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Connect the World

Survivor Shares with CNN Being in Classroom with Shooter; Questions Mount over Law Enforcement Response to Massacre; Report: Kremlin Propaganda Shows Intent to Incite Genocide on Ukraine; Senator Ted Cruz Lashes Out when Pressed on Gun Control; Ukraine War Sparks Fears China may follow Russia's Playbook; Two Iranian Films in Cannes Final Selection. Aired 11a- 12p ET

Aired May 27, 2022 - 11:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Well, questions mounting about law enforcement respond to the horrific Uvalde massacre. How did a team

with an assault style rifle walk into an unlocked elementary school and stay for nearly an hour before turning it into a killing field?

We will explore that ahead this hour. Also, more than 30 leading experts accused Russia of genocide in Ukraine. In the first independent legal

report, we're going to speak to one of its authors about accountability and justice.

I am Becky Anderson, hello and welcome back to "Connect the World". Let's begin in Texas were in about an hour's time public safety officials will

give an update on the deadliest U.S. school shooting in nearly a decade.

And later today, the Texas Governor Greg Abbott is set to speak outside the Uvalde Texas elementary school. It comes as new questions arise about the

police response to the massacre that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers.

We are now learning law enforcement did not confront the 18 year old gunman before he entered the school that contradicts what authorities said earlier

this week.

We are told at least seven officers rushed inside within four minutes of the shooters arrival. But it's still not clear why it then took nearly an

hour to breach the classroom where the 18 year old had barricaded him in.

New video shows parents frustrated and angry confronting police begging them to enter the school while the attacker was still shooting, meanwhile,

the government's own mother speaking out for the first time and pleading for forgiveness.


ADRIANA MARTINEZ, GUNMAN'S MOTHER: I have no words. I have no words to say. I don't know what he was thinking. He had his reasons for doing what he

did. And please don't judge him. I only want the innocent children who died to forgive me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you tell their families?

MARTINEZ: Forgive me Forgive my son. I know he had his reasons.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What reasons could he have had?

MARTINEZ: To get closer to those children instead of paying attention to the other bad things. I have no words. I don't know.


ANDERSON: We are finally putting names to the names of all of the 21 victims of that massacre as we learn more about each of them. Among them

Miranda Mathis, who was just 11 years old, her friends describe her as bright and spunky.

And 10 year old - Rodriguez's mother says she was a sweet, charismatic, loving, caring, loyal, free, ambitious, funny, silly, goal driven girl and

her best friend may wanted to be a marine biologist.

And we also hearing from some of the students and teachers who were at Rob elementary school when the shooting unfolded and survived. What for one her

11 year old Miah Cerrillo, it started out like a regular Tuesday.

She and her classmates were enjoying a film at their school then their lives or quite frankly, were turned into a horror show. And the kind were

playing dead mean staying alive.

And that's exactly what Miah did to survive the massacre at the Rob Elementary School. She wants the world to know what she lived through. But

she's not keen to talk on camera and she's not keen to talk to men at this point.

So she spoke exclusively to CNN producer, Nora Neus who joins me now live from Uvalde in Texas, Nora, just explain what Miah told you.

All right, we'll get back to Nora. Meantime, while we establish some communication with her. Let's just sit back and consider what happened

here, a classroom turned into killing field desperate parents outside begging officers to let them in the scene.

Almost unfathomable and understandably, leaving many with answered questions. We are learning more about the timeline of events on Tuesday but

as my colleague Shimon Prokupecz reports confusion and anger are mounting.


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Growing outrage as more details emerge about the crucial hour a shooter had

barricaded him in a classroom at Rob elementary school.

ROLAND GUTIERREZ, TEXAS STATE SENATE DEMOCRAT: You go in and that didn't happen here. I don't want a Monday morning, Monday morning quarterback this

thing. But at the end of the day, we have to find out for the future so that this never happens again what kind of failures happen. And I feel in

this situation standing back was not the thing to do.


PROKUPECZ (voice over): 19 children and two teachers were killed in Tuesday's massacre. And new video reveals parents frantic outside the

school begging law enforcement to enter.

VICTOR LUNA, FATHER OF ROBB ELEMENTARY FOURTH GRADE STUDENT: I told one of the officers myself if he didn't want to go under let me borrow a gun in

the west and I'll go under myself to handle it up. And they told me no, I mean, they like they said they were doing their job, but they could have

done it quicker before that man went in the school.

PROKUPECZ (voice over): Criticism over the police response is mounting.

ANTHONY BARKSDALE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Since Columbine, we've known that law enforcement has known that you don't have a second to waste

when you're dealing with an act of theater. Police engage. The teachers get the kids out of here and you hold that ground, you bang it out with them

until heavier weapons arrive. Those parents were right.

PROKUPECZ (voice over): Further law enforcement is now backpedaling earlier statements made to the public in the hours after the shooting. On Tuesday,

the public was told that the shooter engaged with a school resource officer but that was not the case.

VICTOR ESCALON, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, SOUTH TEXAS: He was not confronted by anybody to clear the record on that.

PROKUPECZ (voice over): There was no school resource officer at the school when the shooter entered the building. Here's where the timeline of events

stands according to law enforcement.

At 11.28 am, the gunman crashed his vehicle in a ditch near the school. Onlookers nearby saw the crash and the gunman emerge weapon hand.

ALBERT VARGAS, EYEWITNESS: Came out with an automatic weapon shot at least twice, maybe three times at them. And then that's when he spotted me and

born I mean, I was already in motion to run and that's when he pam, pam.

PROKUPECZ (voice over): At 11.40 a.m. the gunman seems to have walked into the school through an unlocked door. Inside the gunman entered a classroom

and fired more than 25 times.

At 11.44 a.m. law enforcement entered the school. They immediately received fire and took cover. Officers say the shooter was barricaded in a

classroom, and they were talking to him. They also called for backup, officials defending the response to the shooting.

LT. CHRIS OLIVAREZ, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: At that point they had the suspect contained inside the classroom. If those officers weren't

there, if they did not maintain their presence, there is a good chance that gunman could have made it to other classes and commit more killings.

PROKUPECZ (voice over): There is still a crucial hour where details are sparse. As to why officers were not able to breach that barricaded

classroom and apprehend the gunman.

OLIVAREZ: We will be doing updates we will be doing--

PROKUPECZ (voice over): You should be able to answer that question now, sir.

OLIVAREZ: What is your name?

PROKUPECZ (on camera): Shimon Prokupecz from CNN.

OLIVAREZ: Shimon, I hear you.

PROKUPECZ (on camera): Because we've been given a lot of bad information, so why don't you clear all of this up and explain to us how it is that your

officers were injured for an hour, yes, rescuing people, but yet no one was able to get inside that room.

OLIVAREZ: Shimon we will circle back with you.


ANDERSON: Let's speak to Shimon in a moment. But we've establish comes now, communications with our producer Nora Neus who spoke exclusively to an 11

year old survivor who witnessed the shooting unfold.

Miah is her name and she's not keen to talk to men or on camera. But she does want to share her story and so she has shared it with you Nora, what

did Mia tell you?

NORA NEUS, CNN PRODUCER: Yes, 11 year old Miah Cerrillo who was in Ms. Garcia and Ms. Mita's classroom. That's the classroom that we've heard so

much about. And she said it started off as a really normal day.

It's the end of the school year; they are watching the movie Lilo & Stitch because they had already finished their assignments. And they got word that

there was a shooter in the building.

And so one of her teachers headed over to the door to lock it and said the shooter was right there. And so he shot out the window in the door and then

back to the teacher into the classroom. And that's when we assess things happen really quickly. The shooter approached the teacher looked her right

in the eyes, said good night and then shot her killing her.

ANDERSON: This is almost too much to hear really, isn't it and to hear this from an 11 year old. Did she go on to explain what happened next?

NEUS: Yes, and it honestly just gets worse from here. At that point the gunman started open firing in the classroom and shot a lot of her friends

and the other teacher who was in the classroom.

And so the gunman stopped shooting momentarily and went through a door that led to an adjoining classroom. And Mia from her classroom could hear more

gunshots scream from the children in that room.


NEUS: And then when the gunshots stopped, she heard music. And she said the gunman seemed to put on music. And it was sad music. And I, you know, I

said, what, what kind of music can you describe it anymore.

And she said, it just sounded like I want to kill people music. And at that point, she was scared that the gunman would come back into the room and try

to kill her as well.

And so and this is hard to say and hard to hear. She put her hands on the body of her friends next to her who had already died and then smeared her

friend's blood all over her body; so that she could play dead if the gunman came back into the room.

And it was like that, covered in her friend's blood, surrounded by the bodies of her friends and her teachers who had been killed, that she lay

there with her eyes closed, for seems about up to an hour, until the police enter the building.

ANDERSON: She lay for what she believes is up to an hour smeared in the blood of a dead friend to play dead in cases government came back in. These

words of an 11 year old speaking to you, Nora, she didn't want to speak on camera.

And she didn't want to speak to a man about this. And so she chose to speak to you. I just wonder, having had that conversation with Mia. Can you begin

to describe what sort of effect that you think this will have on her?

NEUS: I almost have no words because she was incredibly traumatized as you can only begin to imagine. And I kept saying to her, you know, you don't

have to do this interview. This interview was her idea.

They called me. I said, you know, you don't have to do this. And she kept saying no, I really want to, I really want to tell my story. Because I

think if people knew what it was really like to live through a school shooting, maybe they would do something in the U.S. to prevent this from

happening to other kids.

Her parents told me no, they really want to make sure they can get her some kind of therapy moving forward. And they don't have the financial means to

do that. And so they started a GoFundMe page to raise money for her therapy.

And I think we actually have that address that we can put on the screen if folks want to help out to pay for this little girl's therapy costs.

Physically, she's surprisingly OK.

She has some bullets, shrapnel and fragments still all on her shoulder and her back; I can see it in the back of her head. Some of her hair fell out

overnight from where the fragments had had her scalp, but amazingly, physically, mostly unharmed, but mentally and emotionally the long road


ANDERSON: Yes. You know, what one can only hope that by telling her story. You know, her dream would come true that, you know, people will understand

what it is like to go through a school shooting.

And sadly, the precedent has not been set in the United States. And so we continue to press on gun legislation and continue to press lawmakers on

what happens next. And Nora, thank you for that. Nora Neus talking about an 11 year old they're describing what happened on Tuesday at Rob Elementary


Let's bring in CNN's Crime and Justice Correspondent Shimon Prokupecz who's outside that school. And we've just been listening to Mia's story. And I

guess, you know, it's Mia, who will help piece together exactly what happened on Tuesday.

There is an awful lot of confusion and anger, because there are still so many unanswered questions. What are you learning at this point?

PROKUPECZ: Yes, the key here is that hour, there's an hour that police say that the gunman was inside this classroom in the morning from 11.44 to

12.44 alone and with these students with these children.

And it's not clear why police did not make every effort to break through that door to take out the gunman and rescue the children, who we're hearing

from now. Some of them were hiding under tables.

You know, the one that we spoke to just recently talking about how she had to fake her own death. The other survivors, we don't know what the

condition was of all of the children who were injured and shot.

But just the scars, the psychological scars on these children and the fact that they had to endure this for so, so long. Answers are needed for these

families because right now police are not telling us what they were doing in that hour.


PROKUPECZ: Yes, they called for reinforcement for the tactical teams to come in. But what efforts were they making to try and get through that door

to take out the gunman?

So we hope to hear some answers here in the next hour, where police will answer some questions. They have given us bad information, wrong

information, where they said that a police officer or a school police officer was here in the beginning and had some kind of confrontation with

the gunman.

They revealed yesterday, that was not the case. So we need to understand why that happened, why there wasn't this officer. And then also there was

an unlocked door, a door that the gunman was able to get in through that should have been locked and any new information on that.

So there are certainly a lot of questions here, one of them being the tactics here, the tactics that police were using, and what it is that they

were doing and why it is that they were waiting so long to try and get inside that classroom.

ANDERSON: Shimon, thank you. Well, many are outraged as the divisive gun lobbying group the NRA goes, goes ahead full steam ahead with its annual

convention in Texas just hours from where that mass shooting took place.

And first of its kind reporting a report looking into the atrocities carried out by Russian forces in Ukraine and the conclusions are frankly

damning. I'll speak to a contributor to that report after this short break. Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Outnumbered and outgunned, that is how the Ukrainian military hears describing the fight in eastern Ukraine. They are acknowledging the

loss of some territory in Donetsk.

You can see that on your screen in red, where the Russian offensive is centered the forces are now focusing most of their efforts around the

Severodonetsk region. Now local officials say they are facing nonstop shelling.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the offensive is "an obvious policy of genocide". He has repeatedly accused the Russian state of

genocide during this war.

But for the first time, an independent report by more than 30 international experts found that Kremlin propaganda destruction of Ukrainian cultural

sites mass graves forced relocations of Ukrainians and more pose a serious risk of genocide triggering all states has obligations to act in order to

prevent that under Article One of the Genocide Convention.

Well, I want to bring in Ewelina Ochab, and I hope I pronounced your name right, who is a contributor to the report and the Co-Founder of the

Coalition for Genocide Response. It's very good to have you with us.

The report says Ukrainians are at severe risk of genocide based on the Genocide Convention which I just want to lay out for our viewers which

defines Genocide's act committed with the intent to destroy in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.


ANDERSON: The report found that based on Russia's actions, one can make the inference that they have been taken with the intent to destroy Ukrainians,

does those stop short of saying that Russia is committing genocide? So can you explain why that is?


this important topic. The report makes three important findings. One is of incitement to commit genocide, and then of the serious risk of genocide.

And at this stage, of course, we're talking about developments over the last three months and three days since the war. So of course, it's very

early still to make the findings of genocide.

But ultimately, I think that the evidence explained in the report is very compelling. We're talking about propaganda and narrative that wanted to

dehumanize the Ukrainians and destroy them as a nation.

We've seen evidence, of course, over the last few months of mass killings of the - violence as a weapon of war, of displacement of whole populations,

displacement of children and placing them with Russian families. That's one of the allegations as well. So of course, a lot and a lot of information

will come into your course, again, it's still very, very early, and we need to monitor the situation.

But what is very important with this report is that it puts states on notice that these are the findings at this very stage. What are we going to

do about it? And also very important to note is that we don't have to wait until we see by this on the streets, although we've seen by this on the

streets in Bucha, and other places.

But then the duty under the Genocide Convention, the duty to prevent is to be triggered at the very instance, our state learns, or should have

normally learned of the serious risk of genocide. And this report is precisely about that finding the serious risk of genocide and now asking

states to act. Now it is in your hands, you need to act to prevent the materialization of this risk into full--

ANDERSON: And that's why the timing of this report is so important. And just to point out that CNN has actually confirmed much or many of the

events and the evidence that are of atrocities that you have, that you have outlined in this report.

One of the most chilling aspects of this report was the direct comparison to the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, the details you say, of the mass murder of

over 7000 Bosnian Muslim boys and men in Srebrenica only emerged before the international community when it was too late to prevent a genocide that

occurred in a matter of days.

In 2022, we have the capabilities to accurately track similar atrocities as they unfold, and respond accordingly. So what needs to be done next, to

stop that?

OCHAB: Of course, there are many actions that can be taken by states. But just going back to the duty to prevent and I mentioned that the truth for

it is precisely now when we see the serious risk of genocide.

So states have to take all means reasonable available to them to prevent this genocide so far as possible. So when we of course, sometimes we'll

hear from states that whatever they do, it's not going to change what's going to happen. But that's not the point.

ANDERSON: So, what can they do?

OCHAB: Of course, they could, some of the steps have been already taken, for example, some legal steps with the idea that that will, to some extent

prevent further atrocities, but ultimately, of course, engaging in diplomatic dialogue supporting the Ukrainian government as well in the

fight against the crime of aggression.

ANDERSON: Much of which, of course, is being done. So I guess you know, that, as we pointed out, the importance of this report cannot be under

stated. The question is what more can be done at this stage? Do you envision a world in which Vladimir Putin stands trial for these act? These

alleged acts of horror and war crimes?

OCHAB: Of course, many actors are working on it right now. We know that the International Criminal Court is working on the atrocities. We know that of

course, that attempts to establish an ad hoc tribunal for the crime of aggression.

We know of course, the domestic prosecutions as well happening right now in Ukraine, and also, at least six countries are working on using that

principle of universal jurisdiction to ensure prosecution of the crime.

So that there's a lot a lot happening. But just going back to what you just said that of course, a lot is already happening from the steps that should

be taken. Yes, but the interest is dropping as well.

And we are now three months three days into this war and we are seeing less and less coverage of the situation. It doesn't mean that the solution is

improving definitely not; the humanitarian crisis may be getting worse.


ANDERSON: And in fact it may be getting worse. I mean, you're not saying less on CNN, by the way, but I understand what you're saying there is - and

we've been talking about this, you know, there is a war fatigue.

OCHAB: Definitely. And of course, then we'll move to something else. That's what happens with every case of genocidal atrocities. But also other

atrocity crimes, we move from one case to another, and we never, we never continue with, with the focus on the situations, we just drop them and move

to something else.

And of course, there will be something else after Ukraine. We know that. And also the comparison with Srebrenica, the very fact at the very point of

it is that we are at this in this unique situation right now.

We can still prevent materialization of this genocide, but we need to act. We cannot leave it hoping that it's going to get better. There is no hope

for that. I think. I think we've seen it over the last few weeks and months. We need to act and we need to act now.

ANDERSON: Good to have you on.

OCHAB: Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: The report makes sadly very compelling reading. When we come back a 10 year old terrified to go back to school after he had to hide in a

classroom while a gunman killed his friends, his story is up next.


ANDERSON: Well just say is often 19 children and two teachers were gunned down in an elementary school. The National Rifle Association's annual

convention will go ahead as planned this weekend in the same state as that school shooting Texas.

Among those who are expected to speak former President Donald Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Texas Governor Greg Abbott will also send a pre-

recorded video.

At least four musicians there have canceled their performances at the convention and we are expecting to see protests as members of the gun lobby

meet. Let's go straight to CNN Correspondent Camila Bernal who is outside the convention center in Houston in Texas where the NRA is holding the


As I understand it, there are already protests locally. Just explain the atmosphere where you are.

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Becky, there were a lot of people who wanted this convention to be canceled and there were others who

said let's postpone it and wait a little bit and then have the convention but it is already underway.

As you can see here behind me, there's already a line at the convention center. They're going in there was one member of the NRA that I talked to

who told me look, I feel bad, I think it's horrible what happened in Texas. But I also am very excited for this convention.


BERNAL: But then directly across the street from the convention, there is a green space. And this is where some of the protesters are going to gather

throughout the day. There's a small group at the moment, and it's hard to see because there's still a little bit of protesters and a lot of cameras

and media here at the moment.

But they're carrying crosses with pictures of every child that was shot in Uvalde. And they say they will continue to be here throughout the day.

Among some of the protesters that we're expecting later on today is Beto O'Rourke. He is the gubernatorial Democratic candidate for the state of


And a lot of the organizers have told me, look, we are not only expressing our frustration or anger, but we also are hoping to register people to

vote. The city of Houston has said that they're going to keep things as safe as possible.

They're going to have two zones, the protesters and then the counter protesters. Sylvester Turner, the Mayor of Houston said, Look, I cannot

cancel this event.

But he is saying that he hopes that politicians pull out of the event, especially those publicly elected, here's what else he have to say.


SYLVESTER TURNER, HOUSTON, TEXAS MAYOR: Even though the city cannot cancel a contract, because we don't agree with their position on guns, certainly

the NRA can postpone their convention for a week or two to allow the families to bury their children.


BERNAL: And of course, that is not happening in terms of security inside of the event, because former President Donald Trump will be speaking tonight.

It is secret service that will be in charge.

And they say no guns will be allowed in that hall where President Trump will be speaking. Governor Greg Abbott was also supposed to speak today

he's sending a prerecorded video because he is staying in Uvalde.

There are other politicians that are pulled out including Dan Patrick, the lieutenant governor of Texas and Senator John Cornyn, also of Texas, who

did not like the shooting and instead cited a scheduling conflict.

So we're seeing some people that are not going to be here, while others are going on as planned, but still a lot of controversy around this year's

convention, Becky.

ANDERSON: And Camila, there will be people watching this show who will think it is inconceivable that the narrative that the convention would be

tone deaf to this school shooting.

Is it clear what will be said whether a moment of silence will be held? How is it clear how the organizers might cope with this jutting up as it is

against such an awful, horrific event in the same state of Texas just earlier this week?

BERNAL: Yes, I think we got a little preview of that from the statement that the NRA released earlier after the shooting. And they pointed to the

one shooter, they pointed to one criminal and did not specifically talk about guns, then they went on to say that they're going to continue to

support safe schools.

So I think that's where the message is going to go towards in terms of when we hear from NRA leadership. Of course, we won't know what happens until

they actually do speak.

But I think the focus is going to be on mental health on the one shooter who is responsible for all of this and then on possibly arming either

teachers or guards or police who are at the schools.

That's sort of the message that you're hearing from a lot of the Republicans and from the NRA, but of course we'll have to wait and see what

happens later on this afternoon. And this goes on until Sunday.

So we have a couple of days of all of these events and speakers Becky.

ANDERSON: Let me say Donald Trump, the former President, expected to be in attendance later this afternoon. Thank you. Well, Republican Senator Cruz,

a key attendee how that conference as Camilla mentioned, a clear opponent of what's known as common sense gun control.

Less obvious are his alternative solutions to America's gun violence epidemic and when asked by Sky News, why only in America, while he did



MARK STONE, SKY NEWS: Why only in America, why is this American exceptionalism so awful?

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): You know I'm sorry you think American exceptionalism is awful.

STONE: I think this aspect of it.

CRUZ: You get your political agenda.

STONE: No, it's honestly.

CRUZ: God love you.

STONE: Senator. It's not; I just want to understand why you do not think that guns are the problem.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why it's just an American problem?

STONE: It is just an American problem, sir.


ANDERSON: One of the very real victims of America's gun problem, which is what it is, is fourth grader Jayden Perez, he had to see something no child

should have to watch. His friends being killed as he hid from a gunman at his Texas Elementary School Tuesday.


ANDERSON: Adrienne Broaddus spoke to Jayden and his mom about what happened that day.


ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Jayden Perez is better today.

JAYDEN PEREZ, ROBB ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENT: Still sad about some of the some of my friends that died.

BROADDUS (voice over): And the 10 year old shooting survivor says talking helps. PEREZ: It was very terrifying. Because I never thought that was

going to happen.

BROADDUS (voice over): Inside a fourth grade classroom the 10 year old said he and his classmates hid near the backpacks. This photo of the classroom

was taken long before the shooting.

PEREZ: Five of us hiding there and then the rest under a table. But that didn't stop one of my friends getting hurt. The shooter shot through the

window and hurting my friend and my teacher like my teacher got hurt like on like I don't know which side but she got hit, like hit on the side.

And then and then my friend got like, shot through the nose. And they had and they both had to get surgery.

BROADDUS (voice over): For - officer helped him and his classmates escaped through a window. But not before the shooter had killed his friends.

PEREZ: McKenna test, Anabel --basically, almost some of them basically almost all of them.

BROADDUS (voice over): Jayden's pain, not physical, but emotionally paralyzing.

PEREZ: After what happened know?

BROADDUS (on camera): Do you ever want to go back to school?

PEREZ: I don't want to, no, because I don't want anything to do with another shooting and me in the school.

BROADDUS (on camera): You scared it might happen again?

PEREZ: And I know what might happen again probably.

BROADDUS (voice over): Jayden's mom Crystal shared these pictures taken about 90 minutes before the shooting. She's with her son at the school

celebrating Jayden's Honor Roll achievement. His mom said waiting, not knowing was tough.

BROADDUS (on camera): What did you tell your mom when you finally saw her?

PEREZ: I left my water bottle at school.

BROADDUS (on camera): Your water bottle? Did you hug her?

PEREZ: She hugged me versus you like--

BROADDUS (on camera): Well, she's so happy to see you.

Yes and my dad and my grandma.

BROADDUS (on camera): What are your parents mean to you?

PEREZ: A lot, because they brought me into this room.

BROADDUS (voice over): A world where schools are also crime scenes.

BROADDUS (on camera): Did you hear the gunfire?

PEREZ: Yes. They never know whenever you can lose someone close to you.


ANDERSON: Still ahead on "Connect the World", Russia friends amidst Russia's war on Ukraine. Well, the close relationships between the Chinese

and Russian leaders impact how China plans to deal with Taiwan. We're going to take a look at that and more after this.



ANDERSON: 16 months after moving into the White House, the Biden Administration is spelling out its strategy towards China. Secretary of

State Antony Blinken saying in a speech on Thursday that China poses and I quote him here "the most serious, long term challenge to the international


To counter that Blinken says the U.S. will close ranks with its allies and will be ready to defend its interests. But he also says Washington doesn't

want to start a new cold war with China or change its political system instead. Blinken says the door is open to diplomacy.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: This is a charged moment for the world. And at times like these diplomacy is vital. It's how we make clear

our profound concerns. Better understand each other's perspective and have no doubt about each other's intentions. We stand ready to increase our

direct communication with Beijing across a full range of issues.


ANDERSON: Well, in Beijing, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said today the Blinken speech smears China and he repeated Beijing's long held

position that Taiwan along with Hong Kong and Tibet are purely internal affairs of China.

Well, Ivan Watson tells us why the U.S. fears that China will follow Russia's Ukraine playbook for dealing with Taiwan and - might experience

similar problems, have a look at this.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Russia and China enjoy a friendship with no limits. This announcement made by the

Russian and Chinese presidents when they met on February 4 on the eve of the Beijing Winter Olympics.

20 days later, soon after the end of the Olympics, Moscow invaded Ukraine. Russia's unprovoked war sparking fears China could have similar plans for

Taiwan. Beijing claims the self-governing island belongs to China asked if he would get involved militarily to defend Taiwan against China. The U.S.

president had this explicit warning.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Yes, that's the commitment we made.

WATSON (voice over): Beijing has long called for peaceful reunification with Taiwan, but it has also never ruled out using force against Taiwan's

democratically elected government. And when it comes to military force, China dwarfs Taiwan, boasting the largest Navy in the world, and the

largest air force in the region.

But if Russia's deadly adventure in Ukraine taught strategists anything, it's that size doesn't always matter.

BONNIE GLASER, GERMAN MARSHALL FUND OF THE U.S.: The country may clearly have a conventional military advantage over an adversary. But that doesn't

mean that it would necessarily achieve easy military or political victory.

WATSON (on camera): The war in Ukraine highlights another potential challenge. For China to attack Ukraine, Russian troops simply drove across

the border from Russia and from neighboring Belarus.

But to reach Taiwan Chinese forces would have to cross the Taiwan Strait within 100 miles, a 180 kilometers of open water.

PHILLIPS O'BRIEN, PROFESSOR OF STRATEGIC STUDIES, ST. ANDREWS UNIVERSITY: Well, amphibious assaults are the most difficult complex operations in

warfare. If the Chinese tried to send an invasion force from the mainland to Taiwan, they would have to contend with salvos of anti-ship missiles.

And what we would see is a massacre of shipping probably in the waters around Taiwan.

WATSON (voice over): The Russian Navy has suffered major losses from suspected Ukrainian anti-ship missiles, first losing this landing ship in

the Russian occupied port of - and then losing the Moskva, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

Analysts say Taiwan has a much larger arsenal of anti-ship missiles at its disposal, and its military has been training for 70 years against the

threat of a Chinese invasion.

KEN JIMBO, PROFESSOR, KEIO UNIVERSITY: China is learning the lessons from Ukraine both in a positive and also in the negative manner.

WATSON (voice over): Early in his Ukraine war, Vladimir Putin publicly put Russia's nuclear weapons on alert, a thinly veiled threat to the west.

JIMBO: Probably that the China will bring in the kind of advantage of the nuclear threats in the early phase of the scenario that will potentially I

think the change or calculation of the Washington D.C.


WATSON (voice over): As a warning to the U.S. China's Foreign Ministry declared this week that no force in the world can stop China from achieving

reunification with Taiwan. Ivan Watson CNN, Hong Kong.


ANDERSON: This is fascinating, Nic Robertson joining me now. Is this concern about Taiwan in Beijing, maybe taking a leaf out of the Ukraine

playbook by is this is this overplayed?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's like it's been President Biden's main concern when he first came to office. And it was,

you know, the Obama administration that had wanted to pivot to Asia because they saw the Chinese threat.

And if you think about, you know, last year, we heard a lot from President Biden. And also we heard a lot under Trump as well, that European partners

and allies really needed to rally to the U.S. position that China was not a good human rights actor, it was not a good trade partner.

And that, you know, this alignment of the United States and European countries on their view of China has sort of solidified post the Ukraine

war, not perhaps because of what Ukraine, not perhaps because of what China has done there, but because it's solidified this concern that other

autocracies around that cannot be trusted.

So by Biden, just last week, in the past week, going to Asia, going to South Korea, going to Japan to meet with allies there that really signals

that that he still sees us as his major concern that this is a real concern, because this is China's path to challenging the United States.

If they win on Taiwan, then the United States as a global power is diminished. It's the acid test.

ANDERSON: It was interesting to hear Blinken really lay out what the Biden administration's China policy is. I have to say, in listening to that if

you close your eyes, those are kind of, you know, a whiff of Barack Obama in the international at least - you know, in the narrative.

It's one that we recognize; I have to say I didn't think there was anything particularly new. But the Chinese Beijing has certainly seen it and heard

it and is treating it as a smear. I wonder if we sort of move away from that speech and just look at activity yesterday at the UN Security Council.

We saw China and Russia for the first time, I think in something like 15 years veto sanctions, which were suggested by the U.S. or North Korea, we

are seeing in that activity, we are seeing the potential for the Chinese and the Russians to stop all intents and purposes working together to

defeat proposals that the international community is putting on the table at this point. Do you expect to see more of that going forward?

ROBERTSON: I do. And quite simply, China several years ago, has clearly taken the view that the West, the United States and as many allies as it

can bring, are trying to keep China back from its rightful place as the potentially the world's major economy.

It's not there yet. But as a major producer of real high tech, not the cheap products those China decades ago flooded the world market with--

ANDERSON: And frankly, it feels like its being dissed, right?

ROBERTSON: Completely. So and the more they watch what's happening with the way the Western Community deals with Russia, this reaffirms to them that

their best response it appears to be as being robust.

So, so yes, they're not going to be compliant and go along, even for a near neighbor, that is potentially more of a troublesome threat to them in terms

of North Korea, and a greater alignment with Russia.

And if they can make western policy in Eastern Europe in Ukraine tougher by citing a bit or a lot or appearing to aside a lot with Russia, then this is

in their interest.

I mean, they as much as there are lessons for them to draw from the way that the United States and the EU are dealing with Russia. This is a moment

where China can signal its intent.

And I think that's what we saw there at the UN Security Council. But we also saw it on Tuesday, in over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea

where there was a joint strategic flight of Russian and Chinese bombers.

And that was why President Biden was in Japan. It's all very strong and clear signaling. There is a polarizing of the world taking place. And where

does one see those poles that magnetic polar opposites.

So clearly, where there are five key players around one table, the permanent five at UN Security Council that's what we're seeing.

ANDERSON: Can be more interesting to be the International Diplomatic Editor at CNN these days.

ROBERTSON: I will stay so.


ANDERSON: Good job we've got in. Well, a car given by the former Shah of Iran to aid Romanian dictator in the 1970s is now being used to raise

awareness for the Iranian LGBTQ community, more on that, after this.


ANDERSON: In tonight's parting shots this year's Oslo Freedom Forum brought together human rights activists from around the world to shed light on the

global struggle for freedom and democracy.

One organization working to raise awareness for the LGBTQ community in Iran received the 2022 Havel prize for creative dissent. Have a look at this.


OMID IRAVANIPOUR, PYKANARTCAR LGBTQ COMMUNITY AMBASSADOR: This is the first time that foundation that has been focused on the Iranian LGBT rights and

issues, so he's winning this prize. So we are all here to receive this prize on behalf of PaykanArtCar.

PaykanArtCar itself is such a national icon for any Iran's. So Iranians can't really relate to this car very well. This particular car was a gift

of Iranians former shot to the former dictator of Romania and is using this car as a canvas to bring out human rights issues of marginalized people in

Iran in artwork.

The artist has used traditional Iranian parts to bring out the issues that relate to LGBT community. In the front of car, you see a - there's always

this war seats about; you see art pieces of them. And instead of fighting they're making love in front of the car.

On one side, you see - with a noose around his neck, which represents the death penalty that gay men face in Iran and on the other side of the car,

with the door being adored, you see blood dripping out of the - neck which actually is referring to beheading the - who was beheaded by his own family

members in Iran because of being a gay.

And we have a voice that LGBT people inside Iran don't have. We need to extend our political privileges to create a space to be the voice of those

people and give them a space to be able to talk about their issues.


ANDERSON: Well, sticking with Iran before we end this show. It's a cinema scene has garnered international fame. So let's take a look at two Iranian

movies that have made the coveted final selection at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Holy spider by Iran born Director Ali Abbasi is

inspired by the true story of a serial killer who targeted sex workers in Iran.

Critics are already marking it as a Palme d'Or contender that's of course the highest prize awarded at the festival.

Also making splashes Leila's brothers by Iranian Director Saeed Roustayi, the movie looks at Iran through the tribulations of one family. It also

tackles gender roles in the country using the story of are or you have Leila and her four brothers.


ANDERSON: The film causing a stir off screen as well, two of the Iranian actors husband and wife, Navid Mohammadzadeh and Fereshteh Hosseini shared

a kiss on the red carpet, though this picture could raise some eyebrows at home in 2014.

A kiss from Iranian actress Leila Hatami, on the cheek of the festivals President caused outrage.

Back at home Iran's Deputy Minister of Culture called the actor violation of religious beliefs. Well, this time around, the focus rightly seems to be

on the stellar lineup of Iranian movies rather than a kiss on the red carpet.

Thank you for joining us. We are still awaiting a press conference from the Texas Department of Public Safety to give us some updates on the Uvalde

shooting and some answer and some crucial questions which are outstanding at present. We will bring you that when it happens. Do stay with CNN; it is

a very good evening from London.