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Wagner Withdrawing from around Bakhmut; Ukrainians May Have Launched Kremlin Drone Attack; Ron DeSantis Announces White House Bid; Rwandan Genocide Suspect Arrested in South Africa; Fitch Puts U.S. on Rating Watch Negative; Legendary Singer Tina Turner Dies at 83; Super Typhoon Mawar Gaining Strength as It Moves from Guam. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired May 25, 2023 - 10:00   ET




ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I'm Eleni Giokos, live from Abu Dhabi. This is CONNECT THE WORLD.

Coming up this hour, weeks after a drone attack on the Kremlin, U.S. intelligence is indicating Ukrainians may have been responsible.

The first ever presidential campaign launch on Twitter melts down. What the internet has to say about the candidate, Ron DeSantis.

Remembering a music legend, tributes pouring in for the iconic Tina Turner, who passed away at 83.

And standing with Vinicius, a show of solidarity against racism in Madrid.


GIOKOS: We begin in Ukraine where authorities say there has been a new barrage of Russian air raids. Ukraine's president says major cities,

including the capital, Kyiv, were targeted by a total of 36 Iranian made drones. None of these drones reached their target, likely infrastructure

and military sites in the west of Ukraine.

This comes as Ukraine's defense ministry confirms that Wagner fighters have begun withdrawing from around Bakhmut but says some fighters remain inside

the embattled city.

Earlier the head of the mercenary group said its forces will withdraw by next Thursday and congratulated them on their efforts there. Let's get more

on what this means. We've got Fred Pleitgen, who is in Kyiv.

Fred, lots coming through today. I want to start off by talking about the initial withdrawal of the Wagner Group from Bakhmut, what this means for

the fate of the city.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It certainly could be a big development on the battlefield there in Bakhmut. Bakhmut has

really been the central battle of this war over the past couple of months. Certainly one of the most brutal that this continent really has seen since

World War II.

And some that has seen some tactics that a lot of people were shocked by when they sought some of these mercenaries from Wagner charging Ukrainian

positions with what Ukrainians say were human waves of fighters. Some were recruited from prison.

All that could now be coming to an end. We were able to speak to the eastern grouping of the Ukrainian armed forces about this. They said they

really can't confirm yet whether this total withdrawal of Wagner fighters is really taking place.

But they do say that, if it is taking place, it could offer an opportunity for the Ukrainians. The Ukrainians are saying that, yes, Wagner has been

very effective on the battlefield. But they say that has been the case because of those brutal tactics, because they have lost so many of their

own mercenaries, who were charging those positions. That's how they managed to make a lot of that headway.

Ukrainians now believe that, if this is really true, they could start making some gains. The Ukrainians, of course, over the past couple of days,

have been involved in a bit of the counter attack on the outskirts of Bakhmut, which they say so far they've managed to take some territory back.

They obviously want to continue that. Yevgeny Prigozhin was pictured earlier today in a video released by himself, congratulating, as you, said

his fighters and saying the withdrawal would be completed by June 1st. I want to listen to some of what he had to say.


YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN, FOUNDER, WAGNER GROUP (through translator): We are withdrawing the units from Bakhmut. It's 5 am on May 25th. By June 1st, the

main part will be relocated to the rear camps. We are transferring positions to the military. The ammo positions, everything, including dry

Russians (ph).


PLEITGEN: He is saying that everything will be transferred to regular Russian units; obviously there has been a big feud going on between

Yevgeny Prigozhin and the Russian military, specifically the defense minister, Sergei Shoigu. A lot of bad blood between those two.

So we're going to have to wait and see how the transfer takes place and how smooth it could be. And whether or not it could open up some opportunities

for the Ukrainians, possibly a counterattack as well.

An interesting tidbit of what Prigozhin said, he said his units would withdraw to replenish, to resupply and also to rest. Then they would get

new orders. It certainly seemed as though, while Prigozhin and his mercenaries may be leaving the battlefield, now it appears as though he is

vowing to come back.

GIOKOS: Really important point there, Fred. Thank you so much.

New U.S. intel is indicating that Ukrainian forces may have been responsible for the Kremlin drone attack earlier this month.


GIOKOS: Sources say U.S. officials have picked up Ukrainian military chatter blaming each other for that attack, all speculating that Ukrainian

special forces conducted that operation. Let's go straight to Natasha Bertrand with the latest from Washington.

We remember when this drone attack happened on the Kremlin, there was so many questions around who was responsible. The Russians blaming Ukrainians,

Ukrainians saying it wasn't them.

How significant is this latest intel from the United States, saying it may have been the Ukrainians?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and this is a low confidence assessment. Essentially the U.S. is taking the chatter that

they've picked up from Ukrainian and Russian officials and combining that with assessments about who would have the motivation to do this kind of


And they are lumping it into an assessment of, well, it was likely a Ukrainian group. Importantly, the U.S. does not believe that President

Zelenskyy or any other senior Ukrainian government official was orchestrating this operation or were aware of it beforehand.

But the fact that they had picked up intercepted communications of Ukrainian officials, speculating that perhaps Ukrainians special operations

forces conducted this, has been instrumental in their thinking, as has been the history of Ukrainian groups carrying out some operations on Russian


The U.S. has attributed that to Ukrainian intelligence and special operations services in the past. I'm thinking, of course, of the car

bombing in Moscow a couple of months ago, that killed the daughter of a prominent Russian political figure, Darya Dugina, that the U.S. did

ultimately attribute to Ukrainian special forces.

There is also other instances in which Ukrainians have carried out operations on Russian soil that the U.S. is aware of and that were made

publicly available in classified documents that leaked earlier this month.

So there is a pattern that the U.S. is also relying on when they think about who might have done this. Importantly, they do not believe that this

was an assassination attempt. They don't buy that line by the Russians that the Ukrainians were trying to kill Vladimir Putin because Putin was not

even in the building at the time, according to Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov.

And it's pretty widely known that he doesn't spend a lot of time in that building anyway. So U.S. officials don't necessarily buy that. But they

don't know, either, who did this. They don't have definitive proof of the specific unit or group that carried out this attack.

So waiting for more information on that. But signs right now are pointing to some element of the Ukrainians carrying this out.

GIOKOS: All, right Natasha Bertrand, thank you.

The 2024 U.S. presidential race has expanded by one.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): You nominate me, you can sent your clock to January 20th, 2025, at high noon because, on the west side of the U.S.

Capitol, I will be taking the oath of office as the 47th President of the United States. No excuses. I will get the job done.


GIOKOS: That is Florida governor Ron DeSantis on Twitter Spaces, an audio- only platform, making the case for why he should be the next leader in the Oval Office. But what was supposed to be his big moment on Wednesday was

plagued by delays and technical glitches.


DESANTIS: It just keeps crashing, huh?

ELON MUSK, TWITTER OWNER: Yes, I think we've got just a massive number of people online. So it's -- servers are straining somewhat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, sorry about that. We have got so many people here that I think we are -- we are kind of melting the servers, which is a

good sign.


GIOKOS: CNN's Steve Contorno joins us.

Great to have you. We spoke about this yesterday, what could have transpired. We saw lots of glitches, many moments of awkwardness. What he

said actually matters.

The question, is did he speak to the Republican base?

Has he received more campaign funds since his campaign announcement?

A lot of questions around whether this was the best option, to be on Twitter. It seems Elon Musk took a lot of the limelight.

STEVE CONTORNO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is, right it was huge gamble to go on Twitter Spaces with this announcement. It was a way to show that he was

going to be an unconventional candidate and wage an unconventional campaign.

In many respects that backfired. For more than 25, minutes the audio was cutting in and out. They couldn't get the Twitter Spaces up and running

properly. They actually had to switch from running it on Elon Musk's Twitter account to another person's. And that cut the audience dramatically

after that.

And when it actually came time for DeSantis to speak, it was a very odd introduction as a presidential candidate. Usually there is a broader vision

that is laid out for why someone wants to be President of the United States.

We really did not get that from governor DeSantis in his remarks. It was a very dark vision, a dark contrast of what the United States looks like

under Joe Biden.


CONTORNO: Also a lot of criticisms of what the Republican Party looks like while under Donald Trump's shadow. He wants to change that.

But when it came time to say what he would actually do as president, there was not a whole lot that he said, except for, look back at what I have done

in Florida. For those of you watching him down there, it has been an incredibly divisive agenda.

It has included a six-week abortion ban. He has gone after one of the state's largest employers in Disney. There has been a lot of legislation,

curbing health care access for transgender people, laws intended to change what kind of materials can be used in schools.

So all of these cultural battles that he has waged in Florida, he is saying you can count on me, Republicans, to take these battles to the federal

level if you make me your nominee in 2024.

GIOKOS: Steve Contorno, thanks for coming on.

Let's move on now to a rare act of gun violence in Japan. Three people are dead, including two police officers, in a shooting And stabbing attack. It

happened Thursday afternoon in Nakano City. Police say the gunman shot at officers as they responded to a call about a man stabbing a woman.

The suspect is said to be barricaded in a building. Marc Stewart is in Tokyo for us.

What is the latest?

MARC STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is a story we've been following for the last six hours or so. Indeed, this suspected gunman is

believed to be held up in a building in Nakano City in central Japan.

But at this point, the status of where things stand is very unclear. We are able to confirm through local police that, again, three people have been

killed, two police officers, a man who was 46, and another man who was 61 years old as well as a women believed to be in her 40s or 50s.

Exactly how this unfolded, we are still trying to piece together a timeline. But it is believed that there was a shooting and a stabbing.

Exactly who shot at whom, how this all unfolded, again, is not very clear. But at this point the focus is on this home in central Japan for this

gunman who is inside or believed to be inside.

Some perspective for you, as you mentioned, gun violence in Japan is very rare. Last year in 2022 there were four gun related deaths through acts of

violence, one of which involved former prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who was assassinated by a man using a homemade weapon.

But I'm giving you the status so you can put this all in context. Gun violence in Japan is very rare. In Nagano, which is a prefecture in central

Japan, there is a lot of outdoor space, a lot of green space. Hunting is very popular.

While hand gun ownership in Japan is not very prevalent, if anyone owns a type of weapon, especially in that area, it would be some kind of hunting

rifle. In order to get that, it is a very strict and stringent process. Again, the controls of guns in Japan is something that is closely watched

and held.

At this point we are hoping to get updates throughout the evening from police but, at this point, a gunman is believed to be barricaded in this

home after three people are shot dead here in Japan. That is what we know so far -- back to you.

GIOKOS: Thank you so much.

Just ahead, that's -- we have got Larry Madowo talking to Sudanese refugees fleeing the horrors of war. He will show us how poverty-stricken Chad is

struggling to help. As you can see, he's hugging a little baby there. We will look at that story shortly.

Plus, Mawar's path of destruction, the typhoon is the strongest to hit Guam in decades as it leaves tens of thousands across the island without power.

We are tracking where the storm is going next. Stay with us.





GIOKOS: Haunted by tragedy, many Rwandans carrying the trauma of the 1994 genocide nearly three decades after an estimated 800,000 people were


From April to June 1994, the Rwandan genocide saw ethnic Hutu militias and civilians alike murder vast numbers of Tutsi ethnic minorities, many of

whom had been neighbors before the conflict began.

Today, the most wanted fugitive accused in that crime against humanity is under arrest in South Africa decades after being on the run. We're live in

South Africa, CNN's David McKenzie is standing by in Johannesburg.

Wanted for almost three decades, David, Fulgence Kayishema arrested in the Western Cape.

How did South African authorities find him?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's been on the run, as you say, for more than 20 years. In the end, it was a peaceful

arrest, without much drama in the wine country of Western Cape.

But a very long and drawn-out process to try to find this man. For years the prosecutor's office was criticizing the South African government for

not doing enough to help out in tracking this man. Here is the prosecutor talking about his alleged crimes.

They happened during the genocide, where he allegedly took refugees into a church and then set fire to that church as well as bulldozed the church

when not enough people were killed, horrible, heinous alleged crimes. He was one of the most wanted man still in association which the genocide.

Here's the chief prosecutor.


SERGE BRAMMERTZ, CHIEF PROSECUTOR, IRMCT: This case definitely symbolized also the brutality of what happened during 100 days in Rwanda, where

thousands of people, tens of thousands of people, who were teachers, police, officers, normal citizens from one day to the next became mass


And he is definitely one among them and definitely one of the worst cases. So we are, of course, extremely unsatisfied that, after this intensive

work, our team (ph), we got him arrested.


MCKENZIE: Well, there are more than 1,000 fugitives wanted in the genocide by the Rwandan prosecutors. But this is certainly one of the most high-

profile alleged war criminals that has been taken in recent years, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Yes, and a really important moment for Rwandans. David, look, then the question, you know, because how did the evade capture for so long?

What details do we know about how he was hiding and being able to evade authorities?

MCKENZIE: It's a good question, Eleni. After the Rwandan Patriotic Front, led by now president Kagame, ended the genocide, it is alleged that he, as

well as many other of those perpetrating the killings, fled over into neighboring DRC.

The investigators then tell me that he was then able to use false names, false papers and sometimes genuine papers to get asylum in multiple

countries, in Eastern and Southern Africa, including Eswatini, Swaziland, Mozambique and then South Africa.

And he has been in this country, we believe, for several years now at the very least. He was working on a wine farm allegedly. He doesn't appear to

be a man on the run when they caught him. But the net around him was tightening for many years.

He was depending on friends and families and those who supported him politically from those days, from hiding his identity and location from the

police and from investigators. I think the key moment came about a year ago --


MCKENZIE: -- when President Ramaphosa of South Africa said that there needs to be more work done on this with the U.N. They formed a task force

of elite investigators that joined with the U.N. And that led to this moment today, where he is now being arrested.

He will still have to face trial and it is unclear where at this point that will happen. But these are a very serious allegations indeed and there is

no statute of limitations on war crimes and genocide.

GIOKOS: Absolutely, and whether he's going to be extradited as well, so many questions that need answering. David McKenzie, thank you so much,

great to have you on.

More than a month of fighting in Sudan has forced over 1 million people to flee their homes. The United Nations says most of those people are

displaced internally while more than 330,000 have left the country.

Egypt has received the most, over 150,000 people. Chad follows with around 90,000. CNN's Larry Madowo visited refugees in Chad, who spoke of a

heartbreaking situation.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The kids cry constantly. the adults look weary of war. The pained faces here are a reminder of the

horrors that drove them out of Sudan. At this refugee camp across the border in Chad, sadness stalks almost everyone.

As fighting intensified in Sudan's western Darfur region, they had to run or risk getting killed.

Koubra Abdullah (ph) left so suddenly that her son got lost in the chaos.

KOUBRA ABDULLAH (PH), SUDANESE REFUGEE IN CHAD (through translator): My brother is still back there, I heard he was injured. I was forced to come

to Chad to seek safety.

MADOWO: Would you go back to Sudan?

ABDULLAH (PH): No, no. The only reason I will go back is to bring my child and my brother here. There has been too much insecurity for too long.

MADOWO: Because of decades of conflict in Sudan, many of these refugees had already been internally displaced several times.

Mastiura Ishakh (ph) is 22 but hasn't known as a permanent home for most of her life.

MASTIURA ISHAKH (PH), SUDANESE REFUGEE IN CHAD (through translator): I'm worried about all the people we left behind especially my mother who could

not cross the border. I keep asking myself how I can get her to Chad.

MADOWO: I noticed that mostly women and children here. Where are the men from Sudan?

ISHAKH (PH): The men told us to take the children and cross the border so they can stay behind and defend themselves and our property if necessary.

MADOWO: The U.N.'s refugee agency says close to 90 percent of neo- rebels in Chad from Sudan are women and children, many so traumatized that they

will need a lot of support to heal.

We had expected to meet refugees as they arrived in the border town of (INAUDIBLE) right across from Sudan. But just before we arrived, it was hit

by a rocket. That is why refugees are being moved away from border towns to places like this in Gaga (ph).

CNN traveled with the U.S. AID administrator Samantha Power to eastern Chad. The U.S. is giving more than $100 million to support the over 1

million people displaced by the war across Sudan and in neighboring countries.

SAMANTHA POWER, USAID ADMINISTRATOR: We met one woman whose eye had been gouged basically, with somebody just attacking her. She's seeking medical

care here in Chad.

Horrific violence which triggers for so many of these people also memories of previous horrific violence.

MADOWO: It's a full circle moment for her. She was in Chad in 2004, writing in the "New Yorker" about Sudanese civilians fleeing the Janjaweed

militia in Darfur.

POWER: You talk to them, you feel like you are in a time warp. Because they are describing Janjaweed coming in with their knives and their

machetes, killing people, raping women.

MADOWO: Is it surreal for you being here?

Hearing these stories when you heard them 20 years ago as a reporter?

POWER: Well, I feel lucky this time, at least to be working at USAID, a big development, humanitarian agency. At least there is something I can do.

But fundamentally there is no substitute for the root causes getting addressed for these two warring generals to put their own power grabs aside

and put the interest of these people who are fleeing sometimes for the fifth time in their lives.

MADOWO: Chad, one of the world's poorest countries, had about 400,000 Sudanese refugees before this latest surge.

PATRICE AHOUANSOU, DEPUTY REPRESENTATIVE, UNHCR CHAD: We need to collectively work with the only actors in support of the government of

China to ensure that, you know, resources are mobilized, to address the urgent needs of the refugees.

MADOWO: These are the innocent victims of a deadly power struggle in Sudan -- the poor and most vulnerable who have nowhere to go. Just another

chapter in their life of hardship -- Larry Madowo, CNN, Gaga, Chad.



GIOKOS (voice-over): Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now.

The Fitch credit ratings agency says a deadlocked Washington, which has taken the U.S. to the brink of default, could jeopardize America's perfect

credit rating.


GIOKOS (voice-over): Fitch has placed top ranked U.S. credit on a ratings watch negative. That is reflecting the uncertainty surrounding the current

debt ceiling debate and the possibility of a first ever default.

The German economy is in recession, mostly because of high inflation. Data is showing that Germany's gross domestic product shrank by 0.3 percent from

January to March, after a decline in the previous quarter. A recession is usually defined as two quarters contraction in a row.

GIOKOS: Music fans around the world are mourning the death of Tina Turner, whose growling (ph) vocals and electrifying shows made her one of the most

memorable performers of her generation.

Even at a young age, she seemed destined for stardom, only to face one crushing setback after another. But out of that tragedy and adversity was

born a musical legacy that will never die, as Anderson Cooper reports.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): She was known as the Queen of rock 'n' roll.

While she was most certainly a music royalty, Tina Turner in her 83 years became so much more, pioneer, icon, survivor.

Born Anna Mae Bullock, she first performed at age 17 when she was passed the microphone at an Ike Turner concert. The two would go on to write hit

singles and get married. It was Ike who suggested she change her stage name to Tina.

While the relationship soared professionally, privately it descended into physical and emotional abuse.

Tina Turner spoke to Larry King about it in 1997.

TINA TURNER, SINGER: I had had a lot of violence, houses burned, cars shot into, the lowest that you can think of in terms of violence.

COOPER (voice-over): Finally in 1976, Tina left Ike and filed for divorce. A single mom in debt, she fought her way back into stardom.

In 1984, she released "What's Love Got to Do with It," which meant three weeks at number one and earned her three Grammys.

In 1985, she burst into Hollywood, starring opposite Mel Gibson in "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome."

The movie soundtrack launched another hit for Turner, "We Don't Need Another Hero."

Throughout the 1980s and early 90s, came a slew of unforgettable songs that solidified Tina Turner's place in rock history.

But it was her unflinching memoir, "I, Tina," which was made into the Academy Award nominated film, "What's Love Got to Do with It," that

elevated Turner to a whole new level.

LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Do you realize that you are a feminist hero in America?


TURNER: Your wife just told me.

KING: No, do you realize that?

TURNER: I'm beginning to. You see, it wasn't something that I planned. I kind of see it as a gift, because of the life I lived. It had a meaning.

And I think that the meaning was all of what is happening now.

I think that if I not had the -- if I had not given the story to the world, maybe my life would not be as it is, I believe.

COOPER (voice-over): Tina Turner continued to perform and write, continued to love. In 2013, she married her longtime boyfriend, Erwin Bach. She spoke

about meeting him in the 2021 documentary, "Tina."

TURNER: He was younger. He was 30 years old at the time, the prettiest face. I mean, I cannot -- it was like saying, where did he come from?

He was really so good looking. My heart went bump-bump .


TURNER: And it means that a soul has met.

COOPER (voice-over): A soul has met. And today Tina Turner's family released a statement that said she died peacefully after a long illness.

And, with her passing, the world loses a music legend.





GIOKOS (voice-over): Welcome back, I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi and you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Here are your headlines this hour.

The most wanted fugitive accused in the Rwandan genocide of 1994 has been arrested in South Africa. Fulgence Kayishema spent decades on the run. He

allegedly orchestrated the killing of more than 2,000 Tutsi refugees during that genocide that haunts Rwandans nearly 30 years later.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis is meeting with donors backing his newly launched 2024 presidential candidacy. He is also looking to recover from a

disappointing campaign rollout on Twitter Wednesday night, marred by delays as well as glitches.

Russia has launched a new wave of air raids across Ukraine using 36 Iranian drones but the Ukrainian president says none of the drones reached their

targets. Ukraine's air force command says Moscow was aiming for critical infrastructure and military sites in the west of Ukraine.

GIOKOS: Now the governor of Guam is urging residents to remain at home for now as Typhoon Mawar continues to move away from the island. No deaths or

major injuries are reported after the eye of storm passed just north of the small U.S. territory on Wednesday night.

But it still walloped Guam with strong winds and torrential rain. The power company says it has begun work to restore electricity after the storm

caused widespread outages. A local journalist tells CNN that the water supply has also been disrupted in some areas.



GIOKOS: Still ahead, racism has no place in football. Spanish fans of the beautiful game spell it out ahead of the latest Real Madrid game.