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Malaysia's P.M. Talks to CNN About Flight 370; Ukraine P.M.: Russia Wants World War 3

Aired April 25, 2014 - 08:00   ET




NAJIB RAZAK, MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER: We will search. We will spend as much as we can, as much as we can afford to find the missing plane.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, the search area for Flight 370 is expanding. That's the word from the prime minister of Malaysia speaking exclusively to CNN. Will he give the families the information they so desperately need?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight. Fear of war. Ukraine's prime minister warning Russian actions could lead to World War III as the U.S. warns Russia not to make a grave mistake. So, what will Vladimir Putin do next?

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Pushing back. He's the rancher who became a hero taking on the federal government. Now, he's under fire for racist remarks. He joins us live this morning. Does he stand by his comments?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo, Kate Bolduan, and Michaela Pereira.

BOLDUAN: Good morning and welcome once again to NEW DAY. It is Friday, April 25th, 8:00 in the East.

And the search for the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 is set to expand according to Australian officials. This as the Bluefin-21 as now scanned more than 95 percent of the search zone and still, there is no sign of the plane.

CUOMO: Also this morning, more of CNN's exclusive interview with Malaysia's prime minister who tells our Richard Quest he will authorize the release of the preliminary report on Flight 370 next week.

Richard joins us live from Kuala Lumpur. It's good to have you.

This was an important interview to set things straight. Do you believe that Malaysia's government, while not giving out all the information to the families, do you believe that they truly just don't know what happened here?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Oh, I have no doubt whatsoever, none. The prime minister said in blunt terms the only evidence they have gotten is the pings under the water and the Inmarsat handshakes. When I asked him about why -- what he thought had happened, he said he has his own theories, but he's got no evidence.

I've talked to too many people, Chris, that any idea that there's a secret agenda or an unknown fact just isn't true. The big question, of course, is Malaysia prepared to continue paying the bills and prepared for an expensive long search as Bluefin-21 now has to look wider? That's something the prime minister did address.


QUEST: Is Malaysia prepared to put whatever it costs for however long into finding this plane? We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars over many years if need be. Can you give that commitment tonight?

NAJIB: We owe to it the families. We will search. We will spend as much as we can, as much as we can afford, to find the missing plane.

QUEST: Can I ask you for a yes or a no on that question?

NAJIB: It would be a yes, but as I said, it has to be on the basis of our affordability. But we owe it to the families to find answers that they're looking for.


QUEST: "On the basis of our affordability." The prime minister chooses his words very carefully, whether it's using the phrase the flight ended in the Indian Ocean or that somebody deliberately flew the plane. The prime minister is careful with words.


QUEST: When you describe it as the word deliberate by somebody on the plane, that word "deliberate" is very carefully chosen. It doesn't tell us whether it's deliberate and nefarious, or deliberate because of mechanical and you didn't want to say that a deliberate --

NAJIB: Precisely. It was very, very carefully chosen, because, given the facts -- and mind you, Richard, the cardinal rule we used from day one was always follow the evidence. And the evidence that was presented to us meant that that was precisely the right word for me to use.

QUEST: Which do you believe, nefarious, mechanical? Are you prepared to say?

NAJIB: Not at this stage. It would be wrong for me to speculate, because you need hard evidence, Richard.


QUEST: Everybody has a theory. The prime minister has his. He's not prepared to discuss them openly.

CUOMO: Another issue that came up that I want you to take on, Richard, he says he's not ready to say those on the plane are lost, primarily out of sensitivity to the families and that will have to come at a later date. However, that's exactly what we're told from family members that members of the government told them in response to their technical questions. Stop asking these technical questions, deal with that your loved ones are lost, move forward on that level.

How does he reconcile the two?

QUEST: I don't think he would ever say that they've said they are lost. It's a very delicate balancing act. He's got to tell the families stop trying to ask questions as if the plane has landed somewhere facing the reality as many would see it, that it has ended into the water and start to move forward. But you see -- you see the difficulty there.

The family -- many of the families' questions are not geared to finding out what happened, they're geared to proving a point that the plane may have landed somewhere, and that as the government would see it and the airline would see it is not helpful to the overall situation of coming to terms with what took place.

CUOMO: If you're going to be sensitive, be sensitive. A lot of the questions aren't geared toward the plane landing somewhere else. They could have gone further. Hopefully, his conversation with you, Richard, is a step in the right direction of candor. The families certainly deserve it.

Great interview. Thank you for bringing it to us, my friend.


BOLDUAN: Also, breaking overnight, Ukraine's prime minister sounding the alarm, claiming Russia wants to start World War III, his words. Moscow adding to the tension this morning, going ahead with military drills just outside Ukraine's border, and now President Obama says he will talk with European leaders about leveling more sanctions against Russia.

Senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh is in Ukraine.

The question is, will any of that have an impact and change the direction of things on the ground where you are, Nick?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, a very tense morning here. We heard from the Ukrainian government that they want to start what they call the second phase of the security, surrounding it, blocking entrances in and out. And also, today, two reports of explosions, one in the far west of the country at a police check point. No injuries there.

And another seemingly taking out the helicopter at an airfield, Ukrainian troops have taken back from Ukrainian pro-Russian protesters. We're not sure if that was an attack or a technical fault. But still, these continued reports of violence keep everybody very worried.


WALSH (voice-over): Tensions flaring in Ukraine as the region teeters on the brink of war. Bloody, fiery crashes erupting as the Ukrainian military moves to reclaim cities taken by pro-Russian militants, killing five of them, they say, and destroying three checkpoints around the eastern town of Slavyansk.

Russian President Vladimir Putin seizing on the Ukrainian military action as a direct threat to Russia warning of immediate consequences, saying, quote, "If the Kiev regime has started to use the army against the population inside the country, it's a very serious crime."

SERGEI LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Russian citizens being attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation.

WALSH: Russia's response was swift, conducting new military drills for its 40,000 troops positioned along the Eastern Ukrainian border, moving tanks into place and testing jet fighters to overcome enemy missile defense. Running out of patience the Ukrainian president insists that Russia retreat and end what he calls its blackmail.

Ukraine remains a country divided with those in the east carrying a strong allegiance to Russia.

The war of words between the U.S. and Russia growing increasingly intense.

Secretary of State John Kerry accusing Russia of distraction, deception, and destabilization in the region.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: If Russia continues in this direction, it will not just be a grave mistake. It will be an expensive mistake.

WALSH: New U.S. sanctions against Russia could come as early as today if Putin refuses to de-escalate the situation.

U.S. forces on the ground in Eastern Europe holding military exercise of their own to counter the threat from Russia. These paratroopers are the first of 600 soldiers deployed in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, all NATO allies, all nervous about where Russia could strike next.


WALSH: Now, the Ukrainian prime minister says Russia is trying to start World War III. That's, of course, rhetoric. On all sides that talk is heating up out of proportion in many ways. It's because how politically tense and important what's happening here is. The unrest is in small isolated towns not involving huge numbers of people. But it's a possibility of drawing Russian troops across the border and the consequences that would have for NATO to make this so vital.

Back to you, Chris.

CUOMO: And, of course, we have to expect the rhetoric to grow more inflammatory as the situation fails to be resolved in any way, right, Nick? That's why we're going to be watching it so carefully and the question will remain, can the U.S. make Russia do anything in this situation? Will the president's planned sanctions make a difference?

Let's get to CNN's Michelle Kosinski. She's traveling with the president live in Seoul.

What's the latest?


This has been an extremely busy trip for President Obama. This is supposed to be about firming up trade ties and strong relationships with allies here in Asia.

But, inevitably, the Ukraine situation comes up again as it develops. And, yes, we've been talking about sanctions now for many days, the administration using phrases like -- we'll watch and wait, see in coming days, through the weekend. That weekend has come and gone. So the question has been when will these sanctions happen and do they do any good? Can they change behaviors?

Well, we've heard from President Obama repeatedly that, no, it won't necessarily, as he put it, change the calculus of the Russian presence in that area. The administration has really been focused on the long term, isolating Russia. Now, we find out tonight after meeting with South Korea, the president will get on the phone with the leaders of four European countries, the U.K., Germany, France and Italy and talk about Ukraine. That could indicate that these sanctions that have been ready to go for a while now could indeed be coming any time at all.

But in the same sense that we've been talking about Russia, we heard President Obama now speak about North Korea because, of course, in this region, that is the biggest security threat. He used some strong language today saying that the U.S. and South Korea stand shoulder to shoulder against continued North Korean provocation and threats, and that, interestingly, there might be additional pressure that bites, as he put it, coming against North Korea -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: All right, Michelle. We also know the president made comments offering condolences to the passengers that were lost in the South Korea ferry accident there.

All right. Let's take a look at more of your headlines now. Breaking overnight: a scare in the air for passengers on board a Virgin Airlines flight from Australia to Indonesia. A pilot was forced to send out a hijack alert after an unruly passenger was banging on the cockpit door trying to get in. A spokesman for the airlines says the plane was not hijacked and all 137 passengers and seven crew members are safe.

Another scare to tell you about, this one in the U.S. An American Airlines flight from Tallahassee to Miami was forced to make an emergency landing in Tampa after the smell of smoke was report in the cockpit. Some passengers said they even heard an explosion. No one was hurt. Florida Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart tweeted he was on the flight and thanked the crew and first responders.

Learning more about the victims in the deadly shooting in Afghanistan. A Chicago pediatrician was among three Americans killed. He moved to Afghanistan in 2005 after practicing in Chicago saying he felt called to be in Afghanistan. Officials say two of the other victims were father and son.

Israel has suspended peace talks in response to a unity deal made between rival Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas. The pact angered Israel which considers Hamas to be a terrorist organization. This puts peace talks in disarray.

Secretary of State John Kerry says talks could still go on the both sides make compromises.

Those are your headlines, guys.

BOLDUAN: All right. Let's take a break.

Coming up next on NEW DAY: Russia conducting new military drills along its border with Ukraine. Ukraine's prime minister accusing Moscow of trying to start World War III. Is the crisis now at a breaking point? We're going to take a closer look.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

A stern warning this morning from Ukraine's interim prime minister. He says it looks from his perspective like Russia wants to start World War III. And President Obama is also threatening having phone calls with European leaders tonight to discuss further sanctions. Moscow has stepped up their presence performing new military drills along the Ukrainian border.

Let's discuss the implications of all of this.

CNN military analyst, Major General James "Spider" Marks, here again with us to discuss.

So, a lot to get through because the president is making news today talking about the new sanctions he would like to push. Let's get to that in a second, though. I want to talk about what is happening on the ground right now.


BOLDUAN: In Ukraine, absolutely.

So, in Ukraine, where all the focus has been, the tension and really where we've seen the violence flare up is the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. Hopefully we can pop that up on the first animation. Right there, why is this so vulnerable?

MARKS: For years, the Soviet Union and Russia now have been supplying Sevastopol. Remember, Crimea, Sevastopol, the port down here, the only warm water port that Russia owns has to be accessed through eastern Ukraine.

So, this is active because there's routine activity of Russian forces resupplying -- normal resupply activities down here. So, what now has been normal for years and years and years, we're seeing some abhorrent behavior, as these vehicles come by, they can pop out (INAUDIBLE) guys, push forces out and that's exactly what's happening. That's why this is so active right now.

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you this -- obviously we don't know if it will stay status quo. Let's assume, if everything will stay status quo, do you believe Ukraine can successfully push back whichever one really believes is this Russian-backed incursion into the eastern part of Ukraine?

MARKS: Kate, yes. The short answer is yes. There's an election in May.

If a federation is established and east Ukraine is affiliated both with Kiev and can have all their relationships, let's say, with Moscow, this is a solution that Kiev should be happy with, because any other alternative is going to get much nastier, going to escalate and is going to spin in directions that we can't predict.

BOLDUAN: And the fear is it won't stay status quo, that things are going to get out of control even more.

And one of the things that has been happening throughout, since the very beginning, it almost began with it, I believe, is Russian military drills right at the border, them stationing what's believed to be 40,000, 50,000 troops on the border with Ukraine. Why is this so provocative?

MARKS: It's a huge deal. Now, clearly, Russia can exercise within its territories and do what it wants.

BOLDUAN: There's nothing wrong with that under normal circumstances.

MARKS: No, not at all. It happens to be proximate to Ukraine. It happens to be the size of a U.S. corps with tanks and artillery, heavy armament. Lots of excellent troops just miles north of the Ukrainian border with all this instigation taking place.

So, it's amazingly strategically important what they're doing right now. Yet, Russia can say, look, this is all tactical, this is what we do. We have every right to do this.

BOLDUAN: And I think another part of this animation are the communication lines that you say are so important that really connect all the way through the country. That's what you're talking about.

MARKS: Absolutely. Those are routinely used lines of communication, roads and Russian vehicles routinely run up and down those things. As a result of that, they have free access to this part of Ukraine.

BOLDUAN: So, at the same time, you've got these Russian military -- Russia conducting these military drills throughout this, you have had, every one, United States and NATO saying you need to back down, you need to back up. They have not done that yet.

Can this whole situation do you think realistically de-escalate if this doesn't stop?

MARKS: This is the first move. This should be a priority effort for United States to say, look, Putin, you've got to back off here. Of course, you have every right to do that. Let's not talk about legalities. Back off. This is very, very provocative.

Step two is, now, we know you're completely involved with what's taking place. You've got to pull those forces back. What we've been doing is we've been talking about it. We've been talking about it.

There are four elements of power. You've got diplomatic, informational, military and economic. We've piled on the economic, but it has a long tail. It's going to take a while for that to take effect. Yet, the president and his administration took the military off the table from day one, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Even if they ever, ever planned on using it.

MARKS: Absolutely. Why would you expose that card? It's the most powerful military in the world. It is incredibly well-trained. It's amazingly professional.

Yet, our administration says this doesn't have a military solution. Whoa, you've got to be kidding me. This is real politicking.

Putin understands one language and it's power and it's force. And we've chosen to speak another language.

BOLDUAN: All right. Now, they're talking about more sanctions. The U.S. has put a small amount of troops in some of our NATO allied countries. We'll see what happens next as we have to with this story.

Spider, thank you so much.

MARKS: Thank you.


CUOMO: Russia has chosen to speak the language of force. We have chosen to speak a different language. Prophetic words by Mr. Spider Marks.

Coming up on NEW DAY, the Bluefin sub looking for Flight 370 is now 95 percent through the search area. So, now, we're told that area will be expanded. Where and why? The answers coming up.


PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Here are the five things you need to know for your NEW DAY.

On this Friday, the search for Flight 370 is expanding. The Bluefin- 21 underwater drone wrapping up its mission with still no sign of the missing plane.

President Obama getting set to talk with European leaders about sanctions on Russia. One of the Ukrainian officials says Russia looks like it's going to start World War III. They're now conducting drills right along the border.

Pilots sent out a hijack alert aboard a Virgin Airlines flight from Australia to Indonesia, after an unruly passenger tried to get into the cockpit. Spokesman for the airline says the plane was not hijacked and was able to land safely in Bali.

On his visit to South Korea, President Obama held a moment of silence for the victims of the ferry disaster. At a news conference, he said the U.S. and South Korea stand shoulder to shoulder against nuclear provocation by the North.

Millions are expected in Rome today for the dual canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II. This historic event is drawing both praise and controversy.

Always updating those five things to know. So, be sure to go to for the latest.

Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Michaela.

So, as we have mentioned, the search for Flight 370 is about to expand now that the Bluefin-21 is almost done with its underwater mission with no sign of the plane yet.

So, let's discuss this and all of the latest developments with Flight 370. Joining us, David Soucie, CNN safety analyst and author of "Why Planes Crash", and also, Mary Schiavo, CNN's aviation analyst and former inspector general at the Department of Transportation.

Good morning to both of you guys. David, let's start with just that. News this morning coming from the Australian officials that if nothing is found in this final 5 percent of the high probability area, they're going to expand the search. How they termed it was they're going to search in the adjacent areas to this six-mile radius. What do you make of that?

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: Well, I think it's the logical next step. We had some good credible pings. We ruled out that it was not something natural. These pings are real. And so, the logical step is to continue to look.

I hope what that means by expanding is that they're not only expanding it laterally but they're also going to expand it into the deeper deaths of the ocean by bringing in new tools that can reach that far.

BOLDUAN: And also new this morning, Mary, we hear in the interview with our Richard Quest, the Malaysian prime minister says that they have decided now to release this preliminary report, and they will release it next week.

I want to get your take on what you think could be in it, because you have said that these are the basic facts that we know. I've also seen a report by "The Associated Press" that they're also likely to release the cargo manifest and the seating arrangements in the plane.

What can we glean from that?

MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Again, these are things that are routinely released in accident investigations, at least in countries like the United States and Britain and France, et cetera. But in the report, I do anticipate it will be just kind of the facts. It will read a lot like a police report, just sort of factual event by factual event. Now, there are a lot of things they don't know yet.