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Isa Soares Tonight
Zelenskyy Describes A Russian Missile Attack On A Market In Donetsk Which Killed 17 People As "Utter Inhumanity"; Storm Daniel Lashes Greece And Southern Europe; Rolling Stones Unveil First Album Of Original Songs In 18 Years; Blinken Says Russia Is Weaponizing Food, Announces Over $1 Billion In New Aid for Ukraine; Georgia Election Subversion Case Could Last Eight Months. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired September 06, 2023 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, utter inhumanity. That's how Ukrainian
President Zelenskyy describes a Russian missile attack on a market in Donetsk that killed at least 17 people. This as U.S. Secretary of State
Antony Blinken is in Kyiv.
Then towns flooded in Greece as Storm Daniel lashes southern Europe following a Summer, of course, of deadly wildfires. We'll have the latest
on what United Nations calls climate chaos. Plus, the Rolling Stones are back. The rock legends unveiling their first album of original songs in 18
years. We'll have a sneak peek for you.
But first this evening, utter inhumanity. That's what Ukraine's president calls a devastating missile strike on a market in the Donetsk region today,
saying, it shows why Russian evil must be defeated as soon as possible. Ukraine says at least 17 people were killed and that includes a child. Some
cars and shops were incinerated, as you can see there in the flames. Surveillance cameras captured the moment of the attack, and we warn you,
the images we're about to show you are disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: And President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is accusing Russia of deliberately targeting civilians, saying there were no military units
anywhere near the scene as you saw there. With attacks comes just as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced visit to Kyiv, he met
with Mr. Zelenskyy, promising the U.S. will walk side- by-side with Ukraine. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: I'm struck by the extraordinary resilience of the Ukrainian people. The strength of your
military and the very strong leadership that Ukrainians benefit from in this most difficult period.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Let's bring in CNN's Melissa Bell for more. And Melissa, before we go to you, I just want to show our viewers the podium. We are expecting to
hear from the Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. Of course, when that comes underway, we will bring it to our
viewers, and apologies if I have to interrupt.
But let's just put the framing of this press conference into perspective, visit by Secretary of State coming of course as we just outlined as Russia
striking that market, hitting Ukrainian -- Ukraine civilian populations. Bring us up-to-date with the very latest there, first.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. As if any reminder were necessary. Secretary Blinken arrived in Kyiv, there had been these strikes
overnight here on the Ukrainian capital, ballistic missiles and cruise missiles, but this strike on this town, which is about 20 miles to the west
of Bakhmut, Isa, a particular reminder of what it is Ukrainians are enduring and exactly what Secretary Blinken is here to speak about.
Which is not only to get an idea of how the counteroffensive is going from the point of view of the Ukrainians, the Americans have their own
assessment that the progress made has been significant, but they want to find out more from their Ukrainian counterparts about exactly what their
view of the situation on the ground is, and the effectiveness of their counteroffensive.
And his aim is really to take that back to Washington. Remember, Isa, that the polls over in the United States do suggest a softening for support for
the continued funding of this war. And his visit, Secretary Blinken comes less than a month after President Biden went to Congress to ask for a
further $24 billion in aid.
Now, when he gets up to speak at that podium next to his counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, we're likely to hear more about some of the aid that we understand
is now likely to be pledged by the United States. And that includes some of the more controversial depleted uranium ammunitions the United Kingdom had
already purchased some back in March.
The answer for Moscow have been fairly quick that if any of these munitions, that is important to explain that whiles they can contain a
little bit of radioactivity, essentially, there are pointers that they have much more dense, they are much more dense than already led, and they allow
the piercing of the kind of armor that you find on tanks.
The response from Moscow have been swift that any use of anything nuclear would bring a reset on the part of Moscow. So, there have been some
questions to whether the United States will go this far. Our understanding is that this may be part of the package that is to be announced. Certainly
from Secretary of State Blinken, we're likely to hear further condemnation of what we saw today.
It was -- and you heard in that clip that you just played, Isa, the sound of what the inhabitants of that town saw, lived through, suffered today,
quite extraordinary. And although, there have been civilian deaths throughout this conflict, that particular death toll more than at least 17
people now known to have been killed, including a child as they went about their ordinary business in a market town, Isa.
SOARES: And of course, you and I have discussed this at great length, the counteroffensive, the criticism about the pace of the counteroffensive.
Have we heard from the Secretary of State, from the U.S.? How do they view -- what's their assessment of this counteroffensive so far as the head of
the UNGA, of course?
BELL: I think so far what we've been hearing from the State Department officials is that their assessment is that these are significant steps,
they're important steps that the progress has been good. And that is very much the message that they want to carry back with them. You're right, Isa,
this is also about getting their messaging straight, that Washington and Kyiv can stand together, and what it is they have to tell the rest of the
world when they get to the U.N.
Because remember that, it is a 50-plus strong alliance that needs to be held together. That is no mean feat, 19 months into this war that the
entire world has grown weary of, not least of course, the Ukrainians. But it is about holding together that alliance and convincing them by the time
President Zelenskyy stands in New York not just of the need to continue standing firm with Ukraine, but actually to keep going further, since that
is what President Zelenskyy is asking for.
The Ukrainian counteroffensive has made progress, it's proving extremely costly in terms of men. What we understand is happening down there is that,
these are smaller assault units that are now trying to go in and move forward with that frontline in very difficult conditions ahead of bigger
assault that might take place, and for that, they're going to need a lot more support behind them, Isa.
SOARES: And Melissa, do standby, of course, as soon as that press conference gets underway -- if we just show our viewers again that podium,
we are expecting to hear from the Secretary of State Antony Blinken and also from Dmytro Kuleba there. As soon as that gets underway, of course, we
shall bring it to you -- go back to Melissa. Melissa Bell, in the meantime, thank you very much.
Well, Ukraine's new defense minister was approved by parliament today, and his very first comment on the job, he vowed every centimeter of the country
will be liberated. Let's take a close look now where Ukraine's counteroffensive stands. Sam Kiley is joining me here in the studio. And
Sam, you know, we have heard about much progress being achieved at least in the south.
Talk us through where you see the biggest -- the biggest achievements if I can call it that for Ukraine forces?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENET: Well, I think one of the interesting things, Isa, is all about expectation. There are critics in
the Pentagon and elsewhere that have suggested that this is a campaign that is running to the sand that the Ukrainians are not getting as far as were
And if you see this initial map here, you see on that southern front there, looking east from Zaporizhzhia. Just got a few yellow blobs and some white
dots at the side there.
SOARES: So just around here --
KILEY: Those are just the areas, very small looking areas that the Ukrainians have liberated in the last few months since the Summer offensive
got underway. And if we take a closer look at that southern front -- if we can get this machine to work --
SOARES: I'm sure they can push it up for us because where we were --
KILEY: Here we go --
SOARES: Focused -- here we go, yes --
KILEY: So they've had this Robotyne there, that is where the latest successes have been. That -- it doesn't look a lot, but it is pretty
significant. Their aim is to go on to Tokmak with a view of capturing Melitopol ultimately. But there is line upon line upon line of defensive
entrenchments made by the Russians. They stretch from all the way here, all the way and we'll come later to talk about it up in the north.
But you've got these very substantial defenses. So the breakthroughs on the ground there have come as a result of infantries infiltrating at night,
clearing minds by hand and then calling in the armor that NATO supplied that the Americans keep handing over to the Ukrainians.
SOARES: So you've been looking around this area in Robotyne and Tokmak here. What I heard was, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, that the first
line of defense will be about first fourth -- the fourth month now of this counteroffensive was just starting.
The first line of this counteroffensive breaking through that Russian line was the hardest. Does that -- the next stage of that mean that's going to
be easier than momentum is going to be there?
KILEY: The momentum may gather in this area. They will want to expand sideways, if you like, to create a bridge head for there -- to bring in
supplies. What they want to be able to do is get a sufficiently wide breach in the Russian lines that they can expand behind them. But of course,
they're going to suffer counterattacks. These are areas that are under attack constantly from the Russians.
They've all been pre-prepared. So, the Russians know exactly what the coordinates are, that they want to hit, but they do want to reinforce,
they're trying to cut off --
SOARES: To cut right across --
KILEY: The east and west -- exactly --
SOARES: From the Sea of Azov --
KILEY: To dissect this big area of red territory with the ultimate aim of going in and liberating in front --
SOARES: And I'm guessing also cutting off supply lines. That's key, so that's the south. How successful has Ukraine been in the east?
KILEY: Well, if you take a look at the -- Isa, gain you see these yellow blobs there, the ones -- the areas that have been liberated over the last
few months. Not an enormous amount of success, a huge amount of blood and treasure expended in Bakhmut known as the meat grinder unfortunately by
both sides. This is an area where the Russians continue to maintain pressure, and at the same time, the Russians have been trying to remove
forces from that area to reinforce down here in the south.
And that has given the Ukrainians opportunity to hurry those forces, to attack them when they're vulnerable, which is when they're on the move, and
when they're trying to go south. But of course, the enemy has always got a vote, as they say military ducting, Kostyantynivka, 16 -- 17 now --
SOARES: Yes --
KILEY: Are dead today, more than 20 injured in that missile attack. Constant attacks just behind the lines, trying to weaken the Ukrainian
SOARES: And If you go to the main graphic for us there, Sam, you were in Ukraine at the beginning of the year. What is your assessment of the gains
that we have seen here in the south, but also in the east?
KILEY: I think it's much too early to make a decision one way or the other about who is winning, who is losing?
SOARES: Yes --
KILEY: Whether or not which side has got the momentum. Under military doctrine at the moment, the NATO would not conduct this operation without a
3 to 1 ratio in their favor. The troop numbers are probably the other way round, it's 1 to 3 for the Ukrainians. So, they've got -- the odds are
heavily against them. They don't have air power, they do have better artillery, they do have a bit more of the volume of help that they're
There's nothing like what NATO would admit they need to do this. In that context, pretty miraculously advances they have made. But up north in
Kharkiv for example --
SOARES: Yes --
KILEY: That is where the Russians have been counterattacking --
SOARES: This one here, yes -- that's what we've seen on the --
KILEY: Yes, it's actually up there, so, I mean, looking at -- that area, we've seen Russian counterattacks. Again --
SOARES: Yes --
KILEY: All in an effort to try to draw each other's troops away from where each side is deciding the main efforts. You've got a Russian attack going
on in Bakhmut and just north of Bakhmut, and Ukrainian attack going down there in the south.
SOARES: Looks like a pincer. Thanks very much, Sam, I appreciate it. Of course, we'll bring you that press conference as soon as it gets underway,
we're keeping a close eye on that podium for you. Now, I want to leave Ukraine and go to really a powerful storm that is unleashing deadly
flooding on Turkey, Greece as well as Bulgaria. At least, seven people have been killed after almost two days of heavy rain.
Flash flooding turned the streets of Istanbul, as you can see there, into a roaring river. A subway station was partially submerged and dozens of
people had to evacuate at a library. This storm has been named Daniel, and all of that water might help Greece battling some of Europe's worst
wildfires if you remember. But that rain is a double-edged sword. Intense heat can make soil repel water, and that creates a nightmare scenario for
landslides and floods.
Bulgaria and Greece are also dealing with tornado reports, and rescue crews are scrambling to save lives with more rain in the forecast. Well, the
flooding tops off months of extreme weather in Europe. And the U.N. is warning of climate chaos after the hottest Summer on record. CNN's Katie
Polglase reports on how events like this are becoming more common as well as more severe.
KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER (voice-over): A road in the city of Volos, Greece, ripped apart by floodwaters. These cables are
makeshift system, and the only way to carry this man across the CASM(ph) to safety. Hard and delicate work in this endless Summer of climate
emergencies in Greece. For the past day and night, torrential rain from Storm Daniel has fallen on Volos and the surrounding area. The impact on
residents has been disastrous.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The roof fell in from the rain. It's a huge damage. They should help us. I have a family and kids, how are
we going to sleep? Last night we slept here and there. It's unbelievable.
POLGLASE: The flooding follows a devastating Summer wildfire season, which ravaged the same area. The barren ground unable to absorb the water when
the flooding came. In northern Greece meanwhile, wildfires killed nearly two dozen people in recent weeks. Storm Daniel is now crawling slowly
across Greece towards the southwest.
As it enters the Mediterranean Sea, meteorologists fear it will pick up strength from the unusually high sea surface temperatures, and develop into
a medicane; a weather event with hurricane-like effects. Greece is not alone, neighboring Bulgaria and Istanbul in Turkey have also faced intense
flooding. As wildfires and flooding impact parts of Europe, Typhoon Haikui made landfall Sunday in Taiwan before bringing heavy rain to southwestern
And the Atlantic hurricane season is reaching its peak with tropical Storm Lee expected to intensify into an extremely dangerous hurricane by this
weekend after Idalia battered the U.S. Gulf Coast a week ago.
MIKE BOYLAN, STORM CHASER: Yes, we're getting some intense winds and rain. Currently affected by maybe extreme -- things are going down --
POLGLASE: Events like this are becoming more extreme, part of a global trend according to a new report from Copernicus, the EU's climate change
service, 2023 saw the hottest air and sea temperatures since records began in the 1940s, the report says. And they're clear that humans are to blame.
With the deputy director warning that we will continue to see extreme weather events until we stop emitting greenhouse gases.
In the meantime, the world continues to see more chaos and destruction from climate catastrophes. Katie Polglase, CNN, London.
SOARES: Well, for more on what's happening in Greece, I'm joined now by Elisabeth Karanika; she's a volunteer with the Hellenic Red Cross.
Elisabeth, I'm hoping that you can hear me. Thank you for taking the time - -
ELISABETH KARANIKA, VOLUNTEER, HELLENIC RED CROSS: I can hear you --
SOARES: To speak to us. Give us a sense of what you and your teams are seeing on the ground.
KARANIKA: As you can see, we are in Larissa, at the main entrance of the city. It is flooded since this morning. The storm was extraordinary. It is
raining for over three days now. Many villages are evacuated around Larissa city, and we are -- we are making camps, the Red Cross is making camps with
connection with the mayors and all around the villages and the cities all around Larissa, so as they can --
SOARES: Yes --
KARANIKA: Have blankets and drinking water, because many of the villages do not have running water or electricity for the past few days.
SOARES: Elisabeth, is that a main road behind you? And how high --
KARANIKA: Yes, it is --
SOARES: Is that water?
KARANIKA: It is over one meter and a half. And maybe you can see the fire department is making some rescues now. An older couple just arrived and now
they got back in with their boat to save some more people that are there still from the morning.
SOARES: And now --
KARANIKA: We are here to give them the -- you know, blankets and everything they need.
SOARES: And are people -- are people leaving -- just Elisabeth, stay with us for one second.
KARANIKA: Sure --
SOARES: We want to go to Ukraine, Secretary Blinken is about to speak. Let's listen in.
DMYTRO KULEBA, FOREIGN MINISTER, UKRAINE (through translator): Ukraine and United States, they went to such levels that we don't need -- we need
everything, what we need is just open and sincere conversation, and this is what we have today. However, we would like to thank the State Secretary for
-- we begin the day visiting the cemetery, Bykivnia(ph) Cemetery.
Yes, I will comment, just the day we begin a new tradition, and I am grateful to the State Secretary for being the first, the chief of the
foreign service of international -- of the country to begin his visit with honoring fallen Ukrainian soldiers who died repelling the large scale
invasion. Today, I mentioned, Tony, that we have so many -- unfortunately, we have hundreds of such cemeteries across Ukraine.
And everyone -- they're visible because of the graves of soldiers, we have flags. And I would like to sincerely thank Tony for today's -- he was,
today, with me, and he shared this emotional moment with me, and he honored the fallen, however, also, he demonstrated the highest level of respect to
Ukrainian soldiers who are continuing to fight for -- continuing the counteroffensive and they're participating in defensive action and they
For me, today, it was very important to hear the words of the State Secretary about a high estimate of the actions of our soldiers, of officers
and of all defense forces of Ukraine. It's truly objective assessment that includes a difficult reality in the battlefield and those heroic actions
that Ukrainian soldiers are doing. However, let's get to the substantive part of our negotiations.
Today, we learned one more time that the United States continues to be the leading partner and ally into repelling Russian -- it relates to all of the
issues, humanitarian energy and military, everything that comes from United States, so then we're grateful for that. We're grateful to the Biden
administration for this -- for the presidential foreign service and specifically the State Secretary, to Congress, and every American citizen
who supports Ukraine in this fight.
Military aid that is provided to Ukraine and financial aid and other types of -- these are not charity. I would like to underline this one more time,
this is the most -- this is the most profitable investment into the security of Europe, Euro-Atlantic space in the whole world. Today, Ukraine
with the support of partners, we hold the advance of Russia to -- we made them to find their -- imposing their will on other countries.
And besides, we are not putting any American soldiers lives under threat. It's our people who are fighting and using and employing specifically
weapon systems of our partners. We never asked to send the U.S. troops to Ukraine and we are not going to ask this. But we truly need support in this
fight, and this support is also a recognition of this mission that Ukraine carries out in global history contest.
Today, it's not a surprise we spoke a lot about weapons. We thank for already approved decisions and funded decisions, that's very important. The
State Secretary is going to go back with maximum clear necessities and requirements to increase air defense capabilities. We, today, on the way --
and when the State Secretary was on the way, Kyiv experienced another rocket barrage, and other areas of Ukraine, they suffered losses.
We didn't spend a lot of time on discussing air defense because there's nothing to discuss. Everything is obvious. The requirement is very -- in
high demand and very important. And I just mentioned the number of systems, the defense systems that are necessary to protect the grand corridor in our
cities and our people. I would like to thank specifically and separately, United States for a decision to allow other countries to begin F-16
training for our pilots.
And also, transfer of those planes. We thank Denmark, Norway, Netherlands who announced that they are ready to transfer F-16s. And we are thankful to
those countries too who are going to train our pilots, but in all of those things, a lot of that belongs to United States because without their
decision, these countries wouldn't be able to approve those decisions on their side because F-16 is an American airplane..
In details, we discussed providing long-range rockets at the camps. We had substantive discussions, I'm very happy that this option is still open and
we are expecting and we're relying on discussion inside of the presidential administration, (INAUDIBLE) administration, and we're waiting so they would
stop and discuss this more in details.
And we know that it's not just enough to just bring other countries weapons here. We need to increase production of weapons of different types. And
it's truly that there were times for the world to get rid of weapons, but now the world is arming itself. I informed the State Secretary on our plan
to hold first forum of defense industries where Ukrainian international companies are going to join their efforts to develop and maintenance of the
We're going to integrate defense industry of Ukraine to NATO industry. And I am grateful for the State Secretary for confirming that the U.S. and
American companies will participate in this very important events. A couple of words on -- about Ukrainian exports are of user common, we think that
the most perspective is the Danube grand corridor. We're going to develop it and we're going to -- and separately, we discussed, of course, peace
formula and we coordinated future next steps to increase and strengthen the circle of participants and as an initiative of President Zelenskyy.
And we stated that this formula is the foundation for stopping war and there is a historical moment in this. And it's the first time to my -- in
my memory that the rules of the hand of the war not decided, not by the aggressor, by the rules of stopping the war is setting by the country that
was attacked. It's very important for international diplomacy, international law, it's very fair and just approach.
And that's why we agreed upon next steps, and we're going to take -- get there. And finally, one question I would like to mention is the civilian
prisoners. I informed the State Secretary that Russia implements the most massive operation in the new history on imprisonment of civilians. Tens of
thousands of people are getting into Russian captivity simply because they are Ukrainians, and they're not in the Russian occupation -- power don't
like it, they don't like them.
We understand that the world needs more proactive mechanism to release those people. There are still many questions, but we shouldn't allow Russia
to establish a precedent, a case where them and other evil regimes can use imprisonment of civilians as a weapon of war. Our both expert teams will
hold consulting in discussing what international law, instruments and tools are available to release these people, and maybe to discuss what tools
should be installed.
And I would like to thank also the State Secretary for not everything that we discussed, all of the efforts like peace formula relations with African
companies, weapons, counter offensive, all of that.
And the center of discussion for the state secretary was always the person in the center, that person's security, the person's rights and freedoms.
And together with this approach, we always find solutions because everything what we do for the people.
And this relates to such things as returning McDonald's to Ukraine, which returned and became a symbol of the returning of American business back and
the symbol of assurance that it is possible to create a big business in Ukraine and be with the people during hard and important times of their
And thank you very much one more time for the negotiations that we held with the prime minister, with the president of Ukraine. They were very
fruitful. And I am sure that in the future we will have some new decisions made and we will continue our motion ahead.
And no one in the world who is doubting that Ukraine and the United States will stand shoulder by shoulder to the end of the (INAUDIBLE). Today they
saw and they received a new signal that they are wrong.
We are moving forward together because we understand this war, not just -- it is not about the future of Ukraine; it is about the future of the world.
And we should defend this world jointly.
BLINKEN: Dmytro, thank you very, very much.
Let me start by saying how moving it was to join you this morning in paying tribute to Ukraine's fallen soldiers, who gave their lives for the freedom
of this country. We talk about numbers and statistics a lot.
But standing there with Dmytro in front of the graves of the fallen and seeing the photographs of each one brings home powerfully the real story,
the human story of lives lost, cut short because of this horrific Russian aggression.
And it is also a powerful reminder of the extraordinary resilience, courage and determination of the Ukrainian people and Ukraine's armed forces. This
is now my sixth trip as secretary of state to Ukraine and the fourth since the Russian full-scale invasion began February 24th of 2022.
And I keep seeing the same thing, that determination, that resilience, that commitment on the part of all Ukrainians to build a future, where they can
live safely and live freely in a thriving democracy, fully integrated with Europe.
Ukraine is the home of incredibly proud people who are driven by a fierce belief in themselves, in their freedom, in their right to choose their own
paths; a nation united by common sacrifice but fortified by the righteousness of their fight.
And that spirit is everywhere. I saw it again today in the men and women who are reopening or visiting businesses in Kyiv and the children returning
to class for the new school year.
And the families of the communities defiantly continuing to live their lives, even as Putin seeks to end them. The United States is committed to
empowering Ukraine to write its own future in the crucible of President Putin's cruel and ongoing war.
The United States and Ukraine have forged a partnership that is stronger than ever and growing every day. We will continue to stand by Ukraine's
side. And today we are announcing new assistance totaling more than $1 billion in this common effort.
That includes $665.5 million in new military and civilian security (INAUDIBLE) committed over $43 billion in security assistance since the
beginning of the Russian aggression. Now since I was last here almost exactly one year ago --
BLINKEN: -- the Ukrainian forces have taken back more than 50 percent of the territory seized by Russian forces since February of 2022. In the
ongoing counteroffensive, progress has accelerated in the past few weeks. This new assistance will help sustain it and build further momentum.
The assistance includes an additional $175 million in drawdown authority that will provide significant support for Ukraine's air defenses, a
critical need, as you heard Dmytro say, among other areas;
Another $100 million in formal (ph) military financing to support Ukraine's longer term military needs; $300 million to support law enforcement efforts
to restore and maintain law and order in liberated areas.
We are sending our first delivery of mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles to Ukraine's border guards and police, some of whom I will have
the opportunity to visit with tomorrow. And we're providing critical assistance for demining, to help clear Russian land mines, unexploded
ordinance and other daily remnants of war killing and maiming civilians.
Ukraine is now the world's most heavily mined country; 30 percent of its territory is covered with mines. Russia's weapons of war have killed
hundreds of civilians and threatened to put millions at risk for years, even decades to come.
The new security funding that we are announcing today will also be bolstered by the arrival of U.S. Abrams tanks this fall and by training for
Ukrainian pilots on F-16s in the United States, complementing training that is already underway in Europe.
Even as we maximize our support to Ukraine to counter the current Russian aggression, we are committed to helping Ukraine build a force for the
future that can deter and defend against future aggression.
Today with President Zelenskyy, I discussed longer-term, sustainable security arrangements, which will provide ongoing security assistance and
modern military equipment across land, air, sea and cyberspace, as well as training and intelligence sharing.
The State Department is leading these discussions, which will continue in the months ahead; 28 other countries are making similar commitments through
the G7 declaration of support to Ukraine in no small part because they recognize, as the foreign minister said, that Ukraine's security is
integral to the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic community and indeed it's integral to security around the world because of the principles that
are being challenged here as well as Ukrainian lives and livelihoods.
Together these 29 countries that are committed to supporting Ukraine over the long term will coordinate and share the burden of that long term
support. In the more immediate term, we are working with Congress across parties to provide additional short-term funds in the supplemental funding
bill this month.
At the same time, we will continue to support Ukraine as it works to build international consensus for a just and durable peace that upholds the U.N.
charter and its fundamental principle of sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.
Beyond Ukraine's security needs, for the first time, we are transferring to Ukraine assets seized from sanctioned Russian oligarchs, which will now be
used to support Ukrainian military veterans. Those who have enabled Putin's war of aggression should pay for it.
We are continuing life-saving humanitarian assistance, emergency shelter for those whose homes Russia has destroyed, medical support and healthcare
for survivors of relentless Russian missile attacks and shelving, including as we saw again last night and today.
Food, clean drinking water, generators for communities, today we are committing an additional $206 million toward that effort, much of which is
dedicated to helping the more than 6 million Ukrainians who are displaced by Russia's war.
As Russia continues to weaponize food, we are helping people within Ukraine and around the world who are suffering from extreme hunger as well as
Not content with pulling out of the Black Sea grain initiative which has sent 32 million metric tons of Ukrainian grain to the world, the equivalent
of more than 18 billion loaves of bread, most of it to developing countries, Putin is now bombing Ukrainian granaries and warehouses, mining
port entrances, driving up food prices around the world, devastating Ukrainian farmers.
Now Russia claims it would be willing to return to the Black Sea grain initiative if its conditions are met. The United Nations has put forward a
proposal that meets those conditions. But Putin continues to hold out. Meanwhile, Russia is using the hunger and market distortion that it has
created to profit from record-breaking exports of its own grain.
BLINKEN: As we build international pressure on Russia to return to the Black Sea grain initiative, we are working with Ukraine to find and use
alternative routes for its grain shipments to other countries.
For Ukraine not only to survive but to thrive, we are also supporting its efforts to rebuild from Russia's aggression.
At the Ukraine recovery conference held in London a few months ago I pledges the United States would invest more than $520 million in making
Ukraine's energy infrastructure, more than half of which has been destroyed by Russia, cleaner, more resilient and more integrated with Europe.
We are making new investments to enhance the transparency of Ukraine's institutions and to bolster the rule of law so that Ukraine's democracy is
even more responsive to the needs of its people and can attract the private capital needed to rebuild.
We are engaged in assisting the government of Ukraine on anticorruption efforts and on efforts to ensure accountability and full transparency. Of
all of the assistance we are provided as well as the security of U.S.- provided defense articles and technologies.
President Zelenskyy and I discussed these issues today and the importance to Ukraine's democratic future of continued reforms and the fight against
A few months ago in Helsinki, I spoke to how President Putin's war in Ukraine has been and will continue to be a strategic failure for Russia.
There is no better demonstration of that than seeing the Ukrainian people, whose national identity Putin sought to erase, stronger and more unified
than ever before.
As I said then, no one has done more to intensify Ukrainians' determination to write their own future on their own terms than President Putin.
Now we have no illusions. The path forward will not be easy but this is a fight that we must and we will win. For any country threatened by bullies,
who are the aggressors, for all who seek a future of security and peace, and my message today on behalf of President Biden and the United States to
the Ukrainian people is, just as we have stood with you to ensure your nation's survival over these past 20 months, so we will stand with you as
you determine your future and rebuild a free and resilient, a thriving Ukraine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF MIKE COMMENTS).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Questions, the first one goes to "The Wall Street Journal," William (ph).
QUESTION: Thank you so much, both of you.
Secretary Blinken, you said you have no illusions that the fight will be easy.
What did you hear, what one or two things did you hear on this trip from President Zelenskyy or others that you can take back to President Biden and
the American people and say, this is a fight that Ukraine can win or this is a fight that it makes sense for the U.S. to support?
And also for Foreign Minister Kuleba, are you at all worried about waning political support for the war in Ukraine in the United States?
BLINKEN: Well, thank you. First, as I said, it is important to put where we are, where Ukraine is in perspective. As I mentioned a moment ago, I was
last here almost exactly a year ago.
And in that time, in the year since I was last here, Ukraine has taken back more than 50 percent of the territory that Russia had seized from it since
February of 2022. In the current counteroffensive, we are seeing real progress over the last few weeks.
As it happens, President Zelenskyy just returned from the front lines. So I was able to hear directly from him his assessment of the counteroffensive.
And I think it very much matches our own, which is, as I said, real progress in recent weeks.
We are doing everything we can to maximize our support to Ukraine as it pursues the counteroffensive. And ultimately, as I have said before, one
thing above all other things will make the difference, I am convinced.
Beyond the extraordinary work that Ukrainians are doing, beyond even the equipment, the support, the training that we and dozens of other nations
are providing, the fundamental difference maker is that Ukrainians are fighting for their own country, for their own future, for their own
freedom. Russians are not.
And that gives me tremendous confidence that Ukraine will prevail.
KULEBA: As I mentioned, I believe that the secretary and this administration and both parties in Congress understand that what is being
decided here in Ukraine is not just about Ukraine; it is about the way the world will look like.
KULEBA: Because if Russia manages to succeed even partially, it will be a clear motivational signal, a clear encouragement to all other malign forces
across the globe, to solve problems through the use of force.
The second argument is also, I think, very simple.
I mean, I do not want to sound rude but the question is, if the West cannot win in this war, then what is the war that the West can win?
And when I say the West, I include Ukraine to this list as well. But I think the most important part of your answer was -- comes from the
secretary himself, from his concluding lines, that Ukraine, as you said, should win and will -- must win and will win.
And this is exactly the philosophy that is being then implemented into specific decisions that gives me reason to believe that we are continuing
our walk toward victory. And it is deeply appreciated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF MIKE COMMENTS).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Hello, I have questions. Mr. Antony, in - what I discussed with Paul Whelan, who in Russia has been
holding him for four years in the prison and also Russia is holding our Ukrainians in prisons.
So will United States --
ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: You have been listening to the press conference of secretary of state Antony Blinken, who made a visit to
Kyiv today, alongside Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister. A lot to discuss.
Principally it is the new aid from the United States for Ukraine totaling $1 billion in terms of assistance. Some of that will include go aid
including assistance for demining. In terms of what we heard from Secretary Blinken, who thanked the moving moment he experienced this morning as he
paid tribute to the fallen soldiers.
He laid a wreath as he visited that cemetery, he said standing there with the graves, the falling photographs of each one was a reminder of the lives
lost and the lives cut short. A lot in terms of the counteroffensive as well, discussion the progress has been made, a real progress; the
counteroffensive is accelerating.
But Antony Blinken saying he is under no illusion of the challenges, the fight he says, a fight that we must and we will win. Listening to that
alongside me is our senior international correspondent, Sam Kiley, who has reported from Ukraine.
We were talking about the counteroffensive. Let's start off with what we heard, that $1 billion in new aid, critical, of course, for this
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely vital. I think what is really interesting is not just the money but the
psychological support. A very important message being carried back to the United States.
This is a battle that we, he kept using the "we" word. That is very significant. Not "they," not Zelenskyy, not the Ukrainians but we. We, the
United States, are in this war together. That will be overinterpreted in Moscow.
But I think in Ukraine it will be very, very important for the element that is supporting Ukraine in Washington. There are wobbles over the future
funding, not least a recent CNN poll showed the majority of Americans were not in favor of these extra elements of spending that keep coming from the
Very, very important spending though it is.
SOARES: And on the "we," he was asking and Kuleba did say we truly need support in this fight. He even answered a question there, saying if we
cannot win this fight, the we including Ukraine, talking about the West, exactly that point.
KILEY: Both the Americans and the Ukrainians are wrapping this -- and I think rightly in terms of the wider strategy, both the U.S. and Ukraine in
lockstep, saying if the Russians are allowed to prevail here, malign regimes, as Mr. Kuleba called them, around the world will interpret this as
an opportunity that you can use force if you have got problems.
You only have to look at what has happened recently in Africa, for example, with a series of coups, abandonment of democratic processes, a return to
the 1970s coup culture that we saw so often in Africa.
You lift the lid on international law, you tear up the rulebook and you get even more of a mess. So it's not just a tactical problem in Europe but both
sides are arguing there this is a strategic problem for the democratic West.
SOARES: And the timing is interesting ahead of the U.N. General Assembly. Thank you very much, Sam Kiley.
Still to come in the last 10 minutes, the first hearing in the Georgia election subversion case against Donald Trump and others. Will fill you in
with what has been happening.
SOARES: We are getting details from the first hearing in the 2020 Georgia election subversion case against former U.S. president Donald Trump and 18
codefendants. Cameras were allowed for this hearing. They were not in Trump's other criminal cases.
The hearing could determine how quickly the cases move and whether some defendants could separate their cases from others. It could also give us
some insight into how much evidence prosecutors have.
Michael Zeldin joins me now from Washington. He's a former federal prosecutor and served as Robert Mueller's special assistant at the U.S.
Justice Department. He is also the host of a podcast.
Michael, great to have you. Thank you for waiting for us as we got through that press conference. Give us a sense first of what you have heard today
from the judge.
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So two defendants have moved for a speedy trial, meaning they want to go to trial for November, which is their
right. And they also do not want to go together to trial. So they want two separate, individual trials.
The judge ruled that they can go to speedy trial and set that trial for October 23rd. But he ruled they must go together. He will not separate them
into two individual trials. He has not determined yet whether, at that October 23rd trial, the remaining 17 defendants, including former president
Trump, will also be required to go.
I don't think that will be met. I think that the judge will have to have at least two trials. And that is where things stand in Georgia at the moment.
SOARES: That was two of those that we were hearing today; of course, we have to hear from the other 17.
If it is broken up, how would it even be broken up?
How long would it take with 19 defendants, 19 opening statements, 19 cross examinations?
Talk to us about the arguments here.
ZELDIN: Right. If there were a 19 codefendant trial --
ZELDIN: -- which I do not think there will be. But were there a two-person trial and a 17 person trial, it doesn't really make much difference. The 17
defendants and the two defendants would each have evidence presented to them about the entire enterprise of which they were participants.
Think about this as a wheel with a hub and spokes. Each of these defendants are spokes doing specific acts. Each spoke does not need to know what the
other spoke is doing or even who is the other spoke to be guilty under the RICO enterprise.
So prosecutors have said we are going to present all of the evidence about all of the defendants, the hub and all of the spokes, because that is what
we are entitled to. So they are saying four months as to any trial because we are going to present all the evidence of the enterprise, no matter what.
So we've got two very lengthy trials proposed by the state. And the judge has to sort out how he's going to fit that into the court calendar.
SOARES: And the judge ruling that Powell and Chesebro will go trial together in October on the 23rd. Michael, appreciate you taking the time.
Apology that we don't have any more time. Breaking news out of Ukraine. Thank you very much.
And thank you for watching tonight. Do stay right here. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" up next. Bye-bye.