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U.S. Expected to Send Patriot Defense System to Ukraine; Russian Soldier Speaks to CNN about Defecting; Western Aid Money Benefits Churches' Anti-Gay Rhetoric in Ghana; Hearing for Greek Lawmaker Accused of Bribery; FTX Founder Denied Bail in Bahamas, Faces U.S. Charges; Netflix's "Harry and Meghan." Aired 10-10:45a ET

Aired December 14, 2022 - 10:00   ET




ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Ukraine military says it shot down more than a dozen Iranian made drones over Kyiv.

We have a report from Ukraine.

Tick-tock, Morocco counts the hours until taking on France.

And Sam Bankman-Fried has been denied bail and faces possible charges in the U.S. We are live in the Bahamas.


GIOKOS: Ukraine says its air defenses worked brilliantly as Russia launched a fresh wave of drone attacks on Kyiv. Two buildings and a house

were damaged. Ukraine has been asking the U.S. to send its advanced Patriot missile defense system to protect its skies.

The U.S. is finalizing plans to do so and the Kremlin says it would be a legitimate target for Russia. Will Ripley has the latest.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: People woke up to the sound of explosions in the early morning hours here in Central Kyiv. Some

were up already and getting ready for work. People had their apartment windows shattered.

Remarkably, the Ukrainian military says there has been no significant damage to the power grid. There are rolling blackouts affecting people who

live here in Kyiv and all over Ukraine.

The power grid is far from stable, it's going to be quite some time, as crews continue to work to try to repair these facilities that have been

damaged by these attacks, weaponizing winter, targeting the power grid, making civilians' lives miserable, as the temperatures plunge.

The start of winter is just days away, even though in this instance, the Ukrainians did shoot down, they say 13 drones fired from Russia. These are

Iranian made drones that explode upon impact. There were incidents just within the last week, where some of the drones didn't make it through.

For example, in southern Ukraine region of Odessa, 1.5 million people were plunged into darkness last weekend when, out of 15 drones that were

launched by Russia, five of them did hit their targets.

There is certainly welcome news here in Kyiv, that reporting by CNN that the Patriot missile defense systems will be arriving at some point in this

country. But of course, that comes with its own set of challenges and risks, including threats from the Russians that this will make NATO and the

United States complicit in escalating this war -- Will Ripley, CNN, Kyiv.


GIOKOS: All right, a former Russian soldier is seeking asylum in Europe after defecting from an army brigade accused of committing war crimes in

Ukraine. In his first TV interview, he tells CNN Fred Pleitgen what he witnessed during the war and a warning: some of these images in this

exclusive report are disturbing.


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After the Russian army was forced to retreat around Kyiv, the carnage came to

light. Bucha, Borodyanka and many other Kyiv suburbs littered with bodies.

Ukraine especially blames one Russian unit for alleged crimes here the 64th Separate Guards Motor Rifle Brigade from Eastern Siberia. Now a deserter

from that unit is speaking to CNN.

NIKITA CHIBRIN, RUSSIAN DESERTER: Actually big lie for me, like 24th February come in, OK, everyone go to war.


PLEITGEN: Nikita Chibrin defected from the Russian military and fled to Europe, where we met him in a secret location. He shows me his military

booklet with a stamp signed by the commander of the 64th Motor Rifle Brigade Colonel Azatbek Omurbekov, known in Ukraine as the Butcher of


Chibrin says he and his comrades were given a shoot to kill orders even though Russia has denied any wrongdoing by its forces around Kyiv

CHIBRIN (through translator): We had a direct command to murder those who divulged our positions. If someone had a phone we were allowed to shoot


PLEITGEN: Chibrin says the unit was deployed to Belarus shortly before the invasion, allegedly for training. The soldiers had no idea they would soon

advance into Ukraine and he says they weren't prepared for war.

CHIBRIN (through translator): Everyone thought they could be like Rambo. Those who said I will be shooting Ukrainians easily piece of cake. When

they went to the front line and then they came back, they were like, we don't want no war.

PLEITGEN: Chibrin says he too came under Ukrainian artillery shelling and showed us this video from near the town Lypivka, west of Kyiv. He tells me

he refused to fight because he was opposed to the war and that his commanders called him a coward and we assigned him to menial labor tasks in

the rear echelon.

He says he didn't witness the mass killings the unit is accused of but did witness plenty of crimes against Ukrainian civilians, including looting.

PLEITGEN: They weren't trying to hide it. They did this very open.

CHIBRIN: Yes, yes, no need to hide this all. Everything want that they see. I wanted this thing. I want this. Everything they look and cars too

made for looting.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): And even rape.

CHIBRIN (through translator): I saw rapists running around being chased because they were committed rape. The guys who did rape I saw them run.

Then I learned they were rapists. They raped a mother and a daughter. They would never jailed, just fired just like that. Go.

PLEITGEN: CNN has reached out to the Russian defense ministry for comment but we haven't received a reply. Russia has consistently denied its forces

were responsible for crimes against Ukrainian civilians. And President Vladimir Putin issued a decree praising the 64th Separate Guards Motor

Rifle Brigade for, quote, "heroism and bold actions."

Nikita Chibrin fled Russia while on leave. He gets emotional when talking about his four-year-old daughter he left behind. He says he wants to

testify against his commanders before an international court to shed light on what happened in the war he never wanted to be a part of -- Fred

Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.


GIOKOS: All right, that's a brilliant report there.

Now the pope is calling for Christmas with, quote, "Ukraine in our hearts." Pope Francis is urging people to spend less on gifts as celebrations this

year and asking them to send money to Ukraine, to help them get through a cold and dark winter of war.

The pope has been making appeals for Ukraine at nearly every public event since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.



GIOKOS: Well, Qatar says it is investigating the circumstances around the death of a World Cup security guard, 24-year-old John Njau Kibue, a migrant

worker from Kenya, fell from the eighth floor of the stadium while on duty.

His family says they are being kept in the dark about the exact details of his fall. Larry Madowo, who is usually our American correspondent, is in

Doha with the latest reaction to this tragic news.

I totally understand if there's an investigation underway. It brings to question safety and security measures at the stadium and, of course, how

this happened.

What are we understanding in terms of events and how we actually saw this accident?

Do you have any details for us?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Eleni, there's a lot we don't know about how John Njau Kibue, the 24-year-old security guard, died. According to

Qatar's supreme committee for (INAUDIBLE) legacy that the organizers of the tournament, he fell from that stadium on Saturday.

And he had been in intensive care unit in Doha until Monday, when his family was notified. The family tells CNN that they're not quite clear on

how he died. They've not been shown a video or pictures of what happened. They have not been in contact with anyone from the company beyond the very

basic information.

Now they're calling for justice, because they don't understand how this young man, who left Kenya to come here to Qatar, to make something for

himself,, ended up dead. The family has a lot of questions. We spoke to his mother today, this is what she told us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Please to tell your mom, (INAUDIBLE) jobless. I will never leave you and I never want you to suffer.

I know you pray for me and I want to help you as much as I can.


MADOWO: There's a lot of questions regarding how exactly this young man died, it raises questions about the conditions of migrant laborers here in

Qatar and how they're operating, especially the Black and Brown labor coming from Africa and South, Asia who helped build this World Cup.

There have been a lot of complaints about the conditions, about whether they're getting paid on time, if they have time off. Some of them work 14-

15 hour days with few breaks. This adds to that kind of area of mystery -- Eleni.

GIOKOS: It does pose a lot of questions, Larry Madowo in Doha.

Britain's home secretary says the sinking of a migrant boat in the English Channel is a tragedy and a reminder of why illegal crossings must end. At

least four people died after the small boat capsized in freezing temperatures. The British Coast Guard and French Navy have been evacuating

survivors to safety in lifeboats and helicopters.

Dozens of people were on the vessel. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD live today from Dubai. And still ahead on the show, a CNN exclusive, we

investigate Western donors funding churches in Ghana with a long record of violence and repression against gay and lesbian people.


GIOKOS (voice-over): Plus piles of cash and loads of accusations.

Did Qatar pay European lawmakers for their influence in a corruption case?

Lands in court today.




GIOKOS: Welcome back.

Now, in an exclusive CNN "As Equals" investigation, we reveal how Western aid donors who have pledged to support LGBTQ+ rights have also funded

supporters of a controversial anti LGBTQ+ bill in Ghana.

In the five years up to 2020, one of these $5 million in aid from Europe and the U.S. went to projects run by or benefiting churches in Ghana. Their

leaders not only backed the bill but also have a long track record of hateful anti LGBTQ+ rhetoric. Nima Elbagir and her team traveled to Ghana

to see the human cost of this rhetoric.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: The Jamestown lighthouse in the capital Accra overlooks the Atlantic. The

historic Gold Coast inextricably tied by the slave trade and Christian missionaries to the American shoreline an ocean away, ties that remain to

this day.

Today, the nearby market is busy and vibrant.

This is the beating heart of Accra. You can buy pretty much anything here. And here, like much of the capital, the spirit of God, the word of God is


And you can see, its influence in all corners in this religiously conservative society.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The essence of the LGBTQI plus movement are completely at variance with the laws and principles of the almighty God.

ELBAGIR: A national prayer rally entitled, "Homosexuality, a detestable sin to God."

But it is also across mainstream TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this country, I'm going to say it, they will say it's hate speech. If you find any gay person in your neighborhood, stone

them to death.

ELBAGIR: The guest, a leading opposition party member and the presenter are discussing a draft bill being debated in parliament that further

criminalizes the LGBTQ+ community.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Ghanaian pastors who are gay --

ELBAGIR: It is often disguised as family values but if passed without amendment. U.N. experts warn it will be a recipe for conflict and violence

across Ghana. A CNN "As Equals Investigation" has shown these same churches backing the anti LGBTQ+ bill received funding from U.S. and European


Over $4 million to the Catholic Church.


ELBAGIR (voice-over): And over $1 million between other protestant churches, taxpayers' money even as they for years preached to further

criminalize being gay in Ghana. Their position has been no secret.

In press releases, churches were publicly vilifying homosexuality. In one instance, calling to stop those who propagate this evil agenda of those

with abnormal sexual orientations.

And in another stating that "Homosexuality is an affront to human dignity." This rhetoric and the bill it spawned has real life consequences.

This is like the rock star, the more come to the area. Assidi, not her real name, wants to take us back to her small neighborhood in Accra. She

identified as queer. For a long time, no one knew but she believes she always stood out.

ASSIDI: I didn't really get along with anyone generally. Because I had this label of a threat -- which are geared like from the tender age of

seven people though like I was a slut because I like to hang with the boys.

ELBAGIER: Assidi was outed when this video of her helping to clean up a local LGBTQ+ center was broadcast on various national TV stations. The

center was shut down, following calls from religious leaders. The videos from the community center went viral. And exposed Assidi to her community

and family.

ASSIDI: All of a sudden, I became this devious, devilish, bad person. And all kinds of stories were concocted about me.

ELBAGIR: At this point, Assidi says she could still live in her home. It wasn't until her neighbor said a man who looked like a relative was outside

her house with a group of male friends, that she felt in danger.

ASSIDI: they would have probably kidnapped me. Help me out somewhere. Probably at the family house. And tried various tactics to cure me. Things

could have gone anywhere from physical assault to corrective rape.

ELBAGIR: Corrective rape, the mistaken belief that the victims sexuality can be changed by being forced to have sex with the opposite gender.

Assidi had to leave the country for a number of months. She had no choice. The police are not here to protect the LGBTQ+ community. It is already

illegal to be gay.

SAM GEORGE, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: It's already a criminal offense. So you must be minded if you are committing a criminal offense that you cannot

seek rights in the committing of an offense.

ELBAGIR: This is Sam George, a key proponent of the draft bill called the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values.

The new bill criminalizes not only same-sex relationships and marriages but also identifying as LGBTQ+, promoting and funding of LGBTQ+ groups and

public debate or education on sexual orientation and gender identity.

GEORGE: Let's be also very clear here. That there is no evidence whatsoever that the inception of this bill or introduction of this bill

into parliament has increased the wave of violence against practitioners of LGBTQ activities.

ELBAGIR: And yet, LGBTQ+ Ghanaians are increasingly targeted.

Some of these are forced confessions?

ALEX DONKOR, DIRECTOR, LGBTQ+ RIGHTS: Yes. Some of these are forced confessions. Some of these are even posted on social media by the

perpetrators themselves.

ELBAGIR: Alex Donkor says he receives these videos almost daily now.

What you are about to see is disturbing.

Video seen by CNN show attackers growing increasingly brazen, filming their violent abuse of people they allege are gay. Forcing them to confess. And

in some cases, name other people who are also gay.

ELBAGIR: It is not just the capital, Accra. Violence is permeating across this country. People are really afraid. Friends and neighbors are turning

on each other. For the safety of the people we're meeting, we've agreed not to disclose their location.

A worrying trend is that people need only to be accused of being part of the LGBTQ+ community. Mobs take it upon themselves to dole out what they

perceive as vigilante justice. In effect, a witch hunt.

These men after being beaten, falsely accused a woman of being a pimp. Her life as she knew it was destroyed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They said I was selling gay men and women for sex.

ELBAGIR: But your case was dismissed?


ELBAGIR: And nobody believes that you are innocent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, until this day no one believes me. No one believes I did not do it. So I lost everybody. And I was also four months

pregnant and I lost my baby. And it was one of the most painful things. I cannot forget that.


ELBAGIR (voice-over): The church's place in Ghana is indisputable. The church's position toward the LGBTQ+ community, undeniable. The position of

some Western donors like the U.S., who say they stopped donations before the new legislation but refused to clarify whether they still support

church projects, unconscionable -- Nima Elbagir, CNN, Accra, Ghana.



GIOKOS: The Italian government told CNN it is not responsible for the use of these identified funds.

The previous administration saying it would not have prohibited funding based on the statements of anti LGBTQ+ rhetoric by churches but would not

clarify if it continues to support church projects in Ghana.

A German government spokesperson stated that they do not support any projects which endanger the rights of LGBTQ+ communities.

However, CNN reached out to the organizations acting for Germany in Ghana, who confirmed they continue to support projects run by or benefiting the

Catholic Church and a number of protestant churches as well.

So you can read more about this investigation. You can check it on our website, There's also a link to frequently asked questions about

the "As Equals" project, including information about its funding.

We are going to a short break. We'll have more news after this, stay with CNN.




GIOKOS: A Belgian court is hearing the case of a E.U. official caught up in a corruption scandal. She is part of a case where Qatar allegedly bribed

E.U. lawmakers with money. She and Qatari officials deny any wrongdoing.

Anna Stewart is following the story.

There is a prehearing going on.

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (INAUDIBLE) breaking across Greek media outlets. They are saying that Eva Kaili has been remanded in custody, her

hearing adjourned until December 22nd. She will remain in custody until then. She was one of four arrested. We don't know what's happened for the

other three defendants.


STEWART: So we hope we'll find out more information soon. The investigation is looking at corruption as you said. The suggestion is that

a Gulf state not named by federal prosecutors in Belgium has been paying for influence and strategy influence in the E.U. Parliament.

Now they have, we can show you photos of that in many house, hotel raids and office raids, obtained nearly 1.5 million euros' worth of cash. As you

can, see it has been discovered in suitcases and bags and what looks like a postal package.

We know Eva Kaili is one of the people arrested; we don't know the names of the other three. Her lawyer say that her position remains that she is

innocent and she has nothing to do with bribery from Qatar.

While Qatar was not named by the prosecutors, they have been named more widely in media and by some E.U. officials and they have responded on

Twitter categorically denying that they are involved.

They reject any accusations of misconduct and they're calling the reported claims baseless and gravely misinformed.

All this is damaging for Qatar, not least because they are hosting the World Cup. This has shaken (INAUDIBLE). It was very unexpected. The news

that comes after bags of money, I think it's shaken it to its core.

GIOKOS: Right. What was the cash used for, as you said, the Qatari government has denied any accusations of misconduct. But the E.U. has said

that there is going to be targeting corruption, money laundering and specifically for any kind of political influence.

Where to from here?

What are the next steps?

We have four people in total arrested.

STEWART: We still have that pretrial hearing for Eva Kaili. But the E.U. has been swift, despite the fact that, of course, at least Kaili and the

others who are not named yet, Kaili's lawyer says she's innocent. But she has been stripped of her title as a vice president of the European


The European Parliament has canceled the vote that was due to take place this week, will pass on a visa waiver system. And also yesterday, maybe the

day before, actually, the president of the European Parliament said, this was an attack on the institution.

They're talking about maybe setting up a void in terms of ethics. She said in the report, that Europe said she would rather be cold than bought, which

does suggest this could have something to do with energy and Europe's energy crisis at the moment. Eleni.

GIOKOS: Interesting. All right, Anna Stewart. Always good to speak to you, thank you so much.

Now Sam Bankman-Fried isn't going anywhere. The former FTX boss has been denied bail from the Bahamas. A judge says he poses a flight risk. From a

standing rise to a spectacular fall from grace, the former celebrity was arrested this week after the request of the U.S.

Now Bankman-Fried faces up to 150 years in prison in the U.S. if convicted on all counts against him, including conspiracy and fraud. His next court

date is in early February. Let's go live now to the Bahamas, we have CNN's Carlos Suarez standing by for us.

Sam Bankman-Fried says he shouldn't be in prison. We've learned quite a bit about how the defense is positioning this case.

CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Eleni, a lot of the details of that criminal complaint have been released yesterday. The 30

year old right after yesterday's court hearing, was brought to this prison where he spent the first full night as an inmate.

He is expected to remain here through February, when he has another court hearing. Now at yesterday's extradition hearing, Bankman-Fried told the

judge that he is going to challenge extradition to the U.S.

As you can imagine, as you pointed out, part of the reason he is doing so is because, if he is found guilty on the charges out of the U.S., he faces

up to 115 years in prison. Bankman-Fried also told the judge that he is taking several prescription drugs for a number of health issues, including

depression, insomnia and attention deficit disorder.

The judge that is handling the case told Bankman-Fried that these drugs would be made available to him the entire time that he is in custody. One

final note out here from yesterday's hearing, both Bankman-Fried's parents were in court yesterday. They showed very little reaction until the very



SUAREZ: When the judge said that she was not going to offer him any bail, they looked down, they were shaking their head in disbelief and his mother

was crying. The two of them, they did not want to comment about the allegations against their son.

FTX's new CEO, who told the U.S. lawmakers yesterday, that the company is looking into what role, if any, Bankman-Fried's parents may have had in

FTX, Eleni.

GIOKOS: All right, thank you very much for that update. A story that I think will keep us busy for at least the next while.

Now the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates by half a percentage point later today, as it wraps up a two day policy meeting. The

move would indicate the central bank is tempering its recent aggressive stance on rate hikes, amid signs of easing inflation.

Nonetheless, the cost of borrowing for consumers will increase. Have a look at the major stock markets in the United States ahead of that Fed

announcement, which will bring you later on CNN.

Dow Jones is at 0.4 percent, Nasdaq and S&P, also in the green and European markets are currently in the radar, remind you of markets cheering

yesterday after there'd been an unexpected inflation figure that came through for the month of November.

Let's get you up to speed now on other stories that are on our radar.

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in the United States, in Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20

children and six adults. Some victims' families continue to press for changes in gun laws.

Peru is setting up a crisis management committee, as deadly political protests sweep the country. The military has been deployed to protect

public spaces and help reopen blocked roads. Supporters of the former president have been protesting since his arrest and impeachment last week.

Just ahead, on CONNECT THE WORLD, Netflix reveals how many people watched the first episodes of its "Harry and Meghan" docuseries, as Buckingham

Palace braces for the final installment on Thursday.




GIOKOS: The new Netflix docuseries on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is now the platform's most watched documentary platform ever. The show

appropriately titled, "Harry and Meghan" has logged more than 81 million hours watched along with new revelations about their relationship.

It's highlighted their claims of racism in the British media and monarchy. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz looks at how those claims impacted their relationship

from the beginning.



SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a union that brought hope of change, an outsider and woman of color breaking through to the very highest

level of British society.

The couple say systemic racism is deep-rooted in the U.K.'s media and monarchy. Both elite and predominantly white institutions left them

isolated and unheard.

In a new Netflix documentary, they share their experiences.

PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: Why should your girlfriend be treated any differently?

Why should you get special treatment?

Why should she be protected?

And I said the difference here is the race element.

ABDELAZIZ: Their wedding in 2019 was a celebration of Britain's multiculturalism.

KAREN GIBSON, CHOIR CONDUCTOR: There was a sense of us representing. There was that kind of understanding that we weren't just standing there for

ourselves, that we were standing there for communities of color.

PRINCE HARRY: I don't know, I just --

ABDELAZIZ: But it's the couple's exit from royal duties and later a bombshell Oprah interviewed to explain the move that sparked controversy.

OPRAH WINFREY, TV HOST: Did you leave the country because of racism?

PRINCE HARRY: It was a large, it was a large part of it.

MEGHAN, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: And if a member of his family will comfortably say, we've all had to deal with things that are rude. Rude and racist are

not the same.

ABDELAZIZ: Talk of race and racism, often seen as a taboo topic in the U.K. prompted a reckoning for some, for others, defensiveness, even anger.

PIERS MORGAN, FOX NEWS HOST: This is a two-hour trash-athon.

ABDELAZIZ: Piers Morgan, a top TV host, stormed off the set.

MORGAN: All right. Do you know what?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's perfect --

MORGAN: You could trash a moment, not mine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no, no.

ABDELAZIZ: -- after a series of rants against Markle. And the U.K. Society of Editors issued a blanket refusal to acknowledge any bigotry at any level

in the press. Critics called the statement willful ignorance.

Buckingham Palace said they would address the matter behind closed doors but Prince William made a public and rare off-the-cuff remark.

PRINCE WILLIAM, PRINCE OF WALES: No, we're very much not a racist family.

ABDELAZIZ: But for many others, the first modern royal of color articulated a lived experience that resonated at a time of racial


In 2020, the U.K. saw huge demonstrations that demanded Britain confront institutional inequality. The Sussexes say they're driven by that same call

to action.

PRINCE HARRY: There is a huge level of unconscious bias. It's education, it's awareness and it's a constant -- it's a constant working work in


ABDELAZIZ: Now unbound by monarchy, the couple are lending their voice to Britain's anti-racism movement and aggravating its detractors -- Salma

Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


GIOKOS: From a two-minute film that is more than 120 years old, to a Hollywood blockbuster that launched a major film franchise, the U.S.

Library of Congress has picked 25 new movies to preserve for history in its National Film Registry.

The annual list is chosen in consultation with scholars, as well as Hollywood actors and directors, as well as writers.

Added this year is "The Little Mermaid," the film credits were rejuvenating Disney's struggling animation division in the 1980s. Look at those


And "Iron Man," which launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe and kickstarted the comic book movie craze that has dominated Hollywood for

more than a decade.

All right, "WORLD SPORT" with Alex Thomas, is up next. We'll be back around 15 minutes with another edition of CONNECT THE WORLD, stay with CNN.