Russia has suffered more than 100,000 killed and wounded soldiers as a result of the war in Ukraine, the top US general said Wednesday evening, and Ukraine is probably looking at similar numbers.
Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Milley, speaking at an event at The Economic Club of New York, called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “tremendous strategic mistake” for which the country would pay “for years and years and years to come.”
The war, which began in late February, has caused a tremendous amount of human suffering, Milley said, including between 15-30 million refugees and about 40,000 innocent Ukrainian civilians killed.
"You’re looking at well over 100,000 Russian soldiers killed and wounded," Milley said. "Same thing probably on the Ukrainian side."
Milley said there may be a window of opportunity to negotiate an end to the conflict if and when the front lines stabilize during winter.
“When there’s an opportunity to negotiate when peace can be achieved, seize it,” Milley said. “Seize the moment.”
But if negotiations never materialized or failed, Milley said the US would continue to arm Ukraine, even as an outright military victory for either side looks increasingly unlikely.
“There has to be a mutual recognition that military victory is probably in the true sense of the word may be not achievable through military means, and therefore you need to turn to other means.”
Milley also said the US was seeing initial indications that Russia was indeed pulling out of Kherson, as it had stated. But he said the withdrawal of 20,000-30,000 troops from the west bank of the Dnipro River could take days or even weeks.
“I believe they’re doing it in order to preserve their force, to re-establish defensive lines south of the river, but that remains to be seen,” Milley said. “Right now, the early indicators are they’re doing what they say they’re doing and we’re seeing those early indicators.”