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Isa Soares Tonight
Ukrainian Investigators Join Teams At Poland Blast Site; Nancy Pelosi Steps Down As U.S. House Speaker; More Angry Protests In Iran With Police Swarming A Subway Station In Tehran; Polish President Supporting Zelenskyy After Missile Incident; Iran In Grip Of Worst Violence In Months; Qatar Apologizes After Incident With Danish TV Crew; Going Green: Trees. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired November 17, 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, Ukraine joins investigations into the
missile explosion that killed two people in Poland. I will be speaking to Poland's Ministry of Affairs later in the hour. Then, the end of an era.
Nancy Pelosi steps down as the U.S. House Democratic leader after almost 20 years in the role. Plus --
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SOARES: More angry protests in Iran, this time with police swarming a subway station in Tehran. We'll have the very latest. But first, Ukrainian
investigators have joined U.S. as well as Polish teams at the site where deadly missile blast in eastern Poland. According to Polish officials, all
the evidence collected so far indicates the missile was launched by Ukrainian air defense forces and landed in Poland on accident -- just by
While the U.S., NATO and EU all agree, no matter what, Ukraine is not at fault. They placed the blame purely on Russia for waging an illegal war in
Ukraine. And that war, well, is still waging. On Thursday, Russian forces fired dozens of airstrikes, well, struck targets in Dnipro, Odessa, as well
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Moscow is hell bent on destroying Ukraine's energy infrastructure just to make civilians suffer.
Our Nic Robertson joins us tonight from Kyiv this hour. So Nic, just bring us up to date where we are on the investigation to this deadly missile
strike in Poland first.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, the very latest we have from President Zelenskyy, he says I don't know what happened. We
don't know what happened. The world doesn't know, but he said I am sure it was a Russian missile. I am sure we fired our air defense at it, meaning,
the Russian missile.
Zelenskyy is saying very clearly that they saw a Russian missile, they fired at it, he wanted Ukrainian investigators to join the investigation.
They've joined. It's not clear how long this will take to sort through the debris and make the determinations of what, exactly what is discovered. But
it certainly is a case now of Zelenskyy, Ukraine being aligned with the same positions as NATO and its allies, and partners and very much of that
That Russia should be held to account. Part of the investigation will likely look at the flight path of the Russian missile, with a view to try
and take an assessment. Was that missile fired in that area, particularly to draw the surface-to-air missile that was intended to take it down. The
air defense system that was intended to take it down.
These systems, of course, are all automatic. They're not manually- controlled --
SOARES: Yes --
ROBERTSON: They detect the missile, they go after the missile. So, did Russia fire one close to the Polish border, with the hope of perpetrating
an incident like this? Of course, they say that this is Ukraine and NATO trying to escalate tensions at this time. But as far as the investigation
goes, it's got the U.S., it's got the Polish, and now the Ukrainians working on it as well. Isa?
SOARES: I'll be speaking to Polish officials in about 25 minutes here on the show, so of course, I shall ask as well where we are on the
investigation. Meanwhile, Nic, the bombardment from Russia continues. Just talk us through about these latest wave of missile attacks today.
ROBERTSON: Yes, a number of people killed in Zaporizhzhia, four people killed there, 23 injured in Dnipro, including a 15-year-old girl. As you
were saying before, a vital energy services hit in Odessa, in Dnipro, in Kharkiv. Missile defense systems in Kyiv effectively we're told, taking out
a number of missiles and drones that were fired in this direction, but the picture is getting worse.
The head of one energy provider here said that on average, about 40 percent of the country was without electricity.
SOARES: Wow --
ROBERTSON: So, that's a staggering number. It's not suffering from blackouts. It just doesn't have electricity at the moment. The
communications has been effective. We've been told that by Ukrainian government officials today. Kharkiv, they said only today, managed to get
its connection restored to Kyiv and to the rest of the country.
So, Russia is branching out. It's not just striking electricity, but it's also -- it appears targeting the communications network, cellphone
structure and other systems in the country. And we've also heard from gas supply officials today as well, saying that their infrastructure, the gas
infrastructure which of course, is a vital part of the heating system in many of the cities here, that is also being targeted. So, it does appear
Russia is expanding beyond just the electrical infrastructure, to gas and communications.
SOARES: Nic Robertson for us this hour there in Kyiv, thanks very much, Nic. Well, as we said before, Nic pointed out there are investigators in
Poland due to the missile that hit the country on Tuesday was an accident, not an act of aggression. But it shows just how quickly, really, the chaos
of Russia's war can spread beyond Ukraine.
NATO countries including Lithuania are calling for more air defenses along the alliance's eastern flank. Gabrielius Landsbergis is Lithuania's Foreign
Minister, he joins me now from Vilnius. Foreign Minister, thank you very much for joining us this hour. Let me get, first, your reaction to that
deadly missile strike in Poland. Investigations you heard there from our colleague underway, but your thoughts?
GABRIELIUS LANDSBERGIS, FOREIGN MINISTER, LITHUANIA: Well, it's a sad event. Lives were lost in Poland, obviously, but it's also a reminder of
what Ukrainian people are facing every day. But what we're seeing now is that the attacks, Russian attacks on Ukrainian territory, are becoming more
riskier. They are --
SOARES: Yes --
LANDSBERGIS: Targeting targets closer to the NATO border, therefore I think it's almost inevitable that we will see more of these sort of events,
incidents also on NATO territory. And that's why we need to be prepared for that.
SOARES: And so, given that, and the fact that this all happened, this incident happened the same day that we saw some 85 missiles really raining
down in Ukraine. What does -- what does -- do you think needs to be done here? Are we looking at calls for more modern air defense systems for
Ukraine? Should NATO be ramping up its defense capabilities here?
LANDSBERGIS: I think you made both points very correctly. First of all, we need to ramp up the defenses on NATO side. This is what we've been asking
for the whole eastern flank since this year's Madrid Summit in Spain, and I think that Poland should receive the first batch in order to defend their
border better. But also, we need not to lose the track of the main thing that we need to do is, give Ukraine more weapons, more defensive weapons.
Just to think of it, if we have --
SOARES: Yes --
LANDSBERGIS: Been providing air defense systems, not now when the incidents happened, but a few months ago, maybe more lives, of course, more
lives would have been saved, and maybe even less incidents would be expected than we have now. So, that's the main target that we cannot lose
SOARES: And so on that point, foreign minister, I mean, since this tragic incident in Poland, what are you hearing from allies? Are they ramping up
supplies? And how quickly, of course, are these supplies then going to get to Ukraine here?
LANDSBERGIS: Yes, fortunately, there were some -- there were several optimistic messages yesterday from the NATO countries that pledged more
support, especially air defense systems to Ukraine. I think it's a very good step in the right direction. But as in many cases before, I'm saying,
you know, let's not stop there. Of course, we're reacting to one incident, but let's plan ahead.
I think the main thing that we need to achieve, of course, we need to assist Ukraine in defending itself, but also we need to assist Ukraine
pushing Russia out of the occupied territory, because that still is the only way to end the war. And we've seen that so far, Ukrainians have been
quite successful at that.
SOARES: What is Lithuania doing to prepare for any of these scenarios that you've just highlighted, for any potential Russian attack here?
LANDSBERGIS: Well, currently, we are not seeing any direct military threats to Lithuanian territory. As it has been said before, it's an
incident, but we are preparing, that more incidents like that could happen, especially if the attacks are taking place, let's say from the Belarusian
territory. Because as you know, we have about 600 kilometers --
SOARES: Yes --
LANDSBERGIS: Of the border with Belarus. So, at first, we have to be very transparent with our people that we are very close to the war, but then we
have to talk with our partners, and also this is what we're doing in Brussels and in other capitals, allied capitals, where we're saying look,
you know, even though in some cases, it feels as if the situation is different than it was in Spring --
SOARES: Yes --
LANDSBERGIS: The perception of danger is different. But it's just a perception. The danger is there. Ukraine has not yet won even though
they're successful in pushing occupiers out. But we still need to step up in defending NATO territory, also assisting Ukraine.
SOARES: They haven't won, but last we heard from our correspondent, Russia seems to be branching out as we head in the last 5 minutes. You had
mention Belarus, a senior Ukrainian military official telling CNN, I think it was back in October or so, that they see a growing risk, foreign
minister, of Russia reopening a northern front from Belarus. What more can you tell us about this? How do you assess this risk here and the position
of Belarus in this war?
LANDSBERGIS: Well, there are two parts in this. First of all, we know that there are more Russian troops in Belarus currently than there have been
before. Most likely, this is where they could be training to mobilize troops. That could be an option. But on the other hand, we see that Belarus
has donated, so to say, and brought out of the country -- I think has taken out of the country, a lot of technical equipment.
To Russia, most likely to be used In the front, in the eastern front of Ukraine. So, it's a difficult situation to tell. It could be that
Lukashenko could be pushed to reopen the border, but I think he is calculating that his casualties might be even harsher --
SOARES: Right --
LANDSBERGIS: And higher numbers and casualties, even though even of those of Russians fighting in the eastern front.
SOARES: All right, foreign minister, really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, thank you sir.
LANDSBERGIS: Thank you so much --
SOARES: And in around 20 minutes time or so, I'll be speaking to the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for the latest of course on the
investigation into that missile strike. So do stay with us for that interview. Well, in the Netherlands, a court verdict that NATO Secretary-
General says marks an important day for justice.
A Dutch court has just convicted two Russians and a Ukrainian of mass murder, for carrying out the missile attack eight years ago that downed
Malaysian Airlines flight 17. Two hundred and ninety eight passengers and crew members were aboard when the plane was hit over Donetsk by what
investigators say was a Russian-made missile.
The court sentenced the two former Russian operatives and Ukrainian separatist to life in prison and awarded the victims' families more than
$16 million. CNN's Nada Bashir has more for you from London.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (on camera): Well, more than eight years since the tragic downing of flight MH 17 over eastern Ukraine. A Dutch court has
now found three men guilty of the murder of 298 people on board the Malaysia Airlines flight including two former Russian Intelligence officers
and a Ukrainian separatist leader.
The judge stating that the consequences of their actions was so severe and attitudes so detestable that a mere time-prescribed sentence would not
suffice. The fourth suspect was also acquitted. Now, international investigation found that MH 17 had been shot down by a Russian surface-to-
air Buk missile fired from a village in eastern Ukraine, then held by pro Russian rebels.
Prosecutors say the launch belonged to Russia's anti aircraft missile Brigade, and was returned to Russian territory the day after the strike.
And Moscow has repeatedly denied any responsibility for the incident. Speaking on Thursday, Russia's Foreign Ministry's spokesperson said Moscow
will examine the Dutch court's position.
The trial marks the first time that an independent judgment has been made on the 2014 incident that the men were tried in absentia and are unlikely
to serve time. But for the loved ones and relatives of those who were killed on board flight MH 17, this remains an important milestone in an
eight-year battle for justice. Nada Bashir, CNN, London.
SOARES: I want to take you now to Washington, where we are watching historical shift really in the balance of power unfold. The first and only
woman ever to be house speaker stepping down as Democratic leader. Nancy Pelosi made the announcement a short time ago on the house floor, receiving
standing ovation. She is a towering figure, of course, in U.S. politics.
Third in line to the presidency, and has served in Congress for 35 years. Pelosi isn't leaving the house, but will make way for a new Democratic
leadership in January when Republicans assume control.
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NANCY PELOSI, CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT FOR CALIFORNIA: I have enjoyed working with three presidents, achieving historic investments in clean energy, with
President George Bush. Transforming healthcare reform with President Barack Obama, and forging the future, from infrastructure to health care, to
climate action, with President Joe Biden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: That was quite a speech. Let's bring in CNN's Melanie Zanona live on Capitol Hill. And Melanie, will talk about her legacy, Nancy Pelosi's
legacy in just a moment, but what will her departure, first of all mean for her party? Who could pick up the baton here?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, the new generation of leaders is already starting to take place. There had been a ton of
jockeying and speculation behind the scenes that is fully now broken out into the open, and Steny Hoyer, who is her number two in command, says he
also will not seek another term in the Democratic leadership, and he will not make a play for the top spot.
So, essentially, what that means is it paves the way for Hakeem Jeffries to make a play for the top spot. This is someone who is a 52-year-old Democrat
from New York. He is a current member of the leadership team. He is also a member of the powerful congressional black caucus, and the other person who
is thought to might challenge him for that spot was Adam Schiff, a California lawmaker, but he has decided not to seek a leadership position
and instead, will seek or potentially seek a position in the Senate instead.
So really, things are starting to come together here on Capitol Hill. And then, down the ranks, we're already seeing who might take the spot of
number two and number three. We're hearing that Katherine Clark might make a position for the whips job, and that Pete Aguilar will make a position --
a play for the caucus chair position.
But you know, just a seismic shift in Democratic --
SOARES: Yes --
ZANONA: Circles right now, as Pelosi passes the baton to the new generation.
SOARES: Let's talk about Nancy Pelosi. I mean, two decades as a Democratic leader, and I think she's considered one of the most skillful leaders. What
do you think, Melanie, her legacy will be?
ZANONA: Well, I think she will go down as probably one of the most powerful and effective speakers in U.S. history. She oversaw a number of
key legislative accomplishments for Democrats including the Affordable Care Act. She also took the country through multiple crises, from the most
recent COVID-19 pandemic, she also oversaw the country at the time when it was the Wall Street bailout.
And then she also oversaw two historic impeachments of former President Donald Trump. But beyond that, she also was the first woman ever to lead a
party either for Republicans or for Democrats in the House or the Senate. So that's a massive deal, she talking about the importance of
representation in her speech.
She said she went from a home maker to house maker, she never thought she would end up in that position. When she came to Congress, there was only a
handful of women lawmakers, and now there are so many more women in the halls of Congress. So she is quite a legacy that she's leaving behind, but
she's also not going very far. She will --
SOARES: Yes --
ZANONA: Remain a member of Congress.
SOARES: A truly towering figure. Melanie Zanona, I really appreciate it, thanks, Melanie.
ZANONA: Very well --
SOARES: And still to come tonight, soaring inflation, tax rises and spending cuts. We'll have a look at how Britain's finance minister is
trying to restore confidence in the country's economy. That is up next. You are watching CNN.
SOARES: Welcome back. Well, as the world tackles soaring inflation, Britain's new finance minister is trying to restore stability and
confidence in his country's economy, announcing 55 billion pounds worth of tax rises and spending cuts just this Thursday. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY HUNT, CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER: We need fiscal and monetary policy to work together, and that means the government and the bank working
in lockstep. It means in particular, giving the world confidence in our ability to pay our debts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: While the pound sterling may be stabilizing since former Prime Minister Liz Truss' disastrous mini budget, you remember that, but it's not
all good news for Jeremy Hunt acknowledging the U.K. is now in a recession. Our Clare Sebastian joins me here to discuss. And Clare, the reason we
haven't had obviously these tax rises and spending cuts is because of this soaring inflation. But just five years around the world, how does the
inflation here compare with some other big leading economies?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN REPORTER: It's not great for the U.K. It's worse than in the U.S. where inflation has started to look like it's slightly coming
down. It's worse even than the euro area. It is among the worst in the G7. And look, the U.K. is facing many of the international headwinds that you
can see. The U.K. is I think the --
SOARES: The red --
SEBASTIAN: The red line, that's just edging above the euro, and you can see the U.S. tailing off a little bit. Obviously, this is partly an
international crisis as Jeremy Hunt pointed out today. He called it a made- in Russia energy crisis. This is a big contributor in the U.K., but it's not the only contributor. The U.K. inflation rate was at 6.2 percent in
February this year.
It was facing the post-COVID supply issues, and it also has several issues that are unique to the U.K. The Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey
talked about this week the fact that the U.K. workforce has shrunk fairly significantly since the pre-COVID time because of people coming out --
SOARES: Yes --
SEBASTIAN: Due to long-time sickness, early retirement, things like that. Less people, worker shortages means higher wages, although it was not high
enough in this current climate. And then of course, Brexit which adds costs to businesses, reduces trade.
SOARES: But they didn't mention Brexit today --
SEBASTIAN: I don't think --
SOARES: That was the elephant in the room.
SEBASTIAN: Right, they didn't talk about Brexit today, but it is an issue. The Bank of England has been talking about it.
SOARES: If I can just ask Anna(ph), my producer to bring that chart back up on inflation, because I think it's really interesting because I think
that went back to 2020 --
SEBASTIAN: Right --
SOARES: If I remember correctly, January 2020. This talk of much of it being led by the war in Ukraine pre-COVID, I mean, inflation was quite high
anyway for the U.K. pre-COVID, pre-war in Ukraine.
SEBASTIAN: Well, for a lot of developed economies, it was because what we saw of course, after COVID, was that there were all these supply issues,
right? Demand roared back quicker than we expected, and supply didn't catch up. Now, the thing is, by now, you would have expected, and there is --
SOARES: Yes --
SEBASTIAN: Evidence that a lot of that would have abated. So I think you can say that Russia has perhaps contributed more than the difference
between the February rate and today's rate, right? If that makes sense --
SOARES: Yes --
SEBASTIAN: But still, you know, those factors are still in play, those supply issues.
SOARES: So -- perhaps exacerbated the whole thing. But let's talk then about central banks and what --
SEBASTIAN: Yes --
SOARES: Central banks are doing. The U.S. has been pretty aggressive.
SEBASTIAN: Yes --
SOARES: Should the U.K., should the BOE be slightly more aggressive than we have seen the fed?
SEBASTIAN: I think the question has been, if you look at what the central banks, the various global central banks have done throughout this, is to
front-load or not to front-load, and by how much, right? So, the Bank of England started early. They've done eight in less than a year now, they
started in December last year.
But they've done really small rates, building up to the last one which was 75-basis points --
SOARES: Yes --
SEBASTIAN: Zero-point-seven-five. In contrast, the Fed has now done four 75-basis-point hikes. So they have been hiking much more aggressively, much
more quickly. And they're now starting to see, as I said, inflation tail off. Although I will say, it's not exactly good news, but the OBR, the
independent budget watchdog here in the U.K. said that they expect that the current inflation rate at above 11 percent is actually the peak, and it
should come down really quite fast in the next year.
SOARES: What does this mean for sterling, how are we seeing the markets move today in reaction to this? I mean, that we were kind of anticipating
SEBASTIAN: Yes, exactly. It wasn't a huge move. Sterling did fall initially by about 1 percent. I think that's mostly because of the bleak
outlook that we got for the U.K. economy. It's reversed some of that now, but you can see 118 to the dollar is pretty respectable if you consider
that it nearly hit parity at the end of September after the mini-budget. Although, of course, a year ago, it was over 130.
SOARES: Yes, and the FTSE not much new -- I mean, didn't move much --
SEBASTIAN: Yes --
SOARES: Pretty flat as you can see there, given because of course, we are all expecting this to be a pretty dire picture, probably a picture --
SEBASTIAN: Yes --
SOARES: Clare Sebastian, thank you very much. And still to come tonight, as investigators continue seeking answers into the deadly missile strike in
Poland, that country's president says, he's sure no one wanted to hurt anyone. We'll get Poland's perspective after the break.
And a sense of history tragically repeating itself. On the third anniversary of a crackdown on protesters, deadly new violence rages across
SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. An unintentional accident, that's what Polish President Andrzej Duda is calling a missile blast that killed two
people and shock the world on Tuesday. Investigators believe the explosion came from a Ukrainian air defense missile that landed just a few miles
across the Ukrainian border. Mr. Duda says, he's doing what he can to support Ukraine's president through this. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDRZEJ DUDA, PRESIDENT, POLAND (through translator): It is an extremely difficult situation, and it's not a surprise to anyone that there are
emotions here. President Zelenskyy has emotions too. He is going through everything his nation is going through. It is his nation that chose him for
this post, and for which he feels responsible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, let's get a perspective from Lukasz Jasina, the press spokesperson for Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He joins me now from
Warsaw. Lukasz, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us. I was just wondering whether you could just update us on the investigation
here on this tragic accident?
LUKASZ JASINA, PRESS SPOKESPERSON, POLISH MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: It's quite simple investigation is in action. Our president, our prime
minister stated that it was Ukrainian anti missile stuff from Polish Secret Services and also express from other countries are there in place in
Przewodow, which is a very small village next to the Polish-Ukrainian border.
And today, my minister, minister of foreign affairs spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart. And they decided that we will welcome Ukrainian
experts also. They're at the scene.
SOARES: And when will Ukrainian experts, where that Ukrainian team, when will they be allowed to be there? To be on-site?
JASINA: It is all -- there are actual difficulties. I mean, we need some legal arrangements to create a good space for this -- for their expertise.
I think in next few days, they will come and I'm also very hopeful that in other few days, the results of their expertise also will be known for us.
And we, of course, at the beginning, will present them the results of our research, which we're basing our statements in this issue.
SOARES: Let me clarify what you just said there. You believe you're saying to me that the Ukrainian team should be onsite in a few days and in a few
days' time, we should also have the results of this investigation?
Can you just clarify that for me?
JASINA: Yes, we hope that all teams will work very quick and will pass this problem very soon.
SOARES: But when will the Ukrainian team be onsite?
Can you give me a rough idea of time?
JASINA: I cannot because it's all still under legal arrangements. And we will see. Probably it will take us a few days to arrange them a place to
SOARES: Right, OK. I know, of course, that President Duda, as we heard there, said it was a tragic accident. Just explain to us what needs to be
done to make sure that this does not happen again.
What is Poland doing in terms of defense here?
JASINA: Poland is doing a lot on defense. Also certain members of NATO are doing a lot. But we will have no possibility to feel safe before this war
will have ended, before Russia will stop its aggression. That is the main case. All those issues are connected with Russian decisions from February.
There won't be any missiles or rockets and bombs very close to the Polish border if Russia will not stop this war a few months ago. That's the main
problem we have to solve.
But of course, we need more air defense, more Patriots, more planes and more work on the safety of our eastern border. You know, Poland has a very
long border with Ukraine, Belarus, with Russia through Kaliningrad oblast.
Russians are not so many miles from our capital, some (INAUDIBLE) cities. That is a very dangerous situation for us. And thanks to that tragedy, the
world knows how difficult is sometimes our safety.
SOARES: So does this change the calculus for NATO?
I mean you're talking there about more modern air defense systems. I'm guessing this is something that Ukraine has been calling for as well.
JASINA: Let's say that's not changing nothing at all. That's the situation from February. We need more guns, we need more help. We are the member of
the NATO who is exactly almost at the front. We have the biggest hub for the guns. We need more help to stop such situations like this for the
SOARES: Let me get, first off, a sense of what the mood is like in Poland, given what has happened, this tragic accident.
What is the mood like in the country?
JASINA: Maybe I'm not the most objective person to say that, because I was born and raised a few miles from the place where it all happened. I'm from
that region. Of course, my friends and my neighbors are very, very sad and feel danger.
But that's what our lives are since February. We know about that war a lot, we know that something very bad happens in our eastern neighboring
territory. We know that from refugees. And (INAUDIBLE) brave. We know that we have to deal with this situation, help Ukrainians still and still -- and
save our borders from other attacks.
SOARES: Does Poland, you feel, feel like it faces a direct threat from Russia?
JASINA: Yes, because Russian threat is directed not only for Ukraine but also for Poland and other European states. That war is against all of us,
against our values, against Europe, against our style of life. And we feel that threat from the beginning.
Of course, that's also based on the Polish historical experiences. But we feel that threat very strongly. Of course, not so strong like our Ukrainian
neighbors that what happened to them (INAUDIBLE) after that situation, which was let's say, in my (INAUDIBLE).
But we still think that it won't happen. I mean, this attack on the (INAUDIBLE), we feel this threat stronger and stronger.
xxx SOARES: Lukasz, really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. As soon as there is any more on that investigation or as soon, of course, as
you can tell us, whether the Ukrainian teams have joined the teams on the ground, please come back to us and let us know.
Really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. Thank you, Lukasz, thank you.
Now two months of protests, hundreds of deaths reported and a level of outrage that cannot be put into numbers.
SOARES: We turn now to Iran, which is in the grip of some of the worst violence since the death of Mahsa Amini. If you remember back in September
and a warning that the following video is distressing to watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES (voice-over): While these images from IranWire show security personnel using force, as you can see there, against a woman's few words,
we don't know what happened to the woman before or after it was shot.
Elsewhere, at least seven people have been killed, including a 9-year-old boy, in a gun attack in the city of Izeh. A religious school was also set
on fire. Authorities are blaming the deaths on terrorists.
And as protests escalate, we understand that at least five people have been sentenced to death with rights groups voicing huge concerns about the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Our Jomana Karadsheh has been on the story for more than seven weeks now and she's following developments from Istanbul.
And Jomana, you know, this is just so troubling and disturbing. And what many have feared could've happened. Just bring us up to date with what
you're hearing about these five people, first of all, who've been sentenced to death. Explain on what grounds here.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very disturbing developments, Isa. Since Sunday, at least five protesters have been sentenced to death by
these revolutionary courts in Iran. And what human rights organizations are describing as these sham trials.
These five men received the death penalty for waging war against God and spreading corruption on Earth. What they're actually accused of is acts of
arson, authorities say spreading terror on the streets. And one of them, at least, is accused of killing a member of the security forces.
But human rights organizations are slamming the Iranian regime. They're saying that they're using the death penalty as a tool of political
repression, to try and crush the protests, to try and stop people from taking part in the demonstrations.
There's a lot of concern, Isa, that this is just the beginning, that we might be seeing more of these death sentences in the coming days. More than
14,000 people have been arrested, more than 1,000 of them in Tehran alone and in Tehran province have been indicted.
And several people, according to Amnesty International, are also facing these charges that carry the death penalty in Iran.
So lot of concern when you're talking about a country where rights groups say, there's no such thing as fair trials, where authorities are accused of
using torture to extract confessions and where defendants, in many cases, don't get access to lawyers.
But Isa, these death sentences, the arrests, the rising death toll, more than 340 people, according to the latest figures coming from human rights
organizations, none of this seems to be stopping the protests.
We have entered the third month of this national uprising and we are seeing more protests across the country, some of the most widespread protests that
we've seen today and some of the most intense demonstrations we have seen so far.
And it seems that the government's brutal crackdown is not working. What it seems to be doing is making people angrier and more determined to continue
protesting and to call for regime change, Isa.
SOARES: Jomana Karadsheh there for us in Istanbul, thank you very much, Jomana.
And still to come tonight, all eyes are on Qatar, the host of the most watched sporting event in the world. The World Cup is about to start, in
case you did not know. And it already is one of the most controversial ones yet. I will explain next.
SOARES: The World Cup is kicking off this Sunday in Qatar. And even though the football tournament has not even started, it's being overshadowed by a
growing list of controversy. The latest one to date, security staff threatening a Danish TV crew.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RASMUS TANTHOLDT, TV2 REPORTER: Mister, you invited the whole world to the -- you invited the whole world to come here.
Why can't we film?
It's a public place.
TANTHOLDT: You can break the camera.
You want to break it?
OK. Break the camera.
So you're threatening us by smashing the camera.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, organizers have now apologized but, as you may remember, controversies have been clouding Qatar 2022 ever since it won its World Cup
bid. Let's take a look.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We now announce the winner to organize the 2022 FIFA World Cup is Qatar.
SOARES (voice-over): The sport world was stunned when FIFA awarded the World Cup to Qatar. Controversy took center stage and football risk
becoming a sideshow.
Why was Qatar, a tiny desert state with no football pedigree, chosen to host FIFA's showpiece event?
Even the disgraced former chief of football's governing body has since described the decision as a mistake.
SEPP BLATTER, FORMER FIFA PRESIDENT: I was right at a certain time to say that we should not go there.
SOARES (voice-over): That move 12 years ago provoked unprecedented anger, accusations of corruption and sports washing. Qatari officials strongly
denied the allegation that bribery was involved in their bid.
Before a ball is kicked at this year's tournament, attention has focused on Qatar's human rights record, its stance on same sex relationship and, most
damaging to its reputation, the treatment of overseas workers, drafted in to build essential infrastructure.
Amnesty International claims authorities fail to properly investigate the deaths of thousands of migrant workers despite evidence linking premature
deaths with unsafe working conditions in the searing heat.
Qatari officials say they investigate all reports of abuse and exploitation and are committed to holding unscrupulous employers to account.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How important is it to keep traditions like this?
SOARES (voice-over): Ambassadors like David Beckham had been criticized for accepting the role, said to be worth millions of dollars.
DAVID BECKHAM, QATAR WORLD CUP AMBASSADOR: If you end your relationship with Qatar, I'll donate this 10 grand of my own money.
SOARES (voice-over): Comedian Joe Lycett called out the former England captain, saying his status as a gay icon was under threat. Homosexual acts
are illegal in Qatar, considered immoral under Islamic law. Punishments include prison sentences and even death.
Organizers told CNN Qatar is a tolerant and welcoming country and claim no one will be discriminated against. Nonetheless, calls to boycott the
tournament have gathered momentum. When the final whistle goes at Qatar 2022, the legacy will be judged not only over 28 days of football but in
the years that lie ahead.
SOARES: Let's discuss the moral dilemma of this first Middle East World Cup. Musa Okwonga has been writing and speaking about it for a number of
news organizations and is the co-host of "Stadio," a football podcast.
It's so great to have you on the show. As you probably heard there, my report outlined some of the controversies around this World Cup.
Does this take away the excitement from the tournament and the games, you think?
MUSA OKWONGA, JOURNALIST AND PODCASTER: Absolutely. The whole point of the World Cup is the suspension of disbelief.
OKWONGA: It's a tournament where, a few days before, you should be really excited. And I think the World Cup has already failed on those terms
because what I'm seeing now is far more controversy than excitement about this tournament.
SOARES: But wasn't there also consternation, you know, in the last World Cup in Russia in 2018?
SOARES: Did that also make people feel uncomfortable?
Just compare this for us.
OKWONGA: Absolutely, I think you cannot understand the Qatar World Cup without the Russia one because they were bought (ph) at the same time.
There was immense controversy over the nature of their award, allegations of bribery. Those allegations, were they not held up eventually.
But only after the ethics investigator said this report is incomplete. So he, himself, wasn't sure about what it got on there. And these bribery
allegations about both World Cups for a very long time.
I think the reason why Qatar is getting so much heat now is because a lot of people feel that Russia didn't get enough heat last time around. So
Qatar is getting basically a double whammy.
SOARES: Let me ask you this. You wrote a piece for "GQ," where you say, I will read it out here, "the last three World Cups -- Brazil, Russia and now
Qatar -- have in succession managed to perform a sort of asset-stripping of the soul of this competition, tearing away much of its sheen and leaving us
with its basic elements; that is to say, a well-run series of games that is available to whoever may be the highest bidder."
Let me just play devil's advocate here.
I mean, isn't this just capitalism at work?
OKWONGA: Not at all, actually. I would also be wary of working for the devil for free.
OKWONGA: You can actually argue this problem with what happened at the 10 (ph) World Cup where assurances were made about certain votes there. So
this isn't actually capitalism. This is, I suppose, corruption in several cases. It's a real problem.
The problem with Qatar, I think, is that this was their big showpiece event, right?
This should be exciting, this should be a joyful thing. But unfortunately, I think it's already been a disaster because we're not talking about the
joy of the World Cup to come. We're talking about all the problems.
We're talking about the mistreatment of workers, the deportation of workers, protesting for unpaid wages, multiple unpaid wages. Those are not
the headlines you want going into a tournament. The tournament starts on the weekend and we haven't yet been talking about football.
SOARES: Do you think when the games do start, that people stop talking about this, do you think people will actually stop watching it?
Will you be watching it, Musa?
OKWONGA: I'm watching it for work. I'm not sure, if I was not working, if I would be watching the games, I'm really not sure. The key reason I am
watching them, I think, is because I watched the games in Russia. I critiqued the games in the tournament in Russia.
I think I will do the same this time because I wanted to be consistent. I don't want to give Qatar a different treatment than the Russia World Cup. I
wrote about that the whole month through. And I think Qatar deserves the same scrutiny that Russia got.
I think that actually Russia got away with it, to be honest. I think again, Qatar is now under the correct level of scrutiny that Russia didn't get.
SOARES: FIFA, meanwhile, as you would've seen, Musa, has told the 32 teams to, quote, "focus on the football." We also heard from Macron of France,
saying that sports should not be politicized.
OKWONGA: Well, that's very rich, coming from Macron because some he's someone who spent a lot of time promoting himself (INAUDIBLE). And he's a
very smart man, he's very aware of the power of football, as a symbolic force in sports. But also not just that, in society. So I think Macron is
being a bit cute there, to be honest.
SOARES: Let me ask you then, I mentioned in my piece the calls, David Beckham perhaps should celebrity, big names like David Beckham, who is a
Qatar World Cup ambassador.
Should they not be part of this?
Should there be bigger calls, louder calls for him not to be part of this?
What do you think?
OKWONGA: Actually let me just work for the devil real quickly. I think that the question is whether Qatar (INAUDIBLE) David Beckham because they
paid a lot of money for this and he's been conspicuous (INAUDIBLE) the bigger issues that have been raised.
Now he's obviously a big draw in terms of celebrity but I think his silence is quite damning because he hasn't raised (INAUDIBLE) Qatar when he's been
called upon to do so. And that itself I think it's extremely revealing and if I'm on the (INAUDIBLE), I would be thinking, have we really got our
value of money from this man?
Because he's met the (INAUDIBLE) critiques but he hasn't (INAUDIBLE) because he can't.
SOARES: Musa, really appreciate you taking your time to speak to us. I am sure that you and I will be speaking again once it starts. Musa Okwonga,
thank you very much. Thank you.
OKWONGA: Thank you.
SOARES: Now the U.K. says it welcomes reports that its former ambassador is among those being freed from jail in Myanmar. State media there says
hundreds of prisoners are being pardoned to mark Myanmar's national day.
They include the former British ambassador to the country, Vicky Powell, who was sentenced, you remember, to one year in prison after being accused
of breaking immigration laws.
The news comes after Southeast Asian leaders gathered in Cambodia for the Asian summit, where Myanmar was a major talking point.
North Korea is warning of fearsome military responses over Washington's defense ties with South Korea and Japan. It comes as Pyongyang fired a
short-range ballistic missile earlier, landing in the waters of the Korean Peninsula.
SOARES: Now that's according to South Korea's military. By CNN's count, this marks the 33rd day this year North Korea has carried out a missile
I will be back after this short break. Do stay with us here.
SOARES: Welcome back. Now today in our series, "Going Green," we will head to Germany, where one young activist is aiming to help plant 1 trillion
trees to stop global warming. Our Larry Madowo has the story.
FELIX FINKBEINER, PLANT-FOR-THE-PLANET (voice-over): I very simply believe that the climate crisis is one of the biggest challenges to face to
humanity. We need to reduce our global CO2 emissions as rapidly as possible. But that alone is not enough.
We also have to absorb as much of the carbon that's already in the atmosphere as possible. And one of the best ways to do that is to regrow
forests which capture this. Carbon.
I'm Felix Finkbeiner and the planner (ph) of an organization called Plant- for-the-Planet. I grew up here in southern Germany.
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Felix's concern for the climate started when he was just 9 years old.
FINKBEINER (voice-over): When I was in fourth grade, I found out about a woman from Kenya. Her name is Wangari Maathai, who started a movement that
ended up planting 30 million trees across Kenya and other east African countries.
And that inspired me that we kids could also plant trees to tackle the climate crisis.
MADOWO (voice-over): In 2007, Felix and his classmates planted a tree on campus, which marked the start of Plant-for-the-Planet.
FINKBEINER (voice-over): What Plant-for-the-Planet does is try to help bring back the world's forests to (INAUDIBLE) the climate crisis.
Trees are incredibly important for a range of reasons. But one of them is that there are these wonderful climate change reversal machines that absorb
the CO2, our emissions from the atmosphere.
MADOWO (voice-over): From addressing the U.N. at 13 ...
FINKBEINER (voice-over): We have to take our future in our own hands.
MADOWO (voice-over): -- to making a statement from the North Pole at 16 ...
FINKBEINER (voice-over): Here at the North Pole, it is clear that our future is in danger.
MADOWO (voice-over): -- Felix's message is simple: stop talking, start planting.
FINKBEINER (voice-over): About 11,000 years ago, we had roughly 6 trillion trees on Earth. Of these 6 trillion, around 3 trillion are still remaining.
So we have lost a huge amount.
FINKBEINER (voice-over): I hope in a couple of decades we will have stopped the climate crisis and by also stopping the loss of ecosystems we
will ensure that we can maintain this beautiful biodiversity that we have here on Earth.
SOARES: And for more stories like this, you can visit cnn.com/goinggreen.
Now if you play Scrabble, well, Scrabble has added 500 new playable words to its official dictionary. I want to show you a few of our favorites. Have
a look at this. Adulting is one of those. Vax, vibing, guac, very lazy here, guacamole, obviously. And for those "Star Wars" fans out there,
including my 6-year old, Jedi.
But of course, as we shelter from the cold weather and as well as bad news, bad economic news here in London, not just in London, pretty much
everywhere around the world.
The word that got my editorial team talking the most was the one none of us could actually pronounce. The Danish word that you can see there at the top
of your screen. That's actually read hygge, meaning a cozy quality that makes a person feel content and comfortable.
Basically think hot chocolates, roaring fires and playing board games inside with your family.
Another word that's been included?
Adorbs. I will leave you with that.
Thanks very much for your company, I will be back tomorrow. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next. Bye-bye.