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Ukraine Claims It's Retaken 2,300 Square Miles in Counteroffensive; Queen's Coffin at St. Giles' Cathedral in Scotland; Biden Aims to Reduce Cancer Deaths by 50 Percent Over Next 25 Years. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired September 13, 2022 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Here we go. It is Tuesday, September 13th, 5:00 a.m. exactly here in New York. Thanks for getting an EARLY START with us. I'm Christine Romans.

We begin this morning with Ukraine's claims of stunning advances on the battlefield. Top military commanders declaring huge areas of territory held by Russia have been liberated. But there are questions about just how much land has been recaptured by the Ukrainian counter offensive.

On Sunday, Ukrainian military commander claimed the army had retaken nearly 1200 square miles in two weeks. By Monday, the official number had doubled.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): From the beginning of September until today, our soldiers have already liberated more than 6,000 square kilometers of the territory of Ukraine, in the east and south. The movement of our troops continues.


ROMANS: The drastic jump in the numbers and the fact that journalists are being denied access to the front lines raises the possibility that progress on the ground is not so clear-cut. U.S. officials refraining from putting out numbers, but they do say Ukrainian soldiers have pushed the Russians back.


JOHN KIRBY, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: Clearly, we have seen them go on the offensive in the last couple of weeks and actually regain quite a bit of territory. Again, I think I'll stay out of quantifying it in too much detail, but they are actually taking territory back certainly over the last two weeks during these counter-offensive operations but in the north and in the south

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: CNN's Matthew Chance has more from Ukraine and Russia.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We're at 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.

Fight and you will win, he writes. It's one poignant moment in a stunning weekend of dramatic Ukrainian gains.

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

For months, these people have lived under Russian guns. Now, it's Ukrainian guns, celebrating the recapture of strategic towns like Izyum, once a key supply point for Russian troops.

Troops who appeared 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, the decision was made to regroup Russian troops says this defense ministry spokesperson. It's an orderly withdrawal, he suggests, of 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.

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

Six months ago, did anyone really believe we would be surrendering towns, asked another, and trying to repel a counteroffensive in Kharkiv?

This is a serious army, and their weapons are serious, too, admits a third, amid heated exchanges.


Ukraine's dramatic advance seems to have genuinely shocked Russia.

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 in Ukraine -- calls he may no longer be able to resist.

Matthew Chance, CNN, London.


ROMANS: So, the Kremlin says President Putin is aware of the situation on the frontlines in Ukraine and insists Russia will, will achieve all of its goals despite the setback in Kharkiv.

Let's get more on that from CNN' Frederik Pleitgen.

Fred, Putin's spokesman just held a conference call with journalists. What did he say?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they continue to say that they will achieve, as he always puts it, their aims, as he puts it still calling it the special military operation. And also, as you mentioned, saying that Vladimir Putin is in constant contact as they put it with the field, or with the commanders who are leading this operation, obviously, also the top military brass as well.

So, the Russians continue to say that they are going to push on. But I think one of the things that Matthew was saying there in his report is definitely one thing that's key, and you can feel that right now. If you look at the situation in Moscow and the Russian leadership as well, is where do things go next? Are they going to reinforce the forces they have? Are they going to try and escalate?

If you look at some of the people that are speaking up, I do think it is quite remarkable, because one of them, for instance, is Ramzan Kadyrov, he's, of course, the strong man in Chechnya, staunch ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and he now has come forward and said that mistakes were made. He blames the military leadership for this. He said if that's not alleviated, he will speak to Russia's leadership, obviously, meaning Vladimir Putin himself.

Now, Kadyrov wants to escalate the situation drastically. He says he has tens of thousands of fighters who've been trained and who are ready, and there certainly are some hard liners in Moscow who are calling for the same thing.

But you do always have a lot of state pundits and also some political analysts who are saying, look, these are pretty big losses that the Russian military is taking right now, and it's certainly something very different than what they had expected. And there are some who believe that this special military operation, the current invasion of Ukraine, is getting into problems.

I think one of the things that was quite interesting, Christine, is on the weekend, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, he came out and he said that Russia was still very much open to negotiations with Ukraine. He, however, warned that those negotiations have to happen quickly or this moment will be squandered.

So, right now, you can see, he Russians seem to understand that they're in a lot of trouble, very difficult to ascertain where things go from here, Christine.

ROMANS: Yeah, absolutely.

All right. Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much for that, in Berlin.

All right. Britain's new king is about to leave Scotland for Northern Ireland. The queen's coffin will also depart today.

Plus, a critical report due out in hours that could tell us whether inflation is finally moderating.

And a looming strike that could send the U.S. economy off the rails.



ROMANS: We're looking at live pictures of Saint Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the queen's coffin is lying at rest there. And local resident Scots are coming to pay their respects to their monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.

King Charles III and his queen consort Camilla will leave Holyroodhouse in Scotland and will soon be arriving in Northern Ireland. They'll be joined at a church service in Belfast by Prime Minister Liz Truss.

Later today, the queen's coffin will be brought to Buckingham Palace. Queen Elizabeth II has been lying at rest at Saint Giles since Monday, where there was an extraordinary services celebrating the monarch. The queen's children, Charles, Andrew, Edward, and Anne holding a solemn vigil around their mother.

Joining me live from Buckingham Palace in London, Nina Dos Santos, from Belfast, Northern Island, Nick Robertson, and from Edinburgh, Scotland, Isa Soares.

Let's start with you, Isa. How have the royals spent this mornings in Edinburgh?

ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, we'll expect in the next half hour or so, Christine, to see King Charles III and the queen consort depart the palace of Holyroodhouse. It's just down the road here from where I am.

They're expected to depart and make their way to the airport in Edinburgh where they'll then make their way to Belfast. It's very much part of the king's royal tour as he visits, of course, the nation's -- tour of nations. We're seeing following, of course, those proclamations in the last 24 hours. Whilst we see the swing from the official order of business of the king, we're also seeing the grieving and really an outpouring of love and respect for the queen.

You can see behind me a line of mourners walk by. This line, Christine, expands all the way down, snakes through a part and goes down. One police officer saying to me, overnight, we were looking at lines of seven to eight hours. Look, we're prepared to make the sacrifice. Only 7 hours versus 70 years that the queen has dedicated a life of service.

I'm joined here, I want to bring in Lady Roslyn, actually, who spent some of that time in line lining up to pay her respects. You were able to pay your respects, Rosalind, yesterday.


SOARES: How long did you have to wait for.

FOY: Five and a half hours.


SOARES: And how important was it for you, Rosalind, to be here right now.

FOY: Well, the queen, well, the late queen had a lot of connections with where I come from. The new king comes up. In fact, I saw the new king just a month ago and he was up. He comes up every year spends time at the castle. He worships at a church where we were able to see him very close up.

SOARES: What does this moment mean for you? Because all I've been able to hear is just the silence?

FOY: Absolutely, going into the cathedral. It's very, very emotional last night, you know, 11:00. Just hushed came over, very sad and trying to take it all in and seeing her Scottish crown on top of the coffin was quite emotional. The flowers of course came from Balmoral, you know, from her home there. It was very emotional. So glad I got here to see it.

SOARES: Thank you very much, Rosalind. Really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us.

And, Christine, I spoke to one former serviceman in the last two hours, he said he spent hours in line waiting for that very moment to pay respects to my old boss. Those were his words, incredibly moving moment.

But this is a big logistical operation, nothing compared, of course, to what we'll see in London. People have to line up, get arm bands, they go through a white tent where they check the bags. This is the moment for Scots to say their final farewell to a queen who they loved dearly and for so many years, Christine.

ROMANS: Clearly she loved Scotland, no question, throughout her whole life.

Isa, thank you so much.

All right. About 90 minutes from now the king and queen consort will arrive in Belfast, Northern Island. They will head to St. Anne's Cathedral for a service of prayer and reflection, followed by a walk about, you know, at the church.

Nic Robertson there for us.

Nic, what can we expect to see?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC ECDITOR: Yeah, we can expect the king and the queen consort to go to the royal residence here in Northern Ireland. They'll have meetings with politicians from both sides of a deeply divided political spectrum here, because, of course, you have unionist, pro-British, if you will, politicians here and you have the pro-Irish, pro united island politicians here who decided not to attend the royal proclamation. They said that was an event for people whose political affiliation is towards the British monarchy.

However, they have been, the pro-Irish politicians here, shorthand on that way, but very complimentary of King Charles. They've been very complimentary of the queen and everything she did. Both sides will have that today, and then he will come here to St. Anne's Cathedral.

The Irish president has been invited. The Irish prime minister, these are important steps for the monarchy to take to help affirm and strengthen the peace. There are troubled times here. King Charles has met some of those who have a paramilitary background who were behind the killing of his great uncle and beloved mentor, Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was blown by the IRA back in1979.

So, there's some deep emotional ties here for King Charles. They are seen, the monarchy is seen here by all sides as a good thing for the people in their daily lives and as helping cement peace. The queen of course here back in 2012, she shook hands with a former paramilitary commander, Martin McGuinness, seen as hugely significant.

So, King Charles coming in that capacity, in that capacity, to help lead the mourners as well and their reflection behind me here later.

ROMANS: All right. We'll be watching for that. Nic, thank you.

Later this afternoon, the queen's coffin will be making her way back to Buckingham Palace in London ahead of merely a week of services. Elizabeth will ultimately be laid to rest at St. George's chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle, next to Prince Philip.

Nina dos Santos live at the Buckingham Palace.

What kind of ceremonies, Nina, will we expect to see taking place there today?

NINA DOSA SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: What we're expecting, Christine, is the coffin bearing Queen Elizabeth II will probably arrive at an air force base, RF Northolt, about 15 miles away from the British capital, about 7:00 p.m. this evening, after a one hour flight down from Edinburgh, it will be greeted by members of the royal air force and royal guard.

Her daughter, Princess Anne, will be accompanying her body. It will make a procession down through the freeway that leads into London, and then through some major landmarks taking in, for instance, High Park, going new Trafalgar Square, heading down the mall, right to Buckingham Palace.

Behind me, it will be transferred, greeted by members of the royal family. Her children will be back including King Charles III and queen consort Camilla. We're expecting them to be back to be present for receiving their mother's body back to Buckingham palace which was her main home and residents without the long 70-year reign of this crucially important in British history.

And her coffin will lie in the bow room, a specific room until about 5 a.m. tomorrow morning. Thereafter it will move towards Westminster hall for four days where it will lie in state giving many people an opportunity to pay their respects before the big state funeral on Monday. We're talking about a massive logistical operation here.

Also, a new test for the biggest police force in the U.K. Remember, this is a huge important time for this country we'd had in the last week. Notice the new prime minister, the new sovereign but also, big changes in the realm of policing as well. They said this is going to be the biggest test they've ever faced, but they are ready to rise to the challenge.

We're talking 10,000 officers who are going to be deployed over the next 10 days. They're expecting potentially clouds of up to 2 million to converge on the British capital. Their objective is to keep people safe, also, to keep people away from the former dignitaries who will be arriving over the next few days.

Remember, we've got heads of state, not least the U.S. President Joe Biden coming four the funeral. This is a big logistical challenge, but they have been preparing for it for sometime -- Christine.

ROMANS: Sure, logistics that every little twist and turn approved by the queen herself. This is the final public appearance for her subjects.

All right. Thank you so much for that, Nina. The schedule is set for the Queen's final journey today. Her casket travels from Edinburgh, to London's Buckingham. On Wednesday, she will be moved to Westminster Hall. The queen will lie in state through Sunday. On Monday, there will be a state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

Join CNN from London as the country and world remember Queen Elizabeth II. The state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II live Monday right here on CNN.

All right. The countdown is one to a possible railroad labor strike. Just a few days to reach a deal.

President Biden takes on a notorious killer.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The goal is to cut cancer death rates by at least 50 percent, at least 50 percent in the next 25 years.




ROMANS: Just in to CNN, a tentative agreement into the Seattle teachers strike. Teachers want smaller classroom sizes, higher pay and better health services. No details about the tentative deal being released yet. Seattle Public Schools are closed today. An announcement about a reopening plan is expected this afternoon.

The White House is talking to unions and railroad companies to try to stave off what could be the first national rail strike in 30 years. Some 60,000 engineers and conductors could walk off on Friday.

It's not about money. Railroads have been hugely profitable during the pandemic. Unions are battling over personal time and scheduling rules. These rules are forcing engineers and conductors to be on call seven days a week. A strike could mean more empty shelves, temporary factory closures and, of course, higher prices for consumers.

President Biden is calling for a reduction in cancer deaths by 50 percent in the next 25 years.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Imagine simple blood test during an annual physical that could detect cancer early with the chance of cure are best. Imagine getting a simple shot instead of a grueling chemo, getting a pill from a local pharmacy instead of invasive treatments and long hospitals stays?


ROMANS: The president spoke about his cancer moonshot from the JFK Library 60 years after President Kennedy spoke about sending astronauts to the moon. He also signed an executive order to boost biotechnology, which is, of course, key to early detection. Mr. Biden lost his son Beau to cancer in 2015.

The president talked up the $1.2 billion infrastructure plan during a stop at Boston's Logan Airport.


BIDEN: The fact is that right now with this infrastructure law, America is really getting on the move again.


ROMANS: President Biden says it's creating jobs and making big improvements at airports and other transportation hubs.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROMANS: Federal prosecutors intensifying their investigation into the January 6th Capitol riots. CNN has learned the Justice Department has now issued more than 30 grand jury subpoenas to members of former President Trump's campaign and fundraising teams. Sources tell CNN they include former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien and Sean Dolman. He was chief.