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Macron, Scholz and Draghi Make Unannounced Trip to Ukraine; Ukrainian Defense Minister Confident in NATO Support; Kevin Spacey Faces U.K. Court; DRC Suspends Diplomatic Ties with Rwanda; U.S. Fed Offers Reassurance on Inflation. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired June 16, 2022 - 10:00   ET




MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT: A message of unity. The leaders of France, Germany and Italy meet with Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv. And.


OLEKSIY REZNIKOV, UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: They told, me Oleksiy, don't worry, we will not stop, we will continue providing help to your country to

your people to your president.

FOSTER (voice-over): A promise from allies to keep helping until the end. CNN sits down with Ukraine's defense minister. Plus.

JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: Clearly today's a 75 point is an unusually large one. And I do not expect moves of this size to be common.

FOSTER (voice-over): Trying to cool America's economy using the largest interest rate hike in decades.


FOSTER: I'm Max Foster in London, welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.

Support for Ukraine from a trio of the world's top leaders, the French president, the German chancellor and the Italian prime minister making a

visit to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Romania's president join them.

President Zelenskyy's been critical of France's Emmanuel Macron and Germany's Olaf Scholz for their less than unconditional backing of Ukraine.

Today, though he thanked them for their support.

The leaders toured Irpin, scene of some of the heaviest fighting in the war and of alleged Russian war atrocities. The French president saying that

Russia left the stigmata of barbarism there. Back in Kyiv, he talked about Europe's role in the challenging weeks ahead.


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): A message of European unity addressed to Ukrainian men and women, support to talk about

both the president and the future, because the coming, weeks we know, will be very difficult weeks. I want to be in support and at their side.


FOSTER: Trip coming during a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, they talked about support for Ukraine a day after U.S. President

Joe Biden pledges a new $1 billion military aid package.

The NATO secretary general outlined the plans for Eastern Europe in the wake of Russian aggression.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: Today, ministers addressed the scale of the design for future posturing. And now, we can step up all

domains, with substantial strengthening of our presence, capabilities and readiness.

This will mean more NATO forward deployed combat formations to strengthen our battalion groups in the eastern part of the alliance, more air, sea and

cyber defenses as well as prepositioned equipment and weapons stockpiles.


FOSTER: Salma Abdelaziz is following this for us in Kyiv. And Matthew Chance is in Brussels for the NATO meeting.

Big promises on the behalf of defense ministers, Matthew, You spoke to the Ukrainian counterpart.

What did he make of this?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You are right. There is many big show of commitment, of Biden, NATO allies and other

countries as well. They have been invited here to discuss what should be done about Ukraine and how they can best support it.

And you mentioned that President Biden, of the United States, has added another $1 billion worth of military aid to the $40 billion aid package

that has already been approved by him over the past couple of weeks.

So it is an ongoing commitment to supporting Ukraine through military means and diplomatic and economic means. I sat down with the defense minister --

got the chance to speak to him one-on-one earlier today. It was good to get some perspective on his war. We have not spoken to him since the

hostilities broke out back in February.

And he said that he had been assured by the United States and its allies that that kind of constant commitment that they have shown so far will

still be there in the future, no matter what. Take a listen.


REZNIKOV: I fixed yesterday that our apartments (ph) will never stop. I was told that.


REZNIKOV: I spoke with my friend, Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Defense of the United States, Secretary of Defence of the U.K. Ben Wallace and our

other colleagues. They told me, Oleksiy, don't worry. We will not stop. We will continue help to your country, to your people, to your president.

CHANCE: Realistically, how sustainable is a commitment with no end to Ukraine's security?

For a country like the United States, for instance, who has just got itself out of an unending war in Afghanistan, do you really believe that that is a

genuine commitment by the United States, to continue to militarily back Ukraine into the future, no matter what?

REZNIKOV: I heard yesterday and I felt that it is absolutely honestly that I saw the eyes of Lloyd Austin, for example or General Mark Milley or Ben

Wallace or are partners from the Baltic countries, from Poland. And I saw their real understanding that they will never stop with us.


CHANCE: All, right well, there is an understanding on the part of the Ukrainians as well, about what exactly they want to do with the weapons

they're getting from the United States and other Western countries.

They want to use those weapons to take back as much as they can of the land that has been occupied by Russia, stabilize the situation, first take back

land that was taken since the invasion began on February 24th.

And, interestingly, Ukrainian officials and the defense minister here are not ruling out the possibility of ultimately Crimea, also, being taken

back. It is something that is very contentious, a red line for Russia, annexed by Russia back in 2014.

But the Ukrainians are saying that they would still want that back and the defense minister told me that he would use military means, if necessary, to

achieve that strategic goal.

FOSTER: Matthew in Brussels, thank you.

Salma, this very high profile visit. European leaders into Kyiv. Macron was much of the focus.

Just explain what the purpose was there, is it a symbolic visit?

Is it substance the meetings that will go into?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So the three powerhouse leaders of Europe, the German chancellor, the French president and the Italian prime

minister making their first visit since the start of the invasion. And, yes for all of that talk of solidarity and unity, there has been cracks. There

has been divisions.

And Zelenskyy has been vocal in criticizing, in particular French president, Emmanuel Macron and the German chancellor over what he sees as a

softening of their position toward President Putin.

In the case of French president, Emmanuel Macron, he made these comments about a week ago, saying that the West should not humiliate President

Putin. Zelenskyy was quick to jump on that comment and say there is no humiliation here. It is Russia that started this war. And essentially,

accusing the French president of being soft on Moscow.

In the case of the German chancellor, Germany has so far refused to cut off imports of Russian oil and gas. And said they promised a phase out by the

end of the year. President Zelenskyy has accused Germany that, doing that, continuing to fund Russia's economy and allowing that money to go toward

the invasion here in Ukraine.

There's also been that criticism of Scholz that he has dragged his feet on providing aid, providing military equipment to Ukraine. It's the largest

economy, of course, in Europe. And that contribution that Ukrainian officials see is very small compared to the size of the German economy.

There were these comments again from the Ukrainian deputy prime minister, right on the platform, when she said, I'm not expecting brilliant

announcements out of this. We are just glad they're finally here.

So this is really about mending fences, more than it is about a show of solidarity. There are cracks are appearing here. It's a long haul flight.

President Zelenskyy will want to more than rhetoric. He will want to see action. He will also want to see these leaders welcome him into the

European community.

At times. Ukraine's felt isolated,, of course, not a part of the E.U. It has applied for candidacy status and is waiting to see where that goes.

That could take many years, if not decades for Ukraine to join. But they want to have that sense of solidarity and continue (INAUDIBLE) from the

east from European leaders and it needs to be more than words. It needs to be actions -- Max.

FOSTER: Salma, thank you. Those leaders will be amongst NATO leaders meeting in a few weeks' time. When looking at this big how to respond to

the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Defense ministers meeting ahead of that as Matthew was describing earlier on.


FOSTER: One of those at that meeting Estonian defense minister Kalle Laanet, who joins us now from Brussels.

Thank you so much for joining us. We heard there from the Ukrainian defense minister saying that the promise has been that this is the long haul for

all of the European defense ministers and the E.U. defense ministers.

What did you, what was your interpretation of what came out of the meetings today?

KALLE LAANET, ESTONIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: Good afternoon to everybody. And, of course, one hand, it was very good division and conversation because we

need to discuss together how to help more and more quickly Ukraine.

And Estonia made the first decision already last December to support Ukraine with the lethal and non lethal aid. And today we already supported

Ukraine. It is almost 0.8 percent of our GDP.

And of course, after the first Ramstein meeting when the U.S. took the strong leadership to help Ukraine and we have had already almost 40 states

around the table. And then it started to change the situation. And different states started to more actively to support the different weapons


But it is not enough. Ukraine needs more and more quickly delivered weapons in Ukraine to fight against Russia and to fight for the European Union


FOSTER: Is this for the long term?

The Ukrainian defense minister suggesting that NATO will support Ukraine even in taking back Crimea.

Was that your takeaway from the discussions today as well?

LAANET: I believe that the first main position is Ukraine have to win that war. Secondly, of course, Ukraine have to decide on which conditions peace

is coming and what conditions they start to negotiate with Russia. But it will take long haul.

FOSTER: In terms of the defenses on your territory, are you comfortable with the promises that are being made and increasing military installations

in your country and across the Baltic?

LAANET: We are thankful to U.K. and also to France, because they increased the numbers of troops in Estonia and the (INAUDIBLE) and of course, all of

these NATO decisions which are made already before the NATO summit that will happen next week, that we have to strengthen NATO eastern flank.

And we are NATO, let's say, border state. And if we are looking, what is Putin saying publicly, that our border state, border city, belongs to

Russia. They would like to take it back to Russia.

It is not acceptable. And we have to do everything with together our allies that we didn't lose any inch of NATO and Estonian territory. And of course,

that needs more resources in Estonia, also in the Baltic states. And, of course, we need division size command structure to act immediately and

reinforcement, quick reinforcement NATO troops to Estonia.

FOSTER: Are you comfortable that the larger NATO nations understand that and will give you what you need to protect your territory?

LAANET: I am quite sure that most of the large NATO states also are dispute what means forward defense in our means and how to protect NATO

states and also eastern flank. But it is always questions details. But general understanding they have.

FOSTER: But do you think you will get that when the bigger meeting happens in two weeks' time?

LAANET: I'm quite positive.


LAANET: I hope that we will receive this decision on NATO summit after next week, after two weeks.

FOSTER: What sort of intelligence are you receiving about the threat from Russia to your country?

LAANET: Of course Russian troops have exercised targeting our cities and then the regions. And if they already exercise that means, that this is

also written down on the complete plans for what they have. And we have to be ready for that.

FOSTER: Are you concerned that there will be a military response in two weeks' time, when there is discussion about Finland and Sweden joining

because you're also very close to those countries and their application to NATO membership is seen as provocatory by the Russians frankly.

LAANET: I believe that we are ready to share daily basis intelligence. And if there will be this kind of signs that Russia plans to do any military

activities toward NATO countries or toward Sweden or Finland, we are ready to respond to that.

FOSTER: And are you comfortable that Turkish will prevent the blockage of those applications as well?

LAANET: I hope so that Turkey will allow one day to join also Finland and Sweden as a NATO member states. And but I am not sure how much or how long

time it will take because all of these messages from Finland and Sweden are promising.

FOSTER: OK, Estonian defense minister, Kalle Laanet, thank you very much indeed for joining us on CONNECT THE WORLD today.

Now here, actor Kevin Spacey was in a London court earlier. After the break we will look at the charges against him and what he is facing if he is

found guilty.




FOSTER: After Kevin Spacey made his first appearance in a London court earlier today, prosecutors have charged the 62-year old with five sex

related offenses, including sexual assault.


FOSTER: The alleged incidents took place in London between 2005 and 2014. Spacey denies the allegations. Nina dos Santos joins us from outside the

court in London.

He was bailed, Nina?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR: That is right, he was granted unconditional bail. His team was able to convince the judge that he

voluntarily returned to the United Kingdom, to review these charges and defend himself against them.

He's said previously in a public statement before that he was confident he would be able to prove his innocence. And also, the court heard that his

team had cooperated extensively with investigators hee as well.

So that means that he will not be confined to U.K. shores. He has had his travel documents returned to him. And he can carry on with various other

filming projects, because he has got two movies coming out soon. As well.

And he does not live in the U.K. anymore. He also lives in the United States but as he pointed out these charges are historical. They date back

to between 2005 and 2013, when Kevin Spacey lived here in the U.K. He was a very prominent person on the London scene, the artistic director of the Old

Vic Theater Company.

During this period, allegedly three incidents took place here in London between 2005 in 2008. The victims are allegedly men who are now in their

40s and 30s and there was another incident on the charges that allegedly took place in Gloucester in the west of England. That is where many

celebrities and wealthy Britons have country houses. Kevin Spacey has always publicly denied these allegations, like I said he voluntarily

returned to the U.K. to hear the charges.

But this was not the forum to hear about a plea deal at all or anything like that. This was just an initial hearing, during which he spoke only

briefly, to confirm his name, date of birth and his London address.

The next hearing, where you might get more detail, is on the 14th of July. That will be happening at the Crown Court on the south side of London.

FOSTER: Westminster Magistrates Court, thank you.

Let's get some other stories on our radar, right now.

Brazilian investigators say a man has confessed to killing a British journalist and the indigenous affairs expert acting as his guide. Dom

Phillips and Bruno Pereira went missing on June the 5th, in a remote area of the Amazon.

Police say the suspect led them to the scene where human remains were found. A second person is also in custody.

A Scottish official is echoing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's declaration that the government plans to hold a second independence referendum.

Scotland's constitution secretary says the vote will be held in October next year.

The images you see here are from the 2014 referendum. No word on whether Edinburgh would formally seek permissions from the U.K. government to hold

that vote, even if it does seek permission.

The World Food Programme is launching universities operation in Sri Lanka. Workers are giving out food vouchers to pregnant women. And they eventually

hope to help millions. The country is in a devastating economic crisis. The WFP says that one in five Sri Lankans, nearly 5 million, are food insecure.

Tensions are flaring up once again between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its neighbor, Rwanda. An anti Rwanda rally in the Congolese city

of Goma happened on Wednesday.

This comes after weeks of heavy clashing between Congolese government forces and the M23 rebel group. Congo accuses Rwanda of supporting M23, a

charge that Rwanda denies.

Kenya's president is calling for the deployment of a regional force to restore security. David McKenzie has been keeping up on the situation there

and joins us from Johannesburg, South Africa.

David, give us a sense of just how combustible the situation is.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Max, it is very combustible and extremely serious. Just in the last few, moments we have got word from the

Congolese government that they are retracting significant amount of diplomatic ties between the DRC, Congo and Rwanda, neighbors into the east.

This comes after weeks of clashes in the eastern Congo in the North Kivu province from the M23 rebel group. Now the Congolese and quite a few

analysts blame Rwanda of backing that rebel group, something that Rwanda repeatedly denies.

A spokesperson told us a short time ago that for, now the ambassador of Rwanda to the DRC will remain in place. And you have that news that you

described of the Kenyan president saying that the newly established East African regional force should be deployed to try to stabilize the


They will have a meeting on Sunday in Nairobi, Kenya's capital, to potentially hash that out.

There were those scenes, disturbing scenes, of Congolese getting on to the streets in Goma.


MCKENZIE: Protesting against the Rwandans, both in terms of the government and Rwanda nationals. This is also why this is such a combustible

situation. And again, they blame Rwanda squarely for this insecurity. Take a listen.


SYLVAIN EKENGE, SPOKESPERSON, MILITARY GOVERNOR OF NORTH KIVU (through translator): This is nothing less than an invasion of the DRC and the

armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo will take all the necessary measures in defending their territory.


MCKENZIE: There is continued denial from Rwanda. Next, week of course, they will be hosting a commonwealth nations. It is a sensitive time for the

Rwandese government and a potentially combustible situation, as I've described.

FOSTER: What does it mean for the wider region?

How concerning is it for security there?

MCKENZIE: It is very concerning. If you look at the map and where Goma, the capital of North Kivu, is situated, it's right there on the border of

Rwanda. There is a long history all the way back to the Rwandan genocide in the mid '90s, of instability moving between those two countries and between

Uganda and eastern DRC.

Despite Rwanda's repeated denials of direct involvement in funding this rebel force, both Uganda and Rwanda have deep economic ties to the eastern

part of the DRC. It is a very rich area from a mineral standpoint.

And the government in Kinshasa, all the way the other side of the continent, has very little governmental control over that region in

practical terms. This could go very badly. But the hope is that the ongoing mediation efforts will bear some fruit -- Max.

FOSTER: David, thank you. We are watching.

Now when CONNECT THE WORLD returns, we will take you to the bank on bitcoin. How leaders are reacting to the crypto crash.

Plus, the next hearing into the January 6 insurrection gets underway. Today's focus is on the vice president at the time and the pressure

campaign on him.





JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: We anticipate that ongoing rate increases will be appropriate. The pace of those changes will continue to

depend on the incoming data and the evolving outlook for the economy. Clearly, today's 75 basis point increase is an unusually large one. And I

do not expect the moves of this size to be common.



FOSTER: That is the man trying to cool America's white-hot inflation problem. U.S. Federal Reserve chief, Jerome Powell announcing America's

largest interest rate hike in almost three decades.

He says it was Friday's odd catching May inflation report. His description that led to Wednesday's dramatic rate rise. Let's see how Wall Street is

faring as a result of that. Right now, it's trading in the red, giving up its post-Fed decision gains.

The FTSE is also lower as the Bank of England makes news of its own, raising its interest rate by 25 basis points to 1.25 percent. That is the

fifth rate hike in a row and it comes as the U.K. inflation source for a 40 year high.

As the world's major central banks hike interest rates try to bring inflation under control, some traders have been dumping their riskier

investments, which include volatile cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin, the world's most viable cryptocurrency, has plunged more than 30 percent this week. It's hovering around $21,000, now that is down from a

record high last November of $69,000.

And as the digital currency market continues to crumble, Coinbase is now warning of what it calls a crypto winter. The crypto exchange says it's

laying off almost one-fifth of its workforce. Its stock is down almost 80 percent year to date.

People asked, is this real money disappearing?

It is. The end of May, bitcoin was worth more than $31,000. Now it's just over $21,000. Scale that and billions are being lost. Now there are few

places that are being hit harder by the crypto crash than El Salvador. That nation was the first to adopt bitcoin as the official form of currency and

had made huge investments in crypto. CNN's Patrick Oppmann has more.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: El Salvador's president Nayib Bukele had promised his country that, by adopting bitcoin as a legal currency, the

first country to do so, that would put El Salvador on the path to a brighter economic future.

But they are hitting some potholes along the way. As the price of bitcoin continues to plummet. Of the some $100 million El Salvador has invested in

bitcoin. Up until now, they have lost about a half of the value of that bitcoin.

Bukele and other government officials say this represents about 0.5 of 1 percent of the country's budget. And that essentially, it's not a big deal

but it is hurting El Salvador's credit rating. And leading some investors to wonder if El Salvador continues to make debt payments.

Bukele is unrepentant, a believer in bitcoin. He said that countries and citizens should continue to invest in bitcoin, to essentially buy it at its

dip is what he said, that bitcoin is at a great price right now.

But the problem is even as he continues to invest in bitcoin, it is continuing to lose its value. And on top of that, this country and this

president are losing face because Bukele not only adopted it as a legal currency, he has made it a part of El Salvador's image abroad.

He says Salvadorans will be able to send remittances more easily back home using bitcoin. He instituted a plan where every Salvadoran would get a

digital wallet with money inside. He said that bitcoin entrepreneurs would flock to the country and help invest in El Salvador.

He even announced plans to build a futuristic bitcoin city that would be powered by one of the country's volcanoes. Very clearly by embracing

bitcoin in this matter, Bukele thought he would generate headlines for El Salvador. He has certainly continued to generate headlines but really not

in the way that he had hoped -- Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.


FOSTER: The leaders of France, Germany and Italy have been meeting with Ukraine 's president in Kyiv as we have been reporting. Mr. Zelenskyy

speaking right now about their visit.

ZELENSKYY (through translator): So far, we expect further supplies of heavy artillery, more than rocket systems. Each such system supplied means

saved Ukrainian lives and preventing Russian military from killing Ukrainians and from the possibility of destroying our cities.

The sooner we receive these powerful weapons, the sooner we can free our land and our people. The Ukrainian people, they are absolutely the majority

expect liberation of all our territories.

We appreciate all of the efforts of all sides to restore peace. The only obstacle to this is the fact that Russia is not prepared to take real

action, to do real talks, talks aimed at peace. Russia does not want peace. Russia wants nothing but war.


ZELENSKYY (through translator): At these very minutes that we are here at the palace, the Russian army continues its cruel attack on Donbas,

strengthening their position in Kharkiv regions and on the south of the country.

The aggressive state must realize that there is no alternative to peace and must begin to seek peace. But at the, moment as we hear the air raid siren,

we hear that Russia is seeking new ways of intimidating Europe and seizing more and more of our land.

Ladies and gentlemen, Russia's aim in this war is to break Ukraine and to break Europe on the whole through this. We are certain that Russia wants to

show that European unity cannot be effective and that European values cannot work in defense of freedom.

And therefore we must together break this scenario and prove to them that Europe will continue to be free and democratic and, I stress, united. The

main manifestation about a joint strong position can become support for Ukraine's integration in the European Union.

The course of history proves that it is correct to say yes to Ukraine's wish and can historically strengthen freedom in Europe and become one of

the key decisions in the first -- in this part of the new millennium. This can become a historic success.

Of course realize that the road to Europe is a road, it's a journey and not one step. But the first step must be made on this journey. And therefore,

everything must remain -- we must make sure that Ukraine will become a full member of Europe and must get candidate status.

The majority in all European countries and the Europe on the whole supports Ukraine's European integration. We have the historical highest levels of

support for European integration, even also among Ukrainians. And it is also important.

We also talked about new sanctions from the European Union that is -- are necessary to restore peace. The seventh sanctions package should be agreed

and we will discuss this in more detail.

Also we are discussed in detail plans to restore Ukraine after the war. And we will continue to discuss it after this press conference. Also, we'll

continue to discuss reparations for the damage done by Russia to our citizens, our business, our companies. Our country is working very closely

on this.

And also, we talked about how to stop the development of the global food crisis and to unlock our sea ports. But this blockade must be stopped by

the party that started it and that's the Russian Federation and the Russian fleet.

We are also grateful to Romania for their help in organizing the transit of Ukrainian cargo; in particular, grains and we also talked to these leaders

how to increase this capacity.

I am certain that this visit by our friends to Kyiv will become part of Europe's history, will go down in Europe's history. And we are ready for

further decisions to strengthen Ukraine and strengthen security in Europe.

Thank you again for your visit.

Statement by the prime minister of Italy.

FOSTER: All right, the Italian prime minister just picking up there off the back of the Ukrainian president, who's there with the leaders of Italy,

Romania, France and Germany. Lots of discussions across the board on topics you would expect: Ukrainians candidacy for the E.U., Zelenskyy very much

pushing to have it sooner rather than later; the food crisis and the blockage of those sea ports and hopes to get more transit through across

land through Europe to get that grain out from Ukraine rather than it being blocked by the Russians in the ports.

And, really making the point this not the war just about between Russia and Ukraine. It's about protecting Europe, protecting its values. So it's very

much a discussion that came out of the Ukrainian president's meetings with those key European leaders.

Still to come on the program, former U.S. vice president, Mike Pence will be the focus of today's hearing into the U.S. Capitol riot. One lawmaker

says Pence narrowly escaped being captured and possibly killed.

And who will reign over the Premier League this season?

We just got our first look at the schedule, a breakdown coming up.