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Hala Gorani Tonight

Putin Cites NATO Broke Promise With Its Eastward Expansion; Denmark Rolls Back All COVID Restrictions; Countdown To Beijing Winter Games Marred By Rising COVID Cases; China Prepares For Olympics Amid Geopolitical Tensions; Russians React To Potential Conflict With Ukraine; U.K. Prime Minister Vows Support For Ukraine, Fields Partygate Questions; Fears Russia May Halt Gas Exports; Amnesty International Report Accuses Israeli Government Of Apartheid; Tom Brady Retires. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired February 01, 2022 - 14:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, live from the CNN Center, I'm Lynda Kinkade in for Hala Gorani, good to have you with us.

Well, tonight, Vladimir Putin says NATO broke promises with its eastward expansion. The Russian leader finally speaks about the diplomatic standoff

over Ukraine.

Then Denmark becomes the first country in Europe to roll back all its COVID restrictions, even as Italy rolls out new measures, issuing fines for

unvaccinated people over 50. The different scenarios in Europe two years into the pandemic. And the countdown to the Winter Olympics is on. We are

live in Beijing just hours before the first preliminary events begin under some of the world's toughest COVID rules.

Well, Vladimir Putin says the west has ignored Russia's fundamental security concerns. We didn't get any idea of what he might do next, but we

did get a lot of insight into his thinking. A short time ago in Moscow, Mr. Putin stood alongside the prime minister of Hungary and NATO member and

accused NATO of breaking promises not to expand eastward, saying quote, "they simply deceived us."

He says Russia's red lines in the crisis over Ukraine have not been addressed including never allowing Ukraine to join NATO. The Russian

president gave a hypothetical scenario of Ukraine trying to take back Crimea by force.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT, RUSSIA (through translator): This is a sovereign Russian territory in this sense, this question is closed for us.

Let's think that Ukraine joins NATO and then it starts war against Russia. So, we have to wage a war against neither.


KINKADE: Mr. Putin's foreign minister talked by phone today with the U.S. Secretary of State. A U.S. official says Antony Blinken urged Russia to

prove its stated intention not to invade Ukraine by pulling back its troops from the border. Our Sam Kiley is following developments and joins us live

from Kyiv. Sam, good to have you with us. So, we just heard from President Putin, he suggested that if Ukraine joined NATO, and then it started a war

that Russia would essentially be at war with NATO. Is there any indication that Ukraine would be the aggressor?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it doesn't matter because under article 5 of the NATO convention, an aggressive act does not

trigger the obligation to come to the defense of member nations. So, if in a very strange scenario, something like that happened, that they invaded in

order to seize this territory, it would not in any way automatically mean that NATO was at war with Russia.

In all probability, there would be great -- grave concerns expressed by NATO and demands for a diplomatic solution. Now, we've seen, for example,

Turkey moving across unilaterally into northern Syria. That's not a NATO operation, that's in sovereign Turkish operation. But on the wider issue, I

think what's really striking here is that, they -- the level loggerhead, if you like, the diminishing avenues no matter the frantic activity with

meetings going on either over of virtual meetings between Antony Blinken and the Russian Foreign Minister, Putin meeting with Orban in at home in


And here, we've had Johnson, Boris Johnson, the British prime minister meeting with the Ukrainian president. Now, Johnson, although he's got

severe problems at home, is really speaking and trying to drive home the danger to Russia and to Russia's peoples of an attack on Ukraine. This is

how he tried to put it.


BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: A further Russian invasion of Ukraine would be a political disaster, a humanitarian disaster. In my

view, it would also be for Russia, for the world, a military disaster as well. And the potential invasion completely flies in the face of President

Putin's claims to be acting in the interests of the Ukrainian people.


KILEY: Now, he also went on to say in a message directed to Russian mothers and wives and sisters, you know, that there will be fighting. If

there is an invasion, he said he's convinced that Ukrainians would fight.


Now, the implication, a strong implication, obviously, being that the Russian people do not want to see body bags coming back into their

territory from their own sons and husbands as a consequence of Vladimir Putin's territory ambitions and obsession about rewriting the whole

architectural drawing for European security to some pre-1997 dispensation.

But at the same time, Lynda, the Russians are still very much maintaining a hard line, according to the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, she was

speaking yesterday, their belief is that the Russians are going to be boosting the numbers of troops they've got in Belarus by 25,000, up from

5,000 that are believed to be there. Now, we have got no independent verification for that, but that's what the Americans are alleging.

So, you've got both sides saying to each other, your actions are aggressive. And diminishing opportunities, it would seem, for any kind of

diplomatic solution here.

KINKADE: Yes, and it was interesting as you pointed out, Sam, Boris Johnson appealing to parents when describing what could be a bloody

conflict. Thanks to you, Sam Kiley. I want to bring in our Nic Robertson who is in Moscow. Nic, this is the first time we've heard Putin speak

publicly since December. And while Russia is still drafting this formal response to America's security proposals, the Russian president did seem to

sum it up by saying that the U.S. and NATO have simply ignored Russia's security concerns. What did he say about the prospects of war?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, this -- he reiterated what we've heard from his more junior officials like Minister of

Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov for example, and others, that Russia's core issues that Ukraine should not be allowed to join NATO and NATO should go

back to 1997 levels and that the positioning of missile systems in NATO territory in eastern Europe is a threat to Russia and they should go.

All of those, he said weren't addressed. It's given us a real insight into his thinking. I think significantly he has reiterated his absolute firm

position, which was made very clear in the Russian security proposals demands that it sent to the United States and NATO back in the middle of

December. So, in the face of what has been the response from NATO to essentially say that it will beef up its forces, that in the meantime,

there will be military support given to Ukraine to help it defend itself.

Vladimir Putin has seen all this. He's heard what U.S. officials have had to say, NATO officials have had to say. He's got it in writing, and is

standing by his very firm position. It was interesting that Viktor Orban who is obviously looking too from his position with the Russian president,

he's got elections coming up at home in just a couple of months' time. He said that he thought in his assessment, he had an understanding from

President Putin that, there is a path to diplomacy, that this path to diplomacy can work to address both NATO and Russia's concerns.

And President Putin, at the end of his speech today said that there was essentially a track of diplomacy on with the French President, that he

hoped he would see the French president soon. We know the two have had calls in recent days that demands essentially a long-term legally-binding

guarantee that Ukraine can't join NATO. It's been how the Kremlin framed those phone calls. But you know, Putin is not backing away from a position

that some analysts said had backed himself into a corner.

He is not looking to get out of that corner. He believes that he can maintain this position of pressure, potential threat for some time more to

come to get more concessions, it's his tactic, through long, rode-out, slow and painful negotiations. I mean, we haven't even got to negotiations yet.

KINKADE: Yes, but certainly, this has been going on for such a long time already. And Nic Robertson, good to have you with us in Moscow. Thanks very

much, our thanks also to Sam Kiley in Kyiv. Well, NATO is also still very much involved in this ongoing diplomacy. Canada's defense minister says her

country is ready to join other NATO allies in imposing sanctions on Russia should it invade Ukraine. Anita Anand visited NATO headquarters in Brussels

today, meeting with the Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

She says that Canada is committed to supporting Ukraine with additional trainers on the ground. The Defense Minister Anand is joining us now live

from Brussels. Thanks so much for being with us.

ANITA ANAND, DEFENSE MINISTER, CANADA: Thanks so much for having me.

KINKADE: So, a short time ago, we heard from the Russian president, Putin, saying that imagine if Ukraine was a member of NATO, and it started a war

with Russia, that Russia would essentially be at war with NATO.


Canada of course is a member of NATO. What's Canada's message to the Russian president?

ANAND: Well, I reject the premise of that comment altogether. The reality of the situation is that there has been an illegal occupation of Ukraine in

the Crimea since 2014, that is why Canada launched operation unifier, a training mission under which over 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been

trained, including 2,000 members of the Ukrainian National Guard.

The reality is that at the current time, Russia has a choice. It can de- escalate through diplomatic negotiations, or it can face severe economic sanctions. That is the choice on the table as a result of an illegal

occupation and further escalation at the Ukrainian border, including in Belarus.

KINKADE: Talk to us a little bit more about the sort of help and support that Canada is offering. Because I understand you're in Kyiv, you arrived

Sunday, you spoke with your Ukrainian counterpart. We also heard from your Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talking about military aid for Ukraine. What

other support are you offering?

ANAND: Canada has been a long-standing partner with Ukraine in terms of support. We launched Operation Unifier in 2015, training 30,000-plus

Ukrainian soldiers. We have offered in addition to that, $120 million loan, $50 million in humanitarian aid. Non-lethal support in the area of

equipment, military hospital, surveillance, and other equipment that is arriving on the ground now in Ukraine. And indeed, I visited Kyiv

yesterday, spoke with Minister Reznikov about further options for Canadian support across the board.

The reality and bottom line is that we believe in a strong, stable, and secure Ukraine, and we will work together with our NATO allies to ensure

its sovereignty.

KINKADE: Minister, Ukraine has spoke about wanting preemptive sanctions on Moscow before, even -- any sort of Russian soldier enters Ukraine. Where

does Canada stand on that proposal?

ANAND: We are closely monitoring this evolving and fluid situation. And at the same time -- and one of the reasons that I am here today is to express

our continued commitment to the NATO alliance, to act in lock-step with our NATO allies, including our conversation with Jens Stoltenberg today which

we reiterated that very point.

KINKADE: Yes, and you met obviously with Jens Stoltenberg. is there any disagreement within the alliance, within NATO about how to respond to

Moscow should there be a minor incursion versus a full-blown invasion?

ANAND: The reality is that, we are all very much committed to the international rules based order imposed after Brandon Woods and the order

that ensures peace, democracy, and stability in the world. And we will continue to support that through this crisis as well as in the years ahead.

Why? Because that is what allows people to live in peace and with the security that they deserve and require under basic human rights.

KINKADE: Anita Anand, Canada's defense minister, a pleasure having you on the show, thanks so much for your time.

ANAND: Thank you so much.

KINKADE: Well, we are going to look at the COVID situation in Europe now, and how different nations can see things very differently. We're going to

take a quick break, stay with us.



KINKADE: Welcome back. We've got to look at COVID in Europe and how different nations can see things very differently. Denmark and Italy

sitting at the opposite ends of the continent, now finding themselves dealing with a pandemic in completely opposite ways. Denmark is opening up

essentially removing all COVID restrictions, while Italy is making it even harder for the unvaccinated to participate in society. Well, let's start in

Denmark where they've lifted all COVID restrictions. CNN's Scott McLean went to Copenhagen to find out.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Loud music, stiff drinks and close talking. In Denmark, they're partying like it's 2019. After two years

of on again, off again restrictions, mask mandates and lockdowns, Denmark has officially kissed COVID restrictions good-bye.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am over it. Like, i think everybody is.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm excited. You know, we've been waiting for this moment for so long.

MCLEAN: In reality, the pandemic hasn't gone away. In fact, new average daily infections in Denmark are more than 12 times higher than the

country's previous peak and rising.

(on camera): Is now really the best time to do away with the rules?

SOREN BROSTROM, DIRECTOR GENERAL, DANISH HEALTH AUTHORITY: Sure, and of course, everybody is asking us that question. But when we're looking at our

hospital admission rates, day-by-day, and we see fewer and fewer cases, and we see very few cases in the elderly and that are vaccinated actually

admitted to the hospital or even dying --

MCLEAN: And that's just because of vaccination?

BROSTROM: I have no other good explanation why Denmark is in such a unique place.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Denmark has one of the highest vaccination rates on earth. Late last year, they lifted most restrictions only to once again

batten down the hatches in December. Closing schools, mandating masks indoors, and putting curfews on bars and restaurants. Now, virtually all of

those restrictions are gone.

(on camera): Is it really the end this time?

MAGNUS HEUNICKE, HEALTH MINISTER, DENMARK: Well, we hope so. But we promised the citizens of Denmark that we will only have restrictions if

they are truly necessary. And we'll lift them as soon as we can.

MCLEAN (voice-over): It's not just Denmark, last week, England lifted nearly all of its domestic restrictions as lawmakers sat out a novel new


SAJID JAVID, HEALTH MINISTER, BRITAIN: We must learn to live with COVID in the same way that we've learned to live with flu.

MCLEAN: Before the vaccine, COVID was a lot more deadly than the flu, but as immunity rose and a less severe variant emerged, deaths directly caused

by influenza or pneumonia are now not far off of COVID, and lately, they're contributing factors far more often.

(on camera): Is it reasonable to treat COVID like we treat the flu?

LIAM SMEETH, DIRECTOR, LONDON SCHOOL OF HYGIENE & TROPICAL MEDICINE: I think it's not a bad model unless, of course, the virus surprises us, and

comes out with a nasty, highly infectious variant.

MCLEAN: Back in Denmark, people are free to circulate, so is the virus. But two years, three vaccine doses and a lot of sacrifice later, COVID

doesn't seem so scary anymore. Scott McLean, CNN, Copenhagen.


KINKADE: Well, meanwhile, at the same time, parts of Europe are opening up. We have countries like Italy that are going through -- going a

different direction really. Italy updating their green pass rules today, making it even more difficult for those who have not gotten the vaccine to

get into public places.


And there's even a new 100 euro fine for anyone over 50 who refuses to get a vaccine. Well, CNN's Ben Wedeman is in Rome and joins us now. Good to see

you, Ben. So if you're over 50, you refuse the vaccine, you can now expect to cop a fine. Explain how this will be enforced.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's not just a fine if you're over 50 and unvaccinated. The only places really you can go

are supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations. And the way the Italian medical system works, the health system, they know very -- they can find out very

easily if you have not been vaccinated. If you haven't been vaccinated, the Italian National Health Service will inform the Italian version of the

Internal Revenue Service that you have not been vaccinated, and the revenue service will inform you that you must pay this 100 euro fine.

It's a one-off thing, but it certainly shows that the Italian authorities are increasingly impatient with those who are resisting getting vaccinated.


KINKADE: Yes, there's not much really you can do, can you? If you want to go to a supermarket or a pharmacy or a gas station and you've got this

fine. So just explain for us where cases are at right now, Ben, because I understand last month, cases were topping 200,000 a day in Italy. Has it

passed the peak?

WEDEMAN: Yes, it's believed that it has passed the peak. Today, for instance, the latest number we've gotten for new cases is 133,142. That's

still a pretty high number even compared to the early days of the pandemic when we were shocked when there were 6,000 new cases a day, but the virus

has changed. It is far less deadly because according to the latest numbers, 90 percent of the population here has received at least one dose, 78

percent have received the booster.

And, therefore, the numbers aren't as bad, but actually, if you look at the number of dead today being reported by the authorities, it is 427. That's

not insignificant number of people dying from a disease in one day.



KINKADE: Exactly, all right, Ben Wedeman, now, good to have you, thanks for that update from Rome. Well, Pfizer is expected to seek authorization

in the U.S. as soon as today for its COVID-19 vaccine for children aged six months to five years old. A source says the company will ask the U.S. Food

and Drug Administration to grant emergency authorization for a two-dose regime. And if granted, this would be the first COVID-19 vaccine available

for the youngest children in the United States.

Well, we want to bring in our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. Good to see you, Elizabeth. So, tell us more about what we know about these

doses that they'll be having for young children.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So Lynda, what we know is that, last month, Pfizer said that when they tried doses out on children

ages two to five, they weren't getting the immune response that they wanted to get. And so, they were sort of rethinking how to approach this. Now,

we're hearing that they could apply as soon as today to the FDA for emergency use authorization.

So the question is, OK, well, are you using the dosage that you tried out and it didn't work so well, or a different dosage, and if so, how could you

have fully tested that given that it was just a month ago that you said you were sort of taking another look. It's all very unclear. So it will be very

interesting to see what dosage they will come up with. The last time that they sort of talked about this, you know, children ages six months to five

were getting one dose, children ages 5 to 11 were getting another dose, and 12 and up, you know, adolescents and adults were getting a third dose. So,

we'll just have to see what Pfizer comes out with. Lynda?

KINKADE: Yes, we will talk with you again soon, no doubt, as we get some more details. Elizabeth Cohen for us, thanks very much. Well, still to come

tonight, this year's Winter Olympics should have been a time for unity. But instead, we're following rising COVID-19 cases, and a diplomatic boycott.

We're going to go live to Beijing.

Plus, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is focusing on Ukraine. He might as well find out it's impossible to get out of the scandals back home.

We'll have that story next.



KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade, good to have you with us. Well, COVID-19 cases inside the Olympics closed loop in Beijing are going up.

Even with all the PCR tests and constant disinfection. Officials say they found 24 new cases on Monday among Olympic athletes and personnel. Six of

them were already inside the bubble that's cut off from the rest of the city. That brings the total number of cases reported inside the bubble to


Well, Beijing has now sealed off several neighborhood blocks near Olympic venues as a precaution. And the opening ceremony is just three days away.

CNN's David Culver is in Beijing and joins us now. David, despite utilizing every possible measure, infection cases are still rising within the Olympic


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Every possible measure that you can think of. You're right, Lynda, and it's something that we have been living with

obviously since the start of the pandemic more than two years ago here. It's perhaps the strictest measures in any other country would be seen

really as incredibly restrictive and keeping them from day-to-day life. In fact, I was looking at what you were talking about a few minutes, what

you're seeing in Europe and Denmark, the easing of restrictions there.

The reason that is not going to happen here is because China is adamant about sticking to this zero COVID policy. That is one case is one too many.

And with variants like Omicron, that's making it increasingly difficult to stick to. Nonetheless, you've got leading up to these games, the

geopolitics. This is something that obviously we've seen looming for many years coming into 2022. But add to that, the raging pandemic, and you are

seeing a worst case scenario for China.


CULVER (voice-over): Beijing counting down to the Winter games. Its second Olympics taking place amid frigid geopolitical tensions and a raging


CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: This is the largest regularly- scheduled peace-time gathering of the world, and yet, there can be no gathering.

CULVER: What's likely to be lost in these games is the fact that sporting events are taking place.

(on camera): That's because in the years leading up, China has faced growing outside pressures, and domestically, its zero COVID policy is

proving increasingly difficult to stick to.


CULVER (voice-over): Seven years ago, Beijing won the 2022 Olympic bid; the first city to host both a summer and winter games but the buildup came

as China's relations with the West rapidly fell apart.

Under an increasingly powerful supreme ruler Xi Jinping, China is on a drastically different path than what the West had hope. Cooperation

replaced by confrontation on multiple fronts from a trade war to threat of an actual war in the South China Sea.

In Hong Kong, Beijing quickly squashed pro-democracy protests and it is now mounting pressure on Taiwan pushing for the self-governing democracy to

fall under Beijing's control. Then there are the widespread allegations of human rights abuses. CNNs traveled to the far western region of Xinjiang.

It's here the U.S. and other countries accused China of committing genocide against its ethnic Uyghur population. China has repeatedly denied that it's

detained and tortured the Muslim minority and called the accusations politically

motivated lies. But that has not silence to the west, the U.S., U.K., Australia and Canada, among the countries protesting through a diplomatic

boycott of the Beijing Olympics.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The Biden Administration will not send any diplomatic or official representation to the Beijing 2022 Winter


CULVER (voice-over): The diplomatic boycott coinciding with the case of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, the former Olympian briefly disappeared in

November after she accused a retired national leader of pressuring her intersects.

It just so happens to be the same official who led Beijing's bid for the 2022 games. Amid a growing global outcry, Peng has since resurfaced and

multiple state media reports denying she made the accusation.

Some have accused the International Olympic Committee of being complicit in China's control over Peng's story as its President Thomas Bach tried to

reassure the world of Peng's wellbeing after two video calls with her, the IOC advocating for silent diplomacy to better handle the matter.

Bach, now in Beijing, is expected to meet with Peng soon.

CULVER (on camera): But that meeting happening behind closed doors inside the so called closed loop. That's the Olympic bubble holding the athletes

the personnel the incoming media kept separate from the rest of China. This as the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to rise and spread across the


CULVER (voice-over): China facing a renewed challenge to halt this latest surge, snap lockdowns, mass testing, contact tracing, all of it stepped up

as the country works to show its superiority in containing the virus.

State media is continuing to label the virus as an imported threat, even dating back to the initial outbreak in Wuhan, a consistent propaganda

effort to deflect blame and refocus global attention on what is supposed to be a spectacular and unifying event.

And threatening to cast a darker shadow over these games, growing tensions between Russia and Ukraine, with Russian President Vladimir Putin expected

to meet President Xi on the sidelines of the opening ceremony, these Olympics playing out amidst an increasingly divided world.


CULVER: And Lynda, we knew internationally this was going to be very difficult for Beijing as they are dealing with, as we laid out there, a

multitude of geopolitical issues. Domestically, you would have thought this would have been a win, because, well, Olympics are incredibly popular here.

And it tends to be a moment where you can gather the country and rally them together and bring on excitement and joy. The restrictions are reminiscent

of what we saw two plus years ago at the start of the outbreak in Wuhan.

And it's putting people back in that mindset. So they're feeling physically disconnected from the joy of these games. Many are still trying to partake

in the celebrations. But it's just not the same. And certainly it's not what they saw in 2008. So for them, it's more of an inconvenience to have

all these folks in the city of Beijing, with barriers everywhere.

KINKADE (voiceover): Exactly. And as cases are rising. David Culver, good to have you with us. Thank you for that report.

Well, as David mentioned, the crisis along Ukraine's border with Russia is among the geopolitical issues overshadowing the games. But as the Kremlin

weighs the next moves, many in Moscow don't seem too concerned about the prospect of war or sanctions. Nic Robertson went to Moscow's Gorky Park to

sample opinions.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): On Russian state media, Ukrainian soldiers train on American anti-tank weapons

as a pro-Russian separatist from Donbas in Ukraine begs Moscow to send them weapons. The state seems to be readying the nation for a potential



But are Russians listening?

In Moscow's Gorky Park, state media gets a cold shoulder.

"I try not to watch the news," she says. "I think they're escalating it a lot. I believe very little of what they're showing."

"What the state media are saying, there's hardly any truth in it," he says. "It's just information that plays into someone's hands."

Even so, people are worrying.

"Of course, we are worried," she says. "We hope that everything will settle down. We wish the Ukrainians well. They're our brothers."

"What can we do," she says. "Nothing depends on us. Absolutely nothing. So everything is possible."

Everyone here is waiting for President Putin to make his next move. One thing he doesn't seem to need to worry about is panic at home.

Outside the Kremlin, in Moscow's fabled Red Square, a winter fun fair to cheer Russians through the frigid months straddles the historic military

parade ground. Realities of war feel distant.

"I think there will be no war," she says. "Our president, whom we love, will not allow war between our states. We love Ukraine."

"I'm from Ukraine," she says. "I don't think there'll be war. Because we are a friendly country. And Russia and Ukraine are fraternal peoples."

Even the threat of western sanctions, despite Russia's ruble having a rough ride against the dollar recently, is being shrugged off.

"Well, sanctions don't scare us," she says. "Our homeland is so rich. We'll figure it out."

"We ordinary people, we will not be affected," he says. "There will be no sanctions on us."

"Of course, food becomes more expensive," she says. "But I'll just earn more." But optimism here belies the pressures on Putin. If diplomacy fails,

he'll have a heavy lift, prepping Russia's people for the pain that could come their way.

All those critical decisions going on just yards from the fanfare in President Putin's office, behind the Kremlin's high red walls -- Nic

Robertson, CNN, Moscow.


KINKADE: Britain's prime minister is in Kyiv today even as he faces growing calls back home to resign.

Boris Johnson met with the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. He's announced $180 million of new aid funding to help Ukraine reduce its

reliance on Russian energy. And he called the threat from Russia a clear and present danger to all of Europe, all while evading questions about the

Partygate scandal.


QUESTION: Have you done enough to survive?

Have you done enough to persuade enough colleagues to rescue your premiership?

And on the issue with Ukraine, why should the international community take your diplomacy seriously when you're so preoccupied at home, when you put

talking to MPs ahead of talking to President Putin?

BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: My focus is entirely on delivering on the priorities of the British people and they include ensuring that we are

secure in our relations with our friends and allies and our friends and allies are secure.


KINKADE: Bianca Nobilo following this from London and joins us live.

Bianca, I want to ask you about diplomacy over Ukraine. We heard Boris Johnson say that Putin is holding a gun to Ukraine's head. He offered the

Ukrainian people more aid. Tell us what's on the table.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: The prime minister's priorities in Ukraine were to emphasize that Britain is standing shoulder

to shoulder with Ukraine and underscore the alliance and the unity between Britain, Ukraine and NATO allies.

This is building on announcements we've had in the last few days from the foreign secretary in Britain, meant to attend this event but unable to

because she tested positive for COVID-19, announcing as you mentioned a package of sanctions of -- a package of sanctions prepared against Russia

in the event of any incursion or further movements that would trigger this.

And Boris Johnson was at pains to emphasize what he called the automaticity of this package, that it will happen immediately in response to anything

from Russia that violates the red line set up by the West.


He also wanted to offer this new package of finance which he mentioned, 88 million pounds to Ukraine in order to bolster energy independence from

Russia and stable governance.

He also kept in his messaging pointing out that this would come, any move from Russia would come at a very high cost, that Ukraine was prepared to

fight and defend their country. And he did underscore with bellicose rhetoric the bloody toll that might take.

KINKADE: Exactly, appealing to parents in Russia. He also no doubt was possibly quite pleased to have left -- hopefully he was probably hoping to

leave some of this scandal and the crisis and the domestic political troubles at home. But he couldn't avoid it entirely. He was asked about his

political future.

What did he say?

NOBILO: You'll be shocked to know he tried to avoid answering the question by focusing on the other matters at hand. And as you point out, this would

be a relief. The prime minister standing at a podium, intervening in great affairs of state and conflict and diplomacy, him showing a seriousness that

he's being criticized for lacking over so many weeks and months.

That was definitely if not an explicit goal of the trip, definitely an implicit one. Although as the reporter pointed out, the prime minister

actually missed a planned call with Putin and with Russia on Monday night, because he was trying to shore up support from his own back benches to

protect his own leadership and his position as prime minister.

And this speaks to the criticism that we've heard so many times recently, one of the many of the prime minister, that Partygate has become an

overwhelming distraction from the great crisis that the country is facing when it comes to the economy, the cost of living, coming out of the

pandemic and, of course, Ukraine and dealing with diplomacy and trying to play a part in world affairs.

I was also speaking to some of my pollster friends to try to get a sense earlier about where the British actually public stand on a potential

intervention with Russia and Ukraine, because the prime minister is taking a strong stance here.

He's coming out as one of the foremost allies Ukraine has in the process. It seems the British public do support diplomatic engagement and diplomatic

intervention to put pressure on Russia but are much more split when it comes to Britain making any firmer moves or potentially providing military

assistance in the event that this escalated.

KINKADE: Excellent. All right. We'll leave it there for now. Good to have you with us live from London. Thank you so much.

Still on the international diplomacy over Ukraine and the prime minister of Poland is weighing in, too, warning the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is "a gun in

the hands of Vladimir Putin." He calls the pipeline a threat to peace in Europe and says it will allow Russia to blackmail Europe by controlling

supplies of gas and coal.

Those comments are a signal of the worsening energy crunch and skyrocketing costs that Europe could face if this conflict keeps escalating. Anna

Stewart explains a key role Russia plays in keeping much of the continent warm during the cold winter months.


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Europe's winter could feel much colder in the coming weeks.

HENNING GLOYSTEIN, DIRECTOR, ENERGY, CLIMATE & RESOURCES EURASIA GROUP: If all Russian gas stops for Europe you'll see prices literally going --

really going through the roof.

STEWART: Gas dependency is a hard habit to kick.

(on camera): The E.U. relies on Russia for over 40 percent of its gas import and some countries are more vulnerable than others. For example, you

can see here Austria, Finland and Latvia rely on Russia for all of their imported gas.

Germany, Europe's economic powerhouse is particularly vulnerable. Not only does it rely on Russia for the majority of its gas imports but it depends

on gas for over a quarter of its energy. And actually this gas dependence has grown over the past few decades as Germany transitions away from coal

and nuclear power.

(voice-over): It's surprising, given the E.U. has faced this problem before.

JOSE MANUEL BARROSO, FORMER PRESIDENT EUROPEAN UNION: Guess that should come from Russia through Ukraine to the European Union is not coming.

STEWART: Russia has invested billions of in more pipelines to Europe since 2009. To avoid transiting through Ukraine. There's Nord Stream 1

shown here in yellow and alongside it the new $11 billion Nord Stream 2 currently awaiting certification by German regulators.

That pipeline future though is in doubt.

VICTORIA NULAND, U.S. UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS: If Russia invades Ukraine, one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move


STEWART: There are concerns that this measure and others, could trigger Russian retaliation against the west. It could suspend all gas exports to

Europe which is now scrambling to shore up supplies. One option is liquefied gas via ship.

GLOSTEIN: Over Christmas and New Year, European Union has quietly ordered an entire fleet of LNG imports, mostly from the U.S. and Qatar. And they

are all due to arrive this month.


And it's a lot of gas.

STEWART: It isn't a fix for all. Experts agree there wouldn't be enough LNG to replace Russian gas. Many European countries lack LNG terminals and

re-directing gas through Europe is also challenging due to limits on existing pipelines.

Another option is storage.

AMY MYERS JAFFE, RESEARCH PROFESSOR, FLETCHER SCHOOL, TUFTS UNIVERSITY: Europe still has nine weeks' supplies in storage. And there is the so-

called emergency cushion that puts another 10 percent. So all good. I mean maybe they could like squeak through.

STEWART: There are non-gas options.


(voiceover): Experts say decommissioned coal and nuclear plants could be fired back up. Ultimately, Europe could survive a winter without Russian

gas but at a great financial cost.

It would also have a cost for Russia, one reason experts think full gas suspension to Europe is unlikely.

(on camera): Does Europe seek to reduce its reliance on Russian energy, does this backfire eventually longer term on Russia?

MYERS-JAFFE: We all thought it had in 2009, right?

Because, you know, all these LNG receiving terminals went in and the U.S. started drilling, drilling, drilling.

But you know having the actual physical asset and inventory of tanks and LNG export capacity -- none of that is useful if you don't use it in the

strategic way. And you're not thinking about the security premium which people felt they didn't have to pay anymore.

STEWART (voice-over): Energy security comes at a price -- Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


KINKADE: Well, still to come, Amnesty International is labeling Israel an apartheid state. We'll have details and Israel's strong response when we

come back.




KINKADE: Amnesty International has become the latest human rights organization to accuse Israel of apartheid for the treatment of


The report released earlier today quotes inhuman acts of forcible transfer, administrative detention, torture, unlawful killings and serious injuries

against the Palestinian population. My colleague, Becky Anderson, spoke with the secretary general, Agnes Callamard. She began by explaining why

they've come to this decision.


AGNES CALLAMARD, SECRETARY-GENERAL, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: We call it apartheid because it is apartheid under international law.


We have spent four years investigating underground, conducting legal analysis with some of the best legal loin (ph) on the crime of apartheid.

What we've found is a system, a system of laws, policies, practices, intricate, bureaucratic, bureaucratized that are there in order to ensure

control and domination of the Palestinian people and in order to ensure demographic hegemony of one racial group over another one and in order to

ensure maximum control over the land.

That is a definition of a system of apartheid. That might -- you know, this is my first visit to Israel (INAUDIBLE). And I was shocked to the core by

finding the extent of the segregation within those societies, the extent to which people are separated, people are unequal, the extent to which

apartheid and the system has been internalized to the extent that is becoming almost banal and absurd at times.

That is the system of apartheid.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST : Israel has refuted this report, as with others in the past, by calling it anti-Semitic.

What's your response to that?

CALLAMARD: Look, going after the messenger is one way of ensuring that there is no discussion on the substance. We need to focus on the reality of

life for Palestinians. Amnesty stands by its report and stands by it right to critique Israel every time Israel violates international law. That is

not anti-Semitic.

That is doing our work as an international human rights organization in the same way that we critique a range of countries, whatever their religious

background, their racial makeup and so on and so forth.

That is what we are here for. We want to engage with the substance of what we have found, which is a multitude of human rights violations amounting to

the crime of apartheid.


KINKADE: As you briefly heard there, Israel has responded angrily to the accusations. It's denounced the report as anti-Semitic and ahead of the

document's official release, the Israeli foreign minister had this to say.


YAIR LAPID, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER: In the past, Amnesty was a respectable organization. Not anymore. Today, it is precisely the opposite.

It isn't a human rights organization but just another radical organization that echoes propaganda without seriously checking the facts.

Instead of seeking the truth, Amnesty echoes the same lies shared by terrorist organization.


KINKADE: We'll have much more news ahead. Stay with CNN.





KINKADE: Welcome back.

Legendary quarterback Tom Brady has confirmed he is retiring. The seven- time Super Bowl champion brings to an end a 22 year career that made him the greatest player in the history of the NFL. He announced it on

Instagram, saying, "I have loved my NFL career and now it's time to focus my time and energy on other things that require my attention."

We wish him all the best in retirement.

And by now you've most likely heard of Wordle, the word guessing game that's taken the internet by storm. Now the game has a new owner and a

hefty price tag. "The New York Times" bought it for a price they say was in the low seven figures.

Millions of people have been playing it every day and the game's creator, Josh Wardle, says its success has been overwhelming. And for now "The New

York Times" says it will keep one of its most compelling features.


JONATHAN KNIGHT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" GAMES EDITOR: It is free. When it comes to "The Times," it will be free. We're just excited to have this

audience be introduced to "The New York Times" and to introduce "The New York Times" to this game.

And there's so much value we're going to get from that. So we're not thinking right now about limiting the game in any way.


KINKADE: Well, for frequent players, don't worry, your progress will not be lost. "The New York Times" says it is working to keep existing players'

wins and streaks once it moves to the newspaper website.

And our producer, Laura, will be happy to know that.

Finally, a British Airways plane attempting to land but strong winds had other ideas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Easy, easy, easy. Oh, my God.

KINKADE (voice-over): You can hear whoever that was, finding it quite stressful. The pilot had to abort the landing just as the plane threatened

to flip over to one side. We are pleased to say the pilot came back around and landed safely.


KINKADE: There's some good skills there.

Thank you for watching tonight. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Stay with CNN. Richard Quest is up with "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS," next.