The United States’ top General has played down the odds of any short term Ukraine military victory, warning that Russia still had significant combat power. General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it is unlikely that Kyiv can force Moscow out of all the territory that it currently occupies in a Pentagon Press conference.
He said: “The probability of a Ukrainian military victory – defined as kicking the Russians out of all of Ukraine to include what they claim as Crimea – the probability of that happening anytime soon is not high, militarily.
“Politically, there may be a political solution where, politically, the Russians withdraw. That’s possible.”
He added that Russia was “right now is on its back” and “hurting bad”, arguing that Russian forces were likely to struggle during the winter when operations “naturally slow down”.
Gen Milley argued that Russia is “imposing a campaign of terror, a campaign of maximum suffering on the Ukrainian civilian population in order to defeat Ukrainian morale.”
Many of the recent strikes have targeted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and are seen as revenge for the humiliating withdrawal of Russian troops from Kherson last week.
Gen Milley said he had attempted to contact his Russian counterpart, Gen Valeriy Gerasimov in order to attempt to prevent escalation.
However, he said efforts by his staff had been “unsuccessful”.
Despite the continuing Russian missile attacks Gen Milley said that ultimately Moscow had failed to achieve it’s objectives militarily and tactically.
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Writing on Twitter on Wednesday Ian Bremmer, president and founder of global political risk firm Eurasia Group said that an immediate Russian withdrawal was unlikely.
He said: “The US government is now saying out loud what everyone has been saying privately for months: the complete removal of Russian troops from Ukraine territory (read particularly: Crimea) is extremely unlikely.
“At some point negotiations are the best option.
“Ultimately, negotiations have no chance of succeeding unless the Nato alliance stays together and Ukraine is in a strong military position.”