Return to Transcripts main page
Isa Soares Tonight
Israel Launches Strikes On Targets In Gaza; Taiwan Reports Record Incursions By Chinese Warplanes; Russia Says It's Ready To Discuss A Possible Prisoner Swap With The U.S. In The Aftermath Of Brittney Griner's Prison Sentence; Sirens Indicating Incoming Rocket Fire Sound In Israel; Putin Thanks Erdogan For Brokering Ukrainian Grain Deal; MSF: 600+ Migrants Rescued From Sea, Taken To Italy. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired August 05, 2022 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, Israel launches strikes on targets in
Gaza. Palestinians say dozens are injured, and at least ten killed. Then, Taiwan reports record incursions by Chinese warplanes just two days after
Nancy Pelosi's visit. We'll have more on how Washington is responding.
And Russia says it's ready to discuss a possible prisoner swap with the U.S. in the aftermath of Brittney Griner's prison sentence. We have the
latest from Moscow just ahead. But first, Palestinian -- but first, Palestinian officials say at least ten people have been killed and 55
injured by Israeli airstrikes on Gaza just hours ago. They say one of the dead is a five-year-old girl.
The Israeli army says it was a preemptive airstrike against the commander of Islamic Jihad, one of the two main militant groups in Gaza. An army
spokesman said the two -- they also targeted two anti-tank squads, which were preparing to attack Israeli forces. A CNN producer in Gaza saw medics
carrying out bodies from the building that was hit.
Islamic Jihad has vowed to respond, saying all options are open, and Israel's defense minister has just authorized a call up of 25,000
reservists. Journalist Neri Zilber joins me now from Jerusalem. And Neri, this call up of 25,000 reservists suggests, perhaps, that this is bound to
escalate. So, just put this latest development and the strikes in Gaza into context for our viewers here.
NERI ZILBER, JOURNALIST: That's right, Isa. It's about to escalate and already has just in the past few minutes. Rocket barrages are being
reported coming out of Gaza into primarily southern Israel. The Israeli military expected this, hence the call up of 25,000 additional reservists
soldiers, primarily infantry and armor and also aerial defense support troops.
The Israeli authorities expect this to escalate. Islamic Jihad has shown just in the last few minutes that it will escalate, in response, to as you
mentioned, Israeli airstrikes earlier today, targeting what Israel claims was a senior Islamic Jihad Commander Tayseer al-Jabari who was responsible
for the Islamic Jihad's northern brigade in the Gaza Strip, as well as two anti-tank crews that were planning, according to Israel, a cross-border
attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians.
We expect this only to get worse, it already is likely to be the greatest escalation of hostilities between Israel and Gaza since last May's 11-day
SOARES: As you were talking, we are -- just confirmed sirens indicating incoming rocket fire sound in Israel. This is coming from the Israel
defense forces, is really a sign of really your first answer that this is bound to escalate. In fact, it's already escalating with sirens now
indicating incoming rocket fire according to Israel defense forces.
But you know, when they talked about an imminent threat, the Israelis talk about an imminent threat, just explain, you know, what is that threat, and
why, you know, what is it trying to achieve here with this preemptive attack?
ZILBER: So the context for this latest round of hostilities, we have to go back to Monday of this past week, there was an Israeli military arrest
operation in the northern West Bank, not Gaza, in the northern West Bank, that arrested a senior Islamic Jihad commander from the West Bank. In
responses, Islamic Jihad was threatening some kind of response, some kind of retaliation.
And the Israeli authorities actually pinpointed concrete Intelligence in their words, for a cross-border attack from Gaza, into Israel. Southern
Israeli communities in and around Gaza have been essentially under lockdown for the past four days, in anticipation of just such an attack.
And what we saw earlier today by the Israeli Air Force was a preemptive strike against those potential attacks. This is according to Israel. But
the last four days, the context is long gone, this will likely only get worse with rocket fire outgoing from Gaza, and likely additional airstrikes
from the Israelis.
SOARES: And the prime minister -- Israeli Prime Minister, we understand Yair Lapid is addressing the nation right now. Of course, we'll stay on top
of it, we'll hear what he has to say and we'll brief our viewers of course, as soon as we get more information. But Neri, I'll leave you too, news
gather. Neri Zilber there, and if you've got any more details, please come back to us. Neri Zilber joining us there from Jerusalem.
Well, the U.S. House Speaker may have just left Taiwan, if you remember, two days ago. But the fallout from her visit is escalating in stunning new
ways. Nancy Pelosi is now in Japan, where she has defended her trip, saying the visit was not intended to change the status quo in Asia. But Beijing is
making changes of its own, suspending cooperation with U.S. on a range of issues including climate change and talks with defense leaders.
It is also sanctioning Pelosi personally, while Taiwan is reporting a high number of incursions by Chinese warplanes. The White House has called the
provocation irresponsible, and has summoned China's ambassador. The U.S. Secretary of State, meanwhile, says Beijing is choosing to overreact. In
turn, China is warning the U.S. not to act rationally, to avoid creating a bigger crisis.
Well, our teams are monitoring developments in both Asia and the U.S. Selina Wang is in Beijing while Natasha Bertrand joins us from Washington
D.C. Selina, let me go to you first, I mean, Taiwan reporting now a record number of incidents. Just tell us on what scale these incidents have taken
SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're seeing a large number of warplanes consistently go into Taiwan's self-declared air defense
zone. So, this is the area around the airspace, around Taiwan. China frequently flies warplanes into this area, but now we're seeing an
increasing number as China carries out these large scale military drills that China claims are essentially simulating a blockade.
Extremely provocative moves coming from China, including yesterday, Chinese state media saying that a missile actually flew over Taiwan. Not around it,
but over it for the first time, which our military experts tell me is a move that goes beyond what they were expecting from China and its muscular
show of force, in order to live up to the threats it had made if U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did indeed end up going to Taiwan.
And if you look at the math that they had released about these military drills, some of those drills are supposedly going to encroach extremely
close on to the Taiwan islands, some of them within 10 miles of the shoreline. But when we look at these military drills, and when I speak to
experts, they say, look, some of these drills were planned far beforehand.
These are not drills you can just suddenly plan weeks in advance. These outlines were probably made far before than some tweaks and adjustments
were made once this Pelosi trip happened. But by pinning it to the Pelosi trip, by pegging it as this reaction, it has engendered a lot of
nationalism and patriotism here at home. And for Chinese President Xi Jinping, that is a welcome distraction for the people here at a time when
China's economy has been devastated by the zero COVID policy.
SOARES: Yes, and if it does require lots of planning, I mean, this is Beijing really showing their hand here. Let me get you Natasha. Natasha,
the White House meanwhile is pushing back hard, even, summoning as we just said China's ambassador. A sign including the relationship is
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Exactly. right. So, essentially what we are learning this morning is that the U.S. actually
summoned the Chinese ambassador to the U.S., to the White House, to basically give him a dressing down over China's provocations near Taiwan,
and to express that this is completely unacceptable and out of proportion, with the visit by Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.
The message has been, look, what's unprecedented here is not the house speaker's visit, which has happened before. It happened in the '90s, but
it's China's reaction to it that is unprecedented. And of course, Selina laid out just their how provocative and how escalatory China's military
actions near the island have actually been. So there's been a lot of back- and-forth in recent days between China and the U.S.
But very alarmingly, two U.S. officials, China has actually taken the decision to cancel a number of upcoming conversations between U.S. and
Chinese defense officials. Now, John Kirby, who is the spokesperson for the National Security Council here, just addressed this in the last hour, and
he said that this increases the risk for potential miscalculation by China in the area.
Of course, U.S. forces, U.S. military forces are continuing to operate in the region. And John Kirby has said that, that is not going to stop, even
despite all of these provocations by China, that the U.S. is going to continue operating in the sea and in the air, in the western Pacific, as it
has for decades.
So, they are urging calm here, they're trying to get China to back down. And they're making very public the fact that they are now addressing the
Chinese ambassador directly, and telling him that, well, the U.S. does not want to see a crisis unfold here, they are not going to back down either.
SOARES: Stay with us, Natasha. Let me go back to Selina. Selina, on that point of miscalculation that Natasha was just mentioning there, the fear of
course, of a miscalculation. What is the mood, really, in the Asia-Pacific region, with other allies of Taiwan? How fearful are they that this could
go horribly wrong?
WANG: Well, the region is incredibly tense right now.
I mean, Japan, for one is extremely worried about this. And you've heard the prime minister, all levels of the government condemned the actions from
China. Because Japan says that several of those missiles that China fired landed in its exclusive economics' zone, which China says it doesn't
And extremely concerning here as well to Natasha's point, is that, China has at this very point, when we have this crisis unfolding, China has
decided to cut ties with the United States in dramatic and major ways, including on defense discussions.
And not just defense discussions, they've also decided to end discussions on anti drugs, on illegal immigration, on international crime., and perhaps
most importantly as well on climate change. These are the world's two biggest greenhouse gas emitters, and climate change in recent years when
tensions were rising, was probably the only area where discussions were continuing to happen.
But now even that one ray of positive dialogue is now also being cut between these two countries. So, when you have this breakdown, this
increasing mistrust, and fewer and fewer channels for communication, that of course, would increase the risk of accidents or miscalculations that
could spiral into something more. Isa.
SOARES: Yes, and we'll be talking with Bill Weir, our climate correspondent later on the show, exactly about this. About what this means,
of course, for that deal, that they both signed to cut methane emissions at the last cop. Selina Wang there for us, and Natasha Bertrand, we appreciate
it, thank you ladies.
Well, the day after U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison by Moscow court, Russia's foreign minister says the
Kremlin is ready to discuss a possible prisoner swap. The U.S. Secretary of State says the Biden administration will pursue those talks. It is the
first time a negotiation process could really soon pick up speed since the White House offered to exchange convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout
for Griner and another U.S. citizen last month. Fred Pleitgen brings us up to date.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A moment of silence between the WNBA's Connecticut's Sun and Phoenix
Mercury., 42 seconds of silence, to be exact., the number that Brittney Griner wears for the Phoenix Mercury.
DIAMOND DESHIELDS, PHOENIX MERCURY: Obviously, it is devastating.
SKYLAR DIGGINS-SMITH, PHOENIX MERCURY: It's devastating.
DESHIELDS: Yes, you can't really say nothing other than that.
VANESSA NYGAARD, HEAD COACH, PHOENIX MERCURY: it's just heartbreaking, and you know, we know that this verdict is unacceptable.
PLEITGEN: In a Russian courtroom on Thursday, WNBA star Brittney Griner apologized to the court and to her Russian team, and asked for leniency.
BRITTNEY GRINER, WNBA PLAYER: I want to apologize to my teammates, my club, BC UMMC, the fans and the city of Ekat. My mistake that I made and
the embarrassment that I brought onto them.
PLEITGEN: It was almost six months ago when the 31-year-old, two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist was arrested at a Moscow airport for carrying less
than a gram of cannabis oil in her luggage. She pleaded guilty to drug charges last month, saying she accidentally packed vaping cartridges while
in a hurry.
GRINER: I made an honest mistake, and I hope that in your ruling, that it doesn't end my life here.
PLEITGEN: Despite her impassioned plea, the judge was unmoved, ruling that Griner acted with criminal intent, delivering a sentence of nine years in
jail, and a fine of 1 million rubles, which is about $16,000. An emotional Griner was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs, saying only this.
GRINER: I love my family.
PLEITGEN: Outside the courtroom, her attorneys called the verdict unfair.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The average is five years or around five years, and almost a third of the people convicted get parole.
PLEITGEN: They plan on filing an appeal. The White House condemned the verdict with President Joe Biden saying in a statement, quote, "Russia is
wrongfully detaining Brittney. It's unacceptable. And I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends
JOHN KIRBY, COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: That's really up to the Russian side.
PLEITGEN: On whether the conviction opens new doors for negotiations for a prisoner swap, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby saying.
KIRBY: We're still open to having our proposal seriously and positively considered. And if on the Russian side, that means that they feel like
they're more empowered to do that, then so be it.
PLEITGEN: It was in June that the Biden administration made a proposal to the Kremlin to get Griner and fellow American citizen Paul Whelan home.
Whelan has been held in Russia since 2018 for alleged espionage, which he denies. In exchange, the U.S. would offer to release Viktor Bout, a
convicted Russian arms trafficker, serving a 25-year sentence in the United States. So far, Russia has not agreed.
SOARES: Let's get Fred Pleitgen now who joins me now live from Moscow. And Fred, so there appears to be some momentum now, on this prisoner swap
proposal. I was just reading actually, a statement from -- a Russian state news actually on Lavrov, who basically says, yes, they're engaged on this.
But they want to go through the normal channels, not the megaphone diplomacy that you and I were talking about at the beginning of this year -
- at the beginning of this week.
PLEITGEN: Yes, and I think that's really important to the Russians. Look, one of the things that we know is that, last week, when the U.S. came out
and essentially laid out this substantial proposal, as the State Department called it and the White House called it as well, the Russians were
They believe all this needs to be handled in secrecy. And it was quite interesting when Sergey Lavrov came out today and said -- well, it was at a
summit in Cambodia, and said, look, there is a mechanism for this in place, it was something that was agreed upon by President Biden and President
Putin at their summit last year in Geneva, on a way to deal with that.
And that usually isn't necessarily through the Russian foreign ministry, but it's definitely something that happens behind closed doors. Also
interesting, the Kremlin today seconded that as well. They said that negotiations like this can happen, but if even some details from such
negotiations are made public, then the prisoners exchanges simply cannot happen.
And he was talking, generally, about prisoner exchanges, the Kremlin spokesman. But clearly, the Russians want this to happen behind closed
doors. So I think what we'll probably see in the next couple of days, weeks, ahead, is that we'll hear very little from the U.S. and from Moscow,
as this is going to move to -- going to behind closed doors.
But the U.S. certainly very clear on the fact that they want Brittney Griner back, they want Pau Whelan back as well. And I was speaking to
Brittney Griner's legal team today, and they're obviously getting ready for an appeal, they say they want to do that as far as possible. They are not
privy to any sort of talks about whether or not negotiations are going on.
But even they say they hope that an exchange could take place, they simply want Brittney Griner to come home as fast as possible. Isa.
SOARES: Fred Pleitgen live for us in Moscow this hour. Thanks very much, Fred. And still to come tonight, the U.S. is on the verge of a historic
climate change investment. We're talking hundreds of billions of dollars. But it's not all good news on the climate crisis. We'll explain. And there
is not a moment to lose. You'd be forgiven for thinking these wildfire pictures were from the American west, but it's Europe in the firing line
SOARES: Welcome back. One step forward and one step back in the battle against the climate crisis. U.S. lawmakers are inching closer to making the
largest investment in climate programs in the country's history. The last Democratic Senate hold-out says she will move forward. Now, if the plan
becomes law, the government will pour $369 billion into energy and climate change programs.
But that near-breakthrough comes on the same day that China, of course, we told you at the top of the hour, says it will stop climate talks with the
U.S. It's part of the fallout from the U.S. House Speaker's visit to Taiwan. And it means the world's two largest economies won't work together
on one of the world's biggest challenges, of course.
CNN's chief climate correspondent Bill Weir has been watching this story closely for us. He joins me now live. And Bill, let's start, really, with
that move, worrying move, I think it's fair to say from Beijing to cut off talks with the U.S. as the two kind of biggest gas emitters. How worrying
is this? How much of a setback, Bill, is this?
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's not a great signal to the rest of the world, that the two biggest offenders for this problem
can't get along to even discuss solutions. It was heartening when in 2014- '15, it was U.S. and China relations off to the sidelines that set the table for the Paris Accords.
They repeated that in Glasgow, with the Glasgow statement that basically said China will try to crack down on methane emissions in advance clean
technology In ways that they couldn't by joining other big groups gave them some cover as well. So yes, it is a blow for John Kerry who has, you know,
promoted direct talks with them as well. But it will -- the more pressing question, I think, is what it does to supply chains.
Because so many of the American clean energy pieces of equipment are made in China. In fact, there are, you know, sort of embargos and tariffs around
that had put a squeeze on things until recently. So it all remains a question as to what it really means, but it's not good, given this is a
time we need maximum global cooperation.
SOARES: Yes, and it is one of the very few areas where they were kind of seeing eye-to-eye on, I think it's fair to say. But meanwhile, at home in
the U.S., moving ever so closely to that $369 billion plan. Just explain to our viewers, Bill, what this means in real terms here.
WEIR: OK, but just to put the dollar figure just in perspective, the sort of the burning standards, environmental wing of the party, they were hoping
for a trillion dollars a year. This is 369 over 10 years, so a tiny fraction of what those folks had really hoped for. But better than nothing
SOARES: Yes --
WEIR: It looks like Joe Manchin had killed the Democrats' environmental hopes and climate hopes entirely, but came back with this deal, which is
really a lot of carrots as incentives, and very few sticks for the polluters. So there's billions in tax incentives for folks to buy cleaner
cars and utilities, and insulate their homes, and it's going to give a boost to nuclear plants, which we're shutting down in the United States.
And all these emerging technologies in carbon capture and alternative fuels and batteries, huge boost for them. That will -- these will keep these
little sort of start-ups, their dreams alive for years as we figure out what -- who is going to win. But baked into this, there is also a provision
that mandates the Department of Interior must lease oil and gas leases, 2 million acres worth on federal land 60 million in federal waters every
year, before they can even open it up to clean energy.
And so, the extinction rebellion sort of side of the environmental argument is that is a death sentence for humanity, that just signifies we are locked
to the fossil fuels that are destroying things. Though, the more moderates will say, look, you've got to -- you've got to have some sort of compromise
in a democracy.
In reality, maybe, those leases will never get drilled, and -- but in order to get this done and start moving the ball towards a cleaner economy, this
is a lot better than nothing. So, it still remains to be seen, though, they still have to push it across the finish line with -- by adding amendments.
The parliamentarian has to look at it. So it's not there yet, but it's the most hopeful climate option United States has been in a very long time.
SOARES: Yes, but I think you do, like you're right. You do need the carrots, but you also need the sticks to try and move this forward.
Appreciate it, Bill Weir there for us. Thanks, Bill.
WEIR: You bet.
SOARES: Now, southern Europe is also struggling with the dire consequences of climate change. France is in the grip of the most serious drought it's
ever seen. That is according to the French prime minister. Trucks of drinking water are being delivered to more than 100 municipalities after
their supply ran dry. It comes as the Mediterranean heat wave refuses really to let up. Our Jennifer Gray has the story for you.
JENNIFER GRAY, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Much of Europe is baking under yet another round of scorching heat. This comes after a
record-breaking heat wave moved through the region last month.
France is seeing its third heat wave this Summer, nearly all areas of the country have water restrictions in place. France has been under drought
conditions since July, and so far, forecasters say, there is no end in sight.
FLORIAN HORTOLA, WEATHER FORECASTER, METEO FRANCE (through translator): We have classic meteorological situations, but this warming of the atmosphere
leads to temperatures which are higher than before. So now, it is very easy to have very high temperatures for several days in a row, and thus, heat
waves. In the coming years and decades, we expect it to get warmer and warmer. And so, to have even more heat waves for prolonged periods of time.
GRAY: Berlin came within a degree of the highest temperature ever recorded in the city. Animals are trying to cope with the high temperatures too. At
the Frankfurt zoo, aquatic animals are spending much more time in the water. Spain passed an energy conservation law this week, banning offices,
restaurants and other public places from setting their air conditioning to cool below 27 degrees Celsius.
The dry weather has sparked wildfires throughout the region. Europe is only halfway through the fire season, and the blazes have already burned the
second largest area on record, according to the European Union's research center. Firefighters battle fires in northwest Spain, scorched trees and
grassland could be seen in the town of Verin, in the autonomous community of Galatia. Local media reports that the fires were caused by arson.
In Albania, fires are threatening homes and farmland. Villagers assist the firefighters in containing the blaze there. Scientists say heat waves and
droughts are expected to become more common and last longer, because of the climate crisis. And the U.N. report found that those droughts will cause an
increase in the number of extreme wildfires. Jennifer Gray, CNN.
SOARES: Still to come tonight, shun by the western world, Russian President Vladimir Putin is shoring up ties with Turkey. We'll get an
update on a key meeting in Sochi. Also ahead, Russia says it's gaining ground as it battles to seize the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. We
have both the stories after a very short break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. Just recap really our top story this hour. The Israeli military now says sirens indicating incoming rocket fire can be
heard in central as well as southern Israel hours after it carried out airstrikes in Gaza. Palestinian health officials say 10 people, including a
5-year-old girl, were killed in airstrikes and 55 wounded. Israel says the strikes were aimed at an Islamic Jihad commander and two anti-tank squads,
and most of the casualties were members of Islamic Jihad.
Well, just minutes ago, Israel's Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, addressed the nation. He says Israel use a precision weapon to kill a known terrorist.
Have a listen.
YAIR LAPID, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Our fight is not with the people of Gaza. Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy that wants to destroy the State of
Israel and kill innocent Israelis. The head of Islamic Jihad is in Tehran as we speak. We will do whatever it takes to defend our people. Our fight
is not with the people of Gaza. Islamic Jihad is an Iranian proxy that wants to destroy the State of Israel and kill innocent Israelis. The head
of Islamic Jihad is in Tehran as we speak. We will do whatever it takes to defend our people. Our fight is not with the people of Gaza. Islamic Jihad
is an Iranian proxy that wants to destroy --
SOARES: -- joins me now from Jerusalem. And, Neri, in the last, what, 10, 15 minutes, I think, I think it's fair to say that we have sirens sounding
in the south of Tel Aviv, what can you tell us?
NERI ZILBER, JOURNALIST: Well, a rather heavy barrage over the past 20, 30 minutes coming out of Gaza and targeting primarily southern Israel, but
also, as you mentioned, central Israel, the southern outskirts of Tel Aviv, the cities of Bat Yam and Rishon Lezion. No reports just yet of impacts on
the ground, or injuries or casualties. We assume most of the barrage of rockets was intercepted by the Iron Dome Missile Defense System. As well as
we heard just now, Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz address the nation, address the Israeli public for the first time
since airstrikes were launched earlier this afternoon, and very much said, as we heard, that this will continue so long as Israel feels it necessary
to protect its people.
SOARES: And to protect its people, as we hear -- we heard Yair Lapid say that, but he said it was about an imminent threat. So, what -- well, just
explain to our viewers here, Neri, what that imminent threat was that really led to these to these strikes.
ZILBER: Right. So the context is, about four days ago, the Israeli military arrested a senior Islamic Jihad commander in the West Bank, not in Gaza,
but in the West Bank. In response, Islamic Jihad was threatening a response primarily via cross border attack from Gaza into southern Israel, targeting
either Israeli military officers or civilians. And so for the past few days, the communities in and around the Gaza region were under a sort of
lockdown. And at a certain point, the Israeli public, the Lapid administration, felt that it was necessary to take preemptive action to
forestall any potential cross border attack. This is the context.
SOARES: Neri Zilber there for us. Keep us posted on the latest developments joining us from Jerusalem. Appreciate it, Neri.
Well, Vladimir Putin is praising Turkey's president for helping mediate a deal to unblock Ukraine grain exports and facilitate the delivery of
Russian food as well as fertilizers to global markets. The Russian President is hosting Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi today, as you can see
there. Mr. Erdogan says he hopes the meeting will open a whole different page in relations between the two countries.
The Kremlin says among other agreements, Turkey will begin paying Russian in rubles for partial gas supply. CNN's Nada Bashir is following
developments tonight from Istanbul. And Nada, Erdogan's, I think it's fair to say, international credentials have been somewhat bolstered by that
agreement that we just mentioned on grain because, of course, he was the main mediator. So really what came out crucially, at this meeting with
Putin? What are both sides seeking here? Nada?
NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely, Isa. This really has been an opportunity for President Erdogan to reinstate himself as a key regional
player and he really has taken this as a major diplomatic win at home, brokering that deal with the United Nations between Russia and Ukraine.
It has so far proven successful. We've already seen four ships now traveling from Ukraine's southern Black Sea ports carrying that thousands
of tons of corn to those most in need. So clearly, this is proving to be a success thus far. As you mentioned there, President Putin even going so far
as to say that Europe should be thanking President Erdogan for reaching this agreement. And, of course, the Turkish government now hopes that this
could be the beginning of at least laying the groundwork for future resolutions between Russia and Ukraine. President Erdogan has previously
tried to play the mediator in this conflict. But, of course, there were other issues on the table there, a key priority for President Putin, of
course, focusing on the economy.
And as Russia begins to feel the bite of Western sanctions, President Putin and Moscow appear to be turning now to Ankara as a potential alternative
economic partner now, Turkey, unlike its NATO counterparts, hasn't chosen to impose sanctions on Russia just yet. President Erdogan has been careful
to maintain those that relationship, that dialogue with President Putin. It's proven successful with this Black Sea grain initiative. Now, it
appears we've heard that readout from the end of this meeting in Sochi, they will be working on further cooperation to strengthen these economic
ties, focusing in particular on trade and energy.
But while the economy may have been the key focus for President Putin, for President Erdogan, really the key thing on the agenda today was Syria and
President Erdogan has now been trying for weeks to get the green light from Moscow and also from Iran, it has been said, to launch a fourth incursion
in Northern Syria. That has been a key priority for President Erdogan, he says, to establish a safe buffer zone on Turkey's southern border with
Northern Syria to read the area of what he claims to be Kurdish-allied militants waging an insurgency against the Turkish state, and secondary to
that, to be able to transfer Syrian refugees currently in Turkey to this part of Syria.
Now, of course, we saw an incursion in October 2019. This triggered widespread international condemnation. Russia has a major stake in this
region. It controls much of the airspace. President Erdogan still trying to get the green light from Moscow but it appears today they have reached some
sort of agreement to counter terrorist organizations as they describe it in Syria. Isa.
SOARES: Nada Bashir there for us in Istanbul, Turkey. Thanks, Nada.
Well, a Regional Governor has ordered an extended curfew for the Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv this weekend as Russia steps up attacks in the area.
Officials are reporting heavy shelling in the city again today, saying there is significant destruction and fatalities. And in Eastern Ukraine,
Russia said it's taking over another village in the Donetsk region as it fights to push onto Bakhmut. Let's go live to Ukraine for more. Nic
Robertson joins us now from Zaporizhia. And we have seen, Nic, really the fighting intensify in the south, of course, as Ukraine pushes to regain its
territory, but it's coming, of course, at a cost. Give us a sense of what you've seen tonight.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTENTIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, Mykolaiv really taking the brunt of the Russian actions coming in the South and a real
concern in Zaporizhia here, Kryvyi Rih, and Mykolaiv that the Russians intend to push an advance on the southern front end. And to that end, there
are many, many Ukrainians stuck in Russian-occupied, Russian-controlled territory in the south of the country here desperate for a way out. There's
about 6,000 people with about 1,200 cars that have been waiting upwards of a week to leave the Russian-controlled area and move north here towards
Zaporizhia and have not been able to do it. And it's been unclear why.
Ukrainian authorities really feel that those people are being held as human shields, is the way they're putting it. We went today about an hour's drive
of the city here, Zaporizhia, to take a look at that crossing point that had, over the past couple of days, been heavily flooded to try to find out
why people are not coming across, who is going across, and just what it looks like.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Waiting and waiting, families, pets, possessions loading them down, all crossing to the Russian-occupied territory south of
Zaporizhia. This is what's slowing everything up here. The deep mud, cars just getting bogged down, sliding all over. This one just managing to get
through and the reason they're coming this way, quite simple. The bridges are blown up.
Ukrainian emergency services doing their best to get people through the rain sodden fields. "We've had to drag a few trucks out today." the
commander says, "But it's drying out and getting easier." Known as the Green Corridor, it's where people cross to and from Russian-occupied
But something odd this day, the traffic almost entirely one way. Of an estimated 6,000 people stuck on the Russian side, only 76 crossed. Many,
many hundreds went the other way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: Where are you going?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To Kherson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because my parents live in Kherson.
ROBERTSON: Is it dangerous because there are Russians controlling?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. I know this, but I must to take from -- parents from Kherson to my city, Odessa.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Everyone leaving Ukrainian-controlled territory telling us a similar thing, they expect to come back even if it appears
they're not. "I'm taking my mother to the other side," he says "And picking up my grandmother." When we asked why he's taking his young daughter, he
If they were going to live on the Russian side, no one willing to admit it. The route working so well this day, several trucks taking the chance to
turn a profit. This man is van-loaded with Pepsi and toilet paper, telling us he's taking it to market.
The emergency services here say that on a normal day, they get traffic coming from the occupied Russian-controlled side. Today, it's different.
They understand that there'll be nobody, nobody else coming from the Russian side today. No one any wiser why the Russians are still blocking.
So many desperate to leave.
ROBERTSON (on camera): And those emergency workers there, as soon as the last vehicles left, they got out of there as fast as they could. You'll
have seen it in the pictures, they're wearing flak jackets, that area comes under shelling, under Russian shelling. The village nearby set on fire just
the night before last they told us, so it's not a particularly safe place. And the question that we went in there with today, why aren't people able
to come out from the Russian side really wasn't -- we weren't able to get an answer because we didn't find people who'd come out from the Russian
So, the problem appears to be, and this is what we've been able to pick up from Ukrainian officials, the problem appears to be that Russia takes an
arbitrary approach about when it will let people Ukrainians come from Russian-occupied territory back into Ukrainian-government controlled areas.
Yet at the same time, they see many people being allowed to cross over, if you will, by the Ukrainian authorities, these green routes, or this
particular green route seems to be working but at the moment it really seems to be working just one way.
SOARES: Fascinating piece there from our Nic Robertson in Zaporizhia. Thanks very much, Nic. And we'll be back after this short break. Do stay
SOARES: The streaming world is in for a major shake-up. HBO Max and Discovery+ are combining next year. It's no surprise from Warner Bros.
Discovery, the result of a merger between Discovery and AT&T's WarnerMedia a few months ago, and the parent company of CNN. Well, the number of
streaming platforms has grown dramatically in the past few years. So, this goes really against the current trend. I want to bring in our Chief Media
Correspondent Brian Stelter. And Brian, look, I was looking at the plan and it's to have, what, 130 million subscriptions. We're streaming, you can see
it down your screen, by 2025. But, look, in this highly competitive streaming market, how realistic is this?
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, I do think HBO, Max and Discovery+ both currently have based audiences. And the company,
Warner Bros. Discovery, our parent company, believes that by bringing them together, they'll be able to go faster. Look, all of these companies,
Netflix, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount, they're all trying to catch up to Netflix and that's what this story is all about. Netflix,
although it's been taken down a notch this year, and its stock has dropped dramatically, is still the king of the streaming world.
And so Discovery believes that by bringing Discovery+ and HBO Max together, it'll be able to better compete. So we're starting to see signs of that
combination already. And yesterday, the announcement from Discovery CEO, David Zaslav, is that it'll take effect in the summer of 2023 in the U.S.,
and then in other markets around the world throughout 2024 20.
SOARES: Do we know how much it's going to cost?
STELTER: There's no indication of price tags yet. Right now, Discovery+ is cheaper. HBO Max is more expensive. We'll see where the price ends up, but
not until next year.
SOARES: David Zaslav, I believe, also talked about a strategic shift away from like releasing films directly on streaming. Just explain the thinking
STELTER: Yes, it's a very interesting moment. It's a really -- it's a reversal of sorts between the former leadership of WarnerMedia led by Jason
Kilar, who announced in the early ages of the pandemic that he was going to release films straight to HBO Max bypassing theaters. Zaslav has a very
different approach saying that putting films in theaters first makes them bigger, makes them bigger events, makes people want to go out and see them
or then later watch them on streaming. So he says the strategy now going forward for Warner Bros. Discovery will be to release films in theaters
first, make them into big tent pole events, and then release them later on streaming services.
This is good news, of course, for movie theater owners who desperately want more content. And I think it may have a little bit to do at least with Top
Gun: Maverick. I mean, look at the performance of Top Gun: Maverick, thanks to Tom Cruise and Paramount this film now one of the top 10 domestic
grossing films in the U.S. in all time of movie history. It did show that people wanted reasons to go back to the theaters. And I think now Warner
Bros. wanting to capitalize on that by putting more films in theaters in the years to come.
SOARES: But, look, let me ask you this because I did a non-very -- not very scientific straw poll here in the studio. How many times have you been to
the cinema? Because I haven't been to the cinema in two years. So I'm just trying to think, you know, financially, whether this makes sense, or
whether the appeal of being in cinema is the thinking of attracting people then to watch it at home and streaming. I know that I'm thinking -- I'm
trying to think about it.
STELTER: Yes, I've only been to the movies three times this year. I would like to have more reasons to go. Right now, there are not a lot of films in
theaters that you really need a badly go and see. And when you know they're going to show up on streaming soon, you might as well wait. So Zaslav is
trying to change that calculus by presenting this focus on theatrical. Also I think what's going on is media companies are realizing the entire future
is not streaming, the future of media is all the above. It's theaters, it's linear TV, it's streaming, et cetera.
The move with Batgirl is related to this as well. Earlier this week, the Hollywood stunned when batgirl was canned. This movie was already made by
Warner Bros. but it's going to get on the shelf and never be released. Zaslav saying, "We're not going to put out a movie unless we believe in
it." In other words, if the movie wasn't that good, why release it? Maybe they'll go out and try to make it again with a different version of Batgirl
and that might be in the future.
SOARES: Yes, but it was already crossing $90 million and it was already in post-production. But that's a conversation for another day. Brian Stelter,
appreciate it. Thanks very much.
SOARES: And we'll be back after this short break.
SOARES: Just want to update you now on our breaking news. Israel's Prime Minister says his military will do whatever it takes to protect Israeli
citizens, hours after it carried out airstrikes in Gaza. Palestinian health officials say 10 people, including a 5-year-old girl were killed in those
strikes and 55 people have been wounded.
Israel says the attacks were aimed at Islamic Jihad commander and two anti- tank squads and most of the casualties were members of Islamic Jihad. The Israeli military says following the strikes, sirens indicating incoming
rocket fire were heard in central as well as southern Israel. We'll stay on top of this story for you.
Now rescued from the sea but adrift on rescue boat for days, now more than 600 migrants are on dry land according to Medecins Sans Frontieres, but
they landed in a difficult political moment for Italy as well as for Europe. Our Barbie Nadeau has a story for you.
BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Finally some relief, at least for the moment. The 659 migrants rescued at sea off the coast of Libya by Doctors
Without Borders nine days ago have finally been allowed to disembark in Taranto, Puglia in Southern Italy. Two women are pregnant, and 150 of the
migrants are minors, including five infants. The ongoing migrant crisis comes as Italy prepares for elections on September 25th after the
government under Mario Draghi fell earlier this month.
Politicians are not missing the opportunity to use what is a horrific situation for those seeking asylum for political gain. Matteo Salvini who
blocked Italian ports to migrant ships when he was Interior Minister in 2018 and 2019 wants a chance to do it again. He visited the island of
Lampedusa where thousands of migrants have landed this summer and where the hotspot is often overflowing. He said having a welcoming center on the
island was like hanging up a sign inviting people to come.
MATTEO SALVINI, ITALIAN POLITICIAN (through translator): When we go back to governing immigration will be returned to be a controlled, limited,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NADEAU: Salvini is part of the center right coalition that includes Giorgia Maloney and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. They are leading the
polls with just six weeks to the vote. Meanwhile, migrants continue to make the dangerous trip to try to reach Europe. More than 42,000 people have
made it so far in 2022. According to the Italian Ministry of the Interior, many have also died trying. And for those who did make it, another
challenge is looming. Those who were allowed to disembark in Puglia will now be processed.
Those who qualify can apply for asylum. The rest will instead be repatriated to their home countries. Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN, Rome.
SOARES: And now to a milestone in reaching for the stars.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Five, four, three, two, one, zero, ignition. And lift off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: You are looking at history being made for South Korea, which has just launched its first lunar orbiter, Danuri as it's known, blasted off
using a SpaceX 9 rocket. South Korea's Ministry of Science says its aim is to identify potential landing sites for future missions, research the
moon's environment, and demonstrate internet technology in space.
Finally, it's space, but not quite as we know it, maybe because it's actually not space at all. A renowned French scientist tweeted a picture
claiming to show the star closest to our sun. The only issue was it was actually a slice of sausage. Looks like a slice of chorizo in fact. The
whole thing was a prank by physicist Etienne Klein. He later apologized and said it was an attempt to encourage people to be skeptical about what they
see on social media.
And don't forget, you can catch up all the interviews and analysis from the show online on my Instagram @IsaSoaresCNN and on my Twitter feed, too.
Thanks very much for your company. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" with Richard Quest is next. I shall see you next week. Have a wonderful weekend.