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CNN Live Event/Special
U.S. Delivers Written Response to Russia's Security Demands; U.S. Federal Reserve Keeps Interest Rates Near Zero for Now; U.K. Prime Minister Johnson Tells Parliament He Won't Resign; Majority of British Adults Think Boris Johnson Should Resign; U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Says U.S.' Written Response to Russia Has Been Delivered; Prince Andrew Denies Allegations of Sexual Abuse and Demands Jury Trial; Cuba Calls on U.S. to Normalize Relations; Dr. Anthony Fauci Touts Progress in Universal Coronavirus Vaccine; Strict COVID-19 Rules Present Big Hurdles for Olympians. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired January 26, 2022 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Welcome, I'm Larry Madowo in for HALA GORANI TONIGHT. Next move, Vladimir Putin, Russia has just received a long-awaited document that could determine the course of an extremely dangerous standoff with the west over the future of Ukraine and NATO. The U.S. Ambassador to Russia hand-delivered written answers to Moscow's security demands a short time ago.
What you see there is John Sullivan leaving the Russian Foreign Ministry. Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirms that as expected, the U.S. did not budge when it came to Ukraine's sovereignty and other core issues. But he says the document sets out a serious diplomatic path forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: We're not releasing the document publicly. Because we think a diplomacy has the best chance to succeed if we provide space for confidential talks. We hope and expect that Russia will have the same view and will take our proposal seriously.
I expect to speak to Foreign Minister Lavrov in the coming days after Moscow has had a chance to read the paper and is ready to discuss next steps. There should be no doubt about our seriousness of purpose when it comes to diplomacy and we're acting with equal focus and force to bolster Ukraine's defenses and prepare a swift united response to further Russian aggression.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADOWO: We want to begin our coverage tonight in Moscow. Nic Robertson joins us live. So, NATO has also delivered its written submissions to Russia, and like Secretary Blinken told us, Nic, they coordinated their responses, they mirror each other and their positions have been well known for a couple of weeks -- for a couple of months, actually. But one thing they both made clear is that NATO will maintain that open door policy. How is that likely to be received by Moscow, by the Kremlin?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, the Kremlin has made clear so far that it doesn't want the open door policy. It believes that's a red line. We don't know precisely what was said on some of the other issues like rolling back NATO's presence in Europe to 1997 levels. Certainly, the indications and the clarity that we've had from the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in the past has been very clear.
You know, Russia's demand that Bulgaria and Romania should throw out all the -- all the foreign troops there, as Russia says. Secretary Stoltenberg has said, look, we cannot have NATO one tier and NATO second-tier states. That's not possible. And both Blinken and Jens Stoltenberg have said in their press conferences that they have stuck to what they've said publicly in that written response.
So, it's clear that there are things in that written response that are not going to be palatable to Russia, and the open door is one of them. But I think Jens Stoltenberg perhaps gave the most open discourse on what else there could be in there that could be of interest to Russia, not only working on sort of transparency, reciprocity when it comes to training and how many troops work on the cyber-sphere, work on the space military threats-sphere, work on the sphere of missile controls in Europe, both short and medium-range.
Work on nuclear arms agreement. So, a lot of scope to address, NATO, European and American concerns. But things that won't also -- NATO believes and United States believes that are concerns for Russia as well. So that's the area that they hope. Now, Secretary Blinken said, you know, this is not a written proposal for a negotiation. It's not an explicit proposal here. It is -- it is our ideas. So it does seem that they've really put the ball back in the Kremlin's court, and we haven't had the Kremlin's read on it.
But we do know what the foreign minister said earlier today, Sergey Lavrov. And he got a round of applause in the Duma when he said this. They say that if it doesn't meet our standards, our standards that they're not willing to work with us, that the language is aggressive, then we'll take the appropriate measures we see fit. That got a round of applause. in the Duma because in the past, that take on the measures has implied military and legal means, they've said.
MADOWO: And so that interpretation of appropriate measures will be one that people will be watching very closely. Nic Robertson for us in Moscow tonight. Thank you. Before the U.S. delivered its documents to Russia, Ukraine's foreign minister made clear that his government was on board, saying Kiev has no objection to the U.S. response. Let's bring in Sam Kiley now in Kiev. Obviously, Sam, Ukraine is completely outgunned by Russia. That is why all these diplomatic activity exists from the U.S. and its NATO allies, trying to make sure that Russia does not invade the smaller neighbor, sort of act like a bully.
But based on everything we've heard from Secretary Blinken and from Jens Stoltenberg speaking a short while ago, what is the likely Ukrainian response or take-away from all these statements we've heard?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Ukrainians will be very reassured, indeed. They were consulted. The United States has said that no doubt, the NATO too on the text of these written statements, that we're really not very different to what has been said diplomatically, verbally to Russia in the previous weeks. So, namely, that Russia or no other country gets to veto the decisions of a neighboring state or, indeed, a distant state, particularly when it comes to joining NATO.
But also, coming from NATO, a lot of detail in terms of stuff that was dressed up as opportunities going forward. As Nic was talking about, opportunities or offers to discuss training programs on both sides of the divide, if you like. Cyber issues, return to non-proliferation treaties, and so on. A lot of these really are basically saying to Russia, get back in line with where things were some years back before you invaded Ukraine.
So they won't be read as concessions at all by the Ukrainians, even in the broadest possible sense, let alone when it comes to the nation's future sovereignty in and of itself. And on top of that, of course, they've been reassured on a daily basis with pretty substantial deliveries of weapons coming in from -- recently from the United Kingdom, deliveries almost daily coming in from the United States, of significant tactical weapons.
The Czechs have recently announced they're going to be sending in a long-range heavy artillery ammunition, very substantial support coming in for the Ukrainians militarily in case it does come to some kind of conflict. But there is no doubt in the minds of the Ukrainians at the moment, they don't think it's imminent, they say. They don't see the force posture of the Russians quite yet. The full moment before an invasion.
So, they're slightly out of step with the imminent threat that's being described by the United States. But there is a real sense now that they -- all the different sides on the Ukrainian NATO, U.S. side of the debate, are very much in lock-step when it comes to the issues with Russia, and they've now put it down in writing. So really in the hands of how the Russians now move, what their move is next is unknown only probably to one Vladimir Putin. Larry.
MADOWO: All right, Sam Kiley for us In Kiev tonight, thank you. I want to bring in now, Nataliya Gumenyuk, she is a Ukrainian journalist and author who has done extensive reporting from Russian-annexed, Crimea. And Nataliya, thank you for coming to talk to us one more time. Considering everything we're reporting today over the past few days, it seems like NATO and its allies are beating the drums of war, that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent. Is that the same feeling shared by people in Ukraine, the people you're speaking to and how are they -- what is the spin on things?
NATALIYA GUMENYUK, UKRAINIAN JOURNALIST: So, the challenge of this naming the Russian threat is imminent is, of course, the risk that we would normalize it and accept it because it's so much in the press, so it's inevitable because it's anyway -- anyway will happen. And something which was unthinkable a couple of months ago. However, at the same time, looking at the results, we know from the experience that the weakness, it's what provoked Russia.
So if Ukraine is unprepared, if you know, Ukrainian side is not on the alert, and the international partners are not united, that could have been an option. You know, especially during the Christmas holidays or you know, when there was not so much buzz. So, it's a difficult situation, because there are school of thoughts who are thinking that, indeed, this effort which is there, and in particular, very -- the real fact and the real deeds like providing Ukrainians with some of the defense weapons, and I again, say, it's defense weapon. Ukrainians do not want this war.
They do not want to, you know, fight Russia or do something like that. So that works probably as well. But there should be limit when we describe it as if it would happen anyways.
MADOWO: Obviously, in the back of everybody's mind is the Russian annexation of Crimea. You have reported extensively from Crimea and you know the impact of Russian invasion, what that does in Ukraine. What should people know about what impact this has had on Ukrainian society, because the Ukrainian foreign minister, a few days ago said that Ukrainians have paid heavily, a heavy price of 15,000 lives, and that's why there's this patriotic sentiment in the country.
GUMENYUK: And again, thanks for this question because it's often in the press, because if we speak about Crimea, we're snow peaking about 2 million people living in the territory -- in occupied territory where there are no political freedoms.
Where there are arrests or arbitrary arrests of, you know, a lot of people had a need to move out of Crimea, in particularly ethnic minorities such as Crimean Tatars. If we're speaking about the Donbas, we're speaking about more like 3 million people living in the territory of where more or less war lords are running the place. So -- and especially during like pandemics and these times, there's a real danger and the difficult position for the lives.
So when we're speaking about the -- so now, for instance, when I'm talking to the people in -- living closer to the conflict line, what they feel, and i think that they still feel calm. They know what is the threat. They -- you know, it's not something totally knew for them. But they really think not about something really potential, but comparing how the life is in the territories, annexed or occupied eight years ago.
MADOWO: The U.S. and NATO, Nataliya, have today submitted their written responses to Russia as Russia demanded. They have made it clear that they're willing to engage diplomatically, but if Russia wants aggression against Ukraine, they will go that direction as well. In your estimation, having reported in Ukraine and knowing how Russia deals with your country, what do you think is the next move for Vladimir Putin?
GUMENYUK: Well, you know, the talks about possible Russian invasion, they are still there unless the troops are near the border. So we can't fully opt this option out. However, what we today read from the Russian government media, pro-government media, trying to decipher the signals, we can probably see that, that could be some more enforcement on the Ukraine to make some -- a different agreements with the separatists in the east of Ukraine.
And by agreement, I also -- in no case, I mean that there shouldn't be any talks. Ukraine has tried to be involved in those talks for years, but we're speaking about -- not about reaching something for the people, but pushing Ukraine to, you know, accept this occupation which we had taken place eight years ago. So it's not really about the compromise. But, again, still the scenarios about maybe escalation in the Donbas or some particular attacks on the infrastructure in Ukraine, they are still there. So, it's --
MADOWO: Right --
GUMENYUK: The problem that we really see that, that could be very different options on how Ukraine could be attacked.
MADOWO: Nataliya Gumenyuk, thank you for coming to talk back -- to talk to us, again. We appreciate your reporting.
GUMENYUK: Thank you.
MADOWO: The U.S. Federal Reserve has just announced that it will keep interest rates near zero for now. But the Central Bank says it is getting ready to raise them in the future. It says the strong labor markets and the fact that inflation has soared above 2 percent will make a rate hike appropriate soon. Right now prices are rising on just about every consumer goods, including food. Fears over rate hikes have affected trading this week.
Yesterday, the major U.S. markets saw huge selloffs and finished sharply down. But today, they are bouncing back with the Dow, Nasdaq, and S&P all in positive territory right now. You're looking at it right now. The Dow Jones Industrial Average almost up a percentage points, the Nasdaq up nearly 3 percent, and for the S&P 500 up just over 1.5 percent. Let's go to CNN's Matt Egan now who joins me live from New York.
Matt, the Fed was today expected to telegraph plans to start raising interest rates, and that would be for the first time since I believe 2017. Inflation obviously is on the top of many people's minds. The prices of food, fuel, other housing goods have been rising. So, what has the Fed done now?
MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Larry, the Fed just really confirmed that they are prepared for lift-off. The mission is to try to get inflation under control. In this statement that they just put out, they're saying that they're planning to raise interest rates very soon. They said soon. That's probably code for the next meeting which is in March. And this is a big deal, because, you know, this would be the first interest rate hike in some time since late 2018.
But it's also really important because this is really the primary way that anyone in government, any institution in government in the United States can actually fight back against inflation. Remember back in March of 2020, the Fed went into emergency mode to try to save the economy from COVID. It dropped interest rates to zero, pumped in trillions of dollars into the system, and it worked.
There was no COVID financial crisis. But now, unemployment is very low. And inflation is very high, and the economy doesn't really need all the support from the Fed. Arguably, the fact that rates have been at zero, and the Fed has been buying tens of billions of dollars of bonds every single month, that's arguably actually making inflation worse. So the two big things that came out of this statement is one, the Fed is signaling that they're going to wind down that bond-buying stimulus program.
They're saying that's expected to happen in early March. And they can't do -- before they can raise rates, they have to end that program. So, once that happens, that will clear them to raise interest rates, and they are saying that it's going to be likely appropriate to do that in March. And so what does all that mean for, you know, the real economy? Higher rates from the Fed would mean that the cost of borrowing is going to go up.
It would still be cheap to borrow, but interest rates on everything from mortgages and credit cards to car loans and student debt will go up. And we've already seen mortgage rates go up to the highest level since March of 2020. So Larry, the challenge for the Fed is trying to cool off inflation by removing all the support.
But not removing so much support that it either really spooks financial markets because that can translate into trouble for the real economy, or that it slows down the economy so much that it starts to threaten the recovery. So that's the challenge facing the Fed.
MADOWO: And so the next time we need to be looking at this very closely in March. Matt Egan in New York. Thank you.
EGAN: Thanks --
MADOWO: And we have much more on the Fed's decision in about 45 minutes. That's on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS". Still to come tonight, his reputation and political career are on the line. Will Boris Johnson survive as prime minister? I'll talk to a former conservative Attorney General Dominic Grieve.
MADOWO: Now, to the U.K. where British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's future remains uncertain. All eyes are on the yet to be released report into the alleged lockdown parties which could come at any point. Though we have been saying that for a couple of days now. Earlier, Mr. Johnson faced MPs in parliament saying once again that he
will not resign over what is now known as party-gate. Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition says the prime minister has caused immense damage to public trust.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEIR STARMER, LEADER OF LABOR PARTY: Does the prime minister really not understand the damage his behavior is doing to our country?
BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: Mr. Speaker, I hope that the right honorable gentleman understands that although the issue that he raises is important, there is simply no way as he knows, as a lawyer, that I can comment on the investigation that he is currently -- is now taking place. .
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADOWO: And joining me now from London with the latest is Salma Abdelaziz. We keep talking about this, Salma, about Boris Johnson facing strong questions in parliament and somehow seems to survive. And the fact that this Sue Gray report into these lockdown parties has been delayed, it seems to buy him more time, and maybe people are not as outraged the longer it takes?
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely there. I mean, for now, yes, as you said, Prime Minister Boris Johnson buying himself yet another day. But the release of that report, the Gray report, is imminent. And that report is supposed to provide a detailed breakdown of what happened inside 10 Downing Street across those multiple allegations of partying. Multiple allegations that again, span across two years and several different lockdowns.
And it's that account from Gray that detailed breakdown that may very well convince lawmakers, his own conservative party, that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is no longer fit for office. If that report finds that Johnson knew what was implicated in any way in these reports. But for members of the public, Larry, many of them, the decision is already made. And the latest snap polling showing that two-thirds of adults in this country want Johnson to resign.
And if you have any question as to why Britons are angry, I went out and found out about some of the sacrifices they were making to follow the rules. Take a look.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Spring 2020, about two months into England's strict nationwide lockdown. The death toll mounting so quickly, mass graves are dug on the outskirts of London.
JOHNSON: To obey those rules --
ABDELAZIZ: The prime minister consistently urges the public to abide by COVID restrictions. May 15th, this photo is snapped in the Downing Street garden. Johnson allegedly hosting a wine and cheese party for his team. Johnson's government has denied wrongdoing, claiming this was a work meeting. A bereaved mother Emma Jones says it's hypocrisy.
EMMA JONES, LOST HER DAUGHTER IN 2020: The date just jumped out at me, and said the 15th of May, 2020, which is an incredibly sad day for --
ABDELAZIZ: That day her 18-year-old daughter, Ruby, died of blood cancer at home.
JONES: After Ruby died, we opened up our front garden and invited people to come by, but they had to do it in their household bubbles.
ABDELAZIZ: Because funeral attendance was severely limited, this is how loved ones said good-bye to Ruby.
(on camera): You made the sacrifice of not having a funeral for your daughter.
JONES: It was very hard, but we didn't begrudge that, but now to realize that the people who set the rules weren't following them is absolutely infuriating.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the government needs to stop now --
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): May 20th, 2020, police are out to enforce restrictions and break up illegal gatherings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to disperse this group and go about your business.
ABDELAZIZ: But In the prime minister's garden, a party is allegedly taking place. After his top secretary invited more than a 100 staffers to make the most of the lovely weather and bring your own booze. Johnson now admits to his attendance and has apologized. But says he believed the BYOB event was a work function.
JOHNSON: Mr. Speaker, I want to apologize.
ABDELAZIZ: That Spring, Olafeme Akinnola(ph) followed the rules until his dying breath, isolating at home. His son Lobby told us.
LOBBY AKINNOLA, LOST HIS FATHER IN 2020: You have someone who is so dedicated to people he loves, and then the prime minister just doesn't care.
ABDELAZIZ: In the Fall of 2020, Lobby met the prime minister with other bereaved families to share his story of grief.
AKINNOLA: I don't think the man can maintain his position as prime minister because I think he's betrayed us all so deeply.
ABDELAZIZ: For many, the accusation the government broke COVID rules to party is unforgivable. The inquiries into the alleged breaches first by the cabinet office and now the police, are set to make it unforgettable.
ABDELAZIZ: For weeks now, Larry, this scandal, this party-gate drama has grown and grown reports seemingly every day. A drip of allegations of partying -- and I know sometimes it sounds trivial when we are talking about booze and wine and cheese. But this is no longer about those parties, Larry. This is about how the prime minister has handled this crisis. Quite crucially, if he -- if that office, if that government respects the sacrifices that Britons made to follow the rules, whether or not they hold the job of leadership during a pandemic seriously.
And ultimately, whether or not Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself is still fit to lead this country. Larry.
MADOWO: And Britons did make some strong sacrifices, you see the tears from family members who lost people, there were not able to get everyone to come together to bid them good-bye. Salma Abdelaziz in London, thank you.
With me now is former conservative MP and Attorney General Dominic Grieve, he's been a vocal critic of the prime minister, calling him a serial liar who is unfit for office. And he's joining me now from London. Thank you so much for being here, sir. You've been really vocal about this party-gate scandal. And Boris Johnson said in parliament today that he will not resign when asked directly by the opposition leader Keir Starmer. Your thoughts?
DOMINIC GRIEVE, FORMER BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: It's rather in keeping with Mr. Johnson's character and personality. He's completely shameless. The evidence against him is overwhelming, firstly, of his misconduct and not following the rules which is something which he's made the habit of throughout his life.
But secondly, lying about it, and in a way that breaks down trust. And we know that, that causes problems not just at Westminster, It causes problems with our closest allies, with the American administration, with the French, because they don't trust him. So it's a really serious issue, and the reality under our parliamentary system is, and he can stay in office unless he's defeated in the general election, and there won't be one for several more years.
Or if the conservative members of parliament turn on him and say it's over, including his cabinet colleague. Which is clearly what they ought to be doing. But whether they're going to do it or not is the big question. Because they seem to be enthralled to him, and although they speak privately to journalists and express their horror, their shock, their dissatisfaction, and their anger, they are not yet getting around to making the necessary steps for his departure.
They may be hoping that this will, if they stick with him, it will all go away. But the reason which I think your -- the interview showed, just broadcast, I don't think it is. And i think if they don't get rid of him, then the Conservative Party itself is going to be entirely solid with his behavior and will pay a very big electable price for allowing him to stay in office.
MADOWO: And the local government elections are coming up in May. A recent poll found that 62 percent of British adults think that Boris Johnson should resign. But what will it take for him to do that? Like you mentioned, because of your parliamentary system, he can stay on for as long as he wants to unless his own members decide that it's time for him to go.
GRIEVE: That's absolutely right. And they -- in order to get rid of him, they can do it at the party level by triggering a no confidence vote in him. I suspect there will be one, but the question is if a majority vote for his removal, they're going to come up with lots of reasons why they shouldn't get rid of him. We're in the middle of an international crisis. There's a danger of war over the Ukraine, and military action.
There's the local elections. What new leader would want to take over in such circumstances? But i think they're making a mistake if they do that. Because as I say, I think Mr. Johnson's reputation is now really in tatters with the U.K. public. And I just don't see how he's going to recover. So they would be well-advised to take the necessary step and get rid of him. Quite frankly, members of his cabinet could get rid of him simply by turning up and saying to him, i won't remain in your government if you are continuing in office. Some of the key ones could do that tomorrow.
MADOWO: But Mr. Grieve, the prime minister appears to still have some support, maybe even considerable support within the Conservative Party that might be why the 1922 Committee has not received enough letters yet of the -- letters of no confidence to force the leadership challenge. So like you say, should the Tories continue standing behind him through this crisis, even though like you say, they have been sullied by Mr. Johnson?
GRIEVE: Well, I'm sure that they shouldn't. I agree he has a core of supporters. But actually, his relationship with his own party has been pretty transactional. They selected him because they were desperate about Brexit. They knew when they did it that he had many character flaws. And I'm afraid that those character flaws have been coming out into the open with increasing frequency. So if he remains in office, it's going to be a roller coaster ride with more and more stories of this kind emerging.
I suspect, about his behavior. And I simply don't see where even from the purposes of self-advantage, and not looking at this in the wider moral sense, that this is going to be of any use for the Conservative Party at all. And ultimately we live in a country here where there are (INAUDIBLE), there are ministerial code, and there are expectations of how the prime minister should behave.
The prime minister is in breach of his own code of conduct which he set for his ministers. Now, recently in the past, he's let ministers off the hook who breached those code. Which is I think quite telling about his character. But I still don't see how this is going to work in the medium term for the party if they cling onto him. And my gut feeling is that if the report from Sue Gray is detailed and critical, I find it hard to see how he's going to survive.
MADOWO: Mr. Grieve, some people might say this is just sour grapes because Mr. Johnson kicked you out back in September. And so you are bitter with him and this is why you are saying these things.
GRIEVE: Well, it's true that I don't think very much of Mr. Johnson. And it's true that in 2019 he expelled me and 21 other members of the Conservative Party over Brexit, when we stood up against him over the corrugation (ph) of Parliament, which was subsequently found to have been unlawful, another example of his behavior.
But I think it's worth bearing in mind that the MPs now calling for his resignation are not people who previously opposed him over Brexit. Many of them are people who wanted the United Kingdom to leave the E.U.
And I really don't see this at all in terms of a Leave/Remain squabble. The truth is this man is unfit for office and that's regrettable but it is the duty of members of Parliament to do something in those circumstances to make sure he goes.
MADOWO: All right. We'll have to leave it there. Dominic Grieve, thank you for coming on and sharing your thoughts with us. We appreciate your time.
GRIEVE: Thank you very much.
MADOWO: Much more news ahead, including an update out of Washington on the breaking news we've been following this hour. The U.S. delivering its written response to Russia's security demands.
MADOWO: Back to our breaking news: both the United States and NATO have now delivered their long awaited responses to Russia's security demands. The content of these documents is critical to what could happen next in the standoff over Ukraine and NATO expansion.
NATO's secretary general spoke moments ago about the continuing Russian military buildup around Ukraine. This video shows fighter jets that Russia sent to Belarus just today.
Jens Stoltenberg warned that Moscow could be sending troops and military equipment to Ukraine's neighbor under the guise of military drills. Let's get the latest from Washington with Kylie Atwood, live from the State Department.
This came up during the briefing with Secretary Blinken.
Could the U.S. be playing into Russia's trap by going through the process of delivering these written statements, even though Russia knows what the U.S.' position is, while Vladimir Putin continues to destabilize Russia?
Is that how the State Department sees it?
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, I think, from the Biden administration's perspective, Russia could use almost anything as a pretext here to say this is the reason that we are going into Russia.
And they could certainly say this U.S. proposal, that the United States, the U.S. ambassador to Moscow gave to the Russian ministry of foreign affairs today, isn't real, isn't what we want. It doesn't put forth any substantial ideas.
But from the perspective of the Biden administration, it was still worth it to put these written answers on the table for Russia, to really once again reiterate the areas, where the United States believes, that the both of the countries can work together on areas such as arms control, placement of missiles in Europe, deterrents, right?
Things that can really be built in to the security of both of the countries that the United States has been publicly saying.
Now it's in written form. So the Biden administration felt this was important to do. And we should also watch, of course, for what Russia says in response because then we will know what their motivation was in demanding these written answers.
But it's significant that President Biden was personally involved in this proposal, in these written -- this written document that was given to the Kremlin today. He made some edits, according to secretary of state Antony Blinken.
It's also significant that NATO provided their written response to Russia today as well and that the Biden administration was very much synced up with its allies before they put pen to paper on this, making sure that everyone knew what the United States was going to put forth, in terms of areas that could be worked on and areas that can't be worked on, such as NATO's open door policy.
MADOWO: And now we're waiting to hear what Russia will say, what the response will be to these statements written from the U.S. and from NATO. Kylie Atwood, thank you.
The U.S. is vowing to step up assistance to Ukraine amid the growing threat. Our Sam Kiley spoke with the U.S.' charge d'affaires in Kiev today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KRISTINA KVIEN, U.S. CHARGE D'AFFAIRES IN UKRAINE: In 2021, we have delivered more assistance, over $650 million worth of assistance, on the security side than we have in any year since 2014. And those deliveries that we saw last night will continue.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What sort of equipment is being delivered?
KVIEN: So last night we had 300 Javelins. We had 800 bunker-busting missiles. And we had 250,000 rounds of ammunition. So the sorts of things that we're providing to Ukraine in these deliveries are things they can use immediately.
They can be deployed right away to the border areas and be ready to help Ukraine defend itself in the event of a Russian incursion.
Ukrainians will fight. Ukrainians love their country. They're patriotic. They will stand. They will fight. And the Russians will not have any easy time of it. And I would say, while they're fighting, the United States and our European allies will assist.
KILEY: He would want to go down in history as the man who reexpanded Russian territory. He could brush off some sanctions, surely.
KVIEN: Well, the sanctions that we're talking about are very severe and will have a very, very heavy financial price on Russia's economy. But there are other things as well.
First of all, Russia will be an international pariah, frankly. And if that's where they want to go, then I don't think it's a very nice place to be. And ultimately, if your place in history is making yourself and your country a pariah, a global pariah, I don't think that's necessarily a legacy you would want to leave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADOWO: Our Sam Kiley there with the acting ambassador in Ukraine.
A shakeup on the U.S. Supreme Court: one of the court's liberal justices has announced his plans to retire. Justice Stephen Breyer has served on the court since 1994, when he was appointed by President Bill Clinton. A source tells CNN he expects to stay on until the end of the court term in October and until his replacement is confirmed.
Now President Joe Biden will begin the vetting and nomination process for a new liberal judge. And the last judge in the Supreme Court was justice Amy Coney Barrett, appointed by Donald Trump just days before the U.S. election last November.
Still to come, it will be the shot heard around the world. Why scientists say someday they may be able to get rid of all coronaviruses at the same time.
Plus we'll discuss the CIA's new findings on the Havana syndrome, one of the biggest mysteries to involve U.S. officials in recent years.
MADOWO: We have more breaking news coming into CNN. In his formal response to a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse, Britain's Prince Andrew denies Virginia Giuffre's allegations and demands a jury trial.
The filing details of the prince's denials of the accusations against him. In the last suit, Giuffre alleges that the late Jeffrey Epstein trafficked her and forced her to have sex with his friends, including Andrew and that Andrew was aware she was under age in the U.S. at the time. We'll keep you updated on the story as we get them.
The CIA recently delivered a report to President Joe Biden about the Havana syndrome, the mysterious illness affecting U.S. officials and military personnel in different parts of the world. Initially, investigators thought these incidents were attacks and that Russia or some other foreign power was using a sonic or acoustic weapon.
Then scientists said past (ph) energy was probably the reason. But now the agency says, in most of these cases, it's unlikely that a foreign adversary is responsible. CNN's Patrick Oppmann spoke to a Cuban official about these findings and joins me live.
Patrick, many of the cases originated from the U.S. embassy in Havana back in 2016. Some Americans said it's from both parties of question, the CIA's interim assessment and the timing of the report.
Now we're hearing from Cuba for the first time?
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, absolutely. The Cuban officials last week were somewhat surprised to find themselves agreeing with the CIA. That is not something that usually happens.
Of course, the CIA, over the years, has tried to topple Cuban leaders and the Communist-run government here. But Cuban officials from the beginning said they would cooperate with the United States and that they did not believe that any attacks could have taken place here, attacks on both U.S. diplomats and CIA officers working in the U.S. embassy in Havana.
But all the same, this mysterious ailments that appear to have originated first here in Havana, led to the U.S. drawing down on most of their diplomatic staff here, expelling some 15 Cuban diplomats and having a real impact on U.S.-Cuban relations.
Now that apparently, according to this preliminary CIA report, they have found no evidence of any attacks, of any foreign government, whether they're working with Cuba or not, carrying out attacks in Havana and other places, the Cuban government is saying they need to reset the relations with Washington.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLOS FERNANDEZ DE COSSIO, VICE MINISTER, CUBAN FOREIGN MINISTRY: The logical step by the U.S. government with this evidence, with what they know now, would be to put aside the excuse used at the time of all attacks and then normalize the function and the operation of their embassy in Havana and ours to normalize the operation of our embassy (INAUDIBLE).
OPPMANN: Do you feel Cuba is still being punished?
FERNANDEZ: Cuba is the only country that has been punished because of this, which proves there was no justification, which proves that this was a government (INAUDIBLE) operation to use the excuse of symptoms suffered by the diplomats to take (INAUDIBLE).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OPPMANN: And, of course, no one expects the Cuban government or the U.S. government to have a warm relationship despite this report. There are still many differences. The U.S. is harshly critical of Cuba's human rights records.
But of course, with the drawdown of the embassy, that impacted so many Cubans, because consular services are no longer available in Havana to Cubans. That means they have to travel to a third country to receive a U.S. visa.
According to the U.S. government's own estimates, more than 100,000 Cubans are unable to receive a visa, that they could go to another country and get that. But it's difficult right now during the pandemic for them to go, too expensive in many cases. So here thousands of Cubans are unable to reunite with family in the U.S.
So the point that the Cuban government is making, it's impacting more than U.S.-Cuban relations. It's impacting regular Cubans' lives and they're hopeful now there's apparently not a danger to U.S. diplomats, a government that is attacking them, that there will be the possibility of reopening some of those services at the embassy here.
But they pointed out to me that, as of right now, they have been asking for some time for this, they have no indication, no firm date for when U.S. diplomats will return to Havana.
MADOWO: All right, many thanks, Patrick.
Let's continue to look at some of the coronavirus headlines from around the world.
Lawmakers in Germany are debating a possible vaccine mandate. It's still unclear exactly how the mandate would work and whether it would apply to all adults or just those over the age of 50.
France has set a new daily record. More than 500,000 new COVID cases, the most of any European country right now. France has more than 30,000 people in hospitals, fighting COVID.
And China is reporting 13 new COVID cases in Beijing as it tries to achieve a COVID-free Olympics. Four of those were Olympics-related personnel who were inside the so-called closed loop. That's a system meant to keep people involved in the Olympics separate from the rest of the public.
The World Health Organization says there were 21 million new COVID cases in the past week. That is a record number. The U.S. reported the most new cases, followed by France, India and Italy.
But just a short time ago, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., Dr. Dr. Anthony Fauci, said he thinks the world could someday have a vaccine that not only stops COVID-19 but all types of coronaviruses. He said it will take time but says science is hard at work on a pancoronavirus vaccine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF COVID-19 MEDICAL ADVISER: I don't want anyone to think that pancoronavirus vaccines are around the corner in a month or two. It's going to take years to develop in an incremental fashion.
Some of these are already in phase I clinical trials. Don't forget, however, that our current vaccine regimens do provide strong protection.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADOWO: Let's bring in Elizabeth Cohen, our senior medical correspondent, to talk about all of us.
We heard yesterday about Pfizer BioNTech working about an Omicron specific vaccine. It's in clinical trials.
How is this pancoronavirus vaccine different from others we already know?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: If all goes well, Larry, this could actually help for all sorts of coronavirus variants. So it wouldn't just be Omicron or Delta; it could be all sorts of variants we haven't heard of, as well as other types of coronaviruses.
That's the dream, right?
That's the moon shot.
Wouldn't it be amazing if there was one vaccine that could cover all of these variants that have come along?
Now to be clear, the vaccines we have now, they for sure help against Omicron. We just heard Dr. Fauci say that. But they didn't work as well against Omicron as they did against Delta or previous versions of the coronavirus.
Interestingly enough, right before the pandemic struck, I traveled to the National Institutes of Health outside Washington D.C., to interview Dr. Fauci about a universal vaccine for flu. I mean, COVID didn't even exist. We were talking about flu. He described it as, let's say you have a whole series of ice cream
cones. And the cone is the same but the ice cream is different for each one. You want the medicine to work against the cone because the cone is the same for all of those.
And that's the trick, is what do all of these different variants have in common, where you could aim for that and you wouldn't have to worry about what they don't have in common -- Larry?
MADOWO: That's brilliant, because the virus mutates and there might be new variants.
And we just want to be protected against all of them. Excellent explanation, Elizabeth Cohen. Thank you as always.
Still to come tonight, getting to the Olympics takes years of hard work, skill and athletic talent. And now it also takes a negative COVID test. We'll look at the extremes some athletes are going to, hoping to keep themselves COVID free.
MADOWO: A huge piece of the past has washed ashore in the mother city, Cape Town, South Africa. We want to show you what remains of Antipolis, an old Greek oil tanker that wrecked more than 40 years ago and has been submerged ever since.
The wreck was a popular site for scuba divers who used it as a dive site. Strong waves along Cape Town's coastline have swept the vessel completely out of the water. It's now perched on rocks, giving the public a full view. There's no word yet on what officials plan to do with it.
As we mentioned, Beijing is seeing its COVID totals tick up every day while the clock ticks down to the Winter Olympics. Athletes are jumping through hoops to avoid getting infected and derailing their Olympic dreams. CNN's Selina Wang has details.
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Winter Olympic athletes, just getting to Beijing is as nerve-racking as competing for gold. Nearly 3,000 athletes will be gathering under the world's strictest COVID countermeasures. They trained their entire careers for this moment. But a positive COVID test could derail it all.
HANNAH SOAR, U.S. OLYMPIC FREESTYLE SKIER: One positive test is going to do us in at this point. It's super stressful. I didn't know that I really struggle from with anxiety to be totally honest until like the past couple months. WANG: U.S. mogul skier Hannah Soar and her teammates have been isolating in Utah for the past month. They live in separate homes, socially distanced on the mountains order groceries for delivery.
SOAR: No one has looked at each other in the eyes. I haven't literally been inside anywhere besides this house for the past month.
WANG: Soar even wears a KN-95 mask under her neck warmer on the slopes.
SOAR: And so, I just treat everyone like they have COVID. And it creates a lot of anxiety in my life but hopefully gets me to China.
WANG: Athletes have to test negative for COVID twice before boarding a plane. Once within 96 hours and another within 72 hours before departure. Then, daily tests in Beijing.
Organizers are relying on sensitive PCR tests, which mean recently recovered.
(voice-over): But healthy athletes could potentially be isolated or barred from competing.
WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: They've gone to the public health extreme. That test is so sensitive. It is merely picking up remnants of the virus. You are not contagious to anyone else.
WANG: Organizers aren't taking any chances. The host country is sticking to its zero COVID policy where just one case can trigger lockdowns and mass testing.
During the Tokyo Summer Olympics here, 41 athletes tested positive for COVID. At least two dozen had to withdraw from competition. Now with Omicron and even stricter rules at the Beijing Games, it's inevitable. Some athletes are going to lose their chance to compete.
A positive test could send an athlete into isolation at a facility in China until they get two consecutive negative tests which experts say could take weeks.
Olympians will be completely separate from the rest of China, part of what organizers are calling a closed loop system, multiple bubbles connected by dedicated shuttles. Then, there's the mountainous venues, Yanqing and Zhangjiakou, North of Beijing, all connected by high speed rails.
British skeleton racer Laura Deas was in Yanqing last fall for training.
LAURA DEAS, BRITISH OLYMPIC SKELETON RACER: Everything we did, we -- you know, training, eating, sleeping was all within this bubble. But it felt incredibly organized. WANG: Ahead of the game, she's self-isolating in the U.K. and getting
creative training without a gym. While Deas knows what to expect in Beijing, it's the next few days that are the most tense.
DEAS: I've jumped all of these hurdles over the past few years to get this point and I'm just -- you know, just trying really hard to do all the right things now so that I can get to Beijing safely without COVID.
WANG: For athletes this year, just stepping foot (sic) into the Olympic bubble will be a victory -- Selina Wang, CNN, Tokyo.
MADOWO: Wow. That is dedication.
Lastly tonight, forget the catwalk. It's all about the horsewalk.
French fashion house Chanel made a horse the latest star of their show in Paris. The animal's rider, show jumper and granddaughter of Princess Grace of Monaco, Charlotte Casiraghi, modeled a sequined black jacket. The runway was designed to look like a horse training ring.
I guess you can't accuse Chanel of trotting out old fashion. And the horse put out the best foot forward.
MADOWO: OK. I could go on forever. I'll quit horsing around and end the show. Thank you for watching tonight. I'm Larry Madowo in Atlanta. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.