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New Security Footage on Nashville School Mass Shooting Released; Israeli Protests on Pause After PM Netanyahu's Decision; American Red Cross Responds to Crisis Situations in Tornado-Hit Areas; Storm Nears California, Mudslides and Flooding Expected. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired March 28, 2023 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You're watching "CNN Newsroom", and I'm Rosemary Church.
Just ahead, Nashville police have released security footage from Monday's deadly school shooting that left six people dead, including three children. Plus, new information about the officers who took down the killer.
The widespread protests in Israel have stopped for now after the Prime Minister halted his judicial reform plans, but the controversy is far from over.
Plus I'll speak to the national spokesperson for the Red Cross, who's on the ground in Mississippi, where a string of deadly tornadoes has devastated the entire communities.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is "CNN Newsroom" with Rosemary Church.
CHURCH: And we begin this hour with the shocking video of what's become an all too familiar scene here in the United States, a school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, that's left three young children and three adults dead.
Police have released video, which they say shows a former student at the Covenant School, arriving Monday morning in a Honda Fit. They have identified the shooter as 28-year-old Audrey Hale.
A few minutes later, you can see Hale opened fire on a set of glass doors to gain access to the school. Police say Hale had detailed maps showing entry points to the school. Not long after that, you see Hale walking through the building, pointing what police described as an AR- style rifle.
Police say they found writings and additional material in his car. And they believe a second attack was planned. The shooting lasted about 14 minutes with Hale on the second floor of the school shooting at police cars as they arrived.
In addition to the AR-style rifle, officers say they recovered an AR- style pistol and a handgun. Nashville Police Chief John Drake says investigators are not sure yet about Hale's motive, but they're following up on a number of leads.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIEF JOHN DRAKE, METRO NASHVILLE POLICE: There is some belief that there was some resentment to having to go to that school. Don't have all the details to that just yet, and that's why this incident occurred.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Nashville police have identified the officers who shot and killed Hale as Michael Collazo, a nine-year veteran, and Rex Engelbert, a four-year veteran.
More now from CNN's Carlos Suarez.
CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're getting our first look at the guns that police say were used in the shooting, and we're getting another look at the scene outside of the school.
Late Monday, the Metro Nashville Police Department released several photos, including pictures of the two AR-style weapons and a handgun. Authorities said two of the weapons were legally obtained. Another photo shows the car that police say was driven by the shooter and left at the school.
Police say officers searched the car and found what they're calling, quote, "Material that was written by the shooter." They also released photos of the -- of a door at the school that authorities said the shooter used to get into the building. You can see exactly where the glass was shot out.
Police said that the 28-year old was ready for a confrontation with police. Authorities said the shooter had several rounds of ammunition, and detailed the attack in statements the shooter left behind. Police say the shooter had a map of the school, complete with entry points. And in an interview on NBC News, the police chief said that the shooter attended the private Christian school at one time, and that there was some belief that there have been some resentment at having gone to that school.
The police chief said the 28-year old identified as transgender. The chief added that the shooter targeted random people at the school, killing three 9-year-old children and three school employees. The shooter was later killed by officers.
Police said they are working on a theory for the shooting, but they are not ready to release it just yet.
Back to you.
CHURCH: The Tennessee school shooting hits a little too close to home for Shaundelle Brooks. In 2018, her son, Akilah, was killed in a mass shooting at a Nashville area waffle house. Her other son, Aldane (ph), was in class at a nearby school when Monday's shooting happened. Brooks says she had to fight the urge to race to Aldane's (ph) school when she heard the news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP}
SHAUNDELLE BROOKS, MOTHER OF 2018 MASS SHOOTING VICTIM: It's something that I think about every night, you know, every time that there is a mass shooting. It's a lot. We're not safe anywhere. We're not safe in schools. We're not safe when we go out to eat. We're not safe in church. We're not safe in the waffle house, you know? Think about it every day that I sent Aldane (ph) to school.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Aldane Brooks (ph) says he wants the families of shooting victims to understand the pain will be with them forever, but they're not alone.
All right. We turn now to Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is delaying controversial plans to overhaul the judiciary in order to prevent a rift inside the country.
Tensions have been building over those plans and have led to widespread unrest. But on Monday, Netanyahu said he would pause votes on legislation in order to allow time for discussion and debate.
Still, protesters against the reforms and some in favor were back on the streets. Israel's largest labor union announced its general strike would end immediately following Netanyahu's announcement. The prime minister did make clear the pause is only temporary, insisting an overhaul is needed.
But as CNN's Nic Robertson reports not everyone is welcoming Netanyahu's change in strategy.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Teetering towards a constitutional crisis. The day began with the biggest anti-government protests so far, the sharp escalation in tensions, including the nation's largest ever general strike, grounding flights, shuttering malls, even McDonald's closed, as well as some government ministries, and protests by some military reservists. All triggered the previous day when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired his defense minister who had called for a delay to judicial reforms. And for the first time, creating a potentially-combustible mix, pro-
government protesters, summoned by government ministers taking to the streets, too. Concerns both sides could clash, not realized, despite occasional minor scuffles. Late in the day, Netanyahu, dialing down tensions calling for a pause in the reforms.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I say here and now. There must not be a fratricidal war. We're on the path of a dangerous collision in Israeli society. We are in the midst of a crisis and endangers the basic unity among us. Such a crisis requires us all to act responsibly.
ROBERTSON (on-camera): Within an hour or so of the prime minister speaking, many people at this pro-government rally leaving, but not all of them happy about what he said.
UNKNOWN: It's going to be worse and worse if Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, gonna pause the reform.
ROBERTSON: You wanted to push ahead right now?
UNKNOWN: I want that he pushed ahead because this is the reason that we go. We went to the election.
UNKNOWN: I voted for a right state. It's important for me that my voice is heard and I want that -- I want the reform to go through. And today, Bibi decided that it's going to be postponed and I came to say no.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): But this is not a climb down by Netanyahu. The stakes are perhaps higher, extreme right-wing National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who was out in the protest Monday, and already has convictions for inciting racism and supporting terrorism, is the head of a new national guard. No word who will replace the fired Defense Minister. But going forward, Netanyahu, demanding loyalty.
NETANYAHU (through translator): I demand that the heads of the security branches and the heads of the army firmly oppose a phenomenon of refusal, not containing it, not understanding it, not accepting it, stopping it.
ROBERTSON (on-camera): For now, a national strike called for Tuesday has been canceled. Netanyahu has bought time and he says commitment from opposition leaders to discuss the contentious reforms. What there is not, however, is any climb down from hard held views.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Jerusalem.
CHURCH: And joining us now from Jerusalem is Yaakov Katz, editor-in- chief of the "Jerusalem Post" and author of "Shallow Strike, Inside Israel's Secret Mission to Eliminate Syrian Nuclear Power." Appreciate you being with us.
YAAKOV KATZ, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE JERUSALEM POST: Thank you, Rosemary.
CHURCH: So, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put this temporary pause on his judicial overhaul, until after Passover, to allow for debate, he says. So, what do you expect will likely happen after that?
KATZ: Well, the heads of the opposition, primarily Yair Lapid, who served briefly as prime minister this past summer, as well as Benny Gantz, who is the head of the party, known as the National Unity Party, both embraced to an extent with great suspicion the prime minister's pause in the passing of the legislation. They said they're ready for a dialogue. The President (inaudible) has basically invited all parties. He spoke with them already last night, to come together and to start beginning negotiations to set up teams to talk about what will the judicial legislation look like if both sides can get some of what they're looking for?
And I think that for the most part what we'll see is a bit of a downturn in the protests. I don't think we'll see a complete end to the protest. People want to keep that at a low flame in case it turns out that Netanyahu fooled everyone, plans to move and steamroll ahead after the Passover holiday, and they want to be able to within very short notice. Get those protests back up and running to be able to fight, if needed.
CHURCH: Yeah, let's look at that because Netanyahu says he's aware of tensions and he's listening to the people. But he also says these judicial reforms are necessary. So what might this mean in terms of the original plan? Could it be tweaked in some way to satisfy all parties in the course of this effort for negotiation, whatever that may look like?
KATZ: Look, Rosemary. It's possible to cut this or slice it a million different ways, right? One of the main issues is how do we appoint our Supreme Court justices. So, Netanyahu and his allies they wanted basically the exclusive majority within this panel that selects the judges that it would belong to the government, to the coalition. They could negotiate on that. They can say okay, maybe we need to get some buy in from the opposition.
There's the question of an override bill that would be passed through Israel's parliament, the Knesset, that would give the legislator the ability to strike the re-legislate laws that were struck down by the Supreme Court. They wanted to do it initially with a simple majority.
Maybe they would be willing to increase that to not -- if not a super majority, but at least a higher number of members of Knesset that would be required to re-legislate those laws that the court has decided are illegal, let's say. So, there's ways to -- there's room to negotiate.
The question is, does Netanyahu and does his coalition really want to sincerely ease the anguish and the distress that so many Israelis have been feeling for the last 12 weeks, three months? You've had hundreds of thousands of people, almost 3 percent of our population that would be like eight million Americans, were taking to the streets weekly to protest what's happening. Do they really want to engage with them and that -- that's what remains to really be seen?
CHURCH: Yeah, exactly and, of course, Netanyahu apparently had to make a trade-off with the far right in his government to secure this pause. What more are you learning about that?
KATZ: Well, you know, that really remains to be seen. He's basically given a far-right minister whose himself has been convicted of crimes in the past of incitement, who is now the national security minister in charge of the police in Israel, to also now have something of a national guard.
People here, referring to -- referring to it almost as a private militia that would belong to this minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir. What exactly that means? What will be the powers and authority of this National Guard remains still to be seen. They're supposed to bring a decision to the cabinet that will be convening this coming Sunday, where then they'll start the legislative process to enact and inform this National Guard.
I think that everyone agrees that there is a need for a National Guard. If you remember, Rosemary, We saw riots in cities across Israel back during one of the Gaza operations in 2021. So, there's a need to restore order in certain places. We can hope that it will be done responsibly and not just for political reasons.
CHURCH: Yeah. We'll be watching this very closely as, of course, you will, I know. Yaakov Katz, joining us live from Jerusalem.
KATZ: Thank you
CHURCH: Many thanks.
In France, demonstrators are continuing to protest the government's move to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. Many of them entered an airport in southwest France just a short while ago, setting off smoke bombs. Blocking airports has been a tactic used by protesters nationwide.
Authorities say around 13,000 police officers will be deployed across the country Tuesday amid ongoing protests. They also expect public transportation, including air travel, to be disrupted.
Still to come. The southern U.S. is trying to recover from deadly tornadoes and powerful thunderstorms that left behind this total destruction.
Plus, the new storm system is taking aim at the already rain-soaked West Coast. We will have details in our forecast.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: The scope of the devastation is coming into sharper focus in the southeastern U.S. after deadly storms and tornadoes tore through the region over the weekend.
Entire communities have been totally demolished and at least 22 people are confirmed dead, mostly in Mississippi. Among the victims, a 2- year-old girl who died while her mother was in the hospital, giving birth.
Joining me now from Vicksburg, Mississippi is Sherri McKinney. She is the national spokesperson for the American Red Cross. Appreciate you being with us at this difficult time.
SHERRI MCKINNEY, NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON, AMERICAN RED CROSS: Thank you for having us.
CHURCH: And in the wake of this deadly tornado talk to us about just how bad the situation is on the ground in that area and what help is needed right now.
MCKINNEY: Right. Earlier today, I was in Rolling Fork, Mississippi, which is the area where the tornado first touched down, and you can literally see where you go from beautiful, lush trees to sticks that just sticks straight up, and it looks like toothpicks all over the area and homes just obliterated and there is nothing left to Rolling Fork. There is nothing.
Homes will have to be completely rebuilt. We know that there are more than 2,000 homes that are either majorly damaged or destroyed. So, our work is cut out for us from this point forward for recovery for all of these folks in Mississippi.
CHURCH: So, what exactly is the American Red Cross doing on the ground there at this moment?
MCKINNEY: Right now, we have brought in about 280 volunteers and staff from all over the United States. We're responding by providing sheltering. We're providing food. We're providing medical necessities because, of course, if you've lost your home, you've lost your medicine cabinet, your prescriptions or perhaps even medical equipment, like crutches or perhaps a wheelchair. So, we're providing replacement for those items.
We're here also replying -- we're supplying mental health assistance for folks. Of course, many of them lost neighbors and family in this terrible, terrible tornado. And again, I don't know if your folks can truly understand the depth of the damage. It touched down in Rolling Fork, and it was on the ground for a solid hour moving 100 miles throughout Mississippi.
So, our work is cut out for us. We're here providing all the necessary items needed in the immediate stage of recovery. And we'll be here for the long run. CHURCH: And I think you are right. I mean, we are looking at these
images here, but it is impossible for people who were not there on the ground to really be able to understand the extent of this, but it is total devastation, isn't it? So how long might it take to clean up and get life back to some level of normalcy do you think with this total devastation?
MCKINNEY: Again, with something this severe. It's going to take years. It will take years. The tornado itself was about a mile wide. So, you can -- it's almost like it made its own roadway throughout the communities. So, it's going to take years for these communities to come back.
But what I find so interesting about Mississippi is the people are so resilient. I talked with several folks today who told me that, you know, they feel lucky to be alive. They're lucky they survived this, that they were at church by chance, at an event at church and -- when this hit. And had they been in their home, they would have died. This was a woman whose home is completely gone. It was flattened all the way down to the foundation. So, I know that these people are resilient.
And now, with the help of the American Red Cross, we're going to get them there to that recovery. And I'm sure that we will see brighter days ahead in Mississippi.
CHURCH: Let's certainly hope. And of course, sadly, more bad weather is on the way. So, what happens to those residents who have nowhere to go, who have lost their homes, perhaps even family members? What support has been made available to them in terms of shelter and access to food and clean water? You mentioned the American Red Cross is there, but I mean, there's a lot of people that are going to need help, right?
MCKINNEY: Right. Well, we have enough shelter space here in Mississippi, both with our partners and the Red Cross shelters to house everyone who was affected by the storms and could be affected by future storms.
What we typically have, especially in rural communities like this, are people who can reach out and go to family members' homes. We do expect to see our shelter numbers increased by next week as people begin to want to move out on their own and be more independent again and not lie so heavily on friends and family.
So, we are expecting to see our shelter numbers increase. And if you need shelter, please go to redcross.org and find our shelters that are listed there. And also, if you need assistance, you can get assistance by going to redcross.org from these tornadoes and finding out information there. You can call 1-800-RedCross to make a donation or to find out more. And of course, you can text the number 90999, the word TORNADO, and that money will go directly to tornado relief here in Mississippi, and that's a $10 donation.
CHURCH: And so important that people know there is help there and that others know what to do to support those who have been impacted by this. Sherri McKinney, thank you so much for all the work that you and your organization are doing, many thanks.
MCKINNEY: Thank you for having us.
CHURCH: And for more information on how you can help the storm victims in Mississippi, you can go to cnn.com/impact.
Well, another storm system is rolling into California, which could cause more mudslides, erosion and flooding. California has recently been drenched with wet weather, which is great for the drought, of course, but has also been causing a lot of disruptions.
And Meteorologist Britley Ritz is tracking the storm. She joins us now live. So, Britley, what are you saying? What's the latest?
BRITLEY RITZ, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Rosemary, we're watching this area of low pressure just off the West Coast. It's pretty impressive spin with it on satellite, but notice the radar bringing in quite a bit of moisture once more across the Pacific Northwest. And as that low slowly takes its track south, California, expect more rain on the coast, especially the northern coastline. That's where we're getting most of the rain at this moment, not only the rain but the wind and you're noticing the purples on the coastline, bringing in Tuesday morning winds of 50 miles per hour, if not stronger.
Thankfully, late Tuesday and into Wednesday, you'll notice a lot of the reds will slowly move off our shore line and concentrate back off into the pacific. But there's still strong at times, 20 to 30 mile per hour winds are not something to play with. High wind warnings on the coastline highlighted in red. You move further inland and down towards San Francisco, we have wind advisories. Regardless, we need to keep that in mind as we're traveling out and about to.
Notice the rain pushing onto shore? Yes, that's all the way through Wednesday afternoon is that low trick south. It brings in the heaviest rain down through San Francisco and then just north of L.A., not only the rain, but the snowfall, quite a bit of it. Places like Mammoth Mountain have already picked up 667 inches of snow. That's just one inch off from record from the snow season. That was 2010 to 2011 for record picking up 668 inches, so not too far off.
We are expected to pick up another 1 to 3 ft. of snow through the Sierra, where we have of winter storm warnings in effect, then rainfall totals 2 to 4 inches expected, again, that's concentrated towards the northern coastline of California, where we're currently grabbing onto that rain.
Areas highlighted in yellow where we have that slight risk for excessive rainfall, a greater risk for flash flooding, so keep your mind. Do not travel in a covered roadway, turn around, find a different route, you don't know how deep that water is. It only takes 12 inches of moving water to lift the vehicle off the ground.
Above average rainfall expected through the sixth of April, that pushes eastward. And we stay above average through the Ohio Valley down through the southeast, even up into parts of New England through the rest of the week, and these are areas that unfortunately as the next area of low pressure comes onto shore will bring in the threat for strong to possibly even severe weather once again. Rosemary?
CHURCH: All right. Britley Ritz, many thanks for that. Appreciate it
Alright time for a short break. When we come back, another day, but no indictment of former U.S. President Donald Trump. We'll see what's next for the New York grand jury.
Recovering bank stocks easing worries that the world could face a banking crisis. We'll go live to London to find out how European banks are weathering the storm.
Back in just a moment.
CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. A New York grand jury has wrapped up another meeting without an indictment of former U.S. President Donald Trump. Prosecutors brought in a surprise witness to testify on Monday, the former publisher of the "National Enquirer." CNN's Paula Reid has details.
PAULA REID, CNN CORRESPONDENT: David Pecker's appearance at court Monday, shrouded in secrecy, he arrived here and departed in a car with tinted windows, holding his head down, clearly trying not to be spotted by the world's media that had been assembled at court. But Pecker could potentially be a very valuable witness for prosecutors
Exactly one week ago, attorneys for the former president had requested that Robert Costello appear before the grand jury. And Costello's role was to attack the credibility of Michael Cohen and his version of how these hush money payments were arranged. Now, over the past week or so prosecutors have been contemplating whether they needed to call another witness to rebut Costello's testimony and button up their case before moving on to vote on a possible indictment.
Pecker would be able to rebut that testimony because he was involved in putting together these hush money schemes for Stormy Daniels and at least one other woman to get them to keep quiet about their alleged affairs with the former president. Now, at this point, the next time we know the grand jury will meet will be on Wednesday. We'll see what happens then. It is unclear if they will move to vote on a possible indictment of the former president, something that would be the first in U.S. history. Paula Reid, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: Top U.S. banking regulators are due on Capitol Hill in the coming hours where they're expected to face tough questions about the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. A vice chairman of the Federal Reserve is expected to tell U.S. senators that mismanagement led to the bank's failure, but others are blaming the rollback of stricter banking rules under President Trump, while still others are focusing on why regulators did not see the collapse coming. And CNN's Clare Sebastian is live for us in London. Good morning to you, Clare. So, what more can we expect from the Senate Banking Committee hearing later today?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Rosemary, I think what we're seeing is really a bit of a reckoning, not just for the banking system, but also in particular for the regulators and the system of how banks are supervised. As you said, Michael Barr, who's the Fed vice chair in charge of supervision of banks is set to testify that this was in his words, a textbook case of mismanagement that SVB just waited too long to fix its issues.
It grew too quickly. It had too concentrated a client base in tech and venture capital. All those things that we know, too many uninsured deposits. But we wouldn't be here in this kind of hearing if this wasn't also about the regulators, and there were red flags, and he is going to talk about that, that SVB was on the regulator's radar, that supervisors had spotted problems as late as the end of 2021 and consistently engaged with the bank throughout 2022, up until the final weeks before the collapse.
Take a look at this section of his prepared remarks. He is set to say that, "In mid-February 2023, staff presented to the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors on the impact of rising interest rates on some bank's financial condition and staff's approach to address issues at banks. Staff discussed the issues broadly and highlighted SVB's interest rate and liquidity risk in particular. Staff relayed that they were actively engaged with SVB, but as it turned out, the full extent of the bank's vulnerability was not apparent until the unexpected bank run on March 9th."
So, they were actively engaging, but I think the key question is could they have done more? And of course, they will also address the issue of regulation given that SVB was -- had assets more than $100 billion, but less than $250 billion. They were more likely regulated than the biggest banks should that change. And on another note, Rosemary, is the issue of how this bank run unfolded. The role of social media and should that prompt a review of how banks are supervised and regulators.
The good news, of course for these regulators as this is happening at a time when the initial crisis appears to have subsided, both SVB and Signature Bank have now been sold. The markets are looking a little bit calmer including this morning in Europe. And we are also set to see the Bank of England governor face similar questions on this side of the Atlantic about how the collapse of SVB's U.K. arm was handled. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Sounds a bit encouraging there, doesn't it? Clare Sebastian joining us live from London. Many thanks.
In Philadelphia, officials say residents can continue to use tap water following a chemical spill nearby Delaware River. They say they have conducted around 40 quality tests and none of them, quote, "have come back with any indications of contamination." But residents are still concerned and angry and say they don't trust the city.
Officials say a leak on Friday at a chemical facility in Bristol Township spilled over 8,000 gallons of a water and latex solution into the river.
Still to come, Ukrainian forces say they are holding down the center of Bakhmut as Russian fighters attacked the city from three directions. We'll have the latest from the front lines as the casualties mount on both sides.
CHURCH: Another round of Russian strikes has targeted more civilian areas far from the front lines in Ukraine. In Kyiv, the city's mayor says two residential districts were hit Monday night. One building caught fire, but early reports showed there were no casualties. In a separate attack, Ukrainian authorities say two people were killed and 32 injured in Russian missile strikes in the eastern city of Sloviansk.
Meanwhile, western made tanks promised to Ukraine have started to arrive in the country coming from the U.S., U.K., Germany and Portugal. Both the Russians and Ukrainians claim to be making progress in the battle for Bakhmut. It comes as commanding officers for both sides made visits to the frontline. CNN's Ivan Watson has the story.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not a moment of peace in Bakhmut. Ukrainian forces say they remain entrenched in the center of the city, with Wagner mercenaries attacking from three directions. High rise buildings defended by Ukrainian units pummeled by Russian artillery and rockets.
From the air, new Ukrainian drone footage shows breathtaking destruction. Smoke rises from the rubble, the ground littered with debris and the bodies of fallen soldiers. The Wagner Group is thought to have lost thousands of fighters in the battle for Bakhmut, a city that's become a test of strength for both sides.
The Ukrainians claim to have stabilized the situation and say there's even been a slight fall in the number of Russian attacks. The commander of Ukrainian ground forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi, back in the city himself, saying, "The most intense phase of the battle for Bakhmut is underway. The enemy is suffering significant losses but continues to conduct offensive actions."
That's not how Wagner boss, Yevgeny Prigozhin sees it. He was I n Bakhmut on a dawn patrol with his fighters. CNN geolocated this video showing Wagner control in southern neighborhoods. One fighter says the Ukrainians are less than 200 meters away and that every building is a fortress. As they walked through the wreckage. Prigozhin says he wants to learn how Wagner can do things better and faster.
Hundreds of miles away in southern Russia, row upon row of what appeared to be freshly dug graves. This is a Wagner cemetery in Krasnodar. A sobbing woman says the graves are all from late last year and early this year of Wagner fighters of all ages. There's a constant stream of funerals here, but despite heavy losses on the battlefield the Russians still have immense firepower used daily against Ukrainian towns and cities. Ukrainian officials say a pair of missiles struck Sloviansk early Monday, killing at least two people and injuring dozens more.
But Ukraine also strikes deep behind the front lines. A mysterious explosion in the Russian occupied city of Melitopol and in the Russian occupied city of Mariupol what Russian state media describes as an assassination attempt Monday, blowing up the car of the Russian appointed police chief.
From Ukrainian controlled territory, the city's mayor in exile called it a Ukrainian resistance attack carried out barely a week after Russian President Vladimir Putin made a show of visiting Mariupol, a city Moscow captured and now claims for itself. Ivan Watson, CNN, Kyiv.
CHURCH: For more on the fighting, I'm joined now by Salma Abdelaziz in London. Good morning to you Salma. So, what are you learning about these tanks now arriving in Ukraine and how will they help exactly defend the country from Russian attacks?
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, you have the first main battle tanks arriving in Ukraine. That's according to the defense minister who is there, of course, to celebrate the arrival of those tanks to test them and to really show them off on social media. He says, also other armored vehicles, western donated, of course. You have three tanks from Portugal that have arrived. You have the first British main battle tanks that have arrived. So, Challengers from the U.K., Strikers and Cougars from the U.S. Marders from Germany. Of course, those all-important Leopard tanks as well.
And as you heard there from that piece from our colleague, Ivan Watson, this is an absolutely crucial moment, a critical moment for the battle of Bakhmut and also it comes just a few weeks ahead of the expected spring offensive when Ukrainian forces are expecting Russian troops to really ramp up their attacks all along that eastern front.
I want to read you a quote from Ukraine's minister of defense that just projects how important this is to the country, to their fighting forces on the ground. "A year ago, no one could have imagined that the support of our partners would be so strong. That the entire civilized world would reboot and eventually resist the bloody aggressor, the country of Russia. This year, everything has changed. Ukraine has changed the world. The resilience of the Ukrainian people and the skill of our army convinced everyone that Ukraine will win."
Of course, the key question here, Rosemary, is what impact will these tanks have on the ground? We're still talking about just a small handful of tanks so far that (inaudible) have arrived. It is only a fraction of what President Zelenskyy has requested. Yes, it can make a small impact if you will, but it will not entirely change things on the front lines immediately.
What it does do is it shows, as you heard in that quote there from the minister of defense, a western resolve to continue to back Ukraine for as long as it takes, which is what you keep hearing repeated by U.S. officials, by other allies, by NATO, is that these allies will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes to make that win.
You have to remember that these tanks, as you heard again in that quote, these tanks seemed all but impossible to be provided to Ukraine about a year ago when this conflict started, when the United States and its allies perceived that giving tanks or giving larger weapons like this could potentially aggravate Moscow, intensify the conflict.
Clearly, that calculation now changing, and that's the larger impact here with these tanks, is that shifting calculation, that willingness on the part of the west, that willingness on the part of Kyiv's allies to provide greater, stronger, bigger, better weapons on the ground. You have to remember that Ukraine's military, Ukraine's army, its arsenal ahead of this conflict was largely Soviet-era.
So, this begins to update their arsenal on the ground and prepare them along those front lines and bolster that fight in Bakhmut.
CHURCH: All right, Salma Abdelaziz, bringing us that live report from London. Many thanks. Still to come, Taylor Swift fans are suing Ticketmaster after the ticketing giant fumbled online sales for the mega stars latest tour. We'll have the details in just a moment.
CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Well, day two of a legal proceeding involving Prince Harry is expected to get underway today. On Monday, the Duke of Sussex made a surprise court appearance in London for the start of the preliminary hearing. It will determine if an invasion of privacy lawsuit will go forward against a newspaper group.
Prince Harry and other celebrities, including Elton John, alleged that British tabloids planted listening devices, tapped phones, paid off police and obtained confidential records of high-profile figures. The newspaper group argues the case should be dismissed because too much time has passed since the alleged actions.
Taylor Swift fans went to court in Los Angeles to face off against Ticketmaster on Monday.
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UNKNOWN: Power to the Swifty! UNKNOWN: Power to the Swifty!
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CHURCH: The fans are alleging unlawful conduct drawing the chaotic rollout of online sales to Swift's Eras Tour. Fans say Ticketmaster violated antitrust laws and asking for at least $2,500 each in damages. Ticketmaster wants a motion to compel arbitration, meaning it will force the prosecution to settle the matter out of court.
The final four of the NCAA women's basketball tournament is set. Undefeated South Carolina is heading to its third consecutive championship round. They beat Maryland 86 to 75 on Monday. South Carolina's next opponent is Iowa. And Virginia Tech defeated Ohio State 84 to 74. They will next face LSU. Both semifinal games will be played Friday. The winners will decide the national championship on Sunday.
And thanks so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Have yourselves a wonderful day. "CNN Newsroom" continues with Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo next.