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Desperation And Defiance In Kherson As Russians Shell City; U.S. Blames Russia For Postponing Key Nuclear Talks; U.S. Gas Down 5.7 Percent Over The Past Month. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 29, 2022 - 05:30   ET




MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Valeriy told me he's lived here 51 years and after evacuating for eight months, he's home to stay, even amid this wreckage.

VALERIY, KHERSON RESIDENT: (Speaking foreign language).

CHANCE (voice-over): "It's like a stone weighing on my soul," he says. "We built everything here with our own hands. It's hard to think of what those Russian scum did to us here."

A short distance away in newly-liberated Kherson, a pool of blood where Russia is attacking the city it just left behind. Four were killed when this grocery store was hit.

Now, one desperate resident picks through the debris looting scraps of food and toilet paper. "Is everything so bad?" we ask. "It's not good," he responds.

CHANCE (on camera): All right. Well, getting basic supplies, though, in Kherson has become a massive risk.

We've come to the seaport -- well, it's the riverport, really, right on the Dnieper River -- with this woman here -- Tatiana, from Kherson -- to collect water so she can do her washing up, and wash her clothes, and go to the toilet, and things like that. The water supplies have been completely cut off by the Russians.

This is the only way -- and you can hear the artillery shells going off in the background. This is the only way she can get water for her house. And it's dangerous because this is basically the front line. The Russian forces have retreated to the -- to the other bank, right? (Speaking foreign language).

TATIANA, KHERSON RESIDENT: (Speaking foreign language).

CHANCE (on camera): Yes.

TATIANA: (Speaking foreign language).

CHANCE (on camera): Yes. So the Russian forces are just across the river.

CHANCE (voice-over): But the risk is one that has to be taken.

TATIANA: (Speaking foreign language).

CHANCE (voice-over): "What can we do?" Tatiana asks. "We can't live without water."

There's little electricity either, and people are cramming into makeshift charging stations like this one just to stay connected.

We found defiance here, too, in the face of hardship.

HANNA, KHERSON RESIDENT: (Speaking foreign language).

CHANCE (voice-over): "There's no water or power," Hanna tells me. "But also no Russians, so we'll get through this."

CHANCE (on camera): What do you think? (Speaking foreign language).

NASTYA, HANNA'S DAUGHTER: (Speaking foreign language).

CHANCE (voice-over): "I think our enemies will all die soon," says Nastya, who has only just turned nine. "We'll show them what you get for occupying Ukraine," she says.

NASTYA: (Speaking foreign language).

CHANCE (voice-over): For many, the hardships are already too much. Roads out of Kherson crammed with residents trying to leave. But for those who stay, it is a desperate struggle to survive.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Kherson.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, thank you so much for that.

This morning, the White House is blaming Russia for postponing talks on a key nuclear arms control agreement between the two countries. The meetings were scheduled to begin today in Egypt.

Let's go live to CNN's Frederik Pleitgen. He is in Moscow for us. And Fred, has Russia provided a reason for postponing this or given potential new dates for these meetings?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know what? So far, they haven't. And it's interesting because we've actually been asking around the Russian government a little bit about all of this.

The Russian Foreign Ministry, for instance -- I was communicating with them and asking about all this and they only sent me that same message saying that the meeting had been postponed to a later date. However, not saying when exactly that date was going to be. The Russians also not taking responsibility, so far, it seems for

postponing that meeting even though we know that the U.S., as you mentioned, has said that it was the Russians who said that the meeting cannot take place at this time and will be postponed to a later date.

I was asking the Kremlin about it as well. So far, I have not received an answer.

So, really difficult to say what exactly is behind all of this because it seemed as though over the past couple of months it was the Russians who were blaming the U.S. for not renewing the new START Treaty, and saying that there needed to be a follow-on treaty and that it needed to be talked about as well.

And also, what we've seen in the past couple of weeks, Christine, is that the U.S. and Russia have, indeed, been talking -- like, for instance, in Turkey, talking about the non-use of -- the non-use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine. And, of course, the U.S. warning Russia not to do that. But at least the two sides were talking.

So what exactly is going on right now is very difficult to say. However, one of the things that we have seen, Christine, is it seems as though the Russians are taking on a bit more of a harder line towards the West but also towards Ukraine as well.

One of the things that we picked up on was last Friday when Vladimir Putin, of course, met with some of the mothers of Russian soldiers. One of the things that he said there seemed to be key. He said that he believed that Russia is not actually fighting Ukraine in this war but is actually fighting those, as he put it, that are supplying and funding the Ukrainians -- which, obviously, seems to be the U.S. and also countries of NATO as well. So, certainly, Vladimir Putin pretty hard in saying that.


And then also this morning, we had Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, who came out and said that right now, he does not believe there is any room for negotiations with the Ukrainians either.

So we might be seeing yet another hard line from the Kremlin. Very difficult to say at this point, though, Christine.

ROMANS: All right, Fred Pleitgen. Thank you so much for staying on top of that for us.

Quick hits around the globe right now.

Police joining forces to take down a super cartel of cocaine traffickers. More than 30 metric tons of drugs were seized from investigations in Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the UAE. Forty-nine suspects arrested.

China is set to launch the Shenzhou-15 spacecraft today, carrying three astronauts to the space station -- its space station. The mission will be China's first-ever crew handover in orbit. A U.N.-backed report says Australia's Great Barrier Reef should be added to the world's most endangered sites, citing damage from the climate crisis. Scientists say action is needed immediately.

All right. Next, a ruling on allegations that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito violated ethics standards. And Kellyanne Conway speaks after a 5-hour interview with the January 6 committee.



ROMANS: Welcome back.

A rural county in Arizona defying the certification of the midterm elections. In Cochise County, the Republican-majority board of supervisors voted 2-1 to push back certification until Friday, citing concerns about voting machines. Monday was the deadline for all 15 Arizona counties to certify their results.

Now, Secretary of State and governor-elect Katie Hobbs is suing. She claims the county is violating state law and could put some 47,000 votes at risk.

Former Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway sitting for five hours with the House January 6 committee Monday. Sources say she was asked about reportedly telling acquaintances that Trump told her he knew he lost the 2020 election.

Here's what she told reporters after meeting with the committee.


REPORTER: Has the former president ever told you that he knows the election wasn't stolen?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: Oh, I don't reveal those conversations. I think if they want to know that from him they should depose him.

REPORTER: Have you encouraged him to speak with the committee? They've asked him.

CONWAY: They asked him so late, though. I think the committee has almost wrapped up.


ROMANS: Conway says she met with the committee voluntarily and that she did not plead the fifth at all.

The Supreme Court dismissing allegations Justice Samuel Alito violated ethics standards. The allegations in a New York Times report suggested a 2014 decision on contraceptive access was leaked when religious leaders used donations to get close to conservative justices. The court's legal counsel says in a letter, "There is nothing to

suggest that Justice Alito's actions violated ethics standards. Relevant rules balance preventing gifts that might undermine public confidence in the judiciary and allowing judges to maintain normal personal friendships."

Elon Musk now claims Apple is making threats that could cripple Twitter. And gas prices going down. Will it continue into the new year?



ROMANS: All right, your Romans' Numeral this morning, 5.7 percent. That's how much the national average cost of a gallon of gas has fallen in just the past month. The national average today, $3.52, the lowest level since December of last year. More on falling gas prices in a moment.

Looking at stock markets around the world, the Hang Seng jumped more than five percent, reversing some serious pessimism about China and its zero-COVID policy. Will President Xi loosen some of that?

On Wall Street, stock index futures, right now, barely moving here. The Dow, yesterday, tumbled 500 points spooked by protests in China and China's lockdowns, and by Fed comments about inflation staying above trend into next year. The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 falling more than one percent.

Consumer confidence data and Case-Shiller home prices are due out later this morning for your latest gut check on what's happening in the American economy.

But at the moment, oil prices the big story. Let's bring in chief analyst at Oil Price Information Service, Denton Cinquegrana. Nice to see you this morning.

Denton, gas prices --


ROMANS: -- below three bucks a gallon in three states.


ROMANS: They're lower than they were last year in, I think, eight states. They're down almost six percent this month.

What's happening?

CINQUEGRANA: Well, a lot of it is seasonal. The formulation of gasoline switches. We're also at a lower demand period even though the Thanksgiving holiday just passed. But those are two big factors that always play a role at this time of year. And right now, like you mentioned, the national average is $3.52. We're only about 3 1/2, four percent higher than we are -- than we were at this time last year, and I think that trend is going to continue.

ROMANS: The Biden administration has just granted Chevron some limited authorization to resume pumping oil in Venezuela.

How important is that shift? It's a 6-month -- let's be cautious here. It's a 6-month, sort of, easing of a sanction there. How important is that in the global oil picture, or is it only on the margin?

CINQUEGRANA: Well, it's usually -- it's really good for United States refiners. Refiners, over the past 30 years, have invested billions of dollars to be able to take Venezuelan crude, in particular -- those heavy, sour -- usually a lot cheaper than, say, West Texas Intermediate -- and be able to run that and turn it into a useful product. So the access, once again, to some Venezuelan crude is a net positive for some of the refiners on the Gulf Coast.

ROMANS: And also a reminder I think about, sort of, the oil -- the global oil shock because of the war with Russia.

CINQUEGRANA: Correct, correct -- yes. And right now -- I mean, Russian oil is still making its way to the market. December fifth is a big date to keep in mind because that's when the EU oil embargo goes into place. Obviously, the United States has had sanctions on Russia for several months now. But that will be interesting to see what happens.

Will Russian oil -- because production in Russia has not been too greatly impacted. It has been impacted a little bit. But we'll wait to see what happens on December fifth when oceangoing vessels can't no longer go to Europe and if that has any impact on Russian oil production. So far, sanctions -- it doesn't seem to have had too much of an impact on the amount of oil that Russia has produced so far.

ROMANS: What about European leaders sort of arguing about what kind of a price cap to have on Russian oil? How do you see that playing out?

CINQUEGRANA: Well, right now, they still can't agree to a price. The price levels that have been leaked have been in the $65.00 to $70.00 a barrel area. Right now, Russian oil, in the -- in the spot markets -- in the markets where it physically trades -- is not even close to those levels. It's about $10.00-$15.00 below those levels.


So we're not even close to a price cap right now, so I don't think a price cap at that level would have much impact on Russian oil production.

ROMANS: You know, Denton, you rewind the tape six months or something -- I mean, people were very concerned about high gas prices and the political implications and the family budget implications about high gas prices. I think it's always good to remind people that presidents don't set -- don't set gas prices. It is a very big, complicated international picture. They get too much credit and too much blame, I think, here.

What is -- what is your sense of gas prices and how they fit into the political conversation right now in family budgets?

CINQUEGRANA: No, I completely agree with you. And honestly, if prices were falling and I was president, I'd be stupid not to take credit for it even though I had -- probably had nothing to do with it.

But there's three things that move the needle in this country. It's politics, religion, and gas prices. Everybody knows what they paid for the -- for gasoline the last time they filled up. They see it on the road every time they see the price whenever they drive by a gas station. It's out there front and center. So, it's very much on the -- on the -- on the American psyche and that plays a role.

ROMANS: All right, politics, religion, and gas prices moving the needle in American politics.

Denton Cinquegrana, thank you so much for getting up early for us. Nice to see you.

CINQUEGRANA: Likewise -- thank you.

ROMANS: All right.

Actor Kevin Spacey has been cast in an upcoming British film despite facing multiple sex assault charges in the U.K. He'll have a voice role in the indie-featured titled "Control." The director says the allegations against Spacey, quote, "weren't a concern."

A New York jury last month found Spacey not liable in a civil sexual misconduct trial brought by actor Anthony Rapp, who accused Spacey of molesting him when he was 14 years old.

All right, Elon Musk has a beef with Apple. He claims the tech giant has threatened to pull Twitter from its app store. A move like that would, of course, crush Musk's new company. The world's richest man also claims Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter and he's questioning whether Apple, quote, "hates free speech."

Apple did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment.

All right, the Steelers fend off a last-minute comeback bid to beat the Colts in "MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL."

Andy Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Andy.


So, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has never had a losing season in 15 years, and Pittsburgh, 3-7 going into last night's game in Indy. So if Tomlin wants to keep that streak going the Steelers -- well, they need to start winning. And after blowing a 13-point lead, Benny Snell, here, going to take this into the endzone to give the Steelers a 24-17 lead in the fourth quarter. The Colts driving late to try to tie the game. Matt Ryan, here, is going to scramble and get 14 yards.

The Colts had all three timeouts at this point but they just let time just keep ticking away. Twenty-nine seconds run off the clock before the Colts run another play. They do call their first timeout before a fourth and three play and Ryan's pass, though, would be incomplete here.

The Steelers win 24-17.

And after the game, interim head coach Jeff Saturday defended the Colts' time management.


JEFF SATURDAY, INTERIM HEAD COACH, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: I thought we had plenty of time. I wasn't really concerned. We still had timeouts so I wasn't too concerned. I feel like if we had time, we would have timeouts afterwards. We were in striking distance. So, yes, I never felt like the pressure of needing the timeout.


SCHOLES: All right. In college football, meanwhile, Michigan State receiving the largest fine in Big 10 history for its role in a stadium tunnel altercation with Michigan that led to seven Spartans being charged with crimes.

The conference handed a $100,000 fine to the Spartans for pushing, punching, and kicking Michigan players. The Big 10 also suspended Spartan's quarterback Khary Crump for the first eight games of next season.

Michigan was also issued a reprimand for not providing adequate protection for both teams as they left the field.

All right. Tiger Woods, meanwhile, will be hosting this week's Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas but he will not be playing. The 15-time Major champion withdrew from the event yesterday due to a foot injury that has made it difficult for him to walk.

Tiger says he still plans to play in The Match on our sister channel TNT on December 10, and in the PNC Championship with his son, Charlie, five days later. Woods hasn't played in a major tournament since the British Open in July.

All right, we have a new number one in college basketball. For the first time since Hakeem Olajuwon, the Houston Cougars are the top- ranked team in the country. The state of Texas with three teams in the top 10 right now. Houston, number one, the Longhorns are two, and Baylor coming in at number six.

All right, to the NBA where it looked like the Lakers wrapped up their sixth win in seven games last night. They were up by 17 over the Pacers with under 10 minutes to play. But Indiana outscored L.A. 32-14 to end the game, and clinched it with 22-year-old rookie Andrew Nembhard draining a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the shocking 116-115 win.


The Lakers were 347-0 when leading by 17 or more in the fourth quarter over the last 20 seasons. That streak is now over.

But there was one happy Lakers fan leaving Staples -- or Arena. Check it out. He hit a shot from beyond half-court to win $75,000. Awesome moment for him. High fives from fans. Hit the griddy. Anthony Davis even came over, Christine, and gave him a big hug.

That's one of the best parts of basketball games, right, is the fans hitting half-court shots. It never gets old.

ROMANS: I love it. I love it. What a wonderful day for him.

All right, nice to see you, Andy. Thanks.

SCHOLES: All right.

ROMANS: All right. Ahead on "CNN THIS MORNING," President Biden calling on Congress to head off a freight rail strike that could devastate the economy. And China taking action to tamp down anti- government protests.