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Connect the World

Putin, Erdogan, Raisi to Discuss Reducing Violence in Syria; French Finance: We are not Concerned about a Cutoff; Record Heat Tormenting much of Western Europe; First Trip Outside Old Soviet Border Since he Ordered Invasion of Ukraine; Putin in Iran for Talks with Iranian, Turkish Leaders; Will Nadine Dorries Stay Loyal to Boris Johnson. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired July 19, 2022 - 11:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: "Connect the World" out of Abu Dhabi in the UAE, a place that is known for its scorching summer days. But

today London winning in the heat battle for the first time ever, provisional reading show the UK is topped 40 degrees centigrade.

And for the first time in my recent memory, the temperature in London slightly higher, than the temperature in Abu Dhabi in the summer I never

thought a day like this would come. But this is what climate scientists have been warning about for decades.

We just haven't been listening hard enough. Seemingly, we will have a lot more coverage of the global warming of our planet later this hour. I want

to start though, with the Russian President's first face to face meeting with a NATO leader.

Since he ordered his troops to invade Ukraine and this meeting is happening in Iran, Vladimir Putin one scheduled talk just minutes from now in tech

Ron, they will discuss a plan to resume Ukrainian grain exports, amongst other things out of that Mr. Putin greeted by Iran's President Ebrahim


And what is his first trip outside of old Soviet borders during the nearly five month long war and coming just days after U.S. President Joe Biden's

trip to the Middle East, Russia and Iran, both staring down Western sanctions later.

All three leaders will hold a trilateral meeting; we are told the focus of those talks will be Syria, as President Irwin threatens to launch a

Military operation in the north of that country to Karachi, connecting from Istanbul today.

And a picture really does tell thousand words, and that is really the significance of this meeting, isn't it the fact that it has happened Jomana

at all.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Becky, these three countries, they have had these regular meetings and summits over the past

few years, especially within the context of their involvement in the conflict in Syria.

But of course, the timing of this one very significant as you mentioned earlier, this is President Putin who's going to be meeting with the NATO

leader for the first time since the invasion of Ukraine.

And also, you know you would look at this, perhaps and argue that this is more about the optics than the substance of this, these meetings and what

might come out of them, especially a message here, perhaps from Iran and Russia to the west.

That these attempts to try and isolate these two countries won't work for them, that they are able to forge their own alliances, that they're able to

expand economic ties, and many will be also looking to see whether they would be expanding their Military and defense ties.

Especially after you know, in the past few days, we've heard from U.S. officials, U.S. intelligence reports, indicating that Iran was preparing to

supply Russia with weapon capable drones so all eyes will be on those meetings, Becky.

ANDERSON: Yes. What's come out of the meeting so far as we understand it, and what can we expect, once this all wraps?

KARADSHEH: Well look Becky at two key topics, as you've been mentioning there, Syria topping the agenda for Turkey. And then you've also got the

issue of the grain corridor, the resumption of Ukrainian grain exports from its black sea ports.

And you know Turkey has been playing a key role in all of this in trying to create this corridor for the resumption of these exports. We know that this

is going to be dominating the talks.

At least that are what they're saying publicly between President Erdogan and Putin in the coming, you know, in less than an hour. And, you know,

they have made quite the progress on these talks that took place here in Istanbul.

Turkey was able to bring together the United Nations, Russia, and Ukraine for talks last week. And as we've heard, they've reached some sort of an

initial agreement.

On that green corridor, we're expecting a second meeting to take place another round of talks these weeks, and perhaps they will be signing an

agreement. But again, topping the agenda for turkey here is the issue of Syria.

We've heard President Erdogan for weeks now threatening that he is going to launch a new Military offensive into northern Syria to push back Syrian

Kurdish fighters but he can't really do this, Becky.

Without getting the approval, really the green light from Russia and from Iran so that is what he's hoping to do. Both countries have come out

publicly, as they have in the past with their opposition to any sort of Military offensive.

So we're going to be waiting to see what comes out of these meetings behind closed doors, a lot of concern, of course in Syria where many are concerned

about in you Military offensive will they have the green light or will they reach some sort of an agreement and avoid Military escalation Becky.


ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely consequential stuff for Syrians. Thank you. Let's bring in our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson in Kyiv. This

hour, Nic, a few days ago, you and I were in Jeddah, covering President Biden's trip to the Middle East.

Today, President Putin taking center stage with this rare visit to tech raw, nearly five months into this war describe the significance to your

mind of this meeting.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The meeting in Tehran at the moment is one that you know, is not big on the radar here in

Ukraine, at least to the population, they're not watching it on television.

They're not they're not hearing about it. And certainly, you know, they're not allowed to watch Russian state media. So they're not sort of catching

it from there, if you will. But it is hugely important to the government here.

Because if it finds a way to let the grain out of this country, by the Black Sea, so that they can continue it to export to the rest of the world.

This means not only that this might give some stability to the growing food insecurity that exists at the moment because of Russia's war in Ukraine.

But it might actually give the government here a sight of how the economy can work going forward, you know, this country is being supported by

billions upon billions of dollars, not just militarily not just in humanitarian aid.

But to actually keep the government coffers fall so that people can do things as mundane as cut the grass on the highways and this sort of thing.

So the government is under huge pressure to make sure that it can still make money.

So if the grain can be exported, and a way can be found to do that, at a practical level, it's useful. And it gives potential, a glimmer of hope

that at least some sort of discussions with Russia can prosper. But we don't know at the moment where those issues stand.

And we don't know what cost Russia might offer to do this. And it is, of course, Russia that started the war. That's preventing Ukraine and Russia

has a vested interest in stopping Ukraine rising its grain and wheat to international markets.

ANDERSON: And look, the optics of this are quite clear. I think that President Putin's got an opportunity here to show that Russia still has

powerful allies.

Nic, a lot going on the ground in Ukraine, where you I know you spoke exclusively to Ukraine's now former prosecutor general. What did she tell


ROBERTSON: Yes, when we sat down together, she was literally only a couple of hours officially out of the job, maybe even a little bit less than that

the last people who have been speaking to you before.

She spoke to CNN was parliament, where she was reminding them of what she had achieved what the prosecutors general office overall and all the staff

had achieved, laying out the parameters against rebutting.

The President's accusation that in her office, there are collaborators and traitors, and that they are her office is not doing enough to tackle them.

And she said it of 16,000 people, only five of them working on the other side of the lines of Russian controlled areas of Ukraine.

Actually fall into this category, which is a tiny percentage of her staff, she said, and she was cracking down on hard on an any areas, any people she

found was supporting with Brussels, so she sort of pushed back on that she had told parliament as well, the importance of her role.

Her oversight on tackling corruption in the country and her office's role in helping appoint people to the Supreme Court, which is obviously a hugely

important issue for the nation But when I pressed her on why the President had decided to do this, the real reasons below what he had said, she made

it very clear she doesn't want to debate this in public, because Russia will exploit it.

Here's the conversation. But actually, what you're saying is you're being removed from your job, because the President doesn't want you in that

position, because you don't agree with everything he wants. This is what you're saying?


IRYNA VENEDIKTOVA, FORMER UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR GENERAL: No, no, no, actually, it's you're saying I think that again, President now it's chief

of commander. He understands his strategy and tactic. And he makes his decision with his views.

ROBERTSON: But what's the tactic to remove you when you're being successful with the international community for prosecutions of war crimes, and you

have a strong agenda to counter corruption which is very important place people on the Supreme Court which is very important?


VENEDIKTOVA: I think that all agenda of this institution after me it should be in the same way. I am absolutely sure that we could do everything that

this institution will not been destroyed. And all that results what we have now will be again, work and work.

Now situation in Ukraine, we invoke, and who will listen to me even better than my husband? Maybe it will be our enemies Russian Federation Russian

analysis, and this every single what is will be more or less political in Ukraine will be against Ukraine.


ANDERSON: Well, that's the Former Prosecutor General speaking to you, Nic. And of course, as we are well aware now, the fallout from Russia's

invasion, of course, is a massive energy security issue.

Thank you Europe, preparing for the worst as they wait to see whether Russia will resume gas supplies through the critical Nord Stream one

pipeline and that pipeline was shut down last week for annual maintenance.

But Russia has continued to cut supplies in the fall out of the Ukraine war countries moving quickly to find alternative sources. Just yesterday, three

European nations signed deals with countries across the Middle East and in the North Africa region.

Algeria became Italy's leading gas supplier after agreeing to send an additional 4 billion cubic meters to the country, Germany and Egypt

agreeing to cooperate and hydrogen based energy and its efforts to diversify its current dependence on Russia and yesterday, France signing a

deal with the United Arab Emirates guaranteeing diesel supplies in the short term.

Well, earlier I spoke to the French Finance Minister Bruno Le Marie, and asked him how beneficial that deal will be having a listen.


BRUNO LE MAIRE, FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER: The short term benefit is of course, security on energy supply. You know that, as I just said, we're in

the process of defining new resources, a new partnership.

And yesterday, there has been the signing of a very important agreements between total and add milk for diesel supply to France. And we are very

grateful to the UAE for their support in these very difficult times.

We are all trying to define new supply chains. The UAE will continue to play a key hole visa vie France on this question of energy supply. And the

woman that has been signed yesterday is a very positive signal for the energy security for France.

ANDERSON: How much diesel are we talking about here? And add NOC of course is the national oil company of the UAE?

LE MAIRE: I cannot give you any specific figure. But I can tell you that this is major agreements between the UAE and France between ADNOC and total

that has been signed yesterday during the visit of His Highness Mohammed Bin Zayed.

ANDERSON: Before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, about 17 percent of France's gas supply came from Russia, much of that supply has already been disrupted

through Nord Stream one and you've said you are preparing for a total cut off of Russian supplies.

How concerned are you? And what would that mean, for Europe at a time when these European economies are under such pressure?

LE MAIRE: I will not say that we are concerned we are just vigilant and we are fully aware of the risk of having Russia critical of all gas supply to

Europe. So we have to be prepared. And we have already taken all the necessary decisions.

First of all, to reinforce the supply chain for gas for your banned countries, especially for France we are also in the process of defining the

consequences on the private companies on the households on all administrations.

So I think that the key thing is to be prepared. In the case President Putin decides to cut off Russia for all European countries. This is one of

the possibilities we need to be prepared and we will be prepared.

ANDERSON: Can you just be a little bit more specific? What is France's contingency plan? If this happens and how concerned are you may have to

ration gas going forward this winter already this summer with the issues that we have with heat and air conditioning it will be causing concern so

what's the longer term plan at this point?


LE MAIRE: But first of all, there is a short term contingency planning, I would say, the first thing is to improve the level of storage in all your

banned countries, especially in France, we need to have a better level of storage around 90 percent.

Just to be prepared for the next winter. The second set of decision is to be very vigilant on the gas consumption, I think that we should do all the

necessary efforts to reduce the gas consumption it is true for administration's it is true for private companies.

It will be true also for defense households, we need to be more vigilant, and then we need to think about new supply chains. I'm thinking for

instance of LNG supply. I think this is one of the interesting possibilities.

And we are working with many countries, France and all European countries, just to have new supply chains. I would like to add two specific points for


The first one is that we are less dependent than other European countries to the Russian gas we are in a better shape, because we can rely on nuclear

energy. And the second point is that, of course, we need to invest more and quicker on new energy supply.

ANDERSON: The energy crisis, of course, exacerbating the inflationary environment at the moment inflation is a real problem. How concerned are

you? And what is it that France is doing to curb its impact?

LE MAIRE: I would say that this is, of course, the most important concern for all of us in European countries. And the level of inflation that we are

facing now, because we are facing the peak of inflation is.

Of course, very negative and detrimental consequences on all the people so the key question is to help the people to face the consequences of

inflation and to face the consequences of higher prices we already took very strong decisions.

ANDESRSON: So how is the question how will you do that?

LE MAIRE: The key question was at the beginning of this inflation, or crisis, to freeze the prices of gas, and to cap the prices of electricity.

And since we took those very wise decisions, now we have the level of inflation, which is the lowest among Euro zone countries.

But since we are facing the peak of inflation, there is a need for new decisions for new protections. And that's exactly what we are discussing


As defined as somebody a national we are discussing a new low that will force the protection of all consumers by continuing this cap on electricity

prices, continuing and maintaining this freezing of gas prices.

We will also add new measures as far as gasoline is concerned. So we really want to take all the necessary decisions to protect our people against



ANDERSON: That's a French Finance Minister speaking to me just before the show, and according to an IMF working paper, a complete cut off of Russian

natural gas supplies could hit the European Union's economy by as much as 2.6 percent.

If they don't bring in further LNG diversification, this is an absolutely critical story on one we will stay on for you. Well, after the break that

scorching Heat wave, first sparking new fires across London and other parts of Europe.

And we will take a deep dive into Vladimir Putin's international diplomacy, what he hopes to accomplish from meetings with the leader of Iran and of

Turkey that is after this.



ANDERSON: Right, breaking news out of London for you. Around 100 firefighters are battling several significant fires in the East London

suburb of Wennington.

Now the London fire brigade is declared at a major incident, this caused by the extreme heat. Well, today temperatures in the UK soaring past 40

degrees Celsius for the first time ever.

And hardly any trains are running here after some routes got canceled because tracks were starting to buckle in the heat. Right now there are

heat warnings in 21 countries stretching from Ireland to Greece as a heat wave hits Western Europe.

There's also causing massive wildfires in Spain and France, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes. I'm talking about tens of

thousands. Let's get to our Nina dos Santos. She's at the King's Cross train station here in London.

And the World Meteorological Organization says that Europe's heat wave may not end until the middle of next week. We may see a break in the conditions

here in the UK. But what are the consequences of what we are seeing observing going through at present on the continent and here in the UK?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky at the moment, anecdotally I can tell you it's really disruptive in London. This is a city that isn't

used to coping with these types of temperatures. And it doesn't matter what the authorities do at the last minute.

There isn't really the infrastructure to help people cope with these types of extreme temperatures. Its official London today is hotter than parts of

the Caribbean. It's also hotter than the Maldives on the other side of the planet.

And it is the hottest that has ever been. It's coping, but only just, have a look.


SANTOS (voice over): They made it through the UK's hottest ever night bracing for the nation's hottest every day. For the first time the

country's Weather Service recorded a temperature above 40 degrees Celsius or 104 Fahrenheit.

This is the only time the Met Office has ever issued a red warning for extreme heat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here in the UK we're used to treating a hot spell it's a chance to go and play in the sun. This is not that sort of weather.

SANTOS (voice over): The government is telling its citizens to be aware of heat related death with the elderly and young most at risk. Police say at

least three teenagers have died after getting into rivers and ponds amid the record heat.

Airport runways are melting, reservoirs are running dry, and wheat is being harvested early with the fields vulnerable to fire. The sun is even

buckling train tracks, leading to mass cancellations and warnings for commuters to stay at home. For a country more used to complaining about

rainy summers, this may be the new normal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Infrastructure, much of which was built from the Victorian times just wasn't built to withstand this type of temperature.

And it will be many years before we can replace infrastructure with the kind of infrastructure that could because the temperatures are just so


SANTOS (voice over): Nine out of 10 of the hottest British days have been recorded since 1990. The government estimates these extreme temperatures

have been made 10 times more likely by human impact.

Opposition leaders have criticized the Prime Minister Boris Johnson for skipping national security meetings on the heat wave. He told Cabinet on

Tuesday that the heat wave vindicated his net zero pledge.

But on the anniversary of the reopening of the country from COVID lockdowns, he still played down the risk.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: On another scorching sweltering day, I think it's very, very important that we think back to that moment where

we opened up and trying to balance risk with the need to keep our country, our society and our economy moving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The government is not doing anything and in fact, the world is doing nothing. I mean, the world is burning, and we are doing

nothing about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've never had this kind of hit. So why would we be prepared?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we just have to adapt to it. Our homes have to change our way of life has to change.

SANTOS (voice over): That change may be necessary even in countries more accustomed to extreme summers. The heat wave is rolling across the whole of

the European continent. Wildfires are raging from Spain to France and Portugal.

People are suffering and they're growing desperate, leading to dramatic scenes like this one in Spain's Northwest's - region. A man drives an

excavator across burning fields, in a desperate attempt to dig a trench and safeguard his town. Within seconds, the flames engulfed the machine.

He dives for safety, running with the clothes cinched off his back. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes in southern

Europe. Unclear if they'll ever return.

Impotence this man says, I feel so impotent, there's no solution. Record temperatures were set across western France this week. Ireland was the

hottest in a century. And now Germany is next, South to North Europe sizzles.


SANTOS: Now, ironically enough, Becky, government reports actually predicted that the UK could see 40 degree Celsius, 104 degree Fahrenheit

heat, perhaps even as early as this summer, just a few weeks ago, but those were just dismissed as extreme predictions.

Now the UK has finally breached this threshold on the mercury and it may get even hired before the end of the day is over back to you.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. Nina, thank you. Well, it's not just Europe feeling the heat this week. In the U.S. more than 100 million people are

living under a heat alert. Its temperatures there spike across the country.

Dallas and Oklahoma City could see temperatures above 43 degrees Celsius and temperatures are expected to approach the upper 30s in New York and

Philadelphia, for example.

Later this week, CNN's Lucy Kafanov is following the U.S. heat wave story. She's in Denver, Colorado, just describe what you are seeing, hearing and

experiencing yourself there.

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Becky no respite from the blistering heat across the pond either. It's already been a sweltering

summer that shattered records all across the U.S. but this week is expected to be the hottest yet.

Over 100 million people under heat alerts across the Southwest portions of the Northeast, heat indices what it feels like to the human body with a

combination of the high temperatures in the humidity can surpass 45 degrees Celsius in parts of Texas and Oklahoma that is incredibly hot.

Dozens of daily high temperatures are expected to be broken in the next few days. And that is a particular search concern. In a place like Texas, the

state much of the state will continue to see record highs every single day this week.

It has been straining the power grid there. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas ERCOT, which is responsible for power for 26 million

customers is already asking businesses and individuals to voluntarily cut back on power to prevent rolling blackouts but rolling blackouts, could be


And of course much of the West is experiencing historic drought Becky, parts of Texas also under drought, we are already seeing wildfires form in

Texas burning homes other states at risk as well.

And of course this unrelenting heat is also of concern to urban areas where people might not be able to find a place to escape the heat. There are some

cooling centers set up in Texas, for example, some here in Denver as well, although Denver isn't as high in terms of temperatures.

But I will tell you although highs in the central United States can reach over 100 degrees in July and August. It is only the middle of July right

now. And some cities have already topped the number of 100 degree days that they usually experience in an entire summer. These are unprecedented times

all across the globe. Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Lucy. China, certainly parts of it also enduring scorching heat. Today 51 cities across the country are under an orange

look. That's the second highest warning level.

Temperatures in Beijing hovering around 37 degrees while several other cities are at or near 41 cities in western China could reach 44 by the end

of play. Well, it's not easy beating the heat, but spare some sympathy for animals used to Arctic regions. You now must deal with record breaking



ANDERSON: With that in mind, workers at a zoo in northeast China are freezing fruits, vegetables and meat in ice blocks. They are trying to keep

the parks polar bears along with the Tigers and other animals cool and hydrated, some of these frozen dinners well, they don't look half bad do

they for the animals, up next on "Connect the World".

Vladimir Putin arrives in Tehran. I'm going to speak to a pair of Middle East experts about what has drawn the Russian leader out for what is a rare

trip abroad in the midst of his war on Ukraine, that after this.


ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson, three presidents with three very different reasons for coming together today. Russia's Vladimir Putin,

turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iran's Ebrahim Raisi, all in Tehran as we speak for a series of meetings with each other.

Now, this is the first time Putin has traveled outside the old borders of the Soviet Union since he launched the war in Ukraine. His sit down with

Mr. Erdogan was scheduled to start just moments ago; it is the first time he's meeting face to face with a NATO leader since the war began.

Joining me now to talk more about what each leader is hoping to get out of this summit is Mohammad Marandi, a Professor at the University of Tehran

and an expert on Iranian politics and Soner Cagaptay, who is Director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute.

It's good to have you both on of course, you're the author of the book "--- - in autumn, which looks at what may be on the cards for Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mohammad, let me start with you.

This Tehran summit comes days after U.S. President Biden met with GCC plus three leaders in Jeddah where Iran was high on the agenda, certainly very

high on the agenda during the first leg of his trip in the Middle East, which of course was to Israel.

The timing the optics, clearly sending a message what is the message that you believe Tehran is sending?

MOHAMMAD MARANDI, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF TEHRAN: Iran wasn't impressed by Biden's trip to the region. The trip to Palestine was not something that

impressed anyone in Tehran.


MARANDI: But the trip into Saudi Arabia was perhaps seen as a sign of weakness not only Biden's weakness but representative of a general decline,

relative decline of the United States.

The fact that Biden promise not to meet Mohammed bin Salman, but then he met him separately, and the body language and so on. That was seen as not

impressive. On the other hand, the Iranians feel that that the meeting in Tehran today between President Erdogan, President Putin and President

Raisi, is in fact, the opposite is - it's a sense of signal of strength, in response to the American attempt to show itself as in charge of the region.

So I think, at least looking at it from Tehran, that's how it looks. The Iranians want to show the Americans and the Europeans that their maximum

pressure sanctions have failed.

The Russians, of course, are keen on investing in north south transport corridor, which will link Russia to the Persian Gulf in the Indian Ocean

and investment in the oil and gas sector.

ANDERSON: You could understand why Tehran would dismiss the Joe Biden trip is unimpressive. I mean, it's not just in Tehran, and then they've been,

you know, an enormous amount of critics of that trip. Soner, is this a signal of strength, this trilateral meeting, this meeting in Tehran, these

three leaders from Ankara's perspective too?

SONER CAGAPTAY, DIRECTOR, TURKISH RESEARCH PROGRAM, THE WASHINGTON INSTITUTE: This is clearly a summit, but it's not as some of the friends

and allies it's a summit of competing powers. Iran and Russia are at the opposite end of the civil war in Syria, where they support the Assad

regime, which Turkey has been trying to oust through its support to the rebels.

So I see it as a summit, where the three leaders may agree a new form of power sharing in Syria, and de-conflicting. In this regard it's important

that whereas previously, those kind of power sharing deals took place with being Turkish and Russian leaders, Erdogan and Putin respectively.

This time, Putin, I think, has decided to include the Iranian President Raisi because of the fact that one of the areas Turkey wants to go into

Syria and take from a Kurdish group; they're also pro-Iranian militia deployed.

So I think Putin is throwing Erdogan in front of Raisi and saying, before you talk to me talk to Iranian President and see he'll give a green light.

Now, just before the summit, the Supreme Leader in Tehran, Khamenei said that, if Turkey targets Syria, that will destabilize the region.

So I think Khamenei is telling Erdogan, you can go into Syria, but not into areas where there's pro-Iranian militia.

ANDERSON: This is fascinating. There will be a lot of interest in President Putin's rare visit to Tehran. And I want to talk about that but first to

both of you. Do you think this visit resets relations between Ankara and Tehran after months of tension overall as an alleged Iranian plot to target

Israeli targets inside Turkey?

I mean, President Erdogan's large delegation seems to signal that things are moving on briefly, Mohammed, your response to that?

MARANDI: I don't think anyone takes the Israeli accusation seriously in Tehran. Turkey, of course, because of the economic problems that it faces

had to turn towards Israel again, despite years back being more pro- Palestinian.

And of course, President Erdogan had to go and meet Mohammed bin Salman and Mohammed bin Zayed, who were his antagonists, so economic problems at home,

I think forced President Erdogan to shift gear.

But the relationship between Turkey and Tehran has always been stable, even during the very dark years in the Syrian Civil War, when Al Qaeda and ISIS

troops were being funded from their northern border, and foreign fighters were coming in from Turkey.

And the Iranians were supporting the government in Syria. Even at that time, the Iranians and the Turks were cooperating in other areas. But I

think I should point out here that I think that this summit has to do with much more than Syria.

I think Syria is actually a more minor issue. Now after the war in Ukraine, I think, Russia feels that it has to shift away from the west and the north

south corridor with Iran. And this trilateral meaning meeting has more to do with that than with Syria.


ANDERSON: Right. Let me just bring Soner in briefly your response there.

CAGAPTAY: So as formerly Imperial and currently hegemonic powers in the Middle East, I think Turkey and Iran are in a power competition, including

in Syria, where Turkey has tried to protect civilians against Assad regime's massacre and genocide efforts.

But Turkey and Iran at the same time, avoid conflict; because they are in power parity, they know that if they fight, neither side will win

conclusively. So in recent decades, I think their policy has been to de- conflict.

And I think one of the outcomes of the Tehran Summit is that Turkey will, if it goes into Syria to take territory from this Kurdish group, it will

probably go around areas in which Iranian militia are deployed.

And so the negotiations will probably result in Erdogan and Putin discussing in which other areas Turkey should be going and why there could

be a land swap. ANDERSON: Fascinating. Mohamed, there are reports of a multibillion dollar investment in Iranian oil by the Iranian oil and gas

sector, by Russia, will we see renewed Iran Russia relationship?

And how can Iran justify supporting Moscow when it is attacking a neighboring country?

MARANDI: While the Iranians never supported the war, but the Iranians believe that NATO is to blame even more than anyone else. Because the NATO

advanced eastward, in contrast to what they promised the Russians, NATO, helped bring about a coup in Ukraine.

And we know about the right wing groups that have been funded in Ukraine over the years that have been suppressing the Russian speaking population.

So and NATO never supported or pushed Ukraine into accepting the Minsk accord. If they had, we wouldn't be in this mess.

So Iran sees it as complicated, especially since NATO invaded Iraq, they've been helping the Saudis in the genocide in Yemen, and also they were

supporting Turkey and supporting these extremist groups in Syria.

So for Iran, the issue of Ukraine is complex, but the relationship with Russia is, is booming. It's growing very rapidly. Both sides are very keen

on completing the north south transport corridor.

And as you pointed out, there's a deal to invest $40 billion in Iran oil and gas fields. And I think that will create a big shift in the

relationship. Of course, that doesn't mean that Iran doesn't want to improve relations with the Europeans, or to have the JCPOA the nuclear deal

signed or reinstated.

But the Iranians feel that the Americans have yet to gain the political will to give the assurances that the Iranians need for the deal to be

reactivated, especially since it was Americans that left the deal.

ANDERSON: Right. Lest anybody think that geopolitics isn't complicated. You are doing a very good job at explaining just how multi layered these things

can be and that the perspective from Tehran.

Briefly Soner, how do you rate President Erdogan's handling of Ukraine from selling drones to Ukraine to getting concessions out of NATO just sitting

down with Putin in Tehran for a Grain Deal?

He does seem to have managed to have played all sides while quite frankly, getting the most for Turkey at this point, agree?

CAGAPTAY: I would describe Turkeys Ukraine policy as Pro Ukraine neutrality in quotes. It looks like it's neutral. Turkey has closed the Bosphorus to

the crossing of naval vessels of Russia and Ukraine.

But Ukraine already has all the naval vessels on the Black Sea that it owns. Russia is the country that would need to bring new vessels in. So

this neutrality really is more against Russia.

Turkey has at the same time sold drones that have been quite effective in helping Ukrainians deny air superiority to the Russians. But similarly, at

the same time, Turkey has maintained economic ties with Russia open and also not joined sanctions.

So it is that Turkey now wants to play the role of a country that can bring Ukraine and Russia together. And the big issue, of course, is grain exports

from the Black Sea, which would be great to alleviate global risk of health, food supply issues. And I think Turkey will continue to play this

role going forward.

ANDERSON: To both of you, I very much appreciate it. We'll have you back. Really important that we get some perspective, from both of you about what

is an incredibly important story. Thank you.

CAGAPTAY: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Well, ahead on the show, CNN speaks with a former Russian soldier now fighting for Ukraine. Why he decided to defect and why people are

raising questions about his background?



ANDERSON: Right, 47 minutes past four here in London. Welcome back. You're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson. The death toll from a

Russian cruise missile attack last week on Vinnytsia in Ukraine has risen to 25; three of the victims were children.

You can see just how strong the force of that explosion was from this surveillance camera video. Dozens of people remain in hospital according to

the regional Military Administration Chief who said some of them are very badly burned.

One young woman has burns on 98 percent of her body. Russia's Defense Ministry claimed the attack targeted a military facility at a time when the

Ukrainian Air Force Command was meeting.

Ukraine's foreign minister called the attack terrorism saying it was "a deliberate murder of civilians to spread fear". Well, nearly five months

into this war, we've heard a number of stories of foreign fighters choosing to take up arms to help Ukrainians.

Well now CNN's Scott McLean brings us a story of a Russian soldier disillusion with the Putin regime and fighting to defend Ukraine. A

warning, some of the images that you are about to see are graphic.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): These are Ukrainian troops striding past the burnt out remains of Russian tanks in

March. The resorts of Ukraine are waiting for you. One of the hottest tours shout Stepan Kaplunov, the soldier shooting the helmet cam footage.

In another video he's heard arranging transport for a wounded comrade pulled out of the line of fire. Later they're narrowly missed by an

incoming round. None of this is uncommon for a frontline Ukrainian soldier.

What's uncommon is that Kaplunov is Russian. He showed us his identification to prove it. We met Kaplunov at a rehab center for soldiers

on the outskirts of Kyiv where he's recovering after being hit by Russian tank fire.

He was defending the eastern suburbs of the Capitol.

STEPAN KAPLUNOV, FIGHTING FOR UKRAINE: I remember that I was very badly Comcast and my ears were bleeding. Plus I had damage to some internal

organs and the shrapnel wounds in my eye. So when I came to my senses, after a few seconds, I could not see anything. I tried to crawl away and

wanted to blow myself up with a grenade to avoid been taken prisoner.

MCLEAN (voice over): He wanted to die because he says if caught; he would have been tortured, killed or imprisoned. This month the Russian Parliament

passed a treason law explicitly banning its citizens from fighting with foreign armies against Russia punishable by up to 20 years in prison.


MCLEAN (voice over): Kaplunov was born in Ivanovo, about 150 miles northeast of Moscow. He says he joined the Russian military and even served

in Syria. He says he was never a fan of the Putin regime, but never felt compelled to leave until 2014 when Russia invaded Ukraine.

KAPLUNOV: Well, I'm not going to say is 100 percent of my motivation was exactly justice. There is some predisposition in people, people who like

adventure and risk taking and they wanted to put my military skills to go to use. I thought that were right and deserved to be helped.

MCLEAN (voice over): His decision cost him some friends back home and earned him the ire of the Russian state. Russian government's official

newspaper listed him among hundreds of people suspected of terrorism or extremist activities.

He says he's fought with different units of the Ukrainian military since he arrived eight years ago, beginning with the Azov battalion which at the

time was associated with white supremacist, and even embrace neo Nazi emblems.

He openly describes himself as a Ukrainian nationalist, but insists he is no white supremacist or neo Nazi. He proudly supports a born to kill tattoo

and another with a German phrase widely used as a battle cry throughout history, but also linked to the Third Reich victory or death.

That's my motto in life, he says. But in 2019, a pro-Russian blog claimed he has a swastika tattoo on his chest, which he denied, but refuse to prove


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to pull my shirt off, but I don't have this tattoo.

MCLEAN (on camera): Have you ever had?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I don't need to prove anything to anyone.

MCLEAN (voice over): His case illustrates the complex realities of this war and the ideological and propaganda war being waged in parallel to the real

life battlefield. Russia has sought to justify its invasion by magnifying a small minority of far right extremists in Ukraine, while Ukraine has also

accused Russians of being racist, and Nazis. Extremist or not Kaplunov knows he can never return to Russia. Nor can he go back to the front lines.

Well, he says that when his wounds finally heal, that's exactly where he's going. Scott McLean, CNN, Kyiv.


ANDERSON: Well, just enough time for your parting shots tonight. Boris Johnson holds his last cabinet meeting as British Prime Minister. He is not

without friends. I will explain more after this.


ANDERSON: In tonight's parting shots it's well known that big dog likes loyalty. As you may or may not know that's Boris Johnson's nickname. Inside

Downing Street where the UK's Outgoing Prime Minister held his last cabinet meeting a short time ago.

And speaking of loyalty is culture secretary has emerged as one of his most devoted Cabinet colleagues. And UK media reporting that Nadine Dorries may

end up walking through different corridors of power with Mr. Johnson apparently planning to elevate her to the House of Lords.

No evasions for Downing Street however from the Head of Britain's opposition Labor Party, have a listen.



KEIR STARMER, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY LEADER: This is not the summer for Downing Street to be occupied by a vengeful squatter, mired in scandal.


ANDERSON: But through Monday's criticism, Boris Johnson and Dorries sat shoulder to shoulder looking like besties. Well, I spoke to Dorries earlier

this year in Dubai about the party gate scandal, which has ravaged Downing Street and Boris Johnson's Conservative Party. At the time, here's what she

had to say.


ANDERSON: We cannot imagine withdrawing your support under any circumstances.

NADINE DORRIES, BRITISH CULTURE MINISTER: If he went up, you know, kicked the dog. I'd probably withdraw my support for him but no, based on his

professional delivery for the UK no, absolutely not.


ANDERSON: Well, this may be parting shots. But here's a quick check of the current UK political scene. Three candidates remain in the race to succeed

Boris Johnson with his former Finance Minister, Rishi Sunak, said to be in the lead.

But only just a vote by conservative lawmakers on Wednesday, we'll decide the final two. Meanwhile, the UK has issued its most severe heat warning

ever you are aware of that. That's it from us stay with CNN.