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G7 Leaders Pledge Long-term Security Commitments for Ukraine; Biden Meets with Zelenskyy about Ukraine's Path into NATO; Over 60 Million Americans under Heat Alerts; Record Highs in China, Flooding in Northern India; Russia and Cuba Seek to Strengthen Ties; Document Ruled to be Aretha Franklin's True Will. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired July 12, 2023 - 10:00   ET




ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I'm Eleni Giokos, live from Abu Dhabi, in for my colleague, Becky Anderson. This is CONNECT


Coming up this hour, G7 allies make a major announcement in support of Ukraine.

U.S. inflation cooled in June.

Extreme weather across Asia and the southern U.S.

And it is an action packed day as we move on.


GIOKOS: Long term support protection for Ukraine from some of the strongest militaries in the world, that commitment is coming out of the

NATO summit in Lithuania. G7 members pledging security assistance and modern equipment to help Ukraine defeat Russia and protect itself against

future threats.

President Biden says the U.S. G7 nations will keep building its own powerful military while it waits to be allowed into NATO. As you can see,

at the NATO summit right now, President Zelenskyy and President Biden.

We are waiting for a bilateral meeting to commence very shortly and we will bring you that as it happens. We are watching that closely. We have team

coverage of all of these developments as well. International diplomatic editor Nic Robertson has more on President Zelenskyy's push for Ukraine to

join NATO.

We've also got Melissa Bell in Vilnius as well.

I am just watching live pictures out of Vilnius, President Biden and President Zelenskyy, let's listen to them.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've all got a sense today from my colleagues that how much -- how much support you have. It's real

and I hope we have finally put to bed the notion about whether or not Ukraine is welcome in NATO.

It will happen, we are moving in the right direction. I think it's is just a matter of getting by the next few months here. So thank, you thank you,

thank you.

And it is hard to believe, 500 days. It is easy for me, this mostly I've been in Ukraine a lot before the war and some sense of the war but I would

say, again, what I have said to you many times.

Not only all of you but your people, your sons, your daughters, your husbands, your wives, your friends. You are incredible. Ukraine, the whole

world seeing the courage. I mean this from the bottom of my heart, the courage and commitment for the average Ukrainian.

When you see a 65-year-old woman on television after her apartment has been bombed out, picking up the pieces and going to help the next door neighbor,

I mean, it is just astounding. You set an example for the whole world of what constitutes genuine courage. I mean that, from the bottom of my heart.

I mean that, what courage means.

And I think it is your resilience and your resolve has been a model for the whole world to see. And the frustration, I can only imagine. I know, many

times, you're frustrated about when things with me get to you quickly enough and what is getting to, you and how we are getting there.

But I promise you. The United States is doing everything we can to get you what you need as rapidly as we can get it to you. And the Secretary of

Defense has been a constant-- how can I say it?

Refrain from the Defense Department (INAUDIBLE) and calling other secretaries of defense around the world to say let's get some help. So I

just want you to know it's real. And here, in Vilnius we held a first, as you well know, native Ukraine council.

But you and I have talked about this beforehand, about the commitments, the security commitments we were going to make, while it becomes official,

until it becomes official. And I think that is important.

And I want to tell you, when I got here, Mr. President, and I started to sell that idea to other heads of state, there was no reluctance. There was

no, I don't (INAUDIBLE). Everybody just said, OK, let's sign on. So it's real. You've done an enormous job. You have a lot more to do, I know.

And I just think that we are going to make sure that you get what you need. And I look forward to the day when we are having a meeting, celebrating

your official membership in NATO. So thank you for what you are doing.


BIDEN: And the bad news for you is we are not going anywhere.


BIDEN: You are stuck with us. So thank you.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Thank, you very much, Mr. President. I will start -- you said about 500 days. Is really -- really a

difficult job for our people. Soldiers and civilians, mothers, fathers and children, really to apply for their life, for their heart (ph) and


And thank you very much for all these days you are with us, I mean, you and Americans (INAUDIBLE), Americans and Congress, I mean, thank you,

(INAUDIBLE) that you, like we say, shoulder to shoulder with us, from until the days of full-scale war, we appreciate for this very much.

And really, really we understand your leading support, because when you give such messages and when you gave sometimes some weapon, I'm sorry that

-- but I want to say to journalists, I said during our meeting, our council, that it is very simple to criticize, for example, clusters

ammunition, which you made decision, a difficult political decision.

But it's -- but you have to know that Russia used such weapon from the first days, not only full-scale war from (INAUDIBLE) of occupation of

Crimea in (INAUDIBLE) 2015, in all of our territories. They have badly used it and now they continue doing.

And that you gave us this decision will help us to save us. And that is why my appreciation for that. And I didn't hear from all the parts of the world

when Russia began to use it. I didn't hear that some of countries criticized Russia, you know.

But I think it was very useful to present (ph). So thank you so much for this help. We really counted on it, not only on this, I mean this totally

and giving us huge support. I want to thank to all Americans who understand that it is more than $43 billion for today. It is big support.

And I understand that this all your money but you have to know that you spend this money for not just for fighting, you spend this money for our

lives. And I think that we save the large part for Europe and for all the world. So thank you very much for this summit.

At the end of the summit, we had I think this council and great success and security guarantees, as you said, that we began to speak about it in Kyiv.

And so, now we see that you had -- you have great idea, that G7.

And now I know that last message, that also there are countries which join to G7 decisions. And I think it will help us very much because it will

really affect that. It's very (INAUDIBLE). So thank you.

BIDEN: Well, thank you and thank you for acknowledging the American people. I think it is correct that we are a large country. We have maybe

given more than every other nation combined in terms of assistance and cost.

And the American people are supportive. They are supportive because they know it is about you, it is about more than you. It is about innocent

people around the world and the absolute brutality with which Putin is acting.

And the Russians are moving on it, it just sounds like something out of the 14th century. And so but I can't emphasize enough.

And by the way, I know you thanked them but I think we talked about it before I went to Tokyo years, more, a couple years ago, the idea that

Kishida is increasing their defense budget. I mean, lower their domestic budget to aid directly and get directly involved with what is happening in

Ukraine is remarkable.


BIDEN: The sad, sad, news is you are in the situation. The incredible news is that it is bringing the world together. It is bringing the world

together in a way that's a hell of a price to pay. But it is bringing the world together.

And people are realizing that you just can't stand by and let this kind of aggression occur. At any rate, I thank you and we've got a lot to talk

about. So somebody's going to have to say the press has to leave.


QUESTION: President Zelenskyy, are you satisfied with what you got from NATO?

You were so frustrated yesterday.


QUESTION: Are you satisfied, sir?


ZELENSKYY: (INAUDIBLE). We had great unity from our leaders and security guarantees, the success for this summit. I think so but it's my opinion,

thank you.

QUESTION: President Zelenskyy, after the war, would you like to be in NATO?

How soon after the war would you like to join NATO?

BIDEN: An hour and 20 minutes.


BIDEN: You guys ask such good questions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, you guys have to get out. There you go, thank you.

GIOKOS: Right, the queue for the media to leave, as you can see, the press having a lot of questions for President Zelenskyy and President Biden. They

really important conversation that they are about to have, bilateral at the NATO summit, currently underway in Vilnius, in Lithuania.

Some of the comments that we heard there from President Biden. "The bad news is that we are here to stay." He says Ukraine will join NATO but it is

just a matter of time. The timing has to be right. He was talking about, can you believe, it is 500 days into this war.

President Zelenskyy, a more conciliatory tone that we are hearing coming through today. He thanks the people of America and he says you're spending

the money on saving Ukrainian lives, that it is very vital.

We've got Nic Robertson standing by to give us a bit more analysis on this meeting.

A very different mode and tone from President Zelenskyy today, deal after deal, commitment after commitment for Ukraine.

Will he be satisfied with what is on the table?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: He said he is. He said that this is a victory, that he and the other Ukrainians have come to the NATO

summit, taking back to the Ukrainian people.

You know, I was struck there and you get a sense of how these conversations can go behind closed doors between the leaders.

And President Biden, while thanking President Zelenskyy for everything he had done, there was a very sort of soft chastisement at the top, if you

will, a recognition of the language that President Zelenskyy used yesterday.

And in particular, when President Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, was asked a very tough question from a Ukrainian journalist

earlier today about joining NATO or not joining NATO, President Biden said, I've heard from some of my colleagues that basically the strength of

feeling that the people have behind you.

I respect that. I understand that. He said I understand your frustrations, that you may not always get the weapons that you want when you want them.

And you got a sense there that there is a chemistry between these two men, that there is a genuine understanding of each other's positions. And

President Zelenskyy as you said there, thanking President Biden.

And I think for Zelenskyy, why he feels -- and that was kind of the last question that he answered there, why he feels that he's got what he wanted

or it works, because of the G7 security statement, the umbrella statement.

If you can go right track, right to the bottom of that document, the second last line says that essentially, these security guarantees are going to go

ahead until you come into the Euro Atlantic group. It didn't say NATO; it means NATO. That is the subtext here.

So Zelenskyy wanting a timeline, wanting definitive from NATO, gets more or less that in the G7 and gets that level of understanding there in the

conversation with President Biden. So plus all those military packages he got this morning, plus now the future prospect of these bilateral

conversations, G7 and other countries, to give them longer term security commitments.

He's got a lot. But absolutely, he's going to keep on about wanting to get that timeline and get into NATO, if not just for longer term political

reasons that there will be elections next year. And he doesn't want to be left out in the cold if one particular leader changes around the world --


ROBERTSON: -- around -- within the NATO membership, that could end up blocking him. He doesn't want that. So he wants that level of certainty.

GIOKOS: Yes, really fascinating. He also mentioned, look. We had to make tough decisions.

It's very easy to criticize supplying us with cluster munitions, the decision that to be made. So much to discuss between Zelenskyy and Biden.

We will be keeping a close watch on those conversations. Nic Robertson, we will have you back later in the show to give us more analysis. Great to

have you on.

Mr. Biden is also set to speak at Vilnius University in the coming hours. We will bring you that live when it happens.

Just ahead, is the world's biggest economy getting a grip on inflation?

Fed watchers want to know and we will explain next.

Plus, looking to cool off from the soaring temperatures in China. Some areas are dealing with record heat.




GIOKOS: Welcome back.

Temperatures are rising across much of the U.S. More than 60 million people from California to Florida are under some type of heat alert today. After a

gloomy spring, California's heat is building and expected to continue over the weekend.

Texas will see its peak heat Thursday and Friday. And the heat index in Florida is topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius.



GIOKOS: Much of Asia is also facing extreme weather. China is grappling with excessive heat. The state energy company says power generated in a

single day reached historic highs Monday. Beijing is facing one of its hottest summers on record, with temperatures soaring past 40 degrees in

recent days.

And in northern India, officials say flash flooding and landslides have left at least 41 people dead. The Dalai Lama released a statement saying he

is deeply saddened about the situation in his home state, which is experiencing the brunt of the flooding. Anna Coren reports.


ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The rolling front line of the global climate crisis, right now, stretches through Asia from

Japan and China to India.

Across the continent, stifling heat is giving way to torrential rain, swollen rivers and mudslides. In northern India, dozens of people have been

killed in raging floodwaters. Bridges, cars and homes crushed in Hamatru Pradesh (ph). Roads flooded and washed away; survivors left to pick through

the wreckage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There was so much rain and flooding, it was hard to evacuate our families to a safe place because this

area was inundated with water. All our belongings were swept away by the floodwater into the river.

COREN (voice-over): Authorities across Asia and around the world are now being forced to treat the symptoms of a climate emergency with no immediate


SIMON BRADSHAW, CLIMATE COUNCIL: This is all a harrowing warning about what is at stake and why it's so important to do everything possible to

respond to the climate crisis.

COREN (voice-over): In Japan, eight people have been killed in landslides and flooding just this month. Houses have washed away, hospitals have

flooded, electricity and water has been cut off. The downpours, the heaviest they've ever been on the mountainous island of Kyushu, where the

forecast is for more rain.

BRADSHAW: We are living in an age of consequences for the past inaction on climate change. We are seeing this playing out all over the world. Every

community is affected. But there is still so much we can do to limit future harms.


COREN (voice-over): No one nation holds the solution to the climate crisis for China. The world's largest emitter of greenhouse gas holds more sway

than most. The China Energy Investment Corporation, the world's largest coal fired power generation company, says it produced more electricity on

Monday than on any other day in the past.

Hundreds of millions in China are sweltering, through what could once again be the country's hottest ever summer. And it is not just people who need

protecting as our world gets warmer -- Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.


GIOKOS: Some encouraging economic numbers from the United States. Inflation in America cooled in June for a 12th straight month. The U.S.

consumer price growth sliding to its lowest level in more than two years.

Those inflation numbers are making a splash on Wall Street and on the European stock markets, as you can see. We are firmly in the green.

But what will the Fed make of it?

We are dissecting the numbers and reading the interest rate tea leaves with CNN's Rahel Solomon, who also has a crystal ball, I hear, that can predict

what the Fed is going to be doing next.


GIOKOS: But let's look at the actual data.

What does it tell us in terms of what we could see from interest rates?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think if you're sitting at the Fed right now, you're thinking, this is good but not good

enough. But it does show yet another month of cooling, as you pointed out; the 12 consecutive month of annual inflation cooling on a monthly basis.

Prices increased 0.2 percent; on an annual basis, prices increased 3 percent. The index increased 3 percent. I want to put this in perspective

and we can talk about the concept.

If you look at the last few years this line chart of CPI, you can see a year ago exactly, the June report of 2022 is the peak there. That is 9.1

percent. So part of what we are seeing in this 3 percent figure, Eleni, is the base effect.

So we are coming off a really high level from a year ago, so the price increases appear to be marginally smaller. Nonetheless, moving in the right

direction. We also got some help on the monthly basis from price declines in areas like airline tickets.

Those declined; furniture, used cars, all of those declined. On the flip side, almost all of the increase in monthly inflation, Eleni, was shelter

or accommodations for our international viewers; 70 percent of this increase was shelter. So still some work there.

But one thing that seems to be unfolding, this has to be great news for Americans watching this and for people at home, at least the American

audience, is that we are now starting to see a trend unfold, where wages are actually outpacing inflation.

And Eleni, as you know, this is something that we have not been able to say and it has been a real serious part of this inflation story, which is that

even folks who received pay rises, they were actually going home with less.

Or they felt like they were going home with less because of the price increases. So that is really something for at least the American audience

to celebrate. But it is investors as well, as you said, making a splash on Wall Street and around the world.

And economists, that's said, when the Fed meets in exactly two weeks from now, when we hear from Jay Powell in exactly two weeks what do we expect?

Well, we have heard from Fed officials as recently as this week. Before the CPI report but as recently as this week, that they are still planning to

raise rates, because we are still a ways away from 2 percent, which is their target.

GIOKOS: Yes. Interesting times. I have to say, it is good news for I think everyone around the world because, when the Fed tightens rates, it affects

everyone. So seeing inflation cooling, off it gives you hope that maybe things are getting better.

Rahel, it's always great to have you on, thanks so much.

SOLOMON: Likewise.

Still to, come Cuba and Russia rekindle an old friendship. How the war in Ukraine is reviving the former Cold War alliance. We will bring you the

details, after this.





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

A pledge of long term military support for Ukraine from G7 leaders in Russia's war. U.S. President Joe Biden made the announcement alongside

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the NATO summit in Vilnius.

NATO chief, Jens Stoltenberg, says he looks forward to the day when Ukraine is part of the NATO alliance.

More than 60 million people in the U.S. are under some type of heat alert today. California's heat is building this week and could peak over the

weekend. Texas will see its peak heat Thursday and Friday. And the heat index in Florida is topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius.

Inflation in America cooled in June for a 12th straight month. U.S. consumer price growth slid to its lowest level in more than two years. Now

checking the numbers, officials say the annual rates of inflation slowed to 3 percent last month. That is a sharp cooldown from June of last year, when

inflation spiked to 9.1 percent.

Russia's war in Ukraine has led many countries to pull away from Moscow. But it seems to be bringing Cuba, an old Cold War ally, closer. The two

countries have both suffered from stiff U.S. sanctions, are seeking to deepen economic ties through trade and investments.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann has been tracking the story for us from Havana, Cuba.

Lots of questions about Cuba and U.S. relations at this point in time. We've seen some tensions brewing. But this is interesting, that Russia and

Cuba are moving closer together.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, the opposite effect we've seen most other places in the world. The signs of that relationship getting

closer and closer are very close behind me.

This is the Perekop, a Russian warship that arrived yesterday in Havana. And as you can see, it could not be in a more central location here in the

Havana harbor.

Clearly sending a message to the Cuban public and the U.S. public about this reforging of a relationship. And Cubans are going to be allowed to

tour this boat starting today. The sailors have been going around and visiting parts of Havana. And for many Cubans, this kind of sight, a

Russian warship in the harbor, is bringing back memories of the Cold War.


OPPMANN (voice-over): Russian warship sails in Havana. Cuba greets the ship, the Perekop, the first Russian naval vessel to make an official visit

in years with cannon fired salute.

It's just the latest sign of the reforging of ties between Russia and Cuba. While much of the rest of the world has denounced Russia for their invasion

of Ukraine, Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel seen here alongside Vladimir Putin integrating a statue of Fidel Castro in Moscow in November defends

Russia's war.

"We are condemning, we are rejecting the expansion of NATO towards Russia's borders." He told Russia today. "We condemn all the measures and sanctions

that have been applied as a way to coerce the Russian Federation."


OPPMANN (voice-over): And Russia increasingly is throwing a lifeline to their old ally just 90 miles from the United States. Since the war in

Ukraine began, Russia and Cuba signed a flurry of new

agreements that would open the first supermarket selling Russian food here, increased oil shipments to the island, even developed this beachside

community outside of Havana. It appears to be the most significant Russian investment in Cuba in decades.

In February, after Russia donated 25,000 tons of wheat, Russia's then ambassador to Cuba said the aid will continue the flow.

"In spite of the challenges," he says, "Russia and Cuba continue developing their strategic relationship based on the historic friendship, solidarity,

and mutual sympathy between our two countries."

OPPMANN: The warming of ties for many Cubans feels like a trip back to the future. In this video from the 1960s, narrated by Fidel Castro, Cubans are

told how visiting Russian experts would modernize the island. And said Cuba grew dependent on Soviet aid.

The USSR collapsed and facing punishing U.S. economic sanctions, the island plunged into a financial abyss from which it is yet to emerge. While

Russian officials have suggested reestablishing a military presence on the island, some analysts feel that Moscow no longer has the capability to do


SERGEY RADCHENKO, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: I think this kind of threat is used more for taunting the United States,

and for a kind of -- or as a kind of a form of psychological warfare to sign off against the United States.

OPPMANN: Whatever the future of the renewed ties, it is clear Russia is again once again staking a claim in Cuba.


OPPMANN: And It's not just Russia that is sending naval assets here. Last, week the Cuban government said the U.S. had a nuclear submarine at the U.S.

Navy base in Guantanamo. They are protesting, that saying it was a provocative escalation of already bad relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

And certainly having a nuclear sub in Cuban waters last week, now having this Russian warship literally behind me, Cuba was one of the center

stages of the Cold War and, for many of us here, it certainly feels like history is repeating itself.

GIOKOS: Yes. Interesting messaging there. Patrick Oppmann, great to have you with us, thank you.

Just a quick programming note for you. We are expecting U.S. President Joe Biden to speak at Vilnius University in just over two hours. He is likely

to talk about Ukraine's part into NATO and we'll bring you that live.

Next, in sports, how Russia's invasion of Ukraine's motivating a Ukrainian star's remarkable run at Wimbledon. Stay with us.





GIOKOS: The battle over Aretha Franklin's estate has finally come to an end.


GIOKOS (voice-over): A jury has decided to respect a 2014 note signed by the singer considering it her last will and testament. It was found under a

slow efficient (ph) after her death in 2018.

Franklin didn't leave a formal will but two handwritten notes were found in her home, including another from 2010. Her sons were battling over how her

estate would be divided, including her music royalties.

NASA has released amazing new images from the James Webb space telescope in honor of its one-year anniversary. This video showing the birth of a star

in a way you've never seen before. The images feature the closest star forming region to Earth, it is just a mere 390 light years from Earth.

A scientist with the James Webb telescope says images allow them with new clarity to watch the brief period of a stellar life cycle, the very first

image from the telescope was released last July during a public event at the White House.

The tennis world is buzzing about a woman's quarterfinal match at Wimbledon. Ukrainian Elina Svitolina advanced to the semifinals after

besting world number one Iga Swiatek. She says the war in her home country is a major motivation. Patrick Snell joins me now.

Incredible grit and resilience and fighting back, as you can see.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just an incredible story. She just got that Wimbledon crowd there, right behind her every move. Playing her heart

out for her homeland, just an amazing story.

She made it very clear her stance, won't shake hands with Russian or Belarusian players and now she's got her eyes on the top prize and why not?

What an amazing achievement that would be, Eleni, if she can get the job done at the Old England Club. She became a mother late last year as well.

She is just phenomenally inspiring.

And, also this hour, keeping an eye on the young American, Christopher Eubanks on the men's side of the draw. He's in action right now. The

measure of that (ph) and a whole lot more in "WORLD SPORT" in just moments. Back to you.

GIOKOS: So much action, so much more exciting than I guess we will be seeing at the NATO summit. A nice break from the news cycle. Patrick Snell,

good to see you. We will see you after the break.

I will be back at the top of the hour.