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Hala Gorani Tonight

Australian Authorities Revoke Djokovic's Visa; Downing Street Apologizes To The Queen; Russia-Ukraine Tensions Remain High After Week Of Talks; Soon: Novak Djokovic To Be Detained Again In Visa Saga; Russian Envoy Warns Of "Catastrophic Consequences"; Russia-Led Troops Leaving Kazakhstan After Crackdown. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired January 14, 2022 - 14:00   ET



HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN in London, I'm HALA GORANI TONIGHT. In court or on court? Tennis world number

one Novak Djokovic is set to return to detention as Australian authorities revoked his visa again. Then Downing Street forced to apologize to the

queen after allegations emerge of still more parties, these on the day before Prince Philip's funeral. I'll speak with the Scottish national

party's leader in Westminster.

Plus, after an entire week of high-level talks, no sign of easing in the tensions between Russia and Ukraine and the west. Well, it's getting close,

just two hours from now, the world's number one tennis player and perhaps its most prominent anti-vaccine figure is expected to go back into

detention in Australia after his visa was stripped away again.

Novak Djokovic's chance to compete at the Australian Open on Monday could be slipping away after the government said it was in the public interest to

deport the unvaccinated star. But a federal court has agreed to hear his appeal this weekend, so there's yet another appeal in the cards for

Djokovic. The player's attorneys argue that his deportation could be the real threat to public health by fanning anti-vaccine sentiment in Australia

just as COVID cases surge. Our Paula Hancocks is in Melbourne.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Friday morning, Novak Djokovic was back on the court training in Melbourne. By the

evening, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke had cancelled his visa, quote, "on health and good order grounds on the basis that it was in the public

interests to do so." Three hours later, his lawyers were back in court fighting for him to stay. Djokovic will be interviewed by immigration

officials, 8:00 a.m. local Saturday morning.

At that point, he will be detained and will be escorted by two border force officials to his lawyer's office. The Federal Court of Australia where this

case has been referred has an initial hearing, 10:15 a.m.

MARIA O'SULLIVAN, MONASH UNIVERSITY: It's because their judicial review application is by the plaintiff, in this case, Mr. Djokovic, the onus, if

you like, is for him to show that there was a legal error. It's not a total rehearing of the matter. Judicial review is very narrow in Australia, and

it only means we have to find a legal error.

HANCOCKS: One of Djokovic's lawyers told the court, the minister's argument is Djokovic staying in the country would excite anti-vax

sentiment, calling it a radically new approach in the government's argument. They also said at Friday's hearing they're concerned about time.

Djokovic is scheduled to play in the first round of the Australian Open on Monday, a tennis tournament that has been completely overshadowed by this


ANDY MURRAY, BRITISH TENNIS STAR: Not great for the -- for the tennis, not great for the Australian Open, not great for Novak.

BEN ROTHENBERG, RACQUET MAGAZINE: Landing your number one player and guy going for the record in an immigrant detention center, again, I could keep

repeating that, the number one player, Novak Djokovic was detained and may be detained again in the future. It's such a bizarre, surreal moment for

the Australian Open which it's prided itself on being the happy place, on being this place of sunshine, and it's been anything but.

HANCOCKS (on camera): Prime Minister Scott Morrison threw his support behind the decision to cancel the visa, saying that Australians expected

the results of the sacrifices that they have made during this pandemic to be protected. Paula Hancocks, CNN, Melbourne, Australia.


GORANI: We're covering the story from all angles. The President of Serbia is coming out swinging. He is accusing Australia of mistreating and making

fun of the country's star player, vowing that Serbia will fight for the tennis star, widely considered a hero in his home country. Scott McLean is

in Belgrade with more on what the Serbian President had to say. Scott.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Hala, yes, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic left no doubt that Novak Djokovic is a symbol of this

country. If you go after him, you go after all Serbians. That is the message that's been sent. It is popular in Australia right now to want

Djokovic to be deported, well, it is certainly the opposite here. It is popular, no doubt, to have his back. And that's what the president did


He has been diplomatic up until this point, and he said that if the judiciary in Australia had dealt with the case on its own, he probably

wouldn't have said anything, but when politicians got involved, well, today he dropped the gloves. Listen.



ALEKSANDAR VUCIC, PRESIDENT, SERBIA (through translator): I am amazed at the fact that such decisions can be made by the executive, and after the

valid decisions of the judiciary. They often preach to us about what the rule of law is. You can imagine what it would look like if a minister in

Serbia could overturn the decisions of judges. If you wanted to ban Novak Djokovic from winning the Melbourne trophy for the tenth time, why didn't

you return it right away, and why didn't you tell him it was impossible to get a visa for your country?

Why do you mistreat him and make fun of him? Not only him, but also with his family and an entire nation that is free and proud. Do you need it to

win some elections? Do you need it to please your public? Here is a president from a small country who can say that to the prime minister of a

large country. And do you know why I can? Because I'm telling the truth and because you know I'm telling the truth.


MCLEAN: Now, I also spoke to a friend of Novak Djokovic today, a former professional tennis player himself who actually spoke to Djokovic earlier,

who said that his friend was ready for the legal proceedings even before the announcement was made. He also believes that this is very political

decision on the part of Australia, Hala.

GORANI: Right, we heard that echoed as well when I spoke to the Davis Cup Serbian captain as well who said the same thing. It seems to be a

relatively widely held view in the country. Our viewers might remember that there were some questions surrounding the positive test result that Novak

Djokovic submitted that showed he had tested positive on December 16th. Journalists scanned the QR code on that test, and it came back negative one

day and positive another, but you've spoken to Serbian health officials who want to clarify how this works in Serbia.

MCLEAN: Yes, so on the QR code question, this was certainly an irregularity, certainly an oddity, and the prime minister's office today

said that they believe that Australian border force had been in touch with the public health institute, the bureaucrats to try to clarify that

question. They say that because so many people were going online to scan that QR code -- normally, maybe it's scanned two or three times, in this

case, it was over 100,000 times, they say.

It actually almost crashed their servers. And they say they had to switch over the server that, that page was hosted on, and because of that, it

caused that temporary glitch where that positive test actually showed up as negative. There were also questions, Hala, about the ID number on that

positive test that Novak Djokovic took on December 16th, because it looked as if it was actually taken on December 16th according to the ID number.

They say the reason that the ID number looks out of place is because simply it was taken at a different lab, nothing to see here. But here is the real

top line from the press conference today, and that is the fact that, yes, Novak Djokovic took that test on the 16th of December, the result came back

around 8:20 p.m., that's the time stamp on the certificate. He says that he didn't get the result until the next day after he had attended an event

maskless with children.

Well, Serbian public health officials today and the prime minister's office made absolutely clear, there is no way on earth that the world's best

tennis player did not receive the notification of his positive test on the same day. They say the system is automated, that the results would have

been e-mailed out and sent via a text message within minutes of them being created. And so, the only question really is whether Novak Djokovic checked

his phone, checked his e-mail. Only he really knows the answer to that.

And one other point, Hala, and that is that, Novak Djokovic of course, broke quarantine on December the 18th after he went to that children's

event, after he knew he acknowledged that he knew that he was positive. And a lot of people are asking whether or not there will be consequences

because Serbia has prosecuted people harshly in the past, in some cases years of prison sentences, fines in the tens of thousands of dollars for

some more high profile cases. In Novak Djokovic's case though, they say there will be no punishment, and that's because even though he broke

quarantine, it was not during the state of emergency and there's no legal mechanism to prosecute him retroactively for that.

They say that the only thing they could have done is if they caught him breaking quarantine on the day, they could have had police escort him back

to his house. But beyond that, he is off the hook, Hala.

GORANI: All right, quite the saga there on -- in more than one country. Thanks very much. And as I told our viewers at the top of the hour, just in

the next few hours, we do expect Novak Djokovic to be detained and taken back to that detention center. He will be filing an appeal, one last appeal

over the weekend to try to remain in Australia and compete in the Australian Open.


Let's talk now about Boris Johnson facing more pressure, more allegations, more anger and now apologies. Downing Street has told the queen herself,

Buckingham Palace, it is sorry, following reports of two parties being held in the prime minister's residence. Now, why are we showing you a picture of

her majesty the queen, alone at her husband's funeral wearing a mask? Because these parties reportedly took place before, the day before these

photos were taken.

Imagine, images you'll recognize when she was attending that funeral and sitting alone because she was sticking to the COVID restrictions of the

time. And just hours ago, news of yet another party has surfaced. The former head of the government COVID task force is apologizing on Twitter

for holding a drinks gathering when she left her job in December 2020. These allegations are the latest in a string of scandals over parties to

hit Boris Johnson. But officials in his government say it's time people focus on other issues.


LIZ TRUSS, FOREIGN MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: He has apologized. I think we now need to move on and talk about how we are going to sort out issues. I

have spent the last 24 hours with the EU talking about sorting out the situation for the people of Northern Ireland, and we now need to get on

with that, and, of course, wait for the results of the Sue Gray inquiry.


GORANI: All right, it's going to be interesting to see the reaction to that statement. Salma Abdelaziz, thanks very much. I mean, some of our

viewers could be forgiven for asking, when did they get any work done at 10 Downing Street? They were partying quite a lot.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: I mean, it didn't take much apparently to start a party at 10 Downing Street. It could have been a warm day, it could

be somebody leaving their job, it could be Christmas time apparently, and that is enough to warrant a party. And not just any party. The latest

allegation of this party taking place, actually two parties taking place at 10 Downing Street right before Prince Philip's funeral.

The allegation in "The Telegraph" is that one attendee needed to go out to get more booze so they gave them an empty suitcase to fill with more

bottles. That's how boozy this party was that went late into the night, again, according to "The Telegraph" newspaper here. People staying up late,

dancing. This is a period the country was in national mourning, as you pointed out there, the queen sitting by herself in the chapel, only 30

people attended the funeral of her husband of more than seven decades, and she is not alone.

Up and down this country, there are families that did not get to say goodbye to their loved ones, that did not get to attend funerals for

victims, and today, yet another "I am sorry" from Downing Street for this. I want to read you the latest apology here. I know we have that ready for

our viewers. I'm so sorry, I can't see it. But essentially this apology coming again from 10 Downing Street --

GORANI: I can -- I can jump in -- I can jump in for you -- I can jump in for you --

ABDELAZIZ: Sorry, lost me here on my phone, go ahead --

GORANI: No problem. "It's deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning and Number 10 has apologized to the palace. You

heard from the prime minister this week" -- and we go on to the next page. "He's recognized Number 10 should be held to the highest standards and take

responsibility for things we did not get right." Salma.

ABDELAZIZ: The highest standard, that's the part that stood out to me, Hala, 10 Downing Street should be held to the highest standard. I think

it's very difficult to imagine that, that standard is being held at all, Hala. This is simply not what you expect from a government, particularly

during a pandemic. This is not the sober and mature authority that you want leading the nation while a deadly virus kills tens of thousands of people.

Look, for a long time, critics of Prime Minister Boris Johnson have seen him simply as an elitist, as a posh man who does not take the office

seriously, who does not take the top job in this country with a sense of maturity. He's been likened to Trump in that instance, right? He's been

likened to Trump for his sort of laissez-faire attitude and yes, his charisma that has made him so popular in this country, but that popularity

is waning quickly.

Remember those latest approval ratings, just 20 percent approval, the lowest he's had since he took office. Also local polling showing the

Conservative Party trailing behind the opposition Labor Party in the polls. That means his own party is starting to worry about their electability,

their seats in power, and none of this is going away any time soon. I know you heard the foreign secretary there saying, let's move on, let's talk

about anything else, that's not going to happen, Hala, because you still have an investigation happening, now looking at multiple parties across

multiple periods across multiple lockdowns. There's a lot there that can come back to bite the prime minister.

GORANI: All right, thanks very much. It's on the front pages of literally every newspaper, so I don't think Liz Truss' wish that we move on will be

granted to her, at least in the short term. Thank you.


Members of parliament, some of them have been calling for the prime minister's resignation. I want to bring in Ian Blackford, he's a member of

parliament and leader of the Scottish National Party in the House of Commons. He joins me from the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Thanks for being

with us. You are calling for the prime minister's resignation. Why?

IAN BLACKFORD, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: This is just an embarrassment. You know, we've -- very difficult. But many of our -- they

were making sure they were following the government -- that Boris Johnson laid out. Even the loved ones dying in hospital, couldn't be with them in

their homes. And what we now -- is that the government was ignoring its own rules on a repeated basis, parties taking place in 10 Downing Street, in

the cabinet office.

And frankly, people are just appalled. I listened to an interview today of a gentleman who worked in the crematorium, and he was having to turn people

away, he was in tears at having to see that he could not allow people to grieve with their relatives. I wish that Boris Johnson will listen to that

man and listen to so many others, and recognize that for him, this is over. The party is over, time is off.

He should be writing his resignation. His isolation we understand this weekend, he should be taking that time to write his resignation and send it

to the queen because, frankly, he has abused the office of prime minister of the United Kingdom. He is no longer worthy of the trust of the people.

And there has to be decency, there has to be honor in public life. He should recognize --

GORANI: Can I ask you just for our viewers around the world who are unfamiliar with the U.K. political system. The next general election is in

about two years. If the prime minister resigns now, someone else will take his place after a leadership contest within the Tory party. Why -- just

strategically, politically-speaking, would you want the prime minister to step down now since you seem to be saying that he's doing such a poor job,

his approval rating is so low, that if you just wait a little bit, you know, politically perhaps would be even beneficial to the opposition.

BLACKFORD: I understand that. But when you look at the charge sheet against him, it's not just about -- hold it, not just about the partying

that's going on. There's been a pattern of behavior that undermines our democracy, and it's as stark as that. Let's not forget, this is a man that

we used to free his (INAUDIBLE) parliament, he shut down parliament. He went to the queen to shut down parliament in 2019. It was unlawful. It was

overturned by the highest court in the land.

This is a prime minister that Tory donors gave 3 million pound plus, find themselves in the unelected House of Lords as a legislator for life. This

is a prime minister that gave dodgy contracts to friends of the Tory Party, and that was found to be unlawful in the courts this week. There's a whole


GORANI: But he won a huge -- he won a huge majority in the last election. The Labor Party, the opposition in this country, was really unable -- I

mean, they suffered such a huge defeat. So these were electors sending a message to politicians and their elected leaders.

BLACKFORD: A lot of that was about Brexit in England, and I acknowledge that he won that election in England. Of course, in Scotland, in my

country, it was different. The Scottish National Party overwhelmingly won that election. But when you put somebody into power, you expect there to be

decency, you expect people to observe the rule of law. And I have to say and I think, you know, our American friends will understand this, this is a

man that's behaved in a Trumpian way.

This is a man, but for him the rules don't apply, he can do as he pleases. We know that he's soliciting the nation for the refurbishment of the

Downing Street flat. We know he's had others that have paid for his holidays. There is a whole pattern of behavior which is really frightening,

which takes us in another direction as the United Kingdom we have never been in. And my message to Conservative MPs, I recognize we're some ways

away from an election.

But my message for conservative MPs is for them to examine their own soul - -

GORANI: Yes --

BLACKFORD: And think about what this man is doing. And they should recognize that they have the power to remove him. They could move a motion

of no confidence as Tory MPs in this man, and have him taken away because, quite frankly, this man is an embarrassment to all of us. As an --

GORANI: Are you hearing -- are you hearing from your conservative colleagues in Westminster that this is potentially something they're

considering? I mean, what would it take for, do you believe, your conservative colleagues to really move away en masse from Boris Johnson? It

doesn't appear as though there's that momentum yet.

BLACKFORD: I can say because it's a significant thing for a Conservative MP to engage in a motion of no confidence against their leader, I get that.

But they've got to the flight on losing the public. People -- I mean, all of us as parliamentarians have been overwhelmed by messages from

constituents are simply appalled that this man has behaved this way. They have to think about the national interest.


And I actually do firmly believe over the course of the next few weeks, this will happen. A number of people are saying they want to wait for the

Gray report. OK, again, I understand that, I get that. Evidence is now overwhelming. And just think about the allegations that came out -- not the

allegations. We know the parties that --

GORANI: Yes --

BLACKFORD: Took place the night before the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh.

GORANI: Yes --

BLACKFORD: That image that you had of the queen sitting on her own, and you've got members of the administration, the closest colleagues of Boris

Johnson, going out and filling a suitcase with booze from a supermarket.

GORANI: Let me just -- although, he was not at that party, but let me just -- our viewers --

BLACKFORD: But officials --

GORANI: Not at the suitcase -- right --

BLACKFORD: Officials, from the head, and he is the leader of that administration --

GORANI: Right, let me --

BLACKFORD: It's in his office, his home where these parties took place. He has to accept responsibility.

GORANI: I want to get you to react to what Jacob Rees-Mogg, close to the prime minister, a conservative himself said about the leader of the

conservatives in Scotland because the conservative leader in Scotland has also distanced himself from -- herself from the prime minister. Let's



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tonight, we have been told that every single Scottish Tory MSP, that's 31 of them, the people that you depend on to hold up the

union think that Boris Johnson should quit. That I would suggest to you is a very serious matter.

JACOB REES-MOGG, LEADER OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS: Well, I would actually say that the secretary of Scotland who is a big figure is very supportive

of the prime minister. He's made that absolutely clear. Douglas Ross has always been quite a lightweight figure.


GORANI: So, Douglas Ross' apology is being called a lightweight figure by a top Tory official. What do you make of that?

BLACKFORD: Well, I would say to Douglas Ross, welcome to our world because our Scottish government just as the Welsh and the Northern Irish government

have been disrespected by the Westminster government for quite some time. You know, Douglas Ross was elected as leader of the Scottish conservatives.

And for a government minister to refer to him in that way, that is pretty contemptible. And I think, you know, when you look at the approach that the

Scottish Tories have taken, and I welcome the fact that they criticized the prime minister.

And it does demonstrate that in Scotland, there's no support for this man. But the significance of that, we have a mandate for an independent

referendum in Scotland, that referendum will take place and people here will have a choice of the future they want, of staying with Westminster,

staying with this corrupt and sleazy conservative government by taking our future as an independent country back in the European Union. So, a very

significant choice --

GORANI: Right --

BLACKFORD: That -- and one that I believe that the people of Scotland will come with us because frankly --

GORANI: All right --

BLACKFORD: We know more of what's going on in Westminster.

GORANI: There's so much more to talk about, we'll leave it there for an hour, and hopefully we'll be able to reconnect soon on some of these other

topics, including --


GORANI: A potential independence referendum. Thank you very much Ian Blackford --

BLACKFORD: Thank you --

GORANI: For talking --

BLACKFORD: Thanks --

GORANI: To us this evening. And still to come tonight, a story that sounds like it's out of a spy novel, at least that's what China says. Its response

to MI-5 warnings that it has an agent working in British politics. We'll be right back.



GORANI: China is pushing back on claims that it has an agent actively working to influence British politics. The U.K.'s domestic

counterintelligence agency, MI-5, issued an interference alert yesterday as they call it. It is warning lawmakers that a British solicitor has been

working covertly with China to subvert the processes of parliament. Chinese officials say these claims are groundless and that some people may have

watched too many "James Bond films", quote, unquote. Nina dos Santos joins me in London with new information just in to CNN. Nina.

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks very much, Hala. Well, what we're learning today is actually extremely worrying. And what it does is,

it does cement something that was inside that MI-5 advisory alert issued earlier on this week to members of parliament. And that was that they

warned she had been potentially targeting people on all sides of the political spectrum.

What we have learned here at CNN after a day's work of investigation is that a government website, the website of the Department of International

Trade, is actually currently as we speak promoting the services of this woman, Christine Lee. Since 2016 at least, perhaps even further back, her

firm Christine Lee and Co Solicitors has been part of a network of companies, private service companies, lawyers, accountants and so on and so

forth, that are part of this network that have been vetted by the Department of Trade and, indeed, you can contact them through a portal

hosted by the Department of Trade even as we speak.

They promise that they will pass on the message and there's actually an offer of one hour's free legal advice. Now, I have been speaking to

activists right throughout the course of the day who say that this raises extreme concerns. I've been waiting for a statement from the Department of

International Trade now for 24 hours, and at this point they say essentially they're still digging to try and find out why this woman is on

a government website and how long she has been on it for the moment, Hala.

GORANI: All right, thank you very much for that. Nina dos Santos reporting from London. Still to come tonight, a closer look at the legal aspects of

Novak Djokovic's case. He faces a weekend of detention and hearings as he waits to see if he can play in the Australian Open. And then talks to ease

tensions between Russia and Ukraine and the west have hit a dead end. Why the crisis may now be moving into a more dangerous phase.



GORANI: Back to our top story, tennis star Novak Djokovic is about to be detained and interviewed by officials in Australia, again, after his visa

was revoked for a second time. An initial hearing is supposed to start in just a few hours. And then an appeal hearing is expected on Sunday. That

one will likely decide whether or not the nine-time Australian Open winner can stay in the country and compete. If he wins, he'll just have one day to

prepare for his first match.

The Australian immigration lawyer John Findley joins me now live. Thank you for being with us. What are Novak Djokovic's chances in court on Sunday for

his appeal do you think?

JOHN FINDLEY, AUSTRALIAN IMMIGRATION LAWYER: Good morning. The interesting thing is there was a late-night hearing in the court on Friday night

finishing as -- a little after 11:00 where the judge said that the Immigration Department may not deport Mr. Djokovic and they have to release

him at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning for the hearing.

What are Djokovic's chances now? Those are two things that have gone in his favor. The Minister must show the reasons why he's canceled Mr. Djokovic's

visa and Mr. Djokovic may answer those charges, allegations. If he answers them satisfactorily, the minister may not deport him.

GORANI: OK. And if the court finds in favor of Djokovic, can there be yet another political intervention in the same way that the Immigration

Minister overruled the first judge's decision that Djokovic should be allowed to stay in the country? Or is that it? Is that then the end of the


FINDLEY: No, it's not the end of the road, strictly speaking, but because there'd be -- could be further appeals higher up the chain of courts, but

politically, it's unlikely that the minister would seek to appeal the judge's decision.

GORANI: Could they come up with a middle ground solution? I learned just -- I mean I'm certainly no expert in your field, but there is something called

a bridging visa that you could be allowed to remain in the country and work while a case is heard, either in your favor or against you. Is that

something that's likely in this case?

FINDLEY: That is highly likely. There are several types of bridging visas. One of them is a bridging visa that permits someone to stay in Australia

whilst they're preparing to depart from Australia, and it's a possibility that Mr. Djokovic will be granted a bridging visa.

GORANI: Now in the -- in this appeal, this appeal will be quite different from his first appeal, because his team will be arguing that his presence

in Melbourne will not inflame anti-vaxx sentiment, because this is the reason the minister gave for saying that Djokovic should be deported.


How do you prove something like that? I mean isn't that very difficult in a court of law?

FINDLEY: It's difficult to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the test will be probability. Is it probable? Is it likely? And as the courts would say,

sometimes that's an issue on which reasonable minds might differ. It depends how persuasive the lawyers from either side are.

GORANI: Are there no --

FINDLEY: My view --

GORANI: Oh, sorry. Go ahead.

FINDLEY: My view is that persuasive argument could be raised that Mr. Djokovic be permitted to stay.

GORANI: So, you seem to be leaning -- I mean, from what I'm saying, you seem to be leaning in favor of the -- of an outcome that favors Djokovic?

Legally you think he's got enough arguments on his side or?

FINDLEY: Well, it's impossible to divorce personal feelings from these legal issues, but I reviewed the case as best objectively as I can, and I

believe Mr. Djokovic has a good case.

GORANI: Yes. A quick --

FINDLEY: I'm not a gambling man.

GORANI: Just -- Oh, you're not? Well, good for -- yes. I'm not a gambling woman either. I've -- when you try to predict anything in news these days,

sometimes you end up regretting it. Thank you. We're going to leave it there. John Findley joining us very early in the morning from Charlestown,

Australia. Thank you so much. We'll be following this story with great interest.

Now the U.S. National Security Adviser says Russia is preparing to use a familiar playbook to ratchet up tensions with Ukraine intentionally. Jake

Sullivan says U.S. intelligence has information that Moscow has prepositioned saboteurs to carry out a so-called false flag attack against

its own forces, making it look like Ukraine has done it to create a pretext for invading the country.

Meantime, Russia's Foreign Minister wants the NATO and the U.S. to respond to the Kremlin security demands. CNN's Nic Robertson has more on talks that

have, it seems, hit a wall.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Deadlock again, a third day of diplomacy this week, and concern about the impasse with Russia



ZBIGNIEW RAU, POLISH PRIME MINISTER: the risk of war in the OSCE area is now greater than ever before in the last 30 years.


ROBERTSON: The 57-nation globe straddling OSCE organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, where both Ukraine and Russia are members berated by

Russia for denying their demands. NATO curbed its core principles, their ambassador saying the Russian ideas we discussed in Geneva, Brussels, and

here in Vienna are a moment of truth. If our principles are violated, there could be catastrophic consequences. Russia's frustrations flowing all week,

first Following talks with U.S. officials in Geneva Monday.


SERGEI RYABKOV, RUSSIAN DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER: We need ironclad waterproof bulletproof legally binding guarantees not assurances, not

safeguards, guarantees.


ROBERTSON: Next talks with NATO in Brussels Wednesday, again, insisting NATO roll back to pre-1997 lines and deny Ukraine and others membership

while refusing to engage in NATO's offer of compromise.


JENS STOLTENBERG, NATO SECRETARY GENERAL: NATO allies have today made it clear on which issues we are ready to sit down and discuss and compromises

talk to the Russians on arms control and other areas.

ROBERTSON: Right now, the ball is firmly in the Kremlin's court now.

STOLTENBERG: Yes, we will -- we are waiting for their answer to our proposal to conveniently use the meeting addressing a wide range of

important issues for European security.


ROBERTSON: The answer not coming in Brussels.


ROBERTSON: NATO Secretary General today said that the ball is now in the Kremlin's court, your turn to answer.


ROBERTSON: What is clear is these talks are far from over. This is quite the thickest diplomatic difficulty that NATO and Russia and the United

States have faced in many years.


ROBERTSON: So bad that by talks in Vienna, diplomats turning to language rarely used in Europe.


MICHAEL CARPENTER, U.S. AMBASSADOR: We're facing a crisis in European security. The drumbeat of war is sounding loud and the rhetoric has gotten

rather shrill.



ROBERTSON: What next little doubt here, war or peace, or just plain diplomacy, is in the hands of Russia's president.


WENDY SHERMAN, U.S. DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: I think there's only one person who knows what Vladimir Putin the President of Russia wants to do

and that's the President of Russia.


ROBERTSON: The clock is ticking. Putin's battle-ready army forward deployed new Ukraine's border will eventually need to go back to base. Nic

Robertson, CNN, Brussels, Belgium.


GORANI: Hours after those diplomatic talks ended, a cyber attack disabled numerous Ukrainian government websites. A message said "Be afraid and

expect the worst. This is for your past, present, and future. It's not clear who's behind the attacks or what that message really means.

Let's bring in Senior International Correspondent Sam Kiley in Kiev. So let's talk about that then before we get to those false flag concerns. Do

we know -- first of all, how much did they disable, these attacks, these government websites? was anything sensitive accessed?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nothing was accessed, nothing sensitive at any rate. Of course, these websites were accessed. It

wasn't an old-fashioned DDoS' just overwhelming attack according to the latest information from Ukrainian authorities. There was an infiltration

through effectively a web service provider that allowed for this attack to be conducted. But there was no loss of data according to the government

here, but it was pretty substantial.

Seventy websites were affected, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, but not the Minister of Defense, Minister of Interior. And as far as the

authorities here are concerned, of course, the prime suspect in this is Russia, which Russia of course has formed internationally as a state actor

from conducting cyber attacks, but very often much more significant and more covert longer term than this sort of attack, Hala.

GORANI: And let's talk about these concerns of a false flag attack. The U.S. we know today, U.S. intelligence agencies are worried that Russia

mount -- might mount one of these false flag attacks, pretending like Ukrainian forces are attacking their forces as a pretext for an invasion.

And Ukrainians have the same concerns in Moldova, I understand.

KILEY: Yes, two different locations, or nearly simultaneous announcements coming out of Washington and Kiev. First, we had the Kiev authorities

releasing a statement saying that they had information rather complicated story, they made it, about a potential warning or a warning being given to

Russian troops that Ukraine was likely to attack them in Moldova. They're saying they have no plans to attack any Russian troops in Moldova.

So this must be part of false flag operations. And then something rather more clear coming out of the United States with intelligence then, it's

quite unusual to release active intelligence if this is what it is. And of course, we've only got the American word on this. Russia has denied or

failed to respond entirely to these allegations, but they're saying that there are commando units, covert operators, trained in explosives and so on

standing by in the Donbas region, that is a region already under a Russian backed rebel control with covert operatives of being there since 2014. The

once known as the Little Green Men, you'll remember, the unidentified figures coming in from Russia Special Forces there.

It is, as suggested by the United States, may be planning a false flag attack there and as you say, false flag is when you effectively attack your

own side, possibly civilian targets on the road. So on your own side, we've seen that in the past conducted by Russia with regard to Chechnya, and

other places, and that provides an excuse for some kind of military action. That is the view being put out by the United States. Russia, of course,

denying it at the moment.

GORANI: All right. Sam Kiley, thanks so much.

Still to come tonight. Russian led troops are packing up and starting to leave Kazakhstan. CNN is the first media outlet allowed to see some of the

damage in the aftermath of those protests that gripped the country. Stay with us.



GORANI: In Kazakhstan, the cleanup is just beginning after days of widespread anti government protests. It is the worst unrest in the former

Soviet republic in more than 30 years. More than 160 people died, thousands more were arrested. CNN's Fred Pleitgen got a look at some of the damage in

the city of Almaty.


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Inside the charred carcass of the Almaty mayor's office, a massive cleanup is now underway. By hand and by machine,

work has started to repair the damage caused by violent protests that gripped Kazakhstan.

CNN is the first video that allowed inside to survey the extent of the damage. The authorities have brought in dozens, if not hundreds of workers

to clean up the aftermath of what were those street battles here in Kazakhstan's largest city of Almaty and it's really remarkable to see the

full scale of the destruction here in the mayor's office. As the authorities here say, rioters entered this building and set fire to all of


PLEITGEN: Kazakhstan's officials say they were dangerously close to losing control, not just here in Almaty, but other places across the country.

Kazakhstan's president said protests that were originally against high fuel prices were hijacked by what he calls "terrorists." He issued a shoot-to-

kill order and summoned an international military force led by Russia.


KASSYM-JOMART TOKAYEV, KAZAKHSTANI PRESIDENT: We prevented dangerous threats for our country's security. As part of the counterterrorist

mission, we are trying to identify people who committed those crimes.


PLEITGEN: The government says things are now largely under control and there is evidence of that across the city, life is almost back to normal.

The Russian-led military force has started its withdrawal although that process is set to take another nine days.

But authorities say their crackdown will continue. Around 10,000 people have been detained and more than 160 killed. Opposition activist Zhanbolat

Mamay was at the protests. He says things started peacefully, but then he too was beaten by what he called provocateurs. He provided us with this

video seeming to show what happened. And these photos of what he looked like after the attack. Mamay says he believes the rioting was a pretext for

a violent crackdown.


ZHANBOLAT MAMAY, OPPOSITION ACTIVIST: The government decided to slaughter their own people and the one more great problem I think that it was done

not only with the help of Kazakhstani security forces but with the interference of Russian troops.


PLEITGEN: Kazakhstan's leadership denies attacking peaceful protesters and says they've launched a full investigation into who was behind the violence

that erupted. Meanwhile, the country's president has vowed to improve people's living conditions and rebuild the sites damaged as fast as

possible. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Almaty, Kazakhstan.


GORANI: A chilling day for press freedom in El Salvador, a report from two groups specializing in cyber security alleges that the cell phones of

dozens of journalists and other members of civil society were hacked using the spyware known as Pegasus.


The government is denying any responsibility. At least 22 journalists from an influential digital news outlet called El Faro were targeted. This is,

you may remember, the controversial military grade spyware created by an Israeli company called NSO group.

The former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is believed to be negotiating a plea deal in his corruption cases. Cases because there are

three of them. Sources tell CNN the agreement could see one of those cases against him shelved and the most serious charge of bribery dropped. But

there is apparently disagreement over the sentence that he could face. If it's longer than three months, he could be barred from politics for many

years and he is 72.

Still to come tonight, how the Royal Family is trying to disassociate from Prince Andrew as it looks more likely he could face trial in a sexual abuse



GORANI: The British Royal Family is trying to distance itself from its second son Prince Andrew. The Prince is facing a lawsuit that is casting a

dark shadow on the House of Windsor. Max foster tells us how the Royals are responding.


MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Princess Andrew, the Duke of York, will no longer be called His Royal Highness according to a royal source and all his

military titles and royal patronages have been returned to the Queen and he won't get them back, the source says. He's still part of the family but

he's out of the firm. He'll focus instead on defending himself as a private citizen in a U.S. lawsuit.

The decision followed a U.S. judge's ruling this week that a civil sex abuse case against Prince Andrew can proceed. Virginia Giuffre says she was

only 17 when she was trafficked by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to the royal who she alleges sexually abused her in three different


Prince Andrew denies her allegations and says he never even met her. Giuffre's lawyer told the BBC he didn't think his client was interested in

a purely financial settlement. A source close to Andrew says "This is a marathon, not a sprint, and the Duke will continue to defend himself

against these claims."



GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR VIRGINIA GIUFFRE: Not comfortable to have to sit there and answer questions in this lawsuit he's not going to be able to

evade and dodge. He's going to have to step up now and answer.


FOSTER: Andrew has been under scrutiny for years for his relationship with the late Epstein and his associate, Ghislaine Maxwell. Though the

relationships have damaged his reputation, the prince hasn't been charged with any criminal wrongdoing. Maxwell was also found guilty last month on

five federal charges, including sex trafficking of a minor.


PRINCE ANDREW, DUKE OF YORK KG: -- to Newsnight for about six months --


FOSTER: After a disastrous UKTV appearance in 2019, where he tried and failed to clear his name, the Duke temporarily stepped back from public



PRINCE ANDREW: I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened.


FOSTER: The lawsuit is another blow to the 95-year-old queen, who, in the past year, has endured the death of her husband, Prince Philip, and been

leveled with allegations of institutional racism against the palace by her grandson Harry, the Duke of Sussex and wife Meghan, in an interview with

Oprah Winfrey.

At the time, the palace described the claims as concerning and said they'd be dealt with privately. Who knows how she feels as a mother and

grandmother about the family's trials and tribulations? But as a monarch, she's known to put duty first and casting Andrew out was the only way she

could protect the family firm from further reputational harm.


FOSTER (on camera): Nobody seems to want a connection with Andrew anymore. There's even a campaign in the northern English city of York to have his

title Duke of York removed because they feel embarrassed of the association, Hala.

GORANI: OK. Thanks, Max.

Now for some pictures you have to see for yourself. This is a three-ton iceberg hanging high over Sydney Harbor, thousands of miles from its usual

habitat. And of course, there's one other unusual feature, not just one but one of the many, a solo artist performing for 10 hours as the iceberg melts

in the hot Australian sun. The visual art installation is there to highlight the threat of climate change. And on a day, Australia recorded

its highest temperature in 62 years. It is a very timely reminder.

I know what happened when it finally melted completely. I'm Hala Gorani. If it's your weekend, have a great one. Stay with CNN, Quest Means Business is

coming your way after a quick break.