Top US general warns of reality on the ground in Ukraine
Ukraine’s chances of a near-term military victory over Russia are not high, top US general Mark Milley has cautioned. He noted that despite Kiev’s recent advances on the battlefield and the capture of the city of Kherson, Moscow still has a significant combat presence in the country.
Speaking at a news conference at the Pentagon on Wednesday, Milley stated that “the probability of a Ukrainian military victory defined as kicking the Russians out of all of Ukraine to include what they define or what the claim is Crimea, the probability of that happening anytime soon is not high, militarily.”
The general noted, however, that there was a possibility of a “political solution” that would see Russia withdraw from territories Ukraine claims as its own, adding that Russia “is on its back” right now and that Ukraine needs to negotiate from a “position of strength.”
Milley also reiterated Washington’s support for Kiev and vowed to continue for as long as it takes – a statement that was echoed by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who also took part in the press conference.
Russia, meanwhile, says it will continue its military operation until all the goals are met. Moscow says it ordered its forces to enter the country in late February in order to protect the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which had been under constant attack from Kiev’s forces since 2014 when a coup overthrew the nation’s elected government.
In October, the Donbass republics as well as the former Ukrainian regions of Kherson and Zaporozhye officially joined the Russian Federation after a referendum. President Vladimir Putin vowed to consider the residents of these regions as Russian citizens “forever” and promised to protect the territories “with all [Russia’s] strength and resources.”