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U.N. General Assembly to Resume Emergency Session on Gaza; Last Hamas Strongholds in Northern Gaza Surrounded; Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Capitol Hill Seeking More War Funding; Ukrainians Sending One-Way Drones into Russian Lines; Deadline Set by Climate Chief Passes with No Deal; U.S. Says Kremlin Responsible for What Happens to Alexei Navalny; Unifil Peacekeepers' Dangerous Israel-Hamas Border Mission; Sustainable Dining Options; North Korea Accused of Stealing Billions in Crypto. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired December 12, 2023 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD, live from New York.
This hour we are following two of the world's biggest news stories. The wars happening on two continents reverberating across the globe. Ukraine's
President Zelenskyy is in the United States today with President Biden and Congress in an effort to reinstate his country's paused aid package. We
will take you to Ukraine and Washington.
First, we start with the war in Gaza where catastrophe and destruction continues unabated. This comes as the U.N. General Assembly is expected to
vote later on a draft resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in Gaza.
The humanitarian crisis worsens each day. Doctors in Gaza say hospitals in the north remain under siege and under fire as the Israeli military steps
up its campaign to defeat Hamas.
The Israeli military says it only carried out operations in and around hospitals where they are being used by Hamas and other armed groups. The
impact, of course, on civilians is punishing.
Meanwhile, Israel says it started conducting security checks on humanitarian aid for Gaza at the Kerem Shalom crossing. What is clear is
whether the aid will then be handed over to international organizations through the rough crossing between Gaza and Egypt. There is no current plan
to allow aid to enter Gaza directly from Israel.
Let's bring in Jeremy Diamond in Sderot, Israel, and Alex Marquardt, who is in Kerem Shalom for us now. Let's start there.
What is actually taking place with this analysis of aid?
As I mentioned there, the Israelis are saying this is not going to be a crossing point for humanitarian aid into Gaza. But the hope and the belief
is that this will at least facilitate the speed upon which the humanitarian aid can get through the crossing.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's, right Julia. Until now there has been only one inspection point that Israel has
had to take a look at this aid before it goes into Gaza. That is much farther south, in a place called midsauna (ph).
What Israel is doing now is adding a second inspection point which could in theory double the amount of aid that would be allowed into Gaza. Although
it does not necessarily mean that all of that aid can get into Gaza.
What we are seeing and what we see throughout the course of the day, although it has slowed down a little bit, as the evening has started, the
long line of trucks coming from the Egyptian side to here, to Kerem Shalom and then we see them being expected.
They used dogs; we've seen people looking inside. There has been a truck from World Central Kitchen, the aid group; boxes from the World Food
Once the trucks are approved by the Israeli side they go back into Egypt to be driven up to the Rafah crossing. The good news is double the amount of
aid could go in. It does not mean that Rafah can actually handle it.
Rafah is a much smaller crossing and not built to handle hundreds and hundreds of trucks every single day.
But perhaps more importantly, Julia, because of the intense bombardment, the intense fighting taking place inside the Gaza Strip and the hundreds of
thousands of people who have fled south, that makes distribution extremely difficult.
Even if the number of trucks can go up, it does not necessarily mean that it can get into Gaza. We have seen desperate people, who need food, who
need water, who need medicine, swarming those trucks. So it is a very, very desperate situation.
And for now, as you mentioned, Israel has said that aid cannot flow into Gaza from this point, which would be very welcome by humanitarian
CHATTERLEY: Alex, to your point, I think the difficulty of distributing this humanitarian, aid even when it gets into the country, in a war zone.
Jeremy, to that, point literally as I was introducing Alex and talking about the prospect of facilitating that arrival of humanitarian aid, we
heard an explosion behind you.
Can you tell me what you are seeing and hearing at this moment?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, over the last couple of days we've been witnessing very intense fighting in the northern part of
the Gaza Strip. Even as Israeli officials over the last 1.5 weeks have been pushing deeper into southern Gaza, into the largest city in the southern
part of the Gaza Strip of Khan Yunis, which has become a main prong of Israeli offensive, the Israelis are really fighting actively in northern
Particularly in the Jabalya refugee camp which is just over my right shoulder in this direction. And also in the Shejaiya neighborhood of Gaza
City, which the Israeli military says are the last two remaining strongholds in northern Gaza.
The defense minister, Yoav Gallant, is saying that Hamas is, quote, "near a breaking point" in the Northern Gaza strip. Very clearly, the Israeli
military is trying to see if they can close down the fighting in northern Gaza.
So they can dedicate their focus to operations in southern Gaza.
Of, course the threat cannot be entirely removed. In part because of that network of Hamas tunnels. We even watched after that week-long pause in
fighting between Israel and Hamas as Hamas resumed firing rockets from the northern, very northern tip of the Gaza Strip, where Israeli forces have
been operating for weeks.
But Israeli officials are also pushing their operations into southern Gaza. We have seen infantry troops as well as tanks and armored vehicles push
into Khan Yunis where they are going out for not only Hamas facilities and targets but also going after the group's leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya
It is very clear that the toll these are having on the civilian population in southern Gaza has been heavy. We have watched not only the civilian
casualty count continuing to rise over the past week of those operations in southern Gaza.
But more people displaced and forced into crowded conditions in Rafah, for example, where Israeli officials have been directing Palestinian civilians
to move. Two shelters are overcrowded and under-resourced.
And we're also witnessing the spread of disease in parts of Gaza as well, which World Health Organization officials are warning is an impending
CHATTERLEY: Jeremy, I wanted to ask you about the defense minister, the Israeli defense minister's comments that Hamas strongholds in the north are
on the verge of dismantling. I think that was the phrase that he used. I know it's incredibly difficult.
What is your sense of what you are hearing, if anything, of timing?
What more is required to create the conditions for that ultimate dismantling?
Obviously the focus has been more on the south. But we can still see that there is still fighting and heavy fighting in the north.
DIAMOND: Yes, there is a lot of pressure on the Israeli government to show results, to show that they are getting closer to their goal of dismantling
Hamas in Gaza. They are certainly not laying out a timetable in terms of exactly by when they hope to achieve that goal.
In part because they don't want to miss that target if they say it publicly. There is no question that we have watched the fighting intensify
in northern Gaza over the last few days.
Some very, very heavy explosions that we have witnessed from our point of view where we can really feel the shock waves of some of those heavy bombs
that are being dropped on northern Gaza.
And also, notable that we have watched in recent days, the death toll for Israeli soldiers has also risen. Another sign of intensifying fighting with
many of those deaths happening in northern Gaza rather than Southern Gaza.
That will also generate additional pressure on the Israeli government, the Israeli public is very sensitive to the deaths of Israeli soldiers. It is
something that certainly factors into the political calculus and military decision-making in Israel.
CHATTERLEY: For civilians, where is safe to be and to go?
For now, Jeremy Diamond in Sderot and Alex Marquardt in Kerem Shalom, thank you.
Now to Russia's war in Ukraine. Right now Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is on Capitol Hill. He's spending the day in meetings with key
U.S. lawmakers trying to persuade them to give more weapons and money to fight Russia.
As the war approaches its third year, some conservative Republicans are saying the U.S. has already given enough. For more we have chief
congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, at the U.S. Capitol. Nick Paton Walsh is on the ground in Ukraine with more on what is at stake on the
And Manu, we will go to you first. One senator, J.D. Vance, already leaving. He's a deep skeptic of providing more funds to Ukraine but leaving
that meeting early and saying his mind remains unchanged.
The question is, can Zelenskyy convince them that more is required?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is going to be very hard, given the divide here in the Capitol, particularly the demands among
the Republicans to deal with the separate issue, of how to secure the border with Mexico.
Changing immigration policies, dealing with the migrant crisis, a surge of migrants at the U.S. border with Mexico, that is a divide that has
persisted for years on Capitol Hill. Republicans want this to be resolved now, to their liking, before green-lighting more aid to Ukraine.
And that is a hurdle that Zelenskyy in this room will have a very difficult time overcoming. One Republican after another indicated before this meeting
that their mind would not be changed. It's unlikely it will be changed afterwards.
Senators leaving this meeting said he did receive a warm reception. He talked about the resources that would be needed to win this war. He was
asked questions by senators about whether or not U.S. dollars are being funded in Ukraine for corruption, such as purchasing yachts and the like.
He tried to address some of those concerns head on. We expect Zelenskyy to come here in a moment with Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell.
In just moments, Democrat and Republican leaders, Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell, who has been a staunch vocal proponent of aid to Ukraine. But he
has aligned himself with Republicans who have pushed for a deal with immigration first.
The politics remain for Zelenskyy here, the reality of the situation remains here despite the grave warnings that he has undoubtedly leveling
behind closed doors, that urgent action is needed. There is a likelihood in Congress that they punt this issue into next year.
What does that mean for the future of this country?
He will try to level some sense of urgency when he meets in a matter of moments with the Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, along Hakeem Jeffries.
But he will not get a full audience before the full House of Representatives, given the divides within the House GOP about how to deal
with Ukraine in the months ahead.
It just shows you the challenges Zelenskyy is having. It's a far cry from the reception he received last year when he addressed a joint session of
Congress, got multiple standing ovations, aid to Ukraine was greenlighted almost immediately. But the divided Congress makes his reality much more
difficult, despite his urgent pleas behind closed doors.
CHATTERLEY: President Zelenskyy understands that fatigue after the Ukrainian people and better than anyone because this is their war they are
Nick, to Manu's point there, he understands the consequences for his country if he does not get this funding. That is exactly why he is on there
in Capitol Hill today.
How is this meeting be perceived in the Congress back in Ukraine?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: While the moment may be why they continue to do more of the same if it hasn't
achieved the results.
For the Ukrainians, if you don't do more of the same, it is life and death situation. There is a palpable sense of anger amongst those troops. On the
face of it, they say they will fight until the end. They have no choice.
Frankly, they are acutely aware from the very first days of the war it was U.S. weaponry, it was the speedy delivery of antitank weapons that held
Russian invasion back. Since they've been able to push Russians out of some areas.
We saw ourselves, on the ground near Kherson, a city that epitomizes what life under so-called hot peace with Russian occupying forces close by might
be like for ordinary Ukrainians.
Kherson a ghostly city and one whose far outskirts Ukrainian soldiers are showing they can find ingenuity. They can find ways of making up the gap if
they don't have U.S. aid. It is not necessarily going to be enough for a decisive victory. Here is what we saw.
WALSH (voice-over): Out of Kherson City, past the bridge the Russians invaded and left on, you reach a new phase of hope and anxiety in this war.
Down on the edge of the Dnipro River, on whose isolated right bank, lone groups of Ukrainians are making rare advances into Russian occupied land.
But it's tiny tools, handrigged, donated drones and small gains. The U.S. is stalling on the big money Ukraine needs to make the breakthrough the
And you can feel the anger at that here. It is relentless work.
"I think it'll be very difficult without American help," he says. "Our supplies are also ending, so we need theirs."
"We've had days so busy, we launched 15 to 20. And I got 10 minutes' rest between flights," the pilot says. "I never imagined this would be my war."
It's the PlayStation generation headsets, directing cheap singleuse drones on a one-way flight into Russian lines.
WALSH: It's just saying that the weather is cleared up. The fog was just settled over the river. And the Russians are very aware of this threat and
you can see them now, trying to find the target.
WALSH (voice-over): This keeps the Russians off the roads by day and helps Ukraine take ground. Now they maneuver toward a Russian checkpoint. Killing
here somehow remote yet also intimate.
Another prize target emerges, their Russian equivalent drone unit hiding in a redroofed house, worth sending two drones at. The first, as it closes in,
taken out by jamming. The second picks it up.
At night, another unit, elsewhere near the city, takes over. Thermal imaging help them find Russians hiding in the woods across the river near
Krynki (ph), a village where Ukraine has a valuable foothold.
This unit, too, were hunted.
They use a cheap device to spot the frequency used by a Russian drone passing above.
This operator dons a new cloak as he launches a drone off the roof. See how it reduces his heat signature, probably invisible to the Russians above.
The night in battered Kherson City is no respite for civilians.
Sirens, yes, but also a series of Shahed Russian attack drones.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lights off, lights off.
WALSH (voice-over): They close on us, the motor wind lower as it passes over our heads. Anti-aircraft guns pierce the blackout. There really is
little life to be enjoyed here. And what's left to rush to is that the news, there are rare food handouts.
They're fast gone. The shelling is relentless. A woman injured here the night before a neighbor knocked off her feet.
ZHANA, KHERSON RESIDENT (through translator): I don't drink. But yesterday, I drank a bottle of wine. We all have our guardian angels. We
humans here are resilient.
WALSH (voice-over): Kherson, liberated last year, is still in the grip of the war. And unless they push the Russians back, a dark and bloody normal
WALSH: In the summer we saw kids out here playing and it's not just a bit of winter that's forced them indoors. It's the fear of artillery strikes at
any time, with a protective wall now built around the children's playground. The sense really of a city getting ready for a bit more of life
on the ground, some of it in bomb shelters.
WALSH (voice-over): Especially here at the maternity hospital, still open for tiny miracles and readying this basement to be their new ward.
Built by the Soviets for a nuclear war, it's now a shelter because the floors above have been hit again and again. But there are sparks of life
here, even if this is the view Yevgenia (ph) had when she gave birth just seven hours earlier.
YEVGENIA (PH), KHERSON RESIDENT (through translator): It's not scary. We've got used to the shelling. I've been here since the start of the war
and occupation. We'll only leave if the heating goes off.
WALSH (voice-over): Kira (ph) conceived in spring, when an end to the war was imaginable but born into a city lost to Russia's slow grind to nothing.
WALSH: The shelling continued the morning we left, quite relentless to be honest. It feels in that city as though there were two opposing armies
inside it, duking it out, street to street.
Brutal for those people left behind. Don't be fooled, also, into believing that this war is essentially down to the front lines, far away from
civilian centers. They are too repeatedly under missile attack, eight missiles fired at Kyiv yesterday.
And nationwide now, cell phone disruption after an intense hacking attack, which Ukraine security services are pointing the finger toward Russia
about. That is disrupting cell phone service on a main provider for many here called Kyiv Star.
Other services having issues as well, perhaps a knockon from that. And a real fear, I think, amongst Ukrainians, who might be seeing infrastructure
being targeted again heavily as winter sets in.
Knock out cell phones, knock out the air raid sirens, you knock out even the street lights where we are. We are going to have to be turned on by
hand because the cell phones appear to be damaged as well.
So Russia, clearly on their front foot in some areas; Ukraine, really trying to digest what this wavering by the United States, their Western
backers steadfast until this point, what that wavering might mean.
It means definitely bad things for morale. We've seen that ourselves.
Does it materially change their capacity to defend themselves?
We may see that in a matter of hours as to whether we are really going to see Kyiv recalculate how it funds its military here.
CHATTERLEY: Facing the funding fatigue.
Nick, do they talk about some form of compromise in whatever solution and form that looks like?
Or do the people there continue to say that they will fight on and, as you said, that they will suffer the consequences of war, wherever it is?
Do they talk about some kind of compromise solution with Russia?
WALSH: It is not some sort of homogenous opinion. There are some Ukrainians, who have history closer to Russia. I think Russia's invasion
has removed a lot of that sympathy toward the idea being closer to Russia for many Ukrainians.
A lot of Ukrainians as well speak very angrily about the notion of peace with Russia. Remember, it is fair to say, objectively, that Moscow has used
diplomacy in the past as a pause to recalibrate, to pursue its military means, even while it's at the negotiating table.
So when Western analysts say, you can't really trust Putin when he says he wants to talk peace. They've a fair point, proven out by history.
But of course, the point about this counteroffensive and this funding was not that it would herald an indefinite period of Western backing for an
infinite war by Ukraine; they'd hoped for a victory that could then put Kyiv perhaps in a place where it could impose a peace to its favor on
That hasn't happened and now we will see perhaps the changing political climate in Europe or in the U.S. potentially put aside, their negotiation
up in the air with a little bit more volume.
But it is really important to point out that doesn't necessarily end it here. Most people, who study what Putin does, say he will just use the
pause to refit, recalibrate and, then as we are seeing in the east of Ukraine now, at Avdiivka, trying to take another town slowly grinding away.
Ukrainians, so deeply concerned that, unless they continue to see support now, they could be looking at a multiyear war down the line here, just to
keep Russia from invading further, Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. That's the message he has to take to Congress today. Nick Paton Walsh in Ukraine for now, thank you for those reports.
OK, coming up, a little later, concern is growing over the whereabouts of the Kremlin's toughest critic.
Plus, time is running out to finalize a climate deal at the COP28 summit after a controversial draft only further fueled divisions.
The question is, can negotiators help bridge the gap?
A live report from Dubai, just ahead.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD.
Negotiators are scrambling to finalize a deal on the last official day of the U.N. climate conference in Dubai. That is after a deadline set by the
COP28 president passed with no agreement.
Discussions have now entered overtime, even as deep divisions remain. A draft released Monday dropped calls for a phaseout of fossil fuels, which
had appeared in previous versions.
The summit's chief defended the draft, calling it a, quote, "starting point." But it has been widely criticized by climate advocates in many
nations as "weak," quote. Eleni Giokos is in Dubai and she joins us now, live.
The petrol states clearly being accused of thwarting efforts to tackle global warming.
It is never that simple, Eleni, or is it?
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: It is never that simple. This is what we've come to discover. Frankly, just, there is so many people
involved with different interests and also you're hearing that.
We have to take a very realistic and pragmatic approach to fossil fuels. You know that everything that you and I touch is intrinsically tied to the
fossil fuel industry, whether you're buying eggs in the supermarket, your clothes, absolutely everything.
We are now in overtime. The building right behind me, closed-door conversations, right now, with negotiators, trying to come up with that
And the big question has always been, is it phase down for fossil fuels, phase out fossil fuels?
That would be really historic even if we add fossil fuels in a COP agreement that hasn't been done before. I mean, we've seen in the previous
two COPs, where it was phase down of coal. That was seen a very progressive.
And now the question becomes, the biggest emitters, of course, of greenhouse gases, is the fossil fuel industry.
Are we going to see a brave front by the negotiators, Julia?
We just don't know. What we do know is that Saudi Arabia, Iraq as well as Kuwait, have been very opposed to any language of that sort. That's
according to observers that have been in the negotiating room.
We also know that OPEC had written a letter to its members, saying that they shouldn't support any language of that kind. In the meantime, we know
that there is always activists at any conference like this. Here in the UAE, those protests are usually banned.
And just a little earlier we saw young activists coming together, calling out for the phaseout of fossil fuels.
This is a really important moment, because, if you look at the draft communique we received, it basically gives you sort of a menu of things
that countries could do. And they say could do, of increasing renewable energy resources, reducing consumption and production of fossil fuels.
But it doesn't go as far as talking about phasing out or phasing down. Al Gore, the former U.S. vice president, had this to stay and it really struck
me because he basically tweeted that "COP28 is on the verge of complete failure.
"The world desperately needs to phase out fossil fuels as soon as possible. Anything else is a massive step backwards from where the world needs to
truly be, to address the climate crisis and to make sure that the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal doesn't die in Dubai."
And that was really powerful because we've seen this kind of talk before.
But the question is can it be done, can it be done quickly, to match the urgency of the climate crisis that we are all facing?
CHATTERLEY: Yes, for questions, Eleni Giokos, thank you for that.
And just in a moment's time, we will consider the key takeaways from this summit, as Eleni was talking, as negotiators from nearly 200 nations, still
trying to hammer out that final agreement. We will dig deeper with our chief climate correspondent, Bill Weir, just ahead.
Plus CNN getting an inside look at the dangerous mission of peacekeepers on the Lebanese border with Israel. More of the details are coming up, ahead.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Julia Chatterley and your headlines this hour.
CHANCE (voice-over): The Iran-backed Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for an attack on an oil and chemical tank registered to
Norway. U.S. military officials say the vessel was hit by an antiship cruise missile shot from a Houthi-controlled area in Yemen.
The Houthis warn they'll continue to prevent ships heading to Israeli ports from traveling the Arab and Red Seas, until food and medicine is provided
The IDF says it struck a, quote, "terrorist cell" in the West Bank city of Jenin, killing a number of people. Israeli forces say dozens of arrests
have been made and troops are continuing to carry out counter-terrorism activity in the area.
The Palestinian news agency reported earlier that four people had been killed in the strike.
Chinese president Xi Jinping is in Vietnam for a two-day state visit. Beijing says he's seeking to strengthen ties between the Communist
neighbors. The Chinese president trip comes just three months following U.S. President Joe Biden's visit to Vietnam to try to bolster relations in
And Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is coming face to face with U.S. lawmakers today on Capitol Hill. He is there with a desperate plea for
more aid to defend his country against the Russian invasion.
This is President Zelenskyy's third U.S. visit since the war began in 2022. Observers say it doesn't seem likely he'll be able to shift the position of
senators that were hesitant to greenlight more funding.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER: President Zelenskyy made it so clear how he needs help. But if he gets the help, he can win this war. And
he outlined in some great detail, A, the kind of help he needs and how it will help him win.
Even as many of our Republican colleagues talked about, we are winning this war. And if we get the help that, if he gets the help he needs, he will
On the other hand, he made it clear and we all made it clear, that if we lose, Putin wins. And this will be very, very dangerous for the United
States. We cannot let Putin influence, through any surrogate, what is -- what we need to do for Ukraine.
He also made one other point. He needs the aid quickly. If we don't give the aid quickly, several things will happen. First, the military means but,
second, Europe and many other allies will say, what is going on here?
They are not giving them the aid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHATTERLEY: Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, there speaking, just moments after he met other senators with President Zelenskyy.
Now, for its part, the Kremlin says it is monitoring today's scheduled meetings between President Biden and the Ukrainian leader, quote, "very
The Kremlin is also pushing back against U.S. concerns about jailed opposition leader, Alexei Navalny. He is Vladimir Putin's most prominent
critic and his whereabouts remain unknown.
His team say they are worried about where he might be and in what condition. The U.S. State Department says the Russian government is, quote,
"responsible" for what happens to Navalny. The Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov says Russia will not and cannot monitor prisoners. I want to bring
in Fred Pleitgen now.
Interesting response to that, particularly in light of him being the number one Putin critic. And of course, this coming just days after President
Putin himself announced he would be running again for reelection in 2024.
Fred, what more are we hearing?
What are his family saying?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They certainly are obviously very concerned about all of this as well, Julia. And I think
one of the big issues that the lawyers are having, his association is having and the family having as well, getting any sort of information as to
where exactly Alexei Navalny could be.
It's been the second day in a row where he was supposed to appear via video link from the jail that he has supposed to have been in this entire time.
This morning, he had a court hearing and he didn't show up for that.
Now today, the people from that jail finally admitted that he had left that jail, that he is no longer there. Yesterday, they had said that he is
simply not on the list anymore.
And before that they were claiming that it was power issues that were preventing him from taking part in these hearings. So, now at least, there
is some clarity. He is not in that jail, called IK-6, about 150 miles east of Moscow, anymore.
The big question remains, where exactly is he?
And that simply remains unclear. His lawyers say they've been trying to track him down, they've not been able to do so. One of the things that we
have to point out, Julia, is that he was set to be transferred to a jail with an even harsher regime than the one he's been in so far.
But it is unclear when exactly that was supposed to happen. But it's also not unheard of for prisoners, when they are in that phase of being
transferred, to completely go off the radar, to have absolutely no communications for several days, sometimes for several weeks.
And then, at one point, to pop up once again in a new prison. So it is unclear whether or not that is happening. But one of the reasons why the
family is so very concerned also, is because he has had some health issues, also, while in solitary confinement and also in that jail that he's been so
In fact, he apparently fainted in his jail cell about a week ago. Now, his daughter, Dasha Navalnya, says she is obviously extremely concerned as
well. But she also is holding out hope. Here is what she said on "AC360."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DASHA NAVALNYA, ALEXEI NAVALNY'S DAUGHTER: If I were to get a message out to him, I don't know. I just want the people, not just him but I want
others to know that I have hope and for other people to have hope that we can change the regime if we work together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Alexei Navalny's daughter saying she is still holding out hope. But of course, right now, an extremely difficult situation as it has been
since Alexei Navalny returned to Russia in 2020 and then has been put in jail, has had several trials against. Him
I think he's now at about 30 years in sentences that he faces. So certainly a difficult situation now, made even more difficult by the fact that they
simply don't know where he is.
And of course, you're absolutely right, this comes almost exactly the same time that Vladimir Putin has announced that he will run for reelection on
And the Anti-Corruption Foundation of Alexei Navalny managed to put together a campaign of billboards in Moscow and other cities, critical of
Vladimir Putin, urging people not to vote for him. That is, of course, also something that the government of Vladimir Putin will not have taken very
But again, it is unclear why Alexei Navalny is missing, at this point in time. And certainly if there is some sort of transfer going on, it's
definitely something that has happened before. It has happened to Alexei Navalny before.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, that is the question I was going to ask, you Fred, It was 19 years in prison he was sentenced to in August and he was already serving
11.5 years for fraud. Obviously, he has denied all the charges associated with that. We will continue to track the story. For now, Fred Pleitgen, in
Berlin, thank you.
Now to our other top story today. Aid deliveries to Gaza directed from Israel are not on the table. An Israel Defense Forces officer told CNN that
the decision is a political one, not a military one.
Aid will continue to flow into Gaza, though, by the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt.
Meanwhile, the U.N. General Assembly is expected to vote later today on a draft resolution. That vote could demand an immediate humanitarian cease-
fire in Gaza. That, vote of course, is not binding but symbolic.
Now we've been talking about the spillover of this war across the region, specifically into Lebanon. Ivan Watson reports on the role of Unifil, the
U.N.'s interim force in Lebanon, trying to keep peace on the southern border with Israel.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On patrol with United Nations peacekeepers. Armored personnel carriers
rumbling through towns and villages of southern Lebanon.
WATSON: This is what a daily patrol looks like for the U.N. peacekeepers and, as you can see, they take security very, very seriously.
WATSON (voice-over): Communities near the border with neighboring Israel appear all but deserted. That is because this tense border region has been
the scene of a deadly crossborder conflict between the Israeli military and the Lebanese militia, Hezbollah.
WATSON: That is the Israeli security fence, just a couple of hundred yards away, and this United Nations peacekeeping post is as close as we can
safely get to the Lebanese border with Israel, which has been a front line now in a conflict that has gone on for more than two months.
WATSON (voice-over): From this post, we can easily see the Israeli village of Avivem (ph), also apparently deserted.
LT. ESSIE O'CONNELL: It's quieter today. Earlier this morning, there was a few exposures heard to an east.
Lieutenant Essie O'Connell commands a platoon of around 30 Irish and Maltese soldiers at this small outpost.
WATSON: Have any of these explosions and munitions come close to this position?
O'CONNELL: Yes. We've had some land 200-300 meters away from the position here.
WATSON (voice-over): The Unifil peacekeeping force has been deployed in southern Lebanon since 1978 and currently consists of more than 10,000
troops. Its primary mission is to monitor this tense border and to help the Lebanese armed forces take over security here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our very presence here makes it very, very difficult for actors on either side to do, shall we say, unsavory things in this
WATSON (voice-over): Southern Lebanon is the stronghold of the powerful Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia, whose guerrilla fighters blend into the
countryside and act independently of Lebanon's weak caretaker government. Hezbollah says it is attacking Israel to show support for Palestinians in
Gaza and the Israeli military is quick to retaliate.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have seen advanced antitank guided missiles. We've seen airstrikes. We've seen artillery strikes. We've seen small arms fire.
WATSON (voice-over): Despite these weapons, the peacekeepers only have a mandate to shoot in self-defense. And their mission is dangerous.
During a month-long war with Hezbollah in 2006, Israeli strikes killed five U.N. peacekeepers and wounded many more.
And last year, Lebanese gunman attacked a Unifil vehicle, killing an Irish peacekeeper and wounding three others. Hezbollah denied a Lebanese judge's
accusation that the chief suspect was a Hezbollah member.
At sunset, the engines of Israeli drones echo over the hills.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are ordinary men, women and children living here in south Lebanon and, indeed, across the border in Israel. My hope is that
the conflict will recede.
But am I concerned that it will escalate?
WATSON (voice-over): Peacekeepers, afraid they can't stop this conflict from spiraling into a much bigger war -- Ivan Watson, CNN, on the Lebanese
border with Israel.
CHATTERLEY: Still to come, the COP28 summit has officially ended but talks continue into overtime as nations butt heads over what is in the final
agreement. Our chief climate correspondent, Bill Weir, breaks it all down for, us next.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD.
The official COP28 summit in Dubai has ended but negotiators are now working overtime to reach consensus on a global climate deal. But they are
facing disappointment and divisions.
That's after a draft agreement unveiled Monday was quickly dismissed by many nations and climate advocates as quote, "weak," because it dropped
previous references to phasing out of fossil fuels. Our chief climate correspondent Bill Weir joins us live now from New York.
Bill, I don't want to dismiss efforts to get fossil fuels phaseout into this final agreement.
But you made a great point last hour, which is perhaps it is perhaps a bit precipitous to suggest that this is all ending in failure or would end in
failure if they don't do this, given how enthusiastic people are there on the science, on the technology, to tackle this themselves, irrespective of
a piece of paper agreement.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. There's a lot of pent-up entrepreneurship, a lot of clean technology that is just bursting
at the seams, now that there is public and private money going into an energy transition, Julia. That's absolutely a fair point.
But we still live in a world where the oil and gas industry, by some estimates, has pulled in almost $3 billion of profit a day for 50 years and
still enjoys trillions in subsidies, both direct and indirect.
They have incredible power over life as we know it on this planet. And just how much they are going to let go, whether they're going to let go of any
of that profit power in the near term, could be the difference between living on a planet with coral reefs and mountain ice or one without.
And the delegate from the Marshall islands put it this morning. I did not come here to sign my own death warrant. Countries where sea level rise is
an existential threat and the closer we move toward it, the more worried they get. That is a valid concern as well.
But this is why this is such an incredible challenge, these Conference of the Parties. This is the 28th one. You are looking for consensus for 198
countries, enemies and allies alike, at a time of very tense geopolitical relationships, from Russia and Ukraine, to the Middle East, Israel-Gaza
So if anything comes out of this, the optimists would say, just a pledge to phase down production in use will cling that as a sign of a better day. But
it is so far from what the scientists are warning, Julia. They are crystal clear, that the end of fossil fuels has to happen at some point to maintain
a livable planet.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. You know, I've heard in the past and I've spoken to big conferences like, Davos, for example on the subject, is -- and it was a
real criticism of the host nation going into this, that there will be greater representation from the oil and gas industry here.
And actually, that might impede broader negotiations. But people feel they have to be part of the solution, so they do need to be around the table.
Again, we come back to this idea of, if they can't reach an agreement to in some way phase down, if not, out fossil fuels, will this presidency be
criticized as a result?
I think it is perhaps shortsighted to suggest that. I do feel like everybody has to be part of the solution, including the oil and gas
players, if they are willing.
WEIR: Absolutely. They can -- there's so much room for them to show improvement in this area. For example, carbon capture and storage, which
the petrol states are talking about as a fix, let's worry about the unabated emissions that you see in the sky.
Well, if you're all into that, let's see it. Let's spend some of that $3 billion a day in profit on technology that actually works, because, as of
right now, if we think about it as setting the clock back on climate pollution with carbon capture, right now, we have the capacity to send it
back about 10 seconds.
We need to rewind centuries of pollution right now. And the technology exists. It is just a matter of will, you are absolutely right. But from the
big oil and gas company majors as well.
CHATTERLEY: Yes. I was just looking for that stat. Fossil fuel subsidy soared to a record $7 trillion last year, according to the International
Monetary Fund. Let's put some of that to better use, perhaps. Yes. Bill, thank, you as always.
Bill Weir there.
All right, food production is very much tied into the climate crisis challenge. Growing fruit and vegetables does not produce as much greenhouse
gas as raising cattle or other livestock though.
As COP28 rounds out in Dubai, CNN Academy participant Elia Alizabi (ph) took a look at how prevalent plant-based food is at the summit in an effort
to promote a more sustainable future.
ELIA ALIZABI (PH), CNN ACADEMY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a moment critical to our planet's future, COP28 posted its final days at Expo City
Dubai. Among 10 team hubs and over 600 scheduled events, the introduction of sustainable dining options was placed at the forefront of its bustling
KARIMI KINOTO, ATTENDEE FROM KENYA: Finding my way around some very interesting foods.
This is my best (ph) meal of the day.
ALIZABI (PH) (voice-over): This year's program hosted 95 food and beverage vendors, anticipated to have served 250,000 meals to 70,000 global
attendees every day. Ensuring food options align with the universal 1.5 degrees Celsius limit to global warming, two thirds of our menu items
available on site were also vegan or vegetarian.
Among those being Thrive, the UAE's first 100 percent plant based meat venture, serving the alternative to local favorites.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You still get a little bit of crunch and a little bit of smoothness and you actually -- feels like you've actually got a piece of
ALIZABI (PH) (voice-over): Showcasing how food can be both good for the planet and tasty, (INAUDIBLE) position to minimize waste and packaging, and
are expected to examplify the values of the U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change, a simple commitment to a more sustainable future.
CHATTERLEY: OK, coming up nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles in North Korea. The question is how does the regime pay for it? We will look at the
role of a global network of hackers who might play a role. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back.
No country in the world is more heavily sanctioned than North Korea. No country is more isolated and few are more impoverished. And yet despite all
of that, North Korea has developed and built an extensive stockpile of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
And to pay for that, U.S. intelligence believes a North Korean shadow army of high tech hackers is stealing more than $1 billion a year in
cryptocurrency. Will Ripley has more.
WILL RIPLEY, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every North Korean missile test, every satellite launch, every nuclear test likely
costs Kim Jong-un's life. England's cash-starved country millions of dollars.
Where does that money come from?
How does Kim's regime evade heavy sanctions, advancing its nuclear and ballistic missile programs at breakneck speed?
ANNE NEUBERGER, DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR (voice-over): We certainly believe that North Korean hacking of cryptocurrency around
infrastructure around the world is a major source of revenue for the regime.
RIPLEY (voice-over): A staggering more than $3 billion in stolen crypto over the past five years, U.S. lawmakers say, a record $1.7 billion last
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): So where does that money go?
Straight into North Korea's illegal nuclear program.
RIPLEY (voice-over): An underground pipeline of illicit wealth, fueling Kim's nuclear ambitions, pumping payments into Pyongyang from places like
Russia, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam.
WARREN: Does that pose a threat to our national security?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does, Senator.
RIPLEY (voice-over): The U.S. believes North Korea has a global shadow army, secret operatives posing as IT professionals, government officials,
freelance blockchain developers, even hiring Westerners to hide their connection to Pyongyang.
Spanish police arrested Alejandro Cao de Benos earlier this month, known as a special delegate for North Korea. The U.S. accuses him of helping North
Korean officials use tech for money laundering.
He posted a message on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying, "There is no extradition. The U.S. accusation, besides being false, does not exist in
Blacklisted by the U.S. as modern-day digital pirates, North Korean operatives are linked to ransomware attacks. Targeting online gaming,
gambling and banking industries. Even American hospitals.
North Korea exploiting online vulnerabilities, using stolen money to mass- produce missiles, funding the Kim family's lavish lifestyle, palaces, planes, yachts.
And this armored Mercedes limousine carried on Kim's private train to that September summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The latest breach from North Korea's notorious Andariel (ph) hacking group, targeting South Korean defense firms and others. A year-long investigation
into the U.S. and South Korean defense firms and the U.S. and South Korean government.
The investigation by South Korean police and the FBI, exposing grave vulnerabilities in Seoul's cybersecurity defenses. Around 250 sensitive
files, 1.2 terabytes of classified data, stolen, a crime concealed through rented servers.
A secretive trail of digital deception, leading straight to the North Korean capital, breaching borders, defying digital defenses, threatening
global stability -- Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.
And that just about wraps up today's CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you for joining, us stay with CNN later for "STATE OF THE RACE WITH KASIE HUNT.
That is up next.