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Isa Soares Tonight

IAEA Team Arrives In Kyiv Ahead Of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant Visit; Calm Restored In Baghdad After Violent Clashes; Monsoon Floods Threaten To Engulf A Third Of Pakistan; E.U. Ministers Considering Visa Ban For Russian Tourists; Germany Ready For Winter Despite Russian Gas Cuts; Nearly All Tigray Region In Urgent Need Of Assistance; DOJ Responding To Trump's "Special Master" Request. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired August 30, 2022 - 14:00:00   ET



ISA SOARES, HOST: A very warm welcome to the show everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, U.N. nuclear inspectors meet with Ukrainian President

Zelenskyy in Kyiv, even as shelling rages around the Zaporizhzhian nuclear plant. All of this as Ukraine presses its counteroffensive in the south.

Then calm descends on Baghdad after a violent 24 hours inside the city's Green Zone, leaves at least 21 people dead. And EU leaders discuss further

measures to curb Russian aggression in Ukraine. I'll speak with Estonia's foreign minister later this hour. But first, Ukraine says powerful

explosions are going off day and night as it presses ahead with a counteroffensive in the south of the country.

But it's warning, there will be no quick victory, calling it a slow grind to force the Russians out. It is reporting heavy fighting in virtually, the

entire Kherson region, and says it's broken through Russian defenses on multiple fronts. Well, Ukraine's military also is targeting bridges across

the Dnipro River to disrupt Russian supply lines. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is vowing to drive Russian forces all the way back to the border.

Have a listen.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): If they want to survive, it's time for the Russian military to run away, go home. If

they do not hear me, they'll have to deal with our defenders. We will not stop until they free everything that belongs to Ukraine.


SOARES: Well, Mr. Zelenskyy met in Kyiv -- chooses, as you can see there, with inspectors from the U.N. Nuclear Watchdog Agency, the IAEA. It's due

to visit the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhian nuclear power plant soon, as fighting in the area raises fears of a nuclear disaster. We'll talk about

IAEA in just a moment when we go live to Kyiv.

But first, let's talk about Ukraine's southern counteroffensive, and we're joined now by CNN military analyst, Cedric Leighton, a well-known face here

on the show, he's also retired U.S. Force Colonel. Colonel, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us. So, as you just heard there, one

Ukrainian official calling this counteroffensive a slow operation to grind the enemy. Those are the words. What does this mean, colonel, from a

strategy point of view here?

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALSYT: Isa, this is -- it's great to be with you. What this really means is that the Ukrainians are going in for

the long haul. They see this operation as something that they won't be able to complete very quickly. They know that based on the relative strength of

their forces versus the Russian forces.

But they can still achieve some certain tactical victories. For example, the four villages around Kherson that they are reportedly -- have

reportedly entered out and captured -- free captured from the Russians. That's an indication of how quickly they're trying to move. The other thing

that they're doing is, they're not only cutting the bridges, as you mentioned, in and out of the southern part of Ukraine, but they're also

using deception tactics to confuse the Russians.

And this is particularly important, because it means that from a tactical standpoint, they are trying to not only gain the upper hand, but also the

narrative of this war. And that is going to be critically important going forward.

SOARES: You said they're in for the long haul, but we've only got what? Ten more weeks or so, a couple of more months of good weather, so time

critically must be also of the essence to try and breakthrough before Winter sets in. And of course, all those other challenges come with the


LEIGHTON: That's right. And in fact, you know, it's kind of like freezing the pieces on the chessboard because the weather gets colder. You know,

what we're going to see, you know, first, probably in end of September- October timeframe is a lot of rain coming through this part of Ukraine.

And that rain will turn a lot of the roads into mud, just pieces of mud, the fuels as well, making it very difficult for tanks to go through this

area, and other mobile things like armored personnel carriers. So when that happens, that's going to create difficulties for both sides, the Ukrainians

and the Russians both know this.

But the key is for the Ukrainians to move in a way that allows them to gain the tactical and then ultimately the strategic advantage, by positioning

their forces in such a way that they can either cut off or surround the Russian forces in various locations.


And if they freeze their pieces on the chessboard in such a way that they have that tactical advantage, that gives them an advantage when it comes to

any possible negotiations, although it looks like negotiations aren't going to happen anytime soon. This can only help the Ukrainians if they succeed.

SOARES: Colonel, always great to get your insight, I really appreciate it, thank you.

LEIGHTON: My pleasure --

SOARES: Well, the Kremlin --

LEIGHTON: My pleasure, absolutely.

SOARES: Well, the Kremlin is brushing off Ukraine's vow to retake all of its territory, saying, Russia's -- quote, "special military operation

continues, and all its objectives will be achieved." Let's go now to our Frederik Pleitgen who joins me this hour from Moscow. So what more are the

Russians saying about this offensive? I mean, they're clearly acknowledging it -- acknowledging that it is going ahead, Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they certainly are acknowledging it's going ahead. But as you said, they're also

saying that they're going to continue the special military operation as they call it, and they want all the targets to be met. That was actually

said today by the spokesman for Vladimir Putin, by Dmitry Peskov, and the Russian Defense Ministry has since doubled down on that as well.

I think it was here last night that we learned that the Russians were saying --

SOARES: Yes --

PLEITGEN: That the Ukrainian offensive is failing miserably, as they put it. And they said that they destroyed something like 25 Ukrainian tanks.

Well, they've since upped that and said that they've destroyed 48 Ukrainian tanks as well as armored vehicles. And they talk about at least putting a

1,000 or more than a 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers out of action in what they say is a case of them standing their ground there in Kherson.

It's of course, Isa, impossible to independently verify any of that. There was one official, pro-Russian official from the Kherson area, who said that

Kherson was not in danger of being taken by the Ukrainian forces. Of course, Kherson, the town, is the main prize that the Ukrainians are after.

The only provincial capital that the Russians have been able to take and Ukrainians want it back.

It would be a huge strategic setback for the Russians if the Ukrainians manage that. The Russians say they're standing their ground, but they also

acknowledge that they're taking a lot of hits. There's a town on the frontline called Nova Kakhovka, where the Russians say there was a lot of

artillery shelling on that place. There's no gas, water, electricity there anymore.

And of course, you do have big logistical issues for the Russians. We can see actually right there on our screen right now, some of the bridges there

over the Dnieper River which have been taken out by the Ukrainians. So very difficult for Russian logistics there.

SOARES: Let me bring you back to here in Europe. Because, you know, today, we have defense and foreign ministers, Fred, discussing and considering, I

think, I should say, a ban on visas for Russian nationals. What has been the response from Moscow to this potential ban?

PLEITGEN: It's been -- it's been very interesting. Because one of the things I can tell you is that it has been all over Russian TV throughout

the better part of the day, Kremlin-controlled media throughout the better part of the day, and the Kremlin spoke about it as well. This is also the

spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who said that there would be a severe response by the Russians if any sort of visa ban goes ahead.

I think one of the things, Isa, that the Russians are realizing is that there is somewhat of a rift in the European Union among those European

countries, where you do have the eastern European countries, especially, you know, first and foremost, the Baltics, Poland and the Czech Republic

who want to be very tough, and who want to make it very difficult for Russians to get visas to enter the European Union.

Then you have countries like Germany, France and Italy, the Germans especially who are saying that they do want a considerable amount of things

to be left for Russians to be able to come to Europe, especially in cases where you have people who are persecuted. The Germans say they don't want a

complete ban. The Russians are saying if it's happened -- if it happens, then they will have a very severe response.

They see that as something as representing their people. So, they're obviously also waiting and seeing. But I think one of the things that you

pointed out is extremely important in all this. The meeting of the European Defense and Foreign Ministers is obviously one that is informal, and no

decisions there are going to be made at least imminently.

SOARES: Very good point, and it is proving somewhat divisive. Fred Pleitgen --


SOARES: For us in Moscow, thank you very much. And in around 20 minutes time or so here on the show, I'll be speaking to Estonia's foreign

minister. Estonia has already begun stopping Russians from entering the country, blocking a popular route into Europe's Schengen zone. And he's

been meeting with other foreign ministers today on this possible ban, that's coming up in roughly what? Twenty minutes -- less than 20 minutes

from now.

Well, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy says IAEA inspectors must do more than assess security risks around the Zaporizhzhian nuclear power plant. Mr.

Zelenskyy met with inspectors, Tuesday, in Kyiv, ahead of their expected visit to the plant this week. He's been urging them to make strategic

decisions that would help ensure the plant becomes a demilitarized zone and Russian occupiers are forced out.

I want to bring in CNN's Melissa Bell, who joins me in this hour in Kyiv. So Melissa, what more came out of that meeting? And do we know how soon the

IAEA will make it into the plant, and what route they may take here?


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a subject of so many questions and so much speculation here in Kyiv, Isa. Because we had been hoping to

hear from the head of the mission himself, Rafael Grossi, a press conference had been planned, was canceled at the last minute, and we

never had a chance to hear from him about exactly what he was expecting to do, or perhaps more crucially, when he was expecting to get to

Zaporizhzhia, it's a good 8 or 9 hours by road.

And time is of course of the essence in this story. What we did hear after his meeting with President Zelenskyy, we heard from President Zelenskyy

himself is that call -- that renewed call from Ukraine that it should become a demilitarized zone. And perhaps, more than that, that he hoped

that if the IAEA inspectors make it to Zaporizhzhia, if there's a lull in the shelling that each side has been accusing the other of, that it could

become more than just an inspection of the site.

That it could, as you suggested a moment ago, become and mark a cessation of hostilities. A pause in the fighting that would allow the world to

understand what's going on. And of course, one of the problems with this visit, and the very reason why it's so necessary, Isa, is that, there has

been so much shelling around the plant these last few days.

Now, Ukraine -- and this is backed by American Intelligence, accuses Russia of using the plant as a military base. Ukraine says, of launching attacks

and shelling from there. Russia accuses Ukraine of shelling towards its positions, that it says is damaging the plant as well. And until we can get

to the bottom of that, and indeed agree on some sort of ceasefire, that would allow those corridors to be freed so that access to the plant were


It's very difficult to know exactly when these inspectors are being -- are going to be able to get on the road and carry out their duties and do their

job, Isa..

SOARES: Melissa Bell for us this hour in Kyiv, thanks very much, Melissa, good to see you. Well, night is descending on Baghdad, Iraq, right now. And

it appears this will be a quiet evening. That's because supporters of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr have heeded his calls to abandon their protests in

Baghdad's Green Zone.

More than 20 people were killed and hundreds of others were injured during violent clashes after al-Sadr announced he'll be leaving politics. The

cleric now says his people must preserve Iraqi blood. CNN's Ben Wedeman, well, understands very well Iraq's tumultuous politics, and he joins me now

live. So, Ben, the guns have gone quiet, protesters have left the Green Zone. Was this just Muqtada al-Sadr's doing or has anything changed

politically in the country?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's clearly a crisis that Muqtada al-Sadr has sort of been running the timing of, so-to-

speak. It really goes back to October of last year when Iraq held parliamentary elections, but was unable afterwards to come up with a

coalition to form a government.

So, the country has been in political paralysis now for 10 months. And what we saw over the last 24 hours in Baghdad was really a sign of just how deep

that paralysis and the dangers that come with it can be.


WEDEMAN (voice-over): For almost 24 hours, parts of Baghdad slipped into what looks like some of its darkest days. Long smoldering tensions broke

into protests and then violence, sparked by the announcement by powerful Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, that he was withdrawing, not for the first

time from politics.

Shortly afterwards, hundreds of supporters of his Sadrist movement, the biggest bloc in Iraq's parliament, broke into Baghdad's Green Zone; home to

the Iraqi parliament, government ministries and diplomatic missions, including the U.S. Embassy. Clashes with security forces soon followed,

more than 20 people were killed, over 250 wounded.

Iraq has been in limbo since last October's parliamentary elections, the squabbling factions couldn't agree on a government. The politicians deaf to

demands that the creaking infrastructure be repaired, that Iraq's huge oil wealth be better spent, that rampant official corruption be addressed.

"It's as if they have cotton in their ears", says Yusuf(ph), a protester. "We asked for reforms, we asked them to back down, they did nothing." Mid-

day Tuesday, al-Sadr addressed his followers on live television. He condemned the violence. If supporters of his movement don't withdraw from

parliament within 60 minutes, al-Sadr said, I will disavow the movement itself.

Within minutes, they began to leave, the guns went quiet. Within minutes, the Iraqi army announced the end of the curfew in Baghdad.


Iraq's profound problems haven't been resolved. Its deep divisions haven't been bridged. Yet, Tuesday, the worst fears of nationwide bloodshed, of

perhaps civil war, receded, for now.


WEDEMAN: And what's interesting is that Muqtada al-Sadr now for several months has been calling for the dissolution of the Iraqi parliament and

early elections. And what we heard from Barham Salih; who is the president of Iraq, gave a speech this afternoon, he said that if a dissolution of

parliament and early elections brings an end to this crisis, then perhaps, that is the route to take.

Which underscores that perhaps, even though Muqtada al-Sadr said perhaps for the fifth or sixth time since 2013, that he's pulling out of politics

for good, that yet again, he's not really doing that. But he's using that threat as a good way to get what he wants. Isa.

SOARES: Political move -- political brinkmanship, I think you said it yesterday, Ben. Thank you very much, Ben Wedeman there for us in Rome. And

still to come tonight, the U.N. chief says climate change has created, quote, "a monsoon on steroids in Pakistan". Even aid workers say they have

never seen anything quite like it.

And there is no turning back. A climate crisis study warns of the irreversible impacts of Greenland's melting ice. We're live with our chief

climate correspondent, Bill Weir, next.


SOARES: And this just in to CNN. A three-story building has suddenly collapsed in northwestern Nigeria. Emergency officials say eight people

have been rescued. But firefighters say they fear many people are trapped in the rubble. Now, it happened at a market in the city of Kano, as you can

see there. The building, from what we understand, was under construction, but the ground floor was actually occupied.

Now, it's around 7 O'clock or just 20 minutes or so past 7:00 in Nigeria this hour. At this moment, we do not know what has caused it to fall, of

course, we'll update this developing story as soon as we get more details, of course, we shall bring it to you. Now, this water is technically already

under the bridge.


That's the warning from a scientist after stark climate studies suggest it's too late to reverse rising sea levels. New research published in the

journal, "Nature Climate Change" says, ice losses from Greenland will trigger almost 25 centimeters of global sea rise in the near future, even

if global emissions are reduced".

CNN's chief climate correspondent, Bill Weir, reported from Greenland earlier this year, and he joins me now live. So Bill, just how troubling is

this data in your opinion?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, in the opinion, I think of anybody who studies ice science, it's really startling. We knew

Greenland, the biggest island in the world full of ice was melting at a rate that would upset global sea levels. But now, looks like it's happening

maybe twice as much as previously expected.

This is two really renowned glaciologists. I spent time with one of them last Summer up there, William Colgan, and instead of running like

complicated computer models, trying to guess what the world will look like in 2050 or 2100, they just look back at the last, about 20 years, just on

the satellite data.

Seeing how the snow line is retreating and advancing, and getting higher as the warmer -- as the planet gets warmer. And they did the math and realized

that three and a half, about 3.5 percent a little less than that is already destined to turn into sea water. And that alone is, as you said, 30 -- just

about 30 centimeters. And that is just the beginning of this thing going.

I was talking to Liam up there, just about the sheer power of what's happening, and how we don't really -- we can't really register when we talk

about sea level rise. Take a listen.


WILLIAM COLGAN, CO-AUTHOR, ICE SHEET STUDY: And you think, well, maybe as long as I don't live within 20 feet of the sea, I'm going to be fine. You

know, that would be like the first level of thinking, it's not a big issue. But that rate of sea level-change, how fast it's going to happen, it will

be really hard to adapt to change that fast.


WEIR: He does say, though, that humanity still controls its own destiny as far as how bad it gets. Unchecked, Greenland could raise sea levels 20 feet

by many meters. But he says if the Paris Climate Accords are met, it could avoid hitting 80 centimeters of sea level rise. And again, this is uneven

around the world. In some places, Isa, it will be three or four times that, depending on winds and tides and gravity.

SOARES: Yes --

WEIR: But ultimately, nobody is --

SOARES: What parts of the world, I mean, would be most impacted? Just talk to us about the real consequences here.

WEIR: Well, your mind goes to the big coastal cities, right? From Boston and Charleston and New Orleans. Coastal -- big, huge coastal cities in Asia


SOARES: Yes --

WEIR: But it's more than that, right? Because now, the world will have to raise shipping ports, hugely expensive, that will choke supply chains. It

will mean more climate migrants, sort of changing the definition of neighbor and stranger and communities really, everywhere.

And then, there's worries that all of that fresh water sliding off of Greenland into the North Atlantic could upset sort of the conveyor belt,

that is the Gulf Stream that brings warm water from the tropics up north, and has so much influence on global weather patterns.

SOARES: Really, pretty dire consequences that you've just laid out for us there, Bill. But before you go, I want -- I really want to get your

thoughts on what we've all heard today from Elon Musk who -- I think we've got the tweet, Anna(ph), if you've got the tweet, you can bring it up to


But he basically said, population collapse due to low birth rates is as much a bigger risk to civilization than global warming. That was his tweet,

basically. Your thoughts on that?

WEIR: Well, I know my colleagues at CNN here in the states talk to many demographers who say that's ridiculous. I know a lot of climate scientists

who would completely disagree with this. It's interesting because Elon Musk, at the same time, is funding a $100 million X Prize for carbon


Whoever can come up with the fastest, most efficient way to suck all the planet cooking pollution out of the sea and sky, he's behind that. I don't

know. I think earth is pretty great.


You know, Mars may have water, we have Whiskey.


So, why don't we just put all of our -- into saving exactly what we have right now and avoiding the worst catastrophes, in a really, not that far

period of time.

SOARES: Very well put touche. Bill, I appreciate it. Thank you very much. Now, the U.N. Secretary General says the world is sleep-walking towards the

destruction of our planet, blaming climate change for what he calls a monsoon on steroids. And that's happening in Pakistan. You're looking at

the images.

More than 1,000 people have been killed by the historic flash floods. And nearly -- and early estimates put the damage at $10 billion.


The Pakistani foreign minister spoke to CNN a short while ago. He says Pakistan desperately needs more financial help. Have a listen.


BILAWAL BHUTTO ZARDARI, FOREIGN MINISTER, PAKISTAN: The floodwaters that have gathered in the Province of Sindh still have to make their way to

the Indus, which would include flooding and devastation for more towns and cities and villages on the way. From up north, in the Province of Khyber

Pakhtunkhwa, we're seeing heavy flooding in the river system, now, which also has to come down the Indus and affect the southern areas of the



SOARES: And the U.N. is now issuing an appeal for $160 million to help the country. Our Anna Coren shows us some of the devastation.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The endless monsoon rains may have eased for now, but the deluge across Pakistan has left carnage and

destruction on an unprecedented scale. Up to a third of the country could end up underwater. Countless townships are already submerged, leading

millions of Pakistanis destitute and homeless.

"We are poor people", says this woman. "Our home was destroyed, our belongings disappeared in the big flood. Our children are waiting on the

bank with no food, no shelter." The government says the historic floods across Pakistan that have claimed the lives of more than 1,100 people are

estimated to have caused more than $10 billion in damage.

For a country that already received a bailout from the International Monetary Fund, this calamity could push its fragile economy to the brink.

AHSAN IGBAL, PLANNING MINISTER, PAKISTAN: Until the water completely recedes, they will not be able to go and physically do the survey. But my

hunch is that this is going to be 2 to 3 times higher than what we are estimating.

COREN: The prime minister has set up a National Flood Response and Coordination Center. And the military has been mobilized to help with

evacuations. Ten cities have sprung up, and humanitarian aid is slowly trickling in. But it's a drop in the ocean, considering the magnitude of

this climate change-induced catastrophe.

PETER OPHOFF, INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS & RED CRESCENT: I have been in the Red Cross and Crescent for the last 29 years, I haven't seen

anything like this. It is -- it is a serious situation and Pakistan is in dire need. And the damages are here and we will be in this for a long time.

It's not months, but years that we're talking about.

COREN: A timeframe unfathomable to these desperate people, whose only priority right now is survival. Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.


SOARES: Now, we are also seeing a dire situation in Mississippi. The state's capital, Jackson is without reliable drinking water after pumps at

the main water treatment facility failed, the city has battled water issues for years. And now, many people are left with little or no water pressure

in their homes.

Mississippi's governor has declared a state of emergency, saying there is not enough water to fight fires or flush toilets. We'll stay on top of that

story for you. And still to come on the show tonight, revoking the holiday invite. The EU mulls the ban on Russian tourist visas, but not everyone is


I will speak with Estonia's foreign minister about why his country is lobbying hard for the move. And the first shipment of Iranian-made combat

drones arrives in Russia, according to U.S. officials. How this new technology could play into Moscow's battle plans in Ukraine.




SOARES (voice-over): Welcome back to the show, everyone.

European unity is being put to the test once again. This time, it's over the question of Russian tourist. E.U. leaders met today in Prague to

discuss further measures to curb Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Some nations, particularly those bordering Russia, are pushing hard for the bloc to be barring Russian tourists from entering Europe. Not everyone is

convinced and Russia already has said it will respond to protect its citizens if such a ban comes into force.

The Baltic nation of Estonia has already begun banning Russian tourists who hold Estonian visas and is calling for a ban on Russian visas across the

European bloc. The Estonian foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu was at today's talks. He joins me now.

Minister, I really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. As we said, Estonia has started banning Russian visas already.

Why did you decide to do it?

Why are you calling for the rest of the E.U. to follow suit?

URMAS REINSALU, ESTONIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: First, it is a moral pledge, that, during the course of war, during the genocidal war, what Russia is

now committing against Ukraine, we need clearly to address the issue that is not anyhow relevant, that Russian tourists are by masses, around 1

million people from the beginning of war entering the E.U. just for leisure.

Secondly, it's a security risk. Thirdly, I think also it's important to target our sanctioning policy in a more broader manner so that all the

Russian society will give a signal that life can't go on as nothing has happened. Something has happened.

SOARES: Over six months in fact, minister, into this war.

What do you think this ban would achieve?

REINSALU: First of all, the ban, the call for the ban perhaps made by Ukrainian leaders. Secondly, I think this is a moment where we deal also --

address of moral responsibility of Russian society, that their passivity, although not legal responsibility but the moral responsibility of passivity

has, in a way, legitimized the Putin regime to commit these atrocities against one European nation.

We are now literally in this moment seeing it (ph).

SOARES: But Minister, what do you say to those that call this collective punishment, that basically, you are penalizing ordinary Russians for

Putin's war?

REINSALU: Well, this is -- of course, the dictator of the regime is Putin. But we have to admit that there is one state is having aggression war. And

literally, the money of these taxpayers, who would like to come to buy computer game consoles from Western European capitals, what they can't

anymore afford themselves in Russian towns (ph) -- by their tax money, have bought bombs which are now bombing hospitals, kindergartens, family homes

all over Ukraine.


SOARES: What is clear is that this is proving quite divisive. Not all E.U. countries agree. Correct me if I'm wrong, minister; Germany, France,

Italy don't support this.

What types of visa restrictions rather than outright ban, would that be enough?

Would that be a compromise, in your opinion?

REINSALU: This is a, well, step in the right direction but far from enough. My pledge has been effective closing of European borders to Russian

citizens. Of course, they can enter consideration, particular exemptions on humanitarian ground or, for example, for these brave people members of

civic resistance against Putin regime.

But the call, message indeed is that we need to ramp up immediately the price to aggressor because if we are losing time, if we are too soft in

our actions and determinations, then this is not losses we get but this is a human losses and Ukrainian people have to suffer.

SOARES: Our motha (ph) correspondent told me in the last 20 minutes or so that, quoting a Russian official on this, that there would be severe

reaction from Russia.

What do you say to that?

REINSALU: In the middle of European continent, is going on a genocide against one innocent victim nation. This is the, I would say, center point

of gravity. But more could happen.

And of course, Russia is trying to use any provocations, any deterrent, any deleted impera (ph) actions to bring harm Western determination. But we

have to show, before the winter fall, that our willpower is far more stronger, our determination and courage is stronger than Putin regime one.

SOARES: Estonian foreign minister, Urmas Reinsalu, really appreciate for your taking the time to speak to us here on the show, joining us live from


Well,, Europe is now facing huge energy costs and potential shortages because of Russia's war with Ukraine. The German chancellor spoke at a

joint media conference with the Spanish prime minister a short time ago.

He said these price hikes make no sense and are not justified. Let's go to CNN's Scott McLean.

Scott, they make no sense and they're not justified.

How is Europe preparing, really, for the worst when it comes to winter?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And they are definitely preparing. That's what one French minister said today, that they ought to be doing because we

learned that Gazprom, the big Russian gas company, is now reducing the flow of gas to France. Officially this is over a contract issue. Though the

minister I mentioned said this is another example of Russia using gas as a weapon of war.

And it is a pretty effective weapon when you consider that more than 40 percent of gas imports into Europe come from Russia right now, as of June.

That is sitting at only around 20 percent.

This is the normal trajectory of where we are at in terms of Russian gas imports into Europe. This is roughly where we were last year. Look at where

we are now, down 77 percent year over year.

Part of the problem here is the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. This is the one that was supposed to be twinned by Germany -- they have abandoned those

plans. The Russians are only sending about 20 percent of what they possibly could down this pipeline. It was closed for maintenance over parts of July,

reduced or shut down for parts of July.

Now we are going into another three-day period starting tomorrow, where this will be shut down because of maintenance issues.

And yet, this is pretty remarkable. The Germans have done very well in terms of storing up gas. This is roughly the storage capacity of Germany,

when it comes to natural gas. So all the peaks here is what we see in the fall, all the valleys are here, what we see here, this is what we see

usually in the spring.

This is where we are right now, this is where we were this time last year. The storage capacity is some 83 percent full. The German chancellor said

that that would be a big help in terms of preparing for what comes next.

And so, the Germans not the only ones actually doing well with storage. The Portuguese, Isa, your country men, are doing very well. They're at 100

percent storage capacity. The polls are up 99 percent, the French are at 91 percent.

The difficulty though is that only about one-quarter of all the gas used in the winter months comes from these storage reserves. So they have to

continually be getting more storage reserves. So it has to come from somewhere.

If you're Germany, you're getting more from Norway, more from the Netherlands. You are even getting more from Azerbaijan. The Germans are

also building more LNG ports along their northern coast to get more from other parts of the world.


MCLEAN: In, fact one in a town called Lubmin, they just announced today that this should be set up by the end of the year. This will open a whole

new world of possibilities in terms of German energy imports.

But this clamoring for gas and for energy across Europe we are seeing, obviously, it's putting a squeeze on inflation. So we know inflation in the

U.K., for instance, is up 10 percent year over year.

Today, we learned that, in Germany, it's up 8 percent. In France they are trying to do something about it. They are capping energy increases. That

just means the state will have to pick up the rest.

In the U.K., they are handing out money to try to make it a little bit easier for people. And Germany, now, trying to come up with a new package

for people, after having previously subsidized natural gas and public transit for people as well -- Isa.

SOARES: It really shows that Europe, specifically Germany, getting their ducks in a row ahead of winter.

MCLEAN: At least trying to.

SOARES: Thank you very much, Scott McLean. Appreciate it.

Well, the U.S. believes Russia has received its first shipment of weapons capable drones from Iran. That's according to officials from the Biden

administration, who tell CNN Russia will likely use the unmanned vehicles against Ukraine.

They could play a key role in Russia's battlefield strategy as it tries to counter the rocket systems donated to Ukraine by Western allies. CNN's

Natasha Bertrand joining me from Washington with more.

Natasha, how much is this, the reaching out to Iran here, a sign of how much Russia is running out of resources in the battlefield in Ukraine?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: According to U.S. officials we are speaking to, it's a big sign that Russia is really

depleting its resources, especially when it comes to drones in Ukraine.

They simply have not been able to manufacture them at the rate they were previously. Officials say because of these Western export controls, because

of sanctions. And because of the course of the war, many of the weapons- enabled drones that they had previously have just been depleted there.

So now they are looking toward Iran. Interestingly, what we are told is that the drones that Russia has purchased from Iran, many of them, during

tests in recent days, have experienced a number of failures.

So it is unclear how much of a game-changer these drones are actually going to be on the battlefield because they are not quite as sophisticated as the

drones the Russians had been using before, for example.

And some of them may not even work. However, the introduction of any of these drones could be significant because they are trying to blunt the

impact of these long range missile systems the U.S. has been providing to Ukraine, that are capable of reaching beyond the Russian front lines. They

can reach as much as 49 miles.

So the Russians are trying to come up with a way, essentially, to intercept those missiles. They have these weapons capable drones; they believe they

can perhaps regain some of the advantage there.

But ultimately, this is a big sign that not only is Russia relying on other countries to provide its military equipment but they are relying on Iran,

because, if you will remember, they wanted China to help them with some of their equipment. And China said no. So now Iran is really the last option.

SOARES: Natasha Bertrand there for us. Really appreciate it. Thanks, Natasha.

Coming up, Russia's war in Ukraine is exacerbating already fragile humanitarian situations. After the break, we will look at why aid is not

reaching Ethiopia's northern Tigray region. That report is next.





SOARES: A monumental grain shipment from Ukraine to Africa docked in Djibouti on Tuesday, the first since Russia's war in Ukraine began in

February. The 2,300 metric tons of wheat spent 14 days at sea after a deal was brokered to let Ukrainian food products depart from the country's Black

Sea port.

This is only offering partial relief to the Horn of Africa. Over 20 million people face hunger there with conflicts and climate crisis and the pandemic

pushing the most vulnerable to further insecurity.

Let's zone in on Ethiopia, where Russia's war on Ukraine exacerbated an already fragile humanitarian situation. The country is seeing its worst

drought in 40 years as well as renewed fighting in the northern Tigray region. As CNN's Larry Madowo reports, ad is not reaching those who need it



LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Queueing at this makeshift aid center in northern Tigray has become a daily task for these women in

the town of Padua (ph).

This video was captured in June and July by the Catholic missionary who runs the small aid distribution center says the situation has become even

more dire since then. The missionary says hundreds arrive daily, as early as 3:00 am, to only be told desperately seeking any food aid.

But every day is the same. Only small amounts of a porridge-like grains are available here. The United Nations says the civil war in Ethiopia's

northern Tigray region has left more than 90 percent of the region in urgent need of assistance.

In March, a fragile humanitarian truce between Ethiopian troops and Tigrayan fighters finally allowed aid to start flowing in. But with little

fuel to distribute supplies, the United Nations says what has arrived still has not, quote, (ph) translated into increased humanitarian assistance.


STEPHANE DUJARRIC, U.N. SPOKESPERSON: Our colleagues are telling us that the humanitarian situation in northern Ethiopia continues to be alarming.


MADOWO (voice-over): Much of the aid had been started to capital of the Tigray region, Mekelle, far from the areas where it is needed the most. But

fighting flared again last week, raising new concerns about aid distribution.

DUJARRIC: We, of course, renew our call on the parties of the conflict to immediately facilitate the resumption of rapid and unimpeded passage of

humanitarian workers and supplies into all of northern Ethiopia in accordance with international humanitarian law.

MADOWO (voice-over): One 38 year-old single mother of five told CNN that her kids are now weak and prone to illness without regular meals. Still,

they join this queue early for whatever little nourishment they can get. On days there isn't enough, they skip school to beg door to door or scavenge

for wild greens.

The head of the World Health Organization who's also from Tigray called what's playing out there the worst disaster on Earth (ph).

DR. TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: I can tell you that the humanitarian crisis in Tigray is more than Ukraine without any

exaggeration. And I say that many months ago, maybe the reason is the color of the skin of the people in Tigray.

MADOWO (voice-over): The Ethiopian government lashed out in response, calling his comments "unethical" -- Larry Madowo, CNN.


SOARES: And we are getting our first pictures from the site of that building collapse in northwestern Nigeria. It happened at a market in the

city of Kano. Officials say the three story building was under construction. But the bottom floor was occupied with shops.

We are told at least eight people have been rescued. But firefighters say they fear many more may be trapped beneath the rubble. It's about 10

minutes to 8:00 or so in Nigeria. We'll stay on top of the story as soon as there are more developments. Any more footage coming into us we are sure to

keep you abreast of all the developments.

Still to come on the show tonight, a crucial decision expected soon about the evidence seized at Mar-a-Lago and exactly who should be reviewing it.

That's next.





SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.

Another day, another deadline in the investigation of former U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump is waiting for a response to his request for a special

master. That's basically the legal term for a third-party attorney to oversee the review of documents the FBI seized from his Florida home, Mar-


CNN security correspondent Josh Campbell is keeping a close eye on the timeline. He brings us the view from Washington.

What could we learn from the DOJ's response today to Trump's request?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: We could get additional insight into what the Justice Department was able to seize at Donald Trump,

the former United States president, his personal home in the state of Florida.

Whenever the FBI conducted this search warrant, gathering these highly classified documents that it was alleged that he kept there and what

happens now is we're basically in this period where the Justice Department, the U.S. government, is filing competing memos.

So the Trump team has asked for the judge in the case to press pause and introduce the third party, who Donald Trump wants to be able to review all

the material the FBI seized in order to determine whether or not it can actually be used in their investigation.

What Donald Trump has been claiming, two things. First, he believes some of the material that the FBI seized that day, it's privileged under the

executive privilege of the U.S. Constitution, certain rights afforded to the U.S. President but also attorney-client privilege.

He thinks there are documents that might involve communication between him and his lawyers. So he wants this outside party to come in, be appointed by

the judge.

What this federal judge has done now is given the Justice Department until midnight tonight, the time right now in Washington is 2:53 pm, the U.S.

Justice Department still has nine hours left to file this motion.

This will be their response to Trump's team. What is so fascinating is that originally the judge gave them a 20 page limit. The Justice Department went

to the judge and said we have a lot more to say than just that.

So she doubled the page limit so there could be a lot of information that comes in this document that we are waiting, that could be filed in a moment

or the next several hours.

SOARES: If the judge appoints a special master, who would qualify?

Who has the final say in who is picked to review this material?

CAMPBELL: It's a great question. This role is basically a third party that the judge is bringing in, a filter team, if you will. Someone who would

look through the documents, do that initial pass.


CAMPBELL: They are typically former judges, people who have been involved in the legal system. But you bring up the key question. We are not just

talking about any old type of document.

We are talking about highly classified, top secret U.S. intelligence reports that Donald Trump is alleged to have kept at his house. I think

that will ultimately be litigated if the special master says there's certain material the FBI can't use. It will be this federal judge that will

ultimately have to determine if it can be used in any future prosecution against the former U.S. president.

SOARES: Midnight. We shall wait to see. Josh Campbell, we appreciate it. Thank you very much.

CAMPBELL: Thank you.


SOARES: Stay tuned right here for "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" with Richard Quest.