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CNN Crew Comes Under Fire In Kharkiv Region Amid Ukrainian Counteroffensive And Russian Retreat; Ukraine Mulls Next Moves As Russians Retreat In East; Queen's Coffin Now Lying At Rest In Scottish Cathedral; Queen's Coffin Will Be Flown To London In Coming Hours; Justice Department Subpoenas 30 Plus People In Donald Trump's Orbit; Thousands Mourn and Pay Respects at St. Giles Cathedral; King Charles to Attend Memorial Events in Northern Ireland; Russians Try to Put Positive Spin on Battlefield Losses; A Look Back at Queen Elizabeth & Her Favorite Corgis. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired September 13, 2022 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

In the hour ahead, in just four days, a lightning fast Ukrainian counter-offensive is said to have taken four months of gains by the Russian military. But what's next?


Lying in rest, the body of Queen Elizabeth will soon leave Edinburgh and her beloved Scotland after hundreds of thousands of people lie on the city streets to pay their respects.

And the $100 million Save America PAC, which took money from Trump supporters for an election legal challenge that never was, now the focus of federal investigators.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with John Vause.

VAUSE: As we begin day 202 of Vladimir Putin's war of choice, Ukrainians are pushing on with their two front counter offensive, which is retake Russian occupied territory at a blistering pace.

In parts, Ukrainian officials claim their forces have almost reached the Russian border.

In liberated towns and villages, there is evidence everywhere of a hasty Russian retreat, tanks and other weapons left abandoned.

For weeks, Ukraine have been publicly hinting about a counter offensive in the south, apparently planned for their independence day late last month or thereabouts. But it appears the Russians may have been duped by a bait and switch,

which with this major push in the Northeast. Numbers are hard to verify. But in less than two weeks, Russia may have suffered one of its biggest losses of the war so far. Here's Ukrainian president speaking on Monday.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Since the start of September, our soldiers have already liberated 6,000 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory in the east and south and we are moving further.


VAUSE: A Russian ground retreat though has been followed by airstrikes targeting civilian infrastructure in the Kharkiv region.

Ukrainian gains have been so significant even the Russians had to own their losses as well as a major retreat.

CNN's Melissa Bell and her crew gained access to newly liberated areas in the northeast then report the battle in parts is still going on with an exchange of artillery fire. She filed this exclusive report and a warning, part of her reporting is graphic.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The tanks spoke to a hasty Russian retreat as Ukrainian forces swept eastwards over the weekend. Triumphantly raising the flag over Kupiansk on Saturday. Local police forces providing CNN with exclusive access to a key town now meant to be under Ukrainian control.

We still feel uneasy because we've been bombed for four days in a row, says Vasyl (PH), and nothing is certain yet. Which only became clearer as we headed further in to Kupiansk.

A first artillery strike, too close for comfort. Then a second, much closer.

BELL (on camera): That was the sound of artillery landing just next to our car, our armored car. We have come into Kupiansk hoping to get to that flag to see where it had been plotted only yesterday, but as you can see, the mood this Sunday afternoon and still the scene of some pretty fierce fighting, hearing the sound of outgoing artillery fire. That was the sound of incoming.

The policeman tells us our car was deliberately targeted. Time for us to head back to those parts of Kharkiv region now fully under Ukrainian control after six long months.

PAVLO, UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: Generally, yes, people are happy. They feeding the soldiers, they cheering, they are celebrating. Feel great. Feel like redemption. Yes. Eager to advance. BELL (voice-over): But in villages like Zaliznychne Ukrainian investigators know all too well what they'll find after Bucha and Borodyanka that were under Russian control for only a month.

Yes, according to our information, we are recording war crimes in almost every village, he says.

This, the body of one of two civilians killed in late February. An early victim of the invasion and evidence now of what six months of Russian occupation have cost.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Kharkiv region.


VAUSE: For more now on the Ukrainian counter offensive, CNN military analyst and retired U.S. Air Force. Colonel Cedric Leighton is with us now this hour from Washington, D.C.

Colonel Leighton, good to see you.


VAUSE: OK, so the Ukrainians are looking at some fairly tough decisions, and they're going to make these choices fairly soon. Are they going to push on and that could risk overreach, they can slow down and that risk the giving Russians time to regroup, they can hunker down and hold on to the gains that they have. But that runs the risk of not making the most of this moment, what should they do?


LEIGHTON: Yes, that's a really big question, John, that they're going to have to face like you said very quickly, winter is coming, you know, the calendar can't be altered. And even with the, you know, warmer temperatures on average, is still going to get pretty cold in Ukraine, and especially that part of Ukraine that is being contested right now.

So, the Ukrainians have to really decide whether or not they have the logistical wherewithal to get into the areas that the Russians have occupied. And if they think they can remove them, they probably should do so fairly quickly, they really can't lose the momentum that they have right now, momentum has a kind of a force of its own, especially in military operations.

And if they continue to do this, they need to be able to at least get to a point where they have achieved defensible lines. Usually a river or you know, some kind of other natural barrier can be a helpful demarcation line. And that is something that they should work toward, that gives them some kind of tactical and even strategic advantage. That's I think what they should be doing next.

VAUSE: And the Russians right now trying to spin all of this as some kind of a strategic and orderly withdrawal in the face of overwhelming numbers. If it was so orderly, so well planned, then why did the Russians leave behind so much weaponry? It looks as though Russia is now Ukraine's biggest weapon supplier?

LEIGHTON: Yes, exactly. This wasn't orderly, this wasn't pre-planned, John, this was something that caught the Russians by surprise.

In fact, they caught by surprise that many of the troops fled in civilian clothes, they still have bicycles to get out of town and make a beeline to the Russian border.

So, this is indicative of you know, many of the things that the Russians have told their own soldiers and their own people. In essence, they fed them lies.

And the fact is, that, you know, they are not -- they don't have the capacity, they're not capable of of providing them with the adequate leadership that they would need in order to be an effective fighting force.

It's indicative of the fact that the Russians are not very effective at this type of combat. And they're not doing a very good job of keeping the territories that they had occupied previously.

VAUSE: And the military response from the Kremlin appears to be to target civilian infrastructure, here's President Zelenskyy.


ZELENSKYY (through translator): Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians found themselves in the darkness without electricity, buildings, hospitals, schools, communal infrastructure. Russian missiles hit precisely those objects that have absolutely nothing to do with the infrastructure of the armed forces of our country.


VAUSE: If this is the best Moscow can do in terms of retaliation after a military striking like the one they've just had been handed to them by the Ukrainians, what does that say about Russian capability right now?

LEIGHTON: So, this is really interesting, you know, President Zelenskyy mentioned that the use to precision -- the Russians used precision munitions to target to the power centers, you know, especially in the Kharkiv blast and in the Donbas region, these types of targeting of civilian infrastructure, you know, it's certainly problematic, but it shows that the Russians do have a capability to engage in precision strikes.

The problem is, is that they're not using that capability properly. They are not going after military targets. They're going after civilian targets. And of course, in their calculus, that's perfectly fine. But in everybody else's calculus, at least in the Western world, it is not a good thing. And it is something that not only causes irreparable damage to the civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, but it also really fosters resentment -- a further resentment among the Ukrainian population and spurs them on to fight even more against the Russian occupiers than been what has previously been the case.

VAUSE: And with failure comes criticism, even for Vladimir Putin, local lawmakers mostly from Moscow and St. Petersburg, the two biggest cities in Russia, calling for Putin to be charged with treason. Here's part of that petition.

We, the municipal deputies of Russia believe that the actions of President Vladimir Putin are detrimental to Russia's and its citizen's future. We demand Vladimir Putin's resignation from the post of the President of the Russian Federation.

So, is this typically an indication of the style of widespread unrest because surely even Vladimir Putin can't defy gravity forever?

LEIGHTON: Well, he's certainly can't be around forever and this is a very brave act in some respects by these legislators say at the local level in St. Petersburg and in Moscow.

It does not mean that Putin is going to exit stage right tomorrow. But it does mean that there is considerable concern about his leadership ability, and about his ability to prosecute the war.

The one thing that we have to be careful of though, John, is that, in essence, we have to be careful what we wish for. Because, you know, we don't know who's going to come back -- come after Putin. We don't know what the future holds if there is a regime change in Russia. And that could be a very dangerous space, not only for Ukraine, but for the rest of the world.


VAUSE: Yes, we went through this before, I guess, with Saddam Hussein when you have a strong man in charge, and once he's taken out, bad things happen. Sometimes.

Colonel, very good to see. Thanks for being with us.

LEIGHTON: You bet John. Thanks for having me.

VAUSE: After a day of solemn at times emotional ceremonies in Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth's final journey will soon head for London.

Right now, mourners continue to file past her coffin at St. Giles Cathedral, where Queen Elizabeth is lying in rest, the time there is just after 5:00 in the morning. King Charles along with his brothers Prince Andrew and Prince Edward and his sister Anne, Princess Royal, held a solemn vigil around their mother's coffin on Monday night.

Meanwhile, also met with the Scottish First Minister and addressed parliament in Edinburgh and made clear his commitment to the Scottish people.


KING CHARLES PHILIP ARTHUR GEORGE, KING OF THE UNITED 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.


VAUSE: In the coming hours, her majesty's coffin will be flown to London and remain at Buckingham Palace before it's moved to Westminster Hall, will be lying in state until her funeral next Monday.

But before that coffin has moved to Scotland or to London rather, it was Scotland's turn to be the final farewell to the monarch.

CNN's Max Foster has details.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The new king processing behind his mother's coffin in lockstep with his siblings, along Edinburgh's cobbled Royal Mile. The silence only broken by Royal salutes and gunfire one minute from the city's iconic castle.

Inside St. Giles', members of the royal family and household as well as Scottish politicians and representatives of the military and Scottish civil society pay tribute and remember the Queen's love of Scotland.

REV. CALUM MACLEOD, MINISTER ST. GILES' CATHEDRAL: And so, we gather to bed Scotland's farewell to our late Monarch whose life of service to the nation and the world we celebrate and whose love for Scotland was legendary.

FOSTER: The late monarchs casket draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland and the nation's crown that she received here in 1953. A send-off full of Scottish symbolism and her son taking his first steps as Scotland's King.

Just shortly after Charles III meeting Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, leader of arguably the most rebellious of his nations. Sturgeon wants to eventually secure another referendum on Scottish independence, challenging the unity of the Kingdom. But in her adjust to the King of the Scottish Parliament, she pledged her loyalty.

NICOLA STURGEON, SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER: Your Majesty, we stand ready to support you as you continue your own life of service. And as you build on the extra ordinary legacy of your beloved Mother, our queen, Queen Elizabeth, Queen of Scots.

FOSTER: The encounter with a Scottish leader came after an event at Westminster, where the King and Queen Consort received letters of condolence from both Houses of Parliament. There, Charles III, reiterated his loyalty to Britain's democratic values.

KING CHARLES III: Her late majesty pledged herself to serve her country and her people and to maintain the precious principles of constitutional government, which lie at the heart of our nation. This vow she kept with unsurpassed devotion. She set an example of selfless duty, which, with God's help and your counsels, I am resolved faithfully to follow.

FOSTER: Monday was Scotland's day to express their condolences. On Tuesday, the King heads to Northern Ireland, and he visits Wales on Friday. A unifying bid before a final farewell to the late Queen at the state funeral on Monday.

Max Foster, CNN, Buckingham Palace, London.


VAUSE: Live now to Buckingham Palace, CNN's Nina dos Santos joins us air at the early hours of the morning.


Nina, it seemed earlier now than where you are -- where you are right now the rehearsals for the procession when the coffin arrives. So, what can we expect outside the palace?

NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, this is something that you do see in this area every now and then but obviously, we are in full preparation mode in the United Kingdom now that obviously, we have a date for the state funeral and the preparations continue apace.

What we saw a dawn this morning was actually interestingly enough, it was quite silent at about 4:00 in the morning and procession suddenly began. And it was the guards rehearsing with all of the music, all of the drum beating, all of the trumpets and even royal body doubles here standing in as mourners, and it's likely over the next couple of days as the preparations continue to be tweaked and rehearse many, many times that we will see many of these individual parts of the cavalry and also the queen's own guards, body doubles, you name it, around the Mile here and around Buckingham Palace.

This is expected to be one of the most attended events that the U.K. has ever had to deal with in modern history. It's only comparable to the last time that London had to deal with a state funeral which was back in the 1950s when the great late wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill died and there was his state funeral.

Police were expecting perhaps crowds that could number in excess of a million people is expected that maybe three-quarters of many people could travel to the United Kingdom. So to London, in fact from other parts of the United Kingdom and elsewhere around the world to take part in various events that are taking place over the next few days and to try and pay their respects to the queen's coffin when it lies in state in Westminster Hall as of Wednesday.

But for the moment, the focus here in London and in Buckingham Palace is upon receiving the queen's coffin when it arrives here that is expected to take place at about between six and 7:00 p.m. later on this evening. The coffin will be flown down from Scotland to RAF Northolt, which is

a Royal Air Force Base just on the outskirts of London. It will be met by the queen's only daughter, the princess -- Royal Princess Anne and escorted here to Buckingham Palace, where it will rest inside the ballroom, which it will be guarded over by chaplains overnight before then being moved over to Westminster, where people will be able to pay their respects and crowds of people are expected to converge upon the capitol for that.

Probably the biggest test for policing and security John, since the Olympics, which I think I remember you covering for CNN in London all those years ago in 2012.

VAUSE: Yes, (INAUDIBLE). But you know, obviously, a lot of focus now on London and what take place there in the coming hours. But what about elsewhere, like Northern Ireland, for instance?

DOS SANTOS: Yes, absolutely. And this is a crucial part of the backdrop of what is happening over the next few days. This is about a transition of power, a huge moment in history. But it's also about an acknowledgement that the United Kingdom's components that includes Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and of course, that geographically and politically the bulk of the U.K., which is England, which is the main part of the monarchies throne, if you like. They are at a very difficult moment at the moment.

You just heard that Scotland is the most rebellious part of the U.K. agitating for another referendum, even though Scots voted in favor of staying inside the United Kingdom, where they had a referendum only just back in 2014.

And now, obviously, the new King, King Charles III and his Queen Consort Camilla, are heading over to Northern Ireland, which is the place again where the future looks uncertain. There'll be meeting with members of the political apparatus of the Stormont assembly, the various parties that haven't been able to get together and form a government for many, many years.

And there will also be a remembrance memorial service for Queen Elizabeth II which will be taking place later on today at St. Anne's Cathedral in Belfast, that'll be attended not just by members of the political elite in Northern Ireland, but also crucially by the Prime Minister of Ireland and also the president of Ireland too, just a symbol there of how the British Isles and also Ireland united at this moment of grief despite their differences.

He'll be heading on to Wales, remember that Wales is a crucial part of U.K. and he spent his first 73 years of his life King Charles as the Prince of Wales before now handing that over to his son and heir, Prince William, John.

VAUSE: Nina, thank you. And as you've been talking, we've been looking at live pictures coming from St. Giles Cathedral there in Edinburgh, Scotland, it is 90 minutes past 5:00 in the morning, and there has been a steady flow of traffic of people coming to pay their respects to slowly file past the coffin as her majesty lies in rest. And as we've been saying in the coming hours, she will -- her coffin

will leave the cathedral and will be flown to London but this is an incredible sight to think that these people have been coming in all night to say goodbye to the Queen of Scotland.


With that, we'll take a short break. In the hour ahead, (INAUDIBLE) the U.S. Justice Department issues more than 30 new subpoenas in the investigation for January 6 Capitol riots, why the timing of that is important.


VAUSE: There appears to be agreement on a special master to review materials seized by the FBI during a search of Trump's Florida home at Mar-a-Lago. The Justice Department says it's open to appointing Raymond Dearie, who was chosen by Team Trump.

He served as a federal judge in New York since he was nominated by then President Ronald Reagan. Trump's attorneys have rejected both candidates put forward by the Justice Department.

Meantime, the federal investigation into the January 6th riots appears to be escalating and quickly. Dozens of mostly mid-level staffers from the Trump White House with Trump campaign have been subpoenaed by federal investigators.

CNN's Sara Murray has details.



SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): CNN is learning from sources that the Justice Department has subpoenaed more than 30 people in former President Donald Trump's orbit as part of its investigation into efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 election.

Now, these include a number of big names, people like Bill Stepien, who was the former Trump campaign director, people like Dan Scavino, Trump's former Deputy Chief of Staff, and Brian Jack, a former White House political director.

And now, this appears to be an effort by the Justice Department to sort of suck up and gather as much information as possible, while it's on the cusp of this quiet period, a period that it tries to not take any overt investigative actions that could be seen as influencing the outcome or the potential outcome of an election.

And we know from talking to sources about these subpoenas, they're very broad. Some of them are seeking information related to the fake electors plot. Some of them are seeking information related to the Save America PAC, a political and fundraising vehicle for the former president. Others are asking for any documents people may have handed over to the January 6th Select Committee. Some are seeking just documents, some are seeking documents and testimony.

So, this is a wide and aggressive effort by the Justice Department and an indication that that investigation is intensifying.

Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: To Sierra Madre, California and David Siders is a national political correspondent with Politico. Welcome back to the show.


VAUSE: OK, so the subpoenas, they focus on the Save America PAC it seems which was formed after the 2020 election.

So far, it's raised more than $100 million. They spent just shy of $36 million. All that money came from Trump supporters who thought they were donating to a fund to legally challenge the election results.

The January 6 Committee has essentially labeled that as scam. This seems to be another significant new area of an already sprawling investigation.

So, how significant is this? Where does the Save America PAC fit into the wider picture of alleged wrongdoing?

SIDERS: Well, I think you're right that it's significant because it's a new turn in the -- in the investigation, right?

So, it's broadening the scope of what we're looking at. And as you pointed out with those figures, this is not some normal path. This is a juggernaut in American politics, and really a major vehicle for small dollar fundraising on the Republican side. So, I do think that it's significant because of that.

VAUSE: And the premise here was, though, to at any legal fund, which will ultimately help Donald Trump challenge the 2020 results and be what, returned to the presidency. You're saying that is the basis of it?

SIDERS: That's right. And the idea is that you know, that at least the claims the allegations from people on the January 6 committee, is that this is some kind of misleading of donors that this money was not necessarily used for those purposes.

I think politically, I'm not sure any of that ends up being what resonates here. I think it's more of this drip drip on Trump, we're really you see, these problem for him coming from all sides. And that I think is politically what maybe the most significant thing about that is.

VAUSE: And Maggie Haberman has published a new book on Trump and she reveals this one detail which has been big, I'm just not going to leave Trump told one aide, we're never leaving, he said to another, how can you leave when you won an election? This is around the time of the January 6th stuff. And that brought this reaction from Republican and well known Trump critic Liz Cheney, here she is.


LIZ CHENEY, FORMER REPRESENTATIVE OF WYOMING: When you hear something like that, I think you have to recognize that we were in no man's land and territory we'd never been in before as a nation. I think again, it just affirms the reality of the danger.


VAUSE: So, it's affirming to Cheney of the danger about Trump's determination to hold on to power. But does that revelation actually change anything here now?

SIDERS: Yes, I mean, I think it's significant. And we shouldn't downplay the significance just because we won't see a drop off in support for Trump because of that tape. I mean, (INAUDIBLE) the reporting. How many times if we had some reporting on the president dating all the way back to the access Hollywood tape where you would say that's stunning, there's no precedent for that, this will change the course of things. And then of course, it didn't.

But I do think and I mentioned earlier this drip, I do think there is some weariness among Republicans where rank and file voters and this is the reason you see somebody like DeSantis rising in primary polls, it's not because they disagree with the former president, or they wouldn't rally around him as they did clearly after the search of his Mar-a-Lago estate, but it's -- that there is some weariness about talking about 2020 and a desire to push forward with something more affirmative for their case than then relitigating a past election.

VAUSE: Yes, some Republicans have told me that DeSantis is like Trump without the drama, which is his appeal there.

And speaking of drama, later on Tuesday, we've been told the January 6th committee is set to meet as it considers whether to invite Trump and Pence, its former vice president to appear. It seems incredibly unlikely either will do so voluntarily. Can they be compelled to attend?


DAVID SIDERS, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: I think you're right that it's unlikely that we'll actually see them appear, but I do think that there's -- the important thing, maybe, is extending the invitation.

Although, we should say, you know, my colleague and I think other outlets, too, have reported that -- that ongoing discussions with Mike Pence. And so, I don't think that that's entirely off the table. I think hearing from Trump probably is.

VAUSE: OK. David, as always, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it. SIDERS: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, our coverage of the royal succession continues in just a moment. Late Queen Elizabeth is being remembered by many as a healing figure in Northern Ireland. Now that responsibility falls to her son, King Charles amid Brexit tensions reviving some old rivalries.



VAUSE: Welcome back, everyone. It comes (ph) to 35 minutes past the hour.

There were somber and emotional scenes in Edinburgh, Scotland, as thousands lined up to pay their respects to Britain's longest serving monarch. Many had waited for hours to enter St. Giles Cathedral to mourn Queen Elizabeth II. They're continuing to file past her coffin at this hour, 5:34 in the morning there in Edinburgh.

That is her flag-draped coffin there, which will soon depart that cathedral.

Now earlier, King Charles, his two brothers, Edward and Andrew, and his sister, Anne, held a silent vigil. The cathedral has remained open to the public overnight, as you can see, because there have so many who wanted to pay their respects.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I always thought the queen would live forever. And I was so gutted when she passed away. So I had to make -- meet the journey here to pay my respects.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's a part of our everyday lives. And she set an example of how to lead life. And she's just worth the respect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was serene. It was peaceful. And it was very sad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're only 14, and we've never seen her in our life. So if we can --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we thought the least we could do is show respect.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an historic moment. Like, we're not going to see something like this again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once in a lifetime kind of thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We thought we may as well come out.


VAUSE: The next leg of this final journey, the queen's coffee will be flown to London and then taken to Buckingham Palace, where members of the royal family will be waiting.

And then on Wednesday, the queen will be lying in state at Westminster Hall.

King Charles and the queen consort will soon leave Edinburgh for Northern Ireland, where they'll meet with government leaders. They'll attend a prayer service, and maybe, greet well-wishers.

As CNN's Nic Robertson reports, many in Belfast are remembering Her Majesty for helping the region heal after some of its darkest days.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): In Belfast, tributes to the late Queen Elizabeth pile up. Flowers laid under a mural of the much-loved monarch. Notes of condolences thank her for her service.

But this is a pro-British neighborhood. And like many things in Northern Ireland, how you view the monarchy depends largely on whether you're a pro-British unionist, most often Protestant, or a pro-Irish nationalist, mostly Catholic.

For almost half of Queen Elizabeth's 70-year reign, the two sides, loyalist and republican, fought over their competing views. More than 3,000 people were killed.

When it came to peace, almost 25 years ago, it was the queen who would later help heal some of the divisions by reaching out to anti-British, pro-Irish former paramilitaries turned politicians.

Now, it's Charles' turn. He inherits a politically broken Northern Ireland, its power-sharing government paralyzed by pro-British politicians who refused to join a government with a pro-Irish Sinn Fein, who for the first time in Northern Ireland's 100-year history, won more seats than any other party during an election in May.

Charles's own history with Sinn Fein hit a low point in 1979 after the murder of his mentor, his father's uncle, Lord Louis Mountbatten, by the group's paramilitary wing, the IRA.

But Sinn Fein has long since renounced violence. And after its election win, is already pushing for a vote to help unite Ireland. But, despite their differences with the monarchy, its leaders offered words of praise for the late queen after her passing.

MICHELLE O'NEILL, VICE PRESIDENT, SINN FEIN: I think that both Mark McGuinness (ph) and Queen Elizabeth herself had a very significant role in terms of sending a very strong message that we're appealing to do as a people (ph), between our two islands, between the people who live on this island.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): A similar message of respect and gratitude from pro-British unionists.

JEFFREY DONALDSON, DEMOCRATIC UNIONIST PARTY LEADER: Her Majesty led by example in Northern Ireland and reached out the hand of friendship to help with the reconciliation process.

We are duly bound to build on those foundations.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): But Brexit is reviving old tensions. Pro- British unionists fear it's led to increasing isolation from mainland U.K. and blame the E.U.

To put pressure on the U.K. government to get a better deal from the E.U., they're refusing to join Northern Ireland's power-sharing government, leaving schools, hospitals, road repairs, municipal offices and much else in limbo.

It's yet another testing time in Northern Ireland, though violence is not imminent and would be highly unlikely to reach the scale of the past.

KING CHARLES III, UNITED KINGDOM: My lords and members of the House of Commons.

ROBERTSON: But as King Charles, the new symbol of British rule, steps into his mother's role, there can be only hope he helps soothe frayed relations, as his mother once did.


Nic Robertson, CNN, Belfast, Northern Ireland.


VAUSE: Still ahead here on CNN, a blistering fast Ukrainian counteroffensive appears to have taken Russian troops by surprise, and the consequences being felt all the way to Moscow, with growing and rare criticism of Vladimir Putin's war of choice.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everyone.

More now on the collapse of Russian ground forces in Northeastern Ukraine. Kyiv's blistering counteroffensive pushes on. But these troops, not far from the border with Russia. Well, they seem to have a message there for Moscow.

The Russian retreat is one of the biggest defeats since the war began in February. Ukraine's president says so far this month, 6,000 square kilometers of once-occupied territory has been retaken from Russian forces.

America's most senior diplomat calls it encouraging.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I think it would be wrong to predict exactly where this will go, when it will get there, and how will get there. But, clearly, we've seen significant progress by the -- by the Ukrainians. (END VIDEO CLIP)


VAUSE: Even some of the most pro-Russian supporters are now acknowledging Ukraine's stunning gains on the battlefield. But far from admitting this was a failure, some are putting a positive spin on what's happening, saying Russian forces were vastly outnumbered.

Here's CNN's Matthew Chance.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "We are one people with Russia," read this Kremlin propaganda poster. No one's reading it anymore. As Ukrainian forces tear it down, the words of a celebrated Ukrainian poet are revealed, thinly papered over.


CHANCE (voice-over): "Fight, and you will win," he writes. It's one poignant moment in a stunning weekend of dramatic Ukrainian gains.


CHANCE (voice-over): In towns and villages across vast swaths of this war-ravaged country's Kharkiv region, Ukrainian troops are being greeted as liberators.



CHANCE (voice-over): For months, these people have lived under Russian guns.


CHANCE (voice-over): Now it's Ukrainian guns, celebrating the recapture of strategic towns like Izium, once a key supply point for Russian troops.

Troops who appear to have been routed, with equipment destroyed or just abandoned in the face of a lightning Ukrainian offensive. Heavy armor, ammunition, even food and clothes left behind, as Ukrainian commanders say that their Russian enemy simply turned and ran.

Powerful, humiliating blow for the Kremlin and its military.

But Russian officials are putting on a very different spin.

"In order to achieve the goals of the special military operation," as they still call it, "a decision was made to regroup Russian troops," says this defense ministry spokesperson. "It's an orderly withdrawal," he suggests, not the chaotic rout it seems.

But even on pro-Kremlin television, the once triumphant mood seems to have shifted towards reality, and the blame game is now in full swing.

"The people who convinced Putin this special operation would be fast and effective really set us up," complains this pundit. "Someone must have told him Ukrainians would surrender," he says.


CHANCE (voice-over): "Six months ago, did anyone really believe we would be surrendering towns," asked another, "and trying to repel a counteroffensive in Kharkiv?"


CHANCE (voice-over): "This is a serious army, and their weapons are serious, too," admits a third, amid heated exchanges.


CHANCE (voice-over): Ukraine's dramatic advance seems to have genuinely shocked Russia.


CHANCE (voice-over): And that makes its leader, who oversaw Moscow anniversary celebrations at the weekend, even more unpredictable and potentially dangerous.

Already, Russian hard-liners are calling for President Putin to act, mobilize troops, and double down on Ukraine. Calls he may no longer be able to resist.

Matthew Chance, CNN, London.


VAUSE: When we come back, what so many have been asking since the death of Queen Elizabeth. What about the Corgis?


VAUSE: The 74th Emmy Awards aired on Monday, delayed for a day because of scheduling with the NFL, American football.

The show featured repeat wins and new favorites, but also a network showdown between HBO and Netflix. HBO's "Succession" won for Outstanding Drama, one of 38 trophies the network took home, with all the ceremonies combined.

Both CNN and HBO, part of Warner Brothers Discovery. We have to say that.

And history was made with Netflix's "Squid Games." Actor Lee Jung-jae became the first South Korean performer to win Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. The show was the first non-English series to get a nomination in the category. They were her precious Corgis, never far from her side, and over the

years, they became synonymous with the monarchy. CNN's Tom Foreman reports now on the queen's fondness of all her animals but also who will care for the Corgis.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As much as her royal guard, royal family and royal crown, the queen's waddling entourage of Welsh Corgis were a symbol known around the world, with the run of the palace and a place in her heart.

SALLY BEDELL SMITH, AUTHOR: The Corgis were a big deal.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Sally Bedell Smith has written extensively about the royal family, dogs and all.

SMITH: They were just extremely good company for her, in good times and bad. And I think they made her laugh.

FOREMAN (voice-over): From her youth, the queen loved animals -- horses, hunting dogs -- but the Corgis were special. Her first, Susan, went along on the queen's honeymoon, then became matriarch to a long line of pampered pooches, fed from silver bowls, walked incessantly, and playing a particular diplomatic role when the queen met others.


SMITH: Diana said they were like a little moving carpet that preceded her into a room. And whenever the conversation lagged in any way, the Corgis could always be counted on to supply some point of conversation.

FOREMAN (voice-over): The dogs were not always so agreeable. The first minister of Scotland recalled a dinner with the queen when the lights began to fail.

NICOLA STURGEON, SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER: My husband suddenly lit up and darted across the room. Peter had spotted the cause of the flickering light.

FOREMAN (voice-over): One of Her Majesty's Corgis was chewing through the cord.

SMITH: They never bit the queen. But -- but they did bite some of her stuff.

FOREMAN (voice-over): The queen was known to have as many as six at a time. And when she crossbred them with Dachshunds, she was credited with creating the Dorgi.

At the end, though, the dogs in her company dwindled to just a few. The last are now destined to live with the duke and duchess of York. And perhaps, as this comic suggest, like so many people, they will miss the lady at the other end of the leash. FOREMAN: Some folks closer to the royal family have suggested maybe

the reason the queen liked her Corgis so much is she could go for walks and talk with them about her problems, and they would not talk back. Or even know that she was the queen.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. I'll be back with more news after a short break.