Return to Transcripts main page

Hala Gorani Tonight

Boris Johnson Apologizes For How His Government Handled Party-gate Scandal; U.S. And Russia Square Off At The U.N.; Emir Of Qatar Visits White House; Ukraine`s U.N. Amb.: 130,000 Russian Troops Threatening Country; Russians Preparing For Possible Invasion By Russia; Truck Drivers Snarl Roads, Border Crossings In Canada. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired January 31, 2022 - 14:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, live from the CNN center, I`m Lynda Kinkade in for Hala Gorani. Tonight, we`re following two

major stories. Boris Johnson under pressure in the U.K. parliament after reporting to party-gate reveals failure of leadership and judgment.

And Russia and the United States have been squaring off over Ukraine at the United Nations Security Council. We`ll have all the day`s diplomatic

developments. Well, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he`s sorry for how his government handled the party-gate scandal and to what they, in

his words, did not get right. Now, he`s responding to the long-awaited Sue Gray report. The update that came out today.

Now, the 12-page document lays out, quote, "the failures of leadership, poor judgment, and heavy alcohol consumption during numerous gatherings at

10 Downing Street and the cabinet office." While the rest of the country was under strict COVID lockdown rules. But the prime minister says he`s

staying on the job.


BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: Mr. Speaker, I get it and I will fix it.


And I want to say -- and I want to say to the people of this country, I know what the issue is. Yes, it`s whether this government can be trusted to

deliver, and I say, Mr. Speaker, yes, we can be trusted. Yes, we can be trusted to deliver.


KINKADE: Well, Mr. Johnson was slammed by several members of his own Conservative Party as well as by opposition lawmakers. The label leader not

mincing his words.


KEIR STARMER, LEADER OF LABOR PARTY, UNITED KINGDOM: Prime Minister, the British public aren`t fools. They never believed a word of it. They think

the prime minister should do the decent thing and resign. Of course, he won`t. Because he is a man without shame. And just as he has done

throughout his life, he`s damaged everyone and everything around him along the way.


KINKADE: Well, Bianca Nobilo joins me now from London, good to have you with us, Bianca. So, it was a fiery question time to say the least. The

prime minister, again, saying sorry, promising reform, saying I get it. I will fix it. But does he get it, given that we saw him time and time again

deny that there were any parties at all?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the sentiment expressed by so many of the MPs in that chamber today. And Lynda, it was interesting

because as you mentioned, it was raucous and it was jam-packed. But curiously, on the prime minister`s side, his MPs did start to drift off the

benches, and it looked pretty sparse by the time he`d finished making his statement, and not at all, finished in the House of Commons today.

The real question is, he`s committed to some reforms of the Downing Street operation of the Number 10 office that was suggested by Sue Gray in the

report. But that`s only trying to amend one small part of what Sue Gray was saying. She spoke about the failures of leadership, she`s talked about the

culture where upon staff members felt like they couldn`t come forward if they had complaints or concerns.

She talked about excessive drinking. None of those things were tackled in what the prime minister said at the dispatch box. So, he was talking about

a very specific area. We also have had during the last half hour or so, a conservative MP resign from her post as a PPS, which is yet another symbol

of displeasure, disquiet within the Conservative Party. A long-time loyalist of Prime Minister Andrea Mitchell who said that he`d given the

prime minister his full-throated support for as long as he`d worked with him.

Today, he had to withdraw that and say that he couldn`t support him either. So, it does seem like things are piling more pressure on the prime

minister, and he is once again struggling to keep up with these allegations and to try and convince his party and the country that he means it when he

says sorry, and that he has any kind of rope to continue.

KINKADE: And Bianca, I wonder how much more pressure he will feel once this police report comes out, because I understand the Met police have over

300 photos, over 500 documents. What are we likely to see from that report and what could it lead to?

NOBILO: Well, Lynda, something which is frustrating me about the Met report is that we`re told that it should be done within a year which could

be a long amount of time to wait for you, for me --


NOBILO: For the country, for MPs to make a decision about Boris Johnson. His refrain over the last few weeks has been that we need to wait for the

Sue Gray report.


And now, the prime minister saying we have to wait for the Met police report, and he`s not willing to make further statements on key events until

we have that. So, some MPs are also toeing that line and saying we need to wait and see what the results of the investigation are, but we know that

the prime minister is being investigated because there are three events which he attended, which the Metropolitan police are looking into.

And this is a point that MPs and Keir Starmer have been making that it`s demeaning the office of prime minister. The fact that he is being

investigated for potential criminality. It`s not a good look for the party. As to how much more pressure he can withstand, he is right now speaking to

his key back bench MPs. These are the ones that he`s trying to shore up support from. They`re the ones that can trigger the leadership contest.

So I can`t wait to hear the outcome of that meeting and see if they`re convinced, if they believe what the prime minister is promising them.

Because that is going to be critical in terms of how much more his leadership of the party can continue, because if he`s lost their trust, and

polls are suggesting he`s losing the trust and the faith of the British public, then the party are really going to have to sit and think, am I

going to lose my seat? Has Boris Johnson become electoral liability for me?

KINKADE: Yes, exactly, certainly losing a lot of support, Bianca Nobilo, good to have you with us in London. We will cover more of this story later

in the show. For now, I want to go to the bitter clash today at the United Nations that exposed just how deep the standoff is between the west and

Russia over a growing crisis that could lead to war. Now, for the first time, the U.N. Security Council discussed Russia`s massive troop build-up

around Ukraine and what should be done about it. The U.S. called the situation urgent and dangerous, insisting, quote, "we cannot just wait and

see if Russia will back down."


LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: If Russia further invades Ukraine, none of us will be able to say we didn`t see it coming.

And the consequences will be horrific. Which is why this meeting is so important today. What would it mean for the world if former empires had

license to start reclaiming territory by force? This would set us down a dangerous path.


KINKADE: Well, Russia`s U.N. Ambassador presented a very different version of reality. And said he didn`t even understand what they were discussing

today. He said Russia is not planning any attack, accusing the west of being the true aggressor.


VASSILY NEBENZIA, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N. (through translator): Western colleagues are talking about the need for de-escalation, however,

first and foremost, they themselves are whipping up tensions and rhetoric and are provoking escalation. The discussions about a threat of war is

provocative in and of itself. You are almost calling for this. You want it to happen. You`re waiting for it to happen as if you want to make your

words become a reality.


KINKADE: Well, since U.S. security correspondent Kylie Atwood is at the United Nations, and our international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson joins

us from Moscow. Good to have you both with us, I`ll start with you first, Kylie, we just heard from the Russian ambassador, of course, speaking at

the U.N., claiming that it`s the west whipping up the tension, the rhetoric, the hysteria, as he called it. And predictably, again, denying

that there`s no plans to carry any sort of military invasion.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that`s right. I mean, the key word that you used there is predictable. This is the kind of

language that we have heard from Russian officials over the last few weeks, saying there`s really nothing to see here. Today, the Russian ambassador to

the U.N. saying that this is a bonus narrative. That they have any plans to invade Ukraine, saying that the United States is drumming up hysteria,

trying to get all nations worried about something that isn`t going to happen.

Denying that they have this 100,000 troops along the border with Ukraine. Of course, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations came out after this

meeting and said that the U.S. didn`t get the answers they wanted from Russia in this meeting. That this was an opportunity for them to explain

what was happening here, but, of course, the Russians didn`t explain it because they just denied that it was occurring at all.

Now, the U.S. hopes that this is some path forward, because they`re hoping that the Kremlin sees that there were a bunch of other countries who sided

with the United States in condemning what Russia is doing here, in siding with Ukraine and saying that they should feel comfortable within their own

borders and hoping that the Kremlin sees that and sees that it`s not just the United States, but it`s other countries who are backing opposition the

United States has here.


And that may be something that could push forward diplomacy. But right now, it`s very clear that these divisions are even perhaps more divided than

they were going into this meeting.

KINKADE: Yes, it certainly seems that way. Nic, I want to get your take, on how Russia presented itself today at the United Nations. Because we

heard that Russia, the Russian ambassador saying there`s no proof that we`re planning any sort of military action, even though there is some

120,000 troops on Ukraine`s border, even though it`s carrying out military exercises in neighboring Belarus. And instead, Russia essentially put it

back on the U.S., saying you have more troops deployed overseas.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, I mean, we`ve got to -- we need to get a better read on the number of troops the Ukrainian

ambassador saying it was 130,000 around Ukraine that was 112,000 troops and about 18,000 maritime and air force. U.S. ambassador said that there were

30,000 more expected to be coming to Belarus near the Ukrainian border in Belarus. So, we`ve got a better sense of the figures, but yes.

I mean, what we saw today was the Russian ambassador say you`re turning this around on us. It`s all you. You`re creating the tensions, the

hysteria, escalating the situation. We`re already there to do our military training that we have a right to do, it`s our sovereign territory. Belarus

did have one -- rather, Russia did have one friend at the table there, that was the Belarus ambassador, no surprise there, but Belarus sort of stands

in the same place as Russia at the moment.

That it too will likely be hit by sanctions if its territory is used to invade Ukraine. But we`re just not hearing backing down in the Russian

position, and I think perhaps the Ukrainian ambassador, you know, defined it fairly well when he said that the Russian ambassador was essentially

being a little bit like one of his favorite authors. The Ukrainian ambassador said that in Moscow, one of the favorite authors for officials

is Lewis Carroll.

And he was talking about -- quoting one of the characters there saying, you know, I can use any word I want, and it means roughly more or less what I

want it to mean about some of the differences there. But I think the broader analysis of you know, looking glass scenario where Russia is

portraying the situation in the reverse to how almost everyone else around that table sees it. And that`s how far apart everyone is. The ground is not

shifting at the moment.

KINKADE: Yes, they don`t agree on the facts as they stand. I just want to go back to you, Kylie because the U.S. of course, pushed for this Security

Council meeting today before Russia takes over the presidency at the Security Council tomorrow. What will that change mean going forward as this

crisis continues?

ATWOOD: Well, when Russia assumes the presidency tomorrow, that`s just for a month. So, that`s for the month of February. Of course, it`s a critical

month that they`re assuming this position. But it doesn`t mean that they are going to direct the -- direct the discussion so that it can`t include

certain things. They won`t be able to reject further meetings on the Russia-Ukraine crisis if the majority of the nations at the table want to

have that discussion.

But what the Russians can do over the next month is put things on the agenda that they do want to cover. And so, what diplomats are saying is

that, they expect Russia is going to put some things, you know, on the agenda that are seen as detractors from what is happening along the

Ukraine-Russia border, and trying, you know, get eyes on that to divert from this crisis that they don`t want to talk about.

KINKADE: Yes, all right, we`ll leave it there for now. Kylie Atwood for us at the United Nations and Nic Robertson in Moscow, thanks both to you.

Well, just a quick note that we`re awaiting an important event at the White House. U.S. President Joe Biden is sitting down with the emir of Qatar at

this hour, the main topic of conversation is the safety and security of the global energy supply, and how the Russian invasion of Ukraine might disrupt

oil and gas flowing to Europe. We`re going to bring you coverage of their comments as soon as it happens.

Well, for now, I want to bring in CNN`s business editor-at-large, Richard Quest, to discuss this a little bit further. Richard, obviously the U.S.

and Qatar have had a diplomatic relationship for some 50 years. But that relationship might become more crucial, right? Should the Russian-Ukrainian

situation escalate. Explain what`s at stake in terms of the energy supply to Europe.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Well, first of all, the relationship between the U.S. and Qatar is very deep on the military front.

U.S. forces are based as you`ll remember, and we use and have been used in various military operations in the Gulf in the Middle East, in the Gulf

wars. So yes, there`s certainly a huge linkage there, and the U.S. sort of stood on the sidelines and tried to be the honest broker during the

blockade from Saudi Arabia and others which went on for several years.

So, a deep, long lasting infrastructure of relationship. Now, put on top of that, what`s happening in Europe with liquid, gas, liquid and natural gas

and oil, and you start to see where the U.S. is going to look to Qatar to help fill any short fall if Russia plays the energy weapon. Which it easily

could, thus, cutting up to a third of Europe`s energy over the -- over the rest of the Winter. So yes, Qatar will play a role, but not a huge one,

Lynda, because Qatar`s ability to increase exports to Europe is somewhat limited.

KINKADE: Yes, and talk to us about those limitations, where else could the U.S. look if there`s not enough supply from Qatar?

QUEST: Well, I`ve got -- I`ve got -- kind of look down a little, if you`ll forgive me, I`ve got the largest exporters of LNG, liquid natural gas.

Now, the U.S. is actually the largest producer. So the first question is well, hang on, U.S., why aren`t you sending more? And that`s all to do with

the ability to have the refining facilities where existing contracts, where most of the sales currently go, which is west, west toward Asia.

And then, you`ve got Russia which comes in. Then you`ve got Iran -- well, you can hardly see Iran rushing to the U.S. or Europe`s rescue when Russia

is got its neck on the throat. And then you have Qatar, Canada and China. But the reality is once we`re getting down to those numbers, those other

countries` capacity to make major increases is very small. And so, the U.S. will have to look itself at what it can send, and there`s just not either

the refining or the shipping capacity in the right place to send much of U.S. LNG across to Europe.

It takes too long anyway. And that`s why Qatar does play a role, but I`m guessing that they`re going to be disappointed or there will be warm words,

but I think the final results won`t make much of a difference.

KINKADE: Yes, we will check in and see how that meeting plays out this hour. Richard Quest --

QUEST: Thank you --

KINKADE: As always, good to have you with us.

QUEST: "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" top of the hour.

KINKADE: We`ll tune in. Well, I want to turn back to our two top stories, we`re obviously going to continue on the Ukraine-Russian story, but also

prime minister Boris Johnson under fire today. My next guest is a sitting British lawmaker and the chairperson of the all parliamentary group on

Ukraine, now he`ll discuss both these stories. As I mentioned, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under pressure. Welcome to the program,

Mark Pritchard joining me now from London, good to have you with us.


KINKADE: And so, Mark, I want to start first with the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. Being attacked on all sides, not just opposition parties,

but MPs within your own party. But you have a warning to colleagues, especially those who want him to resign -- be careful what you wish for.

What are you worried about?

PRITCHARD: Well, the fact is that we have to wait and see what the police investigation reveals. We`ve had, if you like, an interim report at the

moment, and the prime minister today in the House of Commons apologized again, it`s very rare, by the way, for any sitting prime minister to

apologize. The prime minister has done that, realized that mistakes were made in Downing Street, and today has announced a package of measures to

try and ensure that this should never be repeated under a conservative prime minister or any future prime minister.

That is setting up a new office of the prime minister, and having a senior civil servant permanent secretary to oversee that department. I think those

are important measures. They`re innovative. I think they`ll bring in the oversight that people have been calling for. But specifically on the prime

minister, you know, we will have to wait and see what the police report says. And I think it`s wrong of MPs whether Labor, minority or

conservatives, whoever, to try and prejudge or even prejudice inadvertently an ongoing police investigation.

We have to allow the police to get on with their job. Unfettered access to Number 10, but having also the ability to go about their work without

commentary, permanent commentary and narrative from politicians, many of whom have a political agenda to get Prime Minister Johnson out of office.


KINKADE: What we did see today from this interim report was that people at 10 Downing Street feel that they should be able to raise concerns about

behavior that they think is unacceptable. But that some staff felt they were unable to do that. What does that tell you about the culture?

PRITCHARD: Well, I think it`s a culture that`s probably permeated over many prime ministers in office. And I`m glad it`s a conservative prime

minister, Prime Minister Johnson that has recognized this through the Sue Gray report, an independent inquiry that he commissioned and has now said

that there will be a change introduced through a permanent secretary, through an office of the prime minister, and I`m sure in the future that

anybody working in the cabinet office and in the office of the prime minister now Number 10, will in future, be able to have a safe space and

place to pass back their concerns, and I welcome that.

KINKADE: Mark, you`re also the chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on Ukraine. We heard from various ambassadors today at the United

Nations Security Council. Most highlighting the threat to international security, the Belarus ambassador, of course, saying that the U.S. is

attempting to rip up the tension. Just talk to us about what you expect to have when Boris Johnson heads to Ukraine tomorrow. What do you think can be


PRITCHARD: Well, I think it`s important that the talks continue and diplomacy continues. But at the same time, we need to send a very clear and

unequivocal message to Moscow that any incursion, however small or however great, by the armed forces of Russia, will be met with a significant fight

back, not only by the Ukrainians, but also diplomatically by the rest of the world in severe sanctions. We`ve had new sanctions, measures --

KINKADE: Mark, we`re going to have to leave it there. We`re going to go straight to the White House where the U.S. President Joe Biden is meeting

with the emir of Qatar. Let`s listen in.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Saying a few words before I talk about our guest, about Russia and Ukraine. I have a -- I had a

productive talk last week with President Zelensky, and we continue to engage in nonstop diplomacy, and to de-escalate tensions and attempt --

like bedevil to improve security for our allies and partners, and for all of Europe for that matter. And today, in the United Nations, we`ve laid out

the full nature of Russia`s threat to Ukraine sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine as well as the core tenets of a rule-based

international order.

And we continue to urge diplomacy as the best way forward. But with Russians continuing this build-up of its forces around Ukraine, we are

ready no matter what happens. I also want to note that the UAE defeated a ballistic missile attack launched by the Houthis, a separate issue from

Yemen yesterday, and we`ve been in daily contact with the UAE to address those threats. And I`ve directed Secretary Austin to do everything he can

to communicate the support of the United States for the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and throughout the Gulf region.

America will have the backs of our friends in the region. Today -- but I`m honored to be here with a good friend who has been wonderful relationship

since I`ve been president and before. The sheikh is -- I want to welcome you to the White House. Fifty years of partnership. You`re not that old,

but 50 years of partnership, and this past year, our partnership with Qatar was -- has been central to many of our most vital interests. Relocating

tens of thousands of Afghans, maintaining stability in Gaza and providing life-saving assistance to the Palestinians, keeping pressure on ISIS, and

deterring threats across the Middle East.

And a lot more. And the emir and i have a lot on our agenda today. We want to talk about the security in the Gulf, and the -- and the broader Middle

East, ensuring the stability of global energy supplies, continuing our work together to support the people of Afghanistan, and strengthening commercial

and investment cooperation between our two countries. And speaking of that, on that front, I want to applaud the new deal that Qatar Airways group

signed with Boeing for -- a $20 billion deal.


One of the largest deals that Boeing aircraft has ever had, and it will support tens of thousands of good-paying U.S. jobs here in America. Qatar

is a good friend and a reliable and capable partner, and I`m notifying Congress that I will designate Qatar as a major non-NATO ally to reflect

the importance, the importance of our relationship. I think it`s long overdue.

And I want to thank you again in earnest for being here, and for making this trip. For you, your commitment to our friendship and between our

nations, and I`m looking forward to our discussion today.

TAMIM BIN HAMAD AL THANI, EMIR OF QATAR: Well, thank you very much, Mr. president, good afternoon to everyone. I`m very happy to be here, Mr.

President, 2022 is a very important year. It marks the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic relationship between Qatar and the United States of America.

It`s a very strong relationship, and we`re very proud about it. We`re very proud of what we have achieved.

Of course, this afternoon, I`m going to be talking with the president about different topics, mainly about the security of our region. I think we

demonstrated how solid and how strong we can work together and incorporate on what we did in Afghanistan. We`re very proud that we managed to evacuate

tens of thousands of people of Afghanistan. Of course, we have other issues as well that we`re going to talk about. The equal rights of the Palestinian

people and other issues in the region.

So, you know, we`re very happy and proud of this great relationship, and we`re going to continue working together to find ways and means to bring

peace in our -- in our region. So thank you very much for, you know, seeing me today, Mr. President, and as you mentioned, that we`ll be talking about

several topics. Thank you, sir.


KINKADE: You`ve just been listening there to U.S. President Biden meeting with the emir of Qatar at the White House. The two spoke about the

importance of a relationship, a diplomatic relationship that goes back some 50 years. They have of course worked together to improve security in the

Middle East, and will continue to do so. They`ll also work towards ensuring security at the global energy supply, especially as the threats of a

Russian invasion on Ukraine.

And they also spoke about what else they`ll do to ensure peace in the region. So we will continue to follow that meeting and bring you any more

update on that as it comes to hand. Well, still to come tonight, Russia`s U.N. ambassador says Ukrainians are being brainwashed by what he calls

western hysteria over a non-existent threat. We`re going to get reaction from Kyiv straight ahead.




KINKADE: Well, Ukraine`s U.N. Ambassador says there are some 130,000 Russian troops threatening his country right now. He calls it direct

evidence of Russia`s unwillingness to deescalate a crisis that has much of the world on edge. The ambassador spoke today at a meeting of the U.N.

Security Council. Russia`s ambassador also addressed the council denying that there were any plans to invade. He says Ukrainians are being

"brainwashed" by all the talk of war coming from the west.

Well, let`s get some reaction now from Ukraine. Our Sam Kiley joins us now from Kiev. And obviously we heard about Russia denying any plans again to

invade Ukraine. But we also heard about the Ukrainians, the 14,000 that have lost their lives, the three million that are in need of humanitarian

aid, and Ukraine spoke of wanting preemptive sanctions on Russia.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the preemptive sanctions is something that the -- a drum that they`ve been banging for

some time, they`re trying to bang it as loud as possible. Because all of the sanctions, even recent ones being promised from the United States and

the United Kingdom to go after Russian oligarchs, friends and close associates of Putin would all be after the event, which, as far as Ukraine

is concerned, if there is going to be an invasion, would be too late.

There will also be some consternation, I think, perhaps in Ukraine, although they`re probably already informed of this and the American

estimate that the Russian presence in Belarus is going to go up in their view from 5,000 troops exercising there to 30,000 by the end of February.

Now, if that is true that that will significantly increase a potential opportunities for Vladimir Putin, should he decide to drive into Ukraine,

but this is all coming against a backdrop here in Kiev. I have to say have a very kind of sanguine atmosphere notwithstanding the fact that lots of

citizens are also stepping forward and trying to get what little military training they can get if the worst would come to happen.


KILEY (voice-over): An abandoned asphalt factory near Kiev is now a training ground for civilians who volunteer to fight off the possible

Russian invasion. They`re outnumbered here by journalists and armed at best with pellet guns. They know they`ll be outmatched by Moscow`s military

machine. But they aren`t keen.


SERGIY CHURNIK, CLINICAL RESEARCHER AND VOLUNTEER: Oh, we have a crucial moment for our country. We have really big risk that Russian invasion might

occur pretty soon. So that`s why even civilians have to be ready.


KILEY: These men believe that it`s their country`s democracy that Vladimir Putin fears more than a threat posed by European Union and NATO membership.


MIKHAILO GERLADO RAMIREZ, LAWYER AND VOLUNTEER: In the Putin`s Russia, all Russian citizens are completely slaves. He feels us a threat because

Ukrainians gave to Russians and Belarusians bad example. We show to our neighbors how each citizen of freewill must defend his social and national



KILEY: You wouldn`t know that Ukraine`s government says that Russia has at least 127,000 troops masked on three sides of the country here in the

capital where there are no signs of impending war.

And in the poorer districts, where people hope whatever they can to get by, the mood is similar.


SVIETA, STYLIST (through translator): People are relaxed, although for some, I would say not. It depends on the circles you communicate in. If

someone in your family is from the military or the police, it`s a completely different mood.


KILEY: But aged air raid shelters are being opened just in case. The Ukrainian government is appealing to its population for calm but at the

same time dusting off these Soviet era bunkers because there is a threat to a young country`s democracy. A shelter can house about 300 people.


It even has a hand-cranked air filtration system. Kiev has the capacity to shelter 2.8 million of the estimated 3 million residents in 5,000 bunkers.

And in the metro system, it`s an irony lost on no one here that this shelter was built in 1956 to protect against NATO striking Russia and the

Soviet Union. Now it`s offering shelter against a possible attack by Russia.


KILEY (on-camera): Now, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United Nations agreed with the U.S. assessment that the threat coming from Russia was

imminent, but in filtering out the meaning of that, he said that it felt like it was hanging over Ukraine rather than inevitable, and therefore

there were still some opportunities, although they`re difficult to see for some kind of diplomatic advancement. Lynda.

KINKADE: All right. Our Sam Kiley, good to see that report from the region. Thanks so much to you.

Well, we are keeping a close eye on a new Omicron sub-variant known as BA.2 but it`s too early to tell if we should all be concerned. Scientists are

tracking a rise in cases in parts of Europe and Asia from this close cousin of the original version of Omicron.

The U.K.`s health security agency says current vaccines protect about as well against the new sub-variant as they do against the original strain,

with even better protection against symptoms. But a new study out of Denmark says it could be more transmissible.

Well, the opening ceremony for the Winter Games in Beijing is now just four days away. Olympic athletes, staffers, and journalists are pouring in even

though during the past few days, China has detected dozens of new COVID-19 cases. They reported 28 of them just among Sunday`s new arrivals. CNN`s

Selina Wang shows us what it`s like to get into a country that`s been virtually closed off for two years.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: My team and I are traveling to Beijing for the Winter Olympic Games held under some of the strictest COVID

countermeasures in the world. Our journey starts weeks before.


WANG: I`m here in Tokyo. It`s 14 days before the games, but I`ve already got to download this Olympic health app, start tracking my health in here

every day, and upload my vaccine certificate. I`m getting some deja vu using this app since we had to use a similar one for the Tokyo Games.


WANG: But this time, I`m using a burner phone because of cyber security concerns in China.


WANG: For the next two weeks, I`m limiting physical interactions with others as much as possible. Ninety-six hours before departure, here we go

in for my first test.


WANG: Back home, I upload my information to get this green QR code.


WANG: HERE we go. We`re taking off. Just landed in Beijing. It`s totally surreal. I haven`t been back here since I moved about a year and a half


First thing I saw walking out the airplane is a sea of hazmat suits. Feels a bit more like going into a medical facility than the Olympic buzz you`d

expect getting off the airplane. That was extremely painful. I just had a nose and a throat PCR test. I was tearing up a bit.


WANG: I clear customs, immigration and get my Olympic badge without seeing a single face. I`m officially in what organizers are calling the closed

loop, multiple bubbles connected by dedicated transport. The goal, to keep Olympic participants separate from the rest of China.


WANG: Finally on my way to the hotel on this special bus that`s just for transporting Olympic participants. Arrived at the hotel, they`ve got this

giant wall all around the hotels. You can`t just walk in and out easily.


WANG: The local staff here are also part of this bubble. They`ll have quarantined for 21 days before leaving the bubble and returning to their

homes in China. Beijing isn`t taking any chances. Entire communities in China have gone into lockdown over even just one COVID case.


WANG: I`ve been waiting six hours. Just got the call. My results came back negative. I am so relieved but it`s not over yet. I`ll be tested daily and

will be mostly confined to this room and Olympic venues during my entire stay here.


WANG: Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.


KINKADE: Well, North Korea says it fired an intermediate range ballistic missile on Sunday to test its accuracy. This marks the North`s seventh

missile launch of the New Year and the most powerful one since 2017.

U.S. officials say they`re concerned and eager for talks. They`re still waiting for a response from North Korea.

Well, still to come tonight. We have loud horns and strong words. Truck drivers in Canada are telling parliament to get rid of vaccine mandates.

We`ll have a live report from the Canadian capital coming up.

Plus Spotify brings in some new rules and a controversial podcast host apologizes.


We`ll explain why just ahead.


KINKADE: Welcome back. A weekend anti vaccine protest by truck drivers in Canada has spilled over into Monday and is getting a strong reaction from

the government. The truckers don`t like the vaccine mandate for crossing the U.S.-Canadian border. They`ve blocked roads across the Canadian capital

and are causing gridlock at some border crossings.


STEPHEN PENDERNESS, UNVACCINATED TRUCKER: This convoy is all about freedom. It`s not only with the truck drivers, it`s actually for every single

person, you, me, buddy down the road, it doesn`t matter, it`s all about your free choice. That`s what it should be. Like I said, if you`re

vaccinated, cool, you did it. Well, most people did it because of work, but, you know, you should do it off of freewill, off of your own choice.


KINKADE: Well, the protests have come under fire for more than just the traffic problems they`re creating, vulgar and racist signs have been seen

on some trucks and some of the protesters have been accused of vandalism.

Well, our Paula Newton is following the protests and their reaction from Ottawa and joins us now live. Good to have you with us, Paula. So these

protesters have now essentially imposed their own lockdown creating gridlock in the city.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, yes. Lynda, look, the residents in downtown Ottawa are just fed up. And the reason is that this protest is now

in day three. People are -- say they feel like prisoners in their own homes. You have hundreds of cars and rigs lined up city block after city

block. Lynda, you know, the mall has closed in downtown Ottawa.

The irony is a lot of the lockdown restrictions are supposed to be lifted today in Ottawa. Restaurants are again open to dine in and yet in the

downtown core, most businesses haven`t opened for fear of security issues.

Now, as you just pointed out, you know, this started as a truckers protest, a freedom convoy against vaccine mandates, but it did, Lynda, strike a

nerve with a significant minority of Canadians who say they are just absolutely fed up with the health restrictions. I have to point out the

other side of this, which is a great irony, Lynda, you know, more than 90 percent of eligible adult Canadians are fully vaccinated.

This is a country that took up the vaccine and, for most cases, have been compliant with health measures without complaining. This is all straining a

lot of nerves and right now police are wondering when and how they can move along this protest without causing any confrontations.


KINKADE: Yes, it certainly must be causing a lot of headache, as you say, for those business owners who, surprisingly, were meant to be able to open

up completely today.

So just gives us a sense of the reaction from the Prime Minister, from city officials. What are they saying?

NEWTON: Yes, yes, it`s been quite stern. I mean, we spoke with the mayor, Jim Watson here in Ottawa earlier today. He`s just fed up. He`s saying,

look, we protect your right to protest. But at the end of the day, enough is enough. This is really hurting our residents.

And again, pointed out that, you know, one of the acts of harassment was at a soup kitchen. Some of the protesters allegedly were trying to take food.

And all of these events are really showing the ugly underbelly to a small minority of the protesters here.

But I want you to listen now to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who incidentally, Lynda, is in isolation. He and at least two of his children

have now tested positive for COVID-19. They all say they`re feeling fine. And Trudeau here addresses the protesters. Take a listen.


JUSTINE TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: There is no place in our country for threats, violence, or hatred. So to those responsible for this

behavior, it needs to stop.


NEWTON: You know, he`s saying that, look, we will not be intimidated no matter how many times, you know, you tell us that you won`t budge unless

these mandates are dropped. So this is really setting up for quite a standoff.

I have to tell you, the truckers` protest say that they have raised in excess of $6 million U.S. here in Canada, that is a significant political

movement. They say they have enough money for fuel and food for a long time and they`re hunkering down.

KINKADE: Wow. That is quite incredible. All right. We will continue to stay on this story. Paula Newton, good to have you with us from Ottawa.

Well, Spotify has announced new rules to combat misinformation as it faces a growing controversy. It says it will add a content advisory to any

podcast that mentions COVID-19. And it comes as the streaming site faces serious backlash over continuing to host Joe Rogan`s podcast, which has

spread false claims about the virus and vaccines.

Several others, including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell have even announced they`ll leave the platform because of the controversial host. Well, now

Rogan is apologizing for the upset.


JOE ROGAN, PODCAST HOST: So my pledge to you is that I will do my best to try to balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people`s

perspectives so we can maybe find a better point of view.


KINKADE: But will these Spotify reforms really be enough to satisfy the critics?

I want to bring in our Senior Media Reporter Oliver Darcy, good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So for our international audience, just explain how big Rogan is because he does have a significant following. He was signed for a multiyear

hundred million dollar contract with Spotify back in May 2020. They knew he was controversial, but they have kept him on and have announced this

content advisory group for COVID-19. Is that enough?

DARCY: Yes, Rogan is very, very big on Spotify. Neil Young is obviously a big artist. But on Spotify, Rogan reigns king. And so, you know, you said

he had that reported hundred million dollar contract. And that`s because he gets so many listeners to his podcast. He`s such a big draw for Spotify.

So, you know, people are saying, critics are saying that with that large audience comes a lot of responsibility, to make sure that your platform is

reflecting the public health viewpoints when it comes to things like COVID and vaccines. And Rogan`s podcast, frankly, has not always done this. He`s

had a lot of people on the podcast who have spattered anti-vaccine rhetoric and floated conspiracy theories.

And so Neil Young, you know, he pulled his podcasts, or not his podcast, his library from the Spotify platform, and it`s garnered a lot of

controversy whether this is going to lead to anything substantial.

I`m not sure you said that Spotify has made some tweaks. They`re going to have this advisory, this content advisory before discussions about COVID.

But, you know, I`m not really sure that`s going to do too much. Rogan himself has said that he`s going to balance out anti-vaccine viewpoints

with pro-vaccine viewpoints.

But again, that`s creating a false equivalence and I`m not really sure how much that`s going to matter. It`s a step in the right direction, all of

these things, but they are baby steps if we`re being frank about it.

KINKADE: Yes, baby steps indeed. And we should point out that Neil Young is actually a survivor of polio. So he appreciates vaccines and how effective

they are.

How much impact do you think that will have when we see others pull their Music from Spotify?


And in terms of this content advisory group, how is it going to work? Because they seem to be only focusing on misinformation to do with COVID-

19, not misinformation to do with anything else.

DARCY: Yes, Neil Young Pauling has a library of songs. Obviously, it was the genesis of this controversy for Spotify. And now we`ve seen other

artists follow suit. It will be intriguing to see if major artists, you know, the ones like Taylor Swift or someone like Billy Eilish, who has been

really outspoken about vaccines, do follow suit. I highly, highly doubt that. But that would obviously be a crisis for Spotify.

How this is going to work, it`s going to work pretty simple, I think. In any discussion of COVID, they`re going to attach this advisory basically

saying that we have this health hub. And if you want to have accurate information, reliable information about COVID and the vaccines, you can go

to this health hub where we`ll have authoritative sources.

But again, this is a baby step. People who are listening to Rogan`s podcast could perhaps easily just fast forward past that. And they`re going to, you

know, if he has these people on, which he`s shown no sign of saying I`m not going to host these contrarian viewpoints, these anti-vaccine viewpoints,

it`s just -- it just -- I don`t really see how much of a real-world impact that`s going to have. It certainly just seems to be more of a PR thing for

Spotify here.

KINKADE: All right. Well, we will watch closely and see how this all plays out. Oliver Darcy, good to have you with us. Thank you so much.

DARCY: Thank you.

KINKADE: Well, still to come tonight, an unexpected when for Irish fisherman as they force a remarkable U-turn from the Russian Navy. We`ll

explain that after a short break.


KINKADE: Welcome back. Now for a story that proves it never hurts to ask. In a surprising twist in the ongoing Russian-Ukraine saga is Irish

fishermen who have seem to have come up with a victory. They express concerns of a planned Russian Naval drills in their waters. Donie

O`Sullivan shows us what happened.


PATRICK MURPHY, CEO, IRISH SOUTH & WEST FISH PRODUCER`S ORG.: You can imagine that if the two of us are here, and next thing a rocket goes flying

over your head and you`re going, Jesus, what was that?



DONIE O`SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Irish fishermen worried about rockets that would be fired as part of a Russian military exercise off the Irish

coast this week.


ALAN CARLETON, FISHERMAN: We don`t want anyone doing low fire in our waters. It`s our backyard. It`s where we make our living and our




O`SULLIVAN: Concern here in Castletownbere, a fishing village on Ireland`s South Coast that Russian naval drills could pose a threat not only to the

safety of fishermen, but potentially to the environment and fish stocks.


CARLETON: We`re worried about what damage this low fire might do to the fish stocks and the marine life. And just whales and dolphins out there as

well, they can -- it`s bound to interfere with them as well and frighten them, like, it`d frighten me if a bomb would (INAUDIBLE) bound to frighten



O`SULLIVAN: Fishermen like Alan Carleton had planned this week to go fishing off the Irish coast like he always does, despite warnings from the

Russian Embassy in Dublin that doing so could be dangerous.


CARLETON: Just here to keep lookout for our ships and things like that and keep a lookout for the Russian Navy. Well, hopefully we don`t see them.


O`SULLIVAN: At O`Donoghue`s on the Castletownbere Harbor, locals worried about the Russian military.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fishermen in general are very anxious about the whole thing. People are worried, yes, that is affecting your fishing, it`s

affecting our safety of people.


O`SULLIVAN: Fishermen turned diplomats, fishing representatives met with the Russian ambassador to Ireland last week to express their concerns about

Russia firing rockets where they normally fish.


O`SULLIVAN: When you went in to speak to the Russian ambassador, what did you say to him?

MURPHY: Well, first of all, we gave him some prawns.

O`SULLIVAN: If you had a message for Vladimir Putin, what would it be?

CARLETON: Maybe just go to deeper water where they wouldn`t affect the fish stocks as much.


O`SULLIVAN: And Saturday night, that`s just what happened. The Russians saying after appeals from the Irish government and the fishermen

themselves, Russia would move its ships further out to sea away from the Irish fishing boats, the news reaching this community by tweet.


O`SULLIVAN: Well, how do you feel?

MURPHY: Shocked, really. Like I didn`t think that little (INAUDIBLE) in the Irish south and west would have an impact on international diplomacy.





O`SULLIVAN: The news is a relief for the whole community here.


O`SULLIVAN: You must have felt a great sense of relief, happiness?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, everybody did. Everybody really didn`t know. We`re thinking of our stocks, our livelihoods.

O`SULLIVAN: Are you hoping to have a good catch this week?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, hopefully, you know, everyone`s in good catching (INAUDIBLE)

O`SULLIVAN: And not catching any Russian ships.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, definitely not, or any ships.


O`SULLIVAN: Donie O`Sullivan, CNN, Castletownbere, County Cork, Ireland.


KINKADE: What an incredible diplomatic win. I hope they do have a good catch this week.

Thanks so much for watching tonight. I`m Lynda Kincade. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.