tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS March 13, 2022 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for sunday, march 13: the war in ukraine widens with a deadly strike on a military training base in the western part of the country. and the challenges of tracking drug smuggling at a key entry point into europe. >> sreenivasan: next, on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: sue and edgar wachenheim iii. bernard and denise schwartz. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the anderson family fund. the estate of worthington mayo-smith.
leonard and norma klorfine the rosalind p. walter foundation. koo and patricia yuen, committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. barbara hope zuckerberg. we try to live in the moment, to not miss what's right in front of us. at mutual of america, we believe taking care of tomorrow can help you make the most of today. mutual of america financial group: retirement services and investments. >> for 25 years, consumer cellular has been offering no contract wireless plans designed to help people do more of what they like. our u.s.-based customer service team can help find a plan that fits you. to learn more, visit www.consumercellular.tv. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the american peopl
and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> sreenivasan: good evening and thank you for joining us. russia's invasion of ukraine expanded into the country's western region today as casualties grew and civilians continueto try to escape. a russian airstrike with more than 30 missiles hit a ukrainian military training base, just 15 miles from the polish border killing at least 35 people and wounding more than 130. the base has hosted instructors from the u.s. and other nato countries to help train ukrainian military personnel and has also been used by nato for its own training drills. u.s. personnel withdrew from the base last month and were reportedly not there today. it is the westernmost target to be struck by russia since the invasion. the strike followed threats by a senior russian diplomat yesterday that foreign weapons shipments in ukraine could be seen as, “legitimate targets.” there was also overnight shelling in the northwest suburbs of ukraine's capital kyiv. among the dead this morning,
according to ukraine's interior ministry, was brent renaud, an american filmmaker and journalist, who was reporting in the area. renaud contributed reporting and video for several news organizations in recent years including "the new york times" in 2015, and the paper posted an obituary on its website. in a video address today, ukrainian president volodymyr zelenskyy said that almost 125,000 people have been safely evacuated through humanitarian corridors. in the u.s., the white house announced that national security advisor jake sullivan will meet with a senior chinese official in rome tomorrow. chinese officials recently repeated unsubstantiated russian claims of u.s.-funded biological weapons labs in ukraine. today, sullivan warned that those claims may be a preamble to russia's own use of weapons of mass destruction in the conflict. >> when russia starts accusing other countries of doing something, it's a good tell that they may be on the cusp of doing it themselves. what we're here to do is deny them the capacity to have a false flag operation, to blame
this on the ukrainians or on us, to take away their pretext, and to make the world understand that if chemical weapons are used in ukraine, iis the russians who will have used them and the response will, as the president said, be severe. >> sreenivasan: for more on the latest in ukrae i spoke with newshour weekend special correspondent jane ferguson who is in kyiv. ukraine. jane, you've been out and about what have you been able to see so far? >> we arrived into kyiv this morning, compared with the western city of lviv st very obviously what you might think of as a war zone the streets are largely a ban disond. there are checkpoints everywhere, a lot more professional ukrainian soldiers around, not justhe volunteers. so we're seeing that, and in the distance on the outskirts of town you can hear the fighting, you can hear the missiles and the bombs falling,s alike a thud on the outcircuits. i've been to the airports and
commercial airports here which is now effectively a military base. and on our way out to an area of wn called irpin which is really a suburb, a small town, has hasn't had much reporting viewers might know the name by now because that is where the rushins have been trying to come into the city from the north, from the northwest almost. and that is a major front. and we went out there today because throughout the day there are times when there is a humanitarian corridor allowing a limited amount of civilians to get into kyiv where they can then go and find shelter. and when we were on our way out there toay, we weren't actually able to access, the ukainians wouldn't allow us to go any closer to those areas and that is because there had been an attack on the humanitian corridor today. and sadly, an american journalist was killed there. >> sreenivasan: what did you learn about what happened to the
journalist. >> it was rent reneau, very highly regarded, award wing documentary videographer and director. had actually been brought to the spot where we ended up going. this is really the welcoming spot where those who are being evacuated would be initially brought to, you can see just a few tents set up, a medical center there, very rudimentary but somewhere where people can get very basic needs met. some volunteers would be there to help greet people with a little bit of food and help them get into town and on to wherever they need to go and very sadly by the time we got there, he had been brought and he was laid by the side of the road there. is he being attended to by medical professionals but it was clearly far too late. he had been attacked with gunfire, further in towards irpin. >> sreenivasan: did the ukrainian officials you spoke with say that he was targeted?
and does that make youhink about what are you doing differently? >> well, we certainly talked to all of the security officials down there that we could. police officers in particular who were there. and they were actually telling us, you know, that although this wasn't the spot where he had been shot, these are the security officials that go back and forth from there, they said that he had been targeted. from their perspective he was still identifiable as a reporter. he would have been carrying a camera, he would have been wearing body armour, most likely-- they said, don't forget where he was shot was not at the very, very, very front line yet. and so they said that they believe russian snipers had managed to sort of flank the position. we do know that another news crew earlier in the war here in kyiv, the british sky news crews, their car came under fire in kyiv city. we have seen journalists targeted here. we've also seen civilians
targeted. so it is just not clear if journalists e being targeted on purpose or whether they are just in an area where everybody is being targeted by the russians. >> sreenivasan: we've seen maps and sat ho-- satellite imagery of russian convoys moving toward the city that are you in, what is the status of that? >> that convoy has really captured the world's attention because it was such a military, strategically such a disfunction, some vehicles in it had run out of fuel, some had broken down. they weren't able to literally get around each other because the earth, the ground ws too soft and had tha-wed too much this far into the spring it is understood a lot of that has distersed now-- dispersed now but it is still within 15 miles of kyiv city center. so those units are still there, but they have no longer attempting to enter the city in one long fight. >> sreenivasan: jane ferguson from kyiv tonight, thanks so much. >> thank >> sreenivasan: iran's
revolutionary guard claimed responsibility for a missile strike in northe iraq overnight. "reuters" released cell phone video it said was from a resident in the city of irbil showing explosions just after midnight. the caption in kurdsh reads“ what is this? oh, god!” a local television station was damaged during the barrage of ballistic missiles that injured at least one person. u.s. and iraqi officials said the missiles landed near a new, unoccupied u.s. consulate complex in t kurdish region's capital city. the state department said it h“" no indications the attack was directed at the u.s.” iran's state tv reported that the attack was on what it called two israeli “spy centers” and was in retaliation for a recent israeli strike in syria that killed two members of iran's revolutionary guard. china imposed new restrictions on two of its major cities today as covid cases rise across the country. all residents in shenzhen, a business and tech hub adjacent to hong kong, are undergoing three rounds of testing and must work from home after 60 new cases were reported.
hong kong has seen a recent surge in covid cases, reporting 32,000 new cases today. in shanghai, officials suspended bus service and said anye leaving will need a negative test result before returning. china reported 1,938 new infections today-- more than three times yesterday's case numbers. overall, china's case numbers are lower than many other countries, but it enforces a“ zero tolerance” policy and locks down areas with new cases. >> sreenivasan: for updates on the russian invasion of ukraine and more national and international news, visit pbs.org/newshour. strike one of the most active sustained trafficking networks in february police raided multiple locations and arrested dozen as part of an effort to
crackdown on a growi problem with cocaine smuggling. v >> reporter: these customs agents in antwerp, belgium, are searching one of the tens of thousands of containers that arrive by sea here every day, looking for cocaine. the team checks containers based on certain risk factors, says florence angelici from belgian customs: wre it's coming from, where it's going and what's inside. >> this container comes from south america, uruguay, and also contains wood. and here it's wood. >> reporter: angelici showed us an inspection scan with drugs stashed inside a previous mber shipment from south america. how much cocaine have you been seizing here in twerp? >> so, last year, in 2021, we had up to 90 tons of cocaine. >> reporter: 90 tons! >> yes. it's very big. and if you compared to five years before it's up 50% more. so, every year we break a new record and we would like to stop
this record. >> reporter: the most they ever found in a single shipment? about 11 tons. with a current street value of $57 a gram that's more than half a billion dollars worth of cocaine. >> finding two or three tons at a time, that's an average, but that was crazy. >> reporter: according to a recent u.n. report, belgium has surpassed spain as the key entry point for cocaine into europe, responsible for more than a quarter of the continent's coke supply. its biggest port, antwerp, the main gateway. this is just one small part of the entire port here in antwerp. and everywhere you look there's movement, there's activity, there's vehicles, containers, ships. some incoming containers are placed on trucks headed for europe's highways. others are loaded from one ship to another, then on to countries around the world. with 11 million containers passing through antwerp every year, it's impossible to search them all. in fact, right now fewer than one in 200 are examined.
those that raise flags are sent to one of two inspection sites with large tunnel x-rays. if analysts spot something amiss, the trucks are held for further inspection. officials are on the lookout for illegay trafficked wildlife and counterfeit goods, but the number one concern is cocaine. >> to train the customs agents, we have to keep images to show them how ingenious the traffickers can be. so technology helps us. >> reporter: the scans show suspicious density differences inside the containers. >> so, it will be within the products, in the middle of the products or also inside the structure of the container. we have a picture of that as well. here, here small dark pieces and this is cocaine. so when we do open, it's in the bottom of it, and there we found i think it's 500 kilos. those are bananas from columbia.
the banana you see kind of clearly. this is more like, kind of, boxes of packages and this is two tons of cocaine. this is also bananas. >> reporter: more bananas? why would drug smugglers choose bananas for cocaine? >> so, they really use what exists and what exists is fruits coming from south america and going to antwerp. that's one of the main reasons we find so much cocaine here; it's because they are using existing boat lines. >> reporter: the banana boat line. >> the banana or other fruits. you could have pineapple. we have found pineapples filled with cocaine. they are very inventive, but not for doing good things. >> reporter: despite what they do detect, a lot slips through. so, how much do you think you're finding of all of this? >> we think around 10% that we find. so, you can imagine the amount being produced, being transported. >> what we call the drug sensitive keys in antwerp are
located over here. >> reporter: manolo tersago heads the antwerp drugs division at belgium's federal judicial police. he says several factors make antwerp attractive to smugglers: its port is a hub for europe. it's huge and hard to patrol. and it lacks enough x-ray scanners. the big tunnel we saw is around a mile from the docks and gives smugglers time to extract the drugs between ships unloading on the dock and the inspections. then there's the people factor. some 700 customs agents monitor 60,000 dock drivers, crane operators and terminal workers. and authorities say some are definitely corrupted by criminal groups from albania, italy and morocco that are well organized and well financed. >> they just bribe everybody, so you have a few people apparently, they are willing to receive a big amount of money for sometimes a very small job. and that small job could limit itself to giving information
about the container and its whereabouts. they also put people on their payroll, and those people they try to get a certain job so they are close to the other port workers. and then they go and screen the people and they, they look for weaknesses. for example, somebody got divorced, or he has gambling debts. and then they give those names to the criminal organizations and just for giving those names, they get about 10,000 euros for one name. >> reporter: so, a lot of money. >> that's a lot of money. the amount of people working for the criminal organizations are probably more than we expect. so you need inside information. >> reporter: but tersago says the fight against drug gang networks is showing progress. last year in antwerp's port, authorities arrested around 160 people. not a huge number, but they hope it sends a message. >> so, the goal is to disturb
the criminal process and put up some structural barriers so they would eventually make mistakes. for example, if we need to arrest somebody, we will do that on the terminal itself. so, on the place where he works. so everybody will see this. and what we also did is, we put up a website, where they can actually put out anonymous tips, because the people in the port, they are a little bit afraid to come out in the open and say, i've seen this, i've heard this because they are afraid of what will happen if they go to the police right away. >> reporter: and he says the most critical part of his strategy is sharing intelligence with interpol, europol and other countries. >> now, why is this interesting for the united states? well, we are convinced the people who are actually providing the european drug traffickers with cocaine, with
drugs, are the same people who are actually providing the drug traffickers which going to the united states of america. it's the middleman who change and it's the destination that changed. >> reporter: in this international fight, belgian customs plans to add five more fixed scanners closer to the harbor and more than 100 agents. their future goal: to inspect each and every suspicious shipment. >> we alone as custom agents, we cannot stop, but with collaboration and more means we can do it. we have to do it. >> sreenivasan: ukrainians across the united states have been following the news of russia's invasion around the clock. for one ukrainian living in los angeles, it means rarely putting down her phone as she waits to hear from mily members and friends and hopes for a quick
end to the war. this segment from la times studios is part of their “hear me out” video series expanding on letters to the editor. >> i had a rule that i don't take phones or any gadge when i'm with my kid, because i don't want to show him bad example. and we have a "no gadget policy" until three. and right now it's, like, everything is canceled. it's like my hand extension of me right now. and that's-— we are all at war, even, being here. hi dad. >> my name is victoria pidlisetska. all my family is in ukraine. my parents are currently staying in my hometown in the apartment where i grew up. there's a good bomb shelter
where they can be relatively safe. >> one of my biggest fears is that my, uh, grandparents just won't evacuate. we won't be able to make them leave their home where they spent over 50 years. i just hope that we won't get to that point. i wanted to show you something my mom filmed on the polish border crossing when she was dropping off my sister. everybody who was standing there were singing the national anthem to console the baby and the board guard was trying to comfort that little child. i definitely wish i was there. and if i wasn't mother to my
two-year-old, i would probably just go back. i decided to write a letter, not having any other ways to help my people in ukraine. i decided to be on the inrmational front of this war. this is my letter to the "l.a. times." we were warned about the possible russian invasion in december, yet there was no alarm. we've grown accustomed to terror on anxiety and terrible news. the world didn't hear it then, but now the war is upon us. now i'm a distant observer, unable to stand shoulder to shoulder with my compatriots, but it feels like the world still does not hear us. ♪ ♪ ♪
>> sreenivasan: that's all for this edition of pbs newshour weekend. for the latest news updates, visit www.pbs.org/newshour. i'm hari sreenivasan. thanks for watching. stay healthy, and have a good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: sue and edgar wachenheim iii. bernard and denise schwartz.
the cheryl and philip milstein family. the anderson family fund. the estate of worthington mayo-smith. leonard and norma klorfine. the rosalind p. walter foundation. koo and patricia yuen, mmitted to bridging cultural differences in our communities. barbara hope zuckerberg. we try to live in the moment, to not miss what's right in front of us. at mutual of america, we believe taking care of tomorrow can help you make the most of today. mutual of america financial group: retirement services and investments. additional support has been provided by: consumer cellular. and by: and by the corporation for public broadcastin a private corporation funded by the