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Isa Soares Tonight

Debate Rages on Over Tanks for Ukraine; U.S. Police Investigate 72- Year-Old Monterey Park Shooter; FBI Finds More Classified Documents at Biden's Delaware Home; Volunteers Bring Aid, Help Frontline Communities Evacuate; Deforestation Threatens DRC As Refugees Try To Survive; Trash And Waste Clog Sections Of Drina River; Italy Displays $20 Million Worth Of Returned Antiquities. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired January 23, 2023 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, Poland is determined while Germany is

still deciding. The latest on the tank debate as Ukraine braces for Russia's next offensive. Then, another U.S. community is in shock after a

mass shooting. What we know about the 72-year-old gunman who killed ten in California.

And then later, the document debacle. More classified documents found outside the White House. How President Biden's classified crisis stacks up

against the Trump investigation.

But first, this evening, Ukraine is preparing for what officials expect will be a new Russian offensive in the Spring. And as Western allies are

debating about sending tanks to Kyiv. Poland's foreign minister says his country is determined to send tanks whether other countries decide to or


On Sunday, the Polish Prime Minister accused Berlin of, quote, "wasting time by not approving the export of German-made Leopard 2 tanks, those on

your screen there. German officials say they have not yet received an official request to do so, and insist they will not block the transfers.

Germany's defense minister says his country will decide soon about whether to send tanks themselves. Meanwhile, Ukraine's foreign minister says he is

also -- has no doubt that the Leopards will reach Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the need is dire. He spoke with CNN's affiliate

"ARD's" correspondent Visalli Goblet(ph).


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): This is no time for bargaining. This is the time for survival. We need to survive


SOARES: Let's get more on this, Nic Robertson is with me here in London. And Nic, in the last hour we heard from Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro

Kuleba who said "the provision of Leopard 2 tanks is at the final stage." Do we know what that means? How close we are?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: We don't. And it's also interesting because he did outline the remaining things that Ukraine

would like. The tanks, long-range artillery to be able to hit Russia's deep defensive and storage positions and aircrafts.

So maybe that's -- the aircraft is the very last of the line --

SOARES: Right --

ROBERTSON: And the list of things that is required and requested by Ukraine. But I think, we -- interestingly, we heard from the European Union

Foreign Affairs chief, Josep Borrell today saying that, you know, Germany is not blocking anyone else sending tanks. And I think when we read between

the lines, to a degree, of what we've heard from the Polish prime minister today is, we're looking for a small coalition of others to send tanks.

We know from the Germans issue, was saying that they haven't received a formal request from the Poles to send their Leopard 2 tanks. So it does

seem as if there is a sensitivity, not just on Germany's side about how and when to send these hugely important war-fighting machines, but the

consequences of it.

And I think that we're getting a sense of that because Poland doesn't want to move alone either.

SOARES: Let's peel back the layers on that then. Do we know how big this coalition is? Do you know who will be part of this coalition, perhaps? And

do we know from the Polish side how soon -- when they think they will request with the Germans to send the tanks?

ROBERTSON: It does seem to be a small group. The German foreign minister today said that they would not stand in the way of a request. That it would

be looked favorably upon. So it does seem that when Poland and whomever else asked for it, it will happen. That seems to be fairly certain at the

moment. We know that on the margins of the meeting in Ramstein last Friday, the Poles met with other nations from that gathering who have the Leopard 2


And that's quite a range. How many are actually sort of teetering on the brink in the same way that Poland is wanting to send? Some of the Baltics,

maybe. But we heard from the German government spokesman today telling us that at least one nation isn't ready to do it, and that's Spain.

SOARES: Well --

ROBERTSON: He said that Spain feels very much as Germany does at the moment. But again, the details of this -- it is -- it's all this sort of

differences and the precise machinations for a reason are being kept behind closed doors. They don't want to over-blow the differences because that

plays into President Putin's desires and narrative to divide NATO.

SOARES: On that, what have we heard from the Russian side? As he sees these -- the bickering or the divisions here playing out?


ROBERTSON: What we've heard from the Kremlin today, Dmitry Peskov; the spokesman there saying -- and it's something we've heard before. And

there's a whole variety of responses that the tanks will make no difference. Russia will persevere to Russia is not going to be invaded and

lose, will literally push the nuclear button.

Today, the version from the Kremlin was, well, the Ukrainian people will pay for this, ultimately. This can only be taken in the context of the war

as a threat.

SOARES: Indeed, Nic Robertson, thank you very much, appreciated it. Now, investigators are combing a shocked community in southern California, to

try and to really to discover the gunman's motive in America's latest mass shooting. It happened on Saturday night in the L.A. suburb of Monterey


Investigators say 72-year-old Huu Can Tran opened fire in a dance studio where lunar new year celebration was underway. He left at least ten people

dead and ten more wounded. Police say, he then went to a second dance studio, but two patrons there disarmed him, one of them was Brandon Tsay,

who spoke to "ABC News". Have a listen.


BRANDON TSAY, PATRON WHO DISARMED GUNMAN: That's when I turned around and saw that there was an Asian man holding a gun. My first thought was --


TSAY: I was going to die here. This was a -- something came over me. I realized I needed to get the weapon away from him. I needed to take this

weapon, disarm him or else everybody would have died.


SOARES: Incredibly brave man. Well, California Governor Gavin Newsom visited Monterey Park on Sunday, mournful as well as angry. Afterward, he

tweeted "no other country in the world is terrorized by this constant stream of gun violence. We need gun reform at a national level."

Police corralled Tran inside his van hours after the massacre, where they say he took his own life. CNN'S Kyung Lah shows us how this latest mass

killing unfolded.


REP. JUDY CHU (D-CA): What I want to do here is to say to the community, feel safe. You are no longer in danger.

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Monterey Park shooting suspect is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound following a

police standoff Sunday. Law enforcement tracked a white cargo van that fit the description of a vehicle of interest from the shooting.

Four hours, S.W.A.T. officers tried to get the occupant of the vehicle to surrender until what officers believe was a gunshot heard from inside the


ROBERT LUNA, SHERIFF, LOS ANGELES COUNTY: Homicide detectives are working around the clock, gathering additional information and working on

determining the motive behind this extremely tragic event.

LAH: Law enforcement sources tell CNN, the suspect may have sought medical treatment shortly before the standoff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is unbelievable. This is terrible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To see this happen in this place is shattering.

LAH: The 72-year-old alleged shooter opened fire at a dance studio with the cities large Asian-American community were celebrating the lunar new

year Saturday night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Additional units requested. Multiple victims, gunshot wounds.

LAH: The gunman then left the scene and targeted another neighboring dance studio with the semi-automatic weapon before it was wrestled away from him.

LUNA: The suspect went to the Alhambra location after he conducted the shooting, and he was disarmed by two community members who I consider to be

heroes because they saved lives.

LAH: The alleged shooter is Asian-American and believed to have acted alone. He was a regular patron at the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, even

meeting his ex-wife there, according to three people who knew him.

MAYOR HENRY LO, MONTEREY PARK, CALIFORNIA: I have confidence that we will, we will get over this crisis, because we must, and we will only do so if we

do it together as a community.

LAH: Ten people were pronounced dead at the scene, making this mass shooting the deadliest since the Uvalde elementary school shooting last

May. The sheriff described many of the victims as likely being in their 50s, 60s, or older. This tragedy marks the 33rd mass shooting so far this

year according to the gun violence archive.

LUNA: Gun violence needs to stop. And I hope that this tragedy doesn't just go on a long list of many others that we don't even talk about until

the next one comes up.


SOARES: And that was CNN's Kyung Lah reporting there. CNN's Josh Campbell is in Monterey Park for us right now. Josh, good to see you. What more are

you learning about the gunman as well as the motive, critically, here?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it remains under investigation at this hour. Authorities say that they know what type of

weaponry was used in this mass attack that occurred here Saturday night behind me in southern California, which ten people were killed.

Authorities say that this suspect, 72 years old, used a semi-automatic assault pistol with a high capacity magazine. Meaning that it had many

rounds of ammunition that the suspect was able to fire without having to reload that weapon.


Now, he went from this location after that attack occurred. And police say that whenever they arrived, this was a scene of chaos. People were flooding

out, they were in tears, they were looking for the gunman, but he had fled to the nearby area of Alhambra here in southern California. And in just a

really chilling story, we're hearing that, that situation there could have been so much worse.

Because as he went to a second dance club, someone inside that building actually confronted the shooter and disarmed him, taking his gun away. The

shooter then fled. He was found about 30 miles from this crime scene. And in this lengthy standoff with the law enforcement there, authorities

eventually determining that the suspect took his own life.

Because he is now dead, they can't interview him. So they're working to go through his residence. Authorities are executing a search warrant there.

And also we're learning that they're talking to associates of his to try to get to the bottom of exactly what happened. Was there any indication that

he was planning to target this dance studio here this weekend?

SOARES: And Josh, while there's so much, obviously, like you laid out, that we don't know about the motive in this senseless attack, what are you

learning about the victims here?

CAMPBELL: So, the victims were primarily Asian-American. This neighborhood that we're in is about 65 percent Asian-American. Ten people were killed,

five men and five women, and an additional, at least ten others were injured requiring medical treatment. Authorities are just now beginning to

identify these victims. They range in age from their 50s and onwards.

But this has obviously devastated this community, we're waiting for an additional update from authorities to provide additional information on who

these people were that were just out in this area, again, end of lunar new year, celebrating at a dance studio, having fun out in the evening, and

that obviously struck by gunfire. Ten people lost their lives.

SOARES: Josh Campbell for us there in Monterey Park, California, thanks very much, Josh, appreciate it. Well, the FBI has found another batch of

classified documents of President Joe Biden's home in Wilmington, Delaware. His lawyers say the search happened on Friday and the six items were found

were from Mr. Biden's time in Senate -- in the Senate and as vice president.

This is, if you remember, the fourth time now classified documents have been found since that first search on November 2nd. Let's take a closer

look now at CNN's politics senior reporter, Stephen Collinson and former FBI Director Andrew McCabe. Gentlemen, thank you very much. Andrew McCabe

is a well-known face to many of us. The author of "The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump".

CAMPBELL: Stephen, let me start with you. I was reading your CNN article that you wrote on this, and it seems that the standout distinction between

Biden and Trump in relation to these documents is the fact that President Biden has been cooperating with authorities and the special investigation.

How else do they compare? Just explain that to our international viewers?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: That's right. We haven't seen the kind of months of obstruction that we saw from Donald Trump in the

affair of the documents that he had at his Mar-a-Lago resort. The FBI, for instance, didn't need to have a search warrant to get into the president's

residence in Wilmington, Delaware, on Friday.

They had to have that kind of thing after Trump didn't allow them access to his residence in Florida last year. The scale of this also appears to be

different. We could be talking about so far around two dozen documents in the case of President Biden. Donald Trump had at various times hundreds of

documents, more than a 100 classified documents were taken away from his residence by the FBI.

So, there are clear differences in this case. The problem is that politically, and to many voters, this is going to look like Donald Trump

had classified documents and President Biden has classified documents. And that is something that Republicans have been able to exploit, to blur the

cases, to harm the White House, and to give some cover to Donald Trump as he faces the possibility of indictment by the Justice Department in this


SOARES: And Andrew, regardless of how many documents there are and how it's being handled, whether being cooperative and transparent, I mean, it's

still a breach of security, is it not? So just explain what the protocol is once an administration ends. Where do these documents ought to go? .

ANDREW MCCABE, AUTHOR & FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: Sure, so it's absolutely a significant and serious breach of security. And that's why it's being fully

investigated in both instances. So at the end of every administration, we have a law in this country, the Presidential Records Act that mandates that

all of the documents and papers and property of not just the president, but everyone on the president's staff is the property and the custody of the

National Archives.

So everything has to be packed up and sent to the National Archives. There is, you know, a small amount of personal materials that can go with the

president or the former president, former vice president as they move on to a new phase in their lives.


But really, everything work-related is supposed to go to the National Archives to be preserved and catalogued for history's sake.

SOARES: So why then hold on to them, and is this, then Andrew, reflective of a wider problem, do you think?

MCCABE: It very well may be. And let's remember, let's try to keep the cases separate and distinct. In the case of Trump's removal of documents

and retention in the Mar-a-Lago, the former president has made several statements that indicate that he thought those materials were his. He's

also made claims to have declassified many of those documents, although he's proved no evidence of that whatsoever.

And so, he's kind of backed himself into a corner where he can't now claim that it was a mistake. In the Biden situation, you have the exact opposite

claims. The president's team has indicated that the president didn't have any idea that these documents have been mistakenly sent with his -- both to

the Penn Biden office, where they were initially found, and also to his residence.

So you're in very different footing in both of these investigations. One of them appears to be intentional and obstructive, and the other appears to be

inadvertent. But the investigations aren't over yet, so we'll see where they go.

SOARES: Yes, and Stephen, I mean, the president I think said last week, I mean, he's been trying to play this down. But last week, I remember, I

think it was on Friday, he said there was no there, there. He was speaking to reporters, putting aside, of course, the legal headache. How big of a

problem is this politically for him, you touched a bit there on what this means for him, how much of really of a bombshell is this for him at home?

COLLINSON: Well, there are two real political problems here, I think. The first one is, as you mentioned there, the White House and the president

himself have repeatedly tried to play this down, to suggest that it will soon be over, that there's no real problem and the voters don't care about

it that much. Only for them to be later undermined by the discovery of more documents, given the impression that the White House isn't being


The kind of drip of a classic Washington scandal. I think the other political problems is that we were already facing the unprecedented and

explosive possibility that a former president, a current 2024 presidential candidate, Donald Trump could be indicted over the classified documents


If there's any suggestion whatsoever politically, that the president whose Justice Department is investigating Donald Trump is being treated

differently than the former president, that's going to cause a massive political kerfuffle. That's something that somebody like Trump, who has a

long record of exploiting these kind of things, and also a record of inciting violence, could use to his advantage in the 2024 campaign.

And I think it does raise questions, although these cases are distinct and you could make, I think a clear potential case for obstruction on the part

of former President Trump, whether that is something that is politically sustainable in this political atmosphere is I think a big question now.

SOARES: So Stephen, just give me a taste of how this story has played in U.S. mainstream media? How have they been covering this? I mean, is

President Biden getting the same scrutiny as Trump here?

COLLINSON: I think so. You know, whenever there's a sense of sniff of scandal coming from the White House, that sends the Washington media into

its sort of classic scandal overdrive. But people have also been pointing out clearly that there are big differences between the case of Trump and

Biden over the classified documents.

And they're not analogists. The problem is, is that politically, it's very easy for Republicans to blur those differences. We saw over the weekend,

you know, lots of tweets and comments by Republicans saying basically that the president is trying to condemn Trump for something he did himself and

is therefore a hypocrite. So, you know, that's the way Washington works really.

SOARES: Stephen, always great to get your perspective, thank you so much. Andrew, you could stay with us for just a moment because I want to bring

this story just coming into CNN. We are getting word of a federal indictment against a former high-level FBI official in New York. Charles

McGonigal is charged with violating U.S. sanctions by agreeing to provide services to Russian oligarchs.

He and a Soviet-born caught interpreter are accused of working with Oleg Deripaska, shown here, including investigating a rival oligarch in return

for payments. Deripaska, if any of you remember as an ally of Vladimir Putin and was sanctioned by Washington in 2018 over an alleged Russian

election interference, and charged with violating sanctions last September. So, let me ask you this then, Andrew, how big of a deal is this? What do

you make of this?

MCCABE: It's a very big deal. The charges and the indictment from the Southern District of New York that you referred to are very serious. Mr.

McGonigal has also been charged in an indictment that was unsealed today in Washington D.C., that revealed very different but also very serious



And full disclosure, I know Charlie McGonigal, I worked with him for many years in the FBI, so this comes as an incredible shock to me, and I'm sure

many of my former colleagues. They are allegations only at this point, but as I said, very serious ones, and the indictments themselves are detailed

in a way that looks quite damning.

SOARES: And this is a high-level -- a former high-level FBI official. What does this -- what questions do you have after listening to this? Do you

worry there could be others that may have been involved here?

MCCABE: Well, I should say there's no indication from the indictments that there are other FBI people involved in this activity. But I -- but Charles

was in a -- Mr. McGonigal was in a very high-level position with great responsibility, over one of the largest counterintelligence programs in the

FBI. That being the New York City field office.

I would expect that the FBI is conducting a thorough damage assessment now to understand if there was any other activity that could possibly have

compromised his work in any way. That is, you know, work that the FBI will do very quietly, but it's -- this is a -- this is a very tough thing to

learn about publicly, and tough position for the FBI to be in.

SOARES: Andrew McCabe, always great to get your analysis, thanks very much, appreciate it.

MCCABE: Thanks.

SOARES: Now staying In the United States, a guilty verdict for a man at the center of one of the most notorious images from the January 6th

insurrection. Richard Barnett was photographed putting his feet, if you remember, on a dusk inside the then House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi's office

two years ago.

Now in connection with that, he's been found guilty of eight federal crimes by a Washington D.C. jury. He will be sentenced in May. Still to come right

here tonight, police have released almost 200 people from custody in Peru after a weekend raid at a university in Lima. What one student saw, we'll

bring that to you, next.

And then talks of a common currency between Brazil and Argentina. We'll look at the likelihood of success with Richard Quest. That's next.


SOARES: Two South American giants, Brazil and Argentina are considering combining currencies.


For decades, the continent's two largest economies have discussed the idea of a common currency that will inevitably face a lot of political

opposition before being realized, especially considering Argentina's economy is struggling, and it has been struggling in recent time amid

record inflation. So how likely is this to happen. CNN's Richard Quest joins me to discuss. .

What do you make of this because I mean, you know, we've been hearing rumors about this for a while. Do you think it'll take off?


SOARES: Why not?

QUEST: Because you can't -- this is essentially two drunk men trying to prop each other up, walking down the street. Why do you want to have a

single currency? You have a single currency because it facilitates trade.

SOARES: Correct --

QUEST: The euro has been a huge benefit to the countries in it, but it's also a corset. It holds you into a firm grip unless you start breaking.

Now, both Argentina and Brazil have both played around. Argentina played around with dollarization.

SOARES: Yes --

QUEST: With -- It had a currency board at one point. It fell out of that because it blew up spectacularly. Brazil has played around with some form

of stringent mechanism to try and protect the currency. But what are you protecting it from? Look at it, Argentina has defaulted nine times.

SOARES: Inflation is almost a 100 percent.

QUEST: And it dollarized, and it didn't work. Why -- go on --

SOARES: I mean, listen, trying to get away from the dollar, trying to boost trade. That's going down the wrong route if you create your own


QUEST: But the currency is only as strong as the underlying political policies that are in place. We saw that with Liz Truss.

SOARES: Yes --

QUEST: She brings out policies, the pound fell down out of the window. So this is a really bad idea for the simple reason that they are using it as

an excuse for taking the hard macro-economic policies necessary to run -- look, if you run a stable economy with a stable currency, you've got no

problem with currency risk.

Use the dollar, everybody can translate in and out of the dollar because the dollar is the common currency. But your currency has to be stable

against it, which these two are anything, but.

SOARES: I mean, and they say they would start off with both of them, and they would open up to the continent.

QUEST: Oh great --

SOARES: Because -- I mean, euro-like, I mean, it took 35 --

QUEST: Yes --

SOARES: Years to get to the euro.

QUEST: Because euro has got 27, 28 members, it has a highly sophisticated central bank, that's the other thing you've got to do. You've got to be

prepared to hand over control to an independent central bank. And what --

SOARES: Which is what Argentina didn't want. Argentina Central Bank didn't want any of this initially.

QUEST: Of course, nobody wants that. The central banks would say --

SOARES: Yes --

QUEST: Fine. But then finally, you've got to run your policies properly, because if you don't, as Greece discovered --

SOARES: Yes --

QUEST: As Italy is discovering with its debt, as Spain discovered. All you're doing is putting a corset around the parties that will eventually

explode them or perhaps --

SOARES: And I also don't think there will be much appetite politically for this when you know, the economic --

QUEST: Well --

SOARES: Policies are not there and people concerned of another -- more important things, cost of living crisis and so forth.

QUEST: If there was any hope that the politicians would use this as a way to run economic policy properly, the people would supported it.

SOARES: Yes --

QUEST: But it wouldn't. Argentina tried it with dollarization, Brazil's tried it in various guises. The reality is, this is a nonstarter. It's a

bad idea, it's bad economics.

SOARES: Well, you heard it here guys, I don't think it's going to happen, at least, Richard says so.

QUEST: I hope they don't try, because if they do it, it will blow up steam.

SOARES: Well, I think -- I think what we're seeing on social media as the majority of people in South America don't want it for the obvious reason

that you've just outlined, Richard. Thank you very much, Richard Quest. And Richard will be back, of course, in about, what? Half an hour or so with


Well, just hours ago, almost 200 people were released from police custody in Peru. This after police stormed a university in Lima over the weekend,

arresting anti-government protests. Peru's Interior Minister says no one was injured. But here is what one student saw, have a look at this.


ROSMELY TORRE, SAN MARCOS UNIVERSITY STUDENT: The police entered with force. They've taken all the demonstrators who are inside the university.

They've entered with teargas bombs, they assaulted people. I arrived here and saw some demonstrators crying.


SOARES: Well, the university says the raid caused quote, "physical as well as psychological damage to students." The Interior Minister, though says

the university asked for the intervention. Of course, we'll stay on top of that story as we have done now for weeks. And still to come tonight,

volunteers in Ukraine head to the frontlines to give civilians aid and help evacuate communities. We'll speak to some of those involved. You are

watching CNN.




ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Welcome back. Well, Ukraine is trying to push forward with their counter-offensive in the east but with little

headway. A senior Ukrainian official says troops are holding their current positions in Luhansk, but that moving forward is proving "very difficult."

Our Ben Wedeman has been reporting from the region over the past few weeks. In this report, he meets a group of volunteers who are trying to help

civilians on the frontlines.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Down a well-trodden path, Anatoli heads toward home perhaps for the last time.

Sasha, a travel agent volunteer, will help him collect what he meant for the journey to Kyiv. It's time to be with family.

I want to see my grandchildren. I have four , Anatoli says, and my son just got drafted.

Neighbors will look after his chickens, goats, and dog.

That's all, he says. Let's go guys. They'll start shelling now.

He's leaving with a group of young Ukrainians who deliver food and supplies to soldiers, frontline communities and evacuate those who wants to leave.

The can't close calls and plenty. Says Sasha, in Bakhmut, cluster bombs fell all around us, but we ducked. God protected us.

A year ago, Oleksandr managed car parts store.

OLEKSANDR VETROV, UKRAINIAN VOLUNTEER: And when the war started since February 2022, we come together and take one bus and together some foods,

some stuffs, and make our visits to hot points.

WEDEMAN: And hot these points are. They venture through villages still under fire, ravaged by months of shelling. They've come to this village

looking for people. They heard reports that 27 were still here. So far though, they haven't found any. Finally, they find a door marked people.

People have been hiding in the shelter.


The volunteers quickly get to work. No time to waste.

We're always in the basement, says Tetiana (ph). We go there as soon as they start shelling. Especially the last days, it's very, very hard.

Olha owned a cafe near Kyiv but left it to be here. She prefers to keep her mother in the dark.

I don't always tell her where I go because she's worried for my life, she says, but we go anyway.

In another village, they're evacuating Stefan who's suffering from frostbite or so he believes. He hasn't seen a doctor.

I was putting up with pain, but now it hurts when I walk in I can't get any treatment here, he says. There are no doctors, no hospital, so I asked my

daughter in Holland to help me.

In the evening, Vladya (ph) meets him. Her relief says it all.

Ben Wedeman, CNN Eastern Ukraine.


SOARES: Just beautiful. I'm joined now by Michael Bociurkiw, Global Affairs Analyst and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. Michael has been based

in Ukraine on and off over the past year and just returned from Odessa. On Sunday, you and I spoke almost what, just less than a year or so when this

was started in Ukraine, so it's great to have you on the show.


SOARES: Give us a sense in your view, a sense, Michael, what situation is like in Ukraine not just in Odessa but in Ukraine because you've been in

and out several times now.

BOCIURKIW: Sure. Well, obviously, people like Ben have been doing a great job of portraying what's actually going on on the front lines, but you

know, spending time in Odessa I really get a good sense of what's going on underneath the surface. I mean, small or medium-sized businesses, ordinary

families are really, really struggling because a lot of the hours of the day there's simply no power.

So, for example, restaurant owners are having to try and figure out do I buy a generator for $10,000 or do I hope that people come in to use my

restaurant? It's very tough decisions being made. And then the darkness from the power outages really kind of dampening the mood of people. And as

you mentioned, I just came out of Odessa. Tens of thousands of Ukrainians on the move, mostly mothers and their children, because they're either

leaving Ukraine because it's not safe, or they're coming back because they can't afford living in places like London, they long for their families and

for their home. So, a lot going on beneath the surface that we see every day and pretty sad.

SOARES: And the situation has been relentless. You mentioned power outages. We saw that in the last few months. And we've also seen just the relentless

and inhumane attacks that have increased, I think is fair to say, by Moscow in the last few months. I mean, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised given

what we saw in Syria, but what do you make of the -- of the frequency now, Michael, these attacks?

BOCIURKIW: It's horrible. I think the gloves are off. There are no red lines anymore for the Kremlin. I think after that strike at Dnipro on that

residential complex, gives us an idea of what lies ahead. If they're willing to strike that type of residential complex with a missile that is

designed to sink aircraft carriers, I mean, what other red lines are there? So, I think that will lead to another topic of our conversation, I'm sure,

about tanks and, you know, offensive capability. But a lot of Ukrainians are concerned that they're going to be more strikes like that.

SOARES: And on that, before we talk times, I mean, we're looking at really the Dnipro attacked in the apartment block there. How much anxiety has that

caused not just these attacks, but also the talk of this Russian offensive in the spring? How anxious are Ukrainians right now?

BOCIURKIW: Well, you know, a lot of analysts, including Ukrainian ones are predicting this. You're hearing this more from government officials that

the Russians are gearing up for a major offensive. Reputable body is talking about another attempt to take Kyiv, another attack from the south,

Odessa, where I'm temporarily based, and other places as part of that hasn't been that much affected.

So, I think this should be a signal to Western leaders to grow some spine and provide Ukraine with what it needs. Because otherwise that window of

opportunity is closing very quickly for Ukrainian to be able -- for Ukraine to be able to defend itself.

SOARES: And this debacle over, you know, over the tanks, of the Leopard 2 tanks, how is that being seen in Ukraine? What is the mood like there

regarding this? Because they're clearly -- clearly there's this division over should we send? I'm thinking Poland here who wants to send. Germany,

not sending, or at least not now. How has that being -- how's that been played out?

BOCIURKIW: I think a lot of Ukrainians are asking themselves what's going on because they did get a lot of what they asked for, but when it comes to

the tanks that there seems to be a red line for the -- for the west there. But I think even for example, my own country, Canada has those Leopard 2

tanks and somehow it can't again grow the spine to get them to Ukraine.

SOARES: Why do you think that is though, Michael? Is it the internal politics?

BOCIURKIW: There's a bit of internal politics but then public opinion polls in my country, Canada, say Canadian support aiding Ukraine, even if it

contributes to the deficit. So, I would love Prime Minister Trudeau to explain that one to me, but there are other countries as well. I think

what's going to happen is, as I said early on in the conflict, that micro- alliances will start to grow. So, you'll see the Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania is acting, you know, unilaterally --

SOARES: This tank coalition perhaps.

BOCIURKIW: -- and providing tanks. But let's remember you cannot switch -- flip the switch and the tanks appear overnight. There's a big logistical

effort involved. There's training involved, maintenance trainings. So, that's why Germany has to be involved otherwise it will be very difficult

to maintain that supply chain of tanks.

SOARES: We have John Kirby earlier talking -- he was talking to Christiane Amanpour and she asked him about whether there is a divergence now within

NATO alliance with a still unity. Have a listen to what he said.



every decision that the alliance makes. That's what makes the alliance so strong that friends and allies and partners can have honest discussions

with one another. But to say that this is dividing the alliance or somehow putting international security at risk in Ukraine because there's a

discussion over tanks is just way over blowing this thing.


SOARES: So, overblown to say me there's a division within NATO. And we heard similar things last week when they said NATO has never been as united

as this. What do you make? Do you agree with that?

BOCIURKIW: Well, look, the E.U. and most European countries couldn't get their act together for COVID-19 responsiveness. It doesn't surprise me. But

what does concern me is that you have a Mr. Putin and the Kremlin sitting back with his arms folded, sneering, snickering probably, at the signs of

division. What he hopes for is for time to able to regroup, get these convicts and stateless people, or whoever else they've been sending to the

battlefield, so that they can regroup and do another attack.

And you know, just quickly it's important to note that there is a big difference of course of mentality when it comes to fighting the Russians

are prepared to send however many human beings it takes into this meat grinder where the Ukrainians, as we saw in Soledar, when things got way,

way too dangerous, they pull back a bit because they care about their own people.

SOARES: Michael, always great to get your perspective. Great to have you back. Thank you.

BOCIURKIW: Thank you.

SOARES: And still to come tonight, the future of Africa's oldest national park now hangs in the balance. The thousands try to escape violence in the

Democratic Republic of Congo. We'll give that story next. Thank you.



SOARES: Now, Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is the latest victim of a bitter conflict.

Rebels accused of being supported by Rwanda have taken over strategic towns forcing thousands of people to escape. But now some of those refugees are

entering the park and cutting down trees. Our Michael Holmes explains.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): It's been called black gold. Large sacks of charcoal illegally hauled out of Virunga

National Park, as opposed to Sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo, known for its endangered mountain gorillas and the dense forests they live


But it's the trees that are drawing these desperate people to Virunga. The timber can be cut and burned to make charcoal. The lumber used for

firewood, the sale of either could determine if a family eats or not. It's a way of survival for many of the tens of thousands of refugees who have

taken shelter near Virunga after the M23 militia renewed fighting against government forces just over a year ago after nearly a decade of relative

inactivity, and took control of key cities in the eastern part of the country.

In the past two months, more than 200 hectares, about 500 acres of parkland had been reduced to stumps because of illegal logging. Some of the refugees

say they have little choice.

JEAN-BOSCO BITEGANE, DISPLACED BY M23 INSURGENCY (through translator): Since we have been in a refugee camp, humanitarian aid has not arrived.

It's been three months since we received any help. So, instead of starving, we come to cut wood in the park.

HOLMES: Officials in Virunga say it's a difficult task to protect the wildlife and natural resources in Africa's oldest national park not only

from the refugees but from poachers and other longtime threats.

METHODE UHOZE, HEAD OF EXTERNAL RELATIONS, VIRUNGA NATIONAL PARK (through translator): There is a need among the displaced the need for firewood, but

on the other hand, we have an obligation to protect the park. But aside from the presence of displaced people, it's also worth pointing out the

activism of armed groups.

HOLMES: M23 and other militias operate in the park vying for territory. Some refugees say the armed groups are exploiting them, charging them to

enter the park and gather wood or forcing them to pay taxes on their earnings. Even Virunga's park rangers say it is dangerous in certain areas

for them. In December, two rangers were killed and another wounded by suspected militiaman.

There have been efforts to mediate the conflict with M23 a ceasefire last year raised hopes that eventually some displaced people could return home.

But the government says M23 has not fully complied with the agreement by withdrawing from some areas, only to regroup in others. And there are

growing regional tensions. M 23 is a mainly Tutsi group that captured territory near the border with Rwanda. The DRC, along with the United

States, has accused Rwanda of supporting the rebels, which Kigali denies.

All the instability could add to the number of displaced people near Virunga, which means more pilfering of the land. That's bad for the park

and bad for the people taking refuge near there. Both of which are in need of dire protection.

Michael Holmes, CNN.


SOARES: Important story there from the DRC.

Well, the Drina River flows part of the border between Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina and sections of what could be a pristine European waterway

have become a literal dump. Alison Chinchar has a story for you.


ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voiceover): Snow falls on a lake on the Drina River. From up high, it's coated with frost, but get a little

closer and you can see what's underneath the veneer of snow. A massive tangle of trash clogging the waterway. Even environmentalists are surprised

by what ends up here.

DEJAN FURTULA, ENVIRONMENTALIST ACTIVIST (through translator): In addition to floating waste, such as plastic, there are also various household items

including refrigerators and stoves. There is nothing that is not present. But a significant problem is also fallen trees which are very difficult to


CHINCHAR: Experts say it's a recurring problem at this spot in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are several landfills and illegal dumps near the Drina

River. And after a heavy rain, the waste washes into the water and collects here. Anti-pollution barriers have been installed where the waste ends up

accumulating. Local authorities say the problem will continue until there is adequate waste collection and people dispose of their trash more


FURTULA (through translator): In addition to posing a significant health and environmental problem, this is a source of great embarrassment for all

of us as we seem unable to solve this issue for such a prolonged period.

CHINCHAR: A lake of trash far from what nature intended it to be. Allison Chinchar, CNN.

SOARES: And still to come tonight, Italy is celebrating a unique homecoming, millions of dollars-worth of looted antiquities. We'll explain



SOARES: Only a few police units in the world investigate stolen antiquities in order to return cultural treasures to their rightful homes. One such

unit has just returned dozens of looted artifacts to Italy. Barbie Nadeau has the story.


BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (voiceover): These ancient artifacts worth some $20 million represent the latest success for Italy's Carabinieri

Cultural Heritage Squad. Many were trafficked and ended up in the collection of American billionaire Michael Steinhardt, who has been banned

for life from acquiring antiquities by the New York City District Attorney.

Among them, this fresco stolen from Herculaneum near Pompeii and this bronze bust of a man dating back to around the first century CE or late BC.

They're back in Italy thanks to New York City's antiquities trafficking unit led by Colonel Matthew Bogdanos.

MATTHEW BOGDANOS, HEAD, NEW YORK CITY'S ANTIQUITIES TRAFFICKING: These are not just pieces of marble and limestone and frescoes. These represent our

shared cultural heritage. In one respect, they belong to the world, but legally for my purposes, they belong to the country of origin from which

they work pillaged.

NADEAU: The New York unit has carried out 75 raids and recovered 500 artifacts worth $55 million that have been returned to Italy, Bogdanos told



NADEAU: But the real value is their place in Italy's rich cultural identity. Carabinieri Cultural Heritage Squad commander Vincenzo Molinese



Many of these pieces that were in museums and private galleries end up in storage facilities once back in Italy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The artifacts have to, deserve to, must go back to their home country. That's fundamental. Even if they're not the most important

pieces compared to, let's say, the rich collections that exist in Italy, the point is they were robbed from this country. They deserve to go back to

their home country.

NADAU: There may be cause for celebration now that these pieces represent only a drop in the bucket. Authorities say that more pieces are being

stolen every moment.

Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN, Rome.


SOARES: And finally, Queen B is back. Beyonce returned to the stage for the first time in four years on Saturday performing at the grand opening of the

New Atlantis Resort in Dubai. But she's getting heat because of the country's record on LGBT rights. The United Arab Emirates has laws

restricting homosexuality. Fans point out an album borrows heavily from queer culture. We want to share some words that made us pause the thought


Ru Paul's drag race star Kitty Scott-Claus tweeted this. Can someone explain why everyone was canceling David Beckham -- remember that the other

month -- but now celebrating Beyonce for performing in Dubai? One rule for one and one for another? I'll leave you that with that thought for tonight.

Thanks very much for your company. Do stay right here. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" in the wings. He's next.