Return to Transcripts main page
Hala Gorani Tonight
Macron Continues New Round of Shuttle Diplomacy to Help Stave Off a Russian Invasion of Ukraine; Pressure Mounts on Boris Johnson to Apologize for Jimmy Savile Remark; Chinese Star Eileen Gu Defends Figure Skater Zhu Yi; Biden Vows to Stop Major Pipeline if Russia Invades Ukraine; Ukraine Performs Military Drills in Chernobyl Zone; Spinal Implant Offers Hope to People with Paralysis; Academy Award Nominees Announced. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired February 08, 2022 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
HALA GORANI, HOST, HALA GORANI TONIGHT: Hello, everyone, live from CNN in London on this Tuesday, I'm HALA GORANI TONIGHT. After high level meetings
in Moscow and Kyiv, the French President Emmanuel Macron continues his diplomatic tour. We are live in the region for the latest on those de-
Then U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under fire yet again, I'll ask one of his own MPs from his own party what is next. And the Oscar
nominations are in, we'll take a look at who is in the running, and for the first time, a female director is nominated twice. We'll tell you who.
The French President Emmanuel Macron says Russia has committed not to escalate the crisis over Ukraine. But here's the thing, the Kremlin doesn't
exactly agree with that assessment. We begin with a new round of intense shuttle diplomacy happening right now all across Europe. Mr. Macron is
giving a news conference in Berlin with the leaders of Germany and Poland. Earlier, he was in Kyiv, meeting with the president there, Volodymyr
Zelensky on his meeting with Vladimir Putin.
Mr. Macron says the crisis could take weeks or months to resolve, but he believes there are concrete solutions. For his part, Mr. Zelensky says
Russia's actions speak louder than any words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): Really, I don't quite trust words. That's why I think that every politician can show
his or her openness by concrete deeds. In our case, those are steps toward de-escalation.
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT, FRANCE (through translator): We had an exchange with the president who told me that he would not be the cause of
an escalation. France, since the beginning of this crisis has never made excessive statements on the subject. But in the same way, I do not believe
that this crisis can be resolved by a few hours of discussion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: A Kremlin spokesperson was asked today about that statement, that Elysee statement that Russia has agreed to no new military initiatives
around Ukraine. He said he doesn't understand what France is talking about, adding that at this stage, it was not possible to make any deals or
promises. Our Fred Pleitgen is following all of these developments tonight from Berlin. So Macron is making a major effort. He goes to Moscow, he goes
to Kyiv --
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes --
GORANI: He's in Germany. And he's saying essentially that his efforts are producing results. But we're not hearing a similar message from the
PLEITGEN: No, we certainly aren't, but I do think that one of the things that the Kremlin is saying is they do believe that the talks that he's had
with Vladimir Putin, of course, he had that one-on-one meeting yesterday, but then also, the phone conversations that he had before, that those are
very important despite the fact that they haven't necessarily produced very much in the way of results.
One of the things that Macron said today is he said, for instance, he believes that one of the results that he has maybe not produced, but that
he has at least heard about is that the Russians are saying that they will not leave any military equipment in Belarus after the exercises that are
about to take place there are going to stop.
So, he does believe that is certainly a positive outcome. But if you look at some of the shuttle diplomacy that Emmanuel Macron has been conducting,
being in Kyiv today, speaking with Volodymyr Zelensky, some of the things that he brought to Zelensky from Vladimir Putin even though some of them
were quite unpleasant, and right now, he's actually as we speak, himself, speaking at the press conference with Olaf Scholz, it does certainly appear
to me that he's trying to play a very vital role as Europe is finally sort of kicking in the diplomacy as far as the crisis near Ukraine is concerned.
And of course, he's meeting with Olaf Scholz who himself just met with U.S. President Joe Biden. Those two, Scholz and Macron, they are going to be
speaking to one another and aligning their positions. I think it's one of the things that the Germans have said and that the French have said as
well, is that they believe right now it's very important for the Russians to hear and for Vladimir Putin to hear a unified message from Scholz, from
Macron and of course, from U.S. President Biden as well.
And then we can really see the Europeans sort of finally entering the scene of high level diplomacy in that crisis going on. And certainly, you're
absolutely right, Macron really trying to make himself the one who is at the forefront of that, Hala.
GORANI: Right, and Macron, obviously, has a presidential election coming up as well. So the optics might be important for him. We're joined now by
Alex Marquardt stand by, Fred Pleitgen, he is in Kyiv. I wonder how are Ukrainians reacting to all this shuttle diplomacy, are they finding this in
any way encouraging?
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, from the beginning, President Zelensky and his top ministers and top officials
have urged more talks, more diplomatic overtures. President Zelensky has long been calling for a bigger role by Ukraine in these discussions that
are of course, at the end of the day about Ukraine. He proposed a summit between himself, Presidents Putin and Biden.
He is very positive and encouraging of talks in what's known, Hala, as the Normandy format. And that's also something that we have heard President
Macron push. That is discussions among Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany. And so, those discussions are continuing this week. President
Macron has talked about that format as being a possible venue to -- that would lead to peace, particularly when it comes to the fighting in eastern
President Macron saying today here in Kyiv that he really does believe that one of the key issues that needs to be resolved is the fighting that we
have seen rage in eastern Ukraine for years since Russia invaded Ukraine back in 2014. So, he wants to see what are known as the Minsk Agreements
fully implemented. Those were agreements that were put into place after that invasion of 2014, but never really came to fruition. Have never
really. truly been agreed to and implemented by all the different parties.
The other thing that President Macron is really pushing is more conversations about security cooperation. Agreements and guarantees about
security here in Europe. That, of course, is the kind of thing that President Putin has been pushing for. We've heard him complain over and
over again how he feels that it is Russia's security that is being threatened by NATO, inching closer to that Russian border.
And so, those are really the two main channels that President Macron feels that need to be pursued, and that was certainly something that President
Zelensky agreed to today, Hala.
GORANI: And Fred, the Europeans are presenting a united front. We're seeing it with Scholz and Macron meeting with Biden, et cetera. But what is
it that they can -- what is their leverage here with Russia? More Biden --
PLEITGEN: Yes --
GORANI: Sanctions? Perhaps sector-wide sanctions? But then it's not as easy as that. Because Russia has very close economic ties with European
countries, especially in the energy sector. So, it's not that simple. And I wonder, does the West really have as much leverage as Putin does? Because
Putin is essentially pointing a gun at Ukraine right now.
PLEITGEN: Yes, I mean, I think that the West certainly does have a lot of leverage, but I do think that it will come or would come at a very high
cost. And it was quite interesting to hear both President Biden and the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz talk about that after their meeting. They
were saying, look, there is a massive package of sanctions that would be put in place, it would hurt Russia more than anybody else.
But they're also under no illusion that of course, it would hurt themselves as well, it would hurt the U.S. and it would hurt the Europeans precisely
because of those economic ties, and even more so because of the energy ties. And I think one of the things that we've been talking about so much,
and which is so important in this, and which is why Germany is also so important in this is obviously the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline.
And I think there, what you have right now is, you are starting to have that unified position among western countries where Olaf Scholz continues
to not mention Nord Stream 2, continues to refuse to say that Nord Stream 2, the project would be killed if there was a further invasion of Ukraine.
But President Biden very much saying that, that would be the case, that project will not go forward and the Germans saying they are fully on board
with western policies if that invasion takes place.
That means de facto, that pipeline would not happen if there was a further invasion of Ukraine. Despite the fact that it would have massive economic
impact on European countries. And I think one of the things that you're seeing, the U.S. say is, they're already looking for alternative ways to
get energy to Europe because of course, this would have such a massive impact. But it certainly seems as though the western nations, the U.S., its
European allies are showing that their threats are for real, Hala.
GORANI: All right, Fred Pleitgen in Moscow and Alex Marquardt in Kyiv, thanks very much to both of you, and we will revisit this story a little
bit later in the program. But now, more pressure, more drama in British politics. The prime minister in the United Kingdom is facing fresh calls to
apologize over comments he made about the opposition leader in parliament, Keir Starmer. The prime minister falsely claimed that Starmer failed to
prosecute a notorious pedophile in this country called Jimmy Savile before his death in 2011.
Now, Starmer was head of public prosecutions at the time. Downing Street says Mr. Johnson has no intention of apologizing even after this incident
happened last night.
You're seeing video of protesters harassing Starmer outside parliament before he had to be escorted into a police car. This is what British
politics has turned into in the last few weeks. Prime Minister Johnson condemned this behavior as absolutely disgraceful. It's just the latest
controversy to hit Johnson as he fights for his political survival. Joining me now is our Salma Abdelaziz in London with more, Salma.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Hala, it's just another chapter, isn't it? in this partygate saga. One that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's critics say
show just how desperate he is, accusing the opposition leader of something that's widely been debunked, that's seen as a conspiracy theory that
aggravates far right protesters. But the prime minister right now is quite literally fighting for his survival. For weeks now, he's faced bad
headlines about multiple parties taking place inside 10 Downing Street under his own roof.
Parties that took place across two years, across multiple lockdowns, parties that have infuriated the public. The latest snap polling shows
about two-thirds of people want the prime minister to resign. But there's no general election in place. That means his fate is all up to his
Conservative Party. Take a look at how they're handling it.
ABDELAZIZ (voice-over): Britain's rebel prime minister is in serious trouble.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a business meeting!
ABDELAZIZ: Boris Johnson's administration stands accused of breaking the rules. Throwing multiple boozy parties under his roof during lockdown.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We place impartially --
ABDELAZIZ: Police are investigating to determine if crimes were committed at the heart of government. An earlier civil investigation found a culture
of excessive drinking and failures in leadership and judgment at 10 Downing Street.
BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, UNITED KINGDOM: I get it. And I will fix it.
ABDELAZIZ: A defiant Johnson has ignored calls for his resignation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the name of God, go.
ABDELAZIZ: And ordered a shake-up of his team. He reportedly sang I will survive to his new director of communications who described his new boss as
not a complete clown, but a very likable character. The prime minister's fate now lies with his own Conservative Party. At least, nine Tory MPs have
taken steps to remove Johnson and submitted letters of no confidence to the 1922 Committee which oversees the party. Among them is MP Tobias Ellwood.
TOBIAS ELLWOOD, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: It's almost like a Trump-esque approach to dealing with some of the challenges of
short-term survival. We should be an example of good democracy, and at the moment, I'm afraid, this is not our finest hour.
ABDELAZIZ: If the committee receives 54 letters, that's 15 percent of Tory MPs, a vote to unseat Johnson would take place. But while there is a will,
there is for now no way to depose Johnson.
ELLWOOD: Many of my colleagues, you know, privately, do not believe that this is going to get better, and therefore, this is a, you know, a
miserable dry path to a very -- you know, dark place.
ABDELAZIZ: Without a strong alternative to replace the prime minister, the revolt against him remains fractured and disorganized. And if a vote is
triggered, at least, half of Tory MPs, that's a 180 lawmakers must vote against Johnson to force him out of office. If the vote fails, Johnson
would be protected from attempts to oust him for a full 12 months.
JOEY JONES, FORMER ADVISER TO BRITISH PRIME MINISTER THERESA MAY: If they go in to strike, they have to be confident that they can get it right, and
that they can master the numbers. That it seems to me is largely why people are continuing to be hesitant at the moment.
ABDELAZIZ: For now, Johnson clings to power, dragging his party's reputation and credibility down with his own.
ABDELAZIZ: Hala, when I describe huge pressure at the Conservative Party, I am talking about nearly unprecedented pressure. MPs saying that they're
receiving hundreds of correspondents a day from angry voters, demanding to understand why a prime minister is allowed to break the very rules that
they made sacrifices to follow. MPs say they feel a sense of anger, frustration, helplessness. But there is still no organized rebellion
against Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
And as you heard there, there's a couple of things on Johnson's side. First, there's no good alternative. He's still seen as that winner, the
success story at the ballot box, the one who is able to unite the party, the one who was able to get Brexit done, the one who was able to make
people vote conservative who had never voted conservative before.
And the other thing here is that there's no election in this country for at least several more years. There's a local election in May, and that might
put more pressure on the party, but for now, it seems many are just waiting for the result of that police investigation before they make a move, Hala.
GORANI: And Boris Johnson is reshuffling his cabinet. I mean, he's taking action. He's hoping perhaps that this too shall pass for him. Is it going
to be enough for those within his own party who are actually sending letters in to -- in support of voting -- of organizing a vote of no
confidence? Is it going to be enough?
ABDELAZIZ: I think everyone is asking that question, Hala, right now, again, it's very small handful of lawmakers. Nine lawmakers so far that
have publicly confirmed. The thing we have to remember about the no confidence process is that it's secretive, right? Until we reach that
threshold of 15 percent of lawmakers, 54 lawmakers, we won't know the full extent. But MPs we speak to say look, we are not near that threshold yet
because Prime Minister Boris Johnson still holds that sway, that loyalty, that leadership within the party.
But again, you have to remember, these MPs are listening to angry voters. Angry voters by the hundreds who are saying, how can this happen? I think
the confrontation will come at the ballot box in May during local elections --
GORANI: Yes --
ABDELAZIZ: Or it could really pick up if that police investigation which, again, could take weeks -- if that police investigation finds the prime
minister himself or top members of his government broke the law. If we see that they could be handed penalty fines by the police, that could really
begin to turn the tide. So while yes, there is pressure on the party right now, there's no deadline, Hala, and I think --
GORANI: Yes --
ABDELAZIZ: That's why you're going to see a wait-and-see approach.
GORANI: Well, there are those local elections in May if conservatives suffer big losses, perhaps the party will start to reassess. Thank you very
much for that, Salma Abdelaziz. Still to come tonight, the Olympian Eileen Gu is defending another U.S.-born Chinese athlete against abuse on social
media. We'll explain what's going on there.
And the busiest border crossing from the U.S. to Canada is at a standstill as anti-vaccine protesters continue to block lanes on a major bridge. Well,
Canada's Prime Minister and not just Canada's prime minister, many Canadians are saying enough is enough.
GORANI: Two Chinese Olympic athletes are under the spotlight right now for two very different reasons. On the one hand, there's U.S.-born Eileen Gu
who crashed the Chinese internet after winning the women's big air gold. And on the other, there's figure skater Zhu Yi also born in the U.S. who's
being personally attacked on social media for falling during her performance on Sunday.
Gu is defending -- is defending her, saying the fact that she made it to the Olympics in itself is amazing. David Culver is in Beijing for us with
more on those latest developments. David?
DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Hala. Yes, well, starting with Gu, the gold medal win, as you pointed out, it set Chinese
internet on fire. Now, she immediately surged to the top of trending topics here, briefly crashing Weibo, which is the Twitter-like platform. She's
seen here as appealing in part because of her unique upbringing. Born and raised in the U.S. as you pointed out, her dad is American, her mom is
She grew up skiing the slopes of Lake Tahoe, but she says she spent most of her Summers right here in Beijing with her mom side of the family. So,
she's familiar with the culture, she's fluent in Chinese and English, and she says she's also fluent in both cultures. But following her gold medal
performance, she was flooded with questions about her nationality.
Now, she's representing team China, and China does not recognize dual nationality. So did she give up her American citizenship? She was asked
this several times and avoided answering each time. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EILEEN GU, AMERICAN-BORN CHINESE FREESTYLE SKIER: So, I definitely feel as though I am just as American as I am Chinese. I am American when I'm in the
U.S. and Chinese when I'm in China. And I've been very outspoken about my gratitude to both the U.S. and China for making me the person who I am. I
don't feel as though I am, you know, taking advantage of one or the other, because both have actually been incredibly supportive of me and continue to
be supportive of me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CULVER: She was very diplomatic, articulate and careful in answering those many questions about her nationality. But since joining China's national
team, the 18-year-old free-ski sensation has landed numerous sponsorships and brand deals, and she's fast becoming one of China's biggest young
stars. Now, Hala, you also mentioned Zhu Yi as a very different story from what Gu is experiencing here.
This U.S.-born figure skater, she's 19, she fell really hard and crashed into the wall in her opening combination on Sunday. She finished with the
lowest score of the event, and that brought team China down to fifth place in the standings. Now, here's where this gets rather personal. Zhu who was
born in the U.S. to a Chinese immigrant family decided to compete for China back in 2018. She gave up her American citizenship, she didn't change her
She used to be named Beverly Zhu, now she's Zhu Yi. She was eager to prove herself to the Chinese public, instead, she's facing a fire storm of
backlash because of her performance. Many questioning why Zhu was picked to represent China at the expense of an athlete born in this country. She's
faced criticism here for not being able to speak Chinese fluently.
And on Tuesday, Gu, following her gold medal performance, she spoke up for Zhu. She called her as you pointed out, Hala, amazing and she suggested
fans be more understanding of Zhu's situation, Hala.
GORANI: And a special guest at the Eileen Gu event. What can you tell us about that?
CULVER: Oh, yes, you know, this is interesting. And so, in the stands for her competition, the president of the IOC, Thomas Bach, he even
congratulated Gu in person, and then with him there, Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai. Now, you'll recall in November, Peng posted online an
accusation against a retired top party official, one of the most powerful men here in China, alleging that he pressured her into sex.
The post and any discussion were quickly scrubbed from the Chinese internet. Peng herself, she disappeared as we've been reporting from the
public for several weeks. She only resurfaced in state media and then a still photo that was released by the IOC during a video call that they had
with her. But some critics accused the IOC and its President Thomas Bach of supporting Chinese government efforts to silence Peng.
But in a Sunday sit-down with a French sports outlet, Peng said this is all just an enormous misunderstanding, and once again, she denied making the
sexual assault allegation, Hala. She said she was looking forward to seeing Eileen Gu's competition during the Winter games, she did just that as the
images from the event showed.
GORANI: All right, interesting. Thank you very much, David Culver live in Beijing.
CULVER: Yes --
GORANI: As the chaos mounts from those anti-vaccine protests across Canada, the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is demanding it has to stop. Take
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: It gives you a headache within four seconds. So Imagine the people living in those buildings around this chaos. Thousands of truckers and
other protesters have been jamming downtown Ottawa for ten days now. They want Canada to drop all of its COVID restrictions. They've also blocked
lanes on the busiest U.S.-Canadian border crossing, the Ambassador Bridge linking Detroit and Ontario, forcing officials to close it to Canada-bound
Trudeau has now posted this tweet, expressing the growing frustration many Canadians are feeling about the protests.
"Canadians have the right to protest." He tweeted "to disagree with their government and to make their voices heard will always protect that right,
but let's be clear, they don't have the right to blockade our economy or our democracy." CNN's Paula Newton is in the Canadian Capital Ottawa for us
with more. What are the -- what are the -- what are the options for police, for law enforcement to remove these people? What can they do?
PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There isn't much in terms of trying to actually get them to move quickly, especially because what
they're looking for is dialogue, mediation, and obviously as you point out, this is not just about those vaccine mandates. This is about all COVID
restrictions right now. What Trudeau has made very clear, he's not about to give into. Hala, take a look around, behind me, though here.
We're in downtown Ottawa, OK? Have a look at this. This is a major intersection in the middle of the downtown court. There is a mall, a large
mall right behind that group of trucks. There are major hotels. The U.S. Embassy is just about 200 feet on the other side of those two buildings. It
goes on and on. It is gridlocked. Hala, right now, I am in the middle of the street, and there is no traffic. This is what residents are dealing
And extraordinarily, Hala, this is what they're dealing with on that border, on that border crossing between Detroit and Windsor, which is
really serious. I just got off the phone with the mayor of Windsor, and he's saying, look, this is going to cripple the economy, that cross-border
trade within a matter of days if they don't get this sorted.
Going back to your original question, look, even authorities, it doesn't matter if you're in Toronto or Ottawa or Windsor or Alberta, they are
trying to avoid violence. A confrontation. They want to make sure that they can end this peacefully, and that is going to take time. I also want to
point out here, Hala, that the great irony is that as you and I are talking, provinces throughout Canada are lifting COVID restrictions anyway
because they say it's time. Hospitalizations have decreased.
Those in ICU and intensive care have decreased, and the cases have decreased. Given all of this, you know, people in Canada are looking on and
saying, is this really rational? You know, yes, people want their freedom from this, but gradually, that is happening anyway. When you talk to the
protesters, though --
GORANI: Yes --
NEWTON: They're saying that this is all gone too far at this point.
GORANI: But --
NEWTON: Hala --
GORANI: Are there no -- I am not familiar with Canadian laws, but are there no laws against blocking major arteries, closing down borders In the
name of protests?
NEWTON: Take a look -- take a look --
GORANI: I mean, what's -- I mean, I'm sorry, but at some point --
NEWTON: Take a look, Hala, all illegal. There is nothing legal --
GORANI: Right, but at some point, I know -- I know what the police are saying. They're saying, look, we don't want a confrontation. This could
devolve or descend into something nasty, and we want to avoid that. I get that.
GORANI: But at some point, you've got to do something, right? Because you can't have people camped out like this blocking roads and border crossings
for weeks and possibly longer.
NEWTON: Absolutely, Hala, and you make a very good point. And you encapsulated the frustration of Canadians with what you just said. The
leaders say that they are listening. But what's interesting here as well, Hala, is always the nuance. The police forces in this city anyway are
saying look, this is not a resolution for police to handle. You need to handle this politically. You need to come to some kind of a compromise.
So, you can have the laws, enforcement though is another issue. Even an administrative issue, they should all be getting parking tickets right now,
even trying to get that organized and done is going to be difficult, not to mention the complex task of trying to tow any of these vehicles here
especially when some of the tow truck drivers haven't been willing. Hala, I will leave you with this though, you hear that, no honking, right?
One thing that has been --
GORANI: Yes --
NEWTON: Enforced is that --
GORANI: Yes --
NEWTON: Injunction. Those residents here themselves launched a class action suit, the injunction went into effect yesterday, guess what? This
morning, we come here, it's been fairly peaceful. So, I suppose in talking to the protesters that, that is a measure of goodwill. They themselves saw
the injunction and said, OK, we'll abide by that, we'll stop the honking.
GORANI: OK, well, how good of them. At least, there's that. Thanks very much for that, Paula Newton in Ottawa. Still ahead, no "ifs", "ands" or
"buts". U.S. President Joe Biden says that if Russia invades Ukraine, there will be no Nord Stream 2. So, why won't Germany's chancellor make the same
And a little later, I'll talk with the scientists behind a revolutionary spinal implant, we showed you yesterday, enabling people with a devastating
paralysis to stand and walk again.
GORANI: The American President Joe Biden said it in his bluntest remarks yet. But we still haven't heard German officials make the same direct
threat to block operation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, should Russia decide to attack Ukraine.
Mr. Biden and German chancellor Olaf Scholz were asked about the lucrative gas project during their news conference in Washington yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If Russia invades, that means tanks or troops crossing the border of Ukraine, again, then there
will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: The new German chancellor, while his remarks were not as clear, he had been speaking in German but switched to English, saying he wanted to
speak directly to his American friends for this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR: We will be united. We will act together and we will take all the necessary steps and we will take all the necessary
steps and all the necessary steps will be done by all of us together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Let's bring in Richard Quest, host of "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" here on CNN.
For Germany it's not as clear-cut as for the United States, because of the energy relationship Germany has with Russia.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: Well, we're now parsing the chancellor's words. He says we're absolutely united. We'll do the same steps. They will be
very, very hard for Russia. So what we're really concerned about is his deliberate ambiguity in refusing to say those same words, that, if the
Russians invade, then Nord Stream 2 will be no more.
Of course, it's not immediately clear what the Americans would do. They can't exactly blow up a pipeline that's on an ally, NATO ally's soil. I
suppose they could. They could sabotage it. They could increase sanctions. But they did sanctions on Nord Stream 1. And that didn't really go down so
well and wasn't too successful.
QUEST: So the real worry is that Biden has painted himself into a corner here.
GORANI: But what they can do is find alternate sources of gas and energy. That takes time, though. I mean, there is Qatar, for instance; Australia is
another country that could provide some of this gas.
How quickly could that -- could an alternate pipeline, if you will, be put in place to service and to respond to the demand from Europe?
QUEST: OK. Pipeline would take years and billions of dollars.
GORANI: I meant pipeline not in the physical sense.
QUEST: Yes, yes. A virtual pipeline; ships, ships in transit. It could be put in place relatively quickly. Qatar, as we talked about, when the emir
of Qatar was at the White House a couple weeks ago, the reality is all the current producers are pretty much nearly maxed out.
And they've got existing contracts to fulfill; in many cases, to places like China. The U.S. doesn't have the capacity to make up the shortfall. So
like it or lump it, unless Europe wants to get cold and unless they want to do further actions, I'm afraid Russian gas is necessary.
That is a political reality today. Maybe that's what Germany is focusing on. And good cop, bad cop, letting the U.S. go forward but safe from the
knowledge they may have to work, may have to follow on after.
GORANI: So who is holding the cards here?
I mean, you have a country, Russia, that has it troops massed at the borders of Ukraine, essentially holding a gun to the head of Ukraine and
saying, I'll shoot if you don't give me what I want. They control so much of the gas supply to this region.
Who is really holding the cards?
QUEST: I'm tempted to say, first blush, Vladimir Putin. He's got the troops. He's got the oil. He's got the gas. He's got everybody running
around. He has Macron saying there are agreements -- he's got foreign ministers galore traveling the world.
But the reality is does he want his economy to go down the toilet?
And, secondly, does he want to see large numbers of Russian, young soldiers coming back in body bags?
That would be devastating to him. His legacy, he's a wily guy. He's not going to jeopardize this. So classic, classic cold war, if you like,
geopolitical Iron Curtain, the sort of things you and I grew up on. We're back there again.
GORANI: Because what he's doing is he's trying to rearrange the post Soviet order here by using Ukraine as a bargaining chip. What he doesn't
want is -- if you look at a map of Soviet Russia and compare it to a map of Europe today and what Russia looks like today, it's absolutely night and
day. The sphere of influence of Western countries has advanced undeniably toward Russia.
He wants that to stop. But he won't get the guarantee that that will stop. So I guess if that is his priority over protecting his economy, then
perhaps there will be some action on his part.
QUEST: Well, you just -- you've just stated the dilemma. You said perhaps there will be some action on his part. That will have the consequences we
The reality, look, we see this from different points of view. I spent a day looking at it from the Russian point of view. You're right; they do feel
like this is encroaching, NATO, E.U., Western liberalization moving inexorably toward them. And they want to stop it.
But are they prepared to pay that price?
And believe me, for instance, if SWIFT was closed to Russian businesses, then, overnight, the Russian economy would take a massive hit.
Would we as well?
Yes, because if he cuts off the gas, we go down, too. And that's why you used to have this phrase with nuclear power, MAD, mutually assured
destruction. We're not at that point of course. But whatever happens, we're both going to suffer.
GORANI: Certainly. Thank you, Richard. We'll see you at the top of the hour on "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS."
Well, speaking of Ukraine, forces there are training to defend one of the country's most tragic landscapes, the Chernobyl nuclear exclusion zone.
It's where the destroyed Chernobyl reactor rests 36 years after the world's worst nuclear disaster. Many fear Russian forces may try to use the
exclusion zone as a gateway from Belarus to Kyiv. Melissa Bell shows us how Ukraine is preparing for that very possibility.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Through the forests of Northern Ukraine, it appears, the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, a monument to
humanity's ability to unleash uncontrollable forces.
BELL (voice-over): Suddenly, the apparent calm left behind by the 1986 Soviet era accident is broken. Ukrainian forces run drills in what remains
a radiation exclusion zone, free of any inhabitants. They're practicing urban combat.
Of course, this is also an information and propaganda war. Everyone waits for Russian president Vladimir Putin to decide, even as Ukraine questions
an earlier U.S. assessment of just how imminent a potential invasion is.
OLEKSIY REZNIKOV, UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: So we have the same facts but the different perception or different estimation.
BELL: The difference is on the question of intention. You don't believe they intend to invade.
REZNIKOV: I hope that in Kremlin they didn't make their decision still.
BELL (voice-over): But Chernobyl is only 10 miles from the border with Belarus, where Russia has been holding joint military exercises. These,
just some of the 30,000 Russian combat troops that NATO has warned are on their way, welcomed with bread and salt and open arms.
BELL: To the east of Chernobyl, lies this neutral zone between Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. It is known as the Three Sisters Crossing, in memory of
a time when the three countries were all Soviet republics.
But more than 30 years on from the collapse of the Soviet Union, Belarus is a staunch ally of Russia, while Ukraine fears an invasion.
BELL (voice-over): Barely visible through the freezing mist, across the border in Belarus, a Soviet-era monument to the sister nations. And at the
Three Sisters Cafe on the Ukrainian side, there is more nostalgia for that past than there is worry about war.
Masha, a 64-year-old great grandmother works here to supplement her state pension, worth the equivalent of just $77 a month, she says.
MASHA, GREAT GRANDMOTHER (through translator): Will Putin go to war with civilians?
He won't do that. I have brothers and sisters living in Russia, in Belarus. I would dissolve the parliament in Kyiv, take them out of parliament, every
last one of them. They should give the people proper pensions so that people won't be beggars.
BELL (voice-over): The nearby village of Sankivka (ph) is only a three- hour drive from Kyiv but feels much further.
This man won't tell us his name for fear of being labeled a separatist. He, too, misses the unity of the past and certainly doesn't appreciate visits
to Kyiv from the likes of the British prime minister.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Boris the uncombed comes here, only whipping the tensions up. Only a fool would start a war.
BELL (voice-over): Nobody will come out a winner, he says, nobody -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Sankivka (ph), Ukraine.
GORANI: Pope Benedict is apologizing to survivors of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, asking for forgiveness and expressing his, quote,
"profound shame" and, quote, "deep sorrow."
But the former pope says he's facing God's final judgment on his life with good cheer. He's continuing to deny allegations that he knew a priest under
his command decades ago was a child abuser. And Pope Benedict admits again that he was in a meeting about that priest in 1980 but that he had no
knowledge of the abuse.
Still to come tonight, a devastating motorcycle accident robbed this man of his ability to walk, spinal cord completely severed. But now a new medical
technology is enabling him to get on his feet again. We will talk live with the scientists about a pioneering technique. Stay with us.
GORANI: I can walk wherever I want to. Those are simple words most of us take for granted. But for people with paralysis, such as Michel Roccati,
it's nothing short of a medical miracle. We told you a bit about this yesterday.
Neuroscientists in Switzerland have pioneered a new experimental spinal implant. It uses electrodes implanted into the spinal column that
stimulates the limbs even if, like Michel, one's spinal cord is severed. It's enabling Michel and a few others who received it to stand and walk
Now we want to meet the scientists behind the medical breakthrough, Dr. Jocelyne Bloch and Gregoire Courtine are professors of neuroscience and the
directors of NeuroRestore and they are joining me live from Lausanne, Switzerland.
Thank you so much. We ran the story yesterday, where we were introduced to the patient, who was able, he said, to walk up to a mile with a walker,
unaided. Talk to us -- and I'll start with you, Jocelyne.
How does this spinal implant work in someone whose spinal cord is completely severed?
DR. JOCELYNE BLOCH, NEURORESTORE: So we implant electrodes just over the spinal cord and the lesion. These electrodes are connected with a
stimulator located in the abdominal region. So this neurostimulator is giving command and activating the spinal cord to reactivate the muscles of
the legs very precisely.
GORANI: Sorry. Go ahead. I wasn't interrupting you. I was just so fascinated. I just kind of was saying OK. Go ahead. So it reenergizes the
muscles in the legs.
BLOCH: Exactly. The muscles in the leg are disconnected from the brain. You give the brain -- is giving a command but the legs cannot be activated.
So thanks so this electricity that is activating the spinal cord, the patient can walk.
GORANI: And Gregoire Courtine, how does it work?
Does the patient have any sensation in his legs?
DR. GREGOIRE COURTINE, NEURORESTORE: This has been a surprise to us, because all our patients had what is called sosoee and multo (ph) --
complete paralysis. No sensation. No ability to activate a single muscle.
Yet, when we deliver the stimulation, immediately they feel the contraction of their muscle, the return of sensation that allowed them to coordinate
their bodies and with the activation of the spinal cord and then to walk quite naturally.
GORANI: So can they -- I mean, I imagine, when you have an attacked (ph) spinal cord, your brain sends signals to your legs and your muscles to
perform a certain movement.
In this case, how does the movement work?
Do you need to control it from a device?
Or is it really fully independent, the patient is fully independently walking?
COURTINE: Yes. It's very difficult to comprehend, I imagine for the general public; even for us scientists.
When there is this lesion that is very severe and there's no connection apparently between the brain and the spinal cord, in the vast majority of
cases, there's actually a residual connection. But it's silent.
When we apply this stimulation, we boost this (INAUDIBLE) and they become functional. This means that the patient can coordinate his volition with
the stimulation and synergistically, it enables the activation of muscle and this adaptive control of the movement of the paralyzed legs.
GORANI: Wow. So there is a residual connection that can be activated.
And let me ask you, Jocelyne, I imagine that someone who has spent many years in a wheelchair, that their muscles have essentially wasted away.
So how do they end up using muscles that have been unused for many years to perform this act of walking?
BLOCH: So after a few years, you're right. The muscle almost disappears. But they are still present. The patient stands up the first day and is able
to do a few steps. But he cannot at the beginning do hundreds of meters.
So it takes time and rehab in order to build again the muscles and to be able to walk more and more and to have more endurance.
GORANI: And this so far has been attempted on three patients, I understand?
But you will be doing trials on up to 100 patients, is that correct?
COURTINE: Well, we activate altogether (INAUDIBLE) nine (ph) patients, including three with this new technology who have complete spinal cord
injury. So we have established the consensual (ph) framework in order to be able, with the company we're working with, ONWARD Medical, to be able to
scale it up and test it in 100 individuals.
This is when really we can bring this technology to a commercial application, clinical (INAUDIBLE) --
COURTINE: -- in Europe, (INAUDIBLE) America, actually.
GORANI: I have so many questions. I'm sorry, I don't mean to jump in.
But what -- is it foreseeable that someone like Michel Roccati, the young man who was able to -- says he's able to walk up to a mile with a walker,
is it conceivable that, with more rehab and more muscle strengthening, that this young man, whose spinal cord was completely cut, will be able to walk
independently of a walker?
BLOCH: So this patient with a complete spinal cord injury still progresses. So we see him very often and he is always better. But for sure,
he is not going to be able to walk without spinal cord stimulation.
But with spinal cord stimulation, he's able now almost to walk one kilometer independently but with a walker or sometimes also with a
crutches. But he's not going to be able to probably to walk without any help.
GORANI: How many hours of rehab did it take for him to get to that point of being able to walk that?
I kept saying mile; sorry. It's one kilometer.
How long did it take for him to get to that point?
BLOCH: So as I said, what was absolutely amazing is, just after the surgery, the first few days after the surgery, when the patient stands up,
he's able to do a few steps.
And we see progresses every week and after two or three months already, he was able to do 100 meters. And now he continues. Now he's able, for
example, to stand for two hours in front of you with the stimulus on, having a beer and being with friends.
COURTINE: And he has meetings, saying for him it changes everything. I mean, a business meeting, looking a partner in the eyes, standing.
BLOCH: He's also visiting friends in an inaccessible place, where he could not go with his wheelchair. Now he's able to walk and to stand and go to
the bathroom that he could not do before.
GORANI: It's just a complete change in lifestyle. I really hope that this is obviously tried and implanted and tested on many, many more people. And
I congratulate your team. It's just absolutely so wonderful to see this innovation help these young people. And hopefully it will help many more.
Thank you, Dr. Jocelyne Bloch and Gregoire Courtine, for joining us from Switzerland.
We'll be right back. Stay with us.
GORANI: Hollywood got up early for one of the film industry's biggest days of the year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESLIE JORDAN, ACTOR: Hearing your name announced this morning is a moment each nominee will never forget, not that I would know what a Oscar
nomination is like. But a boy can dream.
TRACEE ELLIS ROSS, ACTOR: Oh, Leslie, and a girl can dream too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: Leslie Jordan and Tracee Ellis Ross announced the nominees for the 94th Academy Awards. There are 10 films up for Best Picture, including
"Belfast," "West Side Story" and "Licorice Pizza."
Also noteworthy, director Jane Campion is the first woman nominated twice for Best Director. "The Power of the Dog" is up for Best Picture.
Chloe Melas talks us through the other nominations for Best Picture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHLOE MELAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's start with the ultimate category. Well, OK, so "West Side Story" was a dark horse in this category. I did not
think that "West Side Story," Steven Spielberg's musical, even though he was nominated for Best Director this year, it didn't do well at the box
office. But he is a -- an Academy Awards -- they love Steven Spielberg.
I also want to talk about "King Richard;" "CODA," a movie that I actually just finished this morning, it's about a young girl who is the only hearing
child in a family that is deaf. It did great at the film festivals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: They have their work cut out for them at the Oscars. Ratings have been plummeting. Last year they got 10 million viewers for ABC; 58 percent
below the ratings from the year before. And seven years ago, the Oscars attracted 40 million viewers. So we don't know who will be hosting it, by
the way, either.
Thanks for watching tonight. Stay with CNN. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS is coming up next.