Return to Transcripts main page

Connect the World

U.S. Embassy Warns Americans To Leave Russia; NATO Chief Calls Nord Stream Leaks Acts Of "Sabotage"; U.S. President Biden Speaks As Hurricane Ian Nears Florida; Hurricane Ian Causes Nationwide Blackout In Cuba; IMF Warns U.K. To Reevaluate Tax Plan After Pound Collapses; Bank of England Announces Emergency Intervention; 4 Palestinians Killed, Dozens Wounded In Israeli West Bank Raid. Aired 10:25-11a ET

Aired September 28, 2022 - 10:25:00   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi, hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. The time here is 25 past 6. You've

been watching our rolling coverage of Hurricane Ian. More on that as we get through these next couple of hours. But I'm going to take you to some other

major stories that we are covering. These are important.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow is warning Americans there to leave immediately. It also says people who hold both and U.S. and Russian citizenship could be

drafted for military services. Moscow mobilizes its citizens in what is an unprovoked war in Ukraine.

CNN's U.S. Security Correspondent, Kylie Atwood, joining us live from Washington D.C. So what has prompted this directive?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Prompted it is this new announcement just last week from Russia of an additional mobilization of

Russians to the Ukraine war. Of course we know, as of now, that's 300,000 reservists. But the concern here, as noted in this U.S. Embassy security

alert is for U.S. dual citizenship. So those who are American Russians and the fact that they could potentially be conscripted to go to military

service for Russia.

The security alert also notes that they could be prevented from leaving the country. And that's why they're telling Americans who are dual citizens and

also just Americans, generally, who are still in Russia to leave immediately while they still can, while there are still commercial options

to get out of the country. We of, course, have seen there are tremendously long lines of Russians trying to get out of the country.

So the U.S. Embassy is telling Americans to get out now.

ANDERSON: Kylie, thank you. Authorities in Russian occupied parts of Ukraine say all the votes are counted and show people overwhelmingly want

to be part of Russia they said. The whole process called an overwhelming sham and illegal by Western leaders. Ukraine's President says Moscow's plan

is to annex the regions and force people into the military.

Now this comes as thousands of Russians flee the new draft and Ukrainian forces make more advances in the Donetsk region.

And to the leaking Nord Stream pipelines, E.U. and NATO leaders calling that an act of sabotage. The former American Spy Chief telling CNN that

Russia is the most likely suspect. The Kremlin calling the allegations absurd.

CNN has also learned that the U.S. warns several European allies, in recent months, that these pipelines from Russia which would normally feed Europe

with gas, could be attacked.

Well Germany and Denmark are looking at the damage. You are seeing the result of damage to these underwater pipelines in this video. Danish

officials say it could be more than a week before the seas are calm enough to actually investigate the leaks.

Let's get you Nic Robertson, who's following everything that's going on. He joins us now from London but has spent most of this past year reporting in,

on or out of Ukraine or Russia.

Nic, let's start with the pipelines there. Those images showing leaking gas, effectively or that's what we are led to believe. Lots of accusations

and finger pointing going on around here as to who is to blame. Is it clear who is responsible at this point?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's not. But the suppositions are very clear. We heard from the Swedish Foreign Minister

yesterday who was saying that it was in essence President Putin and Russia. John Brennan, who you just mentioned, former Head of the CIA, said that the

water is about 200 feet deep there, about 60 meters deep and that Russia has the technology, the equipment, the personnel to (inaudible) --


ANDERSON: Stand by, Nic. I want to get to Joe Biden, the U.S. President, who is at present talking about Hurricane Ian barreling toward Tampa. Let's

have a listen in.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are on alert and in action. We approved every request Florida has made for temporary assistance,

emergency assistance, long term assistance that I've received. We discussed what we've done to prepare for the Hurricane. And that includes dispatching

hundreds of FEMA personnel and activating thousands of National Guard members.

I've also developed a search and rescue team and deployed to multiple federal agencies and they're already on the ground and ready to help as we

speak. FEMA prepositioned millions of -- literally millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of generators. We have scheduled

everything we can possibly do and we think -- and so have the Mayors and Governor. We have put up shelters, they're ready.

We're not sure exactly where it's going to hit but (inaudible) getting pretty clear exactly where it's going to hit.


I made it clear to the Governor and the Mayors that the federal government is ready to help in every single way possible.

Now I'm going to repeat what I said yesterday to the people of Florida. This storm is incredibly dangerous, to state the obvious, it's life-

threatening. You should obey all warnings and directions from emergency officials. Don't take anything for granted. Use their judgment not yours.

Evacuate when ordered, be prepared. The storm warnings are real, the evacuation notices are real, the danger is real.

And when the storm passes, the federal government is going to be there to help you recover. We'll be there to help you clean up and rebuild, to help

you get -- Florida get moving again. And we'll be there at every step of the way. That's my absolute commitment to the people and the State of


And if you forgive me, I want to add one more warning. That's warning to the oil and gas industry executives. Do not, let me repeat, do not -- do

not use this as an excuse to raise gasoline prices or gouge the American people.

The price of oil has stayed relatively low, it kept going down. The price of gas should be going down as well. My experts inform me the production of

-- only about 190,000 barrels a day has been impacted by this storm thus far. That's less than 2 percent of the United States' daily production

impacted for a very short period of time.

This small, temporary storm impact on oil production provides no excuse -- no excuse for price increases at the pump, none. If gas companies try to

use this storm to raise prices at the pump, I will ask officials to look into whether price gouging is going on. America is watching. The industry

should do the right thing.

As a matter of fact, they should move more quickly now to bring down the price at the pump because gasoline is down -- the price of gasoline is down

a great deal. There's too much of a delay between the price of a barrel of gas -- I mean, for oil and the price of gasoline at the pump.

Now, to why we're all here, for this -- on this historic day, Secretary of Agriculture already (ph) said everything, so I'm leaving.


ANDERSON: The U.S. President Joe Biden talking about Hurricane Ian, which as we know is barreling towards the west coast of Florida. Just ensuring

the American people, and I'm sure those watching in Florida, that the federal government stands behind them.

But he made a very pointed comment at the backend of that. He said to the oil and gas industry, and he's talking about the U.S. oil and gas industry

here, "Do not -- I repeat," he said, "do not use this as an excuse to raise gasoline prices for the American people."

The small impact, as he described it, of what -- of this storm. And it will have an impact on the oil and gas infrastructure in the Gulf of Mexico, but

it will be a small impact. And we've been told that they are ready for that -- provides, he said, no excuse to increase prices. In fact, he said, he

wants to see the price of oil come down as he wants to see the price of gas at the pump, resulting price of gas -- gasoline at the pump come down.

Right, all eyes stateside, of course, on what is going on on the west coast of Florida. And stick with CNN because we are all over that story and we

will get back to it momentarily.

We are, though, also talking about Ukraine which is an incredibly important story. And I just want to bring back our International Diplomatic Editor,

Nic Robertson, who was just discussing what is going on on the ground there -- and a number of threads that we're reporting on today, Nic. And I

stopped you so that we could listen to Joe Biden, so forgive me.

I want to get your perspective on these referenda. We have been talking about these now for about a week. Referenda held in four parts of the east

and south of Ukraine. The Russians say overwhelmingly those who voted, voted to annex these parts of Ukraine and make them Russian.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has described these as shams. Russia says they are legit. Is the prospect here that Russia will soon be accusing

Ukraine, who have a counter-offensive, a successful counter-offensive ongoing in this part of the country at present. Will Russia be accusing

Ukraine of encroaching on its own territory going forward?


ROBERTSON: Very likely. And not only that, but it's going to accuse the United States of backing them in doing that, of supplying the weapons


We heard from Russian officials just today saying that it's looking more of the spokesman from the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, saying it's looking more and

more like the United States is directly engaged in the war.

So the Russians will frame it that way, that any attack on these newly claimed -- seem to claimed -- Russian territories will be an attack on

Russia's sovereignty itself. So it won't just be the Ukrainians they're blaming, it'll be the West.

It does seem that Putin is in, potentially, some sort of end game here with his escalations. It's not just this referendum. We can -- we can look at

the sabotage on those -- that we were talking about before, on the pipelines -- the gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea.

Putin is putting things on the table here for a potential, OK, let's talk about peace scenario. Let's talk about what I get to keep in Ukraine and is

-- and is amassing a number of things that he can put on the table in those negotiations -- i.e., stability back for oil and energy infrastructure in

Europe -- put that -- take that off the table potentially.

And again, with the referendum as well that he can dial back this nuclear rhetoric, I don't think anyone's going to accept any of that at face value.

Certainly his bluff is being called already. The United States very clearly telling him that any attempt to use nuclear weapons would be -- would be

met in the strongest terms.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Nic. Nic's in London. As I say, he's been in and out of Ukraine and Russia over the past year reporting extensively on and from

that region. We're going to take a very short break. Back after this.


ANDERSON: We're tracking Hurricane Ian, now just hours away from making landfall in Central Florida. It impacts an enormous region, and its impact

is already being felt across the Florida Peninsula. You can see this massive size of the storm, which reached Category 4 strength early in the

morning in the U.S. and got stronger.

It has now got sustained winds of 250 kilometers per hour, just shy of a Category 5 hurricane. Now Florida is facing catastrophic flooding and life-

threatening storm surge all along its western Gulf Coast.


Well, before moving to Florida, it pummeled Cuba. Patrick Oppmann connecting us from Havana.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hi. Good morning, Becky. And Cuba is just beginning to get back on its feet this morning. We do not have

power in the city of Havana, 2 million inhabitants and there is not much power in the rest of this country. The Cuban government says they are

working on restoring power but no word on how many -- if anybody has gotten power back.

This is an unprecedented situation for this Island. I've talked to everyone I know here, and no one remembers when a hurricane knocked out power for

the entire island. This is something that has simply just not happened in the past and that is because of the electrical grid here, you know we've

been doing stories on this, has gotten so deteriorated over the last so many years and there's been so little investment in it that it doesn't take

much to knock out large sections of power.

And now you have the entire island, as of last night, following the storm's path through Cuba, now without power, which of course is very concerning

because not only are people in the affected areas, where you would expect them to not have power, without light, but across this island people's food

in the refrigerators is spoiling. You know it's very hot, of course, in Cube in September.

So this is going to be one to watch as the Cuban government race to try to get their aging, creaky electrical grid back online. And of course, in the

western part of this island from Havana west, there is significant damage. There was storm surge in Havana last night that covered much of the part of

the city that faces the sea.

And two people we now know died from their injuries in Pinar del Rio, the province was hardest hit from the storm, and certainly the pickup there is

going to take weeks if not months. You know, Cubans know a lot about hurricanes and this one really knocked down people here. It's not a storm

to take lightly, of course.

ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. Thank you, Patrick. He's in Havana in Cuba for you. And we'll get back to Florida for you as we move through this hour,

the next and as that storm really begins to wreak havoc on the state of Florida. Do stick with CNN for that. Coming up.

Meantime, the Bank of England taking emergency action to try to calm the financial markets. They've been spooked by the U.K. government's recent tax

cut plan, which crashed the pound. Well now the BOE is launching a temporary bond buying program to prevent what it calls material risk to

U.K. financial stability.

The British treasury tweeting that it will secure the BOE's plan and is committed to the bank's independence. Well, the U.K.'s benchmark stock

market moving off early lows on the Bank of England's move. This comes just hours after the International Monetary Fund warned the U.K. to reevaluate

what was a controversial tax cutting plan.

Now you see the U.K. pound is also higher than it's been, our team is across this. CNN's Anna Stewart standing by in London, Julia Chatterley is

in New York. Julia, stand by. Let's just get Anna to explain what's going on here because for the benefit of our value is you may not be, you know,

as imbued in the imaginations of financial markets as the rest of us are.

Gilt buying and selling is complicated stuff. Explain what the Bank of England did this morning and why?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: So it's felt like a bit of a standoff, I'll be honest, in recent days between the Bank of England and the U.K. government

and it looks like the bank blinked first. And this is really them being forced to act for fear that the moves we were seeing the market,

particularly regarding U.K. government bonds was going to cause financial instability.

There was a huge fear of panic selling and particular concern, I think Becky, looking at U.K. pensions, which are so exposed to long-dated

maturities. And if they allowed it to continue, there were concerns about the viability of many of those pensions. So this is why they have acted.

It will also, of course, reduce the cost of borrowing for the government to be short term. And actually the first purchase of gilts, which they

announced, you know, just a few hours ago has just concluded. It ended about 13 minutes ago, looking at that clock.

They said it was up to GBP 5 billion today of 20-year maturities plus. And they're going to do this, Becky, every single weekday until October 14th.

That will be the last day of those purchases.

So this is sticking plaster. And I just want to point out the bond yield there. You can see that the yield has actually fallen back. So you are

seeing the market react to this in a way that you would expect.

But this is sticking plaster. This will not last very long. October 14th is not far away. This is essentially trying to break what could have been a

really dangerous spiral in terms of the gilt sell-off. But now it's over to government really to reinsure investors and I think that's where we look

next and their big meeting to unveil more about their plan isn't until November 23rd, which really feels like a lifetime away.


ANDERSON: This may be sticking plaster, but it will and has held certainly in the short term. We see the U.K. pound at 107. Look, I mean that's 5

percent lower than it was a week ago. That is 33 percent lower than it was 10 years ago. There was a Brexit number at around 135, you know, quite a

significant drop back in 2017. So this is some 20 percent drop since then.

But we have seen it improve off the back of what the Bank of England has done effectively. Thank you for explaining that.

Nearly every currency, let's be quite clear, Julia, has dropped against the dollar. And in fact as I've been pointing out, the sterling is actually

relatively stable, perhaps surprising given the slew of negative comments that have been coming not least from sort of Moody's and the IMF since

these tax cutting plans were announced last Friday.

Perhaps traders know something we don't. How does what's going on with the pound, though, fit into this wider global narrative here?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: I'd say that there's a lot of bad news in the price already in terms of the U.K. pound which perhaps

accounts for some of the relative, let's call it, that stability today. I do agree with you with the broader dollar gains that we've seen.

But I'd describe it, in a way, as a battle of the uglies (ph). And in a battle of the uglies (ph) the U.S. dollar becomes one of the major flight

to safety assets, U.S. bonds and the U.S. dollar. And that's benefiting and has done now for many months. I think the backdrop here is what we are

seeing in the U.K. is something pretty unprecedented, for a G7 nation to have currency instability, bond market instability, pressure on the -- on

the Central Bank to take action.

Remember coming into this budget, the U.K. had the highest inflation in the G7, it had the lowest growth. So I have some sympathy for what the U.K.

government did in terms of trying to boost growth. But I couldn't agree more, and I'll use the U.S. term that Anna used in that this is a Band-Aid

in the short term, what the Bank of England has done to try and keep interest rates, keep mortgage costs, keep credit card costs down and

prevent more instability.

But there's going to have to be more that the government's going to have to explain what their growth policies are. I think they're going to have to

come out and say look, perhaps we need to postpone some of those tax cuts and see where growth goes. And I think we are also going to have to see the

Bank of England hike interest rates more than they would have done even just a week ago.

So the longer-term damage now, I think, to the U.K. economy is a result of what we've seen is quite frightening to be honest. And all sides have to

take action here.

ANDERSON: Yes, you say you think we might see on November 23rd, when we hear more from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, perhaps sort of reining

back on these tax cuts. I'd be surprised, Liz Truss is absolutely determined. This reeks of sort of Ronnie Reagan 1981, you know,

Thatcherism. And Margaret Thatcher is somebody that she holds in great esteem.

We're in a different era of course. So the last time we saw the sort of -- you know, the sort of plans that we are seeing at present was an awful long

time ago.

Liz Truss also criticizing quantitative easing, something that's been going on. The bank has been, you know, as many Central Banks have been, getting

on with since 2008. So it's interesting to see that the quantitative easing is now something they feel they need to do.

Look, I think to both of you, here's a question for you. Will the tax cuts and these promises of growth -- and I hear what you're saying, you know, I

have some sympathy for the effort here. But will the plan benefit the average citizen more than rate rises, the problems with gilts, the cost of

exports going forward -- you know, how is this going to balance out? That's going to be the big question and it's going to be a real political

question, isn't it, Anna?

Who is going to benefit and who is going to suffer as a result of these plans?

STEWART: Yes. So when the big plan was announced on Friday, I think lots of people were kind of doing calculations in their head. Let's look at those

tax cuts. Does it apply to me? What about the energy price freeze? You know, that will save me hundreds of pounds next year. OK, maybe that's

good. What about economic growth? Maybe.

If the Bank of England has to respond in reverse and pull in the other direction, then many of these benefits will disappear. And actually it's

been really interesting just really since the end of last week. You saw people worrying about the pound and watching it fall against the dollar and

there was certainly some concerns about holidays and things like that and, you know, the cost of inflation. Imports are going to be even more

expensive when inflation's already near 10 percent.

But I'd say in the last couple of days the real fear for people in the U.K. is looking at the cost of borrowing, their mortgages. What about businesses

who have business loans? Because if the Bank of England is forced to act even further in terms of interest rates, well, you're looking at household

who may no longer have to spend so much on their energy bills, but they find their mortgages are completely unaffordable next year.


We've actually seen hundreds of mortgage products be removed from high street bank websites in the last 24 hours, a huge concern about that. So I

think for the average Brit, particularly listening to the cacophony of condemnation from the IMF, the former deputy bank governor, the Bank of

England, you can't help but worry about the future at this stage. Becky.

ANDERSON: Julia, I've run out of time. I've got to take a break.


ANDERSON: It's super to have you. I'm so sorry. We've got one other story and we've be inundated with the Hurricane Ian. But I'm going to have you on

next hour. So stand by for us.

CHATTERLEY: We'll reconvene.

ANDERSON: Your analysis and insight, so important. To both of you, thank you very much indeed for the time being. We're going to take a very short

break. Back after this.


ANDERSON: To a deadly Israeli military raid in the West Bank now. Four Palestinians were killed, and dozens were wounded during the raid in Jenin

on Wednesday morning. Israel says troops were looking for two suspects in several attacks, including one in Tel Aviv in April when they came under


The Palestinian media said the IDF came into Jenin, quote, firing in all directions and shooting tear gas canisters.

It is the latest in a recent series of Israeli raids in the area.

Well, the U.N. secretary general now says he is increasingly concerned about a crackdown on anti-government protests in Iran and growing reports

of growing fatalities. The government has faced nearly two weeks of unrest over the death of 22-year-old Iranian-Kurd Mahsa Amini who died after being

detained by the so-called morality police.

As CNN's Jomana Karadsheh reports, on the streets of Iran calls for justice are only growing louder.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nightfall in Iran brings protesters back on to the streets.

A near total Internet blackout by the government is making it hard for us to know what's really going on.

But video trickling out appears to show many Iranians undeterred by a government crackdown, the threat to arrest or the bullets. It almost feels

like Iran has been a never-ending cycle of protest over the past two decades. But those who know the country say everything about this time is


TRITA PARSI, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, QUINCY INSTITUTE: This time around, very quickly, almost from the outset they started challenging not the

policies of the Islamic republic but the very structures of it.

It's also different in looking at the demographics. These are primarily very, very young people, a younger generation who have apparently

completely lost faith that this Islamic republic can be reformed.

KARADSHEH: And on the streets there have been daring calls for regime change.


This video from the city of Mashhad, the birthplace of the Supreme Leader, shows protesters setting fire to the statue of a many considered one of the

symbols of the Islamic Revolution.

On Monday this group marched through the capital to Tehran, chanting against Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. But it is the powerful acts of defiance by

Iranian women that have stunned the world as protests enter their second week, they're still out on the street, still demanding their freedoms,

their rights lost with the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The Iranian government rallied its supporters in mass demonstrations, calling the protests a foreign plot, the work of a handful of mercenaries,

rioters who forcefully removed the head scarves of women on the streets.

But in reality, the country wide protests were sparked by outrage, even among government supporters over the death of Mahsa Amini in morality

police custody.

The protests appear leaderless and spontaneous.

PARSI: The frustrations were so significant it was brewing but it needed a spark, and the spark was that. This is not something that came from the

outside, this is not something that was cooked up from the outside and that's why they were taken so by surprise.

KARADSHEH: While many Iranians outside the country are holding on to the hope that this wave of protests may bring change, experts say the regime is

far from collapsing.

PARSI: I don't think they are about to fall because we have not yet seen the full scale of their reaction. Unfortunately I fear that we will see a

lot of bloodshed before all of this is over.

KARADSHEH: It's full force may crush these protests, but it won't be the end for a generation of Iranians more emboldened than ever. Jomana

Karadsheh, CNN, Istanbul.


ANDERSON: Well, ongoing coverage of Hurricane Ian continues after this short break. Stay with CNN.