Return to Transcripts main page

One World with Zain Asher

President Biden Discusses Ukraine's Path to NATO with Zelenskyy; Japan Condemns North Korea Missile Launch; Kenya Police Officers Fire Tear Gas Into Crowds Protesting Tax Hikes; Tunisa Migrants Receive Inhumane Treatment; U.N. Reports Racism Is Still An Issue Among Black Women Seeking Healthcare; Russia Warms Ties With Cuba; Biden Speaks At Vilnius University. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired July 12, 2023 - 12:00   ET




ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Zain Asher in New York and this is One World. No formal invitation for Ukraine on the second day

of a crucial NATO Summit in Lithuania. But Kyiv did receive new long-term security guarantees from leading nations, as well as a substantial show of

support from the world's most powerful military bloc.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy just spoke to reporters on his last day in Vilnius. He said the two-day meeting produced meaningful success and

that he's confident that his country will one day be a part of the NATO alliance. Earlier in the day, he reiterated the importance of Ukraine in



VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: And I believe that NATO needs us just as we need NATO. And I believe that this is absolutely fair. I am

confident that after the war, Ukraine will be in NATO.


ASHER: U.S. President Joe Biden said in the meantime Western allies will continue helping Ukraine defend itself against Russian aggression and vowed

they're in it for the long haul in terms of their consistent support. The U.S. and Ukrainian Presidents later held a one-on-one meeting where they

offered each other mutual praise after some early attentions.

Jeremy Diamond is at the White House for us. But first I want to bring in CNN Melissa Bell, who joins us live now, in Lithuania. So, Melissa, that

was a wide-ranging speech to reporters, he was obviously taking questions from reporters there. He expressed gratitude for the security guarantees

from NATO allies. He also said that he is confident, he's very confident that even though Ukraine will not become a NATO member while the war is

still ongoing, he's confident that Ukraine will become a member as soon as the war ends.

He also made it very clear to everyone who is listening that there is absolutely no way that Ukraine is gonna give up any inch of territory. Not

even one village was what he said in exchange for peace with Russia. Just talk us through what stood out to you.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think it is important saying that he, in a sense, is the first to have brought up what's been the elephant in the

room throughout this two-day summit. There's been no mention at all of the way out of this, of the eventual peace talks and negotiations, of what

pressure might be brought to bear on UKyiv, that it might give up in the name of peace. No mention of that at all. They took President Zelenskyy to

be absolutely clear about that in those closing remarks, suggesting that he didn't believe he would be betrayed by any of the Western allies.

So, I think, that is an important final message, but the most interesting thing about what he just said was the tone. When you compare it, Zain, with

the tenor of the tweet that was sent as he came here to Vilnius, some of the remarks he's made along the way, this was about thanks, it was about

recognizing what's been done, and crucially about recognizing the difference between the 2008 memorandum that allowed the beginning of the

possibility of accession for both Ukraine and Georgia to NATO and what has come now.

Fifteen years on, one of the points that's over and over at this summit is that what has tangibly changed from the promise that has played such an

important role in all that's unfolding in the battlefield and what Ukraine has tangibly achieved in terms of accession. He explained it there. Not

just a change in tone, but saying, look, there is a big difference.

Now what we have are firm commitments that have been in front of the legislators of these countries and that is completely different but a very

different tone. Mr. Zelenskyy, there, looking much more grateful, thankful, aware of what he's received so far that perhaps he had seemed at the

beginning of this two-day summit. Zain.

ASHER: Yeah, and a British reporter actually asked him about his level of gratitude, given what he's received so far in terms of lethal and non-

lethal aid. Jeremy, let me bring you in because Zelenskyy, of course, sat down with President Biden earlier. Some clear points of disagreement

between these two men, especially when it comes to when and how Ukraine is going to be able to join NATO. Biden said a few days ago that it was

premature for Ukraine to be able to join NATO right now, given the war on NATO not wanting to be dragged into a war with Russia.


There's also some disagreements on when Ukraine will get long-range missiles. Just walk us through that.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and listen, as -- even though they've been coordinating and cooperating so closely since the

beginning of this conflict on both the U.S. and the Ukrainian side, there have long been simmering frustrations between those two sides. Ukraine has

always asked for more, more, faster, faster and the United States has been slower than the Ukrainians would want, has not provided as much as the

Ukrainians would want.

And so, what we saw over the last 24 hours was really some of those tensions coming up to the surface, both in terms of the Ukrainian president

expressing his frustrations yesterday, that NATO didn't go quite as far as he would have liked to see in terms of commitments for Ukraine to join

NATO. And also on the U.S. side, the National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, this morning fielding questions about that lack of a commitment

and talking about the need for gratitude for the United States, for all of the support that it has provided.

And so, ultimately what you saw President Biden and President Zelenskyy do in their meeting today was to try and put aside those frustrations, to put

on a united front and to both do what the other side wanted to see, which was on the Ukrainian side, President Zelenskyy expressing gratitude and on

the American side, President Biden recognizing the frustrations and the courage of the Ukrainians. Listen.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Your resilience and your resolve has been a model for the whole world to see. And the frustration, I can only imagine.

I know, you are, many times frustrated about when things, what things get to you quickly enough and what's getting to you and how we're getting

there. But I promise you, the United States is doing everything we can to get you what you need as rapidly as we can get it to you.


DIAMOND: And in keeping with that, today the United States said to announce a new security assistance package, there are those long-term

security guarantees that the G7 countries are trying to provide Ukraine to build up its armed forces. And so, in the President's speech today, you're

going to hear a focus on that unity in the alliance, the expansion of the alliance with Finland and Sweden, and ultimately a long-term commitment

from the United States and from the allies to continue supporting Ukraine as long as it takes.

ASHER: All right, Jeremy, thank you so much. Melissa, let me go back to you because a lot of people have focused on this idea of the fact that

Ukraine has been promised a way to become a member of NATO for about 15 years now, going back to 2008. Clearly, it hasn't happened. Jens

Stoltenberg has said, look, we have made some adjustments. It's not going to be the membership action plan. We are going to make it much easier for

Ukraine to eventually join NATO, provided that they meet certain criteria.

You spoke to Jens Stoltenberg. I mean, what did he say about his understanding of Ukraine's level of frustration with all of this. Well,

bear in mind that Jens Stoltenberg is a man who's overseen of the course of the last few weeks. Behind the scenes, these enormously complicated

negotiations, not just, Zain, on the question of Swedish succession and what Ankara felt about that and the logistics of Finland's accession, how

that was going to change, but of course, the specifics of the disagreements on exactly how far NATO needed to go towards Ukraine at this particular

summit. And there have been huge divisions here in the Baltic states.

They felt much more strongly than Western European countries or in the United States, that a strong signal should have been given. I put to the

Secretary General that according to the latest American estimates, it is now some 350,000 Ukrainian lives that have been lost, and that one can

therefore understand the frustrations expressed by President Zelenskyy. This was his reply.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: I fully understand that President Zelenskyy is asking for as much as possible and therefore also

glad that he actually at the summit also welcomed the decisions you made on sustaining and stepping our support. NATO allies have made announcements of

big new packages of military support to the United States, Germany, France, United Kingdom and many others, cruise missiles, ammunition and many other

types of modern equipment.

Then, we also made important decisions on Ukraine's path towards NATO membership. We stated clear that Ukraine's future is in NATO. We stated

that Ukraine will become a NATO ally. And we also agreed on some of the tools to help them to move towards NATO membership. So, this is the

strongest ever decision by NATO allies.


BELL: And on that question, Zain, of that strongest message ever, I also put to the Secretary General of NATO the idea that this was an extremely

expensive, politically costly war for all of the alliance members involved.


It is their very own stockpiles of munitions often and weaponry there being handed to Kyiv. How much longer can the alliance stick together, hold that

unity together. On the question of Ukraine, he said, look, the point is that this very summit has shown us that we have never been more unified.

And he suggested that, in fact, NATO will come out of this galvanized in these efforts to try and keep and make it clear to Moscow that Kyiv now

belongs very much on the other side of a particular fence, even if it will have to wait to join NATO itself. Zain.

ASHER: Melissa Bell, live for us there, thank you. On the battlefield, Ukraine is inching forward with its counter-offensive. Kyiv says it shot

down 11 out of 15 Iran-made drones in the central region that Russia launched from Kursk early Wednesday. Meantime, Russia's Investigative

Committee has released a video that appears to show footage of a former submarine commander who was shot to death while jogging on Monday. Ukraine

hasn't claimed responsibility, but has provided details of when and where it happened.

South Korea's President is calling for strong international solidarity in response to North Korea's latest missile test. Pyongyang fired an

intercontinental ballistic missile off its east coast earlier today. And the timing of the launch may be no coincidence. It comes as the U.S., South

Korea and Japan meet to discuss security issues on the sidelines of the NATO summit. CNN's Marc Stewart has more.

MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This latest North Korean launch is certainly attention-getting. It was in the air for 74 minutes. This is seen

as a marginal advancement from previous tests this year. Let's talk about the context of this all. First, it's happening at a time when there is

heightened tension on the Korean Peninsula as Washington and Seoul bolster their defense cooperation.

In addition, the NATO Summit is taking place in Lithuania. Leaders from South Korea, Japan and the United States are there. North Korea is

certainly a talking point. We're hearing condemnation of the launch from global leaders, including Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary.


HIROKAZU MATSUNO, JAPANESE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY (through translator): Such ballistic missile launches violate relevant United Nations Security

Council resolutions and are a serious security issue for our citizens. We have lodged a strong protest against North Korea through our embassy in



STEWART: Wednesday's launch involved what is believed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile, otherwise known as an ICBM and it has

the range to reach the mainland United States. Marc Stewart, CNN, Tokyo.

ASHER: In Kenya, police fired tear gas into crowds protesting tax hikes earlier today. Here, you see a demonstration in Nairobi. "Reuters" reports

there are also protests in several other cities. Opposition leader Raila Odinga called for the demonstration saying that tax increases will hurt

average Kenyans who are already struggling to pay for basic goods. President William Ruto says the tax hikes will help pay for Kenya's debt

obligations and also fund job creation, as well.

CNN's Stephanie Busari joins us live now from Lagos, Nigeria. So, Stephanie, William Ruto saying, listen, this is a necessary evil,

essentially. We have to do this because Kenya desperately needs to raise money. That's why the fuel prices are going up. That's why taxes are

increasing. But that doesn't affect the fact that ordinary Kenyans are indeed suffering. Ordinary Kenyans cannot afford to pay for basic goods and

services. Just walk us through that.

STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN SENIOR EDITOR, AFRICA: Sure, Zain. It's certainly been a day of fierce protests in Kenya, in Nairobi and other parts, simply

because, as Raila Odinga says, Kenyans cannot afford three square meals anymore. People are being brought to their knees because of these planned

tax hikes.

Now, President Ruto is saying that it's a necessary evil because he's inherited a large debt ceiling. Also, Kenya's battling with high inflation

and high cost of living. However, a Kenyan court delayed this planned tax hikes, but he's gone ahead to put a tax hike on petroleum prices. And so

that's partly where some of the anger about these protests are coming from and we're in the last few minutes, spoken to a Kenyan opposition politician

who leads opposition in parliament and he said that he was part of the protest earlier today, and that police dispersed with water cannons, tear

gas, and even live bullets.

Now, we've put in a call to the Kenyan police to try to find out what's happened. We've not been able to reach them. And he suggested that people

have died in the protest today. And CNN affiliate, CNN citizen TV, reporting that five people have died.


Again, we have not confirmed those numbers. But it just gives you an idea of the kind of strength of feeling, the anger, the frustration that people

are feeling right now on the streets of Kenyan cities. They say that they just can't take any more. They can't afford basics. And these tax hikes,

though they may be necessary, are coming at a very wrong time, Zain.

ASHER: Right, because they've been through months and months and months of rising prices, especially when you look at inflation in Kenya. So, Raila

Odinga, he's the voice that is kind of behind some of these protests. He's been calling for his supporters to go out into the streets, and he's

obviously come out and said, listen, ordinary Kenyans are suffering here.

What is his motivation in all of this, Stephanie? I mean, is it just simply the fact that he doesn't want his supporters or ordinary Kenyans to have to

pay more than they need to, or are there political motive here as well? Obviously, to remind our audience in the last election, Raila Odinga lost.

I mean, he's run for president in Kenya several times. Obviously, he lost the last election against William Ruto. So, there is some animosity there.

What is his motivation?

BUSARI: Well, I mean, his opponents on the other side of the political spectrum will say that this is very much politically motivated. It's not

the first time that he's called for protests. Early this year, he called for protests every single Monday until they were stopped. And they were

simply just for -- he was saying that the country is not being run in the right way, and so he called for these protests. And they turned quite

bloody in some parts, as well.

So, some would say that he's capitalizing on the momentum to push a political agenda, but he's saying that he's just trying to look out for the

rights of the Kenyan people and many of them, voted for him, of course, but, you know, it's destabilizing. President Ruto has said that his

involvement is destabilizing in this, but he sees it as being a champion for the people in Kenya.

ASHER: All right, Stephanie Busari, live for us there. Thank you so much. All right, still to come here on One World, a look at the growing

humanitarian crisis and international reaction as refugees face dangerous conditions in Tunisia. And a new U.N. report on maternal mortality focuses

on black women in the Americas. And the gap between who lives and who dies is especially wide in this country, where I am, in the United States. The

surprising results, ahead.




ASHER: Tunisia is facing international criticism over its treatment of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, many of whom have been forcibly deported

to an area, remote area, I should say, near the border with Libya. A local rights group says that Tunisia has now moved many of those migrants to a

safer location, but only after growing international pressure.

And Human Rights Watch says that the group that was moved to a dangerous site near the border with Libya, initially included children and pregnant

women, as well, who were forced to move to the desolate site earlier this month after an outbreak of violence in the coastal city of Sfax.

It says the migrants were trapped without access to basic necessities like food and medical assistance. They also endured intense heat, as well. As we

reported, migrants from sub-Saharan Africa travel to Tunisia in hopes of perhaps taking a boat to Europe. They often fall victim to smugglers and

human traffickers.

ASHER: Joining us live now to talk more about this, Journalist and Political Analyst Amine Snoussi, he just wrote an article for the New Arab

and why Tunisia's migrant crisis has reached a boiling point. Thank you so much for being with us. We've talked a lot on this show about the issues in

Tunisia when it comes to racism towards African, Sub-Saharan African migrants. The fact that the President had come out and talked about his

idea that black migrants, African migrants were changing the make-up of Tunisia and just the sort of vitriolic rhetoric towards African migrants in

that country.

How do you explain to people that black migrants in Tunisia, some of whom are undocumented, some of whom are actually documented, are being forcibly

rounded up and removed and moved to a remote, dangerous site near the border with Libya? How do you explain that to people?

AMINE SNOUSSI, JOURNALIST AND POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we can explain that in different ways because there's a context that comes in mind. You

just mentioned the statement made by the President in February who accused migrants of being part of a plot in order to alter Tunisian demographics.

In the same time, there was a nationalist party in Tunisia who was developing the same rhetoric, accusing black people and migrants in Tunisia

of being responsible for poverty, for the lack of jobs, et cetera, et cetera, and the same rhetoric you can find in Europe or in the U.S. with

the far-right nationalist leaders.

The same thing is happening since February. People are starting to believe that. People are starting to make migrants responsible for the economical

issues that Tunisia have. And in the same time, there was this last week, what happened was a Chinese man was allegedly killed by a migrant and this

led to this whole hatred and this whole xenophobia that's unleashed on specs.

And the government response was to deport migrants to the border because the government firmly believes in those anti-migrant theories as they

explained it in February in that presidential statement. And as they are explaining it, when they are dealing with far-right leaders in Europe, they

are dealing with the far-right Prime Minister of Italy, Meloni, based on their close anti-migrant policies.

ASHER: So, even before, you know, this sort of -- this --the news erupted about black migrants in Tunisia being moved to a desolate region near the

border with Libya for no apparent reason other than the color of their skin. And also, even before those comments that were made by President

Saeed back in February saying that listen, black people are trying to change the make-up of Tunisia.

Even before all of that, just explain to our audience the day-to- day experiences of black migrants in Tunisia. I mean, we're talking about

people who are, you know, leaving their home countries, coming to North Africa, some of whom are settling in Tunisia, others are sort of using

Tunisia as a transit point to perhaps seek a better life in Europe. But all of them, or rather many of them I should say, experience some form of

discomfort, be it all-out racism because of their skin color. Just explain to us what their day-to-day experiences are in Tunisia.


ASHER: I think it's always important to remind people that this never -- this didn't start last week. Racism was always present in Tunisia.

Discrimination was always present in Tunisia against black people and black migrants. It was not blatant, it was not direct, but people were exploiting

black migrants. People were using some words that are discriminatory in the day-to-day experience of a black person in Tunisia.

You feel it. You feel that racism is still here because there isn't a lot of anti-racism culture in Tunisia. Over the last 10 years, there were

several protests against discrimination. There were several symbolic actions, even a law voted in the previous parliament, but there was never a

strong policy of fighting hatred, of fighting discrimination or racism.

What really changed between that time and what we are seeing in the last months is that now it is -- I've heard this expert in the article you

mentioned that told me racism was made official. It is now an open-policy to be anti-immigration, to find out where undocumented migrants work, to be

very harsh when it comes to migration. And this leads to a different form of racism. This leads to direct racism from the Tunisian people. It's not

hidden anymore. People are blaming migrants for everything.

ASHER: So, essentially the President's comments has essentially legitimized racism towards black people in Tunisia. You mentioned that

there's not so much of an anti-racism culture yet in Tunisia. Hopefully that will change. But just explain to us what sort of protections rights

groups, human rights groups can offer black migrants in Tunisia, given the news that we're seeing.

SNOUSSI: Well, a lot of groups are trying to collect money, water, food for the people that are stuck in the borders. We expected more from the

unions, but as you know, the migrants from the Libyan border were moved to a different location, a safe location, which is a school, and local unions

called for the government to take them back to the borders. So, it's not really over for them. They are not safe even in their new location.

So, really expected more from the unions that are supposedly fighting against discrimination and fighting against racism. But there are a lot of

international NGOs and national NGOs that are trying to support migrants in the best they can. But the difficulties are huge because they don't have as

much freedom as they used to have before side regime.

They don't have the possibility to go everywhere because the last where they were -- where migrants were at the border is a military zone and they

didn't have access. So, they have a lot of challenges, even if they manage to get enough support to the migrants.

ASHER: Yeah, and worth mentioning that these sorts of collective expulsions violate international law. It's not just sort of documented

migrants that are undocumented migrants that are being expelled. It's also people who do have papers, people who are documented, as well. They're

being taken to this border region with Libya without any access sometimes to food, to water, to shelter. There's women, there's children, there's

pregnant women, as well.

We will definitely keep on this story. Amine Snoussi, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it. All right, still to come, sobering

statistics on racism and how it plays a huge part in maternal mortality. We'll talk with the Executive Director of the U.N. Population Fund as it

comes out with a new report, when we come back.




ASHER: Hello and welcome back to One World. The risk factor is racism. That's the conclusion of a sobering new report from the U.N. on maternal

mortality in the Americans, in the Americas rather, which confirms previously reported statistics. Black women in the U.S. are three times,

three times more likely to die while giving birth, within six weeks of giving birth, compared to other women.

This, according to the U.N. population fund which found racial inequity haunts pregnant women and girls of African descent. Too often they are

abused and mistreated, the report says. Their pain is ignored and their needs not taken seriously. Surprisingly, this disparity is most extreme in

the world's richest nation, the United States.

The recent death of a 32-year-old Olympic gold medalist underscores the startling statistics. American track and field champion Tori Bowie was

about eight months pregnant when she lost her life from complications of childbirth. And some experts say last year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling

overturning Roe v. Wade and appending abortion rights in the U.S. could make matters worse for all women, especially those of color seeking


Time now for The Exchange where our next guest says that justice and equality will only be possible when our health care system see Afro-

descended women and provide them with respectful and compassionate care. Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director of the U.N. Population Fund joins us

live now. Doctor, thank you so much for being with us.

One of the things I found interesting as I was looking through this report is that one of the things that's responsible is, yes, of course, implicit

bias and racism, et cetera, but it's also bias in medical education.


Medical education also needs to be updated. Just walk us through that.

NATALIA KANEM, M.D., EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND: Well, thanks so much, Zain. And the point you're making is really critical,

because what UNFPA and we're a data agency of the United Nations is presenting in our report on maternal health in the Americas is that there

is a systemic issue. And the training of doctors, of obstetric nurses, of the registrar who receives the person who comes in to deliver is off base

and we show very clearly that the medical curriculum has to adapt to a reality where we remove unscientific beliefs, including racist beliefs.

ASHER: And one solution that you touch on in this report, I have it right in front of me here, is this idea of having more black women participate in

maternal healthcare policy. Just how does that work? How do you envision that happening? And what sort of changes do you think there would be as a

result of that?

KANEM: Well, take for example, a thought that is prevalent, which is that for some reason black women don't feel pain, that black women are less

sensitive to pain. This can lead to issues like withholding pain medication, which is important to manage critical situations during

childbirth. We also see issues in terms of a curriculum that uses the white European standard where the majority of people deviate from that standard.

So, if you're learning about how to deliver a baby and the shape of the pelvis, for example, the types of understandings that we need to change can

only come from including the people who have the issue. What we see is that the data disguise a lot when it comes to the experience of black women. And

this is why there's that shocking triple -- the death rate in the U.S.

In other countries that were studied where data was available, we saw magnification of this problem. So, we need to ask women who have the issue

and not blame them for their lifestyle or their differences. This is not going to solve the problem of death during childhood.

ASHER: One of the things that I found shocking in it, and it isn't necessarily new, I mean, obviously we know that there is an issue in the

United States when it comes to maternal mortality among black women. However, obviously the U.S. does have the lowest, at least in the Americas,

the lowest sort of maternal mortality rates. The healthcare system in this country is very, very good overall.

It's certainly unequal, but overall on average, it is very good compared to developing nations, let's say. However, despite that advantage, when it

comes to the differences between black women and say white women. There is a difference in other countries, in the Americas, as well. There is that

discrepancy too. But in the United States, it is especially high. What do you attribute that to?

KANEM: Well, you know, Zain, I think as a medical doctor myself, understanding that the health system is built on what we have and what we

have is a system that unfortunately has a wrong-headed, disrespectful thought when it comes to how the black woman who arrives is seen and how

she is treated. So, during a time when you should be welcomed, when you come into the delivery room, is someone going to yell or make comments or

in other words verbally abuse you for being there too late.

You know, it's a dynamic where the health system, if unwelcoming, will not have people who voluntarily are going to come in time. If the antenatal

clinic setup is such that you're not understood, no one is giving you the high-quality care, which is your right, then, you know, that leads to a

dynamic of people now being blamed for not coming in time.

I also want to hasten to add, and you gave the example of the Olympian, in the USA, this report looks at all the Americas and by extrapolation it's

true elsewhere, as well. Being a college educated black woman, your risk of death is equivalent to a white woman who did not graduate from high school.

Again, this is not one individual or one part of the country or the region, speaking of the Americas.


It's a system that has to re-examine how are we training the people that are supposed to deliver quality care, hopefully with caring.

ASHER: So, your report is primarily about gathering data, gathering statistics, making recommendations. I mean, what do you hope is going to

change as a result of this report? I say that because, you know, for as long as I can remember, I've known that statistic about black women, at

least in the United States.

I certainly wasn't aware of it across the entire Americas, but certainly in the United States, and obviously I've been pregnant twice myself, and that

those statistics have been fresh in my mind throughout my pregnancy. What changes -- it doesn't seem that this problem is going to go away that

quickly. What needs to be different going forward?

KANEM: Well, you know, the aim of UNFPA is to make sure that sexual and reproductive health and rights are upheld everywhere in the world. It

doesn't matter which country. And we work all around the world. Our expectation is that now that we have shown that data makes a difference,

the systematic gathering of data, for example, in the Americas, it's only four countries that regularly report on the fate of women in childbirth by

race and ethnicity. And we need that data, everywhere. Same is true for indigenous women.

We also would like to see hospital policy change, so that respectful treatment of people who come in and need health care from the system is

going to be the norm. And my last expectation, because we're very committed to zero preventable death in childbirth, and most of the deaths, Zain, you

may be aware, are either from things like hypertension, preeclampsia or from bleeding, from hemorrhage. And these are treatable conditions if you

get there in time.

So, my expectation is that, for example, the midwifery health force will be strengthened to be able to recognize these issues and respond in real time.

And as UNFPA trains thousands and thousands of midwives every year all around the continent, that kind of responsive, caring treatment attitude

will also filter down so that the men who are in power, whether you're talking about the hospital, the government, or the academic institution

will pay attention to the need to make sure that black women survive and thrive. That's the responsibility of the health system and that's what we

want to see change.

ASHER: Dr. Natalia Kanem, thank you so much. We appreciate it. All right, still to come. Ever since invading Ukraine, Russia has made more foes than

friends around the world. We'll take you to one exception with decades of history behind it.




ASHER: Hello and welcome back to One World. We are looking, take a look here at live pictures from Vilnius University in Lithuania, where U.S.

President Joe Biden is gonna be speaking soon. He's gonna be delivering a speech at the tail end of the NATO Summit. It is likely going to be a major

address about the U.S. standing shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine through the end of the war, as well as President Biden's meeting with Zelenskyy

earlier today. We'll bring you this meeting live as soon as it happens.

All right, as the war in Ukraine continues, Russia finds itself short on friends, but it does have a few, including an island nation just 90 miles

off the coast of its biggest geopolitical foe, the U.S. Patrick Oppmann has more from Havana.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN HAVANA-BASED CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russian warship sails into Havana. Cuba greets the ship, the first Russian naval

vessel to make an official visit in years with a cannon fire salute. It's just the latest sign of the reforging of ties between Russia and Cuba.

While much of the rest of the world has denounced Russia for their invasion of Ukraine, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, seen here alongside Vladimir

Putin, inaugurating a statue of Fidel Castro in Moscow in November, defends Russia's war.

We are condemning, we are rejecting the expansion of NATO towards Russia's borders, he told Russia today. We condemn all the measures and sanctions

that have been applied as a way to coerce the Russian Federation. And Russia increasingly is throwing a lifeline to their old ally just 90 miles

from the United States.

Since the war in Ukraine began, Russia and Cuba have signed a flurry of new agreements that would open the first supermarket selling Russian food here,

increase oil shipments to the island, even develop this beachside community outside of Havana. It appears to be the most significant Russian investment

in Cuba in decades.

In February, after Russia donated 25,000 tons of wheat, Russia's then ambassador to Cuba said the aid will continue to flow. In spite of the

challenges, he says, Russia and Cuba continue developing their strategic relationship based on the historic friendship, solidarity and mutual

sympathy between our two countries.

The warming of ties for many Cubans feels like a trip back to the future. In this video from the 1960s narrated by Fidel Castro, Cubans are told how

visiting Russian experts would modernize the island. Instead, Cuba grew dependent on Soviet aid. The USSR collapsed and facing punishing U.S.

economic sanctions, the island plunged into a financial abyss from which it is yet to emerge.

While Russian officials have suggested establishing a military presence on the island, some analysts feel that Moscow no longer has the capability to

do so.


United States and for kind of, for a -- it's a kind of a form of psychological warfare, kind of psyop against the United States.

OPPMANN (voice-over): Whatever the future of the renewed ties, it's clear Russia is once again staking a claim in Cuba. Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana.


ASHER: We'll be right back with more. Stay tuned.




ASHER: All right, you're looking at live pictures of Vilnius University. President Biden is speaking. Let's listen in.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: You know, you showed the world that the strength of the people united cannot be denied. And together with your

brothers and sisters in Estonia and Latvia, you helped end the era of division through the power of connection. The Baltic Way, not the Berlin

Wall, became the symbol for Europe's future. And later, when the Soviet tanks sought once more to deny your independence, the people of Vilnius

said no, no.

And in January of 1991, tens of thousands of citizens, unarmed and unyielding, came on their own accord. Standing as one to protect the TV

tower, to shield the Supreme Council and defend freedom. Fourteen heroes tragically lost their lives. Hundreds were wounded, but the whole world saw

that decades of oppression had done nothing to dim the flame of liberty in this country.

I mean it. It's consequential. The light of Lithuania, you kept it strong, you kept it bright, and you kept the light shining. Here in Vilnius and in

Washington, D.C., where the yellow, green, and red of your flag flew every day, this past year, we've celebrated a hundred years of unbroken

diplomatic relationship between the United States and the Baltic States. America, America never recognized the Soviet occupation of the Baltic,

never, never, never missed a flight.

And besides, you've got a great President. Stand up. As your President can tell you, the bonds between Lithuania and the American people have never

faltered. And just, just seven months after the bloody January crackdown, the first foreign visitor to have their passport stamped here in Lithuania

with visas of this -- to this new reborn state were a plane load of Lithuanian Americans from Chicago, Illinois. Oh. And their families are

still proud of that. Los Angeles came after that. A lot came after.

Look, many aboard that plane had fled Lithuania during the early years of Soviet oppression and marveled, marveled at the return to this independent

state. One of them told -- one of them told reporters, quote, this day is like a resurrection for us. This day father is like a resurrection for us.

That's what the quote was for real. That's the feeling. And it was a resurrection that quickly became a revelation and a nation which stands

today as a stronghold of liberty and opportunity.


A proud member of the European Union and of NATO. I had the great honor as United States Senator of championing Lithuania and other Baltic states to

join NATO in 2004. Wasn't I brilliant doing that? But all kidding aside, think about how it's changed things. Think about what's happened. Now, over

the last few days, as President of the United States, I had the honor of participating in the historic NATO Summit hosted by Lithuania, where we

welcomed NATO's newest ally, Finland, and reached an agreement to bring Sweden into the Alliance as soon as possible. President Erdogan kept his


We've witnessed your historic journey, and I'm proud to call Lithuania friend, partner, and ally. Ally, ally. Soon, NATO will be the 32nd

freestanding -- have 32 freestanding members standing together to defend our people and our territory. Beyond -- beyond all the rest, bound by

democratic values to make us strong. And by our sacred oath, that an attack against it is a sacred oath. Attack against one is an attack against all.

Because each member of NATO knows that the strength of our people and the power of our unity cannot be denied.

If I sound optimistic, it's because I am. Today, our alliance remains a bulwark of global security and stability as it's been for more than seven

decades. NATO is stronger, more energized, and yes, more united than ever in its history. Indeed, more vital to our shared future. It didn't happen

by accident. It wasn't inevitable. When Putin and his craven lust for land and power unleashed his brutal war on Ukraine, he was betting NATO would

break apart. He was betting NATO would break. He thought our unity would shatter at the first testing. He thought Democratic leaders would be weak,

but he thought wrong.

Faced with a threat -- faced with a threat to peace and stability of the world, to democratic values we hold dear, to freedom itself, we did what we

always do. The United States stepped up, NATO stepped up, our partners in Europe and the Indo-Pacific stepped up. All across the world they stepped

up. And we're ready. We were ready because we stood together.

In the months leading up to the war, as Putin amassed his forces on the Ukrainian border and laid the groundwork for his brutal invasion, I was in

constant contact with my fellow leaders of the G7 and the European Union and NATO, constantly. We warned the world what Putin was planning. Even

some in Ukraine didn't believe what we had our intelligence community found.

We made sure NATO was prepared to deter any aggression against any member state. We pursued intense diplomacy with Russia, seeking to avert this

terrible war. And when Russia bombs began to fall, we did not hesitate to act. We rallied the world to support the brave people of Ukraine as they

defend their liberty and their sovereignty with incredible dignity.

I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Think about it. Think about what they're doing. After nearly a year and a half of Russia's forces committing

terrible atrocities, including crimes against humanity, the people of Ukraine remain unbroken. Unbroken. Ukraine remains independent. It remains

free. And the United States has built a coalition of more than 50 nations to make sure Ukraine defends itself both now and is able to do it in the

future as well.

Census war began. I've stood with President Zelensky as I just spent about an hour with him, both in Washington, in Kyiv and in Hiroshima, and now in

Vilnius, to declare to the world what I say again, we will not waver. We will not waver. I mean that. Our commitment to Ukraine will not weaken. We

will stand for liberty and freedom today, tomorrow, and for as long as it takes.