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First Move with Julia Chatterley

Russia Strikes Railway Stations in Central & Western Ukraine; Austin: Ukraine can win with Right Equipment, Support; Foreign Investors Ditch China Amid Russia's War; Some U.S. Military Veterans Help Train Ukrainian Troops; Russia-Bond Luxury Items Impounded in Belgium; Twitter Reportedly Near Agreement on Sale to Musk. Aired 09-10a ET

Aired April 25, 2022 - 09:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, CNN HOST, FIRST MOVE: Hello a warm welcome to everyone you are watching CNN. I am Paula Newton in New York with the latest on the war

in Ukraine. And we begin in Russia with a fire at an oil depot a fuel tank or ablaze there at a facility in Briansk at this hour. You may recall an

alleged strike by Ukrainian helicopters inside Russia earlier this month. We are awaiting more information on that.

Meantime, in Ukraine overnight missile strikes in the Western Center of the country; officials say five railway stations were hit all within an hour of

each other and unfortunately, there are casualties. Meantime in Mariupol Russia says it has offered a ceasefire to allow people to leave the cities

as Azovstal Steel Plant and it is in fact the last holdout for Ukrainian forces where hundreds are sheltering and that includes civilians.

They say the civilians though, can leave in "Any direction they choose" I will point out that the latest at CNN is that Ukrainian officials are

already rejecting that offer and say no corridor has been agreed upon. Now Meantime, U.S. diplomats are to return to Ukraine for the first time since

Vladimir Putin launched his war. It follows a high stakes visit by the U.S. Secretary of State and the Defense Secretary with Ukraine's President

Zelenskyy in Kyiv listen.


LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can't do the kinds of things that it has done in invading

Ukraine. So it has already lost a lot of military capability and a lot of its troops, quite frankly. And we want to see them not have the capability

to very quickly reproduce that capability.


NEWTON: U.S. Secretary of Defense there we are joined by Scott McLean, who's in Lviv for us with the latest. And Scott a lot to get to on the

military situation on the ground what can you tell us though, about these missile strikes that have now occurred more in the West, which again, seems

to keep everyone on their toes there where you are?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's especially interesting given the timing here, Paula, that U.S. Secretary of State the U.S. Defense Secretary

had just left Kyiv via Lviv to Poland via train when you had these missile strikes on these railway infrastructure sites.

The head of the railway said that there were five different sites that were targeted in central and in western Ukraine. It was early this morning; the

sirens began wailing in Lviv, you could hear them in the city. And then we got word that about what had been hit.

The Governor put out some videos shortly after showing heavy smoke from one area near a railway station. He says that those rockets were fired from a

plane from the south eastern part of the country. Now we went out to that area, and we were a little bit limited in what we were able to shoot.

But what we did see though, is what police and what the military were saying were remnants of Russian rockets, twisted pieces of charred and

partially melted metal that were scattered all around the landscape. We did not see any damage to rail infrastructure, though this was very close to

the tracks some meters from the tracks.

But again, there was another part that was damaged the main part they were saying that they were not - letting us see in that area. And so the

Ukrainian Rail Chief says that the Russians, they are systematically trying to destroy Ukraine's rail infrastructure, something that is a real lifeline

not only for the military in a time of war, but also for civilians in trying to get out of the country Paula?

NEWTON: Yes, Scott. And I know you've been following that firsthand. You saw up close what those rail lines mean to so many different logistical

operations on the ground now in Ukraine. I want to get to what now seems to be little hope for humanitarian corridor in Mariupol. OK, so Russia is

saying that look, people can leave in any direction they want to.

But I will note, we're already reporting here at CNN that the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister saying that look, there is no deal here. It's going

to go the way it has always gone. They promised one but then they can't guarantee the safety of civilians.

MCLEAN: Exactly. So it's important to remember that these humanitarian corridors have to be well, for them to work they have to be agreed upon by

both sides. It's not good enough for one side to unilaterally declare that there's going to be a humanitarian corridor, which it seems like Russia has

done in this case in offering this ceasefire.


MCLEAN: They detailed their proposal even down to what the Ukrainians should do in terms of radio chatter saying that if they agree to this offer

for this ceasefire to allow civilians to get out that they should raise a white flag on that plant, and then as you say, they would be allowed to

leave in any direction they choose.

But the Ukrainians say that they've heard this before. And they simply do not trust that the Russians will say what they - what they've promised to

do. Just on Saturday, Ukraine, has accused Russia of tricking about 200 people in Mariupol, into going into Russian held territory. These are

people who boarded buses thinking they were going to Zaporizhzhia, which is in Ukrainian held territory; they actually ended up in areas controlled by

the Russians.

And we know that many more people have ended up inadvertently, in Russia itself, actually, as well and then had to try to make their way back to

Europe. And so at this point, there is no humanitarian corridor that has been agreed.

The Ukrainian says that they want a representative from the Red Cross which is acting as a neutral, a neutral go-between between those, these two

parties on the ground and the United Nations. If they can get representatives from those two organizations on the ground to guarantee

safe passage, then they can go along with this humanitarian corridor, but until then, it's no deal which is not good for the civilians who are

sheltering inside that plant and running out of food very quickly, Paula.

NEWTON: Yes, absolutely desperate situation and I will point out the Red Cross has tried unfortunately and failed before. Scott McLean really I

appreciate the update for us there on the ground!

Now civilians in Ukraine second largest city meantime, Kharkiv endured almost nonstop bombardment from Russian forces for weeks now the extent of

the damage there. And the number of people who have lost their lives still unknown.

Kharkiv which is located just outside the Donbas region and mere miles we should note from the Russian border, of course, it remains a key strategic

target for Moscow as the battle for Eastern Ukraine intensifies. Clarissa Ward is at the city's badly damaged Regional State Administration Building.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I want to take you around so you can get a feel for the full scale of the damage that

was done here when two massive missiles landed in around this building last month. You can see just out what's left of the window there that is Freedom


And this city has been getting pulverized day in day out just today we have heard a pretty much constant stream of bombardment since about 4:30 in the

morning, often it goes on all night. And the Mayor here says that 25 percent of the buildings in this city have been hit during strikes 25

percent just try to get your head around the enormity of that figure.

67 schools have been hit look at this. This was once a palatial grand staircase now completely destroyed. According to authorities only 10 people

were killed here, which is extraordinary, although I've just been talking with one of the soldiers who's in charge of looking after this space and he

says they believe there are many more dead under the rubble.

I'm going to show you what some of that rubble looks like over here. People were rescued, as well. But going back to those statistics that the mayor

gave us, 67 schools, 54 kindergartens, 16 hospitals, that's just here in the City of Kharkiv you can see the defense's, that they had tried to

implement, to protect themselves from attack.

But obviously, sandbags no match for this. I don't know if you could hear that as well some bombardment again, in the distance. And you can see

outside the scale of the devastation, cars completely scorched. There's actually an office over there to the side that we can't get into easily

from this point, which we saw yesterday, where an entire car has literally been thrown into an office by the force of that blast.

And what people here fear in this city is that Kharkiv could be the next Mariupol, because of the amount of bombardment and the real intensification

that we've seen of that bombardment, especially in the last week. Now I just want Cameraman Scott McWhinnie and Producer Brent Swails to be a

little careful here, but I do want to show you this because it gives you a real feeling for just the enormity of that blast.

I mean absolutely astonishing it. It literally took out six stories and that's why as you can probably imagine we're hearing from authorities here

do believe some people are still trapped under that rubble.


WARD (on camera): But that it is just simply impossible for them at this stage with bombardment continuing day in and day out in the city, for them

to try to dig down underneath that and get a sense of just how many people may have lost their lives here.

One more thing, I think that's important to contextualize in terms of what I was saying about how people here fear, fear that this could be the next

Mariupol. Kharkiv is 30 miles away from Russia. It's in the northeast of the country. It's the second largest city.

And Russian troops essentially had been launching this three pronged offensive in the Donbas region pushing down from the north, up from the

south and in from the east. Ukrainian forces have also been launching a series of counter offensive, particularly around the strategic town of

Izyum. So Kharkiv is very close to a lot of the action. There are a lot of important supply routes for the Russians to get more ammunition and

weaponry to places like Izyum. And that's why it's strategically important.

Not to mention, of course, the symbolic value. And you can imagine the symbolism of this building, you talk to the locals, this was a place people

came to pose for photographs. This was a place you would dress nicely to visit. And now this is what's left of it.


NEWTON: Thanks to Clarissa Ward, there giving us an absolutely devastating look of what's left there in Freedom Square in Kharkiv. Now meantime, the

highest level U.S. officials to visit Ukraine since its invasion say Russia's efforts to take away its independence have failed.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met Ukraine's President earlier to affirm America support for Kyiv. Our

White House Correspondent John Harwood is with us now.

And I know you've been following this all weekend, John, it took some time. But we do finally have some news about what happened during this meeting.

So OK, U.S. diplomats say that look, those diplomats, some of them will return to Ukraine.

But if you could also give us some insight as to what we had heard Lloyd Austin say earlier that the U.S. and its allies want to make sure that

Russia militarily remains weakened. OK, what more is the Biden Administration thinking of doing to make sure that they do remain that way?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well Paula, the longer this conflict goes on two months in now, the more pressure there is for the

United States and NATO allies to assist Ukraine in holding off this Russian invasion.

Now that they have settled into this long grinding conflict in the East in the Donbas region, you see the United States continually upping the ante on

assistance. Every week now we're seeing more economic assistance, another several hundreds of millions of dollars-worth of military equipment heavier

each - with each new delivery.

Now over the weekend, we saw Secretary Austin Secretary Blinken showing commitment by visiting Kyiv and meeting with Volodymyr Zelenskyy. We have

the appointment of a new Ambassador, Bridgette Brink, who is a veteran career Foreign Service Officer.

Diplomats are going to be returning to Lviv in the initial phase. And so you also had an upgrade of the rhetoric from Secretary Austin talking, as

you mentioned, about trying to weaken Russia over the long term prevent them from being able to launch such an invasion of another country in the

future talking about winning the conflict, which is somewhat different from trying to bring the conflict to an end.

And so the United States is going to continue turning up the dial with the limitation of the fact that both the United States and NATO have said we

are not putting boots on the ground. We're not getting into a direct confrontation with Russia. But that simply means they've got to provide

more and more assistance to help the Ukrainians defend themselves.

NEWTON: You know John at issue has always been what that assistance will look like. Do you get the feeling that through this visit Ukraine learned

that the U.S. is moving the dial on that ever so slightly?

HARWOOD: Yes, I do think they are. And we've seen that in the last couple of weeks. The attack helicopters, for example, the anti-ship weapons which

were provided a couple of weeks ago, more and more heavy weaponry that allows the Ukrainians to standoff with Russia in this land conflict that

we're shifting toward in the eastern part of the country.

NEWTON: OK, John Harwood there for us at the White House. We'll wait to see more developments out of there today I appreciate it. In the meantime now

world leaders are congratulating Emmanuel Macron after he became the first French President in two decades now to win reelection.


NEWTON: It was in fact a resounding victory for Mr. Macron, who got almost 60 percent of the vote over his far right rival Maria Le Pen, though we

have to stay voter turnout was the lowest it's been in years. Jim Bittermann is in Paris.

You've been following this as well for weeks. And Jim, given your long record of observing, you know, French politics Macron was conciliatory,

right in his speech? But how do you think his second term will be different from his first especially since many voters still seem committed to Le

Pen's far right policies?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's going to be his big challenge, because Mrs. Le Pen, actually has said that she is

going to work against him that basically she's going to she threw down the gauntlet last night in her speech, it wasn't conciliatory at all.

If she didn't say she was going to reach out to Mr. Macron at all, and she didn't get him to congratulate him on his victory. He, in the meantime, in

his speech, basically said that, you know, he was reaching out with an olive branch to the opposition, saying that he was going to be much more

attuned to the interests of the French people.

He said during the debate that he was going to become the president of the concerns of daily life, meaning cost of living, high fuel prices, and the

rest of that. So I think you'll see him, at least at the beginning, be a little bit more sensitive to that. He's got to get past the legislative

election. So that's one reason.

But the other reason is I think that they see that as one of the mistakes that they've made at the beginning. Another thing I think you might see is

that you might see a trip to the Ukraine, you mentioned the world leaders that congratulated him, one was Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who repeated an offer

to invite him to the Ukraine, so you might see him traveling there.

And I just think it's going to be a term of it is a learning experience, you know, after all being a president and he was never elected to any

elective office before becoming president. So this whole thing for him as a young man is interesting, and his age is going to come into play here, too.

He's gotten elected to a second term at age 44. He's still got a lot of life and a lot of politicking in him in the coming years, Paula.

NEWTON: Yes. And to see if he can actually learn from mistakes, which I'm sure even he would admit there were several key ones in the last five

years. Jim Bittermann, thank you for us live from Paris. Straight ahead for us concerns of more COVID lockdowns are driving investors away from China

its support for Russia during this war hasn't helped.

I speak with the President of the Asia Society Policy Institute, the Former Prime Minister of Australia, next.



NEWTON: Welcome back! Twitter is reportedly poised to agree a sale with Elon Musk for about $43 billion. Its stock is up more than 4 percent in the

pre-market. Meantime, U.S. stock futures lower after Friday sell off as concerns grow over rising COVID cases in China, the DOW Futures falling you

can see it there about 130 points for now. That was after the worst one day loss since October 2020.

European stocks are also down with the FTSE falling about 1.5 percent. Here's the big headline though for today, Asia, Shanghai shares sank more

than 5 percent the worst sell off in more than two years, and the HANG SENG dropped nearly as much 4 percent.

Now that as oil prices tumbling as well with Brent Crude declining about 5 percent on those larger economic concerns. The world's second largest

economy is becoming less attractive place meantime for foreign investors to try and keep their money. Investors have been leaving China for a number of


Of course, there are growing geopolitical tensions, rising interest rates and fears now rising about COVID cases and that could force factories to

close putting more strain on global supply chains. The latest trigger Russia's invasion of Ukraine, China has refused to condemn President

Putin's war. But it also has not rushed to help Russia as it gets hit with unprecedented sanctions from the West, you could get slapped with sanctions

of its own. So could China's stance on the war change?

Joining me now to discuss is former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. He is currently the President of the Asia Society Policy Institute. And it

is really good to see you on what are a very busy day and a lot to get to. But before we get to China and Russia, I want to ask about China and COVID.

I know you watch this so closely and with fears that Beijing is now just the latest city in trouble. What's at stake if China's zero COVID policy

collapses, and not just for China, but for the world economy?

KEVIN RUDD, FORMER AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: I think there are two sets of factors we should bear in mind. Let's go to China domestically first.

China's domestic economic growth rates been slowing for some time for a range of other reasons, including an ideological shift towards the left and

Xi Jinping's overall economic policy settings, more hostile to the private sector more supportive of the state owned enterprise sector, and a new

agenda for what's called common prosperity that is less income inequality.

But on top of that, of course, you've had the geopolitics you just mentioned in your introduction, and some as it were exited foreign capital

from China, because of geopolitical concerns. But now you've got this COVID factor, which is now raging around the country.

And because of Xi Jinping's zero tolerance strategy for dealing with COVID. This is putting a further lead in the saddlebags of China's domestic

economic growth, big time. You've just mentioned Beijing. But beyond that, it's not just that manufacturing in China may be affected by the COVID


The bottom line is it's already affecting a number of manufacturing enterprises, both foreign and domestically owned, and that is already

impacting, again, supply chain. So supply chain impact and therefore its inflationary effect. Plus, on top of that, a slowing and China's own growth

rate, which of itself is globally important.

NEWTON: Yes and as you said globally significant on so many levels. I want to talk more broadly now; we've been hearing that buzzword for months

decoupling, right? It's been on everyone's lips, but are we actually seeing that now? And if so, what do you think all of that will look like in the

months to come?

RUDD: Well, decoupling is many very beasts. And when we talk about it, we need to be very clear about our terms. In terms of trade right now, say

between the United States and China, not much decoupling is actually occurring, the trading relationship is holding up. There are frictions

within it.

And of course, there are tariffs implied in both directions, but the trade volumes have not collapsed. If you go to capital markets foreign direct

investment, yes, some decoupling has occurred. Inbound in both directions? Portfolio investment, yes some withdrawal has occurred.


RUDD: But in terms of the overall mix of the two countries, capital markets, I've got to say, the financial markets at present are not in the

process of decoupling between the two systems. Technology yes, there's some decoupling. And the reason I've gone through it in this way is simply to

indicate it's a many very beast.

It's trending in the wrong direction. Beijing is old, the aiming at national economic self-sufficiency, including technology. But I think we

are a ways off before that actually produces the binary bipolar world, or what some have described as the second Cold War. We're quite a ways off

that in reality.

NEWTON: And just to make - put a fine point on that, do you think that's eventually where this is going? Or do you think this just a bump in the

road for months or years?

RUDD: Now the trend line, I think, is pretty decisive, that is where it's headed. But there are still forces both in Beijing and Washington, who

recognize the danger in that going as it were, in a full direction.

And therefore those who are cautioning against it in both capitals are very mindful of the level of mutual economic independence, interdependence,

which advantages growth in both countries. And for example, even in technology, and the future of the semiconductors trade. You've got 70

American manufacturers of semiconductors, whose entire R&D program hinges on their access to the Chinese domestic market.

So as I said, this is still uneven. But I'd be wrong to say that the trend line at present is decisively negative.

NEWTON: Right, interesting. Now, China has been nearly agnostic really about Russia's invasion, what do you think geopolitically could change it

stand on that?

RUDD: China has been to use your term agnostic in my language, de facto, as it were sympathetic and somewhat supportive of Putin's action in Ukraine,

for some really deep underlying geopolitical reasons, China sees enormous advantages for itself, and having a close level of strategic condominium

with Moscow.

And most of its history, China has not had a benign relationship with its vast northern neighbor. Now it does, and it wants to consolidate that

further. Also, it helps China's strategic contest with the United States not to have to worry about its northern border with Russia. And also Russia

delivers to China, the further advantage of providing strategic grief to the Americans and other theaters, like in Syria, like in Libya, and now of

course, in Ukraine.

So for those sort of reasons, I think there's a little bit of misplaced analytical logic, going into the idea that the Chinese are somehow bursting

to get into the field and start brokering a deal in order to bring about peace in Ukraine. I do not see that happening.

NEWTON: And getting more to their strategic grief. As you said, you know, a lot of people have brought up the issue of Taiwan, of course. I want to get

your insights into this new security deal that has been launched between China and the Solomon Islands.

I mean, U.S. officials have been said; say that that poses strategic risks to the Indo-Pacific, just using that as a small piece of the puzzle. Do you

see China becoming more aggressive when it comes to Taiwan? And what could even possibly this new security arrangement mean?

RUDD: Well, since Xi Jinping came to power back at the end of 2012, as of 2013, he made it very plain that he was about to change fundamentally dung

shopping historical approach to the assertion of Chinese foreign policy interests in the world.

And as a critical internal conference in that year, he said, enough of this hiding and biding our time, we're about to go on to serve our interests and

our values in the region with our neighbors and in the world.

And if you look back at the pattern of the last seven or eight years, it's basically followed that outline so therefore with Taiwan, and as I see it,

in Xi Jinping's mind is now much more of the outline of a timetable for bringing Taiwan back. I'm not concerned about an imminent military action

against Taiwan in the next year or so.

But I am deeply concerned about the late 20s and early 30s. And that's for the rest of the region you mentioned just now the South Pacific on the

Solomon Islands, what we see whether it's in the South Pacific or in the Indian Ocean, or even in the Red Sea, China, following the strategy of

laying out a series of military and naval bases in countries around the world to give it the sort of global reach, which it sees the United States

is having through its system of allies and strategic partners around the world.

This level of assertion will continue in the case of the Solomon's then the Australian Government whoever wins the next election in Australia will have

a significant challenge on their hands to roll this back in partnership, of course for the United States.



NEWTON: So interesting. You know, Kevin Rudd, as you pointed out to us so many times, China is all about the long game, and they are certainly doing

their best to solidify that going forward. Kevin Rudd, President of the Asia Society Policy Institute, I want to thank you for your insights today.

I appreciate it.

RUDD: Good to be with you.

NEWTON: Coming up for us behind the front line how U.S. veterans are helping Ukraine in the battle against Russia by training Ukrainian soldiers

we'll have more details.


NEWTON: And let's bring you right up to date on our top stories this hour. A fire has reportedly broken out in an oil depot in western Russia. It

happened in the same region where Ukrainian helicopters allegedly carried out strikes earlier this month.

And it comes as Ukraine is accusing Russia of attacking five train stations including one near Lviv. The Head of the Ukrainian Railway System says

there have been unfortunately several casualties. Now in Mariupol in the meantime Russia says it has offered a ceasefire to allow people to leave a

steel plant where many civilians are sheltering.

OK U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says the U.S. believes Ukraine can in fact win this war with "The right equipment and the right support".

Meanwhile, some U.S. military veterans are stepping in to help train Ukrainian troops to fight that Russian army.

One of them Colonel Andrew Milburn, a retired U.S. Marine who formed an organization called "The Mozart Group" and he joins me now live in Ukraine.

I have to say you've been on the ground with Ukrainian forces for weeks now. I'm going to put the direct question right to you can Ukraine win this

battle against Russia? And if they do from what you've seen on the ground, what more will it take?


COL. ANDREW MILBURN, U.S. MARINES (RET.): Hey Paula first of all good morning, I guess it is for you and for your listener's great pleasure to be

on. So in direct answer to your question, the Ukraine not only can but will win this fight? The question isn't so much whether it will or not, it's a

question of how long and what the cost is going to be?

NEWTON: There's already been a great cost, right? We see it every hour every day you have seen it up close. When we say what will it take? You

seem to have a lot of confidence. What have you been seeing on the ground when you're training these forces that tells you because right now, as you

know, the Russian offensive in the east and to the south seems to be completely different than what they had tried to in Kyiv and to its north


MILBURN: Yes, I mean, there's no doubt about it that the Russians are advancing. We were just behind the frontline in Southeast of Zaporizhzhia a

couple of days ago. And there is, you know, there's been a mass exodus from the area that is middle in the path of the Russians.

There is by you know every report from the Ukrainians to guys that we're supporting. They are getting pushed back few comments every day. The reason

why I'm optimistic, though, is this Paula, there is such national resolve here, you know, I wish we in the United States could replicate this


Putin has created a nation. You know, among all the horrible things that have happened here he is - he has created inadvertently something truly

admirable and wonderful amidst all this savagery and perhaps because of all this savagery, the Ukrainians are determined to win their morale and the


And those of you all listeners, who are veterans were better served, the military will know how important those factors are? The morale and their

cohesion, that with their belief in them and in each other, and in their nation is absolutely - is not astonishing. It's just superb.

And, you know, you can imagine that, for your listeners who live the United States, it's very, very hard to think the Red Dawn type scenario, where

you're literally fighting with your families behind you.

And your homeland, your villages, place where you grew up and lived. And you know that the invader who's coming towards you, if you give away if you

let him in the women children are going to be raped and murdered.

And that's no exaggeration. You've - you guys have seen one, just the tip of the iceberg of what absolute savages the Russians are, that isn't me

being over emotional, I have two decades experience of war.

I know the depths of depravity that human beings can plummet to I fought against the Islamic State, but I can tell you, I would take any one of my

previous adversaries over I would prefer them over the Russians just in terms of their moral safety net.

They have known and the Russian people who support them, the intercepts are picking up. It's, you know, they seem to feed the savagery it isn't a case

of isolated incidents. So my point is the Ukrainians will fight to the death with a heavy heart.

You know, it's our job. And it's our group to ensure that they don't have to fight the death. And that is, you know, that that occupies all of our

attention all of our efforts. And it's a truly, it's a huge task for us right now.

Because until this point, U.S. government has provided, you know, weapons and logistics support, but as some of your previous stories point out that

very little this stuff is reaching the frontline.

And, you know, I just want to say none of this has to do with anyone, you know, bad actors, Ukrainians, who are Americans, everyone wants to do the

right thing. But things are breaking down the supplies are going to units, not in a proper way. Let me point that out and it's just the way--

NEWTON: And yes let me get to that you're still so confident that they can win this. I don't have a lot of time left, but how is your organization

helping them? How are you organizing the activities and the funding for this?

MILBURN: Yes. Well, it's funding, hopefully, your listeners, and I'll post a link for that. We are not an NGO, because we train people to defend their

homes and their families. And so when we're exempt from humanitarian status, right?

I mean, we did involve weapons training.

But we're not only training we have super qualified trainers. And we're being asked to put together training programs for brand new recruits, even

in the Special Operations Forces, casualty replacements training, like five six day plan.

Now again, those of you gone through military training, know that five or six days is a steep learning curve. It's a hard challenge to prepare these

days to go against the Russians in that time.

Give me a second Paula, and we're also eating you mentioned evacuations from Mariupol, we are well positioned to assist with evacuations were tied

in with Ukrainian special operations forces.


MILBURN: We are all military professionals. We plan these things as a military operation. We're helping with casualty extractions from the

frontline from their battalion aid stations to the nearest place where they can undergo trauma surgery and be stabilized and evacuated further from


We're helping with a de-mining effort, massive task or the de-mining NGOs left this country upon once the Russians invaded. And we're that's not our

area of expertise. We're bringing in EOD techs who have volunteered they're not getting paid and highly dangerous job to train and prepare Ukrainian

EOD technicians to just render - 26,000 kilometers of that homeland that are covered and in cluster munitions and booby traps and mines courtesy of

the Russians to help to clear.

NEWTON: Colonel Milburn I have to leave it there. As you said of to do list is long, but we take your point that you believe the Ukrainian military

force and the civilians are up to the task. Colonel Andrew Milburn thanks so much I appreciate it.

MILBURN: pleases, for your listeners, please go to our website if you can contribute that's how we survive on donor funds. And

I just ask that you take care of that scores give when you can thank you Paula.

NEWTON: Thank you. Now the West is also looking to bolster support in Ukraine by working out what to do with the billions of dollars in assets

seized as part of sanctions on Russia and Nic Robertson got a look at what some of those assets actually look like in a massive parking lot in

Belgium. Now the holding area for thousands of luxury cars


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice over): Thousands of luxury vehicles not going to Russia, in this corner of the sprawling lot

200 top end Cadillac Escalade street value in excess of $15 million. The spoils of sanctions, literally piling up inside Belgium's mega port - a new

front line in Europe's economic war with Russia pitting Belgian customs agents against Russia's sanctioned oligarchs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have been freezing over 200 billion Euros of Russian assets. We have also other luxury goods that are being blocked

momentarily there are 2500 containers being blocked for more investigations.

ROBERTSON (voice over): But who actually owns these seized valuables? And can they be sold for money to support Ukraine is fast becoming a pressing

question, particularly in Europe, feeling the economic pinch of Russia's war, these vehicles aren't Russian owned yet but there is plenty of Russian

wealth falling under Belgian government control.

VINCENT VAN PETEGHEM, BELGIAN FINANCE MINISTER: There are already 2.7 billion Russian assets that were blocked or were frozen, and then also

almost 200 billion transactions that were blocked.

ROBERTSON (on camera): And the goods that had been seized so far, what happens to them who owns them?

PETEGHEM: The transactions, of course, are blocked and the assets itself are frozen, so they cannot be used anymore. It doesn't mean that they

become the government owns them.

ROBERTSON (on camera): And all these vehicles were looking at them all say destination Russia.


ROBERTSON (voice over): --shipping terminal boss Marc Adriansens is on the front lines enforcing sanctions. Any vehicle bound for Russia, valued over

$55,000 is impounded.

MARC ADRIANSENS, MANAGING DIRECTOR, ICO TERMINALS: So for the moment we 8000 cars started 8,000 have already.

ROBERTSON (on camera): That's a lot.

ADRIANSENS: That's a lot of thought we could get more.

ROBERTSON (voice over): A lot more he says 120,000 vehicles bound for Russia a year transits his controls is already turning some away.

ADRIANSENS: We are not there to start us are there to handle cars and to the added value on cars.

ROBERTSON (voice over): Pressure on Adriansens and Belgium will grow the wall from over and trade ties with Russia deep.

ROBERTSON (on camera): In the third quarter of last year Russia was the European Union's largest maritime trading partner according to EU data, and

1/3 of all those goods coming through ports like this in Belgium, and just up the coast in the Netherlands.

ROBERTSON (voice over): It could all add up to potentially billions of dollars of goods that could be used to help Ukraine but turning it into

cash requires legal confiscation, not an easy process. European parliamentarians are being warned by EU justice officials.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To get somebody's property confiscated. We need a crime. We are looking for her legal solutions. Money laundering - perhaps sanction


ROBERTSON (voice over): Until then seized goods and assets will age while Ukraine's frontline fighters dye for for fresh weapons Nic Robertson, CNN,




NEWTON: Coming up for us Beijing now on high alert the Chinese capital racing to contain a new COVID outbreak just as the lockdown in Shanghai

continues, we will have the latest in a live report.


NEWTON: Welcome back! Well, you see the DOW there down nearly 280 points as global stocks tumble over China COVID fears Shanghai reporting 51

additional deaths and almost 20,000 new cases and concerns now growing over a possible lockdown in the capital now Beijing. David Culver is live in

Shanghai with the latest.

I will note David you yourself still in lockdown. Certainly what's going on in Beijing unnerving for markets? But more importantly, this is a critical

test for the so called Zero COVID policy. Do you think we will be seeing a change in that policy?

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The only change is consistency. So it seems right now Paula. They're standing by it, they're doubling down. And

there is this determination here to contain the virus. And that's even leading to really disturbing videos that have started to circulate on

social media right here in Shanghai.

I can tell you some of them I mean, you're seeing installation of steel fences right now that's happening inside Paula residential compounds. And

they're being put up so as to prevent people in buildings with reported positive cases from getting out essentially caging people in a lot of

people raising the obvious concerns about fire hazards.

Now in other communities like mine here we've got just a paper seal on the door. And there's now a community COVID guard on duty 24/7 just to make

sure we don't wander out of our homes without permission on the public streets.

Workers are putting up barricades as well. They're keeping people from traveling outside of Shanghai to other districts. This latest Omicron

fueled surge, and it's got the city now reporting more than 500,000 cases since the start of this outbreak, which was back in early March.

And Paula, as you mentioned, there's now growing concern outside of Shanghai, especially in the - the capital city, Beijing only double digit

case numbers so far been reported there. But it's concerning enough for one of the capital city's largest districts to now require 3 million of its

residents to get three rounds of PCR tests this week.

They already had the first today. Authorities have locked down dozens of residential compounds across eight districts in Beijing and residents there

are dealing with what we're dealing with here and that is banned from leaving their doors or their complexes.

Now following the horror stories of Shanghai and the challenges to get food something we've been reported on extensively. Beijing officials are trying

to reassure the public that the city has enough supplies to carry through but that does not stop the panic buying from taking place and our

colleagues in Beijing have been seeing that in recent days.

Many fearing that city will go into a city wide lockdown, like Shanghai. The news causing global stocks and oil prices to fall Shanghai's Composite

Index had its worst day Paula since February 3rd 2020 that was when the initial Coronavirus outbreak took place.


CULVER: Outside of Wuhan and continued on to really rock the nation's stock market. So there's locked down in Shanghai though it's already caused

factories to suspend production.

Shipping delays have worsened in turn that's adding more strain to global supply chains. And all of this back to your first question as officials are

standing by that zero COVID strategy.

NEWTON: Yes, and quite concerning for everyone. As you said when you start to see those chain link fences go up David Culver again in lockdown day 41

rights David in lockdown you told us in Shanghai?

CULVER: Yes, it's right. But who's counting?

NEWTON: Who is counting? Thank you. Thank you I appreciate that perspective as you are living it every hour I appreciate it. Now after the break ahead

for us Elon Musk's goal to unlock Twitter's potential could that actually happen, it might happen sooner than you think we will bring you the latest

right after a quick break.


NEWTON: Alright, let's get you caught up on the markets. U.S. markets open slightly lower this morning this after the S&P fell for its third straight

day last week as you can see market stabilizing a bit the DOW down about 200 points.

And Asia Meantime, raising fears of a COVID lockdown in Beijing causing that major sell off Monday look at those numbers. Shanghai sank more than 5

percent its worst day in more than two years. The HANG SENG nearly 4 percent.

Meantime, Twitter shares rising this morning on reports eight could reach a deal with Elon Musk as soon as today. Any hour now we were keeping an eye

on it. You see their stock price up better than 3 percent. Clare Sebastian has been following all of it. So I'll call it the TikTok of it but not

exactly. It was an eventful weekend right Clare? Of course it unfolded on Twitter, where else why this turnaround? Because if you remember just last

week, this did not seem like it was going to be a done deal at all.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is a major turnaround Paula. We know according to a source familiar with the matter that Twitter's 11

member boards convened on Sunday to have a serious discussion about Musk's bid.

That comes after they actually instituted a poison pill or sort of legislative method to try to deter him from taking over the company. Now it

seems that having serious discussions there a number of reasons.

One is it an SEC filing that Musk put out last week where he said that he actually had that this is a loaded term with Elon Musk. But he had the

funding secured for this but it comes from a variety of sources among them, Morgan Stanley, other lenders and equity raise from his own holdings, but

he has a serious, you know, credible method of securing the funding for this what could be a $43 billion bid for Twitter.

He also said in that filing that if that offer wasn't accepted, he would then go to a tender offer so offered a buyout all individual shareholders

that potentially could have been seen as a threat by the board. The other thing is that perhaps the poison pill is working that it has sort of made

it more attractive to Musk to work with the board while rather than against them.


SEBASTIAN: And there have been reports as well Paulette of some behind the scenes lobbying, the Wall Street Journal has reported that that Elon Musk

actually sort of met virtually with some shareholders of Twitter to try to sort of win them over to his bid to convince them that his was the right


As of now that we don't expect him to change the price. $54.20 is the price that he's offered he doesn't seem to want to move on that. But Twitter

share this morning are edging closer to that point. Meanwhile, though, Tesla's shares are lower today, there are concerns that he's you know,

borrowing against those shares as collateral as part of the funding for this bid.

And that he might even have to sell some of his shares in Tesla in order to finance that equity funding. That's part of the bid. So an interesting

moment, perhaps we might get news today. But we watched to see.

NEWTON: Clare I only got about 30 seconds left. But is there any indication if he gets this, what his first order of business might be with Twitter?

SEBASTIAN: He said Paula; he wants to take the company private. That's the first thing he said he wants to make the algorithm open source that may not

affect users of Twitter that much. But he wants to be more transparent in a sort of lighter touch when it comes to content moderation.

He says if there's a gray area, let the tweet exist. So that is something you want to watch going forward.

NEWTON: Clare Sebastian it is so good to see you and so good to have you on this story. I want to thank you. That's it for our show today. Stay with

CNN "Connect the World" with Becky Anderson is up next.