tv DW News LINKTV January 19, 2022 3:00pm-3:31pm PST
shows the destruction of the tsunami. and a scandal has boris johnson's fellow conservatives outraged. germany records more than 100,000 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours. a record high made possible by the omicron variant. to our viewers watching on pbs in the united states and to all of you around the world, welcome. we begin tonight with the u.s. secretary of state at the start of a three-day diplomatic sprint here in europe aimed at preventing a war in ukraine.
today, he was in kia where he urged western countries to remain united in the face of what he called relentless russian aggression. he also accused moscow of trying to undermine ukraine's democracy. he said washington is committed to protecting ukraine by de-escalating tensions with moscow. he will be here tomorrow for talks with his british and french counterparts. although the ultimate goal is peace not war, antony blinken warned russia again that any aggression in ukraine will come at a high cost. >> that's why president biden asked me to come here was to underscore our commitment to ukraine's sovereignty. it is why we will continue our relentless diplomatic efforts to prevent media aggression and to promote dialogue and peace. at the same time, we continue to
bolster ukraine's ability to defend itself and make clear the costs that the u.s. and europe will impose if russia proceeds with an unacceptable invasion or destabilization of ukraine. brent: that was the u.s. secretary of state speaking earlier today. my guest is a senior fellow at the brookings institution. he spent 25 years with the u.s. state department. he joins me from california. when you look at what antony blinken offered ukraine today, more weapons, is that what they wanted most of all? >> i think russia has tried to frame the crisis as nato russia, but it is really about ukraine. it's a good thing that secretary blinken was there to underscore the support for ukraine, but also to talk about more american defense supplies is way to help
e ukrainians better improve their capability to defend themselves in the event of a russian attack. that is to deter and dissuade moscow from attacking in the first place. >> you tweeted that it looks as though vladimir putin has painted himself into a corner with the only way out that seems feasible is military action. do you think that war is the only way we are going to break situation? >> i still hope there is a diplomatic path out. i am glad that they are meeting ineneva on friday. i am worried that over the last six weeks, the kremlin is painted itself into a corner. in december, it demanded security guarantees which russian officials knew were not possible. i worry that increasingly, the kremlin is in a foreigner and they have to make an
embarrassing climbdown or result to milary action. hopefully, they can find a diplomatic path out but it is not going to sacrifice western principles. brent: secretary blinken is meeting with his russian counterpart in geneva later this week. we also saw the german foreign minister in moscow yesterday on the same mission. who do you think russia is interested in talking to? it's just the united states, isn't it? >> i wouldn't say that. the kremlin would like to see divisions between the u.s. and europe and between the u.s. and major countries such as germany. the foreign minister had herself very well and to the extent the russians are getting the same message from the west, i think that is good. last week at the russian council meeting, what russians heard was that nato was prepared to talk about things like limits on missiles or constraints on the
size and scope of military operations but that nato was not prepared to remove forces from allies that had joined after 1997. to the extent that the russians are hearing that from a wide variety of european allies in addition to the united states, that strengthens the message. brent: today, we heard from the deputy foreign minister of russia and he said that what has not changed is the fact that russia still feels threatened by eastward expansion of nato. in the same breath, he said there will be no russian invasion of ukraine. can we take these top russian diplomats by their word? >> i think if you look at nato's military presence in places like the baltics, it is not serious for russia to say there is a threat here. nato deploys multiple groups and each of the baltic states and in
poland they were there before 2014 which was when russia seized crimea. as for the deputy foreign minister downplaying the military threat, everything we are seeing on the outside suggests the russians continue the buildup, they will be deploying forces into belarus for exercises, but they are also bringing in forces from as far away as the russian far east toward ukraine. i think the military threat is real and the west has to assume it and should be doing everything it can to dissuade and deter moscow from using military force. brent: tomorrow, the secretary of state will be here for a meeting. if you were an advisor in the room with those foreign ministers, what should be the one message that should come out of that meeting customer >> --
what should come out of that meeting? >> what needs to be sent to the russians is that while there are issues that need to be negotiated like strike systems or exercises, the west is not going to stand out. nato is not going to allowed russia to dictate a change in policy then to reiterate that should the russians use altered force against ukraine, there will be painful consequences including economic sanctions, greater western military assistance and also steps by nato to fortify their defense position on the eastern flank. brent: we will be following these next days of diplomacy here in europe. we appreciate your insights.
let's look at some of the other stories making headlines around the world. a court in ukraine has rejected an appeal to detain the former president. the ruling needs -- means the 56-year-old will remain free while being investigated for treason. thousands rallied outside the courthouse. he denies the charges and says they are politically motivated. a belgian court sentenced the leader of a human trafficking ring. victims suffocated while being smuggled in the back of a truck that was driven from belgium to the u.k. in the summer of 2019. the lawyer of a syrian doctor on trial for crimes against humanity has said he is confident that the evidence presented against his client will not stand up to scrutiny. the courts allege he tortured prisoners in syria during the civil war. he arrived in germany in 2015.
health officials and tonga said international airport has now been cleared of ash after the volcanic eruption. that means that flights carrying supplies could begin arriving in the country on thursday. the international community is stepping up efforts after the disaster. china says it is willing to help the country rebuild. new zealand and australia are also shipping supplies. >> -- the volcano is everywhere. it is fogged the skies and has fallen back onto the ground mixing in with the water supply contaminating. the eruption has doubt some villages completely. we also heard that there one particular element closer to the eruption site.
all the homes on that island have been destroyed. >> ships from australia and new zealand are on their way burning much needed relief including barrels of clean drinking water. the ships have thousands of kilometers to cover. >> one estimation is they could beere as early as friday which is encouraging news. we don't know what the shipping lanes look like, so w want to proceed with caution as we get closer to the islands. >> tonga was cut off from the world for several days after the eruption. families worried about the relatives on the island. >> the worst fear is that you aren't going to see the people that you love again. that's the worst. >> now, networks are springing back to life and lifting the fog
on how damaged the island is. brent: i am joined now by the pacific head of international federation of red cross and red crescent society. she is in fiji. i know you have been able to make contact with your colleagues there. are they telling you about the separate -- situation? >> there is mixed news coming out of tonga this morning. it is very good news that we have been able to finally make contact our team who we have not previously spoken to since saturday afternoon when the eruption first took place. it was very emotional phone call that we had with them to find out how they had been doing on the ground, what they had been doing in terms of dividing relief supplies to the people. there is also sad news, devastating news that his come out of reconnaissance troops that have gone out to some of the smaller low-lying places.
most of the structures on three of the islands have been completely wiped out and destroyed. the death toll did rise yesterday. is mixed news today. >> did they tell you in this conversation what they experienced? from the moment the volcano erupted until all contact was lost with the rest of the world? >> yes absolutely. the small contact we had on saturday afternoon was immediately after the huge eruption. once the tsunami warning had been issued. when we spoke to a team member at that time, she was running up and down the hill in the capital making sure people could get to the emitted available higher ground. it was scary. people had been living with smaller eruptions of the volcano
since last year. it was a shock, the magnitude of that eruption and the unprecedented nature of the tsunami that was triggered. it was a very frightening situation. they were then telling us about the work they had been doing distributing essential relief supplies, clean water being the number one priority at the moment for the population that really does rely on rainwater. they have also sent to people on a reconnaissance ship that left from the government provision out to the low-lying areas. we will hear from their experience in the coming days, but the initial reports are devastating. brent: did you get the impression, the first conversation that these people are still in a state of shock? we know from other natural disasters around the world that in the first hours and days of
the event, maybe people are acting in a fog. did you get that impression in your talk? >> certainly. because of the unprecedented nature of the eruption, i think the shock is there. the surprise, the fog that you just spoke about. the adrenaline that kicks in also we see in the first few days of a disaster like this. the adrenaline from survival instinct kicks in and carries people thrgh. what we see now in the circle of disasters at starts to happen is people starto come down from the aenaline and they start looking around them and being able for the first time to pture thsense of the exact ramifications for em and for tonga as a country overall. the kind of infrastructure damage might have suffered. now is really the critical
window for when people are most active in terms of being able to understand the bigger picture of l of these diffent ramifications and start to act on short, medium, and long-term plans for recovery. brent: we wish you all the best in the important work you are doing. thank you. to the u.k., where boris johnson is fighting to stay on as prime minister after revelations about boozy gatherings at his downing street residence. he is facing mounting pressure to quit. >> after the drinks, parties, the hangover. in parliament, he defied calls to resign from his opponents. >> it's time for him to resign.
>> as i said to the house last week, i apologize sincerely for any misjudgments that were made. >> he has apologized for attending bring your own booze gatherings but says he was told it was a work event and was not told it was against the rules. one lawmaker defected to the opposition and his former minister asked him to resign. >> is the political storm continued in the house of commons, boris johnson announced the end of covid-19 measures used to curb the spread of the omicron variant. some people were skeptical about the timing and felt it was meant to distract from his current political woes. >> being cynical, maybe boris johnson feels like he's about to
be ousted and he wants to offer the public something maybe. >> among health workers, there was anger at the idea of the government boozing while they fought the virus. >> 100%, he should resign. >> as anger grows, johnson may help that a little bit of luck could save his job. >> a new pandemic record, germany has recorded more than 100,000 new coronavirus infections in the last four hours. this urge is fueled by the omicron variant. the effect on hospitals has not been as bad as previously feared, but authorities are warning the public not to let their guard down.
>> two years into the pandemic, infections are at a high never before seen in germany. it is all down to omicron. despite the huge numbers, it seems most people have only been mildly sick with a slight decrease in the number of icu patients. perts warn don't get complacent. we assume that in the next few weeks we will see a significant increase in hospitalizations. the number of patients admitted to hospital. then ultimately, in intensive care units. it's not just covid-19 that people have to contend with. this coming autumn will bring a wave of respiratory illnesses with iluenza and other viruses, it's a big range and there will be many corona cases also. there have been regular protests
across germany over the government strategy to make life harder for the unvaccinated. restrictions have been tightened to flatten the curve but it hasn't led to a significant increase in germany's vaccine uptake. more than a quarter of the population is not fully vaccinated, but that could change with the controversial plan for mandatory vaccines. when it comes to testing, the weight of all the new infections has exhausted capacity. authorities believe the real number of cases is double what is officially being counted. out on the streets, opinions vary from concern to being completely fed up. >> i cannot stand this topic anymore. you hear it in the media. >> i know that omicron is not as severe most of the time, but i worry just like before that people with pre-existing conditions and relatives. i am not worried, everyone is
being careful staying at home. >> maybe a certain complacency has setting, but i am double vaccinated and boosted. that's all i can do. the rest i am leading up to fate. german authorities expect the wave to peak around the middle of february and the government's plan for compulsory vaccines could be in place by april or may. discussions on that are due to begin next week. brent: england has announced his ending most coronavirus restrictions again. some measures were reintroduced last timber to slow the spread of omicron. portugal says people will be allowed to leave their homes to vote for one hour in the evening on election day. japan is extended covid-19 restrictions to the capital tokyo as it registers a recor number of new infections due to the omicron variant.
like lots of countries, turkey is grappling with a surge in infections fueled by omicron. the latest pandemic weapon, homegrown vaccine. the new jab received emergency approval last month, but some experts say the effectiveness has not been proven. our correspondent reports from istanbul. >> queuing for a world premiere. at this hospital, people have been receiving the vaccine since the beginning of the year. the first covid-19 jab developed anproduced in turkey. >> i have more trust in this than in other vaccines because it is made by my own country. >> i wish they had launched it sooner. i would have gotten it for all my shots. >> i haven't been vaccinated at all until today. i waited for it because i trust
our scientists more than those brought. >> for the preside, its a symbolf nation strength. with its own vaccine, he says turkey is one of the most innovative, progressive countries in the world. no longer dependent on others. >> the government is celebrating it is a great success. how effective is the vaccine? does it protect against omicron and other variants? many medical experts remain skeptical. this person criticizes the fact that hardly any data has been published. that is what she is not recommending new vaccine. political success she says seems to be more important to the government than scientific accuracy. >> i can't evaluate how effective the vaccine is because
i don't have the necessary information. the results of the phase i and phase iitudies havnot been puished. we also ow next toothing abouphase three. until we have a facts, we cannot consider this a vaccine, but just some kind of liquid. >> as in many countries, omicron is behind the number of new infections rapidly surging in turkey. the vaccination rate is comparatively high, about 85% of adults have received at least two shots. the uncertainty is causing concern. >> we don't know much about this vaccine yet. that's why i don't think it's very safe. >> i wouldn't take it because i haven't seen scientific data and studies about it. >> i will get my third dose of biontech today. i don't trust the turkish vaccine. i have my doubts.
>> this person has overseen the development. he says the worries are unfounded. the turkish vaccine is as safe and effective as others. >> we have our figures and studies. we do not have the slightest concern or doubt in terms of its effectiveness. being vaccinated is better than not being vaccinated at all. if the vaccine helps us convince those who are unvaccinated, that would be one of our greatest achievements. >> over the next few months, as many people as possible are expected to also get the booster shots with turkey's own vaccine. soon, according to the government's plan, the vaccine will be delivered to other countries to help them in the fight against covid. brent: at the africa cup of nations, underdogs pulled off a
surprise victory knocking the favorite out of the competition. there were celebrations in the capital city. small island nation has never qualified before. now they have a chance of progressing through the stages if the other results go their way. fans are hopeful the 13 will continue its germ -- journey. >> i have tears of joy. it's a historic win for us. these three points are enough and if we can qualify for the next 16, that would be amazing. >> we thank god for the incredible performance our players have achieved today. they had lost two games, but today they showed they are able to advance in the competition. >> before we take a break, we have something cool to show you.
hundreds russian orthodox christians have been plunging into icy water to celebrate epiphany, ritual that commemorates the baptismf jesus in the jordan river which probably was not quite as cold. a bone chilling bath is believed to be good for you. i wonder if it works against omicron? you are watching dw news from berlin. after a short break, i will be back to take you through the day. we will be right back. ♪