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Quest Means Business

Missile Attack On Kyiv Shopping Center Kills At least Eight; U.N. Says 10 Million Ukrainians Have Been Displaced Since Invasion; Flight Carrying 132 People Crashes In Southern China; Zelenskyy To CNN: Open To Negotiating With Putin; E.U. Foreign Ministers Grapple With Russia Energy Sanctions; Hong Kong Is Running Short Of Coffins, Morgue Capacity. 4-5p ET

Aired March 21, 2022 - 16:00   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The Dow beginning a new trading week in the red. Hawkish comments from the Fed sent stocks lower about halfway

through the session. Those are the markets.

These are the main events: A dangerous stalemate. Russia's stalled invasion of Ukraine is prompting Moscow to step up its military attack on civilians.

Oil prices soar once again as E.U. leaders weigh sanctions on Russian energy.

And investigators search for answers after Chinese flight carrying 132 people falls from the sky.

Live from London, it is Monday, March the 21st. I am Max Foster, this is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

Good evening, nearly a month after invading Ukraine, Russia is stepping up its attacks on civilian targets as its ability to capture territory seems

to have stalled. Among the areas hardest hit by Russian bombardments is the south eastern city of Mariupol. A Ukrainian officer there tells CNN that

bombs are falling every 10 minutes. City officials say one of them struck an art school where 400 people were sheltering.

A little later on Sunday, Moscow issued an ultimatum ordering the city to surrender. City officials and the government in Kyiv have both refused.

The Ukrainian capital is also a major target. This video shows a Russian missile striking a shopping center in Kyiv, killing at least eight people.

Let's go to Ivan Watson. He is in Dnipro in Ukraine.

Ivan, a senior NATO official saying the war in Ukraine is still on the verge, well is on the verge of a stalemate, actually where neither side can

vanquish the other.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I'm not sure that's what we're seeing in the siege of Mariupol, this port city, because

there you have an encircling, a siege of that city, with Russian forces pounding it, pummeling it with artillery and airstrikes and the civilian

population, those that are left there trapped in basements, and the city's defenders holding out despite demands from the Russian Defense Ministry

that they lay down their arms, despite a promise that they would be given safe passage out. The defenders are still fighting.

And I think it's becoming very clear that at least for now, the Ukrainian military either doesn't have the resources or strategically is not prepared

to spend them to try to help those trapped defenders of that city.

So in other parts of Ukraine, it perhaps feels much more like a stalemate. Here, it feels like the Russian military is trying to starve out or just

pummel the defenders into submission and whatever happens to other civilians who may be trapped there, well, damn them. They are going to go

the way of the buildings that seemed to be collapsing.

There is an update from the Ukrainian central government from the Mariupol City Council. They've given differing estimates, but from 3,000 to 4,000

civilians they say have safely made it out of Mariupol today, and then they are being promised assistance once they get out to the Russian military

ring around that city -- Max.

FOSTER: Yes, while the U.N. says the fighting inside Ukraine has forced 10 million from their homes, more than three million of them have fled to

neighboring countries whilst the remainder have taken shelter in other parts of Ukraine. Then there are those chapters site cities like Mariupol

as the relentless Russian attacks continue down today.

Ivan, you talked to a family who was lucky enough to escape, but not before and during just absolute horror.

WATSON: That's right, and it is a dangerous journey to escape. Ukrainian officials here in the region say at least two children are in critical

condition after their journey out of Mariupol, their cars were caught in gunfire.

We were able to talk to a family that made it to safety, but had to leave other loved ones behind.


WATSON (voice over): Children at play frolicking in an arcade meant to host games of laser tag, but these are not normal times. The owners here

have turned their children's entertainment business into a makeshift shelter, a place to house dozens of Ukrainians who just fled the besieged

port city of Mariupol.

DMYTRO SHVETS, ESCAPED MARIUPOL: For the last couple of weeks, we were living like hell.

WATSON (voice over): Dmytro Shvets, his wife Tanya, and their daughter, Vlada, escaped Mariupol on Thursday. They endured weeks of Russian

bombardment from artillery and airstrikes.


SHVETS: Each 15 to 20 minutes, you can listen to the airplane. It was like targeted, targeted, and then the sound -- ba-bam.

WATSON (voice over): Tanya kept a journal. "March 2nd, Day Seven of the war. Nothing changed," she writes. "No electricity or heat, and there is no

running water now as well."

They lived in the basement and when they emerged, Tanya took photos and videos of their apartment building, pockmarked with bullet holes,

unexploded shells in residential streets. Desperate people looting a bomb damaged store for food.

SHVETS: The problem is water. There is no water to drink.

WATSON (voice over): They scavenged for drinking water, pulling buckets from streets sewers.

SHVETS: We were taking water from the rainwater, taking them -- waiting for the rainwater.

WATSON (voice over): "Heavy shelling on nearby houses," Tanya wrote on March 5th. "We all went to sleep with a thought of how to survive and stay


One day a shell exploded near Dmytro as he stood in line for water.

SHVETS: It fell down and killed like three people in front of us. One guy was without head who was like taking the water. Another one in the line was

like a half of the head, and the last one was killed.

With my own eyes like not in a dim, like three people completely I saw killed and we were making the grave for them.

WATSON (on camera): You dug a grave for them.

SHVETS: Digging, yes.

WATSON: In your neighborhood?


WATSON (voice over): Finally, it was all too much.

SHVETS: The last day, I saw my father because my mother was completely destroyed mentally. I mean, it was like a complete depression. We were

sitting in the cellar and even she hadn't left the cellar see the beginning of the war, just staying inside, unfortunately.

And the last day I saw my father and he begged me like please guys, leave, leave somewhere. I don't know where, just escape this, escape this, and he

was crying.

WATSON (voice over): Dmytro and his wife and daughter piled into a car with friends and spent 15 hours driving through Russian front lines to

escape the siege of Mariupol, their parents refused to leave.

SHVETS: I don't know if I'm going to see my parents or visit my province again. I don't know. No idea. It's like living from day to day. Today, we

are alive, tomorrow maybe not.

WATSON (voice over): In the relative safety of this arcade built to entertain children, the kids welcome the escape from the conflict.

(GIRL speaking in foreign language.)

WATSON (voice over): "I really want to say hello to other children," Tanya's seven-year-old daughter, Vlada says, "And I want the war to end


Her parents appear haunted, clearly traumatized. Tanya gets a call from her mother in Mariupol, weeping and saying goodbye because she fears she will

not survive the night.


WATSON: Now, Tanya Shvets' diary had some interesting observations, she said, you know, I used to have a business and a car, and money and none of

that matters right now. All that I wish I had was an emergency suitcase packed with candles and matches. All we need right now are things like

candles and matches.

And her husband had another observation he said, now, we understand our grandparents' mentality. The grandparents who survived the Nazis invading

Ukraine during World War Two, and why they always stored food and kept food and kept these things because this family has endured an example of the

conditions that their grandparents had gone through.

And the bizarre irony is, it is not at the hands of Nazi Germany, it is at the hands of the ally during World War Two, Russia.

Back to you, Max.

FOSTER: Ivan in Dnipro, thank you.

We're going across to the capital now. The Mayor of Kyiv is ordering those people still living in the city to stay indoors from 8:00 PM tonight until

Wednesday morning.

The mandatory curfew comes after a Russian missile targeted a downtown shopping center killing at least eight people.

Our Sam Kiley reports now from Kyiv with the latest.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Singing to protesters in Kyiv's Independence Square eight years ago as a rock star, he

helped drive a pro-Russian President from power.

(SERHIY FOMENKO singing in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: Oh in the field of early spring wheat, there is a golden furrow.

Then began the Ukrainian riflemen to engage the enemy.

KILEY (voice over): Now, the lead singer of the band, Mandry, Serhiy Fomenko is in uniform, fighting Vladimir Putin's invasion the old-fashioned


(SERHIY FOMENKO singing in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: And we'll take the glory of the riflemen preserving it. Then we, our glorious Ukraine, shall, hey, hey, cheer and rejoice.


SERHIY FOMENKO, LEAD SINGER, MANDRY (through translator): Frankly speaking, these days have been very hard. I have a guitar, but I haven't

been playing.

Also, the last few weeks have been really difficult because the enemy was trying to surround Kyiv, so there was no music.

We evacuated people from Irpin, and it was a very difficult mission. We also had tasks in and around the city to accomplish, but I can't tell you


KILEY (voice over): This though speaks loud. Civilian homes ripped open. Three million Ukrainians now refugees.

Putin says he sent troops to save Ukraine from fascism. This is the real result.

(WOMAN speaking in foreign language.)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Hate, hate. I'm a person who grew up in the Soviet Union. I grew up with the idea that we were brothers

and sisters, and now, there is nothing, but hatred for them.

PETRO POROSHENKO, FORMER UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Our ladies volunteers is working extremely efficient.

KILEY (voice over): The singer, Fomenko joined a reserve battalion funded by former President Petro Poroshenko, the billionaire first President after

Ukraine shook off Russian influence eight years ago. It's not just Putin he blames for the war.

POROSHENKO: He cannot wait until the Russian people under the sanction pressure will not be happy with Putin because Russia have more than 50

percent of the support of the Putin aggression and killing Ukraine. That should be a sanction against these Russian people.

KILEY (voice over): The location for the billionaire's 206th Battalion is a military secret. But the militancy of its volunteers is not.

VOLODYMYR OMELYAN, MINISTER TURNED UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: Democracies will always win, maybe it will take longer than everybody expected. But Putin

has chosen best of Hitler, and we already know how Hitler ends.

KILEY (voice over): But now though, Ukraine is preparing to defend the birthplace of its modern democracy to the bitter end.

(GROUP singing in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: They will glorify throughout the world, the Ukrainian riflemen.

And we'll take the glory of the riflemen preserving it.

Then we our glorious Ukraine, shall, hey, hey, cheer and rejoice.


FOSTER: Sam Kiley joins us now from Kyiv. Just describe the atmosphere because it's feeling more and more threatening by the day from the reports

we've been getting back.

KILEY: I think the threat has mutated somewhat, Max. So what we've seen recently is of course, the profligate bombardment of Mariupol, Kharkiv,

Kyiv, and other cities with dumb bonds, with multiple rocket launching systems, with Second World War type weapons dropped from aircraft, but not

a lot of the use of precision weapons.

Now, the Ukrainians here in Kyiv are saying that they have pushed the Russians back from threatening the ability -- from being in position in

which they could threaten to be able to take over the city.

So now, we are seeing though an increased use, and this is true right across the country, the targeting of Ukrainian military facilities by these

smart bombs, by things like similar to the American cruise missile, missiles that have onboard guidance systems that can be flown directly onto


Now, sometimes they get shot down in hit areas where they were not necessarily targeted because they've been flown over dense areas and other

areas where they have been very deliberately targeted. In this case, today, there were eight people killed in a shopping mall that was hit by a very

substantial, smart bomb of some kind, some kind of missile.

The Russians are insisting that they did that because they were located at that -- or in that environment where a number of weapons that the

Ukrainians were using, notably rocket launching systems in the battle to keep the Russians out of Kyiv -- Max.

FOSTER: There is still traffic. I know your teams have been reporting coming into the city. So supplies are still getting into the city,

currently, and presumably that means military supplies as well.

KILEY: Yes, absolutely. This city has not been cut off. It has been cut off to routes, some of the routes to the north and west, but the east, most

of the routes into the east are open. All of the routes in the far south of the country are open.

It hasn't been surrounded. Only Mariupol has been surrounded, even Kharkiv, which has been really heavily pounded and it is only 25 miles from the

Russian border, the second largest city in the country, that hasn't been fully surrounded because the Russian tactic or strategy had been that to

assume that they would be able to capture and decapitate the government here in the capital, and either overrun or take out local administrations

in other cities around the country and even Mariupol, which has been surrounded is still holding out, notwithstanding the fact that they were

told to surrender this morning at 5:00 AM by the Russian authorities.

There is only one town in the whole country of any size that has fallen to the Russians, and that is Kherson -- Max.


FOSTER: Okay, Sam in Kyiv, thank you.

Still to come tonight, a desperate attempt to reach the crash site of a China Eastern flight. What we know about what happened, next.


FOSTER: China media saying bad weather may hamper the rescue response to a plane crash with 132 people on board. The China Eastern Airlines flight was

en route to Guangzhou when officials say it lost contact with Emergency Services.

The Boeing 737 Apparently plunged more than 7,000 meters in just two minutes. Footage of a local mining company appears to show the plane

falling straight to the ground. We haven't verified that yet though, the cause of the crash not known.

Will Ripley is in Taipei. It's just so hard to see those images, isn't it?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is and to know that there are 132 people who are not going to be coming home, who didn't make it to

Guangzhou and whose remains may be impossible to be identified because if you chat with crash investigators, when you're talking about a plane nose

diving at 400 miles an hour into the ground, the impact is so violent, it's very difficult to be able to even find pieces of the plane, never mind the

people who were on board.

So the question now is why? What caused this? What caused this plane to plunge out of the sky? That is the big question facing investigators right

now. That's what family members want to know, and the spotlight is now once again trained on the U.S. airplane behemoth manufacturer, Boeing because

this is a Boeing 737-800 that was involved in this crash.

China Eastern Airlines is now grounding all of their Boeing 737-800s. This is an extremely common workhorse of the global aviation industry. This is

not the Boeing 737 MAX, which crushed that company to its core because of a problem that was causing planes to go down. This is a plane that is in

service right now all around the world.

As we speak, there are Boeing 73-800s in the air right now. And so any crash involving this kind of aircraft is going to raise a lot of safety


And you had an unusually swift response from the Chinese government, Max, to have Chinese President Xi Jinping in a matter of hours issue a statement

saying that he is shocked by this crash, deploying a small army of rescuers and investigators to this remote site, which is only accessible, the local

fire department says, on one narrow pathway surrounded on three sides by mountains.


No electricity anywhere near where this happened, and on top of it all, bad weather complicating access. This is not going to be easy investigation. It

certainly could not come at a worse time, this crash could not come at a worse time for the already complicated and troubled U.S.-China relationship

given that, you know that the premier airline manufacturer of the U.S., Boeing is now involved in this.

Their website is now black and white, by the way, as is the website of China Eastern Airlines, you know, in memoriam for the victims. And Max,

this is not something that happens very often in China anymore. Back in the 90s, yes, but they have not had a fatal airline crash since 2010, more than

a decade ago.

So this is a country that has really tried hard to improve its airline safety record, and you can have no doubt especially leading up to a very

important and pivotal moment for Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is once again facing a test of his leadership, he wants to get to the bottom of

what caused this and why and what can be done to prevent it from happening again.

The implications economically for Boeing and for the United States and for trade, those are all questions that are down the road. There certainly

could be a lot of strands impacted because of this crash. The immediate question for these devastated families is, are they going to even be able

to find closure after something like this?

FOSTER: Exactly, Will. Thank you for that.

China Eastern Airlines reportedly grounding then all of its Boeing 737- 800s. That's the type of plane that went down in today's crash as Will was saying.

Boeing shares are down more than three percent on the news. The 737-800 is the company's most widely used aircraft, more than 4,000 are in service

around the world. The model has one of the best safety records in commercial aviation.

Pete Muntean is in Washington, D.C. for us. That's what we need to remember, right? You know, flying is the safest form of transport. These

are safe planes. But clearly this has to be investigated.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: No doubt, Max. You know, it is so early to say exactly what caused this. What we do know that is so

interesting is that this plane made a very rapid dive from 29,000 feet down to the ground level in less than two minutes time according to this data

from Flight Radar 24.

And we've also seen the video from affiliates of CNN that showed this dive near vertical descent from 29,000 feet down to the ground. You can see it

there, the time passing at 6:19 and 16 seconds Zulu time there on the left, the altitude 29,000 feet, that's the cruising altitude. This was only a few

minutes after this flight took off.

Time passes, and then you see that really steep dive there of the plane into the very heavily wooded area of the mountains of Southern China. These

type of images and that data will be so key to investigators even though we do not have the flight data recorder, or the cockpit voice recorder just

yet. They will already be able to tell before recovering all of that really key data a lot about what took place here.

You know, airplanes like this, simply do not fall out of the sky. I just spoke with a retired 737 Captain. He flew the airplane for American

Airlines. He says if something happened like both the engines failed, or if there was some other serious mechanical problem on the airplane, very, very

rarely would we see a dive with such an extreme angle like this pointed straight at the ground.

And so we are able to tell pretty quickly that this is something that is so unorthodox. So now investigators really have their work cut out for them

and they do need that voice recorder and that data recorder to tell exactly what was going on, on the flight deck to give them a lot more information

about what altitude was selected on the autopilot, what were the positions of the flight controls, the yoke? What was the position of the throttle?

What the pilots were doing and saying to one another?

We don't really know much about whether or not there was any sort of radio call or radio communication indicating some sort of emergency. What is also

so interesting, and I'm not sure if we can go back to that graphic there showing the graph of the altitude of this flight is that the flight

actually made a bit of a climb, you can see it there in the end.

The flight descended below 10,000 feet to about 7,000 feet, then climbed up again, and then the rapid descent continued. That is something that will

really be interesting to investigators and that is something that we can really only get more data about from the flight data recorder and the

cockpit voice recorder yet to be recovered just yet -- Max.

FOSTER: And the challenge of recovering is big as we were seeing in those images, it is literally in the middle of nowhere, but I'm sure they will

get there in the end.


But, you know, thoughts for the families right now just wanting some sort of news about whether or not there were survivors. It seems very unlikely.

Pete, thank you.

Coming up, Russia is escalating attacks on Ukraine's south. We will be on the front lines for you, after the break.


FOSTER: Hello, I'm Max Foster. These are the QUEST MEANS BUSINESS headlines. We will be in Brussels where E.U. leaders are pushing for even

tougher sanctions on Russia ahead of President Biden's visit and China's leader admits that public tolerance for COVID restrictions are fading as

cases continue to climb.

Before that, we are going to give you some other news headlines.

The U.S. Senate began its confirmation hearing for nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson. If confirmed Jackson will be the first Black woman to serve on the

nation's highest court. Senate Democrats who control the upper chamber hope to confirm Biden's nominee by Easter.

The U.S. Secretary of State says Myanmar's treatment of its Rohingya minority constitutes genocide. This is the strongest language on the issue

from U.S. officials so far. Antony Blinken made the announcement during a visit to the U.S. Holocaust Museum.

A spokesman for the British Prime Minister says the Russian states made hoax phone calls to three of its officials in a campaign to spread

misinformation on the situation in Ukraine. Ben Wallace, Priti Patel, and Nadine Dorries were all targeted.

The fighting in Ukraine is raging on even as a situation on the ground appears to draw closer to a stalemate. Russia is escalating attacks on

civilian targets as its ability to capture territory appears to be diminishing.

The southeastern city of Mariupol is seeing some of the worst of the Russian bombardment.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told CNN he's still open to talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Zelenskyy said if negotiations fail,

though, it could lead to a wider war.

Some of the heaviest recent fighting has been around Kherson. A southern city occupied by the Russians. Now the Russians are attacking surrounding

villages as they push towards the poor of Mykolaiv. Ukrainian forces have held them back but as Nick Paton Walsh reports, they haven't been able to

limit the destruction of Russia's missile strikes and shelling. A warning. Some of the images you're about to see are graphic.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is what the slow route of Russia in southern Ukraine looks like. Kiev's

forces are pushing close to Kherson, the first city the Kremlin took.

(on camera): Here, so many people being evacuated day by day, and the area quiet in contrast to these impacts we see all around in the fields, just

constant barrage over the past days.

(voice over): The bus is the last way out of here, going from door to what is left of every door. The village of Posad-Pokrovske has been Ukraine's

last position for days. And so, this is what Russia left of it.

The noise is the village gas main leaking furiously. Putin's war of annihilation was sure not to overlook this school. Its front torn off by a

missile. It is hard to imagine life returning here even when the shelling stops which just now, it does not. We run down for cover. The Marines here

are mobile pushing forwards where they can. Kherson nearby airport their prize.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we have a little machine.

WALSH: You're on your way to the airport?


WALSH: Daniel (ph) is a former Lebanese soldier working in T.V. Married to a Ukrainian.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two weeks ago, this place had life, and now nothing.

WALSH: The bus has filled with anyone left who wants to leave. Anyone who can move themselves. We are asked to take those who cannot. And who

remember the last time war came to Europe. As we leave, shelling hits the village. It had become a deathbed riddled with cluster munition mines this

man said.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Civilians, they killed all the civilians. These are bastards, reptiles, parasites. They don't fight troops, they fight people.

Worse than fascists. Yes worse, worse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember how the Germans attacked us. They didn't mess with us like this.

WALSH: Over days, the road out there has been fought over. Its pockmarked concrete lined with these tiny peaceful worlds ripped open. This woman was

in Poland when Russians took her hometown Kherson where her children are.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need to go home.

WALSH: Nikolai (ph) can't really hear the blast at his age. But sent his wife to live with his daughter in the city.


He staged to protect whatever they have left. Shelling hits the road out again. And we drive past the earth Putin shells have happily scorched as

his army slowly loses. Whatever ground here it gained Ukraine's guns pushing them back. But Moscow imposes a cost, these barracks torn into

reduced to rubble by missile strikes that killed dozens of Ukrainian soldiers, some as they slept Friday morning in one of the worst known

losses of the war.

This trauma unit struggles with some of the 40 injured.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Girls, I need the anesthetist here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where are my people? Yaroslav? Valka?


WALSH: One soldier asking his friends by name. Not all injuries involve blood. The soldier was in bed on the third floor when the blast hit and he

found himself on the second with both legs smashed losing consciousness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know the enemy. In the end, the world must see and hear this. I don't know how many deaths will it take for everyone to see?

WALSH: That night, the Kremlin's blunt force hits another target around Mykolaiv. Moscow may be losing ground here, but does all it can to crush

and stifle what it cannot have. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Poroshkov, Ukraine.


FOSTER: President Biden heading to Europe, he spoke with key allies ahead of his trip. What came out of it and what the president should expect when

he gets here to Europe. That's next.


FOSTER: The E.U. considering sanctions on Russian oil as its foreign ministers meet in Brussels, countries like Lithuania and Ireland are

amongst those pushing for steeper sanctions despite the block's reliance on Russian energy. The European Union imports more than 40 percent of its

natural gas and a quarter of its oil from Russia. Germany's foreign minister said that imposing sanctions on Russian oil wasn't a matter of

political will but that Europe was too dependent on Russian energy to cut it off.


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With no sign of the conflict and Ukraine easing oil prices started the week sharply higher. And as foreign ministers

arrived in Brussels, there was huge interest in whether the block might announce a ban on Russian oil imports, speeding up its current timeline of

five years to phase out Russian energy and following in the footsteps of the U.S. and other Western allies who've already announced a ban on Russian


No such announcement was made Monday. The E.U. High Commissioner said the E.U. stands ready to do take further measures against Russia but it wasn't

the day for such decisions. He did though reference the thorny issue of energy.



JOSEP BORRELL, E.U. HIGH COMMISSIONER: Ukrainian war has been a kind of a awakening for our countries. For example, the energy dependency is

something that we had been increasing of energy dependency from Russia for years. And now we take full conscience of the weaponization of

dependencies, dependency become a weapon. It is a weapon that is being used as a weapon. And we have to react with someone uses something as a weapon

against us.


STEWART: The block depends on Russia for about 40 percent of its natural gas and over a quarter of its oil imports. European businesses and

households are already struggling with record high prices. Even without an oil embargo from the E.U. though, Russia is feeling the pinch. Last week,

the IEA, that's the International Energy Agency said Russia may be forced to cut oil production by 30 percent due to a slump in demand.

Russian oil is struggling to find buyers and is actually now around $30.00 a barrel cheaper than Brent. According to Russia state media outlet TASS

the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak on Monday that if Russian oil was rejected from global markets, prices could skyrocket to $300 a

barrel, even $500. That is far above estimates from any analysts or experts CNN has spoken to.

Minister Novak also said that Europe does not have a substitute for Russian oil. On that point he may be right at least for now. But the E.U. has made

clear it wants that to change so Russia can no longer wield the weapon of energy dependence. Anna Steward, CNN, London.


FOSTER: Anna Stewart there. U.S. President Biden had a call with key allies ahead of his upcoming trip to Europe. Sources say the world leaders hope to

finalize and unveil new measures to punish Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. CNN's Phil Mattingly reports. That might not be enough, though, to

stop for Vladimir Putin.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President view is that the way we need to avoid World War III, it is preventing the United States from

having direct military involvement on the ground.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Biden staring down one of the most critical weeks of his presidency. As Russian

strikes on Ukrainian civilians continue to escalate. Biden held a call with the leaders of key allies Germany, France, Italy and the U.K. While

officials grapple with how to shift the dynamic in a crisis that shows no signs of abating

PSAKI: Coming out of this, what the President is hoping to achieve is continued coordination and a unified response to the continued escalatory

actions of President Putin.

MATTINGLY: Barden set to travel to Europe and the highest stakes visit to the continent by a U.S. president in decades. At a moment when U.S. and

NATO officials tell CNN Russia's invasion sits at a stalemate.

LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: You're not being effective today in terms of their maneuver forces on the ground are essentially stall.

MATTINGLY: In palpable fears that horrific Russian attacks are set to escalate.

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The Russian government continues to wage its unprovoked brutal war in Ukraine. Each day brings more

harrowing attacks, more innocent men, women and children killed.

MATTINGLY: All as U.S. officials remain unable to determine if Russia has even designated a military commander responsible for leading the country's

war in Ukraine. Biden will attend a hastily scheduled extraordinary summit of all 30 NATO member country leaders then participate in meetings of the

European Council in G7 before traveling to NATO ally Poland, which borders Ukraine, and is now the home to hundreds of thousands of refugees displaced

by the Russian invasion.

PSAKI: We're finalizing the details as we speak.

MATTINGLY: All as the White House continues to urgently prepare for threats at home.

ANNE NEUBERGER, U.S. DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Today's broader, unclassified briefing is to raise that broader awareness and to raise that

call to action.

MATTINGLY: An attempt to manage the economic fallout driving energy prices higher by the day, with top cabinet and White House officials planning to

meet privately with top business leaders, including CEOs from the largest U.S. banks, manufacturers agricultural and energy producers.


FOSTER: That was Phil Mattingly reporting. President Biden's phone call with European leaders lays the groundwork for this week's meetings. Nic

Robertson joins us now from Brussels. Obviously, everyone wants to -- well, not everyone but lot of people obviously focused on Ukraine would like to

see some sort of military support. That's unlikely. So, what do you expect to come out of this?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, there's the indirect military support and I think that's what we heard from the E.U.

Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell today talking about the $551 million that's going to be, you know, put aside by the E.U. to help finance the

weapons that are supplied to Ukraine. And other aid, he spoke about that as well. But this is really, you know, one of the strands of the way of



He also spoke about the need for sanctions. And this was really, I think, perhaps gets to the heart of the need for President Biden's phone call

today with the leaders of Italy, Germany, France, the U.K., to try to get everyone together to get support for driving forward more sanctions on

Ukraine -- on Russia to try to prevent President Putin continuing to press ahead with his military offensive.

And the -- and the outcome of that phone call was -- is we heard from the Italians, we have in the White House, we have in number 10 Downing Street

as well all saying that there was unity in that call. And it's been a theme here today as well, you know, we heard from the foreign minister of

Lithuania, Gabriela Landsbergis, as he went in talking about the need not to get tired over the issue of applying sanctions, not to get tired in

support of Ukraine.

You know, so while you sort of have the battlefront and the war, sort of getting towards what the -- what the Pentagon is describing as something of

a stalemate. We've heard that from the Ministry of Defense in the U.K., there is a real sense here, the E.U. that it's going to take a big step and

drive forward to find the next round of sanctions because there has to be disagreement. And that's why President Biden is looking to get the unity.

There was one big moment for the -- for the European Union today. The Foreign Policy Chief Joseph Borrell spoke about it about the strategic

compass for the E.U. This is about the E.U. beginning to form its own sort of defense structures. This is how we framed it.


BORRELL: It is certainly a turning point for the European Union, as a security provider, and very much important step for the European security

and defense policy. I think that the adoption of this document sends a strong signal of unity and resolve. And it comes at a very, very, very

important moment. Because we certainly need to increase our capacities on security and defense.


ROBERTSON: So, I think the big picture takeaway today, there's unity the E.U. is galvanized because it recognizes that the threat that Russia poses.

That it's galvanized to provide financial support, that it's galvanized to see sanctions as the way forward although Joseph Borrell did say that he

didn't expect new sanctions to be announced, or at least put into effect this week. But it's that question of what are those sanctions going to be

and how you're going to keep that unity on what those sanctions will be?

Those are going to be the big tough issues. That of course President Biden is going to come here and hope to get a try forward, Max.

FOSTER: OK. Nic in Brussels. Thank you. Coming up. Hong Kong is lifting some COVID travel restrictions. Its residents are responding immediately.



FOSTER: Hong Kong's government is easing off some of its tough COVID restrictions. Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the city will lift its

ban on flights to nine countries including Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. The city has been largely cut off from the rest of the world for two years

now. And now people are leaving in droves. Kristie Lu Stout reports.


KRISTIE LOU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Literally driven away, thousands of Hong Kong residents have had enough. Unable to

endure life in a city which has become one of the most isolated in the world. As other countries are largely learning to live with the virus,

people here are fleeing the still oppressive COVID restrictions, and they're leaving by the thousands. Even as you're on the way out, these

residents asked us to hide their identities.

KEN, ENTREPRENEUR: I think Hong Kong used to be one of the best place to be in every single aspect, in general. And now it's losing a lot of the edge

of this advantage.

EDDIE, NURSE: If we don't need, nothing will change. You cannot change the government.

STOUT: They are leaving as the city is in the midst of a fifth wave and quickly running out of hospital beds. New isolation facilities are being

built to house the thousands of positive cases. Hong Kong's rule that all positive cases must quarantine and a government facility like this has been

pushed to the limit by the rapidly spreading Omicron variant. That same rule proved a nightmare for Laura and Nick.

We talked to them back in February when their toddler was taken from them after testing positive for COVID.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just terrific, heartbreaking.

STOUT: Just one example of the pain people across the city have had to endure. 11-month-old Eva (ph) was reunited with the parents after our


Despite the strict measures, the city is struggling to curb the number of deaths. Storage for dead bodies are at capacity and coffins are in short

supply. Professor John Nicholls at the University of Hong Kong blames the deaths on the city's lag in vaccinating its elderly, and that while the

zero COVID strategy worked in the past, it is no longer tenable.

JOHN NICOLLS, CLINICAL PROFESSOR OF PATHOLOGY, THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: The question is how much the technique would work well in mainland China

can actually be applied to Hong Kong in 2022.

STOUT: Many in Hong Kong are questioning why they've had to live through such harsh restrictions just for things to end like this. Like Allen who

has been running this gym for six years. If the city doesn't open up soon, he says his business will be dead within weeks.

ALLEN, GYM OWNER: I feel I feel lonely and sad. Every time I come to this gym without seeing the people here and look at the ground, everything just

left on the ground. I just missed the old times.

STOUT: Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam finally seems to be acknowledging the damage for China-led COVID policy has done to the economy

and the people. On Monday, she announced the city will ease some restrictions. While the leadership hopes these changes will bring back the

city's vital force. It's tough, zero COVID policy and the diminished political freedoms are throwing doubts on whether they can turn back the


At least to them it comes all too little too late. Kristie Lu stout, CNN, Hong Kong.


FOSTER: Well, as global COVID restrictions ease, Qantas says, it's gearing up for the return of long-haul flights. The CEO Alan Joyce spoke to Richard

last week about its renewed partnership with Emirates as well as their hopes to soon run the longest flights in the world.


ALAN JOYCE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, QANTAS: The Emirates deal is a big deal for us. I think you saw me and Tim Clark secretly going into a real

(INAUDIBLE) signed a new agreement, which has now extends for another 10 years. And that works really well for bold. We're very keen also in

addition to that to fly direct. So, we will do Perth to London again. We'll do Perth to Rome, it's our new Rome server.

But we're hoping by the middle of the year to actually put an order in for the aircraft for projects on Ryan's which is we were two weeks away from

doing just before COVID. And that's the aircraft going to fly from New York direct to Sydney and Melbourne. From London direct to Sydney and Melbourne

(INAUDIBLE) one of test flights that we did just before COVID. And we think the demand post-COVID is going to be a lot bigger than it was pre-COVID.


Because people don't want to stop, they want to go direct. They want to avoid going to the hubs. A lot of the business--



JOYCE: It's absolutely back on. We're revisiting the business case. And we said by the middle of the year, we'll go to our boards and we'll make a

decision one way or the other. We think there's a lot of positives in relation to Sunrise.

QUEST: You've made the-- I mean, the board will make -- the board's got a rubber stamp to go ahead.

JOYCE: No (INAUDIBLE) board never rubber stamp something, they challenged-



JOYCE: And they make -


QUEST: Your board challenges Alan Joyce.

JOYCE: They do. They do. As particularly, the CEO that's been around for a long time to making sure you don't get complacent.


FOSTER: Well, a quick look at the -- how Wall Street did today. The Dow finished more than 200 points in the red. It sank after Federal Reserve

Chair Jerome Powell said the bank needs to raise interest rates quickly and normalize its monetary policy. And that QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. I'm Max

Foster in London. "THE LEAD" with Pam Brown up next for you.