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Hala Gorani Tonight

Macron Flies To Moscow For Talks With Putin To Help Ease Tensions Over Ukraine; Chinese Tennis Star Peng Shuai Speaks Out; Ottawa Declares State Of Emergency Amid Protests; Biden Meeting With New German Chancellor At White House; U.K. Prime Minister Johnson Resets Downing St. Leadership; Ottawa Protest Now Spreading Across Canada. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired February 07, 2022 - 14:00   ET



HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN in London on this Monday, I'm HALA GORANI TONIGHT. Another day of high-stakes

diplomacy talks as tensions between Russia and Ukraine show no signs of easing. President Putin is today meeting with France's Macron in Moscow.

We'll bring you that news conference live. Plus, President Biden is meeting Germany's new chancellor. We'll be covering this story from all angles.

Then, the tennis star Peng Shuai speaks out, she says there has been a quote, "huge misunderstanding about her sexual assault allegations, but is

everything as it seems? And later, Ottawa declares a state of emergency as protests over COVID restrictions continue. We are live in that Canadian


We're following a lot of developments this hour on a day of high stakes critical talks meant to head off the possibility of war in Europe. Any time

now, Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron could come out and speak to reporters after a late-night meeting in Moscow. In brief, remarks

earlier, the Russian president praised Mr. Macron's mediation efforts.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT, RUSSIA (through translator): I can see also how active France has been all the way along, and you yourself, taking

decisions to make sure that there is security in Europe on equal footing. I have very much thought we would be able to enter into detail on all those

issues and begin to build a constructive arrangement which is -- which is mutually acceptable to Russia and the rest of Europe in which it will help

us to avoid war and create the greatest degree of visibility for all concerned.


GORANI: Right. Emmanuel Macron there, extreme social distancing between the two leaders in the Kremlin. Macron saying he's reasonably optimistic on

his way there, but what you're seeing there are images of another summit on the crisis underway. This one in Washington. President Joe Biden is meeting

with a brand new German Chancellor shoring up support for a united western response should Russia decide to invade Ukraine.

Meantime, at the State Department, the EU's foreign policy chief says he's coordinating an answer to Russia's security demands sent in a letter to all

EU members. We begin our coverage tonight with CNN's Alex Marquardt, he's live in Kyiv with more. Talk to us about the expectations of this summit,

these high stakes talks between President Emmanuel Macron of France and Vladimir Putin of Russia.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, Hala, at its core obviously, it's good when leaders on opposite sides are

talking, and the bullets are not flying. And so, it just shows that the diplomatic process is still alive. To what again -- to what extent

President Putin is engaged, it is hard to say, but you know, we heard President Emmanuel Macron when he landed in Moscow today, say that he was

reasonably optimistic, but he said he doesn't expect what he called spontaneous miracles.

So, that should really tell you what -- where we think we're going to be by the end of the day today. As you mentioned, we're expecting to hear these

two men speak at a press conference momentarily. Things are often delayed when it comes to President Putin's schedule. And we did see these two men

earlier today, extreme social distancing as you mentioned, that is what President Putin tends to do of late during this COVID era when he's meeting

with foreign leaders.

But there is a real series of reasons why President Macron is a pivotal player in all of this. We have seen President Putin focus a lot of his

efforts, energy, and ire on the United States. And to some extent, President Macron is trying to bridge a gap. He has been speaking more often

with President Putin than many of his fellow leaders. We know that he's been debriefing President Biden. There's also something called the Normandy


And that is -- that was basically set up to try to find a solution for the fighting in eastern Ukraine. That is France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine.

So this is yet another avenue where France and Russia are able to speak with each other. France and Russia are more on the same page when it comes

to finding some sort of solution or balance for European security than, say, the U.S. and Russia.


And then, you know, President Macron is someone who is eager to get involved in big foreign policy opportunities. He does see an opening here

where he can actually make some progress that perhaps the U.S. can't. And so, he wants to try to find that middle ground. He also has an election

coming up in a few months time, and so, obviously, a victory on this front, a win for him -- on this front would really help him.

But we -- he is just one diplomat who -- or official who is trying to make headway here. We're also expecting to see the new German Chancellor Olaf

Scholz meeting with Putin in Moscow himself next week. So, this is all part of this flurry of diplomatic talks aimed at trying to deter Russia from

invading Ukraine. And after President Macron finishes up his meeting with President Putin in Moscow today, he's expected to come here to Kyiv

tomorrow and to then meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky again, to update him on any progress that might have been made as tensions only grow

by the day. Hala.

GORANI: Sure, Alex Marquardt, thanks very much, live in Kyiv. To the White House now where we're expecting President Joe Biden and the new German

Chancellor Olaf Scholz to give a news conference next hour. Their meeting comes as Germany is under a lot of pressure to strengthen its support for

Ukraine, specifically to join other NATO allies in sending defensive weapons to the country. So far, they've really only sent a few thousand


They've said that they are ready though to enforce these unprecedented sanctions against Moscow. Today, President Biden said the U.S. and Germany

are working in lockstep to deter Russian aggression. It is all about showing and presenting a united western front. Let's bring in Kevin Liptak,

he's in Washington, our Fred Pleitgen is in Berlin. Kevin, first to you. The two leaders, Olaf Scholz and President Biden participated in what's

called a pool spray in the Oval Office before their face-to-face talks.

Did we learn anything from that or are we -- do we know what they're likely to agree on or come out of these talks with a common message for reporters?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, it was really just a photo-op that we saw a few moments ago. Some pleasantries. They're sitting in front

of sort of a roaring fireplace there in the Oval Office. The president did say the U.S. and Germany are working in lockstep to counter Russian

aggression, but that's really the overarching question that is looming over this visit is just how lockstep the U.S. and Germany are. There have been a

lot of questions about the new chancellor's resolve to confront Vladimir Putin.

He hasn't necessarily been as willing to say the steps that he would take, should Russia invade Ukraine. He hasn't agreed to send lethal aid. As you

said, he sent some helmets, but he hasn't sent any weapons. Germany has been more reluctant than some other nations to send its troops along the

eastern flank of NATO, and Olaf Scholz hasn't been as explicit in saying exactly what sanctions he's ready to impose on Russia should this invasion

go forward, and that's drawn --

GORANI: Yes --

LIPTAK: A lot of consternation among officials here in Washington, Republicans and Democrats alike. What the White House says privately, we

talked to senior administration officials ahead of this meeting is, look, there are 30 members of NATO, each of them can bring its own items to the

table. They've pointed out that Germany is a large provider of economic aid to Ukraine. We do expect to see these two leaders come out for press

conference in about an hour or two, and it remains to be seen there just how on the same page they seem to be there.

GORANI: Sure, and we're also reminding our viewers, expecting that Macron- Putin news conference to take place shortly. They're late, we were expecting it a little bit earlier in the evening, Europe time. Fred, let me

ask you about Olaf Scholz, he's in a bit of a tricky position, first of all, he's a new chancellor. Second of all, he is succeeding someone who met

with Vladimir Putin -- correct me if I'm wrong, about a dozen times.

Angela Merkel knew and spoke to Vladimir Putin regularly compared to other western leaders. What position is he in now, especially considering

Germany's energy relationship with Russia? They're so intertwined.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think that's key. And I think that's also one of the reasons why in this whole

crisis that's currently unfolding with obviously all those Russian troops near the Ukrainian border with this very dangerous security situation right

now in Europe. Germany is really one of the pivotal nations in all of that especially because of the close economic ties between Germany and Russia.

Which, of course, in large part, were formed by former Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, but also by Angela Merkel. You mentioned those many visits that

took place there in the Kremlin. She did have also very good relations with Vladimir Putin as well, very respectful relations. So it certainly puts

Olaf Scholz in a difficult position. Now, some of the things that Kevin just said are absolutely correct.


Now, I think the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline is certainly one of the big issues that is going to come up where you have the U.S. unequivocally saying if

there is a further invasion of Ukraine, that pipeline, one way or another, will not happen. The German chancellor so far has not said that yet. He

said all options are on the table, and in an interview before actually boarding the plane to Washington D.C., he said that he wanted to keep that

ambiguity also when dealing with the Russians as well.

So certainly, not much clarity there on that front. And then, of course, there is the situation of lethal aid as well. Where he has said Germany

will not be providing any lethal aid, that, that is a German policy to not provide lethal aid into crisis areas even though the Germans had record

arms exports last year, and there're -- top country that bought arms from them was actually Egypt. The Germans are saying they're simply not going to

provide any arms to Ukraine.

That, of course, internationally, and also especially in eastern Europe puts Olaf Scholz in a very difficult position. But if you look at Germany

domestically, about 70 percent of the population here is against providing lethal aid to Ukraine at this point in time.

GORANI: Yes --

PLEITGEN: So, he certainly -- and he says this in interviews as well, he certainly feels the German population is behind him. But in NATO, it does

put him in a very difficult position, Hala.

GORANI: All right, Fred Pleitgen in Berlin, Kevin Liptak in D.C., thanks very much. Let's get the perspective now from Russia. Nic Robertson joins

us now live from Moscow. You know, Vladimir Putin, as you know very well, and many of our viewers know is known for his long news conferences. I

wonder how -- what should we expect here, because Macron is not the type of leader who usually holds news conferences that can run into seven or eight

hours, you know? How choreographed will this affair be?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: You know, I think we can reasonably, safely assume that the choreographing so far today has not

been on the time frame that Emmanuel Macron would have wanted. Looking at the look on his face as he sat on the opposite end of that long table from

President Putin when he arrived. That was 5 O'clock in the afternoon. After that, Moscow time.

Earlier, it had been anticipated that he perhaps would have been arriving around noon. This is going to make a very late day for President Macron.

The conversation behind closed doors that he's having with President Putin now is going on longer than had sort of been expected, certainly by

President Macron's office. There is, of course, a huge amount for the pair of them to do behind the scenes, but before they went in, the language was


Putin thanking Macron for being interested, commenting on, you know, the positive phone calls that they'd had recently, pointing out that his

predecessors, Macron's predecessors had helped, you know, find solutions after the conflict in Georgia which Russia was party to, and also the Minsk

agreement, the conflict in Ukraine back in 2014 which Russia was party to. So, Putin there without a sense of irony, saying that Macron's predecessors

had helped in these situations before.

But it does appear that what Putin wants is to have Macron put pressure on the Ukrainians to come to a better peace deal that's perhaps more favorable

to those separatists in the eastern side of Ukraine than obviously, the government in Kyiv would like to see. And that's what Russia wants, and of

course, that big issue of Russian security that the Kremlin said today they still don't have from NATO, no sense at all of that going into the meeting

of how that would be bridged.

GORANI: I was just checking French news networks. They were all anticipating this Macron press conference, and the big nightly news is at

8:00 p.m. France time, which was 15 minutes ago, and we would have expected Macron to come out before that. He would have wanted to be on the evening

news, but that gives us kind of a sense, perhaps, that this is all happening on the timeline of Vladimir Putin.

Is he holding the cards here a little bit more? I mean, I guess he's using Ukraine to try to re-arrange the post-Soviet order. And all the European

countries are responding to that threat in a way that perhaps satisfies him? Is that fair to say?

ROBERTSON: I think -- I think it is. But I think it's also fair to say that he looks at President Macron as a leader who's -- you know, who's got

an election coming up, who wants to appear to get success. A leader who wants to sort of occupy a bigger geopolitical importance in Europe. He

wants the European Union to have stronger foreign and defense policy, and that's something that Putin recognizes can lead to some divisions within


And that certainly is something people would expect President Putin to exploit. Does he -- does President Putin hold more cards? He's been in the

game of international diplomacy and statesmanship way longer than President Macron.


I think by default, you can say he certainly holds a lot more cards, and he will also have been very aware of just what you were saying that Macron,

the main newscast in France would be going out by now, and that Macron is not able to sort of appear in front of the cameras. Although, I'm sure that

the French president is in the room earnestly engaged, because that's the best thing to do. But the fact the meeting took place so late in the day,

that's just another card in Putin's hand, he controls a lot of them.

GORANI: Right, we'll be analyzing this in more detail a little bit later. Thanks so much Nic Robertson. We'll have more on the Olympic Winter games

when we come back, including some of the incredible stories you can't just -- you can't see just from looking at the medal-count. We'll have that.

Also ahead, a look at the royal celebrations marking Queen Elizabeth's -- Queen Elizabeth's 70th year as a monarch. We'll be right back.


GORANI: Welcome back. The International Olympic Committee president has met face-to-face with Peng Shuai. She's the Chinese tennis star who wasn't

seen for a time after accusing a former communist party leader of sexual assault. After the meeting, she gave an interview to a French newspaper,

and the journalist she spoke to says she was, quote, "very cautious when answering some of his questions." What was said, here's Selina Wang.


SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For many, it's the most anticipated meet of the Winter games. International Olympic

Committee President Thomas Bach and Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai at dinner inside the Olympic COVID closed loop. But censorship questions

swirl. The IOC not willing to provide images of the pair's meeting. A degree of transparency came the next day when Peng sat with journalist from

French sports paper "L'Equipe".

The nearly hour-long interview hitting on Peng's emotional accusation of sexual assault. And her immediate disappearance from the public eye. It's

all according to Peng just an enormous misunderstanding. And Chinese Olympic official playing chaperone, the reporter saying he knew he would

have to look past the tennis player's words.

MARC VENTOUILLAC, SENIOR REPORTER, L'EQUIPE: She was very cautious about our questions and her answers. But as I said, it's -- I don't speak



WANG: Peng herself is a three-time former Olympian, last November, the tennis star posted a painful message to social media accusing this man, a

former Chinese vice premier once among the country's most powerful, of sexual assault.


The post gone from Chinese social media within half an hour while Peng fell silent. For more than two weeks, many around the world feared for her

safety as the Chinese censors went to work, deleting all traces of her accusations and scrubbing international coverage from China's air waves.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN: China blocked our feed.

WANG: It was too late to stop the global outcry. Some of the biggest names in sport offered their support, fearing she was being held against her will

while China attempted to stem the criticism. Initially, with a letter that state media said was from Peng insisting everything is fine. Then she re-

appeared happy and smiling in videos posted on Twitter, not seen in China that the Women's Tennis Association said may also be staged. The WTA took a

firm stance, halting all upcoming tournaments in China.

STEVE SIMON, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, WOMEN'S TENNIS ASSOCIATION: We have to start as a world making decisions that are based upon right and wrong, period.

This is bigger than the business.


WANG: But the Beijing Winter Olympics would not be stopped. And Thomas Bach has taken on the task of reassuring the world.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: The IOC treated it as something to be swept under the rug. What a sad state of affairs.

WANG: The Chinese propaganda machine in overdrive. Peng shown off by state media at a ski competition in Shanghai in December, alongside basketball

legend Yao Ming. The Chinese government has not acknowledged the sexual assault allegations, but its foreign ministry said that it hopes that

quote, "malicious speculation about her would stop." Sunday's "L'Equipe" report is not the first time Peng has said she never made the accusation of


But now in telling a western outlet that she didn't disappear, she said she just had too many messages to respond to, that she herself deleted the

accusation. But no inquiry has been announced. And there are still no way of knowing whether Peng has been allowed to speak her own mind. Selina

Wang, CNN, Beijing.


GORANI: Well, our David Culver is live in Beijing with more on this. What more did we learn from this interview with that French newspaper, David?

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Hala. Well, this was as we mentioned there through Selina's reporting, Thomas Bach, the IOC

president, and Peng Shuai first having that dinner on Saturday. I think what we have to look at is the distinction between that dinner and as you

point out, the interview that followed on Sunday where a lot more was revealed. Interestingly at the dinner, it wasn't just Thomas Bach, he was

joined by former chair of the Athlete's Commission and IOC member, of course, Coventry(ph), she was part of that as well.

And during the dinner in a statement, they said the three spoke about their common experience as athletes at the Olympic games and Peng Shuai spoke of

her disappointment at not being able to qualify for the Olympic games in Tokyo 2020. Now, that seems to be really not what the focus was supposed to

be about. It was supposed to be about the allegations and the accusations made towards Zhang Gaoli; the former top party official here.

However, it seems the IOC is really saying that they don't want to go into that, that they're leaving that to Peng Shuai's discretion in releasing,

and that's why she then the following day went forward with that interview with "L'Equipe", the French sports magazine there, the newspaper. And one

of the things I think stands out to me is, we've been covering this story now for several months. Is what is new in the revelations in that interview

is that she says she deleted the Weibo post herself, that original post that sparked everything.

She acknowledges really that there was a problematic relationship, a love life that she says had troubles. So she did acknowledge that, that there

was a relationship, but she didn't, of course, say that it was assault. She continues to deny those allegations, and that she made them in the first

place. And she confirms that she wrote the e-mails to WTA, the Women's Tennis Association. So, all of that was really what came out Sunday that

was new to us.

I will point out though, it is still very sensitive here, Hala, especially as you have the international media in town in part of the closed loop

systems that were outside the bubble, because we live here and we report here regularly. But they are now really trying to put an end to this


But to show you how sensitive it is, as Selina's report was going on there just a few minutes ago, this was the feed for part of it. You can see that

there, it's usually the signal of color bars and please stand by. So that's really indicative of the reality of them not wanting some of the story to

be shown here in mainland China.

GORANI: Sure, and we see that often when we talk about China and do China stories. Thanks so much David --

CULVER: Sure --

GORANI: Culver live in Beijing. Well, speaking of Beijing and on a happier note, this year's Winter games are only a few days old, but they've already

produced their share of very inspiring moments.


Canada's Max Parrot not only made his return to the Olympics after winning his battle against cancer, but he also took this year's gold medal in

snowboarding slope-style, after a 15-year-old made history, Kamila Valieva with the Russian Olympic Committee team, became the first woman to land a

quadruple jump in an Olympic figure skating competition. And as if that weren't enough, hard enough, she then pulled off a second one, two times

quadruple -- oh, good for her.

Queen Elizabeth has become the first British monarch to celebrate a platinum jubilee, that is 70 years on the throne.




GORANI: And with those gun salutes, months of celebration began. She used her address to mark the extraordinary progress she's seen in her seven

decades as queen as well as the -- as well as to look ahead to the future of the monarchy. A royal correspondent Max Foster has those details.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Let the jubilee celebrations begin. This is the first day of months of celebrations to mark the queen's

incredible 70 years on the throne. The actual accession day was marked on Sunday, but the queen always marks it privately because it's not just the

beginning of her reign, but also the end of her father's reign. So, it also signifies her father's death. So, she always spends that quietly, but now

the parties really are starting, culminating in a four-day holiday weekend in June centered here at Buckingham Palace.

So expect lots of pomp and pageantry around that time and ahead of it as well. The queen used her diamond jubilee message to endorse the concept of

Camilla being queen-consort in future when Charles is king. So, this is all about looking back on the queen's career, but also looking ahead to the

next reign and making that as strong as possible. Max Foster, CNN, Buckingham Palace, London.


GORANI: Still to come, U.S. and European leaders are using different diplomatic styles to determine Russia's needs, and mainly to stop a

possible invasion of Ukraine. We'll take a look at all those efforts with Susan Glasser ahead. And British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tries to ride

out the partygate storm with a leadership shake-up at Downing Street. We'll bring you the latest on that as well. Stay with us.


GORANI: Back to our top story, European leaders are pushing for peace trying to ease those tensions at the Russian-Ukrainian border. The latest

to attempt at that is the French president Emmanuel Macron, who is currently meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow, hoping to start what he

calls a process of de-escalation.

Meanwhile, Germany's new chancellor, Olaf Scholz, is speaking with the American President Joe Biden right now as well, as he faces pressure to act

a bit more decisively in support of Ukraine, with some defensive weapon shipments, which Germany is now not willing to do.

Susan Glasser is a CNN Global Affairs Analyst and a Staff Writer for The New Yorker and she joins me from Washington, DC. I was listening to French

TV before coming on. And a lot of French analysts were saying, you know, Macron has an election coming up. He's vulnerable politically, not that

vulnerable in the sense that he won't get reelected, but he needs to appear as the president of Europe on the global stage.

And Putin is kind of holding most of the cards here. He's extending the meetings behind closed doors more than we were expecting them to go. Do you

agree with that analysis that Putin is playing his cards well here strategically?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, look, I mean, just not even with regards to President Macron, but more generally when it comes to

the west and the allies. Putin has set the terms largely the debate, you know, that's what happens when you point not just one gun at your

neighbor's head, but 130,000 of them or so.

And so, you know, he -- Putin has gotten all of us it talking again and again about his grievances when it comes to the expansion of NATO, when it

comes to the direction that Ukraine has taken in recent years. And I'm struck by that, that even President Macron, in advance of his visit with

President Putin, you know, was talking very, in a way, sympathetically to the idea that Putin at least has some grievance to air. And there has been

much less focus on Putin as the aggressor here. It's really quite striking to me.

GORANI: And on his way to Moscow, he said "I'm reasonably optimistic, but I don't believe in spontaneous miracles." The U.S. and all of this, they did

irritate the Ukrainians and other Europeans by using the term "imminent" to describe a possible Russian invasion. They also talked about the

possibility of a false flag attack that they had intelligence to suggest that Russia would stage an attack on its own forces and blame it on Ukraine

as a pretext to invade the country.

But when pressed at the State Department, Ned Price, who's the State Department Spokesperson, pressed by the A.P. reporter, Matt Lee. And he

didn't really answer the question when asked for evidence or proof that this was actually going to happen. I'd want our viewers to listen to this



MATT LEE, ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORTER: You just come out and say this and expect us just to believe it, without you showing a shred of evidence that

it's actually true.

NED PRICE, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: If you doubt the credibility of the U.S. government, of the British government, of other governments and

want to, you know, find solace and information that the Russians are putting out --

LEE: Solace?

PRICE: -- that is for you to do.

LEE: I don't want to --


GORANI: So I guess in this instance, reporters are not necessarily taking at face value some of the statements coming from the U.S. government on


GLASSER: Well, I believe Ned Price did eventually actually apologize to the reporter for the way that exchange came about. And certainly, it's our job

as journalists to, you know, trust, but verify. And, you know, we all know examples going back to the Iraq War.

And before then, you know, officials who get things wrong, regardless of the government, that doesn't mean there's an equivalence between what the

U.S. government has been putting out a very aggressive strategy of countering Russia in the sort of public space in advanced to whatever is

going to happen in Ukraine. It's not the same thing. They're not equivalent to the Russian misinformation and disinformation, per se.

And I think that's an important point to make. There is a long history of Russian and before that Soviet playbook that does include a kind of false

flag operation. This isn't hypothetical in 2014. Vladimir Putin literally did this. He illegally annexed Crimea, lied to the world about it, and

staged provocation. So we have a very recent example, obviously, of where this is certainly a plausible scenario.


GORANI: As well as concerns of hybrid warfare, attacks on intelligence agencies, communication systems, and the rest of it.

So what Putin is doing is he's using Ukraine to try to rearrange this post- Soviet order. Is he going to be able to achieve this? Because in his mind, this is the primary goal here, Ukraine can never join NATO. I want

assurances on paper, that type of thing. Is he going to achieve this?

GLASSER: Well, again, I think that's what makes the prospects for his diplomacy is so remote here, and why there is such genuine concern here in

Washington about an actual military invasion for exactly that reason -- a diplomatic process when his real grievance seems to be with the breakup of

the Soviet Union, and the resulting peace that he feels was forced upon, post-Soviet Russia, and, you know, I urge everyone, read Vladimir Putin's -

- Prozac.

GORANI: Unfortunately, I think we lost our connection with Susan Glasser there. Thankfully, we got through most of our interviews. So I'm glad we

got her analysis on this important story and developments coming from Moscow as well. Hopefully any minute now, we'll get to that news

conference, that news conference featuring President Putin and President Macron at the Kremlin.

Let's talk about British politics now. The Prime Minister in the U.K., Boris Johnson is still feeling the fallout from the resignations of five of

his closest aides last week. Some senior roles have already been filled, but Downing Street says further personnel changes will be announced in the

coming days.

The shake up at Number 10 is the Prime Minister's latest effort to ease pressure from his own fellow conservatives, at least nine of whom publicly

acknowledged that they submit that they submit -- that they have submitted letters of no-confidence over the Partygate scandal. that's a lot to


So joining me now with the latest is Bianca Nobilo in London with more first on the shakeup, Bianca.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So we have two significant roles being filled, Hala, in recent days, the Director of Communications to be filled

by Guto Harri, who actually I interviewed not long ago, Hala, and he has a bit of a departure from the usual Director of Communications because he's

already waded into the fray. You know the adage goes that you shouldn't become the story if you're the Director of Communications.

But he hasn't held back. He's been very critical of the Prime Minister's ex right-hand man, Dominic Cummings, and he's already made statements to the

media and one of which is speaking to a Welsh media outlet. He recounted a story of when he approached the Prime Minister once he'd been invited to

Downing Street a few days ago, and that Boris Johnson broke into a rendition of Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive when greeted with his former

adviser Guto Harri and that they had a little sing-song together before they shook hands and started working together in this new role.

So he's already proven to be quite colorful and a lot more willing to speak to the media than others that we've had in the past. Joining the Prime

Minister as Chief of Staff, we have Stephen Barclay. Now, this is an unusual appointment, Hala, because Stephen Barclay is an MP. He's also a

cabinet minister. He's also chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, which sounds a bit esoteric, but it's actually a massive job that oversees

everything from COVID-19 policy, national security, and plenty of other matters of coordination.

Now, the fact that the Prime Minister is picking someone with many other jobs to become Chief of Staff does suggest that he's had quite a difficult

time recruiting and that people aren't exactly beating the door down to join his team. However, Barclay is considered to be a safe pair of hands

and obviously somebody who understands the discontent that's rife in the Prime Minister's back benches at the moment, Hala.

GORANI: And what about Carrie Johnson, the spouse, the Prime Minister's spouse, she issued a statement over the weekend. What did it say?

NOBILO: She did -- so she issued a statement through her spokeswoman, in response largely to a book being written by the Tory peer Lord Ashcroft

called First Lady, I believe, which is being serialized at the moment in British -- in the British newspaper, The Daily Mail, and her spokeswoman

said it was the latest in a brutal briefing campaign against Carrie Johnson, and just the latest attempt to discredit her by bitter ex-


Now this is not entirely new. Carrie Johnson is in something of a unique position. She is obviously a lot younger than the Prime Minister and she is

somebody who styled herself prior to living in Downing Street and being the Prime Minister's spouse, as a political and environmental activist. She

also used to work for the Conservative Party in a sort of media advisory role. So this is somebody who does have a lot of political knowledge and

had a lot of ambition in that space.

But she's basically pushing back against any allegations that she's having undue influence or should be blamed for playing a part in any of these



Such as Partygate or other things that the Prime Minister has been blamed for. So they're trying to quash all of those all discussions. But it, you

know, it has been unusual in some respects, it is strange for a prime minister, historically speaking, to be married and to have a baby when he

is in office in Downing Street. So she has been perhaps more at the forefront than the average spouse in Number 10.

GORANI: All right, Bianca Nobilo. Thanks so much.

And this really sad story, hundreds of mourners gathered in the Moroccan town of Chefchaouen today for the funeral of the 5-year-old boy who died

after being trapped in a well for five days. You'll remember this. Poor little Rayan. The complex rescue mission gripped the country and there's

been an outpouring of grief since his body was retrieved Saturday. One villager says he's never seen so many people at a funeral, adding that

little boy Rayan was the son of us all. It really united the country in grief and we were all following it on social media and just so, so sad when

we learned that little boy did not survive the fall.

Still to come tonight, a massive truckers' protest in Canada's capital is now spreading to cities from Vancouver to Quebec. We'll go live to Ottawa

to find out what the protesters are now demanding.


GORANI: A nationwide insurrection driven by madness is how Ottawa's police chief is describing the massive anti-vaccine protest that is paralyzing

Canada's capital city and now it's spreading across the country. What started as a protest over a truckers' vaccine mandate now includes demands

to drop all of Canada's COVID restrictions.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This whole event has gone beyond just vaccines and it is now about the entire ordeal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're asking for our freedom. That's all we want.


GORANI: OK. Ottawa's mayor has declared a state of emergency. Police have made multiple arrests and say they're investigating almost a dozen

potential hate crimes. Many in Ottawa say they feel the protesters are holding their city hostage. CNN's Paula Newton is in Ottawa for us with

more. What's going on? Who are these protesters?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Hala, this started out as a trucker convoy so it was called the Freedom Convoy.


It went right from the west earlier in January, pardon me, and going right now to the capital city. You just pointed out right, Hala, at first they

were against a vaccine mandate, which would mean that they could not cross the border into the United States without being fully vaccinated. And if

they did, and then attempted to come back to Canada, they would then, pardon me, excuse me, would have to then quarantine for a full two weeks.

This has really absolutely stunned the city here in Ottawa. You heard what the Police Chief was saying there. And in fact, it's been worse than that.

This city now saying it is under siege. Pardon me.

GORANI: Paula, let me -- Paula, let me --

NEWTON: Currently, I'm under siege as well.

GORANI: Let me -- hang on. Please clear your throat. Take a second. I'll just talk our viewers through what they're seeing while you do that. But

these protests and what you're saying about them is interesting, that they started out on a small question about truck drivers and mandatory vaccines

and they've spread. We've seen similar things in France and Germany and other countries, these anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists, but in

Canada, I guess my question is, I guess it's not a country where I expected to see such a widespread movement. How do you explain it?

NEWTON: Yes. Thanks for that save there, Hala. I mean, look, nearly 90 percent of all adult Canadians are vaccinated and, Hala, that includes the

truckers themselves. The issue is that though this has hit a nerve, and it has hurt a nerve with people on foot, not necessarily in trucks, saying

that, look, we might be vaccinated, that couple that you showed that I spoke to said they want their freedom, they say they're fully vaccinated

and boosted. They still want all the restrictions to end.

I will say, look, this is a minority. It is now a noisy minority. And as we were saying before, look, the city here, and let me paint that picture,

right, there are quite a few city blocks that are inundated with trucks, you cannot move, you cannot hear yourself think or speak for all the

honking, stores are closed, medical facilities are closed. This has become a huge issue. And as you heard, the city's police chief say this city is

under siege and right now there is no clear path on how to resolve it, Hala.

GORANI: All right, Paula. Thanks very much. Paula Newton live in Ottawa where these protests are taking place.

Now speaking of COVID, Australia is about to reopen its borders to more international travelers for the first time in nearly two years. Starting

the 21st of February, the government will allow all travelers with proper visas to enter the country as long as they're double vaccinated.

Right now, citizens, permanent residents, and a select group of travelers are allowed in, but under the new measures, tourists will be welcome back

if you're hoping for a trip to Australia soon. But the Prime Minister Scott Morrison is warning that everyone is expected to abide by the rules. That's


In Latin America, Chile is out in front of global vaccination efforts. It is outpacing its neighbors and most of the world in vaccination rates and

children are now lining up to get the shot while older people are getting ready for a second booster so four shots total. Rafael Romo reports.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's a play area and trays with candy. Children also have the option of coloring pictures. They're all here for

the same reason, getting their first or second COVID-19 shot.

5-year-old Cristoval seems a little nervous at first, but looks self assured a moment later while getting his shot at a public gym turned

vaccination center in Santiago Chile's capital. "It didn't hurt," he says after getting what is actually his second dose of the Sinovac vaccine

according to his mother.

"We are all vaccinated at home. He was the only one who wasn't and it's something we definitely should do," she says. "This is for the good of the

children and for everybody else's as well."

In late November, Chile surpassed Israel as the country with the world's highest percentage of population to have been given a booster shot

according to our world data.

Now it's health authorities want to replicate that success in the country's younger population.


ROMO: Chile began vaccinating children aged six to 11 in mid September. The country of 19 million had already been vaccinating minors between the ages

of 12 and 17 Since June. In early December, Chilean health authorities moved forward with an effort to vaccinate younger children between the ages

of 3 and 5, about 700,000 nationwide.


ROMO: "It's a safe and effective vaccine," President Sebastian Pinera said when he launched the campaign to get the younger children vaccinated. The

shot is optional. Chile is using the Chinese made Sinovac vaccine for this age group.


An inoculation that was found to have an efficacy rate of just 50.4 percent in clinical trials in Brazil in January last year.


DR. PAULA DAZA, FORMER CHILEAN VICE MINISTER OF HEALTH: I recommend the parents to vaccinate the children.


ROMO: Former Chilean Vice Minister of Health, Paula Daza, who was in charge of our country's strategy for most of the pandemic says, those vaccines

remain an important tool to fight COVID-19.


ROMO: Was it a mistake for Chile to rely so much on vaccines like Sinovac that proved not to be as effective?

DAZA: Sinovac is a very, very good vaccine. It's very -- it has it -- and when you have the two vaccinate, it has 65 percent effective, but it's over

80 percent, especially for people, hospitalization and death.


ROMO: Parents like Consuelo Rojas who says she lost two relatives to COVID- 19 agree. "I believe empathy and taking care of yourself is paramount," she says. "We started with the elderly, and now we have to take care of our

children. The keyword here is empathy, which means we have to take care of ourselves and each other."

Her daughter, Antonia, can barely say the word Coronavirus but was very eager to get the shot. It's the same kind of eagerness the country's health

ministry is hoping for as it begins to offer a second booster shot to those 55 and older. On January 10, Chile became the first Latin American country

to offer a second booster shot to immunocompromised adults. Rafael Romo, CNN, Santiago, Chile.

GORANI: And we'll be right back. Stay with us.


GORANI: It may be the ultimate blending of medicine and technology and it's offering new hope for people who are paralyzed and hope that they may be

able to walk again. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen shows us how it works.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No one ever thought Michel Roccati would be able to do this, or this. In 2017, Roccati was paralyzed after a

motorcycle accident.


MICHEL ROCCATI, SPINAL IMPLANT RECIPIENT: I try to move the legs, try to change my position as it was impossible to do nothing. I fix in my mind

that was just a situation. So I put on my mind my behavior to try to solve This problem and I never stopped.



COHEN: Now he can walk about a mile without assistance, thanks to this device. It sends electrical impulses to his spine. He can control it

through his computer. Scientists have been researching electrical stimulation as a treatment for paralysis for three decades.

In 2014, I visited the University of Louisville, where I saw patients using similar technology, they were able to wiggle their toes and move their



COHEN: Oh, there you go.


COHEN: Oh, my gosh.


COHEN: And even stand up. And with months of assistance in rehab, some of them even began walking. The newest stimulator, this one from the Swiss

Federal Institute of Technology, can reach more of the spinal cord and allow people to regain movement on the same day that they receive the

spinal implant.


JOCELYNE BLOCH, STUDY CO-AUTHOR AND SURGEON: This technology is so precise, that immediately after surgery, the patient can walk and stand.


COHEN: Within a week, three patients, men between the ages of 29 and 41, including Michel, were able to walk like this. Their cases detailed in a

study published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine. With hours and hours of rehabilitation for five months, the patients were walking riding bikes,

and even boxing.

The research is still early. They've tried it out on only three patients. They plan to test it out on 50 to 100 more to make sure it's safe, and to

see if it works better in some people than in others. They hope that if the device performs well in these tests, that it will be widely used in the

next three to four years. But these initial steps are still monumental.


ROCCATI: Working is super important. Just stand up can solve a lot of kind of problems in the normal life, just to do a simple shower. With the

crutches, I can stand up, I do a shower. With the water, I'm free. I can work wherever I want in this moment.


COHEN: Elizabeth Cohen, CNN reporting.


GORANI: I just absolutely adore this story. I really hope this technology can be used on a wider group of people.

Now I'm going to end this show with a celebration in Senegal. In fact, such a celebration it's become a national holiday after the country's football

team won its first ever major trophy. The capital city of Dakar erupted in celebrations. Senegal beat Egypt Sunday to win the Africa Cup of Nations.

It's the first time Senegal does this. It's its third appearance in the tournament finals. So really it was overdue for Senegal.

It wasn't easy. The match had to go to penalties where star Sadio Mane won the match with the decisive spot kick. Well done to Senegal and next time,

maybe for Egypt. Thanks for watching tonight. I'm Hala Gorani. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.