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Quest Means Business

Glitches And Delays Mar Vote Count In Nigeria National Election; EU And UK Reach Deal On Post-Brexit Trade Rules; Europe's Digital Infrastructure; U.S. Treasury Secretary Yellen Makes Surprise Visit To Kyiv; Wizz Air Suspends Flights To Moldovan Capital; Yellen: West Is Depriving Moscow Of Military Supplies. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired February 27, 2023 - 15:00:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN HOST: It is an upbeat start to the week for stocks and we have a look at the big board. You can see there the Dow Jones just under 90

points or so. These are the markets and these are the main events.

A surprise as the votes trickle in Nigeria. Peter Obi winning Lagos State.

The UK and the EU strike a new trade deal over Northern Ireland.

Janet Yellen warns of severe consequences of China flout sanctions.

Live from London, it is Monday, February 27. I am Isa Soares, in for Richard Quest, and I too mean business.

Good evening, everyone.

Tonight, Nigeria's former President says its election process has been corrupted. In an open letter, Olusegun Obasanjo warns of dangerous disaster

if issues are not rectified. The polls closed two days ago and election officials are under fire for how the vote was conducted and the long wait

for the results.

Many voters say they faced intimidation on Saturday. The military had to step in at one polling station after it was attacked. There is still no

clear leader among the three main candidates you're seeing there on your screen. Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar, and Peter Obi.

Obi supporters appear to have pulled off an upset though in Lagos State. Results show the third party candidate winning there. Lagos is a

traditional stronghold for Tinubu.

Larry Madowo is in Lagos for us this hour. And Larry, let's start off with what we heard from the former President Obasanjo, some strong words from

him saying that the election process has been corrupted.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Isa. That's an extraordinary statement coming from former President Olusegun Obasanjo, essentially

saying that the Electoral Commission here in Nigeria needs to repeat the elections in any parts of the country that were disrupted by violence,

where officials failed to show up or where in some cases thugs just appeared and destroyed ballot materials.

This election is increasingly coming in for criticism from various quarters, from voters who feel disenfranchised, from former President

Olusegun Obasanjo, and even from the European Union. The observer group here says that this election suffered from a lack of transparency and

operational failures, and we saw some of those operational failures and people here in Lagos, a cosmopolitan part of the country where it is easy

to get to, where officials just did not show up, and people were outraged.


(PEOPLE protesting.)

MADOWO (voice over): Fighting for the right to vote in what could be Nigeria's tightest presidential election ever.

(on camera): People are getting pretty agitated here. It's day two since the election, they should have voted, but they didn't get to vote. It's

become so hectic that the military has been called in to try and keep the peace.

(voice over): The Nigerian Army rolled into a neighborhood in Lagos, where voters at two polling units spent all of Election Day waiting to cast their

ballots, but poll officials did not show up.

They returned the next day and waited several more hours growing impatient as the chance to vote slowly slipped away.

ABIGAIL SAMUEL, LAGOS VOTER: Nothing works in this country. Nothing works in this country. There is no security. There is no good hospitals. There

are neither good roads, nothing was -- the educational system is in shambles, and for was what? Youth are coming out to vote and we are being

disenfranchised in broad daylight. It is heartbreaking.

MADOWO (voice over): Abigail Samuel's pain is shared by other young people who registered to vote in record numbers in this election, hoping to reboot

a deeply dysfunctional Nigeria.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I must fight for my daughter, please. I must fight for my daughter's breath of life, she must go to better school. I am tired. I

am tired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are tired. We are tired. I am tired of seeing this crap.

MADOWO (voice over): Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission say they are already telling the results of the area without the

missing polling units.

FOLAYEMI BUKOLA BISOYE, ELECTORAL OFFICER, ETI-OSA FEDERAL CONSTITUENCY: You know, we use Constitution. Anywhere there is violence, there's no way

to vote again.

MADOWO (voice over): But CNN saw no signs of violence at the polling units, where election workers did not show up as people cast ballots just steps


(on camera): So there will be no other election in these places where the election didn't take place.

BISOYE: There is no other election again. The is no other election. The election we want to do is what we've done.

MADOWO (voice over): The disenfranchised voters see this as an attempt to deny the preferred candidate's crucial votes by the establishment in an

election without an incumbent President or a former military leader running, it was seen as a fresh start for Nigeria.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are suffering in this country. We are suffering. It is very bad.

I want new good leaders. I don't want rulers.


MADOWO (voice over): Musician Banky W stood on the main opposition, PDP's tickets in the Lagos area with the affected voters.

BANKY WELLINGTON, PDP CANDIDATE, ETI-OSA FEDERAL CONSTITUENCY: They understand that their votes are their voices and they want their voices to

be heard.

So when it starts to seem like there's allegedly some sort of intentional suppression of that voice, people get frustrated, people get agitated.

MADOWO (voice over): Nigeria's agitated youth could be a powder keg at risk of exploding if enough of them feel that their voices were not heard in the

most significant election of their lifetime.

(on camera): What did voting mean to you?

SAMUEL: It's my choice, and I did my best. That's what it means to me.


MADOWO (on camera): Nigerians are tired of this crap. That's what that young man said, and what is the crap he is referring to? That there's so

much dysfunction in this country, so many systemic failures that one common prayer in Nigeria is, "May Nigeria not happen to you." Because they

understand that if Nigeria happens to you, even money cannot insulate you from it.

And that's why so many young people came out to vote, excited by the prospect of changing the country in an election where for the first time,

there is no former military leader running and there is no incumbent running. It was a fresh start for the country, and yet, you see the

situation where so many voters feel disenfranchised, and they're accusing the Electoral Commission of colluding with the government to deny them, to

suppress their vote, and essentially vote for a lot of people who they didn't choose to rule them and that's a recipe for disaster because we've

seen this once before, during the AMSA's movement is when Nigerian young people go out onto the streets and said, "Enough is enough."

SOARES: So many crises. That's for sure. Larry Madowo, I know you'll stay on top of this story for us. Appreciate it. Thank you very much, Larry.

I want to bring in Kingsley Moghalu. He is the President of the Institute for Governance and Economic Transformation, a former Nigerian presidential

candidate. He joins me now from Washington.

Kingsley, really great to have you on the show, important discussion. I'm sure you heard there the report from our Larry Madowo. Let me get first

your reaction to what we heard in the last what -- six, seven minutes or so from former President Obasanjo who says the election process has been

corrupted. Your reaction?


It's disappointing, that there have been significant operational failures by INEC, the electoral plan. I must praise the young people of Nigeria, the

youth of Nigeria who have so much looked forward to this election to be able to express themselves perhaps for the first time, and you know, feel

that they have elected their President in a free and fair election.

What we see in Nigeria every four years, unfortunately, is that INEC claims to be ready for elections, but at the end of the day, you have very serious

glitches that begin to undermine confidence. I am aware that the European Union, the American observers, and various other international observers

have expressed some reservations about the transparency of the process, and I think that's very unfortunate.

And now we have former President Olusegun Obasanjo chiming in and that's quite a weighty voice indeed.

SOARES: Yeah. And it's not just, you know, people -- it is not just the glitches, I should say, it's actually electoral officials not showing up,

violence, too. Obasanjo also said in the last seven minutes or so, the Electoral Commission should repeat polls in locations where there was

violence, where officials failed to show. What do you think, Kingsley?

MOGHALU: I think that's a wise suggestion, and INEC might be or would be wise to very seriously consider that in order to shore up confidence in its

conduct of the elections, if, as it claims, these things were simply just failures that were operational are nothing more, then they should be able

to repeat some of the elections because if a large swathe of -- or if there is -- if there are problems in many, many parts of the country, that could

undermine the legitimacy or the confidence that people place in whatever the ultimate results that are announced.

SOARES: Obasanjo said that the President, the current President -- Buhari - - President Muhammadu Buhari should intervene, do you think he ought to intervene?

MOGHALU: Well, you know, the Independent National Electoral Commission is officially supposed to be independent. Many people of course, do not

believe so, yes, do not believe that. And in a country where the institutions are weak, not strong. Many people do believe that a former --

a sitting President certainly can for purposes of National Security, for example, suggest to INEC that they may take this kind of line of action.


SOARES: I mean we have so many questions. The most important one I think is why did the Electoral Commission get this so wrong, you know, voter blight

and not just by delays, but violence, those not showing up? I mean, how much was incompetence? How much was voter suppression here?

MOGHALU: It's a large mix of both, to be very, very honest.

First of all, elections in Nigeria run in the usual political way. The elections are huge logistical operation. Nigeria should take a professional

project management and risk management approach to running elections where in this case, 87 million people collected voters' registration cards, but

they never do that.

So we see a huge failure of institutions in Nigeria, and it is always at the last minute there will be huge operational failures, and then you'll

just be having excuses. And of course, there was voter suppression.

Now, we know that you know, one of the major surprises in this operation or in this election was the performance of the third force, which is the

Labour Party, Peter Obi, and we saw the upsets they recorded in Lagos, you know, but we also know that a lot of voter suppression went down in Lagos,

in Port Harcourt and River State and reports also we have it in Imo State. So these are very significant shortcomings and they should not be


The security forces came in, a lot of Army people were moved into Lagos, but they were not properly positioned to be able to stop or prevent these

voter suppression exercises.

SOARES: Kingsley Moghalu, we appreciate you taking time to speak to us. Thanks very much, Kingsley.

MOGHALU: Thank you for having me.

SOARES: Now, Nigeria's Finance Minister told CNN, the President Muhammadu Buhari has done a good job stabilizing the economy amid a raft of crises.

Speaking to Julia Chatterley earlier today, Zanab Ahmed said the election had been free and fair, and that she is not concerned with the delays. Have

a listen.


ZANAB AHMED, NIGERIAN FINANCE MINISTER: There will always be incidents in elections. I think this one was more peaceful, is more peaceful than even

previous elections and we are very positive that between today and tomorrow, the results will be coming on and we will know who the winners


JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR, "FIRST MOVE": Yes, and I think one of the biggest challenges, certainly that I've heard is just trust in

general in institutions has been compromised by the challenges that many nations, all nations have faced over the last three or four years in


What's your -- the government, President Buhari's message to those that are waiting about trust in the result?

AHMED: So President's message was very clear. Go and vote the candidate that you want, the candidate that you feel will deliver what is best for

you and for the country, and that's what we hope will happen in this elections that have been quite free and fair so far.

Nigeria, like most countries of the world have been faced with this polycrises from crash in crude oil price in the case of Nigeria, to the

COVID-19 pandemic, to the Korean war. It is surging crisis after crisis, one after the other, in fact, triple crisis at the same time, including

climate crisis that we're also faced in Nigeria, so it's been very difficult times for the country, but also very difficult times for the

world in general.


SOARES: The Nigerian Finance Minister.

Well, greenlight for a new deal to resolve one of the last sticking points of Brexit. The EU and the UK agree new trade rules for Northern Ireland

with red and green lanes at the heart of it, I'll explain after the break.



SOARES: The EU and UK have struck a new deal on the Northern Ireland Protocol. Remember that?

EU chief, Ursula von der Leyen is in Britain for the announcement and met King Charles III at Windsor Castle, as you can see there earlier. She and

British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak detailed the terms of the agreement earlier which aims to resolve one of the thorniest legacies of Brexit.

Have a listen.


RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Today's agreement delivers smooth flowing trade within the whole United Kingdom. It protects Northern

Ireland's place in our union and safeguard sovereignty for the people of Northern Ireland.

URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: This new framework will allow us to begin a new chapter. It provides for long lasting

solutions that both of us are confident will work for all people and businesses in Northern Ireland.


SOARES: So what does this deal involve? Really red and green lanes at the heart of this plan you heard there.

British goods entering and staying in Northern Ireland will use a green lane as you can see here at Customs and they are not checked. British goods

here traveling via Northern Ireland on to the Republic of Ireland in the EU will use the red line, hence, they will face checks. They will not face any


CNN international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson joins me now from London.

So Nic, just looking here at the plan, it seems so simple. Why has it taken so long?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: There has been a lack of trust between the EU and the UK and it has taken a long time and perhaps

getting the right Prime Minister at the right time to take the political steps that have been necessary to find compromise and also from the EU


You know, for the British Prime Minister, this is a big step. It is partly resetting and improving relations with the EU while there are big issues

like Ukraine and climate change that both the EU and the UK need to work together on, but it is also the British Prime Minister who will be mindful

that this will also improve relations with the United States, with the White House, with President Biden's administration who has said that he

wanted to see this issue of the protocols and the stalled power sharing assembly in Northern Ireland all resolved.

So what the Prime Minister has done here is sort of try to get this balance with the EU, make the compromises there, but not make too many compromises

so that he doesn't alienate the Unionist parties in Northern Ireland, specifically the Democratic Unionist Party, who are the party that are

holding out and have said that the Northern Ireland protocols and a Brexit deal wasn't right, and that, therefore, they couldn't go into the power

sharing government.

And really, that's the next part of the equation here, and that is where things move to. Now, what decision will the Democratic Unionist Party take

about this New Windsor framework? And this we heard in Parliament a little time ago from the leader of that party, Jeffrey Donaldson saying, look, we

still have some concerns about it.

Yes, the Customs part may be resolved, but there is this concern about EU law and he said that that there are areas where EU law will reach into

businesses and that he is still not potentially fully satisfied with it. He is going to have to -- his party will have to take a full read of the

framework to see precisely where the detail lies.

But that I think is -- that I think is sort of where it is at the moment waiting for the Northern Ireland parties to come back.


SOARES: So the DUP closely checking the details here. What about those within Rishi Sunak's party? The Conservative Party? I mean, how much is

this riding -- I mean, a major test really for Rishi Sunak. How much pressure is there on him at this point?

ROBERTSON: Yes, and that was interesting to listen to him in Parliament speaking before because you're listening to see how and watching for the

response of his party, and he touched on some of those sort of key Brexit type words that the hardline Brexiteers in his party really hold dear, such

as "take back control" and the issue of English sausages being able to be for sale without big customs checks and controls in Northern Ireland and

that got real cheers from within his party.

So you got a sense that there was substantial support within the Conservative Party, but he also thought right at the end of his laying out

the details of this new framework that one piece of legislation that the Conservative Party was pushing through Parliament that would have said it

would have abrogated the terms and broken the terms of the international agreement, the protocol, the Brexit agreement, he said that was now going

to be pushed to one side and dropped, and that did bring not boos, but you could hear a sort of an audible pushback from some members of his party.

So it's still in a balance. It is still not clear if he has really won the full support of his party and I think perhaps, he accepts there are a few

people hardline Brexiteers, who won't find his compromises with the EU pure enough for their vision of Brexit.

SOARES: Nic Robertson, thanks very much. Nic, appreciate it.

Well, staying in Europe, telecoms and Big Tech are fighting over who should pay for the upgrade to 5G and broadband. It's a hot topic at the Mobile

World Congress in Barcelona this week.

CNN's Anna Stewart is there. She spoke to EU Commissioner Thierry Breton about the issue.


ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Well, Mobile World Congress this year isn't just about the big unveil some of the biggest, the latest smartphones,

tablets, VR headsets, it is also about what's happening on the main stage because a battle has been brewing now for months.

It really started in earnest though last week when in Brussels, the EU Commissioner Thierry Breton announced a consultation, which essentially is

looking at who should pay for the future of high speed internet, which, after all, will underpin all the new technologies that Europe would like to

see thrive in the market -- artificial intelligence, virtual reality, Web 3. And according to the GSMA, which represents telecoms companies, and of

course, hosts this big event, $1.5 trillion is needed in investment between now and 2030.

Well, telecom companies, they cannot foot that bill alone. The CEO of Orange says that nearly half of telecom CEOs, and this is a report from

PwC, are worried that they will not survive for another decade.


CHRISTEL HEYDEMANN, CEO, ORANGE: In order to achieve the EU digital decade, we do believe that the fair and direct contribution to network costs will

help create the better conditions we urgently need to keep investing privately, rather than requiring public funding.


STEWART: So the big question is, who should pay? Should Big Tech -- Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Google -- should they be paying for the future of

the Internet given they drive so much traffic? Well, Meta for one says, certainly not.

In a statement released last week, they said that they already invest tens of billions of dollars in their apps and platforms each year to facilitate

the hosting of content, and they say this is creating enormous value flows across the digital ecosystem.

Well, I did catch up with Thierry Breton, the EU Commissioner who is heading up this consultation, and I asked him whether this is a fight

between telcos and tech, he says not. He says it's all about collaboration.


THIERRY BRETON, EU COMMISSIONER: Let's look at the future. What do we want to build together? I know it will not be the same network than today. For

the platform to be able to deliver their services to the consumer, for the telco to be able to do the same, and again, for the benefit of our



STEWART: Of course, consumers may actually end up spending more in Europe if tech firms face an Internet Tax and that gets passed on. Well, there is

plenty for the telcos and Big Tech to argue about over the next 12 weeks, because that's how long this consultation will take.

Anna Stewart, CNN from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.


SOARES: Thank you, Anna.

Well, the Italian motorbike company, Ducati says it's coming off its best year yet. It says it delivered more than 60,000 bikes, a company record to

do so. Ducati had to overcome supply chain issues.

Its inventory also fell to the lowest level in 20 years. The company has been expanding post pandemic to keep up really with skyrocketing sales. It

now has 821 dealers worldwide.


Jason Chinnock is the head of Ducati's US operations. He joins me now from California.

Jason, great to have you on the show, and what a strong start to the year. So talk us through what powered that growth?

JASON CHINNOCK, CEO, DUCATI NORTH AMERICA: Well, really, this is an interesting effect that we've experienced post pandemic and largely due to

the fact that a lot of our clients were looking for something to do with their time and so let's say some of the additional resources they had

available to them financially, which motorcycling was one of the things that they were able to experience in the great outdoors.

And we also recognize that a lot of people were looking when they were deciding that they were going to be in the world of motorcycling, into that

they decided that it was important that they went at the highest level. And this is where we come into play.

And the product that we've been bringing to market consistently over the last three, four years, even pre pandemic really gave us an opportunity to

be able to capitalize on what people were looking for and that is that top level experience in terms of style, sophistication, and performance.

SOARES: So then, you have a lot of people post pandemic wanting to have that connection with the great outdoors, seeking, obviously, your product.

But there were some challenges in terms of trying to get things on track -- supply chain issues. How did you really oversee that?

CHINNOCK: We approached this in a couple of different ways and one of the ways that we did was addressing the fact that a lot of our dealer network

used to have products available in stock on showroom floors. And when we saw that demand was basically outpacing supply, both from a matter of what

the clients were interested in. But also from some of the supply chain challenges that we were faced, we shifted to working with our clients in

getting pre sold orders for the product, which then allows them to basically plan their delivery of their motorcycle, and us do a better job

with our suppliers to be able to coordinate when we need those bikes for our market.

Despite all of that, all of that planning last year, we found ourselves in some of the -- some very challenging situations with as low as one-month

supply where we were returning our inventory a hundred percent every month for a few months. Now, it stabilized quite a bit, but we are now in a

position with the product availability where some motorcycles are readily available, while others are still some months out.

SOARES: So if I wanted a bike, how long would I have to wait here, Jason?

CHINNOCK: It depends on the product. But in some cases, you can walk into the showroom and for example, a Multistrada. In another cases, you're

looking at 60 to 90 days, while on let's say our top of the line limited product, we're actually even sold out for the entire production year.

SOARES: Oh, wow. Well, let's talk inflation and costs here, component costs. How much -- have they gone up? And did you have to pass that on, of

course, to customers? Is that something that you had to do?

CHINNOCK: It's definitely had an impact. I mean, obviously, not only in transportation costs that we experienced a couple of years ago, but just

raw materials in itself has been a significant impact on our business.

And so those costs have had to come with some price increases over the course of the last couple of years, but the good news is, is that even

despite those increases in price, we're continuing to invest into making sure that there is value that comes from those price increases by adding

additional technology and features that our clients are looking for.

So while that is getting passed on, I don't really necessarily see it as something that would be a surprise to anybody considering this type of


SOARES: Indeed, it is something that we have heard throughout in the last few months here.

Jason Chinnock, really appreciate it. Thanks very much, Jason.

Well, the US Treasury warns China of serious consequences if it would provide Russia with lethal aid. Janet Yellen made the comments in an

exclusive interview with CNN's Melissa Bell in a surprise visit Kyiv, that is next.



SOARES: The U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned China against sending lethal aid to Russia. Speaking exclusively to CNN's Melissa Bell

during a surprise trip to Kyiv. Yellen said any violations of its sanctions on Moscow would have "severe consequences." Secretary Yellen met with

Ukraine's President Zelenskyy during her trip. You can see there. And reaffirm Washington's financial support.

U.S. is pledging more than $10 billion in aid by September, more than one quarter of Ukraine's expected budget deficit this year. Melissa Bell joins

me now with more details on this interview. So, Melissa, what else did Janet Yellen tell you?

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Really how move she was, Isa. Coming here in person and seeing for herself the heroism of the Ukrainian people

and what all that American support has helped to achieve. It is now more than $50 billion overall that have been sent to Ukraine to help it achieve

what it has so far. And what Treasury Secretary Yellen said was that that was going to continue for as long as it took.


JANET YELLEN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: Meeting the people, you can see all that they have suffered.

BELL (voice over): The objects have been the message from the President himself to the Secretary of State and now to the Treasury Secretary.

Unwavering American support delivered in person to Kyiv.


BELL: From a divided and testy G20 in Bangalore, where she chastised the Russian delegation, Janet Yellen came to see for herself, the impact so far

of about $50 billion of American aid to Ukraine.

BELL (on camera): The comments she made to the Russian officials in India, do you get a sense of Moscow's listening?

YELLEN: I think they are listening. I think that we have imposed very serious costs on them. And they hear from not only the United States but a

large coalition, many allies, the moral outrage that we feel and they see our determination to make them pay a price.

BELL (voice over): On the Treasury Secretary's tour an invincibility point where warmth and power are provided when neither are available. Here

Ukrainians shelter, even as allies try to punish Moscow.

YELLEN: We're depriving them of the inputs that they need to replace the military equipment that they have lost to have a modern society into

support their defense establishment, their -- for their current war needs. They're turning to suppliers of last resort like Iran and North Korea.


BELL (on camera): U.S. administration believes that China may be considering delivering lethal aid to Russia. What would the consequences be

for Beijing?

YELLEN: We have been extremely clear that we will not tolerate systematic violations by any country of the sanctions that we've put in place that are

intended to deprive Russia of access to military equipment to wage this war. And we've been very clear with the Chinese government and have made

clear to Chinese firms and financial institutions that the consequences of violating those sanctions would be very severe.

BELL: I'd like to move on to more domestic matters, if I may. We've seen the fight against inflation take a hit. PCE hitting 5.4 percent. Do you

believe at this stage that the Fed is behind the curve or that a soft landing is still the most likely scenario?

YELLEN: I personally believe that it's possible to bring inflation down, while maintaining. We have a very strong labor market, I think we can

maintain it. I would say so far so good. Obviously, there were risks. And the global situation we face is very uncertain, there can be shocks from

it. But look, inflation still is too high. But generally, if you look over the last year, inflation has been coming down.

BELL (voice over): But back home, the cost of the war in Ukraine, including its inflationary pressures was more contentious. As the war enters its

second year and with an American election year beginning to loom, there are questions about how long the West's unwavering support can last.

YELLEN: So, I think there is broad support among our allies. Many members of Congress have been to Kyiv to visit and see firsthand as I've seeing

today, the heroism of the Ukrainians. And I think all of us are inspired by that. And we'll be ready to support it for as long as it takes.

BELL: So, for now, a further pledge of the support that's allowed Ukraine to come this far.


Now Isa, of course, Secretary Yellen's visit comes just a few days after Ukraine marked the end of the first year of this war. And one of the

questions is how long that supports going to last. And as we enter the second year, I asked her whether the American support would continue until

such point has some kind of negotiated settlement would be sought. She explained that that was not a matter for the allies with the United States,

it would be up to Ukrainians.

And she said there was no sign that either Russia nor Ukraine were at the point where they were ready to sit down and negotiate and that therefore,

American support would continue whatever happened until the bitter end, Isa.

SOARES: Fascinating interview there. Thanks very much. Melissa Bell for us this hour in Kyiv.

Well, Latvia's foreign minister told me, Europe isn't doing enough to arm Ukraine. It comes amid a growing debate about whether to provide Keith with

fighter jets. Edgars Rinkevics said the E.U. needs to better coordinate military aid.


EDGARS RINKEVICS, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, LATVIA: When we were having the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels last week, last Monday, we are

discussing about the kind of European initiative and probably for the European Union to have a joint procurement, joint financing, joint kind of

defense industry policy would be the right thing to do. So, from that point of view, no, we are not doing enough and that's an issue that we really

need to fix.


SOARES: And just in coming into CNN, the budget airline Wizz Air says it's suspending flights to the Moldovan capital of Chisinau. It said recent

developments have cause high but not imminent risk in the country's airspace. Tensions in Moldova are rising. The country's president has

accused Russia of using saboteurs to stoke unrest. We'll stay on top of that story for you.

U.S. markets are running out of steam. As we approach the close you can see the Dow there, I'm just going to say it's practically flat. We'll bring you

more after this.



SOARES: Hello. I'm Isa Soares. It is the dash to the closing bell and we watched just two minutes or so away. Wall Street is set to eke out some

gains as you can see here after its worst week of the year. The Dow we have a look just over 50 points or so. It's well off though its session high and

has been sliding in the last couple of hours. As you can see, if we compare it to the S&P and the NASDAQ, slightly better shape as you can see.

The Dow up almost 15 percent. You can see the S&P here just over a quarter of percent. NASDAQ doing slightly better here just over half of one


In terms of news there's been reports of intimidation, glitches and delays in Nigeria's national election there. In the last hour, Nigeria's former

president Olusegun Obasanjo said the country's election process has been corrupted. His words, speaking to me earlier former presidential candidate

Kingsley Moghalu said this election is deeply flawed. Have a listen.


KINGSLEY MOGHALU, FORMER NIGERIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Elections in Nigeria run in the usual political way. That elections are a huge

logistical operation. Nigeria should take a project, a professional project management and risk management approach to running elections where in this

case, 87 million people collected voters registration cards. But they never do that. So, we see a huge failure of institutions in Nigeria and it's

always at the last minute.


SOARES: We'll stay on top of that story for you. And if we look quickly at the Dow components. Caterpillar there leading the way up 1-1/2 percent.

Boeing rebounding more than one percent. J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs are also both higher.

Health stocks although as you can see there are lower. Merck is near the bottom down just over half of one percent. An E.U. regulator recommended

against a proving it's COVID pill. Walgreens is off more than what, if I can find (INAUDIBLE) want more than one percent.


Well, that is your dash to the bell. I'm Isa Soares. The closing bell should be ringing any moment on Wall Street. And there it is. And "THE

LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now. So, see you tomorrow. Bye-bye.