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Digest of Western media: Ukraine’s counteroffensive will continue throughout the winter, while Liz Truss faces a threat of resignation

Ukraine will remain on the offensive in winter, while a French company was accused of supporting Russia

Ukraine will remain on the offensive in winter, while a French company was accused of supporting Russia

Ukraine will continue its counteroffensive in winter with NATO’s support, a French oil company was accused of supporting Russia’s war crimes, and a newly revealed document by Angela Merkel’s government denies the risks from Nord Stream 2.

Meanwhile, the investigation of the attack on the Capitol uncovered new evidence proving that Donald Trump knew he had lost the election in 2021, and in the U.K., the prime minister may change again.

The Page offers a digest of Western mass media at the end of the October 10–14 business week.

Ukraine’s winter counteroffensive: NATO pledged to supply Ukraine

The Ukrainians will remain on offensive in winter. Photo: Max Levin

The Ukrainians will remain on offensive in winter. Photo: Max Levin

On October 12, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III predicted that Ukraine would remain on the offensive through the winter, retaking territories lost to the Russian invasion, The New York Times wrote.

He said this after a meeting in Brussels of top military officials from some 50 countries, including the Ramstein-6 meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group.

The Defense Secretary emphasized that the United States and its allies would supply Ukraine with whatever weapons and supplies it needed for "the difficult weeks, months and years ahead."

Quote"I expect that Ukraine will continue to do everything it can throughout the winter to regain its territory and to be effective on the battlefield, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that they have what’s required to be effective," Defense Secretary said.

U.S. officials suggested that Ukrainian forces, with ample backing, could be better supplied for winter combat than Russia.

Austin also urged the countries that cannot provide Kyiv with weapons to give nonlethal aid such as medical supplies and cold-weather gear.

The West no longer pushes Ukraine toward settlement with Russia

The Ukrainians are no longer pushed to settle on the Kremlin's terms. Photo: the General Staff of the AFU

The Ukrainians are no longer pushed to settle on the Kremlin's terms. Photo: the General Staff of the AFU

Comments before and after the meeting signaled a hardening of international determination to back Kyiv in the face of Russia’s recent missile and drone attacks on civilian targets across Ukraine.

Talk of nudging both sides toward a negotiated settlement, common among some U.S. allies early in the war, has all but evaporated.

Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, described Russia’s latest attacks as a war crime.

Military analysts have speculated that harsh winter weather could tamp down the fighting and that Ukraine was racing to seize as much terrain as it could before that happened.

However, Austin believes that Ukraine will press its advantage while Russian troops are demoralized and in retreat.

A French oil company was accused of supporting Russia’s war

TotalEnergies was accused of working with Gazprom, which supplies the Russian army. Photo: facebook.com/TotalEnergiesUkraine

TotalEnergies was accused of working with Gazprom, which supplies the Russian army. Photo: facebook.com/TotalEnergiesUkraine

TotalEnergies is the target of a criminal complaint accusing the French oil company of complicity in war crimes. It was accused of helping the Russian military in its invasion of Ukraine, Financial Times writes.

The complaint was filed by the Bordeaux-based NGO Darwin Climax Coalitions and Ukraine’s Razom We Stand.

They alleged that a Siberian gasfield part-owned by Total supplied feedstock for jet fuel suspected to have been used by the Russian military against Ukrainian civilians. The Paris prosecutor’s office must now decide whether to open an investigation.

Back in August, Global Witness reported that gas from a field operated by Terneftegaz, a company jointly controlled by Total, was processed by a factory owned by Novatek, in which Total also owns a minority stake.

The gas then was sold to a Gazprom-owned factory linked to the Russian military.

Total, in an email, called the accusations of complicity in war crimes "outrageous and defamatory" and claimed that it had no operational control of Novatek

At the same time, Total denied that Novatek’s activities were related to the Russian military. Moreover, this year the French energy company has sold its 49% stake in Terneftegaz.

Nevertheless, unprecedented levels of media scrutiny on war crimes in Ukraine have stripped companies active in Russia of the ability to plead ignorance, said William Bourdon, one of the human rights lawyers representing Global Witness.

Angela Merkel’s document on Nord Stream 2: "the risks are minimal"

Angela Merkel's government deemed Nord Stream 2 wouldn't be a security threat

Angela Merkel's government deemed Nord Stream 2 wouldn't be a security threat

The German government on October 13 declassified a top-secret security assessment on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Politico reports.

The document, dated October 26, 2021, was adopted in the final days of former Chancellor Angela Merkel's outgoing government. According to it, the granting of certification for Nord Stream 2 did not jeopardize the security of gas supply in Germany and the European Union.

Moreover, the document rejected concerns by Poland and Ukraine, which had long warned that Nord Stream 2 would increase the risk of energy blackmail by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Obviously, the assessment was belied by the current halt in Russian gas deliveries to Germany and the resulting energy crisis.

On the contrary, the document claimed that Nord Stream 2 would "increase the resilience of the European gas supply system" and classified the risk of Russia cutting gas flows to Europe as very low.

The publication of this assessment comes after journalists from German magazine Der Spiegel requested access to the document, threatening to take the government to court.

Trump knew he had lost election before the Capitol attack

New evidence against Trump was found in the capitol attack case. Photo: Getty Images

New evidence against Trump was found in the capitol attack case. Photo: Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack on October 13 held what is expected to be its final hearing and acknowledged a number of Donald Trump’s wrongdoings, The Washington Post writes.

The key takeaways are the following:

  • the committee admitted that Trump’s false, election-night declaration of victory was part of a premeditated plan;
  • former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson and former Trump White House aide Alyssa Farah Griffin said that Trump already knew he had lost the election before the attack on the Capitol;
  • the Committee presented new evidence corroborating the idea that Trump might have approved of what the rioters were doing — or at least that he sought to use it as leverage;
  • multiple documents show that Secret Service agents expressed concerns about the January 6 rally, therefore Trump would’ve been informed of such threats.

At the end of the hearings, the committee unanimously approved a subpoena to summon Trump before Congress. However, he will likely refuse to appear, and the committee would have to launch a lengthy process of trying to compel his testimony.

A new scandal in the U.K.: the Chancellor of the Exchequer resigned

Kwasi Kwarteng syepped down to save Liz Truss. Photo: Getty Images

Kwasi Kwarteng syepped down to save Liz Truss. Photo: Getty Images

Kwasi Kwarteng has been sacked as chancellor after his disastrous mini-budget caused market turmoil, a bailout of pension funds, and rising mortgage rates, The Guardian writes.

Kwarteng is leaving the position after just six weeks in the job, despite Liz Truss, the prime minister, having also signed off an array of tax cuts last month.

In a tweeted letter to Truss, Kwarteng wrote:

Quote"You have asked me to stand aside as chancellor. I have accepted."

Earlier, The Guardian’s sources had said the prime minister wanted Kwarteng to "carry the can" over her climbdown.

Whitehall insiders said Truss and Kwarteng had held different views on how far the government should go in reversing key elements of its plan.

They said Kwarteng had been pushing for raising the corporation tax from the current 19% rate to 25%, while the prime minister had wanted to go for just a fraction of the rise.

Liz Truss is urged to resign over the crash of the economy

Liz Truss and her government are urged to resign. Photo: Getty Images

Liz Truss and her government are urged to resign. Photo: Getty Images

But the dismissal of the chancellor is unlikely to appease angry Tory MPs, one of whom said:

Quote"The idea that the prime minister can just scapegoat her chancellor and move on is deluded."

Nicholas Watt from BBC Newsnight has been told that a group of senior Tories will call on Liz Truss to resign as prime minister next week:

Quote"These are serious people. The PM will find it difficult to survive."

Opposition MPs also voiced their discontent. Labor’s shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves, said:

Quote"Changing the chancellor doesn’t undo the damage that’s already been done. It was a crisis made in Downing Street. Liz Truss and the Conservatives crashed the economy. We don’t just need a change in chancellor, we need a change in government."

Her opinion was supported by the Labor leader, Keir Starmer, and Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon. The leader of the Lib Dems, Ed Davey, also called for a general election.

At the press conference in Downing Street, Liz Truss bowed to intense pressure from Conservative MPs and the markets, saying that she was scrapping her corporation tax cut.

Jeremy Hunt, the former foreign secretary and health secretary, who has twice tried unsuccessfully to become Conservative leader, has been appointed as Liz Truss’s new chancellor.

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