Return to Transcripts main page

One World with Zain Asher

Navalny's Mother Given An Ultimatum Either To Agree To A Secret Funeral Or Son Be Buried At The Arctic Penal Colony; Nikki Haley Stays In The Presidential Race; TV Host Wendy Williams Diagnosed With Apahasia. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired February 23, 2024 - 12:00   ET




ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, coming to you live from New York, I'm Zain Asher. Bianna is off today. You are indeed watching ONE WORLD. The

White House is once again trying to slam the brakes on Russia's war machine, and it is demanding accountability for the death of opposition

leader Alexei Navalny.

Earlier, the Biden administration announced a massive new round of sanctions against 500 targets, all of which, he says, are linked to

Navalny's imprisonment. But some experts say the move is strictly symbolic, lacking any real substance. I want you to listen to what the President and

founder of Eurasia Group told CNN.


IAN BREMMER, PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER, EURASIA GROUP AND GZERO MEDIA: No. I mean, if you tell your kid that you're going to be grounded for the 13th

time --

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: I am guilty of this.

BREMMER: The 14th time isn't going to work. We've been through 13 rounds of sanctions from the Europeans, roughly the equivalent from the U.S. They

are running out of important things to sanction.

Most important thing they did was right at the beginning of the war when they froze the Western assets, the assets the Russians had that were

sitting in Europe and the United States and Japan, hundreds of billions of dollars. That didn't stop them. Russia's growing three percent this year,

two and 1.5 percent. Let's say 2024, 300.

HARLOW: Isn't that confounding?

BREMMER: No, because the oil, the gas, the food, the fertilizer, they have the world needs -- the world needs. The United States isn't trying to cut

all of that off because that would lead to a recession.

But the point is, the only thing that the West has done that has changed Russian behavior has been military support for the Ukrainians. There is no

sanction effect, literally zero. And we all know that.

The White House knows that, the Europeans know that. The point is that you can't say there will be hell to pay if Navalny dies in jail, as by the way,

Biden did say as President a couple of years ago and then not do anything when Navalny is killed by the Russians in jail.


ASHER: Ian Bremmer speaking there. A spokesperson for Navalny, meanwhile, said his mother was given this ultimatum by Russian investigators either

agree to a secret funeral or he'll be buried at the Arctic penal colony where he was imprisoned. CNN's Camila DeChalus joins us live now from the

White House.

So the big question is, you heard Ian Bremmer speaking there, the big question is how effective will these rounds of sanctions be, especially

given that Russia has really been smart about trying to sort of reorient their economy to minimize the impact of sanctions. Walk us through it,


CAMILA DECHALUS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Zain, what we know so far and what Biden has kind of outlined and what these sanctions will entail is

that this is going to go after multiple things. This imposes trade restrictions to more than 90 entities. This also imposes sanctions against

entities that are involved in Russia's military, industrial base and those that help them in Russia's energy sector.

We're also learning that these sanctions will also target individuals that are connected to Alexei Navalny's imprisonment and also doesn't just impact

Russia. This will also impact countries such as China, Serbia and also the United Arab Emirates.

Take a quick listen to what Biden has said just a few minutes ago when talking about this issue, how he wants to hold Russia accountable for their

aggressions in the past two years.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: In response to Putin's brutal war of conquest, in response to Alexei Navalny's death. Because make no mistake, Putin is

responsible for Alexei's death.


DECHALUS: Now, Zain, we just know at this time that Biden has been very vocal about making sure that Russia is held accountable. And we know in the

past that Russia has been able to adapt.

But this has now been the single largest economic package of sanctions against Russia since it invaded Ukraine two years ago, set in one single

day. So, this is a very big announcement that Biden has made. And it still has yet to be seen what the actual impact will be but we will see that in

the days to come.

ASHER: All right, Camila, thank you so much. Appreciate it. All right, one day before the two-year anniversary marking Russia's full scaling evasion

of his country, the Ukrainian President is making clear that this fight is far from over.

In an interview with Fox News, Vladimir Zelensky said that Kyiv will be preparing for a new counteroffensive in 2024, and that the Russians would

get, quote, "surprises".


And he admitted that while the situation on the front lines is tough right now, he denied any kind of stalemate. But it's been a while since Ukraine

has had any notable victories on the battlefield. One of the biggest, the recapture of Kherson was more than a year ago. And as our Nick Paton-Walsh

reports, life there is still a struggle and hope is often hard to find.


NICK PATON WALSH, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's night when it's loudest. Kherson has seen every stage of the war's two

years. Invasion, occupation and liberation. Yet day is when the damage is clearest.

PATON WALSH: Well, the Russians may be now on the other side of the river but you can see the force of the explosions that hit here just by these

tree branches thrown up here on top of a roof and it feels kind of like a remote occupation through Russian drone strikes, artillery attacks, as

well. So many of the buildings around here, devastated.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): Russian positions are visible across the water and on this side freshly dug trenches show how worried Ukraine is still.

Across the river Ukraine sent troops months ago, their hopes of a lightning dash to Crimea stuck in this rubble.

And this week, Russia raised their flag over the tiny Ukrainian foothold of Krynky. Kyiv denied they'd taken it and said drone footage showed the

Russians fleeing. Yet, just meters from the raw, are thousands of daily silent stories of survival. In a city Russia cannot own, only crushed with

seemingly inexhaustible shelling. At 4 A.M. we're woke by three shells. They landed a hundred meters away.

PATON WALSH: They're saying that they were first hit in November and that blew out the glass in this flat here. So, they moved to their mother's

apartment over there and that basically saved their lives last night because the shrapnel from the mortar that landed here went all the way up

into the flat where they used to live.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): In basement churches, the prayers are for basics.

UNKNOWN (through translator): Yes, to have warmth, to have bread, to have food. It's not an easy road, but we'll go.

PATON WALSH (voice-over): Spilling out into the light part of a thousand people still in this district of the city when before the war there were 30

times that. Sofia has outlasted her six siblings and gets food for her adult daughter.

As Putin's war enters its third year, there seems no end to a million tiny unseen agonies. The old radio brings bad news of Russia assaulting Krynky.

The war in every home, the normal, the boring, still targets today and tomorrow. Nick Paton-Walsh, CNN, Kherson, Ukraine.


ASHER: The Palestinian Authority is lashing out Benjamin Netanyahu's proposal for Gaza's post-war future, calling it a plan for the reoccupation

of Gaza. This after the Israeli Prime Minister unveiled a day-after plan to members of the Security Cabinet Thursday night.

It includes the complete demilitarization of the enclave, closing off Gaza's southern border with Egypt, as well as the overhaul of Gaza's civil

administration and education systems. This comes as Israel joins talks in Paris aimed at a ceasefire in its war with Hamas and a potential release of

hostages, as well.


There's a growing sense of urgency to find an agreement here after Israel threatened to expand its assault in Gaza's southernmost city, Rafah, if

hostages are not released by the start of Ramadan in about two weeks from now.

CNN's Nic Robertson is in Tel Aviv for us with the latest. So, let's just talk about this plan, Nic. Demilitarization of Gaza, indefinite military

control by the Israelis. Also, Israel would have basic control of all sort of access points to Gaza, as well. Just give us more detail in terms of

what is in this plan and how the U.S. will likely respond to certain parts of this.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (on-camera): Yeah, we've actually already heard from Secretary of State Anthony Blinken

referring to a couple of parts of it. He said he'd just seen reports about it and he'd yet to get into the detail of it.

One of the things that stands out in this proposal by Prime Minister Netanyahu is the full control of Gaza, all the borders, which means taking

control of the southern border and along the border what is now the border between Gaza and Egypt. And he says that is to stop any smuggling

underground using tunnels or over grounds.

That would be a significant change and could well be contested. And of course, that thing alone and there are other issues as well, but that just

that one point alone brings into question the idea of a Palestinian statehood if it can't control its borders.

But of course, another point that Prime Minister Netanyahu put in his plan is that there will be no independent or Israel will certainly not recognize

any independent recognition of a Palestinian state. And that's a message to the United States.

One of the other points, and this is one of the points that Secretary Blinken picked up upon, is that in the plan there is, there will be,

according to Prime Minister Netanyahu, a border area inside Gaza giving security for Israel outside of Gaza for as long as is deemed necessary.

And that is something that the United States had previously opposed specifically. So, that also seems to sort of fly in the face of what

Israel's allies are saying. Another point that's raised as well is Israel passing over or giving some sort of civilian control to unnamed,

unspecified civilian bodies or persons, but also it talks about de- radicalizing inside schools, inside welfare institutions.

Again, that does not really sound like an independent Palestinian state. In fact, this is, I think, the point that the Palestinian Authority are

making, that this is really a reoccupation by Israel. Although Israel is saying it will completely demilitarize the whole area, but it clearly wants

to be able to have operational ability inside the freedom of operational movement for security measures.

So, this is what the Palestinian Authority is talking about. So this is, it appears, a very maximalist plan that's been put forward by the Prime

Minister. This is not set in stone. It's something that will be discussed, but I think it indicates even to allies like the United States that

Israel's position on Gaza is really as strong and as hard as it has ever been.

ASHER: Yeah, I mean, a lot of people will look at this plan and see it as a reoccupation of Gaza or at the very least preventing any kind of

Palestinian sovereignty, at least in the short term. What sort of regional reaction are we getting?

ROBERTSON: So far, we've yet to hear from some of the regional partners, in particular Qatar, that is the interlocutor at the moment between Israel

and Hamas to get the hostages released and the language that's been put forward, although it doesn't specify Qatar by name.

But the language seems to imply that Qatar would not be part of the plan going forward for having an involvement as it has had until now helping --

essentially helping finance through Israel and the United States the authorities inside Gaza.

That would appear to be ruled out. Israel is saying that the Arab partners that it would have to help administer and finance what happens inside Gaza

would be of its choosing. And the indication is that Qatar not named, but would not be one of them.


So, how they're responding isn't clear. Obviously, the plan to control the southern border is going to affect Egypt. We haven't heard them yet reply

specifically to this, but it will have potentially territorial implications for them. Another implications, as well.

And we know that right now, the Egyptians are building a buffer zone, an additional security zone along that southern border potentially in

preparation for those Palestinians who are stuck in Rafah, if they try to go over the fence and escape out of Gaza, if there is an Israeli ground

incursion. But this could also be potentially because Israel is going to take control of that border.

ASHER: All right, Nic Robertson live for us there. Thank you so much. All right, Israel is rejecting disturbing allegations reported by U.N. experts

of its forces killing, imprisoning and raping Palestinian women and girls, saying the allegations are motivated by hatred for Israel.

Earlier this week, U.N. experts said they were distressed by reports of multiple forms of sexual assault against Palestinian women and girls in

detention, including being stripped naked and searched by male Israeli army officers. Those U.N experts are calling for independent investigation on

the unique toll on women in this conflict cannot be ignored. Statistics from the U.N. show that around 70 percent of those killed in Gaza are

estimated to be women and children, and that two mothers are killed every hour.

Earlier, my colleague Becky Anderson spoke to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls about these allegations. Reem Alsalem

said that some of these allegations are not new. I want you to listen to what was said.


REEM ALSALEM, U.S. SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS: We must remember that these reports of sexual violence especially I would

say committed against Palestinian women, is one of many egregious human rights and humanitarian law violations that Palestinian women are being

subjected to, including an unfolding genocide, occupation for decades, arbitrary killing, forced starvation, the use of reproductive violence in

particular as a tool of war against them.

And I would say that these allegations that we've heard also are not new. They've been pointed out by human rights organizations on the ground. My

colleague, the special rapporteur on the occupied territories in our last report also pointed out that there have been long-standing reports of the

ill treatment and torture that Palestinian women and sexual assault that they have faced in Israeli detention. So, we are not talking about

something that has just emerged after October 7th.

ASHER: U.N. Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and Girls Rima Al-Salam speaking to CNN earlier. All right, still to come here, I'll speak

to Lithuania's foreign minister on the eve of the two-year anniversary of Russia's brutal assault on its democratic neighbor.

Why he says Vladimir Putin has no intention of stopping with Ukraine. And South Carolina primary voters headed to the polls on Saturday. Will they

shock Donald Trump or will they cement his path to nomination? That story next.




ASHER: Donald Trump's seemingly inevitable march to a rematch with Joe Biden travels through South Carolina tomorrow. Polls show that Trump has a

commanding lead heading into Saturday's primary in a state that is full of enthusiastic Trump loyalists.

But South Carolina is Nikki Haley's home state, and she has sharpened her attacks on Trump in recent weeks. CNN's Kylie Atwood has been on the

campaign trail with Haley. She filed this report just a short time ago.


KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Nikki Haley's message to voters in South Carolina has been incredibly consistent over the last few weeks, saying

that Americans deserve a candidate who is not in their 80s to be President, also going after former President Trump, saying that he is playing the

victim card when it comes to all of his legal drama, and saying it's not normal that he is using campaign donations to pay for those legal bills.

She's also reminding voters here in the state of what she did when she was governor to bring folks together when there were challenges in the state

and telling voters here that if they typically only vote in a general election, she needs them to show up in a primary this go-around and telling

them that this campaign isn't just about her, it's about something greater. Listen to what she said yesterday.


NIKKI HALEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't care about a political future. If I did, I would have been out by now. I'm doing this

for my kids. I'm doing this for your kids and your grandkids.


ATWOOD: Now after the New Hampshire primary, Nikki Haley said that her goal in South Carolina was to narrow the gap with former President Trump.

She lost to him by 11 points in New Hampshire, but coming in closer to him here in South Carolina certainly seems like a lofty goal because the polls

recently have shown her 30 to 35 points behind the former president.

She said earlier this week that no matter what happens in the South Carolina primary, she is going to keep her campaign alive. She'll still be

campaigning for President on Sunday, heading to the Michigan primary, heading on to Super Tuesday States. But we'll just have to see what happens

here in South Carolina as she determines what the future of her campaign actually looks like. Zain.

ASHER: Kylie Atwood there. All right, let's dive a bit deeper into what we should expect from South Carolina's primaries. Joining me live now is Larry

Sabato. He's the director for the Center of Politics at the University of Virginia. Larry, thank you so much for being with us.

So, Nikki Haley was a popular governor in South Carolina. She was re- elected, so she had two terms. She lives there. It is remarkable that it could be a real sort of ugly showing for her tomorrow. Just explain to us,

what does she gain by staying in the race after this weekend?

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Well, that's a very good question. A lot of people are coming up blank and trying

to answer that. I think she does gain some things.

First of all, she's already the runner up in the Republican contest. Now it's going to be embarrassing for her when, if as projected, she loses her

home state in a landslide. However, being next in line in the Republican Party is not a bad place to be for the next contest in 2028.

Also, we focus on Joe Biden's age. Well, Donald Trump is pretty old, too. He's 77 and a half. So, if anything should happen to him before the

convention, she'll make the case that she was number two. She's next in line to succeed him. I don't think it would work, but she could make that


ASHER: But just in terms of tomorrow, I mean, it's an open primary. So she has been sort of pulling all the stops in terms of trying to court

independence. She's been trying to court Democrats.

I mean, could she sort of narrow the gap at the very least? But even then, a lot of people are still wondering whether it's still worth her staying

in. The nomination is effectively Donald Trump's at this point.

SABATO: She could narrow and you're right. If you look carefully at her advertising and even her stump speeches, she's leaving the door wide open,

not just for independence, but also for Democrats.

Because of course the Democratic primary was held earlier.


So, there's no competition there, she can bring some Democrats in, but most Democrats are not really inclined to help her out.

It's not that they like Trump, it's that they don't like a lot of the things that Nikki Haley stands for and they do remember her governorship.

Her problem basically is that she's running a great Republican campaign for the year 2008 or 2012. The Republican Party couldn't be more --

ASHER: But what about for the year 2028 though?

SABATO: Yeah, well over 2028, she's hoping, well, I'm not saying she's hoping, but if Donald Trump loses badly, Zain, one would think that the

party would be looking for another approach, another road, another attractive candidate.

And she would be in the mix. I think it would be tough for her to win, but that's four years away. And it depends on what happens in November, what

Trump's percentage is.

ASHER: Listen, there are a number of Republicans, I'm not saying it's the majority, but there are a number of Republicans who do want an alternative

to Donald Trump. And they sort of see Nikki Haley as the last stand in that regard.

Obviously, it is highly unlikely, unless there is a miracle on God's green Earth, it is highly unlikely that Nikki Haley comes anywhere close to

getting this nomination. But those Republicans who are desperate for an alternative, where do they go come November in a Trump-Biden rematch?

SABATO: Well, they have a tough decision to make and they'll split saying just like they did in 2016 and 2020. Probably a majority of them will

manage to gravitate back to Trump -- won't be easy. Maybe it would help if Nikki Haley endorsed Trump and she hasn't ruled that out.

But it's also true that there are going to be at least three, maybe four significant third party and independent candidates. And you will get a

portion of these mainstream conservative Republicans deciding that they will pick their poison and the poison will be named Joe Biden.

ASHER: Let's talk about some of the key issues that people are going to be really, really focused on come November. I mean, we just had that ruling in

Alabama that ruled that sort of frozen embryos are effectively people.

Clearly, IVF, abortion, these are going to be central issues come November. Why is it that Donald Trump hasn't quite figured out his messaging on the

issue of women's rights, on the issue of abortion?

SABATO: Because he is singularly responsible for the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade, which also encouraged, by the way, the Alabama

Supreme Court decision about IVF, which is more controversial even than the Dobbs decision.

They are two giant losers for the Republican Party in the fall. Most Republicans understand that, but even Donald Trump will not repudiate what

he considers to be one of his two or three greatest accomplishments from the first term, getting three Supreme Court justices on who voted to

overturn Roe v. Wade. So, he's between a rock and a hard place on abortion and so is the Republican Party.

ASHER: All right, Larry Sabato, live for us there. Always good to have you on. Thank you.

SABATO: Thank you.

ASHER: All right, also in the southern part of the U.S., students and staff at the University of Georgia are being urged to travel in groups and

also to be aware of their surroundings, as well. That was after a woman was found dead on campus with visible injuries in this wooded area on Thursday.

Police suspect foul play was involved. The victim has been identified as 22-year-old Laken Hope Riley from Augusta University. Police do not have a

suspect at this point in time in custody and are continuing to investigate the case.

All right, still to come as the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of its democratic neighbor approaches, we'll look at what is at stake far

beyond Ukraine's borders. That's next.





ASHER: This is the sound that changed the lives of Ukrainians forever. Tomorrow, as we mark two years since Russia invaded Ukraine, we really want

to remind you -- we really want to remind our viewers of the unspeakable atrocities the world has seen since then.

Of course, I do have to warn you that some of the images I am about to show you are extremely graphic. Let's go back to March of 2022. That's when

Russia bombarded a children's hospital in Mariupol, one of the many medical facilities targeted in Ukraine since the invasion.

You can actually see here, take a look, at a pregnant woman -- pregnant woman being carried from maternity ward. The woman, her newborn baby and

several other people died in this particular strike.

And this video here shows civilians sheltering at a Mariupol theater shortly before a Russian airstrike killed about 300 people. That's

according to Ukrainian officials. Painted outside of the theater was the word children in giant Russian letters clearly seen right here.

Less than a month into this conflict, at least 10 million Ukrainians had been forced to flee their homes, that's according to the U.N., but many

civilians could not find safe passage.

So much Dozens of people were killed, including five children, after Russian forces carried out a missile strike on a train station in eastern

Ukraine. The station was used by civilians, trying to flee the fighting. Russia once again denied any responsibility.

ANATOLLY FEDORUK, MAYOR OF BUCHA (through translator): They actually were shooting down the Ukrainian nation, Ukrainian people. Therefore, I have no

other term to qualify that other than genocide.

ASHER: In March of that year, after a Russian occupation in Bucha, Ukrainians recaptured the city, but their celebration was short-lived after

seeing the devastating civilian casualties left behind. There were allegations that Russian forces carried out executions and deliberately

shelled civilian areas.

Residents of Bucha told CNN that bodies were left in the streets for weeks. These are just some of the many atrocities the world has witnessed in

Ukraine. Now, two years later, the suffering caused by Russia's invasion drags on.

TETIANA PUTYATINA, GRANDMOTHER (through translator): Why did young children die? Seven-year-old, four-year-old, ten months old. The children, my son

and my daughter-in-law. I don't know how I'll live through this. I don't know. I don't know.

ASHER: I could feel the utter anguish there. Just a few days ago, seven people, including a Ukrainian prosecutor, her husband and their three small

children, were killed by a Russian drone attack in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

According to Ukrainian officials, the family was held hostage by a fire inside their own home. The children were seven-year-old Alexei, three-year-

old Mikhailo and 10-month-old Pavlo.

Time now for The Exchange. Ministers are delivering remarks at the U.N. on Ukraine right now. The Lithuanian Foreign Minister just spoke and he said,

an end to this war is possible, but genuine peace cannot be attained through the Russian deceit. The only real path to an enduring peace goes

via Ukraine's victory and Russia's defeat.

Gabriele Lansbergis joins us live now, live from the United Nations. Thank you so much for being with us on this really somber anniversary. Two years

on from this invasion, Russia does have reasons to be hopeful here. They've had obviously some strategic gains on the battlefield.

Of course, with Alexei Navalny, Vladimir Putin's main opposition figure is no longer in the picture. They've ramped up weapons production, and they

have also been able to mobilize and can continue to mobilize thousands more soldiers. Give us your take on this. What reasons should the Ukrainians

have at this point to still be hopeful?

GABRIELIUS LANDSBERGIS, LITHUANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, I think it's very difficult to be hopeful, but they have a very good reason to continue

fighting because they're fighting for something as dear to their hearts as it's possible.

It's their country, their sovereignty, territorial integrity, their families that otherwise could be killed, their children could be stolen,

their relatives could be raped in front of them.

I mean, it's really the main motivator for them to continue this on. But the main question is on to us. What can we still do to assist them and

whether we do understand what's at stake here? That it's not just Ukraine. It's not just their homeland but it's Europe which is being under assault

by an imperialistic power, unreformed imperialistic power, Russia.

ASHER: Yeah, speaking of what everyone else can do in terms of helping, I know that Lithuania, your country, just announced just last month a $200

million aid package for Ukraine. I know that you guys are extending legal protections, at least for another year, for Ukrainian refugees in your


What more can European allies be doing overall, especially given that the U.S. -- the U.S. is no longer as much of a reliable financial partner,

given the holdup in funding in Congress for Ukraine?

LANDSBERGIS: Well, I've always have said that it has to begin and it's still even after two years, it still has to be clear to everybody why we

are in this, that we're in this for the victory.

And if we set the strategic goal that Ukraine has to win, that it has to be able to push Russians out, it has to be able to produce, you know, what is

called in military terms, "strategic dilemmas" for Russians would be unable to move on, to push the front, to take over the cities.

So, then, you know, you calculate what needs to happen. And the calculation is rather simple. So, first of all it's ammunition, second is equipment,

and any kind of support that you can give to Ukrainians, and now, apparently, in massive amounts.

And for that, yes, you need - you need factories, you need new production lines, you need additional financing, be it a European or national. But

this is crucially needed, as it was needed two years ago. And honestly, the things are not getting better. I think that -- and that should tell us that

we need even more urgency and more resolution than we needed a year ago.


ASHER: Your country, obviously a NATO state, you border Russia, you're acquiring tanks for the first time. What is the biggest concern that you

have if Donald Trump wins the next U.S. presidential election? What would that mean for Baltic states?

LANDSBERGIS: Well, honestly, the biggest concern is that the Russians would not stop. That is on everybody's mind on the eastern flank, you know,

because we have two teachers. One of them is history and second is geography. So for us, it's very clear.

And when it comes to U.S. elections, definitely people can be anxious, but I'm always saying, look, you know, this is not something that we can

influence. It's up to American people to decide what kind of leadership do they want.

For us, the only thing that we can do and we can do -- should do, it's what actually can we reach? And first of all, it's defense spending. We really

have to be serious about this.

So, Lithuania will be spending at 2.77 percent of our GDP towards defense. And yes, you're absolutely right, there is a discussion going on whether,

you know, we should be expanding into and building a heavy brigade, forming a division.

First time that would be a Baltic country forming a division. And even going beyond those 2.77 percent. You know, people are suggesting that we

might need three or 3.5 percent going to full, you know ability to have a full mobilization of our citizens. Because the anxiety, you know, we have,

you know, if we build a pyramid on top of the anxiety pyramid is Mr. Putin, not a candidate for a U.S. election.

ASHER: You know, I just want to pull up the, we had a chart a second ago just showing the U.S.' military spending on Ukraine, comparing that, there

it is, comparing that to where other European allies spending is at.

And you look at just the sheer amount that the U.S. has given to Ukraine, you compare that, it is more than the other four largest European donors

combined --combined. So, without the U.S. being able to make up that gap, can the Europeans -- I mean, obviously, yes, you talk about ramping up

defense spending. It's not just about ramping up defense spending.

It's also about doing it quickly. It's also about shipping weapons to Ukraine as quickly as possible. And it's also about filling the gap that

the United States has left behind here. Can Europe really do that?

Well, it's a very difficult question, honestly. And I mean, first of all, where's the will, there's a way, right? If we would agree that this is an

existential threat, not just for Ukraine, but for Europe and the Western Alliance as a whole, I'm sure that we could do it.

The biggest problem here, the way that I see it, is that we are at the moment where we are waiting for something might not happen, you know,

consciously, but we're waiting for something that could be called a Pearl Harbor effect, a moment, when we say, okay, something so horrible has to

happen so that we are shocked into action.

Where we then, okay, say, look, we have to change the strategy, we have to deliver on this in a different way, in a different capacity. And we're not

there yet. And when I look, you know, in other historic events, and the one that definitely pops into my mind, or to the people that I talk to from our

region, is, you know, 1938.

Where again, so many people wished peace and wished stability, and wished for the yesterday's world not to end, that they basically were able to

sacrifice anything.

Until that, you know, first of all, Pearl Harbor moment for Europe has arrived when France was attacked and when half of Europe was already under

Nazi rule. And then the actual Pearl Harbor moment, which came even later. So, I think that we're not there yet, right? We're mired in calculations,

we're mired in debates, and not really seeing the big picture that's very likely to come.

ASHER: All right. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, thank you so much for being on the program.


ASHER: I wish it was under better circumstances and marking a better occasion, but I appreciate all of your thoughts on this. All right, there

may be a silver lining from all of California's recent, very excessive rainfall. Straight ahead, why tourists are flocking to Death Valley, of all

places. That's next.




ASHER: All right, when most people think of Death Valley, California, they imagine parched earth, oppressive heat as well, but not right now. This

month, tourists are actually flocking to one of the hottest places on earth to witness something that is really unusual. A temporary lake, right in the

middle of one of the driest parts of America. CNN's Stephanie Elam explains what's going on.


STEPHANIE ELAM CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tourists wading in. Kayakers paddling out. This is, after all, California. But this is not the

ocean. In fact, it's 282 feet below sea level.

This is Death Valley, the lowest point in North America and the hottest place on Earth, now attracting visitors with its cool lake water. This

group of friends drove in from Las Vegas.

UNKNOWN: It's like a Garden of Eden, wouldn't you think? I mean, look at it.

UNKNOWN: You can check it off your bucket list and you don't know when it's going to happen again.

ELAM (voice-over): Like the desert oasis it is, the last time the lake appeared was 19 years ago. But things are changing.

ABBY WINES, PARK RANGER, DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK: The climate change models for this area predict warmer temperatures which we are definitely

seeing, and also more intense rain storms.

ELAM (voice-over): Yet even for Park Ranger Abby Wines, the massive Lake Manly is a marvel.

WINES: Normally, there's a lot more evaporative potential than there is rainfall coming in, meaning that this is usually just a dry salt flat.

ELAM: On average, Death Valley gets two inches of rain a year. But in the last half year, the park has been walloped with nearly five inches of rain,

Wine says, including from tropical storm Hillary last August.

WINES: It's the rainiest day we've ever had on record.

ELAM: This is what Badwater Basin usually looks like. This is what it looks like now.

UNKNOWN: Woo hoo.

ELAM (voice-over): Even I couldn't resist getting out there.

ELAM: It's hard to overstate just how incredibly special and serene it is to kayak in Death Valley. Right now, Lake Manly is about six miles long and

three miles wide, but it's only about a foot deep.

UNKNOWN: Yeah. Salty. Salty, yeah.

ELAM (voice-over): Visitors are finding out just how salty the water is. Rangers say it's more a sight to see than taste.

UNKNOWN: I haven't seen anything living in there. ELAM: I mean, well, and also it's very salty. It's extremely salty.

WINES: It's too salty to drink, so it's not going to help the wildlife in the area at all.

ELAM (voice-over): But no one is bitter about getting salt soaked.

UNKNOWN: Miraculous.

UNKNOWN: Chee hoo.

UNKNOWN: Surreal.


ELAM (voice-over): If it means enjoying the magic of a dreamy lake in the driest place in North America.

ELAM: And if you do want to experience the lake for yourself, time is of the essence because as it starts to heat up here in the desert and that

evaporation rate goes up, the lake will soon disappear. Stephanie Elam, CNN, Death Valley, California.


ASHER: All right, former Talk Show Host Wendy Williams disappeared from the public eye about two years ago. Now, we are learning why. More details

on her devastating diagnosis after the break.




ASHER: After years of holding candid and often, to be honest, controversial conversations, American talk show host Wendy Williams now has

her own heartbreaking story. Williams has been diagnosed with progressive aphasia and dementia, a diagnosis that often leads to deteriorating

communication skills.

This weekend, a new "Lifetime" series is set to air detailing Williams' story. However, her court-ordered guardian has just filed a lawsuit against

the network's parent company, A and E Television ahead of its debut. I want to bring in Elizabeth Wagmeister to talk about this.

Elizabeth, when I think of Wendy Williams, I think of a fun-loving, hilarious, like impossibly hilarious talk show host who was always so

bright and happy and you know, obviously known for her hot topics and her very controversial takes on celebrities. She was definitely a guilty

pleasure of mine. But of course, what was happening behind the scenes, or what has been happening behind the scenes with her over the past two years

is very different. She's been battling some really scary things. Just take us through it.

ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And Zain, I was actually a frequent guest on the Wendy Williams show for years.

So, I worked directly with Wendy. And you're absolutely right that she has such a fan base and nobody could do it like her.

But what she was showing on air, even though we saw all of that, she really felt like an outsider. I remember that one time Wendy told me that she

didn't have a lot of Hollywood friends, but she didn't care if she said things that made them mad because she had her audience.

Now of course we have learned of this devastating diagnosis that Wendy Williams has received and it is all going to be documented this week and

actually starting tonight in a "Lifetime" documentary. Now, as you said there's now a lawsuit that has come out against "Lifetime's" parent company

A and E. We're learning new details this morning.


The lawsuit is under seal but I have a source who says that this is regarding the documentary and they want to try to stop the documentary from

airing. Now, Wendy Williams was put under a guardianship in February 2022 around the time that her talk show was canceled due to her health issues

and her family has expressed concerns over this.

I actually just interviewed Wendy Williams niece. Her name is Alex Finney. She appears in this documentary and she says that the family has been

totally blocked out of this guardianship.

Now Lifetime does say that the guardianship had to give approval for Wendy to participate in this documentary. Wendy is an executive producer after

all. So this is very interesting.

It seems that the family is at stark odds with the guardianship and we will keep an eye on this and have to see what happens but of course our hearts

and our thoughts are with Wendy for her health and her recovery.

ASHER: You know, just very quickly, I hear that this documentary is extremely difficult to watch. I mean, what can we expect, what can the

audience expect when people tune in? It is. I have seen all four parts of the documentary.

And you see a Wendy Williams that is very different than the Wendy that you described, fun, loving, and vivacious on her show. We see her struggling

with cognitive health issues, which we now know are aphasia and dementia.

We also see her struggling with alcohol abuse. It is a Wendy that we have seen maybe in paparazzi photos, but now seeing her on air participating, I

think will shock a lot of fans.

ASHER: Oh, so depressing. Oh, my thoughts are definitely with her and her family. Elizabeth Wagmeister, live for us there, thank you so much. And

that does it for this hour of ONE WORLD. I am Zain Asher, appreciate you watching. "AMANPOUR" is up next.