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Russia and Ukraine Tension Escalates; Take Brexit Plan or Start from Scratch; Matthew Hedges is Now Back to London; Verdict for Paul

November 28, 2018



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<Time: 09:00>

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<Head: Russia and Ukraine Tension Escalates; Take Brexit Plan or Start

from Scratch; Matthew Hedges is Now Back to London; Verdict for Paul

Manafort Soon to be Heard; Macron Faces Angered Constituents Over Fuel

Price; CNN poll 34 percent Europeans say the know just a little or

have never heard of the holocaust, 24 percent of respondents in France

say Jewish people have too much influence over global finance, 16

percent of respondents in Germany say anti-Semitism is a response to

the everyday behavior of Jewish people; Parliament to vote on Brexit

deal December 11; Insight spacecraft lands on Mars; Insight will study

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[03:00:00] MAX FOSTER, CNN HOST: A showdown on the high seas quickly turns into a high stakes diplomatic standoff. Ukraine demands the release of two dozen sailors detained by Russia.

Stage to play. A sweeping new CNN survey reveals anti-Semitic stereotypes are alive and well in Europe while the memory of the Holocaust is starting to fade.

And the date is fixed, opposition say for Theresa May’s Brexit plan is coming in within weeks. Will parliament get on board?

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I’m Max Foster. This is CNN Newsroom.

The conflict is brewing in the waters of Crimea. Ukraine is furious after Russia seized three of its ships. Its parliament voted to impose martial law in areas bordering Russia. It’s also condemning Moscow as NATO and many European countries.

U.S. President Donald Trump appears hesitant though to do the same. But his top diplomats aren’t.


NIKKI HALEY, UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: This is no way for a law-abiding civilized nation to act. Impeding Ukraine’s lawful transit through the Kerch Strait is a violation under international law, it is an arrogant act that the international community must condemn and will never accept.


FOSTER: Well, although this standoff largely centers on the Lerch Strait which links the Black and Azov Seas. Russia built a bridge over the vital waterway and it’s being accused of harassing ships heading to Ukrainian ports.

CNN’s Matthew Chance has more on the standoff for us now from Moscow.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the moment simmering tensions on the high seas burst into outright hostility. The Russian patrol boat intercepting a Ukrainian naval tug and ramming it dangerously hard.

In audio recording broadcast on Ukrainian media which CNN can’t independently verify the Ukrainian boat can be heard protesting.


CHANCE: Then Russian officers ordered the Ukrainian vessels to surrender or face attack.


CHANCE: The Ukrainian navy says six of its sailors were injured when Russia fired on three of its vessels then seize them. An act of aggression said Ukrainian officials by Moscow.


PETRO POROSHENKO, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): I address the leadership of the Russian federation the demand for the immediate release of Ukrainian servicemen who, in violation of international law were brutally detained and whose fate is unknown. We demand they be immediately handed over to the Ukrainian side together with the ships and to deescalate the situation in the Azov Sea.


CHANCE: But that situation has been escalating since Russia’s President Vladimir Putin opened a controversial bridge earlier this year spanning the narrow Kerch Strait between Russia and annex Crimea. All maritime traffic to and from the Azov Sea must pass under it.

U.S. officials say Russia has been harassing international shipping there for months. Stopping or delaying vessels heading for Ukrainian ports. Russia said it’s simply reacting to dangerous naval maneuvers by Ukraine which have now forced it to curb access.


SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): Maneuvers in the narrow straits naturally create threats and risk for normal movement of vessels in these waters.



CHANCE: And this is how Russian state television has cast the naval clash as a provocation orchestrated by Ukraine and its supporters in the United States to disrupt a planned meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin at the upcoming G-20 summit in Argentina.

Ukrainian government says it is imposing martial law in response to the crisis and amid international condemnation. The coming days may yet see this confrontation on the high seas escalate further.

FOSTER: Well, in the last hour, Ukraine’s president has had a lot -- has a lot to say about all of this on Twitter. For the latest, Matthew Chance joins us now from Moscow with the very latest on both sides. Matthew, how are you reading this latest Twitter onslaught?

[03:05:07] CHANCE: Well, you’re right. Petro Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president has taken to social media to give his latest thoughts on this developing situation that’s been taking place over the weekend, particularly in the Azov Sea and then the Kerch Strait, that stretch of wat that divides the Crimean Peninsula with the Russian mainland.

Poroshenko, President Poroshenko said this on Twitter. “The unprovoked use of weapons by Russia against Ukrainian ships and the capture of our sailors by the Russian invaders, as he calls it, cannot and will not be left without a decent response. We have to stand up to Russian aggression including a significant strengthening of sanctions.”

And so, there are a couple of points there. First of all, the issue of sanctions. Russia is already heavily sanctioned by the United States, the European Union, and others in the international community as well. And while that had a significant impact on the country’s economy, it doesn’t appear to have changed Russian policy with regard to Crimea. It’s still very much in control of that peninsula, and in fact, annexed didn’t absorbed it into the Russian federation.

And I think there’s a degree of reluctance on the part of the western powers to go further. Because it’s not delivering the kind of results they anticipated. What has happened, though, in the course of the 24 hours is that Petro Poroshenko’s government has confirmed martial law in certain parts of the country, particularly the areas bordering Russia that will involve a certain amount of curbing of civilian freedoms and will divert national resources towards the security services.

That’s been condemned by the Kremlin in a conversation that was a read-out of which was posted on the Kremlin web site with Angela Merkel. Vladimir Putin told the Russia -- the German leader that he was seriously concerned about the decision of Kiev to bring its armed forces into full combat readiness and to declare martial law.

President Putin said he believed that Ukraine was responsible for creating another conflict situation, and so the allegations between the two countries are still being traded. Max?

FOSTER: We seem to have lost the signal there. We’ll bring back with Matthew with any updates throughout the day.

Now a major CNN investigation is revealing just how widespread and growing anti-Semitic attitudes are here in Europe. More than 70 years ago, when the nightmare of the Holocaust came to an end with the end of World War II.

Germany as a nation vowed to never forget, yet it seems that many in Europe have done exactly that or even more shockingly have never even known about the atrocities committed against millions of Jews by the Nazis.

So, all this week we’re focusing on this shadow over Europe. Our chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward begins our coverage now with a sweeping new survey, commissioned by CNN that honor some surprising statistics.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: To give us our unprecedented look at anti-Semitism in Europe, we spoke to more than 7,000 European citizens across these seven countries. Forty-four percent said they believe anti-Semitism is a growing problem in their country, with 40 percent saying Jewish people are at risk of racist violence there.

Sixty-three percent, around two-thirds of the people we spoke to agree that commemorating the Holocaust helps insure that such atrocities will never happen again. But awareness of the genocide seems to be fading.

Of the people in the 18 to 34 age brackets that we spoke to almost two-fifths said they had either never heard of the Holocaust or had just a little knowledge of it. The situation is especially bad in France. Eight percent of people we spoke to there, across all age groups said they never heard of the Holocaust, that’s around five million in France alone, more than double the population of Paris.

The International Holocaust Remembrance alliance spells out what anti- Semitism is with 11 specific examples. One is the myth that Jewish people control global media, economies, and governments.

In Europe, 28 percent responded that Jewish people had too much influence in finance and business around the world. A view that was most common in Poland and Hungary.

Europe’s understanding of how many Jewish people there are in the world is also way off the mark. Sixteen percent of respondents thought that Jewish people make up at least a fifth of the global population. According to Pew Research it’s a 100 of that, around .2 percent.

Clarissa Ward, CNN, London.

[03:10:01] FOSTER: Well, a week-long look at anti-Semitism in Europe turns to Germany on Wednesday. Clarissa takes us to a right-wing extremist march on the streets of Berlin.

WARD: Christian Weisberger (Ph) explains that neo-Nazis are finding new ways to express the same old hatred. And he sure know, Weisberger (Ph) used to be a right-wing extremist himself.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say that it is a form of anti-Semitism that disguises itself. So, they don’t talk about the Jew anymore, they talk about the Zionist or the globalist or the bankers.


FOSTER: Well, Clarissa also meets with members of the Jewish community who are questioning their future in Germany. Join us for the next report in our exclusive series, a shadow over Europe, anti- Semitism in 2018, Wednesday, on CNN.

And still ahead this hour, we’ll speak with the editor in chief of the Germany’s paper Bild about CNN’s special report.

Now Britain’s prime minister travels to Northern Ireland and Wales on Tuesday. She begins her push to rally support for her Brexit plan. The parliament is set to vote on the agreement on December the 11th, Theresa May addressed the House of Commons on Monday urging lawmakers to accept this deal or risk starting all over again.

But as Bianca Nobilo reports, Mrs. May is facing an uphill battle.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN PRODUCER: Theresa May faced a bitterly divided U.K. parliament Monday just one day after getting her Brexit deal approved by the E.U. And in a march contrast to the unanimous and orderly way that the E.U. 27 signed off Theresa May was faced with a barrage of hostile questioning from M.P.’s in the House of Commons who oppose her deal from all sides.

This as she is begging her campaign to sell her deal and persuade M.P.’s to vote it through parliament.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: And I can say to the house with absolutely certainly that there is not a better deal available. There is a choice which this house will have to make. We can back this deal and deliver on the vote of the referendum and move on to building a brighter future of opportunity and prosperity for all of our people or this house can choose to reject this deal and go back to square one.


NOBILO: Currently, the parliamentary arithmetic doesn’t add up in the prime minister’s favor. Scores of her own back bench M.P.’s have publicly declared that they will reject the deal as has the Democratic Unionist Party, the DUP, which the prime minister relies on for her majority in parliament. And if Theresa May was hoping to look for the opposition Labour Party to support her, then the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had other ideas for her today.


JEREMY CORBYN, LEADER, LABOUR PARTY: The Prime Minister May have achieved agreement across 27 heads of state, but she’s lost support of the country. This deal is not a plan for Britain’s future. So, for the good of the nation the house has very little choice but to reject this deal.


NOBILO: The date has now been set for the historic vote on the prime minister’s Brexit deal, December 11. mark your calendars. It will be the prime minister’s toughest Brexit battle yet.

Bianca Nobilo, CNN, London.

FOSTER: We’ll be there of course. Emmanuel Macron meanwhile, facing growing anger and massive protests against his government’s fuel tax hikes. Well, the French president is set to address his nation shortly but many say they’re hungry and fed up with prices that just keep going up. Details next.

Tear gas and tears at the U.S. border with Mexico after border patrol uses tear gas to keep out migrants. You’ll hear from one migrant mother who says she has nowhere else to go.

Plus, a new development in the Russia investigation, why prosecutors say they no longer trust a key cooperating witness to tell the truth.


FOSTER: A British academic who was sentenced to life in prison in the United Arab Emirates is back home in the U.K. A plane carrying Matthew Hedges arrived in London a short while ago hours after he received a presidential pardon. Hedges called his conviction and pardon very surreal and his wife says he’s overwhelmed. The 31-year-old Ph.D. researcher was arrested in May and sentenced last week for spying.

Before announcing his pardon on Monday, UAE authorities released a video reportedly showing him confessing. Hedges’ family and Britain deny he was a spy, the UAE says it pardoned Hedges because of its ties with the U.K.

Now U.S. President Donald Trump doubles down on his border patrol agents firing tear gas on migrants trying to rush to border with Mexico.

This was the scene on Sunday in Tijuana, Mexico when many of the thousands of migrants hoping to be granted asylum in the U.S. ran towards the border wall. Mexican officials had deported 98 migrants involved in the melee and has asked the U.S. to investigate the incident.

In his defense of border security offices, Mr. Trump asked why the children were there in the first place?


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now first of all, the tear gas is a very minor form of the tear gas itself. It’s very safe. But you already say why is a parent running up into an area where they know the tear gas is forming and it’s going to be formed and they are running up with a child. And in some cases, you know, they’re not the parents. These are people they call them grabbers, they grab a child.


FOSTER: Well, our Leyla Santiago was at the U.S.-Mexico border earlier and spoke with one of the mothers who was tear gassed whilst holding her child. Here’s her report.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tijuana City officials tell me that there are more than 5,000 migrants from the caravan at this shelter. This is an athletic facility turned shelter, specifically for them. And while many are still trying to figure out what their next move will be when we arrived, we saw that some are still arriving here.

Central American migrants hoping to seek asylum in the United States. And this is despite the clash that we saw at the border over the weekend.


SANTIAGO: Trying to escape the tear gas, protect her children, she forgot her phone was still recording. Capturing her struggle to breathe and the screams from her daughters’ fear. A day later, Jessica who asked us not to use her last name knows these images will haunt her forever.

She said that she was -- she said she was holding her child pretty much like her child had fainted from the gas.


SANTIAGO: She said those tears are of her child. Her seven-year-old daughter struggles to talk about what happened at the border.

Hundreds of migrants, men, women, and children march in unity from this makeshift shelter to the border Sunday. Many told us they were caught off-guard when tear gas was released by Customs and Border Protection on the U.S. side of the fence.

According to CBP, the migrants were the first to throw things, hitting four agents in the U.S. with rocks and that’s why they responded with tear gas. Something the migrants deny.

MAYOR JUAN MANUEL GASTELUM, TIJUANA, MEXICO: I cannot agree on the use of force. Not even that type of force, that is tear gas or rubber bullets. I cannot be -- I cannot agree on any -- on any of those actions.

[03:20:00] SANTIAGO: For its part, Mexico says it will not tolerate disorderly conduct. Mexican immigration officials took about a 100 people into custody and plans to deport them. The clash is making some reconsider plans.


SANTIAGO: She says she’s thinking about staying in Mexico but she can’t go back to Honduras because she says if she goes back to Honduras, they’ll kill her. That’s the threat she faces.

Just outside the sports center turned shelter, we watched as about 20 Hondurans bordered this bus for voluntary deportation. But this is a small portion of the group here. City officials say more than 5,000 are being held at this shelter and after the clash at the border, the federal police in Mexico have made their presence known as U.S. military helicopters constantly fly over which has become the latest home of the caravan.

And when it comes to the asylum process, what could be next for these migrants of the caravan? Well, it could be a very long process. Before this caravan even arrived, there were already 1,600 people on an unofficial waiting list just to get to the San Ysidro port of entry. A port of entry whose capacity is 300.


SANTIAGO: So, 300 and then 1,600 already on a waiting list add to that this caravan of more than 5,000. You’re looking at about several weeks, possibly several months before they can even get to their border to make their claim.

In Tijuana, Mexico, Leyla Santiago, CNN.

FOSTER: Next hour, Emmanuel Macron will make his case to the French people in a televised address. The French president is facing growing pressure after a second straight weekend of violent protests. Demonstrators are furious over surging fuel prices and the rising cost of living that was making it tough for many just to make ends meet.

More now from CNN’s Melissa Bell in Paris.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: An explosion of violence transformed the Champs Elysee on Saturday with paving stones ripped out and thrown, water cannons and tear gas used and for several hours a police force struggling to contain the anger that had gripped Paris’ most famous street.

It was the second Saturday gathering of a wider protest now in its 11th day. It began on November 17th amid less violence but in greater numbers, when the yellow vest kicked off the protest against a hike in the field duty that’s contributed to a 16 percent rise in the price of diesel this year.

Over the next few days many of the barricades remained in place, manned by protesters wearing the high visibility jackets that are obligatory for motorists in France. Borne as to call to action on the internet the movement is in the hands of no single union or political party. Its focus broader than the cost of petrol. Its chants and placards aimed at the cost of living in general and the liberalizing policies of the French president in particular.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We’re very disappointed by Macron. I believed and believed in Macron but I regret having voted for him. If I had to do it again, I would never vote for him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We don’t eat as we’d like to every day. It’s not normal. How long will this last? I think it’s not normal. So the protesters should continue.


BELL: In Brussels over the weekend, Emmanuel Macron whose popularity ratings have fallen tweeted to thank the police and condemn the violence which his interior minister laid squarely at the feet of the far right.

On Tuesday, the government is to announce measures but already there are calls on the internet for a third Saturday of action next weekend with opposition politicians accusing Emmanuel Macron of having failed to hear his people despite last Saturday’s considerable in.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.

FOSTER: Well, the French government is worried about the economic impact of the violent demonstrations. The finance minister says the protest are bad for business in Paris and they are hurting the country’s reputation. Some students and visitors to the French capital agree.


CERISE DUVAL, FRENCH STUDENT (through translator): I’m shocked. It’s really unacceptable. I don’t understand how they can do this because these people retailers have done nothing. So, I don’t understand how we have reached this point.

JOAQUIN RODRIGUEZ, SPANISH TOURIST (through translator): It’s justified, I think, it’s true that with the rise in tax and everything, it’s the same thing in Spain, it’s exactly the same, but while we don’t go out and break things like this.


FOSTER: Well, President Macron has said the fuel hikes are meant to encourage France to lessen its dependence on fossil fuels.

Prosecutors in Russia -- in the Russia investigation, rather, say Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman has breached his plea agreement by lying to the FBI and Robert Mueller’s office. Paul Manafort denies the claim and says he has provided truthful information.

[03:24:59] CNN’s Jessica Schneider has more details on that for you.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The lingering question after this filing, what did Paul Manafort lie about? The special counsel saying he lied on a variety of subject matters but they won’t disclose what those were until they file a sentencing submission with the court at a later date. But remember, Paul Manafort, he’s been working with Mueller’s attorney since he pleaded guilty to two charges that he faced in Washington, D.C. That guilty plea was back in September. But now the special counsel is calling off the cooperation.

They’re saying in a filing that Paul Manafort lied to the FBI and the special counsel’s office on a variety of subjects and now they’re finished. No more talks no more opportunity to cooperate. They are ready for a federal judge to sentence Paul Manafort.

Now, again, this filing doesn’t specify exactly how Paul Manafort lied and what he lied about. But we do know that Paul Manafort has been meeting with Mueller’s team for about two months now in exchange for that possibility that they would ask for a lesser sentence on the two charges he pleaded guilty to.

And then on top of that guilty plea of course, Paul Manafort was found guilty by a different jury in Virginia on eight counts in August. And he faced up to 20 years on that conviction. That sentencing also was put on hold in that case. But now of course Mueller’s team is calling off all further talks. They want Paul Manafort sentenced immediately.

Paul Manafort’s attorneys they responded and they say that Paul Manafort believes he was truthful that he does not agree that he breached any agreement. So really, we’ll just have to see and wait and see what the judge says in this case.

Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.

FOSTER: Europe is dealing with a rising tide of anti-Semitism. Just ahead, a major new CNN investigation reveals what’s behind the problem casting a shadow over Europe.

And a new development in the Jamal Khashoggi investigation. Why Turkish authorities spend the day searching the grounds of this villa outside Istanbul.


FOSTER: Welcome back. I’m Max Foster. Let’s update you on the top stories this hour then.

Ukraine will impose martial law in border areas with Russia and pro- Russian forces. Parliament approved the move on Monday after a sea confrontation with Russia near Crimea. Russia seized three Ukrainian navy ships and more than 20 troops. Both sides accuse the other of being the aggressor.

Now the British parliament will vote on the Brexit agreement on December 11th. Prime Minister Thera May faces major opposition to the plan and will begin a four-nation U.K. tour. In support of it on Tuesday suggest parliament on Monday telling lawmakers, it’s either this agreement or back to square one.

A British academic who was sentenced to life in prison in the United Arad Emirates is now back in the U.K. And he’s calling his freedom surreal.


A plane carrying Matthew Hedges touch down a short while ago. The 31- year-old was convicted of espionage and sentenced last week. He received the Presidential pardon on Monday and his wife said the family is overjoyed and exhausted.

Major investigation by CNN is revealing shocking new details about anti-Semitism across Europe. And times, anti-Semitism instance on the rise, ugly stereotypes again. Most startling, new polling commission by CNN showing European’s memory of the holocaust is fading. In the seven countries survey, 34 percent say they no juts a little have never heard of the holocaust and in Germany a country that vows to never forget, 40 percent of people age 18 to 34 say they know just a little or have never heard of the holocaust.

In that same age group in France 20 percent of those polls say they have never heard of the holocaust.

Julian Reichelt is the editor and chief of the Bild newspaper. He joins me now from Berlin. How much of this was a shock to you?

JULIAN REICHELT, EDITOR AND CHIEF OF THE BILD NEWSPAPER: Good morning from Berlin. Well, obviously, these numbers are (inaudible) where the holocaust was basically constructed not far from where I’m standing here and with so many Jew that is are departed and they did something that we’re seeing in schools in Berlin, but also in other towns where young kids are they’re not caring about the holocaust or not hearing that much about the holocaust anymore and with new people coming into this country, some people have a very different view and a very disturbing view on the country of Israel and on Jews in general.

FOSTER: Is it showing itself in crime figures? Or is this small anecdotal evidence at this point?

REICHELT: Well, it is showing in crimes, anti-Semitism, motivated crimes, hate crimes in many German towns are on the rise of the past -- over the past year or so. We’ve seen numerous attacks here in Berlin on people wearing a kippa, people speaking Hebrew, just two days ago, there was -- an attack with the fireworks on TV correspondents speaking Hebrew in the streets of Berlin. This is not only anecdotal. It is something that we can see in numbers. That is a high concern to the German government, the German administration of Angela Merkel, so far it seems they haven’t really found a recipe against it. They have to go to schools, they have to do something about education. They also have to make strong arguments to people coming to this country as immigrants. But it is not only about immigrant, there has always been a tradition of left wing anti- Semitism in Germany, but also obviously of right-wing anti-Semitism that has never really gone away.

FOSTER: Anti-Semitism in Germany is particularly sensitive of course because of the history. But do you think it is worse there than France for example or other major European countries? REICHELT: Well it has been worse over the past years, visiting Israel, numerous times in the past years, I met many people -- Jews from France that abandoned France and given up on France and left France. What is concerning to me the last time the visited Israel this summer I was approached by a several German Jews who had gone be through the same process. Who had given up on Germany, basically who had moved for example, to get to the (inaudible) a couple of years ago and had now given up because they heard about or experienced attacks and going to temple wearing a kippa while they decided to buy a place in Israel and move there. Give up on Germany after choosing this country again, which was always considered a great achievement, but this -- this achievement is kind of under attack these months.

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