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People walk as Tower Bridge is reflected in a tribute to Britain's Queen Elizabeth.

Reuters

What We’re Watching: Bidding farewell to a queen, mass graves in Kharkiv, Pelosi in Armenia

UK bids farewell to Elizabeth II amid trying times

Some 2,000 people attended the funeral for Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, including several hundred current and former world leaders, royals, and other dignitaries. US President Joe Biden, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, and leaders from much of the Commonwealth, attended the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, where Elizabeth II was married and crowned. (Invitations to attend the state funeral, the first since Winston Churchill died in 1965, were sent to heads of state or government of nearly every country except Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Russia, Belarus, and Myanmar.)

Hundreds of thousands visited the British capital for the queen's lying-in-state to pay their respects and thank her for her 70 years on the British throne. Once the ceremony is over, all eyes will turn to her son and successor, King Charles III, who takes over at a moment of deep uncertainty in the UK. While the monarch’s role is not political, a worsening cost-of-living crisis and energy crunch – combined with the revolving door of prime ministers since 2016’s Brexit vote – have left many Britons feeling disillusioned with the country’s leadership. What’s more, the 73-year-old Charles is hardly as popular as his beloved mother, and his ascent to the throne has already ignited a debate about the future of the British monarchy, both at home and in Commonwealth nations where he is now the nominal head of state.

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Ukrainian soldiers pose with their national flag outside a Kharkiv village recently liberated from Russia.

Ukrainian Armed Forces/Handout via REUTERS

What We’re Watching: Ukraine retakes Kharkiv, Sweden turns right

Ukraine makes big gains, Putin gets rare pushback

As the war reached its 200-day mark Sunday, the Ukrainian military made its most significant gains against Russia since the invasion began. President Volodymyr Zelensky said more than 1,000 km of territory had been liberated and promised that the ultimate goal is “de-occupation.” The loss of Izyum and dozens of other Kharkiv towns and villages that had been under Russian occupation was met by Moscow with a flurry of air strikes to knock out power and water in the region. Russia notably admitted on Sunday that it had lost much of the northern Kharkiv region. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin came under fire from pro-war conservatives and allies like Chechnyan leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who publicly admitted that the “special military operation” was not going to plan. Also, local officials in Putin’s hometown of St. Petersburg petitioned the Duma (parliament) to oust the president for committing alleged treason (they’ve been dealt with swiftly). Finally, there has been some relief at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine: after losing all power and the ability to cool its last functioning reactor, the facility was finally reconnected to a backup power line on Sunday.

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Putin Keeps His War Cards Close | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Putin keeps his war cards close

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hey, everybody, Ian Bremmer here, and a Quick Take to start off your week. It is, of course, May 9th, and that means Victory Day. It's when the Soviets were celebrating their defeat of the Nazis in World War II. The Russians of course, continued that after 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed.

And today even more important in the context of Russia's invasion into Ukraine, not in any way victorious and Putin, wasn't trying to claim it was, rather, it was all about justifying what he referred to as a preemptive rebuff to NATO aggression. He talked about the Ukrainians as a Nazi regime, that they were trying to get nuclear weapons, that NATO and Ukraine were going to take Crimea back from Russia. All of which was made up from a whole cloth, but nonetheless was the basis of Putin's speech.

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Ukrainian soldiers take positions at the military airbase Vasylkiv in the Kyiv region.

REUTERS/Maksim Levin

What We’re Watching: Day six in Ukraine

Russian and Ukrainian representatives met for “talks” in Belarus on Monday, but they left little hope for a swift resolution to the crisis. They also made only vague plans to continue negotiations soon.

Simultaneously, Russia ramped up its assault, shelling residential areas in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, where at least 11 civilians were killed, and intensifying the air and ground attack on Kyiv. While Russian troops have faced tough pushback from Ukrainians, a nearly 40-mile-long convoy of Russian arms is reportedly en route to the capital, which the Pentagon now says Moscow is close to encircling. British intelligence warned that Russia is upping its use of artillery in several cities, which could increase civilian casualties.

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