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Putin Announces Martial Law in Four Regions of Ukraine; Former State Journalist Speaks Out on Russian Propaganda; Iranian Anti-Government Protests Continue for Fifth Week; Truss Defies Calls to Resign during Parliament Grilling; China Promising Reunification with Self-Ruled Taiwan; Brittney Griner Spends Birthday in Jail. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired October 19, 2022 - 10:00   ET





CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was shot. I can see this hole where you shot it down.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes. This is the hole from the rocket of the Ukrainian forces.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): As deadly drone strikes continue to pummel Ukraine, Vladimir Putin declares martial law in regions Russia

claims to have annexed.



ANDERSON (voice-over): Trouble at Tehran airport.

Is this Iranian athlete the new face of the ongoing protests?

Plus --



LIZ TRUSS, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: Mr. Speaker, I have been very clear that I am -- Mr. Speaker -- that I am sorry and that I have made mistakes.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The British prime minister goes on to tell lawmakers she is a fighter, not a quitter.



ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. It's 6 pm here in Abu Dhabi, for our Middle East broadcast hub. Welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.

We begin with Vladimir Putin, announcing martial law in the four regions of Ukraine that Russia claims to have annexed, Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and

Zaporizhzhya. The Russian president making that declaration today at a Security Council meeting in Moscow.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): In this regard, let me remind you that in the Donetsk Peoples Republic, the Luhansk

People's Republic, as well as in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions, martial law was in effect before joining Russia.

Now we need to formalize this regime within the framework of Russian legislation. Therefore, I signed a decree on the introduction of martial

law in these four subjects of the Russian Federation. It will be immediately sent to the Federation Council.


ANDERSON: The Russian president also says he is giving local authorities and all Russian regions additional powers. This comes as Russian installed

leaders in Kherson begin evacuating thousands of civilians to the left bank of the Dnipro River.

They say it's to move them away from the front line of the fighting. Ukrainian officials say it's more like a propaganda show that aims to

intimidate the people there. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz watching all of this from London,

Salma, you have been in and out of Ukraine yourself up for the past eight months.

To your mind, what's the likely impact of this decision by Vladimir Putin?

And is it clear what his end goal is here?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we're seeing is a President Putin that is absolutely doubling down on the illegal annexation of these four

regions. We just got word that this martial law is going to go into effect at midnight tonight, starting October 20.

If that's an immediate turnaround. It's a sign of just how desperate President Putin is yet again, because this simply doesn't add up to what

the reality, which is that Russia simply does not have full control of these four regions.

In fact, you mentioned Kherson. It's one of these four regions. There are Russian forces are being pushed back by Ukrainian counteroffensives.

They're being forced to evacuate people living in the Russian occupied regions, tens of thousands of them, because this counteroffensive is coming

so quickly, pushing up on Russian forces.

The only thing it could potentially change on the ground in those Russian occupied areas is, as you heard, from President Putin there, this decree

will give local officials more power.

What concerns Ukrainian officials about that is that could mean cracking down on local populations, trying to impose the reality of Russian rule.

Potentially, one Ukrainian official brought this up, potentially trying to draft people in those regions back into the fight.

But it shows how few conventional options there really are on the ground left for President Putin now. When you look at these massive, staggering

losses, none of the steps that President Putin has taken in the last few weeks have actually reversed that reality -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Salma Abdelaziz on what is the developing story of the hour, the imposition of martial law from midnight, local time, on these regions that

Russia alleges to have annexed.


ANDERSON: That, of course, is against international law. Thank you, Salma.

The European Union says it now has sufficient evidence to sanction Iran in relation to supplying drones to Russia. Iran denies it is supplying

Russians with weapons; in particular, kamikaze drones. They are like the ones used in Monday's attack on Kyiv that left at least five people dead.

Sources say Tehran has sent military personnel to Russia-annexed Crimea to train Russian troops on how to use these drones. With Iran reportedly

promising to increase weapons sales to Russia, Ukraine's foreign minister says he has recommended to his president, president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to

cut diplomatic ties with Tehran.

These Iranian drones have become one of Russia's most effective weapons on the battlefield. CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward has an

exclusive now of one of the drones wreaking havoc across Ukraine. Have a look at her report.


WARD (voice-over): At an undisclosed location, Ukrainian military intelligence officer Oleksi takes us to see one of Russia's newest threats

on the battlefield, an Iranian made drone known as the Mohajer-6.

It's big.

Used by the Russians for reconnaissance and bombing.

Yes, it was shot. I can see this is the hole from where you shot it down.

OLEKSI, UKRAINIAN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: Yes, this is a hole from the rocket of Ukrainian forces. You can see 02-2022.

WARD: So this is the date when it was made?

OLEKSI: We think that this plane was made in this year when the Russian began to fly this drones. We have new problems on the field -- on the


WARD: In just the last eight days, more than 100 drones have been fired at Ukraine, mostly kamikaze Shahed-136 drones smashing civilian infrastructure

and terrorizing ordinary people.

The Kremlin today said only Russian equipment with Russian numbers is used in its so called special operation but also ordinary people. The Kremlin

today said only Russian equipment with Russian numbers is used in its so called special operation. But Oleksi says there is no doubt where this

drone comes from.

Now I don't see any writing in Farsi in Iranian language. How do you know?

OLEKSI: We know that this is Iranian plane by two main things. The first thing, we watched the exhibitions with the planes in other countries and

some years ago, Iranian companies showed this.

WARD: This exact model?

OLEKSI: This plane and the second thing why we think it is an Iranian plane, we have one, only one writing by the hand.

WARD: Can you show me?


WARD: So that's Farsi?

OLEKSI: I think yes, you're right.

WARD: So if I understand, you're saying that they tried to hide the fact that it was made in Iran.

Ukraine has called for more sanctions against Iran for supplying the drones but so far, sanctions have had little effect. The components are

commercially available in a number of different countries from Japanese batteries to an Austrian engine and American processors.

This is the Mohajer-6, now we're seeing these kamikaze drones, the Shahed- 136 and you say there's a new generation of drone coming too, the Arash-2?

OLEKSI: Arash-2, yes. We worry very much from this.


ANDERSON: That's Clarissa Ward's report.

A country that knows quite a bit about those Iranian drones is Israel. It is now clarifying how far it will go in providing support for Ukraine.

Defense minister Benny Gantz says Israel will not be supplying weapons. Instead, it is offering to help develop an air defense alert system for


This comes a day after Ukraine called on Israel to openly show its support with air defense. This is, apparently a firm no although Gantz says Israel

still stands with Ukraine. Just Monday, Russia warned that if Israel ever did send Ukraine weapons, relations with Moscow would be destroyed.

It is a delicate line Israel is walking on this issue. We will have a lot more on that next hour, with our correspondent Hadas Gold in Jerusalem.


ANDERSON: In the meantime, Ukrainians facing power and water outages as Russian targets basic necessities for civilians and, as winter draws

closer, the head of the European Union calls the attacks on Ukraine's infrastructure a war crime. CNN's Nic Robertson following this for us. He

joins us now from Kyiv.

Russia continues to strike at the heart of Ukraine; many homes now without power, in the winter looking bleaker. I think this is a surprise that

Vladimir Putin's efforts are seeming to demoralize those who are affected.

What do we know at this point?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, a war of attrition against the electrical generating supplies in the whole of

Ukraine to effectively turn off the lights or switch off the heating for winter. That is what Putin appears to be embarked on.

It failed over Kyiv today, although there were successful strikes on power plants here yesterday and missiles were intercepted, cruise missiles

intercepted over Kyiv. We heard the explosions.

But in the center of Ukraine, three power generating facilities in different cities were hit. There, drones, eight drones at least,

intercepted, according to Ukrainian authorities. Today as well.

And all of this in the backdrop where those four illegally annexed areas in the east and south of Ukraine, Zaporizhzhya, Kherson, Luhansk and Donetsk,

are now under martial law, announced by President Putin.

But what Russians are understanding about the war in Ukraine is being distorted by the propaganda coming from the Kremlin. We got an insight into

that, talking to a former Russian soldier, who had gone over to work at the state news agency, Tass.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): Since the war in Ukraine began, Russians have been denied the truth about what's happening to their army.

GLEB IRISOV, FORMER RUSSIAN AIR FORCE LIEUTENANT AND JOURNALIST: So when the war started, I was at the military desk at the TASS agency, the main

Russian information agency.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): A former Russian air force lieutenant, turned state journalist, is lifting the lid on the state secrecy.

IGOR KONASHENKOV, SPOKESPERSON, RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE: Four hundred and ninety-eight Russian serviceman died. It was March 2, more than a week

into the war before Russia admitted its troops were dying in Ukraine.

But Gleb says they'd known since the get-go that he was manning the military desk phones at TASS as the war began.

IRISOV: I started to receive a lot of messages from my sources, they're taking heavy, extremely heavy casualties.

ROBERTSON: What numbers?

IRISOV: The numbers was enormous.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): He served in Syria, in the air force but quit in disgust over Russia's part in Assad's war. His wife worked at TASS. He got

a job there, thinking he'd be able to report facts about the poor state of Russia's military.

But as soon as the war started in Ukraine and Russian casualties began piling up, his hopes fell victim to Putin's propaganda machine.

IRISOV: Instructions from the ministry of defense, from FSB, from the office of the president.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): New laws, preventing protests over the war in Ukraine, put Gleb, his wife and young family in danger. He quit a week into

the war.

A week later, they fled for safety to Armenia. Then Georgia, then Turkey. Then Mexico. Finally, to the USA and a chance to tell the truth about the


IRISOV: If you want really to speak out, you need to be at some kind of safe place.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): His insights are remarkable. Rampant corruption and warlordism.

IRISOV: Putin himself and his friends, they use these military systems as they wash through tons of money through this military system.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Gleb's observations about Putin's newly- promoted general, Sergey Surovikin, reveal the propaganda machine he fled remains in

overdrive. General Armageddon, as Surovikin is known. Actually, a danger to his own side.

IRISOV: He have made the life of his commanding officers there absolutely impossible.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Gleb knows Surovikin served under him in Syria. He says the general signed off on his resignation.

ROBERTSON: Is he going to change the morale in the Russian forces?


IRISOV: I strongly believe that nothing can change the morale for Russian forces there. No way.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Putin's propaganda machine may be working. His army is not. Gleb is witness to both and brave enough to speak about it.


ROBERTSON: Now by virtue of the martial law declared in these four illegally annexed regions of Ukraine, now has greater power and greater

authority. But Gleb believes this is a general, just like all previous generals assigned to Ukraine. He has nothing extra to offer and really is

very unlikely to be able to turn the tide of the war at the moment.

ANDERSON: Nic Robertson on the story. Nic, thank you. You are up to speed on the war in Ukraine, folks.

Still ahead, cheering crowds in Tehran as an Iranian athlete who competed without a hijab. Why are so many still concerned about her fate. We'll have

live reports on that.

And more pressure, more deficit; Britain's embattled prime minister faces the House of Commons. We will look at how she did, coming up.




ANDERSON: An Iranian rock climber is back in Tehran after creating a stir by competing without her hijab. In Seoul, Elnaz Rekabi got a rock star's

welcome when she arrived in Tehran's airport.


ANDERSON (voice-over): Videos posted on social media shows crowds chanting she is a hero. Rekabi told state media that she accidentally competed

without a head scarf and apologized for the concerns. She could face repercussions.

Meanwhile, the nationwide protests sparked by the death of a young woman in police custody are in their fifth consecutive week. Jomana Karadsheh has

been tracking the government's goings on in Iran from the start. She joins us from our bureau in Istanbul in Turkiye.

What do we know about Rekabi?

She competed without a head scarf in Seoul. Her story went very quiet. She has arrived back in Tehran. We hear the chants for her at the airport.

What are her circumstances, if we understand?


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look. Becky, there is a lot of concern. We have heard from human rights organizations saying she might be

detained by the Iranian government, that she might be making these statements initially.


KARADSHEH: We saw that post on her Instagram page, saying that basically, she was called all of a sudden to the climbing wall and that's why she end

up there without a head scarf, saying that it was a mistake and she didn't mean to do that.

Then, you had her saying essentially the same thing when she arrived in Tehran, this, while human rights organizations have been really sounding

the alarm, saying that she might be making these statements under duress. She might be detained as soon as she gets back. We just don't know right


A lot of people assume that when we saw that video that went viral of her without her head scarf, that this was Elnaz Rekabi joining in with an

individual act of defiance, as we've seen many women, not just out at the protest but also with these individual acts of defiance.

Right now, it is very unclear what is happening. But a lot of concern for Elnaz Rekabi. It's nearly five weeks now that we've seen Iranian protesters

out on the streets. They are still protesting. And this is despite an unforgiving crackdown by the government.

And you know, we only get to see a little bit of what that crackdown is like, because of the restrictions that the Iranian government has put on

the internet, making it really hard for the world to see what is going on.

Human rights organizations say it's because the government is trying to hide its crimes. Even with that little bit of video that is breaking

through the internet restrictions and what we see, you see utter brutality on the streets.

What appears to be these unrestrained security forces, beating up protesters with batons, hitting protesters on the head with batons. We've

heard from human rights organizations saying they are shooting at them with live ammunition as well as opening fire with metal pallets, bird shot.

They are filling paint balls, Becky, with metal pellets and shooting them at protesters. That has left so many people with horrific injuries. Right

now, we are hearing these terrifying accounts from doctors and from protesters. They are too scared to go to hospital.

We have to warn viewers that they may find some of the images in our report disturbing.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): The repressive republic is crushing dissent with brutality that knows no bounds. Kurdish cities like this one bearing the

brunt of an unforgiving crackdown, that has left no place safe. And security forces now hunting down the injured.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The injured don't go to hospitals because if they go there, plainclothes police will arrest them. Even in

most pharmacies, they cannot go and get treated, because they will be immediately identified and eventually lead to their arrest. For this

reason, people are not being treated for their wounds.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): This is a leg of a 14-year-old boy peppered with what appears to be birdshot wounds. Protesters in his town know better than

to go to the hospital. His story is replicated over and over across the country.

Doctors, protesters and a human rights group tell CNN hospitals have turned into a trap, too dangerous for protesters. A doctor inside Iran who doesn't

want to be identified for his safety spoke to us through the voice of a translator.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They mostly come and recover but most of times they are recognizable by some signs. They come in, ask about

patients, if they want to use force. We have to answer them. Most of the time we use fake names or (INAUDIBLE) to help them so that they will not be

recognized by (INAUDIBLE) forces.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Security services are cracking down on identifying people by their horrific injuries they're inflicting on protesters. And

it's not just at hospitals. Protesters say ambulances are being used to detain people.

In this video, people attack an ambulance with security forces inside. The narrator says protesters are saving the girl. Not knowing who they can

trust, desperate protesters are now turning to an Iranian American doctor in New York for critical medical advice over Instagram.

DR. KAYVAN MIRHADI, INTERNAL MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: The pictures they would send me are as basic as fractures and when they're running away from the

police versus brutal beatings. People have sent me skull fractures that they're trying to treat in their house.

The multiple pellets throughout their bodies. A lot of them fear, spend the next 10 years of my life in prison or just kind of let this broken femur

heal on its own.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Dr. Kay, as he's known, is relying on a small underground network of doctors he trusts.

MIRHADI: A lot of this is happening in covert areas, hidden areas like doctors, they want to remain anonymous.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Doctors helping protesters have reportedly been arrested. But that is not stopping those putting duty above self.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): As a doctor, I see this as a duty to save people anywhere. When the hospitals is not safe or I try to help

people on the street, no matter what risk, no one should die because of seeking freedom.


KARADSHEH: Becky, we did ask the Iranian government about the apparent arrest of protesters at hospitals and clinics and what appears to be

security forces using ambulances to detain protesters. But the Iranian government did not respond to our request for comments.

ANDERSON: Jomana Karadsheh on the story, thank you.

"I am a fighter, not a quitter." That's a declaration from the embattled British prime minister, Liz Truss, in the House of Commons just hours ago.

She faced her critics, many of them in her own Conservative Party, and defended what little remains of her disastrous what's known as fiscal plan.

Take a listen.


TRUSS: Mr. Speaker, I have been very clear that I am -- Mr. Speaker -- that I am sorry and that I have made mistakes. But the right thing to do in

those circumstances is to make changes, which I've made, and to get on with the job and deliver for the British people.

And Mr. Speaker, we have delivered the energy price guarantee. We've helped people this winter. And I will continue to do that.


ANDERSON: The PM's make-or-break comments, performance, also comes the same day the inflation rate in the U.K. hit more than 10 percent,

heightening the cost of living crisis. Let's get to London's CNN Bianca Nobilo.

It's a crisis that is pretty nasty all over the world at present but particularly bad for this embattled prime minister. She says she's a

fighter, not a quitter.

What's the message here?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, she is definitely embattled. She did manage to escape the worst in that House of Commons

performance, which you referred to as a make or break moment for her.

It could have been abject humiliation. She could have had open rebellion from the back benches behind, her which has come a little later in the

House of Commons but she managed to avoid that.

That's always a barometer of the political pressure a prime minister is under, the extent to which they have open criticism from their own party.

So that she didn't have to deal with but the attacks from the leader of the opposition were blistering. Let's take a listen.


KEIR STARMER, U.K. LABOUR LEADER: The country's got nothing to show for it, except the destruction of the economy and the implosion of the Tory

Party. I've got the list here, 45 p tax cut, gone; corporation tax cut, gone; 20 p tax cut, gone; two-year energy freeze, gone; tax free shopping,

gone; economic credibility, gone.

And her supposed best friend, the former chancellor, he is gone as well. They are all gone.


So why is she still here?

NOBILO: The question so many people are asking, Becky. In terms of the prime minister's performance, rhetorically, in terms of presentation, it's

probably her strongest yet.

She did bring some fight, some fire, had more confidence and seemingly more control over the arguments, garnering her some limited support from the

benches behind her.

ANDERSON: This plan that Liz Truss and her former finance minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, had was all about borrowing and spending, effectively; unfunded

tax cuts. Markets didn't like it but this didn't start with Trussonomics, let's be quite frank about this.

The U.K. has borrowed well over 1 trillion pounds, as I understand, since the year 2000. This is an economy, as one expert put it, has already in

pieces, wasn't necessarily crashed by Liz Truss herself.

The question is, does she survive this?

Or is the U.K. bent on further destabilization in the weeks to come?

NOBILO: They are intimately linked, of course. The black hole in the finances appears to be worse than the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, has

initially thought it was, which is why he is going to need to look at departments to create even more savings, which is unlikely to make him or

the government any more popular.

They might meet rebellion from some very significant figures within the party. That is the significance of these discussions about the prime

minister's perilous position, the fact that the kingdom is the six largest economy by GDP. It's playing an instrumental role in the war in Ukraine,

the balance of power across the Atlantic on issues like China.


NOBILO: So the fact that there is so much political instability is a serious issue. I think at the moment the prime minister is only being

preserved in position by the fact that it's so difficult to actually plot a path forward to oust her unless she is pressured to resign.

Even if she did resign, there is no clarity as to how the next PM would be put into place without again going to the membership and having a very

unedifying leadership contest once more.

So it seems that apathy, fatigue and also a lack of options is what's preserving her in place. She seems to have bought herself enough time to

get to that Halloween, next financial statement and event.

Still, the MPs I speak to don't really believe she will be around for Christmas. All of this is just adding to the instability that Britain finds

itself in, because all other issues about the economy and questions about Britain's place in the world are subsumed by the big question.

Who will the prime minister be in just a few months?

ANDERSON: Very little of substance coming from the opposition Labour Party. They don't really need to provide any policy at this point. It is

just continuing to humiliate an embattled prime minister. Thank. You

Well, China laser focus on building a world-class fighting force. It appears to be succeeding. Sparking greater tensions over future of Taiwan.

We will look at how Netflix went from a company in trouble to Wall Street's new darling. Both of those stories, coming up.




ANDERSON: Welcome back, I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

China now boasts the world's largest navy. That tracks with leader Xi Jinping's aim to turn the People's Liberation Army into a world class

fighting force. The country's military might is an overarching theme at the Chinese Communist Party Congress this week.

Mr. Xi continues to promise to make good on his plans for, so called, reunification, bringing self government in Taiwan under Beijing's control

by force, if necessary. CNN's Will Ripley joins me now, live from Taipei. Will.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, it does seem that Taiwan is going to be one of the major issues the United States and

China clash on in the coming years. Taiwan and probably technology and Taiwan is home to the world's number one semiconductor manufacturer.

It's all interlinked, isn't?

We know Xi Jinping's focus for the last five years has been on securing this unprecedented third term as Chinese leader. But now that he is doing

that, now that he is about to solidify himself, potentially, as the leader for life.


RIPLEY: The focus will shift, a lot of analysts say, from domestic politics to his other objectives. Taiwan, of course, being one of them.

He'll be assembling new people by his side, two key bodies for the Communist Party of China, the central committee politburo, a lot of people

are retiring out. And what people are saying, what analysts are saying, is he will likely be putting his political allies in place and continuing to

get rid of dissenting voices.

Which means that what he wants to do when it comes to Taiwan -- and he has stated that pretty clearly over and over again -- he will be more equipped

to do it both politically and militarily.


RIPLEY: The loudest applause at China's Communist Party Congress when leader Xi Jinping promised reunification in Taiwan. The self-governing

democracy claimed but never controlled by Beijing's communist rulers.

XI JINPING, CHINESE PRESIDENT (through translator): We insist on striving for the prospect of peaceful reunification. But we will never promise to

give up the use of force.

RIPLEY: Do you think Xi Jinping actually believes that peaceful reunification will happen?

IAN EASTON, AUTHOR, "THE CHINESE INVASION THREAT": No, absolutely not. If he did, he would not be engaging in the largest, tailored, offensive

military buildup that the world has witnessed in at least a century.

RIPLEY: China's power, bigger economically and militarily than the former Soviet Union, says Ian Easton.

EASTON: Their biggest military strength is size. Size of their missile force, size of their amphibious force, size of their air force, their navy,

their cyber capabilities, their space capabilities.

RIPLEY: It's there any doubt in your mind that Xi Jinping is going to try to make a move on Taiwan?

EASTON: No, there is no doubt. The only question is how and when.

RIPLEY: That burning question, top of mind for Taiwan's government. The island's record defense spending dwarfed by China's massive military.

SU TZU-YUN, DIRECTOR, TAIWAN INST. FOR NATIONAL DEFENSE AND SECURITY RESEARCH: Actually Taiwan right now face the threat from China, its very

huge and immediate.

RIPLEY: The threat from China is huge and immediate.

SU: Yes.

RIPLEY: And getting bigger. U.S. intelligence says that President Xi gave the order. China's military must be ready to take Taiwan by 2027. But he is

still deciding if he'll do it.

President Joe Biden said repeatedly the U.S. military would defend Taiwan. He has authorized more than one billion in arms sales to Taipei.

Taiwan taking cues from Ukraine focusing on asymmetric, unconventional warfare.

SU: That can give Taiwan more opportunity to defeat such a huge force.

RIPLEY: Defending this democratic island from its nuclear-armed nemesis will be the greatest military challenge of the 21st century, Easton says.

EASTON: So if Taiwan falls and Xi Jinping is able to shatter the U.S. alliance system, democracy will cease to exist in our country. Taiwan is

the front line. It is the geostrategic nerve center of our world today. And that is likely to remain true for decades to come.

RIPLEY: The U.S. and its allies must do more than sell weapons, he says. Defending Taiwan is defending the free world.


RIPLEY: And deterrence is the key. That's what experts are telling me, Becky, keep China believing that it will be far too costly, far too time

consuming, far too high of a risk of failure to actually cross the Taiwan Strait, 110 miles or so, and try to make a move on this self governing


Of course, invading a island is a very difficult undertaking. Some analysts say it's even harder than what Russia has been trying and failing to do in


One thing you do need is a world-class navy. If you look at the numbers, Becky, just the pure numbers, this is from the U.S. Office of Naval

Intelligence in 2020. China was on track to have 63 more battle force ships than the U.S. Clearly, they have got the numbers.

But the question is, do they have the know-how?

Do they have the determination?

And are they really willing to put so much at risk to try to fulfill Xi Jinping's vow to reunify with Taiwan, through force, if necessary?

ANDERSON: Will Ripley is on the story for you. Thank, you.

Well, up next, an entertainment giant seemed to be struggling. Suddenly, it's back on course.

What changed for Netflix?

That is after this.





ANDERSON: It turns out that all of those who, a while back, were looking at Netflix as a troubled company may have been wrong.

The TV streamer reported stunning subscriber growth after the markets closed on Tuesday. It added 2.4 million new subscribers in the third

quarter, reversing two quarters of declining subscriptions.

Analysts say part of the rebound was due to the global success of shows like "Stranger Things." Netflix stocks surging up about 15 percent today.

Well, the Russian lawyers representing American basketball star Brittney Griner tell CNN she is anxious about her appeal hearing next week. She is

hoping to reduce her nine-year sentence on drug charges. Griner celebrated her 32nd birthday in a Russian jail on Tuesday.

And, on the first day of the new NBA season, one of the league's biggest stars reminded fans the basketball world is thinking of Griner.


STEPH CURRY, TWO-TIME NBA MVP: Britney Griner's birthday is today, she is 32 years old. We want to continue to let her name be known and we pray that

-- it has been 243 days since she was wrongfully incarcerated in Russia. And we hope that she comes home and everybody is doing their part to get

her home.