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Kirby: "We are in a new Phase" of the War; Taliban Suspend University Education for Afghan Women; Taliban Ban Women from Afghan Universities; EU Agrees on Controversial Cap on Gas Prices; Call to Earth: Voice of the Earth; Victory Parade cut Short after Fans Tried to get to Bus. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired December 21, 2022 - 11:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN, Atlanta. This is "Connect the World".

LYNDA KINKADE, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Hello and welcome back to "Connect the World". I'm Lynda Kinkade live in Atlanta. Good to have you

with us. We begin with a dramatic meeting shrouded in secrecy until now.

In fact, the whole world will be watching as the Ukrainian leader sits down with U.S. President Joe Biden in the Oval Office in the coming hours.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he is on his way to the U.S. And a CNN affiliate says these are pictures of Mr. Zelenskyy arriving in Poland by train

earlier on route to Washington.

When the Ukrainian President arrives at the White House, he won't be empty handed. He's bringing a flag for Mr. Biden and the U.S. Congress to thank

them. It's signed by Ukrainian troops from the front line.

And Russia's President has been talking about what he calls Moscow's need to improve the readiness of its nuclear weapons. This of course Mr.

Zelenskyy's first known trip outside his homeland since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. He faces many challenges as we hear from CNN's Will

Ripley, who's in Southern Ukraine.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Within hours of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, tweeting that he was on his way to

the United States to meet with the U.S. President Joe Biden, air raid siren sounded across Ukraine yet again, that's pretty much like every day here in

this war torn country.

But what makes today different is as the first time Zelenskyy has not been physically present in the country since the start of the full scale

invasion on February 24th. He faces quite a challenge when he goes to Washington for that triumphant announcement with President Biden of

billions of dollars in additional defense spending, including those highly coveted by the Ukrainians, Patriot Missile Defense Systems that they hope

will be a game changer in this conflict, which has been dragging on around 10 months now.

Zelenskyy has to convince U.S. lawmakers and also NATO, that they need to support Ukraine through the long haul, even though there is growing

pressure, including from the French President Emmanuel Macron, for peace talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Now the Ukrainians here well, the conversation on the ground and Ukraine is supportive of Zelenskyy being in the United States, they are also

determined to finish this war that Russia started. And that means from the Ukrainian perspective, reclaiming all territory taken by Russia, pre 2014,

including Crimea, which was illegally annexed by Russia. That's what started this whole war.

From the Ukrainian perspective, they've been fighting Russia for almost nine years now. Now the west might feel differently, they might feel that

Ukraine should try to make some concessions that Zelenskyy domestically is under a tremendous amount of pressure not to make.

But the big challenge for him as he continues to accept billions of dollars in weapons from foreign countries, and yet the lines have been basically

staying relatively the same. Ukraine is not retaking a tremendous amount of territory. They're not losing ground to the Russians, either.

He has to convince them that the challenge is urgent enough. And the threat is big enough for the world that they need to keep putting money and

resources into Ukraine, especially with word of a potential Russian troop buildup on the Belarusian border to the North of Ukraine which could open

up yet another front in this conflict, which is already seeing intense fighting to the East, to the South and of course, the regular bombardment

and bombing of the civilian infrastructure here by Russia. Will Ripley, CNN in Southern Ukraine.

KINKADE: We have more from our team coverage CNN's Kylie Atwood standing by at the U.S. State Department and our Nick Paton Walsh joins us live from

London. Good to have you both with us.

I want to start with you, Kylie, because we are learning more about the details of this trip by the Ukrainian President. Of course, this is his

first trip outside of Ukraine since the invasion began. What more can you tell us about his trip to the U.S.?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S., SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, we're learning that there was a U.S. military aircraft that's involved in getting

President Zelenskyy here to Washington, D.C. for his first trip, as you said, outside of the country in 300 days since the Ukraine war began.

And what the White House is saying is that President Biden really wanted him to come here to Washington, D.C. They started planning the trip earlier

this month in a phone call on December 11. And then there was a formal invite about a week ago, the trip was confirmed on Sunday.

And President Biden wants to reiterate what he's been saying, which is that the United States will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. And

earlier this morning The NSC's John Kirby spoke with CNN this morning and here's what he said about why this moment in time was such an important one

to have President Zelenskyy in Washington?


JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMISION: We are in a new phase, if you will. This winter's coming. Mr.

Putin has stepped up his attacks on civilian infrastructure civilian targets, air defense capabilities are now the most important capability

that Ukraine needs and must have to help defend it. So the President really believed that as we approach winter as we enter clearly and has been in a

sort of a new phase in this war Mr. Putin's aggression.


KIRBY: That this was a good time for the two leaders to sit down face to face and talk about not only what the United States is doing now and will

continue to do going forward. But how we eventually try to work towards what President Zelenskyy has called a just peace.


ATWOOD: And of course, this comes as the United States has given Ukraine, about $20 billion in security assistance over the last year. President

Biden expected to roll out another $1.8 billion in security assistance, including Patriot Air Defense System, that's an incredibly advanced defense

system that the Ukrainians will now have to fend off those Russian attacks from the air.

And we're also at a point where Washington is closing in on the funding for next year, a huge funding package is up being considered by lawmakers and

there is $45 billion in that that's additional assistance for Ukraine for next year.

So there's a lot of momentum when it comes to continued assistance for Ukraine. But there are also some Republican lawmakers who have voiced

concern about continued assistance for too long. And so of course, we'll be watching to see what those lawmakers say after this pivotal trip.

KINKADE: Exactly. Kylie Atwood, for us good to have you with us! I want to go to Nick Paton Walsh for more on this security assistance package. As

Kylie mentioned, the U.S. has already committed about $20 billion in aid in terms of security assistance. Now another $1.8 billion, which includes the

Patriot Missile System, tell us more?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, essentially, it's less than numbers that are important. It's more the fact

that there is always it seems every week, a new set of figures that the White House wants to wail out to give the impression essentially that the

unlimited balance sheet of the U.S. government is backing Ukraine.

The key things though in this latest tranche along trailed the Patriot Defense Missile System kind of the U.S. or NATO gold standard of missile

interceptors. They need a lot of training, frankly, the Ukrainians to operate these. It's a big logistical jump for a Pentagon that doesn't want

to put U.S. boots on the ground inside Ukraine to operate them.

But once they're up and around, they will be exceptionally effective. They are essentially kind of a precious gift to some degree that the U.S. likes

to hand its most close allies and they do certainly work on top of that as well.

This package will contain an element of precision that can be added on to weaponry Ukraine already has that lack that capacity to be so well

targeted, that will reduce the number of rounds that Ukraine needs to use every day to hit targets less than any possible civilian casualties going


And is another sign that the technology the U.S. has which has been at times reticent to unleash in its full is now being put in Ukrainian hands.

But the largest symbolism here Lynda is really the fact that Zelenskyy feels confident enough to leave Ukraine.

Remember this is a man living in the bunker somewhere in undisclosed location in Kyiv for the first weeks of the conflict, who when he was

offered the chance to evacuate at the beginning remember he said I don't need a ride I need ammo.

And is now able to take it seems a U.S. military plane across to Washington for an hour's long visit to shore up most likely political support on the

Hill for the billions more than needs to be given to Ukraine to keep them afloat during this war.

But I think also too to show to those who are thinking maybe in Moscow that they can outwait the West, the West economic and military patients for this

simply isn't as strong as the Russian patients. Russia seemingly willing to send endless numbers of its conscripts towards the front line.

That really Washington is in this for the long haul that they are not about to slow down or pack in. You did hear John Kirby mention they might discuss

what a just peace would look like. We know everyone in the West wants this to end as soon as possible. At the same time I think that's weighed equally

by the need for the final conclusion the final boundaries to be something which is comfortable for all European security and for Ukraine as well.

KINKADE: All right, Nick Paton Walsh for us in London. Good to have you with us our thanks also to Kylie Atwood at the State Department. Well,

there are many reasons why this trip by Zelenskyy to the U.S. is so important?

CNN Politics Senior Reporter Stephen Collinson writes the trip also highlights President Joe Biden's historic role in reviving the Western

alliance that kept the Soviet Union at bay and is now countering new expansionism by Moscow in an effective proxy war between nuclear


Stephen Collinson joins us now from Washington, D.C. good to have you with us, Stephen! So when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote to lawmakers, she

called this special session of Congress tonight. She didn't reveal that the Ukrainian President was arriving. She just said this was about a democracy.

In terms of this visit what does this say about America's fight to save and protect democracy?


STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: Well, there was a lot of speculation all day yesterday about what exactly that meeting was for? A

lot of lawmakers have already left town for the holidays and are struggling to get back through incoming winter weather.

But basically, if you'd said at the start of this year that the United States would be effectively bankrolling a war for survival by Ukraine,

against Russia, and it would have spent billions of dollars and sent high tech sophisticated weapons.

I think you'd be very surprised. But I think this visit is a sign of exactly how far this has come the strength of the West in standing up to

Russian President Vladimir Putin, which to a great extent, as well as the bravery of the Ukrainians themselves, has inflicted quite surprising damage

on the Russian invasion forces.

So the symbolism when Biden stands there in the White House with the Zelenskyy, on his first trip abroad, standing up for a foreign democracy,

and when Zelenskyy goes up to Capitol Hill, will be very acute. And you know this is another great PR coup for the Zelenskyy, who's shown him to be

exceedingly media savvy.

And I think he needs to do this because as Nick was saying, there is growing skepticism about the whole idea of being in Ukraine for the long

haul on the part of some of the Republican lawmakers who have a great deal of influence in the incoming House Republican majority in the New Year.

KINKADE: And Stephen, you wrote about this on And you said that his visit echoes the visit by the Former British Prime Minister Winston

Churchill during a World War II 81 years ago. What are the parallels you see?

COLLINSON: Well, Churchill actually invited himself to Washington in the days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. And what that meeting did

was lay the strategy for the victory of the allies against Nazism, and an Imperial Japan, and very much laid the foundations for the post war

democratic order.

I think you're going to see some analogies to that today, and then are now we're at a pivot point of this war. The big question is, how far is the

U.S. willing to go and those 81 years ago meeting, you know, the only possibility was total victory.

President Biden has cast himself as almost a kind of old school, U.S. President leading the West, you know, a concept and a block that perhaps

wasn't as relevant after the fall of the Soviet Union. So I think we're going to see a lot of those echoes.

And Biden, of course, has put democracy at the center of his foreign policy. There is no more stark indication of that than U.S. war for

Ukraine, a country that's fighting for its democracy is existence in which Vladimir Putin in a sort of mid-20th century style conflict is trying to

wipe off the map.

KINKADE: And, of course, you know, talk to us about the timing of this. Because Zelenskyy as you say, is very media savvy? But he does need more

support and more financial aid, and he's going to get it with his visit, he's going to get it in the form of these crucial Patriot Missile Systems?

COLLINSON: Right, which Ukraine has been looking for a long time? Of course, Ukraine would like a lot more U.S. support, for example, perhaps

tanks and armored vehicles to pursue possibly an offensive in the New Year, against Russian dug in positions in the East.

But Biden has been very careful, although Patriot missiles are a very sophisticated weapons system, they are still essentially defensive. They're

trying to protect Ukrainian civilians from the latest Russian strategy, which is, you know, weaponizing winter trying to break their morale by

attacking electricity installations and cities over the winter months.

But there's a balancing act that the President has taken. He's trying to ensure that the war does not expand that that is not seen as a direct

military clash between NATO and Russia, which could be disastrous.

But all along what the United States has done, it's recalibrated the strategy to Russian recalibration so while he'd be very happy Zelenskyy are

getting precision bomb kits and Patriot missiles, he's sure to be angling for perhaps more offensive weapons, which could be very useful when you

know the war enters a new phase early next year.

KINKADE: All right, Stephen Collinson for us in Washington, D.C. Good to have you with us. Thanks so much.


KINKADE: Well, if you'd like more of Stephen's analysis on what is happening in Washington, you want to sign up for our "Meanwhile in American

Newsletter" it is our daily analysis of U.S. politics for a global audience, and you can find it at Well, still to come

outrage over the two Taliban's latest crackdown on women's rights.


KINKADE: We'll speak to a prominent Afghan activist about the ban of women from universities. And the UN Human Rights Council launches a fact finding

mission on Iran's brutal crackdown on protesters. What they hope to find out next?


KINKADE: Well, a devastating announcement from the Taliban. Female students in Afghanistan are now banned from attending university. Now there's

outrage from in and outside the country. This is a protest outside a university in Afghanistan.

The United Nations Secretary General says he's deeply alarmed. The British Prime Minister calls it a step backwards and the U.S. envoy for Afghan

women says the Taliban will revert to the extreme policies of the 90s. After seizing power last year, the Taliban promised to uphold women's

rights. Instead, they've done the opposite, systematically stripping them away.

Well, in March, the Taliban also closed secondary schools for girls. The ban went into effect our Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour

went to Kabul to see how girls were coping.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This fashion studio has become an alternate education facility since the

Taliban stopped girls from attending government high schools. 17-year-old Ruksha (ph) wanted to be a doctor now she's learning to be a dressmaker.

We're feeling very bad she tells us girls are not able to go to school, staying home doing nothing. We hope that this will change our life. So we

can be self-sufficient, have a profession learn earn money to support ourselves and our families. Neda (ph) wanted to be a professional soccer


AMANPOUR (on camera): And you're 17 you've never known the Taliban government. Did you ever imagine that this would happen to you that you

would be prevented from going to school?

AMANPOUR (voice over): No, never. We tried our best for our future. But it's a dark one now because we're kept away from our schools.


KINKADE: Well, my next guest is Afghan Human Rights Activist, Pashtana Durrani. She's the Founder and Executive Director of Learn a grassroots

organization that helps provide education to thousands of Afghan boys and girls.

She's also made it to the BBC's one hundred Influential Women list and this year times 100 talks list. She joins us now via Skype. Good to have you on

the program! I'm sorry; we've got to talk about yet another right of women in Afghanistan being stripped away. Take us through your reaction.


PASHTANA DURRANI, FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LEARN: Thank you so much for having me. I think one thing we were not thinking of, but one thing I

got this news a week ago that it's going to be in action that they will be closing down the universities because the Taliban from Kabul had come to

the Taliban in Kandahar. And they were deciding on girl's education. Everyone was hoping that they will open secondary schools, but this is what

they have done.

KINKADE: Yes. So at first, they stripped away the right for women to attend high school to attend secondary school. Now this women turning up to

university, being told by Taliban guards to go home, you're not allowed here. It literally feels like we've just wound back the clock 20 years, we

are seeing protests in the country. What other reaction are you hearing from people inside Afghanistan?

DURRANI: You know, one thing I always envied about Iran and Iranians was that the men in Iran were standing up for women and protesting with them.

One thing that's fascinating to me this today is the fact that a lot of male students walked out on final days of their exams, because their female

student fellows are not allowed to sit in the same class are not allowed to take the same exam.

So I think that's one thing, which is fascinating. But at the same time, it's heartbreaking to see that young people who work all this hard, have to

give up on their education just because of their gender, or just because they are not in power. So that's one thing.

Apart from that, I think one thing that people tend to ignore is that women are still coming out, women are still protesting. It's the world leader,

the educators and all the people that you just talked about who are making statements, who have not done a single thing in the past one year to ensure

that the inaccessibility to rights is reversed.

KINKADE: I just want to refer to a tweet that we've just seen. It's from the U.S. Special Envoy, Rina Amiri. She said we are at an inflection point

as a global community; we must take a firm stand against these extreme policies. Failing to do so could embolden the Taliban inspire hardliners

elsewhere and imperil the rights of women girls and at risk populations far beyond Afghanistan.

What sort of reaction are you hoping to see from the global community? What do you think would actually make a difference on the ground in Afghanistan?

DURRANI: I think first of all, you have to see do just don't say, you know, tweets are good. But if you're not doing anything about it, it doesn't

matter. I was in Bali for this conference on Education of Afghan women without having Afghan educators in.

And if there were like us, we were as observers and there were other people who were talking on our behalf, and they felt all comfortable. The same

goes for not only the special envoy, the UN special envoy, everyone and anyone who feels that they can comment and tweet about it, but wouldn't go

to that extra length where they can actually sanction the Taliban family from Kabul, where they can talk to Qatar and sanction their families

sanction their travels, sanction their bank accounts.

All those things are something that I think could be done, but are not being done. The same way people could be talking to Pakistan and asking

Pakistan not to give safe havens to the Taliban, while their own daughters can study in Pakistan and Qatar. But girls in Afghanistan cannot heal

shames, own notary studying in Qatar, you know, so all those things have to be thought of.

But what I hear from all these world leaders is oh, we are very sorry, this is happening in Afghanistan. And tomorrow, they wouldn't care they will do

on another - you know, so for me, it's just hollow words, you have to do more.

KINKADE: Exactly. Action is needed right now. Of course, the U.S. was in Afghanistan for a decade for 20 years, despite the progress that was made

in that period of time. We are seeing the Taliban 1.0 that we saw back in the 90s. Does the change essentially have to come from within Afghanistan?

You mentioned earlier that men are now protesting the fact that women are being banned from university, what more can happen within the country?

DURRANI: I think we don't give ourselves enough credit. As Afghans, we have done everything that was in our power. There are hundreds of people and

teachers who are teaching right now in underground schools for secondary schools. There are people who are working with online universities ensuring

that girls still get to go to online universities that have standardized education.

There are teachers who are trying to volunteer for organizations underground and they're not being paid for it. There are men who are

walking out on your own exams for the female class fellows. Afghans have done enough. It's about the world leaders who legitimize to whitewash the


It's about the people who actually ensured that the Taliban get to do what they're doing right now without any circumstances and consequences you know

without having to be worried.


DURRANI: People sanction the Iranian morality police, but nobody has sanctioned the Taliban, have I seen a single sanction being happening, all

I see is then being flown out in private jet to Norway or to Geneva. But what is in the solution being done, but at the same time, you have to

understand that the Afghan population for the past few decades is done with war.

They are so done with war, they're exhausted, frustrated and it will take us time to go back to that fighting mode. But this shouldn't be our fate

that we are either flying, fighting in Afghanistan or on a flight mode and leaving Afghanistan, there need to be a better solution. And if nobody's

coming up with that solution and I think the leaders who are involved in this really don't want a peaceful Afghanistan.

KINKADE: Yes, you make some really, really good points, Pashtana Durrani thanks very much to you, much more as needed than words we need to see

action. Thanks very much for joining us.

DURRANI: Thank you.

KINKADE: Now to a CNN exclusive. The Biden Administration is launching an all hands on deck effort to find out how high tech components made here in

the United States and other Western countries are ending up in Iranian drones. Now Russia has been using these hundreds of drones like these in

its war in Ukraine to kill civilians and destroy key infrastructure.

Some drones that were down had 82 percent of their components made in the U.S. and other Western countries, like items like processes,

semiconductors, sensors and even engines. Officials tell CNN that a task force overseen by the White House National Security Council is


Well, the U.S. and other nations are trying to reduce the growing military relationship between Iran and Russia, Iran's foreign minister was in Jordan

Tuesday. He attended a conference with European officials including French President Emmanuel Macron.

Europe's Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell caught his meeting with the Iranian foreign minister necessary due to the deteriorating relations

between Iran and the EU. He said it's vital to keep communication open on a stored Iran nuclear deal and to stop internal repression inside Iran.

Among the thousands of people arrested in Iran since the anti-government protests began in September, at least 62 members of the country's film

industry, a director and spokesperson for a Russian cinema union says all but 13 have now been released. And the UN Human Rights Council vows to

investigate the crackdown on protesters and human rights abuses.

Three women have now been appointed to a fact finding mission. Earlier I spoke with the Head of the UN Human Rights Council and he detailed what

they plan to do.


FEDERICO VILLEGAS, PRESIDENT, U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: The idea is to document brings testimonies and cover all the information in order to

identify responsible and also help in their accountability for the vibrations because the reports that we have hearing here in the council are

very clear.

The day we approve, we heard a very difficult report on the situation with over 150 cities protest and over 14,000 people that were detained, and of

course, around 460 deaths in the context of the protests. And the idea for me to appoint women of course, the big note that there are three women.

And it's the first time in history in the Human Rights Council that an investigative body like this is integrated only by women, but I didn't

choose them only because they were women. There were the best experts out of a list of over 50 people that were put forward to me.


KINKADE: Well, still to come could the European Union's latest efforts to keep energy prices under control backfire. Well, we're speaking to one of

the key decision makers about the controversial new gas price cap agreement. Also ahead thousands of migrants face new uncertainty as a

policy restricting them from trying to enter the U.S. is in legal limbo. We'll bring you some of their stories when we return.



KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade, you're watching "Connect the World". A surprise visit to Washington by the President of Ukraine is our

top story today. He's on his way to the U.S. right now. Volodymyr Zelenskyy was spotted in Poland several hours ago. He arrived there by train and then

boarded a plane to fly to the U.S.

This is Mr. Zelenskyy's first trip outside of Ukraine since the Russian invasion began back in February. Once in Washington, Mr. Zelenskyy will

meet face to face with the U.S. President Joe Biden. He is then expected to address the joint meeting of the U.S. congress. The Ukrainian president is

due to arrive in the U.S. in the coming hours.

The war in Ukraine has led to spiraling energy prices all over the globe. But some analysts are saying the European Union's latest efforts to keep

prices under control may backfire. The EU has agreed to a cap on natural gas prices which will start early next year. Member States say they want to

protect consumers, but there are concerns that such interference in free market economics could have unintended consequences.

The Spanish Minister for Ecological Transition Teresa Ribera hailed the completion of the agreement, echoing other European partners by describing

the process as Mission Impossible. Teresa Ribera joins me now from Madrid. Good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So firstly, if you could explain to our audience what a rather complicated agreement is how it will work?

RIBERA: The main message is to send the signal to the markets to the operators and traders explaining that we in European Union want to be

attractive, so that LNG cargoes still arrive to Europe. But we are not in a position to accept the - price. Prices that may be distorted as it has been

the haste this summer in the TTF exchange market dealing with gas because there is a lower flow of gas coming from Russia.

The LNG terminals are congested because of such a big demand. So we want to say that this is the reference that we would be using in case there is a

huge race of the gas prices similarly to what Paul Krugman explained as a honeymoon effect. So I don't think that it creates any type of distortion

were still attractive as --is stating.

And of course, we will always keep this spread between the price being paid in Europe and the price being paid in other global markets. But what we do

not want to do is to pay 5, 6, 7 times the price other gas markets played in the rest of the world because we want to keep the competence of our

industry. We want to avoid poverty, energy, energy, poverty in our households.

KINKADE: Yes certainly a balancing act to take all of that into account and to get all those countries to agree on this, but it has been some



KINKADE: I just want to bring up a quote from Timm Kehler. He's the CEO of the Zukunft Gas, a gas advocacy group. And after the agreement was

announced, he said that the price cap on wholesale prices is a political illusion that will not survive the reality check. In a market economy

prices are determined by supply and demand and not by political decrease. Minister, can explain what's your response to that?

RIBERA: Well, I seem that this will be the case; it will be the market, who will match the price. And the price is still quite attractive, it is

attractive in any circumstance and this market correction, good only apply in the case of a huge difference.

But still, keeping in mind that the reference the cap that the Europeans going to be using due to the average of the market places in the whole

world class spread. So it is a market based mechanism, if we do not interfere with a fixed price or whatever, I guess that it is sufficiently

market friendly. And it is sufficiently sound with sufficient safeguards and capacity to monitor what it is going on, to allow the different players

in the marketplace to adapt to the ideas and to be in a position to keep this at a reasonable level.

It will not create an additional incentive to be non-efficient in the use in the consumption of gas; there is still very important demand destruction

in Europe because of the huge prices that we are going through. But I think that it is also important, as I say to stress that we will still be

attractive, but we will not accept whatever. We want to be paying more than the others, but not so many times more than the others.

KINKADE: Minister Ribera, can you give us some insight into the negotiations that took place because you yourself quoting another minister

said that this agreement was Mission Impossible? Why was there so much internal pushback to this mechanism?

RIBERA: This was a very nice --reference expression being used by the Czech minister who has been chairing the European Union during the last six

months. I think that he has been a very smart Chair of the negotiations convening as many meetings of the energy ministers as it has been needed,

so to be sure that we could reach consensus.

And probably this was one of the files that are most difficult in the large amount of different measures that we have been trying to put in place. So

to facilitate a good management of this disruptive situation we are going through because of the invasion of Russia and Ukraine.

And of course, it is certain that for some countries, those that fear not having access to the energy materials to the gas. We're questioning and

challenging what does this mean, if there are references been stated at the political level, while there were others that had a much more comfort in

terms of access to gas, that could be - offering the crazy race in gas prices.

So we did it to combine things in a manner that provides sufficient safeguards for that very non-access to gas and warranties for those who are

in a huge, crazy race in gas prices that are not directly connected to the situation, but to the signers or non-signers, that we as politicians and as

institutions, even as traders at the European level, may be sending.

When we say we want to restore as much as possible at whatever price of course, we are being sold at whatever price. When we say we want to store

or we want to pay more, but not so much more. It is clear that we may be having an opportunity to do it in a much more organized and meaningful


KINKADE: Teresa Ribera, the Spanish Minister for Ecological Transition. Thanks very much. Hope you get some time off over the holidays, Merry


RIBERA: Thank you so much to you too, Merry Christmas.

KINKADE: Thank you. Let's get you up to speed on some other stories on our radar right now. And former Russian President and current Deputy Security

Council Chairman Dmitry Medvedev held surprise talks with China Xi Jinping. The GMAT and Beijing, Medvedev says they discussed Ukraine while Mr. Xi

mentioned deepening relations between the two countries.

Incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has just a few more hours left to form a new government. He is expected to partner with far

right parties creating one of the most hard line right wing governments in Israel's history. You should take office by January 2.


KINKADE: Former Crypto currency mogul Sam Bankman-Fried will be handed over to U.S. authorities at any moment. Bankman-Fried's lawyer told the court in

the Bahamas just a few minutes ago that his client would not fight extradition any longer.

He faces eight counts of fraud and conspiracy related to the bankruptcy of the Crypto currency exchange FTX. Cities on the U.S. Mexico border are

bracing for deluge of migrants as a Trump era policy remains in legal limbo. Thousands of people are gathered at the border right now sleeping in

tents or shelters hoping to seek asylum in the United States.

The Title 42 policy, which allows U.S. border authorities to swiftly turn away migrants, was due to expire today. Several states pushed for it to be

kept in place to avert an influx of migrants. The decision is with the Supreme Court right now. More migrants of course keep arriving every day.

And CNN's Rosa Flores spoke to some of them from Brownsville, Texas.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Brian and his mother left her native Venezuela full of dreams three months ago. He made it to South Texas

after being processed by immigration authorities, she did not.

FLORES (on camera): What happened to your mother?

FLORES (voice over): He says they were traveling through the Darien Gap, a mountainous jungle between Colombia and Panama.

FLORES (on camera): He says that he was helping his mother cross and that she grabbed a branch and then she fell down a cliff and into the river. He

says that he'll never forget the look in his mother's eyes.

FLORES (voice over): He is one of more than 300 migrants who are processed by border patrol and dropped off in Brownsville every day says migrant

advocate Sergio Cordoba.

SERGIO CORDOBA, TEAM BROWNSVILLE: Our worry is are we going to be able to order the supplies that we need?

FLORES (voice over): Late Monday the Trump era policy which allows immigration agents to swiftly return migrants to Mexico was passed by the

Supreme Court just days before it was scheduled to left, the decision easing concerns about the sudden surge of migrants at the border that's

expected when the rule ends.

RICHARD CORTEZ, HIDALGO COUNTY, TEXAS JUDGE: Whereas they were relieved that Title 42 has been extended. We were preparing for the worst. You know

we were pretty almost already to capacity in some of our locations.

FLORES (on camera): I'm in Brownsville, Texas and just across the river in Matamoros, Mexico, there are thousands of migrants most of the Venezuelans

and Haitians who are living in camps and on the streets. I've been talking to them. What do you think about Title 42 staying in place?

They say they're happy Title 42 is still in effect, but they're also preparing for the worst. Buying inflatable rafts like in this photo shared

with CNN to cross the Rio Grande if they're not allowed to enter illegally. In nearby McAllen, Texas border patrol is dropping off about 450 migrants

per day at this respite center says the Director Sister Norma Pimentel.

Pimentel is monitoring the anxiety that is growing across the river in - Mexico, where there's an estimated 8000 migrants and park shelters and open

air camps according to advocates.

SISTER NORMA PIMENTEL, CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF THE RIO GRANDE VALLEY: It's not safe to be in Mexico and because of the fact that they're exposed to

all the elements and exposed to all the dangers.

FLORES (voice over): The dangers that still haunt Brian after his mother's death.

FLORES (on camera): What did you see in her eyes? Fear, sadness.

FLORES (voice over): Brian says seeing his mother's photos is painful, especially this one. His mom is not in the photo. She took the picture days

before she perished.


KINKADE: Thanks to Rosa Flores for that report from Brownsville Texas. Well still ahead, Twitter has a major job opening. Elon Musk is looking for what

he says is someone foolish enough to replace him as the CEO. His word there, I have a live report on the latest - at Twitter when we come back.



KINKADE: Welcome back. This week "Call to Earth" is highlighting what conservationists are doing in Kenya to protect and restore the country's

diverse but threatened ecosystems. Today we meet a Kenyan scientist and TV personality who was named the 2021 Rolex National Geographic Explorer of

the year; she has worked with many of Africa's best known species. But today, we hear about how she's protecting elephants.


PAULA KAHUMBU, CEO, WILDLIFEDIRECT: Most people are terrified of elephants in this country. And their experience of elephants is that they come at

night, they raid your farms, they make a lot of scary noises. And in the morning, everything's destroyed. So my experience of elephants was unique

and different.

And I've always felt that their intelligence is something that we will never, ever be able to fully comprehend. I decided that doing research was

incredible. It's what I really, really would have loved to spend the rest of my life doing. But it wasn't enough. The elephants were still being

poached. They were being targeted for their ivory, and we were going to lose them.

KINKADE (voice over): After years as an academic in 2014, Paula Kahumbu decided to turn advocacy to action, mounting a national campaign aimed at

ending Kenya's ivory trade.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The impact on their communities. So for example--

KINKADE (voice over): According to wildlife direct, since the campaign's inception, elephant poaching is down 80 percent probe into polar that when

educated about the issues, the Kenyan people have a real drive to take action. The launch of her TV series Wildlife Warriors would take that

notion to the next level.

KAHUMBU: Probably the most famous elephant in Africa is Tim. He stands a shoulder above all the other big bulls.

KINKADE (voice over): In 2019 as the first season aired, one survey showed that 51 percent of the Kenyan population had watched the show.

KAHUMBU: This is not so much about advocacy. It's really about educating people about our animals, our traditional knowledge of forests and what's

happening to our rivers. And to me this is moving from just information to action.

KINKADE (voice over): An hour's drive south of Nairobi, Paula has set up the wildlife warrior's kid's field lab, where every Saturday children walk

sometimes from many miles away to learn more about the natural world around them.

KAHUMBU: I really strongly believe that we need to have our own storytellers. We need to relate to our storytellers to our presenters in

these films, if we're to believe them. And that's why I've very, very strongly have ensured that wildlife warriors has only been the stories of

local Kenyans, telling their stories.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Team Sayari have your very own piggy bank which you can use to save up for conservation.

KINKADE (voice over): With her new series Team Sayari, this idea has been pushed further as Paula takes a step back from presenting to allow a group

of local children from across the continent to present the show.


MARITA LUCAS, PRESENTER, TEAM SAYARI: I'm Marita, I'm 12 years old. I've learned so much. I think I've even learnt more than in school. Because this

show has really raised awareness and opened my eyes so wide to what's going around in our planet, like poaching, littering pollution, we need to fix


KAHUMBU: What we will see is a generation of young people, no matter where they go, in their work, government or private sector being the voice for

the animals that can't speak for themselves. The voice for nature, the voice for rivers, the voice for mountains, we have to do it. Nobody else is

going to do it.


KINKADE: We can watch our special half hour program "Call to Earth" Voice of the Wild that will air Christmas Eve and Christmas day right here on

CNN. We're going to take a short break, we'll be right back.


KINKADE: Welcome back. Elon Musk says he's ready to quit as Twitter's CEO but not just yet. First he has to find his replacement and Musk tweeted

that he would step down as soon as he found "Someone foolish enough to take the job". Well, Musk had promised to abide by the Twitter poll he created

in which 57 percent of respondents voted for him to resign.

Musk's $44 billion takeover Twitter has been marked by chaos and controversy. CNN's Clare Duffy has been following the turmoil in Twitter.

She joins us now from New York, good to have you with us. So who could be foolish enough to step up and take this job as CEO?

CLARE DUFFY, CNN TECH WRITER: You know it's interesting there are many people who have volunteered for this job everyone from former T-Mobile CEO

John Legere to his rapper Snoop Dogg. So there are people putting your hands up for this. I think if anybody it will more likely be one of Masks

lieutenants who have been helping him run the company since he took over, the Investors Jason Calacanis or David Sachs.

But you know, I don't necessarily think that this poll means that we're going to see a new Twitter CEO anytime soon. It's clear that Musk didn't

really like the results of this poll. This wasn't what he was expecting in the last couple of days. He's made some suggestions that the poll was

influenced by bots, that Twitter needs to change how it does polling.

So despite the fact that he's relied on Twitter polls, to make some other really big content decisions, I don't necessarily know that we're going to

see him at least very quickly abide by the results of this poll.

KINKADE: All right, we will see how this plays out when he does step down. Clare Duffy for us in New York thanks very much. Well, after winning the

World Cup title, the party just seems to keep following Lionel Messi and Argentina even to his doorstep.

And see their fans outside Nancy's house as he returned from the massive victory parade Tuesday. Well, around 4 million people turned out in Buenos

Aires to honor Messi and his teammates, their win over France. Things did get a little out of hand.

As you can see there a fan jumping from an overpass onto the bus and then is falling off with a frenzied crowd made an impact possible for them to

keep going. Some of the team ended up flying in helicopters over the parade side, incredible, absolutely incredible scenes there.


KINKADE: Well, that does it for this edition of "Connect the World". Thanks so much for joining us. I'm Lynda Kinkade in Atlanta. "One Word" with my

colleague Zain Asher is up next. Stay with us, you're watching CNN.


ZAIN ASHER, CNN HOST, ONE WORLD: Hello, I'm Zain Asher, New York and this is "One World". Very soon now Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will

be meeting face to face with U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House.

This is of course his very first trip outside his country outside Ukraine since Russia invaded 10 months ago. Plans for the trip were kept quiet,

very secret until the last minute. Earlier Mr. Zelenskyy was spotted arriving by train in Poland. From there he bought a U.S. military aircraft

for the flight to Washington DC.