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Isa Soares Tonight

Search Begins For A New U.S. House Speaker; Speakerless U.S. House Casts Ukraine Aid Into Doubt; Prime Minister Sunak's Speech Causes Unease At Tory Conference. U.K. Prime Minister's Speech Disconcerts Tory Conference; Russian Journalist Sentenced For Ukraine War Protest; Scrutinizing Israeli Arms Deal With Azerbaijan; U.S. Health Care Strike. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired October 04, 2023 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show everyone, I am Isa Soares. Tonight, the search begins for a new U.S. House

Speaker, as candidates start to throw their hats into the ring. Then concern grows over how the chaos in Washington will actually affect the

frontline in Ukraine. We'll have a live report from near the eastern front.

Plus, there's trouble ahead for the U.K.'s Conservative Party. A major speech from the prime minister causes an uproar. We'll have that story a

bit later this hour. First tonight though, the U.S. house is paralyzed and along with it, future American aid to Ukraine. Funding for the war was a

factor in how the now former Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy met his downfall, if you remember on Tuesday at the hands of hard-line Republicans

in his caucus.

The deal he cut with Democrats to keep the government open over the weekend notably did not include an aid package for Ukraine, and it's not clear

whether his replacement, whoever it ends up being at this stage, will support or oppose more funding. A potentially seismic developing --

development, I should say in tense, of course, conflict in Europe.

U.S. President Joe Biden warned against letting domestic disagreements stand in the way of aid for Ukraine. And he spoke just a few moments ago.

Have a listen to what he said.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We put together over 15 nations, 15 nations supporting Ukraine. And we are the -- we are the

organizers of that. I met with -- going home with the exact number, 16 or 17 yesterday and we had a long conversation and made the case that I knew

that the majority of the American people still supported Ukraine and the majority of the members of the Congress, both Democrats and Republicans

supported. So I don't think we should let the gamesmanship get in the way of blocking it.


SOARES: Well, we are covering this from every angle. Stephen Collinson is in Washington for us, and our Fred Pleitgen is in eastern Ukraine. Let me

go to Stephen first. And Stephen, yesterday, you and I were talking about this. We were seeing the vote take place in our hour. The house really much

in chaos, Republicans going against Republicans, voting against their own speaker.

Today, it seems the house is facing paralysis. What happens next? Talk us through the timeline or what should we expect because critically here,

military aid to Ukraine is in limbo right now.

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN POLITICS SENIOR REPORTER: Well, we're not going to get any action on that or anything else for at least about a week. The next

step in the house is to find a new speaker. We have heard today that two very prominent candidates have emerged. Steve Scalise, who is the current

number two leader in the Republican Party, he's from Louisiana, he has voted in the past in favor of aid to Ukraine.

But also Jim Jordan; the Chairman of the Senate -- or the House Judiciary Committee, an Ohio congressman, very close ally of former President Trump.

He has been the sort of tip of the spear on many of these investigations against Democrats here. He's involved in the impeachment investigation

against Joe Biden. Way back, he was the leading voice in the Benghazi investigation into former Secretary of State and Democratic nominee Hillary


So he is a real hard partisan. He has voted against Ukraine aid, and he has said today that he is against a big aid package for Ukraine, although there

are some indications that he might be prepared to move on some Ukraine aid if the Senate votes for a big border security package on the southern U.S.

border. So, just these two candidates are on the opposite side of the Ukraine question, but the biggest issue really is, can any Republican,

given what happened to McCarthy --

SOARES: Yes --

COLLINSON: Advance aid for Ukraine, because that would need Democratic votes because there aren't enough Republicans to get that through the

house. And that could put them both in a very difficult position.

SOARES: Yes, and you mentioned Jim Jordan, I mean, he's definitely -- viewers will know him, he's slightly more confrontational and beholden to

the right, as you said, tip of the spear in many of these stories. I would like to play, if I could for our viewers what he told our Manu Raju

regarding that aid. You mentioned it, but I think it's important for us to hear it from him. Have a listen to this.


MANU RAJU, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What about Ukraine? Are you -- are you willing to move forward with an aid package for Ukraine if you're


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): I'm against that. What I understand is at some point we're going to have to deal with this appropriation process in the

right way, and we're going to try do that in the next -- what are we down to, 41 days.


The most pressing issue on Americans' mind is not Ukraine. It is the border situation and it is crime on the streets.


SOARES: So Stephen, just for our international audience, where do the majority of house Republicans stand on aid to Ukraine? Why was this aid so

contentious to start off with?

COLLINSON: There are a couple of reasons why it's so contentious. Jordan is voicing what a lot of voters say America should be looking out for its

own problems and not Ukraine's. But of course, Ukraine was deeply involved in the First Impeachment of former President Donald Trump. There are a lot

of Republicans in the Trump wing of the party, especially who appear to share some of Trump's views on President Vladimir Putin and don't want to

help Ukraine fight for its survival.

As far as the conference is concerned, the last vote on Ukraine aid was late September, it was for just $300 million, not the $20 billion that

Biden is currently asking for. The vote was about 311, I think to 117. So, it shows there's a majority in the house including the Democrats to pass

this aid. The problem is that 117 Republicans voted against it, and the people that are running for speaker are going to have to make big

concessions to those on the right. So it's going to be very difficult for someone to run to speak -- for speaker and then say they're going to pass

aid --

SOARES: Yes --

COLLINSON: For Ukraine. Jordan didn't really completely roll it out there, sometimes what people say when they run for speaker and what they actually

do when they have the kind of burdens of a great state office, which is what the speakership is, do change, but he's clearly setting out his

position right --

SOARES: Yes --

COLLINSON: Now that he's against Ukraine aid.

SOARES: And we heard from the president, President Biden in the last hour, saying that he was worried about future of Ukraine aid, but he will deliver

a major speech on this soon. We don't have an idea of timeline, but of course, we'll keep on top of this. Stephen, always great to have you on the

show, appreciate it --


SOARES: Thank you very much. Well, Fred Pleitgen has been looking for us, and he joins us now. I think we -- I think we've got him, yes, we do have

him. Fred, I don't know if you heard my discussion there with Stephen Collinson about the impact this -- the aid -- we doesn't -- we don't seem

to hear him. Fred Pleitgen has been looking, he and I have been talking about this, this week. How the impact of a halt or a delay in funding. What

that mean -- what that may mean in fact for the battlefield in Ukraine. He has this report from eastern Ukraine.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The artillery troops need to move fast. Russian drones might be in the air.

Line up, calibrate, fire.


Three rockets, that's it. Even though this Grad launcher would be more effective firing large salvos. It's not very precise, a soldier named Alex

says, it also depends on the weather and the range. It would be good to have more precise rockets or guided ones, but the Ukrainians are running

short on even these unguided Soviet-era rockets and MO shortages are a problem across the battlefield here in eastern Ukraine.

Soldiers from the 80th Airborne Assault Brigade have a quick snack, then get ready to fire their western-donated Howitzer. The American 105

millimeter shells are valuable, but increasingly scarce commodities. The Ukrainians call this the sniper rifle of their artillery because it's so

accurate, but it also illustrates one of the big problems they have. They have plenty of barrels to fire from, but not enough ammunition to fire.

Battery commander Myron(ph) telling me, the lack of shells means his forces are badly outgunned here. "It's hard to give precise numbers", he says,

"but I think they fired 10 times for every round we fire, sometimes, it's one to 100. The Russians are constantly taking aim at this area, though the

Ukrainians say they're making gains, pushing Vladimir Putin's army back, even using combat helicopters close to the frontline.


Kyiv says it needs more ammo to sustain its offenses both here in the east and in the south. The U.S. budget impasse could mean further delays. On top

of that, NATO is warning its members are running dangerously low themselves.

ROB BAUER, CHAIR, NATO MILITARY COMMITTEE: We started to give away from half-full or lower warehouses in Europe, and therefore, the bottom of the

barrel is now visible.

PLEITGEN: For the Ukrainian artillery troops, that means rationing will probably continue, all while trying to support their advancing soldiers on

the ground.



SOARES: And our Fred Pleitgen joins us now. I think we have you now, Fred, great to have you back. Fred, I was just looking at that piece you clearly

laid out, the delays in aid from the U.S., clearly, has in ammunition, and that has a huge impact. I'm wondering though, from your conversations that

you have had with military partners, Generals in Ukraine.


How much -- I mean, how do you prepare for a Winter offensive if you do not have that aid or if there is a delay in that aid in getting to Ukraine?

What have Generals been telling you?

PLEITGEN: Well, I think it's very difficult, and you're absolutely right, especially as the Winter goes on, obviously, some people believe that for

the offensives that the Ukrainians currently are on, both in the south and the east of the country that those would slow down a little bit anyway

because of the weather here in Ukraine.

It obviously makes advances more difficult, but obviously, it becomes almost impossible for Generals to plan for continuing offensive operations

when they're not sure whether or not they're actually going to have ammo or even weapons for those offensives. So it makes it extremely difficult --

and one of the things, Isa, that we keep hearing from soldiers on the ground, but that we also hear from commanders on the ground as well, they

say, look, they have to keep on fighting.

They're going to have to remain in this fight because they believe if they don't keep on fighting, that their country will be gone. That their country

will be destroyed. At the same time, of course, they understand that without the weapons that they've been getting so far in the same quantity

and possibly even more, they're going to have a hard time making more advances than they have been.

What we've been seeing on the frontlines here in the east is the Ukrainians certainly making some gains, it seems to be more difficult for them in the

south. But you know, they understand that if they don't get ammo for their offensive and for their operations, it's going to be very difficult for

them to make any sort of new gains at all.

So right now, a really hard situation for them, and you know, one of the things that we have to keep in mind, Isa, also, is when we talk about

ammunition for these frontline forces, there are certain types of ammunition that other NATO members could give to the Ukrainians to bridge

some of these gaps, especially sort of standard 155 millimeter artillery ammunition, mortar ammunition.

But there are certain things that only the Americans could provide. If you look at for instance ammunition for the HIMARS, multiple rocket-launching

systems, for some of the surface-to-air missile systems that are so important in keeping Ukrainian cities safe, it is a huge concern for the

Ukrainians what's going on in Washington right now.

SOARES: Very important context right there from our Fred Pleitgen. Thanks very much, Fred, joining us there from eastern Ukraine. We want to take a

closer look now at how congressional turmoil in the U.S. may actually impact aid for Ukraine. Tymofiy Mylovanov joins me now from Ukraine's

capital, he's the president of the Kyiv School of Economics and has also served as Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine, a well-

known face here on the show.

Tymofiy, great to have you back on the show. Let me ask you really the question that we have been -- I have been posing to my guests, and I put to

Fred. I mean, how concerned is Ukraine about a blockade of Ukrainian aid?

TYMOFIY MYLOVANOV, PRESIDENT, KYIV SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Very. The U.S. is our strongest ally, which over the course of the war has contributed the

largest amount of aid in military and also economic support. And this is what makes Ukraine resilient. Of course, the U.N. and other allies have

given quite a bit a lot. But the U.S. is the clear leader here, and so, delays create uncertainty.

SOARES: Yes, I was going to ask you about delays, because obviously, we just heard from one of the candidates for speaker of the house, Jim Jordan,

who says he would oppose an aid package for Ukraine. So what would no further aid or delay for Ukraine mean for your counteroffensive here,


MYLOVANOV: Well, you know, what is painful for me to hear and listen to, is this argument that this is not good use of money for the U.S. You know,

supporting Ukraine is actually in the interest of the United States, and it's just -- you know, Russia is the enemy in the doctrine. U.S. uses $800

billion in defense budget annually, and Ukraine is a tiny fraction of it, has been able to stop the Russian aggression.

So -- but what would it mean if this aid is not forthcoming? Well, the cities will not be defended. Air defense will not be there. Civilians will

die. Russia will have more time to dig in and make it difficult for Ukraine to get the territory back. Russia will have more time to torture civilians

and commit all kinds of war crimes on occupied territories, and the list goes on.

SOARES: Would this then be a win for President Putin, Tymofiy?

MYLOVANOV: Temporarily, I believe. In the end, I think it's the will of Ukrainian people which will determine the end of this conflict of this war.

Ukrainians don't have a choice. They will want to exist as a nation, we have to continue whether with help of the United States or without, but

admittedly, it would be very difficult.

SOARES: Let me ask you then this, Tymofiy. Do you believe the Republicans are playing politics with Ukraine?

MYLOVANOV: I believe Republicans are playing politics. And it's first of all domestic politics. And in some sense, we're a victim of collateral

politics. And it's very unfortunate that it has become that way.


But yes, Ukraine is a part of domestic political discourse, although it's not the primary reason.

SOARES: Do you think -- can Europe step up? Europe -- I was hearing from the Portuguese Finance Minister -- Foreign Minister, pardon me, yesterday

on the show, sounded there's a lot of unity within Europe, and NATO as well continue to step up. Can it fill that hole of financial aid or is that --

do you think that is impossible?

MYLOVANOV: I think it will try, and in fact, there have been very encouraging signs over this week, several days. On Monday, there was a

meeting of the foreign ministers of the -- in Ukraine. That's the first type of meeting in history outside of the EU at that time. They're sending

a clear signal. We also have been expecting some statement on this stronger aid package for Ukraine from NATO and the EU.

However, Hungary and some other countries have been blocking it. Nonetheless, we're seeing in the news that the EU is willing to unblock

some aid to Hungary to presumably -- I am just inferring in terms(ph), strategically thinking about it, to get the Hungary politicians and others


SOARES: Right --

MYLOVANOV: On board. So, we're seeing a lot of moves in the EU.

SOARES: And now that I have you here, let me ask you this. CNN -- U.S. officials telling -- told CNN today that the U.S. would transfer thousands

of seized Iranian weapons as well as ammunition to Ukraine. Do you know how soon this may arrive, and would this help, Tymofiy, to alleviate some of

the shortages that the military may face because this aid may be halted.

MYLOVANOV: Yes, so, it will help, and we should understand that for anything, it takes time. From weeks --

SOARES: Yes --

MYLOVANOV: To months to get delivered. So, we're still receiving aid which has been appropriated earlier, but there's uncertainty about the future

deliveries, let's say in months from now or helping months from now, and that could be critical for the military front.

SOARES: Tymofiy, always great to get your insight, thanks very much. I want to go back to Washington D.C. with the ouster of Kevin McCarthy,

there's another potentially messy speaker election expected as we head at the top of the show, but for now, some big questions are what's next? Who

is in line? And why would anyone, to be honest, want this job?

Joining us now is Maura Gillespie, she served as the deputy Chief of Staff to former U.S. Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger. Maura, great to have

you on the show. I know, we've got plenty of questions for you, and I think first of all, just try -- just help us, Maura, make sense of this

infighting and what comes next, because a scramble is clearly on now to find a new speaker. Who is the realistic candidate in your eyes? I think

we've got two who have thrown their hats in the ring. Scalise and Jim Jordan.

MAURA GILLESPIE, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN ADAM KINZINGER: Steve Scalise will have the most support, and you saw that even

from those hard-liners that created this mess in the first place. They have -- Matt Gaetz particularly has said that he would support Steve Scalise --

SOARES: Yes --

GILLESPIE: And again, having the infrastructure of leadership is super important. Jim Jordan does not have that. Yes, he's a committee chairman,

but he does not have the infrastructure that Steve Scalise already has. So to make it a little more seamless and hopefully tamp down the chaos and

everything that's happening in the Republican caucus -- Republican conference, it would be -- it will be likely that Steve Scalise should be

the prevailer becoming the next speaker.

But it's still going to be tough because again, as you just have been talking about with your guest previously, Ukraine aid issue is front and

center with Republicans right now.

SOARES: Yes, and do we know? I mean, we know where Jim Jordan sits on this because we heard where he stands on Ukraine aid. We heard that. We had

played a little clip from him. Do we know where Steve Scalise stands on this because, you know, Jordan --


SOARES: Has a bit of reputation for being confrontational, beholden to the right. What about Scalise here?

GILLESPIE: So what's interesting about Jordan is that, what I'm hearing is that he has told different people different things. So, I think equivocally

saying -- and again, these are some of the problems that you're seeing with the Republican caucus is that they'll say certain things in private.

So, to those who are, you know, pro-Ukraine and the GOP, they've been assured that Jordan would not -- you know, that Jordan would move through

with the Ukraine funding as it currently stands. But what he's saying publicly is that he would not because the border is the main focus.

So, it's a little frustrating even before we even get to the vote for speaker that they're already being -- that Jordan is already being pretty

wishy-washy, it doesn't bode --

SOARES: Yes --

GILLESPIE: Well for him. But I think part of the problem with the messaging right now is that you have people on the far right fringe of the

party who are repeating really pro-Russian talking points about how much waste of money we're spending in Ukraine. And I think what Republicans,

especially those who are supportive of Ukraine aid and recognizing the need for us to be in their corner really need to make the connection and tie it

back to Russia's connection to China.


So us failing to support Ukraine and failing to keep our word --

SOARES: Yes --

GILLESPIE: For our allies, we're really empowering China, and that seems to be what will speak, I think to Republican voters. They do see the threat

that China poses and are fearful of the stranglehold that China will have on not only our economy, but our technology, our intellectual property --

SOARES: Yes --

GILLESPIE: So, I think for Republicans, that's going to be the strategy to go with this to tie it back to -- this is also our attempts to our national

security for our safety here at home that we support Ukraine. Again, as Russia and China are looking to build up their alliances with Iran and

North Korea. So, it's really important that we support Ukraine.

SOARES: Maura, I really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. Thank you very much. Well, before stepping into the courtroom for day three

of his civil fraud trial, former President Donald Trump spoke out about the future of the leadership in the House of Representatives, and this is what

he said.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of people think towards -- perhaps, a speaker, all I can say is, look, whoever is best for

the country and for the Republican Party --


We have some great people.


SOARES: Trump appeared in court early on Wednesday before leaving to fly to Florida, accusing the judge, in Trump's case, placed a gag order on

comments about his staff. This occurred after the former president's message on the Truth Social platform. Trump posted a picture of the judge's

clerk, with New York Chuck Schumer saying she was Schumer's girlfriend.

In text, Trump said the photo was disgraceful and the case should be dismissed. The post was deleted, but it was enough for the judge to ban any

posts publically identifying his staff. And still to come tonight, the chaos happening in conservative U.S. politics has mired in conservative

U.K. politics as well. We'll have more on the promises made and broken at the Tory Party Conference. Bianca Nobilo joins me next.


SOARES: Britain's Rishi Sunak is trying to rally his Conservative Party, but many see trouble ahead at this year's Conservative Party Conference in

Manchester. Mr. Sunak's speech focused little on some big picture issues facing the public like the cost of living that we've covered here on the

show as well as the environment. And on one of the most controversial issues, immigration, he declared the U.K. is not a racist country just 24

hours after the Home secretary described a hurricane -- her words, of migrants to come.


The cherry on the cake was axing the Manchester leg of a high-speed rail project in the conference's host city. Have a listen to this.


RISHI SUNAK, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: And so, I am ending this long-running saga. I am cancelling the rest of the HS-2 project, and in its

place -- and in its place, we will -- we will reinvest every single penny, 36 billion pounds in hundreds of new transport projects in the north and

the midlands across the country.


SOARES: Bianca Nobilo joins me more -- for more on this. Let's start with the royal project, HS-2. I mean, we already saw it coming, comments, you

know, had been made this week that this was going to happen. He said today that the facts have changed. Why is this so controversial? Why is -- why is

everyone so worried about this being canceled if the facts have changed, if it's more costly. Why is it so controversial?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT: The project has been around for 13 years, and it was intended to connect London to northern cities to try

and fire up their economies and spread wealth more equally around England. The reason why it's dominated conference this week is partly because Rishi

Sunak has allowed it to, which is really perplexing.

It's dominated the conversation at conference and then, not only did he announce that a train line linking Birmingham to Manchester would no longer

be going ahead from Manchester. He also did it --

SOARES: They're in --

NOBILO: From inside an old train station. So the optics are questionable. But clearly, what he was trying to convey was the fact that he is a leader

that's prepared to take really difficult decisions and be straight with the public. So, he's saying we've been dilly-dallying over this for ages, let

me tell you, we're canceling it and here's what we're doing instead.

SOARES: But doesn't that honesty, Bianca, I mean, doesn't that earn him some applause? Because the way I thought about it earlier today, and I know

it's very controversial was, if you are a CEO of a company, and you see that things are getting out of hand, the project is not going according to

plan or it's not worth it financially, you pull out and you're applauded for this. Is he being applauded for his honesty?

NOBILO: I mean, how many politicians were applauded for this -- for their honesty?

SOARES: Maybe because it's -- you know, you could have continued and have got -- you get the praise --

NOBILO: He could have done, I think the problem here, is this wasn't a particularly explosive or controversial conference speech. It seems like he

was intending to cause a bit of a stir because HS-2 is in theory, a controversial issue as well as some other policies which he rose, for

example, the smoking ban, which --

SOARES: Yes --

NOBILO: For Conservative Party faithful, which is who he was addressing is something that doesn't sit well. It is in its nature, a liberal policy. He

also talked about reforming the education system as well. So, he's clearly trying to create a bit of energy and excitement. The problem is, he doesn't

really have the money to do anything particularly interesting or avant- garde or something that's going to draw in new voters or try and reinvigorate and trust in him.

So what he did instead was to try and draw parallels between him and the former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, to say that he was

going to be a break from the status quo of the last 30 years of politicians who allowed --


SOARES: And they were all conservative politicians --

NOBILO: Yes, no ranks, this is a very important point. So, more than half of that time, conservative prime ministers had been in charge. He's trying

to say to the public, I will be different and I will change that status quo, but he's clearly a very establishment figure with a background in

finance --

SOARES: I did hear him -- yes --

NOBILO: Long-serving --


SOARES: I did hear him quote Margaret Thatcher at one point in his speech. Look, I want to ask you about something that we have been seeing that we

have covered here. Some of the speeches that we have heard have become Trumpian, MAGA-esq. Let me play viewers this and we can talk about it, have

a listen to this.


SUELLA BRAVERMAN, HOME SECRETARY, UNITED KINGDOM: Now, one of the most powerful forces reshaping our world is unprecedented mass migration. The

wind of change that carried my own parents across the globe in the 20th century was a mere gust compared to the hurricane that is coming.


SOARES: What does this tell us, Bianca, about the direction that the party wants to go or where the party believes, you know, it is winnable, some

folks are winnable. What -- how do you see it? How do you read this?

NOBILO: It's important to take into account who Suella Braverman; the Home Secretary was appealing to there. And that's because the conservative,

loyal base, the ten-party conference tend to be much further right economically and socially, and when it comes to issues like migration. So,

that must be borne in mind.

However, there does appear to be a flirtation with moving the party to the harder right. Nigel Farage, which --

SOARES: Yes --

NOBILO: I'm sure many of your viewers will remember, from all of the years of Brexit debates, was welcomed with open arms to Conservative Party

conference. He was there on a media pass.


But he was feted around the dinners and events and really hardline immigration policy does particularly well with some of those groups.

There's a particularly influential new group called the Conservative Democratic Organization, which is pushing for harder policies on those

fronts. Some of this is because those issues which Brexit was meant to resolve didn't. It just stirred them up and migration was chief among them.

So these people responding to these types of statements feel like there has been a meager or a watered-down approach. And they want to see the

Conservatives be more conservative.

There is also an anger that Liz Truss and Boris Johnson didn't get their chance to serve out their time by some in the party may see Rishi Sunak

appealing to more people on the liberal side of the party. And they don't really appreciate that.

SOARES: It's rhetoric that has made some people raise their eyebrows. Bianca, thank you.

Still to come, she got the world's attention by protesting the invasion of Ukraine on live Russian state television. Now she has been sentenced to

prison by a Moscow court. The journalist forced to flee Russia with her daughter.

Plus, Israel under scrutiny for its arms deals with Azerbaijan. We have a live report from Jerusalem. Coming up.




SOARES: Welcome back.


SOARES: The Russian journalist who stunned the world by protesting Russia's war with Ukraine on live television was sentenced to 8.5 years in

prison. Marina Ovsyannikova was charged with knowingly spreading false information about Russian armed forces for that and another protest.

Just weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, Marina Ovsyannikova interrupted a Russian state TV newscast by holding up a sign that read, "Stop the war."

She escaped Russia with her daughter last year and they are now living in France. She remained defiant following her sentencing by Moscow court.

In a statement addressed to the judge, she said in part, "The criminal charge brought against me is absurd and politically motivated. It was

decided to give me a demonstrative whipping for the fact that I was not afraid and called a spade a spade."

She went on to add, "Sometimes I ask myself, could I have remained silent?

"No, I couldn't. To remain silent at the moment of aggression is to become an accomplice to a crime."

Earlier I spoke with Marina.


MARINA OVSYANNIKOVA, RUSSIAN TV JOURNALIST: If I return to Russia, I will be immediately jailed. But it's very important for me what's going on now

in Russia because a part of my family still lives in Russia. And I am very worried about the future of my country.

And I want to fight for a better future for my country. But the now -- I can say I sacrificed my life for fighting for freedom for future -- for a

better future for Russia. But now is the reality is so wet (ph), I'm just hiding in France and try to save my life.

SOARES: How hard is this for you?

Like you said, you won't be able to go back home until Putin is no longer in power. You are in France, like you said, with your daughter but you also

have a son back in Russia. Your mom is back in Russia.

Do you worry for their safety?

This must be incredibly hard as a mother and as a woman and as someone who loves their country.

OVSYANNIKOVA: My family situation is very difficult because part of my relatives still live in Ukraine and another part of my relatives, my mother

and my son, still live in Russia. And my Russian relatives, they stopped talking with me. And my Ukrainian relatives, they support me.

And the problem is that my Russian relatives started playing (ph) against me. They did evidence against me in this part. And I was shocked when I

read it, all of it. And, yes, it's a very narrow (ph) situation, you know.

SOARES: I'm sorry to hear this. I'm sorry to hear that your relatives are giving evidence against you. I'm guessing they are being pushed, I assume.

You are hinting they may be coerced by the Russian government.

Are you referring to your son or your mother here?

Who are you referring to?

OVSYANNIKOVA: The problem is that they are living in another information reality. If you came in Russia, you start to think in another way. My

Russian relatives are thinking Russia is surrounded of enemies.

They believe Putin and they think I am traitor. But I am not traitor of Russia. I'm real puppet (ph) of Russia and I am just fighting for a better

future for my country.


SOARES: Thanks to Marina for speaking to us earlier.

I want to return to the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. A potential summit between the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia has broken down. Azerbaijani

state media says the president will skip the E.U.-hosted event.

They say it's due to an anti-Azerbaijani atmosphere. Leaders from Germany and France were also set to attend the summit in Spain. Azerbaijan's

military operation against ethnic Armenian separatists set off a mass exodus in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The U.N. says more than 100,000 people have fled into Armenia. Meantime, Turkiye has been a very public military supporter of Azerbaijan. But there

is growing evidence Azerbaijan is also using Israeli weapons and gear.

A left wing newspaper even says Israel's fingerprints are all over what it calls ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh. Hadas Gold is in Jerusalem.

So what more can you tell us about this evidence and about the weapons being provided here?


HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When you look at the numbers we have available to us, these numbers are coming from the Stockholm

International Peace Research Institute.

And it gives an idea of how big of a relationship this is because, according to them, from 2016 to 2020, some 69 percent of Azerbaijan's arms

supplies came from Israel. Those were mostly in the form of drones, missiles and mortars.

From the Israeli side, it makes up about 17 percent of their arms exports. So two pretty small countries. It gives you a good idea of how big a

relationship between the two of them businesswise and arms supplies.

When you look at the why, why would this relationship be so important to both countries?

And you just have to look at the map and look at where Azerbaijan sits on Iran's northern border and both countries see Iran as a direct threat. And

there've been several reports over the years that Israel has used Azerbaijan as an operating base from which to conduct operations within

Iran itself.

So you can get an idea of how important having that location for Israel to have access to would be for any sort of future operations they want to

undertake in Iran. And there's another nice side benefit, that a good amount of Israel's crude oil is actually supplied by Azerbaijan to Israel.

The relationship has been mostly under the radar. And there was a leaked diplomatic cable in that massive WikiLeaks dump in 2011, where Azerbaijan's

president is quoted as saying the relationship is like an iceberg; 0.9 of it is under the water, below the surface.

But the relationship has become much more on the surface over the last year or so. In May, the Israeli president had an official visit to Azerbaijan

where he was received by honor guard.

And the Azerbaijani president referred to arms supplies, saying that he lauded the partnership, saying that Azerbaijan has access to modern Israeli

equipment in this area for many years which helps us to modernize our defense capability.

But this relationship is coming under scrutiny especially as a result of the recent conflict. One of the leading left-wing newspapers in Israel

published a really strong editorial, essentially accusing Israel of having fingerprints all over what they call the ethnic cleansing.

You also heard from the Armenian ambassador to Israel, quoted in the "Jerusalem Post," essentially accusing Israeli made weapons of targeting

civilians during this conflict.

We reached out to the Israeli ministry of defense that has to approve any of these exports for comment on the possibility of Israeli weapons being

used in this conflict and being used potentially against civilians as some are alleging. And they repeatedly told us no comment.

SOARES: I know you will keep pushing. Thanks very much.

Still to come, protests flare in India after police raid dozens of journalists' homes. More on that troubling story, just ahead. You are

watching CNN.





SOARES: Protests are flaring up in India after police raided dozens of journalists' homes. Many of them worked for a news outlet that is critical

of prime minister Narendra Modi's government.

New Delhi police said the raids are part of an anti-terror investigation. CNN's Vedika Sud spoke to some journalists there, who believe India's

democracy is at stake.


VEDIKA SUD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Widespread condemnation from journalists and activists here in India over the raids conducted by the

Delhi police on the offices of a news website that has often been critical of the Indian government.

On Tuesday, the Delhi police raided homes of 46 journalists and contributors linked to a news company called Newsclick. Police say the

founder of the media outlet has been arrested and an investigation is underway in connection with a controversial antiterrorism law that critics

have called draconian.

Under this law, it is difficult for an individual under investigation to receive (INAUDIBLE). Students, journalists, (INAUDIBLE) groups and

political opponents have organized protests across Delhi Wednesday to express solidarity with those questioned and arrested.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We want to send this message to the government that the more power you will use to come down on independent

journalists and media, on people and common citizens, the more power the people are going to fight back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact that terrorism charges can be leveled against a news organization and its 76-year-old founder (INAUDIBLE) behind bars

sends a message to media as a whole in India that you exercise your freedom of the press at great risk.

SUD (voice-over): Responding to a question on Tuesday's raids, India's information minister said he didn't need to justify the actions of the


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If anyone has committed anything wrong, agencies are free to carry out investigations against them under set


SUD (voice-over): Under prime minister Narendra Modi's government, India's press freedom ranking has fallen dramatically. This year, the country was

ranked 161 out of 180 in the World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters without Borders.

Tuesday's crackdown comes almost eight months after the (INAUDIBLE) raided the BBC's offices in New Delhi and Mumbai after it aired a documentary

critical of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's role in the 2002 riots -- Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.


SOARES: Still to come tonight, another historic labor strike in the United States. Why thousands of health care workers are walking off the job today.

We take you to Los Angeles for a live report -- just ahead.





SOARES: The largest health care strike in American history is underway. Today, more than 75,000 Kaiser Permanente employees are walking off the job

across the United States.

The strike is expected to last until Saturday but workers are warning of a longer, stronger strike next month if their demands aren't met. CNN

national correspondent Natasha Chen joins us.

What are the demands?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You see the workers behind me. There are hundreds of them at this Los Angeles location, where they tell me

that they are severely understaffed.

They need to see some sort of realistic commitment from the health care system to hire more people, because they see the impacts of that

understaffing, not just on themselves, where they are not able to take breaks and they are overworked, but on the patients, who end up waiting so

long in emergency rooms, waiting for weeks to get an appointment with a doctor.

So that is a primary concern of theirs. They are also saying that they need better wages and benefits to reflect the work that they are doing. And to

say that that would attract more workers that they need to have hired across these properties across the U.S.

We want to share with you one part of an interview that I did with someone who said she's on the bargaining team. She is a Kaiser employee. Here is

how she described the situation.


ROCIO CHACON, KAISER PERMANENTE EMPLOYEE: We don't want to see nurses sleeping in their cars because they have to travel two hours to get home

because they can't afford the cost of living in California. And that's why we are also begging for the increase of the $25 increase for minimum wage

as well.


CHEN: The Kaiser health system did put out a statement early this morning, saying they had continued to bargain with the union all night overnight in

hopes to avoid the strike. But it still happened starting at 6:00 am, local time, at several of these Kaiser properties in different states.

So this strike, as you mentioned, is expected to last through the end of this week. They will go back to work on Saturday morning. If there is still

not an agreement, however, they plan on striking again for a longer number of days in November.

The health care system did say that they felt they came to an agreement on several key points late last night. But that person you just heard from,

when she talked to me, she felt like it hadn't gone far enough. So we will be tracking to see how those negotiations go.

SOARES: Natasha, 75,000 across several states.

What impact does that have on patients here?

CHEN: Only certain states are affected, despite the fact that Kaiser system serves 12.7 million patients across many states. The most impacted

is here in California. Most of the 75,000 we are talking about are walking out in this state.

You are also seeing a lot of workers walk out in Colorado and Oregon and a few in the southern part of Washington State, a few in Virginia, D.C. and


In any of these cases, the doctors are still at work. The emergency rooms and hospitals are still open. So Kaiser is telling the patients to still

come in for necessary treatment that they need, although they might see a little bit of a wait when it comes to services that are usually performed

by these technicians, nurses, receptionists.

So we will see how that impact goes as the day goes on.

SOARES: Thanks very much.


SOARES: FIFA is calling the 2030 World Cup an effort to unite the world in a global celebration. The international football association has proposed a

World Cup in seven years that will span three continents and six countries.

The plan is that Morocco, Portugal and Spain will be combined hosts and that the 100- year anniversary of the first game in 1930 will be

celebrated. Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay. The first of three matches were played at a stadium where all started in Montevideo.

Finally, today marks the beginning of Fat Bear Week in the United States. I kid you not. It's at Katmai National Park in southwest Alaska.

Which one of these bears best exemplifies fatness?

They've had months to build up their reserves, some catching and eating as many as 40 salmon per day. That's roughly 100,000 calories. It is, though,

an important job. The bears need fat stores to survive hibernation in the winter, when they can lose up to a third of their body weight.

One park ranger had this to say about the ultimate eating competition.

"Fat Bear Week is a celebration of success, adaptability and resilience in our brown bears."

We will let you know who the winning bear is and you can vote for it as well online. And that does it for us. Thank you for your company. I will

see you tomorrow.