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Isa Soares Tonight

Zelenskyy Accuses Russia Of Killing Every Civilian In Bakhmut; Two Of Four Kidnapped Americans Murdered In Mexico; Some Israeli Air Force Pilots Protest Judicial Overhaul; China To U.S.: Change "Distorted" Views Or Face Conflict; Israeli Operation Kills Six Palestinians In West Bank; Global Demand For Accountability After Huwara Rampage; U.S. Air Scare. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired March 07, 2023 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy speaks to

CNN, accusing Russia of killing every civilian in Bakhmut, just to try and achieve some small victory. Then, a horrific conclusion to the story of

four kidnapped Americans, two survivors are back in the United States, but the two others were murdered in Mexico.

And then later, anger spread to the Israeli military. Dozens of fighter pilots are the latest to oppose the government's plans to weaken the

judiciary. I'll speak to a former chief of staff of the Israeli defense forces defending the protesters. But first, this evening, Ukrainian defense

forces are defying all of the odds.

Despite constant Russian attacks, they are still holding their ground inside Bakhmut. And they intend on keeping Russian troops from fully

encircling the city. Russia's defense minister insists his fighters will take control of Bakhmut, which he calls, quote, "an important defense hub"

of Ukrainian troops in the Donbas, said Shoigu, says Russia will then advance deeper into Ukraine.

But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is refusing to give in. He has ordered reinforcements to defensive positions inside the city, saying he

will not withdraw troops and will not abandon any part of his country. Well, CNN's Wolf Blitzer spoke to Mr. Zelenskyy earlier about the

importance of, of course, defending Bakhmut. His part of that exclusive interview.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Start with the battle for Bakhmut. Ukraine has put up a tremendous fight and inflicted massive losses on the Russian side. But in

recent days, Russian forces have made some critical gains there. Why have you decided not to withdraw from Bakhmut?

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): We understand what Russia wants to achieve there. Russia needs at least some

victory, a small victory, even by ruining everything in Bakhmut. Just killing every civilian there. They need to put their little flag on top of

that to show that society.

It's not a victory for them, it's more like, you know, like to support -- to mobilize their society in order to create this idea of that's such a

powerful army. For us, it's such different, this is tactical for us. We understand that after Bakhmut, they could go further, they could go to

Kramatorsk, to Sloviansk.

It would be open road for the Russians after Bakhmut to other towns in Ukraine in the Donetsk direction, in the east of Ukraine. That's why our

guys are standing there.

BLITZER: As you know, Mr. President, some of your own Ukrainian commanders have actually questioned holding on to Bakhmut, as their forces are

suffering very heavy casualties right now. Amid worries that could hurt Ukraine's ability to launch a Spring offensive. What do you say to those


ZELENSKYY: I never heard anything like that from any of those commanders. How can I treat this? It means that someone has his own opinions. But it

does look like a fake created in Russian federation, that we have -- that our troops should be retreating. We have to think about our people first.

And no one should be surrounded, encircled. This is very important.

But the military see for themselves that we have to stay strong there despite the fact that Russia ruined the whole city, annihilated everything

there, troops were helping kids, civilians to leave the town. Even up until today, people are leaving Bakhmut. We were helping everyone.


SOARES: And you can watch that exclusive interview with President Zelenskyy and Wolf Blitzer, that will air Wednesday night at 9:00 p.m.,

Eastern Time, that's 10:00 a.m. Thursday in Hong Kong, 2:00 a.m. if you're watching here in London.


Well, Ukraine's vice prime minister says nearly 4,000 civilians are still in Bakhmut. Alex Marquardt brings us the latest on the evacuation efforts.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Racing into the war zone, a white-knuckle drive towards the middle of



MARQUARDT: This is the last successful emergency evacuation mission by the Bakhmut police. "We need to go faster", an officer says, the Russians can

clearly see us. This team called the White Angels, grabbed civilians who have been trapped, throwing belongings in the back, I think there is a cat,

someone else with a guitar. The fighting raging nearby. The residents told to hurry up and get in, and sit anywhere they can.

As they hold on tight, the rescue mission speeds away from the smoldering city. Ahead, there is smoke from a Russian strike Getting dropped off

safely, Leonard(ph) tells the officer that everything is blown up in Bakhmut, even inside his apartment. They've survived months of brutally

intense assaults. Russia has made gains, trying to encircle Bakhmut and surrounding it on three sides, as Ukraine desperately tries to fend them


Today, we met Bakhmut's deputy mayor in a city nearby at a makeshift aide center for Bakhmut evacuees. He tells us it's very hard to persuade the

more than 4,000 civilians left there to leave. They say they have nowhere to go and have no money. "It's very hard to survive there", he says. "It's

not life. It's survival. Drinking water is a big problem. Walking to the well is dangerous", he says.

Shells landing on your head all the time, all he now feels, he tells us, is fear and sadness. Everyone here knows how hard it will be for Ukraine to

hold on to Bakhmut. Svietves'(ph) elderly mother with disabilities didn't want to leave, but Svietves(ph) managed to convince her.

"I don't know if my house is still standing", she tells us. "It's very painful thinking about those still in Bakhmut", her eyes well up. "I just

want them all to survive", she says. "That's my only wish". Alex Marquardt, CNN, in eastern Ukraine.


SOARES: Well, let's get the view from Kyiv, Tymofiy Mylovanov is president of the Kyiv School of Economics and is the former Ukrainian Minister of

Economic Development and Trade. A well-known face here on the show. Tymofiy, great to have you back on the show. And I'm sure you heard that

report there from our Alex Marquardt saying that, you know, it's not life, it's survival. What is the calculus then from the Ukrainian side? How long

do they keep up the fight in Bakhmut?

TYMOFIY MYLOVANOV, PRESIDENT, KYIV SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Yes, it's difficult to answer. Bakhmut has become a focal point for this fight in the

last months between, you know, Russia trying to demonstrate that they can make at least some progress, and Ukraine demonstrating that this progress

is impossible. So -- and both sides are digging in and the calculus on the part of Ukraine is of the two sides.

One is that we still have to liberate that town if we give it up. So it's much easier to defend it, even though the casualties are high than later to

take it back. And Russians are throwing a lot of manpower and a lot of people, Russian military are dying there. There is a recent report of tens

of thousands. And so, the second part of the calculus that Russia is about to culminate, they'll be unable to move forward.

So it's a little bit of a war of attrition. And the hope and the strategy here is to hold long enough so that the Russians can't move on.

SOARES: Yes, war of attrition that we have been seeing now for many months on end. Former Australian General has recently said that the Ukrainian

armed forces might decide, he says, that they have achieved all they can by -- remaining defensive locations around Bakhmut. And that forced

preservation for the battles that allow is more important. Why then not withdraw as we are hearing from some analysts, from more defensible line,

and then recapture it again. Why not do that?

MYLOVANOV: There's a recent decision by the president and by the army to continue to defend. I wasn't a part of this, I'm not a military expert or

I'm not a military official. But there could be reasons, and some reasons you would imagine that Ukraine is waiting for vulnerability in Russians

somewhere else. As long as Bakhmut is gone, the Russian troops are in Bakhmut, and so they will now go to elsewhere.


And as an economist, I always think about the alternative, the opportunity cost, what would have happened had we given that up. So counteroffensive is

probably in the thinking, in the Spring, and so some of the fresh troops are prepared for that. And also Kramatorsk and Sloviansk are down the road.

It is true that Bakhmut is not a strategic position. But if Russia moves forward, they will be able to shell Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, and that

would be damaged too, and it could be substantive as well.

SOARES: And that's what we've heard from President Zelenskyy today, in that exclusive interview with our Wolf Blitzer, a little clip that we

played just before where he said, you know, Bakhmut is tactical for us. He basically said that it's -- you know, if they take Bakhmut, it's an open

road for the Russians. What would withdraw then here, or a loss mean for Ukraine's military in terms of morale? Would you say, Tymofiy?

MYLOVANOV: Well, in terms of morale, I don't think there will be much negative effect because we have been able to hold it despite the

unbelievable number of Russian troops thrown against the Ukrainian military in Bakhmut. So, I don't think morale will be -- will be damaged. I do think

Russia will try to spin it as a victory of sorts for domestic audience, and there could be a positive morale boost there.

But again, I've been, even in 2014, 2015, to Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, to the front lines during the -- some of the most intensive operations there

by the Russians and separatists. And those towns, you know, those are good cities, and we want to protect them too, and there are many more civilians

there. So, in that sense, I completely understand why Zelenskyy is saying that it's tactical, and if it falls, it will open the road towards the

damage and shelling of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.

SOARES: Tymofiy Mylovanov, great to have your perspective, thanks Tymofiy, appreciated it. Well, the head of the Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin is

waging a different sort of war on Moscow's top brass. He's now openly feuding with Russian military leadership and casting himself and his

mercenaries as key to Russia's fight. Our Fred Pleitgen has more now from Moscow.



FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russian troops allegedly advancing in close quarters combat. Moscow's

defense ministry released this video of what it says are airborne units assaulting Ukrainian positions. And Russia's defense minister is keen to

show he's taking the reins of what the Kremlin still calls its special military operation.

Sergei Shoigu chopper into the frontlines, his ministry says, and handing out medals to soldiers there. Good luck, success and come home alive, his

sparse words to the troops. But progress remains slow for the Russian army, except in Bakhmut, where the defense minister's arch nemesis, Yevgeny

Prigozhin of the Wagner private military company is leading the charge. Prigozhin advertising for new recruits.

YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN, HEAD OF WAGNER MERCENARIES (through translator): Fellas, Bakhmut is behind me, join the strongest private army in the world.

Take the side of justice.

PLEITGEN: Despite what the U.S. and Ukraine say it's a massive attrition rate among Wagner mercenaries, Prigozhin claims, he is the one handing

Vladimir Putin victories, and he warns Russia could lose the war if he doesn't get the ammo and the fighters he wants.

PRIGOZHIN: If Wagner Group retreats from Bakhmut now, the whole front will collapse. Today, Wagner Group is the cement that holds it together. We're

pulling in the whole Ukrainian army, grinding them up and destroying them, not letting them focus on other parts of the frontlines.

PLEITGEN: And while Prigozhin was busy this week and trolling Ukrainian women by sending them champagne from a defunct winery near Bakhmut, he also

made clear Wagner is here to stay whether the Russian defense ministry likes it or not.

PRIGOZHIN: After Wagner Group takes Bakhmut, we will continue to defend our country. And the Wagner Group does not care what some other departments


PLEITGEN: While some believe the infighting could become a problem for Vladimir Putin, Andrei Kolesnikov of the Carnegie Endowment tells me,

Russia's leader is fully in command of the situation.

ANDREI KOLESNIKOV, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE: I'm sure that he's controlled totally by Kremlin. It is a law for him to criticize

official bodies, official governors, official leadership of ministry of defense. But Putin lacks this small fight of clans, he simply observes the


PLEITGEN (on camera): And Yevgeny Prigozhin of Wagner says he does believe that the Ukrainian forces inside Bakhmut are going to hold out and continue

to offer stiff resistance.


Meanwhile, an adviser to Ukraine's presidency says he actually believes that the Ukrainians holding out in Bakhmut was a big success for Ukraine.

He believes that it bought the Ukrainians time to replenish their own forces and train them for a possible counteroffensive, but that it also

strategically weekend Russia's forces as well. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Moscow.


SOARES: Now, the four Americans kidnapped in a notorious Mexican border city have been found, but authorities say, only two are alive. A U.S.

official says the group was discovered in what appears to be a medical clinic in the city of Matamoros where a gunman abducted them on Friday. One

of the two survivors is said to be severely injured.

A heavily-protected caravan took the survivors to the U.S. border a few hours ago. They will be hospitalized in Texas. The group from South

Carolina apparently went to Matamoros so one of them could get a medical procedure. Let's get some perspective on this terrible incident now from

CNN's senior law enforcement analyst, Andrew McCabe, he's a former deputy director of the FBI.

Andrew, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us. Look investigators then, I was reading, believe, you know, once they were in

Matamoros, they were mistakenly kidnapped it seems by the Mexican cartel. If they were not though intended targets here, why not just release them?

What do they get out of killing them here?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, that's a great question, and I'm not sure that we'll be able to get to the bottom of that

one. But you can imagine a scenario in which a group of cartel members, maybe lower level people, mid level people, confused directions, start

looking at -- looking for one car of rivals or adversaries, and end up fixated on the wrong vehicle.

That sort -- that sort of operation leads -- typically leads to violence very quickly. So, my guess here, and it's completely speculation, and it is

that the deaths and the violence that led to those deaths have been very quickly, likely before these cartel members had any idea that they were

actually looking at the wrong people.

And then at that point, once they discovered that they've got four people they weren't actually looking for, now they have a problem of what to do

with those folks. I actually think that it's -- we are fortunate to have two of the four having survived, because essentially they're eliminating

all four and eliminating the witnesses is something that we've seen some of these groups engage in before.

SOARES: What do you -- what are you thinking there, Andrew? As you heard that -- you know, how it all panned out, how it all happened, what

questions do you have? What questions are still yet to be answered in your -- in your view?

MCCABE: Well, the biggest question here is, of course, who is responsible for this violence, for these deaths? That is an investigation that's really

just in its very nascent beginning stages, and it may take quite some time. If you think back to the notorious crimes against Americans, particularly

in Mexico, some of those investigations take years.

But this one, like many of those others, will likely be solved on the basis of information provided by informants. So right now, I can -- I'm confident

that Mexican authorities and law enforcement and Intelligence and in the military, because all three work very closely together against the drug

cartels in Mexico, are hitting their informant networks, talking to people who talk to them, reaching out to individuals in that criminal community,

to try to identify the exact people who were involved in this shootout and abduction.

Once they have those people identified, then it becomes a question of locating them, and those are all steps that can take quite some time.

SOARES: In terms of, you know, working with Mexican authorities here, Andrew, I mean, does that present kind of specific challenges or


MCCABE: Well, really both, you know? The FBI is heavily-invested in what we refer to as the legal attache program. Those are agents who are assigned

to work overseas, specifically for this purpose. To build relationships, collaborative, productive relationships with their law enforcement and

intelligence colleagues. Now, I can tell you that the legal attache office in Mexico is the largest one in the entire FBI. There is a main office in

Mexico City at the embassy, and then there are sub offices in --

SOARES: I think we have lost Andrew, unfortunately. But of course, we'll stay on top of this story. We are actually expecting to hear from the

Mexican government who's supposed to be holding a presser sometime this hour, an update you can see there. That's where we are expecting that

presser to take place, with the latest, of course, on what happened to the four Americans in the city of Matamoros. As soon as that gets underway,

we'll, of course, will bring that to you.


Still to come tonight, labor unions in France are setting up their fight against the government. We'll explain why and what is being affected. That

is next.


SOARES: Now, unions are trying to bring France to a standstill. They're walking out against the government's pension reform plan that would raise

the retirement age. Many people would have to work an extra two years. The legislation is facing a bumping road in parliament. And on Tuesday, fuel

deliveries and refineries were disrupted. Schools, trains and air traffic were also affected. Our senior international correspondent Jim Bittermann

is in Paris with the latest.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Isa, this is the sixth in a series of demonstrations against government plans to reform the

pension plan, basically raising the retirement age from 62 to 64. And you can tell a lot of people out here are against the government's ideas,

including, in fact, a lot of students that have got a long way to wait before they retire.

But nonetheless, it's a concept in this country of acquire rights, who want the key, basically the idea is that once you get it right, you should

maintain it, do everything you can to maintain it, that's why we're seeing all these demonstrations. Now, the question that really confront the

government here is exactly how many people turned out today, how many people have struck, and then also, what kind of reaction is going to be

going forward.

A lot of the union leaders have called the strikers to continue their strikes on a daily basis. Whether that happens or not will be a question

for coming days. But in fact, that could be a determining factor.

One way or another, the government is probably going to get its way on this, because they have a -- they have a mechanism in parliament called the

decree, in which the government can, by decree, forced cast legislations, and if they cannot get the vote, they're expected that vote will come

sometime within the next 8 to 10 days in the national assembly. If they can't get that vote in their favor, the government will probably pass the

retirement reforms by decree. Isa?

SOARES: Thanks very much, Jim Bittermann there for us in Paris. Now, a thick cloud of toxic methane and smoke hangs over the southern Indian city

of Kochi following a landfill fire. The fire erupted Thursday, and is now out, but toxic gases remain in the air, and residents have been warned to

stay inside or wear masks.


Methane is exceptionally destructive greenhouse gas and India generates more of it from landfills than any other country. Still to come tonight --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We need to stay human. She is a child who survived the war famine and lost her mother. She's small, even if

she looks like an adult, she is a child.


SOARES: A girl whose life was ruined by war and whose story was hijacked by the Kremlin. Who is Anya(ph), and could she be proof of Russian war

crimes? That is next. Plus, China's foreign minister warns conflict with the U.S. could be on the cards. After the break, I will speak to a former

U.S. ambassador to China for his take on the escalating tensions. That is next.


SOARES: Welcome back to the show, everyone. China is issuing a stark warning aimed directly at the United States. The country's new Foreign

Minister Qin Qang says conflict with Washington could be on the rise, and if U.S. doesn't change how it treats its fellow superpower. Have a listen

to this.


QIN GANG, FOREIGN MINISTER, CHINA (through translator): If the United States does not hit the brake, but continue to speed down the wrong path,

no amount of guardrails can prevent derailing, and there will surely be conflict and confrontation. Who will bear the catastrophic consequences?

Such competition is a reckless gamble with the stakes being the fundamental interests of the two peoples and even the future of humanity. Of course,

China is firmly opposed to all this.


SOARES: While speaking from the sidelines of the National People's Congress, Qin also defended China's relationship with Russia, saying it was

imperative to advance the two countries' relations as the world becomes more unstable. I'm joined now by Max Burke, was a former U.S. ambassador to

China for more on all of this.

A well-known face here on the show. Ambassador, thank you very much for taking your time to speak to us. I mean, I think it's pretty fair to say

that, that was a combative tone from China and probably highly unusual, at least, we don't hear very often, in terms of criticism. How do you

interpret? Is there a genuine concern here, ambassador, that for a conflict or is this just rhetoric from the foreign minister?


MAX BAUCUS, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: First, the foreign minister is very close to President Xi, so clearly the foreign minister is

reflecting president Xi's views.

I think it's combative, partly because I think that's China's view. I think that, to a large degree, China is pretty much giving up on the United

States. China says, you know, that you Americans should be following the One China policy and China thinks America is not, by sending arms and

members of Congress to Taiwan.

And also the new committee formed in the Congress on China is very anti China. So it's -- China's basically saying, gee, we can't feel the United

States much anymore. We're just going to go our own way.


BAUCUS (voice-over): But my deeper view is that both sides could do a lot more to help prevent conflict. Certainly, we can, certainly China can. And

it's very important that we do so. There is no communication in any meaningful way between the two countries right now.

We have to begin that and stop calling each other names, trying to figure out a way to work together.

SOARES (voice-over): Yes, I mean, we've also heard from the foreign minister saying, he said if the United States does not hit the brakes but

continues to speed down the wrong path, no amount of guardrails can prevent derailing. And there will surely be conflict and confrontation.

What is he really saying with his wording?

You know, if the United States does not hit the brakes, does not stop criticizing it or in terms of policy?

How do you interpret that, Ambassador?

BAUCUS (voice-over): Well, I think there are a couple, three things. One, is criticize the U.S. policy in Taiwan. He thinks America has been

disingenuous on Taiwan.

Second, there are many in Washington, D.C., who (INAUDIBLE) wanted stop China's rise and prevent China from developing this semiconductor industry

or other critical technologies.

To add to that, many in Congress say they wanted to split the party from the people, implying that maybe there should be an overthrow by the Chinese

people of the Communist Party.

So those are some of the things that they, the Chinese, see going on in the U.S. It's very disturbing to them. Of course, we're very disturbed, too,

because we feel that they're taking sides on Ukraine, much against the interests of the Ukrainians and American interests.

So, you know, there is valid criticism on both sides. But my main point is we have to start really honestly listening, trying to figure out a way to

work with each other, because we're not doing so.

And remember, we are not going to change China. China is not going to change the United States. If that's the case, let's figure out a way to

work together.

SOARES: Let's figure out a way to work together and we have seen, you mentioned D.C., there seems to be bipartisan consensus that, you know,

being tough on China.

Do you believe, like many in Washington, that China could pose the biggest threat to U.S. security, which is something that we've been learning here

in the last week, in fact, in Washington?

BAUCUS: Well, you know, that's a very good question. It's one that the assumption behind that question should be examined very, very closely.

There are many in America who think that China wants to be their own hegemon, that China wants to basically control the world.

I don't think that's what China wants to do. I think China wants respect, China wants to be regarded by the United States as a coequal world power.

It's not -- does not want to change the U.S., as we do not want to change them, although some would like to.

But I think that, to answer your question, really, is we have to examine very closely, what are China's views?

What's their intent, down the road?

Much of that is going to depend on what China says and does. I keep pushing China, hey, if you want us to respect you as a country, you've got to tell

us what your intentions are down the road. More importantly, have to show what your intentions are. So far, China has not done that.

SOARES: Let's talk about intentions, then. You know, we've obviously, this is all happening against this kind of backdrop of the war in Ukraine. And

intel seems to suggest that China is considering, Ambassador, you well know, whether it will give weapons to Russia.

What will that mean then for U.S.-China relations?

How worried would you be if China does enter into this war and sides with Russia here?

BAUCUS: Well, clearly, China is siding with Russia. Not much doubt about that.

But second, China is trying to avoid U.S. sanctions by giving away minor military aid, not lethal military aid, to Russia in the battle against

Ukraine. If China were to give lethal aid and incur U.S. sanctions, well, that could cause even a deeper rift between our two countries and the

foreign minister would be right.


BAUCUS: We are heading more toward conflict. But in that case, mostly because of Chinese actions.

SOARES: Former U.S. ambassador to China, Max Baucus, thank you very much, sir. Really appreciate your insight.

BAUCUS: You bet.

SOARES: Now Russian propaganda and social media have given us really a glimpse into Russia's practice of taking Ukrainian children and forcing

them to be adopted and raised by Russian parents. That's considered a war crime. Melissa Bell has the story of one Ukrainian girl.



MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Vladimir Putin, celebrating his army. The special guests sit here, children bused in

from Ukraine's occupied territories.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Thank you (INAUDIBLE) for saving me, my sister and hundreds of thousands of children in Mariupol. I forget a


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anya, don't be shy, go hug Uncle Yuri.

Everyone give a hug. Look, it's the man who saved you all.

BELL (voice-over): But who is Anya?

By tracking down family members too scared to speak on air, an exclusive CNN investigation has found the story of 13-year-old Anya Naumenko or Anya,

as she's known, who was brought specially from her foster family in Mariupol for the event in Moscow.

And behind the propaganda, Anya's own bewildered view, posted to her social media.

"Look at all the rows," she says, before being told where she will stand and what she will say.

It was a year ago that Anya's home town of Mariupol was pounded, devastating heavy artillery forcing its population underground to basements

like this one. A refuge shared for much of the three-month- long siege by Anya, her family and Kateryna Pustovit, who's now in Germany. She couldn't

believe her eyes when she saw her onstage.

KATERYNA PUSTOVIT, NAUMENKO FAMILY FRIEND (through translator): We were like a family. We saved ourselves, saved our lives.

BELL (voice-over): But in early April, Anya's mother Olga left the basement and was killed by Russian shelling.

Anya's grief for her mother, like so much else, innocently shared online. "I want to be with you," she writes.

By the end of the siege, Anya and her siblings were separated by their mother's death, Anya sent to a foster family in Mariupol.

Karim Khan, the head of the International Criminal Court, believes that through its propaganda, Moscow risks incriminating itself.

KARIM KHAM, CHIEF PROSECUTOR: INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT: Regarding Anya, it's very troubling. And the Rome Statute and in fact, the Geneva

Conventions make it clear regarding how children must be treated by occupying powers. The law is present. Too many think it's an optional


BELL (voice-over): CNN has reached out to Russian officials for comment on the children featured in Putin's rally last week. Moscow has not responded.

But for all the tragedy of Anya's short life so far, the propaganda event has brought her fresh troubles. Daily and violent threats under her

adolescent posts.

"Anya, don't be shy. When we celebrate Mariupol again, you'll be hanging from a post downtown."

Just one of the threats made but a reflection of so much more of the abuse young Anya has received.

PUSTOVIT (through translator): We need to stay human. She is a child who survived the war, famine and lost her mother. She is small, even if she

looks like an adult. She is a child.

BELL (voice-over): But children, as symbols of the future, play an important part in Orwellian displays of loyalty to Moscow, like this one

held in occupied Mariupol last week. Two visions of childhood: one carefree, the other twisted -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Kyiv.


SOARES: Powerful piece there from Melissa Bell and the team in Kyiv.

Still ahead, Israel's prime minister is criticizing military members threatening not to serve over his government judicial overhaul plans. We

will talk about the growing controversy with the former IDF chief of staff. That is next.





SOARES: Well, Israel has carried out a deadly military operation in a crowded West Bank refugee camp, targeting a suspect in the shooting death

of two Israeli settlers. Israel says that man was killed, along with five other people.

An IDF official tells CNN, soldiers rounded the suspect's house in Jenin, came under fire and responded with shoulder fired missiles. As spokesman

for the Palestinian Authority, president slammed the use of missiles as an act of war.

Hamas says the target of the raid was a member of the militant group and had carried out last week's attack on the Israeli brothers in Huwara.

Settlers went on a rampage against Palestinians in Huwara after the attack, killing a civilian and triggering, I should say, international demands for


Meanwhile, dozens of Israeli fighter pilots are joining a growing revolt within the military against the government's plans to weaken the judiciary.

They are threatening to boycott training exercises tomorrow.

Mass street protests have rocked Israel for weeks, with critics warning the judicial overhaul would end democracy. But the growing defiance by some

military members is adding a new dimension, really, to the movement, deeply shaking the government.

Hundreds of reservists across military branches are threatening not to serve. Yesterday, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said they are

endangering Israel's existence.

Well, our next guest says it's clear the reservists don't want to serve under, quote, "dictatorship." Dan Halutz is a retired lieutenant general in

the Israeli air force. He also served as chief of staff of the IDF.

Dan, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us here on the show.

Just explain to our viewers watching from around the world, what is it about these judicial reforms that worry you, that have forced you to come

out and speak out against them?

DAN HALUTZ, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF, IDF: Well, I wish it was a judicial reform. It's not a reform; it's a judicial revolution. And the meaning of

revolution is they are trying -- they, by saying they, I refer to the prime minister and his people.

They are trying to change the system, the Israeli system, from democracy, liberal democracy, open, free democracy, to a kind of dictatorship. We

don't know what kind of.

But it's subject -- if all the rules and all the legislation will be confirmed. Right now, we are at the first stage and we still have to pass

with two other stages in order to confirm it and to approve it. And the meaning is that they want to weaken the supreme court.


HALUTZ: Mainly because the Supreme Court is a kind of obstacle to all the coalition, the coalition members, the parties of the coalition.

And we are at the point that all the participants in the coalition had the same interests, to weaken the Supreme Court. Prime Minister Netanyahu is

trying to escape from his three accuse (ph) and criminal indictments. And that's for a second, we have a convicted member of the parliament who want

to re-nominated as a minister after the supreme court rejected him from his nomination.

Third, we have the ultra orthodox parties that are looking for a way to escape from serving the country in the military and they want just to

continue to learn their Torah.

And fourth is Mr. Smotrich, the minister of treasury, and his partner, Ben- Gvir, who is the internal security minister. Both of them, in the past, the second was convicted and accused and found guilty in eight actions of so-

called terrorism against the Palestinians, mainly. And the other one was almost in the same process but never accused. So --


SOARES: You mentioned Smotrich. Let me jump in here because obviously, we brought that story to our viewers when we heard the comments from the

finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, saying that the Palestinian town of Huwara, he said, needs to be erased.

When you heard that, those pilots, of course, that we're talking about, they will probably be protesting tomorrow or not showing up tomorrow, how

would they interpret that?

How would they interpret an order like that?

Is this what worries you?

HALUTZ: Absolutely. Absolutely, because those pilots, by the, way they are not refusing to serve. They said a simple thing, if that system will be

changed from democracy to a dictatorship, they are not obliged to serve dictators. That is all.

And they will take the necessary steps, according to their values -- and their values are the highest values (ph). And when they heard Smotrich,

they mentioned it, by the way, when they addressed their commanders, they said that they're afraid that such an orders will be given to them in the

future and they're not ready to accomplish.

They're not ready to be part of it. That is the reason. And Smotrich is an ultra extremist. He has a vision to -- he's against the two state solution,

for example. He wants one state for the majority (INAUDIBLE) and about the Palestinians, he has his own solutions that I don't want to repeat.

SOARES: Let me, you know, one of the concerns, of course, is that this could open them up to prosecution, these pilots up to prosecution from the

International Criminal Court.

But I want to get your reaction, first of all. Let me get your reaction to what we heard from prime minister Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir, I should add, as

well, who call the protesters that we have seen over the last several, what I say, the last week or two or so, they are calling them anarchists.

Are you?

And the pilots who are refusing to train here, are you an anarchist, then?

HALUTZ: That is what they said, you know?

An anarchist, convicted anarchist, is calling me an anarchist. He never served in the military, never. He never held a gun in his hand. He never

smelled the battlefield. And he's calling us, those who fought for Israel for the last 75 years, anarchists.

In a cynical way of politician, of a very bad politician, to address the people. And then the same thing I was saying about our prime minister. You

know, they're playing politics with values. Values are not subjected to any politics. They are pure values, you know?

We are proud of sharing common values with the U.S. Unfortunately, I'm saying that we are very (INAUDIBLE) from that because --


SOARES: Oh, I think we seem to have lost him. We will try to reconnect. A fascinating discussion, of course, here.

Is he -- do we have him back?

Fantastic. Dan, sorry, we lost you for just a second. Let me ask you this, because, you know, these pilots, who we all know, I think it's fair to say,

we don't have his audio. Unfortunately, we don't have his audio.

We will try to reconnect but it was a fascinating discussion there with Dan Halutz, who is, of course, a retired lieutenant general in the Israeli air

force that we are expecting to see the move from the reservists taking place tomorrow. We will keep on top of that story. We are back after this

short break.




SOARES: Well, now to growing concerns about aviation safety in the U.S. Law enforcement says an unruly passenger tried to open an emergency exit

door before trying to stab a flight attendant in the neck. Our Pete Muntean has this story.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): United Airlines Flight 2609 from Los Angeles to Boston. It was a smooth flight for the

first five hours on Sunday, until --

FRANCISCO SEVERO TORRES, PASSENGER: So where's the Homeland Security with the gun, because I'm waiting for them to point the gun at me so I can show

everybody that I will die when I take every bullet in that clip to wherever in my body they shoot it and then I will kill every man on this plane.

MUNTEAN: The agitated passenger is identified as Francisco Severo Torres of Massachusetts. The video, obtained by CNN, was recorded by a passenger.

It shows Torres having violent outbursts toward other passengers and flight attendants.

TORRES: Hey, Bianca. I love you, Bianca. I'm coming for you. I'm coming for you, Bianca.

MUNTEAN: Four minutes, nervous passengers sat down and listened.

TORRES: Nobody cares. Nobody cares.

Where's Homeland Security?

There should be Homeland Security.

Where are they diverting us?

Because wherever it is, there's going to be a blood bath everywhere.

MUNTEAN: Fifteen seconds later, Torres walks out of his seat, pulls what appears to be a makeshift weapon out of his jacket pocket and said what no

airline passenger ever wants to hear.

TORRES: I'm taking over this plane.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dude, I'm telling you right now -


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm telling you right now --

MUNTEAN: While United Airlines says there were no reported injuries, the Justice Department says Torres rushed toward one of the flight attendants

in a stabbing motion with a broken metal spoon, hitting the flight attendant on the neck area three times.


MUNTEAN (voice-over): Torres also told law enforcement that he tried to open the emergency door to jump out of the plane. Torres also claimed he

was defending himself because he believed the flight crew was trying to kill him.

Video shows passengers and crew members tackling and restraining Torres. A passenger told CNN, Torres remained restrained for another 30 minutes

before the plane landed safely at Boston Logan International Airport, where Torres was arrested.


SOARES: And finally tonight, a French photographer has done a study of America in the most unusual places, outside strip clubs. Photographer

Francois called gentleman's club charts his journey across the United States via almost 150 of these clubs. Don't worry, we are keeping it clean

here on the show.

His book features no nudes, just signs really advertising news, like this one here. The artist says, he was struck by how normalized American strip

clubs appear to be, even some doubling as restaurants.

And here are his words on that, in fact, there our quote of the day. So you can eat a big piece of meat while watching strippers. That seems very

American to me.

That does it for me tonight, thanks very much for your company. Do stay right here, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" with Richard Quest is next. I will see

you all tomorrow, bye-bye.