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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

U.S. Not Sure Who Is Leading Russian Military In Ukraine; Russia Bombards Mariupol, Hundreds Of Thousands Trapped; Biden Speaks With Key Allies Ahead Of Trip To Europe; Russia Bombards Mariupol; Hundreds Of Thousands Trapped; Photojournalist Heidi Levine Captures Ukrainians Suffering, But Standing Together; Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson Vows "Neutral Stance" If Confirmed To U.S. Supreme Court; Ukrainian Girl Who Sang "Let It Go" In Shelter Performs National Anthem. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired March 21, 2022 - 20:00   ET


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And if the United States can't be involved in this, and yet China, you know, goes on the offensive against Boeing airlines and their technical specifications that can already complicate a troubled relationship between the U.S. and China -- Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Absolutely. This is very significant in that regard.

Will, thank you very much.

And thanks to all of you, AC 360 starts now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening and consider this, we still don't know tonight who is leading Russia's war on Ukraine. In fact, multiple sources tell CNN that the U.S. has not even been able to determine if Russia has designated a military commander for the job. In other words, no Norman Schwarzkopf; no Tommy Franks. No name to put to what has become the bloodiest and most destructive conflict in Europe since the Second World War.

We also do not know the number of Russian casualties, which Russia's Defense Ministry has not updated in more than two weeks. However, today, there was a horrifying hint: A Russian tabloid published a report that the Ministry had recorded nearly 10,000 deaths so far in the Russian side, and more than 16,000 wounded.

CNN analyzed the HTML code in the website, which indicates the article was published on Monday at 12:09 AM Moscow time, seconds after CNN read the original article at 9:56 PM Moscow time, the story was then updated and removed all reference to the death count.

Whatever the actual figures, senior Defense officials now say that Russia's campaign is stalled on the ground. It is now being waged primarily by artillery rocket and cruise missile attacks on cities.

This is a look at Kyiv after another night of heavy bombardment. It is worse yet in Mariupol, which was given a deadline this morning to surrender. The answer was no. In Kherson today, peaceful civilian defiance was met by Russian teargas and apparent stun grenade and gunfire at protesters.


(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE speaking in foreign language.)





COOPER: An elderly man was seen their hit in the leg and was taken to a local hospital. Not far from there, Ukrainian forces reportedly on the counteroffensive, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh was in one such contested village under fire where he met two older men who had lived through the last time war came to this part of Europe.


(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: Civilians, they [the Russians] killed all the civilians.

These are bastards, reptiles, parasites.

They don't fight troops, they fight people.

Worse than the fascists. Yes, worse, worse.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: I remember how the Germans attacked us.

They didn't mess with us like this.


COOPER: In Washington, meantime, President Biden who has openly pursued a policy revealing what the Intelligence Community anticipates will happen next, in many cases, reiterated warnings of a potential Russian cyberattack against U.S. infrastructure, saying quote, "The magnitude of Russia's cyber capacity is fairly consequential, and it is coming."

Again a busy night. CNN's Sam Kiley is in Kyiv; in Dnipro, CNN's Ivan Watson; and at the White House, CNN's Kaitlan Collins. But first, a look at the broader contours of the day from CNN's Alex Marquardt.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Across Ukraine, tonight, the sounds and scenes of war. These air raid sirens in the western sanctuary city of Lviv while snow covers the debris after Russian airstrikes destroyed these residential buildings on the other side of the country in Sumy, and in the capital, Kyiv, an overnight attack on a shopping center, which local officials say killed eight.

The besieged port city of Mariupol is emerging as a critical fight in this war. A Ukrainian officer tells CNN that bombs are falling there every 10 minutes. Russian forces bombed an art school being used to shelter, around 400 people according to the City Council, with the number of casualties still unknown.

Satellite images show the aftermath of the bombing of that theater where over a thousand civilians were reportedly sheltering, with the Russian word for "children" written clearly on the ground.

Tonight, Ukraine rejecting a Russian ultimatum to surrender this crucial city, which stands in the way of connecting western Russia to the Crimean peninsula.

The mounting death toll across Ukraine, particularly among civilians is the result of what American and NATO officials see as a stalled Russian military campaign.

LLOYD JAMES AUSTIN III, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: The Ukrainians have continued to trip his forces and they've been very effective using the equipment that we have provided them.

MARQUARDT (voice over) Even in the few cities that Russia has taken, like Kherson, citizens have been bravely protesting.


This shocking video capturing the moment that peaceful protesters were interrupted by Russian gunfire and explosions that left at least one civilian shot and wounded.

Elsewhere, as the Russian forces run into stiff Ukrainian resistance, Russia has escalated their weaponry. U.S. officials now confirming Russian claims it used hypersonic missiles to fly at five times the speed of sound and are difficult for missile defense systems to shoot down.

AUSTIN: I think, again, the reason that he is resorting to using these types of weapons is because he is trying to reestablish some momentum.

MARQUARDT (voice over): The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy says he is ready to speak directly to President Vladimir Putin warning of the disastrous consequences of failure.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I think we have to use any format, any chance in order to have a possibility of negotiating, a possibility of talking to Putin. But if these attempts fail, that would mean that this is a Third World War.

MARQUARDT (voice over): Alex Marquardt, CNN at the State Department.


COOPER: Late update on the mall strike now in Alex's report, Russia's Defense Ministry tonight released drone video purporting to show Ukrainian forces using the shopping center to hide rocket launchers.

They say it also shows Ukrainian rocket systems being used in a nearby open space to fire presumably at Russian aircraft or missiles before moving to the mall.

A CNN team that went to that mall Tuesday observe loud outgoing fire in the area. Additionally, we've reached out to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry about the Russian assertions and about the video.

CNN's Sam Kiley is in Kyiv tonight. So Sam, there is still a curfew in Kyiv. What have you been seeing and hearing today?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've got another 36-hour curfew, Anderson. There was one of these imposed last week, I think largely because the Ukrainians then at any rate, were trying to get on the front foot in terms of their military campaigning, and they had a push, a substantial push in the east of the city, north and west of the city.

Now, we've seen a slight change in the use of these long range ballistic missiles against Kyiv.

Fred Pleitgen was out on the ground today at that location at a shopping mall where the Russians are claiming the Ukrainians also had been storing some kind of weaponry or missile launching systems. A few days prior to that, I was on the ground where a missile have been shot down by the Ukrainians and hit -- the warhead had hit a residential area causing very extensive damage.

I think what we're seeing here is a switch because the Russians can't reach a lot of these civilian areas with anything other than these long range ballistic missiles. They're not able to get at them with the multiple rocket launching systems and even the dumb bombs that their aircraft have been dropping, they're standing off over longer distance, and they are also hitting more and more very important military targets.

Notwithstanding what's happened in Kiev, you saw when you were out here in the west of the country, Anderson, there were missile strikes against training camps, against airfields. So that has been the pattern in the center, and of course in the south of the country.

But we are seeing on an almost daily basis now these very substantial strikes by ballistic missiles -- guided ballistic missiles here in the Ukrainian Capitol -- Anderson.

COOPER: And Kaitlan Collins, what is the latest from President Biden on the war, particularly what he expects next from Russia?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, he has confirmed tonight what we had heard from U.S. officials. They are using these hypersonic missiles there in Ukraine. He talked about the difficulty in stopping those saying it's basically impossible. And so that's been a concern that they obviously have.

But also, Anderson, even here in the United States, President Biden and his top aides are warning tonight about the potential for cyberattacks, saying that Putin kind of feels like he is being backed into a corner and therefore he is more likely to lash out.

And tonight, they seem to have some pretty strong concerns about a cyberattack happening, and so, President Biden was speaking with a business roundtable earlier, a lot of CEOs telling them that they need to make sure these private companies here in the United States are bolstering their security and staying vigilant about the possibility of something like this happening, because he talked about the extent of the capability that Putin has here. He says, it is fairly consequential.

And the President said he does believe this is likely going to happen based on what they've seen. And we should note that the top National Security aide for cyber told reporters earlier, they don't have any Intelligence that an attack on critical infrastructure is imminent, but that is obviously one of the primary concerns that they have.

And so President Biden was basically likening it to a patriotic duty for these companies to make sure that they are prepared for something like this to happen because he says the more -- like Putin feels like he is backed into the corner, the severity of his actions of what they are going to look like in response, not just on the ground in Ukraine, as we've seen, but also potentially here at home.


COOPER: Sam, what is the reaction been to the strike on the shopping mall in Kyiv?

KILEY: Well, here the reaction -- the immediate reaction has been this curfew. Now the reason for that, and this is troubling indeed for the Ukrainian authorities and it goes back to Day One of the war is that there is this deep concern, not just of surveillance by Russian drones, not just pre surveillance prior to the war for the selection of targets, but that there could be active service agents on the ground, calling in these strikes, revealing Intelligence on the ground that is then being fed back to the Russians.

There has been -- there is increasing evidence that this has been going on. Of course, there's also is a great deal of suspicion and tension among Ukrainians, a deep suspicion of foreigners, particularly of journalists. There is a suspicion that Russian agents have been posing as journalists, for example, something that the Ukrainians have been told to look out for, but also of people flying drones, potentially, basically doing battle damage assessment, or worse, still selecting targets and then giving those coordinates back to the Russian headquarters for these targeting by these very precise missiles. These are different order of missile than we've seen used, at least

certainly, in the previous weeks in the early stages of this war -- Anderson.

COOPER: Kaitlan, what is the latest in the President's upcoming trip to Europe?

COLLINS: I don't think it's an overstatement to say it might be the most consequential trip that he takes while in office. He is going -- leaving on Wednesday, going to Brussels. He has got this meeting with about 30 heads of state from NATO on Thursday.

They are obviously going to come out of that talking about what they talked about today on the phone with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, the U.K., which is these brutal tactics that Putin is using on Ukrainian civilians. And so, then he has got several more meetings there.

He is also going to go to Poland and meet with the Polish President given they've taken in about two million refugees since this invasion started from Ukraine. And so all of that is on the table, all of these big options and big discussions that they go are going to have.

And the White House says they are hoping to have some deliverables coming out of this meeting, those concrete takeaways from these meetings between these heads of state, but they're still finalizing them and they are not ready yet.

And I think what you heard from President Biden tonight could shine a light on what that looks like, Anderson, where he said he does not think Ukraine needs any more of the military weapons and what they have right now as far as the capability. He said that the U.S. assessment, NATO assessments based on the rationale of what they actually need, he says they have and it is helping them wreak havoc on the Russian military, though, of course, we should keep in mind, the Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has said they need the MiG 29 fighter jets from Poland. They need a no-fly zone.

He has called on a few things that the White House has said they're still not prepared to do -- Anderson.

COOPER: Kaitlan Collins, Sam Kiley, appreciate it, both of you.

Coming up next, my conversation with a Ukrainian fighter pilot, who is still in the battle long after Russia was expected to completely control the skies.

And later, a report on Mariupol, a city which has seen so much devastation, but is refusing to surrender.



COOPER: One part of the war that we've gotten very little insight into is the battle for the skies, for air superiority. That's why it is important we think you hear from the man I spoke with just before airtime. He is currently a fighter pilot in the Ukrainian Air Force.

He was on standby when we spoke to him in full flight gear and wearing his helmet to partially protect his identity. We agreed to only refer to him by his call sign "Juice."


COOPER: Juice, thank you for joining us. First of all, I have to ask you, where did you get the call sign "Juice"? It sounds like American?

JUICE, UKRAINIAN FIGHTER PILOT: Yes, it's a real American call sign. During my trip in the U.S. a few years ago, my friends from California Air National Guard named me because I don't drink alcohol and every time, you know, in the bars, I just asking for some juice.

COOPER: The Russian Air Force, all the military analysts have said that the Russian Air Force has not been able to get air supremacy. Can you just talk a little bit about why that is?

JUICE: Yes. They're not able to gain full air superiority, but almost full. They have almost full air superiority because we have pretty limited number of air defense systems, a limited number of aircraft, and all our systems are pretty old.

So we are trying to fly. We do everything what we could. We are trying to do best. And Russians have a lot of loss -- losses -- and they have a feel of our air defense. So they are good in flight here just comfortable for them.

So we really fly them as well as we could. But unfortunately, we couldn't gain our air superiority in our skies.

COOPER: So every day, you -- to maintain readiness, you stay in your plane on the ground monitoring the skies in order to respond if necessary.

JUICE: Yes, so I'm sitting just in the aircraft or just in the cockpit and my colleagues from the radar units. They're just giving me the information about targets and I'm taking off and intercepting the targets.

COOPER: What does the Air Force need? Obviously, President Zelenskyy has talked a lot about trying to close the skies that involves both Russian aircraft, but of course also Russian ballistic missiles or artillery, things which are doing great damage to buildings and communities across Ukraine.


JUICE: Yes, so about -- maybe about 90 percent of the damage or disruptions in our cities, it is aviation and missiles, both cruise missiles and ballistic missiles.

So that's why we need to improve our capabilities of our air defense. Both of them, the ground and the air are part of this. So we need a sufficient ground and air defense systems and we need some modern fighter jets to gain the air superiority to do fight effectively against these threats. S-bombers, attackers, helicopters and cruise missiles -- all of it.

COOPER: But let me just ask you a personal question for you. What is it like for you to be in the midst of this, to be facing this overwhelming force? Obviously, Ukrainian fighters have done very well and have been mounting an extraordinary defense. How do you feel to be a part of it?

JUICE: It's just my job. I was trained for this, so I was ready for this -- for this war and I was preparing for this war, as well as my colleagues. So all of us are ready to fight. Just this is -- our jets is our guns, even just in the field with the rifle.

So our people and including me, we are ready to fight Russians and we are ready to defend our country, to defend our people in absolutely any ways, but we need -- we need tools, effective tools to do this efficiently.

COOPER: Juice, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much. Stay safe.

JUICE: Thank you. Thank you, sir.


COOPER: We get perspective now from General Wesley Clark, CNN military analyst, retired Army four-star General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander.

I'm wondering what your reaction is General Clark. Obviously, the challenges the Ukrainian Air Force, I mean, even them getting up into the air has got to be an incredible, incredible risk.

I mean, they are -- their equipment is seems pretty old.

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, they've got older equipment, they've got some experienced pilots. They've got a lot of courage and they're doing a great job with the limited assets they need. That's why they want those MiGs to be brought in. And there's no reason why we can't be collecting MiG 29s from all over the world that have been so leery in getting them in there.

If we can supply an anti-tank missiles on anti-aircraft guns, we can let the Ukrainians fly aircraft. They're doing it now. But that's a decision that has to be made, and I think the pressure is building on the White House to make those kinds of decisions because we have got to be able to help Ukraine hold where it is.

My Ukrainian friends are telling me that they are running short on ammunition, that all the weapons that are promised don't come in on time, I don't know whether it's paperwork hold off or whatever in the United States, but there's a lot of frustration in there.

They are consuming their ammunition and especially artillery ammunition at a higher rate that is being resupplied. So they need help, and they need it badly. Because this is the best way to prevent the escalation that we are so worried about from Mr. Putin.

Finish the war on the ground. Got him on the map, get them.

Now, I'll tell you one thing that I'm hearing, Anderson, is that U.K. is moving out. They've got SAS people in there on the ground. They're working with the Ukrainians. They are identifying those Russian spotters that are bringing in the targets. They're training Ukrainians in and cross border sabotage and starting an insurgency in Russia. This is going to get even tougher on Putin.

And we've just got to do this to finish this. We can't let Mr. Putin sweep over Ukraine with all this humanitarian damage and then move on to the next country. So, he is losing the fight and he knows it.

COOPER: It was interesting to see the Russians release, I'm not sure if it was drone footage, sort of surveillance footage or some sort of satellite surveillance footage, but -- or airplane surveillance footage of what they say were rockets being fired from nearby a mall in Kyiv, whether or not -- and we can't determine exactly what is happening in the video.


We've reached out to Ukrainian forces, but the very fact that Russia is able to have eyes on a block by block area in Kyiv has got to be a great concern to Ukrainians given the amount of fortification that they have been putting in, and it is interesting to hear from our Sam Kiley about sort of on the ground concern, legitimate paranoia about Russian assets already on the ground, or the very least kind of forward observers on the ground inside Kyiv already.

CLARK: Yes, they've had infiltration inside Ukraine for years, Russian agents in there. The Russians always had their agents two or three deep. So you have one that's known, one that's working and not known, and another one that hasn't been activated at all. And these people are still there and they have been augmented.

There is probably some Wagner Group people who have infiltrated into Kyiv, so the Ukrainians know this. They're hunting them down. They're looking for the radio signals. They are looking for other signatures.

But also, it does show that the Russian air network doesn't work that well. They're not able to really integrate their overhead imagery, their UAVs and their fighter missions the way that an American outfit could do.

COOPER: Interesting.

CLARK: Maybe they'll learn how to be able to do that.

COOPER: Yes. General Wesley Clark, appreciate it. Thank you.

Just ahead, we will have the latest on the reports that potentially thousands of civilians in the battered city Mariupol taken by Russian troops back to Russia.

Also how one family was able to escape the shelling and the misery in that city and survived.



COOPER: Russian officials say more than 62,000 residents in Mariupol, one of the hardest hit cities the war had been taken to Russia. CNN has not been able to verify the number. Over the weekend, city officials first mentioned civilians taken to Russia they put the number of quote, several thousand and said they were quote forcibly taken.

Today, President Zelenskyy said that Mariupol is being reduced to ashes his words but that it will survive. Ukraine has rejected a Russian deadline now pass for the besieged city to surrender. Ukrainian officer told CNN the bombs are falling there every 10 minutes.

Ivan Watson has more now in a family who was able to escape the horse (ph).


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Children at play, frolicking in an arcade meant to host games of laser tag. But these are not normal times. The owners here have turned their children's entertainment business into a makeshift shelter, a place to house dozens of Ukrainians who just fled the besieged port city of Mariupol.

DMYTRO SHVETS, FLED MARIUPOL, UKRAINE The last couple of weeks will be like a hell.

WATSON (voice-over): Dmytro Shvets, his wife Tanya and their daughter of Vlada escaped Mariupol on Thursday. They endured weeks of Russian bombardment from artillery and airstrikes.

SHVETS: Each 15, 20 minutes you can listen the airplane. It was like target intended and then the south view (INAUDIBLE).

WATSON (voice-over): Tanya kept a journal, March 2nd, day seven of the war. Nothing's changed, she writes, no electricity or heat, and there's no running water now as well.

They lived in the basement and when they emerged, Tanya took photos and videos have their apartment building, pockmarked with bullet holes, unexploded shells in residential streets. Desperate people looting a bomb damaged store for food from them is water.

SHVETS: (INAUDIBLE) there's no water to drink.

WATSON (voice-over): They scavenge for drinking water pulling buckets from streets sewers.

SHVETS: That time were taking the water from the rainwater. (INAUDIBLE) waiting for the rainwater. WATSON (voice-over): Heavy shelling on nearby houses, Tanya wrote on March 5th, we all went to sleep with a thought of how to survive and stay alive. One day a shell exploded near Dmytro as he stood in line for water.

SHVETS: Bomb fell down and killed like a three people in front of us. One guy was without head who was like taking the water. Another one in the line was like a half overhead. And the last one was killed with my own eyes like not in a general like a three people completely I saw killed and we were making the grave for them.

WATSON (on-camera): (INAUDIBLE) a grave for them.

SHVETS: Dig -- yes.

WATSON (on-camera): In your neighbor?


WATSON (voice-over): Finally, it was all too much.

SHVETS: The last day I saw my father because my mother was completely destroyed mentally. I mean, it was not completed depression was sitting in the cellar and even -- she haven't left the cellar since the beginning of the war, just staying inside, unfortunately. And the last day I saw my father and he begged me like please guys leave, leave somewhere I don't know where just escaped, this escape this and he was crying.

WATSON (voice-over): Dmytro and his wife and daughter piled into a car with friends and spent 15 hours driving through Russian front lines to escape the siege of Mariupol. Their parents refused to leave.

SHVETS: I don't know if I'm going to see my parents or listen to my parents again. I don't know (INAUDIBLE). It's like living from day to day, today, we are live tomorrow maybe not.

WATSON (voice-over): In the relative safety of this arcade built to entertain children, the kids welcome the escape from the conflict.

I really want to say hello to other children. Tanya's seven-year-old daughter Vlada says, and they want the war to end quickly.

Her parents appear haunted, clearly traumatized. Tanya gets a call from her mother in Mariupol weeping and saying goodbye because she fears she will not survive the night.


COOPER: And Ivan Watson joins us now. I mean, just what they've been through and what -- I mean its representative what so many families have been through. What is the latest from Mariupol?

WATSON: Well, local Ukrainian officials say more than 3,000 residents were able to escape today. However, it is a dangerous journey that people are making out in for the most part in their own privately owned cars because other local officials say that at least two children are in critical condition, a total of four wounded in two separate incidents of cars that were fleeing, that then got caught and came under fire, with fleeing civilians injured. Again two children critically injured according to Ukrainian officials.


As for the fighting, it is continuing the Russian defense ministry issued an ultimatum telling Mariupol's Ukrainian defenders to lay down their arms, offering them guarantees of safe passage out of the city. They refused and continue to fight. As one officer told CNN, the struggle for Ukrainian Mariupol continues. And he claimed that at least two Russian tanks were destroyed in the last 24 hours. But the position of those defenders is dire. They are surrounded by a much larger Russian force and we're not seeing signs from Ukraine of an effort to break the siege. So the battle the modern day siege continues, and we simply do not know how many Ukrainian civilians are continuing to be hiding in their basements cowering under this ongoing Russian bombardment.

COOPER: I mean, the men burying three people while they were waiting in line for water, it's extraordinary. Ivan Watson, appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up, photojournalist Heidi Levine joins us working for The Washington Post and key for images have captured the people fighting this war that you can't ever forget. She'll share what she has seen in the last few days through her lens.



COOPER: Last week while I was in Ukraine, I was fortunate enough to speak with photojournalist Heidi Levine of The Washington Post who spent decades chronicling war and conflict. Images she's captured this war, stunning and powerful, and they're a record of people suffering but also how people are standing together.

I'm please, Heidi Levine, come join us once again.

For being with us, I want to talk about some of the images the things you have been seeing just overall, though, how are things in Kyiv over the last several days? How has it been working there?

HEIDI LEVINE, PHOTOJOURNALIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, actually, we've had a lot more missile strikes on the city and including this last night. And I think in general access is becoming more difficult, especially because so many journalists have been wounded and killed. You know, I just want to get back to not my problems with access or my colleagues, but really what's going on for the people here in Ukraine. I worked on a story about Ukraine's women and I have met incredible women including my own producer and assistant Ola (ph) who has been a great force behind my work and the team of for The Washington Post here.

COOPER: You met a woman in Daria also who whose apartment was damaged --

LEVINE: Right.

COOPER: -- by a suspected Russian missile strike. Can you just talk about her? I mean, the images again, are so powerful.

LEVINE: Daria is a soldier in the Ukraine's territorial defense force together with her husband. And when I met her, she was at one of the blog posts in uniform and arm, she actually started to learn that she, she learned how to use a weapon since she was a small child. And then, about 10 days later, when I was covering one of the missile strikes on a residential area, she could she saw me and she came up to me and she said, You have to come see my apartment. I can't believe that, that my own apartment was hit.

And so, I went with her reclined to the eighth floor of her apartment building. And it wasn't completely destroyed. But there was definitely a lot of damage. And it's just amazing that you get to see how the war impacts a person's life.

COOPER: You also met a young woman who's a makeup artist, I think and a teacher before the invasion.

LEVINE: Right, her name is Olena and she, I met her also at a blog post. And she's beautiful. She had beautiful makeup on as well. She had a bubbly personality and, and she's also a medic, and she told us that because she's a makeup artist she's not afraid to touch people or touch their face, and even if somebody is wounded, and she just gives a lot of personality to the people around her too. She has a lot of positive energy. It's not just joining the military, but you have women helping the forces whether they're volunteering to cook or help take care of people volunteer in different ways.

I met also an incredible woman named Victoria at the destroyed bridge in Irpin who was carrying a small baby, helping a family that was fleeing from Irpin. She's been working in combat since 2015, originally in the east. She also has the experience of working in the burn hospital. And she's actually started to teach how battlefield medicine to other new members of the Territorial Defense Force.

So, I mean, I've met so many incredible women in the fields that it's amazing.

COOPER: We saw some of your pictures also of people making Molotov cocktails which that that effort --

LEVINE: Right.

COOPER: -- began very early on in during the invasion and continues. I mean, this is actually --

LEVINE: Right.

COOPER: -- quite an effective weapon in a situation like this.

LEVINE: I mean, it's almost like a makeshift factory, people are collecting thousands of empty wine bottles and other bottles. It's all so well organized.


COOPER: Heidi Levine, I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

LEVINE: Thank you so much for having me. And I want to thank everyone that I've met here for letting me into their lives to tell their stories.

COOPER: Yes. It is a remarkable thing that that your -- that all journalists are able to do in a situation like this to be allowed into people's lives at this moment in their lives.

LEVINE: Yes, and actually, I mean, I'm really grateful that I'm able to do this and very committed to continuing.

COOPER: Yes. Heidi Levine. Heidi, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

LEVINE: Thank you.

COOPER: Well more Ukraine coming up. But next the history making day on Capitol Hill confirmation hearings begin for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first black woman nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court.


COOPER: Historic day on Capitol Hill, confirmation hearing started for the first black woman nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson who sits on DC federal appellate court will face four days of hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Day one for the nominee started with an opening statement where she shared her personal story in what she says she'll bring to the court.



KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: Members of this Committee if I am confirmed, I commit to you that I will work productively to support and defend the Constitution amidst grand experiment of American democracy that has endured over these past 246 years. I have been a judge for nearly a decade now. And I take that responsibility and my duty to be independent very seriously. I decide cases from a neutral posture. I evaluate the facts, and I interpret and apply the law to the facts of the case before me without fear or favor, consistent with my judicial oath.


COOPER: And Judge Jackson serves as a clerk for the man she hopes replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer. Democrats are touting her groundbreaking nomination qualifications and Republicans are questioning her support from left wing groups in her record on crime.

Joining us now, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Florida Democrat Val Demings. Congresswoman, thanks so much for being with us. Watching Judge Jackson, in her opening remarks. How significant and historic was that moment in your mind?

REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): Well Anderson, it's great to be back with you. And let me just say this, we are Florida proud. You know, when I watched Judge Jackson enter the hearing room, I cannot help but think about every little girl, particularly black girls, I know we're inspired by this moment. But quite frankly, every man who is raising a daughter should have been inspired by this very, very historical moment.

Look, Judge Jackson has a spectacular record, and impeccable credentials, and I know that she is prepared for a time such as this. But I got to tell you, we were Florida proud today and quite frankly, all of America should be proud of this moment.

COOPER: You're a former member of law enforcement yourself. I wonder what do you make of some of the Republican line of attack that Judge Jackson essentially soft on crime.

DEMINGS: Well, you know, Anderson and I think that there are senators in that courtroom who have different agendas. But what I can tell you is that whatever their agenda, Judge Jackson is prepared. Look, she was endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police on which I have been a member endorsed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which I've been a member, endorsed by the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, of which I have been a member. So surely, I think that regardless of what agendas some individuals senators came with, today, I think those endorsements speak very loudly. And let us not forget the fact that she comes from a law enforcement, family.

And so, I so appreciate what Judge Jackson said today about how she applies the law without favor or fear. And I think that she is more than qualified to sit on the bench on the Supreme Court of the United States. And I'm excited about today and the days ahead.

COOPER: You know, in the past, to become a federal judge, she has received bipartisan praise and bipartisan endorsements in the past. Does that guarantee you think her being getting this endorsement?

DEMINGS: Well, I think Judge Jackson will do in this confirmation hearing what she has always done, she has earned her way. Look, she's done what we say you should do when America, work hard and play by the rules. She has earned this moment, this spot where she is in. And so yes, the Senate certainly has seen her before they questioned her before. And they've confirmed to her, as you've indicated three times, two times unanimously, but I'm sure look, this is for the Supreme Court in the land. I'm sure that she will -- she has gone there this week, and will continue to answer the questions are set before her regardless of what they are.

But I believe that the court if they look at her record, look at her credentials, look at her experience, and judge her in a fair and impartial way, she will receive confirmation from the Senate. COOPER: Congresswoman Val Demings, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

DEMINGS: Thank you.

COOPER: You may remember some video that we played a week or two ago in Ukraine, a little girl singing, Let It Go in Ukrainian bomb shelter. She took an even bigger stage over the weekend. We'll bring you that next.



COOPER: Another moment of grace amid the darkness to bring you tonight, from a seven-year-old Ukrainian girl named Amellia. You may remember earlier this month we showed you Amellia singing a popular song Let It Go while in a bomb shelter in Kyiv. Here's that moment again.




COOPER: So sweet, obviously let it go from Disney movie Frozen. Amellia told a woman in the shelter that she dreamed of being on a big stage. And the woman said well, why not now in the bomb shelter, and that's when she sang.

Well since then according to BBC, Amellia got out of Ukraine she's now with her grandmother in Poland. That's where over the weekend her dream came true to sing on a big stage. Here she is singing the Ukrainian national anthem Sunday night for an audience of thousands in a benefit concert called Together with Ukraine.





COOPER: Well done Amellia. Thank you again.

Stay with CNN for the latest on Ukraine. The news continues. Let's hand it over to Laura Coates in "CNN TONIGHT."