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Ukraine Targets Headquarters Of Russia's Black Sea Fleet; President Zelenskyy Makes First Visit To Canada Since Russian Invasion; U.S. Sending $325 Million Security And Arms Package To Ukraine; Benjamin Netanyahu Announces Breakthrough Deal With Saudi Arabia; United Auto Workers And Hollywood Writers On Strike; More U.S. Troops Sent To Border As Crossing Surge; Satellite Images Show Nuclear Test Site Expansions; Zelenskyy Receives Warm Welcome In Canada. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired September 22, 2023 - 10:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Lynda Kinkade, live from Atlanta, filling in for my colleague Becky Anderson. Good to have you

with us. Welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.

Coming up this hour, a major attack on Russia's Black Sea fleet headquarters in Crimea. Zelenskyy will address Canada's parliament as he

tries to shore up support for Ukraine. And an exclusive CNN report on Russia, China, and the U.S. expanding their nuclear sites. And Megan

Rapinoe plays her last match for the U.S. National Women's Soccer Team this weekend.

We start with a major attack by Ukraine in Russia-controlled Crimea. Ukraine's military now confirming what it calls a successful hit on

Russia's Black Sea fleet headquarters in Sevastopol. The damaged from the missile attack appears to be substantial. Debris was reportedly scattered

over hundreds of meters. And one Russian soldier is missing. Ukraine threatening more of these attacks to come. One Russian official -- one

Ukrainian official, rather, wanting Russia's Black Sea fleet could be, quote, "sliced up like salami."

Well, the Ukrainian president is said to make his case in a speech to Canada's parliament for more aid to fight his war against Russia. Volodymyr

Zelenskyy received a warm welcome from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he arrived in Ottawa straight from a very busy trip in Washington.

We are going to bring in CNN's Paula Newton who is covering all the developments for us from the Canadian capital Ottawa.

Good to have you with us, Paula. I want to start, if we can, on that attack on Russia's naval fleet in the Black Sea. Just what do we know about that

attack? And just how significant is it?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is quite significant, Lynda. It is an incredibly bold attack, and very much connected to what Zelenskyy hopes to

do here on the ground in Canada and what he did in the United States. He knows that the more success that Ukraine can have on the battlefield and

prove that he can hit on Russian occupied territory, and hit hard, as you said, this is the Black Sea fleet.

To hit the headquarters, it is quite an achievement for Ukraine, given that as he arrives here in Ottawa, he is trying to convince not just Canada, but

other allies now perhaps a bit more reluctant to give that military aid to Ukraine, to say, look, continue to stand with us in both rhetorical

support, but also material support, and we can win this. And that is the message from Zelenskyy today.

In terms of that attack itself, again, if you followed any of the channels from the Russian occupied areas overnight, it was quite a panic for a

little while. They actually had told people in Crimea to shelter in place in that area, do not leave. They were unsure. And what does that mean,

Lynda? It means that they were unsure of their own missile defenses there in Crimea and did not know if another strike was possible. That is a big

victory for Ukraine.

A couple of things, Lynda, Zelenskyy I'm seeing right now is arriving at this hour at the Governor General's residence. This will be quite an

occasion. He gets a lot of support here in Canada, also because in Canada, there is one of the largest Ukrainian diaspora anywhere in the world. In

fact, one of the largest outside of Russia itself. And for that reason, a lot of support what he was looking for, again, is more than a handshake and

a pat on the back.

He wants, again, defense material. He wants funding, he wants tanks, he wants ammunition. He wants those missile defense systems. To that end, the

defense minister himself, the Ukrainian defense minister meeting here with his Canadian counterpart, they'll be having their bilateral in parallel

with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Zelenskyy -- Lynda.

KINKADE: And of course, Paula, Zelenskyy had somewhat of a frosty reception here in the U.S. At least that's how it's been described by many. Certainly

by Republican lawmakers. What sort of reception will he get in Canada and just how much can he expect to receive in terms of funding for his war

against Russia?

NEWTON: I think that's the issue there, right? Again when I talk about rhetorical support, he is warmly embraced here. Welcomed, feted as a hero,

that just doesn't cut it, though, when you are trying to prosecute this war on the battlefield in terms of the kind of grinding war it has been.

Canada, a reminder, already lags behind other allies in terms of its own contributions to NATO. Its own defense spending has been lagging for


And in that context, Zelenskyy has got to try and work himself in there and say, look, we appreciate everything Canada has done so far financially and



We need more. And that's why his defense minister is here with him as well. He also, though, will lean on Canada to really shore up support with

European allies who perhaps feel that their bond with Ukraine is a little bit more vulnerable these days when it comes to defense spending and also

obviously with Republicans who have been vocal about not wanting to give Ukraine that blank check.

This is a jampacked schedule today in two cities, both Ottawa and Toronto, and again, members of the Ukrainian-Canadian community will stand with

Zelenskyy in order to pressure their government as well to step up -- Lynda.

KINKADE: All right. We will bring more of that arrival, that speech when it happens in the coming hours. Paula Newton for us in Ottawa. Good to have

you on the story. Thank you.

Well, before heading to Canada, Ukraine's president was of course in Washington appealing for more aid. He faced an audience of skeptical

Republicans on Capitol Hill, and despite that the Biden administration announced $128 million in new U.S. security assistance to Ukraine as well

as $197 million in arms and equipment.

Our Jeremy Diamond is covering this for us and joins us from the White House.

Good to have you with us, Jeremy. So the reception that Zelenskyy received in the U.S. has been described as frosty, as cold, as mixed at best. But no

matter where you stand on politics, this was far from the reception he received when he first arrived to the U.S. since this invasion last year,


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you're so right, Lynda. And it is that split screen between the reception that President Zelenskyy

got yesterday in Washington versus the one he got nine months earlier when he first came to the United States since Russia's invasion of his country.

You know, that contrast was very stark, and it was clear. You know, the last time that Zelenskyy came here, he got a joint session of Congress, a

primetime address thanks to the House speaker at the time, Nancy Pelosi.

All of Washington's leaders, Republicans and Democrats, were standing firmly behind Ukraine, expressing their support for Ukraine. And you

contrast that with yesterday, where Zelenskyy still got of course a very positive reception and notes of support from President Biden, from the

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer as well as the Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. But it was the House speaker, a new House Speaker Kevin

McCarthy, who didn't even want to be seen in public, in photos with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, showing how much support has waned for

Ukraine, particularly in the Republican Party.

We've seen that in polling reflected when you look at Republican voters across the country, but you also see it in elected officials as a number of

House lawmakers and some Republican senators as well issued a letter in the day before Zelenskyy arrived, making clear that they have questions about

continued support for Ukraine and casting doubt on the need for providing Ukraine with additional support.

And that of course is notable as President Biden is asking Congress for $24 billion of additional aid. So far House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has not

committed to bringing that package up for a vote.

KINKADE: And in terms of foreign spending in Ukraine, Jeremy, I just want to bring up a graphic because the U.S. has spent more in Ukraine than any

other country by a long shot. According to the Brazil Institute for the World Economy, you can see here, the U.S. has spent more than $40 billion

on Ukraine military aid. The next in line is Germany that has spent less than half of that.

So take us through this latest aid package. We know that you just said that they want $24 billion approved. But what has been approved during this

visit by Zelenskyy was $325 million. What does that include?

DIAMOND: Yes, this was the latest what we call a drawdown package which is essentially the U.S. taking from its own stocks of weaponry and shipping

that over to Ukraine. And then the U.S. at a later date will replenish its own stocks. This latest $325 million package includes significantly

additional clustered munitions, which is the first time that President Biden has provided additional clustered munitions since he first approved

that controversial weaponry in the summer to Ukraine.

It also includes a number of air defense capabilities, anti-armor weaponry, as well as anti-aircraft weaponry as well. What it does not include however

is the one long-range missile system that President Zelenskyy has been pleading with President Biden and U.S. officials for, and that is what's

known as the ATACMS system, which could allow Ukraine to strike as far as 190 miles away from those systems.

The National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan defended President Biden's decision to not provide that weaponry at this time, saying that President

Biden makes these decisions based on Ukraine's battlefield needs as well as the U.S.'s own defense needs as well.


But he made clear that this is not entirely off the table. And if you look at the past history of U.S. weaponry to Ukraine and the kind of sliding

scale as they have escalated the type and sorts of munitions that they have been willing to provide Ukraine, the U.S. has often said no at first and

then eventually said yes. And so we could very well see that same situation just like with the tanks for example which is something President Biden

said he wouldn't provide initially. He just announced yesterday that the first Abrams tanks set to go to Ukraine will arrive there next week --


KINKADE: That is some good news. Jeremy Diamond outside the White House staying across it all for us. We appreciate you, thanks so much.

Well, the prime minister of Israel says his country is on the cusp of a historic breakthrough in Saudi Arabia. Benjamin Netanyahu telling the

United Nations General Assembly that a deal is reachable and he says it will literally redraw the map of the Middle East. Take a listen.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: But today, today I bringing this marker to show a great blessing. The blessing of a new Middle East

between Israel, Saudi Arabia, and our other neighbors. We will not only bring down barriers between Israel and our neighbors, we'll build a new

corridor of peace and prosperity that connects Asia through the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel to Europe.


KINKADE: So where does this leave the Palestinians? Let's get more now from CNN's Richard Roth at the United Nations covering the United Nations for


Good to have you there. As usual, Benjamin Netanyahu pulling out a prop to make his point as he addressed the United Nations General Assembly. Talk to

us about what he was saying with regards to peace in the Middle East, especially as it pertains to Palestinians.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was a tale of two speeches between the Palestinians the other day and Prime Minister

Netanyahu today. I am not sure what will happen first. The elusive Middle East peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, or driverless

cars, artificial intelligence that was described by Mr. Netanyahu. He talked about robots taking care of elderly people.

He did, however, talk about the Palestinians isolating them, saying in effect, we're on the verge of a big agreement with Saudi Arabia. They

worked out other peace deals with other Arab countries such as Bahrain, United Arab Emirates. So that is the Israeli goal. Now this speech also

hammered away by Netanyahu against Iran, saying it of course threatens the world if it ever gets a nuclear bomb. And he reiterated again that Israel

will do everything in its power to stop that from happening.

Each side, Israel and the Palestinians, in their speeches said to the U.N., why aren't you sanctioning them? The Palestinians with President Abbas

said, why aren't you going after Israel since they don't live up to the terms of prior Middle East resolutions? While Israeli Prime Minister

Netanyahu said the Palestinians or Iran, there are many resolutions on the books, and you're not going after them.

The power of sanctions has certainly dwindled here at the United Nations. Usually Israel and the Palestinians are the featured one against one, now

with Russia and Ukraine, it's kind of been moved a little bit to the sidelines.

KINKADE: And take us through more about what Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader, said when he addressed the U.N. General Assembly because his speech

was very impassioned. Again he blamed Netanyahu's government for this sort of crimes, the crime wave as he referred to it, in the Arab community. Take

us through his concerns.

ROTH: Yes, Mr. Netanyahu had talked about the Palestinians and Israel is doing whatever it can while the Palestinian leader said that Israel are

criminals, in effect. Yesterday, the Israeli U.N. ambassador Mr. Erdan walked out of the chamber while President Abbas was speaking, holding up a

picture of the young woman who was killed by the Iranian police a year ago, causing all of those demonstrations.

So here at the United Nations Mr. Abbas denounced Israel and said, why don't you help us to the world. This has been going on for years. Netanyahu

said it was his first time here in five years mostly due to election results in Israel.

KINKADE: All right, Richard Roth for us, staying across it at the U.N. Good to have you with us. Thank you.

Well, of course Mr. Netanyahu faces huge protests back home over his plan to overhaul the Israeli courts. So what could the plan mean for

Palestinians? That is in our newsletter. "Meanwhile in the Middle East," which you can find on

Still to come this hour, a union autoworkers and Hollywood writers continued with their strikes. We'll have the latest on their demands and

what automakers and studios are prepared to offer.



KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, right now there are dual strikes happening here in the U.S. The United Auto Workers are going into their eighth day on

the picket line and Hollywood writers are on day 150 of striking. General Motors says it put a fifth offer on the table and that the union is

intentionally causing a long disruption. The writers' guild is encouraging its members to return to the picket lines.

Well, we have our team out covering all of these developments. Camila Bernal is in Los Angeles covering the writers' strike, but I want to go

first to our Vanessa Yurkevich for the latest on the autoworkers' negotiation.

Good to have you both with us. So, Vanessa, from day one, the automakers were offering a 20 percent pay rise, which was rejected. There has not been

a whole lot of movement since. What is holding up these negotiations and talk to us about the union workers that are gearing up to escalate the

strike further.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, I just want to give you a quick update. Shawn Fain, UAW president, is

speaking right now on Facebook Live. I just caught the top of it before I came on with you, Lynda. He says right now we think we can get there,

meaning get to some sort of deals with these big three. That is very encouraging news considering where we have been in terms of negotiations

not really moving forward.

He says Stellantis and GM need some pushing, meaning they need some pushing on what they are offering, but he says we've made some real progress with

Ford. Ford reinstated cost of living adjustments that were taken away in 2019, essentially given up by workers due to the bankruptcy that many of

these companies were facing, the financial crisis. So they gave up cost of living adjustments. Ford now in their most recent offer, bringing that


That's very significant. The union didn't really know if they were going to be able to get there on that issue, but that's something they've held

steady on. I dipped out of the Facebook announcement before I came on, so I didn't get to hear where we were with wages. But the last public offers

from these companies, Lynda, we're about 20 percent. Probably more at this point, but the union has really held steady on their demands for 40 percent

in wage increases. So you see there, that cost of living increase that they were asking for, they've got that from Ford in this latest offer.

Four-day work week and limits on part-time workers and forced overtime, we don't know quite yet. But this is certainly encouraging news. But we are

expected maybe, potentially as this announcement goes on by President Shawn Fain, that we could hear about more strike targets. We know that there are

three plants that are currently striking. That is about 13,000 UAW members that are on strike.


But Shawn Fain has an arsenal of nearly 145,000 members that he could authorize to go on strike at any time. If he does authorize additional

strikes today, those walkouts will begin at 12:00 noon Eastern Time. But so far what I have heard, progress with Ford, GM and Stellantis need a little

pushing, but he says right now we think that we can get there. That is the best news we've heard from the UAW president since these negotiations and

strike began -- Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes. It certainly sounds more promising from their side. Good to have you with us on that story, Vanessa.

I want to go to Camila on the writers' strike.

Camila, this is a strike that's in its fifth month but for the first time we have been seeing this week executives meeting with union members. This

is for the third consecutive day today. Who was in this meeting and what are the expectations for negotiations?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the expectations I think from the union are that the studios and the studio leaders get closer to

their demands and what they are really asking for in terms of wages and in terms of artificial intelligence, but in the room today, we don't know

exactly at what time they're going to start these negotiations, but you're going to have the union negotiators but also the leaders of the four major


So you are having the heads of Warner Brothers-Discovery, our parent company, Disney, NBC Universal, and Netflix. And just the fact that these

four are in the room is very encouraging for a lot of the writers that I talked to. There was one writer that told me, look, I am optimistic but

cautiously optimistic. Not just because these four are in the room, but also because they were there for hours yesterday, and they're going to meet

again today.

The writer I talked to also told me, look, I understand that it's going to take a long time because we want those higher wages specifically when it

comes to residuals and streaming. And they're asking for it to be humans, the writers to be writing and producing these scripts and not machines. Not

artificial intelligence. So there was still a lot to work on last we heard, and so we'll have to wait and see what happens today.

But the union asking everybody to go out to the picket lines today as many people as possible, and again, they're hopeful but they're also extremely

cautious. Here is one member of the union.


AARON GINSBURG, STRIKING WRITER: We all want the strike to be over. Of course we all do. But we are also determined to be out here as long as it

takes to get the deal that we need to keep this industry going.


BERNAL: And look, as you heard there, they want to go back to work. And it's not just to save the TV shows this year or the movies next summer. For

some people, it really is about making ends meet, paying the rent, putting food on the table. This has caused a great impact economically all over the

country. Estimates are that it's already surpassing $5 billion -- Lynda.

KINKADE: Wow, it's incredible. Camila Bernal for us on the writers' strike, good to have you with us. Our thanks also to Vanessa Yurkevich on the

workers from the auto industry. Appreciate it. Thank you.

Well, I want to get you up to speed on some other stories on our radar right now.

In a landmark ruling, India's parliament has agreed to reserve a third of all seats for women. The bill, which was first introduced back in 1996,

received cross-party support for lawmakers. The Indian prime minister calling it a historic moment in the country's democratic journey. But there

are concerns the changes could still take years to come into effect.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad and China's Xi Jinping have agreed to a strategic partnership. The two met ahead of the Asian Games in Hangzhou,

China. China has agreed to help rebuild Syria and strengthen its counterterrorism capacity. That's according to state-run media CCTV. This

is Assad's first visit to China since the civil war broke out in Syria.

And in the U.S. state of Hawaii, some residents of Maui's Lahaina community will be allowed to return to their homes next week. It will be their first

time back since the wildfires wiped out much of that town last month. Hawaii's governor says the residents probably will have to wear protective

gear because of its toxic ash.

A new dress code bill passed by Iran's parliament outlines harsh punishments for people who violate it. Under the new legislation, women who

don't wear the hijab properly or who wear revealing clothing would face fines and in certain cases up to 10 years behind bars. The bill has a

three-year trial period and still needs to be approved by Iran's Guardian Council, which oversees legislative matters. Iranians have had mixed

reaction to the new restrictions.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): There was no survey of people in a society to pass this law and this law which they say is according to the

community of people and according to the customs of the society.


Let's hold an election and see if they agree or not. Then it will be clear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think there should be a law. If the freedom of the hijab is to exist, it must be in accordance with the

society we live in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I think the government will not step back because it's part of the ideology of the Islamic Republic.


KINKADE: Well, you are watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

Still to come, the influx of migrants crossing into the United States, how it's overwhelming some border towns and what the Biden administration is

doing about it. We'll have a live report. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.


KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade in Atlanta. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.

I want to take you to France now. Pope Francis just arriving in Marseille. These are live pictures coming into us. He's there to highlight the plight

of Europe's migrants in this overnight trip. France says it won't admit any more migrants from Lampedusa. This of course is the Italian island where

there has been a surge of arrivals from North Africa.

The Pope does plan to preside over a meeting of Mediterranean bishops and he will celebrate a mass on Saturday before he leaves.

Let's just listen in to these live pictures coming into us from Marseille, France.


So the Pope will be meeting with dozens of bishops and hundreds of young people who are joining for the annual Catholic Church led Mediterranean

meeting over the course of the next two days. He is expected to hold a huge mass on Saturday afternoon with about 50,000 people at Orange Velodrome

Stadium. Of course high on his list of priorities for this trip is an interfaith meeting where he'll discuss the plight of migrants and will

remember all those lost at sea, both migrants and sailors.


We will continue to follow his trip over the next two days. This is the Pope's two-day trip to Marseille, France.

We might leave those pictures there for now. I want to head to some other news that we are covering this hour.

Russia's Defense Ministry says one soldier is missing after a Ukrainian attack on Russia's Black Sea fleet headquarters in Crimea. State media

reports debris were scattered for hundreds of meters. And a large number of ambulances were called to the scene.

Well, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is in Canada, where he is expected to address the country's parliament in the coming hours. He is

seeking more aid. This is Mr. Zelenskyy's first visit to Canada since the Russian invasion.

Well, a surge of migrants crossing illegally into the U.S. has the Biden ministration sending hundreds more troops to the southern border with

Mexico. The mayor of Eagle Pass, Texas, says it's so overwhelming in this border town that he's declared a state of emergency.

Video from Eagle Pass shows a migrant family pulling a child through barbed wire right in front of the U.S. authorities. Earlier this week, we saw a

child that was swept away in the Rio Grande River and drowned as his family tried to cross it.

CNN's Ed Lavandera joins us now from Eagle Pass, Texas.

Good to have you there for us, Ed. You've been speaking with migrants today and one that really struck a chord with me was when a migrant was

apologizing for even trying to enter the United States. It certainly speaks to the desperation so many people are facing.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, you know, kind of a surreal moment as this is the area where all of that unfolded yesterday,

Lynda. And this is an area where we have seen large numbers of migrants crossing from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande over there. And this is

the pathway through the river where many of them, thousands in the last three days, have taken.

But it has kind of changed dramatically here today. And we are trying to figure out exactly why this might be the case. But in the last three days,

we have seen several thousand migrants crossing through here, turning themselves into state and federal authorities after making their way

through the river and through these various layers of razor wire. But this morning it has been incredibly quiet compared to what we have seen.

So the reasons for that is we don't quite know at this point so we are trying to figure that out. But this is still a cause for concern,

especially here in Eagle Pass. It has been the focal point of this latest surge of migrants moving into the U.S. Many of the migrants say they have

been waiting for months to be able to apply for the appointment to request asylum in the U.S., and they simply have grown tired and desperate of

waiting. That's why many of them came.

That gentlemen that you spoke about at the beginning who literally at one point they were able to lift up this razor wire and come through, and that

migrant, the first thing he did was apologized for crossing illegally. You know, many of these people don't quite know exactly what will be the long-

term ramifications for entering into the U.S. illegally. There are ramifications once you start going through the immigration process here in

the U.S., but that could take months if not years to play out for them.

So, you know, the magnitude of crossing through like -- through between ports of entry here on the U.S. southern border and crossing through a

legal port of entry that can really complicate things for them down the road. But that does not really change the matter at hand right now, where

we have seen this just a massive surge of migrants up and down the U.S. southern border. And what many local officials all along border communities

are concerned about is that there is a great deal of information suggesting that the push of migrants coming up through Central America into southern

Mexico is only going to continue to intensify in the weeks and months ahead possibly.

The mayor of Eagle Pass told us that he was in a meeting with federal authorities yesterday afternoon and was told that there are about 50,000 to

60,000 migrants in southern Mexico. The question becomes what happens and what becomes of these large groups of people. You know, they tend to

disperse, sometimes they break up, sometimes people give up and don't finish the journey, but it is assumed that many of these people are going

to make their way north, and so border communities are trying to brace and prepare for what the situation is going to continue to look like here in

the weeks ahead -- Lynda.

KINKADE: Ed, the numbers are just extraordinarily. 8,600 people crossing into the United States in some 24 hours. Why the surge? Why now?


LAVANDERA: Well it's very difficult to pinpoint. You know, many of these migrants are coming from Venezuela. So there, you know, domestic issues

there in Venezuela with the situation. It's a regime with a horrible economic situation, so there is a sense of economic desperation as well as

political persecution of people from that particular country are dealing with. Those are by and large the migrants that we're seeing here at Eagle

Pass are from Venezuela.

Other people are just simply tired of waiting to go through the proper channels, and they're making the calculation of what is worse, to continue

waiting in Mexico at risk of being robbed or beaten or, you know, held, kidnapped, which is what many migrants have been telling us that they've

experienced it in recent months. You know, so they're making these calculations. And so it's very hard to pinpoint an exact reason, but those

are some of the reasons we've been able to pick up on through our reporting in the last few days here and speaking with migrants.

KINKADE: Yes. It really is so crucial to get that perspective from migrants. We appreciate your reporting, Ed Lavandera at the border. Thanks

so much.

Well, according to new satellite images obtained by CNN, three of the world's biggest nuclear powers have recently constructed new facilities and

dug new tunnels at their test sites.

CNN's Ivan Watson reports from Hong Kong on what it all could mean.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): It's no secret that there's growing geopolitical tension between the U.S. and

Russia and China. All three powers routinely conduct military exercises, clearly trying to demonstrate their strength to each other. And it stands

to reason that eventually this competition would start to bleed into an area that I think many people haven't really thought about since the end of

the Cold War, and that is their nuclear arsenals.

CNN has gotten an exclusive look at the serious investment that all three countries, China, Russia and the U.S., have put into their nuclear weapons

testing sites.

(Voice-over): The world's three most powerful militaries, the U.S., Russia and China, have all been expanding their nuclear testing sites in recent

years. The evidence revealed in these commercial satellite images obtained exclusively by CNN.

(On-camera): These are the Russian, Chinese and American nuclear testing sites. Novaya Zemlya, a Russian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Lop Nur, a

dried-up salt lake in China's Xinjiang region. And the Nevada National Security site in a desert northwest of Las Vegas. Images from each location

show new tunnels, roads and storage facilities constructed within the last five years.

(Voice-over): Nuclear nonproliferation expert Jeffrey Lewis first collected and analyzed these images.

JEFFREY LEWIS, JAMES MARTIN CENTER FOR NONPROLIFERATION STUDIES: One big factor for both the United States, but also Russia and China, is a desire

to make sure the nuclear weapons that they designed and tested in the 1980s and 1990s still work.

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, RETIRED U.S. AIR FORCE COLONEL: All three countries, Russia, China and the United States have invested a great deal of time,

effort and money in not only modernizing their nuclear arsenals, but also in preparing the types of activities that would be required for a test.

WATSON: While there's no evidence of an imminent test, Russia's Novaya Zemlya site did see a burst of new construction over the last two years. On

the one-year anniversary of his full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared Russia's readiness to conduct nuclear


VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Some figures in Washington, we know this for a fact, are already thinking about the

possibility of a natural test on their nuclear weapons. If the U.S. conducts tests, we will do so, too.


WATSON: This time lapse reveals five years of above ground expansion of the U1a complex and underground facility at the testing site in Nevada. A

spokesperson from the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration confirmed to CNN that it is, quote, "recapitalizing infrastructure and

scientific capabilities at the U1a complex," adding, "The United States has not conducted a nuclear explosive test since 1992 and has no plans to do


Since the end of above ground testing, governments have used deep tunnels for their nuclear tests. Satellite images reveal a new fifth tunnel carved

out at China's Lop Nur testing site, along with a growing pile of excavated debris. Washington accuses China of dramatically expanding its nuclear


MICHAEL CHASE, U.S. DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR CHINA: We project out to 2035 when we expect that they'll want to have about 1,500

nuclear weapons.


WATSON: In a statement to CNN, China's Foreign Ministry also denied plans to test, saying quote, "This kind of report only speaks on hearsay evidence

and hypes up China's nuclear threat for no reason."

The specter of a new nuclear test would shatter restraint exhibited by the U.S., China and Russia ever since the 1990s.

LEWIS: If you are a farmer in Ohio or a shopkeeper in Shanghai, the threat of nuclear testing isn't the test themselves. It's the fact that you are

essentially agreeing to pay vast sums of money in an arms race that no one can win, but we can all lose.

WATSON (on-camera): As far as we know, not one of the three countries has conducted a full-scale nuclear weapons test since the 1990s. Most recently,

that would be China, with an underground test conducted in 1996. The U.S. has been conducting for years tests that it calls subcritical tests, and

they're meant to ensure the reliability of existing nuclear weapons. Some of which have been around for some 30 years, longer than many people might

keep a car in their garage.

But you know, investing so heavily in these nuclear weapons testing facilities does not bode well in this environment of growing geopolitical

tension and mutual suspicion.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


KINKADE: I want to go back to Canada now. We've got some live pictures just coming into us of the welcome ceremony that the Canadian government is

holding for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Now Paula Newton is in Ottawa covering the developments.

Paula, we're just seeing some live pictures. Just talk us through what's happening right now.

NEWTON: So what's happening right now is President Zelenskyy and his wife were greeted at the Governor General's Residence, and that's Rideau Hall.

They are leaving that ceremony right now and headed behind me to parliament where they will be greeted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and of course

the deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland who is of Ukrainian descent as well.

He will receive a rapturous welcome here in Ottawa. I can tell you that everyone has been anticipating this visit. It is his first visit since the

war began. And as you can see, the vehicles on the move now won't be too much longer. Just a few minutes before he appears on Parliament Hill,

Lynda. And again this is a friendly crowd. He will get outstanding support here in Canada from the government and elsewhere.

At issue, though, is that he really needs that support rhetorically to be backed up by military means. And not just humanitarian aid, he is most

especially interested in bulking up certainly his military given the counteroffensive that's on the way and the fact that he continually says

that this war will last a long time -- Lynda.

KINKADE: So, Paula, take us through how much support Ukraine has had from Canada since the invasion by Russia some 19 months ago. And what does he

anticipate getting from this visit today?

NEWTON: So right now also to be clear, Ukraine's defense minister is meeting with Canada 's defense minister. Again here, they are having a

bilateral meeting right now, and that is where they will work out the details if there is anything new. A reminder, Canada lags behind other NATO

allies in defense spending in general, and that's why getting any kind of material support from a defensive point of view will be a tall order for

President Zelenskyy.

Still, while he is here in gratitude obviously, and a reminder, Canada has one of the largest Ukrainian diaspora anywhere in the world, especially

likely the third largest outside of Russia, that is significant. And, you know, even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau understands that it is a

contingent that will continue to lobby him to continually give President Zelenskyy more of that material on defense support.

I want to remind, though, Lynda, it is important that when this started in February of 2022, I remember Canada being on the record of not even being

willing to support Ukraine with lethal aid. Obviously we have come a long way from that, but every step of the way, even here in Canada, it has been

a fight for President Zelenskyy to get what he needs on the timetable that he needs it.

KINKADE: And right now quite crucial for President Zelenskyy as he battles ahead with this counteroffensive in Ukraine.

We are going to come back to you, Paula Newton, in Ottawa with more on President Zelenskyy's visit to Canada after a short break. Stay with us,

you're watching CNN.



KINKADE: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Lynda Kinkade.

I want to return now to Canada where the Ukrainian president is making his first visit there since Russia invaded Ukraine. Our Paula Newton is

standing by for us.

And, Paula, we do know that President Zelenskyy is expected to address the parliament. He's going to meet with Justin Trudeau, the leader. What can we

expect today?

NEWTON: Yes, I'm just keeping an eye as he approaches Parliament Hill. He's had this official welcome from the governor general. He will now be

welcomed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of his cabinet. They will start with an extensive bilateral meeting. This is not just on trying

to get humanitarian aid. Obviously a military aid, but also an economic cooperation, keeping in mind that President Zelenskyy does have his mind

also focused on reconstruction.

He wants to try and continually develop those business ties with countries like Canada as well. After that, he will address parliament at 1:00 p.m.

Eastern time. That, as I said, he will get a rapturous welcome in parliament. There is no doubt of that. But he has a lot of support from all

political parties here in Canada for what he is trying to undertake in Ukraine. After that we do expect a significant press conference. About 2:32

from both Justin Trudeau and President Zelenskyy.

And at that press conference, I'm sure the president will be asked how fragile he believes his support is from allies right now. We have seen some

weakening both in Europe and in the United States, and likely, Lynda, he will get some questions about how he is supposed to counter that, even here

in Canada in terms of getting the defense commitments that he wants that have at times been slow and not what he has asked for given Canada's

responsibilities and other defense measures. And a lot of that includes NATO missions around the world trying to shore up those native defenses in

Europe as well and in the Baltic states.

I'm just watching the motorcade. It should arrive at any time now on Parliament Hill. Again, already one welcome ceremony at the governor

general's, and now attending as well up Parliament Hill. Significant that President Zelenskyy's wife is also here with him. They received a very warm

welcome off the airplane late last night as well. Justin Trudeau went to the airport to greet both of them warmly. And again, this is a bit of a

breather for the president after what was an especially fraught meeting at the U.N. General Assembly and also on Capitol Hill.

But at this point in time, as I said, we see Canadian dignitaries lining up there already there to greet him. And again, the official address to

parliament will be significant. It will be a departure perhaps from what he said in Washington, D.C., and at the U.N., singling out Russia during those

appearances. He will definitely speak of that. But again, Lynda, given the support that Canada has undertaken to give Ukrainians through this effort,

there will be a lot of thanks and a lot of gratitude shown by Zelenskyy.

Again, underscoring the point that while it's Ukraine on the front line that Ukraine and President Zelenskyy believe that they are fighting this

battle for all democracies around the world -- Lynda.


KINKADE: Yes. It's interesting, Paula, you mentioned that shift in gratitude because that is something that President Zelenskyy has been

criticized for in the past. Not being grateful enough for the amount of aid that Ukraine has received from around the world. But as you referred to

some of pushback, some of the pushback that he's getting right now, both here in the United States from Republican lawmakers as to when this war is

going to end, how much more aide can he expect. There's also been pushback from Poland, whose leader says we are not going to give any more new

weaponry to Ukraine right now because of a conflict over the grain deal.

Just explain for us where Canadians stand on how much more aid they are willing to give Ukraine, because just before I ask you, I just want to

bring up a graphic that we do have that shows the amount of aid that Canada has given. By comparison to some -- off the list right now because it is so

far down the list, I think it's number 10 in terms of the number of countries that have given aid. The U.S. of course the most, over $40

billion. Germany, less than half of that at $20 billion.

And Canada lags behind at about $1.8 billion. It didn't make that graphic. But talk to us about the support, the handing over more aid right now from

the perspective of Canadians?

NEWTON: Yes. I mean, look, there's a lot of support for this in Canada no doubt. I will say that what Canadian officials tell me is that if you look

at GDP, so if you look at the size of Canada's economy and then take that against the aid that's been given per capita aid, they actually say it's

quite high even if the absolute number isn't quite high. But this is more than a numbers game here right now, Lynda, and Justin Trudeau will be

basically -- Zelenskyy will lean on Justin Trudeau to also lean on allies to continue to make the point for them that this kind of aid must be kept

up from all allies.

I do want to point out as well that Canada at times has been slow to try and give some of that defensive aid. Canada itself lagging behind in terms

of NATO contributions, and that has been an issue. I do think it's very interesting when we talk about both Ukraine and Poland when it comes to

Canada, Canada not only has a large Ukrainian diaspora, it also has a large Polish diaspora as well. And it is interesting when you speak to these

groups here on the ground, in Canada, that they look at the dispute between Poland and Ukraine as something temporary. They believe that it is a

skirmish that will blow over.

They, the Ukrainian and Polish Canadians here in Canada continually tell me, look, in Europe, you do not have to remind them about the threat of

Russia on their own soil. And they believe that these issues between allies will continue to be ironed out. Having said that they don't like to see any

fracture in the alliance whatsoever, and everyone is looking closely. A reminder that in Canada there are up to 200,000 Ukrainian refugees that

have arrived since the war began as well.

Many of them now wondering, Lynda, whether or not they will actually have to make their future in Canada given the war has already dragged on longer

than most them had expected -- Lynda.

KINKADE: We're just looking at those pictures of Prime Minister Trudeau awaiting the arrival of the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. This trip of

course, Paula, coming at a time when this counteroffensive is well underway. A major attack on Russia's naval fleet in the Black Sea by

Ukraine overnight. How significant are those developments on the front lines as we look at the diplomatic talks that are underway?

NEWTON: Yes. Truly significant, Lynda, and this is why. Anyone will tell you that from the very first day that Russia tried to invade Ukraine and

ended up executing that, the winning posture that President Zelenskyy determined was resolved to have as Russia was invading continues to this

day. He wants to be able to show strength. The fact that Ukraine can win this battle with Russia.

He believes that more of that winning front foot posture that he shows, the more he can show that, the more defense aid that he will receive from

allies. He can't be seen to be on the losing end of this conflict. He believes that that is the weak point, and that is when allies may determine

that they will not be back in Ukraine as much as they are.

As you can see now, Lynda, the prime minister there welcoming President Zelenskyy. They will now go in to the Houses of Parliament there, and will

be greeted by certainly the speaker of the House of Commons here in Canada and also members of the Trudeau cabinet. Again, they will start with a

bilateral meeting, fairly extensive, not just on humanitarian aid and military aid, but also on business ties. Again, Zelenskyy already having an

eye on reconstruction and rebuilding in Ukraine.


But I do want to underscore that point, Lynda. President Zelenskyy wants to basically come to Canada, come to the United States. Any the allies he

visits from a position of strength. When you talk about being able to hit the headquarters of the Black Sea fleet in Russian occupied Crimea, this is

a message loud and clear, not just to Russia, but to allies. You can prosecute this war. We will continue to prosecute this war.

And I have to note, Lynda, when I speak to Ukrainians on the ground here, they have told me again and again, one thing I hear, allies were ready to

basically fund an insurgency. Not that Ukraine would even exist in any way a year and a half after Russia tried to invade Ukraine. They thought they

were arming Ukraine for an insurgency, one that was under an entire country that would've been under Russian occupation within weeks or months of

Russia trying to invade. The picture is completely different today. And that is the point that Zelenskyy continues to underscore, not just here in

Canada, but with Russia.

KINKADE: Paula Newton, great to have you on this story as the Ukrainian president arrives at the Canadian parliament, expected to address

parliament shortly.

We are going to leave it there for now. I'm Lynda Kinkade. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. We will be back with much more on that at the top of the hour.

You're watching CNN. Stay with us.