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Isa Soares Tonight

One Killed As Blasts Rock Russian Air Base In Crimea; Sixty Percent Of EU And U.K. Face Drought Conditions; U.S. Charges An Iranian Operative Of Plotting To Assassinate Former National Security Adviser John Bolton; Ukrainian President Vowing To Liberate Crimea; G7 Demanding Russia To Return Captured Nuclear Power Plants To Ukraine; Russia Recruiting Prisoners To Fight; U.S. Accuses Iranian Of Plotting To Assassinate Bolton; Race Against Time In Mexico To Save Trapped Miners; General Election In Kenya; Tourists Trapped By Sudden COVID Lockdown In Sanya. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired August 10, 2022 - 14:00:00   ET



CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Christina Macfarlane in for Isa Soares. Tonight,

explosions inside Russian-annexed Crimea, and an uptick of shelling across Ukraine. We're covering the latest developments from Kyiv.

Then, oppressive heat means 60 percent of the EU and U.K. are now facing drought conditions. Plus, the U.S. charges an Iranian operative with trying

to assassinate former National Security adviser John Bolton. We'll have the reaction from Washington. Now, from Kharkiv to Zaporizhzhia and to the east

across Donbas.

Ukraine is reporting raging rockets and missile fire a day after mysterious and deadly explosions inside Russian-occupied Crimea. In one town alone,

Ukrainian officials say Russian shelling has killed at least 13 people west of Zaporizhzhia, as some 80 rockets rain down on residential areas.

Inside Russia, an unexplained explosion at an old storage facility raised a huge smoke -- plume of smoke and new speculation about Ukraine's military

capabilities. The same, too, in Russian-occupied Crimea, where massive explosions on Monday rocked a Russian Air Force base, killing one person

and injuring at least 13 others. Ukraine has not said if it's responsible, but Ukraine's president is vowing to liberate the territory.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): This Russian war against Ukraine and against all of free Europe began with Crimea and

must end with Crimea. It's liberation. Today, it is impossible to say when this will happen, but we are constantly adding the necessary components to

the formula for the liberation of Crimea.


MACFARLANE: Well, CNN international correspondent David McKenzie is following all of these developments from Kyiv and joins me now. David, this

is really a double blow for Russia, targeting of a Russian airbase and of Crimea, which we know of course is sacred ground for Putin. Is this a

pivotal moment?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't know if it's pivotal yet, but it certainly could be, and it's very significant.

These blasts at this airbase in the western part of the Crimean peninsula are very dramatic, both in terms of the potential, psychological impact,

Christina, as well as the military one.

Now, the Ukrainians continue to be coy about this event, they are not saying they will confirm any details. You saw the president there, though,

making very passionate statements about the attempt or the eventual aim of the Ukrainian military to go on the offensive, and take back Crimea from

the Russians that annexed it in 2014.

So, this will have a very significant impact, I think on the population of those in Crimea at the moment. And you've seen cars streaming out of that

zone. Both yesterday, where they had to evacuate parts of that area immediately around that airbase, and into today, it seems. And also, for

Ukrainians, seeing this, they believe as a very significant moment, and a potential shift in their war strategy. Christina?

MACFARLANE: David, there hasn't been much of a verbal response from Russia as we've been saying. But we have seen this uptick in shelling in places

like Nikopol. Is it likely that, that is in response to this attack from the Russians?

MCKENZIE: It's hard to tell. There certainly has been very heavy shelling in parts of the eastern theater of this campaign. You had a number of

civilians tragically killed in their apartment blocks, in one case, in Bakhmut, in the Donetsk region. You've also had shelling as you said in

Zaporizhzhia. All throughout the southeast, and even the northeast, has been a very active 24 hours of this campaign.

The Ukrainian military says they repulsed several attempts of Russian forces to take territory. That has been a grinding conflict with very high

civilian casualties over the last several months that has been going on throughout this arc of conflict in Ukrainian territory.


But I think it's important, noting that this potential strike on Crimea is important, because it could show that the Ukrainians have the capacity to

strike very far outside of the area of control, more than 200 or around 200 miles, in fact. And should they be able to do it again, it could have a

significant impact. Security experts on the supply lines of those Russian forces that are battling right at the front line.

MACFARLANE: And David, that is something we want to get to in a minute with a military analysts in the show. Thank you for now, David. I want to

turn now, though, to Tymofiy Mylovanov via Skype from Kyiv. He is the president of the Kyiv School of Economics, a former government minister,

and an adviser to the Ukrainian president. Thank you very much for joining us tonight.

Your defense ministry put out a rather ironic tweet today, hinting that Ukraine might have been responsible for this attack in Crimea, but not

saying that plainly. Kindly clarify for us that this was, in fact, Ukraine who carried out the attack?

TYMOFIY MYLOVANOV, PRESIDENT, KYIV SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: The official position of the Ukrainian government at this moment is that, we are not

responsible for this. The Russian military or the Russian position is that it was a fire. It is a bit strange indeed and embarrassing for Russia

either way. And they have claimed that before, so -- but for now, our position is that it's not us.

MACFARLANE: Why is it problematic for Ukraine to admit to this? Is it because they fear retaliation from Russia?

MYLOVANOV: Well, you know, as -- given how -- you know, who knows what the truth is. So, that's why we are not confirming this, and not we are denying

this is the language. But yes, Russians are saying this is an explosion and there was a fire there, they're just saying the state of the affairs at

their military, and it's really bad

MACFARLANE: OK, well, let me ask you another question. Can you confirm for us if the counter-offensive that Ukraine has been planning has actually

already begun?

MYLOVANOV: Yes, it's -- well, so the way it's happening is that there is an individual counter-offensive across different areas in the south. That's

true, and we see that the Russian military is forced to relocate their troops towards the south theater.

MACFARLANE: You will have seen that your President Zelenskyy said, we run that sound just now, that the war must end with the liberation of Crimea.

How realistic is it to think that Ukraine can take back everything Russia took from it in 2014? How confident are you that Ukraine can do that?

MYLOVANOV: It will take time. It's clear it will take time, and it might be a long time. But what Zelenskyy -- President Zelenskyy is saying,

Christina, is that the war really started in 2014 with the annexation or attempt to annex the Crimea, and therefore, it's not the February date that

the war started. And Ukraine is looking at it as a bigger, a longer war with Russia, and it has to stop there once the Crimea is back under

Ukrainian control.

MACFARLANE: Do you think you would have international support for this if you pursue that goal?

MYLOVANOV: That's depends. You know, that depends on the situation. If it's going to be done smartly, and it's not risky for the world, yes. But

if it's going to create more costs for everyone around, then of course, there will be a lot of skepticism. So, the strategy is critical here, and

it has to be done in the right way. And that's why it might take a long time.

MACFARLANE: Final question to you, and I just want to pivot here to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, and the situation, the very difficult and

dangerous situation around that. It seems that there is no way that Russia could risk retaking Zaporizhzhia without, you know, potential fallout,

nuclear fallout, for possibly all of Europe.

So, how does -- how does -- how does Ukraine plan to keep the heat on this Winter, right? That plant has -- feeds energy for 4 million homes in the

south. How does it plan to survive without it?

MYLOVANOV: That's correct. So, Russia is really playing with the fire there, but I personally think that's bluff. But again, one needs to have a

very careful approach to working with that plant, because it's the largest nuclear plant. The energy -- well, unfortunately for us, we have a domestic

economic collapse, and so the demand for electricity is actually down.

So, we will be able to balance even without this plant in my view or without this plant. But the risks remain. Russia can continue to damage our

electricity and power infrastructure throughout the Fall and maybe the Winter. And so that much depends on how things will develop there.


MACFARLANE: Brilliant. Tymofiy Mylovanov, thank you so much for your time, and thank you for answering all my questions. I appreciate it.

MYLOVANOV: Thank you.

MACFARLANE: Well, even as the shells fall and the war rages, some Ukrainians who live near the front lines are refusing to leave. These are

our homes, they tell us. CNN's Nic Robertson visited one town in Donetsk that's now under almost constant bombardment, to show us what life has



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): In Siversk, civilians are buried where they fall. No time, no safety for a

cemetery send off. No bomb too big, no building, in this eastern Ukrainian town, seemingly off Russia's target list. And they're slow but relentless

push westwards.

(on camera): This town is on the fringes of what the Ukrainian government controls. They're surrounded on two sides by Russian forces, to the east

and to the north. About 5 miles, 8 or 10 kilometers away.

(voice-over): Shelling here an ever present danger. Among the ruins, people are surviving. Two thousand of a pre-war, 11,000 clinging on.

Valeria(ph) barely seems to notice another shell exploding.

(on camera): How hard is it to live here now? "I don't realize it, but she's about to teach me how hard." She's not kidding. She comes back with a

saw and a floorboard scavenged from a blown building.


ROBERTSON: Every day --


ROBERTSON: Every day sawing like this. OK, so this is hard. Well, why do you? Yes, good muscles. Why do you stay here? If it's so hard, why do you


(voice-over): Valeria's(ph) lesson for me, yes, life here is very hard, but this is home, and leaving would be harder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's their home.


ROBERTSON (on camera): Yes --

UNDENTIFIED FEMALE: My house. My original --

ROBERTSON: But it's so dangerous. There's bombs and explosions and --


ROBERTSON: "Someone has to stay", she says. "We go in the basement when they're shelling".


ROBERTSON: OK, I'm coming.

(voice-over): She leads us to the basement.

(on camera): So you're sleeping in here? You're living down here? "We've been sleeping down here for more than three months", she says. Down here,

her cheerful sparkle is gone. "We have no gas, electricity, water or communications", she says. I have nowhere to go.

(voice-over): There's more she wants to show us.

(on camera): Yes, look at this. Smashed.

(voice-over): Valeria's(ph) neighbors --

(on camera): Hello --

(voice-over): Like her, cooking outside.

(on camera): Hello.

(voice-over): She's brought me to what's left of her friend's house.

(on camera): It's all destroyed. The people who were here, did they survive? "God saved them", she says. "But now they've left."

(voice-over): By local standards, the shelling this day less than usual. This elderly lady venturing out for food. She tells us, the food handouts

she needs hasn't arrived. The shelling getting closer, we go. Not so lucky, those we leave behind. Nic Robertson, CNN, Siversk, Ukraine.


MACFARLANE: Now, just two days after the FBI searched his Florida home for evidence for a possible federal crime, former U.S. President Donald Trump

has been questioned under oath in a separate state investigation. He appeared for a deposition in New York, but declined to give answers,

invoking his constitutional right to remain silent.

Instead, he spoke out on social media, blasting the investigation into alleged fraudulent business practices at the Trump Organization. Let's

bring in CNN's Kara Scannell for more. Kara, the President Trump invoking the Fifth Amendment today, declining to answer questions from the New York

attorney general.

I just want to remind our viewers of comments Trump made himself, about those who did this during the campaign trail back in 2016. Have a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you have your staff taking the Fifth Amendment, taking the Fifth, so they're not

prosecuted. When you have the man that set up the illegal server, taking the Fifth, I think it's disgraceful.

You see the mob takes the Fifth. If you're innocent. Why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?


MACFARLANE: I guess, Kara, hindsight is a beautiful thing. No surprises really that he avoided the interview today. He's been trying to avoid this

for months on a topic, you know, he's tried to avoid for years, right?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Yes, that's right. I mean, he's been fighting this, he was initially subpoenaed to appear here for a testimony late last

year. He went through the U.S. legal system, but the judges all said he had to show up. The big question today was, would he answer questions?


And we learned now he's 5 hours into this that he isn't. So, the former president saying that he's not answering these questions because he says

that the New York attorney general's investigation is politically- motivated. And he also citing an FBI raid on his home at Mar-a-Lago in Florida on Monday in a separate investigation. But he's saying that this is

all evidence of politics at play, so he was coming here and he wasn't going to answer questions.

This investigation is looking into the Trump Organization and its financial practices, whether lenders, insurers, and the tax authorities were misled

by potentially inflated values on some of his properties. Now, Trump is still in there, we don't know how long he will be there, saying he's not

going to answer this question, the next question.

We do know that his son, Eric Trump, when he was deposed in 2020, he declined to answer more than 500 questions. Interestingly, recently in the

past two weeks, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump also came in under subpoena, answered questions under oath.

They did not invoke their Fifth Amendment, and Ivanka's session I'm told went for many hours. So, it could be quite a while that he's in here. Now,

Letitia James; the New York Attorney General's investigation has been going on for three years. This is the home stretch. So, she said that the reason

why she wanted them to come in for this deposition was because she needed to know what their roles and responsibilities were relating to these

financial statements, hoping to get answers to that.

Clearly, the former president is not answering that today. But we could see this investigation wrap up soon, and a decision on an enforcement action

shortly follow. Back to you.

MACFARLANE: And Kara, he's facing a number of criminal investigations. And the big question we're asking -- and all of them and this one, is, could

this affect his ability to run for office? Is it possible that criminal charges could come from this?

SCANNELL: Well, it's a good thing that you brought that up. I mean, this is a civil investigation, but there is a parallel criminal investigation

being run by the Manhattan District Attorney's office. That investigation has kind of quieted down, but it is still open and still ongoing. Now, it's

unclear whether that will result in any charges, and by not answering questions today, he's certainly not giving them anything to work with.

There are those, as you noted, a number of other investigations, a number of them, criminal, including into the one relating to the FBI action at

Mar-a-Lago and to his handling of classified documents. There's also a criminal investigation into the riot in January 6th and the fake electors,

which the Attorney General Merrick Garland had said that they're looking into the interference with the transfer of power. There's been a number of

people close to the West Wing who were brought in before the federal grand jury there. Back to you.

MACFARLANE: Yes, a lot to keep across. Kara Scannell, thank you very much. All right, still to come tonight, the U.S. Department of Justice charges an

Iranian operative with plotting to assassinate Donald Trump's National Security adviser. We'll bring you the latest. And fires, droughts and

unprecedented heat ahead. We'll look at how the climate crisis is impacting Europe.



MACFARLANE: From scorching temperatures to dangerous wildfires, extreme weather is pummeling Europe. More than 60 percent of the U.K. and the EU is

now in the grip of drought. And for Britain, this is unprecedented. Across the Channel, a new fire has erupted in southwestern France, and authorities

are calling up volunteer firefighters. This follows a historically dry July, and the continent is struggling to cope.


MACFARLANE (voice-over): Extreme heat that has plagued much of Europe this Summer, combined with little rainfall, is causing dangerous drought

conditions. New data from the European Drought Observatory found that 63 percent of the land in European Union and the U.K., is either under drought

warnings or alerts. That's about the same size as India, and it has farmers worried.

CHRISTIAN DANIAU, PRESIDENT, CHARENTE CHAMBER OF AGRICULTURE (through translator): There have been a lot of heat waves, but it's mostly the lack

of rain that damages the crops. We've had other heat waves, we've seen some already, but when they are combined with a lack of rain, then it's


MACFARLANE: The new figure show that 47 percent of the land is under a drought warning, meaning there's a deficit of moisture in the soil. While

17 percent is under more severe alert, meaning the vegetation is stressed. This satellite image of a cloudless western Europe shows the brown dry

land, compare that to this image from May.

July was the driest month on record for many parts of the continent. In France, the Loire River so low, it can be crossed on foot in some places.

On this river along the French-Swiss border, these tourist boats aren't doing any business. In Spain, one reservoir is 84 percent empty, leaving

officials concerned about the region's water supply.

Italy's longest river, the River Po, is seeing its worst drought in 70 years. And in Germany, near-record low water levels on the Rhine could have

a major impact on energy this Winter. Little flow in the river will affect the output of coal fire, power plants, and transporting the coal will

become more expensive and difficult since ships won't be able to carry a full load. Parts of the river may become impossible for many barges as

early as this weekend.

PETER CLAEREBOETS, CAPTAIN & OWNER, SERVIA (through translator): Normally, you have more than two meters under the ship. But now, you only have 40

centimeters in some places. And then for us, the challenge is to get past those points without touching, without damaging the ship.

MACFARLANE: Back-to-back heat waves have caused wildfires to spread more rapidly. This blaze in southwestern France has already destroyed 6,000

hectares of land. Europe is already seeing one of its hottest Summers ever. The heat combined with months of very little rainfall also made it one of

the driest, threatening the economy and worrying residents.


MACFARLANE: Well, CNN's chief climate correspondent Bill Weir joins me now to discuss. Good to see you, Bill.


MACFARLANE: I want to start, Bill, where I am in the U.K., because this has been the hottest year in record for us since 1976. And you know, it has

a lot of us discussing with each other whether this is the new normal. So, would you say this is part of a broader pattern of climate change we're

seeing here or a one-off phenomenon maybe we can expect every 40 years or so?

WEIR: Oh, if only, if only that were the case. Unfortunately, the science says this is the new normal. And think of it as if London was moving maybe

50 miles south every year. So, the predictions are by the mid century, at least, a lot of places in North America will feel like they've moved 500

miles south. And again, obviously, you're not equipped for that. The climate of --


WEIR: Great Britain? There's a lot of, you know, nice Spanish tile, and you know, cool thick walls and air conditioning. And so, this is the great

story of our age. It's how quickly we adapt, how societies adapt themselves, to what is now baked in. The warming is here. It took 150

years to build this problem, and now the systems -- it's just a matter of how quickly we can stop it or slow it down.

MACFARLANE: Yes, it still feels like a shock, I can tell you, this year essentially. Bill, the Rhine, I just want to mention, because it's one of

Europe's most important waterways, and yet, it's getting so low that coal and oil barges won't be able to float in it by the end of next week. Now, I

understand this also happened in 2018? If these are new patterns, what knock-on effects is that going to have on the economy?


WEIR: Well, just think about the fact that now, you know what -- the coal that would fit on one of those barges has to go on to a 100 trucks to

supply the power plants that, you know, keep some of the biggest chemical companies in the world online. When this happened a few years ago, the GDP

took a noticeable hit. They think this one could be worse.

And then if you look at what's happening in France there, there's no irrigation, so there's crop failure worries. In addition to that, the warm

water is decreasing power from nuclear plants, the much needed clean fuel takes a hit in that particular case. So, this is a sort of an alarming new

pattern that we're just seeing now, how it affects, how it ripples out into places, and always seems to make it worse.

MACFARLANE: Yes, Bill, many of us have been following the sad story of the beluga whale caught in the seine this week, which we know sadly died

earlier today.

WEIR: Yes --

MACFARLANE: This is an endangered species that is more accustomed to our Arctic waters. And there's suggestions, Bill, that climate change might

have been having or playing into this. Is that a problem right now we're seeing climate change affecting wildlife habits?

WEIR: Oh, my goodness, yes. From butterflies, monarch butterflies to bees to cetaceans like the beluga there. When it comes to whales like this, the

theory might be that, as the Arctic is thawing, all the new ship traffic there is creating noise that these creatures just have not been able to

navigate around.

Bigger whales that mate in warm waters, you know, down around the equator and then feed up north, those ranges are getting longer. You know, we have

maybe 5 percent of the historic number of whales left on the planet, which is a shame, because they're a great fertilizer drivers which actually suck

down carbon as they fed the ocean cycles.

So, yes, the planet woefully is out of balance in so many ways, but nature really bounces back. The climate is a bigger, you know -- well, take

millennia, that story, but nature when given time and space and the right, you know, equipment to heal itself, it can really bounce back.

MACFARLANE: Yes, let's hope we can give it that time and space. Bill Weir, always great to have you with us. Thank you.

WEIR: You bet.

MACFARLANE: All right, still to come tonight, Russia's new recruiting tactics are causing scrutiny. Even the very people Moscow is trying to lure

to the war in Ukraine are skeptical. That's ahead.



MACFARLANE: Welcome back. Ukraine's president is promising to liberate Crimea, saying Russia's presence on the peninsula is a threat to Europe and

the entire world. But Kiev is not claiming responsibility for explosions near the Russian airbase on Tuesday. Local health officials say one person

was killed and at least 13 injured.

Russia invaded and annexed Crimea back in 2014, one of its goals in this war was to create a land corridor between Crimea and Russia, using occupied

Ukrainian territory. Well, CNN Military Analyst Lieutenant General Mark Hertling joins me now.

Good to see you. Thank you for your time.

We have been saying in the show that this Crimea attack marks a dramatic escalation from Ukraine, if it is, in fact, Ukraine. Could you explain to

us how this could have been done? And crucially, what weapons were used here? Was it specific missiles or even potentially forces on the ground?


the thing that Ukraine is not claiming credit for. There's been a lot of conjecture about what could have possibly done this, because the target

that was struck was about 200 miles from the frontline of the Ukrainian- Russian forces in Kherson Province.

So, the initial question was, well, what kind of missiles are they using? Were attack guns given to the Ukrainian forces, if they could certainly

fire from the high mark (ph)? Did they rebuilt a Neptune missile, what is normally a surface to ship or a surface to air missile to strike a ground


But truthfully, from my view is -- from a military perspective, the targeting of that location was so precise and in such coordination with

multiple strikes simultaneously that I also believe that it possibly could have been their special operating forces, which are very good in Ukraine.

If that is the case, or if it's territorials behind enemy lines, that would also be, I think, troubling for the Russians, to be sure.

Now, this is a tactical strike, but it's certainly has some strategic significance, because Russia really believed their forces on the Crimea

peninsula were safe. They have a navy base there, several airbases, but this kind of explosion, this kind of strike, certainly would cost them to

re-estimate their safety in that area.

MACFARLANE: And, General, if it was special forces, that is, to me, just extraordinary that they could operate so far behind Russian lines, you

know, infiltrate. I mean, as we look ahead, I mean, how much is that going to change the calculus in the long-term, if that is, in fact, what happens?

HERTLING: Well, not necessarily. When you think about it, what you are talking about is individuals who can speak the same language. They are look

similar. There are Ukrainian citizens within the Crimea peninsula, even though Russia annexed that in 2014. So, these kinds of underground cells,

these resistance cells, if you will, could certainly help special operators do the kinds of things they would need to do on an airbase.

And truthfully, Christina, the other thing is, with my -- from my experience, airbases and naval bases are exceedingly difficult to defend.

It's tough to put a security perimeter around them just because of the movement in and out and what goes on, especially in a safe area. But what

you also have are logistics trains, supply -- resupply routes, coming out of the southern part of the Crimea peninsula. So, all of these are

troubling aspects of what occurred.

When you the films, as you were just showing just now, you'll see that there wasn't a large defense line around that airbase. In fact, there were

cars driving around it. So, all of those kind of will cause the Russians to think twice about what they are doing on the peninsula, and it opens that

second front, which is worrisome to Russia and is something that Ukraine needs to do.

MACFARLANE: Yes. And, General, just finally, just briefly, what, in your view, would it take to liberate Crimea before the war ends? And at one

point would Ukraine have the means to do that?

HERTLING: That is a tougher suggestion, Christina. That is going to take, first of all -- and Ukrainians have focused on Kherson province because it

bumps up against the northern boundary of Crimea, but Kherson is also critically important because it blocks the supply lines to the West and

prevents the Russians from going farther East -- excuse me, just the opposite. It blocks the East and it prevents them from going farther West.


So, all of those things make Kherson province, as well as the economic capacity of that particular oblast significant, and President Zelenskyy has

been smart to focus on that and to redirect his forces there, which causes the Russians to redirect a limited supply of forces. And as you said in

your lead in, all indicators are the Russians are depleted in terms of their personnel and equipment, and it's going to be a much tougher fight in

the near future. I can't predict the timeline on this, but it's going to be a challenging fight.

MACFARLANE: Well, at the very least, General, it's great to have your clarity on this, or bring some -- bringing some clarity to us on this.

Thank you for your time.

HERTLING: It's a pleasure, Christina. Thank you.

MACFARLANE: Well, meanwhile, G7 nations are demanding that Russia return full control of the captured nuclear power plants to Ukraine. They are

growing fears about the safety of the Russian occupied facility in Zaporizhzhia, with continuing attacks nearby. And Ukraine and Russia are

blaming each other.

And now, we want to give you more context on where this facility actually is. It sits on the Dnipro River, which is just in the southwest of

Zaporizhzhia. You can see it's marked on the map just here. Now, it's in an area currently controlled by Russian forces. That, of course, is in red, as

you could see on the map here.

Now, if we look more closely, you'll see Nikopol, just here on the right- hand side. Now, it's right across the river from the plants, and the two different towns on either side of that city were hit by 80 rockets on

Tuesday and 13 people were killed. Now, the head of that region says thousands are without electricity or gas. With shelling directly around the

plants in the area close by, you can see it is an intense area of activity.

Now, for the scale. Zaporizhzhia, as we have been saying, is Europe's largest nuclear facility. It has six reactors. You can see them right up

here on the right-hand side. And, obviously, it's got energy, as I was saying earlier, to power more than four million homes.

Now, putting that into context, Chernobyl only has four reactors. As rockets continue to hit areas around the site, the U.N. says any attacks on

the plant are "suicidal." And IAEI Director General Rafael Grossi will brief the U.N. on Thursday about the security situation at the plant.

Now, Russia is hoping to add to its ranks of fighters in Ukraine by recruiting from unorthodox places, including prisons. As Nick Paton Walsh

reports, the process is as shadowy as it sounds.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voiceover): The camera is in the unsteady hands of a prisoner, but the apparent scene is

still startling. Convicts in a Southern Russian penitentiary being recruited to fight the Kremlin's war in Ukraine, according to a witness.

It's an offer being made in cramped prisons across Russia.

One prisoner, like many in this murky underworld, it's rare to glimpse inside one of his identity hidden as he explains the deal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Rapists, pedophiles, extremists, terrorists are not taken. Murderers are accepted.

WALSH (on camera): What of the terms of this contract?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Amnesty in six months.

WALSH: What kind of money are the promising?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Somebody talks about 100,000 rubles, somebody about 200,000.

WALSH (voiceover): Russia's small victories in this war had come with huge losses, and after about six months, regular soldiers have been hit hard.

With up to 60,000 Russian dead or wounded, troops, say western officials. So, now, Russia is making ugly choices in its ugly war, sending convicts to


But for this prisoner, with years left on a drug sentence, joining up swapped certain incarceration for a slim chance of freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If it's real, then I'm all for it. It's either be imprisoned for nine years or get out in six months if you're

lucky. But that's if you're lucky. They can promise one thing, but in fact, everything will be different. This is Russia.

WALSH (voiceover): Since the start of July, for multiple crowded prisons inside Russia, like this one, whose dank cells are shown in activist video,

inmates have told relatives of an almost identical offer made by apparent private military contractors.

Military experience is not essential and monthly pay can be up to $3,500. A six-month tour leads to an amnesty or pardon. But first, there's usually

two weeks training in Southern Russia. And then, often, there is silence as the prisoners disappear in Russia's gray zone of expendable contractors.


VLADIMIR OSECHKIN, FOUNDER, GULAGU.NET: Now, we have information that they want to recruit about 2,000 or 3,000 of prisoners. And for example, if they

will die in this war, they pay -- they'll be paid 5 million rubles to their family of this prisoner. There is no real contract. There is no really

guarantee to protect the rights or the health or their lives.

WALSH (voiceover): Sometimes the offer comes with fanfare. This helicopter, flying recruiters to one prison activist said, and these are

convicts, yes, but they still face agonizing choices. Weighing a shot at freedom against a violent death. One prisoner explained his decision to his

brother in these texts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going, don't tell mother either way. It's better that way. Or else she'll worry a lot and reacts to every piece of news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's it. We'll react to every news. If you tell us where you are and what you are doing, we will be calmer, as at least will

know where to look.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even I don't know that. Everything will be decided on the spot. I do know we're going to the 12th prison, and once gathered

there, to Rostov for two weeks, where there's a center and then, to the territory. I am willing to go. Lots of options, but there's only one.

That's why I agree.

WALSH (voiceover): Another prisoner's sister described how he almost vanished after receiving the offer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There's no definitive proof he's in Ukraine. He rang his mother on the 10th and said he was in Rostov. And

to all of her questions he replied, mother, I can't talk. Before she was glad, he should go, as he would get money. But now, when I talk to her,

she's afraid. All have the same scenario. Their men ask them to send their passport details so they can get their salaries. And then, there is


WALSH (on camera): Well, contact there has been darker still, two wives of prisoners sent to the front from one St. Petersburg Prison say they've been

contacted and told that their husbands lie injured in a hospital in separatist-controlled Luhansk. And there are total of 10 prisoners, from

that one prison alone, are now dead or injured. Another, a mother, has said she's been contacted by anonymous individuals and told that she can soon

collect her son's wages in cash.

WALSH (voiceover): Russia's regard for the norms of war or even prison, long gone. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London.


MACFARLANE: Well, CNN has reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Federal Penal System for comment, and has received no reply.

OK. Still to come tonight, the U.S. Department of Justice charges an Iranian operative with plotting to assassinate Former National Security

Adviser John Bolton. We will bring you all the latest details. Plus, water levels are going down in a flooded mine where 10 miners have been trapped

for a week now. Now, rescuers are facing a race to reach them in time.



MACFARLANE: U.S. Department of Justice has charged and Iranian operatives with trying to plan the assassination of a former national security

adviser, John Bolton. The operative is a member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the Justice Department says the alleged plot

was likely revenge for the 2020 U.S. air strike that killed Revolutionary Guard Commander Qasem Soleimani.

Well, joining me now with more is Kylie Atwood in Washington.

And, Kylie, what details do we know about this attempted assassination?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, some pretty remarkable details that the Department of Justice rolled out here,

explaining how this Iranian was in contact with a person in the United States, an FBI informant, and offered $300,000 for this murder of John

Bolton, the former national security adviser during the Trump administration.

And as part of their conversations, this Iranian shared with that individual in the U.S. photos, screenshots of a map that showed the

location of John Bolton's office, and you could see that it was about 10,000 kilometers from the location where that screenshot was taken. And

that is approximately how far Tehran's from Washington.

This Iranian also sent photos of bags of money indicated that they wanted this assassination done quickly. They thought a good place to do it would

be in John Bolton's -- in the garage of his office space. Just some remarkable details here.

Now, as you said, DOJ said they believe that this was part of retaliation for the air strike that was carried out in 2020 against Qasem Soleimani by

the United States. Of course, John Bolton was not the national security adviser at the time of that strike, but he was supportive of the strike. He

has always been an advocate for hawkish policy towards Iran. And in response to what DOJ is rolling out today, he thanked the FBI, he thanked

DOJ, he also thanked Secret Service.

And we should note that he has had Secret Service protection with him since late last year. That he was notified, according to a source we are

familiar, with some threats to him starting in 2020. But, of course, this plot really began to be created and followed through in late 2021. And that

is when he got this Secret Service protection.

Now, we should also note that the White House, the National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan put out a statement saying that there would be very

severe consequences if Iran attacked any American citizen.

MACFARLANE: And, Kylie, just briefly, we know that negotiators are seeking to revive the Iran Nuclear Deal right now. Is there a feeling that this

could be damaged those diplomatic efforts?

ATWOOD: I don't think that those two things are directly correlated with one another, at least, as far as we know. This was a plot to, obviously --

you know, an incredible plot, a very scary plot, to try to murder a former U.S. official, but that official is not in government right now. That

person is not the person who is on the forefront of trying to salvage the Iran Nuclear Deal.

So, as far as we know, these two issues aren't coordinated. But, of course, we will continue to watch, because those talks have been stalled for over a

year now.

MACFARLANE: All right. Kylie Atwood, thank you very much.

Now, to a top Mexican official who says rescue teams are hopeful they are just hours away from getting into a flooded coal mine where 10 miners

remain trapped. They have been stuck underground there for a week now, and the wall of the mine collapsed and several shafts flooded. The water is

slowly being pumped out, but time is of the essence.

Well, CNN's Rafael Romo is following this and joins me live.

And I understand that the president of Mexico has just spoken out on this. What did he say?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. He said, Christina, hi, that he believes that procedures were not followed. He didn't really specify what

he meant by that, but there is going to be an investigation. And the investigation as has already been opened. And hope is fading by the minute,

especially when you consider how much time has passed.


It's been already weeks, as you mentioned it, since the miners became trapped inside a coal mine in the Northern Mexico. Authorities have been

facing the same problem all along, Christina, water that keeps flooding the mine makes it unsafe for rescuers to get inside.

Earlier today, a top Mexican official said rescuers were hoping they were only hours away from being able to enter the mine and rescue the miners.

Laura Velazquez, Mexico's national coordinator of civil protection said, they were hoping to lower the water level to about 1.5 meters, which would

make it safer for rescuers with scuba gear to enter the mine.

When the rescue operation started, Christina, only hours after the mine flooded and the walls collapsed, water was, imagine this, 34 meters deep. A

total of 25 pumps are being operated around the clock to extract the water inside the mine. A submersible drone was used earlier this week in an

effort to determine if there was any opening that would allow drivers to reach the miners, but the result was negative.

The coal mine in the State of Coahuila, this is in the north, suddenly flooded last Wednesday. This caused some of the walls to collapse, trapping

the miners inside. Within the first 24 hours, rescuers were able to safely extract five miners, but there are 10 others who have been trapped since.

There has been no communication with them and their fate is unknown.

Mexican president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said Wednesday that Mexican prosecutors have already opened that investigation, Christina, to determine

if the flooding and subsequent collapse was the result of negligence. Back to you.

MACFARLANE: Just a desperate situation for the miners and their families, of course, who are waiting on news. Rafael Romo, thank you.

All right. Still to come tonight. The votes are being counted, the race is tight, and Kenya is on the cusp of choosing its new leader. We will bring

you more after the break.


MACFARLANE: Let's get you up to speed on some of the other key stories from around the world. Now, in Kenya, votes are being counted in the

pivotal general election, and it is expected to be a very tight race. Veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga, on the left, and Deputy President

William Ruto on the right, are the frontrunners for president. Early data shows voter turnout was low, plunging nearly 15 percent since the previous

election. Kenya's Electoral Commission has until Monday to declare the results.


Holiday makers came to the Chinese City of Sanya looking for an island getaway. Instead, around 80,000 tourists were trapped by sudden COVID

lockdown. These are images of some of some of those tourists finally being allowed to leave Hainan Island, even though local authorities saying cases

are still rising. 570 new local cases were reported Wednesday, according to the province's health commission. China still maintains its strict zero-

COVID policy.

And after seven years of trying to sell itself as the birthplace of pizza, Domino's grand experiment in Italy has officially failed. The American

pizza giant has formally shut its doors in Italy, after the country's franchise owner filed for bankruptcy. Domino's had hoped it would make big

strides in the Italian market by offering largescale delivery, which was absent back in 2015. But now, the Italian franchise owner says food

delivery apps began offering greater competition, and it was too much for Domino's to keep up with. Here today, gone tomato.

Thanks for watching. I'm Christina Macfarlane. Stay with us. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.