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New Day Saturday

Battle For Kyiv Underway As Russian Troops Close In On Capital; Russian Defense Ministry: We Target Only Military Infrastructure; U.S. And Allies Directly Sanctioning Putin And Lavrov; Biden Nominates Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson To The Supreme Court; CDC Updates Metrics To Guide COVID-19 Restrictions As Cases Plunge; Biden's Pledge To Cut Gas Costs Could Be Limited; Anniversary Of Trayvon Martin's Death. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired February 26, 2022 - 05:00   ET




CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, welcome to this special edition of "NEW DAY," I am Christi Paul.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, I am Boris Sanchez.

Breaking news: missile strikes are lighting up the skies over the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. According to the Ukrainian interior ministry, active fighting is taken place on the streets. An adviser to President Zelensky says police are working against Russian sabotage and reconnaissance groups that are inside the capital.

President Zelensky says he's target number one for the Russians. That target number two is his family. But he's refusing to leave the country.

PAUL: President Zelensky sent out this rallying cry a short time ago.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Good morning, Ukrainians. Currently, there are a lot of games appearing on the internet, like I am asking our army to put down arms and evacuate.

So I am here. We are not putting down arms. We will be defending our country because our weapon is truth. And our truth is that this is our land, our country, our children. And we will defend all of this. That is it. That is all I wanted to tell you. Glory to Ukraine.


PAUL: The ministry of defense is continuing to deny it is targeting civilian infrastructure. Despite a stream of social media and images of shelled buildings and rockets in residential streets.

Ukraine's military says they were part of the operation that destroyed Russian tanks. Ukraine's people are being told to make Molotov cocktails to "take down the occupier."

SANCHEZ: Fred Pleitgen is in Belgorod. Arlette Saenz is traveling with U.S. President Joe Biden.

PAUL: Fred, I want to start with you.

What are you learning of the Russian's plan for Kyiv and what's happening now?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Russians are trying to take Kyiv. What we are hearing is there has been fighting at the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital.

The most recent information we've gotten from officials inside Ukraine is, so far, Russian forces have not been able to penetrate into the Ukrainian capital and that so far a large portion of the Ukrainian capital still remains under control of Ukrainian forces.

We saw President Zelensky, he's obviously still there on the ground as well. What we can say from our point right here -- and this is sort of one of the main areas where the Russian military is staging on their eastern front line -- is that there is a lot of military movement by the Russian army.

We saw a massive convoy that involved dozens of trucks and infantry fighting vehicles as well. We can see here on the ground -- and we are at the last checkpoint that the Russians have before they would move into Ukrainian territory. They seem to have the capacity to drastically escalate their military campaign in Ukraine.

They have a lot of forces that are at the ready here on Russian territory, ready to go into Ukraine and ready to go through their forces the with the Russian military. And certainly what we are also seeing is a lot of those forces are moving into Ukrainian territory as well.

So the Russians certainly escalating their campaign and a lot of movement here on the Russian side. We are also hearing from various front line, from Kyiv and Kharkiv and on the southern front line as well.

The Russian ministry of defense said they had been making headway but from the Ukrainian side, what we are hearing is there had been hundreds of Russian casualties at this point in time. However, it is impossible to independently verify if that's true.


SANCHEZ: Military analysts say the Ukrainians are putting up a fight that perhaps the Russians did not expect, Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much.

Let's go to Arlette Saenz.

President Biden is meeting with his national security team this morning. What can you tell us about that?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The White House is still monitoring the situation. The president is spending the weekend here at his home in Wilmington, Delaware. Later this morning, he'll convene a call with his national security team, including Vice President Harris.

He's been meeting daily in the morning with his team as this attack from Russia has unfolded. Yesterday, while the president was at the White House, he spent some time on the phone with the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The two spoke about 40 minutes. One thing that came up on that call was a request for concrete defense assistance. And we learned a few hours ago, late last night, that the president has authorized the State Department to release $350 million in security assistance for Ukraine's defense.

This brings a total of assistance offered to Ukraine over the course of the past year to over $1 billion, according to an administration official. The White House insisted they'll provide support to Ukraine as they are facing this growing threat from Russia.

Now also yesterday, the White House announced that President Biden had made the decision to sanction directly Russian President Putin. This was not something that was included in those initial sanctions that were rolled out earlier in the week.

After a call with NATO allies yesterday, the White House decided to move forward with those sanctions on Putin, joining other European countries, who also enrolled other sanctions against Putin as well.

Now this may largely be a symbolic move. One thing about Putin is that his financial holdings are often unknown of where they are. The U.S. wanted to make this move to show that they are willing to take that rare step to sanction a foreign leader for their actions, as the situation in Ukraine becomes more and more grave.

So the president will remain here in Wilmington, Delaware, today, monitoring this situation from his home and continuing to receive updates from his team.

PAUL: Arlette, we appreciate the update. Thank you very much.

Let's talk to Michael Bociurkiw, senior fellow at The Atlantic Council and former spokesperson for the Organization for Security and Co- operation in Europe.

Michael, it is so great to have your perspective on this. I want to jump off the point that Arlette was talking about, this conversation the president had with President Zelensky. He has agreed to authorize $350 million in security assistance to Ukraine.

When you hear U.S. officials say they believe Kyiv could fall within days, does this new money, the new resources, does it have the ability to stop that? MICHAEL BOCIURKIW, SENIOR FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: I would like to think so. However, I know from my own work with the United Nations, when you throw money at a conflict, you know there is something called absorptive capacity and it does not get dispensed as officially if you want to.

So it is a lot of money but it is a little bit late with the Ukrainians. What they are asking for, which the west can't deliver, is a no-fly zone. The Ukrainian air force are quite weak. But that would mean the West going against a nuclear power in the skies above Ukraine. Politically, I don't see that happening.

PAUL: I want to ask you about the sanctions that are in place now, these new sanctions, some of them directly against President Putin, although, from what we understood -- because it is so hard to trace his finances -- this is largely symbolic, at the end of the day. So there may be a lot of people watching this and saying what's the point.

BOCIURKIW: I think these sanctions are falling on deaf ears of the Kremlin. I think sanctions at this point are not effective. They are perhaps effective in a sense that they make Western leaders that they have done something, including my prime minister Trudeau, announcing new support yesterday and support for yanking Russia out of the SWIFT payment system, followed quickly by France.


BOCIURKIW: But I think on the ground here, psychologically, the Ukrainians are not making much of a difference. They begged and begged for weeks for sanctions to be implemented before the fighting got here. And it was not done.

You are there in Lviv. We can't help but watch these people leaving. I heard 50,000 people have gotten out and I've heard more at this point have fled Ukraine.

People are watching and wondering, where is my father, my son, wondering how they are doing as they are trying to fight for their city and keep it in their stronghold.

Is there a sense that the U.S. and allies are hanging them out to dry?

BOCIURKIW: Well, on my way here, it was so heartbreaking. You see people with suitcases going here and there, families broken apart. I was on the phone at 1 o'clock this morning with an executive, who found herself in Warsaw with no money.

If you leave the country, it is difficult to change currencies. So a lot of people will be showing up on the border with places like Poland, with little means. Those numbers can grow into the millions, up to 5 million according to the Israeli government.

If the West does not think it has a refugee problem, it needs to think again quickly. Also a lot a lot of Ukrainians want to stay here in Ukraine. But they were crippled badly by COVID-19 crisis. And then a lot of internationals got evacuated.

Who's going to be here to pick up the pieces and put those humanitarian aid programs into process?

So a lot of things working against people being helped. I have to say Ukrainians are among the most resilient people I know.

One more quick thing, a huge diaspora community in Canada and U.S. So they're I know working hard to raise money and put in programs to help people who flee.

PAUL: I know you wrote a piece for, noting that President Putin seems intent at any cost of redrawing the security map. If he's able to do so, he's right up against a whole slew of NATO countries.

What does it mean for NATO?

And what would have to happen next if he does secure Ukraine?

If he does not for some reason, as Boris was pointing out, Putin and many people may be surprised at how hard and courageous and capable Ukraine has been in holding them back.

Does that embolden Putin and make things even more complicated, because you don't know what's in his head?

BOCIURKIW: Yes, exactly. That blood-curdling speech was coming from a man I think would not stop at Ukraine's borders. I think, however, psychologically to someone like Putin, this is the capital, the intellectual center of Ukraine and the center of patriotism.

A lot of Ukraine's leaders in politics and literature have come from right here. So I think he would like nothing more than to capture this. But I don't think he'll stop here. Poland is vulnerable; especially the Baltic states. This is a man intent on redrawing the security map of Europe.

With all due respect here to our Western leaders, I think they underestimated what he's capable of doing. He's a man advanced in age, I think he sees this as his last opportunity to make such a big move. He sees a divided Europe. So things are not looking good at the moment.

I think, as we do in the humanitarian business, you hope for the best but you prepare for the worst and then go beyond that. But Ukrainians are very resilient people. They'll fight to the end. They're not going to run away, only women and children who are vulnerable.

It is a very complex situation but the West has to enable Ukrainians to fight back as hard as they can.

PAUL: The courage we have seen from the Ukrainians is beyond commendable. Michael Bociurkiw, we appreciate your insights and perspective as always. Thank you very much.

BOCIURKIW: Thank you. PAUL: We know a lot of you are watching right now and, like me, you

are wondering what can I do and how can we help?


PAUL: There are organizations around the world and on the ground in Ukraine, trying to help people who need the food and shelter and water and additional aid right now. For information how you can help, go to Thank you for doing so.


SANCHEZ: Historic news out of Washington, D.C.: President Biden unveiled his nomination for the nation's highest court.

And a major change from the CDC. Why they say most Americans no longer need to wear masks indoors. Your COVID-19 update after a quick break.




SANCHEZ: So the European Union and the United Kingdom have placed Russian president Vladimir Putin and foreign minister Sergey Lavrov on its list of sanctioned individuals following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

PAUL: E.U. officials say the latest sanctions will increase Russia's borrowing costs, raises inflation and gradually erodes Russia's industrial base. CNN reporter Anna Stewart is with us from London right now.


PAUL: Anna, what more do we know about the sanctions and the potential repercussions from them?

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, in the last three days, we have essentially seen three wave of sanctions for Russian allies, targeting Russia's banking system.

We have seen big defense companies targeted and Russian oligarchs and their families, politicians. The latest, as of the last 24 hours, from the U.S. and U.K., Canada and the E.U. is targeting President Putin personally.

Effectively he's joining an exclusive list of world leaders, who happens to have been sanctioned him, people accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. What is not yet here is possibly the most damaging of all, which would be disconnecting Russia from SWIFT.

That's the financial messenger network, underpinning transactions all around the world. It would make making any kind of payment with Russia incredibly difficult. Unfortunately, that includes for payments for oil and gas, metals and wheat. No sanctions yet have been placed on a company like Gazprom, the big gas company. That's because it's relied on in much of the West, particularly Germany. SWIFT is based inside the E.U. and in Belgium. SO the E.U. is where we look for this and Germany is one of the biggest holdouts.

But pressure is growing inside the E.U. and outside. So we are keeping an eye on that. We could see that measure introduced in the coming days.


SANCHEZ: Especially as there are more images coming from Ukraine that may sway Western leaders into more drastic sanctions. Anna Stewart reporting, thank you so much.

PAUL: Thanks, Anna.

Ukraine ambassador to Israel tells CNN during a phone call, President Zelensky asked Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett to host and help mediate negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.

SANCHEZ: Zelensky believes Israel is the only democratic state that could potentially help facilitate talks. Let's take you now to Jerusalem and CNN's Hadas Gold is there live.

Is Bennett seriously considering this request?

HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is not the first time such a request has been made to the Israelis. We have not heard official confirmation on what their reaction will be.

Last night, I did speak to the Ukrainian ambassador to Israel, who told me on Friday, President Zelensky did ask the prime minister, Bennett, to host negotiations with Russia.

This, of course, first reported by Israeli news Channel 11. But it is not the first time Zelensky made such a request. Ukrainians for months have been asking the Israelis to hold talks.

In October, when Bennett met with Putin in Sochi, Bennett brought up the possibility of hosting talks in Jerusalem. But Putin dismissed even a discussion on it. Previous talks between Ukraine and Russia have taken place in Minsk.

But Belarus has large Ukrainian and Russian populations and significant economic and security relations in both countries. Israel condemned the Russians' aggression, they have been trying to stay on the sidelines, more so than their allies.

That's why Israel's response, a spokesperson from the prime minister, would not comment, saying Israel expressed support for Ukraine and offering humanitarian aid.

PAUL: Hadas Gold, thank you so much.

SANCHEZ: The Ukrainian military is fighting back as Russia launches a full scale invasion against major cities in that country. Let's get to Matthew Schmidt.

Grateful to have you this morning. I want to start on the issue of sanctions. The United States now engaging directly with Vladimir Putin and foreign minister Sergey Lavrov with sanctions against them, sanctions that impact oligarchs in Russia with close ties to the Kremlin.

When you look at the picture, whether against Russia or Iran or North Korea, they are not immediately effective.

How would you rate the effectiveness of these sanctions in trying to dissuade Putin from continuing his advance?

MATTHEW SCHMIDT, UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAVEN: That's right, Boris, historically they have not been very effective.


SCHMIDT: And I am really doubtful about sanctions on Russia. Sanctions are predicated on this idea that, if we cause enough economic pain to the oligarchs, that they would somehow push Putin to change his policy. But that's a misunderstanding of the oligarchs today.

Those oligarchs having that kind of political power were the ones Putin crushed, that's how he came into power. Today most of the oligarchs share his vision and they're not going to go against him. They'll accept a good deal of sacrifice before they may even consider that.

Also Russia has been hoarding cash for years. And you know they are not effective in general. We should have put SWIFT in place before and it should have been used as a deterrent. I'm concerned it will take months or years for these sanctions to hit. And that's too long.

SANCHEZ: A claim I've heard from the Russians, that the west and NATO have provoked this invasion by going back on promises that were made to Russia back in the 1990s. Fact-check that claim for us.

Is this a provocation from The west that led Putin into this bloody invasion?

SCHMIDT: You don't plan an invasion like this and then pull it off in a matter of weeks because of some sort of provocation. I used to teach strategic planning for the Army and I can tell you that this plan has been on the books for years and has been developed and adapted over and over again.

Vladimir Putin wanted to do this and he was going to do it on his terms.

SANCHEZ: Looking forward, Matthew, there are indications that, from U.S. intelligence sources, that, despite the strength and unity being displayed, the valor displayed by Ukrainian military, that Kyiv is likely to fall within days.

And that would likely transition this conflict into the sort of insurgency we saw play out in Afghanistan between the Taliban and U.S. and NATO forces and even in Iraq.

Would you anticipate that there would be this kind of fighting on the ground?

And what would that look like in a conflict between a Ukrainian resistance and Russia?

SCHMIDT: I think the most important thing that we should be looking for from the Ukrainian military is their ability to transition into a guerilla war. They would be engaged in much more effective ambushes and things like that.

Vladimir Putin is kidding himself if he thinks he's going to be able to occupy a country of 40 million people with 200,000 troops. This will a long and bloody guerilla war. You look at right now, the first estimates I have seen is there are 3,500 Russian casualties.

Let's say that is off by half.

You are talking about 5,000 Russian casualties in the next three days?

That's more than they have seen in any military action in living memory. That will impact the Russian public and drive those protests there.

SANCHEZ: And Matthew, I want to ask you about this approach from the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. There are indication that the United States encouraged him to leave the country.

Despite that, he's posting selfie videos on social media, declaring he's going to fight and stay and defend his homeland.

What do you make of his decision to stay?

SCHMIDT: I think he's an incredibly brave man. I have friends in Ukraine. This is the attitude of most of them that I know. It is sort of OK, bring it. I am going to have a glass of wine and dinner and I am going to keep the pistol on the table.

That's what Zelensky is embodying right now. I think he's embodying the spirit of his country. He needs to have a plan in place in case he's captured or killed. But that's the situation we're in now and I think he's doing what his country needs.

SANCHEZ: It is a remarkable story: from a comedian playing president on TV to now actually being president and staring down tyranny, Matthew Schmidt, thank you for your time.

SCHMIDT: My pleasure.

PAUL: A historic hit: President Biden naming his Supreme Court nominee and paving the way for the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.





PAUL: Just about 33 minutes past the hour right now. And we're watching an unfolding situation in Ukraine. Take a look at some of these pictures.

Ukrainians are actively fighting on the street. And Ukrainians are still in control at the capital. President Biden is meeting with his national security team this morning for an update of the situation there.

We know, in about 10 minutes, we'll get a look at how the war in Ukraine could impact many of you, all of you here in the U.S., economically and particularly at the gas pump.


PAUL: President Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. This sets a historic confirmation process for a first Black woman to sit on the highest court of the nation.

SANCHEZ: She's been considered for the front-runner since the retirement of Justice Breyer. CNN's Jeff Zeleny has the details.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: A historic selection, shrouded in secrecy for the last several weeks. We are learning that President Biden met with three candidates for interviews at the White House.

He finally offered the position on Thursday evening to Judge Jackson and she was at the White House on Friday.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For too long our government and courts have not looked like America.

ZELENY (voice-over): President Biden making history, nominating the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court.


ZELENY (voice-over): Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson accepted the offer during a call and now beginning the confirmation process to become a justice of the nation's highest court.

JUDGE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: I am truly humbled by the extraordinary honor of this nomination.

ZELENY (voice-over): If approved, Jackson would succeed Justice Breyer.

JACKSON: The members of the Senate will decide if I fill your seat but please know that I could never fill your shoes.

ZELENY (voice-over): Her ideology would not change the balance of the court. The White House ceremony comes two years since Biden made the pledge to nominate a Black woman to the court.

BIDEN: I am looking forward to making sure there is a Black woman on the Supreme Court and to make sure -- I push very hard for that.

ZELENY (voice-over): Jackson has been a federal judge for nearly a decade.

BIDEN: Incredibly, Judge Jackson already been confirmed by the United States Senate three times. She strives to be fair and get it right and do justice. That's something we should all remember.

ZELENY (voice-over): Born in Washington and raised in Miami, she spelled out her dreams early, saying in her high school yearbook she aimed to go to law and eventually have a judiciary appointment. She did just that.

JACKSON: Justice Breyer exemplified every day that a Supreme Court justice can perform at the highest level of skill and integrity while being guided by grace and generosity of spirit.

ZELENY (voice-over): Now 51 with the prospect of being only the third Black justice in court's history, Jackson responded to questions about race during previous confirmation hearings, carefully addressing the role.

JACKSON: I don't think race plays a role in the kind of judge I have been or would be. I've experienced life in perhaps a different way than some of my

colleagues because of who I am.

ZELENY (voice-over): Biden has been studying the opinions of Jackson and other finalists. Biden is well accustomed to bruising confirmation fights. This he says should not be one.

BIDEN: I hope they'll move promptly and I know they'll move fairly.

ZELENY: We are learning a team of White House lawyers and advisers will be meeting today with Judge Jackson at the White House, preparing her for confirmation hearings. Those are several weeks down the road. But meetings senators are set to start next week.

Former Alabama senator Doug Jones has been brought on by the White House as a guide, a Sherpa, to Take judge Jackson around the Hill. He'll said we'll meet with any senator who opens their doors to us.

PAUL: Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much.

New CDC guidance shows most people in the U.S. live in counties where they no longer need to wear a mask indoors.

SANCHEZ: That includes inside school classrooms, too. Authorities say the changes reflect a new approach to monitoring COVID-19 in the United States, as cases and hospitalizations continue to fall nationwide. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen has more on the CDC changes.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: CDC guidance about whether or not you should be wearing masks indoors has changed dramatically.

Do you see all the red on this map?

This map says 99 percent of people in the United States should be wearing a mask indoors.

Now, let's take a look at the new map. Not very much red at all. It is much more evenly divided. Let's take a look at what it means.

The old guidance says 99 percent of Americans should wear masks indoors. New guidance says only 28 percent of Americans need to wear masks indoors.

The other 72 percent, can they take off their masks?

According to the CDC, to a large degree, absolutely. Take off the masks. There is a subset of people, depending on where they live, if they have certain underlying health conditions or if they are or having certain kinds of heart disease, they should talk to their doctors before taking off their masks.

The CDC says, if you want to wear a mask and protect yourself that way, go ahead.


COHEN: If you are wondering why did they change it so dramatically, before the CDC was looking at case numbers to set their mask guidance and now they are looking at hospitalization data -- Christie and Boris.


SANCHEZ: Elizabeth, thank you very much.

The crisis in Ukraine is having ripple effects around the world, including here at home. Why many Americans are bracing to pay more at the pump when we come back.




SANCHEZ: We are 43 minutes past hour. These are some of your top stories.

In Kentucky, the only police officer charged in connection with the botched 2020 raid Louisville that left Breonna Taylor dead is facing endangerment charges for firing shots into a neighboring apartment. No one has been charged for causing Breonna Taylor's death.

PAUL: In Major League Baseball, the owners and players have been tied up for a labor dispute. The league has set a Monday deadline to reach a deal.

SANCHEZ: The FDA is moving forward with plans to ban all menthol cigarettes and cigars. Menthol related brands have been heavily marketed to minorities. These types of products can lead people to become heavy smokers, especially these younger folks.

PAUL: The fall-out of Russia and invasion of Ukraine is being felt across the globe, particularly in wallets. Expect to see prices at the pumps soar. Christine Romans is going to walk us through this.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Boris and Christie, the consequences of Russia's invasion of Ukraine will be felt around the world. Putin's aggression driving global oil prices, hitting $100 a barrel for the first time in eight years.

Oil supplies were already very tight. The concern now is disruptions from Russia from fighting or from sanctions and hitting Russia where it hurts, sanctioning specifically its energy, would carry a cost for the West.

Russia is a top oil and natural gas producer. In the E.U., cutting off supply means higher home heating. In the U.S. it means higher prices at the pump. Energy prices, especially gas, are a major driver of inflation and high inflation is taking a toll politically, putting the West's leaders in a tough spot.

President Biden pledged to use every tool to lower those gas prices. Those tools are limited. The U.S. can pressure producers, release oils from strategic stockpiles or offer a gas tax holiday. We'll have to see what the administration decides -- Boris and Christie.


SANCHEZ: It has been 10 years since Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. Next, how his death inspired a fight for justice and the legacy he leaves behind.





PAUL: It has been 10 years since unarmed teen Trayvon Martin was shot and killed while walking home. He was wearing a hoodie and he had a pack of Skittles in his pocket. His death became a critical moment in our history.

SANCHEZ: His death inspired social and political awakenings that continue to shape the social landscape. CNN's Ryan Young has more.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trayvon would have been 27. It has been 10 years in time. But it seems like yesterday in my heart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am inspired by the number of young people I meet now who say the reason I am going to be a lawyer is because I watched what you did during Trayvon Martin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems like yesterday. When I heard it has been 10 years, have we done enough?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: This is the story all of you have been reaching out to me about.

The 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed after an encounter after a neighborhood watch captain.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: He wasn't carrying a weapon. And he had a reason to be there. He was visiting family members.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When he was first shot, I said this could have been my son. Trayvon Martin could have been me.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been a decade since Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman after a scuffle. The unarmed teenager was on his way back to his father's fiance's house with Skittles and iced tea, ready to take in the NBA All-Star game.

The neighborhood watch captain called 9-1-1 to report a suspicious person before confronting the unarmed teenager. Zimmerman would later argue that he shot Martin in self-defense and was acquitted on a charge of second degree murder.

SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN'S MOTHER: My son is in heaven. My son is resting in power. My son is the voice and sometimes the face for so many Trayvon Martins that you don't know.

YOUNG (voice-over): At a 10-year anniversary, Trayvon Martin's parents said the work must continue to achieve change.

FULTON: We want to send a clear message that he had the right to walk without being chased or followed.

YOUNG (voice-over): Ten years later, Black Lives Matter has evolved beyond a hashtag and has become a major player in the fight for equal rights and justice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it was the acquittal of George Zimmerman that caused us to step into this movement, that helped us to understand that we have to build a movement, not a moment. We are rising up and demanding change and saying we don't have to

submit to injustice, whether it is in the classroom or the courts or whether it is when we are walking down the street.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, find George Zimmerman not guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now I'm just too emotional. I am just sick and tired, I am just done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought doing this Zoom and the case as it was done and transparent and open as it was would help. It was a case well tried by the state, well tried by the defense and well deliberated by the jury.

Even if it may have been the correct verdict based on these facts is difficult to accept because it was yet another young Black male killed and the criminal justice system did what it did.

YOUNG (voice-over): Since stepping into the national spotlight in 2012, standing alongside Sabrina and Tracy, attorney Ben Crump has continued fighting for his life for justice.

YOUNG: Did you think we'd be where we are right now?

BENJAMIN CRUMP, ATTORNEY: The minorities are Charlie Brown and the legal system is Lucy and Charlie Brown goes to kick the football and Lucy moves it away.

And that's the picture in my mind of the legal system with minorities in America. They keep changing the rules every time we start to believe.

YOUNG (voice-over): Crump credits the evolution of the Black Lives Matter #GlobalPhenomenon with the with the explosion of social media after Trayvon Martin's death.


CRUMP: This movement was the students from Florida A&M and Howard University. Social media had not even exploded like it was now. But they were all on MySpace and Facebook, said "I am Trayvon," and so much that LeBron and the Miami Heat put on their hoodies.

DWYANE WADE, NBA ALL-STAR: It hit close to home not only for Black men but athletes in our community. This is in our backyard. It was important for us to make that this will not go unheard or unseen.

YOUNG: Do you realize the impact that picture was going to have on this moment?

WADE: No, absolutely not. We want to put our head down because we were all faceless. We were just a lot of Black men with hoods on. We could have been Trayvon Martin. We are no different.

YOUNG (voice-over): Last year, Saint Thomas University Law School created the Benjamin L. Crump Center for Social Justice, hoping to mold the next generation of social justice engineers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are my best students, Mr. Crump.

YOUNG: Do you think the law will play a role in how this all works out?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think when Trayvon Martin lost his life, it was a Band-aid that was placed on. We were not having that conversation. I think we didn't start to have that conversation until George Floyd. Us being the future, we can bring change in the law.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Giving us more of us the opportunity to take on the legal field is a major motivation to all of us.

YOUNG: Are the kids watching this right now are the ones going to be the lawyers in the center?

CRUMP: I am sticking everything on the young people. I believe in them so completely, that they're going to make the world better.

What would you like to see in the next 10 years?

WADE: It is not one fight. Our goal is to support and uplift and our goal is to grow our community whenever we try to create change. You can go out there and make a difference on your own. But you are more impactful when you are powerful together.

YOUNG (voice-over): Ryan Young, CNN, Atlanta, Georgia.



PAUL (voice-over): What you are seeing there is what's been happening in Kyiv overnight, Russian forces pushing toward the capital city. We have the latest for you on the escalating crisis there.