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Russia's War on Ukraine Takes Center Stage at UNGA; Biden Slams Putin over War, Nuclear Threats; U.N. Secretary-General, ICC Prosecutor and French Foreign Minister at U.N. General Assembly; Antonio Guterres Says Atrocities in Ukraine Must Be Investigated; Iranian Women Cut Their Hair, Protesting Death of Mahsa Amini. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired September 22, 2022 - 10:00   ET




ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At this hour, protests break out across Russia after President Putin announces a plan to

mobilize more troops. And --


EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: I think we have a crisis of democracy, of what I would call liberal democracies. Let's be clear about


GIOKOS (voice-over): A stark warning from French president Emmanuel Macron. Plus --



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A very happy girl living in a (INAUDIBLE) country.

GIOKOS (voice-over): We hear from the family of Mahsa Amini, who died last week in police custody in Iran.



GIOKOS: Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Eleni Giokos, filling in for Becky Anderson.

This hour, the U.N. Security Council is meeting on the maintenance of peace and security in Ukraine. The International Criminal Court prosecutor will

speak. And we'll hear from Russia's top diplomat, foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, who is representing Russia at the General Assembly.

The meeting coming a day after Vladimir Putin ordered the mobilization of 300,000 Russians for combat. That has sparked demonstrations inside Russia,

with protesters arrested and some conscripted into the military on the spot. That's according to a monitoring group.


GIOKOS (voice-over): Right. Scenes like those are playing out in dozens of cities across Russia. Matthew Chance has more on the Russian president's

high-stakes move happening in the wake of Russia's failures on the battlefield in Ukraine.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a partial mobilization that risks fully mobilizing Russian opposition to

Ukraine war. In the wake of Putin's escalation, there have already been scattered protests across the country.

But it's possible public sentiment will further sour as more Russians are told they'll have to fight.

"You always feel worried at moments like these," says Denis (ph) from Moscow, "because you have a wife and kids. I wouldn't want to leave them,"

he adds, "in case something happens."

"This is not a defensive war," says Nikolai (ph); "nothing is threatening our territory. Calling for reservists now is unnecessary," he says.

For the Kremlin, there is a risk this indignation could erode Putin's support even further.

"As long as it stayed on the TV screens, not affecting their daily lives, many Russians have gotten along with Putin's Ukrainian disaster, what he

calls his special military operation."

But in the wake of dramatic military setbacks, all this has suddenly become very real, with the Russian leader announcing an immediate callup of

hundreds of thousands of men to bolster his depleted forces.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): To protect our homeland, its sovereignty and its territorial integrity, to provide safety

for people in liberated territories, it is necessary to partially mobilize citizens.

CHANCE (voice-over): It's just reservists and those with military experience at the moment. But there are concerns that could be just the


It all comes as occupied areas of Ukraine announced snap referenda on joining the Russians state, for critics, a tiny fig leaf to cover a blatant

annexation of Ukrainian land; for many Russians, a popular move to rescue people consistently portrayed in the state media as oppressed.

"I think this is long overdue," says Alexander (ph). "People don't want to live under bombardments. They want to live decently. That's why they're

looking to be rescued by joining Russian," he says.

It's a principle Putin says he's prepared to use nuclear weapons to defend.


CHANCE (voice-over): A threat already dismissed by Ukraine and its Western backers. An increasingly desperate Kremlin seems determined to double down

-- Matthew Chance, CNN, London.


GIOKOS: We have team coverage for this story. Nick Paton Walsh is in Kramatorsk in Eastern Ukraine. We also have Clare Sebastian in London with

the latest diplomatic news out of Europe.

Nick, I want you to start with you. We heard from Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president, at the UNGA yesterday. I want you to take a listen to

what he had to say.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: The military mobilization in Russia is true. Sham referendums (sic) are also true. Russia wants war.

It's true. But Russia won't be able to stop the course of history.


GIOKOS: Will not be able to stop the course of history.

Nick, what do you make of what Volodymyr Zelenskyy said yesterday?

Then importantly, we are seeing the narrative, the wording from President Putin becoming darker, a lot more aggressive. It feels like the

connotations we're getting from both sides have evolved dramatically over the past few weeks.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Yes, let's be blunt about it, Vladimir Putin has invaded a neighboring country and bombarded

civilian areas for months. Yes, he certainly is going to darker areas over the past days in terms of dangling the nuclear threat, however seriously

Western powers choose to take that.

This would change the face of life on this planet. Certainly Volodymyr Zelenskyy using that platform to suggest that Russia should be taken out of

the U.N. Security Council or at least have its veto removed from the permanent member status.

This is important for that body to possibly support Ukraine further in this conflict. But, two, he was clear to say that referendums (sic), the

mobilization, these are all about trying to delay Russia's retreat in Ukraine so that they can essentially hold on to occupied areas through the

winter, dig in and try to retain what it still has.

But it's extremely important to point out that while Russia has been having a manpower problem on the front line, (INAUDIBLE) absolutely, they've lost

so many regular soldiers here, so many irregular soldiers, they've even been resorting to putting private mercenaries and Russian convicts and

private mercenaries on the front line.

Extraordinary measures after just six months. A sudden flood of inexperienced, untrained, poorly equipped soldiers is not going to turn the

tide suddenly for Russia on the front line here. It's been losing because it lacks 21st century weaponry.

Even though, frankly, at times, Ukraine is using 20th century weaponry that NATO has given it, Russia is significantly worse equipped even just after

just six months of NATO giving weapons to Ukraine.

So fundamentally, the conventional forces along this front line here aren't going to see much greater success just because there's 300,000 more of them

on the Russian side. Even though that does seem very farfetched as an organizational measure from Moscow so far, given how catastrophic its

management of this war has been so far.

The real issue is who has what weaponry and, at this point, we have just seen ourselves on the outskirts here in Donetsk area, where Ukrainian

forces, very high morale, not really too concerned about this mobilization and just moving forward.

GIOKOS: Really good point there. We're seeing forced conscription by the protesters in Russia. Very different story on morale, I would suspect.

I want to bring in Clare.

Let's talk about the diplomatic side of things, E.U. sanctions are ratcheting up.

I guess the question is, what else is there left to squeeze Putin, to force the Russians to take a different stance here?

Apart from oil and gas, which we know are still no go areas, what else is on the table?

And will they agree, will the E.U. agree to this new round of sanctions?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes that is the big question. The E.U. has already put in seven packages of sanctions. Although the crucial one,

which is the sixth package, which tackles oil, the partial embargo on Russian oil imports, is set to come into force in December.

So that is not in force yet. But what Josep Borrell, the E.U. top diplomat, has said is that they are now going to be moved to prepare an eighth

package. Not exactly clear what form that will take.

But he and the E.U. Commission chief, Ursula van der Leyen, have both hinted at individual sanctions, so sanctions on the war, individuals who

they believe are helping with Russia's war effort.

We've already seen a growing list of those and sectoral sanctions Ursula van der Leyen talked about, technology, export controls on civilian

technology. These controls, by the way, have been incredibly harmful to Russia so far in hampering their ability to manufacture certain products.

So that is what is potentially on the --


GIOKOS: All, right Clare, I'm going to interrupt you there. I'm going to take us live to the U.N. Security Council meeting that's underway.


GIOKOS: And we have got Antonio Guterres speaking. Let's listen in.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL (through translator): - - and toward an endless cycle of horror and bloodshed. As I have said from the start, this senseless war has unlimited potential to do terrible harm

in Ukraine and around the world.

The idea of nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, has become a subject of debate. This in itself is totally unacceptable. All nuclear armed states

should recommit to the non-use and total elimination of nuclear weapons.

I am also deeply concerned by reports of plans to organize so-called "referenda" in areas of Ukraine that are currently not under government

control. Any annexation of a state's territory by another state, resulting from the threat or use of force, is a violation of the U.N. Charter and of

international law.

Madam President, thousands of Ukrainian civilians, including hundreds of children, have been killed and injured, mostly by Russian bombardment of

urban areas. Every day, an average of five children are killed or injured. Almost every child in Ukraine has been scarred by the nightmare of war,

from violence to family separation.

Some 14 million people have been forced to flee, the majority of them women and children. The situation will only get worse with winter approaching and

gas and electricity supplies dwindling.

At the global level, the conflict has supercharged a triple crisis of food, energy and finance. This is driving millions more people into extreme

poverty and hunger and reversing years of progress and development. And it follows the COVID crisis and the greater impact of the climate crisis.

The most vulnerable are suffering most in developing countries which are having -- countries already grappling with recovery from the COVID-19

pandemic and battered by the climate crisis. The most vulnerable are suffering the most.

The United Nations is working to maximize every opportunity to alleviate suffering, including through my visits to Ukraine, the Russian Federation

and the region and my direct engagement with President Zelenskyy and President Putin.

Together with our humanitarian partners on the ground, we have provided aid to nearly 13 million people in need. It is essential that humanitarian

workers have safe and unhindered access to all those requiring assistance, wherever they may be.

GUTERRES: Madam President, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has been documenting the unacceptable impact of this war on human

rights. The reports are a catalogue of cruelty: summary executions, sexual violence, torture and other inhumane and degrading treatment against

civilians and prisoners of war.

The latest accounts of burial sites in Izyum are extremely disturbing. All these allegations must be thoroughly investigated to ensure accountability.

Perpetrators must be held to account in fair and independent judicial proceedings.

And victims and their families have a right to justice, remedy and reparation. Ending impunity for international crimes is fundamental. In all

this, the International Criminal Court plays an important role to ensure effective accountability.

The prosecutor of the court has opened an investigation into the situation in Ukraine. Full cooperation with the court by all parties is essential.

Madam President, the fact-finding mission I established following the tragic incident at the detention facility in Olenivka on 29 of July is

ready to deploy as soon as all necessary assurances are received.

The missions must have safe, secure and unfettered access to all relevant places and people and to all relevant evidence, without any limitation,

impediment or interference.

Madam President, the situation at the site of Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, located in the middle of a war zone, remains a cause of grave



GUTERRES: The International Atomic Energy Agency is consulting with all parties involved on measures to ensure the safety of the plant and

surrounding areas. I thank IAEA for its work. Its continued presence at the plant is an important deterrent.

All attacks on nuclear facilities must end and the purely civilian nature of such plants must be re-established. Any damage to nuclear

infrastructure, whether deliberate or not, could have terrible consequences for people around the plant and far beyond. The world cannot afford a

nuclear catastrophe.

Madam President, yesterday's news that more than 250 prisoners of war were exchanged between Ukraine and the Russian Federation was a welcome

development. I commend the efforts of both parties and hope that they will build on this with further exchanges aiming at an "all for all" formula.

And I thank the governments of Turkiye and Saudi Arabia for their role in securing this agreement.

In July, also with the support of the government of Turkiye, a landmark deal was reached, enabling the resumption of food and fertilizer exports

from three of Ukraine's Black Sea ports.

More than 4.3 million metric tons of food have since been moved, bound for 29 countries across three continents. This includes three vessels chartered

by the World Food Programme to transport desperately needed food supplies for the people of Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and Yemen.

A fourth left Istanbul today and a fifth is on the way.

Since the signing of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, global food prices have dropped sharply, although they are still almost 8 percent higher than

a year ago. It is vital that these food shipments continue and increase, so commodity markets further stabilize.

The United Nations also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Russian Federation on the full access of Russian food and fertilizer

products, including ammonia, to global markets.

We are doing everything possible to facilitate this and to ease the serious fertilizer market crunch that is already affecting farming in West Africa

and elsewhere. If the fertilizer market is not stabilized, next year could bring a food supply crisis.

Simply put, the world may run out of food. It is essential that all states remove every remaining obstacle to the export of Russian fertilizers

immediately. We need to get them to farmers at a reasonable cost and onto fields as soon as possible.

Another major concern is the impact of high gas prices on the production of nitrogen fertilizers. This must also be addressed without delay.

GUTERRES: (Speaking French).

GUTERRES (through translator): -- Ukraine and that is by ending the war. I will continue to spare no effort for peace, peace in line with

international law and the Charter of the United Nations.

And I appeal to all member states, especially those here today, to redouble all efforts to prevent further escalation and to do all they can to end the

war and to ensure lasting peace. Thank you.

CATHERINE COLONNA, FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): I now give the floor to Mr. Karim Khan.

KARIM KHAN, INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT PROSECUTOR: Madam president, excellencies, Mr. Secretary General, it is a great privilege to have the

opportunity to say a few words to this august council.

This is a moment where we must collectively demonstrate, by action, not words, that the law has meaning. It is critical that the law is seen to be

on the front line, protecting those most at need.

As we speak, in Ukraine and in many other parts of the world, the most vulnerable deserve our attention. Children, woman and men suffer in agony

and insecurity. And, the law is looked to for real meaning and for accountability.

But this potential, that I am convinced is latent in the law, can only work by collective action. It requires determined focus by my office, by the

court but also by all of you. We must demonstrate, in every location where violations are alleged and that the court has jurisdiction, that in any

conflict there are responsibilities.


KHAN: Anybody who picks up a gun, anybody who fires a missile must realize that the law is alive and not in slumber and that accountability is

absolutely essential.

That requires determined action. It requires us to renew our pledge from Nuremberg that there is no statute of limitations for war crimes and to

march forward together.

Madam president, I am convinced that, if we coalesce around these basic principles of humanity, these basic norms of conduct, the law can play an

ever more impactful role as an anchor for peace and security in Ukraine but in so many other parts of the world as well.

Since the beginning of the recent developments in Ukraine in late February, I have sought to ensure that the response from my office meets the

imperatives of action and focus.

In the five days between the 25th of February and the 2nd of March, when I made my initial statement and then opened the investigation, we have moved

with some purpose.

And the fact that 43 state parties to the Rome statute, one-third of the assembly in total, referred the matter to the court, signifies not only the

crisis and the concern that is expressed but also, I believe, an understanding that the law has an important role to play.

We are now at the stage of continuing forensic, objective, and impartial, sometimes, very painstaking work to grapple with the facts, to separate

truth from fiction and to build a picture of what actually happened.

In May, we made the largest field deployment that the ICC has seen. And since May, we have had a permanent field presence in Ukraine. I can

announce that next week further members of my office will also deploy to Ukraine to look in relation to allegations emerging from the east of the


And building partnerships, embracing innovation takes many forms. New engagements with states, with international organizations and, indeed, with

the private sector. Hopefully, this new model of a more coordinated, more effective partnership, a more coherent approach for action, will render

this collective responsibility more effective.

The process of accountability, of collecting evidence and sifting it and weighing it and determining what is shown is not simply an academic

exercise. It is critical in order to pierce the fog of war, to actually present in a juridical forum the truth.

And luckily, we have independent judges. And when we have done our job, we will in due course present matters to the independent judges of the ICC.

And they will further scrutinize our work very properly and decide where the truth lies.

And this exercise is essential if we are to have confidence in the rules- based system. This function and this alone is the focus of my office. It is not a tool of politics. It is not driven by any other agenda but are

obligations that are eloquently espoused in the Rome statute and are underpinned with great eloquence in the Charter of the United Nations that

created this august body that I have the privilege to sit in today.

Through this work, a picture will emerge. And the picture that I have seen so far is troubling indeed. I have been to Ukraine three times.

And one has seen a variety of destruction, of suffering and of harm that fortifies my determination and my previous finding that there are

reasonable grounds to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the court have been committed.

And, if I may, Madam President, be quite direct, when I went to Bucha and went behind St. Andrew's Church, the bodies I saw were not fake. When I

walked the streets of Borodyanka, the destruction that I saw of buildings and schools was all too real.


KHAN: And when I left Kharkiv, the bombs I heard land gave a very somber insight and a very small insight into the awful reality that is faced by

what many of our brothers and sisters and children that are in a war zone.

I am deeply concerned regarding the allegations and information we are seeing regarding what appear to be reasonable grounds to believe

intentional targeting of civilian objects and also the transfer of populations from Ukraine outside, particularly, children.

These are priorities that we are focusing on. But our task, collectively, is to ensure that those responsible for any crimes that may have been

committed, for any decisions the judges of the ICC may make, realize, today, in real time, that they are masters of their own destiny.

They have the choice and, indeed, the unambiguous responsibilities to act proportionately, to honor the principle of distinction and to take all

means necessary to make sure civilians and civilian objects are not targeted.

Justice, as I've said, is not political. It is a vindication of the fundamental rights of all members of humanity. And it is a demonstration of

promises that underpin the Charter and the Rome statute.

And in my view, the echoes of Nuremberg should be heard today. The failure to uphold the promises of Nuremberg, that we have seen over the last many

decades, should act as a reproach on all of us.

But leaders not to despair or to despondency but act as a catalyst for further action to be governizers (ph) as a council, as international

organizations and as humanity to, finally, for goodness sake, to come of age and plan to -- plant more firmly the flag of legality on the

international landscape.

So today, all I can do is recommit to my obligations and my oath as prosecutor of the ICC, to do everything I can to engage with all

international partner states, United Nations, other international organizations to investigate cases in our jurisdiction in Ukraine and


The responsibilities that I hold and the much more powerful, much more relevant and much wider responsibilities that you hold demand no less than

we meet the challenges of today.

We must demonstrate the resolve and determination and the principle, in order to not disappoint and fail those that are most in need of the law, as

we speak. Thank you so much.

COLONNA (through translator): I will now make a statement in my capacity as minister of Europe and minister of foreign affairs of France.

Mr. Secretary General, Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen, ministers, prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, ladies and gentlemen, it is

with a great sense of gravid seriousness that I take the floor at this session, dedicated to the situation in Ukraine and, more particularly, to

the crimes committed.

The aggression that Russia decided to launch, alone, against a sovereign state, Ukraine, whose only fault was to want to live freely, constitutes a

fragrant violation of the fundamental norms of our common charter, the United Nations Charter.

The nonuse of force, peaceful resolution of disputes, respect for sovereignty and the territorial integrity of states are principles to which

we all subscribe, that around this table, each one of these principles was blatantly violated.

The war which began on the 24th of February of this year has also been accompanied by atrocities and destructions of civilian infrastructure.

These are so many violations of the laws of war and so many actions for which Russia must be held accountable, in Bucha and so many other places.

Unspeakable crimes were committed. The liberation of Izyum has also been accompanied by the discovery of new atrocities committed by the torturers.


COLONNA (through translator): So the message of France today is simple. Justice must be our common imperative. There will be no peace without


Justice, of course, is an imperative for the victims, for their right to recognition and reparation for their suffering, all their suffering, of

each victim. Justice is then an imperative of international security.

And I say this to those who only see this war as a symbol, as just another conflict. If everything is permissible here, then it will be even more

permissible somewhere else. And the possibility of a war of aggression will only grow, just as finally it is a political imperative.

We will need to ensure that individuals are held accountable for the crimes they have committed, whether they have committed them, ordered them or

planned them. And it is the very idea that such crimes, that such violations of our common humanity are possible, should be combated in both

words and in deeds.

For this, a framework was established professional and specialized justice. And its summit is the International Criminal Court, with -- where 43

states, including France referred cases to it.

It's the very first time that so many states have referred this situation to the court and it's a sign of importance that we attach collectively to

what has taken place here.

The court will act in complementary (ph) , as you know, with Ukrainian justice as well as with other national jurisdictions, including the French

jurisdiction and several other jurisdictions of the states present here.

In this framework, justice must be upheld. France is working with many other partners to strengthen in all of its jurisdictions the collection of

evidence and the collection of reliable information.

This is why France has acted very specifically as soon as information about the crimes committed in Bucha were known in April. We sent two teams of

investigators to Ukraine for three months. They have helped the Ukrainian justice to minutely and patiently reconstitute the facts.

And we have donated a mobile laboratory to analyze DNA. Now that in Izyum new atrocities have been revealed to the world, we just decided to send

another support mission to the investigators onsite because where Russia is acting by using propaganda and disinformation, justice should be based on

facts and evidence.

Of course, the -- we have also supported the ICC. We provided financial support and provided magistrates, while, of course, respecting its


Our support is also, to all the jurisdictions that should be able to easily cooperate amongst themselves, including to allow the International Criminal

Court to take part in common investigative teams that bring together several national jurisdictions, including the jurisdiction of Ukraine.

What we are doing makes a lot of sense. We are combating impunity. But we are also defending the integrity of our international order. The choice of

war by Russia on a false pretext, it's a blatant violation of such a notion as genocide, which is the worst crime of all, a crime that justified after

the end of the Second World War, that the project of international criminal justice progresses.

This is something that really is shocking. The International Criminal Court has itself noted the abuse of even -- the abuse of conduct by referring to

this, this notion, and in fact, the population in the conquered territories subject to terror.

And some threaten using every positive mean while we here refused to be drawn into any escalation in the face of those who deprive words of their


Our mission, our duty, our work around this table, in this council, is to give back meaning to things.

And to conclude, I want to quote a Russian writer.

"We must publicly condemn the very idea that men can exercise violence on - - against other men by being silent about vice. We are sowing vice. In the future, it will only grow 1,000 times by -- " end of quote.


COLONNA (through translator): By writing these lines, Solzhenitsyn referred to decades of crimes committed by the USSR in its own territory.

And those words very much apply today to the crimes committed by Russia outside its territory.

The facts investigated by ICC could be -- constitute crimes against humanity. And we will investigate this. But already, we must say that those

responsible will be identified. They will be prosecuted. And ultimately, they will be judged.

For the victims, the time, the wait may seem long and for their families. But they must be certain. They must have the certainty that these crimes

will not remain unpunished. We owe it to them. And it is not only that we owe it to them but what is at stake is our security. And what is at stake

are the universal principles that unites.

Thank you very much. And now, I go back to my role as president of the council and give the floor to His Excellency.

GIOKOS: All right. And you are seeing live pictures there from the United Nations Security Council meeting. Currently underway, that is Catherine

Colonna, the French foreign minister, talking about France's efforts to help investigate war crimes in Ukraine.

We have also heard from the International Criminal Court prosecutor, Karim Khan, who also said this is about responsibility and accountability,

reiterating that the ICC has made its biggest deployment on the ground in Ukraine ever.

And this is going to be quite vital. I want to bring in Richard Roth. We have him on the ground. And we also have Kylie Atwood standing by. They are

going to be giving us their views on what we have just heard.

Richard, I'm going to start with you. Hearing Antonio Guterres talking about the risks that are to come, the ICC prosecutor reiterating

accountability, that the rule of law must be upholded (sic), talking about war crimes.

We are going to be hearing from Antony Blinken. Look, the names for this meeting are absolutely vital. Of course, Ukraine and Russia at the same

office (ph).

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: This is the most senior level meeting of the U.N. Security Council since the war started seven months

ago. And it is the most senior appearance by a Russian official; in this case, foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, who speaks later today.

Earlier, we're going to hear from U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken. And Ukraine will speak at the end. It might get interesting because

countries get to respond to one another. We do not know how heated it might get.

Will Lavrov stay for the Ukraine appearance?

Yes, as you pointed out, very stern remarks from the U.N. secretary general and the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court.

When you hear the secretary general, who remains concerned about the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, which has been

under siege, when he says the world cannot afford a nuclear catastrophe, it does get your attention.

And the prosecutor, Karin Khan, describing echoes of Nuremberg, the war crimes tribunal after World War II, you know you are dealing with something

very serious. He described, the prosecutor, visiting Ukraine several months ago and seeing bodies in various locations.

And he made a point to counter Russian arguments.

He said, "These were not fake. These were real bodies."

So the Ukraine matter reaching the highest level yet in U.N. circles. Of course, the U.N. is involved in trying to get food out of Ukraine; grain

shipments have escalated. That is something the U.N. has worked out favorably. But there is so much to do and so much to go in this crisis.

GIOKOS: I want to bring in Kylie Atwood.

Here is Russia, it is a permanent member of the Security Council. It has veto power. Being held to account, in the first few speakers we have heard

from, talking about war crimes, talking about accountability, responsibility, what it will look like down the line.

Importantly we will hear from U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and I guess how this meeting is going to evolve is going to be interesting in

setting the tone in terms of the diplomatic way forward, if there's anything to discuss on the diplomacy front that is.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That is right. And some of the things that we are expecting to hear from the secretary of state

will echo what we heard from President Biden yesterday.

Specifically going after Russia for these latest developments in the Ukraine war, when you have Russia announcing this partial mobilization of

additional troops heading into Ukraine.

You also have the expended referenda in Ukrainian -- in Ukraine in Russian occupied territories. And then you also have President Putin, who has been,

again, threatening nuclear possibilities over the last few days.


ATWOOD: I do think it is worth noting that the secretary general, in his remarks, said that it is unthinkable, the threat of nuclear conflict. He

called on all countries who have nuclear weapons to recommit, once again, to the non use and elimination of nuclear weapons.

It'll be interesting to see what the secretary of state says about this nuclear threat that has been renewed from Russia, once again, in recent

days. It will also be interesting to see what the Russian foreign minister says during his remarks today.

He and the secretary of state have been in the same place at the same time in multiple instances over the last few months. But there has not been

direct confrontation between the two.

So we will watch to see if, as Richard said, they choose to engage after their prepared remarks, any back-and-forth, or if the Russian foreign

minister leaves this meeting, which he did do during one of the meetings of foreign ministers over the summer.

GIOKOS: A very quick thing, Richard, I have to ask you this.

President Biden said yesterday, we should have more permanent members and that no one should really hold veto power.

Do you think we're going to see a change, a shift in the U.N. with regard to Russia?

ROTH: I don't think so. It's enshrined in the charter that the -- who are the five permanent members of the Security Council.

They have been going through Security Council reform for the 30 years I have been around here. President Biden referring to India and Japan. I do

not think it is imminent at the moment.

GIOKOS: All right. We are going to be keeping tabs on the Security Council meeting that is currently underway at the United Nations.

Richard Roth, Kylie Atwood, thank you very much for breaking that down for us. We will be right back after the short break. Stay with us on CNN.




GIOKOS: Welcome back, I'm Eleni Giokos live in Abu Dhabi, in for my colleague, Becky Anderson. You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

Her death has galvanized a nation. Iran is seeing some of the largest anti government demonstrations in years, sparked by the death of 22 year old

Mahsa Amini in police custody.


GIOKOS (voice-over): As protests intensify, the government is cracking down with riot police, tear gas and blocking the internet and mobile

(INAUDIBLE) in many places. At least eight people have been killed according to Amnesty International.

What is unusual is women are taking to the streets in droves, burning head scarves and cutting off their hair and demanding more rights in the Islamic

nation. And now Amini's family is speaking out. CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is in Istanbul, Turkiye, with the details of the story.


GIOKOS: Jomana, watching these images of woman, of men, taking to the streets, it seems where there are protests around the country, people are


What is the latest and, secondly, speaking to the family, what is their message right now?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is very difficult for us to really get up to date information about what is going down on the ground with the

internet watchdog NetBlocks saying that they have seen restrictions on the internet in the country, not seen since the protests in 2009.

Disruptions of so many parts of the country, services like WhatsApp and Instagram that have been down over the past 24 hours in many parts of the


But we have still seen images coming out overnight of protests that took place on Wednesday night. This is, as you mentioned, incredible images,

acts of defiance continuing, despite the crackdown that, according to Amnesty International, has left at least eight people dead and scores of

others injured.

They say that security forces have fired directly at protesters using birdshot and other metal pellets. And the United Nations experts saying

they are very concerned about this excessive use of force that they say has been taking place during these protests.

Now this is all happening, of course, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini. Since the announcement of her death, her family has been speaking out,

disputing the version of events that is being put out by the Iranian authorities, who say that she died of a heart attack.

Her family says she was a healthy 22-year old. According to them, she had no pre-existing heart conditions. Despite the fact that they have had calls

from the president and a representative from the supreme leader visiting the family, all promising them a thorough investigation into what happened

to her, they say they don't trust the government.

They don't trust it to deliver a credible investigation and they are speaking out and taking a great risk by doing that. We got to speak to a

cousin who told us more about who she was as a person and what they say happened to her.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): The world knows her as Mahsa. To her family, she was the kind and shy Geena (ph). That is her Kurdish name. Her cousin in

Norway sharing these family photos with CNN of happier times from their childhood in Iran.

DIAKO ALI, MAHSA AMINI'S COUSIN: She was a very happy girl, living in a not so good country, with dreams that we don't maybe know about. But very

respectful and very kind, good hearted; took care of her mother and father.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Amini's death after being taken into custody by the morality police last week has sparked unprecedented protests, calls for

accountability for her death have turned into cries for freedoms this generation of Iranians has never known, with women at the forefront of the

protest, burning the head scarves they've been forced to wear for decades.

ALI: It makes me sad and happy in one way because, it is sad that someone's life has to go away for these things to start. And I know that

when they demonstrate in Iran, it is not like if we demonstrate in America or in Norway or in Sweden. They are risking their lives.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Amini's family is demanding justice. They do not trust the government's investigation. They want the truth. They accuse

authorities of covering up. Last week police released this edited CCTV video. They say it shows Amini at the so-called reeducation center, where

you can see her collapsing.

Police say she was taken because she did not abide by their strict Islamic dress code. They claim the 22 year-old appeared unwell, had a heart attack

and collapsed into a coma. She died in hospital three days later.

Family members say they saw her beaten up by the morality police as she was dragged away. It was the last time they saw here awake. They say doctors

told them she had severe head injuries, swollen limbs and had a heart attack.

ALI: There are no heart disease or anything. And it was damage to her head, like she was bleeding out her ear.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Violent acts of repression by this notorious force, known as the morality police, have been on the rise, according to

the U.N. This video from an activist group purports to show those abuses.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): CNN cannot independently verify the circumstances of this video or when it was filmed. The fury on Iran's streets has been

years in the making and Amini's death appears to have been the final straw.

ALI: I want the world to know that she was a good person. Her life did not end for nothing. I hope this can start something to maybe toward to get a

better Iran, a more free Iran. And I am going to start crying.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Diako's overcome with emotion, hopes for the homeland he hasn't seen in more than 10 years and the pain of a family

grieving their beloved Geena (ph).


KARADSHEH: Eleni, this just into CNN. The United States announcing that it is imposing sanctions on Iran's morality police. In a statement, the U.S.

Treasury Department says it was sanctioning the morality police for, quote, "abuse and violence against Iranian women and the violation of the rights

of peaceful Iranian protesters."

GIOKOS: Thank you very much for that latest piece of news and thank you for your report. I appreciate it.

And one more note on Iran. Our chief international anchor, Christiane Amanpour, was supposed to speak with the Ukrainian president Ebrahim Raisi

while he was at the U.N. General Assembly underway in New York. But the interview was canceled. Christiane spoke to my colleagues, John Berman and

Brianna Keilar, earlier, explaining why.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's very unsettling because we were going to have the first exclusive here in New


He'd already done an interview in Iran with "60 Minutes," where the headscarf was also an issue. But there, because it is the custom, one

always does wear the headscarf when one's there. That's just -- otherwise you couldn't operate as a journalist.

Here in New York or anywhere else outside of Iran, I have never been asked by any Iranian president -- and I have interviewed every single one of them

since 1995, either inside or outside Iran -- never been asked to wear a headscarf.

After hours of getting this interview ready, having pretalks with the president's officials, giving them sort of an idea of what we wanted to ask

about -- not questions, obviously, but an idea -- they knew exactly.

We wanted to talk about the nuclear deal; we wanted to talk about Iran's support for Russia against Ukraine and, most importantly, we wanted to talk

about the violation of human rights.

At the very end, they come up with this, you know.

It's a religious month of mourning and we need you to wear a headscarf.

And I very politely declined on behalf of myself and CNN and female journalists everywhere.


GIOKOS: All right, we are interrupting our visuals right now. This is now happening at the U.N. Security Council. Antony Blinken is taking to the

podium. Let's listen in.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: -- the U.N.'s core principles and also for your personal engagement

in securing the vital Black Sea route for grain to flow once again from Ukraine.

Mr. Khan, we're grateful for the efforts of the Office of the Prosecutor to investigate objectively and professionally the atrocities being committed

in Ukraine by Russian forces and for its support for -- and coordination with -- Ukrainian investigators and prosecutors.

We hear a lot about the divisions among countries at the United Nations. But recently, what is striking is the remarkable unity among member states

when it comes to Russia's war on Ukraine.

Leaders from countries developing and developed, big and small, north and south have spoken in the General Assembly about the consequences of this

war and the need to end it. And they've called on all of us to reaffirm our commitment to the U.N. Charter and its core principles, including

sovereignty, territorial integrity, human rights.

Even a number of nations that maintain close ties with Moscow have said publicly that they have serious questions and concerns about President

Putin's ongoing invasion.

Rather than change course, however, President Putin has doubled down -- choosing not to end the war but to expand it; not to pull troops back but

to call 300,000 additional troops up; not to ease tensions but to escalate them through the threat of nuclear weapons; not to work toward a diplomatic

solution but to render such a solution impossible by seeking to annex more Ukrainian territory through sham referenda.


BLINKEN: That President Putin picked this week, as most of the world gathers at the United Nations, to add fuel to the fire that he started,

shows his utter contempt for the U.N. Charter, for the General Assembly and for this council.

The very international order that we have gathered here to uphold is being shredded before our eyes. We cannot -- we will not -- allow President

Putin to get away with it.

Defending Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity is about much more than standing up for one nation's right to choose its own path,

fundamental as that right is. It's also about protecting an international order where no nation can redraw the borders of another by force.

If we fail to defend this principle when the Kremlin is so flagrantly violating it, we send a message to aggressors everywhere that they can

ignore it, too. We put every country at risk. We open the door to a less secure, a less peaceful world.

We see what that world looks like in the parts of Ukraine controlled by Russian forces. Wherever the Russian tide recedes, we discover the horror

that's left in its wake.

I had a window into that horror myself when I traveled to Irpin just a few weeks ago to meet with the Ukrainian investigators who are compiling

evidence of war crimes committed there. I saw up close the gaping holes left in residential buildings by Russian shelling -- indiscriminate at

best, intentional at worst.

As we assemble here, Ukrainian and international investigators continue to exhume bodies outside of Izyum, a city Russian forces controlled for six

months before they were driven out by a Ukrainian counteroffensive.

One site contains some 440 unmarked graves. A number of the bodies unearthed there so far reportedly show signs of torture, including one

victim with broken arms and a rope around his neck.

Survivors' accounts are also emerging, including a man who described being tortured by Russian forces for a dozen days, during which his interrogators

repeatedly electrocuted him and, in his words and I quote, "beat me to the point where I didn't feel anything," end quote.

These are not the acts of rogue units. They fit a clear pattern across the territory controlled by Russian forces.

This is one of the many reasons that we support a range of national and international efforts to collect and examine the mounting evidence of war

crimes in Ukraine. We must hold the perpetrators accountable for these crimes.

It's also one of the reasons why more than 40 nations have come together to help the Ukrainian people defend themselves, a right that is enshrined in

Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.

The more setbacks Russian forces endure on the battlefield, the greater the pain they are inflicting on Ukrainian civilians. Russian attacks on dams,

on bridges, on power stations, on hospitals, on other civilian infrastructure are increasing, constituting a brazen violation of

international humanitarian law.

This week, President Putin said that Russia would not hesitate to use and I quote, "all weapons systems available," end quote, in response to a threat

to its territorial integrity, a threat that is all the more menacing given Russia's intention to annex large swaths of Ukraine in the days ahead.

When that's complete, we can expect President Putin will claim any Ukrainian effort to liberate this land as an attack on so-called "Russian


This from a country that in January of this year, in this place, joined other permanent members of the Security Council in signing a statement

affirming that and I quote, "nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought."

Yet another example of how Russia violates the commitments it's made before this body and yet another reason why nobody should take Russia at its word


Every council member should send a clear message that these reckless nuclear threats must stop immediately.

Russia's effort to annex more Ukrainian territory is another dangerous escalation, as well as a repudiation of diplomacy.

It is even more alarming when coupled with the filtration operation that Russian forces have been carrying out across parts of Ukraine that they


Now this is a diabolical strategy, violently uprooting thousands of Ukrainians, bus in Russians to replace them, call a vote, manipulate the

results to show near unanimous support for joining the Russian Federation. This is right out of the Crimea playbook.