Return to Transcripts main page

Quest Means Business

One Year Of War In Ukraine Leaves Its Mark Around The World; Ukraine's Economy Suffering, Faces Major Rebuild; China's 12-Point Peace Plan For Ukraine; U.S. Imposes New Sanctions On Those Aiding Moscow; U.S. Announces $2B Dollar Aid Package To Ukraine; Awaiting Election Day In Nigeria. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired February 24, 2023 - 15:00:00   ET



RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Special Edition one-year of the Ukraine War.

President Zelenskyy is pledging, it will be the year of victory for his country. I'll be talking to the Chief Executive who is keeping the lights

on as Russia targets the power and energy grid.

Are you with us on the Kremlin? Tonight, a top US official gives us his warning for those evading sanctions.

And live from New York on Friday, February the 24th, the end of a long week. I'm Richard Quest, and I mean business.

Good evening.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine a year ago today has caused death and destruction on an unimaginable scale. It has also reshaped the global

order, the end of which we have no idea where it will be.

The economy of Ukraine has been crushed through all of this, it is now being propped up by support, aid, and grants from the West.

The US and allies have tried to isolate President Putin, the Kremlin, and squeeze Russia's war chest. The conflict has driven up the price of food,

it sent energy prices to stratospheric levels, it's led to a resurgence of inflation around the world.

So on this program, we followed each of these developments along the way throughout the year. And tonight, let's draw the economic threads together.

Let's examine the state of a wartime economy in a war that shows no sign of ending.

We begin, of course, in the country itself, in Ukraine, where President Zelenskyy addressed his troops on the anniversary telling them they will

determine their country's future. He then held a news conference in Kyiv where he thanked the world for its support.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): If we all do our homework, victory will be inevitable. I am certain there will be

victory. I don't think I want it this year, we have everything for it. We have the motivation, certainty, friends, the diplomacy, you have all come

together for this.


QUEST: Now, in the last six months, Russia's strategy has been to relentlessly attack Ukraine's energy infrastructure. If you think about it,

over the winter months, hoping in the depths of winter, darkness, and freezing temperatures might force Kyiv's submission.

Clearly, as we look towards spring, it is a strategy that hasn't worked even with the hundreds, if not thousands of missiles that have been aimed

at Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

The attacks have cost at least a billion dollars' worth of damage to the power grids, but the crews, the emergency crews and the highly specialized

workers then just get on and restore the electricity.

The country's largest private energy provider DTEK said it has been shelled 28 times, half of its facilities are under occupation, and yet, it is still

fighting and keeping the lights on.

Maxim Timchenko is the CEO of DTEK. He joins me now from Ukraine.

Sir, very grateful. We have spoken several times during all of this. I mean, it has been a Herculean task to keep repairing power plants, grids,

lines that have been shelled and missile attacked. Can you keep doing that?


I think it's very symbolic that exactly one year ago, we went live on your show talking about first power station and this Russian shelling and it was

hours before the full scale invasion started.


And since that time, we lost three power stations -- thermal power stations in occupied territory, the largest nuclear power station, about 50 percent

of generation capacity either destroyed or on the occupied territory. So we've had more than a thousand missiles and drones sent to Ukraine by


And today, I can say that they completely lost this energy war and energy terror started against Ukraine on the 10th of October, because we have

light, we have electricity, we have heat, but we pay very high price for that.

Talking about our company, we lost 141 employees so that Ukraine can survive.

QUEST: Our heart aches for those losses of those employees. Do you fear, though, that Russia could try again, to basically obliterate the


TIMCHENKO: Definitely, they will keep doing what they did with us for the last 12 months, but we becomes stronger. We learn after each attack, we

know how to fight, and I have full confidence saying that there is no chance for Putin to plunge Ukraine into darkness. No chance, especially

after the most challenging and difficult winter season we are passing now.

QUEST: And of course, with the weather -- with better weather and with lighter evenings, that also has an effect.

Now, we've reached a situation where Ukraine might actually -- you might actually start exporting energy again, because you have been connected to

the rest of Europe and the EU's energy grid. So can you see in the near future exporting?

TIMCHENKO: Yes, the irony is that after all these attacks, now we are taking seriously resuming export of electricity. You know, basically on the

first of January this year, we had to start importing, but we managed after two months to have sufficient power, generation capacity, and power supply

in the country. And now we're discussing with our international partners to start exporting some hours during the day.

Yes, that's what we can start again.

QUEST: What do you need in terms of going to the next level, to protecting the resilience of the infrastructure?

TIMCHENKO: Let me start with the great words of appreciation to all our partners who started helping us from the first weeks of the war, I am

talking about energy companies, about governments sending us equipment, helping us financially. Of course, we relied mostly on what we had during

the last year, and now, our stocks run out.

And now, we have started preparing for the next winter season. What is it first of all? Building new equipment, bringing new equipment very, very

specific to our power stations.

We need priority production, and we need financial support to place. It is about hundreds of millions of dollars.

QUEST: The financial support, which we'll be talking about later in our program.

Thank you, sir. I'm grateful for your talking.

We spoke last year. We've spoken several times during the course of the year. We look forward to continuing to talk to you as we move on. Thank

you. I'm grateful, sir.

TIMCHENKO: Thank you.

QUEST: Now, Ukraine's economy shrank more than 30 percent last year. The war effort has consumed a huge part of its budget, and when the conflict

finally ends, the country and the West will be faced with the biggest rebuilding effort since World War Two.

The plan is to use the sequestrated Russian assets, assuming it's a legal thing to do, to actually rebuild the infrastructure in Ukraine. You can't

bring back the lives, but you can certainly put back the bricks and mortar.

Sam Kiley is with me in Kharkiv, in Ukraine. I guess the feeling is what life is like and this sort of always feeling that you're on the precipice

of something that could get a great deal worse.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think there has been a much, much more positive air than there was when I was standing here

a year and a bit ago as in a year and a few hours ago when the war started. There were Russian troops pressing into suburbs of Kharkiv, it's only 25

miles from the Russian border, they were punching in from the east, they were assaulting the -- or on their way to assault the capital.


That is now been the tide. That tide came in hard and fast and was turned back so that large swathes of Kharkiv Province has been liberated. It

continues, though, Richard to be pounded and it continues to be pounded as part of what the Ukrainians believe of shaping operations, softening up the

Ukrainian positions ahead of what is feared to be a Russian offensive.

Now the Ukrainians have also got their own plans for offensives. They make no bones about the fact that they want to chase the Russians out of their

country altogether, and they want Western help to do it.

I have to say, though, in the civilian areas that are not very, very close to the front, life goes on as defiantly as possible. The food here is

outstanding. Even in relatively obscure little towns, you wouldn't expect to get a decent cup of coffee, you can get extraordinarily good food.

People here are determined not to see or allow Putin to undermine their sense of self, their sense of dignity, their sense that they can be and

will be proud Ukrainians come what may, so there isn't really that sense of impending doom, that you might expect given that their own government is

warning of a Russian offensive.

There is a lot of focus on thanking the international community for the help that they've already given, and really strong cries for further help,

because there is in the background, very heavy casualties, indeed, on the military front.

This is unsustainable, long term for Ukraine in terms of a dynamic war of maneuver. And the real problem, what does scare people is the idea that

this could settle into a frozen conflict and that at the end of the day, Richard, would be victory for Vladimir Putin.

QUEST: Sam Kiley in Kharkiv bringing us the latest on the ground, and the feeling there. Thank you.

In just a moment, Hungary's Foreign Minister will be with me to discuss Hungary's role in the conflict, his meeting with the Chinese Minister, and

the latest Chinese Peace Plan, in a moment, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.


QUEST: President Zelenskyy says he is prepared to meet with China's President Xi Jinping. It is an offer yet, though that's not been taken up

by Beijing; however, today, China did put out a 12-point peace plan.


It starts by saying the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be upheld. Nowhere does it call upon Russia to withdraw its

troops. CNN's Marc Stewart has the gist of the story.


We are seeing these different sides of China. On one hand, it is portraying itself as a peacemaker, yet it also has this no limits pledge with Russia.

In fact, it won't even call the conflict an invasion.

So now we see this position paper appear, it calls for resumption of peace talks, it calls for a focus on some of the humanitarian issues. Yet, there

are no specifics.

In recent days, we are seeing China really trying to exert its power on the world stage. It just had a meeting, its top diplomat, China's top diplomat

just had a meeting with Vladimir Putin. This, at a time when both the EU and NATO are really trying to flex their diplomatic muscle -- Richard.

QUEST: Marc Stewart.

Now, before he went to Russia, the top diplomat, Wang Yi was in Budapest amongst other countries. Hungary is of course, part of both the EU and

NATO. The critics say it's trying to play both sides of this conflict.

Peter Szijjarto is Hungary's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. It is always good to have him here in New York, and the Minister is with me now.

I just want to start with the full text of China's plan. China's position on the politics settlement. It starts with the number one point, respecting

the sovereignty of all countries.

Now, once that's your starting point, don't you then have to say Russia has already failed in this plan?

PETER SZIJJARTO, HUNGARIAN MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE: Well, good afternoon. First of all, thank you so much for the invitation. Again,

I'm happy to be back to your program.

As you said, former Minister and current State Counselor, Wang Yi has not only visited the Hungary before going to Moscow, but he was in Germany, in

France and Italy as well. So the three G7 countries from the European Union, and we were honored to be on his travel schedule as well, since

China is an important partner for us when it comes to trade and investments.

We have discussed a bit, but just a bit, about this peace plan since the visit took place on Monday, and they just announced the points now. What I

can say is that I totally agree that sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries on earth must be respected, and it must be respected by


I think this is a very important basic pillar of international politics or it should be a basic pillar of international politics.

QUEST: And if that is the case, you obviously then it follows you accept that Russia has breached the sovereignty of Ukraine?

SZIJJARTO: Well, it's no question. I mean, Russia -- the Russian Federation has attacked Ukraine. And we Hungarians, we do condemn this attack. We do

condemn this war and it is obvious that we stand by Ukraine, and we call for the respect of territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. That's

no question. I said it to you as many times already, I believe.

QUEST: You did. You did.

Why did you go to Belarus? I mean, what purpose does it serve going to give comfort in a sense to a country that is part of, if you will, the Russia

axis against Ukraine?

SZIJJARTO: Well, you know, we are a neighboring country to Ukraine, and the impacts of the war are severe and immediate on us, and we, as a neighboring

country, we have the concern that this war might be escalated and prolonged, both in geographic terms and both timewise.

And therefore, I asked my counterpart, my colleague, the Foreign Minister of Belarus, to refrain from any kind of steps, which would either prolong

or escalate this war.

As a neighboring country, it is super important for us because if a war is being escalated, then the escalation does not appear on the other side of

the ocean, or thousands of kilometers away, it appears in the neighborhood. We are a neighboring country, we have serious security concerns because of

the war. So for us, it's very important that all countries refrain from any kind of steps, which would bring the risk of either escalation or

prolongation of this war.

QUEST: Talking of escalation, in terms of sanctions, the EU -- and I'll save you the breath of saying it. I understand Hungary has supported every

sanctions measure being put forward by the EU. I've said it, you don't need to, Minister.


SZIJJARTO: Sorry. Sorry, Richard, I don't want to -- I just want to say that we do not support the sanction policy as such. We have just not


We don't think that the sanction policy is good. We don't think that the sanctions would work. We don't like the sanctions. We don't support them,

but we have not vetoed any packages so far.

This is very precise this way. Sorry to interfere.

QUEST: Yes, well, yes. Okay, your point is taken. So I can just reframe my question, will you veto the 10th when it comes up for a vote?

SZIJJARTO: No, we will not veto and I will tell you why not, because during the discussions about the package, we were successful in gaining all those

exemptions, which took -- which took all those issues out of the sanctions, which are important for us.

For example, we made it very clear that we would and we will never support any sanction, which would restrict the nuclear cooperation so far. We will

never support any kind of sanction, which would restrict oil deliveries from Russia to Hungary or the gas deliveries, and since we were successful

in taking out all those issues from this package, which are important for us, and which are vital from the perspective of Hungary, we don't like it,

we don't support it, but we don't veto it.

QUEST: Okay, so if this is the scenario that we now face ourselves in, and we are looking at various countries suggesting an increase in military

support. I hear what you say about what your Prime Minister has said.

So how do you get out of this? How do we get out of this?

If Russia won't withdraw and Ukraine is demanding full sovereignty under the sovereignty of all countries, how do you think Hungary can play a role

that doesn't impede the successful if you like, restoration of Ukraine?

SZIJJARTO: Look, we are a neighboring country, as it is widely known and as a neighboring country, for us an immediate ceasefire and peace is vital.

And not only because we are neighbors, but because of the fact that Hungarians are dying in this war.

I'm not quite sure, Richard, you even know that there is a significant Hungarian community living in the western part of Ukraine. Members of this

community are obviously Ukrainian citizens, so they are being conscripted into the Ukrainian army.

Many of them have been deployed on the frontline, and unfortunately, many of them have died. So I'm representing a nation, let's put it this way,

members of which have already died in this war.

So when we call for saving lives of the people, it comes from this perspective that we are losing people and we are there in a neighborhood.

So how peace could be made? Because this is your question.

I think peace can only be made in the case those who are party to the conflict can talk to each other. That's why when we say that the channels

of communication must be kept open. This is why we say that because if there is no communication, if the channels are being cut, then we give up

even the hope for peace. Because at the end of the day, I hope -- sorry, at the end of the day, I hope you agree with me that the war means failure of

diplomacy, and peace means success of diplomacy. So, we have to double the diplomatic effort.

QUEST: That's a given. Okay, but two points as a result of that.

Firstly, to those -- you, Hungarian, if you will, Ukrainian nationals of Hungarian descent, obviously, that anyone who dies receives -- I mean, it's

just horrific. But has that tilted? The fact that there are those of Hungarian descent in Ukraine, has that tilted the way your party and your

government views the Ukrainian prosecution of its defense?

SZIJJARTO: So could you please repeat the second part of the question, because I couldn't hear? I really apologize.

QUEST:` No, I'm basically asking whether or not the fact that there are Hungarian descent in Ukraine has that to some extent, altered the way you

look upon Ukraine and its defense?

SZIJJARTO: Well, we look at Ukraine as a country which has been attacked. We look at Ukraine as a country, territorial integrity and sovereignty of

which is violated. But we see the conflict as a brutal one, where hundreds or even thousands of people are dying on a daily basis.

So what we think the number one duty now should be to save lives and you cannot save lives with weapon deliveries, you cannot say lives with

sanction regimes. You can only save lives if you stop the war, if you come to an immediate ceasefire, if you sit to the table to discuss, to launch

peace talks, at the end of which some sustainable peace agreement should be reached.


This is what we say, and this is what we hope for. And if we can help, we are ready to help.

QUEST: And that is what most people who are familiar with foreign negotiations say.

So my last question is, does in your view and in your government's view, does that also mean -- at peace negotiation, does that also mean, A.,

sovereignty guarantees to Ukraine for the future, but perhaps more importantly, a return to sovereignty borders, either of 2022 or 2014 pre-

Crimea. Which would you be looking at?

SZIJJARTO: Well, you know, I told you at the beginning of this discussion that we are in favor of respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty of

all countries. So we hope, we hope that a sustainable peace can be created, where Ukraine gets its guarantees for sovereignty. No question.

QUEST: Sir, I am grateful to you. We talk often. There are many more things we do need to talk about, and you'll be delighted to know, I am

actually coming to Budapest in the next two months.

SZIJJARTO: Come on. You are promising that for me for like two years now.

QUEST: We have dates.

SZIJJARTO: So please, please deliver.

QUEST: "World of Wonder." "World of Wonder" will be coming from Budapest, so I will be in touch. Sir, thank you very much.

The Minister there talks about his opposition to the fundamental idea of sanctions, they don't work, he .

In just a moment, the US Deputy Secretary of Treasury, Wally Adeyemo, he talks about Russian sanctions, and he will tell us, they're working very



WALLY ADEYEMO, US DEPUTY SECRETARY OF TREASURY: They are having to use their reserves to prop up their economy rather than buy tanks to fight the

war in Ukraine. So from our perspective, they are working. Our goal is to make sure they're working better.




QUEST: You're either with us or you are against us. That's the message from a top U.S. Treasury official to countries and companies trying to

circumvent the sanctions regime in place. The United States has just imposed new fresh sanctions on the Kremlin and those that accuses of aiding

Moscow's war. I asked the Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo if the existing sanctions are really actually working.


WALLY ADEYEMO, UNITED STATES DEPUTY SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: What we've done with sanctions is that we've made it harder for Vladimir Putin to use

the money he has to get the weapons he needs in Ukraine. And the reason we know they're working is because the Kremlin has tasked their intelligence

agencies with trying to evade our sanctions. And our goal with the sanctions we announced today was to make that harder for them, so that they

can't get the weapons they need to continue their war in Ukraine.

And we're committed to doing that going forward. Fundamentally, Russia has made a great deal of money from selling energy to the world. We recently

put in place a price cap on their ability to sell energy using G7 services. Russia, their finance ministry reported that their revenues from selling

energy were down 46 percent last month, because of our price cap on Russian oil. And that means they're having to use their reserves to prop up their

economy rather than buy tanks to fight the war in Ukraine.

So, from our perspective, they're working, our goal is to make sure they work even better, in order to slow down Russia, as our friends in our

defense department give Ukraine the weapons they need to speed up in defending their country from Russia's advances.

QUEST: So, the ruble, for example, which did crash immediately afterwards is just about recovered to where it was. Inflation in Russia, I agree,

we've taken with a pinch of salt, the number, but it's not much worse than the U.K. If you look at the way in which Russia has managed to leak through

the sanctions, and that's something you're familiar with, of course, China is picking up the slack, Indian products are. The critics say the sanctions

regime simply isn't effective enough.

ADEYEMO: So, I think the Russian would disagree with you. And you've heard the central bank governor talk about how our sanctions have set back their

economy, not just one year but decades. And you're right that the economic data has demonstrated that Russia has been able to manipulate that data in

a way that shows strength at this point. But fundamentally, you have to remember the beginning of this conflict. Anyone who had money in Russia was

trying to get that money out.

In fact, educated Russians, the most productive Russians are still leaving the country due to the impact of our sanctions and our export controls.

What Russia did in response is they put in place a set of draconian capital controls that made it impossible for anyone to get money out of the country

which has helped to prop up their economic data. Fundamentally, Russia over the last nine months has seen industrial production decline.

They've seen the smartest Russians leave the country. They've been forced to use their reserves to prop up their economy and to stimulate their

economy. Over the long term, Russia's economy is headed less towards becoming an open economy like those we find in Europe, and more towards

looking like Iran's economy because they have less access to the world due to the war that they are fighting in Ukraine.

QUEST: So, is part of the future direction for sanctions targeting third party, third country to prevent? I mean, what our correspondent yesterday

was saying, if we look at Moscow and Russia now, it's swamped with Chinese goods, replacing those which have been removed because of sanctions. So, is

the future to go after third parties and third countries?

ADEYEMO: So, it's one thing I want to make clear is that our sanctions have been in a place where what we've tried to do is target Russia and Russia's

ability to fight its war in Ukraine. And what we've told individuals and companies and other countries is that if you provide material support to

Russia in terms of their ability to fight this war, we're going to go after you. Today we announced a set of more than 250 sanctions.

And in that, were sanctions of 30 individuals and companies outside of Russia, who are providing just that material support. It's helping Russia

further its war. But one thing we haven't done is placed sanctions in any way that would impact the ability of food to be delivered to (INAUDIBLE) or

energy products because we know about the impact of those things on emerging markets and developing economies.

But while we have resisted doing anything like that, and tried to make sure that food is able to be accessed by people, Russia has taken steps to make

it hard for food to leave the Black Sea and have led -- and when Russia's invasion started energy prices went up having an impact on developing

economies. Fundamentally, actions like using Strategic Petroleum Reserve has helped to bring down energy prices not just here the United States but

around the world.

And we're committed to doing whatever we can to reduce costs for the people who are suffering in Russia's invasion.


QUEST: And as you look to the future, we head on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS a steel company CEO, the largest steel company in Ukraine and he says it's a

great regime, sanctions regime. But there's too much leakage. There's too many loopholes that Russia can manage to do. Now, I imagine you have some

of your brightest and best looking into closing those loopholes to tighten the regime.

ADEYEMO: We do. And in the package that was announced today, we went after what we would call sanctions evasion. And this has been attempts by Russia

and the Kremlin using their intelligence services to get around our sanctions. And a number of the companies and entities we went after today,

for those that were helping further Russia's attempts to do that. And the choice we're going to give companies and individuals around the world who

are helping Russia to get around our sanctions, you can either choose to do business with Russia which is a small economy that's getting smaller over


We're going to continue to do business with the United States, and the members of our coalition which represent 50 percent of a global economy.

For most companies and individuals, that's going to be a clear choice.

QUEST: The difficulty becomes places like South Africa. And those countries where we want to keep them on board but we want to also enforce. That's the

tricky area.

ADEYEMO: And I think the thing to remember is that fundamentally, many of the decisions aren't being made by countries. They're being made by

businesses. What Russia is attempting to do is get access to goods and technology that they need to fight their war of choice in Ukraine. They get

that from individuals and companies within these countries. Those companies within these countries be at South Africa or any country around the world.

They have to make decisions about where they want to do business. Who they want to do business with Russia. A small economy that's getting smaller

were with the members of our coalition which represent 50 percent of the global economy. Fundamentally, what we've made clear is that we're going to

take actions to go after companies and individuals who provide material support Russia going forward.

And on the other hand, we're committed to helping those countries who are struggling, due to the higher food prices and higher energy prices that

have been caused by Russia's war of -- aggression in Ukraine.


QUEST: U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary. The U.S. has announced another $2 billion in military aid for Ukraine. The Pentagon says it includes rocket

launchers, drones, artillery, and ammunition. That defense secretary of the U.S. Lloyd Austin says the country will stand by Ukraine for as long as it

takes. Some Republican lawmakers have questioned that commitment and may use the party's slim House majority to block some of the aid.

John Garamendi is U.S. congressman from California. Member of the Armed Services Committee who has recently visiting the Polish border with

Ukraine. He joins me from the magnificent state of California. Sir, grateful to have you on the program tonight. Look, I know where they come

from this sort of anti -- they basically say we're not against helping Ukraine, but we're not giving them a blank check either. They have a valid


REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D-CA): Well, they've never had a blank check. These folks that are -- I don't know mouthing off right now. Really don't care to

understand that never had a blank check. Each and every one of the appropriations is very, very carefully analyzed. Often, they find -- the

same people are complaining that we're not sending enough equipment fast enough. But reality is that the equipment is being sent forward, as needed.

And as can be used usefully by the Ukrainians. That is their properly trained, they can properly maintain the equipment and use it at the

battlefield. What we did on our journey just a week ago was to check it out. To make sure that the equipment was getting through, that the

munitions were getting through, the artillery and all of the other. And in fact, they are from the arsenals in the United States all the way to


QUEST: So, the way forward. Now, for example, today, the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, has been talking about -- basically taking a quantum

leap forward, providing Ukraine with armaments and weaponry that's just going to knock this thing on the head once and for all. Eventually, you're

going to have the question of plains, you're going to have the question of much greater military issuance. Are you prepared to go there?

GARAMENDI: Well, step by step. That's exactly what's been happening. And take a look at the success that the Ukrainians have had from the very

beginning of this. It was the missiles, the Javelin missiles, the stinger missiles that really together with a well-trained, well-prepared Ukrainian

Army which NATO and particularly the United States National Guard had been training the Ukrainians for 2014.


They use that to great effect. And as the war has proceeded, the equipment is flown into Ukraine, not only from the United States, but also from the

United Kingdom and the NATO countries. As could be useful, if that particular junction of the war. You're quite correct. It can pressure --

the pressure for the F-16 teens continues on. However, in the Eastern European and NATO countries, there are still Soviet Union makes that are

available and wouldn't be moved forward when those countries are -- or feel that they have the backup that is new, more modern planes being available.

So yes. And by the way, the tanks are flowing in too.

QUEST: And final question, sir. The -- I did some back of envelope numbers. It's not totally accurate but it's close enough. 70 -- the U.S. has

provided about $77 billion worth of aid in an economy worth $23.2 trillion. So, it's less than two-tenths of one percent. Probably 1-1/2, point one-

five. Do you think this is an argument you need to make to the American people who may be hear these very large numbers and think actually, this is

extremely deleterious to the U.S. economy.

In actual fact, it's not even the rounding error. And this is an argument that needs to be made to keep people on side.

GARAMENDI: I'm going to record what you said and I'm going to play it instead of my own words, it cannot be more accurate. This is not even a

rounding area error. It is a very small part. Actually, the actual military aid is less than 20 billion. Other aid as certainly to deal with the

refugee issues as well as to provide direct support to the Ukrainian economy. The numbers fluctuate, you're there, it is not a significant


Keep in mind that the U.S. military is appropriated every year over $800 billion a year. And so, for the U.S. military, the 18 billion, 17 billion

of military is very, very small, although it is very, very important equipment because it is our ammunition stock. I should also point out the

NATO is doing its share also. All of the NATO countries, they're chipping in, they're providing support similar and in many cases, a very much larger

part of their total economy.

GARAMENDI: Sir, I'm grateful for your time. We will talk more as these progresses. And as your schedule allows. Thank you, sir, for joining us


GARAMENDI: Thank you.

QUEST: QUEST MEANS BUSINESS coming up. Hopes of a new era in Nigeria. Now the country is preparing for a weekend presidential election. We know

there'll be a change in power but who's going to win? QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.



QUEST: Whether it's blogging music design, the creative economy as we all know is a true engine of growth for any country. Which is why Dubai is

emerging as a new hub for arts and culture and attracting global creators with incentives to settle there.

Kim Kelaita explains in our latest edition of Think Big.


ZAHRA ABDALLA, FOOD BLOGGER: Today I'm going to show you how to make a delicious gnocchi with pumpkin sauce --

KIM KELAITA, CNN INTERNATIONAL REPORTER (voice over): Zara Abdalla is one of many creatives who've made a name for themselves in Dubai.

(INAUDIBLE) studio. Is the kitchen always in studio lights camera action?

ABDALLA: Pretty much, pretty much.

KELAITA: In 2020, she was one of 70,000 people working in the city's creative fields. A number Dubai wants to double by 2025 as part of a new

strategy designed to diversify its economy.


Dubai is to create this pool of talent. Make sure that this talent is educated, has everything that it requires to run its business and then this

transforms into healthy businesses. That in the future will actually contribute positively to our economy.

KELAITA: The creative economy is one of the world's fastest growing sectors. In 2022, the United Nations reported that it accounts for 3.1

percent of global GDP. Recognizing this potential Dubai's new policy introduced a special cultural golden visa to grant those like Zahra long-

term residency to cultivate their careers in the Emirates.

BADRI: The Golden visa allows you security. It allows you to stay within the city for 10 years. It ensures sustainability for your business.

ABDALLA: I always felt like this is a transitionary city and after we got the golden visa, I truly feel that Dubai is home.

KELAITA: to replicate that feeling of home for those abroad, this new scheme also helps establish new hubs to entice foreign talent and

investment. The industrial area of Al Quoz for example is being revamped.

BADRI: When we create a platform like Al Quoz Creative zone that allows people to come and create. It allows for jobs in the manufacturing sector.

KELAITA: One entrepreneur drawn in by this growing artistic community is Kwame Mintah as the co-founder of FTA Gallery in Al Quoz, he sees firsthand

how the city's action plan is changing the world's perception of Dubai.

KWAME MINTAH, CO-FOUNDER EFIE GALLERY: It's like a vehicle so the guy acts as a vehicle between artists and the creative economy here in Dubai. When

an artist wants to become international previously (INAUDIBLE) was to go to Europe or to go to America. But now the Middle East has really opened up

its areas and its landscape as a destination artist want to exhibit in.

KELAITA: As the city works to raise its creative sectors GDP contribution to five percent by 2025. Dubai-based creators like Zahra can only benefit

from the policies turning the Emirates into an international hub for creativity.

ABDALLA: Giving us the space to thrive and feel like you are part of the tapestry. It's really exciting to see everyone's celebrate it. From the

doctors and lawyers and entrepreneurs to the students and artists and people who traditionally wouldn't have been celebrated in this part of the



QUEST: Coming up. Nigeria is bracing itself for major presidential election. Polls opening just hours.



QUEST: In a matter of hours. Polling will open in Nigeria. It's very important presidential election because for the first time in more than 20

years, no military leaders are on the ballot and the existing president, his time -- is time limited. Voting no doubt will be brisk, as it always is

in Nigeria with three main candidates Bola Tinubu, Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar. Now Obi under the lesser-known Labour Party. It is a rare third

contender. Economies are huge issue.

The country has suffered inflation, unemployment, corruption. And of course, the object is to see if a new leader can change things. Larry

Madowo is watching developments. He's in Lagos. I mean, one goes into an election with great hope, after all the people the majesty, people will

have their say but the cynicism of the ability to affect change in Nigeria must be enormous amongst the electorate.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is enormous because they've been consistently disappointed by generations of leaders since 1999 when Nigeria

returned to democratic rule. It's not been good. That's the thing (INAUDIBLE) view. And that is why in this election for the first time, we

have three men, one of whom could be the next president of Nigeria, the incumbent parties Bola Tinubu in his seven days.

The main opposition PDP's candidate Atiku Abubakar also in his seven days and the third horse in this race, the younger man, 61-year-old Peter Obi

who's energized a lot of young people that are excited about him because they want all been changed with this country. The litany of problems,

Richard, you mentioned doesn't even include last few weeks were a major cash shortage and a major gasoline shortage has led to chaotic scenes,

outside banks and outside gas stations as people are just trying to fill up or get a few Naira after the central bank decided to demonetize higher

denomination notes.

But there was not enough supply and give people six weeks to comply. So, it's all writing on who becomes president in the election tomorrow. So,

when we know who the next president is? Don't ask Electoral Commission.


MAHMOOD YAKUBU, CHAIRPERSON, INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION: Asking how soon we expect results of election to be declared after polling.

I just want to say that will ensure that it is done speaking, but I can't put a finger on the number of days or number of hours it will take but it

will be done speaking.


MADOWO: Richard, Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation and Africa's largest economy but also maybe Africa's most disappointing. A good example

is, when oil prices rose last year after Russia invaded Ukraine. Nigeria didn't benefit because, in fact, oil output fell to a 40-year low. Up to 20

percent of the oil that's produced here in Nigeria, the crude is just stolen, straight up.

QUEST: Larry, final question. When we hear these results in a sneeze speedily put together results over the next few days and weeks. Can you

just tell us, is it generally considered that elections are free and fair in the way they are managed?

MADOWO: In general terms, yes. It comes down to the vet are specific instances across this nation which is massive than 93 million registered

voters in this election.


That's more than the next 14 West African nations combined. And the further away you are from Abuja and Lagos the more likely that some voters are open

to getting manipulated or getting bots. This election requires a lot of money which is why the two main parties, the PDP and the APC stand the

strongest chances because they have a nationwide machinery. They have people in every part of Nigeria that can -- when necessary, even pay voters

to vote for his particular candidate.

But Nigeria (INAUDIBLE) a lot of technology in the selection to make sure it's transparent, so the outcome will generally represent the views of the

people, even though ethnicity and religion are two key factors in determining who becomes the president of the country.

QUEST: Larry, you'll watch the results, you'll bring us to them. Thank you very much. The Fed's preferred inflation gauge came in higher than

expected. PCE grows 5.4 from a year ago. Look at the Dow, I need to update you there. It's been all day. It's off about 350 odd points. Morgan Stanley

-- or no, J.P. Morgan, I beg your pardon, is up about one percent. Broad losses otherwise. Boeing's off the most, down 4-1/2 percent as its

temporarily halting deliveries of the Dreamliner.

Those are the markets. I'll have our profitable moment after the break.


QUEST: Tonight's profitable moment on the anniversary of the Ukraine invasion. Whenever you hear that this country or that country, the E.U.,

U.S. NATO whatever is giving X billion, 15 billion, four billion, two billion. G7, 39 billion to Ukraine. You're apt to think, gosh, that's a lot

of money. My word. I mean, it's such a -- what's about it (INAUDIBLE) but the reality is the summons we're giving at the moment are basically

rounding errors.

In economies that are worth trillions. We are giving literally -- I'll give you an example. The U.S. economy is worth $23 trillion dollars. USAID is

$76 billion. If you aggregate it all up, we are roughly giving two-tenths of one percent. Two-tenths of one percent either military or financial aid

to Ukraine, which is a small price some would argue to pay for freedom and democracy. Others may have a different view.

My point here is, let's not get hung up on what seems like large numbers. The reality is, it's still very small amounts that developed economies can

easily and well afford.


And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I'm Richard Quest in New York. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable. We'll be

in Seoul in South Korea next week.