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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Zelenskyy Calls Russian The Source Of Evil For Attacks On Civilians; Ruling On Public Transpiration Mask Mandate Causes Confusion For Travelers Across The Country; CNN Visits A Hospital On The Front Lines Of The Russian Invasion; Ukrainian Officers On The Front Lines Suffer From Concussions Caused By Artillery Bombardments; Patrick Lyoya Family Attorneys: Autopsy Shows Lyoya Was Shot In The Back Of The Head After Encounter With Officer. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired April 19, 2022 - 20:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Jackson is not only a Member of Congress, you will also remember he was the White House physician who gave then President Donald Trump a glowing bill of health and kind of became famous for it even saying that he might live to be 200 years old.

I'm Kate Bolduan. Thanks so much for joining us.

AC 360 starts now.



Just a short time ago, Ukraine's President Zelenskyy spoke out about Russia's increasing efforts to occupy territory in the east of Ukraine and the Russian way of war.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Forever, the Russian Army will be written in history as the most barbaric and inhumane army in the world. The targeted killing of civilians and destruction of residential buildings with all kinds of weapons, including those that are forbidden by international conventions, this is just a trademark of the Russian Army, and this will truly mark the Russian Federation as the source of evil.


COOPER: For his part, Russia today said the war in Ukraine has entered a new phase, only they still continue to refuse to use that word calling it a war, quoting the Russian Foreign Minister, "Another stage of this operation is beginning and I'm sure this will be a very important moment of this entire special operation," end quote.

Well, it certainly is an important moment. He is not wrong about that, but it is important to understand the reality of this moment. These moments were captured in Ukraine's second largest city, Kharkiv, in a residential neighborhood, people dead after Russian bombardments. A military official there says the shelling has intensified in at

least four districts in the city, those images from The Associated Press.

These moments come to us from Reuters, again, another residential neighborhood in Kharkiv. And again, human beings, neighbors, friends, mothers and fathers dead lying in the streets from Russian bombardments.

It's another example of why one aid to Ukraine's President Zelenskyy told CNN there is not a single place safe in Ukraine, and we should point out that while Russia and Ukraine agree that the war has entered a new phase, a U.S. Defense Department official today says that the battles we are seeing in the east, quote "are preludes to larger offensive operations." In other words, the violence is about to get worse and this is just a run up to it.

Already, the town of Kreminna has fallen, that's in the Eastern Luhansk region. A Ukrainian military official says the civilians are trying to evacuate even as shelling occurs quote, "from all directions."

In the bombed out city of Mariupol, a Ukrainian Commander who says he and other soldiers and civilians are holed up in a steel factory surrounded by Russian forces spoke with CNN today calling the situation critical, "We have only a few days or even hours left," he said. He asked for a third country to be allowed to extract civilians and military who are in that factory with dwindling supplies and desperate medical needs. Ukrainian officials said that Russian forces had begun bombing and shelling the factory.

Also Ukrainians released a tape captured by their security services, it is something CNN of course has not been able to verify independently, it appears to show or you'll hear a Russian soldier speaking with a woman about the horrors yet to come from Mariupol.


(Two Unidentified people speaking in foreign language.)


PERSON 1: We are expecting some surprises from Russia here.

PERSON 2: What kinds of surprises?

PERSON 1: Three ton ones from the sky said to level everything to the ground.

PERSON 2: Will there be some kind of explosion?

PERSON 1: They said to level everything to the ground.


PERSON 1: They are being bombed in bombed. They are knocking them out.


COOPER: They said to level everything to the ground. That is what the man said in that tape and that's why Ukrainians believe that what happens at the east and in the south may determine the future of their country.

The White House says that President Biden and world leaders spoke about the situation on a secure video call today reiterating their commitment to aid Ukraine, and there is later word tonight that the administration is preparing another $800 million weapons package.

We have live reports in the central and eastern parts of the country tonight, Ed Lavandera is in Kyiv, the capital; Clarissa Ward in the Donbas region in the east.

We start with Ed Lavandera and the story of one son's desperation.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Oleksii Karuk is searching for answers in a place where answers were buried or bombed, but Alexei must find his father.

Igor Karuk (ph) disappeared while helping a friend escape the warzone west of Kyiv.

(OLEKSII KARUK speaking in foreign language.)

LAVANDERA (voice over): "He talked about it so lightheartedly that I felt like everything would be all right. We didn't have information that civilians were being shot," so I wasn't worried.

LAVANDERA (on camera): On March 8th, at eight o'clock in the morning, you got seven different texts from your dad. What did they say?

OLEKSII KARUK, SEARCHING FOR HIS FATHER: He said that he is going to drive here near Borodyanka. He has to take his friend and to bring him to Kyiv.

LAVANDERA: What did you write back to him?

KARUK: I asked him to, so be careful, to care for himself and that's all.

LAVANDERA (voice over): Those were the last words father and son exchanged.


LAVANDERA (voice over): Oleksii is joined by his father's friend, Andriy Filin. They're looking for Igor's car, hunting for clues in the neighborhoods ravaged by Russian forces, putting up pictures of the 48-year-old father of two boys, hoping someone has answers. Unraveling the mysteries of what happened to countless missing people

is another horrific chapter in this war, in the aftermath of Russia's siege around Kyiv, Oleksii and Andrei are on their own to find Igor.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: Maybe his car was stolen? Things like that were happening here.

(ANDRIY FILIN speaking in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: We have information that his phone was here, not just the car.

LAVANDERA (on camera): How difficult is it to do this? So many days searching and searching and no answers?

ANDRIY FILIN, FRIEND OF MISSING FATHER: I don't know what because we didn't know where he may be.

LAVANDERA (voice over): This map shows the ground they have covered looking for Igor, but so far every question leads to another dead end.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language)

TRANSLATION: I didn't see an Opel car left on the road or gas station.

(ANDRIY FILIN speaking in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: We have been driving around looking for it, but we haven't found it.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: There is a lot near the police station.

LAVANDERA (voice over): That lead didn't help.

Then the men discovered for civilian cars scorched on a quiet road, inside one of the cars, human bones were visible. Andriy thought one of the cars might be Igor's.

LAVANDERA (on camera): When you arrived here, and you saw this, what did you feel?

FILIN: I just cry. I don't see anything because I cried.

LAVANDERA (voice over): It wasn't Igor Karuk's car.

FILIN: It's not his car.

LAVANDERA (on camera): Do you still think you can find him alive?

KARUK: Hope dies the last.

LAVANDERA: Hope dies last?


LAVANDERA (voice over): The search continues for this father who vanished in the war.


COOPER: "Hope dies last," Ed Lavandera joins us now from Kyiv and Clarissa Ward is in the Donbas region in the east.

Clarissa, before Ed's piece, we played a clip of what is purported to be a Russian soldier talking about how he received order to level everything to the ground at the steel factory in Mariupol that is said to be housing civilians, as well as soldiers, many of whom are in desperate need of medical attention.

I just want to play this recording again. Again, this was released by Ukrainian Security Services.


(Two Unidentified people speaking in foreign language.)


PERSON 1: We are expecting some surprises from Russia here.

PERSON 2: What kinds of surprises?

PERSON 1: Three ton ones from the sky said to level everything to the ground.

PERSON 2: Will there be some kind of explosion?

PERSON 1: They said to level everything to the ground.


PERSON 1: They are being bombed in bombed. They are knocking them out.


COOPER: Do we know the current situation there because it seems like it is centering on the steel plant.


CNN has actually spoken with the Ukrainian Commander who is inside the Azovstal Steel Plant along with hundreds of civilians who are reportedly there taking cover. He described the situation as being absolutely critical at this moment, and he essentially implored any third country to come forward and try to broker some kind of an extraction agreement. He urged America in particular, he said this is a strong country with

a strong leader, President Joe Biden, and he was essentially begging for the U.S. to take a sort of primary role in trying to get these people out safely. He said, "This is a matter of utmost urgency. This may be the last time you hear my voice. We have possibly a few days, but probably a few more hours before we could potentially all die."

There are people with injuries inside that steel plant. There are people who have various needs. There's not enough food, there is not enough water. We don't know how many Ukrainian forces are still holed up in there, but clearly, it is a dire situation and looking more and more bleak by the moment -- Anderson.

COOPER: Ed, in your piece, it is so, you know, it is one family, one son looking for his father, and that is a story which is repeated thousands, if not tens of thousands of times in Ukraine now every single day with people who have been separated, who don't know where another loved one may be.


LAVANDERA: And this is in an area, Anderson, that has been freed of Russian occupation. There is still so much of this country that remains under Russian occupation where we don't even have a full extent of the horrors that have occurred there.

But in these areas around Kyiv, where the Russian forces are gone, there is just an overwhelming amount of work that is being done. There are investigators combing through neighborhoods, digging up graves of people, unidentified bodies are stacking up in the morgue, no real system in place yet to be able to kind of clear all of this information and get the answers to these families.

The amount of DNA testing that will be needed to confirm the identities of people and connect them with their loved ones is just an overwhelming monumental task at this moment.

COOPER: And Clarissa, there were reportedly no civilian corridors open today. I know you visited a town on the eastern front earlier. What did you see? How many people are there and want to try to get out if they can?

WARD: Well, we are still here in this town of Bakhmut, it is less than 20 miles away from the town of Popasna, where some of the heaviest fighting has been underway throughout the day. Russian forces pushing into that area, volunteers desperately trying to get civilians out who want to evacuate, but the problem that they're finding again and again, Anderson, is that people make the decision to evacuate once it is already too late to safely evacuate them.

So today, when we were walking around and talking to the handful of people who were lining up outside an ATM to get out some cash and asking them what they were still doing there, when you could clearly hear artillery, granted in the distance, but it is clear the trajectory for this Russian offensive, and they would all tell you the same thing. Well, we're listening very carefully. When it gets too close, maybe we'll leave, but we don't want to leave.

This is a poor area, Anderson. People have worked very hard to buy their homes. They don't want to leave them. They've seen some of the scenes that you saw in Ed's piece there, the kind of mayhem that was left behind after Russian forces finally did depart and you could see the amount of looting and stealing and destruction that had taken place.

And because of that, in part, people here are reluctant to leave their homes. They feel that they can stick it out. They've been living through eight years of war here already. This is definitely a different, much more intensified phase. But they are hardy, resilient people and they believe that they can get through it, and that is creating a really challenging dynamic for Ukrainian authorities here who are desperately imploring people to leave and who are still seeing quite a few holdouts.

I'll give you an example. The region of Luhansk, it usually would have about 350,000 people living there, it's gone down to 70,000 now, that's a dramatic decrease, Anderson, that's still 70,000 people who are potentially going to be in danger as this offensive gets underway.

COOPER: Clarissa Ward, Ed Lavandera, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Just ahead, a mom in a basement in Kyiv with three kids. Olena Gnes is her name. We've talked to her for weeks now. Now, her husband has been defending Kyiv, may soon be heading to the fighting in the east.

One family's view of the war.

Also breaking news about the lifting of the mask mandate for travelers in the U.S. The Department of Justice weighing in whether or not they're going to challenge it.


COOPER: We learned today that Kyiv's Deputy Mayor has requested 200,000 gas masks in case of a chemical attack. The life in Kyiv has certainly gotten better, but there is still much to be fearful of.

Just before airtime, I spoke with Olena Gnes who has appeared a number of times in our show. Her husband may have to leave his job defending Kyiv and head out to the battle out east. I spoke to her earlier.


COOPER: Olena, thank you so much for agreeing to talk again. How are you and how are your family doing?

OLENA GNES, UKRAINIAN IN KYIV: Oh, hi. Very glad to see you again. It looks like we are fine. We're all alive, not wounded. It's already 50 days that Ukraine keeps the resistance more and more countries support us, giving us more weapons.

And it look like our army is using these weapons wisely. Yes, and it looks like we will we will get to the victory in Ukraine.

COOPER: We played last night a video from Mariupol that was taken by Ukrainian military forces in a basement and it was children, it was the kids probably 10, 11, 12 years old, and just to hear them, to see them, you know stuck in this basement around the clock all eagerly, you know the person behind the camera asked them if they wanted to go somewhere else and they all said yes.

It was just so heartbreaking to see the life inside this basement and then to know what the city above them looks like, a city they probably would not even recognize right now because it has been so destroyed.

GNES: I don't even imagine how they feel. You see, when I was stuck in the basement in Kyiv, I like had a lot of hope. You know I was more sure that we will survive, you know.

But those guys in Mariupol they are like -- you know what I mean? Yes?


GNES: We all understand for so long -- for so long, there was no -- no any. It's very hard to keep your hope for them.

COOPER: I know your husband had volunteered to defend and protect Kyiv, and that's what he and so many others have been doing. I understand he is now actually part of the military, he has a uniform finally. Are you concerned that he might have to go to the east?


GNES: Yes, I am concerned and this is the reality. So there are two options. One option he states in Kyiv, like patrolling, where it is relatively safe right now, or he is sent to the east, because some other people from Kyiv Territorial Defense are sent to the east already.

Yes, I am concerned. But he said that he will go if needed.

COOPER: The choices that your family is forced to make, the choices that so many families across Ukraine are forced to make, individuals are forced to make, they don't make the headlines, but that is what is one of the horrors of war -- these impossible choices, these unfair choices one is forced to make are asked to me.

GNES: I don't know. I don't think he said he was hesitating much about what he should do. He is just following what his consciousness tells him, how to call it.

COOPER: He is following his conscience.

GNES: Let's say, I wasn't surprised when he said that he would -- he will go.

COOPER: Yes. You met him -- you've been together 15 years. I understand, it was just your 15th Anniversary, and can you talk a little bit about how you met? I mean, you were both -- I mean, you're young now, but you were so young. You were like 21, weren't you?

GNES: Yes, we were students. Basically, we were -- we met when we were even younger, when we were like 18 or 19 years old. Yes, but we started you know, three years after we were friends once upon -- like one evening he just asked me, "Can I kiss you?" And yes, I said yes and that was the best decision I've ever done in my life.

COOPER: Well, I heard another story which that you were both studying French and that he actually -- that his first kind of ask of you was in French?

GNES: Yes, yes. Like he approached me so, you know, a beautiful young man and asked me like, "Voulez-vous vous promener avec moi?"

COOPER: Will you go for a walk with me?

GNES: Yes, exactly. Since then, I started to learn French better. We spent our honeymoon in Paris and right now, Katya, she learns French, too. She started school where they learn like French.

COOPER: What a walk you two have been on together all these years.

GNES: I didn't expect to have three children with him.

COOPER: And Darina is crawling now. I saw a video that you put on YouTube. I mean that's such a huge thing.

GNES: Oh yes. Oh yes. Darina is crawling right now. They see their fish, she seems surprised herself that she is crawling, but she is basically doing this faster and faster every day. And well, now it's getting much more complicated you know with her because she is demanding something exactly. She wants to get it, she wants to put it into her mouth especially somebody's shoes for example.

COOPER: Yes, shoes was I think my son's, Wyatt's first word and he still is obsessed with shoes and boots and he comments about everybody's shoes and yes. Olena Gnes, I so appreciate you talking to us as always, and I wish you and your family the best.

GNES: Thank you, Anderson. Thank you.

COOPER: All right, and Happy Anniversary.

GNES: Thanks.


COOPER: Olena posts a lot about her life and her family's life in the war on her -- on a YouTube channel. The title is "What is Ukraine."

Just ahead, is Russia's war exposing the country's weaknesses? "New York Times" columnist Tom Friedman thinks so, he joins us next.


[20:28:06] COOPER: The Pentagon today indicated that at least a thousand more

Russian troops have entered the eastern Ukraine in the last 24 hours. Their military's poor performance around Kyiv is the subject of "The New York Times" Tom Friedman's latest column, "China and Russia are Giving Authoritarianism a Bad Name," is the title.

Friedman compares Russia's setbacks to separate ones endured by China in their vaccines and the way they've handled COVID. He writes, "In short, both Moscow and Beijing find themselves suddenly contending with much more powerful and relentless forces and systems than they ever anticipated, and the battles are exposing to the whole world and to their own people the weaknesses of their own systems, so much so that the world now has to worry about instability in both countries."

Tom Friedman, who is also the author of bestsellers, including "The Lexus and the Olive Tree," joins us now.

One of the things you wrote toward the end of your piece, you said, "The high coercion, authoritarian systems are low information systems, so they often drive blind more than they realize." It's refreshing to hear that because I think there has been a lot of talk over the past years that people looking at authoritarian systems, as if they had some great advantage over democracies."

THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, FOREIGN AFFAIRS COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": No, there is no question, Anderson, that the emergence of cyber tools, you know, facial recognition tools, social networks, drones, they seem to make these efficient authoritarians even more efficient, and they seem to make democracies more ungovernable, up to a point.

And what we saw with Putin was that, you know, he basically beat up a bunch of ragtag armies in Syria, Grozny, Georgia, but he never really faced a Western Army, Western trained with precision weapons.

COOPER: Also, as you pointed out in previous articles, he was able to do that in Grozny and able to do that in Aleppo and elsewhere because there weren't enough -- there were some very, very, very brave reporters who were there covering it and photographers, but the world was not watching closely day after day and the citizens did not have cellphone cameras that they were uploading and we weren't seeing this flood of images from those places.


FRIEDMAN: Exactly, which was another restraining force on him in Ukraine that didn't exist in these other theaters. So he had a system basically, that was up against weak systems in all of these wars over the last decade. And he basically thought the same thing was going to happen in Ukraine. And instead, he triggered a war with a very strong system that is the Ukrainian one highly motivated, but trained for almost a decade now, and backed with some of the most sophisticated weapons, but also training on those weapons to operate in very small groups against a very masked Russian military, armor, you know, brigades and, and he got his nose bloodied. Even more so Anderson, it's hard for us to appreciate because we couldn't see the battle. It is impossible to exaggerate how what a loss it was for Russia, that their command ship, their most advanced naval warship was sunk in the Black Sea by a Ukrainian missile, which was never used in war, before, it was probably a prototype. Now you have a cascade of things wrong to do that this ship not only failed to operate its air defenses, this ship was responsible for all the air defenses of the rest of the Russian fleet. So I would not have wanted been the Russian Admiral, when to call Putin this was have been -- this was said to be his favorite ship, and say, a boss, sorry, it went down in the blacks.

COOPER: There were early on in the pandemic, I think I saw a video online and it was a Dr. Oz, I think when he was still a TV doctor, you know, saying what China's doing, we should just replicate that here of locking down these places. And as you write about, that's the example of China in this which, you know, and their vaccine has not proved as efficacious as other vaccines developed in the U.S. and elsewhere. And that it's, you said in the article, you say I'm worried sick about our own democratic system, but as long as we can still vote out and competent leaders and maintain the information ecosystems that will expose systematic lying, and defy censorship, we can adapt in an age of rapid change. And that's the single most important competitive advantage a country can have today.

FRIEDMAN: You know, if you think about Anderson in the last little less than a decade, the leaders of the three most powerful countries in the world all tried to extend their terms. In effect, unconstitutionally, one was named Donald Trump. The second was named Vladimir Putin, and the third was named Xi Jinping. Now, our system restrained Trump from doing that, and eventually evicted him from office. It worked to our benefit, I believe, but the Russian and Chinese systems couldn't do that. Now that the claim of these leaders to be presidents for life, both Xi and Putin is that they're infallible. I mean, why else would you want someone to be president for life? He or she is infallible. They know, they know everything.

And so, is very threatening to the president China when the strategy he chose and we have to give China credit at some level. I mean, it was credit the use of its authoritarian system to lock down the country, but it did keep its economy going for those two years and a lot of people have free of COVID but it was all built on not acquiring any natural immunity. And when it when it turned out their vaccines were not that good and Omicron overwhelmed it and no one had natural immunity, they were left with nothing else but to shut down, locked down the basically the biggest financial center not only in China, but probably in the world call Shanghai.

COOPER: Yes. Tom Friedman, appreciate as always, thank you.


COOPER: We'll have more on the war in Ukraine later.

Up next, travelers across the country filling filled with confusion and excitement as many people ditch their masks with a mask mandate for public transportation no longer in effect, but the decision overturning the mandate could be appealed soon. Details on that ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


COOPER: With a mask mandate no longer in effect for travelers, the Justice Department this evening said they will appeal Monday's court ruling that overturn the public transportation mask mandate if the CDC determines the requirement is still need it. Just moments ago the CDC said they're still weighing if the mask mandate is needed to protect public health. This comes after the Department of Health and Human Service secretary said the Biden administration will likely appeal the Court decision.

But as the White House navigates the chaos surrounding the ruling there's also confusion for travelers with inconsistent masking rules across different airports and transit systems.

CNN's aviation correspondent Pete Muntean has the story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mask will be optional this evening for all crew passengers as well.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Onboard celebrations across the country but also confusion within the travel industry that is facing a new patchwork of mask rules. Some airports will still require masks such as New York's Kennedy and LaGuardia, even though nearby Newark Airport will not. Mask will also be required on New York subway system as well as other mass transit systems that impose their own rules.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was not an orderly shift. This is not the way that you move public policy.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): The sweeping new changes come during a spring break travel surge. The latest TSA numbers say more than 11 million people flew nationwide over the long Easter weekend. With what could be a huge summer travel season on the horizon, the CDC remains firm on its guidance telling travelers to continue to wear masks, even in the absence of a federal mandate.

LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Just because this ruling was made by a judge doesn't mean that suddenly the science has changed.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): In her decision, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle likened the mandate to detention and quarantine the U.S. airlines that had previously banned thousands of passengers for violating mask rules are now letting them decide for themselves with mask optional policies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're comfortable than mask. I feel very safe especially since airplanes are one of the safest indoor places.

[20:40:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even in traveling here in Benin downtown in New York and everybody not wearing able to not wear masks and things, I felt much more comfortable keeping mine on.


MUNTEAN: United Airlines alone banned about thousand passengers for not following its mask rules. Now the airline says that some of those passengers will be able to fly again. The airline says it's reviewing those cases on a case by case basis. But what's so interesting here, Anderson is that massive and a huge driver of unruly passenger incidents. The latest FAA data says about 70% of those incidents this year have been because of mask. Anderson.

COOPER: Pete Muntean, appreciate it. Thanks.

Joining me now is former federal prosecutor and CNN chief legal analyst Jeff Toobin. So how likely you think it is that the ruling will actually be appealed by the Department of Justice?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Anderson, I have to say I've never heard or seen a statement like this from the Justice Department. It's very peculiar the way they just sort of pushed the hot potato over to the CDC. The CDC has to decide whether they think the ban has to be reinstated just for the following two weeks. That's only -- that's the only issue before the CDC. If you listen to President Biden today, he got a little off message. But I think he was channeling what the decision might be. He said, look, it's up to passengers, whether they want to wear whether they want to wear masks, and that seems to weigh the way the way the CDC is going, which would mean the Department of Justice does not appeal and simply lets the mask requirement expire now, as opposed to on March -- on May 3rd.

COOPER: Does this -- I mean, have this impact and does have a precedent on the books here?

TOOBIN: Well, that's the real argument for an appeal here, because the Justice Department has to be worried that this will be a precedent that limits the ability of the CDC to act in emergencies. And other judges have decided this exact issue in a different way. So, there are other precedents out there that the Justice Department could point to, but the risk of not appealing is leaving this ruling on the books and limiting the flexibility of the CDC in the future. But today's statement suggests that's a risk the Department of Justice is willing to take if the CDC thinks it's OK to get rid of mask till May 3rd.

COOPER: I mean, the there would be a risk, I guess if the Justice Department went and lost the appeal, I mean, if they did file it, and then they lost the appeal, that could send a sudden some sort of a precedent as well.

TOOBIN: And this case would be appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is one of the more conservative courts of appeals. So the odds of a loss are higher here than they would be in another part of the country. So that's probably figuring into why the Justice Department is somewhat reluctant to appeal. But that just underlines how politicized of course our courts have become. Democratic appointees and Republican appointees on the federal bench are seeing things in increasingly different ways. This was a new Republican appointee, and she ruled against the Biden administration.

COOPER: Jeff Toobin, appreciated. Thanks.

And more ahead on this next phase of the battle in Ukraine. Our Ben Wedeman visits a hospital on the front lines and two retired U.S. generals offered their assessment on whether this time Russia is battle ready.



COOPER: As we reported earlier, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy said tonight that the Russian army will be remembered as the source of evil for its attacks on civilians and written in history as the most barbaric and inhumane army in the world. That was his words. As he signaled that Russian fire towards Kharkiv and Donbass has signaled -- significantly increased soldiers on the front lines are facing new challenges.

Our senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman visited one of the hospitals on the front line. Here's his report.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One operation ends and another begins, this time a soldier wounded on the front line. Even here, glass doors must be taped to minimize shattering in case of bombing. Sandbags cover the windows.

(on-camera): The director of this hospital says thanks to help from abroad they do not lack for medicine, or equipment. What they desperately need is neurosurgeons.

(voice-over): That in a war where intense bombardment is the norm. These men are recovering in a special unit specializing in treating concussions sustained in artillery bombardments. When shelling is just steps away, the damage is invisible, but it's there. They suffer from intense headaches, nausea, dizziness, and disorientation.

Am I tired a bit says Roman (ph), who twice has suffered concussions. Not all wounds bleed.


COOPER: That was CNN senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman from a hospital near the front lines.

I want to bring in retired Brigadier General Peter Zwack, a former U.S. Defense Attache to Russia and retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, former Army commanding general of Europe and seventh army and CNN military analyst as well. General Hertling, I'm just wondering, you've obviously been, you know, assessing Russia's army, the Russian army approach to logistics. We've seen all the failures, though, of the supplying troops getting medical support for soldiers injured on the front lines. As this war enters a new phase focusing on the Donbass regions, how do you think it's going to change? And do you think they have -- is Russia capable of learning from their mistakes because that will would be ominous obviously for Ukrainian forces.


LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, the first part Anderson is, you know, how is it going to change? I think Ben Wedeman's report very (INAUDIBLE) from the standpoint of you're going to see a lot of artillery fire. It's called shaping operations. It contributes to the final decisive operations in the way Russia shapes the battlefield is usually with artillery and a lot of it and close air support.

Ben's report also talks about the psychological and physical effects of what happens to soldiers under that intensifier. What he just described in terms of the intense headaches, nausea and disorientation is what the U.S. military has found to be mild traumatic brain injury, and it's the effects of not only the physical ramifications of artillery strikes, but also the psychological and the fear that's induced through constantly being under artillery. That's what the civilians, the citizens of Ukraine have felt in places like Mariupol. But now we're going to see it along the front line against the soldiers of Ukraine.

Has Russia learned they have attempted to reduce the amount of battlespace they're operating in, they will still have failures in the ability to execute combined arms operation. But truthfully, it doesn't take much to fire a lot of artillery. And they've been doing that for weeks now.

COOPER: General Zwack, a senior U.S. defense officials tell CNN they assess Russia now has 78 battalion tactical groups in Ukraine and it's continuing to build up. What do you make of the forces they've assembled? And how do you see what the battle is going to look like?

BRIG. GEN. PETER ZWACK (RET.), FMR U.S. DEFENSE ATTACHE TO RUSSIA: Yes, so numerically, it is substantial, but not overwhelming. And I would say this is a likely a polyglot force. There are units that are being brought in that are relatively fresh. The majority of them have already been in the fight. And if they've been coming over some been coming over from Kyiv and the Belarus front, they've been mangled and quickly reconstituted. And you've got probably serious PTSD in those some of those units. So, you're going to have different levels of quality that what, what General Hertling mentioned that artillery can somewhat offset.

And this is in your footage just now. You saw trundling up BM-21 Grads these are multiple rocket launchers. They're -- their area of fire, they're indiscriminate, and the Russians likely will have a lot of that firing conventional artillery that will help with the will their ground troops that are in theory supporting tanks into the fight. But how long and how tough will the Russians be in with a sustained Ukrainian defense that is also been bloodied, as we've seen, will time will tell.

Seventy eight PTGs is a lot, another dozen is around Mariupol, but not an overwhelming force with a well led defense and a still a shaky foundation for their Russian troops.

COOPER: And General hurtling, there's, I mean, Russia has shown I mean, if you look at Mariupol, they are perfectly content to decimate a city in order to take it. Even a city I mean, one might have thought, well, if they want Mariupol is, you know, to get a land bridge connecting territories in Crimea. They wouldn't decimate the city, but it doesn't seem that they care. That is actually I mean, it's sickening. But is that that is an advantage for them, is it not?

HERTLING: Yes, if you don't care about the effects of murder on a large scale, this is not combat Anderson, you killing combat in order to defeat an enemy. What the Russians are doing is murdering civilians. It fits every definition of terror. You know, I looked up with all the talk about terrorism. I looked up the definition of terrorists the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.

What we're seeing is a demonstration of the definition of terrorism. And that's why I believe the State Department should in fact, I mean, this is a State Department call, but they should declare that Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism because Mr. Putin has asked his forces to murder people and to kill civilians. It doesn't get any more clear cut than that and as far as I'm concerned.

COOPER: Yes. General Hertling, General Zwack, I really appreciate it. Thank you. It's always good to talk to you.

Up next, an update on a story we told you about last week. The latest details on the deadly police shooting of Patrick Lyoya and the results from his autopsy.



COOPER: After a video was released last week with the deadly police involved shooting of 26-year-old Patrick Lyoya in Grand Rapids Michigan, an independent autopsy commissioned by his family shows that he was shot in the back of his head. Lyoya was killed during an encounter with an officer following a traffic stop on April 4th. A video show him running away from the officer after being instructed to get back in the car. The officer tackles him to the ground.

After struggling with Lyoya and attempting to tase him the two rests on the ground before the officer tells him to let go of the taser. That is when the officer's body camera was deactivated. Another video then captures the fatal gunshot. The officers on paid leave while the incident is being investigated.

The news continues right now. I want to hand it over to Laura Coates and Jim Sciutto who was in Ukraine.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Thanks so much Anderson. This is "CNN TONIGHT." I'm Jim Sciutto. As Anderson said live from Lviv, Ukraine along with my good friend Laura Coates back in the U.S.


And there is tonight very dire news.