellite images to document the expose their parent war crimes, horrific abuses committed against civilians, in this war by

rational forces under the effective control.

You just said a few numbers. But these are not just numbers. These are real people whose lives have been taken whose lives have been ruined as a result

of, of violations of laws of war committed by Russian forces.

GIOKOS: Giorgi, you know, there were so many villages that were mentioned in your report that we frankly have not been, you know, hearing about or

covering. And it goes to show that some of the stories that we have been doing at CNN is literally the tip of the iceberg of the atrocities.

What really struck me what was happening at Yahidne School, where there were babies and children that were involved; they basically hold up for

almost 30 days. This seems to be a big point where Russians are doing this to villagers and rounding them up and not allowing them out.

GOGIA: This case really stuck with me. I mean, I went to this school, and to this basement together with my colleagues. And I saw the area in the

basement where almost entire village, at least 350 people, including children, women, at least 70 of them were children, at least five of them

were infants spent at least 28 days in conditions where there was no ventilation.

The people could not move around. There was a chicken pox outbreak. There were children had high fever, they were vomiting, 10 people died. And you

could see it one door, you could see a calendar people kept to know the day and the night.

On the right side of this calendar, you could see the names of 10 people and the days they died there. On the left side you could see seven people

who were shot or disappeared in this village.

Furthermore, the Russian soldiers use the school ground as a military base installing their heavy military equipment as well as digging out trenches

and other dugouts pretty much endangering the very civilians they were holding in that school.


GIOKOS: Giorgi, I mean, honestly, just hearing, what you're saying is absolutely chilling and hair raising. And I'm sure our audience feels the

same way. I want you to give me an idea of what it takes for you and your team to be able to gather this vital evidence in order to ensure that this

has collated and the stories are told and remembered for when this is over and justice can be served.

GOGIA: Well, you know, we have been working on this conflict from the day one. I mean, even before there's renewed of this violence, you know, Human

Rights Watch has been covering it from eight years ago and continues to cover this confident.

You know, we were on the ground, we speak to the civilians, we documented violations that they happen. We amassed a body of work that documented

exposes the apparent war crimes, and the people who we talk to share those stories with us. Because they want to be heard they want the justice to be


And this is a unique opportunity, as you said, you know, the war is not over. It's ongoing. So there has to be a turning point, at some point when

Russia realizes that they cannot continue targeting civilians, they cannot continue arbitrarily detaining, torturing and disappearing.

GIOKOS: Why are they doing this? Why do you think them targeting civilians? You've had experience in Georgia, with Australia, for example, when the

Russians, were also, you know, embarking on conflict there.

You've seen this kind of context, why is this constantly happening? It's against the Geneva Conventions, we should know better as humanity, I might

find it egalitarian. But can you give me some insights?

GOGIA: Well, it's hard for me to assess why but it is because of the impunity they feel right? You know, it is really important that these war

crimes are documented and expose, and there is accountability for them, you know, the, the impunity for them should end.

And there should be a turning point where Russian forces realize that cannot target civilians. It's hard for me to assess why they're doing but

one of the ways of, it seems to me that one of the ways of they were they were exercising control was by rounding up civilians, by detaining them in

unsanitary conditions by, you know, executing by, you know, there were dozens of cases when people have been shot at a very close range,


There were a number of cases and we only documented you know, we just scratched also the iceberg because we documented six cases of people

disappearing, and UN has information about over 200 people in the same area that have been--

GIOKOS: I ask you, we're running out of time. I have to interject, and I'm sorry, I just I really want to get this question in. There's a trial going

on in Kyiv right now. Do you agree with a trial happening while the war is going on?

GOGIA: Well, whenever war crimes or whenever the international humanitarian laws are violated, both Ukraine and Russia have obligations to investigate

and prosecute them. So national authorities have the obligation to investigate and prosecute those crimes.

So it is within Ukraine's mandate to an obligation to prosecute and ensure accountability for the crimes that have been taken place on their territory

or by their forces.

GIOKOS: Giorgi Gogia, thank you very much. We appreciate it. CNN has visited the aftermath of what could be the most crushing defeat for Russia

so far on the wall. Sam Kiley reports from the Luhansk region after a failed river crossing warning. Some of his reports contain graphic images.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The first signs of a Russian disaster - to Russian tank being salvaged by Ukrainian

troops. A few days ago, this was the scene on the edge of these woods, Russian pontoon bridges and the ferocious Ukrainian artillery attack.

The Ukrainian commander with us cast an eye to the sky looking for Russian drones. This is no place for complacency. Ukraine and NATO have claimed

that Russia suffered badly here.

They estimate 70 to 80 vehicles destroyed and a whole Russian battle group of 1000 men mauled.

KILEY (on camera): So we're at the edge now of the area where the Russian army was caught after it had crossed the pontoon river. You can see down

here there's a destroyed tank next to it and I'm a personnel carrier.


KILEY (on camera): And if we look down the road here, got another armored personnel carrier, and another, and another. The Ukrainians were able, they

say due to their superior reconnaissance, and intelligence to work out where the Russians were going to cross, and then bring in devastating

levels of artillery.

And this is the result this is only the edge of it.

KILEY (voice over): Russia has now shifted its attacks elsewhere, at least for now. KILEY (on camera): When you see this, how do you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great, I understand that our artillery is working and our troops are working to because there was both artillery and ground

fighting. The units in cooperation with other troops were pushing the enemy across the river on foot.

KILEY (voice over): Shattered Russian armor is scattered along this path through the woodland. On the ground, we can't move forward. The track is


KILEY (on camera): A real disaster for the Russians but something that the Ukrainians now are saying here, that means that the pressure is off this

particular front for now, and that they believe that the Russians are focusing more of their efforts elsewhere.

KILEY (voice over): Ukrainian soldiers pick over the debris of this victory. But the chilling truth is that many of their comrades have ended

up like this. And while this is a success in the grinding war for Ukraine, Russia remains an immediate threat.

KILEY (on camera): And they've asked us to get out of here with their military commander because they're worried that our cars are going to

attract attention. And therefore attracting coming, this is still clearly an extremely active area.

KILEY (voice over): And one as it was for the Russians, that a considerable relief to leave. Sam Kiley, CNN Bilohorivka.


GIOKOS: A new U.S. Watchdog report scrutinizes the role America played in the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, that as millions in the country now

face a daily fight against starvation, our report from Kabul just ahead.


A new Watchdog reports in the U.S. evaluates how much responsibility should be placed on the American government for the Taliban takeover in

Afghanistan last year.

The scathing report found that the U.S. decision to withdraw troops was "The single most important factor in the collapse of Afghanistan's

military". It blamed both the Trump and Biden Administrations for leaving the door open for the Taliban to swoop in.

But it also criticized decisions made by the former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Since the Taliban has been in charge Afghanistan has sunk into

economic crisis and millions of people are starving. CNN's Christiane Amanpour has this report from Kabul.



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Under a scorching sun standing patiently for hours in organized lines,

hundreds of newly poor Afghans wait for them monthly hand out, men on one side, women on the other.

Here the UN's World Food Programme is delivering cash assistance, the equivalent of $43 per family. Khalid Ahmadzai is the coordinator. He says

he's seen the need explode. And right from the start, the stories are dire.

KHALID AHMADZAI, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME COOPERATING PARTNER: If you're ready to go, one woman came, a woman came to me, and she told me that I want to

give you my son by 16,000 Afghani, just give me the Afghani and she was really crying and that was the worst feeling that I had in my life.

AMANPOUR (on camera): Are you serious?

AHMADZAI: This is a serious thing that we had a distribution at the first day. So the hunger is too much high here.

AMANPOUR (on camera): You know, we've heard those stories, but I've never heard it from somebody who's actually I have seen it.

AHMADZAI: I have seen it. It's too much better and it hurts me a lot.

AMANPOUR (voice over): Everyone we met is hurting. According to the International Rescue Committee, almost half the population of Afghanistan

lives on less than one meal a day. And the UN says nearly 9 million people risk famine like conditions. - has five kids.

AMANPOUR (on camera): And how many meals per day can you eat?

AMANPOUR (voice over): When you don't have money, she tells us when you don't have a job. You don't have income. Would you be able to eat proper

food when there's no work? Hajima is a widow. They should let us work because we have to become the man of the family. So we can find bread for

the children.

None of my six kids have shoes. And with 3000 Afghanis what will I be able to do in six months-time?

AMANPOUR (on camera): You just want work?

AMANPOUR (voice over): I have to work she says. At this WFP distribution site in Kabul you do see women working and women mostly with their faces

uncovered. Outside Taliban slogans plastered over the blast walls, tout victory over the Americans and claim to be of the people for the people.

But while security has improved since they took over, the country is facing economic collapse. And that shows up all over the tiny bodies we see at the

Indira Gandhi Children's Hospital.

It's the biggest in Afghanistan now heaving under the extra weight. Dr. Mohammed Yaqob Sharafat tells us that 20 to 30 percent of the babies in

this neonatal ward are malnourished.

Suddenly he rushes to the side of one who stopped breathing. For five minutes, we watched him pump his heart until he comes back to life but for

how long? Even in the womb, the - is stacked against them.

DR. MOHAMMED YAQOB SHARAFAT, INDIRA GANDHI INSTITUTE OF CHILD HEALTH: From one side, the mothers are not getting growth nutrition's.

AMANPOUR (on camera): Wow. So it's a triple whammy. The mothers aren't nourished enough?


AMANPOUR (on camera): The economy is bad, but they have too many children. And they're overworking themselves.

DR. SHARAFAT: So all these factors together, make the situation to give birth premature babies.

AMANPOUR (voice over): Because they're under sanctions, the Taliban is struggling to pay salaries. So the International Committee of the Red Cross

pays all the doctors and nurses at this hospital and at 32 others across the country. That's about 10,000 health workers in all.

AMANPOUR (on camera): Look at this child. Two and a half years old.

AMANPOUR (voice over): His name is Muhammad. He's malnourished.

AMANPOUR (on camera): How much food is she able to give her child at home? Why does he look like this?

AMANPOUR (voice over): His mother says she's had nothing but breast milk to feed him, but now can't afford enough to eat to keep producing even that.

Is the same for Shazia? Her seven month old baby has severe pneumonia, but at least she gets fed here at the hospital so that she can breastfeed her


Back home, we don't have this kind of food unfortunately, she says. If we have food for lunch, we don't have anything for dinner.

AMANPOUR (on camera): While we're here the electricity has gone out.

AMANPOUR (voice over): It happens all the time the director tells us. We watch a doctor carry on by the light of a mobile phone until the

electricity comes back. We end this day in the tiniest dwellings amongst the poorest of Kabul's poor, - have six children.

While she prepares their meal of eggs, two small bowls of beans and two flatbreads, the eight and 10 year old are out scavenging wastepaper to sell

and polishing shoes.


AMANPOUR (voice over): It's their only income since - injured his back and can no longer work as a laborer. He tells us that 10 month old baby is

malnourished. I always worry and stress about this says - where she tells her kids, God will be kind to us one day Christiane Amanpour, CNN, Kabul,

and Afghanistan.


GIOKOS: Yes. The scale of this devastation unconscionable, you can watch Christiane's show live from Kabul tonight at 6 pm in London and that's 9

p.m. here in Abu Dhabi and 9.30 in Kabul on CNN.

Tonight, she takes a closer look at the toll being kicked out of school in its taking on teenage girls. She'll be speaking to some people on the

ground there. Just ahead from castles to camp beds, Island is throwing open its arms and its borders to welcome Ukrainian refugees, that's coming up



GIOKOS: Ireland is often called the Land of thousands welcomes and it's pledging to place no cap on the number of Ukrainians seeking refuge from

Russia's war. In some cases refugees are receiving the royal treatment. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan explains, let's take a look.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This 15th century castle on Ireland's West Coast is about as far from Ukraine as you can get in

Europe. But for a group of Ukrainian families fleeing the war it's now home.

MARIA NAZARCHUK, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE: So I'm never dream about what I can live in - in future but I live with my two boys with my family.

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): The great Hall.

BARRY HAUGHIAN, CASTLE OWNER: The great hall, this is where we have celebrations and big dinners.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): The owner Barry Hauhian didn't have to think long about traveling to Poland to offer up his castle to refugees.

HAUGHIAN: We decided that we had to do something. We know we are planning and we were really nervous and thinking OK, how do we do this? It's pretty

simple. You get your credit card out you book a flight, and you flight home.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Per capita the country of 5 million people has taken in more Ukrainian refugees than many of its neighbors in Western

Europe. The government says more than 29,000 have arrived so far.

Meanwhile, Ireland's closest neighbor The United Kingdom has had over 46,000 refugees arrived despite having a population more than 13 times the

size. But not all refugees in Ireland have received the royal treatment. The government has warned that resources are stretched.

RODERIC O'GORMAN, MINISTER OF CHILDREN, EQUALITY, DISABILITY, INTEGRATION AND YOUTH: Look, it's not all ideal. It's not all the kind of the gold

standard accommodation that we'd like but you know this is a crisis situation. Most people are in hotels, some people are in more basic


And yes, it is getting more difficult, particularly as it's clear now that this war isn't going to end anytime soon.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Authorities have set up emergency camp beds in an arena in Cork. They also plan to repurpose student holes, holiday homes and

former convince. Campaigners have praised Ireland's initial response. But say the government needs better long term plans in place.

NICK HENDERSON, CEO, IRISH REFUGEE COUNCIL: That we've been able to accommodate people with such short notice is if you'd ask me that, before

the war I would have said it was impossible. Now we need to be thinking of what our long term plan is for this. There's also this concern that well

why aren't we able to do all the things that we've done for Ukrainian refugees, and apply that to all people seeking asylum in Ireland?


O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Former asylum seeker Lucky Khambule originally from South Africa shared a room in a government run facility for years,

living in limbo until his papers were processed. He now campaigns for better conditions for all asylum seekers.

LUCKY KHAMBULE, CO-FOUNDER, MOVEMENT OF ASYLUM SEEKERS IN IRELAND: It showed that all along, we were right to say that the government is capable

of tricking us better.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Unlike other asylum seekers, Ukrainian refugees were immediately granted the right to work and receive welfare payments in

Ireland. A lack of red tape also enabled thousands of Ukrainian children to be enrolled quickly in Irish schools.

HAUGHIAN: They had everything sorted for these guys in say two hours, it was real damn describes kid me and a fault it was quite incredible. It

makes you really proud to be Irish.

O'SULLIVAN (voice over): Donie O'Sullivan, CNN Galway Ireland.


GIOKOS: Alright, well, thanks so very much for joining us. "One World" with Zain Asher is up next. I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi, stay safe.