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King Charles Addresses Scottish Parliament; Ukraine Gains Ground. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired September 12, 2022 - 13:00   ET



NICOLA STURGEON, SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER: However, the memory I cherish most is not from Balmoral or from audiences at Holyrood. It is from 2015, when the queen opened the Borders Railway.

I spent the journey from Edinburgh to Tweedbank with just her and Prince Philip, enjoying the recollections of times spent in Scotland. Now, that would have been special on any day, but it was also the day the queen became our longest-reigning monarch.

Allowing me to observe closely how quietly reflective she was about that historic milestone made it so much more so. It was one of the great privileges of my life.

What was obvious then and on every occasion she graced us with her presence was the queen's genuine love of Scotland. Indeed, her first official visit was here in Scotland, when she opened the Aberdeen Sailors Home in October 1944.

In the decades since, the queen has been intrinsic to the story of modern Scotland. From the opening of the '40s oil pipeline to the Fort Bridge and later the Queensferry Crossing, the Borders Railway, and the hosting of three Commonwealth Games, she was present at so many of our iconic moments.

She was also a true and steadfast friend of this Parliament. On the day we reconvened in 1999, she allowed the title Queen Elizabeth, Queen of Scots, to be used. She also presented us with our treasured mace. Its words, wisdom, justice, compassion, integrity, describe values personified by the queen throughout her entire life.

Even as her health declined, Her Majesty inspired us with an unfaltering dedication to public service. In his address on Friday, the king recalled his mother's words on her 21st birthday. "My whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service."

For 75 years, Queen Elizabeth more than fulfilled that vow. She performed her duties with dedication, wisdom, and a profound sense of service. She set an exceptional example to all of us. Our nation is in mourning today for a queen whose loss we have not yet begun to come to terms with.

We are deeply honored by the presence today of His Majesty King Charles III and the queen consort. Your Majesty, we stand ready to support you as you continue your own life of service and as you build on the extraordinary legacy of your beloved mother, our queen.

Queen Elizabeth, Queen of Scots, we are grateful for her life. May she now rest in peace.

ALISON JOHNSTONE, PRESIDING OFFICER, SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT: I now call on Douglas Ross, leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party.

DOUGLAS ROSS, LEADER, SCOTTISH CONSERVATIVE AND UNIONIST PARTY: Your Majesty's presiding officer. The news from Balmoral on Thursday evening rocked us to the core.

Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was a constant presence in our lives throughout her 70-year reign. For many of us, it's difficult to imagine our country without her. The queen seemed as paramount as the stones of Edinburgh Castle, a constant while her country around her changed.

When Queen Elizabeth II became monarch, Winston Churchill was prime minister. And she was served in that role by 15 political leaders, offering them a wealth of wise counsel from her long experience, from the queen who lived through the Great Depression and the Great Recession, the Second World War and the second Gulf War.

The length of the queen's reign meant she was an anchor to our history, insuring that whatever changes to our country and how we lived our lives, we retained an enduring link to the generations that come before.

She was a living reminder of the sacrifices made to build the country and the world that we live in today. What other leader could have reassured the nation in the darkest days of the COVID pandemic by drawing on their own memories of children being separated from families during the Blitz?

Time and time again, Her Majesty gave us certainty, stability, joy, and happiness when we needed it most. That's why the scenes that we saw on the final journey from Balmoral to Holyrood Palace yesterday surprised no one. From the heart of Aberdeenshire to our capital city, young and old came together to pay their respects.

Scotland's unique tributes saw tractors and horses interspersed with members of the public who came in their tens of thousands to line the route, because, while monarch of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, we know the late queen held Scotland close to her heart and we held her to ours.


We feel the pain of her loss so strongly with our new king and the entire royal family today. As they grieve on a personal level, we join them in mourning as a nation.

In her final speech to this chamber, the late queen said, it is often said that it is the people that make a place, and there are few places where this is truer than in Scotland. But I think we can also see that the queen shaped modern Scotland

during her 70-year reign. And we know that the bonds and ties to Scotland developed and strengthened by the late monarch will be continued by King Charles III. You, sir, became the first sovereign to succeed to the throne while on Scottish soil in over 400 years.

You have already served Scotland with great dedication as duke of Rothesay, duke of Edinburgh, earl of Carrick, baron of Renfrew, lord of the isles, and prince and great steward of Scotland.

And I know people across the country will show you the same support and devotion as they did your late mother, because,, we don't just commemorate the reign of our queen, but also celebrate the life of a woman who many in Scotland knew and loved, who dedicated her life to her country, to duty, and to serving others.

On behalf of the Scottish Conservatives, I'm proud to support the motion of condolence today to thank Queen Elizabeth II for her long, loyal and dignified service and offer our full support and loyalty to our new king.

May her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II rest in glorious and eternal peace. And from all of us, sir, God save the king.

JOHNSTONE: I now call on Anas Sarwar, leader of the Scottish Labor Party.

ANAS SARWAR, LEADER, SCOTTISH LABOR PARTY: Your Majesty, I offer my sincerest condolences on the passing of your beloved mother, and my thoughts are main with you, the queen consort, your sons, grandchildren, and all the royal family at this time of deep sadness.

First and foremost, the queen was a mother. And I cannot imagine the intense feeling of personal loss you're experiencing while fulfilling your devotion to public service as our king. I hope it gives you and your family much comfort that we are all grieving the passing of someone who was so special, cherished, and loved by us all.

Her Majesty was a constant in our lives. Many saw her as family. Many saw their family in her. She reminded me of my own grandmother, her walk, her demeanor, even the way she held her handbag. But she also touched generations.

I had returned home on Thursday night to a crying 6-year-old, who said he was sad because he will never get to meet the queen. Queen Elizabeth II was also a constant reminder of the need for kindness and compassion in our society. So often in our politics, both today and throughout history, we focus on what divides us.

But from the Blitz to the pandemic, the queen brought our nation together. She was the great unifier of our country. She brought joy at times of national pride. She brought comfort at times of national tragedy. And she brought light at our nation's darkest moments.

We will never forget how Her Majesty the queen found the words during the pandemic to remind us all that we will meet our loved ones again, words which are more poignant than ever following the passing of her husband, Prince Philip, your father, who now rests at peace with his beloved Lilibet.

We know how much she loved Scotland, and we loved her back. She reminded this Parliament that, despite our political disagreements and arguments, all of us here are in service of the Scottish people. And her influence was felt far with bond these shores, with the people of the commonwealth and other nations united in grief at this time.

Our world changed beyond recognition during her reign, but her dedication to duty, her integrity, her warmth, and her service to others never wavered. In fact, politicians here and right around the world will look on enviously. In 70 years of service as our head of state, she always seemed to say the right thing, do the right thing, and at the right time.

And I am comforted, as we enter a new era, we will cherish Your Majesty's leadership and your wisdom, compassion, integrity, and justice, timeless values passed down to you by your mother, but also gifted to us on our parliamentary mace.


We wish you a long and happy reign. God save the king.

JOHNSTONE: I now call on Patrick Harvey, co-leader of the Scottish Green Party.

PATRICK HARVIE, CO-LEADER, SCOTTISH GREEN PARTY: The experience of loss is universal.

It comes into all of our lives. It's a reminder that the reality of human life is not rooted in status or in title, but in the connections we make, bonds of love and friendship, of family and of service to one another. People of all views can respect...

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: OK, we're listening in right now.

This is in the Scottish Parliament there in Edinburgh.

And I want to bring in our Isa Soares.

We are awaiting the new king to speak, to address Scotland's Parliament.

Tell us more about this specific event as it relates to the broader picture of all the formalities around the late queen's death and the new -- welcoming of a new monarch.

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ana, what we have seen in the last kind of two hours or so is King Charles III having his first meeting really with the first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon.

After that, they made their way into Parliament, where we are hearing really a hearing of condolences. So what we have seen in the last kind of few minutes is several ministers from different political parties, so the leader of different parties. So we heard from Douglas Ross, who is the leader of the Conservative Party here in Scotland, offering their condolences talking about the love and the years of service of the queen, and really the praise an enduring legacy the queen had here in Scotland and her ties, of course, her strong ties, Ana, to Scotland.

We have heard also from Nicola Sturgeon, who I can tell you what she said. She said she deeply valued the moments spent with the queen. She talked about the queen's humor, which is something that we have heard throughout. She said the queen was an anchor of our nation.

Wonderful moments. She talked about the queen and the corgis, those personal moments, of course, that none of us would have ever known. But it's important to point out that Nicola Sturgeon, who's also the leader of the Scottish National Party, she's the one that has been calling for some time, Ana, for a second vote of independence here in Scotland.

If you and your viewers remember, back in 2014, there was a vote of independence. That was extremely close, but, in the most, it was a no. She continued to call for that vote of independence.

She wants it as soon as next year. She will need, of course, to have almost the green light from the party in London, the prime minister in London, Liz Truss. And we have heard Liz Truss, of course, who has been in power over the last week or so, saying that she wants to keep the union together.

And this is something that I have been hearing here in Scotland, both in Balmoral, but also here on the streets of Edinburgh along the Royal Mile, that people have wonderful stories to tell of the queen and what she's done, the change she's brought to Scotland, but concerns, of course, about the union -- Ana.

CABRERA: OK, Isa, we will check back with you.

We're going to continue to watch this motion of condolence reception happening again in the Scottish Parliament. As soon as King Charles III goes to address them, we will dip back live and bring that to you right here on CNN.

Just a quick break until then. We will be with you in just a moment.



CABRERA: Let's listen live now to King Charles III.


KING CHARLES III, UNITED KINGDOM: ... and in the hearts of people, a haven and a home.

My mother felt, as I do, the greatest admiration for the Scottish people, for their magnificent achievements and their indomitable spirit. And it was the greatest comfort for her to know, in turn, the true affection in which she was held.

The knowledge of that deep and abiding bond must be to us a solace as we mourn the end of a life of incomparable service.

If I might paraphrase the words of the great Robert Burns, my dear mother was the friend of man, the friend of truth, the friend of age, and guide of youth. Few hearts like hers with virtue warmed. Few heads with knowledge so informed.

While still very young, the queen pledged herself to serve her country and her people and to maintain the principles of constitutional government. As we now mark with gratitude a promise most faithfully fulfilled, I am determined, with God's help and with yours, to follow that inspiring example.

The title of duke of Rothesay and the other Scottish titles which I have had the honor to carry for so long, I now pass to my eldest son, William, who I know will be as proud as I have been to bear the symbols of this ancient kingdom.

I take up my new duties with thankfulness for all that Scotland has given me, with resolve to seek always the welfare of our country and its people, and with wholehearted trust in your goodwill and good counsel as we take forward that task together.

JOHNSTONE: Thank you. Thank you, Your Majesty.

I now close this meeting of the Parliament.

CABRERA: That was King Charles III addressing the Scottish Parliament, offering just a few words to the Scottish Parliament about how affectionate his mother felt toward the Scottish people, how she was received by them, and his pledge to do right by the Scottish people as he assumed his new duties as king of the United Kingdom.

And he also spoke to trusting in their goodwill and counsel as they move forward.

And so now I want to bring back Isa Soares, who's been there in Scotland for us in Edinburgh leading up to today's momentous occasion there inside the Parliament, as well as I know you have been listening and speaking with and just taking in all of the people who turned out to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth.

SOARES: Indeed.

And still -- people are still trying to make their way out from the -- away from the Royal Mile, of course, but they would have been so pleased to have heard those words from King Charles III, saying he was thankful for what Scotland has given me.

And his ties to Scotland, Ana, it's important to point out, are very strong. When I was in Balmoral just a few days ago, people always had something wonderful to say about the queen, because not only was she a monarch. She was seen also as a matriarch and a neighbor. And Charles was there in many ways often in walks would bump into some of the locals. And he was seen as part of the community.


Of course, he would spend summers in Balmoral. You see him there today wearing a kilt. So, and many of his charities have bases here, in terms of Scottish charity. So the connection not just to ties to ancestry, but the connection, that bond that we heard Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party and the first leader of Scotland, talking about, are incredibly strong.

And that's something I have heard in the last couple of days. Yes, people had mixed emotions, worried about the fact -- worried whether the new king would be able to continue, have that continuity that we saw with the queen -- continue the queen's, his mother's, legacy, but many saying they're confident that she has been -- he's had a good apprenticeship, that she's been a good teacher, yes, he's got big shoes to fill, but he will do the job, he will keep the union strong and united.

Because, of course, as you and I were talking before, of course, we heard from King Charles addressing Parliament there, there are calls by the Scottish National Party, by Nicola Sturgeon for a second independence referendum. There was one in 2014. Now there are calls for a second to happen next year.

So many people here in Scotland not wanting that to happen, wanted the union stay strong and united. And that's going to be one of the challenges, of course, from Prince Charles. But I have to say, the love, of course, that we have seen from people here is incredibly -- the outpouring of love and respect for both king and queen has been incredibly strong.

And we're going to continue to see that, actually, because, in the next few hours, you're going to see people lining up on outside St. Giles Cathedral to pay their respects, the final farewell to the queen who has served as the dutifully for years, one person in the queue saying potentially been there for as long as, like, several hours to get in.

But it's an airport security operation-like style. They will look through the bags to make sure you get in. They will give you a wristband. And they're telling people to come prepared either for the change of weather -- you are in Scotland, after all -- or, of course, leaving children at home, but wanting to pay their respects for the queen that has served them so beautifully -- Ana.

CABRERA: And, as I understand it, the queen's coffin will lie in rest there in St. Giles Cathedral overnight before and continuing with this procession to London and Buckingham Palace tomorrow.

Isa Soares, thank you for being there on the ground to bring us every step of the way.

We will check back on those events and developments throughout the hour.

But, right now, I do want to turn to major developments in the war in Ukraine and major gains by Ukrainian forces.

Today, Russia is responding with new airstrikes. This is in the Kharkiv region. They targeted a power plant there, knocking out much of the electricity in that region. Now, in the last week, Ukraine has retaken more than 1,100 square miles of its territory. And that's more ground than Russian forces have captured in all their operations since April.

You can see Ukrainian soldiers here getting a hero's welcome in liberated towns, some of them being greeted with hugs as they return.

Let's get to CNN's Melissa Bell in Kharkiv.

And Ukraine has the momentum, Melissa, but Russia's countering with these new airstrikes. What's the situation there right now?


It's here in Kharkiv city that we have seen several airstrikes last night and then again today that a couple of times knocked out not just the electricity, but the water supply in the region and in another region in the east of Ukraine as well.

Last night, President Zelenskyy spoke to them, saying they were retaliatory essentially, because of the speed of the advance of the counteroffensive, particularly the eastern one here. There's, of course, the one in the south focused on Kherson.

But it is here that Ukrainian forces have over the course of the last few days been making those spectacular gains, some going through villages where they have met no resistance at all, but other towns, specifically the ones that are key to Russian supply lines that are being bitterly fought for.

The latest news is that the gains and the advance continue. What we're seeing are, thanks to those flags being posted on the buildings and then shared by Ukrainian soldiers on the other side of a media blackout, very difficult for journalists to get any access at all, is those advances continuing southwards and all the way past the Severodonetsk River into the Donetsk region and a village there.

So that is important. But it is important also, Ana, to remember that, even as these advances continue, even as the momentum seems to shift, there is a reaction and, again, a lot of violence. And this is coming at a huge cost, of course, to Ukrainian forces.

We were able to travel to one of those key towns only yesterday. The Ukrainian flag had been hoisted 24 hours before. We were expecting to find a town entirely under Ukrainian control. We were taken there by regional police who wanted to show us what the town looked like.

And far from a town at peace, this is what we found.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Aircrafts, helicopters, shelling.

BELL: A first artillery strike too close for comfort, then a second, much closer.


BELL: That was in the key town of Kupiansk, only yesterday, Ana.

And it gives you a sense of the fact that the Russian forces are still there and still fighting to get control back to those towns. In other villages further West, though, we have been seeing some of the terrible exhumations of the civilians that Ukrainian prosecutors now say are the subject of war crimes investigations -- Ana.

CABRERA: Melissa Bell in Kharkiv, thank you for that update.

And in Russia, a sign that frustration with Vladimir Putin and his unprovoked invasion is growing. Deputies from 18 municipal districts in Moscow and Saint Petersburg have now signed a petition demanding Putin's resignation, calling his actions -- quote -- "detrimental to Russia's and its citizens future."

CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us. He's following the story from Berlin.

Fred, this seems like a very serious and very rare rebuke from these officials.


I would certainly say that it's very rare. And it certainly is something that definitely is noteworthy as well, especially if you look at the state of the opposition in Russia right now, where many opposition officials, quite frankly, are in jail have been sidelined or have been exiled.

Also, of course, the state of the Russian free media as well is one that is also dire. So, just in that light, this is certainly something that is definitely noteworthy. One of the things that we do have to keep in mind, that these are local officials. They are fairly low- level officials. And there's really not many of them who have signed this petition.

But the fact that this is being done publicly at all is certainly something that is definitely noteworthy. And if you speak to some of the folks, Russian officials, if you speak also to some of the people in Kremlin-controlled media, you do really get a sense that there is a very muted, very difficult feeling there right now, as this Ukrainian counteroffensive rolls on.

What the Russians have been saying is they have been calling this a reorganization of Russian forces. But you do hear some pretty critical voices also, especially among people who are very close to Vladimir Putin and who have been supporting Russia's invasion of Ukraine as well. You look at, for instance, Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, he came

out, and he was absolutely angry, saying that mistakes had been made, and that, if things don't change, that he would take it up with the top leadership of Russia, meaning of course, Vladimir Putin himself.

So you do get the sense right now that Russia is hurting, they realize that it's difficult times that they're on right now. And certainly, right now, you can tell that they see that the operation that they're doing in Ukraine is definitely in a lot of trouble at the moment, Ana.

CABRERA: Although it seems that the Russian president is in denial, at least what he is vocalizing to his people there.

Fred Pleitgen, thank you for that reporting.

Let's bring in retired air force Colonel Cedric Leighton. He's a CNN military analyst.

And, Colonel, Ukraine has now captured, recaptured, I should say, well, more than 1,000 square miles just in the last couple of weeks, according to Ukrainian officials. And I just want to point out on the map here, it's kind of up in this eastern region around Kharkiv. That's where Melissa Bell was.

We also know Kherson has had some fighting and some gains by Ukrainians as well. What has changed? Why is this counteroffensive so successful?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, this is a huge deal, Ana.

And the reason that this counteroffensive is so successful is because the Ukrainians have been able to take advantage of several things. One of them is the weapons that they have gotten from the West. The U.S. and other nations, especially NATO nations, have been able to deploy weapons very quickly. And they have used these weapons, particularly in this area right here, like you were pointing out the Kharkiv region, Ana.

This is the area where a lot of that has happened. They have also used some of them here down south. But the key thing to note about these areas is that this is really protecting Ukraine's second largest city. And the more that the Ukrainians can move forward in this direction and push the Russians out, the more likely the Ukrainians are to keep this territory, and the less likely it is for the Russians to actually retake the territory.

CABRERA: Strategically, how important or crucial is this specific region?

LEIGHTON: So, it is incredibly important. And let -- if you look at this, this area right here, so everything in Ukraine is basically divided by this river, that Dnipro River, right -- running right through the middle of the country.

Everything to the east is much easier, or at least was much easier for Russia to gain ahold of, because, when they first started this, they were basically moving like this. They were moving into Ukraine from Russia, but they were unable to prosecute their advantage this way.

And what this means is, this area right here, the area around Kharkiv, and then this area down in through the eastern part, this area is so important from a resources standpoint, from an industrial standpoint, and it is, in essence, with the exception of the agricultural regions which cover all of this area, the most important part of Ukraine from an economic standpoint.

CABRERA: I remember, earlier, when this invasion began, we talked about how Ukraine might have had the fighting spirit.