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Isa Soares Tonight

Netanyahu Disbands Israel's War Cabinet; NATO Chief Slams China For Support Of Russia; Record-Breaking Heat Builds Across Parts Of U.S.; Ukraine: Border Town Attacked Five Times In One Day; NATO Secretary General: Allies May "Need To Impose A Cost" On China Over Its Support Of Russia; Kremlin: Putin To Go To N. Korea Tuesday For Two-Day Visit. 2-3p ET

Aired June 17, 2024 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very warm welcome to the show everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, Israel's Prime Minister disbands the

country's war cabinet while the military announces a tactical pause for aid deliveries on one route into Gaza. We will explain what all of that means,

of course.

Then, strong words from the NATO Secretary General as he calls out China for their support of Russia's war in Ukraine. We are live in Washington.

Plus, an extreme heat waves surges across large swaths of the United States with one wildfire at California causing thousands to evacuate.

That and of course, and much more just ahead. But we begin tonight in Washington where NATO's leaders set to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden

at the White House is happening in the next hour. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has already arrived in Washington with some very direct

language on the war in Ukraine.

Earlier on Monday, if you remember, he said Beijing should pay a price for supporting Moscow. This is what he said. Have a listen.


JENS STOLTENBERG, SECRETARY-GENERAL, NATO: Publicly, President Xi has tried to create the impression that he's taking a back seat in this conflict to

avoid sanctions and keep trade flowing. But the reality is that China is fueling the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War II.

And at the same time, it wants to maintain good relations with the West. Well, Beijing cannot have it both ways.


SOARES: Well, the NATO Secretary-General also says he will announce new defense spending figures for all allies when he meets with President Biden

later. Our Kevin Liptak joining us from the White House with much more. And Kevin, this is, I think, it's fair to say the strongest language yet that

we've heard from the NATO chief vis-a-vis, Ukraine, in particular, vis-a- vis China.

Just put it into context what we heard today, those comments, but also what we are likely to expect and to hear from him in that meeting with President

Biden an hour or so.

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, and we have seen this growing shifts from the United States, from NATO, from a lot of the western allies

when it comes to Beijing's support for Russia throughout its war in Ukraine. And certainly, what you heard there from Stoltenberg today, what

sort of a summation of where the U.S. and NATO thinks things stand now.

And it is similar to what we heard from President Biden just last week at the G7 in Italy, you know, at the end of that long press conference that he

held with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. He did say that while China was not supplying Russia with weapons, it was supplying Russia

with the technology and with the ability to create those weapons.

And I think for so long, leaders in the West had hoped that President Xi would act as a moderating force on President Putin, that he would withhold

material support for the war in Ukraine in the hopes that, that conflict could be resolved. And what you're seeing now is a real change in tone, and

you heard it from President Biden and you heard it from the NATO Secretary- General today.

And what he said is that western nations would need to step up to try and stop that support. What you've seen the United States do already is apply

sanctions on some Chinese companies to try and break the technological link with Russia. President Biden and other American officials have been trying

to encourage European nations to do the same.

They hadn't necessarily had all that much success on that front, but when you look at the totality of what the G7 was able to do last week when you

look at that final communique, it mentioned China 28 times, including in the context of its support for Russia, which is a major shift for that body

which had so long tried to sort of moderate its stance towards China, try and maintain an economic relationship.

Now, you do see the G7 and NATO and the United States all sort of uniformly calling out Beijing's stance towards Russia, and certainly, that will be a

topic of discussion between Stoltenberg and President Biden in about an hour and a half from now when he arrives at the White House.


These two men are trying to coordinate ahead of this major NATO Summit that President Biden is hosting here in Washington at the beginning of July.

Part of what they're trying to accomplish is to quote-unquote, "Trump- proof" this defense alliance. Of course, former President Trump has been openly skeptical of NATO.

There's good reason to believe that he could try and withdraw the United States from that alliance if he were to be elected to another term in

office. And so, what you see NATO trying to do is take some control of the coordination for the assistance to Ukraine, try and sort of centralize it

at the defense bloc's headquartered in Brussels.

So that is not so reliant on the United States and on the White House, essentially trying to ensure that if Trump were to come back into office,

that western support, European support and NATO support for Ukraine would be unyielding. Isa.

SOARES: Kevin Liptak there with the very latest for us from the White House, appreciate it, thanks, Kevin. And in around 25 minutes time or so,

I'll be speaking to Alexander Rodnyansky; one of President Zelenskyy's adviser get his reaction to this, as well as a wider conversation of

course, about the prospect of peace in Ukraine.

And we'll move to the Middle East because Israel's Prime Minister has disbanded his war cabinet, overseeing key decisions on Gaza as he faces

increasing political pressure on multiple fronts. The move by Benjamin Netanyahu was expected after opposition leader Benny Gantz quit the war

cabinet this month, citing, if you remember, a lack of war strategy.

But dissolving that cabinet also allows Mr. Netanyahu to sidestep demands by far-right ministers to be included. The shake-up comes as Israel's

military insists, the fight against Hamas continues in Rafah and across all of Gaza. It says it should have made that clear when announcing a daily

tactical pause along a southern route meant to facilitate that route, facilitate their aid deliveries.

Now, U.N. agency say they have not yet seen improvements in aid distribution. I'll have more now on the logistics of that tactical pause

with our Paula Hancocks, who has the details for you from the Israeli side of the Kerem Shalom Crossing.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): So, this is the Kerem Shalom Crossing, and the Israeli military has brought us here to

show us that there is aid here that is waiting to get into Gaza. They also said there's more than a thousand trucks on the other side just inside

Gaza, that is waiting to be distributed.

Now, the IDF has announced this tactical route, which will be from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and it will be a safe road from the Kerem Shalom

Crossing they say, and up the Salaheddin road, which is the north size artery in Gaza. Now, we have spoken to international aid groups, to the

U.N. within Gaza about this, and they have said that they have used this route before, they're not sure what's new about this passageway.

But their concern is the lack of police, the lack of law and order within Gaza itself. So, it is very dangerous for them to be able to come and pick

this aid up. It's something I asked the IDF spokesperson about.

Are you going to escort these trucks, the military will escort them?

DANIEL HAGARI, SPOKESPERSON, IDF: Well, this is a war zone, and we need to act inside a war zone and to find inside the complexity the way they find

solutions. The first step is to make sure that the road is safe. The road will be safe, military-wise, it will be safe, in our planning, in our tax,

et cetera.

HANCOCKS: Now, there was some controversy, it appears the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not informed. We understand from an

official within his office that he was very concerned until he found out that this was not going to stop any of the fighting.

So, the fighting will continue in Rafah itself where the military is engaging with Hamas. At this point, we understand there is intense fire-

fights ongoing. Rafah is very close to this route that the aid should be taking to get into Gaza. Paula Hancocks, CNN, at the Kerem Shalom Crossing.


SOARES: Let me pick up with the fighting that Paula Hancocks is talking about. Let's get more from our Oren Liebermann, he's live in Haifa in

northern Israel. Oren, good to see you. Let me just pick up with what we're hearing in the last few minutes coming into CNN.

The IDF, from what I can see, the Israel Defense Forces is claiming this hour that they have killed 500 Hamas militants in Rafah since early May.

Just what else are they saying? I know that CNN cannot independently verify it, which is add some context here for us.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: So, the key line here from the IDF as you pointed, it just came out recently as they claim they have

killed 500 Hamas militants since early May, which it's worth noting is when they began the Rafah operation.

They also say they have discovered 230 tunnel shafts, including 100 along what's known as the Philadelphi Corridor, which is a narrow strip of land

that stretches along the border between Gaza and Egypt. The implication here being that Hamas is using those tunnels to smuggle goods between Egypt

and into Gaza.


So, the IDF has made clear that their work will continue, they say through their efforts since early May, they have -- in going after four Hamas

battalions there, two of them are at medium operational ability, their ability to function, and two, they say are at low ability to function.

As you point out, Isa, we cannot verify this, but it's part of what the IDF has made clear as its ongoing Rafah operation. This as hundreds of

thousands, if not more than a million Palestinians, have already had to flee Rafah. Many Palestinians fleeing once again after being told by the

Israeli military to move there as a safe haven in the first place.

So, as Rafah empties out, as the southern bit of Rafah empties out, and the Palestinians move north or simply move to somewhere where they believe they

will be safe, the Israeli military has moved in, and you see this information now, the latest update effectively on the fighting in Rafah

coming from the Israeli military.

And it's worth noting, they have said the fighting will continue even as the tactical pause begins to go into effect on what's supposed to be a

daily basis.

SOARES: And staying at -- staying -- I want to focus on Israel, staying with the politics really, and leaving the tactical pause for just a moment.

As we mentioned at the top of the hour where we heard the Prime Minister Netanyahu, Oren, has disbanded his war cabinet.

I wonder how much you think this is a political move by Netanyahu, just to keep those far-right members of his party, I'm thinking Smotrich here, I'm

thinking Ben-Gvir from joining a cabinet, from what I understand, they wanted to join, how much is that, this part of that move?

LIEBERMANN: Isa, and Israel just about everything is a political move, and this is no exception. On the level of functionality, once Benny Gantz, the

former war cabinet minister left, the war cabinet itself became effectively useless. It only had three sort of voting members or decision-making

members, Benny Gantz had left, and that left the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Defense Minister who are from the same party.

At that same time, Itamar Ben-Gvir, the far-right minister demanded entry into it. He wanted to say over how the war is handled. So, Netanyahu just

went ahead and dissolved the war cabinet. Now, the decisions will be made in the security cabinet, which existed -- has existed all along during this


But it wasn't in charge of managing the war itself, and Israeli officials saying Netanyahu will conduct consultations there, but it's not clear who

he will consult with. What's clear to Netanyahu after years upon years of being at the head of Israel's government is in a security cabinet

effectively from his perspective, he makes the decisions.

And for now, that's what's important to him, even if he has to fight off the far-right, trying to gain more and more control over his ability to


SOARES: Oren Liebermann for us this hour, appreciate it, Oren, thank you very much. Well, the IDF is saying Israeli airstrike has killed a key

Hezbollah operative in southern Lebanon, says he was involved in rocket and missile attacks against Israeli communities.

Meantime, a special U.S. envoy is hoping to diffuse the recent escalation of hostilities between Israel and Lebanon. Amos Hochstein is meeting top

Israeli officials in Jerusalem, that is happening today. U.N. officials in Lebanon issued a grave warning over the weekend, saying, quote, "the danger

of miscalculation leading to a sudden and wider conflict is very real."

I want to get the very latest. Our Ben Wedeman joins us now. And Ben, what do we know -- what more do we know this hour about this Hezbollah key

operative that the IDF say they killed today in southern Lebanon. What do we know?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't really know much at all, actually. We know where he's from and we know his name. That's

all we know from Hezbollah. The Israelis are saying that he was a senior Hamas operative who was involved in the production deployment and firing of

missiles toward Israel.

We know he was killed in a drone strike in a village about 17 kilometers north of the border. Now, the danger, if he is indeed senior, and we don't

know yet, is that we saw last week that the Israelis took out a senior Hamas commander in south Lebanon that set off several days of intense fire

from Hezbollah toward Israel.

So, we'll see tomorrow what happens. Hezbollah has been oddly quiet actually, its Telegram channel which normally puts out very regular reports

on what they've fired and at where in Israel since Saturday night has put out nothing except news of this one individual been killed this afternoon.

SOARES: And so, Ben, if after, brought(ph) it to more diplomatic aspect of this. I wonder then what is to be made of the special -- the U.S. special

envoy visiting the region, because I suspect it will take quite a skilled negotiator to say the least to get both sides here to back down.

Just from your perspective, Ben, in Beirut, is there any appetite right now to bring this to an end, given what we saw like exactly the same, what we

saw last week?


WEDEMAN: Well, Amos Hochstein, the senior energy adviser to the White House seems really the man who deals with Israel-Lebanon issues, has been coming

to the region even before October 7th. And clearly, what he's going to be doing is trying to urge both sides, the Israelis and Hezbollah to exercise

restraint. However, there are those on both sides of the border who would just as well let slip the dogs of war.



WEDEMAN (voice-over): Every day, the message goes out from south Lebanon in slick propaganda videos accompanied by a stirring sound track. Hezbollah is

ready to go from daily skirmishes to full scale war with Israel. Mired in what appears to be an unwinnable war in Gaza, Israel has vowed to turn its

military might on Hezbollah.

Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the border, saying, "we are prepared for very strong action in the north." But

the Iranian-backed group is by far the most formidable, battle-hardened foe Israel has faced on its borders since the 1973 October war. After its

gorillas forced Israel to pull out of south Lebanon 24 years ago, in 2006, Hezbollah fought Israel to a standstill.

Although, the war left parts of Beirut and much of southern Lebanon in ruins. Retired Lebanese Army Brigadier General Elias Hanna knows the

militant group well.

ELIAS HANNA, RETIRED LEBANESE ARMY BRIGADIER GENERAL: Hezbollah is an exclusive club, well disciplined, monitored, and they have, which is the

most important issue, a charismatic leader, Hassan Nasrallah.

WEDEMAN: Since October, Israeli strikes have killed more than 300 Hezbollah fighters, including last week, high-ranking commander Talib Abdallah, given

a hero's farewell in Beirut. At the funeral, senior Hezbollah leader Hashim Safi Al Din warned, "we will increase our operations and intensity and

force and quantity and quality".

Analysts believe Iran has provided Hezbollah with an arsenal of sophisticated long-range missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv and beyond.

Until now, Hezbollah has mostly limited its strikes to military targets along the rugged, mountainous frontier, hitting Israel's extensive network

of surveillance posts. It also says it has taken out an iron dome battery, the backbone of Israel's missile defenses, and has used ground-to-air

missiles to shoot down three top of the line Hermes 900 drones.

In the process, forcing tens of thousands of Israelis to flee their homes in the north. Hezbollah is learning faster than Israel can adapt, says


HANNA: They're learning. It's like learning process. It's like trial and error. So, as far as you go in time, you are seeing more intensity, more

combined use of weapon, and then more in-depth and more effectiveness against the Israelis. And what is a problem that the Israeli have no --

have no answer for that.

WEDEMAN: Since October, Israel has bolstered its forces on the border and held exercises to prepare for war. Hezbollah is also ready for war. A war

that is just one miscalculation away.


WEDEMAN: And Isa, there's basically a balance of deterrence between the two sides. Both can inflict extreme pain, destruction and death. On the other

end, this American envoy is obviously trying to head that off, but there's pressure on the Israeli Prime Minister, from the public to allow tens of

thousands of Israelis to move back to their homes in the north along the border.

And he may not be able to withstand that. One other thing, Isa, I did in the introduction to that report mentioned the fighter who was killed last

week, I misspoke he was not Hamas, he was Hezbollah. Isa?

SOARES: Appreciate your correction. Ben Wedeman there for us in Beirut, thank you very much, Ben. And still to come tonight, parts of U.S. are

bracing for the first severe heat of the year while California deals with a major blaze.


Also Ukrainian town under siege, Russia unleashes un-relentless offensive by Ukraine's forces, turning the tide. That's next.


SOARES: Well, parts of the United States are ushering in the start of Summer with an expansive heat wave. Much of the Midwest and northeast could

see record-breaking temperatures these coming days. And this extreme weather could extend into next week, which would make it the longest heat

stretch there in 30 years.

Meanwhile, 1,200 people have been forced to evacuate because of a wildfire north of Los Angeles, you're seeing it there. Officials say the blaze has

consumed 15,000 acres since Saturday, that's about 6,000 hectares. Camila Bernal joins us now from Lebec in California, that's north of Los Angeles.

And Camila, I can see the wind still pretty strong. Just paint us a picture of what you're seeing on the ground there and the expanse, of course, of

this fire.

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this wind is really the biggest concern for firefighters, especially, because overnight, we had wind-gusts

that were forecasted to be 60 to 70 miles an hour. And it's this wind that picks up those embers and spreads them very quickly to different areas

where we are now -- well, the fire already came through this area, there were also some back burns in this area.

You're seeing some of the firefighters right now still working to put out some of these hotspots -- they were using chainsaws, they were using hand

tools just to make sure that it doesn't continue to spread. Because what you're seeing over my right shoulder is the green area where the fire did

not cross.

So, this is specifically the fire line, and that's what firefighters want to see. They want to see this fire not spreading into the other areas. And

what's important to point out here is that we had so much rain over the last two Winters that a lot of the grass, a lot of the brush, a lot of the

vegetation is now huge.

And it becomes this fuel for these fires when the Summer comes, when things begin to heat up, and that's another factor into why these fires grow so

fast and so uncontrollably. And so, in this fire in particular, you already have 1,200 people under evacuation orders. Many others under evacuation

warnings because officials here are saying that the flames can spread at a moment's notice, can spread fast.

And so, you have to be ready to evacuate even if it is something where it's last minute, where you didn't expect it.


And so, that really is the warning from officials here as they continue to work. Again, there's crews on the ground here. We already have seen a

number of water drops today, it's somewhat far away, hard to show you at the moment. We also drove in, closer to the fire line and saw some of these

firefighters hiking up to that fire line because it's impossible to get through with vehicles.

And so, it's hard labor that these men and women are doing, it's 24/7, but they still have a lot of work to be done here because containment is still

at 8 percent. We saw some improvement from 2 percent to 8 percent, so, that's good news there, but the flames are still burning and there is still

again, just a lot of work to be done here.

SOARES: Yes, and with that wind, that makes it very problematic indeed. Camila Bernal there for us, thanks very much, Camila, appreciate it. Well,

a heat-wave in Greece keeps hindering the search for three missing tourists. A man from the United States has been missing since June 11th.

It was 40 degrees Celsius the day 59-year-old Albert Calibet went missing while on the Island of Amorgos. Two French women have also gone missing.

There went on a walk on the Island of Sikinos. Police say one of the women sent distress message to the guest house she was staying at. There have

been several other recent cases of tourists dying or going missing while walking in the heat.

Notably, seeing there, British TV personality, Dr. Michael Mosley, whose body was found on June the 9th. We will stay of course, across the story

for you. And still to come tonight, Ukraine says it's dealt a major setback to Russia's northern offensive as fighting near key border town

intensifies. We have the very latest for you.

Plus, a rare international trip by President Vladimir Putin, western allies are concerned about where the Russian leader is going and who he's meeting

with. We have the details when we return.



SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. In Ukraine, the fighting is fierce as Ukrainian forces try to cut off Russian troops in an area just south of the

Norman border between the two countries.

Russian forces have hit the Ukrainian border town of Vovchans'k. five times just in the past day. A Ukrainian squad commander describes the situation

there as difficult but controlled. He says Russian forces are surrounded in what appears to be a major blow to Russia's northern offensive.

Meantime, a call for an end to war from more than 80 countries. It came at a two-day peace conference over the weekend in Switzerland. Despite the

overwhelming support shown for Kyiv, some nations, India, Saudi Arabia, UAE among them, refused to sign the summit's final communique.

Ukraine's President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, called on Russia to withdraw from occupied areas. Have a little listen to this clip.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: It's important that all, all participants of the summit supported Ukraine's territorial integrity

because there is -- will be no lasting peace without territorial integrity.


SOARES: Let's get more on all these strands. I want to welcome back Alexander Rodnyansky, an advisor to Ukraine and President Volodymyr

Zelenskyy. He's also an assistant professor of economics at the University of Cambridge.

Alexander, welcome back to the show. Let me start really with the latest developments that we just touched on just right there from the

battlefields, particularly around Vovchans'k, which, as we said, has been attacked some five times just in the past day. What is your understanding

of your situation on the ground there? Has Ukraine been able to kind of largely stabilize that front from what you understand?

ALEXANDER RODNYANSKY, ECONOMIC ADVISOR TO UKRAINIAN PRES. VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY: Well, first of all, thanks for having me again. I'm not really a

war expert or an expert on military strategies. I'm an economic advisor, so I'm not going to comment much on these topics. All I can say, and as you

can see, this has been a war of attrition for quite some time.

The Russians have tried to pierce through our defense lines. They have failed. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to recapture much of the

territory that has been occupied. It's been a constant back and forth. We need to make sure that we can keep the initiative in our favor. That has

been challenging, as you can see, over the last year or so. Hopefully, we'll be able to turn the tide, but who knows? We need the support and we

need, obviously, more pressure on Russia.

SOARES: OK. I didn't -- I'm not looking really for details on the military, but I wonder if you can add some context to something I've read today,

which is from the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, you say, of Ukraine, who talked about the kind of tactics from the Russian side.

As you and I are talking, you're looking at a map, particularly there, along the front, particularly near Kharkiv, and he said that the situation,

the aim here to try to dilute the Ukrainian defense, to try and stretch them out before the Western weapons arrive, including F-16 fighter jets.

Where are we, from what you understand, from what you are hearing, Alexander, in terms of the promises of those new shipments from U.S.

ammunition? I mean, have they arrived? They've started to arrive, from what you're understanding? Are they making a difference here?

RODNYANSKY: Again, it would be probably appropriate to talk to military experts or military leaders to really comment and weigh in on this. All I

can say it's been known publicly, essentially. We've been waiting for the F-16 fighter jets. They're meant to be arriving soon. Our military

personnel, our pilots have been training on them for quite some time.

Whether they will make the difference or not, in terms of helping us turn the tide, we will see. Again, that's not something for me to really weigh

in on. But, you know, the developments are as they have been. The Russians have been, obviously, trying to use this situation for themselves in their

favor. They haven't been able to do that successfully, thanks God.

So, hopefully, with more weapons and more support, and, as you say, air power, things will start turning into our favor.

SOARES: Let's talk diplomacy, then, if we can, on the diplomatic front, because we saw some 80 countries that we mentioned before we came to you,

Alexander, backing the kind of final communique of the Global Peace Summit. But there were some very notable abstentions, including Saudi Arabia, the

UAE, India, and others. How does Ukraine view those abstentions?

RODNYANSKY: Well, obviously, we would have expected or hoped for more support for our causes, in terms of defending Ukraine's sovereignty, in

terms of signing up to the objectives that we have had from the beginning, which is to restore our territorial integrity, get back our people, get

back our territories, and, obviously, start from a point where we respect international borders and international laws.


Now, it's unfortunate that some countries haven't signed up to exactly that version that would have supported Ukraine's territorial integrity in its

entirety. But it goes to show that Russia does have some influence, that the world seems to be more complicated than we would have hoped for. And

there are these different factions, if you want, across the globe. We have to keep working on achieving our objectives. That's all I can say.

SOARES: And we heard today from the NATO chief, Jan Stoltenberg. He is expected to meet in the next hour with the U.S. president, as you know. And

he said that allies may soon -- need to impose, he said, a cost on China over its support to Russia. What should that cost look like? What has been

China's influence and play here vis-a-vis Ukraine?

RODNYANSKY: That's right. So, we have been speaking about secondary sanctions for some time. So, that would be, for example, a way of

introducing these costs, if there are Chinese companies or some sort of Chinese agents or agents of other countries, for that matter, that are

helping Russia circumvent the sanctions regime, which has been imposed on it for more than two years, then obviously that's worth looking at more

carefully and perhaps imposing these costs, as you say.

So, that would be a form of sanctioning these companies or individuals, and therefore disincentivizing them from doing that again. So, this would help

put more pressure on Russia. This would help take out some of the steam and take out some of the energy that's behind Russia's war machine and some of

the financing, essentially.

SOARES: So, can you just clarify for our viewers here, Alexander, very briefly, I mean, what China's role has been in this war, in the war in

Ukraine? I mean, you're saying it's helped Russia circumvent sanctions. Just expand on what else its role has been in this war.

RODNYANSKY: Again, I mean, that's largely known to the public for anybody who has studied this topic in more detail. But China has been trading with

Russia. China has been expanding its trade with Russia. That obviously fills tax revenues in Russia. Some of it is basically circumventing or

rechanneling trade volumes that were going to the E.U. or Western countries before towards China. So, look, it's clear that it's not just natural

trade. It's also a way of compensating for what has been lost on the part of Russia in its trade with the West. And that is what I mean.

SOARES: Alexander, really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. Thank you very much.

RODNYANSKY: Thank you.

SOARES: Well, the Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to visit North Korea on Tuesday at the invitation of Kim Jong-un. It will be

the Russian leader's first trip to North Korea in more than two decades. Western allies have accused Pyongyang of supplying Moscow's war effort in

Ukraine in exchange for help developing North Korea's military satellite program.

Both countries have denied North Korean arms export. Let's get the very latest from our Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Matthew Chance, who

joins us now live from Moscow.

Matthew, just in the last, what, 20 minutes or so, we heard Kirby at the White House saying we are troubled by deepening relationship between Russia

and North Korea. And this comes, of course, ahead of this meeting. What can we expect from this visit by President Putin?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's understandable that the United States, first of all, would be troubled by

this burgeoning relationship between Russia and North Korea, because not only is North Korea an important arms supplier now, even though the Kremlin

denies it, for Russia's war effort in Ukraine, but potentially Russia could be transferring technology, ballistic missile technology, for instance, and

know-how as well as nuclear know-how to North Korea.

Now, that's something the Kremlin have categorically denied, but it's obviously a risk that there is a great deal of concern about in the United

States and elsewhere as well, amongst U.S. allies in the Far East.

In terms of what's going to be actually produced in this visit, the first visit by Vladimir Putin for more than 20 years, well, it's not clear. There

are going to be some agreements signed, according to the Kremlin. The Kremlin says that it's working on a strategic partnership treaty with North

Korea that would involve security issues, setting in stone perhaps some of the security relationships that have been bolstered over the past 12 months

or so since North Korea started becoming such an important supplier of ammunition to Russia, but also involving things like fuel supplies and food

supplies to the impoverished North Korean nation.

That could be in the offing. Certainly, those are the things that North Korea is interested in, as well as technology, as I mentioned, for its

ballistic missile program and things like that. What Russia wants is, you know, a consistent supply of ammunition to its forces in eastern Ukraine.

Remember, it has a rate of fire of about 10,000 artillery shells every day. And so while it's picking up production of artillery shells in its own

factories, it needs to supplement that with ammunition made elsewhere as well.


Beyond that, I think, Isa, this is about a sort of anti-Western, anti- American alliance, Russia sort of reaching out to other sanctioned countries and countries isolated by the West as well in a sort of common

cause. I think that's what's most concerning about this burgeoning friendship.

SOARES: Matthew Chance for us there in Moscow this evening. Appreciate it, Matthew.

And still to come tonight, an investigation in Kenya over the alleged abuse committed by British soldiers in the region. We'll tell you about the

disturbing allegations. That is next.


SOARES: Well, Kenya is investigating claims of sexual assault committed near a British training base north of Nairobi. Locals reported horrific

tales of gang rape and other forms of sexual violence by British soldiers. And we must warn you, some may find the subject matter disturbing. Our

Larry Madowo has the very latest.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She is just 17, but Marion lives alone in this single room house, a mixed-race girl in

rural Kenya where nobody looks like her.

MARIAN PANNALOSSY, SEARCHING FOR FATHER: They actually call me poor white girl. I don't know why they call me poor white girl. They always say, why

are you here? Just look for a connection that you will go to your own people. You don't belong in here.

MADOWO (voice-over): Marian's mother, Lydia Juma, was among hundreds of women who accused soldiers from the British training unit Kenya, Batuk, of

rape. She was interviewed in this 2011 documentary.

LYDIA JUMA, ACCUSED BRITISH SOLDIERS OF RAPE: Because in our tribe, we can't report that thing. It's a big shame. If you go and say that you have

been raped.

MADOWO (voice-over): Lydia Juma died two years after that interview, and Marian has never met her father. She has to fend for herself in a society

that ostracizes her.

MADOWO: You have not lost hope of finding your father someday?

PANNALOSSY No, I've never lost hope.

MADOWO (voice-over): Mixed-race children keep being born in the remote villages where the British army trains in Kenya. Generica Namoru says she

was in a consensual relationship with a British soldier while she worked at their base, but she claims he has never supported her since she gave birth.


GENERICA NAMORU, CLAIMS BRITISH SOLDIER ABANDONED DAUGHTER (through translator): I'm a woman with a white child. It's not easy for my family,

especially because a child is expensive. She's suffering for no good reason.

MADOWO: So you just want him to take responsibility for his daughter?

NAMORU: Yes, nothing else. For him, I want him to take up the education, health.

MADOWO: Have you ever received a cent from him since she was born?

NAMORU: I've never received any cent.

MADOWO (voice-over): Generica is jobless and says she has unsuccessfully tried to petition local authorities and the British army to find her ex-

boyfriend. The British High Commission told CNN it cooperates with local child support authorities in paternity claims.

But the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights says the U.K. government has made no effort to hold soldiers accountable in such cases.

MARION MUTUGI, COMMISSIONER, KENYA NATIONAL COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS: These children really deserve British citizenship. They are British kids.

Their fathers were British.

MADOWO: So the British government is just not interested in resolving these cases?

MUTUGI: We don't think they are interested. We call it BBBB, British Boys Behaving Badly.

MADOWO (voice-over): The U.K. pays Kenya about $400,000 a year to allow up to 10,000 British soldiers to train in the country. Kenya renewed the five-

year deal in 2021, despite opposition from some local groups, lawmakers and human rights defenders.

MUTUGI: We have also had cases where these women and people who have reported have been intimidated. So there is a conspiracy to make sure that

justice does not happen for these women.

MADOWO (voice-over): Allegations of rape and other crimes, including murder, by British soldiers in Kenya date back to the 1950s. These elderly

women accused Batuk officers of rape in the '70s and '80s in a landmark case in London over 20 years ago. Ntoyle Lenkanan says she was one of them.

NTOYLE LENKANAN, ACCUSED BRITISH SOLDIERS OF RAPE (through translator): I was going to fetch water when I was ambushed by a group of British soldiers

who were hiding in the grass near the river. One of them grabbed me and raped me.

MADOWO (voice-over): In 2007, Britain's Ministry of Defense dismissed over 2,000 claims of rape from mostly Maasai and Samburu women, saying, "There

was no reliable evidence to support any single allegation." The government in Nairobi lost the case files without explanation. A Royal Military Police

investigation concluded that most of the Kenyan evidence appeared to have been fabricated.

One Kenyan official called it a cover-up. They did not conduct DNA tests on any of the 69 mixed-race children alleged to have been born as a result of

rape by British soldiers.

Lawyer Kelvin Kubai is working to reintroduce the case in Kenyan courts. 17-year-old Marian will be the lead plaintiff, taking up a fight her mother

didn't win in her lifetime.

KELVIN KUBAI, LAWYER: It is traumatic and it's psychologically disturbing to people like Marian and many others. I continue to see the British

training amidst them, with all these unresolved trauma and historical injustices.

MADOWO (voice-over): Larry Madowo, CNN, Nanyuki, Kenya.


SOARES: Thanks to Larry for that report. Well, the British High Commission told CNN that it takes all allegations raised by the community seriously

and it ensures thorough investigations. It added that all sexual activity, which involves the abuse of power, is prohibited.

And still to come tonight, a mental health crisis that demands urgent action. Why the chief medical doctor in the United States is calling on

Congress to require warning labels on social media apps. That story just ahead.



SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. The U.S. Surgeon General is calling for urgent action to help curb children's use of social media.

Dr. Vivek Murthy is demanding Congress to require labels on the apps, excuse me, as it does with cigarettes as well as alcohol. Writing in the

New York Times, he describes the mental health crisis among young people as an emergency and argues that social media is a huge contributor. Speaking

earlier on NBC, Dr. Murthy said labels should help parents and to our children, really better understand the risks of social media.


DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Not only have companies not demonstrated that their platforms are safe for kids, but there is growing

evidence of harm. It shows us, in fact, that when adolescents spend more than three hours a day on social media, we're seeing an association with a

doubling of risk of anxiety and depression symptoms. And the average amount of use per day among adolescents is nearly five hours.


SOARES: Yes, concerning indeed. Medical correspondent Meg Tirrell joins me now live from New York. And Meg, I wonder really just from what we heard

there from Mr. Murthy, whether there's an appetite for this type of action, of course, among congressional members in order to get something like this


MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I spoke with the Surgeon General just a little bit ago, and he said he was encouraged by the

feedback he's received even since publishing this opinion piece this morning. And also, since he put out this advisory last May calling for

changes and more study of the impacts to mental health from social media use in children.

I asked him if there were any specific legislators that have already come forward and said they are willing to bring this forward because this does

require an act of Congress to put this kind of warning label on something. And he said he didn't know of any specific ones. However, we have seen some

legislators already out on social media platforms saying at least that they are supportive of the idea of this.

We are reaching out to them to see if they're actually planning to introduce this legislation. But, you know, the Surgeon General is saying he

was discouraged that we haven't seen more change in the past year since he put out that advisory. And so he is hoping to see change here.

As you pointed out in the introduction, he cited a lot of data points that are concerning to him, including the idea that kids are using social media,

on average, up to almost five hours per day, according to a Gallup survey.

He also cited a JAMA psychiatry study that found that kids who use social media for at least three hours a day have double the risk of mental health

harms, including symptoms of depression and anxiety. So he's calling this a profound harm, really along the lines of what we've seen with cigarettes

and alcohol. And that's why he's calling for this warning.

SOARES: And he's also calling, is he not, for social media companies, Meg, from what I understand, to be audited. I mean, what is the likelihood of

that actually happening, of that being put in place and social media companies being held accountable here?

TIRRELL: Well, we've seen some legislation introduced called the Kids Online Safety Act, which does call for some changes in the way social media

companies operate when it comes to kids.

We have to see if this is actually going to gain steam as a result of this call and make its way through the legislative process. But he is calling

for the companies to make public all of their data around the mental health aspects of social media use for kids. So that independent scientists can

perform audits.

But he's also calling for other oversight as well, including keeping kids safe from harassment and extreme content online, as well as prohibiting

features like auto-scrolling or auto-play and sort of infinite scrolling and things like that, as well as protecting kids' data. So he is really

calling for a lot more legislation.


We'll have to see if this actually does go somewhere in Congress.

SOARES: Meg Tirrell, I know you'll stay across, and I know it's a discussion that we've had, a very long discussion here on my team. Lots of

people have very important thoughts on this. Thank you very much, Meg. Appreciate it.

Now, one of the world's biggest bands is back with new music, and it's hoping it will be the most sustainable record yet. Coldplay's new album

Moon Music, you can see there, with Atlantic Records, is set to come out. It's set to come out, I think, October the 4th. The first single is called

Feels Like I'm Falling in Love. And you want to hear a little clip? So here it is.

I like my producer said it sounds very Coldplay-ish. Well, vinyl copies of the album will be made from old plastic bottles. CD copies will also be

made from recycled plastic.

The band's most recent tour was able to reduce its carbon footprint by 59 percent compared to previous tours, beating its own expectations. And

congratulations to them.

And that does it for us for this hour. Thank you very much for your company. Do stay right here. "NEWSROOM" with my colleague, Jim Sciutto, is

up next. I shall see you tomorrow. Have a wonderful day. Bye-bye.