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Quest Means Business
Rescuers Dig For Survivors As Death Toll Rises Above 11,800; Politics, Weather Delaying Aid To Syria As 300K Displaced; Zelenskyy Visits European Leaders, Pushes For Fighter Jets; Ukraine Pushes For Weapons Ahead Of Expected Russian Offensive; Over 11,000 Dead And Survivors Pulled From Rubble In Turkiye And Syria; IKEA Foundation Pledges $11 Million To Doctors Without Borders; Alphabet Shares Sink After Google AI Demo Flops; Nigeria's Cash Crisis. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired February 08, 2023 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: It is somewhat of a lackluster day on Wall Street. The Dow down almost half a percent. If I show you the markets,
see how they are doing this hour. The last time I checked, they were in the red as you can see. The NASDAQ actually probably faring the worst in fact,
almost one-and-a-half of a percent.
Those are the markets and these are the main events for you: A race against time. Aid organizations face freezing cold and aftershocks as they try and
help survivors of Monday's deadly earthquake.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy is on a surprise tour of Europe and he is asking for fighter jets.
And shares in Google owner, Alphabet slump after its new AI makes a mistake.
Live from London, it is Wednesday, February the 8th, I am Isa Soares, in for Richard Quest, because I too mean business.
A very good evening, everyone.
We are following two major events unfolding this hour. In Turkey and Syria, the search for survivors of a devastating earthquake is entering its third
night. And in Paris the leaders of France and Germany are preparing to welcome Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy following his visit to the
We begin though tonight in Turkey where rescue efforts are growing more and more desperate. The death toll has climbed to more than 11,000 people as
crews search for both victims and survivors.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited an emergency relief area near the epicenter. He acknowledged the problems with the government's
initial response. He said there is no way to be prepared for such a huge disaster and vowed to rebuild the Kahramanmaras region within the year, and
that's actually where we find our Nick Paton Walsh in Kahramanmaras in Turkey, he joins us now.
Nick, just give us a sense of what is happening where you are, rescue operations you were telling me in the last hour still going on even though
we're what -- sixty-plus hours now since the earthquake.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think it's fair to say in the last hour or so, there is a lessened tempo behind me.
The sound of excavators fallen quieter. We've heard a distinct change in their pace and frequency of their activity, frankly, over the last 24
Last night, probing careful, cautious, so much done by hand to get those survivors out. And now the window for survival, frankly, is beginning to
close for anyone caught under that rubble. We've seen excavators move a lot quicker and I've had to say a horrifying number of dead bodies being
brought out, a four-year-old girl, an eight-year-old girl. Large numbers of adult bodies wrapped in tarpaulins along here, grieving relatives, absolute
horror, frankly, though to sit here and just watch the slow removal of those who didn't make it from the rubble behind me.
And now I think, we are seeing simply more cases of excavators around here just trying to clear streets. But certainly the last question remains here
for what to do with the people who have lost their homes and survived this? Some next to me here are burning the remnants of their homes just to keep
warm tonight, like we've seen in over the previous nights and there is a large stadium full of tents put up by the government to try and provide
some shelter. But here's what we've been seeing over the last 24 hours.
WALSH (voice over): You can still almost feel the enormity of the tremors here. This is Kahramanmaras, closest to the epicenter. One older
neighborhood shredded, its family warmth huddling on the street.
Dubchek's (ph) father is trapped under the rubble here. Only his feet protrude. They can't get him out, but can cover his toes.
(DUBCHEK speaking in foreign language.)
WALSH (voice over): "It would be really nice," he says, "If the government had come by."
Turan (ph) retrieved his eight-year-old daughter, wife, and daughter-in- law, pray you never stand over so much of your life. Their final dignity from a carpet.
Push down and there are glimmers of hope. These rescuers have spotted a 12- year-old, Mustapha (ph) in the rubble and have to dig down to him. Further along, Ali (ph) helped them find his 65-year-old mother.
(ALI speaking in foreign language.)
WALSH (voice over): "She's in her bed down there," he says, "We'll get her out soon."
There is not much sign of government here perhaps as the scale of this is all too massive.
Dusk makes the dust and the immense bulk of the mess harder still. The cold, just an insult in the days of emptiness that lie ahead. And the news
from the rubble is as often as bad as it is good.
(UNIDENTIFIED MEN speaking in foreign language.)
WALSH (voice over): A body found here, carried out and laid next to this man's nine-year-old daughter, Erena (ph).
The black here hiding the intimate agonies buried in it. The stories with the wrong ending.
But suddenly, there is a call for quiet, hush. They think they hear a voice. A pause, and then the best noise, joy.
Rescuers think they might have found six people alive, but there are hours more ahead of checking, but nothing really goes to plan here, even the joy
seems random. Where Ali's mother is being rescued, two young people are unexpectedly found and pulled out, a 16-year-old girl apparently still
WALSH (on camera): Extraordinary moment of joy, the kind of thing that really, all of Turkey is desperately hoping and waiting for.
But as the temperatures drop and time goes by, it will become harder to come by, but extraordinary to see somebody pulled so healthily straight out
of this building.
(UNIDENTIFIED MEN speaking in foreign language.)
WALSH (voice over): Abdullah (ph) seems unscathed, almost untouched, but the tremors altered everything else he emerges into.
WALSH (on camera): Now, I should point out, we filmed most of that report last night, and to say -- and so what we are seeing here since then is a
real stark change in the survivability of this. Most of the bodies brought out, lifeless and an anger, I think growing here.
We saw earlier on today, medics rushing up, you can't see it now, but rushing up the pile of rubble here, an excavator actually still working
under spotlights on it now, but medics rushed up in the hope they might be able to pull somebody out alive, when they got there, the man was dead, his
daughter angry saying it has been two days, why didn't you go for those on higher parts of the rubble? Possibly she thought a higher chances of
survivability. Why didn't you get to them earlier?
Now there is already criticism of President Erdogan's governments. He was here, pretty briefly today, but came on through, accepted some of the
criticism. But they also, some monitors are saying that Twitter has been partially slowed down or blocked in parts of Turkey, critics say perhaps in
a bid to stifle criticism of the government's response.
And so I feel possibly in the days ahead, we may see more emphasis amongst people here, amongst people across Turkey as the speed of government
response. It was certainly hampered by the appalling weather that contributed to some of the losses here, certainly, horizontal snowstorms at
times slowed rescuers, slowed journalists from getting to the affected towns, blocked roads.
And today, we did see the Army coming in large numbers of escalators, a sea change, possibly because the President's arrival was imminent, but
certainly something here, which is devastating the lives of pretty much everyone living in these areas, and they are just now coming to terms of
the sheer enormity of what has occurred -- Isa.
SOARES: Nick Paton Walsh there for us this evening. Thanks very much, Nick.
While in Syria, the situation is particularly dire. Survivors are facing freezing weather and political issues, of course are preventing crucial
aid. Nearly 300,000 people have been displaced by the earthquake. The Syrian government is insisting that it control all aid through Damascus,
and it is asking the EU and US to lift sanctions.
The US State Department says it is providing aid in the region through NGOs. Kieren Barnes is the Syria Country Director for Mercy Corps. He joins
me now from Jordan.
Thank you very much, Kieren, for taking the time to speak to us.
We have seen, our viewers have seen here on the show some truly apocalyptic images. Just give us a sense of what you're hearing in terms of the scale
of the devastation on the ground from your teams.
KIEREN BARNES, COUNTRY DIRECTOR SYRIA, MERCY CORPS: Yes, thanks, Isa.
It's an extremely difficult and complex situation in Northwest Syria, which is a very isolated and fragmented part of the country. We have struggled
the last few days mostly with communications, but we have spoken to our teams on the ground and certainly, for many of them, have been affected by
Thankfully, all of them are safe, but a number of their families have been killed tragically in this. They have been out and about in the communities
over the last couple of days and they have spoken about being with families, being with people who are standing next to rubble, hearing the
voices of the relatives under that Rubble, but simply not being able to do anything about it.
There isn't the infrastructure. There isn't the machinery or the expertise really, as we've seen in other parts of the region responding to the
crisis. So it's truly desperate and truly dire and extremely tragic.
SOARES: Yes, and of course, your focus is on the Idlib area, northwest. Correct? I think, you said northwest of Syria.
SOARES: I mean, it's a desperate situation, Kieren as you were saying, you know, that's only be made worse by these 12 years of Civil War. Just talk
to us about what teams do not have right now. I mean, equipment to clear rubble, you're talking there; the medicine, aid, shelter, any help of
recovery, what is needed right now?
BARNES: Yes, so our teams, I mean, personally, they have been traumatized. So you're dealing with traumatized people trying to help everybody else.
And thankfully, most of our team have come back together.
But we have the manpower, we have the people on the ground, but what we need are resources. We are going to need a significant amount of resources
over the coming days and weeks around shelter, as you say, the infrastructure particularly around water is concerning.
We provide water to 98 camps of people who are already displaced from the conflict. Some of those water sources have been contaminated because the
infrastructure is broken, soil has leaked into that, so clean water is one thing.
We also have prepositioned kits that we've been giving out to people, things like mattresses, tents, jerrycans, blankets. However, there is only
a finite amount of these things that we have prepositioned, we are going to need more in the coming days and weeks, and it is a concern about being
able to access those in the long term.
SOARES: And the main route from what I understand, into Syria that, of course, had been affected by the earthquake. In the last few hours, our
team was able to confirm that that now, that route is now open.
In terms of getting aid in, when, how quickly, how soon, how much? Give us a sense of numbers here, Kieren?
BARNES: So I mean, there are four million people already in need in northwest Syria. I mean, it is an incredible amount of people for the last
12 years who have been desperate. This recent shock has put them in an even more dire situation than we can possibly even imagine.
So, you know, four million people who are heavily reliant on humanitarian aid on a daily basis, and now, we are responding to this shock as well. So
those supply routes that do come through, we need them to stay open, we need the trucks to keep rolling, and that is not just with the UN or the
humanitarian sector, we also need the commercial sector to be running as well.
We need to be able to go to vendors, to go to suppliers, buy the tents, buy the equipment so that we can start distributing more and more. So we need
that channel to be functioning simply to respond.
We, as I said work in 98 camps. We also need to reach out to about 136 communities on top of that. A lot of people are affected by the earthquake
who are living in regular structures, apartment blocks, houses. They are the ones that have collapsed, and therefore, we are dealing with more
displaced people than we ever have before.
SOARES: More displaced, more people in need of shelters, like you said for 4.1 million people really going hungry and not just not in northwest Syria,
but also because of like you mentioned, food insecurity worsened by the war in Ukraine.
Let me ask you this. We heard from the representative of Syria today to the UN who said that sanctions from the US and EU on Syria are preventing
airplanes and cargo full of aid and humanitarian assistance from reaching those who need it. What do you say to that? Are you seeing this?
BARNES: I mean, I think Syria has been a highly politicized conflict for the last 12 years and from -- as humanitarian organizations, I think we
just call on all parties to prioritize people above all else and make sure that we can access them in the best way and most effective way possible.
I think that needs to be our priority and it applies to everybody. We need to put that first.
SOARES: Indeed and Kieren, do keep us posted on how you get on. We wish you of course and your team all the best of luck. Appreciate it, Kieren.
Kieren Barnes there.
BARNES: Thanks, Isa.
SOARES: Well for information on how to help earthquake survivors, go to cnn.com/impact. You'll find a list of organizations working on rescue and
relief efforts. Again, that is cnn.com/impact. The details are all there for you.
Now for just the second time -- in fact, I want to show you live pictures Paris. We have live pictures from Paris, we do indeed, where you can see
there the Guard of Honor is preparing to welcome Ukrainian President Zelenskyy. It is -- looking at my clock, 9:14 in the evening.
If you remember earlier, Mr. Zelenskyy was here in the UK, pretty much thanking Britain for all the support. We had a very impassioned plea from
him when he likened, combat aircraft, if remember, to wings for freedom. He even addressed Parliament, a very impassioned plea. We are expecting, of
course, Zelenskyy to be arriving soon in Paris. We'll bring you that when he arrives after this short break. You stay right there.
SOARES: Well, as you can see there, live pictures coming to us from Orly Airport because any moment now, Ukraine's President Zelenskyy is expected
to arrive in Paris. It is now almost 20 minutes or so past nine in the evening.
He is scheduled, in fact, to have a working dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron and then German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. And if you
remember, he began the day right here in the UK, where he addressed Parliament here. And he thanked the country for its support, pushing of
course for heavier weapons including fighter jets.
We heard from Rishi Sunak, the British Prime Minister who said nothing is off the table when it comes to providing military assistance to Ukraine,
and he said that jets remain part of the conversation, important to see whether that is the same impassioned speech and plea we hear, of course,
when President Zelenskyy meets with President Macron and with Olaf Scholz.
We know that this meeting will be -- this is from the Olaf Scholz team that will be about close coordination among EU allies. We heard of course, as
President Zelenskyy, when he was here, as you can see those pictures earlier from Dorset, we heard a huge support from members of the House of
Parliament where really, Zelenskyy in the wonderful way he does and focuses his speech to the people, his target audience talked about the British
grit, thanking UK for never compromising on the spirit and ideals that means so much, of course to Ukraine.
So the moment now, as President Zelenskyy expected to arrive in Paris, let's have a listen to what Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said about that
request I was telling you about for jets. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We've been very clear and we've been clear for a long time that when it comes to the provision of military
assistance to Ukraine, nothing is off the table.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well ahead of his meeting with President Zelenskyy, Germany's Olaf Scholz warned against getting into what he called a public competition over
which country can give Kyiv more as well as better weapons.
For months, Scholz stood in the way of Western efforts to send German-made tanks to Ukraine, Leopard tanks. Late last month, if you remember, he
finally agreed to supply Kyiv with Leopard 2 tanks.
Scott McLean is in London for us, Jim Bittermann joins me from Paris.
And Jim, we've been keeping a close eye, of course, to Orly Airport. Just talk us through what we can expect from this meeting -- Jim.
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think what we're first going to see here is Chancellor all of Scholz arriving.
Some cars have pulled out just out in front of Elysee Palace here, I think it's probably the party that's with Scholz, and we expect him to come in
here and arrive first before Zelenskyy. And Zelenskyy, as far as we know, the plane is not on the ground just yet.
But I think what this meeting is all about is basically a show of force of the Europeans, I mean, to show the Russians that, in fact, Europe is not
going to fade away and the support from Europe, for the Ukrainians is not going to just disappear like that.
The shopping list, of course, is the same shopping list that we heard in London, which is basically, Mr. Zelenskyy would like to stand up two
squadrons of combat aircraft, that would be about 24 combat planes. The French have not taken that off the table and basically have said that they
would be -- that is a possibility. One of the possibilities of the Mirage 2000s, that the French Air Force has, and that may be what comes out of
But also in this meeting, well, kind of the dynamics of it, it is interesting is that Mr. Scholz has been kind of Doctor No, in terms of the
kinds of requests that have come in from Mr. Zelenskyy. He has been the person that held up the Leopard 2 tanks and then finally gave in.
He is now saying, on F-16, which is their combat aircraft that might be contributed to the defense of Ukraine, he is saying that's not on the table
at all, but Mr. Macron is showing some flexibility in that regard -- Isa.
SOARES: Yes, and you're talking, of course, about the show of force, so we are expecting to see of course, as Scholz and Macron and Zelenskyy arrive
But let me go here to Scott McLean in London, because Scott, what we saw earlier today was a show of unity, a mini -- I think, mini State Visit of
sorts from President Zelenskyy, and an incredibly powerful message where he fine-tuned his message, I think it's fair to say to his audience, once
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He was really playing for the home crowd. I think that's an accurate way to put it, Isa. This wasn't just a thank you
tour as well, though, he did take the opportunity to make sure that British lawmakers knew how grateful his country was for the support that they've
gotten already, but it was also a chance for him to really make this impassioned plea for more help.
And one of the ways that he did that was by presenting a Ukrainian Air Force pilots helmet to the Speaker of the British House of Commons, Lindsay
Hoyle, and on that helmet, it was inscribed, "We have freedom, give us wings to protect it." And then you went on to even mention the military
service of King Charles saying that look, in the UK, your King is a pilot; in Ukraine our pilots are kings, calling them precious, saying that he
wants to make sure that they have the best military equipment, the best aircraft to actually fly in order to protect them so that they can in turn
protect the Ukrainian people.
And it seems, Isa, that that door is open just a smidge now, because the UK is the very first country to commit to training Ukrainian pilots on how to
actually fly NATO standard jets. The problem is, they haven't actually committed the jets, but France says they're open to them.
The Netherlands says that they're open to them and not long ago, it was actually Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki who said that look, he's
going to go along with what NATO decides, but if he were deciding unilaterally on behalf of NATO he would decide to give these jets to
And so it seems like, there is a possibility here that down the road, these may actually be on the table. You'll remember that when it came to tanks.
It just took one country, Poland saying, yes, we're going to send them and then it was sort of a snowball effect after that. There are now 12
countries maybe more countries who are extending --
SOARES: And Scott, I'm going to interrupt, we have shown -- as you were talking there, we just saw Olaf Scholz arriving there and meeting with
Jim, just talk us through what we just have seen in the last few seconds, and apologies, Scott, for interrupting once again.
BITTERMANN: Well, that was Olaf Scholz, the Chancellor of Germany arriving and basically being greeted by President Macron. He is key and
kind of fundamental to this equation that we're seeing here as the Europeans try to work out exactly what kind of aid is going to go to the
In fact, the dynamic is that NATO basically has to give permission for a lot of these transfers of weapons that are going to go on as the war
continues, and I think that they are going to have to convince the other NATO members like France, for example, about the wisdom of providing
fighter jets, and just to give you an idea of what is on the other side, here is what the Russian Ambassador in London said, after that meeting, in
London with British officials about sending combat aircraft.
He said: "I would like to remind officials in London, such a scenario (of providing aircraft) they will face the bloody harvest of the next wave of
escalation of the war." So clearly, the Russians are not going to lay back and let this transfer of weapons take place without some kind of reaction -
SOARES: And what Scott was mentioning in there before, unfortunately, I had to interrupt him is that France, Netherlands, Poland, and now the UK seem
to be open to the idea of jets, at least that is what Rishi Sunak said today that nothing is off the table.
In terms of Macron in terms of the mood in France, Jim, is there a sense that the public will be behind this if this were to happen?
BITTERMANN: I think so. Yes. I think that the opinion polls here have shown that they massively support the -- or at least the majority support
the Ukrainian war and they are willing to support that with not only the weapons, but also with tax dollars because -- or the tax euros, because the
fact is that there are supporting with all kinds of aid a couple of billion euros worth of aid has already gone to Ukrainians.
So it's something that's talked about, but there is very little controversy over the idea of supporting Ukraine, as far as I can tell. The public
opinion polls seem to indicate that, too. And I think this -- you know, what we may see out of this round of talks here that we are seeing with
President Zelenskyy is, he is going from here to Brussels tomorrow, and I think that the real sort of major announcements will be made there because
he will be meeting with the European Union and will come out of that with perhaps some kind of unanimity about further weapons commitment -- Isa.
SOARES: Jim Bittermann, of course, we will touch base with you once we see President Zelenskyy arriving. Scott McLean for us in London. Thank you very
much to you both.
Well, Ukraine is now preparing for an expected Russian offensive in the coming months. So along with fighter jets, Zelenskyy wants more long range
missiles and armored vehicles. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): And we have no way out, we have to stand firm. We need armored vehicles, we need
tankers, we need fighter jets. And obviously, we've spent a lot of time talking about this together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Let's get more from Fred Pleitgen, who joins me now from Kyiv, and Fred, in the last few seconds, we saw Scholz just arriving in France, in
Paris. We're also expecting any moment, President Zelenskyy to arrive and of course, what we have heard today when he addressed Parliament here was a
plea of course for longer range missiles but also for jets.
What's the likelihood, Fred, you know, Germany better than most of us. What is the likelihood of Germany getting on board with that?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that right now, Germany is not even really in the equation for all of that.
There have been some Ukrainian politicians, Isa, who have come out and said that they would like tornado jets from the Germans. The Germans fly two
sorts of different jets.
They fly the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Tornado as sort of their combat aircraft. One is used more as a strike aircraft, and the other one is used
more of an air superiority fighter.
The Germans have so far said that for them right now, that is simply not in the cards and certainly, it does seem to be a longer and broader discussion
that is still taking place.
And I also think that as far as Volodymyr Zelenskyy is concerned, I think there are sort of two different approaches that he has here. On the one
hand, there is that approach to trying to get those jetfighters, which I think the Ukrainians also understand is something that if it will happen,
will happen in the future, and certainly not in the short and medium term.
That's why right now, they are extremely happy about the fact that the UK has said it is going to start training pilots, but of course, from training
pilots to actually having your own Air Force with western jets, it is still a very long way and there are still certainly, a lot of discussion that
need to be had.
It was interesting because earlier today I spoke with a spokesman for the Ukrainian air force. And he said that, yes, they need these kinds of jets,
they need Western jets. But he also acknowledges they will need to maintain those jets, they will need to understand those jets.
They will need spare parts for those jets. So building up an air force around that is certainly something that is a longer term thing. And at the
same time, Volodymyr Zelenskyy also needs to focus on that Russian offensive, which many people believe is imminent. The Ukrainians certainly
believe it is imminent.
That is why he is calling for those longer distance missiles from Western nations; specifically, from the United States.
There has been some headway that has been made on that. So with the U.S. now pledging those ground launched, small-diameter bombs, that increase the
reach of Ukraine's rocket artillery from about 80 kilometers to about 150 kilometers.
And that really is key for the battlefield here. Essentially what happened is when those first rocket launching systems are brought in from the West,
the Ukrainians were able to hit a lot of Russian supply depots and weapons depots and that's taken a lot of pressure off of the Ukrainian military.
But the Russians have now moved those back significantly and the Ukrainians essentially can't get them. That is why they urgently need those longer
distance weapons because it simply keeps Ukrainian forces alive.
And the same thing is with those main battle tanks that, of course, are going to come, Western nations say, about at the end of March.
Ukrainians also say those are absolutely key on the battlefield to not just try to hold the Russians up when that offensive begins for real, which many
here believe will be in the next couple of months, but also try and push them back and help the Ukrainians go on some counteroffensives themselves
to try to win back some of that territory.
So there really is two different things that Ukrainians are talking about right now. It's the short term help that they need very quickly, artillery
being a part of that as well.
And then there's the longer term desire by the Ukrainians and the necessity by the Ukrainians to build up a Western standard air force, because it is
clear that their air force is being depleted.
They're having trouble getting spare parts for their Soviet era planes. And one thing is also clear: they will not be able to replace those planes
because all those planes are made in Russia.
SOARES: What is also clear, talking about battlefields as we heard Jens Stoltenberg of NATO earlier alongside Secretary Blinken -- he said that
NATO sees no sign that Russia is preparing for peace.
But he also said that Moscow is readying new military offensives and, of course, you're talking about the spring offensive.
Where does Bakhmut play into this?
Is it part of that equation here?
PLEITGEN: Bakhmut is certainly part of that equation, certainly part of that offensive. But I think it also plays a different role as well. It
becomes a gargantuan symbol, a really important symbol for the Ukrainians but also for the Russians as well.
And I think that's one of the reasons why you see some of that very heavy fighting. As far as strategy is concerned, as far as moves in the
battlefield is concerned, winning or losing Bakhmut is certainly not something that will be decisive as far as this war is concerned. And
possibly even as far as opening strategic fields on the battlefront.
However, for the Russians, it's really important because the Russians really have not had a victory in this war since the last summer.
So you're seeing right now various factions of the Russian forces, including the Wagner private military company with Yevgeny Prigozhin, the
regular Russian military trying to push in there and pound in there because they seem to want to give Putin a big victory certainly before the one year
anniversary of this war comes up.
For the Russians, it's very important to come up with something. For Ukrainians, it's extremely important from the other perspective. They say
they will not give up an inch of their territory, they will defend Bakhmut.
That is why there is so much heavy fighting going on in that area, the Ukrainians also pouring a lot of assets in there to try to keep that.
However, it looks as though the actual offensive by the Russians, which might already be underway, that will happen on a much broader front in
various places in the east. And the Ukrainians say they are getting ready to try to fend that off as well.
A lot for Macron, Zelenskyy and Olaf Scholz, too, to get to grips with. Fred Pleitgen, really appreciate it, thank you very much, live for us in
Kyiv this hour.
And coming up, the clock is ticking to find survivors after Monday's earthquake. We will bring you the latest on the search after this break.
SOARES: Returning now to our top story, the death toll has now topped 12,000 people between Turkiye and Syria after Monday's earthquake. Crews
continuing to search for survivors in southern Turkiye; six people, including a toddler, were pulled out of the rubble 60 hours after that
A CNN Turk reporter on the scene called it a miracle escape.
And these images show the rescue of an 8 year old boy in Hatay, Turkiye. He was found more than two days after the earthquake. You can see him handed
from crews to his uncle, who then places him in the hands of his mother.
I can't even imagine that moment for that mother.
Funding for relief efforts is coming from all over. The IKEA Foundation is giving $11 million to emergency assistance in Turkiye and Syria. The
company has had an increasing presence in the region, moving more of its production to Turkiye in 2021.
The money will go to Doctors without Borders and will support medical assistance and health care services.
Javier Quinones is the CEO of IKEA's U.S. Operation. He joins me now from Pennsylvania.
Great to have you on the show. Let me start right there in Turkiye, where we have seen really just scenes of utter devastation, pretty apocalyptic, I
think it is fair to say. Talk us through what IKEA is doing, what role IKEA is playing on the ground there.
JAVIER QUINONES, CEO, IKEA US: Thank you very much. And just to start by saying, as you say, this is devastating news. And it is actually terrible.
All of our thoughts are with the families. And of course, we are trying to support and any help needed right now. We announced actually this morning
through the IKEA Foundation, our support.
QUINONES: A donation of 10 million euros to support with the first emergency needs that the countries has. And we are very close in the
ground, working with organizations and working with government to see what further support we can give. And as I say, everything support right now is
SOARES: It is indeed. And I understand you have operations on the ground, production, partners too. Give us a sense of what you are hearing.
How is everyone doing?
QUINONES: As I said, this is apocalyptic. So right now, we are in contact with the government, with associations and trying to support any activity
that we can right now.
This is only the immediate and more urgent needs that we have. We have operations in Turkiye and we have stores and suppliers and, of course, we
are supporting people in general. This is a call for action for companies but it's not only to support our company but to support the many people
that is struggling right now in this moment.
SOARES: Yes, and something you said there, a call for action for companies, because what I've been hearing from our correspondents on the
ground is the urgent need for shelter. So many people, as you well know, have seen their houses flattened. And it is bitterly cold.
Is IKEA considering or providing any temporary housing units in Turkiye?
QUINONES: As I said, at the moment, we communicated the 10 million and this is, of course, organized with associations and governments. So it is
difficult to just go and find solutions straightaway. But it is important that we collaborate with on the ground.
Then, as I said, we are looking at what is next. And because of the nature of our business, we are here to try to support and help people to live at
home in a better way. So anything connected to shelter and support, in giving people a decent place these days, of course, will be part of our
SOARES: Yes. This is something I am sure that many of your customers would want to see, that sort of social corporate responsibility. Your company has
had huge success and seems to be going from strength to strength, from what I've seen in terms of your sales. And the figures for the year -- what are
your challenges this year as a company?
QUINONES: Well, I think in general, we have had so many challenges, especially when it comes to the supply chain that has been disrupted.
Inflation, we are not immune to any of this.
But despite all of these headwinds, as you say, we just closed the year and presented our annual summary and it has been a very good year. And I'm
extremely proud of what we have achieved, not only what but also how.
This has been a year, where in IKEA we have invested in our people. We have increased wages. You know, our units and we have also made public first
time ever our quality and diversity conclusion report with big commitments going forward.
I think also, our efforts in affordability, and make sure that, despite the tough situation, despite the economy not being on our side, we still offer
affordable products to the many people. And our commitment into sustainability, I think it is also -- we announced this year, on top of all
what we have been doing, three initiatives.
One of them being our launch of home solar in California, in partnership with Sunpower. We expect (INAUDIBLE) in the rest of the country.
And also, our back and resell (ph) program, where we try to bring back and become 100 percent (INAUDIBLE), bringing back IKEA products that do make a
happy home, bring you back to the store and then we sell them or just take care of them in a good way. So that is part of our success.
SOARES: I appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. Javier Quinones is the CEO of IKEA U.S. Thank you. Appreciate it.
And after the break, Google's AI chatbot is off to a bad start after it got its facts wrong during a demo. Oh, oh, (INAUDIBLE) next.
SOARES: Welcome back.
Google's AI chatbot Bard did not quite master the intelligence part of the artificial intelligence during a memo.
The chatbot claimed that the new James Webb telescope took the first picture of a planet outside our solar system. NASA says the first shot of
an exoplanet was taken in 2004 by an observatory in Europe.
Alphabet's shares are down pretty significantly the last time I looked on the blunder. Paul La Monica is in New York.
So Paul, one mistake and this is it. Just talk us through how bad this was and why shares are reacting so badly to this.
PAUL LA MONICA, CNNMONEY DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's clearly very bad news today, Alphabet down about 7-8 percent. I think the reason why this is
so embarrassing for Alphabet is that we are clearly in an AI arms race right now.
And one of Alphabet/Google's biggest competitors is Microsoft, which is investing in and aligning itself with the arguably much more well known
buzzy ChatGPT service. So anything that makes Bard look bad is not going to be greeted well by shareholders.
And Microsoft probably basking in the glow of this mistake. But I think it just goes to show that none of this technology by any stretch of the
imagination is perfect yet. And I'm sure that there will be problems with ChatGPT and Microsoft Think search engine as well.
SOARES: It seems like a pretty significant overreaction, down 7 percent in shares just because of this mistake. Clearly, investors are somewhat
underwhelmed by whatever plans they have here for AI.
LA MONICA: Yes. I think at least for today. You have to keep in mind that Alphabet stock had a pretty solid run so far this year leading up in to
this faux pas today. So it's not as if, all of a sudden, Alphabet is down significantly for the year or are well off its highs as a result.
A lot of big tech stocks, including Microsoft and Alphabet, have really rallied sharply so far this year. And part of that is due to the AI hope
and hype that has really been lifting a lot of stocks in the tech sector this year.
SOARES: And of course, you mentioned Microsoft probably rubbing their hands with glee here. Talk to us about the competition here between these
LA MONICA: Yes, you have got clearly competition between Microsoft and Alphabet because of Google versus Bing. The Google Search engine is far
more popular and ubiquitous than Bing ever was or is. So anything that can gain market share for Bing is probably a plus for Microsoft.
But they also compete incredibly aggressively in the cloud computing market. So that is definitely something that Google and Microsoft, going
toe to toe, that will not end anytime soon.
And then, of course, you have so many other companies that may get into this in a little bit more with their own cloud businesses. It will be
interesting to see what Amazon's AI initiative or efforts will be eventually.
SOARES: Great to see you, Paul. Appreciate it.
And still to come, chaos at Nigerian banks could soon end. The country is delaying plans to replace its banknotes after millions of Nigerians faced
long lines and desperate situations to switch (INAUDIBLE).
SOARES: Nigeria is delaying plans to replace its banknotes. A shortage of the new money led to chaos at ATMs and banks around the country. Millions
of Nigerians have been struggling to trade out their old cash, which was set to lose its value on Friday.
The supreme court has now suspended that deadline. Stephanie Busari is in Lagos for us tonight.
Steph, great to see you; look, pretty chaotic scenes I believe and I'm pretty sure lots of furious people as well.
STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN SENIOR AFRICA EDITOR: Absolutely. It has just been so chaotic. And Nigerians are actually breathing a sigh of relief after the
supreme court ruling, which they hope will bring an end to the chaos that we've seen across the country in recent weeks.
The old notes were supposed to stop the illegal tender from February 11th. But for some reason, banks were not able to give enough of the notes. And
so they have been spending many hours at cash points.
And because many of them had rushed to banks to deposit their old banknotes, we went to the streets of Lagos to see some people, just to find
out their experiences of trying to get their hands on the cash.
BUSARI: Take a listen to what they had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now, you have to keep on, ask and ask, and all that is sun (ph). It has not been easy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been out here say like an hour now and the line is, as you can see, how crazy it is.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been here since 7:00 am and it is 4:18 pm. And I just got to my number just now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUSARI: So that young man I spoke to had been at the queue since 7:00 am, that is a full day's work. And also, this cash crunch is not the only
things that Nigerians are grappling with.
There's long lines because of a petrol, a fuel scarcity in the country in (INAUDIBLE) country (INAUDIBLE) hours at fuel stations to get their hands
on petrol to fuel their cars.
So it is really a perfect storm and, of course, we have the elections coming up in just a few weeks at the end of this month. So it's a bit of a
chaotic time in the country.
But for the government's part, they say that this is a (INAUDIBLE). They want to curb (INAUDIBLE) stockpiling cash to buy votes ahead of the
elections. They want to stop terrorists stockpiling the cash that they collected from kidnapping from ransom.
But somehow Nigerian state this implementation hasn't just gone right -- Isa.
SOARES: Yes. And what we see, what you have just shown, the long queues just shows that cash very much is still king in Nigeria.
Stephanie Busari, great to see you. appreciate it.
On tomorrow's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, we will get a firsthand look at South Africa's energy crisis. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS will be live from Cape Town.
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his annual State of the Nation address.
That is 8 pm in London, 10 pm in Cape Town. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS with Richard Quest.
And there are just moments left to trade on Wall Street. I will have the final numbers and the closing bell after this.
SOARES: Scene moments ago, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy landed there, French defense minister Sebastien Lecornu was there to welcome the
Ukrainian president. Fresh from his visit to the United Kingdom, where he met with British prime minister Rishi Sunak, Zelenskyy is set to meet
French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Olaf Scholz.