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Isa Soares Tonight

U.S. Basketball Star Brittney Griner Swapped For A Russian Arms Dealer; Russia Continues To Pound Ukraine's Energy Infrastructure; Buckingham Palace Declines Comment On Harry And Meghan's Docu-Series; Paul Whelan Says He's "Disappointed," Still In Russian Prison; Harry Dunn's Killer Given Suspended Sentence; FIFA Confirms Death Of Migrant Worker During World Cup; China's Xi Seeks Closer Ties With Saudi Arabia. Aired 2- 3p ET

Aired December 08, 2022 - 14:00   ET



ELENI GIOKOS, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I am Eleni Giokos, I'm in for Isa Soares. And tonight, U.S.

basketball star Brittney Griner is finally free from Russian jail after being exchanged in a prisoner swap for a Russian arms dealer. How both

sides are responding coming up just ahead.

And then I will speak to Ukraine's Minister of Infrastructure as Russia continues to harm the country's power supply. Plus, Buckingham Palace says

they won't be commenting on Netflix's new Harry and Meghan docu-series. We'll explore what the reaction has been so far.

No more days, she's coming home. That joyful celebration from Brittney Griner's teammates. The U.S. basketball star is finally free after serving

almost ten months in a Russian jail on drug offenses. Her shock release comes after months of painstaking negotiation with the U.S. agreeing to

free infamous Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange. Speaking earlier, U.S. President Joe Biden said it took hard calls to get the deal

across the line.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She's safe. She's on a plane. She's on her way home. After months of being unjustly detained in Russia,

held under intolerable circumstances, Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones, and she should have been there all along.


GIOKOS: Well, standing alongside President Biden there, Griner's wife, Cherelle paid tribute to fellow American Paul Whelan who was not freed as

part of the deal.


CHERELLE GRINER, WIFE OF BRITTNEY GRINER: Today, my family is whole. But as you all are aware, there are so many other families who are not whole.

And so BG is not here to say this, but I will gladly speak on her behalf and say that BG and I will remain committed to the work of getting every

American home, including Paul, whose family is in our hearts today.


GIOKOS: Well, I want to bring in Nick Paton Walsh in London, and we've also got Natasha Bertrand standing by for us in Washington. Natasha, I want

to start with you. President Biden also said that they weren't given a choice. It was one or none. And we heard Brittney Griner's wife, Cherelle

there, saying, you know, Paul Whelan is still stuck in Russia. I want to talk about what the U.S. messaging has been since this exchange occurred.

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, Eleni, so a number of briefings have happened this morning around this prisoner swap. And they

have all --

GIOKOS: Yes --

BERTRAND: Sought to make abundantly clear that this was not a decision between one prisoner and another. This was a decision made by the White

House to get an American prisoner back or none, right? So, the option -- the only option that they really had in negotiating with the Russians was

to get Brittney Griner home because the Russians did not want to discuss any kind of swap for Paul Whelan for whatever reason.

And of course, that's notable because the U.S. had gone into these negotiations back in July, offering to trade this very notorious convicted

arms dealer, Viktor Bout for two Americans. Because of course, Viktor Bout has been convicted of much more serious crimes than either Brittney Griner

or Paul Whelan.

So they believe that this was a fair trade. The Russians, obviously, did not agree. But what the administration has tried to make clear over the

last several hours is that, this is not back to square one. They believe that because they have this dialogue with the Russians, ongoing, they

believe that they do have some momentum here, that they can continue down this road.

Now, whether or not that is actually the case, of course, remains to be seen. But ultimately, you know, they have already started to get a lot of

criticism just based on the asymmetry, of the perceived asymmetry of the prisoner swap that took place. Their argument here is that, we are going to

continue to monitor, of course, Viktor Bout's activities when he gets back to Russia.

Just you know, based on the sheer potential risk that he could pose to Americans abroad for example. He could get back into arms smuggling. These

are all things that the administration says it's going to watch. But of course, it is very disappointing for the Whelan family and for Paul Whelan

himself who has now being left behind twice.


First, of course, when Paul -- when Trevor Reed, the Texan was released from Russian detention earlier this Summer, and now of course, with

Brittney Griner. He's coming up on four years of being detained in Russia, Eleni.

GIOKOS: Yes, Natasha, I mean, the U.S. has said that things were always complex, very intense negotiations, Nick. I want to bring you in here, and

as Natasha was alluding to, this exchange has sparked a lot of debate because of the disparity between the case of Bout and of course, Brittney

Griner. But I want you to explain to me the significance of Bout, how important he still is for Russia to want to make this exchange at this


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Well, it is still a mystery as to how important he still is. Clearly, he is --

GIOKOS: Yes --

WALSH: Very important in terms of historically what he did for Russia. He's been in prison for about 14 years. So, I would be surprised, given the

lack of communications he'd have in jail, if he still had the arms network he was accused of having in the past. But it's that past that has always

been clearly very important to Russia.

He's always denied the accusation that he was one of the biggest arms dealers across Africa in conflicts in the early 2000s. I mean, even when I

met him myself here back in 2009 in Bangkok, he was very fluid in his discussion about key characters in these conflicts that he'd met. So,

clearly, a well traveled man who always insisted he was just a pilot moving around harmless material.

But U.N. investigations analysts pointed towards the prolific nature of his arms trafficking across multiple conflicts. And there is video showing him

near conflict zones, certainly at those times. So, a man possibly who pursued Russia's geopolitical interests, certainly, his western accusers

would say, in terms of who he armed, other suggestions that possibly in his Intelligence past, he may have been close to characters in the Russian

elites who are now close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, or certainly were, 14 years ago when he was arrested in a complex sting in Bangkok.

A lot has changed since that arrest. What hasn't changed is the sort of mythological place he has in terms of Russians held by the United States

after he was extradited, after a long legal fight in Thailand, and then faced trial for these charges and led to a U.S. sting in Bangkok. And that

is clearly behind the Moscow desire to see him back in Russia.

We've just actually seen some pictures, I would describe them to you if we're not able to show them to you of the exchange on a tarmac in the UAE,

in which you can see Miss Griner walking towards one plane, Mr. Bout walking towards another, he has a brief exchange, a hug with an individual

on the tarmac.

And then inside the plane, his temperature is checked, his blood pressure is checked, and he's on a phone, it seems, to a relative, possibly his

wife, saying I love you very much. They're filling the plane, I'm OK, I'm on my way home. And so, emotional scenes, certainly, that Russia is keen to

broadcast to its own audience.

I think the Kremlin are keen for people to see that they are able, in fact -- just here we are showing you now some of that video. Mr. Bout there,

remarkably, I would say, gone, frankly, compared to the fuller face man who was first arrested in 2008. A lot older, visibly, and as you see him sit

down here, he'll undergo some medical checks there.

This is the man who in an e-mail exchange I had with him while he was in a U.S. prison, a brief one, talked about how he used that time to practice

the languages that he's very familiar with multiple ones, from Sanskrit to Arabic to Farsi, very good English he speaks as well. And even, in fact,

got into yoga, he said, while he was in prison there.

So, a man who's clearly found his life has changed immeasurably since his arrest. In Thailand too, he begun -- as you can see there, very drawn

features there, ad a grey mustache. And at the beginning of this footage too, he's on the phone there, I'll do a brief translation for you. There's

a -- I think that's Miss Griner heading into a prison vehicle there. And you can see her now being moved, it seems, towards an aircraft being

brought -- I'm guessing out of Russia there, I'm guessing out of Moldova where she was incarcerated.

But -- yes, this is Russian state television, quite keen to show the exchange. I imagine that those around Vladimir Putin would have advised him

that this is, comparatively, a PR victory for him. They're able to get back a man who clearly retains significant value to Russia, and to the United

States, who incarcerated him there. He's beginning it seems to run towards the end of his sentence, which was I believe due to expire in 2029.

Perhaps that weighed onto the Biden administration's decision to swap him, but also too, clearly, Miss Griner's enormous importance. And also,

remember too, very different political systems here. The American one entirely accountable in the public eye, debate, pressure from relatives,

openly to put her first, to try and get her home. The Russian system, about a singular gesture it seems here.


A time of Russian war after their unsolicited invasion of Ukraine, trying to show, perhaps, that those people who are valuable to Russia's elite.

People who may have been geopolitically vital to them in the decades past, aren't essentially going to be left behind. So Viktor Bout clearly on his

way home if not -- sorry, already inside Russia now.

You saw him there on the phone, to his relatives, his wife it seems from the tone in which he was talking. And there you see him again on the tarmac

-- well, nearly, by that stage, is he a free man? I think he's probably in freedom, by then he appears he's walking alongside Russian officials. So,

on to a plane there in Abu Dhabi and on his way to Russia.

GIOKOS: Yes, Nick, thank you very much for that. And as you say, the exchange happening here in the UAE, in Abu Dhabi. We saw Brittney Griner

smiling there, obviously, in high-spirits. Forget about the logistics and the efforts that goes behind these exchanges. And it's really fascinating

to just see those images for the first time. Nick Paton Walsh, Natasha Bertrand, thank you so much for your insights.

Now, Russia is accusing Ukraine of launching attacks in its territory. One in Belgorod region, just over the border with Ukraine, and one in

Sevastopol in occupied Crimea. Russian officials there say, they shot down a drone which caused no damage. Officials in Kyiv are not commenting right

now. But it's incidents like those, which come months after Russia started Europe's biggest land war since World War II, that Russia's president uses

to justify attacking Ukraine's vital energy infrastructure. Take a listen.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT, RUSSIA (through translator): Right now, there's been a lot of uproar about our attacks on the energy infrastructure of our

neighboring country. Yes, we're doing it. But who started it? Who hit the Crimean bridge? Who blew up the power lines from the Kursk nuclear power



GIOKOS: All right, months of intense Russian airstrikes have seriously strained Ukraine's energy grid. And officials at Ukraine's state energy

company says frost, wind, snow and rain are complicating the repair process, especially in eastern Ukraine, which Russian forces are bombarding

with massive artillery fire. Ukrainian soldiers on the frontlines are coming into hospitals with serious wounds, and doctors are racing to save

them. Sam Kiley shows us.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): War time brain surgery in tandem. Wounded in battle on the same day on the same

front. Two young men, the focus of these over-practiced neurosurgeons. Kramatorsk is often bombed, the windows, even in here are taped to slow-

flying glass. The effort is intense to repair brains, to save lives, memories, loves and future dreams.

They would have little idea where to start their delicate work if they didn't have use of this CT scanner. It can pinpoint damage, find what it's

done, and it gives surgeons a plan of action. He says, "yes and unfortunately, there is no left eye. There is a suspicion of damage to the

right eye as well. But definitely no left eye."

(on camera): This is the fourth patient we've seen in the space of about an hour coming for a CT scan. It's supposed to be doing 15 or 20 a day.

They're actually doing 70 or 80. In short, it's wearing out.

(voice-over): This equipment is vital. The hospital can't afford a new one. But a used one is for sale in the west of Ukraine, cost about 120,000

bucks, price of losing this one, incalculable. He says he shows signs of severe cranial cerebral injury, with acute subdermal hematoma and severe

brain contusion. He needs urgent surgery.

The administrators here have raised about $60,000. They need help with the rest. This is the only CT scanner in a vast region.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Critical, this machine is critical. CT is critical to providing appropriate care for patients with

both head wounds and acute brain injuries.

KILEY (on camera): Is it saving lives?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely, absolutely, a 100 percent.

KILEY: There's been a steady flow of soldiers injured in and near Bakhmut. That is the scene of the heaviest fighting. This is a hospital that is

trying to deal really with an area they say, about 300 square kilometers, and a lot of that is at war.

(voice-over): Some soldiers are relatively lucky. Dak(ph) was shooting mortars at the Russians, who shot mortars back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My commander was lucky. He sat in front of me, and I sat behind him. And he was unhurt, and I got hit in the



But yes, we've seen wounded and dead before, if I am sitting here, I am lucky. Ukrainians on this eastern front call it the meat grinder. Jack was

alongside Dak(ph) when they were hit.

KILEY (on camera): How would you describe the battle for Bakhmut?

He says "World War I, trenches, mud, blood, trenches, mud again, artillery, trench warfare. That's it, World War i and World War II. Something like

that, Verdun, Opsom, something like that." The difference is that modern weapons are now more powerful. Modern surgery, often the only route to

survival. That, an old-fashioned grit. Sam Kiley, CNN, in Kramatorsk.


GIOKOS: Oh, I want to bring in Ukraine's Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov joins me now from Kyiv. Minister, we've just seen in that report

the pressure on hospitals, the lack of equipment needed to treat the wounded. And then you've got something else over your head, hanging over

your head, that electricity supply is at risk, because some of your critical infrastructure has been targeted.

I want you to take me through where you stand right now in terms of energy capacity and supply, and how much has been damaged.

OLEKSANDR KUBRAKOV, INFRASTRUCTURE MINISTER, UKRAINE: Yes, thank you much for your question. It's a huge problem for us especially during the last

couple of months, when Russians, they were not succeeding on the battlefield, regaining a lot of territories with the occupied Kharkiv

region, with the occupied Kherson and they started damaging our critical infrastructure, especially electricity, medrock(ph).

And to be honest, during the last several attacks, about 50 percent of our key objects, critical objects for electricity supply, somehow were damaged

even more. Some of them critical, some of them totally destroyed, about -- we are talking about almost 50 percent.

GIOKOS: Almost 50 percent. What are you planning to do to get your infrastructure back online, if you're talking about substation, we're

talking about infrastructure that's difficult to get back on track? Are we talking about a timeline here that is going to go, well, deep into the


KUBRAKOV: Now, first of all, we're trying to repair as soon as possible, we are using available spare parts. Fortunately, we have alliances that

are providing us also spare parts, outer transformers, new equipment, and we are doing our best in order to be radiant and repair -- from attack to

attack. So, this is how our Winter will happen, but there are some old soldiers --

GIOKOS: Yes --

KUBRAKOV: Good news that we are also improving our air defense from attack to attack, again, with the help of -- last we're receiving new and new

weapons, and if we compare actually of shutdown missiles from attack to attack. There's a number of --

GIOKOS: Yes --

KUBRAKOV: Shutdown missiles is increasing itself, and shutdown missiles. So, I understand that -- anyway, it'll be very complicated Winter, we are

doing our best in order to use -- to protect --

GIOKOS: Yes --

KUBRAKOV: Our critical objects with special defense. We're using big bags with sand sometimes, all available at three points in order to protect. So

-- but again, I mean, this Winter will happen in this way.

GIOKOS: Yes, as you say, complicated Winter. Sergey Lavrov says that Russia's attacks on Ukraine energy infrastructure are a justified response

to inherent threats. Firstly, what does that mean for you in terms of protecting your critical infrastructure, and while Ukraine has not

commented on the strikes in Russia, Russia is accusing Ukraine of strikes. Is there a sense, are you hearing that the fight does need to move to

Russia as well, on Russian ground?

KUBRAKOV: I think like the most simple answer is our success on battlefield. It started when they occupied Kharkiv region, when Kherson has

happened, and right after this success, they started all those attacks. Wave from wave, week to week, and this happened and after this. So this is

the main reason, all other, it's just a trend to explain their failure.

GIOKOS: Minister, very quickly, you've said Ukraine's grain is not going to hit 3 million tons in November, after hitting 4.2 million tons in



Very quickly, are you worried about the deal that was brokered?

KUBRAKOV: Yes, you are absolutely right. There's statistics, yes, in November, we expected slow corridor, Black Sea -- with the help of Black

Sea Grain Initiative, 2.7 --

GIOKOS: Yes --

KUBRAKOV: Million tons of grain, and Russia, they invented all these problems with inspection teams. In Bosphorus, they are trying to slow down

this project in this corridor. So, all problems with global prices on food, with problems in Africa --

GIOKOS: Yes --

KUBRAKOV: They are just due to Russians, and they are doing this openly. They understand very clear what's the problem. United Nations -- they

provided all those arguments, but they are doing --

GIOKOS: Yes --

KUBRAKOV: This for sure on purpose.

GIOKOS: Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov, thank you very much for your time.

KUBRAKOV: Thank you.

GIOKOS: Much appreciated. And still to come tonight, U.S. citizen Anne Sacoolas gets a suspended sentence over the death of a British teenager,

but the family says their fight for justice is not over. And a paparazzi feeding frenzy. That's what Prince Harry calls the U.K. tabloids. Up next,

we'll look at all the accusations and the controversial new docu-series, "Harry and Meghan".


GIOKOS: The highly-anticipated docu-series, "Harry and Meghan" just dropped on Netflix. And as always, the royal couple are dividing the

public. But Buckingham Palace says it will not be commenting on the show. In the first three episodes, we see how the Duke and Duchess of Sussex fall

in love while navigating the media scrutiny.

They hit back at the U.K. tabloid press, with Harry calling the paparazzi a feeding frenzy. Netflix opens the series with a disclaimer, saying the

palace declined to comment and be involved in the series. CNN's royal correspondent, Max Foster joins me now live from London. Max, full

disclosure, I was refreshing my Netflix today to see when this would draw.

I watched a couple of episodes, it was really illuminating to watch how Harry was joining parallels to what his mother went through and talking

about the trauma he experienced. But tell me about how this is going to be discussed within the palace walls.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think there's some relief that there weren't any massive bombshells like there were with that Oprah

Winfrey interview. I think this was more the setup, anyway. This was all building up perhaps to the big departure of the Sussexes, which we will

hear about next week where there's this second drop. So, some relief, I think, which is why they're not commenting.



FOSTER: It's being billed as the firsthand account of the relationship between Harry and Meghan. Their families and the media, and in their own

words. The first three episodes of the Netflix docu-series on the couple dropped in the early hours of this morning. And it returned to some

familiar themes.

DAVID: An outset of press pack of royal correspondents is essentially just an extended PR arm of the royal family.

FOSTER: Harry comparing Meghan's experience to that of his mother, Diana's. He feared she would be driven away by the media harassment.

DAVID: As far as a lot of the family were concerned, everything that she was being put through, they have been put through as well. So, it was

almost like a rite of passage. And some of them had comments like, right, my wife had to go through that, so, why should your girlfriend be treated

any differently? Why should you get special treatment? And why should she be protected? And I said, the difference here is the right sentiment.

FOSTER: Ultimately, Harry says, he had to leave the U.K. to protect his family.

DAVID: I accept that there will be people around the world who fundamentally disagree with what I've done and how I've done it. But I knew

I had to do everything I could to protect my family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, grandma? Yes --

DAVID: Especially after what happened to my mom.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, that's your grandma, Diana.

DAVID: You know, I didn't want history to repeat itself.

FOSTER: We heard from Meghan's mother for the first time.

DORIA RAGLAND, MEGHAN MARKLE'S MOTHER: And I remember when I first met him, too. You know, he was just like 6'1, handsome man with red hair,

really great manners.

FOSTER: Harry says when he introduced Meghan to his family, they didn't think the relationship would last.

MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: The actress thing was the biggest problem, funny enough. There's a big idea of what that looks like from the

U.K.'s standpoint. Hollywood, that was just very easy for them to typecast that.

FOSTER: The couple say they felt unprotected by the palace against a barrage of media attacks. The palace is yet to comment.


FOSTER: They did comment on the fact that at the beginning of this series, there's this caveat that says they asked the royal family for comment, they

declined to comment. The palace here said they weren't approached, first thing in the morning, and then later on, they said, oh, they were

approached by a third party. They just couldn't trust that approach, so they didn't respond. So, some chaos here, but at least, there were bigger -


GIOKOS: Yes --

FOSTER: Issues to deal with.

GIOKOS: Max, I have to ask you in terms of, you know, the tabloids, and it seems that, that is sort of center, at the epicenter of a lot of the

issues that Harry and Meghan were facing. It became unmanageable. Could you take us through some of the messaging there?

FOSTER: What they're really saying is that the tabloids took control of their story, and that's really frustrating to them, which is why they

wanted to take control back of their story. Which is why they're doing events like this, I think. I mean, what they were effectively saying is

there was an unwritten deal between the palace and the tabloids, that the palace will provide stories to the tabloids and would expect the couple to

perform for the tabloids.

And that was in return for public funding of the monarchy. I don't think it's as simple as that, because this system they're talking about also

involved the broadcasters, for example, and the photographers as well. But certainly how the Sussexes felt, and they felt that their -- none of their

concerns were never addressed properly. They all expect Meghan just to get on with the barrage of abuse that she received in the media.

GIOKOS: Yes, all right, Max Foster, always good to see you. Thank you so much --

FOSTER: Thanks, Eleni --

GIOKOS: All right, and still to come tonight, as Brittney Griner's family prepare to celebrate her return, the family of detained American Paul

Whelan says they are devastated he's been left behind in Russia. And a U.S. citizen gets a suspended sentence for the causing of the death of a British

teenager in 2019. We'll bring you that story, up next.




GIOKOS (voice-over): Welcome back.

Our top story, Brittney Griner, is now free. The American basketball star had been arrested in February near Moscow on drug smuggling charges.

President Biden says she is now on her way home just a short while ago.

Russian state television aired these images of Griner leaving. She was released in exchange for convicted arms dealer, Viktor Bout, shown here.

State media report that he has told relatives he is now back in Russia. You can see him on the plane there.

The former U.S. Marine, Paul Whelan, in the meantime, is still detained in Russia. He tells CNN in an exclusive phone call that he is disappointed the

Biden administration has not done more to release him.

The White House says he had been part of negotiations but it couldn't make it work. Russians accuse Paul Whelan of being a spy. He was arrested almost

four years ago and has 12 years left in his prison sentence. His brother spoke to CNN earlier about Brittney Griner's release. Take a listen.


DAVID WHELAN, PAUL'S BROTHER: We feel wonderful for them but we do worry about what is in Paul's future. I think it's become clear the U.S. doesn't

have any concessions the Russian government wants for Paul.

They have labeled Paul as a spy. Maybe they are waiting until the U.S. government captures a spy and can offer that as a trade.


GIOKOS: All right, CNN contributor on Russian affairs, Jill Dougherty, is standing by.

Jill, always good to see you. Seeing Bout on that plane in the prisoner exchange, it happened here in the UAE, seeing him, it is quite surreal that

the U.S. has made this exchange, a man that is a convicted arms dealer.

You have had interaction with him. He always denied all of the accusations, despite being found guilty. Even the Kremlin had said that he was innocent

and he shouldn't have been arrested and convicted. I want you to take me through some of what this means for Russia.

JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I've been watching a little bit of Russian TV. And I think it's interesting to think how each side, the United

States and Russia, are dealing with this.


I mean, Joe Biden, enormous public pressure to release this 32-year old woman, who is a famous basketball star. In other words, a lot of emotion

and a very personal story.

On the other side, with Russia, there actually wasn't a hue and cry by the public to release Viktor Bout. A lot of Russians don't really know who he

is. But it was important to the Kremlin to get Viktor Bout out.

And as you said, they deny and he denies that he ever trafficked in arms or anything like that. But you can see, what right now, for a domestic Russian

audience, they are depicting Viktor Bout as another innocent business man, as he is described as Russia, a business man.

He is on the plane, he is getting his blood pressure checked. He is saying, I love you very much, perhaps to his wife on the phone. And then, a couple

of interviews with his wife and his mother. Little details like what he is going to eat when he gets home.

So I think the image they are trying to portray is it's pretty much the same thing. This guy was innocent. He was held by Americans and now he is

getting released.

Obviously, it's quite different, because Viktor Bout may still have value. He must, if they wanted to trade him and they did all this negotiating.

There must be value to Russia for Viktor Bout.

So I think you would have to ask now, what will happen to Viktor Bout in the future?

Will he go back to what's alleged?

Will he go back to arms trafficking?

Or would he stop that?

I mean, he is very well-known at this point. So it might be kind of hard to do that quietly. But I think those are some of the questions that

obviously, I think Russia was not ready to give two people back to the United States. It really was one to one at this point.

GIOKOS: I'm so glad you mentioned that, because President Biden says it was intense negotiation. It was tough. And it was one or none.

It is interesting that Paul Whelan had an opportunity to have direct calls with the media after being incarcerated for four years.

Does that mean that Russia is, in some way, trying to leverage the situation by holding on to Paul Whelan, knowing the release of Brittney

Griner would create many questions around why Paul Whelan wasn't included?

DOUGHERTY: That could be. If you look at what Paul Whelan said -- and it's totally understandable, he wants the Biden administration to do more. Now

whether the Biden administration could do more is a question.

It appears they did pretty much as much as they could. But allowing him, I think, it is interesting, that he was allowed to talk to the Western media,

namely CNN. And what he said was, I need more help.

So in all of the excitement about Brittney Griner, there is another negative side, which is Paul Whelan is not free. That puts a little bit

more pressure, I think PR pressure on this day, on the Biden administration.

It puts a little cloud on the news that Brittney Griner is being released. But we don't know. Obviously the Russians treat Paul Whelan in a very

different way. We're talking about allegations of spying. That's another category.

So how they will deal with it is, as you and others have pointed out, they wait for the United States to nab a spy. But it's very hard at this point

to say how that will move forward.

GIOKOS: Jill Dougherty, great to see you. Thank you very much.

All right, a London high court has ruled that U.S. citizen Anne Sacoolas will not serve any prison time for causing the death of British teenager

Harry Dunn in 2019. The 45-year-old wife of a U.S. diplomat pleaded guilty to causing the fatal car crash that killed the 19 year old.

Sacoolas appeared in a court via video link from the United States, despite the judge appealing for her to face sentencing in person. Let's bring in

Barbie Nadeau, who was at the London court following this story.

Could you explain what you heard in court today?

She wasn't there for the sentencing but faces no jail time.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, it's a very complicated case. The controversy around this case doesn't really stem from the

accident itself. It was, as the family says, an innocent mistake.

She pulled out of the airbase where she was stationed. She is American, she was on the wrong side of the road. She immediately admitted to the mistake

when she hit this teenager, who was on his motorcycle.


It's the events that happened after that. She went back to the base and she was basically ferried to the United States under diplomatic immunity. That

is what has angered the family so much.

They believe it is not her that is to blame, it's the U.S. government. Let's hear what their spokesperson had to say after court.


RADD SEIGER, DUNN FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: (INAUDIBLE). We know she made a mistake that night. Our real anger here is with the U.S. government. After

Harry's death, it's coming to do the right thing for this family but they decided to kick them in the stomach.


NADEAU: It's that anger that is really driving, has driven this family so much to try to get justice for their son. He was a twin. It was very

devastating for his twin brother, very obviously.

But a number of things the U.S. government say they did was to block her extradition. They told her they did not want, the U.S. government did not

want her to appear at her sentencing hearing today, here in London.

The other thing her lawyer said was that she didn't ask for immunity herself. That was her employer, the U.S. government. And she wasn't

involved at all in the extradition request. She was sort of put back to United States.

The judge was very, very harsh in her critique of Ms. Sacoolas' behavior and the U.S. government behavior. But at the end of the day, she was given

an 8-month suspended sentence, suspended for 12 months and she will serve no jail time for this.

GIOKOS: Barbie Nadeau, thank you so much.

Peru has sworn in its first female president, Dina Boluarte, after seven political chaos erupted during her first speech. She accused her

predecessor, Pedro Castillo, of attempting a coup on Wednesday. He was arrested and charged with violating the constitution after the country's

congress impeached him.

He tried to suspended the country's congress before the impeachment vote.

Still to come, shocking allegations against the Nigerian military, who are accused of conducting a systematic abortion program against women and girls

rescued from Boko Haram. We will have all the details just ahead.




GIOKOS: Welcome back.

Now FIFA has confirmed the death of a migrant worker, which occurred at a training base during the stages of the World Cup in Qatar. FIFA says it is

deeply saddened by this tragedy.


Qatar's government confirmed with CNN the incident is being investigated by authorities. Yet when asked about the death, the Qatar World Cup chief

executive had this to say.


NASSAR AL KHATER, CEO, QATAR WORLD CUP: We're in the middle of a World Cup, a successful World Cup.

And this is something you want to talk about right now?

I mean, death is a natural part of life, whether it's at work, whether it is in your sleep. Of course, a worker died. Our condolences go to his

family. However, it is strange that this is something that you want to focus on as your first question.


GIOKOS: Iran has executed a man by the name of Mohsen Shekari, according to two Iranian media outlets. Shekari was convicted of injuring a member of

the Basij parliamentary force in September.

He is the first known person to be executed in connection with the ongoing protests. The U.N. has called an immediate halt to executions, saying that

more than 11 protesters have also been sentenced to death for charges related to the unrest. CNN independently verified the total number of

people facing execution.

And now to a story out of Nigeria, about women who have been victimized many times over by militants and by their own country's military. A Reuters

investigation alleges that women and girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, who were raped and impregnated by their captors, were then forced by Nigerian

soldiers to terminate those pregnancies. Our Nima Elbagir has more.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The details are absolutely horrifying. Reuters News Agency in a new investigation, says

they have evidence that at least 10,000 pregnancies were aborted, pregnancies carried by women and girls who had been rescued from the Boko

Haram militant terrorist organization.

And who were carrying the children of their captors, forced by Nigeria's own military to abort these pregnancies. This is what one girl we spoke to

had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): In the beginning, we were in our town. Boko Haram came and attacked. They grabbed us and took us away to the

bush. After that, we were in the bush, in their hands. Soldiers came and took us. After that, they took us to view our barracks and they aborted our



ELBAGIR: This is not the first time Nigerian authorities and the Nigerian military has been accused of human rights violations. A CNN investigation

into the incidents at Lekki toll gate two years ago found the Nigerian army had fired live rounds into protesters who were protesting, demonstrating

against police brutality.

This is not only an issue for Nigeria and a condemnation that they are receiving from the Nigerian public. For these allegations of human rights

violations, it's also an issue for the United States of America.

Over the last two decades, Nigeria has been the recipient of hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. military assistance and U.S. training, also,

they have been approved for U.S. arms sales.

Any allegations of human rights violations causes great concern to the United States, because it would place the U.S. administration itself in

violation of U.S. law. The Leahy Act, which prohibits the United States to give military assistance to foreign governments accused of human rights


A year ago, when the judicial panel investigating what happened a Lekki toll gate found that CNN's investigation had actually been true, that the

Nigerian authorities, the Nigerian army, was guilty of firing live fire into demonstrators protesting police brutality, we asked the U.S. State


And they said that, if this was true, that they would want the perpetrators held to account. And it would call into question U.S. military support. Two

years later, nothing's happened.

The question remains whether these latest allegations of wrongdoing on the part of the Nigerian military will have an impact on the U.S.' support --

Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.


GIOKOS: The Nigerian military strongly denies the Reuters report, calling it a fictitious series of stories. Here's a major general in the Nigerian



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has never happened. It is not happening. It will not happen. It is not in our character. We are highly professional. We are

human beings. And these are Nigerians they are talking about.


GIOKOS: Still to come tonight, the Chinese president is being received in Saudi Arabia with pomp and circumstance normally reserved for Riyadh's most

strategic ally, the United States.





GIOKOS: Welcome back.

Now to a high stakes meeting in Saudi Arabia. Chinese president, Xi Jinping, is in Riyadh meeting with Saudi and Arab leaders. The Saudi press

agency says Mr. Xi has signed a comprehensive strategic partnership agreement with the Saudi king. This comes as the two countries share an

increasingly tense relationship with the U.S.

Let's go to our international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson.

Great to see you, Nic. It's for billions and billions of dollars in deals but also this is an interesting show of force, sending a powerful to the

United States, who have said they don't want to create a vacuum in the region which would open a door for China and Russia to fill.

I want you to give me an idea of how important this meeting is for China and Saudi Arabia.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You have here the world's largest, biggest oil exporter. And you have the world's biggest,

largest, oil importer. They do roughly last year more than $80 billion worth of trade between them. More than half of that is the Saudi oil going

to China.

So this is an important economic partnership, this comprehensive strategic partnership that they have agreed is supposed to enhance business in areas

like mining, petrochemical ventures.

But you know, I think the way we can understand this relationship goes back to 2019, February 2019, to be precise, because president Xi invites crown

prince Mohammed bin Salman to go to Beijing to give him a platform at a moment in time where MBS was a pariah on the international stage because of

the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Xi understood that and invited MBS, because he wanted to give him an opportunity to put himself in a better light. You saw that reciprocated

when Xi arrived in Riyadh. President Biden, remember, was greeted when he flew into Saudi this summer, greeted by the Saudi ambassador to Washington.

He was on the runway there to greet him. But Xi gets the foreign minister to meet him. And there's a flyby of planes over the airport, with streaming

red and yellow smoke from the back. This was a very significant message of sort of status for the way the Saudis sort of hold this relationship in

high regard.


Both leaders wanting to make something out of it. But particularly for president Xi, really wanting to find ways that he can decouple Saudi Arabia

and other Arab states' relationship with the United States. That really seems to be the big thing on his agenda.

GIOKOS: Nic Robertson, always good to see you. Thank you.

We want to show you some amazing images of a volcanic eruption happening in the U.S. state of Hawaii.


GIOKOS (voice-over): This is lava flowing from Mauna Loa, the world's largest active volcano. It's inching closer to a main highway on the Big

Island. So far, no homes are in danger. The National Guard has stepped in to help protect residents and tourists from getting too close.

The mayor of Hawaii is urging drivers to stay on the designated viewing route and refrain from hiking to the lava.


GIOKOS: Well, thanks so very much for watching tonight. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next. I'm Eleni Giokos in Dubai.