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tv   CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera  CNN  November 16, 2022 10:00am-11:00am PST

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and continue to bolster ukraine's armed forces by rushing them the capabilities they these to defend their country and we will continue to help the people of ukraine in their fight for freedom. thank you very much and i'll turn it over to general milley for his opening comments. >> thank you. i appreciate that and appreciate your leadershipp as we gather for the seventh contact group we've been doing every month. thanks also to all the ministers of defense out there who participated and all my counterparts that participated and senior representatives from almost 50 countries showed up this morning and continue to take part in these discussions which are very, very productive. the mission of the group remains clear to support ukraine as they counter the illegal and unprovoked russian aggression
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and continue to supply ukraine with the capabilities necessary to defend their sovereignty. through these contact group sessions and other close coordinations that i have and the secretary has with our counterparts, that i talked to weekly and my staff continually talks to his staff we continue to respond to ukraine's battlefield requirements and their needs for means of fighting for their freedom. this is a war of choice. it's a war of choice for russia. they embarked on a tremendous strategic mistake. they made a choice in february of this year to illegally invade a country that posed no threat to russia. in making that choice, russia established several object tufbs. they wanted to overthrow president zelenskyy and his government. they wanted to secure access to the black sea. they wanted to capture odesa.
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they wanted to seize to the dnipro river, pause, and continue to attack to the carpathen mountains. in short they wanted to overrun all of ukraine and they lost. they didn't achieve those objectives. he they failed to achieve their strategic objectives and now failing to achieve their operational an tactical objectives. russia changed their war aims in march and in the beginning of april. their war of choice then focused on the seizure of the donbas, donestk. that was their operational objectives and they failed there. then they changed again and expanded to seize zaporizhzhia and kherson. these strategic reframing of their objectives, of their illegal invasion have all failed, every single one of
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them. we've witnessed last week russia's retreat from kherson. they retreated across the dnipro river, moved to more defensible positions south of the river, their losses due to ukrainian success and skill and bravery on the battlefield have been significant. it's clear that the russian will to fight does not match the ukrainian will to fight. on the battlefield, ukrainians offensive in kharkiv has been successful where they crossed the river and they have moved to the east and are near the town of savtovi. there is a fight right now in the vicinity where the ukrainians are fighting a very successful mobile defense. there is limited contact right now in zaporizhzhia and limited contact in and around the zaporizhzhia nuclear power
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plant. as we discussed kherson's offensive has been successful. across the entire front line trace, the ukrainians have achieved success after success after success. the russians have failed every single time they've lost strategically, operationally and tactically. what they tried to do they failed at. they started this war and russia can end this war. russia can make another choice and make a choice to end this war. however, russia is choosing to use their time to attempt to regroup their forces and they are imposing a campaign of terror and suffering on the ukraine civilian population to
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defeat ukraine morale. the russians are striking throughout the depth and breath with cruise missiles and other types of munitions. they are striking the ukraine civilian infrastructure. and it has little or no military purpose. while assessments are ongoing yesterday's strikes looks like they launched at least 60 missiles and upwards of 90s or perhaps 100 and we'll have better assessments in the days ahead. but it was likely the largest wave of missiles we've seen since the beginning of the war. these missiles intentionally targeted and damaged civilian power generation facilities to cause unnecessary suffering with the civilian population. we assess now over a quarter of
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ukrainian civilians are without power. the deliberate targeting of the civilian power grid causing excessive collateral damage and unnecessary suffering on the civilian population is a war crime. with the onset of winter, families will be without power and more importantly without heat. basic human survival and subsistence is going to be impacted and human suffering for the ukrainian population is going to increase. these strikes will undoubtedly hinder ukraine's ability to care for the sick and elderly. their hospitals will be partially operational. the elderly are going to be exposed to the elements. in the wake of unrelenting russian aggression and incalculable human suffering ukraine will continue to endure. ukraine is not going to back
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down. the ukrainian people are hard, they're tough, and most of all, they're free and they want to remain free. ukraine is going to continue to take the fight to the russians. and i just had a significant conversation with my ukrainian counterpart, and he assures me that is the future for ukraine. as ukraine continues to fight, air defense capabilities are becoming critical for their future success. an integrated system, an integrated air defense system, an integrated air and missile defense system is what is necessary, as ukraine repels russian ariel attacks and a significant portion of today's conversations in today's meeting with almost 50 countries, focused on how we, as a global coalition, can provide the right mix of air defense systems and ammunition for ukraine to continue its control of the
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skies and prevent the russians from achieving air superiority. to combat continued russian strikes last thursday the united states announced a $400 million in additional commitments to cupp ukraine that included missiles for the hawk air defense systems which is a complement to what spain has recently committed. there's other air defense systems included in that $400 million package along with ground systems such as humvees, grenade launches and ammunition and other pieces of equipment. wars are not fought by armies. they're fought by nations. this war is fought by the ukrainian people and fought by the russian people. this is a war that russia's leadership has chosen to put russia into. they didn't have to do this. but they did.
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they have violated ukrainian sovereignty and violated territorial integrity of ukraine. it is in complete contradiction to the basic rules that underline the united nations charter established at the end of world war ii. this is one of the most significant attempts to destroy the rules-based order that world war ii was fought all about. we, the united states, are determined to continue to support ukraine with the means to defend themselves for as long as it takes, but at the end of the day, ukraine will retain -- will remain a free and independent country with its territory intact. russia could ends this war today. russia could put an end to it right now. but they won't. they're going to continue that fight.
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they're going to continue to that fight into the winter as best we can tell. we the united states under the direction of the president and secretary of defense, we will continue to support ukraine for as long as it takes to keep them free, sovereign, independent, with their territory intact. the president of the united states has been very, very clear to us, that it's up to ukraine to decide how it and when or if they negotiate with the russians. we will continue to support them as long as it takes. the united states will continue to support ukraine with the best possible equipment to position them on the battlefield, to give them positions of strength against the russians, and that is also true of all the other nations that attended the meeting today. there is an absolute sense of urgency, an absolute sense of determination on the part of all the member states that attended our meeting today and i can tell you the cohesion and coherence
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of the organization is complete. and the resolve is high. ukrainians are not asking for anyone to fight for them. they don't want american soldiers or british or german or french or anybody else to fight for them. they will fight for themselves. all ukraine is asking for is the means to fight. we are determined to provide that means. ukrainians will do this on their timeline and until then, we will continue to support all the way for as long as it takes. it is evident to me and the contact group today that that is not only a u.s. position, but it is a position of all the nations were there today. we will be there for as long as it takes to keep ukraine free. thank you and i welcome your questions. >> mr. secretary and chairman, thank you very much. first question to associated press. >> thank you. mr. secretary, president
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zelenskyy just denied it was a ukrainian air defense missile that landed in poland. how are you certain this was possibly a ukrainian air defense missile and was not a russian missile? >> thanks. first of all, the investigation is still ongoing and poland is conducting that investigation. we are assisting in any way we have. we have some experts helping and helping po lush lead-- polish leadership. we have confidence in poland's investigation in a proper way and until that's complete it would be premature for anybody to jump to conclusions. i know that ukraine has offered to participate and help in any way they can as well. so we won't get ahead of, you know, what -- of the
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investigation, but, you know, our information supports what president duda said earlier in his preliminary he assessment this was most likely a result of ukrainian air defense missile. we'll let the investigation play out here. >> at this point are you confident in saying that this was not a russian missile? >> we're going to let the investigation play out and then once the results are released we'll be confident in everything. again, we -- our information supports what president duda said earlier. >> chairman milley, after this strike occurred, did you reach out to your russian counterpart or did any other military officer reach out to their russian counterparts to protect against escalation and if not, why not? >> there were -- i do ask my staff to set the calls up. the answer is yes, and attempts were made. no success with the russian
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counterpart. i did talk to my ukrainian counterpart immediately several times, in fact, and polish counterpart and several others in europe. exactly what secretary staaid, investigation is undergoing, professionals are there to do the forensics, all the debris around the impact site and shortly we'll know all the facts. >> russia did not take the call? >> right. my staff was unsuccessful getting me linked up with the general. that's correct. >> next question. abc. . >> mr. secretary, mr. chairman, i would like to follow up initially because in his remarks, president zelenskyy cited a conversation with your counterpart saying that he had confirmed to him that it was not a ukrainian missile. based on your conversations with him today, was there a
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disconnect there? and then i will follow up. >> i'm not going to talk about -- he and i our agreement is not to talk about the substance of the conversations that we have. we have conversations several times a week and we acknowledge that we have the conversations, but we don't discuss the substance of the conversation. i have to honor that and i'll continue to honor that. i can tell you that right now, the investigation is ongoing. these are professional investigators. there is a debris field there and other forms of data that are going to be available that come from various technical means. i suspect very shortly we will have very confirmed data as to what the point of origin is, point of impact, what angle of the weapon system was, the flight trajectory, all the details will be known in due time, but it's early in the investigation so we'll know that and the secretary will know that, president biden will know that and we'll get inform by the
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investigators and poland has put together a team they have lead and put together a team of investigators to do that. >> mr. secretary, yesterday it was kind of the reality of the speculation that has been going on for months about how nato might respond if a russian missile went into nato territory. the opposite side, the united states has been careful not to provide weapons systems that might reach into russia. what about crimea? if the united states, supplied high mark systems are able to reach inside crimea regularly, is that a concern given what we saw yesterday and to follow up, sir, to your comments about earlier from last week about the possibility of discussions put on by a slow down in the fighting let's say during the winter sounds like the comments you're making today about the winter are that the ukrainians are going to continue strongly.
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are you pulling back from your comments from last week that you see an opportunity for negotiations with the russians? >> no. i think the ukrainians should keep the pressure on the russians. you know to the extent they militarily can. winter gets very cold and the natural tendency is for tactical operations to naturally probably slow down. right now what we're seeing is the lines from kharkiv all the way down to kherson for the most part are beginning to stabilize. now whether that means they will be stable throughout the winter or not, nobody knows for certain. come january and february that ground probably will freeze which could lend itself to offensive operations. there could be a lot of activity in the winter but typically speaking because of the weather, the tactical operations will slow down a bit. i think that, you know, president biden an president zelenskyy himself has said that there will be at the ends of the day a political solution.
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if there's a slowdown in the tactical fighting if that happens that may become a window possibly, it may not, for a political solution or at least the beginnings of talks to initiate a political solution. that's all i would say. >> crimea. >> let me just agree with what the chairman just said in terms of there is a -- there probably will be a slow down in the fall going into winter. the fall is a muddy season and so is the spring. when the ground hardens, trafficibility will probably improve and then we'll be -- we may see more activity. i would remind everyone that this war started in february, so, you know, winter does not mean that we're going to stop fighting or that the ukrainians are going to stop fighting. i certainly, like the chairman, believe they won't. and so we're going to do
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everything within our power to make sure they have the means to accomplish their goals and objectives. au long that line, the goals and objectives of this fight are the ukrainians. they're not ours. so we won't -- haven't prescribed to the ukrainians what they can and cannot do. our focus is to continue to provide them the means to be successful in their endeavors and so that's my response to the he question on crimea. crimea is an issue to be thought through an sorted out by the ukrainian leadership. >> let's go ahead. "new york times." >> first, general austin, with winter coming --. >> it's a bad happen, you keep calling me general. >> sorry. engrained in my head. >> secretary austin, do you agree then with general milley's
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comments in new york last week that ukraine cannot au cleave a military victory as defined by driving russia out of all of its territory, including crimea and therefore should use winter as an opportunity to negotiate? >> again, having the chairman here, i think it's fair to allow him to really provide context for his comments. i think -- and you've heard me say this before -- there are countless numbers of people that have been amazed and astonished by what ukrainians have accomplished and, so i won't presuppose what's -- what's possible or impossible for them. what i am focused on is making sure that they have the means to do two things. first, is to protect themselves and their civilian population
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from some of the things that we've seen here recently with the areal bombardments. the second thing is to enable them to achieve their goals and objectives on the ground as they continue to try to take back their sovereign territory. we're going to continue to support them. again, i think to this point we've seen them come up with very achievable goals and objectives. we've seen a very successful counter offensive both in kharkiv and also in kherson, and i think they will continue to keep the pressure on the russians going forward. in terms of what's a good time to negotiate. we've said repeatedly that ukrainians will decide that and not us. we will support them for as long as it takes. now, we just spent almost four hours with our colleagues there
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in ukraine in the defense contact group meeting. it was amazing to me how many ministers of defense on their open said we're going to do this for as long as it takes. an, so i continue to see unity. i continue to see resolve. that's very, very encouraging. i think it's encouraging for alexi rez na cough and his team as well because they're in the meeting. >> i will make a couple comments. on the russians -- >> i still have a question for you. >> that will be like four questions. >> i haven't asked -- >> this one first. so -- start with the russians. ukraine is a pretty big country. this is not a small piece of turf. and the probability of russia achieving its strategic objectives of conquering ukraine and overrunning ukraine the probability of that happening is close to zero.
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i suppose theoretically it's possible, maybe, i guess, but i don't see it happening militarily. i don't see that happening. but they do currently occupy about 20% of that -- of ukraine. they occupy a piece of ground that's about 900 kilometers long and 75 or 80 kilometers deep. it's not a small piece of ground. they invaded this country with upwards of 170,000, 180,000 troops with multiple armss and suffered a tremendous amount of casualties but they've called up additional people. the russians have reinforced and still have significant russian combat power inside ukraine. now ukraine has had great success in the defense. they did a tremendous job in defeating the russian offensive. it's incredible what they were able to do.
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then they went on the offensive at the beginning of september an they had great success in kharkiv and better success in kherson as you mentioned. kherson and kharkiv physically, geographically, are relatively small compared to the whole. the military task of militarily kicking the russians physically out of ukraine is a very difficult task. and it's not going to happen in the next couple weeks unless the russian army completely collapses, which is unlikely. in terms of probability, the probability of a ukrainian military victory defined as kicking the russians out of all of ukraine to include what they define or what they claim is crimea, the probability of that happening any time soon is not high. militarily. politically, there may be a political solution where politically, the russians
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withdraw. that's possible. you want to negotiate from a position of strength. russia is on its back. the russian military is suffering tremendously. leaders have been, you know, their leadership has -- is really hurting bad. they've lost a lot of casualties killed and wounded, i won't go over the exact numbers, but their tanks and fighting vehicles and helicopters and so on. the russian military is really hurting bad. so you want to negotiate at a time when you're at your strength and your opponent is at weakness. it's possible, maybe, that there will be a political solution. all i'm saying is, there's a possibility for it. that's all i'm saying. >> okay. >> time for a couple more. >> thank you. gentlemen both for doing this. mr. secretary, you stressed that the united states and their allies are committed to ukraine
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for as long as it takes. how long do you think russia can continue this war with its current arsenal and personnel and how much has iran extended their ability to wage this war. thank you, you answered my question with louie so i will ask you a question on china. after the meeting with president biden and president xi, have you seen any indications that china has changed its ambition to control taiwan and, you know, the last time that national defense strategy was rolled out, the pentagon said america's military edge was eroding. now that this new one has rolled out, is america's military edge still eroding to china? >> so, thanks, carla. in terms of how long russia can sustain their efforts, that's left to be seen. i think the chairman just gave a very accurate and compelling
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description of kind of where the russians are right now. they have some problems. they've had problems since the very beginning of this trying to sustain their efforts. those problems have become acute. they've lost a lot of people and as important, they've lost a lot of important military gear. so the numbers of tapgs tnks an armored personnel carriers pretty staggering numbers. as important the number of precision guided munitions that they've rifled through in this endeavor, is striking. but they won't be able to reproduce those munitions quickly because there are trade restrictions on their -- that prevent them from rapidly gaining microchips and other things that are required to produce these kinds of munitions and so it may take years for them to restock that inventory up to the point that they were
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before they started this conflict. we've seen them struggle with having enough munitions to fight the way that they want to fight so they're reaching out to iran and reaching out to north korea. i do think those countries will probably provide them some capability. and so for that reason, i don't think this will be over any time soon. our, you know, our goal, our requirement is to make sure that we continue to provide ukraine with the means to do whatever necessary to prosecute their campaign. they have to continue to keep the pressure on the russians going forward, and i think, you know, winter fight favors the ukrainians. we pushed, you know, enormous amounts of winter gear into ukraine, thanks to countries like canada and others who have
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really been very, very generous. russia, on the other hand, they're fighting in a foreign country. the ukrainians have challenged their supply lines. it will be difficult for them to get the kinds of gear in to their troops that they need to be able to fight effectively and so i think the ukrainians will have the upper hand in this fight as they have right now, but they'll continue to maintain that upper hand going into the winter. just like we saw them operate in february of last year, they know the land, they can pull things from the local communities, and they'll be prepared for this winter weather. i don't think the russians will be as prepared and they will continue to struggle to get things into their troops using the supply lines they currently have. the ukrainians will continue to pressure those supply lines. . >> do you think the russians can hold out, if it takes the years
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it would take to fully resupply? >> i don't think the ukrainians will allow them to hold out. i think the ukrainians are going to continue to pressure them and so the battlefield dynamic will continue to change. the ukrainians know allowing them to rest, refit and rearm is a mistake. operational mistake. i don't believe they're going to make that mistake. my goal is to make sure they have the means to do what's necessary to ensure that they don't hold out. . >> you had two questions for the secretary, so i get a bye on mine. on china as quickly as i can say it, china is the pacing threat as we describe it in d.o.d. as part of the national defense strategy. it was defined in the previous ones and the current ones. what do we mean by that? china is the one country out there that geopolitically has the power potential to be a
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significant challenge to the united states. they are. based on their population, their technology, and they're economy and other things, china is the greatest geopolitical challenge to the united states. china is not shy about their goal. they want to be the number one power in the globe by mid-century, by 2049. they want to do that militarily, diplomatically, informationally, economically and so on and so forth. they want to be number one by mid-century. by the 2030s, mid 2030s, they previously said they want to be number one regionally. so they want a military that is -- that out does the united states military by the mid 30s. they previously said that. they advanced that goal to 2027. they advanced that goal niang the two party or one party
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congress ago and what they have said is they want to be the equal to or superior militarily to the united states. that's only five years away. so they're working on that and they're working on that very, very hard. but we are not static. we are working on it. right now the united states military is, without question, despite whatever criticisms people have, the united states military is the most lethal war fighting machine on earth bar none. the united states military is number one. we intend to stay number one. our task, militaries only have two task, single purpose really, which is to either prepare for war or to fight a war. we are laser focused on that. we intend to stay number one. china is not going to be a better military than the united states military is, but they're going to try, but they're not going to get there. we will be number one five years from now, ten years from now and 50 years from now. we are not going to let china
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take number one. they have made gains in a wide variety of areas in cyber and space and land saeshg, sea and peasant army, largely infantry based. when i was commissioned in 1980 when that's they had a large dismounted infantry, peasant based army, more or less. some tanks, not much. then they got rich. they made a massive amount of money with a 10% rise overrun, drop down to 7%, maybe 3 or 4%, but the gdp allowed them to buy a military. and they believe that it's their day in the sun. they believe it's once again time for the middle kingdom to be number one. so that's what they're shooting for and we're to the going to allow that to happen. the united states military is number one and going to be number one five years from now, 2027 is not going to be the date that china becomes number one and we're going to stay number one the entire time.
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as long as we remain number one we'll do ter the war that people worry about, a great power war, between china and the united states. as long as we have the military capability, we have the will to use it, your adversary knows it is to deter that war. we intend to stay number one. le. >> time for one final question. we'll go to nikay. >> thank you for taking my question. to the secretary, president biden and president xi essentially agreed to maintain that open rise of the communication. do you expect china will reduce military channels suspended in august after the speaker upheld his visit to taiwan and are you planning to meet with your chinese counterpart guiding the visit to cambodia next week?
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to the chairman also on china, the president xi consolidated his power in the china communist party and now surrounded by his loyal advisors. how much are you concerned that president xi might make an ill-advised or ill informed decision to take taiwan by force as president putin did in the leading up to the invasion into ukraine. thank you very much. >> thanks. as you've heard me say a number of times, i think it's really important for large countries with significant military capacity to talk to each other. as i told minister wei when we talked, we met face to face in singapore, that we needed to work to keep the lines of communication open. that helps with crisis management. it helps with a number of things. and so my hope is that they will
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open up their communications channels not only at my level but the chairman's level and at the level where our combatant commander admiral aqalino can engage with his counterparts as well. so you're right, we will both be in cambodia here in the near future. i don't have any announcements to make in terms of any scheduled meetings, but there is an opportunity there and so we'll see how things play out. >> so i think, first of all, president xi is -- i don't know him. i've never talked to him. he'll make decisions based on what he thinks is in his national interests. as best i can tell he's a rationale actor. i think he evaluates things on cost, benefit and risk and i think he would conclude an attack on taiwan in the near future would be an excessive amount of risk and end in a strategic really debacle for the chinese military.
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i think it would throw off their china dream of being the number one economic and military power and so on. would he do it? who knows. i don't know. i can tell you that we watch it closely. we are militarily prepared. one of the keys now is to make sure that taiwan can defend itself and there are a lot of lessons learned coming out of the ukrainian war. there's lessons learned for taiwan, there are lessons learned that we're learning, lessons learned that the european countries are learning and president xi and the chinese military are learning. one of the things people are learning is that war on paper is a whole lot different than real war. when blood is spilled and people die and real tanks are being blown up, things are a little bit different. there's a lot of friction and fog and death in combat, and for someone who has, for a military that hasn't fought in combat since fighting the vietnamese in 1979, they would be playing a
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dangerous game to cross the straits and invade the island of taiwan. they don't have the experience or background to do it. they do peace training. we watch it very closely. how much amphibious, airborne capability they have it. they could bomb it, missile it, attack taiwan in that sense, but attacking and seizing the island of taiwan across the straits, putting troops on the island of taiwan, that is a very difficult military task to do. you've got a large city of taipei with 3 or 4 million people with the suburbs of 7 million, you have complex terrain with mountains, most of taiwan is a mountainous island. it's a difficult military objective, a very difficult military operation to execute, and i think it will be some time before the chinese have the military capability and they're ready to do it. now that could be wrong. an incident could happen. some sort of political thing could happen at a moment in time and all of the decisions would change very rapidly. i think that chinese would be high risk to take on an operation like that and i think
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it would be unwise. it would be a political mistake a geopolitical mistake a strategic mistake similar to the strategic mistake that putin has made in ukraine. . >> secretary? >> i'll be traveling with some of you later this week into neek week. for those who i won't see between now and thanksgiving, i want to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a happy thanksgiving and on behalf of the department of defense thanks for what you continue to do for our nation. thank you very much. . >> thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. >> i'm ana cabrera in new york. the top u.s. officials at the pentagon talking about china but mainly focusing their comments on the war in ukraine and this deadly missile incident inside poland. right now world leaders are holding talks about that and cnn's melissa bell is with us at nato headquarters in brussels. general wesley clark, former nato supreme allied commander with us.
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what do we know so far about this investigation into that missile that landed in poland? . >> this is an investigation that is ongoing, ana, and we will have to wait for the results of it, being conducted by american and polish investigators to get to the bottom very specifically of who fired this missile and where from and to what end. for the time being what we've been hearing are a lot of people, including here at nato headquarters, stoltjens stolten say they believe this is a missile fired as part of ukraine's defense systems and not a missile fireden to polish territory from russia. that is crucial because of article 5 the foundation treaty would mean if one country is attacked, all of nato is attacked and others have to get involved. that was the risk of escalation this morning. jens stoltenberg pains to calm the tone of everything down. we've heard the remarkable words you were hearing talked about in the press conference by
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president zelenskyy suggesting he does not think that this was a ukrainian missile, and he wants ukrainians to have access to that crash site. that is a very different to what we've been hearing from other leaders including president duda, president biden and jens stoltenberg. >> thank you so much for that reporting, the latest again from brussels for us. general, again, poland, nato officials, u.s. officials, are all saying they believe this missile was likely an accident and most likely from ukrainian air defense, their missile defense system. a short time ago zelenskyy, the ukrainian president, says he has no doubt this was not a ukrainian missile. how are investigators going to get to the bottom of this? >> well, they're going to have to look at the data on the ground. secretary austin said or general milley, we're going to see the impact crater and get other information from electronic means, probably find the trajectory, probably find out where the missile actually was launched from, and we'll also
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maybe even have the serial number off the missile. we'll know a lot of things. we'll probably bring ukraine in on this, obviously, but right now they have to get the information on the ground and the information from higher level intelligence that would be collected about this. is it possible that a russian missile could have been fired from belarus, an air defense missile used in the ground attack mode and -- yeah, it is theoretically possible. but, you know, we have to look at the evidence on this and that's what united states is helping poland do right now. >> i'm trying to understand if this were a defensive missile fired by ukraine, how did it end up going in that direction toward poland? >> if it were fired by ukraine, first of all, we're going to look at the sites for the defensive missiles. there is probably some defensive missile site around lviv and we n know lviv was under attack yesterday.
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it's possible this missile was aimed to intercept a cruise missile and some -- for some reason it went off course. how is that possible? that's a function of the technology of the missile, the electromagnetic environment at the time, the training of the teams that fired it, and so all of that has to be worked down. you can be sure that there's a lot going on in the ukrainian air defense chain of command right now accounting for every missile that was fired and what happened and how this could have happened. so just going to have to wait for the results of the investigation. >> the u.s. and nato allies are all saying even if this was an accident, this is still russia's fault. they bear responsibility here. if that's the case, how should nato respond? >> well, i think nato is going to keep the pressure on. i think what you heard from secretary austin and general milley today, is a very, very strong, very forthright statement of the u.s. and nato
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positions, namely, that we're going to continue to support ukraine as long as necessary and the phrase ukraine's territorial integrity was in there and emphasized. is crimea. this means not going back to the february 24th positions just before the latest round of the conflict started, but all of ukraine's territory, and so it was made abundantly clear today and as secretary austin said, remarkable consensus from the nato ministers, so i think that if russia is watching this, which i'm sure they are, they should understans little tweak that happened, even if russia had nothing whatsoever to do with it, it's a good indicator of nato's resolve, the nato nations led by the united states, are not about to back off. general milley explained what he meant when he said last week that there could be negotiations. sure. when you start to get the military momentum, yes, you can start talking about it, but
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that's talking, nothing wrong with talking, that's a far cry from telling the ukrainians what they have to do to stop fighting, and as the united states has made clear from president biden on down, ukraine is going to decide when it wants to stop fighting. >> yep. >> and president zelenskyy has made very clear and jthe genera they're going all the way through cremia and want their territory back. >> thank you so much for your analysis. i appreciate your time. we have this just in, senate republican leader mitch mcconnell wins the battle after more than three hours behind closed doors. we'll have the latest on the hill when we come back. dripping should be your style! plplop plop fizz fizz, with alka-seltzer plus cold & flu relief. also try for fizzy fast cough relief!
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welcome back. moments ago senate republicans chose mitch mcconnell to carry on as the party's leader and after a marathon cnn's jessica dean joins us at capital. zw jessica, how did this play out? >> it took hours and hours. first they had to take a look at it. it delayed the election. they wanted to delay it. that did not pass. then they had to move on to the actual vote, mitch mcconnell winning that vote, 37-1. he did do a press conference shortly ago -- a short time ago, and he said he welcomed the opponent but was proud of getting 37 votes and then he said he's not going anywhere. he circled back to the comments we heard from him yesterday, that his assessment of the 2022 midterms they did not as republicans do enough of a good job appealing to moderates and independents.
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look. this fissure between rick scott of florida and mitch mcconnell, and these two wings of the parties the two factions of the party in the senate had been brewing for a while. scott was running the political arm of the republican party for the senate races and there was a lot of talk about if that was done properly or not. senators had very strong opinions on that and they certainly didn't end up where they wanted to be and it spilled over. the bottom line, mitch mcconnell will continue on as the senate minority lead sneer thank you for that reporting. >> from that battleship to another, donald trump says he's running again. >> my fellow citizens, america's comeback starts right now. >> in order to make america great and glorious again, i tonight am announcing my candidacy for president of the united states. >> but who is behind him? axios was first to report two top gop donors will be taking
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their money elsewhere. plus this. former ally and new jersey governor chris christie was applauded at a republican governors summit when he called out trump for the party's midterm poor performance. and more signs trump's relationship with the media is cracking. the headline here, how they covered his presidential campaign announcement is this. here at the bottom, florida man makes announcement, see page 26. the headline all the way down there. and then there are, of course, the voters. cnn exit polls showing trump is more unpopular than ever. 39% approval now, down from the last two election cycles. let's discuss this with cnn political commentator anna navarro. anna, trump likes to be the underdog. hes like playing the victim. he said twice last night, i am the victim. it looks like the party is going
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to break with trump and they fall back in line. will this time be different? >> i don't know. i think it's all up to the republican base and the republican primary voters, right? that's the part that really matters. let's remember, in 2016, conservative media, rupert murdoch was not on his side. let's remember, donors were not on his side. established republicans were not on his side. he's making case he's an anti-establishment guy. a hard thing to do when sitting on 1600 pennsylvania avenue for four years. i think he likes to play the underdog role. he's going to have to lean into it. we're going to have to bring out our little violins and play loudly for him. i tell you this. i saw all those people who weren't with him in 2016 go back with their tail between their legs asking for forgiveness and become -- go all in for trump. he also has, ana, in this case,
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a lot of chips to play because even though he endorsed 30 of the losers and election deniers lost, there's a lot of run-of-the-mill congress people who don't make it on the news who he did endorse and a lot of local officials who he didn't endorse who won. >> and the people who were his biggest defectors are essentially no longer in congress anymore. they're no longer in those powerful positions being lawmakers. >> except for mitch mcconnell. >> mitch mcconnell. he is, again, in that leadership role. but let me ask you about ron desantis because a lot of people have talked about the florida governor as being a potential strong challenger to donald trump for the gop nomination. you're from florida where that battle could play out. who do you think has the upper hand? >> too early to tell. listen. i'm old enough to remember when marco rubio was in the front of "time" magazine as the republican savior and he went down in flames against donald trump. i'm old enough to remember when
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jeb bush was supposed to be the giant in the republican party, both florida men, and he went down in flames against donald trump. there's a lot of time yet. i think as a floridian, the best thing ron desantis can do is do his job and do it well. instead of manufacturing these culture wars, if he does his job like he did after ian, i think that's very, very helpful to him. i'll tell you who won't be winning any election against donald trump either is rick scott. >> he was the one challenging mitch mcconnell in the senate for that leadership position. >> everybody from florida thinks -- there's something in the water. everybody in florida thinks they can ascend to bigger things and be president or minority leader. it befuddles me that rick scott who's the senator from florida who, frankly, might be the only person on earth who can make mitch mcconnell look like mr.
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congeniality and full of charisma would think after having that many great losses, that the thing to do would be to run for minority chair. it's like, you know -- >> so who do you think is best to take on trump? >> i think one of the things iechl frade of, there will be too many people taking him on and that will leave an open field like you did in 2016. i think you'll see liz cheney, who i hope runs. she's going to fact-check him. she's got the aplomb and the moral high ground that a lot of these people do not. >> she didn't even get the vote in wyoming. >> there are some people who run to win. there are some who run for symbolism. i would hope she would run to win, but if she doesn't, i hope she does to be the fly in the milk, you know. mike pence looks like he's about to do it. but he carries so much baggage, you know. how does he shed the accomplice
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for four years? >> perhaps jake tapper can ask him that tonight in our cnn town hall. >> that's right. >> thank you so much, anna navarro for sticking around with us. >> we're never on set together and people always confuse me for ana cabrera. i don't know what they're smoking. >> it's always a compliment when they confuse me with you, anna navarro. the news c continues with allis and victor next.
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