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Three Killed in Russian Shelling, 18 Wounded; U.S. to Unveil New Sanctions against Russia; Ukrainians Wrestle with Sadness and Loss; Indicted FBI Informant Got Info from Russian Intel Officials; WFP Pauses Deliveries to Northern Gaza; U.K. High Court Deciding Assange's Right to Appeal; Jury Selection Begins in "Rust" Armorer Trial; Gaza's Nasser Hospital "Completely out of Service"; Israeli Forces Fire on Food Convoy in Gaza; Trump Equates His Troubles with Navalny's Death; Trump-Controlled Republicans Won't Pass Ukraine Aid; Japanese Government to Limit Truck Driver Overtime. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired February 21, 2024 - 10:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Well, welcome to what is the second hour of CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson for you in Abu Dhabi.

As Ukraine shoots down more than a dozen drones, the Kremlin says it's just making more and it's seizing the narrative, publicly awarding medals to

those who took Avdiivka.

There's starvation in Gaza. Ahead this hour, an exclusive CNN investigation into what happened to one U.N. aid convoy stuck -- or struck in the war


Right now, the high court in London is hearing final arguments in Julian Assange's extradition appeal. We could learn the WikiLeaks founder's fate

anytime now.

And in a court in the United States, jury selection begins in the manslaughter case against the armorer on the set of the Alec Baldwin film,

"Rust." That begins in just 30 minutes from now.


ANDERSON: Well, a relentless Russia is keeping up its shelling of Ukraine, pushing ahead after it took the eastern region's front line city of

Avdiivka, with Ukraine looking increasingly outgunned and outmanned.

Local authorities say three people have been killed and at least 18 injured. And this comes after Moscow unleashed a barrage of shells on

several Ukrainian regions over the last 24 hours.

Looking ahead to Friday, which is a day before the second anniversary of Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. is set to unveil another

sanctions package, which is intended to hold Vladimir Putin accountable for the war.

Well, on the ground in Kyiv, Christiane Amanpour this evening.

And Christiane, good to have you. You've been speaking to the Ukrainian foreign minister, who, as I understand it, blames their loss of Avdiivka on

the woeful lack of ammunition needed to defend it. Explain if you will.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes. I mean, you can imagine that, here at this time, they are very, very much

sending out an SOS.

They absolutely need to have the weapons, the ammunition, all the stuff that was promised to them when the U.S. and NATO pledged to stay in support

for, quote, "as long as it takes."

Now what he was respecting -- what he was talking about was the pipeline that's log-jammed in the United States, in Congress. And he also said, that

with every decision and moment of continuing to decide whether or not to send this, Ukrainian soldiers are sacrificing their lives on the front


And the situation for Ukraine becomes more and more precarious as Russia ramps up its offensives. This is what I found at cemeteries and recruitment

centers as I was heading from Lviv here to Kyiv.


AMANPOUR (voice-over): At first it looks beautiful, all the colors, the sheer density flying in the wind, so much Ukrainian yellow and blue. But

when you realize that each flies above the body of a beloved, the pain is palpable. A mother cries, for her son.

"He came from Poland, from abroad," says Lyubov. "He went to liberate our Ukraine. He said, 'Mom, I'm going to defend you.'"

A woman seems to be talking to her fallen loved one.

And this widow, Natalia, moves in for a kiss. Her husband, who had volunteered for the eastern front, was killed just shy of his 30th birthday

five months ago, when shrapnel hit his head, leaving her and her small children alone.

"I'm proud of my husband because his sacrifice is worth a lot," says Natalia. "I believe that it's the duty of every man to defend his homeland.


"Having three children, he could have not gone but understood that he was going to defend us."

Lychakiv Cemetery in the western city of Lviv is like cemeteries all over Ukraine today. Two years ago, this was a grass field.

AMANPOUR: Today, it's a field of flags and the graves of those who've fallen defending this country. And on this two-year anniversary, families

are asking whether Ukraine can continue leaving it up to their volunteers or whether there needs to be a call-up to mobilize for the Front.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Natalia agrees.

"Yes, definitely," she says, "because, if we don't defend ourselves, what kind of fate awaits us next?

"And if we don't defend our lands, Russia will be here soon."

In the center of Lviv, there is a small recruitment office for the army's 3rd Assault Brigade. Just through this courtyard Sergeant Pavlo Dokin is in

charge and he shows us in.

AMANPOUR: So Pavlo, this is the recruitment office, the recruitment center?

AMANPOUR (voice-over): "It is exhausting, not only physically but also for morale. Soldiers need to have normal rotations," Pavlo tells me, "so that

they can rest from all of that and start working with renewed vigor."

The office is open all week. Sometimes a few show up, sometimes none. While we were there, just one.

AMANPOUR: Why do you want to be in the military?

AMANPOUR (voice-over): "Someone needs to defend our Ukraine," says Volodymyr, a 43-year-old builder.

And that's the point. Starting a third year of full-scale war against the Russian invasion, they are heavily outmanned and vital weapons and

ammunition for their fight are tangled up in Washington's political gridlock under former President Donald Trump's direction.

Speaking to world leaders in Munich this past weekend, President Zelenskyy said he'd invite him to see the war with his own eyes.

If Trump, Mr. Trump, if he will come, I'm ready even to go with him to the front.

back at the 3rd Assault Brigade, this poster says, "Rush to the decisive battle."

And they did that this weekend just as the small town of Avdiivka in the east was falling to help withdraw forces before they could be encircled by

the Russians at least then they could live to fight another day President Zelenskyy told me for every Ukrainian killed in that battle there were

seven Russian deaths.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: I'm telling you frankly we don't have long-range weapons. Russia has it and we have too little of that.

That's true. That's why our main weapon today is our soldiers, our people.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): Back at the cemetery in Lviv, the people, the bereaved say the nation needs a new call-up if it can properly arm them.

"I would say they should," says Lyubov (ph), "but only if they had weapons. The guys have no weapons, they have nothing to fight with. Believe me, my

child used to buy his own uniform with his own money."

And here, more ground is already being prepared. The fight for freedom and democracy will be bloody, hard and long.


AMANPOUR (on camera): Long indeed. And in fact, I spoke to a female soldier, who had lost her leg in a mine accident on the front. And she

basically said to me, we cannot advance, our side cannot advance with just assault weapons. So it is very, very dire right now, Becky.

ANDERSON: Good to have you on the ground, Christiane.

Just shy of what is the two-year mark since Russia illegally invaded Ukraine, that coming up this weekend.

A new U.S. sanctions package that we reported earlier is also intended to hold Vladimir Putin accountable for the death of Russia's most prominent

Putin critic, Alexei Navalny. Mysteries surrounding his death is no closer to being solved days after officials say he died in an Arctic prison.

Navalny's mother has filed a lawsuit with a Russian court over, quote, "inaction to release her son's body."

Well, new allegations in an explosive U.S. court filing suggest Russia is once again tampering with U.S. politics.

In this filing, a former FBI informant, charged with falsely accusing U.S. President Biden and his son, Hunter, of taking massive bribes from a

Ukrainian energy company, says his made-up intelligence came from Russian intelligence officials.


CNN's Katelyn Polantz joins us from Washington with reaction to the court filing.

Katelyn, what have you got?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It is Russian disinformation filtering into U.S. politics, not just in the previous

presidential election of 2020 but also now, the Justice Department says, in the 2024 election, where Joe Biden is running again very likely against

Donald Trump.

And in this situation, the Russian disinformation that appears to be coming in, at least through this informant who's now charged with crimes in the

United States, that information would be coming in about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, his son.

So step back a second. The person who's charged, his name, Alexander Smirnov. He's an American citizen, who lives in Las Vegas and he was

arrested last week because he had been lying to the FBI.

He had been giving them information for many years. And some of that information about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden and their connections to

Ukraine and the Ukrainian oil company, energy company, Burisma, that was false. So he's charged with that lying scheme.

And then separately, the Justice Department is now saying in court filings that Alexander Smirnov has been telling them that he's getting information,

including about Joe and Hunter Biden, from the Russians.

They say that he has extensive and extremely recent contact with Russian intelligence, with foreign intelligence, with Russian spies and also with

people involved in assassination efforts by Russia in third party countries, that have high, high level contacts with Russian officials.

People who are family members of Russian government officials. And so that's what this man is telling the FBI.

What does one believe?

Well, as far as we know right now that the FBI does not believe what he was saying about the Biden family connections to Burisma and money exchange

there, at payoffs, a bribery scheme, all of that the FBI says, that was not true.

And so that is undercutting quite a bit of what House Republicans in Congress in the U.S. have been trying to pursue related to Joe Biden

foreign contacts, money that may have been exchanged or that there were allegations of money being exchanged.

That's not true. And now this man, Smirnov, we're learning more about this Russian disinformation coming through him into the FBI, clearly with Russia

intent on disrupting American politics and potentially smearing Joe Biden even more.

ANDERSON: Something of course, they deny. Katelyn, good to have you. It's complicated stuff and you've provided a good route through for us to better

understand what's going on. Thank you.

Well, underway right now, we are getting an update from the World Health Organization on the situation in Gaza. It comes amid new reports that

medical workers in the embattled city of Khan Yunis have being caught up in the violence.

Doctors without Borders says two of its own were killed in an Israeli shelling on a shelter, housing the organization staff and family.

Meanwhile, in northern Gaza, where conditions were already particularly alarming, the U.N.'s food agency, the WFP, announcing this week it is

pausing, halting its aid deliveries because it is not safe enough to continue.

CNN's international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, is live in Tel Aviv.

And the WFP's announcement that it will halt its aid deliveries really underscoring just how difficult things are on the ground. It's not as if we

haven't been reporting as such.

What do we know to be the situation as we speak?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It's so hard to get food aid into northern Gaza. The U.N. reports that barely half of its requests to

get food trucks into northern Gaza get through.

They say they fare better in the south. But their assessment of the situation in the north is one that presents a very dire picture. UNICEF

says that children under 2, one in six children under 2 is facing malnutrition, which is -- which is a critical level.

So even with the very limited food supplies that were getting in, children are in a dire condition. Doctors in hospitals say that the vast majority of

people they see showing up in hospital have malnutrition, that then complicates the treatment of whatever other conditions they have. And in

some cases, that can lead to death.


So the fact that there's an absence of -- there will now be a serious absence of food getting into the north really is going to put huge pressure

on the estimated about 300,000 people still living there.

Notwithstanding, of course, that the IDF still has ongoing military operations in the area, they say, chasing down Hamas cells, rocket units,

command and control centers. It is putting the plight of the people in the north of Gaza, to put it mildly, in a very precarious situation right now,


ANDERSON: And UNICEF reporting that at 15 percent of the population malnourished, they are announcing that this is an emergency. And we're

talking mostly about children here.

We knew this was an emergency situation. We knew things were getting worse. But it's when these agencies underscore they can't do their work, they

can't continue to do their work or that they are announcing an outright emergency, that it really -- that it really hits home. Nic, thank you.

Well, in the occupied West Bank, the IDF says three Palestinians were killed during an Israeli raid at a refugee camp in Jenin. Now the

Palestinian news agency, WAFA, reports six people were injured during the operation. CNN cannot independently verify those claims.

The IDF describes the three dead as terrorists and said it apprehended 14 suspects. Syrian state-run media reports two people were killed and several

other wounded when Israeli missiles struck a residential building there in Damascus.

It released images showing a charred building with at least one floor severely damaged. The neighborhood where this happened is home to senior

security officials. CNN has reached out to the Israel Defense Forces for comment.

Well, still to come, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is making a last- ditch attempt to stay in the U.K. We've got the latest on the hearing taking place in London this hour. That will decide his fate.

Plus jury selection is set to get underway in the trial of "Rust" armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. She is facing serious charges in the death of the

movie's cinematographer. More on that is just ahead.




ANDERSON: We're following developments at the U.K.s high court this hour where protesters have gathered. Lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian

Assange are making what is a final legal bid to head off his extradition to the United States.


Today is the final day of the hearing. If the court denies him a fresh appeal, Assange must leave the U.K. in the next 28 days. He's facing

multiple espionage charges in the U.S., which could carry a lifetime prison sentence. Melissa Bell following developments for us and joins us now --


MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, we expect a decision within the next couple of hours.

This hearing has been going on for two days now. Essentially, it's a hearing aimed at working out whether he will have the right to appeal that

2022 decision by the high court, that the extradition order should hold, confirmed by the home secretary of the time.

So we will find out shortly. It has been a complex couple of days of arguments made by lawyers for the United States, lawyers for Julian


Many of them have hinged on the question of whether what Julian Assange did as WikiLeaks founder, by publishing, in 2010, 2011, those classified

military documents that related to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, fall under what might be considered ordinary journalistic practice.

United States' lawyers argue that it does not. He went far beyond what an ordinary journalist might do in the gathering of information. This has been

the argument by his allies and by his lawyers, as explained on "CNN THIS MORNING" in response to that.


REBECCA VINCENT, DIRECTOR OF CAMPAIGNS, REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS: So far this morning, we did hear the U.S. start to respond to the arguments made

for the basis of this application. I'd say they've doubled down. We haven't heard anything particularly new this morning.

The arguments, again, about the disclosure of bulk information, the disclosure of names, which they argue goes beyond journalistic practices.

But it's my organization's position and actually that of his own defense that this was done in the public interest, the leaked classified documents,

informed public interest reporting around the world.

And if Assange is prosecuted in this way, the precedent would then be set that could apply to journalists and media organizations, to many others.

It's a normal journalistic practice to report on the basis of leaked information.


BELL: Now what the United States lawyers are arguing is that lives were put in danger. The footage, the information that was disclosed back then,

was a direct threat to people on the ground and the interests of the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What we are likely to see, once we have that decision, is either, as you suggested, Becky, should it go against Julian Assange, the start of the

extradition proceedings proper. And that could mean that, within a few weeks, he finds himself across the Atlantic in American hands and in the

hands of the judiciary.

If the hearing goes his way, then it starts yet another legal battle. This is a man who's been essentially locked away now for many years, first in

the Ecuadorian embassy; remember he was holed up there for seven years from 2012-2019.

And since then he's been in Belmarsh Prison, now hoping that the appeal will go his way. Essentially, his lawyers are arguing, Becky, that this is

a political being, persecuted for his political opinions.

And much will hinge on whether the two judges in charge hear that or whether they stand by the earlier decision that the extradition should go

ahead, Becky.

ANDERSON: Good to have you, Melissa. Thank you

Well, jury selection is getting underway this morning in the trial of "Rust" armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. She pleaded not guilty to charges of

involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence in what was the fatal shooting of the film's cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, back in 2021.

Alec Baldwin fired the prop gun during a rehearsal, accidentally killing Hutchins. CNN's Josh Campbell has more.


HANNAH GUTIERREZ-REED, "RUST" ARMORER" I'm the armorer. Or at least I was.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hannah Gutierrez-Reed on the set of "Rust" after the fatal shooting on October 21, 2021.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One female shot in the chest.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): Body cam footage captured the events right after actor Alec Baldwin fired a live round of ammunition during a rehearsal and

shot the film's cinematographer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She came in here and it went across her chest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it came out the back and it went into the --

CAMPBELL (voice-over): Gutierrez-Reed is now facing trial, charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence in the

death of Halyna Hutchins on the set outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. Gutierrez-Reed has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The film's director, Joel Souza, standing beside Hutchins, was also wounded, shot in the shoulder by the same bullet. Prosecutors say the trial

will focus on lack safety protocols on the set. Gutierrez-Reed's attorney saying his client is being unfairly prosecuted.


But the biggest question now facing a jury, how did a live round of ammunition make its way onto the set of "Rust" and into Baldwin's prop gun

on the day of the shooting?

New Mexico workplace safety regulations hold the armorer responsible for storage, maintenance and handling of all firearms and ammunition on the

set, as well as loading firearms.

And according to investigators, six live rounds of ammunition were found in a box, a bandolier, a gun belt and other locations and were commingled with

dummy rounds.

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR AND PRODUCER: Which, if that's the case, then who commingled them?

CAMPBELL (voice-over): Baldwin, one of the film's producers, is also facing an involuntary manslaughter charge and has pleaded not guilty. He

could face trial later this year.

BALDWIN: I was holding the gun, yes.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): On the day of the shooting, the assistant director, Dave Halls, who in 2023 was convicted of negligent use of a deadly weapon,

yelled "cold gun," and handed a prop gun to Baldwin.

BALDWIN: Hannah Reed handed the gun to Halls and said, "Don't give it to Alec until I get back to the set. I've got to go do something else."

And he proceeded to the set and, A, handed me the gun.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): The "Rust" script called for Baldwin to point the gun toward the camera. He pulled it from a holster, according to the search

warrant affidavit, and, at 1:50 pm that day, a live round was fired, hitting Hutchins in the chest.

Baldwin maintains he never pulled the trigger and blames both Gutierrez- Reed and the assistant director for the shooting, even though the FBI crime lab determined the weapon could not accidentally fire. The trigger had to

have been depressed.

BALDWIN: I pulled the hammer back and I pulled it back as far as I could. I never took a gun and pointed it at somebody and clicked the thing.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): Josh Campbell, CNN, Los Angeles.


ANDERSON: You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, live from our Middle East broadcasting headquarters here in Abu Dhabi. Time here is 26 minutes past

7:00 in the evening.

Coming up, I talk to one of the last remaining doctors inside Gaza's Nasser hospital about the incredible challenges facing him and his patients in the

midst of this destruction.

Then the U.N.'s food agency pausing food deliveries to northern Gaza after its convoy came under Israeli fire. We've got an exclusive CNN report on

how that happened.





ANDERSON: Welcome back. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. And wherever you are watching in the world, you are more than


Hospital staff stripped down to their underwear and waiting for hours outside in what is the winter cold. That is what one witness who spoke to

CNN says happened at the Nasser medical complex in Khan Yunis in Gaza.


ANDERSON (voice-over): These are scenes from inside the hospital last week. The witness says, when Israeli troops took control, they forced

doctors and other medical staff to leave the building.

The IDF says it arrested hundreds of Hamas militants in the complex, including some posing as doctors, and that troops found medicine labeled

with the names of Israeli hostages.

Well, Nasser hospital was the largest functioning hospital in Gaza. But vital medical services there collapsed in late January, according to

Doctors without Borders. After Israel laid siege to Nasser, it left only five doctors remaining inside to care for 150 patients.

My next guest was what -- is one of those five. Dr. Hatem Raba told CNN that never in his life had he prayed for, for example, a patient to

survive, because that was his responsibility, to save a patient's life as a doctor.

But now, the fate of his patients is not in his control because he doesn't have sufficient supplies, anything like the equipment he needs to care for

them. On Tuesday while caring for an extremely ill patient, he said he prayed and wept that that patient would survive.

Well doctors and others' prayers actually came true. He shared this photo, showing the moment life returned to this one patient's eyes. He called it

the happiest day of his life. Well, Dr. Hatem Raba joins me on the phone from Nasser hospital.

So you are inside the hospital. Thank you for your time. We do hope that you are safe. Just walk us through what you've been experiencing there

since Israeli forces entered the compound last Friday.


ANDERSON: Can you hear me, Hatem?

RABA: Yes. Yes, I hear you. Hi.

ANDERSON: Yes. Just explain where you are and what's going on, where you are.

RABA: Good evening, everyone. I'm at Nasser hospital now. Here, the situation at Nasser hospital is very bad and difficult without electricity

and oxygen for patients.

Now for six days, we have completely besieged (ph) at Nasser hospital. First of all, I'm going to talk about first day, when the Israeli army

entered the hospital.

The soldiers were shouting, "Hey, come outside buildings and patients stay inside."

After that, we went outside and they said, "Take off your clothes."

I'm talking about doctors and medical staff. It was a bad moment for me and my colleagues in this cold weather and as we are doctors.

You hear me?

ANDERSON: I hear you.


ANDERSON: You were humiliated --

RABA: Yes.

ANDERSON: -- is what you're saying.

RABA: Yes. Then after that, they choose five doctors to stay with 150 patients and others went to another building. And I was one who choose then

by army to stay with the patients.

ANDERSON: So, Dr. Hatem, you are caring for 150 patients between a number of you now?


RABA: Yes.

ANDERSON: How are you doing?

How are you coping?

RABA: Huh?

ANDERSON: How are you doing, how are you coping and what sort of condition are these patients in?

RABA: Actually, their condition is very bad. Imagine it, five doctors for 150 patients. About the cleaning and giving medications and the dressings,

it's a very, very difficult, very difficult. It was very difficult moments for us and very difficult day for us.

ANDERSON: Hatem, what kind of treatment do these patients need?

RABA: (INAUDIBLE) treatment for resuscitation. Just we want to give life for them. After that, we will see what we will do to them, maybe to repair

them to other hospitals or something like that.


Just to be alive, just to keep patients alive, that's all.


ANDERSON: So about the equipment, you don't have anything like the equipment. You don't have anything like the supplies that you need. I just

want to get a sense of just how critical this is. There were five of you with 150 patients, all of whom need critical care.

Am I right in saying that?

RABA: Yes. Yes. Yes. You're right. You're right. That's a critical point (ph). And let me talk, let me talk. I will -- I will continue about what's

happening. I will explain the situation from first day, as I said, to sixth day. Please, let me continue my speak.

Imagine it, 150 patients and five doctors and other doctors and medical staff went to another building. And after that, that first day, I'm talking

about the food and water, we requested that soldiers to bring it for patients.

But they did not to bring. I'm mentioning something important. It's important. Four patients are died or were died at my department. Imagine

it, only in my department. And first and second day, four patients died. And there are other patients died at other departments.

I think total 10 patients died under this siege. And we requested soldiers again to remove them out. But no response. And the smell is very bad here.

And patients tell me every day, "Doctor, smell, smell."

But I can't do anything for them. And as I remember, that first day, we requested Israeli army to evacuate us from hospitals with patients to

another hospital. But they did not allow.

And on second day, soldiers brought, they brought a little food and water. On Thursday, war (ph), the health organization, the WHO, had come to refer

some patients to other hospitals. And they brought a little food and water.

Also on fourth and fifth day, then, they brought food and a little water like this and refer some patients.

And today on sixth day, also, WHO came and did not refer any patients today. They came only to fix generators of hospital. But they couldn't. So

until now, no electricity or water at Nasser hospital.


RABA: Yes, but this is --

ANDERSON: -- Hatem, what message would you like to send to the world, from what was Gaza's largest functioning hospital, you're reporting to me now,

you're telling me now that it is not functioning at this point.

What's your message, sir?

RABA: Yes. Yes. Yes. My message?


RABA: Actually, my message for all the world, as I'm Palestinian doctor, and for all the world this message, we want peace. We want to live in

peace. We are a peaceful people. We want to live as other nations in our state, Palestine. Please, (INAUDIBLE) please, for next generation.

ANDERSON: Dr. Hatem, it's --

RABA: Can you hear me?

ANDERSON: -- it's good to have you. I'm sorry that you are going through what you are going through. It's important to get you on and important that

we have a better understanding from you of what is, what is going on there at Nasser hospital. Thank you.

Well, the U.N.'s food agency said this week it is pausing aid deliveries, food aid deliveries to northern Gaza, because it's not safe. It says its

trucks have been shot at and looted. Now that announcement comes after Israeli forces fired on a convoy, despite taking a route laid out by the

IDF. CNN's Katie Polglase has more.


KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE RESEARCHER (voice-over): This is how desperate the people in northern Gaza are. This aid truck filmed at the end

of January is one of the last to enter the region. And here's why.

Aid so often caught in the fighting.

POLGLASE: Now CNN can exclusively reveal that this truck carrying vital food headed for northern Gaza was hit on February 5th by an Israeli shell,

despite an agreement to provide a safe route.


CNN has seen the internal U.N. incident report and the correspondence between the U.N. and the Israeli military that show the route of this

convoy was agreed upon in advance.

POLGLASE (voice-over): And with starvation imminent for many across Gaza, experts say hitting a food truck is a potential war crime.

JANINA DILL, INSTITUTE FOR ETHICS, LAW AND ARMED CONFLICT, OXFORD UNIVERSITY: Looking at it with the available facts, it's really difficult

to see how this could be a legal attack. And so at minimum, it would look like a very serious violation of international humanitarian law. Whether

it's also criminal then depends on questions of intent.

POLGLASE (voice-over): The truck set off as part of a U.N. marked convoy of 10 up Al Rashid road in the early hours. It reached an IDF holding point

at 4:15 am, stationary for over an hour.

It was then hit at 05:35 am. Fortunately, no one on board was killed. The U.N. says they were hit by Israeli naval gunfire. And in satellite imagery

taken just two hours after the attack, CNN identified ships that could only be Israeli naval boats.

They've been deployed along the coast and are attacking Gaza from the west.

JULIETTE TOUMA, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, UNRWA: We share with the Israeli army the coordinates of the convoy. And only when the Israeli army

gives us the OK, the green light, does UNRWA move.

And the purpose of this deconfliction process is to make sure that aid convoys don't get hit.

POLGLASE (voice-over): It's not the first time this has happened. Many other aid trucks have been hit since the beginning of this conflict. The

U.N. says northern Gaza is still home to reported 300,000 civilians.

UNRWA says half of its mission requests to the north have been denied since January. And since this latest attack, they've taken the painful decision

to stop trying to deliver aid to the north at all.

The IDF says it's helping to coordinate humanitarian relief in Gaza. But aid agencies say they faced repeated delays while some staff are detained

and even tortured.

A U.N. mission in December described one aid worker who said he was stripped, beaten and blindfolded. Even when convoys are allowed through,

some routes are simply not passable. This large crater blocking Al Rashid road just weeks before it was designated by the IDF as the main route

permitted for humanitarian vehicles.

DILL: Such large percentages of the population are at such dire need, at such immediate risk of starvation. From that perspective, it's really hard

for me to understand what kind of potential military rationale could be advanced to justify actions like this.

POLGLASE (voice-over): As the humanitarian crisis deepens, the question is whether Israel will be held accountable in a court of law for depriving so

many in Gaza of aid.


ANDERSON: Katie Polglase reporting there.

In an effort to be reelected, President Donald Trump is comparing himself to Alexei Navalny. We will let you know the problems, he says, he is

facing. That is up next.





ANDERSON: Donald Trump is commenting on the death of Alexei Navalny and is using Russia's political martyr as an attempt to return to the White House.

Donald Trump has even tried to suggest that he is somewhat like Navalny while having to deal with his own legal troubles.

Listen to Trump at a FOX News town hall on Tuesday.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But it's happening in our country, too. We are turning into a communist

country in many ways. And if you look at it, I'm the leading candidate. I never heard of being indicted before I was I got indicted four times.

I have eight or nine trials, all because of the fact that, you know, this all because of the fact that I'm in politics because a lot of forum of

Navalny, it is a form of communism or fascism.


ANDERSON: That's Donald Trump. Lets bring in Stephen Collinson. He has, well, he's on this beat, he's been on it for years and joins us from


Stephen, what does this comparison with Navalny say about candidate Trump?

And maybe we should just back up here. I find it quite difficult to get my head around where Donald Trump was going with this comparison. And perhaps

you, perhaps you can explain.

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think, first of all, it shows, again, Trump's odd deference to Vladimir Putin, the president of

Russia, which was a theme throughout his presidency but more linked to Trump himself.

It shows his self-absorption, his own inability to look at any issue in the world unless it's refracted through a prism of his own interests. It's a

grotesque comparison if you think about it.

Navalny went back to Russia to confront an authoritarian leader. Yet Trump, who has his own authoritarian tendencies, is comparing himself to that

heroism. On a practical level, there is no comparison between what Trump is saying and the conditions in Russia.

He is benefiting from a fair legal system and guarantees of a fair trial, the right to appeal, the right to produce evidence in his own defense that

are guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution, that he has said that he would like to terminate.

If there's a comparison in this case, it seems to be that Trump has instincts that are more in line with those of President Putin in terms of

his desire to have a second term presidency with zero constraints, in which he would be immune from any type of prosecution or checks and balances than


So but this is classic Trump. It shows how he will damage anything to help himself, the U.S. legal system, the political system and millions of

Americans believe him because of his ability as a demagogue.

ANDERSON: Without winning the presidency, there is a chance that he will do that in November of this year.

But even months out, we are seeing real-world impacts of Donald Trump's influence with the MAGA cohort of the Republican Party, the Make America

Great Again, Congress, men and women lawmakers and their determination to get in the way, for example, of the Ukraine aid package.

What are the global implications to your mind of this influence, even as Donald Trump remains just, as it were, a candidate?

COLLINSON: I think he's giving us a preview of how his second term would unfold when the U.S. would again revert to being a force of disruption in

the world as opposed to the role of guaranteeing stability, at least in the West, that it's seen itself fulfilling since the Second World War.

I think if Donald Trump had been in favor of more aid to Ukraine, it would have already passed Republican House. Clearly people there are doing his


In terms of how it will -- this stalemate will ripple through the world, It's already affecting how the war in Ukraine is being fought.


As you reported out in this hour, Russia appears to be making advances because Ukraine doesn't have the equipment or the ammunition that it needs

from the United States to stop it.

So it's having real-world implications there. I think what's clear now is that, even if this bill for $60 billion passes, there isn't a political

consensus in the United States because of the strength of Trump and the Republican Party for endless years of multi-billion-dollar U.S. investment.

That is going to have to make some people consider whether there's a plan B, whether there's a way to defend Ukraine in a different way, whether

those should be to save Ukraine from getting completely dominated by Russia.

That's going to come into it. Then there's this issue that U.S. enemies, the dysfunction in the U.S. political system has proven that U.S. cannot

fulfill its goals or obligations abroad.

Fascinating, Stephen. It's always good to have you. I wanted to find some time -- and we will -- to talk about Joe Biden's foreign policy, which, of

course, is coming under tremendous and growing pressure with another conflict that he didn't want.

Yet more blowback after another U.N. Security Council veto by the Americans on Tuesday and ongoing discussions, of course, at the ICJ, the U.N.'s top

court over the legality of Israel's occupation.

This seems to be making Biden's position supporting Israel increasingly difficult at home and abroad. We will continue to follow that story, of

course, here on CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN.

We're going to take a very short break. Back after this.




ANDERSON: Strict limits on overtime for truck drivers in Japan are set to take effect this April. Let me explain why we are doing this story.

This move is meant to alleviate what is a chronic shortage of drivers and improve working conditions. But it might also have a much, much bigger

impact on what is Japan's sluggish economy. CNN's Hanako Montgomery explains.


HANAKO MONTGOMERY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty-four-hour convenience stores, fresh seafood, same-day deliveries; in the world's

fourth largest economy, convenience reigns king.

But starting April 1st, this way of life many Japanese are used to threatens to be upended because truck drivers in Japan will finally get a

cap on overtime.

TAKETO NAKAJIMA, CEO, CHIKUMA TRANSPORT CO. (through translator): Truckers have been supporting Japan's economy for a very long time. So when the cap

is implemented, it will certainly mean all goods won't be delivered. That's what I'm most worried about.

MONTGOMERY (voice-over): Truckers, the lifeline of Japan's economy, deliver 90 percent of Japan's cargo. But the hours, long and punishing,

have at times been fatal, with dozens dying from overwork each year.

The government cap from April, which limits overtime hours to 80 a month for truckers, is a welcomed change. But for the trucking industry, it means

fewer drivers and smaller wages.


RYUJI SHIOKAWA, TRUCK DRIVER (through translator): I think the biggest concern is the salary. Even if I get to spend more time with my children,

if my salary drops, it will make life difficult for us.

MONTGOMERY (voice-over): Once the cap is implemented, the government fears that some goods won't be delivered on time or ever transported.

Without intervention, Japan could see a 14.2 percent decrease in delivery capacity this year or a 34.1 percent drop by 2030, leading to economic

losses of up to $US67 billion that year alone.

The 2024 problem, compounded by a shrinking population and an aging workforce, as the trucking industry loses over 15,000 drivers annually.

HIRONORI TSUBOL, MINISTRY OF HEALTH, LABOR AND WELFARE (through translator): I think that many people are concerned about the decrease in

the supply of services. But if it's a difficult work environment, fewer and fewer people will want to work.

So I believe that creating a workplace that is easy to work in is the key to attracting people to the industry.

MONTGOMERY (voice-over): Japan's trucking industry, poised to change drastically but Japan's reliance on truckers, the heart of the country's

supply chain, steadfast -- Hanako Montgomery, CNN, Tokyo.


ANDERSON: Well, you've been watching CONNECT THE WORLD, live from Abu Dhabi studios here in the UAE. Time is just before 08:00 in the evening

here. Stay with CNN. After this short break, CNN continues.