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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Biden Announces Additional $800 Million In Military Aid For Ukraine; Foreign Minister On What Ukraine Needs: "Weapons And Sanctions, And The Rest Will Be Done By Ukraine"; International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor On His War Crimes Probe. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired March 16, 2022 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, I think, this underscores some of the challenges that the Ukrainian Armed Forces face.
One of the guys, who was welding, those armor plates, is about to become a grandfather, in just two weeks' time. He's 58-years-old, and he's standing by, for his own call, to be sent, towards the frontlines--
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes.
WATSON: --worried that he may miss, the birth, of his first grandson. Anderson.
COOPER: Ivan, appreciate it. Thanks so much, for the report.
Up next. Despite Russia's assault, the Ukrainian forces have been putting up an incredibly tough fight. And now, they're getting more tools, from the U.S. How that could change the battle? When our coverage, from Ukraine, continues.
COOPER: It has been a consequential, and deeply troubling, day, here, in Ukraine, with hundreds of people, reportedly, unaccounted for, after the bombing of a shelter, in Mariupol, where they had been seeking safety.
The day began, with Ukraine's President, making a passionate plea, to the U.S. Congress, for help, fighting the war, and an appeal, to American values that he says Ukrainians aspire to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINE (through translator): I remember your national memorial, in Rushmore, the faces of your prominent presidents, those who laid the foundation, of the United States of America, as it is today: democracy, independence, freedom and care for everyone, for every person, for everyone who works diligently, who lives honestly, who respects the law. We in Ukraine want the same for our people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, his speech was well-received in the Congress.
Though, he did not get the no-fly zone that he's been asking for, he's about to receive many hundreds of millions of dollars, $800 million and more, in American military assistance, at what could be a pivotal moment, three weeks into the war.
Joining me now, here, in Lviv, CNN's Fred Pleitgen.
How confident are the Ukrainians that you've talked to that they will be able to resist?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think that they're getting increasingly more confident.
In fact, one of the main adviser, to President Zelenskyy, he said tonight, that the Ukrainians are actually going to counteroffensive, in several places, and they're saying, that that's really changing the dynamic on the battlefield.
And, in part, that's due to the weapons that the U.S. and others are providing. But in part, it's also the way that they're using those weapons.
Here's what we learned.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): This is how Ukraine's army, is halting Russia's advance, using anti-aircraft weapons, like the U.S.-made Stinger, against low-flying helicopters.
Now, answering Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's plea, the U.S. says, longer-range anti-aircraft missiles, are arriving in Ukraine, including the powerful S-300.
ZELENSKYY (through translator): You know what kind of defense systems we need, S-300s, and other similar systems. You know how much depends on the battlefield, on Russia's ability, to use aircraft.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): After Zelenskyy's impassioned speech, to Congress, President Biden announced a massive new security assistance package, worth $800 million, including drones, anti-tank weapons, and 20 million rounds of ammunition.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: It includes 800 anti- aircraft systems, to make sure the Ukrainian military can continue to - can continue to stop the planes and helicopters that have been attacking their people, and to defend their Ukrainian airspace.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Despite being drastically outgunned, Ukraine's forces have been putting up a tough fight. The country's ground troops, led by Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi, a veteran of Ukraine's defense, of the Donbas region.
Meanwhile, the Chief Commander, of the Armed Forces, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, who's widely credited, with reforming Ukraine's military, vows to fight the Russians, to the last drop of blood.
LT. GEN. VALERII ZALUZHNYI, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF, ARMED FORCES OF UKRAINE: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
PLEITGEN (voice-over): "I don't have any illusions and don't wait for a gift from God," he says. "I fought and have been preparing my Armed Forces."
The weapons supplied, by the U.S., and its allies, are giving them a fighting chance. Ukrainian units blowing up Russian tanks, with shoulder-fired missiles, like the Javelins, supplied by the U.S., or NLAWs, a similar anti-tank weapon, made in Britain.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: We're at a crucial point, in the battle, here, where Ukraine, is tipping the balance, against Russia. Russia is purely in trouble.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Ukrainian troops have fought tooth and nail, with the Russian tanks, on the ground, despite being massively outgunned, by Vladimir Putin's army.
While the U.S. and NATO still rejects the idea of a no-fly zone, the Biden administration has made clear it will continue to arm Kyiv's forces, to help, as they bog down the Russian military, and inflict massive casualties.
PLEITGEN: Some of those massive casualties, both the U.S., and the Ukrainians, are saying that thousands of Russian soldiers have already died. The Russians see that a bit differently, obviously, are giving different numbers.
But it does seem clear that the Russians have already used a lot of their precision munitions. And you can see in some of these cities, how now they're using some of that more indiscriminate--
PLEITGEN: --munitions, which are causing all these civilian casualties.
COOPER: Yes. Fred Pleitgen, appreciate it. It's great to see those weapons, up close, to see how they--
COOPER: --they work.
You heard General Wesley Clark say it, a moment ago. "We are at a crucial point in the battle," he said, quote, "where Ukraine, is tipping the balance, against Russia," his words.
Some late evidence of that tonight. Another strike, for the second straight day, at Kherson airport, destroying more Russian helicopters. Yesterday's attack, you may remember, blew up at least three.
Want to get perspective now, from retired Army Brigadier General Peter Zwack, former Defense Attache to Russia, now, Global Fellow at the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute.
Also with us, CNN Military Analyst, and retired Major General James "Spider" Marks.
General Zwack, how significant is this latest military aid, the Stinger missiles, the S-300 anti-aircraft systems, and the other items that were going - with are going, including a source telling CNN, providing switchblade drones?
BRIG. GEN. PETER ZWACK (RET.), FORMER U.S. DEFENSE ATTACHE TO RUSSIA, U.S. ARMY, GLOBAL FELLOW, KENNAN INSTITUTE AT THE WILSON CENTER: Yes, hugely significant, when you consider the nature of the fight.
This has become a mano a mano on-the-ground fight. Infantry, rather regular or irregulars, on the Ukrainian side, and how they bleed the Russians, is with anti-tank weapons, whether they're Javelins or RPGs, the airpower, the Stingers, and other systems, keeping the Russian helicopter, ground attack, at higher altitudes.
And these hundreds and hundreds of systems are going out into a ground force that is growing and metastasizing, I believe, throughout Ukraine. And this is becoming shelled, with those Russian columns, wherever they concentrate, they can overpower. But they're being hit from all over.
And these type of systems are small. They're portable, and very, very versatile. And they will make a huge difference in this elemental hard ground fight.
COOPER: General Marks, an adviser to President Zelenskyy said tonight that the Ukrainian army, is beginning a counterstrike, on a number of active directions. He went on to say this fact is drastically changing the dispositions of the sides.
You see the destruction of the Russian helicopters, in Kherson. Does it feel to you, as though Ukraine is gaining more traction? I mean, it's hard to know what is happening, at the front.
MAJOR. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), U.S. ARMY, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, it really does. Anderson.
What we've seen, over the course of the past three weeks, is a poorly- led, poorly-executed, Russian offensive. And it's really reached, I think, as we've been describing, over the past couple of days, a culmination point, which means they're dead in their tracks. They now have to go on to the defensive, and they need to be resupplied of ammunition, personnel. They need to evacuate casualties, et cetera. So, that gives the Ukrainians a great advantage.
And, as Pete just described, with this additional kit, they really can take the fight that much more aggressively. And what's key, is with the additional aid that's coming in, that transition, of that equipment, into Ukraine, now is getting more and more precise.
It's not routine. But it's getting into a standardization that needs to be increased in speed, so that the operational flexibility that the Ukrainians are now really demonstrating, can be maintained.
And the old expression that we learned in the Army, in particular, is you don't man the equipment. You equip the man. And what the Ukrainians are demonstrating is they've got better men. They've got better leadership, and better men, better non-commissioned officers, than these Russians that are poorly - poorly-led.
COOPER: General Zwack, we've seen, Russian artillery, whether it's ballistic missiles, artillery shells, even cannons, excuse me, tanks, hitting residential buildings, or some residential buildings, in cities.
How does - how capable, are the Ukrainians, at actually knocking out, artillery, or knocking out, whether its ballistic missiles, or - I mean, can they stop that shelling?
ZWACK: First of all, I've got to imagine that will become a priority for - the Russians - and we suffered this, in Afghanistan, and somewhat in Iraq. Their real (ph) area is where they are. And everything else is where the Ukrainians are increasingly well-armed.
And that includes artillery batteries. They're now having to set up fire bases or be right up close with the assault infantry. And air - the air defense, all of that is increasingly vulnerable, over this - these long supply lines that drivers, these conscript drafty drivers are going through.
So, the artillery, is, yes, they are creating a major effect. But it's a bit wild, and the fire, not particularly precise, in part, because their infantry, their ground forces, and tanks, are getting - the tops are getting blown off, of them.
And they don't want to go into a charnel house of an urban fight. So, they're using, artillery, to make up, if you will, for firepower and the indiscriminate. But they are--
ZWACK: --all they're doing is they're creating more rubble, for the defenders, to fight out of. And the Russians just don't have the, term, correlation of forces, I believe, to do it, to take Kyiv.
COOPER: General Zwack, General Marks, always appreciate it. Thank you.
Coming up, next, the young woman, who--
COOPER: --documented her life, with her family, as their city, Kharkiv, was bombarded, day in and day out. They fled. But now, she's got a new burden, to bear. My conversation with her, ahead.
And later, Ukraine's Foreign Minister, on the state of peace talks, with Russia.
COOPER: Less than 30 miles, from the Russian border, Kharkiv continues to see intense fighting and shelling, with regional officials saying, at least 600 residential buildings, have been destroyed, since the start of invasion.
The destruction, across the city, sent many residents, looking for relative safety, in other parts of Ukraine, or neighboring countries, including a young woman, named Anastasia, who left Kharkiv, last week, amid the constant attacks. Her parents had finally had enough, and they wanted to leave their apartment.
We brought you her story, last week, in a piece, from ITN's Dan Rivers, as she tried to stay in Kharkiv, even with the non-stop bombings, all around.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANASTASIA PARASKEVA, KHARKIV RESIDENT, UKRAINIAN REFUGEE: Last night was probably the most terrifying night of my life.
Kharkiv was terribly bombarded, last night. Airstrikes, all over the city. Dozens of buildings destroyed, civilian buildings, where people live.
I'm not going to take much, because I'm hoping I will return, soon enough. My sister says, it's like going on a trip, but an awful one, I guess.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's how Dan Rivers' ITN piece, about Anastasia, and her family, that's how it ended, with them leaving Kharkiv.
We were able to track her down, after seeing the story. And Anastasia joins me tonight.
Anastasia, when we last heard from you, in the videos that you were making, you had fled your home, in Kharkiv, because the shelling had become so intense. Where are you now? And how are you? PARASKEVA: Well, I'm now currently in Poltava. It's central Ukraine, not that far away from Kharkiv, about three hours' ride, I think. So, yes, we escaped, mostly due to the fact that my parents could not take such pressure anymore, being bombed and shelled and constant fear.
So, despite the fact that me and my sister wanted to stay, in Kharkiv, we ran to Lviv. It's a western part of the country. Quite a journey. 24 hours long. But there were no place for us there. So, we were forced to take - to try and find some other place.
We first went to Kremenchuk, and there was no place there too. And now, we're in Poltava. We're just staying, in our friend's place, for now. And then, we will try to maybe find something here, for our parents, to stay in. They went back to Kharkiv, right now.
COOPER: So, your parents, are back in Kharkiv. Are they OK?
PARASKEVA: Yes, they just - I just talked to them. They managed to get home safely, which is good, because just today, the car was shelled, with the people, in it, and they died, so - in Kharkiv, I mean.
COOPER: You had said you had to come all the way to Lviv. That's where I am right now. It's close to the Polish border. Did you give some thought, about going into--
PARASKEVA: Well, it's kind of like a hard topic, in our family. Because me and my sister, we are not leaving Ukraine. We are staying here. We're going to do everything we can. We're going to help volunteers.
We're going to provide aid, for Kharkiv, what we can, to assist our army, and our people, the way we can. It's our position that we took. It's a decision made. But it's hard to do, because our parents want us to leave. But they do not want to leave without us.
COOPER: These are impossible choices that so many people here are having to make.
PARASKEVA: Yes. Most people don't want to leave their home, obviously. But when you have to?
PARASKEVA: Then there's - there are hardships, like - it's all, I don't even know how to say, but it feels really insecure, to not have a place, to stay. And, yes.
COOPER: I remember, in one of the videos, you made, in Kharkiv, you said, "I don't know why. But being bombarded is easier than leaving your home," which really gives you a sense of--
PARASKEVA: Yes. COOPER: --of just how difficult it is.
PARASKEVA: Yes. I still stand by it. Eight days, out of Kharkiv, and that my mind didn't change. I actually feel worse, emotionally now, than I did back then.
Yes, it was like adrenaline rush, planes flying, above my house, like three times a day, dropping bombs. And you don't know where they will drop. And worst of all, you feel kind of grateful they did not fall on you. But at the same time, you know, they fall on someone else. So it's kind of a difficult situation.
But it's such a, I don't know how to say it, but it's like it gives you such adrenaline. It's not a circumstances you expect yourself to be. And it's you become - start to think, in different ways, I guess.
First few days, when the war started, we were just completely shocked, in denial. We couldn't believe it. And then, you just kind of become used to it.
But this, right now, is something you feel like regretful even, and also shame, because many people, I know, they're, still in Kharkiv, living in very difficult conditions, with no heat, no electricity, in some places. Some, remaining, in basements, for 21 days already, as the war goes.
So, my friend close - my close friend, is in Tatarbunary (ph). It's like civilians, who took arms, to protect the cities. And I just feel bad, for being here, and them being in danger. If that makes sense, I guess.
COOPER: Yes. Anastasia, I so appreciate, talking to you. And thank you, for taking the time. I wish you well.
PARASKEVA: Thank you so much, for listening.
COOPER: Well, just ahead, we'll discuss the state of the peace talks, and whether Russia seems willing to make any kind of concessions, with Ukraine's Foreign Minister.
COOPER: The state of negotiations, between Ukraine and Russia, is as fraught as anything in this war. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, today, suggested there was some movement, but also stressed the need to keep fighting. Moscow said nothing had changed in their position.
You heard our Kaitlan Collins' report earlier that the White House is hopeful, but realistic. And, after a classified briefing, today, top lawmakers, of both parties, in the House, said there did not seem to be any progress.
Earlier tonight, I spoke with Ukraine's Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba - Kuleba, excuse me, on where the negotiations stand.
COOPER: Foreign Minister Kuleba, as you know, President Zelenskyy said earlier today that Russia is negotiating position, and talks with Ukraine, is becoming what he said was more realistic. Can you explain what that means?
DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, there are - factors, which make a difference, in the Russian position talks.
The first one is the fierce resistance of Ukrainian army, and Ukrainian people, on the ground. And second, it's sanctions imposed on Russia, sanctions which cause Russian economy, to go down and to suffer.
So, under the influence, of these two factors, we do see that Russia is slightly changing its position. Its position becomes different. But I could not call - I cannot call it a dramatic change, or a serious change, in the position.
But, under the circumstances, every change, in the Russian position, is a constructive one, because they started with unilateral ultimatums, which, if put together, constitute a unilateral surrender, of Ukraine. And that is not acceptable. So, every time, we see the slightest change, in their position, we think it's a movement, in the right direction.
But I have to be clear. Both delegations, the Russian and the Ukrainian one, are far away, from reaching, an agreement, on the current - on the current situation.
COOPER: It seemed before you met with Foreign Minister Lavrov that it seemed like there was some perhaps backing off, by Russia, of some of their stated goals, what they call denazification, what they call demilitarization.
And yet, after your discussion, with Lavrov, from Lavrov's comments, he seem to be parroting those talking points, yet again.
KULEBA: Listen, Russia will never, never admit that they made a concession or that they realized that the goals they have set for themselves were not achieved. They will always publicly say that "Everything is fine. Everything is going according to the plan. It's exactly what we wanted."
And whatever Minister Lavrov said, in the press conference, I know two things. If Ukraine gets sufficient and over amount of weapons, to defend itself? If sanctions, pressure is continued - will be continued? Then, Russia will make serious concession. They may never recognize that, but they will make it.
One simple example is the demands, about the regime change, in Ukraine. It all started with a clear message. I mean, the aggression started with a clear message that the government in Ukraine has to be changed. And then, the Russians said, "No, we actually never had it, on our mind. We don't - we don't care, if the current government stays."
So, we should be very careful in reading Russian messages. And understand two things, and I will say it again, because it's crucially important. Weapons and sanctions, and the rest will be done by Ukraine.
COOPER: And you need more of both? And, on the weapons, you need them not only delivered quickly, you need a regular supply?
KULEBA: Yes, the main question is the sustainability of supplies. We cannot afford a situation, where in one week, we get what we need. And then, we don't get anything, during the next week, because this is the war. And people fight every day.
We get bombed by Russian Air Force, every day. Russian rockets are being shot at our cities, every day. My own neighborhood, where I lived, in Kyiv, some years ago, where I grew up, in Kyiv, was hit, by missiles, two days ago.
So, we - the sustainability of supplies, is crucial, to save human life, and to save our cities. If we get all the weapons that we need, on a sustainable basis, on a regular basis, that will help us, to defeat Russia, and to make it concede, within a reasonable period of time.
COOPER: Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
KULEBA: Thank you.
COOPER: Let's get perspective now, from Republican congresswoman, Nancy Mace, of South Carolina.
Congresswoman, thanks for being with us. You heard President Zelenskyy likening the constant bombardment of Ukraine, to attacks on Pearl Harbor, 9/11. I'm wondering what you thought about his speech to Congress, and - yes, what your thoughts were on it?
REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): Well, I will tell you, Anderson, that there was not a dry eye, in the House, this morning, in particular, when President Zelenskyy showed the reel of the murders that were happening, to women and children, on the hands, of Vladimir Putin.
And the Russian forces that have invaded Ukraine, are committing atrocious war crimes, and human rights abuses. It was devastating to watch, this morning.
And to see the courage, from President Zelenskyy? He is a worldwide hero. And to hear him talk about the courage of the Ukrainian people, who are fighting for freedom, and fighting for democracy? The same things that the American people, oftentimes take for granted, here, at home. But they're fighting for the same freedoms and democracy that we have here. And it was heart-wrenching, to watch, and hear his words, today.
COOPER: They're obviously, you know, he continually calls for closing the skies, as he says, which could reference a no-fly zone. Also, obviously, he is very concerned, about Russian artillery, which continues to pound, at times, residential buildings.
What is your position on the idea of some sort of a no-fly zone?
MACE: Well, a no-fly zone is a clear escalation of war. And what we don't want to have is World War III. Putin has already threatened to use nuclear warheads, against us, and our allies, and anybody else that intervenes here.
And when you talk about closing the airspace, for example, last week, it was in the news, about the Polish MiG jets. But only about half of those 27 jets were actually - jets were actually operable. And to actually close the airspace, over Ukraine, you will need hundreds of jets that could withstand the force of an S-400 that Russia has laid on the lands of Belarus.
And so, anything within 200 miles can hit aircraft. And so, you need F-35s, F-22s, but hundreds of them. And Putin would see that as a clear escalation, of war, by NATO, by the United States. And World War III is not what people want.
And one of the other things that President Zelenskyy, asked for today, were greater, broader sanctions packages. And we need to do that.
We need to choke Putin. We need to choke the economy that he has. We can't fund the continuation, of this invasion of Ukraine, and that he can't - he should not be doing deals, with China, or anyone else. We need to make sure that that does not happen.
But the aid that we voted on, last week, the aid that President Biden is sending them today, continuing to give them defense equipment, including the S-300s, they can have an air defense system, against what Russia is doing, these are all steps, in the right direction. And, I know, it cannot happen fast enough, but it's happening, about as fast, as it can, right now.
COOPER: President Biden, labeled Vladimir Putin, a war criminal, today. You have said the same just now. How do you think Vladimir Putin should be held accountable, for that?
The ICC Chief Prosecutor, I talked to him, today. He's on the ground here. He has started an investigation. But it is a complex process. And obviously, even if there are charges, against somebody, like Vladimir Putin, bringing him into a courtroom--
COOPER: --is a whole other matter.
MACE: Well, it's - it is complicated and prolonged position to be in. But we should charge him with war crimes. What he's done is illegal. It's devastating. It's murder.
You're seeing - I heard a story today, about Ukrainians, in line, to get bread, who were shelled, and artillery dropped on them, and they were shot to death. And that's just wrong.
I mean, there's no one in the world - and as much as I hate social media, and seeing this, but one of the things that has been effective here, is Ukraine's showing the footage, of what's going on. It has brought the world together, against Putin, against his regime.
And when 2008, when Georgia happened, they rolled over, in about 12 days. When Crimea happened, it was about a month and six days.
But what social media has done is the entire world has seen these atrocities, these war crimes, unfold, in real-time, on Twitter and TikTok. And it has brought the world together, to move faster, more effectively, to help the Ukrainian people, fight for their freedom, for their democracy, and for their country.
COOPER: Yes. No one in the world, except perhaps, I guess, Russian citizens can claim that they don't know what is happening, in Ukraine. As you said, the world is watching this.
Congresswoman Nancy Mace, appreciate your time, tonight.
MACE: Thank you. And stay safe, Anderson.
COOPER: Thanks so much.
Coming up, as I mentioned, more of our exclusive interview, here, in Ukraine, with the Chief Prosecutor, of the International Criminal Court. He tells us why he's not ruling anyone out, when it comes to building a potential war crimes case, and how he goes about, doing that. That's next.
COOPER: More now, of our CNN exclusive interview, with the Chief Prosecutor, for the International Criminal Court.
He came here, to Ukraine, today, to begin his investigation, searching for proof among the many claims of war crimes. He also spoke virtually with President Zelenskyy today, and met individually, with a number of other Ukrainian government officials.
In our last hour, Karim Khan, told us, about the hunt for evidence, and decisions that could be considered, war crimes, or crimes against humanity, which is what he's looking for.
We look now at where the investigation could go, when it comes to not only leaders, but troops, as well.
I spoke to Khan, earlier.
COOPER: If chain of command, is something, you have to establish? You have to see, who gave the order, who carried it out? Is being the top general, overseeing an invasion, or a defense, or being the president of a country, is that enough, in the chain of command, to have responsibility? Or do you have to show the President gave a direct order?
KARIM ASAD AHMAD KHAN, ICC CHIEF PROSECUTOR: Well, the first thing is there's no immunity of any official position. So, whether you're a foot soldier, in a civilian area, in urban warfare, you don't have a license to rape, or attack children, or to terrorize.
And if you're a field commander, or if you're a battlefield commander, doing aerial strikes, or targeting decisions, or you're a civilian superior, under the Rome Statute, there is responsibility.
COOPER: You've obviously seen images, of a residential building, being struck, by a tank, just firing into it, or a missile hitting it. What do you have to prove, in each incident?
ASAD AHMAD KHAN: What you really have to show is firstly that's a civilian area that there was not belligerent fire. There was not, for example, there were not mortars coming from that location.
So, one needs to, speak to witnesses, or look at satellite evidence, or look at intercepts that have, from the area, to try to look, was it deliberately targeted, because it was civilian? Or was it a disproportionate attack? Or was it a legitimate military target? So, that's when it comes to laws of war.
COOPER: Well, if somebody is found guilty, if Vladimir Putin, anybody is found guilty, no matter what - at what level, what do you do about it?
ASAD AHMAD KHAN: Well, the first thing, we're looking at all sides. We're independent. We're impartial. I'm not in the pocket of any state or regional organization.
COOPER: You're an political actor, now.
ASAD AHMAD KHAN: We are looking at, all sides have an obligation, all sides, to any conflict, have an obligation.
COOPER: So, you would investigate Ukraine, as well, as Russia?
ASAD AHMAD KHAN: Everybody, whether you're a regular soldier, whether you're a militia, whether you're self-help, whether you're a contractor, every individual has a responsibility not to break the Rome Statute, the laws and customs of law.
Nobody has a license to, because they are having a gun, to attack civilians. One must comport oneself, in accordance with the laws and customs of war. And that's a general application. Of course, there may be particular incidents that give rise to particular focus of investigations. And we'll look into that.
COOPER: Judges can issue an arrest warrant, for a president of a country. You may not be able to arrest that person. But having an arrest warrant, hanging over you, as the leader of a country, it has ramifications in and of itself. It has ripple effects.
ASAD AHMAD KHAN: Look, we're all part of this global village, aren't we? We're all linked. Whether it's economic, political, diplomatic, education, travel, everything is intertwined. And that's why it's not a small thing.
This Court has the ability. We're not dealing with state responsibility. We're dealing with individual criminal responsibility, the personal responsibility and accountability of one's own actions. I think we need to work together. And we need to not lose hope, even in these desperately uncertain times.
I think there's this realization that we need the law more now than ever. And it requires sanity, to come back into the room. And sanity has left the building. It's - a lot of this does not make strategic sense. It doesn't make military sense. It doesn't make economic sense. It's - time will tell. But folly upon folly, in a way that the ordinary people pay the prices they do very often.
COOPER: It does feel medieval, to use your term.
ASAD AHMAD KHAN: It is. It is medieval. It is. And it's obscene. As I said, we're doing space tourism, Anderson. We're doing space tourism. We're going to Mars, rovers to Mars.
And yet, on this world, we're shaking, hospitals and schools, and people are feeling absolutely insecure, on every single level. And it's not just the people of Ukraine. People of Europe, and the whole world is holding its breath about what's next, eating (ph) tablets.
All of this concern is concentrating. And there's always a consequence to this. And that's why I'm saying in the seeds of this despair, I think there will be this increased solidarity, I hope, to realize that.
Hold on to the law. Don't sacrifice it, when you've got the upper hand. Because if we do, if we just use it, as a commodity that we can trade, the future is not good for us.
And complacency is one of the great dangers of history. As Virgil said, the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. And we all need to be, the gatekeepers, and the centrists, on duty. We can't leave it to others. It's too important.
COOPER: Karim Khan, the Chief Prosecutor, for the International Criminal Court. A lot of weight on his shoulders, now, to find the truth, of who is responsible, for each criminal act, for each war crime, for each crime, against humanity that may be taking place, here. Coming up, the tourist destination, of Transylvania, is now a beacon of hope, for war refugees. CNN goes inside the sudden transformation, giving hundreds of Ukrainians, and their families, hope, after escaping the Russian invasion. That's next.
COOPER: Romania, as you know, sits to the southwest of Ukraine. Central Romania is home to the Transylvania region, which the name alone might make you think of its storied history, or vampire tales. But tonight, one Transylvanian city, is suddenly a lifeline, for Ukrainian refugees.
Our Miguel Marquez takes us inside, an extraordinary makeshift hotel, and the relief operation, they've undertaken.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A stream of Ukrainian refugees, old and young, even a dog, named Oprah (ph). Some, looking for a hot meal. Others, a place to stay, for a night or two.
MARQUEZ (on camera): Who are we with here?
SVETLANA KARPOVA, FROM ODESSA, UKRAINE: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Svetlana Karpova, her husband, and two kids, David (ph) and Maxim (ph), a 11 and 2, David (ph) has autism.
MARQUEZ (on camera): How do you explain what's happening?
KARPOVA: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
MARQUEZ (voice-over): "I explain that there's a war. But they don't really understand," she says. "It's important for David (ph), for both of us, to be with him."
The family from Odessa has now found a house here, and plan to stay. Their lives, up in the air.
KARPOVA: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
MARQUEZ (voice-over): "I hope there will be no people like Putin anymore," she says.
Then adds, in English.
KARPOVA: Putin to Hitler, to Hitler.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): The city of Brasov, in Central Romania's Transylvania region, hosting up to 250 Ukrainian refugees.
FLAVIA BOGHIU, VICE MAYOR OF CITY OF BRASOV: You can see on them, they are being more and more affected, about what's going on.
We've had stories about, with people trying to contact, their beloved ones, for two days, in a row, and seeing them walk around, being worried, about what's going on back home.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): A business center, two weeks ago, now, an oasis of support, a place to sleep, eat, get a change of clothes. There's even a play area, and childcare, all free of charge.
BOGHIU: Next week, we're having a Kindergarten group, starting in Ukrainian, with Ukrainian volunteer.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Natalia Vataman-Tytarenko, is from Mykolaiv, a city under relentless Russian artillery, and rocket attacks.
NATALIA VATAMAN-TYTARENKO, FROM MYKOLAIV LIVES IN BRASOV: Putin (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
MARQUEZ (voice-over): "Putin united Ukraine, with this war," she says. "Ukraine is now united in its tragedy and pain."
Natalia, lives in Brasov. But her sister, cousins, half-brothers, and friends, are all back home, in Ukraine.
VATAMAN-TYTARENKO: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
MARQUEZ (voice-over): "Every morning, when there's an attack," she says, "we check in on our shared chat, to see if everyone is OK."
Anna Polischuk, arrived here, on March 8th, with her daughter, and their friends. Her husband, who was a driver, he is now fighting, on behalf of their country.
ANNA POLISCHUK, FROM KYIV: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
MARQUEZ (voice-over): "We're all worried, especially my daughter," she says. "But there is no other choice. And I'm proud, he's defending our country."
Ukrainians united. Those who come here, leave messages, like "Thank you for the care. All people were nice to us. And we never felt hungry, cold or lonely."
Miguel Marquez, CNN, Brasov, Romania.
COOPER: Yes. We have seen such remarkable images, and stories, and heard stories, of people, just standing up, and helping, reaching out complete strangers.
We'll be right back. More from Ukraine, ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Our coverage continues. I want to turn things over now to Jim Sciutto, who's filling in for Don Lemon.