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Isa Soares Tonight

NATO Leaders Discuss Ukraine's Path To Membership; Tens Of Thousands Of Israeli Protesters Rally Against Judicial Overhaul; Vermont Governor Says Recent Flooding In His State Is Both Historic And Catastrophic; Turkey Backing Sweden At NATO; Antarctic Sea Ice Levels Drop Precipitously; Millionaire Gives Up Private Jets For The Environment. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired July 11, 2023 - 14:00:00   ET



CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Christina Macfarlane in for Isa Soares. Tonight, an

impassioned speech in Vilnius. President Zelenskyy has a clear message, Ukraine will make NATO stronger. Then Israeli protests, tens of thousands

of people are on the streets for what they call a day of disruption.

We'll explain what's made them so angry. And historic and catastrophic. That's how the governor of Vermont described the flooding in his state, and

it's nowhere near over. We begin tonight with major diplomatic movements in NATO. The chief of the alliance, Jens Stoltenberg said Ukraine will be

invited to join, but only when the time is right.

He laid out an easier path for the country's membership, but with no clear timeline on when it might happen. Moments after that announcement,

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took to the stage in Vilnius, continuing his push for NATO's accession. He says Ukraine would make the

alliance stronger. Well, this all comes as NATO gets closer to welcoming another member to their ranks, Sweden, after months of stalling.

Turkey's president agreed on Monday to back Sweden's bid to join the group. Melissa Bell has all the details now from Vilnius.



MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The sound of applause signaling a picture of unity. NATO kicking off one of its most

consequential gatherings in recent decades, with a celebration of its growth. Finland is now a member, and Sweden will soon follow.

JENS STOLTENBERG, SECRETARY-GENERAL, NATO: We will soon also be welcoming Sweden as a full-fledged member. So welcome to you.

BELL: Long neutral, the 31st and soon to be 32nd branches of the family tree, convinced to join the security alliance by Russia's invasion of


ULF KRISTERSSON, PRIME MINISTER, SWEDEN: After 200 years of nonalignment, we see common protection, but I also want all NATO allies to know that we

also provide security.

BELL: Turkey's last-minute U-turn and the question of Sweden's bid to join NATO, a dramatic opening to a summit, striving for unity, but threatened

with division. Such as over Washington's recent decision to send cluster munitions to Kyiv, and over Ukraine's hopes of joining the alliance.

JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER, UNITED STATES: The question is not Ukraine and NATO now here at Vilnius, the question is, what's the

pathway towards Ukraine's future membership.

BELL: That pathway now easier with the change to the requirements needed for Ukraine to join the group, from the usual two-step process to just one.

STOLTENBERG: We reaffirm that Ukraine will become a member of NATO. We also made clear that we will issue an invitation for Ukraine to join NATO when

allies agree and conditions are met.

BELL: The question of when, however, still looms large for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who started the day on Twitter, criticizing

NATO's failure to set a timeline, calling it unprecedented and absurd. He ended that same day, however, speaking in front of hundreds of supporters

in Vilnius.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): I thank you for your help to our heroes and feel very brave decision to invite Ukraine

into NATO. Ukraine will protect our, and your freedom.


A vision of freedom that has so far brought more unity to the alliance than it has division.


MACFARLANE: That was Melissa Bell reporting from Vilnius, Lithuania. Well, let's bring in our team for more on all of this. Nic Robertson is joining

me here in London, and Natasha Bertrand is in Vilnius. Natasha, that's where I want to begin because it was just a few hours ago, now, we saw that

impassioned speech from President Zelenskyy in front of a pretty adoring crowd.

We know that all along, he has been pushing for specific pledges towards Ukraine's NATO membership. And yet, today from Jens Stoltenberg, he did not

seem to provide more clarity on that. So where does this leave Ukraine at this point?


NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Christina, it leaves them in roughly the same position that they started in, with the one exception

of the NATO alliance agreeing to drop a key hurdle for Ukraine in its quest to become a member. One of that hurdle being the membership action plan,

which is essentially a series of steps, reforms, economic reforms, diplomatic, economic that other members have had to take in the past before

being allowed into NATO.

Ukraine has already proven itself, the NATO alliance says in many of those respects. And therefore, it will not have to go through those same steps

before it can become a member. But there are still conditions that it needs to meet before it can become admitted into the alliance. And that is where

Zelenskyy is likely not happy about what the communique that was released today, outlining their path to membership ultimately said.

They still have to complete certain conditions that were not actually named. So the communique was very vague in that sense. They also can't join

until there's unanimity among all the members that it is the right time for Ukraine to join. But again, that timeline was not exactly spelled out. And

so what Ukraine had been asking for over the last many months leading up to this summit was a clear picture of its place in the NATO alliance and when

it would actually become a full-fledged member.

It did not really get either of those today. They did, you know, ease one hurdle for Ukraine to join the alliance, but others still remain, and

ultimately, the alliance is still united on the fact that there will be no Ukraine in the alliance until the war with Russia is over. Of course, that

raises additional thorny questions about whether that is simply incentivizing Vladimir Putin to continue the war and to remain in Ukraine

so that Ukraine does not actually end up joining the alliance.

So, all of these questions really still unanswered here, and Zelenskyy made it very clear that he's not particularly happy about this. Christina --

MACFARLANE: Yes, that is a very good point, and one actually I want to bring up with Nic. But I also just want to say the pictures we were seeing

there were of the alliance going in to an evening event, no business expected this evening of course, but you saw them arriving there in

Vilnius. So, Nic, to Natasha's point just then about emboldening Russia. How valid is Zelenskyy's concern that a lack of decisive action on

Ukraine's accession could be perceived as a weakness?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, I think, you know, if we sort of look at Zelenskyy's actions over the past year or so writ

large, he's always ahead of the curve with NATO. He's always been demanding before they -- before NATO would even want to discuss it, tanks and air

defense systems and the fighter aircraft. He was always ahead of the curve.

And it feels that he's very much ahead of the curve again demanding this. I think there is a greater degree of frustration because it appears that he

thought he was perhaps going to get some stronger language. And he explains it this way. He says it leaves open a window of opportunity to bargain

Ukraine's membership in NATO, away in negotiations with Russia.

It sounds like he's fearful, but at the end of all of this, somehow, Russia would still be in a position to have enough influence over the outcome of

negotiations, that it could somehow tip the scales and influence the West, not to let Ukraine into NATO. Where we stand today, that seems

inconceivable. So, is his fear irrational or is this a deep-rooted fear and a better understanding of the realities of the way that President Putin


So it's hard to tell. But for him, it seems very clear, and in keeping with everything we're seeing him doing in the past, demand and get the best for

Ukraine. I think there's one tiny analogy here that's worth thinking of for Zelenskyy. He's got thousands of fighters in the trenches, fighting, losing

their lives in a terrible war. His battle is to go in against, yet with, the world's biggest heavyweight diplomats and providers of armaments and

get them to give him what he wants. He's fighting a battle in his own trenches, and I think, you know, it's a tough one, the same.

MACFARLANE: Yes, and he's been doing it all along, of course, in this way. And Natasha, I just want to press ahead and look ahead to tomorrow's

events. We know that it was President Biden really who set the tone for this summit in that exclusive interview that he had with CNN on Sunday,

where he said very publicly, that he felt Ukraine was not ready for NATO membership.

Tomorrow, he will face -- have a face-to-face with President Zelenskyy, a sit-down. What do we expect to come from that meeting?

BERTRAND: Yes, I think that President Biden is going to reaffirm the reasoning that he has told Zelenskyy many times in recent months, about why

now is not the right time for Ukraine to become a part of the alliance. They have had several conversations by phone over the last several weeks

and months about this very subject, because of course, it has been top of mind for President Zelenskyy.

And you know, President Biden is not going to break with the alliance here. In fact, he had been on the more conservative side to begin with, saying

that he did not believe that Ukraine was ready to join NATO at this point.


So, I think what we can expect is that President Biden will be reiterating to Zelenskyy that the U.S. stands in solidarity with Ukraine, that they

will continue their military and economic support to the Ukrainians for as long as it takes. But in the end, President Biden alone is not going to

promise, of course, Zelenskyy what he wants to hear, which is that Ukraine will become a full-fledged member of the alliance.

And that they actually have an invitation, an open-door invitation for that when the war actually ends. President Biden clearly not willing to commit

to that at this point, Christina.

MACFARLANE: Natasha, thank you. Nic, I just want to get your take on this, because I'm wondering how likely is the Biden administration's extreme

caution over this issue. Could it be because the United States sees an opportunity here to use NATO membership as a leverage point for bringing

Ukraine to the negotiating table at some point?

ROBERTSON: The war is not going as well as Ukraine wanted it to. They're not vanquishing Russia from their territory the way they wanted to. Does

that mean that they -- if they don't do it this year, they will be able to do it next year? But if they don't, and it has to be a negotiated solution

whereby Ukraine actually has to give up some of its aspiration, has to give up some territory.

What are the levers that the international community has over them? Well, one of the levers is the weapons that are supplied and the money to help

finance the government. But the other one is to say, look, there are security guarantees you're going to get. NATO membership could be part of

that package. But, you're going to have to stop the war here, because this is the best terms you're going to get from us, and from Russia.

And I think Zelenskyy is aware of that, and he wants to be able to preempt any of that. And that's why it's so -- that's why he wants to get what he

can't have at the moment, because he wants to shut down the possibility then in the future, this could be used as leverage to get them to back down

and sue for peace, when they would like to go another year or whatever it is.

MACFARLANE: Yes, well, the summit obviously not over yet, still another day to come and still perhaps, another chance to hear from President Biden

tomorrow. Natasha Bertrand, thank you so much, from Vilnius, Nic, thanks for your thoughts here in London. Now, moving to inside of Ukraine, forces

were kept busy overnight fending off a new wave of Russian airstrikes.

Authorities say Russia targeted Kyiv and Odessa with Iranian-made drones. They say most of the weapons were shot down, but two got through and hit

port buildings in Odessa. Falling debris also damaged buildings, no casualties were reported in Kyiv, and we haven't seen any reported out of

Odessa. Whether Ukraine gets into NATO or not, its troops already have NATO weapons.

CNN's Ben Wedeman reports on the mix of Soviet era and western gear they're training to use in battle.




Preparing for a battle just a short drive away on Ukraine's eastern front. For an army long trained in the use of Soviet-era weapons, it's a time of

transition to the latest arms to arrive from the West. An American-made grenade launcher, and American-made 50-caliber machine gun,.

(on camera): This exercise is designed to bring together troops fresh from the front around Bakhmut, with new recruits to show them how it's done.

(voice-over): Veteran soldier Denys explains the finer points of the machine gun to recruit fresh, but not all young.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need many weapons, armors and vehicles.

WEDEMAN: This commander, Kolsine Matson(ph) puts it this way. "The Russians have an immense amount of old Soviet Weapons", he says, "they just throw a

massive metal at us, we can't overcome them this way. We need quality and precision." Nearby, other recruits are rehearsing an assault, jumping out

of an old Soviet-era armored personnel carrier, advancing under the watchful eye of their sergeant.

Nicola(ph) served in the Soviet army, then drove a tractor for decades before joining the Ukrainian army a year ago. He says "NATO should provide

something newer than his old Soviet workhorse."

(on camera): It's as old as the two of us. OK, I can't believe it.

(voice-over): Nicola(ph) has simple advice for the new troops, move fast and stay low. And for NATO, just move fast. Ben Wedeman, CNN, eastern



MACFARLANE: Both Ukrainian and Russian reports say a Russian submarine commander has been shot dead inside Russia. And although, Ukrainian

Intelligence isn't directly saying it's responsible, it says it knows grisly details about how many times he was shot, and the pistol used.

Stenislav Rezitski(ph) served in the Black Sea fleet.


There are some reports he was no longer in the military, and he may have been tracked on a fitness app while jogging before being killed in a park.

Well, CNN can't confirm the account these pictures come from is authentic. But his image appears on the site. The news comes amid reports a Russian

General has also being killed in southern Ukraine.

All right, still to come tonight, outrage in Israel, these are live pictures of that outrage after lawmakers advanced a key part of the

government's judicial overhaul plans. We'll have the latest on a day of disruption nationwide.


MACFARLANE: Welcome back. Tens of thousands of Israelis are taking to the streets for the biggest weekday protest in months, demanding the government

scrap highly controversial moves to overhaul the country's judicial system. Protesters blocked highways nationwide on what they're calling a day of

disruption and resistance.

Police used water cannons to try and disperse these demonstrators in Tel Aviv. And this was the scene at Ben Gurion International Airport, one

protester there said the airport is a connection to the world, and that the world should know that Israeli democracy, quote, "is in danger". Well,

police say more than 70 people have been arrested nationwide.

Similar protests have been going on for months, but they are intensifying after lawmakers advanced a key part of the sweeping package of judicial

overhaul measures. They voted to strip the Supreme Court of the power to declare the government's actions unreasonable, that bill needs two more

votes now to become law.

Our Hadas Gold has been among the crowds all day, she's joining us now live from Jerusalem. And Hadas, I know that these protests are less about that

particular bill that passed last night, and more about stopping the larger legislation aimed at scaling back the power of the judiciary. How

widespread have these disruptions, these protests being today, compared to previous protests? And what have protesters being telling you, I know

you've been down there?

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we were with the protesters from Jerusalem to the airport, and then back to Jerusalem again. And I

would definitely say these are some of the biggest protests we have seen here in months. At the airport earlier, there were thousands there, and

they did bring parts of the airport to a halt, essentially they completely blocked the arrivals lanes, and protesters had also even gone to the

parking garages and were hanging signs from the parking garages.


We've been seeing these protests from the morning through the evening, they're not just concentrated in the big cities, they're also in smaller

cities, they've also been along, you know, bridges, along major arteries and highways. The protesters definitely took it to heart, this whole idea

of this day of disruption. And the protests are continuing as we speak. We can see these live pictures from Tel Aviv, also outside of the Supreme

Court and the Israeli parliament, the protesters are continuing.

In fact, some of them have vowed to pitch tents even in central Tel Aviv, and a way of showing how this protest is going to be more permanent. But

from the legislation we saw last night, you know, they did pass the first vote of this unreasonable bill, whether the Supreme Court can rule

government actions to be unreasonable, they have pretty broad powers to do so.

And the strategy of this government now is after a few months worth of legislation of process, was essentially frozen to allow time for

negotiations with the opposition, those negotiations obviously didn't lead anywhere. Now, they're doing this in a slower piecemeal fashion where it's

just going to be step-by-step slowly, perhaps as a way to potentially see if they can last longer than the protesters.

But the government essentially saying, we're bringing this back, they are bringing this back in a slightly softer way. Prime Minister Benjamin

Netanyahu did step back from some of the more controversial elements of the overhaul, namely, the one that would allow parliament to overturn Supreme

Court decisions. But they're pushing ahead, you know, we just actually had not heard from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu all day during these


And just in the last few minutes, he finally tweeted, and all he tweeted was just a screen-grab of an article saying -- claiming that left-wing

protesters were blocking ambulances and the like. And all he did was sort of do these three red dots, probably as a stop sign of some kind. So, not

much commentary from him except focusing on the protesters.

And all signs indicating that this government plans to push forward with the legislation. They say they won the election, they have the votes in

parliament, they believe the judiciary is in desperate need of reform. The negotiations didn't work, and despite the protests normally from the

protesters, but also what we're hearing from the United States as well, that has expressed deep concern over these reforms.

As it stands, it seems as though they will be moving forward with at least some element of this overhaul, might not look like what they propose back

in January, but they are moving forward with reforming, as they see it, the judiciary in some fashion, Christina?

MACFARLANE: Yes, as you say, Hadas, not much commentary from Netanyahu, he's perhaps trying to play this down, but the live pictures we're seeing

of people still out on the streets protesting speaks otherwise. Hadas Gold there live from Jerusalem, thanks, Hadas.

Well, turning now to the charges facing former U.S. President Donald Trump. His defense team is asking for a delay in setting a trial date. In a late

night filing, they asked the judge overseeing the documents case in Florida to postpone the trial. In the filing, the former president's lawyer stated

that there was no reason for a speedy trial, and went on to say justice would be best served with a continuance.

Well, joining me now is senior -- CNN senior legal affairs correspondent, Paula Reid. And Paula, I think also today, we saw that the grand jury

that's expected to consider Donald Trump's indictment was formally selected to. I kind of want to level with you here. I think what people from an

international perspective care about the most when it comes to any developments around Donald Trump is, whether any of this is going to impact

his run for the White House. So give us your perspective.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's a great question. I think a lot of people here are wondering the same thing. I

think one of the most significant threats that he's facing is from the special counsel investigation. That is a federal investigation looking into

the possible mishandling of classified documents --


Sorry, I'm going to take a quick sip of water. What's happening in Georgia is also incredibly significant because it goes to this question of whether

he tried to meddle in the election there. But it's just unclear whether his supporters are going to take this into consideration when they decide how

to vote.


MACFARLANE: Are you OK, Paula?

REID: Yes, I'm good, thank you.

MACFARLANE: That's all right. I think we will leave it there. You're clearly struggling, but look, we'll come back. We -- it is obviously a

story that's going to run and run -- Donald Trump and the various legal cases against him. Now, U.S. senators are receiving a classified briefing

today on the implications of artificial intelligence on national security. They'll be joined by officials from Intelligence agencies and the

Department of Defense.

Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer is leading an effort to develop policies that will regulate A.I. and defend against what he calls doomsday

scenarios. One senator taking part in today's briefings spoke to CNN's Phil Mattingly, saying artificial intelligence is already on the battlefield in

conflicts around the world.


SEN. MIKE ROUNDS (R-SD): Our challenges today is to bring our members, Republicans and Democrats alike, up to an understanding of just how deeply-

embedded A.I. is right now in our military operations.


So that as we look at different parts for regulating or monitoring or learning about A.I., we don't hurt our ability to defend ourselves using

A.I., and that we understand clearly how advanced our adversaries are in the use of artificial intelligence in their operations today.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Who from an adversary perspective you view the most concerning --

ROUNDS: China --

MATTINGLY: In terms of their capabilities?

ROUNDS: No question about China --

MATTINGLY: How advanced do you think they are at this point?

ROUNDS: They are very advanced. They're very capable. Look, A.I. as we look at it is made up of not just the ability to use super computers, but the

ability to have very large databases, and to be able to categorize those databases to actually put labels on everything that's in it so that a

machine can recognize them. China is very advanced in this.

And they are continuing to develop their databases. They're looking at databases in the West right now. It's one of the reasons why you find

TikTok being something that they promote.


MACFARLANE: Now, authorities in Iceland have now restricted access to an erupting volcano near the capital of Reykjavik, saying it's spewing toxic

gas pollution. A few tourists and locals trek to the volcano to see the dramatic lava-flow after the eruption began Monday in an uninhabited area.

Officials say the eruption is low intensity and is actually now decreasing with gas pollution easing as well.

But they warn the situation remains unpredictable as you can see. All right, still to come tonight, Russia hits out at Turkey after its dramatic

U-turn on Sweden joining NATO. And later, record rainfall across Asia and the U.S. leaves a path of destruction. A recap and report on the

catastrophic flooding straight ahead.




MACFARLANE: NATO leaders put on a united front as they met today in Lithuania. The stakes at this year's summit are extremely high. And cracks

are showing over how and when Ukraine could join the group.

Sweden's bid is looking promising. On Monday, Turkiye reversed its months- long opposition and agreed to get behind Sweden's application. Unsurprisingly, Russia is not too pleased. It is accusing Turkiye of being

unfriendly and making, quote, "provocative decisions."

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz has had a closer look at how Turkiye's new term unfolded.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After months of resistance, a surprise U-turn. Turkiye agrees to back Sweden's bid for

membership into NATO on the eve of the bloc's two-day annual summit in Vilnius.

Secretary general Jens Stoltenberg tweeted a photo, smiling alongside Turkish and Swedish leaders. He called the step historic. It appears to

iron out an issue that had strained the alliance's unity while the war in Ukraine raged on.


ULF KRISTERSSON, SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER: We are thus taking a very big step toward the formal ratification of Sweden's membership in NATO. It has been

a good day for Sweden.

ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): The move represents a stunning about face from Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had been opposing Sweden's

accession for a year, leveraging his position and demanding concessions in exchange.

Even linking Sweden's NATO bid to Turkiye's long-standing effort to join the European Union less than 24 hours before the summit.

In response to the news, Russia said Turkiye is turning into an unfriendly country. After a series of, quote, "provocative decisions."

In another significant move, Erdogan violated an agreement with Moscow over the weekend by allowing five Ukrainian commanders, part of the Azovstal

defense, previously captured by Russia, to return to the battlefield in Ukraine from Turkiye.

The announcement came as president Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Erdogan in Istanbul, as part of a tour of NATO countries. Russia called it a stab in

the back, claiming Turkiye was being pressured by NATO.

Since the start of the war Ankara has opted for a delicate balancing act, keeping an open channel of communication with both Moscow and Kyiv. But

Erdogan's surprise announcement on Sweden serves as a major blow to Vladimir Putin, paving the way for NATO to complete its expansion launched

as a response to his invasion of Ukraine.

It also comes just weeks after an attempted mutiny inside Russia by Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, exposing cracks in Moscow's leadership and Putin's

hold on power. Turkiye's decision has been welcomed by U.S. President Joe Biden, who had been ramping up pressure on Erdogan for months.

Hours after the announcement, Washington said it intends to move forward with the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Turkiye, a request that has been

on hold for nearly two years. It is unclear, however, if this aid came in response to Ankara's reversal.

A flurry of armed support is now headed to Ukraine. France announced it would be sending longer range missiles to Kyiv while Germany pledged nearly

$800 million in military aid, including Leopard tanks and other equipment, underscoring another severe blow to Putin.

But while it may be some time before Sweden officially joins NATO, Turkiye's decision will undoubtedly lighten the mood in Vilnius, where

alliance members had hoped to project unity over the war in Ukraine.


MACFARLANE: And Salma is here with me now.

Clearly, Salma, there's been a lot of reaction to this today. And what has prompted, it what.

Before I ask you something about that, I want to run a sound bite by the former national security adviser, John Bolton, because it speaks to a lot

of the skepticism behind this, move.


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER TRUMP NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I think Turkiye is still a problem for NATO, I think it was outrageous that it objected to

Sweden and Finland's application. I think it was outrageous that Erdogan put the rest of NATO through a process of extortion.

We still don't know the full price that the United States has paid to get Turkiye's acquiescence. I'm sure it has to do with F-16 sales. Personally,

if I were in the Senate, I would still vote against selling F-16s to Turkiye. They have not behaved like a good NATO member.



MACFARLANE: I, mean it is not often the majority of us would agree with John Bolton but, in this instance, I think he is correct in his assessment.

Also, the wider concerns around Turkiye's ongoing problems with human rights records, with respect to the rule of law.

In this, instance it is clear that he had a massive platform for negotiation.

What assurances do you think might have been given in order for him to perform this?

ABDELAZIZ: I think there's no doubt about it that President Erdogan saw an opportunity. He is a pragmatist and this NATO summit is a chance to extort

as much as possible, as John Bolton said, to try to get as many concessions as he can.

Of course there is resentment that Erdogan forced his NATO friends to drag their, feet if you will, to draw out this process with Finland and Sweden.

But fundamentally, I think both President Biden and President Erdogan are going home with a win.

Biden gets to say, I've made NATO bigger, stronger and President Biden in an interview recently with Fareed Zakaria also sort of caveated or poised

this giving F-16s to Turkiye or selling F-16s to Turkiye as a way of upping the military capabilities of NATO, which is just another perspective to


For President Erdogan, of course, he gets to go back home and say, look I finally was able to make this agreement.

But fundamentally, the bigger question if you're looking at this in a wider perspective, is the West bringing Erdogan a little bit closer?

He's been playing this very delicate balancing act.

Is this a shift?

Is this a turn away from Moscow?

You heard that very strong rhetoric from the Kremlin. I would guess not exactly. He still has a lot of trade tied up with Russia. But we --


MACFARLANE: So you would say it does not signal a possible change in direction from Russia, given what they said?

They called this a provocative decision, unfriendly. Strategically that partnership has worked on both. Sides

How likely is it to change that calculus?

ABDELAZIZ: There's about $60 billion of trade annually between Russia and Turkiye. President Erdogan cannot turn his back on that, especially when

his economy is suffering back home. He has to continue playing this balancing act.

You will remember he did join NATO partners in putting sanctions on Turkiye (sic). But maybe President Putin sees him as going too far. You also have

to remember, President Putin can't afford to lose a friend right now. He's just faced this armed insurrection at home.

You're hearing this tough rhetoric coming from the Kremlin but I don't think it's time for President Putin to turn his back on Erdogan, either.

MACFARLANE: It's a delicate balancing act, both by the sounds of, it. Salma, thanks very much.

Now, after losing in Thailand's elections, the country's prime minister said he's retiring from politics. The United Thai Party came in fifth in

the recent elections. They lost in a landslide and only won 36 seats. Prayut will remain as the prime minister until the new government is


Almost nine years he served in office after seizing power in 2014 during a military coup.

Still to come, tonight check out this raging water in Japan. Intense flooding is part of a week of record setting rainfall across the world.

Plus one millionaire is turning over a new leaf by turning his back on private. Jets but is enough to kickstart a new climate revolution?





MACFARLANE: We are back with the latest extreme weather event happening around the globe. We realize these stories can often become a flood in

themselves. So we want to visualize the more extreme elements happening right now.

As you can see, here on one side, 1000-year rainfall in the corner of the United States coupled with a string of high temperatures on the other side.

The water overflowed at the Keys reportedly feels like a hot tub. Temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

This high sea temperatures endangering coral in the Caribbean. On the other side of the, world you can see record heat in China, deadly flooding in

Japan and in India. Details now on those events across Asia.

We have seen heavy rainfall in southwestern Japan triggering devastating floods. Just look at this raging water here. At least six people are dead

and some people missing and others injured. The region was hit by what Japanese weather forecasters calls record levels of rain.

It's the same in northern India where severe rain also is causing deadly flash floods and landslides. People had to be rescued from their roof tops,

as you can see here. On Sunday, Delhi had its wettest day of more than four decades.

And in the United States, several areas in the state of New York are under emergency warnings after severe flooding wrecked roads, bridges and dams

across the northeastern U.S.

The same system also caused catastrophic flooding in Vermont. Officials there report no deaths or injuries but say rescues and evacuations are

still happening.

And a look at what one restaurant is dealing with. The owners of Sam's Steakhouse in the city of Ludlow told CNN he is looking at a total loss of

his business after water almost reached the ceiling. CNN's Miguel Marquez reports the rain may have tapered off there but there is still a real



MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the downtown of the Vermont capital. We are about a block from the capital

building. I went down there earlier, I want to show you what's down, there.

That is State Street; the capital is about a block away. That is a vehicle. And the water is getting. Higher this is the Winooski River that is just

overflowing its banks right now. I tried to get down to that car to make sure everybody was all right. But the water was flowing so fast down there

it is just impossible.

This is not as high as the river has been; in 1927, the record was set. It's almost 21 feet above flood stage. I want to show you where the river

itself looks like. This is a bridge that is a little disturbing to see. I want you to see and hear what this sounds like right now.

The water is hitting the top of the bridge. I'm going to be quiet for a second and let you listen to just this sound and the power of that water.

So it has been raining for much of the night. One other great concern is the Wrightsville Dam that is near here. It has about six feet of capacity

left. If it hits the spillway, they're afraid it's going to bring more water into the north branch of the Winooski River and bring more water into

Montpelier and create even a greater flooding situation.

Back to you.



MACFARLANE: On top of everything Chad was mentioning, there sea ice levels in the Antarctic hit a record low for the month of June. According to the

World Meteorological Organization, the levels were 17 percent below average this year, breaking the previous June record by a large margin.

While those numbers went down, global sea surface temperatures went up, reaching record highs for the periods of May and June this year. Experts

say these are worrying trends caused by climate change.


MICHAEL SPARROW, WORLD CLIMATE RESEARCH PROGRAMME: It really is unprecedented, this kind of reduction in sea ice around the Antarctic. The

Antarctic region is normally relatively stable. It's much colder than the Arctic.

We are used to seeing these big reductions in sea ice in the Arctic but not of the Antarctic. It's down by five standard deviations for the

mathematicians, below what we would expect and what we've seen in the past. This is a massive decrease.


MACFARLANE: Scientists are warning of even more marine heat waves with the return of El Nino. The weather pattern warms surface ocean temperatures.

Still to come tonight, how one millionaire is putting his money where his mouth is, all in the name of climate change. We will talk about it with

CNN's Richard Quest next.





MACFARLANE: It's never too late to kick your habits. Just ask Stephen Prince, the American multimillionaire, who is choosing the planet over his

private jet. The gift card mogul has owned half a dozen private jets and is now selling his last one.

After realizing he could not ignore the cost to the climate and future generations. He's vice chair of the Patriotic Millionaires group. Prince is

pushing for higher taxes, in part so that those who do fly private have to pay more for the privilege.

CNN's Richard Quest, joins me now, live from New York, ahead of his interview with Stephen Prince in the next hour.

So I should probably be careful what I say, Richard, I admire his stance on higher taxes.

But to put it bluntly, why should we care about a millionaire selling his last jet?

What does this signify?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: It is a trend. And even though it's coming from a millionaire who -- or a billionaire, who is quite clear about wanting

higher taxes for the rich and, indeed, he says he is not going to go out proselytizing for others to do the same, this is a personal decision, for

him to tell his Citation -- sorry, his Cessna 650 Citation 3.

It is a midsized private jet that can do medium to longish haul routes. It's worth about $1 million, $1.5 million or so and it costs about $2

million a year to run, depending on how many hours you fly it. The significance is he's gone out and said he's doing it.

He's going to fly either commercial or he is going to lease a smaller twin engine prop plane for his private flying.

MACFARLANE: OK, well, I suppose this would also maybe mean he might be encouraging others who fly private to switch as well. So the implications

could be quite large. I don't know enough about the private flight industry to know how much this impacts climate change.

QUEST: Let me tell you, yes, it does. So private jets emit roughly 10 times more emissions per passenger, because, remember, you've got the two jets.

If you take the Citation, two jets at the back. And they are emitting 10 times more emissions that anybody flying commercial.

In addition to which you've got the increased infrastructure cost for private airports, smaller runways, the whole cost of private flying. And

yet, what is interesting is, over the last two or three years, the amount of private flying has increased by 130 odd percent.

What we need to understand is that most people don't own their own. Jet I realize that might be a great disappointment. But most people don't own

their own, jet they either lease or they do something known as fractional ownership.

It's a tax advantageous way that you buy into a fleet of planes, that you then have access to them. NetJets is the prime example. Flexjet is another

one. That is the way most people access the world -- most people. The 1 percent of the 1 percent that access private flying.

I will say this, there are legitimate reasons to have private planes. I don't mean because you are Uber rich and you can go to your ski resort. If

you are CEO of a large company, that private plane becomes a tool for you and your senior management to go and visit the company and its offices and

factories --


QUEST: -- at the most cost-effective and efficient way.

MACFARLANE: Yes and it's only a small majority -- a small minority, as you say, that have that option. It's a moral dilemma, though, and I suppose we

shouldn't point fingers.

If you have a chance to fly a private jet, Richard, would you take the opportunity?




QUEST: Depends. And I've been in this position, where I've been offered a ride on the corporate jet and I actually declined it, not for environmental

reasons, not for moral dilemma but because it wasn't that big.

And the prospect of sitting for seven hours with the CEO, having to make small talk -- I mean, they are not comfortable. They are not always

comfortable. You're sitting in the back seat, the CEO is at the front. It's not worth it.


Any CEOs listening, don't offer Richard your plane. He'd rather fly, coach.

Richard --



MACFARLANE: -- back to you.

We have to leave it there but obviously tune in to see that interview with Mr. Price (sic) coming up.

Thank you so much for watching, stay with CNN and Richard will be up after the short break.