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Connect the World

European Commission Proposes new "Biting Sanctions" on Russia; Experts: "Referendum" Observers Violate International Principles; Ian Nearing Landfall in Florida after Pummeling Cuba; Bank of England Announces Emergency Intervention; Qatar Conscripting Civilians to Work World Cup Security; 4 Palestinians Killed, Dozens Wounded in Israeli West Bank raid. Aired 11:15a-12p ET

Aired September 28, 2022 - 11:15   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: I am Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi keeping you bang up to date with the news out of the west coast of

Florida as Hurricane Ida barrels down on that state. Stay with us for that. We will get back stateside momentarily.

We will say they want to get you the very latest on the war in Ukraine. And the European Commission is proposing a new package of biting sanctions as

they refer to them against Russia after what West leaders call sham referenda in four occupied regions of Ukraine.


URSULA VON DE LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: Last week, Russia has escalated the invasion of Ukraine to a new level. The sham referenda

organized in the territories that Russia occupied are an illegal attempt to grab land and to change international borders by force.

The mobilization and Putin threat to use nuclear weapons are further steps on the escalation path. We do not accept the sham referendum and any kind

of annexation in Ukraine. And we're determined to make the Kremlin pay for this further escalation.


ANDERSON: Well, that's all coming after Russian backed authorities in those occupied areas claimed a huge win saying a majority, a huge majority voted

in favor of joining the Russian Federation. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh explains what happens now that Russia has manufactured mandate in hand, annexing

parts of neighboring Ukraine.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: The results partial in some cases complete in others exactly what anybody expected high 90s

alleged approval for joining Russia. This is of course, a sham referendum where any votes that were indeed cast were likely done at the barrel of a

gun with Russian soldiers carrying ballot boxes door to door.

So even in that context, though, the message is exactly what the Kremlin wanted that sort of Soviet legacy of essentially faking mandates for

geopolitical aims they already had.

What happens now? Well, quite quickly, we're going to see this take place in Moscow. It appears that some of the Russian appointed leaders of these

areas, the occupied areas, one of them from the hands; he's on his way to Moscow.

So he says then we'll see the two rubber stamp chambers of Russian Parliament essentially draft this into law for Putin to sign. Well, the

British Ministry of Defense saying he may use a speech to both Parliaments on Friday to indeed announce the annexation.

The U.S. and the EU saying sanctions will follow. But the ultimate question here. What is this change for Russia that is losing with its conventional

army on the battlefield for a Russia whose partial mobilization has done very well to stir internal dissent, protests and chaos, but hasn't yet

translated into an improved performance for them on the front?

Ukraine is still moving forward incremental gains as always. But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, saying that they will have some positive

news they think to share soon.

And at the same time too saying what we're seeing from Russia with this annexation vote is then attempting to steal someone else's territory. Big

concerns, though, that if Russia continues to falter militarily, and continues to claim these areas as Russia proper and that it has the right

to use its full arsenal to protect them, we may see a significant Russian escalation in the days ahead, possibly even reaching towards their nuclear

arsenal, some are concerned.

ANDERSON: That's Nick Paton Walsh reporting. Well, experts say the way that so called a referendum observers are operating in these occupied areas of

Ukraine violates international principles.

Our next guest Anton Shekhovtsov reports on fake election observation for the European platform for democratic elections. And he says and I "What

they do is not election observation at all. It's a political activity that is only masquerading as election observation".

Shekhovtsov is also the Co-Founder and Director of the Nonprofit Center for Democratic Integrity and he joins us now from Warsaw in Poland. Sir, it's

good to have you. Just expand on what you mean by that what is required for referenda to be legitimate under international law?


ANTON SHEKHOVTSOV, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR DEMOCRATIC INTEGRITY: Hello and thank you for having me. First of all, I must tell you that in 2005, so

quite some time ago, the United Nations have and election observation missions and the organizations, established organizations, they came up

with the principles and regulations on the international election observation.

One of the main principles of election observation is that the election observers can only monitor and observe elections, which are considered

legitimate by the authorities. So occupation, Russian occupation forces that pose as authorities in the occupied territories and not legitimate

authorities. So no established or respectable Election Observation Mission can actually observe those sham referenda. It's not possible. It's the

opposite of -

ANDERSON: Sorry, go on. It's the opposite of --?

SHEKHOVTSOV: It's the opposite of legitimate referenda. It's, it has no legal basis at all. It just you know, any person could start asking


ANDERSON: Which I'm sure there will be viewers watching this, you know, who will be asking them why even go through the trouble of what are clearly

forced referenda if the results won't be recognized in internationally? Why go through these formalities?

SHEKHOVTSOV: They still do this. The Russians are obsessed with formalities. And I must tell you, if you look at the Soviet manuals for the

historical events, like you know, some dictionaries on history, you will see that the annexation, the term annexation in its description it has that

annexation is preceded by a sham referendum.

So basically they have this in their own manuals, how to reform annexation, they have it from the Soviet from the Soviet times, they have to do this.

It's like a must for them. They are obsessed with formalities.

ANDERSON: This is Kremlin spokesperson earlier saying and I quote here, "More and more the American side is getting into this conflict, getting

closer to becoming a party to the conflict, which is extremely dangerous" he said.

Now this follows the U.S. Secretary of State saying that Ukrainians can use weapons provided by the U.S. to regain its territory. There are those that

I wonder whether you support this theory that suggest that Russia, the Kremlin is laying some kind of pretext here, what do you see going on?

SHEKHOVTSOV: Well, I would like to highlight two things. Well, first, the emotional thing, that the Russians are now mentioning this nuclear threat

all the time and Putin himself is doing this.

But if you look at the military doctrine of the Russian Federation, you will see that it is allowed for Russia to use nuclear weapons in order to

protect sovereignty of the Russian Federation. They're not talking about territorial integrity.

They're talking only about sovereignty or the existence of the Russian Federation as such. They can also mention in this - well, they also

mentioned that this military doctrine, that they are going to use nuclear weapons in order to prevent other countries from destroying the nuclear

capabilities of the Russian Federation.

So we also saw recently in summer, that Ukraine was quite successful in destroying some of the military objects on the territory of Crimea, which

was annexed by Russia in 2014. And there was no nuclear response to Ukraine, attacking Crimea.

And as for the arguments of Mr. Blinken, it was quite clear from the very beginning that the U.S. the Americans were not against Ukraine, using

Western weapons and armaments on their own territory.

Crimea is Ukraine's territory; it's internationally recognized, sovereign territory of Ukraine. So obviously, they can use that there and also they

can use eastern parts of Ukraine that are currently occupied by the Russian forces.


ANDERSON: Your insight is valuable, sir. Thank you very much indeed for joining us.

SHEKHOVTSOV: You're welcome.

ANDERSON: Well, for many in these occupied territories are now being told to turn up for military service part of the mobilization effort announced

by the Kremlin a week or so ago.

Meantime thousands upon thousands of Russia men it seems are trying to escape the draft heading to Finland to Georgia to Kazakhstan anywhere that

they won't be thrust into the war. CNN's Melissa Bell reports from the Georgian Russian border, have a look at this.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Russian forces making a dash towards the border with Georgia. Their task to issue summons to the droves

of eligible men fleeing the draft after being instructed to check all men trying to pass through from Russia.

It's part of a coordinated effort with a Georgian authorities who've seen an unprecedented number of arrivals since Russia announced its first

mobilization since World War Two, with up to 10,000 Russians are now entering Georgia each day according to the country's Ministry of Internal

Affairs, Russians now driven by fear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those who understand what is happening, those who are aware of what is happening, are well aware that this will not end in a day

or a month, there will be a second and a third wave of mobilization and we are against it.

BELL (voice over): Already the crossings been getting harder with fears it may soon become impossible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was very difficult, almost impossible. All of the checkpoints were closed, you must find some way. In some places the locals

help people they guided us over the mountains.

BELL (voice over): Those were the means headed to the airport trying to desperately board flights. For others the flight is harder, but no less

urgent. Moscow's call to arms has pushed droves of men not just southwards, but also towards the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan, whose president

pledged on Tuesday to welcome them.

Russians heading also towards Finland whose borders remains open to them. Meanwhile, Russia is showing no sign of slowing down its mobilization

efforts, now extending them to occupied territories inside Ukraine as residents in the occupied city of Donetsk received messages on Tuesday,

asking them to attend the Military Commissariat.

A move local Ukrainian officials say Russia is justifying through the cessation referenda taking place across Ukraine this week, which despite

being widely dismissed as a sham have nonetheless triggered fear about what lies ahead, not just for Ukraine, but for Russia itself. Melissa Bell CNN

on the Georgian Russian border.


ANDERSON: Still ahead here on "Connect the World" we are tracking Hurricane Ian, the latest on the threats now facing Florida and the destruction that

that storm left behind in Cuba. Plus, the Bank of England makes a big move after criticism from the IMF of the government's latest tax plans, coming

up. While some lawmakers are saying the government has lost control of the economy.



ANDERSON: This hour powerful, extremely dangerous category four hurricane is bearing down on Florida's Western Gulf Coast. The eye wall of Hurricane

Ian is now coming onshore with the storm forecast to make landfall within the next few hours.

Forecasters warning of a catastrophic storm surge reaching five and a half meters in Ian's bull's eye five and a half meters. Well, millions of people

were told to evacuate ahead of the hurricane for those who didn't, the Florida Governor now says it is too late.

They are going to have to hunker down and wait it out. Well before moving to Florida, what is now Hurricane, at the time of storm pummeling Cuba?

Patrick Oppmann joins us from Havana; Carlos Suarez is in Tampa, which of course is bracing for the impact.

And just explain OK, we haven't got Carlos, let's get to you because this is important, Patrick. The island of Cuba has been through this storm. It's

looking very calm behind you. But the impact has been quite devastating. Explain how the island has been impacted and how it's coping?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the only reason we're able to talk to you right now Becky is that we have a generator which of course

most of this island is not so fortunate that have most of this island is in the dark right now.

So that means that we spent all last night without any power, it's of course, very, very hot in Cuba means the food is spoiling and the

refrigerators are not able to go to work or send their kids to school.

So that is a dire situation, which if the power does not come back on, and there's really no hard estimates on when that will be even though the Cuban

government says they are working around the clock.

That means the situation will not be getting better will be getting worse. And not just in the areas that of course been hard hit by this - people

have lost their rooms or perhaps even their whole house, means the entire island which has never really lost power in this kind of way that you had a

hurricane hit in the west and that has led to a rolling blackout across the island to areas that were not impacted.

And even though while I was in Havana, I didn't take a direct hit from the storm, there are trees down, there are power lines down. And last night

when I was driving home after the end of a somewhat long day, the entire front coastline of Havana city it looks to the sea underwater.

And it just goes to show that these hurricanes even after they pass through, they continue to have so much effect and so much damage that hours

after we really weren't even feeling the tropical winds. That's when the storm surge came in.

And we had perhaps five eight feet of storm surge that completely flooded this main road a vital artery for Havana. And while I was driving, could

feel the car getting pushed by the waves and we had to get out of that area because we could have very easily lost that car.

So that is the danger that Floridians are facing that even when it seems like the worst of the storm has passed and war is still to come.

ANDERSON: Patrick's in Cuba for you. Thank you. And we'll keep an eye on now Hurricane Ida, of course, do you stay with CNN for the very latest is

that, that hurricane barrels in and over the peninsula of Florida.

Well, a major intervention from the Bank of England now it's launching a temporary bond buying program - Financial Markets which have been spooked

by the UK government's recent tax cut plan or its fiscal policy which frankly crush the pound.

The UK's benchmark stock index is moving off earlier lows on the Bank of England's announcement. This comes just hours after the International

Monetary Fund warned the UK to reevaluate what is very controversial tax cutting plan. Our team has across all of this.

CNN's Anna Stewart is standing by in London; Julia Chatterley is live in New York. It's good to have you both with us. Anna, firstly, just walk us

through what happened earlier with the Bank of England and why?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: So we've had days now of reaction essentially to the UK government's plans from last Friday, which is to have mega, mega

tax cuts and huge spending. And that has been concerned ever since it was released on Friday afternoon.

The UK government simply won't be able to afford it because they haven't laid out really the fiscal planning behind this. So Investors have been

nervous, we've seen a huge sell off and all sorts of UK assets but particularly of concern for the Bank of England today where the government



JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR: --rates of burden for consumers. So they're being punished on all fronts. And particularly for those that have the

least money in societies, they're facing higher credit card bills, higher debt bills, higher mortgage rates, at the same time is higher food costs,

higher energy costs.

So to go to the point you initially made, and I think it's a very important one, I don't believe the UK government is out of control. Well, I think

there were pieces in this that were important, providing support for people to pay their energy and utility bills, structural reforms to unlock growth.

The piece of this that was the part that was out of control is the tax cuts for some of the richest people and for businesses without having a plan to

fund it. And that's what the market is saying.

So to your point about whether we're seeing stability in the short term, or in the longer term, I think this is, as Anna said, a band aid or a sticky

plaster for now, we'll see how the market reacts. But I think Investors certainly and for the British people, I think as well, they're waiting to

see what next, what does the government choose to do?

Can they explain themselves better, which I think will help. There's no backup to the plan that they announced. And I also think that they're

waiting on the Bank of England to do more, unfortunately, because that's going to exacerbate the pain.

ANDERSON: So we've seen their intervention in the markets today. I mean, there was some talk a couple of days ago that we may see an emergency rate

rise, the likes of which we haven't seen since 1992. I'm old enough to remember the pound falling out of the - what was then the European exchange

rate mechanism and rates went up.

And don't quote me on this from something like 11 to 18 percent if you had a mortgage overnight, at that point, most of our parents will remember that

it was extremely painful. That didn't happen.

And we've seen that intervention in the markets to buy up the gilts that are available at present. So here's the deal. I guess this is the question,

isn't it? The opposition Labor Party is calling this completely reckless, and you would expect them to do so. They are not a party that would support

radical tax cutting.

And certainly they would expect to see some how this was funded on the back of this. There are currency traders who suggest that the reason for the

sell-off in sterling at present is concern by currency markets that we could be facing or the UK could be facing a Labor Party going forward,

because this is such a radical and reckless policy by the Tories.

And it's the prospect of a Labor government going forward that hurts Sterling, what do you both think of that argument?

CHATTERLEY: Anna, you can go first.

STEWART: I would say that's very conservative party spin perhaps. It sounds like to me, I mean, that's exactly what you might expect there, Julia?

CHATTERLEY: Yes, I mean, please, at this stage, I don't know who's worse, quite frankly. And I think it goes back to the point I made, that there is

a general fear that there are no adults in the room and no one's in control and everyone's playing politics, and there are political decisions.

Again, I have sympathy because there were efforts to push growth policy here. But there is clearly an election coming up and there is a political

party that wants to garner support very quickly and therefore made policy decisions that were arguably dangerous at this point in time.


CHATTERLEY: And actually, to your point that you were making about when the UK crashed out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism, Becky, and I will make this

point. Remember where you were talking about interest rates going from two, we've been in a position now where we've had no inflation, rock bottom

interest rates.

And even the spike that we've seen over the past few weeks, that's devastating to people whose mortgage rates are rolling off over the next

six to 12 months. Is that Anna and I know well?

There is a lot that is already happened in the last week that is very damaging, longer term for the UK economy. So this government needs to think

very carefully, I think about decisions made and what can be undone.

ANDERSON: Or postponed this year. Before I let you go just to the widest story that I think is worth just pointing out you know it is not just

Sterling that is having a rocky time of it at present. We have an extremely strong dollar and other currencies around the world that are taking a hit.

Why is that? Let's just be clear.

CHATTERLEY: Everyone is battling with the same things post COVID supply chain rising prices, a war in Ukraine, higher energy prices, every

developed market nation and many of the others is suffering that people are suffering with higher prices.

In order to contain that, you have to raise interest rates or take other measures. The problem is it's happening in a period of growth slowdown

already. So not only are people suffering with higher prices and slowing growth, but the central banks are having to take the reverse policy that

you would normally take in an economic slowdown.

And it's just making everything worse, and the balance between the decisions that governments have to take and the central banks have to take

are both unfortunately having the effect of weakening growth.

And for any politician or any central bank governor, it's a very difficult to place to be in and for consumers, it's obviously even worse. And the UK

is not alone in that.

ANDERSON: Yes, it's good to have you both on, really important times; significant moves on Sterling, of course. I mean, you know, a significant

amount of this will be short selling of this currency of course, that we should wait and see what happens in the days to come. But this is a really

important story and one that the two of you are across and your insight and analysis is so important. Thank you both. We'll be right back.


ANDERSON: Well, EU and NATO leaders call the leaking Nord Stream pipelines acts of sabotage. The former American Spy Chief telling CNN that Russia is

the most likely suspect. The Kremlin calls the allegations absurd. This is what we're talking about here.


ANDERSON: This is the result of what is sabotage or, or something going on with the Nord Stream pipelines below the sea there. CNN has also learned,

the U.S. warned several European allies in recent months that those pipelines could be attacked. Germany and Denmark is looking into the


Danish officials say it could be more or more than a week before the seas are calm enough to investigate. And what are these leaks? Well, Nic

Robertson is following the latest developments. And he joins us now from London.

It seems we don't have any more clarity at this stage on who is responsible. There we've got an awful lot of finger pointing the Kremlin

says ain't ours if it were them, why?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: If it was them, why? These are their own pipelines. So a strike against their own pipelines

cannot be considered an attack on another state. Let's say the Russians and let's just say it was the Russians for sake of argument because that's what

most Europeans believe European leaders believe.

If the Russians, for example, had blown up the pipeline that was inaugurated just yesterday, that passes through the same area that provides

natural gas from Norway, to Poland.

If that had been blown up, then that would have been Norway, Poland, and Germany's pipeline. So this would have been an international issue, you

might have been able to consider it an act of war even.

So by striking their own pipeline, what Russia is able to do is send a very, very clear signal that it could easily have been somebody else's

pipeline, and they could do that in the future.

And it seems potentially what Putin is doing here is creating a mess for the European Union, creating uncertainty for the Nordic nations. We know

that you know Denmark's Defense Minister has spoken to NATO Secretary General today. We know that Denmark sent warships into this area to secure

it. Norway is beefing up security around oil installations. Germany is sending warships into the area to help secure it; it is becoming a major


So Putin at the end of all of this when he realizes his losing the war in Ukraine, perhaps tries to go for peace. Here's something has got on the

table. And you can say, well, I can, it wasn't us.

But we can remove that uncertainty, this disruption, and this cost for you, the cost of the warships, the cost of the additional security, the cost

that it puts on with the uncertainty on the price of gas when it's already stretched short.

And again, seems to be one of those things that look like, you know, a roll of the dice as Putin is running out of options. But we don't know that.

ANDERSON: The Europeans have called these referenda in the four occupied parts of Ukraine a sham and have introduced or certainly announced biting

sanctions further, "biting sanctions off the back of those referenda". What do we know at this point?

ROBERTSON: Yes, we've heard from both, Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission President and Josep Borrell, the High Representative,

essentially the top foreign policy person from the European Union.

And he has said, No Euro, he said, I can speak for all the nations here. I'm pretty sure that these were his words. He said, I'm pretty sure that I

can speak for all the European nations no one is going to respect this referendum; everyone believes it's a sham.

And that Ursula von der Leyen has said there will be a cost for this, Russia will pay a price for talking about this eighth round of sanctions

biting sanctions. So again, a roll of the dice for Putin, upping the stakes, annexing looking like he's going to annex these areas already

implying if Ukraine or others attack them, Russia could use nuclear weapons.

Again, it's putting stuff on the table that raises the stakes that makes that creates the impression, could he be moving towards wanting to get out

of the war, because he's not going to win any more territory militarily, that much is becoming clear even to him.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson in and out of Ukraine and Russia over the past year today out of London for you, thank you, Nic. Well, it's one of the

deadliest Israeli attacks in the West Bank this year. We have got the details of Israel's latest raids and the loss of life there, after this.



ANDERSON: Let's get you up to speed on some of the stories that are on our radar right now. Qatar is calling up civilians for military service to help

with security during the forthcoming World Cup.

The massive event which starts in November is expected to draw about a million visitors. The category official tells CNN this is not out of the

ordinary during large public events in the country.

Well in northern Iraq, the Minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government says Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps killed nine people in missile

and drone strikes. Nearly 30 others are injured.

These Iranian attacks have increased since recent anti-government protests across Iran itself. Well, three rockets hit inside Baghdad's heavily

fortified Green Zone today as protesters clashed there with security forces.

The rocket attack injured seven security personnel, no claim of responsibility so far. Tension spiked last month after the powerful Iraqi

Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr announced that he was leaving political life.

Well, four Palestinians were killed and dozens of others were wounded during one of the deadliest Israeli military raids in the West Bank this

year. According to Palestinian media, the IDF raided a refugee camp in Jenin and were "Firing in all directions".

Israel claims the strike targeted suspects accused of carrying out recent attacks and says as its forces were closing in, they were met with

explosives and gunfire is the latest set of recent series of deadly Israeli raids in the West Bank. CNN's Hadas Gold joining me now live from

Jerusalem. What do we know at this point?

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, this was a deadly violent day and what's already been a deadly and violent year in the West

Bank. But today, this ray, these clashes today felt particularly big and particularly violent. Now what happened?

The Israeli military says that they entered the Jenin refugee camp to target two wanted suspects who they said are involved in a series of recent

attacks. These are two suspects one of them, they say was involved somehow in the shooting attack at that Tel Aviv bar in April that killed three

Israelis they say another was wanted for other attacks.

They said when they went to the house where the suspects were barricaded themselves, they're met with explosives and gunfire is in the ensuing

clashes. What we know from the Palestinian ministry from Palestinian health officials and also from Palestinian media is, at least four people were

killed including those two wanted suspects and more than 50 people were injured in the ensuing clashes. These were incredibly violent clashes that

took place in Jenin. Now, the IDF says none were injured and that they arrested a few of suspects as well. But this day in particular felt

particularly violent, the outpouring in the street afterwards.

This felt like sort of a new level. Like I said, it's already been a violent year in the West Bank. But today this felt particularly big, Becky.

ANDERSON: Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in violence this year, haven't we?

GOLD: Yes, this has been one of the deadliest years for Palestinians in the West Bank since - it's the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank

that since 2015, more than 100 have been killed by Israeli forces.

Now Israel says most of those killed were militants or people who were engaging violently with them. But human rights groups say that dozens have

been killed were unarmed civilians.

Now Israel has been almost raiding places like Jenin and that was on almost a nightly basis. Now they started this. We're calling it operation breaking

the wave after those series of attacks targeting Israelis in March and April; they killed more than 17 people. And now Israel says they're

targeting militants trying to arrest them and get their weapons before they can commit more attacks in Israel.


GOLD: And they also say that they wouldn't be carrying out these raids if the Palestinian Authority security services were essentially what they say,

doing their jobs.

But the Palestinian Authority and their security services are increasingly unpopular in the West Bank. We actually saw clashes between Palestinians in

Nablus and the Palestinian security services there.

These are images we haven't seen really; in a long time are really ever these sorts of clashes between Palestinians on Palestinians. And the

Palestinian Authority blames Israel saying you guys are purposely weakening us and it ultimately all comes down at the feet of the Israelis. Becky?

ANDERSON: Yes. Hadas Gold on the story for us, thank you. Folks, that's it from us. But we are continuing to cover Hurricane in the eye wall as it is

known of that hurricane coming on shore as we speak. The west Florida or the peninsula itself is really in the eye of this, more on that after this

very short break.