Return to Transcripts main page
Connect the World
Turkiye Backing Sweden at NATO; Ukraine Seeking NATO Membership; Israeli Protesters' "Day of Disruption"; U.S. Senate Hearing on Proposed PGA-LIV Merger; Firms Accused of Breaking Pledges to Leave Russia; Ukraine Wants More Ammo Quickly; Meta Cuts Part of Disinformation and Harassment Teams. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired July 11, 2023 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I am Eleni Giokos, live from Abu Dhabi, in for my colleague, Becky Anderson. This is
CONNECT THE WORLD.
Coming up this hour, a consequential NATO summit gets underway in Lithuania.
Ukraine repels a wave of attacks overnight.
Israelis protest against judicial overhaul.
And a Senate hearing on the controversial LIV Golf tournament gets underway in Washington.
GIOKOS: Well, the future of the world's most powerful military alliance is being shaped right now. Today's high stakes NATO summit is underway in
Vilnius, Lithuania. And more countries want in to the exclusive group.
Turkiye has now agreed to back Sweden's path to join after months blocking the bid. Of course, Sweden has long been militarily neutral but it
announced its intention to join the alliance months after Russia invaded Ukraine.
But it is Ukraine's path to membership that will likely dominate today, the agenda. And the Kremlin watching very closely. Earlier, it is said the
summit has, quote, "anti Russian" character.
President Biden is set to meet with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the summit tomorrow. Senior White House correspondent Arlette Saenz is
there for us right now.
We also have our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, in London, to put everything in global context for us.
Arlette, I want to start with you. We know that Zelenskyy has intensified his course for Ukraine to join the alliance. In fact, he put out a very
interesting tweet earlier today. The language is going to be important here. Biden, of course, has a wider goal at the summit.
What are the outcomes we are expecting from the United States in particular?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, President Biden is hoping to emerge from the summit with a strengthened and united NATO alliance, to
send a direct message to Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
The fact that Turkiye made this stunning reversal to approve Sweden's accession into NATO is just one of those symbols of unity and strength that
President Biden is trying to tout at this summit, here.
But that debate over Ukraine's eventual pathway to membership in NATO is really becoming a key flashpoint here in the discussions between leaders.
President Biden coming into the summit said it now is not the time for Ukraine to join the NATO alliance, citing the fact that the war is still
If it were to join at this moment, that would then drive NATO countries into direct conflict with Russia. He has also pointed out there are a
number of reforms that need to take place before Ukraine should be accepted into the alliance.
Earlier today, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said NATO allies will be ready to send a positive and united signal to Ukraine when it comes
to the idea of future membership within the alliance.
President Biden himself said that he agrees with the proposed language that has been put forth. We are still waiting to see exactly what that will look
like. We have seen this incredibly fiery response from Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, right before he arrived at the Senate.
He tweeted saying it is absurd that there is no timetable included in any language, regarding an invitation or membership for Ukraine to join NATO.
Zelenskyy has been seeking those security guarantees and a more concrete pathway for Ukraine to join the alliance.
This is likely to be a top item in the discussions between Biden and Zelenskyy tomorrow as the two men are set to sit face-to-face for a one-on-
one meeting here at the NATO summit.
Of course, President Biden also wants to talk about the endgame for this war and also the further security assistance, that not just the U.S. could
provide to Ukraine but also, NATO allies.
In about one hour, President Biden is expected to sit down with Turkish President Erdogan, following that stunning announcement we learned of last
night, just on the eve of this summit. Of course, the fact that Finland and Sweden will now --
SAENZ: -- soon be part of the alliance, is sending a key message to Putin, as the NATO alliance is now expanding and ramping up their deterrence
GIOKOS: Yes. A really good point there, Arlette Saenz, thank you so much for bringing us that reporting from Vilnius, Lithuania.
We've got Nic Robertson standing by for us, watching what is going on.
I have to say, so many handshakes, quite a unified NATO, more unified than we have seen in the past. And now, an extended NATO, really historic,
according to what Jens Stoltenberg is calling, in regards to Turkiye now finally opening the door to Sweden.
It's a big turn from what we heard yesterday, Turkiye saying E.U. membership or Sweden, they would not join the alliance. That was a big
block coming from Erdogan. I want you to give me a sense of how this came about. I know that Turkiye also walks away with F-16 fighter jets, which is
really big for Erdogan.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. Turkiye walks away with a number of things. President Erdogan came into this, as he comes into so
many international diplomatic situations, where there are things that he wants and needs.
And he sees an opportunity where he has a controlling voice. And obviously, for any country to join NATO, every NATO member has to be on board with it.
Therefore, he had that potential blocked veto and he used it to get what he wanted.
His language, yes, when he was arriving yesterday in Vilnius, really shocked everyone. This language that he wanted to get Turkiye into the
E.U., ahead of Sweden and into NATO.
As a result of this agreement that he gets from Sweden, is that Sweden will improve economic ties and relations with Turkiye, that it will allow armed
exports to Turkiye which it had blocked, that it will be a voice within the E.U., supporting Turkiye's agenda to join the E.U.
They didn't say they did not commit themselves to making it happen but just adding its voice to that process. And Turkiye, it certainly seems has got
from the United States F-16 upgrades that it wanted. Remember a few years ago, they're blocked from getting F-35s it wanted because they bought a
Russian air defense system, an S-400 system.
So Turkiye has gotten something that it wanted there, an upgrade. They also got a change in Sweden's constitution, a change in Sweden's laws, to
toughen up their own positions, Sweden's position on these terrorist groups that Turkiye sees within the Kurdish community, the PKK.
Now has a penalty on Sweden from other groups that Turkiye considers terrorist groups. So they got a lot from Turkiye, it got the F-16s. This
was bargaining by Zelenskyy. I think -- rather by Erdogan.
And on the point of President Zelenskyy, what he is saying is the discussion at the moment is about an invitation to join NATO -- not about
joining NATO. The very precise point is this leaves open in Russia's mind, therefore, that Ukraine's membership in NATO is not an absolute given.
And therefore this could be ultimately used in a negotiation to end the war or bring about an end of the war with Russia. Therefore, Russia would see
this as a point of weakness.
I think that is the point, when you drill down into what Zelenskyy said, that he is trying to get across, that it create that impression of
weakness. I think, there is a general alignment on the idea that you can't bring Ukraine into the war.
You cannot bring Ukraine into NATO when they are still at war. That is something that he understands as well. But he wants to shut down any wrong
impression because of being created in Moscow at the moment.
GIOKOS: And consensus on the wording is going to be important. Of course, we will keep track of everything that is going on in Lithuania at the NATO
summit, currently underway. Nic Robertson, always good to have you on and to get your insight.
Earlier, CNN asked the British defence secretary about Ukraine's ascension (sic) to NATO. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN WALLACE, U.K. SECRETARY OF STATE FOR DEFENCE: I totally agree with the United States. We can't have a new member in the middle of a conflict. That
would just import war into the alliance. And I think certainly that is the case.
We should, as we are all working together to make sure that Russia fails in its attack and its illegal invasion of Ukraine and we end up in a position
where we can then discuss the future.
But after this war, I think first of all, given we have an open door policy, it is important to state that we believe Ukraine does belong in
NATO. There are some steps that need to be met to get there.
WALLACE: Those steps would involve the likes of making sure that its military is up to standard. But we can see right now that its military is
up to standard. They have taken on a vast superior sized Russian force and held it a heavy defeat.
So I think overall, Ukraine is not far off membership but we are in an alliance of by then 32, when everyone has to move at the same pace. But in
Britain's point of view, Ukraine belongs in NATO. But we agree with the White House, we have to wait until this conflict is over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Just hours ahead of the NATO summit, Russia continued its relentless assault on Ukraine. Air raid sirens went off in Kyiv overnight into Tuesday
morning, as the city says they repelled more than 2 dozen Russian drone strikes.
Ukraine's military also reported a barrage of shelling in the Kherson region. CNN's Melissa Bell is following the latest developments for us.
All of this is happening on the ground while we are seeing conversations intensifying. Importantly, we saw the tweet from Zelenskyy.
To read some of it, he says, "It is unprecedented and absurd when timeframe is not set, neither for the invitation nor for Ukraine's membership while,
at the same time, vague wording about conditions."
We just heard from the U.K. defense minister, essentially talking about, you know, Ukraine needs to join NATO but not again committing to timelines
here. I want you to take me through what this means for Ukraine at this juncture.
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the important thing, the remarkable thing at this stage is that NATO allies seem to have
agreed on the difficult wording of a compromise, which will signal strongly not just that the interoperability of Ukrainian and NATO forces will be
pursued or, indeed, that the first NATO Ukraine council will be held since President Zelenskyy has now arrived in Vilnius.
And will be attending that, a historic first council meeting. But more importantly, that the normally, fairly stringent, lengthy process of the
map, which is the membership accession plan, which essentially forces a country that is joining to carry out crucial reforms within its military,
political reforms as well, ahead of its joining, has been scrapped.
And that I would've said just a few days ago, would have been a fairly ambitious plan. Indeed it was and Jens Stoltenberg announced it at the
outset of this summit, as divided as it was over a number of different questions.
On one hand, you have that remarkable show of unity ahead of what is likely to be a historic communique but on the other hand, there is also words from
President Zelenskyy himself.
He tweeted, as he set off toward Vilnius, expressing his frustrations, his impatience. Because of course, as we keep hearing from Ukrainian officials,
and we have done over the weeks and months, any time that is wasted in bringing some of that crucial equipment on more Ukrainian lives lost.
You can understand from their point of view, their impatience, their desire to be more strongly within NATO, and to send some more clearly still, more
strongly still the signal to Moscow that will happen clearly and seamlessly.
So there is this very difficult balancing act going on, it has gone on behind the scenes, between those member states, the United States and
Germany amongst them, urging caution and time and asking for patience.
And on the other of the Baltic states, some of those nations within Europe on the eastern flank of NATO, that are all too painfully aware of some of
the difficulties for the Ukrainian people, in seeking to extricate themselves from Moscow's sphere of influence.
This is the very history of the Baltic states. So these countries have been arguing much more forcefully, that they should go quicker in line with the
impatience that you heard there from President Zelenskyy.
Yet, here he is in Vilnius, for what will be a historic occasion. And again, the fact of the council tonight, the fact of the first family photo
tomorrow is a pretty substantial win for NATO and for President Zelenskyy.
GIOKOS: Absolutely. It will be an interesting one to watch. And of course, President Zelenskyy did say he does not want to go to the NATO summit just
for fun. So as we wait for these bilateral conversations, we are waiting to hear from NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, soon, I think.
It'll be interesting, Melissa Bell, always great to have you. And we will hear from Stoltenberg in a moment. He is expected to hold a news conference
from that summit. We will bring you that as soon as it happens, keep watching CONNECT THE WORLD. We will have that live for you, from Vilnius,
Plus, we have got insight on all of the subtle political moves at the NATO gathering from our senior politics reporter, Stephen Collinson. He is
writing that the U.S. President has already secured a big win from his trip to Europe.
GIOKOS: One that will weaken Russia's strategic position. Find us at cnn.com or through the CNN app on your smartphone.
Still to come, more protests and arrests in Israel against the Netanyahu's government judicial overhaul plans. We have a live report.
And PGA officials defend the proposed merger with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf circuit.
What are the issues?
What is at stake?
Human rights and big money. Stay tuned.
GIOKOS: Welcome back.
In Israel, protesters are marching in multiple cities for what organizers are calling a day of disruption and resistance, against the Netanyahu's
government judicial overhaul plans.
So far, dozens of people have been arrested, according to Israeli police. The massive protests come after Israel's parliament gave initial approval
to a measure on Monday, that is part of a larger package of reform plans.
Critics say it could undermine democracy, the sweeping overhaul includes changing the composition of the committee that selects judges, so that the
government of the day has effective control, removing independent, legal advisers, whose decisions are binding, from government ministries and
stripping the supreme court of the power to declare government decisions unreasonable.
Hadas Gold joins us now. Take a look at what is happening on the ground.
You are at Ben Gurion airport. We see a lot of action behind you. It is very loud. Look, this is the first vote in the city, more reaction from
protesters, something that has been ongoing since the reaction. Tell me what we have seen in the last 24 hours.
HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I am at the airport, this is the arrivals level. But it feels as though the protesters have
essentially taken over the airport. There must be thousands of them here.
People are moving back away from them, because as you can hear, even from where we are standing, the noise is absolutely immense. It has not let up
for the past several hours.
Now this is just part of this national day of disruption. These protesters are calling it. It started in the early morning and it will keep going
throughout the evening across the country. From downtown Tel Aviv to smaller cities and towns across the country.
Now the protests have been going on for months. They have never stopped. But the reason why they are particularly amped up today is because of that
legislation you mentioned, that passed yesterday on its first of three required readings.
This is just one piece of this judicial overhaul, the coalition government now pushing for this overhaul plan in a slow, piecemeal fashion. What they
ruled last night, what they tried to vote on last night, would essentially try to strip the supreme court's ability of declaring government actions as
GOLD: Right now, the supreme court has rather broad powers to say even if the government does not necessarily break a law in its movement or actions,
they could declare it unreasonable.
The legislation has essentially been frozen for months after the massive general strikes in March. The defense minister coming out against the
overhaul plan. They were frozen. There was time made for negotiations with the opposition.
But those negotiations don't seem to lead anywhere. That is why you have the government coalition and Benjamin Netanyahu pushing forward with this
legislation. Now they stepped away, at least they are probably saying they are stepping away for some of the most controversial aspects of this
Mainly the ability for parliament to overturn Supreme Court decisions. But the protesters and the opposition actually just don't believe Benjamin
Netanyahu or the government when they say that this will be a softer reform package.
That's why they are out here getting even louder behind me now, because they want to see this overhaul completely on the table. Now the government,
Benjamin Netanyahu says some sort of performances necessary. If needed, they said they (INAUDIBLE) last election, they have the vote and they will
push forward with this.
But as we have seen, even allies like the United States are very concerned about the judicial reforms. People out on the streets are very concerned.
They say they will keep protesting. Some have even said they plan to pitch tents in Tel Aviv tonight so they can have a more permanent protest. Eleni.
GIOKOS: All right. Hadas Gold thank you for that report.
Right now, in Washington, two PGA tour officials are being grilled by a U.S. Senate panel. They are answering questions about the proposed merger
with the Saudi funded LIV Golf circuit. The proposed deal is under intense scrutiny.
One of the issues is Saudi Arabia's human rights record, including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Joining us now with more is
Bob Harig, he covers golf for "Sports Illustrated" and is the author of "Tiger & Phil, Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry" and our pro golf player is
saying, well, the question is, what do pro golf's saying about this merger?
I have to -- I want to delve into what we are hearing at this -- in Congress right now.
Has anything been standing out for you at this stage?
BOB HARIG, AUTHOR: Well, the players, for the most part, are in the dark. I think they have as many questions about all this as we do. Five weeks
ago, now it was sprung on them, just as surprisingly as the rest of the world. Nobody saw this coming.
It was negotiated very secretly among only a few people on each side. The framework agreement really kind of leaves a lot of questions, probably more
questions than there are answers at this point.
I am guessing that's why the PGA Tour officials are in front of that subcommittee today, trying to get some answers from them about what this
GIOKOS: Look, as the Senate hearing gets underway, these questions will be vital in understanding the reasoning behind this. As you mentioned, many
players were blindsided by this decision.
What do you believe the pro golfers will be thinking about down the line?
And will we know if the likes of other players, saying this will be good for the game, say, 10 years down the line, that, in the long term, we need
HARIG: I think that is probably the talking point that the tour leadership will be making to the players. Is that long term, you will be better off
for this. In the short term, there are a lot of hurt feelings because, for a year plus, the players have been hearing the tour leadership tell them,
frankly, everything that is evil about Saudi Arabia.
And why joining them is, you know, a decision that will be on your conscience, that we are the good guys and they are the bad guys, that sort
of thing. There were other arguments probably they could have made that were not of the moral and political nature.
Obviously the PGA Tour has been very successful. It has offered a great platform for these guys. There's a lot of money to be made in golf, a lot
more money has been thrown into the game because of the PIF.
And then for them to then turn around and then make an agreement with the same people who they have been criticizing for a year, without any
knowledge whatsoever, obviously did not go over very well.
But I think again, what does it really mean in terms of their financial futures?
Like how will it benefit them?
What is the fallout of all of this?
You know, there is still so much to be decided. The government getting involved makes it murky as well.
GIOKOS: Bob, how do you think this will affect the dynamics of the industry?
I mean, that is the big question.
So how are you tallying this up?
HARIG: Well, in terms of golf in general, just the game of golf, you know, it is healthy. You know, COVID really gave golf a boost. It was an activity
that you could do outdoors. People took it up in droves and that growth has not subsided. It is very, very popular among the masses.
I think what this has done -- this is a professional golf issue. Sort of the control of professional golf as a worldwide sport and who is going to
have the control.
And what is that PIF money going to do?
How much control might it buy?
I've noticed that fans on either side are, you, know there is a very strong loyalty on the PGA Tour among some. There's also another faction that is
very much in favor of the LIV part of this, the LIV Golf part of this. They craved new alternative formats in golf, which LIV is. It's only 54 holes,
shots and starts. They are taking it around the world.
The PGA Tour is very domestically centered in the U.S. Obviously they have some events outside. I'm at one right now in Scotland. But this is rare.
And so you know there's been a lot of rhetoric --
GIOKOS: -- so the PGA is a nonprofit. Now as you mentioned, it will be under the Sovereign World Fund, the Saudi Sovereign World Fund. I have to
say, one thing I have just noticed is, anything to do with LIV Golf, the money is incredibly higher than what we have ever seen before in terms of
paying players and the prize money.
It is fascinating to see what kind of figures are attached to LIV.
HARIG: No question. Cam Smith just won that event in London and made $4 million, on a $20 million dollar purse. Next week's open, one of the four
biggest tournaments in golf, the winner probably won't even make half that.
That's one of the biggest tournaments there is. One thing that I should clarify is the PGA Tour's a nonprofit status, that part of the tour is
expected to remain the same.
These other things are like a side venture, forming a separate for profit venture called PGA Tour Enterprises, under which the PGA Tour, the BP World
Tour, which is a European tour and LIV Golf, they would all come under that.
How that will look, what that will mean, those questions are all over the map but we really don't know.
GIOKOS: Bob, I was just curious. Look, PGA, to a board member recently quit over serious concern over this deal. We have spoken about the human
rights issues, the track record of Saudi Arabia. I think the players themselves have been very concerned about associating themselves with LIV
Golf in the past.
What does this mean for pro players who will basically essentially have no choice but to align themselves if they want to keep on playing at this
level, with the PGA, that is now going to be aligned with LIV?
HARIG: Yes, well, that is a great question because, if you want to play, if you want to be part of the PGA tour, one of the talking points was the
negativity of Saudi and the PIF. Now you are being told that, hey, we are partnering with them; at least they plan to, they want to try to.
So the moral question then becomes do I give up my livelihood to support that?
You know, I am guessing that most of them will not. That is why they are probably upset. They have been put in a tough spot. They've been talking
against it for some of those reasons or a lot of them have. Now they are being told this is what we are going to do.
And if you want to be a part of this, look, this is part of worldwide golf, how -- there are really no alternatives for them.
GIOKOS: Bob, great to have you on. Thank you so very much for your insights. As you can see, the Senate hearing is currently underway. I am
sure we will know more about the outcomes in the next day or so.
Just ahead, unity is a word that is getting a lot of play at today's NATO summit. But try telling that to Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, why the
gathering in Lithuania is so critical and why Volodymyr Zelenskyy is so angry. We will explain, next.
GIOKOS (voice-over): Welcome, back I'm Eleni Giokos in Abu Dhabi. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Here are your headlines. This hour.
Waiting for NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg to speak soon. The alliance is holding a historic summit in Lithuania. U.S. President, Joe Biden,
applauding NATO as not only bigger and stronger but more united. And this follows Turkiye's stunning about face, lifting its block of Sweden to
In Israel, protesters are calling today a day of disruption and resistance. Israelis across multiple cities are demonstrating against the Netanyahu
government's judicial overhaul plans. Today's protests come after parliament gave initial approval to a measure that is part of a larger
package of reform plans.
A hearing is underway in Washington as U.S. lawmakers question the proposed mega merger between the PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf.
The kingdom's human rights record. On Monday, a PGA Tour board member quit over serious concerns with the Saudi deal.
GIOKOS: The White House says president Joe Biden, supports the sale of f- 16 fighter jets to Turkiye without caveats or conditions. It is a significant development as world leaders gather in Lithuania today for the
high stakes NATO summit.
It comes a day after Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan Erdogan, in an historic about face said he'll back Sweden's bid to join the military
alliance. The NATO chief says President Erdogan has agreed to turn the process over to Turkiye's parliament for final approval as soon as
The Swedish prime minister calls it a very big step toward his country's NATO membership.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ULF KRISTERSSON, SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER: Now we are promoting closer economic bonds and modernizing the customs union, providing better visa
regulations and so forth. I think there is a fertile (ph) ground for close cooperations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GIOKOS: Right, CNN's Salma Abdelaziz has the latest from London.
A big move; I don't think people really anticipated it would happen this quickly, that Erdogan would shift. But the question now becomes, is the
U.S. decision to sell F-16 fighter jets to Turkiye in some way tied into Erdogan's opening --
GIOKOS: -- the door for Sweden to become an alliance member?
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If you ask some NATO partners, observers, they will tell you the answer is absolutely yes. Turkiye has
made no secret that it is tying the sale of F-16s by the U.S. to allow Sweden to join NATO.
In, fact President Biden in his interview with Fareed Zakaria just a couple of days ago seemed to hint at this link. But he captured it in terms of
President Biden said -- and I'm paraphrasing here -- that he wanted to form a consensus that allowed NATO to have greater military capacity through the
sale of F-16s to Turkiye, while also opening the door for Sweden to join.
Of course you're going to see a lot of smiles at the NATO summit in Lithuania to this big announcement, a lot of frowns, a lot of hand-wringing
at the Kremlin. Now you will know, if you take a step back, that President Erdogan has, throughout this conflict, throughout the Ukraine war, tried to
play this delicate balancing act.
Trying to grow, improve what he calls his special relationship with President Putin, posing himself as a powerbroker at times during the
conflict, while also trying to maintain his relationship with Western partners.
There is a very important reason for this. There is more than $60 billion of trade between Russia and Turkiye, something President Erdogan cannot
afford to lose, particularly with economic problems back home.
Turkiye is experiencing sky-high inflation and a weakened currency but again, he needs to also, on the world stage, President Erdogan, continue to
work with his Western partners.
This NATO summit is an opportunity for President Erdogan, ever the pragmatist, to extract maximum concessions from NATO, at a time when they
want to appear bigger and stronger than ever.
But it comes at a very sensitive time for President Putin, who may now appear weaker than ever with an attempted mutiny and an insurrection that
occurred just a couple of weeks ago.
The bigger question here, is President Erdogan shifting his position on Russia?
Is he turning his back to President Putin?
I'm not a mind reader, of course. But it's most likely that we're looking at a President Erdogan who is playing yet another balancing act and willing
to take this moment, this opportunity to gain something, that concession for the F-16s that he's long wanted from the United States.
GIOKOS: Playing both sides perhaps. It will be interesting to see how he will be shifting on his relationship with Putin. You want to watch for,
Salma Abdelaziz great to have you on. Thank you.
We are watching for the NATO meeting in Vilnius to break for the day. After that, Secretary Jens Stoltenberg is planning to speak to reporters, we will
bring it back to you live as soon as it starts.
Meantime Norway calling this critical, some historic, saying, for the first time ever, the entire Nordic region will be inside NATO. Of course, this
follows Turkiye's stunning about face of Sweden, which we've been telling you about.
Some observers talking to CNN say Turkiye is an unusual NATO ally; after all, it flirts with Russian leader, Vladimir Putin. And Putin is scheduled
to meet with the Turkish president next month. We will be watching that meeting absolutely closely as well.
No one is watching the ins and outs of this summit more closely than CNN's Nic Robertson. He joins us live.
It is incredible to see some of the outcomes already. I think we went into today wondering what Turkiye would do. Of course, now this opens the door
for Sweden to join NATO. But it needs to go through the Turkish parliament.
Hungary has not voted as yet, so it's a few more steps. The point is we're looking at a potentially larger NATO and absolutely more united than we've
ROBERTSON: Yes, and the NATO that has a long border now from one sea in the Baltic down all the way down to the Black Sea that is bordering Russia
and Belarus, which is an incredible thing.
I think when it comes to Turkiye and NATO, Turkiye has been a hugely valuable player and part of NATO. It has a massive world trained military
and it is a Muslim nation. And that was advantageous to NATO following the September 11th attacks in the United States, 2001.
The first of the NATO troops that arrived in uniform on the streets to provide peacekeeping and security in Kabul were Turkish forces because they
were seen as NATO --
ROBERTSON: -- as the best country to go into Afghanistan and be at the spearhead of NATO's what became a massive and long deployment, almost 20
years. So they had been a critical player.
And Erdogan is aware of that. But everyone NATO is aware of Erdogan as well, the way he tries to play the situation to get what he wants. And Jens
Stoltenberg has been optimistic and pushed the discussions between Turkiye and Sweden and Finland to try to encourage and bring Sweden -- to bring
He had always seemed optimistic. Even when others hadn't. He talked about the possibility of positive outcomes. In the end, it seems he was proven
correct. And perhaps that is why he's been really heavily pressured to take another year's extended leadership of NATO.
GIOKOS: Nic Robertson, always good to have you, on we will be touching base with you a little bit later, we're waiting for Jens Stoltenberg's
press conference happening at some point in the next hour or so.
Now a widely available app used by runners and cyclers may have helped the assailant of a Russian submarine commander killed while jogging. One of his
regular routes appears on an account in his name in the Strata app.
CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of that account. Now he reportedly was shot dead in the southern city of Krasnodar by an unknown
person. A Russian media op-ed says the killer planned the attack to avoid being seen on security cameras.
Coming, up the companies still doing business in Russia after pledging to leave over the invasion of Ukraine. We will take a look at some of them.
That's up next.
Some Western companies are being outed for breaking their promises to leave Russia. Yale researchers said big names like Heineken, Unilever and Nestle
among others are still there. Matt Egan joins me now live.
Leaving means dismantling value chains, supply chains.
MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS SENIOR WRITER: That's right. Leaving Russia is one of the things that is easy to say but hard to actually do. This is a big
deal, Yale naming and shaming some companies. Yale professor Jeff Sonnenfeld says they're not breaking the law but they are breaking a moral
code. Listen to what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF SONNENFELD, YALE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT: It's beyond disappointing to the point of shameful and unethical.
They're breaking their promises, functioning as wartime profiteers, benefiting from the mass slaughter of innocent civilians, showing no
concern for their most valued resource, the trust of the institution, the character of the brand. So they're self-immolating their own brand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EGAN: Strong words there. His research is based on whistleblowers, corporate documents, even students that are inside of Russia right now. He
said Heineken, is, quote, "the poster child for this problem," because Heineken promised back in March of 2022 to get out of Russia.
And here, we are 500 days plus, into this brutal war in Ukraine. And Heineken still has, according to Yale, seven breweries inside of Russia,
employing 1,800 people. I reached out to Heineken.
And they said in a statement that the war in Ukraine is, quote, "a terrible human tragedy." They say they are still committed to leaving Russia and
that they actually had a deal in recent months, a potential, deal to sell their assets in Russia.
But Heineken says they have yet to get regulatory approval from authorities in Russia. That has been a common theme, that Russia has made it hard to
get out. They put up legal regulatory obstacles.
Another company called out by Yale is Unilever, the company behind Dove soap and Ben and Jerry's ice cream. They pledged back in early 2022 to only
sell essential goods. But research finds they are selling ice cream and other items that hardly be considered essential.
Unilever declined comment but they did point to a statement a few months ago, where they said they don't want to hurt their employees who are still
in Russia. I brought that point up to Jeff Sonnenfeld from Yale and he, said, look. That's the whole point. here we want to make things
uncomfortable for people in Russia so that they look around and ask themselves who is causing this misfortune for them.
GIOKOS: Yes, it's interesting that it seems to be more weighted on the FMCG space. Matt, interesting findings, I'm sure you're going to be asking
a lot more questions of these multinationals. Great to have you on. Thank you.
Germany has announced a $717 million military aid package to Ukraine as the NATO summit kicks off. The pledge includes thousands of rounds of
ammunition. It comes as Ukrainian fighters train up on new Western weapons that have already been given. Ben Wedeman reports.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is practice, preparing for a battle just a short drive away on Ukraine's
WEDEMAN (voice-over): For an army long trained in the use of Soviet era weapons, it's a time of transition to the latest arms to arrive from the
West: an American made grenade launcher; an American made 50 caliber machine gun.
WEDEMAN: This exercise is designed to bring together troops fresh from the front around Bakhmut with new recruits to show them how it's done.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Veteran soldier Denys (ph) explains the finer points of the machine gun to recruits fresh, not all young. On the eve of the NATO
summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, with the counteroffensive here moving ahead slowly, Ukraine is pressing for more help and the troops here have some
DENYS (PH), GUNNER, 57TH BRIGADE: We need many, many weapons, almost a week of.
WEDEMAN: This commander -- callsign Monckton (ph) -- puts it this way.
"The Russians have an immense amount of old Soviet weapons," he says. "They just throw a massive metal at us. We can't overcome them this way. We need
quality and precision."
Nearby, other recruits are rehearsing an assault, jumping out of an old Soviet era armored personnel carrier, advancing under the watchful eye of
Mykola (ph) served in the Soviet Army, then drove a tractor for decades before joining the Ukrainian army a year ago. He says NATO should provide
something newer than his old Soviet workhorse.
"It's as old as the two of us."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can believe it.
WEDEMAN: Mykola (ph) has simple advice for the new troops: move fast and stay low. And for NATO, just move fast -- Ben Wedeman, CNN, eastern
GIOKOS: Layoffs at Meta raising concerns, just ahead of the 2022 elections. The cuts. It may mean what they mean for countering
disinformation on elections around the world. We will be right back.
GIOKOS: Meta has cut part of its team that oversee disinformation and harassment.
GIOKOS: That raises concerns about what will happen on Meta's platforms during elections next year in the U.S., Ukraine, India and other places
around the world. A spokesperson tells CNN that protecting the U.S. 2024 elections remains a top priority. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan, joins me live.
Protecting elections remains a priority.
But can it be done with the watered down team?
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN TECH CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, on top of all of, this of course, in the past week, Meta has launched a brand-new platform,
an entirely new global platform, although it's not available in the European Union just yet, called Threads. It has 100 million users.
So look, they are making these cuts; they are making cuts across the company, as there are cuts across Silicon Valley. But while also adding on
a new platform, Meta has had an election team, particularly after 2016, when we learned so much about how Russian troll accounts were trying to
supposedly meddle in the U.S. presidential election here.
Meta took that pretty seriously and they hired a lot of people. They hired former U.S. government and intelligence officials to root out these
sophisticated covert misinformation and disinformation campaigns on their platforms.
They've generally been seen as doing some of the best work in this space and the most transparent work in the space. Some of the people that we've
spoken to about insight and people who have recently left the company say there are still teams in, place but there are concerns, given just how much
this problem and challenge is evolving.
Now there's going to be the introduction of artificially -- misinformation generated through artificial intelligence, that it's really not the right
time to be cutting teams.