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Connect the World
IAEA Team Arrives at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant; Ukraine's Nuclear Plants under Threat Amid Fighting; U.N. Report Accuses of China Possible Crimes Against Humanity; Putin pays Last Respects to Mikhail Gorbachev; Shelters at Mexico-U.S. Border Cope with Migrant Influx; Ukrainian Students Head Back to Class as War Rages on. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired September 01, 2022 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Welcome back to "Connect the World". I'm Eleni Giokos in for Becky Anderson. Finally inside Zaporizhzhia
Nuclear Power Plants a team of international nuclear inspectors entered the sprawling facility a few hours ago after a dangerous journey through a war
zone and a delay due to heavy shelling.
The International Atomic Energy Agency calls the inspection of the Russian occupied plant in southern Ukraine indispensable. Just in the past hour a
Russian appointed official in the area told a Russian news agency that the inspectors will stay at the plant until Saturday. Their visit comes amid
heavy shelling in the Russian occupied city next to the plant.
This video of shelling in - posted on social media. Ukraine's nuclear operator says Russian shelling forced the shutdown of one of the plants to
functioning reactors earlier Thursday. Melissa Bell tracking developments for us from Kyiv, Melissa honestly, this video is scary. One of the two
working reactors now officially shut down.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, and that is the context in which the IAEA inspectors arrived at the Zaporizhzhia Power Plant today
took a great deal of courage as they left Ukrainian held land being told that Ukrainians could no longer guarantee their safety making their way
across that front line.
And it took them much longer than it should have - two and a half hour drive. It took them more than six offshore more than three hour delay at
one of the checkpoints along the way. The level of shelling the uptick in violence really quite impressive this morning it is the worst says the
mayor of the town in which the Zaporizhzhia Power Plant sits that the town has seen since it was occupied back in March.
That gives you an idea of the context in which they arrived. However, Rafael Grossi, as you say, is leaving part of his team behind until
Saturday, and has just been speaking at one of the checkpoints on his way out. And what he said, Eleni is that in that a short amount of time, even
that a few hours, he was able to spend himself before heading back across the line towards Zaporizhzhia city and we expect him to get there later on.
We should get more information but for the time being what he said is that in that short amount of time, they had been able to see a lot to get a lot
of the key information that they needed. And of course we wait to hear more about that.
One of the big questions has been exactly what they would have. We been speaking to a number of workers that are still at the plant who speak to us
with a great deal of courage since their lines are listened to their mobile phones are taken away when they go to work in the morning they speak.
They speak to us of feeling like they're hostages there. But we managed also to speak Eleni to one of those workers. Now he left back in June, we
asked him he was a press officer at Zaporizhzhia Power Plant what he felt the inspectors would be able to see today and here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDRIY TUZ, FORMER PRESS OFFICER AT ZAPORIZHIZHIA NUCLEAR POWER PLANT: In this occupied city people are scared. They were afraid to talk over the
phone afraid to say anything at all, because they fear they will be taken away. Even now before the mission arrived some people who outspoken have
been taken and their fate is unknown. I have doubts about the success of this mission.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: And as I say Rafael Grossi saying that in that short amount of time he had been able to get some of the key information that they wanted. And
of course, what are they looking at beyond what they're being shown specifically by the occupying Russian forces that are in control of the
They're seeing the state of the reactors exactly what damage has been done. And as you say, Eleni once again, the uptick of violence and that shelling
we saw today closing down what was one of the last two remaining reactors that were also according to the Ukraine energy utility in charge of the
plant in charge of Ukrainian nuclear power said that it's not just damage to one of those last remaining nuclear reactors but also damage to some of
the power lines.
And of course that's of extreme concern, because that is something that had happened last Thursday and that brings us closer as the Ukrainian President
had said at the time to the possibility of a nuclear disaster, Eleni?
GIOKOS: Melissa Bell thank you very much. I'd like to now take us to our next guest. He is a Former IAEA Safeguards Inspector Pantelis Ikonomou
joins me now via Skype from Crete in Greece. Sir great to have you with us! I'm sure you're watching very closely at a lot of the developments, they
haven't till Saturday to conduct this inspection. What are the key things that you'll be looking for, during that - after the inspection and of
course, when they come up with their findings?
PANTELIS IKONOMOU, FORMER IAEA SAFEGUARDS INSPECTOR: Hey, Eleni. I'm glad to be with you. I think, first of all, its great success that the mission
is being allowed to be carried out. And second, the answer to your question, I think the key information that team is looking for is related
to save costs and security parameters. With other words, they will be looking--
GIOKOS: Yes, what exactly all those say as the background radiation levels, people have been given iodine tablets as a precaution.
IKONOMOU: It's a preventive measure. However, one of the parameters to be determined is what the radiation levels are at the moment in the site - at
the site? However, this is only a factor which can be established quickly.
What the mission has to do is also to assist the operator - the functionality of the equipment there of this of the radiation measuring
equipment of the reactor operating equipment, and all safety and security related equipment that they do work and they will provide the right
information at the right time.
GIOKOS: We've seen this video on social media that basically forced the shutting down of only one of the two working nuclear reactors. There are
six in total. Are nuclear plants like this made built to withstand shelling or you know operating in a war zone?
IKONOMOU: Actually, after the Chernobyl accident, the experience gained from that unfortunate event has been used in the techniques and in the
construction of new reactors and also in upgrading and strengthening the containment of the existing reactors of this type.
So that's the case of - in Zaporizhzhia. It means even I would say Eleni unless their strike is intentional to damage the reactor containment, there
is very little chance to damage the reactor itself. So that they it will go to a core meltdown, which is the maximum disaster which can happen in
reactor. But that not only the risk involved in this area.
GIOKOS: I'm glad you mentioned Chernobyl because radiation was even, you know, found in parts of Greece, where you are right now. Is the IAEA going
to be adding in worst case scenarios here? What would that mean, regionally if they were to be a meltdown?
I mean, you're saying that it's unlikely. But what if that becomes a reality the two sides are blaming each other for shelling? And there's got
to be some kind of sense of responsibility because regionally this could be catastrophic.
IKONOMOU: Yes, you're right. It's can easily be catastrophic, not necessarily as an outcome of core reactor core melt but from explosion in
the spent fuel area, there is a hundreds of spent fuel used already radiation highly radiated, which is stored at the nearby the reactor at the
This that was the case in Fukushima accident also, this fuel can easily be explored if the water pool is not been cooled. And that can happen if the
electricity supply is cut down as the case has been several times in several electricity lines in Zaporizhzhia complex. So it's not only the
reactor which can lead to a disaster but also the spent fuel which is been stored at this area can also lead much easier integrate radiological
GIOKOS: Are you worried - do you think that this could be a possible outcome as you say its electricity and then it shelling and there's so many
IKONOMOU: This is my opinion then - more possible scenario for a disaster as well as another one could unfortunately I hope I'm wrong.
IKONOMOU: But unfortunately, I'm not reading it in the media. Nobody talks about that. We're talking about safety. We're talking about accident and
unintentional event. However, one should always take into account in these cases, in cases of war, inaction of despair.
It means an intentional action of someone who has no other way, but to cause an accident. I don't know if I'm clear, or I should explore more my
third thing that it means not only a safety, but the security accident, describe it possible.
GIOKOS: Yes. I hear you loud and clear that this could be an intentional accidents or even a real mistake. Ukraine is currently responsible for the
Non Proliferation Treaty. They're going to be recommendations coming out of the IAEA who is going to be responsible? Is it going to be Russia or is it
going to be Ukraine? We really ascertain, blaming each other for the shelling. But there needs to be some kind of dual responsibility here to
ensure that it isn't a regional catastrophe?
IKONOMOU: That's a very good question, officially and normally, it's always the state authority, it means the member state to the NPT to the Non
Proliferation Treaty, who is responsible for fulfilling the obligations of this treaty.
In that case, especially with safeguards it is bound by binding treaty. He has Non Proliferation of material for military purposes, there's another
thing is not only saved in security, but it's safe, because using material for - not using material for military purposes.
The state of Ukraine, Ukraine is responsible for maintaining some rules. In that case, your question to be answered is very difficult. Officially, it
is Ukraine who is responsible to do that? However, at the moment, in this case, when the site and the facilities been controlled by another state,
but the army of another state by Russia in that case?
I don't know who is going to be obliged to fulfill that. And who is going to allow the recommendations of this mission to be implemented? This is the
GIOKOS: Pantelis Ikonomou thank you very much for joining us. It was really good to speak to you, but 32 years of expertise within this space. So we
appreciate your thoughts. We've just heard from Russian state media. This is the line from Russian state media that the IAEA Chief Grossi has left
Zaporizhzhia we cannot confirm this.
We're waiting to hear more on this but if this is in fact, reality that Grossi has left Zaporizhzhia we might be getting some more information
about the inspection, which means that it only lasted just a few hours, but we're waiting to hear more on that developing story.
Alright, so moving on Zaporizhzhia facility isn't the only nuclear power plants in Ukraine under threat CNN's Sam Kiley has the details.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Ukraine's second largest nuclear power station is under Russian missile threat. Even
its warnings of a nuclear disaster are causing international horror at its largest plant.
KILEY (on camera): There's just been a dramatic air raid siren. Do you know what the threat was then?
KILEY (voice over): Yes received information from the military is that the error rate alert was for the danger of over flying or launching missiles by
KILEY (on camera): Can we carry on or do we have to go down again?
KILEY (voice over): Aero planes over Crimea with guided missiles on board? Nobody knows where they will fly.
KILEY (on camera): Down again? So the director has just said that they've got information that aircraft have been seen in Crimea. They're in this
Oblast this Province or heading in this direction so they pose an immediate threat. This is something that happens several times a day very often they
say the sirens are almost back to back.
KILEY (voice over): The director is told that the Russian aircraft crossing the Dnieper have fired missiles. Ukraine's military tracking them trying to
figure out if his nuclear power station is the target.
This monitor shows the background radiation remains normal. Working in this bunker has become a new normal for the teams running the South Ukraine
nuclear power plant. The maintenance of Ukraine's four power plants and 50 nuclear reactors is stressed.
KILEY (on camera): Parts of the factory that produced spare parts were bombed by Russian Army. That is at the moment there is nowhere to make some
types of spare parts.
KILEY (voice over): And Russia has stored army trucks in Zaporizhzhia's regions turbine hall. It's identical to South Ukraine's turbine.
KILEY (voice over): Both use highly explosive nitrogen as a coolant fire here could be disastrous, and Russia is accused of shelling the plant,
which it denies. This man worked at Zaporizhzhia under Russian occupation but fled in June.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Russians shoot at the territory of the plant, where as storage facility for solid waste as well as a dry storage facility for
nuclear fuel is.
KILEY (voice over): At least three Russian missiles have been recorded flying over the South Ukraine plant back above ground the director is
amazed by Russia's threats to Ukraine's nuclear industry,
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They was so smart they shelved the nuclear power plant is or the military was not aware of the danger, or they did it on purpose.
KILEY (voice over): But as this plant generates 10 percent of Ukraine's electricity and Zaporizhzhia up to 20 percent there's no wonder that both
are such tempting targets. Sam Kiley, CNN in South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant.
GIOKOS: Unlike Ukraine, Venezuela is not a country at war. Despite that it has the same number of people who have fled their homes according to the
United Nations Refugee Agency. 6.8 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants are spread out around the world and that's about the same number of
It's slightly more than 6.6 Syrian refugees. Now the international response is not the same for the countries. The UN says global response plan to
Ukraine has received almost five times the amount of support.
Right and still to come, China is being accused of possible crimes against humanity. The UN drops a blistering documents slamming Beijing's treatment
of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities. And I'll get reaction to the report from a Uighur activist for her the situation in China is personal?
GIOKOS: A damning new UN report is accusing China of committing serious human rights abuses against Uighurs and other Muslim minorities. It goes so
far as to say the violations could amount of crimes against humanity. Beijing officials deny that they call the report a farce and a political
tool for the West. CNN's Anna Coren brings us details on that report and some of the personal stories that backup it's very serious accusations.
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): To use for missing family harrowing details of torture, of imprisonment, and even death.
MEHRAY TAHER, HUSBAND DETAINED IN XINJIANG: The next thing you know your husband is in a detention center and you can't even see him you can't even
communicate with him.
COREN (voice over): Now a vindication of some of that pain suffered by Muslim minorities in China's West at the hands of the state apparatus. Four
years after stating its initial concerns the United Nations has documented that abuses are occurring in Xinjiang, and says China may have committed
crimes against humanity in its internment of some 1 million people in what Beijing calls vocational education training camps.
The damning report published minutes before UN human Rights Chief Michelle Bashley left her post. China vehemently opposed its release.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Since World War II this is the second time we're ever seeing a government a powerful government building massive and large scale
concentration camps to collectively punish a population, but just being that they are?
COREN (voice over): China insistence - used to de radicalize religious extremists, and that the facilities have closed. A claim the UN says it
couldn't verify. Its propaganda paints a picture of violence separatism in the Xinjiang region.
The UN says ultimately, China's anti-terror campaign has led to the large scale arbitrary deprivation of liberty. The liberty of people like -
brother of New York human rights lawyer Rayhaan (ph) a successful entrepreneur traveled with a Chinese delegation to the U.S. in 2016 for a
month long trip, even visiting CNN Headquarters in Atlanta.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was in weeks returning from the United States, who was forcibly disappeared by the Chinese government into the shadow - so one
of these camps and it's been six years, four months and still counting.
COREN (voice over): China has kept the world away from its alleged crimes in Xinjiang. Bachalo (ph) herself was not allowed to speak to any Uyghurs
in Xinjiang for her report. But for years, rights groups and news organizations including CNN, have uncovered alleged abuses in Xinjiang,
including sexual violence and forced sterilization inside the Xinjiang camps.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't do this. Don't do this I cried. Please don't do this.
COREN (voice over): Human rights group says the international community can no longer remain silent.
SOPHIE RICHARDSON, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: States should be going into the Human Rights Council thinking armed with this report, what best can we do
to end violations in that region and find justice for the victims and survivors. That's what should be driving their next actions not blowback
COREN (voice over): Despite the mounting evidence, Beijing refers to the Human Rights allegations as the great lie of the century. It says the
report is a farce that the United Nations has succumbed to a Western plot to discredit China. The report itself accuses China of intimidating Uyghurs
abroad; threatening those who are brave enough to speak out against the system they say is designed to destroy them. Anna Coren, CNN Hong Kong.
GIOKOS: Well, my next guest founded an organization in Washington D.C. that advocates for Uyghurs rights. She has a personal connection to all of us.
It's been nearly four years since her sister who is a retired doctor disappeared in China.
In response to the UN report to Rushan Abbas writes, "The OHCHR has waited far too long to deliver its report. The truth of China's atrocities has
once again been documented, and there can be no shying away from the obligation to act stopping genocide was the foundational purpose of the UN
and it must be upheld".
Now Rushan Abbas joins us live. Rushan, thank you very much for your time! We've heard the response from you. We've seen what you've said that it's
time to act now. But do you believe that this report is going to ignite change?
RUSHAN ABBAS, FOUNDER, CAMPAIGN FOR UYGHURS: Thank you Eleni for having me. After all the delays, as you mentioned earlier, the speculation about
whether the report was going to be released, it is a relief to finally see that it's being published after we have waited for years, months, days and
hours to the minutes.
The report itself confirms what the Uyghur Rights Organizations and our allies and activists and victims families like myself has been saying for
years. There is a genocide going on. Also, the UN report doesn't say that it's genocide.
China's war on humanity is blamed it. It is a war on human dignity. And it's a war on women and the children and the freedom and democracy.
However, it gives too much credence to China's claims that there are anti- terrorism or anti-extremism operations which has been used as a smokescreen to hide their true actions.
ABBAS: So the people and the countries and the entities has been waiting for this report to take action. Now you have it. Now it's your turn to take
action to stop this genocide.
GIOKOS: Yes. This is a personal story for you as well. You haven't seen your sister in four years. Could you describe to us what you and your
family have been through and whether you've had any communication with your sister over this time?
ABBAS: When the genocidal policies started in early 2017, with more than a million innocent Uyghur people disappeared to the forced labor facilities
and the concentration camps in our homeland. I was being very active, and they've been vocal to speaking out against the genocidal policies.
My husband's entire family was missing since August of 2017. For five years now, he has no information on his parents if they are still alive or not
three of his sisters, their husband, and this brother and his wife, 14 of his nieces and nephews.
So when I spoke out about this and the participated on the panel in Washington, D.C., in early September 2018, as retaliation for my speaking
out against the Chinese regime, they took my sister as a hostage. My sister is a retired medical doctor, she's a non-political, a very kind and
But her only crime is being my sister and being a Uyghur. So after she was taken away, the Chinese regime responded to my actions of calling for her
release, saying that the Global Times Network basically labeled me as a liar and said that I stole other people's photo and claiming my missing
But then I quit my job became a full time activist and the triple down my efforts against China's genocidal policies. Then, they charged my sister as
a criminal on the terrorism related charges in December 2020, for 20 years in prison, so which one am I the liar or my sister is the criminal?
Just like right now they are reacting this report by spreading all kinds of lies. They have been denying the existence of those camps at the beginning,
and then after overwhelming evidence, they call those our vocational training centers or reeducation centers.
GIOKOS: Rushan, it must be extremely hard, especially knowing that you were so vocal and then the government retaliates as you say against your family.
I want to read to you what the Chinese mission to the UN has responded to the reports.
All ethnic groups, including the Uyghur are equal members of the Chinese nation. Xinjiang has taken actions to fight terrorism and extremism,
extremism in accordance with the law effectively curbing the frequent occurrences of terrorist activities.
That is the response. What do you make of that? Because they're basically saying, I mean, the direct correlation, the undercurrent of that statement
is that they're fighting terrorism.
ABBAS: So their response is typical and expected. Now, China has a pattern of denying the lying when it comes to anything that's any kind of truth
that spoken against them. And that is genocide, current genocide.
So let me ask them this. If what they're saying is the truth, you know, they are fighting extremism or terrorism, the recent leaks of the Xinjiang
Police files in May 24 by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C., and Dr. Adrian Zenz.
There are 73 years old grandma, taken to those concentration camps because she prayed several years ago. They are grandpas for 60, 70 years old. What
kind of national threat a person like 73 years old grandma can bring when they're saying radicalized Muslims.
The Chinese government is making Uyghur women's bodies a battleground of this genocide by forced sterilizing them and giving them forced abortions
and as well as forcibly making them marry to Chinese people. If a girl refuse such a government sponsored, forced marriage, she and her entire
family will be taken to the concentration camps as radicalized Muslims didn't want to marry non-Muslim Chinese. So we are not so proud.
GIOKOS: Rushan, thank you so much, we run out of time. But we thank you for sharing your story. And we wish you all the best. Thank you so much for
joining us today.
ABBAS: Thank you.
GIOKOS: All right. And just ahead a funeral will be held Saturday for one of the most significant figures of the 20th century, Mikhail Gorbachev,
we'll tell you why the Russian president will not be there.
And another top Russian executive dies in what appears to be unusual circumstances, what his company said about Russia's war on Ukraine just
weeks after the invasion.
GIOKOS: Russian state media is reporting the Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has left Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plants apparently
on his way back to Ukrainian held territory.
Rafael Grossi's team arrived at the plant earlier Thursday heading through an area of heavy shelling to get there. Here is what he told reporters
before leaving, take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAFAEL GROSSI, IAEA DIRECTOR GENERAL: Thank you for they, it was I think we were able this few hours and together a lot of the key things I needed to
see. I saw and you explanations were very clear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: Isn't clear how much of Grossi's team remains at the plants earlier. A Russian appointed official in the region said they could stay
until Saturday. Now Vladimir Putin has been paying his last respects to Mikhail Gorbachev.
Earlier today the Russian president laid flowers on the coffin of the last Soviet leader who died Tuesday at the age of 91. The Kremlin says Putin
will not be a Gorbachev's funeral on Saturday.
Senior International Correspondent Fred Pleitgen has more on this story from Moscow for us. Fred, we're seeing these images Gorbachev in States and
Putin there laying flowers, but he's not going to be attending his funeral. Do we know why?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there Eleni. Yes, first of all those pictures that we saw today that was at the clinic
where Mikhail Gorbachev died. And Vladimir Putin that went there earlier today to pay his final respects really some remarkable video of him, you
know, walking up to the open casket, laying those flowers there then sort of having his own moment of silence bowing to the casket and to the body of
Mikhail Gorbachev and then obviously, moving on.
Now you're absolutely right. The Kremlin did say that he will not attend that ceremony on September 3 on Saturday. They say it's simply a scheduled,
a scheduling thing that's because of the work schedule that the Russian president has on that day.
PLEITGEN: However, the Russians do say, and there was a big debate here about whether or not there was going to be a state funeral for Mikhail
Gorbachev, obviously one of the great leaders of the 20th century, even though as we talked about, his remembrance is a little more tainted here in
And the Kremlin is now saying that there are going to be elements of a state funeral. They say there's going to be a guard of honor also that the
Kremlin, or the state is going to help organize all of this and that there will be a state fair well as well.
How that would differ from an actual state funeral is not exactly clear. But certainly the way that the Kremlin is putting it right now, as they
said, there will be elements of a state funeral.
And Mikhail Gorbachev's party will be lying in state at the house of unions, which are very famous place here in central Moscow, and then a will
be laid to rest at the Novodevichy cemetery. Very important one also here in Russia next to his wife, Raisa, of course, died in 1999.
Nick Khrushchev, Nikita Khrushchev, I'm sorry, is also buried at that same cemetery as well, but Vladimir Putin not going to be there. And I think
that that also, you know, shows some of the way that Mikhail Gorbachev is viewed here by the Russian leader by Vladimir Putin, by many Russians as
well as somewhat of a controversial figure where on the one hand, obviously, he did a lot for the world for changing the world for peaceful
change in the world.
But he's viewed as someone who also brought a lot of Russians, lot of economic and social pain in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union,
GIOKOS: Fred, thank you so much. Now, Russian state news agencies reported a Russian oil executive has died after falling out of a sixth floor
hospital window, Ravil Maganov, chaired oil and gas giant Lukoil.
The country's second largest oil company called for a fast resolution to Russia's war on Ukraine back in March. Anna Stewart is following the story
for us from London. Anna the details that we're getting are really confusing. What is the Russian media saying how are they reporting on his
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: So the way this is being reported in Russia and this is the death of very high profile businessman overlook oil. RIA
Novosti one of the Russian state media agencies has an article citing a law enforcement official, who said he most likely committed suicide in --TAS,
another Russian state media source. There's a quote saying the man fell out of the sixth floor window and died as a result of his injuries.
And the statement from the company itself Lukoil says simply that the chairman passed away following a severe illness. And there's no mention of
that fall. This death though, raises serious questions and really duel fold I would say, firstly, this is Lukoil, the second largest oil company in
And as you say, this is a company that actually came out against Russia's invasion of Ukraine. A statement from the board of directors all the way
back in March, which said, look, Oil Express is here with its deepest concerns about the tragic events in Ukraine.
They called for the - termination of the armed conflicts and express sincere empathy for all victims affected by the tragedy. They went on to
say they strongly support a lasting ceasefire and a settlement of problems through serious negotiations and diplomacy.
So they really spoke out there against the Kremlin. Now Lukoil's Founder CEO, a major shareholder actually resigned the following month from his
position. He was also targeted with UK sanctions.
And he said, at least Reuters reported that he left at the time to protect the company's operations. But the reason or at least the other reason this
death causes so much concern is the fact that already six other prominent Russian businessmen have died in mysterious circumstances or reportedly by
suicide since January.
And actually one of those also worked for this oil company Lukoil. Another member of the board, Alexander Subbotin, he died in May, in what I would
describe as pretty mysterious circumstances, tasks.
The state media agency reports that he died from a heart attack. Then the home of a shaman where he was allegedly intoxicated with alcohol with drugs
and where he was in a home where rituals from Jamaica and voodoo took place, so you add all these mysterious deaths together from these high
profile companies and you start to question what really happened there, Eleni?
GIOKOS: Yes. Yes, absolutely. It's almost like a thread, you know, between all of these stories in some way. Anna Stewart, thank you so much for
joining us. Now coming up, thousands of migrants are arriving daily at the Mexican border for their chance at a new life in the U.S.
We'll find out what's driving the recent surge and preserving America's core values will preview President Joe Biden's upcoming speech on "The
Battle for the soul of the nation".
GIOKOS: There's a big change in the nationality of migrants trying to cross into the United States through the border with Mexico for decades. They
mostly came from Mexico, the tan area on this chart and then later the Northern Triangle of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador the gray area
But U.S. Border Patrol officials say migrants from Cuba Colombia, Nicaragua and Venezuela have increased dramatically over the past two years. Those
are the colored lines on this graph.
U.S. officials have repeatedly stressed the border is not open but many migrants are still finding a way to try to cross. Now the Biden
Administration in the meantime says it is working to cope with the unprecedented influx of migrants at the southern border. But as CNN's Rosa
Flores reports, the problem is only growing.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Little Franseon (Ph) has been in pain for weeks. His dad Franseon Sr. has no money for doctors after the
family fled Haiti with nearly nothing six years ago.
FLORES (on camera): There's a lot of violence, earthquakes. For your family you left.
FLORES (voice over): They've been living at this migrant shelter and Reynosa Mexico for about a month.
PASTOR HECTOR SILVA, SENDA DE VIDA MIGRANT SHELTER:--
FLORES (voice over): Pastor Hector Silva runs the shelter and says, in 25 years, he's never seen this many migrants, thousands arriving every week.
He drives us to the second shelter he opened a few months ago and estimates about 12,800 migrants mostly Haitians are currently waiting in Reynosa, he
can house nearly 6000, the rest are living on the streets.
SILVA: It's very difficult to stand at the gate in see the mom with - I'm sorry, I cannot help you.
FLORES (voice over): The question is why? Why are so many people flocking here and why now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my Instagram.
FLORES (on camera): Instagram?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
FLORES (on camera): And for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Facebook.
FLORES (on camera): Facebook, Facebook.
FLORES (voice over): Many say word has spread including on social media, that migrants who come here can enter the U.S. legally if they wait their
turn. Silva says there is some truth to it.
SILVA: The good way.
FLORES (on camera): The legal way to do it.
SILVA: The legal way.
FLORES (voice over): We checked from May to July at the six ports of entry, more than 28,000 Title 42 exceptions were made, which allows migrants to go
to these international bridges and seek asylum.
This is notable because until recently, exceptions to Title 42 were rare. Title 42 was the Trump era pandemic public health rule that immigration
agents have used nearly 2.2 million times since 2020 to swiftly expel migrants to Mexico. And per court order the Biden Administration must keep
it in place, forcing asylum seekers to cross into the U.S. illegally advocate say.
FLORES (voice over): Little Franseon's family wants to cross legally. That's why they're here after a grueling journey.
FLORES (on camera): So they traveled through 10 countries to get to Mexico. I got to make you go.
FLORES (voice over): The pastor shows us how it works. Anticipation builds as he puts migrants on a list by arrival date, little Franseon's parents
arrived in early August, and don't make the cut on this day.
After months of waiting and paperwork, the pastor busses these migrants to the Reynosa-Hidalgo international bridge, where they walk up to
immigration, and in most cases ask for asylum. On this day, he says he bussed more than 200.
FLORES (on camera): This removes the human smuggler. This is them going to the port of entry, and in some cases asking for asylum.
SILVA: Yes, they know that there's many people on the list and then it's got to be legal.
FLORES (voice over): Legal, but still broken. More than 40 percent of the more than 28,000 exceptions to Title 42 have happened here at the Reynosa-
Hidalgo international bridge. Silva has this message for migrants.
SILVA: Do not come to the border do not come to Reynosa.
FLORES (voice over): Little Franseon's family is already here, risking it all.
FLORES (on camera): What is your American dream?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He says he wants to work for a better life.
FLORES (voice over): And so are thousands of others waiting for their chance at the American dream Rosa Flores, CNN Reynosa Mexico.
GIOKOS: Migration has been a key issue domestically for the U.S. president, among others, including the shakeup of America's core values. Democracy and
the country is standing in the world.
Those values will be the focus of Mr. Biden's upcoming primetime speech and official tells CNN that is going to happen just hours from now. With
Philadelphia's Independence Hall as a backdrop, the president will deliver an address on quotes for continued battle for the soul of the nation, the
very telling title, I must say. We've got Jeremy Diamond joining us now, you know, the battle for the soul of the nation.
Are the people of America going to get a scolding? Are they going to be told how to get back on track or to not get further derailed? I'm curious
what you're hearing?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's certainly not a theme that will be new to anyone who's been listening to Joe Biden over the
last several years. You know, back in 2017, he penned an Op-ed where he talked about this battle for the soul of the nation in the wake of those
white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The president that was a key theme for him on the campaign trail in 2020. And even during his inauguration speech, he talked about the soul of the
nation and the idea of restoring that soul through his presidency.
The president, of course, has found unity harder to come by during his time in office. And so he is returning to this idea of a battle for the soul of
the nation. And it comes of course, at an interesting time.
The president has been sharpening his attacks against Republicans in particular those "MAGA Republicans" who associate themselves with former
President Trump. And as this midterm campaign season goes into full swing.
But expect tonight's speech by the president to be far more somber, more sober in tone, but nonetheless, to echo many of those attacks that we have
heard from the president against the extremism of those who associate themselves with the former president.
White House officials have been saying that the president is going to talk about the "extremist threat towards democracy arguing that MAGA Republicans
don't respect the rule of law and that they are also the most energized part of the Republican Party".
Now, the president has been mulling this type of speech about democracy about the soul of the nation, for several months now spurred in part by
those January 6 investigative hearings that have been going on for several months now and the revelations from those hearings.
But now there's also a new backdrop, which is this investigation into the former president's handling of classified materials. And more importantly,
also the way that Republicans have really rallied around the former president, attack the FBI and questioned some of the very basic fundamental
notions of the rule of law in the United States.
So expect all of that to enter into play, as the president delivers this primetime address tonight.
GIOKOS: And, Jeremy, importantly, you know, the question is, is it going to resonate with the people that need to hear that kind of messaging, we will
see. Thank you very much for joining us and for giving us that update.
And up next, heading back to school in a bomb shelters, students and teachers across Ukraine are adapting to a whole new reality. A top UNICEF
official on the challenges they face.
GIOKOS: How do you focus on learning when you're in the middle of a war? Students and teachers across Ukraine are trying to adjust to that reality.
They're back in class today for the start of a new school year.
And the adjustment will not be easy. The UN points out why, it says more than 7 million refugees have fled Ukraine many of them children, and more
than 5 million Ukrainian kids need humanitarian assistance.
Close to 1000 children have been killed or injured since the war began. And when one school, one in 10 schools has been damaged or destroyed. Now
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took time today to visit a school in the city of Irpin as they reopened.
My UNICEF is also there helping to rebuild schools and get kids back into learning. A little earlier UNICEF's Executive Director Catherine Russell
spoke to CNN Christina Macfarlane from Irpin, take a listen.
CATHERINE RUSSELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNICEF: War is the worst enemy of children. It's terrible. It destabilizes things but education gives them
some sense of normalcy. And so we've seen this today at the school where it's the first day back kids are excited.
But we also see that they have a shelter here where they have to, you know, go for protection. So it's very difficult situation of contrasts in a
CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN ANCHOR: And it's great to see that scene behind you there and see the - see this excitement that children have, you know,
returning to school today in Ukraine. But we know, Catherine that the scale of this task is immense.
More than 200 schools damaged, over 200 completely destroyed. And the risk, of course of continued shelling is there. Ukrainian children have been
scattered far and wide due to the war. So how is this going to work? What are the challenges you face? And what plans have you put in place for this?
RUSSELL: Well, as you said, there are immense challenges. We first we're trying to get as many children back in the classroom as we can, because in
addition to this war, you know, they've also had two years really of COVID where they were doing remote learning, right.
So and on top of that they have a conflict at war here, where we're trying to get them back in the classroom. As you said, many schools have been
destroyed. We're working to try to get those back on track.
But we also were in a situation where the government is allowing children to come to school only if the schools have shelters in place and so not all
schools obviously have those. We're helping to build those refurbish those shelters so that children have a place to go when the alarms go off.
MACFARLANE: And how difficult has it been to get teachers educators back into classrooms? You know, in the midst of a warzone, the dangers that they
face, have that been a challenge to find teachers to resume the school year?
RUSSELL: Yes, it's, you know, if you imagine yourself as a parent, right, and you have to decide whether you feel comfortable sending your child to
school where they're going to be by themselves when the inevitable alarms go off.
And yesterday, I was just at one of our facilities and the children were there playing and next thing you know, there's an alarm that goes all the
children are, you know, moved into shelters, the adults are rushing to shelters.
That's a terrifying thing right. And to imagine that your child is alone or separated from you having to go through that is a tough decision for
parents. So on the one hand they want to keep their children close, it's a natural instinct.
RUSSELL: On the other hand, they know how important it is to get these kids back into classrooms and into schools because they've got to get their
education back on track.
And children want to be with other children you know, I've definitely picked that up since I've been here the kids are just excited to be
MACFARLANE: Catherine, one of the most complex and dangerous situations is likely going to be for children and teachers living in occupied areas where
we know Russia have already moved to change curriculums, the educators may not even be Ukrainian, they may be Russian. So how will teaching continue
in those areas?
RUSSELL: You know it's a really difficult question for us Christina, because we don't have access to those parts of the country and access is
absolutely critical. Humanitarian access is critical. We need it.
We have to have it in order for us to assess what's happening and try to help the children there.
GIOKOS: Alright, thank you so very much for joining us. That was "Connect the World". CNN continues after this short break, I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu
Dhabi, take care.