Russia could take Kiev in 72 hours, US warns
Russia’s armed forces could seize and overrun Kiev in as little as three days should its troops launch an all-out invasion of Ukraine, a top Pentagon official is said to have warned as tensions between the two former Soviet republics continue to flare.
In a report on Sunday, right-wing American network Fox News claimed that Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley had cautioned lawmakers about Moscow’s potential military might during closed-door briefings last week.
According to Fox, which cites multiple unnamed “congressional sources,” Milley estimated that “a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine could result in the fall of Kiev within 72 hours, and could come at a cost of 15,000 Ukrainian troop deaths and 4,000 Russian troop deaths.”
Some legislators present at the meetings, said to have taken place on February 2-3, allegedly expressed concern that Washington “did not respond quickly to provide Ukraine with significant military aid, such as anti-aircraft and rocket launcher systems that would defend against an invasion from Russia.” Meanwhile, officials argued that Moscow could use the delivery of arms as grounds for launching an attack.
Fox said that alongside Milley, several high-profile US government figures were present at the briefings, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines.
The Fox report comes amid an increasingly tense situation on the shared frontier in recent weeks, with Western leaders repeatedly sounding the alarm over a purportedly imminent Russian offensive. The Kremlin, however, has denied it has any plans to stage an incursion, and instead accused English-language outlets of whipping up “hysteria.”
Several of Kiev’s top officials have sought to play down the threat of an imminent invasion. In late January, Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said that the number of Russian troops stationed near the border was “insufficient for a full-scale offensive against Ukraine along the entire Ukrainian border.” He added that they lacked some of the “important military indicators and systems to conduct such a large, full-scale offensive.”