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First Move with Julia Chatterley
Swedish PM: To Ensure Safety of Swedish People, the Best Way Forward is to Join NATO; Swedish PM and Opposition Leader Announce Sweden will Apply for NATO Membership; Investors Anxious after Seven Weeks of Losses for DOW; Pair Squabble over Link Between Taxes and Inflation; Help Ukraine Center Distributes Humanitarian, Medical Aid; Cuba Blames U.S. Sanctions for its Economic Woes. Aired 09-10a ET
Aired May 16, 2022 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ZAIN ASHER, CNN HOST, FIRST MOVE: You're watching CNN. I'm Zain Asher coming to you live from New York. We begin with a symbolic victory for
Ukrainian troops near Kharkiv. Ukrainian unit says it has reached the Russian border and put down a blue and yellow state with a message Mr.
President, we made it.
As Russian forces are repelled near Kharkiv Moscow is ramping up attacks in other areas and a new missile strike has been reported by Ukraine near the
City of Odessa, destroying buildings and starting a fire as well.
Meantime, more Russian troops are pouring into Ukraine's Luhansk region. They're focusing artillery and troops in the area around the Severodonestk.
And again, they're accused of locating civilian targets. A Ukrainian official said Russians shelled a hospital on Sunday as well.
Meantime, Sweden is pushing forward for NATO membership. The Prime Minister says her party is backing a bid to join the alliance because Europe's
security situation has in her words fundamentally changed. Magdalene Andersson is about to give a press conference when that happens we will of
course bring it to you live. CNN Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux is joining us live now from Lviv in Ukraine. Suzanne, what is the latest?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Zain, that's right. Actually Ukraine's is a Border Services reporting now that the Russian troops they
have attacked. They've been firing across the border into an area that Sumi region. They have been using mortars and grenade launchers.
Those Ukrainian border troops were able to push them back to force the Russians to retreat. But analysts say that this is really part of a bigger
strategy, a bigger picture here to engage in some of those Ukrainian units that would otherwise be deployed to the Donbas.
MALVEAUX (voice over): It almost looks like fireworks but these explosions aren't for show. They are incendiary munitions. It's yet another day of
crushing Russian firepower aimed at the besieged City of Mariupol. Over the weekend, a large convoy of cars and bands carrying fleeing residents
managed to leave the city.
An - Mariupol's Mayor says up to 1000 vehicles arrived in Zaporizhzhia, which would be the largest single evacuation for Mariupol since the
fighting began. One man says it was a harrowing journey.
NIKOLAY PAVLOV, MARIUPOL EVUACEE: We barely made it. There were lots of elderly people among us, it was tough. People went through hard things
before they were nervous. The trip was devastating, but it was worth it.
MALVEAUX (voice over): Meanwhile, further east Russian troops are zeroing in on the town.
ASHER: All right, I have to interrupt that because the leaders of Sweden the Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson are speaking now let's listen in.
MAGDALENA ANDERSSON, SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER: --questions common conflict to strengthen the safety in Northern Europe. And now also Finland has applied
to coming into NATO then it would - would be alone in the north of Europe in a very tough situation. And to make sure the safety of Swedish people in
a best way move forward is to join NATO together with Finland.
I do know that there's a lot of Swedes that are hesitating. And would like to be free from alliance, and I respect that. You can have different
opinions and respected, with love our country and we want the best. And there are Swedes that at situation is requiring us to join NATO. And this
is a historical change.
ANDERSSON: We are living in an era entering a new. When we do it - do we need to bring the best to our country's history? And that is when we work
together and work best.
First of all, the Parliament has made a decision we want to be a member of the alliance in NATO. And we will move forward as we are going to begin
negotiations. We already have a long history of deliberation and tests together. And when that is done, Sweden will confirm the will with writing
and not NATO will send a protocol.
And then the process will start with the very members before the decision is made. And how long that time will take? It's hard to tell the arguments
that decided today to present the proposition.
Sweden will in a tough situation while the full decision is made. We cannot not count that Russia will do disinformation in Sweden. We have had a long
conversation within our party. Sweden has already got the support from important NATO countries like U.S., Germany, UK, Spain, and we will do this
process together with our neighboring country Finland.
Sweden will also have their own preparedness, like reading parliament members of the country will also take the preparedness. We all can have to
get - this is clear instruction for Swedish people. A search for information from reliable sources every person that is sending this
information but we also make sure to share information that is reliable.
Also make sure to support each other especially this is for child and children. Also held you - core for all situations me and - standing here
together, we don't agree on everything. But we have something in common is that we do want to live in this new democratic days - Sweden to work and
deliver. And now I live Ulf.
ULF KRISTERSSON, SWEDISH OPPOSITION LEADER: Now, we are sending it together for two important political reasons. One is the broad political meaning
joining NATO means that it's important not - decision historical and - forward is to work in solidarity but also get help from other NATO members.
That reason because it's very special time - a special time in the world, especially for Ukraine. It's the first invasion since World War II.
KRISTERSSON: It was special for Sweden. It's happening right before election, and one's new parliament has been installed. We will do what
Ukraine is not allowed to do.
Will both go to election to win the support of the people? At the same time together we will work with the process to bring Sweden into the NATO. We
have had different perspectives in the past so far, but this is not about that. This is about together having taking the responsibility.
Historical decision today is on the start, there is still a long way to go. First that process. It could be reached by the end of the year. But its
common goal that Sweden will be safer, but we do live in a dangerous time.
Russia one like us joining NATO, also Russia doesn't like same as Russia doesn't like the way support Ukraine.
And Russian spies one like to save it. It has to be political, technical, and we get threatened with this information. We don't say this to create
panic but encouraged to be aware. We do not have any signals for any serious threat, but there might be test they will face.
When all nations have confirmed, approved, and then a new member of NATO, we would try to maximum and also Sweden what we can contribute with. The
Nordic the Baltic Sea, but we also have our own geopolitical importance and also very high technology resources and also many years of experience of
Russia. We will defend - by defending together.
ASHER: OK. You've just been witnessing pretty much a historical change to Swedish Foreign Policy. Sweden poised to end decades of neutrality by
moving ahead to join excuse me, NATO, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson speaking there basically saying the safety.
The safety and the security of the Swedish people is top priority right now. This marks a dramatic about face for Sweden's ruling party, the Social
Democratic Party, which for years had been hesitant to join NATO.
Of course, the security situation across Europe has changed dramatically over the past three months. She was speaking alongside opposition leader of
--, they don't agree on everything she said.
But this is one clear area where they do seem to be in agreement. Let's bring in Nina dos Santos joining us live now from Stockholm. So Nina,
here's the thing. Basically the general consensus there in Sweden is that listen decades of military neutrality are being nonaligned rather has
helped Sweden in the past.
But that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to help Sweden going forward. They did talk about what Russia's reaction might be to this, walk us
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. They talked about how Russia wouldn't like it. "Russian spies wouldn't like it". And this has
gone hand in hand with various messages over the last few weeks on both the governments of Sweden and also Finland.
SANTOS: As they start to talk about the possibility of joining NATO to their people, they said, you know, we're prepared for various forms of
retaliation, including potentially political interference projects, or cyber-attacks.
President Putin has actually spoken just recently, actually in response to what's going on here in Stockholm today. And he said that this is he has
nothing, no issues with Sweden or Finland as countries per se.
But he has reiterated yet again, that this enlargement of NATO will provoke a response. Now, Russia's position has always been that they view alignment
here with these two key Nordic countries as a mistake.
And they've said that they could respond militarily or perhaps even politically. But at the moment, many defense analysts say that appears to
be premature. As you heard there, the timescale of joining NATO is also something that might leave some of these people in these countries rather
And that's something when you speak to people on the streets of Stockholm; you do notice people being very, very aware of. I've met some people who've
said, they think it's absolutely the right course of action to join NATO for Sweden in particular.
And then of course, there are many who say, well, look, this hasn't been explained to us, quite in terms of what the immediate threat is. Their
point is that Sweden isn't Ukraine, and Sweden isn't in the same vulnerable position.
But this is a highly choreographed political dance that is happening this week. Remember, Finland, of course, announced yesterday. Now, the machinery
of the political state here in Sweden is getting into gear to make a joint announcement when the Finnish President heads to town tomorrow. And that is
when we'll see potentially the signing of that formal bid.
ASHER: Yes, they did talk about that. This is an election year for Sweden. So this is all happened, happening quite a significant time.
SANTOS: is in four months' time.
ASHER: Right, right, right. All right, Nina dos Santos live for us there. Thank you so much. And they just symbol of Glasnost inaction is planning to
leave Russia. McDonald's announced and started the process to sell its Russian business after more than 30 years of operation in the country.
Anna Stewart joins us live now. So Anna, just how significant is this? I mean, McDonald's is obviously a symbol of not just globalism, but also the
American lifestyle. Just walk us through how significant is this? And of course, after McDonald's leaves, can they ever come back?
ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Yes, so McDonald's opened in 1990. And Pushkin Square Moscow, images of Russians queuing for hours to get the ultimate
American capitalist burger really won't be forgotten by the world.
And I think there's a lot of symbolism here. There was when it's suspended its operations. And certainly is now it's going to sell his whole portfolio
of restaurants to a local buyer.
And its statement was really quite strong. I'll read you some of this. As the company intends to initiate the process of de arching those
restaurants, which entails no longer using the McDonald's name, the logo, the branding and the menu.
And essentially, they're saying here that their values simply do not align with that of Russia, and they're taking a big charge here 1.2 to $1.4
billion to exit this investment.
And on the same day, Zain we had a very different statement from Reno because here McDonald's certainly seems to be exiting for good. Renault has
said it's going to sell up at 68 percent in Avtovaz, which is the big Russian car company that owns the brand Lada.
However, it says it's going to essentially keep its options on the table for coming back with a six year buyback option so it can return to the
market invest again within the next six years, lots of windows within that.
Very interesting, I mean, there's big market for Reno about 10 percent of its sales, perhaps no surprise. But the news we're getting now is we had a
few weeks ago or a few months ago, companies suspending their businesses.
Now we're getting them exiting, selling up their stakes and taking hefty charges. Last week was shell - this week so far Reno McDonald's, I wonder
which ones will be next, Zain?
ASHER: Right, Anna Stewart live for us there. Thank you so much. COVID lockdowns hitting China's economy hard, retail sales dropped 11 percent
last month from a year ago, industrial production fell 3 percent, while the unemployment rate jumped to the second highest on record.
Ivan Watson joins us live now from Hong Kong, so Ivan, some pretty dismal economic data coming out of China. In fact, in a place like Shanghai, for
example, not a single car was sold for the entire month of April.
Just explain to us what has happened to demand in certain parts of the country amid these really tough COVID restrictions.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Zain, I think that that latest statistic that you mentioned that not a single car sold in
a city of 25 million people in the month of April during its second month of strict lockdown.
I think that goes to the heart of what kind of an impact the Chinese central government zero COVID policy above all else is having on things
like the economy, not a single car sold. Whereas in March about 118,000 cars were sold according to the Shanghai automobile sales trade
WATSON: The national statistics showing the worst contraction in industrial production since February of 2020. What was happening then? Well, that was
the first lock down in China, when COVID-19 was a brand new virus when there were no vaccines, or tested treatments for this new virus, which was
first detected in China in the first place.
Also, some of the worst unemployment figures since February of 2020. And the Chinese central government its rhetoric is that it is going to stick to
this zero COVID policy, which has had again some 25 million people in Shanghai alone, unable to leave their building complexes for 60 days.
People are reporting rationing food, facing food and medicine shortages, unable to get medical treatment for emergencies. The national government
says, hey, we think the economy is going to improve in coming months as the situation normalizes as the COVID numbers continue to drop, and as the
government pumps money into infrastructure investment.
However, beyond the economic question, Zain here are the sheer trauma of things like this people I've spoken to in Shanghai who have endured this
isolation are saying that this was truly a traumatic experience.
And though the Shanghai government has announced that it plans to start opening up and normalizing things by mid-June, there's a lot of distrust
there, because that same government promised not to do a lockdown in the first place.
And if you ever want to kind of read the tea leaves about where China's going to be, in a year's time, look at the decision to cancel hosting the
Asian Football Confederation, Asia Cup, which was supposed to be held in 10 Chinese cities next summer, a little bit more than a year from now, that
has now been scrapped.
China will no longer host it, again due to its zero COVID policies, which suggests Beijing is in for this isolation, and zero COVID above all else,
for the long haul Zain.
ASHER: Yes, and it's important to mention, I mean, you talk about, we talk about rather the economy and, and the amount of money that might have been
lost and these dismal economic data numbers.
But it's so important, as you point out, to remember what ordinary people in some of these cities are going through and the toll on mental health,
that it's having Ivan Watson live for us there. Thank you so much.
All right, still to come here. Major concerns for investors with China locking down and the one Ukraine dragging on, we'll have details ahead.
Also ahead, one of the many Ukrainian business leaders who are helping in the war effort as well we speak to the CEO using his logistical - to
distribute aid, that's next.
ASHER: Right. Welcome back. U.S. stock futures right now are starting the week lower. This comes after seven straight weeks of losses for the down
investors. Concerns continue over inflation, the Ukrainian war and China's COVID lockdowns.
European stocks are also trading mostly lower right now in Asia stocks are mixed today. Shanghai closed down a third of 1 percent percent. But the
Nikkei was up about half of 1 percent.
And that's live now is David Bailin, the Chief Investment Officer for Citi Global Wealth. David, thank you so much for being with us. When you think
about, you know what the markets are doing today, they're basically flat five minutes the open.
Last week on Friday, the markets rallied for a little bit. Just explain to us have investors or how long rather till investors really come to terms
with this new world of high interest rates?
DAVID BAILIN, CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, CITI GLOBAL WEALTH: That's exactly what is taking place. And I think what investors don't realize is that we
already may have hit peak interest rates at this point. The Fed has already told us what it is going to do and now is in the process of doing it with
their initial 50 basis point raise and two more planned.
You've already seen interest rates move up across the curve and mortgage rates move up as well. And now obviously, the economy is adjusting .At the
same time, consumers are actually spending less because of this inflation and the fact that it's impacted their energy and food purchases.
And so right now you have a slowing economy, which again bodes well for lower interest rates in the future. And once investors realize that rates
potentially have peaked, certain areas of the market, I think will become more attractive.
ASHER: And so when you think about just overall what the markets are doing seven straight weeks of losses for stocks. You look at crypto currencies,
completely reeling; we're actually going to have a guest on that a little bit later on the show.
Cash is always a problem, but especially now given inflation. I mean are commodities the only game in town right now? What are your thoughts?
BAILIN: Well, commodities have certainly been the only asset class that really has not been correlated. But again, I think that we've just seen an
unusual period of time when the Fed did a huge about face.
And both equities and bonds fell by the most they've ever fell in tandem. Not giving as much diversification. But we do see that diversification
returning to bonds right now. I think that's something that clients can add to portfolios.
And there are certain parts of the market, whether it be pharmaceuticals, you know, certain cyber stocks or cybersecurity stocks, some of the energy
and complex in terms of commodities, all of which I think is going to do better in this environment than not, what's taking place is that earnings
are being recast.
Markets already are looking forward. And assuming that earnings after a 47 percent rise in 2021 are probably not going to be able to move up very much
in the environment that we're in and that's why markets are down at this point.
I just want to remind all investors that you know this is not a month to month or week to week game. This is you know, an opportunity to invest over
the long term.
And for people who have lots of cash, the next few weeks or months are going to create excellent entry points for building out further stocks in
ASHER: Yes, as Warren Buffett says, you know, you know, in terms of his strategy when other people get fearful, that's time - that's when it's time
to get greedy, alright, David Bailin live for us there, Chief Investment Officer at Citi Global Wealth. Thank you so much for joining us.
BAILIN: Thank you.
ASHER: Right, stay with CNN, the market open is next.
ASHER: All right. I'm Zain Asher in New York and let's take a look, the markets are up and running. The Dow is down pretty much flat basically down
ever so slightly down about 50 points or so.
We did see a rally by the way on Friday but after the Dow's longest losing streak since 2001. Investors are of course wondering when the bottom is
going to be reached here.
But again, the markets opening on this Monday flat, let's bring in the Rahel Solomon joining us live now. So Rahel, talk to us about this spat
between two of the world's most powerful men, one of them, of course, being one of the world's richest men. It's Biden versus Bezos, talk us about
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Zain its battle of the BS, right, debating what else but the most important economic issue right now
certainly for the U.S. and perhaps the world inflation. So let's start with a tweet on Friday.
From U.S. President Joe Biden saying you want to bring down inflation, let's make sure the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share. All
right, Bezos then responding in part the newly created disinformation board should review this tweet.
Adding raising corporate taxes is fine to discuss taming inflation is critical to discuss, rushing them together is just miss direction. Also
saying in a later tweet that the administration tried hard to inject even more stimulus into an already overheated inflationary economy, saying
inflation is a regressive tax that most hurts the least affluent.
So this issue Zain of whether rising corporate taxes would in fact, lower inflation. Here's what we know, lowering the trade deficit does tend to
lower inflation. Raising corporate taxes, critics would say that hurts business investment that weakens the economy supportive of the idea would
say that raising corporate taxes increases government revenues, lowers the trade deficit, thus lowering inflation. It's a very controversial question.
We should say, however, that this issue of lowering inflation, you know, there's not a ton that President Biden can do in the short term to
significantly lower inflation. I want to read for you a quote from an economist from Brookings saying that look at this point, there is
relatively little that either the President or Congress can do to affect the rate of inflation over the next six months' supply disruptions from
COVID in China.
And the war in Ukraine means that Xi and Putin will have more influence on price levels than Biden, Pelosi, Schumer and McConnell. It is of course
understandable that President Biden would want to seem like he is getting in front of the issue.
It is the number one issue for Americans, certainly as we head into the polls for midterm elections. Last week, we got two key inflationary
reports. We got the consumer price index and the producer price index.
And Zain, it showed us slight both reports in fact showed a slight easing inflation, but not much inflation still persistently high hovering around
40 year highs. So this idea that President Biden would want to get in front of it is certainly not surprising.
The perhaps unfortunate truth for him is that there's not a ton that he can do to try to tame inflation, that's really a job for the Federal Reserve.
ASHER: Yes and they're dealing with a raising interest rates. Rahel Solomon live for us there, thank you so much.
ASHER: All right, more uncertainty in the crypto currency market, Bitcoin dropping back below $30,000, adding to losses after crypto markets
plummeting following the collapse on the world's third largest stable coin, Terra USD, still companies in the crypto space are growing.
Last week 10 losses, the leading blockchain data and intelligence platform announced it's raised about $170 million in a new round of funding,
doubling its value to $8.6 billion.
Joining us live now to discuss this is Michael Gronager. He's the CEO of Chainalysis. Michael, thank you so much for being with us. So you're in the
business of Blockchain analysis. Just explain to us what exactly it is and how your business really helps law enforcement deal with crime.
MICHAEL GRONAGER, CEO, CHAINALYSIS: Yes, so if you think about the blockchain, it's basically a long ledger of transactions, billions and
billions of transactions. In - analysis re-screen, one round a trillion dollars every month of transactions that way.
But if you then analyze that you actually can go through different transactions and identify various services and various entities on the
blockchain. And that gives you unprecedented transparency into the economy.
And as the crypto economy merge with the existing economy, you actually get a more transparent economy than we ever had before. And that enables and
other things, amongst others, for example, follow the money investigations with the law enforcement wants to track down the bad guys, they can do that
using our products.
And that's one of the things that we are, there's one other group of customers that we're working with today.
ASHER: When you think about what's happened in the Cryptocurrency market, just recently, I mean, $300 billion worth of Cryptocurrency and valued is
wiped out over the past two years, how was that volatility affecting your business?
GRONAGER: So as I mentioned, we have two different customer groups. We have a very big portion of the company is working with the public sector; the
public sector needs our products nonetheless.
So we clearly see a lot of growth in that market. And we see how the public sector continues to be smarter and smarter about that. It's not just the
public sector in the U.S.; it's also in 35 other countries in the world where we have around 150 public sector customers there.
You have also around 600 private sector customers, and we are a B2B SAAS company. So we are not tied to the crypto price in any way. So we basically
just see as the adoption of Cryptocurrencies grows.
And as more and more transactions happen, whether the market goes up or down, we actually capitalize on each transaction that's happening, crypto
network, and benefit from that.
ASHER: OK, so you're relatively well protected. Obviously, you've talked about certain customer base, certain customers being in the public sector,
the rest of the private sector, but your customer base has actually doubled recently, you also have a valuation of about $8.6 billion.
Explain to us where the growth is coming from and who specifically, whether it's public or private, who specifically your customers are.
GRONAGER: Yes, so just to mention a few Bank of New York who also became one of our investors, they represent a big, a big segment of financial
institutions where we have more around 100 customers in the financial institution space.
That's a 3x over the last year. Further one on the private sector customers, that will be the biggest crypto exchanges in the world, and you
can basically list them and look at the bigger exchanges in the world.
We are working with all of them. And again, we are helping them to do compliance. And on the public sector side we have government agencies all
over the world, anything from police to text to regulators; customs and others use our products there.
ASHER: And even though your business is protected from the wild swings we're seeing and Cryptocurrencies, just from your perspective, I would love
to know what the past few weeks can tell us or we can actually learn about the dangers of investing in you know, unregulated, very experimental
GRONAGER: Yes, I think there's two learning's from the last couple of weeks. And of course, I've also been following the stock tickers for not
just for crypto but also for the tech companies.
We clearly saw a contraction in tech in general in six years. And I think most of the crypto change there was actually just mimicking what happened
with the shares of Amazon, the shares of a lot of other big companies out there that took a big correction.
A lot of value was basically erased not just in crypto but all over the world. So that was just a trend that we that we had to follow. On top of
that we saw one of the stable coins and algorithmic stable coins culture is USD, that that one had basically I would say, not a flaw, but more like a
challenge where if a lot of people try to exit it's some of its supporting structures, then suddenly that was not stable anymore.
GRONAGER: It basically went to zero of all practical purposes zero and investors lost lot of funds there. Let's see where that goes in the next
couple of weeks.
ASHER: We - all right, Michael Gronager live for us there. Thank you so much CEO of Chainalysis. All right, still to come, how the head of a major
Ukrainian shipping terminal operator is putting his logistics experience to good use, this new mission next.
ASHER: Welcome back. As Eastern Ukraine continues to see intense battles Ukrainian and business are doing what they can to get their country through
One of them is the CEO of shipping terminal operator TransInvest Service; he's using his logistics experience to coordinate safe routes for aid
convoys. He co-founded an organization called Help Ukraine Center to gather and distribute humanitarian and medical aid.
Andrey Stavnitser joins us live now from Poland Andrey, thank you so much for being with us. So just talk to us a bit more about help Ukraine center
and how the center is working to distribute much needed aid across the country.
ANDREY STAVNITSER, CEO, TRANSINVESTSERVICE: Good Morning, Zain. Well, basically we organize the center in Poland and in Romania. And this is
where we receive different humanitarian cargoes from all over the world.
And then with the help of our partners, we send it to the hottest areas in Ukraine, like Kharkiv, like Mykolaiv. And then we make sure that the people
there they get their medication or the food or their personal hygiene, et cetera.
It's very important right now, while the large military organizations are not doing a great job in Ukraine, so we basically try to help them out and
substitute using private donations and shipments from all over the world to deliver it to the people in need.
ASHER: Yes, actually, as you're speaking, we're looking at the actual center with I mean, it looks like you've done so much work just in terms of
the cargo you're receiving from all over the world.
I was actually scrolling through your website and it says in bold red letters, no more clothes, please. So I'm assuming that you've had a lot of
people from around the world donating their old clothes, trying to send them to Ukraine. What do you need at this point for people who are
STAVNITSER: Actually what we're facing right now is food crisis. So logistic chains are being disconnected and people in remote areas are not
getting enough food.
STAVNITSER: So what we're doing is we're buying MREs, Meals Ready to Eat and food products, boxes, and we send it over for people to make easy, easy
ASHER: So you're looking for nonperishable items. So for example, canned foods coming from other parts of Europe, is that what you need right now?
STAVNITSER: Exactly. We buy energy bars, canned food, something that can store for a while, instant soups, et cetera that people get good store and
then eat whenever they feel it's needed.
ASHER: And in terms of the people who work in the center, I mean, just walk us through who the employees are who I mean, how many people work in the
center, first and foremost? And are a lot of them, you know, former sort of young entrepreneurs who have now dedicated their time to helping find a way
to see their country through this crisis.
STAVNITSER: It's a great question, Zain. And as you know, Poland and Europe, and actually the whole world has opened their hearts and their
homes, for Ukrainians. So a lot of Ukrainians that have left to Poland to come and work for us at the center.
And it's the only way how they can reduce the pain from not being home and from the war that's happening in Ukraine. So we have all kinds of people
working at the center.
We have wives of very rich people, we have just ordinary people that left the country and all of them they work for 20 hours to help their country
and they do as much as they can.
But we have from time to time we have a different amount of volunteers. For example, today we had 80 volunteers working in the warehouse, sometimes
it's 150. It depends on the amount of work because the aid is not coming all the time systematically and rhythmically. So when we need more, we call
ASHER: On a sort of slightly loose tangent, I understand that you actually know President Zelenskyy personally; you were friends with him before he
even became President.
I just would love to know what you make of his handling of the past three months for your country.
STAVNITSER: Well, to me personally, it's the biggest source of inspiration. I mean, what he's doing is incredible, and the amount of energy he's
putting into it and the courage. I think all of the guys all of our military guys in Ukraine right now watching are watching him every evening,
when he's doing a report.
And that's the source of their inspiration. He opened up to be very grateful and brave person.
ASHER: Yes, that's a huge boost to morale. I'm sure for the Ukrainian military just seeing a hero like that representing their country on stage.
ASHER: Andrey Stavnitser, we have to leave it there. Thank you so much for being with us.
STAVNITSER: Thanks Zain.
ASHER: All right, stay with First Move, coming up, Cuba in crisis, why tens of thousands are trying to flee the island.
ASHER: Cuba is facing some of its worst shortages of food and medicine in decades coupled with rampant inflation as well, as the perfect storm that
is forcing many Cubans to try to get out.
Right now in March alone, 32,000 of them arrived at the U.S. and Mexico border. CNN's Patrick Oppmann joins us live now from Havana with more.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, every day Zain, we continue to see amazing images of migrants and many of them Cubans hundreds and hundreds of
migrants pouring across the border into Texas.
And while the Cuban government says they believe this country is slowly emerging from the financial crisis caused by the pandemic, many Cubans say
that they are unable to wait and they feel now is the time to leave.
OPPMANN (voice over): Texas, it's a dangerous journey and one happening more and more frequently as Cubans leave the island in the greatest Exodus
since the Mariel Boatlift, over 32,000 Cubans reached the border just in March, according to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
For many the Odyssey starts here in long lines at foreign embassies to apply for a visa to depart the island by plane and then make the trip
overland to the United States.
Ever since Cuba's ally Nicaragua waived their visa requirement last November, the number of travelers has skyrocketed. Some told us the lack of
food and medicines are driving people to leave.
OPPMANN (on camera): And why do so many people want to truck?
KAILEN RODRIGUEZ, TRAVELING TO PANAMA: To buy things that we don't have here. We don't have the possibilities here to buy many things, that there
we can buy all the things.
OPPMANN (voice over): The chronic scarcity has grown even direr in recent months.
OPPMANN (on camera): The line behind me is for detergent to wash clothes, and increasingly hard to find item these days. Cubans certainly are no
strangers to long lines into shortages. For the economic free fall that this country is experiencing right now. Many Cubans tell me leaves them no
other option, but to try and leave.
OPPMANN (voice over): Cuban officials say that tanking economy is the fault of tougher U.S. sanctions.
JOSEFINA VIDAL, CUBAN FOREIGN MINISTRY: Because in the case of Cuba is not just the consequence of the pandemic is the consequences of the
reinforcement of the policy of maximum pressure economic pressure of the U.S. or towards Cuba.
OPPMANN (voice over): But many on this island blame the Exodus on the government's harsh crackdown, following last summer's unprecedented
protests, demanding food medicine and greater liberties.
While the majority of Cuban migrants reached the U.S. from Mexico, an increasing number are also attempting the journey on homemade boats across
the Florida straits.
Zuleydias says her husband lost his job during the pandemic and then lost hope. He was going crazy, she says, he didn't have the means to support us
and our small child. And I think that's what caused him the desperation to throw himself into the sea.
Zuleydias says her husband and nephew were on an overloaded boat heading to Florida that capsized, their bodies were never found. It's heartbreaking
because you can't say I will move on or I will stop. You don't know anything, she says.
Despite the peril they face, this new wave of Cubans leaving their island is unlikely to subside anytime soon.
ASHER: So Patrick, you know, food shortages, fuel shortages, a collapse in terms of tourism, just walk us through what sort of measures and policies
the government is implementing to try to alleviate the situation?
OPPMANN: Well, the Cuban government says that, you know, it's really the U.S. that's to blame. And we're not seeing any flexibility on the part of
the Cuban government in terms of opening the economy or forming the economy, which has been called on now for years.
And so there was a meeting between U.S. officials and Cuban officials last month, specifically on migration, the first meeting that Cuban officials
have had with the Biden Administration.
And the U.S. would like Cuba to accept deportee's flights once again, deportation flights once again. And Cuba would like the U.S. to issue more
visas here in Nevada, so people don't have to take this, a legal route through Central America and Mexico, but no agreement appears to be close at
These are two governments that increasingly do not see eye to eye point fingers at each other. But while that goes on while the standoff continues
more and more Cubans have just decided they've had enough and it's time to go.
OPPMANN: And that seems to be what will be the near future for some time to come, people just not seeing the future in their own country anymore.
ASHER: Yes, what do people actually fear that it's only going to get worse there in Cuba, Patrick Oppmann live for us? Thank you so much for joining
us. And that is it for the show. Thank you so much for watching. I'll be back with "One World" in just a few hours from now. "Connect the World"
with Becky Anderson is next.