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Seven Killed in Russian Strikes on Pokrovsk; First U.S. Abrams Tanks Ready for Shipment; Nigerien Junta Refuses Meeting with Joint Delegation; Iranian Women Still Defying Hijab Rules; Global Temps Broke Records in July, Deniers Still an Issue; Quarterfinals Set at Women's World Cup. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired August 08, 2023 - 10:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): I'm Becky Anderson, live from London for you. This is CONNECT THE WORLD. The time here, 3:00 in the


Coming up this hour, a double tap attack by Russia in Eastern Ukraine kills civilians first, then hits emergency workers.

Iran prepares a new hijab law that could send women to prison for 10 years.

Global temperatures grow through a crucial warming threshold in July. More on that, coming up.

And the quarterfinals are set at the Women's World Cup. Underdogs Morocco and Jamaica are out.


ANDERSON: Well, rescuers in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk region are still looking for survivors after a pair of Russian missile strikes. These

happened Monday night in Pokrovsk, killing at least seven people and wounding more than 80.

One of those dead, a first responder. Ukrainian officials accused Russia of so-called double tap strikes, launching a second attack to hit rescue

teams, who go to the scene of the first attack. Clare Sebastian is here in London.

Clare, what are the details, as we understand?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky. We understand at least seven people were killed. The injury total now up to 81, of which almost

half made up by police and rescuers. So that gives you a sense of what's happened here.

Pokrovsk is a town in the Donetsk region and part of that region that Ukraine still occupies. Russia, of course, has claimed to annex that entire

region. So no stranger to fighting. This is a region that has seen fighting since 2014.

But this attack that happened at dusk in the evening, people having dinner, people in their apartments, still came as a shock. Take a look.


SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Even for a town that spent most of the last decade on the edge of conflict, these are startling images. Daylight revealing a

wide area of destruction in Pokrovsk, as rescues resumed. Ahead of the town, some 30 miles from the eastern front, two standard ballistic missile

struck 37 minutes apart Monday evening.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This is a standard Russofascist (ph) scenario: 30 to 40 minutes between missiles. When the state emergency

service and rescuers arrive to save people, the second missile hits. So the number of victims increases.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Here is the moment of that second hit, captured on a paramedic's body camera.

Not surprising, then, that dozens of police officers and rescuers were among the injured, as well as children. The deputy head of the state

emergency service in the Donetsk region, killed.

Having witnessed the first strike, this 75 year old woman fell victim to the second in her own apartment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There was a first impact. We were not hit. All was OK here. I was talking on the phone, sitting. And

then suddenly, this flew out and it fell around me. Then, the window fell on me. My back has cuts.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): A hotel, now closed; an Italian restaurant also hit. Russia has denied targeting civilian areas, saying Tuesday it hit a

Ukrainian military command post in Pokrovsk.

But nearly 18 months into this war, attacks like this are commonplace. And Ukraine says Russia is not letting up on the front lines, either. Footage

released this weekend showing Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu apparently visiting rear positions inside Ukraine.

Capping a week in which Ukraine says Russia fired almost half a million munitions in the east. This, as Western officials tell CNN, two months in,

briefings on the state of Ukraine's counteroffensive are growing more and more pessimistic as Ukrainian troops still face layers of Russian defenses

in the south, with mounting casualties.

One chink of light, the first batch of U.S. Abrams battle tanks is now ready for shipment and set to arrive by early fall.


SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Likely not soon enough to turn the tide in the counteroffensive but a boost to Ukrainian morale; again, under attack.


SEBASTIAN: You know, Becky, these attacks on civilian areas, even the Russians consistently deny them, have become a hallmark of this conflict.

We saw Kryvyi Rih at the end of July, Kramatorsk at the end of June; the randomness of this design to keep the psychological pressure on Ukrainians,

to test their resolve.

Even as Russia is attempting to break through their defenses in some regions. And rescuers also in the firing line throughout this conflict. We

heard a new number today from a spokesman for the state emergency services that 78 rescuers have been killed, 280 injured, they say, since the start

of the full scale invasion.

ANDERSON: Clare, just a little more, if you will, on these concerns about this Ukrainian counteroffensive. New CNN reporting revealing Ukraine's

allies getting, and I quote here, "sobering updates" from the battleground.

Can we be a little more specific?

SEBASTIAN: Yes. This is reporting that CNN has, that Western and U.S. officials are saying that, frankly, they are getting a bit of a dose of

reality, that two months or so into this counteroffensive, we're really not seeing much movement.

The fact that Russia had the time to build up its defenses, especially, we see, in the south, has meant that Ukraine has faced mounting casualties,

now in some areas, having to pull back units in order to minimize those casualties.

Look, in many, ways this wasn't unexpected. President Zelenskyy has been saying look, we were waiting. We wanted to start the counteroffensive in

the spring. We had to wait for more weapons, for more ammunition, until around early June, when we felt comfortable enough to start it.

But there are questions around that as well, whether enough training was given to the brigades who were operating some of the Western weapons

systems, that balancing act we've been talking about, whether to go quicker or to wait for more training.

Some of that is coming into play now. But I suppose one small silver lining for the Ukrainians is that at least this manages the expectations and they

are still getting, as we saw with the Abrams tanks, they are still getting these Western weapons through.

ANDERSON: Yes. And CNN chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, has been speaking with many of those U.S. officials. We'll be live with Jim

next hour. Thank you.

On a global diplomatic push currently underway in Niger, a senior U.S. official met with members of the military junta on Monday to push for an

end to what is this country's coup.

Well, the acting deputy secretary of state, Victoria Nuland, says they had a frank conversation but made no progress in restoring constitutional

order, adding, quote, "It was not easy to get traction there."

Well, instead, the junta has been trying to strengthen its own authority. It has hosted allies from Mali, Burkina Faso and appointed a new prime


Earlier today, President Bazoum's prime minister claimed in an interview with a French broadcaster that the military junta had asked a delegation of

ECOWAS to return to Niger for another round of talks at the highest level, likely on Tuesday. Let's get you more on this. We're covering this on all


I'm joined by CNN's Larry Madowo, who is in Nairobi; Kylie Atwood at the U.S. State Department.

Larry, what do we understand to be the situation on the ground?

We know this deadline for the reinstatement of the president passed Sunday. ECOWAS suggesting that they want to hear more and that military

intervention is clearly still on the table.

What do we understand to be the conversation or the narrative between ECOWAS and the military junta in Niger at this point?

What happens next?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, we are now learning that the Nigerien military junta has rejected a new mediation effort by ECOWAS. It

had intended to go to the capital with a joint delegation, constituting of ECOWAS, the African Union and the U.N.

They wrote to the Nigerien junta to say, we are coming back on Tuesday.

And they said, no, you cannot do that for security reasons. CNN has obtained a letter that they sent back to the ECOWAS representation in

Niger. I want to read a section of this for you.

"The current context of anger and revolt of the populations, following the sanctions imposed by ECOWAS, does not allowed to welcome the said

delegation the required serenity and security.

"The postponement of the mission to Niamey is necessary as is the revision of certain aspects of the program, including meetings with certain

personalities, which cannot take place for obvious security reasons in this atmosphere of threatened aggression against Niger."

So to parse what they're saying here is we cannot meet --


MADOWO: -- until you remove the sanctions you've applied on us and you withdraw that threat of a military intervention in Niger.

Now the last person that General Abdourahmane Tchiani, who has declared himself president, met was Idriss Deby, the traditional president of Chad.

He met yesterday with a delegation from Burkina Faso and Mali. But he's telling ECOWAS, nope, we will not talk to you.

ANDERSON: Kylie, let me bring you in at this point. A very sobering assessment from Victoria Nuland. As we understand it, she was on a trip of

the region. So this Niger leg of the trip, perhaps added, given what is going on there.

But suggesting that no progress in restoring constitutional order has been achieved and adding, and I quote, "It was not easy to get traction there."

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean, she gave a pretty sober assessment of her meetings on the ground in Niger

with the military junta, saying that they had frank discussions but also calling it a difficult mission.

And as you've said, saying it was really challenging to gain any traction, when it comes to a negotiated settlement here, because, fundamentally, what

the military junta wants doesn't see eye to eye with the constitution of Niger.

And the U.S. has long been pressing over the last few weeks for the return of the democratically elected president, President Bazoum, who Victoria

Nuland, the deputy secretary of state, acting deputy secretary of state, wasn't even allowed to see while she was in Niger.

She says U.S. officials have had discussions with him, so they have been in contact. But it was pretty clear that the contours of her visit were

controlled by the military, which is now in power.

She said that she made very clear to them what the United States is going to have to do if they do declare this a coup, which they have resisted thus

far, which will mean, of course, pulling all kinds of U.S. support to the country, including the U.S. military presence to the country.

But she also said she hopes that there is still the possibility for a diplomatic solution here. But she, in no way, shape or form said that there

is any active diplomacy underway right now. And that is significant.

Now the fact that she went to the country demonstrates that the United States is watching this and feels that the future of Niger is incredibly

important, not just for the country but for the entire region of Africa.

So U.S. officials continue to watch this and, as she said, hope for some kind of diplomatic solution. But there doesn't appear to be one in the

offing at this moment.

ANDERSON: And that's the perspective, then, from the U.S., which is a clear stakeholder in all of this, of course.

Larry, it runs that huge counterterror drone headquarters. And there is financial aid, of course, to Niger off the back of its activities there.

Just remind us why it is and what is going on in Niger has such an impact, not necessarily for the U.S. and in the West, primarily, for France, but in

that region as a whole?

Why is it that we should care so much about this story?

MADOWO: Becky, Niger has been the centerpiece of the international community's security strategy in the Sahel. And it's been the safe oasis in

a dangerous neighborhood. In Burkina Faso and Mali, who have had two coups each since 2020; in the wider neighborhood there has been a coup in Sudan,

in Chad, in Guinea.

But even more importantly, there are armed groups operating in this region. There is a Islamist insurgency there, attacking ordinary civilians, leading

to thousands of deaths every year.

And this has been the drone base, not just for the U.S. but for a lot of international community, for the West, for France, for Italy, for the

Germans, in trying to deal with this.

And also, trying to avoid people who come from the region, thinking there's no other options available for them. Therefore, they cross along the

Mediterranean and get on these boats on their way to Europe.

But you're seeing this alliance forming of the military juntas in the region. For instance Burkina Faso and Mali banding together with Niger. I

want to play a sound bite from the government spokesperson in Mali after meeting with the self declared leader of Niger.


ABDOULAYE MAIGA, SPOKESPERSON, GOVERNMENT OF MALI (through translator): I would like to remind you that Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have been

dealing with for over 10 years with the negative social, economic, security, political and humanitarian consequences of NATO's hazardous

adventure in Libya.

Of course, we ask ourselves, if it took us 10 years, how many years will it take us to get over another adventure of the same nature in Niger?



MADOWO: And you see that introduction of the crisis in Libya being used here as a counterpoint to all of the Western nations of yet another coup in

this region. There have been seven coups in this region since 2020, Becky.

ANDERSON: To both of you, thank you very much indeed.

The very latest developments and reporting on Niger.

Iran is accusing the U.S. of fomenting instability in the Persian Gulf. It warns it will seize U.S. vessels if its own ships are confiscated. There

are 3,000 U.S. Marines and sailors, who have arrived in the region over the weekend. And they are meant to deter Tehran from trying to seize commercial

ships near the Strait of Hormuz.

You can see that on the map. Meantime, defiance inside Iran ahead of the one-year mark since a young woman died in custody. Her death, of course,

set off massive protests like these.

This comes as lawmakers prepare a new bill which could send women who break the country's stringent dress code to prison for 10 years. CNN's Jomana

Karadsheh covered the protests extensively. She is now tracking how women are responding to the rules and anticipate responding to these new ones a

year on -- Jomana.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What we have seen happen in Iran -- I mean, last year was the wall of fear that came down in the Islamic

Republic. You have seen so many people, many of them women, standing up to the clerical establishment.

What we have seen over the past few weeks, especially as we head toward the anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of the morality

police, there will be commemorations, one year anniversary commemoration of the death of so many who were killed in the bloody crackdown.

As we head toward September, it seems that the regime is trying to reassert its authority. They are reverting to the same old tactics of trying to

intimidate people, trying to spread fear, especially among women.

What we have found is that so many women appear to still be so defiant.


KARADSHEH (voice-over): Iran's brave women are fighting for their freedom with everyday acts of defiance like this, out on the streets without the

mandatory hijab.

This recent video appears to show a woman harassed and called a criminal for refusing to cover up.

"The days of being afraid of you are over," she says.

The uprising sparked by Mahsa Amini's death may have been quashed by a bloody crackdown on those standing up for their basic rights. Countless

women have been defying the clerical establishment, choosing not to wear the compulsory hijab.

The regime is now lashing out with a campaign of repression, announcing the return of morality police patrols.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Being a woman in Iran is now harder than ever because of all the attention. Our privacy and our safety

is a wish. You should always be worried and careful about police.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): This young woman we are not identifying for her safety spoke to us from inside Iran.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): "The morality police are mostly in metro stations and sometimes on the streets. They warn you. If you

disobey they take video or photos. Normal people who are still on the government's side work like paparazzi."

KARADSHEH (voice-over): That is not all. Authorities are considering a draconian new bill which would make failure to abide by the Islamic dress

code a more severe offense with unprecedented hard penalties, including 5- 10 jail sentences and fines of more than $8,000. This may be just a warning to intimidate those who dare to dissent.

But an intensified crackdown has been well underway. This chilling video released by a group affiliated with the security apparatus captures some of

their terrifying tactics. Facial recognition technology is purportedly being used to identify and threaten unveiled women.

Cameras are everywhere. Thousands have had their cars confiscated according to Amnesty International. Women without a veil are being denied access to

education and public services. Perhaps even more disturbing is courts have been imposing degrading punishments on women --


KARADSHEH (voice-over): -- including counseling sessions for, quote, "antisocial behavior," cleaning government buildings and washing corpses in


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I could not believe the mortuary punishment until I saw some judgment papers with my own eyes, which was

washing corpses for a month.

KARADSHEH: Are you and other women around you scared when you are out in public?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The first days were scary but, with time, the courage inside everyone grows. And now no one is scared.

People were just waiting for a spark. And that happened last year. We keep going for the kids who were murdered during the protests.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Many like her say this is not just about the hijab; this is about standing up to tyranny. And they are not backing down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Most people believe in freedom now because they have tasted it. We know about the punishments. But we know

everything has a cost. And if this is the cost of freedom, we are ready to pay for that. I am sure we will see Iran breathing again one day.


KARADSHEH: Becky, according to Iranian state media, this draft bill is expected to reach parliament in a couple of months. It's going through the

various phases of approval within the regime's structure. And it is expected to pass in some shape or form.

What we are also seeing is a 70 article law, not only targeting women but also going after celebrities and businesses. It's targeting celebrities.

They also will be facing some severe punishment including potential fines, where they could pay up to a tenth of their wealth.

There are travel bans, restrictions on employment and on travel and social media. And business owners will face severe punishment if they do not

enforce the hijab law. But what we are seeing right now is that already hundreds of businesses have been shut down for not enforcing the law.

And women are facing these degrading punishments so it does seem that they are not really waiting for this law. Punishment is already being enforced.

ANDERSON: Jomana Karadsheh with her continued reporting on the women of Iran, thank you very much indeed.

Still to come, a new climate report shows that July was officially the Earth's hottest month on record. Scientists warn, if it continues to heat

up, the world will face even more extreme weather. A closer look at the findings and at these warnings -- up next.




ANDERSON: You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson. Now to some troubling new findings about the Earth's climate.


ANDERSON: July was the planet's hottest month on record, according to the E.U.'s Copernicus Climate Change Service. Here are the facts.

The average global temperature last month was 16.95 degrees Celsius. That is well above the previous record set in July of 2019. It is around 1.5

degrees Celsius warmer than the pre-industrial era. The planet should stay under that threshold, scientists warn.

These findings come after deadly heat waves and record breaking temperatures in July as well as unprecedented ocean heat around the world.


ANDERSON: These are the facts and we'll continue to report on climate crisis and the increased impact that climate is having on these extreme

weather patterns. I'm sure you've got your own personal example of this.


ANDERSON: South Korea reports at least 27 have died from heat related illnesses. It's also bracing for the impact of a typhoon expected in the

coming days. Here is a great example.

These two extreme weather events have taken a toll on what is an international scouting jamboree. There were calls to cancel the event as

living out of tents became unbearable. Ivan Watson has the details.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A mass evacuation of tens of thousands of Scouts. The, South Korean government

packing teenagers from more than 150 countries around the world on more than 1,000 buses to flee an approaching typhoon.

An escape from the sprawling site of the 25th World Scout Jamboree.

HERMAN LIND, SWEDISH SCOUT: It has been pretty bad, like really bad. I don't really know what else to say.

WATSON (voice-over): Speaking from one of the evacuation buses, these 18 year old Scouts from Sweden say they were disappointed by conditions at the


LIND: Why couldn't they just plan this better?

We have been a bit angry because they knew that they did not have the resources. They still decided to keep going with the camp.

WATSON (voice-over): What was supposed to be a 12-day event has been troubled from the beginning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were particularly concerned about sanitation and the cleanliness of toilets that were causing severe concerns from us from a

health and safety point of view.

WATSON (voice-over): The leader of the British contingent pulled some 4,500 U.K. Scouts and volunteers out this weekend, relocating them to

hotels in the Korean capital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's punishingly hot here in Korea. It's an unprecedented heat wave. But we're concerned about the heat relief measures

that were being put in place.

WATSON (voice-over): Meanwhile, Scouts from the U.S. also pulled out, relocating to Camp Humphreys, a large U.S. military base. The August heat

wave particularly punishing given the location of the jamboree, a reclaimed title flat apparently devoid of natural shade.

LIND: It's so hot, a lot of people are passing out. And we have been forced to drink about one liter of water per hour.

WATSON (voice-over): In the first week, hundreds of teenagers got sick from the heat, prompting the Korean government to rush air conditioned

buses to help along with fire and medical services and extra water.

With a potentially dangerous typhoon approaching, Korean organizers finally pulled the plug on Monday, telling Scouts to strike camp.

AXEL SCHOLL, SCOUT VOLUNTEER, GERMANY: I feel very, very sorry for the Korean nation and the Korean people because I think that they would have

loved to present their country, their culture, their community in a more positive way.

WATSON (voice-over): Despite the setbacks, some teenagers apparently applying the Cub Scout motto: do your best.

LIND: We are just happy to be in the shade, in the AC, getting to cool down. And I mean, the Scout motto is to meet every problem with a smile.

And that is what I feel like everyone is doing.

WATSON (voice-over): Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


ANDERSON: Former U.S. President Donald Trump fielding a flurry of legal developments now, including a potential hearing this week. And signs that a

new indictment could now be imminent. We will get you caught up on all of that just ahead.





ANDERSON: The judge in Donald Trump's election subversion case has indicated it is holding a hearing this week on what he can say about the

case in public. Jessica Schneider joins us now.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The judge here is tightening the reins on Donald Trump and the prosecutors. She wants to come up with a

plan to get everything in place.

This is a protective order that would really ban the former president from releasing certain information. It's crucial to the special counsel's case

here. She wants to get that all in by the end of the week. We will find out later when that will happen.

It's also interesting to note here that this investigation is not over. Today, the grand jury is once again convening in the federal courthouse.

It's the first time that they are back meeting after the indictment against Trump was handed out last week in the 2020 election case.

Our team exclusively reported yesterday that members of the special counsel's team even met yesterday with former New York City police

commissioner Bernie Kerik. It was a five-hour meeting. It related to Kerik's knowledge of what Rudy Giuliani's efforts were to find fraud in the

2020 election. That's really crucial.

Rudy Giuliani is listed in the indictment as a Coconspirator No. 1. He was left unnamed. But this clearly shows that the investigation continues and

more people could get charged. A lot is happening this week. We were not expecting a hearing in the 2020 case until the end of the month, August


But like I said, the judge here, Tanya Chutkan, has been criticized by Trump's team because, in previous cases involving January 6th defendants,

she railed against the former president in upending the 2020 election.

Trump's team has said they are going to try to get her to recuse. That probably will not have much success. But things are moving rapidly in this

particular case, in large part because of the judge. She's trying to keep things in order but also moving along quickly.

ANDERSON: That was the impression that most commentators had of her. She is true to form. Let's remind ourselves about the reason for the protective

order. Donald Trump has form in what he has said about evidence against him in the past.

Jessica, it's always good to have. You thank you very much indeed. I know you are very busy at the moment. Didn't expect to be as busy as you are

this week. But our international viewers really appreciate it. Thank you.

Ahead in sports, the Women's World Cup is down to its final eight teams. A look at who qualified for the quarterfinals when we return.





ANDERSON: SpaceX is celebrating its second successful mission in as many days. Its Falcon 9 rocket came back to Earth and landed on a drone ship.

The quarterfinals are set at the Women's World Cup. The last of the round of 16 matches was played today in Australia with two notable underdogs

failing to advance. To fill us in on the action and who goes through, Patrick Snell is in the house.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky. What a World Cup this is. It's a privilege to be watching it and to be covering it. What storylines

we are now seeing, because it's another truly historic moment for the South American country of Colombia. The history they have made, we will be

elaborating on that a little later.

Jamaica have so much to be proud of, no question about that. Also a really emphatic statement of intent from the French national team, who had a

really good bet to go on and win this whole thing. We shall see. Of course, we are wishing the England Lionesses as well.

Speaking of England, we are going to be joined live on "WORLD SPORT" by the Open champion coming right up in moments.

ANDERSON: Very nice. Don't go away. "WORLD SPORT" is up after this short break. I'll be back at the top of the hour. Stay with us.